Day 114: So Long

My hair is longer now than it has been in more than a decade. I had already postponed getting a haircut several times before the pandemic hit, so my hair was longer than it ought to have been. Now it is so long that I have to wear it up, and I can feel my ponytail swishing across my back. Washing and conditioning it is getting to be a chore. At a minimum, I need a trim, if only to help with the tangles. My husband has offered to cut it. I’m on the fence about this. I have cut hair a few times, so I know how difficult it is to do well. Should I let him experiment on my hair?

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We Agree

My husband told me he’d seen a bird that looked “like a svelte robin with an orange belly.” I told him it was probably an oriole, based purely on the “orange” part of his description. I have seen orioles here before, but not so often that I could remember exactly what they looked like. After looking at pictures of them on the Internet, he agreed that the bird he saw was an oriole, and I agreed that some orioles do indeed look svelte robins with orange bellies.

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Day 113: Strange Dreams

A few weeks ago I kept dreaming about being in a grocery store without a mask on, and when people crowded around me, I yelled at them to get back. It’s no mystery where my subconscious is at these days. I wonder sometimes what psychological damage this pandemic is doing to all of us, but especially the children. What a strange thing it must be to have normalcy thrown out the window before you’ve even figured out what normalcy is.

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Big Thoughts

I’ve been thinking a lot of deep thoughts lately. Democracy and fascism. White privilege and Black Lives Matter. Pandemics and the state of the American educational system. Among other things.

Those are all important, but they are things over which I do not have immediate control. Don’t get me wrong. I see how I am a thread in the tapestry of everything that’s happening in the country. I see how I connect. I see how it matters what I think and what I say and what I do. And I will think and say and act better as a result.

But I am just one little thread in a large tapestry. No matter what I do, I cannot make or break that tapestry. That tapestry existed before me. It will go on existing without me. I am but one little thread in a large tapestry on an even bigger loom.

Yet on the small scale, the individual scale, my thread has a beginning and an end. Along the way it can change and it can grow. It can shine, or bring a wild streak of color, harmonize or clash with the threads around it, be so ugly that people wish it wasn’t there, or be so dull that no ever notices it.

On this smaller scale is where I live and breathe and be. On this scale, as I grow older, I wonder what was the point? What did I add to the tapestry? What does it matter? Was I obligated to make my thread beautiful, or to create threads that would continue beyond me? Or was it enough to simply exist, in whatever way I turned out, another thread in a work so large that no one can ever view it in its entirety?

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Day 112: Heard on TV

Heard on TV last night: “A mask is not a big ask.” The rhyme is good, though it doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as you’d think it would. I definitely like it better than “Mask it or casket” (too grim) and “If you don’t like the mask, you’re going to hate the ventilator” (too long and too grim).

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Day 111: Sweet Smell of Success

I bought some laundry sanitizer because I wanted better smelling towels, but I secretly hoped it might also sanitize the washing machine, which had developed a funk that bleach, vinegar, and baking soda had each failed to eliminate. I started using the sanitizer a few weeks ago. My towels smell fabulous. And the funk? Gone!

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Day 110: Three Things About This Week

  • I ordered olive oil from Target earlier this week. I figured that they wouldn’t offer to ship it if they couldn’t handle it. I was wrong, and I did not enjoy getting an oil-soaked package full of broken glass delivered to my house. Target refunded my money immediately, though, so points to them for customer service.
  • I finally finished Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!. The exclamation point belongs to the book title, not to the statement, but I am glad to be done reading it. I liked elements of the story, but overall the book made me feel sad.
  • I played my hammered dulcimer this week. I don’t do that often, so it’s noteworthy. I’m not very good at it and probably never will be. That’s OK, though. We can’t all be hammered dulcimer virtuosi.
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Day 109: Not Complaining

I’ve been walking every day, rain or shine, but the weather has been making a challenge of it. For a while the temperature was topping 90 degrees every day. On those days I had to break my walk into four parts, because I could only do about four laps before the heat started to get to me.

Lately the problem has been rain. I like walking in the rain. I won’t walk during thunderstorms, though, and I’ve had to wait them out several times. Sometimes that pushes my walk into the evening. I’d rather not walk in the evening, because of the mosquitoes, but the reward is that I get to watch the fireflies. Fireflies seem to like slightly cool, misty evenings.

Rain also brings out the slugs. I had no idea how many big, fat slugs there were in the world until I found them all on my driveway after yesterday’s rain. I saved the first few that I saw, mostly because I didn’t want to risk stepping on them. But then I realized how many there were, and that it would take me all day to rescue them, so I decided to pretend that I didn’t see them. I probably squished some. I was careful not to look at the soles of my sneakers when I was done walking. I didn’t want to know.

It’s often said that “nothing’s certain but death and taxes,” but I think we should add “weather” to the list. There’s always weather. Most of the time it’s preferable to death and taxes, though, so I’m not complaining.

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Day 108: Blood Suckers

You know how vampires can’t come into your house unless you invite them? Can we get that same rule for mosquitoes?

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Day 107: The Covid 5

I have gained about 5 pounds over the last few months. This is surprising. I’m normally good at maintaining my weight, so good, in fact, that my doctors routinely comment on it. The weight gain is even more shocking given that I’ve exercised nearly every day for weeks, something I have not historically been good at. I’d like to imagine that it’s muscle weight, and maybe some of it is, but my pants are also tighter, which means that some of it isn’t. I suppose it could be premenopausal weight, but I really don’t need hormonal issues on top of everything else right now. So I’m going to blame it on the coronavirus, because I’m already so upset about other aspects of the pandemic that this one will hardly register. I will refer to it as “The Covid 5” and pray that it doesn’t morph into the “Covid 10 Plus.”

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