Day 106: Summer Activities

Today I am going to work on a schedule of summer activities for the children. There’s a lot of summer time ahead, and I do not want the kids spending all of it on TV and video games. That’s how they spent the last two weeks, which sounds bad, but it’s what they needed. After months of distance learning (which they hated), they deserved some time to do what they most felt like doing. But it’s not healthy in the long-term. They need more fresh air, exercise, and mental activity. They also need more structure, a basic framework around which to build their days. Some of the scheduled activities will be the things they love and already do without instruction (video games, TV, and reading). But they will also need sports, games, crafts, and other activities with which to fill the remaining hours.

I’m going to try to aim high while also being realistic in my expectations. There may be mothers out there who would do such a fantastic job of scheduling activities that their kids would never suffer a dull moment. I am not one of those moms. I know I won’t be able to make up for the lack of summer camp. I have a job and I cannot be my kids’ constant companion. I’m also incapable of creating or adhering to a strict schedule.

But I do believe I can do better than leaving them propped up in front of a computer or TV screen for the remainder of the season. So, I’m putting my thinking cap on now. Wish me luck.

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Day 105: Wear a Mask

Over 45,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in America today. Coronavirus is ripping through the population. Our death toll is about to explode again.

It didn’t have to be this way. We were warned. Repeatedly. And we got lucky, because it turned out that masks are effective in limiting the spread. If everyone had just continued to stay home as much as possible, avoid crowds, and wear a mask, maybe we could have gotten through this without too many more losses.

But no. Some people just cannot stand being told what to do, even when it’s for their own good. These people did not want to listen to experts. They did not want to stay home. They did not want to avoid crowds. They did not want to wear a mask. Ignorant. Selfish. Deadly. They did not care that their fun might cost other people their lives.

Now here we are. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. I am trying to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for it. The numbers in the Northeast might spike again, too, as outbreaks in other areas spread toward us. But, if everyone wears a mask, we might be spared. Please, everyone, wear a mask.

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Day 104: “Time at the Top”

I recently finished reading Time at the Top by Edward Ormondroyd. This semi-classic children’s book is about a girl whose 1960s apartment building elevator magically transports her through time to the 1880s. The story has a clunky structure that initially made it hard for me to get into while also giving away most of the plot early on. I also didn’t like how the author tried to use the bad spelling of the building superintendent (an Italian immigrant) for comedic purpose. But, in all other respects the book was sweet and charming, and it did not stint on the happy ending. Grade: A-

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Day 103: Happy

Today I am happy because Marshall’s birthday gifts all arrived on time. Yay!

I still feel a little bad, though, because his gifts are so paltry compared to Livia’s last birthday gift. She got a trip to Great Wolf Lodge. It was a big, expensive gift that was fun for the whole family.

I remember that trip to GWL very clearly. COVID-19 had only just (as far as anyone knew) landed on American shores. The virus was so new that it didn’t have a name yet. It was referred to simply as the “novel coronavirus.” I remember saying to my husband, “I’m glad we’re here now, because in a couple of weeks it won’t be safe to travel.”

Little did I know. It might already have been unsafe to travel in the Boston area, one of the early hot spots. Not long after, we went to a fencing tournament. We got sick afterward. Nothing big, just something that made us feel run-down. Later we wondered, “Could it have been the coronavirus?”

Probably not, but we’ll never know. And because we have no immunity that we know of, we’re not going to travel for a long, long time. It’s sad, because there’s nothing Marshall wants more right now than a summer vacation. I promised him that we’ll take a vacation as soon as things get better, no matter what time of year it is. But it’s just a promise, and no matter how much we mean to keep our promises, sometimes we can’t. There are no guarantees.

But I am happy today, because Marshall will have a cake with candles on it for his birthday. We will sing to him. He will have presents to open. And he will, we hope, have a happy birthday.

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Day 102: All of You, Not All Y’all

Sometimes I want to say “all y’all.” Then I remember that I live in New England, and we don’t say that here. And we shouldn’t, even when it feels like it would be fun or convenient. It doesn’t belong to us.

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Day 101: Bye-Bye Leisure Time

I took last week off from work. I got used to the relaxed pace of leisure time. Considering that I have to work for the majority of days in the year, it was amazing how quickly time off, a rare occurrence, began to feel like the norm.

But it’s not the norm, and today I had to get back to work. It was an easy and productive day, all things considered. But it was a Monday, and I had to work, and it wasn’t nearly as nice as last Monday, when I didn’t have to work.

Yet I am happy to be employed, or to be more accurate, I am happy to collect the salary that I get from being employed. So, bye-bye leisure time. I hardly knew you.

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Day 100: More Pancakes

  • Sundays are usually waffle days, but this Sunday also happened to be Father’s Day, so I cooked pancakes (again!) so that my hubby didn’t have to make waffles.
  • I called my dad to wish him a happy day. He was in an unusually chatty mood and we had a nice long talk.
  • It was so hot outside that I didn’t finish my walk.
  • I figured out how to make my old MIDI cable work with my current computer. Now I can play on my music keyboard and the notes magically write themselves into notation on my computer. Ta-da! But my office is a mess because I had to move some things to make room for the keyboard. Two steps forward, one step back.
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Day 99: Pancakes

I cooked pancakes for the kids today. It must have been quite a while since the last time I cooked pancakes, because the children were both shocked and profusely grateful. Livia, who scored the first pancake, said, “I’m proud of you, Mom!” After they finished stuffing their bellies, Marshall said, “I loved those pancakes so much that I’d marry them if they weren’t in my stomach.”

So, this leaves me with a dilemma. Should I cook pancakes more often and make my sweet, wonderful kids happy more often? Or should I wait a while so that they’ll really appreciate it when I make pancakes for them again? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Day 98: Exhausted

I was exhausted today. I couldn’t even finish my walk. I don’t know why. I hope I feel better tomorrow.

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Day 97: Mystery Solved

I found a strange looking plant growing along the edge of the driveway last week.

This was a tall, gawky plant with weird, hairy tips. Even weirder, something was ensconced inside this particular one. Looking at it now, I think it was a pair of spiders! Eek!

I had no idea what this plant was, but I should have, because I’ve seen its type before. I just didn’t recognize it until today, when it bloomed. That’s the funny thing about wildflowers, though. The flowers so often get all the attention, and the rest of the plant tends to get overlooked.

Mystery solved!
It’s a pink, most likely a Deptford pink.

The Deptford pink is a nonnative plant. According to this NYT article, the pink’s name doesn’t come from the color of the blossom (pinks come in different colors, including a red type known as a “fire pink“). Instead, the name is a reference to its serrated petals, which look as if they had been “pinked” with pinking shears. Whether or not you’ve seen a Deptford pink before, you’ve probably met its cousins sweet william and carnation.

I’m glad to have solved another botanical mystery. I expect there will be many more of them this year. I hope so, anyway, because they will help keep my mind busy over the course of what looks to be a long summer ahead.

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