Everything that I could say about 2020 has probably been said.
On the whole, its not as bad as it could have been because I am with my two favorite people in a house I love, with so many books to read and movies to see .My family a video chat away.
A dear friend I met via work is leaving Seattle. He lost his spouse this year, unexpectedly. Living in the house they bought and decorated together, with minimal external interaction has proved difficult and so he is back to London. I have always really liked G but we got particularly close this year
I don't think I told you but we lost Miss Chrissy in July . She cleaned our home twice a week for 8 years. In fact, she cleaned our house on a Friday and died on that Monday unexpectedly. Her loss has been very hard to deal with. She was so nice to R, only 52, one of the truly good ones and my house is full of little things she thought we would like. The reason I bring her up here is that G and I got closer this year because he gave me a lot of comfort on how to cope with the loss of someone you love. His theory is that when you love someone - they never really go away.
So on Friday we have a "going-away" party for him. Basically we all have a fixed schedule of a 30 minute window to stop by to say goodbye - socially distanced and masked of course. This has the unexpected bonus of getting one on one time with him. I have noticed this about 2020- some unexpected things have happened that would not have happened without the isolation. A friend with an international career had a video party for her 50th with people from about 20 countries. On my birthday my team organized a Harry potter quiz ( I am a Potterhead).
This pandemic is a total nightmare of course but its good to make the most of what we can while we wait for it to be over ?
R and DH come with me. Both have an essentially quality of "come-withness" . I tell R that he can take his Ipad and listen to music but can he buzz a little less. When we are there and he is listening to a little Trotsky and flapping his hands excitedly for the music crescendo- I ask him if he can flap a bit quietly.
He repeats my rules "No flapping and no buzzing for 30 minutes" solemnly and makes my heart turn over.
Friday nights, DH and I have a ritual of watching Bill Maher and eating dumplings for dinner. And today we are starting another Binge- worthy show- Mirzapur whose Season 2 has just dropped. So good !! Despite these temptations and although I have also started a suspense novel- The Turn of the Key ( the ending of which on Saturday - I am sorely disappointed by) , we are in bed by 11.30! Its way past R's bedtime , but he still comes in to snuggle, smell my hair and get a tight hug. I cannot skip or shortchange as he times me :-).
I wake up at 8.30, go downstairs and make some French Press coffee. Since I figured out how to fully take apart the French Press in order to clean it properly, I have been drawn back to the delicious rich coffee it makes . DH makes fun of my coffee obsession ( he IS justified - I have a Nespresso, a pour over, a grind and brew, a Capresso for cold lattes and 3 kinds of French Presses) . But the truth is I really enjoy my variety of ways of coffee consumption.
Its our typical cold rainy Seattle fall day and I really love them because they are so perfect for things I love like tea-drinking and book reading.
I wake up R and DH with compliments and snuggles and then its time to start the day. DH usually does all the grocery shopping and these days R and DH have a ritual of going to Costco together. While they are out - I vacuum our living area, fold and put away a load of laundry, empty the dishwashers and reset the kitchen to a pristine state while listening to my book, and get lunch started in the Instant pot.
On Saturdays we always eat Choley ( Garbanzo bean curry) DH's late dad had a superstition that if you eat garbanzo beans on Saturday - you will accumulate wealth . Since we love rituals - this has now become a standard
Once they are back, the house is sparkling, groceries are done and we enjoy our lunch which is DELICIOUS ( I am an excellent cook for the things I love). I will plan out our meals for the week later but we have a rough idea of the kinds of things we need for what we regularly eat . Salad, cucumbers, avocados, pomegranates, spinach, grapes, asparagus, tomatoes eggs and sausages etc etc . DH and I are super organized people. when its just the three of us -the house runs like clock work . When we have guests, they are nonplussed by my need to know a week in advance
In the afternoon - we need to make a trip to the Under Armor store. Its DH's birthday on Monday and we both much prefer to buy our own presents. All our money is our money so its never a surprise since we can see our withdrawals. SO now the rule is we buy our own real present ( I got the Kindle Oasis for myself this year) and the other person just has to do cards and chocolate for DH and cards and flowers( for me)
The shopping is quickly done . DH is a quick chooser - the only thing that slows him down is trying to be more parsimonious, but i urge him to remember these are birthday presents and he should splurge
Our drive back is gorgeous - the sun seems to hit the trees at just the right angles to turn the trees to lightWhen we get back home, DH wants to relax and drink tea, but I am perishing to walk, so make tea for him and get a snack ready for R and step outside for 2 miles in the cold air and the grey gold of a Washington Fall day. I continue with my book but the protagonist is such a ninny ( this is the problem with Ruth Ware novels. A fantastic writer, bar one device that she overuses. She creates the uneasy atmosphere mostly by statements like "my nerves jangled", "a sudden sound shattered the silence" - which is then followed by something commonplace like - "it was just my mobile phone". Makes me want to shake her protagonists and tell them to grow a spine.) So I switch to self help book.
The walk is SO lovely . The dark descends and the half moon is visible. Its so great to see how people decorate their houses for Halloween . The moon comes out and one house looks so cute and spooky !
I have finished "The turn of the key" last night and I am feeling at a loss with what to read now. I did not like the ending ( oh how I hate open ends) so there is that too. Like magic, a bunch of Mary Westmacott books become available and I am so glad to have something to look forward to again
We celebrate DH's birthday today ( even though its officially tmrw- he keeps a fast on Mondays- so meats and sweets must be eaten today :-) and of course we always pre-pone not postpone) . R has written an exceptionally sweet card - he and I did research on messages to be written on cards .
I have learned this in the many years of being R's mum.
When auties don't do a great job with writing /doing traditionally sweet things, much is made out to be an empathy/psychology problem where is its usually a dont-know-how and did-not-know-why problem
I decide to go back to our usual bakery instead of the new 85 degrees and its an AWESOME decision.
DH responds to all the people who wish him individually- he actually types messages to everyone - not even copy paste as it seems fair to him to type in return for typed messages . ( I am usually confounded by how much logic these two seem to have )
We are also planning on starting a diet and as per usual we have a feast before
Is DH's actual birthday - I have saved time in the day and the glorious sun comes out. Oh how we PNW folks treasure the sun. We stroll past our lake - (really I marvel at the joy of having a park and a lake so close by) and have a lovely timeTuesday
I am in a sudden panic. I suddenly realize that the year is passing by without having made enough progress on my core- priorities. This is typical of me - I work in intense periods fueled by panic - and the rest of the time - I procrastinate while feeling vaguely guilty . I work madly. I also manage several walking meetings and oh my - the Fall trees are gorgeous all around me
I did not write in my gratitude journal today- so i don't remember much of today - except it was a blur of meetings - but I started Matthew McConoughey's book Greenlights on Audible( his voice is a treat) and finished "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", which no matter how many times I re-read- its still fresh. Have a small argument in the Agatha Christie book group about whether the artwork on the cover is justified or not.
How I love book groups and our innocent passions !
Was a day of many milestones and work and consequently I am wiped out in the evening. I am grumpy in the evening as DH takes too long to come our for a walk with me because the daylight will be all gone ( Seriously - y'all - we are a light hungry people in the PNW - especially as winter comes closer) . But OMG its even better - because its a clear moonlit night - so beautiful - it fairly takes my breath away !
So many times I don't get the thing I want in life, and then sometimes I get something even better !!
Later as DH and I are reading and chatting - R knocks on the door to tell us to go to sleep :-)
The boy hates to be left out.
A busy day at work. I have a meeting with that colleague from last week -he is leaving on Monday for London. I am feeling quite awful about it . I am also remembering all my last days in cities ( as an Army kid - I traveled a lot . When I worked and was single /student- I also lived by myself in cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Athens etc.)
I clearly remember the desolation of last days. Your stuff is packed and gone mostly. The walls are empty. You are enveloped in the awful realization that the days, people and memories passed, will never come back. On an impulse, I ask if he will come for brunch with a mask and 6 feet apart on Sunday. He agrees and I feel so happy about it
I persuade R to come to the playground- I wipe the swings carefully with Clorox wipes - he tells me warningly that he wants to swing for a long time- while I walk around and stare at trees. He has many rituals that he wants to do and many places that he likes to feel the wind - so this takes a long time
I walk back to our house, looking so welcoming and lovely with DH's artistic decorations . I and R are only allowed to lug the pumpkins up from the store room - all the actual decorating is done by DH - as he (correctly) tells us that we have no artistic abilities.
Well dear reader - if you have still stuck on through reading about this week - I must sign off now.
R is calling for his book and goodnight routine .
I must say, I enjoyed writing this post.
The days seem to run together these days , but while describing this week - it made me realize how precious and distinct each day is.
That when I think back, some time in the future, I wont just think of 2020 as that dreadful year - when life came to a standstill- for in this year too - was a week filled with love, joy, business and beauty!
Until next time !