Saturday, March 28, 2020

The catastrophe of my personality

Sign of the times

So I suppose I should call this "Diversions Part II." Here are some of my all time favorite favorite wonderful/hilarious classics from the annals of the internets.

The guy "submitting a vocal audition to be the new backup singer for M83."

The talking dog who wants bacon.

Pearl the landlord.

Adorable French girl talks about animals.

And here are some beautiful/specific/inspiring/scary things:

"Quarantine teaches me what I’ve already been taught, but I’ll never learn — that there are so many other ways to be lonely besides the particular way I am lonely."

People from New York are fleeing to Maine — people with fucking summer houses here.

Samin and Hrishikesh have a podcast and it is just as sweet and funny and calming and amazing as I hoped it would be (I've listened to the first episode three times now).

Oh boy, I totally want this!

Rufus Wainwright is playing a song a day on his Instagram, and Yo-Yo Ma is posting songs of comfort on YouTube.

Edna and I are baking vegan cinnamon rolls today. Mark and I found an open beach this morning where we could walk the dogs in the brilliant sunshine at low tide, far from other humans and their dogs. Isaac and Mark are playing basketball today, just the two of them, and Mark spent some hours yesterday fixing an old turntable of Isaac's. Our neighbor's son, having just driven to Maine from LA, came to our door yesterday asking if we had any rope he could borrow, and it was like a horror movie. Mark basically said, "NO!" and shut the door, which if you know really something.

"Now I am quietly waiting for 

the catastrophe of my personality 
to seem beautiful again, 
and interesting, and modern."

Friday, March 20, 2020


You'd think this working at home thing would be a breeze around here, but my number one priority these past several days has been finding a way to focus and do any work at all, given the distractions, the generalized sense of anxiety in the air, the limitations real and imagined caused by near-quarantine, and the fact that there are now four humans attempting to do this in the same house at the same time.

Still, my second goal is...not to accomplish anything in particular, but to focus on some things. I am hoping to read many books, catch up on my pile of New Yorkers, binge some good TV, cook and bake many delicious foods, buy a ukulele and learn how to play it, go for the longest walks. I have a couple of suggestions for you!

  • On SkillShare, you can take classes from experts on a nearly infinite number of subjects, from singing lessons to vegan baking to chair massage to how to do calligraphy. If you sign up for Erin Boyle's class, you can get two free months of SkillShare Premium (you can find this offer all over the place right now, this is just the one I actually clicked on). Even if you're not interested in minimalism, you can be like me and take a personal essay writing class with Roxane Gay or memoir writing with Mary Karr!
  • Joe Pera Talks With You is so odd, so quiet and strangely charming, so deeply calming. I find it just as good at reducing stress as The Great British Baking Show et al.
  • The YMCA has exercise classes and yoga classes online, as do lots of other places!
  • I made a Pinterest board for COVID-19 cooking/baking, and I'm keeping track of what we've cooked and adding notes. So far, I have done the lion's share of the cooking around here, which I am (thus far) extremely happy to do, since I find it really soothing. We'll see how long I can keep it up (last night Edna exclaimed over my soup and no-knead bread: "This is like a really expensive farm-to-table restaurant!!")
What else? I have a pile of books, but if I make it through them I'll probably check out the New York Public Library, which has 300,000 free books you can download (as well as the ebook offerings at my local library). We have been too sleepy to watch movies the last few nights, but we've got plans to view all kinds of good ones this weekend. The sun is due to come out any day now (I mean this literally). 

Thanks, neighbor.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Love in the time of COVID-19

(Updated to add links)

Oh I keep meaning to write something here, but I find myself scribbling in a journal instead (literally, scribbling little sketches of stuff, i.e. dogs, as well as writing words and lists and so on). Here's what's been happening in my house/life:

  • Isaac and Edna are here, in limbo as they wait to learn how online instruction will work for the remainder of their semesters. It's a bizarre, sad way for Isaac's undergraduate career to end.
  • We've been watching movies:
  • And TV:
  • Even after searching the stores for flour in a frenzy, once Mark had come home, victorious, with a bag from Whole Foods, it took me a few days to decide what I wanted to bake and to actually start baking. Here's what we've made so far:
    • Socca, eaten with two friend eggs on top (chickpea flour required)
    • Vegan pumpkin pecan bread
    • No-knead bread (this is rising right now, and if it works out we'll eat it with this soup tonight)
    • Isaac whipped up some focaccia last night, topped with rosemary and flaky salt
It was a more innocent time.

Good things:

  • Bare footprints in the sand on the beach 
  • A V of Canadian geese flying north overhead
  • Clover in her new bed, looking like she's asleep in the arms of a stuffed animal
  • The calming properties of a piece of buttered toast
  • A video of a man playing Moonlight Sonata on a piano for an elderly elephant's listening pleasure

And finally, notes on getting a massage, which I jotted down over a week ago, which now feels like the distant past (when will we be able to do things like get a haircut or a massage again?):

It sure is weird right now, at this moment in history, to be doing something that involves a stranger putting their hands all over your body. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

Wednesday, February 19, 2020