Hello dear blogging universe. It’s been a while and I’m attributing this to the fact that there has been so much to process. A few weeks ago, it was Earth day and I woke up with the intention of getting out and doing all the things. I woke up and listened to a little Tracy Chapman, and then listened to Big Yellow Taxi, you know the one-“they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” I finished off by listening to some Scandinavian Kulning calls by Jonna Jinton. Now there’s a woman who will lead you down the path to a greater love and appreciation for the earth.
I had anticipated doing some up-cycled crafts with my children. We are making Koi fish out of cardboard tissue paper rolls. There seems to be this trend where people are putting rainbows in their windows, or decorating their sidewalks with colored chalk. It also seems to be all about the sour dough starter (in which I have been a non-starter). My neighbors have written in their driveway in big, bold, chalk letters, “It’s Corona Time, ” and it almost seems about as morbid to me as the nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosies to commemorate the black plague.
I’m at a loss for sentiment here, because years from now I may not think of rainbows, homemade sour dough starter, or my Koi fish crafts the same. It’s like shopping for a funeral dress, sure you will go out and buy one, but are you ever going to want to wear it again? It’s like having a dental procedure and having the dental assistant ask you what movie or music you want playing through your ear buds. The Man from Snowy River will now forever be my last root canal, and there’s nothing I can do about that, and dang it all! I really loved that movie once.
My children and I are really digging Japanese animation right now. It is getting us through, but how will I look back on it beyond this time? How will they? I’m almost terrified to take something I love and make it a crutch. Like, if Tom Hanks in Cast Away hadn’t lost Wilson when he left that desert Island would he still have loved Wilson the same after he brought him home? My grandma told me that during the Great Depression she had to wash her hair with Tide and rinse it with vinegar to keep her hair soft. Tide always reminds her of those times to this day.
Then I think to myself, “Oh Rachelle, stop being so melodramatic ” Yet, when I have these kind of thoughts I try not to push them away because they mean something. After looking at the unemployment numbers, and the latest breaking news day after day, I realize I’m not being melodramatic. News flash this is a historical moment unprecedented, unlike most anything I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. Although every time has had its heavy nuances for sure, I get very angry and just want to scream, “I hope the Covid gets the Covid!”
Going back…I guess I can regard my fear of not wanting to get too attached to anything during this time to be a sort of trauma response. Like, if I were drinking too much whiskey, years down the road I might say, “Can’t do the whiskey anymore…reminds me of that horrible time I drank too much of it during the Covid.”
I’m strange like that. With every life change, I’ve cut my hair. With both divorces I had to change out the mattress. I hate baby blue paint because it reminds me of the house I grew up in. I can’t do the smell of cigarette smoke on someone’s breath, and no I can’t do Whiskey anymore anyway because it reminds me of a bad high school party.
Like, after this, am I going to want to burn the house down? (Figuratively of course). All these people doing massive home remodels during this down time, and all I can think is that I should probably stick to things that are only temporary and interchangeable so I can change out this scene later. Maybe that’s the stage designer in me, let’s move on to Act II scene 4, we’ll call this one, “After the Vaccine. ”
Yes, I am saying all the things I have dared not speak aloud. So anyway going back to all of our Koi fish crafts, I think they are fine. They are not a permanent fixture. I’m just all about creating some Zen right now if I have to origami the hell out of everything and hang it up all over the house I will. I don’t know why, but I’m craving tea in Japanese gardens at the moment, meditation bowls, and chimes.
There are a few things that are really working out for me right now and I felt I should list them. The first of which is gratitude. I’m very grateful that my family still has income. My husband is working on a few hospitals and of course they are considered an essential service and this has been giving us some stability for now. I am also grateful, that while I have heard many parents complaining about home schooling, it really has not been a huge vice that I can complain about.
I almost feel guilty because I feel as if my youngest who has ADD, and my son who has Autism, have been slipping through the cracks for years now. They are actually thriving in this non-traditional school environment. Mostly, because my daughter who has lived her life with a messed up circadian rhythm is now able to catch up on some Z’s, wake at her leisure, and pursue her learning well rested. My son, can take breaks when his is feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and can tackle his assignments later with greater success.
I also don’t have to deal with ridiculous school implemented policies like the one where my daughter had to wear a big huge button on her chest that said, FOCUS. Dear lord, the school may as well have given her a scarlet letter. Designed to humiliate or shame most definitely and that button did absolutely nothing to keep her more attentive. There was that underlying incentive I believe, that the alternate to this would just be putting your child on medication so they wouldn’t have to endure the wearing of the button.
When I was thrown into homeschooling like everyone else, I did consult with a few moms who had been doing it prior, and one of them mentioned that she felt confident that some of us might actually find the experience a surprisingly better fit once we were forced into the throws of it and had to venture outside the box. I may very well be one of those moms. I do feel my children have missed the social aspect terribly, but it’s given me much to think about when it comes to balancing academics and socialization and forging a new path. I’m seriously considering doing some type of hybrid schooling when this is all over.
I started this journey with a schedule and realize that was the stupidest idea ever, and what I really needed was to allow this whole experience to grow into it’s own thing organically and trust it. For once, I don’t make planning a huge priority because emotions are up and down, all over the place, and everywhere. I play it by ear and decide if it’s going to be a get ‘er done kind of day, an outside day, a day to nourish creativity, or just a day to hold space for all of those big emotions.
It seems every community I have ever lived in my children and I have needed our own Luke’s Diner so to speak, our gathering spot. The place we come back to again and again even though there are other options. In these strange times we have embraced “mini-milkshakes” from Iceberg which are in fact massive, and takeout from our local Chinese establishment. I’m in love with their cash register, and the place hasn’t changed a bit since the 1970s. The pling-pling of the cash register keys, which align more with an old typewriter, and the rotation of the numbers like a huge digital alarm clock just captivate me every time they ring up my sale.
The oversize quantity of the Iceberg “mini’ shake reminds me of the humor I loved at my local eats growing up where one pancake was circus size. It was always a standing joke where the waitress would ask the non-locals, “Are you sure you want a pancake stack? Okay…you asked for it.” Then all the locals would snicker when the non-local’s eyes would also grow as huge as saucers when they realized they had bitten off more than they could chew with the local dining establishment. It was our sort of unspoken revenge for the infringement those passing by created for our little community even though we needed their business and everyone knew it. Passive aggression in the form of pancakes.
So, the little red and white boxes with the Chinese writing and wire handles, the weekly fortunes, and the overflowing mountains of Oreo and mint ice cream in the red, white, and blue striped cups, just appear to be our form of comfort right now and that is okay. I hope my children don’t look back on this time and go, “Oh that dreadful Covid, and all those milkshakes, and all that Chinese food at the park.” I do hope it brings a feeling of nostalgia for these crazy times and how these things got us through.
On a final note, I woke up with the intention to paint my living room white, but instead I could not get The Moody Blues out of my head. I wanted dark and moody. The type of decor that reminded me of walking through gas-lanterned alley ways underneath canopies of Spanish moss in South Carolina. My children and I dubbed the aesthetic “creepy cozy” which was our mashed up version of “Shabby Chic.” That’s how this time feels for me right now. Cozy, yet somewhat terrifying.
I got some paint and painted my bedroom whatever color I felt would aspire to my vision of “Moody Blue.” Perhaps, a little more cobalt than I would have liked, and what I ended up getting was a little more in step with “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” I also laid out for myself a medicine wheel herb garden which my husband was not understanding until I described it as a wagon wheel. That, he knew.
So anyway, these are my wins. The things that have come out of this that did not exist before. I love that people are panic buying seeds and garden supplies, and that if you know your stuff, there is never an under abundance of both. It’s amazing what you can do with scraps of wood and twine, eggshells, cow manure, or what you can grow from pieces of whole veggies that existed before. I’m surviving, just as many of you are, and like it or not, I may not come out of this unscathed or even the same, but I’ll come out of this with something and I have to believe there is meaning in there somewhere and a method to all this madness.
So, a little shout out to all of you as you go about your days and find your own rhythms in these uncertain times. Until next post!