The ‘aging badly’ category

The Quarantimes Week 37: House of the Spirited

November 25th, 2020

Phoebe is folding my underwear. “Are these your pink underpants?” she asks. “Yes,” I say. “They’re quite big,” she tells me.

Tell me something I don’t know, kid.

Personally, I have gained so much weight in the time of a pandemic that I can’t even truthfully call it “the COVID 19” anymore. I see full-body shots of myself and cringe.

Then again, I am 49 and served as a bodily vessel for two spunky humans not that many years ago. My job is largely sedentary, and my once-common evening walks have become rare thanks to daylight savings. 

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I love this Mary Oliver poem shared by a friend on social:

I Worried

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers

flow in the right direction, will the earth turn

as it was taught, and if not how shall

I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,

can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows

can do it and I am, well,


Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,

am I going to get rheumatism,

lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.

And gave it up. And took my old body

and went out into the morning,

and sang.

This seems like an appropriate poem for this year’s Thanksgiving week. 

I am thankful for so much. My family, my home, the place I live, my garden, the trees that surround us, our strange pets and the wild animals in the woods — particularly the coyotes and owls and their magnificent, spooky calls. I’m grateful for a diaspora of incredible friends from Marin County to Palm Springs to LA to Maine to Newport News to Wilmington NC to Montana to Western Mass. 

This morning, our first of Thanksgiving break, my daughters have made up a game called “routine” where you buy groceries and go to work. This seems like a very specifically 2020 game. And I’m grateful to witness it. 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What I’m reading:

House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende.

Instead of rolling your eyes about people who insist upon being “politically correct,” might I suggest an earnest deep-dive into just why Thanksgiving is so fraught a holiday? Here, for your edificatious pleasure, is the website explaining the National Day of Mourning, hosted by the United American Indians of New England — who should know!

And another very cool website — not exactly reading, but information. Input your location, and find out whose native land you’re occupying. Lesson time!

Yo-Yo Ma and the Meaning of Life in the NY Times — swoon


What I’m listening to:

Birdnote — a podcast on Spotify: daily two-minute stories about birds, the environment, and more

What I’m watching:

For family movie night last weekend we watched The Missing Link, a tale of a sweet, lonely sasquatch on a mission to find his yeti brethren on the other side of the world. Out of everyone in my family, I definitely enjoyed this movie the most. The girls found parts of it way too scary, including all “the weapons,” and I admit, I don’t love the appearance of guns in an animation. There was also some pretty ripe sexism here and there, although I thought the ending absolved itself nicely. Okay that’s my cartoon review for the week.

What I’m eating:

I miss summer foods and my garden, but one consolation of this time of year is that all the Pilgrimy comfort foods come back in fashion: squash, potatoes, cranberries, PIE.


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