The Reckoning Week 50: Puritan Winter

February 26th, 2021

As dry January has drifted into Puritan winter, I’ve continued to eschew most forms of sugar, white flour, and alcohol. Until today. It’s week 50 since we’ve been living through the Quarantimes, week 10 of winter, and 7 days into winter “vacation.”

At my favorite coffee shop in the world world, Patio Coffee, where my friend and hairdresser Emily also happens to make the treats, this was on display:


I made a judgment call. And there is no remorse. Even with at least 50% Puritan blood coursing through my body, I think my minority French Canadian ancestry got the better of me.

I am actually participating in a 12-week food reset that I am utterly enjoying. But part of the reason I love it is that it’s not dogmatic like The Whole 30 or Keto; it’s really just about balancing your plate and making smarter eating choices. However, once in a while, a saffron bun with orange almond filling is the best possible eating choice. Fight me.

Eating in the best possible way for me is hard enough during normal times, but during winter break, all systems fall to pieces. I am just trying to get through each day.

My daughters’ to-do list during this winter break:

  • Dress up aging, delicate Italian greyhound in leftover butterfly costume from two Halloweens ago and drag him around house by wings

  • Play toy-but-very-real harp over Frozen soundtrack

  • Enlist mom as spa slave for purple fingernails, purple streaks in hair, purple unicorn face, and multiple attempts to re-stick purple clip-on earrings from Pretty Pretty Princess box back on tiny little slippery ears

  • Brief tackle ballet sesh

  • Followed by watching a YouTube Barbie Dreamhouse ad over and over again whilst wearing ballet slippers and ignoring the sound of mom’s anguished gags in the background

Because it’s “break,” my kids were able to go stay at my mom’s house for a weeknight, which enabled Jon and I to get out for a moonlight snowshoe/ski (me on snowshoes, him on skis). From our yard, a slight twist through the woods puts you on a sloping meadow dotted with evergreens. We traversed the smooth, shiny crust of the intensely deep snowpack, pausing here and there for me to subtly stall while taking photos.



The Snow Moon is this weekend. The Dakota call it “the Raccoon Moon,” according to Farmer’s Almanac. My little raccoons are certainly in their element this time of year. Winter babies, they thrive on snow and can often be found eating icicles as if they were pretzels.

I am a summer baby, although deep down I cherish the insular mode of winter, when reading and baths displace most other evening activities, and the occasional handmade pastry is just balm for the soul.

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

What I’m reading:

A Bristling Standoff Rattles Gun-Friendly Vermont in The New York Times. This story, which I’ve been following for a while, is truly batshit.

The Words That Are In and Out With the Biden Administration in The New York Times — a powerful testament to how important language is.

And yet another New York Times piece which really hit “home,” pun absolutely intended: Where Have All the Houses Gone?

The novel Norwegian Wood, which is captivating. 

What I’m watching:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which somehow I had never seen. Meow, Elizabeth Taylor!

On the other hand, what a straight-washed movie. I wasn’t surprised to read:

Tennessee Williams was reportedly unhappy with the screenplay, which removed almost all of the homosexual themes and revised the third act section to include a lengthy scene of reconciliation between Brick and Big Daddy. Paul Newman, the film’s star, had also stated his disappointment with the adaptation. The Hays Code limited Brick’s portrayal of sexual desire for Skipper, and diminished the original play’s critique of homophobia and sexism. Williams so disliked the toned-down film adaptation of his play that he told people in the queue, “This movie will set the industry back 50 years. Go home!”

What I’m listening to:


An old friend from way back sent me a new record, and I am really enjoying it (thanks Kwam).

Also enjoying the recent manna straight from heaven Renegades: Born in the USA, a cheekily named podcast that’s basically just an enthralling conversation between Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen.

What I’m eating:


Made these bliss balls to fill a hole in my psyche. 

What I’m working on:

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