This morning the husband was fretting over the slowness of the decline in our state’s COVID-19 numbers. “It’s 2020,” I said. “All I ask for today is that it be a little better than yesterday.”
It has been a good week personally, which feels a little weird, given the larger context. My personal projects are all ticking over with more enthusiasm than usual, probably because I took most of the week off work. I may have to deal with the strong implication that I simply cannot be productive in dribs and drabs of interrupted time here and there throughout my day. If I am doing a NaNo-style 0th draft then sure, I can put out words that way, secure in the knowing that it doesn’t matter if they are barely coherent. If I am revising? Doing research? Five minutes here, fifteen there doesn’t work. Having had the time over the past week, I have figured out yet another structural problem in the fairy book, which I have started working out the fix for. I have also started thinking more seriously about the next project after this one. (Which, believe me, is going to be way more thoroughly planned.)
Other things continue. I had a birthday. Have been trying to get outside, even though the heat has been wretched most of the week. The pea plants are flowering, and the other containers are muddling along all right to my amateur eye (that’s chard down in the corner).
I finished reading Upstream and turned down corners on a quarter of the pages. Dyed my hair again; I like the blue and want to keep it for a while. Went to some online events for career-related topics. Watched TV with my teenager. Pleasant, ordinary life stuff.
How to keep this, or enough of this to get by on, next week, when the world demands more, is the question. Can things get a little better, somehow.
This month’s reflection question in Unravel Your Year was about the challenges you have overcome so far this year. Well Susannah, I’ve now spent 2 1/2 straight months in a 1200 sq ft apartment with four other people, and I haven’t lost my mind or even my temper (much). I can’t say I’ve gotten much accomplished in that time, but I have loads of company in this, and I’m going to take whatever I can get: we’re alive, not sick (allergy season aside), and getting along fairly well. We are extremely fortunate in many ways.
The weather this week has been unseasonably hot, and while my nascent container garden seems to be enjoying it, the rest of us not so much. I took the opportunity to open my ludicrous self-indulgence for the month, which came in the form of a 2,200-piece LEGO set, the Destiny’s Bounty from the LEGO Ninjago movie. I am indifferent to the property, but I do like ships, and LEGO, and it gave me and the teen something to do with our afternoons for an entire week. She appointed herself assistant and sorted all of the pieces as we opened each of the 15 bags and worked our way through hundreds of detailed instructions.
It is honestly an amazing set. There’s a couple of fragile points to be aware of if you intend it for active play; most notably the mobile bits at the rear tend to come off, but they are easy to reattach. It is also, as you can see, large when assembled, and I’m not entirely sure where it’s going to live going forward.
There are three removable sections, one at midship, and yes, that’s a little LEGO bathroom facility for the ninjas below, along with mementos from vanquished enemies. The anchors raise and lower on an ingenious little pulley system.
That bit of decking is a bit tricky to remove, being right between the masts, and there’s a lack of good grip points, but again it’s simple to put things back where they should go if something does come off. The stern has three layers:
There’s the wheel uppermost, and an adorable LEGO sextant and map. Under that is a training area, and under that a bedroom. It all terribly cute, and I consider it money well spent, although my 12yo son will almost certainly end up taking ownership of it in the future.
Other than that, I have spent most of the week playing with sourdough starter, having gotten some dried from a kind acquaintance. It has been revived and was used to make its first loaf yesterday.
Tomorrow it’s June; another month that lasted twelve years falls behind us.
There’s an asterisk in my journal next to the day they started opening things back up in Massachusetts. I don’t feel confident about this process at all, and nothing in our household is going to change for the time being. Caseloads have been shrinking locally, but there are so many variables at work, I doubt that anyone has solid ground to predict farther than a couple of days out. For the time being, I continue to count.
I have found myself engaged in all sorts of analog activities during these weeks of relative isolation. I got an origami kit, bought a half dozen fountain pens, made a few tentative forays into drawing. I have also been writing letters, considerably more than my usual few per year. One of the people with whom I used to exchange them quite regularly, my father’s mother, passed away early this year, so perhaps I have been making up for that by reaching out to other people more often, even those with whom I frequently text or talk.
Some of it, I know, is a self-conscious chronicling of These Unusual Times, like I’m auditioning for a future role in a Ken Burns documentary. I’ve noticed another attitude has crept in lately, on top of that one, a sort of hyper-awareness of the fact that letters written on paper and sent through the mail are immune to the Big Data vacuums that hover just offscreen in our every digital action. No one is going to send me or my correspondent ads based on the written contents, or the design on the card, or the inexpertly crafted origami boat I enclosed. (They may now, based on this post.) There is no record of its existence outside of itself.
Speaking of the analog arts, a knitting update. This is seven or eight inches. I’m quite pleased with how it’s coming along.