pandemic diaries: weeks 39-42

Tomorrow, the first day of a new year, rounds out week 42 since the last day the kids attended in-person school, which is how I'm keeping track of time during this pandemic. Which means they've been schooling via distance learning for exactly one school year. Wow. Thank goodness playgrounds only re-closed for a few days earlier this month. I don't even know what to write about it anymore. I refuse to normalize any of this, let me just say that (and I think that teachers should be vaccinated sooner than later IF it allows schools to reopen; otherwise, don't bother bumping them to the front of the very long line if schools won't reopen until kids are vaccinated, too, something that's not likely to happen until fall, at the earliest).

But enough about school. Let's talk about holiday shenanigans and fast-forward a bit to winter break. My DIY knock-off gingerbread train, inspired by the 2013 Harry & David holiday catalog, got some fresh traffic these past few weeks. I realized I never posted pics of my 2017 gingerbread studio (based on my 120 square foot backyard studio, of course).

This year I made a dumpster, complete with candy flames. It didn't hold up too well and did not, as I fully expected it to, go viral. Alas, it was fun to make and pleasant to consume, unlike most things in 2020.

We got our tree from the neighborhood lot and a wreath from Fairyland, which just announced it will be closed until at least the spring. Needless to say, while the tree and decorations have already been taken down, that wreath will stay on our front door until all the pine needles have fallen off.

As Oakland-proud as I may be, relocating is still a very real possibility in 2021. That said, we've been moving forward on a few projects around the house, prioritizing items that also fall in the bucket of things we feel like we'd probably need to do in order to sell our house if and when the time comes. 



On Christmas Eve Eve I was tasked with keeping the kids out of the house for about six hours while our interior doors were replaced, something I've wanted to do since before we closed on this place 10 1/2 years ago! So what did we do all day during a local stay-at-home order? Outdoor ice skating in the 'burbs!

As you all know (because you read every blog post in full, correct?) we've been "mostly vegan" since late May. Holiday treats have proven challenging for avoiding dairy, but I'm going to try to redeem myself after today (okay, maybe starting on Monday) by participating in (a probably dry) Veganuary

Not vegan :\

Most days I am truly, mostly vegan, but I continue to eat pasture-raised eggs and a wee bit of cheese in said eggs. So it shouldn't be that hard, right? The dry part is just something I've never done because I've never felt like alcohol was an issue for me, having 2-3 drinks per week total on the weekends only. Other than beer Thursdays, however, which started when I was doing my long training runs on Fridays (because, carbs...more about that in a later post), and if we felt we'd earned a margarita on Taco Tuesdays. So, yeah, you get the idea. It's easy to bend the rules and drink almost every day and I just want to see how I feel after a few weeks of no alcohol. (Speaking of running, I absolutely loved this essay by Lyz Lenz.)

Lots of kid-friendly suggestions for your viewing pleasure this month, including Hilda, which Daphne binge-watched and is now watching again. It's really cute and clever, based on the graphic novels by Luke Pearson. We also watched Soul, which was quite lovely. The middle school band from Elias's school (not including him - I believe it was all 8th graders and some alumni who are now in high school) perform in the beginning of the movie and during the virtual premiere. This particular middle school band is the main reason cited by the middle schooler for preferring to stay in Oakland versus moving elsewhere, at least through 8th grade. Mr. Pitt-Smith is a real gem of a teacher.

And this just in: my 30 year old sewing machine still works! Daphne has been nagging me to dust it off ever since she tried sewing machine sewing at summer camp a year and a half ago! The last day of 2020 seemed like a good day to finally give it a go (alas, I never did learn to bake sourdough bread).

Otherwise, I don't (yet) have any deep reflections on 2020 since time is arbitrary and let's be honest we'll still be very much in the thick of things come tomorrow morning, but I will leave you with this, some of the things we'll remember when we look back on this year. My hope for 2021 and beyond is that things like Black lives and postal workers and craft projects with kids will continue to be more important than celebrity culture.

See you in the New Year!

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