Well. This monthly lookback is going to look a little bit different from the others. As I’m sure we can all agree, this last month has been a weird one. It is an unprecedented territory for a lot of us.
Yesterday, as I stood in line at the post office, toeing a piece of scotch tape stuck to the floor, six feet behind another piece of scotch tape stuck to the floor, I looked up. I went ahead to the window and placed my package in the glass case. I stuck my card in the card reader. The screen couldn’t accept the PIN I was typing on the screen … my blue latex gloves were too much of a barrier. The teller told me to “hang tight, we’re having problems with the computers,” and so I did. I hung tight, my glasses fogging up as I released a big exhale into my homemade mask. And then I turned around. A whole line of people — maybe seven or eight of them — of varying ages, standing there — six feet apart — clutching their packages under their arms, all wearing masks. Some were homemade with brightly-colored fabric, some were the kind you see your medical practitioner or your dentist wearing — back when things were normal, and some still, were merely bandanas or torn up t-shirts tied around necks. Everyone just doing the best that they can. It’s a weird feeling, when you can’t smile to a stranger — to give them that reassuring look of, “yes, I feel it too. My heart is aching just like yours. I miss the mountains and the beach too, I do!” And so we try to express it through our eyes. A small nod of the head. Lifting our hands up just a little bit as if to wave. Anything to let this person know that we acknowledge what’s going on — that we’re all in this together, even when we have to stand so far apart…
My first week of quarantine probably didn’t look like a lot of other peoples’ first week. While everyone I knew hunkered down in their homes, I was pulling long shifts at the office with a handful of other coworkers. We were self-quarantined in our building … each person stationed in their own office, communicating through e-mail or phone or FaceTime if we needed more human-contact than just a voice or written words. IT Infrastructure. That’s what we were called. Essential workers. It was our job to pull the long hours now so that we could secure jobs for a lot more people in an industry that was closing their doors on this pandemic left and right. We were giving a couple more weeks of pay to people who needed it. And not just people — friends. With no concrete ending in sight, this felt like the most important thing we could do at the time. Give people some sense of order and purpose; something to fill up their days and their bank accounts for as long as we were able to.
Since that first week, my hours have been cut to part-time and I’m fully working from home. I’m so incredibly thankful to still have a job right now — to have some sort of financial stability in this moment while so many others don’t. Most of the friends I have out here in LA are not working — they’re spending their days listening to the hold-tone of the unemployment telephone line. They’re researching rent freezes and checking their bank accounts for the stimulus check that’s supposed to be arriving any day now. It’s scary. But I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that we will all get past this. And I’m thankful — so damn grateful — for those individuals working on the front lines. And not just for the healthcare workers (although I cannot put into words how important I know you all are), but for the grocery store workers and the truck drivers and the mail delivery men and women. For the neighbors delivering food to the elderly couple whom they share a wall with. To the small business owners and fast food workers in the drive through windows. Thank you to all of you, for keeping some semblance of normalcy for those of us who have the extreme privilege to stay in our homes right now.
Since this quarantine has gone into effect, I have found my comfort in the arts — in the simple act of making something beautiful with my hands or soaking in the sheer talents of strangers. It is the beauty that I’m choosing to find in this whole thing — the silver linings. I’ve taken to a practice each morning … I pour myself a hot cup of coffee and I read a few pages of a book, and when the sun starts to peak through the big window in our living room, that is when I write out my silver linings —
the act of turning a physical page in a book; flipping back the dog-eared corners.
the over-under of my tapestry needle blending together different fibers.
the feel of a yoga mat underneath my toes.
the feeling of warmth spreading through my hands from the mug of coffee I’m holding.
the soft snore of my boys, who I can just make out through the crack of the bedroom door.
the pedal motion of my feet on my bicycle, rolling along the bumpy pavement.
the rainbows beneath my feet, drawn with sidewalk chalk — is there more art in the world these days?
the drum of rain against the roof and the billowing of the curtains against the open window.
the ring of a FaceTime call — a friend or a family member simply checking in.
the slow bloom of spring flowers on new neighborhood streets never traversed before.
a half finished puzzle on the living room coffee table.
the aroma of a crockpot dinner, sneaking through the air of our little apartment.
the curling of a new leaf, emerging from the stalk of a monstera vine.
the laughter of kids outside my window, as I listen to their parents teach them how to ride bikes or throw a baseball.
Anyway, thanks for listening to me reflect on this weird time in life. And since this is a monthly lookback, I guess I’ll share some of things that I’ve been doing to pass the time at home, in no particular order. I hope you’re all finding ways to stay occupied, and while it’s important to stay informed and to stay in touch, it’s also equally as important to take time for yourself and to take time to unplug … these are always the moments where I find my silver linings…
reading: A Small Furry Prayer, by Steven Kotler — a gift from my mom, about dog rescue in New Mexico. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho — a literary piece of gold that I have been meaning to read for years !! Bunny, by Mona Awad — a random library shelf pull that I ended up not being able to put down. Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo — every writer I follow on instagram recommended this book; it was worth the wait.
watching: Love Is Blind on Netflix — a friend of mine was a camera op on this show…it’s oddly addicting. Little Fires Everywhere — the newest HelloSunshine mini series (on Hulu)…worth the day of binging all seven episodes when it wraps next Wednesday. Knives Out — a fun “whodunit” mystery movie. Adaptation — Nic Cage & Meryl Streep…need I say more? Blown Away — a new Netflix series on the art of glass blowing … the visuals are the dopest. And, naturally, we are using this time to re-watch our way through the Harry Potter Series, because why wouldn’t we?
making: Floral embroidery hoops by FloralsandFloss on Etsy — she offers great patterns for beginners! Woven bunnies for Easter gifts — follow Flaxandtwine on Instagram for fun non-tapestry weaving projects. And a whole bunch of weavings — Stella got her groove back, ya’ll!
supporting: small local businesses when we can! some of our favorites in the area include Natural World Market & Cafe, Natureba Brazilian Cafe, CaliMex, Pursue Coffee, & Bamboo Thai Bistro.
listening: Felipe Baldomir’s Nature Speaks album. Mt. Joy’s Silver Lining single. Dave Matthews Band because a man cycling to them in his garage gave me all the nostalgia and #41 is just so good. Rising Appalachia’s Novels of Acquaintance. An instrumental version of Bon Iver’s Re:Stacks by Gregoire Maret. All things Billie Eilish. Jack Botts for some serious Jack Johnson vibes. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack for all you work-from-homers.
missing: face-to-face human contact — mostly my brother, Jim, who snuck in a visit right before things got serious around here.
welp, folks … try to stay positive & thanks for stopping by!