28 March 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

I’ve always considered myself a cook, as opposed to a baker. One is art; the other, chemistry. As a cook, I can chop and dice and whip and purée and maneuver around my kitchen by feel, turning the heat up or down based on whim and desired result, tasting and tasting and tasting again to get the sweet:salt:fat ratio right. Baking, on the other hand, is a precision sport with rules and measurements. It’s exacting and if, like me, you’d rather push boundaries than stay neatly inside them, it’s also exasperating.  ...  read more

26 March 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

It’s been a week since my last trip to the grocery store, and I’m trying to stretch it by one more. So far, we’re good on all the staples.

I’m used to having a house of seven people, but Abby and Chandler left early Sunday morning, 15 March, to go back to Hawaii for the remainder of their last semester of college — such as it is with everything closed and classes online — and even though I very sweetly invited them to return to Oregon so I can control their every move and ensure they’re abiding by both the letter and the spirit of social distancing law, they declined. I can’t imagine why, Diary. It’s a mystery. ...  read more

25 March 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

Greg is not traditionally …um, how shall I put this?… empathic? In tune with others’ feelings? Intuitive? I suppose any of those will work. They’re not his strong suit. He’s more adept with the concrete and logical. The tangible and clear. He’s a “Facts, ma’am — just the facts” kind of guy.

But he’s also compassionate and kind in that he wants to know what’s happening under the surface. He wants to respond with sensitivity. He just sometimes needs an assist so he can be looped in on WTF is going on.  ...  read more

24 March 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

I caught Greg in the living room SORTING THE JUNK DRAWER. The hour after he replaced all the burned out lightbulbs in the house. The day after he repaired the extensive dry rot that’s been present for, oh, ten years-ish around our two back doors.

PLEASE EXPLAIN, Diary.

Do you know what is happening? Because I DO NOT.

I asked him why he was organizing the junk drawer and he said it was because we couldn’t close it without shoving stuff down, we couldn’t find anything in it, and random items were falling out the back.   ...  read more

23 March 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

The rain arrived in Oregon again today — the same day the governor shut down most businesses and issued the Stay at Home orders. It feels fitting. I’m looking out my window now. The wind is howling and the rain is falling sideways, but I can see the Cascade Mountain Range in the distance, and it’s a crazy quilt of dark, heavy clouds and fluffy white ones with patches of intermittent blue to break up the grey scale motif. ...  read more

22 March 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

Am currently contemplating doing laundry but facing Serious Obstacles. For example, I have to walk upstairs. And, also, I Don’t Want To. NOTE: See how much COVID-19 and Self-Isolation is changing my life, Diary? Before this I NEVER contemplated doing laundry; I just forgot about it and forgot and forgot until one night at 11pm I’d remember I had no clean clothes for the next day at which point it because a Choose Your Own Adventure — Do you stumble upstairs and throw in a panicked load you’ll forget to dry? If yes, turn to page 20. Or do you decide it really is OK to wear the same jeans you’ve worn the last 10 days juuuust one more time? If yes, turn to page 82. ...  read more

21 March 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

Once upon a time, when I was 13ish, I lived with my family in a remote village in the highlands of Papua, Indonesia. The Dani tribeswomen wore string skirts and no tops and would sit on the ground in a field on market day to sell greens and sweet potatoes, handing a dangling breast like it was a sandwich to whatever child was sitting next to them feeling peckish. The kids held the boobs like sandwiches, too — flattened with two hands and gnawing on the ends. The tribesmen wore hollowed, dried gourds tied with strings around their waists and up their butts like g-strings to cover their bits — the bigger the gourd the better, obvs — and they stood near the women to make change for their purchases, grabbing money out of their wallets, shuffling it around, and shoving it back inside when the transaction was complete. Their gourds weren’t just their penis covers, Diary; they were also their wallets. So we learned thorough hand washing and not to ever — EVER — put money in our mouths earlier than we otherwise might have. #LifeSkill  But even though the men’s gourds were a feat of magic and engineering, I was WAY more fascinated by the boobs. Never had I ever seen body parts stretch so far. And the VARIETY. My goodness. The shapes and peaks and valleys were as varied as the mountains, each pair like a fingerprint — totally unique. And uniquely lovely, especially in their practicality. ...  read more