Cake, Coping, Courage, Holidays, Memoir

November goals.

Leaves. Frost. Owl calls. Vests. November in the Pacific Northwest; squeezing a little time with my writer support group, the island, cousins and friends before the holidays. I am reading a piece on a virtual site tonight about cake, coping and courage. My mother loved that word ‘cope’and overused it, especially with a child who didn’t actually know what it meant but I knew — from the force of her voice — that this was an important action to take.

It has taken me so far a lifetime to accumulate and practice the nuances of coping. They include blind faith, closed eyes, simple pleasures, complicated relationships and love. How did you cope during 2020, 2021 and now 2022 when we still mask, worry and take great risks in the most mundane places — movie theaters, the grocery store, weddings? Coping or crap shoot? I carry N95’s and wear in groups situations. I fly masked and without drinking/eating/snacking. I still have a sneaky cold today, picked up despite five vaccine jabs and the flu shot. Crap shoot week.

There is an endangered squirrel that found it’s way into the walls of Wren Cottage, and chirps in distress all night. Today we cannot hear it, and hope — with crossed fingers — that it found a way out. A few days ago we watched a little family of them play tag on a tree, little black creatures full of bounce. How sweet, small and vulnerable it is; “cope” I whispered to it before I went to bed last night. Why not.

The holidays speed towards me and I love them, lugging home gifted cookbooks and full of ideas. I simply do not know how to slow down about now, but maybe, after I make David Lebovitz’s Pistachio Rolande, I will sit in front of the fire, fork in the deliciousness and cope with that affliction.

Kick up some leaves. Remember down time. Thinking of you.

Holidays, Quality time, Table for one

Table For One.

I love a table for one, now more than ever.

Not just because it is more covid safe (2021, new language!) but because I can push my London Fog to the edge, dig into my bag, write/knit/read undisturbed, ask for more hot water, repeat. The perfect combination of alone-time in a crowd; being social without overdoing it.

My father once commented I had his ability to physically disassociate with what was happening around me and not hear the world. “Not a criticism,” he went on to say, smiling,”I admire that tactic and use it frequently.” Until he mentioned this I had not noticed, only knew I could read anywhere, anytime. Also noted many times that he didn’t look up when reading a book and the phone rang. We are not claiming any special powers here, just know how to sink. And lose track of time.

Recently, it feels like socializing is in hyper-speed, a sense of making up for lost time. For the record, I did not “lose time” in 2020 — I stretched it, listened to it, found more room in the endlessness of quarantine. I do not seem to be on board with the frenzy, struggling to find my former ability to small talk (maybe I was never good at that anyways), often standing in corners, watching more than mingling. Far from feeling badly, I feel healthy, self aware and quite ok with this view of the crowds.

A table for one, in a busy café on a rainy Seattle afternoon, is just the right immersion back.

I also do not feel badly for going to bed at 9PM. Or bowing out of invitations. I feel rested, and scheduled time with others have become more thoughtful and sincere.

As the holidays approach (fast), I hope we can all think about where to find the quality, not quantity. I hope to be in a pig pile with grand dogs, my grown children sleeping in their beds until noon.

Cheers to my friends and readers and supporters. Love to you wherever you are and be well.

When it rains, sit still.