Monday, November 23, 2020

THINGS WE ONLY THOUGHT WE'D MISS

DEBORAH CROMBIE: On November the 12th our household entered what will be our NINTH month of lockdown, with no end in sight anytime soon. While there have been periods that were not as strict as others, life has never gotten back to "normal." Whatever "normal" is. The time has seemed endless, but also like it has gone in a flash. How could it be almost Thanksgiving, when just yesterday it was March?


It has been a tough year, no question. But maybe some of our deprivations have not been quite as hard as we might have imagined in the beginning.


I cannot remember, for instance, when I had ever gone more than six or seven weeks without a haircut. It was unthinkable. But my last proper haircut was Valentine's Day! I have since discovered that with a good pair of scissors, I can cut it myself. (It might look a bit like Beth's in The Queen's Gambit before she got stylish, but, hey, it hasn't made anyone fall over from shock.) 

 

The Queen's Gambit, Netflix 2020

I've also discovered that doing without professional hair color is not the end of the world. I don't mind the gray at my temples nearly as much as I thought I would. I might even, kinda, sorta, like it, although I do miss my blond highlights. The monthly manicure and pedicure, once essentials, have gone the way of the dodo. And structured under-garments. Shopping? Nah, I don't miss it at all. I had a big online splurge a couple of weeks ago at Old Navy--new winter sweatpants, hoodies, and t-shirts--picked up curbside. That's me done. Movies? I can wait. Dining-in--or even out--at restaurants? I don't miss it nearly as much as I thought I would. 


Of course there are loads of things (people, especially!) I really do miss. But I also think that we humans are more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for, and that given a chance, we can find a few silver linings. 


So, dear REDS, what have you found it EASIEST to do without? And do you think these things will once again feel essential? Or will we view our lives a little differently in the future?


RHYS BOWEN: like Debs I’ve learned to trim my own hair quite successfully. I haven't had a massage or pedicure since March. I really miss a regular massage as shoulders get stiff from sitting at a computer. I really miss friends and family although we have seen some of them outside at distance. I miss hugs!

 

I also miss freedom— to pop to Macy’s to browse, to stop at Starbucks and most to travel the way I usually do. 

 

I’ve been delighted with Zoom chats. My whole family now chats every Sunday— something we didn’t do before. 

 

We’ve become used to ordering everything online. Out of shampoo? Coffee? It arrives the next day. I have a suspicion that might stay. It’s so convenient. 


LUCY BURDETTE: The gray hair made me crazy when we first went into lockdown. By now, it’s very gray/silver but maybe more interesting than I was fearing! I can’t imagine I’ll go back to coloring, though I do miss that old self. I think probably it’s the old life I miss, when I could go wherever I wanted whenever. 


Meetings online I’m mixed about. I’m the president of the Key West Friends of the Library so I run our board meetings. It sure is convenient--especially for the board members who are out of town, but not the same as all of us being around the table in our library conference room.


The mayor and city commission of Key West have declared a mask ordinance, meaning you put one on every time you step out of your house. Which is really so smart, considering the way the virus is spreading. I have found there are times when I have a whole conversation and forget that both of us are wearing masks. (Ok, I’m reaching here Debs LOL)


HALLIE EPHRON: I confess, I hate the mask. Invariably the minute I put one on my nose starts to itch. Then run. I suppose that’s when the mask is doing its job, keeping my germiness contained. So yes, I miss my naked face.


I am surprisingly ok without eating out, though I miss going to stores. I used to reward myself with a quick trip to the TJ Maxx that’s a mile from our house. Not to buy anything, but just for the fun or roaming around and you never know what you’re going to find that you can’t understand how you’ve been able to live without. And I miss going to the supermarket when I run out of something. Now I put it on my twice-a-month delivery list and figure out how to live without.  


The biggest miss is seeing my grandkids. In the best of times, they are little disease vectors. Cute as buttons, delicious and hilarious, but disease vectors nevertheless.

 

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: well, I have been looking for the bright side, I have to say.  I have now made 255 dinners in a row. That’s just insane. As everything else is.

You are so right about what we miss and don’t miss. I do not miss going to Channel 7 every Tuesday and Thursday, in horrific commuter traffic, rushing through the morning, with endless endless stress.  There’s a different kind of stress of being physically late for something, and we don’t really have that anymore, do we?

I have to say the guy who cuts my hair comes to our backyard, but only once a month. I cannot begin to tell you how often I went back in the before times. I have really lowered the bar on all kinds of things like that. And so, whatever.

I figured out how to do my own manicure, and I wonder why I was so frantic about that in the past. Pedicures, once essentials, gone. Whatever.

My closet is so bizarre, all those lonely clothes, but that’s okay, I am now the queen of uniqlo.  Remember all my wonderful shoes? Yeah, well, the other day I was so thrilled when I got new slippers!  

And my joy, honestly, is that I get to have lunch every day with my husband. We used to have dinner all the time, and that’s fine, but now, breakfast and lunch, with real talking, it’s truly truly great.  It’s like being, I don’t know, happily retired. With him working all the time, and me still working all the time, but… So much more relaxed.

So I count my blessings that we can do that, I really do. I know outside our doors, it is insane, constantly insane, and terrifying and horrible and miserable and wretched.

And that’s why I try to take happiness when I can. In answer to your question will we live our lives differently in the future? I will love that it is not terrifying to go to the dentist and the doctor. I will love not being afraid to go outside. The other things – – it’ll be very interesting to see.  
 
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Already went gray, so that's not a problem. I've never been the type to get my hair cut every six weeks, so I'm not missing the trips to the salon. As Hank said, I really don't miss the commute - for me, forty minutes each way - to teach my community college class. After my first frantic flailing around, I didn't miss book tour this past April - in many ways, I feel I've connected with far more readers over Zoom than  ever would in person!

Also, can I be perfectly honest? I will miss sitting down with family and friends this Thanksgiving. But I'm not going to miss cooking for 20+, scrubbing the house to guest standards, or driving 13 hours to the DC area. It's going to be a simple meal for four this year, which means I'll have time to enjoy the Macy's Parade (yep, it's on, without live spectators) and the National Dog Show (also without live spectators, but with plenty of pooches!) Will I want to spend it like this every year? No. But a low-key Thanksgiving will be a nice break from the usual frantic busyness.
 
DEBS: Hallie, I do miss being able to run in Homegoods, sometimes just to see what they have. Or get a good price on a new dog bed...
 
Hank, I'm astounded at your 255 dinners. And, Hallie, I'm equally astounded at your only every two weeks grocery delivery. You must be the mistress of meal planning, and should share your secrets with us mere mortals. I struggle to plan for a week.

And I do think about the fact that we are not getting the normal batch of colds, and, cross fingers, no flu! 

READERS, are there things (even a few!) that you don't miss as much as you would have expected?

 


81 comments:

  1. I'm not missing going into work. In fact, I am going to be sad when I stop working from home. It's so nice to be able to take 5 minutes to get some laundry going or some other thing during the work day. The downside is, when I log out, I'm not really off, and can be summoned back in my boss seems to think they need me. Fortunately, I never really used my dining room table since that's now my office.

    If I had roommates, I'm not sure how this would have worked, so on the one hand I'm glad I live alone. On the other hand, seeing and talking to people on a regular basis would be lovely.

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    1. Mark, is your company one of the many that is considering going completely or partly online in the future?

      I have the opposite issue with roommates. It has been wonderful having my kids around, but, on the other hand, there are times when I feel like I would stab someone for the chance to be alone in my own house.

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    2. I have not heard anything about permanently working online. There are things that will be nicer, like the fact that pulling files off the server would be faster.

      For me, I have a two bedroom condo, with small bedrooms. So we would constantly be in each others way if we were all here all the time. And I have to be able to work uninterrupted by roommates. So I can see your side of things for sure.

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  2. Like all of you, I miss being able to go wherever I want whenever I want. Most of all, I miss seeing family [and the grandbabies].
    I enjoy cooking, but I do miss the occasional meal out [although not as much as I’d have thought because we do the curbside pickup thing from the local restaurants to try to do our part to help keep them going].

    I’m surprised that I don’t miss shopping, grocery or otherwise, as much as I thought I would. I like wandering around the stores, seeing what’s new, but I’ve found that not being able to do that has not been too difficult to accept . . . .

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    1. Joan, I really wonder what's going to happen with the concept of shopping as recreation. I expect will have a huge flurry of activity once the majority of us are vaccinated, but after that? Will there be enough people who have found they can happily live without it to put the final kibosh on malls?

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    2. Malls were suffering already. I was trying not to talk about what I DO miss, but one thing is going to Northpark Center with my daughter--Northpark in Dallas being the flagship of all malls. But it's not shopping, per se, that I miss, but the experience and the company, and the lunches...

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  3. Like you, Debs, I don't really miss shopping. I used to love to go in TJ Maxx and get some little treats for myself, like a lotion or a rug or a purse. But, I've adapted very well to shopping for treats and necessities online. I have ordered from a couple of local gift places lately for some Christmas presents, but it was phone in my order and have it brought to my car. So easy, and it still satisfied the thrill of shopping. I've ordered from some independent bookstores, too, and that has made me feel good about helping those places stay in business. Oh, I use Amazon, but just not only Amazon now. I did get an order of three lotions from Amazon the other day, ones that I didn't have to go hunt for in a store, and that was helpful. For Thanksgiving dinner, I've ordered items from a local restaurant--turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Husband will pick it up on Wednesday. I ordered a cake online (first time for this) and some bourbon balls from Ruth Hunt Candies here in Kentucky. They've been making bourbon balls for 100 years. I've even been able to send my daughter and younger granddaughter some treats via Amazon. I just click their address for delivery instead of mine.

    I don't miss eating out that much, but I miss family gatherings and eating out with them. I miss most of all just being able to travel to go see my daughter and her family and my son.

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    1. Kathy, you are ahead on Christmas!! I have not bought a single gift. Arrggh. I just can't wrap my mind around it.

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  4. Enjoyed your comments one and all, thank you.

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  5. Like Julia and Hallie, I didn't color my hair before, except for my turquoise streak, which I've always done myself. I did spend money to have a talented young woman cut it, and now it's self-serve, which is fine. I've never cared deeply about shopping (except for food) and we didn't eat out a lot at any time. I miss browsing shelves at the library, but have been busy with ordering ahead for curbside pickup instead.

    I don't miss having to put on a full set of author clothes and make appearances, or packing for several days of them. A nice top or jacket and a little lipstick goes a long way on zoom. The silver lining of being able to speak to fans in Pittsburg and Delaware and South Carolina and Arizona is an amazing one, not to mention virtual Bouchercon and Crime Bake.

    But not hugging family and close friends absolutely sucks. I hate it that I can't touch my son's face, or tuck my arm through my bestie's as we walk, or scoop up my three-year-old great-goddaughter (who calls me Auntie Edie) into my arms. I'm starved for all of it. Ugh.

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    1. Edith, I haven't missed the packing and traveling for appearances at all. And it's been such fun to "meet" fans on Zoom that I would never get to see at conferences or signings.

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  7. Fortunately, Ottawa has not been in lockdown since the early summer so we have not faced the same level of restrictions that others have mentioned. By comparison, Toronto is entering lockdown mode for at least 1 month starting today since the Greater Toronto Area has over 80% of the new COVID-19 cases in Ontario and the rates continue to rise.

    I do miss BROWSING in a bookstore or library for new reads. Both have been open since the summer but I just quickly pop in and out to pick up my book orders or library holds.

    Since I rarely see anyone without a mask, I have totally stopped wearing makeup and do not miss it at all. I was pretty minimal in what I used but no foundation or lip gloss for me now.

    I do miss being able to travel. Sadly, the impromptu weekend getaway or warm winter vacation will not be coming for me or others anytime soon.

    And because I do not drive, I rely on public transit. Since the downtown core is still pretty deserted with the majority of government workers working from home, I am glad to NOT be crammed into a bus or LRT train full of strangers where social distancing is impossible.

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    1. Yikes, Grace. I have relatives in Toronto so must check on them! But I'm glad things are not so crazy in Ottowa.

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  8. Given that I spent most of my time at home before all this started, it's not like being home is too different for me.

    I've said it before I'm sure, but I do really miss my trivia night Thursdays. My team (featuring Brian the 78 year old British guy who actually has been to the Taj Mahal but somehow has never read A Tale of Two Cities, his American wife Maureen, who rarely says much but comes out with some really funny stuff when she does talk and Greg the class clown who only drinks Heineken and is apparently a millionaire) is usually there at least an hour before trivia starts. We shoot the breeze about our week that was while eating dinner. Then Trivia Host James strolls in and the game soon begins. For the most part, our team is dominant. So dominant that a couple of teams stopped coming because they couldn't beat us anymore. We got 10 weeks of trivia this year before the lockdown and our team, simply and unimaginatively called "Us", won 7 of the games. And let us not forget Jessi, the brunette waitress who just seems to float across the place ethereally as she works her shift, flitting from one place to the next but always stopping by where we are sitting. She's a bright spot for me, the kind of woman who if she wasn't entirely too young and too out of my league, would be someone I actually might seriously care for if she had the bad taste to actually return the interest.

    I'm not a big hugger (unless Jessi were to offer or want one...HA!), I don't have people over to my house in general anyway. The haircut thing is easier for me, what doesn't fall out, I just get cut real short and so it takes a while before I need another one.

    I haven't stopped going to the grocery store so I'm good there. I've been able to go to the bookstore, comic book store and record shop. Sure I'm not hanging out like I used to but I'm able to go at least.

    Other things that I miss might include:

    My mystery book club at the local library. That ended the month before we were supposed to have Hallie as the library's special guest for a fundraiser. We were reading her most recent book in advance of that event but when everything got shut down, bye-bye book club. And the library is now only open for curbside pick up so it won't be coming back any time soon.

    Going to concerts is over of course. I went to three this year which is 1/6th of the number I would've been going to had things worked out.

    And of course book signings because signed books always make a great gift, even if just for myself.

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    1. Jay, there's a reason Jessi keeps stopping at your table. I'm just saying.

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    2. Karen, I'm just going with to torture me as the reason. Any other reason makes no logical sense.

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    3. Jay, your trivia nights sound like so much fun! I hope you get to start them up again next year.

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  9. Hallie, I'm glad to hear how you feel about the mask. Me, too. This has all made me realize how much I like seeing people's faces.

    What do I not miss? Well, I'd already made the decision to go gray. We weren't in such tight lock-down over the summer, so I did get my hair cut. I rarely bothered with manicures/pedicures. I already worked from home.

    I do miss seeing my critique group in person. I miss my monthly greyhound meet and greets. I miss seeing friends at conferences and giving (and getting) hugs. But things I thought I'd miss that I don't? I'm not sure.

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    1. Monthly greyhound meet and greets? Tell me more!

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    2. Gigi, once a month I would go to our local Petco with Koda and spend a couple hours at the store, talking to customers. I had a table with information for the adoption group (for interested adopters) and we collected donations to help with the cost of bringing the greyhounds from the track and getting them ready to go to their forever homes.

      And afterward, Koda and I would go to Wendy's for their 4 for $4 deal. He would get the chicken nuggets and I'd get a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger. :)

      We used to have a big month-long thing at Christmas at a local mall (meaning we'd be at the mall every weekend), too - that's not happening this year obviously. We did manage to do a socially-distanced outdoor event over the summer, but that's been it on the meet-and-greet front this year.

      Debs, frowny sad face.

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  10. Irwin and I have not been totally isolated like many of you have over the past 9 months. We go food shopping ourselves. I have gone to the mall for important purchases, furniture for the porch and a new phone. We eat at restaurants in the outdoor areas which have been socially distanced and we also order in from restaurants we love in order to help them survive. Irwin plays tennis two or three times a week but it has moved indoors and masks are required so he is a bit frustrated when he looses the ball when it comes close. I have had my hair cut and colored by my stylist and we were the only ones in his salon. I am not going to color any more. Done, whatever is gray will just be gray from now on. Irwin plays bridge on line and I have a weekly Hebrew language class and meetings on line. We have each other and I feel lucky for that.

    This is not our first Thanksgiving by ourselves. I was going to get it from a favorite restaurant but they still don't know how many items will be made with honey so I am going to cook myself. We bought Cornish Game Hens and I'll make them from a recipe I found on line and I'll bake a pie or two.

    I miss seeing our grandsons and our kids. When we have seen them, we have hugged and been almost normal but that was before school began. Now, things are much worse than during the summer so I think it will be just us until this is over.

    In truth, I depend on this little community on the JRW blog to lift my spirits and help me feel like I have human contact and conversation every day. God bless.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

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    1. Awwww. It sounds like you both have figured out your way of life… That is so sweet. and we love you, too.

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    2. We're so glad you're here, Judy! And how are you going to manage cooking with your cast?
      I didn't realize so many things were made with honey.

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    3. Oh, Debs, I have a walking boot and I have been cooking a little every day taking my kitchen back from Irwin. The swelling on my foot is way down and today, it was pouring rain and he wasn't available to take Kenai out, so I put on my rain boots and they fit. I told Kenai to go slowly, and he knows what that means! It was only for 5 minutes. Mostly I walk in the boot and I do spend time sitting with my foot up, too.

      The problem with honey has something to do with trends. Look at old cookbooks and you'll find little in there with honey but starting in the 1990's, you begin to see it used in breads, butters, soups, desserts. I can't remember the last time I saw graham crackers that weren't made with honey. So...key lime pie, cheesecakes with graham cracker crusts...sweet potatoes, pumpkin dishes, even in cranberry concoctions, in butternut squash soup. Yep, most with honey.

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  11. Over the summer I was working a hybrid schedule, going into the office two days a week and working from home three, so I have not been quite as isolated as some. And since sometime in the summer I was able to resume getting haircuts. My stylist has a solo loft right by the front door of the building, so when I go I text him and he texts back when I should come in. I walk right in, we shut the door, and work with both our masks on except the few moments when he actually trims around my ears. So that has not been scary and HAS been much appreciated.

    What I miss most is travel, of course -- even little travel, like visiting relatives who live only an hour away, who I used to visit often, even on a whim. I have been doing my own grocery shopping at odd hours, but I very much miss fully stocked shelves. It seems like they never got back to normal.Hugs, definitely. I really miss hugs, and I am fortunate enough to live with two people who do hug me. I can't really imagine how difficult it would be to be all alone without ANY hugs all this time!

    I don't miss shopping, and I don't miss putting on makeup every morning. (I now do mascara only the days I go into the office and none at all the rest of the time.) I doubt that I will ever go back to full makeup. I don't miss rush hour traffic. I don't miss being expected to drive to nearby communities to sit in a room with other participants in relatively unimportant meetings when meeting virtually accomplishes the same thing with less effort.

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    1. Susan, I probably would have been fine doing the masked haircut, at least back in the summer, but weighing the risk, I just didn't want to do it that badly. The only time I've worn makeup in nine months has been for Zoom events!

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    2. Traffic jams I definitely don't miss, either. Places that used to take 40 minutes to drive to now take 20. Though it seems as if our municipalities have taken the opportunity to reconstruct roads EVERYwhere.

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    3. Hallie, I know. Bridges are being rebuilt over little streams here.

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  12. Like so many of you, I don't miss my daily commute to and from the office. Dallas traffic just blows, and my frequent gas stops and oil changes are a thing of the past. I fill up maybe once a month, and that's just because I take the car out for a drive once a week or so to keep the battery charged and the tires from going flat.

    I love working from home. I have enjoyed ditching the semi-serious office clothes for huge flannel shirts and leggings. I have enjoyed instant access to a clean bathroom and potable water, since our office is in a building that would have been condemned decades ago had it not had a historical designation. I am sorry that our performances are all virtual now, and I hate that the wind instruments the band plays are basically aerosol blasters, but I find I don't mind this easing into retirement nearly as much as I thought I might.

    I was going grey naturally anyway, and never one for manicures or pedicures but I do miss the hair parties we used to have. Three of us would book our appointments all at the same time, and cram into a little room to chat and snack and swill wine while we all got our hair cut. That's a thing of the past, for sure. And look! I have actual tresses now! My hair hasn't been this long since shortly after college.

    I guess, if I miss anything, it's my former level of income, and Tex-Mex food.

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    1. Gigi, order a pick up from Blue Goose! I really miss the hair parties, too. Maybe next year we will be able to get back to them...

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  13. Like Susan, I miss hugs. When my daughter and son-in-law were here a couple weeks ago to drop off a load of belongings they can't take to Kenya (they leave a week from tomorrow!! Wah.), we did not get close the whole time they were here, spacing out when we ate, in a room with two HEPA-filtered air cleaners going. When they were leaving I told everyone to mask up because she was not leaving without a Mom hug.

    We in Ohio have not been in lockdown, per se, but we should have been, so Steve and I just stay to ourselves. If we have to shop we do it with antiseptic wipes in hand and masked. And no lingering in the store. Friends have still gotten together every Friday for what they call "socially distanced" meeting, but we tried it once during the summer and decided they could all infect each other without us. It's shocking how people are STILL not taking this seriously. I miss seeing friends, but not enough to die from it.

    My mother is ill with Covid right now, and I'm very worried about her. She doesn't seem to have it in the chest as bad as some get, but she's 90, and living in my brother's lower level. The other night she was too weak to climb into her bed, so she slept on the floor. Ordinarily, if she were wearing her Life Alert the way she's supposed to, they could tell she was down, but of course she was charging it. I've only seen her once since her birthday bash at the end of January, after a lifetime of seeing her at least once a month, usually more often.

    After thinking about this, complaining about my hair being down past my shoulders seems silly, although it is annoying me.

    One thing I would like to be able to miss is idiots whining about mask enforcement and curfews being "unconstitutional". I have choice words to say about that.

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    1. Karen, I completely agree with you about the risks our fellow Ohioans are taking. We have belonged to a euchre club for maybe 20 years, and ever since July every other month, when we would normally gather, someone has sent out an email suggesting we do so. To the best of my knowledge, there has not yet been a time when more than two couples were willing to attend, (and thankfully you can't really build a euchre party from two couples) but still, it just leaves me scratching my head. It has been my observation that people actually have no sense of what a six-foot boundary looks like.

      I'm so sorry to hear about your mother! I will add her to my prayers and I hope to hear good news of her full recovery soon!

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    2. I am so sorry to read about your mother, Karen. It's good that she is able to remain in her home with your brother. That has to be a hopeful sign. Hugs and prayers for her speedy recovery.

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    3. Karen, we are all sending best wishes to your mother. And you. That is so scary, and I am so sorry.
      As for the mask thing. I have never been so enraged in my life. How can people be so selfish?

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    4. Sending hugs, Karen, and prayers and healing energy to your mom. And the no-mask thing - so far I've held back from asking people in my town, where's your mask? I try to avoid our small downtown on my walks, but sometimes I can't. Someone will walk straight toward me with a naked face. They aren't even dangling a mask from a hand or wearing it around their chin. No!

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    5. Karen, prayers for your mom and virtual hugs for her and for you. My favorite of my mom's sisters is in her late 70s, caught COVID in a rehabilitation facility after breaking her leg. Lung damage from the COVID keeps her on oxygen. When I see people without a mask or hear all the bs about how they have a 'right' not to wear a mask, I want to scream, smack them upside the head. Good thing I'm masked because I definitely have never had a poker face.

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    6. Karen, I'm so sorry to read this about your mother. Is someone monitoring her every day? Sending lots of love and healing thoughts.

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    7. Karen, I am so sorry to hear about your mother being ill. We were our masks any time we think we'll be in proximity to others and I don't understand how people can be so self-righteously selfish. Sending prayers and healing thoughts to you.

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    8. We wear...(autocorrect, really?)

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    9. Karen, I am sad to read this about your mom. And share your feelings about those refusing to wear a mask. Hugs!!

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    10. A big virtual hug to you, Karen.

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    11. Oh Karen, I'm so sorry your mother is dealing with Covid. Let us know how she's doing. Yes, it does put so-called "Covid hair" in perspective.

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    12. Thanks, everyone, for your concern, and for your prayers. And yes, my brother and sister-in-law are both working from home, so they are monitoring her condition.

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    13. So sorry to learn that your mother has COVID, Karen. At least she is not dealing with it alone and is able to stay isolated at your brother's home.

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    14. Flora, how sad about your aunt. I hope she improves and is able to recover.

      And yes, I am SO grateful that Mother is not alone. For her sake, mostly. She would be so scared.

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    15. Karen, I'm so sorry about your mom. Hugs!

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    16. All best wishes for your mom, Karen, and for your whole family.

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  14. I miss the feeling of freedom--being able to go where I want when I want. I will not miss the worry every morning when I wake up, wondering if all those I love and care for are okay. Haircolor and manicures/pedicures were never indulgences, and I've never been a social butterfly--but what I do miss are the impromptu get-togethers, drop-ins, spur of the moment plans for shopping/lunch/dinner/daytrips--where the whole purpose was simply to be together. I haven't had to sacrifice my walks--and those I will continue.

    And yes, checking in here is like a little visit with friends every morning.

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    1. I miss all those things, too, Flora, but JRW every morning helps keep me sane. It's so nice to feel connected with everyone.

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  15. I've always been rather low maintenance and didn't go out often anyway so life really hasn't been a lot different for me. I don't like wearing a mask but when all is considered that is only a slight annoyance. Not seeing and hugging people as much as I would like is really the worst part. I'm trying hard to think of a positive here and I can't come up with much.

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  16. I worked from home well before COVID so that didn't change, until I lost my job. That was different. It was also freeing. It gave me the ability to devote my time to writing, although Like Gigi, I miss the prior level of income!

    I gave up coloring my hair four years ago. I decided white was the new blonde and never looked back. I did have a stylist I saw every five weeks. Last month, my husband cut my hair. It turned out well, and if it hadn't, well, it grows. Hank, what are you going to do about a stylist in the winter? Outdoor haircuts in a Boston winter... you will look great no matter what you do!

    Like Hallie, I've developed the knack of well planned meals with substitutions as required. We do go to the market during old fogey hours, and masks are required so I do feel less apprehensive, but I am limiting my trips. Annette Dashofy has recommended Misfit Market, they are available in Maine and I'm thinking they might be a great way to fill in gaps since it's produce that is the hardest to keep.

    On balance, 2020 has been a testing time. For as horrendous it has been, its also been a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. In the end, we may all be thankful for the reminders of what is precious and the lessons in what matters. Happy turkey day to all!

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  17. I thought of another thing I don't miss. Lipstick!

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    1. I do, actually. That was my one thing that I always wore going out, even to the post office, but now I never bother. Obviously, lipstick and masks don't mix well!

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    2. I wear it on Zoom and feel very dressed up.

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  18. We have a wonderful library system with vestibule pickup from the hold shelf. I may never browse again! I'm more relaxed about improvisation with missing ingredients. Zoom has exposed me to more authors than I ever dreamed of hearing "up close and personal". I order hair color on-line and get infrequent haircuts before the salon opens, when I'm the only customer. I'm able to attend SinC and MMWA sessions with the Columbus, Ohio crime writers. Instead of hitting the gym three times a week, I used the rowing machine in our basement. So easy to grab a half hour in the gym.

    My husband and I eat all our meals together, every day. NPR at breakfast, magazines at lunch, and music over dinner. It's like we're living in graduate student housing at the beginning of our marriage, with a better kitchen and our own laundry equipment. The stacks of books and papers haven't changed.

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    1. Yes, Margaret, I so agree! Those little times at meals together, quite amazing.

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    2. Margaret, you made me laugh--"with a better kitchen and our own laundry equipment." One of the best investments of my graduate school career was laundry equipment! That and a computer!

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    3. My husband and I have always eaten dinner together, so nothing changed there. I'm glad he sleeps later than I do so that I can read the paper at breakfast, lol.

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    4. I was almost done and I touch the wrong spot on my screen - puff, everything disappeared. Grrrrrrrrr. Okay done with the rant.

      Since I still go the office, there has been little change in that part of my life. I WILL NOT missing taking my temperature every day. Only good thing about that is that my new office provided thermometer stores the most recent results. I will not miss thinking horrible things are happening every time I start coughing so hard in the middle of night that I wake myself up. I will be completely delighted if the Zoom extra curricular events I've attended could continue. I've get to meet so many interesting people, more than I would have before the lockdown. I will be happy to sit inside a restaurant for lunch again instead of sitting on the outside patio. Going to lunch is my escape from the office, they can't find me there and want information and I don't feel compelled to turn my computer back on and help someone just because they are standing next to my cubical. Hair cuts. I missed my appointment las January so it's been almost a year since my last cut. I had already grown out my bangs and stopped coloring it so its just longer and thinner. I think I'm losing my hair at a higher rate than before, that I don't like.

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  19. I miss the freedom to be spontaneous. I miss traveling, and the fun of planning a trip, and the research that goes along with the planning.

    Since I really hate grocery shopping, in-line ordering and curbside pick-up has been our norm for several years. But I miss running into our little Boone Mall, to TJMaxx, and coming home with a little something.

    And I miss eating out. I have a birthday coming up and I'm a little sad about not being able to celebrate by having a nice dinner in a nice restaurant, eating a nice meal fixed by someone other than myself. Harumph.

    And I want to shake anti-maskers AND the idiots who turned not wearing masks into a political statement instead of the pure stupidity that it is.

    I am amazed at myself with long hair. I have started finger painting it with fun Overtone colors. Streaks of Rose Gold is my fave. Considering some of the neon colors. Donald never knows WHAT to expect, and I'm finding that to be quite fun.

    Staying safe is hard work,but so so worth it.

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    1. Kaye, I LOVE your finger-painted hair! What fun!

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    2. That's what I miss, being spontaneous.

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  20. I don't miss grocery shopping. At all! I usually managed to get Frank to do it anyway, but now I have an excuse! Although he was out of town last week so I had to shop. My reward was I found popcorn rice. Hadn't seen it in years and now I have a bag. We'll be having that on Thursday. I honestly don't miss going to weddings of people I don't know. I don't miss dressing up and attending social events. The plague has been a handy excuse to avoid socializing when I really don't want to do it. I do miss porch wine with my next door neighbor though. We would discuss and solve all the world's problems.

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    1. I'm with you, Pat, on the socializing with people I don't know. I really miss having my girlfriends over for wine in the kitchen, though.

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  21. I do find this blog a safe harbor and all of our wonderful commenters anchors in it. And Like Pat D I was thinking the other day how the covid is one of those convenient excuses for begging out of virtually anything you really didn't want to do. Pregnancy was like that.

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  22. I am shocked that I don't miss going to events with people. I am much happier not having to look presentable (other than brushing my hair and maybe putting on some lipstick) or drive to an event. Now I can just leave Zoom running and do other things if I'm bored, or log off and I'm already at one of my favorite places--home. Of course I miss sharing a meal with and hugging my kids and my best friends. Shopping on-line is another surprise to me that it's so much fun. I thought I'd miss poking around in a store but I don't have to do the dance when another shopper wants the same part of the rack, or wait in line behind them to pay. It turns out I am even less patient than I thought I was. :)

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  23. I miss not being able to just get up and go. I miss not seeing my friends. I miss the commute to work, if only to have a dedicated 45 minutes to read. I don't miss going into the office. Living alone, I do miss people.

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  24. Sorry to have missed this post. As the Reds know, we have a major plumbing/asbestos situation with our house rightnow so I am partly in a hotel and partly at home (because pets), waiting for life to go back to "normal" (pause to laugh and laugh and laugh). If you thought the pandemic sucked, try doing it without a shower or a toilet! 2020, you can go now!

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    1. Oh, Jenn, how awful! Wishing you a speedy resolution. I think we're all done with 2020!

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  25. I teach high school English and haven’t minded the transition to online so much—no commute, all grading done online now. In the SF Bay Area where we live, hair salons have been closed most of the lockdown. I’ve let my hair grow out and now it’s below my shoulders, with a bit of white in it—nature’s highlights!

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  26. Hi, everybody. I love this blog and look forward to being on tomorrow! Cheers, Sheila

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    1. Hi Sheila! We're really looking forward to having you!!

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  27. I went to the grocery store from the beginning only skipping a week or two. Haircuts, the library, the bookstore, other stores, and church are back with masks and precautions. Since I enjoy cooking, I don't miss restaurants as much as eating lunch with my friends in restaurants. I do miss seeing my friends and having hugs or at least being closer.

    Praying the vaccines work and that we can get them soon. Stay safe and well.

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  28. I absolutely do not miss kids' birthday parties. My kids are far enough apart that they don't have a lot of friend crossover, so we used to have 2 of their friends' birthday parties a month (at least) to attend. Our family has had quiet Saturday after quiet Saturday this year, and it has been DELIGHTFUL. Lots of movies and boardgames, or walks around the neighborhood.

    We also have done tons and tons of readalouds: all the Penderwicks, all the Melendys, a few standalones, and now we're on book 2 of the Vanderbeekers. We never had time for this before. ❤️

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  29. The Library!!! Our system is completely shut down (again) so no books available at all. I want my books! [truth I have lots of books here at home unread, but I did before and will after].

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