I’m smirking now at my Tuesday post on getting back into a running habit, because, well, as Robert Burns put it — “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.” (“Gang aft agley” being Scottish for “often go wrong/awry.”) I wrote that on a high, blissfully unaware that by the time the post was published, we would be burrowing into quarantine because a loved one in our home has tested positive for COVID. Symptoms are mild, and the rest of us are negative, and it seems that the buck stopped here — no one else who we’d had contact with has tested positive — and so there are tiny victories to celebrate, and perspectives on which to perch. It could be worse! seems always on the tip of my tongue, at least when I am not driven to the point of minor mania owing to parenting while in conditions of lockdown.
And it well could be. I know this because I had COVID a year and a half ago, and those were dark times. The delta between living in semi-isolation (because true isolation was impossible in our NYC apartment) then, at the darkest depths of the pandemic in New York, when we could measure the severity of the shockingly high death toll by the frequency of ambulances careening down 86th to get across the Park to the hospitals, and I was frantically googling things like “how long does it take to get to the worst point of covid” and “what does it mean if I can’t taste anything” and “if I have symptoms x and y, is this considered a ‘severe’ case” and the results barely registered anything but fringe-y Reddit articles and personal Instagram posts because there just wasn’t enough information out there yet, and the city was empty and there was no one to turn to because everyone was frightened and quarantined —
And the reality of living through quarantine now, in our new home, with a big stretch of back yard and more space than we know what to do with, when the symptoms are mild and we know so much more treating this virus anyhow, and (and and and!) I am nestled deep in a network of the biggest-hearted friends who have brought by dinners, and crates of puzzles and stickers and crafts for the children, and bags of groceries, because many of them have been here before and know what it means — !
It’s a delta nearly too wide to calculate, and it’s a funny thing, to be grateful for the wideness between these two experiences, because I don’t feel grateful at all for the first go around, and I’m not on speaking terms with round two either. I still feel traumatized by the first. I had the conscious thought, when I was at the nadir of my symptoms and felt as though my body was being pressed through a pasta roller and could not keep anything down, that I would not permit myself to go to a hospital because I did not want to die there alone. There is not enough distance between the formulation of that thought and where I sit now to express anything but shuddering distaste. So instead I am simply grateful for the delta between then and now, and that will have to be enough to keep my wobbly legs peddling.
+On making it through the first go around: it begins with a prayer.
+It was hard to live through that experience in NYC. I always qualify that many people had it much worse, and that is incontrovertibly true. But it was really, really hard.
+On not treating life in the pandemic as an alternity. This is my one life!
+Time to dust off my favorite quarantine cocktail recipe.
On another happy note: some pretty things to divert attention.
+I feel like all of us are in a sequin mood this season — I can’t get enough. How cute is this $118 jumpsuit?!
+With all the time at home, we’ve been doing a ton of projects, crafts, and baking! This cookbook is great so far! We made the oatmeal chocolate cookie bars and they were delicious. Thanks to the Magpies who recommended this to me.
+Adorable mini velvet plaid skirt.
+Erin Gates described this candle as “the best seasonless candle.” Love the idea of finding a candle that works during any season! I will say I am majorly impressed with the holiday candle I got from Hotel Lobby (sold out in my scent now) and will be going back for more.
+Cute holiday tags to attach to your Christmas baking gifts!
+Have this sweater in the burgundy, might go back for a second colorway. I am so into turtleneck everything!
+Adorable velvet blouse (love the pearl buttons!)
+I’ve shared a few pictures of our “Christmas village” on the sideboard/buffet in our dining room and received a bunch of questions about them. They are Target from last year, but they have more similar ones this year, including these ceramic ones (probably not the best pick if you have little ones around) and these galvanized metal ones (almost identical to ours but mine are white). This $42 mini village set is also beyond adorable — such a fantastic price!
+Cute Christmas dress if you’re expecting — can wear without bump, too!
+Absolutely adore these earrings. Big enough to make a statement, but they’d go with anything (even a sweater and jeans).
+A fabulous indoor BBQ shrimp recipe.
+Something about this whimsical embroidered sweater speaks to me.
+I polled my Instagram Magpies to discern the best books we’ve recently read. The top three vote-getters: Elizabeth Strout’s Oh William, Miranda Heller’s Paper Palace, and Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds.
+Love this sherpa jacket.
+More favorite laundry gear here.
+What to wear to a wedding.