Forgive me, readers. It has been almost two weeks since my last confession.
I would love to tell you I have spent this time in some Bacchanal. Blissed-out, decadent. Trying new designer drugs, dancing with a slight sheen of sweat on my sun-kissed skin, having sex with my husband on some far-flung, pristine beach.
Bwahaha. Ha. In reality, The Daniels family was smote (smited?) by virus. Snowed in by Mother Nature. Gnawed on by a family of bears. Forgotten by God.
I have missed writing. I have missed you, readers. I have not even logged in to my WordPress account. I haven’t read your blogs, I haven’t looked at my stats. I needed a break, dude. Starting this blog and meeting other bloggers, collecting readers….it’s been like this huge surprise party. Balloons! Cake! But I was kinda at that point where all the food is gone and the DJ is playing “Careless Whisper” and I needed to go to the ladies’ room and sneak a smoke.
And I don’t even smoke.
But I did read books. Five of them. Nearly 3000 pages of luscious printed word. Reading blogs is fun. But they’re like snacks, you know? Even the really good ones. Sure some might be, like, kale crisps and some might be moon pies, but they’re bite sized. I wanted to GORGE. So I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and its sequel Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs. They’re YA, but they’re so freaking good. Time travel, freaks of nature, and cool vintage photographs. I devoured them in a day and a half.
I also read Wally Lamb’s We Are Water, which was heartfelt and lovely but lacked a certain believability. (Says the girl who just read two books about time travel. Anyway.) I still love his novel She’s Come Undone, though. I’ve read it three times and enjoyed it immensely. Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret was a damn fine whodunnit with a surprising layer of pathos and depth. And I’m almost finished with the short story collection Tenth of December by George Saunders. Now this book is making me super jealous. That fucker can write. Even the “Times” spewed man-juice all over it.
When I really get lost in a book I feel the different parts of my brain lighting up. I know it’s a big gray sponge, but for some reason I picture my mind like that old “Simon Says” game by Milton Bradley. Red blue yellow green. Blink, blink. Reading is awesome. And I can get all my feelings out empathizing with the characters, which allows me to be such a cool cucumber in real life.
So I read, and I binge watched Netflix. I saw a documentary about bees, and a bunch of episodes of “The Office” and “The Cleveland Show” and some not-really-okay movies. These were excellent distractions from the blizzard raging outside, and the fact that my whole family had typhoid.
OK, we got three inches. And it wasn’t typhoid. It was bubonic plague.
But this winter has been interminable. It’s been desperately cold. I was ready to trade my cool orange bicycle with whitewall tires for two sled dogs and a wood plank. I’ll never get to ride again with the wind in my hair! Or it feels that way. I am usually more than happy to nest. I love being home when it’s cold out. But we have all been sick. Our house is getting that cloistered, sick-people smell. Sadie’s toys are strewn everywhere from constant, frantic attempts to distract her from the river of green snot coming out of her.
It’s weird how your kids can’t gross you out. I remember thinking it was strange that my mom would let me use her sleeve to blow my nose. Humph. Well. I can’t tell you how many times in the last two weeks I have held out my open palm so that Sadie could hawk a loogie into it. Creme brûlée, anyone? Being sick and taking care of a sick kid is the worst. I wanted MY fucking Mommy. Hot soup. It’s hard being always “on” you know? I felt like a bombing comedian as she wailed and screamed and my head pounded in time. Jazz hands!
But, I can write about it, right? What a fucking gift. It’s like taking shit, and making a shit sandwich. Smear the bread with mustard, add some cheese, crushed up barbecue chips…sure, it’s still shit, but at least it’s palatable. We can munch on it together.
So, too bad I missed out on some cool stuff to write about! Valentine’s Day, the Olympics! So here are two mini-posts, in requiem:
Wow. That looks cool. I bet I could do that.
And….a Valentine haiku!
Trite words. Thoughtful gift.
Bring me your heart on a stick.
Be my Valentine?
Ok, ok. Last thing. It is also Black History Month, of course. I don’t really feel like I have much to add to the discussion except really? The short month? And, this photo that my best girl Amanda snapped at our local Kroger grocery:
She posted this on Facebook and I peed a little. I mean this was their display. In the front of the store. Someone commented “I didn’t know Abe Lincoln had a Jeri curl”. What is this supposed to mean? Here, people of color. Meet your heroes. And in aisle 5, check out our array of products to tame that African hair. Maybe they could add some bags of jumbo cotton balls, or some Aunt Jemima syrup, to make it a little more racist.
I’m feeling almost back to normal. Today the temperature was in the high forties, and it felt absolutely tropical. I took Sadie to the store. It was our first voyage out through the tundra in days. We stocked up on supplies. I bought her these little remote control hamsters that zip around and bump into the furniture. Candy for me, of course. Fruit. Hot soup. We waded through the melting slush, and I thought, it’s going to be over soon. This season, this winter of my discontent. And just like under the frozen ground, there are a million little shoots just waiting to thrust up green, I can feel a stirring in me too. A wildness, old as time itself. Resurrecting in me, year after year.
I’m ready. This old girl’s got some fire in her, yet.
“I guess I’m trying to say, grab anything that goes by. It may not come around again.”
John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent