My mom has reached the age which is the average life span for an American woman. She's white, been financially secure since her 30s, still married to my father, has not smoked since 1986. So her life expectancy is probably 7-8 years higher than her current age.

Seven or eight years is nothing. And she's just lost an entire one of them to this bullshit pandemic. She's vaccinated now, as is my Dad, but we've been talking about the lost time. What it means for her, as she's keenly aware of how little she has left. What it means for her only grandchild who spent the first year as a teen like this. What it means for me, a person who's 50, who lost an ordinary year. Not one of the easily-numbered ones I have left. Not one of the exciting new ones.

But mostly she talks at angles about what it's like to have lost one of so few remaining years. What it's like to know all her accumulated things are of limited utility to me and my sister, no matter how much we love her or how fondly we remember them. 

When my first grandmother died, I was sitting through finals my last year of law school. There was little value in postponing them, so I did not go home. My mother and my sister cleaned out her house rather quickly, my sister looking carefully for the one thing we both wanted: a pendant she'd worn in the 70's. A large crystal fishbowl, studded with tiny goldfish. She'd hold it up to the light, pull the chain along behind it, showing us how the fish would swim.

They did not find the pendant. 


Everything is too much. So i broke my "no frivolous spending in February" plan for supplies for a fanciful showgirl headpiece for an online gathering scheduled later this month. I feel pretty conflicted about the spending part, but not at all conflicted about the hours I spent drafting the pattern pieces. I have not been focused like that on anything in what feels like years--and probably is actually close to a year.

I read some costuming blogs; looked at a few vintage hat patterns; looked at some vintage hats. Measured my head and just started drawing on butcher paper and pinning things to the wig head (which is smaller than my head). I changed direction two or three times, but I think I have a plan now. And maybe some overly-ambitious further plans.

But it felt good.

I want to see pictures of the finished piece!
Finishing the hat.
How you have to finish the hat.
How you watch the rest of the world through a window
While you finish the hat ...

I am end-of-the-rope. My hair is a horror. i can't reliably get groceries I need for things I'd like to make. I still can't get fenders for my bike. Everything I touch at work explodes. The cat's health is failing. I miss my friends. I never get a chance to be alone. I miss bars. I miss restaurants. I miss my parents. 

I'm tired of clicking on headlines or texts or emails promising to tell me how, where and when to vaccinated only to learn I can't, no-one knows, good luck and be patient. 

I'm sick of this ineffectual, limp Congress. I'm sick of my incompetent, wealth-chasing mayor. 

I'm tired; I can't sleep. I'm bored; I can't read occupy myself. I'm drinking too much. Eating too much. Spending too much (how? I can't leave the house!). My temper is short. My humor is spent. My patience is absent.

i'm just like everyone else. 


I've been sleeping like the dead. This hasn't been the case since the Violent Traumatic Event which almost killed me when I was 20. I don't like it.

It's funny because I had just told a few friends about my theory that people only have one or two dreams, over and over and over again. I say this because I only have one dream--or as far as I can tell I only have the one dream. So I figure we all repeat our dreams, and sometimes we remember them, but focus on the strange details that count as variation.

This week I've been having dreams that bear no resemblance to the dream I always have. It's disconcerting. They are rage-filled, anxious, and full of dead people. None of that is unusual, sadly. But they have unfamiliar settings; unfamliiar features; people I don't see in my dreams. I don't know what to make of it.

Waking up is like coming out of sedation. And that is unusual and also disoncerting. 

I'm not fine, but I'm fine. 


Definition of triage

1athe sorting of and allocation of treatment to patients and especially battle and disaster victims according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors

bthe sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care

2the assigning of priority order to projects on the basis of where funds and other resources can be best used, are most needed, or are most likely to achieve success


2021 will be harder than 2020, I think. I've had so many friends making earnest plans for the spring, even more with the vaccine approvals. And it's been easy to understand the desire, but I've not been able to wrap my head around the belief that we can have schools, and bars, and museums, and parties, and shops, and social lives again, given the people in charge and the systems in place.

I have a handful of relationships which will be okay, but I don't expect anything else. I don't expect to ever ski again. Or travel again. Or find a new job. Or make a new friend. Or throw a party. Or eat in a fancy new restaurant.

I expect to miss all the celebrations and funerals. I expect to wake up in 2022 older than my mother was at my age.


Spent time online last nightwith my Dummies. Spouses (surviving--hi! Grim joke!) hopped on and off, but mostly it was me and these two wonderful friends. 

Today, Spouse and I did very little. Some laundry. Some video games. Food. TV. I signed up for the #MakeDontBreak mailing list, but did not notice it until I was too far into the Glogg to make today. 

Like many, I'm trying not to place too much weight on the new year--nothing, after all, has changed. I'm not putting any pressue on myself, honestly. I've made it this far; that's good enough.

I'll try to do more yoga. Try to walk more. Get back on my bike (even without replacement fenders). Get back into making sure my budget numbers are reconciled each month. Be more kind. Be more patient. Get my vaccine as soon as I can.


I've been sad today. Finding everything stressful. 

Our 25-year-old car finally needs a repair that costs more than it's worth. We can afford to replace it, but it also does not feel worth the cost. We had not planned to replace it, knowing it was going to be beyond repair sooner or later. We really only use it to drive to my parents' (and then when it's only us, my sister and her family) and for heavy errands. But pandemic--and going to the grocery once a month or less--has made all errands heavy.

It seemed more cost effective to take cabs or Lyft back from the store or do carshare or rentals for the holiday trips to my parents. But cabs are a no-go right now and the pandemic has already caused a major decline in train service to my parents' house from the city.

And this is all making me cry constantly, which is ridiculous. And so over the top. Seriously. We're fine without a car. We're fine if we decide to buy one. We're fine. We're so much more fine than hundreds of thousands of families.

I am just exhuasted. And sad.

12/19 '20

I did not see it coming, but the pandemic has forced me to learn how to use Instagram. I was already using it--posting pictures, tagging people, following people, liking things. But the stories? The messaging? The hows of all the ways you're supposed to use it were non-intuitive to me. Even off-putting. You know, in the making me feel Old and like technology is a demon, hey you kids get off my lawn way.

I'm not enchanted. And I'm still not making my own stories. but at least I know how to communicate with people there. And it's good because I miss people.

12/18 '20

I haven't donated blood since February. I stopped because my doctor told me because of some iron deficiency issues. I'd always just sort of dealt with it through supplements, but she wanted me to stop, or at least only go half as often. Then COVID, i haven't donated in almost a year, which is the longest I've gone in a long time.

I feel guilty about it. Donating blood has always been such an easy thing for me. My office is right next door to a hospital which is always having a blood drive. If I remember to drink enough water, I fill the bag very quickly. My veins are uncooperative, but the folks at the Red Cross where I donate are very good at getting the needle in easily. I had even managed to work out my supplements and diet that I was only getting rejected for iron every couple of tries, instead of every other try. I was generally managing four donations or more a year.

I did it because it was so easy for me and because it's meaningful to the community. High impact, low effort. It always made me laugh as a vaguely gruesome application of my basic maxim: that our duty in society is to share our excess (time, talent, resources) with others.

I expect I'll start again, post-pandemic. But in the post-commute world, I wonder how frictionless it will be.

12/16 '20

In Chicago, 19 deaths and 1,757 confirmed cases were reported since Thursday. The city is seeing an average of 14 deaths per day, down from an average of 18 people dying per day the week prior. An average of 1,339 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 31 percent decrease from the prior week. But testing has also fallen 31 percent in the past week.

I'm starting to hear from more friends with COVID or with COVID in their immediate families. We haven't left the house since before Thanksgiving (except a couple masked walks in the park), but my parents each leave a couple times a week; and my sister is in a pod with another only-child familiy. I am starting to have moments of pure terror on a regular basis.

But I've mostly finished my Christmas shopping. That's odd. I have to mail some cookies around.

12/4 '20