Bookends: April 2020

Over the course of this first full month of California’s stay-at-home order, I’ve grown accustomed to rolling with whatever emotions come up for me each day. Not that I’m adept at it, but at least I expect it. Some days it’s just the constant low-level anxiety about food supply chains and asymptomatic transmission and armed protesters, but most days there’s some Big Emotion that pops up, like “persistent-panic-attack” or “crying-because-the-coffee’s-so-good” or “dear-god-have-you-always-chewed-so-loudly?” Knowing this is coming helps, even if I’m not sure what it’s going to be.

Having a routine also helps, which is nearly a cliche, but it’s totally true at our house. Every weekday at 7am, my kids and I take turns cajoling each other into our makeshift exercise room to do a Fitness Blender video together. It’s rare that we’re all excited about working out, but so far there’s always been at least one of us enthusiastic enough to pull the other two in.

Then there’s the morning block: feed the sourdough starter, wipe the front of the fridge, coffee on the patio, breakfast, fight about homeschool. Lunch is at noon, then more homeschool and/or music lessons, maybe a jog around the neighborhood, and dinner prep. Dinner’s around 5:30 or 6, followed by Mad Libs, kitten videos, or an episode of “The Office.” Bedtime routine starts around 7:30 with read-aloud during toothbrushing, then we gather for “grateful, sorry, and intend.” Lights out at 8:30 for the kids and around 9:30 or 10:00 for the grownups, although I’m contrary and fudge my bedtime a bit to get more alone time.

Weekends are for housecleaning and watching movies and social visits via videoconference and scrapping the routine for two days so we’re grateful for it come Monday morning.

My spouse and I asked the children at dinner last night how they felt about not doing all of the things outside the house that we used to. Both said they don’t really miss their outside activities. They still have their music lessons (virtual now) and online classes and virtual get-togethers with friends and family, only now they have more time to play or write or put together scavenger hunts or make LEGO stop-motion videos. They miss going to play basketball at the park and seeing their friends at P.E. class, but overall they seem happy. They’re creatures of habit, though, and I’m a little concerned about how we’ll all adjust in June when online classes and orchestra wrap up and we still (probably) can’t or don’t feel comfortable traveling.

But like we do with the emotions that shift day to day, we’ll take that as it comes.

Visual Interest: The cat’s getting photographed a lot more these days.

Finished in April (9):

April brought a little more concentration and a little more reading, thankfully. Things don’t feel right at all if I can’t read.

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Napoleon’s Buttons by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson (R.A. with my son)

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich (audio)

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune (R.A. with both children)

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver (audio)

Intimate Alien: The Hidden Story of the UFO by David Halperin

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero

Currently Reading:

Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersley-Williams (R.A. with my son)

Caesar’s Last Breath by Sam Kean (R.A. with my son)

To-Read for May:

For May, I’m doing something that’s probably silly. On Litsy, there’s a #bookspinbonanza challenge, which involves making a list of twenty books on your TBR and then attempting to read them all, in the order drawn by the host of the challenge, before June 1. Given the weird time-compression thing that seems to be happening for me during stay-at-home, I know already that this has a very small likelihood of happening for me, but I really like the idea of trying.

You can see my Litsy profile for the whole list.

What’s on your TBR stack for May?

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