Posts

Stranger Days #17: Date Night When You're Stuck Indoors

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Estimated Reading Time: 4.25 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

"We should do a date night," my partner suggests. It's been several weeks since we've been able to go out and do anything beyond walking the neighborhood or activities that weren't primarily inside the house. We had gotten away to a bed and breakfast in February for a weekend in February but we also knew there was nothing akin to that to be happening for the foreseeable future.  

Often when we do date night, we try to alternate who plans it. As the planner, it gives us an opportunity to be creative and thoughtful as well as to surprise and delight the other. For the other partner, it's a lot of fun to see what the other has come up with and often, are things that might not have been tried if we talked about it. Not because we're disagr…

Stranger Days #16: Remaking Home

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Estimated Reading Time: 5.5 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

Given the abundance of time that we're spending at home, we thought it made sense to do some re-arranging and reconsider how we use some space. We didn't set out to do this all at once but slowly decided each space would be ideal as we found our homebound lives needed to use the space differently.
The Porch
For the porch, my partner decides that it was high time to make it cozy and add a little zen to it.  We have the furniture but she also had the bright idea of bringing the floor mattress into the area in order to make it further comfortable. This place is our designated meditation and reading room.  It's a great place to just sit and relax.  In particular, as the days are still cool, sitting out here during the midday when the sun is strongest, is warm…

Stranger Days #15: Rainy Days

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Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

These last few days have been harder than others. We've had a good share of rainy days of late and that's made being homebound a bit more tiresome. In principle, I'm a fan of cold and rainy days.  They can be delightful when you are staying home, to curl up in a blanket and just relax the day away with napping, reading, watching TV or movies, and the like. But much of my days are staring at computer screens doing work, in zoom calls (half of which probably don't have to happen), and staring at other screens for entertainment.

The abundance of rainy days leaves me feeling blah. I can still go out for some walks, but getting exercise is a bit more challenging.  Running is my exercise of choice and in the rain, it just hard to endure.  We have a stationar…

Stranger Days #14: Memories of My Dad

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Estimated Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  


Those that have been around on this blog know that my father died two years ago because I wrote a fairly lengthy series about his passing.  I certainly regularly think of him but not necessarily in a forlorn way. Just idle thoughts about him, his life, our relationship, or what have you.  They spring forward whenever something reminds me of him; a perfectly normal experience.  

But this week--week 3 if I'm correct (but who knows at this point.  It's April 2 and March felt like 8 years long)--I had a very strange experience.  For much of the last years of my father's life, he generally did not like to leave the house.  He preferred sitting at his computer desk with two TV screens and his computer monitor for hours, jumping from online poker, wrestling, re…

Stranger Days #13: Bears in Windows

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Estimated Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  


I really appreciate the creativity and goofiness of humans. It can be a lot of fun and delightful to watch how we adapt.  The most recent thing to amuse me are the "bear hunts" going on around town.  The concept is that folks put teddy bears in their windows and families can go on walks around their neighborhoods to see if others can find them.  Some neighborhoods are getting deep into it as they compose scavenger hunt lists of addresses, neighborhoods and stuffed animals to keep an eye out for and mark on their list.  

On my walk this morning, I managed to find a few items still in the windows which I took photos of but not a lot. It made me wonder one of two things.  The first is whether people know about it and are participating in it.  Our neighborhood…

Review: 90s Bitch: Media, Culture, and the Failed Promise of Gender Equality

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90s Bitch: Media, Culture, and the Failed Promise of Gender Equality by Allison Yarrow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yarrow's jaunt down the 1990s through the prism of gender is so much better than any CNN documentary. She delves into how gender was represented in media and culture throughout the 1990s from Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place to the sexual scandals of Clarence Thomas and Bill Clinton to the female music icons (Gwen Stefani, Courtney Love, Fiona Apple, Britney Spears, and others) to the murder trial of OJ Simpson and Marsha Clark. It's a cornucopia of reflections around the many different issues that arose and as someone who grew up in the 1990s, I appreciated this renewed look at how gender played out in politics, pop culture, and even education. It helped me understand some of the more problematic assumptions or thoughts that I had at the time and where they came from. Yarrow's skill is in her multipronged approach of given the context of events and people and …

Stranger Days #12: More Reads

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Estimated Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

Last week, I shared with you some books that I had recently enjoyed. It's been another week or so and I've read three more books that I figured I would share with folks--especially if you are looking for some good reading to occupy your time.  And by good, I mean books that resonate with the sense of being in a strange place and time. Last week's books had a time-theme that came out pretty strongly. These books, I'm not sure there is as strong a theme across all of them, but again, in reading them, it's hard not to draw parallels to what is going on now.  So rather than traditional reviews that I write on this blog, I'll cap it at a sentence or two about plot and then talk about what in the book resonates to these times.  
Machines Like Me by…

Stranger Days #11: Starting The Garden

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Estimated Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

It's been a few years since we've lived at a place with a backyard that I could do some gardening (about 5 years).  Last year, when we moved in in June, we had just enough time to grab plants from the stores and have a lot of tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers. 

But this year, it's full tilt.  We have about a 10 X 20-foot plot and I aim to use every inch of it and more.  Since we're home a lot more, I spent 2 weeks ago, doing what I call "throwing dirt."  Basically, turning over the soil and moving it about.  I do this in part because as part of the previous year's shut down of the garden, I bury some amount of dried and dying leaves to help replenish the soil. I also want to disrupt any grass that has started to grow in this area as the g…

Stranger Days #10: #Arlington6At6

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Estimated Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

Given that the national leadership has been weak (at best) around communication about how to best prepare and address issues around Coronavirus, I've been thankful to live in a state that has been taking it seriously for several weeks.  As important, I have appreciated living in Arlington, Massachusetts, which has been actively updating the community (often daily) for a while.  But also, they have been providing updates since late February.  

As we continue to see the impact of Coronavirus on our communities, especially the many shops and restaurants in Arlington, it's been comforting to see these updates come forward regularly and have a variety of positive and useful information to help people out.  Most recently, they began sharing out the #Arlington6At6.…

Stranger Days #9: A Grocery Store Visit

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Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

We all like our routines.  Typically, Saturday mornings entail a sequence of getting up at 5:00am, having coffee, checking email and social media and then working out. I shower and then hit the grocery store just as it opens (7am'ish).  I like shopping at this time. There's barely anyone here and you see the same folks. Small talk with the cashiers and baggers is still possible before they're largely wiped from hours of work. Afterward, I go home, unpack the groceries and make some kind of cooked breakfast involving eggs, veggies, and veggie sausage.

It's a nice routine that reminds me in some ways of my Saturday mornings when I was a kid.  That would often consist of getting up early (again, 5am'ish) to watch Saturday morning cartoons or play vide…