In 9th grade, I beat Mike Lankfer to win the gym class ping pong championship. I’m still proud because that guy was a JERK. Abram is not a jerk, but I still love beating him. He beats me every time we play Monopoly so it’s only fair. (He doesn’t agree.)
I know I usually fill these Tuesday Things with whatever it is I’m reading, watching, knitting, etc. but there just isn’t much in the way of -ing the last week so I’m just going to ramble.
I’m homesick for Michigan. We cancelled both our summer and fall trips but scheduled four days in May with a wish, a hope, and a prayer. It’s a tiny little cabin on the Pere Marquette river that reminds me of my great-grandpa’s place. It has a decent cancellation policy, but I want to fish for trout and read books and see my dad and grandma. I miss the big lake and the dunes and the sand and the woods and home. I never realized how much my heart is buoyed by my trips home.
I sorted/purged/cleaned/organized my office and labeled everything in the hopes that when people go looking for something they can 1) easily find it and 2) easily return it. I ordered myself a 2021 notebook, started a food journal (and start a Whole 30 on January 2), and ordered seeds for the garden. I’m finalizing a list of knitting projects based off the things I have stashed.
The kids and I were watching videos from back in March when school was cancelled and I was making pancakes and we were putting together puzzles and everything pandemic felt a little bit like an adventure. I bemusedly watch the videos of that naive woman as she walks through the house and smiles in the mirror like a rebel in her pajamas at 10AM. December me picked Abram up from school in a flannel nightgown and can’t remember the last time I’ve worn “real” clothes. The pandemic doesn’t feel like an adventure anymore. It feels like a group project where I’m being graded on not just the finished product, but everyone’s effort while being assigned slacker partners and much, much higher stakes and then…a little bit of hope. (Yay, vaccine!!!)
I deleted my FB account (again) and deleted the IG app on my phone. I know a lot of people were deleting and talking about privacy issues with the most recent update but my reasoning has much more to do with the fact that I am a horrible consumer of social media. I compulsively use it and I feel bad about myself for 1) compulsively using it and 2) not living a life as IG worthy as some and 3) feeling the kind of crap that I did in middle school because of behavior that’s middle school.
I really, really appreciate you listening to me ramble. Sending hugs and warm wishes.
P.S. I need to take down our tree – you can’t even walk by it without needles falling – but I don’t want to give up pretty lights. Do you think putting twinkle lights in my pothos is overkill?
Kate! You are one of my favorite parts of Instagram! It’s probably my social cluelessness, but I haven’t seen middle school behavior there. I will consider myself lucky in that, even as I’m sad not to get updates of your life in real time. I’m so glad you’re still blogging, because these image snippets and your words are one of the things that have really kept me going over the last year.
As for the twinkle lights: YES. Two years ago I put them on my ficus (because I wasn’t going to be home over the holidays and a few other reasons) and I’ve never taken them off. I LOVE them. When I get up in the dark these winter mornings, one of the first things I do is turn them on, and it makes the house feel so cozy. I love turning them back on in the afternoon, too. It’s a marker between day and night, and I shift into another gear when the lights go on.
I really hope you get to make that Michigan trip in May. I understand exactly what you mean about the need to go to the geographical place (and the people there) that were once home. I’ve never been away from Puget Sound or my parents as long as I have this past year, and I cannot wait. The vaccine is beginning to roll out in their area (my brother, who lives in a care facility, will be getting it very soon), and I swear I will be up there just as soon as I can be. I’ll probably cry the whole way there and back–but with relief, which will be a very welcome kind of crying.
Somehow the picture of you picking up Abram in a nightgown might be my favorite part of this post. I do get dressed in “real” clothes most days, but I was thinking just yesterday that my wardrobe is likely to never be the same. I already had a fairly minimal one by US standards, but it’s even smaller now and I see no reason to expand it once we no longer need to be distanced. I don’t want the kind of life that requires a larger wardrobe. Few pairs of pants, shoes, and sweaters plus a good supply of t-shirts and I’m good. My biggest new requirement is tops in which I can feel comfortable not wearing a bra.
Thank you for the ramble. And the photos (LOVE Vi’s hair). And for showing up here, helping me and others get through this year/life.
I can’t see you being socially clueless!! The stuff is mostly local and is probably more accurately described as “human”. I’m horrible about ignoring and worse about saying anything so instead I stew and then get frustrated at myself for stewing. I haven’t deleted or even deactivated my account though which probably shows my commitment to leaving IG for good. But I don’t see leaving here any time soon. You kindly say that this blog has helped others this year but the wisdom and kindness I’ve gotten from you and Marian over the years, and Kari, Ally, and TD more recently, has made a profound difference to me.
I’m so glad that your brother will soon be vaccinated and that you will (hopefully very) soon be able to return to see your family there. You put it perfectly (as you often do) when you talk about crying there and back with relief. I know we are not alone in missing people and places this year, and I truly believe we are making the best decision, but it’s still lonely and hard at times, isn’t it?
The idea of you turning your ficus on and off every day makes me smile. It’s just so comforting.
Yay for bra free and smaller wardrobes!!
And finally…thank you, Rita, for showing up here and being my friend. I am looking forward to our blogs getting us through 2021 and many more (hopefully less challenging) years.
Oh Kate, I love everything about this. You should ramble more often 🙂 !
Abram’s face in that last photo is priceless. (And I love that you’ve captured your paddle in the foreground of the shot. Its blankness adds a bit of mystery to the composition because it makes me think you just might have managed to keep a straight face in response to A’s expression.)
The paragraph where you contrast early-pandemic Kate with late-pandemic Kate cracked me up, as did the group-project analogy, which is brilliant. The mental image of you picking Abram up from school in a flannel nightgown made me laugh too, but I think there’s also something admirable about you being able to do that. (I pretty much cannot function as a decent human being unless I am wearing “real” clothes; I don’t even like being in pyjamas in front of my own family.)
I love the “Manifest that shit” sticker on your 2020 planner. In November 2019, I stood in my local book store, trying to decide between a “baby animals in knitwear” wall calendar and a “F*cking 2020 Calendar” (that has “Get Your Sh*t Together This Year” as the subtitle). I picked the latter, and as 2020 unfolded in all its terribleness, it occurred to me that 2019 Marian had most definitely made a good call that day in the bookstore.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I got rid of FB quite a while back, but I’m not sure if I told you I unfollowed nearly everyone I had been following on IG. I use IG compulsively too, which is a problem in and of itself, but I was also finding that whenever I would read a post done by someone in the environmental movement, I would feel bad about the fact that I wasn’t creating posts of the same quantity or quality (on IG or on my blog). I think this is a personal failing, but I’ve noticed that when I have my own aspirations to lead a choir (so to speak), I have a really hard time simply being a part of the choir (I hope that makes sense).
Lastly, I think if twinkle lights in a pothos give you a boost, you should definitely put them there. (Rita’s ficus sounds lovely. A Norfolk pine would also work with twinkle lights.)
Sending you hugs too, Kate, and all my best wishes for the new year. May 2021 be better for all of us.
Marian, I always look forward to replies. Isn’t that face of his the cutest? The picture is one of my absolute favorites of him because it’s so him. I wish I could claim that I kept a straight face, but of course I had a good giggle.
I had a good chuckle over you finding my nightgown wearing pick up admirable. That’s the gracious take of a true friend. And I love the idea of you choosing between animals in knitwear and F*cking 2020 and aptly picking the latter. I definitely hope we’ll be able to Get Our Sh*t Together this year and by we I mean not just you and I, but the whole world.
And yes, I do think what you say about say about being in the choir you wish to lead makes sense and I don’t think you are alone in that feeling. In fact, I think you much more accurately explained my reason #2.
Finally, thank you for the best wishes and the hugs. I send them right back. XOXO.
Kari Wagner Hoban says
I love that manifest sticker. I need one.
I love your house. The colors inside. Yellows and whites and reds. It makes me happy.
I love your daughter’s hair. I feel like she and my Ellie would vibe really well together.
I love that story about Mike Lankfer. I am sure he was a jerk. I wonder if he still is. Let’s think he is.
You can ramble all you want. That is the beauty of blogging. 🙂
I wish I could remember where I got the sticker! I feel like it ended up being more of a “manifest shit” year, but shit is fertilizer and fertilizer helps thing grow, right? I need to find some more for my book for 2021.
I sincerely hope that Mike Lankfer outgrew being a jerk because he really was A JERK and the idea of him being that horrid to people at our age makes me sad.
I think you’re right about Violet and Ellie. Do you ever look at Ellie and think “My God, I wish I was half as cool as you?” because I feel that way about Violet almost every single day. (On the other days I wonder how I’m going to get through the next 5 years with someone who is so much cleverer than me.)
It was so good to hear from you, Kari!!
I’m new to our blog and I’m glad I found it. I’m at a different stage in my life (early 60’s) and I find your writing very calming and humerous. And, yes, twinkle lights for the win. I have a faux tree in my house with twinkle lights on year round. I have them on a timer to come on at dusk and off in the early morning. I hope you don’t mind me “tagging” along.
Hi Arnie! Glad you’re here! I love the idea of having a year round twinkle tree!
I am so sorry that I autocorrected your name, Emie!!!
Happy New Year, ? Kate!!! When I took down my holiday lights on my front porch, I put up sea glass balls that are supposed to be used on a holiday tree. They are heavy glass that sparkle and will be fine with the strong wind gusts. I placed Happy New Year balloons on the side table. And changed my porch light to blue. Silly me! Although I would be staying home with Yorkie keeping COVID safe, I still wanted to do something! I bought in the balloons tonight, but have decided to keep the blue light with the sea glass ball ornaments hanging across the front porch for the winter months… just for fun!
I adored your rambling post. It’s good to hear what is on your mind and going on in your corner of the universe.
I especially enjoyed seeing each holding their own or favorite homemade decorated cookie! I don’t know how long you have had a ping pong table in your playroom, but it is a great fun activity to play. And what a good indoor exercise this winter!! Definitely decorate your home however it keeps your heart twinkling…
I’m 61, Emie. I absolutely love Kate’s blog, so I’m glad that you found your way here too!
TD, your sea glass sounds LOVELY!! As do the balloons!
We do love ping pong. It was a gift for Christmas last year and I am so grateful we’ve had it this year.
Wishing you well in the New Year, TD!! I hope 2021 treats us all well.