Desperately Seeking Normal: Buh-Bye 2020
With apologies to Susan...
What is "normal?" As per the dictionary, "Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected."
This is a world I have never seen before or expected, and nothing is - - "normal." We're at the end of our tenth month of quarantine with a new year around the corner. We wear face masks when in public, no matter if we're at the market or the doctor's waiting room. For the first time in my life and since I started voting at the age of 18, I've been told based on who I voted for, my vote is fraudulent and opposing politicians are looking for ways to discount it as such. And now based on a state mandate, I spent my birthday and all of the holidays this year - - alone. We were unable to have a service for my mother when she died in May. In October I even spent four days in the hospital (Not COVID related) - alone without family. And you know what?
Everything is going to be fine. There are positive sides to spending a holiday alone - so I keep reminding myself. There were fewer dishes to wash, more leftovers, and no sharing of the television remote. Along with my two pups, and cat, we made the most of these days. It's only one year while looking at the larger picture - saving lives in spite of COVID.
|My sisters left a birthday cake on my doorstep.
To make life easier, I have been trying to spend 2020 looking for a new normal, and trying to live it, as well. A normal that allows me to comfortably make the best of our situation. It's all become so "normal" that I may continue adding to my collection of fashionable and seasonal face masks and continue to wear them in public. I know I will continue ordering the majority of my groceries, toiletries, pet, and household supplies online and using curb service pick-up. I visit with groups of friends in special chat rooms via Messenger and healthcare providers on FaceTime. If you wear layers, you too can meet a friend for lunch and social distance while dining on a sandwich outside in 30-degree weather.
The new normal has allowed me to focus more on the things I enjoy. The new normal allows me to take a nap in the afternoon and not feel guilty. The new normal says I no longer have to wear lipstick when I leave the house because as long as I am wearing a face mask no one will notice.
The new normal allowed me to focus more on my roses taking more time collecting the roses to make pretty arrangements to enjoy in my home, and also preserving them. I also left enough roses on their bushes so when I was outside with the dogs, I could enjoy their deep fragrances emphasized by the warm sun.
|And lavender from my "Zen" Garden.
The new normal has allowed me to stop in the middle of the day and have a cup of tea while listening to music. For now, I really have no place to go and of course, my yard work is done for the winter. I kind of miss my spur-of-the-moment shopping at the craft and "junque" stores, but I don't know what I am missing out on if I am not there. And I have been cleaning out my closets. Just before winter, I donated over six boxes of clothes and stuff.
I have been trying to keep the normal by listening to Andrea Bocelli, YouTube home and garden subscriptions, and I believe I am on my 20th time or more rewatching Tarantino's ninth movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It's like watching the Wizard of Oz repeating the script along with the characters.
"How were those pickles? Real good. They were the fancy kind."
This Halloween we canceled our annual Witches Tea that I have co-hosted now for several years. It was also the first time I have decorated my home in years, as I was always busy with the preparation of the tea.
It just so happened on Halloween 2020 our sky was blessed with an appearance of "Once in a Blue Moon" meaning we were given the view of the full moon for the second time in a month. My neighbor and I met in my drive-way (socially distanced, of course) to watch nature's evening show. To get in the spirit of the evening I donned a witch hat, wore my flannels to keep warm from the night chill, brought a festively decorated Halloween mug filled with warm lavender honey tea and we watched the glowing orb rise. Oh no doubt, we were a sight for the neighborhood giving them something new to chatter about.
This was the first year I did a lot of baking all year round - - but I don't like baking. Baking is limiting and doesn't allow for free-styling like cooking does, but I am pretty proud of my accomplishments. I baked several loaves of good yeasty bread (white, rosemary, and cinnamon raisin), galettes, cookies, banana bread, muffins, and made Rice Krispies® Treats using browned butter. There was more baking due to the holidays, as I informed my siblings my gifts to them would be all consumables - treats from the oven, the "famous" family cheese ball (aka The Great Ball), and my special handmade salami. There were no complaints.
|Anxiety baking. Oatmeal cookies with white chocolate chip and dried cranberries. Freezer fodder for the Apocalypse.
Visiting with a friend just before Christmas he suggested that after quarantine things will go back to "normal," but perhaps a "new normal." A new normal where we will automatically wear our face masks no matter if there is a pandemic or not. A new normal where going out in the evening is no longer a priority, but staying within the comforts of our home, cooking more, and enjoying our space is more important. I think he may be onto something.
Here we are with New Year's Eve in just a few days. I am hoping 2021 will bring some relief, but we all should remember that just because a page in the calendar changes truly doesn't really change anything. A calendar day is just another number. The change belongs to us.
So here's to putting 2020 behind us. I will be cheering it on with a bottle of sparkling rosé gifted to me by long-time friends Victoria and Larry. Their son Andrew Harding is co-founder with Stephen Amell of Nocking Point Wines - a local winery. Amell is known for his lead character Oliver Queen/Green Arrow on the television series Arrow. Nocking Point's pretty in pink sparkler is appropriately named - - FU TWENTY TWENTY.