This is Hard

Such homeschooling! No homeschooler I know would voluntarily sign up for a homeschool devoid of libraries, parks, friend meetups, rousing trips to the coffee shop and long days at the museum.

Not to mention we’re all walking around like pale atlases, trying to hold up under the relentlessly grim news.

This isn’t homeschooling; this is HARD.

Let’s get that straight now, before we spend the next eight weeks doing it.

Now, when we should be bolstering our natural immunities, I’ve been craving sweets. Typically I live and breathe a savory palate—salt, vinegar, fries, oysters, etc. When I crave sweets it’s a sign that I’m feeling denied. Mind controlled. Like the word CANT is stamped on my forehead. Craving sweets told me my psyche was truly battling with all the NOs flooding my inbox. Closed. Done. No idea. Shouldn’t.

(That photo is banana bread which was good, but a tad mushy on day 2.)

As an extrovert at home with our outings cancelled, I immediately began hunting for further intellectual engagement in my daily life.  I can’t believe I didn’t grab more books from the library when I was there three days before they abruptly closed. I had one giant bag of books for the girls—couldn’t I have grabbed a few novels for myself?!

That’s how you become the generation who always carries six books around with them. “What if these were the last books I could check out for weeks?” we’ll tell our grandchild when they ask why granny insisted on carrying the bag to lunch.

But I found some other projects in short order…. I’ve wanted to understand naturally leavened bread for FOREVER. I have the Tartine cookbook. I understand patience, dough, and staying calm when everything is sticking to your fingers. I own flour. The last time I read the cookbook it seemed unintelligible. What was it saying? Why did single step directions seem to take pages to explain?

But this week I took a look at it again. All of a sudden it didn’t seem so hard.

If there’s one thing teaching kids has taught me, it’s that the first draft should be sloppy. Gratuitously sloppy. Pool splash sloppy. Round two might be a little better. Round three—just imagine!

Here’s round two. It was super sloppy. First draft style. On to the next batch! Honestly I’ve never cared less how my bread turns out. I just want something, something else, to mull over for a little while.

In the spirit of adult engagement, here are few more things I’ve been enjoying lately:

These soft spoken interviews with fiction writers. They may make me fall in love with reading fiction again. This fall I read The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon, a fiction set around the romance of a zealous Christian and a former Christian, and a circling cult leader. Her interview was superb. Here, on her sense of being since losing her personal faith: “I’ve tried to find more value in ephemeral joy than I did when I believed I would live forever.” The most recent Jenny Offill one is so good.

Signs of Bloom’s anything & everything pinterest board. Such a pretty collection.

Bright orange zinging ice cubes of immunity. You can do whatever you like with them, I like throwing them into green smoothies.

The titles of Lullatone songs. There is one Lullatone song that Esme falls asleep to sometimes when we’re driving–Falling Asleep with a Book On Your Chest–but reading their titles is like a perfume squeak of happiness to your wrist. Going to Buy Some Strawberries. Here Comes Sweater Weather. Adventures Songs for Migrating Birds. Finishing Something You Worked Really Hard On.

Bright orange carrot dressing with ginger and turmeric. Try it on soba noodles, and relish the flavor of anti inflammatorys!

Let me know if you have a favorite mental mulling escape to add to the list!

 

5 thoughts on “This is Hard

  1. Finding myself at home with 3 under 6 and thinking of your family (and how you do it). Your opening notes here validate how difficult this feels to us. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for engaging with us even as your days are likely demanding even more of your attention!
    P.S. I so enjoyed your snippets from LA, especially as my world in NYC was starting to shrink.

  2. This post felt like a gift. Thank you. I made Alexandra Cooks’ naan bread last night and it was so good! I’ve tried naan about 5 times from other sources but the result was always so-so. This win was heartening. Am also pulling down cookbooks from my shelves and going through again to try something else.

  3. I love the way you started. It’s true! Homeschooling for the first time on lock down is not a true view of homeschooling! Ah well.

    There is a perfect crackle to that bread, by the way.

  4. Pingback: A few fragments of my grief - Austin Kleon

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