Liminal Space

Here in the soybean field we are less than 12 hours from evicting 2020. I will not be sad to see it go.

In our personal world, Hubby, Oakley, and I were pretty lucky. We stayed healthy (except for a rather stubborn bout of colitis in Oakley’s case) as did our families. No surprise expenses; no crises. For that we are truly grateful.

In the wider world, however…dear Mystery, when will this end? There’s the horror of COVID-19 unfolding in real time around us compounded by an administration that has no problems with the elderly and minority segments of the population dropping like flies while health care professionals and workers who come into contact with the general public lay their lives on the line daily. There’s the shock that so many of my fellow Americans have been taken in by conspiracy theories that defy any logic, and believe the lies of the ones who want to subvert the will of the people to keep the current occupant of the Oval Office installed. And how many want Civil War Part II. That frightens me.

Comfort came in rereading Emily Carr’s Hundreds and Thousands, a collection of her journals from the late 1930s into almost the end of World War II. She was an artist and writer who lived in Victoria, B.C. with her dogs, monkey, and a domestic rat or two. Her New Year’s entries remind readers that this high and wide pile of uncertainty and dread mixed with hope that we sit on this season is nothing new, especially the entries from war time. What will this world get itself up to next year, she asked more than once. She leaned on her faith, kept busy with her visual and written arts, and relied on the company of her sisters and fur-bearing companions to find peace in the tempest of war.

As I wait for the stroke of midnight to launch us into 2012, I find myself doing the almost the same thing. Phone calls to check in on the siblings and friends; journaling; walks with Oakley are what keep me sane these days.

So does the hope coming up over the horizon. In the not too distant future, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will officially take their oaths of office. Since their election, they’ve shown more leadership than the current hot wet mess of an administration ever did on issues related to the pandemic.

We still have 20 days until they take office. Until then, we need to celebrate survival, or at least bask in relief that we’re still here. On behalf of Oakley, Hubby, and myself, I raise my glass to you, Gentle Readers, and wish you a calmer, prosperous 2021.

How to Build a Bigger Table

When you have more than you need, build a bigger table, not a higher fence. John Pavlovitz.

I’ve had Fourth of Julys spent huddled under desks with Oakley and Orion that felt more like end of the year celebrations than this season has. Holidays and I don’t get along really well to begin with, so forgive me for sitting this month out except for New Year’s Eve. I look forward to the books being closed on this plate of lutefisk with a colonoscopy prep chaser of a year.

In the personal world, the holiday get together with my family has been postponed. There’s no way Sister and Brother in Law can get down here safely, and they’re both in risk groups. Brother and Sister in Law are in risk groups. Hubby is in a risk group because of his age. Trinkets and tokens of affection will get exchanged somewhere along the line, I’m sure, though, but in person is contraindicated until further notice.

For now, anyway, it’s time to put the focus on what can be done, especially in the wider world. As we’ve seen, there’s a lot that needs doing. As I write, we have 31 days until President Biden and Vice President Harris are inaugurated (I know it’s technically -elects, but they’ve been acting more presidential than some occupants of the West Wing I can name). Even with the incoming administration, the damage done in the last four years and exacerbated by the pandemic this year is not going to be repaired overnight.

Just like the best way to wash a stack of dishes is to grab a plate and start washing, the best way to help with the mess caused by COVID-19 is to pick an issue and take action. For us, making sure people eat is first and foremost. “Appalled” didn’t begin to cover our reactions to the videos of people waiting in lines for hours to get food. Hubby and I donated to https://solvehungertoday.org, the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

In addition, I’ve been spending more time on Twitter retweeting articles on food insecurity to my elected reps and articles detailing what the populace can do to help their neighbors who may be in dire circumstances. For ways to help in your area, please go to https://www.feedingamerica.org.

If you can donate, great. Even a dollar or five can help (they can create eight meals out of every dollar per the food bank). Even an extra can of tuna or jar of peanut butter means an extra sandwich or two. And don’t forget soap, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, and masks. Those are not covered by SNAP.

Another way to donate is to buy a gift card and leave it with the cashier. That way if someone comes up a bit short at checkout, the cashier can use it to discreetly help the customer.

Everyone can contact their reps at the state and local levels. Email. Call. The US Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121. If you have a rep who’s not responsive, support another candidate in 2022.

In the meantime, wash your hands, wear a mask, watch your distance…and here’s to gathering at a larger table next year.

And Yourself?

Hi there…been a while since I wrote anything here. Thanks for your understanding, but the COVID-based need for isolation has caused the days to smear into each other in grey tones. And there are so many times that one can write about gratitude and simple joys and all that before it sounds as if one had been smoking Hallmark cards.

Except for one. Election Day, 11/3/20. That was one for the books. Both Hubby and I voted early, so we just sat back and ate pizza. I made an election cake from the recipes that dated from colonial times when voting was a cause for celebration. I don’t know what happened, but it turned out really dry. Basically, it’s a yeast-levened spice cake that is traditionally soaked in brandy. Maybe that was the problem, but since Hubby doesn’t do alcohol, that was a no-go. The cake was OK, but not worth the hassle.

However, as the counts tricked in, I could have used a snifter or five.

We both exhaled when the results were finally called by CNN at about 10:30 on the following Saturday. Hubby drove around and leaned on the horn as he drove past houses in our area displaying signs and flags signaling support of the current occupant of the White House. While he was out, I quietly wept in relief, then made a celebratory lunch for us.

The countdown to Inauguration Day is on. I’ll likely fix another celebratory meal. Don’t know quite what yet, but it will be on the elegant side.

First, though, the holidays or what there is of them this year. We had our usual turkey while watching the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving. Christmas gatherings are cancelled for us. Between my siblings, our spouses, and the niece and nephew benign various risk groups, any in-person gathering would amount to a suicide mission.

If it means I can keep my siblings and sibs-in-law around longer by sacrificing this year, I’m fine with it. I’m not hugely in to Christmas, anyway. Except for the cookies.

However, I am into New Year’s. I look forward to this year of lutefisk followed by a colonoscopy prep chaser going out the door at midnight in about three weeks, and I for one will not be upset if the door hits it in the butt on the way out.