Speaking of March

If March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, the 2020 version must have come in like a rabid raccoon with a raging case of pink-eye and an undiagnosed venereal disease. It went out like…well, it never really left and just lay dying in the corner of the room.

Speaking of things that stink, we here in Nashville got hit hard early in the month with a deadly tornado that tore through our city on March 3rd. I’m not sure we’ve exhaled since. Our family suffered loss that day and the first of many blows to our sense of security. It also marks the last time we slept through the night.

Us vs. Nashville Tornado

Speaking of things that blow, the last time all of our children were all in their respective classrooms was March 5th. Traditional college, high school and middle school all ceased around here since that last weird day. Hockey season was paused, and everyone retreated home to figure out what working and schooling from home was going to look like thinking it was a short term situation. Remember when we were so young and innocent…

Speaking of naivete, the way we interpreted the original social distancing guidelines way back then was that you made your quarantine bubble based on whoever was in your immediate vicinity at the time you first heard the news–kind of like a game of tag but no one could touch each other and being “it,” was super bad and ended the game rather unceremoniously. Nonetheless, this is who composed your Circle of Trust. (Welcome to the family, Publix cashier.) That meant Louise, Sundance and all of our 10 kids made for one extra-large circle. Inside this rather large and loud bubble, we isolated and cooked. And played games. And watched movies. And ordered a lot of shit. And whispered in questioning tones away from the kids that surely we would be through this after Easter? Surely.

Speaking of bubbles in my wine, I can’t say this was an awful time for me. Being certain that this was short-lived (!) it was nice having our nest full again doing puzzles and sitting down for dinner together every night. Having everyone home was an unexpected blessing during a time it was hard to count many. As the weeks bled into months it still was this happy bubble that remained the one constant when the world around us fell apart.

Speaking of surrounding ourselves in light even when it seems the darkest; that’s how March ended and how I will end my posts and my days–dragging my bubble to the nearest buoy of joy and clinging on for dear life.

Unlike that raccoon in the corner. Time to give him a proper burial. We won’t speak of him again.

Happy New Year?

Like most parents and smaller human beings who attended some sort of school in their lifetimes, I have always considered the beginning of the school year the actual “New Year” rather than when the calendar turns to January. That used to be because it was a natural new beginning–new grade, new books with new chapters. New attitude. The next step forward.

Today, it might be because an early exit of 2020 is at the top of my Amazon wish list along with paper towel and a chest freezer.

So Happy New Year, Friend! Let’s put an in memoriam montage together for this fresh circle of hell so we can get back to the good stuff.

Our phases of quarantine probably look fairly similar no matter where you live in the world. We started in the Tiger King period–which was about neither Tigers nor Kings, discuss–moved into Artisanal Bread Baking–until the only bacteria we were suddenly short on was yeast–Jigsaw Puzzles And Other Boring 19th Century Crafts and Hobbies You Took Odd Pride in Mastering, and finally we settled into Futile Suburban Homesteading and Husband Husbandry.

We’ve asked–yet never answered–unimaginable questions like, “Can you make hand sanitizer in an Insta-Pot?” “How can I have a negative step count today?” “Do I wash masks on Delicates or Permanent Press?” “Who is hoarding all the ramen and creamed corn? And why?” “Are my pajama pants visible in this Zoom frame?” “What’s a murder hornet?”

However as much as we’ve given up, we’ve gained new things that we never anticipated as well. We have a Home Pandemic Supply basket. I have a favorite face mask. There’s a Covid emoji. I have intimate and immediate knowledge of Covid-19 practices for every store, restaurant, business, LLC, charitable organization, and recipe in my entire Internet browsing history since 1994. And perhaps Corona’s greatest gift, curbside pickup at Liquor stores.

And while we might exchange a knowing chuckle online reading this behind wisps of uncut hair with chin-length roots lamenting about things we couldn’t fathom mere months ago, I suppose it’s because mourning all of what and whom we’ve lost is much, much harder. From losses small and great, they are all cruel and unyielding. The grief we’ve had to share seems even deeper when it comes 6 or more feet apart.

It’s definitely time for a reboot. I’m not sure if this new start date will take or not, but it’s certainly worth a try. Maybe in this phase, September 1 will become the new January 1st. I’m doing my part by adopting quarantine weight-loss resolutions and sporting a hefty hangover to ring in 2020.5 accordingly.

Let’s do this thing together.

Let’s Dish

Sangria
Sangria

For the past decade, I’ve been bringing you the very true and very ridiculous stories from my side of the picket fence. We’ve been chatting about kids and carpools, husbands and holidays, life, liberty and the pursuit of snappiness. And hopefully sharing a few laughs in the process.

We’re still going to do that, okay?

But as the new title suggests, I want to mix things up a little differently. Closer to the way I do with my family and friends in real life–at a cozy table with full plates, glasses and conversation.

Oh, we’ll still chew the fat on exercise class and vacations, but we’ll add something a little more savory while we’re doing it. I’ll share my stories, recipes, menus and delicious experiences and let’s see if we can’t get through our crazy days together. We’ll play with our food and eat while we play.

So pour yourself a glass of Sangria, and let’s dish.

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Sassgria for a Crowd

3 bottles of cheap-ish, sweet, red wine (if you use your good stuff, you’re doing wine a disservice and tormented grapes will haunt you for the rest of your days.)

1 cup simple syrup

3/4 cup brandy or blackberry brandy

1 orange, apple and lemon or lime sliced

2 whole cinnamon sticks

1 liter of club soda, seltzer water or Sprite

Prepare a simple syrup of 1 cup sugar dissolved into 1 cup of water in a small saucepan on the stove. Remove from heat when sugar has completely dissolved and set aside to cool.
Make your “mash” by placing slightly cooled syrup, 1 bottle of wine, brandy, sliced fruit and cinnamon sticks in a small pitcher and chill for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight. Chill remaining bottles of wine and club soda.
When ready to serve, combine mash with remaining bottles of wine and top with club soda right before serving. Make sure each glass had a piece of fruit and a designated driver.

–SD

 

©2013 Tracey Henry