Monday, September 20, 2021

Holi Garden


Holi Garden

This is our third April without Bharat in his garden, our third April not discussing when we’ll attend Holi celebrations; an Indian holiday marking the arrival of spring.  

Holi was Bharat’s favorite holiday, followed closely by Christmas. He’d tell us stories of his youth in Mumbai, chasing after girls he had a crush on, brightly colored powder clenched in his palms, enjoying the hiatus from a typically forbidden touch, as he smudged a bit of blue or red on a nose, a cheek.

“That’s kinda creepy,” I snorted.

“It wasn’t like that!” he protested.  “We were kids!” 

Memories of our last Holi together as a family resurface and I remember us smeared with colored powder, mouths wide with laughter, filling our river guns, ready to spray our next unsuspecting victim. After the festivities, stomachs full of dosa and samosa, we run shivering to the car, spread towels over the seats, and yell at each other (over the ear-splitting Bollywood tunes Bharat blasts on the cd player), about who gets to shower first when we arrive home. I remind Arjun and Taara to go through the garage to hose off in the back first so they don’t track all that messy, colored powder (turned wet paste) through the house. In the hours and days following, even after two or three scrubbings, a bit of pink remains in their ears or green stays in their hair - such sweet reminders of our playful abandon.    

Now, as I sit tossing balls to our pups in the backyard, I see nature mirror those very colors: intoxicating white orange blossoms, lavender wisteria, and yellow, pink, and peach roses pose next to green tipped calla lilies. Orange cannas (just like the ones blooming near my in-laws home in Chennai) peek from the corner by the shed. Even my neighbor's bottle brush tree wants to be included - the red, spiny blossoms bending low over the fence.  Above it the jacaranda also leans in as the towering palm stands behind.

Only a few of those rose bushes lined the back fence when we moved in at the end of December, 1996. Bharat had lobbied hard for this house because he saw potential in the garden.  I know he thought about growing bougainvillea and Australian tea trees almost as much as he thought about growing our family with children and dogs; filling us up and all around with beauty - a beauty neither of us had known as children.  We talked about manifesting unconditional love.  Safety. Joy. Acceptance. We planted a vision of home. 

Slowly, slowly - with trips to Home Depot and Orchard Supply Hardware and Summerwinds Nursery - the garden took shape and form.  Bharat moved the hydrangeas, plying them with various titrations of nitrogen in the weeks before Memorial Day and July 4th - coaxing them to take on the red, white, and blue. He found purple agapanthus for the back and white for the front (where Taara and he had sown a ‘moonlight’ garden filled with flora in gradations of white).  When I begged for a bird of paradise, he put one in.  After our trip to Giverny, he purchased the purple lily bulbs and we waited for their sensual arcs and buds.   Hanging pots dripped with pink and purple fuchsia as well as spindly spider plants.  Ochre cymbidium, tiny, fat succulents, and a lone, carefully trimmed bonsai lined the back patio.  We sat back and marinated in our success, we grinned like idiots, we sighed. 

Twice a year Bharat exhorted us to attend the Baliga-Savel cocktail party - fertilizer cocktail, that is.  Bone meal, ironite, and manganese are some of the ingredients I recall.  We formed a bucket brigade: I stirred the mixture (using a recipe Bharat had clipped from the San Jose Mercury News), while one of the other three came to retrieve it and shoveled the contents under each plant.  As much as we might have grumbled at first, the Beatles or ABBA cheered us, there was laughter, the work was done, we felt satisfied and looked smug.  

These are the recollections in which I attempt to ground myself. The April sun on my face forces me to close my eyes and the warmth evokes gratitude for the various healing balms in my life : family and friends loving me through (and despite!) my prickly moodiness, my children giving and accepting love, the dogs doling out licks and happily receiving cuddles. And this profusion of flowers Bharat so lovingly planted begins to build the smallest of bridges across my loss, mending me.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Divali 2020

 November 14, 2020

Some scholars state that Valmiki’s Ramayana does not feature the scene where Lakshmana draws the protective circle around Sita before he reluctantly leaves her (at her behest) to find Rama.  But it’s the circle version with which I’m most familiar and I always chewed on : yeah, to keep Sita safe, but also to keep her locked in. Knowing my thoughts on this tale, Bharat relished saying to me: “Sita! Don’t cross the line!”, giving me a kiss, and heading out to work. He’d smile as I’d burst out laughing every single time.  As I write this letter on Divali, I miss him terribly.  Today he would have been exhorting Taara to take out the colored chalk to draw kollam on the front walkway and buying pedas at Trinetra because he wasn’t crazy about my rava kesari. Though this is my second Divali without him (I barely remember the first), we just lost my sweet mother-in-law in July. We won’t light lamps or sweeten each other's mouths this year either.

Twenty-one months have passed since Bharat left us. Some folks told me the second year would be harder than the first and this has been true in my experience. The first year was fog-filled, mechanical. This second year has been one long, painful ache punctuated by staccato, piercing moments - awareness of the permanence -he is gone. Forever. As we move from Divali into Thanksgiving and then Christmas, I’m filled with thoughts of how much Bharat loved and honored these holidays. Around the Thanksgiving table, he’d ask us to talk about the things for which we were grateful.

Thank you to family and friends who never left me and stay by me still.  Please know I’m so moved and bolstered by each text, phone call, package, card, Zoom, visit, and gentle nudge to venture a bit further out of my comfort zone.  Thank you for loving me through (and despite!) my prickliness and moodiness. 

Here, we are grateful for an election result which will require so much healing but also feels hopeful.  And while we might not be on the same page about everything, having a woman named Kamala as VP feels miles away from being called the N word when I was growing up. A balm. 

The children and pups are well.  Sweet Raani turned 15 on 10/31.  She’s still got it going on, but we sometimes find her staring vacantly at the wall -which is simultaneously endearing and sad. We give her lots of cuddles.  Lassi is not the terror she used to be, but also not fully rehabilitated :)  While she continues to play well with others and is very loving, she won’t stop eating poop!

Taara lives here with me, takes classes remotely through Sonoma State, and works 30 hours/week at Bass Pro Shops.  She’s astonishing! Lucky for us she’s a wonderful communicator and we’re successfully navigating the move from parent/child to parent/young adult-roomie (who’s still my baby!). 

Arjun seems very happy at the University of Maryland.  He’s got some good research going on (and as of yesterday, his very first publication on which he is first author!), lovely advisor, wonderful classes, and maintaining fabulous relationships near and far.  He’ll be home for a couple weeks around Thanksgiving and we’re excited! I’m grateful he makes sure to reach out via text and calls a few times a week.  We look forward to visiting him there one day.  

...when we can visit - which brings me to COVID-19.  I’m grateful that we’ve been able to remain safe and healthy (touch wood) and am so saddened by all those we’ve lost and will lose. Praying for successful vaccines, but also for the distribution of those vaccines to all. I understand that these holidays will be so very difficult for folks and I’m very sorry for that loss of ritual and connection many people will feel this year.

In my world, where one of the worst things has already happened to me, COVID precautions seem a small inconvenience.  I understand that this is also because I have a roof over my head, health insurance, my health, my children, Amma, sujatha, Jason, and Sathya are fine, and two jobs I am grateful to be able to do from home. So, I don’t know when my exile from joy will be over and I don’t care.  But I have every faith that one day I’ll feel compelled to follow the lights back to myself, back home.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Owning It

"Anti-Blackness is an Asian American problem." - Amita Swadhin

Reading this sentence a few days ago knocked me on my ass.  For several days prior, like many of us, these Black men and their families were in my head and on my heart:

Chris Cooper simply birding in Central Park and a White woman calling police to falsely accuse him of "threatening her life." Mr Cooper asked her to put her dog on a leash. They were in an area of the park where dogs are not allowed.

Ahmaud Arbery jogging and then murdered in Georgia.  The White men who shot him thought he was trespassing and that he fit the description of someone who'd been perpetrating crimes in the neighborhood.

George Floyd murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis. Police were called because a shop owner believed Floyd was trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.

Anti-Blackness in an Asian American problem.

Do you know how many times I've had the police called on me because I asked someone to leash their dog? Zero.

Do you know how many times I've had the police called on me because I was taking a walk and wandered onto someone else's property?  Zero.

Do you know how many times I've had the police called on me because I've used a counterfeit $20 bill?  Zero.

Do you know how many times I've worried about my safety or my life when I was doing all of those things (because I have actually done all those things).  Zero.

I have privilege and that's why I have not worried.

I'm being asked to look deeply at very uncomfortable issues and my conscience is not letting me turn away.  So here's me, calling myself out and reflecting on what I've seen and said and perpetrated. I've kept myself apart and distant.  I've been silent and therefore, complicit.

I am privileged and I benefit from this privilege. AND I have been hurt, too.  Both of these things can exist simultaneously.  If I come clean about my privilege and the role I play in the oppression of Black individuals, that's one step toward healing our community.  Holding myself accountable matters.

We've seen the lists of Black people harmed and murdered.  We've seen the lists of what we can do to help.  What I can do today is speak out. I'm not looking for absolution, not just because that's not the point of my writing these words, but because that absolution won't help, isn't deserved.  Centering me and making me feel better is not why I'm writing these words.

I understand that this is not happening to me.
I understand that I am not Black and have not suffered the types and degrees of oppression Black people have suffered.
I hope that I have always presented and acted as an ally to members of the Black community.
Here's one tiny way I can stand with : by speaking out about the fact that just because I haven't sought out privilege, doesn't mean I haven't benefited from it. Now that I've said those words out loud, what will I do?

Now that you've read my words, what will you do? Protest? Speak out? Donate your money and/or time? Sit with this information and really chew on it?  Whatever you choose to do, please don't turn away.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Fat in the Time of Corona

I'm fat.  Just sit with that information a moment and notice how comfortable or uncomfortable you feel about my revelation.  Are you angry with me  ("Why did she have to say that?? I don't want to read this crap!")?  Do you want to give me a hug ("She looks so pretty!  Why would she say that about herself?")?  Are you wondering why the heck I'm talking about this right now ("Is she seriously going to talk about herself and being fat at a time like this??")?

Honestly, I was just being a bit cheeky with the title and an allusion to Garcia Marquez's gorgeous work.  The titles have the same number of syllables and a similar, odd juxtapositioning of two concepts: fat/corona and love/cholera  In this lifetime, I wouldn't compare myself to Garcia Marquez. I'm just a fangirl.  But in the process of looking up what he meant by the book title, I learned some crazy stuff.

Garcia Marquez wrote Love in the Time of Cholera because he'd been inspired by Dafoe's 1722 novel A Journal of the Plague Year. Set in 1665, it's a journal of one man living in London during the bubonic plague.  Yes, I went down that rabbit hole.  Yes, it's available for free online - like, the whole book!  Yes, I'm amazed that I bumped into this information about bubonic plague while researching something I thought was completely unrelated, while we ourselves are all going through....but I digress.

Fat.  At nearly 54, I'm ok with most things about me.  So I'm not writing about my weight to be exhorted to love myself nor hear inspiration to work out (I do both!).  Nor am I fishing for compliments - I know I'm beautiful inside and out, blah, blah,  blah.  (I've been looking at myself on Zoom for four years.  Not four months, four years. I'm captivating, adorable, thoughtful, and have a great smile). Thanks, though.  I was married to a man who loved me and loved how I looked no matter what I weighed. What a true gift in a life partner.

No, see, food is in my head right now because I caught myself complaining about how all the snacks in my home taste like cardboard: Ak-mak crackers, gluten-free pretzels, Reduced Fat Wheat Thins and hummus, low-fat granola, and Vatana (peas) from the Indian store.  Beyond lackluster snacks, I have a wide array of delectable, yet uber-healthy produce from the farmers' market: Cara-Cara Oranges, Gala apples, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, blueberries, strawberries... and all organic too.  Truly a dietician's dream....but not 'fun' food!

While this is not true of every person, I am overweight because I live here and I have the money to purchase this food and consume more of it than my body needs or probably should have.  Wow.  The ultimate 'first world problem', huh?  And food is also on my mind because I saw those images of food bank lines.  People here in America need food.  That simply astonishes me.  Before the pandemic, I think the stat was something like 1 in 7 children in America went to bed hungry.  Here in our country. I'm sure that stat is worse now. 

Regardless of what we weigh, we can take a minute or two to help.  Today, I'm going to visit the Second Harvest Food Bank website and make a donation.  But next time I go to the store, I'll pick up some extra cans of beans or soup to donate.  I have friends who volunteer at food banks every week and they report that donations are way down. I'll also be mindful when I sit down to my meals and be grateful for every bite.

*Note: in response to last week's post in which I whined about not having chocolate in the house, a very, very sweet high school classmate sent a beautiful box of chocolates from Olympia Candy Kitchen (a favorite spot from our youth).  I'm so grateful for her thoughtfulness, the chocolate itself, and that she'd help a business, which we hold close in our hearts, to stay open.  Wooo-hooo!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Corralling the M's

This week my m's toggled between muddled and misanthrope.  Remember those hopeful m's from last week? Those m's were gonna get us through and we'd be #AllInThisTogether!  Except, to be frank the only thing those m's made me think about was more m's....then chocolate - which was not especially helpful, as we have none in the house (by the end of this post, you may come to the conclusion that this chocolateness is solely responsible for all my issues and I may not disagree with you. And the probability is high that by the time I hit 'publish', chocolate will have been obtained).

To recap/intro: the m's (which I appropriated from some nice psychologist on the radio) are the four (supposedly helpful) conditions we can explore while staying at home.
Mastery :  being creative or learning something new -not stressing ourselves out with unrealistic goals, but rather, being joyful in our creativity
Mindfulness : meditation or breath observation, for example
Moving our bodies : walks/runs/treadmills/yoga/aerobics/stretching
Mental health (this is the m I couldn't remember exactly, but it seems to fit in nicely with the others and is most pertinent to my current reality): connecting with friends via phone/Zoom or seeing a therapist

My fourth m really took a nosedive recently.  That cute kid we heard from in these very pages last week: I yelled at her.  Via text. Ugh.  I'm not going to call her out, just myself.  She didn't do a certain thing I needed her to do. I got irrationally angry and sent two very long texts (she was on the phone with a friend and I didn't want to embarrass her by scolding in public) which were words I should have said more lovingly, in person.  #Misanthrope.  There were tears and hugs and professions of accountability from both of us, but not my finest Amma moment.  Other examples: unwarranted eye rolls adjacent to the mouthy grocery clerk and wanting to punch a gas pump until my knuckles bled because the receipt roll was out (yes, I still print receipts at the pump, what's it to you? Just back up! And if I hear a single "Ok, Boomer...", I swear to....). 

#Muddled : I mean do I even have to? I'll just hit some highlights: where are my keys? Oh yeah, in the freezer, obvi.  Is that when we were meeting? These aren't technically pajama bottoms...and this is a liquor store, so quit judging! (maybe this example fits better under misanthrope.  Except I didn't remember I was wearing the not-quite-pajama bottoms when I ran out of the house, so there's that...).  Wondering if Cream of Wheat is ok for dinner.  Trying to open the garage door by pressing the interior car light button, then becoming angry that this method isn't working. Buying Halo Top instead of real ice cream and then flipping out because we don't have ice cream - which is a food I don't even eat but twice a year (this is not a virtue, ice cream just makes my teeth hurt. And don't talk to me about letting it are not helping).  That last example is muddled misanthrope, isn't it?

So that's it.  No wise words from sweet children.  No exhortations, nor calls to do, well, anything.  Just saying: I'm here with you - cranky, missing keys, pajama bottoms, and all.  But things are looking up: now I have the chocolate :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Excuse Me

Today, I'm honored to share this space with my lovely daughter Taara, an 18 year old freshman at Sonoma State University.  As I continue to work with students, I've been asking her to contribute some wisdom about excuses and how she stays motivated when so many assessments have shifted from letter grades to pass/fail or credit/no credit. Why bother? What's the point? What's an ok excuse and what's just rubbish? (I literally never use the word 'rubbish, so I'm  not sure why I said that). I asked her to dig into these questions with me and she graciously agreed.  Here's a portion of our conversation:

Desi Amma: Thanks for agreeing to appear in this guest spot!  Did my threatening you with cutting off Netflix unless you complied have anything to do with your decision?

Taara: Oh gosh, no......

DA: No, you didn't realize that was a threat or no, that didn't influence your talking to me?

T: No, you're my mom. I don't see you as a threat....and I don't think you'll cut off Netflix because you love it too much!

DA: Truth... so let's get started. What do you think about excuses in general?:

T: I think it depends.  It depends on the person and what the situation is.  Excuses can be made out of laziness or not wanting to change behaviors.  Let's say someone is cheating on their partner and their excuse for cheating is : "I didn't know it was going to happen."  That's based on their own problems.  Another excuse one could make could be about not cleaning up their room.  That's me. I'm comfortable with it.

DA: In the first example, the excuse and behavior hurts/affects someone else.  In the second, the consequence is just on you.

T: Uh huh.

DA: Can you give an example of what might be a valid reason to be excused from something?

T: Ok, let's say someone had a family emergency and they weren't able to do their work.  You'd tell your teacher, "I couldn't finish my work because someone in my family got hurt" and hopefully the teacher will be reasonable about it.  Or if you're not feeling well and you have to tell your boss that you have to stay home so you don't infect others.

DA:  Both of those examples are legit excuses?

T: Yes.  There's a difference between having a valid excuse versus the consequences of your bad actions on others and yourself - that's when you're lying to others and yourself and that's not ok.

DA: What's your take on asking to be excused from certain commitments right now, in this moment?:

T: As stressful as it is right now, we do have responsibilities we have to take care of.  Or if people are feeling emotionally drained and not up to a task, that's ok.  It's a matter of your mental health and how bad it is. Everyone should take care of themselves.  I think one can be excused to a certain extent.  You still have to wake up every day and get out of bed, for your own body's sake.  But one should not lose themselves and you might cause permanent damage to yourself in this situation, which is just temporary.  So keeping up with daily routines and regimens and some commitments can be helpful right now.

DA:  Are you gearing up to tell me you're not going to do the dishes...?

T: (wry chortle)....I'd do them if you let me!  But you say I don't do them right!

DA: A topic for another day!  What might be some acceptable reasons to ask for special treatment at work and/or school?:

T: Mental health, family emergencies, children, spouse, money problems.  I guess anything that's part of your world that you have to take care of.  And if you don't take care of it, it's going to ruin something or someone.

DA: So let's say I'm capable of meeting most of my promises at work and/or school, how do I keep it up?  How do I motivate myself? I mean, what do you do?

T: Motivation doesn't always come when we want it to, sadly.  It will come in bursts and I think the time when we least have it, might be the time we should get up and do something.  I would say, find someone or something that's important to you and know that you have to wake up every day to take care of them, to help them.  And know that the lack of motivation won't last forever.  For example, I wake up and I know I have to help you, I do things for the dogs, I have to take care of some things in this house. I do it for Appa (dad). I kind of have those people to motivate me and keep me going when times are rough.  Because it's also not just about me but helping those around me. I can't just sit around all day doing nothing.

DA:  That's really lovely. But what would you suggest if a person can't get up out of bed and can't find the energy to do anything?  What do you think that means?

T:  Well, I think that if someone isn't even able to get out of bed, that reflects their mental health.  That could lead to depression and anxiety and other mental illnesses.  Acknowledging that those are the feelings you're having right now is the first step.  Then they might need to get help.

[PSA: The National Suicide and Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255]

DA: Yeah, that's perfect advice.  Don't be afraid to ask for help and/or ask someone how to access that help. Now if we can shift to school stuff : can you tell us what helps you keep focus and motivation when it must be so tempting to just coast?  Practically all your classes are pass/fail.


DA: Relatable.  What else?

T: What keeps me focussed?  Knowing that my performance affects my future.  It's kind of like the butterfly effect: everything affects everything.  Plus there's not much to do right now, so it makes sense to focus on something other than being scared of the uncertainty.  I think my classmates are also sweet and kind and they help me focus.  They also make it more enjoyable.  Even though it's pass/fail right now, I wouldn't want to let myself down and it's not an excuse.  I had to learn that at a very young age. 

DA:  What happened when you were young?

T:  Just when I thought, I don't have that much homework or I don't have to pay attention that much or pay attention to my grades.  That's when I realized, it's important to get an education and I have a privilege being here.  Many people don't have the privilege to go to college like I do.

DA: So you think about those things when it's hard to get moving?

T: Uh huh. But don't be too hard on yourself, but also know when to push yourself.

DA:  What about getting your school work done? How do you do that?

T:  Managing your time properly is very important.  Like knowing when things are due.  Talking to your teachers/professors when you can. Have a calendar or planner because we tend to forget things.  And doing work ahead of time if you can.  It doesn't happen all the time,  but that's where managing your time comes in. Also knowing yourself and how much you can handle putting off work.  How much stress is that going to add to your day?

DA: Do you give yourself rewards or things to look forward to when you finish some work?

T: Some Netflix, YouTube, listening to music, just me time to clear my brain.  So yeah I do have some rewards but they're not really anything major.  Just taking a break. I could order something online if I wanted to....

DA:  Oh yeah, how ya gonna pay for that?

T: Well.....I know someone....

DA: "Someone"..... ahem.  So, what are some of your strategies?

T:  I take it one step at a time, take baby steps.  Let's get up, let's brush out teeth, take a shower.  Simple, daily routines that can jump start your day : go outside and get some Vitamin D, get some exercise, play the piano, sing, play with the dogs, get dressed up for no reason.  Finding something that can help you get stuff off your chest and relieve your emotions.

DA: What about reaching out to others?

T: Yeah.  You can talk to people, text people you haven't talked to in a long time.  For me personally, I FaceTime people - I think it adds more connection.  Doing little dates is really, really helpful - whether it's with your boyfriend/significant other or a friend.  It will make you feel less lonely.  Or talking to a therapist, like I said before.

DA:  Those all sound like such good ideas!  Any parting thoughts for people struggling to stay on top of their stuff?

T: I think we're all on the same page. You're not alone in that feeling. Take it one day at a time. One hour at a time. It's not easy,  but every day is a new chance to restart with a new attitude.

DA: You're adorable..Thank you so much!  That was awesome

T: (chuckle)  Uh huh - of course!

Coda: Yesterday on the radio, I heard someone talking about what we need to be doing and experiencing in order to get through these days.  She talked about the four m's:  mastery (being creative or learning something new - she was careful to say this activity should bring you joy and not stress), mindfulness (meditation and breath observation, for example), moving our bodies, and (here's the m that eludes me - maybe mental health?), connecting with others.  And I thought "we're doing those things!'  But if it were that simple, we'd have all cracked this 'stay at home' code and feel fabulous.  We're going to try to do most of those m's, most days. But some days, we won't. Perhaps we won't even have an excuse, and that's ok.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Love Notes from the non-Coronaverse....and Beyond

In the multiverse (of all the parallel universes), I believe there's a non-Coronaverse and that's where I'm trying to live, at least some of the time.  We can call that place  parts of my life.  From this vantage point, I can see that I'm irritating some people.  I'm blowing a bit of sunshine and I understand how that could be so annoying.  Sometimes I get on my own nerves and want to slap myself.   But sometimes, I'm kind and funny, so I'll try to channel that now.  Here are some love notes from my non-Coronaverse to whichever '-verse' you find yourself in at the moment:

You may be delighted/reassured/amused/annoyed to learn that I didn't acquire a single new skill nor talent this week!  I mean, I learned a bunch of stuff, stuck it in my brain for a minute, and then it promptly fell out.  Honestly, that last part is a relief because now I've made room to remember "important" things like grocery shopping and wearing a new, different pair of sweats every other day.

Taara kindly curated an exercise video for us and we gamely giggled through box steps and lunges to the tune of...I'm not sure what...bland, disco-y beats.  We appreciated that the instructor was easy on the eyes even though he was wearing bright that...spandex..?  Okay. That's okay because he was so kind and exhorting us to  'keep going!' and 'you got this'! Plus, he'd chosen actual-sized women to show us how to take it up or down a notch in difficulty (we think this is just fabulous). But we threw caution to the winds and leveled up with actual DOGS throwing themselves in our paths! HA!  Bet you never thought of that Mr Spandex!

Speaking of the pooches: a sweet bit of information I learned about my pup Lassi (as in mango, not with an 'e' like : Timmy and....) is that she doesn't drool, snap, nor pull (as if she were a rabid cur) at every poor soul wearing a mask who strolls by. And she doesn't mind when Taara and I do, either (wear masks - not drool, snap, or pull -  just to be clear). Also my dogs don't seem to give a hoot that we're home all the time!  What's up with that? I now find myself in he awkward position of feeling jealous of the all the cat owners posting videos of their annoyed cats...because I'm jealous that my dogs don't seem to care...? Seriously, what is wrong with me? Also, I'm allergic to cats, so an extra dose of 'who cares?', right?

Last time, I'd mentioned that I wasn't watching/reading news.  Just as many of us are thinking: hmmmm....haven't we social-distanced long enough? (NO.  The answer is NO) I'm also thinking - can't I just watch a teensy bit of news? (Again, apparently the answer is NO) because I slowly began titrating some news-watching/reading back into my day with such whack effects : I began eye-rolling and heavy-sighing at the pups (the PUPS! I'm a monster) for the most reasonable requests: like needing to go out to potty or wanting a treat. Or when Lassi (you get that she's the trouble-maker) slunk off to the bathroom (which one of us had carelessly left open) to just have a wee nibble on the end of a toilet paper roll....which is clearly.....wait....WHAT?? (bounding inelegantly from the sofa) no, no, No, NO, NO, LEAVE IT, LEAVE IT!!!!

But at this moment, our spring celebrations are on my heart : Ugadhi, Nowruz, Easter, Holi, Vaisakhi, Passover, and Ramadan (to name a few).  Many of us have/will have to celebrate apart and I know that's so tough.  But we're doing our best, connecting as best we can, though we're not always succeeding.  In my non-Coronaverse, I'm forgiving myself for stumbling (during aerobics videos and just in life), hopefully (gracefully) allowing some people to catch me when I do, and really trying to gently hold others in whatever '-verse' they reside right now.