Today is pandemic grocery shopping day. And can I just say? I am so excited! And, yes, that is an exclamation mark you see.
I have had my outfit planned for about 11 days now: jeans, Adidas, and “Y’all can’t be doing that” Andy t-shirt. To offset the Hannibal Lecter look of my mask, I’m going to wear my dangly Andy portrait earrings. So everyone knows I’m fun and whimsical, and while slightly obsessed, not a serial killer.
I can’t believe how excited I am to go to the grocery store. I mean, to think that just two months ago I would bemoan the fact that I had to go again. I would say it exactly like that to William: “I can’t believe I have to go … again.” In addition to the pregnant pause, I would separate the “a” and “gain,” so it sounded super dramatic, like the hardship was so heavy that it forced the “gain” away from the “a.”
Andy’s been my boyfriend for a month now. Happy anniversary to us, right, Andy? Yes, happy anniversary to us, Tara.
He didn’t just say that, I did, but it’s what Andy would say. I know him that well by now.
I have to say, our relationship is going well. Like, really well. I’ve seen him every single day, can you believe that?
Every time I meet him, our time together is filled with reassurance, emotion, guidance and stimulating talks. I mean, sometimes he even uses slides to show me what he means.
I could do without James and Kenneth during our alone time but talk about thoughtful.
This is what my husband William’s new normal looks like.
He dresses in scrubs in the morning, takes his temperature, and heads to the hospital. Before entering the building, he stands in the parking lot eight-feet apart from his fellow staff members. He has his temperature taken by a nurse, and he is issued a mask.
He is the only interventional radiologist working onsite for the next two weeks, because his partners are quarantining; this is to ensure they don’t all get sick at the same time. William performs procedures on patients both at the hospital and the imaging center while his partners read studies from their at-home systems.
Over the past weeks, they’ve seen a huge uptick in patients who have viral pneumonia, which is how COVID-19 presents in the lungs. William said he used to see a few viral pneumonias a month (he reads many, many chest X-rays per day). Last week, he was seeing about two studies a day that looked suspicious for it. A second ICU has opened at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital to accommodate these patients. They have 19 dedicated beds so far.
Last week, I had some fun joking about my new boyfriend Gov. Beshear.
This week, I want to get serious.
It’s not to scare you. It’s that I had the opportunity to read something incredibly eye-opening last night and I wanted to share it.
One of our great friends is Dr. Steve Eberly, a kind man, dedicated father and fellow radiologist with my husband William. Dr. Eberly’s daughter, Allie, is an internal medicine resident at University of Louisville Hospital. A few days ago, Allie helped her friend, Matthew, get treatment for COVID-19.
Matthew Jeffrey is 27 years old.
I have a new boyfriend.
OK, OK, I’m getting ahead of myself; you caught me.
I would like to have a new boyfriend. But I have competition.
His name is Andy and he’s the most popular guy in Kentucky. He’s smart. He cares. He can dress up or he can dress down, but his side hair part never changes.
He’s strict that way.
With all of this rain (and, argh, not snow) this winter, it’s made life feel a little dreary these days, am I right? But last week, I listened to a podcast that instantly made me feel lighter. It was from the show This American Life, which I listen to regularly not just because I have a huge crush on Ira Glass, but because I always come away from an episode feeling broadened.
Anyways, this episode was called “The Show of Delights,” which stemmed from The Book of Delights, written by Ross Gay. For a year, Gay committed to looking for and writing about delight each day, which resulted in truly beautiful essays. Here’s an excerpt from one called “Flower in the Curb:”
“The gold is like a corona around the petals, and there are a few flecks throughout, the way people will have freckles in their eyes or glints of lightning in their pupils. And beside this flower, or kin with it, growing from the same stem as the blazing, is an as-yet-unwrapped bud, greenish with the least hint of yellow, shining in the breeze, on the verge, I imagine, of exploding.”
Last Saturday, I found myself in the Burton Cummings Theatre singing my heart out. Beside me stood my best friend Kristin, sipping on a Stella, wearing a hip pair of mom jeans, and deeply dedicated to belting out:
The do’s were the result of Kristin having bought us tickets for Choir! Choir! Choir!, an interactive sing-along led by Toronto-based musicians Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman. We’d spent the first half of the show singing songs written by Manitoba-born artists and bands: Randy Bachman, Tal Bachman, The Weakerthans, The Crash Test Dummies, and, of course, The Guess Who.
The goal of the second half of the show was to prepare a harmonized version of the famous Guess Who song “These Eyes,” which would be videotaped and then sent to Burton.
At 5:46 p.m. yesterday, I found myself talking to myself in my car, hand gestures and all. Despite having parked in a lot that had seemed mostly abandoned, every few seconds, a car would pull in or a person would walk by and I’d have to stop talking and look like I was casually looking at my phone.
While I was relieved I hadn’t become so crazy that I was willing to let people see me talking to myself, I will say my stress level was 100 percent high. In 44 minutes, I was giving a presentation to a room full of pre-med students about how to edit their personal statements.
I knew two things going in. One, my material was solid: helpful, time-tested, applicable not just to their personal statements, but all writing. But two, that I am not famous for my public speaking skills.
My Valentine’s Day card game is strong this year. I mean, I really picked a winner: clean, simple but elegant, sweet message. Just right in that Goldilocks kind of way.
Why the success? I had a coupon for $2 off V-Day cards from Kroger and I was afraid I would forget about it — “it” being the coupon, not the Valentine —so I went in January.
Not that romantic, perhaps, but I think we’ll agree on two things.
One, greeting cards have become shockingly pricey. If you’re not careful, you’re spending $8.99, which, even if it is for love, is $8 too much for me.
And two, successful Valentine’s selection requires some planning ahead. It’s a desperate day when you throw yourself into Kroger’s card aisle and all you see is a sea of empty pink envelopes, am I right?
Every winter, my passion for cooking intensifies, and it’s usually around this time, right at the beginning of February, that I fall in love the hardest. I discover new spices. I resume my ardent affair with my cookbooks. I research ingredient availability. And every night as we sit down to dinner, with the kitchen steamy, my fingers smelling like garlic, I feel a soul-deep satisfaction.
Happily, I’ve picked up a few tricks this year that have made my cooking life even happier. I’d love to share these with you.