As we bring this second year of the pandemic to a close, we need to celebrate our ability to be together even when we’re distant. My heart stopped when all the virtual singers joined in. This is the new world. I hope that even when we’re able to be together in person again, we won’t stop gathering this way.
[There’s a Mormon bit at the end, so unless you want to see it, stop the video when the piece is done.]
I got my booster shot on Wednesday—a Moderna, even though I got a J&J before. I’m glad to have an mRNA one now, and actually also to have had the old-fashioned kind first. That way I feel like my body is equipped across the board to fight off the current plague. I got my regular flu shot at the same time, so I was really wiped out and had a headache yesterday, but today is much better. Still a little weary, but the headache is gone.
Lucie developed a UTI and was peeing all over the floor constantly. She hasn’t peed in the house since she was a puppy, so we knew something was wrong. Fortunately just a couple weeks of antibiotics and she’ll be back to her old self. Already after just a couple of days she’s much better. No pee in the house last night or today! She’s now lounging on our bed for the first time in a week, so she’s happy.
James is doing his L’Arche thing right now. They’re singing their favorite Christmas carols, which of course include “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Blue Christmas”—it wouldn’t be a celebration without Elvis. I’m sometimes envious of James’s total love of that work, and of his chance to be around French speakers and speak it himself. But it’s not my calling. Apparently my calling right now is to be an English-language teacher to business professionals in Japan. Hard to get my head around that being my calling, but it seems to be so at the moment. I’ve put in 4-1/2 years at The English Farm so far. And I’m getting more and more work to do for content and curriculum. People say I’m a great teacher, and I get a lot of strokes for my content work, so I have to believe that I’m doing a good job. Still doesn’t feel like my passion, though.
If I had to choose a passion at this point, besides being free of all responsibilities when on vacation, I’d have to say visual arts. I’ve been obsessed with a portraiture competition on TV—it’s fascinating to see the process of creating a portrait of a sitter. Each artist has their own style and approach, so I see a lot of different ways to work. And I always think about how I would portray that sitter. If I had the money, I’d go to art school in a heartbeat! Not for professional gallery work, but to learn the skills to express myself well. I think I’d specialize in multi-media because I love to put things together to make something of its own. And it’s very hands-on. Photography is mostly about the eyes, especially since I don’t have a darkroom. I want something more physical.
We’ll be getting a Christmas tree tomorrow from the local farmstand down the hill. It used to be a huge thing for me to cut our own—I grew up doing that, so it seems like cheating and a let-down to buy one off a lot. But these days it’s just more work than it ends up being worth, I guess. And with my constant state of injury and pain these days, it’s pretty hard for me to manage Christmas tree cutting.
A regular student of mine told me today that she’s pregnant, after years of trying. Hope for the world continues.
I sit at a wobbly picnic table in our friends’ backyard, squirrels chattering at me, huge butternuts falling around me, and kids playing in a backyard somewhere near. My friends and James are having a meeting of the spirituality committee for L’Arche Ottawa, discussing how to move into the future in a way that serves everyone’s spiritual needs best. With a community made up of core members who are differently abled in different ways, and assistants who help them navigate their days together, plus community leaders and volunteers, it’s a challenge to create an inclusive space for spiritual nourishment.
The fact that we’re in Canada is a milestone in the pandemic. Canada opened its borders to the U.S. at the end of August. We had to take COVID tests 72 hours before crossing. We got there 74 hours after our tests, so we had to take another one right there before they’d let us through. It was negative, so they let us through. (The U.S. hasn’t opened its borders to Canadians yet, for some weird who-knows-why reason. They just announced they’ll open it in November.)
We’ve been in Montreal for a week, and here in Ottawa for one overnight. (Although if this meeting goes on much longer, we’ll need to stay another night!) It’s been kind of like rising from the dead being able to walk around and sit in parks with people and go to jazz shows at our favorite club, Diese Onze. It will be very hard to go back to our daily sameness. We always say we’re going to keep walking every day and go to the great places we have in the Berkshires, etc. But when we get home and I go back to my split-shift that turns 5 hours of actual work into a 10-hour day, we quickly lose the vitality to carry it out. And we always say, This time we’ll really do it. Maybe this time we really will.