April showers ended up bringing May fl–showers… at least today. Chicago is being soaked by wind and rain. A foggy gloom blankets the city. The howling wind sends sheets of rain across the Drive. It’s your basic commuting nightmare especially on public transit. As I sip my coffee in my pajamas, I am so grateful to be able to work-from-home.
For context, the typical temp for us this first week of May is mid 60s to 70s. Although it’s 47, my Iphone reports it feels like 40 because of the wind. Certainly, we get rain at this time of year. It’s just more of the watering-the-flowers sprinkles. That refreshing, renewing wet usually breathes life into Chicago. Tulips. Magnolia trees. Tiny leaf buds ready to green up the place! This isn’t that! Right now, the whole city is collectively hoping the brutal temp doesn’t dip a few degrees and cause hail, sleet or snow.
I thought when I killed my poinsettia by trash chute, it would release nature’s endorphins of freshly cut grass and honeysuckle blossoms. It didn’t happen. My attempts at Winter euthanasia did not dislodge Spring. We seem to be stuck in the lesser known part of Game of Thrones’ Winter is Coming ….Winter isn’t Going scenario!
Despite Mother Nature, Russia’s inhumanity, the cost of gas, and The Handmaid’s Tale going nonfiction, I am grateful to be healthy. Two days before I had my second booster shot, I donated blood. The Red Cross found high levels of COVID-19 antibodies in my blood. This is the first time they detected any antibodies in my blood despite three shots. They are now classifying me as ‘Reactive+’. I feel like I am –currently- protected and protecting my fellow citizens from getting COVID-19. This is as close as I’ve ever felt to being a super hero. And I didn’t have to fall in a vat of toxic waste!! That’s the best!
And of course, I can’t help but compare April 2022 to April 2020. In 2020, Chicago was locked down. I was in solitary confinement with fear-of-the-unknown as my constant companion. So, April 2022, and all its weather angst, is still better for many reasons! And the biggest one is I got to spend time with people….
*I saw and reviewed two plays. Chicago theatre is accessible as long as you are masked and show proof of vaccination. I saw “Spring Awakenings” (Porchlight Music Theatre) with Scubi and her mom and “All’s Well that Ends Well (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) with Ellen. And when Collin perfectly timed his request during my second glass of wine, we BOUGHT last minute tickets to see “SIX” (Broadway in Chicago).
I also was out and about in the city. I went to the movie “Everything everywhere all at once” with James, Ellen and Mary. I joined Rhoda for drinks and Kamrooz Aram lecture on his art exhibit. I had dinner with Tom, Ellen, Collin (2), parents, Bill, Scubi & Mabel, and Bilger & Ellen. I had lunch with Bill, Connie, and Karen & Natalie. There were also party outings for Scubi’s birthday celebration and Bilger’s winter feast. And I enjoyed Easter dinner with the parents, Jenny, Christy and Bob.
On the personal front, I completed four puzzles, hit 6174 level on Candy Crush, and took three yoga classes-unmasked. Bill and I went on a couple long walks. And I worked out with Josh biweekly and got my 10K steps in on 27/30 days. Besides getting my second booster and donating blood, I did my taxes and got my teeth cleaned. It’s hard to decide what I hate more the IRS or the dentist (— the profession, not the people).
I saw “Death on the Nile”, “Taylor Tomlinson: Look at You”, “Ghosterbusters: Afterlife”, “Zolla”, ”Better Nate than Ever”, “Peter Rabbit” 1 & 2, Obama’s “Our Great National Parks” documentary series, and “Spiderman: The Homecoming”.
I’m continuing to adhere to my new practice adoption based on James Cleary’s Atomic Habits. My morning ritual is to first read for 30 minutes to an hour. In April, I read 5 books.
I’m reading Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armande Gamache series in order. It is a perfect read especially for a winter that doesn’t end. Penny is an extraordinary storyteller. She creates colorful and flawed characters that become friends. It’s so engaging!
- The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny. Among the wonderful aspects of Penny’s storytelling, I’m learning about Canada – geography, history, culture, art. This time, the mystery is at a a monks’ monastery in a remote part of Canada. The reclusive monks had recently been made famous by their Gregorian chanting. Their newfound celebrityhood results in the choirmaster being killed by one of the other monks. The tranquility solitude is an unusual setting for murder. (Penny’s eighth)
- How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny. This was one of her more explosive novels. Multiple mysteries mesh together. Gamache is plagued by professional and personal betrayals. The clash of personalities and a whole quints backstory is just riveting! I absolutely loved the ending. (Penny’s ninth)
- The Long Way Home By Louise Penny. A friend goes missing. Gamache and his crew must re-trace his travels from multiple cities pursuing the 10th muse. Plenty of twists and lessons on art! (Penny’s tenth)
*Run Rose Rose by Dolly Parton and James Patterson. The fun part of listening to this book is Dolly herself reads for one of the characters. The collaboration between everyone’s favorite person and a thriller novelist results in a story about a young country singer with a dark past. I enjoyed it because of DOLLY -of course. The story itself is trite yet entertaining.
*Playing with Myself by Randy Rainbow. I LOVED this book. I, like many Americans, credit Randy Rainbow for getting me through the Trump years. His video parodies are clever and hilarious. And his book is too. I highly recommend listening to the book. Randy chronicles his life with sass and cheeky sidebars. In the Audible version, at the end of a passage, he’ll drop his voice to give an inside scoop. It feels like a spontaneous and conspiratorial nugget between him and me. And it’s always LOL hysterical! Since I listen to books when I’m walking, I’m sure I freaked out people around me with loud bursts of laughter.
April was a month of learning, laughing and living. I appreciate everything it taught me and brought me. Despite its current appearance, I’m looking forward to May. I’ve already made some plans with family, friends and colleagues. I can’t let the weather or anything else deter me.
Jane Fonda said in a recent interview that she had stopped drinking because even a 1/2 martini made her feel half-mast the next day. Since she, at 85, didn’t know how many tomorrows she had left, she wanted to greet each one ‘fully mast.’ I love that! Not so much the non-drinking part – I still like a martini or nice glass of red— I mean the cherishing today because we don’t know how many tomorrows we have left. I feel like plague life continues to teach me that lesson. So, even if it’s raining -literally or figuratively- where you are, ENJOY your day or some aspect of it. Today is what we’ve got!