And here is the final installment of Notes From a Pandemic, the mini posts I wrote on social media throughout a portion of the pandemic.

Note: You made need to click on some photos to see them in their original format.

8:24:21-1 8:24:21-2 8:24:21-3 8:24:21-4 8:24:21-5 8:24:21-6 8:24:21-7 8:24:21-8 8:24:21-9

NOTES FROM A PANDEMIC 8/24/21: A few photos from our week away last week on Chautauqua Lake plus a visit to Griffis Sculpture Park. First time sleeping away from our house since November 2019. First vacation in 2 years. Much needed. 1. Family. 2. Laughs. 3. Love. 4. Sunrise last day. 5. Foggy sunrise first day. 6. Griffis Sculpture Park, photo by Oscar. 7. Visit from my mom! 8. Visit from my dad! 9. Silly.



NOTES FROM A PANDEMIC 9/3/2021: Last night we went to the Memorial Art Gallery. Art gallery: a building that has art inside to look at (in case you have forgotten, we practically had). We hadn’t done that in 18 months. Since the pandemic started we have been eating dinner later than we used to, generally around 7pm, sometimes later. Probably because the days take more energy to get through so it takes us longer to get to dinner. We were determined to eat dinner early last night and get out of the house (MAG is open until 9 on Thursdays, and the recent visit to the sculpture park reminded us how vital art—in person, not on a screen—is to our existence). Try as we might, we ate dinner at 7, got to the gallery a little before 8. WE HAD THE PLACE TO OURSELVES. No one else was there. Fantastic Peter Jemison exhibit, and the Rochester Finger Lakes Exhibition is a thoughtful and diverse collection of work. Almost all of the art we looked at was by living artists from western and central New York. INCREDIBLE work. Amazing. One hour. We’ll go back for more. But one hour can make so much difference, any time, but especially in these times. ART MATTERS. (We’ll have to visit RoCo next).



NOTES FROM A PANDEMIC 9/8/2021: Tonight our wonderfully enthusiastic superintendent left a recorded phone message for all the families in the district saying he was SO happy all the kids would be back in person for their first day tomorrow that it feels like all the holidays wrapped up into one! I appreciate the message, genuinely, but tomorrow does not feel like a holiday to us. After 18 months of remote school while the majority of kids in the district were in the hybrid program, the transition back feels massive for Oscar, and for us. There’s plenty he is excited about and I’m sure I’ll post a joyful first day pic/post tomorrow. But the start of this school year is full of a bigger mix of emotions than usual. Not to mention that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic that is raging, and simply sending our kids to school is a risk to their basic health and safety. Extra empathy for those of you whose kids are too young to be vaccinated or live in places where masking and vaxxing is questioned. There is so much we are all excited about, but I thought it worth honoring the ambivalence on the eve of the start of school. I’m sure we’re not alone…


12:15:21-1 Abstract art from last week, working title “oscar wuz here.” The loop at the top is part of a figure 8 he made—something he loves to do in the snow. The lines at the bottom are from the lift on his school bus. The scribbles in between are from him positioning himself to back onto the lift mixed with his bus driver’s foot prints. NOTES FROM A PANDEMIC 12/15/21: Being a person is hard. Parenting is hard. Parenting a kid with extra layers of needs is hard. Add a seemingly never-ending global pandemic into a family with multiple people in risk groups and you get…our every day lives these days, that are HARD. We’re tired. Like exhausted. We have to get up at 5:15 every single day to get Oscar out the door to get to 8th grade. And that’s only about 3% of why we’re tired. Oscar has an *amazing* aide at school who assists him with physical tasks he needs help with. There is no trained sub yet this year so if Oscar has to go to the bathroom on a day his aide is out, either David or I leave work to to go to the school. Personnel issues in schools are that bad—we live in an amazing and way over privileged district and it’s December and they haven’t worked this out yet. We have empathy, but our patience is running thin. Some great people are working on it, but… Then there’s the fact that his school has decided in the last couple weeks to loosen some covid protocols—luckily these changes don’t directly impact Oscar, but they do impact the school community. Yes, they really made this decision in the last few weeks when cases are soaring, omicron is imminent, and the holidays are upon us. They have been so smart and thoughtful this entire pandemic, I am mystified (not to mention blood-curdling outraged). TCMS parents: if you are even a little concerned about what is happening at lunch time PLEASE send a note to Kevin McGowan AND the school board, please. Usually by this time of year I’m mustering silly amounts of extra energy to stay up late baking a variety of cookies and delighting in writing holiday cards—this year I’ve got nothing. 12:15:21-2I’m planning to bake this weekend, I hope I’m excited to do so by then. I am thankful every single day for David and Oscar, and for my parents—our bubble. Yes, we are absolutely still in a bubble. I don’t know how any of us would be getting through these days without each other. I say all of this simply to be real, to be a bridge from one human to another. I know many are struggling right now, in all kinds of different ways. We can be together in this. One small magic: flour and water. A few weeks ago I made my first sourdough starter, and after 15 + years of baking bread pretty regularly, I made my first loaf of sourdough last weekend. It was challenging and fun and nervewracking and delicious and far from perfect and there will be more loaves and more stories. Flour and water. (and of course salt). That’s it.



NOTES FROM A PANDEMIC 2/23/22: I just dropped Oscar off at a friend’s house to hang out with a small group of friends (masked) for the first time in over two years. He has been to a few outdoor gatherings, he has hosted a handful, as well as had individual friends over (all masked but one who we welcomed into our “bubble” after they were both vaccinated), not to mention that he has spent countless hours outdoors or online with individual friends. And during those couple weeks in 2021—post-vaccine but pre-Delta—he did have friends over unmasked. I am sitting now, with my tea and notebook, in the quiet. In my cozy little office at home in what we have come to call “The Warm Room” this past winter because with the door closed it becomes by far the toastiest spot in our house. I am stunned. I teared up just a little—with gratitude—on my short drive home. For two reasons. What barriers for socialization have been in place these last two years. But also, because of the barriers of accessibility, I can count on one hand, maybe two but not with all the fingers, the total number of times we have ever dropped Oscar off at a friend’s house to stay, indoors, without us. I hope today is an opening, not just in the wall of the pandemic that we have been living behind, but also a beam of light shining on future opportunities for Oscar’s social independence. He has so much to give—and so much to gain—by spending time in other people’s homes, experiencing the culture of different families. This afternoon, for him, I am blissful.



NOTES FROM A PANDEMIC, 4/1/2022: I went up to Durand, to Lake Ontario, which is something for some reason that I rarely do. I wasn’t sure what was pulling me there today, what I was looking for. Once I got there it was obvious: something bigger and louder and calmer than the synapses firing in my head. As I stared out toward the horizon I thought, “There’s a whole other country on the other side of that water.”










And that concludes the series of posts I called “NOTES FROM A PANDEMIC.”