27 Things

Because 27 was Mike’s favorite number, and because I like lists, and just for fun.

27 Things That Won’t Change Back
27 Songs That Made Me Cry This Week, in No Particular Order
27 Skills That Will Come in Handy for Another Month of Isolation
27 Things I Like About Working from Home
27 Signs You Really Are Getting Older
27 Things No One Tells You About Widowhood

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27 Things That Won’t Change Back

  1. Regarding paper towels as irrelevant when I have a supply of washable dishcloths
  2. Counting squares of toilet paper
  3. Saving, washing and reusing Ziploc bags
  4. Regarding deodorant as irrelevant when I have soap and running water
  5. Regarding underwire bras as instruments of torture and renouncing them, forever
  6. Appreciating natural curls and letting them be what they are
  7. Lathering my hands with soap for a count of twenty before rinsing
  8. Lathering my forearms at the same time I lather my hands
  9. Regarding disinfectant wipes as hoardable
  10. Maintaining prepper bins of canned goods in the basement
  11. Delighting in the fox family that trots around my yard
  12. Not minding the fox that jumped into my garden hunting that damn chipmunk
  13. Cursing the climate change that has brought record spring rains and endless clouds
  14. Trying to maintain my sanity despite record rains and endless clouds
  15. Seizing every rare sunny day for yard work
  16. Enjoying mowing the lawn on rare sunny days with my pretty blue electric mower
  17. Seriously contemplating turning half the backyard into a prairie that I won’t mow
  18. Working with headphones on
  19. Cleaning the house with headphones on
  20. Hoping I can continue working from home with headphones on indefinitely
  21. Low impact 30 minute workouts that make me feel good even if I don’t lose weight
  22. Forgiving myself for eating a bagel, because a person ought to be able to eat a damn bagel once in a while, carbs and all
  23. Wondering why my knees hurt all the time way when my workouts are low impact
  24. Refusing to associate joint pain with age or weight
  25. Not feeling guilty about accepting the things I can’t change
  26. Realizing that I can’t change how badly I miss the weight of a man in my bed
  27. Trying to live in the now because a pandemic reveals that now must be enough

27 Songs that Made Me Cry This Week, in No Particular Order

  1. Vincent – Don MacLean
  2. A Safe Place to Land – Sara Bareilles
  3. The Dimming of the Day – Bonnie Raitt
  4. These Days – Jackson Browne
  5. Leader of the Band – Dan Fogelberg
  6. The Pretender – Jackson Browne
  7. Long Long Time – Linda Ronstadt
  8. Fountains of Sorrow – Jackson Browne
  9. Boulder to Birmingham – Emmylou Harris
  10. Here Come Those Tears Again – Jackson Browne
  11. Hello in There – John Prine
  12. Moon River – anyone who ever recorded it
  13. Old ’55 – Eagles
  14. Clay Pigeons – John Prine
  15. Long Ride Home – Patty Griffin
  16. Our Town – Iris DeMent
  17. The Road – Jackson Browne
  18.  My Old Man – Steve Goodman
  19. Wild Heart – Mumford and Sons
  20. I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers
  21. Beloved – Mumford and Sons
  22. The Dutchman – Steve Goodman
  23. The Heart of the Matter – Don Henley
  24. The Circle Game – Joni Mitchell
  25. You Matter to Me – Sara Bareilles and Jason Mraz
  26. Ghost in this House – Alison Krauss
  27. For a Dancer – Jackson Browne

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27 Skills That Will Come in Handy for Another Month of Isolation

  1. how to thread a needle
  2. how to use a threaded needle to sew a mask and mend an item of clothing
  3. how to clean without using paper towels
  4. how to use a handheld shower as if it were a bidet
  5. how to cut your own hair
  6. how to not give a crap how your hair looks
  7. how to cut your own lawn
  8. how a lawn mower works so you can cut your own lawn
  9. how to forget about having a lawn and use the lawn as a vegetable garden instead
  10. how to grow a tomato from seed
  11. how to grow any vegetable from seed
  12. how to raise chickens
  13. how to heat a chicken coop for the coming winter without burning it down
  14. how to turn off the TV and the phone and the laptop so you can work your backyard farm
  15. how to bake yeastless breads because all the people who have never baked bread before bought all the yeast already
  16.  how to bait a hook, catch a fish, clean, cook and eat a fish without barfing or worrying about mercury
  17. how to cook a fish in the fireplace when the power goes out because of a storm and the repair workers are all home sick
  18. how not to spend money
  19. how to barter when the money you didn’t spend becomes worthless
  20. how to appreciate silence
  21. how to be grateful for breathing
  22. how to marvel at the night sky when the lack of light and air pollution means we can see stars again
  23.  how to feel humbled by the courage of delivery drivers and grocery store workers
  24.  how to face your fears
  25.  how to speak like you know that anything you say to someone may be the last thing you ever say to them
  26. how to forgive
  27. how not to forget

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27 Things I Really Like About Working from Home

  1. Being in charge of the work music mix
  2. Singing along at full voice to the 4th movement of the Brahms Requiem while planning to eventually vacuum and dust to make my dwelling place lovelier
  3. Having time to work out
  4. Working on finding the motivation to work out (I did the  morning I wrote this!)
  5. Spending most of the day at my desk which was already my happy place
  6. In-person breaks with Angelic Daughter, instead of phone calls
  7. Lunch with Angelic Daughter
  8. The window by my desk, with a view of my backyard
  9. The return of the cardinal couple, building their nest, in the backyard, through the window by my desk
  10. Fat little finches figuring out the fencing around my still-dormant vegetable garden, out the window by my desk
  11. The loud blue jay who scares away the fat little finches from the fencing around my still-dormant vegetable garden just beyond the window by my desk
  12. Boots the cat, looking very fat, who came around again for the first time since Sophie the cat died, stopping to stare at me through the window by my desk
  13. Morning video chats with my coworkers
  14. Working on my stalwart, eight-year old Sony Vaio
  15. Remembering how Mike commandeered my stalwart Sony Vaio when it was spanking new
  16. The sapphire blue color of my Sony Vaio
  17. The feel of the keys of my Sony Vaio
  18. The fact that the work I’m doing from home is writing
  19. Not commuting
  20. Feeling smug that I filled the car with gas that cost less than 2$ per gallon before I started working from home and it’s still full
  21. Using coffee cups and wearing clothing with my blog’s logo on them which I’d never do at work because I don’t really want my much younger less experienced coworkers to read it and outside logos aren’t allowed at work anyway
  22. Easily finding the discipline to stop watching so much TV and get enough sleep
  23. Watching Angelic Daughter figure out how to entertain herself including singing, playing her new melodica and her old ukelele, and going outside to sit on the deck, when she’s not sleeping the days away
  24. Making and eating fish chowder without worrying about stinking up the kitchen at work
  25. Screwing around with Spotify and finding new (old) artists I can’t believe I never listened to before, like Lucinda Williams (where have I been all these years?)
  26. Feeling gratitude for my natural germ-freak tendencies, which are actually turning out to be quite valuable, and
  27. Choking up when I hear Angelic Daughter coping with her anxiety by spontaneously reciting the Lord’s Prayer at random moments throughout the day.

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27 Signs You Really Are Getting Older

  1. Every time you’re about to go down a staircase, you think to yourself, “don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall…”
  2. Standing up at your desk counts as “exercise”
  3. You finish dinner by 5, get your jammies on by 6:30 and you’re in bed by 8
  4. You congratulate yourself on waking up in the morning
  5. You congratulate yourself when you wake up at 2 a.m. for making it through at least 6 hours of sleep before getting up to pee
  6. Your primary criteria for new pants or shoes is comfort
  7.  You don’t even try to open a jar before you bang it on the kitchen counter a few times
  8. You post something on Facebook remarking on the passing of any actor, writer or musician who had been working prior to 1970 (I’m looking at you, eldest brother)
  9. You have a weekly date in the bathtub with Dr. Teal (Epsom salts)
  10. Even though you use a non-slip bath mat, you wonder how you will get out of the tub without slipping, falling and possibly dying of a broken hip after your date with Dr. Teal
  11. You devise creative ways to avoid slipping, falling and possibly dying when you get out of the tub after your date with Dr. Teal, like turning over to your hands and knees and slowly rising up from there
  12. While you’re pushing yourself up out of the tub from your hands and knees position, you’re thinking, “don’t slip, don’t slip, don’t slip….”
  13. Once you’re on your feet in the tub after your date with Dr. Teal, you hang on to the wall with one hand and use your other hand to help lift your knee to step out of the tub
  14. While you are lifting your knee with your hand to step out of the tub after your date with Dr. Teal, you’re thinking “don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall…”
  15. The only television programs you care about binge watching are Masterpiece and Grace and Frankie
  16. Falling asleep in a chair while binge-watching Masterpiece or Grace and Frankie is perfectly acceptable – you can backtrack to the last episode you remember tomorrow
  17. A nap is more important to you than a meal
  18. Five grapes and an ounce of soft cheese count as a meal
  19. You can’t find your keys, water bottle, re-useable grocery bag or sunglasses until they beam back from whatever alternate universe they disappeared to and reappear RIGHT ON YOUR DESK, KITCHEN COUNTER OR HALLWAY TABLE, where you swear you JUST LOOKED A MOMENT AGO
  20. You don’t mind the neighbor’s dog barking in the morning because he always barks at exactly 5 a.m. and you should be congratulating yourself on waking up by then anyway
  21. The most difficult choice you’re willing to make in the hour after congratulating yourself for waking up in the morning is which pair of stretch jeans to wear that day
  22. You’d rather skip breakfast than cook it
  23. You’d rather brew coffee than buy it, because back in your day, a cup of coffee cost 25 cents, dammit!
  24. You know that horses, dogs and babies communicate telepathically through their eyes and you just “get” each other
  25. You talk to yourself and your deceased spouse and relatives out loud and unapologetically
  26. After you congratulate yourself on waking up in the morning, you notice birds are singing and you say, out loud to your deceased spouse, “hey, loves, birdie sing!” because that’s what you used to call that time of morning when you woke up together
  27. Birds, bunny rabbits and butterflies are inestimably delightful and you could sit  and watch them flit and frolic in the backyard for hours and it occurs to you that dying while watching birds, bunny rabbits and butterflies flit and frolic in the backyard wouldn’t be a bad way to go and you wish you could have gotten your dying spouse outside somehow one last time to see them but it doesn’t matter anymore, because you’re sure he is watching them with you now.

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27 Things No One Tells You About Widowhood

  1. Women with living husbands will treat you as predatory, almost immediately
  2. Men with living wives will treat you as available, almost immediately
  3. Other widows will judge you for not being widow-y enough
  4. You will judge other widows for wallowing in their widowhood for too long
  5. “Getting out there and doing things you love” doesn’t cheer you up
  6. “Getting out there and doing things you love” doesn’t find you a new partner
  7. You will realize no one really ever understood your marriage
  8. You will wonder if you every really understood your marriage
  9. You will find things hidden in drawers and closets you don’t understand
  10. You will find things hidden in drawers and closets you understand all too well
  11. You will go through a year or so of “widow brain” where you alternate between
    giddiness and despair, spend too much money, change your hair, your clothes and your home, and none of it changes your life
  12. You will be furious at how much of your life and your marriage you wasted on stupid disagreements, miscommunication and resentment
  13. You will declare your intention to become a better human being
  14. You will regularly fail at being a better human being
  15. You will throw things away you wish you hadn’t, and keep things you wish you could throw away
  16. Things that used to be very important to you won’t seem important anymore
  17. You will allow yourself not to finish books if you don’t like them after three chapters
  18. You will make a reading list of everything you think you should have read by now
  19. You will become generous with your time to people you used to ignore
  20. You will quit activities and friendships that don’t seem worth your time anymore
  21. You will tell your siblings the truth, that your spouse was not a saint, but they knew that already
  22. You will tell your children that your spouse was perfect, and they’ll know you’re lying
  23. After a few years of frantic “keeping busy,” you will finally learn how to be still
  24. In stillness you will discover the depths of your grief and the magnitude of your loss
  25. The magnitude of your loss will help you remember the quality of your strength
  26. The quality of your strength, putting one foot in front of the other and getting by one day at a time, will lead you to your truest self
  27. You will recognize that your truest self was forged in your marriage, your love and your loss, and you will be grateful for all of it

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