Working From Home During a Pandemic: a photo montage

The kids’ last day of in school education for the 2019/2020 academic year occurred on Friday March 13. During the month, while we effortlessly (insert guffaw here) transitioned to online education, Brian and his staff continued to enter NYC, the epicenter of the contagion, each day and tirelessly worked to ensure that the company employees were able to work safely and remotely.

On April 14, 2020, Brian’s first day working from home, he got up, showered, and proceeded to put on business attire, down to the shoes. I snapped a pic, joking that he didn’t understand how working from home is supposed to work, and from there, things just kinda kept going.

Below is a photo montage and original captions of Brian, working from home. As the pandemic continues and working from home is his new norm, I will continue to add to this collection when possible. It is definitely a work in progress.

4.14.20 Day 1:
Today was his first day working from home. Taking bets on how long the suit lasts…

Day 2, working from home: no jacket and started out in slides but then changed to work shoes to “break them in.”
Someone needs to break HIM in…

Day 3 of working from home: the suit is back

Day 4: Jacket required, tie optional
(Not sure he knows it’s Friyay)
#fancynancy

Day 5: Sunday Salutations vs Monday Meetings… plus proof that he owns more than just suits and golf clothes
#alldressedupandnoplacetogo

Now this is where it started to get fun…

Day 6 of working from home:
Suits & Sorcery
#notsohiddenmickey

Day 7: I triple dog dared him to keep the hat on for his meeting with the president of the company…he declined. #nofun #whysoserious

Day 8: You’re welcome
#Moana #IslandDreaming

Working From Home Day 9:
The Unbirthday Suit
#AVeryMerryUnbirthdayToYou #DownTheRabbitHole

Working from Home Day 10:
The seclusion may be getting to him as he’s gone a bit batty.
#BatDad

On April 28th, daily jokes, memes, and props entered the mix whenever available, after I repainted and reorganized the office…

Day 11: Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirates life for me…
#swashbuckler
Daily Joke Answer: A pirate’s favorite letter be an arrrrr, but their true love be the c.

Day 12 of working from home:
I’ve got the magic in me
#HeWhoMustNotBeNamed
Daily Joke Answer: You’ll find Dumbledore’s army in his sleevey.

Day 13, working from home:
#seussical
Daily Joke Answer: Puss in Boots

The sun did not shine
It was too wet to play
So he sat in his suit
On this wet quarantine day

He sat and he stared
At his computer and zoom
He talked and he listened
To Cara & Lou

When will this be over?
When can we go back?
It is his job to work out
The best plan of attack.

Will it take a week, a month,
A year, maybe more?
We have no way of knowing
What else is in store.

Unless it is safe,
Until it is sound:
He keeps his staff safe.
He won’t mess around.

So he sits and he works,
All dressed up at home;
Planning on his computer
And talking on his phone…


Working from home, Day 14
#TopOfTheMorning #DressYourLuck #MayDaymayday
DJA: If it’s a French fry.

There once was a man who was quarantined
Working from home on day fourteen
He dressed every morn
Business attire was worn
For he claimed ‘twas more comfortable than blue jeans


Working from home: Day 15
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…
The galactic planets, suffering from a relentless contagion, banded together to stop the spread, protect life, and search for a cure…
Meanwhile, the supremely misinformed leader of the United Federation…
…Nah. Too easy…
May the 4th be with you!
#maythe4thbewithyou #maytheforcebewithyou #workfromhome #covid19 #stayhome #thisistheway
DJA: To get to the dark side

Trabajando desde casa día 16: Olé!
#cincodemayo #tacotuesday #its5oclocksomewhere
DJA: Inchilada

In related news, here’s some history about this popular holiday that does NOT celebrate Mexican Independence, as most people believe. Have a read:https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.history.com/.amp/topics/holidays/cinco-de-mayo


Working from home, day 16:
It’s a jungle in here!
#exotic #coolcat #tigerking #calvinandhobbes
DJA: Nothing. He’s already stuffed!

Working from home, Day 17:
TBT to draft day.
#flyeaglesfly #latetothegame #getyourheadinthegame
DJA: A bald eagle

Working From Home Day 18:
Welcome to District 13
maytheoddsbeeverinyourfavor #hungergames #taskforce
DJA: A yellow jacket

Working from home: day 19
The party continues…
#happybirthday #thedayafter
DJA: Age

Working from home, Day 20:
All aboard the crazy train!
#toottoot #trainwreck #offtherails #offtrack
DJA: Because they’re not a conductor

Working from home, day 21:
Mahna Mahna
#muppets #singalong #quarantinelife
DJA: Swine Language. But her first spoken language was pig Latin.

Working from home, day 22:
Bringing it way back today
TBT #OswaldTheLuckyRabbit #DisneyOriginal #MickeyMouseClubHouse #Hopper
DJA: To find Pluto

23 days…it took 23 days for him to NOT shower & put on business attire. He claims it’s bc all of his conferences today were phone only and that he has to cut the grass later. Whatever the reason, my work here is done…
#workfromhome #whereswaldo #wheresbrian #isthatasmileisee
DJA: So he won’t be spotted

Working from home Day 24:
In planning the company’s “return to office” strategy, Brian was attempting to think outside the box…it’s not going well…or is it?
#thefarside #thinkoutsidethebox
#deconstruction #reconstruction #adapt
DJA: A map

Working from home, Day 25:
Not the mask he thought he was getting, but I think it’s purrfect.
meow #hissyfit #covidcatastrophe #thundercatsho!
DJA: None. The other 9 were copycats

Day 26 of working from home:
Trying to keep things light for his Board Meeting.
#rainbowbright #sunshineandlollipops
DJA: In prism

Day 27, working from home:
Brian is beginning to doubt his house…or at least his housemates
#resort #sortinghat #muggledup
DJA: Because they’re both cauldron

Working from home day 28:
On this Memorial Day weekend we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to those who have served, continue to serve, and to remember those who gave their lives protecting our freedom.
#memorialday #landofthefreebecauseofthebrave #remember #stayhome #staysafe #stayhealthy
DJA: Liberty

Working from home day 29:
Brian, trying to keep his coworkers safe, is fervently researching other companies return to work strategies, unconvinced that this is the right thing to do at this time as much of the scientific data shows a high possibility of a second wave that will be even more deadly than the first: “Coronavirus. Very dangerous. You go first.”
#namethatmovie
DJA: Because their career was in ruins

Working from home, Day 30
This pretty much sums up how his day is going as you can tell by his face:
“Wrong sir, wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him. It states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if…et cetera et cetera…It’s all there black and white clear as crystal! You stole fizzylifting drinks! You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized so you get nothing! You lose! Good day sir!
#candyisdandybutliquorisquicker #somuchtimeandsolittletodo #snozberries
DJA: Recess pieces

Working from home day 31:
After yesterday’s stress, Brian is taking a bit of advice from Elsa today, while embracing his inner (and outer) Anna.
#letitgo #frozen #bewarethefrozenheart
DJA: Because she’ll just let it go

Working from home, day 32:
From princess to villain…
#allinadayswork #maleficent #hornsforhairdontcare
DJA: Malefiftycent

Working from home, day 33:
When the coach lets you know that the season can finally start!!!
#softballdad #softballlife #playball
DJA: They touch base

Working from home, day 34
Brian, fervently following the news, is trying to keep his company abreast of any and all potential problems…
#PartonMe #bighairdontcare #DollyPartonMemeChallenge
DJA: She was tired of working 9 to 5

Working from home, day 35:
Some days the return to work protocols all makes sense, and some days it’s all gibberish.
#lostintranslation #thatsnothowanyofthisworks
DJA: Because they always get lost in translation

Working from home, day 36:
Drama queen 🎭
#phantomoftheopera #pastthepointofnoreturn #masquerade
DJA: Pasta Point of No Return

In related news, this popped up in my fb memories today and was totally “operapropo” for today’s theme. Originally posted 6.5.13 when the kids were 4, 3, & 18 months old. I still remember it as though it was yesterday:

So I pull up to a red light and there’s a gentleman in the truck to my left. He smiles at me, a skeevy kind of crooked grin and just then, Lady J rolls down her window revealing the chaos in the back seat:

K-Mad in the middle with both legs in the air trying to reach her siblings and laughing her maniacal laugh. Maxman pushing her leg away and shouting, “No Kendy! Pwease stop!” And Lady J happily singing, “He’s here! The phantom of the opera!”

The man looks horrified and turns to face forward, both hands gripped tightly on the wheel, and speeds off as the light turns green…


Days 37-41, while Brian continued to work from home, the kids and I took a brief hiatus for the week.
#DownTheShore #HappyPlace #ToesInSand #BookInHand

Working from home day 42
Happy Holiday Week!
#christmasinjune #jinglethis
DJA: Because he likes to hoe, hoe, hoe!

Working from home, Day 43
Light it up, up, up…
#getlit
DJA: Hanukkah lasts for eight nights. Dragons ate knights.

Working from home day 44
Irish you good luck getting through the rest of this year
#luckoftheirish #shannanigans
DJA: Paddy O’furniture

Working from home day 45
He looks more like Lord Farquaad than Queen Esther, but I can only work with what I’ve got.
#purim
DJA: Polly-Esther

Today, the last day of “holiday week”, in lieu of a funny picture of Brian, I ask that you learn about and celebrate Juneteenth, the day that the slaves of Texas learned of their freedom, two and a half years AFTER the
Emancipation Proclamation.
Today we celebrate that every person in these United States are free. Tomorrow, we continue the path towards equality.
Please visit www.juneteenth.com for more information.
❤️🧡💛💚💙💜💗🖤🤎🤍

The Event

Dawn woke, like every other day, to the sound of Riley watching Blue’s Clues on Nick Jr. in her bed. Scott had already left for work but made sure their two and a half years old daughter was happy with her sippy cup of milk in Mommy and Daddy’s bed while Dawn continued to sleep for just a few extra minutes.

Dawn could hear Harrison in the baby monitor, breathing rhythmically, still asleep, so she quickly got up, took a shower and got herself ready for the day before helping Riley dress and tending to Harrison, who was now awake and happily jumping in his crib.

The house phone rang as Dawn was changing Harrison and she raced into her bedroom to answer and back towards Harrison’s room.

“Hello?” she answered. “Good morning!” Dawn’s mother greeted from the other end, “How are you?”

“Good! Just getting the kids dressed and heading downstairs for breakfast. Then we need to get ready for Mommy and Me.”

“Excellent! And what project are you planning for class today?”

“Eh. Just finishing up our alphabet pictures and then the usual circle time songs, snack, and free play. I’m hoping it doesn’t rain so we can play outside, but if not, we’ll just use the playroom.”

“Sounds great!”

“Yup. It should be good. Oh! We had a contractor walk though yesterday to put together an estimate for converting the alcove into a nursery. Should have the estimate next week.”

“That’s great, Dawn! How are you feeling?“

“Much better! No more morning sickness. Happy to be at the turning point. Hey, Mom, can I call you later? Harrison’s diaper needs a little more attention than I initially thought.”

“Sure thing, Dawn. Love you.”

“Love you too!”

“Woooo-boy! That is one full diaper, Bud!” Dawn exclaimed as she hung up the phone and changed Harrison. “Dat’s a tinky diapa!” Riley giggled, pointing to her brother and crinkling her nose. “It sure is a stinky diaper! Into the bin it goes!” Dawn laughed as she tossed out the diaper and lifted Harrison, giving him shower of good morning kisses on his delicious cheeks.

“Do the binky toss, Bud!”

Harrison tossed his collection of pacifiers into his crib and toddled down the hallway towards the stairs. Dawn returned to her room and stripped her bed before opening up the safety gate and heading downstairs with the kids for breakfast.

Once the kids were strapped into their seats and eating, she headed to the basement to quickly move the clothes from the washer into the dryer and start the load of sheets. The phone rang upstairs so she ran up the basement steps and into the kitchen.

“Hi, Scott,” she panted to her husband, “What’s up?”

“Just calling to say good morning. You were up late last night. Everything ok?”

“Yeah. I was just talking to Hope and printing out everything for Mommy & Me today.”

“Is Hope stateside? How’s she doing?”

“Yep. She’s in LA for a few days. Flies back on Monday. She’s good. She has exams coming up but I know she’ll nail them. They moved her up to first class!”

“That’s awesome! And are you set for today? Who’s coming?”

“Just the normal crew. I have a few things to do before everyone gets here but I’m pretty set. I’m just ready to be done with this alphabet project so we can move onto more creative projects.”

“Oh! I gotta go. I have a call coming in. I’ll call you later!”

“Ok. Love you! Bye!”

“Love you. Bye.”

“Who is coming today?” she thought and checked the evite RSVPs on her cell phone again. She took a few minutes to mindlessly scroll through Facebook before placing her phone on the dining room table, next to the alphabet craft material she had set out the previous night.

Dawn continued getting the house ready for her friends and their children who came each Friday morning for a little Mommy & Me class Dawn led. She was excited to get back to the weekly sessions after canceling more than a few during the first trimester of her third pregnancy. Fourteen weeks in, and the fog and constant queasiness was finally lifting. She loved the second trimester.

After cleaning up in the kitchen Dawn turned on The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Riley and plopped her on the couch to watch so that she could finish up her chores.

Her final chore was taking out the trash and recycling. As she was heading back up the deck stairs and into the dining room through the sliding glass door, Dawn scooped up Harrison, who had followed her outside onto the deck.

She walked into the living room and placed Harrison on the floor before beginning to remove her sneakers. She was ready with a few minutes to spare.

As Dawn began sliding off her shoes, there was an explosion and everything started moving in slow motion at the speed of light.

Smoke detectors were blaring from everywhere. A hot rush of hot air blasted past her face, blowing the carpet in the living room back. Dawn turned toward the kitchen and continued turning, looking for the phone on the shelves next to the television, knowing she needed to call 911. It wasn’t on the cradle. Smoke and ash were filtering out of the vents that flanked the TV wall. Riley was running towards Dawn, screaming in fear. Harrison, still at her feet, was crying.

She took 4 steps through the kitchen and dining room door frames, grabbed her cell phone, turned around, hoisting both kids into her arms and ran like hell out the front door, slamming into the screen door and banister on the front steps. She didn’t stop until she was on the front yard of her neighbor’s and began dialing 911.

“911. What is your emergency?”

“My house! My house! There was an explosion!” Dawn was incoherently screaming to the operator.

“Okay, Ma’am. You need to calm down. I can’t understand you. You said your house…”

“Yes!” she wailed, taking a deep breath. “There was an explosion. I think there’s a fire. I see smoke. My house!”

“Okay, Ma’am. Are you out of the house? What is your address? I’m sending emergency vehicles there now. Is there somewhere you can go to safely wait?”

Dawn’s neighbor AnaLucia rushed out to help her and the kids, ushering them inside her home as Dawn dialed Scott at work.

“This is Scott.”

“Our house!” Dawn sobbed as she walked toward the kitchen in AnaLucia’s house. Looking out of the window, flames were pouring out of the rafters above their bedroom. “Our house! It’s gone. It’s all gone!”

“I’m coming home,” Scott said.

Dawn watched in shock as the fire trucks and volunteer fire fighters began to arrive. There was a man in jeans and a white t-shirt running down her driveway to the back of the house and back to the front again calling for the hoses. Smoke filled the sky.

Dawn’s phone starting dinging. Texts from her friends starting coming in. “I can’t get to your house. The street is blocked. There must be an emergency near by.”

“It’s my house. My house is the emergency. My house. It’s all gone,” was all she could text back.

She sat down on AnaLucia’s front steps to call her parents. The sirens were so loud, yet mumbled in the background of the noise inside her mind. She didn’t even know what to say. She called Rivka, her best friend. “I know you’re at swimming with Peyton but my house is gone and I don’t know what to do. My house is gone. It’s all gone.”

She walked out and stood on her neighbor’s yard, still holding a shoeless Harrison while AnaLucia held Riley. The neighbors were starting to gather around and watch.

She cried. And stopped. And cried. And stopped. Trying to be brave for the kids. Trying to be ok. Trying to be strong.

The paramedic came to take her blood pressure. It was understandably high. But she was fine. She sustained a large bruise on her arm, probably from running into the banister when she fled the house. But that was it. She and the kids were fine.

An ambulance pulled down the street and Dawn and the kids were escorted inside to wait. AnaLucia asked if Carlos, her husband, could pick up anything for her or the kids. He was already on his way and stopping for diapers and wipes for Harrison. What else did we need?

“Um. No. We’re ok…actually, yes.” Dawn realized that she had nothing. No binkies for Harrison, no sippy cup for Riley. They didn’t even have shoes on. Her wallet, her car keys, the diaper bag. She had nothing.

She glanced out of the rear ambulance window just as her chimney fell on top her car.

It was all gone…

Balanced

(6.30.19: 12yrs)

You are the untucked side to my hospital corners

You are the the collared shirt to my yoga pants

You are the beer to my wine, the whiskey to my vodka, the coffee to my tea, and the Gatorade to my water.

I am the marathon in your golf game

I am the veggies to your steak

I am the spend to your save

I am the test in your patience

I am conservation. You are conservative.

You are law. I am equality.

I feel the passion. You search for facts.

I am the storm. You are the calm.

We take the time and make the effort to listen to and learn from one another. We celebrate and argue together. We agree to disagree. We don’t have it all figured out, but we’ll figure it out together.

We are a balancing act, acting as both the support and security net for each other. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I am…still smiling

Convos with Kids: Old School

The scene: Malt Shoppe

Young server to Max: Excuse me sir, but you need to remove your hat when inside this establishment.

Max complies.

Max, after thinking about it: Mom? Why do I need to take off my hat but Jordyn and Kennedy don’t?

Me: That’s a great question! It has to do with some very old school rules on etiquette and manners. Men had to remove their hats when entering a building and women didn’t. I’m honestly not sure why or when it originated. We should look it up.

Max: Well I don’t think it’s fair.

Me: I honestly don’t disagree with you. In fact, when I was in high school, my teacher made a guy in my class remove his hat but not me. They got into an argument over fairness and he wound up getting a detention for arguing with the teacher. I felt horrible even though it wasn’t my fault.

Max: Yeah. But you probably should’ve taken off your hat too. But that still doesn’t make it fair or change the rule.

Kennedy: Well, ya know, boys can go topless at the pool and girls can’t do that so that’s not really fair.

Jordyn: But would you really want to be topless?

Kennedy: No. I don’t want anyone to see my nickles, but why is it ok if boys show theirs?

Max: Maybe it’s because boys don’t make milk in their breasts.

Jordyn: True. True. But usually only moms with babies make milk. Like our mom stopped making baby milk because we don’t need it anymore.

Max: Good point. So why do boys even have nipples?

Kennedy: Maybe it’s just for decoration.

Jordyn: Maybe it’s so they look more like women.

Max: Maybe the next level male people won’t even have them.

Jordyn: Mom, is that possible with evolution?

Server, approaching carefully: Um, can I get you anything else?

Me: An expert in history and evolution?

Convos with Kids: Parental Guidance

The following conversation took place at a family event while the other adults sat across the table, enjoying their own conversation…Thanks for the help…

Max: I’d really like to see that movie Little

Me: You mean the one where a grown up turns into a child again?

Max: Yeah. It looks like it’s SO funny.

Me: I agree but it’s not for you.

Max: What? Why? It’s rated pg13 and you let us watch pg13 all the time!

Me: The “pg” stands for parental guidance. Daddy and I do our best to guide you to appropriate movies. While Marvel and DC movies are pg13, we think you’re ready for the content. The content in the movie Little is a bit too mature for you, so no. You can’t watch it yet.

Max: Then can I see Deadpool? It’s a Marvel movie.

Me: Absolutely not. It’s rated R and the content is 100 percent not appropriate for you.

Max: Is there kissing?

Me: More than kissing.

Jordyn: Like sex?

Me: Yes. And horrible language, and a ton of gory violence.

Max: Like the f word?

Me: Worse

J: Like s-h-i-t?

Me: Way worse

J: Worse than h-o-e?

Me: Yes. And how do you know that word?

J: From Penelope*

Me: Do you know what it means?

J: Penelope said it’s when a girl has sex with a lot of different boys. Like if Amelia* had sex with Griffin* and then with Adam* and then…

Max: Or it’s a tool. Like for digging in the garden.

Me: It is a gardening tool. And yes, Jordyn, that is a terrible name to call a girl who behaves that way. Name calling is never ok. And besides, while you may not agree with her choices, they are hers to make. She is in charge of her body, just as you are responsible for yours.

J: Is there a word for a boy who has sex with a lot of girls?

Me: There is not a mean word for boys who make those choices. In fact, quite the opposite. While girls are often insulted for that behavior, boys are often celebrated.

Max: Well that doesn’t seem right or fair. I’m never calling a girl that. Girls need to be respected too. Plus, I still don’t understand why anyone would do that a lot.

Me: I’m proud of you for recognizing that, Max. That’s very mature of you.

Max: So now can I see Deadpool?

Me: Nice try, Bud.

*All names of children have been changed to protect the identity and privacy of my children’s friends/peers

Convos with Kids: Lenten Shabbat Recipes

Kennedy: Wait, are we having salmon for Shabbat dinner?

Me: Yep

K: But why? We usually have chicken for Shabbat.

Me: It’s lent so we can’t eat meat on Shabbat for a few weeks.

K: But you’re Jewish

Me: Daddy is Catholic so we respect his religious practices

K: But salmon is meat! It’s fish meat!

Me: According to Judaic law & Catholic law fish isn’t considered meat. I don’t know why so please don’t ask until I’m not driving and can google it.

K: But why?!?! Fish are animals so salmon is fish meat!

Me: I’m so glad you pressed the issue. I realize that it makes no sense. I think it’s because fish don’t produce milk. I know there are more details but they escape me for now.

K: Fine. But I only like salmon sushi or bagel & lox. Not cooked salmon!

Me: I hear ya. But this is what I’m making for dinner. You don’t have to eat it, but that’s what I’m making, along with asparagus, rice, and spinach salad, like I said before. You can eat whichever part you want but I’m not making you a special dinner. You know I don’t play that game.

K: Well, can I have goldfish instead?

Me: One, Goldfish are generally pets and not food. Two, I already told you we are having salmon. Three, what are you talking about? We don’t have goldfish.

K, looking forlorn, folds her arms and sulks: We do in the snack closet.

#touché

Happy 3rd Lenten Shabbat! The first week I defrosted corned beef until I realized it was lent so I ordered sushi via Grubhub. Totally worth the last minute save. Yum! Last week we had dominoes pizza at a Cub Scout pack meeting and it was deliciously not nutritious and I enjoyed every bite.

This week I finally got it together. Below is this week’s recipe. Hope you give it a try and let me know what you think.

Spinach Salad: 5 minutes prep to table

Rinse, drain, and toss the following into a bowl

-baby spinach

-chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

-salad cut hearts of palm

-marinated artichoke hearts

-chopped baby cucumbers

-chopped apple

-Italian seasoned crumbled feta or crumbled blue cheese

(No additional dressing is needed because of the marinated artichoke hearts and cheese but I’m sure a balsamic would be lovely if you must)

Rice:

I usually use brown rice or quinoa but got out voted this week. I season my plain white rice with Jane’s Krazy Mixed-up Salt, and add fresh chopped parsley* right before serving. High in bad for you carbs, but zero net gluten. Pick your poison. (*Pro tip: Make sure you floss after brushing if you add the parsley…but also because you should floss after brushing anyway… don’t be lazy. Your gums will thank you.)

Asparagus:

Tried something new this week. Mixed reviews from the peanut gallery, but I LOVED it! Hashtag nomnoms

-bake asparagus* in a shallow pan at 375° for about 10 minutes (I spray a touch of oil on the bottom to prevent sticking and season with a bit of krazy salt but neither are necessary, though quite delicious) I like my asparagus bright green and crunchy. If you like yours more well done, keep it in longer.

-sprinkle shredded mozzarella on mozzarella and place back in oven just long enough to melt cheese

-drizzle balsamic glaze atop cheese & asparagus

-live life to the fullest and enjoy every bite

*Dog owner pro tip: save the ends of the raw asparagus and chop into treat size bites for your pup. It’s delicious, nutritious, and helps clean teeth and freshen breath.

Salmon*:

-Season with juice of 1/2 lime, 1/2 lemon, and old bay

-Grill…or bake if you must.

*We use wild caught Alaskan with the skin on and the kids (ok, us too) LOVE the crispy grilled skin. High in good fats and omega 3s though the charbroil may or may not be carcinogenic so there’s that.

Dill-Dip

Blend the following in a nutri-bullet or whatever whatever gadget is closest… (though all ingredients can also easily be mixed by hand)

-Juice of 1/2 lime & 1/2 lemon

-1 avocado

-1 container of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

-1 bunch fresh dill

-fat free 1/2 & 1/2 (maybe 1/4 cup?)

-old bay to taste

Serve atop or to the side of salmon. Also makes an awesome dip for fresh veggies. While Kennedy may not have had the salmon, she loved the dip and is looking forward to including it in her snacks and school lunches, though she did mention that it’s probably not best with goldfish.

Convos with Kids: Condiments

The following conversation is part of a larger ongoing child-driven conversation about puberty and everything that comes with it. We consistently answer all questions with age appropriate honesty and use correct anatomical language. That being said, most of these conversations catch me off guard and are quite awkward, albeit highly entertaining. Enjoy 😉

Jordyn: Mom, what’s a condiment?

Me: A condiment is something you use to add flavor to your food like ketchup, mustard, relish, or mayonnaise.

J: No. That’s not it. You know how I have that book about how babies are made?

Me, realizing she meant condom and not condiment and trying to keep my cool: Yep. We haven’t read it in a while.

J: Well the book said something that goes over the penis and I didn’t get it.

Me: Yes. That’s a condom. It’s a latex cover that goes over the penis to prevent the man’s sperm from entering the vagina. It can prevent pregnancy and can also prevent people from accidentally getting each other sick through intercourse.

Max: So a condom is a penis cover and condiment is a food cover. They’re synonymous!

Me, chuckling: I think you missed the point, Dude.

Max: So then is a condom a synonym with a balloon since they’re both made out of latex?

Me, laughing and thinking back to my childhood when one of my sisters may have made (extremely slippery and highly fragile) water balloons out of some condoms she found in my parent’s bedroom and my father’s subsequent reaction: No. Not even a little.

J: Well anyway, I was looking through the book last night about the S-E-X part.

Me: Okaaayyyy…

K: Mom, does S-E-X spell six?

M: Uh! Kennedy, the number six is S-I-X. S-E-X is sex.

K, upset with Max for correcting her: Well I don’t know what that is!

J: Kennedy, sex is when a man’s penis goes into a woman’s vagina to make a baby.

K: Eeeewwwww. I am NEVER doing that!

Max: Me neither. That’s gross. Besides, I don’t want to have a baby.

Me: Well that is totally respectable and absolutely your decision to make. Your bodies, your choices.

J: So the book said that sometimes people have sex even when they’re not trying to make a baby.

Me: Yeeessss….That’s true…

Max: But why? Why-in-the-world-would-anyone-do-that?

Me: Max, I’m honestly not ready to answer that for you right now. Let me think about the right way to discuss it with you and we can come back to that another time.

J: But that’s what a condom is for?

Me: Yes

Max: But not a condiment.

Me: Correct. Hey! Let’s clear the table and finish getting ready for school!

Thoughts from a 10.5 Mile Jog:

Mile 1: My legs are so sore from the last run so just try to do that loop in reverse but it’s ok if you don’t make it that far.

Mile 2: Oh hey! My quads are loosening up and I’m a whole minute per mile faster! Sweet!

Mile 3: Maybe I can just add a mile to the last run. Nothing too crazy. Don’t be a hero. Take a right here.

Mile 4: Well, I made it this far. Might as well keep going. Run, Forest, run!

Mile 5: Where the sidewalk ends, the adventure begins…that would be an awesome & inspirational quote. You heard it here first.

Mile 6: I totally forgot to put on glide. Can I just run with my hands on my hips the rest of the way? I must look so odd. Maybe lip balm will help instead. Hey! It does!!!! And now I’m minty fresh!

Mile 7: I’ve never been so happy to see a port-o-potty.

Mile 8: The only way to get away from the mosquitoes is to run faster and like Phoebe. Oh look! A turtle!

Mile 9: Hello? Yes-I’m-running-but-now’s-a-good-time-to-walk-so-I-can-talk-for-a-bit…

Mile 10: Is that my mailman? Bet I can beat him back to my house.

Mile 10.5: Saturday. Same time, same pace?

To Do

Dawn glanced at her to do list, laced up her shoes, filled her water bottles, slid them into her fanny pack, and turned on her running apps, heart rate monitor, music, and headed out the door.

This wasn’t the first time she laced up in the last 2 months. In fact, for the last 8 weeks Dawn had been getting dressed to run almost daily, yet something always stopped her, needing her attention, allowing her to put it off another day.

“Not today. Today has to be the day,” she thought as she began jogging away from her house, “You have less than 3 weeks to get your ass in gear for the half. All you need to do is finish. Next year you can work on breaking records. Just go.”

Her modest goal for the day was a 5k but after taking a 2 month hiatus from running, she wasn’t sure how it would go down. The last 2 months swam around her head as she listed all the reasons she hadn’t run:

  • An old knee injury that had flared up after a fall and possible mild concussion while on vacation
  • Back to school
  • Chairing a very involved fundraiser
  • Running the school store once a week
  • Putting together the school directory
  • Getting the house in order after a summer away
  • Dealing with the NJ Board of Education who was trying to revoke her teaching license
  • Needing yet another new attorney after learning through a google search that her previous lawyer had been disbarred…

“No more excuses. Just run. You need this. For the race. For the kids. To get back in shape. To prove to yourself that you can. For the peace of mind and clarity running brings you. For you. Just go.”

And so she did.

Dawn let her music rhythmically carry her through the first 2 miles. Her pace was slow but she kept running, dragging her extra 50 pounds of stress and laziness behind her, step by step. “Just go.”

During the next 2 miles her back straightened and she held her head high, taking in deep cleansing breaths and exhaling, allowing the wind to blow away her doubts. “Just go.”

Her phone started to notify her about her volunteer duties and current events as she pounded uphill towards her descent home.

Ding: who is opening the school store this week?

Ding: what will this vote mean towards midterm elections?

Ding: the fundraiser is doing well but not as good as last year

Ding: we finally have your file from the previous attorney and got an extension on the response to the Board of Ed

Ding: pay the bills

Ding: what will this vote mean for women and for our future

Ding: how are we on volunteers for the fundraising event

Ding: call you probation officer even though you’ve completed your probation but your phone seems to ignore your monthly request to delete this notification forever so you don’t really need to call him but here’s a reminder to when you did…

“Just go,” Dawn pushed on, ignoring the rest of her world, for just a brief moment in time.

And so she went…for 7 miles of peaceful selfishness so she could get back to her world to tackle the rest of her to do list, already feeling refreshed and accomplished for the day…

Book of Life

September 12, 2018

Dawn’s day started like any other: alarm clock blaring, hitting snooze an extra time, and slowly stumbling out of bed and into the shower before the kids and sun rose.

When Dawn stepped out of the shower she heard the faint beep of a smoke detector battery nearing its end.

“Great,” she sighed, as she wrapped her hair in a towel and went to investigate. She climbed onto her bed and gingerly stepped into the nightstand thinking, “Please don’t fall. Please don’t fall,” as she reached up to try to pull the detector out.

“Super. It’s stuck,” she thought as the nightstand wobbled a bit. “This is all I need. To fall and knock myself out so that the children will find me dead on the floor with a smoke detector in my hand, naked with nothing but a towel wrapped around my head. This is not how I planned to begin the 10 days of repentance.”

After finally unhooking the smoke detector and removing the battery, she left it on the nightstand and got dressed, making a mental note to have Scott replace it that night.

The rest of the morning, though rushed as usual, went off without a hitch and Dawn was able to get the kids to school on time.

As she drove to her appointment to have her car serviced, a morning dove swooped down. In the milliseconds she watched, she knew the bird would expertly avoid her car.

Unfortunately, the dove didn’t seem to notice her presence and flew head first into Dawn’s windshield. Dawn sadly watched in her rear view mirror as the bird ricocheted over her car and landed on the road behind her.

“This year’s not looking good for forgiveness for me,” Dawn’s thoughts again trailed to the upcoming Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, “God I hope I make it into the book of life.”

After returning from her service appointment, Dawn went out back to check on her garden. As she walked down the deck stairs, she passed through an unseen web and, allowing her irrational fear of spiders to take hold, tripped down the remaining steps, landing her ass-down on the ground with a twisted ankle, a flash of her life, and looking up to the heavens asking her family members for some understanding as her heart raced with adrenaline.

Dawn hobbled back inside and upstairs to her office. The garden would have to wait. She’d just take it easy, ice her ankle, and finish inputting school directory information and working on the PTO kickoff fundraiser she was chairing. “That way, God forbid I don’t make it to Yom Kippur, at least everything can still go on without me,” Dawn giggled, amused at the absurdity of the day so far.

When it was time to leave for school to pick up the children, Dawn walked into the garage and was overwhelmed by the smell of gasoline. “What the hell?” she thought, as she opened the garage door to allow the vapor to escape.

Now it was starting to get real and Dawn’s earlier amusement turned to fright.

Dawn climbed into her car, put her key in the ignition and stopped.

She flashed back to the fire and everything she and Scott had learned about natural gas, gasoline, flammable ingredients, and ignition after that horrific day. Everything she never sought to know was forever etched in her long term memory.

Dawn now knew that gasoline in liquid form does not ignite, but the vapors do as her unrelenting fear latched on with an unrelinquishing stronghold.

She stepped out of the car, shaking, her stomach inching towards her throat. She walked outside and dialed Scott at work. Her call went straight to voicemail which meant that he was in a meeting. Tears started forming as her eyes burned with fear.

She went back into the garage and sat in her car for what felt like an eternity, trying to convince herself that turning the key would not spark an ignition of flames.

“You can do this. You can do hard things. You will not blow up. You will be ok. Dear God, please let me be ok.” Dawn spoke aloud to herself as she held her breath and turned the key…