Bloganuary Day 4: What was your favorite toy when you were a child?

We moved from Chicago to Cleveland when I was 12, and I don’t remember having toys after that, really, which makes sense, given my interests probably veering from having neat stuff to being cool and the trappings (clothes, makeup, hair styling products) that go along with it. A couple items stayed: my Bear Hug teddy, that I’ve had since I was a baby, and Guinnivere Cassandre (note the spelling), my first Cabbage Patch kid, who was a bald African-American preemie. She had a rattle in her head that remained a mystery. There’s just no way I’d have been able to cut her head off, despite my deep curiosity about what was knocking around inside.

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Bloganuary Day 3: Write about the last time you left your comfort zone.

Gosh, any time someone comes over. I’ve actually relished a bit in the past few years of social isolation and restricting visitors to the back deck: no cleaning, no awkward standing around in the kitchen trying to orchestrate everyones’ experience. I like to lie on the couch when the whimsy hits, or stand in the pantry and eat potato chips, or take baths at random. I like to go inside my head at will, and it’s hard to do that when we have company. I think this, I don’t know, rejection? to people in my personal space started when I first got my own personal space in the form of an attic apartment when I was in college at Cleveland State. It had a living room with a tiny kitchenette, a bathroom and a bedroom. Windows overlooking the street. If you know Cleveland Heights, it was in a top/bottom duplex house in Coventry, and while I really lusted after the 2nd floor with a full kitchen and front porch, this suited me fine, generally, except for the fact that it had almost no heat. The bathroom was big enough for me to install an enlarger, and I processed photographs in the bathtub.

Anyway, I remember having someone over at some point, and the inside just feeling…small? Like everything was in vivid color and felt amplified, and they made an awkward comment like “Jessica’s house…” and it just felt really invasive.

There’s more…but I’ve been summoned to put a child to bed.

My first blessed solo living space

Bloganuary Day 2: What is a road trip you would love to take?

I don’t know. Maybe the one where it’s always 70 degrees. Is this limited to North America? The idea of any kind of travel feels foreign right now. I’m building up the will to go to the grocery store. I don’t think I’ve left my house in a week, other than a walk to Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King for my daughter’s breakfasts, and even those trips felt clandestine. All our neighbors (or so it seems) have COVID, and the weather’s been generally cold, wet and gloomy. We maintained the strictest limitations on exposure to other humans over the holiday season to ensure that my boy could have 3 friends over for his 13th birthday, and having passed that with success, I guess it’s OK to go to the store again? The back-and-forth of our approach to this virus is a little discombobulating. I have a fresh new KN95 mask in one of my favorite colors. I’ve been spending a lot of time knitting and standing in front of the fireplace. I don’t want to think about road trips until spring at the very earliest.

BUT IF THERE WASN’T THE PANDEMIC TO THINK ABOUT

Highway 1, top to bottom. I’ve done part of it a few times, back in the day before we had smart phones and I had to drive blindly, with only a map to guide me, and find food and lodging on-the-fly. I stayed in a hotel in Half Moon Bay with an amazing clawfoot tub, had very luxurious French toast in Carmel-by-the-Sea, (I think) really good pizza in San Luis Obispo, a soy latte in Cave Junction, OR (this was before dairy alternatives were prolific), and spent $2500 in about a week. This was 20 years ago, before my brain had fully developed enough that charging $150-200 per day would add up quickly and eventually run out my cash reserves (I still might not fully understand this). But it was fun! Some other time I’ll tell the story about how a truck crash on the 101 let me, unknowingly, on a route through deep pines that eventually turned a bend and DAMN THERE’S THE PACIFIC OCEAN but for now I’ve got to go to the grocery store before it closes.

Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash