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The psychics KNEW. Notes from a solo "retreat."
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Last week I was scheduled to fly two hours up to Rochester, NY, get picked up at the airport by my best friend Kelly, and then drive a few more hours (giddily) to Lily Dale—a mystical trip we’ve been fantasizing about doing since college. Nope…no summertime Italian Rivieras for us…just a road trip, some mediums, and messages from the Other Side, and we are GOOD. But the morning before I was set to leave, I woke up feeling…not sick but not great. And, a few hours before the flight, I thought, better be safe than be an asshole. So, I took a COVID test….
And, well, I’m certain the psychics back at Lily Dale already knew what came next.
My husband couldn’t believe it. I mean, neither could I. In all the expanding/contracting anxiety of the past three years, constant weekly testing for nursery school, etc., I had never seen the double line before…even managing to evade it early on when Kevin was down for the count for nearly three weeks. Really…now??
Within an hour, my flight to Rochester was cancelled, my husband scooped up Raffi and our very pissed-off cat, and hauled ass upstate. And, there standing at the door in my pajamas, I was alone.
Sure, I absolutely felt like shit. But here’s the thing: I am never alone. Maybe a half day here or there, if I’m lucky. But almost never JUST me. Small apartments don’t afford much space when you need space. And neither do 4.5 year-olds. So, there I was, feverish, a little confused, but also something else. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. That is, not until I woke up about three hours later from some Tylenol and a nap and was making myself the first of 3,000 cups of tea and I heard some birds having a chat outside our kitchen window…and I felt it again.
I don’t often give myself permission for resting. I wish I could, which is why one of the books I recommended last week (one of the ones I’m re-reading) has really helped me to reframe what it means to be productive and where the real work of “creating” happens…sometimes, maybe, just in your pajamas, feeling like shit, gliding in and out of a sweaty sleep. At first I felt guilty that I was happy-ish…to be home sick with what is still a very serious virus. But the relief I felt to simply (finally) have a good reason to stop moving and park myself in bed indefinitely with a pile of long overdue reading and two seasons of Minx to plow through…I tell you, it was something.
Like a hungry person when the pizza arrives, I tried at first not to embarrass myself. Gorging on all the solitude. No meetings. No calls. No breakfast/lunch/dinner orders to figure out. Just time in bed to sleep/rest/stare. And, after my fever broke, I had a little more energy to actually read and do a few other only-for-pleasure things I pretty much never make time for. As I was moving through the day, seemingly unaware of the hour, I started to notice things that I was drawn to or that just made me smile. I didn’t write in my journal or try to define it in any way. With no one or thing to answer to, I just went where I wanted to.
You know that feeling you have when you land on a beach somewhere (if you’re a beach person, which I’m not really). After an early morning start-time, a long journey, several transfers, lost luggage, missed meals, maybe an upset tummy. And there you are, reclining for the first time on a chaise lounge, a frosty Negroni arriving just as the evening light starts to soften. It’s a nice feeling. Being where you want to be. With none of your usual bullshit with you. That’s how I felt, like finally putting my bags down. It wasn’t Rome or Lily Dale, but I did eat an ice cream cone in bed.
A few other snapshots from my solo “retreat”…and, hey, be careful out there🌻❤️.
I bought these wonderful Dusen Dusen slippers at the MoMA Store and was never home long enough to wear them…until now.
Living a life of
zero vanity leisure with tea and my Shibui bathrobe. Tinted lip balm, though, because why scare the kids??
Staycations are where DIY projects are born! Even if you hate DIY, which I very much DO. My friend Andre gave me a baby spider plant a few years ago, and now the damn thing has grown into like seven more giant spider plants. I finally decided the mommy needed to hang in the window because, well, moms need space, even when they’re plants. I’m entirely unsure how I did it, but I made a makeshift plant hanger with industrial string and a wire planter, and I only hope it doesn’t break loose during the night and scare the shit out of me. I did this all in my bathrobe.
When I wasn’t playing Schneider around the house, I was in bed watching Minx. And, GOD, there are not enough lines here to talk about how much I love this series…the writing, the Minx warehouse offices (hire me!), the characters—ALL OF IT. From the pilot onward, the chemistry between all the main players was so real, and each character has their own journey into owning their power…be it creatively, sexually, or professionally. I could watch Lennon Parham (Shelly) all day long (and in anything), and Joyce (played by Ophelia Loviband), is pure delight—an EIC who loves Joan Didion as much as her pant suits. Minx is hilarious, warm, clever, and RICH with pop cultural/women’s movement insights…it’s also just a goofy romp. Which is probably what I needed more than anything.
Just another EIC in a pant suit…(I love Joan Didion, too). Photo from London Fashion Week about five years ago.
I found this Yamaha keyboard on the sidewalk out for the trash during the pandemic. I couldn’t figure out how to engage the ‘80s brass/synthesizer effect, which would have really taken my first foray into “Jump” (in my pjs) to the Next Level.
I sprayed myself and my room constantly with this beautiful elixir.
If you live in NYC/Brooklyn, there was a WILD thunderstorm on Friday night (I think it was Friday?)…like Armageddon-style booms and bolts of lightning shattering the blackness every few minutes. I finally got up around 3 a.m. to see what all the fuss was about. It was raining sideways, and from our big picture window I could see epic cracks light up the whole sky. In that moment, I realized I had no one to get up for or any deadline to make, so I decided to make some tea and sit and watch the thunderstorm from our table…for like 30 minutes, that’s all I did…sit in the dark and hope all the trees and stray kitties were safe. It was really nice.
I bought a lot of vitamins + supplements during my fever-y state, but I really didn’t shop. Well, not until about Day 3. When, I might have been scrolling on my phone for a new pair of brown pants. And maybe a flared top for layering popped up, too…maybe. Both by High Sport.
Raffi sent me a bouquet of flowers via phone. They smelled FANTASTIC.
After laying in bed for three straight days, it felt good to get up and wash the sheets. I love a freshly made bed, don’t you? Especially when you’re very, very smelly. That can be like a vacation in itself❤️…xxCb
A snapshot of the last month at A Tiny Apt…. 📚