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Pickle Me This

March 31, 2021

What Now?

“What now?” asked my friend Avery Swartz in response to the blog post I wrote yesterday, which I also posted on Instagram to much response. And at first, my answer to her question was, “Right??” Figuring she meant it rhetorically. “What, now?” Because it does truly boggle the mind, our government’s response to the current moment. The refusal to listen to experts, to do what needs to be done, to deviate from a plan that appears to be no plan.

But it was a genuine question: what does it mean when I say that yesterday I hit my limit, that “I’m done”? What does that mean for what I’m going to do today?

Me? I’m going to keep going. After falling off the patience train yesterday, I’m going to get back on it. I’m going to keep taking measures to protect me, my family and my community. We will continue to wear masks, even outdoors. We will mostly continue to associate with no one outside our household. We will definitely not be seeing anybody indoors, which has been the case for us for a year now. We will be doing everything within our power to limit the spread of the virus.

But I am going to have a masked outdoor gathering with my parents on Sunday. I cancelled plans for this at Thanksgiving, and I regret it now. With warmer weather returning, we have the opportunity for these small outdoor gatherings, which are low-risk, and I’m going to have this one and appreciate it, particularly because it will likely be some time before we have another.

What else am I going to do? I am going to continue to show my support for my kids’ teachers. I am going to use my voice in favour of serious lockdown measures in this province to bring the spread of this virus under control. I am gong to order takeout and support other local businesses.

I am going to start taking action to do what I can to make a positive difference in the 2022 Provincial election and help us get the kind of leadership we deserve.

I’m also going to chill out. Rage is not the answer, except to the question of how to destroy me. Chilling out has been my strategy since September or so, and it’s served me well, and certainly hasn’t made the broader situation any more awful. Disengaging from Twitter and a lot of online chatter is so important for me. There is so much noise going on there, in particular in the sphere of provincial politics, and so much of what everybody is in a flap about doesn’t actually really matter, or filter up to the real world. I found this a lot when organizing events in support of public education pre-COVID, that most normal offline people people didn’t care about so much of what I was enraged about all the time…and sometimes you have to wonder in a situation like that which of us is the person who’s actually missing the point.

I am organizing a community clean up. I am staying engaged with the world through select news sources. I am doing whatever I can to make life a little bit less terrible for the people I interact with who don’t have my privilege of being able to work from home. I am taking responsibility for the things I have control over and not losing my shit about anything that’s outside that purview.

I will keep going. And we ARE going to get there. It was just never going to be an easy road, especially because of our spectacularly terrible leadership. We all deserve better. And I hope we can work together to ensure we get it.

March 30, 2021

Don’t Make Plans

Is there any way that I can possibly convey just how exasperating it is for Doug Ford, 13 months into this pandemic, to be telling me not to make plans?

Doug Ford, whose entire approach to handling the pandemic has been “no plans,” whose approach to school re-openings was LITERALLY “Let’s give this a shot, at least…and pray to god that everyone’s safe.” Doug Ford, who campaigned for the job of premier with a platform of “no plan,” whose Ministry actually thought it was totally okay for teacher-librarians to be finding out on Labour Day that the next day they’d be teaching kindergarten. Whose whole plan for the second wave was to do nothing until the pandemic was once again out of control, and whose plan for averting a third wave was to open up the province again while infectious variants are rising. Whose vaccine roll-out plans have been definitively NOT GREAT?

Who ever could have seen this third wave coming, not to mention the second one?

Um, EVERYONE.

Right now, teacher’s unions are advising the province to move schools to virtual after Easter weekend, and then keep our delayed Spring Break, which I think sounds like a fine plan, but because this is a government that prides itself on not listening to unions or people who know things, perhaps they’re probably not going to take that advice, and this is the kind of instability that’s been a hallmark of this group of ding-dongs since they were elected.

And maybe the Premier doesn’t make plans, but I do. Like everyone, I had plans for 2020, plans that got cancelled one after the other, and I’ve been mainly uncomplaining as I cancelled those plans, because some things can’t be planned for and you can’t control what happens (when you’re not the government), but instead how you react to it. So I’ve stiffened my upper lip, and gone without seeing friends and family, and my children have been brave as they’ve made giant sacrifices in their own lives, and I’ve tried to live up to their example, and so it was with Easter last year, and I cancelled our plans for an outdoor Thanksgiving, and Halloween, and Christmas was my mom coming over in the afternoon with us all wearing masks and the windows open, which was freezing, and I haven’t seen her since then. We had picnics in the park six feet away from friends in the summer, but haven’t socialized with people outside our household since our kids returned to school, and I’m still not complaining, because you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, and also I continue to be so grateful that we’ve all been healthy.

But today I hit my limit. I am finished with having all my plans cast aside because of this government’s complete lack of a plan, and over and over again. This is not like last spring when nobody knew what was going to happen, or what actions would be necessary to control the spread of the virus, when all of us (including the experts) were still in the dark. For months, medical experts have been advising the government to implement paid sick leave to slow the spread in workplaces. Others have been advising widespread testing and tracing, particularly in schools, and this still hasn’t happened. There are all kinds of plans that could have been put in place to avert this latest wave of Covid, and the government has heeded none of it.

And now the Premier has the nerve to tell me not to make plans for Easter? When Easter is literally FIVE FUCKING DAYS AWAY? With absolutely no respect, Doug Ford (because it’s been a very long year), you’ve got no business advising anybody about plans, or messing with mine, because it’s your absolutely failure to plan that’s resulted in our current disaster.

Doug Ford telling me not to make plans for Easter is so absolutely patronizing, disrespectful, and insulting.

Doug Ford telling me not to make plans is like the pot calling the kettle a failure of leadership. It’s like the doctor who missed the diagnosis complaining about the funeral. It’s like the guy who pisses on your boots, and tells you that it’s raining, and then hands you a ticket for standing in a puddle.

March 11, 2021

Get Outside

I went for a walk with my best friend Jennie this morning, whom I haven’t seen since the summer, even though she doesn’t live so far away. The weather has turned spring-like, and we’ve traded our winter coats for spring ones for the time being, and we marched up past Casa Loma, down into Cedarvale Ravine, spending ninety minutes in each other’s company, and we never stopped talking, although we have been friends since 1992, so we have a lot of touchstones between us. When I got home, I said to Stuart, “Hanging out with friends is fun. I can see why people like it.” It was really lovely, though I will admit that hanging out with friends is not something that I’ve been actively missing. I don’t know that I’ve actually been actively missing anything, it occurs to me, which is kind of weird and seems far from other people’s experiences. Certainly in the early pandemic days, I was completely beset with grief—the vacation we never went on (which Google kept sending me updates about, ghostly reminders of what time to leave for the airport to catch my place), the loss of ordinary life and all those things it had never occurred to us not to count on. But eventually, I kind of found my even keel, and stuck with it. (Not counting, of course, the days in January when I was consumed by anxiety and it all felt so hard, and only exercising while listening to up-tempo Celine Dion delivered me any kind of relief.)

It helps that I spend 24 hours a day with another adult whose company I appreciate, and have no shortage of people around the house to bestow hugs upon, and the children’s schooling gives every day a framework and place for me to be at certain times, and even people to meet there. I’ve always worked from home so that part of my life is just the same as it ever was, and in fact it’s better because Stuart is home and often makes me lunch. And this is not a LOOK HOW GREAT MY PANDEMIC HAS BEEN post, because certainly I’ve been in as much despair as anybody and it’s been a long long road, but I think I’ve dealt with the burden of it all by focusing on what I’ve got instead of what I’m having to do without, and yes, probably lots of denial and a bit of numbness, and faith that there will be plays and book launches eventually so I don’t think about it very much, and yes, maybe I never much liked leaving the house anyway. I just think it’s curious, how everybody has their own coping mechanisms, and none of them are ever one-sized fits all, and sometimes I think my comfort zone has become infinitesimally small, so its a splendid surprise to be taken out of it sometimes, as I was this morning. Especially when I get to discover crocuses in bloom along the way.

March 3, 2021

We Haven’t Been Going Nowhere.

We haven’t been going nowhere. You know that, right?

That while indeed it feels surreal to find ourselves in March again, seemingly right back where we started from, that is to forget or discount the cycles, seasons and emotional roller coasters we’ve travelled in the past year.

And I am NOT saying that there aren’t better ways to spend an annum, that whatever we’ve learned is worth what it has cost us, that there are lessons and takeaways we can tie up prettily with a bow.

THIS IS NOT A SILVER LINING.

But also none of us has been standing still, even those who’ve barely left the house or ventured down the block. Even when it’s seemed like life is on hold, every day has been bringing us closer to a time when it won’t be. We have found a way to render some good days out of these strange days, and to weather the bad ones. We have sat with hardship and uncertainty, anxiety and fears when it seemed like the world was ending—but it didn’t. We have born loss and kept going, and found ways to connect across distance, and we’ve grown things, and made things, and tried things and failed things, and while we might be gazing out at the same view tonight… we’ve all actually come very far.

Unimaginable things have occurred this year, but some of them have been so good that 2020 Me would be envious, switching places in an instant—we have vaccines, rapid tests, treatment options, new technologies. Virtual schooling kind of works. We know how disease is spread and I don’t have to worry much about cleaning my doorknobs or disinfecting my shoes. Plus Evermore and Folklore.

I know now more than I ever did before. I know that I am courageous and brave, that I can rise to the occasion and pick myself up again when I fail to, and that community doesn’t fail us, and other people will be what saves us, and that I really can get through this, and I know that you can too.

March 1, 2021

Anniversary

I know I am not alone in feeling a mild sense of dread as this new year moves toward mid-March, toward dates as indelibly etched on my mind as they were on the calendar, before the calendar ceased to be etched altogether.

March 8: our last normal day out in the world, albeit with uncharacteristic attention to hand sanitizing. We took public transit, ate gelato in a restaurant, and gloried in the arrival of spring, discovering the year’s first crocus blooms as we walked home from the streetcar.

March 11: when it became clear that things were not right, and I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from picking up my children from school to stock up on cans of beans and frozen vegetables, a shopping trip the children remember well because they haven’t been to the grocery store since and also because I let them buy all the chips and candy they wanted.

March 16: the day we were meant to fly to England to visit my husband’s family, including our new baby niece and my father-in-law, who was in the last weeks of his life. But we’d cancelled our vacation days before, which at first was a difficult decision and then seemed straightforward, the least of our concerns as the entire world descended into crisis.

After that, dates ceased to mean anything, each day blurring into the next with another sleepless night and heart palpitations from acute anxiety. We were lucky to be safe and cozy at home, counting all the blessings (and there were plenty), but I was not functioning well, unable to do anything much except for one mindless rewatch of Crocodile Dundee on Netflix and refreshing pages on the internet in search of the elusive answer to one question: “What is going to happen next?”

Eventually the distinction between day and night would resume, and dates began to have meaning again—kind of. We managed a pretty satisfying summer. Our children returned to school in September. We are not alone in having found creative and sometimes-satisfying ways to conduct our lives under the circumstances, even if the circumstances still aren’t great.

A year on though, we’re still superstitious about the calendar. We’ve been in lockdown since November 23 here in Toronto, so I would have had to go out of my way to get a 2021 calendar to hang on the wall in our kitchen, and I didn’t want to jinx it. A charity soliciting donations had sent us a calendar in the mail and we went with that, feeling virtuous for saving it from the recycling. March is a photo of a humpback whale—but there is not a single thing written on the grid of days. January and February are also blank… Partly for fears of inviting fate to fuck with me, but also because there hasn’t been a whole lot to write.

I’m beginning to bank on summer though. Not completely—a few plans I’ve not dared to set in ink, because they’re dependent on things beyond my control, but we’ve been booked a camping trip, another week away. The other day I took a chance and penned in our spring birthdays, because it seems likely they’ll be happening, regardless of how many friends we can gather with. Little by little we begin to dare to count on something like the future.

January 25, 2021

On Teaching Algebra During an Insurrection

I was sitting in the kitchen when I learned about the riots at the US Capitol on January 6, alerted by an Instagram post around the same time that my daughter in the living room heard about it from this kid in her class who seems to be streaming CNN during virtual school. This kid is always first with breaking news, and that day it was their math class he interrupted to inform his teacher and his classmates that a terrifying mass of marauding thugs were storming the Capitol, and then their class went back to their regularly scheduled programming, which was algebra.

I was a wreck that day, whacked out on stress and anxiety. I took my children for a walk after virtual school was done for the day, and my youngest daughter said, “If this was a dream, it would be a bad one.” I had gotten no work done all afternoon, and I was grateful—as I often am—that I’d never gone to teacher’s college, “just to have something to fall back on” (as they say). Because this means that I will never have to teach a Grade 6 algebra class online during a global pandemic as terrorists mount an insurrection in the nation next door.

The following morning when both my children returned to class, they had their headphones on so that I could hear only their (particularly shouty) ends of the conversation, teachers apparently guiding them through discussions about what had just transpired in Washington. The Grade 2s were talking about voting and fairness and democracy, and over in Grade 6, my daughter was indignant about the latitude granted to those in the Capitol rampage when compared to police crackdowns on Black Lives Matter protesters the previous summer.

As a society, we ask our educators to carry a heavy load. This was the case even before the pandemic, staff at my children’s school forming task-forces to assist families living in poverty (collecting winter coats and boats, canvassing to furnish apartments for families moving out of refugee and domestic violence shelters) and to help students deal with skyrocketing levels of anxiety and other mental health challenges. All this is on top of the usual fare—sports teams, choirs and bands, lunchtime clubs, answering parent emails on the weekends, plus curriculum nights, and holiday concerts, which educators are expected to volunteer their time to.

For two and a half years, Ontario teachers have been serving on the front lines of our government’s reckless cuts, including reductions to minimum wage, cutting supports for the opioid crisis, cuts to social services, autism support, healthcare, housing, mental health problems, domestic violence, poverty—you name it, and never mind the cuts to education. Helping to stop up these gaps in our social fabric has become what teachers do every day in their work, in addition to teaching (which teachers do well).

And then the pandemic happened, school closures pushing working families to their limits—underlining the foundational role that schools and their staff play in the day-to-day functioning of our society, a role that so many parents had always taken for granted. When Ontario schools reopened in September, amidst so much fear and uncertainty, teachers masked up and returned to the classroom, my youngest daughter’s teacher telling me, “There is nowhere else I’d rather be.” And she was assuring me, of course, because this is what our children’s teachers do, taking on our burdens and struggles as parents, and our children’s struggles too, helping to make the load a little lighter. Teaching is about so much more than teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, and more than ever in 2021, as we all navigate challenges that sometimes seem insurmountable.

The other morning, I got to listen in to a bit of my daughter’s Grade 6 class before she got wise to my eavesdropping and put her headphones on. Her teacher mentioning an article she’d read about people having trouble sleeping. “These are stressful times,” she said, and she surveyed the class to see if anyone else was having trouble, opening up a conversation about mental health, about anxiety. A throwaway conversation, so it seemed, but of course it wasn’t, instead a vital check-in, the kind of thing all good teachers now need to weave into their curriculum in this most unprecedented age, but so seamlessly that it is easy not to notice. 

It is so easy to underestimate what educators do, and the outsized role they play in supporting the wellbeing and prosperity of all Canadians. For some, it seems like a reflex to malign the entire profession for their good pay and holidays, as though to value the work of educating and supporting future generations was foolhardy and not instead an investment that pays out for all of us. But the events of the past year have made clear the limitations of this point of view, showing us all how essential educators really are.

This year, teachers have shown up for us, and I hope many of us will return the favour in years to come by showing up for them, electing governments that value and support their role instead of constantly undermining it.

January 22, 2021

It Was Capitalism All Along…

“It was capitalism all along…” So goes the tagline of my favourite podcast, You’re Wrong About, which I have been in love with for months now. I was the only person on earth who was calm the week of the US election in November, because I just ignored the news and listened to the episode about Gary Hart instead, which was really the same story anyway. I really love the counterintuitiveness of You’re Wrong About, and also the judgment-free perspective of the hosts. Or maybe it’s not that they’re judgment-free—that would be no fun. So many people deserve judgment, but the pod really makes you think about where you’re putting yours, that who we’ve been led to judge is what we’re wrong about after all, but they also don’t do it in a virtue-signalling sanctimonious way either (as in, they don’t call marginalized people—or anybody—”folks”).

I have been reading Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer, for the last month or so, slowly, upon the recommendation of everyone. She writes about gift economies, and what it would be to show up at a farmers’ market where everything was free, and how you would be encouraged by this structure to take only what you need. As opposed to capitalism, which suggests hoarding and competition. If something at capitalism farmers’ market’s on sale, you buy up as much as you can, but gifts would be different:

From the viewpoint of a private property economy, the “gift” is deemed to be “free” because we obtain it free of charge, at no cost. But in the gift economy, gifts are not free. The essence of the gift is that it creates a set of relationships. The currency of a gift economy is, at its root, reciprocity.

Robin Wall Kimmerer

A couple of weeks ago, we headed back into lockdown in Ontario, with schools closed, many things shut. And I was talking with my husband about how difficult it seemed to be for many people to comply with stay-at-home orders, how they kept complicating instructions, looking for loopholes. Trying to game the system, really. And it was my husband who connected the dots, brought it full circle, how it really was capitalism all along. How in capitalism, we’re primed to take everything we can get, even to gamble. Lockdown advisories come out and the response of so many people seems to be, “How can I get the maximum return on these guidelines?”/ “Just how far can I possibly push these limits?” There is no sense of reciprocity, or humility, or duty. Anti-vaccine sentiments are in keeping with this idea too. Public health and capitalism are so very much at odds, but of course, you’d know that already if you’ve listened to You’re Wrong About the Exploding Ford Pinto.

January 18, 2021

On Peaks and Troughs

My friend @nathaliefoy posted this image last week. It’s SO GOOD! And I’ve been thinking this week a lot about peaks and troughs. When things were overwhelming in China last February. Watching cases rise in BC last spring before they got a hold on it. By April, it was our turn in Ontario and everything was terrible. When we were feeling pretty good in August, but Melbourne was on heavy lockdown. Cases exploding in Alberta in December, but by now there is improvement.

Nothing is static, is what I mean. Even if it goes on a long time, it moves from better to worse and back again. And sometimes we’re in the eye of the storm, and other times we’re onlookers, and the only way out is through.

But it’s so hard. I remember in November and December, and experts forecasting a dark winter, and I wondered, But how much darker can things get? AND NOW WE KNOW!

But guys, people in Melbourne are going to the movies. And this is the time of year anyway when you look outside, and everything appears to be dormant, ugly, grey and unchanging, and it’s easy to look at the healthcare disaster and think this is going to be it forever. But anyone who’s ever made it to an April knows this isn’t so.

We’ve got to just keep going, even though it’s hard. Someone I follow shared a screenshot of an alarming tweet by a US researcher, that deaths are higher than ever. I sought the tweet out, because context is always always reassuring, and she’d gone on to tweet about how with so much out of control, it might be simplest just to throw up our arms and decide that nothing we do actually matters, but she had examples that show that this is not the case, that moving the dial is possible. That we will get through this.

Remember coming out into the light last summer? Progress is never a straight road to travel, but that’s no reason to lie in the ditch. Or at the very least, once you’ve been lying in the ditch for a little while, pull yourself up and keep going some more.

January 14, 2021

Celebration Wednesdays

#CelebrationWednesdays is a thing I made up yesterday as an excuse to be baking a cake with rainbow sprinkles in the middle of a roller coaster week. Roller coaster week in the pandemic sense, of course, which meant that I barely left the house, but the world has been hard and the weather is grey, and I’ve had plugged ears since Boxing Day that have only become worse since I started squirting random liquids into them in order to ameliorate the situation.

And so the answer was cake. (The answer is always cake.)

I made Smitten Kitchen’s confetti cake with butter cream icing, and it was so very delicious. And I determined that, for the duration, we’ll be celebrating something ever Wednesday, no matter what. And yesterday, that celebration was vaccines. The friends of ours who work in health care are beginning to get theirs. Our friends in New York are getting theirs too. A friend told me that school staff in Ontario will be among the Stage 2 vaccinations too, which is the best thing ever, and it all makes me so happy and is definitely reason to celebrate. It will be some time before I get the shot myself, I suspect, but seeing as I don’t get out much these days, I’m willing to be patient.

Right now I am reading Penelope Lively’s A House Unlocked, the story of her grandparents’ house in Southwest England and the role it played as a backdrop to the tumult of twentieth century. During World War Two, Lively’s family sheltered six small children evacuated from East London, and she put the story in a context I’d never considered before, having taken these evacuations for granted as part of history. But how bizarre it must have been—officials would come to rural homes and take stock of their capacity, and then inform residents of many people would be arriving. People who would stay for years (and had nits and wet the bed). Can you imagine going through that? What mass organization must have been required. And some of it was very disorganized—Lively writes of plans made for specific people to billeted in particular places, but when the time came, the London stations were so overwhelmed with passengers, they had no choice but to just put them on the first trains available, no matter where they were going.

She also writes about the national spirit in 1939, which I’ve never really thought a whole lot about. During the past year in particular, I’ve found myself wondering if my grandparents ever looked at each other and muttered, “Goddamn you, 1943,” but then of course they didn’t, because my grandfather was away at sea. But Lively writes about the very beginning of the war, about the catastrophic predictions for aerial bombardment from the Germans, which experts had been talking about throughout the 1930s. This was no 1914, “this will all be over by Christmas.” Lively writes, “Anyone alive to official anticipation of what would probably happen in the first days and weeks of war would have been expecting the end of the world they knew.”

The story of these mass evacuations was also one of extreme poverty, vast income inequality, a need “to preempt… mass panic and consequent breakdown of law and order” as attacks began.

Anyway, it all made me think about how there is nothing new under the sun… And about the strangeness of living through history, which I never experienced properly before the last five years or so. I was 22 on September 11, 2001, but for me that was too young to properly understand the implications of those events, or how I was connected to them. One day I think I will write something about how it was watching Mad Men that prepared me for the tumultuous times that we’ve been living through. The visceral way that the show presented what it was to experience the 1960s, the deaths of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. (“WHAT IS GOING ON?”)

Anyway, the great thing about Celebration Wednesdays is that they lead to Leftover Cake Thursdays.

Whatever gets you through.

December 18, 2020

Things I Loved in 2020

Like everyone, I’ve experienced some loss this year. Plans were cancelled, funerals on Zoom, so much uncertainty and anxiety. I posted an image yesterday of some of the signs I saw as we walked up and down the streets of our neighbourhood in the first half of the year, and I think they tell a story.

But among the many lessons that 2020 taught me, it’s that things don’t always turn out for the worst (although sometimes they do). That all those cliches about darkness before dawn and clouds with silver linings and lighting single candles and “everything is going to be okay” have some truth to them. And that there is so much to be grateful for.

I have tried my best to love the gifts that this year has delivered, and these are some of the standouts.

The Weather

Spring arrived with the crisis, and brought light and reasons to go outside, and crocuses and cherry blossoms, which is not always the case in April. The summer in Ontario was pretty beautiful. And then a cool September, which meant our children returned to school and were more comfortable in their classrooms than they might have been. Followed by an autumn more glorious than we’ve experienced in years. I loved all of it.

Getaways

We’re so lucky. I’ve been repeating this phrase all year long. Even from March-June when we were stuck in the city with no access to transit, and I’d started to doubt some of my life choices. But when in June, we felt comfortable renting cars, and a summer of fun appeared, with trips to see my family, a beautiful week at a cottage we were able to rent last minute, two fantastic camping trips, and other adventures. Access to these experiences made everything so much better.

Our Walmart Pool and other Ways to Make the Best of Bad Situation

In April, we bought an 8 foot plastic backyard pool, with a sense of how the summer might go—I love swimming, we use city pools all summer usually, and have no air conditioning—and then three days later our order was cancelled. I was devastated, but Stuart found they were still in stock at Walmart and that one arrived. IT WAS THE BEST. We were nervous originally because we share our backyard and wondered if our landlord would mind us filling the pool, which was pretty large as backyard pools go. But it was amazing! Brought pool blue back into my life. Perfect for cool-downs, the kids played in it, and Stuart even rigged me up a pool tether so I could kind of actually swim. It was the very best thing.

Supporting Local Bookstores

We’ve made it this far because of all the good things that kept arriving on our doorstep, from treats and flowers, to books books books. I’ve purchased from a variety of booksellers this year (and probably bought more books than ever before, which is saying something) but Queen Books has been a mainstay, and they’ve been so good to me!

The Food We Ate

I wrote about this already, but 2020 was delicious.

Our Kids’ Teachers

From the longest March Break ever to the return of school in September, we’ve been so grateful for the support and community of our neighbourhood school, and of heroic staff who—like so many front line workers this year—have risen to the occasion and kept our kids safe at school. Worst fears about school transmission were not realized, and all that is to the credit of school staff working under extraordinary circumstances—and also to our kids, who’ve been awesome and brave, and I’m so proud of them.

My Book Launch

I was glad to launch a book during a pandemic because there was a time in the spring when I wondered if I’d launch a book at all. I am so grateful to my friends and family, to my publisher, to booksellers and readers across the country who made my launch such a rich, special and satisfying experience. And yes, especially to Hien Hoang, who made my EPIC CAKE.

My People

There’s nobody else I’d rather be stuck with for hundreds of days than these three. They’re kind, funny, understanding, fun, up for adventures, give me space, teach me things, help me out, ask good questions, and are my favourite companions. I could not love them more—and yet, I probably will tomorrow.

You

And you! For reading my work, for loving books, for loving my book, for being a good friend or neighbour, for brightening my day, for inspiring me, for making me laugh, for lending an ear, for reading my bitchy DMs, for the gossip, for the friendship, for the book recommendations, for the encouragement, for sharing parts of your life with me. I am so glad you’ve been along for the ride and I couldn’t have done it without you.

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