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Oh, that’s right. This is what cold feels like. It’s amazing how we remember the idea of freezing cold, but our bodies forget the visceral feelings. No longer. It’s 8 degrees outdoors — with windchill -4 — (and feels like about 40 inside). Time for serious layering. Time to be strategic about moving about the city. If you spend most of your day in your car, you know what to do. And maybe my podcast can warm you up in other ways.

Before I go out into the tundra, let me express my gratitude for Five Things That improved my life this week.

1) . First dinner date with old friends. You know how you can be friends forever with someone yet never meet them for dinner? Or you only see them amongst groups of people? Or you meet frequently, but without your partners? Or any or all of the above? Rose is my lifelong friend. Our mothers were best friends for most of their lives so our friendship was preordained. But we just had our first double date. And it was wonderful; the first of many, I hope.

2) Happy reinventions. A lot of us baby boomers have to (emphasis on have/need to/are impelled to) recreate ourselves as our former lines of .work are tossed out into the analog bin. (I hope we at least sparked some joy while we were at it.) . Our publications folded. Our practices were merged with others and everyone over 50 was deemed redundant. We took an early buyout because we thought it was the only alternative. We were downsized. Et cetera. Then it’s back to the drawing board to figure out how we can be of use.

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Thus, I’d like to salute all of you who have uncomplainingly found a new gig, a new kind of work, a new passion. I think of work as a privilege. (And just to complicate things, I think of education as a right.) Some of my friends are now working in schools or colleges, as teachers or administrators, are writing plays (instead of tv shows which tend to die for arbitrary outside reasons and require some political jockeying to happen), or getting involved in a civic/community action or activity. And for the most part, they are uncomplaining about their new direction. Katy, Stevie, John, Barbara, Barbara, Yale, Lisa, Dani, and John — I’m thinking of all of you.

 
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3) . Some of you may know that I love to eat chicken. I would probably marry a chicken (fried or otherwise) if it were legal. I like to cook chicken now, and have experienced enormous personal satisfaction from breaking my family’s pattern and becoming a competent chicken roaster.

I want to extend my appreciation to chickens that are featherless and well-cleaned when I buy them. This is sadly, not always the case. Fresh chicken from the artisanal butcher Hudson & Charles are pristine, as are the Katie’s Best chickens I get from Fresh Direct. Other chickens require my plucking and cleaning and wondering if I should just wax them. Then I start having second thoughts about eating chicken whatsoever.

4) . Routines. I come to praise routine and not to bash the concept. When you are a self-employed person like me, your day can fritter away with no effort. None. It’s just suddenly dark out (did I mention that it’s also very cold?) and it’s time to make dinner. But having been on my own professionally for more years than I was employed full time, I appreciate the benchmarks I put into my week, to break up my time and ensure that I am not just staring at a blank page or screen all day. Most of my scheduled breaks are for physical activity, but not all. And though my routine has taken a big swerve with the loss of Henry, Exhibit D ™, I continue to value the repetition.

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5) . Robert Mueller. . I know some of you are tired of seeing Special Prosecutor’s name and face as number 5 each week. When I conceived this blog (and later the podcast) I was attempting to be apolitical. Can you believe that? I intended this space to be free of politics, to be an antidote to the gloom I felt within and without. But look, Robert Mueller, a distinguished American veteran and a registered Republican, is a good man doing tough work under tremendous pressure. And I respect that and him.


 

STAY WARM and act natural!

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