Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse; Twenty-Nine Weeks In

Two incredible things of note happened this week: I got excused from jury duty, and my son shaved off his moustache.

I am a woman who believes strongly in body autonomy, and that everyone should be able to express themselves via personal style, and yet. Yet I am happy that he – voluntarily, I hasten to point out – is no longer moustachioed.

As for jury duty, well, I do not think I need to say more. My grandmother, apparently, had wanted to serve on jury duty for her entire life and wasn’t called until she was in palliative care. Sorry, Grandma! I’m pretty relieved. I said to my husband that actually, I wouldn’t mind jury duty if I a) had nothing else to do, and b) it wasn’t a grisly or horrifying trial like a murder or assault, but something “nice.” What, you may ask, would be a “nice” trial? That I do not know. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I implore you to find this sparkly unicorn guilty of horn theft because, as you will see, SHE IS BUT A HORSE.

In any case, no jury duty and no moustache: everything’s coming up Milhouse!

Also this week I finally had my annual mammogram. All the diagnostics centres were closed for a few months in the spring, and it took me several weeks of calling and being on hold to book this appointment, back in July. I know many of you aren’t eligible to get mammograms until you are 50, but my requisition forms state “lumpy and dense” and so I go annually, and have for several years. Lumpy and dense. The feminine mystique stands to take a bit of a beating here.

Medical masks are mandatory at the diagnostics centre, as opposed to cloth ones, and as soon as I was out of the building I switched to my cloth one because this is where I am at, now, that I feel unfashionable without a mask that goes with my outfit. I have leveled up.

My sons wear masks all day long to school, and even when walking home after school, if they are walking with friends. My older son went so far as to say that he actually thinks “people look more attractive with masks,” and both sons have said to me, separately, that even when the pandemic is over, they will still wear masks in certain situations to avoid breathing in other people’s germs and to keep other people from getting sick. After all, my younger son said to me, I have all these masks, I might as well use them.

Is this Stockholm Syndrome?

I was talking to my friend Nicole (HI NICOLE) about this, and she said she hopes to see a cultural shift, in which we are not, as a society, constantly pressured to be in public while ill. This is an excellent point. Nicole is a professor and I confessed to her that while I was in university, I showed up to countless classes and exams sick, due to the stressful possibility of missing key concepts or getting a poor grade. If you recall, missing exams meant that you really needed a doctor’s note to be excused or rescheduled, and who among us goes to the doctor for the common cold? I clearly remember writing a third-or-fourth year final and using up an entire purse package of tissues while I coughed and sneezed and blew my nose. Who even knows how many people I would have passed that cold on to. Even think about pre-pandemic commercials for cold and flu medication, that advertised dosing up because no one can afford to take a sick day, least of all mothers who are busily Doing It All.

Well, maybe there will be a shift. The thought of just doping ourselves up to alleviate cold and flu symptoms and then going about our day-to-day lives seems so antiquated right now, just like being indoors in a public place without a (fashionably coordinated) mask or shaking someone’s hand.

Pandemic Reading

This, this was the palate cleanser I needed after all my heavy books last week. Perfectly fluffy and lovely, two best friends pretend to be engaged to each other, but then feelings get involved. I bet you would never guess the ending.

I cannot believe I made it this long in life without reading Virginia Woolf. Sure, I read A Room of One’s Own, or an annotated version thereof, in university, but nothing else. Until now! This was a really incredible read, although in all honesty it took me a few pages to get used to the stream-of-consciousness style of writing. The details and the theme of interconnectedness really spoke to me. Also of note: Mrs. Dalloway is described as having heart issues, in need of daily rests, and having grown very thin and pale since her illness, her illness being the Spanish flu. The other thing of note is that Septimus is suffering from what was known as shell shock, which was a topic in the book about trauma I just read, The Body Keeps The Score. Very interesting, and there are some great Downton Abbey-like party descriptions, which I am HERE FOR.

Oh, this book. This book really resonated with me as a yoga practitioner and teacher, and a longtime cardio enthusiast. Particularly after my hip injury, I find that I am constantly filled with gratitude and joy that I can move without pain; running, walking, biking, I feel is a pure gift now. However, there were many parts that made me very, very sad: for example, talking about the feeling of community and collective joy that comes with group exercise in person, and the sound of synchronized breathing that comes with a flow yoga class when we are all together. Well. We are lucky to be so connected in a virtual way, and able to be together while apart, I must keep that in mind. I’m sure Mrs. Dalloway would have had a grave sense of isolation and loneliness while almost dying from the Spanish flu and would have given anything for the kind of connectivity we have now.

Happy October! It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is this weekend already. I hope you all have a beautiful week; I will be practicing gratitude and thankfulness. Particularly about no jury duty and a clean-shaven face. xo


  1. I will feel the same way you feel about the lack of hair on his upper lip when my youngest has more than stubble on their head. I am making no rules, but it would be a balm to my soul.

  2. Tank was not home when I cut hair like 3 weeks ago. He is one shaggy looking guy now. I guess he will be quite transformed when I break out the Clippers again in the next few weeks.

    I have never had jury duty but I did have to observe as case for my business law class in college. It was super interesting. Life has become much busier since college though, so I hear you.

    I remember going for a chest x-ray in college and going directly to a math test. Hacked my way thru the test. A bit later I learned that I DID have pneumonia. I agree, life would be better if we were all conditioned to slow down and heal when sick.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Hopefully, things WILL change in regard to going to work/school/where ever while sick.

  4. bibliomama2 says

    I LOVE Mrs. Dalloway! Have you read The Hours by Michael Cunningham? It’s a wonderful companion to Mrs. D. I also was reading Woolf’s diaries at the same time, and it was really cool hearing her voice in the journal and the book.
    I do hate commercials that advocate drugging yourself up in order to work while you’re sick. There was one where she took the medication but just stayed home and read, and I loved that one.
    I have to wear the paper medical masks at school, and I hate them – they irritate my face much more than cloth ones.
    I came across a picture of Angus when he was home and shaved off his beard and just kept the moustache for a few days – cringe! I believe in bodily autonomy for my kids too, but man I was relieved when he cut his hair and then when he shaved the stache.

  5. Lots of good news in your post! Although, I had to look up “Milhouse” and now I am currently up to date and possibly ‘hip’.
    I started getting annual Mammograms at 35 because of family history AND I’m also dense. It appears I’m in good company.
    Laughing at your boys and the masks; so funny.

  6. I DO like the idea of a cultural shift away from Work Even If You Are Sick, and I am VERY glad that our children are so adaptable and have been able to adjust to constant mask wearing so easily, but it makes me very sad to consider a future of all masks, all the time. Sigh.

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