Divisive Issues; Thirty-Six Weeks In

The general manager of the community association at which I teach yoga classes – currently zoom, but previously in-person – was telling me that she is very tired of people coming in to the community centre, seeing her with a mask, and calling her a sheep. Are…people still doing that? Apparently, yes. We are well into our ninth month of this pandemic. We have had a mandatory mask mandate in the city since August 1. We are in a literal crisis situation with regards to our health care system, but sure. Let’s ridicule people following health directives. Sir, have you read the news today. Have you read the news in the past eight months.

I was quite shocked when she told me that; it’s my own fault, really, for being shocked, as I have unfollowed and unfriended everyone who was posting ridiculous things like photos of a lion rising above a herd of sheep with captions like Me in the grocery store without a mask or various diatribes about how the virus is a hoax and any vaccine will be used by the government to track our movements.

Ha! I dare anyone to track my movements and stay awake in the process. She’s getting in her car and…going to Superstore. Now she’s home, putting groceries away. Oh look, she’s…walking in her neighbourhood. Wait wait, here she goes…to the library. And she’s…going to Superstore. Again.

Anyway, since I don’t see anti-mask posts like that anymore I find myself surprised to find that masks are still a divisive issue. Our fitness club has been sending out emails to the effect that if members are unable to wear face masks for health reasons, then they must wear face shields. I cannot imagine face shields being MORE comfortable than masks, and knowing the demographics of our fitness club like I do, I feel that “health reasons” are a euphemism for “I don’t want to.” If my teenagers can wear masks at school all day every day, along with 2200 other teenagers obeying the directive, then certainly the rest of us can slip one on for a couple of hours in public places.

So masks are – STILL, OMG – a divisive issue, but what I wanted to talk about today is FUN divisive issues, the kind of divisive issues that have no impact on other people, particularly no impact that could eventually lead to death.

The Top Sheet

I was well into my forties before I learned that not everybody uses a top sheet. Frankly, I could not have been more surprised if I woke up with my head sewn to the carpet. No. Top. Sheet. No judgment here, but what do you do for laundry? Even though I have adopted the “burrito method” for putting on my duvet cover, I still have to force myself to wash it bi-monthly or even quarterly, I hate that job so much. If you don’t have a top sheet, are you washing your duvet cover weekly? Aren’t you missing out on that lovely sandwich feeling of sliding between the sheets? And what do you DO with the top sheet that comes in every sheet set? I have so many questions, I will await your responses.

Making The Bed

I was in university when a friend chided me – CHIDED ME – for making my bed every day. “It’s the biggest waste of time!” she said to me. “What is the point?” Well, the point is a) it is a wonderful feeling to slide into a nicely-made bed at night, rather than a jumble of sheets (or, sheet, for those of you without a top sheet) and blankets, and b) in terms of making things look nice in the bedroom, there is no faster way to perk the room up than making the bed. I don’t know how long it takes you, but it is less than sixty seconds for me to pull the sheet and duvet up, and put on the pillow shams and decorative pillows. It is a pretty big bang for the cleaning buck, if you ask me.

Underwear to Bed

While we are speaking of the bedroom, what about wearing underwear to bed? I recall this being a Major Topic of Discussion during childhood sleepovers, the idea of letting the honeypot “breathe.” I do not know about the science backing up that claim. I am a person who is cold by nature – cold hands, warm heart – and also, despite my yoga life, kind of restrictive. I wear full-on pajamas, with underwear AND A BRA to bed. It’s a soft, sleep bra but a bra nonetheless. I guess I’m just more comfortable in lots of layers.


Is there a holiday libation more divisive than eggnog? God bless you all for cheering its festive appearance in the grocery store, but I am on the side of full-body shudder at the thought of consuming its thick viscosity. I know many of you right now are saying But with rum! But I have a great homemade recipe! But there are vegan versions! and bless you for trying, but NO. Here’s another secret: I don’t even like rum. I know! You think you know a person and then they drop a bomb like that.

Mint Chocolate

IT IS MY SEASON, PEOPLE. You Pumpkin Spice people, bless your hearts, have had your moment in the sun, but now it’s mine. I have good friends who think mint chocolate tastes like toothpaste. Well, a) more for me, and b) toothpaste tastes great, that’s why we like to be minty fresh. I have a box of candy canes that is going to be made into chocolate bark, it’s time to purchase After Eights and Peppermint Lindor, and my sweet little niece dropped off four boxes of mint chocolate Girl Guide cookies this weekend, LET’S CELEBRATE THE SEASON.

Last Christmas

I personally think that Last Christmas is one of the greatest holiday songs ever written, but there are people out there who do NOT. Have you heard of Whamageddon? It’s a game where people actively try not to hear Last Christmas during the holiday season. Why would you deprive yourself of joy? My first hearing of it was when I was briefly in the mall, and everyone around me (socially distanced, masked) was grooving to it, and that was November 5. On November 12 I started listening to all my Christmas Spotify playlists, including the one made by my friend Peggy (HI PEGGY) which is exclusively made up of different versions of Last Christmas. What I’m saying is that I would fail at Whamageddon on purpose.

All right, it’s your turn! Where do you stand on these divisive issues, and what issues did I miss?

Pandemic Reading

If you want to better understand the nature of depression, this is the book for you. It’s part memoir, part investigative journalism. Some of it is fascinating. Some of it is tedious. A lot of it is very difficult to read and very sad. It’s edifying but not enjoyable.

After reading about toxic masculinity and depression, I needed a break. This book was SO MUCH FUN. I love the blog Go Fug Yourself, and I loved their book The Royal We, but I have to say I loved this even more. It was just delightful, and the dialogue was A+.

My friend Mary-Lynn (HI MARY-LYNN) recommended this to me after I read Mrs. Dalloway. It’s brilliant! I love the kind of book that twines seemingly unrelated people together.

And the outdoor lights are up! Things are merry and bright – and this weekend, it will be the tree! Have a good week, stay safe, and don’t let the divisive issues divide us. xo


  1. I am new to you, via Swistle (HI SWISTLE) and am from another chilly Canadian city and am so charmed by your Canadian references, thank you for those! And by your book reviews! And it is Monday morning and I am not yet caffeinated and should log into a work meeting from home soon (we no longer use our dining table for dining if any sort, just kids’ crafts and office), but I wanted to say ‘hi!’ And ‘thanks!’

  2. I use a top sheet and the idea of not doing so makes me twitchy, but my own kids usually don’t. I make the bed sometimes, less during the pandemic because it was part of my everyone’s-out-of-the-house routine– do all the breakfast dishes and make my bed. Now no one goes anywhere in the morning and I often have a why bother feeling about it. Plus Beth works out of our room and I figure if she wants an unmade bed in the background of her zoom calls she’s welcome to it. I wear underwear to bed more often than not, but not always.

    I am on team pumpkin spice, eggnog AND chocolate mint. I am for all the holiday flavors. I try to avoid all holiday music until after American Thanksgiving, but I have no special animus toward “Last Christmas.”

  3. I love this post. You made me chuckle at head sewn to the carpet and the route the govt will follow by tracking you. Ha!

    People are calling one another SHEEP for wearing a mask? In.Sanity. What the what? I had not heard.

    OK: top sheet user here AND underwear and jammies wearer, but no bra as I barely require one when awake.

    Love me some mint chocolate. I don’t drink coffee so pumpkin spice is not my thing but mint chocolate can be used in so many delicious ways. I do make an amazing pumpkin bread but I don’t bother to make it GF. My people love it and I used to enjoy it too.

    Eggnog. I used to enjoy a glass when I was much, much younger. Now, I take a pass. Funny thing is Coach has come home with eggnog from the grocery store twice recently. Our kids have feasted on it before Coach got a full serving. He is SALTY about it and the kids all swear they ‘barely’ had any.

  4. Favorite part: “Ha! I dare anyone to track my movements and stay awake in the process.”


  5. I laughed out loud at the ‘track me and not fall asleep’! I am definitely pro-top sheet for the same reasons -laundry. Always make my bed – always; actually my husband does as he gets up last but he never bothers with the pillow shams. I cannot even imagine wearing underwear to bed let alone a bra! Bra comes off early evening (& there’s not much there. I can only sleep ‘au naturelle’. No on mint chocolate- why ruin perfectly good chocolate??!! I use to like eggnog when I was young but not a fan now. Finally – I agree with your assessment of who seems to have health reasons hence no mask. I am a severe asthmatic and can do it. (But I’ve also run 19 marathons ….). On bad days I wear only thin disposable ones for better access to air. Love your blog Nicole!

  6. The phrase “letting the honeypot “breathe.”” is giving me life today. And laughter.

    I love knowing these kinds of things about people. I am a sometimes-yes to eggnog, but half eggnog, half milk. I wear underpants to bed but NEVER A BRA, I wear a bra as seldom as is humanly possible. I love Wham’s Last Christmas. Making the bed is An Accomplishment, and if I do nothing else all day at least I’ve done THAT. My daughter does not use a top sheet but I do because of your very valid duvet-cleaning concerns. (I wash my daughter’s duvet every other week.) (Her top sheets are in a drawer. I suppose I could turn them into masks, if I knew how to sew.)

    Your home is looking so delightfully Christmassy! Myself, I just put out some orange and yellow kitchen towels. Not quite ready for the Thanksgiving towels, yet, but these are Thanksgiving-adjacent.

  7. I posted about the top-sheet issue a few months ago and I think it was my most-commented-on post of the year – who knew people had such strong opinions about top sheets? I am a dedicated top-sheet user but my kids refuse it, and once I saw Angus’s bed after I insisted on putting one on, I gave up. They both tend to shower before bed, so I was the duvet but not as often as I would if I was the one using it top sheet-less. We don’t wear underwear to bed. Half of us like eggnog. Mint chocolate can be too toothpastey but generally I like it. I love Last Christmas – the song and the magnificently cheesy movie that came out last year. I LOVE The Hours (I think I might have recommended it to M.L.) and Specimen Days also by Michael Cunningham.

  8. What IS it with the kids not using a top sheet? Mine has never used a top sheet and would complain long and loud if I added one to his bed AND, God forbid, tucked it into the foot of the bed. The weirdo.

    Target has a line that sells the top sheets and fitted sheets separately and that is how I got around having these random top sheets floating around when he lived here.

  9. No top sheet here! Yes, the duvet gets washed every week. I used to sew the flat sheet into fitted sheets but now just buy only the fitted sheet. We get duvets from ikea and they come with matching pillow cases.

    My tracking would look quite similar but coop not superstore haha

  10. I’m a top sheet user and for years I have diligently put one on my kids’ beds, but also for years they (all three!!) have managed to push the top sheet into a crushed bundle at the bottom of the bed every night, while their comforter stays with them. I just don’t get how they all developed this skill but I still hope one day they will figure out how a top sheet works.

  11. My kids are also top sheet haters but they like those wretched microfleece blankets? So that goes between child and comforter and that gets washed like a sheet. I like eggnog, but only the ones that don’t taste like rum as rum is the drink I had an unfortunate early 20s experience with, and now I cannot abide even the smell. I’m a yes to both pumpkin spice and mint chocolate, but a no to bedtime underwear. And I do make the beds, but it is new for me. I only started when lockdown began here, but now I’m a fan and the habit will stick, I think.

  12. As an adult, I feel the need to defend the people who don’t use a top sheet. I have a fitted sheet and then a comforter in a cover on my bed. In the summer it’s a lightweight cotton one from Ikea and in the winter it’s a down comforter I’ve had since middle school. I always wash the cover whenever I wash my sheets. I don’t think it’s hard to get the comforter back in the cover but I’ve been doing it for thirty years so I have a lot of practice. I do have a few top sheets from sets but if I buy my own sheets, I buy them as separates so I can can get a fitted sheet and matching pillowcases (Ikea is good for this).

    I make my bed every day. In the past twenty years, I probably haven’t made my bed twice. I do it immediately after I get out of bed. Having just a comforter makes it a pretty simple task.

    I’m pro the last four things on your list. My second favorite Christmas song is “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney, which I think is more hated than “Last Christmas”.

  13. Oh Nicole. I agree – masks cannot, should not, be an issue at this point. However, I don’t even know where to start on the others!! Eggnog is the nectar of gods. With or without rum. I will swear to the death. part of the appeal is the creamy thickness and the cloves taste like Christmas. Pumpkin spice has gone too sweet for my tastes. Mint is fine in toothpaste but mint chocolate is the devil. It ruins perfectly good chocolate. There, I said it. I’m also flouting your bedding rules by living sans top sheet (regularly opting to wash duvet cover and fitted sheet) and still achieve said burrito effect, though I do make the bed every day. I can’t live *quite* that recklessly. Besides, why have throw cushions if you don’t make the bed look all plump and inviting?

  14. I laughed at your Clark Griswold quote; One of my favorites!

    I always use a top sheet. My children do not. I don’t get it, and I’ve never asked what they do with the top sheet if they don’t use it? Maybe they make forts with it?

    OMG. “Letting the honeypot breathe”? I’ve never heard this phase before, but I adore it! Alas, my honeypot is smothered in my undies and I always wear a soft bra or sports bra to bed, with emergency PJ’s or yoga pants within arms reach. God forbid there is a fire or an emergency, my honeypot and lady bits need to be covered.

    I don’t mind mint chocolate…it’s not like it’s that horrendous WHITE CHOCOLATE. Ughhh.

    It should be a crime to NOT hear and love Last Christmas by Wham. A CRIME!

    Your home looks amazinging festive. Happy Happy!!

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