My Pandemic Routine & Comfort Levels

Happy autumnal equinox!

seasonal fall GIF

Today marks the first day of (astronomical) fall for the northern hemisphere and we are feeling it in the northeast US. Now that the smoke from the west coast wildfires has mostly cleared, the air is cooler, crisper. We are able to start keeping our windows open during the workday, like we did at the beginning of quarantine.

But it also means that our daylight hours are getting shorter, which we have not really had to experience since before quarantine. We have been taking stock of where New York City stands with coronavirus and trying to determine what level of comfort we have with things like seeing friends, going to reopened gyms, and more.

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Happy autumnal equinox 🍁 Changing things up a little for equinox this year with a selfie I just took in the sunniest corner of my apartment instead of a nature photo for 2 reasons: 1) I wanted to share what it looks like when I go outside with a mask. Right now, this happens once a week, so I haven't seen the need to buy cute, reusable masks yet, since I venture outside so rarely. Wearing a mask is still one of the number one things we should be doing to curb the spread of coronavirus. 2) My extreme resistance to posting selfies stems from a deep fear of my own vanity. I don't even consider selfies vain but I know mine feel rooted in it. I'm really vain and I work actively to suppress that part of myself, among others. I am coming around to the idea that maybe I should try to reduce my vanity rather than just stifle it, since my social media makes clear I'm not actually less vain… I originally was going to make it my monthly challenge this month, to take a selfie every day, but I chickened out when the month suddenly started. But one thought I've had all year is that I should not be so apologetic for who I am, even for the parts of me that I want to change. So here's my face, partially at least. If you're still here, how are you getting ready for the colder months? We haven't spent much of quarantine with fewer daylight hours than nighttime hours, and with both schools reopening and indoor dining resuming next week , I'm really nervous. I also don't know how to mentally prepare not to see my family for peak festive, family gathering season, from Mid-Autumn Festival through to Lunar New Year…

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Schools are set to reopen and indoor dining is set to resume next week in New York. If the city isn’t bracing for another wave of cases, we certainly are here in my household. In fact, we are trying to prepare by making sure we have supplies that we may need, since we were only just able to get through the first wave.

Here’s where we stand right now and what we’re thinking about as the cold months set in:

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Fall in Love with Fall

Mmmmm… fall.

Hello Autumn

After this last winter, I’m no longer certain if winter is my favorite season of the year. (December may still be my favorite month, however.) I have always been really fond of autumn, however, and with the autumnal equinox upon us, I find myself feeling excited. Not for the cliched, basic things like pumpkin spice lattes (remember that I don’t drink coffee beverages, no matter how much sugar and milk you put in them) but for other things like:

  • The smell – Do you know what I’m talking about here? Every season has a pretty unique smell and autumn’s is one of my favorites. The air becomes clear and crisp as the humidity of summer gets chased away. You can smell fruits ripening and leaves falling. That’s just outside. When you step inside, people start spicing their foods and drinks with cinnamon and nutmeg and you can smell it as soon as you walk in. (Maybe they have a candle, but that’s okay, too.) They bring the outside smells in, with their fresh-picked apples and the crunchy leaves in their hair. It smells warm inside, but it smells cool outside.

    Philosophy knows what I’m talking about
  • The colors – I’ve never been one for super bright colors except as an accent. But when autumn rolls around, we shelve the neons and the pastels and bring out the rich neutrals. I dislike orange (I’m sorry, orange-lovers) but I am head-over-heels for that cranberry/wine/burgundy/maroon/oxblood color. I wish I could wear it all-year-round (and I’ll be honest, I probably wear it more in the warmer months than I’m “supposed” to) so getting to see the fall color palette roll around really gets me excited.

    The only time of year I really tolerate browns
    The only time of year I really tolerate browns
  • The leaves – Of course, who doesn’t love watching the leaves change color? I get particularly excited about this because there is a road near my house that is lined with all maple trees. If the weather cooperates (aka we don’t get so much rain that the leaves get washed away), the entire street is ablaze in red maple leaves, all the way down. I used to really look forward to walking home from school so that I could walk past this street. Back when I lived in New Jersey, we used to take these scenic drives in the fall to see the fall foliage.
  • Hot soup – You can have hot soup any time of the year, and believe me, I do. But it isn’t until autumn that you get to start indulging in hot soups more often. I don’t even have that many different types of soups but I am really happy with my regular rotation. (Holla at me chicken noodle soup lovers.)
  • Hot tea – Same as with hot soup, but not something I get to enjoy as much during the warmer months. I remember really loving holding a thermos of hot tea in my hands as I walked to class. Two of my favorite cool weather feelings are the feeling of a warm mug in my hands and the feeling of drinking hot soup/tea in your throat when you’ve caught a chill.
    https://i0.wp.com/images2.beautyheaven.com.au/article_images/0031/1323/hands-holding-mug-main_article_new.jpg
  • Scarves – I think because a) it’s easy and b) I have a long-ish neck, I have always been most keen on accessorizing my neck with necklaces and scarves (if I accessorize at all). I like having my neck covered when it gets chillier, especially by a soft or silky scarf. (Please note that most turtlenecks make me feel as though I am being strangled so I avoid those.)
  • Cozy sweaters – I went through a phase where I was pretty anti-sweater because I owned a lot of scratchy knits and also because kids in school were too cool to wear sweaters for a while??? I remember being the only person wearing a knit sweater in a class full of hoodies and being very confused but also desperately wanting a hoodie of my own. Now, I can really appreciate a soft sweater in the chillier months.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’m sure I’ll think of other things soon. I realized that this wound up being a very sensory post again, because really, when I think about seasons I think about very specific sensations.

What are your favorite things about autumn/fall?