That was a year, wasn’t it?

It doesn’t feel great to look back at posts and pictures from this time last year – it’s devastating, actually. Smiling faces filled with hope and excitement – minds filled with the concept that they were somehow ready to take on whatever 2020 had in store.  We knew nothing. We were fools.  How could we have been anything more, though, I suppose.

I suppose also, that there is hope here too, as we move toward 2021 – less certain, more desperate, and completely void of the previous NYE’s bravado – but hope, still.

Last year I looked forward to stepping up into my coming promotion – and I have been fortunate to maintain that role.  Fired up and ready to continue climbing the corporate ladder, my thoughts were on maximizing bonus potential and growing my path.   As 2021 begins,  I am overwhelmed with the privilege of maintaining my employment, and consumed with thoughts as to how best to continue to lead my amazing team through this continuing unprecedented time.

I had such lofty goals for our family – expanding our activities and including my parents in more of our adventures near and far.  Nurturing Jr’s love of team sports, perhaps steering him away from his scooter obsession. It turns out that mastering new scooter tricks is a fabulous solo sporting activity, and my most fervent wish for my family is to get my medically high-risk father vaccinated as soon as possible, adding him to the list of people I love that are on the path into the light after so long in the dark and cold of this overwhelming fear, along with Dr Sissy and BIL who thankfully have received their first doses.  And then turning my attention to my mom – who is the sun and the moon to Jr, and hopefully someday myself and The Mr, and please oh please smarty-pants scientist people – my son and all of the other kiddos who seem so often to be counted last on the list of those we worry about in all of this.

I started 2020 in a battle to continue taking the medication I have relied on for over 20 years to keep Multiple Sclerosis from using my immune system to eat away at my nerves  – a battle I won, ironically, in late February.   Just in time to find out that the medication that tamps down that messed up immune response also made me a sitting duck for a novel virus we were just starting to learn about.

I hold no expectations for 2021.  I wonder, really, if the idea of understanding what the future should look like in any way is forever lost on a large number of us, at this point.  I hope that my inability to conceptualize that does not dampen my son’s ability to dream big.   We will need those dreams and the promise within them.

Before I spiral off into the abyss of sadness and anger and horror that has been a constant looming presence for these many months – those same months have brought clarity on all there is to be so thankful for. 

Big things like the amazing power of science and the determination of those who use that power to solve problems and those who combine it with their immense humanity to treat and care for those who are ill. 

The strength of the will of people to fight  the darkest depths of hate and shame and selfishness, and band together to elevate goodness and drive change.   The collective magnitude of thousands and thousands of teachers and educational professionals moving mountains to try and meet their students’ needs – far beyond just academic – wherever those students are (and getting up the next day and trying again, even when it feels like they are only one grain of sand getting constantly blown by a giant unending wind.)

And little things too-  for many it has been a new pet added to the family, for me it has been the opportunity to care for my aging doggie, and spending my days and nights concentrating on his needs and appreciating every moment and every snuggle with him.

The fun that the holidays bring, particularly for Jr – his willingness to believe in all the magic of the season may be growing short-lived, but this year when we needed it most, he was open and excited to see what Hopscotch the elf was up to each morning, or hold court in his usual competitive rounds of dreidel with his stuffed Grinch (and this year, the family’s newest member, his beloved plush rooster, who if you ask me, may be a bit of cheat.) A particularly perfect virtual visit with Santa after a day of cookie-decorating filled this mother’s heart with more thankfulness than I can find words for.

Time draws short, and in a few hours, 2020 will well and truly be hindsight.   Our understanding of all that has transpired will grow in the days (and months, and years) still to come.  

Even if I can’t envision it – I hold hope that the light has found us by this time next year.


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View of me in the laundry room

View from a meeting

This week my coworkers watched me do laundry.

I’d love to say that the display of domestic prowess was intentional, but alas – no one has been begging me to demo my epic dryer lint trap removal skilzzz.

Seven Months.

That’s how long it took me to have a visible snafu.

Seven Months of working from home while pretending to be a 9 year old during playtime, and a principle, Para pro, lunch lady and IT rep during school time.

Seven Months of plotting meal after meal after meal that people will eat and won’t get bored of.

Of fighting back the clutter that comes with ALWAYS being here. Of date nights that consist of sitting on the front porch with The Mr. like it’s the balcony of a resort, watching the neighborhood.

Of doing a bajillon different jobs all day, and getting up 3 times a night with the geriatric dog I am honored to be hanging with as he ambles through the darkening twilight of his life.

Of falling asleep with a glass of wine at like 7:15 and forgetting that the dryer is full of clothes that still need to be hung up and put away.

For 4 nights in a damn row.

And of constantly trying to squeeze one more little thing that COULD be getting done into a few minutes when you might be able to step away from your computer and listen to a call. And accidently hitting the camera button on Teams. And giving everyone a lovely view of you fighting to get the bin where you store the extra detergent down off the high shelf, while your coworker tries to IM you, but you don’t notice because it’s 2020 and the universe is not here for your dignity, silly insignificant little human woman.

(I didn’t notice until now – but I shifted away from first person writing that. Evidently I still need that distance from it.)

Also since 2020 – I totally lost it when I realized that I was the dumbass who was wronged by technology on a large call, and did what you should never do, and had a breakdown on the phone with my boss.

It wasn’t even about the multi-tasking really. Not when I thought about it more (and you KNOW I f*cking thought about it more. And more. And then also some more.)

It’s the vulnerability, I think. That they all saw me, trying desperately to just keep up with my own life, and kind of failing. I am a leader – they come to me with their problems (no really, it’s true!) When they ask how things are going with Jr’s remote learning, or my sister and BIL doctoring away on the front lines, or my M.S., I am supposed to project confidence and calm.

Aren’t I?

But I can’t.

Because it has been Seven Months.

It has reshaped the entire world. (If you feel the effects less or whatever you choose to call it, good for you – this probably isn’t for you.)

Here I am – every day – blessed to have a few people left around me who will let me cry over a really stupid video conference move one day, but make sure I can laugh about it the next day over Zoom happy hour.

Seven Months ago I would have probably written about this as a hilarious guide to Zoom Etiquette or something. Oh well. That Keri is down in there somewhere, hibernating I guess.

I will say this though – we are Seven Months in to this, people.

Let’s make a pact – if your coworker is making damn fool out of themselves on a call – how about a little throat clear or something to snap their ass out of it?

Seven months is a long time – we need some back up, yo.

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Last week the fire alarm went off at midnight.

I don’t mean that it started doing the battery chirping thing or whatever.

I mean that last week, while The Mr was fast asleep and snoring upstairs, and Binky the Wonder Dog and I were downstairs grabbing a little quiet TV binge time in the wee small hours, a deafening shriek ripped the silence followed by a robotic voice shouting “FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!!!”

I threw my bowl of late night pistachios all over the family room in my startled haste to get upstairs and make sure The Mr was up (he is a shockingly heavy sleeper) and as he messed with the main alarm it started shouting “C.O.! C.O.!” instead and the next thing you know we are out on the front lawn waiting for the fire department, pacing back and forth with Binky who is, as it turns out, not deaf enough in his old age to miss being totally freaked out by that noise.

Jr, blessedly, was up in the mountains with my parents at the condo – the “divided bubble model” as I like to call it when we split off into sections of our tight little pod. So he missed the excitement.

It was a faulty alarm, and the very nice fireman got it off the ceiling and told us to replace it and tootled off with his sleepy jr officer in tow.

I would love to say that was the end of it – but we all know that isn’t how late night fire alarm shit goes down now, don’t we?

10 minutes later – the battery chirp DID kick in, and of course we didn’t have enough batteries to go around, and around 3 a.m., I finally concocted a plan, cut the power at the breaker and disconnected the batteries and the whole addled house “settled” for the last few hours before dawn.

I was kinda messed up and couldn’t bring myself to ever do anything that would make the noise again, so Binky and I hid out in the back yard while Zach the Awesome Electrician got us set right the next day, (seriously, if you are on the CO front range and need an electrician, HMU, I have got your dude.)

Normally I actually think I could have done it – even after the night of NO sleep, even after snuggling a totally freaked out geriatric dog for hours, even knowing that loud noises are at the top of my “crap Keri hates” list.

But that is the thing. Nothing is normal now. Nothing is even close. And in that moment I couldn’t handle one more damn thing.

Because my poor sweet kid being up in the mountains with his grandparents wasn’t just a spur-of-the-moment thing, but instead a product of an ongoing plan to carefully make sacrifices and choices to allow for us to be physically close to my parents.

And because when I called the non-emergency number and stood out on the lawn waiting for the fire department to show up, I looked at The Mr and realized we didn’t have our masks – and we stood way back as they came, N95s firmly affixed, to clear our house and explain the issue. I wanted them to know that we want to keep them safe too, as they protect us and do their already difficult job in this impossible time.

And because I sat, snuggling that dog, waiting for the sun to start to creep through the blinds in our finally precariously silent family room, ordering batteries and junk food from Amazon fresh for a 6 a.m. delivery, thankful for the option, but at the same time mourning the quick trip to 7/11 I would have made to remedy the situation back in February.

Or maybe, just maybe, it was because every decision I have to make at this point feels like I’m the protagonist in a YA dystopian novel trying to decide which potentially life-ruining (or ending) cliff to run off of – or if I should just stop running and wait to see what the ominous, menacing presence will do to us.


I feel like for the past 5 months an alarm has been sounding FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! in my head at loud and quiet intervals depending – but unending.

I have learned never to dare the universe and say, or even think, that I can’t take even one more thing.

Because each day – each hour – each blink sometimes it seems – is GOING to bring something else.

There are moments, maybe not whole “good days,” but moments, where we thrive.

In between, and often, it seems, we endure.

Today – the alarm is quiet.

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More Muffins.

I don’t bake.

That is, I don’t bake anymore.

When I left culinary school, it was largely because my pastry chef assured me that I could indeed, NOT, bake. Like, AT ALL.

So I left school, and I went to work for a coffee shop, where I went in each morning at 3:30 a.m. to work. And what did I do, you ask?

I f*cking baked. And that chef was WRONG because I was good at it.

But I never liked it one bit. The recipes and rules and precision of it all.

Keri. No. Likey.

I love to cook. To riff. To toss things in a pot and see what happens.   My roast chicken coping method is the closest I come to a rule book, and that my friends, is an ART.

Baking is math. I hate math. (Sorry boss…  I know you don’t like me to admit that.)

It’s just not me.

Except that now it is.

March 15th I had to do something.  I looked across the room, at my son sitting on his tablet, content for the moment but concerned about what was then his “extended spring break,” and I needed action.

In the kitchen I had bananas. I had ancient flour in a good airtight container in the depths of the pantry.  I had baking soda.  I had mayo. (yep. Mayo. Google it.) And I had these dudes in my house who were just going to BE THERE like, for WHO KNOWS HOW LONG (ok… they are my family, and they live here, technically – but still…. WTF!?)

So I took out some stuff, and I took out my big ass mixing bowl that gets like, NO action, and I started baking.

I kind of haven’t stopped since those first banana muffins.


those first banana muffins

Because right now, in the face of absolute chaos, the rules of baking feel good.

I can follow a recipe and if I do it just as they say, it comes out just as it should.

We can’t say that about anything right now. You can follow everything they say and still end up sick, or jobless, or mourning or whatever other shitty thing might randomly dump on you.

Baking is control. In a time when we have no control.

Judging by the amount of #breadporn pics blowing up every time I open Instagram now, I am far from alone in this.

Incidentally, I have mad respect for the bread effort – it was very specifically what I think of as “the French bread incident” that finally drove me out the door of culinary school forever. So if you have bread skills, I salute you.

So I stick with what works. Goodness knows these boys can put away some muffins, and so there is a constant demand from the (albeit fairly captive) audience around The Casa.

Outside of my kitchen, the world, and sometimes even other parts of my house, are saturated in unpredictability. (Seriously, what the hell kind of art project/Tasmanian Devil impersonation is going on in my living room right now!?)

But back in the kitchen the warmth from the oven is making me feel toasty and safe, and the well-loved big ass mixing bowl now has a place of honor in the front of a convenient cabinet, ready to help me restore the order in my mind and in my soul – at 375 degrees, 18-20 minutes at a time.

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Dr Sissy & BIL

This is my sister.


I talk about her a lot – It might be a twin thing, but I am fairly obsessed with her.When we were younger we argued and went through all of the silly crap that competitive halves of a single egg will go through, but the very day that I moved out of the house the summer before college we were like “oh hello, I miss you most – let’s talk on the phone for 800 hours a day and visit each other back-and-forth across the country and basically be attached at the hip from 100s of miles away, never leave me again, kthxbai.”

And then, she started bringing my future brother-in-law around. He is that handsome fella next to her in the pic up above. I was WICKED picky about who Sis went around with in those days, but BIL? BIL is the GOAT.  Like really – he is THE BEST brother-in-law. We fell right into all kinds of ridiculous family shenanigans that drove my sister crazy… like the summer that they came to stay with me during undergrad, and (future) BIL and I had a disagreement about what exactly a ho-ho was. So we spent the whole summer bringing home every snack cake we could find that was NOT a ho-ho to do “process of elimination research.”

Annnd there we would be when she woke up late in the morning (she worked the night shift at a popular coffee shop,) stuffing our faces with another “not a ho-ho” for 2nd breakfast as she got ready to go for a run. Or when he sat on the sofa drinking with me because we were both secretly afraid of what would happen on NYE Y2k. Or when I was newly DXed with M.S. and I went to visit them in med school and their a/c broke, and he went all over to find a new one. Or how he makes THE BEST dirty martinis… or if he hears me on the phone with sissy because I have had a bad day, I will get a text with Baymax giving someone a hug or something.

Because he is the best, just like Sissy is the best. I know a lot of good people. They are the goodest.

They are also doctors. Which I have ALWAYS been so proud of. Dr Sissy has known since SECOND GRADE that she wanted to be a doctor. And she is one. When I was in second grade I think I wanted to be a tree when I grew up or something.

But these two very good people have known their whole lives – and they have worked tirelessly in their profession.  So here we are – on National Doctors Day. On a day when the gravity and the gratitude of that are felt so deeply that words fail.Here is what I know.

I love these two people FIERCELY. I am proud of them and scared for them and grateful to them and I will do whatever I can to make sure the incredibly difficult job that they and their fellow healthcare workers have to do can be done as safely and successfully as possible. Because every one of those people have sisters and brothers and moms and dads and kiddos and friends and pets and WHOEVER who love them fiercely – and they are doing what they do because they take care of us for the people who love us too.

Dr. Sissy – you are the other half of my egg. I have known you since conception. You are my instant and always best friend.

And BIL – There are not enough ho-hos and dirty martinis and Baymax GIFs in the world to say how much you mean.

I love you both so much – thank you for all you are doing.

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