I woke up several nights in a row recently with inspiration to write something brilliant and swore I didn’t need to write it down, but come the next morning, all I could remember was the theme of “hot feet” and a vague gist of the direction that theme needed to go. The more I fleshed it out, the more I realized it was just shaping up to be similar to this time last year’s middle aged woman’s rant about becoming invisible and was quite obviously related to what had actually woken me up – a case of hot feet. Clearly, February is a lot in a good year – My Aunt Loretta used to throw a “Fabulous February Festival” because she firmly believed February needs a good party to get through it. And if there was ever a year that needed a huge blowout party to get us through the slog of February, it’s this year, the year in which we cannot have parties. Certainly not indoor parties, in February.
Having spent the previous three weekends home because of inclement winter weather of the accumulating precipitation type, this past weekend had sun shine, cold weather and (some) melting ice (read:lots of mud), so better, sort of? Not that the weather is what’s keeping us home, but hey, eleven months into this pandemic with local university student covid numbers spiking alarmingly, the weather is at least a good excuse to stay home, bake bread and make yet another pot of soup. Every day is Groundhog Day, for real. Even the dog appears to be having an existential crisis. Wait, I may have written that about her before. Oh well, that’s how it’s currently going – everything is running together and it’s February and there’s a pandemic and the sky is dumping something freezing again that make the roads sketchy. Wash, rinse, repeat. I cannot state enough how much I miss leaving the house and going to happy hour.
I have knit three shawls in the last three weeks – wait, it may actually have been the last two weeks. I really can’t keep it straight anymore. I know two of them were done in 5 days. I need to find something new to knit – maybe a sweater vest? Or a cardigan. Shawls are fun because they are really just giant scarves and I don’t have to think about them – I have a current favorite pattern memorized and I just roll with it with while watching tv. Music documentaries, All Creatures Great & Small, old sitcom re-runs, Bridgerton and finally getting around to The Wire.
I keep reminding myself that all this is just temporary. In X number of days, it will be March. And while March may not start off too terribly different, at the end of March, it’s April. And by then, we can sit outside with friends, maybe even have a belated galentine’s brunch? In the meantime, I try to find new ways to liven it up – I’ve started chopping baby arugula finely to avoid going outside and digging my parsley out from under the snow/ice/whatever-it-is-today/mud. It’s a decent substitute and I highly recommend it. I bought Betsy beagle a new (completely ridiculous) raincoat so that no matter what the weather, we can take long afternoon walks which is admittedly, the complete existence of our social life. I started knitting yet another shawl, but this one is using lighter yarns and colors – a spring time shawl if you will. One thing I am definitely not doing is spending too much time googling ‘hot feet’ because we all know, when you google any sort of ailment on the internet, it’s always worse case scenario. It could be severe nerve damage due to diabetes, chronic alcohol abuse, HIV, heavy metal poisoning, failing kidneys or I could be pregnant, OR, maybe, just maybe, if you find the right website, it will tell you it might be a symptom of menopause. Or perimenopause. Truth is, the internet might be good for a lot of things, but when it comes to women’s health care and aging, it is sorely lacking. I mean, good god, just read this page from the Menopause Society that reads like the tips on how to be a good housewife from my circa 1950’s cookbooks, not written and posted on the twentyfirst century internet for Gen X women living in the middle of a pandemic while going through middle age. Do we suddenly become demure older women when we hit ‘the change’? Is that why we don’t talk about it? Because you go through perimenopause and menopause only to accept your fate of being invisible yet politely upbeat to the world at large?
There are many mysteries to life – when will I get my covid vaccine? When will it be safe to go to happy hour in a bar again? Will March have snowstorms this year? Will it be a good year for okra in my garden? I can live with those mysteries. But the mystery that is growing older as a woman and having my body go through huge hormonal changes that aren’t fully acknowledged shouldn’t be a mystery. We can land a craft on Mars and have it send back live footage, but we don’t bother to study women’s health and the full effects of aging. It seems ridiculous, but it’s not.