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specialty products

I'm more into fashion than beauty, and I've never been a nail person. I've had occasional pedicures but never a manicure. Once in a while I wear nail polish. Luckily I have healthy strong nails and apart from regular moisturizing I haven't done much with my hands. Lately I noticed my cuticles were a real mess. I bought a cuticle clipper and tried various remedies, including stepping up application of Aquaphor or coconut oil, with few results. I finally caved and bought cuticle cream. I always thought it was silly to purchase single-purpose products but I grudgingly admit that Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream has done a very good job. It also smells nice. That's the extent of my nail care regime though.

Since we will all be together in Morocco we will take this year's family photos there. Mo and Z have their traditional outfits but I do not, so my first couple of days in-country will be shopping for a caftan. I've worn djellabas but never a caftan. They just seem really heavy and cumbersome with all the accessories.
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halfway through summer (already?!)

For a little while I was really good at updating regularly and writing in my personal journal and now I am back to my usual flaky self. I gauge the passage of summer by what camps Z is in during any particular week. He has already done soccer and golf, and now he is in tennis. He didn't like the tennis coach last year, and this year I enrolled him with the caveat that he has a different coach, and even now he is not thrilled. I told him that it's the only sport that the three of us all play, and that he needs to distinguish between the sport and the coach. But so far it has been his least favorite camp. Z has baseball Mondays and Wednesdays, lacrosse on Tuesdays, violin on Thursdays, swim lessons on Fridays, and fencing on Saturdays. And he has to read a chapter of his book every day. Yet with all of that, and playdates, and general hanging out, he *still* spends a lot of time in front of a screen.

We are going to Morocco in August - that is, Mo is taking Z, then I am joining them mid-way, and returning with Z in time for the first day of school, while Mo stays on. I have not been to Morocco since 2004 and we have never been together as a family. Plans include visiting northern Morocco so it should be "interesting." Neither of us have been to Chefchaoun, and Mo has not been to Tangier, Tetouan, or Asilah. And of course everything has changed since I lived there in 2000-2003.
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We had signed up for a solstice activity with the local synagogue but unfortunately I ended up with a meeting at the same time so we weren't able to attend. Our pagan cred is sorely lacking.

Today was Z's last class. Tomorrow is the official last day of school but since everyone has to turn in their borrowed tech today and tomorrow today was the last joint in-person/virtual session. Z had a tablet which didn't work well for the last couple of months so he borrowed Mo's laptop. Z learned to type which is pretty fun. But since he became so much more autonomous I haven't reviewed his work before he submitted assignments so he got dinged on a few.

So today I'll take the official "last day of school" photo and video interview. I also asked his teachers to write up a short message that I will include in his copy of The Wonderful Things You Will Be. Since he started in PK-3 there are already four entries that are fun to re-read. I know Oh the Places You'll Go is a more popular choice but I've never been a fan of Dr. Seuss and Z has never expressed a preference.
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les podcasts

I was the only person in our household watching French TV via Sling TV so I cancelled our subscription. Z watches Miraculous Ladybug in French on Netflix, which offers the French option for quite a few shows. We used to watch it together but then the superhero team expanded beyond Ladybug and Black Cat and I kind of lost interest. But Z still enjoys it. My current French language option is listening to the LucasFilles podcast which is a feminist perspective on Star Wars. I used to listen to other French language podcasts but for the moment I'm working my way through the LF back catalog.

The last week of school is next week and everything is winding down. Tomorrow is the last day for the playpod and for violin class, and Z said goodbye to his lacrosse coach on Sunday. Hopefully lacrosse will start up again during the summer and Z will be able to do it. He has a full camp schedule and is also signed up for the Nat's baseball academy on two nights a week. I wish I had a full camp schedule !
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most significant change

I've been in this training that has been spaced out over several months and we've been talking about what is the "most significant change" for the last session. It is hard to pin asking what the new normal is. I'm hoping for example that people keep up good hygiene habits. But in the end a lot has not changed. Like I'm still tired ALL THE TIME. I had my annual physical and had additional tests done and everything is fine. So it is just regular working mom fatigue I guess.

On the very hot and humid Sunday last weekend Z and I went to see Washington Spirit play. Normally they play waaaay out in the 'burbs so I wanted to take advantage of a game at Audi Field. I wish they played there permanently, but their current venue is being renovated so I guess they will move back. It was super hot and luckily we were able to change our tickets to a shaded area. In the past we've gone to double-headers with Washington Spirit and DC United in RFK Stadium. I wish that would happen again too.
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one month

Mo extended his stay in Morocco for another week so that means a month without him. It has been feasible (if not always fun or simple) and it helps that Z and I have a lot going on. It was not as difficult as Christmas 2017 when Z was much younger and we had a lot of holiday activities. Interestingly Z had the option to return to in-person school and he turned it down. He said he liked staying at home. I guess he gets enough social interaction from the play pod and various extracurriculars.

Memorial Day weekend was pretty mellow. The weather was more like fall than summer but at least it wasn't hot. I spent one day in bed reading and another day organizing the fridge/freezer and our closet freezer. I had a lot of stuff that we bought a year ago in a frenzy of pandemic hoarding that is probably not edible anymore. I still kept a lot of frozen products, and I still have chocolates from the White House gift shop purchased in 2016.
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hot and cold

The weather has been really fickle. A day of broiling heat followed by a day of rain. I prefer the rain quite frankly.

MoBob returns from Morocco on Sunday. Thankfully it is the long Memorial Day holiday weekend. No plans - because of the holiday there aren't any fencing, lacrosse, or parkour sessions. We are going to an event at the Kennedy Center on Saturday and kickball/flag football at the local rec center on Sunday. On Monday I will haul out all my summer stuff. I didn't really do that last year because there was no point. But now I am thinking I should graduate from t-shirts and yoga pants, in anticipation of a return to work in the fall. The school chancellor announced awhile ago that classes will resume in person and hopefully there will be an under-12 vaccination by then. But I am not holding my breath.

At work we have three big campaigns each year - International Women's Day on March 8th, Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, and the 16 Days Campaign against Gender-Based Violence from November 25 to December 10. Since menstrual hygiene is my "thing" we are gearing up for a lot this week. May 28, since there are 28 days in a cycle, but for the Americans the same weekend as Memorial Day.
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Long-time readers of this blog know that my Patronus is a sloth. Looking back on my life I did have several athletic periods - I have run 5ks, swum daily, played in tennis tournaments, and even fenced. MoBob is definitely the sportier one, from a lifetime of playing soccer. But Z is looking to be preternaturally talented for sports. Both his fencing coach and his lacrosse coach have told me that he is a quick learner and a real natural. I can understand lacrosse since Z has played soccer for years now and it's a similar skills set, but fencing is somewhat of a surprise (like violin).

Since MB did not grow up in the US he is not familiar with the whole youth sports culture. I don't want Z to grow to hate sports or to injure himself. Z had an opportunity to join a soccer travel team for the next age level up, and I convinced MB that it's better for Z to wait. And then Z was invited to play with another soccer group, with older kids, which he didn't like as much because the age gap was larger (10-11 year olds) and he didn't know the coaches. So he stopped that too. Soccer will always be there, I figure.

"I play tennis for a living even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion and always have." - Andre Agassi
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solo mom for May

MoBob went to Morocco for the rest of May so it's just me and Z for now. I threatened him with Mommy boot camp of yoga and crafts.

All three of us had COVID tests last week. MB for his trip, Z because his pod leader tested positive (after she saw the kids so no exposure), and myself for my colonscopy. We went to the ER at Children's National for Z's test - going at 7:30am meant no line. We are all negative and my procedure went fine. Sad to think that the best sleep of my life is under anesthesia. So that was my Mother's Day weekend.

Oddly it was the first time I ever visited Georgetown University Hospital. I went to the minute clinic there once in grad school for a foot problem, otherwise I'd never been in the main campus. Though we've been to the French Embassy across the street lots of times. Z was born at George Washington University Hospital and we've been to Sibley several times to visit friends. For ER visits we've always gone to GWU, the last time for my gall bladder surgery. To be honest we've probably been to Children's National the most, more than all the other hospitals combined.
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My iPhone is running out of space. I don't know how the physics of the Apple universe work since I have very few apps and I pay $1.05/month for additional storage. It's true that I had photos dating from early 2019 onward. Last night I finished up December 2019. I transferred photos to Evernote and videos to Google Drive, and documents to Dropbox. (I'm sure I will regret having multiple platforms.) And then deleted the visual record of 2019 from iCloud and from my phone.

I am a little apprehensive about editing down the 2020 photos. Casually scrolling through my photo roll from January to March is like watching...a slow-onset humanitarian emergency. Per my iPhone the last public event we attended as a family was the DC Jewish Community Center's Purim Carnival on March 8, 2020. Looking at the photos with a COVID lens I shudder to see the crowds inside the building. Z's last activities were Archaeology Club and violin class. My last public professional activity was speaking on a panel at DACOR-Bacon House for Women’s Roundtable: Corporate Transformation & Responsible Leadership. Our last visit to a museum was to see Joseph Smith at the National Portrait Gallery. All those places are still closed, more than a year later.