Being a poll worker during the election.

I acutely remember that horrible sinking feeling, watching the results come in back in November 2016, and the dawning realization that Trump had taken Florida and Clinton no longer had a path to victory. I felt sick to my stomach, and a wave of dread washed over me.

The past 4 years have been mentally and emotionally exhausting. The only thing that set the precedent for Trump’s term as President was how unprecedented everything was. Honestly, I think this onslaught of chaos was part of the plan to disengage a large swath of the electorate.

Four years ago, I was a Green Card holder, waiting until I had been a resident in the U.S. for at least 3 years before I could apply for citizenship. I accompanied Ligeia to the polling station, my first time inside an American one, and waited for her to cast her ballot. I longed for the opportunity the participate in the election process, at that time, mostly to get one of those “I Voted” stickers.

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Painting the apartment.

I’m sure there are folks who believe that a brownish beige color looks good on walls. I am not one of those people. I prefer livelier colors. I want to feel more invigorated when I’m in a room, and brown hues have the opposite effect; the drabness seems to suck the energy from me.

This beige color, over-excitedly painted in spots on the baseboards and ceiling, was what I had been looking at, day in and day out, in my current office/bedroom. (Soon, this room will only serve as my office, and maybe a place for guests, when I take over the rest of the apartment and can have a dedicated bedroom.) I hated the color.

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Grabbing takeout and eating dinner at a friend’s.

In the past few months, I’ve ordered takeout a number of times. Even though I enjoy cooking, some days it’s the last thing I want to do. With COVID still raging on, I don’t feel comfortable dining inside. My go-to for to-go food has been Dunedin Vegan Deli, my city’s first (and only, so far) 100% vegan restaurant. But, these meals were just for me, and my memory has a second requirement: I’d have to eat dinner at a friend’s place.

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Getting new bathroom towels and a shower curtain.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in turning the page to this new chapter of my life, is that it helps to claim ownership of things. This is true of my new cookware, my new wireless earbuds, and my health. Discovering my decorating style and claiming the bathroom space as my own – marking my territory, if you will – served the same purpose.

Revamping the bathroom was one of the first projects I took on after creating my Memory List. I knew I was going to enjoy the new towels and a fresh coat of paint, but I had no idea how amazing it was going to feel.

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Cooking with new pots and pans.

It’s been almost 3 months to the day that I moved into my new place, but I certainly haven’t waited this long to cook for myself. One of the first online orders I placed was for new cookware.

Cooking is therapeutic for me. Not only is it a mindful experience, but I also put a lot of loving energy into the food that I prepare. And since I’m now frequently the only recipient of these dishes, the love I put into the meal comes back to me, nourishing both my belly and my soul.

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Kayaking in Weeki Wachee.

Tourists may know of Weeki Wachee Springs as being the home of mermaids. It’s apparently an attraction that draws a high number of visitors. I can pretty much guarantee you, though, I will not be one of them. Seeing humans dressed in mermaid costumes, swimming in a pool, will never be on my Memory List.

For me, the draw of Weeki Wachee Springs is its crystal clear water and lazy-river current. That’s what I was thinking of when I added this memory to my list. I’ve been kayaking there before, and I really enjoyed it. I wanted to experience that again.

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Getting a tattoo.

As with many things that I’m doing because of my Memory List, getting a tattoo has been something on my mind for a couple of years, but I never made it a priority. I didn’t really know what I wanted, and without being sure of a design, I wasn’t going to go through any sort of pain to get something permanently applied to my body.

In the days and weeks after I decided to leave my marriage, the idea of getting a tattoo popped back into my mind. A small, simple, black bird, with spread wings on the inside of my right wrist felt the closest to being true to me and how I was feeling. A bird flying free, unrestricted by the limitations of the Earth’s terrain was the poeticism I was looking for.

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Getting on the scale and seeing that I’ve lost 10lbs.

This is the memory I’m most proud of. At least, so far.

Exactly a month ago, on the last day of August, my weight was the highest it had been in over a decade. For the days, weeks, and months prior, every time I got on the scale, I watched the number creep up. Every time, I told myself I was going to start changing things and getting back on track to losing weight. Every time, I lied to myself.

That is, until August 31st.

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Going on a hash!

I suppose it was a couple years ago that I first learned what hashing was. My first assumption was that it had something to do with the cannabis plant. Although I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the intoxicating resin from the plant co-exists in the hashing community, members of the Hash House Harriers (a.k.a. “hashers”) describe themselves as “drinkers with a running problem.”

The running part of the activity always kinda turned me off from it. I’ve never seen myself as a runner. And, honestly, I’m a pretty cheap drunk, too. So, I worried that joining a group of people focused on running and drinking wasn’t going to be for me.

It wasn’t until a friend of mine, who’s a hasher, told me that some people walk and some people just drink water, I started to entertain the idea a bit more. The fact that the community also prides itself on its musical prowess, littered with incessant sexual innuendos, convinced me to at least try it out once.

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Baking a challah bread WITH RAISINS and making it into french toast the next day.

Last weekend was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Just after sundown on the Friday, with my challah bread baking in the oven for the first stage of my memory, I received the news that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. I was gutted.

In some respects, I feel like the tiny, 5’1″ Ginsburg was holding this country together. I haven’t only been mourning her death this week, but I feel as though I’m also slowly saying goodbye to the democracy of the United States.

I’ve been carrying around so much existential dread since the results of the last presidential election were confirmed, I could write a novel. A long one, with table of contents and a bibliography. But, you’re not here for that. You’re here for fresh baked bread and a french toast breakfast.

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