We know we write about homes on the reg, but we it's been a while since we spent much time in a row hanging in our own houses. But thanks to self-isolation, all of our editors are really spending some quality time in our own spaces. While it's tempting to spend the time obsessing over the news, we're trying to find ways to tear ourselves away from the stream and create a little piece of calm in these chaotic times.
Obsessing Over a Puzzle
I grew up in a family of puzzle addicts. My mother is incapable of tearing herself away from a table if there's a jigsaw out. I remember many a night as a child, tugging on her sleeve and begging to be put to bed while she searched wild-eyed for "just one last piece!" So I only crack out the puzz when I really have time to commit, usually over Christmas break or when I really want a good way to procrastinate over a story I have due. During this time of enforced chill, I'm returning to a puzzle I thought I'd never re-do: a 1000-piece puzzle of a New York Times photo of Jones Beach. The itty bitty beachgoers in the photo are near impossible to distinguish and the waves are infuriating, but I'm in no rush... and when I am done, hopefully it'll be okay to go to the beach again in real life. —Stacey McLachlan, executive editor
Listening to the Partridge Family
I wasn't even born when the Partridge Family was on the air. It was a truly odd story of a family of popstars who, as their theme described:
We had a dream we'd go travelin' together
We'd spread a little lovin' then we'd keep movin' on
Somethin' always happens whenever we're together
We get a happy feelin' when we're singin' a song
And their largely insipid bubblegum music was exactly on the cultural radar when I was coming of age in the 80's. But at some juncture in the eighties there appeared a Levi's commercial directed by a then largely unknown Michael Bay, that caught my interest. It's majorly dated—please watch it here for confirmation—but the premise is a guy gets on an elevator with an attractive women and one glimpse of her bare midriff and early use of boyfriend jeans sends him into a reverie of their imagined life together, all the while the soundtrack is provided by the Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You." And while the ad doesn't hold up all that well—the song does. It's such beautiful, wholesome pure pop song that last night, having just spent hours trying (unsuccessfully) to get my daughter back from Scotland I went for a walk with the dogs and popped my Airpods in and just let the goofy song lift me up. It's a short song so I also had to listen to Come On Get Happy and Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque too. None of them have an ounce of angst, which was fine because, we all have a surplus of that right now. What we don't have is some teen pop star telling us to, "Come on, get happy.'—Neal McLennan, travel editor
I started taking art classes last fall—and by "classes" I mean I took one in the fall, and I'm taking one now. Or at least I was taking one, before the university closed today. That one was Life Drawing, which feels a little tricky to do as a solo project (nor do I want to think about what Google would deliver up as I try to search for images to draw), so I'm going to go back to a project from last term that made me super happy: Inktober. Inktober, of course, takes place in October, when pen-and-ink artists from around the world follow a series of prompts to draw (e.g. "legend," "swing") and post their work on social media. I've never been brave enough to do the posting part of the thing, but I genuinely loved being accountable for a drawing a day thanks to the Inktober prompts. Turns out there are drawing prompts all over the interwebs for every other month, too, some better than others ("Love," "wind" and "flower" on one I chose to skip). I'll be taking out my Micron pens, turning off the news for an hour or so every day—or as long as I can stand it—and diving into one of these prompts to get drawing.—Anicka Quin, editorial director
This isn't me, but you get the idea.
It took me a few days to realize that social isolation doesn’t mean you have to be inside—in fact, it seems like being outside might be safer. I’m ditching the gym (which is probably a cesspool of germs, even without the pandemic) in favour of a good old-fashioned run outdoors. Besides remembering to hit traffic light buttons with my elbows and staying a healthy two metres away from other people, going for a run requires almost no COVID-19 adjustments. Yes, I’ve also been been-watching TV shows, but (sigh) balance is important.—Alyssa Hirose, contributing editor
It's times like these in which you really find out what your friends think of you, and what you think of them. For instance, in the last couple of days I've been craving some board game time, as is my wont. But in order to play (most) games, you need a couple willing pals. So it is that I've been carefully selecting my board game compatriots, and so far, I've gotten in a couple games of Betrayal at the House on the Hill, one of my absolute favourites, in which everyone is assigned a character to search a haunted house until one of the characters turns into an evil demon of sorts. Ask Alexa to play some spooky music while you play and really sink into the end of days theme, it's easier to grip reality that way.—Nathan Caddell, associate editor
Baking (and Breaking) Bread
These days, it’s rare that I have enough uninterrupted time at home to go through the painstaking process of making bread (granted most of that time is spent doing other things while I wait for it to rise but still, who has time). I found a moment of calm this morning kneading a super easy loaf of white bread with what I had on hand (I used this recipe which only requires four ingredients). I’m definitely no baking whiz but there’s something so relaxing about following a recipe, getting your hands on some dough and filling the apartment with glorious smells. Plus, even with my novice skills, the resulting slice of fresh-baked bread coated in butter was a truly therapeutic experience. I sense many more baked goods gracing my oven before this storm is over.—Elia Essen, editorial intern