A Journal of the Plague Year 2022–chapter 260

Friday, April 1

Two days ago, there was snow. Last night, pelting rain and frightening, moaning wind. This morning, April Fool’s Day, I was awakened by bright sunshine—but by noon, that’s all gone with clouds covering the sky. Still, the weatherman says it’s a bit warmer, at 51 degrees. It’s supposed to stay in the upper 40s to low 50s for a few days.

The news from Ukraine is still depressing, and the direction the war is taking is unclear. The Russians say they are now focusing on the eastern part of the country—but there are reports of continued conflict near Kyiv. The New Yorker correspondent Masha Gessen says not to believe anything Putin says, while a supposedly believable Russian poll suggests that the Fearless Leader is widely believed in his own country. Putin has seldom been more popular among the Russian people.

We worry about the war and about gerrymandering. The tales of Polish people taking Ukrainian refugees into their homes are inspiring–but could I stand to be so generous? I recently dreamed that I was staying at someone’s house. I was sooo grateful that they’d taken me in. Then I was told that I should be out of the house by 10 a.m.

Otherwise, we’re still focused on food. A new Instant Pot allowed me to make ropa vieja in under an hour and the ordinarily long-cooking wheat berries in around 25 minutes. I plan to make some grain bowls, using the wheat berries, wild rice, quinoa, and a variety of nuts and raw veggies. But tonight, we will have an Amy’s pizza as well.

Entertainment: after binging on Patricia Highsmith (The Cry of the Owl, The Two Faces of January, and more) I have turned to Dorothy B. Hughes’ In a Lonely Place. Sad to say, it’s similar but an inadequate substitute. We’re still viewing a lot of streaming video from The Criterion Channel: Last night, we saw the Alfred Hitchcock silent The Lodger (with Ivor Novello) and David Lean’s 1950 courtroom drama Madeleine. Tonight, perhaps, Marcel Carne’s Hotel du Nord.