What Happens When the Season Changes?

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Welcome. It’s refreshing and awful at once, to read the questions and concerns of our audience here At Home, to discover how resilient and kind and optimistic we are, even as a sense of foreboding envelops some, bringing a kind of lethargic anxiety, an abiding loneliness, a worry about what happens when the season changes, when the air turns cold.

When the weather warmed up, life got a little better because I could visit with friends outdoors on our patio or porch. Once it gets cold, we’ll be isolated again. I’m wondering about creative ways to socialize outside in fall and winter?

I once thought I couldn’t live in the Pacific Northwest for all the rain, couldn’t survive in North Dakota with its brutal winters, couldn’t manage Vermont with all its snow. Then I spent time in those places and discovered the secret to outdoor socializing under difficult conditions: Dress differently.

We’re all so accustomed to our lives amid HVAC that we forget that it wasn’t always like this, our office and home lives humming along at 74 degrees, four seasons a year. It’s cold out? Make like the people in all those period thrillers we’re streaming on our screens: wear sweaters and scarves and big hats and woolen socks and boots and get out into the world just as if we were all enrolled in forest kindergartens. It’s a kind of joy, to walk in the cold and rain and snow with a friend, a shared adventure.

How do I find a healthy amount of alone time while quarantined in an apartment with a partner I love and our pup (who I also love)?

See above, though as a solo act. You don’t need to become a marathoner. But taking long walks or runs, riding your bike for many more miles than usual, looking at the world while thinking or listening to music or podcasts or audiobooks (try Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” trilogy) is a wonderful way to achieve a kind of solitary centeredness away from your partner and dog. Plus, it’s good for you.

More ideas for living an agreeable life at home and near it appear below. Please write and tell us what else you’d like to know about: [email protected]. And we’ll try to be helpful to you. It’s why we are here.

ImageKastle Systems’s thermal camera takes an employee’s temperature.
Credit…Jared Soares for The New York Times
  • While there’s no way to totally eliminate the risks of returning to the office, there are things companies are doing to minimize them. What should you expect? More sanitizer dispensers, new desk configurations, signs reminding you to wear a mask and daily health surveys.

  • Schools are trying to figure out the fall semester, too, and the uncertainty — in-person? hybrid? remote? — has introduced new challenges for parents. Some are forming “pandemic pods” of a few families to create their own mini-classrooms. Others are turning to Y.M.C.A.s, private tutors and relatives to help with remote learning.

  • Whatever your situation during the pandemic, it can be hard not to imagine that others have it easier. If you’ve found yourself envious of others’ beach houses, their homes empty of children or full of family, avoid idly scrolling through social media. It’s been shown to make people feel worse about their lives.

Credit…Beatriz Da Costa for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Frances Boswell.
  • As a Mexican born and raised in Mexico City, Pati Jinich thought she knew carne asada. But then she traveled across Sonora and found that the grilled meat she knew from taco stands is a weekly ritual there, a culinary experience shared with friends and family, each of its components “treated with almost reverence.”

  • When Melissa Clark wanted to recreate her favorite eggplant pie at home, she decided to forgo the deep-frying and pizza dough-making and devised a focaccia recipe instead. The result? A simpler, lighter celebration of the summer vegetable.

  • And Nik Sharma has a bunch of suggestions for cooking with tamarind, whose brittle pods of sweet-and-sour pulp he’d climb tall trees to procure as a child in Mumbai.

Credit…via The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • For this week’s installment of our “World Through a Lens” series, take a virtual trip to the shores of Cape Cod where the shellfish farmer Chris Crobar works with an aquaculture company to restore wild oyster populations diminished by pollution, development and overharvesting.

  • Want to get your kids interested in theater? Instead of showing them traditional musicals, try some of the new interactive video performances that incorporate personalized emails, telephone calls and offline art projects to keep children interested and involved.

  • And don’t miss our interactive close read of Katsushika Hokusai’s “Ejiri in Suruga Province,” a woodblock print that the art critic Jason Farago loves for “the story it tells about how images circulate in a cosmopolitan world.”

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