Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Still Home

May 19

There are good days and better days, and then there are quarantine days, and these are full of fits and starts, ups and downs. Even when things are going well, and they usually are, there is still an underlying buzzing, a ringing in the back of my mind, reminding me that these are strange days. Ten weeks. 70 days. We, somewhat, have a routine, and essentially know what to do, but as we settle into the new normal, I cannot deny, this isn't always easy. I mean... taking pictures of bunnies, and bees, is easy. Getting my favorite brand of dishwasher tablets? Not so much. And I didn't even know I had a favorite. That was a silly example, but it's the problem of even very minor things being upended, that makes everything harder, stranger, surreal. We are being relatively stringent in our practice, and I can keep it up, but seeing the rules relax, and people out and about like it's January, or it's all a hoax... these sights and reports are an added bit of fodder for the cognitive dissonance. Even though what I do know is reasonable, the sudden disruption, and novelty of how we go about our daily lives now, makes for some challenging moments, strange dreams. I don't need a haircut, and I certainly don't need permission, nor blowhard campaigning, to get me into a church. Neither pandemic, nor politics, has anything to do with my prayers.

Things are going well, usually. But...

You know, I am going to continue to rinse beans, talk to friends in the driveway, watch chicks, cats, bees, bunnies, favorite movies, help make PPE, and stay home.

Coping, as best I can.

Cairo seemed to enjoy the day I put fresh flowers in a vase, swept and tidied the nest... Again and again, I feel tremendous relief and appreciation for all the improvements and repairs that were accomplished last year. Cairo followed me from room to room. It was nice to have his company, to imagine he was admiring my fit of domesticity.

May 20

There are quite a few things we happened to get done, BC... and I enjoy the moments when I notice them and feel relief, or satisfaction. Like, having fresh sheets for spring, for summer, for a field of blue flowers. Picnic tables. The screened balcony, repaired pipes, stopped leaks, insulated attic, new windows, the little metal cart I carried home from a curb, and the stock tank, too, and our travels, gatherings, hobbies, and interests... it all feels like skills, and preparations, for these days, differences that make life more manageable, encouraging. I look back on visits to Oregon, Wisconsin, Disneyland, or nights when friends filled our home, and those prepared us, as well. I can replay happy days, and those are treasures stored.

Back in March, I started noticing this guy. Same cafe, every morning. He takes coffee with honey, and milk. He reads the news. I try flirting with him.

May 22

It's done! I've made Calendula oil! I cannot decide if the days are flying by, or plodding along. Hmmm... I think it's that minutes, periods of time can feel heavy and plodding, otherwise, I feel like this is the swiftest spring I can ever recall. I waited for the infusion to complete... it took four weeks and I thought that would feel interminable, but here we are. Four weeks have come and gone. Now what? The next step... ointment. Something new to learn, another skill to acquire, and the gratification of having a bed full of flowers that happened to reseed, happened to grow abundantly, happened to be beneficial.

I think that my best gardening moments tend to be by chance. Calendula and sweet peas are growing like mad, all of their own accord. But none of my planted, tended, hoped for and beloved carrots are succeeding. The first ones are only fat and stubby, and bland, and the next sowing is being carried away by rats. Those carrots must be sweet and delicious, if the leftovers are any indication. The potatoes are looking very good, and that makes me anxious. All the lettuce has bolted... very sad. Overall, I need to reignite my gardening focus. It comes and goes, in fits and starts. Ups and downs.

These are for Max. Announcements for his graduation. And I shared these on Instagram, with some questions about how to do these correctly, they have inner envelopes, and they're fancy. Now I worry that it looked like humble bragging, and truly, I really am on new ground here. You guys, Max has been through so much to get to this point... we all have. It's not something I will deny... Autism has always made his path thorny, and atypical. It's been this way since always, but it's not any easier... all of the "fun" and typically appealing, easy, aspects of school are the hardest for him. I realize, I am not saying anything new... college has its challenges for any of us, but after these four years, we decided to make an extra effort to celebrate commencement, his achievements. And now things have become stranger than ever, and there won't be extra family visiting, friends over, and gone are the traditions and rites we envisioned, so we chose to go a direction that's not usual for us... announcements, and inner envelopes! I was literally Googling "how to" for getting it all done properly. And now I am contending with, who wants one?? The seal is so pretty, and all of the printed words, his name, and the date... it's real. I've only addressed three of these, because I start crying, thinking of what this means to us, and what I wish could be, what I am thankful for. I wasn't going to get announcements, I delayed on ordering him a cap and gown... and I am so glad Geoff intervened, "Get all of it," he wisely insisted. This isn't humble bragging, this is celebrating, and wishing we could fill our home with family and friends to join us.

With Staying Home Season, we have new rites of passage. The internet is full of memes and cautionary tales about haircuts at home. Geoff was the first to crack. He announced that he was going to "Buzz it all." And I panicked. I love this man, but the buzz it all cut is too awful. I can't even. I took matters into my own hands and gave him a haircut. And! It came out good. What a relief. Maria came to me, next. She needed A change. She and I poured over Pinterest pictures, pixies, bobs, undercuts... and before I could lose my nerve, I just did it! She kept wavering on the bangs, but was sure she didn't want the cut choppy or very layered. The whole time I was thinking what terrible thing it would be for me to mess this up... 15, and stuck at home with a hideous haircut, would be a sad memento of already challenging days.

She loves her cut! I am so relieved. I think she takes after her Dad, who always seems energized, a bit brighter, and sparked, after a haircut. Good days, and better days, and haircut days. We are still making happy days. We are home, and safe, and thankful.

May 24

Still laughing, and playing.

Still getting along, and getting things done. Still stumbling, too, and confronting those heavy, plodding moments, still coping in these strange days.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Outside Mostly

The ceanothus bloomed at least a month ago... no, longer than that. It was such a gift to see those familiar flowers of our California foothills. I miss long drives to the mountains, or just to the feed-store, and seeing the hills and roadsides blue with countless blossoms. I felt fortunate to have a personal sample of the rite of spring. And now? Now a second wave of flowers! I had no idea that this could happens and it's making me so cheered.

Geoff and I cannot recall when we ordered a half cord of fire wood. It could have been seven years ago. Half a cord is a lot, and it has lasted us a very long time. We enjoy making fires outside, gathering with friends, keeping mosquitos at bay. Now, with our outdoor screen in the driveway, we host social distance movie nights, and we make two fires. Alex calculated we had about two more Drive Way Theater nights of wood left. So, Geoff called the company we ordered from so long ago... fortunately, they still had us on file, and we must be the only people ordering firewood, because they delivered within the hour!

Oak and piñon. It smells so good, especially the piñon. William, Maria, Bambi, Alex and I stacked it all... no small feat! We swept up the smaller pieces and dropped those in a bucket for kindling. Will this last seven years? Maybe. I remember when we got our first order, I imagined all of the good times in store for us, when we would share warmth and laughter with our friends. Now, we have more to look forward to, and that is a comforting vision.

We grew radish. We have added radish to salads. I am glad it's mild, because its peppery flavor has never been a favorite for me. Can you guess who thinks all of the radish, spiny stems, coarse leaves, and peppery root, is delicious? All the radish tops go to Tasha and Ada.

Now that I know how to load video, it's going be a Goat and Chicken Channel, here!

I've been trying to recall the name of this flower. It's blooming so abundantly. It glows! Seriously, when it's dusk, the light is fading, the flowers in the barrel are luminous and bright. I started to think, I'll just call them "sunflowers" then I laughed at how original my idea was. Well, it turns out they are sunflowers! They are a Coreopsis, and in the language of flowers, Coreopsis means to be always cheerful. I would love to send you an armful.

May 15, and here are the Chiclets. They are nine weeks old! In the back is Puanani, and the two Australorps in front are Maya and Ventura. The copper, is Penelope, and the calico is Lucia, both Ameraucana. There was a time when I was strongly concerned that Maya and Ventura could be roosters, but... I take it back. Lucia, though, she has a pretty fancy tail. Still, nothing definitive enough, and I think we may have got lucky. We just might have five little pullets.

She has an up-do.

Four years ago, we planted Spoon Tomatoes, the tomatoes so tiny you can fit a mouthful on a spoon, and I haven't always been pleased about them. For one thing, they spread all over our yard. And they are a hassle to harvest, so we will never see the end of these tiny fruit on rambling vines. But, now, when we count on deliveries for groceries and forage the yard for fresh produce, the spoon tomatoes have been a welcome treat to add to guacamole, sprinkle over pasta, put in omelettes. However much trouble it is to pick them, they are very much appreciated. And! They finally found a good spot to reseed... they are growing up the bamboo. It's as though we have a tomato tree, and I don't have to stoop to harvest them, they stay cleaner, don't get crushed, or gobbled by bunnies, hens.

The potatoes are blooming, another nightshade.

The cilantro is flowering, too. I look forward to those reseeding and growing all over the yard... that will be wonderful. And I'll collect seeds for cooking.

The big bed is a rambling garden, I can see the spring growing season is beginning to wane. I will be sorry to part with carrot flowers and sweet peas.

Why did I get only one blueberry bush? Those little blue treats have been wonderful, and I wish we had more. Next year. I will be sure to make room for 3, 4, or 6.

Like the ceanothus, I noticed the blueberry is blooming, again. Is this typical, or are these the next season's berries, and they're slow to grow, mature? I began to imagine how great it would be if blueberries were in season all year. What if the blueberries bloom and fruit and ripen all year long, and it rains once a week through summer? What if we plant stones and by late fall, a stone wall grows around the garden. By next spring it would be mossy, and home to some frogs, a toad, and weaver beetles. What if we build an airship, for seven, paint it blue and gold? We could take it up the coast, and through river valleys, dropping off bundles of blueberries to all of our friends.

Tasha likes my musings.

Ada, too.

Flowers, and berries, stones, seeds, feathers, pressed leaves and petals, clouds, moss covered walls, and acorns... they stir my imagination.

Seems like we are mostly outside. It's very nice.

And then we come inside, and that's very nice, too.