Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween

Halloween, and the Blue Moon! I just started soaking black beans, so we can make chili for dinner. Alex is going to make cornbread. We have been showing driveway movies all month, and keeping decorations whimsical and light. Tonight our young friends will have a piñata to break open for treats. Maria announced that this month has gone by too quickly, and she intends to continue Halloween celebrating indefinitely. I see no reason to disagree. She doesn't know that I've planned some treats for her, too, and I hope they add something special to her celebration.
Our Thistle was getting abused, right on top of her sweet head. Somehen was pecking her. Thankfully, it didn't go too far, and has stopped, but do you see? The few feathers she lost came back white. It brought to mind articles I've been reading about trauma, recovery, healing, and how we shouldn't dismiss the hard effects of pain from physical injury, emotional abuse, even long term or intense stress can leave a mark on our physiology.
Have you considered how you can help yourself, and others, in the days leading up to the election, and after? I've been checking in with a friend, who is a therpapist, and she is suggesting people take Wednesday off, to rest, to turn to supportive family, friends. In the next few days create options for time away from media, from fretting, feeling overwhelmed. Eat well. Sleep. Walk or play, get to some nature, make room for fun, distracting, fun activities, that give your system time to recover... I am pretty sure I will need to re-read this more than once this week.
Thistle, welcome to the gray lady club. We are wearing our warrior feathers.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about how to make Halloween fun, especially for young people. Fun, and still safe, comfortable. Safe distancing, and not exchanging things are the two main issues. I was hearing about people passing candy through PVC tubes, and... sorry, that seemed eh. Fortunately for us, in these circumstances, we don't see trick-or-treaters in this neighborhood, so we only need a one time kind of candy distribution. Trick-or-Treating, let's admit, has an element of mischief, and I wanted to keep that intact. Piñatas have an element of mischief, too. And! Piñatas are ideal for stand back safely protocol! Thankfully, William reminded me that we had leftover papier-mâché forms, so I only needed to construct reinforcements, paint, add decorations, fill with candies (poured, untouched, directly from the bag) and affix with a wire for hanging. After my hands got covered in glue and paint, I stopped taking pictures. This project was really fun, and because I didn't want to make it too precious to destroy, it went quickly, easily. Actually, I am already thinking of making another. A turkey, a snowglobe? Spencer, Bex, and Simon are bringing their own stick and blindfold, and bags to collect their treats. We can all stand back, swinging the pumpkin head from a rope, while the kids strike for chocolates!
October 29th, and the Blue Moon is already looking large, beautiful. All week we have been watching Harry Potter movies. I carved one pumpkin, mostly for the roasted seeds. I like how the Jack-o-lantern's face turned out. I think we will carve more today. And last night we watched the final movie in the series. I can't believe I never saw the last three movies! Ok. That was the upper limit for scary, and suspenseful for me. Besides, I'm getting too much of the same in the real world. Walk or play, get to some nature, make room for fun, distracting, fun activities, that give your system time to recover. I freely admit, I am a sensitive buttercup. No shame.
I am so glad we have plans for the day, and other good things to look forward to.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Almost Halloween

The Blue Moon is almost here, Mars has been bright and glowing, and we have a giant kitty, Minnie Robo Kitty, peering over everything, and everyone, from the roof of our home. It's almost Halloween. It won't be like others, but we have plans! We can't be sidetracked, and certainly not derailed. We have been sharing movie nights, and whimsical decorations outdoors. Tomorrow night will be a Halloween like no other, but that's basically true of every holiday. As this is a night for make-believe and mischief, we are rising to the occasion to devise new and safe ways to play, to be with friends, to celebrate creativity, and amusements.
Minnie came along, in the usual fashion, in coversation. We couldn't help imagining something big on top of the house, and we talked about this all summer. Once we settled on a cat, William started sketching. Then he took all of our ideas and suggestions into the computer, where we made a silhouette to project onto wood. He and I traced the cat, then William cut it out with a jigsaw. Projecting is a helpful method... just remember to adjust the image, to get rid of distortion. It can be a bit tricky. It's the same process we used to create our giant Totoro. Here, I have more details about making, and remaking Totoro.
Friends know, we've made some elaborate things... competitive robots, robot parade floats, shelters, costumes, theater props. This project was tough. Our roof is steep, Kitty is heavy. We wanted the eyes to move. I could say more about the complications and challenges, but just know: We wanted to throw in the towel a few times. And all along, facing each new technical obstacle, we knew the trickiest part would be the last part... getting it, safely, on the roof. Kitty has 3D printed parts, and laser cut parts, an Arduino that Geoff wired and programmed. The metal frame had to be welded, and made to fit the exact pitch of the roof. Sooner, or later, we employed most of our collective skills sets, and eventually, all seven of us would have a hand in seeing this project to completion.

Making Minnie was challenging. Getting the cat on the roof was harrowing... or, at least, very intense for at least 20 minutes.

Dear Santa, we hope you are well. Please, would you consider giving us scaffolding? We find ourselves on roof tops, as well as building tall or heavy, or odd things, rather often, and something tall and stable, for standing on, could come in handy. Thank you, the BOoM Nerds.

All week I was on the lookout for rain in the forecast. You know, I am always on the lookout for rain in the forecast. But we did not want to put the cat up in rain, or high wind. And we were also trying to figure out how to protect the mechanics and electronics from rain, or even heavy fog. There was never rain in the foreacast. It was all clear. Only, as soon as the last guy wire was tethered, and Minnie was secure, it did start to rain! And the next day we had freak wind gusts that lifted things across the yard, and broke a few things. Thankfully, Minnie has stayed tip-top!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Sorting, Soothing

When we get any rain, I am going to sow seeds, and ahead of that I need to pull up dead plants, and exhausted veggies. Since the summer garden is all but done, I decided the goats couldn't do much harm if I let them roam. It was such nice weather, and the grass around the old pumpkin bed was tall. Tasha and Ada went right to work, like they were at a salad bar. Ada added peppers to her meal. We all ran around for a bit, me, the hens, the goats. Maybe one of the funnest parts of being a farmer is goats and chickens that will come for affection, for treats, that will sit beside me, or run around the yard, following me. It's fun, too, that we can keep goats and chickens, together. They get along, and make each other's lives more interesting. I miss having bunnies in the mix. I love witnessing and supporting the cycle that we have around the garden, the animals, the seasons.
Phil sent us a greeting card, with a photograph he took in France, and a fall leaf. I am guessing the leaf is from Wisconsin, not France. Maybe my New Year Resolution should be to send letters, cards, thank you notes, personal and tangible messages through the post. I owe so many replies. I imagine care packages and handwritten letters, that I am earnestly eager to compose, send off. I was better about all of that, once upon a time. But I won't pretend that I've been any good about mail in recent years. Prior to 2018, I would say that I was simply busy, literally had too much to do, and I didn't make letter writing a priority. Now, since the collision, I have the added challenge of... how to even describe this? I can't manage things very well. Everything is harder, as though even the most basic tasks are veiled and just out of reach. It's a relief to be at home, because the world is big and fast moving, I stutter when I am nervous, I forget things, and cannot recall other things, people I've met, things we've done, movies, books, dates. I can do one thing at a time, then nap, as though I put in a full day's work, focused, intense, demanding mental labor. And none of this is anything I want to admit to myself, to examen closely, because I am constantly questioning what I perceive and feel, and experience, doubting my reality, and willing myself to not be that way.

This was going to be a post about comfort, and cats, about rearranging the space on the balcony, where I paint. I was, I admit, going to say something about those pillows, the fluffy ones on the bed, where Cairo is napping. I've been self-conscious about showing them in pictures, about how fluffy and opulent-extravagant they look. Silly, of me to feel embarrassed, squeamish about them... it's because they are fancy and I am a snob about seeming to be fancy. And this, friends, is about as strange and raw a confession as I can make. But I've resolved to share that I brought home the first pillow, a natural fleece, and soft as can be, after casually touching it in a shop, and feeling utter bliss. It was expensive, and that is something else that I cringe about. In December it will be two years since the collision, and those pillows have been one of the most effective resources in my arsenal to ground myself. I cannot be in a car without a pillow, not comfortably, not without the chance of vomiting, bursting into tears, heart racing, sweating. I sleep with them, I hold them, I touch them and find my breath, stop shaking. I have learned I am not alone, that a friend, also recovering being hit in her car, had the same impulse... we talked about bringing pillows on drives, then I told her I keep two in the car, and then added them to my bed, and she thought this was brilliant. It was reassuring, a kind of relief, to talk about it with someone who gets it, and we agreed that healing and comfort comes in unexpected ways, that we would rather embrace these methods than reject them. If I could, I would give fluffy pillows to anyone in the world that needs comfort, that is recovering, or wants to feel safe... I know that it would be a lot of pillows.

I was composing all of the above in my head, and acknowledging that I am tired of nightmares, tired of unfinished collision issues, weary from being in pain, from the limits and challenges I am still trying to cope with. The recurring thoughts about how this whole event has been intrusive, consuming, life changing, tedious, damaging, hard, and long-lasting, were in my head... I was even thinking not a day, or night has gone by, when I haven't had to deal with what she did to me, and then my phone rang. The attorney is (still) helping me get more of the business of closing the case finished. She called for help with facts, details, photographs. Someone couldn't recall who I was, wasn't returning calls. If it wasn't me, if I was outside looking in, I could see it as another task, another memory jogging, more paperwork, lookng at pictures of a mangled van, twisted wheels. Someday, I hope to forget, and not feel trapped, not shake, not panic. I want to see simple tasks for what they are, do them, move on. I want to turn my head, left and right. I want to sleep through the night, or at least recgnize my surroundings when I wake up. I want to be comfortable, feel comfortable. I was only going to mention those pillows, so fluffy and good, but there's more to it than that, and I needed to talk about it... so, there it is.