Saturday, December 19, 2020
This is, by far, my favorite wreath of the season. Carol made one for her front door, from berries, seeds, leaves, and pinecones collected on a walk with Grace. I see sprays of pepper berries, too! It's a truly local, California wreath. Carol's arrangements, her art, is beautiful, a true reflection of her gentleness, and her regard for nature. I was thrilled to see the one she *secretly* left for us! It's so abundant and wild, yet artfully composed. The colors sing out, and I hear the woods say, Be of good faith! Take joy! I hung it in our garden, where I hope the birds will see it, too. Take joy, birdies!
It would be a thrill to see cedar waxwings partake of the wreath. We are having a very dry season, sadly. Dry, and cold. The hummingbirds come around when I water the flower barrels. I make sure to give hens and goats an extra snack before sundown. Liberty is not quite making it up to the roost. She's spending the night on the milk crate. Dear Chica. It's nice we are still getting some eggs, so close to Solstice.
On the last day of Hanukkah we were treated to a driveway visit from Leslie and Ido, and chocolate babka! Both were sweet and heartwarming. This year would have been something too lonesome and dull without our pod, all of our friends, but especially the ones we can see on walks, or when we are out for a ride, the ones who will brave cold weather, and janky speakers to watch a movie with us, the friends we can swap eggs or flour or yeast or favors or tp or Nutella with! The friends who haven't found campfires in a driveway too predictable. Whether we are commiserating, trading recipes, consoling each other, or just laughing, it has made a world of difference to see friends. Pink Martini was in our Home For the Holidays! And seeing them on the big screen... it was almost as good as seeing them live! They were very generous. Just when it seemed they were wrapping things up, and the credits scrolled, Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes, the band, Sofia VonTrapp, and Cantor Ida Rae Cahana popped back in for a sing-along. It felt like a house party. I can't wait for the Good Riddance 2020 concert, New Year's Eve.
Friday, December 18, 2020
I am waiting for everything to do with the collision to be settled. Finally, at last, settled. The two year anniversary came and went. It weighs on me so much more than I can stand, I am sorry to admit. It turns out, I am not the sort of person that can compartmentalize one thing from another. Each new phone call, every time I have to unravel some other part of it, or revisit the day, the days, the papers, photographs, records... I am set back. I waste hours, days even, in a heavy fog. I am waiting to go forward, and it's a struggle. "The insurance company wants to know if you are still hurting?" "Every day," I reply.
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Bewick's wrens. They're very small, pretty, and we worry they may be trying to nest on the porch, but then they always seem so eager to leave. Usually we open all the doors and leave them to it. This time I sat quietly, to observe.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Julie showed Alicia, who inspired me, and then Maria helped me make a tutorial for you! That's a Crafting Chain. Which reminds me, I would like to make paper chains.
Paper bags... the more you use, the harder it gets to cut. These were made with eight bags.
Glue... I used a glue stick. But white glue, or hot glue would work, too.
Scissors... sharp ones help.
Paper clips or... these are to hold the two ends together when you open the star for display. You could glue the ends, but then it will be hard to store. I couldn't find any paper clips. (Baffling. They are here. We can't not have paper clips.) I used bobby pins.
Some string, or thread... anything to tie to the star for hanging.
Monday, December 14, 2020
the Geminids, the annual meteor shower from comet 3200 Phaethon. Early on we had the awesome pleasure of sighting earthgrazers... slow moving and longer lasting meteors that travel horizontally across the sky. Capella... which is a cluster of 4 stars. I love the app, but I still have so much to learn, so it's helpful to cross reference things I was trying to figure out last night. The Internet is amazing! Those four stars are over 40 light years away! since I met the brightest star visible from any part of Earth, last summer. Starman, then Laszarus, then Max posed a question. "What do you suppose would happen if for one second gravity had no effect on your body?" I knew he was not speaking metaphorically. He turned toward me and asked, "Would you like to help me figure that out?" To begin, he needed the diameter of the Earth, and I asked Siri. The answer is 7,918 miles. He took it from there, in his head... After one second without gravity a person would move a neglible distance. The Earth is moving, too, he reminded me, and in such a brief amount of time, the event would be almost imperceptible. After one minute without gravity you would be about 193 feet above the Earth. After an hour, your body would be 123 miles from Earth.
In gaming, especially in role-playing games, characters that achieve goals, like solving a puzzle, outwitting a foe, amassing artifacts, completing a quest, level up. When you level up you go to the next level of the game, maybe acquire new tools, skills, a symbol of your growth, like a better hat, a new cloak.
Yesterday, I leveled up! The bike miles, riding 2,000 miles... I reached the goal yesterday! I was only three miles away from hitting the mark, so we knew it would happen enroute of our regular ride. At mile one, Geoff asked, "Do you have celebratory music qued up?" I did not. I couldn't think what song that would be. But I was really eager for something to happen, for the moment to be momentous! Maybe I've played too many video games... having this unspoken notion that stars would spin, lights might flash, a banner would unfurl: "2,000 Bicycle Miles! You Reached Level II Amateur!" Then maybe my helmet would gain a headlamp, or change colors. Objectively, truthfully, I wasn't expecting those things, but I did wish we could celebrate with a platter of tacos. Tacos appearing at the end of the ride, or at the place where the odometer ticked over to the magic mile. That would have been the best. Also, I purposely turned back to arrive at a prettier spot, when I was at about 2.8 miles, because posing for pictures in front of a stranger's house wasn't gonna cut it for my crowning moment.
I don't think it's conventional to give a speech when leveling up. But obviously, I rarely go for convention.
Natalie's Brief, and Heartfelt, Speech, on the Occasion of Riding a Bicycle 2,000 miles Over the Course of About 18 Months, While Going Around and Around, and Around Her Neighborhood.
First, I am astonished to be here, figuratively, literally. I am timid and afraid, and I thought my small attempts at big things seemed pointless. I am glad that I did not act on my beliefs, but instead faced my discomfort, literal and figurative, and rode! This leads me to speak of the tremendous love and gratitude, respect, and admiration, I feel for Geoff, who acts on higher beliefs, with big goals in mind. He saw us riding bicycles, and when I resisted, he persisted, gently, but with conviction. He keeps me charged, and pedaling. He inflates tires, checks brakes, adjusts seats, and daily he poses the question, "Are we gonna ride?" And ride, we do! And even though we go seemingly nowhere, he never pushes me (too much) beyond what I feel safe doing, and he shares, with sincere enthusiasm, my peculiar awe and wonder in finding new sights, new friends, new furniture, craft supplies, and appreciation in those same, daily, neighborhood loops. Thank you, Geoff. And thank you, friends on Instagram, who cheered and celebrated with me, who joined in my vision of an imagined ride, that lately is aiming for Rome, where we understand "... they have made some nice paintings." Michael C, and I think we need to start a caravan. Join us! We are going places!