Saturday, April 17, 2021

Good Things and Courage

Crying does not indicate that you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive. ~Charlotte Bronte
dysania (n.) the state of finding it hard to get out of bed. The temptation is to curl up with these two, which is fine, for awhile. Since the impulse is stronger, like I could stay there for days, I have decided to instead look at pretty pictures of good things and remind myself of good words, and other acts of courage.
Maria just finished up the third quarter of junior year, and as she put it, she has "only five quarters of high school left." I knew it would go by fast, but this is ridiculous! She is still happy, learning at home. It's fortunate that she is comfortable, doing well. We are aware that it's not been as easy for others. The other day she came down after school, exclaiming that she was super hungry, that she'd missed lunch. Maria, I asked her, How in the heck do you miss lunch, when you are just upstairs from the kitchen? She laughed, Cairo sat on my lap during second period and he never got up! Everyone knows a sleeping pet must never be disturbed, ever!
Geoff has begun the down-shift from crunchmode crazy hours at work, and he's turning his time and energy to more local issues, like spring cleaning, and house projects. He's got me moving and shaking, too. Actually, everyone has been moving, purging, re-thinking, re-organizing. William started painting Maria's room, and the cool changes he started in his own room are almost finished. I think he could charge admission to his museum worthy, artifact curated abode. Alex and Bambi are reconfiguring everything in their room, and Max keeps making improvements on his space. Why a picture of yarn? you might be wondering. Well, I found six skeins of this lovely stuff, when I tidied our bedroom, and I want the record to show that I kept on tidying, even though I wanted to drop everything and crochet a nice, long wrap. I have just the pattern in mind. I require gentle applause and recognition for sticking to the spring cleaning plan.

Oh. Do you know what I did? I got real serious about cleaning the entire oven-stove-hood, and I was putting all of my elbow grease and grit into my mission! Scrub! Scour! Scrub, and don't tell anyone, but I cleaned some of the labels clear off! It's not good. I know. What can I do? Black lettering on stainless steal, and whatever it said, is clean gone. Don't you agree that lettering on a steel appliance ought to adhere well enough to take some deep cleaning? oh dear.

"A friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and admires the flowers in your garden." I have this saved on my phone, but I don't know who wrote it.

I, myself, am entirely made of flaws, stitched together with good intentions. ~Augusten Burroughs

There is no beauty without some strangeness. ~Edgar Allen Poe

We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it. ~Mary Oliver

I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable, beautiful, and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings. ~Mary Oliver

Letting Go, Holding On

Nearly there, dare I say? I signed a waiver yesterday, and reconfirmed with a D.A., I am not compelled to testify, in any more hearings, against the drunkladydriver. When my attorney, I hear her smiling, even over the phone, says "Now you can put this behind you," and other platitudes, I wince, I want to scream. I thought so, too... that there would be a day when the papers would all be signed, when my head, thoughts, words, and voice would be clear, accessible, when nighmares and panic would be something that used to happen, or that they would be infrequent enough to feel incidental. I imagined that determination, will, and effort would heal me, and put me in control of pain, of fear, of limitations. That, at the very least, I would feel a release, that it would all feel behind me. Nearly there? So many people tried to assure me that it will be over, soon, that restitution will help, told me that I am lucky to be alive, that I don't look injured... I want to be strong and brave, to heal well, and get over it, to be vindicated (Vindicated from what? The last two years and all of the subpeonas, hearings, reporting, even defending myself has played tricks on me, it's like a multi-faceted gas-lighting, so that now, it's as though I am responsible, it's my choice to make it stop, if only I would surrender, sign away any say, quit standing up for myself. Get over it!) It was always going to come down to me to move forward, to be well, but the system... insurance companies, lawyers, courts, the sheriff, the billing companies, they have a system, and they dangle a carrot and call it "Justice & Restitution," then they compel a person to participate, to figure it all out as they go, to be subjected to scrutiny and inspection, to meet law enforcement at the door, be followed home by the defense lawyer, to be cross-examined, to being manipulated, misled, and it becomes clear, little by little, that the only way out, is to let go. Let go of the outcome, let go of ideas about what justice and healing and compensation and recovery could have been or should have been, and then figure out what the new normal is going to be.

Life was never going to leave me unscathed, and something particularly awful happened, and the journey to the end of it was prolonged, protracted, and possibly as traumatic as the collision that started it all, but there's nothing that will make it right, or fair, or undo any of it. So. Perhaps on Monday, or some day in May, I will feel there, a little more over it than today, and I will not think of what happened, or why I cannot turn my head as I used to, maybe I won't want to stay home, stay quiet. Maybe I will go through my day, enjoying my blessings, and not attribute them to being "lucky to be alive" after a drunk drove into me, but to my own choices, efforts, ideas, loved ones, so that I feel my life is my own, and not entangled with someone else's actions. It's frustrating to know what would be ideal and good, yet constantly struggling to live in that knowledge, to act on those ideals. I can say this, though, when I stop getting calls, and emails, when I can be assured that no one will ask me testify, nor promise me "compensation," but withdraw it, add stipulations, deny the offer ever was, it will come down to me, and I will finally have a chance to get over it, as best I can, however I can.

Ok. That's done. I didn't want to have post after post about the collision, then skip the part where it all gets wrapped up. Almost there, I think. And in its own way, crummy as it has been there is good in this.

Sorry. One more thing, and this is... hard. Grace Hopper is back with the feed store, because she is ill, and was even when I brought her home. I was assured that she only needed a little time and a specific regimen, which I followed faithfully, happily, to get her on course. Caring for her was a welcome distraction from thinking about the disappointing, and drawn out collision garbage. When she got worse I asked them for help and they asked me to bring her in, then apologized, because the person that let me buy her should not have done that, and they needed to take her back, get the breeder to look at her, "policy, sorry, it's for her sake, how it should have been done." I was emotional and concerned and did whatever was asked, and to make a short story long... she is with the feedstore, being cared for, and it's a waiting game. They say I will be notified and have her returned if it's possible, but no promises, no assurances, nothing is guaranteed. Boy, don't I know it? Yeah, it's been a crummy, sad, hard week. Please give best thoughts for Grace Hopper. Please say a prayer with me that she will be back here, making us laugh, being her sweet sweet self, again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

One Morning in April

It's day 5 with our Grace Hopper, and I am feeling like we have a routine. If baby goats are anything like my baby-babies were, then I am sure the entire idea of having a routine will be dismantled by the end of the day, simply because I imagine I am getting a handle on all of this! Even though I've become a morning sloth since the start of lockdown, moving as slowly as slothly possible to start my day, I have been getting to Grace with a warm bottle everyone morning at 6:30 am. Okay, today it was more like 6:50. She loves her bottle and leans into me, eagerly draining her breakfast. The chickens look on curiously, Ada and Tasha watch from the furthest distance possible, aghast. I wipe the foamy remnants from her pink lips (I thought, We could name her "Starbuck," because she's like a barista, expertly whipping up milk into a froth!") Then, she and I head out of the enclosure, and explore all of our yard, front and back, 'round and 'round. We hop, jump, run, explore and make discoveries. I water, pull weeds, put things away, talk to her, watch her, and take pictures. Keeping up with a baby goat, even encouraging her to run around by my example, is invigorating, and stimulating, and all of those positive expressions around activity, and it's tiring, too. I am going to bed ready to recover! The first morning session goes for about an hour, and then I do it again around 10 am, then noon, we have another visit and playtime about 3, then 5, and a last romp and bottle around 7:30!

Yesterday it rained. That's news. We are so far behind for decent rainfall, and the light showers, though not forecast, were very welcome. Even today, it seems like it could rain, again. I took lots of pictures, and I want to share them... almost all of them. It's been a good morning, an April morning, and I want to remember this day.
This little flower... it's one in a million! I scattered and tended a huge container of wildflower seeds, and so far this is all we have to show for it! If anyone can identify it, I'd be thankful. It's very pretty. Our scrappy deciduous tree, the one that looked uncharacteristically beautiful last October, is leafing out, and I am reminded of the poem... Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost: "Nature's first green is gold."
One Torrey Pine, white sage, and the rising sun casting a warm glow on everything.
I love our old apricot tree, the lichen, even the hope, that is usually dashed, that we will get one more big harvest of delicious apricots. Every year but one, I tell her, It's ok. You've done your best. She really is a good tree.
Purple, violet, indigo, lavender... I am delighted to find all of these shades of lilac and plum, and all of the synonyms for purple!
And now, a visit with the honeybees, for GretchenJoanna, whose borage is starting to bloom. She is waiting for the honeybees to arrive, and asked if we've seen bees, yet. Our climate, near the coast, in Southern California, is about as mild as can be, and we are fortunate to have honeybees year-round. I didn't notice, until I saw the pictures on my computer, how tattered this one bee's wings are. Poor fellow. Still, he seemed capable and busy, and, I hope, happy in the borage and nasturtium. If these links work for you, GretchenJoanna, you can watch the bees visiting our borage. And a few weeks ago, I revived a weary little bee that was resting on a window screen, with a drop of honey water.
Good morning, friends. I am sending wishes your way for invigorating activities, good rest, honeybees, and time to enjoy all that you love.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Some Happiness

The flower, I admit, is a ruse to lure you in, before I fill this post with pictures of Grace Hopper, our Chapulín! I might have some pictures of a cat, probably more garden pictures, but the rest will be goat, goat, goat! I am a goatherd, an idealized or romanticized rustic maiden in pastoral literature... I could not resist that definition when I looked up "shepherdess." It fits me to a tittle... I am a shepherdess, and not a lonely goatherd.
Seeing her in the ivy, I caught an earworm and sang under my breath, all day... Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey. A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?

Speaking of romanticized and pastoral, Janece noted that our backyard is a vision of spring. A mama bird built her sparrow nest over the door to the backyard, and the mama bunny that lives by the garden bed is as busy as ever, but she always stops to visit. The bluebirds are finely feathered, and flirting. The quail are calling, so are the owls. An ideal, true spring!

My Mommy sent me a gift this week. This patchwork quilt, which has been a dear favorite of mine for many years, and is in my mother's memory since her childhood, when they lived on East First Street, in Los Angeles. She's pretty sure the women of the church made it, using collected scraps. It makes me think of my Grandmother, Eunice, and of a lifetime of hearing my Mom's stories about East LA, Roosevelt High School, the LA River, and trains, the fountain on Olvera Street, Nena, her friend downstairs, walking to the library, the dishes Uncle Steve brought home from Korea. It makes me feel in touch with so much that is sentimental, and I get lost in the prints, imagining was this a dress, a man's shirt? Cairo sensed something good, too, and was immediately drawn to the soft spot. He's hardly left it since I opened it on my bed. It's a perfect light weight for spring, not that he's sharing.

Mother Nature is making it abundantly clear: If I ever want to be a commercial farmer, oregano should be my crop, and Rosemary. Rosemary and oregano thrive here, with very little effort on my part. The calendula came back, but it's not as widespread as it was last year. No rain is to blame for fewer nasturium, and spoon-tomatoes, as well. The borage is thriving, so I assume it's a little more drought tolerant, which is why I am glad I decided to add more native plants to our front yard. The sages, manzanita, and ceanothus are doing well.

If you are wondering, neither Ada, nor Tasha, have budged on their stubborn refusal to accept Grace. Old goats! They couldn't be more cliché! And I, I suppose, could not have been more naive. I didn't think they'd bond immediately, but, yeah... I vividly imagined romanticized and pastoral scenes with Tasha and Ada frolicking merrily with the little one, bringing Grace into the fold, nuzzling her affectionately, and the three of them curled up, beneath a starry night, sleeping soundly, like loving sisters. Well, at least I can enjoy the whimsy and the sweet temperment of our Grasshopper, our funny Chapulín! We weeded, and planted. We dead-headed flowers, watered. We hopped up steps, and leapt from rocks. We walked all around the garden, front to back, and back, again. We tidied spots, and did some rearranging. She's good company, I think.
Grandma Eunice's shepherdess, gazing at me from the sweetpeas, and our peach tree in bloom. I have a new found appreciation for this month of April. Has April always been a pretty month? I cannot say, but this time, this year... it's lovely, and I am glad to be taking notice, and enjoying it.
Baby goats, flowerbeds, and heirloom quilts are gifts, real treasures that I appreciate tremendously. I cannot always be in a romantic frame of mind though, and I want to say that the trial in Minneapolis of the murderous police officer, the murder of Daunte Wright, attacks on the Asian communities, the daily evidence that racism, gun violence, hate, cruelty, and indifference, are truly woven into the fabric of this country... these truths devestate me. I turn to my garden, to making and sharing, to celebrating any joy and beauty I can find, in hopes of spreading love, inspiring compassion, and keeping my own fears and grief in check. Good things are better shared, and this must include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for all people.