Saturday, November 27, 2021


Maria, class of 2022

These are a couple of the pictures I snapped as we were leaving the professional portrait studio. She could have had her senior portraits taken last June, but the truth is: I was stalling! It all goes so quickly as it is, so I couldn't possibly be expected to do this any sooner than absolutely necessary. I shared on Instagram, too. All of the likes, or hearts... those really touch me, along with the kind words, and recognition. Not for the attention, alone, but to experience sharing with our community, to feel a part of a greater family. We do not raise our children in a vacuum, on a remote island, and the support, interest, and kindness of everyone we know, near and far, means a lot to me. It means we belong, we have connections, role models, we know caregivers, and have been surrounded by love... those are tremendous gifts. Thank you, for seeing us, and our daughter, for caring, and keeping her in good thoughts, thank you for engaging with us, and inspiring us, for welcoming us. We feel fortunate to be a part of network of kindness and compassion.
All too often I reference my own inadequacies as a homemaker. I will never be a Good Housekeeping Medalist, not even for participation. This time, I would like to acknowledge all of you that do it... that keep order and bliss, that file paperwork, iron table linens, clean ovens, polish silver. Hail the queens and kings of domesticity! I am in awe. Truly. I am in awe of the homes with clean windows, uncluttered surfaces, and doors that close all the way, because nothing is craming the way. I deeply admire those of you who can maintain a basic level of organization, whose homes are calm, tidy, company ready at a moment's notice. Seriously: Well done, you.

"We were together. I forget the rest." ~Walt Whitman

I don't actually attribute this sentiment to Whitman, but to my dear friend, Jennifer. She gave me the tea towel, and she brings hers out each year, fresh, pressed, lovingly preserved. I am reminded of her quietly open, honest expression, her mindfulness in intention and action, and that no matter the time that has passed, or what things have gone unspoken, she will remind me what matters. We were together.

Inclusion is an idea, a message, that has been foremost, and recurring in recent days. I am still ruminating, still feeling my way around emotions, events, wishes, but I have some ideas about this, about what it means to be a part of a family, in a circle of loved ones, or outside of it, and bewildered. Yeah, just contemplating, but this I know for sure... it's lovely to be invited, or even to feel as though you are thought of, included in spirit. I long for the days when we can travel more freely, more readily, when masks and social distancing can be safely put aside for warm embraces, long visits. I can't wait to throw open our doors, to invite in wider, and wider circles of friends. I have fond memories of family reunions, graduations, weddings, birthdays, holidays, of traveling long miles to show up at a brother's door, to meet in the woods, to band together, to rally for a cause, and memories are a happy reminder of blessings... still, I am eager to add more, to have plans, to look ahead, to find our kin, to be welcoming, to be welcome in.
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Even if I do get a bit oversentimental, in the end, I am always happy for company, for sharing... a load of dishes, a loaf of bread, the bounty, or the battles! I am thankful for what turned out to be a cozy, comfortable, and delicious Thanksgiving. I never did finish decluttering the hall, and my Eel River innertube? It's oddly, yet proudly, displayed atop the electronics cabinet. Don't ask me why. And don't ask me how I managed to come home with a massive supply of single-ply and unperforated toilet paper, which is the worst and most annoying kind of tp, apart from corn husks, in the world. Life is never dull. I hope you were together, invited, included, that you have a plate of leftovers, and some good memories of other gatherings, of good times when you were together with ones you love, and who love you back. I hope you have plans for more, for looking forward.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Beach Break

The beach break was an unexpected outing for me. I dropped Maria off for a beach clean-up with Japanese National Honor Society. Bucket. Extension grabber. Gloves. Flip flops. I figured on driving home, to ignore laundry, and lose track of time, until she called for a pick-up! But on my way out a parking space opened up, a spot too good to pass up. So, I went for it! And walked up and down Moonlight, observing birds, turning stones, rescuing a bee, watching surfers, and just generally breathing easy, smiling, feeling good.
There were a few groups out, cleaning up, and knowing that this is something our community does feels good, too.

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Autumn Leaves

You know, I shouldn't have waffled on this one so much. I kept second guessing myself. Unsure if we were going to have much of a turn-out for our monthly picnic, I changed the date, took several surveys, made some calls, checked and re-checked the weather, and just generally spent too much time and energy being anxious, which is absolutely a direct violation of Picnic Protocol. Never again! I hope. I really must adhere to my own policy about Picnic Day, which is: Do Not Worry About It. I set the date, name the location, send out the invitation, and then relax. And that's all it ever takes, because our friends show up when they can, if they can. And there are things to eat, to share. We have the very best success with weather, and open space. It is a waste to worry, to overthink any of it. We arrived on time, with sandwiches, and lemonade, and sunblock, and the day simply unfolded, blossomed, really. It was perfect.
We had a couple of hours to ourselves. We put that to good use with some bit of setting up, a walk, and more Dungeons and Dragons planning. Geoff got the phone app, and made more updates for his character, Phil the stumbling, not fallen Aasimar... it's coming along. I recalled a Pinterest or Instagram craft, for which I gathered fallen leaves... here it is! Thank you, Robin, Patchwork Momma. I hope I have some bee's wax. I hope my leaves haven't already dried to a crisp! And speaking of leaves! It was like the song, and I could hear Nat King Cole singing tenderly, "The falling leaves drift by the window, The Autumn leaves of red and gold." We enjoyed shade and sunlight, a stunning blue sky, and plenty of Autumn leaves. Families arrived in matching outfits, with photographers in tow, for holiday portraits. Regular breezes rustled the branches, and we had leaf showers. Yes, pretty romantic, pastoral, a wonderland.
Some of us took the hike up to see the first installment of Leo's Eagle Scout project, an entry sign, and markers (coming soon) for native plants. The frame for the sign went up on Halloween, and that was a big effort, including digging large, deep post holes, and mixing the cement. Leo has been desiging, researching, and delegating to get everything completed. Delegating means he found support and contributions, which is how he got such beautiful wildlife paintings on the front and back of the sign. Those were a contribution from his sister, Bella. Leo also reached out to us, Benevolent Order of Makers for help making the smaller native plant markers, and Geoff has been mentoring him on operating our laser engraver, Phoebe. We love these enhancements, and it's especially cool that we can enjoy them in "our" picnic park.
I love these paintings! Bella, they are so good, and charming! I need to return, when the sun isn't casting shadows on the backside of the sign, so I can get more pictures. We were all impressed and enthused for every aspect of Leo's project, and the execution of it.
Beneath the falling leaves, surrounded by them, really, we talked, and caught up, rested, relaxed, read. We tossed our whistling Nerf football, and wooed Akira puppy! I love love love picnic day. It was a gift, again.