Friday, March 11, 2022

Where Did The Time Go

This may be the peak of my daffodil season! I have been so happy about these, about finally finally planting bulbs, even when I was embarrassed that I let them get a bit oogy, and I thought they were destined to rot in the ground. Even when I was second guessing my meauring skills, whether I buried them too deeply, or too close together, whether squirrels would dig them up, or a blizzard would destroy them, even though we have never ever even had an inch of snow. Next year! I love to think of next year, or this Fall, actually, when I plan to plant twice as many. I want to fill this whole section with daffodils, and I want other varities, like the pale ones with orange cups, and the ones that are fragrant. Oh, just lots and lots. And more grape hyacinth, and what are those other classics... Crocuses! I hope I remember that this is worth the wait, worth the planning and small effort, and likely there is a bigger lesson in this, something about the value of acting on hope, applying effort and labor to intention. So, for the record, the Gardening Journal (that doesn't really exist, yet) I planted the bulbs on December 28, 2021. And that's when I should plant more, again, this year. I'll mark it on the calendar. Oh! What if we aren't in a pandemic, and people are hanging out, and all sorts of wonderful progressive things are happening, like peace and healthcare, and civil rights, and then I could have a birthday party and invite absolutely everyone, and we would fill the bed with bulbs, and I would send friends home with bulbs, and we'd eat tacos and roller skate in the driveway.

It's funny, I can't take my plans, even my fantasy plans, out of the driveway. Everything good, in the last two years has been in the driveway. I'm kidding, but not. I used to ignore the driveway. I used to think it was only a too large space that we were stuck with, practical, but oversized for its purpose, and wasteful. But since lockdowns and COVID and all of that, I adore our driveway, our wide, open, spacious and generous driveway! Our movie nights, and campfires, and stargazing, the picnics, and craft camps, even future events, have all revolved around the asphalt pad in front of our home. I may have a plaque made to commemorate the love and company we enjoyed here, the days and nights when this was a safe, welcome space for our loved ones to gather, and we endured, and we comforted one another. I even miss the nights when we fumbled through how to manage social distancing... to play games, or share food, or celebrate special occasions. Those gatherings are fewer and further between. Maybe, possibly, we can see real hope, a real chance to come out of The Stay At Home Season?

Paul and Janece reached out for a campfire gathering this week. And I was happy to move the chairs around, make some hot chocolate. We sipped chocolate and shared news, laughed, just our usual easy friendship pleasures. Our young ones are in their last semester of high school. And I can't believe how right I was when I declared that these years would fly by, and I would ask "Where did the time go?" Oh, my gosh, where did the time go?

In the midst of conversing, my attention was diverted, and I found myself admiring my pretty friend. I wanted to tell her, to interrupt the conversation and say how pretty Janece is. Instead I raised my phone to take a picture. She turned to face me. Later, I wrote about what I was thinking, to save the moment. I am glad I did. After the sun had set and we sat in flickering light and shadows, they shared news with us. Our friends are moving away, heading out for a new experience, for a chance to make life easier. Naturally, I have the best hopes and wishes for them, but not before I object, and protest, and wish that there was some other way. Ten years, I thought is a long time, but ten years is a flash, a snap in time, when it's spent with friends that you click with, with friends that in short time become more like family than people you met through blogging. Their calling is born of necessity, but they are embracing it, taking the adventure, and I hope to be a best kind of friend... one that supports them, and helps them move forward, and one that will always hold space for them, to stay connected, to share whatever new attachments we can make. Well, those are my noblest intentions, and aspirations, but I will always think this is one of the cruelest results of pandemic, of politics and economy and billionaire greed. I am disillusioned... no yachts, nor rockets, no tax evading corportate avarice, however shiny or glamorous will ever compare with families in safe homes, and children in good schools, with affordable healthcare for all people, and working a job should mean that you can thrive, not barely survive.


I meant for this to be all about flowers and found nests in the nasturtium, my pretty friend, and looking forward to plans, to spring and summer and fall, again. I want to be looking forward, but just now, all I can think is where did the time go?

Bird House Notes: Yesterday I made flour tortillas. And. Well. Flour tortillas are a taste of heaven, and we were delighting in them all day long. Good for lunch. Good for an after school snack. Good for dessert. And it may seem like an overstatement, a bit much for something as basic as a tortilla, but then again... if you have had one, soft, warm, a bit dusty from flour, straight from the comal, then you know, and you may be nodding your head, and thinking of comforting moments in your life, when the world felt good. I am so thankful to be imbued with food as an emotion, as sentiment and affection, as a narrative of my ancestors, healing, love, survival, connection, and to have the impulse to share it all. March 11, 2022

How many years has it been since we, in California, voted to get rid of Daylight Savings? The measure passed. The people have spoken. I cannot fathom that we are *this* intelligent and creative and miraculous, but we go to war, and withhold healthcare, and change the hour on our clocks twice a year. March 13, 2022

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Hello, Out There

We returned to the Zoo. Geoff was hopeful about joining us, but crunchmode is still crunching, and so his fun has been deferred, again. This is probably what started our old tradition of celebrating birthdays, or any occasion, over days, or even weeks. We can't let scheduling conflicts, work hours, school demands, or anything, completely derail our fun, so we are very flexible with dates, and happy to extend birthday celebrations over multiple days, with multiple special activities. William's ultimate hope and plan is to return to the museums in Los Angeles, particularly La Brea. Anyway, we are very lucky to be near an amazing Zoo, and we are loving our passes. We beat the crowds, and had another fun outing, another chance to celebrate William's birthday.
It's a big Zoo, and we saw all new animals, like takin, big cats and big eagles, okapi, hippos, and polar bears. William and I became enchanted by the takin (sounds like "rockin.'") They are a bit amorphous, which is not a typically flattering distinction, but then they have these distinguised horns framing their moose-like faces, and... I don't know, they're just endearing, somehow. ("Distinguised?" I saw this awful typo/misspelling late last night and cringed. Writing and speaking have gotten easier, most days, but it's still a struggle. I will leave this one alone. A reminder that I am here and trying, and that mistakes aren't fatal.) The sign at the Zoo mentions that they can "leap up to 6 feet," and considering the size of them, how stocky and heavy they look, my fascination only increased, and I tried to imagine a takin in full flight. We were at the zoo between rain showers, and everything felt refreshed, brightened. The view from the Bashor Bridge, of Balboa Park, the Tower, and Downtown, is always stunning. Two hours of walking and learning, observing, talking, of clouds and sunshine, and we left happy, already thinking of how nice it will be to come back, again.
We headed to South Park for lunch, which was almost perfect... the "between" showers part of the day was behind us, and we got literally drenched eating our lunch al fresco! We were almost done eating, when it got to be too much, and we had to dash for the van! But what an excellent lunch! We can't wait to get back to Shwarma Guys, and the rest of South Park that we left unexplored. One thing I couldn't skip was The Book Catapult. William, Maria, Max, and I popped in, and we were not disappointed.

This is the kind of bookstore that makes a city a destination. The staff are always engaging, welcoming. Our friend, Susie Ghahremani's mural leaves me feeling like we've had a little visit! And books! I always find a title that is compelling, irresistible, and whatever I am looking for they are happy to find, and they'll order books, which they can hold in the store, or ship. I ordered a book, Collective Wisdom, by Grace Bonney, and the bonus is I get to return to South Park when it comes to The Book Catapult.

I guess this post was just a chatty catch-up. The news, still bleak and heart-breaking, can consume my thoughts, so I am here... in a virtual space of fond recollection, and hopeful anticipation that some online friends will chat, too. Hello, out there!

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Make Joy

The healthroom is almost almost complete. So close! For me, the hardest part was making paint and tile choices, but now comes the second hardest (slowest) part and that's putting everything back togethter! All of the things that were in the bathroom were packed, and shuttled and crammed into our bedroom, mostly, and then I spent weeks and weeks pretending that none of it was a problem... not messy, dusty, stressful, cluttered, trip-hazardy, nada. Now I am in restoration mode, and I am slow, but at least I am being intentional... I am deep cleaning, purging, trying to be mindful about what stays and what goes, and so, I hope that when I get things in order, and looking good, they will be genuinely good, organized, only the "brings me joy" things will remain. I want to confess that "I am embarrassed about my pace, about the extent of the dust and stuff," but life has been one thing after another, and suddenly, I am older, injured/pained, slower, a bit pandemic stunted, and the kindest thing I could do is say, "Ok. But I am still trying."

Say hello to Reginald. Reginald, Fairie Saint of Self-Regard. I am certain that this dapper llama would have only kind and patient things to say about how I ought address myself, what phrases and expressions I utter when contemplating my existence, worth, and self-view. Oh, and say hello to my chamomile! Didn't I say I want to grow chamomile, to have enough to cut and bring inside? Haven't I dreamt of the day, and sighed aloud, to have a garden, and flowers, and a home of our own? How ever do I manage to get down and muddled in my thinking, when there are flowers growing outside my kitchen window, and a blue arched niche, where I can set a pitcher of soothing blossoms? There is dust here, and stashes of things I need to manage, and chipped plates, and clothes that need mending, and sometimes, really quite often, I find something more compelling to do than sort my books by color. I am so fortunate.
I am very happy to share that one of William's many projects is complete! The two sinks in our primary bathroom were taken out, and could have gone to a landfill, but I had this hare-brained idea about them being nest boxes, and William took me at my word! You guys, look what he did!
The pitched roof, and paint! We kept the hardware in. I was his assistant when he was squaring it all up for the roof. He added the fence boards, so they would have privacy from the goats, a little more coziness. I love the green paint, which is the same paint he's using to finish the cart. Naturally, the goats were the most interested in the new furniture, especially Grace. The chickens lay most of their eggs in the goats's hay manger, so it's only fair that the goats might eat from the hen's nest boxes.
I planted an egg in the nest, to give the hens the idea. Then I planted a hen on the nest boxes to give them even more hints, but Willow did not catch on. It will take time. If they never take to it, I might plant herbs in the sinks, or employ the whole thing in a roadside stand where I sell art and eggs, lemons, passionfruit, chamomile, and tacos.

The days go on. No one needs me to mention war, to link to climate change perils, or count the dead from COVID. It has been one thing after another, and then some. We need a vacation. I bet you need a vacation! It's been too much, and how many times have I said that since... 2016? Complaining, even listing the hardships, is a strange thing. Some people do it so readily, and even seem to elicit support, empathy, a good-humored laugh in solidarity. I keep biting my tongue, surpressing, downplaying, hoping I will be cured by optimism, relieved by denial. And the days go on. I would have lost the bet on things getting better. Thank goodness I come across words and expressions that help me live with all of this... this harrowing stuff of war and hate, of racsim, disease, distrust, and too, the indescribable beauty of an egg, and painted walls, cut flowers, of friends sitting around a campfire, in relative peace.

"I am washing my face before bed

while a country is on fire.

It feels dumb to wash my face

and dumb not to.

It has never been this way

and it has always been this way.

Someone has always clinked a

cocktail glass in one hemisphere as

someone loses a home in another,

while someone falls in love in the

same apartment building where

someone grieves. The fact that

suffering, mundanity and beauty

coincide is unbearable and

and remarkable.

~Mari Andrew

An egg! In the nest box! Remarkable. What good and clever hens. This one someone did all on her own.

Wherever you are, whether safe and content, or struggling, or both, I hope you find an egg in a nest, or that you can paint a wall, eat a delicious orange, hold a baby, put on clean socks. I hope that you find a YouTube channel that makes you laugh until your sides ache, or that you share a phone call with a friend, and it makes the day feel lighter, more promising. Good things are better shared.

The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil is interesting. This is the treason of the artist; a refusal to admit the banality of evil and terrible boredom of pain." ~Ursula K. Le Guin

Take joy... look for it, and exclaim, and share it, make more of it, make more of it than seems necessary, because joy is essential. I should paint these words on every wall, or at least keep them close at hand, and ready to slay the foes of art and happiness.

Bird House Notes: I have been sitting here for ten minutes trying to think of something to chirp about. I'd like it to be something current, but not devastating, not like the news headlines, and I'd like to be personal, so I am not divulging other people's big announcements, new life chapters. I would like to not whine, or grieve, or shudder. I made a tasty sandwich, with a deep stack of lettuce leaves, a hint of mustard. We are out of sprouts. If someone asked, though, "How are you?" I would sputter, with simulated confidence, like Han Solo, "Everything's under control, situation normal. We're fine. We're all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?" March 7, 2022