Monday, February 19, 2024

Some Views

If I had kept up with blogging, there would have been half a dozen, or so, posts about the cats, specifically about how Feynman has become something of a terror for Cairo. In all of my life I have never had a cat behave as Feynman has. His temperment and behavior turned on a dime, and he chases Cairo, mercilessly. He hisses and growls, and stalks him. It went on for weeks last spring, and then stopped. But then it starts up again. We are in a session even now. And as though on cue, Cairo just popped up on this desk. He is watching the door, wide eyed and vigilent. Feynman is surely out there, on the prowl. We have had to keep them in seperate rooms. Cairo will lose weight and fur, just from the anxiety, we suppose. Poor poor kitty.

Oh!! Would you look at that? Success! Finally, a successful search for the correct html code for making a space in the text. You guys, this is amazing, as well as humbling. This is such a fine example of how hard I have been struggling with even simple, basic tasks. Ever since the accident, it is like there are curtains, fog, walls, invisible barriers, and I fight and push and struggle to get through them, or sometimes something gives, and the fog lifts just long enough for me to grasp the situation and function. I have wanted to make spaces between paragrpahs for a couple of years and nothing I did worked. Now I know what to do, again. I want to celebrate the breakthroughs, the healing, but I am also worn down, and disheartened, because daily I am reminded that I lost so much, that I keep trying to be all better, but I am not. It feels as though I am only running into the broken bits, and the bits I cannot recover, and I feel so tired and defeated.

Dirty laundry. Oversharing. In the early days, I got a lot of advice and cautions about not oversharing, or getting too personal in my accounts of life and other's lives. Airing dirty laundry is one of those tricky things to balance in social media, blogging. And by the way, Cairo is sleeping on clean laundry, but of course the dirty laundry of that picture is that I am sharing an untidy life, an old and sullied chair, the unstaged, messy side. Funnily, I have an absolute dread of being seen, of my messes, and chaos, and untidy life, even as I share hints and glimpses, and confess readily: I am a terrible, no good homemaker, and I have only gotten worse.
Feynman. And Cairo.
And Sakamoto? Sakamoto is the least likely to be a target of Feynman's periodic snap and obsession, and maybe that's because Saki and Feynman are siblings. Or maybe it's because Saki is such a wholesome innocent, and makes himself practically invisible.
The backside of the Ratty and her bird friend. Do you like looking at the backside of embroidery? I do. And I like running my fingers across the stitches, especially the ones that are close togther and running in the same direction.
Etersheim is in North Holland. Noord Holland. Did I mention? I fell in love with the sound of Dutch, and studied it for over a year, just using Duolingo. Then I went to Sweden, and oh my! I fell in love with Sweden, and have been studying Swedish since the end of August. But last week I dreamt in Dutch, and I wonder if I should go back to practicing Nederlands. I am tempted to practice both.

Etersheim. I am in love with Etersheim, because it is restful and small and there are sheep and paths and fields. I stitched the name in linen thread that I found in a shop in Amsterdam. I want to stitch other names, too, of places I have visited, places I have been brave, daring, peaceful, inspired.
The whole rainbow was visible, end to end. I took that picture, too, but the sight of it makes me cringe, because our yard is a mess. It is so ridiculous that I never saw it coming! We planned about the accessory dwelling unit for years. We talked about taking out the pool, and changing the septic system, adding pits and new tanks, and how we would have to move tons of earth, not to mention concrete. I focused on the idea of a whole house replacing the pool, about construction and supplies, and paint, and moving things around... but I never anticipated our backyard, the parts not under the actual construction, being destroyed. I have lost count of how many trucks and cars, and men, and heavy machinery, and loads of lumber, stone, drywall, roofing... how much traffic was in the yard. The lawn was buried, scraped, buried again. The dust! OhMYGod. The dust. And not only our dust, but every neighbor, in every compass direction, was doing some kind of construction, so even if we were quiet, something was rumbling, hammering, digging, somewhere. It's been 14 years of nonstop work, at any of the houses next to ours. Anyway, our garden is a mess. It's not even a garden. It's something between a salvage yard and an abandoned lot, but with chickens, and stuff. Lots of stuff. And when it rains, it is muddy stuff. And weeds. Lots of weeds. I am not complaining. I am just saying that it is not pretty. And I never anticipated that we would have to start all over and try to restore things. But, yeah. We need to make that plan.
Here is some of the yard. Don't, please, say "It doesn't look that bad." This is a forgiving angle. And the sky is breathtaking. And the clouds are fluffy, like in a child's painting. We have an appointment with a grader... someone that can operate machinery to move around dirt and make the yard level, or sloped so that water goes away from buildings and to drainage places. This will be step 2 of landscaping. Step 1 is us making a plan for what we want, what we need, and what we can afford. I think step 3 is order a dumpster.
Hello Cairo.
Ruth gave Geoff a birdfeeder for his birthday. I love it. Thank you, Ruth! It's just as she described it... simple to fill, easy to clean, and the birds come readily and eagerly. It took a few days for them to notice, then trust it. I moved it closer to the guava shrubs, where I know they like to sit anyway, and that made all the difference. I haven't got any pictures of birds, yet, but all day long it is visited by finches, and sparrows, by the scrub jays, California towhee, spotted towhee, dark-eyed juncos! I can watch them from the window above the kitchen sink, which makes dishwashing an easier task. And, as soon as I am done with this post, I am going to wash windows. Remember all the talk of dust? I have refused to wash windows until our construction, and the neighbors' is done, but for birding, I am ready to make an exception!
Alex and Bambi made ratatouille. Alex uses the mandoline to slice the squashes, and eggplant, and tomatoes. They make it such a beautiful dish.

William and I went to see Maria at school, and she took us on a walk where she has found a secret garden. We also saw more of 8th College, the latest, nearly completed college at UCSD. And then we walked back to 6th College, and went up to the 10th, and 9th floors, to compare the views. We agree the view from the 9th floor is best. The clear sky gave us views beyond La Jolla Cove, and north as far as Dana Point, I think. And there were paragliders out, and closer by, ravens.

It is strange to me that when I was last blogging Maria was just beginning, and I was grappling with letting go, and trusting, and observing from a greater distance as she embarked on this new adventure. And now... now she is comfortable, familiar, experienced, confident. She isn't far from finishing her second year, from planning upper division courses. Our nest is not empty. It simply expanded. It's not the same, though. It's clearly a new phase in our lives, now that all of the children are adults. No more grade schools, no more sack lunches, persmission slips. Maria is charting her own course, and navigating. She runs things by us, and openly shares her thoughts, and plans, but she is taking the reins. In a gradual, mindful way, she is, as always, growing. I am so happy that I have had the pleasure of seeing these days.

Now, to the window! Just the two. I hope that when they are clean, I can not only see better, but maybe I will get some decent pictures of the birds at the feeder.