Remember shopping?

Last weekend when Sunday evening arrived, I couldn’t figure out where the time had gone.

Oh yeah. I went shopping. Shopping for cotton t-shirts to replace the food stained collection currently in my drawers (I didn’t gain weight during the pandemic, but I did ruin a lot of shirts by eating dinner on the couch) and for shorts and pants. Went to the PO for passport photos.

K and I went to THREE places in search of a new side chair for the living room. Look at us, I might’ve said. Shopping for new furniture like adults! It’s not something we’ve done much.

Then I returned one of the shirts from Uni-Qlo because it was too tight. Got the large instead. I might have dropped what for me was a small fortune at JJill.

How much time we used to routinely spend in pursuit of food and other goods! Errands, errands! Decisions, decisions! Driving, parking, waiting in lines! Finding the bathroom, because…

Today, I was at it again. I returned the shirt I bought to replace the too-tight one because it still bound at the neck (I have a thing about that). Returned the swanky JJill outfit. I loved it but it was too drapey and long for a short woman with curves. This is when I wondered if maybe I enter a fugue state when clothes shopping, one in which I’m a slender woman standing five-seven.

I also returned the olive shorts bought last weekend because when I went to put them on this morning, I grabbed another pair of olive shorts. You know, the ones I forgot about.

I believe this fugue state might have a clinical name, but never mind that.

This morning I headed to the mall at 10, forgetting that nothing opens until 11, even though I was just confronted with that fact last week. Made a quick right into the Wegman’s complex and good thing, because we have two social gatherings coming up. I will bring bruschetta and artichoke dip to one, seared, honeyed shishito peppers and a plate of tomatoes with homegrown basil to the other.

Back home now and I’m breathing a sigh of relief.

In other news: I hit the “below obese designation” on the scale this morning. Talk about relief! This, merely by employing the trendy but sensible process of intermittent fasting. I didn’t give anything up. I didn’t start using my exercycle. I just stopped eating at 7 pm and held off eating again til 1 pm. It works!

The catalpa blossoms litter the yard. The white scatter offers unusual floral beauty, but also precipitates a little dread since we will need to pick up rotting piles of them in a couple of days. Our back catalpa — we have two — didn’t used to flower but now does. Who knew trees changed gender? Probably all of you…

With mild temps and sun, I’m able to edit on the deck under the umbrella. It makes for pleasant typing, even as I am reaching a point of deep reluctance. I hope it’s a temporary resistance, for I have a ways to go. Line by line editing is pure pleasure for me. I could do it all day, every day. But this business of moving big chunks around and deleting or drastically shrinking entire chapters requires a different kind of focus. Ugh. Maybe this new mood signals that I am nearing the end. I hope so.

Dancing or Fleeing – you tell me

First I double-exposed this week’s Paris Collage Collective’s visual prompt (above) with the famous Angel Oak in South Carolina.

I liked how the tree layer turned his body to lace in places and grounded him in place. However, it was dismaying to see how quickly the figure resembled a hunted Black man, particularly when red showed up.

Which is why I went and grabbed some images of Alvin Ailey dancers. I wanted the exercise to remain joyful — the trap of white entrancement with Black pain too easily fallen into. (I’ve posted about this before). Besides, I think by now we all know that Black joy is a form of rebellion. Maybe the best form.

These quickly became cluttered. And the prompt figure in many compositions continued to look like he was fleeing jeopardy. Is it just me?

I then overlaid the image with one of my script quilts. The texture imparted was interesting and I may go with it some more, but oh boy, there’s another pitfall — white people overwriting Black people’s experience with our dominant voices.

I may be overthinking things this morning, she said.

In other news, after working from home since March 13, 2020, Husband went to the office this morning. It’ll be two days a week.

There he was, holding his flashlight to illumine his sock drawer, quipping, “See? I remember how to do this!”

Moments later: “This blows.”

Being thirty years married, it wasn’t the constancy of his company that pleased me so much as how by subtracting a two hour commute, he got a lot more sleep. That’s important.

Also pandemic related: Finn has to lose weight! Tony, the biscuit-generous mailman, needs talking to and games of “Find It” out back need to go on pause (that’s where I throw treats all over the yard and tell Finn to “find it!”)

And speaking of walking the dog (I was, wasn’t I?), my hips barely hurt this morning. I’m encouraged. Maybe adding two more stretches to my nightly routine helped.

Rain, dream, and caution

Fell asleep to the sound of rain: lovely! Better yet, I slept til morning!

Dream fragment: I am reading a book called The Narrows. I woke with the words on my tongue. The Narrows. Rocked my spine a little before rising, as I do. The Narrows.

Right now I’m in a CVS parking lot, waiting. Out of an abundance of caution, I decided to get a post-trip Covid test. Travel went well enough but why worry?

Walking out to a world drenched by the night’s rain was a real treat! Ours is a June garden. After two weeks away, the lush tangle of it well and truly pleased. Pix later.

Waiting for results and lo! Found out that the American writer Ann Petry wrote a book called, The Narrows. I have only recently heard of her — maybe five months ago — when her novel The Street was recommended to me. I don’t remember hearing about The Narrows. Perhaps I should read it! Another exclamation point!

* test results: NEGATIVE

Car wash excitement

I wonder what it says about me that driving through an automated car wash was the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in a while.

Afterwards, we got gas. Picked up a bunch of scripts for my brother. Bought a jar of replacement peanut butter and a couple of magazines. Who knew a run of the mill magazine cost $12.99 now?

Here are two ways you know you’re in Southern California:

1) You see two VW Beetles (in good shape!), one with a “USC Dad” sticker;

2) The cashier complains that it’s overcast, even though the sun has come out every day for the last two weeks (and it’s out again now).

We saw the boys again. Whow-zer is traffic a thing around here. I know you know, but whew!

It was a low key visit, which was nice because it felt ordinary. We played a fun board game then drove D to the airport. We don’t know when we’ll see them again, but this time that’s actually “normal.”

It’s our last full day here. These two weeks have been daunting and at times sad, full of a strange mix of defeat and determination. Much too much to write about here.

I hope to return before the next lockdown which I’m predicting will occur this fall. What’s your sense?

I changed the rosemary bouquet of last week to bougainvillea. Today was the day I discovered that the riotous, generous, gorgeous shrub has thorns, vicious thorns!

The manuscript has mostly languished during my stay here. “No none standard” work habit. It’s hard to focus when you’ve become porous to another’s discomfort.

This is the “revealed” garden. K managed to move the giant potted jade and I cut back the rosemary and succulents that were hiding the cacti and rock. I hope when Billy’s feeling better, he’ll enjoy the view from his bathroom.

Dove serenade

Bougainvillea blossoms litter the yard like the tears of a passing angel. The pool, mid-repair, gapes like a wound. Another one.

Birdsongs I don’t recognize stitch at the margins of sky. I’ve learned that at least some of the songs are produced by a pair of mockingbirds. Irritating, mischievous creatures. My brother despises them and wishes he had a BB gun.

Snapshot: two nights ago, Billy fell asleep during the Lakers game but any attempt to change channels was met with an indignant snort.

Dogs bark from across the canyon.

My back hurts the usual amount. Took Tylenol yesterday. It helped. But even with my hands crabbed with arthritis and my achy sore spine, around here it’s hard not to feel like a locomotive fueled by blessings.

Look at me pop up to get a blanket for brother, lean over using both arms to spread on lap and legs. There I am standing and chopping onions for dinner after kneeling and clipping the rosemary bush. I get to take my own damn shower.

What makes you feel gratitude this Memorial Day weekend? This is a Peet’s coffee household. Oh, yes!

The generosity of others is on full display. I might’ve mentioned that I like chocolate covered almonds. Within three days, the basket on the kitchen counter over-spilled with bags of the confection.

A misty smog smudges the sky again this morning. It has generally cleared later in the day, but sitting under its pewter gloss now, it’s hard to believe the sun will shine. Isn’t that a comment about something?

Silhouetted against the grey, perched on a dead branch: a mourning dove. She regales me with her call. When she flies off, her wings creak.