Author Archives: deemallon

Now it’s summer!

I’d made gazpacho. I’d made cold cucumber soup. We’d barbecued here and there and sat on the deck on Sunday mornings with the papers strewn around us. But it didn’t feel like summer.

Until today. We just went swimming over at Crystal Lake. Aaaah! The water is both warmer than usual and shallower, but still utterly refreshing.

It almost seemed normal. Girl says to her brother, “Eric! Let’s play the back float game!” Even more normalizing was the fact that they were being watched by a babysitter (How does that work? Is she a live-in?)

Cases in Massachusetts are rising again. After weeks of toggling between 200 and 300, we are mid-fives.

Last week I heard a statistic that recharged my caution. In Middlesex County (where most of our state’s cases are and where I live), if you have contact with 100 people, there’s a 38% chance that one of them has the virus. Just because we’re not California or Texas, it’s no time to get lax.

Upshot of telemedicine call: cholesterol is okay (wasn’t reading labs correctly it turns out), but I need to lose weight (according to me, not the doctor).

I don’t want to go cold turkey on sugar or join online Weight Watchers or even count calories. But I’m stepping up my exercise (ar ar). This is my third day in a row of exceeding 10,000 steps. Already I feel better.

Look at Saint Finn!

Placeholder post: Ancestors

I don’t practice Ancestor worship — though of course, like anyone, I have often cried out to my parents (most recently during difficult times with my sister). I often heard my father or mother, clear as day. Father: she’s fucking impossible. Mother: don’t let her take you down with her.

Grace has already received her copy of Resmaa Menakem’s book, “My Grandmother’s Hands.” I’m still waiting for mine. His interview with Krista Tippet was beyond interesting. More like galvanizing.

The book, apparently, is full of practices, one of them an Ancestor Practice.

I’ve read it can take time. To make contact. Grace wanted to know where I’d read that.

Because of idiosyncratic research on the Yoruban religion, Ifa, over the years, I’m not exactly sure where I came across that notion. Googling terms like, “ancestor worship,” “Ifa practices,” or “babalawo” will turn up tons of sites, including many videos.

(Two asides: ONE, many religions include an Ancestor practice, of course. And TWO, until recently my feeling has always been, “why would I want to talk with THEM”? (Sorry/Not sorry)).

It was interesting to read that Menakem recommends reaching back several generations. People you never knew. That feels different.

From IfaFoundation.org

“Ifa’s worldview can be thought of as the spiritual representation of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Our belief in, and practices of, ancestor worship bridges the time gap that Einstein believed must exist between the past, present, and future. In Ifa, we understand that the invisible world of our deceased ancestors combines with the visible world of nature and human culture to form a single organic truth. Through ritual we bridge the relationship between the past and the present, and in the process improve the future. The ritual process of ancestor worship can provide us with profound, quantifiable changes in our everyday lives. But the concept often meets with resistance.

The screen shot above reveals some of the links in a free library on the site.

Another wonderful source is Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. You can follow her on Instagram

@gullahgeechee

She also has a website. A remarkable figure in environmental justice circles and an advocate for the preservation of Gullah Geechee culture (overlapping circles), there are lots of reasons to follow her.

* * *

Busy morning. Doctor tele-annual shortly (yes, my cholesterol is still high, even taking a statin) and then my Tuesday class. Dog walks in unbearable heat.

Gutters and lemon squares

It was cooler and then not. One pile of dirt has been dispersed, the other sifted of rocks. More news on patio in another post.

I made lemon squares and cut K’s hair. Worked on a bunch of chapters. Yesterday, met “the guys” over at the lake.

Saturday afforded some beautiful late afternoon light.

K cleaned gutters and I laid additional slates in the landing area. One of the beauties of watching a professional crew is learning how to do something. My rubber mallet, small yellow level, and trowel have been busy!

For instance, I’m interrupting the median plantings so that when the nearby elementary school resumes in-person learning, it’ll be clear where to step. A good use of the multitude of rocks uncovered in our patio project. My mother used to joke that rocks are New England’s best crop.

Recording the above because dinner prep is in the works. I’m roasting tomatoes, soaking beans, chopping olives and cooking rice for a rice, corn, and bean salad. Tons of garlic and shallots will add flavor.

Fortuitously, even before the obscenity that is Ivanka hawking Goya beans on her twitter feed, I ordered heirloom beans from California. Very exciting for this mid-level foodie!

Two friends are coming over to watch Hamilton this evening. I’m excited way out of proportion to the event. I’ve seen both friends recently and have already watched Hamilton once, but it feels special.

For one thing, I haven’t had a reason to tidy the living room in a LONG time. Plus, I love an excuse to rearrange the furniture (we’ll sit six feet apart and wear masks – except when eating).

And when have I cooked for friends last?

One hundred and three days

Like Finn waiting for a bit of my breakfast, I mostly wait for November in an electric expectancy (not feeling like a boiled frog, in other words.)*

I am tentatively hopeful for the turn around that Biden’s election would represent. I am tentatively hopeful that another Blue Wave will overwhelm the GOP’s voter suppression campaigns. I am tentatively hopeful that Operation Legend will backfire and that trump’s push to be more visible will only reveal how advanced his dementia is.

One hundred and three days.

I will get to yesterday’s comments later. But first dog walk! Then a zoom writing class.

We got a marvelous pounding rain last night.

During the walk, I listened to Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy and creator of the Equal Justice Initiative and the lynching memorial in Montgomery. But you knew that. And you probably knew that the memorial features jars of earth taken from lynching sites.

Here’s a moving clip about a woman collecting dirt for the memorial along a remote road being approached by a white man in a pick up truck.

https://overcast.fm/+QLhWC4oWg/36:44

The one minute story exemplifies Stevenson’s core belief about racial healing.

“We deny ourselves redemption when we insist on denying our broken past, our ugly past, our racist past

Until we tell the truth, we deny ourselves the opportunity for beauty. You know, justice can be beautiful.”

If the clip doesn’t work (still figuring this out), play from 36m on your usual podcast app.

Christ figure w/African face made of shrinky dink

* would we know we were boiled frogs? I don’t mean to return to yesterday’s pessimism, but isn’t that the whole point of that analogy — that we wouldn’t notice the ever increasing temperature of the water until it’s too late?