Category Archives: coronavirus

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!

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?

Cape Ann and patios

At three I said, “Let’s go to the beach!”

An hour later we joined a few strangers at Cape Hedge Beach in Rockport just as a fine mist rolled in.

I pocketed a few striped rocks for my collection, but heart-shaped rocks are rare around here so I settled on heart-adjacent.

Dinner at the famous Woodman’s in Essex was its usual combination of delicious and mind-numbingly pricey. Do you know what fries clams cost these days? Though tables outside afforded good social distance, I insisted we eat in the car. Too much coming and going. Also — at least three dogs. And anyway, the view from the front seat satisfied!

We had a pounding rain last night. It looks as though my tender basil, amaranth, and sunflower seedlings survived.

After a three day break, the patio crew is back. Movement. Progress. So much waiting and delay lately! Will I / won’t I hear from the editor this week?

White Woman Rant and To Do list

This is a long post, only partially a rant.

What a razor’s edge: judgment!

Step forward! Shut up and listen! Step back! Silence is violence!

The voice of the hour responds: try being Black for a half hour.

Marshall your hatred and your good person biases and give them license, or don’t, for the hatred and biases both good and bad need no license. They like to go rogue. They operate on the sly. The rotten impulses will thwart and harm another’s soul, a Black person’s soul, whether you grant them permission or not. Being otherwise decent has nothing to do with it. Do a little reading for Christ’s sake.

So why must discrimination law require demonstration of INTENT? So bogus. Such a loophole.

So many ways to pose as ally, whether silent or speaking up. But, oh hallowed white person with every advantage coded into your DNA, silence from your earthworm lips surrounded by freckled skin prone to burning, no no silence is not acceptable.

Shout loud and clear and worry about getting it right and redeeming your moral points later.

(This business of hoping to earn badges toward redemption is not just a White Woman thing, BTW, it’s a very Catholic thing. So — fucking crucify me on two counts).

History shall condemn us if we do not, oh darling freckle-faced politicos, put our bodies on the front lines, yes, even our raggedy, lumpy bodies and yes, even during a pandemic. Protests? Maybe not. But calls and donations, yes. I’ve said it before.

TODAY: I shall call my reps in support of H.R. 51 — a bill regarding Washington, D.C.’s statehood. Why don’t you, too?

TODAY: I shout out the importance of all those down-ballot races. It’s not just the protests shrinking the response time between racial murder and indictment, it’s Black mayors and Black DA’s and Black police commissioners. Progressives of all races.

I long for the day when progress is measured by the absence of Black bodies gunned down by police and not by the swiftness of justice.

TODAY: I shall rest in the satisfaction of a Supreme Court acting like a court and not like an adjunct of the Executive (even though I’m inclined to move straight to dread about the tax case and did just that yesterday). In particular, I say HALLELUJAH AND FUCK YOU to trump for Neil Gorsuch authoring the LGBTQ opinion.

Have I lately been so satisfied by a court’s result?

(Well, yes, Judge Sullivan in the Flynn case. I CANNOT wait for him to sentence that traitorous ass).

TODAY: I shall finish one of the books by a Black author that I purchased in support of a week of buying Black writers (Instagram) (‘course, I’ve been doing this for years, letting myself buy bestsellers penned by Black writers LOOONNNG before they come out in paperback). Today? Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John. It takes place on Antigua where Kincaid grew up and incidentally, where Eliza Lucas Pincnkey also grew up.

The Solstice is nigh (she said). With Leo on the ascendant, and a problematic 12th house, this time of year always comes as a kind of relief to me, a psychological blossoming as well as a literal one.

I will also make two more masks. The elastic I ordered back in March finally arrived. These two will be birthday gifts for a Cancerian friend who is coming over tomorrow to write POSTCARDS to Florida with me. If she’s lucky, I’ll use some of the batiks that Tina sent me.

They say the postcards make a difference, but what do I know? What do any of us know?

In the category of things that surely don’t make a difference but that make ME feel better: this week I sent a postcard to the White House, saying, “You’re Fired!” as part of a campaign to get millions of people buying stamps because — you know — ahem, absentee ballots, the Constitution, the USPS, Jeff Bezos.

I also made a complaint to the Virginia Bar about William Barr (OK impeachment might be out of the question, but can’t somebody disbar the fucker?)

Since this blog is PATTERN and outrage, here’s some noodling from this week, done in anticipation of some hot pink threads from Deb (due to arrive any minute).

P.S. Don’t give to the Minnesota Freedom Fund as I recommended a bit ago — they’ve been SWAMPED by donations! A wonderful problem for them. Also in case you don’t know, don’t give to anything Shaun King is rustling up. He’s reviled by many of the Black woman I follow on Twitter.

PPS. I do not mean to hassle those who are taking time to absorb things and order their thinking and staying quiet. I can’t tell you how tentatively I posted our Hearts for Charleston quilt on Instagram yesterday, it being the 5th anniversary of the Mother Emanuel AME massacre.

Sunday during the pandemic

Nothing like a walk in the woods to restore the soul — even if there were a lot of other dogs and not all of them on leashes. Almost everyone we saw wore masks.

The vernal pools are drying up, as evidenced by mud.

It was warm enough to work up a sweat and amazingly, even after 40 minutes, my hips didn’t hurt. We walked for at least an hour.

The NYTimes puzzle disappointed today. One of those cross-referencing structures that makes me go cross-eyed and not enough easy fill to help matters.

But what doesn’t disappoint is the pandemic routine of coming downstairs every day to already brewed coffee. It’s so, so great. Every damned day!

I was all set up to enjoy an outside quilting session yesterday when my next door neighbor’s yard crew arrived and knowingly violated the gas leaf blower ban. I was driven inside and also driven temporarily insane. Apparently my neighbor, though I sweetly texted, was powerless?

There’s something about living in a country on the verge of having no rule of law that makes this minor, willful transgression extra maddening. And, BTW, this time of year? They are blowing a few blades of grass off the driveway.

I planted cucumbers. Will they have time to produce? I have no idea. Meanwhile, the chipmunks LOVE to dig wherever I’ve recently planted. I spend half my time outside using my foot to slide dirt back into holes.

While rooting around the basement, I found this quilt top and decided to layer it up since I already had the batting out.

It’s about the slave trade.

Hints: sail shapes, indigo, brown stripes like ship planks, blue for the Atlantic, maps, fish for the sea, and African-inspired black and taupe print.