Category Archives: domesticity

Let’s count

After a poor night’s sleep, I woke discouraged. ‘Why blog? Why tweet? Really, why bother?’ Things that seemed sustaining 24 hours earlier, seemed less so this morning. It alarmed me, actually.

Two cups of coffee and one dog walk later, I feel better. Nothing like a beautiful spring day! The sun’s out. It’s in the fifties. I didn’t have to wear down or a hat!

Let’s keep counting.

Five Zoom meetings this week. Four successful, one marred by a no show. Son #2 had better things to do, apparently. Maturing brain, I failed to teach manners, etc. But better things to do with a visiting friend from Brooklyn — really? REALLY?

Number of times I’ve wondered if DJT is a sociopath: too many times to count. Recent events confirm it. Incompetence, stupidity, and strategic vengeance only explain so much. He has more blood on his hands than all the most prolific serial killers combined (except Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hitler).

Spring robins are back! Saw at least five this morning. ‘Chirp-chirp-chirp!’ There they hop — through the green blades of daffodils, not yet blooming but nodding in anticipation.

Number of sirens wailing during 25 minute walk: three? four?

Number of new cases YESTERDAY in Massachusetts: more than 800.

Number of doctors and other health care workers who recently tested positive in Boston: something like 141.

Number of times I’ve seen a person on the red house porch on Jackson Street in 26 years: 0. Today, a woman with a lap top. “That’s 45 schools,” she says. “AND, all the faculty!”

Number of times I spray Lysol on the keyboard every day, even without external contact: once.

Number of yard crews suffered through yesterday: four.

Number of times I’ve looked for the tiny bottle of Purell that magically turned up out of nowhere and then just as magically disappeared: five?

God damn those elves!

Number of masks finished: 5. Number of masks half done: 5. Number of blog and instagram posts about masks: 5. Number of additional masks I plan to make: 0 to 10.

It’s an act of duty without clear cut benefit. I’d rather finish C’s quilt.

Number of email addresses collected for our hyper-local help chain: 11.

15: number of minutes I will sit and follow the breath today.

3: minimum number of pages that I’ll write. I expect pure ranting today but who cares?

2 or 3: number of yard waste barrels I will fill.

One delicious dinner planned. Fire up the grill!

 

 

March 12, 2020

People opting out of writing class today, including me. We canceled our trip to Quebec at month’s end, which was itself a substitute after canceling a trip to Rome. Even a dinner party for Saturday is likely to be deferred til later in the year.

People are freaking out.

My brother, who is sixty and has two underlying conditions that put him at risk, is an ER doctor. This weekend, he has two shifts at a Long Island hospital with recent cases of coronavirus.

How not to worry?

One son is a security guard who doesn’t even get sick time. If they close the building and force telecommuting, he will be out of a paycheck indefinitely.

K rides the T for about 80 minutes a day. In and out of Boston.

How not to worry?

K’s brother cancels trip to see their father at the nursing home. Visitors allowed, but with restrictions.

During Finn’s and my walk just now, I listened to a podcast about the necessity of local community. Consider getting my street linked up by email so that we can help each other out.

  • Future Primitive:

In other news, I found a manuscript consultant and her name is ‘Joy.’ I spent the weekend muttering to myself, “I’ll be conferring with Joy.” “Joy is going to help me with my writing.” “How sweet to have an agreement with Joy!”

Stuff and non-stuff

A gifted bowl. Milkweed pods sprayed gold by my sister.

Even as the tableaux produces a pang about Noreen (she was rapidly declining this time last year), the simplicity pleases.

A worn wooden floor. An exalted weed. A textured bowl crafted by a friend, lively in its imperfection.

Our relationship to things changes over time, doesn’t it?

I’m always ready to take the decorations down before husband and somehow feel a little bad about that. What does my eagerness signal?

Don’t get me wrong. I love the sweet nutcrackers, the festive wreaths, and the sentimental decorations given to the boys year in and year out. They represent a life lived and lived with some modicum of joy.

They signal the advent of time-outside-of-time.

In other years, the enjoyment of displaying decorations and the pleasure at putting them away ran about 50/50. This year, there was no contest. I felt a visceral relief clearing the spaces. I can almost imagine not bothering with any of it at some point.

I’ll leave you with this shot from Finn’s and my morning walk and a stanza from a poem by Wallace Stevens:

I do not know which to prefer, / The beauty of inflections / Or the beauty of innuendoes, / The blackbird whistling / Or just after.

From Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

Bibs and babs

K will be home tonight after ten days away. Ten days is a lot longer than six. I lost interest in food during this absence, which I can’t explain. Seems all I want to eat is an eight year old’s diet: yogurt, blueberries, pancakes, and cereal. I made granola. Finn got the rib eye.

When we returned from Denver all the boxes of my sister’s stuff felt oppressive — even the ones in the garage.

I emptied two more. To preserve the glorious and moving variety of my sister’s clip file, I’ve started on album on Flickr.

Writing stalls and twists in on itself. To “get to yes,” I have to reduce a task to its smallest component. Not “open laptop and log in” small — but almost.

Dog walks provide ballast. The flag iris, so regal last week, start to fade and wither while the Japanese iris rise up in tight buds or open flowers of the deepest purple. It’s a pretty time of year.

The way certain things back up while K is away can be managed –right? — the critical appointments, the hopes for a beach house rental in August. Assertive is what I’ll be. Instead of bitchy.

Meanwhile Father’s Day approaches. I know what I WON’T be buying. Check out the price on these swim trunks. I was blowing through Bloomingdale’s yesterday and this little ticket blew my fucking mind.

One of the neighborhood library kiosks had a book he’d enjoy. I took it. That will prompt me to deliver a handful of books in return. A win/win. No money exchanged.

Last thought: I now know that whenever trump travels, my mood takes a big hit. For that reason (and because Mo hadn’t heard of Randy Rainbow), I’ll leave you with this. Can’t wait to see what he does with London.

Looking back and forward

Tomorrow, Salem apartment inspection and key hand over. A finality, there.

The house and garage at this end are stuffed in spite of vigorous give aways and throw outs. But it can all wait ’til I get back.

This windowsill photo was taken roughly one year before my sister died just before the movers came. Who knew how little time she had left.

Aside from an eye hemorrhaged enough to warrant an urgent care visit yesterday, everything continues apace. The crocus are up, Euros obtained, tickets to the Villa Borghesi purchased, and a keyboard for tablet ordered (my old lap top is heavy!)

Also: filled the freezer with chicken pot pies, single serve pizzas, and meatballs. Otherwise, in my absence K might subsist on rice cakes and peanut butter (funny. Not funny).

It looks like I’ll be needing a raincoat in Italy and guess what? I DON’T CARE.

Sunday table 1/13/18

The football game is on. A fire snaps in the fireplace. Leftover stew was divine.

This Cloth doodle irked. The layers impeded handquilting, so I’m calling it done.

Planning to reopen my old Etsy store in near future. I would love love love to let go some of my work! And a teeny income stream would be novel, welcome.

Puzzles done. Vacuuming done. Finn is limping so another walk is not in order. Time to iron a few shirts and sort the sock basket!

(Studio tableaux)

We rearrange

It’s a mistake to think people are creative. They don’t create anything. What they do is rearrange things.

Novelist Mark Helprin interviewed 10-5-17 on the podcast, “The Avid Reader“.

Prior to that, he said, “You have to have models [to write about]. We have only what we are given in creation. We don’t create anything. All we can do is interpret it.

He’s one of those superb writers who’s had an incredibly interesting life, like Louise Erdrich (with her 1/2 German, 1/4 Native, 1/4 French ancestry (talk about a cast of characters!)). Turns out that as a boy, Helprin lived in a Parisian house that had safeguarded a Jewish family in its attic for years. Imagine what those walls had to tell a young child!

It’s important to remind a person like myself that every life is interesting in some measure. And besides, my life, to use his logic, is what I was given.

He also talked about how often writers’ first novels are autobiographical. He didn’t think so at the time but now sees it to be true.

His new novel is the first he’s ever set in contemporary time. I can’t wait to read it.

Meanwhile, my antique-dealing neighbor who sold his house put even more treasures on the curb today. I snagged a triptych — with hinges that work in both directions! I’ve wanted one for years. I mean, years. Our family room has a large opening to the cellar stairs which acts as a conduit for cold air. The temperature issue’s been partly resolved by hanging one fluffy blanket over the cellar door and another over the dog gate. But still, I’m thrilled.

I’m going to make some collage packs for Newton Open Studios and include some of this gorgeous Chinese-scribed paper. If you, dear reader, would like to receive a collage pack, leave a comment below saying so and I’ll draw a name next week.