Category Archives: every day life

Walking after dinner

The torrential rain woke me repeatedly last night and each time in my half-awake state I thought, The world is ending, isn’t it?

I can’t take the gummies as a sleep-aid anymore because of what they do to my stomach. Maybe this second purchase is contaminated because the first order didn’t bother me at all. I don’t know. Last night I was awake past two. The same two nights before, except maybe it was three o’clock. And one night recently I didn’t sleep at all.

My phone always has a book on it. Library-kindle is a boon. It means I can stay in bed and read.

Yesterday I finished Oh, William!: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout and started a Maggie O’Farrell. Some of you have read O’Farrell’s extraordinary Hamnet, I know. This one, I Am, I Am, I Am, is a memoir told through a series of near-death experiences.

The Strout book was told by Lucy Barton. She is looking back on her first marriage and spending time with her ex in NYC where they both live. They make a road trip to Maine. Her second husband has recently died and her ex’s third wife leaves him early in the narrative, so it isn’t that odd that they might seek each other out. The novel has this distinctive voice, with frequent insertions of phrases like, is what I mean to say or I’m not going to write another word about that. And even though not much happens really, it was hard to put down.

I read acknowledgments now. Lo and behold! One of the agents Strout gushed over at the back of the novel supplied my most recent rejection. That soured me on the book a little. Aren’t I mature?

Finished Ann Patchett’s gem of an essay collection this week too and it left a slightly bitter side note as well. She describes winning this and that prize like I talk about running to Home Goods to pick up a cake platter.

I’ll get over myself. Honest. The essays are very much worth reading.

In other news, the lake afforded a cool reprieve yesterday. I made a delicious potato salad and so-so brownies (old chocolate?). We finished watching The Outlaws.

We’ve been taking Finn around the “figure eight” after dinner lately. I’ve hit over 10,000 steps quite a few times recently because of it.

In case you can’t tell, that’s a brag!

Glorious sun and pansies

Life goal met — there are pansies on the property! Last year we waited too long and there were none to be had. My mother loved pansies too.

For Easter, we used to hide treasure-filled plastic eggs in the yard, pack baskets with glorious chocolates and jelly beans, and serve up a special dinner for extended family. One year I made a batch of chow-chow to dress the asparagus. Another year I made carrots out of marzipan for the top of the carrot cake.

This year, I am making a carrot cake. That’s it. No marzipan. No company.

The space created by a less-populated social calendar continues to feel more blessing than not. I like my friends, I like my relatives, and still this is true.

On a related note, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about K’s absence as he trudged back to the office and I’m still not sure, but this morning the quiet is glorious.

Have I really used the word glorious twice in one post? What besides chocolate and silence can be glorious?

Soft scarves, dry socks, insight, a welcome email, a piece of writing, a hot bath.

Also: Indictments. Perp walks. Lost law licenses. Exclusion from holding public office. Tarnished reputations. Huge fines. Ankle bracelets. Media bans and gag orders. Jail time.

Kushner is in the news again. If the beltway press wasn’t so hopelessly tied to GOP talking points, the Kushner news would be loud and pervasive. And of course, had a Democrat’s son-in-law done anything remotely this corrupt or dangerous to national security, the coverage on Fox would be nonstop with belligerent threats of hearings should leadership in the House change.

The building could have a 666 on it but I suppose that would be overkill.

So as not to end on such a vile note, the photo from Assisi (below) showcases an Easter bread, blessed by a priest two days earlier and served in an olive grove.

Pics and a little sound

“white women’s tears”

We walked in the woods today. The frogs were LOUD.

Next door neighbor’s yard crew showed up for the first time this season today. After asking them to take their ladder off of my Rose of Sharon sapling near the curb, I retired to the basement. Two leaf blowers went on and on but I didn’t care. My new plan. My sanctuary!

Cleaned out three bins of fabric, worked on D’s quilt until I ran out of bobbin thread, and made this little collage, above.

The initial three-house black and white was a gelatin print made with a cardboard and onion bag resist.

We just had an early and simple dinner: grilled cheese sandwiches and leftover soup. For real sustenance, we listened to Biden’s speech from this morning.

shopping and moaning

This week I obsessed about how none of the bundled-up Ukrainians seem to wear gloves. I scanned scene after scene to confirm. How can that be, I wondered.

And I thought about the things they carried. What was in those backpacks, those little, utilitarian sacks meant to hold lunches and shoes while commuting?

A passport. An extra pair of pajamas and underwear, maybe, but not spare pants or sweaters because they’re too bulky. Perhaps a toothbrush. Definitely a charging cord.

Not: photo albums, collections of ironware pitchers or Christmas cacti, not books or quilts or heirloom dishes. Not even room enough for a week’s worth of diapers.

And then, dinner done, TV off, we went shopping. It was almost desperate, this need to get out of the house and we had the excuse of five March birthdays.

What do I even get sons in their 20’s?

We went to the new Marshalls, which was moved across the street to make way for yet more development. I hadn’t been in it yet and more to the point, I’ve scarcely shopped at all since March two years ago.

While parking, we speculated that we’d be the only mask-wearers in the joint but were wrong. Every single shopper and every single worker wore a mask.

I had cashmere scarves in mind, forgetting that that’s not how you shop at Marshall’s.

I didn’t have time to dwell in disappointment (socks again, really?) because over near the men’s hoodies, a young adult had parked himself and issued moan after moan after moan. A keening sound, full-throated and loud, really loud. It was the sound you’d make finding your cat dead on the side of the road or after learning your mother had lost her battle with cancer.

He repeated his moans, like a foghorn. A small woman I took to be his mother stood nearby slapping hangers from left to right, impervious.

My mind went two ways.

The first was to regret going out. Good god! What made me think I’d enjoy going where there would be people, stale air, and crap merchandise? And, did I mention — people? I wasn’t sure I could take it.

You could hear him all the way over in housewares. You could hear him near shoes and underwear. You could not escape his lament.

The second way my mind went was to hear his moans as the mournful cries of the world. Perhaps, I thought, he moans for all of us. Perhaps he serves as a beacon of sorrow, speaking what we all feel and cannot express.

They were talking about him as we checked out. He must be having a bad day.