Category Archives: family

3.9 quake and rain

I was lying in bed in Echo Park when it came. A rumble and a jiggle jiggle. Not very dramatic and I wasn’t sure, so I got on Twitter and sure enough, lots of Angelos were reporting the same. A 3.9 earthquake. Or as some locals put it, an alarm clock.

It’s our last day here and grey. I’m childishly wishing we could teleport back. You know — close our eyes, nod, and whoosh! It’s another VERY early flight, but at least it’s direct.

These might be the same birds that Nancy photographed recently? (Just kidding)

I’m not glad that the Dodgers lost last night, but since we’re staying pretty close to the stadium, it made our evening trip back to Echo Park simpler. Even though the game was in Atlanta, the revelry might’ve spilled out into Sunset Boulevard.

C. came for dinner and the game last night. It was so nice and also bittersweet knowing we won’t see him again until January. But we have plans for January, as of a half hour ago!

My brother’s condition is much, much improved. Confined to a chair for the most part, but interested in company, in food, in sports, and so much more. There was a long stretch where that was not the case.

His East Los Angeles home is situated on Mount Washington and feels like a sanctuary. So, so lovely and quiet! I can think of worse places to be stuck, I said. He agreed.

P.S. It’s not lost on me that my suburban neighborhood is noisier. Living where I do is to be assaulted by relentless, invasive, nerve-grinding noise on very nearly a daily basis. It’s so much quieter here! In Los Angeles.

I’ll end with a little eye candy.

Love this

Pandemic travel

Exhausting. That’s how it felt to travel during the ongoing pandemic. Oh sure, there was the altitude. There was blinding light without hat or sunglasses. One evening, there was waiting (and waiting) for friends from Denver to arrive in Boulder. But mostly we were stressed by how much time we spent around loads of PEOPLE.

I wonder how other introverts are finding society these days? Remember: Introverts are people who find being around other people draining. Ever since hearing that definition some years back, I’ve viewed my generalized reluctance to socialize through a more forgiving lens.

How has a sustained period of COVID isolation impacted the innate tendency to renew the self through long periods of being alone?

Luckily, we got out and about: hiking behind NCAR, hiking in two parks in Longmont, a day in Nederland, followed by time on Boulder Creek. And it was so, so nice to spend time with our younger son.

Rental car wipers not great!

The yard surrounding our Airbnb was cluttered. There was no view. The place couldn’t, therefore, provide the renewing rest that a place situated in beauty can.

Nevertheless, and here’s where the contrast between appearances and experience gets highlighted, it was one of the friendliest, best provisioned, and most comfortable Airbnb’s we’ve ever stayed in. Peet’s coffee! Shampoo! Couches comfortable to sit on! Circulating air and an ice maker! These are not little things, trust me.

The trip ended with the longest line for security that I have ever seen. It took TWENTY MINUTES of walking to reach its end (and that was with three large serpentine sections). I could not believe it. No one could. K, who was TSA pre-check, after a long interval texted me, “Have you been arrested?” Ha ha.

Isn’t it nice to arrive home after being away? Picking up a wildly happy Finn was simply the best!

PS. Sorry to have dropped the ball on so many comments to last two posts. I went back this morning to maybe pick up the threads but it just seemed so long ago. Please forgive!

A trip to Saratoga Springs, long delayed

When I updated WP last week, I lost the ability to opt out of the clunky block editor, which is why yesterday, when alternating between composing on laptop and phone, eight blocks became irretrievable. Ugh! Sometimes I take such glitches as signs to reconsider publication. That difficult line between personal and public.

The post was about a recent trip to the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery where K’s father’s ashes are interred. How pretty a day it was (if overly hot) and maybe, how unceremonious our visit was. No prayers or poems, no stones to lay above his epitaph. For days I felt as though we’d let him down (or let ourselves down — is that the same?)

I like to think, though, that he would have appreciated the casual knot of family, even if empty-handed, bound as we were by love. A call to the West Coast to complete the circle. The sky so blue and clouds stacked like stairs.

It both helps and hurts to know that though Covid didn’t cause K’s father’s death, it prevented a timely memorial service and in this, we are like a multitude of others. So, so many others. Delayed ritual. Loss added to loss. A year and a month later.

Here are some pictures of other epitaphs, many unusual, colorful, or downright hilarious.

As I lamented the lack of Kaddish or wine to a Jewish friend, she reminded me of a much simpler Judaic custom. “May his memory be a blessing,” she said. Yes. Yes. May his memory be a blessing.

His memory is a blessing.

Cooked gardened cleaned

At my brother’s, I cooked, gardened, and cleaned. It was hot and dry and, unlike here, SUNNY. We watched a lot of TV, too. It’s kind of one of my jobs. Was happy to turn my brother onto Shetland and Justified. Last visit it was Vera.

He was feeling so much better than last visit that he was episodically downright chatty. The old Billy. Is it too much to hope that the fevers and abdominal pain are over for now?

The drugstore on Eagle Rock Parkway was closed when I went to pick up some meds. American life at its worst: a young store clerk tried to apprehend a shoplifter and was shot and killed. There were balloons and flowers and Jesus candles lining the sidewalk. People huddled in grief. It was hard to be too upset about the inconvenience of going to the place on York Boulevard, three miles away, with a clerk who could barely ring up items, meaning it took an eternity to get through the five people in front of me. Okay, so I got annoyed in spite of the tragedy.

Zooey, the 15 year old black dog, does not seem to be in pain but is bladder challenged. She has trouble getting up and can barely walk, so there is a constant race to launch her toward the rear door and get the slider open. She needs to go A LOT. Three times during the night, often. A whole other layer of caregiving but also a lesson in survival. She has sooo much personality.

I doubt I’ll see her again.

Delilah is the other dog, mentioned before. A right lioness. Formerly anxious (still anxious with fireworks) and now dignified and mostly calm. I’d take her home if I could!

Because of the Covid-surge, I’m not sure when I’ll be back. There’s much more to say about everything but I have other writing to get back to. I hate it when I lug my laptop on a trip and don’t even open it! This time I edited six chapters during my flight home, so at least there was that.

More about ravens tomorrow. Talk about chatty!

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.