Category Archives: family

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.

Car wash excitement

I wonder what it says about me that driving through an automated car wash was the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in a while.

Afterwards, we got gas. Picked up a bunch of scripts for my brother. Bought a jar of replacement peanut butter and a couple of magazines. Who knew a run of the mill magazine cost $12.99 now?

Here are two ways you know you’re in Southern California:

1) You see two VW Beetles (in good shape!), one with a “USC Dad” sticker;

2) The cashier complains that it’s overcast, even though the sun has come out every day for the last two weeks (and it’s out again now).

We saw the boys again. Whow-zer is traffic a thing around here. I know you know, but whew!

It was a low key visit, which was nice because it felt ordinary. We played a fun board game then drove D to the airport. We don’t know when we’ll see them again, but this time that’s actually “normal.”

It’s our last full day here. These two weeks have been daunting and at times sad, full of a strange mix of defeat and determination. Much too much to write about here.

I hope to return before the next lockdown which I’m predicting will occur this fall. What’s your sense?

I changed the rosemary bouquet of last week to bougainvillea. Today was the day I discovered that the riotous, generous, gorgeous shrub has thorns, vicious thorns!

The manuscript has mostly languished during my stay here. “No none standard” work habit. It’s hard to focus when you’ve become porous to another’s discomfort.

This is the “revealed” garden. K managed to move the giant potted jade and I cut back the rosemary and succulents that were hiding the cacti and rock. I hope when Billy’s feeling better, he’ll enjoy the view from his bathroom.

Dove serenade

Bougainvillea blossoms litter the yard like the tears of a passing angel. The pool, mid-repair, gapes like a wound. Another one.

Birdsongs I don’t recognize stitch at the margins of sky. I’ve learned that at least some of the songs are produced by a pair of mockingbirds. Irritating, mischievous creatures. My brother despises them and wishes he had a BB gun.

Snapshot: two nights ago, Billy fell asleep during the Lakers game but any attempt to change channels was met with an indignant snort.

Dogs bark from across the canyon.

My back hurts the usual amount. Took Tylenol yesterday. It helped. But even with my hands crabbed with arthritis and my achy sore spine, around here it’s hard not to feel like a locomotive fueled by blessings.

Look at me pop up to get a blanket for brother, lean over using both arms to spread on lap and legs. There I am standing and chopping onions for dinner after kneeling and clipping the rosemary bush. I get to take my own damn shower.

What makes you feel gratitude this Memorial Day weekend? This is a Peet’s coffee household. Oh, yes!

The generosity of others is on full display. I might’ve mentioned that I like chocolate covered almonds. Within three days, the basket on the kitchen counter over-spilled with bags of the confection.

A misty smog smudges the sky again this morning. It has generally cleared later in the day, but sitting under its pewter gloss now, it’s hard to believe the sun will shine. Isn’t that a comment about something?

Silhouetted against the grey, perched on a dead branch: a mourning dove. She regales me with her call. When she flies off, her wings creak.

A Wednesday in March

More light in the kitchen late afternoons. I arranged my sister’s blue bottle collection on the sill to invite that vibration and to mark my sister’s passing.* This week marked two years gone. I’ve had a lot to say about that, but for now, not here.

This lovely heart came from Hazel after Noreen’s death. She was grieving too. I looked at the stitching up close today and appreciated once again, the craft, the care. My sister and I found this Virgin at a second hand store in Salem that we enjoyed frequenting. She mounted it on wood and added eye hooks. The ceramic pentacle had been hers as well.

Editing going full throttle right now. Or at least, as full throttle as I do anything anymore. Needed a solid nap this afternoon after being awake til three am.

When I couldn’t sleep last night, I came downstairs and read a Booker Prize winning novel set in Glasgow: Shuggie Bain. Alcoholic mother, despicable father, unbearable poverty. I’m compelled to finish but it is unrelentingly grim.

Almost done reading Eliza’s letters post-1744. Those describing her husband’s death are full of anguish, full of praise for Charles’s virtue and character. They had fourteen years together. Good years. Malaria did him in.

* also prompted by chakra/color exploration on sparklinglotusink, Acey’s blog.