I woke hearing this in my head: “Twelve articles and you don’t mention Thomas Jefferson once!”
It’s Sunday morning and Sunday mornings have just not been the same since I discovered I could do the New York Times crossword puzzle online on Saturday evenings. The Globe puzzle is meh.
A kind of discouraging passage. Maybe I’m still in it? Sources of funk are — part book prospects (not good), part old, old feelings of not mattering, part overwhelm at trying to wrangle some order with all my fabrics.
It is a gorgeous day and the yard is beautiful and we will spend a good amount of the day enjoying it. Here are some more gratitude shots.
“See? Was that so hard?” she asks herself. I feel better for the gratitude exercise. Of course I do!
After traveling to Los Angeles to see my brother and returning home yesterday, I have a number of early Christmas gifts to share. In no particular order.
One early gift was a negative Covid test today. I know, I know — perhaps not reliable and maybe I should test again tomorrow, but I’ll take that single pink stripe! Second gift was that our local drug stores’ shelves were well-stocked with the kits.
Another early gift was being bumped up to first class yesterday. Wahoo! A window seat no less. We’re talking Belgian waffles. We’re talking elbow room. I watched a movie and I watched the clouds.
With dismay, we’re watching my husband’s frequent flier miles diminish. For years we floated a balance of about a million miles (I kid you not). But naturally with COVID he hasn’t traveled in roughly two years. It looks like he’ll retire before there’s time to accrue more benefits.
Boo-hoo me, I guess, having to pay for airline tickets like the rest of the world. It’s not just the miles though. As a Global Premium customer you get speedy, white-glove check in (a glass-enclosed cubby at LAX, a dedicated lane at Logan, a private room in Denver). No waiting ever. And then because I don’t have TSA pre-check, one of the clerks walks me over to security and cuts to the top of the line. Again, I kid you not.
After security, one can enjoy the premium lounge which is less crowded than the general areas and also offers free food and coffee. This benefit was especially a gift this week since my brother watches a lot of CNN and all the coverage about omicron induced a mild panic about traveling. JEE-sus!
More early gifts: I got to watch my brother walk! He’s really working hard to become mobile again and it’s within reach. Also, twice he cracked such hilarious jokes I nearly wet myself. No, I will not share.
Got to see my older son and he seems so good. Without prompting, he offered to drive me to the airport at 5:30 in the morning. What a sweetheart!
Coming home is always a gift but yesterday it was amplified and I’m not sure why since the pall cast over Christmas by Covid is worse than last year.
I think I was moved by the comfort of the familiar. I struggled with my brother’s things — the can opener with a weird switch, the non-compliant bathtub drain, overheating hand-beaters, the lack of a secure stool in a tall person’s kitchen, FOUR TV remotes, none of which make sense to me. You get the idea.
K and I snuggled on the couch with Finn, clicked on a fire, ate Indian take out, and watched the finale of Shetland. It doesn’t get much better than that if you ask me.
There I was googling kennel cough and windpipe obstructions at three a.m. Finn was in distress. Coughing and coughing and letting loose pancakes of foamy mucous. Frequently, poor guy!
(Only on the rugs for some reason).
Called the ER at Angell at four but opted not to go, instead making an emergency appointment at our vet this morning for tomorrow. And then, lo! Finny coughed up half a kibble in one final pancake of slime and hasn’t coughed since.
You know what else I’m grateful for this morning? Trees. Always trees. I know I’ve told you before, but the golden chain tree out front came in the mail as a twelve-inch long bare-root sapling on Arbor Day many years ago. I don’t remember exactly when, but the boys were little. Just look at it now!
I’m also grateful to have known Michelle. There is a lovely tribute over on Nancy’s blog this morning. Thank you, Nancy. You speak for a lot of us who are still missing that intrepid and generous soul!
And why do I say “still” missing, as if i should somehow be done by now?
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my brother’s stroke. He has come such a long way! Did I mention that he has started to be able to move the affected right leg? Amazing. His progress confirms the stroke advice to measure progress in months and not weeks.
Can’t wait to see him next month. In the meantime, there are quilts to post on Etsy, a Slave Dwelling Conference to attend, and butternut squash soup to make!
When I say a miracle is a miracle is a miracle what I mean is that a strange and wonderful confluence of events need not be hugely consequential to count as a miracle.
Take the blue silk heart. It was sitting on the pad I was using as a coaster. I don’t remember when or why I cut it out or how it ended up there, but no matter. There it was. And doesn’t midnight blue just sing on goldenrod yellow?
The desk under it came from K’s family. It’s a beautiful honey toned maple, equipped with useful drawers, and serves as a handy surface next to where I sit and zoom and write.
“Maybe it came from Uncle Bill’s house. His wife was my mother’s favorite aunt. She died young.”
So did K’s mother, die young, but that is a little beside the point here except to say that probably this desk will not get passed down to our kids. Nevertheless, I don’t want to ruin it. Hence the coaster.
It was a regular zoom call, one that occurs a little more than once a month. Years back, we met in person but until the pandemic it never occurred to us to meet remotely. Thank you, Covid? Zoom easily connects Massachusetts, California, New Hampshire, and Maine. We have scattered (the comma after New Hampshire is an Oxford comma, BTW).
And you know, usually someone in the crowd is late or has trouble connecting, but this week the glitches were epic. Feel free to skip the next paragraph.
BZ came on first. Where is everybody, she wanted to know. But only her audio connected. Struggle struggle, then Husband to the rescue, only he couldn’t get her video to work either, so another device was employed. New invite. New admit. But success! Meanwhile no one else has yet joined. The day before T from New Hampshire had alerted us to a wicked case of poison ivy — her face so puffy, she may not use her video. Okay but? Ah, a text: she will be 25 minutes late. SG joins. I text near neighbor CS totally forgetting that she was celebrating the New Year with her daughter. More time goes by before C from Arlington joins and sputters. I completely forgot! I mean totally. She swipes her hand over her head and goes SWOoSH. Still waiting for T from New Hampshire.
It got frustrating. I mean, we’re talking close to forty minutes at this point. As host, I can’t help but feeling a little responsible. Maybe a little extra on edge about it. T joins, black box, audio only.
And that’s when I picked up my water glass. That’s when I discovered, in looking down its shiny barrel, that the blue silk heart, a blue silk heart previously not much attended to, was stuck to the glass’s damp bottom. It was as if I looked at it through a telescope. A formerly casually placed blue heart now appeared as a carefully selected object for viewing, like the rings of Saturn or the moon’s Sea of Tranquility.
It was a miracle.
Look what had to conspire to produce the sighting: delayed connection, a sweating glass, the thin weight of silk, the physics of an arm moving, and light, retina, and my brain. It was as if the blue silk heart ganged up with the elements to say, Hey! Look at me!
With its silly appearance, the blue silk heart softened my own heart. As I said, a miracle.
* * *
As for deciding on the proper slip for the Chicken Patron Saint of Delayed Success, I realized the problem wasn’t white/black, loose/stiff, but height. She needs to be TaLLEr!
I’m imagining wire chicken legs adhered to a base.
Getting back to basics includes expressing gratitude, so let’s start there. I’m grateful for my new juicer, for walks with the dog, especially when K comes along. I’m grateful for hands that still work well enough to be able to make myself a new dog-walk-bag (i.e. one actually commodious enough for treats, poop bags, phone, and masks).
I’m grateful I know what an Oxford comma is, that bleach works on dirty toilets, that I now have chargers in four critical spots in the house.
Also for the gratitude file: the tiny health thing that had me worried even though I pretty thoroughly tamped the worry down, turned out to be 100% nothing. Whew! I was flying high yesterday.
I’m grateful for friends that care about me enough to say: take a news break, Dee, even if I have yet to really manage that.
Besides noting gratitude, historically another basic blog task has been to record progress on projects.
My studio is cleaner and neater than it’s been in forever! How nice is that? Still awful but progress is progress. Also, I’ve been sewing a fair amount without comment here.
For instance, this doll came off The Shelf of Unfinished Creatures last week. I’m calling her the Patron Chicken-Saint of Delayed Success. Maybe just Chicken of Trust would do?
As I wrapped her pipe cleaner arms in fabric, began her wings, and gave her an elegant black lace slip, I toyed with the idea of trusting the timing of things (see note about waiting, above). What if things really do happen when they’re supposed to?
Can you spot the Oxford comma in the paragraph above? I know Liz and Deb will, in any case. Speaking of Deb, the wings will be made of Georgian Magic and I’m pretty sure the polka dot fabric for the arms came from Tina. More gratitude.
Lastly, isn’t it nice to have neighbors with a sense of humor?