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?
This post/poem is in response to the prompt: “some days disappear like…” courtesy of Kathleen Olesky. Also, though it’s presumptuous, Rumi also deserves a credit here.
(Above: writing room as seen in mirror)
Some days disappear like
Some days disappear like snow on an
outstretched tongue, quietly, others
like butter in a hot iron skillet
with a froth and a sizzle.
Some nights land like a stranger
lurking in the bushes, leaving
us shaken and afraid, others
come on us like Magi
to the Christ child, bearing
fragrant and precious
An afternoon can drawl
or contract, lounge
or catapult. Is the rhythm a
function of what we had for breakfast and
the dreams that visited overnight?
Or are they perhaps their own
small kingdoms, with rules external?
My favorite times are mornings
born of rest when the pulled
curtain reveals a lovely
soft wash or a hearty
glare of eastern light. A
new day, no matter what.
Let’s meet there, near the
windowsill and pull it up,
the sash, and lean, together,
and breathe, then shout, “Thank you!”
“In the midst of fear, kindness is needed, even just a little, so that the panic, restlessness, and angst don’t completely take over. We can simply ask ourselves if even in the midst of contraction and tension spaciousness is available as well.”
The Magnanimous Heart
Compassion and Love, Loss and Grief, Joy and Liberation, by Narayan Helen Liebensen
I’ve been though so many states of mind since yesterday, it feels like days instead of hours since I last typed here.
Rather than explain, I will barrel forward.
An old photo of D (top), as I think of all the parents home with children. Next, a little shell/insect combo, revealing how much I am missing paper play.
This collage, made in 1980 while I was living in SF, used copies made on one of the first color Xerox machines. How I loved that ‘color shift’ dial! Now my niece is sheltering in place just across the bay from where I once lived.
I lived in that duplex during my senior year in college in Northampton, Mass. Look how themes stay with us!
Meanwhile, plans have formed to use my sister’s cardboard collection after revisiting this book below.
An early decision will be how to attach the house/pages to each other. Artists in the book use various means: ribbons, wire, hemp, rick rack.
500. That’s how many words I deleted this morning. But today it doesn’t satisfy, because my hunch is that the trimmed chapters need to go in their entirety. More decisions.