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.

Gratitude and the Color Blue

A good long walk. A full fridge. Healthy fam.

That’s it, really, a gratitude post.

But here are some collections of BLUE*

* prompted by Acey at SparklingLotus

She asks, among other things: what blues are you drawn to and what blues do you avoid?

** Harriet Tubman print of a painting by Natalie Daise aka GullahMama on Instagram

Adding light, revising novel

I’m adding light and shadow to appliqued hawk. Made her head lighter and used white poly for beak to make it pop. A scrap of fabric practically fell out of the basket and felt like a minor show of Providence.

Jude had the idea over on Instagram to darken some of the ripples around the hawk’s head. Since I like the way it adds a sense of motion, I may continue around the body as long as I have that color thread. It’ll look good flowing off the wings.

Had some gross polyester swirled with black in that basket, too. Added to tail and wings for more contrast. Light. Maybe you can see a difference with earlier incarnation, maybe not (below).

It’s nice to have company.

In the meantime, I finally talked to my paid manuscript consultant yesterday. Round three coming up. I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, perhaps even shouting off the rooftops: SHE LOVES MY BOOK.

I think people forget how solitary a process writing is.

House names should not be italicized. If I’m gonna talk about the elder Middletons toward the end, they need to be introduced earlier. Still sags here and there — needs tightening. Not so many descriptions of clouds, perhaps. Maybe not so much about Melody’s first owner. Explain what head rights are and how to memorialize land in Author’s Note, which starts like this:

When I began this novel, Trayvon Martin was alive and as I finished the second edit, George Floyd was dead.

The suggestion that I add an epilogue (say in 1758 after Eliza and Charles Pinckney return from a five year stay in England), will take a little more thought. That’s fourteen years after my original end. Lots of years I haven’t thought about all that much.

A six year time frame (1738 to 1744) allowed a laser-like focus. Etiquette in 1720? I don’t care! Rice markets in 1750? Also don’t care. Now I need to care. I’ll start with Eliza’s letters.

A walk with temps in the 40’s was cause for celebration this week. Daffodils shoving aside leaf debris. Snow shrugging off the curbs. It won’t be long now ’til the miracle of hyacinths.

In the meantime I am trying to answer the question (Acey’s): how do you hold your heart? Or maybe just asking it. Softly.

The collage challenge with Paris Collage Collective continues. This week: Shirley Chisholm.

More to come. I want to cut up seed catalogues and wreathe her head with flowers. In the collage above, the headstone of Harriett Jacobs served as reference to the long history of oppression, Jacobs being another Black woman who overcame so much.

Let’s Count 2021 Mar edition

0 – number of times I’ve wished that my sister was still alive since she died two years ago

0 – number of years I’ve seen Crystal Lake frozen before

1 – number of people I know (within two degrees) who have died of Covid; number of friends declining the vaccine

1 – number of memorial services that should have taken place in our family and didn’t

1 – number of neighbors out Saturday morning without a mask (a bearded 20 – something wearing a Patriot’s hat, JOGGING)

1 – bed sized quilt finished this year

1 – number of quilts lost en route to Australia

1 – number of identical answers in NYTimes and Boston Globe crossword puzzles today. (This morning: heft. This happens with a freaky frequency).

2 – number of chairs on the curb Saturday morning; number of auto-immune disorders I have that don’t bump me up in the vaccine queue

2 – number of poll working gigs I’ve turned down since March 2020

2 – number of personal international trips cancelled since this time last year; number of African American Museums donated to

3 – number of nightmares where I don’t have a mask; there’s also been a spate of wedding dreams lately

4 – number of masks lost en route to California

5 – number of haircuts I’ve given my husband

5 – minimum number of times I’ve asked, “what does 50% more contagious even mean?”

6 – number of phone calls with my brother since he got back to LA

7 – number of people I know who’ve had Covid

7 – number of vaccinated family members

8 – number of trips to a grocery store in a year

12 – Flickr albums left to download before I stop paying pro fee

19 – number of hours fasted between dinner and today’s lunch

A few dozen – the number of times I’ve missed my sister since March 2019

At least 20 — number of times I have cursed WordPress’s block editor OUTLOUD (ask my husband)

40 – number of minutes walked Saturday morning before one hip really hurt

43 – number of years I’ve had hip pain

89 – number of masks I made since March 2020 – three sold and the rest given away (or kept) (or lost in the mail)

200 to 800 – number of phone photos I aim to delete every week

1,000 – number of photos Flickr will allow without a pro fee

4,000+ – number of photos on my Flickr feed

8,000 – the number of steps when my Fitbit offers a vibrating graphic congratulations

10,000+ – number of pictures on my phone

Number of friends who have been vaccinated? All of them? Well, not Rieko, Barbara, Barbara, or Jane. BUT EVERYONE ELSE

Number of times something I ordered from Amazon arrived and I had no fucking idea what was in the box — I’m not telling you!

Number of times in the last year I’ve crowed while serving a plate of food to husband that it was restaurant fare — I’m not telling you that either!

Number of times when I crowed that I was serving restaurant grade food and it WAS restaurant grade? ALL OF THEM (and you thought I was a creature marked solely by self-doubt!)

I also refuse to disclose how many uninspired duds were served up!

Lastly, a contest on walk yesterday: $2.5MM – my guess for sale price of house near lake (above); K’s guess – $3.1MM; listing price – $2.95MM. He wins! note: there is a house between this house and the lake and the road is fairly busy

Enjoy your Sunday. I’m curious what some of your Covid-specific numbers are. Do you know anyone who has died? How many people do you know have had it? Have you?

Squeeze the balloon

Writing with others three mornings a week definitely lessens my need or impulse to show up here. I have to figure that out. For today: a completely disjointed post.

I’m ready for it to be warmer. It’ll be easier to wait for the “EVERYONE ELSE” category of vaccination then. I’m hoping.

If you can find Maddow’s final segment from last night, do. I’d share the clip but couldn’t find it — maybe next week? It was about the impossible becoming possible. A Catholic story, a tale of heroism and altruism. It was a real antidote to the epic assholery being reported about the GOP. That party… Gawd.

My paid manuscript consultant has finally taken up my book again. I’m trying not to think too hard about how loooonnnng next steps take. In the meantime, work set in Colorado is “coming through.”

Lawrence Durrell once said he didn’t know if he had a novel or not until he’d written over fifty pages. Well, I have much more than fifty pages already and I still don’t know. I swore I’d work from an outline if there was a next novel but that doesn’t appear to be an oath I’m keeping.

Reading about the bomb factory in Rocky Flats is research. Hair-raising.

It’s Saturday. I’m gonna eat breakfast today! Have a great weekend.