Through the woods to the mall

We walked through Houghton Place which used to be called The Hamlet to get to Webster Woods. At the trail head, I asked, “Which way do you want to go?”

K responded, “Where do you want to go?”

I pointed decisively to the left.

That’s how it goes sometimes.

We threaded through the trees and came upon a man sitting by the pond making the most wonderful melodies.

Climbing up a berm, the empty mall came into view, giving off a spooky vibe. We think the tent and storage units go with Covid19 testing.

It appears that this poor creature was killed mid-meal.

Then we saw a tree offering up an example of extraordinary adaptability.

It’s been a quiet day. I didn’t have enough energy to apply to any of my projects but did make five more masks. That makes 78. So far, the number of masks-made is staying ahead of the number of days At Home (68).

We’re watching Longmire. Again. This is the equivalent of my mother-in-law watching old Gunsmoke episodes. There’s drama but I’ve seen it before and can rest in it somehow. I really like the characters, too.

What shows do you watch for rest?

I could really use a new season of The Great British Baking Show.

Day 65, Crosses, and Thomas Cromwell

Digital collages made this week with CROSS motif. Day 65

Reading second Mantel book in Wolf Hall series. Thank you Joanne for the reminder. Hilary Mantel is among my top ten, maybe even top five, writers alive. Colum McCann is another. I’d have to think about who else.

These days TV feels like a slog and sewing does too. So how great to be filling my head with absolutely incredible historic fiction.

These collages have extra impact if you know the sources — kind of how fabric provenance can lend energy to cloth work.

The pentangle you may recognize as the wooden box my sister used to keep her Tarot cards in. The favorite ones. The small hanging quilt was made in Assisi and was photographed there. The punched tin was photographed at the Cathedral of San Rufino, also Assisi. I think you confess your sins through it.

The open doorway is lost to me for now but the cross visible on the lower right and the nearby brick wall are in Charleston, right across from St. Philip’s Church. That structure and some of the graves were there in Eliza Lucas Pinckney’s day.

Going to consult with a friend about her garden. She wants to pay me. I’m a little wary of my commitment reflex right now, especially with us on the verge of a major backyard renovation. I kinda want to do it, though.

Two scenes from Coronavirus Life:

  • Neighbors held a Bat Mitzvah on the front lawn just down the street. When K passed, the girl was reading her Torah portion behind a six foot table — the kind you set up for a yard sale.
  • I cut K’s hair today and did a fine job. Better than adequate. I was nervous because his hair is very fine. Mistakes show. I can’t tell you how many times he’s come home with a botch job from the barber’s. “It’s great,” says K. “You did a really great job!”

Pandemic Diary

Day 63 or 64 or whatever. Another collage and its companion. If the one above had a title, it might be, “the horror of graphs.”

This one might be called, “the desolation of streets.”

Waiting for Instacart in a comfy collapsible soccer/mom chair in the garage because — wait for it — it’s a little too hot in the sun.

Yesterday I planted amaranth and basil seeds in a little tray delivered by Home Depot. This morning I dropped sunflower seeds right into the ground near the foundation out front. I am edging and weeding and transplanting in a daily rhythm that feels effortless somehow, and satisfying. Not much else feels that way lately.

We are planning to have a circular patio with an 18′ diameter installed, as well as a 26′ path of stepping stones from the garage.

Needless to say, the contractor who repeatedly asked, of the circle’s dimension, “18 by what?” did not get the job.

Here’s a heads up to all those folks who think a mask detracts from their appearance or their liberties: Galvin-Instacart-delivery-man, with his shaved head, tight T-shirt, and yes, mask, was about as good looking as they come!

Just as I’m starting to get a routine, I’m also starting to get sick of the routine. I unload in the garage, wearing gloves and mask. Pantry items get parked and stay untouched for four days or longer. (You’ll also note the mail piles, representing a four day rotation).

I save all plastic bags, but they also go into a rotation such that none will be touched before a week or so has gone by.

Inside, I plop goods into a hot water and bleach solution and rinse in hot water. I used to do this in the garage. It is much easier at the sink.

Finn waits out these proceedings in his crate.

It’s all a little perfunctory at this point and honestly, grocery shopping is one of the lower risk outings one can make. Nevertheless, I’ll keep going this way for a while.

I’m happy to report that my brother finished his ten ER shifts at Stonybrook, Long Island and is heading back to LA tomorrow. We will all feel even more relief at about ten days out, symptom-free.

Meanwhile, younger EMT-certified son is considering throwing himself into the fray and I actually support the idea.

I’m not a terribly good follower these days. News takes up most of my media bandwidth. The fact that the magenta robe was an exercise in extreme frustration made me wonder about how I set priorities. Never mind why.

It’s time to piece the back for the sixth of six panels for C’s quilt and do a little research on the best way to assemble the panels. They will all have been hand quilted at that point.

And, it’s also time to pick up manuscript after a short hiatus. Lots of writing happening here these days, just not that. The author-consultant who was supposed to start reading in mid-April has been delayed until beginning of June. I have the last fifth of the book to edit before then.

June is around the corner. Can you believe it?

Pressure production

New collage made on Day 63.

Finn barks at compost pick up truck. K talks about pressure consumption. “I took the 5.6 and divided it by… ” And then pressure production. “The factor goes down, not that it goes up.”

Dog needs a walk. I need a walk.

Busy day yesterday and week feels cluttered going forward. How is this even happening?

Collage made today, below. The word I pulled out of the thesaurus as I started was “tabulate.” As in tabulate the damage done.

Brain damage. Chalk board counting quarantine days. Exotic luxury cupboard cut in half, never to go back together again. A clothes line reminiscent of domestic life during the Great Depression.

Seeds keep arriving in the mail! We have two quotes now for the backyard patio project. Some things continue apace.

I am finishing this garment tomorrow! Next up: something without pleats or plackets! Pieced a strip from mask scraps to use for collar and front edging. I like the idea but it may not follow the curves of the robe properly.

I raised the blue skirt an inch and a half and the proportions are much improved.

Saved up words

I went looking for a quote about how areas in our life that are the messiest are often the areas where the most progress is being made. Couldn’t find it. Here’s what I found instead. Enjoy!

“Good writing begins where there is a knot.”
Margaret Atwood

“Art is not about telling our secrets… but it does have to be free to go wherever it needs to go and usually our pain comes out first.”
Pat Schneider, Writing Alone and with Others“We are large enough to encompass our losses. We are brave enough to dream again, risk again, love again. We just need the assurance that we really can do so, and this assurance will come to us in a thousand forms, large and very small, if we ask for it. But ask we must.”
Julia Cameron, The Vein of Gold

“There is no courage without vulnerability.” Brene Brown

“It is not what we do which makes us holy, but we ought to make holy what we do … ” Meister Eckhart

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”
Denis Levertov, as quoted by Pat Schneider

“Any life will provide material for writing if it is attended to.” Wallace Stegner

“Anger is loaded with information and power.” Audre Lord, Sister Outsider

“We pick and choose what we think is most important, forgetting that it’s all important.” Jude Hill, Spirit Cloth

All SoulCollage by me. Some fairly old.

Cover ‘em up

You know why it snowed here just outside of Boston, don’t you? In May? Because I just at long last and much later than usual put away the winter hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves.

With a chill wind at our backs, we three set out. Signs of the season were everywhere, most notably an abundance of maple flowers. They littered the road, sewer grates, and rock walls as if spring’s answer to snow.

Crystal Lake was closed, not due to social distancing measures, but because it’s being treated to prevent algae growth. Last year, a bloom turned deadly and killed quite a few unsuspecting dogs.

If ever I stayed behind for too long to take a picture, Finn turned back over and over to check on my progress. Look at him as I photograph a dramatic bole.

Lastly, I apologize for not yet responding to the comments of my last post. There’s been a bit of a funk going on here which isn’t depression but kinda resembles it. I don’t know what it is. I’ll chalk it up to the pandemic.

But let me say how grateful I am for the depth of sharing here. I know I keep saying this but it feels necessary to do so and true.

I will not likely burn my Pages until I have done SOMETHING with them, but the timing of that something matters. A strategy will matter. At Deb’s suggestion, I boxed them up and got them out of my writing space. An energetic shift, for sure — a sense of relief, of space opening up. Clutter management but more. I’ll have more to say about this soon.

Day 59 of Home Containment.

Purple rice joy

Last night was one of those nights when we might’ve eaten out were it not for the pandemic. I was tired and had no ideas on deck and by the time I got around to fixing dinner, it was too late to roast the chicken waiting in the cellar fridge.

Et voila! Cooked up a batch of toothsome purple rice and served it up with sautéed shallots, yellow peppers, and chicken sausage. Satisfying! Then, even better, I had two servings of rice left for lunch. Tired celery? Throw it in. Red onion? Yes, please.

After a thorough search, I found NINE more notebooks from the relevant time period (A Tale of Two Sisters, 2009 – 2019). I am so appreciative of the many ideas posted in the comments yesterday.

Things I might not have thought of. Beautiful role modeling. Support offered before asked for. I have such a gracious, smart, and warm circle of friends here!

The notebook pile I’m referring to is to the left of the desk.

Today’s class was really good as usual. Because I had just finished Alice Hoffman’s WWII novel, “The World That We Knew,” (which features a golem as a prominent character), I offered the golem as a prompt.

If you could have a creature made out of mud and temporarily animated to serve you, how would it protect you? How would it offer solace?

Mine ended up being a Hosta Spirit, offering resilience and adaptability. It directly addressed how to approach writing about my sister.

It’s a thread-the-needle situation: how to revisit awful, awful scenes without catapulting myself back into that mess? I don’t think it’s impossible, but I need to have some strategies.

The writing that’s already come about her kind of had a life of its own, arriving on the page as if waiting to be written. I really trust that.