Glorious sun and pansies

Life goal met — there are pansies on the property! Last year we waited too long and there were none to be had. My mother loved pansies too.

For Easter, we used to hide treasure-filled plastic eggs in the yard, pack baskets with glorious chocolates and jelly beans, and serve up a special dinner for extended family. One year I made a batch of chow-chow to dress the asparagus. Another year I made carrots out of marzipan for the top of the carrot cake.

This year, I am making a carrot cake. That’s it. No marzipan. No company.

The space created by a less-populated social calendar continues to feel more blessing than not. I like my friends, I like my relatives, and still this is true.

On a related note, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about K’s absence as he trudged back to the office and I’m still not sure, but this morning the quiet is glorious.

Have I really used the word glorious twice in one post? What besides chocolate and silence can be glorious?

Soft scarves, dry socks, insight, a welcome email, a piece of writing, a hot bath.

Also: Indictments. Perp walks. Lost law licenses. Exclusion from holding public office. Tarnished reputations. Huge fines. Ankle bracelets. Media bans and gag orders. Jail time.

Kushner is in the news again. If the beltway press wasn’t so hopelessly tied to GOP talking points, the Kushner news would be loud and pervasive. And of course, had a Democrat’s son-in-law done anything remotely this corrupt or dangerous to national security, the coverage on Fox would be nonstop with belligerent threats of hearings should leadership in the House change.

The building could have a 666 on it but I suppose that would be overkill.

So as not to end on such a vile note, the photo from Assisi (below) showcases an Easter bread, blessed by a priest two days earlier and served in an olive grove.

How none of it seems to end

The list of things imposing misery right now is quite long. Ukraine is never far from mind. For many of my friends, Russia’s atrocities are personal.

Things I’ve heard in the last month from people I am close to:

My mother grew up in Belarus.

My grandparents are Russian Jews, but from areas now Ukraine.

I just found out that I have a relative from Poland who died in the Holocaust. I was named after her.

I’m have very little family history, which is traumatizing too.

My grandfather grew up in Odessa.

I didn’t realize that H’s mother was Ukrainian.

Meanwhile, it’s Monday and K has gone into the office. He will travel into Boston every day this week. It strikes me as a signature Covid experience how the familiar becomes strange and the strange becomes familiar. Example: in spite of this being my husband’s commuting routine for decades before the pandemic, it now feels a little weird, a little dangerous, a little not-normal.

Also today: I get to make a friend lunch and we won’t have to be quiet because K is on the phone at his workstation (aka the kitchen table).

And, I get my second booster this afternoon.

Snippets of memory

For the first time since Covid arrived, we took the dog to Wellesley campus for a walk. It was a little cooler than expected but beautiful and because of spring break, emptier than usual.

Driving home we passed the low-slung brick building where I went for prenatal care back in the 90’s. I couldn’t remember the name of my midwife, even though she delivered both boys. Michelle, maybe. Diane?

But K and I had a good laugh concerning something I did remember from C’s birth.

First, I have to say that the nurses attending both boys’ births were absolute angels. They could not have been more competent or more kind.

Second, I had opted not to rely on pain medication and managed (just barely) to stick to that, so just about every ounce of consciousness was taken up with the business of riding each contraction. Further, because of how my labor didn’t really speed up until the very end, after a dozen hours of labor, I was falling asleep in between contractions. What I’m trying to tell you is that I was a little out of it.

So when K told me that one of the nurses had been by, without thinking I responded, “Was it the hairlip or the hunchback?”

It sounds like a dream but it was not. I’m not proud of my blurt and hope I can be forgiven for lacking even my usual minimal filters because of the intensity of the birth experience.

But can you imagine? One four-and-half-foot tall nurse dramatically bent over, the other with a deformed upper lip. And again: both angels.

A Worry Jar Unearthed

Ever go looking for something and find something else of interest? I’ve written about losing things and finding things before because it is such a part of my daily life.

Yesterday I came upon an old Worry Jar in a drawer full of photos — a Mason jar with a metal hasp, missing its glass lid.

You probably know the drill: you put notes or symbols about the things that worry you into the jar. The simple ritual is not meant to be a fix so much as temporarily freeing.

Here Jar, you take these thoughts for a while!

There were coins, a rock, a smooth bit of glass, a roll of cloth, and many notes. Almost all of the notes were about my sister, so let’s just admit that the jar was also a repository of despair.

There was a teeny pouch with a five dollar bill in it. I don’t remember making it or filling it, but I do remember being worried about money.

There was a pencil, likely representing writing, a miniature plastic scuba diver, probably referring to my husband who is a master diver, and a beautiful miniature clay mother and child, there no doubt to stand for a whole world of Mother Worries. I’m surprised the clay didn’t melt or shatter.

I rather unceremoniously threw all the paper out. Another letting go? I’ll pocket the coins, although I don’t know why since they’re not even needed for parking meters anymore (do NOT ask me how I feel about the Passport Parking app). Mother and Child went on my bookcase-altar. They look content — perhaps singing praise songs? — sitting there near the pretty spring gentians and the glass owl.

The owl was a gift to my sister and makes for a happier sibling reference. She was obsessed with them after a recurring dream about “Owl Mountain” during her nearly two-month medically-induced coma in 2009. In case you’re wondering, I like elephants.

The jar is empty now. I am not free of worry, of course, but that particular chapter is quite over. After reading the Brene Brown quotes I had collected in August 2021 and posted here yesterday, I wonder: can I apply curiosity to the things that eat at me?

Hello there! Who are you and what do you want with me?