Tag Archives: gratitude

Some happy smiles, one ghoulish

From the study where I zoom, a few smiles to brighten the end of your week!

You might see the little critters and images on the shelf under the lamp. You might also notice Anthony Bourdain near the rocker and behind the red box, a treasured piece by Saskia. Who inspires you?

When I saw how closely this fern batik approximates teeth and shared it with Elder Son, his enthusiasm at the prospect inspired a little effort.

It is still quite cool here, not expected to get out of the forties today. Rain later.

This little pouch is the second of two. For the boys. Inspired by you all. Threads by Deb, of course.

I’ll leave you with a comment Marti made yesterday, made in response to how full a stripped down life feels. As usual, she spins wonder and grace with her words.

One year plus

My sister’s glass collection catches the light. She died roughly this time last year. How grateful I am that she’s not here to panic and worry about the virus. She suffered from COPD, sleep apnea, asthma, CHF, and was on oxygen. Worse, because of her ever increasing need, people were constantly trooping through her apartment — sometimes five a week.

The entire time she lived in her subsidized housing (almost a year), she didn’t manage to trek down the hall to throw out any garbage. So, if she had dismissed everyone out of a rational fear of contagion, the garbage would’ve piled up in a matter of days, waiting for yours truly.

We were both spared.

My brother refused to wear protective garb during the AIDS crisis, a decision both humane and medically supported in retrospect. It did make me worry, though, that maybe he wouldn’t wear protective gear for this crisis, either.

I needn’t have. It’s mandated. And he’s no idiot. There were 8 cases at Stonybrook Hospital during his shift on Saturday. His partner, also an ER doctor, is home with a cold. No fever.

Schools are closed here in the burbs of Boston until at least the end of April. Seventy-five cases in my county. Restaurants can stay open, but must remove enough tables to leave six feet between patrons.

We are aggressively self-quarantining. K’s office got the order to work from home for two weeks. I have three things on Zoom this week.

K did go to the grocery store yesterday because we were out of bread and down to the last three eggs. At Wegman’s, there was almost no bread. Not a single bag of flour. And of course, the usual clear outs: Purell, TP, and paper towels. Thankfully, very few people were out at dinner time.

Woolworth’s has a good idea: setting aside a couple of hours a day for senior shopping.

I probably continue to read too much news, but counter it with restaurant competitions, Project Runway, and British or Aussie crime dramas.

Almost 3,000. That’s how many words I eliminated today. It’s incredibly satisfying to see the fat and cut it out.

When I posted a picture of this orchid on Instagram and said I had no idea what made it bloom (I know NOtHinG about these plants and it hadn’t bloomed for years), one follower said. “Probably because you needed it to.”

I love that, don’t you?

I wish for all of you to be well and maybe find a small miracle in your day.

A balmy wind and gratitude

A balmy wind blew here today, making the black walnuts rain down like artillery. You won’t hear any nuts landing in this clip, but the wind shows up.

After four days of enduring an under-the-lid stie, I am beyond grateful — and not just to be better. I am grateful for how K put up with my whiny helplessness. Grateful for good medical care even if the doctor seemed to minimize things a bit. (“I see a little stie,” he said. Since it felt like a toothpick was lodged under my eyelid, I responded, “don’t you mean a giant stie?”) I’m grateful my brother could come through with a script for antibiotics even when the “little stie” local doctor wouldn’t.

But mostly, I am grateful for my vision.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t have seen this dead snake out and about with Finn this afternoon, would I? Or the morning sun shining through the bromeliad.

Or been able to stitch and type and make soup.

Today — TA DA — I finished font conversions and created a single document holding the entire novel. Word count: 315,000 plus a little. That’s about 650 pages. Not ideal, but I’m starting on my query letter.

I can’t tell you the relief at moving on!

Editing cloth and prose

The base. Pieced. Bottom left sea green patch bugs me and presents itself as a problem to be solved.

What if I go back to my hybrid method of quilting? I used to combine piecing and appliqué in a somewhat slapdash way that embarrasses me a little now. It sent me into a purist phase — everything must be pieced! What if I now consider some of those “nice” purely pieced quilts as unfinished — or at least, as potential canvases?

How much fun to defy the lines of the seams and extend patterning in a spirit of play?

And, as always, how about adding more houses? The pinned one on the left, believe it or not, is a “discovered” house, fussy cut from a rayon blouse. The green house to the right was made by simply topping a vertical rectangle with a roof.

There are so many more pictures of Italy to share but they already feel like old news. But I will be sharing more, if you don’t mind… along with a half dozen mini book reviews. They’re piling up! Turning into homework (ugh!)

One Assisi insight (not profound at all but hear me out): when you’re not walking the dog, cleaning the house, watching two MSNBC news programs a day, cooking dinner most nights, and tending a demanding mentally and physically ill sibling, a charge whose hours of attention are preceded by dread and followed by a period of demoralized recovery — there are a lot of hours in the day! In Italy, I had soooo much time! Time to wander the streets. Time to drink Caffè machiatto at the bar with the old men. Time to light candles for my sister all over the city. Time to read and write and quilt.

(My street — San Rufino Ave).

I am watching how I vacuum and scrub and now garden (yes!) to avoid the page.

It’s a process. And I miss my sister more here than I did there, particularly (and ironically because it was a place of ongoing tension), whenever the phone rings. It rings and I think: it will never again be her.

But you’ll be happy to know that of the 200+ chapters in my manuscript (Blood and Indigo), all but a handful have received a hard edit. One of the best things I did in Italy at the advice of fellow-writing-resident– the supremely lovely, warm, insightful and generous Argentinian writer, Elena Bossi — was to chop a lot of dull descriptions of interior crap and replace them with dialogue. What a good piece of advice that was!

Maybe that was one of the reasons I was so taken with the statute of David at the Cathedral of San Rufino — the dynamism of his raised arm, about to strike! I deleted two entire chapters while I was at it. Highlight, click! Highlight, click!

And what a pleasure to come home to a world exploding with the extravagance of spring.

Gratitude at year’s end

It took time to make all the calls — to the caseworker at the hospital, the caseworker at the caregiving agency, the O-2 people, the nurses at Davenport 7, my sister, and then all of them again. I had the time.

When the scanner on our printer didn’t work, I took pictures of her eight page health care proxy and emailed them (today’s FAX?). My sister turns 64 today and is waiting to get the okay to go home, which because of her oxygen needs, will be by ambulance.

I grocery shopped early, made lentil soup midday, and lamb for dinner. Calls all in between. Here, we all read and watched a little TV in a comfortable, restorative quiet.

I am ever so grateful.

For these legs that walk. For a body I can maneuver in and out of cars. For the car. For money to buy food, including lamb, which I love. For a pile of Christmas novels, one of which I finished yesterday.

I am grateful for the health care professionals that took over ordering the home oxygen and guaranteed that it would be in place at my sister’s return (I was struggling to figure out how to make that happen). I am grateful for the nurses, doctors, and social workers who know what to do and do it well, even on Christmas Eve and Day. I am grateful for Medicare and MassHealth. The costly intervention will not cost my sister a single penny. And good thing, too, because she has no spare pennies.

We will bring champagne and cookies, order Japanese for lunch, and deliver — you guessed it — another owl!

(I better post this now because a trio of leaf blowers over at the school and day three of tree work are getting on my nerves. And my sister just called to report not just delays in her release but idiotic tinkering with her meds).