Tag Archives: upgrades

Boundaries and interruptions and a red thread

C peeking out

C peeking out

Parenting means being interrupted. And it means improvising.

D itching under cast just like the doctors said not to

D itching under cast just like the doctors said not to

Long gone are the days when I craved a solitary bowel movement, or wistfully anticipated the reclined dentist’s chair for the quiet it represented (those were intense times — with two extremely active boys, neither of them particularly inclined toward napping!!).  With a seventeen and a nineteen year old in the house now, the frequency and urgency behind the interruptions have changed, but the fact of them has not. They continue — as they should.

Add to the parenting — a disabled sister for whom I am the sole support (my brother sends money from the West Coast, and that helps, but NOT with the day to day) and a husband who travels often to Asia, and you begin to get the picture here. Our dog is a piece of work, too – requiring special accommodation for getting up and down stairs, for the correct positioning of his food bowl, and a three-person-applied muzzle for basic grooming. Lately, he’s been ill (I think he’s better, but not quite sure).

Relax! I have already ranted in my Morning Pages. This was done while drinking coffee in Newtonville and waiting for the camera shop to open, so that I could purchase photo paper for D. and then deliver it to the high school (speaking of interruptions)…

(I would love to know what the business types in the coffee shop thought of this deranged-looking woman scrawling across a notebook page in ink nearly as fast as one could speak the words…)

And anyway, if I was going to rant it would be about our fucking computer ‘upgrades’ which have produced a series of repeating and ever-unfolding glitches, such that it is nearly a form of torture to blog (one of the reasons for the gaping pauses of late).

No, I would rather look at boundaries.

White House with Red Boundary

White House with Red Boundary

Last night, I surrounded the White House with an edge.  It really changes the composition, perhaps in too obvious a manner, but I’m willing to entertain it for awhile. Study it some. The thread is red, it is true, but it doesn’t scream red. Maybe that’s because it was hand-dyed in India and billed as “Meditation Thread”.

Maybe it is because there is relief associated with having boundaries. From knowing where the house ends and the sky and yard begin. Recently I have learned the difference between asserting ‘a need’ and shouting a demand.  I discovered that need does not have to be associated with basic survival.

Remedial insight, perhaps. But I share it here because I think it governs my response to this red.

The sky poofs and tuckers in places and will require some attention. I find a lot of quilting to be (in my case, anyway) the resolution of problems created earlier in the process. Not unlike parenting, yes?


buckling sky

As for the bump in the bottom edge and the frayed intersection of the thread-ends, I am going to let those be for awhile, too.  I like the idea of an imperfect boundary, or one that flexes to its surroundings. I like the idea, too, of having an obvious place where the boundary’s ‘gate’ resides, so that it does not come across or function as a solid and permanent fixture. Maybe having had a swinging door for so long makes the idea of a fixed boundary too difficult.

when the edges meet (and a bump)

when the edges meet (and a bump)

In any case, it is food for thought.  And, here are some red lines from the garden this morning. Once you start seeing a red line, or a window (right, Jude?), or a bird in your work, you start to see it everywhere.

red lines as stalks/support

red lines as stalks/support

Around the other side of the house, rhubarb is ripening! Almost time for my annual Strawberry Rhubarb pie. An exception to 2013’s gluten-abstinence will have to be made!

Generosity and Pauses


Sometimes I am blown away by other people’s generosity.

First, there was my brother, taking my sister and me out to lunch, then proceeding to buy her a cartload of soil and annuals and herbs (she is still smiling!). Next, there was the consummate professional at Lady Grace who, with kindness and resourcefulness and humor, fit my sister for a bra.

[If you are a large-breasted woman — (and have been taunted by boys and men, stared at by all manner of strangers, tortured by mammogram machines, mothers, and ill-fitting garments, never mind the weight of the anatomy itself) — you know just how significant an event this was. Generosity turned a seemingly pedestrian retail moment into a near-religious experience.

I have learned that right next to Gallows Humor resides Big-Breast Humor. At the register, my sister gushed, “I think I’ll call you Boobie Wan Kanobi” and without missing a beat, the retailer intoned, “May the support be with you!”]

Next came a shoebox full of NY Times crossword puzzles that my sister had clipped and saved for me (month and months of them!!) I dip into them, now, like a box full of chocolates.

  four-quarters-and-ground    table-assortment

Then there was the box of fabric that arrived from Sandy Meegan… someone I have never met who spent money to send a load of fabric to me, not once, but twice! Not just ANY fabric, mind you, but  an unbelievable assortment of to-die-for (and PRESSED!) scraps in a delicious array of colors and fibers! How great is that?

Then, there was my brother treating again, this time taking the boys out to lunch, sharing I’m sure, his contagious optimism and inviting both of them to Los Angeles for a piece of the summer. They returned with a delicious salad for me.

And sometimes, I am snowed under by other peoples’ needs.

It’s been that kind of span here. Five medical appointments in the last six business days, only two of them mine. The return of Son #1 (think: Charlie Chan, not Marathon Bombers) who is a slob and completely unmotivated to win either my approval or silence by complying with my requests (‘requests’ being a rather nice word for ‘nags’). You would think his having been in this very house for 19 years would make his return also a return to the status quo, but it doesn’t work that way. A new status quo had time to emerge, and it features a neater house (not a TON neater, but noticeably neater).  Son # 2 was sick for a couple of days. Husband for longer. (Both have recovered).

Roughly five days ago I sat down to post, with the intention of saying something along the lines that the one of the few things I could really rely on was being interrupted, when Jack threw up.  Somehow that  — combined with the ongoing challenges associated with our upgrades (again, please notice I am not ranting, even though I want to scream!) — derailed me again.

So! Until a rhythm is re-established and pathways to creation re-set, I may have only words to offer. I will make a point of keeping at least half positive. [later – NOW pictures upload… why NOW and NOT earlier?!]