roots, wings, officers & self-pity

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237D0ECB-BCFD-4BAE-8FF4-AEAD4D5CFD26The wedding and the week at the lake house were wonderful but not without snags and challenges—challenges that have continued into the new week.

On Friday afternoon at the lake, Julia had a melt down.  It was not about anything in particular and it was not the worst she has had but it hurt me pretty deeply.  We had spent the week with Cheshire’s new in-laws and they were lovely to us, to Julia.  We’ve been with them for holidays and the long weekend over the Fourth of July.  Their interest in Julia and kindness towards her cannot be faulted. Even their children are kind and loving. It was precisely for those reasons that Julia’s behavior hit me so hard.  She was making the situatin difficult and uncomfortable.  All I could see at that point was that I had brought a very difficult family to the table. Quickly my hurt devolved into self-pity. Everyone else was coupled, I was alone.  I could not even deliver Cheshire’s father to the wedding. Okay, that was not my fault. At least, I knew that rationally, but rationality had no place in that dark space.  My aloneness and loneliness, that I fought against all week, reared its ugly head. I saw myself as a taker and my move to Boston as a mistake. If I was far away, Cheshire could, for the most part, engage with her husband’s extended family without the challenges that Julia brings to every event. Of course, when I voiced some of this to Cheshire, she disabused me of the ideas.  Continue reading

wedding week, take one

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79489dec-b864-4533-a926-ba6c2fc29f3b[Big aside. I finished about half of this post and was editing the photo layout when I lost the entire post. Zap! Pooff!  Every bit of it gone.  And you know, when that happens I am sure that what I wrote before was probably the most brilliant, thought provoking, sweet post I’d ever written. So, in the spirit of reconstruction, I’m doing it all again! How did I start???]

We were 13 adults, including the bride and groom, parents, siblings and partners, and three friends including the officiant and her partner, and 5 kids, nieces and a nephew from 3 months to 9 years. We stayed in the big green victorian house with a relatively recent turret addition.  Cheshire and Justin took the top turret bedroom, Cheshire has always loved turrets! We had the house for a week. Often during our week, someone would take note of something that someone who would have been at a bigger wedding would have enjoyed.  You were missed. Continue reading

lake house & antipasto

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94e5de63-27ce-4580-b1de-9803a13f5b40Lake house.  Day 3, if you count Saturday when we packed up the car, unpacked, sorted and generally unwound. This morning, Julia and I took our rented double kayak out for an early morning paddle.  We were out for a bit less than an hour.  I was somewhat apprehensive about finding the house on the way back.  Tonight or tomorrow, longer.

Most of the household is hiking this morning, a few went food shopping, Julia is doing zoom school and I have a few minutes on the porch alone to tap on this machine.  The porch faces the lake and if I move the drying beach towels, the view if lovely.  The sound of water is lovely. I type in 25 minute intervals with 10-15 minute breaks to tell Julia to get outside during her breaks and to sign in for her next class.  Her video is not working today.  I have followed all the instructions given by support last week.  Video is intermittent and re-booting and/or getting closer to the router works once or twice but with no regularity.  Julia is getting used to the intermittence. When I return to my typing, I move chairs, trying to stay shaded.  Continue reading

the wait

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I’ve spent the day today waiting.  Busy outside, inside quite pensive, anticipating.  I packed clothes, washed one load for the last few things to pack, cleaned the kitchen and living room—the dining room is full of what is coming with us to New Hampshire—vacuumed the hall and my room.  I asked Julia to clean her room and she got lost down the hole of rearranging her bookcase.  Just like her cleaning and arrangement of the CD rack, this was be her task of the day.  She found a few books she had been “looking” for and the program of the Milwaukee Con that we went to last year, long before the virus put an end to the costumed gatherings.  Over the past year, Julia as been gifted with two costumes that she intended to wear to the Boston Con this August.  Maybe next August?

Periodically, I look at my lists and add another something to the to-go pile.  I have some food shopping to do tomorrow before we leave but we cannot check in until after 4, so there will be no rush.

Tomorrow we leave for the house on Lake Winnipesaukee for a week of gathering together with Justin’s family to celebrate the wedding of Cheshire and Justin.  Because quarantine has provided endless time, everything I need to prepare and pack is finished.  I think.  I hope. Continue reading

letting go

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I wrote the following yesterday.  It doesn’t have an ending that I am satisfied with; however, the week will only get busier.  So, I’m posting it today.  Perhaps some ending will come.  Perhaps not.

An online friend suggested we keep our expectations low. Which ones? The expectations that I usually hold close are diminishing, falling like leaves after the first frost.  Truth be told, I’ve always juggled such a plethora of hopes and dreams, long and short term goals complete with due dates, many expectations, many hopes for possible futures.  I have lived for long periods of time holding expectations as a nervous bride clutches her bouquet.  But today, after a year away from my old Wisconsin home and loving community, after 10 years away from the love of my life, after 17 weeks of quarantine, I bear witness to an increasing number of plans, goals and expectations dramatically dashed upon rocks or quietly slipping away. If there be a life lesson here, it must be that living in the present is what is essential.  Life can be, at times, gently shaped, tended more like an orchid than a row of sturdy marigolds.  

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to the lake and back

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We are home from a holiday few days in New Hampshire.  Julia and I stayed at the Henry Whipple House in Bristol, visited with friends at a nearby lake house during the days, boated and swam and hiked and ate summer foods and played many games of skipbo.  We wore our masks at our inn and walking in the little town center and tried to stay socially distant from everyone not in our immediate party.  Sometimes that felt awkward and uncomfortable but I was grateful that most people we met were observing the same rules.  I so enjoyed being spoiled a little bit—having someone else cook breakfast and make my morning coffee felt like a spectacular extravagance.

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chasing & choosing

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“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” ~Henri M. J. Nouwen

I don’t agree. At least, in part.  I remember a time when moments of joy were effortless—falling in love, singing into a mike with a tight spotlight, making it to 20 weeks pregnant, arguing Roe v Wade with Professor Dworkin, cooking a first meal in my first house.  As I write these moments, there are dozens more I could include.  Oh, I didn’t include Italy—Siena, Venicia, Torino, Frascati and my friend Sylia. There was a time when joy—near effortless joy— was liberally sprinkled through life. Those were times of purpose—some very grand and pretentious, some as simple as well baked biscotti. Continue reading

peace of a day

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A rain storm is coming in.  Slowly.  I sit on our front porch tapping on the laptop. It was cool, sunny and breezy this early morning and I checked the weather when I woke up.  Giving Julia the choice of a morning bike ride or walk, she chose the ride.  

Biking has been a very long process for Julia.  It took a long time to learn to pedal, and then to balance, and then, even after balancing, it has been years of practice to get her to the point of riding steady enough to do it in the street.  Our shut down lives have yielded a bonus of empty streets.  Julia is riding on quiet streets, and occasionally rides on streets that get a few cars often.  She is finally steady enough to be able to ride on smooth, wide sidewalks.  In Madison, we had the benefit of being close enough to a small bay to ride around.  Fortunately, this year I think she is ready for streets. Continue reading

helicopter gardening

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That’s me—a helicopter gardener.  My first year since 1993 without a real garden of my own and I have all the time in the world to plan, plant, weed, mulch and water.  Well, not all the time but much more than I’ve had previously. So with time and a little plot, much like an over protective parent, I am out watering and a bit of weeding most days. The weeds are small and mighty—how I wish I had brought my small curved fork on a stick.  Moving, I let go of almost all of my gardening tools.  I use the rake my landlords have to weed and then put in some hands-and-knees time.  I contemplate straw mulch. I’ve spotted the morning glory seedlings along the fence line but I don’t know what sunflower seedlings look like.  I weed around the morning glory and try to remember where I planted sunflowers.  

Most of the vegetable plants are doing well without fuss.  I planted too early—yes, indeed, I did—and there have been many slow starts.  Some of the basil and the rainbow chard show cold burn but even those are beginning to perk up.  I worried the sudden onset of very hot weather yesterday and then laughed at myself.  Too hot, too cold—most of the plants will do fine.  They always have. Continue reading

end of week 9

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Morning before 8.  I’ve gotten up, dressed, set up breakfast, taken out garbage cans, said hello to the guy across the street who is returning from food shopping—Ah, the wonder of senior hours.  I wish I had opened a window last night to wake up to the birds.  There is a lot of bird song this morning; the street, this tiny enclave, is quiet.  Julia is still asleep—classes begin at 10, so no need to rush her up.  I have my fresh, hot coffee and I put myself on the front porch to tap on this machine of see what comes to life.

It has been another challenging week although the challenges have been different.  Julia did most of her school work, with even a bit of help from me; however, we’ve had trouble getting her linked into the zoom calls.  I’ve asked the school IT for help—re-boot and reinstall—and then no way to connect.  I was enormously frustrated yesterday.  No way to get in, no way to get immediate help for class after class.  Reboot and reinstall.  I am almost sure it is my fault.  I am probably doing some part of the set up wrong which makes me feel quite inadequate especially when I manage to sit Julia in front of her chrome book for class after class and she is utterly frustrated when it fails to connect. I wonder why I am not willing to just give her a pass, give us both a pass, duck out of school and go for a walk. Continue reading