a tzaddik

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9:41 pm

I sit in front of the laptop.  I talked to two friends and cannot get to Cheshire via text or phone.  I scroll through Facebook, watching who sends sad emojis to me and sending my own sad emojis to as many friends as I can who posted the sad news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death tonight.

I found a live coverage in front of the Supreme Court building.  People milling about.  Lighting, holding and leaving candles.  Talking.  Every so often it almost seems like singing will begin but so far, no songs.  Two people are holding pride flags, a few guys on bikes join the crowd, a few dogs bark.  There is applause now and then, as if someone had come out or said something, but there is nothing to hear.  Really, nothing is happening.  It is sad.  It is a wake.  Respectful.  I would like to be there.  And I watch.

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and so it begins

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The season is turning.  When we drive on the highways, the earliest of the trees are beginning to show color.  Orange and yellow.  And walking, we’ve found orange and brown leaves on the ground.  Such a joy!  Tinged with a bit of bittersweetness, but can the same be said about almost everything these days?  These continuing unprecedented days?

~ School began today.  We are so late this year!  Julia is one of the high needs students who has been invited to attend every day at school. High needs is a category of more than special ed students.  She will get some of her classes in person—those she takes with special ed teachers—and some on line—those where she is in general ed classes.  All classes are 90 minutes long, with the expectation that content will be taught and some, if not all, homework will be eliminated as it will be done in class.  Julia is anxious but she was so happy to be in the school building when she has her senior pictures taken that I think she will do fine.  The number of students in-school is very small.  I’ve heard 50 to 100 in a building that houses 2000 comfortably.  There should be sufficient room for them to spread out. I hope she can attend safely although there are plans if in-person needs to be shut down in a few months. Or sooner.

First Day of School 12th Grade
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and a red moon rose

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Third day at the Cape.  Falmouth, MA.  First day on the beach.

The plan for this four-day vacationette at the Cape was to park the car at the inn, bike everywhere and spend at least part of each day on the beach, Julia digging and making castles, me, reading and writing.  As it turned out, we arrived on Tuesday in time for supper, walked up to the main street, checked out the bike rental store which was closed and found out the they are only doing multi-day renting.  No problem, I though. We’d pick bikes up on Wednesday morning and keep them until Saturday.  We had a very nice Mexican meal, sitting outside, reading the menu on my phone.  I had the margarita that I sorely needed and we walked home. 

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my cadillac

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Throughout my young life, my father drove Buicks.  The first one I remember, just vaguely, was black with red seats.  It was huge, wide and tall, to my small self and I remember having the back seat all to myself.  My brother was in the front seat—held by my mother or in a tiny “car seat” with its own steering wheel.  Amazing that all my siblings who sat in that tiny seat grew to adulthood. I could sit or lie or play with toys in the big back seat. Unfortunately, I have always been one to get very motion sick.  A short ride to church or school, got me dizzy.  A 20 minute ride to grandma’s house ruined half a day, and the ride to the Jersey shore would slay me.  My father stopped on the shoulder of the road, I got out and threw up everything in my stomach.  Even when I didn’t eat or took the dreaded dramamine, which I may have been allergic to, I was wretched.  

But this is about driving cars, not riding in them. Only once and in my adult life have I ever felt sick driving and that was in a big, empty school van.

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quiet

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This morning, we’ve spent the morning on our back porch.  Julia is editing pictures for her blog.  She has drawn most days but has not posted since the week before the wedding.  We counted and that was 40 days ago.  She lost interest in posting and I can’t blame her-it was supposed to be a place to put pictures for the short term.  After 100+ days and 100+ pictures, it is no longer short term.

This morning, we took pictures of her pictures and it will take most of the day for her to edit and post.  The blog began with pictures of what she/we did during our quarantine days but Julia got bored, it became a lot tougher to come up with ideas and I could not inspire her to continue down that path.  I also was, for a short time, busy with the wedding. And so, she has been drawing what she wanted to—mostly anime characters that she obsesses about.  Not being an artist or educator, I don’t know what to do next with this mountain of pictures. Perhaps an artist or educator could see some development or where to go or what to ask for next.  I don’t. This has long been my challenge.

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of the goo

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The time rolls on; once again, days melt into one another.  Everything is effort. The news comes to us via radio, youtube and the nytimes.  I don’t think that Julia hears and comprehends much of it; however, she is quick to say that she doesn’t want to go to school and catch the virus.  I tell her that I will not send her if it is not safe and at the same time, I gather information on how to send her to school and what to do when she gets home.  I tell her we will listen to the teachers and the scientists, even though no one has definitive advice. Julia does not do well with gray.  I fall and fail with the continuing ambiguity our time.

The chrysalis stage of a butterfly is my favorite metaphor for transformation.  What a miracle that a caterpillar makes the container and turns itself into a gooey substance before transforming.  Where are we in that process right now? Who is in the process now? Can we have as much trust as a caterpillar? Continue reading

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