settling in some more

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NaNo_2019_-_Poster_Design_1024x1024So far I’ve written many, many words for 8 days straight for NaNaWriMo.  I would not vouch for the quality of most of them, but this is about getting words on the page and not fine literature or even hack pulp.  This month of writing is more about putting something of mine on the front burner which I have not done for a long while.  Arguably, a good deal of the last year, moving and settling into Newton, has been about me, but Julia is usually in the front burner pot.

For this month, I’m intending to add 50,000 words to a very old project that already has almost that number of words devoted to it.  It is an ambitious idea but it is a good time to try to do it.  Even after 4 months, I don’t have many connections here.  Community building is slow but sure, and I have time and energy to take on a solitary project.  I have two kinds of online support and I can go to the occasional write-in at my local library.  I spent October preparing an outline, reestablishing my meditation practice which has been slipping, applying myself at the gym and cooking large amounts of freezable foods.  I was going strong until last week. Continue reading

living into questions

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Cheshire coxing for a senior boat at Head of the Charles.

Believe it or not, I have been journal writing a lot this month and yet I’ve been unwilling to bring anything to the point of posting and publishing.  

Just interesting.

I read a poem every morning curtesy of Joe Riley  and his email list called Panhala.  (I can’t find a working link for the site but a subscription request might be here: panhala-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.).  I took up this habit about 8 years ago because I never liked reading poetry and it seemed that all the work I was doing and the people that I was working with valued poetry and always had something inspirational to read to begin meetings.  At that time, I also remembered that I had promised myself to read poetry (and also Proust) in my old age, assuming as I did when I was very young and callow, that deep understanding would be mine by the time I reached oldladyhood. Somehow I came across Joe Riley’s work of sending out daily poems and I subscribed.  I deleted many without even a read when my email inbox got overwhelmingly full and I stopped in the middle of reading many times because I just didn’t get it; however, little by little, over the years, I have come to some understanding of poetry.  And I now envy poets, like painters, who can say so much, move so deeply with a minimum of words.  It is not my talent, as this long paragraph attests to, but my appreciation grows with every verse I read.   Continue reading

catching joy

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Time to celebrate and throw confetti!  Cheshire and Justin are going to be married.

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Two weeks ago, Cheshire’s boyfriend, Justin, came over to talk about their future.  Their future together.  It was with so much joy that I gave him the ring that was worn by Cheshire’s grandmother, Inez Sarvetnick Schanker, and after Cheshire was born, by me. Completely serendipitously, Justin came to talk to me on David’s birthday, what would have been his 65th birthday.  David’s birthday is not one of those special days that register with me but this one did as I wrote about.  Having this special conversation on David’s birthday made it sweeter still, if that was possible.

Justin proposed last Friday and his parents with Julia and I joined Justin and Cheshire for a celebratory brunch after a ferry ride on Sunday.  We are all very happy.

Planning is underway. Julia, who has discovered Pinterest, texted Cheshire a cake with bride and groom cats on the top and little paw prints going up the sides of the three layers. I am so very tickled that I will not be a long distance mother-of-the-bride.

right here

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A short note on grief: To anyone who has silently complained about a friend grieving too long, or who has wondered WHEN their own grieving would cease and themselves back to their old self, I have learned that grieving is a process without end.  You grow the rest of your life around it, it doesn’t disappear.  At some time, you will or you might do everything you would have done before losing your beloved.  You might do more than your pre-grieving life could have imagined but at any moment, the everyday round can side swipe you.

Today, a Mary Oliver poem popped in my inbox and I read:

“It is
your life, which is so close
to my own that I would not know

where to drop the knife of
separation.  And what does this have to do
with love, except

everything?”

Nine years disappeared and I was right there wondering about the me who considered myself so independent through out all of my marriage and who found breathing almost impossible after David stopped breathing. 

And it is with so many feelings, including gratitude, that I find myself back there.  Or rather, right here.

pluck

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Cheshire coxing her senior boat last weekend

The week’s notes. Morning. I live on a quiet street although . . . contractors are always working on someone’s home. Today, power saw, power staplers (nailers?) and hammer blows—re-shingling, I think. And there is the sound of traffic from a few streets over.  And the garbage men.

I am studying the light in my rooms at various times of the day.  My bedroom is very dark at night which is much appreciated.  The Madison house, on the corner, had a street light that shined into my bedroom.  Julia’s room, less dark here, needs some heavy curtains. I put up blinds for her which help a bit. I don’t like blinds.  I used to say I hated blinds, but I’m getting used to them here. I remind myself that this is a rental and will never conform completely to my wishes.   Continue reading

apples, prejudice & bao

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img_5756The week opened into this new season.  I moved to Newton in the middle of summer but I am experiencing every bit of this new season as it rolls in.  Skies are blue except when they are not; dusky greens are just beginning to show color and we need more than our summer blankets at night.  

Last weekend, we picked apples in Stow, MA.  Saturday began with clouds and I was betting we could make it to the farm, pick apples and leave before the rain set in.  However, the rain began in earnest as we crossed the border into Stow.  So, we found a cafe in Maynard, the next town over, where we ate grilled cheese and I had a good coffee.  We parked next to a Harry Potter shop, found out that there is a Wizard’s Con in November, and looked at a lot of cool stuff.  Then the rain stopped and we were able to squish around in the apple orchard and bring home a bag of apples.   Continue reading

our new world

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F4797A75-796A-4825-A9D8-80FCB91A8BBFLast week, Julia’s inclusion facilitator (a post previously called “case manager” and hereafter IF) told me that Julia was not put on the bus list in error and if it was possible for me to drive her for the week, she would get the bus this second week of school.  I agreed, jotting down the bus as a topic of conversation for our meeting this week.  Sunday evening, the bus service called me to tell me when Julia would be picked up on Monday.  This morning the bus was early and so tooted its horn for us.  I went to the door and Julia was out a few minutes later.  I talked to the driver who actually seemed to know the the time quoted to me was too late and that they were still making adjustments.  She apologized that I did not get phone call before this morning about changes.  I feel like I’m living in some utopian bizarro world!  In Madison (I’m not going to repeat the bus saga, the sped bus never tooted its horns if Julia was not waiting for it.  A bus pulled up to our house, waited a few minutes and then left.  There were a few times when I complained the bus never showed up and the dispatcher said that the bus was there, waited and left.  If the bus was early, especially in the early days of ninth grade, it could have escaped our notice.  So, this little curtesy, a tooting of the horn seems like a miracle to me. Continue reading

one garbage bag

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4:00 a.m. It is raining. The rain from Dorian.  It may be coming in the basement and may be wetting the two boxes on the bottom of the cardboard box pile that I should have put on a pallet.  Oh, the basement is a mess.  It is an unruly pile.  I tell myself, no pile is too big or too messy once I dig in.

I joined a Facebook declutter group a few years ago that doesn’t get much traffic these days, but every so often someone, usually new, pitifully asks for help with the big, impossible pile of junk somewhere—attic, basement, room with a door that can be closed, dining room table that is never used for food, etc.  And the answer is always, grab one garbage bag and fill it with whatever is garbage.  Take it out of your house.  Don’t look at the stuff that needs boxing or selling or putting away.  Just do one garbage bag today. Continue reading

first friday

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Notes:

~ I found a coffee shop with WiFi and other folks sitting and tapping away on laptops.  And pretty okay avocado toast and latte.  It is on a side street that is the size of an alley.  I had looked for it yesterday and couldn’t find it.  Clearly, it is a gem as there could not be much walk by traffic.  And I found a parking space.

~ Parking.  If I moved directly from Park Slope, Brooklyn, to Newton, MA, I would opine that parking in and around Newton was a challenge but not impossible.  However, having spent umpteen years in the midwest, parking in Newton feels close to impossible at times.  Also, having a line of cars behind me and no place to pull over and let them pass when I am looking for a parking space is uncomfortable.  I’ll get used to it, I know, just now . . . I am very grateful for early Jersey training in parallel parking.  The skill is like riding a bike. Continue reading

morning pep talk

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Julia finished two days.  She has come home happy both days.  I’ve gotten no frantic phone calls, emails or texts from anyone at school.  She lost her binder on the first day (found yesterday) and her new to her jacket on the second (she will look for it today).  There is a strict phone rule in her physics class—if the phone comes out in class, you lose it.  First time, until the end of class, second time, it goes to the house office with unknown consequences.  Good black line rule for Julia, nice that it is for everyone. I’ve driven her to school these two days and I will do so tomorrow as well.  Buses are messed up (Did I bring that challenge with me?).  Interestingly, the bus dilemma is not confined to sped buses and there was a general email from the principal about it yesterday.  He admitted that the primary reason for the problem is not enough planning and he has an idea about what to do for next year. For the present, more parents are driving kids to school.  Just like West, Newton North sits in the middle of a suburban neighborhood and as such does not have the roads to support school drop off traffic.  Our 6 minute drive takes 20 and getting out of melee takes more. The buses will help.  I think Julia appreciates our time in the car.  High anxiety yesterday, a slightly lower level this morning. Continue reading