labor day weekend

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AC5D25B1-6062-467E-A672-676B74D9C678Labor Day Weekend and we were out and about playing tourists for the last few days before school. There is a good deal of anxiety but keeping busy helps.  Besides touring, we hang Julia’s anime posters and did some decorating in her bedroom.  Fingers crossed for Tuesday morning.

A visit to Old Sturbridge Village about 45 minutes south of us.  We happened to arrive on Free Friday which made the visit all the more sweet.  Visiting 1830 and talking to various craftsmen was the highlight of the day.  It was a simpler time of live but even a casual visit showed how few opportunities for women there were.  The Seneca Falls Convention was still 18 years away. Continue reading

first day of everything

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First day of 11th grade

Tuesday: First day of Julia’s Junior year at Newton North High School.  Today has been a bit more than a year in the making.  The first queries I wrote to Boston area high schools, when I was still just toying with the idea of moving, were dated mid-August 2018.  So, today feels like crossing a finish line and at the same time, it is the beginning of another big adventure.  

I drove Julia to school this morning and her case manager met her at the door.  Julia went in at 11, an hour before upper class students were due to arrive and two hours after the freshman class started.  The Sped administrator, who has been our life line since we arrived, suggested the time and it gave Julia a chance to have lunch and settle in before the school filled up.   Continue reading

end of august

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The Salem waterfront

Sitting in a coffee shop whose name I’ve already forgotten.  There is no free wifi here which suggests that I will try the Starbucks around the corner next time. My car is parked at a metered space that I probably don’t have enough time on. I can’t always tell if there is a time limit on parking spaces. Julia is at an orientation for new students.  She is anxious and scattered and so am I.

New reality: Carry change for meters. Find a coffee shop with free wifi. Get acquainted with feeling scattered. Continue reading

purpose

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Art by Duy Huynh

I open my eyes this morning knowing what I want to write about today.  Purpose. Considering that it has been weeks since I woke up wanted to write anything, I resolve to jump out of bed, leave everything, save the making of coffee, for later and start tapping at my keyboard.

However, before I sit and open the laptop, there is the cat to let in and feed, fans to move from bedrooms to kitchen and living room, the mouse trap in the kitchen cabinet to check (before Julia gets up) and the coffee to make with a few fleeting thoughts given to whether the papaya on the countertop is ripe.  Another few thoughts go to whether I text Cheshire before or after I write. Julia gets up and immediately turns on the tv and gets on her iPad.  She grabs a pop tart (unfrosted to ease my mother guilt) and says, good morning. I wrestle for more than a moment with the urge to engage with her and begin the enriching work of the day. Shouldn’t that be my sole purpose— To spend every waking moment purposely and actively engaged in Julia’s growth and maturity? Continue reading

the practice of being a stranger

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On the steps of the Custom House.

Findings and observations, many without conclusions:

-I am making home and I prefer that I was done already.  Hanging pictures in the most compulsive manner.  Damn theses plaster, horse hair and lathe walls!  Small pictures need are hung velcro-y like strips.  Not buying them from Amazon but a “local” hardware store 25 minutes away.  Twenty five minutes is not too far to go for helpful advice.  On Sunday, I hung a large poster from a molding hook using fishing line. I may have to camp out in the living room all night to make sure the line does not stretch and/or break even though the hardware guy swore that he never sold a reel of fishing line to someone preparing to fish. I still have three pictures, big framed pictures, that I want to hang, that I cannot imagine not having on the walls in my home and I’m not sure how to do it.  I am used to banging a nail into dry wall, perhaps looking for a stud.  The patience of this house stretches me thin.  Continue reading

finding her feet

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573DDFF9-13E7-4F93-A7A9-3FDC17E9DA0CSunday, second day of the Framingham PopCult Anime Con.

Spiky green hair or extraordinarily long pink hair, intricate foam weapons, knee high boots with lifts, tails and long gray gloves, short skirted Japanese school girl uniforms, maids and sword carrying warriors stalk the hotel halls. There are a few other functions going on in the hotel. Did the family reunion in the Concord Room know they would be running into imaginary adventurers?

Julia’s passion for My Hero Academia is completely in line with the many, many con attendees who are dressed as Hero characters or sporting identifiable tee shirts. Lots of bought costumes and some more original hand made ones are on display. A beautiful looking Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle won best costume of the con.  The character, Howl, is male; I am not sure of the con’s Howl. The gender of many bewigged attendees is a complete mystery and after awhile I stop guessing. So many of the anime characters could be either or both depending on the adventure, the plot line, or the preference of the composer. Boys in skirts and make up; girls as male warrior characters. Julia has gone from rigid identifications of gender when she entered high school to the ability to accept the fluidity of this gathering.  She declares that she wants to cross-dress but either I don’t understand exactly what she means or she doesn’t understand the concept.  She still wants to wear dresses and skirts all the time.  Now, how is that cross dressing? Continue reading

the goo of ambiguity

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Freeform by Duy Huynh

Last night, I was watching a youtube video entitled “Understanding Spirited Away: Consumption and Identity.” The author, Margarita, describes herself as a lifelong cinephile with an MA in film and philosophy who make video essays.  Spirited Away, an animated film by Hayao Miyazaki, is one of my favorite movies and tells the story of a 10 year old girl whose parents are moving her to a new city just as she is moving from young childhood to girlhood.  I haven’t watched the whole movie in a long time but the first bars of the soundtrack can strike an emotional cord at any time.  In her video essay, Margarita highlights the liminality of the story and of course, that peeked my interest.  Continue reading

perfect impermanence

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432344A0-42BB-428A-9AE6-065C84CA861D“The deeper that sorrow curves into your being‚ the more joy you can contain.” ~Khalil Gibran (Also, Sr. Francis said something like this to me when I sought her counsel after my first “true love” broke up with me. I have been taught the same lessons over and over.)

Writing around the photos from last week when I should be making phone calls. I almost posted pictures without words, thinking that energy should be put to the practical and useful.  I let that thought pass.

We made it to a beach on Friday.  Unfortunately, the beach itself was not all that hospitable. Revere Beach, which to tell the truth I had been warned might disappoint. It was low tide and the waves were smaller that Lake Michigan’s waves on a sunny day. The damp and wet sand was covered with a bit of sea weed and a lot of brown oozy stuff. I googled around trying to figure out what it was but the best I could find was a newspaper description of “yucky brown stuff that smells.”  Is it bacteria? Have I been away from oceans for too long to know what is normal? Continue reading

transplanting

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The great warrior cat, Muta, guards, protects and keeps cool.

Saturday. 4:34 pm. 95 Degrees F (35 C). 

The house is pleasant with the window air conditioner working in the living room and the portable air conditioner at the other end of the house in the kitchen.  We’ve been puttering all day, only pausing briefly to check outside on how hot the hot really was.  Julia unpacked our CDs onto the rack.  I rearranged furniture; consolidated boxes, put the IKEA tv table together, organized the electric cords for the tv, air conditioner and internet, put stuff that I have no room for on Facebook Marketplace and answered email.  It has been a productive day but strangely unsatisfying.

I have 10 boxes left to unpack (There are more boxes in the basement but most are storage boxes.  At least, for now.).  Inside the 10 boxes is art, pictures, and decoration.  Funny, I think I started with 10 boxes of art, etc., and I’ve unpacked a few.  Is the art multiplying? Continue reading

growing home

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“Emptiness refers to the absence of something that, for some reason, one expects to find—as when we say a glass, normally used to hold liquids, is empty even though it is full of air. The point is not that there is nothing there at all, but rather that what is there differs from your expectations.” ~William S. Cobb, “The Game of Go”

Expectations. Emptiness. What I hold on to that I don’t even form into thoughts, into the stuff of consciousness. Unconscious expectations. Ah, that is interesting stuff.

Sunday.  Julia is up first, watched some tv, folded her clothes and taking a shower.  For days, her lack of independence compared to her typical peers has been what I see and I have felt such sadness.  For me, for sure, but more, for her.  Listening to her move around our new home, sounds that are unfamiliar and not easily identified, I see, ah yes, I see, expectations.  For all that I preach, to myself and others, about natural unfolding and patience, I am still comparing her to peers. I am comparing peacocks to robins. Continue reading