This was the assignment that Julia “could not do.” It is not an incredible piece of work but we had to have a conversation about how long it took to go from Thursday’s bad mood to Friday’s fetching materials to applying paint and ink to today’s making the actual piece. I wish she had a teacher who would really critique and offer some direction to her. And then, have her use the medium on some of her favorite anime characters.
Some days are a writing prompt waiting for me. Notions and ideas come from everywhere inside and out and I get lost in the riches of too much. Other days, I get nothing. And then there are days, when a host of mundane tasks call out to be done immediately, and I am sure I should sit and tap on the keyboard. When the chore is getting Julia to school or a scheduled zoom for either of us, I give in, do it, but then there are days like today.
Showered, breakfasted, clothes from last night’s late wash in the dryer. Kitchen should get cleaned up to bake Julia’s birthday cake, a run to get the saki to accompany the take out ramen she wants for dinner, a vacuum of the living room that smells like smoke because the wind came down the chimney last night and the supervising that will get Julia’s art homework started. None of it taking too long but I know those kinds of tasks——They eat up
your my soul. They take longer than I suppose and tiny add-on tasks pop up along the way. I’ll steam along until either it is time to pick up the supper take out or I need a nap.
I am sad and angry. Trying to find thoughts to share but it is all too raw.
I do have three things to share that are lovely things that should not be hidden away because of all that makes me sad and angry.
First, is Julia’s senior pictures. The sitting for these pictures, like everything else that Julia does, was not typical. One of the two photographers who was working that day was immediately sensitive and took extra time and care, trying to make Julia comfortable and trying to capture some of the joy that is Julia. From the proofs, I picked four. One will go in the yearbook.
I had plans today. And we all know what happens to plans. And sometimes it is more than hard to figure out just which clause of the Serenity Prayer should be in play right now. Or as Cheshire says, “2020 laughs at your plans.”
I predicted that we would not get to an outcome for the presidential election last night or this morning; however, I find that a definitive landslide for the Democrats was a wish lodged deep in my heart.
I fell asleep listening to election returns in bed on my laptop just before midnight and woke up a few hours later in time to hear the NPR host talking about trump’s victory speech. I groaned, closed the laptop, turned over and went back to sleep. I had at least two unnerving dreams during which friends who I haven’t seen in a very long time appeared. I hugged them hard.
Gosh, I needed that.
It has been an okay time—this week or two. Julia has settled into school. A few hard days now and again, a few challenges with the iPad and social media. Those challenges have been ongoing for more than a year and, even though I am so tired of them, I admit that they have calmed from gale force wind storms to the occasional drizzle. School is mostly left to school. I continue to be grateful that she is a high needs learner who is in the school building 5 days a week and that most of the school work is done either during the 90 minute class periods or support resource/support time. At home, she continues to draw every day, she practices her cello, we do almost weekly baking that is now packed up in individual bags and sent to school. Thank you’s to teachers and staff—right now, it feels like the only way to teach Julia gratitude. Julia does chores or what I call Family Work—still needing reminders but usually only once or twice on any given day. She is getting better about marking the allowance chart when she does qualifying activities and work. All these things—bringing baked stuff into school, family work, daily cello and drawing—are what she can learn during this time. She has academic classes in school but I don’t expect much from them. Not that teachers and staff are not working their butts off—they are— but I don’t know how much biology or art history are going to go into Julia brain this year. I do not see her as “available” for learning.
It turned out a somewhat instructional and unusual weekend.
Sunday morning, just before church, Julia’s test came back negative. The doc who tested her called on Monday morning to make sure all was well. She did mention that I should keep an eye on the slightly enlarged tonsils. I didn’t ask how, all I can think of is to have Julia gargle with warm salt water if and when she complains of a sore throat. I also received an email letter stating she was covid negative with the warning that the test only proves that Julia was negative on Friday at the time of the test. Do you think they give that same warning to republicans?
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.Continue reading
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.
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.
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