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
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
Time to sit in the porch. Two porches here—front porch with chairs and back with table and chairs. Last summer, when we moved in, I was shy about using both spaces. Upstairs (landlords and neighbors) were home and using the back porch and the front porch felt public. After a winter and a quarantine, I am ready to occupy outside, share it with anyone. However, upstairs is at the summer house since the beginning of March and not planning on coming back until the end of quarantine. Muta has been at home in these spaces for months. Now I join him.
Whenever the weather has permitted, and there have been many chilly, rainy days, I or we’ve been in the side garden possibility weeding and preparing. The soil is not rich by any means. Lots of stones and pebbles. Digging it feels just a bit removed from a pebble driveway that was broken up. The best part of it, the back 10 feet or so, grew tomatoes last year. I made a garden plan—so much for just sticking a few plants in the ground in a nonchalant way—and we went shopping yesterday. It was the first time Julia was at a store since quarantine. We both wore masks and gloves. Continue reading
How did it get to be the end of April?
Setting: rain and 40 degrees. The house is dark. This is a day for the potato leek soup that is in the fridge and a book and a cozy chair and throw over legs. Maybe it is not a day for momentous accomplishments or even folding the wash.
Time: Monday morning. That time when online school work comes streaming in and students are supposed to get organized for the week. In this house, it is the time to wrangle Julia to help me organize her work. This morning, Julia has a check in with her case manager and a speech group.
Back story: Last week, I advocated for support from school to get school work done. Two weeks ago I advocated for her speech services to resume. The weekly plan came back this morning with no more help than last week. There is a speech group meeting this morning.
Character: Increasingly, Julia lives and talks in a fantasy of teen sex and anime violence. Lots of blood and boys obsessed with her. She talks to herself. More and more often. She resents being pulled into the reality of our lives (which, at least to me, is not so bad at all).
Plot: Julia is declaring independence today. She doesn’t want me to have anything to do with her schoolwork. Continue reading
My April plan was to remain curious, survive, grow compassion and nap. Today, I feel ok about those goals. I’ve been meeting some of them. Monday was a different story. Julia was difficult and I saw no end to her behavior or this time of quarantine, no break away from her, no respite to replenish myself. I wanted a few hours, the length of a school day. We can, at times, get out of each other’s line of sight, but unless we are whispering, we cannot avoid each other’s sound waves. Ironically, I am picking up something from Julia’s physics class studying waves.
Tuesday was better and Wednesday started well. I am using every ounce of organizational skill and discipline I have to keep us on track. School is a moving target with classes, office hours and services changing at least every week if not a number of time during the week. I fill in calendars, mine and hers, and then change them often. As school changes, time with counselors and therapists need to be rescheduled. There are daily lists of educational work and home tasks to be accomplished and I make sure Julia is taking appropriate breaks. I am teaching a weekly class and attending a weekly HILR class on musicals. Sometimes it feel as if all the zoom meetings are little wooden balls that are shaken up in a box. Balls get scattered on the floor, zoom meetings missed. Sometimes the balls are damned slippery. Continue reading
Public Service Announcement: “Regularly used in text messages or online, the word/ letter /phrase /term, “K” really only means one thing: Fuck You. The use of a “K” should be reserved for very selective moments of frustration or annoyance, otherwise it sends the wrong impression.” Read more here.
Am I the last person in the cyber world to know this?? Perhaps. I can definitely think of specific people who have used this with me. If they meant it in any other way but a casual “okay,” I was clueless. I think of myself as a relatively savvy-for-an-old-lady online participant—I do wonder where people get their gifs from and so quickly after I message them. My older daughter has promised to show me. But this, K stuff is perplexing. Who told who and when and why did they leave me out? Continue reading
The 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
Last 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
~ 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