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?  

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and so it begins

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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letting go

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.  

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to the lake and back

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.

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helicopter gardening

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

end of week 9

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

on the porch

2CB2E505-4EAA-4A33-8555-1820F61563E3Time 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

independence day

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

late november catch-up

IMG_6072Public 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