Boxing Day. Julia and I say ‘Happy Boxing Day’ to each other without any idea of what it means. So, I looked it up—It isn’t the day people make bonfires of the boxes that their Christmas presents came in. Neither is it the day to return all the boxes containing ill-fitting or ill-styled gifts. Those were pretty lame guesses but the best we could come up with. Google revealed (with some disagreement) that Boxing Day was British, which we knew, and traditionally a day off for servants. Servants received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the ‘master’ and then were allowed to go home to give the boxes to their families. Umm, but that’s not what happened on Downton Abbey, my British manor house reference point. Having no servants to gift with boxes, we will read, write and draw, then go to the movies. I miss friends who host game playing parties on this day. Maybe next year. Continue reading
Old December holiday styled header today. Not this year’s at all; however, for how challenging the last few days have been, I want to claim December and celebrate cozy holidays.
Today, we put up and decorated our little fake tree. Bought during a year that we were going to spend a long Christmas holiday with Cheshire and Julia still wanted a tree. Since then, Julia has asked to put it up as soon as Thanksgiving is over and I could see no reason to say no. It was on the schedule for Sunday, today is Wednesday, but the little tree is up. As are a few decorations and a string of lights around the mantle. Continue reading
So 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
~ 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
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
“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
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
“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
Weekend notes. Art, pictures, mirrors and empty frames are off the walls. It is sooner than I expected but it was what presented itself for today when it started out cloudy, dark and wet. After two boxes of art/pictures (with another two to go), I am finished for today because there is sun and a chance to sit on our deck and tap on keys. We have not had anytime outside in this lovely space this spring. Granted, there may have been a few appropriate days that we missed. Trees have fully leafed out, the grass is extraordinarily green, the peonies are poised to burst with just a few more days of sun and a million ants, and the lily of the valley . . . another one of my favorites . . . blooms! Thankfully, a friend brought by cuttings from her flower garden last week and I kept the vase—all of mine are packed. I have what I need for lily of the valley to come inside. Continue reading
Yesterday, the sun rose although we needed the bathroom light to brush teeth close to 7:00 o’clock. Two hours later, there was dim light in the distance to the north and all else was dark. We had wind and shaken new leaves falling. Storm. Thunder rolled in. I sat with legs over the arm of my leather overstuffed chair, a pillow at my back so very aware of the moment and its passing. Six weeks minus one day. Are Madison storms different from the storms on the east coast? I think so although I don’t remember how. I remember our first Indiana thunder storms — fierce and furious. Storm drains filling so quickly and rushing so fast. Cheshire in First Grade in the south of town and us stuck midtown Bloomington. No cell phones then (except on tv), all we could do was wait. I don’t remember what storms were like in NYC or Jersey. Or Boston for that matter.
I will make comparisons.
With renewed vigor, curious about what we could find, Cheshire visited 4 apartment yesterday after her work day. The last place she saw in the north of Newton, is the first floor of an owner occupied two-family, heavily wood-worked, excellent stove, 3-bedroom house. The fireplace may work and there is a place for our desks and Julia’s art supplies. I am making application. Perhaps we have found the new home. The school—it is Newton North—I will do some writing to PTB in the next month and then much more when we arrive. Perhaps that beautiful building will serve Julia well, if not, I will ask for transfer to South. Yes, more questions that I am trying to love.