willy-nilly

Why do we do jigsaw puzzles?

Julia and I began a new one on New Year’s Day although we hardly made any progress until this weekend. 1000 pieces that when finished will be a Venetian scene.  

I love Venice and I hunger for traveling, so it is a bitter sweet endeavor.  As I separate the lavender sky pieces from the butter colored Doge’s palace pieces, I wonder and wonder if I can begin to make summer plans.  To Venice or London or, Julia’s desire, Japan.  I know, the first two are cities and the third a country.  Japan would take a lot more planning; I know nothing about Japan. Julia, however, has texted me the address of the park in Tokyo where cosplayers gather on weekends to show off their costumes. We will make that stop.

Last week, an acquaintance on the HILR email list, wrote that she was looking for ideas for a summer trip to northern Italy.  I immediately responded, with a longer than expected description of Orta San Giulio, including restaurants, walks, the mysterious island in the middle of the Orta and the hydrangea in gardens in August. My enthusiasm leaking out of my fingers.  

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marigolds and zinnias

Last week’s centerpiece–flowers and herbs from the garden.

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.

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melting days

D053ACA6-0A6B-425E-956C-05FFE430E363I keep notes and draft of this online journal in monthly files.  At the top of the file, I have   monthly plans, goals or aspirations.  Sometimes “write more” or “daily sit” or “gym 3x week.” April’s “plans” say: remain curious, survive, grow compassion, nap.

Somewhat shameful admissions (Although I am hardly filled with shame for any of these) and other things: 

-Some kind of candy is a part of every shopping list.  This week, a bag of M&M’s. I don’t think I ever, in my own house, bought biweekly candy. I am eating some now. Continue reading

lessons

A friend commented yesterday that this time is like a wild roller coaster ride.

Agreed.

Obsessively, I watch the John Hopkins virus resource center through out the day. Today, the worldwide total confirmed cases will reach one million with 50,000 dead. I stare at the numbers.

I have written for a post every day. I draft and leave it for awhile as is my usual process. By the time I get back to the draft a few hours later, even a few minutes later, I am in a completely different head space. Mind and soul seem to have climbed another mountain or fallen down another well. And it does not seem possible to edit to reflect where I’ve been or where I’ve gotten to. Continue reading

of dominos and labyrinths

9F1F4878-C5ED-48A9-8C6E-2C7CB08D69BCAnd it is only Thursday.  Now, Friday.

Like dominos.  Like those elaborate domino runs that are impossible to look away from. Got to watch them to the end.  All week, I compulsively check NYTimes.com. COVID19 and the stock market.

Two weeks ago, a group of high school students from Newton returned from Italy and went into quarantine. There were two emails from the school about that and more emails about possibilities and procedures if necessary. On Sunday, there was an email about a Newton resident with a student in middle school who was diagnosed with a presumptive case of COVID-19. The child, without symptoms, was following the quarantine protocol.  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

our new world

F4797A75-796A-4825-A9D8-80FCB91A8BBFLast 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

finding her feet

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

learning curiosity

74CDDAE7-CE49-4E60-98E2-38B095EAE245Curiosity.  Perhaps that is the theme for the month, maybe the year.

In Mare Chapman‘s class last fall, (wonderful teacher, by the way) a discussion about feeling ‘less than’ led me to tell the story of my brother challenging my ability to do a task because I was a woman.  One of my classmates asked what I would say to my brother today if he said the same thing to me today and I was silent.  When I admitted that I had no idea what to say, she offered, “I’d ask, ‘Why would you think that?’”  Her answer/question stunned me because it was so simple and yet, so far from my grasp.

Simple curiosity! Continue reading

heroes, seasons and homecoming

B92CB329-96DB-4F8A-A23E-0D485A239D79I began this two days ago and wrote more in the morning, the day after Judge Kavanaugh complained the his “family and [] name have been totally and permanently destroyed.” He also said what goes around, comes around.  I believe Christine Blasey Ford. I believed Professor Anita Hill.  These women have showed courage beyond my wildest dreams.  My thoughts of the season pale beside their actions.  I honor them.

Still, I write.

Ah, the turning of the season!  Last week or late the week before, I noticed a few fringes of red on the trees I see driving on the Beltway.  Why don’t I know the names of trees? I could say the oaks are redding, the maples show scarlet.  Maybe one day. Not today.  Closer to home, the ashes are yellowing and dropping those tiny yellows so that the street gutters are looking messy with yellows and greens and browns.  I love that clutter.  Every year at this time, I remind myself never to buy a house in this season.  The colors, the wind, the crackle of cold air, the smell of first logs in fireplaces and the clutter of leaves lining the gutters in streets—I would be romanced, swept off my feet.  I would not make a sensible decision. Continue reading