Pause. Perceive time. Defined by ticking timers with bells at the end, clocks and calendars is one time. Linear, predictable and plodding. But time. My time. Our time. Is different. It rushes ahead, it slows to as thick slime over cobbles, it slides sideways, quickly, irreverently, without regard for wishes, dreams or clocks. Over the long covid spring, summer, fall, winter and early spring, time lurched and sputtered. Time lost themselves is a foggy reality of days that lost their names. There was too much, not enough of it. It was not manageable no matter the breath and depth of my schedules and calendars. There was no corralling it for me. I did not write my Lear. I did not read Proust. I read and digested a few poems. Very few, very short. I was anxious and scared. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and grabbed onto a lot of outstretched hands. I wrote some. I dug two gardens. I pushed Julia’s interests and her future doings along bit by bit. Like Sisyphus. Didn’t he write emails and phone calls to agencies and people? A modern Zeus would have surely assigned him to tackle DDS, SS and DIB. Chasing genius ideas to the dead ends of realization—there should be a word for the feeling of frustration and failure when lots of energy has gone into a promising lead that is chased to an unsatisfying end.
The quality of time was a small ball of clay that could be removed from the greater river of time in which we all swim. We gathered via zoom with others but there was a sense of privacy—not cherished and beloved privacy but something like a hidden shame, even though there was no shame—we were visible in our small, regular zoom boxes with backgrounds of books that grew to be familiar and to a much lesser degree to the peopled world from noses up.
Snow day for Julia. During the last big snow, there has been only one serious snow before this one, Newton decided not to call a snow day but to merely go all remote for classes that day. I think that most students were zooming in from home anyway, so it was only the high needs students (of which Julia is one) and some very young students who would have their school day changed. However! However, there was an uproar from all corners of town! How could NPS steal precious snow day activities from children already deprived of so much of their normal? The children should have been building snow people and sledding down hills, not stuck in front of computers all day. I don’t know what the internal (or external) politics were, but the next day a traditional and completely unnecessary snow day was declared.
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.
8 Weeks until we go ‘down under’!Down under what?I have to look that up.Eight weeks before we go to Australia!The count down has begun in earnest!
And so have the tasks.
Julia had the day off on Friday, so we went to the post officer and sent in the documents for her new passport.This time it is an adult passport (her first) and valid for 10 years.Her current passport, a kid’s edition which is good for only 5 years (and yet costs the same), expires a week after we return from Australia.I asked the postal clerk why a passport must be valid for six months after a planned trip out of the country.She responded directly and cheerfully, “Just in case of a terrorist attack.You could need to stay somewhere for awhile.”I may have lost just a bit of color in my cheeks.And that’s what you get for asking questions! Continue reading →
Independence. Julia wants it. I think she is ready for some. The question is always how to arrange it and keep her safe. An opportunity at camp has arisen.
There is coffee in the mornings starting at 6:30, breakfast is not until 8:30. I made it down for coffee at 7:30. Before I left the cabin, I told Julia, mostly asleep, that I would telephone her. Hopefully, she will wake up, get out of bed and start getting dressed.
I called, explained what I wanted and she wanted to meet me by the beach, dressed and ready for breakfast. T minus 15 minutes. Continue reading →
I notice rain. Just after dawn, coming down in buckets, like cats and dogs, teaming. Or is it teeming? It thundered and lightened and made an awful fuss before coming down. This rain has been in the offing for 24 hours, announcing itself over and over again with two brief showers yesterday, neither long enough to be “rain” and mounting humidity until I turned on the air in the late afternoon. We’ve slept in the cool, manufactured air for which I am grateful. Continue reading →
The days just move along and move along. It is all a-whirl.
Seventh grade ends tomorrow. This is only the second time that Julia has greeted summer with enthusiasm. She understands enough about time to appreciate breaks. I find the transition from school to vacation unnerving. Work in school has been on the wane. Her big “country project” for social studies was finished two weeks ago. Her last book review and spelling test about a week ago. Math has dribbled to a close. Continue reading →
I’ve been wallow-y lately. Lots of stuff going on and little of it easy or smooth. Last week, I cried to the universe: Can’t anything in my life go smoothly!? I think the universe answered: no. Honestly, when I get like this, I’d really like to climb out of my skin and give it away. Who in their right mind would take it?
Self pity. Ugly, messy stuff. A gaggle of quotations run through my mind. I get it. Self pity. A dangerous elixir.
The school year is not winding down gracefully. Julia was late to school six days in a row. A lack of focus on doing the tasks at hand is the raison d’être — redressing a doll, picking up some reading, working on a lego piece has all taken precedence to getting washed, dressed and ready. The loss of focus happens in an instant, my back turns, I make my bed, I run downstairs to start the kettle. And Julia has been disrespectful to teacher twice this week — refusing work, speaking inappropriately, being generally mean. I live in dead fear that this will escalate and mark her as a trouble maker. I fear alienating the very people, her teachers, who are her lifeline to the world. Continue reading →
Travel News: (1) I bought summer plane tickets. (2) I pricelined a Chicago hotel room for the weekend to visit Julia’s vision therapy doctor and her naturopath.
Travel News Fallout: Julia, on hearing of the travel plans, is ready to spend our entire week in England exploring Harry Potter related sites.
I have been hunting and gathering for a few weeks. I waited a week too long and saw airfare prices creep up, not by much, but, related to that, flights filled up. There was slim pickings for our seats to Milan. After I chose ours, there were another 8 seats left in the economy section and the only two seats together did not recline. I bought ten weeks before travel. There were no incredible deals that I could find after the twelve week point. And definitely less choice. To be sure, there are last minute deals to be found if one could wait it out but I begin talking to Julia about a weekend in Chicago a few weeks before we go. A month in Italy is not something to spring on her. Continue reading →
I’ve been talking about my nascent travel plans for this summer among friends and a few folks asked how I find somewhat economical airline tickets for summer travel. When I began planning last month, I dug out last year’s notes but what I had saved was slap dash not not useful. I had to do some reinvention of the wheel and, in order not to repeat that exercise, I’m writing it down now. Also, I’ve been reading travel blogs and websites and frankly, I don’t agree with some of what I’ve read. I am always trying to squeeze an extra mile out of my travel dollars and this is what has worked for me. (If any reader has suggestions to do better, please comment.) Continue reading →