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I’ve never really understood April fools’ day - the reason for it or why it is popular. I realize this probably paints me in a bad light, but I just don’t get it. This is a day I’d just rather sleep through than have to scrutinize every.last.story or headline I hear or see. Yes, pulling a prank can be fun, but if there’s a day set aside just for pranking, isn’t everyone expecting it? Isn’t it more fun to just do something unexpected, out of the blue? Why run with the herd? But that’s just me. Iconoclast to the end.
This spring has been slow, cold and grey. With the pandemic, stay at home orders and all the uncertainty, life has become something of a slog. We had such great hopes for 2020, that all of the political hullabaloo of 2019 would end and we’d move on. It is an election year, but no one I know is excited about it anymore, the candidates are ho-hum, and the spread of the virus has taken over the news cycle. I need for sunshine and color to kick in this month, to shift the balance of life from slog back to delight.
After digging a bit through the stash, I finally laid hands on the yarn I wanted. During tonight’s virtual knitnite, I cast on two new projects. Because I had to dig through the stash, I found three other yarns I really want to use now. I hope to swatch, select the pattern and get projects started for them in the coming weeks. I’m distracting myself from the grim reality of the outside world and I’m keeping the sheep cold. Playing with pretty, pretty yarn already in my stash is an excellent diversion, easy on the budget and low calorie, too!
Planting seeds is an act of hope and faith. Particularly this year. Waiting on the flower seeds I ordered (late), I sowed the frost-tolerant veggie seeds today, except carrots. If we’re lucky, by June, we won’t need to buy lettuce. There will also be peas, possibly beets, kale and swiss chard. I’m experimenting with scallions and bok choy (the package says pak choi). This week, I’ll see about planting a few carrots. Next month, I’ll plant a second round of the root veggies, and get bean seeds in the ground, but the seeds are old. Can I find any online?
Standing in front of an open window after dark, I hear them: peepers. The sound is a bit fainter than in years past, when I could lay in bed and read to the musical stylings of the little frogs. If I move away from the window, I don’t hear them at all. Perhaps there are fewer peepers after neighbors cleaned out their back yards, or maybe (she says hopefully) it is just early in the season. I seem to remember them being quite loud on a May evening a few years ago; each year I look forward to their return.
Daily Respite. A few minutes each day, preferably early in the morning. A little something – a poem, a video, a song, whatever- that brings a little joy into the day. I think this is something I’d sign up for even after things improve. Because I am assuming that things will improve – this is not the new normal, this is just an intermediate period. I keep telling myself that, and anyone who will listen. The idea that this is how things will be forever is anathema. A year seems regrettably probable, eighteen months possible. But at some point, science will help.
The cardiologist indicated a complete recovery was possible for dad – at least as far as his heart goes. But it will require dad to actively participate and strive for that recovery: every single day, he needs to be walking about and doing things that really require the heart to work. While I understand that it may be difficult for Dad to do that this week, what with uncooperative weather and the fact that every public space (like a mall) is off limits, there are options. Such as the treadmill that already exists in the house. Use it or lose it!
Migraines have been a part of my life for more than four decades. They have changed and evolved, and at some junctures, came close to dominating my life, with multiple migraines in a 7 day span, for weeks on end. In recent years, they happen less frequently and “merely” dominate individual days. The day of a migraine is a lost day - I cannot look at a computer screen on those days, even after the meds have brushed away the actual headache. If I do, my eyes begin to feel jittery and often it triggers the onset of another migraine.
Grocery shopping has never really bothered me, at least not until now. My shopping trip last month was enough to convince me not to go back, not until the pandemic has… stabilized? But shopping online, with a poorly designed UI, items that go in and out of stock – and in and out of your basket, for no apparent reason! – is really beginning to annoy me. It is worse now because we lost a delivery window after getting an abbreviated delivery. The issues are the nearly same with the two different vendors. Even mom is now having problems getting a delivery.
I try to avoid the news in general – even without a pandemic. Now, it doesn’t matter how hard I try to keep away from the headlines, I cannot not know how bad things are right now, here, where I live. The county is posting some downright scary numbers of its own, but those out of the city are incomprehensible. The virus is peaking here and I cannot explain it to someone who doesn’t live here, but life has taken a different quality. We’re almost afraid to breathe outside the house – and we haven’t even left the property in three weeks.
After another week of staring at computer screens, morning, noon and night, I have to do something different. The weather is decent today so I tried work off the headache that was brewing in the tiny jitters behind my eyes. Being outside in sunny, spring weather is a balm for the body and soul in any year if you live where winter is a real season. The daffodils and forsythia are still (!) in bloom, tulips are progressing and the willow branches are green. Our magnolias are showing buds with that beautiful bold pink base. Soon. It is almost here.
The Easter Bunny is always very generous with me. In a year like this it is especially nice to get something from my childhood – Old Smoky Candy Kitchen taffy, for example. It is hard to say to someone that you love, someone who you know loves you: you really shouldn’t have. You know they’re doing something to make you happy, it is an expression of their love. But. I need to be healthier, or I won’t be around to return your love. I’ve been saying it for a few years. When is that finally going to be heard, and understood?
Dreams are such odd things. Just the fact that humans dream while sleeping is odd. Never mind the convoluted and fabulous stories that transpire in those dreams. Or the fact that during the dream, we believe, even for one nanosecond, that this is actually happening, that this is a reality. The supposed purpose of dreams suggests to me that our human brains are nothing but poorly designed prototypes. The fact that we have such difficulty remembering our dreams, and that as the day progresses, last night’s dream become less and less substantive, does seem to be consistent with that purpose.
It has been a month now and no one knows when things will improve. If flour is this hard to get now, is there any doubt it will get worse? It took some digging, but I found a source for white whole wheat flour. I am baking. Regularly. And experimenting – some are sure not to turn out so well. I will be able to give some away, for sure. Why all this hemming and hawing about flour? I had to buy a 50 lb. sack. It is not labeled KAF but it is probably from the same grain and mill.
Today is Tax Day. No, wait, it isn’t Tax Day this year, that’s going to be a few months off in the future. But it is Finish Video Day. As always, a collaborative project comes down to the wire. I will try not to rant here, but if the other person had paid attention to my comments a week ago, we wouldn’t have to go through this last minute near panic bullshit. It isn’t the first time that feedback has been ignored. I really don’t understand why I almost have to throw a fit to get him to make changes.
Not the best day. I don’t know what triggered the migraine, but it was there when I woke up and got bigger. As much as I want to be unhappy about them (and I am – they are, on the whole, less frequent than they were before menopause) at least right now it is less of a concern. Everyone is distracted. And the deadlines that drove the first half of the month are done. There’s not much on the radar for the rest of the month – yet. A new opportunity may be just around the corner, waiting to drive me crazy.
Practice makes perfect. It is true with music and it is true with making bread. Today’s practice was with the English muffin bread recipe, which requires no kneading, and no waiting. It turned out well, probably the best version of this bread that I’ve ever made. Not that its difficult, it is a very easy bread. But I’ve had a problem in the past with loaves not rising. Not just with this bread, but many breads. Due to a lack of structure, I think. The proofing box is amazing. You will have to pry that from my cold, dead hands.
Another day of rain, no working in the garden, no walking. There are more than enough chores – and knitting, or reading, or whatever- to keep me busy inside, but I just don’t want to look at a computer. Between Teams and Zooming for work, FaceTiming with parents, Zooming for local and international knit nites, screens morning, noon and night, even on the weekend, I am done. My eyes have that jittery post-migraine feeling all the time. I need a day away from screens. Probably more than a day, but I’m going to start with today. I skipped today’s online knitfest.
We both got lost in the concept of Scotland’s North 500, even if it is a tourist ploy. Never mind the whiskey: the coast! The hills! The sheep! Salmon! Haggis! Sticky Toffee Pudding! If it were not the year that it is, when travel is inconceivable, I have no doubt we’d be booking a flight and looking at hotels. As it is, we spent more than an hour looking at websites, maps, pictures and –in the case of himself- watching dashcam videos for the thrill of “up a little hill, down a little hill, and around the corner” Scottish style.
As himself points out, I don’t have to commute any more. I don’t have to make small talk with people in my office. I shouldn’t be quite so put off by work – the fact of it, and the nature of it. But I am. I’m not a slacker, I don’t really know how to do it. But I am a bit of a procrastinator – there’s always several things I could be doing. Right now, those are far more interesting than what I should be doing, and I am lacking the discipline to focus on the boring “should be doing” things
I keep forgetting that I have this option. The software is installed not just on my cell phone but the iPad too. It wouldn’t be a complete entry but if I could just manage to say a few words of every day as I look back it would help me tremendously. A momentary pause and reflection on the day. I am trying to maintain this gig, despite not really knowing why I persist, although this month the reasons are less perplexing. And to be honest the voice recognition is much better now than when I did this in the car.
Today for the first time in over a month I went off the property. Between missing groceries and needing prescription meds I decided it was worth the risk. Unfortunately, my car had other ideas, having not really been driven since the beginning of March. So I took his. The store was remarkably empty, which made it relatively less stressful. I got everything on the list, although not necessarily everything I should have gotten. I was still very concerned about getting out as fast as possible and upon return home, I went through “decontamination” procedures. What a world we live in.
Even in these times, or maybe especially times, who gets Wendy's delivered? It’s a fifteen minute drive to the nearest one. Who gets a single hamburger and fries delivered in the suburbs? (Yes, we barely qualify as the suburbs.) Sometime between 7:00 and 9:00 PM, someone left a bag of food from Wendy’s on our porch. They didn't ring the doorbell, didn't knock, didn't say anything - simply left the food and wandered off. We called our neighbor, but there was no response. We won’t eat it. Talk about waste – not just the food, but the effort to deliver it.
Everyone's entitled to their opinions. I just wish most people wouldn't express them about politics. Even if I may agree on certain points, when a group of people get together it devolves into bashing. At the moment I can't dwell on the incredible stupidity, I just don't have the spoons for it as they say. The brutal volleyball between these two New Yorkers who never got along is difficult to avoid, particularly in this house. Our governor's father was honestly a good guy but the governor's brother is a just idiot, in many of the same ways as our president.
I thought I was managing to get through the day fairly well. In the morning I did chores, more than I planned. Fred KnitFest went well, lots of laughter, sharing of stories and learning a bit about each other. The afternoon is where things went south, I'm not quite sure why. I should have eaten something for lunch. And then dinner - well, it was a disappointment for both of us. But later, preparing to soak away in the bathroom, the window wide open, I catch the tail end of the Peepers Serenade and suddenly nothing seems quite so grim.
I am baking bread, all the bread, and loving it! The brioche today (with a new recipe) is perfect – light, airy, with a glossy mahogany shell. The irish brown bread is crumbly and delicious. The video of a stroll through the Brooklyn Botanic garden – through the Japanese garden with the weeping cherry trees lining the pond gloriously in bloom – is a wonder. I wish all the days were like this one… I am so ready to not be working any more. Can I make it another year? Do I have to make it another year? Would September be an option?
It is my turn again and for my daily starts, I chose to continue the travel theme that has persisted through the last two months. I thought about the gold coast estates, but after drafting half of the entries, I decided instead to revisit my childhood. To have some fun – and to keep it shorter. The state and national parks have some amazingly beautiful landscapes, so why not? Starting in the Upper Peninsula and moving across the state, then down to the Lower Peninsula Michigan thread starts there is week’s content in the places I’ve been to and can remember.
I will never forget those August trips with my family: camping by Lake Fannie Hooe, picking thimbleberries (destined for pie or jam, depending on what family members were with us), walking through the Fort, going in and out of the buildings I knew while imagining life in the 1800s, swimming in Lake Superior (cold, even in August!), hunting for agates, whizzing down the hill from the park into Copper Harbor on our bikes, watching the Isle Royale Queen II dock and its passengers -often looking rather green- disembark, going to Calumet for a special breakfast or pasties at Tony’s. Bliss.
Frank and Amelia came by tonight to say hello, splashing down in the pond on top of the pool as they returned to the Island, their summer home. They hung out briefly in the backyard, snacking on the bird seed that had escaped the feeder while Frank keeping a close watch out for anything lurking in the yard. Or house. I suspect the chemicals that were just added to the pool -yesterday? today?- did not agree with them. They departed after a brief visit, and like last year, we probably will only see them this once, our ducks of spring.
Edinburgh knows how to do Beltane. I’m gobsmacked by the pictures of past events which give a hint of the scale, the dedication, the pageantry of their celebration. The virtual event this year was entertaining, although of a different tenor. I had a rather smaller celebration here, courtesy of some GI distress in the afternoon, so no alcohol for me. But I had flowers for color and joy, took a ritual(istic) bath, had cranachan for dessert, stayed up a bit late, sat with candles and contemplated the bigger picture. Which is all that I ask of myself on fire festivals.
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