What a truly lovely day! My lamentation yesterday was that the dreary weather needed to move on because after two days of gloom and drizzle, I’m done. I want my Florida days sunny with maybe a wicked thunderstorm in the late afternoon or the middle of the night. They blow in, crack and down pour and move off shore. But two days of dreary drizzle was my limit. It is a blessing I was born in Florida.
I had my first casual dinner gathering. For Cinco de Mayo, the American fabricated celebration of Mexican Independence (because every one else must have the same important holidays as America) my friends came over for custom quesadillas. I got small red, yellow and orange sweet peppers at the farmers’ market Saturday along with purple onions and yellow squash. Add some homemade guacamole and pico de gallo and you have a fiesta! I made individual strawberry cobblers from Paula Deens’ recipe and I must admit….they were yummy with a bit of vanilla ice cream on top.
I finished Evan’s quilt top and now I have 2 quilts to take to to Miss Bonnie and her long arm machine. I am a pleased little pea in my pod on this late Sunday night. My kids are in bed and the day is done. God bless.
I once believed my angst originated in my natural (albeit frustrating) tendency to plan the board. In chess, you play the board. Yes, you are playing an opponent, but while waiting for your opponent to make their move, you play all the possible moves. The longer it takes the other player to move, the more combinations of moves you imagine. You can “see” the moves and play the board out to an end in an infinite number of options. I dislike this analogy because it is likens relationships to strategic and frequently oppositional. If you want to play with someone, you don’t want it to be war. And let’s face it, chess is war.
I’ve adjusted my attitude and my perspective. What I wish for and for what I wait is a partner, someone with who I can dance. And as I stand here waiting to begin the dance, I wonder, will it be a waltz? A tango? A Pasa Double? What I know is that I don’t lead. So…I stand here running the various dance steps through my head. All the possible combinations and tempos. If only I weren’t the wallflower and that tall, handsome man with the chipped tooth would ask me for a dance. There are several possible problems with this. He might not dance. He might not even come to the dance. And, if that is the case, will I be willing to settle for dancing with a less desirable partner just so I can dance or do I go home and hope for the next dance? Dancing can be done alone, certainly. We’ve all done a shimmy and a slide to a Justin Timberlake song…or an Earth, Wind and Fire song….we even dance a jig with friends at times. But to have a true partner to dance The Dance is the ultimate desire. To dance through a life with a strong hand on the small of your back, to separate only briefly, never more than a finger tip away from one another, is a lovely and fanciful wish. And every Cindarella dreams of going to the ball and meeting her Prince Charming, even if he is the tall goofy guy in the red waiter’s jacket.
It is a rainy day here, drizzling and grey. I love these kinds of days if I am able to stay home. I spend the day first cleaning the house and doing a few of those less frequent chores like cleaning the fridge or the ceiling fan blades. I might then set a loaf of challah bread to rise and bake later. It might be a good day to roast some bones for bone broth and make a French onion soup. And then the real purpose for the day: to write. I have a critiqued manuscript in a box that, if I accept the suggestions, might actually be two manuscripts, two separate novels. With a bit of surgical precision, I can excise the back story of the novel and make it a free standing story of its own. The suddenly, Viola! I have two novels. I realize I have been somewhat avoidant of writing, not because of block but rather that I know I will vanish into the world of my story and frankly….I am quite enamored with this real life I have created. The only benefit for me is the luxury of spending time with a few characters that I adore and whom do not have real world counterparts.
But alas, I need to go to work…..
This is my newest quilt project.
The glass is half full, right? If I focus on the positive and ignore the negative, I can change my attitude. Right? Thankfulness and gratitude are contagious and having a mindfulness of life’s blessings increases the blessings, right? Well, don’t tell my droopy dog self. My droopy dog self has a bury under the covers, curl in a ball, black out all the windows, stuff ear plugs in my ears, take a Benadryl and blot out the world attitude. I don’t feel good but I think it’s more that I am not “thinking” good. I don’t actually think I am sick. I am just sick-n-tired. I am feeling existential and that has the cerebral equivalent of the flu, the mental malaise of wanting to know what is the fucking point of it all? Somehow, I doubt burying under the covers and hiding from the world will help me find an answer to such teleological ruminations. Best – or better – to pitch myself onto the floor, force myself to dress, put on my “face” and go to work and listen to other peoples real problems and disregard my own affectations. No good is served in solely and simply serving myself.
What a productive weekend. I must admit, it;s easy to be super productive, when the weekend includes a full Friday off from work. I did some really hard work in the yard and with the exception of getting the lawn mowed (I have a lawn guy who couldn’t mow due to rain) and painting the last 3 sections of the back fence (also due to the rain), I got my yard chores done. I weeded the front southwest corner of the house and realize this is the one quadrant I spent the least amount of time landscaping back in August. The truth is that I don’t really see this section because it can’t be seen from inside the house and I don’t walk by it to get in the door. But, all my mechanical fixtures are on that corner and I an planning on building a fence to conceal that area. I have to relocate the camellias that got clobbered by frost in January and weed the bed overall. It was four hours of hard work and had I not pinned my own foot under a shovel handle and fallen flat onto my chest and face, I would have worked for a few more hours. There is something about getting the air forcibly knocked out of my lungs that deflates me. I got an additional 50 bags of soil and compost to fill the low rider garden beds and augment the high rise beds. I transplanted everything and sowed new seeds. The trellises are sprayed and now match the doors of the house. I scored 5 gallons of coffee grounds from Bageland to add to y garden. Now when I am out there watering, the sweet smell of roasted coffee rises up. Last night I also binge watched Prisoners of War on Hulu and guessed the twisted ending. I finished the red and grey quilt top and got all the fabric cut and paired for Evan’s bedroom quilt. The farmers’ market was a win-win. The man selling Louisiana irises was there despite the pouring rain and I got SIX new irises. I planted them in the newly weeded front southwest bed. When the fence is built and the other plants that were knocked back during the winter return, that area will have serious POW! factor. The Chickasaw plum has sprouted and leafed our and I added an area of densely seeded zinnias beteen the AC unit and the transformer. As I sit here writing, I have a plan of cookies headed into the oven and a “preevening” snack before dinner. I read through five different gardening books on all the things I want to grow and made adjustments especially since Evan wants watermelons. I am hoping that growing the watermelons will make him actually EAT watermelon. I have 3 baskets of laundry to fold and my toenails to paint (I got a new fabulous color when at Ulta on Thursday). We pick up Cameron’s tuxedo for prom on Wednesday and this coming Friday I have a meeting with my writing coach about my novel, the formal critique I had done and my new writing project. And while it’s not exactly monkeying around….it was a totally laid back and relaxed weekend.
Soft raindrops pelt the skylights as I sit typing and my sons sleep. Blessed. An aromatic cup of coffee at my right, cats munching away on their food and the windows still dark, no rays of sun fading them to day. The sun likely will hide today behind clouds and rain showers. I cleaned the kitchen from last night’s late dinner, although a couple of boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese – embellished with extra cheddar cheese – and some curly Q fries in the deep frier are not a bragging dinner; but we all agreed that going out for food was unnecessary. Unassuming comfort food consumed while watching the Boston police bring the five day ordeal of the Marathon bombing to an end. But will the terror end? I didn’t feel like Sandy Hook or Aurora or the shooting of Congressman Giffords was an attack on me, on “us”. But something about the flavor of this week since the Boston marathon bombings has felt like a knot in my stomach – in our collective guts as a nation. With the other mass shootings, it is obviously a sociopath acting in a location far from me. I have had the good fortune and random benefit to not live in the location of a sociopath (if we exclude Ted Bundy and Danny Rollings). But the marathon bombings makes me realize there could be a coming wave or many waves of hateful terrorists seeking to dismantle our homeland peace. The shadow of September 11th doesn’t quite reach me where I am at. While I know vividly all the events of that day, I don’t live in the shadow of the phantom World Trade Center and I don’t drive by the patched Pentagon. But, I live in town with a large university, right on a major interstate highway, within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant as the crow (and nuclear fall out) flies. And this week, I have felt the itching of fear at the back of my brain.
Peace is what matters right? Peace is our goal? Except I can’t control hatemongers or terrorists and they have the capacity to steal my peace and peace of mind. So, I think, what do I have control over? I have control over MY heart. I can chose to love and love grandly and without bounds or dimensions. I can be generous and extend my hand in comfort and acceptance. I can welcome into my home, my heart and my life. And I can do it unconditionally in accordance to the Lord and without reservations. for I cannot control peace. The word passion derives from the Latin word passio, which means suffering and submission. It refers to Christ’s suffering which he only experience because he became man. Man is meant to suffer….to live with suffering, with PASSION. I am no masochist, but the sublime reward of His suffering was Eternal life and a ransom paid for me. So am I not to accept my own PASSIO? Live my life with passion and walk through the grueling suffering and fear and……terror? I can’t control the grinding machine that eats up this world, but I can love and live my life with great passion.
The hollow house houses voices and breathing and noise again. The boys arrive home and bring their noise. I love their noise. They leave their clutter and hand prints on the granite counter-tops and stainless steel fridge front. I love it. I miss it when they are gone. While I clean and wipe up their smudgey messes when they are here (and when they leave), I am not bothered by them in any way. It is the evidence of my family, that the little guys that I made have been here. It’s the tag of my heart. Love wuz here. I get hugs and we laugh. The standard tug o’war over which DVR’d TV show we shall watch. I record the shows we like so we can watch together. Vikings, Psych, Elementary but not the new season of River Monsters. Now, as they do homework, listening to their music, I sit on the sofa writing and watching Michael Mosley’s Guts on PBS.
It gets me thinking about the whole dialogue I am having about thinking and feeling. Thinking through problems and feeling them through. Some people suggest I over think. I may actually over feel. But in defense, it may be that many people under think and under feel. It is an abject apathy and an intellectual laziness. I know, emphatically, I’d rather feel and think more, have big emotions and a big brain than to exist in a tepid, mild space.
Spring has started. The replacement seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange arrived yesterday. This weekend I will set about starting the new basil varieties and the tomatoes. My cheater toms, purchased at Garden Gate Nursery have recovered from being frozen and trimmed back. I laid the new low rider garden beds and the onions, carrots, potatoes and climbing cucumbers and eggplants will go in the lo riders. The tomatoes, peppers and basil in the high beds. I may transplant the strawberries to the individual cells of the low rider bricks. I just need to get 36 bags of soil, hummus and Black Kow to the house.
The blueberries have flowered and set fruit. I didn’t pinch off the fruit. It’s likely that the birds will get the majority of the fruit anyways. I will plant another fourteen high bush shrubs this year. The improvised drip line sprinkler has been effective. The wild blackberries have all started to flower, including the trench I transplanted. My bees will have an abundance of blackberry blossoms for pollen. I am hoping for a nice dark honey. I accidentally sowed lettuce seeds with the cosmos and zinnias along the beard wall at the foot of all the frost damaged Confederate jasmine. It will be a low lying ground cover if not an addition to the dinner plate. I planted the leeks in one of the cells of the herb terrace and they have come up nicely. They are walking Egyptian leeks, so, I may need to move them if they start to walk too far astray.
Silence is golden, so they say. I am wondering who are ‘they’? I live a really quiet day-to-day. Even when working, there is noise from the office and the electronics and people talking about their complaint of the day, but for me specifically, my work day is quiet, silent. That’s how it must be because my work is about others. It is about listening and hearing. I ask people their problem and why it’s a problem, why it might have become a problem and they we set about trying to solve the problem.
But at home, my world is more than quiet. When the boys are not with me, it is silent. While I can turn on the television or dock my iPod, this is no different than the bird noise outside or the train that pushes down the tracks off CR 235. After a few weekends of silence, the space becomes oppressive. You want to get out from under it. I talk to myself. I talk to other people, often having long conversations about all kinds of things. It helps if the person with whom I am conversing is not likely to talk to me any time soon because I forget that they haven’t really been in on the conversation.
I think this fantasy dialogue is the foundation of my next book. I am having a dialogue about loss, grief, trust, love and I am trying to figure out how to convey these things when my protagonist is silent and private and guarded. She isn’t like me. If you walk up to me and ask me what I find beautiful, I’ll tell you. My protagonist is far more reluctant, distant and difficult to engage. I think that I slightly envy her, yet I am beginning to realize, she’s not tolerant of her silence; she doesn’t have an easy companion with the quietude. She is having a private dialogue in her own head with the person she has lost, a person no one sees. When will she be ready to have that dialogue with a real person? Ah, and there is the story.