Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sugar and tea and rum


  • A big work thing. I'm sad it's over until the end of the summer, when it starts up again (assuming I get the contract again).
  • I learned how to pronounce Tove Jansson and Maira Kalman.
  • I'm halfway through Adriene's 30-day yoga challenge.

Here I'm tempted to add things like "brushed my teeth every day" to this list, which is just pitiful, so I'll resist.


Another January day, another long walk.

Monday, January 11, 2021


Spooky old-time children summoning the devil in the park near my house.
"Fessenden Park, 1938" (1938). Neighborhoods - Portland Press Herald Still Film Negatives

Oh hi, I didn't see you there. Coup? What coup?

We went to the beach yesterday with plans to meet a dog friend (actually two dog friends and one human friend). It was a bright, brilliant, 38 degree day in January, and the tide was low, low, low. As we approached the normally (in winter) empty parking lot, the heavy traffic alerted us to the fact that we were not the only people who had decided to go to the beach. Reader, there were so many people there. Like, a 90-degree-summer-day amount of people. I actually don't think I've witnessed that many humans in one geographical area since March 2020. Luckily, the beach was enormous, due to the low, low, low tide I mentioned. We were spectacularly distanced from the other humans, and we had a lovely time walking and walking on the beach. Mark has a new (to him) Apple watch, and it informed us that between our morning Eastern Promenade promenade and our beach saunter, we walked 17,000 steps. 

Clover hadn't met these dog friends before, and they got along great. They ran and dug and smiled. One of them found a stunningly large pile of discarded Doritos on the beach and later threw up on my shoe. 

Friday, January 01, 2021

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us

I accidentally left my phone at home on this morning's beach walk, always a good thing after the initial panic (long ago, before my first iPhone, I imagined a world where all of us would have smart phones that weren't accessories, but required devices, like a remote control that was necessary for us to function. Like when you lose the TV remote and can't remember how to make it do anything using just the buttons on it?).

Always a good thing, but not pictured:

  • A snowy owl, a huge lady* that looked like this, perched atop of the chimney of a beach house, basking in the sun.
  • Five horses, with riders, strolling down the beach. Not strolling — what do horses do that's slower than a trot? That. Clover was investigating their presence, sniffing their hoof prints in the sand, long before we finally saw them. She was so good, sitting reverently as she watched them go by.
  • Also, why are horses allowed to poop at will on the beach and no one scoops? Is horse poop, like cow poop, more quickly composted and less...bad...than dog poop? I could Google this, obviously, but choose not to.
  • That feeling when you turn back after walking miles along the beach, and the spot you came from never seems to get any closer, and at some point you realize it's fine, what could be a lovelier purgatory than walking forever on a beach with the sun shining and brisk wind and your best dog and best person beside you?
  • That feeling when you get back to the rocky spot you passed an hour earlier and realize the tide's come in too high and you're going to have to retrace your steps for a mile, exit the beach, and follow the road back to your car. BUT THEN you see the snowy owl again, moved to another sunny spot, and you run into the annual Christmas bird count folks* too. And everyone's waving Happy New Year from yards away.

And we made it to 2021, which is something! Clover rang in the New Year from the basement, where for some mysterious reason she skittered off around 10:30pm. When I got up I thought she had come back to bed in the night and was still there with Mark. She scared the crap out of me emerging from the dark when I was getting cat food out of the pantry.

*these experts told us she was a lady.

Rabbit rabbit


So much of any year is flammable

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The tune your bones play

The solstice started with a soft sky and ended overcast. We struggled to get a fire burning in our rusty fire pit, where I forced us all out into the snow, encouraged by hot chocolate, some with marshmallows, and a hot cup of ginger tea with honey for Edna, who doesn't do chocolate. Every fleece blanket we own was there too, though it wasn't really too cold. I didn't take a picture, there were no stars in the sky, and I hoped that the pitiful flame — not very bright, not very warm* — could symbolize the year we're leaving behind, and not the one that stretches in front of us.

Isaac and Edna, quarantined and tested twice, are here to make a little Christmas celebration with us. We are baking a little and cooking a little, and we have a little tree with a few presents under it.  

The thing about the winter solstice is it's just the beginning of the hardest part, even though I'm a glass-half-full person and the light is growing and I love the snow etc. 

*on our to-do list = firewood, kindling

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

This year

I have zero cause for complaint. I'm extremely superstitious about mentioning this, but my loved ones are safe and healthy.

But here I go: this is the year in which a predicted snowstorm is likely to cancel Isaac and Edna's scheduled COVID-19 test tomorrow. They also have a test today, but they will have to wait longer for its results, and they're waiting in a generously donated—but very cold—space. This is the year that is keeping most of my beloveds, including my sweetest girl, far away.

Lucky: to have a kid who could drive here, to have a friend who would offer his empty house for isolating. To have enough money to feed ourselves and also buy out the frozen section of Trader Joe's for said kid's quarantine. To have a warm puppy and a warm catfriend and lights on a perfect little tree and batteries for window candles and a tube of almond paste for macaroons in the meantime. To have a car WITH HEATED SEATS and a beach ten minutes away, to walk in the cold wrapped in a warm coat. 

Things I observed recently:

  • Crows congregating in a circle, something happening in the middle, but what? 
  • A man wearing bright yellow trousers smoking a pipe over his lowered mask. 
  • A sweet pit bull in a sweater gazing up earnestly at me, a loving, begging face. 
  • Clover at a loss, looking like she forgot something, searching for Mark across the beach, on a day we'd gone without him.
  • A police car running a red light, no lights or sirens on, just coasting slowly, brazenly through it.
  • One lone bird trapped inside Trader Joe's (I keep thinking and worrying about this bird, days later).