Posts Tagged ‘flowers are still nice even though they die’

It is a blustery Friday. Carla is at school, my in-laws have all headed home. Teriyaki chicken breasts are cooking in the crockpot. My house is quiet, except for the wind bumping up against the windows. I have laundry to do and flyers to fold and a few groceries yet to put away, but I am in a Very Good Mood. 

Here are some of the things that are contributing to my pleasant mood today.

1. Spring Springing Up. Earlier this week, Carla and I saw the first popcorn tree of the season. (I think the trees we refer to as “popcorn tress” are really Bartlett pear trees.) Most of the other trees in our area are still skeletal, with only the tiniest buds appearing on their branches. So it was delightful to see the frothy blooms, bright and happy against the persistent gloom of our very rainy April. That was Saturday, maybe? Today, I noticed that that single blooming scout has been joined by an array of blossoms. Cherry trees! Magnolias! Forsythia! It is really and truly spring. Also, one of the houses in our neighborhood bought and installed one of those enormous house-sized skeletons last Halloween. They have kept the skeleton up since October, and simply decorate it for the season. It is currently wearing pink garland and bunny ears, which delights me to no end. 

I feel compelled to tell you that I did not take this photo, I pulled it off of Canva.

2. Spring Flowers. My regular grocery store had a disappointing array of flowers this week. The tulips were all already on the far side of blooming, and were $8.99 besides. But I went to Trader Joe’s this morning and found lots and lots of tulips (for $4.99 a bunch!) and a bouquet of calla lilies (also $4.99!) to buy. Yay!

3. Tiny Tomato Plant. Speaking of Trader Joe’s, the last time I was there, I bought this little tomato plant on a whim. It is bringing me so much joy! Firstly, it has SO MANY tomatoes already growing! Plus, it keeps blooming with more and more little yellow flowers that will grow into their own fruit someday soon. My niece was obsessed with the plant, checking it daily, asking if the tomatoes were ripe enough to pick and eat. I wish I had been able to capture her little earnest, hopeful voice saying, “Aunt Suz? I really think this one is ripe now.” She and Carla both LOVE finding and eating a ripe tomato. So fun! Each plant was $9.99 and I should have bought more than one. Like… five of them.

Do not worry – the tomato does not live on the piano. I simply set it there because that was the only spot in the house that was getting decent light. Please ignore how filthy the planter is. Sheesh.

4. Strawberries and Mascarpone. While I realize I am skating very close to turning this post into an ode to Trader Joe’s, I was enraptured by their produce section this morning. In particular, they had beautiful looking strawberries. I grabbed two packages along with some mascarpone cheese. One of my family’s favorite summer desserts is strawberries and mascarpone. You add some honey to the mascarpone cheese, whisk it up, and dollop it on top of cut fresh strawberries. I skip the honey these days and I find the whole thing just as satisfying and summery. 

5. Kirkland Brand Prosecco Rose. This is my current favorite fun drink. I buy it for the ridiculously inexpensive price of $6.99 a bottle at my local Costco. It’s tasty. (Please note I am not a wine connoisseur, so I’m not saying it’s GOOD, just that I like the taste, which is really what matters when a person is drinking a beverage.) And IT’S PINK. A pink drink is automatically fun. Well, unless it’s Pepto Bismol or some sort of antibiotic, but that doesn’t really count as a “drink,” even though you drink it. I am getting off track. This sparkly drink makes any random evening into something that feels cheerful and celebratory.

I realize this is not a champagne flute or coupe, but I have to wash those by hand and this glass goes in the dishwasher.

And we have reason to celebrate (with more than cheap bubbly): my mother-in-law is in remission! We are all so happy and relieved. I know the prospect of the cancer remaining or having spread was weighing heavily on my in-laws minds and this is just the BEST news. A big part of the reason they were visiting this time was to see her oncologist surgeon, and do a bunch of tests and scans. I am really glad we could be their home base while they underwent this ordeal. Her good news was the perfect note to end their visit on.

Hoping you have a wonderful weekend, and if you are celebrating Passover or Easter, that you enjoy your holiday, and that if you aren’t participating in any holiday that you find SOMETHING to celebrate and a pink drink to toast with.

Read Full Post »

continue to feel like a planet whirling so fast it is about to spin off its axis. The frigid vacuum of space sounds pretty pleasant right about now. I wouldn’t be able to breathe, but it would be so quiet

I had a meeting this morning about the school project I am working on. My project partner and I are so lucky a) to have each other (well. I am lucky to have her. Remains to be seen whether I will be useful for anything but flailing.) and b) that the previous head of this project has made herself available to us for questions and coaching. But today’s meeting was… well, let’s say it is A LARGE PART of why I am spinning so fast. It seemed like we would ask a question about how best to execute Task A. And we’d talk through it and get to the end, and then an unrelated topic would insinuate itself into the conversation briefly, and then, BAM, by the way, Unrelated Topic is actually crucial and you need to do it BEFORE you can execute Task A. Like, you’re digging away at this nice deep hole, and then when you get to the bottom, someone yells, “WAIT! You were supposed to dig to the left of this hole first!” So you go back and dig the new hole, but the dirt you displace from the new hole crumbles and fills up the hole you already dug, which you are now going to have to dig again, but in a slightly different way.


Speaking of meetings! I met with my potential client yesterday. And by “client” I mean one organization, but multiple people. As I mentioned in my previous fret about this encounter, I had no idea what to wear. Not only have I had very very few business encounters since I left full-time work SIX YEARS AGO OMG, but I have also put on quite a lot of weight since then, rendering any very old, out-of-style business wear wholly unwearable. I have this beautiful cream silk blouse that I have kept all these years, so I tried it on, but my boobs kept trying to make a break for it. I figured that boob wrangling would add a layer of stress I didn’t need to my meeting, so I scrapped that idea.

I was to meet the client(s) for coffee, and my Fashionable Friend told me that I could wear jeans and a blouse or a nice sweater for that type of meeting. (Do you have a Fashionable Friend? She is very nice to have around. For lots of regular-friendshippy reasons, but also because she always knows the right answer to style questions.) So I found a nice top and a blazer and wore those with dark jeans and heels. It was the right call: the clients were wearing a range from jeans/leggings to dresses, so I felt nicely in the middle. And I was comfortable, and my boobs behaved themselves. 

The meeting itself was very nice. The organization is one I am familiar with and I love its mission and product. And the people were friendly and smart and totally the type of people I would want to be friends with. It was a little intimidating, being in a room with multiple people, unmasked. But the strangeness of that faded quickly. The single drink option during the meeting was coffee. Which, as you may recall, I do not drink. I am SURE I could have asked for some water, but by the time I had the opportunity, it would have been A Big Pain, so I just went with the coffee option. I AM BREEZY. By the way, not only was it coffee, it was black coffee, which I have never even tasted. And WOWZA did it ever go straight to my head! For a few deeply uncomfortable minutes, I felt sure I would throw up or pass out, which is surely not the best first impression to make upon potential clientele. You will be pleased to learn (as I was) that I neither vomited nor swooned, and made it through, hopefully leaving them with the feeling that I am friendly and competent and not a weird socially awkward mole who hasn’t been around people in two years. 

I am getting more and more excited about our upcoming travel. But oh Mylanta there is SO MUCH LAUNDRY. I wish people would just stop wearing clothing so that I can get allllllll the laundry done and folded. Then we can set aside the things we want to pack for the trip, and make do with whatever remains. 

Also, my husband – who is legitimately WILDY busy at work, and never gets home before seven anymore – did a couple loads of laundry over the weekend. I discovered today that he had left the clean clothes in the laundry basket. A, I appreciate that he did some laundry; that is awesome. And B, I am constantly leaving laundry in the basket, or on top of the guest room bed, sometimes for many many days. But it still made me feel betrayed and petulant. 

Speaking of betrayed and petulant: Poor deprived Carla wailed at me today that she has no clothes!!!! and I never do any laundry!!!! and look at her overflowing laundry basket!!!!! The same child who has an entire closet full of dresses, and an entire drawer full of jeans and corduroys that she begged me to buy for her at the beginning of the school year. 

What did she end up wearing? Leggings and a t-shirt. And because it is still chilly here, I dredged up a sweater for her to throw on top. 

WHERE are all her sweaters, I wonder? Perhaps in the overflowing laundry bin, which I must once again put through the wash. I did notice that the bottom drawer of her dresser doesn’t close all the way, and it seems to be because there are some shirts that have fallen back behind the drawer, into the empty space of the dresser. But I cannot for the life of me get to them! The dresser is bolted to the wall and the bottom of the dresser doesn’t have enough room for me stick even a pair of kitchen tongs under. I guess the shirts will stay there until we move someday? Or perhaps we will have to figure out how to take the drawer off its track? But who knows how many shirts and sweaters are hiding back there! 

I am stressing about the keeping-keto portion of our vacation. Part of me wants to just give it up and eat as though I am on vacation… but part of me is deeply reluctant to cede the small amount of ground I have gained. Fortunately, most restaurants (YES, we will be eating in restaurants!!! Ahhhhh!!!!) offer things like steak or salmon. I will simply have to resist things like mashed potatoes and baked potatoes and French fries and desserts. Sounds doable, if not fun, but I suspect my resolve may crumble when everyone else around me is eating something delicious that I “can’t” have. My biggest hurdle, I think, will be hamburgers. I LOVE a hamburger, and I LOVE a nice buttery toasty bun, and I LOVE ketchup, none of which are keto-friendly. Well. We’ll see how it goes. 

Speaking of keto, I have ZERO IDEA what we will eat for dinner this week. It seems wholly unfair to have to keep planning and preparing meals when I am already planning and preparing for a trip. Maybe we will do a stir fry, using one of the MANY delicious ideas you suggested on this post? Maybe a pizza night? Maybe… a salad? I feel like I have some veggies I want to use up before we leave. Some sort of… roasted veggies smorgasbord? 

This period of Too Much Too Much Ahhhhhhh! has served as a valuable reminder to me of just how critical my daily workout it. I am not winning any ab competitions or even doing any sort of visible toning (perhaps there is a LOT of tone beneath the fat and skin; hard to say), but working out is almost the only thing that makes me feel tethered to reality. Sweating for a half hour, grunting my way through a bunch of awful squats, hefting weights over my head, focusing only on the directions/encouragement of the coach while I grind out another rep – whatever it is, it helps my thoughts slow their frantic dash around my brain. (And I know I have recommended her before, but I just adore Lindsey of Nourish Move Love. She is extremely kind and supportive and offers tons of modifications if you don’t have weights/don’t want to bend your knees so deeply/don’t own a booty band. And she does all the exercises with you, panting and groaning over the tough parts, which makes it all seem doable.)

I am going to leave you with some flowers. As per Swistle, I did not wait until my previous flowers had perished to replace them. Instead, I bought a new bouquet and added it to the original group. Carla requested white tulips, so white tulips it is. 

Last week’s batch are definitely looking a little faded and saggy. But you know what? They have their own beauty despite their age. And they are still standing

Read Full Post »

I am in the thick of it right now, and it’s not even very thick – people are in much thicker situations, and dealing just fine, and here I am flailing around. So I am feeling stressed and also irritated with myself for being stressed over so little. It really doesn’t take much. 

Taking a page from Swistle’s book and buying pretty flowers so at least there’s something bright in my day.
  • Obviously, at the top of the frets list is the awfulness going on in Ukraine. The thought of people losing their homes, their loved ones, their lives… the thought of cities being devasted and bombed… the thought of babies and cancer patients huddled in basements and subway tunnels… it is all so awful. And then there is the underlying threat of a giant nuclear-weapon wielding toddler getting bored or angry and throwing a temper tantrum that results in nuclear destruction. Of course, there is other extremely upsetting stuff going on here in the US and around the world at the same time. The media coverage feels absolutely gleeful, there is so much bad stuff to go around. I am avoiding as much of the news as I can, which is, of course, a very privileged option. But it’s all horrible, whether you try to ignore it or not.
  • Did I mention that I stayed home today with a sick kiddo? (It’s not Covid.) I would have stayed home anyway, but being at home hits differently when there is a child at home with you. In totally unrelated news, her school went mask-optional last week. Carla was elated about the option to stop masking, and so she stopped masking. My husband and I supported this for several reasons, but it really came down to the fact that she is nearly nine and we literally cannot force her to wear a mask. Once she’s at school, all bets are off. Anyway, some of those virulent little bugs that have been waiting around for two years to get a crack at some delicious elementary schoolers jumped right on board. Right on in there. It took one week for this to happen. 
  • We are still wearing masks in public, even though cases are very low in my area right now. However, my husband and I did go to a restaurant for my birthday. We did not wear masks in the restaurant. (Although I put mine on to visit the restroom.) It feels a little odd to pick and choose this way. No masks at school, no masks at a restaurant. But I will throw on a mask to go to the grocery store or the post office. I don’t know. It all feels very strange. 
  • Dinners this week? Ha. I have not thought about a single dinner beyond tonight. No one will starve. I have some broccoli and some lettuce and some green beans to make as sides. We are having tacos for dinner tonight, even though the thought of tacos makes me queasy. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. 
  • Speaking of taco queasiness, I am doing Keto again. Sigh. This is Week Six, which seems like a good point at which to share it with you. Leave it to Keto to make my favorite food in all the world unappealing. It’s just that I’ve eaten so very much taco meat in the past six weeks. Piles and piles of it. Turns out I really need shells to enjoy the taco experience. I will try not to talk about it a whole lot, although I have found a few products and a few modifications that have made it better, this time around. If you are interested, maybe I will write a post about them. I mean, I may write a post about it anyway, no promises, but I will put something Keto-related in the headline so you can skip it if you are so inclined. 
  • I made up a big batch of Costco salmon last night, which was DELICIOUS, but then I realized that I may be eating too much salmon, and looked it up and INDEED I am eating like 50 times the recommended salmon amount, so now what? I don’t want to let the salmon go bad. Plus it is delicious. How quickly does mercury poisoning set it, anyway?
  • I did a yoga workout today and Adriene said something about how I needed to clear the desk of my mind. Well. My desk and my mind are pretty aligned, I’d say. (I did not get a lot out of today’s session.)
I have to be honest, it’s looked worse.
  • Things that are stressing me out, on the opposite end of the nuclear-warfare spectrum:
    • We are going on a trip. I have all the usual pre-trip stresses, like making packing lists and checking that the plane schedule is the same, and trying to figure out how to remain clothed in the days leading up to the trip without needing to do extra laundry. Plus, the pandemic-era pre-trip stresses, like wondering whether our flights will be canceled or our rental car will be there when we arrive or whether we will all contract Covid in the airport on the way to or from our destination. 
    • I have a meeting with a new potential client. I am excited but nervous. We are meeting in person, which is adding to the nerves. As is typical of my stress about situations like this, I am hyper-focused on WHAT DO I WEAR. I have nothing to wear, nothing at all. 
    • I volunteered for a school project, because I wanted to be more involved at school. And it is turning out to be MUCH more involved than I ever imagined. I mean, this is a thing that happens yearly. There should be clearly defined policies and procedures that I can follow. And yet it is a situation where I feel like I am in a dark room and I can only shine my flashlight on one thing at a time, and even then I can’t get a really good sense of the layout of the furniture or what things I’m missing. It is also taking A LOT OF TIME. 
    • A friend – who is heading up a different school project – asked me many months ago if I would help with a small aspect of her project. I said yes. But now I am concerned that I will be too busy with my project to devote enough time/attention to hers, but it’s also too late to back out.
    • My in-laws are coming to visit. I am so happy and relieved that my mother-in-law has completed chemotherapy. She and my father-in-law are coming up for some post-chemo doctors’ appointments and tests. It will be great to see them, but it is never un-stressful to have guests. 
    • I am on the docket for jury duty. I only had to report for one day each of the last two times I was called for jury duty. The odds are not in my favor for skipping out on it again, are they. 
    • When am I supposed to WRITE, which is supposedly my main priority? 

  • Something that is not stressing me out, but is still requiring time and energy, and, okay, a little stress, is that Girl Scout Cookies arrived. The part I hate the most, aside from asking people to spend money, is the collecting of the money. What if Carla or I make a mistake? What if we under- or overcharge someone? We already had one incident where a neighbor said that a box of cookies was missing – but in fact she had written on the form that she wanted to donate a box. So we are already on the hook for that box of cookies. It is only $5, and paying $5 is worth more than insisting the neighbor pay it. But I hate stuff like that! 
The floor of my office right now.
  • Carla and I ran some errands today. Her fever was gone (which means she can return to school tomorrow), and we mainly stayed in the car. We did go into the pharmacy, where we encountered a man with a giant bloodhound. Carla, of course, wanted to pet the dog and he, of course, wanted very much to be petted by Carla. Also, he had a very long, twisty Biblical name which I thought was absolutely spectacular for a bloodhound. Why the dog was in the pharmacy is a mystery (he wasn’t wearing a vest that indicated he is a helper dog), but it was a fun encounter nonetheless.
  • Another fun sight: I ran into the post office to drop off a StitchFix return, and on the way in I saw a man carrying a Netflix DVD to return!!!! What a blast from the past! I desperately want to know this man and his life. 
  • I bought a carton of strawberries yesterday. Listen, I KNOW that strawberries are Not Good in March. This is not strawberry season. But they were so lovely and plump and red, and I just couldn’t resist them. I haven’t opened the carton yet, so they are currently Schrödinger’s Strawberries, and could very well be juicy and delicious. 

How are you, Internet? What’s cluttering the desk of YOUR mind?

Read Full Post »

I love flowers as much as the next person. Despite facing various and sundry obstacles, including but not limited to disrespectful rabbits, a black thumb, and a flower-hungry herd of suburban deer, I planted flowers in containers for my front porch and back yard. 

Part of this is flower envy. Many of my neighbors have beautiful yards, full of gorgeous flowers. One neighbor planted a border around all their shrubbery of alternating yellow and orange marigolds, and it is so cheery and I ogle it every time I’m out on a walk. 

But I have noticed that some people take a… different tack when it comes to flowers. 

They are going the fake route.

A few years ago, back when I was in a book club, a friend and co-book club member would regale us with stories of her next door neighbor. Among many other quirks, her neighbor was notable for “planting” artificial flowers in her yard each spring. 

We thought this was a remarkable and unusual behavior, specific, perhaps, to this one person.

But it is not, Internet. It is NOT.

I first noticed fake flowers at one house on my walking route a few years ago. (They have since moved, or come over to the dark side of fresh floral arrangements.)

But this year, I’ve noticed more and more artificial flora cropping up around the neighborhood.

This house nearby recently built a fence/gate thing for privacy… and filled in the gap with some fake flowers. 

I drive around a small traffic circle each day and noticed recently it had been spruced up for Independence Day. With fake red-white-and-blue flowers. 

Another house on my route has a wide array of fake flowers in various sections of their yard… but also, some living flowers in their side yard. 

Listen, no judgment. Mild amusement, maybe. But you do you, boo. 

After all, there’s much to be said for artificial flowers. They are eye-catching. They are probably less expensive than fresh flowers. They take way less time to reach their full potential than growing flowers from seed. They are GUARANTEED to be bright and colorful year-round. They never wilt or require weeding. They are extremely drought tolerant. And deer and rabbits don’t have a taste for them (yet). 

If artificial flora makes your heart sing, then by all means, let your fake flower flag fly.

Read Full Post »

We are in the middle of Day 5 of nearly solid rain. Rain is great, don’t get me wrong. And I’ve really leaned into it by making soup and spaghetti sauce for dinners and crawling back into bed with my computer instead of working at my desk in my (chilly) office. But even with these accommodations, it’s not the most uplifting of weather patterns. Plus, you know. There’s all the… You know. * Broad gesture toward the rest of the world. *

Let’s focus on some Good Things, shall we?

  • Questions. Carla has been SO inquisitive lately, like all of a sudden she’s achieved Peak Curiosity, and so we have been investigating some of her queries in the car line in the morning. (While parked. Because of the strict way Carla’s school is controlling crowds and monitoring students’ temperatures, parents cannot release their kids until eight o’clock on the dot, so if we get to school a bit early, we are just sitting in line, waiting.) Yesterday we looked up a.m. and p.m., today we learned the difference between tiaras and crowns. It’s delightful, the things that pop up in her brain to wonder about. I hope she always, always shares her questions with me.
The other day, Carla was so full of questions that I started writing them down so we wouldn’t forget any of them. Just in case you wanted a peek inside a typical morning at my house.

  • Décor. We finally put up our Halloween decorations, and I love them so. I don’t really know what I was waiting for? I adore Halloween – it’s such a low-pressure, high-fun holiday – but I was really resisting the act of decorating for some reason. I think the delay helped build up the anticipation for Carla, though. And then! Joy of joys! She HELPED ME put them up! Like, she was actually helpful and very careful and had Strong Opinions about where to put our collection of glittery pumpkins and how to hang the wall bats. It made the whole process both easier and more enjoyable. 
  • Outdoor explorations. Despite the rain, we went on hikes/walks both Saturday and Sunday of last weekend, and I’m still feeling happy about them. If there’s one good thing to come of this pandemic, it’s that my little family has spent a LOT more time exploring our local park system than we ever have before, and it’s been really fun. A good excuse to get outside in the fresh air, a good excuse to move our bodies, a good excuse to be together. Saturday was sunny and we went on a walk that took us up over a river valley, with some really spectacular views of the river and the fall foliage. Sunday was rainy, and yet we trudged through a deliciously creepy forest until we reached a beach and then walked on the sand and skipped rocks in the pounding surf while the rain pelted us. We got absolutely soaked but I think that made it feel more like an adventure. I’m already looking forward to our next excursion. 
A break in the rain.
  • Target drive up. This continues to be one of the best innovations of the pandemic. It is so easy to order something from the Target app in the morning, and then swing by Target after I pick up Carla from school. They have really fine-tuned the system so that the staff member is walking out of Target with my purchases almost immediately once I’ve arrived. And sometimes lately they have been adding little free samples of things to my bags. It’s very convenient and I love that if they don’t, in fact, have your item in stock, they will ship it to you for free. Do I wish that they offered more food items for drive up? Or anything Lysol-related? Or hand sanitizer or bleach spray or sanitizing wipes? Yes, obviously. But I understand why those things aren’t available, or are so quick to fly off the shelves that they don’t even try. It’s still a very good thing. 
  • A full night’s sleep. I’m in the midst of one of those wake-up-every-morning-at-3:30 sleep patterns. And worse, I have been unable to get back to sleep after I wake up. Sometimes I lie awake for hours, going through all my Get Back to Sleep strategies. There’s nothing worse than finally drifting off to sleep at six, only to have your alarm wake you up thirty minutes later. The whole thing is AWFUL, is what it is. It leaves me bleary and teary and crabby. But! Last night! I fell asleep at about ten o’clock and didn’t wake up until six! (Well, okay, I woke up around one to pee, but I don’t count that because I was able to get back to sleep right away.) One night of solid sleep will do wonders for a person’s soul. 
  • Mums. It seems like all of September I kept seeing mums everywhere. Mums for sale! Mums on porches! Mums hanging from hooks! Mums in fluffy rows outside of grocery stores! So many mums! I got serious mum envy. So a couple of weekends ago, I finally decided that I needed some. I’m not so great at keeping flowers alive; my landscaping preferences tend toward easy and low maintenance. But I found some mums – and, so late in the season, they were HALF OFF – and bought four burgundy mums and two yellow ones PLUS two decorative kale? kales? heads of kale and I am just so PLEASED with them. I have two big planters in the backyard where I planted some as-it-turns-out NOT deer resistant flowers during the summer, and I added one burgundy mum each to those, plus a head of kale. And then I put four smaller planters with one mum each on the front porch – burgundy and yellow – and added a couple of pumpkins. If I were to do it again next year (which, why not?!?!?!), I might try to get some fun fallish grasses or something, to fill out the bigger planters. 
Neither my mums nor my kale; mumspiration
  • Fall toasties.  I made these WONDERFUL fall treats this past weekend: a slice of sourdough bread spread with some apple and onion jam, topped with a slice of apple and a slice of brie, baked until the brie has melted all over the top of the bread and apple. SO GOOD.

Read Full Post »

Considering that we are now officially out of eggs – not that we typically eat  eggs, apart from using them in baking, but it’s still making me feel panicky – and considering that Carla came downstairs before my husband and I woke up and made A Glitter Project (i.e. there was glitter all over the counter, the barstools, and the ENTIRE kitchen floor), and considering the ongoing stress of Absolutely Everything Else, I figure it is time for another post about the Good Things.

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Carla and I did a baking project this week, and I think they turned out to be very charming. Carla very specifically wanted chocolate cake with white frosting and they had to look like bunnies, so we used this recipe for the cake and this recipe for the frosting/bunnies. I only made a half portion of the cake batter, but even so, it barely made seven cupcakes (the full recipe supposedly makes 24). Seven cupcakes is a good amount of cupcakes for our family of three. I have not yet tasted them because it turns out that my quarantine cravings do not include chocolate bunny cupcakes; I’m still on the crunchy-veggies-with-ranch bandwagon and also am enjoying the hell out of tortilla chips dipped in melted American cheese and hot sauce.

Bike Riding Achievement

This week, Carla allowed her father to remove the training wheels from her bike and now… she can just… ride a bike. It is one of those Childhood Milestones that feels so triumphant and important – like learning how to walk, almost – and I know these milestones will be fewer and farther between. It was wonderful, that day, to watch her figure it out all on her own, at her own pace. And then the next day, when we returned to a nearby school parking lot to practice, to see her do it again and crow with jubilation, “I can really ride a bike!” as though the previous day’s achievement might have evaporated with the morning’s unexpected snowfall. It’s given us new purpose for “Exercise Time,” too, which I dutifully plot on Carla’s daily school schedule and then sometimes “forget.” Now, Carla is eager to get outside to ride in great sweeping circles around the empty parking lot, singing Descendants songs under her breath. We have also visited a local nature preserve to walk/ride bikes along the paths… although I find it oftentimes more nerve-wracking than pleasant because there are So Many People doing the same.

Signs of Spring

We’ve been seeing little glimpses of spring for a couple of weeks now, but this week, it arrived in full force. The blooming magnolia trees along our street, the “popcorn” trees with their fluffy white blossoms, the daffodils that seem to be absolutely everywhere – it’s such a cheering and welcome sight. There are some yellow-flowering bushes along our regular walking path that I just love; I think they are forsythia and so the final joyous stanza of C.D. Wright’s “Two Hearts in a Forest” springs to mind every time I pass them.

ForsythiaCD Wright


*  *  *

I don’t know if finding and naming the Good Things is doing anything. For instance, I have been watching John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” show every week and my reaction has been… confusing. I mean, John Krasinski is adorable and charming and the things he shares and the surprises he arranges are SO lovely. But I mainly feel terribly sad when I watch. It’s kind of the same with forcing myself to find/write about my own Good Things. It feels like so very little, and, therefore, heartbreaking in its smallness. These tiny rays of sunshine are up against such a vast expanse of darkness.

However, there’s also HOPE in the good things… and it’s useful to remind oneself that not EVERYTHING is tragic and awful. And it’s good practice for the brain, I think, to prod it into looking through the wreckage for things worth saving. I don’t know. I’m keeping up with it, just like I’m forcing our whole family, at the end of each day, to list a thing — big or small — that we were grateful for. But I certainly don’t think that these Good Things compensate for the bad ones. And I think it’s 100 percent okay if YOU can’t — or don’t want to — find any good things in your day right now.

Anyway, I still feel compelled to find the good things. To record them. To share them. Maybe it’s just useful to remember that there are good things. That there will be good things again.




Read Full Post »