Embossed: "...(a design carved, molded, or stamped on a surface or object." That's how it's defined in the Oxford Language Dictionary. Do you remember embossed napkins on your table on special days? I do. I hadn't thought about them until I was given one at a restaurant this morning. Then I remembered one holiday sitting at the table in my grandmother's kitchen. My mother and aunt were busy with preparations for dinner, my grandmother was probably setting the table. I must have been fidgeting or complaining about something, and I can't remember who handed me an embossed paper napkin and a box of crayons. "Here. Why don't you color this design." And whoever it was went back to putting olives in the molded glass dish that held the carrots, celery, and pickles.
It feels like the beginning of something today, which is odd because it's the end of October, not January. But fall always makes me feel like new beginnings. Maybe it's because I lived so many years by the academic calendar, when fall was the beginning of the new school year. But in any case, I celebrated today by decorating the front porch with orange twinkle lights and pumpkins. Trick or Treaters will be coming soon!
It was a simple thing to do, and not something I was sure I was going to continue being a part of, but my local Buy Nothing FB Group has proved to be a source of inspiration and joy. This is a place where neighbors meet and share. And anything goes, really. People offer goods they no longer can use, for free. One person's trash does turn out most of the time to be another person's treasure. Sometimes people post that they are in search of something, and inevitably someone else has that item to give or loan. Everything from old lawnmowers to jars of peanut butter are listed, and snapped up within hours. Even things like packing materials, extra plastic shopping bags are taken with a please and thank you! People sometimes post that someone has moved into the neighborhood and don't yet have furniture. And they are offered furniture, pots and pans, to borrow or to keep.
Do what you like today.
If it's opening the window to hear
If it's to give the cat some treats
If it's taking your time deciding what you want
If it's sharpening a pencil
If it's lighting a candle
If it's making a pot of tea
If it's listening to an old song your old self loved
If it's taking a nap
If it's unwrapping a new bar of soap
If it's window gazing
You know that all of it, every bit of it, is a good bit of doing.
It is Friday morning, and it is going to be hot here in the San Fernando Valley, unseasonably hot for early April. We are talking 99 degrees before noon. I have taken my morning pills, vitamins, had my low-calorie breakfast, put on my support socks and the rest of my clothes that will keep me somewhat comfortable inside our air conditioned house.
Every morning I wake up hoping that this will be the day my energy will return for all the pending tasks needing attention. And every day I go to bed having fallen far short of my own expectations. Even the simplest things like folding laundry and putting it away have morphed into monstrosities that refuse to be tamed. I have books that need reading (not just for pleasure!), a number of quotidian tasks that should be undertaken, and my level of enthusiasm and energy for such tasks has deserted me. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can get the dishes loaded into the dishwasher before I go to bed. Such a small thing!
Today I planted onions.
I tell you this because it proves I can be optimistic.
One large red onion sprouted magnificent green fingers on
my kitchen window sill.
It was good, green company.
Today one onion has become three. Miracle, right?
Three from one, already a bonus.
Tucked into the warm earth side by side (not too close!)
I left the sagging, spent tomato plant nearby.
There may still be whispered wisdom about living in our
hard adobe earth.
vw 2022 #1
The hot wind came from out of the northeast, and slammed into the trashcans, turning them over and spilling their contents. Southern California Thanksgivings are always unpredictable. Usually so hot and dry that the air is electric. This one ticked all the boxes.
I am in my thirties, and we have two young children. My husband has taken them off to church and I am home attending to the housecleaning and cooking of the turkey. Guests are coming in the afternoon, expecting the traditional holiday feast. I'm new at cooking turkey, but confident I can manage. What's so hard about seasoning a bird and putting it in the oven? I've done it with chicken hundreds of times. I'm optimistic, looking forward to the family gathering in our home for the traditional feasting.
When the veil thins on October 31, we remember those who are on the other side. We play with the idea of death. Does it terrify? Does it connect us with those we can no longer see, feel, touch?
Children come to our doors and ask for treats (the threat of tricks isn't real, not anymore). Or is it? That's part of the fun. Give me something sweet or I will give you something frightening?
Life itself has been thoroughly frightening this last year and a half. We have been compulsive about germs, viruses. And rightly so. We knew so little about the terror facing us. Now we can see that some of our rituals to protect us were not quite on target. We sanitized everything. And it turned out that the air we shared was the thing that was most dangerous. Airborne pathogens. Nothing, really, is more terrifying. Unseen enemy, carried by children, friends, relatives. Without intention, without malice.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning in a frame that doesn't fit. You know what I mean. It's the way we see ourselves in the morning. Sometimes the frame feels like it belongs to someone else, someone I don't even know. It's too small, it's too big, I can't 'see' myself at all. I don't fit. It doesn't fit me. Who is responsible for this?
And often it stays that way all day. Unlike Alice, I can't go through that framed mirror in my mind's eye. I have to live with what I've got, at least for a time.
Did the frame come during a dream? Did I get into it because of a state of mind? Is it because I ate too much, had one extra glass of wine?