Posted in Uncategorized

a hodgepodge of tidbits…

I stumbled across this cartoon called 8 Things You Were Probably Taught about Autism. I wish everyone would read it. I would add a couple things to it. Autistic people lack empathy–WRONG! Autistic people don’t have a sense of humor–WRONG!

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Been working on school prep for next school year. Got a book that I *thought* would work as a sort of base book for art. We never use just one book. I like to use several books for any given subject, but often appreciate having an overview book that gives me a sort of chronology for approaching the class. Well, this is NOT the book I want! If my arms weren’t suffering this current fibro flare, I might have thrown this book (Art: A New History by Paul Johnson) across the library. :/ I read the intro, and was made a bit wary by a few of the things he said, but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and read the first chapter. Well, he lost me entirely (and led me to call him a few choice names) on the first page of that first chapter. He was talking about how body art and adornment was possibly the first form of art, and goes on to say:

Unfortunately, by its very nature, body art has disappeared. We do not know its salient characteristics or how it evolved. It is little help to study peoples who still practice it, as in Borneo, because these examples of Homo sapiens who have remained locked in the Stone Age self-evidently lack the dynamism which enabled primitive man, using his art-creating capacities, to break out of his predicament.

*angry bewildered sigh* So yeah, I still don’t have a good introductory art history book for us to use. Might anyone have any suggestions? Especially one that isn’t solely focused on Western art. I would be so very appreciative.

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For so long, mid-July has seemed soooooo far away. Ever since I learned months ago that Ana was coming to visit, I’ve been in this dual state of overwhelming happiness (and I do mean overwhelming, as in bursting out in happy tears and literally shaking with excitement at random moments) and denial (as in, “it’s just too good to actually be true”). The original plan was for Chris to come as well, but with everything going on his life, especially with his Dad, that end of things sort of fell through. But then, after his Dad’s death, his Mom did a little pushing and made Chris see how this trip would be so wonderful for him. I think it will be wonderful, for all of us. And with all the unbelievable shit that both Chris and Ana have been dealing with the last several weeks, they deserve exciting adventures. And we all, everyone in this whole world, deserve the love of friends. Thinking about the three of being together makes me tear up every single time (yep, like now). My denial, my stupid lack of faith in the idea that such enormous dreams really can come true, has departed. In less than a week now, Chris will be arriving. And one week from today, Rich, Gray, Chris, and I will be heading off on an adventure to the Big Apple. And that adventure that will culminate, in a week and a couple days from now, in meeting up with Ana at the Strand. After which we will all drive back here to spend a few days hanging out. Including some time with Eva. Possibly including a trip to Niagara Falls. There are times in life when I feel blessed beyond anything I could ever possibly deserve…this is one of those times.

And then, because I’m apparently really spoiled, right after Chris and Ana leave, Karen (my absolute best friend in high school) is coming to visit! In the most amazing coincidence, 5 years after we graduated from high school, we ended up living just 5 miles from one another, in the complete opposite corner of the state where we grew up. But after a few years of spending most of our time together (we even worked 2 different jobs together in those years), we moved when Rich went back to school. We saw each other a handful of times in the years following, but then as sadly happens, we drifted apart for a while. We’ve been in contact again over the last few years, but we haven’t seen each other in 20 years. 20 years! She’s never met Annie or Gray or Max. The last time we saw one another, her youngest was a wee infant, just weeks old. She was in my wedding, I was in hers. No one in all my life has ever made me laugh the way she does. And if ever I need a role model for getting through tough times, I need look no farther than Karen–strongest woman I’ve ever known, hands down.

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My reading has been slow this summer but ever so enjoyable! Well, I’m not sure if I’d call my reread of Frankenstein enjoyable. Ha! No, seriously, I actually enjoyed it ever so much more than the first time I read it. But aside from that, I’ve been reading the Gaither Sisters trilogy. I’m on the last book right now. This makes me sad, because I don’t think I could ever get enough of Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern. But I’m eager to read everything else I can get my hands on by Rita Williams-Garcia. I’ve also started the second Marti McAlister book (Slow Burn) by Eleanor Taylor Bland. And thus far am loving it as much as I loved the first. These books are mysteries, of the police procedural variety. (I don’t believe I’ve ever read another mystery series by woman of color, and would very much love any suggestions for other authors I might try.)  In some ways, I guess some might feel these early books in the series a little dated, as they were written in the early 1990s. You know, no cell phones. But I’ve been sort of enjoying that fact. Marti is such a wonderful character. And I love the focus on social issues that has shown through in these first two books. Sadly, Eleanor Taylor Bland died a few years ago. But I’m grateful that there’s about another dozen books left for me to read in the series.

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I suppose I should stop my blathering on now. I have much work to do…due to the yucky weather and yucky invisible illnesses, I haven’t been getting a lot of prep done for my impending weeks of heavenly bliss. I know that neither Chris nor Ana nor Karen will give a crap if my house is not clean and I choose to play our meals and whatnot by ear…but still you know that nagging, annoying voice of guilt…yeah.

Posted in good stuff, list-mania

as summer flies by…

I’ve given up on my summer list. In any official, keeping track sort of way. Which is not surprising in the least–I love making lists like this, but tend to get bogged down, not so much in the doing (though that sometimes too) but in the recording of progress. I was going strong on this summer wish list, but then was overwhelmed with a week full of emotion that left little time for anything aside from on the one hand worrying/crying/feeling utterly helpless and on the other hand throwing myself completely into homeschool work to distract myself. It’s not that anything was wrong in my own personal life, but two of the people I love most in this entire world, two of  my chosen family,  had probably the most emotionally draining weeks of their lives. For very different reasons and in very different ways. And I felt so very powerless to help. And as much as that feeling sucks, as much as it ate away at me for days, it was nothing compared to what my two friends were/are experiencing in their lives.

It is a completely nonsensical response to purposefully avoid the good things in life because of the bad things. I’m not saying that it’s stupid of me to take the time to try to deal with all these feelings of heartache I have for two of the people I cherish most in my life. But that it is foolish to avoid happiness because of sorrow. They really can coexist. It in no way means that I don’t love my friends, don’t hurt for my friends, don’t want to help my friends in any way possible if go sit outside and watch the fireflies while sipping a frozen margarita. Perhaps I shall do just that this evening. And maybe this coming weekend will be a good time to spend a few hours reading in a blanket fort in the yard. My heart continues to ache, my mind continues to reel. But is it ever a bad time to be grateful for the good things?

It’s been a while since I’ve made myself a “good stuff” list. As counterintuitive as it may feel, I think that maybe it’s just what I need. So for the next couple days, I’m just going to leave this tab open and record the things that make me smile, make me feel hopeful, remind me of the exquisite beauty in this world.

*Rhubarb. We’d never tried growing rhubarb before we moved to this house, and I’m sure we never would have if this spectacular plant hadn’t already been here. My grandma always grew rhubarb when I was a kid, but for some reason, my mom never did…so it just wasn’t much on my radar. But oh my, this plant. This glorious plant just keeps giving in abundance year after year. I’ve lost count of how many tarts I’ve made this season. I’ve thus far frozen 7 pints for this winter. And today I am making my second batch of rhubarb jam. Nature giving in abundance. And I am grateful for its gifts.

 

*I just finished a book that touched my heart, One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. (Thank you to Ana for getting me to buy this book and to Bina for reminding me that I really needed to read it.) It’s not unusual for a book to touch my heart, but it will always be one of those things that is special enough for me to be exceedingly grateful. So what is it about this book in particular? Well, you know how some people look down on kids’ lit–this is one of those books I’d like to strongly recommend they read. Because I don’t know that I’ve ever met a book that did a better job at showing the validity of multiple truths. And while that may be my favorite thing about this book, it is by no means the only thing. I adored the relationship between Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern. While I never had a sister of my own, their relationship just felt so authentic.  And I loved to pieces the way we very slowly got to know Cecile/Nzila better, at pretty much the pace that Delphine herself got to know her mother. I know, I know, I know…I’m such a crier…I could probably have filled the Great Salt Lake with the number of tears I’ve shed reading books (okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration)…and the last few pages of this book, yep, tears. The very best kind, which I don’t know how to describe it other than to say that they’re born of an amazing mixture of emotions. This is as huggable a book as ever there was. (This makes book 9 for #20booksofsummer.)

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*We finally put up an outdoor clothesline! It was one of the few things I missed from our old house. But it wasn’t an enormous priority (there are sooooo many things that have needed/still need done around here), as we have a super awesome clothesline system in the basement so I’ve been able to hang the laundry there. But oh my gosh, hanging clothes outside for the first time in four years…so smile-worthy.

*The riot of daisies in our flower garden right now! This picture just doesn’t come close to doing it justice–there are just hundreds and hundreds of daisies blooming right now. And I cannot help but smile every time I go out front.

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*Going to be and reading for a bit (the sequel to One Crazy Summer!) before turning out the light, then watching the fireflies and listening to all the insects singing as I drifted off to sleep.

—-Okay, the thing about starting this draft and not posting it promptly the same day is that there’s just been sooooooo much good stuff. I couldn’t possibly list it all here. But some of it will get it’s own posts soon. The two friends whom I continue to hurt for, well, it won’t be long until they’re both here. I’ll be hugging them in person instead of virtually.