Sunday Sundries

Today my brother told me about how he was on a walk earlier today and got stopped by some missionaries. He told them he grew up Mormon, so he knows their angle.

They asked why he stopped going to church.

They asked him if he still believes in God.

Those are not topics he’s going to talk to just anybody about.

Those are topics even I can barely broach with him.

I mean, people exercise their faith/philosophies very differently. And it sounded like those missionaries were trying pretty hard to get my brother to open up. And it would be one thing if he actually wanted to talk, but it sounded like one those situations that, no matter their efforts, because he didn’t want to talk, they weren’t getting further in that conversation. You know?


Today I only rinsed some of the conditioner from my hair during my shower. And now? My hair feels so silky! I just worry it’ll look and feel greasy tomorrow.


A few weeks ago I got my pixie cut cleaned up at a chain salon. As the stylist snipped, hair rained on the black cape. Not just my dark-brown-almost-black hair, but a bunch of grey, too. The question is: Do I call those lighter hairs grey (definitely with an E) or silver? I mean, I’ve dyed my hair silver in the past, and it has looked rad. And I’ve definitely earned mine, so.


I’ve started a nightly face cleansing routine. Pores and wrinkles and age spots in my face; the slightest crèping in my neck and décolletage. In my 20s and through my 30s I didn’t really wash my face at night. I guess I let the oils in my skin do all the work, and only occasionally my skin would break out and I’d call it yet another puberty. But now, it seems my skin is actually starting to dry out. If I can’t control my silvering hair, then I should be able to regularly clean my face, right? Besides, after washing and moisturizing, I like how soft my face feels.

So, there’s that.

Camping, Sort Of

This past Wednesday through Friday we had a reservation at a campground near a lake. It had been somewhat of a summer tradition to go there. Last summer we obviously didn’t do it, and I was excited to plan another camping trip when the world got a little safer.

Except our state is in the middle of a drought. And the lake at the campsite was all but dried out. Whatever water remains has developed an algal bloom, so it’s definitely not safe. And Z would still have eyed the lake and asked to go swimming, and she’d be upset that we wouldn’t let her.

It did rain Thursday, but not enough to compensate for all the dryness. The earth was still grateful, though.

So last week I canceled the campsite reservation. And yesterday evening, after the hike, I pitched the tent in the back yard. Z loves the tent.

The three of us and one of the dogs slept in the tent last night. The temperature was neither too hot nor cold, and because Z wore herself out with hiking, she went to sleep relatively quickly.

She woke up and continued to play inside the tent.

I love our back yard.

Oops

I forgot to post yesterday, June 25. It was on my mind to do it. You bet I’m gonna backdate this. (June 25, 2021, 10pm)

We went on a hike to Stewart Falls. It’s an out-and-back hike, totaling four miles. There are some moderately steep parts and some rocky areas, but mostly the trail gently rolls, and it’s shaded with a few sunny parts. I mean, you still have to watch not to trip on roots and tumble down the mountain. All in all, it’s a really pleasant hike with some amazing vistas. One of my favorites.

It’s a little bit steep but relatively short descent past the plungepool, and that’s where we usually go on this hike before turning around.

My brother came along with us, and I think he really liked it, too.

Z especially loves being near the waterfall, and she calls this area, “Good Dinosaur water.”

Have you seen Disney Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur? You should.

Look at this awesome family.

Good Reeds

There ought to be an app that keeps track of reeds. And it should be called Good Reeds.

There probably is. But maybe Goodreads told them to change their name.

I currently use a little notebook documenting the date I open new reeds, the amount of time in subsequent days I play them (usually five minutes), the temperature, and the humidity of each day I play on them as I break the reeds in. And I rate them on a scale from 1 to 5 according to how the feel as I play them. It usually takes about a week to break a reed in to my liking.

It’s been a decent system so far, and I’m currently using some real winners. But I’m also trying to be patient with what seem to be duds. And since I’ve learned how to sand duds into sounding better, I can’t say that very many reeds would go to waste.

I did purchase a synthetic reed today, Legère brand. Opened the package, placed the reed on the mouthpiece. It was immediately ready to go. And the strength of the reed felt really good. Great response and projection. One of those almost cost as much as a box of Vandoren V12s, 3.5 strength, but one of those should last as long as an entire box of bamboo reeds.

I tested the reed on my student clarinet. I can’t wait to get my intermediate clarinet back from the shop. I can’t believe it took a reed to get me extremely excited again about playing.

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It rained today, giving some relief to the land after a pretty intense drought. We hope to get more rain throughout the summer. We hope more people are thinking about water conservation more than they are trying to keep their lawns green.

Working in the Yard

Today Reilly borrowed his dad’s truck and some chainsaws. He and my brother cut down some ugly trees from our yard. Trees that were rotting. And not providing useful shade. And blocking sunlight from plants we actually like. We’ve been meaning do this for years now, but we’ve finally got around to doing something about it. After cutting down the trees, Reilly and my brother made a couple of trips to the dump to dispose of them. The yard looks much better, which improves the facade of our house.

One of the trees exposed one side of a bush that desperately needs water and sunlight. The bush also needed trimming, which is what I worked on. I wish I’d taken a before photo, but here’s what the bush looks like now. I still need to take off another inch or two. By the way, it’s the other side of this bush that looks horrible and needs nurturing. Maybe once it grows back I can sculpt the whole bush into a family selfie or something:

Speaking of sculpting, handling those shears gave my shoulders a workout.

My arms are going to be sore tomorrow.

Progressive Lenses as Metaphor

Not obsessing, I promise.

Just wanted to show you what my glasses do.

See how the text in the top half of the lens is smaller, and in the bottom the text is bigger? My eyeballs need these adjustments. I have contacts that behave like the top half of these lenses, and I’m waiting on my readers to have the correct lenses put in so that I can see up close.

This book is called World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. It’s lovely so far. She discusses different species–flora and fauna–and how they relate to her life and humanity in general. I love her perspective. I love how different people can help us see life in so many different ways.

Aren’t axolotls cute?

Seeing Weeks Ahead

I have been nearsighted since high school. Got my first glasses prescription around 11th grade, and I’ve worn corrective lenses in some form for almost 30 years. And my eyes have progressively gotten worse, though a few years in my 20s my vision slightly improved.

A few years ago, my up-close reading vision started blurring. Which: gross. I told my eye doctor I’d probably need a bifocal lens, so we did tests, and sure enough I needed to add an up-close adjustment to my nearsighted prescription.

This is my third year needing bifocals, and my eyes have learned to use progressive lenses in glasses, where the bottom part is for reading, while the top 2/3 helps me see far away.

But this year I decided to get contacts for seeing distance and readers for seeing up close. I could wear the glasses while wearing contacts. The optometrist office fitted me for contacts, and and I picked out frames for readers. They shipped a year’s supply of contacts that arrived within a few days. The readers took about two weeks.

Saturday late afternoon I picked up the readers. I came home and tried them on over my contact lenses. And. They. Did. Not. Work. I could see more clearly without the readers, but seeing up close with contacts was still blurry. Seems the readers were not adjusted for having them worn over contacts, because when I tried them without contacts, I could actually read books and phones and shit like that. It was slightly annoying.

So I went to the optometrist’s office today and told the manager about the situation. I wore my contact lenses there, and the manager didn’t know if he would be able to get me in to see the optometrist to fix the prescription. Since they were only readers, the manager talked to the optometrist between appointments, who told him to try a few lenses at different strengths to see what worked over the contacts.

So that’s what we did. I held thingies that looked like little magnifying glasses over my eyeballs and told him which strength looked best while I looked at a reading card. The manager took the faulty reading glasses and assured me he’d switch out the lenses, and they’d be ready for me as soon as possible.

I still have my pair of bifocal glasses as a backup whenever I’m not wearing contacts. And if I don’t have to read up close–like, if I’m watching tv or going for a run–the contacts work great.

There are way worse problems in the world. I guess I’m lucky.

Father’s Day, From My Instagram

For anyone who knows Reilly or has heard me talk about him has no doubt what a great guy he is. He provides, he teaches; he exemplifies what kind of person this world needs. He is the best possible father for our Z: patient, creative, silly, full of love. He makes everything better. Happy Father’s Day to all the good men and father figures out there.

It’s also summer solstice: no other person I’d want to spend all the daylight (and nighttime) hours with than Reilly.

Happy Sunday, y’all.

Juneteenth

Happy Juneteenth, everyone!

I have to admit, I didn’t know about this part of history until I was an adult. Like, in the last five years. Same goes for the Tulsa Race Massacre, which I had to see dramatized in Watchmen in order for it to hit home. I’m embarrassed about that.

It feels weird wishing others to be happy on this day. Especially to those whose enslaved ancestors suffered firsthand. While it is a celebration of freedom, so much oppression and pain are connected to that. But I do hope Black people will be able to find happiness.

On days surrounding today and the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, resources for learning about Black History flood my social media. I’m so very grateful for that. I use those resources throughout the year to find ways to take real action, to turn abstractions and intellectual exercise into practice and heart for my fellow human beings. I’m learning not to be performative. I’m learning to listen better to know better, so that I can do better.

It’s still a work in progress. I hope we all can help each other.

It’s Electric

Yesterday I asked my brother what he knew about switching out old electrical outlets, the ones with just two slots and no grounding hole. I asked if he had a current reader, and he said he has a multimeter.

Our house is oldish, built in 1955. Most of the electricity has been updated throughout the house, but a few old outlets remained. Thinking about working with electricity sort of freaks me out, and I knew that my brother has all-around experience with lots of handy stuff.

So we went to the hardware store and walked to the outlet section. There are so many types! And prices run the full range. But Brother picked out what he thought our house needed. Nothing too fancy.

When we got home I took a nap while Bro switched out the outlets. Reilly read a book while Z watched Ratatouille. The breaker box labeled a lot of the outlets wrong, so we spent some time finding out which switches actually controlled which outlets. Bro found out about one via tiny shock. Zzzt.

Poor guy.

Anyway, our house has better hookups now.

The end.