A Park Today

A family of old trees stand together. Their trunks shoot straight up before branches spread out the sky. I love their shade. Their calm presence. Their steadiness.

These trees help obscure an old house adjacent to the park. The house looks scary. Signs along the fence read, “No trespassing.” The trees in that yard are also old. The other foliage is overgrown. Branches gnarl and twist and canopy what might be a lawn.

Large arches signal entryways (NO TRESPASSING), but simple chainlink lines the perimeter. Between long, stamped-down stretches of rusty webbing, it stands somewhat upright.

The family of old trees serve as sentinels. They warn against going past them. They are a much more effective fence than the janky wire barrier. I do not go beyond them.

The straightness of the trees gives me strength. Bestows courage. Grants power.

The will to stay away from that creepy, old house.

An Undeniably Complicated Day

(Mostly from Instagram)

Perspective shifts. Broadens and deepens.

We also celebrate nine years of marriage today.

Nine years are a big deal because it’s right before 10, which is always a big deal.

And this year in particular feels hopeful on the ever-so-slow upswing from the COVID-19 pandemic. We got through this year together. Like we can more robustly support efforts in increasingly struggling countries, because we have the reassurance of vaccination. We want to use our privilege to help others gain leverage. 

And we are on a sluggish yet fortunate political upswing since the election. Yeah, I went there. We’re lucky to support each other in this. Progress is observable and more measurable. This adds to our hope.

Grad school. Child. Homeownership. Loss. Healing. Compassion. Love. Love. Love. Love. We are happiest together. I love you, my man.

Nine years.

Let’s push for 90.

From Instagram Today

For my birthday yesterday we went to Paris.

JK! I got a green screen, and we’ve been playing with it.

I also got some books and cards and music and clothes, and a fun meal out with the family. And time with friends.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. You sure do know how to make a gal feel excited to be alive.

Happy Sunday, y’all.

45, let’s go.

Results

I had a mammogram yesterday. It was relatively quick. The process itself lasted maybe five minutes. The results appeared in my health record this morning.

Always a relief with these screenings. I’m going to be 45 tomorrow. It’s important to take care of myself.

Easier said than done for a majority of people who don’t have access to insurance. A medical services system must be in place to provide essential care to everyone.

Get regular mammograms. Get regular colonoscopies. Get maintenance checkups. These shouldn’t be available only to the privileged.

A friend found out some results of a biopsy yesterday. The diagnosis wasn’t great. And I wish that cancer would go eff itself.

This world is hard. Life is hard.

Ten Years Since Sénégal

I was emailing a friend whose birthday is today. And I know that only because it’s two days before mine. And I wouldn’t have known this except I became friends with him and his wife while studying abroad in Sénégal.

Ten years ago.

This occurred to me today, and so I texted a different classmate from the study abroad. This classmate remarked that we were babies then. Maybe she was; I wasn’t so much. I was 34 when we started the trip, and I turned 35 while in our fourth week. I think I’m about nine years older than the married couple who befriended me. Not like it’s a contest. But I tried hard not to feel self-conscious about my age at the time.

It was such an eye-opening experience. Although I struggled with the language, I picked up fragments of comprehension about slavery and colonialism. My French did improve over time, but wow, I hadn’t been challenged like that in a very, very long time.

I wasn’t sure if these costumes are just for show or are actually part of the culture.

It was good to walk among people of a different religion, too. There were rules to follow while visiting mosques. We heard the calls for prayer fives times every day. Y’all, America can be wonderful, but it isn’t the best all the time. Or even close to perfect.

What a beautiful country. It’s hard to believe that whole experience was 10 years ago. I’m grateful I went; going made me a more compassionate, open-minded person. I made lifelong friends. This part of the path opened up the way to where I am now. Which is where I want to be.

Do I Know You? Come Celebrate with Me

Saturday is my 45th birthday. Right between 40 and 50. When the former United States President was in office, I used to tease friends turning 45, you know, because he was the 45th president, and anything associated with that number was bad luck or something. But now that he isn’t President, turning 45 ain’t so bad, right? (Wink, wink.)

Monday I went to a work picnic to send off a coworker moving far away. I saw people that I haven’t seen in over a year. Like, all of us were vaccinated, and we were able to share a space. An open space in a park. Under a pavilion. It was weird and glorious and a lot of fun. In fact yesterday I woke up with a slightly sore throat from talking more in those two hours than I have the entire time in isolation. Or at least it was from talking two hours straight, which I really don’t do.

This socializing probably also contributed to the excellent sleep I got Monday night. Because: introvert energy depletion. (See yesterday’s post.)

Saturday: more socializing! Whoa.

For Saturday, I ordered a cake. We might do games. But we may just end up hanging out. When people I care about are involved, it’s one of my very favorite things to do.

45: I’m ready for you.

From Today’s Sunday Instagram Post and a Comment Elsewhere

I’ve been fully vaccinated (2 weeks after dose 2) for over a week now. I still wear a mask in public, because I just don’t know who is vulnerable and/or high-risk. The other day I was at a store, and about half of everyone there wore masks. (Honestly I was surprised that many wore them.) This was the day after the CDC announcement, but I still wore my mask because my allergies were acting up, and I didn’t feel like dodging death stares for my symptoms. Anyway, I was paying for my things in a self-checkout corral. One of the masked workers walked up to me as I was heading out with my cart. He solemnly looked me in the eyes and said, “Thank you.”

What a bizarre and interesting year it has been. COVID isn’t over yet; the world at large needs relief.

It’s the middle of spring, so I decided to join Z and wear a dress. We’ll be back to church starting next Sunday. Should be fun.

Happy Sunday, y’all.

Privileges and Joys

I work from home: privilege.

We live in a privileged school district: privilege.

We live in a single family home: privilege.

We’ve come to a point where we don’t worry about whether we can make the mortgage payments: privilege.

The house sits on a plot just under 1/4 acre: privilege.

The back property line happens to adjoin a five-acre farm: joy.

We watch baby farm animals grow up: joy.

I wandered my back yard this morning. Watched the horses. Captured some photos of mid-spring. This afternoon I weeded the front yard for a little while. I like yard work quite a bit, but it does my allergies no favors.

These blossoms dropped from the cherry tree above it. Pink sprinkled in green. I sort of wish I could eat it.

Z loves to scatter dandelion fluff around the yard. For this reason roughly 62 trillion dandelions have popped up in the grass. I honestly don’t mind, because they make our kid happy.

I would suppose not worrying about our dandelion-weeds is also a privilege. Watching our girl play with them is a joy.

P.S. We’re fully vaccinated over here. Go get vaxxed or wear a mask and come hang out with us!

Mother’s Day 2021, Continued: In Photos

  1. Time on the treadmill
  2. Stretching
  3. New hat Reilly got me when he went to last night’s Jazz game (they won)
  4. Posing with a clarinet
  5. Shirt that my brother got me, filter 1
  6. Shirt that my brother got me, filter 2
  7. Shirt that my brother got me, filter 3
  8. Sweetest DM from a friend

Thanks for all the love, everyone.