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 June 3, 2019

I wrote this two years ago:

Carla loves gardening and working on her yard. If you’ve seen her yard you know the love and great care she puts in the beauty she creates. I’m no gardener, but for the past couple of weeks I’ve been out in our yard, pulling weeds, planting flowers, meditating, crying: devoting that time to her. Yesterday morning I was pulling weeds, Z was running around in the yard, while Reilly was working on the obituary. It occurred to me that not only is this yard work–this beautifying a space–a good way to remember Carla, it’s a quiet way to feel a certain communion WITH her. It is sacred.

For the past couple of days we’ve been working hard trying to rebeautify our yard. I really love remembering Carla this way. It crossed my mind today while pulling weeds when we first found out she was sick, I wanted to ask her about all her gardening secrets. Which I didn’t do. And I didn’t think it was appropriate as her time here shortened.

I took some video footage of some of the greenery in our yard and put it to music. A modest tribute.

June 1 Eve, 2019

Two years ago today I weeded one of the back flowerbeds in the afternoon. My mother-in-law’s condition had taken a drastic turn for the worse. Her life in the balance–one foot in mortality, and the other beyond–weighed heavily on my mind. I thought of all the things I wanted to say to her. I knew we’d be heading down to visit her at home that evening. Thrusting the shovel into the soil and crying. Pulling weeds and crying. Standing in the middle of the flowerbed, feeling the most profound sadness.

We drove down. Nana lay in bed, writhing from pain. I said some of the things that crossed my mind earlier, not knowing if she was lucid. She seemed to have heard me and calmness swept over her.

We came back home. Got ready for bed.

Reilly got a call around 2am.

We drove back down.

Seven hours later she was gone.

We wouldn’t really sleep again that whole week.

We visited the cemetery last night with Reilly’s family. The entire grounds popped with bouquets on every gravesite. Memorial Day weekend.

As we pulled next to Reilly’s mom’s plot, Z said, “Hi, Nana.”

We all sat by Nana. Papa watered her bouquets, and we told stories. Z sang for us and kept us laughing.

There’s a lot of people to remember this weekend, but we’re always going to remember Nana first.

Thoughts on May’s Final Sunday, 2021

On May 20, President Biden signed a bill aimed to do the following, as reported by NPR:

Make the reporting of hate crimes more accessible at the local and state levels by boosting public outreach and ensuring reporting resources are available online in multiple languages.

It also directs the Department of Justice to designate a point person to expedite the review of hate crimes related to COVID-19 and authorizes grants to state and local governments to conduct crime-reduction programs to prevent and respond to hate crimes.

This is definitely a step forward. Will Asian hate crimes decrease along with falling COVID numbers? Are people going to stop hating others for their race? Probably not. I won’t get my hopes up. That’s not a constructive feeling, I know, but it crops up frequently. I try often to improve my behavior, which often coincides with feeling discouraged.

The end of May leads to the beginning of June. Which is complicated.

Right Now, After the Jazz Game

My husband and my brother are talking about tonight’s Jazz game. I overhear them commenting about one of the Grizzlies’ more aggressive players, who happened to foul out. Memphis is a young, very physical team. But the Jazz are patient and selfless. They are versatile and deep. We have our strong players, but everyone is capable of stepping up, which is what had to happen when Mitchell was out for about six weeks on an ankle injury. They’ve earned their number one seed in the Western Conference.

Reilly is reading fan comments online. I hear my brother laughing.

Today was a good Saturday. We bought a gift for Reilly’s nephew who graduated from high school this week. We went out to eat, then we took Z to a park, which she didn’t want to leave. I did some yard work, and I sneezed for an hour after coming inside. The pollen. The merciless pollen. I took some allergy medicine, and the sneezes are now under control.

My Fitbit tells me that I slept 3.5 hours last night. I am ready for bed.

The two guys are in the tv room, still talking about the Jazz.

I don’t blame them. It was a good win.

Forgetting

Back when I was blogging regularly in NYC, I kept a notebook or journal to jot down my ideas wherever I was. I’d sit in a coffee shop or a park and observe my surroundings and write down any write-worthy thoughts that came to mind. I’d go to a small cafe that had live music and write while the scheduled gig performed. The energy of the city and finding my love for writing fueled the process. I started blogging back in 2003, and I’d often post more than once, most days.

I’ve fallen out of practice writing my ideas down. An idea pops into my head, I make a mental note to write about it when I blog, but when it’s time to write, I have completely forgotten what the idea was. And now I’m blogging about this lapse of memory. I mean, it’s a natural thing to forget, especially if I don’t write to remember. That’s a huge reason I started blogging to begin with.

This is my personal history. An artifact for those after me to get to know who I am. Or was. They’ll observe some sort of evolution, as people tend to change some things over their lives. The core stays core for the most part, but opinions, attitudes, perspectives transform with experience. I’d be embarrassed if I read many past entries and noticed how much has changed. Maybe not embarrassed. I don’t know. Surprised? Disappointed? Maybe. Impressed? Proud? Also maybe, but leaning toward Yes.

A few years ago a friend sent me a little notebook for keeping ideas to remember. We supported each other’s desires and passion for writing. I currently use that notebook to keep track of reeds that I’ve broken in–which ones are good, better, best. But I can also write my thoughts in it. Which is what I should do. So that I don’t have to keep writing about unremembering things.

Last Day of School

Today was a fun day for our little girl. Sort of.

A fire truck came at the end of the day to spray the schoolyard. Z’s class came out to play in the water, but it was too loud for her, so she went back to the classroom. I came early to watch the truck, and before I knew Z was in class, I stayed on the field for a while and took some video. One of the aides found me and said that Z was in class.

I picked Z up from her classroom. We walked to the schoolyard. Z saw the firetruck and the mist spraying from the giant nozzle. She liked the coolness of the water. It was still pretty loud: kids were running and screaming everywhere. She ran around for a bit, then the truck shut off the water, and we headed home.

We did fill up the little pool on the back patio, and she splashed around for a while.

Life is just so much more fun when there’s less noise.

Ain’t that a lesson to learn.

The Passing Evening

It’s 11:33 PM. I totally let the day get away from me.

I do not know what to make of the range of feelings about my baby heading to 2nd grade next school year. First grade was such a blur. Like, Kindergarten blurred into the summer, which blurred into 1st grade. And now another summer is already upon us. We like summer, but time is sure being funky with the pandemic and isolation and then people returning to society. It’s weird.

This evening I multitasked between watching Game 2 of the Jazz-Grizzlies series and piecing together a recording. Whenever I exported a revised version of the video from the editing software to the hard drive, I would peek out of the office into the tv room and check the score of the game. As I was editing, I could overhear Reilly and my brother talk about different players and the bad calls the officials were making. I mean, the Jazz won, which is what we want.

And I finished the video. Could have used a bit more cleaning up, but didn’t feel like it this time. Wanted to revisit my mid-teens again. Enjoy, and good night:

May 25

I didn’t do a lot today, but I am exhausted.

This evening we went to dinner to celebrate Reilly’s nephew’s high school graduation. That guy is so smart and talented. He’s gonna go far. We’re all so proud of him.

When I picked Z up from school today, her teacher told me that Z had cut off some of her hair. It wasn’t a lot, just a small lock, like something she would keep in a scrapbook. It’s not even all that noticeable, and totally something she would wait until the end of the school year to do. Teaching moment first. Funny later.

She still teaches me more than I teach her.

Today is the anniversary of George Floyd’s death. His murder. It’s been on my mind, and I’ve spent the past year changing my mindset and changing behaviors. I’ve learned of his family, his legacy. The continuous racial injustice. As a society, we still have a long way to go. As a person who has barely scratched the surface of understanding, it’s important for me to keep learning.

Everyone needs to keep learning.

And do better.

Humanity depends on it.

Tired, but I don’t know if I can sleep.

Gotta try.

Dance Festival

Our girl participated in an end-of-school dance festival today. She danced with the other first graders. She watched the video many times, she was familiar with the moves. But did she do the moves? No. Did she move when the music moved her? Oh, hell yes.

Was she holding a pine cone while she danced? Yes, that, too.

She watched the other first graders perform, and she loved jumping around while the music played. She smiled so big. I caught about half of it on video that I hope to show her soon. She did such a great job.

I couldn’t be prouder.

She loved watching the other grades dance their numbers, too.

I told my brother today that if at the end of every school year she performs in a dance festival, and all she does is jump around and smile, I will go every year to watch just that.

She’s pure joy.