In the comments of the previous post I was reminiscing about the (quite long-ago now) shift from early text-only blogs to posts spotlighting gorgeous images, and how grumpy I was about that shift at the time. What’s the matter with a nice wall of text? LOL. But I gradually got on board, and then I started growing milkweed and documenting monarch butterfly life cycles…and bit by bit, photos won me over. Also, cute babies.
But my WORRRRRDSSSS MATTTTTERRRRR banner-flying makes it particularly funny that I went all gung-ho Instagram when it took off.
Anyhoo. Here is it a Monday in late June (ye gods, how can it possibly be late June already?) and I’ve done my day’s work, both on the novel and the advocacy gig, and I’m sitting in my favorite pub watching the couple next to me share a cherry custard float I didn’t know was on the menu (it’s a chalkboard special today), and I have about an hour before Scott pings me to say the meatloaf is ready, so here you are, a real live blog post.
(crickets chirping in my brain)
It’s not that I have nothing to say, it’s that I have TOO much to say. But lucky for you, I’ve said it on Facebook. Hey future Lissa, when you dip back into these archives, know that you were advocating hard for compassionate treatment of immigrants today, okay?
What should I blog about?? I need an assignment, y’all. I mean, it’s big doings here in Bonny Glen PDX: Jane graduated from Cal Poly last weekend and is home with us now for a few weeks at least, and Wonderboy (about whom I would write much more if I could just decide on a more age-appropriate blog nickname for the kid) graduated from 8th grade this month. HIGH SCHOOL, my dears. I mean. And lots of antics and adventures swirling around the other four kids too.
And Scott has a big Batman miniseries launching in August, about which I’m very excited. Illustrated by Kelley Jones, who is both brilliantly talented and a total sweetheart. OH YOU GUYS—I wish you could hear the conversations between these two stay-at-home comic-book-creator dads. This project has been years in the making and in our old house Scott used to pace on the patio outside my window during his frequent phone calls with Kelley. Of course I could only hear one side, but it was clear they spent a lot of time chatting about dad stuff and swapping chicken recipes. I mean, total melt-my-heart stuff. I keep telling them they need to do a podcast. Spend five minutes talking about comics, sure, and then get to the recipes and laundry stories!
Last week I went to a community singalong in Southeast Portland called (fabulously) OK Chorale. 70 people crammed into a bar at Revolution Hall singing—get this—a Duran Duran medley. (Duran Duran Medley Medley, said the songsheet. I’m still grinning.) It was my absolute ideal of a social event. Happens twice a month and I freely admit that my resolution to get up early and get my novel-writing done before breakfast was given a tremendous boost by the desire to free up my evenings.
A year ago today I was in the middle of a whirlwind trip to Portland to look at the house we’re now living in, and to meet with Wonderboy’s school principal and special ed administrator, and a suddenly-squeezed-in consult with a breast surgeon about a four-day-old diagnosis. I just looked at my calendar from that week and it’s just bananas. Genetic testing, Ron’s birthday party, flight home, movers’ estimate, MRI. All in the space of a week. And I was teaching a Bravewriter class that started that week, too. Oh plus the kids’ piano recital the day before I got on the plane to come here. BANANAS. How my hair didn’t go fully gray that week is beyond me.
(It’s on the way, though.)
Meatloaf’s ready. Gotta run. How’s that for some old-school Bonny Glen blather, eh? 😉
What brainpower I might have for blogging, I’ve been pouring into advocacy/activism on Facebook. Scott thinks I should try to archive some of that writing here, though, which is a smart thought. I might try just messily pasting it onto a page (rather than a post) and not worrying about format or anything.
Ever since I joined Twitter in 2007 (followed by FB shortly afterward), I’ve pondered how best to archive things I share on social media. I used to periodically comb both networks for any funny kid quips I’d shared—those are the things I most especially want to keep here in my forever-place. And now there’s Instagram pulling the lion’s share of my attention, social-media-wise, another archive of my work stored on someone else’s server. I never can decide how much to pull over here.
Certainly not the most pressing issue of our time, not even close to the most pressing issue regarding my time, but it’s something I think about. Scott and I recently found ourselves laughing and awwww-ing through a bunch of Bonny Glen and Left of the Dial posts from ten years ago, and those stories are golden. We wouldn’t have remembered half of them (maybe any of them) if we hadn’t written them down.
I also note that my reading life has suffered since I dropped the habit of blogging about it.
As we roll into summer here, I’m shifting the moving parts around and pondering ways to tweak my schedule. There’s room for everything—all the important things, at least—as long as I’m clever about it. But sometimes that’s a pretty big ask. 😉
What I have to say about it.
What he has to say about it.
Rose: Remember that time in Warcraft when you tried to pickpocket a bear and instead you aggro’d it?
Rose: That’s exactly what it’s like to have a little brother.
Helen Holmes, The Hazards of Helen — my inspiration photo this week*
*hahaha, I started this post almost a week ago! Photo still applies, though.
This incredible Portland spring seems to have been going on for at least four months, and yet I find myself absolutely gobsmacked to hear people talking about summer like it’s imminent. Oh sure, I’m aware Wonderboy’s last day of school is around the corner and Jane’s Cal Poly graduation is the week after that. I’m making our SDCC plans and paying June bills and harvesting a strawberry a day from the hanging basket…BUT STILL. Summer? Seriously?
We’ll stay in high tide for most of June because we’re having so much fun with our current slate of studies. So I don’t have that end-of-term winding-down feeling I’m seeing so many of my homeschooling pals express. I’ll probably be firmly settled into summer mode about the time everyone else is gearing up for fall. Being out of sync with the crowd is more or less a way of life for me, though, so no worries. 🙂
It hit me recently that we’ve been here almost a year now and I’m going to have to stop talking about Portland as if I’m newly arrived. It’s been such a fast year, though! And everything is still so new! Every week: a new wave of bloom, a new slant of light. So much we haven’t done yet! Sauvie Island, the Columbia River Gorge, the zoo, the rose garden. (I’ve been to the latter on a previous visit, but not with the family.) And yet…in some ways I’m more rooted than anyplace I’ve ever lived. Or rooted differently, I guess? Because of the advocacy job, I regularly attend the coffee hours and town halls of state legislators. Some of them know me by name now. I drive to Salem at least once a month. I’ve manned tables at community events. Perennials I planted last summer are blooming once again. How is it already JUNE?
Sick kids this week, and lots of IEP stuff going on. But golden hour doesn’t begin until 8pm these days, so I’ve managed plenty of long, rhapsodic evening walks. The light is glorious. I’m completely enchanted.
Huck, Rilla, and I are still reading The Penderwicks and lots of poetry. They finished learning the Willow Cabin speech from Twelfth Night and have begun If music be the food of love. play on. We spent a few weeks immersing in the history of Ancient India, and next week we’re starting an exploration of ancient numbering systems. Rilla helped me prep for it and we’re both pretty excited to dive in. And we’re doing watercolors almost every day, because I’m addicted. Strawberry number two was ripe today. We’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of this lovely book: Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. (Amazon influencer link.) I’m in no hurry at all for the tide to go out.
Me, singing in a loop: People are people so why should it be etc
Huck: Do you want to be singing that over and over?
Me: Not particularly
Huck, eyes lighting up: “Oh baby pleeeeease, give a little respect to-oo-oo-oo me!” There, does that help?
I think this is my favorite photo of the hundreds (thousands? eek) I’ve taken since we moved to Portland. I posted it on Instagram with a riff on the much-beloved William Carlos Williams poem:
so much depends
a red garage
glazed with rain
beside the pink
And while I’ve appreciated “The Red Wheelbarrow” for many years, I feel like I get it in a deeper way now. There’s a feeling I get when I look at gray-blue clouds piled over a blue mountain, or sunlight shining through black tree branches, or the evening sky shot through with light and shadows—a feeling like Emily Starr’s flash, you know?
I started writing this post last week (thus the title) and didn’t have a chance to come back and finish until now. It’s Monday morning, early, kids still in bed, sky like mother-of-pearl. I’ve been awake since before dawn, dunno why. The enthusiastic birds outside my window, probably. I contemplated getting up and taking my walk early—I usually go in the evening, during golden hour if I can possibly manage it—but I opted to lie in bed and watch the walls turn from gray to blue. Got up around six and slipped out to the back yard to smile over our little garden like a proud mother. We have radishes coming up in the garden, and my first strawberry is very-nearly-almost ripe.
Anyone remember my big long strawberry-rhapsody post from a million years ago?
Eighteen dollars: less than four times the amount we paid for last night’s gone-in-a-flash berry feast. And now I get a steady stream of berries from June to September. Like the wantons they are, the plants have multiplied with abandon: we must have hundreds of individual strawberry plants now, each fertile and heavy with fruit in its season. I am a neglectful gardener (just ask my neighbors) and I do nothing to baby these plants. I ignore them. I don’t do chemicals and I can’t be bothered with fertilizer or compost. We have terrible soil: thick red Virginia clay that is not at all disposed to encourage root growth. The kids’ caterpillar farm (fennel and rue) springs up right from the middle of the strawberry bed. The strawberries don’t care. They thrive on adversity. They scoff at the miserable growing conditions; they sneer at the crabgrass; they launch themselves over the retaining wall and bloom in mid-air. They send exploratory runners into the lawn, and Scott mows right over them. For this callous treatment, they reward us with a riotous, bountiful harvest. You can’t beat us down, they proclaim. You only encourage us to flaunt our fertility. We will, we must, reproduce! We will fill the world! Let those fat, bland, expensive greenhouse-grown excuses for berries beware! We are sun-warmed and sweet. We will make you weep for joy.
There is no modesty in strawberries.
And there was no brevity in 2005 me, apparently. 😉 Oh for the days of big long text-heavy posts!
So here’s a fun thing: I got to take a watercolor class last Saturday. If Peggy Dean offers a workshop in your town, jump at the chance to take it! Three hours passed in a flash as we learned watercolor techniques for leaves and loose florals. Such a blast. And the paints she sent us home with—more swoon. Plus one of her cruelty-free, eco-conscious brushes. We laughed and painted and learned cool stuff (with a brief, blissful interruption to take turns petting the ADORABLE King Charles spaniel puppy who appeared in the tea shop with his very accommodating owner). Peggy’s teaching style is A+++ and I had a wonderful time sharing everything I learned with Rilla at our Saturday Night Art Date afterward.
If you can’t get to a workshop, Peggy’s Skillshare classes are also excellent (Rilla and I have taken several) and you’ve heard me praise her Botanical Line Drawing book many times before. I’m glad I’m a homeschooler because I can decree next week to be take-all-the-rest-of-Peggy’s-classes week if I feel like it. If you’re new to Skillshare, you can get two free months of unlimited classes. (Also highly recommended: Stephanie Kilgast’s Sculpey classes.)
Thank you Peggy for a fabulous workshop! I’m still swooning over that hematite violet. 😍