31 July 2019

243/365

things I want to remember about july:

my body in the ocean on the very first day
cherry cola slurpees from the 7-11 next door
eight of us crammed into that little condo, sleeping on air mattresses and couches, all sunburnt bodies and limbs and laughing
the lettered olive ezra found, the most perfect, most beautiful lettered olive I have ever seen
the cracking of waves against a burnt wooden wall, the way it thrilled us (and soaked us) every time, every single time
the small true tulip I saw go tumbling along before I plucked it out of the shallows for myself (truly, my find of the week)
ezra's breathy fourth of july declaration, caught on video, now forever a part of our family vernacular
ava's swimming pool instax shots all lined up on the bed
ward floating on his back in the ocean
a daily jumble of rainbow beach umbrellas
a miraculous nightly materialization of The Neon Pink Sunset
a cherry sno-cone to beat all cherry sno-cones, consumed in the last moments, whilst walking the pier
a burst of diablo blend cosmos in the garden upon my return
a skirt full of harvested cherry tomatoes, too
how jimmy met mont, over and over and over again 
the invariable comfort of cicadas at dusk
the making of tomato basil mozzarella sandwiches with things I grew
the gasping over the first sunflower, all popped open and awake
the small green praying mantis I looked for every morning for a week
the hot afternoon we spent picking blackberries and blueberries and peaches
the basket I brought with us, the one that belonged to my mom
(how she would have loved that, I thought) 
the kitchen heavy with the scent of ripening fruit
the cobblers I made, I mean, multiple, so many cobblers
the skater I saw on the way home, the way he moved with every piece, every part of his body
the way he sailed past gas stations and drug stores and so many dumb cars, like a dancer
the night we lined the living room floor with air mattresses and pillows and blankets and watched stranger things in the dark
the way ava looked at me from across the room when she sold her first piece at her very first show
the moment I thought to line the kitchen windowsill with topo chico and old soda bottles and cuttings of mint leaves 
the way it felt, like maybe it was the best thing I ever did for myself
the unexpected kindness from a reader/friend that nearly brought me to my knees
the way I burst into tears when I read her email, overwhelmed with the serendipity
ava's gorgeous birds, one on the curve of each shoulder
the way I sat with her while the tattoo artist worked, soft buzz of the needle in the background
the way I wondered what my pregnant 29 year-old self would have thought, if she could have seen into this particular future
ava's 19th birthday at a favorite old cabin in the woods 
the kids on their bikes on the way to the pond
the chorus of lightning bugs we saw on our walk back
patty melts and birthday lists on a cherry red oilcloth table cover
(and in that specific moment, so much possibility)
the foraging for wildflowers for a birthday bouquet 
mac and cheese and cherry cobbler with birthday candles on the porch of the cabin with family
magic hour polaroids of the extraordinary girl who first made me a mother nineteen years ago
bottles of coca cola on a floating dock while ezra skipped stones across the surface of the pond
a beautiful package in the mail, a book I was desperate for, a lovely handwritten letter, list, hand-typed poem
the way these things feel like such treasure, like such infinite, impossible treasure to me
(thank you, cate, thank you so much, I am so wildly humbled and so grateful)
an impromptu trip to the high on the way home from church
the cataloguing of bits and pieces that inspire the inimitable maira kalman
the goldfinch that landed on the last of my sunflowers
the sandwich ezra lovingly made for me
the painting ava worked on in the backyard, in the shade of two towering pines
the finishing of what is now one of my most favorite books
(thank you, beth, forever thankful for your recommendation)
a summer thunderstorm on the very last night
thus, a power outage on the very last night
thus, a few rounds of twenty questions in the pitch dark on the very last night
while I thought about this list

30 July 2019

242/365

things I took as good signs today, signs that things are going to be okay:

the bright red cardinal that swooped across the windshield of my car as I drove home
the goldfinch that landed on one of the last of my sunflowers and stayed for a little bit
the check that showed up in our mailbox, for work already done, that we had (unbelievably) completely forgotten about

29 July 2019

241/365

things I dread as much as the start of school a week from today:

the dentist
the gynecologist
and, taxes

28 July 2019

240/365

Untitled

things about sunday:

a small chorus of junk accompanied by an ALL FREE sign across the street from church
impromptu hours spent wandering the high
maira kalman's candy bar poem
the last of the cherry (birthday) cobbler
the last of the sunflowers

if only we were all, really and truly, free.

27 July 2019

239/365

things that make me feel rich, even when (especially when) I'm not exactly sure how we'll make rent:

fresh mint leaves in my glasses of water
the slathering of so much coconut oil post-shower
checking out so many books from the library I cannot even carry them all myself

26 July 2019

238/365

day four // two

things I genuinely love about ava:

appreciates a beautifully, perfectly ripe peach as much as a fresh bag of sour gummy worms
never met a book store (or library) she didn't instantly love
eats her breakfast outside in the morning, even when it's ninety degrees before noon
has covered the walls of her room with thrift store landscape paintings of faraway places and bits and pieces of world maps
laughs with her whole body, eyes squinted shut, tears streaming, just like the women on my mom's side of the family
watches all of the cat videos with me, all of them, tirelessly
is fluent in german and additionally, is currently teaching herself three different languages
never fails to ring her bicycle bell when she pulls into the driveway
once thought she might like to get married at voodoo doughnuts
gets as excited as I do about yard sales and junk shops
wholly understands the profound nature and importance of the old school photobooth
actually reads the books I recommend and then lets me tell her why they're important
knows the names of the stars and the constellations, often wanders outside at night to look at them
loves traveling by train (almost) as much as I do
loves sufjan stevens (almost) as much as I do
is fiercely individualistic and deeply compassionate
is the feminist it took me yeeeears to become
pours her whole self into the art she makes
is always, and I mean always, up for a movie
is always, and I mean always, up for a road trip
is the cool girl I always wanted to be

(happy 19th birthday to my favorite girl in the world and someday when you are reading through this strange little digital document of a sliver of my time here in this world, I hope you find this and I hope it brings you so, so much joy) 

25 July 2019

237/365

things I'm doing today (in a mad dash) to get ready for tomorrow:

wrapping all the birthday presents
tying them all up with a mess of bakers twine and the last bits of fuzzy pink yarn
packing sparklers and bug spray and a good straw hat and a stack of books and maybe a swimsuit 
packing matches and birthday candles and party horns and confetti and the disco camping lantern
packing cameras and film and battery chargers and more film
baking homemade (birthday) mac and cheese
baking homemade (birthday) cherry cobbler
wondering how we're going to get it all there
wondering if I've remembered everything
wondering if I've thought of everything

24 July 2019

236/365

three songs I'd very much like to learn how to play on the ukulele:

dreams (fleetwood mac)
la vie en rose (edith piaf)
here comes the sun (the beatles, by way of nina simone)

23 July 2019

235/365

plink plink

three songs I've learned to play on the ukulele:

isn't she lovely (stevie wonder)
the moon song (karen o)
when you were mine (prince)

22 July 2019

234/365

foods I can no longer keep in the house as I cannot be trusted not to eat them, whether slowly, over the course of a few weeks or in five minutes while standing in front of the refrigerator like a child:

jars of lemon curd
readymade refrigerated pie crust
chicken in a biscuit crackers 
leftover desserts of any kind
cans of reddi-wip whipped cream
palmetto cheese, which is just pimento cheese with soul, or so the label tells me
boursin cheese
boursin cheese 
boursin cheese forever
really, I cannot be trusted

21 July 2019

233/365

things about sunday:

the singing of an old hymn
the almost purchase of a slip-and-slide
the reading of a book so terrific I can't go one page without marking passages
the making and baking of blackberry-blueberry cobbler
bad reality television, really bad reality television

19 July 2019

231/365

Untitled

recently collected from the ocean:

49 atlantic calico scallops
8 florida fighting conchs
5 juvenile florida fighting conchs
1 common dove snail
1 chestnut turban
3 florida spiny jewelboxes
3 lightning whelks
2 true tulips
1 (very faded) alphabet cone
1 (partial) apple murex
4 dark ceriths
8 common american augers
5 florida wormsnails
1 unidentified piece of something
15 lettered olives
2 turkey wings
3 mossy arks
2 calico clams
1 painted egg cockle
11 broad ribbed cardita
12 atlantic kitten paws
2 pieces of coral
1 nacre from a penshell
2 buttercup lucines
1 tiger lucine
3 florida prickly cockles
1 yellow prickly cockle
3 cross barred venus clams
2 dosinias
8 atlantic slippersnails
1 eastern oyster
5 common jingles
1 very small piece of driftwood (not pictured)

18 July 2019

230/365

nine photographs recently loved:

one (we often find ourselves fascinated by stories told by our elders)
two (one step forward, two steps back)
three (rahman, july 14, 2019)
four (somewhere along the rio negro, amazonas)
five (how strawberries end up on our table)
six (my dear friend jen, big sur)
seven (great-grandmother and great-grand daughter, born on the same day)
eight (from a myth of two souls)
nine (untitled, 2018)

17 July 2019

229/365

monday's red

prayers sent up recently, mostly muttered underneath my breath, in varying degrees of desperation:

please God let me make it through this week
please God let us find a way
please God send me a friend, any friend
please God do not let the big leaning tree in the front yard fall on the house while we are sleeping
please God do not let that dental assistant look at me that way with the pity in her eyes
please God slow these last three weeks with ava, before she leaves 
please God this president fills me with such sadness and rage I barely recognize myself
please God we are broken, broken people
please God show me how I can be better, do better
but also
thank you 
thank you
thank you

a small needful fact

a small needful fact

is that eric garner worked
for some time for the parks and rec.
horticultural department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.

ross gay

it's been a hard week. for me personally, yes, I have nearly been broken by a few personal things. but for this country, it's been a hard week. it's been a hard month, a hard year, a hard couple of years, a hard decade, a hard century. we seem brutally inexorably bent on moving backwards. federal criminal charges were not pressed against the officer who was caught on camera putting eric garner in an illegal chokehold. federal criminal charges were not pressed, even with video evidence of eric garner gasping he could not breathe, with video evidence of the officer's continuous unnecessary deadly force, with video evidence of eric garner's death. 

I first shared this poem back in 2016. it broke my heart wide open, and I wanted to share it with everyone I knew, wanted the breaking of other hearts too. I come back to it again and again, particularly when hopelessness seems perched to swallow, when I need to remember how much work there is to do, when I need to remember there is still good in the world, when I need remember to keep working.

15 July 2019

227/365

things that happened today (it was a hard day) after I officially gave up:

hard cider found me, around two in the afternoon 
(poured it into a mug so as to give the impression I was having a nice cup of tea)
a cardinal landed on the lower branch of a tree in back, which I did take as a hopeful sign
two gulf fritillary butterflies made their way through my garden and I wished for one to land on my hand, I wished so hard 
(I wanted another sign, the cardinal was not enough)
the world took on a weight I knew existed but had not felt in a while
the floor called my name, so I went to it
(the floor feels glorious when you've given up)
the questioning found me, I fell into that too
(questioned everything, including this ridiculous list project)
broke down, texted the friend who is maybe (probably) not really a real friend
took my foot off the proverbial brake, let the night glide to stillness
(and by this, I mean I baked a peach cobbler around ten, ate it while watching stranger things in the dark with the kids)

I will read this list one day and I will roll my eyes. I am sure of it.

14 July 2019

226/365

things about sunday:

the kitchen, heavy with the scent of ripening peaches
ava, her first show, the selling of her first painting, the look she gave me from across the room
the moon, an opaline smudge in the sky

13 July 2019

225/365

things I miss, part four:

mixtapes
the lilacs that grew next to our house in portland
family roadtrips in the stationwagon
lakewood fleamarket
my bike

12 July 2019

224/365

vegetables and herbs and flowers growing and blooming in my garden right now:

zinnias
marigolds
nasturtiums
crimson-colored dahlias
diablo blend cosmos
lemon queen sunflowers
cherry tomatoes
italian large leaf basil
super sweet genovese basil
triple curled parsley
amanda leaf lettuce
blue lake bush beans
swiss chard
rosemary
greek oregano
chamomile
spearmint
chocolate mint
lemon balm
catnip
dill

four years, I went without a garden, four years. I'm telling you right now, I will never not have a garden again. 

11 July 2019

223/365

summer

things I do when things are too much and the world is too much and I can't breathe, part three:

polish collected seashells
smell the insides of library books
move my body until I am tired and sweating and my mind is quiet
listen to the last voicemail my mother left me
stand in the green grass in my bare feet

(part one, part two)

10 July 2019

222/365

ava

small pleasures, part nine:

popsicles
midnight walks
mail from friends
the first bite of a peach
lightning bugs
crushed ice
cat naps

09 July 2019

221/365

things that delighted me today:

the idea that bibliotherapy exists
portraits made with the thick smudges of palette knives
the minuscule praying mantis that stared up at me from beneath a sunflower leaf

08 July 2019

220/365

things that comfort me, part two:

the sound of the cicadas at night
my mother's sterling silver bracelets
an old midnight blue tee-shirt that is as soft as skin and has so many holes it barely qualifies as clothing

07 July 2019

219/365

words I had to look up in the dictionary last month:

vulpine
bailiwick
repatriate
evanescent
travertine
vituperative
crepuscular
aquiline
torpor

06 July 2019

218/365

last

songs that go on every single summer mix I make:

sweet thing (van morrison)
here comes the sun (nina simone)
make you feel that way (blackalicious, tor/sufjan stevens remix)
rill rill (sleigh bells)
swim team (arms and sleepers)
gold silver diamond (generationals)
genius of love (tom tom club)
happier than the morning sun (stevie wonder)

05 July 2019

217/365

fun land

eaten while on vacation:

fried pickles
a slice of lemon meringue pie
numerous slurpees from 7-11
home-cooked arroz con pollo
fresh corn on the cob
vacation cereal, aka fruity pebbles
the world's best hamburger
a spoonful of ice cream here
a spoonful of ice cream there
avocado toast with a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lime juice
more pizza than I'd care to admit, really
grocery store cupcakes
a lovely little plum
and the most spectacularly wonderfully perfect cherry sno-cone

04 July 2019

216/365

things we did on the fourth of july:

broke swimming pool rules
ate grocery store cupcakes for dinner
watched a colossal storm roll in
took buzzfeed quizzes
laughed
and laughed
and laughed
schlepped down to the beach
took intentionally blurry photographs of fireworks
thought about this a lot

03 July 2019

215/365

summer twenty seventeen//26

potential 2019 summer themes:

summer of the disco camping lantern
summer of the homemade strawberry sheet cake
summer of the great sun tea experiment
summer of the time I finally got my bike repaired
summer of the time it was a million degrees outside but we went peach picking anyway
summer of the time it was a million degrees outside but we went blackberry picking anyway
summer of the neverending tent sleepover
summer of my cherry lemonade hack
summer of my garden obsession
summer of my topo chico obsession
summer of my stripey shirt obsession
summer of the big kick the can revival
summer of the string lights I couldn't stop buying and hanging
summer of the time we finally blew up that big popsicle pool float we bought two years ago
summer of the time we finally found the secret waterfall
summer of the time we finally went back to the drive-in
summer of our garden sprinkler revival
summer of at least a dozen sno-cones, maybe more
summer of ava never not blowing bubbles

02 July 2019

214/365

books I read in june:

the secret history (donna tartt)
henri cartier bresson (aperture masters of photography)
against the odds: women pioneers in the first hundred years of photography (martin w. sandler)
wildsam field guides: american south (taylor elliott bruce)
the library book (susan orlean)

01 July 2019

213/365

on this first day of july:

ocean air, inhaled
shells, collected
body, submerged