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[Quiet Thoughts] The Way He Walks

Photo: Major learned E Chord today for no other reason than his teacher thinking he’s cool. He was supposed to learn G7 chord this week, which is did, but that was after having fun and learning E. Sharing this picture because there is so much love in the child’s eyes, a reverence for this thing that he loves so much. Damn it’s expensive… but I am so glad we did this. Of course, the boy is asking for a blue one for Christmas…

 

I dropped off Major at school on Tuesday and stopped right at the sidewalk as his teacher waved for him. “He can walk the rest of the way! He knows where he’s going!” She called as she waved. Major went bounding forward, stopped short, then came running back to give me a hug. Just like a commercial! I gave him a hug and a kiss, told him he was going to have a great day, (“I know. It’s going to be so great.”) and then watched him traverse the space between me and his teacher.

My Quiet Thoughts were born by watching him walk away. His head was held high, but his steps moving forward were uneven. His backpack is bigger than he is, he’s so small compared to the older children who were making their way to the building, yet he’s so big compared to his classmates… so much bigger than his brother. Unlike his preschool, which was small and cozy (he’d walk up to the building and it didn’t seem to loom so large), standing there, watching him move forward, that’s all I could see: how so very big the building is, how so very small my son is in comparison. He’ll grow into the space. We all will. We’ll grow into this new life. Yet still, standing on that sidewalk, watching my son walk away from me, there was raw understanding of just how far we’ve come, and yet how very far we have to go.  I had to remind myself that this is the first month of the first year at the first school. Stay focused.

There was affirmation in that moment, however: I saw that my son was comfortable and confident in his movement. There wasn’t dread or trepidation in his steps. He moved forward with the energy of a child who felt safe and loved, who felt secure in himself and his surroundings.

In a big wide world, expanding by the day, my son walks forward, with a keen eye, a confident spirit, and an open heart.

There is faith in that. There is hope in that.

This is the beauty of childhood, for sure. And a childhood of privilege, no less. I understand that this will be lost and relearned multiple times as we progress through the grades, moving upward and outward toward other challenges. Yet, when you get the chance to see it what full faith and self-confidence look like when on display, you can’t help but stop and marvel. You  try to dig deep to find it in yourself again, remembering what it was like to know that you are going to be ok, without a doubt, because the world is good and you are free to be yourself and make mistakes.

While I’m not convinced that it’s possible to fully return to that space as an adult, I think that it is possible to capture it and rekindle it in temporary bursts. That we can, in order to propel ourselves to the next great step in our lives, return to a place of faith and full trust in ourself and all that we know to be true about ourself. In knowing that, if nothing else, we are capable of walking forward in a big wide world, and that we’ll make it to the other side of whatever challenge presents itself.

Or maybe I’m an optimistic fool. Maybe this is the best I can do in a mean world.

This week felt damn close to normal. Maybe this is normal now. There is still a lot to smooth out, so much still unsettled. Yet, I sucked less this week. I did everything I had to do, even most of the things I wanted to do. I still feel behind. I still feel like I should have accomplished more.

I attended that PTA meeting on Tuesday and decided it’s not for me. Fundraising sucks, even if it’s important. I will say, though, that the principal of the school specifically greeted me during the meeting, expressing his happiness for my being there (I was one of two women of color at the table). And people there were friendly and certainly care a lot about the school. But the meeting ran way too long and, more importantly, it was boring beyond measure. I just… don’t care… about pizza nights and wrapping paper. At all. But, I did learn a lot about the workings of the school and its philosophy. I love being in the know… you know? But, is it worth being bored out of my skull once a month?

Lordy. I messed up the Quiet Thoughts with petty laziness, didn’t I? Well, Dear Reader, I never said I was perfect.😉

There is rain falling outside of the farmhouse windows for the second time this week. A welcome wonder in drought-stricken MetroWest Massachusetts. The smell of it is intoxicating, the sound of it is mesmerizing. I look forward to  drifting off to sleep while listening to it, and enjoying the green that will result from it. We all could use a little nourishment, Dear Reader. We all could use a bit of refreshment, a bit of help raining down from high places. A little peace, a little mercy, a little joyful love. These are among the things I wish for you this Friday, Dear Reader. I wish you warmth from the sun’s rays and from the smile of someone dear. I wish you a tight squeeze from a sweet embrace, the snug feel of your favorite jacket, the electric awesomeness you can only feel when you put on your favorite Fall boots. I wish you brunch, a little sweet, a little savory, served with a side of laughter and storytelling. I wish you stillness and comfort, an easing of pain, an easing of a mind darting and racing. I wish you calming hands on your shoulders, on your neck, on your cheeks, in your hair. May they heal a bit, comfort a lot.

In a world that feels dark and anxious, I wish you a protective spirit to surround you, but I also wish for the culture to change. Where all beings, of all shades and colors (and shapes and sizes, etc etc) are protected, respected, and welcomed. If it’s true that thoughts are born of intention, and actions are born from our thoughts, then may our intention be to cultivate this. (Special thanks to a wonderful reader who sent me this  powerful wish.)

 

Until Monday, stand strong, be kind, love fearlessly, laugh loudly, and take care.

“One Bad Dude”

I’m so glad that people are taking a look at this beautifully written post. I want to emphasize that this is a re-blog. I didn’t write it.

Afroculinaria is a blog I’ve followed for a long time. Michael is phenomenal, a special sort of person in the world. I hope you will read about his work and follow his blog.

Furthermore, I think these are the perfect words to live here this Wednesday. It’s another week in America, another week of Black death and Black outrage and little change. There won’t be change. Two officers get to go on “murdercation” (I didn’t come up with that, someone on twitter did), two families grieve, two communities go into tense upheaval… and the rest of us simply have pain.

PBS posted an article about how scenarios like this may cause PTSD-like reactions among people of color who continually watch it over and over again. If we don’t watch our mental health, we’ll just flame out. The exhaustion of this, the oppression of seeing Black death on continuous loop, dulls all of the senses, disables all energy for continuing to fight, continuing to speak truth, continuing to teach, continuing to be in a peaceful and thoughtful way. Each death, each injustice, each outrage… it kills is slowly. Ever so slowly.

So yes, please read this post, please follow Michael’s blog, please read his articles. He’s an awesome thinker, a beautiful member of our larger body.

And please be quick to love, make haste to be kind. Choose your better angels. Choose life.

See you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.

Afroculinaria

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/21/terence-crutcher-wasnt-bad-dude-just-black-man-in-america

This is the piece I wrote for the Guardian on Terence Crutcher.

I have not been able to sleep since I learned about his shooting/murder. Sometimes I’ve just burst into tears, and I never met the man.

I’m just almost 40, a big guy, and Black. So maybe I have met him.

It was edited for length and content but I also wanted to share with you the original “Last Testament.” I want to assure you I don’t ascribe to respectability politics, however knowing the triggers the mainstream media uses to snare Black victims of police overreach often face, I included everything I knew that would go against the stereotypes that are often used to condemn Black men and women to death, to claim that our lives weren’t as worthy of saving…expressed clearly or covertly. Know that I love you sisters and brothers, and we must work together to…

View original post 301 more words

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Seeking New Tactics

Photo: Oh yes, there was work done this weekend. As you can see, the heavy duty equipment was brought out. Two little boys were a big help with their little red wagons! Of course, we finally build our fire pit and it’s freaking hot and freaking humid. So, no fire… probably not until next weekend. Honestly, it’s so parched around here, I’m a little worried about it anyway.

 

I woke up on Saturday, had a pancake breakfast, got dressed in fancy clothes, went to Starbucks and conducted a meeting. Like an adult. A grown-ass adult who has her shit together.

It made me feel better.

I’m still treading water, but it was nice a reminder that, yes, I’m a person who can still conduct business and, yes, I’m organized and professional, not a mangled mess of mother-emotion and pent-up frustrations. Of course, I walked away with lots of work to do, but that’s not such a bad thing. The result will be money, and money is good to earn.

I came home and cut fabric for holiday crafting. Pictures of the various designs will come as we go through the coming weeks. I was able to do some lingering freelancing work that I had not been able to get to during the week. I went to bed on Saturday night feeling satisfied in a way that I had not felt since school started. Stuff is slowly coming back, a rhythm is starting to be felt.

Of course, it’s 10:30 at night and I’m sitting here writing my blog post… so maybe I just spent two paragraphs writing beautiful, beautiful lies.

Either way, it’s Monday night and I’m not panicked. Not like I was before.

Wisdom came from my mother and grandmother yesterday. They both said the same thing: “These are the busy years. You are going to have to change your expectations and go with what comes. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

So easily said. Easier to dismiss. We’re going to have to meet somewhere in the middle. If only I had a roadmap for such a place. They both to seem of the mind that I need to give into my exhaustion, let go of stuff in favor of giving more to the boys. This is not the advice that I’m looking for. I thought that this was going to be a break-out year for me! Instead, I feel more tied down than ever!

The boys started Sunday School and were thrilled to be there. Minor is already asking me if Jesus is magic and I’m like like, “uhhhhhhhh…. welll…..not…. technically….?” So, you know, I have to fail at no less than 3 things at a time. The first PTSA meeting of the year is tomorrow night and I’ve decided to go just to know what it’s like. Are you shaking your head at your screen, Dear Reader? Don’t do it! I’m just going to one! Just to see! And you know the resulting post will be interesting!

I know, I’m overbooked. It really doesn’t feel like there is enough time in the day.

So, I broke out my crockpot to give it a good cleaning. On Wednesday, I think I’m going to make my first crockpot meal in years. If I can add a slow cooker meal to the menu once, maybe even twice a week, I’ll get a little time back. I hope.  I confess: I hate the taste of stuff that comes out of the crockpot. I would describe the flavor as tasting the color gray. If gray could have a taste, if would be a crockpot meal. That’s usually the color that comes out of the crockpot, too. I hope I can change my perception of it, because, well… I need it. I need it badly. So if you have a favorite go-to crockpot meal that you would suggest, please link it! I’d be so grateful! I’m sure some hilarious blog posts will come out of it, at least!

It’s last September. I can’t tell if I want to laugh or cry about it. Somehow the school year feels long already. Life we’ve been at this forever and I need a break. I know! It doesn’t make a lick of sense! Does anyone else feel this way? Moms of older kids, does this get any better? Were you snickering at me the whole time I blogged during the summer actively praying for the start of school? Welp, the fool is finally in on the joke. I most certainly didn’t know what I was asking for.

The time is 10:50 and this mother is ready for bed. Off the top of my head, there are no less than four things to do before I can get there. So, I’m getting up off this couch to start the journey. Happy Monday to you, Dear Reader. It’s the start of another week. I hope that you are challenged, but not overwhelmed. Let’s march toward Friday together, yes?

Until Wednesday, take care.

 

 

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[Quiet Thoughts] Progress is Slow

Photo: I love Friday mornings. Friday mornings are for the renewal of the covenant between flour, sugar, butter, spices, and flour. A little heat, a little time, a stretch in the early morning light, and wow–you have a house full of good smells, a moment for savoring the end of a busy week. You can’t feel bad when butter, sugar, flour and yeast combine do good things in your oven. You can’t feel bad when your Friday starts out with those things! It’s impossible. Now, imagine putting pumpkin cream cheese frosting on those. Yeah. T’was a good Friday morn’.

 

Ursa Major is having a fantastic kindergarten experience.

Ursa Minor, having completed his first full week of school, including two days of Lunch Bunch, is having a fantastic kindergarten experience.

The Husband, daily walking out the door with a custom bagged lunch and coming home to a clean house with educated children and a well-cooked meal, is feeling pretty good about the way things are running around here. He gets to go to work and be validated as the big-brained amazing man that he is, and then he gets to come home to relax and be loved. What more could a man want? So, fantastic experience for The Husband.

Of course, someone had to make all that happen. Someone had to facilitate all of this fantasticness.

Which means that Mommy is not having a fantastic experience.

I sat in the office of a dear friend today and, upon being asked how I was doing, I couldn’t tell one more lie.

“I’m absolutely miserable. This is absolutely miserable!”

For every giggle and smile, every happy sigh after a hearty meal at school or work, every satisfying moment of intellectual stimulation, there was a groan, huff, grunt, pop of a muscle, under-breath curse, or growl coming from the woman of the house. Super Mom. The woman who did all the things, mostly in service to everyone else.

And when I did do those few things for myself… the results were mediocre at best. Fiction was not written. Blogging was barely done. I want to submit a short story and I haven’t had a moment. I have holiday crafts that must be prepped before the end of the weekend. I haven’t been to Wegmans in over a week.My locs are screaming for a retwist. Even just a deep conditioning would do wonders!

It’s one thing to get to the end of a week feeling accomplished and badass, knowing that you conqured your week, feeling ready to do it all again. It’s another thing to just feel spent, aching, dreading all of the things you’ve left undone. It’s hard to find the necessary stillness to recharge, to regroup. It’s a vicious space to be in. For me, it creates more anger at myself than anyone else. I want to be better, more efficient, more diligent. This is, of course, not helpful.

My friend told me that I’m not alone. A lot of women go through this. Life with young children is draining. Life with a busy family is draining. Caring for everyone else is draining.

This is what it feels like when the jar is damn near empty.

I accomplished one thing, at least: I sucked a little less this week. Major got picked up for guitar on time. We made it to Back-to-School Night. I freaking made cinnamon rolls.

That means I have the opportunity to suck a little less next week. And the week after.

Ambitious as I am, it is painful to make my weekly goal to be “suck just a little less this week” but this is what starting from scratch looks like. I have so much to learn, but most of that learning has to do with myself, my household and my mothering. I didn’t realize how much growing I’d have to do to make this transition work. So much rests on how well I manage my stress and obligations. It feels so unfair in a way. How easy it would be to sink into a warm, deep sleep all weekend… to order out every night… to ignore my husband and children…to let it all fall away …

Next week is another hard week. I’ll be there with my game face on and my best foot forward.

On this Friday, with a full Harvest moon and an undeniable chill in the air, I wish you rest and refuge. Soak those aching bones, calm your restless mind, silence the inner voices who are saying that you aren’t doing enough. Even if it is only for a short bit of time, take care of yourself, Dear Reader. Love yourself a bit, giving yourself the gift of stillness. I wish you soup, Dear Reader. Your first bowl of the new season. Savor it with crusty bread and crispy salad with late summer greens. I wish you rustling leaves, maybe a few starting to blush, another few taking the leap a little early. I wish you laughter and music under a sunny sky, the warmth of a held hand, the magic of a kiss on your cheek. Be kind to yourself and to others this weekend, Dear Reader. And don’t forget to tell someone you love them. I tell you every week, and I won’t stop. This world is so crazy right now. Being loving and kind can only do good in a world that needs it. Remember, as you speak the words to others, that you are loved as well. Deeply. Unabashedly. What you do in this world matters to someone out there, even if they don’t tell you so.

Until Monday, get some sleep and take care.

 

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This is Why We Came Here

 

Photo: Ursa Major’s first “self-portrait” has many surprising features! The Husband and I were amazing by how much artwork Major has done!

 

Our most excellent and amazing neighbors came over so that we could do Back to School night together. I don’t know why, but they had it scheduled for 6pm which is, like, prime rush hour around here. Worst! Anyway, it was a mad dash across town, deploying many short cuts to make it. The Husband kept trying to get me to relax, but… there was anxiety for some many reasons. It took so much just to make the day happen at all (including bathing, feeding and guitar practicing the boys before 5:30!) and then there was all the worry about what The Husband was going to think of the school (it was his first visit) and what the teacher was going to say to us about Major…

“Just be cool, babe. You’ve gotta calm down.”

Yeah, ok. I should have had a beer before we left.

Arrival was on time and we rushed down to the classroom. It was bright and happy, sparsely populated with other nervous parents. None of us parents talked to each other. We all sorta milled about in pairs, politely avoiding eye contact and/or bumping into each other as we floated from thing to see to some other thing to see. There were “hopes and dreams” drawn in clouds. There were writing folders already protecting precious pages of first handwriting practice. There were family portraits (Major drew the four of us in yellow with black, spiky hair). There was paper left at each little chair for parents to sit and write a little note to their child. One parent would sit and write (The Husband) while the other would float, lingering close by for no reason, never speaking to any other adults in the room (me).

When it was our turn to speak to the teacher, there were the polite handshakes, a little bit of small talk. Then the pregnant pause, filled with my motherly, “so how is he doing?”

“He seems to be doing just fine,” the young woman replied. “Does he seem stressed?”

I wasn’t prepared for this question. I was ready for something else. So I answered stupidly, “Well, no. I suppose not. I just… we don’t always get a lot about what he’s doing–”

“–The conversation starters you send home each night are very helpful,” my husband assisted.

That opened up some things. We talked about the schedule, potential friends. She asked about guitar practice: “he talks about it every day,” she told us. “That’s just so cool.”

Lingering over long after the spiel the teacher gave to all of us gathered parents, we began to venture toward the hallway. That’s when the principal came into the room. He greeted us very warmly, remembering me from the parent tours months ago. I’ve seen him since orientation only twice, but he has called me by name both times and he knows who Major is. He gave The Husband a hearty handshake and chatted with us for a long time.

The assistant principal gave us a personal tour of the gorgeous, bright, fantastic library.   He, too, remembers me from that tour back in the spring. He spoke with us for a while, highlighting many things we have to look forward to. The Husband was really impressed with the entire space, especially enjoying the huge gym, the over-stuffed art room and the music room filled with instruments.

And I was reminded of why we are doing all of this.

“I came into this building and was like, ‘we came all the way out here. Isn’t this what we were looking for?'”

The Husband nodded his head. “This is exactly what I had in mind when I thought of a school for our boys.”

Every once in a while, especially in stressful moments like these last two weeks, it’s nice to have a strong, visceral reminder of what the hell the goal is. Why are we here? What are we putting ourselves through this for?

I walked into that building last night and instantly thought, “Oh. Now I remember!”

We came here because we want our boys to get the best education we can afford to give them. We want them to feel safe and loved and take positive risks. Already, we’re seeing that. Major is having a great kindergarten experience. We’re on the right track.

I’m not saying the transition is any easier… Minor and I are pretty much over our colds. Major should be significantly better tomorrow. The Husband’s cold just arrived. Freelancing and Fiction still feel impossible, which tightly scheduled days and exhaustion at night. I feel overwhelmed by all that I feel like I have to accomplish during my 10 hours of baby-free time a week… so overwhelmed that I find myself paralyzed and wasting the time.

Rhythm, balance. They are coming… but they are far off. In the meantime, I feel like I’m falling farther and farther behind.

I’ll start dancing to the new rhythm soon enough. Until then, I’ll be here whining and whining. I’m sorry, Dear Reader. This has been intense and poor for blogging. Forgive me.

See you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.

[Bloggy Sick Day] Rough Transition

 

 

Did two days go by?

This new schedule is grueling. I can’t believe it’s Monday!

We slept, we ate, I got a little bit of cleaning, a little bit of work done… but it’s 5:30 on Monday afternoon as I write this and all three of us are staring into oblivion. I can’t believe it. Why don’t we have the stamina for this? I’m incredibly surprised about how difficult this transition has been.

I’m trying my best not to worry about it. It probably doesn’t help that we’re all sick.

Did I tell you that we’re all sick? Oh yes. We’re all sick. Full blown chest colds. It’s lovely. I want to write a full 1000 word rant about the super considerate mother and the lovely child who gave us these colds, but… I’m trying to better my karma points.

And, let’s be clear: nobody needs more rage in the world right now.

But what my family needs is rest. So this is a short post. I’m going to make dinner, I’m going to put my children to bed, and then I’m going to do the same. My brain is full of thoughts and worries, my body is sore and fatigued… I have so much to write, but they need me more.

So I’ll write with an update on Wednesday. Until then, Dear Reader, take care.

 

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[Quiet Thoughts] Try Again Next Week

Photo: Who has the time to take new pictures in new settings!? Not this woman, Dear Reader!

 

Here is what I learned this week: It’s likely that I will have less time to myself during the school year than I had during the summer. That’s if this week is any indication of how it’s gonna go…

Our schedule sucks. I feel like I’m always in the car, always half a step behind. I wrote no fiction, no freelancing this week. Barely cast on stitches for a crafting project I need to do.  I have meetings scheduled for next week, three assignments that have to get done, I’m supposed to be re-outlining the novel I’ve been working on. I have things to do. But it’s all come to a grinding halt this week.

It doesn’t help that I feel like I spend an eternity waiting for the bus to drop off Major in the afternoon. Just standing at the end of my driveway looking like a schmuck for 20 minutes–that’s how late it’s been this week.

It doesn’t help that Minor’s separation anxiety from his brother means that he must be with me for every single second after we get home from preschool. 4 hours of me having to entertain my son, which means answering a million billion questions with grace and patience while either a) still charging through the house things that I need to do or b) not doing the work things I need to do because I can’t concentrate on him and work. 

It doesn’t help that The Husband, after sacking me with the damned weekend to Missouri, had to be out on business all week this week, so I’ve been doing everything solo. Everything. No break, no help, no sleep. Just exhaustion and frustration. It’s been a shitty, shitty week. I want a beer and a backrub and good sushi and someone else to do all the housekeeping I’ve only barely managed to do.

I’m ranty… I’m sorry… this is supposed to be Quiet Thoughts. I have to do better.

Actually, there is a lesson from this crazy week. It was taught to me on Wednesday, but I didn’t comprehend it until this morning.

You see, the bus has been running late, so on Tuesday I (politely) asked the bus driver when he is supposed to be at my driveway, and he basically said that he’ll be getting to my driveway at about the time he’s been getting there. (I know I’m being vague. Sorry. The internet is dark and full of terrors. I don’t want to be but so specific about this.) The driver told me what time school dismissal is. A time I kept in mind on Wednesday because I have to pick up Major from school so we can make it to guitar lessons on time. Minor and I had a very long day of preschool orientation, CSA pick up and splitting, a trip to Wegmans, and back to the house for putting everything away and feeding Minor before quickly getting out again with the guitar and snacks.

When I got to the front office, it was empty of children but for Major, who was quietly playing on a playmat in the corner, making puttering sounds while rolling a matchbox car. The Office manager greeted me, motioned over to the sign-out clipboard.

“I’m quite obviously late,” I huffed as I signed my name. Dismissal was in full swing. “What time was I supposed to get here?”

“[15 minutes earlier],” the woman said flatly. Straight face, no smile, just the time. “We bring up the kindergarteners first so you can scoot out of here. It’s all in the handbook.”

I wanted to cry. I don’t really know why. I recognize that there is an irrational highly emotional wave that came over me. It was the cold recognition that I had an answer to my questions from  Wednesday and even before the school year starts.

Yeah, I kinda hate this

and, what’s worse….

I kinda suck at it.

I’m not good at this right now. I kinda suck at this elementary school thing.

I didn’t cry. I kept it together because I didn’t really have time to fall apart. I had to sign my kid out, get him to my car, get him locked in, give him a snack and get him across town for a guitar lesson in the span of 20 minutes. I had shit to do.

I’m doing the best I can.

And what I noticed then but didn’t appreciate until this morning while brainstorming this post, is that there wasn’t any follow-up from the Office Manager. No, “it’s ok. No biggie.” No, “hey, it’s not a problem. He’s perfectly fine. You’ll get it next week.” No patronizing reassurance. Just a sorta silent command: Just don’t suck next week.

I’m being hyperbolic, yes. I know there was no anger. I’m sure if I’d fallen apart in front of her, she would have been very kind to me. There was warmth there, Dear Reader, for sure. But there was also a lesson there. This is the big leagues now. Major is gonna get less hand-holding and, dammit, so am I. Be better. Suck less. Learn the ropes. Find your lane.

Try again next week.

Suck less, please.

We all get to go back. We all get to try again. Minor and I will come to an Afternoon Accord before next weekend. I’ll get back on track with the freelancing, will start to get up early again to work on my fiction. The Husband returns tonight, so I’ll have partnership and help again. We’ll run the Wednesday Wacky schedule again next week and I’ll be on time.

And it will all suck less. Because we’ll be learning, reassessing and applying as we go.

That’s all we can ask to do right now, right?

It’s a hot, hot Friday here in Massachusetts. That’s not helping my mood, either. I’m sitting here wanting to indulge in All Pumpkin Everything Season but the 90s and high humidity are souring my appetite for the rich, creamy and ultra indulgent. I look forward to chilled air and open windows again next week! In the meantime, I sit here with wishes for you, Dear Reader. I wish you time to feel accomplished, having completed everything you really wanted to and needed to, and feeling the weight of it all lifted off of your shoulders for a time. I wish you helping hands and open ears to help you get it all done. I hope there is a bit of laughter, a bit of song as part of that, too, as these are elements that often uplift and lighten. I wish you one sweet thing, a pastry or a cream, to brighten your mood and make you smile. I wish you one well cooked savory indulgence. One last grilled burger in these waning hot days, perhaps? Make sure to cover it in munster and stick it on a brioche bun… and smother it in grilled mushrooms and onions! You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

I wish you a held hand, a hug that lingers, an intimate whisper for your ears only. A smile full of meaning, maybe invitation. The small, quiet things in this world have profound power, don’t they, Dear Reader? Like that casual and almost obligatory “I love you” that we say to each other from day to day. Stop and say it with gusto just once this weekend, Dear Reader. Let the words fill the space between you and whoever you usually say it to. Let the words return to you and fill you up a bit. It’s not a small thing to love and to be loved in return.

Until Monday, Dear Reader, take care.