A Story In A Few Parts Dedicated To Bionic On The Belated Occasion Of Her Birth.
“Is that you? Did you come in the front door right as I stepped out the back?” asked the roommate who used to be a monk from the front porch, where he had not been just a moment before.
“I did!” said Captain Starrhill Girl as she took off her boots, a little surprised, “How funny!”
“I am going to the very young roommate with a flute’s flute recital,” said the roommate who used to be a monk.
“Oh, no! Is that today?!” exclaimed Captain Starrhill Girl, alarmed and excited all at the same time. She had just trudged up what is locally known as Vinegar Hill with a backpack full of items from school and groceries from the health food store in a lovely new bag from the far-off Park Slope Food Co-op, and – obvs – she had forgotten about the very young roommate with a flute’s flute recital.
“It is; she mentioned it to me special this morning. Four o’clock! Do you want to go? Come on!” said the roommate who used to be a monk. “It will be an adventure!”*
“Ok!” said Captain Starrhill Girl and she threw down her bags and pulled her boots back on.
Off they went to the bus stop for an adventure!
The talk between Captain Starrhill Girl and the roommate who used to be a monk turned to the bus schedule, as it often did. They compared stories of early and late buses they had known and Captain Starrhill Girl pointed out various people she knew as they drove by while they waited at the bus stop on Main street across from the fancy market. At last a bus came into view and the adventure began!
“I think we could get off this bus and get onto one of the university buses,” said the roommate who used to be a monk as they rode west along Main street, “then we wouldn’t have to wait while the bus has it’s idle time there at the stop by the hospital.” There had already been discussion about the stupidity of the length and frequency of the pauses the city buses took in order to get themselves, one assumes, back on schedule.
“Ok,” said Captain Starrhill Girl, who just assumed that the roommate who used to be a monk had a better grasp of the bus systems.
As the bus got closer to the stop by the hospital, the roommate who used to be a monk stepped down from his seat and stood, poised, at the back door of the bus, ready to hop off as soon as it stopped. Captain Starrhill Girl figured she ought to be ready, too, and stood right behind him, willing and able to hop off the bus as soon as the roommate who used to be a monk did. The bus pulled up to the stop by the hospital, and the adventure continued!
The roommate who used to be a monk nearly leapt out of the back door of the bus, with Captain Starrhill Girl close at his heals, where she decided not to remain because his legs were far longer than hers. The roommate who used to be a monk sped right through the line of people filing in the front door of the bus he had just exited from the rear, cleaving them into two groups as if they were the waters of the Red Sea and the roommate who used to be a monk were Moses, as he made his way with due haste to the university bus waiting just ahead. Captain Starrhill Girl opted to walk almost as quickly, artfully dodging around the final person in line, because she is a small town girl at heart and can’t really bring herself to cut in line, even if it is just in passing. The roommate who used to be a monk lived in New York City about a generation ago, and has many tales of adventure to tell about it; it could be assumed that this was where and when he learned his mad crowd-splicing skillz.
With all speed, the adventuresome duo stepped up and onto the waiting university bus and off they went – to adventure!
Two blocks later (yes, 2 blocks), the university bus pulled up at the stop just past the hospital. “We made it!” cried the roommate who used to be a monk and Captain Starrhill Girl with delight as they passed their original bus which has just pulled up at the same stop** and hurried up the many sets of stairs that lead, swtichback style, to the lawn of the local university. The very young roommate with a flute was lucky enough to be giving her recital in a hall with the best acoustics in the state, according to some.
The roommate who used to be a monk took his watch out of his pocket and checked the time; it was just a few minutes before four o’clock. “Sometimes I surprise even myself,” said the roommate who used to be a monk modestly.
“That was very well planned,” agreed Captain Starrhill Girl as they hurried up the final set of steps into the hall. They hesitated a moment, trying to decide if it was wiser to enter from the left side or the right side. “Ah ha!” said Captain Starrhill Girl to herself once she spied a music stand that looked as if it had been repurposed as a program holder and she lead them to the left on the final leg of the adventure, into the main and most famous room of the hall just in time to hear the very young roommate with the flute begin her sonatina.
* Some, not all, of the dialogue in this story is made up.
**It could be argued that Captain Starrhill Girl and the roommate who used to be a monk should have stayed on their original bus, but really, how were they to know it wasn’t going to have it’s usual idle time at the stop by the hospital?
(with apologies to Gideon Defoe)
The funeral was good, y’all. I love them. For a while, I tried to couch that love in more acceptable phrases like “it was as good as such things can be” and “it was lovely” and “it’s an important right of passage” but more recently, I just admit I love them. A little group-emotion-solidarity? Yes. Some ritual? Yes. Talking about the best parts of a person? Yes.
From an email to Bionic:
****’s dad is a preacher – it was his wife who died – and when everyone stands and greets each other with “peace be with you” he came over to the side of the church where a bunch of us were standing and only doing a little greeting and peace-ing and said, hanky (yes, hanky – I’d brought one of my grandma’s to give to **** and good thing I did because she gave it to her dad in the middle of the service) in hand, “for those of you are are not as familiar with our traditions, peace be with all of you” which was the most moving part of the whole deal. ****’s family really is delightful and I am so glad I went. Totally worth the 4 hour drive. Also, rural Virginia. Be still my heart.
It’s possible that one could just read my emails to Bionic (Did you really need a link again? I didn’t think so.) and Uberbutch and skip this blog entirely.
Friday I went to (another) birthday party that involved a viewing of the Topp Twins documentary and a spin in a sauna. I was exhausted from all the driving over the past couple days, and because I am a wimp, but it was an awfully nice birthday party. There was cake:
Wow, that’s not such a good picture. Sorry. Now, I’ma be honest here, since it’s my blog and all, and tell you I don’t love the sentiment on the cake. However, the birthday recipient loved it as did the host who commissioned it and the cake itself was delicious, so I’ll call it a win. Plus, all the other pictures have people in them so this is what you get.
Then Saturday (y’all, this is just like a diary!) I went to a baby shower. Yes. For my dear friend M who worked long and hard to get this baby. I had sorted through a box of baby things that a friend gave me years ago (cho-girl hid it for me in her house for a long time and then it lived in the shed and then it was just time for it to go) and I gave the bulk of it to some other friends (who might have a girl), but I saved some plain and lovely shirts and a little pair of pants for M (who knows she is having a boy). And gave her two tiny hats that were the only baby things I’d ever bought for myself because I knew she’d treasure them and also just use them. There is only so much standing on sentiment that one can do on some hats. Now, I was… unsettled? bothered?… by a number of things at this shower, but they were things that don’t relate to infertility and so from that point of view the shower was great. I am really glad I went, just to make this retelling of my friend’s shower all about me.
Last night I did nothing. It was heaven. There’d been too much time away from home and my internal organs were starting to shrivel up. I ate left overs and watched trashy tv and polished my shoes and my roommate’s shoes with my grandpa’s shoe shine kit. There was a fire. In the stove. Unrelated to my grandpa’s shoe shine kit.
This afternoon, I’m going to Red Row Farm. Five years ago, when they still lived in Starrhill, W yelled over the fence early in the morning that L’s water had broken and so we spent that drizzly Saturday walking around Starrhill and 10th & Page trying to get labor started. A little less than 24 hours later, A arrived and I fed his mama ice chips that I think she still claims are the best thing ever, and watched as they encouraged A to nurse and became a family. I left them at the hospital and came back to Starrhill and got the nicest hug from L’s mama who had just arrived from NJ. It was a pretty great day.
Y’all. It has been a day. A good day, mind you, but A Day, all the same.
School was damn good, for a Wednesday, and I made it to staff meeting “on time” which is supposed to mean that there is just enough time to run a load of laundry through the washer and dryer. Today, I realized this is a false assumption. I stayed 15 minutes late and it was still not dry. Oh, well. But! All in all, work was good.
Then I drove to RIC to pick up a friend who flew in to see her sister’s new baby and, well, RIC is far. It’s an easy drive and I’m happy to do it, but it’s far. And then we went down to Nelson County to see said new baby and her equally appealing older sisters, and, of course, then we had to come back to Starrhill. All of which equals late. So worth it. But sill late.
And it’s not over! This afternoon I got the funeral information about another friend’s mama and the service is tomorrow. So I set about scrambling to find a sub and tried to figure how late I could leave school in cville and still make it to the church in Southside and then I had to organize a car, just in case the scrambling-for-a-sub worked out, because I’d loaned mine out for the next few days and then I had to get said organized car, which my visiting friend obligingly helped out with, and then, well, it was late. Like 9:30 or something. Which isn’t late for getting home for lots of people, but it is for me.
And the trash still had to be put out and the recycling and the fire had to be started because it’s damn cold all of a sudden. Lucky for me, my housemate fed the cats, else I’d have lost a limb when I finally arrived home.
And then I did some math involving time and realized that I could scramble a little more to get a sub to go to this funeral, because, for real, ya’ll: it’s funeral. You just go, as my father always says. My uncle, my dad’s older brother, flew from the west coast back east for every damn family funeral in my life time. He’d often stay with me and he’d always arrive with a bottle of George Dickel and we’d have drinks on the porch in the evening and breakfast from the bakery in the morning and then he’d pick me up from school so we could make it to whichever country church it was that go-round. Mostly he was here for a day or two, but he’d sometimes fly in on the red-eye and then out on an evening flight. And I’m fretting over a drive to Southside? No. My subs are in order; my funeral clothes are out and ready to be carried to school; I have my dad’s truck and I am getting to that damn church on time. May all your people who are no longer with you rest in peace.
After a fashion.
Both my current roommates/housemate/tenants (I never have figured out what to call them) are out. I have the house to myself! Whee! Generally, I enjoy renting rooms. It covers the mortgage, which teaching does not do; it provides company, mostly of the good variety; and it, well, I can’t think of what else it does. But I usually enjoy it. The part that is constantly a chafe is the kitchen. I think the next temporary person look for will have to have “hates to cook” in the ad. Sharing the kitchen with one person works well. Two is crowded. I’m over it.
Other things of note:
- it has been hot and humid as fuck, after the rainiest June I can remember, but I just figured out how to program the thermostats for the mini-splits and I a feel like the eco-police might yet pass by my door. There has been what I consider too much air conditioning happening, but it is just so damn hot and I am trying to keep tenants happy and paying rent.
- a restaurant across the street from me just sold/is closing. This is great for the owner, who I do like a good bit, but – wow – is that restaurant wrapped up in some good times from my life and its passing is more than a little sad to me. Silly to mourn the passing of a restaurant, I guess, but there it is. I’m sad.
- work, aka “camp” is more than half over for me! Whee! It is so worth the lack of money to not pull an entire summer of camp. I need the break, y’all. So as to come back “into the classroom” refreshed. I fully intend to be refreshed, because…
- cho-girl is in Maryland doing her Montessori training, which means I will be “assisted” (because who could call what she did mere assistance?) by somebody else. Hiring is happening. I’ve never done it before. New skillz! I may haz them! (N.B. the use of the word “may”.)
- wow, y’all, I sure do love my cats. Probably this goes without saying, but, wow. So true. It’s a little embarrassing. I can’t believe I just made a entire item about that.
- also in the world of “my work” I went to a workshop last weekend on RIE, which was great. I’ve been reading a lot about it this past year (mostly here), and I’m pretty sold on a lot of the ideas, which are pretty similar to Montessori. So that was great. Only now I really want to run a tiny baby class and be done with these giant, geriatric toddlers.
- the gas line from the pipe in the floor to my stove got replaced. Fun times! There was the faintest smell of gas and I dithered over it for a moment and then called the emergency gas leak number in the phone book (starrhillgirl, still using phone books in 2013) and the nice man from the city, who’s been here before for a gas leak, came right over and did all his little test things and swore up and down the space behind my stove was no grosser than he’d seen before and found a tiny leak in the flex pipe. Which I then convinced a friend to come fix in exchange for a night of babysitting. Done and done. But wow, it was gross behind the stove. There was cat pee. Ugh. And yuck. But now there is not. Whew.
Looming on the horizon! A trip to the west coast! To see chosen family, not family of origin (who are great, don’t get me wrong) and to ride a train from San Fransisco to Seattle! I’m so excited!
Y’all. I just had a four day weekend. Four. It was so great. Those personal days I’ve earned (?) don’t roll over, so I figured I’d use one. So there are only like 5 that I wasted. Oops. Next year!
Anyway. You know, and I know you know, you want to know what I did.
How about a list?
Ok, if you insist.
- went erranding on the bus to the old-skool strip mall on what used to be the north end of town but is now the middle, sort of. I got a new dish-rack and it has made my life better.
- went strawberry picking with Elsie, who had also taken a day off, and my new-ish housemate, who is great. I saw this really nice lady who I used to see at the market all the time and she remembered me and gave me a hug! And asked me to pass on a message to another vendor at the market, so I felt very much in with the in-crowd from the market. Also, we got a fuck-ton of strawberries, which my housemate and I got washed and hulled and sugared by 9 pm. Maybe there is a picture? There is!
- went to the market with LB and S and made out like a fucking bandit: in addition to the usual haul from my CSA, I also got my neighbors’ CSA because they are out of town; a bunch of meat, because summer paychecks will be thin so I want to stock the freezer; the best bulgolgi, ever, plus a Korean melon kimchi that the nice lady from Wolf Creek said was “very expensive”; 9 pounds of rhubarb to make jam; goat’s milk from Elsie, because we like to have our own little market at the market. Hooray the market!
- made jam with most of those strawberries and froze the rest, excepting probably 3 pounds that have been on the counter and are now almost all eaten.
- had S and D over for bulgolgi and then went out (out?!) and had drinks with them.
- cleaned the house and did laundry because it was perfect laundry weather.
- had dinner with LB, S and D again, at S’s this time.
- went grocery shopping with S and got more jars, because the strawberry jam used up all the little ones I had.
- made more jam with the rhubarb.
- made a pork but in the crock pot.
- took not one but two naps in the hammock. Pictured is Sunday’s nap. Monday’s nap was less sunny, if still fair of face.
- contemplated that there are only two days of school left. Well, 1 and 1/2, really.
There were also Chicken Adventures, involving a mass escape this morning when I went to refill their water bowl and an entire day of freedom for Kate Olsen, while the Kardashians, who are wilder but a little more gullible, or possibly just less scared of me, were rounded up with promises of food and confined for the day as usual. They were pissed, or else they were squawking their normal amount and I read meaning into it. Kate, make no mistake, seemed a little taken aback by her full day of free-ranging solo and stuck close to the house, for which I am glad. Can’t have her digging up the neighbor’s plants again.
This weekend I
- wrote an entire entertaining post about what I did over the weekend and and accidentally deleted it.
- was sad about the above.
Oh, look. It’s me. How’re tricks in these months since we last spoke? Well, since I last spoke and you (all 1 of you) last listened.
Things in Starrhill continue apace: roommates come and go and stay (some good, some less so); the cats sit by the fire or chase each other up trees, depending on the season; the chickens squawk and get neglected (benignly!) and still produce enough eggs for home and to share. Of note: my upstairs bathroom is redone, which improves my quality of life immensely, and I have not acquired any new pets in the past 10 months, which I think is something of a record, but I did just buy a hammock.
But let’s jump to the now, shall we? Because it is, well, here now, like the new agey bumper sticker says. Other, better bloggers abhor lists, but I, well, I love a list. Much like I seem to love the word well. Let’s make it numbered and call it Things I Did This Weekend.
- Went to the market, not for the first time, but for the first time with LB. There were strawberries from my market bf, who always cuts me a deal. Then we had coffee at my house and Bernice availed herself of LB’s lap.
- Took the bus to Woolen Mills to drop off some lard I made from some fat from Red Row Farm and got to sample some goat’s milk and goat’s milk yogurt as well as have coffee and garden time with Elsie. That’s two small farm links in one item, y’all.
- Continued the ongoing dance of dominance with the lawn. One day I will come out on top.
- Took a nap in the hammock.
- Made a fire, because – WTF? – it’s freezing.
- Was accepted, officially, into the Australian Cat Ladies (which is a voice for Values, BTW), even though I am not in Australia. I am so proud! It’s an honor, really.
Still to come!
Have a bonus cat picture:
Ok, and another one: