We’re living like savages around here. K drank the last of the milk last night. I just used the last bit of half and half in my coffee. By some miracle there were English muffins for breakfast, but I had to use a cake fork to split one, and a bent cheese knife to butter it. (There is butter.) There are roses in the garden that no one is paying any attention to, and the grass in now almost knee high.

I washed the dishes in the sink and started the dishwasher. With the prospect of a garden show, walking and a family birthday (my brother’s), I don’t see how things will improve over the weekend, but I think I’ll leave work a bit early tonight and try to do something. It feels like spring is here to stay, so I need to put sweaters away and find t-shirts, too.

*I can’t read or hear that word without hearing in my head the song from Pocahontas.

Johnny jump-ups

Johnny Jump-ups

Apparently, despite all the rain — or really because of it — it’s not going to be a great year for wildflowers. The rains has caused the grasses to grow too fast, shading the wildflowers.

But anyway, here are some little yellow pansies we found last weekend. Hmm. Apparently a pansy is a violet. I guess I though violets were smaller.

In any case — I really have no news at all. I need to get out in the garden, and I don’t see how I’m ever going to have the time.

But I must.

Okay — really, that’s all there is.

Easter sunday


I was going to cal this post “ugh,” but that seemed so unfair to those lovely flowers.

And look — here are some more:


And look how still the bay was.


Today is Wednesday, and everyone at work has their hair on fire — so much so that we’ve almost come out the other end to where it’s funny. Well, some of us have.

It’s possible that not all of us have.

But I am eating chocolate covered blueberries and sending cheering and humorous texts to M, who is writing a paper on King Lear. Appearance vs. reality, right?

Ho hum.

Vacation fever


Suddenly I have vacation fever. I want to go to Santa Fe and hike around, and guess what — we could actually do that!

See, this is the good thing about having kids in college. I only have to convince one person. (Although it’s possible that he’s actually the hardest to convince. But I think he likes Santa Fe.)

Anyway —

It is not raining today. Suddenly I am also filled with gardening fervor. I am possibly even filled with vacuuming fervor. I am sure this will all die down by the weekend, when I will succumb to the irresistible urge to lie on the couch and read books. Or it will rain. Or I will need to go on a hike.

I’ve been reading The Snoring Bird, by Bernd Heinrich. It’s the story of his father, a specialist in parasitic wasps, a German who grew up on an estate in Poland (West Prussia), a sort of scientist-outside-the-academy who ended up in western Maine, and then of his own life, as a kid abandoned for years in an orphanage while his parents were off collecting wasps. Almost by accident he goes to the University of Maine, then UCLA and becomes a biologist and writer and eventually comes to terms with his father.

I’m interested in how different the relationships between parents and children were, once upon a time. They have clearly changed, and for the better, I think, but I don’t exactly know why.

Interesting, though.

Happy Easter


Nice weekend. Didn’t rain on Saturday, so we went for a walk.


It was unbelievably green.





Butter-and-eggs and goldfields.




And goldfields again. Apparently before European grasses came to California whole hillsides would be covered in these.



Manzanita and oak.


It was lovely.

Sunday, a fine mist. I pootled around, did laundry, emptied the bedroom chair of discarded clothing, did the grocery shopping. We went to an easter brunch and a ravioli supper.

Very restorative. It was nice to be home.

Leave Crabby here


I’m overwhelmed with crabbiness. Maybe I’m just tired. I’m worried about N and M, work has entered a new and awful phase, life in general seems unsupportable.

Maybe I just need the sun to come out. Unfortunately, it’s not scheduled to.


Bah indeed.



What you can’t see was how very yellow it was.

Things are quiet around here, too quiet. It suddenly feels like N is a million miles away (which she is). Not the best circumstance to read Daughters-in-Law by Joanna Trollope, which is about how the superannuation of a mother — how as three boys marry the center of the family moves from their mother’s house to their own houses. It is almost a good book. I’m trying to put my finger on what exactly is wrong. It’s from a variety of perspectives, which I think works, but does cause it to feel fragmented. Rachel, the mother, is much too controlling. She arranges wives (not really, but almost) and houses for the middle kid, who is probably on the Aspberger’s spectrum. So we’re supposed to think that she needs to back off, and in fact she does (need to, I mean). But the youngest son’s wife, Charlotte, who is sort of the cause of the uproar, is equally horrible — insisting that she and Luke see her mother for three weekends in a row, that they don’t see Rachel, that Luke belongs to her and her only, that she tell her mother that she’s pregnant weeks before she’ll let Luke tell Rachel. Maybe this is supposed to elicit sympathy for Rachel, and it does, but because of the multiple perspective you end up a bit confused. And then the fact that Petra, the second daughter in law, is also a bit odd herself also makes it difficult to figure out who the villain is. The important bits, I suppose, were the children’s realization that they’ve actually got to figure things out for themselves, the parents’ realization that they’ve got to let the children do this, even though it would be tempting to fix things up for them (especially when they seem so hapless), and the daughter-in-laws’ realization that it may not be so easy for mothers to let go, and that they themselves will be in that position someday.

‘My mother said also a bit later that athough she knew our children are lent to us, they do not belong to us, she still found it very difficulty to let go. She said we would find it so with Mariella, and that we must make sure we have enough interesting work and . . . and enough between us, enough relationship so that we are not begging Mariella for the time and attention she should give to her own life.

There’s a certain way in which the parts don’t all add up to a whole, but I guess because the parts are good, it’s worth reading. It’s interesting to think about why it doesn’t quite work.

Okay — I’m off to work.



N has arrived in Budapest, M is battling her way through too much work for one person in Ohio, and that’s about it.

I’m still tired. It’s hard to get back into the groove at work. Things are starting to bloom in the garden, but it’s been raining, so it feels somewhat out of control.

Well, it is somewhat out of control. Maybe this weekend I can get started.

The good thing is, the stuff I planted before I went away is doing well.

So that’s good.


Back from the Maine Woods


Well, and also the Massachusetts coast and the Rhode Island shore.

Anyway, I am so very tired.

And I saw N for three hours and put her on the plane and sent her books off to amazon, and sent her key back to the college and, for some reason, mailed her roommate’s rented cellphone back to the rented cellphone place. So —

Somewhere there’s a post about what it’s like to have your kid become more and more and more independent. It’s great, really, and also I really miss her.

In the mode of which, I picked up Daughters-In-Law by Joanna Trollope at the airport and read it while I waited around to be of use. It was an imperfect book, I think, but on an interesting topic (see above). I find that I am really too tired to talk about that, either, but I do mean to.

I’m also reading Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer, which is really interesting if you want to think about why America is such a strangely religious place.

And I also find that I’m really interested in trees. At this time of year they are just about to leaf out — they suddenly look yellow or red, although they have no leaves yet. Flying over Providence I saw a vast sea of red-twigged trees, which I actually think are maples. Fascinating.

Also, my brother and his family was unexpectedly on my plane — they were going to visit my mother in Arizona — which was great, since I hadn’t seen him, although we had been alternately feeding the dogs while we both separately drove around the eastern seaboard, and I had a good time with my sister, and with my friend L.

I do like out of season travel.

Okay. I think I’d better eat lunch before I go to a meeting. How I will keep my eyes open is pretty unclear.



Now I am back at my mom’s house. I really could have spent another night up north, but my services were required here to feed the dogs. I was worried that they wouldn’t remember me, but they did, and they are piled up on the floor around my bedroom. It’s pretty sweet.

I had wanted to go to Acadia National Park, and I really could have, but got talked out of it by three people who told me it was just too far to go. It wasn’t, though. I had plenty of extra time.

But I went for a nice walk along the Ducktrap river — one of the few rivers left where wild Atlantic salmon spawn. I climbed a little ridge, but couldn’t see anything. The guy who wrote the book I was using is a bit of a worrywort. He prefers wool over those synthetic fabrics because, although heavy, it “wears like iron.” He also warned the reader about steep descents and inclines that never really materialized. (Maybe he is writing for elderly people — I don’t know.) Apparently he’s a dowser and a bag-piper. Anyway, had I know about his alarmist tendencies I would have pushed on to Acadia and gone on a more difficult hike.

However, this was a perfectly pleasant walk and in fact it reminded me of the woods behind the house I grew up in. It was wet in a very familiar way, and I saw skunk cabbage.