Happiness is Surprise, Eternally. Also Reading is Good.

This is turning into Thief of Time week on Argh, but it’s also Sticky Time for Lily, which means, as I have mentioned before, the explanation of why Wen the Eternally Surprised is eternally surprised slotted itself into Surprise Lily:

“Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, re-created anew. Therefore, he understood, there is, in truth, no Past, only a memory of the Past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.”

Okay, I know that sounds like a much deeper approach to my fave “Right now, in this moment, I am happy,” but I love the added idea of surprise, the universe reinventing itself around me all the time. Which is what happened to all of us these past weeks: We closed our eyes and when we opened them, reality said, “Surprise!” and made us stay home and wear masks.

Which is giving us more time to read and giving nature time to reclaim its turf, goats in the streets, cleaner air, less light pollution, baby turtles surviving their trips to the sea, people being kind to each other . . . There’s a Great Plan here, I’m sure of it. And I am glad of it.

Also, Thief of Time ends in a Perfect Moment, and that makes me happy, too.

How were you surprised by happiness this week?

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79 thoughts on “Happiness is Surprise, Eternally. Also Reading is Good.

  1. My younger son wanted to go on a house cleaning spree which always surprises me. It shouldn’t because he has been this way (in fits and starts) for about 2 years.

    It just surprises me because I don’t know where it came from. Some recessive gene somewhere. I don’t think my husband or I have ever just dropped everything we’re doing spontaneously and said “I want to clean.” 🙂

    We cleaned the bathroom, his room, his brother’s room, and started on the living room. And even though I’ll never fall in love with the process (unlike some people) I do enjoy the result and the bonding time.

    Other than that starting a new Italian class, roses really blooming, and good books have all been my happiness this week.

  2. We did a family backyard obstacle course today, it was hilarious and competitive. I was laughing hysterically while trying to do star jumps on the trampoline and *I didn’t have to sit down with my legs crossed. (sorry any male readers). So yeah, the laughter made me happy.

    At bed time, I told my 10 year old that he was the best hugger in the world (he is) and he said I was pretty good too, and that hugging dad was like hugging a post, a post that is thinking about the garden, or jobs, and not the hug. So I asked what is something that dad is good at – and he said, finishing things. When he starts something, he always knows he has enough time to finish it, and he always does, he said. He then continued, Mum when you start something, you get half way through, stop and then three years later you find it and go ‘oh yeah, i forgot about that’.
    Thanks Xander, I said, very insincerely. Tell me something you like about me (so fishing). He thinks, then says, you’re always respectful of people, even when they’re different.

    Oh my god, he is forgiven All The Things today (including the almighty She (my sister) Made Me Knock Over My Cactus Because She Was In My Room (on the other side of the room drama), and is, in actual fact, the best son ever.

    I made a sourdough starter because I am a horrible lockdown cliche and then I made sourdough bread yesterday and it was delicious. Also apple strudel. Mac n cheese. Epic burgers (see instagram). Chocolate brownie. It’s all good.

    If I stay away from the news, there’s an awful lot to be happy about.

  3. I got outside and started taming the wilderness just beyond the deck. I got about a third done before tiring out, but now when I look out back, I’m happy with what I see on that side. I need to get myself out to do the rest!

    I also took the cat out for a lie in the front yard. Our semi-stray cat saw us and came up, actually asking to be petted. Normally he’s pretty aloof outside, but a love bug inside. That surprise made me happy to0.

  4. It was sunny yesterday and I was finally able to get into my foster garden (my neighbour’s yard) and dig a new garden bed. I was surprised how wonderful it felt to get my hands into the dirt. I had to dig out the top 6 inches to get rid of the weeds so it was slow and dirty, but so rewarding. I told my boss when I was retiring, which was not a surprise to him but gave me a sense of lightness about my job, which did surprise me. Work has been difficult for many months, but teleworking has magnified the challenges – in 10 weeks (hopefully less), it won’t be my problem. A local flower shop was able to deliver a box of spring flowers to a very close friend on her birthday, which made us both very happy.

  5. My muffins turned out very well. My cat is being snuggly. I am finding good things to re-read (thank you Arghers).

    OOOh I remembered my other ridiculously happy! Someone on my route into town has a plastic brontosaurus on the berm near the road. Easter week, they put up an inflatable dinosaur with attached egg, and put a bunny ear hat on the brontosaurus. I was driving home thinking that I had to figure out the address to send them a card, but when I made the turn onto that road, there was the lady of the house, about to remove bunny ears. Since there was no one on the 55mph road, I was able to stop, roll down my window and tell her that she gave me SO much pleasure! She was very pleased. It was lovely and I grinned all the way home!

  6. I did an online storytelling workshop, which was followed by a show, yesterday and that went great. This morning I am trying out an online conference for the first time. Though they are on East Coast time and I am on the West Coast, which means I’m up at the crack of dawn on a weekend. Ouch :p

  7. I’m staying at a friend’s house, parked (in my van) in her street, and one of her dogs has decided that he should come visit the van every morning for an hour or so. He’s a big dog, relatively speaking, and inside her house, he’s not allowed on the furniture. Inside my van, he thinks he’s a lap dog. He does this look, eyes intent on me, waiting. I say, yeah, it’s fine, and he jumps onto my bed, and pretends he’s just going to lie at the bottom next to my dog. Then he slowly works his way up, a little bit at a time. A shift of a couple inches and then another, a completely innocent roll, and suddenly, I have a 70 pound dog plastered next to me. He’s so happy about it and he is such a good snuggler. Tail thumping, head on my pillow, so soft. It makes me laugh and it makes me happy!

    1. Sarah, how long have you lived in the van? I remember you talking about moving into it on here and my first thought was “homeless”. Now van life is such a big thing that the YouTube shows on it are on our satellite channels!

  8. I finished my manuscript and printed it out for my husband to read. It will probably need Nita-sized reworking (no offense, Jenny), but I’m so glad I finally reached the finish line. There is a Kindle Storyteller competition in Germany starting May 1, and I intend to compete with it, so keep fingers crossed.

  9. I have been struggling with a job change that is going to be coming in a few months and how my current supervisor is handling it. The surprise bit of happiness came when one of my coworkers, after a meeting where the future changes were discussed a bit as it will affect all of us, offered me encouragement. It helped. I’m working hard at changing my internal self talk on this topic. I’m also working hard to ignore it at least on the weekends.

    I was able to spend some time working on my hand piecing quilt project. It was nice to make progress. I’m also making some masks that will be distributed to coworkers who are still working and hopefully getting some quilting done on a charity quilt. I also started listening to Reaper Man, which was the next Pratchett in the series for me.

    Probably the happiest thing of all though is the warmer weather and sunshine.

  10. The weather has warmed up enough that I can sit out on my deck with my morning coffee, and read my paper. I love spring!

  11. There are days when I think that wearing a mask is the only change to my life. It’s not true, but it feels true.

    My social security, stimulus refund, and bi-weekly paycheck all direct-deposited at roughly the same time, so when I checked my balance, my double-take did double-takes. I need to spread this bounty about to stimulate some economy. For today, I will permit the dotter to drive her Routan near a Home Depot (she needs mulch) and a restaurant (we need lunch) and then anywhere she wants to go (whee! Needs must!) In masks, of course.

    Okay, my Sundays used to involve sitting in the restaurant with dotter, but we are dealing, and I am still happy to say that.

  12. Today I baked a cake, no surprise there. A beautiful sunny day so after a light lunch I took my tea and went out on the deck and yanked the covers off two deck chairs, gave them a wipe, sat and just enjoyed the sunshine. I’m alternately reading two books A Bad Day for Sunshine and Goats in the Time of Love. Then the two o’clock ocean breeze came in at one. At least there was time for a few good rays.

    This morning I watched a feel good movie the American President with Michael Douglas and one thing surprised me was when Michael Douglas as the President walked in the Briefing Room all the media stood. I, too, have not watched the rallies, but I will the next time just to see if that was a Hollywood moment and quickly change the channel.

  13. The sun’s out again, after a couple of cooler days, and my productivity went up once I could sit in the garden to do my proof-reading. So glad I’ve got work I can do while sitting in my garden.

    Best day was Thursday, when I took a day off and planted up my front garden. I’ve now got seeds to watch for in my window box, as well as all those sprouting indoors. And coming up with a planting plan instead of my postponed permanent planting has been really satisfying.

    Also it’s been confirmed that you are allowed to drive a short distance in order to go for a walk, which expands the possibilities – five or ten minutes takes me into the Welsh hills.

    1. PS. My new strawberries have started flowering! I wasn’t expecting them to fruit this year, since I only planted them at the end of January. My transplanted blueberries are covered in blossom too – evidently happy to be in the ground after ten years in pots. Looking forward to a fruitful summer.

        1. Thanks, Kay – I’d come across this via their page of nurseries still trading online. But all garden inspiration gratefully received!

  14. DH and I made a video congratulating a dear friend on his retirement. Our first take was so hilariously awful that we declared it a wrap. Imagine two 60-somethings wearing Xeroxed masks of the honoree’s face, dancing badly to Pink’s “Get the Party Started,” missing our cues because we couldn’t see. We looked like Hawaiian-shirted moles doing drunk tai chi.

  15. The surprise several inches of snow have melted and I got to work outside today. That makes me happy 😊

  16. My biggest happy this week came yesterday when I called my nephew in law, Tom. Since he and Emmy each have their own cell phones, I usually just talk to Emmy and almost never to Tom. I want to pay him to make a coffee table and he has been reluctant to do so. We had a really good talk and although I still can’t tell him exactly what I want, we did manage to settle some underlying issues about size, materials and reimbursement. The biggest problem is that although he has the time now that he is off of work, he doesn’t have the tools he needs at home. And he would probably buy the wood from his boss, too, so that will have to wait.
    However, I did get him to commit to taking a reduced fee (instead of no fee at all) for his labor and to letting me worry about shipping the finished product. This way he can use it to build his portfolio and I can still have the final word on the design. And I think my sister would love to use it as an excuse to drive out to Pennsylvania to visit them. Even if we never follow through on the project, I enjoyed having a chance to talk to one of my very favorite people.

    1. People’s reluctance to take money from friends and family is hard to overcome. Congratulations!

      One of my mother’s friends (a professional house cleaner) used to come over and clean her house at random times, and she didn’t want my mother to pay her, but my mother insisted she wouldn’t let Miss Katie clean if she didn’t take money. She used to say “You HAVE to take it, but you don’t have to KEEP it. You can spend it on your grandchildren or give it to your church, but you have to take it.”

  17. I want to try to go wheat free but I didn’t buy xantham gum, so my flours went bind. Sigh. I’ll try another recipe again next week. In the meantime, expect carbs on Working Wednesday.

    Good sleep makes me happy. I get happy because I’m so much more effective when I’m well rested. Also, yoga Shavasana is amazing for rest and breathing when done correctly. So I’m happier.

  18. I had a couple of surprises (of the good type) this week. Someone suggested that I do surprise goodie boxes (mostly witchy in nature, but they didn’t have to be) and offer them for sale on Facebook to cheer people up. I didn’t know if anyone would want such a thing, but I always have a ton of swag lying around, plus signed books and such. So I put up the offer in three different sizes and SURPRISE, tons of people wanted them! And it made them so happy to think about getting a box full of surprise goodies. I spent two entire days packing things up (I think I made my post mistress cry, there were so many). Tomorrow I have to go back to the post office again with the second batch, and I’m out of stuff (and energy), so I’m done. But I love the idea of bringing joy to so many people while simultaneously getting rid of stuff and making some money.

    My 60th birthday is next week (oy) and I had actually been planning to do something fun, like a party. Uh, no. Instead, I put up a birthday fundraiser on Facebook to try and save the not-for-profit artists’ cooperative shop I’ve been running for the last 20 years. The odds of us making it through this with no income for over two months, being too small to qualify for any government help…well, it’s not looking good. (Usually I raise money for the local shelter where I got the last two cats.) To my amazement, people have really been stepping up. It warms my heart and makes me a little happier about things than I was a couple of days ago. Definitely a nice surprise.

    1. It’s worth applying for the payroll protection plan which is open to nonprofits and can cover payroll rent s d utilities for two months-loan turns to grant . It is about to be refunded. I would work with a bank that knows you and have a proposal ready the day it’s refunded

      1. Sadly, Debbie, we’re too small to qualify for anything. We only have one employee (me). Although we have 50 artists who aren’t making money when we’re closed, that doesn’t count.

    2. Maybe you should expand your goodie box idea to the shop. Don’t know if this is doable, but in UK, there is a company that will send you little luxury gifts weekly to a set amount. Very helpful for the don’t know what to buy crowd.

  19. I have enjoyed watching theater on You Tube. I highly recommend the British National Theater ‘s Treasure Island. It was so good and the set was spectacular. Today’s selection is The Importance of being Ernest. It is good but the recording isn’t great.

    Otherwise I am baking in order to get stuff out of my pantry. There is so much random stuff. I found 10 different bags of pasta. Why is there so much pasta?

    1. Oh, I love The Importance of Being Earnest. The recording isn’t great?

      Never mind. I don’t think Americans have access, which serves us right.

      1. I was doing The Importance of Being Earnest yesterday online. I ended up reading (just) the stage directions and it was still hilarious.

  20. Okay, I’m weird. But my big happy was getting a letter saying that my knee replacement is definitely going ahead in June. Everything has been so unsettled that receiving the confirmation makes one date for real in my future.

    Well, kinda. They have changed the date. No big deal. But they describe the body part as my left knee, not my right knee. That needs to be corrected. Also, they’ve scheduled a day of “training” simultaneously with my pre-op doctor’s appointment. I guess they want to keep me excited.

    Nice to know I won’t be home on June 25th.

    1. You should play scenes from Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail, in particular “Knights who say ‘Knee’ “.

    2. You should mark one side “This Knee” and the other side “Not This Knee” in lipstick or Sharpie . . . just in case!

          1. My mom had to write Yes and No on her legs before each knee replacement. She told the nurse the first time they both hurt so bad she didn’t care which they did.

      1. For my ankle repair, they kept saying “right”, but it was left. I made corrections. And then prior to going into the operating room, but the doctor and I had to use a sharpie to initial / sign the correct leg.

    3. It’s been 20 and 19 years since my knees were replaced and they are still going strong and this morning I was able to squat down almost to the floor, they flexed so well. And the more exercises you can do before surgery means, recovering faster after surgery. You will be so pleased you did this once you get past the recovery period.

    4. It’s been 20 and 19 years since my knees were replaced and they are still going strong and this morning I was able to squat down almost to the floor, they flexed so well. And the more exercises you can do before surgery means, recovering faster after surgery. You will be so pleased you did this once you get past the recovery period.

  21. It’s a beautiful sunny day. I took a long walk with some friends, six feet plus apart. Then we sat by the sea (still six feet plus) and ate lobster rolls and drank wine in the sun. With lap blankets on, of course, it’s only April. But it was great.
    Then I had a mighty battle with the Amazon Fire stick and the Comcast cable clicker, and new batteries all around, unplugged, unscrewed, re-screwed, what the hell. And now it works again. Huh. No real idea what fixed the problem, but I declare victory.
    This starts my second week of isolation without a job, so maybe I will actually do what I thought I would be doing once I had the time. We’ll see.

  22. An assortment of friends have sent Tour-This-Garden videos which I’m taking it as an expression of love and solidarity.

    Then! My husband came in from digging in our front sidewalk garden holding a notecard he found attached to our mailbox. Six colors, very pretty. “Oh, How Your Garden Grows — We Love It!” On the reverse, scattered flowers and, “Sally and Aimee, non-judging home front appreciators. April 2020.” Guess I may have to start keeping a Pandemic Scrapbook. And, yes, we have Home Front Judging around here in conjunction with the Annual Flower Show under huge tents in Spreckels Park, both cancelled now. Come now to think of it, this was event weekend, and we should have had pancakes at the Rotary Fundraiser and then worked the afternoon as volunteer sellers at the Library Used Book Sale. We’re customarily awarded a Homefront blue ribbon but there’ve been years we’ve claimed a bottom-tier white, no rhyme or reason for either as the garden stays mostly the same. Depends on who’s judging. This morning’s notecard is THE highlight of three decades of being (involuntarily) judged, and we treasure the honor.

    Now, where’s my trowel? I feel renewed garden energy.

  23. I have managed to go for hikes in a couple local parks this weekend and see some spring flowers in blossom which has been good for my morale. We are now required to wear face masks when out in public, if unable to maintain social distancing and I got very depressed when that was announced, so the hikes with seeing the flowers lifted my mood a lot. Plus, my siblings and I have started meeting via Google hangout for the past couple of Sundays. Three of us live near one another and the other three (including me) live several hundred miles away. Google hangout has made it possible for all of us to get together virtually at the same time.

  24. Courtesy of CultureWatch which stole it from somewhere else:

    1. Basically, you can’t leave the house for any reason, but if you have to, then you can.

    2. Masks are useless, but maybe you have to wear one, it can save you, it is useless, but maybe it is mandatory as well.

    3. Stores are closed, except those that are open.

    4. You should not go to hospitals unless you have to go there. Same applies to doctors, you should only go there in case of emergency, provided you are not too sick.

    5. This virus is deadly but still not too scary, except that sometimes it actually leads to a global disaster.

    6. Gloves won’t help, but they can still help.

    7. Everyone needs to stay HOME, but it’s important to GO OUT.

    8. There is no shortage of groceries in the supermarket, but there are many things missing when you go there in the evening, but not in the morning. Sometimes.

    9. The virus has no effect on children except those it affects.

    10. Animals are not affected, but there is still a cat that tested positive in Belgium in February when no one had been tested, plus a few tigers here and there…

    11. You will have many symptoms when you are sick, but you can also get sick without symptoms, have symptoms without being sick, or be contagious without having symptoms. Oh, my God.

    12. In order not to get sick, you have to eat well and exercise, but eat whatever you have on hand and it’s better not to go out, well, but no…

    13. It’s better to get some fresh air, but you get looked at very wrong when you get some fresh air, and most importantly, you don’t go to parks or walk. But don’t sit down, except that you can do that now if you are old, but not for too long or if you are pregnant (but not too old).

    14. You can’t go to retirement homes, but you have to take care of the elderly and bring food and medication.

    15. If you are sick, you can’t go out, but you can go to the pharmacy.

    16. You can get restaurant food delivered to the house, which may have been prepared by people who didn’t wear masks or gloves. But you have to have your groceries decontaminated outside for 3 hours. Pizza too?

    17. Every disturbing article or disturbing interview starts with ” I don’t want to trigger panic, but…”

    18. You can’t see your older mother or grandmother, but you can take a taxi and meet an older taxi driver.

    19. You can walk around with a friend but not with your family if they don’t live under the same roof.

    20. You are safe if you maintain the appropriate social distance, but you can’t go out with friends or strangers at the safe social distance.

    21. The virus remains active on different surfaces for two hours, no, four, no, six, no, we didn’t say hours, maybe days? But it takes a damp environment. Oh no, not necessarily.

    22. The virus stays in the air well no, or yes, maybe, especially in a closed room, in one hour a sick person can infect ten, so if it falls, all our children were already infected at school before it was closed. But remember, if you stay at the recommended social distance, however in certain circumstances you should maintain a greater distance, which, studies show, the virus can travel further, maybe.

    23. We count the number of deaths but we don’t know how many people are infected as we have only tested so far those who were “almost dead” to find out if that’s what they will die of…

    24. We have no treatment, except that there may be one that apparently is not dangerous unless you take too much (which is the case with all medications). Orange man bad.

    25. We should stay locked up until the virus disappears, but it will only disappear if we achieve collective immunity, so when it circulates… but we must no longer be locked up for that?

    1. This is what happens when people try to get clever about serious things. Anybody who’s read about all of this knows it’s pretty simple to understand, just a bitch to deal with.

      For example, the mask is not to protect you, it’s to keep you from infecting other people. It won’t protect you, but it protects them, so if everybody wears them, we’re protecting each other. Pretty simple, really.

      If you have to go out in public (food, meds medical attention), be careful, wear masks and gloves, keep your distance. If you don’t have to go out in public, stay home. If there’s nobody in your yard, it’s good to get out of the house. If you don’t have a yard, stay the hell inside.

      None of this is rocket science, and since people are dying from it, none of it is funny. I’m asthmatic, and I know from any number of severe asthma attacks that suffocating because your lungs literally cannot absorb air while people stare at you in horror unable to help you is a living, dying nightmare. And this bastard moves on from your lungs and shuts everything down.

      Wear the masks and gloves and keep the distance. I don’t want any deaths on Argh.

      (Sorry. My uncle died last night after a good long life well-lived (he was 90), and I’m now the matriarch of the family. I told everybody to wear their goddamned masks because we’re not losing any more Smiths or Parsons this year.)

      1. To my total exasperation, some stranger sent me an email this morning inviting me to participate in a stay-at-home-protest event, which he says is supported by John Yoo and someone I’ve never heard of. Not a fan of John “waterboarding memo” Yoo and am wondering whether this is actually a Russian bot. Considering whether to respond and if so, how emphatically . . . .

        1. Don’t poke the crazy people.
          Yeah, John Yoo is not my first choice as a moral leader. Evidently that stuff is being organized by the far right with its usually deep understanding of how things work.

      2. I’m so sorry for your loss, Jenny.

        I am the oldest of four siblings. My sister has been lobbying for that position for years, and like a Timex watch I take licking but keep on ticking. I’m also the oldest cousin on my mother’s side of the family. There my sister will have to battle it out with another cousin for top dog in the family food chain. Families bless them!

      3. I wish my neighbor wouldn’t be constantly smoking and coughing out on the patio. I can’t avoid his droplets traveling 27 feet under those circumstances 🙁 So no outside for me.

        Sorry to hear about your uncle.

        1. I’m sorry to hear of your uncle’s passing.

          Matriarchs are the boss of everyone.

          I’ve been the matriarch since my 50s when I started to look after mama. I have older sister and brother. They listen to me.

      4. My sympathies, Jenny. I lost a friend (my former brother in-law) last week to cancer. He was 54 and not nearly ready to go. And there is no funeral, because Covid.

        Sigh. And hugs. I don’t want to lose one more person either.

    2. I saw this on Ravelry and was all, “This is exactly why I can’t deal with leaving my own home any more.”

    3. This made me laugh so hard. Thank you. I know it is ridiculousness and should make me dispair at people. But it really is so funny. Perhaps I’m punch drunk from being alone for so long. Only I’m not because people are texting and calling and video chatting with me, so I can’t really say I’m isolated.

    4. Can I suggest looking at some of Siouxsie Wiles’ and Toby Morris’ infographics if you’re having trouble with the deluge of Covid info?

      https://thespinoff.co.nz/author/siouxsie-wiles/

      They’re quite good at boiling down the data and policy in play here (obviously with a focus on New Zealand policy).

      One concept that has really taken off here is the “bubble” aka the set of people who you are regularly exposed to, usually your family, it helps to keep a clear idea of how to help everyone.
      https://thespinoff.co.nz/covid-19/01-04-2020/siouxsie-wiles-toby-morris-why-those-bubbles-are-so-important/

  25. Today, as it happens, is Orthodox Easter Sunday (normally I don’t think about that much, but I’ve been researching the Greek family of my cousin’s in-laws, and they’re all Orthodox). I decided to add the day to my Excel calendar program, which I use to create the annual calendar for any ladies’ groups calendars I deal with. After a little research and some trial and error, I now have a formula which will calculate the day, and I have tweaked it to calculate “next” year — the group calendars are normally printed towards the end of summer, so Labor Day through New Years Eve calculate “this” year and New Years Day through end of August calculate “next” year; then they automatically update on January 1). So I now have a formula which tells me that in 2021 it’s May 2 (seems odd, but this happens with Orthodox calendaring). Convincing Excel to do things like this gives me GREAT satisfaction!

  26. Hugs Jenny. I’m sorry for your loss.

    I surprised myself and the family and told the kids ‘walkies’ and then had to explain them. But my son and I went around the block, him on his scooter and me on foot. My daughter and husband were starting their walk just as we were finishing up. Ok, just as I was finishing up. Son finished first but waited for me at a couple of corners.

    I’m not having pain right now. So that’s a good surprise.

  27. In keeping with our theme, I witnessed a Perfect Moment this week. On Thursday morning, I opened my back door to let my dogs out, and saw their faces as they discovered that it had snowed a surprise fourteen inches overnight. While my dogs are happy in almost any weather (other than thunderstorms), fresh snow is positively euphoric.

    Even better, about an hour later as I was shoveling, our neighborhood Cooper’s Hawk landed on the roof to dismember its breakfast. Little bloody bits rained down into our yard, and…well, think of Susan and her box of chocolates, and the way an almost-perfect moment can become truly sublime, and you will have some idea how my dogs felt.

    From my perspective though, I was crabbily shoveling fourteen fucking inches of heavy snow, and then looked over the fence to see why my dogs were making those weird crunch-crunch-gobble-gobble noises, and nearly threw up. Less perfect, but once I got the hysterical gagging under control, kind of funny in its own way.

  28. I spent the entire day outside yesterday – working in the garden and getting the chosen spot ready for my bees that are coming next Monday. Did I tell you all that I’m going to save the world by raising honey bees and planting pollinator gardens? Yes, I’m singlehandedly saving the world. You are welcome.

    There are so many things that can go wrong with bees it’s almost hilarious for me to start beekeeping, but I’m doing it anyway. As school is not starting up again I have from now to September to crash and burn.

    I have also pledged about half of my ten acres to go wild for pollinators. I get a sign and everything. So when people drive by and shake their heads at the state of my land, they can read the sign and say “Oh, that’s why.” And I can pretend it has nothing to do with being lazy. I think I will plant flowers along the edges of the wild spots so they look a little prettier. We shall see.

    Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Probably, I always do.

    1. If you plant some milkweed, maybe you will monarch butterflies. They are losing their habitat and have pesticide problems. So you could also attract other butterflies. Wouldn’t that be cool.

    2. Don’t forget you have to tell the bees when important things happen to you. (I read ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ at an impressionable age.)

  29. Jenny, I’m so sorry for your loss. It really has been a hell of a year for you, hasn’t it?

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