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I am not the biggest fan of kids. I know where a lot of my issues with kids come from so that's good, but I try to keep to a child-free world as much as I can. It's just easier that way.

Coming as a total surprise to me, the housecleaner I hired to do a one-time clean-up brought her child. She had brought her (also unannounced) to the estimate but I hadn't expected her here today. Given that the housecleaner was an hour late and had not called to tell me she was late, I wasn't thrilled.

However, her kid is really cool. I liked her when I met her last time. Wish she'd ask before messing with things, but she's a really bright articulate child. I de-cluttered as best I could before the housecleaner arrived but I hadn't gotten everything. I thought I'd probably need to work alongside her to move things and to clarify things that shouldn't be tossed. But figuring the child would be bored hanging around a house full of vacuum noise, I told her that I had a big backyard garden and that she was welcome to hang out there if she'd like. She was happy to do that.

I meant to only go out for a moment to orient her to the surroundings but she was clearly really interested in plants and growing things so we ended up spending 2.5 hours together in my backyard. We talked about the plants and about her school and how things are. I really had a good time. So even though, yes, she picked things without asking (some of which I was saving for me!), I just couldn't get that mad about it. It's so nice to see a kid who is that mature (she's actually a couple years younger than I thought she was), that interesting and interested. Wish we had a lot more like her.

After going around asking me what this and that plant were, we ended up taking some pot-bound tomatoes and peppers and planting them. The tomatoes were 'Black Krim', a Russian heirloom tomato. When she heard that, she said "I love Russia! You know why? Because Anastasia was from there." She proceeded to tell me a bit of the plot of the animated movie (which I haven't seen yet) and I told her, well, they got it partly right...and then I told her in fairly simple terms about the Bolshevik Revolution (VERRRRY simple since my US education on anything to do with communism and socialism isn't that good). She took it well. But how cool is it when an 8-year-old says "I love Russia because of Anastasia"?

We talked about girly girls, the stupidity of the association of colors with a certain gender, tomboys, Brazil, identity theft, nightmares, the dangerousness of Hilltop Mall, Charlie Chaplin... She had me sing the various songs that are on a room divider I have that has vintage sheet music on it. I had to explain the concept of notation to her when we got to songs I didn't know (and couldn't read). When I found out she is Brazilian (like some of my siblings), I thought I'd burn her a CD of Carmen Miranda and other Brazilian stuff I have. She watched a couple Carmen Miranda tunes with me on YouTube while I burned my stuff to disc. Then I told her I was going to play her something that was from Scotland AND Brazil and played her a bit of MacUmba. By this time her mother had finished cleaning and was saddling up to go. The kid said "Next time I see you, you HAVE to burn that Scotland thing to CD for me!" I hope to god I've turned the kid onto Carmen Miranda. That would be super-cool. Just in time for the centenary of Carmen Miranda's birth in 2009.

I sent her home with some Nigella damascena seeds, some snow pea seeds, and a 'Black Krim' start.

I had a really good time.
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folia | gardening serendipity
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I spent my third weekend in a row sleeping and being morbidly depressed when not sleeping. I reminded myself that when I get out and garden I usually enjoy myself. I told myself that it was better to do *something* than nothing (actually, I read "Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince", but that isn't quite as much something), but I couldn't make myself budge.

I was invited to a bbq on Saturday and thought I'd make myself go but I examined things and realized I felt almost nothing but dread about it. The friends that are hosting it seem fed up with me and have seemed that way for months (not so much the husband as the wife, though). Then there was the difficulty of going somewhere where it was very likely I'd be the only single person there. Not because I'm on the make and want other singles there for dating possibilities, but because it just reminds me of how alone I am. It makes me feel unloveable. I had thought about going to practice. I had thought about getting my drink on before going simply because that's the easiest way for me to banish my pessimism and self-consciousness. When I realized I didn't have many positive expectations for this bbq, and I was having trouble getting my ass out of bed anyway, I decided not to go.

This morning I had a much easier time. I had to go to work today. And it made me realize that if I can't get my internal locus-of-control to be more powerful, perhaps I ought to beg someone to help me or pay someone to check in with me on weekends. I had expected my friend P to come over on Sunday but she didn't. And I didn't call to chase her down. I'll have to figure out some way to inject enough structure into my free time to make me move, but not so much that I feel like it's drudgery.

My dad is in Eugene helping my uncle recover from a triple bypass surgery. That seems to have gone well. My uncle is out walking a bit. And has many friends up there, which is great.

Tonight I go to Final Cut Pro class. Luckily I managed to dig into the clutter at my house and find the VHS to which I had numerous Super-8 home movies transferred. So I'll go to Berkeley Community Media earlier today and try to get all that footage digitized. I know my family would be happy about it if they had easier access to it (which was what putting it on VHS was supposed to do but media formats march on...)

I see my GP today and that's happy-making. She's really cool. I hope to god that wherever I end up next that I'm able to keep her as my GP.

I got a couple notes from folks from DWS and that was happy-making, too.

I watered a bit of the front garden before work this morning and I'm proud of the job I did planting things. Right now there are several stands of cornflowers (which the wind threatens to blow over), some lavender larkspurs, love-in-a-mist, cosmos, alyssum and cerinthe. I'm especially glad about the cerinthe because although it is trendy as hell in Berkeley, I've wanted one ever since I first saw one. The colors go perfectly with the house. All the aforementioned flowers were grown from seed so it's especially magical (and cheap!).
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The other day I plucked the very first Royal (Blenheim) apricot from my tree. Unlike fruit even in the best farmers' market, it was unbruised. I could smell the sweet tangy aroma as I lifted it to my mouth. I should have waited. I should have brought it inside and cut slivers from it and consumed them as if they were the Host. But I hadn't had dinner yet and was famished. That scent was too much.

In my head, I know I picked it a little too soon. It was a little *too* firm. And though I prefer tangy apricots to sub-acid ones, it had just a bit too much bite. But you couldn't tell my heart that. There is something special about something you grew yourself. Something you nurtured from its infancy into tempting flirtatious maturity. You may have tasted better once at Frog Hollow Farms' booth at the farmers' market. Or maybe that tree that grew in the easement that ran through your childhood neighborhood. But no! None of them could surpass this apricot, this supernal exemplar of all things Prunus armeniaca, child of your labor, boon of your backyard hamadryads. Feeling its sun-warmed flannel skin in my palm, smelling its paradisical scent, I dined on it with all the finesse of a lycanthrope at harvest moon.

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September 2014

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