Vince got his first dose of the vaccine on Friday. The clinic was about 7 miles from campus and he took a Lyft there with no problem, but had a problem finding a ride to take him home. He waited around for about 30 minutes before there was an available car. Then he learned that for students, the zip car usually ends up being a more reliable and cheaper option. So he’s going to try that for a bit – he’s going to need a car to take his stuff to storage for the summer. A lot of his local Maryland friends are wrapping up spring semester at their colleges and will be home in a couple of weeks, but Vince just started his third quarter. We just bought his plane tickets home for June. He wants his friends to pick him up from the airport. I said that we get first dibs on him! We want to pick him up from the airport!
On Saturday, I had an active day. A little more active than I had anticipated. I first did a long run on the canal and then came home while Jeremy went out for a bike ride. Then I went out again with Alice and her family and Ning and Brian and their toddler. I thought, I can totally outwalk a toddler – how long can this walk possibly be? Turns out I can not outwalk a toddler. omg, a bundle of energy. We walked around Lake Needwood for over two hours and then ended up at a playground where our toddler continued to move around rapidly. And all I wanted to do was to sit with Alice and lean my head on her shoulder and take a nap.
Jeremy is taking his bike training seriously. Like race-weight seriously. I don’t understand training hard and cutting calories at the same time. I mean, I understand it, but like no one here is an Olympian or anything, so why suffer in that way? But Jeremy is committed. It means that you are tired and hungry all the time. (And usually grumpy, but he’s surprisingly not grumpy. I think he’s too excited about busting out of covid home quarantine with this race to be grumpy.) He’s plotted it so that he’ll reach his race weight 2 days before the first weekend in June where he’s going to race straight up a mountain – hence the race weight. Because you gotta take every extra pound straight up with you. I still spend lots of time talking about biking, looking a graphs of HR vs power, graphs of weight trends, talking about different approaches to training. Debating the difference between tempo and threshold. Is there any?
I was at the hospital on Sunday. I’ve had a number of good shifts in a row which makes me feel good. Though no matter how good the shift is going, I always look at my watch at 4pm and say to myself – ok this is enough. this has to end soon. But I still have 4 hours to go. My patients! I learn so much from them. Now I’ve jinxed myself and I’m going to have a run of hard shifts.
I have a touch of spring fever. Taxes? Not done yet. Calling exterminators? Not done yet. Figuring out special needs trusts? Nope. Fixing a dishwasher? Ugh. I don’t want to do anything except find a good book to read and curl in under the covers. I remember in elementary school, the summers would stretch out endlessly in front of me. The time would move so slowly. I would read so many books. Now, no matter what I do, the time moves too quickly. Weeks pass without me noticing. And I read no books. Jeremy says not to worry, there will be a time where I’ll read a lot again. Fingers crossed I’ll get there. I’m listening to Taylor Swift’s new versions of her old songs which is making me happy.
Sofi tells me I should read this book. She’s reading it for her Black Eyed Susan book club contest.
As you set out for Ithaka hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. Laistrygonians, Cyclops, angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them: you’ll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body. Laistrygonians, Cyclops, wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when, with what pleasure, what joy, you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time; may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things, mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind— as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you’re destined for. But don’t hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you’re old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn’t have set out. She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
The quilt is done! Gina was kind enough to actually quilt and bind it for me and I’m super pleased. I was going to keep it, as it is one of my favorites, but really, it called out Sofi’s name. I usually don’t have a recipient or an occasion in mind when I make the quilt because I never know when it will be done and don’t want to rush to meet a particular date. (This one took me the entire pandemic year). I usually finish it and then listen to the quilt. And I thought it was mine, but that’s not what the quilt said to me. So it’s Sofi’s now.
Jeremy got vaccinated on Monday, his first shot. He drove about 2.5 hours to the mass vaccination site in Salisbury where there was an underutilized state run vaccination site and waited for the gaps in the appointment line. I’m worried about Vince, he’s not vaccinated yet – it opens for him on April 15. Not too long from now. But still. I want to grab him and drive him to Salisbury myself. The kids seem to be tumbling over each other out there in the California sunshine. Which I’m both happy about (he has friends, even in this year were most of us couldn’t make new friends and I know he’s generally masking) and anxious about (he has friends! some went to Tahoe! they all went home to their families and came back just in time to make april fool’s febreez pranks! They are totally all making out with each other! ack! ack! not covid-friendly!).
Easter is a time of rebirth and I really feel that. My daffodils in the backyard are having their most beautiful year ever! Glorious! I’m going to be able to celebrate Mother’s Day in-person with my family. But I also feel lots of grief these days. Somedays the grief overwhelms me. As I get older, the illusion of a clean, unblemished sustained happiness has eroded away. People I love are enduring difficult things. We all work through hard things. So many unfixable things. What is there to do? Nothing really. Except to bear witness and send love.
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting– over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
For my brother on his 45th birthday! I love you. Come back to me when you are ready. I will be waiting.
Catch a Body Oliver Bendorf
Salinger, I’m sorry, but “Don’t ever tell anybody anything” is a string of words I would like to wrap up in canvas and sink to the bottom of the Hudson, or extract by laser from the ribcage of all of us who ever believed it, who felt afraid to miss someone, to be the last one standing. “Tell everyone everything” is not exactly right, but I do believe that if your mother looks radiant in violet you should tell her, or when a juvenile sparrow thrashes its wings in dustpiles and reminds you of a lover’s eyelashes, you should say so. We are islands all of us, but we are also boats, our secrets flares, pyrotechnic devices by which we signal there’s someone in here we’re still alive! So maybe it’s, “don’t be afraid.” We can rewrite Icarus, flame-resistant feathers, wax that won’t melt, I mean it, I’ll draw up a prototype right now, that burning ball of orange won’t stop us, it’ll be everything we dream the morning after, even if we fall into the sea–we are boats, remember? We are pirates. We move in nautical miles. Each other’s anchors, each other’s buoys, the rocket’s red, already the world entire.
I got up on the wrong side of the bed today. I’m grouchy. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t get out of bed at 6 am. I thought it was daylight saving time at first and then I thought it was the travel to Colorado, but I feel like I should be over that. I’m just waiting, waiting for Vince and Jeremy to be vaccinated. Vince will be eligible in California April 16. Jeremy soon after on April 27. On the one hand it feels so slow, but on the other hand, it feels like a miracle. And I think I need to focus on the miracle of it all. It is a miracle.
I have been reading many articles written by Asian women about the Asian woman experience in America. How we feel invisible, or hypersexualized or mistaken for one another constantly or asked where are you from too many times. Someone even wrote on a facebook post, as an Asian woman, I’m near the bottom of the food chain. (If we are having a food chain race to the bottom, I would argue that having an intellectual disability puts you way, way further down. I don’t see any comedians apologizing for any retard jokes they have freely and abundantly made in the past.) I refuse to feel that way. Or I don’t want to feel that way. I have been given so many gifts and so much kindness from so many different types of people and the people who behave in terrible ways are relatively few in number that I just can’t constantly think that I’m the oppressed or marginalized one. I’ve found that the most odious people are equal opportunity assholes and that we can all behave badly at different times, but most of us get up and try again to be better or to right our wrongs. I know sometimes people can’t tell me apart from other Asian women, but when I started on my unit where most of my coworkers are Black, it was hard for me to remember everyone’s name and not mix people up. Everyone extended grace to me then as I stumbled through inadvertent and embarrassing mix-ups for longer than I’d like to admit. So maybe I’m the asshole. (And my parents! Just put them in front of fast action filled film with more than 5 white people and they are confused all the time.) As for asking where I’m from (which now it seems most Asian Americans take as a microaggression), I find most people ask it out of a type of kind curiosity. If you don’t ask, you don’t know. Literally, the 2nd chapter in any language book teaches you how to ask, where are you from? I’m from the Maryland. Where are you from? I’m from Mexico City. It is only in learning where we are all from that we will be able to understand where we can go together.
But I’ve gone round and round on this. Should I be angrier at the weirdo guys who hit on me (but not anymore now that I’m almost 50)? Should I be pissed when a man interrupts or talks over me in meetings (not anymore because I’ve arranged my professional life to be meeting-free)? Should I be irritated when someone isn’t satisfied when I say I’m from Maryland when they asked where I’m from (I’m mostly messing with them now when I say Maryland)? Maybe.
Yesterday was Edda’s 17th birthday. She is one of the unlucky ones with two pandemic birthdays, but she is (and we are) lucky since we got to celebrate with her at home all day. (Sometimes I can get sad on Edda’s birthday, but I refused to be sad yesterday and mostly I was pretty happy). We started in the morning with a pancake breakfast. It did not occur to me to do this until I woke up at 7am and went scrounging in the pantry for some Bisquick (which there was a box) and discovering that we had neither bacon nor syrup. Jeremy (who had been up for an hour) said – but this wasn’t part of the plan! I already ate breakfast! But I went to the grocery store and grabbed both the bacon and syrup and Jeremy made the pancakes and it was delicious. (And Jeremy did eat a 2nd breakfast even though he’s trying very hard to get down to race weight, lol.)
Kitachi celebrated with us at lunch where we opened gifts and had pepperoni pizza and this enormous oreo ice cream pie.
And then in the afternoon, Christine came by with flowers and Sofi came over with a balloon bouquet – both lovely and unexpected. For dinner, Jeremy made a simple chicken dinner. But we had a raspberry bunny cake and Sofi’s choice of a little raspberry heart mousse cake.
A three cake day! I’ll take it. Edda, I’m so lucky to be your mom! <3 <3
This is Vince’s spring break. He did not travel home, but since most of his classmates are Californians, they all left him for their homes. So, feeling bad that he was alone again in his room, we sponsored an overnight trip to San Francisco. Jeremy walked him through all the booking websites so he could learn and understand how to book travel for himself later. It all can be a bit unclear about check-in times, confirmation emails, flexible departures, fixed departures, return policies, etc. How did I learn all this? I have no idea. (Though, honestly, I made Jeremy book all my travel for my Colorado trip.) This involved a train ride, a ferry ride, and finally a bike ride into the city. He had really wanted to bike over the Golden Gate bridge and he did that.
We watched him go over the bridge via Google Maps tracking. Jeremy kept saying: he’s at three percent battery! I can’t believe it. He won’t be able to find his way to the hotel, his phone will die. He won’t even be able to take a photo. I said (in an odd reversal of our normal marital behavior) don’t worry about it, he’ll figure it out. But Jeremy keep harping on the 3% battery. And finally texted him about it. Vince texted back that he had a portable battery charger. And look: he got his strava bike photo.
He called us from the bridge and with his hair flying all around, he said – it’s really windy! Well, that’s SF for you.
I will make some mention of the Atlanta shootings and the Boulder shootings. What I really care about the most is that we have strict gun control laws. I mean, so strict that it would be almost impossible to own a gun. But I know that this will never happen. If we couldn’t do it after so many children were killed at Sandy Hook in 2012, really – how is it ever going to happen? Now as for the hate crime in Atlanta, it really brings up some weird, complicated feelings for me as it focuses on hate crimes against Asian women of which I count myself as one.