banner day

This kind human is a sophomore. He spent our labor day hike dispersing dandelion seeds because, “every living thing deserves a chance to grow.” I made a wish on each seed, in similar words, but my wishes were all about him.

Also, today we sign closing papers to buy the dragon house. A long-held dream comes true.

 

Honorable mentions:

I am halfway through semester three of my program, and still loving every 4am writing session. On a sunny day back in January, I typed one of my essays on Great Grandma Rew’s typewriter and submitted it to a zine called Selkie, and I recently received word that they’ve published it! I will share how to get copies when they become available. My first published essay, hurray! In a zine named for mythical females who zip in and out of sea-suits to live in both realms, on the theme of “disobedience.” Sounds about right!

I started my permanent job in July. I’ve filled out what could be the last round of new hire paperwork, for the last set of changing benefits, and the waves of relief are still washing over me, and I expect that will keep going for some time. Three pay periods in, I went to Kodiak, Alaska, for field work. A new place to fall in love with. (They have otters there!!!)


rock greenling


penpoint gunnel


giant Pacific octopus



humpback!


uh-oh


Salmon for breakfast, and second breakfast.

Sending love to all the mama bears out there with cubs snuggled close and the otter mamas with their pups swimming off and away.

tidepool immersion ~ not far off

killer whale week

It’s been a big week.

This week I got my start date for my new job (July 5th), I finished my second semester—my first half—of my MFA program, and I saw killer whales in Yaquina Bay!

 

I managed to take a few terrible photos, and some rather poor videos, which I will cherish forever and always. How I love them. I spent an entire thirty-page submission writing about them during first semester, so it seemed fitting they would come help me celebrate the day I reached the halfway point! I tried to clip many frames of blurry, empty water, and skip to the pertinent parts, but apologize for causing anyone seasickness with my shaky cinematography.

 

This one is longer and retains more shakiness, but also shows an eye patch a time or two, which was completely awesome to see. I was fairly close. You can’t hear it in the video over the wind, but from where I was standing, I could hear their exhales each time they surfaced!

After work, I grabbed my camera and husband for a bay road drive date and he got to see a couple of them, too.

 

All of which is to say, a lot is going on behind the scenes, but I’m still here, and I still write things.

herring

Here is my poem about the welcoming party for the herring who came to spawn in Yaquina Bay on Quinn’s birthday:

western grebe

western gull

hooded merganser

harbor seal

great blue heron

bufflehead

black brant

double-crested cormorant

California sea lion

fifteen~love

The first player to score in tennis earns fifteen points. Fifteen-love. I guess no one is sure why zero in tennis was originally called love, however “the most accepted theory is that those with zero points were still playing for the ‘love of the game’ despite their losing score.”

Maybe it’s immature to think of this coparenting journey as a tennis match but sending a child back and forth between two households was a never ending volley, until it wasn’t. Many times I remind myself I’ve consistently chosen to play the long game when it comes to parenting, that I may be in a streak of losing game after game, I may be about to lose this set, but if we’re lucky, it’s still early in the match. In the long game, maybe I have a chance. The long game is the basket I have all my eggs in.

In the short game I’m at zero. Zero is love. Love is zero. Love is a big goose egg. Love is missing the egg I could be finding. Love is emptiness. Empty spaces. Empty nest. Empty loft bed with dinosaur stickers on the side, dinosaur flannel sheets, fuzzy owl blanket, and a quilt each from Grammy and Mama. Empty seat at the table. Empty green plate that I’m sure is too small for him to eat off of now. Except for maybe eating birthday cake. Which he isn’t going to eat from it this year.

Image credit Roberto Mura

 

We left off at fourteen, chatting about galaxy NGC 14 and a quasar called the Einstein Cross in the constellation of Pegasus, the winged horse. Well, 4.2° west-northwest of the brightest star in Pegasus, there is a globular cluster called Messier 15. M15 is 360,000 times the luminosity of the sun, contains pulsars and a planetary nebula, and wouldn’t you know it: astronomy suspects its center may contain a black hole.

In another galaxy called Holmberg 15, a supermassive black hole was recently discovered, one of the largest black holes ever known (40 billion solar masses, I guess that does sound big). I thought, huh, I wonder what constellation Holmberg 15 is found in. Wouldn’t you know, it’s in Cetus, the whale. (I’ve said it before, you can’t make this stuff up.)

This little planet Quinn has now taken fifteen trips around our sun on, rotates 15 degrees per hour, making the sun and stars appear to move fifteen degrees per hour over our heads.

From the music of the spheres to the music of our own solar system, fifteen is a special number. Not a lot of time signatures involve 15, but there is one I know of:

15
8

Which is sometimes called compound quintuple meter. Or it can be called triple quintuple time. Marking time in our ongoing separation feels complicated, like it might need a special time signature. It feels compound, in the sense that a fracture can be compound. It feels like I need to concentrate hard. Then it feels like I need to avoid thinking about it at all. I think compound Quintuple meter fits.

My ability to document the lifelong learning that is still ongoing despite our separation has ebbed and flowed. The notes have been tucked away, and I have not given up on one day backtracking to revisit this time, but for now, my heart isn’t ready for much of it.

A few of his presents are Rubik’s cubes. He recently solved his 6 by 6 Rubik’s cube, so I got him the 7 by 7, as well as some other shapes that remind him of D&D dice, and finally, a Molecube. He told me about solving the 6 by 6, detailed step by step his approach to solving it, which reminds me that I’ve never entirely trusted the evaluation that disqualified him from being on the tippy end of the autism spectrum, and come to think of it I wonder about myself sometimes, and if you’re still reading this verbose sentence you must really love us for who we are. Example:

“The three by three is interesting to solve, because you can’t move the centers in relation to each other. You can only move other things in relation to the centers. You have to solve all the corners, of which there are eight in any cube puzzle, and you also have to solve the grand total of twelve edges between all these corners. My method solves four adjacent corners that are all on one face, then solves all the edges between those corners, all with the center obviously solved for those. Flip the cube over, solve the other four corners. I always do the same colors. I go to the yellow, I solve the yellow corners, along with the yellow layer, like not just that side of the yellow is solved, but like the green and the red on the side of it, whatever. Then I flip, and I solve the four white corners, then I flip it like this with yellow on the left and white on the right. And from that there are some other sequences you can use to solve the white edges. So, you use sequence A1 and A2, E1, E2, E3 and E4 to solve the yellow side. Flip it, and use sequences C and A2 again to solve the white corners. Then flip it so the white is on the right. And using sequences G1 and G2, solve the white edges….”

At this point in my audio file we are at 4:41 of a 39:43 minute “dialogue” concerning cubing solutions and it will probably take me until he is sixteen to type in the rest.

 

As usual with birthdays around here, there are the mathematical fun facts. Fun facts about 15, according to Wikipedia:

15 is a lucky number.

Fifteen is a triangular number:

12 months 8 sock monkey 

bdaysealion Photo2196

 Photo1104 Photo505 0225131805

Picturez 006 happy 7 orange IMG_6629  

 

When I first made a grid of Quinn’s previous nine birthdays as he turned ten, I reflected on him being halfway to 18 one year and halfway to 20 that next year.

Now he’s halfway to 30.

15 is a hexagonal number:

 

hexagonal grid of circles oe each for Quinn's 15 years

Fifteen is a repdigit in binary, and there are few people who love binary counting as much as Quinn, age 1111.

15 is a magic constant of magic squares.

In pi, 15 comes after 14:

3.1415….

All of which is to say that 15 is quull.

In navigation, every 15 degrees of longitude equals one time zone. These lines of longitude, also known as meridians, are farthest apart at the equator, but they come together at the poles… eventually.

In the meantime, we can span time zones on computers, even three of them if we need to, as Quinn recently has to connect with his cousins Mario and Luigi on Discord. The three of them are peas in a pod still, even online, where Quinn is leading his cousins on a D&D quest for which he prepared a nine-page campaign script, five spreadsheets worth of maps, and an ancient scroll to introduce them to the quest.

Fifteen is the number of months Quinn had been out of the womb when he started walking. Now that he is 180 months of age, the moments I am going to look back on are our walks together. Our pre-birthday hike was a good one, and we noted that our spot in the forest is also visited by owls:

Someone has pruned a lot of the regenerating trees on either side of the trail, limbing them up so they will grow taller (the trail goes through former clear cut). On the way back down the hill, the light was just right for me to see what is left of some of the mother trees, still present there, still supporting the lanky youth.

Quinn, you are the magic constant in this mama’s life. Wishing you a happy fifteenth birthday today!

tidepool immersion ~ between scattered showers

Between scattered showers, between the week-before-deadline and the deadline, I hit a lucky low tide. The sun came out and shined on the encrusting critters, the chitons decorated with barnacles and limpets, making the anemones look lit from within.

I see a selfie in this heart-shaped tidepool. Happy Valentine’s day!

Hermit crab, you are in the middle of a sea anemone. Not sure if you know.

juneuary beaches

…in which I share the photos I keep scrolling back through, from that one week in January (or sometimes February) we can’t count on but always appreciate when we get it.

two walks… the first is a lunchtime walk I took myself on.

This image reminds me of my writing process lately. It’s like trying to braid water.

Pyrosome

The second walk: I got asked on a sunset beach date. I accepted.

~rainbow mondays~ snow capped nest

Sunrise on the icy farm.

This is my New York rainbow… as you may be able to guess, it features a lot of white! And a lot of a certain furry friend who is more of an off-white character.

FINALLY seeing my parents was just the best.

The weather was exactly the weather you’d expect for Central New York in January, but the light was lovely most days. The kitchen… site of the soap making Mom and I did together. I learned how to make the faves of the hick-a-rew household: lemongrass lime and vanilla sandalwood.

Mom also kept Christmas up at my request, which felt like it made sense given the snowy ambiance.

Any given day’s temperature report, but I was snug in my “writing loft” upstairs for week one, attending my second semester residency! I love going to writing school.

But Dad took one for the team and plowed the driveway over and over again.

But blue sky though! It was lovely the few times it warmed up to 20 and I got to take walks.

The longest walk I took was all the way to the east orchard (which they barely visited in 2021 due to excessive rain/mud), where I set eyes on Big Mama, the apple tree matriarch.

I spied many dormant bird nests around the orchard, which were easy to spot all capped in snow.

I watched a northern harrier patrol the fields.

And I spied a fox a few times!

My handsome husband joined me for week two. We had a great, mellow, trip, and made it home safe and healthy.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

coprolites

I am declaring a word for 2022 and that word is coprolites. I do not know why this is the word, only that once it came to me, I knew it was the one. It happened when I was packing a handful of Bob-rock pendants in my travel jewelry box (a plastic Strawberry Shortcake bandaid case) and chose my very pretty coprolite (aka fossilized dinosaur doo-doo) to bring on my trip to New York.

I AM FINALLY GOING TO VISIT MY FAMILY IN NEW YORK.

I wear poo for you. After wrangling fish all day so don’t judge my frizzy ‘do.

I think there will be more to say about coprolites as the year unfolds, as well as better photos to take when the light returns, but for now what I’ve got is that with the passage of time, and under the influence of all the forces of nature, poo can become treasure.

 

let your heart be light

Ten years ago (yesterday) I went on a date with a guy from my yoga class, and I have no regrets. Back-to-back date nights this week, also with no regrets!

This is my Christmas jam this year, reflective of my mood.

 

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Let your heart be light

From now on our troubles will be out of sight…

Here we are as in olden days

Happy golden days of yore

Faithful friends who are dear to us

Gather near to us once more.

 

These lines in particular feel like they fit the moment.

Hitting a big milestone – ten years! – has me thinking about how we just really don’t know what is in store for us. Things are not all roses, and things were not all roses ten years ago, but Rich and I agree that these have been the best ten years of each of our lives. We are seeing signs that we have made the right choice in going down the road together. We’re looking forward to ten zillion more years!

 

Let your heart be light.