~thankful thursday~ integrating

This post contains two weeks of mingled timeline/gratitude reflections and gets me closer to posting in real time. I’m going to stop trying to label what is gratitude and which pieces are included for timeline purposes… in keeping with the integration theme.


Saturday 4-11 Got our taxes done with days to spare! Winning!

Easter Saturday reflections were shared about how when we are inside the story, living it, we may feel like it is ending, not knowing renewal is on its way. A good reminder not to write the ending of one’s story in the middle of the dark night of despair.

Easter Sunday 4-12

I show up for hangouts with Quinn ten minutes early. I let him end the call before I do, every single time.

Prime rib date night!

Monday 4-13

We witnessed hummingbird Mama feeding her newly fledged baby on our bayou walk!

Tuesday 4-14

The 21 day abundance challenge I’ve been participating in concluded today. The meditation pieces were lovely, and the reminders were timely, synchronous even. The emails read a little bit like a chain letter, a tumbleweed that had gathered various bias-laden “assignments” in their travels. I felt grateful to not be taking that class for a grade, but also very grateful to have it in the front of my consciousness just how much choice I have in how I perceive what is going on around me, and how much power I have over my own inner experience.

Hummingbirds in the salmonberries above the trout lilies where I worked. Chickadees and sunshine.

Another hummingbird feeding encounter! I’m starting to think it won’t just be a once-in-a-lifetime thing after all.

While I was making tuna noodle casserole, a robin caught my eye- nesting in the hazelnut outside my kitchen window!

Wednesday 4-15-20

I feel like I’ve returned to some sense of tenuous stability. Daily visits with Quinn are part of the routine. I’m keeping busy with work – I have to sort of force myself to start on it in the mornings but eventually gain momentum and by the end of the day I’ve accomplished something. I even made real dinners the last two nights and am feeling more on top of my kitchen game.

Lots of good stay home date nights.

Friday we are having Local Ocean crab soup and fish and chips. Working in fisheries and married to a guy who welds up fishing boats, it feels good to support fishermen who aren’t able to sell their catch right now. It also feels so much better to walk up to a window and grab a bag/box than it does to go inside stores for food. I am back to being a customer of the farm and getting their VSA box every other week with add-ons like garden burgers and Italian sausage and salsa and two dozen eggs… all stuff from them or other local farms so it’s easy to want to support it and then those are more things I don’t need to buy in a store.

“Distance learning for all” starts officially today.

Thursday 4-16

I decided to sign up for the farm’s CSA program – I did it for a few years before I started working for them. I may very well be working in some capacity this outdoor market season as well, but since I still have more questions than answers about that (I do know the market will not be open in its normal capacity or timing), I’m considering this a purchase of veggie insurance. If I don’t need it, someone will, and if I do, I’ll be grateful to have it. I also placed an order with my favorite herbalist, Lovejoy Botanicals, who is offering no-contact porch pickup ordering for locals.

We went for a long, meandering bayou/backyard walk after rich got home. Hummingbirds feeding their babies!!! Three times, because three is the magic number.

Friday 4-17

Had a great phone call with Lau about not explaining ourselves.

Saturday 4-18

I have seen the words “tone deaf” in print a few times in the past week used metaphorically, referring to the way an offhand remark likening quarantine to prison would sound to someone who has actually done time, or how it would seem to make light of the use of bandanas as a mask and act like we have joined a gang when people of color have legitimate safety concerns about being seen in such a way by law enforcement, or how gripes about spending so much time with our children must fall on the ears of parents who have lost children. There is some uptick in empathy, with many more opportunities available for people to embrace the concept.

We have been watching installments of Star Wars each night this week. Tonight during The Empire Strikes Back I was reminded of this quote that I love:  “luminous beings are we; not this crude matter.” I think what Yoda was saying was that we are capable of making our own light. A beneficial thought to return to on this gray day; I spend time editing photos of hummingbirds flashing their color out of the shadows.

Quinn remembered a passage he was reading that he wanted to read to me in the Parrot’s Lament, because it was about dolphins. I listen to him leaf through pages, the clock ticking away minutes, while I look at the top of his bowed head and he looks for the passage. A google-eternity later, he ultimately doesn’t end up reading it aloud, but after he finds it, explains to me about how there are dolphins who help a certain group of humans collaborate by chasing fish towards the nets, and how both the fishing nets and the dolphins bellies end up full of fish through the collaborative effort.

I rode with Rich to deliver a new lawnmower to my outlaw mom. I love his love for his mom.

Sunday 4-19

It’s possible that I am not opening back up my book right now to write because it concerns a time period when I was separated from Quinn. It’s possible that it is also a compelling reason that I should open it and write.

I ordered some used books from Powell’s and one of them was with Quinn in mind. So today, I started reading aloud to him Zero: the biography of a dangerous idea by Charles Siefe.

Mom and I did our very first video call! While I was talking to her, Rich was outside building me a cold frame for the next plant nursery stage after the seedlings outgrow the skylight. Such love. I stood leaning on him next to the newly blooming cherry blossoms and we watched a young hummingbird whose green feathers flashed teal, almost blue in color, especially against the blue sky.

An evening of popcorn and Return of the Jedi.

Monday 4-20

Camp boss spotted me some eggs until I get my next farm eggs, and we stood outside by her new garden beds and caught up in the sun.

That paragon of productivity Vi hart’s next piece emerged entitled how we reopen and it feels more sane and reasoned than the rest of what is out there to be read on the subject.

With Star Wars completed, we’ve moved on to Fellowship of the Ring – Gandalf speaking to the moth, and the moth going to the light; more imagery reminding us what to do when hope seems lost. Another reminder not to write the ending prematurely.

Tuesday 4-21

My to-do lists are a study in integrating the whole self. Traditionally my work lists all stay on the post-it notes on my office desk, while my home life sticky notes are on my kitchen counter, and never the twain shall meet. Pandemic sticky notes, on the other hand:

Graph ecotox egg and larval respiration data by treatment

Make tortillas

Re-analyze the ocean acidification egg respiration in units of respiration per egg instead of wet weight (units still nmol?).

Plant dahlia bulbs

Have Quinn look up formula for volume of an icosahedron


Social distancing logistics re: experiment on tagged P cod in swim tunnels

Make granola

Revisit Arctic cod larval foraging data

Id yellow bird Townsend’s warbler

Sourdough starter?


Wednesday 4-22

100 monthaversary!!! Glacier memories. Husband showing me the photos of glacier being snow-plowed right now – fifteen feet accumulation in places. I prefer the summer scenes!

Quinn had a tough emotional afternoon. He could not bring himself to do schoolwork for the classes that come out on Wednesday, because, “we’re in the middle of a pandemic, not that anyone has noticed.” He had a lot of feelings to work through. I reminded him that he needs to prioritize self-care right now. That YES, we are in the middle of a pandemic and sometimes we won’t feel good enough to do our work. I told him I feel like that sometimes, too. I told him that I know his teachers are putting the work out in increments hoping that you will have some good moments between now and all the way to next Wednesday when today’s assigned work is due. I told him I have to do my own work when I find myself in the good moments. I said I completely supported him not doing any work this afternoon.

He told me that sometimes he has to just sit there and contemplate the pandemic.

I could tell he felt better about it all, marginally, that I wasn’t asking him to be okay when he was not okay.

Thursday 4-23

Had a short-breath anxiety attack right as we went to bed last night. Rich tried to talk me through breathing, then rubbed my back until it calmed down. After I woke around 3am I didn’t really fall back to asleep fully, but at least I was calm. Restful albeit not sleeping. I do not know what triggered that.

Fresh lemon balm tea – it finally dawned on me I have a ton of it growing right outside my front door, as my stockpile of favorite teas dwindles. Lemon balm has been a good plant friend to me in other times marked by fear and grief.

During my half-awake time I was steeping in images and ideas that combine the two storylines of separation for Quinn and I, which sounds bad but it wasn’t, it was more of a way of integrating myself right now, maybe a self-imposed writing prompt. Integrity, as Brene says, is matching my insides with my outsides.

What feels integrated today is to not try to work my day job – I will attend virtual lab meeting but spend today boosting self-care and hitting my reset button in any way that I can. I’ve reached some sort of limit, and also I have a million hours of comp time from this February that I am not really going to need for a road trip in June, I don’t think.

As I was getting ready to post thankful thursday, I went back and re-watched Glennon’s talk about not protecting our kids from pain. I had missed, or hadn’t needed to hear at the time, or hadn’t realized I needed to hear, what she says about friendship in that talk. It applies to our kids’ pain as well, because she talks about how our friend who is grieving doesn’t need us to provide fixes, just connection (definitely not the “‘it’s darkest before the dawn” platitudes). Our kids need connection, too, not fixes, and I had internalized that on my first listen. I realized part of why I’m not feeling like talking to anyone right now is that I’m effing grieving not having Quinn… and I can’t deal with any questions about it or any problem solving about it. But it occurred to me that I am not able to talk to people about what’s going on with Quinn right now because there is no space for me to just be in grief about it. I get it, I want to fix it, and make a way for him to come home seem like a better choice than what we’re doing. Believe it or not, I have already asked myself allllll the questions! I have no answers, only more questions. and now I am just sad. It’s just not a better choice right now. I have been BESIDE MYSELF thinking of him, of how we can safely reunite again. Of how “this can’t just go on forever.” It sucks. It hurts. It’s probably why I couldn’t breathe last night. I have not tucked him in to sleep at night since March 13th.

Peeling back another layer, I don’t feel like I’m even entitled to grieve because he’s not really gone and I’m not really denied seeing him, and this is by choice, so it shouldn’t hurt. All the ways we minimize or downplay how we’re really experiencing grief because, well, I have friends who really have lost children so this isn’t that bad, and I’m not in a war zone and I still have my job and and and and (Brene’s “comparative grief” podcast was also part of getting me to this realization, just listened to that the other day). Just… yeah actually, this sucks and if I can’t even be with myself about it, how can I be with other people about it, or let them be with me?

Friday 4-24

As anticipated, Paleontology camp has been canceled, however, online camps are being invented and implemented.

I’m feeling some serious overwhelm/underfunctioning going on. I’m taking another comp day and will start work again Monday (other than again, one meeting today). I napped but then the sun came out so I ended up gardening for the afternoon, aside from my two Quinn calls.

I can tell Rich is worrying about me. He didn’t go in until 7:30 today (still sounds early but 6:30 has been his start time lately) because he was taking time to rub my back before work. I mean I’m mostly ok, it’s just punctuated by certain moments. But even in the ok times I am definitely doing a lot of jaw clenching and storing tension in my muscles and breath holding…. every time I scan my situation I’m doing at least one of those.

I was a sobbing mess while I did some writing/processing yesterday, but it was probably good to get it out of my system. I’m trying to continue processing it because it’s still a lot of why I’m sort of stuck at the moment. I’m coming to that realization and trying to unstick myself. I think I needed down time. Maybe I should just believe myself that I’m actually feeling what I’m feeling.

This morning I went online grocery shopping and I am supposed to be scheduled to pick up around 5. I really could not deal with the store, but it is time to restock.


I’m going back through the meditations from the challenge and at the mention of “the field of all possibilities” I picture the hayfield that in my dreams I have seen covered in both fireflies and filled with an ocean of whales; the fireflies are each of the unlimited stories to write. “Through the law of pure potentiality, I can create anything, anytime, anywhere,” and I repeat the mantra, trusting that it’s not time to write the ending of the story yet. The fireflies are an infinite supply of story beginnings, each its own point of light.

1 comment to ~thankful thursday~ integrating

  • stardove

    oh my god mama..I have not had time to read your blog in ages.I just went down the rabbit hole and spent an hour reading…I just love the way you express yourself.I could read all night. I am thinking of you so much.comparative grief, yes. all of this.it is almost the anniversary of Koshari’s death and I have been so overwhelmed with work,and pandemic life.All I want to do is take time to journal and write yet I feel like I have no time…and no space becuase it is all so big.and this house is just not big enough to hold the grief.I can imagine how hard it has been to be apart from Q. I am grateful I have been able to keep Mana wit me,and R isn’t fighting to have him.It’s so challenging .How do you co-parent at a time like this when you can’t even communicate with an abusive co-parent? We started some lemon balm recently,and Ela has been making lots of teas. Do you want some butterfly pea seeds for tea? I am going to text you tomorrow.I think I have your number.Love you.

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