Hither, Thither, This & That

I got a call from my incarcerated godson, which made my day.  He gets to call his mom once a week, and she patches in a third person on the call. His voice is deep, and he now sports a very southern accent (they moved down south).  He says I have written him fifty letters and he keeps them separate from everybody else’s.  I’ve been sending him Origami patterns/instructions and origami papers, a few in each letter for the last month or so. He’s done them all and I’m on a search for easily printable B&W origimi instructions for more challenging projects than cranes, fish, whales, boats and stars.

I’ve started sending him paraphrased stories in serial form, a Bible story here, a fairy tale or biography there. Transcriptions of  Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story would be fun, I think.

There have been a few crises with the Cherub, a couple of them quite scary.  I’ve been a completely on my own single parent since early March, 24 and 7. I need to set up a kind of baby monitor with camera. One crisis was when I left our bedroom to go start breakfast, and she was sound asleep.  But she got up and managed to pull the clear plastic lid cap off of a small squirt bottle – the contents were safe, but popping the lid in her mouth was not a fun time.

Her father will not address why just because he can’t see her due to his job and covid concerns for her that means he just vanishes from her life, and doesn’t ask about her or send a recording of his voice or anything but the usual funds in the bank (which are generous, but don’t mean that much to her).  He just ignores my questions about why it’s cool for him to just drop out of her life periodically (this is the second time- the first time was five weeks of silent treatment and acting like she did not exist, in a snit about being asked to move out)

I don’t take the Cherub inside anywhere, which means I haven’t gone inside anywhere, either.  For nearly three months.

My phlox is about done, but the poppies are blooming and so are the wild geraniums. Orioles, scarlet tanangers, rose breasted grosbeaks, and squirrels are visiting the feeders.

I have a working oven for the first time in many years- the son-in-law who does remodels was at a house where they got rid of their oven and he brought it over and installed it.  I had a double oven, and this is just one so he is coming back to do some cosmetic work around the edges where there are gaps, but it’s nice to be able to cook up more than four chicken breasts at a time.  I’m very excited.  Soon I’ll be getting my scratched up, battered sink replaced with a stainless steal one in better condition, same way I got the oven.

I’ve picked up on my reading, and my state is loosening some restrictions- we have entire counties with fewer than ten cases and no deaths.  My own county has had one death, and under 500 cases.  Because they are loosening up a wee bit, I have been able to see more of the grandkids this last week than I had in the previous 12 weeks.

I dyed my hair red. I love it.  The grandkids keep commenting on it.  One of them told me it makes me look younger. Lest I get a big head, another grandchild asked when I was going to have my baby, and this quarantine eating is no joke. Since I can’t go inside places with the Cherub and I don’t have any steady sitter options (I have emergency options)- I am wondering about finding a personal trainer to help me get on track with a regimen that isn’t going to overtax my knees, hips, and back, but will help with exercise, flexibility, and some disciplined goals.  Not likely in my county, but I’m praying about it.

I’m growing a cilantro plant outside my kitchen door and it’s doing well.  I’ve killed the basil plants. I grew a bunch of turnip and radish tops and they flowered on my kitchen windowsill.  I decided not to get chickens.

I found this striking bit of fungus, a bit of a small branch that blew in from somewhere one stormy night.  In the morning, the orange fungus was very orange, gradually it’s gotten lighter and will eventually be creamy or white.  I’m told it’s in the neofavolus alveolaris family.  The underside reminds me of certain types of coral. So do the pearly gray cups of fungus or lichen, when looked at enlarged.  They are so tiny with the naked eye I almost missed them.

While I examined the dead branch and the fungus, gradually other life forms emerged- a very tiny bug that traveled by arching its body and sort of springing into the air. A small wormish creature not much thicker than a strand or two of hair, about half an inch long, transluscent, pearly white in one half of its body, speckled darkly in the other half- and the dark speckles seemed to be inside its body. It kept making itself into a circle and then stretching, searching for its branch (it fell off onto the tray while I examined the branch), and lastly, a delicate, tiny, about the size of a mustard seed, spider, with legs like filaments, delicate, careful.  I carefully set the branch back outside, wondering what other secret lives it kept hidden within its bones.








I ran out of paperplates, which aren’t strictly necessary in this quarantine, but the less time I spend in the kitchen the better for me and for the Cherub. You know those straw or plastic paper plate holders? I started putting a paper towel or a plastic bag over the top (or putting them in a plastic bag and tying the bag shut), and putting the food on that- you wouldn’t want to do baked beans this way, but it works for steamed sweet potatoes, sausages, roasted turnips and radishes, sandwiches, rice cakes with cheese, etc.

I heard from friends in the Philippines who were in pretty desperate circumstances and I was able to help out some and put them in touch with several people who could help out a lot, and that made me feel very happy.

Life is not perfect. My laundry is nearly all washed but none of it is folded. I have floors that desperately need mopping, grass that needs mowing, a soul that needs refurbishing,habits that need pruning or weed killer from the Lord, (it’s okay that people are being wrong on the internet, I keep telling myself).  I’d like better sleep, but when the Cherub snores it wakes me up and when she doesn’t snore it wakes me up even harder.

I’m here now because of that (it’s 2 a.m.).

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  1. Kim L.
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Your spotted worm sounds very much like an unhealthy wax worm (–>Galleria moth). They are small and pale, but develop spots on the inside when not healthy. They are packaged up prettily and sold to teachers (probably home school families as well) for studies in life cycles.

    They are also sold as fish bait. Go to your bait store, buy them for a fraction of the fancy “science education” sites. Pick the ones without spots as healthy and most likely to complete their metamorphosis into moths. Use the rest for fishing. If you want to be sure that you will not have an infestation of moths when you are done observing, freeze them.

    These caterpillars are also used as precursors to rodents in medical research. This video was my introduction to wax worms. All the above I have learned since. We do buy wax worms from a bait store for use in medical research. (Caution: This video shows a needle and syringe serving their intended purpose.)

    • Headmistress
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      Where’s the video?

      • Kim L.
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        I’m sorry. I tried to get the video link to show up as a link, and evidently failed.
        Copy this to see the video on YouTube.


        I have recently become a fan of FitnessBlender.com for their all free exercise videos. They have multiple styles and levels. Perhaps you could find something helpful there.

  2. JoyH
    Posted May 22, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    T-tapp exercises are great for low-impact needs, but really make you feel good afterward. They even have sitting exercises. Their forums are very helpful, too.

  3. Anne-Marie
    Posted May 25, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Would your godson be interested in mathematical origami?
    In modular origami, the folds are generally not very complex, but the results are often dazzling. Here’s an intro:
    Here’s a video showing how folding and cutting a single sheet can give you interlaced triangles (and plugs a book that presumably has more such puzzles):
    Here are pages with links to applications of origami in geometry and topology respectively:

    • Headmistress
      Posted May 25, 2020 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      Oooh, it wouldn’t hurt! Thanks!

  4. Posted May 31, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Oh, this post makes me alternately so happy and then so sad. So sad because the effects of living in a fallen world are so real, and they hurt terribly. Happy because I love when you write — you have such a gift! — and your way of seeing things is amazing and I am so thankful you share.

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