What I Did During My Summer Not-A-Vacation

 

I cut my big toe. The day before Mother’s Day, in the middle of rushing to make bouquets for delivery, I dropped my clippers and sliced my big toe right where it connects to my foot. It was all strangely painless—I just looked down and there was a huge pool of blood and I didn’t know why. This resulted in: not being able to do flowers that day, forced rest with elevated foot, deciding not to go to the emergency room, the bleeding not stopping, deciding to go to the emergency room at midnight, taking off the band-aids so it looked bloodier in the hopes of being seen sooner, seeing other people who looked in much worse shape also not being seen, deciding to go home, J. buying three different canes/crutches for me to test, hobbling about with a crutch during the flower pop-up the next day, rubbing the cut with coconut oil for months afterward, a scar, not being able to bend my toe the way I used to, and a small but permanent change in the way I walk. I’ve never broken a bone or even had a bee sting before. This is the first time I felt that my body has been permanently altered, mortality, etc.

Looking at my clippers after that happened has made me feel slightly shaky. I started putting on shoes to do flowers, but am now back to barefoot.

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I had a revelation when I was making an experimental over-the-top goddess flower crown/headdress. Symmetry is power; asymmetry is beauty. Discuss.

The weather this summer has been unsettling. Yes, rain is good, but this humidity is something I’ve never felt in LA before. I’m used to rain during the cold, rain at night and early morning, not rain on a hot summer afternoon. Feels like the South. For days all I could say about the weather was that it felt wrong! Decided I don’t want to have kids in a world where there are no glaciers. It feels like the end of the world is not far off. Selfishly, I want it to end about when I do – I want to know how it happens, how the story ends.

 In Desert Hot Springs, I converted J. to the Cult of the Noodle, but he really took it to another level.

In Desert Hot Springs, I converted J. to the Cult of the Noodle, but he really took it to another level.

We have now been married (five years!) for longer than we were together and not married. That feels significant.

I turned 35. One person thought I looked 25. Another person thought I looked 30. I’m really glad to not look 12 or 16 anymore, although I think I still might depending on what I’m wearing.

 One of my accomplishments this summer - yes, I nibbled a rectangle into a lozenge shape

One of my accomplishments this summer - yes, I nibbled a rectangle into a lozenge shape

 Continuing with the Unexpected Geometries foods theme, this was the breakfast plate I was presented with one morning.

Continuing with the Unexpected Geometries foods theme, this was the breakfast plate I was presented with one morning.

Not ready for October. Ready for cool weather, but not for Halloween, which means Thanksgiving, which mean Christmas, which means New Year’s, which means the end of this year and means next year. The summer was too hot to get much done.

 One of many discoveries on a magickal hike in the Santa Monica Mountains. The others included two labyrinths, two swings, and many small altars.

One of many discoveries on a magickal hike in the Santa Monica Mountains. The others included two labyrinths, two swings, and many small altars.

Still enjoying working on flowers. I don’t even know if enjoy is exactly the right word. I still feel like there’s something I’m trying to figure out with flowers.

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TV: As always, I watched a lot of bad TV, not hate-watch but like-watch! Total Divas, the only TV show that J. can’t stand. He has given in to the Kardashians, and likes to watch House of DVF for the business tips. Also good TV - Empire!

 Gwyneth Paltrow and John Waters, united

Gwyneth Paltrow and John Waters, united

Books: Read so many good books this summer, which hasn’t happened in a long time. The Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante. They are pure energy. I managed to be number one in the holds queue at the public library for The Lost Child. Basically read it in a day, and then took a week to read the last chapter because I didn’t want it to end yet. (I had always been puzzled by the covers and how dissonant they were with the books themselves. I finally found out why—read an interview with the cover designer who explained that she tried to make them “vulgar." P., a painter, said that she always thought they were too sophisticated to be unintentional.) H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Read over weeks – a chapter at a time, because I didn’t want it to end even before I started reading. One of the most emotionally honest books I’ve read. Also her writing, her words. Not showy, but somehow a bit magical. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. My thoughts on the book are more in feelings than words - an admiration of how he makes the abstract physical; anger; outrage; futility; a knowledge that the past is not past, that the past is too recent, that it can't be changed, that the future will not change either. It is intensely personal, urgent writing. Happy he won a MacArthur grant and happy that he is writing a character for Marvel.

Looking for more good books: writing that is deeply felt, a sense of things that must be said.

Just started reading Jonathan Strange and Mr.Norrell – why didn’t I read this sooner?! I think maybe I thought it would be scary – I am very suggestible. Over and over again lately, I am feeling a pull toward England. So many books I read during My Young, Formative Years were set in England – George Bernard Shaw, E.M. Forster, Jane Austen, etc. (I still want to spell grey, not gray.) More recently, reading about Constance Spry, Gertrude Jekyll, and Vita Sackville-West, there is another aspect to it – the flowers and gardens. I've been thinking about Room with a View and Howard's End a lot lately, and those along with H is for Hawk and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell are all very much about England – about the land. I want to see the places in the books.

 Not England, but Land's End

Not England, but Land's End