Friday, June 5, 2020

Days of a Plague Day 33+16+15, May 28 - Day 33+16+21, June 3

Day 33+16+15, May 28. First flowers on the miniature kowhai, the tree from which I collected seed pods to give away. I was supposed to prune this some time ago; it has to wait now.
Next in line.
Crab apples this year is the size of normal apples, possibly due to unscheduled pruning in late spring.

The quadrant I'm supposed to be finishing, Northwest, is diagonally opposite of this area. Although you can only see a smidgen of our garden from the house, the this patch is viewable, and I've been dying to move on to here, but the somewhat-OCD side of me dictates not to leave unfinished patches before I move on. 

Yesterday's outing was so stressful I was completely useless after we came home in early afternoon. Before we went to bed I declared to Ben, today I would weed come hell or high water. But I couldn't sleep and was exhausted in the morning so I made curry. I thought I would then weed, or weave, but instead, I read little bit of a manga-version of The Tales of Ise. So not my thing. So I went outside and swept the drive way because rain is forecast and I don't want the leaves to clog the storm water drain.

If it does rain tomorrow, I'll weave. If it doesn't, I'll go finish that patch.
Day 33+16+16, May 29. Today I wove on the big loom for about an hour and a half, and started making a white mercerized cotton warp I've had in mind for a few months. I want to make wide scarves with unmercerized blue cotton wefts in square-ish pattern, a kind of abstract Dutch tile motif.

I'm going to add more text here tomorrow.

(Day 33+16+17) I went to Washburn, from 1974 to 1977, a high school 11 long blocks south and 16 short blocks west of 38th and Chicago, where Mr George Floyd was murdered. The 16-year-old, 10-year-convent-school-veteran Me was not oblivious to race relations in the affluent, educated South Minneapolis. I had read about school desegregation and busing for several months before I left, and the late 60s political upheaval adjacent to Viet Nam War affected my family directly. But once installed, I felt more a sense of relief after Nixon resigned, (four days after I arrived,) and thought busing was a done deal, as I watched groups of classmates get off and on them every day. (I'm not sure if they were bused as a result of desegregation, however; I seem to recall kids who lived beyond a certain miles away from school had bus service.)

There were few mixed couples dating, and groups/cliques tended to be divided most evidently by racial lines, but also by neighborhoods/socioeconomic groups. Foreign students were deemed honorary white for the most part, refugees from Laos and Viet Nam unclear; a few traversed across divides freely.

So I was sincerely taken aback, in 76 or 77, in Mr Ario's senior Social Studies class, to hear one star student, (tall/handsome, popular, football, Homecoming, Student Council or Senior Class-something, if I remember correctly,) tell of a talk he had with his father, on how to interact with police officers, because chances were, he was going to be stopped for no apparent reason, many times. At first I thought the police would be insane to stop him of all people, but also ashamed to discover deep down I knew this to be true, and glad his father had the talk.

For most of my youth, I never doubted I would grow up to live in Minneapolis. I was besotted by the beautiful city and its institutions. And appreciated even though it is geographically in the Midwest, how liberal it was, especially in receiving Southeast Asian refugees in the 70s and gay teachers in the 80s. Nearly decade after I graduated, I was sad to read Mr Ario tell me he was almost relieved I was no longer there because race relations had deteriorated. I thought it would be temporary, because, after all, it's Minneapolis. I read its changes over the years, then tried not to keep up too closely, lest I'd be completely disenchanted.

I have been reading true, earnest testimonies of African American and others, and declarations by people in public positions. Maybe there will be something this time, even if the outcome in the past have been nearly universal inept. I hate to think all these promises are devoid of good intentions. But how do I shake off this overwhelming skepticism? How can Mr. Floyd be the catalyst?

I forget. I can't cite the names I rattled off as Ferguson burned. I can't connect the circumstances, cities and decades to the names. I had to look up the name of Mr. Philando Castile because all I could remember was the calm voice of his girlfriend. He was shot 2.5km north of my college. That was in St. Paul, in a different galaxy.

What must I do now?
Day 33+16+17, May 30. Today I tried to remember about when I was in high school. I looked at maps, and watched Minneapolis burn until live coverage ended, while Ben roasted coffee and made cheesecake.
Day 33+16+18, May 31. This is one color combo candidate for the Dutch tile-themed series. The blue is 1/30 brushed cotton single, so the weft will be two or three plied together. I have also two paler blues.

Today, outside looked cold and wet so we didn't weed. It turned out it wasn't as miserable as I imagined, though, because later in the afternoon we heard tuis and went outside trying to locate them, found we could shoot (pics of) them from my stash room from a distance of about 70cm, made too much noise in spite of our best efforts and lost them, then found them on top of a tall banksia but we/they were never in the right position to get a good shot. Then we found a skinny sparrow-sized pair with bright red spots in the head, (these guys visit a small rosemary bush every fortnight,) and Ben tried capturing them but an oregano bush got in his way. I need to finally plant that rosemary; it's still in a pot and sat on a path for three or four years and is now firmly rooted in situ. We had fun looking for the birds, though, and outside was cool and lovely. We will definitely try tomorrow.

Besides, Minneapolis didn't look so bad Saturday night their time, at least nowhere near Friday night. After something like 36 or 48 hours, (minus when I slept,) watching Lake Street, Nicolett, and 35W, I almost forgot we've still got a Plague.
Day 33+16+19, June 1. Last night I told Ben I'd garden today. I slept five hours, otherwise I read about and watched Minneapolis having a better night than the one before. The morning started slowly, I watched Minneapolis, again.

I saw peaceful protests, heard names of streets one or two blocks away from where I lived for a term, seconds away from Dinkeytown. Then I watched a huge truck try to ram right into a crowd, And then watched it replayed again and again and again.

We could have gardened, or I would have woven and worked on a warp. Or I might have sat in the kitchen watching more replays. Ben was easy either way. So we went outside, and finished clearing the northwest corner, put in eight pineapple sage, and pruned the apples. One apple tree needs more taken away, and I might put in more pineapple sage. It's right in front of Kathryn's garage, somewhere we can't see from our house, but still our patch.

Kathryn drove by, we went to see her finished living room, (lovely deep grey carpet - oh, so my color, but we can't have it because we have a darker house,) I gave her succulents and peace lilies, she had friends come over, we went back to task. The three ladies came out to tell me the friends are taking all the plants, so Katheryn took the rest of the succulents and peace lilies. Successful adoption. And I have future homes for two large pots of tiny peace lilies. What a relief.

I had four hours away from Minneapolis, and now I'm back. It's after midnight there so I'm watching reruns of reruns. I recognize names but not buildings and landmarks. I really have come so far away from that beautiful place, in distance and in time.

Tomorrow I can start hacking away the agapanthi (?), start working on the more familiar southeastern quadrant we can kind of see from the house, or weave.
Day 33+16+20, June 2. I don't know much about succulents and this is only the second I bought late last century; the first was a jade plant/money tree when I was 16. We got this for a particularly difficult patch and the original plant never looked great and is now all but gone, but it kept producing babies. This past summer we counted a dozen. Today, though, I noticed for the first time how it splits.

There is usually a yellow green rosette-shaped center and the older/outer "petals" (leaves?) turn purple, shrivel up and fall off, while the green center keep producing more from the middle. I didn't know how the stem split into multiple branches, but today I saw baby rosettes growing on the side/back of the original ones, so I assume the stem will split from these points as the babies grow bigger and taller.

I'm not sure what to do when these grow taller, though, because the stems are skinny and not hard but.. succulent, and can't support the weight of multiple large rosettes, which is when either the stems break or we cut off the new growth. The tiny babies are cute, but I'd also like to take better care of the parental unit, if there is a way.

Jacinda said the Cabinet will meet next Monday to discuss the possibility of moving to Level 1; we might go to that level later next week. I didn't pay attention so at some point, next Monday? I'll have to learn about Level 1.
Day 33+16+21, June 3. (Text and pic on Day 33+16+23.) Broad beans in bags/buckets. Even though we had rather dismal results from zucchini, spuds and cherry tomatoes in bags/buckets this summer, I'm hopeful these babies will be kinder. Or, what was that saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

Every muscle of my upper body is burning this evening after working on the not-as-steep part of the more or less same quadrant, and actually having great fun.

There is more talk Level 1 will commence sometime next week; we understand it to mean everything back to normal except the borders.

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