comments: 60

Woods1

I took a bike ride again yesterday. This time I went the other way, not down the hill toward the fancy houses but up the flat road toward the high street. It felt like I hadn't been out in days, weeks, years, had I ever been out?

I rode slowly. It was still quiet, as quiet as it was months ago. My tires were low and it was hard to pedal, which felt right. Everything feels hard. I thought of the tens of thousands of protestors all over the country, out there for hours, hour after hour, day after day. I thought of the struggle of Black people and people of color, and how unbelievably exhausted they must be. I thought of George Floyd and the searing, sickening tragedy of his murder. My legs felt tired, my muscles atrophied and fragile, my bad foot aching and sore. House after house had signs in the window. Black Lives Matter. No Justice No Peace. Say Their Names. Say Their Names. Say Their Names. Sign after sign after sign. Flowers in the gardens, toys scattered in driveways, the smell of mulberries or something like them, sweet and old-fashioned and ripe, in the air. My wheel rubbed against its dented fender, scritch . . . scritch. The tears bubble up so easily these days. There's so little between them and everything, anything else. But there should be the easiest of tears for the evil and cruelty of this senseless, ruthless murder: IT IS WRONG. My heart is breaking for the Floyd family, for the others who have been senselessly murdered, for the pain and suffering of Black people, and for the centuries of systemic racism they have endured. It is all wrong. But . . . so many signs! Thousands and thousands of peaceful protestors in our parks and on our streets! Young people and old people, people of every race and gender, families and children, marching, listening, speaking, begging to be recognized, begging for justice in our country. I have hope. I pray that these days will result in real change. I pray that their voices are heard. Add mine to them.

* * *

Andy Paulson had a birthday last week and he turned 49. Amelia and I made him an Earl Grey cake with honey-buttercream frosting and gave him a Polaroid camera, a frozen hot-dog kit from Portillo's, and several (frozen) Lou Malnotti's pizzas. We watched the SpaceX launch live while talking on walkie-talkies with our neighbors and eating Bomb Pops together. The weather was hot for five minutes and I immediately ordered a gigantic blow-up pool and a side table for my drink and my book (Remain Silent by Susie Steiner, my favorite mystery writer, and the book just came out yesterday). About three weeks ago I suddenly developed some kind of nervous rumble in my torso that never goes away and feels like I'm perpetually about to bungee jump off the side of a cliff. I finished my Things of Summer cross-stitch design and sent the pattern to the printer but I don't remember proofing it and am not sure it would've helped anyway, so let's just keep our fingers crossed on that. I should probably add an errata page to my web site. I made a quilt for my sister's birthday and don't much remember doing that, either. We took sandwiches to the woods and sat under the trees but there were so many people and so many baby mosquitoes that we didn't stay long. Amelia writes in her (school-assigned) journal: "Yesterday I had to take a bath, but I didn't want to. So I did best & soon I'm done." Next day: "Yesterday I had to write in this journal but I did not want to. But I did best & soon I was done." Lord help me. I want to go get a burger and fries at the brew pub more than I can say. I watched Virgin River and New Girl on Netflix and countless episodes of Gardener's World and Escape to the Country. The seeds Amelia and I planted at Mother's Day are coming up. I would give anything for this rumble to be gone from me. . . .

* * *

I hope you are all well and healthy. My neighborhood sent out this list of resources and ways that we can actively work against racism. Parts of it are specific to Portland but it has a lot of other good information. I am listening, and I pledge to continue listening. As we head into summer I am looking forward to parts of the country re-opening and I hope that it goes well. I doubt that things will change too much for our family in regard to reopening, quite frankly, even when Multnomah County does ever start to re-open. I am mostly looking forward to having the playgrounds open for Amelia. I think that has been the very hardest thing for her: no friends and no playgrounds. It's hard to be an only child right now. I promised her we would make New York Cherry ice cream today. I would, if I could, give a scoop and a hand and a hug to all of you.

60 comments

Lynn Marie says: June 05, 2020 at 11:17 AM

Yes. I truly wonder what our new normal will actually look like at the end of all this that has happened in 2020. Will I even WANT to go out and do and see and visit like I use to or will this be the beginning of a reclusive generation that stays unto themselves? Let's hope not. We all need each other more than ever.

Dolores Tanner says: June 05, 2020 at 11:23 AM

i know.... I KNOW... and life goes on, days go on... kindness and love go on... Take Care and God Bless

I hold all my anxiety in my gut so I know that rumble. I had to put myself on radio silence as much as I could (deleted Facebook, not going on Instagram, avoiding the news if I can) because it has been putting me over the edge to the point I am almost not functional. I want to fix I everything but I can't.

Thanks for sharing resources and emphasizing the need for action. And thanks for reminding me that earl grey cake exists; I've meant to make one but this might get me to get off my butt and do it.

Sending a hug from London to you and Andy and Amelia.

You’re describing how I feel all the time at the moment. I want to make it all better for everyone but I can’t. Sending you a big hug.

I am going to use the "...I did best & soon I was done"...sums up so many things.

Love this post. When I feel tired right now, I also think of the exhaustion and weariness and unrest felt by so many for sooooo long. I am researching and pledging myself to working with the existing local groups that are fighting police violence, demanding equity, and offering solutions. I'm also trying to actively follow Black, Indigenous, and POC voices on social media to make my feed less white and find out what I'm missing when the algorithms just keep suggesting people like the ones I already follow.

Thank you for all of these words, including those on your neighbours' windows and in Amelia's journal. Like you, I am hopeful that the tide really is turning. Surely this will happen. I find that programmes like Escape to the Country and Garden shows are balm at difficult times. I often don't remember them later but they have distracted me in their kindly ways.

Thank you for posting the resource list, it's very thoughtful and helpful. And don't forget about a package waiting at the post office, which (girl scout's honor) will offer solace as well.

YES to British gardening shows!
Hubs and I both are working from home during this crazy time, and we stop daily for lunch and an episode of GW or Garden Rescue!We watch them via YouTube and the up-loader is Tiger Tiger( best quality streaming for sure).

My daughter is having a baby girl (!) sometime around July 7th. I'm sewing and knitting like crazy to distract myself from LIFE!

Here's to a better summer than spring.

Susan from Tsawwassen, BC says: June 05, 2020 at 04:05 PM

OMGosh, you have this knack for putting into words what I'm feeling. The nervous rumble in the stomach - bang on! Thank you for your post. You are a blessing. xo

You always manage to say what needs to be said and move us forward, what a gift. Thank you.

I have a sinkload of dishes to wash but I do not want to. So I will do best and soon I'll be done. Thanks to Amelia!

Sigh. I do hope your prayers are answered, though I worry that people have been praying for hundreds of years at this point and progress has been slow. Find yourself on the list I link to and act. It gives actions you can take to progress to the next level, no matter what level of anti-racist you find yourself at now.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PrAq4iBNb4nVIcTsLcNlW8zjaQXBLkWayL8EaPlh0bc/mobilebasic

Marguerite says: June 05, 2020 at 09:04 PM

Wonderfully written. Thank you for sharing the Portland list (Eastmoreland, here). I was SO moved by the throngs of protestors on the Burnside Bridge.
Your tummy rumblings might just be stress mixed with some food choices. The wonderful dishes you make and bake!! Could you keep a little food journal and simultaneously lower your intake of caffeine, chocolate, mint, dairy, sugar, grease (butter) without giving them all up at once? Keep the science of tracking what it might be that is actually tipping your system over the comfort level by eliminating one at a time (generally).
Thank you for sharing all that you do. It is a great place for many of us to go, your home, your family -- particularly in these turbulent times.

Agreed. I wonder if the same people will lift a voice for the millions of precious black babies that have been silenced through abortion (see Dr. Alveda King), or the thousands of people in Africa who are being killed because they are Christian (Nigeria, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Burkina Faso, etc).

Being an only child in this time IS hard. My 7 year old boy was doing pretty good for the first 2 months, He said he preferred being home with us. and then he just got sick of it all and started saying he wanted it to end so he could go back to school. And then he started having nightmares. Poor bunny.
Hang in there, it’s even harder for you guys, I’m sure. You are all stars, Andy for the job he does and you and Amelia for being his support. <3

Sending love and prayers from Zurich. You are adding to the beauty, in your corner of the world, and sharing it with the rest of the world, and I am grateful.

Be well, God bless you!

Carolyne says: June 06, 2020 at 01:21 AM

❤You say so eloquently the thoughts I (and so many others)have and wish I could express.
In this little corner of the World you are a bright light joining with so many other little voices.
In time, we will all certainly become a beacon in this darkness and expose the wrongs that have been hiding for so long. Even a few glimmers of Truth shine bright. Those who follow us will see a path that is lighted to guide them. XOXO

PAMELA BARRITT says: June 06, 2020 at 02:30 AM

Greetings from Australia where there were massive peaceful BLM protest marches in every major city today. Thinking of you all in the US as much as I can bear too. Sometimes I too, have to stop switching on to the horror and outrage of everything. I think of you often and wish your wellness and recovery in every possible way. x

Thank you so much for sharing the document. Just before reading your post, I was working on my own post, asking for suggestions on more ways to educate myself. Ask and you shall be given! I too had interesting bodily sensations for some time, before an almost retired neurologist quickly figured out it was due to a magnesium imbalance (though my lab levels were normal). Large doses of magnesium quickly made a huge difference. Perhaps you might try adding some to see if it may help.

Thank you for your post. I look forward to your pictures and words. It has helped me to feel more hopeful this morning. Love to you and your family.

We live on the space coast so had the joy of watching the launch, in person, from the beach. My parents flew out from Seattle to stay with us for a couple weeks and I could see how much it did for their souls just to be out on the beaches, going to restaurants and feeling the sun on their face . We were not meant for isolation. Or a 24 hour news cycle. The very best thing I did for myself (and family) in this season was shut off the news and disengage from social media.

These were strange times before the horrific murder. Now the world seems turned upside down and I know it needs to be because so changes can be made. I've experienced those nervous twitches. When my anxiety is really bad, I'll get muscle spasms in weird places. Hate them. But its your body's way of saying its overwhelmed. Take care of yourself. Its hard on all the kids right now. I know my house is full of yelling, screaming, and hair pulling because all the children are absolutely tired of each other and they can't get away....and these were homeschooled children that were used to each other. :)

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.