Pickme Girl

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Howdy do. Sprinkles of nuttiness swirling about here, per usual.

Toss the nuts because…

Something absolutely splendid and wonderful and AMAZING happened at 1:54pm on January 13th and I have waited entirely and very much too long to tell you!

No, not that.

THIS: Sweet Nellie wrote a note to me! She WROTE TO ME y’all. I am still DYING with excitement about this. Such a wonderful unexpected shiny bright spot amidst the absolute shitstorm of serious cRaZy in the world.

YOU GUYS, can you EVEN? omgawd

This is what she said:

Hello Ms. Herisme,

I received your incredible gift of the Sonnets From the Portuguese 
with my father’s handwritten Meditations enclosed in the book. 
I was completely overcome with chills down my spine to see this 
and hold it in my hands. Thank you so much for sending it to me. 
I must say that I am shocked at how much research you were able 
to do on my parent’s history, along with your beautiful ruminations 
of what their history was in those days, and your touching 
description of what their romance may have been.

I would love to be able to talk with you, if possible about some of the things. 
I must say I never heard of a Nellie Hunter. I was told that my namesake 
was a Mrs. Nellie M. Powell, who was a school teacher in Winston-Salem, 
whom my father had met at the Baptist in Winston-Salem, whom 
he had met when he helped her going up (or down) the front steps 
of the church, since she had difficulty with walking. Ironically, I was also 
a teacher for many years.

Another curiosity: you mentioned a Ms. Edmondson who is at the 
Edgecombe Public Library. I wonder if that could be a relative of my 
maternal aunt’s husband, George Edmondson, who lived in Scotland Neck, NC, 
near Tarboro.

Again, thank you so much for sending this to me. 
I look forward to talking and/or corresponding with you.

Sincerely,
Nellie (Nell) S.

I am so thrilled that she was able to receive the book and sonnets. I am so relieved that they brought happy memories (one never knows). I am humbly overjoyed that she appreciated my make believe about who David and Emily may have been in their worlds. I am insanely over-the-moon that she reached out to tell me these things.

I love all of the love that happens out there. It is a deep leaden grief reinforcement for me, of course, but also a comfort knowing that it does, and did, exist out there somewhere and is being passed on through generations.

Having that book choose to interact with my world has been quite the magic of this wintering. Thank you, Nellie xoxo

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

ps YOU GUYS… I am… I am… this has been lovely. Thank you

pps I pitched in to do a morning pick-up for two siblings the other day. Their mother is an early morning postal worker, their regular ride fell through, and our school does not have transportation. They are sweet kids – boy, 13, 7th grade and girl, 10, 5th grade. They sat in the backseat while SonHerisme sat in the front seat with me. The 10-year-old girl has a full personality and talked nonstop on the way to school while eating SonHerisme’s leftover after-school potato chips from the prior day. She emphatically explained that unlike another girl at the playground in her neighborhood, she was most certainly not a pickme girl, and never would become one. I asked, “What’s a pickme girl?” Her explanation: “A pickme girl is the girl who says she isn’t like other girls, but she totally is. She is the girl who thinks she’s cooler and better than everyone else when she wears her boots, but her boots are like all the other girls who can afford them. She is the girl that pretends that she likes a sport the boys are talking about but she doesn’t know very much about it really and never ever wants to play it with anyone. She also has her hair the way everyone else wears it but says she’s the only one with it like that. She is rude and only pretend friendly just trying to get the boys to notice her and pick her to talk to. She is the pickme girl playing games and I do not like her.” And now you know too. Don’t be a pickme girl because little Miss 10 is not standing for any of that nonsense. I did not tell her I felt like a different kind of pickme girl because a book of sonnets picked me. I did not want to ruin her fantastically epic sassy rant (she might be a covert pickme girl too and I love it!).

ppss In cleaning up, I stumbled upon a love note SonHerisme has written to a crush. I did not tell him because it is none of my business and I do not want to break his trust. I tucked it into the nearest book it had fallen out from and let it rest there. His love-emotion muscles are flexing! Teenagering it up all over the place lol

Legintimacy

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Hello out there somewhere

I have started a few failed posts over the past few weeks. Things here have been busy – lovely, difficult, brutal truthing, 99/Cuckoo-ing, gingerbreadish, dog vomity, hot cocoa-ing, Christmas Carol trivia-ing, freezing rain woodsy walking, plus a shit ton of pizza and laundry with sprinkles of hospital runs.

Summary: FatherHerisme, SisterHerisme, BrotherHerisme, and families all arrived here (one day early with 12 hours notice – I’m fine!) for Christmas while MotherHerisme was in the hospital. FatherHerisme also broke three toes while here, requiring a 4 hour Urgent Care visit. Community is full of the ‘vid.

Yet, here we are in 2022! It’s a weird thing to think about because time is basically a jumble at this point. The American Medical Association is breaking step with the Center for Disease Control, saying that the CDC guidance is confusing, causing more dangerous spread of COVID, and adding to the overwhelm in health care. DUH duh duh duh. No shit. Collapse imminent. DUH. Kids are stressed. DUH. Adults are numbed out stressed. DUH. But, wooo howdy, the stock market is up! Whatevs. I had some tasty spinach for lunch and other people shit in gold toilets. It all means the same thing, which is to say, nothing except for stress and an unbelievable amount of illness and death. Yay Humans!

SonHerisme on returning to school after winter break, “I want to just go back to school with my friends, momma. I’ll wear my mask and keep it on the entire day. I’ll lift up the bottom just to eat a little bit of lunch and drink some water. It doesn’t matter anyway because we are all going to be sick and no one cares. I just want to hang out with my friends.”

*sigh*

I asked him who he thought the helpers are. When you’re feeling hopeless, always look for the helpers (hat tip and curtsy to Mr Rogers). “I guess you and some of my teachers and the school counselors and Mrs. (Principal) and maybe doctors and nurses and maybe the people working at the grocery store and gas station. Maybe also the people who keep the Internet on. I guess.” That’s right, buddy. There are always helpers. Lean on the helpers and look to them for guidance and support during difficult times. “Okay, momma. I’m going to school and I’ll try not to get COVID.”

GOT FREAKIN DAMN y’all – after this he said he was also going to make a mental note to speak to the principal because they hadn’t had a lockdown drill (code for active shooter) yet this year, and a lot of the kids would’ve forgotten how to do one over COVID.

I mean… what the actual freaking fuck are we doing, people?!!?

I am weary y’all. Seriously shitticiously weary, as I suspect we all are.

Yesterday I finally spoke with an old friend from High School. I previously stopped contact with him because my own brain soul being could no longer cope with reconciling the feigned intimacy with the reality of my own life. He has reached out multiple times. I was aware of some, because the messages came through FatherHerisme (which I think I have spoken about before and will link if I can locate the posts, otherwise feel free to insert an interesting tale about how this came to be – be sure to include an old timey small town barbershop!). Other times I was unaware he was attempting to contact me because I had blocked him to give my brain soul being some space. I have known him since I was 15. This has been a very long connection. ANYWHO, blah blah blah, I forgot to block him somewhere and we set a time to talk earlier last autumn. He never phoned. He reached out in the New Year to talk. We set a time. He did not phone. About 2 hours after the set time, he texted asking if I was going to phone, and to see if I was still awake. He also phoned and left a message. It’s all so very dumb. We texted back and forth blah, blah, blah and I ended with a set time that I would be phoning him. I wanted to get this out of the way. I did not/do not want to be lingering texting etc.

I phoned. He answered. We caught up on families. We exchanged “omg COVID is heavy and hard,” convo. We said, “goodbye.” He said he didn’t want to wait another two years before we speak again and how much he loved me. I responded, “goodbye,” because y’all, I just cannot with this.

After the call, I cried for a while in my car. I am not quite sure why I cried – but I suspect it has to do with intimacy. I don’t mean sex, although that is a significant grief as well. I mean intimacy as a companion partner, as a knowing of another person or a feeling of being known by another person and providing comfort and space for that person and them doing the same for you. Someone physically present to take your hand when heavy, light, or mundane news is shared together. Someone’s arm available for leaning against or looking for yours to lean into. Someone to laugh, cry, or numb with because you have been or are going through the somethings. A safety for you as well as a receiver of your safety.

I think this is why I cannot be connected with him anymore and why I’ve tried to put a break in there. He reaches out in a manner which implies a level of intimacy we do not have. We have never had. And I grieve lack of real intimacy all of the time. Not a grief of intimacy with him (which is also a surreal recognition for me), rather a grief of intimacy for myself at all. I cannot tolerate the pretense of pseudo-intimacy with him. My brain soul being cannot absorb any more lies or pretend from myself or others about the reality of the things. I have spent a good deal of my life spinning weft and warp reality into wishes I thought were real. This almost got SonHerisme and me killed – the most dramatic depth of my self deception. I just cannot do it anymore. My a-game go-to has always been pretend and disassociation, but I have reached the end of the internets on this pretending thing. My High School pal is a reminder of pretend intimacy and my own shortcomings in self-protection/self-worth and I just cannot continue. I could guess why he wants to continue – but, that will once again be another narrative I will have spun on my own.

In some ways I am sorry for it because there is a sort of hopeful optimism in feigning intimacy. In my case, I feel it is just simply unhealthy. Any optimism it stirs is like a sugar high or drunkeness with a huge inevitable crash or reality hangover on the flip side.

Perhaps this explains my distress over a recent dream I had involving someone I do not know at all in real life, who was very persistent in wanting to have sex(which is HILarious if you know me irl). I kept saying, “no, this cannot be right. I do not even know you.” Eventually I forced myself awake (lucid dreamer in the house -woop woop!) to stop the whole thing. I guess even in my deep subconscious I am trying to establish boundaries.

Obviously I need intense therapy – I can’t even find pretend fun in pretend dreams with people I pretend know! JAYSUS

Intimacy is a generational issue in my family. My parents are terrible at it (both growing up in abusive homes with non-functioning parents – alcoholism, death, physical/emotional abuse). The grandparents I knew were terrible at it (also both growing up in abusive homes with non-functioning parents – alcoholism, untreated mental illness, abandonment, physical/emotional abuse). And so on for a few more outter circles of my nuclear family and past generations that I know about.

I do not want to pass anymore on to SonHerisme than I already have. I am also not sure that I have the strength to figure this out. I suspect that therapy is the way to go. I also know that therapy is the place where I will have to speak out the things and I do not want to do that. I am supremely sick of myself in that regard. Yet – here I am writing about it… blah blah blah

Maybe I can ask a therapist to read all of this bloggy nonsense and get back to me with a task list.

Maybe you guys can send collective healing protective comfort vibes to SonHerisme and me to magic it all away and make all of the things right.

Maybe

Perhaps

ugh

Damnit

Janet

Legit – what the hell am I doing? Carrying on. Ice-melting the bottom of the driveway for safety. Never ending laundry. Drinking of the tea. Burning of the candles. Handing over board responsibilities to the next group. Slopping over to carline for the picking up of SonHerisme. Narrowly, fruitlessly, dodging COVID …so far. Neglecting some things. Doing other things. Life. As one does #carryonhealthwarriors

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. NieceHerisme has COVID – she suspects from schoolmates without masks etc because her state does not allow schools to require them and her entire friend group is COVID+. Pfizer announced yesterday that its vaccine does not protect against Omicron variant unless boosted with third dose. NieceHerisme was scheduled for her booster next week. Fuck it all to hell. What a legacy to leave. Stupid damn leadership acting like fools with idiotic foolishness motivated by greed. Stupid damn lemmings motivated by misplaced evangelical Christian tropes to follow greedy inhumane asshats. Y’all I am having many angers.

The oak fought the wind
and was broken.
The willow bent
when it must,
and survived.

-Robert Jordan

I’ll leave you with this – the lady willow standing alone in my front yard died a painful death over three years with multiple ice storms, and never came back. The oak trees in my forest yard are standing strong surrounded by their forest support. Fuck you Robert Jordan.

Willow or Oak or Ash or Elm or tiny little bush with berries – let’s all stand together and support each other humanely, with love.

Plowing the Dust of Stars

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Friends, I am…spent today. I received a call from my insurance company a few weeks ago – a reminder about seeing my primary care physician. It turns out that since I missed going in 2019, and then the entirety of COVID, I have to register as new patient. I have been seeing this physician since 2006. Protocols, baby! The insurance company attempted a 3-way call to “help” me schedule my appointment. This was a disaster because the insurance company can only facilitate scheduling annual physicals NOT new patient appointments.

Insurance man: Ma'am, perhaps you've been seeing a different physician for the past 3 years?

Me: No - life happened in 2019 and then COVID life. I haven't been anywhere.

Insurance man: Are you sure?

Primary Care office: She has to schedule a new patient appointment and I cannot do that through a third unauthorized party.

Insurance man: Well, I need to schedule an annual physical for her.

Primary Care office: Look sir, I spoke to you the other day with another one of your clients, and the rules are still the same today....

Me Interrupting: Hi there. I am not going to participate in or listen to this argument. I am hanging up now and will phone the office to make my own appointment. You do not need to follow up, Insurance man. Goodbye. Have a lovely day.

Sweet beegeezus y’all. I made my “new patient” appointment, which turns out to have been today. It was great to see my Doctor – she is awesome, empathetic, encouraging and has guided me through some yucky stuff (cancer, domestic violence, MotherHerisme’s ongoing illnesses, etc). I feel lucky to know her and to have her as my doctor. We dutifully completed the “new patient” appointment, and caught up a bit on our families. I have seen her over the past three years, but only as the accompanying person for MotherHerisme (also her patient).

Then comes what always comes, since I was about 25-years-old and my body hard core quit me. It is always the same messages, no matter the change in physicians. Here’s my take on the whole shebang: I do not drink (maybe once a year, although I’d like to drink more, alcohol hates my body and my body hates it – mutual deep disturbing hatred I will never understand and do grieve over), I do not smoke (although I WISH I could – my body revolts vomitously), I do not take drugs, I very rarely eat out (even pre-COVID) and when I do it is typically brothy veg soup or dressing free salad, I am highly conscious, controlled and particular about food/chemicals etc., I have celiacs so my carb consumption is low, I am vegetarian so my veg consumption is high… and yet… the Doctor has advice on how to better control my bloods numbers etc.

Y’all, I am spent on this. I have been plowing away doing this for a loooonnnnnngggg time and added things here, minused things there, and all of this’s and none of the that’s.

Gut says: control your stress lady and find something ANYTHING that brings you enough joy to control your stress

I wonder what it will be. Perhaps I should’ve had that nervous breakdown, shaved my head, donned false eyelashes and done the things. I forgot to be FOMO motivated or LYBL or whatever. At this point, it seems that my body is on the tip of revolting entirely, and I need it to last at the very least another 15 years for SonHerisme to get into his adult times with some of his own footing.

Anyway, I have got to change something. The tweaks aren’t doing it. Upon brief reflection, I believe they never have. Back to the NewPath thoughts, I suppose. But, dang it, I’ve tried that as well. MOTHER OF ROOTS, I need a gentle Joy Doula (?). I mean other than what I know, which is to bundle up, head outside, stare at stars, and nature things up.

"Unknowingly, we plow the dust of stars, blown about us by the wind, and drink the universe in a glass of rain" 

"As a symbolic option in the contemporary world, quests recover something essential to human life, sometimes in encounters with animals (lions, grizzly, leopard), often in encounters between cultures, almost always in encounters with nature. However ravaging or equivocal, quests somehow pluck the nerve of existence; they dispel the amnesia and anesthesia, the complacent nihilism, of our cosseted lives. And they do so nowhere more vividly than in contemporary American and British letters. More probably, they simply yield an indefectible perception of an individual alone, edging cultures, hedging histories, acting riskily on a vision of himself, or herself, and the world, a perception that, from our best selves, speaks to all."

Ihab Hassan

What quest are you on? Is it really that individualistic anymore? That seems outdated to me. Or perhaps too gargantuan. Is there a baby steps version of a quest? I suppose not because then it wouldn’t be a quest at all. The quest is grand but the path is a mixture of baby steps and giant gravity-defying leaps, perhaps? Sweatergot y’all, I just do not know anything. And now Socrates is banging about again in my brain… tea me out, please and thank you. Happy week-ending

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps writing feels better

pps SisterHerisme has been in and out of the hospital for the past two years with similar blood results which have yet to be regulated properly so… m u s t d o t h e s o m e t h i n g s

Mother of Roots

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Mother of roots, you have not seeded
The tall ashes of loneliness
For me. Therefore,
Now I go.

The beginning of the poem, “Goodbye to the Poetry of Calcium,” by James Wright. I’ll post the entire poem at the end of the post, if you’d like to read it as intended. In the meantime, I am using the phrase, “Mother of Roots!” as my new swear. You are most welcome to join me.

Holiday times – getting all of the things done all of the time for all of the people to feel all of the seasonal happy merry joy joy. I’m in full on donkey kong mode.

  • Tree up – check
  • Ornaments on – check
  • Nutcrackers on window patrol – check
  • Fairy lights up – check
  • Wreaths out – check
  • Gingerbread house finished – check
  • Stocking stuffers lined up – check
  • Gifts for the people – check
  • Gifts for SonHerisme – check
  • Seasonal shows watched (except the mistake) – partial check
  • Cookies – looming (ingredients on hand)
  • Teacher gifts – looming (supplies on hand)
  • Note to Family about fancy Christmas Eve dinner plans – looming (lowering expectations)
  • Outfits at the ready – gah! not even close

Since before SonHerisme I have tended to Christmas up the place, European Christmas Market style. Perhaps trying to capture my magical moments of childhood having spent 4 Christmases in Germany – THE most magical place to be at Christmas for a kid. Chocolates, gingerbread, hot spicy beverages, sloshity snow, and best of all, freedom of movement in and out of the places. I lived in Germany from ages 11-15 years old. I had my own transport pass and lived in the suburbs of a small town near a large city – all connected by public transportation. For a girl from the suburbs of a US midwestern city, this change in freedom of movement was truly life altering. In the US the only places I could reasonably travel to on my own were down the street to a friend’s house, the neighborhood school two blocks away, and the neighborhood swimming pool. Even the library was too far away on major roads for me to bike on my own. At that time, the area was considered desirable for it’s distance away from the things of living life. Anything outside of neighbor-school-pool, required a car (public transportation was an absolute abomination to even be thought about). Just as I hit middle school, when my independence was screaming to be let out, we moved to Germany. It was glorious for my adventuring spirit!

Our house in Germany was about one mile from a large river’s local ferry port. For a tiny bit of pocket change, I could ride my bike down to the river, ferry across, bike/walk up the hill on the other side, get an ice cream cone, and make the return trip in about an hour. This adventure usually had my little brother in tow – but he was a lot of fun so I did not mind at all. We could only afford the ferry and ice cream (or warm pastry in the winter!) if we hadn’t already spent all of our money at the candy shop in our town. As soon as my mother gave us money each week, my brother and I would plan out what sweets to spend it on. Our older sister, not so much as she was very responsible and a grown-up teenager type person who could not be bothered with the sillinesses of the childrens.

The candy shop in our town had walls of candy you could select and put into a paper bag. We always chose the chocolates with liqueur or toys inside. The only restrictions set by the shop were by our wallet limits. Occasionally the candy shop person would throw in an extra “children’s chocolate” for us because it was “healthy.”

During the Christmas Season, we ran rampant through the local markets, pockets burning with our money itching to be spent on some glorious treat. Inevitably an oversized warm ginger fragrant almond dressed baked good, a few crusty shelled hot chestnuts, and sugared nuts, would make it into our possession (and happy tummies). Small doses of spiced wine would make it in there as well. A zillion wooden toy things, straw ornaments with red ribbons, fairy lights, and street musicians were dazzling everywhere. I caught the Christmas ambience bug there and have yet to let it go.

As I was trimming the tree, MotherHerisme and I had the following exchange:

MotherHerisme: You really enjoy putting on the ornaments and all of the Christmas stuff, don't you?
Me: I suppose I do. I really enjoy packing it all up and putting it all away at the end most of all.
MotherHerisme: That is very sad and Christmas is supposed to be happy.
Me: Okay.
MotherHerisme: So, you're saying that if SonHerisme and I weren't here, you just wouldn't take out any of this stuff and decorate?
Me: No, I would not.
MotherHerisme: If it was just me here, would you decorate?
Me: I am not sure.
MotherHerisme: So you're saying that you do all of this just for SonHerisme?
Me: Of course.
MotherHerisme: Well, I guess you better really enjoy the next four years then.
Me: Is something happening to SonHerisme in four years?
MotherHerisme: I'm just saying you better enjoy it now because it's over in four years.
Me: Do you think that SonHerisme will be dead in four years? What are you talking about?
MotherHerisme: You have four years left for Christmas, that's all I'm saying.
Me: Okay.

Pretty, pretty Christmas on the outside. Inside is a different story.

SonHerisme loves all of the things and the doing of the things. I am trying, and have always been trying, to give him unconditional love, connection, warmth, comfort and delicious memories to carry on for himself or switch up if he has his own partner and children.

On today’s docket: SonHerisme is home with a fever and stuffy nose (not COVID), so cornstarch ornaments and gluten free gingerbread are listed (along with laundry, cooking regular nourishment, and cleaning bc of the stuffy nose tummy troubles).

Life, it is a happenin’

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps Our local Board of Education voted to remove COVID vaccine proof or testing requirements for student participation in athletics. Locally, our hospitals are full and our infection spread is above 9%. While I understand some logic behind removing the discrepancy of who should be tested, I disagree with removing the procedures entirely.

EVERYONE should be submitting proof of vaccination to participate in collective or group activities. EVERYONE should be tested regularly to participate in collective or group activities. EVERYONE (except the tiniest humans) should be masking in collective, group or indoor settings. It is the only way to determine where and how the virus is mutating, spreading, and impacting our communities. We have plentiful resources on this Earth. We are continuing to choose the path of unpredictable long-term illness repercussions/mutations and global impact – again.

The quickest way to identify community issues is to look in the schools. Testing everyone every week. It is not a perfect solution, but it is a better step in identifying trends and hotspots, not to mention avoiding singling out and potentially shaming kids who have zero say in the decision to vaccinate. Mondays: Staff, K and younger. Tuesdays: Grades 1,2,3. Wednesdays: Grades 4,5,6. Thursdays: Grades 7,8,9. Fridays: Grades 10,11, 12. Task Universities with a similar schedule for their populations. We know that asymptomatic spread is an issue. We know that vaccinated spread is an issue. We know that the health repercussions for the unvaccinated are significantly worse than vaccinated. We also know that we have a certain percentage of people who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons. Aren’t we worth it? Aren’t our kids worth it? Aren’t our communities worth it? What in the sam hill mother of roots are we doing to our kids?

It just makes sense. To me. To this truly sideliner non-medical, non-public health professional. Test everyone on the regular. Secure healthcare(which includes food/water/clothing). Secure housing. Secure equitable education. I have spoken. This is the way. Also, yes, I have written to the BOE.

Do you know why I chose a Cicero quote for the post image? Known as calm, intelligent, wise, and a great orator, Cicero also held multiple government positions steadfastly holding on to the idea that level heads would prevail, as the republic fell around him. *sigh* MOTHER OF ROOTS or perhaps the swear should be, “Dark Cypresses!”

Goodbye to The Poetry of Calcium (by James Wright)
      Dark cypresses -
      The world is uneasily happy:
      It will all be forgotten. - Theodor Storm

Mother of roots, you have not seeded
The tall ashes of lonliness
For me. Therefore,
Now I go.
If I knew the name,
Your name, all trellises of vineyard and old fire
Would quicken to shake terribly my
Earth, mother of spiraling searches, terrible
Fable of calcium, girl. I crept this afternoon
In weeds once more,
Casual, daydreaming you might not strike
Me down. Mother of window sills and journeys,
Hallower of scratching hands,
The sight of my blind man makes me want to weep.
Tiller of waves or whatever, woman or man,
Mother of roots or father of diamonds,
Look: I am nothing.
I do not even have ashes to rub into my eyes.

WAS aka Winter Ambedo Silence

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Weather event Wednesday is expected this week. While we have seen sweet little snowflakes (not a dig on sensitive struggling people) already this season, we have not seen stickage. Being an adult with the things needing to be done, and living on the side of a rocky Appalachian range foothill, I have mixed feelings about these gloriously magical, twinkling-sparkle, frozen knife sharp, red-cheeked and chilly weather events. I love it because of ambedo, muted frosty boot crunches that feel like warm silence, hot cocoa, sleds, and whispers of wildlife poking about. I dread it because of the hill and our inevitable ice-on-the-roads danger thing (bc Danger is NOT my middle name, nor do I work at USPIS – also, what’s up, Danger?). Shovels are at the ready, and pet safe ice melt is being picked up today.

Sweet SonHerisme is on day 5 of some virus – test at the pediatrician confirmed he does not have COVID. WHEW. Mixed messaging and fatigue has kids removing masks at school until they are caught by a teacher. Our school positive infections jumped from about 100-150 new positive cases per week to over 250 new positive cases this past week. Locally our hospitals are struggling with ability to handle basic emergency care and finding beds. Not just for COVID, of course, but regular everyday humans gotta human emergencies.

SonHerisme’s teacher, our golden ticket teacher we waited patiently to have the privilege of working with, has had enough and is leaving the school as of winter break.

I feel and hear the soulbreak from health care professionals to grocery employees to parents to young friends. Then I look around and see so many unmasked people, so many refusing to vaccinate, so much indignation at courtesy/respect/acknowledgement of humanity. It seems to be manifesting in this surreal realm of extreme focus on personal indulgences and revelry at all costs. I’m all for any excuse to indulge and celebrate. However, with the nature of this global pandemic, I’m not feeling the throw caution to the wind vibe. More, drop treats off for neighbor and chat on Facetime or bundled up outside with a distanced shared bottle of something vibe.

With feeling all of the feelings and following all of the valid information followings, I made an entertainment faux pas which has had me off kilter for days. I blame the seductive lure of wintery environs, an aga stove, suspenders, and a fluttery snowflake blouse. Oh, and actors who are too adorable not to look at. Stupid dumb people hiring the stupid dumb entertainers doing what they do best and sucking us in to tuning in to the things and feeling the feelings. I thought I could handle a little levity and beauty with apocalyptic overtones. I cannot. There is no amount of handsome husbanding, potato roasting, sweet awkward tweening, goofy stress adulting in a gorgeous idyllic country home at Christmastime, to ease the trauma of a human hubris induced culling of humanity(sound familiar?!? EERILY too familiar!).

DO NOT get trapped into that Silent Night without preparing for deep pain feelings. I made it to the point where the suspendered dad lost his control and then could not continue. It is too … real. Even with the distanced unreal beauty of the actors and environment, the situation is too real. I am not generally made for watching traumatic things, unless they are Marvel/Star Wars kind of fantasy trauma (?). I allowed myself a moment of judgement lapse for my own visceral boundaries because of a stupid snowflake blouse and imaginings of a different kind of holiday with complete disregard for the actual story they were trying to tell. I was dazzled by a picture and my soul gut got seriously punched. My bff bravely watched it through to process with me. She describes the movie as having blergh-iness. It is a trust trigger for sure – which is an acknowledged difficult place for me. BFFHerisme did tell me about the pivotal ending, which is decidedly not for this mommy during an actual global pandemic. Hard pass. Deleted it from my “resume watching” list. Good gravy and grief. Snowflakes, suspenders, and beautiful people. Amen.

I have spent a few days cleansing my brainiac with some ambedo plus Christmas movies, Christmas shows, Christmas decorating, Christmas gift preparing, extra tea, holiday mugs, and taking care of SonHerisme. Oh, and also MotherHerisme… which isn’t cleansing, but is time consuming, and that too, can be helpful.

Please take good care of yourself. As backup, despite close to zero ways I resemble Keira Knightly or her character, I am sourcing a snowflake blouse and extra potatoes because of preparedness. That’s my take-away and I’m sticking to it.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. also going through the Shadow and Bone series with SonHerisme (I’m on Six of Crows). My kind of readable trauma! SonHerisme is caught up in Fahrenheit 451 at the moment as well. My side-hustle reads are: What I Learned from the Trees, Hermann Hesse, and a soul sweetener- The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. How about you?

pps also mom failed my baby as he took about an hour to get into the shower and then came out demanding if I had any food prepared for him while I was in the middle of a work email… so I snapped at him. I snapped at my sweet ill SonHerisme :,( Onwards to apologies, snuggles, and eggy comfort sandwiches. MotherHerisme has been a hawt mess as well. Life has been served.

*whispers* gently, gently with yourself, sweetmomma

“We often wait for kindness… but being kind to yourself can start now.” said the mole. From The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy.

Roasting

(Photo by Ioana Motoc on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

Chestnuts were roasted on an open fire at an outdoor gathering we attended for charity just before Thanksgiving. Sans Bing, a piano, belted fluffy robe, fire-hazard Christmas tree, or racist trope Mamie – sincere apologies to Louise Beavers and the young actors who portrayed her children. “I knows Miss Linda likes I knows my own children.” Her character roasts up old Jonesie the turkey for Mr. Jim who cannot eat Mr. Jones because, “a slicker stole his gal.” Man, we are oftentimes a shitty race. Back to chestnuts, which is a hilarious compound word. Who came up with that? Etymology says it’s derived from the old English via Latin via Greek words for the tree – some form of chesten, plus “nut” for the fruit. It is thought that the Greeks cultivated and popularized the tree and fruit after bringing seeds from Asia a few millennia or so ago.

Which reminds me of the time I invented a similar compound word. It was a lifetime ago when I first noticed I was over-gifted in the upper area of my body plus sweat patterns therein and began referring to that area as my chesticles. I thought I was SO funny until BrotherHerisme reminded me that testicles aren’t just sweaty orbs, but also hairy and was that how I wanted to refer to my chest. Hard pass – at least until I age enough out of estrogen to where this becomes an apt description. But by then, I think, the moniker won’t be as funny. I’ll just be a saggy old lady with actual chesticles, if I roast and sweat… which I will… once I pop into my sauna post midwinter inground heated salt water swimming pool dip. I asked a contractor about putting in a pool once. He offered to grab a shovel out of his truck and dig a big hole for me that I could throw money into from time-to-time and save us both a lot of trouble. C’mon man, if I’m biologically doomed to have actual chesticles, at least indulge me with this dream. *Sigh*

Try again – back to chestnuts. I’d forgotten how fun and tasty roasted chestnuts are! Yummmm We ate them out of an insulated little pot a young woman with an awesome wrap-around thick braid, was carrying around. SonHerisme ran off to the adjoining field for an impromptu pick-up football game with buddies (known and unknown). The money raised from the event, sponsored by a group of female family law attorneys, was for a local organization helping domestic violence victims. We have domestic violence victims in every community – please find your local dv support organization and help them too. Being a dv victim is unsettling to say the least. I am so very extremely lucky in my circumstances, where many/most are not. It is odd that we do not have a better collective plan for preventing and supporting domestic violence victims since it’s such a ubiquitous human issue. It’s always somehow “shocking!” Everyone knows someone who was molested, raped, financially/emotionally/physically abused. Its what the humans do. I wish we did not, but we do.

And yet, we can also find beauty, comfort, warmth and satisfaction in a little brown, hard crusted, hairy lined, potato consistency, smokey flavored, hot, fragrant chestnut in a pot shared with friends.

Love Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. We watched Holiday Inn again this weekend. SonHerisme wants to know why I want to watch it every year when it is so racist. For the music, the shoes, and the reminders of how racism was a culturally acceptable popular way of life, despite lives sacrificed for equity, not that long ago.

Un Petit Exposé

(Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

Nous avons peut-être été exposés au covid.

Posiblemente hemos estado expuestos a covid.

Wir waren möglicherweise covid ausgesetzt.

meh – it doesn’t matter how you say it. Last week we spent a day in tentative quarantine to wait for test results when we had been exposed to an active positive COVID friend through a mutual buddy. What a weird day to wait and see if we had to cancel our hosting Thanksgiving for 10 – some of which were traveling over 8 hours to visit. Spoiler – everyone who interacted with the positive COVID person has fully tested negative, so we were in the clear and proceeded with the things of the Thanksgiving with our group of 10. LUCKY for sure.

This was a wake-up call to reign in the slack. We’d been at a few primarily unmasked outdoor social events recently and hugging friends. Unless they are medically unable to receive a vaccination, or an under-5, most of our social circle are vaccinated with at least one jab/shot/inoculation. The day our visiting Thanksgiving people left, I received my booster. My body tends to react to any vaccine, and the booster remained on point with this trend. About 48 hours of fever, headache, swollen/red/tender arm and neck, red cheeks, nausea, debilitating joint pain, and extreme exhaustion. You know what I didn’t have? COVID requiring hospitalization or death leaving my 13-year-old parentless. You’re welcome, community/world – I am not deliberately leaving a vulnerable child subject to further trauma and he still has a chance to be a productive empathetic contributing member of our human society. So there’s that. At least for today, we are okay.

Over this past week, I thought a lot about how many people are struggling this time of year. The people who cannot be with loved ones for whatever reason. The people who came before us who we pretend to venerate on Thanksgiving but who we stole lands from and committed genocide on. The people who did not receive good news about being infected with COVID or some other scary diagnosis. I don’t bring this up it’s because I feel the need to tamp down any positive experience with tragedy. I do think it is more difficult to appreciate the wonder of what is when we fail to recognize the reality of how we got here or what is happening around us.

The Piscataway, Iroquois, Susquehannock, and other woodland native tribes once moved through the area where I live. The Iroquois nation developed and negotiated agreements between tribes through a vast council where all tribes could be represented (but not necessarily have a say in decisions), including European settler representatives. Of course, when decisions were made that did not suite us (my settler ancestors), we used force and viral warfare. That’s right, we deliberately sent infected people, blankets and other trade items into native tribes so that the tribe members would become ill and die.

There isn’t any chance that we did not understand this was morally reprehensible and wrong. Deliberately sending infections into places where we knew people did not have any immunity build-up or access to any cures. *sigh* Now we pretend our motives for infection spread are about our personal freedom and liberties to conduct our bodies as we see fit even when we know there are those in our communities who cannot receive immune support. Despite having access to better, faster, and more information about diseases and human behaviors, along with technology support, it turns out we aren’t that evolved from our European colonizers in the 17th/18th centuries. Freedom, personal agency, liberty does not extend to putting someone else’s life on the line when you exercise your rights. Hello seatbelts, speed limits, drunk-driving rules, no-smoking zones, vaccine requirements, food labels and regulations, water contaminate disclosures, hazardous waste disposal rules, OSHA…

In this country, ages 5+ have easy ready access to a COVID vaccine and ages 18+ have easy ready access to boosters 6 months out from vaccines. We all have easy access to masks. Our government has treated non-white people like crap. We must do better to earn respect, gain trust through accountability, and recruit everyone who is able to receive the vaccine. We also need to wear masks inside and outside in crowds at all times for the next year at least. Our vulnerable populations depend on those of us who can to do what we can. Exercise our freedom, personal agency, and liberty by doing our part to take care of our community, if for no other reason than that when we are in need (and all of us are at some point) our community can be there for us too.

That’s my two cents on the COVID shiz.

The chestnut oak I had cut down almost two months ago probably saw a Piscataway family heading down to one of the Chesapeake tributaries to gather water or follow deer and turkey for a tasty feast, as they prepared for wintering. I thought about them as I sat with my sweet SonHerisme and family as I ate my little plate of green beans, mashed potatoes, and vege dressing and gave thanks for all of the things.

I am very thankful for you. Thank you for sharing this space with me and for “liking” and commenting as you can when you can. I hope that you are more often surrounded by health and comfort than not. And fairy lights.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. In other news, I am once again re-reading A New Earth. It turns out, I can’t not do the things of the efforts and trying for something, anything, no matter the pain it brings from the inevitable disappointments. So there it is.

Whistle-Stop Meditations

“All these people will live as long as you remember ’em” Ninny Threadgoode of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Although this Whistle Stop Cafe is from 1920’s rural Alabama, I think the threads of families and communities is probably universal to rural American culture at the young times of our David and Emily.

This post is meant to be a one-stop capture of the thread links in order as well as all of the audio files. My hope is that if David and Emily’s baby girl (hello there if this is you reading!) is interested in my posts, sending her one link will be easier to follow than eight. Also, I am whistling today and eating a tomato-based veg dinner. Building up before the Thursday mashed potato throw-down of the year! THIS this this is how my brainiac works.

In order:

The EBB
The Flo
Carolina Portuguese
MEDITATIONS part 1
MEDITATIONS part 2
MEDITATIONS part 3
MEDITATIONS part 4
MEDITATIONS part 5
Meditations Epilogue

Anywho, again, THANK YOU ALL and I am sending you the very best wishes for a safe, healthy, and joyful start of the winter(or southern hemisphere-ites, summer) holiday seasons!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

From the Apple Music Thanksgiving Dinner Playlist: Jack Johnson’s Better Together

It's not always easy
And sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing
It's always better when we're together

Meditations Epilogue

(Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

Oh, we’re going to talk about ME, are we? Goody” (goodie, goodey?). A quote from Ms. Tracy Samantha Lord in The Philadelphia Story. Ms. Lord is portrayed by Katharine Hepburn and Grace Kelly in film versions based on the 1939 Broadway play written by Phillip Barry. The play starred, and was financed by, Katharine Hepburn. Phillip Barry specifically wrote the character Tracy Samantha Lord, based on his friend, Philadelphia socialite Helen Hope Montgomery Scott, to be played by Katharine Hepburn. I also happen to love this movie (Hepburn’s film directed by George Cukor is the best). And I adore CK Dexter Haven, along with Mr. Connor, Ms. Imbrie and of course sassy little Dinah Lord!

My point being that I wanted to title this “ME” for “Meditations Epilogue” and instead titled it as is and added a favorite (or favourite) line from The Philadelphia Story which is from the same love era as our David LS and Emily BA.

Confession – I tried to write a sonnet and failed.

For catch up reading: The EBB, The Flo, Carolina Portuguese, MEDITATION 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This is what I have:

On June 30, 1942, in expectation of another wan moon that night, Emily B Anderson and David Lee Stewart were married in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. David, a dashing 40-year-old southern gentleman, and Emily, a southern beauty at 27. David probably wore his very best seersucker suit, white short-sleeved shirt, summer fedora, and tie.  Emily probably wore a pale colored smartly satin-belted strapless dress, sassy little lace fascinator, with a modesty shrug as required by those who cared about that sort of thing. They were married in the church by a Baptist minister. Emily's paternal grandparents were witnesses, along with Ms. Pearl Fisher. The wan moon most likely saw the new Mr. and Mrs. Stewart dancing away to Moonlight Cocktail by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra. Couple o' jiggers of moonlight and add a star ... 

In 1942, the United States was involved in World War II and had recently banned the sales of new cars in order to conserve steel for the war efforts. Coffee and gasoline were also rationed.

About 55% of U.S. households had indoor plumbing (defined as a flushing toilet, a sink with faucet, and a bathtub or shower).

The U.S. President was Franklin D. Roosevelt.
He ordered the seizure of all Japanese-American's properties and opened Japanese-American internment camps.
He ordered the military to define and guard "exclusionary zones" on the West Coast, where any Asian looking person was not allowed, and on the East Coast, where German and Italian Americans were not allowed.
The Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, and used a submarine to bomb Ft. Stevens, Oregon.

Bambi and Casablanca were released that year, and Bob Hope was very popular. Bing Crosby starred in a little film titled Holiday Inn, and released a recording of the hit song of the year from that film, White Christmas.

David Lee Stewart registered for the military by completing a United States World War II Draft Card.

Not long after their wedding, David and Emily Stewart moved to Norfolk, Virginia. There is a naval yard in Norfolk, so perhaps David was assigned somewhere near or around there. His brother, Paul, was a mechanic, making it likely that David was called to the war effort to fulfill his draft obligation as a mechanic.

The Stewarts lived in the Washington, DC/Norfolk, VA area for six to seven years. During this time, Emily worked for a large department store. On July 2, 1945, two months before President Truman declared the end of World War II, Emily gave birth to a squeezy squishy bundle of love baby girl, Nellie. It seems as though they must have had a very loving, high regard for and tight relationship with David’s former childhood neighbors, the Hunters. Both the grandmother and granddaughter were Nellie Hunter. Nellie Hunter, the granddaughter, was about 6 years younger than David, and lived nearby with her grandparents throughout David’s childhood. I love the idea of loving memories being bequeathed to the future with namesakes. This is so very poetically sweet.

A few years after the war ended, the Stewart family returned to Edgecombe County where Emily worked in a local sewing plant. With cotton as a staple crop in the area, I imagine our Emily was busy with a variety of cottony softness items. David’s story is proving to be more elusive.

In 1986 there is a deed recording of transfer of property from the estate of Emily’s mother, Fannie Bond Anderson, to Emily and David.

Sometime in 1990, 88 year-old David became ill, relying on Emily for his care-giving.

On October 20, 1995 there is a deed recording of David and Emily transferring the Anderson property back to Emily’s remaining siblings.

Two days shy of seven months later, 
on May 18, 1996, 
David Lee Stewart, 
94-years-old, 
beloved husband to Emily Bond Anderson for 54 years, 
while waiting for a waxing crescent moon in Gemini (which manifests itself by the need for change), 
crossed the Tethys sea back to the land of dreams 
as his soul left his body and he died.

After nine more Valentine's Days 
(or 8 years, 10 months, and 20 days later), 
on April 7, 2005, 
back to the Aries wan moon (which manifests itself by uncertainty and quick problem solving), 
Emily Bond Anderson Stewart 
also crossed the Tethys sea back to the land of dreams 
as her soul left her body 
and at 90 years-old, 
she joined her David in death. 

As described in her obituary, "Emily truly exemplified the meaning of steadfast, unfaltering love and care," and I believe it. The second child in a family of ten children, a life partner, a mother, retail professional, seamstress, caregiver to her mother, caregiver to her husband - all steadfast and full of love.  

David and Emily’s little Nellie Nell grew up, married, had children and grandchildren. I am carefully packing up the little book as I found it with the sonnets inside, and sending it to Nell with a note and regards. I am grateful that it came to visit me. I am grateful for the moments of magics and imaginations. I am grateful to hold space for the witnessing of big feelings, deep love, creativity, and moving human souls.

Thank you for witnessing with me.

Go, lamp of the night - go to the West,
And take your joy, and your pain:
But the doubt and the hope that stir in my breast
Will linger, to struggle again.

(MEDITATIONS Series to E. p.5, David Lee Stewart, 1936 1:00 am In the Country)

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

Goodbye David and Emily and Elizabeth and Robert

MEDITATIONS part 5

(Photo by cottonbro on P)
(or listen here)

Here you are, Peter!*

If you are looking for how we all ended up here with notable reader Peter, you may find parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 helpful – or not. You do you, boo.

Series to E.          5

I am myself a little one
Bewildered in this mystic land,
Feeling so helpless and alone
Because I do not understand.

Hold me, dear powers of Love and Good,
In the quiet arms of oblivion’s rest,
As a gentle loving mother would
Hold the infant on her breast!

***

Look! How the curtains of the night
By the pink fingers of the day are drawn!
The pensive moon her paling light
Merges with the fringe of dawn.

Sleep on, little One, till the grey is gone!
Dream, dream away the memory
That you have ever, ever known
A heart so weak as mine can be!

Go, lamp of the night – go to the West,
And take your joy, and your pain:
But the doubt and the hope that stir in my breast
Will linger, to struggle again.

          END 

Our deeply sensitive David is feeling insecure, in love, worried, protective, and all of the things an expressive handsome man of 34 feels for an engaging 22-year-old beauty. I think he probably drank leftover after dinner champagne and coffee while fashionably smoking cigarettes throughout the night of sonnet writing. No Oscar Wilde-ism here though – rumored to have only consumed champagne, coffee and cigarettes in the last days of his life. Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends! No Fall Out Boy in 1936, of course. Our Em and Davey had opportunity for sweet luscious slow dances to Billie Holiday’s Summertime or Fred Astaire’s The Way You Look Tonight (Ginger Rogers is also the goat) or Pennies from Heaven (Bing is meltingly heavenly) or or or…

David clearly pines for, fervently loves, and adores Emily. But, what about our dear Emily B? As mentioned previously, the book appears to have hardly been opened, and the 5 page sonnet possibly never opened. I did not procure the book in North Carolina or North Carolina adjacent. What happened to our gallant hero and sonnet inspiring heroine?

This is the end of the DL to EB sonnet, but not the end of the tale just yet…

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

*Peter Reference: possibly my (paraphrased) favorite line from Hook which is a must for all of you Peter Pan fans. Earworm day for me as I will now sing to the Rubberband Man song, “you’re bound to lose control when the Peter Pan fans start to jam!” tra la la Brains are a blessing and an occasional flat-tuned curse *sings anyway* Peter is the name I bestow upon any reader from England when I say, “hello,” to my stats monitoring page. “Hello, Peter!”

Peter Pan was originally produced on stage in London on December 27, 1904. David was 2 years and 10 months old. A very merry toddler Christmas! Except that David was in North Carolina at the time, Pan-less (and pants-less if potty-training), I assume.

When David was 9 years old, Peter Pan and Wendy was published in illustrated book form for children. Maybe he received a copy of the earlier version from 1906 (meant for adults), Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, as a gift and it helped spark his creative imagination. Maybe he had his own bookshelf in the family lounge area with Peter Pan, The Red Fairy Book, The Wizard of Oz series, Alice in Wonderland, Old Mother West Wind, Just So Stories, The Dutch Twins, The Secret Garden, The Ransom of Red Chief, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, The Call of the Wild, The Wind in the Willows, and Five Children and It! Confession: I am a librarian by study and trade. To be more specific, a children’s librarian with a life-long obsession for popular and classic children’s books. 398’s and 811’s rule! And now you know.