It’s been a while

So much has happened.

I have a new job. It’s a new role on a new team in a new organization at the same company – but in a company as big as Google, that kind of change can be significant, and in this case it is. And I’d been on Maps for nearly eight years.

The house is finally coming along. I am optimistic that one of these days, there may not be painters’ tape on the living room walls and the coat rack that should live in the entryway will no longer loom over the breakfast table in the kitchen and the stone that’s in the garage waiting to be power-washed and then installed around the fireplace may be, you know, power-washed and installed around the fireplace.

I’m still working out. Three times a week, consistently, since late December – thank you Agile PT for running online classes I actually show up to. I think this is the strongest I’ve been in maybe 10 years.

The weather’s changed! I’m two or three sunburns in (and soon I will start wearing sunblock more consistently). Yesterday the temperature felt like early summer: noticeably over eighty degrees (26+ C for anyone reading this not from the US) and after work, after weeding one of the vegetable beds & resetting a handful of drip irrigation lines, I lounged on the patio with a glass of wine until dark. Which wasn’t until 8 pm or so. Delight! (Thank you Ross Gay for that phrasing.)

In the garden, the bindweed is going crazy and I need to get the summer seeds in: zucchini, tomatoes (always an experiment, since I direct-seed them; I have two transplants in already just in case), sweet corn, beans… maybe today, after work again.

I’ve had my first vaccine shot, and the second one is scheduled and coming up soon. I’ve marked ‘maybe’ time off from work on my calendar, so I won’t have to reschedule meetings and can just rest if I have side effects. I’m grateful to work on a team where taking time off if you feel rotten from the vaccine is expected & normal & not controversial or even weird.

I’ve been dreaming again, too. I don’t mean dreaming in a big metaphorical ‘what do I want to do with my life’ kind of sense. I mean literal dreams, vivid ones, where I wake up still able to smell the Japanese barbecue or feel the old brick under my fingers or with my gaze tilted back to see the top of a skyscraper in a far-away city. I think I’m (finally) missing travel, but more than that, I think the past eighteen-plus months of adrenaline spikes and floods, caused more by a job that was a bad fit than by the pandemic, are finally receding from my body, leaving in their wake the underlying, no-longer-so-drowned-over landscape of who I’ve always been.

It’s getting better.

Unwelcome severance

That. That is the severed stem – one of several! – of a truly lovely magnolia blossom snap pea that was just beginning to transition from the occasional blossom to a seemingly prolific harvest. And they were so pretty to look at, too. I don’t know what critter has been doing this, but my suspicions are trained on the fat and healthy-looking rabbit that went hopping across the patio just yesterday.

Grumble.

Ah well. I have planted more. I’ll see how they grow, and what happens. Wish me – and the pea plants! – luck.

Up close: plants around the neighborhood

A week or two ago, it occurred to me that one way to improve my plant photography would be to, gasp, practice. I’m fortunate to live in an area where neighborhood walks yield a wealth of lovely things to look at, so recently I spent an afternoon wandering about and photographing plants I don’t currently have in my garden, but admire when I see them out and about.

After no doubt puzzling several passersby as I took one photo, then another, then squinted down at my phone screen attempting to check focus and select a reasonable zoom or crop, here are a few of the results. Plants to grow myself another year, perhaps!

Euphorbia (I think)
Pepper tree, with berries (are these the edible kind of pepper? I don’t know)
No idea, but isn’t it lovely? Some kind of succulent.
Plum or cherry blossom.
Another no-idea. The blossoms are just incredibly tiny and delicate.

I’m reasonably happy with these. Once I accepted that post-photo-taking editing was not a thing I’d do, and so whatever I could achieve in the moment was what I would end up with, I started looking at things more closely. I also discarded a lot of photos. It was interesting – I don’t think photography is ever going to become an in-depth hobby for me, but the attention spent on this felt entirely worthwhile.