Days 334-341: Back to Normal

We spent the past seven days settling back into our normal routines. Dean working long hours, me puttering around the house. There were a few delights though:

  • Getting texts from Clare on her westward train trip — the photo at the top is from her trip from somewhere in the Midwest.
  • Hello Fresh meals. The buffalo chicken was really good.
  • Atypical — we really like that Netflix show and [gasp!] sometimes watch more than one episode a night!
  • Weeding the wildflower garden. I finally figured out what was a weed and what was a wildflower and pulled up the weeds. Unfortunately I accidently pulled up some phlox so I put it in a small bud vase (actually old medicine bottle) and took a photo of that. I also cut some black-eyed Susan. (photos below)
  • Organizing — I seem to be in an organizing groove and have gone through a few boxes that were cluttering up my study. I think this will last, as long as my languishing stays away.
  • Sleep — I’ve gotten some really good sleep lately and only twice neglected to sleep through the night.
  • This blog — after this post I will be caught up.
  • Making arrangements to visit people on our trip to the Midwest — I’m lunching with two favorite cousins, we’re meeting up with family friends (and showing Alex the alpacas) and visiting with our nephew, Danny and his family.
  • Talking to Clare on her actual birthday.

Days 330-333: More Days with Clare

We had a few days left with Clare after our return from Lake Gaston. They were generally delightful — being with Clare is almost always delightful.

For dinner one night Dean and Clare made a vegetarian version of pasta carbonara which was tasty.

Clare found delight in some scratch-off art cards I’d bought for the engagement party. One night she sketched ghosts of friends and family on them. They are delightful.

This afternoon we dropped Clare and Pete off at the train station for their journey west.

Day 328: Several Delights

Since the pontoon boat went back yesterday we had some time on our hands. Clare’d expressed a desire to visit The Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum in the nearby town of Littleton, NC, so we went. It was interesting and the owner was very nice. We only saw two rooms, I think there has been more rooms open in the past, but it was something to do. I didn’t realize that Bigfoot was not limited to the PNW.

After the museum we went to a state park where Bigfoot had been sighted. We didn’t see Bigfoot.

On the way back to the cabin we stopped at an abandoned plantation that was more creepy than the museum.

Finally we got ready for Clare’s early birthday celebration, had cocktails, ate dinner and celebrated Clare.

Days 325-327: Fun at the Lake

Andrew, Alex and Bennett (Clare’s friend from high school) arrived Monday night. I stayed up just long enough to welcome them and show them their rooms.

Because each day was similar, I’m grouping the delights together.

The pontoon boat was possibly the highlight of the trip. I think Dean took the crew out twice a day most days (Rupert, Chum, and I went out with them on Thursday). The kayaks were also a big hit; he Airbnb had two and Dean brought his two. We also used the fire pit. It was delightful watching everyone have so much fun.

Fire Pit Night

Things that Float

Rupert and Chum go boating

Day 322: Hanging with Clare

I spent the day with Clare, some of which was delightful. Being with her is always delightful, but being with anyone while driving in Bethesda on a Saturday, then going to the mall (to go to an Apple store) on a Saturday is definitely not delightful. I know I was not a delightful companion for some of the day.

Dean, Clare and I had a mostly delightful dinner at Pines of Rome.

Breakfast was delightful (photo above).

Day 321: Pete

Clare has been with Pete since just before Covid hit Washington State. They seem like a good match and Pete seems like a good person. He makes Clare happy, and that’s delightful for me.

I’d communicated with Pete through emails and text messages over the course of the past year or so, mostly regarding surprises for Clare, but we also talked about gardens and he even helped me with altering a logo for our film group.

I met him for the first time yesterday when we picked Clare and him up at Dulles. Among other things, he’s kind, smart, soft-spoken, articulate, and appreciative.

Today I drove Pete to Richmond where he was to meet up with his sister who lives there. He’ll spend the night then drive with his sister and her children to Lake Gaston. We’ll all meet up later at the lake.

Day 320: Seasons of Absence

We picked Clare and Pete up at Dulles this afternoon. All is well with the world.

I calculated that it had been 745, 920 minutes since we last saw Clare and Seasons of Love became an earworm.

Apologies to Jonathan D Larson for the way I mangled his lyrics below.


Seven hundred forty Five thousand nine hundred twenty minutes
Seven hundred forty Five thousand nine hundred twenty so distant
Seven hundred forty Five thousand nine hundred twenty minutes
How do you measure? Measure a year and a half?

In messages,
In phone calls,
In Insta-pics,
In cups of  black tea,
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in tears.

Seven hundred forty Five thousand nine hundred twenty minutes
How do you measure? A year and a half without her?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love...
Seasons of absence...
Seasons of love...

Seven hundred forty Five thousand nine hundred twenty minutes
Seven hundred forty Five thousand nine hundred twenty opportunities to reminisce
Seven hundred forty Five thousand nine hundred twenty minutes
How do you measure a life of a daughter you miss?

In truths that she learned
Or in times that I cried
In bridges she burned
Or how she took life in stride

Its time now to sing out though
The separation is about to suspend
Let's forget these eighteen months
The plane is soon to descend.

Remember the love...
(Oh you gotta remember the love)
Forget the distance...
(Oh yeah, its time for coexistence)
Remember the love...
(Sing out, give out, measure your life
In looooooove...!)
Seasons of absence...
Seasons of love...

Also Clare made a hollyhock (rose of Sharon) doll.