Monday, July 27, 2015

{p,h,f,r} July 26, 2015 - Grammy Passes, My Birthday, Miniature Mountains, and Mushrooms


On Monday, Donnie’s grandmother, Irene Carr nee Beauchemin, passed away.  Grammy Carr was a lovely woman.   Tomorrow we're traveling to be with our folks in Shelton and to attend the memorial service on Wednesday.

{Happy and Funny}

I had my birthday this past week.   Donnie got up early and bought bagel sandwiches from Brueggers, and surprised me with the gift of a hula hoop. 

 I REALLY wanted a hula hoop.  Two days prior, we had seen a hooping presentation at our library given by a bonafide hoop artist. After a tutorial, I was able waist hoop for the first time.  The performance was lively and inspiring, and seemed somewhere between belly dancing and juggling.   It seemed more accessible to me than juggling without the complicated baggage of bellydancing.  I suddenly had a vision of our entire family in the back yard working on circus skills.   It was a pleasure to see that shiny purple ring when I opened the bedroom door.

Maria’s birthday gift to me was a natural material art installation she made on our picnic table the evening before.   She called it a “miniature mountain.” Donnie called it a “ziggurat." It put me in mind of a gnome’s house, of the empty tomb after the resurrection, and a hermit's cave.  I can’t think of any other gift I’d rather have from Maria.

I was actually present during the making of the miniature mountain, but Maria forbade me from looking at it.  Maria was excited about her creation, and said she would give me a clue to what it was. “It’s covered in dirt!” she said.  "It must be a Pippa,” I replied.      
She's actually relatively clean in this picture.

One of the sources of dirt in our lives.

The hula hoop Donnie bought turned out to be the wrong size  (size is very important), so I cajoled the kids into the car for a jaunt to our local hardware store for some irrigation tubing.  (There are great Youtube videos on how to make hula hoops from well tubing)  The kind men at the hardware store put the hoops together for us.  They even had a roll of penguin duct tape for Maria’s hoop.

I spent hours working on my hula hooping. 

We had a pizza dinner with our wonderful friends, the Whites.  They will be leaving the area soon, bound for a sunnier part of the world.  I'm happy to soak up every moment with them while they’re still here  

Donnie and I rounded out the day watching “Mozart in the Jungle.”  The show has some raunchiness and dissipation, but I mostly love it. The he characters are struggling to produce great art despite their egos and the other absurdities that surround the endeavor.  There is the added bonus that Gael Garcia Bernel reminds me so much of my brother!  

It was a marvelous birthday, marked by a straightforward joy—a respite from my own anxious nature.  At any spare moment, the simple exclamation “It’s my birthday!” would pop into my head.  Everything seemed a gift, and it was!

{Pretty and Real}

When my brother called me for my birthday, he asked half-jokingly whether we have been able to avoid lyme disease this year.  I answered that though we are still properly terrified of ticks, we have a new reason for hysteria: the horror of the mushrooms!  

Our yard seems to be hospitable to all manner of fungi.  The diversity of mushrooms  in our yard exceeds the  scope of the fungi section of our New England Field guide—I need to order a field guide specifically for mushrooms.  Still, our field guide has enough breadth to tell me that we have several species that are "deadly poisonous."  I found a fly amanita growing next to the drive way,  and several examples of what are called “destroying angels” in the flower bed and yard. We also have a toddler who still gleefully explores with her mouth. 

Pippa's freedom to roam the backyard has been seriously curtailed since the profusion of fungus began.  The older girls are what I’d call “wigged out” by the mushrooms, and hate even stepping on them.  Louisa assures us several times a day “I do NOT want to eat that mushroom.  I DO NOT LIKE mushrooms.”     

 I’ve done several rounds gathering up all the mushrooms I can, bagging them and throwing them away.  I feel a vague regret when I throw them away.  They are intriguing.  Many are beautiful.  There are charming rose colored ones, velvety rust colored one, great, muffin-like King Boletus mushrooms that leave slimy black patches on the grass; there are strange, transparent sprout-like ghost mushrooms, and of course there are the elegant and ethereal destroying angels.  I could spend a pleasant morning drawing them—but they must be pulled up before the toddler wakes from her nap!  So I set about my work with rubber gloves and a plastic bag. 

Here, at least, are some pictures.  All the identifications are my inexpert ones.  Please correct me if you know better!

King Boletus

Part of a fairy circle.

Destroying Angel

Destroying Angel

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