In loving memory of my friend Yang, who was laid to rest today. May her beautiful soul rest in peace. (First posted March 15, 2020)
I’ve been trying to remember when we first met…Was it nine or ten years ago when you first moved to Charlottesville from Germany and our boys became friends at school? This is the earliest photo I can find of our two boys together.
They look like they could be brothers…
I think our boys were glad to have each other through their last years at elementary school. Being a non-white student in a rural community with little diversity can be hard. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been for your son to go from a German school to an American one. Remember when you told me he never uttered a single word at school and I was shocked, because he never ceased talking at our house? I loved hearing his perfectly unique, lilting Chinese-German accent. Our boys are both sensitive dreamers, who have always marched to the beat of their own drums. Remember how we used to laugh and sigh about their shockingly messy backpacks? And to discover they both never knew what their homework assignments were, and that when they miraculously did manage to complete their homework assignments, they both scrupulously forgot to turn them in? Remember when my boy started to learn Chinese, and we talked about him going with your family to visit China one day? Remember how we discovered they both had a passion for music? We tried (as meddlesome parents are wont to do) to get them to play the piano together. We failed, of course.
I’ve been so glad for your friendship over the years. Like our boys, we have a lot of similarities…Maybe we look like we could be sisters? We both married academics from other countries, and followed them to Charlottesville. But you have always been braver and more resilient than I am. I don’t think I could have made the move from China to the U.S. to Germany and back to the U.S. again with three young children in tow. I have always appreciated and admired your open-hearted spirit. I have always loved hearing your generous laugh. Your friendship has been a treasure to me, especially during these last couple of years, which have been difficult for both us. Many of the things that used to bring me joy (like writing) have fallen by the wayside. I wanted to come visit you this week, but I worried about your health. You told me to stay at home, because you worried about mine. You said, “I have to keep you healthy. I like to read what you write to me.” And so this week I will write for you, my dear friend. More tomorrow…
It’s been a rough week…I hadn’t realized how much I’ve been depending on my daily dose of baby fox therapy until they disappeared for a couple days. I thought they had abandoned the nest, and I was devastated. Thank goodness they came out again today, because couldn’t we all use a little baby fox therapy? It’s just been a few days, but they already look more grown up…
Yet here was the thing in the midst of the bones, the wide-eyed, innocent fox inviting me to play, with the innate courtesy of its two forepaws placed appealingly together, along with a mock shake of the head. The universe was swinging in some fantastic fashion around to present its face, and the face was so small that the universe itself was laughing.
Late one night last winter, my daughter heard eerie, high-pitched screaming, and was convinced I was being murdered in our own yard.
What she was hearing was the lovestruck moonlight serenade of this vixen…
Her siren call did not go unanswered, and now we have pups nesting in the old groundhog burrows under our barn.
Septuplets! And as far as I can tell, she isn’t getting any help at all from the baby daddy.
She’s the hardest working mama on the block…
She is always hustling back and forth from the woods to the den.
The pups are still nursing and are always clamoring for her attention.
They are always so happy to see her…
Sometimes I watch her trying to get a break from the pups. She wanders away from the den and wearily gazes off into the distance. I imagine she is reflecting on her life choices, and wishing the kids’ deadbeat dad would show up every now and then to help out.
I’ve been eyeing Easter eggs dyed with silk ties on Pinterest for years. A couple years ago my friend and I went to a Goodwill store and actually bought the requisite ties, but they were stashed away in a drawer like so many other unfinished projects.
Yesterday I finally mustered the energy to dye the eggs…It turned out to be a lot more work than I anticipated, mostly because I wanted to try it with blown out eggs I could keep. Hello, my name is Adrienne, and I am a Hoarder.
In case you want to try it, I have a few suggestions. I’m not sure why, but for some reason the ties have to be 100% silk. You have to pick apart the ties and you’ll probably only be able to get about two pieces big enough to wrap the eggs. The ones that worked best were made of the thinnest silks. I was disappointed that the tie in the next photo, for example, did not transfer its dye at all. The tighter and smoother you can wrap the eggs the better.
Shall I even bother to tell you how I blew out the eggs? It was such a pain and a mess, I don’t think I’ll ever do it again! Again, I’m not sure why, but it’s supposed to be helpful to put the eggs in warm water for about ten minutes before working with them. My daughter and I made holes on either end with an unfolded paper clip and wiggled it around to make the holes large enough. The paper clip also breaks up the yolk, which makes it easier to blow out. We used a bulb syringe to blow out the eggs. We used that same syringe to try to fill the eggs with water so that they would sink in the pan, but they still floated up and bobbled around in the pan. We tried weighing them down with various utensils with little success.
After filling the eggs with water, (or just using hard boiled eggs like a normal human being!), you wrap them with the right side of the silk. You wrap that with some light-colored cotton fabric. I cut up a flour sack cloth for the purpose. We used flexible wire cut to length to twist around the top of the eggs, but you could also use twist ties or rubber bands.
Cover eggs with water and add about 1/4 cup vinegar. Bring to boil, then simmer 20-30 minutes.