What I’ve been up to, in the tiniest way (in between resting, thinking, and staring into space):
- Making stuff out of other stuff. For example, this spectacular mobile (left) made from some old kitchen utensils that had holes and splinters. A piece of driftwood, some wire and glass beads makes this reuse-a-riffic. If I do say so.
- A bit of painting and gluing. Crafty stuff. Making art. I rather like putting on a smock and getting my fingers painty.
- Keeping up with the tomato crop — still, mid-November. Not many big tomatoes, but hundreds of yellow pear and red cherry tomatoes in the yard — maybe half of them from volunteer stock. I did not plant any yellow pears this year but we’ve eaten so many. I think next spring I will just skip planting and eat what comes up. There are whole tomatoes in the freezer, along with lots of quarts of soup and sauce. Sometimes I water or pull weeds, but not often.
- Sipping coffee or tea on the patio in the mornings, and sometimes a glass of vino in the evenings (less as it gets colder out). The birds come to the feeders, the bees buzz in the strawberry tree, raccoons have been here, the cats wash their paws and faces after breakfast. First sunrays warm the corner of the house. It inspires me, and marks the start to my days.
- You think I’m gonna say knitting, writing and reading? No. ‘Fraid not. The longest I’ve been up for writing has been the quick (1 sentence) post on Facebook, or a tweet on Twitter (less than 1 sentence). Nope, no real writing. Knitting? Ha ha. Can’t seem to complete a row without errors, so I put it aside until later. Maybe a couple of weeks later. Reading? Not so much. Until this weekend, when I picked up the Lord of the Rings trilogy again, after a few years’ hiatus. Am enjoying The Fellowship more than I expected to, after reading it 12-15 times already.
- Family: busy. Ana is almost done with her high school credits. Watch for news of this success story to come. Simone busy with school (sophomore year @ College of Alameda, still discerning her future). Mia’s on the road with Beauty and the Beast — last heard from in Georgia. Savanna has moved out and pursuing life as an adult. Austin is sick with a crappy endless cold, but otherwise is an A+ student and learning the viola. Mr. Husband: Handsome as ever, heading toward his birthday (Dec. 6) and thinking how to celebrate his 50th year on the planet.
- What else does one do on sabbatical? Whatever it is, I’m not doing it. At least, not yet. Rest, first. Then, perhaps: redo bedrooms, family room, sewing room, office; write; walk/yoga/run; brilliant creative endeavors and insightful, uplifting enterprises; rich spiritual conversations and journeys.
So far, I’m just here watching the world go round.
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.