June-uary Birthday marbles dance with hatted crayons

Astronomically, the planet officially entered summer a few hours ago. (I’m writing this on the date of the Solstice.) This event, which marks the longest day of the year …

“Longest Day?” I muttered. “
Doesn’t that come in June?” I thought.

“Summer Solstice, Dan.” Nazy replied. “But…”

“ … why is it in March?” I concluded.

“March is over!” Nazy noted, forthrightly.
Auriane in highchair June 2020

“I see,” I said. “March will never end. It’s like covid-19,” I thought. “March will never end.”

Here in Santa Barbara, the ‘opening’ has paused because of an uptick in cases. Nothing has changed about the virus. But people simply cannot stay totally shut inside. Luckily, rational people have learned how to be careful — hand washing, masks, physical distancing and shunning of crowded venues. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of irrational people.

Rationally, we have not been able to visit Darius, Christiane, (the lovely) Leandra or (the astounding) Auriane since the pandemic arrived. We’ve missed birthdays. We couldn’t help when Christiane broke her foot. Zoom calls, FaceTime and WhatsApp are better than landline communications [younger readers should ask their parents what this means], but it’s not the same. On the other hand, Zoom has delivered some unique views:

“What happened to Auriane?” I asked when I saw her slump over in the high chair.

“She naps in the high chair,” Christiane explained.

“Really?” I replied. “
It looks uncomfortable,” I thought, “Sort of like the way I look when I fell asleep on an airplane,”

We’ve seen the very articulate (and lovely) Leandra speak three languages (which easily surpasses my 1.05). For the birthday celebration, Christiane baked a cake shaped like a the number ‘3’ and threw a big party with signs, balloons and family attendance via Zoom. All of this happened while Christiane recovered from a broken foot and Darius taught classes remotely. (And in this case, ‘remotely’ means from home.)

Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine the best way for Nazy and me to get from Santa Barbara to Bellingham to see Darius and his family. The number of flights from here to Seattle has dropped by 75% which..

“… means that the one available flight is always full,”I explained. “
And sharing three hours inside a flying aluminum cylinder in the midst of a pandemic is less than ideal.” I thought.

“We could drive,” Nazy proposed.

“We could. But it’s 1200 miles — which is more than the distance from Berlin to Moscow. And look what happened to Napoleon when he tried that trip.”

“Dan! You are not Napoleon.”

“Maybe not, but we’d have to stay in several hotels. And, the travel time would infringe on our visit time.”

“Can we take the train?”

“Of course! But it takes 31 hours and costs 4 times as much as an airplane.”

“Could they come and visit us?” Nazy asked.

“It would be very difficult. They would be traveling with young children.”

“Well I would be traveling with
you.” Nazy replied.

We decided to ‘monitor the situation’ with provisional plan to visit in August.

Leandra’s Birthday (with Dancing Dad)

Three photos Darius for TWL June 21

In Bellingham, it is now (purportedly) June. Here in Santa Barbara, weather-wise, we’re in the midst of “June Gloom” lots of cloudy mornings. In Bellingham, it’s called “June-uary”.

Here in Santa Barbara, Nazy, basking in glory after finishing her gargantuan watercolor family tree, asked me to take it to ‘a professional’ to be scanned and to have a few copies made. I donned my mask and set off. Returning later..

Well done, Dan!” I thought as I showed the result to Nazy.

queen screenshot

“Did you see this Dan?” Nazy asked as she pointed at a minuscule flaw.

“Eh? Do you have a magnifying glass?” I replied. “
Of course I didn’t see it,” I thought. “I can’t even see it now.”

“There is a hair that shows on the scan, Dan.”

“It’s not my hair,” I replied. “I have all of mine.”


I took it back for a re-scan.

Unwilling to bask in glory, Nazy began to work on a mechanized marble run that had been our gift for Tiger’s sixth birthday. (I had been frightened away by the ‘some assembly required’ sign that was juxtaposed with the
‘more than 300 pieces’ label on the 320 page assembly instruction manual.) It took Nazy several days (and a couple of restarts) to finish the job.

the Marble run

The machine, which appears to have a
Rube Goldberg-ish design, is a moving masterpiece. And, while Nazy did a great job, my help was key to eventual success..

“What?” Nazy interrupts. “I had to take apart the only thing you did.”

“Nazy, my dear. I went to the store, put on my mask and I bought the batteries.” I replied. “
You didn’t see theBatteries Not Includedsign,” I thought.

Azelle wants to be there too.

We also celebrated Tiger’s birthday this week. It was a low-key affair featuring a scavenger hunt, a marble racing tournament (Tiger was referee because he determined that it was impossible for him to guarantee that he’d win), a scooter parade with participants in crayon costumes, bubbles and cakes. Azelle wanted to make sure that she was part of the celebration.

When the Adams Family sported costumes, Nazy and I retired to the costume closet to ..

“Hats, Dan! We like hats!” Nazy exclaimed. And so:

dan and nazy at Tiger's birthday party

The Adams Family Crayons

Crayon costumes threesome for TWL

For last week's Letter, please click here

blog comments powered by Disqus