The other day I found a bunch of very different oleander flowers on my walk! Not only astonishing diversity of colors but also shapes of the flowers and buds were varied! The most unexpected was the fluffy one with multiple petals - cream colored on my sketch. And I think I need to do a separate dive into white oleander flowers!
This year my agapanthus season begun with a lot of anger. Some people (whom I did not catch at it) started to bend long stems and as a result there were many almost broken agapanthuses. I tried to catch perpetrators, I tried to change my route or walk past without looking at the unhappy flowers, I tried to think why this makes me so sad and give it names. But at the end I started cutting dead yellow stalks and bent flowers and made bouquets to draw. This helped.
July 20. Day 146 of the war.
We talk about another series of horrific deaths in Kharkiv. I read a lecture about cloud storage and how to use it. They tell me about their childhood profession aspirations (Mom wanted to be a cleaner and Dad wanted to write encyclopedias). Mom reported that the snail (that she was photographing) ran away from her and asks why am I laughing so hard :) The best thing in their day? A double rainbow!
July 22. Day 148 of the war.
The runaway snail was discovered by Dad who walked 6 circles. Mom wrote three pages of memoirs - both are great accomplishments! Mom says that writing is easier than talking because nobody interrupts her (I read her memoirs every day and discover so many things I never knew!) Dad got a package with some of his instruments and it made his day. The fact that mail still works despite the war baffles me in the best possible way. I will try and see if I can send them something - to check how true it is!
It's been five months since the lives of so many people changed forever. Five months of asking endless questions: when will this end and how? Will someone be punished for all of this horror? How can we live when this is happening? How to help? How to make people see this for what it is: open aggression and endless, shameless lies.
My parents told me today about another attack on Kharkiv, our dear friend was very close, the apartment lost all the windows on one side. He is ok -for whatever stands fot it these days - he is not hurt physically. Mom said: he sounds less scared now than earlier in the war, and is already working on fixing the windows situation - but he curses way more!
My parents looked very much alive and happy - telling me about pancakes and all the mischief that the Cat managed to do since we spoke last (it gets a lot done in 24 hrs!). But then some loud aircraft started flying above them - so loud that I was able to hear it on my end of the world. And suddenly they were back to the horror of their life in pieces, their home far, their family dispersed, their city bombed daily, their country fighting for its life.
July 13. Day 139 of the war.
It is the day of my parent's wedding anniversary. They had a guest - their neighbor stopped by. There was wine with the dinner, and the cat brought a grasshopper, as a present. Mom consults me on some mending projects. The weather was ghastly but beautiful: one storm was chased away by another, and there were several waves of hail. It was so cold that Dad did not go beyond the doorstep during the whole day. Mom said: if only we did not have the war.
July 15. Day 141 of the war.
Dad reports on Mom's progress with learning all about the new (for her) phone. We talk about the horror of the Vinnytsia attack. Mom says that waking up is very hard because the dark memories come in waves. And the only way she sees to live now is to think about one day - today.
July 6, 2022, Day 132.
There was a storm and power was going out many many times during our call. So there was not much of a flow of conversation - more a flow of curses. Curses about the weather, russian invaders, loud sounds that are scary, and an overall unpredictable future.
The Internet connection was spotty, electronic equipment was misbehaving and we were trying to troubleshoot it from half the world away. My parents prepared some new Ukrainian words for me to learn. Mom noticed that the Cat lost a tooth - but Dad thinks it is not a new development. Dad had a dream about talking to Rembrandt - they were together in the Night Watch and there was a chicken in that conversation. Unfortunately, many details are lost :) They switch to an argument about a proper emphasis on the name of Rembrandt. But agree that he was a genius painter and quite mad - "which is also normal" :) Mom says that Kharkiv is being shelled mercilessly and this unpredictable life is not life at all.
June 29, 2022, Day 125.
On that day I had just returned from a trip and could not find my sketchbook. Hence, I grabbed "whatever" paper (there is a shopping list on the back of this page :) Quick update about friends and what activities now are taking up most of their time: Dad can open the water and Mom can water the plants. Dad prepared a new proverb for me but they disagreed on the exact wording. The simple translation is "you arrived the way you were going".
July 3, 2022, Day 129.
We discuss all the news. From Kharkiv, which is still shelled daily by the russian terrorist state. News from all the friends and relatives spread around Ukraine and Europe. News from their cat: it slept through one mouse walking by but later brought another mouse. News from the garden: there were two types of currants and mulberry in their breakfast. Today was a good day: their neighbor brought them food and picked up a post with meds for them.
This conversation was mostly about all the adventures of the Cat and a lizard: in short - it filled the day with unexpected excitement! They remembered some poems by Sasha Chorny - a russian-speaking poet from Ukraine. We talk about his complicated life: his parents converted him to Christianity to get a chance to educate him (he was Jewish and it meant that certain types of professions and educational opportunities were closed for him in russian empire). Dad talks about how he wrote under a pseudonym (very russian sounding) and ran away from the Soviets to Europe where he created some beautiful poetry for kids.
I just returned from a trip - and my table is a total mess as I am:
- trying to sort what in my travel kit was useful and what was not (two Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens were used the most!)
- looking forward to the wonders of Neocolor II pastels / crayons. A friend hooked me on them, I got some for my bday and now I am making lists of colors that I need :)
- enjoying my new paper towels in a form of a large pill - another friend hooked me on those :)
- my new favorite pencil sharpener (dome from kum - with two holes) can take care of the regular pencils and also sharpen aforementioned neocolor crayons!