Yesterday, I made a healthy version of blueberry oat bars with no sugar and smashed bananas. On the floor beside the oven, I sat and read from State of Wonder by Anne Patchett as the top layer of oat crumble browned. Breakfast cooled on top of the stove, and I grabbed a blanket to wrap myself in and met my husband outside. He had previously asked me if I wanted to sit outside with him. I said yes, but I was waiting on the oat bars.

I sat beside Mark on the yellow bench on our balcony-patio. Our balcony is raised just a little above ground level.  I asked Mark if he noticed all the white flowers around us.  There are so many little white flowers on our star jasmine plants. We have two, one on each side of the bench. They grow long vines that I like to manipulate. I twist and turn them and pull them through the bamboo screen and iron fence behind our bench. We bought the plants to help create privacy but they didn’t grow fast enough. So Mark bought a bamboo screen that rolled out like a carpet. Mark fastened the screen to the iron fence people passing by could easily peer in through. We aren’t supposed to fasten anything to the fence. I knew our HOA wouldn’t be pleased and shared my concern with Mark. So he cut off the plastic zip-ties and used hot glue instead. Now, it would appear as though the bamboo were just resting against it. The HOA is quiet for now but I’m pretty sure we’ll be getting a notice sometime in the future.

Anyway, there we sat with the star jasmine twirling behind our backs as we talked about private things. And afterwards, we went inside to eat warm blueberry oat bars that were more like a cobbler. I drizzled a little maple syrup over each serving and gave everyone a fork to eat them with. They were delicious, we all agreed. Well, aside from Abe, our 3-almost-4-year-old, wouldn’t take one bite. He’s in that picky-eater phase. It’s hard to get him to eat anything other than cheese puffs and popsicles. And of course, I blame myself. I’ve let the kids get away with eating too much junk food and sweets, watching too much television/YouTube (I’m guilty too), and playing video games for hours every day. And still, I have had very little privacy. It’s just a phase, I remind myself. It’s just a phase.

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