Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Feeling unworthy at work. That's familiar. It doesn't mean that I'm getting bad feedback. But that I don't feel I measure up to what's expected. I can summon a cloud of dread with a mere flick of my finger. I have a history of treating this by taking a not-so-ambitious job.

Time to sign up for the health insurance plan for next calendar year. Our plan cost will more than double starting in January. This requires arithmetic to compare it with another plan. I resent the time I must spend doing something that I don't feel any confidence that I will do correctly: estimate health care costs and correctly discern which plan will be most economical for our family. I realize this is complaining about our solid gold health coverage and don't expect sympathy.

Trying to download an app and update Google Play on my phone. It spins and doesn't resolve and I have no idea how to encourage it.

Jogged Monday evening in the mist. It was so cool I added a jacket for the first time. Nod went swimming at the gym. I resent the gym membership expense. He felt it was necessary. I will ask for a review of value at the end of next summer before re-upping.

Wish I'd known about the health insurance hike before I committed to the increased (~$300 per year) parking fee.

Ran into the kids yesterday at the union when they were getting lunch. School group was at lit fest. I gave them some tips (salad bar is good and quicker than other lines) and left them to it. Kat asked last night if she can take some of her classes online. I have no idea how that works but I guess I'm going to find out. She is not a slacker but is chafing under the yoke. There's plenty to chafe so why not explore other ways to get to the finish line?

Friday, October 2, 2015


Deciding whether to step down the antibiotics yet. I may keep on for a couple more days and then reduce the dosage. Skin has responded - clear at the moment. Maybe I should keep on through the next hormonal surge. I got over the tilted feeling of the first week, where it felt like I was about to stumble at any moment. Now my only remaining side effect is that when I get hungry I get Very Hungry. Don't know if that's because gut flora are reduced. I wonder if I'm absorbing less nutrients. Also I'm jogging some days a week. So I just keep eating and hoping for the best.

CN reminded me of the existence of frozen hashbrowns. I had never purchased any before. Somehow they were just out of my view, over the horizon of possibility. But the grocery store did accept my money and I came home with some last weekend. Just fried the first panful last night and I can tell this will be a frequent event. My days of shredding potatoes and squeezing the water out of them may be ended. The Ben and Birdy recipe for breakfast burritos is quite tantalizing. I was compelled to make a batch of black beans after reading. I haven't actually progressed to the burritos but it sounds like a wonderful idea. Good for the hungry and grumpy no matter how old.

Thinking about the clanky wonderful carillon on campus. The bell tower instrument, played like an organ with hands and feet. Something about being between earth and sky and the clock/ alarum/ mourning/ praise functions of the big bells. Definitely could work that up to some magic in a campus fantasy setting. Play with the clumsy clanking nerd musician aspect as a foil to the summoning powerful call. And now I know that the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America exists! Wonder what the total membership number is.

Important information for future ref: NYT's collection of veggie comfort food recipes.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


The moon was all it was cracked up to be. Quite an unusual celestial combination including a convenient viewing time, mild temps and clear local skies. Here's a photo by Keith Caffery that caught a meteor as well for an embarrassment of riches:

Aaaah. We sat in the back of the Subaru wagon with the flap up and watched the darkening. The youngest got chilly, then sleepy. We decided the wagon is big enough for the two girls to sleep in for car camping. That would give the two adults a more reasonable amount of room in the tent in our so far entirely theoretical family camping. Then we drove out to the soybean field to see the full dark. I was waffling on the second part but am so glad I got to see the beautiful starfield with the darkened moon. There's a brilliant twinkling star I've been seeing in the northeast, down below Cassiopeia and Perseus. Pretty sure it's Capella, the Goat Star
Looking north in November

Lots of colors in the twinkles which I know is partially because it's so low in the sky and therefore I'm seeing it through layers of visually distorting atmosphere. Still gorgeous.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


I keep seeing this article linked in my internet reading territory. Article in The Atlantic by Alison Gopnik. She tells about a literary/historical/philosophical quest that pulled her out of a mid-life depression. It's witty and has much to recommend it. Here are the lines that are travelling with me this week:
"When you're young you want things: work, love, children. When you reach middle age, you want to want things."

Is that true? I have gone through times in my life when I wanted things desperately. And times even in youth when I couldn't muster up the interest to want. Part of growing up was learning about emotional weather patterns; to hold on during storms and wait for better days. I don't have a passion pulling me forward. More satisfaction in making life rumble on fairly smoothly. I find it harder and harder to think of myself as a sexual initiator. I see my middle aged body as more humble and crass than ever. Grateful for the long term partner I've got and not much interested in any prowling or posing.

Although after reading an appreciation of Margaret Dumont (of Marx Brothers films fame) I remembered that I do love a good randy matron. If there's not a cocktail named after Mae West then it's time to invent one. Hm, the brandy with egg yolk recipe sounds more medicinal than appealing. But then according to the Guardian the lady herself didn't drink alcohol.

I still want friends and company. That's what I should be working on. Should shakes its finger. Full lunar eclipse on Sunday night if we don't have clouds.

Last night's cobbled together lasagne was a good way to use extra ricotta in the fridge as well as a couple of farm share eggplants that would have gone to compost otherwise. More tomato sauce next time. The Serious Eats folks in the Food Lab are blowing my mind with the ideas about soaking dried pasta or putting into the water before bringing it to a boil. The lasagne noodles were great after a soak and just a brief boil.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fall and its discontents

Feeling fragile, unmotivated, disconnected. In the past week I've turned to ice cream rather than exercise. (And then Lot's Wife was turned to a pillar of ice cream.) (Does she have a name mentioned in the O.T.? Now I have to go look for it...   ...Wikipedia tells me some Jewish traditions name her Ado or Edith but that didn't make it to Genesis.)

The earlier sunsets and the sound of dry leaves are making me feel melancholy. Time to howl at the moon.

A friend just told me that she's withdrawn her kid from high school because of stress. She's going to try homeschooling of some sort but the kid doesn't like computers so it sounds dicey. I feel for them. The kid will make it through one way or another, her mom is making sure she has options and resources.

I spoke with oldest about a note I found while making her room grandma-ready in July. It appeared to propose drinking green tea instead of eating a meal. At the time I raised my eyebrows high and thought about eating disorders and this age group. Then I stuck the note in my underwear drawer to discuss with daught1 when I could do so without confrontation. Got around to it last night when we were coming home from grocery store run to get her ice cream. (Bun and I had some from last weekend and she would not be left out.) She said it was a list she was keeping of food items that were good to add to her diet, not for replacing meals. "You just bought me ice cream, Mom." True. It was good to have it be a non dramatic thing.

Claire de Lune by Debussy has been my companion this summer. Kat has been working on it diligently and I love the swoony beginning. I love the whole thing really but lately every  been getting more tense. It is a difficult piece of piano music. Kat has been getting further into it but is playing it now with more vigor and frustration than sweetness and anticipation. She is struggling with it, worrying at it. Last night she kept banging the keys and growling when she hit tangled notes. I had to ban Clair de Lune for the evening.

I'll play this version for her. Walter is making my toes curl.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Coffin lid? seldom opened door? my joints?

I felt creaky on Tuesday morning after the holiday and it took some time to get back into the swing. The long weekend held good family outings and good houseworky accomplishments. The rain that arrived Monday was unwelcome. Nod and I got up and pouted and sulked. After the sulking got old I did some of those admirable chores. Then I went with to keep him company while he moved equipment and tools out of the old van into the shiny new van. This turned out to be more like moving house than either of us expected. After an hour or so he sent me home.

All of us dragged through the day. We did get a great thunderstorm Monday night with flashing lightning and boom-cracking peals of thunder that settled down just in time for us to go to sleep. But it continued so gray and humid and oppressive Tues. I moaned and longed for a high pressure system.

Which arrived on Wednesday for my day off! Spouse had a medical procedure first thing. It was under general anesthetic and I was a bit worried because of how white and weak he'd been after the last colonoscopy. But this was quick, no anatomical irregularities found. He was sleepy but his color was good and he was cranky which seemed like a healthy response. Went for a big breakfast since he'd been fasting. Later he soaked in a warm bath while I took the dog around the butterfly garden in the park and enjoyed the day. I got the back mowed, finished a book, watched two Longmire eps, took the girls for smoothies and visited a thrift store. Good day.

Found a sky blue silk robe at the SalvArmy store. It's missing a belt but feels lovely and doesn't look worn at all. Looked up how to wash silk. The fabric has chrysanthemums or some equivalent floral pattern woven into it. If it looked a bit sturdier I would throw it in a mesh bag and use the machine on delicate. But handwashing it is!

Still looking for a way to hang my ceramic moon circle (frame? fabric?) and a narrow bookshelf for music books and sheet music next to the 'piano'. Oldest kid has said she's decided piano is her thing rather than the drum kit in the basement. It's true that she often sits down and works on a tough piece (still Clair de Lune, swoon) or runs through something she knows through and through. No complaints here. Shortstuff was playing her trombone for me last night and I was videoing and giggling.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Nine days later

Blinking slowly but glad to be here. We've had my busiest two weeks at work, the girls' start of school, one virus, one bout of unmentionable and we're still standing!

All kids in school today. Three of the four of us have been treated for the unmentionable. Kat is over her fever and stomach ache. She'll get her dose tomorrow.

I mostly enjoyed the avalanche that is our start to the semester work pile. My wrists got tired from all the mousing and typing. I was so glad to go swimming last weekend. Great to get a complete rest for my hands and wrists. Still sorting through some first weeks issues but it seems that the calls and emails are calming down.

Swimming was at the nekkid lake with two women friends that Nod dances with on Sundays. I hadn't met Ari but she was just as good an egg as advertised. We all had a good time in the warm sun and cool water. Nod was telling me about his time at metaphysical dance last week. It is more of his radical self acceptance work. I am so proud of him that he can unpeel old layers of shame and hurt and let go of some of that. Gen told us about the dance for universal peace events that she goes to once a month. I agreed with Nod that from the name they sound oppressively sincere. But the description sounds pleasant, more moving meditation. I like dancing, I have put it on my calendar to think about.

Whoa, cool! moment of the week:  invention that pulls carbon from the air and makes nano fibers.