Monday, December 19, 2016

Not all right

Cold water
I have realized that the adults are not stepping in. I'd love to be proved wrong by the end of January but judging from November and so far in December we are going to get an actively hostile government come inauguration. Not neutral or slightly bad but actively hostile to my interests. I am struggling with the idea of resistance. I started by going to the no guns on campus meeting and writing to some state legislators to ask them to change the law and not allow guns on campus and in university buildings starting next summer.

I'll look for other opportunities. Talked with Nod and we're going to keep paying taxes. For now.

From UV's blog:
"I am getting through the current times by thinking about gardening, which will probably end in me going full survivalist and learning how to make my own shoes out of dirt."

We got 2+ inches of snow on Saturday and it was pretty and terribly cold. I was grateful not to have to go more than 2 miles from my house. The tv weather folks were showing video of someone flinging boiling water into the air. It turned instantly to steam. I wish I had thought to blow some soap bubbles to see if they would freeze and settle on the snow.

The deep freeze spelled doom for the hot glue on my wreath. I have gathered the fallen pinecones and will attempt a re-do.

Wood smoke
How *do* we open the flue? Nod tried starting a fire last night with a party underway. As the house filled with smoke I opened windows and doors and was unhappy as the outside air was ~0F. Will try again under less populated circs. Once the smoke dissipated I felt much better and enjoyed the second half of the party thoroughly. Even had a good time playing CAH which is not my jam but good company is everything.

Lost objects
K lost her wallet a couple of weeks ago. She didn't have much cash in it. The learner's permit will probably be the most annoying thing to replace. It could be worse. But it's been a stab at her self image. She keeps getting upset about it and asking how could she be so irresponsible? Because objects are hard to keep track of? Then yesterday she mislaid a silver bracelet that she's worn since she was five. I tried to tell her that it happens to everyone. Either from inattention or accident some things are lost as we go through this vale of tears. Happily the bracelet turned up at her friend's house (in the blanket fort they built yesterday).

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Pod people
AV Club recommends podcasts. I'm particularly interested in the McElroy boys' show.

Rebuke and thrust
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

It should be drawn as a comic book. It has a fine stompy superhero feeling. I didn't know Catholics ever prayed to angels. Wikip confirms that ths one is pretty recent (late 1800s) from Pope Leo the thirteenth. I don't think I can use this prayer, hell is not something I have any use for. But maybe I need to find a good martial prayer to help me through the next four years.

Bread, man
I started looking at easy bread recipes recommended by mefites. This could require some thorough testing and tasting.
Whole wheat sandwich bread .
Easiest bread baked in a bowl. This looks like it takes more work but I'm intrigued.
No Time Bread. 2 packets of yeast per loaf may discourage me from this one.
Oat Soda Bread. From Heidi Swanson and friends. This one requires oat flour. I don't know if my little processor will grind the oatmeal enough but I look forward to trying it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Having a wreath on the door has made me realize how often we collectively slam that door. Nod has found that he has a tendency to brush against it with his manly shoulder as he comes in. I have reattached multiple pinecones and look forward to many more.

Sing heyThe pirate couple's annual carol party happened without us again. It's just hard to get to San Francisco for it. She provided a link to a 'hunt the wren' type carol performed a capella by Steeleye Span.
The King:

Coffee spoon covet
Ginkgo Alsace Demitasse Spoons at Bloodbath and Beyond! $10 for 4 on Dec 1, 2016. Looks like my Boston Oneida flatware.

Disappointment Roll
Reminder to self: the last two times that you have purchased a veggie sushi roll at the cafeteria you've detected a faint scent of mold. Never buy this again.

Both pets had to greet the piano tuner today and see if she needed their help. She declined but clearly appreciated their interest. In the morning cat and dog both wait for me to open the back door. They leap out together, shoulder to shoulder when I finally get it open. There could be critters/chicken poop out there! Generally they come in separately. The dog is ready as soon as she's peed and had a sniff around the perimeter. The cat may have realized her mistake as soon as her paws got wet or she may be off sparrow watching. The dog seems to spend more time outside if the cat is out. Does she just like company? Or is she convinced that the cat is doing cool things that she should be in on?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Plotting and scheming

Seasonal scheme
I wish I had more scheming going on as far as presents go. K slammed the door this morning on her furious way to the bus stop and dislodged a pinecone. I re-applied it and added some cushioning duct tape on the back of the wreath. I will also plead for gentler door wrangling for the duration. Time to make a list of the xmas/solstice holiday things we all want to do. Gingerbread cookies. Tree. Send some cards - for which it'd be nice to have a photo.

Important soup
I have put sweet potatoes on the grocery list so I can get some soup going. Also for future reference, Roasted winter squash soup from I prefer to avoid chopping raw butternut squash when possible. Chopping raw sweet potatoes is okay, barely.

Pop drop
Stovetop popcorn tip from same site. The twist is to add kernels to the hot oil and then keep the pot off the heat for 30 seconds before returning it to the burner. This is supposed to bring all the kernels up to heat so they pop more simultaneously. I must try this. I have pretty good popcorn results but every once in a while I scorch a batch while waiting for all the kernels to finish popping.

From Amalah who is a gift:  "Proud bleeding-heart feminist environmentalist pro-choice pro-LGBTQ BLM pro-refugee pro-gun-control democratic socialist heathen liberal AF up in this bitch."

Catherine Newman wants the best for everyone as you can see from her very particular and joyful gift guide. I want most of them. It's also a fundraiser, 'tis the season in so many ways. If you visit her main blog page you will see that her 3 gravy recipes post is just below this one. In case you need to gravy. I'm planning to make mashed pots and mushroom gravy for the veggie and me soon.

I have begun thawing a 13#+ turkey in our fridge. My cunning plan: When thawed, cut/hack/slice the bird down the backbone and breast into two halves. Refreeze (I know, not recommended but what else can I do with it?) one half for later (xnas?). Roast the other half triumphantly, gravy, etc., etc. Profit!

"Eagles excited to get started" reads a headline in the local (virtual) rag. My first thought was that eagles were stepping up their winter fish grabbing by the dam. But no, this story is about high school sports teams of course, not real eagles. K saw an eagle by the dam last weekend so I know they're excited to get started too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


If you do see Arrival and you like to read about movies afterwards like I do here are two pieces from the New Yorker magazine. Anthony Lane's proper movie review is not his finest work, that is reserved for things he finds ridiculous and can unload his arsenal of snark on. But it communicates how he was captivated and moved by the film and avoids spoilers which is a distinct challenge. Jia Tolentino's article contains what I consider to be plot spoilers and I'm happy I found it after seeing the movie. My own experience of sadness and hope while watching the events in the movie match up with hers.

The pinecone wreath is up. We'll see how long the hot glue holds. I started wiring pinecones to a wire wreath form but it was lumpy and I couldn't get them to lay down in layers as I had envisioned. After starting over a couple of times I had to give it up. Discovery: pinecones have seriously irregular and determinedly three dimensional forms. I don't love hot glue as a medium, I prefer wire or glue or thread but needs must. I'm happy with how it looks so far. I may try to add some evergreen sprigs once we have a tree to snip from. Although, I could sidle over to the neighbor's pine tree and see what I can reach...

I was stumped at how to get the bow formed out of the stiff plasticky ribbon I had in the xmas bag. As a good citizen of the 'net I turned to youtube videos. Here's the winner. Madame Fuschia Nails shows you how it's done and I am grateful to her. I haven't listened to the audio, just enjoyed the sight of those beautifully manicured hands moving masterfully over the work table.

I like John Scalzi's take on a lot of things. He's a liberal who supports himself with his art and lives in the midwest. He can appreciate things about his Republican-voting neighbors without his head exploding. This week's piece on what he expects from the start of the next administration is a good bracing read. Maybe follow it with some Orwell, I plan to.

MIL is home from the hospital and I need to call and check up on her. It was dehydration and what they call acute kidney injury. She had the same thing after returning from Ecuador. She sounded much better once she was in the hospital and IV'd up. I hope she's got a long stretch of wellness ahead.

My own mother has summoned her children to ABQ to celebrate her 75th birthday at the end of this month. I wasn't planning to go until my brother made his plans and I realized that she was telling me (by not telling me) that she would be disappointed if I didn't make it. I'm not exactly sure how we're going to kick up our heels in the dark midwinter in Albuquerque but I'll try and figure it out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Low tide

Let's see what's washed up on the mind's beach today.

Greek island
Speaking of beaches... I always enjoy pretending to be David Lebovitz while reading his blog. Internationally recognized food writer married to a Frenchman and living in Paris? Why certainly! This blog entry about his vacation in September may be the most vicarious fun of all.

By the pitcher
From David L's mention, Ina's recipe for a pitcher of margs.

Metafilter thread recommending podcasts in French.

I have just walked into the corner of my desk again with my left thigh. This must be the fourth time I've done that since moving to this office. After minor cussing and gasping I am still walking. Very frustrating. (Tho' I suppose not being able to walk would be even more frustrating.)

We went to see Arrival on Sunday. It flattened me. I was crying for lots of reasons by the end of the movie. But what a clever, moving piece of work it is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


In cars
Sweet gumdrops but I do love Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Margaret Cho teaching Jerry the word 'intersectional'. Jerry telling Kathleen Madigan that they're not really walking down the street, they're in a show. Clips of Will Farrell's SNL audition where he rolled around on the floor playing with cat toys in front of an empty theater. All good stuff. I even enjoy the car geekery although that is not my thing.

No never
Nod sent a message to a friend he hadn't heard from for a while. She responded right away and promptly invited him to an essential oils party she's having at her house this weekend. We both laughed and laughed at the idea of him attending. He's sensitive to strong scents and uninterested in MLM businesses. But it's good to know she's out there and keeping busy.

Sweet dream
Here are lyrics to the song recently featured on One Word. Gentle and ah. Someone compared Eleni Mandell's music to Tom Waits' ballads and that feels right to me. The houses getting undressed is my favorite image.

Eleni Mandell - Moonglow, Lamp Low

Moonglow, lamp low
All I need is a rainbow
And true love
Just like sugar in my coffee

Moonbeam sleeping
All I need is a sweet dream
And true love
Just like honey in my tea

The sky says goodbye
With the wink of an eye
Bright blue yawning to the west
Windows are shining
As the sun goes down fighting
And the houses on the hill
Are getting undressed

Moonshine dreamtime
All I need is a goldmine
And true love
Just like sugar in my coffee

The sky says goodbye
With the wink of an eye
Bright blue yawning to the west
Windows are shining
As the sun goes down fighting
And the houses on the hill
Are getting undressed

Moonglow, lamp low
All I need is a rainbow
And true love
Just like sugar
True love
Just like honey
True love
Just like sugar
In my coffee

Thursday, November 17, 2016


The Bitten Word guys are getting ready to be done with their blog. It will be sad to see it go but they have brought us much good reading and interesting recipes over the years. A toast to Zach and Clay and all the little Bittens!

I eagerly read through this year's readers' pie challenge. Full disclosure: I am a pie dropout, I signed up and received the apple pie with pepper jelly recipe from Southern Living. But my family said they didn't want to eat that pie and I decided I didn't want to either. The Christmas cookie readers' reports have always been big fun. They include a combo of beautiful food pix and some regretsy moments.

Thanksgiving is wafting towards us and I'm ready for some root veggies, roasting and pie! Here are more recipes calling out to me:

Carrot mash with mint and orange zest.

Bon Appetit's Bourbon Maple Brueleed Pumpkin Pie. Will skip the choc crust and the brulee actually.


Microwave caramel? Tell me more... I'm up for using the microwave to cut down on extended stovetop stirring and temp management. Alton Brown's microwave-caramelized onions for example. (Note: do not make caramel and caramalized onions one after the other.Those smells should not be combined - yick.)


Not noms

You may know a child or a larger version of a child who needs an Advent Grab Bag. They even provide a list of treasures if you have the energy and inspiration to DIY and custom assmble your own.

LMM / Maron interview link from David C. on nancynall:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fall y'all

I jogged after work last night. We're having mild temps for a few days. The fading light in the western twilight sky was gorgeous with Venus in the south shining strong. The track got harder to see so I ran on the white line instead of in between lines. It was worth doing. I still have a few strains from Monday's yoga. I must have overdone.

Picked up some pinecones. I love the long curving ones dotted with white sap. Maybe Eastern White Pine (photo is from linked page) although we are not very eastern.
I will look for some small round ones to add contrast.

Now that I look at that website I am quite charmed. I need to spend some time learning about the microenvironment of French Hill Pond on Mount Desert Island in Bar Harbour, Maine. But it's on private property so don't attempt to visit without an invitation!

We have not succumbed
The Leslie Knope election reaction I didn't know I needed. I've only seen two Parks and Recreation episodes and don't really get the vibe of the show. Doesn't matter! I also would like my girls to read this.

My husband was talking volubly about the election last night on the phone. He was having a good time and I could tell he was talking with an old friend. I'm glad that he's managing the rage and able to connect. I'm glad we've gotten through a week and are feeling more able to more forward.

Listening that is not political
From BigHank53 at
Podcasts that may help…there’s Backstory, which has three history professors looking at a single topic through the centuries of American history. They did a really good one a couple years ago on the history of Christmas celebrations, for example. Gretchen Rubin has her Happier podcast, which is not woo-woo but mostly practical advice on forming better habits, so you can make space to be a bit more cheerful. If you’re a gardener Margaret Roach has a great podcast.
The historian David Blight recorded his freshman course on the Civil War a couple years ago. He’s a brilliant lecturer, and you don’t need more than high school history to follow it. Search for the Yale Open Course to find them.

Sloth it
Maybe you need an enamel pin showing a sloth with a party hat captioned Coolio.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Crappy sweaters

I was thinking about the gray sweater that I started in November 2015 and stopped work on when spring started. I recently picked it up again and was able to finish joining the front and back with a neckline. I tried it on and it's pretty ugly. The front is longer than the back and the intarsia decoration I put on the chest is too small and too high up. Blocking might help the length issues but it's acrylic yarn (I know - not classy) so won't have wool's ability to morph. I couldn't face fixing it so it's back in the bag and I'm pouting. Hopefully I'll woman up and rip the front back to fix that decoration. Phooey.

Then I thought about a previous sweater I made with some ill advised departures from a pattern I'd never tried before. It was a pattern in a book with pretty pictures from yarn shops all over the country. I saw the danger signs going in! I loved making the cables especially where they joined under the sleeves. The yarn I chose was a pretty color and a wool blend that made me happy. The finished article is heavy and very homely but I will happily wear it (at home) in the coldest weather. It reminds me of a garment that could conceivably be used as padding under armor.

So I started laughing at my ugly sweaters. Then I remembered the huge squirrel hat I knitted. Also worth a chuckle. I have finished a couple of sweaters I like. As a self taught k-nitter I am proud of them. But when a project goes wrong it can really go wrong.

Speaking of projects I have decided to make a pinecone wreath for the door. I love pinecones but fear having them in the house because they're messy and possibly buggy. On the outside of the door I will be able to enjoy them without worrying about things falling out of them. But I don't have time to gather any pinecones on campus today. A piano awaits.

Last night I found a free piano in our local buy/sell page that had been listed that day. I inquired and got quotes for a moving company. It'll cost $235 to move which is the right price for a piano if you ask me. We'll see it tonight and decide if it's the one. If not I also got offered another free piano in the process of my investigating. So pianos are out there, people! I know they are like pets and need more expensive upkeep than most furniture. But that would be a neat answer to Kat's 15th birthday present. Fingers crossed.

As you can tell I am frolicking in the fields of denial today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Holy shit

From misteraitch on Metafilter, a playlist of string quartet pieces. Quartets for the Morning After. Haydn consolation sounds about right.

I would like to believe that I'm living and working in a country that is addressing climate change, making steps to support the most vulnerable members of our population, and moving away from having the highest prison population in the world. Failing that I would like to believe that I share with the leaders of my government a respect for the rule of law. Neither seems to be true today. The next six months are the great unknown. I expect we losers are overestimating the changes that may happen in the short term. But as far as the long term goes this degrading election process may have been the signal of a great change. I hope I'm wrong and the parallels I see with the late Roman Empire are a histrionic exaggeration.

I am embarrassed, ashamed and insulted by the election result. I still feel queasy when I imagine DJT taking the oath of office. I wonder what else I could have done. I think I need to go to church on Sunday. Sorry to come cry on your shoulder, Episcopalianism, after so much neglect.

Two scenarios for the Trump presidency from a Business Insider piece by Mathias Döpfner who is also CEO for Axel Springer whatever that is, and part owner of the magazine it looks like. The first two thirds of the article seems very well balanced and plausible. The last third reveals that MD thought Bloomberg should have been the Dem candidate for US pres. I am scoffing at that. But I want to read this article again in the fall of 2018.

Monday, November 7, 2016


Trying to decide if I want to walk downtown and drink some beers while I watch election results tomorrow night. Or go to the beer store and just be jittery on my own couch.

I saw someone on twitter refer to F'book as faceboobs and that's what I want to call it forever more.

Wearing my beloved brown ankle boots today. I've worn down the back edges of the heels and have just decided that this pair is worth an out of town shoe repair trip. I will call the shop to be sure they can do it. I loved living in San Francisco and having a shoe repair shop right by the BART stop. In my current small city there is an artisanal leatherworker guy who will do repair but you have to track him down and I get the idea that it's not his main gig. That's too steep for me, I'd rather drive to a place that does this everyday.

Just finished Miss Pym Disposes. I really enjoyed how wrong our protagonist was about multiple things. I liked the description of the women's college activities very much. It reminded me of Gaudy Night. Harriet Vane bathes in the student bathroom much like Miss Pym. The description of the day to day rules and nicknames and quaint shenanigans at the school reminded me of Daddy Longlegs although that one is American and set at the turn of the century.

Realized that this year I've been saying goodbye to my forties. I've mostly gotten over the sulk. Now that my cough is reluctantly taking its leave I want to start the jogging again. In the dark. Boo.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Odds and sods

Bare Naked Ladies song recommended by Swistle as a calming theme: Odds Are. I need more BNL in my life. I know Stunt backwards and forwards but nothing else. Looking up the single I see it is from Grinning Streak which was recorded in 2013 and isn't as goddamned old as I expected. Yay Canadian goof popsters.

From a link in Seanan McGuire's tumblr, I bring you Napoleon in Furs:

File:Napoleon in winter clothing by V.Vereshagin.jpg

Insert Napoleonic version of "Avast ye Russkies!" here.

Recently I took a walk on the wild side and made cheese dip. It was hilariously quick and easy and felt like a magic trick. Voila! I will try to use this new found power carefully.

Running full speed through the last of the Ancillary trilogy by Leckie. I can tell that I will miss Ancillary Mercy most severely when I finish it.

Still coughing. Glad it's the end of the work week. Have had another idea about costumes even though I missed out this year. 2 D raincloud headdress in painted cardboard. Simple enough that I may create one as proof of concept.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A low time

A light cough and a general sense of unwellness turned into chills and fever and aches. By the time baseball came on I was hobbling slowly and very happy to bundle up on the couch with soup and blanket. Two more days of the fevery achey stuff and then those diminished so the cough could take center stage. I went to be seen at doc's office even though I knew it was flu or a similar virus and probably they couldn't cure me. I got strong cough syrup and was tested so I am sure it's not strain A or B of this year's flu, just another virus come to kick my ass. Still coughing but the headache and hatred lifted after four days on Sunday morning.

Being home sick meant that I finished my sexy witch book and big chunks of the second Ancillary novel. Ancillary Sword was too good, I finished it very quickly. (Sheepishly brushes away book crumbs from chest.) Now I'm on the hold list for the Last One in the trilogy. Probably a good thing that I have to wait a bit for it. (I want it now!)
[Edited to add that I've found it's at the university library and tomorrow I will bring it home. Mwa!ha!ha!ha!]

When I felt a little stronger I watched Bendyspoon Cucumber in the BBC series To the Ends of the Earth which I hadn't heard of before. If you have any liking for Napoleonic War era shipboard fiction, or Benedict Cumberbatch's acting, you should try it. There are only three long episodes. It was shot in 2005 when BC was only 29 and looked convincingly a decade younger.

Last night in between and after hween candy deliveries at the door we watched Moonstruck. It was just as good as I remembered. Kat said "Cher is so pretty! Why did she have all that plastic surgery?!" No answer that I know except maybe, "She fears death."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Leaves, gourds, wrappers of terrible candies. Pumpkin acquired, we only lack one for oldest kid. Carving may start tonight if I feel the spirit. Less than a week away from all hallow's eve. Costumes aren't ready and Bun has said she may bail on the white rabbit and may go as Wednesday Addams. Shrug. My hermit crab is still a huge piece of cardboard in the garage and a gleam in my eye. We'll see, I fear that Nod got me a really sturdy box and the resulting shell will be too heavy to drag around. Must try.

Oh dear.
Cough and slight puniness cane upon me today. Sort of too bad I don't have another long weekend coming up.

Car driving license quest.
Last Friday I took our 9th grader to the city DMV office that is no longer open on Mondays or Saturdays but opens at 7am for its four day week. We got there about 8:15 and I told her that if the line filled all the chairs in the waiting room that I was not going to try to get in. But lo, the morning light showed only 4 chairs filled and two parties at the counter. We were at the counter forking over the many documents of identity within 20 minutes. Meanwhile the office radio played Carry On My Wayward Son which felt so right. Clearly the spheres had aligned. K went to the computer station to take her learner's permit test. I expected a fail as she had studied for the first time the night before. We'd also heard the clerk counseling a teenager who had failed it, 'usually people don't pass on the first try'.  But yay for spheres and luck and brains and stuff, she missed exactly the allowed number of questions and passed by the skin of her teeth. Her permit pic wasn't even terrible.

We toddled off straight to the cemetery for a first driving lesson. This seems to be the first thing I can think of that K is pretty bad at. You can't call her a natural driver. But only a few grass blades were run over and we all lived. Nod is looking forward to his turn as driving coach. As much practice as often as possible seems like the only way through.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wheel and turn

The maples are peaking and per tradition I haven't taken any photos. The autumness isn't bowling me over this year. I like it and the cool weather just fine. But some years it pierces my heart and so far I remain unpierced. Shrug. I had a moment of euphoria in NM about going north to Santa Fe. Maybe it was mostly the altitude and/or nostalgia, nonetheless I welcome it.

We're all sleeping later in the darker mornings and I am eating more. I par boiled some potatoes, halved lengthwise. Per the British instructions I then tossed them with olive oil, garlic and S&P and baked at 400 for 20 minutes. We all 4 liked them. Is that even allowed? We've entered roasting season! Seasonal shiftiness. Exercise has fallen away and I'm going to get to start again. Again.

Holey moley! Holy Hannah! I need some new old lady exclamations.

Third debate successfully avoided. I have seen some of the coverage and reactions today. Patton Oswalt's twitter feed is pretty entertaining just regarding the election this year. I have a sample ballot to make sure that I get info on the local candidates before making my marks. And I am still waiting for my absentee ballot in the mail. We haven't gotten any mail at all this week and I realize that it's time to take a utility bill to prove my residence and go ask for an explanation at the post office. I double checked to see if I had accidentally extended our mail hold beyond the NM dates. Not that I can see. Hoping to find a postal person to check this. Figuring it might take more than one run at the sheer face of the PO.

Reading Max Gladstone's Last First Snow and enjoying the Aztecan-labor politics-law firm-magical intellectualism of it. Ancillary Sword is in at the library so I need to whip through this one. It may be a while before I get through Lafayette -- I have a hard time resisting the fiction.Dessert first!

Pinky purply infinity scarf trimmed with purple bobbles was a big hit with youngest daught. I tried to text her a picture of it from the store as is the new custom. But my text took forever so I just bought it on spec. So satisfying to have it be a win. Older daught says she may want me to knit her a scarf, we'll scan Ravelry and see if anything grabs her. Was thinking of knitting a sweater for Bun but I know how poky I am. I'd like to finish my gray/white/blue sweater I started last winter before starting anything else. Guess I don't want to buy any more yarn right now so I'll see if I can pick this pattern up again.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Only a bit late for Coming Out Day, here's an affirming welcome from a book lover and former drama club teen Seanan McGuire. Very kind.

My kids are out of school Friday. One is at a friend's house for a sleepover. One brought a cough back from New Mexico and will be resting up. She has a choir concert on Monday so it's a race to get to the end of this cold as fast as possible.

This week was a bit steep after the vacation return. The kids both had end of quarter due dates to make sure all their makeup work was in. I've been productive in between bouts of screwing around at work. I feel that we've gotten thru it all quite well. Now I'm ready for a pumpkin and some time to make a costume.

Party trick party this weekend. I'm running off with a coworker's white board so I can demo mirror
writing. Gotta practice! Will bring juggling balls too. Totally looking forward to seeing all the tricks.

Inspector Grant and our cool omniscient narrator are totally filling the big for me lately. I'm on my third already.

Tazo's Sweet Cinnamon Spice tea is described in French thusly: Une tisane avec de douces volutes de cannelle mielleuse mariées à la saveur poivrée de l'anis étoilé.
I'd like someone to whisper that in my ear.

In addition to tea bags and Tey's mysteries I'm reading the Unger biography of the Marquis de Lafayette off and on and am feeling quite francophile.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Better than 'Clowns!' right? That's part of my face and the panorama in the sky at about 8:00am. We got up in the dark on Wednesday morning and got out to the field in time to watch the dozen dawn patrol balloons go up in the dimness. They did a beautiful flicker glow in the air. Floating lanterns, that's what hot air balloons are. So colorful! and it was super cold! and the green chile breakfast burritos from Hello Deli! were tasty! ABQ was looking good. We went to ride the tram up Sandia Crest but found that a few other people had that idea so we hiked part of the La Luz trail instead. Such a good idea. We also got to the Petroglyphs Nat'l Monument trail on the west side of town. Our wildlife tally: roadrunners, lizards, stink bugs. quail, jackrabbits, cottontails, rock squirrels, chipmunks and many little hopping birds.

Walked through the Shidoni Foundry sculpture garden in Tesuque and visited one of their galleries. There were loaded apple trees all over the property. The only signs reminded us not to climb on the sculptures so I told the kids they could have an apple. I think Kat ate 6 tiny ones. Photo management is of course yet to be done. I will try to post my favorite sculpture pic and balloon picture more in focus.

Trying to leave the politics alone. No one needs more of that. I will bend the rule in order to share something that made me laugh: here's the first debate, Bad Lip Reading Style.

That link and more laughing curated by Miss Cellania which I found via Nag on the Lake who continues to provide high quality links and images. Those Canadians -- you can count on them.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Leaf clock

Leaves all around are still green. But there is a little color at the edges of the burning bush shrubs and a little bit on the maple by the preschool play yard. I am waiting for the next stage. Probably it'll be dramatically advanced by the time we come back from ABQ.

I went looking for current Santa Fe aspen color pictures and didn't find any. Lots of postcard worthy pictures from some autumn who knows when. But I'm curious about current conditions. Like the view from I 25 coming north over La Bajada and the mountains above Santa Fu come in sight. Hopefully I'll get to see for myself. We may either take the train up for the day or drive up. I bought train tickets two years ago but decided to drive because wind and rain and tight timetable.

Had to look up how to spell La Bajada and found it and a nice description on this NM place name page.

Went to a show on Wednesday night with both kids. It was a band I had heard of but didn't know. We listened to some music online beforehand and thought it all sounded peppy and good. The band was fine but the sound volume was so high that it was distorted and painful. I felt badly for not bringing earplugs for the girls if not for myself. We made do with tissues. It was still fun to go out in the middle of the week. And I liked the deconstructed electric cello. And the violin player who performed in front of a fan with her SJP hair flying and a glittered electric violin.

Arts walk and Standing Rock protest and circus performance, it's a busy night tonight.

This review of Luke Cage makes me want to give it a try.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Come on

I discovered yesterday that people have recorded and posted sunset videos on youtube. I searched for 'NM sunset' and found a slew of time lapse videos of beautiful skies and terrain as the light changes. My kind of video wallpaper.

[lovely weeds image ganked from Bandelier's facebook post]

I saw an update on fbook by the Bandelier National Monument park that recommended coming out to camp this weekend. They provided some details to draw in visitors. The chamisa and asters are in bloom. There was a star talk on Thursday night and then a ranger talk on wildlife on Friday night. Saturday night there are Santa Fe Opera singers visiting and performing. The Jemez Mountain Elk Festival is also going on at the (relatively nearby) Valles Caldera National Preserve on Saturday. I would go for almost any of these reasons.

I guess I'm missing northern New Mexico. The fall is the best and the most melancholy season. I'll be in ABQ on October 4 for hot air balloons and a mom visit. And it's not even soon enough.  

I have found the list of offices we'll vote on for our local/state/fed election in November. Now I have to make sure I know who I'm after. I may do the absentee ballot to get it out of my brain early. Except for the worrying about the outcome.

I'm pretty much in love with Sunday's forecast of a high of 72 and raining.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

At a remove

I've been reading British authors, which is not a surprise. But these most recent two books have both got me feeling the distance between me and the narrators which is more surprising. Both of them have child narrators: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Man at the Helm. I found Curious had me tense on behalf of Christopher. I just never felt he was safe. The book gets high marks for its world view and the revelations of the first half. The end was more family soap opera than dramatic development. I think I secretly wanted there to be an unrealistically hopeful development for Christopher. It's for the best that didn't happen.

I'm not finding Man as funny as I think I'm meant to. Perhaps if I imagine it as a Wes Anderson film...

Adding to the list of things I didn't find funny recently:  A Bit of Fry and Laurie, season 1 and Broad City, the pilot. I did like watching some of the Fry and Laurie but.. that'll do me. Broad City is apparently not aimed at me. Maybe if I smoked more pot? To console myself and remember that I do sometimes find things funny, I will point out that Patton Oswalt's Talking for Clapping had me crying with laughter.

Hot and humid this week as we slide over the equinox. When I came out of the grocery store last night I even had my glasses fog over a bit. I just read that 'equinoxes' is a pig-ugly construction but I don't think equinoctes is any improvement. I'm looking forward to a cool down on Sunday but I should probably just assume it's going to be like this for the next two weeks and then I can be happily surprised when it switches. (Come on crisp mornings!!)

Updated to add that I finished A Man at the Helm last night and it was very satisfying. The book managed to make me lose all patience with the mother and then start over as she started over. I like the narrator telling us she wished that it could have been just her mother at the helm but that all humans need someone(s) in their corner.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Boars at the beach

Sangliers à la plage link via Belgian Waffle:

EN IMAGES - Pyrénées-Orientales : une famille de sangliers à la plage

And why are wild boars called sangliers in French which sounds like sang (blood)? Merriam Webster says the word comes from the latin root singularis meaning solitary. A very unbloody explanation.

Bun says she wants an infinity scarf so I'm parking these here.

Just had a pop-in visit from K on her way home from school. So grown up. Although she says that she walks through campus feeling like a young imposter. Hey, you're not a college student! There are some students that look younger than she does...

All our gullies got washed last night and this morning. Nod wants to go camping and it just sounds damp and skeetery to me.


California Academy of Sciences photos of arranged diatoms. I thought I had recorded this before but search says no.

Friday, September 9, 2016


Pumpkin Spice Smellovision
Via Schmutzie, a seasonal visit with our guinea pig pals:

Bundle up
We're having rain and steamy temperatures in the 80s. It could be worse I suppose (90s). Tonight is supposed to be the big cooldown and I am full of anticipation. It's possible that a light layer could be required first thing tomorrow morning. [gleeful clapping]

French Ham
I was widening my Hamilton interests by reading about the Marquis de Lafayette. First I found Sarah Vowell's book Lafayette in the Somewhat United States . It appears to have started life online as she refers to her readers as "dear Internet" at one point. It's a quick read and a good use of her deep appetite for American history and using it to understand our current government. I had some burning questions: what happened to the Marquis in the French Revolution? Did he keep his head? As an aristocratic military man he would seem to be on the wrong end of many of the factions. The book has some info about this although it's mostly about his American Revolution experience and his nostalgia tour in the 1820s. During the French Revolution he rushed around Paris trying to get the mobs to stop executing priests and minor nobles for a while. He wrote that this was temporarily effective but that after he left them, the crowds went back to arson and murder. Eventually he had to leave for his own safety. He ended up in an Austrian prison for several years. And I have questions about this experience and what else happened for him in France.

I thought those questions would be answered by a 'serious' biography I snatched up at the library by Bris. But Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution turns out to be a terribly translated book by a determined name-dropper. I read the first two chapters and decided that was more than enough. George Holoch's translation retains so much of the original French construction and word choice that it staggers woodenly down the page. I will try again with something composed in English.

This blog post describes the wow that most of us get from the musical. It also does a good job of discussing the ticklish issues of race and Founders' glamour that are necessarily woven through the work.

Red rubies
The great tomato thickets are starting to drop their leaves. The still vast ranks of cherry tomatoes are easier to find now. It's been quite a successful tomato patch.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


What a nice white rectangle this space is before I type anything. A good place to contemplate the void until the chatter begins.

The Band Day parade is Saturday and it starts at 8:00am. As an early bird I think this is exciting but I wonder if the turnout will be low. The weather forecast is nice, clear and high in the 70s so we don't have to watch the high schoolers roast in their marching uniforms.

Problematic ball game season is here! My oldest kid is excited for the NFL season to start, she says that's her favorite professional sport. I like watching it too even though I worry about the players' brains and deplore the all-American sexism and war cult. We talk a lot about how messed up the whole racket is. I feel better about enjoying baseball since it's mostly non contact and seems more human although professional players are the 1% of the 1% in their sport.

We've watched a lot of Alton Brown's Cutthroat Kitchen which is sort of like Chopped without the teary bio pieces on the competitors, complete with sad music and sometimes tears. I appreciate AB's no-hug policy for his show. It is a ridiculous and absurd competition which does not reward planning ahead but rather luck and I guess persistence. It makes me realize how we humans are usually ready to play a game. What are the rules? How do I engage with you? We are some weird primates, man.

All hail Smitten's pizza recipe! I finally made it and lo, it was fab. Totally worth using up a 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes. I just made cheese, didn't even try to zip it up with exciting toppings. I still like my dad's hamburger and veggie pizza recipe (more cornmeal in the crust). But this is a good addition to the repetoire.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Stormy hermits

Glarey yellow light first thing this morning. But no tornado, just a gullywasher on the way to work. We had wind gusts before the storm hit last night. Hail on the west side of town, just hard rain on our side.

The cloud show in the evening as the storm approached was amazing. First the front coming from the west, backlit by the setting sun, towering up and growing over the sky. The western sky filled in until it was all gray with lightning. Then the eastern clouds took front stage. There was a blossoming thunderhead that lasted for the 15 minutes I spent driving east to get home. The brilliant white top of the cloud mass changed from looking like a swelling snowball, to like a poodle's floofy top knot, to a huge white thing with a flat layer... words fail me. It was spectacular viewing. "Clouds are a glimpse into the mighty power of fluid dynamics", indeed.

My hermit hair shirt is feeling too tight. Need to get a social plan going. First I am going to message my neighbor down the street to see if I can catch up with her. Then I will send an email to another hermit and see if we can align in a rare sociable phenom. Perhaps I'll make a hermit crab costume for Halloween...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Onward and upward

Adventure university: there sure are a lot of students. The big wave is underway. More fun than not so far.

Adventure high school: they don't actually use their lockers, just shlep everything in backpacks. K has plenty of classes with older students. Will K ride the bus or get a ride from a friend's family? Who knows? She's managing it so far. First self description essay of the year completed. Boy, I hated those assignments. Do we need to buy a new snare drum?

Adventure middle school: B will pick up her ipad today (I assume the district has insurance). Auditions for show choir were yesterday (she's a shoe-in). Walking two blocks to get to school is still a good deal.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Many competing plans for this weekend. I am glad that the forecast is not cooperating with star gazing since I would rather get my hair cut than camp on Saturday. Oldest wants to ride the buses and get a sense of how that's going to work. Then she has a sleepover planned Saturday night. She proposed a family outing for Ethiopian food on Sunday. I would like a non-food-related family activity as well. Frisbee last week was great. 'All that I was hoping parenting would be', as a friend said about jumping in the salt water waves with her 10y.o.

Olympics are inspiring the kids. I was repelled by the Brazilian messed up priorities, protests, economic stupidity. But even I couldn't look away from the women's team gymnastics. And this photo. They are good smilers.

Today I learned that there is such a thing as women's cricket in the UK. "Vipers reach Finals Day despite Edwards duck." What a lovely foreign language.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Oldest woke up with a painful sore throat and fever. Doesn't want to go see a doctor. I've asked her to gargle with hot salt water and take acetaminophen. Guess I'll run home at lunch to check to see if I can tell if it's strep.

Give him enough rope and stand back. Seems to be working. I am doing some news dieting and it's a good thing. Even if I don't want any video or audio I do love this turn of phrase from commenter David C. "He knows about as much about governing as a pig knows about Sundays."

Nod wants to go camping this weekend and see if we can see any of the Perseid meteors. I am sad to cancel a haircut appointment. But would love to see some stars. hm.

Here's where I confess my fanlove of a long interview by Emma Watson of Lin Manuel Miranda from March 2016. There are 4 videos. If you just want to see them sort Hamilton characters in to the Hogwarts houses go directly to #4. I watched the first one again with Bun whose eyes glazed over almost immediately. I enjoy being in that hotel room with two people so admiring of each other and fired up about art, with the NYC traffic and sirens dimly audible. "My job is to be in love." Wow, what a job.

I got my copy of the soundtrack and have enjoyed listening to the entire play in order for a change. Bun has her favorite six tracks and we heard a lot of those over and over. is good scrolling too even if I am not likely to pop up in Times Square any time soon.

I am interested in C Newman's nacho cheese sauce recipe.

Tried a Campion mystery recently. It had a great opening chapter, I was tickled. But along the way it threw in lots of racist stereotypes and the ending was oh so silly. Don't think I'll be going back.

Dramatic history of Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania.

Am filing this link to a fanfic site found via matociquala:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A feather on the breath of God

Eagles breeding successfully in Yosemite park. "They seem to be colonizing places beyond our wildest dreams." I am happy to see them rebound in the states. Just read that because fish populations are depleted in Maine eagles are eating more birds than fish. I am not an eagle but usually I don't eat fish except for catfish because I can't stand to eat ocean fish that can't recover. Also I live inland so why pay for coastal fish to be transported? Anyway, go eagles!

Day off resulted in clean laundry and baba ghanoush. Took kids on several errands. Was foiled by DMV, both times we dropped by all the waiting chairs were taken and it didn't look possible. I did learn where to get the handbook online so that the 14 y.o. can study for her learner's permit test. Maybe we'll get there before she's 15. But maybe not.

I was not full of refreshment but it was good to have some time not at the job. Trying to get back to work now. Can you tell?

Cat had a limp last weekend but after I worried for enough days it got better. She seems to be almost back to normal now. She is avoiding the new cat food (with the stupid name 'i and love and you') that I switched to. I will go and see if I can find the previously acceptable no-grain Iams to mix in. On the other side of the coin, she was pleased by the linens I spread over chairs to dry in the sun. Instant cat pavilion.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Very tired. Drinking my black tea and yawning at my afternoon desk. One more night of hosting. We'll do some activities on Saturday then have early dinner and get them to their airport hotel by 7pm. Then we're done, I think. Some people are going to the airport Sunday morning to see the visitors off but I think that represents more dedication than I can muster.

I think I hit my marks and made the food and washed the things and it's okay. Our guests are sweet but not very outgoing. I wish I could find my world atlas so we could have the map-based talk of my dreams.

The DNC lifted my mood more than I expected. The emphasis on public service felt like an oasis.


Edited to add: Sewage line backup in our basement on Friday afternoon. Nod sounded the alarm and the program coordinator found spots for the visitors to sleep that night since we didn't know if we could stay in the house. Owner (I am trying to find a new word for landlord/landlady) responded right quick, got plumber to show at 8pm and snake the tree roots. "This happens every two years or so." Hmm. She got the mess cleaned up in the basement with Tide and bleach. All better by 9:30.

Got the visitors back the next day and Nod took them to the lake and then got them to their airport hotel. I would like to take a vacation now and in fact will take Tuesday off to exercise and unwind.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July intensity

All the DNC update you need is Luvvie's convo about Uncle Bernie's hair game. Or maybe that's just me. I am not listening to coverage from this convention either because speeches usually leave me arguing back at the radio/tv. But from the Michelle Obama highlights I heard this morning I might go back and listen to her piece.

The Ozarks were beautiful. The roads were windy, the vistas gorgeous, and the water was clear at Beaver Dam Lake. We visited a cave and squeed at the cuteness that is Eureka Springs AR. We deplored the Loser Flag we saw here and there. But we were cheered at the unexpected rainbows. I am betting there is a good boxfull of novels set in Eureka Springs, I'll have to research the subject. I discovered that I am not a natural kayaker. Nonetheless I would kayak again. I saw a leetle snake swim out of the lake up onto shore with a 2" minnow in its jaws. I admired many Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies. It was hot and I am glad to be home.

We pick up our Japanese guests tonight. The house is as ready as it gets and we are excited. The county fair ought to provide some good essence of USA.

Being the lazy cave dweller that I am, I am looking forward to August when I get to retreat and not do anything extra for a while.

Oldest has made it onto the far high school's rolls because I spoke with a band coordinator and got updates about student orientation for freshmen. She told me yesterday that she's not excited about practicing to get better at snares and would rather drop band. I asked her to do it freshman year and then see. We parents think she would be a kick ass drumline member but if that's not what she wants then I can't see forcing the issue.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I'm in love. In limerance. Yes, that's right, I can't stop thinking about Hamilton. This makes me feel thirteen and silly and that's okay! I still remember listening to the library cassette set of Sweeney Todd with earphones on and scaring myself in 8th or 9th grade. This makes for a very nice fantasy counterbalance to the heavy realities of national and international news. Oh you boys! I'm going to buy the CD to pay for all the youtubing and so I can sing my head off in the car. And not subject my spouse to this too much.

Last Friday night we went to the outdoor pool and got the greatest cloud show I have ever seen. Great towering piles arose and marched across the southern sky. Beautiful forms, white topped snowy pillars and gauzy grey layers and swooping streams of mist. I didn't catch the stalking line of sentinels but I took this picture after lightning was spotted and the lifeguards kicked us out of the water. The clouds came north and we had more lightning but no rain that night.

We went home and watched the bats swooping above us for a while. Bats!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


What a weepy week. So much to cry about.

We got our kid back from her big trip. She's not quite over jet lag yet but isn't completely nocturnal either. I'm happy I get to see and interact with her for part of the day.

Got some things ready for our Japanese houseguests starting 7/26. Got some more to do. Worrying intermittently about feeding and entertaining them. Will involve other family members to worry or reassure as they can.

Scrubbed the kitchen floor as part of the house spiffening. Also because I was tired of the stickiness. It is very nice to walk across on bare feet now. But the scrubbing was hard and my hands got tired and I was pooped afterwards. I'm lucky to have a spouse who insisted that I eat something and then whisked me off to jump in a pond. We had it almost all to ourselves and it felt good.

Yogging has been on hiatus for a few days. No morning opps this week, maybe I'll get to the indoor track again.

I've got no novel and it's getting to me. Nod gave me a Dortmunder and I enjoyed that a lot. How could I have missed him? There are a slew of them too, lots of consolation there.

Another list of good stuff to entertain us is this best comedies of the 2000's from the AV Club. So many that are tantalizing me and others that I greet with glee and am happy to see appreciated.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016


Yesterday was an unexpectedly gentle summer day. Thunder and rain came around dawn, making the plants happy. It made me happy too as I had mowed the front (after having almost a month off from my lawn mowing hobby) the night before. At noon it was breezy and in the high eighties, not nearly as steamy and muggyhot as we had been promised. Today also started with thunderstorms so again no watering is necessary. We may achieve truly muggy conditions later on.

Nod and I are going to drop off the Subaru this evening and then head to the pagan skinny dipping pond. I'm looking forward to jumping off the floating dock.

Last night I was terribly efficient and after jogging on the indoor track I zipped to the library for a presentation on the microbiology of our water treatment plant. Happily the library A/C was performing so my post-run sweatiness didn't overwhelm me or the other attendees. A very peppy microbiologist spoke about the parts of a basic microscope and collecting equipment and how to look for interesting critters collected from puddles, ponds, etc. She gave us a rough sketch of germ theory and the emergence of treating water sources and sewage treatment. Water treatment (with some form of chlorine) gave immediate health benefits once it was used routinely after 1920ish. Sewage treatment didn't become widespread in the US until 1948 when a federal effort gave money and expertise to cities to develop wastewater treatment plants. I hadn't realized it was so recent.

Here's Renee's Microscopic Adventures tumblr which gives you a sense of her pep and contains some great critter pictures.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Into July

Youngest did great on stage for Beauty and the Beast. She had a wonderful time with her friends backstage too. Which stirs up all sorts of happy memories for me. Bun has been singing Hamilton songs for a few weeks so I'm riding her coattails to that fandom as well. Yay musicals!

Updates and photos continue to come in every few days from Kat and the chaperones. I just emailed her so she'll know we haven't forgotten about her. We pick her up Sunday afternoon. I miss her but find I'm experiencing less separation anxiety than when she went to camp in 5th grade. She's got more tools now and is with friends.

4th - we got a couple of other families to join us on the levee for fireworks watching. It started at 9:45 which is late for me. And it involved getting stuck on one side of the river while traffic empties out afterward. I would like a fireworks experience I can casually drop in on. I'll have to work on that.

We're going through watermelon, berries and stone fruit just as fast as we can. But regret = finding a 2# box of strawberries back in the lowest back corner of the fridge when they are fuzzy and past the point of no return. Boo.

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Big Day

On Thursday we got up at 4:30 am ish and got our 14 year old out to the airport to meet with her travel group by 6. We hugged and took some photos and headed back to town.

My 12 year old and I went to lunch with my mother-in-law. Then we dropped Bun off at the arts center for her dress rehearsal call. MIL and I chilled out until it was time for Bun's break at 3:30. She had to go back for a 5:30 call for opening night performance at 7.

Nod came home from work and told me that it was very important to him to watch the opening night performance sitting next to me. I only bought two tickets for each evening performance thinking we could take turns going with his mother who drove 700 miles to see her grandkids and us. I was able to buy another ticket which left grandma sitting in the top row and Nod and I in row D. I am feeling guilty about this and sorry for hurting MIL's feelings. Tonight will hopefully make up for it. Ugh. Why can't I manage everyone else's feelings successfully all the time?

The performance was sweet. The dance interludes were adorable. I am amazed they can pull a musical together in a month. There was even live music!!! An upright bass, drum set and a keyboard/synth played by the music director. Bun did a great job. I find myself projecting while I watch her, wondering how the song or the scene feels. Nod is slayed by seeing her sing on stage. A triumph of a kids' show!

Kat emailed to say that she was in Japan and eating seaweed salad. Wishing good adventures for the whole group.

You have much joy in your life right now says my coworker.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Something that makes you glad

I learned something about my spouse this week. He planted some of the starter plants we bought on Father's Day from our favorite farm store. When he came in afterwards he was in a mighty snit and bringing up random injustices he had suffered from us all. But as he calmed down, lo and behold he got to what was bringing all this on. He hates to be muddy. He hates having his hands in the wet dirt to get the plants in. This was a wonderful discovery because he could take immediate steps to feel better (wash, change clothes) and he can delegate the mud parts to me or to the kids who don't mind an occasional wallow. And the world got a little better.

We planted the rest of the starters in the front. Nod and the girls had a good time with his crazy watering wand hose attachment. I think it may be better for splashing your sister across the yard than for watering the plants.

I find having the plants in the ground very cheerful. We'll see if we can get them through the hot stuff. The weather forecast is: keep watering.

Via Nag I followed a link to the Winged Lion etsy store with beautiful jewelry including of course a winged lion, bees and a pomegranate pendant. I'm liking their ring designs and am mooning over this one. Must stop looking at vintagey rings...

EMK is fussing this month. A quote that I very much like:  let loose and see what happens when you express yourself and then shape it into something unique that makes you glad.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer striving

Too good not to share
Description of games and competitions at an 1826 fair in Hungerford England. My favorite is the backswording event: a man's left arm is tied to his side and he is given a stout stick to wield in his right. Win by making your opponent bleed from the head! I'm sorry about the duck and the owl. In case time travel is invented I want to make it clear that I wouldn't want to actually go to this fair. I do like Dr. Beachcombing's history offerings and how he refers to himself in the third person.

Rabbits are gone from the front. Either maturity or mortality has had an effect and I don't want to know. Maybe it's time to dig up this hole and return it to lawn. Surely that would reduce the bunny-nesting siren song of our front yard.

Sweated out by a fire last night and sang some songs to welcome in the summertime. I guess I need to learn the old 'sumer is a cumen in' or something else seasonally appropriate as we do like to mark the corners of the seasons. Casual pagans are we. The grass is a little shriveled and we are watering the plants we want to live. My borage tipped over and is horizontal. Still flowering though so I'll keep watering and hoping. Maybe it'll reseed at least. The plants that Nod bought at the farm store on Sunday are enjoying themselves in our living room. Maybe they'll get in the ground by week's end.

My walking speed in the heat is much reduced and the parking lot at work is being resurfaced and I'm a couple minutes further away and everything takes longer than in the cooler months.

Making the scene
I've been out late the last two weeknights and that shit's gotta stop. Maria BAMF Bamford was really wonderful and her opener, Jackie Kashian was an excellent surprise. We're still repeating some of Jackie's bits especially on the pursuit of the 'pointy' body. Here's an NYT Magazine piece on Maria that is admiring but a bit leaden. She is such her own flavor.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Outside and Inside

Photo related ideas to share from Ursula Vernon
Ladybug project to evaluate the changes in distribution of different species. You can help by sending photos of ladybugs with time/date, location and habitat.

A post that posits a cyber-arm to eliminate shakiness when using a highly magnified lens. I love this idea so much. Not that I want my arm to be replaced but just the idea of a non-weaponized robot arm. Yay!

Ack so so sorry
I think I stepped on a baby bunny when I got out of my car just now at home. I heard a screech and then nothing. I walked around the car but didn't see any critter or bird in distress so I went in the house. When I came back out, baby bunny was in the corner of the lawn right by my car door. It flinched as I approached but stayed low to the ground. It looked intact. I got around it and didn't try to bother it. So upsetting, I thought of it all afternoon. I was relieved to get back home and not find it in the same spot. These bunnies are going to kill me.

Inside time
I'm excited that Love & Friendship is still playing at our downtown arthouse cinema. This weekend will bring excellent conditions for spending time in an air conditioned theater. Now to scare up another comedy of manners girly film appreciator.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Graze Snuffle Grunt

From a Metafilter thread asking for recommended long form ambient videos, a three hour video of bison grazing at Yellowstone.

A what liqueur?
David Lebovitz makes a cocktail called the Chin Up with some overly fancy gin and an Italian artichoke liqueur. Oh DL, you lost me at the artichoke. I like the name but I won't ever drink a Chin Up.

Hand made
I have looked at many recipes for homemade pizza. I am an okay baker. I have made good bread before. But I haven't ever attempted pizza from scratch. Here's another recipe to read. It remains to be seen if I will pull that trigger.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Hot to trot
I've let the bingo wings get a little too wobbly and now it's time for corrective measures. I managed some cheater pushups and planks last week and will continue. I jogged on Monday morning before I am usually out of bed. I am still waiting for some rush of exercise-provoked energy. Stupid hot is the forecast for the next two days. So if I jog it has to be first thing again. Stupid hot coincides with longest days this month anyway so that should work.

My belly deserves its own paragraph. I keep finding it sticking out, sitting on my lap and am tired of it. My paternal grandmother had a belly that stuck out and she wore a girdle when she got dressed up. As practical as that solution is I find I have no interest in Spanx, the modern girdle. I wonder if the planks etc. can have any effect. Or is it my dowager's gut?

Fully fledged
They're out. The DC Eaglecam site says that the two younguns left the nest on the 5th and 9th of June. I saw one bird earlier today when I checked Cam B. With the light behind it I couldn't see much detail. I think it was an eaglet. I am relieved that they got through the most vulnerable time of their lives.

Nursing kits
As much cannot be said for the baby bunnies in our front yard, six feet from our front steps. I was getting ready to pick K up last evening but stopped when I saw mama bunny through the front door window. She was nursing. I've been told that only lasts a few minutes a day for wild rabbits and I couldn't bear to interrupt. There was another adult rabbit nearby. Rabbits don't go about in mated pairs do they? I was held hostage by rabbits until she covered the kits back up and I felt I could disrupt the scene.

I'm quite tired of the news cycle even though lord knows I don't expose myself to much of it. I wish we could get reporters to hold off for a week so the investigation could actually advance before more comment. I'm told by friends of friends that the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence are two effective groups to donate to.

Portal death
" In those days, even in European countries, death had a solemn social importance. It was not regarded as a moment when certain bodily organs ceased to function, but as a dramatic climax, a moment when the soul made its entrance into the next world, passing in full consciousness through a lowly door to an unimaginable scene. Among the watchers there was always the hope that the dying man might reveal something of whaqt he alone could see; that his countenance, if not his lips, would speak, and on his features would fall some light or shadow from beyond. The "Last Words" of great men, Napoleon, Lord Byron, were still printed in gift-books, and the dying murmurs of every common man and woman were listened for an treasured by their neighbours and kinsfolk. These sayings, no matter how unimportant, were given oracular significance and pondered by those who must one day go the same road. "

From Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. It was enjoyable for the descriptions of the 1800s New Mexican landscape and culture-scape. But far too uncritical of the church missionary fathers and their work. I enjoyed handling the copy I got from the univ library that was printed on rag paper and had checkout stamps going back to the 1970s.

Monday, June 6, 2016


Spuds ahoy
"You’ve planted early, hilled carefully, cultivated and fertilized. Your potato plants are full and healthy. Now you’re wondering when to harvest potatoes you’ve so carefully tended."

Or in my case, "You've been throwing veg scraps into your compost pile for 20 months now. At some point you must have included some viable potatoes because there are happy green potato vines exploding from the front of the bin." I considered trying to transplant them into the garden and then realized that the leaves and stems were too big and I would only rip up the plants. Better to leave them where they are clearly having a good time.

The short answer from the site linked above is a) after the tops of the vines have withered and b) before the first frost. So I'll be dodging around the potato plants as I throw more scraps in the bin this summer.

My peppermint has taken hold in the front so the herbal project currently consists of thyme and mint. Very useful even if I can only get those two to go. Planted some zinnia seeds too and they have sprouted, I'm looking forward to them. I continue to pull out all the moonflower upstarts except for the biggie in the back by the house. I weeded a little and was rewarded when I saw a toad hop. Happy to know it's there. I will need to water as we have finally been given a sweet sunny high pressure system.

A couple of recent things that grabbed me at the Mole blog. This one is quite gentle. This one is more uncomfortable. His writing has a lot about watching the cycles of the earth and feeling more or less included in them.

Friday, June 3, 2016


New horizons
Eaglets are up on branches! I had to switch to Cam B when I didn't see them both in A. I was wondering how restrictive the nest was for them now that they have significant wingspan. Now they can sulk with some distance between them rather than jostling every time they turn around. I wonder how it feels to spend so much time in one spot and then get the drive to fly. So happy to see them spread out.

Done mowed
Mowed the last two evenings so we are no longer in danger of being lost in the jungle. It was hard and I am a boss. I found a round fuzzy item in the tall grass and was relieved it was an old tennis ball and not a baby bunny. Hope to move on to different evening amusements for a few days.

River rising
I hear that there is more flooding in Texas. The Lake Travis beach where we swam has been closed because levels have risen to the parking lots. Oklahoma was the greenest I've ever seen it. Lots of lush grass that made it seem inevitable to have cows. Why wouldn't you have cows with all that grass? Texas was largely covered in wildflowers.

Nod created a chore chart and it is causing wonder and awe amongst us. The first day back from our trip we told the kids what we expected them to do before we got home from work. They didn't and there was a certain amount of wailing/gnashing until it got done. Since then they are accomplishing the listed daily stuff. I still don't understand how the weekly items are indicated.

I remembered that the cat was out at 3am this morning. She shot out when I was bringing in groceries about 9:30p and I closed the door behind her. She ran in pretty sharpish when I called at 3. Argh. Maybe I need a checklist before bed: two kids, two pets. I'll only need the fingers on one hand to count them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Update Me

Witchy fairy
Florence was delightful, there was no rain, and the ground was not as muddy as I expected. Sadly we had a miscommunication that resulted in K running off to find her own spot to watch the concert and being AWOL for the entire thing. Nod lost his mind and wasn't able to enjoy the performance while Kid 1 was possibly lying in a ditch. She trotted back after the finale and before the first encore. He cried, she cried, I tried to stay out of it. I guess it's all better now. Florence and her machinists gave great show. If she is not consciously working magic on her audiences then I think it's happening under a very thin surface.

Road trip
We went to Texas! and came back! I got to bed early last night and needed it. So many people on the highways of Tejas, it's a challenging environment. The weather cooperated after we got out of Kansas which last week was concentrating on storming. Highlights: a great swim in Lake Travis, some fine tacos and good visits with old friends. The Alamo is still there but I'd recommend going in the winter rather than on a hot summer holiday afternoon.

So mow
The grass it is so damn tall
Even in the front
Where I mowed most recently

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


This poem is sweetness. And the big sky picture takes it up even higher.

Schmutzie also poses a vocabulary challenge, the sort of puzzle I love. Is there one word that touches on empathy and consideration?  If so I haven't thought of it yet. The concept she describes is accepting a person and truly listening even during difficult exchanges. It reminds me of the feeling I get from the Buddhist loving kindness prayer. May all beings be safe.

I've fallen into a blog called BitchesGottaEat and I may not come out again.

We're going to a family outdoor concert to see Florence and the Machine tonight. It's been raining off and on. But now I see sunlight. The last hour by hour forecast I looked at held steady at 30% chance all night. Gotta roll those dice and see what happens.

I'm intrigued by the concept of this game, Lanterns: the Harvest Festival. Mr. Wheaton describes it as strategically interesting to experienced players while at the same time being very easy to teach to newcomers. And pretty colors! It's $25 on the amzn so not a casual decision.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Flying practice

The DC eaglets are suddenly huge. I watched the near eaglet hopping back and forth trying out its wings. Then there was some up and down hopping with flapping, that bird is getting ready!

© 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG

This TED talk by Dr. Sarah Hallberg tells about reversing the effects of Type 2 diabetes with a low carb diet. She adopted this high fat/low carb diet for herself as well as prescribing it for her patients. She says she still bakes but uses coconut flour or nut flour in place of grain flours. Sigh. I applaud her efforts at using food to reverse the effects of a disorder caused by food. I can imagine someday giving up sugar (I wonder if I will go through withdrawal) but cannot imagine giving up all grains and potatoes and depending on coconuts.

Mmm, clouds! Nice blog post about a new type of cloud described by participants in the Cloud Appreciation Society. A lot of those photos remind me of the sky I watched as a storm rolled in recently. I still love seeing air as a liquid.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Can do

UPDATED to add link for buying these in sticker form. I still like to read them all together. Ah.

Go Outdoor
I think anyone with a cute tolerance needs to see this quick guide to a good life:  Gale Galligan 3x5.
Saw it on the tkingfisher tumblr. I wish she was selling $10-or-less prints, I would buy some.

I made terrible coffee this morning. Now I feel that I am owed better coffee over lunch. I think the grounds must have been leftover from the previous day. Nod makes coffee with day-old grounds all the time but I think it tastes stale and blah. I don't mind adding to the grounds if a pot's just been made the same morning. But some time after hour 3 the magic evaporates.

Many Milks
I have switched to soy milk for my morning cereal. I put 2% in my coffee. I also bought whole milk in the glass bottle at oldest child's request. I have an old container of buttermilk in the back of the fridge. Need to cut down, man.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Movers and shakers

Sweet confirmation and a photo of the land lobster! Terrestrial crayfish are intriguing.

Spent Mother's Day finishing the biography of Douglas Bader, Reach For the Sky. I believe I heard of him via Box-Elder. My impression of the WWII RAF aces was pretty diffuse, I didn't know any individuals. It's quite a story, losing both legs in a crash that happened because of a stupid dare. Learning to walk -- without a stick -- on two artificial legs. And dance, and golf. Accepted back to the RAF and back to flying because of the start of war and of course his excellent skills. He survived another crash *because* he didn't have legs. It may also have saved him in the crash over France where he was taken prisoner by the Germans. He ran into David Niven a couple of times too.

The quiet day of reading was facilitated by rain. Softly falling from noon on. Did our weekend in the right order with sunshine and outings on Saturday, sleeping in and reading punctuated by laundry on Sunday.

The latest Marvel movie started slow but ended well. I told my husband I was kind of sick of Capt. America's hood with the 'A' on it. He told me to shut my blaspheming mouth. I think it's a comic book thing. I was surprised that there hasn't been talk of spoilers for this one. It's because it would be hard to spoil. There's no big reveals just a whole bunch of things happening and strands weaving together. The first third is full of angsty superheroes, my least favorite kind. Most of them buck up as events unfold.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


So many good things accomplished recently. Topped up my tire air pressure and got gas. Got the groceries. Mowed the front. Got kid to her audition and callbacks (it's pay-to-play theatre so everybody gets called back). Rescheduled and then cancelled the weekly music lessons. Confirmed that our dear pet sitter can step in for us over Mem. Day weekend while we're in Texas.

Why do I have yuck in the back of my sinuses? My head aches if I lean over too far. Current theory: allergies. I have a trip to the drugstore planned so I can get more genericzyr. And try to return a prescription.

The Last Policeman was a good read. Told my husband not to ever read it. The synopsis for Battlestar Galactica made him too sad to watch the reboot. The remnants of the human race escaping from a destroyed earth just depressed him too much to enjoy the space opera. Not me! The book is a good mix of apocalyptic, noir, and police procedural.

Maybe I'd rather imagine an apocalypse different than the one we're living through. I am sad that we are killing the coral and the 'charismatic megafauna'. I can't even type that without weeping. I suppose the adaptive species will fill in, the ones that can skirt human development.


Just read that as the Rep nominee, Trump will get classified intelligence briefing(s?) before the election.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Hairy flowers
The poppies have popped and are gorgeous along the back fenceline. Such hairy plants. Thinking about weeds dislodged a memory of our backyard in Oakland where the previous tenant had a powerful green thumb. Our doula was happy to see borage growing and had me use it in soothing sitz baths postpartum. I told her to come pick whenever she wanted. It also has soft hairy leaves and flowers. I'm sure it would grow in the Kansas summer, wonder if it would be discouraged by a long cold winter.

Image result for borage flower

Goodness there are a lot of Bernie Gunther books. Not sure I need to be a completist here.

Get yer skates on
Neighbor Suzy texted me on Saturday for a run. I moaned and groaned and put on my kit. Good to get out in the air and work up a sweat. Maybe I can do that again tonight. In addition to the groceries run. Tomorrow is a mow day.

Bun went through the audition process on Sunday for the summer youth musical. It required some bravery. Sounds like it went very well. Parents were not invited so we nervously chatted in the waiting room. I admired the young woman who managed the process and told everyone where to go without yapping or bellowing at anyone. Callbacks tonight, cast list will be posted later this week I think.