Friday, December 22, 2023

Gentle darkness

I could certainly use some slow time. Getting up for the last work day was hard this morning. I'm grateful that I have more than a week off. 

K and L got craft supplies and we celebrated the solstice by playing with colors and paper and candles. Very sweet. When I went to bed I could hear my kids laughing at Taskmaster. 

My radiation treatments are over and I can tell the tenderness is receding. Nod is over Covid but it kicked his ass and will be a gradual process. Glad to be here - it could be worse! 

MIL is arriving after xmas, just in time to help celebrate my mom's birthday. Mom has offered to put her up which is very nice. I made a reservation at mom's favorite downtown restaurant for all of us. It's a work day for Nod so who knows if he'll join. L leaves 12/29, K on the 30th and E on the 31st. Then I get a couple days of holiday to myself.    

Get twinkling and have a sweet end to the year.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

jazz, shhhh

Apparently my old person progress has reached the vintage jazz stage. Here's what's been flipping my switch lately.

An Oscar Peterson Christmas:

Thought about Eubie Blake because one of our major streets is Eubank. (His name is a nickname for Hubert, of course, not Eubank.) I enjoyed watching him play the rag he composed as a youngster. And that led me to Willie 'The Lion' Smith who I had never heard of. Performance in mid 60s Paris:

Love the stillness of his body while his hands do their thing.

Just saw Earl Hines recommended by John Darnielle (Mountain Goats) and this album is making my morning Fine and Dandy:

Nod's over his bout of Covid, with just a little cough and tiredness remaining. He went back to work on Monday and I have never seen someone so happy to get out of the house. I'm done with my radiation treatments and taking the rest of December off from my boring part time job (pursuing my own healthcare). I feel good and am grateful. 

Youngest is home after finals and we went to the mountains to cut a tree. I made Nod climb a steep slope and felt guilty about it later. But I wanted him to approve the tree I found. It was about perfect: not too tall, thin trunk that was easy to cut, on a slope with lots of other young trees so I felt like it wouldn't be missed. It's in the back yard waiting for us to figure out where it goes inside. In the picture window in the front room or back in the library where only we can see it? Furniture moving is involved, possibly a marital wrangle too. 

Adding a couple of Ethiopian jazz links:


Monday, October 9, 2023

Prettiest Seamster

 I've just found Vincent Briggs and his careful historic tailoring. On Metafilter, his patchwork dressing gown was featured. His blog is The Prettiest Gentleman

I didn't think I was in the market for a video more than an hour long about one sewing project. But I find VB's gentle Canadian deadpan pretty irresistible. The piano music is nice as well. 

He's taught me that cabbage is a term for scrap fabric and the box that it was kept in was called a tailor's Hell. I also enjoyed learning about sleeve links (ancestor of cufflinks) which I had seen before but wasn't sure how they were used.     

Making an 18th Century Patchwork Dressing Gown

18th Century Cloth Covered Buttons

This is some good autumnal fun. I may watch the Bilbo Baggins Housecoat project by Shannon Makes linked from the mfilter post as well. 


I had my fragrance sensitivity return in the form of an itchy spot *right* in the middle of one armpit. My amiga The Danish had recommended a salt spray when she was visiting this summer. She's recommended this before and I have to admit I thought that was some hippie bullshit and she must just not be a smelly person. But my armpits told me it was time to try something new. I couldn't find the spray but I went to the nearby natural foods store (the one with bulk candy in the center of the store, the not-quite-as-expensive-as-WhFoods store) and bought a salt rectangular solid. You dampen it and rub onto clean skin. At the end of the first day I smelled a bit musty. But after three days - no smell! I think the first day was just getting all the previous deodorant out of my skin. The hippies are right! This salt stuff is great.     

Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Autumn has brought the cooler air and shorter days. Here are some extremely sweet desserts to make if I decide to buy some maple syrup:

My physical being is doing okay. General anesthetic is no joke and I am still making progress at getting my full energy/stamina back three weeks after. I meet with a couple of oncologists this month to determine whether ongoing treatment is recommended and if so what. 

The hot air color fest starts on Saturday and it'll be interesting to see how it hits as a citizen. We may have a couple of out of towners for the unique balloons + annular eclipse on 10/14. Which reminds me that we need to make a plan with our Texan folks for the April '24 total eclipse. My Welsh brother- and sister-in-law will be in Austin for that. 

Singing with the chorus and it's mostly good. I have accepted that joining is a process and getting to know people is another process. Sectionals start this week and that'll give me a smaller group to get names in my memory. 

Friday, September 8, 2023

little free gallery, half lotus bunting, burying the lede

My friend took me to the Little Free Art Gallery . We had been to an Irish pub on Central and had a great time. I want to go back when it's cold and enjoy the fireplace and dark wood vibe. The Jameson's went down very easy. At the lil gallery I took home a drawing that is now on our fridge. I am charmed by the whole concept. It's inspired me to crochet some mini buntings and donate them. 

Here's the original beautiful pattern at Ravelry. I like to alternate some smooth topped half lotuses with the pointy ones in the pattern. 

crocheted bunting in white yarn on pink background

It's been a while and crocheting has been very satisfying. I have two weights of crochet thread/yarn. The finest one works well for what I had in mind. Since I inherited the family tatting needles I even tried crocheting some sewing thread. It worked but it was absolutely at the edge of my ability to see effectively. I need things just a little larger. Here's the smallest hook I have, it must be from early 20th c. a steel Boye 10:

crochet hook next to a dime

I am going to have a 'precancerous' lump removed next week. So far it appears to be a pretty good scenario - caught early, no sign of spread. I will be happy if I can just get that wad-of-chewing-gum-sized bit removed and not have to do much more medical intervention. I figure this is the best time in history to have any form of breast cancer found.  

See Ursula's saga for a description of cancer care for a patient who is also a horror author and keenly interested in all the gross details. Cancer Bob Part I. Here's Part IV which has links to I, II and III at the top. Ongoing as of early September 2023. Hers was found further along and thus the chemo. I am sending her all the good recovery wishes, like the rest of her legion of fans. 

August ran over me with many visitors and the beginning of the academic year at work. Add some extra medical appointments and it was a lot. But I got to host and spend time with my bestest childhood friend! and my kids! And the heat got less terrible than July. Now that we've started September I can tell the days are shortening and the nights getting cooler. Sometimes the swamp cooler actually turns off because it reaches the target temp - never happened in July. 

I welcome the autumn and look forward to seeing the aspens turn color above Santa Fe soon. I'm lucky to be here! I'm lucky to be alive! (mangled quote from Swimming to Cambodia). 

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Buddhism would like a word

Loved Past Lives and am glad I went in not knowing anything about it. And wow - my advice is don't read that wikipedia article until after you've seen the film. Much more nuanced and non spoilery is the Metafilter / Fanfare discussion. I've seen Greta Lee now in Russian Doll, What We Do In the Shadows and starring in this movie. She's intriguing and I love her acting. It was fun to see this at the Guild Cinema - there was a good crowd for a Monday night.  

According to Diane Tucker, writer of theshymuseumgoer, the Oni no nenbutsu is a friendly demon who converted to Buddhism and sang babies to sleep. This one certainly has some cute going on around the eyes and ears.


Ôtsu-e Figure: Demon Converted to Buddhism (Oni no nenbutsu). In the MFA Boston collection. 

大津絵の鬼の念仏Kawanabe Kyôsai (Japanese, 1831–1889)

Bang Bang Chicken

Jicama Cucumber Salad

Wednesday, July 26, 2023


Weak as water

Yesterday evening I feel asleep for a bit at 7pm. I was just weary. And it spooked me. The weather continues hot and maybe that's the cause. Nod says it's lack of exercise. I considered the possibility but it's probably not covid with weariness as the only symptom. Ennui?

You can't wake up if you don't go to sleep

We went to see Asteroid City in the theater on Sunday. (Vox review here by a writer who says they don't like Wes Anderson's style in general but did appreciate the wisdom, melancholy and impishness of this one.) For me it was weird and good. WA invoking lots of acting mojo and layers of storytelling. I got the impression that the 3 little sisters and T.Hanks were filmed separately. I wonder if that's true. The kid characters were all hilariously written and the three littles were very funny. We saw people in pink going in to the Barbie theater. And I overheard the ticket checker saying that the day before had been their busiest day since Avengers End Game. There was also some very bad taste decorations for Oppenheimer in the movie theater entry way - an arch of black and white balloons with countdown numbers around them. I have been going back and forth on seeing that one in its first run. But the 3 hour length has decided me to wait for streaming. 

Big plans

We have two estimates for the big sewer line replacement job. Maybe we need another one to make the holy three? Next will be deciding who to sign up with.    

The written word

Finished Knots and Crosses, the first Rebus novel by Rankin. I liked it mostly and will try the next one. Its late '80s origin both adds (police/military culture, post divorce dating, 'bachelor' living standards) and detracts (villain's fatal repulsive element was unneeded) from the whole. Because of the traditional protagonist (UK male police detective with traumatic past) it reminds me of my peak mystery novel reading era, age 13-17. 

Last week I finished a fantasy novel by P Briggs: Raven's Shadow. This turns out to be the first of a pair, and was a fun read with inventive magic history. My friend JL says it's one of his favorites so we're going to discuss once I finish the second book. I've got my request pending in the library system. It feels good to have access to boooooks.    

Mt. Mountain National Park

Deadloch's last episode was as satisfying as the previous ones. But now it's over - alack and alas! I love the Kates, the writers.  


Family and friends will be visiting us in the next few weeks. It's exciting! And a little scary - I hope to avoid the feeble invalid feeling and get things ready. The Danish is bringing her passion for opera. It is going to be a festive whirl. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Swedish Delights

 Found the Swedish Spoon! I'm intrigued. Here are a few recipes, the first two use sour milk:

Quick pan bread I think I'd leave out the sweetener

Fresh sour milk cheese 

Swedish beetroot salad

Swedish Dream Cookies call for baker's ammonia. I had never heard of that! I wonder if it's at all connected to the northern euro salted licorice weirdness. After more reading - It is the primitive version of baking powder and it sounds like most bakers chucked the old stuff because of the smell (which is supposed to dissipate by the time the baking is done). It produces a more crunchy/crumbly result than modern baking powder according to the Swede. 

I'm totally baking the Chewy Apple Cake with Cardamom as soon as I can stand to have the oven on again. I will try it in a tart pan since I don't have a springform. 

She included an historical photo of late 19th c. or early 20th c. apple harvesters and now I've fallen down a Swedish museum photos rabbit hole. Search results for basket / korg. Museum home page. Who wouldn't love Maria Lunback? Or how about this whopper of a baby.

Thursday, July 13, 2023


 Hand painted cup from early in the 20th century. I love the girl and the sassy dog running away from her. 

I wonder if she's calling the cows with her horn.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Heat / Maintenance

Swamp cooler came on just before 9a on July 11. The forecast highs are expected to be 100 or above for the next week. And lows will be in the 70s which is what ensures that we will be warm for the duration. There's a chance for thunderstorms in the afternoons but it doesn't seem like cooling monsoon. Hopefully  

We've learned more about how to use the swampies plus fans for best results. Nod wants to check into getting a refrigerated air unit for our bedroom. There's something called a ductless mini split (sounds like a liver condition? skin-baring skirt?) that would work. I'd also like to get an exhaust fan for the garage that our bedroom shares a wall with. 

Our sewer line needs to be replaced and I've got one estimate. I have another company to call. 

I was very brave last Sunday when I was stung by a wasp on the sole of my foot. We were at a city pool which was refreshing and very retro. We get a discount because we're over 50 so it's almost free. Lots of families and a very relaxed atmo. Nothing fancy, no diving board or slide but I will be happy to go back. And I will watch for wasps more carefully when I do.   

Prints by Lizzie Wenger

Thursday, July 6, 2023


My husband loved to drive to the end of town in Lawrence, Kansas and look out at the farm fields. It was the notion of being able to access a defined edge. In a similar vein, please enjoy the photographic ramble through some footpaths and very nice wetland areas on the outskirts of London in Peripheral Postcodes by Diamond Geezer. "Trout Lane's lovely at this time of year, a cyclepath bordered by buttercups and butterflies" I don't know about you but I wish I was on Trout Lane right now. The post also includes photos of a bridge over a multi lane highway and the footing of an electrical pylon tower in order to cover the entire 'peripheral postcode' category. I am not one, but I do admire a complete-ist. 


Sad news that Once Upon a Town is shutting down their tumblr because of changes made to the template which don't play well with their large format b&w photo files. It's a pity.  


Patricia Lockwood has my number even though I don't always understand her. Article on David Foster Wallace. Her explanation of why DFW's nonfiction pieces are so relaxing to read while his fiction is uphill both ways:

In non-fiction the game is to really think something through. That was his task and he did it with joy, simultaneously obedient to that editor floating with his desk in mid-air, and performatively pushing its limits. The thing about an essay is it’s going to be read now. You’re not so much worrying about it being a touchstone for the future. So he relaxes, plays restful microtennis, lets us read.

And something else, too: it is a break from the book. An assignment comes as a kind of relief: not just you in your own mind. It takes you out into the world, even to the state fair, to see the clog dancers. The book is the thing that will not let you leave the house, because it might let you write it that day.

I haven't and won't read the doorstop novels, IJ and TPK. But I did love the essays. 


Last week I hit the wall working from home. I felt penned in and deprived of society. I've done a few things intended to rebalance. I feel a little like a cat extending my paw under a door and seeing what I can snag.  

Friday, June 23, 2023

Ear candy

The doves and pigeons of ABQ are different from those in Kansas. The midwestern doves in our yard would coo, with a dispirited air and sometimes startle us with the clattering of their wings. But here there's a real guttural quality to the cooing. These birds are kinda metal.  

Loving the Armchair Expert podcast, recommended by my bestie, the Danish. Can particularly enthuse about the interviews with David Sedaris. In case you need some of this nonsense in your ears I have assembled links to all four appearances:

1. July 2018

2. October 2021

3. July 2022

4.  April 2023

Am trying to learn all the lyrics to Australia by the Shins. It's a lot of words. 

Smartless is apparently taking over the world. It's so big I'm not even going to link, it'll come up with any search. On a streaming channel, there is a one hour documentary episode showing the run up to one of their on-stage appearances that happened in DC during Covid times. I watched because I love those guys. But the melancholy music and slow paced editing and complete lack of footage from the actual performance has me confused. It's like a sweet sad farewell or something. <shrug> 


Adding: I just ordered a pair of analog earphones to go with the Yamaha keyboard a friend lent me. Looking forward to making some noise with it. 

Thursday, June 1, 2023


A dinner party happened. We have five chairs and five sat down at the table. I got the pinto beans cooking early in the day because beans from dried take a long time. Nod did calabacitas and cornbread and everything came out well. Stellar guests brought a big salad and pie which made it fully festive. We still have the dinner table in front of the picture window but I'm lobbying for relocation.  

A creative and determined person: A Simple Exercise to Strengthen the Lower Esophageal Sphincter and Eliminate Gastroesophageal Reflux: An Autobiographical Case Report. Shared by Slime Mold Time Mold. He figured out how to exercise the lower esophageal valve muscles in order to get rid of his reflux. Kneeling and putting your forehead on the floor before swallowing sounds very awkward. But I'm sure practice makes perfect. More than six months of daily practice got rid of the acid and allowed him to sleep flat again. 

Found and lost and found again (thanks Metafilter!) the English Historical Fiction Authors blog gives wonderful topics, tidbits and enthusiasm. 

I'm collecting events calendars to try and find out what's going on in the city. 

ABQ: KiMo, Popejoy, Vortex, Guild, Expo and other fairgrounds bldgs, 

Santa Fe: Lensic, Railyard

ABQ and NM hikes, great site by an old archeologist: 

ABQ plants

Planning to go to the star watch night at the Valles Caldera in a couple of weeks. I'm really excited about that. Hope for a clear sky. 

Monday, May 8, 2023


As in alighting, landing on the ground. We've slept in the new house for two nights. I'm starting to get used to its sounds. The drip watering system came on this morning. We'll put the trash and recycle bins out tonight. We will become accustomed in time.

Unpacking is happening. Major progress was made by hired movers to get everything out of the container. Now we just have to open every box and decide what goes where. 

Freddie cat is calming down some. He's decided the high kitchen cabinets which have no doors (used as art niches by former owners) are his favorite retreat. It's not very hygenic having him jumping on the kitchen counter to get up and down. We may put the cabinet doors back on to foil him in future. I wondered why his white feet were so gray and then saw him in the fireplace ashes. I've closed that off. We need to get a real firescreen and pokers. 

Our college kids will be here next weekend. That is a pleasant spur to getting things arranged. One car should be done at the body shop tomorrow, Tuesday. There will be one futon couch to pick up on Wed evening. And one bed frame to be delivered on Thurs. On Friday we'll drive to the other NM college town to move daughter L out of the dorm. I have to say, things keep falling into place right along for us, even with some bumps. 


I'm having trouble remembering my age. Maybe because I can't say I'm excited about any of these 50s. I'll try some mnemonics, it's embarrassing not to know immediately. 56 is coming right up. 


4 seasons, still life paintings by Matthijs Röling in the 1970s. 

Lente / Spring:

Thursday, April 27, 2023

A Toehold

 Drove into ABQ yesterday evening. We are installed in a rental for a week until we get the housekeys next Wednesday. We won't have furniture for a couple of additional days. And I think we solve that by putting the cat in charge of the empty new place while we camp at my mom's for a couple of nights. 

It was a long draining day yesterday but by damn we did it. 

Our furry Tiny Idiot son would not eat his wet food with the tranquilizers in it. So my flannel sheet method of catching and bundling him into the carrier has gotten better with practice. He's smart enough to know that the food tastes funny and refuse to eat it. Which makes the whole process worse for everyone. But it was fun watching him explore the hotel room. He's mostly not holding a grudge. We hope he won't scratch anything in the rental. Last night he brought down the fireplace screen and metal tools. That was quite a wake up. Chaos goblin.

My sinuses have felt like they were flexing inside my face today. I think it's the dryness plus the pollen. Perhaps my immune system is working with its faint memory of NM pollen. Just weirdness so far, no drainage or stuffedness. 

There are tiny red and ink poppies in bloom in lots of yard where we are staying. I know poppies only stay in flower for a few days so I feel blessed by our timing. 


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

In the Chute

The half-sweet iced mocha in the Albuquerque airport was extremely delicious. But that night I lay awake obsessed with all the packing yet to be done and knew I had sabotaged myself. I will honor the rule and drink my coffee before noon. 

We are moving toward the May 3 closing date on the ABQ house. We should be on our way next Tuesday before the KS closing on April 26. We have a place to stay in between and I have gabapentin for the cat although it is still unknown if that will help. I'm going today to buy a harness so we'll have more of a handle to catch him by. 

I'm returning library books and sorting and trying to do the things that a reasonable person would do in this situation. I don't feel very reasonable. The more stressed I get, the dumber I am. 

The only way out is through. So here we go. 

Less by Greer and When I'm Gone, Look For Me in the East by Barry are both very much worth your time. It was good to hear from the book group that the Quan Barry book is worthwhile, even for people who aren't already super intrigued by Tuvan throat singing and Mongolian herder culture. Less manages to be about a midlife crisis and yet still be spare and kind and funny. I'm supposed to be reading Tremblay's The Pallbearers Club for another group. But I think that has to give way to the move. Maybe later. 

We visited a bookstore on the west side: Books on the Bosque. It has a nice collection of new and used books in a sunny building. I'm going to keep an eye on their events calendar. Ah, the future of being done with moving is dancing on the horizon.       


Monday, April 10, 2023

Missing objects, Objects in motion

In the wind

I cannot find the charger for my toothbrush. I used it right before we went to ABQ March 24 and now I don't see it in the drawer it goes in. Maybe I was distracted packing before we left and put it somewhere creative? Maybe it dropped into the trash and got binned?

I cannot find my favorite prescription sunglasses. Maybe I left them in the car that we left at my mom's in ABQ? Glad I came across the second pair. 

To make three: Katy asked if we found a disposable camera after she was here over new year's. I think I may have seen it while she was here but it never turned up after.

I expect this will be a common occurrence as we try to get remaining objects packed and ready to move in two weeks and one day. It's easy for me to tape up a box and immediately forget everything that's inside. I had a little freak out yesterday about how few days we have to go. 

Where we are

Selling a house - we accepted an offer and are arranging to fix a few things they asked for. There will be a final walk through on 4/24. Closing on 4/26. 

Buying a house - our offer was accepted. We are going to walk through with the inspectors this Friday. That will be our first time in the house, we've seen pictures and our realtor visited and shared her live phone video with us. Closing 5/03. The paperchase is significant. E-signing all these documents online makes it feel unreal.  

Moving our stuff - we have a container coming a week from tomorrow. I need to get movers arranged on both ends to put furniture in and take it out.      

Moving ourselves - two adults, one cat and two vehicles will set out on April 25. We'll spend the night on the road and should arrive the 26th. We need to reserve a place for 4/27-5/03, Nod likes the beanbs. 

Significant remains

So many things to attend to that my prioritizer is stuttering. I will keep making lists and trying to do things, I think that's the minimum required. I felt stymied yesterday: not sure of any other virtual documents to wrangle, not sure what I should be packing, not able to enjoy doing nothing. I will do more packing this week. Gah!  


Monday, March 20, 2023

For Later

Put off for now
Spring dreaming about cooking to come. I hesitate to buy new ingredients at this point. Our pantry is out of canned chickpeas, which nixed the first two. They both use tahini which is what I'd like to finish up. Guess I better go buy eggplant, parsley and lemon so I can baba ghanoush it up. 

Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini, Smitten. Calls for green puy lentils, small red onion, handful of cilantro or Italian parsley.

Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas and Salted Pistachios, Smitten. 

Easy Gan Bian Si Ji Dou (Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans), Serious Eats.  

Coffee Creme Caramel, Hiroko's Recipes. I found this when trying to nail down the microwaved cake recipe. Looks like a fun site with Meat Free Monday suggestions. 

Sublime name
Daughter of Huey 'Piano' Smith - Acquelyn Donsereaux. Recently retired nurse now serving on the nursing school board in NOLA. Known as Nurse Ackie, I wish her all the best. I learned about her and her marvelous name thanks to the mention in this Language Hat post

Break it down
Compost container for kitchen, recommended by K.B. SpanglerStainless steel gallon jug. ABQ composting, info here from the library system, will be a whole new game. One option I just read about is Bokashi, fermenting in a sealed container rather than composting outside. Sounds super stinky! But then the resulting slime has to be buried to finish breaking down, which doesn't appeal to me. I don't think I want to be a worm rancher but that is another option instead of trying to keep an outdoor pile damp enough in the desert conditions.  

Malignant, poisonous. A new word for me from an Elizabeth Bishop poem. The dictionary definition here doesn't include the story that the vapors from the poisonous lake were strong enough to kill birds flying over it. Really good essay on EB here, I didn't know anything about her beyond admiring the "One Art" poem. The author uses "alcohol use disorder" where I would have expected "alcoholism". I think I like that. Near the end is this piercing phrase "Bishop commemorates the tricky art of living in a body". Quote from Ernie Hilbert in the Poetry Foundation bio of EB, "...her poems are balanced like Alexander Calder mobiles, turning so subtly as to seem almost still at first, every element, every weight of meaning and song, poised flawlessly against the next." Wowww. 

Friday, March 17, 2023


Under contract
After one week of showings and an open house we accepted an offer and have a closing date in late April. One week from today we'll drive out and look at houses for the weekend. We'll try to find something that matches our needs. But it's seeming less likely to me that we'll be able to get a closing date as buyers that matches our arrival date. So there may need to be some vamping in the form of storage or a short term lease until we can get moved into a purchased house. 

I have been surprised at how little excitement I feel about having sold the house. I feel satisfaction at having gotten to this point in our packing and de-cluttering journey. And I'm happy it was done so quick. There's plenty of anxiety as I think about what is still to be done. Perhaps I'll get to be excited about the other end of the process. Certainly lots of different emotions are bubbling up. I tried to add two factor authentication on my phone a few days ago and almost burst into tears. (Later I was successful and did not sob at work.)  

I distrust moving companies. Here's a quote from a metafilter discussion that doesn't increase my regard for any of them:

"This is the way to prevent long-haul movers from driving to a mile away from your destination and calling you to claim they need another $1000 to finish the job. I do not know anybody who has not experienced some form of this hostage situation unless their move was being handled by corporate or military contract, in which case the moving company knows they will lose the contract if they pull the scams.

If you must use movers, please put several Tiles or AirTags in your boxes of belongings so you can tell the truck you know exactly where it is and are sending the police. I recommend doing this for a pod or even a self-move as well, just because theft is always a risk."

I gather that moving companies don't have staff drivers, they are middle men and contract with these yahoos who are fairly unaccountable. We may use P*DS and use their storage on the other end. 

After reading a bunch of microwave cake recipe I cobbled several together and made a respectable one last night. It was sleeting and snowing and being very cold and MARCH outside, thus the need for chocolate cake. I used some decaf coffee and the end of the whipping cream and it all worked out. Butter frosting was a good addition of course. 

Lady books
I am reading/recently read these two books:


The first one is a little insulting but it certainly works with the book content. I don't mind the second one but taken together I am offended at the aggressively lady-book graphics. Yes, I am a middle aged woman reading fiction. But I'd rather be toting a book with a cover that has some edge. It reminds me of the Ursula K. LeGuin story collection Always Coming Home I bought in paperback many years ago. Clearly the publisher had No Idea how to market this.  The cover had a pastel house and beach scene but was dominated by the title in large loopy feminine font. Very grocery store romance novel font.    

Wednesday, March 1, 2023


Kitchen fun

My two modes these days are packing or feeling guilty for not packing. So when I have been cooking lately it's been a nice change of pace but I've also caught myself feeling like maybe I am spending too much time in the kitchen. The best new thing I made is a cake with ground almonds and orange zest/juice, based on this recipe: Best Ever Orange Almond Cake Recipe. I used 3 eggs and substituted a little plain yogurt for the 4th. I didn't put slivered almonds on top, I sprinkled it with sugar. Very good cake. I will bake it again to use up these ground almonds I have in the fridge. It would be really good with a citrus glaze on top. Ooh and some candied peel. 

I'm concerned that we've done all the easy packing and the rest is the hard stuff. But there are still plenty of targets for my attention, no need to look for trouble. Realtor comes tomorrow, we'll need help filling out our disclosure form.  

---------updated after realtor meeting. We're ready to list it next week. I have a long list of cleaning and yard tidying to share with my spouse and get done by the end of this weekend. I am going to fill out the disclosures form online in the next day or so. My guilt over not packing has receded as we seem to have made enough progress to show this sucker. I feel like it's actually going to happen. //excite!//

Ah ! comme la neige a neigé !

Why didn't I learn this poem in my French studies? Soir d'hiver by Émile Nelligan. Probably anti Canadian assumptions. Its singing quality and world weariness reminds me of Beaudelaire.



The local university men's team is keeping up their record even in this very competitive season. Lots of strong teams and "every game is a rock fight" according to the local announcer. We went downtown to watch last night and it was not a restful experience - close to the very end. They got the win which also gives them the conference title. I feel lucky to have lived here during this time of fabulous Jayhawk teams. Ol' Coach Self is a wizard.   

At K's school, a bball resurgence is happening - their men's team is going to play in March Madness this year for the first time in a while. Northwestern schedule. March is here!  


We walked at the wetlands two evenings ago - it was light past 6pm and calling us outside. Beautiful fading pastels in the east and an orange horizon in the west. We saw geese flying and yelling before roosting. There were frogs and red-winged blackbirds calling and I saw the first bat of the year. Venus and Jupiter were sparking in the west above the silhouetted trees. I have put the astronomy department's telescope night on my calendar. Fingers cross that next week that evening will stay clear.   

Monday, February 20, 2023


The packing will continue until...?

I have moved past the initial excitement, the first wave of despair, the second wave of energy and occasional heart clutches of anxiety. Currently bummed out that it's hard to work full time, and make enough packing progress to really make the place look different. 

Valentine's day has come and gone and we are not ready to show. I think the original end of the month deadline is possible. I can make a lot of lists but can't always summon the will to do all the tasks. I also had a dental cleaning and a crown in the past week plus the already mentioned full time job so there is going to be some give and take. 

I called and asked the mover to take our upright piano to the dump next week. It makes me sad but I can't find someone to foist it on so here we are.

 [Updated to add that we have a week left and need more boxes and and and. I am going to keep failing at finishing packing until it's done. Also true: every day I succeed at getting more packed and ready to show the house]

Move nature out of our way

I wrote down K's description of the game happening in the shrubs across the street from the library in June 2009 when she was 7 and the other two were 5 or 6:

C protects us, L moves nature out of our way, and I guide us. So we all have a particular role.

I just threw away that soft old piece of paper. I hope texting it to my fam and posting here will let it live on.


Andor is making us feel tense and also impressed with the acting/design/writing. That's a honey of a cast. 

I have watched every single rotted rotten Trixie and Katya Unhhhh video. I look forward to their drag personas being taken up bodily into heaven. That way they can have some new chapters. Love them. I haven't gotten my THWOORP decal on my car yet, need to hurry up. 

Finished Devil in the White City. It's not deathless prose but I am impressed by the weaving of so many threads. The author brings us striking people from the flat written archives. I'd like to go see the Museum of Science and Industry and the exposition park with the Wooded Island. I just started The Splendid And The Vile but not in time for book group, boo.  

Toad trudges on. I was doing pretty well with it but dropped off and am having more trouble just past the mid point.        

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Shaft of light

After some job hunting resulted in a sudden request for 5 professional references (5! I'm still surprised) I asked my current manager whether he could be a reference. And as part of this conversation I finally asked whether my current position could be designated as remote so I could keep working after our move to ABQ. My manager immediately said he would try and went to talk to the next level boss. And damme, they did it. I will put this job in my pocket and take it with me. This is a wonderful outcome and what a relief to not have to be adapting to a new workplace while doing the move and its aftermath. 

In early December I ordered a sunlamp recommended by a Canadian from Saskatchewan because I figured they should know about such things. I received it promptly but it didn't light up consistently. There are 4 light tubes and sometimes only one would come on. I emailed the company and they replaced it with a unit that comes on every time, getting rid of all the anticipation. Nod and I have both gotten good out of it. Especially when the sky is gray in the morning we need a little extra. 

Now that I have a job in ABQ, (oh! I'm still feeling excited about this!) I've begun making lists. I haven't started packing yet but it will happen. I figure February will be the short month of packing up all our shit. 

There are many other moving parts connected to our two college students. Eldest needs a car for the summer at a Dallas internship. None of our current cars are eligible for that much driving. Youngest may or may not be taking a year off after this spring semester. And thus may or may not collect that car from her sister after the summer. Youngest is thinking of summering in lovely Lawrence by the sea to live with friends. As part of this she would complete an English requirement by attending a community college class with a friend. I'm all in favor of her couch surfing and getting that class done in her least favorite subject. Girl gets A's in chemistry and has trouble with writing an English essay. I'm proud but can't exactly relate. 

I feel like humans are close to advances in many areas. It makes a change from seeing all the destruction we've done. The usual business is strong over weak but sometimes we come up with variation and hopeful creation. 


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

More to Share, More to Come

Moving on, moving forward. Close those old cabinet doors and let's try something new. 

Such fun songs here: Sheroes Radio Best of 2022

More online radio stations recommended by the m'filter stalwarts. 

Lovely model smoking and observing the painter archly

A cornucopia of winter paintings shared by artists.   

An ice skating scene from a January 1820 calendar image. 

Snowflakes falling on umbrellas

A goddess of door hinges, I'm glad to make her acquaintance. "Cardea, whose name means “door pivot,” was the Roman goddess of door hinges and handles who prevented evil spirits from crossing thresholds. She was worshipped as the protector of children, particularly from vampires and witches. As a goddess of health, her emblem was the hawthorn tree, thought to have magical powers of protection. Cardea’s association with doors also links her to craftworkers as their benefactor. Celebrated in the month of June, she was a goddess of the changing seasons."

"St. Augustine mocks the apparent triviality of these 'little gods'...Forculus, from fores, doors...  Limentinus, threshold" and Cardea, door pivots. 

More soup recipes here. I want to eat this one: Chicken Soup with Ginger and Shiitake. Someone recommended adding scallions and daikon radish cubes.