pumpkins present, past, and presently passed

These dramatic weather shifts (warm, frosty, and warmish again) take their toll on a pumpkin. Especially one that has been carved and left to sit on a porch.

We carved our pumpkins quite late, only a couple of days before Halloween. Even though we haven’t been getting trick-or-treaters in the last couple of years (no more small children on our street), I still put them out with their lights on Halloween.

And then, as it is wont to do, time passed. Mostly I would forget the pumpkins. I would walk out past them in the morning when walking the dog, and mostly they looked okay. And then I returned from my trip to DC, and they definitely had passed over into a next stage.

A couple more days passed, and again, the pumpkins mostly passed right out of my mind. Until I was putting out a crate full of postcard packets on my porch for people to pick up. (I’m not even trying to be alliterative!) And then I noticed how very smooshed the pumpkins were looking. Yesterday morning, I attempted to carry one of the pumpkins from the porch to toss it into the woods as I headed out with the dog. It did not go well.

The pumpkin started to fall apart in my hands, and I just dropped it on the lawn. (And went back inside to wash my hands before walking the dog.) And then I went about the rest of my day.

Today I finally resorted once more to using the snow shovel to help the pumpkins pass on to their next phase. (Also glad that no one was watching me. In my attempts to get a photo of the pumpkin in the shovel, I managed to drop the contents of the shovel onto the grass once more. It was not pretty.)

On another note, observe that my traditional pumpkin was reborn once more into a new pumpkin body.

Good-bye little pumpkin. Until we meet again next year.

Holding on to my pants

Happy International Pants Day! Okay, well, I guess that holiday is not so widely celebrated, outside of this blog. Today is the 16th anniversary of the start of my blog. It’s a complicated anniversary for me, tied up as it is with a sad anniversary as well. But both of these anniversaries remind me to hold on to my pants. For you see, it was my dear friend who introduced me to the power of pants. Or at least, the power of the word pants. All these years later, the word pants still holds a special place in my heart.

As you may have figured out, I love to play with words. And I love word games of all sorts. So it shouldn’t surprise you that I enjoy playing Wordle. But it turns out I’m not great at it. And the main reason for that is that I am stubbornly holding onto my pants.

When I started playing Wordle, I would vary my starting word, usually with some combination of frequent letters. (“STARE” or “TEARS.”) But at some point in the Spring (likely in April, when I also think about my pants-loving friend), I decided to try “PANTS” as my opening word. I decided that I would keep playing PANTS every day, and sooner or later I’d hit the Wordle in one try. Many months passed, and I’d faithfully start my day with PANTS. At some point in the Summer, it came up in a group chat that I always start with PANTS. And then some time after that, one of my friends shared with me the heartbreaking discovery that the Wordle would never be a plural ending in -s. For whatever reason, the Wordle powers that be decided not to include this one particular word structure. Incredibly aggravating and arbitrary, given that they include other morphologically complex words (repay, coyly, beady, finer, lying, parer, unfit, to name a few). But whatever.

I’ve ended up continuing to start my Wordle with PANTS, even knowing that I’ll never score the coveted single guess success. And I’m (mostly) okay with that. PANTS makes for a decent starting word, Wordle-wise. At this point, it would feel like a betrayal to switch. (Or maybe I’ll just drop my PANTS one of these days.)

On an aside, in deciding to write about this topic, I felt like I should have a photo. And I remembered (or half remembered) just the photo I wanted to share. (The one now at the top of this post.) Except that I couldn’t quite remember when I’d taken it. So I spent quite a bit of time filtering through my rather dauntingly large photo library. And struggling to remember when it was that I’d take it. Memories came back to me that it was from the Boston MFA (Museum of Fine Arts). But I couldn’t remember the year. So I kept poking through. And then I remembered that it was from an exhibit on Gender-bending fashion. And so Google came to my aid with at least a date range (March-August 2019, in case you wondered.). It was quite the trip down memory lane, flipping through my photos, and racking by brain trying to remember when I’d gone to the exhibit. In the end, I found my pants. But what started out as a quick post turned into a rather bigger time sink than planned. (Such is the story of my life.) But since I tracked down the pants, and their source, I figured I’d share a couple more photos from that exhibit. (Or at least photos of signs from that exhibit.)

Dripping and dropping

Seriously, we have to stop with these late night engagements. It’s true, I’m getting cold feet. Literally. Because I just stepped outside on my front steps in my bare feet to get a mediocre photo to post here.

It’s snowing, and I wanted to see for myself whether the snow was sticking at all. It was more of a soggy carpet of slush than a fluffy blanket of snow. It wasn’t too many days ago, though, that I could be outside without a jacket. Today (even before the snow started dropping) I broke out the winter coat and gloves for walking the dog.

Today was a relatively mellow day of trying to dip myself into various projects. One project is recruiting people to write postcards for the Georgia runoff election, and organizing the materials for this. (I’ve committed to getting 500 written and mailed so far, with a deadline of next week.) Another chunk of the day was spent getting organized for various work deadlines and meetings. I also got both my flu shot and my bivalent COVID booster this evening. I’m still feeling a sort of post-trip fatigue, so I should really get myself to bed.

Coming in for a landing

I flew back to Boston this morning. I always try for a window seat, and was pleased that I scored one. (Even better, the seat next to me was empty.) The flight landed right around noon, and I enjoyed watching the plane’s shadow growing below us as we landed.

I’m off to bed now. It was a long day. (Again.) Tomorrow I need to get my thoughts organized to tackle the week’s miscellaneous commitments. (Work projects, political postcard projects, household projects, and more.) For tonight, I’m just going to enjoy sleeping in my own bed.

Sitting still (for a bit)

Once again, I forgot to post yesterday. It was a long day of activity, ending with a trip up to Maryland for a visit to a close friend from high school. I fly back home tomorrow. After several days of lots and lots of walking, it was nice to have a day mostly sitting around today. On that note, here is a photo I took yesterday of some people sitting around on benches in the Hirshhorn museum sculpture garden in DC.

Skipping a day (apparently)

Oops. I apparently completely forgot to post yesterday. What with leaving home before 4 in the morning, travelling, meeting up with and hanging out with my sister, then rushing to get some work done for a couple of deadlines, I went to sleep with apparently nary a thought for my poor blog. It was only this evening as we poked our heads into a Tibetan shop that I reflected on my post mentioning the Tibetan prayer wheel that I realized that a whole day had passed since I’d last posted.

Anyhow, I took a ton of photos yesterday, but will only share a few for now. 1) a duck and 2) the neighborhood where we are staying and 3) my “office” where I worked last night (in the upper bunk of the room in the hostel/hotel where I am staying with my sister.)

Tomorrow will be another full day. I’ll have more time with my sister, and then will head up to Maryland to visit a friend from high school. (So we’ll see if I remember to post.)

Skipping town

I shouldn’t stay up too much later, as I have an early flight. I’m meeting up with my sister in DC for a few days, and then visiting a friend in Maryland. I have to get on the road for the airport before 4 a.m., which just doesn’t seem right. I’m still packing, which turns out to be a challenge, because I apparently need to pack for multiple seasons. It looks like there will be some nice weather a couple of days, but when I head home Monday morning, there may be freezing temperatures.

Speaking of not being sure how to dress for the season, I noticed this small tree displaying some wardrobe confusion yesterday. Note the spring-like blossoms. And the fall foliage. On the same tree. (See the little springy rosy blossom buds peeking out from behind the autumnal yellow leaf?) I feel you, little tree.

I’ll hopefully still remember to post while I’m away. I have a lot of work to get done, too.

I voted (of course)

I’m pretty sure I’ve had nightmares about missing an election. Happily, there were no impediments to me casting my vote today. It’s been a hard day to focus on work, feeling like the future is in the balance. In spite of that, I was fairly productive.

I woke up extra early today, hoping to catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse. I set the alarm for 5, and somehow woke up before the alarm. I bundled up and went outside in the dark to look for the moon. After some wandering the yard and up towards the street, I came to the conclusion that the moon was too low on the horizon for me to see from our heavily wooded neighborhood. I was not motivated to go out driving by myself to seek out higher ground. Eventually, the sky lightened and turned to pink with the sunrise, and I went in to drink my morning tea and do the crossword puzzle.

It’s been a long, long day. I know that most of the country’s election results won’t be in for quite a few hours (if not days) yet. However, I’ve already seen the fantastic news that Maura Healey has been declared governor of Massachusetts. So at least there is some good news to hold on to.

So, I’m off to bed.

Sending out messages of hope

My grandmother was a remarkable woman, and her home was full of remarkable things that she’d accumulated during her many trips visiting far off lands. In my mind’s eye, I can still see many of the items laid out with care in her house: on the mantle, the bookshelves, and various end tables. One fascinating and beautiful object was a handheld Tibetan prayer wheel. It had a cylinder of metal worked with intricate patterns, which was mounted on a wooden handle such that the cylinder could spin. It had a little chain with a bead attached to the cylinder, so that when you spun the cylinder, it would make the little beaded chain click and clack. My grandmother explained that there were prayers written inside the cylinder, and that when you spun the wheel, these prayers were released into the universe, over and over again. I would think about this, as I spun the wheel, and listened to the clickety clack of the bead. I would imagine the prayers flying out from the wheel and out into the world.

I thought of this object, as I wrote postcard after postcard in the last few months. Writing the cards was meditative and soothing to me, channeling my energy into the messages. I felt a little like writing the messages was a bit of a prayer released into the universe. Little wishes that our democracy will stay strong, and that our future will be one of hope. I would repeat these mantras to myself, as my pens scratched out messages on card after card. I sent these messages off into the universe (as well as off into the US postal service).

Tonight, on the eve of another momentous US election, there isn’t much more work I can do. So I will continue to send off more wishes that our democracy will hold strong, and that people will show up across the country to make their voices heard.