Remarkably, it’s not that late, and I’m not that tired. Today was a mellow day where I got to stay home, aside from walking the dog. It was hard to motivate myself to go out in the cold this morning, but I was rewarded by views of some fabulously frosty fronds and flora.
And just because, here is my furry friend among the frosty fronds.
Today was a reasonably productive day. I got some work done towards a couple of work projects, and had a (remote) meeting and a (facetime) violin lesson. (Not my best lesson, since I haven’t had time to practice. But not too terrible, either.)
It’s hard to believe it’s already November 29th. Only one more day of my commitment of daily blogging.
I just spent at least half an hour staring at photos, and being unable to decide what to post. Clearly I’m tired again. It was a good day, but long, and I’m still tired from yesterday. My mom and I took the train into Boston, largely so I could see a talk at BU. We went in a bit early, so we could get lunch and do a bit of wandering. (Actually, do a bit of hunting for art supplies.) Tomorrow I’m looking forward to a day with only a couple of virtual meetings. Hoping to get caught up on some work obligations. Tonight I’m looking forward to sleep.
Yet another day with few moments of downtime. I got home not too long ago from a round-trip drive to southern Vermont to return daughter and friend to school. I brought my mom along for the ride, since she hadn’t seen the school yet. I knew it would be largely dark by the time we arrived at the school, but what I hadn’t anticipated (due to failure to really check my weather app) was that it was going to be very rainy. And foggy. Whereas we did get to see a bit of Brattleboro before dark and the heavy rain fell, there was not a lot of visibility thereafter.
After dropping off daughter and friend at the school, I evaluated the drive home. Usually I take a route up that involves some steep winding roads that take me out of cell phone range. I was considering taking the Pike home instead, which is a longer but straighter route. But then upon seeing the traffic on my map app, I thought I’d try a third option. While not so steep and winding, it was still exhausting with the rain and fog and barely visible road lines. And tailgating drivers. Did I mention that it was exhausting?
Tomorrow will be another busy day. Heading into Boston to see a talk by a friend/colleague about recent changes in pronoun use. My mom will be joining me, and I’m looking forward to the excursion. (But also wishing I had a day of down time in between.)
We’re starting in the Christmas decorations a bit early (for us) this year, trying to get the most of the Thanksgiving visit from my mom and having the kids home from school. Lest you think we are totally on top of things, we only just finished taking down the Halloween decorations. Today Theo swapped out the black garland for the tinselly ones in time to welcome in the tree.
We got the tree in, but that’s as far as we got. I’ve been trying to get some work done today, as I haven’t found as much time to do work as I’d hoped. And tomorrow is a big day, driving up to Vermont and back.
I’m not totally sure where today went, but I guess a lot of today involved trees. We had a couple of excursions, plus I wrote a bunch more postcards for Georgia. (I got a lot of help from my mom, plus Phoebe and her friend helped with some, too. Which is good, because today was the mailing deadline for the big project I signed on for.)
In the evening, we headed back out to go the Winterlights at the Bradley estate in Canton, MA. Again, there were colorful trees that caught my eye. This was an event we hadn’t been to before, but it sounded like it would be a fun thing to do with the kids and other guests. It was quite pretty, and happily the weather was pretty mild.
On the topic of trees, I use an app called Forest to help me track my time on projects, as well as to keep me focused in my tomatoes. I like that it plants little virtual trees in my virtual forest for each chunk of time that I dedicate to a task. But that’s neither here nor there, though it is in the screenshot that is here (or there). What amused me and inspired me to take the screenshot was that my phone’s predictive text clearly knows what I’ve been up to. (I guess I’ve been logging a lot of time writing postcards for Geogia.)
Of course, my phone also made a pretty unexpected suggestion in the predictive text in a message I was sending. Note that the tree farm starts with the letters “vand.” For the record, I don’t remember every making plans to vandalize in the past. So maybe my phone doesn’t know me so well after all.
Very long day again, largely filled with home and family things.
We are fortunate enough to have a cleaning service come to clean our house every other week, which helps us fight back the chaos. We typically spend quite a bit of time before they come decluttering and organizing, basically trying to expose surfaces that potentially could be cleaned. To make things less stressful on both the people who come into the house and on the dog (who is very anxious), we get ourselves out of the way when they come. For the last couple years, at least since the pandemic, the tradition when the kids have been home has been to bundle us all into the car, and then go to the Starbucks drive-through in a nearby town. (Before the pandemic, Brodie would go to doggie daycare and John and I would typically go to work. But this stopped when quarantine shut everything down. The doggy daycare presumably reopened after not too much time, but we didn’t get back into that pattern. And now Brodie hasn’t been socializing enough with other dogs to manage that kind of thing. He didn’t really like it that much in the first place, but it was good to get him to socialize with other dogs. But I digress.)
Anyhow, the morning was spent cleaning and organizing, then we had the brief excursion, and then back to the house for more preparations. I’m still trying to find the dining room table, which I believe to be the surface under the months worth of accumulation of papers and other work and project-related items.
Phoebe then had a couple of friends coming over, so we all took Covid tests to make sure we were safe. (Of the friends has a medically vulnerable family member.) Then I walked Brodie again around 3:30. (Afternoon walks have to get earlier and earlier, as the sun sets a little after 4 now.)
More cleaning and organizing followed. Then dinner (take-out, happily), and then food prep for tomorrow. Various vegetables were washed and cut, and I made my traditional pumpkin custard. (Effectively a crustless dairy-free pumpkin pie.) My mom and the kids helped with lots of the vegetable tasks. Tomorrow will involve more cooking and food preparation, and the final push to make the dining room presentable for guests. (Happily, the friends who are coming know us and our home well enough that they won’t be too alarmed the by a bit of clutter. Or more than a bit of clutter, as the case may be.)
The other big task that needs to happen this week (by the time the post office closes on Friday) is the writing of another 80 or so postcards to Georgia. As is my way, I committed to the sending of a lot of handwritten postcards. After the Georgia runoff was announced, a couple of my friends contacted me expressing interested in writing cards for the runoff. When I was in DC (actually, having a rest on a bench in the National Gallery), I got an email with details on a project with a mailing deadline of 11/25. I optimistically signed up for 500 addresses. I contacted the 2 friends who’d first expressed interest, and then reached out to more people. I got permission from the group organizing the postcards to get mailing addresses printed, and very quickly the 500 addresses were claimed. So I requested more addresses. And then I reached out to more people, and requested more addresses. I spent quite a bit of time over the last couple of weeks printing labels, assembling packets, contacting people, and doing a few deliveries. In the end, I requested a total of 1150 addresses, and distributed 1040 of them to friends and acquaintances. Which is a lot, and fantastic. But, if you do the math, that leaves a not insignificant number for me to get written. Happily, my mom is lending a hand with the hand-writing, and I plan to recruit others in the household as well. Maybe even after the feast tomorrow.
Off to bed for me now, as tomorrow will be a full day.
Today’s date, 11/22/22, sure has a lot of ones and twos. It reminded me of that little poem/riddle/tonguetwister that I was taken with as a kid1:
11 was a racehorse 22 was 12 1111 race 1 day 22112
In case you aren’t familiar, you read each digit by it’s name. (So 11 is “one one”) I don’t have much to say beyond this. Once again, it’s late and I’m tired. (Some day I should graph how many posts included those words. But not tonight2.)
I didn’t particularly even take any photos today. So here are some photos from a couple of days ago. I liked the play of light and shadow in the vines along my driveway. There aren’t too many leaves left on the trees, so the holdouts sometimes stand out. Little splashes of bright color in the largely gray and brown landscape.
1 And that I mentioned more than a few years ago when I made a list of 11 11 things. (And here that’s “eleven eleven” things.)
rutabaga (n.)“Swedish turnip,” 1799, from Swedish dialectal (West Götland) rotabagge, from rot “root” (from PIE root *wrād- “branch, root”) + bagge “bag” (see bag (n.)). (from Etymology Online)
There was a time in my life when I had never, to my knowledge, eaten rutabaga. That day has long since passed. At some point, maybe 20 years ago or so, rutabaga became a key component of the roasted root vegetables that I make as part of our fall and winter holiday feasts. But it turns out that I can’t always find rutabaga at the grocery store. So it was that when I was in Vermont on Saturday, I brought home not only my firstborn child, but also a rather substantial rutabaga. We had stopped in to the local co-op/grocery store for snacks for the road, and I poked my head into the rather small produce section. Having not scored a rutabaga at my local store, I was happy to see rutabagas in stock. There were only a few, and all of them looked pretty big. I picked out the smallest one. Which, it turns out, was still quite large. I didn’t think too much of it until checking out, at which point the cashier said, “wow, that’s a big rutabaga.” It turned out to be over 3 pounds, and to cost over $10. I considered putting it back (because this seemed a rather hefty commitment for one root vegetable), but in the end, decided to pay the hefty sum and heft the hefty root home.
Below are some of the photos that I took of this venerable vegetable. I wasn’t sure what the appropriate light would be for its portrait session, so I tried several options and backdrops.
Brodie was uncertain of the threat-level of this rutabaga.
One thing that struck me about this rutabaga was its resemblance to an old-fashioned ice bag or cold compress. (And one thing that strikes me in writing this is that the hefty rutabaga is one thing that I would not want to be struck with. Especially about the head. Because I would certainly need an ice pack to recover.)
I was also amused to note that the etymology of rutabaga contains roots meaning “root” and “bag.” So aptly named. I think my rutabaga should be the poster child for rutabaga etymology.
Today was a long day, in the sense that I was up early and did a lot. (But given that we are approaching the winter solstice here in the northern hemisphere, the day in terms of actual daylight is getting short.) This morning I drove up to Vermont to collect my daughter and her friend to bring them home for the Thanksgiving break. And then we drove back down in the afternoon. It was about 3:30 by the time we got home. Just in time to take Brodie on his afternoon walk before it got dark. You can see the sun setting at a little after 4 in the bottom set of photos. The top photo, take around 9 this morning, amused me with the cartoonish shape of Brodie’s long shadow. (Those ears!)
I was in a ridiculously good mood today. Very excited to have both children home, and then my mom coming on Monday. I’m really looking forward to have a full house for Thanksgiving, with family and friends. I’ve started to stock up on produce for the big day, but still have to acquire more potatoes. (I don’t want to relive the great potato panic of 2019.)