pumpkin reincarnation

Carving pumpkins is a favorite Halloween tradition in our household. For me, as well as the kids. I guess there have been some years when I haven’t carved my pumpkin, but I think I do most. And more often than not, I seem to do variations on the same expression. Here was this year’s pumpkin:

My 2020 pumpkin. Probably also a frequent expression that I wear myself this year.

And here is last year’s:

My 2019 pumpkin.

It’s a little like my pumpkin gets reincarnated each year. Except that as a vegetable, re-incarnation is probably not quite the right term. It’s not flesh, exactly. Reinvegetation, perhaps?

My 2018 pumpkin.

I do wonder how many similar pumpkins I’ve carved over the years. The earliest version I could find was this little guy from 2009. It even got its own blog post.

2009. The year we first met?

This year’s pumpkin has left for now–sent off into the woods to reconnect with nature, as it were. Until we meet again next year, little pumpkin.

unceremoniously marking the day

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the start of this blog. I didn’t bake the blog a birthday cake, nor do I have a lot of time or energy to write it a long post. I will say that I am still very fond of this blog, and the many connections I have made through blogging.

A miniature cake, with festive poop decor, from a birthday earlier this year. 2020 is definitely a year when a poop motif seems apropos.

Happy anniversary, dear blog! I hope that we have many more years together.

2020 vision revision

As of November 6th, there is a new mandate in Massachusetts requiring that masks be worn whenever people are out in public, even outdoors and when social distancing is possible. Previously, the state didn’t require masks for outdoor spaces where it was possible to keep 6 feet or more of distance. Up until the new requirement, whereas I wore a mask for any shopping or outdoor group events, I wasn’t wearing a mask while walking the dog. (I live in a pretty uncrowded area.)

In any case, with the new requirement, I’ve started wearing a mask while walking the dog. I have collected a few different styles of cloth masks, of varying degrees of comfort. The one I wore this morning is one that I like, style-wise, but I couldn’t get the nose-wire adjusted well enough. My glasses kept fogging up in the frosty morning air. After a number of unsuccessful adjustments as I headed down my street, I decided to just take off my glasses, and deal with a bit of blur. I put my glasses in my coat pocket, and we continued on our way. With my perfect 2020 hindsight, I realize now that this was a Bad Idea.

I didn’t really have too much trouble seeing. (It’s not like I need to read any road signs while walking the dog). However, further along in our walk, I saw another person and dog in the distance. I couldn’t make out who it was, so I decided to put my glasses back on. This was when I discovered that my glasses were not in my pocket.

Much to my dog’s disappointment, I turned us around to head back, so that we could retrace our steps, all the while hoping that I hadn’t dropped them in the busy street we’d crossed. I looked carefully on the ground as we walked, hoping to find them somewhere, uncrushed.

There were two major challenges to this endeavor. 1) Much of the ground looked like this:

And 2) I was not wearing my glasses, so I couldn’t see the ground very clearly.

I rushed us back home to get an old pair of glasses so that I could better stand a chance of seeing my glasses. And then we walked again, retracing our steps once more. And then all the way home again. And I saw a lot, I mean A LOT, of leaves.

What I did not see was my glasses.

On the bright side, my glasses were over a year old, and it was time to replace them. And I have some old glasses that are close enough to my current prescription. However I still didn’t like losing them. And I knew it was going to bug me endlessly. I was almost at the point of hoping to find them crushed somewhere, just to have the resolution of it.

When the time came for the dog’s afternoon walk, I bundled up again, put on an older pair of glasses, and a mask that doesn’t tend to causes fogginess. And we went back once again, retracing the path of the morning walk again. And on our way back home, I carefully stepped along the side of the road, pushing through the leaves with my feet. (And shuddering at the crunch any time I stepped on an acorn.) But then amazingly, miraculously, I saw an unexpected vision: my glasses peeking out from the leaves. They were remarkably unmarked from their ordeal.

ensnared by the sparkle

I woke up really early this morning, and my plan was to walk the dog early and then do some work before other humans were up. I didn’t manage to drag myself out of bed until about 6:30, and then by the time I’d had my tea and was bundled up to head out into the frosty air to walk the dog, it was already 7:30. Still pretty early. I figured I could be home and settle down to work shortly after 8:00.

The sun was still low in the sky when the dog and I headed out, and everything was covered with either frost, or beaded water drops. There was some serious sparkling going on.

It turns out that I had also just gotten a new phone yesterday, and set it up last night. The camera is pretty amazing.

I kept stopping to take pictures, so that quick walk became not-so-quick. And then when we got home, I went back outside to take more pictures. Because the sparkle kept going. And my new phone kept capturing it.

So, a couple of hours and a few hundred photos later, I hadn’t actually sat down to work. But while I’m sill behind in my work, my mood was much improved by focusing on the beauty. (Literally and figuratively.)

I shared a few photos on my Instagram, but these are some different ones. If you want to see more of this morning’s sparkle, you can visit there. :) Also, I note that this is far from the first time I’ve been ensnared by a sparkly morning.

Finding beauty in damage

While I still appreciate the beauty of a perfectly shaped leaf in the flush of its early autumnal glow, my eye is also drawn to the more mature beauties of late fall. The mottling of age, the delicate lace patterns of holes, the map-like lines traced by the beginnings of decay.

A few fallen leaves

The thing about deciding to post every day is that it means that every day, you are faced with the reality of posting something. Even when you are tired. In keeping with my grand tradition, I am sharing some photos. And seeing as it’s fall, the photos are of leaves.

I do love the fall, and seeing the spectacular show put on by the foliage. Even after they’ve fallen, a lot of leaves still catch my eye.

Holding onto the hopefulness

A button with the text "Liberty and Justice for All," with the word ALL shown in the stripes of the transgender flag.
Liberty & Justice for All.

Saturday was a day full of joy for me. I felt such a wave of relief at the announcement of the Biden/Harris victory that my stress just evaporated (at least for a day). I was deeply moved by the speeches of both Kamala Harris and Joe Biden Saturday night. While I’ve been an enthusiastic supporter of Kamala Harris, I will be the first to admit that Joe Biden was not my first choice candidate for president. I won’t go into the reasons why right now, because I want to focus on the good, and the potential for good. One thing that really stood out to me in Joe Biden’s speech was this bit:

“I am proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse in history. Democrats, Republicans and Independents.  Progressives, moderates and conservatives. Young and old. Urban, suburban and rural. Gay, straight, transgender. White. Latino. Asian. Native American.”

He specifically acknowledged both gay and transgender people. This positive message of inclusion of affirmation of the LGBTQ+ community is not only in stark contrast to the attitudes of the current administration, it is also a historic moment in and of itself: “Biden’s explicit reference to transgender people marked the first time in U.S. history a president-elect referenced them in a victory speech.” (Source)

This brings me so much hope for my transgender friends and loved ones (and for total strangers) living in this country. You are seen and valued by the person just elected to the highest office of this land. And while there is still so much more work to do for full LGBTQ+ inclusion, acceptance and equality under the law, this is a step in the right direction.

Shifting perspective: 4 photos

Getting up in the leaves. I love taking photos of light coming through leaves.
We have some Japanese maples in our yard that tend to turn a vibrant bright red in the fall.
This year an early snow may have led to most of the leaves turning brown, with only a few patches of bright red.
It amuses me that these are the same trees as in the bright leafy photos above, just from a different perspective. (The top 2 photos above were taken in the cluster of red in the lower left of this photo.)