Frosty fronds

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.

Rutabaga for days

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.

But I also decided that I would get my money’s worth out of it. Not only in the roast pan, but also here. Having once declared November 21 to be the International Day of the Odd Vegetable (or alternately the Day of Peculiar Produce), I decided that I would share my bounty pictorially. Joining the annals of noteworthy produce, such as the extraordinary eggplant of 2011, the dashing squash of 2012, and the sorrowful potato of 2015, I bring to you the humble but hulking rutabaga of 2022.

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.

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.

Slice of fossilized life

Shortly after I posted last night (hitting the publish button at 11:59 p.m. or so), I headed to get ready for bed. I started by removing the necklace that I had chosen to wear. As I looked down at the pendant in my hand, the stone evoked the image of the slice of blood orange I had just shared in my post minutes earlier.

It was the first time I’d worn it, after getting it for myself last year. It had caught my eye at a local artisan market. Its sunny yellow called to me on a gray rainy day. (Probably also not a coincidence that sunniness attracted me, since I was deeply entrenched in promoting a local clean energy campaign that featured a lot of images of the sun.) I was entranced by the stone, with it’s elaborate repeating pattern looking like tiny flowers or slices of candied lemon. The vendor, who was the artisan who had designed and done the silverwork for the pendant, identified the stone as fossilized coral. I had never come across this before, and I was smitten. It was only a couple of weeks before my fiftieth birthday, so I indulged.

I didn’t do a good job of keeping track of the artist’s name. (Though looking at my Venmo record, I think I found her name. I can’t find a website for her, though.)

Above are more photos of it, with different colored backgrounds. (Left is on top of the marigold-colored velour top I wore it with. At right it’s on top of one of my new notebooks.) I realized that I probably need to put more effort into finding good light for taking photos of jewelry.

On a completely different note, I am stressed about the upcoming midterm elections. I have not been as closely involved with any campaigns this season. I had imagined that I would be doing some sort of campaign work, such as holding signs or canvassing. But in the end, I haven’t. I came close a few times, but ultimately I decided that I need to conserve my energy. I have a lot on my plate now, with multiple research projects, as well as substantially increased responsibilities in my town government. I’m also still recovering from Covid, and even after more than a month of testing negative, I’m not yet back to 100% and still have a cough when I get tired. I feel like I am making excuses, but I also know that my energy is finite. (It’s a hard truth for me to accept.)

Feeling a little frayed around the edges

Only 4 days into November, and I already almost forgot to post. The truth is I’m feeling stretched a little thin and worn around the edges. I have a lot going on, and still somehow feel like there’s more I should be doing, or more I should’ve done. I think this mostly means I’m tired and should get to sleep. I have to get up early and have a long day ahead tomorrow.

So, I fall back to that fall tradition of posting a photo of a leaf instead of staying up later to write. I enjoyed the way this leaf looked as if it were floating. (As well as how it looked a little frayed around the edges.)

pines adorned with beads

There were a couple more photos from yesterday’s trip to the Christmas tree farm that didn’t make it into yesterday’s post. There must have been a bit of rain yesterday (though I don’t remember it), as some of the trees were nicely decorated with beads of water. The little tiny pine cones also made for some cute embellishments.

Nicely decorated tree at the Christmas tree farm.
I do love me some water drops.

The kids and I did finish decorating the tree today. While we did find some of the little fuses for the old strands of lights, we ended up adding a long new strand that I’d bought a couple years ago in an after-Christmas sale light-buying spree. Then we added strands of beads, and then the other miscellaneous ornaments.

Strands of beads were never part of the Christmas trees of my childhood, but I have grown to appreciate them. I like the way they add the lines zig-zagging and draping around the tree. Plus I do love their added shininess.

Our (possibly) completed tree.

full home, full heart

I collected my daughter from boarding school this morning, where she’s been since September. So now our home is full again with all residents accounted for. I still miss my out-of-state family, and look forward to the day we can travel to see each other once more, but for now, my heart is full.

And because I like to post photos, here are several photos of leaves and ferns that made me see a heart shape. (For what I intended to be a quick post, it’s a little crazy how long it took me to decide on what photos to share.)