Category Archives: Seasons

Burrowing

I’ve just had one of my favorite kinds of weekends. No social engagements, no particular errands, no particular chores. Started out with snowblowing early Saturday morning so that YA could get to work; although it’s technically a chore and it was cold, I had fun using my new snowblower (well, new to me anyway) even though it was a little hard to get it started the first time it was still dark and I had to kinda figure out by touch where the choke and throttle were. Did my Saturday morning chores (change sheets, water plants) and by then it was all of 7:30. So except for taking breaks to throw more laundry in and have meals, I spent the entire day in my studio! I’ve had a pile of stuff that I wanted to use up for a few weeks and I managed to get through it all.

Yesterday I had to snowblow out the bottom of my driveway again and when I lent the snowblower to my neighbor for a bit, I got to learn about cotter pins. Glad he broke it and not me – I would never have known what had happened and would probably have spent a lot of bucks having somebody diagnose and fix it. YA convinced me we should out for breakfast – The Lowbrow – her favorite breakfast spot. When we got home I made a big pot of broccoli cheese soup and then headed back to my studio. Overall I made 41 cards this weekend and got the studio spruced up as well.

My friend Pat calls this kind of behavior “burrowing” and I have to admit I did feel like I had hunkered down in my sweatpants and fat socks. I do enjoy my busier weekends as well, but it did feel rather nice to tune out the world for a couple of days.

What do you like to do when you’re “burrowing”?

Good Fortune

Fortune cookies, while a fun novelty, don’t always register for me. Most of the time that YA and I have Chinese food, it is at home, delivered by our favorite place, Fresh Wok.   YA loves cream cheese wontons, which I consider dessert; this combined with the fact that the fortune cookies are always at the bottom of the bag, they are usually overlooked until after we’re full.

I have some good friends who are moving this week, so this past weekend, I took Chinese take-out over to them so they would have one night when they didn’t have to cook. I decided to make it an early Chinese New Year party so brought lucky money envelopes, red paper plates/cups, the works.  When I was setting things out, the fortune cookies were actually on the top of the bag so I put them each of our place settings.

Here is what mine said:

“Because of your melodic nature, the moonlight never misses an appointment.”

Lovely, although in terms of it being a fortune, all I can figure is I’d better keep being melodic or the moonlight will miss an appointment?

What fortune would YOU like to crack open?

Going Forward in Life

I know from discussions on previous New Year’s Days that we are not a big resolution group. Around our house, New Year’s Day is traditionally the day we take down the tree, put away the ornaments and other decorations and generally straighten and clean up.  It feels like a fresh start after the big holiday season so it’s easy to understand how folks can spend time taking stock and deciding how they’d like to go forward in life.

No particular ways I’d like to go forward, although I will note that 2019 was an abysmal year for keeping up communications with the people in my life. Not sure why, it wasn’t more busy than usual, but in looking back I realize that I did more responding and less reaching out.  So maybe I’d like to change that.  If this is a resolution, then so be it.

If there are resolutions in my past that I managed to keep, I can’t remember. I assume that most of my former resolutions remained as resolutions and not life changes. This means I don’t have a game plan based on past experience for making a change.  I guess I’ll just have to wing it.

Have you had any spectacular resolution failures? Or success?

Thunder & Lightning

Photo credit:  Javsama

As part of my site inspection in Peru, we spent two nights in Cusco, which is also known as the “Gateway to Machu Picchu”. Cusco is in the mountainous part of Peru and is 11,152 feet in elevation (this is actually HIGHER than Machu Picchu).  While there are certainly spots on the globe higher than this (Kilimanjaro, Mount Everest), Cusco routinely makes the list as one of the highest altitude cities on the planet.  Many of the hotels in Cusco pump extra oxygen into the rooms and almost every establishment of any kind (shops, restaurants, hotels) have access to oxygen tanks, just in case.  If you search the internet, you’ll find a massive amount of information about altitude sickness, what causes it, what you can do about it.

But nowhere are you warned about the thunderstorms. In the mountains and tropical areas of Peru, it’s rainy season right now.  That means a lot of gray days and in Cusco, thunderstorms – three to four a week for a few months.  We experienced a thunderstorm the first afternoon we were there and let me tell you, when you are 11,000 feet up, the thunder and the lightning is MUCH closer to you than down in  the lower climes.  It’s hard to describe the visceral feeling that goes through you when the lightning seems just on the other side of the street from you and the thunder crackles and booms loud enough that you cover your ears.  We were touring a couple of convents during the storm, both with large courtyards and covered walkways; we weren’t actually standing out in the rain (which was intense as well) but close enough that the storm felt startlingly  close by.

The next day, I got to spend a couple of hours with the tour guide all to myself (a serious perk in my estimation) and he told me that in the Andes, the god of thunder is the most popular weather god as he is associated with the health of agriculture and crops. He is not known as Thor there, but as Illapa (pronounced E-yapa) and he even has his own holiday – July 25.  Apparently he is the keeper of the Milky Way which he keeps in a jug and pours out to make the rain.  Did I mention that on a clear night in Cusco, the Milky Way is very bright and visible?

So I came home from my trip with a robust appreciation of the god of thunder and lightning. When thunderstorms season rolls around next year, I’ll have to try to enjoy it more.

Any gods or goddesses that “speak” to you?

Cookie Making Machine

Normally I spread holiday baking out over a week or so, but this year with Thanksgiving being so late this year along with a work trip next week, I don’t have as much time as usual. So yesterday and today I am a cookie-making machine!

I marked all my recipes in their various books and then went through and made an ingredient list. The shopping went pretty quickly, although I did need to hit two stores.  No Andes Mints or good peanut butter at the first store.  Except for getting our tree on Friday (the only shopping I’m willing to do on Black Friday), I’ve been doing pretty much nothing but measuring, stirring, shaping and baking.  The tins are starting to pile up on the front porch; it’s like having a walk-in freezer.  I don’t know if I’ll get all of them done before my trip, but that’s my goal.  Here is this year’s list:

    • Anna’s Chocolate Chip (yes, our Anna) – using mini red and green candies
    • Pecan Meltaways
    • Vanilla Walnut Crescents
    • Peanut Butter Bon Bons
    • Peanut Butter Blossoms
    • Soft Gingerbread
    • White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints
    • Spritz
    • Mint Surprises
    • Derby Cookies
    • Milk Chocolate Fudge
    • Milk Chocolate/PB Fudge

That should keep us in cookies until 2020!

Tell me your very favorite holiday cookie.

Turkey, Eggs, & Onions

This past Sunday was an early Thanksgiving Feast, a potluck at our Unitarian Fellowship. Husband is on the planning committee for that, so we ended up roasting two 12# turkeys. There is still some leftover turkey.

The next morning I woke up realizing “Oh, we get to have Turkey, Eggs, and Onions for breakfast!” This is a dish I learned about when married to Wasband, and living in and around New York City. He was from a Russian Jewish tradition, though I suspect this dish is more an East Coast thing than Jewish. (East coasters eat turkey all year round – a good inexpensive fowl to have any time.)

It was quite a learning curve when I arrived in New York with Wasband in 1974. I had absorbed four years’ worth of San Francisco and coastal California culture, and thought of myself as rather worldly. Ha! Within a couple of months I experienced living (briefly) in a household with completely different family dynamics from mine (and a strong Brooklyn accent); a new religion, though they mostly practiced what I call “Holiday Judaism”; and the death of Wasband’s father, with all the rituals and drama that surround that.  

A couple of months later we were living in our own apartment in Brooklyn, and I had found a job being messenger for a typographic firm in midtown Manhattan. As I ferried packages of type from one building to another, I was a pretender to a whole new set of cultural mores – riding the subway up and down Manhattan (from, i.e., Wall Street to Central Park); ordering “kwahfee” or buying a pretzel from a street vendor. At first, Wasband’s friends were my only social circle. Then one woman invited me to join her Ladies Poker Night, so I was able to have some of my own experiences with other “real New Yorkers”.

After two years, I left all that for the more familiar Midwest territory. But I’m very glad I was able to experience these other cultures. And once in a while I’ll do something that reminds me of that time, which makes me smile.

When have you adopted customs of a culture different from the one you grew up with?

What’s your favorite thing to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?

Day of Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving.

  • I’m grateful that thanks to Mother Nature, I don’t have to worry about any more raking for awhile. Or pruning.
  • I’m thankful that although I don’t have a working chimney right now (until repairs in spring – maybe), I do have a working chimney liner, thus heat.
  • I’m grateful that Nonny is still spry and vibrant, and coming to visit in a couple of weeks.
  • I’m thankful that YA’s foot is healing nicely and she can now get around on her own, drive and go back to work.
  • I’m grateful that most of my friends and loved ones afflicted with the big “c” have beat it back with a stick and am thankful that this community was able to surround the friend and loved one who didn’t with caring and support.
  • I’m thankful that I haven’t thrown my new cell phone out the window (yet).
  • I’m grateful that usually once a day a stranger shows me kindness (even if it’s just stopping on Lyndale so I can either pull into or out of my driveway).

Enough about me. Anything good on your grateful list this year?