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Has It Sprung Yet?

Today’s post comes to us from our Ben!

The ducks have separated. We have 9 white ducks and four brown ducks that all hang out together. But last week, two browns and one white were off by themselves. It happens as the weather warms. A young ducks fancy turns too….?

And now that one white duck is totally by itself. At first, I thought maybe it had hurt its foot that it was sitting there all alone. But the next day it was toddling along just fine. Except alone. Occasionally I will get a couple mallards that we raised come back for a visit and maybe a pair or two will stay in the area, just not with all the other ducks. Sometimes we see them flying over and land in the swamp just over there. So home, but still independent like all good kids.

Also, the door on the chicken coop has been getting easier to open. It’s just a plain home-made wood door. In winter, presumably as the ground heaves with the frost, it gets harder to open as it drags on the ground. But the last week it’s started to open easier. Meaning the ground is settling again. And sometimes, the sliding doors on the North end of the shed will also get hard to open, again, because of the ground heaving. It helped that I shortened them a few inches. But when they open again, I know spring is coming.

I mentioned the other day I was ready to order baby chicks but the tank was buried in a snowdrift. Got that out. I’m thinking another sign of spring may be when the chick raising tank emerges from the snow.

What signs of spring have you seen?

It Hits Home!

It says a lot about you when you really decide that there is a crisis going on.  Work from home? Concert cancelled? Dog class postponed? Even the decision to stay away from Target for now didn’t bring it home to me until this:  Tuesday morning I got a note that the Hennepin County Library is closed until at least April 6.  Oh, the inhumanity!

Of course, it’s ridiculous to think this will have a serious impact on my life.  First off, I still have 14 books checked out; the library computer generously changed all the due dates to April, even the interlibrary loans.  Second off, there are tons of audio books online and I could always break down by reading books on my phone or pc.  Then there is the third off; I probably have 50 non-library books in the house that I haven’t read yet either.  I don’t think I have to panic.  Matbe Funny Planet by Ken Jennings (the Jeopardy guy) will be my next read.

What’s up next on your reading list?

The Razzies 2020

The Razzies are out!  They did an online reveal this year and here are the winners:

  • Worst picture: Cats
  • Worst actor: John Travolta for The Fanatic and Trading Paint
  • Worst actress: Hilary Duff for The Haunting of Sharon Tate
  • Worst supporting actress: Rebel Wilson for Cats
  • Worst supporting actor: James Corden for Cats
  • Worst screen combo: Any Two Half-Feline/Half-Human Hairballs in Cats
  • Worst screenplay: Cats
  • Worst director: Tom Hooper for Cats
  • Worst remake, rip-off or sequel: Rambo: Last Blood
  • Worst reckless disregard for human life and public property: Rambo: Last Blood

Looks like Cats took a licking this year.

What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?  Have you ever walked out of a movie?

Sticking Point

Yesterday was my first mandatory day to work from home. My office went from a surprising “you can work from home all you want” on Wednesday to “we strongly encourage you to work from home” on Thursday to “why are you here?” on Friday. I’m bright. I can take a hint.

So for the first time in 30+ years, on Friday afternoon I packed up my computer, my binders, my headset, my little box of pens, got a ream of paper for printing and headed out. Then promptly went back in and got my plant.

Over the weekend I thought about how my day would be different working from home. First, I would gain close to an hour by chopping off my morning and afternoon commutes. Then there would be my lunch hour, which I normally speed in my cube, sometimes working, sometimes reading. I decided that I wanted to put that extra time to good use – intentionally.

So today, I read a little longer in the morning, worked on a project during “lunch” and then at 4:30, took Guinevere for a little walk. Nothing big or earth-shaking, but at the end of the day I didn’t feel quite so stuck in the house. I’m not sure yet what other intentional things I will do in the next couple of weeks; I don’t want every day to be the same. But I do know that yesterday felt good and I wasn’t nearly as unhappy working from home as I thought I might be.

How do YOU get “unstuck”?

Speed

Husband is slow. Motorically slow. He always has been slow.  He really can’t do much of anything quickly, and it has been a source of frustration for him that I can do things quickly.  Really quickly.  When I did my psychology internship at a VA hospital in Iowa, we interns were administered  the same  battery of neuropsychological tests that we would eventually administer to the patients.  One of the tests was the Purdue Pegboard, which is a large board with holes for pegs, and you time people to see how fast they can put the pegs in the holes. It assesses bilateral motor speed and coordination. I had the fastest time ever for anyone who had taken the test at that clinic.

Last week, I got a notification from Ancestry.com that recent analysis of my DNA revealed me to have the Sprinter gene, common in athletes, especially in successful short distance runners. I never was an athlete, but my dad was, and he was really speedy.  In high school he could zip around the basketball court so fast that he once caused the boy assigned to guard him to start crying during a game because he couldn’t keep up with him.  He did most things really fast, and I am pretty sure I inherited that gene from him.

What genetic advantage  do you think you inherited? Make up a gene you would like to have.

 

Narration

This was one of the poems last week on Writer’s Almanac.

The Cross of Snow

In the long, sleepless watches of the night,
A gentle face—the face of one long dead—
Looks at me from the wall, where round its head
The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light.
Here in this room she died; and soul more white
Never through martyrdom of fire was led
To its repose; nor can in books be read
The legend of a life more benedight.
There is a mountain in the distant West
That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines
Displays a cross of snow upon its side.
Such is the cross I wear upon my breast
These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes
And seasons, changeless since the day she died.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Although I’ve never been a huge Longellow fan, I had been thinking of Rhiannon right before I clicked on the site, so this poem really spoke to me.

Of course, I had to look up “benedight” (it means blessed) and that led me down a rabbit hole where I eventually found this spoken version on YouTube.

The poem is read by Jean Aked, but I found it a little off, partly because it’s a woman’s voice narrating a poem from the point of view of an older man, but also because of her English accent; Longfellow was such a quintessential American poet.

Several years ago I might not have really noticed this, but listening to lots of audiobook has made me a bit of a voice “connoisseur”.  There are quite a few book narrators whose voices I recognize when I hear them and I have favorites: Simon Vance, Robert Bathurst, Jayne Entwhistle.  I usually like it when authors narrate their own books (like Bill Bryson) because they bring a special nuance to their own material.  Occasionally I don’t like a narrator at all, which can actually sour an audio book for me.  One of the most prolific audio book narrators is George Guidall.  Unfortunately, the very first audio book that I heard him narrate was something I just couldn’t stand.  So even after several years, every time I hear his voice it takes me right back to that dreadful book and I have to really concentrate to get past my negative feelings.  But he is a very good narrator so I continue to try to get past this.

All this leads me back to the Longfellow poem.  I’ve heard two narrators read it now and I think I’ll stick with the Garrison Keillor version!

It’s the story of your life.  Who would you like to narrate it?

3.14159265…..

I know you’re expecting to see details about Pi Day next week, but this year I’m going to change it up and write about Pi Day organization.  Here’s what it takes:

Already Done

  • Send out Evites. If you’re local, you got an evite, although I can’t guarantee they didn’t go to Spam.
  • Decide on pies. Mark the recipes with post-it notes.  11 this year – I can’t help myself
  • Make list of ingredients and then shop for those ingredients
  • Make little pie placecards and nametags
  • Make sure you have enough plates, napkins, forks
  • Check on red/white wine supply

Up Next

  • Go through recipes and sort out which are baked and which are non-baked
  • Figure out how many pie shells need pre-baking
  • Do any of those pre-baked ones need any chocolate coating or other prep?
  • Figure out what oven temperature is needed for the baked pies
  • Figure out what can be chopped/ground before Saturday
  • Make an actual schedule of the order of baking, set up by oven temperature needed

Friday night

  • Make the oatmeal cookies that become the crust for the Crack Pie
  • Make Crack Pie crust
  • Boil the condensed milk to make dulce de leche
  • Do any pre-baking of crusts and coat the chocolate ones
  • Do any nut chopping/grinding that needs doing

Saturday

  • Get up early and get started!!

Hopefully there will be time in here for a shower before everybody arrives!  Oh and here’s what’s on the menu:  Crack, Banoffee, Blueberry,  Dutch Apple, Red Velvet Whoopie, Reese’s, Pecan Dream, Shaker Lemon, Vanilla Crumb, Skillet Berry Cobbler and Pear Croustade.

Have I made you hungry or just tired?