I recommend Deluxe Yurt #17 at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. The picnic table overlooks a small lake.
The foghorn at the lighthouse up the road sounds every 30 seconds or so. “Deluxe” means there is a bathroom! with a shower! and fridge and microwave and dvd player and also a little electric “barbecue” on the porch that dings like a toaster oven. As always, I seriously wondered by the time we left for vacation whether all the packing and arrangements were worth it: there’s something about bringing all your own bedding and kitchen gear that is just a LOT. But as always, I concluded afterward, yes, worth it.
My vacation reading was David Yoon’s Version Zero, which started out great and held my attention but disappointed by the end, and Robin Stevens’ A Spoonful of Murder— the Wells & Wong mystery I’d been saving, which did not disappoint. When I got home I had an urge to reread Betsy’s Wedding, and got it from the library. I prioritize these rereading cravings like they’re some kind of nutrient deficiency. All better now.
Trying to shift my schedule a little earlier and go for a walk in the morning. Yesterday: a real garden bed. Sang gently tried turning the bed knobs, just in case, but no go.
Today’s walk was rainy; I listened to Detransition, Baby. Although they’re not the main attraction, there are slapstick moments that slay me. I’m going to listen to more tonight while I cook lunches for the week.
Yesterday morning I got my first Covid-19 vaccine dose at the local Walgreens. The setup was not a well-oiled machine like the mass vaccination site as described by sanguinity; it was the regular Walgreens pharmacy experience with a few extra folding chairs at the ends of the aisles. After my shot there was no 15-minute holding pen– I was told to walk around the store for 15 minutes before taking off. I read terrible greeting cards and bought some leftover peeps at 50% off. I’ve had no side effects except a sore arm like I get after a flu shot. It’s all very ordinary for being so extraordinary.
Rabbit rabbit! No actual rabbits pictured; this is my customary photo of our nearest neighborhood park on New Year’s Day. Cloudy and mild today.
Last night Sanguinity and I went out to the street at midnight to look at some of the fireworks we were hearing in the blocks around us. Then I could hear Canada geese overhead too. I hope they were able to resettle quickly.
One of the reasons I resist New Year’s resolutions is that I tend that way anyway and am in the middle of a bunch of campaigns:
- WaniKani to learn Japanese kanji and vocabulary, using spaced repetition “flashcards.” I know about 200 kanji now, and am on level 14 of 60. I got overwhelmed awhile ago and started over, and am just now passing the point where I stopped before. I will celebrate with sushi for sanguinity and me when I reach level 15.
- Also Duolingo for Japanese, at a very slow pace but daily.
- The Million Mile Ultra Run, still working on the 10,000 mile fun run. I am currently in 64th place among active participants, with 6699 miles.
- I just started doing pushups, increasing at 10 percent each week. A very slow ramp-up since I started with two pushups. I’ve decided to handle fractions by declaring ten pushups from my knees equivalent to one from my toes.
- Still tracking books I have read, and aiming for at least 50% BIPOC authors.
- You know, blogging, on the advertised “more than monthly” schedule. :D
So adding anything because it’s January 1st, no.
We were all set for New Year’s Day good-luck food, but as it turns out the can of black-eyed peas had a 2012 expiration date and the collard greens were yellow at the top. Is this symbolic? Is the fact that we ate them and they were fine?
Now for a full weekend after this quiet holiday. Luxury.
The Twelve Days of Christmas is usually a lie I tell myself as I fail at thinking of presents and posting cards and packages and decorating and baking so that everything is in place no later than the morning of December 25th. As things slip, I go, “Christmas is really twelve days, I can send New Years cards instead,” et cetera, but then actually as of the 26th it’s over and I uncomfortably forget what I haven’t done. I hate feeling behind, and Christmas is pretty much a month of feeling behind, starting in late November.
This year I’m conducting the experiment of treating the twelve days of Christmas like it’s for real. The post office is running late anyway, and I have way more days off work after (the first day of) Christmas than before it. Today is the sixth day of Christmas. Christmas is half over, half yet to go. I’m writing “Merry Christmas!” to people (who celebrate Christmas) without waffling about sorry-it’s-late. I unwrapped my chocolate orange after dinner tonight. (Granted, I have it now because I forgot I had it on the first day of Christmas.) Mostly, I’m trying to operate in that holiday sense of time where you can do pointless fun things and there’s no list, or at least not a fixed and urgent one. We’re still in a pandemic and I think officially supposed to be gentle with ourselves when possible? so it seems like a good time to try it.
This is harder on days I’m working, did you ever notice that jobs really cut into one’s free time? but we’ll see how it goes. I’m also enjoying New Year’s being just a slightly differently flavored couple of days in the middle of Christmas, stripped of all that anxious resolution to start something off right.
This Texas Monthly piece from April has been on my mind. It reminded me of the older women I’ve known who have their hair done for years and years by the same person, or who have their routines and never use the shower or the whirlpool bath or whatever at their own houses. I feel fondness and respect for this lady’s generosity in sharing a small adventure.
(ETA: just reread the scene in Ramona and Her Father about Mrs. Swink and the tin can stilts. Same energy!)
More recently, the Yuletide collection opened! My favorite fic from the kidlit canon so far is this one:
The Queen’s Lover [authors are still anonymous]
Fandom: The President’s Daughter series, by Ellen Emerson White
F/F, General Audiences [I would rate it Teen], Beth Shulman / Meghan Powers, Best Friends, Falling in Love
The tough-as-nails dialogue expressing unshakeable love while remaining extremely cool is spot. on.
On a day when minds are on the big picture, let me tell you the best tiny thing I’ve started doing: standing up in the middle of the room when putting my shoes on or taking them off.
I read this tip on a physical therapy site and regret to say I can’t figure out which one, to give credit.
Especially with my pair of Hokas that has unstretchy collars and must be tied and untied every time, I get a few seconds of back relaxation and hamstring stretch reaching down to the laces, and a few seconds of balance practice standing on one foot at a time while getting the other foot in or out of the shoe.
I did say tiny thing! But it’s several times a day and takes essentially no extra time or motivation. In my current physical state (sound but sedentary) it’s working for me.
This is the one full-size tomato that made it from seed to ripe in our garden this year. (The cherry tomato seedling our CSA gave us did much better.)
The seeds came from a neighbor’s seed library, when stores and nurseries were closed and everything mail-order was sold out. We nursed them along on the windowsill, where they were too chilly and dim to be happy, then in pots outside the back door, where ditto, then in the garden that’s partially shaded by a pine tree.
Sang and I did get one dinner of fried green tomatoes from the garden as well. And the CSA gave us green ones too this week! Tomatoes have always been the one thing we have to grow, since green ones aren’t even at the farmers market.
So I’m proud of this tomato that marks the end of the year. (Today I walked past a pink rose that still had a scent–but I also brought the pumpkins in for roasting.) Maybe I should save its seeds, for us and the seed library.
The cyclamen are naturalizing in the back yard. In Colorado I knew them only in pots for the winter holiday season, so I get a kick out of seeing them make it on their own here. Little flames.
I am still feeling the relief and gladness of being able to go outside and see blue sky, or clouds that have shapes, or sunlight, instead of staying inside and breathing as little as possible because of the toxic haze of wildfire smoke. That was a hard week. Now the season has turned and the days are shorter, but we get another week of warm sun.
Picking up library holds is by appointment now, across a table blocking the entryway to the library. Tonight I will get Rocketman on DVD, The Evidence of Things Not Seen in print, and the sequel to a DVD about Dick Proenneke, who built a cabin by hand in what is now part of Lake Clark National Park in Alaska, when he was about my age in the late 1960s, and lived there for thirty years or so.
Questions courtesy of f.riday5.com:
- What recently caused you to boil? Reading the news that jail staff at MCDC are not wearing masks, and not all inmates had access to masks before mid-July.
- What often causes you to freeze? Social tasks like communicating a correction or reminder with the timing and tone that will not cast aspersions.
- When did something evaporate into thin air? Long ago, Sanguinity and I had an aquarium, and the first fish we got was a serious little bottom-cleaner type. His name was Mr. something, neither of us can remember now. He vanished, and none of the other fish was big enough to have eaten him, so I figured he must have ascended to nirvana. However, years later when we were moving I found his dessicated body stuck to the carpet, so apparently he had instead found a way to jump out of a gap in the cover.
- What recently caused you to melt? Our kitty lounging on the porch, free of her cone collar and looking elegant in black fur. It was hot, so she also tended toward melting.
- Among United States you haven’t visited [sic], which would you most like to check out next? Idaho, when Sang and I go to Hell’s Canyon one day. Nor would I say no to riding the train to Glacier National Park in Montana.