Friday Five on Sunday

1. What is your favorite carnival ride?

I’ve never been on a carnival ride I didn’t like, except for the sad time I accidentally chose a carousel horse that didn’t go up and down. For a favorite ride, I’d pick something swooping that also gives a good visual of the carnival for bright nostalgic feelings– like the swings that circle and get more horizontal as they go faster, or the octopus ride.

2. What is your favorite thing to do outside?

Weather permitting, play in a river deep enough to float in but shallow enough to get my feet under me, on a hot sunny day. Birdwatching and looking at trees, clouds (if any), and rocks are also an important part of this experience. Ideally includes reading and napping on the bank between dips.

3. What is your favorite household chore?

The best part of laundry is snapping and folding the clean pillowcases.
The best part of doing dishes is washing plates.
The best part of sweeping is the porch steps.

4. What is something that you always have with you?

My glasses.

5. If you could visit any single city in the world (that you have not visited before), where would you go?

Tokyo! I am fully expecting overwhelm and perhaps liking another Japanese city or town better once I’ve been there. But Tokyo is likely to be where I succeed at a basic human interaction, train trip, or convenience store purchase in Japan, and that will be heady indeed.

questions from Dreamwidth

vacation photos!

I recommend Deluxe Yurt #17 at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. The picnic table overlooks a small lake.

Looking over a woman's shoulder at a fence and, beyond it, a forested 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.

A large banana slug on a background of grass and evergreen needles, with a key alongside for scale. The slug is about twice as long as the key.
In addition to this friend, we saw pelicans, sea lions, and many many Steller’s jays.
Boulder on a sand beach, covered in a network of holes to make a honeycomb like pattern.
And rocks.

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.

will there be a cover crop

Four-poster bed frame sitting on a lawn, partially filled with dirt/compost.

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.

at the walgreens

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.



Path through Doug firs on a cloudy day at Mt. Scott park, with crow and squirrel
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.

Twelve Days of Christmas, an Experiment

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.

Monday Magpie

sidewalk repaired with concrete inset with multi-colored glass marbles

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.

With Salons Closed, an 89-Year-Old Houston Woman Washes Her Own Hair for the First Time in Decades

(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
4138 words

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.

Behold the Brandywine!

Red Brandywine tomato artfully nestled in some attractive green weeds
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.


pink cyclamen amidst other greenery in a backyard

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.