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We’ve got photos (a few).

And there are sailors!

I like the tram wires, for some reason.

I feel the crabbiness lifting, maybe. The weather has changed and it’s cool in the mornings. A lot of birds are landing, too. It turns out the Jim is diabetic — we have to give him insulin shots twice a day, poor thing. But it’s kind of a relief to know what it is, and I’m hopeful that it won’t bankrupt us. Poor M is being tortured by college applications, interviews, essays and the fact that her physics teacher is the most boring man alive. I’ve scheduled the mammogram (just routine). All that crap, but it suddenly feels manageable. Or endurable, at least.

This is crazy, but I really like this planet. Aren’t you glad you live here with this weather and these seasons and these plants and not somewhere else where you’d have tentacles sprouting from your forehead and have to deal with clouds of sulphuric acid? I’m sure if I did live there, I’d feel partial to that planet, too — but it is hard not to like a crisp blue sky in the fall.

Still crabby

I thought I would come back from the weekend feeling a little less crabby, but I have not.

I think I may be worrying about M going to college. Usually this takes the form of worrying that M will never get in to college — but I think the underlying thing may be that I’m going to miss her.

Just wait — you’ll see. Annoying as they are, what will I do for entertainment when they’re gone?

I suppose I will have to find something.

Anyway, I did cook a beef stew from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Yes, I have jumped on that bandwagon, too. It was the Belgian one with onions and beer, and it was actually really good. I also made potatoes and brussels sprouts, and homemade ice cream with homemade yogurt cake for dessert. (Perhaps I am becoming Amish. I didn’t grow the potatoes, though, or the cow, and I used the mixer to make the ice cream.) And my brother and his husband came over and we ate outside under the apple tree and discussed what to do about the lawn. Anyway, it actually was delicious. And pleasant.

Still crabby, though.

I can’t really explain it.


It’s the sort of day where you go into the high school counselors’ office in the morning and the counselor can’t see you, so you make an appointment to come back at 2. And you do, which is not exactly convenient and which results in an inadequate lunch. But when you get there, the counselor can’t see you, because no one told him that you’d made an appointment, and he’s seeing a parent.

You politely ask if perhaps you should not make appointments through the secretary, since the same thing happened last week, and he says, “No, it’s okay. Just send M on Monday morning. Really, it’s okay.” As though, perhaps, you had been apologizing for making an appointment in the wrong way. Which, actually, you were not.


It’s not really a big deal — it’s just that some days it kind of feels like a big deal.



  • M enjoyed the visiting college people! She liked the visitor from Favored College, and the session from Questionable College was beleagered by the sort of people she doesn’t like, which puts it even more into the questionable column. (It’s not really the fault of Questionable College, I think, but there you have it.)
  • I forced myself to read an article in the Atlantic Monthly about how California has great energy policies and how now because of Obama other states will adopt them as well.

See? Life isn’t all bad.

Something prettier


Look. Here’s something far prettier.

All those birds are lovely.

I recently heard a western meadowlark at a rest stop in Minnesota, and saw a little flock of goldfinches in western Mass — they fly in little hops and K’s mother recognised them, although she was confused about a lot of other things at the time. I saw a cardinal in Hawai’i once and thought — what is this amazing and exotic Hawai’ian bird! It was a cardinal. Ha.

(You can find the map here.)

(Maine and Massachusetts are the black-capped chickadee. California is the California quail. Connecticut is the robin (eh) and Rhode Island is the Rhode Island Red. (!!!))


I’m afraid everyone is in a bad mood around here.

M has to go talk to two college people today, one in the company of someone she doesn’t like (enough reason right there to cross that college off the list). This means she’ll be at school from 8:30 to 4:30. Yuck.

There’s a general budget malaise, in the state, where I work, in the country, at M’s school. In the words of someone who is usually optimistic, “This state is f**’d up.”

Again, I wonder why I live here, but in the words of that same person, it’s broader than that. He’s talking about Saskatchewan as an option.

You know, I am not an expert, so I feel unqualified to say anything, really. It seems to me that people should believe in education and health care and that those are social goods. But maybe it’s really better to live in a society where no one pays for anything at all. I mean, I think it ends up looking like Albania.

I don’t know. I do think this particular state is broken beyond any measure.

Which is bad enough, but then it has put everyone personally into a personally crappy mood and me in specific into a mood where I am easily annoyed and inclined to view the populace at large as a bunch of morons.

Which, in fact, they are, but it doesn’t help to think about it.

In the words of my boss, “I’m a moron, too.”

And I am — just not such an annoying one, and one who believes in the value of a functioning state.

I’m sure I’ll feel better tomorrow.

Busy weekend

It was a very busy weekend and now I am at work, and very tired.

It was so pleasant at my house this morning that it was hard to leave. There are some new plants, and lawns to think about and some very lovely black bumblebees thumping happily around the mullein, which is still flowering, kind of.

Decisions have been made — we will go to AZ over thanksgiving, which is good because my grandmother is old.

Making plans is always so exhausting. But satisfying.


Green thoughts

  1. I’ve just been out in yard, and am having new ideas. No patio under the apple tree? I always want to put the table there, but when I think about a patio I feel cramped. Perhaps the patio under the deep shade of the plum tree? It’s complicated because now the light has changed. But in fact, I think that’s a good thing to consider. Hmmm.
  2. This means I may need to order more and different things. As I suspected.
  3. All this garden catalog consideration has me rereading Upward and onward in the garden by Katharine White, otherwise known as the editor of the New Yorker and the wife of E.B. White. (It’s sort of a book review of garden catalogs.)
  4. The forward of which is written by E.B. White.
  5. Which in conjunction with another book I’m reading, My Life in France has me thinking about women, careers, long marriages with children gone.
  6. I get the feeling that Paul Child might have been something of a worrywort, although very helpful to Julia. There are accounts of parties he wants to leave because people are shouting. She’s having a good time. Also, he doesn;t like to drive on windy roads. But it’s also clear she loves him.
  7. E.B. White talks about Katharine’s gardening in a way that might have been annoying to me. (She gardens in her nice clothes, which he finds odd but endearing.)
  8. The only conclusion I come to is that marriage is funny business.


Well, apparently it is 74 degrees F. here today. I find that hard to believe since it feels like 112. It’s a firey pit!

Meanwhile, tomorrow in Irkutsk it’s 32 degrees F. and snowing.

But I think she is headed back to St Petersburg soon, where it will be 64 and raining.

I just had to take the bus, which is no longer on schedule due to layoffs and furloughs, down to LUPS to get some arcane detail of M’s transcript fixed. The counselor had no time to see me but time to argue about it, and then time to explain exactly how (if you were Alice in Wonderland) what I wanted could not possibly be done. Then he sent me off to the registrar. I waited about 10 minutes while she was on the phone. When she could talk to me, she looked at it, said “ok,” and wrote a few cryptic notes on a post-it. I was free to go, and for some reason all the other people in the office broke out in laughter.

God knows what will happen. I waited another 24 minutes for the bus and here I am back at work.

Actually, I managed to accomplish all that in 2.5 hours.

Welcome to California!

CORRECTION: It’s at least 85, and probably closer to 95. Weatherunderground lies. Ha.