Went for a hike yesterday, which was a good thing because today, it is raining!


It was a great hike. It started on a sort of apocalyptic-feeling broken-down abandoned asphalt road before we turned off and started climbing through the hills on a little trail.


We encountered some cows.



We got to the top of the ridge.


The trail went up and down these funny conical hills all alone the ridgeline.


We met lots of other people and dogs.


The trail ends by winding through the grounds of a vanished asylum.

It was fun.

Best thing is, it’s raining!

This means winter is not over, and that I don’t need to feel like I ought to be out in the garden.

It also means that I do need to clean the inside of the house.


Also, listening to what’s going on in Egypt on Al Jazeera. What is going to happen?


All right. We have no snow.

But I think a flowering plum in the fog has a similar sense of quiet, don’t you?


I don’t know why, but I’ve been baking. Birthdays at work have been the occasion for three cakes in three days. It’s a bit much, really,  except I’ve enjoyed it.

Here are today’s cakes.


A Guinness cake. (It really is done in the middle — it looks like it isn’t, though.)


And a marble cake.


And the kitchen — what a mess.


Lucy agrees.

In further news, Molotov’s Magic Lantern continues to interest. There’s an underlying theme about books being, as Nikolai Fyodorov, the librarian at the Lenin Library is said to have thought, animate beings, expressing the soul of their authors. “For him, only the struggle against the common enemy death, the task of resurrecting the ‘fathers’, would unify mankind. ‘To study’, for Fyodorov, meant ‘not to reproach and not to praise, but to restore life.'” This takes on even more meaning when what the author is studying are the books of people — a whole society, really — who vanished under Stalin. It reminds me of Fran Lebowitz talking about what we lost in the AIDS epidemic — authors and artists, yes, but also an educated audience. The most productive part of society disappears (the educated middle class), and then things are not at all what they would have been.

Nothing to see here

I’ve just come from Harriet’s blog. This is what she says: “I can tell February is approaching, because I feel like nothing is happening. Nothing worth writing about, anyway. And yet, here I sit.” Accurate, I think, and yet . . .


there seem to be all kinds of things I want to babble on and on about. My slippers. The structure of my original family. The cake I made last night. The plum tree (which is really blooming now). The sad fact that I am missing yet another snowstorm I would like to suffer through.


Yesterday morning, after many technical difficulties, I skyped my friend A, who is living in London now. I really miss her. You forget how nice it is to actually talk to a person you know and who knows you. A person you like, that is.


All day long yesterday I had a better day because I had been able to show my new hideous slippers to A.


Okay, then, move along, then. Nothing to see here.

Jan 26

It’s my stepfather’s birthday today, so as a tribute, here is a picture of seven of the eight of us, with my parents. I’m in the middle. I’m probably about 8.

The larger kids are all my step-siblings. The littlest is my half-brother T. My older brothers have all emerged from the period when they had all their hair shaved off periodically. In fact, all I can really think about here is the hair, because I absolutely hated to have my hair pulled back like that. And look at my mother’s hair!



I got to work late this morning because I was skyping with a colleague who is now living in London. How fun — although I really really miss her.

I showed her my new slippers. I was finally driven to order a new pair of slippers. My old ones were worn through. The ones I got for Christmas were just not comfy enough. I tried to steal K’s, and which point he started wearing them. Hmmph. Finally, I hard to order four pair from zappos in order to find one pair that I really liked.

Aren’t they beautiful? (Okay, they re not, but they are comfortable.)

What else. Work is kind of nuts. People are freaking out because a) it’s their birthday or b) we are moving, and we all know that people don’t like change very much or c) No reason in particular.

I am confident it will all sort itself out.


I certainly hope so, because from what I hear we’re all going to have to work until we’re 67, now. Good times.


I think because I had an early meeting on Monday, it now feels like it must be at least Wednesday, if not Thursday.


Here you see the last remnants of Christmas on the windowsill.

While outside,


it’s starting


to be



Shocking, I know. It’s been -12 in Maine, it’s snowing at my mother’s house, and M reports that while it’s not actually snowing in Ohio, there’s plenty on the ground.

The thing is, I’d sort of like another month at least of winter. I want to go skiing again. I don’t really want to start digging in the garden again yet. I’d kind of like a little more time to be stuck inside.

I know — easy to say when it’s 60 degrees and sunny out. But you would see what I mean if you lived here — spring loses a lot of its punch when it comes in January. There’s a lot of pleasure in anticipation, and it’s a little hard to anticipate spring at New Year’s.

Okay. I’ll shut up now.


Weekend report


Went on a hike again this weekend. It rained in the autumn, and now, with the warm weather, the hills are all greening up.


Pretty soon the wildflowers will be out, I suppose, but for now it’s the trees that I like.


Aren’t they beautiful?









I also went to see the Illusionist, which is an animated film based on a screenplay written, but never made, by Jacques Tati. It was very beautiful, but also sad. K liked it. It takes place in Scotland (although it was written to take place in Czechoslovakia, which perhaps makes more sense) but the scenery, especially of the rain and of Edinburgh, are gorgeous.

And I went to the grocery store, and I watched Downton Abbey and I finished a sock and I finished 20 more pages of Molotov’s Magic Lantern.

Feeling a little bit lonely, I think. Ho hum

Friday list

  1. I have packed up the box of things M forgot (losing the tiny jackknife in the process – where did it go?) and am about to carry it down to the post office to mail it off. I think that’s the way to do it — carry it down, then walk to work from there. Ugh.
  2. Today is the day for the annual birthday lunch with some friends from work. We’ve been doing this for, oh, about 15 years. I also have to meet someone in the afternoon.
  3. It’s beginning to feel like kind of a complicated day. Also, my hair is wet.
  4. Also, I have to return that rather disappointing Estonian DVD to the library. Hmmm.
  5. The good thing is, it’s Friday. This weekend I have more interviews with kids applying to my old college (won’t be so bad once I’m actually doing it) and probably a walk with friends and definitely a trip to the grocery store.
  6. And books that I have to read and knitting to resume.
  7. Did you see the full moon the night before last? Apparently it’s the Old Moon. Tonight I’m going to look for the Winter Circle.

UPDATED: Post office experience fine, although I forgot my cell phone at home, so I had to trudge home anyway. Also, it is really hot. Also, it is possible that I am still not over this dratted cold! Also, I really have to get busy in the garden. Bah.

Morning news

I woke up this morning to the wind. All the windows were rattling, and when I looked out I saw that all the trees were in motion. They still are, actually.

I walked down the street to buy coffee and there were little bits of trees all over the sidewalk.

Some guys were out taking down all the Christmas lights which had been wrapped around the street trees.

Looks like the holidays are finally really over.