Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sometimes we melt

And then the roots fall off our faces.



Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014, The List

I'm a sucker for end of the year lists.  While eating Korean food with The Mister in Salina, Kansas last week, I noted, "Korean food definitely goes on the list for 2014, along with Boise."  Understandably perplexed, The Mister asked for clarification-- what, list, exactly, were we talking about?  And I didn't know, except that I knew that my 2014 list included Korean Food and Boise.
I've given it considerable thought since then, and have mentally constructed many variations of the 2014 list, including the witty accompanying commentary.  However, I have 11 minutes before I celebrate the beginning of 2015 with Dianthus and Aster (we are celebrating the new year in Newfoundland-- if one is not going to stay up until midnight, why not celebrate half an hour off from the rest of the world?) so I am going to post without commentary, with the hopes it will prompt me to write more.

  1. Korean Food
  2. Soccer
  3. Boise
  4. Cha cha cha
  5. CHASA
  6. Cauliflower
  7. Acting like a grown up
  8. Moving towards music
  9. Cultural exchanges within a culture
  10. Trees
That will do for now.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Not so deep

Image to accompany earlier posts on hills and fog.  Nov. 2014
When I planned Roots Year, I knew I was going to be seeing my cousins and aunts and uncles over the summer and the Mister's paternal connections at multiple points.  Shortly thereafter we were invited to the Mister's maternal family reunion and made the decision to spend Thanksgiving with his aunt and cousins rather than driving to see a large hall full of third and fourth cousins.

At each family occasion, and then again with the three funerals I attended in the last two months and the current holidays, I felt certain I would leave with something profound to say about roots here. I'd investigate who I am and then write thoughtful analogies between familial roots and botanical roots.  Perhaps I still will.  Someday.  I do want to. 

Disproportionate bases?
In the meantime, I watched the movie Wild with the Mister on Monday.  I think the Mister was disappointed, but the movie struck many hiking-related cords with me.  I was reminded of my Outward Bound experience, 23 days without a toilet in 1991, and the lessons I learned from it.  The big lesson, much like Cheryl Strayed's Wild lesson, was "I don't ever have to do this again."  Which seems flippant but was totally profound.

So, my thoughts from family gatherings are not deep: they mostly involve food, noses, and eyebrows, but perhaps that is not a problem.  Lots of roots are shallow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sparkle where you may

My actual resolution for 2014* was to go to a sparkly dress event, wearing a sparkly dress.

Notice the cork corkscrewing through the air.
A week ago it looked clear that I was going to fail at this resolution.  I had sparkled in a pink dress with my Kansas friends over the summer, worn a dress to the opera in Colorado, and looked great in artsy painted silk at the food contest/benefit dinner at which The Mister was a judge, so I wasn't totally lacking in dress-up, but I hadn't worn a sparkly dress to a holiday party, which I publicly resolved to do.
Wife of Judge
Last Thursday afternoon I e-mailed a Kansas friend to find out if she were going to be in town this week.  By Friday morning we had a party planned for Monday.  And so I wore velvet and sparkles to eat snacks with friends in a small house in Kansas.  There were fewer of us than expected (crud is going around) and we talked about unemployment, funerals and weird skin conditions while acknowledging chronically ill spouses, miscarriage and depression.  There was no dancing, no men, and no pictures taken.  You'll have to take my word that our cheap jewels were outlandish.

Crying tears of consolation and clearing pet hair from my skirt was hardly with glittering ball of my imagination, however the evening was fabulous.  There was friendship. And in the glow of friendship, we all sparkle bright.

Thanks to you all for your friendship.

*Roots year continues until February.  I have thought lots and lots about family and metaphorical roots.  Someday I will organize the thoughts enough to type them.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

There's Something About Fog

These images may or may not reflect the mood around here, but they do speak to the weather.
Oct. 2006 West Virginia
I grew up mostly without fog and still find it noteworthy and mysterious.
July 2005 Newfoundland

May 2007, Ecuador


October 2006, West Virginia

Monday, November 24, 2014

Break out the beaters

Pie time is almost upon us.  I have been working on several blog posts about books, gardening, and metaphorical roots, and none of them is coming together well.  Still, I'm thinking about pies.  Like everyone else from the middle of the U.S,A,, pie baking is in my roots, and Thanksgiving, in particular, is the time to connect to these roots, via baking and eating pies.

Well, almost everyone else from the middle of the U.S.A.  Except most of my students.  And the Mister's extended family, some of whom seem to think that chocolate cherry cake is acceptable Thanksgiving food.  And my (competent adult) cousin who has never whipped cream.  And my grandmother on the other side and . . . well.  Anyway, I think that I am rooted in Thanksgiving pie culture, and I'm looking forward to baking something that looks like these on Wednesday.

Pumpkin and Mincemeat Nov. 2012
Pumpkin and Cranberry Walnut Nov. 2013















I don't have photos of the guests (my parents or the Mister's parents) at either of these Thanksgiving dinners, but I guess that doesn't surprise me as much as the fact that I could only find photographs of the most recent four Thanksgiving pies in a quick search.

Note to cousin K: Buy some cream.  Chill a bowl and some beaters.  You can do it!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Phenology Report: Fog

With the tenure document, strep throat, pink eye, and all, I missed most of October (although I did get out of town three of the four weekends and learned fall was beautiful in other parts*).  I recall October being very warm.

November started out with a dreary gray weekend just to prove that it wasn't still October, before reverting back to the warmth of October.  The boys and I planted bulbs on Nov. 8 and the asters and cowpen daisies were still blooming and none of our leaves had turned, much less fallen. I was out counting the last of my main population of cyclanthera (345 individuals, in an area we've never had more than 170 and had as few as 14 in 2011) in short sleeves on Monday, Nov. 10 (it was 78 degrees F, after all) before the wind swept in and our first freeze hit the low 20s that night.  During the days of bitter cold that followed, all of the pecan leaves (still fully green), freeze dried and fell off, mostly coming down on Thursday night.

Saturday we had a great time playing in the leaves and Sunday (Nov. 16) it snowed all day, with accumulations enough to cancel school on Monday.  (Something that would not have happened back in my day, I tell you.)  Thursday and Friday were lovely days for playing outside and today was foggy, almost all day.

A full foggy day is weird.

I hope to write about my roots soon, in the meantime, enjoy whatever November is throwing at you.

*including camping in far Western Oklahoma for BioBlitz during which we inaugurated our new tent on a cold frosty night that came out of nowhere.