Saturday, October 30, 2021

Miser Family Update: packed full

Life continues to be rich and full in the Miser Family Household.  This week was packed . . . just packed!  I'd spent last Saturday canning applesauce, and then Sunday I took the jars downstairs, and the haul filled up my shelves.  

There are a few tiny spaces left for pickled cauliflower, which I made on Sunday.  But those shelves, they're full up: there's basically room for nothing more.  

Those shelves became a metaphor for my calendar this week.  For a variety of reasons, I had appointments this week that started almost every day at 8 a.m. and went through almost non-stop until 6 p.m.   It was all good stuff, but there was barely room in my day for catching up on the voluminous number of emails that kept flowing in.   I am feeling very . . . useful.  Very popular.  Yeah.

With all that work filling up the shelves of my calendar,  I had a few spaces for pickled-cauliflower-esque activities.  I voted by mail (actually, by drop-off box), and now I've gotten the confirmation email:

Your Ballot Has Been Received

And I got to go to a performance of Winter's Tale with my daughter, in which we got to see the actors "exit, pursued by a bear".  And I enjoyed a texted conversation with her regarding this awesome photo:

Her:  One of the things I did at work today: made the pompom for this hat

Me:  That is quite a cheery hat!

Her:  (I didn't do the hat, just the pompom)

Me:  If you wear it backwards, you can clean the floor.

Me:  Twice.

Her:  😆😂😆

Her:  If I were taller I could clean the ceiling

At this point, I want to take a break from cheery stuff to say: one of my friend-colleagues shared with me some very horrible terrible news.  I'm kinda reeling from this, and trying to figure out how to deal with it.  Right now, I've decided that I'm going to put this news into a box -- a box where horrible terrible things exist, and while I'm in that box I will deal with responding to horrible terrible news.   But I'm not going to let any of that horrible terrible stuff out of the box to affect the rest of the good stuff; it has to stay contained and not contaminate everything else.  At least, that's what I think right now.  My friend, I'm grieving with you.   End of break.

Here is some more cheery stuff.  N-son very much enjoys his new job and is rocking the uniform.  Behold!

I myself got to dress in a different kind of "uniform" on Friday.  The office where I now work has a decades-old tradition of dressing in themed costumes for Halloween, and this year I put myself in charge of making the costumes.  

Earlier this summer, our office had started the process of scanning about a gazillion of our paper files into pdfs, and I rescued all the colored file folders.  Some of them were too beat up to use again easily (not to mention, with the move to electronic records, we don't really need file folders anymore), so I turned a bunch of those into flower headdresses.  

The Registrar's Office, next door to ours, dressed as "Golden Girls", and we got together to admire one another and take photos.  Here's most of us!   So much fun.  

I was extra glad to get to wear these costumes with my co-workers because the rain blew in on Friday, our city's trick-or-treat night, and so I missed seeing kiddoes in costume.  But I got to see coworkers in co-costumes, and that's a pretty nice second-best.

And that's the news from our family, which continues to pack in all sorts of adventures.  May you and yours take care of yourselves.  

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Miser Family Update: very very fall and ful

Life continues to be rich and full in the Miser Family household. Maybe I should even say that life continues to be rich and "fall", because cold weather has set in. I've started closing the storm windows, and in the evenings I use the microwave oven to warm up my bag of cherry pits, which I stick in the foot of my bed to keep my toes warm.  Even more, you know how people like to have a drawer full of bicycle clothes in their living room? (Of course you all do this in your house too, yes?) Well it has been so cold that my guy ran out of his "downstairs socks "and had to go up to the bedroom to get his upstairs socks. That is how cold it has been!

N-son has checked in with us; he is living the good life. He asked if we could send him drumsticks, because he wants to audition to be the drummer at an awesome church near him: he says "Mom, it's just like a black Goatfield!"  (Goatfield is a pseudonym for our home church here, an evangelical PCA church. N-son makes me smile.)   He likes his new job, where he works Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. His new boss is chill, and he has a friend named Richie who works there with him. He also has really gotten into riding around with a collection of people who ride mopeds. Yes, my son is in a moped gang. He says they do not have particular colors they wear.

I-daughter does wear particular colors, but these are colors particular to her.  She just came back from the Most Significant Knitting Festival On the Entire Planet (per her description).  It is a place where talented people turn sheep into sweaters.  To whit, these:

into this.

This has been a great week for entertainment. I-daughter suggested we go to a nearby production of Something Rotten, and the performance was absolutely positively amazingly the opposite of "rotten". I was bouncing in my seat, and we were giddy the whole ride home.  If you ever get a chance to see that show, I totally recommend it. (Well, except that it doesn't even remotely satisfy the Bechtel rule; I do wish it had pushed a bit against gender stereotypes.)

I also got to attend -- heck, even do the introductions at -- a zoom talk by Nick Sousanis, who wrote the book Unflattening , a graphic novel PhD thesis that has won at least 11 different awards and has been translated into seven different languages. I am one of many of his big fans, and getting to hear him speak about the work was spellbinding.

I'm about to dive into applesauce canning.   It's that time of year:  6 large bags of apples that turn into 6 hours of work and come out the other end as 6 dozen quarts of applesauce to keep in the basement.  

Update:  Actually 5.5 hours of work, and 43 quarts & 38 pints --- 24 pints of which went to live at a friend's house.  I am out of wide-mouth quart-sized canning jars.  Every single one of my hundreds of such jars is in use.  Wow.  Also, I am glad beyond words that I have reusable lids, because the stores have been out of lids for months now.  Time to start cider vinegar production!

And that's the news from our family, which continues to be wealthy in our adventures and applesauce. May you and yours be similarly prosperous.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Miser family update: sitting, garlic, fall

Life continues to be rich and full in the Miser Family household.  My own week was particularly full of sitting.  I'd decided to do a Fitness Blender workout on Saturday night, for one thing, and forgot how there's a phase-delay in soreness whenever I do those.  I felt terrific Saturday night, and I was still bouncy on Sunday, and then on Monday all the muscles in my thighs were trying to split into three parts and secede from the union.  I don't think I looked like I was hobbling around to other people, but I felt particularly hobble-y.  Another reason this week was particularly full of sitting is that I had multiple days that were wall-to-wall Zoom meetings.  Because, dean stuff.

My husband spent much of the week in New York state at the Hannah Arendt conference, which means that the inside of my house looked like this:

He's allergic to (and kinda hostile to) garlic.  So when he's gone, I have Garlic Galore.  I eat it, I bathe in it, I use it to decorate, I . . . well, okay, I actually just eat it.  When he came home, it was nice to remember that I love garlic, and also that I love my husband more than garlic.  All of that is good to know.  

Outside of the house, my next-door neighbors seem to have come close to finishing their construction project and are starting to mellow out for fall.  Here's what their penthouse plaza looks like right now.

My "neighbors", October 10

It's a bit fancier and bigger than a few months ago, but there's a lot less of the constant take-off and landing.

As of August 1

This week, October seems to have been trying on a variety of Halloween costumes.  One morning, the weather dressed up in dense fog, so thick I could barely see a half-block in front of me as I headed out for my morning run. It was spooky, but spooky in a beautiful and eerie way. The next day, October dressed up in the costume of summer, with amazing sparkly sunshine and 80° weather. Then, today, October put on wind and rain, and let the cold front blow on in.  What we haven't yet seen, though, is Fall.  

Apparently, Fall exists in New Hampshire, and K-daughter went there to visit with her family.

It was two years ago that David came over for our Super Hero dinner, and -- while most of our guests and family were off in the other room, asked us for permission to marry K-daughter.

We said yes.  (We also said to heck with the need for asking permission, but yes anyway).  It was an answer I have not regretted one tiny little bit, not for a moment.  

N-son is off in Minnesota.  This week he joined a blues band as their drummer, and he painted the walls of his apartment red and black, and he started an IRA.   Actually, that's a lie:  I have NO IDEA what N-son did this week because even though I called him and texted him, he never responded.  N-son, you need to call your mom!! Or text.  Or send photos.  frfr, dude.

At any rate, that's the news I know about from our family, which continues to be wealthy in our adventures.  May you and yours be similarly prosperous.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Fixing a screen

I've neglected the "making stuff with other stuff" genre for a while, so to make up for lost time, here's a little whoop-de-doo about fixing a screen with another screen.   Not super creative, I admit, but satisfying nonetheless.

This was a screen in a door; people* had pushed on the screen to open the door instead of the frame to open the door, and so the screen ripped right at the edge.  

[* "People" could be named, but -- side eye in the direction
of husband --won't be named nonetheless].

Duct tape was not an effective fix, by the way.

Fortunately, I happened to have a screen from an old storm window.  I'd saved a few of these out in the backyard for use in my solar dehydrator, and was very happy to sacrifice a large one to do new duty in the front door.   I had help from a neighbor, the bald-faced hornet who'd been so busy building a residence in the eaves next door.  

Little baldy was actually deceased, poor critter.
I knocked her off the screen.  

The mesh of a screen is held in place in the frame with a string of tubing -- in the picture below you can see a bit of this white tubing I've pulled out from one corner as I start to remove the old screen.  Prewash enjoys the porch in the background. 

I borrowed this tool (below) from a handy friend; it looks a tad like a pizza cutter, but is actually used for squooshing the tubing into the groove.  You can reuse the tubing (at least, that's what I did, and it worked just fine).  

Here's the screen I'm repairing, on the ground, with some of the tubing lying around, and empty screen frame standing, and the replacement screen obviously still way too big for its new frame.   A bit of trimming with scissors fixed it all up.

And that was all!  About 15 or 20 minutes of work, and about $0 spent, and done.  Better yet, the only trash was a bit of left-over tubing (I had the tubing from both screens,  but only needed enough for the one front door screen). The old frame will go to a scrap metal collector we know.  I've rolled up the old nylon screen, and we'll see if Habitat Restore wants it.  Someone with a smaller door than mine might be able to use it, after all!

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Miser Family Update: Time travel and friendship

Life continues to be rich and full in the Miser Family Household.  

My job as a dean is a constant adventure in time.  There's the whole usual issue of "time management", and of "too many tasks; not enough time".  I am feeling a tad overwhelmed and a bit grateful for the challenge, still. This week, I had set myself two goals:

  1. Spend 30 minutes each day writing a silly show I'm trying to put together for our employees, and 
  2. Don't bad-mouth anybody behind their back.
I made it through Monday successfully; Tuesday and Wednesday were abject failures on both fronts, and I think that by Thursday and Friday I did reasonably okay on #2, but bombed out on #1.    I have to rethink my schedule and see if I can find elbow room somewhere.

The reason it's hard to find elbow room for writing is that my deanly job -- especially in these times of turbulence for academia -- means that I'm whacked by one crisis after the next.  It's not uncommon for me to have to make several attempts to open the email I want, because new emails are coming in so frequently that the one I want keeps hopping down.  I guess all this email means I'm popular and needed, right?  

One of my techniques for reminding myself to be grateful for the challenge of being where I am is that I time travel:  in my head I go back to a year ago, when I was trying to convince the Provost to choose me for this job, and I remember why I wanted to be a person that so many people could turn to.  (Hey!  It worked!)  And then I travel to 3 years in the future, when my term will be over, and I'll be on sabbatical:  I'll be working on only my own projects, setting my own schedule, and having to figure out how to make sense of the lack of external deadlines or timetables.   By then, I'll be looking backwards and (I hope) proud of what the now version of me has done and the choices I've made.  (All the more reason to keep working hard on goals #1 and #2, I guess).

So, for me, these days are all about time.

I-daughter says that, if her life recently has had a theme, that theme would be "friendship"

  • She's had an Ireland-trip Knitting Reunion (in Watkins Glen, not in Ireland)
  • She visited Rehoboth for a women's retreat she's belonged to for a few years; she'd been invited into the group a while back by the mom of one of her childhood friends.  I-daughter does cross-generational really well.  
  • She'd been scheduled to go to the Rhinebeck knitting festival with a friend who had to bag it (sad), and then found another friend to go with (happy).  By coincidence, my guy will be nearby, in Bard, at a Hannah Arendt conference. 
  • She's about to be, for the 5th time, a bridesmaid.  And so far, all 5 marriages have lasted.
  • She's practiced theater gregariousness, seeing many shows with many friends.
Sounds like a good life, right?

And my guy, he's been back and forth between here and NY, meeting up with chemistry geeks; he's also continued his protest streak, and had some excellent biking weather.  He's also, I have to say, an excellent cook, for which his time-traveling wife is incredibly grateful.

And that's the news from a small subset of our family, which continues to be wealthy in our adventures.  May you and yours be similarly prosperous.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

My flower mask

 Church:  I like to have something to do with my hands while I listen to the sermon.  And, inspired by our congregation's Flower Team that does amazing displays every week, I made a flower mask.

It's multi-layer (four layers of fabric), and the stitches holding the flowers on go only through the first two layers.  

Not everyone at my church wears masks.  Okay, actually, very few people at my church wear masks.  I wear a bunch of over-the-top masks  --- kitty cat with whiskers, mustache mask, appliqued church logo, beaded and buttoned --- and I tell people, "I do this so no-one has to walk in to church being the first or the only one.  If I'm there, they're not alone."    And for whatever reason, there are now more masked parishioners.

I can't wait to wear this one, though.   Next Sunday!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Stunt dog

You know that scene where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid jump off a cliff into the waters far below?

My dog is practicing to be a stunt double, so she can perform that part herself, and to play the role of the jumper who didn't manage to survive the fall.

Look how good she is already . . . 

She's ready for an agent to sign her up.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Miser Family update: observances

Life continues to be rich and full in the Miser Family Household.    This week, we were particularly rich in observances.  For example, in the middle of the week my husband and I celebrated the 25th anniversary of the day we decided to get married.  We used one of the gift cards we'd been lotteried, and went to a restaurant where we ate lovely food on an outdoor terrace, and then we came home to slow-dance to a Reba McEntire song while someone short and furry licked my knee.  Very romantic.  

Today was an international observance, although maybe you missed it:  October 2, being the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi (he would have been 152 years old this year), is now a U.N. "Non-Violence Day" observance.  Several of my family members got involved in marches.   There were rallies and marches all over the country for protecting abortion rights, and my guy eeny-meeny-mineyed his way to choosing the march at our state capitol.  

And elsewhere, K-daughter and family were advocating for human rights.  Show 'em how to do it, A-child!
K-daughter says, "Prior to our protest Walk today, we prepared A-child with a child appropriate book about Human Trafficking. She did a great job on the 2.5 walk today and was excited to hold the sign at the beginning presentation. So proud of my A-child in joining me to bring awareness that it happens here, too."

In a different kind of march, my guy has found a new, practical (and non-violent) use for his giant army backpack.  

He carries our box of CSA vegetables home in it.  The whole box fits!

It was also a great week to observe new milestones in our lives.  K-daughter got her diploma!  Whoop!  And N-son passed his road test . . . on the first try!  He's now a licensed moped driver in the state of Minnesota.   He'll be able to use that to get to his job, which starts October 11.  Whoop again!

I-daughter spied (observed?) a cute cow bag in a shop on her travels to the beach with friends.   She sent me a text: "This is a present I didn't get you (from Rehoboth)"

I love getting cute pictures of things that are adorable and that I don't have to keep!  The "something that made me think of you that I didn't buy" genre is one of my favorites, really.

But speaking of something adorable that I do want to keep, let me return to the subject of K-daughter and 25 years ago.  About the time my soon-to-be husband and I were first falling head-over-heels in love and also getting to know a small, hyper K-kid, we used to spend almost every summer weekend at the Renaissance Fair.   We'd all dress in period-costumes, except for K-daughter, who for reasons over her own preferred to wear my cow costume.  We have such good memories of those days . . . and so it's heart-warming for me to get this awesome photo. 

K-daughter says, 

"I really wanted B-child to go as a cow ;) anyway, we went to the Ren Fair dressed as fairies and were able to enchant our fairy hunters affection with our cuteness <3

A-child met a "real unicorn "and the hunter learned the ways of woo by briefly attending the Duo of Woo. Ended the day with the joust, of course!

(I made B-childs's fall fairy wings and my horns :) )"

And that's the news from our family, which continues to be wealthy in our observances.  May you and yours be similarly prosperous.