Category Archives: every day life

Weekend before TG

I made two kinds of cookies. Tomorrow: the pie doughs and chicken stock.

It’s been chilly. November-like. Raking’s on the agenda again and the usual dog walking.

I painted over the chipped-off paint spots on our stairs earlier and hung a pretty Japanese cloth above one of the boys’ beds. Both bedrooms are dusted and vacuumed and straightened. It’s been a while.

Gonna brine the bird this year.

Wordle pissed me off today.

The end, as LT would say.

Saturday, 33 years

It’s our anniversary. Here we are in Assisi a few years back.

Don’t enlarge the picture because my eyes are closed and you’ll get a glimpse of the neon crown that started this whole recent dental misadventure.

Content warning! Extreme photo to follow!

(Sorry-not-sorry — there might have been jokes with my dentist about not needing the retainer for travel in Alabama and Mississippi).

Here’s husband hard at work yesterday. It’s one of his virtues. I also work hard but tend to be messier, meaning I often walk away from piles of weeds and raked leaves — not necessarily intending for him to pick them up but generally he does and that’s as good a metaphor for our marriage as any!

Otherwise it’s a day when I am preparing for my trip, boiling eggs (because they’re soft to eat), and planning to make another pumpkin roll for K to enjoy in my absence.

And can I just say — maybe that’s a pretty good metaphor for our marriage as well?

I like being past the fanfare, by the way. We’re well into the “til death so us part” phase. Our plan for today includes picking up curbside a special dinner from Legal Seafoods. Also, since I just read on Nextdoor (it’s good for something, I guess) that a bald eagle’s been spotted over that way, we’ll go over early. Take a look over Hammond Pond for ourselves. That would be special, wouldn’t it? Scallop dinner celebrating 33 years and a bald eagle sanctifying our union?

I picked up this rock on the Cape recently. It’s for him.

Triple jack

You’re not gonna believe this. Before the excavator-mounted jackhammer could finish clearing out the new basement hole four doors up, a crew at their neighbors across the street started foundation work with a hand-held jackhammer. And tomorrow, a site that was cleared today (bye, bye Fortune Panda!) will begin jackhammering. It is five doors down in the other direction. That hole is gonna have to be deep enough to accommodate parking for the twelve-apartments that they’ll be building on top of it.

Seven a.m. is when the percussive banging started every day this week. The throatier, more intermittent hand-held jackhammering started at around one and went til five.

We might need to leave. It’s really possible.

Finn and I escaped briefly in some nearby woods. It was otherwise a spectacularly beautiful day.

The stone being jackhammered, I may have mentioned, is Roxbury Puddingstone (or conglomerate). This morning I looked it up. Among other things I learned that Roxbury was once called “Rocksbury.”

This is nerdy of me, I know, but I found the geology interesting — or rather, I liked the feel of these words in my mouth. Such a wholly other vocabulary. Even though the words don’t mean all that much to me, I’ll bet this Wikipedia excerpt would make a great writing prompt.

Because of the noise, I was once again relegated to the basement for a zoom session. My chair sits near a bureau piled high with magazine pages and collage supplies and so while waiting for class to begin I found myself gluing shit down, playing. The first one is another Two of Pentacles, I think.

The second one (above) is commentary about the climate crisis, which I also ended up writing about.


Driving home after four spectacularly sunny, blue-skied days in Quebec City, we hit rain in Southern New Hampshire. The gloom came at us like a pestering house guest. You again? Familiar and unwelcome.

Then, a day of jackhammering. The house demolition four doors up was at long last attacking the Roxbury Puddingstone. Rat-a-tat-tat. For months, I’d been eying the newly opened earth and exposed ledge with dread. When? I’d wonder and How long?

Fortunately our basement is beautifully sound insulating and I didn’t have to arrange much to host a zoom workshop down there. Better yet, neighbor Jane told me they’d done two days of the percussive work while we were away. Whew! What a blessing!

View from our fourth floor room
Three flights up!

This is the first week since June with three write-sessions scheduled. Two I lead. Today I follow. It feels good to be back in the saddle.

Tomorrow I get my Covid booster and flu shot. (If CVS doesn’t cancel again. They have twice). I’m lucky that I don’t have reactions. I doubled up on Covid booster and pneumonia shot last time and it was fine.

Speaking of Covid, before we left for Canada we arranged flights FOR BOTH BOYS TO COME HOME FOR THANKSGIVING. Due to work schedules and the virus, we haven’t all gathered here since 2019. Four years. It’s been four years. We’ve been together in Los Angeles and Colorado, but still…

What plans are you excited about? What routines grounded by?

Food as ballast

Food as sanity. Food as pleasure. Food as ballast, continuity, novelty. To prep food is to focus. That’s benefit enough, but there’s also how assembling ingredients performs a kind of magic, a magic that is at once artful and one of the most pedestrian domestic chores going. How is that possible?

Furthermore, because we get hungry over and over again, there’s no scrambling for motivation. It’s built in. How great is that?

This year has found me regularly trying out new recipes. Nothing as disciplined as working through a cookbook, but still . . .

4 garlic cloves, sage, mint, oregano, S&P, EVOO, and lemon juice

Sage and mint from the garden, oregano from the cupboard. I cooked the quinoa with a little saffron. The recipe didn’t call for that but one a few pages later did and I don’t know about you, but I often fudge things that way.

Since I don’t always have some of the more exotic ingredients, I apply a loose standard and that’s fine, since it’s not about perfect replication but rather about stretching my palate and experimenting a little, getting out of my domestic ruts.

For example, this Ottolenghi dish called for Persian dried lime powder and sweet potatoes. I used fresh lime zest for the former and left out the latter. I can see how sweet potato chunks would be a tasty addition, but the salad was PLENTY good without them (see what I did there?)

I gushed over this one in my usual over-the-top way. Oh my god — this one’s restaurant worthy! [Moan] Wow, this is good. Too bad we don’t run a B&B! Served a little bit warm, rice on the toothsome side, the feta adding a luscious creaminess, trust me when I tell you it was outstanding.

A few cherry tomatoes gifted from a friend’s garden added a perfect dash of color and acid, tasting like summer and sunshine.

My husband doesn’t say much (and I guess I gush enough for the both of us), but when he gets up for seconds, his opinion is clear enough.