Easing into a Saturday Evening

What with one thing and another, I decided to coddle myself today. We’re having roller-coaster weather (for months now) — it warms up to the 80’s F/26 C then cools down into the 60’s F/ 15 C, then warms up again, and cools down again.  We’re in a trough at the moment and it’s a little nippy (high of 70 F/21 C today, predicted low of 36 F/2.2 C tonight).  Later in the week, we’re heading for a predicted high of 90 F/32.2 C on Monday, then back down into the 70’s again. . .  It’s still bone dry with no precipitation and a humidity of 18%, and we’re under a wildfire watch because it’s windy (22 mph/35.4 kph).

I got a late start to the day because I had a good long lie-in, not stirring out of my snuggly warm bed until noon.  Didn’t have to get up, didn’t want to get up, so I didn’t.   I had cinnamon toast for breakfast, and made a big carafe of hot Stash Spiced Chai with almond milk, followed not long after by a can of Amy’s Kitchen vegetable soup for lunch which was major nummy-noms.  (Amy’s Kitchen has a line of Mexican frozen entrees which I love, and I saw they had soups, so I got some to try.  This is the first one I’ve tried and I really like it.) The bread I was using for toast is “artisan,” which is to say, it is fresh-baked in the store from frozen dough, and is sold as “English toasting bread.” It’s a white bread with a nice taste and some substance to it — it doesn’t dissolve into library paste like the crap the Big Bread companies pass off as white bread. (Wonder Bread! — if there’s any real food value in it, it’s a wonder!) This stuff toasts up nice and crisp, so I had two more pieces with just margarine on to go with my soup.

Blue Diamond packages their almond milk in little quart packages that don’t need refrigeration, and that have a nice long shelf life, which I really like.  I don’t use that much “milk,” just on cereal and in tea. (I do not like cow’s milk and it doesn’t like me either.  The only actual “dairy” I eat is yogurt, cheese and the odd bit of gelato or ice cream.)  I like being able to keep a couple of cartons of it in the cupboard without having to sweat the “use by” date.  I get the vanilla flavor because the vanilla makes it sweet enough I don’t need to add sugar to my cereal (Kashi Cinnamon Harvest), and I like it in tea — Spice Chai, Earl Grey, English Breakfast — both hot and cold.

I noshed my soup while at the computer working jigsaw puzzles I created from pictures of Anne Bachelier‘s paintings which I’ve downloaded off her blog to make puzzles with.  I love her stuff.  I just took it easy, listening to SomaFM’s Drone Zone music channel, eating my soup and toast, drinking my chai and almond milk, and working this puzzle of one of Anne Bachelier’s paintings, with her wonderful palette and magical-surrealist imagery, and it was very, very nice.   Just a total chill out.  Nice way to spend a lazy Saturday.

I leave you with this little parting shot:  In searching out links, I ran across this clip from my man Sam Elliott.  What he has to say about almond milk struck me as LOL funny.  Be warned, though.  He drops a couple of F-Bombs, too, if that kind of language bothers you.

Advertisements

Otterly Delightful

Here is an otter, by Kenneth Steven

The otter is ninety percent water
Ten percent God.
This is a mastery
We have not fathomed in a million years.
I saw one once, off the teeth of western Scotland,
Playing games with the Atlantic –
Three feet of gymnastics
Taking on an ocean.

Here is an otter by Jackie Morris

Bright the Hawk’s Flight on the Empty Sky

One of our brightest stars winked out last Monday.  Ms. LeGuin gave the above speech in 2014.  It was true then, it is even more true now.  She writes like she speaks, pithily and to the point, choosing her words wisely, and making every one count.

The made-up books she wrote were powerful and True.  (All the best made-up books are True.  That is what makes them the best.)  If you read her books and think about what she wrote and why she wrote it and how it relates to the human condition,  — and if you will let her — she will crowbar open the windows of your mind, throw ope the shutters, and let in the fresh air and sunlight.

From all I read and hear from those who knew her, Ursula LeGuin was a light-bringer, an illuminator.  It is a trait well worth emulating.  No matter whatever else you might be or do, also be a light-bringer. Bring light to all those whose lives you touch; share your light, pass it along, let others light their candle from yours and shine forth, adding their own light to the world.

When one candle gutters and goes out, it behooves us other candles to burn that much brighter and to share our light with still others, so that the light is not diminished, but increased.

Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929-2018

Only in silence the word,
Only in dark the light,
Only in dying life:
Bright the hawk’s flight on the empty sky.

– The Creation of Ea

Crimmers Eve

My friend LB made a bunch of knitted snowmen, and she gave me this one when I went to see her Thursday.  She used yarn that has a thread of iridescence in it that gives it just the perfect little sparkle like snow (like the iridescent glitter I used on my snowflakes) — which doesn’t photograph at all well . . . .

The little snowman got me to thinking again about how a simple object of little intrinsic worth becomes an object of great value because of its history and how one came to acquire it.  Its worth lies in its ability to evoke memories, of the time, the place and the giver.  .  .  .  It becomes a “souvenir” in the literal sense of the word, which is French for “remember.”

Sans segue,  I remembered I had this little bamboo silverware tray  (it’s too narrow for the silverware drawer in this house), and I had a brainwave — I put it on the little table I have by my computer to organize my knitting needles.  It works a treat.  I had a hard time getting to my double pointed needles before, but not now.  They all go in that front bit quite nicely, as does my needle gauge.  Win.

Here I make all these hats for other people, but I hadn’t made any for myself.  Last year, I had made a ribbed cowl to fit up around my neck, which I fold in half and which fits like a turtle neck sweater without the sweater.   I used it when I had to go out Friday, and it is tall enough that it will cover my mouth and ears no problem.  I made it so long because you can also unfold it and bring one end of it up over your head.  It fits my needs very well.  I thought a toboggan to go with it out of the same Caron Simply Soft yarn would be just the thing, so on this chilly (41 F/ 5C) Crimmers Eve, I’m making one.

Late in my salad days (1986), when I first started doing medical transcription, we worked at the hospital in a little room off the medical records department.  The lady I worked for, and who taught me transcription, used to get tickled at me for refering to “Christmas” as “Crimmers.”  I was more draw-y and cartoon-y then than I am now, and I drew her this little thing below one Crimmers.  (I didn’t know until about 20 years later that she had not only kept it all these years, but had had it very nicely framed.)  The sentiment still holds up well, I think, even now in these dark days. . .

Firefox Quantum is a Quantum of Schmaltz

— In the literal sense of the word “schmaltz,” meaning “chicken fat.”  I got really tired really quickly of piddling with Feedbro and RSSOwl, neither of which was as easy to use as NewsFox (which Firefox “Quantum” broke).  Finally, I just said (among other unrepeatable scatalogical and blasphemous utterances) the heck with it and rolled back Firefox to version 56.02.

I also left a comment on Mozilla’s Facebook page to the effect that I was really pissed off that they broke NewsFox while they were putzing around trying to soup up FireFox and that I was not going to upgrade to Quantum until they fixed it so that it would work with NewsFox.

I just now reinstalled Firefox version 56.02, which is the version before they broke it and have it set to ask me before it updates.   That means I can go back to NewsFox, which is the most useful and efficient feed reader I’ve been able to find.

Call me weird, but updates are supposed to make software better, and I cannot see how changing Firefox  so that the best feed reader out there no longer works  with it, makes it better.

I probably follow about 50 different blogs, 15 Tumblr sites, and about 30 different webcomics, and NewsFox organizes, tracks and updates them very efficiently.  When I open the update, it displays the actual webpage, not just the content, which means I can easily sign into those blogs that require it for commenting.  There were several blogs that neither RSSOwl, nor Feedbro would display in any form that would allow me to sign in so there was no way I could comment.   Also some of the blogs and Tumblr sites are artists’ sites and neither RSSOwl nor Feedbro would display their artwork or the webcomics except as thumbnails you had to click on to go to the website to view — which in Feedbro’s case meant opening another browser tab.  Neither RSSOwl nor Feedbro can hold a candle to the overall performance and user friendliness of NewsFox for viewing textual content, artwork, and photography easily without making you jump through a bunch of hoops to do it.

I don’t have the time or patience for that.  I’ll stick with NewsFox and the old Firefox version 56.02 until Firefox comes up with something that works with NewsFox, or until someone comes up with a better product than either RSSOwl or Feedbro, thank you very much.

The Lost Words

The Lost Words is a very special collaboration between writer Robert MacFarlane and artist Jackie Morris full of magical “word spells” and ravishing artwork that evoke animals and plants of the English countryside. This is a wonderful book for children of all ages.  Luscious language, exquisite artwork, a magical experience for both eye and ear. Written to be read aloud, drawn to be poured over, printed in large format.  You deserve to have this book, and so do the children in your life.

The below was done as a promotional giveaway, but it’s made from the same recipe as the feast of words and illustrations to be found in this wonderful book.

Please buy this book from a local independent bookseller if at all possible.  You need this book, and they need your support.

Two Pictures For A Friend

I ran across these two pictures in a blog post by Twisted Sifter, which were entries in the 2017 Nat Geo Nature Photographer of the Year contest. These are for Shore Acres, because she’s into wildlife photography.  They’re also beautifully abstract images.

Photo © Cole Frechou National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

This alligator is lurking in a pond covered with duckweed.

Photo © Jerry am Ende National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

Here’s a Rorschach test for you.  (It’s a heron preening.)