Man hiolding camera phone

Again dreary and cold, with temperatures stuck in the 40 F degrees. We are so tired of wet, and the ground is soggy. Arlene’s horse trainer Bailey told her that she’d never seen her horse’s boarding farm so wet. I recall the ground in September 1996, when Hurricane Fran ravaged North Carolina. The ground was so wet that old trees couldn’t hold their their soil, which had turned to mud and goo. We’re out of hurricane season now, thank goodness, and winds have less mass to capture since leaves have fallen. But gravity and inertia still operate.

Rosie and I were up at the normal time, and we flawlessly executed the morning ritual of walking, coffee-making, dog food distribution, bearing the foodstuff and the elixir of morning up the stairs. It was dark, and I tried to capture some of the morning very-gloom in some snapshots. Rather dark, and sme of the shots ended up being completely black. So, no Rosie pictures in her walk and watch. A Sunday this was, and the traffic on the highway through the trees was sparse.

Morning was full of activity. Arlene and I were still in the midst of the downstairs bedroom re-do, painting mainly. When projects like these unfold, it’s worth noting that chaos ensues in the normal workings of a household. Things are placed into disarray by the necessities of newness and half-bakedness. The hallway was practically impassable. The dining room sheltered empty, newly painted dresser drawers. The kitchen had various pieces of furniture wander in to dry. An unboxed toy slide shuffled around the hallway below the thermostat. One discovery: some old postcards in a drawer that celebrated Woodstock. And, yes, of course there was nudity, but I think in a humorous, tasteful way. Kids leave these humorous residues, and it was nice to find them as we renovated.

All was a-kilter, jusst as it should – needs to – be when you’re changing things. Probably a parable in there somewhere.

I made bread. Something that happens every couple of days, depending on how much we consume and whether children wander into view to use the garage or whatever. Probably because the ground floor was a mess, the bread decided to confound me, too. I forgot it as it sat on the oven, gently rising its second rise. It grew to a blob of dough, sticky and gooey. It stuck to the protective layer of plastic wrap I had laid on it. So I had to peel it off (after Arlene called attention to the mess), and refashion the dough ball for a retry. This worked nicely, and the bread was beautiful. The recipe actually calls for two rises, but I am impatient and sometimes prone to forget about the bread dough.

Saturday’s mail was unopened, and I opened it up. Two items for me: some wondrous socks celebrating retirement from a friend and former colleague now working with a non-profit organization for physician assistant education and a short note from another colleague when I was doing genomics research. Letters are so much more satisfying than emails. I am thankful for the physicality of paper and gifts like socks. They remain.

I took a picture that faintly echoes Bernadette Mayer’s selfies from 1971. It’s the “featured image” for this entry. She was beautiful; I am old. But my camera is far easier to manage.

I checked out the power steering issue on the car. It was whining a bit, and I’m not exactly sure why. The fluid level wasn’t that low, but I brought it up to standard. No more whining. I also put the car in the garage for an oil change. It’s a diesel, and so I’m suspicious about all the black crap that ends up in oil. I change oil more frequently than is required – Aaron thinks I’m excessive with my 3,000-mile changes. This time it went a little longer: about 5,000 miles. I noticed that were was some sort of oil leakage somewhere, since the underside cover in the engine area had oil on it. Something to watch, since it could be a seal. Oil levels have been good nonetheless, so I’m a little mystified. I wonder about the transmission, and I suppose it’s time to bring the car into the dealer for a checkup.

Cars are a source of joy and worry. My car is a nice one, and I have to admit some guilt for indulging in its luxury.

It needs tires, too. Dammit.

The kids went fishing. Not a nibble.

I find that the weekends lately have been crowded with activity, perhaps because of the season but perhaps also as a matter of habit. Satursdays are days of catching up when you’re working. You concentrate the activities of household to the weekend, with Saturday the most busy. (The dump is open for the morning on Saturdays, and I have to schlep my own rubbish in the country.)

The process of doing the daily updates is a bit time consuming, and I’ve been noticing that I haven’t included the work done on Second Act in my snapshots. I’ll probably change that. The photography, I am sure, will be scintillatingly exciting: just me, endlessly peering at a computer display, clicking a mouse occasionally. I have wondered whether the time spent on automation is worth it. I use GIMP for photo manipulation, and it’s supposed to be scriptable. The trouble: I do make choices about cropping, and that can’t be scripted. Resizing and saving? Yes. My current verdict: Unless I’d do this sort of exercise long term, automation isn’t worth the trouble.

There’s a certain utility in routined engagement, too. It focuses attention sometimes.