Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Years Eve Morning

This should be some sort of review of the year, that being the traditional thing to post on such a day but, quite honestly, I'm not sure whether that will be the case. Maybe I just want to share this shot of this morning's inbox:

It's possibly too small to read but I assure the reader that it is the latest crop of charities who are eager to let me know that I have only a few hours left to send them money in 2015. Of course, soon I will be alerted to my very first opportunities to contribute to any number of worthy causes in 2016. I begin to appreciate the advantages of anonymous giving.

Maybe I am hesitant to review my own year because it doesn't necessarily stack up so well compared to others. My friend Alex decided at the start of 2015 that she would make it "a year of art," and she was very successful. Perhaps where I go wrong is not setting such goals. I drift into my accomplishments as I drift through life. I had no intention of becoming a bike commuter but working on Madi Carlson's Urban Cycling, combined with working across the hall from a dedicated cyclist, seems to have resulted in me biking regardless of conditions. According to my incomplete records on Luum, I've made just shy of 295 "trips" but I didn't start logging there until the first of May and I know I was biking in much of April so the number should be a little higher. I love my bike and, most of the time, I love biking so that's a nice little thing about 2015.

The garden was less of a raging success than I'd hoped it would be this year. We bought a new trough in which to plant tomatoes, placed it where it would get the maximum amount of sun and heat, filled it with fabulous soil and compost, and watered religiously, but we didn't get a ton of tomatoes and those we got were good, but rarely fabulous. Instead what went wild were the green beans in the front-forty raised bed, possibly because I kept planting more seeds, thinking that the previous batches hadn't germinated. After reading Eleanor Perenyi's Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden I was inspired to dry the green beans after we couldn't stand to eat any more of them. I learned that they dry quite nicely but that harvesting the dried beans is a somewhat tedious process. I've yet to discover how they taste but I do feel quite the homesteader when I look at the jar of them:

I'm thinking some sort of minestrone . . .

Thanks to a few pretty short books I received at Christmas I managed to get my total books-not-read-for-work number up to 56 for 2015. A number of those were re-reads and another number were books that were completely unmemorable or just plain bad. Alarmingly, many of those I enjoyed most were nonfiction! Crow Planet, the aforementioned Green Thoughts, Jambusters, and A Moveable Feast were all outstanding on the nonfiction side while, for fiction, The Return of the Soldier and The Poisonwood Bible were the standouts. Mona in the Desert and Antosha in Prague I put in their own category as they are the best books written but not published in 2015. If some publisher doesn't make an offer on them then I will truly despair of, well, life really.

Glancing at the titles of earlier posts, I see that I saw my first (and thus far, only) short-eared owls in 2015. Those are some remarkably gorgeous birds! I'm sure I saw a number of other new birds in 2015--a long-eared owl, for one--but I'm too lazy to consult the lab book in which I record such things (yes. every damned day. mostly.) so an accounting of birds will just have to wait. This post is already absurdly long and it's sunny out there. Perhaps that bike would like to get out one more time in 2015.

 Happy New Year, beloved readers of blahdeblahblah!


  1. I admire your persistence with the garden, as you get actual food from it, unlike mine. I have fond remembrance of the fabulous grape jam every time I eat toast with the vastly inferior store-bought variety. It does spoil one so.

    While I am not brave enough to ride a bike in Seattle, nor possessed of knees that would enjoy such a thing, I am all in favor of your taking up arms against a sea of car drivers. Keep up the good work.

    You forgot to mention travel! You had fine travel adventures, yes indeed.

    I didn't track reading that carefully this year and think the total was below 40 -- nearly all of it nonfiction. Fiction has disappointed me greatly of late, so for 2016, I have a plan to write a novel myself to make up for it.

    Have a wonderful New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. What, no polar bear plunge?

    1. I've thought about the polar plunge but it seems pretty unlikely. Which is a pity because I loved it the one time I participated--and the weather should be perfect.

      Are you *really* out of grape jam again? Maybe you'd be willing to take one of last year's bottling? -m

  2. Short-eared owls are the best. Or else burrowing owls. I didn't fill a jar with beans or make a garden or jam, or art, or cycle my city, or travel. (Dang. What DID I do this year?) At any rate, happy new year. And love.

    1. Well, I think you owed me an email. You also did marvelous things to your lovely house, continued your 23-year-long process of creating the world's most perfect children, and kept any number of priests from making the most godawful mistakes. And I've just eaten a very fine cookie that originated in Boise. Can you claim any exorcisms?