homeward vignettes

homeward vignettes

i passed a dead cat on the side of the road on my way home this evening. one of the hardest things i’ve ever had to do was knock on a door after i hit a dog. i was 17 and driving the family safari van with my sibs in the back. it was a 45mph road and dark out, and the dog literally came out of nowhere in front of my passenger-side headlight. we stopped and looked around in the dark for the dog, but we found nothing. i felt sick as i headed up to the nearest house and told the woman who answered the door that i probably hit her dog and i didn’t even know where he was.

i love seeing christmas lights on people’s houses out on backroads. they’re like beacons in the dark eveningtime. i wish people would keep them lighted through the end of february to get us all past the doldrums of winter.

there is a short dead-end road in avon proper where every house is decked out with christmas decor. the neighbors have worked with each other to string lights across the road, criss-crossing from tree to tree to create a twinkly colorful surround-light experience as you drive half a block and then have to do a 45-point turn around to drive back.

is an artificial tree to a real tree like a kindle is to a paper book?

when i was early 20s, i thought 40 was ancient. now that i’m 40, i think 80’s not so old.

every day i think about how i’m pretty lucky that i don’t have mental health issues like some people do. sure, i have anxiety that’s more situational based than anything else, but my seasonal depression pretty much disappeared after i started running on the treadmill through the winter (even tho i’m still sad about no light, it’s just a general “awww, the sun’s down” and not “sigh the sun’s down time to curl into a ball and cry”). there are several people in my life who have varying degrees of depression, and it’s hard to know how to help besides just being there and telling them what i see. i think maybe that’s all a person can do.

i got my christmas poinsettia today (my only xmas decor in the house). next week i’ll get a tree. time to watch some christmas movies.

hold up

hold up

everybody’s talking about how their christmas decor has been up for two weeks and i’m over here like “hmm…maybe i’ll get around to it in two weeks.” i’m still rockin my autumn decor!

actually, i’m waiting for my new COUCH. i ordered it on veterans day weekend, and they said it should be here either this week or next week.

i got this one in a burgundy/purply color with some bear/moose fabric pillows. the chaise longue part is on the other side, but details details at this point.

so, once the couch is in, i’ll at least start to pack up the autumn decor and maybe think about getting out my christmas stuff.

the treemonger

the treemonger

the story was that the blood-sucking deer were prevalent in these parts, or so the treemonger heard. he’d never seen one, and he didn’t think he was likely to lay eyes on one because who’d ever heard of a blood-sucking deer? but then, he didn’t leave his home much, and he rarely left his grove of evergreens for too long.

his trees of life were his constant focus – whether joy or struggle, or both, as he came to realize most days. this far north, it was rare to see a copse of trees of any size, let alone his sizeable grove he maintained. it was his family’s land and trees for decades to the point of centuries. the evergreens on the west grew in orderly rows; to the south, they were interspersed with some fruit trees that his father had planted on a whim and managed to thrive; looking to the east, shrubs dotted the understory of the tall pines, which the monger never understood; and to the north, the trees were scattered and wild, despite how orderly his family had tried to plant them.

in the middle of the trees stood his small home and the greenhouse that was five times the size of his living quarters. between the two buildings squatted a small wood-burning furnace and a stack of split logs in rows next to it. next to his greenhouse was the small barn that housed his animals: chickens, a cow, and three barn cats that left him mice in exchange for milk from the cow.

despite the whispered rumors and stories from travelers who stopped on their way from somewhere or to anywhere, he didn’t believe the blood-sucking deer existed. why? because his chickens had never been touched. he figured if the blood-suckers were real, his livestock would’ve been lunch by now. just the other day, he’d run into a traveler on the edge of his grove while checking a tree that was nearing the end of its life after a windstorm. he was sputtering about some ghost horse he’d seen over the harvest in his hometown to the south. the treemonger just shook his head and muttered “nonsense” to himself.

now that the days were getting colder, the treemonger spent a lot of time making sure his spring saplings were doing well. he pulled a wagon of mulch through the lines of the trees to the small trees, making sure that they were fully protected from the cold that would be sweeping across the tundra. after he finished up mulching, he’d go around with a water tank on wheels to give them one last drink before the ground completely froze. already there was snow on the ground, but the monger could tell the trees would still take some water, so he made his rounds.

after he pulled his mulch and water into his greenhouse (and stayed a bit longer than necessary to warm up), the treemonger headed out for his evening walk on the long drive to the edge of his property to check his trees down that way. the sun was already low on the horizon, though it didn’t get much above the horizon at all this time of year, so it was difficult to see very far, but he was used to the light and knew his way. when he got to the edge of his property, as was his method, he circled around and took in the area before heading back.

to the north stood two women, like they were waiting for him. the treemonger just stood still and stared for a moment.

“we were wondering if you’d come down this way,” said the taller one as she stepped closer to him with her arm extended in a handshake. the treemonger shook her hand, then looked over at the other visitor, who didn’t seem to want to move any closer. he looked at the woman who was shaking his hand and then again at the other one.

“You may have to invite her onto your property,” said the taller quietly, then glanced back.

“i welcome any visitors who happen across my path. please feel free to join me in my home,” the treemonger rambled. he doubted he’d ever said such nice words to anyone. suddenly a warm whoosh of wind gusted across the top of his head and over to the shorter woman, and she visibly relaxed and started forward.

“hi, i’m mariah,” she said smiling, hand reaching for his.

they walked in silence up to his cabin, which he knew should be warm. he glanced sideways at the two women: the taller one was walking in silence, eyes resting on the buildings ahead, but the shorter one kept glancing up and around at the trees. he huffed into his mustache and shoved his hands in his pockets. if they started going on about blood-sucking deer, he’d kick them out.

“your greenhouse is impressive,” said the taller as they passed the building. “how long as the grove been in your family?” people had always assumed this had been his family’s pastime, but none had been so overt.

“onwards of 200 or 300 years, i’d reckon.”

the taller one nodded. “i’ve seen this grove for many years from afar but had never needed a reason to come visit.”

the treemonger held the door and they all tromped inside and removed their boots. he gestured toward the chairs around the table, poured them some tea, and remained standing while they each took a tentative sip.

“you’re wondering why we’re here,” said the shorter – mariah. he nodded. “we need your help. well, specifically, your trees.”

the taller one sat up straighter, and he noticed now that she was no village woman. no traveler. neither of them were. their actions, their dress, the way they talked – they were important.

“you know how you had to invite me in?” he had wondered about that. the wind was especially unsettling. “i’m a hedgewitch – evergreens tend to keep me out of certain areas, especially private property.” he frowned at that. this was treading on blood-sucker territory. “you know it’s true,” said mariah. she’d seen his reaction. “you felt the wind and the air.” he did have to admit that much. he nodded.

“your trees are special. they’re owned evergreens and keep away certain paranormal beings. some just need a gentle nudge, like me. others – well, they can’t even be in seeing distance of the boughs.”

those blood-suckers- no wonder he hadn’t seen any, if they existed. they couldn’t come near his property. he wondered if they would even be able to come near him.

he must’ve muttered something because mariah continued: “yes, you wouldn’t have seen any of the blood-sucking deer. or the other. this whole area has some kind of aura, if that makes sense. it’s even on you. i wish i’d had some of your pine needles with me when i’d had to kill the herd or had that encounter with the other.” the taller one put her hand on mariah’s shoulder.

“so…” words caught in his throat and he cleared it. “so what do you need with me?”

the two women looked at each other. the taller one drew in a breath and withdrew a letter from her pocket, then slid it across the table toward the treemonger.

“we’re from the pole. we have a problem.”

turn off your bluetooth

turn off your bluetooth

i’m watching a documentary about how our data is mined and how cambridge analytica persuaded undecided voters in the 2016 election and brexit. one of the comments was how the price of a person’s data is more valuable than oil.

it’s stuff like this why i don’t have alexa in each room, read paper books, and turn off as many location services as possible on my phone. another thing i want to start doing is remembering to turn off my bluetooth when i go into stores (they are able to use your BT to send you intrusive messages when you walk past these beacon things. they also know that you were in their store and will be able to send you ads). i was recently at a google ads training, and the person running it was telling us about how she turns off BT, which is telling – when the people who understand how the technology works and turn if off? you know something is not cool.

this makes me wish for the golden days of the internet again, before we were immersed in the internet so much.

i was going to write a short story today, but after i started watching this doc, i ended up not having time and also had to vent briefly about it.

foodie friday – tday edition

foodie friday – tday edition

as promised, here are some pics of the food from yesterday!

that butterscotch tart was probably the best thing i’ve eaten in a long time. it’s a pecan shortbread crust with a homemade butterscotch pudding in it. the pecans on top are candied. maybe if i were really fancy, i would add some sort of fruit compote to it – either underneath the pudding layer or just a thin layer on top. maybe a raspberry!

anyway, thanksgiving was a success! the gravy was smokey flavored from last year, the dressing was in excellent shape for being a year old, and the turkey was delicious with the dry brine. the fancy carrots and broccolini were a ncie touch!

10/10 stars. would make thanksgiving dinner again.

oooh yeah

oooh yeah

kudos to last year me when i made turkey stock out of the smoked turkey i got from famous dave’s. my gravy is delicious.

also, that  butterscotch tart is going to be a party for my taste buds. might be my new tday dessert. or my anyday dessert.

the dry brine for my turkey smelled awesome. turkey is currently absorbing the smells into its meaty, spatchocked goodness.

tomorrow will be foodelicious! food pics forthcoming!

pre-thanksgiving shenanigans

pre-thanksgiving shenanigans

nate took this entire week off, so i was feeling bummed that i didn’t get to partake in some nate time while he was hanging out at home, so i ended up taking today and wednesday off to join him – a WHOLE WEEK’S STAYCATION.

last night we finished up some thanksgiving meal shopping, then today we headed down to the cities for some MOA time. the main reason i wanted to go to the MOA? it’s time for my lindt advent calendar! this, along with my cheese advent calendar, should mean the best lead-up to christmas ever (because BEFORE christmas is ADVENT; AFTER christmas is the 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. get it right!).


(this isn’t the usual illustrated version of their advent calendar, but the chocolates in it are more to my liking and it was $20 cheaper. i’ll take it!)

mmm chocolate and cheese. while we were at the moa, we went to the new duluth trading company underwear-only store and i stopped at the silver jeans store to get in on a deal and get me some jeans that fit and are the right length.

then we headed over to black sheep pizza in uptown because i’d heard good things about it. nate wasn’t a huge fan, but i liked the crust and sauce. the salami was a little gamey and weird, but the olives on it were top notch.

we headed home before the SNOWPOCALYPSE. (and stopped at the st. joe meat market to pick up some lard, because it’s PIE TIME, BABY!!!)

*****************

pie time baby, indeed! i invited my family to join me for thanksgiving, and only jane is showing up, and good for her because here’s what’s on the menu! the rest of you losers are missing out.

  1. dry-brined turkey. i got a yummy sounding brine recipe from bon appetit, and every article i’ve read about brining has said a dry-brine is the way to go. my turkey is just a jennie-o this year, but i’ll still try to make it decent. gonna spatchcock the bird. i MIGHT try grilling it! (i intended to just buy a turkey breast but when i saw that the 3-lb breast was twice the price of a whole 15-lb bird, i decided to go all out.)
  2. mashed potatoes and gravy (nate’s request). i haven’t decided yet if i’m going to make some gravy from scratch or from a jar. we’ll see how ambitious i get.
  3. leftover dressing from LAST YEAR because i made so much and had 3 pints leftover that are still in my freezer!  (i’d make more if more people were coming, but this just turned out so handy.)
  4. roasted broccolini with pepitas and ricotta cheese, which should be a nice refreshing dish!
  5. roasted carrots with lemon zest ( i love cooked carrots)
  6. SQUASH
  7. pumpkin pie made with lard and love!
  8. butterscotch tart with pecans to replace the pecan pie. i’m really excited for this one. i found it in a martha steward magazine.
  9. breakfast for me will be oatmeal/chia before the wishbone run. lunch snacks of cheese and crackers. no galette this year (it’s a lot of work).

i’m making 75% of the meal tomorrow and warming it up on thanksgiving. i think that’s the key. i’m also going to try to take more pics of food because foodie friday is coming up and this is the ultimate foodie friday.

ok, i’m out! time to lie on the couch and watch netflix. this staycation is already turning out to be great.

recap monday!

recap monday!

last night i drove down to the cities to see megan and to go to a third eye blind concert! first we headed to hell’s kitchen for supper (i had some tasty walleye tacos) and then drove over to the myth to see the band.

do do do – do do do dooo

3eb was a popular band in the 90s, and if you were under 30 in the 90s, i’m sure you heard semi-charmed kinda life aka the crystal meth song. (there’s a line in there: doing crystal meth’ll lift you up until you break). that song will forever remind me st. ben’s and driving along main street in st. joe during the end of spring semester. i don’t even know what year or who i was with, but i remember “I believe in the sand beneath my toes; The beach gives a feeling, An earthy feeling; I believe in the faith that grows”.

i digress! we had to stop and pick up some earplugs because we’re old and care about our hearing, then we headed to the venue and had a good listen. there were a lot of younger people there (younger meaning they were toddlers when 3eb was in their prime), which i was surprised at considering that i was in college when they had their hits. although i can’t complain too much about that since i would for sure go see a neil diamond concert.

overall i’d give it a good review! the music was fun and i had a fun time with megan! the only down side was that i didn’t get home until 12:30 and today at work i was not having fun!

 

a few things

a few things

  1. i got disneyplus and i just watched the first episode of the mandalorian, which wasn’t bad. it intrigued me enough to get ready for the next episode! it’s basically a western, from what i can tell. another GEM on D+: kitbull just wrecked me. so lovely. as far as something weird yet interesting on D+, you can check out jeff goldblum’s show, which touches on really different topics and their origins. jeff goldblum is just a weird dude, so the show is weird.
  2. tomorrow i’m going to a concert! i’m seeing third eye blind, which will be a blast from the past. so excited to hear the meth song*. heading down there with megan, and it should be a grand old time!
  3. i’ve got a plan for thanksgiving, even though jane is the only one coming. nate has the whole week off, so at least he’ll be around too. but it’s not going to be stressful because i’m going to try to make almost everything the day before so we’ll just have leftovers, hahaha! that way at least everything doesn’t have to be done at the same time.
  4. stan just instigated snuggle time!!! gotta go!

 

*semi-charmed kinda life

that was fun

that was fun

remember when i went to california?

that was 3 years ago! i’d be ok with being back there now. what a fun time!

on the plus side, i have a conference in orlando in march, and my boss and i are already planning on going to HP world while we’re there 🙂 i invited jane, so i’m hoping she’ll be able to come for a couple days. liz has already declined and i’ve told her she can’t complain about not going to HP world twice.