Autumnal Roundness

A little while ago, I was in the office, and my phone pinged. It was the Princess, texting me from the dining room, where the sliding glass doors to the deck are.

“GOOD LORD,” I yelled down the hall. “DID YOU JUST TEXT ME FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE?”

“I DIDN’T WANT YOU TO MISS THIS!” she yelled back.

That was reasonable enough. “IS IT STILL THERE?”

“YEAH. I… MUM, I THINK HE’S LOOKING AT ME.”

Well, there was only one thing I could say. “ARE YOU WEARING SHOES?”

“THE DOOR’S LOCKED.”

“THAT’S NO INDICATION OF SAFETY,” I yelled.

“YES, I’M WEARING SHOES… WAIT. OH WOW.”

I was out of my chair in a shot, pelting down the hall. By the gods, if that chonky motherfucker was coming for my baby, we were going to have words. Even if I was only in socks.

So I skidded into the dining room, finding my eldest child staring out the sliding glass doors with a bemused expression. “He almost couldn’t fit between the verticals,” she said, in tones of surpassing wonder. “That is the very definition of a big boi.”

“Almost a big chungus?” My heartrate began to drop below ‘imminent combat’, but I was still breathing a wee bit heavily. Then I looked down. “You’re not wearing shoes. Those are slippers.”

“I’m your kid,” she pointed out, practically enough. “I can kick ass in these too.”

I have rarely been so relieved, proud, and adrenaline-soaked at once.

Anyway, the squirrels are beginning to slim down from their immense autumnal roundness. They were preparing for a hard winter, I suppose, and it’s nowhere near over yet. I’m pretty sure this fellow’s going to survive, though. (Just look at those beady little eyes and those hefty hips.)

I’ve hit burnout pretty hard, beloveds. Normally I’d find some comfort in the fact that squirrels and cockroaches will survive humanity as a whole–life always finds a way, and all that. But I’ve hit the end of my ability to deal with all this bullshit, so my thoughts are tending in an entirely different direction. I’m hearing a lot of you are here with me, so at least we’re not alone.

May we find the strength to endure, as this round fuzzy bastard apparently has. It’s all I can hope for today.

Lemon and Rocket


I’ll, um, probably be taking a few days off social media (or simply not looking at replies) since a particular thread went quasi-viral. (Don’t worry, it was reply-locked; I have been a woman on the internet for long enough to practice some basic self-protection.) But it’s Friday, which means two things: a Friday Photo post, and there’s D&D tonight.1

Anyway, way back on New Year’s Eve2 I decided to make my first-ever lemon pig, a blurry photo of which I now offer for your amusement. Behind him (his name is Punkin, don’t ask) is the Rocket figurine the Princess brought back from Hawaii for me.

“Of all the Guardians,” she said, “I think you’re most like him.”

I mean, I’d prefer to be Gamora, but we all know I’m a filthy-mouthed raccoon with a love of firepower, penchant for mayhem, and a million self-defensive reflexes instead. No shame in admitting what one is.

It is, after all, the first step in trying to be better.

So. Punkin and Rocket bid you a happy New Year, and beg you to wash your hands, wear your mask, hydrate, take a deep breath, and look after yourself (and each other) as best you can.

Interesting times certainly are… interesting, aren’t they.

See you next week, beloveds.

Holiday Carnage

My Aussie friend D.K. sent us a care package; there was even a tiny ‘roo ornament. (She was present during the party that gave rise to Jozzie & Sugar Belle, naturally.) The kids barely let me open it before the TimTams were snatched.

I mean, just LOOK at the carnage. Oh, the humanity!

If there’s anything more perfect than the dark-choco-and-chili TimTams (not pictured, because they were MINE ALL MINE) I haven’t run across it yet.

I hope you had something sweet this past week, my beloveds. I’m still hiding in my hole, still too embarrassed to come out much, but that doesn’t mean I can’t offer a word of support, I think.

Hang in there. We’re almost done surviving this year. No matter what 2021 brings, we’ve done this. And that’s an immense victory, considering.

Over and out.

Undefeated Ferns

Since the injury last week I haven’t been able to run as much, and I’ve been taking it very slow and easy. Which means I’ll walk the dogs, then take myself for a ramble instead of a run. Said rambles often go through a local park, where there’s a particular bit of trail that goes through what could be temperate rain forest if it were left to itself.

Of course, humans being what they are, it can’t be. But still.

In summer, this is a solid wall of green. Now almost all the leaves have dropped and one can hear the freeway much more clearly, as well as see a bit of the houses outside the park. But that’s not really what I focus on.

I look at the ferns coming up, bright and new, spreading bit by bit each winter. Everything else is dying back, but the ferns are all “FUCK YOU, IT IS MY TIME TO SHINE AND GROW NOW, GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY WAY!”

…or something like that. The blackberries are holding on a little longer, too, but they’re expected to be stubborn. It’s the ferns’ seeming delicacy that gets to me–fragile, and yet absolutely unwilling to admit defeat.

May we all remember to be relentless, not fearless, as 202 winds to a close and tries to get its last few shots in.

A Prince’s Crumb


The Little Prince (I should just call him “The Prince” now, he’s taller than me, though not even close to my Machiavellian status, ha ha) is barreling ahead in his Baking & Desserts class. Each week he has a choice of three recipes, and this past week he chose… bread.

“But, Mom,” he said, leaning in my office door, “I want it to be like yours. Will you help me?”

There were no fluttering eyelashes, but I felt the need to clutch at my heart just the same.

So now he knows about autolyse and has kneaded a giant hunk of dough; he’s heated the oven just right for proofing and used a bench scraper, how to rescue a dough too wet or too dry, and he baked a lovely, lovely loaf we had with dinner and then for breakfast the next day.

He’s very proud of himself, and my poor heart is so full it aches. I mean, just look at that lovely crumb! The well-shaped loaf! The beautiful crack in the top crust! The irregular holes!1

It tasted pretty spiffy, too.

I hope you had a similar victory this past week, dearly beloveds; I hope someone let you know just how important you are and how much they treasure something you do–something you might not think much of, but they think is just the bee’s knees and the cat’s pyjamas.

I am swinging between hope and despair, as I have been all year. But it’s nice to take a breath, and a bite of something with love baked into its very molecules.

I wish you a peaceful weekend, dear ones.

Celebratory Tiramisu

So last weekend, when the news came that the election was no longer in doubt, I double-masked, grabbed hand sanitizer, staggered out, and brought home a celebratory tiramisu.

The tiny local bakery (always my first choice) was jammed with (masked) customers so I didn’t even get out of the car; there was nothing in one supermarket bakery, so back into the car it was. I lucked out in the third, and carried my prize home.

We put a tea light on it, and the Little Prince–as our newest registered voter–got to make a wish for democracy and blew the candle out.

It’s been a week, hasn’t it. The nightmare is not over, but the chances of a coup are slowly–sloooooowly!–receding. We’re not out of the woods yet, but as Churchill intoned sententiously, it may very well be the end of the beginning.

I’m tired, and still a little ill. I know you’re tired too, my beloveds. I have grown to dislike hope over the last five-six years, since it hurts so much when that hope is ripped away by fascism. Still, like a cockroach, hope survives in hidden cracks, and I have been feeling it these past few days.

At that third supermarket bakery, the lady behind the case nodded when I asked if everyone else was celebrating Pennsylvania declaring for the forces of good, too. “Oh yeah,” she said, quietly, the corners of her eyes crinkling with a broad smile behind her mask. “Everyone’s tired, but so happy about it. Want ten percent off?”

Bless you, Bakery Case Lady. Bless you, bless you deeply.

So. Last Saturday the kids and I gorged on tiramisu and hope at once. After a long time in dark hopelessness, we are hungry for the good.

Here’s to hoping, then. (Even I can’t eradicate that cockroach.) Here’s to hoping, and to kindness, and to working together; here’s to a ringing defeat of fascism and its fellow travelers. Here’s to the end of the beginning.

There’s a lot of work ahead of us, I know. And it’s a Friday the 13th in 2020. May Freyja grant us light and strength for the road ahead.

Oh, and cake, too.

New Friends

This past week was rough, wasn’t it? But I (and the Princess) got to fill out our ballots recently (they were accepted and counted, I checked) and there were lunchtime doughnuts that day. The doughnuts came with spoopy little decorations that also double as rings, and I have been wearing them off and on.

They are the bestest of friends and my new office coworkers, and they wish you a very happy weekend. We hope you get to take some time off, or at least get to do at least a few things you enjoy.

Life is a terrible slog if there isn’t at least one thing you like each day. It doesn’t have to be a big something, but it does have to be something you actually like–not that you think you should like, or that someone else likes.

Anyway, I’m having a very nice cup of coffee, which is something I like very much, so that’s sorted for the day. I wish you something equally nice or better, my beloveds.