Metatalktail Hour: Spring Fling March 10, 2018 5:48 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, I want to know what you've got planned for the spring (/fall, hello people who can see the Southern Cross!), or what you're looking forward to, or if the change of seasons has arrived near you yet, or anything else to take my mind off this lousy Smarch weather and put me in a spring/fall mindset!
posted by Eyebrows McGee to MetaFilter-Related at 5:48 PM (102 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

The days are quickly lengthening, and becoming surprisingly warm. Though the ground is still damp underfoot, the sight and smell of flowers raises inner cheer. Work is afoot at several local cricket pitches, which is always a good sign that the long summer season is drawing near.

I'm currently working on putting together my early May calendar for events. Currently I have the International Guild of Knot Tyers spring symposium, some village duck races, and the UK's largest dedicated cheese fair. But before those there will be various spring shows and fetes, and other events that will involve food in some manner.

+ + + + +

International Womens Day has just past, so notes about a few local women in this part of Ye Olde Albion.

First, the local vicar. Wendy continues to enthusiastically do and say things that more conservative/evangelical parts of the Anglican church would not, and would often campaign against. And one of these things is to use her weekly video blog on Facebook to disseminate her combination of faith, equality and social justice. This week's video blog post has gotten several hundred views so far, though there is a suspicion that some may be repeat views by a few parishioners trying to figure out what the shiny object is (the previous vicar would not have been into body piercing like the current one). She also works crazy hours (her workshops are still popular, even though they sometimes start at 7 in the morning) and at this moment she's likely to be busy organising the Sunday morning service. Which tomorrow (or, later today) is (looks it up) themed around Gender.

Speaking of the local church; in passing I had a conversation with one of the regulars there, who is still trying to figure out my faith (I gave her the short answer, that I was an "Agnostic Open Access Scientist Druid with a few traditional Anglican leanings, but I also attend the events of other faiths if they are tolerant and the cake is good"). Her one hundredth birthday was last Christmas Eve but she's still lively, with a good memory of events, cuisine and royalty between the first and second world wars. She also likes chocolate cake, and I am wondering if she may appear at a local Druid event at some point in warmer weather. Perhaps I'll ask.

And speaking of Druids, and cake, one of the occasional Druids/Pagans, Janet from nearby Melbourne, baked the most splendidly good lemon cheesecake a few weeks ago. Quite possibly the best lemon cake of any variety I've had this side of the Mississippi. One of the (many) cake shops in Ashby-de-la-Zouch has taken an option on her baking, and am glad she is getting recognition for her skills. Janet is also known for spotting a neighbourhood burglar while she was baking one day some years back, and "accidentally" breaking a few of his bones with her rolling pin.

Speaking of skills... a recent neighbour of mine is in the media. Rachael, a graphic designer, is extremely industrious, as well as being super-skilled. When I visited (bringing Marks and Spencer posh Christmas cake) at her new abode over the winter, I asked "What's the paper figures?" adorning the living room. It turns out she watches something called RuPaul’s Drag Race and makes these really detailed figures of the people on it. This is way outside of my cultural domain, but they look astonishingly good to me in real life, and it was pleasing that an online magazine has published Instagram pictures of a few and interviewed her. She's also made some paper figures of Gandalf in alternative worlds that are hysterically funny, and hopefully pictures online soon.

Finally; Mabel and Edith, in their I guess 70s or 80s, run various community events in a village about two hours walk from here. They've taken up Nordic walking and skiing. This is perhaps not the best of terrains for this pursuit, and surprisingly they are not constantly stuck in mud, but they seem to be okay and are enjoying it. Am guessing that this is partially out of competitiveness, as they have an extremely fierce rivalry in the baking competitions at various local village shows. But remain firm friends.

The first time I became aware of them was during the announcement of winners at one a few years ago; in the "Best in Show" category, Edith won gold but Mabel only bronze. The latter of whom, standing at the back of the crowded hall, loudly uttered "FUCK THIS SHIT", gave the finger to the announcer and left, looking disgusted.

That's my kind of local.

It turned out that Mabel has a low tolerance for any "shit". Back in the 1960s she was considered for Olympic selection but her husband didn't want her to go abroad where he couldn't keep an eye on her. He made it impossible for her to get a passport, so she promptly dumped him and hooked up with Edith's brother ("He was the bratwurst to my ex-husband's chipolata anyway" she told me at one event, where people who overheard choked on their tea). And that's how Mabel and Edith got to know each other.

And now, as the weather warms and the days lengthen, they are out and about with various sharp pointy poles, doing Nordic pursuits in the very un-Nordic, but warming and brighter countryside here.

Wishing all MeFites a splendid season of the great outdoors.
posted by Wordshore at 6:11 PM on March 10 [35 favorites]


I had a bit of a backslide in my car accident recovery last week, and the beau is sick, so soup. So much soup. We're going to Savannah next week, and I hope I can go to the beach.

Otherwise, I bought a new sewing table, and have been frantically cleaning out the pantry and the living room to make some space for it incentive! Spring cleaning!

I also like the Spring because there are so many festivals in town. The Jewish Food and Cultural Festival last week, Word of South next month, and the Southern Shakespeare Festival in May.

Spring is such a great time around here, and that's a huge part of the reason I got married in the Spring last year. I've always been a Fall person, but as an adult, the Spring just keeps growing* on me more and more.

*pun not intended because I am the blackest thumb to ever exist. But it's still a fun one!
posted by PearlRose at 6:40 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


Oh, well, it's not as StoryTime as Wordshore's stuff, but I'm going to see the Yankees play in Toronto at the end of the month, Opening Day weekend (baseball for those of you who don't follow), with one of my bestest friends, and I'm going to go visit the Glenn Gould statue while I'm there.

It will be a while yet for gardening, but all my garden seeds are bought, and also yet another raised bed to add to the ones out there already, so there's lots to look forward to that way.
posted by JanetLand at 6:40 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


It's Spring Break next week, which is officially still a normal work week for me, but it's really not, because there are no students around. The weather is supposed to be nice on Thursday and Friday, so I'll probably take some time off to do yard work. I'm also making progress on fixing up the spare bedroom, and I've got some other home projects that I'm going to try to get to. I also need to do about a million statistics practice problems, because I'm taking a stats class, and it turns out that stats doesn't come nearly as easily to me as computer programming does.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:45 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Our best friends from Peoria are coming up with their kids over spring break week, so I'm looking forward to that quite a bit!

Otherwise, I turn 40 this week, which I'm not sure how I feel about (or if I feel anything about it? It's just a round number, maybe?), but one nice thing is since we moved closer to my family, this will be the first time in several years I'm able to celebrate with my brother, who has the same birthday I do, and it's always a little less birthday-y when we're not together! (We're not twins, my mom just has the precision timing of a fine Swiss watch!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:47 PM on March 10 [6 favorites]


PBS would get all of my money if Masterpiece would present Wordshore. I'll go petition WGBH in person, even. We can make a Meetup of it.

Anyway. I have a dumpster coming next Friday, and while I'm not thrilled that the stupid twice flooded in a week basement was what caused the immediate need, I am looking forward to getting rid of a lot of stuff. I've been trying to convince the mister to rent one for about a year now and we kept putting it off. There's a broken recliner in the garage AND a broken recliner on the porch that I will be disposing of with great delight. I am going hardcore on the Passover cleaning this year.
posted by Ruki at 6:48 PM on March 10 [10 favorites]


I'm working on a blog/project. Not quite ready to share it. It's not even really a thing. Just a place for me to share some images that I find interesting. Maybe I'll post to Projects at some point in the future when I have a bit more content. But yeah, new beginnings. I just needed an outlet and it felt right. I hope everyone is doing well tonight. Cheers.
posted by Fizz at 6:49 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


All threads should begin with an essay from Wordshore on their town.

We are getting our 3rd good rain of the year, which we desperately need. I am looking forward to a few weeks of lush green grass. Next weekend is Tomatomania, an annual tomato sale of hundreds of varieties of seedlings, mostly heirloom. So next weekend, I'll be planting tomatoes! I have a ton of lettuce and peas already. I also harvested about 25 lbs of honey that I finally got into jars on this rainy weekend.

In non-garden news, bought an embroidery machine. I'm a little scared of it, but I plan to take it for a ride tomorrow.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:50 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


I'm going to Iceland for a week in mid April. I can't wait! I haven't had a passport in forever, and I love to travel (can't get enough of it lately). I'm also getting into shape and all healthy and shit... and really enjoying the process. It's funny—I've always felt pretty strongly that the second half of my life would be better than the first, and as it turns out, I was not wrong about that. First half of it was kind of a shitshow, if I'm honest. But aww yeah, I am digging it now. I guess I'm a bit of a late bloomer. *shrug* I'll take it.
posted by heyho at 6:54 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Here in western Oregon it has been raining, and I have developed a frog in the backyard, under the pallets making a path to the woodshed. The cherry plum tree broke into bloom today and looks promising. There is still a good chance of a freeze so I am glad that the golden plum is holding off still. There is a lot more blooming in town, but we are in the country and have about 600 feet on it. Our season runs about two weeks later.

We are raising our first batch of broiler chickens. We are starting with13 chicks to see if we actually like keeping chickens enough to dedicate a few years to layers. The broilers are a short-term commitment as they mature and go to the freezer within about four months. They are almost three weeks old now, half fledged and starting to grow combs, but not ready to let go of the heat lamp yet. They have graduated from the brooder bin in the bathtub and now live in a wading pool in the family room, covered with bird mesh. We have been cleaning out the wood shavings and bird poop every three days, but now that the chicks are teenagers, they make a mess like teenagers, and smell like it. We are going to have to step up our game.

Meat chickens were never my idea, and I have promised my husband that his Freezer Day will be my Movie Marathon Day. Until then I am enjoying the little buggers
posted by SLC Mom at 6:55 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


As it gets warmer I'm starting to think about a Picnic in the Park meetup for the Chicago contingent, there's a nice park near me with a good hot-dog joint and not one but TWO ice cream places right across the street, be kinda nice in the nice weather, and mefites with little kiddos could come and they could run around the park and eat ice cream. I don't know if anybody else would like it, but I like eating hotdogs in the sunshine, so I'll probably do it even if it's just me. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:58 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


I'm hoping to get a job and start figuring out how to file for bankruptcy, but my pharmacy switched the manufacturer of my Abilify about ten days ago and since then I've been in a serious funk. Luckily my MD believes in the differences between med manfacs so she can maybe push the tribal pharmacy to get the old variety back in stock. I'm thinking about asking to push the dose up a bit too. For a while it seemed like I was getting things back on track but March...I feel like shit right now. I'm sad, I'm anxious, I'm depressed, I lost what little motivation I'd regained...I basically feel like like I took a step forward and got dragged two steps backward. And I don't want to feel like this. I have so many things I want to do and all I really can manage is sitting on the couch watching TV...but since I can't manage projects at the same time (or at all) I'm catching up on the TV that actually requires concentration, so I guess that's good. Except it means I'm probably going to watch the third season of Love next and that might break me into a million pieces. Maybe I'll try crocheting a hat while I watch and only half pay attention.

Erm, that wasn't very upbeat. Sorry about that.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:59 PM on March 10 [7 favorites]


I received a very unexpected and very generous bonus from my boss on Friday—and I’m looking forward to spending part of it on Spring/Summer clothes since I weigh about 15 lbs less than I did a year ago.

I’m also looking forward to setting the clocks ahead tonight—during the winter months I leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark and I feel SO MUCH MORE ENERGIZED when it’s still light out when I get home.

And now that the weather will soon be warmer I’m looking forward to resuming my walks at the local preserve/bird sanctuary . I started doing this last autumn and it made such a positive difference in my emotional and physical health.

(Also—I'll definitely join that Wordshore petition thing!)
posted by bookmammal at 7:04 PM on March 10 [5 favorites]


OMG in three weeks we are flying from the US to Sydney for a few days and then taking a cruise around various locations in New Zealand. This is a bucket list item for us, so we are SO VERY EXCITED and looking for cool things to do in Sydney on our own. My spouse has never taken a flight over 8 hours, and this will be 17 hours so - yikes!
posted by blurker at 7:04 PM on March 10 [6 favorites]


Oh, and happy birthday, Eyebrows!
posted by blurker at 7:06 PM on March 10


Happy Birthday, Eyebrows!! :D
posted by Fizz at 7:29 PM on March 10


I kicked off spring by slipping in some mud and getting stuck in an inflatable boot for six weeks, which has not been conducive to the originally-planned spring cleaning. But this weekend I'm at least basically mobile and that's a huge relief, to actually get clean sheets on the bed and other basic things like that. Last weekend was just "woo pain meds" and that was fun and all but I'd rather have fresh sheets.
posted by Sequence at 7:36 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


After spending the week pondering how committed I really am to the aspiration I mentioned in last week's Metatalktail thread, earlier today I registered for both an improv class and an online voice talent website, and I'm browsing the "volunteers needed" forum on the LibriVox public-domain audiobooks site.

On top of that, I've started semi-regularly practicing sax again after having dropped out of playing for almost 10 years. Still nowhere near my previous practice schedule (nor chops), but as the saying goes, baby steps.

Wish me luck - or rather, wish me discipline and perseverance...heaven knows I'll need it!
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:37 PM on March 10 [5 favorites]


We are surviving spring in Oregon-Now’s the time when it’s cold and rainy (the worst kind of cold for this Montana girl) with an occasional glorious day-the bulbs are exploding which is fabulous.

Head to Sayulita, Mexico’s, for Spring Break. Three other families, nine kids between 8 and 21, most of whom have been in Spanish immersion. I’m alternating between excitement and worry about the (apparently literal) shitshow that is perhaps ongoing in that town in the form of norovirus. Cross your fingers for us.
posted by purenitrous at 7:40 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I saw a play last night! It was The Invisible Hand by Ayad Akhtar. I had booked the tickets waaay back in December and then kind of forgot what it was about, and then at some point decided that instead of looking it up I would just let myself be surprised. It was quite good but very intense!
posted by janepanic at 7:41 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I turn 40 this week, which I'm not sure how I feel about

When I turned 40 I did something a bit crazy (actually only barely outside the mainstream; but still, a gesture's a gesture, hey?) just to prove to myself I wasn't turning into an old fuddy-duddy. It more or less worked, I guess, though the truth is that avoiding fuddy-duddy-ness is an ongoing process.

Anyway, happy happy!
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:47 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


Singing in the chorus of The Gondoliers, then auditioning for As You Like It, which should take me right up to Oklahoma! in the summer. Starting up with a new dentist and migraine specialist, which could be game-changers.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:06 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


...just to prove to myself I wasn't turning into an old fuddy-duddy.

What helped me was realizing I had been a young fuddy-duddy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:08 PM on March 10 [15 favorites]


It's been bloody cold here in Western PA, but nonetheless, my chickens are laying again and that means spring is just around the corner. My seeds are busily sprouting under growlights in the basement.

We are seeing Puddles Pity Party next week, and then at the end of March, my husband is taking our kid for two days away at one of those indoor water park resort thingies, which means I get to be home alone for two entire days and honestly I'm not even sure I can conceive of that. (Just in general I'm emerging from the first five years of kid-having and it's quite suddenly gotten so much less intense and time-consuming, I find that I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I'm sure that problem will sort itself out quickly once the weather finally does turn and I can once again spend my days in my garden or my workshop, making things for my garden.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:14 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


We had lots of snow so I made chicken soup with lemon and egg (avgolemeno). I'm not sure we've gotten up to spring yet, with 20 inches of snow and 3-5 inches this week.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:26 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


What helped me was realizing I had been a young fuddy-duddy.

Me too, but I'm trying to give it up.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:37 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


Today
1. I woke up and forgot my first dream, but it involved hanging out with Kimothy.
2. I hung out for a while with the dog I'm watching this week.
3. I napped on my office futon and dreamed some more.
4. I wrote up my dream on Twitter, per usual, and an old friend liked part of it.
5. I talked to The Whelk on Twitter; we have at least two books in common.
6. I talked to Ufez Jones on Twitter; we discussed ideas for an April St. Louis meetup.
7. I finally put in an order for a new pin design (the one I hadn't heard back on).
8. I watched Up in the Air; after 9 years, I clearly was meant to watch it this year.
9. I stuck more pins in my pinboard and then played tennis for a while.
10. I did a tarot reading for the next year, and the narrative it tells is difficult but good.
posted by limeonaire at 8:59 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


I need to finally get rid of my Christmas tree. We’ve never held on to one this long before.

And my 30th birthday is now only four months away. I need to do something so that maybe I’ll feel like a grownup by the time it gets here.
posted by Night_owl at 9:09 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


My next trip to England is end of April so am counting down to that! I joined a gym on the advice of my physio, and it is literally next door to my building, which should make things easier. I have also given up alcohol, not too difficult coming off very infrequent drinking in 2018 for various reasons, but still a conversation to be had a few times. Found some wonderful Facebook groups and feeling good!
posted by ellieBOA at 10:42 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I'm still in the process of sorting out the (former) disaster that is my room, but progress is being made. Closet is very organized, new dresser is too- I've redone the sock drawer and the top of the old dresser and the first shelf of textbooks next to the desk is very nice. I just have the old shoved in a corner large bookshelf to contend with as well as the other few. Also under the desk and the next to my bed metal monstrosity.

This spring break will be very welcome, as tomorrow and Monday will be my exercise 3 lab report day. I've done all my sampling and observations at the zoo. (Ask me about the gorillas at the Sf zoo. I love them.) I just have to compile my report. I'm hoping to go to Sausalito at least once this break- Bacchus and Venus, the wine bar there is pretty much my favorite place in the universe. Also Copita, the restaurant next door. (If any local mefis are free the week after next, maybe a wine-soaked meetup opportunity.) I actually have a wine appreciation class this year, and I need to figure out which region I'm going to write my term paper on. (oh what a hardship :) :) :))

I also have to set up the new vegetable bed in the backyard. I have two herb beds and I'd like to put in a third for stuff like spinach and beans. I bought the square raised bed maybe last summer, but It's just been sitting in the garage for forever because life is complicated and spits on your plans. But as long as it doesn't rain too much (and considering the drought I'd be very happy to postpone my garden adventures for more rain HINT HINT GOD) I should have the new bed set up this break. I have all the spinach seeds (4 varieties... for variety) and I have all the dirt. Sloat gardening center in SF is pretty much the gold standard of garden centers, and by break I'm sure they'll have some good interesting pole bean starts so I don't have to order from burpee. I also have to invest in some sort of netting or cover once the spinach sprouts- lord knows we have pests. (ask me about my turnip misadventure) All in all, while I'll be busy tomorrow and Monday, it's been a good March already, but I will be very much looking forward to my break.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:44 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Also, yeah, it's not really spring here till at least late April/early May.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:45 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Spring means my wintertime habit of "Hmm, it's getting dark out, time to start doing work" no longer works. On the bright side, I get to walk home in daylight, which means I've noticed all sorts of new details on the defunct funeral home I walk by.

It also means that the sun rises earlier and earlier and confuses my body; I've started wearing an eye mask to block out the light better, but sometimes it slips off my head and there I go, briefly awake at 4 am..

I finally started eating my first batch of sauerkraut: I made it with red cabbage, and it's even redder now with the acidity. I think it's more sour than I like and there are some other things I'll do differently next time, but overall I really like it and have been eating it with congee. Next batch will be daikon!

I am also pondering getting some basil -- in CT, iirc, t would be nice and warm in April, and then freeze right before Memorial Day, killing many a seedling. I don't know when to trust that it will actually be warm enough to have outdoor plants. Last fall we got some late-season / on sale basil, and it died of cold before we could even eat it, and I don't want a repeat of that.

My boyfriend and I are going to go to some hot springs to usher in the spring equinox.
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:57 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


It’s certainly creeping into spring; the birds are singing, the woodpeckers are drumming, and the air is full of hazel pollen, so I’m walking around in wrap-around sunglasses in all weathers looking like a right prat.

The mild temperatures last night encouraged me to put out the moth trap for the first time in ages, and I did better than I expected: 20 moths of 9 species, including a new one, Dotted Border, and one of my favourites, Oak Beauty.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:16 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


Also, I just noticed the pond is suddenly full of copulating frogs and toads.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:57 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Also, I just noticed the pond is suddenly full of copulating frogs and toads.

Jesus Christ, this fuckin' timeline. Is that even legal under the Trump administration?
posted by loquacious at 3:35 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


I usually love Fall and hate Spring, even though the weather is identical. Spring means summer is coming, and summer is a burning and miserable penance visited upon the Earth as punishment for the sin of agriculture. Once the geese return, I know that awful weather is looming and I have to remind myself that Winter will eventually come again.

But, the last month has been truly ugly. On Friday my cat died. She lived more than 19 years and died peacefully, without apparent pain, without medical intervention, surrounded by both of her human family (who spend the majority of their time in different cities at the moment.) As deaths go, it was the best one could possibly ask for. However, in the last several weeks she'd become dramatically incontinent. Since sleeping snuggled up against me in the blankets was one of her few remaining joys, I didn't have to heart to kick her out of bed. . . which meant rather a lot of sheet changing.

Work has been a desperate rush to teach a new class, writing four simultaneous grant proposals, and attending four very long collaboration meetings. On Friday I discovered that half our research group has wasted six months investigating a frustrating result that seems to have been caused by a vendor selling us blatantly counterfeits materials. They're so far from the purity specification on the label that there's no possible explanation except a bold-faced lie. It never occurred to me a well-known multinational science supplier would simply make shit up. That it's the second time I've been burned by the same company is embarrassing. But, last time an honest mistake seemed plausible. (Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.)

So, I'm looking forward to a Spring filled with not waking up to a puddle of cat urine and daily laundry (it's surprising how adaptable humans are.) Also, spending at least a small amount of time doing work that doesn't involve editing text documents and sitting in meetings arguing about text documents. That, and kayaking. I'm afraid I missed ice skating this year.
posted by eotvos at 3:35 AM on March 11 [7 favorites]


I made prune-bran muffins today because I didn’t have any raisins. They turned out pretty good! They’re begging for a nickname with some jokey reference to Drano, but that is exactly why I will call them prune-bran muffins and nothing else.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 3:44 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


I need some kind of a fancy pickle fork. I keep buying larger jars of pickles and this fishing one's mitts in the brine is just uncouth. I also remembered that sweet pickles are a thing. An amazing, wonderful thing.

My one month anniversary for starting meds was Friday and it's been great. Don't let this timestamp fool you, I've been sleeping more normally than ever, waking up early and wanting to go to bed as early as 9-10, and I'm back to bed here in moments. I was going to write this comment before bed last night but I bonked at like 10.

A few days ago I got back from a whirlwind and last minute trip to Seattle to clean up a friend's apartment while he was in the hospital, and I managed to sail through a bunch of stress that normally would have left me dizzy, irritated and flustered.

Including having to advocate for my friend a few times in the hospital and interface with the staff like an informed adult in charge of things. It was nothing major, but it was definitely one of those things where he might not have had these problems resolved if staff didn't realize I was going to be popping in at odd hours every day to check in on him. Getting older and greyer apparently has some benefits.

Oh, I also went out socially for (what I'm calling) the first time with another good friend of mine. We were going to go to an art show, but ended up going to dinner and a walk, and then showed up super late to the art show as the fashionably late cool kids. The fact I didn't even freak out at all about changing plans to grab dinner was a definite first, and it didn't even cross my mind to freak out at all. All I knew is I looked and felt great and I wanted to sit down somewhere nice and have a nice dinner with my awesome artist friend. (Hi Ellie!)

This was all frickin' fantastic and went a lot better than I could have even hoped and I'm still glowing. The last time I tried going out and presenting socially at all it took the better part of a six pack to get me out the door and I was a shambling, sweaty, nervous wreck. I think I lasted 15-20 minutes outside. It wasn't fun at all.

This time I didn't even bother with makeup or even really attempting to pass and it was a lot of fun and so much more comfortable. I think we're going to make it a regular thing on my visits to Seattle.

Today/yesterday I also caught up with a couple of friends in town and it was really good to be able to emote with them and catch up and just share. I think I'm going to start volunteering again at my local non-profit coffee shop. When I stopped by today it took a whole 10 minutes before I was behind the counter again doing dishes and helping clean up for closing, and it was pretty obvious I was missed and I should stop being a jerk to nice people by thinking dumb things like they don't actually want me around.

And, well, it's exactly the kind of place that would wholeheartedly support me being me.

Bringing it back to spring and doing things... the daffodils, tulips and crocuses are popping everywhere, cherry blossoms are budding and my town was full of tourists on an early warm sunny day.

For once I think I'm actually looking forward to summer instead of loathing the excessive sunlight. If one can get over or around the number of tourists clogging things up, summers around here are really sublimely pleasant and idyllic. In my near future are more cherries, blackberries, thimbleberries and salal berries than anyone can safely eat. And pretty soon, in theory, I could go out any day or night of the week and find some free live music somewhere, including a number of festivals. And maybe, uh, square dancing of all the damn things. It's a cheap, safe way to get dizzy.

And I'm not kidding when I talk about going for long bike rides and forgetting to eat the lunch I packed. You can stop just about anywhere during the summer and gorge yourself silly on berries, then plop down wherever in the mossy grass for a nap. And if the beaches were cleaner within a short walk I'd be feasting on crabs and fresh mussels like some kind of bipedal otter, and I may have to make that happen whether it's a crabbing permit or going to the fish market for a big beard of mussels to grill up in one of the parks or in a beach fire.

I want to do a lot of that kind of thing this summer, since I'm spending less and less time coping and hiding and more and more time just wanting to be out actually living life and not hating it.

Today back at home I did a bunch of cleaning inside and outside and organized a long overdue dump run. I also gutted my little fridge and cleaned it all out, because I'm thinking about turning it off again because I don't really need it. Most of the food I eat that even needs a fridge I eat before it'll spoil, and, well, I eat a lot of apples, onions and carrots and stuff and I live in a chilly basement where apples and onions and stuff will last for, oh, months and still be crisp and edible.

And tomorrow I'll be out in the yard prepping and de-weeding a bed for some container gardening. Nothing fancy at all, but I want a bunch of fresh kale, cherry tomatoes and whatever else I can get to come up and not get eaten by the damn deer.

Oh, I'm remembering I actually really like drawing and illustration, and apparently after years and years of ignoring and neglecting this talent it's not only still there, but it's easier and better and less frustrating and more rewarding than it ever was. Which is nice, because I like having small, portable things to occupy my hands and idle time waiting for things like doc appointments or buses, and it beats the hell out of staring at a phone and reading the same crap over and over again.

So for my one month anniversary I picked up a tiny, cute little purple pocket sketchbook journal. I have a couple of these already as photography shooting and idea logs and general notebooks, but this one's going to be a proper journal and sketchbook and won't end up being a catch all.

Hugs. Ok, back to bed.
posted by loquacious at 4:46 AM on March 11 [19 favorites]


Sometime in April, a day always comes when the air is so warm and fresh, and everything is so green and full of new life, that I just want to run to the gorge and throw all my black tights into the water like Cherry Ames and her nursing school classmates.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:53 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


I've already had my primary excitement: buying a new(er) car, after one too many things went wrong with my previous jalopy (which became a legal adult this year, let's just say). It's amazing all the things a 2016-era car can do! I'd forgotten such radical concepts as acceleration, quiet engine, smooth ride...
posted by thomas j wise at 5:50 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]


Mrs. COD and myself are making a quick overnight trip to Roanoke VA next weekend for St. Patrick's Day. Then I've got DrupalCon in Nashville in April, and our daughter's college graduation in Springfield MO in May. We are going to extend the graduation trip a couple of days by spending the weekend in Kansas City. The Royals will be home that weekend so we will almost certainly catch a Royals game.

So we seem to be doing really well on our goal to spend our money on experiences and not stuff.
posted by COD at 7:17 AM on March 11


Am also half-following the Twitter saga of who is the mystery (as in, only unnamed person) woman in the 1971 international conference on the biology of whales photograph. It's onto day three of this, and she has still not been identified. Plenty of vague suggestions about how to search (rather than doing the actual search), suggestions of - obviously - the wrong person, and a few tweeters using it to self-promote their book. But not the actual, correct, answer as to who the person is.

I keep mumbling that if the author posted it on AskMeFi it would have a better chance of being solved (or, at the least, not generating so much noise).
posted by Wordshore at 7:23 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


It's 92 degrees in Austin today so I'm not sure it's spring.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:38 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


It's been rainy in Phoenix all weekend which is pretty much our only sign of spring but it's also the best sign of spring because it means that everything won't die and catch fire in the summer. And also that the beautiful desert blooms will come out!

I would be bummed because I'd planned to do some hiking this weekend, but I'm at my dogsitting gig in the very, very wealthy part of town, and it's hard to be mad about having to stay inside a literal mansion with the doors wide open to hear the rain and four elderly dogs arrayed over the back of the couch having a snooze while I watch season two of Jessica Jones.

My partner and I are road-tripping to Montana de Oro and San Simeone state parks in California in 10 days to beach camp, and I am out of my mind excited, even if it will be very cold. Montana de Oro is one of my favorite places in the country, and I've been promised elephant seal watching at San Simeone.
posted by WidgetAlley at 7:58 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


PBS would get all of my money if Masterpiece would present Wordshore.

YES.

Sometime in the night the government stole an hour from me and I want it back. I hate DST. Hate hate hate.

eotvos, I am with you on summer. Do you find that people think you have some sort of moral failing for not liking summer? I usually get back at them by telling them I don't look at them with horror in their eyes when they tell me they hate winter so maybe they ought to cut me some slack for having different preferences FFS. And I'm very sorry to hear about your kitty.

I've been fighting some sort of something for like a week and I wish it would just make up its mind. Cold, flu, whatever, just come or go because this in-between is making me crazy.

Pre-high-school-graduation-party deep cleaning has begun. It's how I deal with the bittersweetness of things changing. It's my youngest kid, too, so there's that. I have at least one room to paint before the big event and I'm kind of not looking forward to it. It's harder to get up and down the ladder and sit on the floor than it used to be and that makes me sad.

I've begun preliminary planning for my husband's 50th birthday. He turns 49 this year so I'm ahead. Got the idea: Aurora borealis sighting, which he will be over the moon about. Now I just need to figure out the best place with the best chance of a show!

Happy birthday Eyebrows!
posted by cooker girl at 8:09 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


In April, we'll make our annual trek to Champaign–Urbana for EbertFest and watch a dozen films in a giant old single screen theater with talks from the directors afterward. So far it looks like Ava DuVernay, Amma Asante and Julie Dash will be there. Really excited about seeing Dash's Daughters of the Dust.
posted by octothorpe at 8:12 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


loquacious: I was reading a Buzzfeed article and found a horrible thing that made me think of you. :P

WidgetAlley: It can definitely be cold and windy as heck in San Simeon this time of year. Bring windbreaker-type coat. And tiedowns for your tent. The campground itself is grassy and it's got some shrubs to hide behind that you can use as a windbreak. As usual, I'll recommend having dinner at The Sea Chest in Cambria if you're into going out to dinner, but get there early and bring cash, because they don't take reservations or credit cards. But yes, you will get elephant seals!
posted by elsietheeel at 8:14 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]


Wordshore—I’ve been following the “mysterious biology of whales woman” thing on Twitter as well, and had the very same thoughts!
posted by bookmammal at 8:14 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


WidgetAlley, I was just missing Montana de Oro! One of my favorite hiking places.

I am currently covered in cats and drinking tea, which is lovely. Have been getting back into hiking, which is also lovely, and will go see "A Wrinkle in Time" this afternoon. Currently trying to motivate myself to go to the gym first, but see above re: covered in cats.

Other stuff is pretty much all bad and anxiety-provoking and trauma-triggering lately and I'm just going to focus on cats for now. Cats!
posted by lazuli at 9:07 AM on March 11 [6 favorites]


cooker girl, so far I've been lucky. Talking about not liking summer usually just causes people to change the topic rather than argue about it or condemn my weather preferences. Which is a perfectly lovely outcome.

I have the excuse that I'm only a few years into living in a place with actual seasons after most recently living in a place with eternal summer; therefore it's novel and I can claim to be a little kid playing in the snow. But we rarely get that far. The most passionate weather discussions seem to happen with friendly store clerks and waitstaff. (That's another aspect of moving to the industrial midwest to which I'm slowly adapting. I tip the same whether or not they engage me in creepy, weirdly personal chatter and waste both of our time. Clearly their other customers like it. But, sometimes its takes real effort.) Colleagues and friends just seem to accept that there's nothing we can agree on with respect to weather and move on to something in the news or what their children have done recently.
posted by eotvos at 9:31 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


I got up early and did a good thing this morning! My stepdad has been using the laptop I got my mom when she retired nearly six years ago (mom got a new one a year or two ago). It's a Lenovo and it is *trashed*. I think it's still got XP on it (okay fine, it's Vista, but STILL). The hinge is barely hanging on by a thread so you have to be super careful when you open or close it. And it's painfully slow, as you can imagine.

So for his birthday (tomorrow) we got him a new (okay, refurbished) laptop that's a business-class model that's more rugged and will be able to stand up to whatever he can throw at it. And this morning, after they left for church, I let myself into their house, transferred over his bookmarks and all of the files from the old computer to the new one, and left the new one where the old one usually sits.

I hope he enjoys using that supercharged laptop for surfing the web to buy Judas Priest on vinyl and parts for his '71 Camaro. (I love my stepdad. He's such an odd duck.)

(I took two Abilify this morning and yesterday morning and I feel better today. But spring is still a long time away up here, at least weather-wise. I have some plants that want cold-sowing, but the grow bag I prepped to sow them in was vandalized by an outside cat last night. So there's a chore for today! Also cleaning my living room. And maybe building a table.)
posted by elsietheeel at 10:17 AM on March 11 [5 favorites]


Less coughing, more breathing.
posted by pracowity at 10:34 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]


I'm just coming out of birthday madness (t'husband, followed swiftly by my MiL) so there was a lot of family get together this weekend. It was lovely to see everyone, especially my parents but I am looking forward to it being just t'husband and I again.

Other than that, I have just bought my first pair of doc martens since I was a teenager. #ripmyheels - it will be a painful couple of weeks! And we are plotting a nice walk one weekend soon, probably with a pub lunch in the middle.
posted by halcyonday at 10:37 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


It's been bloody cold here in Western PA

It really is! So cold. BUT I bought a pretty floral sundress this morning, and am looking forward to wearing it once it finally gets warm enough. Also we went to Phipps conservatory today and the sight of all those beautiful flowers gave me hope. Seriously so colorful.
posted by cozenedindigo at 10:38 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


I’m getting another nephew this week! Yesterday I decided to make a baby blanket for him because 1) I am learning to sew and 2) the Pinterest pin said it was a 30-min project.

It took 3 hours.

But! It looks and feels like a baby blanket and I’m told newborn eyesight isn’t that good so it’ll be a while before he can grab a protractor and see that the corners aren’t very square.

Otherwise I came home from visiting Dad in RetiredLand, FL feeling good. He’s doing well and I got enough sun that my coworkers know I was somewhere warm.
posted by kimberussell at 10:41 AM on March 11 [6 favorites]


Spring? What is this "spring" you speak of? I come from a land where snowfall in May is a thing that happens more often than one might normally expect, so I get confused by any talk of spring before mid-April at the earliest.

I've spent the day uselessly roaming the internet, and because of twitter I spent a good hour looking into nålbindning, an ancient form of single-needle knitting with exemplars from as far back is 6500 BCE. I had no idea that the ancient Egyptians knitted socks.
posted by xyzzy at 10:56 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]


Also in April:

Dear old college friends coming to town!

The sister and I are toying with the idea of going to the APRIL GHOULS DRIVE-IN MONSTER-RAMA! (We've gone to the September Drive-In Monster-Rama for several years now.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:56 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


xyzzy: I think I've said this elsewhere on MeFi, but naalbinding is super fun to do on public transit, because people cannot figure out what in the hell you are doing and if you're in a town where people don't talk to strangers it'll drive them absolutely up the wall because they'll want to ask but they won't.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:58 AM on March 11 [5 favorites]


eotvos - We are kindred spirits; I too loathe hot weather. I've moved all the way across the US continent and from a low-30's to a mid-40's latitude. I don't regret it in the least, I just wish I'd done it sooner.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:01 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


I posted an AskMe looking for help with a vegetable garden. Tomatoes are the only thing that needed to be started this early, so I don't have a huge updet yet. But I planted the seeds on the 4th, and they sprouted 2 nights ago! I'm very excited.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:58 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Okay I just looked up some videos on naalbinding on YouTube and I’m not convinced I’m not being trolled.
posted by obfuscation at 12:06 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Hrmm, apparently I'm oiling up the bike and going riding for the first time since maybe early December instead of prepping lazygarden. Mmmmm. Bikes. My toes are actually curling in anticipation.

Prediction: Lazygarden will avoid a freak cold snap and frost due to lazy, late start, because that's just the kind of thing that tends to happen when I meander and procrastinate around here.
posted by loquacious at 12:10 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


I just bought tickets to see Dessa at the end of April and I am super-psyched.
posted by invokeuse at 12:26 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Yes! I love this question. I turn 40 next month and plan on making the most of all the weeks before, during and after. I started a new job this year and it's going great — I'm leading research on some really interesting projects which will come to fruition over the next few months. Also helping to organise a series of inclusion and diversity workshops here in Manchester (UK). Lastly, in lieu of not being able to have pets (yet?) in my new flat, I've amassed a ridiculous amount of plants and most of them are starting their growth phase right now; will be great to see them evolve and bloom. It's very silly how much joy they bring me; positively giddy about them … must. resist. overwatering.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:48 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


I am a gardener. Spring is equal parts glorious and terrifying.
So much to do. And it keeps snowing and covering things up that need to be done.
posted by sciencegeek at 12:51 PM on March 11 [4 favorites]


Oh never mind, I found a spring cleaning project that doesn't involve being outside (snow is in the forecast for later this week, whee?). I have two 12 gallon storage totes full of cables and cords that need to be organized. They were organized once upon a time, but you know how you don't care about organization when you're in a hurry and you're looking for something? Yeah, when that happens enough then you end up with two 12 gallon storage totes full of mangled and tangled cables and cords. So today I'm going to sit in front of my TV and sort through them, wrap them and tie them up neatly (since I didn't plan to do this in advance I have no velcro cable wraps), and store them by type in labeled ziploc bags and pray that this never happens again.

I am also praying that I find the cable for one or both of the Rokus. And maybe also that I find the Roku Express that's been missing since, oh...the week after I bought it?

Wait, they took the Spotify app off of the Roku? Well I'll stop looking then. And wonder why I have three Rokus. (Maybe. I'm still not convinced that Roku Express ever existed. Except I think I have the remote control for it. And the instruction booklet. And the power brick. Man...moving sucks.)

Anyway. I'm off to sort some cables. Anyone need 100 feet of co-ax? How about 50 feet of cat-5? What about 25 feet of HDMI?
posted by elsietheeel at 1:02 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


We're here in the mountains enjoying some much needed time off. Now that the weather has started warming back up, we're gearing up to do some major decluttering and cleaning in preparation for remodeling. We're getting a brand new master bathroom, along with fresh coats of paint for every room and the one thing my wife has been after for the past six years - a dishwasher in the kitchen. It's a lot of work, but I'm looking forward to it. There's a strong possibility that my job will be changing my days off to Saturday and Sunday, which will allow me a lot more flexibility to get some serious work done in the house.
posted by Roger Pittman at 1:03 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Yesterday, while splitting open some rock samples in what has been an extremely boring task that I've been repeating for months now, I found a nearly complete fossil sting-ray about the size of my forearm. That was SUPER cool and I can't wait to clean it up!

I think I mentioned last fall that for the first time ever I was fortunate enough to be in the financial and time position this year to do the ~500 miles of the Colorado Trail. I decided this winter, after months of fighting for our public lands and anxious about future possibilities, to upgrade that to a "chunk-hike" of the Continental Divide Trail instead, and do the 800 miles of the Trail that goes through Colorado. I started my training plan in December with light training and "at home" physical therapy to get my knees up to speed/convince them they actually do want to do this, then took February mostly off as planned rest/recovery, and am just now beginning the "hard-core" training portion: approximately ~4-5 months of strength/cardio/endurance/flexibility/agility training. (My start time for this trip really depends on the weather/water availability and what possibly looks to be a bad wildfire season in certain parts of the state - it's dry.)

The CDT in Colorado is the highest part of the trail, so I'm looking at ~60 - 70 active days @ a 12-15 mile per day pace (slow cuz of the knees), average elevation of 10,900 ft., and at least one 14er, all within a limited time frame. That's really awesome and also kind of terrifying! I'm accustomed to training for backpacking/geology field work/climbing, that kind of thing, but I want to be in the best shape of my life for this.

Also want to be ready mentally, because that's a long time to hike day in and day out, and that's part of the physical training, like going for a long run when already tired. But I'm also a big fitness research nerd, so one of the things I'm really interested in are all the studies about how to train your brain for athletic endeavors. Though not exactly about how to win a sprint in a competition - more how to run an ultra-marathon, or what's the difference between true pain and wanting to stop because you just don't want to do it anymore (and overcoming that): all those little mental aspects that add up to doing something physically difficult. So March has been looking into how to incorporate some "brain training" and other work that's been done on "response" or "impulse" inhibition in my training as well, out of sheer curiosity. I also have ADHD and anxiety and was wondering how those would be affected. So my doc - who's also a curious person - and I are trying to come up with some tests we can do pre-brain training, pre-long distance hiking, and post-long distance hiking to see if we can discern any impacts in my ADHD. Nothing super scientific, obviously, but still really excited/curious about that. Experiments are fun! But I'm also really, really tired, which is to be expected for the first few weeks. The husband's training for a marathon - which so cool and exciting, so proud of him going after one of his bucket list items - but that means bedtime in our house lately has been around 8:30 PM, hahaha, yay for aging bodies!, as well as lots of motivational items on the fridge and bathroom mirror.

And that's my spring. Daffodils started blooming this week, as did my favorite spring time flower, crocuses. It seems way too early but enjoying them nevertheless. And soon it will be time to plant a bunch of plants that I'll kill but will also enjoy until that happens - some of them are sprouting in their egg crates right now! They're so cute and adorable at this stage.
posted by barchan at 1:11 PM on March 11 [11 favorites]


Here in Seattle it's a glorious, sunny, warm day that doesn't really belong in March. My divorce has become ugly and vitriolic, which is horrible, but I've moved myself and most of what I need for myself and the kiddo into a new house and am in the honeymoon phase with living alone. I'm sitting at my sunny kitchen table having smoked Gouda and Dungeness crab from the farmers' market for lunch. A little wren-type-bird seems to be making a nest in the birdhouse attached to the garage, which I thought until this morning was just decorative. Because I was turning the soil in the garden beds and dirty anyway, I spent about half an hour lying down in the sun on the back patio, staring at the sky and learning that my new neighborhood is full of soaring raptors. I have broccoli, cauliflower, peas and four kinds of garlic to plant. There's no one here to have a fight with. I'll be lonely eventually, but not yet, and at least I'll be lonely surrounded by homegrown vegetables and baby birds.
posted by centrifugal at 1:33 PM on March 11 [11 favorites]


Omg this chore is so boring.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:55 PM on March 11 [7 favorites]


I'm just 60 miles south of centrifugal, and it's so warm here I opened my big south-facing window and the cats are delighted.

In less happy news, I finally sucked it up today and disassembled the very nice gazebo that I'd put up on my patio last summer. In the ensuing autumn, which was full of stress and shoulder injury and fatigue, I'd decided that it'd probably be fine left up through the winter if I just weighted the legs down with sandbags. AH HAH HAH HAH nope. I still have a hard time really grasping how fierce the wind gets in western WA storms, and in a big blow in Dec. the whole thing kind of half-blew over, buckled sideways, and all the support connectors bent. It's not fixable (and given the amount of rust already in the connectors, not worth fixing), so I'll have to find some other way to shade the patio in summer, since I have the same loathing of being out in the hot beating-down sun as some others above.

I messed up my lower back a couple of weeks ago, so I can't get going on the massive amount of weeding urgently needed in my garden. On the other hand, the new roses that I feared would be killed in the low-20s weather we had in Feb. seem to be leafing out just fine, which is a happy thing. (And oh god, am I too late to prune the climbing roses?!?)

Work has been relentlessly, grindingly stressful for almost a year now, and it seems likely it will be a few more years before things level out and start to recover (just in time for me to retire). I'm learning a lot about balancing care and detachment, keeping boundaries while not checking out, and so on, and I'm taking a week off at the end of March, during which I'd love to get away somewhere without internet or phone and really think about what I want to do for the remaining chunk of my life, and if it's worth taking the financial hit of bailing on my job a few years before I'd planned.
posted by Kat Allison at 2:05 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


I'm so excited for spring! June will mark one year here at my house and I'm already starting my spring cleaning. It was supposed to be winter cleaning but I've been exhausted from superweird beta-blocker dreams (I fell in love with a tree and we were very happy together!) so we'll call it spring cleaning. I'll need to re-wax the floors. Finish hemming the curtains for the dining room. Find some fun, big art for the big kitchen wall. I'm trying to figure out if I can somehow get a secondhand filing cabinet into the storage room with the narrow dogleg entry.

My whole life I've moved every year or three, so I've never had a garden or anything. I might put some basil out on the sunny south-facing porch, something that'll smell lovely while you're entering the house. Is that hard to grow in Colorado?

I'd like to put some chairs and a firepit out on the back patio but I'm worried about the ancient elm tree dropping giant widowmaker branches on me any time the wind blows. Last year, this huge branch came down under heavy snow and it knocked out the entire gazebo structure.
posted by mochapickle at 2:05 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


We planted about 3/4 of an acre of garlic last year and I did a little digging today to see what's going on. Yikes! I think we are going to have 20 thousand pounds of it. Alpaca poop is miracle fertilizer. This is the first time we've done this so now I gotta figure out packaging. Guy from the co-op came out and wants most of it. It's organic. The kids want to know what they are going to get paid to dig it up. They are pretty happy to see the greens. This is something we all did.

The other boon is we haven't heard a coyote in 6 weeks which is awesome because the preggers pacas will be unloading soon.

Gotta seed the pastures.

Shearing in six weeks then we gotta deal with all that hair.

I keep thinking of more to do. Driving Lyft all winter was kind of nice.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:24 PM on March 11 [4 favorites]


Okay I swear this is the last time I'm going to post in here, at least today, but I just found the power supply for an old HDD that I haven't accessed since 2011. It's got some major treasures on it, including Josie Long's Trying is Good, my 100 gig iTunes file (from 2011), and, most importantly, 60 gigs of Never Mind the Buzzcocks (according to the internet I am behind by about four seasons and will now need to find a way to catch up on them).

Oh man...I wonder if Shooting Stars is in here too...

(...it's not, but The Prisoner is! I am the New Number Two!)

Mr. Yuck, gimme your alpaca hairs.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:31 PM on March 11 [4 favorites]


mochapickle, basil isn't hard to grow in CO but if you want something lovely to smell and will do well here, may I recommend rosemary, or even better, a curry plant? Curry plants themselves don't smell like what you associate with curry - it's a very nice, dry sweet smell that's very fragrant, and they look like a cross between lavender and rosemary with wonderful soft greyish-silver leaves. And they do great in drought conditions! My curry plants on the front porch always do really well and give off a great smell, and I almost never kill them except by over-watering.
posted by barchan at 2:39 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


My recent houseguest just sent me alpaca fur dryer balls as a hostess gift! They're doused in lavender and they replace dryer sheets (which I haaaaate) and as a bonus feature, they pick up layers of lint and dog hair from my clothes as they tumble.

They are singularly marvelous and as of this week I won't do laundry without them. Although, weirdly, my dog barked at them when I first took them out of the package. She's since calmed down but I wish I'd gotten at least one video of my fluffy little floof barking ferociously at balls of immobile fluffy alpaca floof.
posted by mochapickle at 2:40 PM on March 11 [5 favorites]


barchan, I will try that! I'd love to have a few pots of things going & silvery leaves would be especially pretty with my silvery gray house.
posted by mochapickle at 2:42 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]




The redbud in the front yard is at peak bloom today, in my estimation. I’m sitting on the back porch with the dogs, smoking meat and drinking beer. It’s mostly cloudy and really windy and just beautiful today.
posted by Tuba Toothpaste at 4:24 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


Good things from spring—

There will finally be something for the birds and squirrels to eat besides what I provide. It's a heavy burden keeping everybody happy and healthy. I'm glad it won't all be on me, at least for the dozen or so trees and their inhabitants that I keep healthy. The world will give them options, which is always better for them.

I just saw Stephan Colbert ask David Byrne if he made a mistake by missing the Talking Heads 1984 tour show )Stop Making Sense( so he could stay on campus and write his paper on Milton, and Byrne mentioned that what they'd be doing next should provide an answer. Then Byrne and his musicians started playing a new song called Everybody's Coming to My House, and Colbert participated, and it was the most awesome thing ever. And now I have that new David Byrne album to provide a soundtrack to this spring, so I'm really stoked about that.

Things have been going well, and I hope they continue to. But I have this anxiety about this really dark distant cloud that I can't quite see and nobody else can see, but I know it's there, and I keep waiting for it to arrive. But maybe it's not real, or maybe it's got nothing to do with me and it will rain elsewhere, but I can't shake the feeling that it will affect someone and I should be more alert and prepared to help. But I also wonder if it's not actually my own issue and it's the other side of feeling good about my place at the expense of the misery of others. Or worse, its ominous portent is targeted at me.

I miss the green. I need the green. I'm glad it's beginning to return. In spite of things going well, I need the hope. I need the world to express hope. This spring I'm witnessing that happiness can be completely divorced from hope, and I'd really prefer more hope.
posted by Stanczyk at 5:03 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Spring is when a young man’s fancy turns to love, so I’ll probably do that. Possibly with my wife.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 5:42 PM on March 11 [5 favorites]


Autumn is finally coming and I couldn't be happier. We've had one of the hottest, driest Summers ever with very little rain and everything is just crispy and brown. And not in a good way. Even the city folk are noticing, particularly as we've had random wallabys hopping around - one on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and one needed to be fished out of the harbor by a passing Manly ferry. I think that they're so desperate for food, they're starting to venture into areas they wouldn't normally go and - hey presto - news at 5.

Even though it's been really dry, it's also been stupidly humid. And the nights have been cloudy and warm with "lows" of 25 being the new normal. Mornings have been horribly sweaty affairs and it's generally been like living in an armpit here. My mum calls it "dog breath weather" - warm, damp, and slightly smelly.

But lately, cool mornings! And mildly warm days where it's pleasant outside instead of oven-like! And cool breezes instead of gusts right out of hell that make your corneas crisp every time you blink.

Soon it will be soup and stew weather! And when I go out to my mum's place I will drive with my windows down so that I can catch the first tang of wood smoke from someone's fireplace, and THEN it will properly be Autumn.
posted by ninazer0 at 6:20 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Daffodils, quince, and plum trees are in bloom. Redbuds are not yet. The greening has begun. Huzzah!!

My sweet husband and Honorable Youngest Offspring have just finished playing "Left for Dead" in the den and she is heading back to her house. This is their thing -- often done remotely. It's weird to hear him talking in the next room, but I can lean over and see he has the game on and is wearing headphones, so all is normal.

We just finished moving most of the stuff out for Honorable Oldest Offspring. She is really stoked to be moving into her new digs... up four flights of stairs, but she doesn't have to worry about stampeding herds above her head. Hopefully her furbaby will re-adapt quickly to apartment living.
Her own sweetie and mine wrestled box springs and mattress up the stairs so she now has her air mattress deflated. Now we have to figure out which things in the kitchen / bathroom / garage are going with her.

The eldest brother-in-law is getting married next weekend (third time's the charm) so I've been pulling together something to wear and something for a gift. Who knew that charm bracelet blenders could be so expensive? Also -- Trader Joe's snacks for the plane ride to Florida. And an 11-inch long Snicker's Bar for chocolate (the husband bought a box for $6 at the flea market and we are already on the second one.)

And the following weekend the youngest daughter and I will be traveling to Texas for a crafting retreat. This is turning into an annual thing for us. This year it's just the two of us in her Prius, with all our fiber arts and projects.
The hot tub and the massage room are glorious, and I am seriously thinking about seeing if I still fit into my 3 mil for the unheated swimming pool. Gonna bring my jogging shoes this time, too.

The Azalea Festival and the Medieval Fair are coming up soon. And at some point I am by golly going to get back into walking around the lake with all the other joggers and bikers and dog walkers.
The sun is shining, the birds are singing, it's a good time to get outdoors and get the blood pumping!
posted by TrishaU at 6:27 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Hang Spring cleaning!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:13 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


For whatever reason, my PITA daughter who has never shown an interest in gardening and also doesn't like most vegetables has been super keen to get her garden on at the Bee n' Rose. I've been telling her since January that just because we get some 50 degree days doesn't mean we can start planting, and set a firm date of March 15 as the earliest any of the cool season crops could go in the ground. She's on Spring Break the week after next, so we plan to spend at least some of that time putting in peas and some bok choi, kale and so on. I may also be able to rope her into helping me paint the downstairs, which was supposed to be my winter project harharhar. I am almost certain I won't be able to get her help raking up the waste hay and manure piles from the pastures, rotating compost bins, and getting ready to do some reseeding. Also need to pull out/cut back all of last year's old stalks on the perennials. So many other projects...fences to fix, an old chicken coop that either needs to repaired or replaced, a new horse shelter for my second pasture so I can put them on the second pasture full time and let the first pasture rest after I reseed, etc. etc.
posted by drlith at 7:46 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


It's finally gotten to really pleasant temperatures in this part of the world (highs of mid-twenties to the mid-thirties (C)) instead of high thirties to mid/high forties. Since I grew up in NZ, where highs of mid-twenties WAS summer, this means I feel like summer has finally arrived instead of whatever burning lake of fire we've been inhabiting since December. So I'm trying to fit all my summer activities (swimming, gardening, cycling, eating outside, lounging around on the deck) into this time of year. It's lovely! I just wish it stayed light a touch longer, because I'm usually just home from work and ready to relax and it's sunset.

Anyway, my big excitement is that after coveting one for about 5 years I finally bought an electric-assist bicycle as a present to myself for getting tenure, and my bike range has expanded dramatically. It used to be that I would cycle to and from work (8km each way) and be too tired for other exercise, but now that feels like a gentle stroll to the corner shops. And 24km (to a distant campus) was the upper limit of my cycle range, but now it feels more like the 8km of old. I have been doing the 24km each way about once a week, and another 28km each way to our D&D night once a week, and I even did 35km into central Sydney (and about half of that back before I realised that 70km in one day was still actually a little beyond me, and took the train the rest of the way) for a meeting last week. SO. MUCH. FUN.

It's kind of like riding with a tail-wind and slight downhill when you are on the flat or a slight incline, and like riding on the flat when going up steeper hills. It's glorious. (And going downhill - well, let's just say I noticed the speedo hit 54 kph the other day. On the flat you can't get anywhere near that fast, because the motor cuts out at 28 kph by law, which is maybe for the best).

The other fun thing about it is because I don't have to worry about hills anymore, I feel free to try out different routes or just to go exploring, because I'm not going to end up exhausted with a long slow ride home, or wheeling the bike up a hill I didn't anticipate. So I've found three new alternative routes to work, as well as some very cool little cycle paths for the long rides that I wouldn't usually have found because I used to have to take the most direct way.

Also, I'm no longer bothered by weather. If it rains, I just wear a stupid big rain cape even though it causes lots of wind resistance and would have made me sweat too much on the old bike. And if it's too hot, well, I don't have to pedal so hard, so I don't really overheat like I used to. (Although I did say no thank you on the last 44 degree day we had).
posted by lollusc at 1:38 AM on March 12 [7 favorites]


Hang Spring cleaning!

Handspring cleaning!
posted by pracowity at 4:19 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Also -- Trader Joe's snacks for the plane ride to Florida.

TrishaU: Do you like peanut butter? Try Bambas.

When I was in TJ's last week and saw a woman toss five bags of them in her cart (to be fair there's only three servings per bag and they're only 99 cents a bag) and I was like okay I have to check this stuff out. The bag gives little indication of what's inside. In fact, it kind of makes you think that it's a crunchy outside filled with peanut paste, but that's not it at all. Essentially? They're peanut butter Cheetos. Puffed Cheetos with peanut butter instead of cheese powder.

I immediately wished I had also bought five bags of them.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:56 AM on March 12 [4 favorites]


Three weeks ago we had several inches of snow, two weeks ago we hit -10C, and now we're at +10C to +15C. Ouf!

My little garden weathered the freeze valiantly, aside from one broken ceramic pot. I'd rescued it from curbside, so it wasn't too surprising, but I was sad as it had a pretty blue glaze. Got a lightweight fiberglass pot in the meanwhile, someday when I can afford a nicer glazed one I'll do that. The plants are all sprouting fresh green. No bulbs on my bluebells yet – they multiplied like crazy, I divided them and replanted three or four dozen around the garden and into some pots in January. Looking forward to them and the irises.

Seeded my little garden with a local wildflower mix – researched the flowers to be sure they're native, and they are – to add to the wild basil that fills up my little plot in summer. I get loads of bees when my hedge and basil flower in late summer; I hope the wildflowers will add some more for them to enjoy earlier in the summer. Also, I can make a mean warm salad from my garden with fresh dandelion leaves and wild basil. It will be nice to eat that again.

Squirrel-girl kitten will turn a year old in May. My adorable big fluffer will reach the age of ten around the same time! I can hardly believe we've been together for a decade. He still has facial expressions I remember from his kittenhood and his evening crazy phase where he and his little sister bounce off the walls. He too loves our garden and has his favorite corner, where he can spy on people without them noticing. He's always been shy. Squirrel-girl, on the other hand, earned her nickname from climbing my hedge, which is getting older and has two-inch-thick trunks.

She's also proven herself an excellent huntress of earthworms, and has been showing me how healthy our soil is. They're all five to seven inches long (that's 13-18cm, yes I still have to look it up after 20 years of metric :D suppose I could just as well have said 10-20cm, but really, when you hold an earthworm in your hands, it's the thumbs-as-inches that come to mind, and also I haven't seen any as small as 10cm/4"). Big, plump and squirmy. Between them and the bees, it's pretty neat.
posted by fraula at 7:11 AM on March 12 [5 favorites]


For anyone preoccupied with earthworm welfare, my furry huntress only brings them inside to play, she doesn't eat them. A couple have been sectioned by a wayward claw, but all were big enough that they'll survive. I pick them up, give them a bit of water so they can breathe, and put them back outside. (earthworms breathe through their skin)
posted by fraula at 7:15 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


I apparently just got my conference abstract accepted to Evolution this summer. (As a poster, not the talk I submitted, but, uh, apparently this year they got 3600 submissions and could only do 800 talks and 1200 posters. I am... not upset about having a poster.)

I only just got my abstract in literally under the wire in a friend-mediated burst of confidence, and I was kind of expecting to be regretfully rejected so I'd have an excuse to back out of going because it's going to be expensive and big and my data isn't where I want it or anything. But my spouse found out and made me turn in my registration today, so I guess I'm going to go present in France this August and do a metric fuck ton of networking. Um. Fuck. I'm just going to go hide in a hole now.

(oh my god what am I going to do for this oh god eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee the last time they held a meeting like this it literally spurred my dissertation, marlene zuk promised to be there there and she came to my talk last time evolution happened and she's my hero, what do I do with this)
posted by sciatrix at 9:30 AM on March 12 [8 favorites]


It's spring break here in my 50-degree office, so I am catching up on mountains of grading in relative peace. I'm also trying to prep all my course materials for the entire rest of the semester, since I am spending the next three weekends in a row at scientific conferences. I should probably also do a spring clean of my disaster-area apartment, but may have to settle for a spring clean of my desk.
posted by pemberkins at 9:32 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


I hate March these days. I hope in a couple more years it won't be so bad, but I'm winding up year two without my mother, and March is one anniversary related to her decline after another. We held her visitation on April 1, 2016, and we all kept waiting for her to walk in and say "April Fools!" Last year, almost to the day, my sister's much beloved FIL died. I am, not surprisingly, waiting for the other shoe to drop this year when it comes to my elderly aunt and my wife's grandmother. I'm not wishing either of them away, but I'm distrusting of March.

So. I'm watching too much basketball and talking a lot about basketball, because that's a much more healthy coping mechanism than some other ones I've tried. And there's good stuff coming up - I get to go with my grad school friends to Nola in a few weeks for our discipline's year conference (will you be in New Orleans watching the people who study people and the people who study rocks regarding each other suspiciously? Want to meet up and have a Hurricane? Let me know!), which should be a good time (me and another friend are the mother hens of the group and have already told everyone they have to buy their own pedialyte and gatorade). My best friend of 17 years and I have a battlefield road trip planned for this summer. We've got a cabin trip (hot tubs, booze, and board games) coming up in June with our little local gang. My wife's girlfriend is coming to visit in a couple weeks. This godawful semester is almost over. Good stuff is coming down the calendar.

On the other hand, today, the first day back from spring break, we got sent home at noon because of snow and sleet.
posted by joycehealy at 11:58 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


TrishaU: Do you like peanut butter? Try Bambas.

I bet you could make a passable variation of these by taking a bag of pirate booty or similar non-cheese corn puffed snack and dumping a few heaping spoonfuls of PB2 or other powdered peanut butter on it and shaking it until coated.

Heck, get a bag of microwave kettlecorn or extra butter or something and dump PB2 in the bag like nootch for salty-sweet-butter + peanut butter.

Also, I doubt you haven't heard of it by now, but if you haven't met powdered peanut butter yet and you like peanut butter, you're welcome. Be careful about eating it by the spoonful, it's powdery and will clog one's breathing holes. Try dipping apple slices in it. I sometimes have peanut butter + peanut powder + peanut sandwiches.
posted by loquacious at 4:40 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


loq, do you live in a world where Pirate's Booty isn't cheese flavored?

I OD'ed on powdered PB post-gastric bypass. I dunno if I am quite ready to cook with it yet again.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:04 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


I may be misremembering that pirate's booty is not cheese flavored. I thought I had something that was just popcorn-flavored.
posted by loquacious at 5:15 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Taste-testing: dipping bananas into powdered PB2 and PB2 with chocolate.
I like the chocolate version better, but both are very nice. Must do apple slices next. Thanks!

I'm checking with Trader Joe's locally about Ginger People's Ginger Chews, which were recommended for airplane snacks. And the dried raspberries and dried bananas are excellent (eating pecan halves with the dried bananas helps with the "Must brush my teeth now!" feeling).
I saw individual packets of Justin's nut butters at Whole Foods. Is this something that has to go in the quart bag with toothpaste and hand sanitizer?
posted by TrishaU at 6:20 PM on March 12


The days are getting shorter here, and the jumpers, umbrellas and socks are being pulled out of drawers for the first time in months. There are two and a half weeks of day light saving left, so I'm determined to make the most of the sunny evenings that are left.

I'm also starting my winter jumper knitting project. Almost every year I get to May and wish I'd started a jumper (sweater, for those in the US and Canada), so this year I'm on it. I spent Sunday dyeing some gross pink yarn (it was cheap) with some ancient navy dye and a bit of blue food colouring into a reasonably attractive deep purple. And I've decided I'm going to make this, or maybe this. Also could be this. But I've got a few days to decide yet, as I've got 20 skeins of yarn to wind into balls.
posted by kjs4 at 7:06 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


and the jumpers, umbrellas and socks are being pulled out of drawers for the first time in months

No it is summer now don't make me fight you
posted by lollusc at 2:43 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Still adjusting to the seasons in Sydney but the big trip is to Vietnam where I will meet my sister as she goes through reconciling her past...it is like being in a certain type of novel. I am very comfortable in my role as hollow bamboo sidekick .
posted by jadepearl at 8:30 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm going to go present in France this August and do a metric fuck ton of networking. Um. Fuck. I'm just going to go hide in a hole now.

Don't worry; they're all just as scared as you are!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:33 PM on March 13


Ugh. It's 40C here today. Summer is really not giving up. I have heat-rash under my breasts and there isn't a bridge big enough for how OVER this fucking season I am.
posted by ninazer0 at 10:36 PM on March 17


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