Indecipherable

Back in the day, before we all forgot how to write by hand at all, it was common to hear a person laughing at their inability to read their own handwriting. Now almost no one can read almost anyone’s handwriting, but it rarely matters because we all type all the time.

I say, it rarely matters, because last week I put an item “to do” this week in my to-do list app on my phone, and while I can read the actual words just fine, I have no idea what it means.

Something’s not getting done today, folks.

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Living for the Applause–in French

I was just telling the Pilgrimage‘s current Stepping Into the Story cohort about my tendency to long for everyone’s approval, preferably without having to do much to earn it.

Also, you may have noticed, the church I currently pastor now has a podcast of the (mostly my) sermons. I submitted the feed to apple podcasts for, well, approval, and yesterday I received it–inexplicably, in French. So happy to know my approval is now spanning language barriers.

Fortunately, I can read French. Also fortunately, if you were hoping to subscribe to the podcast and you yourself don’t know French, the podcast remains in English.

Frozen Avocado

So this one time I googled “can you freeze avocado?”

This other time, on the basis of the results and the fact that I had too many avocados to eat before they went off, and avocados are mad expensive here these days, you guys, I froze an avocado.

But I think the answer really meant to be, “You can freeze anything. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should.”

I was going to post a photo, but I don’t want to gross you out. You’re welcome.

Dandelions: Weeds, Food, Clothing

Last night we had four friends join us here at the Old New House for dinner (there’s a story about that, but I wasn’t blogging here when it happened, so you’ll have to read that story over at The Pilgrimage) and I made a salad. Salads, and mostly nothing else except sometimes canned goods, are pretty much my culinary specialty. Good thing my Paul can cook.

Anyway, so there were dandelion greens in the salad. That I had pulled out of the yard a few days before, washed a leaf at a time, and stored in the fridge. They sure perk up iceberg, let me tell you. One of our guests, in particular, was fascinated. “Which leaves in here are the dandelions?” he asked. (There were also nasturtium leaves in there, which don’t look anything like dandelion, but if you live in the city and don’t typically pay attention to what’s growing up through the cracks in the pavement, I guess you might not realize. Plus both types were cut up in the salad.) Someone else asked, “But…aren’t dandelions a weed?”

“According to somebody,” I said. “They’re also super nutritious.”

Then today, eshakti (a women’s clothing site which fascinates me enough that I keep clicking on the links, but not enough that I have yet purchased anything there) invaded my Facebook feed with the following image:

 

Because phones are creepy spies and at this point I don’t even care who they’re spying for–I resent it. That is why this particular eshakti image was posted on my page. (I know eshakti posts in my feed because I keep going there. But I doubt they would have known to send me a dandelion dress image before last night.) In case you are also from the city or from a country that doesn’t have dandelions, those are dandelions. I wouldn’t buy this cut of dress but I kind of love that a dress exists that has giant dandelions on it. I also think it’s hilarious that nowhere in their link does eshakti identify these as dandelions. The dress is described as “floral embellished.” In fact, if you google “dandelion dress,” this image will not appear. (Well, maybe it will after I post this.)

So now I’m wondering who’s playing the joke. And, I suppose, whose cover I’m blowing. Do the people at eshakti not realize these are dandelions either? Did some designer think this up and decide to see if they would buy a design of a giant weed (or vegetable, depending on your perspective) covering half of a dress? Or does eshakti know full well, and they’re doing a social experiment on what type of individual will wear weeds on their weeds (other than the smokeable weed)?

Definitely people who are pro-dandelion. If that dress style (and price) looked comfortable to me, I’d totally go for it.

Dandelions really are versatile.

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Proof That Emojis Are More Ancient Than You Think!

People think that emojis are this new thing, but I have a hunch they’ve been around for a while. It’s just that maybe they used to be a little more physical. For example, one year, at Previous Church’s annual Holiday Fair, someone donated this antique emoji-transmitting device:

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At first glance, it just looks like some sort of oddly proportioned babydoll. But don’t be deceived. Take this baby for a spin and…

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…it might fall asleep on you.

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Did you find that upsetting? Sorry. I find it pretty creepy, too.

But this is not the only evidence of the age of emojis. A few weeks ago, while beach-combing on Cape Cod, I discovered a rare artifact. I haven’t gotten this appraised or anything, but I think I might have found an emoji device from the Stone Age. I call it the Emojistone. (Harry Potter’s life would have turned out so differently if he had been looking for one of these instead of the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone.) Behold.

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Here we have what looks to be a cheery, if rushed, or maybe overly enthusiastic, little rock-character. But (also by spinning) he can also express anger/outrage (how relevant he is!):

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…and sad/upset/despairing/Edvard Munch:

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I’m pretty excited about this discovery. Imagine if people had to express emotions in some other, more complicated, intimate way–like with our faces…

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For the genuinely curious, evidently those holes in the rock are created by mollusks called “piddocks“–and indeed, there were tiny little mollusks inside this stone when I first found it. 

 

I Meant to Write

I wrote that last disclaimer post when I did, because I thought I was ready to write the post that I actually wanted to write, but even though I graduated with a Master’s degree in May, it turns out I still have homework assignments, and plus the BroFam showed up, and I’m sorry, my friends, but they take precedence. Also, I turned another year older. Also, sometimes when I mention other people besides myself in a blogpost, I feel the need to run the entire post by them before I post it, just to make sure they’re okay with their representation.

I find myself mildly entertained by the idea of turning this entire blog into a series of disclaimers about why I’m not really blogging, but I think that would get old pretty quickly–not only for you, but for me. But in the meantime, while we’re waiting for the okay on a post I have actually finally written, there’s this.

It's tough to blog with all these minions. (Also, this illustration is an attempt to really get on the nerves of a specific blogging friend I know.)

It’s tough to blog with all these minions.
(Also, this illustration is an attempt to really get on the nerves of a specific blogging friend I know.)

This Happens Every Time

It happens every time life gets really really Interesting, I mean. (I also might mean Interesting-Like-A-Trainwreck-Is-Interesting.)

When life gets Interesting, even if I already had some things I wanted to post about here, I get overwhelmed by trying to express what I mean, and so I just don’t. And then, having already Not, and life getting more and more Interesting, I find more and more things to write about and get overwhelmed about and I keep not writing about them. Then I stop venturing over to WordPress at all because I feel somehow like I’m letting the Internet down, which is probably really self-aggrandizing … Then I realise I’m ready to blog again and I have no idea how to get started back up.

This is obviously not the best way, but I felt the need to disclaim (make excuses?), and I don’t want the disclaimer to take over the posts I actually want to write, so–you get a whole (but fortunately very short) post of disclaimer. Yay!

I’m not even totally sure what I’m disclaiming, really, but here it is anyway. Hope you’re still around. I’d love to hang out here with you again.

That's a Jenn Story

Not Dr Watson

You know when you come upon something, or it comes upon you, and you’ve never seen it before, but you immediately think it must be that thing you read about in a book?

You don’t? Well, let me give an example. When I was fourteen, my family and I went to Europe together for the first time. During the last week of our trip, we went to London. To my fourteen-year-old, baptised-in-Narnia-and-Masterpiece-Theatre imagination, real 1980’s London was a little bit of a shock and disappointment, although at least it prepared me to relocate there quite happily a decade later. On that first visit, I kept looking for things I had read about in old books, and fortunately on pretty much the first day, I saw a large crow-like bird, except it wasn’t a crow, because it was black and white. I had an Elsa Beskow book with illustrations featuring a bird that looked like that, and Grandma (who translated Elsa Beskow books for me before they were available in English translations at all) had always translated it as crow. But for some reason when I saw one on the London pavement outside our holiday garden flat, I thought, magpie. “Is that a magpie?” I asked my parents. I’m not sure they knew, but it was okay, because I did. It was definitely a magpie.

And so it was.

And so it was.

This morning, I am sitting with my coffee and my notebook and my computer by the upstairs window, looking out over the pond. About half an hour ago now (because it took me forever to find just the right magpie picture) I happened to glance out and see another bird, much larger than a magpie, flapping slowly across the pond. We get lots of unusual birds around here, and I didn’t recognise it as any of the usual unusual customers.It wasn’t the Bald Eagle (who we seem to have missed this season) because it was the wrong colour and shape, and the flapping was wrong. It was built, and moved, much more like a water bird, but it wasn’t any water bird I have seen here before. It wasn’t the Blue Heron, because it was still the wrong colour and didn’t have those long legs and neck. It wasn’t the Kingfisher because it was much too large and slow, and not at all colourful. It wasn’t a Pelican, which we’ve never had here but I’ve seen before. It was all white, but it wasn’t the Swan, because–well, I already mentioned the short neck thing. The bird I’ve seen that it looked most like was a seagull, and we do get the occasional lost seagull around here, but it seemed to be larger and slower than one of those, too, and the first thing my brain said when I saw it was Albatross. 

I have never seen an albatross before, so I looked up “images of albatross in flight.” None of the images were as pure white as that bird I saw this morning, but the profile was pretty similar.

Like a seagull, but not a seagull. Know what I mean?

Like a seagull, but not a seagull. Know what I mean?

Then I watched a video of an albatross in flight and … I guess the bird I saw wasn’t an albatross. I know albatrosses (like magpies) have kind of negative connotations, but The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is seriously one of my favourite works of literature, so I really kind of wanted it to be one. Plus I like being right, especially when it is solely on the basis of intuition.

In fact, though, I probably wasn’t even right about this thing being a water bird. And to be honest, I wasn’t close enough to see a beak. Perhaps it was just a Snowy Owl, out too late partying on the weekend, and returning home to sleep. Snowy owls are pretty cool, too, I guess …

Although, I'm still not convinced that's what it was, either.

Although, I’m still not convinced that’s what it was, either.

Facing Reality

Warning: this will be a whingy post. If you’re not into reading other people’s whinges, I won’t hold it against you if you skip this one.

That's a Jenn Story

But I’ll bet because I just posted a classic illustration from the Wizard of Oz, you won’t.

I wasn’t ever supposed to look old.

In fact, I think I might have subconsciously anticipated a sort of Benjamin Button-like existence (except that I’ve never seen that movie so I don’t really know what I’m talking about). When I was in Junior High I was so tall that new students occasionally thought I was a teacher. In my 20’s in London, people frequently assumed I was in my early 30’s. But when I moved back to Our Fair City and started working with other actually 20-year-olds in my 30’s, I was constantly assumed to be somewhere in the 25-27 age range.

I know. You’re thinking, but are too polite to say, that everyone in my 30’s was also being too polite to let on that they knew I was in my 30’s. And I suppose there must have been a few of those. But genuine astonishment is sometimes discernible and it happened so often back then that I have to think that for the most part, I looked younger than I was. My hair was greying, and I’ve had a crease between my eyes at the bridge of my nose forever because I squint, but I imagined that somehow I would continue to have this otherwise youthful face, which would just make the grey hair kind of cool.

Now I am … no longer in my 30’s. Although there have been some “life hiccups” in recent times, overall I am happier than I ever was during that decade, so I feel like I should look younger than ever. But this week I started my CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) program and we had to get badges made for the hospital. I sat down in the chair, tried to smile at the camera, and what came out was … a picture of this typical middle aged New England woman, not quite smiling, with the beginnings of jowls. No. Not okay! I was finally starting to get rid of my double chin through my workouts and Shakeology, and the acne I’ve had since I was 13 has never fully gone away, so I feel that Jowls should have to wait a decade or two. And why the heck isn’t P90X3 helping with them??

I had actually already noticed these to my horror in a few other recent, less official photos, but now every day I have to wear this thing that looks like me, except I’m not willing to acknowledge that I look like that. I want my new colleagues, and maybe the patients I’m going to meet next week, to be mystified as to how old I am … which probably definitely has nothing to do with being a good chaplain. Now that I think about it. Okay, I’ll shut up now. Off to have some warm milk or whatever old people do on Friday nights …

Actually, I've liked warm milk my whole life. What if that's the reason I have jowls?

Actually, I’ve liked warm milk my whole life. What if that’s the reason I have jowls?

Stuff I Think About

Wwwednesday – Wondering

What if the power of suggestion was only part of the reason you yawn when you see someone else yawn? What if the other reason was that, because they were expelling more carbon dioxide at once, and you were inhaling it, you needed to yawn both to take in more oxygen and to expel the excess CO2 yourself.

Of course, the fact that you just yawned after looking at this picture kind of negates that possibility.

Of course, the fact that you just yawned after looking at this picture kind of negates that possibility.

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Today my Paul and I went to local orchard to get our first cider (not the hard kind, but Europeans, it really is still cider) of the season which, at this particular orchard, you can get for five cents a cup out of a barrel stuck in the wall.

Yet another reason why New England in the autumn is awesome.

Yet another reason why New England in the autumn is awesome.

You can also buy it in gallon containers, of course, but why would you go anywhere else if you can also get instant gratification like this?

Right next to the spigot was an upright glass refrigerator selling all kinds of cheese, including this one:

We get a little bit confused about our r's heah in New England.

We get a little bit confused about our r’s heah in New England.

Armish? Is that like the slightly more warlike cousins of the pacifistic Pennsylvania Dutch? We may never know . . .

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On the way home from the orchard with the cider spigot and the Armish blue (not bleu) cheese, we saw a woman dancing her dogs. I mean dancing. She had two dogs on leashes, and earbuds in her ears, and she was literally dancing down the street. My Paul and I both burst out laughing and then remarked to each other how refreshing it was to see an actually happy person acting happy. In public. Which immediately made me wonder what it says about our society when the first reaction at seeing someone acting uninhibitedly happy is to laugh at them. Or is it our society? Or is it just me?