All That Matters

Today was a big day in U.S. history, because it was the first day of public hearings in the impeachment of Donald Trump. I had to work today, but I was able to listen to parts of the broadcast because my husband was watching it on television downstairs. That was good enough for me. I don’t need to see or hear all of it, or even any of it. I already know that Donald Trump is unfit to be president. He’s a lying, cheating, egomaniacal, bigoted, bullying, uneducated, emotionally stunted and unstable traitor. He damages our democracy every day. He harms our people every day. That’s enough to impeach him for. I don’t need any additional evidence, because I’ve seen all of it with my own eyes. He’s also probably a money launderer, rapist, and extortionist. I expect that those crimes will all be proven in time, but the details are irrelevant to me. All that matters is that our lawmakers remove him from the presidency before it’s too late.

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Continuing the Catalog: Part 4

White Lettuce
Here is another new (to me) type of plant. As far as wildflowers go, this one struck me as unusually awkward-looking and droopy, but the bees adored it. To each his own.
Tentative Identification: Common Gerardia
This is the only specimen I found of this type of plant. It was skinny, with small flowers, and my camera didn’t want to focus on it. This is the best photograph I managed to get. I’m convinced this flower is a member of the Agalinis genus (a.k.a. false foxglove). If I had to guess, I’d say it was common gerardia, because that’s the best match appearance-wise.
Clearweed is a humble plant that creates ground cover without drawing any special attention to itself. As a member of the nettle family, it’s sometimes mistaken for stinging nettle, but it doesn’t have any stinging hairs. Having once been stung by nettle myself (youch!), I am thankful that clearweed is a kinder member of that family, because it grows in abundance around here. It’s called “clearweed” because it has clear stems. According to this website, it can be used in science classes to demonstrate the uptake of liquids by plants.
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This November 12

Today I had parent-teacher conferences with my kids’ teachers. The teachers were all nice. The kids are both doing well in school. That makes me happy.

I had some blood work done recently. The test results came in the mail today. My vitamin D level is bad (again), so I’m going to have to take megadoses for 8 weeks. But it’s hard to be upset about that when my other levels are so good, including my cholesterol. My numbers are higher than recommended on the good stuff and lower than recommended on the bad stuff. Hooray! That means I can continue my potato chip diet. 😉

It’s cold and windy today. We even got a little snow earlier. My husband said he’d heard that the entire country would dip below freezing tonight. I said, “Even Hawaii?” He replied, “Well, the Lower 48.” So I said, “But won’t Alaska be freezing, too?” Ha-ha. I’m such a pain sometimes, but the funny thing is, it’s warmer in Juneau right now than it is here, and the difference will only get greater as the temperature here continues to drop. Overnight we’ll probably hit a record low temperature for this time of year. If the temperature doesn’t reach at least 37 degrees tomorrow, that will also set a new record (the lowest maximum temperature for this time of year, set back in 1911). Brrr!

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Mystery & Nostalgia

Lately I find myself nostalgic for Agatha Christie novels and particularly for Hercule Poirot. I’ve read all of Christie’s Miss Marple books. Maybe it’s time to finally finish off all the Poirots? In any event, for nostalgia’s sake, here’s a quote from the Weekly Poirot, which was a weekly feature I used to run here on my blog, and which I miss sometimes.

The result of pretending to be a more amiable, a more forgiving, a more high-minded person than one really is, has sooner or later the effect of causing one to behave as a more disagreeable, a more ruthless and an altogether more unpleasant person than is actually the case! If you dam the stream of natural behaviour, mon ami, sooner or later the dam bursts and a cataclysm occurs!

Hercule Poirot in “A Holiday for Murder” by Agatha Christie

P.S. A typo just revealed to me that HERCULE is an anagram of HER CLUE. Interesting.

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The Trouble With Twitter

Today I wrote a list of things that I hate about Twitter and then deleted it. There was no need to bore you with it, especially not when the gist was so simple. What it boiled down to was that Twitter brings out the worst in me while also negating some of my greatest strengths and taking up too much of my time. The same thing was true of Facebook, so I gave it up, except for the occasional check-ins to keep up with our local school community. It’s time to give up Twitter, too, or at least restrict my usage. I want to take what’s good about Twitter with me, though, and here are some thoughts on that matter.

  • I like knowing what’s going on in the world, but I can get most of my news from the newspaper.
  • I’ll miss having an easy way to stay in touch with friends, but I’d rather talk face-to-face or on the phone with my friends and family more often and make new friends in the real world.
  • Twitter has broadened my perspective. I like listening to voices that are unlike my own and hearing stories that teach me about other cultures and ways of looking at life. Some of voices I’ve enjoyed the most on Twitter are from people whose work is published elsewhere. I will listen for their voices outside of Twitter.
  • I am an opinionated person, and I like to write about my opinions. If I’m going to spend my time that way, I might as well do it right and either post my thoughts here or submit my writing for publication. Sure, actual publication would offer a scary number of opportunities for making an ass of myself, but most of the good things in life come with risk. At least in publication I’d have an editor, and if I ever got myself into hot water, I could blame them. That’s what they’re for 😉

If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor.

Neil Simon
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A Series of Series

Dear Livia,

You are in third grade now. You like your teacher, and you are doing well in all of your subjects. In the past, it has always been math in which you most noticeable excelled. This year you seem to be putting more effort into reading. You came home with a reading prize last week. You won it for reading more on the computer (and correctly answering more questions about it) than anyone else in your class.

At home, too, reading is a big part of your daily routine. You have blown through a large chunk of my library already, and I’m going to run out of books to give you. All these decades of reading, and I haven’t amassed enough books to keep an 8-year-old busy. Geez. I just brought the Magnus Chase series home from the library for you. I haven’t read it myself, but Riordan hasn’t failed us yet, so I’m optimistic. We’re running out of good modern series, though. So next, we’re probably going to have to dig deeper into the classics (L. Frank Baum, E. Nesbit, E.B. White, etc.).

Just a few days ago you showed me a list of your top 25 favorite books. Mostly it was a mix of books by Roald Dahl (Matilda was #1), J.K. Rowling (all but two of the Harry Potter books made the list), C.S. Lewis (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), Rick Riordan (books from the Percy Jackson series and The Kane Chronicles), and Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). You told me that it’s usually the last book of a series that you like the most, because that’s where the action is. Sometimes that’s true, I agreed with you, but the first book is more often the best, I think. I hope we will continue to have discussions about reading so that I’ll be able to find out if your opinion holds or changes over time. If you keep reading at the rate you have been, you’ll soon have read more series than I, and you’ll be the resident expert on them!



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Such Disappointment

I recently read the opening chapter of a science fiction novel in high spirits. It was all about a crazy fictional author, and I couldn’t wait to read about his wild adventures. Only I realized by the end of the “chapter” that it was actually an introduction written by somebody else, and the “crazy fictional author” was actually the real author of the rest of the book. I didn’t even want to read the rest of the book after that, but I forced myself to give the first few paragraphs a try. They were awful by comparison. Such disappointment I have not felt in a long time, and I returned the book to the library unread. On the bright side, the guy who wrote the introduction is also an author, so I can add his name to my list of authors to read someday.

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‘Tis the Seedy Season: Part I

This plant with the distinctive foliage and red stems has been avoiding identification for years. It grows in abundance in the woods near my house. When I first saw it, I thought it was wintergreen, so I picked a leaf and sniffed it, because I thought wintergreen would have a minty smell. Nope. So I decided it wasn’t wintergreen. I failed to get a picture of its flowers earlier in the year, but here, at least, is a picture of the seed capsules. They will turn brown as they mature. And I know now what this plant is. It’s called spotted wintergreen (or striped wintergreen), so I was not entirely wrong before. I was just confused, because the name “wintergreen” is shared by other plants. To get the minty smell, I would have to find American wintergreen (a.k.a. teaberry), an unrelated plant, which I have seen before in woods farther north, but not here.
This peculiar looking thing is the seed capsule of Indian pipe. Presumably it will just get browner and grosser looking (see next picture).
Indian Pipe Gone All Brown and Gross
These pointy-looking things used to be spotted knapweed flowers.
Remember the clematis? I thought it looked weird when I first saw it in September, but it got weirder and woollier as the year progressed.
In mid-October, it looked like a hybrid of a sheep and a shrub. A shreep!
This is how the rabbit’s-foot clover looked in mid-October when it was seeding. I petted it, because I had to know if it was as soft as it looked. It was! Rabbit’s foot clover is such a cute wildflower that it’s become one of my favorites.
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Turtley Trendy

Our pet glass turtles, named Turtley and Turtoo, are looking turtley trendy in their new hats. Livia’s designs are on the cutting edge of turtle fashion.
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Totally Ineffective

I’m good at giving up addictions, and I’ve given up many of them over the years, but it would be more effective if I didn’t keep replacing them with new ones.

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