cocooning and entropy

Christmas Bird Count chickadee

Wikipedia has an entry on cocooning. While I’m pretty “whatever” on Faith Popcorn and her pronouncements about society, I think this staying home and doing a little more navelgazing than usual is part of the December day-shortening and air-coldening. I’m pleased to report that my apartment stays decent temperatures and relatively draft-free in Wintertime which makes it the first place I’ve lived in Vermont that does that. I finally bought a shovel which means I’ve accepted that there will be several more months of snow. Even though I’m indoors more, I’ve been trying to make it count by doing that pesty crap that is really only possible when you’ve got several hours of indoor time and only low to medium cognitive functioning (I’ve had a bit of a cold).

So, this weekend after some nice dinners and movies and blah blah time with friends, I hunkered down to

  • make hard drive backups
  • read some books – my booklist is at an eight year low this year which concerns me
  • send out holiday cards to my card exchange list
  • do nearly 500MB of system updates
  • learn to use bittorent so I could watch Canadian television
  • finally move all my MP3s from my standalone ancient iMac.

I had done this MP3 project once before but then never moved the files from my laptop which later dropped dead. The iMac isn’t on the network so there was a good deal of sneakernet activity in all of this, but it’s now done.

I had the strange sort of upbringing that causes me to feel actually virtuous when I decrease the disorder of a system. This is reflected in my professional choices, certainly, but it also makes Winter much less of a slog because there’s always something around here that could be better organized, and adding the digital realm to the To Do list makes this an absolute certainty. I’ve got a lot of social time coming up — a Solstice bonfire, a New Year’s Eve party, family time, boyfriend time — so watching the birds and squirrels from the treehouse for a few days doesn’t seem anti-social at all.

What do you think?


  1. I love doing those projects, and like you, I always feel “virtuous” for having gotten them done. But now that I am working full-time, I feel like I never get anything done. It’s annoying.

    Glad to see “boyfriend” in the mix – nice to have a sweetie during the holidays!

  2. I know you said your the ‘mad shoveler’ and that you like to shovel.. so do i! Now i wish you had asked me about shovels before you went out and bought one. As an ADirondack resident whos been shoveling snow for years.. i love my ergonomically correct shovels.. they use to be called ‘the Ugly shovel’… You have to learn to use them and love them and they really save your back. I have one that 24 inches wide that my push shovel it clears a driveway so quickly when there are just 2 or 3 inches of snow.. then you need the scoop shovel, i have an 18 inch scoop shovel and between the two it makes the chore of shoveling so much easier. I love the quietness of shoveling when i have the time and can. I have a 22 inch electric start snowblower on the back patio and i use it when needed. Like the Valentine Day Massacre( i mean blizzard) of 2 yrs. ago. But they are smelly and noisy, so if time and conditons permit i really like to shovel. But unlike you, i could wear my sneakers out there because i always keep my feet behind the shovel. Although i own and also use my Sorels when its really cold outside. I really enjoy your Blog. I have been reading yours and Caterina’s blogs since hearing about blogs on ‘The Connection’ on NPR out of Boston and that was a number of years ago. So thanks for all the enjoyment and info you give to your readers! p.s. i am a chain reader and the Public Library is my favorite building in any community.

  3. Bittorrent is easy. I recommend mu-torrent if your using Windows, otherwise whatever comes with Ubuntu does the trick.

    Just download a .torrent file, and away you go pretty much.

    You may have to poke some holes in your firewall/router to get top speeds, but just have a fiddle and experiment.

  4. “I had the strange sort of upbringing that causes me to feel actually virtuous when I decrease the disorder of a system.”

    Doesn’t everybody?


    That explains lots!

  5. Was just poking around on here, noticed your comment that your booklist was at an eight-year low, and felt compelled to note: mine is too! I don’t track books read on a per-year basis, but I’m not even sure I read a dozen in 2008. It’s really bringing down my average!