the list I almost made

two eggs in a nice looking pink bowl

As I was driving back from Kate’s house after a three-day Thanksgiving trip (as opposed to a nine-day one which is my usual MO) I was thinking of a list I’d put here. Whether I’m online or off, I’m usually thinking of lists. To do lists, reading lists, library lists, “crap to fix in my house” lists. Errand lists are a particular favorite because it’s pretty simple to cross all the things off and then, woohoo, you’ve done something! Today I got fed up with my back hallway which was where I had the “Cables to be filed” basket which was turning into a shamehole. So, I turned on a podcast I was listening to and just started untangling, filing, tossing and recycling. By the end of it, I’d learned more about cryptocurrency MLM scams and also gotten the back hall deshameified.

Oh, that was my list! I used to listen to one podcast: No Such Thing As A Fish. The episodes come out weekly. This is usually enough when I’m not traveling much but with holidaytime imminent, I could use some more. Some that I have liked are:

  • 99% Invisible – I mostly like this but Roman Mars is always bringing other people on to do their podcasts and I don’t like them as much. This is good if I pick and choose.
  • Bear Brook Podcast – sort of a complete set of how a weird crime was solved, right next door (in New Hampshire). Loved it but it’s now over.
  • Before Your Time – great little podcast about Vermont history but it doesn’t come out that often.
  • MetaFilter podcast – I am both on this and listen to it

A few I haven’t liked are the Emily Post podcast Awesome Etiquette, Marc Maron’s WTF (I did, but now I don’t) and pretty much anything by VPR/NPR (they are fine, I don’t like their podcasts). I don’t like anything with sketches, dramatizations, or people doing bits. I don’t mind interviews but I especially like to learn something. I like esoteric and hidden histories. I’m fussy about sound quality since I am often listening in the car. I like people who do their own research and prefer “deep dives” to people skimming other people’s blog posts. I don’t mind ads. I do not like TED talks. I do not want to listen to men talk about technology.

A few friends have suggested Outside Online and Heavy Weight and I will try those. Do you have other suggestions for me?

buy nothing day is a convenient fiction from the pre-internet days

I did manage to not buy anything yesterday, but that’s partly because Jim paid my way into the JFK Library/Museum [by previous arrangement, that’s my idea of a nice date] and paid for some gas. I looked at my credit card statement to pay it off today and realized it had paid bills in my absence [a few bucks to ebay, a charge from a few days ago that cleared yesterday] and that really it’s pretty tough to have a day that doesn’t involve spending any money even though I don’t spend money all the time.

Sometimes I feel like I’m evading imagined pursuers in the ways I travel and make plans. I was away for a week this time and had a really stupidly good time considering how many things I did and people I saw. I also think I didn’t get sick. I’m home eating heirloom apples feeling the wind leaking into the cracks in the house and am happy to be here. Here’s a bulleted list of the holiday week.

  • Friday – drove down to Providence, picked up Jim at the train station, went to the Providence MeFi meetup, stayed a little too late, stayed over at my Dad’s in Westport where my sister and boyfriend were already hanging out
  • Saturday – Dad’s 70th birthday dinner [happy birthday dad!] with Kate and Ned and me and Jim and Dad. Turned out great. Stayed again in Westport.
  • Sunday – Kate and Ned left early, drove Jim to train station later, stayed over after helping my dad fix a corrupt firefox profile, watched the football game with Dad
  • Monday – Did house projects with Dad and shopped for misc nonsense and hung out and had the first of many turkey meals out for lunch at Marguerite’s
  • Tuesday – took dad to eye doctor, went to Mom’s/Sister’s to say howdy and have dinner and hang out. Stayed over in Boxboro. Hung out with Jim a little but he scooted due to allergies
  • Wednesday – went on awesome tour of the MA State Crime Lab [see flickr for more] and headed to Jim’s for Thanksgiving eve. Caught a late showing of 2012 (weather porn!)
  • Thursday – slept in, headed to Frank’s for Thanksgiving dinner. Not as awesome as last year but pretty okay. Headed to my Dad’s for sleeptime to free up some room at Jim’s super-full house.
  • Friday – got up had lunch at the Bayside, went to the JFK Library/Museum and then the Commonwealth Museum where I saw the Declaration of Independence and other neat MA history. Headed back to Jim’s for some hangout time and then drove home in a crazy windstorm.

Woke up today and it was sunny and windy outside and I’ve got a whole weekend at home alone for only the second time since August.


sunset & trees through the screen porch window

What an odd set of days. Men with snowpants. An extra-day houseguest because of weather. Wifi lifeguarding. And a Thanksgiving that was truly memorable. Usually I’m happy to see family or friends and eat some food and not be working and reflect on the weird US holiday and the many origin stories it has. This time around something clicked more.

It was my Dad’s birthday. I discussed this odd birthday thing we have in my family on my site about nine years ago. In looking that up, I found that I was already concerned about superstardom, even then. “I have very real fears about becoming a net celebrity despite myself.” I had forgotten saying that.

I slept til 10 Thursday, got up played a few moves in some online Scrabble games and and called my Dad and had a nice long convo with him. Got dressed, fed birds, and headed to Forrest and Kelly’s house with my candied and spiced nuts beating Kelly’s mom and sister and her boyfriend by a little bit. We ate and drank and I got to get to know some of Kelly’s family. The older I get, the less I get the occasion to meet friends’ parents or siblings since our paths don’t cross like that except at weddings. This is of course more the case in rural noplace. I liked meeting everyone and I think I was a decent buffer to make the evening not All Family All The Time. I called my sister who was at my Mom’s house and talked to both of them and they had had a nice day. Kelly’s family left and we all hunkered down and did dishes and debriefed. Then we did some laptopping and I Skyped in to talk to some MetaFilter folks who were having a meetup/dinner in Portland Oregon. Everyone passed around the headset to talk to me and I showed them dumb videos of the exhausted pets and Forrest’s back.

I headed back to my house over non-icy roads and got in bed and chatted with Matt and Josh who I work with over at MetaFilter about some issues that had been cropping up all week on the site and really needed some attention. The holidays seem to bring out the best or the worst in people and MeFi has a lot of both kinds. We hammered out a practical solution to some things that had been vexing us and I was pleased to see before I went to sleep that our ideas had been mostly well-received. I chatted with my friend Sharyn who had a decent time with her family and we had a nice little “aren’t we doing well lately?” discussion. We both really felt that we had nailed Thanksgiving in a way we hadn’t before.

I’m not sure exactly what did it, or maybe it was just what didn’t happen. As I was getting ready for bed, putting on my pjs and crawling under 50 pounds of blankets in the giant quiet empty house I felt well-connected to all sorts of people all over the place. I had this real sense of feeling effective and pretty much in love with everyone which, if you know me, is not something I feel or say lightly. I stood on the porch and heard water melting off the house, or maybe it was freezing rain falling from the sky. I knew I was going to spend Friday like I usually do, in quiet reflection thinking about my plans for next year and, of course, Buying Nothing.

I’m wrapping up the day today with a bath and recording some banjo mandolin “music” and learning to use GarageBand. Tomorrow I have Big Plans with Big Books and maybe a turkey sandwich. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope yours was the way you wanted it.