I haven’t been writing as much lately as I would like, and while some of that is down to writer’s block, mostly I just can’t seem to find the time. When I first put this blog together almost a year ago, I kind of thought it would serve as a journal where I could write down a few things that I did each day (or every couple days) mostly to serve as proof that I’d accomplished something, but as my list of subscribers grew (still a comparatively short list, but I’m grateful for each and every one of you), I became wary of annoying you with tedious entries consisting of, “I went to the grocery store today and scrubbed toilets. In the afternoon I walked the dog, refilled the bird feeder, and called the dentist back to confirm my cleaning appointment.”
But another writer I follow recently posted something about how he just wanted to take a minute to share how nice it felt to cross several things off the mundane to-do list in a single day, and how in a landscape of everybody oversharing about everything (the internet), almost nobody seems to share and appreciate those moments of, “It wasn’t glamorous, but it was productive, and I feel a sense of accomplishment.” (True of to-do lists and, occasionally, visits to the bathroom). And I realized that was the original idea behind my blog: Quid Facis, or what are you doing? So here’s a quick update on what I’ve been doing when I haven’t been tapping away here.
I have done a fair share of walking Pippin, especially as the weather has been nice, and I’m excited to see early signs of spring, daffodils, hyacinths, and tulip trees blooming. I’m less thrilled about the Bradford pears, which smell like dog shit. Quit planting those.
I’ve been baking, as well, which I think I mentioned briefly in my post about the new oven. I made Kalen’s birthday cake this week from another recipe from AmyCakes Bakes and was pleased with how it turned out. I’m really finding a deeper appreciation for baking cake in a sheet pan and cutting out the circles to make a layer cake. It’s a lot easier to get even layers and the cake balls I make out of the scraps are so good I’m really considering making a cake just to turn into those to keep in the freezer for a cake emergency (you know, when you just have to have some cake, just a little bit of cake, but grocery store cake isn’t going to cut it. That’s a cake emergency; very similar to a cookie emergency, and the more broadly known chocolate emergency.)
Yesterday I also ran a few errands that included returning a griddle to Aldi that I had purchased at the beginning of the week. My new range lets you synchronize the two left burners to evenly heat a large griddle, so when I found one at Aldi for $18 I was excited to try it, but it ended up being about 1/8″ too long to fit on my oven. I tend to be really bad about getting returns back to stores, so I was really proud of myself for getting that done within a week. I also, in the same trip, bought some cookies from the cookie shop. They weren’t emergency cookies, but the cookie shop was selling Ted Lasso themed cookies in celebration of season three of the show, so I had to get a little pink box of shortbreads (“Biscuits with the Boss”) for us to enjoy while we watched later that evening.
We’ve been getting things finalized for our big trip to London that’s coming up. I’m still so afraid that something’s going to happen and we won’t get to go, like when we originally planned this trip in April 2020. Something else I accomplished this week was calling the health department to schedule an appointment to get our Covid boosters. When we got there, though, they told us that since our last booster was the bivalent one, we were considered up to date based on all the official recommendations. It’s nice to know we’re still considered up to date (something I feel less and less of, the older I get), and it’s not like getting shots is fun, but if Covid messes up my trip again I’m going to lose my mind.
I’ve continued my French lessons, too, in preparation for the weekend we’re going to spend in Paris, and I just hit a 200 day streak on Duolingo, which feels impressive. I’m not fluent, but I think I’ll be able to get by on our trip, especially if my efforts will at least earn me the courtesy of the native speakers slowing down for me. I’ve recently gotten to the point in the Duolingo program, though, where one of the vocabulary words is canceled, so it feels like Duo is taunting me with sentences like, “Notre voyage est annulé” and “Je dois annuler parce que je suis malade.” NO. Just no.
I’ve also been working on a few drafts of other things to post here. Sometimes I look at a blank page and think I don’t have anything to write, but I do have drafts lined up. Sometimes the voices say, “No one wants to read this, you don’t have anything to say!” When I read Brave New World, I was particularly struck by a line near the end, “’But he’s right,’ said Helmholtz gloomily. ‘Because it is idiotic. Writing when there’s nothing to say…'”And there is some truth in that. Why contribute to the noise, why waste the energy saying nothing important? The whole scene is talking about how real art has been sacrificed for stability, and all the entertainment is empty. It’s a good point. And yet… sometimes another voice whispers, “Be the idiot.” I have been trying to remind myself that there can be great joy in foolishness. And the world needs more of that; we take ourselves too seriously. So I’ll try and be the idiot sometimes. I’ll still try and get the important things done, whether that’s getting groceries or doing laundry or scheduling appointments, but we all could use a little more foolishness.