I feel like I got a lot done today, some of it stuff I'd been putting off.

I went to a rally this afternoon, in favor of a $15 minimum wage and paid family medical leave. Those are separate proposals, but being backed by many of the same people and organizations, both of which may be on the Massachusetts ballot in November.

The rally was in the Massachusetts State House. Yes, inside. (I don't know what permits are needed to hold a rally, with microphones, there.) There are at least two disadvantages to that location: it got uncomfortably noisy (even with earplugs), and I had to wait in line to go through a metal detector. Also, it will definitely be noticed by the state legislators, but not people just passing by—and a rally across the street on Boston Common will get passers-by. I assume that the organizers think it's worth it to be sure the state legislature will notice them. (Some of the emails etc. I got about this event talked about "lobbying" as well as a rally, so maybe they figured that the core group would have to be in the building anyway,)

I didn't stay as long as I'd intended to, because the noise was getting to me; I was feeling slightly unsteady on my feet; and the first speaker seemed to be talking more about religion than about the issues. (To be fair, if I'd listened longer he might have said more about what we were rallying for and less about his belief that working for this was not just a good but a godly thing.)

So I went back outside and sat on a bench, and then on the grass on the Common, before getting a late lunch from a food truck. To my pleasant surprise, "Bon Me" did have something I wanted (rather than all being too spicy): Chinese barbecue pork, which I had over brown rice, with lettuce and pickled daikon and radish. Somehow, at that moment, this was comfort food. While I was eating, I saw other people who'd been at the rally (based on stickers and SEIU local 1199 t-shirts), which made me feel better about not staying longer.

On my way home, I went to the main Boston and Somerville libraries to pick up books I had on hold. There are half a dozen apple trees in bloom in front of the main Somerville library right now. (The whole area is full of flowering cherries this week; I haven't seen many apple trees.)

This morning, before heading out, I called the physical therapy place where I went for my hips and made an appointment for a first session of PT for my left knee, which I'd been putting off in the hope that maybe I didn't actually need it. I told the receptionist I didn't care whether I saw the same therapist again: continuity of care seems less relevant now that it's a separate course of treatment, and the person I was seeing for my knee had done a few things that annoyed me.

[Edited to fix a copy/paste error that ate about a line of text.]
I did a lot of walking today: with [personal profile] cattitude in the morning, and then by myself at lunchtime and in the afternoon. So, the bikeway from here to Arlington Center, and later from Alewife to here; on foot from the Harvard subway station to a little past Mount Auburn Hospital, via Lizzy's Ice Cream, Mount Auburn Street, and a little bit of Memorial Drive; and some of the area around Davis Square. My phone thinks I walked 4.9 miles, and over 10,000 steps; even if it's 4.9 kilometers, that's a lot.

It's starting to be lilac season, which I like a lot but means we'll have to close the bedroom window soon, because [personal profile] cattitude is allergic; there are still lots of violets, and some daffodils and forsythia. The quince in the front yard has a lot of fine orange blossoms, and the maples are moving past flowering to leaving out, but the one visible from my bedroom window is a delightful mix of yellow-green flowers and slightly greener young leaves.

After some annoying misadventures, I have an appointment with an ophthalmologist, but it's not until July, so I may see if I can find someone who can see me sooner, since my last eye exam was in February 2016.
We filed our taxes on time, and turned out to owe Massachusetts enough that they assessed a penalty for not having made estimated tax payments. So, a first quarter estimated payment for 2017 also went out on the 18th. (Just Massachusetts; we're fine on the federal income tax.)

I'm working on a small proofreading job right now, and also just filled out some forms for a previous client, whose employer wants a W-9 and evidence that I am a freelancer rather than an employee. That evidence is me saying that I set my own hours, don't work on campus, and such, plus a list of other clients. (I'm not going to try to list all my past clients, back to whenever, so the attached sheet of paper says "Current and recent clients include" and has some names.) I was annoyed when the request came in, in part because I'd thought I was done with that project; my client sent the payment almost immediately after I finished copyediting his book.)

Spring is moving pretty quickly, with lots of violets and rhododendron right now; I saw an amusing cluster of daffodils near Mount Auburn Street today (and may post a photo separately). One of the lettuces I planted last week was pulled out and left on the ground; I don't know whether to blame rabbits, squirrels, or unspecified other mammals. I hope some of the lettuce seeds I started will be ready to plant moderately soon.

On the activism front, I was pleased to see that the state prosecutors (Attorney General Healey and the county DAs*) are setting aside almost all of the convictions tainted by fraudulent lab results. This is something I was making phone calls about in February and March, as well as something the ACLU sued over. A lot of those people are already out of prison, but having a felony conviction on record is still hurting them. Having done very little political/activist in the last few weeks, I am now trying to decide which of two protests to go to in Boston on Saturday this weekend. The March for Science sounds like more fun, but the emergency anti-deportation rally outside ICE headquarters likely needs me more. ETA: The anti-ICE protest has been moved to Sunday at 3 p.m., which means I could do both, energy allowing.

[personal profile] 42itous's daughter wants to come back and play with our cats again; I told her I like the idea, but we need to figure out when will work.
Forsythia all over, and the first magnolia blossoms along the bikeway (near Magnolia Field). Some cherry blossoms on Lake Street, both fruit trees in my back yard are in flower, and I saw some Callery pear blossoms on Mass Ave this afternoon. Some of our crocuses are done, but others are still blooming. (Lots of daffodils.)

There are still chickadees in my yard (yesterday) and along the bikeway (this morning), and I had n nice long look at a red-winged blackbird in the marshes near Alewife Brook, on the path from the bikeway to Mass Ave.

I planted rosemary in the front yard this afternoon, to replace the plant that didn't make it through the winter. (The tag on that one said hardiness zone 8, and we're zone 6; the one I just planted just says "rosemary," but I've seen rosemary plants in gardens nearby that clearly made it through at least one winter.) I also bought some lettuce plants, but have to decide where they go, and weed and/or hoe first, I think. (Yes, I started lettuce from seed last week, but I'm not feeling patient.)
redbird: closeup of pale purple crocuses (crocuses)
( Apr. 10th, 2017 06:47 pm)
After what seems like a very slow start, the forsythia bushes in our neighborhood now have lots of flowers open. (It has been sunny for the last several days, and very warm yesterday and today—I think today's high was something like 81F/27C, and tomorrow is forecast to be even warmer.) This feels late to me, but I'm not sure whether this is just not being used to living in Massachusetts, or that it feels vaguely out of order, in that the daffodils in front of the house have been blooming for a couple of weeks.

The nearby garden center now has six-packs of lettuce plants, and some potted herbs. I bought some potting soil today, to use with the seeds I started a few days ago, while trying not to worry about the likelihood that I should have started my seeds sooner than I did. (The seeds are currently in little disks of peat moss, just starting to sprout, and I am going to need to move at least the tomatoes into slightly larger pots before planting them outside.)

We also have enthusiastic cardinals singing in trees nearby; last summer we had at least one fine brood of cardinal fledglings darting across the yard.
On Wednesday I started some seeds indoors (in little peat cylinders I bought at a hardware/housewares store): mixed lettuce, Paul Robeson tomatoes, and purple basil, and this morning I noticed the first signs of sprouting. (I think I jumped the gun on the basil, based on what the seed packet says about when to plant them).

Today I planted sunflowers in front of the house. I got this packet of seeds as a freebie last year, when I ordered the tomatoes and some radishes. (I ordered the tomato seeds a bit late, so didn't use them last year, and am hoping I started them early enough this year.)

I'm not sure what comes next, but I think it involves a trip to a garden store, and likely buying potting soil, and maybe plant food and/or a trellis or other structure to support tomatoes and cucumbers.

We also have some rutabaga seeds, which say not to start them indoors, but some weeding may be called for before we plant any seeds directly in the garden.

In the meantime, we have daffodils and crocuses, and the forsythia is about to bloom around the corner.
redbird: closeup of pale purple crocuses (crocuses)
( Feb. 25th, 2017 04:04 pm)
We've just had a few unseasonably warm days (high of 74F/23C yesterday, 70F/21C today) with quite a bit of sunshine. [livejournal.com profile] cattitude went out to buy coffee and booze while I was taking some things over to [personal profile] adrian_turtle, and getting some grapefruit from her in return. While I was on the bus, he texted me a photo of some small white flowers, and then of crocuses. So of course after I got back from the grocery store, we headed out again so he could show them to me.

In addition to the crocuses (both purple and yellow) and snowdrops he had seen on his first walk, we saw periwinkles (Vinca, not the animals), tiny white flowers we didn't recognize, and tiny yellow flowers that looked a little like pineapple grass.

The weather is expected to cool off tomorrow, but I suspect that the crocuses, snowdrops, and periwinkles will be fine; the first two are early-spring perennials, and periwinkle is pretty hardy.

Also, we have both walked too much; before Cattitude sent me photos of flowers, my plan was to come home from the grocery store and stay put, rather than do any more stairs today.
We checked the front yard this afternoon, and there are some crocus shoots (from the bulbs we planted) and at least one daffodil shoot (planted before we got here).

There was snow yesterday, and there will be a lot of snow tomorrow, but there are also these first signs of spring.

And, weirdly, a small surviving leaf or two from one of my fall lettuces.
redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (apricot)
( Jun. 22nd, 2016 06:13 pm)
So far today, I have had fresh blueberries, cherries, and raspberries. The raspberries are local (via the farmers' market in Arlington Center), the blueberries are from New Jersey, and the cherries are from the Pacific Northwest. [I grumble about Washington apples, but Washington cherries are excellent.]

[livejournal.com profile] cattitude also got strawberries, fresh lettuce, a cucumber, and peas from the farmers' market.

Meanwhile, one of my cucumber plants is flowering, and I nudged [livejournal.com profile] 42itous's pea vine aside to give it more room. (For plants that were expected to be eaten by the local rabbits, those peas are doing very well indeed.)
redbird: closeup of a white-and-purple violet (violet)
( Mar. 11th, 2014 04:14 pm)
I’d been trying to take things a bit easy, on the theory that I am still getting over a nasty cold, and was more worn out than I expected by Saturday’s workout. So, back to no more than three gym exercises at a time, after taking a short break from the fitness room.


books, ours and borrowed, and flowers )

exercise details )
So, I don't know what if any of this is anomalous. Yes, Seattle just set a record for most rain during September (dataset goes to 1945, there is no official weather station in Bellevue), in what struck me as a wet but not exceptional month.

What's catching my attention is that autumn seems both late and very drawn out. Most of the trees are still green, though there are some gorgeous trees covered entirely in bright red leaves a couple of blocks south, which I was looking at while I exercised today), but I started seeing bits of yellow and orange on healthy trees in mid-August. Trees which still have those leaves, this isn't like the old sugar maple in Inwood Hill Park that always turned color early and dropped its leaves early.

I had fresh local nectarine in my yogurt yesterday morning, and fresh local raspberries this morning. Yes, the vendor at the farmers' market told me this was the last week for berries, but another farmer (not there this past Saturday) had told me the same two weeks earlier. We were also told that there would probably be no nectarines next week, but plums are likely into November.

Someone told me back in August that this was the best summer in several years, in terms of fruit and vegetables. He was talking about how much fruit and how good it was; is it usual for there to be nectarines and berries through much if not all of September?

Meanwhile, rhododendrons are flowering. Not one random blossom: this went from a single branch I saw on one bush, and a few separated blossoms on another, to a small bushes that are behaving entirely as if it's spring, with bright flowers on all or most of their branches: bright purple on 102nd Avenue near the QFC, and two bushes with white flowers on NE 6th Street near the Westin. I also saw a couple of anomalous yellow irises (one plant, next to that first rhododendron branch last week). The periwinkles go merrily along, a blossom here and a few there; back in New York and Boston, those are spring flowers, and the occasional patch with a few blossoms left is a June thing, not a September one. [livejournal.com profile] cattitude and I keep stopping and looking at periwinkle patches, no longer surprised, but just because we like periwinkles.

[Yes, this is a small thing, but I'll want to remember it, and I don't think I have anything useful to add about the Republicans trying to hold us all for ransom via the government shutdown.]
There is a patch of snowdrops in bloom a few blocks from me (on that sloped stretch of 214th Street between Indian Road and Seaman Avenue, for [personal profile] roadnotes and anyone else who knows the neighborhood). Snowdrops tend to be the first flowers of the year, but this is at least a fortnight early even for snowdrops, even in a mild year.

Weirder than that, there's a hyacinth in bloom uphill of that, tucked in next to a building. Magenta, with florets about halfway around the spike. I assume the heating system is leaking, but where snowdrops are surprising, a hyacinth is absurdly out of sync. (This is a full-sized hyacinth, not one of the little grape hyacinths.)

(It's been a gray, foggy few days; so far this weekend we have done some more decluttering, and played a bunch of Scrabble.)
redbird: closeup of a white-and-purple violet (violet)
( Dec. 15th, 2012 12:52 pm)
There is one marigold in bloom in the churchyard at Broadway and Isham Streets. What's noteworthy is that this isn't the last of a batch that were transplanted into the garden months ago: it's a single volunteer plant. I've been watching the closed bud for the past couple of weeks, and a few days ago had concluded that it wasn't going to flower. (It's been chilly lately, and we've seen frost on the lawn across the street.)

This morning, we were walking back from the drugstore and saw it. One small flower, a few inches above the ground, and facing sideways rather than turned up toward the sun. I'm guessing it opened a day or two ago.
[livejournal.com profile] cattitude had a dental appointment this morning, for root canal work. I went downtown with him, as moral support: while he was in back with the dentist, I went to Starbucks, had a cup of tea and a scone, chatted a bit with a stranger, and then walked in Central Park for a little while. On that loop of park, I saw a rhododendron in bloom, and then several periwinkle flowers. (Those are spring flowers; looking back at this journal, I confirmed that I saw the first of both earlier than usual this spring.)

When the dentistry was done, I mentioned the flowers to Cattitude, who wanted to see them. From there, we wandered a while more, and added more periwinkles and some late wild strawberries—both flowers and tiny red fruit. The park, and that bit of the Upper West Side, also have some nice fall colors, still. (We also saw a few violets, some late roses, and a variety of autumn flowers I don't know names for, leading to comments like "more of those light purple things.")

The most startling bit, and perhaps the most delightful, was a huge willow south of the Sheep Meadow. It's still in leaf, bright green with the first hints of yellow. This spring, I noticed that willow because it leafed out unusually early; it's not that weird that the first willow would also be the last, microclimates being like that, but the willows up in Inwood Hill Park turned yellow and dropped all their leaves a month ago.

The day felt like mid-November, and I was glad to be dressed warmly, but it looked more like mid-October.
As my mother predicted (in email), Amtrak is not going from Boston to New York tomorrow. Ever-hopeful, I have booked a ticket for Thursday afternoon, and in the meantime am up here in Arlington with [personal profile] adrian_turtle. We are eating chocolate chip–oatmeal–cranberry cookies, still warm from the oven.

I went with Adrian this morning to her eye doctor, as general moral support; he seemed congenial enough that, on the way out, I observed that if I lived in the area, I would be making an appointment myself. (Dr. Nosike, at Mount Auburn.) We took the bus down to Harvard, then walked to and from the doctor, and over to Central Square to buy chocolate chips. It was a gorgeous couple of hours, sunny and warm, and still looking like fall, with colored leaves on the trees as well as on the ground. (I saw some branches down, and even one small tree that had landed on someone's fence along Mass Ave. And a remarkable number of flowers, including three rhododendron bushes that looked like April.)

I checked the Amtrak web site every hour or so; around 7:30 they posted that there would be no service between Boston and Newark tomorrow. I am not counting on Thursday either, but I have absolutely nothing to lose by booking a ticket. (If that's canceled, I may look into bus service for Friday, or just book again on Amtrak.) It's not a bad time to be out of New York City, but I miss [livejournal.com profile] cattitude (and [livejournal.com profile] julian_tiger).

*Adrian says "Commonwealth of the hobbit."
Unfortunately, looking at several job websites and not finding anything that suits takes as long as looking there and finding something that does. (Possibly longer: if I'd found things early, I wouldn't have taken the time to read as many long-shots.) So that was discouraging. Does it count as networking if, the third or fourth time someone random popped up on my chat client, I answered his "tsup" with "still jobhunting, do you know anyone looking for an editor or proofreader, in the New York City area or remotely?" (He didn't: I now know, in addition to the fact that he claims to have seen me on LJ in some feminist context, that he isn't in the U.S.) On the other hand, as I noted to [personal profile] adrian_turtle, at least I can do it from home, with my teakettle handy (and, at the moment I said that, with a cat in my lap).

The plants are starting to show fall colors. Starting. The maple in front of our building that always changes early is now noticeably red, though there's a lot of green even there. I saw one bright-red Virginia creeper, growing on a small tree whose leaves have turned yellow. But the lawns are still bright green, with flowers on the clover, and morning glory vines and goldenrod. So, not only an early spring this year, but a late fall. (The apple crop has been disappointing in quality as well as, I gather, quantity.)
redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (food)
( Sep. 1st, 2012 06:59 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] cattitude and I just went for a stroll in Inwood Hill Park, to look at birds and plants, hoping it would be cooler than our living room (it was). We saw two night herons (asleep on separate branches), a mud-covered turtle, peeps, and the usual geese and gulls (and mourning doves and egrets and ducks and other summer or year-round birds). Mallow season is just about over, and the jimson weed growing in the marsh seems to be done flowering (there's a much larger one near Isham Street that may not be).

On our way back, I saw someone selling corn on the cob: on a stick, with butter and cheese (I think queso blanco). I bought one, and hung out next to the stone wall near the park entrance eating it. It was good: sweet and juicy. (I gave Cattitude a couple of bites; he turned done the offer of more.) Sign of the times, maybe: the vendor was wearing latex gloves, and not because she was worried about a Health Department inspection; this is small-scale unlicensed vending, transporting the corn in an insulated cooler* in a shopping cart.
redbird: me with purple hair (purple)
( May. 10th, 2012 08:49 pm)
I achieved most of what was on today's agenda, including taking one of my new suits in to be altered. On the way back from that, I picked up an assortment of vegetables, to make a nice big salad for lunch. (No cucumber, though.) And I got some proofreading done.

However, Emilie called my cell phone at 6:30 to say that she wouldn't make our appointment because she had to feed a screaming baby. Our 6:30 appointment. So I got the message about 6:45, when I decided that she was running late enough I'd better check. By then I'd done my cardio and a couple of other exercises.

Working on my own, I did less than usual (and no ab work). Then I went to talk to the front desk because I'm missing a pair of shorts from the laundry again. That was irritating because they made me wait several minutes to talk to someone who couldn't do much, after which the people who had said they couldn't help me found someone else, who promised he'd check what sounded like a lost and found. I have left them my name and number, not very hopefully. (I worked out this evening in a very old, faded pair of shorts I have in my locker as a spare.)

Up here in Inwood, the locust trees are in delightful sweet bloom. I suspect I may be allergic to them; or maybe it's something else, or even a cold. But I like them, and they don't bloom very long (unlike, say, roses).

some gym numbers )
redbird: closeup of a white-and-purple violet (violet)
( Apr. 21st, 2012 07:08 pm)
Yes, almost everything is blooming early this year. ("Almost" because some things, such as Norway maples and dogwood, seem to be driven mostly by day length.)

I've spent a lot of time looking at something and saying "Lilacs?!" or "roses?" or the like. But I suspect it will all seem a bit less weird when the last of the forsythia stops blooming.

phenology, cut because not everyone is interested in these details )
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[personal profile] adrian_turtle came to visit me for the weekend, and to go with me to my aunt's seder. It was very good to have Adrian here, and spend a few mostly quiet days together [livejournal.com profile] cattitude was at Minicon).

cut for length )
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