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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Still here

Yes, I'm still here.

Time has passed, holidays have come and gone. There was a snowstorm. Now, after three days of blue skies, green grass, and at least one day of sixty-something temperatures, it seems that more snow is on the way. Sporadic huge gusts of wind are causing miscellaneous stuff (stuff that I didn't quite get around to putting away yet, like the lightweight plastic chairs) to fly all over the yard. On the plus side, the winter solstice has passed and the days are getting longer now.

Various holidays have come and gone, as have various daughters and grandchildren. The daughter who lives nearby (that would be H) will be presenting me with grandchild number three - a baby boy - in the very near future. I can't wait! In the meantime she has been afflicted with a rotten cold, requiring much TLC, including vats of lemon ice.

Recent preoccupation: the ipod that Santa brought! I must have been muttering about all the educational content that's available now on-line, through MIT and any number of other places. I had been thinking it would be very cool to be able to listen to these things while "on the go". Still some fine tuning to be done, but yes, this is indeed possible. In the meantime I discover that there is something called "itunesU" - a source of free academic content from all over.

There, for example, I found a terrific series of talks by Umberto Eco - the "Ellman lecture" - given just this past October at Emory University. Any writers who happen to be reading this (you know who you are) would particularly enjoy the first one, called "How I Write". And for the impatient, there's quite a nice summary here.

Lots of reading, much of it worth commenting on, but that's a lot of work and organization, and that kind of writing doesn't come easily to me. December tends to be a time for more cookbook and general recipe browsing than the norm, and I found myself re-reading Laurie Colwin's wonderful two volumes: Home Cooking, and More Home Cooking. In one of them she lets drop: "basically all I do is read". Hey - me too. That made me feel a little less like a complete lump.

Right now I'm making a big vat of her easier-than-easy black bean soup. She invites you to set it on a flame tamer - long a favorite gizmo of my own - and - daringly - LEAVE THE HOUSE for five hours, which I am not doing only because of the aforementioned wind, etc.

My new year's resolution: to be a better and more frequent blogger. We'll see how that works out. A happy 2009 to all!