Quiet Day

Today, I turned 51.

I felt quietly happy all day long. We slept in in the morning, just a bit, because I had the day off. Porridge as usual for breakfast and the sun was shining. Afterwards, my partner took Curious Dog for a walk and I went to the grocery store to pick up some food. We’d just returned on Sunday, so were out of fresh vegetables. And my partner wanted to bake a cake for me and needed some ingredients.

The cake was delicious. A sponge cake with an apple topping covered with a thin layer of cashew cream. Very yum and light. For lunch I made a leek and potato cream soup. It’s an easy recipe, so I didn’t spend much time in the kitchen, for who wants to spend their birthday cooking?

Sometime around lunch, there was a shower of sleet and the carport roof was still dripping meltwater when my partner took CD out again. We ought to attach a rain gutter, so that we can catch the rainwater for the garden.


I hung up a load of washing and I unpacked my birthday present. My partner gave me season 10 of Doctor Who (the last one with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor). We watched the Christmas Special after lunch, then had cake and coffee. Afterwards, I got myself all ready (raincoat, boots, dog treats, poop bags, the lot) and Curious Dog in his harness, and then the weather turned again. A clap of thunder and some flashes of lightening, so I postponed the walk. There followed a short hailstorm, some rain, and twenty minutes later the sun was out again, and we could proceed with our walk. It was crisp and sunny outside, and I saw the dark clouds receding in the distance.

We met a jogger with a dog running loose. A brown hunting-type dog, just as big as CD, also male, who stood nose-to-nose with CD, softly growling. The jogger walked away, but the dog didn’t follow. I got a bit anxious as the growling got louder and the jogger didn’t show any inclination to do anything. Now, I know the notion is that if you keep on walking, likely as not, your dog will follow. But what do you do if that doesn’t happen? I called out to the guy to get his dog and he came back a few steps and then his dog did return to him. But it was a bit scary and I could have done with an apology. “Sorry about this…” would have done it, but no luck.

But nothing happened so it wasn’t a big deal. When I was younger and out walking with the family dog situations like that really used to upset me. I still think it’s pretty inconsiderate not to make sure that your dog isn’t bothering or scaring others. I would have let CD off the leash if the jogger had said something, but since he didn’t, I wasn’t sure if it would have been a good idea. Still, I didn’t let it spoil my walk.

Regarding walking: I’m getting some expensive zero elevation walking boots from Mutti. I still have to order them, though.

While I wasn’t shopping, cooking, hanging up the washing, eating cake, watching Doctor Who, or walking CD, I did some reading: Ursula K. Le Guin: The Wave in the Mind. Very interesting essays. I found out that she likes The Lord of the Rings. One of my favourite authors liked one of my other favourite authors. Inconsequential but somehow affirming.

The day was so full of lovely moments that I almost didn’t find time for my meditation practice, but I managed to sit and breathe for half an hour. I always think that I will do longer meditations on days off, but often find the opposite happens. The structure of a regular working day, with its fixed schedule makes it easier to take the time to meditate at the usual time.

February Reading

Continuing the theme from January Reading, I read the three Kate Fansler crime novels that I hadn’t got around to in January:

Cross, Amanda:

  • The Theban Mysteries
  • Honest Doubt
  • The Edge of Doom

Theban was one of the earlier novels in the series that I missed, because I didn’t own it in paperback. I’ve now got an e-book version. Quite a fun read, with a rather scurrilous idea: the elite girls’ school Kate went to in her youth keeps a couple of Dobermans on the roof. They patrol the school at night to discourage break-ins and seemingly scare someone’s mother to death. Kate is asked to find out the truth about the death.Read More »

Rocannon’s World

Le Guin, Ursula, K: Rocannon’s World

On the surface, the story of this novel is straightforward: Rocannon, a sort of interstellar anthropologist from the League of All Worlds who is studying the people of a non-space faring planet, is trapped on the planet when his spaceship is destroyed by an enemy of the League. He has adventures while traveling the planet trying to find and defeat this enemy.Read More »

January Reading

Last year I read Carolyn Heilbrun’s autobiography The Last Gift: Life Beyond Sixty, because I like reading about other people’s lives, especially women and women writers. I’m generally interested accounts of how people deal with aging — maybe I’m trying to get inspiration about my own aging. For some reason, I’ve been interested in how to age well for some time now. Anyway, at that time I reread In the Last Analysis, her first Kate Fansler crime novels (written under the pseudonym Amanda Cross), which made me want to reread the others, and — joy! — I even found a few new ones. The only one I hadn’t read before from the list was Poetic Justice. The other ones will be read in February, I hope.Read More »


Ursula K. Le Guin, one of my favourite writers, died on January 22. Very sad news.

“…human existence passing from light through darkness into light, from mystery to endless mystery.”*

The quote is from a collection of her blog posts. I hadn’t known that she had a blog, but I recently stumbled across the collection and am currently reading it. It’s very good, full of short and funny, arresting or thoughtful glimpses of her life and thoughts in the past few years.

The book reminds me of how much I like her work, and how long it’s been that I’ve reread any of it — I had decided to revisit her work before I heard of her death, now I shall do so in remembrance.

*Referring to Wordsworth’s “Ode on Intimations of Immortality” from “The Inner Child and the Nude Politician” in Le Guin, Ursula K.: No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters Most. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, 2017.