Wednesday, November 08, 2017


A deep freeze came again last night. I do not understand why this particular annual keeps showing me its pinky blooms. I was ready to pull it out of its pot weeks ago. And yet, it keeps on going...

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I have two laptops at the farmhouse: one is chunky and stays home and the other is light and travels with me. Ms.Light-As-Air is silver and pretty and she is close to five years old. Mr.Chunky is a bit tattered. He is just about ten years old.

Both of them sort of work. Mr. Chunky has almost no storage left (ten years ago, it seemed like so much space!) and so every evening I give him "a bath," cleaning out anything I can, to avoid getting that threatening message, letting me know that Mr.Chunky is bursting at the seams and can hold no more! Ms.Light-As-Air, on the other hand, has constant hot flashes and her cords, like all computer cords, are torn and shredded, but she is a light and happy girl and I expect to travel with her for a long time into the future.

My phone, on the other hand, is a young babe (at two years old) and it does what so many other phones do when they get a few years under their belt -- it drains the battery rapidly. And it messes with this and it messes with that. This morning, neither Ed nor I could figure out why it was messing with my email and so after breakfast...

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I pack up all my devices and make my way to the Department of Information Technology (we know it as DoiT). One benefit of retirement after twenty five years of teaching at the university is that you morph into being an emerita and certain benefits -- such as the services of DoIT -- are forever available to you. The idea is that you can pontificate to the younger generation until your last breath, though the reality, I'm sure, is that anything coming from the ancient crowd is immediately deleted by the younger ones now in charge.

I expect the walk-in tech services to be crowded. I mean, we have tens of thousands of students, another such great number of staff and faculty, and they all have technology coming out the wazoo and it all breaks constantly, no?

In fact, the service counter is empty. The tech whiz zips her fingers over my phone, shows me how to fix problems in the future and boom! The phone turns golden -- it is as good as... well, as a two year old with low battery life can be.

While at DoIT, I chat with some of the tech whizzes. I learn about the new generation of computers. I work my fingers gently over the keys of a new Mr. Chunky on display (who, in reality does not look that chunky anymore).

It is glorious!

I am so tempted! Here's my logic: my own Mr. Chunky will surely break down soon. And then I will have to buy something new. Why not do it now and enjoy its wonderfulness even earlier?

Of course, new products are like the farmhouse after a Sunday cleaning: you appreciate the freshness so much on the day that you do your cleaning (or the day you buy your new computer), but after a while, it's just your old home again. Or computer. It just is there, old or new.

I blow a kiss to the new Chunky and return to the keyboard of my trusty dusty.

Time to pick up Snowdrop. As I get ready to leave, I notice how the giant maples in the front yard are suddenly shedding all their leaves. We are in the week of a carpet of gold. (The cheepers follow me around as always...)

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I think how grand it would be to toss leaves with the little girl today.

But it's so cold! Sunny, but oh so chilly!

The little one is just barely awake after her nap (yes, a whole week of napping!)... Her teacher reads a book, her buddy and she slowly get their acts together to head home.

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But should we head home? Snowdrop wants to go to the playground.

A haze has taken over the skies. It's 42F (about 5C). No one is thinking playground thoughts.

Except for Snowdrop.

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She just wants her time on the swing. And it is a really really long time (I'm the pusher, I should know).

Eventually I can coax her to abandon the rhythmic back and forth. We spend a few much warmer minutes playing in the car...

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And then I remember that this is the first day of our spinach CSA! During the winter, our favorite spinach farmer grows and harvests this wonderful year-round vegetable for those who sign up for biweekly purchases. This year we've upped our share to two pounds every two weeks.

I explain to the little girl that we are heading to the spinach house. This just delights her, especially when I tell her that this year, as a special treat, she can get out of the car with me and pick up the spinach.

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I'd like to say that she fell in love with the spinach leaves as I let her dig into the bag and sample its sweet greens. That would not be entirely correct. She was okay with it. But she was excited with the entire project and so there is hope!

The sun has nearly disappeared by the time we pull into the farmette driveway. I ask her -- do you want to play in the leaves for a few minutes?

There is no hesitation.

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None whatsoever.

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Inside, she tries on her farmhouse boots for the winter and then she settles down to her books. Can you read this one page grandma? The girl here, is not sad, is she? 

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Reassured, she picks the next book and the next one. I put on a kettle of water for tea. The house is warm, the evening is soft, mellow.

When Snowdrop returns home and our supper dishes have been cleared, I sit down to my trusty dusty computer and smile at the recollection of the beautiful new Mr. Chunky at DoIt.