Thursday, December 14, 2017

Moving along

It's the end of the semester, which usually means at least some degree of chaos.  This semester was more chaotic than usual, with the fires that broke out here in North San Diego County.  Campus was closed on Thursday afternoon (leading, I understand, to the usual madness of trying to get nearly 20,000 people off campus all at once; I am SO glad that I left early that day!), and stayed closed until Sunday afternoon, meaning that I missed my last day of class, and fielded a lot of worried questions from students in the lead-up to finals this week.  We were largely out of the way, although the Lilac fire was close enough that we kept the pets indoors for a couple of days, in case we might need to evacuate, and one of my friends ended up staying here for a night when her neighborhood came under mandatory evacuation orders.  If you've been following any of this, you also know that San Luis Rey Downs lost a lot of horses, so there's been a lot of talk and sadness and stress about that at the barn where Disco lives.  She was safe, but we have all been keeping a weather eye on the horizon, looking for smoke.

The winds died down for a few days, but we're expecting that they might pick up again today and tomorrow.  And it has stayed brutally dry.  Last week, the humidity hovered between 3 and 5%.  Lately, it's been up around 15% (woo-hoo!), which, if you've never lived somewhere quite this dry, is really pretty awful when it stays that low day after day after day.  You just can't stay hydrated and moisturized enough.  It also means pretty dramatic temperature swings.  We're getting up into the 70s during the day, but during my morning walks, before the sun comes up over the hills, it's around 40 degrees.  (I know - not that cold for you guys, but it feels pretty chilly to me!)
 The grass crunches under our feet as we begin our walk, and the leaves are frosted and beautiful.
The trees stand, patiently waiting for the first rays to touch their uppermost branches - I can almost hear them sigh in relief as the sun comes above the hills.  And I can definitely hear the crows hollering as they seek out the warmest places to perch and warm their wings.

The house stays cold, even as it warms outside.  This is a benefit on hot days, but right now, when it's 65 inside, I'm pretty chilly.
Loving my warm sweater!  Who knew it would be useful here in Vista?  (I kind of figured this would be a sweater I wear to the mountains in the winter, but it's also good for sitting at the computer and working.). Gwilim thinks it's cold, too.
Meanwhile, it's all grading, all the time here.  I think this picture pretty much captures my current state of affairs.
Stay warm and safe out there, y'all!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Some travels

My yearly conference of choice is the American Anthropological Association's Annual Meetings, which always come either the weekend before or after Thanksgiving - this year it was the weekend after.  It moves from place to place, alternating between East coast, the center somewhere (last year it was Minneapolis, and I got to see Ellen!), and the West coast.  Since it was DC, Tess flew in to meet me, and I got to have dinner with my brother, who lives there.  We don't see one another often, so it was lovely to get to visit, if only for a brief while.

I'd hoped that Tess and I would get to do some touristy things.  I wanted to see the Smithsonian's Museum of African American History, but wasn't able to get tickets in advance, and I didn't find out until too late that they open up same-day tickets in the afternoon; I would also have liked to go to the Museum of the American Indian, which I adore, but this conference is pretty insane, and I just couldn't manage to get away.  To give you an idea of how insane, there were 6500 attendees this time around, and there are usually somewhere around 40 concurrent panels at any given time.  Very few of which I got to attend this year, because I was elected to the Linguistic Seat on the executive board, and much of my time was spent in - you guessed it - meetings (which is how I made so much progress on that sock I posted about last time).

Tess and I did manage to get away for a few delicious meals (Ethiopian food, mmm....).  And some shopping (new shoes!).  And some tea.

You can see that knitwear was involved in the weekend - that's the cowl I knitted for Tess, getting good use (I thought about saving it for Christmas, but gave it to her when I saw her at Thanksgiving instead - I am very bad at holiday knitting in general, because I tend to hand out my FOs as soon as they're off the needles; Rick already has his Christmas socks, too).

We did manage a quick visit to the Hirschhorn Sculpture Garden at sunset.
Where we visited Yoko Ono's wishing tree, and made a few wishes of our own.
(Blurry because it was really getting dark.)  Serendipitously, we got there just in time to hear the sound sculpture that is part of the garden, and which is triggered by the fading light of sunset.

We walked on the mall in the gloaming.

We also took a last walk in Rock Creek park on Sunday afternoon.
Appreciating the fall foliage
before taking the long steep (!) escalator
down to the train, and thence to the airport, and making our various ways home.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Mulling over harrassment - long and anguished

OK, you know this had to happen, right?  I mean me, sharing some thoughts about #metoo and sexual harrassment and Franken and Moore and the whole thing.  Please feel free to skip this if it isn't your cup of tea, and return next time for our regular programming.

I have, as I'm sure many of you have, been watching and contemplating and contextualizing and trying to understand and processing how I feel about each of these revelations and their consequences or lack thereof, and wanting to write something about it, but haven't quite been sure where to start.  It seems to me that there are so many threads that must be followed to come to even some sort of understanding of the whole fabric that, as it were, clothes this moment in history - which one to pick at first?

Having just spent a weekend at my annual conference (and there's a post in the queue about that), the American Anthropological Association's Annual Meetings, I've been thinking a lot about positionality.  The idea there is that the various elements of my position - elements which are commonly thought of as identity, but which I would think of as being much more fluid and less stable than the noun "identity" suggests - have a significant relationship to my perspective on the world.  They should, therefore, not be taken for granted; there is no objective or right or unmarked position from which anyone can stand and opine.  So, it's perhaps worth coming right out and stating that I am: a European-American, cisgendered, straight, married, upper-middle-class, non-theist/animist, feminist, progressive woman who has two daughters and a PhD in the social sciences.  And so much more, as you know (a knitter, a horse owner, a hiker, a reader, a friend - the list, as it does for all of us, goes on).

For the purposes of understanding my thoughts about sexual harrassment, the label "progressive" up there is perhaps the most relevant.  To me, being a progressive is different from (although with some overlap) being a liberal, and means that I believe that we, as a society, can do better than we have in the past.  Not by rejecting everything from the past part and parcel, but rather by learning from it, and reaching toward something better in the future.  For me (and I wouldn't presume to think that this is how all progressives think), that means doing my best to create a world that resembles the Beloved Community discussed as early as the early 20th century (the philosopher Josiah Royce), although it is perhaps most associated with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The way I tend to think of the beloved community is this: that when we look at other human beings, we see ourselves.  As an animist, I actually would extend that to the planet as a whole, but that's a discussion for another day.  By seeing ourselves, I do not mean, being like ourselves; I mean seeing them as full and complete human beings, with the same desires for respect and peace and safety and well-being that we have.  Seeing here means holding all the complexity of another person with affection and acceptance.  If we look at another person and see ourselves, surely we would not want them to suffer, to be lacking in the resources that they need to live a full life, to feel fundamentally that they are not cared for and respected?  Love informs the beloved community, not power.

Power informs sexual harrassment, not love.  Not only power, but a lens that views women as not-people, not-self - instead as available for the whims of men either because those men are in power or because they want to feel powerful.  (I realize that men are also sexually harrassed by other men; however, for the moment, I am going to center the perspective of women for two reasons: one, that perspective so rarely takes center stage, and two, the vast majority of those who endure sexual harrassment and assault are women.)

There are a number of threads that feed into a culture that accepts harrassment as part of the normal workings of everyday life.  One of the most insidious is the one that frames men as a) highly sexual, b) inherently violent, and c) out of control of both their sexuality and violence.  The onus for controlling men's sexuality and violence therefore falls on women.  It is of critical importance to note that this is a social construct: men are not inherently more sexual or violent than women, and they are certainly not more out of control of their impulses than women.  A culture of toxic masculinity both gives men permission to understand themselves this way, and traps them into that understanding, denying them access to their whole selves, selves that need and want love and affection and a full range of emotion, selves that often pay serious physical and emotional prices for locking away those sides of themselves.  The NYT had a great article today on exactly this, the power of touch and how critical it is for all human health, and how men's touch is so frequently given only two avenues for expression: violence, and sex (and how often those two then become conflated).

Another thread is one which treats women as somehow not belonging to the more general class of "people".  Women are framed as weak and in need of protection; they are also framed as the purview of men.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say, either "I was raised" (if the person is a man), or "I raised my boys" (a parent speaking of sons) "to respect women/to never hit a girl"; these often come in one breath.  To which I invariably respond (or bite my tongue to stop myself from responding), why just women and girls?  Why don't we raise our boys to not hit people?  And to include women and girls in the class of "people"?  This framing reinforces an understanding of women as weak, and in need of protection (usually by a man, which in turn reinforces our understanding of women as belonging to men).  Imagine how different things might be if we raised people to respect people, where respect means many things, including allowing all people the integrity of their bodies.

Related to this thread is that of our treatment of women when it comes to reproduction.  Women's bodies become the belongings of society.  We regulate their access to birth control, and to reproductive health services, including abortion.  Powerful men who enact the laws that regulate these things publicly sometimes encourage "their" women to make use of these services, up to and including the abortions that these men attempt to make illegal, when it suits the interests of those powerful men.  Our nation's handling of women's bodies is, to my mind, one of the places where we are farthest from the beloved community that I spoke of earlier.  If we truly value humans and human lives, why would we not do two things: ensure that women have access to safe, legal abortions, and, at the same time, work our hardest to create a world where that service is needed rarely?  By that I mean valuing all life: the lives of mothers before, during, and after conception and birth, and the lives of children after they are born.  This means easy and affordable access to: birth control; prenatal and postnatal health services; health care for infants and children; real food; high-quality public education from kindergarten through college; safe places to live and play; either support for mothers who decide to stay home, or high-quality affordable child care for those who need or want to work outside the home; a living wage.  Also, a world in which they do not have to fear sexual assault.  Do you see?  Women are vulnerable.  Laws which deny women full and free rights to their bodies and to choices about reproduction treat women as lesser humans and as society's possessions.  Our current system, which limits women's access to birth control and health services, and which doesn't support them in raising healthy children, a social system which simultaneously supports men in (and even encourages them) harrassing and assaulting women with few, if any consequences (and certainly even fewer when it comes to then raising and supporting children who might result from such assaults), is a nightmare.  It is also the natural result, and perhaps even definition, of patriarchy.

It is in the context of this nightmare that the assaults that we are hearing about occur, and have occurred for lifetimes.  It is in this context that women live with these assaults as the tax that they pay for being born in a woman's body.  If women were people, in the way that men are people, can you imagine how the world might be instead?  I am reminded here of Muriel Rukeyser: "What would happen if one woman spoke the truth about her life?  The world would split open."

And to some degree, that is what has happened.  I think it's time and past time that we split this particular aspect of the world open.  This is what I mean by being a progressive: I don't think that our past practices serve us here in creating the beloved community in which mutual respect and love govern our relationships to one another; the patriarchy that our current social relationships are founded upon doesn't allow for that - because it is, rather, a social order grounded in power relationships.

And here's where things get complicated.  It seems to me, in watching what's happening, that progressives such as myself are embracing this moment as a chance to split the world open, to try to realign our priorities to include all humans in our vision for a just, fair, and equal society.  The ousting of politicians like Franken, a man whose public face supported women's equality even while his private life included actions that were not in alignment with that, is a reflection of the desire to ensure that accountability happens, even for men whom we like.  What scares me is that it appears that conservatives are not interested in creating the same culture of accountability and change within their ranks.  (I want to note here that I'm speaking of general trends, not individuals.)  The fact that our current sitting President was elected after being heard on tape bragging about assaulting women, coupled with what looks like the immanent election of Roy Moore, is what points me towards this conclusion.  That worries me on a couple of levels.  If one of the two groups who struggle for political power in this country is trying in this moment to stand on principle and oust men who actually support policies that support women, while the other of those two groups is willing to abandon principle to elect men who are harassers, in order to maintain power - well, we have a problem.  It means that we disagree fundamentally on whether it is important to value women in this society that we are in the process (always and forever) of creating.  It also, I think, means that we have fundamentally different ideas about what it means to respect women.  The perspective that I have articulated here holds that respecting women means treating women like people; the more conservative perspective, as I see it represented in a broad range of public discourse, holds that respecting women means protecting them, preferably in the safety of their homes and roles as child-bearers and -rearers; it also separates the worlds of men and women, and holds that separation as natural and proper, instead of understanding it to be an aspect of a very particular historical moment.

At the same time, that isn't the only thing that concerns me about this particular historical moment.  I worry about due process.  To some degree, Franken and Trump are easy cases - there is documentation, visual or audio, of their harrassment of women.  That, however, isn't true in all cases.  And while I happen to believe the women who have accused Moore and, say, Weinstein, at the same time, I am not an advocate of vigilante justice, and there is something worrisome about, say, firing people (e.g., Matt Lauer among many others) without some kind of due process.  And yet, we all know that due process is deeply (and I do mean deeply) flawed.  There are cases upon cases of men being let off with few to no consequences for atrocities committed upon female bodies (Brock Turner, I'm looking at you).  So I understand the urge to grab this moment and make. someone. pay.

I don't even know what to suggest here.  I only know that I am troubled.  That I believe with all my heart that women are people and should be allowed a full range of expression and self-determination.  That I believe with all my heart that men are people and should be allowed a full range of expression and self-determination.  That I believe that we can create a world in which those things are possible. But that we are far away from that world, and, I fear, getting further.  I reread this and feel that it's too long, and yet there is so much I didn't get to say.  I welcome your thoughts and insights.

ETA: As a reward for getting through all that, two humorously serious takes on consent and harrassment: (Tracee Ellis Ross rocks) (tea and consent)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Knitting update

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Knitting continues.  During my recent trip to Washington, D.C. for a conference, I knew I would need a small project that required little attention, so I cast on for a pair of socks to give to a dear friend's son who is about to graduate from college.  I cast on during the flight there, and was ready to graft the toe of the first sock by the time I got back.
The patterns is Anne Hanson's Fishbone Gansey Sock, which I have long admired but never knitted.  The yarn is Knerd String in fingering weight, a superwash merino in a colorway called Tidal Pool, which I quite like.  My friend's son got two new suits to launch his professional life, one gray and one navy blue, and these socks seem like they'd go with either.  I need to get cooking on the second one - my goal is to have these ready when she leaves for his graduation in a week and a half.

I'm also working on some hats for me and Rick; matching gloves for me are in the queue.
This one is for Rick.  It's a one-size-fits-all pattern, which makes me a bit nervous, given our relative head sizes, but we shall see.  The cables are fun.
It's the Montgolfier hat, in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, colorway Embers.  My LYS has just gotten the full line of Brooklyn Tweed, in all their colors, and I've gone rather crazy for it.  I got the same colorway in a fingering weight to make my gloves when I'm done with the hats.  And, I got* a whole mess of yarn (also Brooklyn Tweed) for a design project I'm doing for/with Kivrin.  She drew this some time ago:
And I made the mistake suggested that knitting it would actually be doable, if she wanted me to try.  So I've been swatching.
She has decided on the cable on the right.  This project has been backburnered while I'm getting through the graduation socks, and the hats (even if not the gloves) and one other secret project I'm working on.  But when I pick it up again, I'll work the cables further, and then play with a wider ribbing at the top of the swatch to see which she likes better.  Then it'll be time for math.  Updates as progress occurs.

Meanwhile, in case any of you are looking to get some holiday knitting patterns AND support a fabulous cause at the same time, I wanted to point you towards Anne Hanson of Knitspot's annual scholarship fund drive.  This scholarship goes to support a student (in the fashion/design/fiber field when possible) who is a part of the Foster Care to Success (FC2S) program.  All pattern proceeds go to the scholarship fund (and you can choose to add a little extra to the pot when you check out, too, if you want!).  Anne gives all the details here.  I'll be getting this pattern myself. 

*Honesty compels me to admit that it was not, in fact, I who got the yarn.  My LYS had its annual sale a few weeks back.  On each of the two days of the sale, all yarn was 10% off - but during the first hour each day, it was all 20% off.  Unfortunately, I was teaching during that first hour.  Rick's parents were visiting, so I asked if he would mind taking his mom (also a knitter) and popping into the store to get my Brooklyn Tweed during that first hour - I mean, 20%, right?  I made a list for all three projects - sweater, hats, and gloves - and off they went.  Little did I know...  It took them over an hour in line just to get in the door, and then another hour or more to check out once they'd gotten the yarn.  I ask you: how many husbands would do that for their wives?  He's a good man, my Rick, a good man.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tuesdays on trail

Tuesday mornings always feel a bit special to me.  Lately, weekends have been taken up with Kivrin and homework, with brief breaks for a ride each day; unfortunately, that means no time for long weekend hikes.  Mondays are completely booked up.  It's Kiv's late start day, so I drop her off and go straight to work.  With sunsets coming earlier and earlier, there's no time at the end of the day to even ride, let alone ride and walk.  So Tuesday mornings, after I drop Kivrin off at school around 7:20, are the first day of the week that I get to visit my favorite trail.

I have been hiking on this trail now, week in week out, month after month, season after season, for years.  Sometimes I'm there regularly, sometimes not.  In the last few years though, I have gone at least once, and usually two or three times, a week.  This consistency, coupled (I firmly believe) with my practice of mindfulness, has led to a feeling of deep intimacy with that particular place, an intimacy coupled with the joy of always, still and yet, finding something new to surprise and delight me.

I heard an interesting piece some time ago on NPR (you will see the relevance soon) about picky eaters.  They interviewed, among other people, a psychologist who works with young people who are on the extreme end of that spectrum - one, for example, who would only eat one brand of frozen pizza for every single meal.  Out of curiosity, she did the same thing for a month: the same kind of the same brand of the same frozen pizza - for every single meal of every single day, breakfast lunch and dinner.  Now, what was interesting about this experience was that she found that she began to notice even tiny differences between these frozen pizzas - she was so attuned to that one experience that even little changes were magnified for her.  It gave her some interesting insights into picky eaters - the more restricted their palates, the more likely they were to restrict their eating in some ways, because the differences with new foods were almost too intense.

I got to thinking a lot about that.  When it creates an unwillingness to try something new, that level of attunement* is, I think, problematic.  However, it also suggests, to me, a conclusion that I find quite lovely: that deep intimacy and knowledge has the potential to lead, not to boredom and stultification, but to an attunement that allows one to notice ever-smaller details.  It means that the mundane has the ability to surprise and delight and teach, if we just pay careful and loving attention.

Which is how I feel about my connection to this little piece of place.  There is always something new to notice, and a deep sense of comfort in greeting old friends and noticing how they change through the seasons and years.

This morning it was cold.  Driving there, my car didn't think it was all that cold, but I well know that the trail itself, largely located in a little creek bed, tends to be anywhere from five to ten or more degrees colder than the surrounding area.  As soon as I stepped onto the dirt, I could feel the cold air, settled along the trail, licking at my ankles; it felt to me like a visceral demonstration of the urban heat island effect.  Because, while it was around 50 degrees in the parking lot, in the lowest part of the trail, the plants and earth were covered in frost.
As the sun began to touch the tops of the trees, though, the utter stillness that is typical for my morning walks was broken by the rustling of leaves - noticeable because the wind here doesn't usually pick up until later in the day.  But we're due for a Santa Ana, and as I crested a small rise, I could feel the currents of warmer air beginning to run down from the sunny spots further up the hill, before I descended back again into the cold still bottoms.
There were fun surprises waiting for me on my walk, too:
Someone decorated one of the little live oaks on the side of the trail with ornaments.  It made me smile; I'm guessing the tree feels rather festive, too.

Not to be outdone, one tree hung a leaf from a spider web, midair above the trail.
And of course the sycamores come with their own holiday ornaments.
This insight in itself gives me great pleasure.  I find that it applies to so many areas of my life: friendships, marriage, knitting - each, precisely because of consistency and time-depth, flourishes under attention.

 Happy Tuesday!

*Is attunement not a word?  It's marked as misspelled, and the option I get when I ask is "atonement", which is not at ALL what I'm going for.  If it's not, it ought to be.  Therefore, I declare that it is.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Here's a good reason to post more often...

I get hung up.  I don't know about anyone else who may be reading this - maybe I'm not the only one.  But when it comes to writing, I somehow feel that I always need something really important and meaningful to say, and I have to say it right - and then if I don't write, I feel like there are so many things to write about that, if I'm going to write, I need to cover them all - and then (as you might imagine), that's so overwhelming that I just don't start.  This became very clear to me this morning when I sat down to journal.  I always intend to write regularly in my journal; I even carry it everywhere I go.  But then I get stuck in that same ridiculous loop and never start writing.  Earlier this fall, I began to write three pages every morning (some of you may recognize this from The Artist's Way) - three pages, even if all I have to write is, "I don't really know what to write".  After a couple of weeks, it was amazing how much it freed up my mind to really write about what I care about.  And then I fell off the wagon, for a lot of reasons having to do with the various bits of chaos that have been hitting me this year.  And I found myself not writing at all, because there was too much to even start.  So this morning, I committed to my three pages again.  And I think that the blog is like that, too, somehow.  Every day, I frame something in my head the way I would want to write it on the blog, and then I get hung up (I don't have a picture, it's not enough about knitting, whatever whatever whatever), and don't write.

Wanda has been writing every day this month, and I have so enjoyed reading each of her posts.  I think I need to give myself permission to write as often as I want, even if it feels "small" somehow.  One thing that worries me (because who would I be if I didn't find something to worry about) is that many of the things that I mull over and would like to write about aren't specifically knitting-related (not even close); and many of the photos I've been taking lately (thanks to the inspiration of my beloved sister-in-law, who has started her own photography business just recently - I'll see if I can get a url to share) similarly have nothing to do with knitting.  I'd love some input: would any of you be interested in reading other things?  Like those short stories I posted a while ago?  Or my vaguely political musings/indignant contemplations?  I'm curious.

In the spirit of posting in spite of having very little knitting content, here we go.  I did finish a pair of socks for Rick, and he has been wearing them - photos will come.  We drove up to Sacramento last week for Thanksgiving at my parents' house.  And Tess came out from college to join us - you can imagine how glad it made me to see her.  My dear friend also flew up to be with us, which made the short trip even more fun.  On the way home, we took my friend to the airport on our way out of town, which meant squeezing five of us and our luggage - to say nothing of the dog - into the car. 
We managed (and look!  knitting content!  I'm wearing my new hat). 

On the way home, we stopped in Lodi at our favorite winery, Bokisch.  We did this last year, too, and it's a nice treat.  We get to visit with the folks who work there, and take a walk in the vineyards, letting Tilly run in the falling leaves before we really hit the road.  This time, we wandered down to the picnic tables under a big oak tree, and I just had to - absolutely had to - be up in that tree.  A quick boost from Rick, and I was clambering up.
I'd forgotten how very much I love climbing trees.  There really is nothing better than just hanging out in a tree.  For one thing, the views are marvellous.
The tracery of branches against the sky always fills me with delight.
Tilly, however, was less delighted to be left earthbound.
So eventually I came down.  I think I need to find more opportunities to climb trees.

I honestly would appreciate any thoughts you have about blog content - please feel free to share in the comments.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Plugging away

I wanted very much to write a post about the trail that I walk on several times a week, so I took my camera with me on Tuesday, and gave myself the gift of a lingering walk, stopping to take pictures.  I was ready to give you all the grand tour, but when I stopped to look at them, I realized that my UV filter was schmutzy, so the pictures are largely pretty awful. 

I still managed to get some shots of the wise old eyes that watch over the trail.

I think people must think I'm pretty odd, as I make sure to say hi to my favorite trees as I walk by.
Or, as in this case of this cranky old man, drop a wink and a nod as I pass.
You can see that foggy lens, alas.  So a fuller trail introduction will wait for another day. 

I finally took some pictures of a few past projects that I wanted to share.  Here's one of them, the Antirrhinum socks from A Year of Techniques.   These were a lot of fun to knit, and I'm looking forward to wearing them this winter.

I also finished this little beauty for me.
That is the 21 Color Slouch, which I bought as a kit from my favorite LYS, Yarning For You.  It's all Blue Sky Fibers yarns, and it comes with all of those colors in little bitty hanks.  It's a sweet little pattern, and I just loved the colors.  Hats in general are a tricky thing when you have hair as short as mine - I often look like I'm wearing a chemo cap, which leads people to approach me with shock and dismay.  That said, I'm probably going to hang on to this one (I have been known to knit hats because I really, really love them, then give them away because of this issue) in spite of that - it'll make a great trail and barn hat.

Speaking of the barn, we've gotten to what is now a funny time of the year for me.  I used to absolutely adore the fall time change.  Not only did I get an extra hour of sleep on a Sunday morning (huzzah!), and more light in the morning which makes it easier for me to get up, and which also makes the aforementioned trail feel a bit brighter and safer, but I actually like(d) the early evenings, cozying up at home, all of that.  Then I got a horse.  And now I just really really miss daylight in the evenings.  That said, sunset from horseback is one of life's good things.

I hope you are all enjoying your good things this weekend, too!