Monday, January 19, 2009

Sort of like a snow day

I am still on school break. I get well over a month to sit on my duff and get bored. Went to my parents, went to the boyfriends parents, went to my place, went to the best friends, redecorated and refunitured a pair of apartments, hosted a playoffs batch, all interesting things with interesting people. I also did a lot of procrastinating writing a paper and a letter of recommendation. Writing with a quality assurance checker. No good. I have one more week minus the time I have not used productively today to get myself squared away. I am sort of flailing and splashing a lot with no structure to my days. It is hard to get up and hard to get moving and hard to start doing things I don’t want to do. There is a nebulous deadline floating out there over my head that I can see if I squint but like the deadline all of the steps to get there are fuzzy. Starting school again will be good for me.

Today I was hanging out at the boyfriend’s and he was busy being boring doing interview related things pretty much all day. The house was pretty much immaculate due to preparation for the aforementioned football bash and so I had to go outside to productively procrastinate. I carried snow and thought about nothing. Then I carried snow and thought about more nothing. Then the neighbor from the squirrel infested house came home, talked to me for a while, and took his smiley pooch for a drive. So I carried snow and thought about a little more than nothing. Then the neighbor came back and fired up his snow blower to help me. He did laps with the blower and I cleaned up in between his lanes in a comfortable steady manner enveloped by snow blower white noise which was much more like silence.

We were done to the point of having to ask other tenants to move vehicles so that we could get the last vestiges of snow when the land lord showed up to shovel. The landlord proceeded to wrestle the blower away from the neighbor and conscripted another tenant to shovel which was odd all around. We were almost done anyway so why bother? Plus with 4 people walking around carrying snow and talking to each other and to me it was difficult to keep carrying snow while thinking about nothing. I started thinking about carrying snow and how I didn’t want to carry snow because it was wet and heavy and I was cold and sweaty. Consequently, shortly after I started thinking about carrying snow I also started thinking about not carrying snow anymore which is also about when I stopped thinking about carrying snow because I stopped carrying snow and moved back inside. Problem solved. I do however need to do something Normal Rockwell-esq and make some sort of baked good for the neighbor with the smiley dog named Christy who chases the squirrels that live in the eaves of her peoples’ house.

I also never wrote up the recipe for my pumpkin soup. Hmmm…


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

January was so long that it lasted into March

Have you ever wondered why we celebrate the new year in January. It hasn’t made sense to me when I was a child. I remember when I was young a made a comment to my mother about how it was strange that every year has two winters. She didn’t understand what I meant and corrected me but I wasn’t incorrect. Every calendar year is book ended by a winter either coming or going.

Why don’t we choose an equinox or a solstice, a changing of guard of the seasons. End at an established end and start with a true start instead of making up our own. I understand that these events are not set days but they stay close to each other and are bound by celestial movement not human designation. Other cultures and other times have used planting and harvesting seasons, or rainy and dry seasons, but nearly always season to demarcate the passage of time. We choose not to start at a season nor the mid-point of a season and this has been so for most places since before the Gregorian Calendar (the one you are most probably most used to) was introduced. But there is not a great deal of reason for why January 1st starts the year and not another first...or similarly why January 1 is in the middle of the front half of winter instead of some geometrically or celestially more logical place.

Apparently calendaring is not an easy business. It starts with the moon spinning round us out of sink with us spinning round the sun such that you cant always fit months with moons and not have seasons shift quickly. So there must be the extra days and the too few days chasing each other. And the craftsman must try to get all months to have a moon and to be odd numbered to pacify the gods and superstitions. Pagans and Christians and Republicans (roman) and Mathematicians all causing commotion if their holidays and symmetries are forced to shift. And the commonest man constantly confused by the push and pull of additional days or months by papal or pontifical decree such that his birthdays are never the same and letters come in the mail dated later then they were received.

While we are on the subject, why did we stick with the superstitious Roman choice of making February so short when the Catholics and other religious folk were clamoring for a proper calendar that didn’t lose days and shift important Holy Days around. We could have rounded out the months 31, 30, 31, 30 and stuck a leap day in any day we pleased. Why 31, 28(29), 31, 30 with a stuttered 31 later on. Perhaps at the mid year point. Why even give it a month. Make it a day outside the calendar. If at the new year point it would be a day between years. Name it after a king or celebrated figure.

This may seem strange for children born on that day but not really. Feb 29th babies are already forced into cruelties like being 1/4th their true age or celebrating their birthdays on off days. We other day babies have the same number of days in each of our years but face not the same issues because our dates don't drop of the map. Worse still for the Romans born in a month that was added or subtracted often at random to keep the seasons straight. How do they age. Better to have a true unbirthday, to be born outside of the calendar and never age at all.