Category Archives: life

It’s beginning to look…marginally more like Christmas

I love the festive trappings of Christmas–the trees, the bright decorations, and especially the lights. In the long dark nights, it is so cheering to see the bright and colorful displays. However, getting things to look festive takes time and energy. These are things that I don’t have in excess just now. We managed to get our tree on Sunday, before rushing off to a recital, but had no time to put it up. (As I headed out to the garage before driving in to work, I was happy that John had remembered to take the tree off my car.)

We also picked up a little dangling ball of Christmas greenery. These probably have a name, but I don’t know what it is. I hung it out on our front porch, on a hook helpfully left by the previous owners. If I had to do anything more than that, the festive ball would probably be dangling less festively from a doorknob.

Our new neighborhood is much more of a neighborhood than our previous one, which was really more of a road through the woods with houses on it. And the new neighborhood apparently goes all out for holiday decorations. I feel like the neighbors might be a little disappointed that we aren’t joining in the spirit. But I can point out the ball, right?

In this photo, I was trying to capture the drips of the oh-so-festive freezing rain we had today.

And in zooming in to check the focus on my drip, I was amused to see my reflection, awkwardly hanging on to the porch pillar as I tried to get a better angle on the ball without stepping out onto the treacherously icy steps.

Ah, ’tis the season.

a decorative dusting of snow

I commuted into Boston again today, for a long day of running subjects on a bunch of different experiments. We are trying to get as much data as we can before a couple of upcoming conference deadlines, and also before our subject pool leaves town for winter break for a month.

I haven’t been taking many photos of late, largely due to being busy and often rushing around. This morning, I arrived and parked with enough time to get coffee from my favorite independent coffee house. On my way, my eye was caught a few times by patterns made by the very, very light dusting of snow that had fallen that morning. Most of the ground and surfaces were bare, but the the tiny dry snow flakes (more like little grains of ice-sand, really) had been blown around, and caught here and there in cracks and crevices.

I liked the way the snow filled in the cracks of these bricks in the sidewalk.

Here, I thought it was cool the way the snow had caught in some sort of fallen plant stems, which seem to have been arranged by a little whirlwind around a parking meter post.

Also seen were students attempting to have a snowball fight from the deeper piles of dusty snow that had caught along the curb. It was really not the sort of snow that you can make snowballs out of, so really people were just throwing poofy clouds of snow at each other. It was very cute. (I didn’t get any good photos. It did make me smile, though.)

sweet dreams

Screenshot from the animated short “Sweet Dreams,” by Kristen Lepore.

I’m feeling burnt out after an especially busy week (I commuted into Boston 4 times, which meant probably about 12 hours on the road, given how bad traffic has been.) After poking through my photos, I couldn’t find any that felt like they followed much from what I’ve been posting. And all the things I’ve been meaning to post will take too long. So, instead I’ll share a video that came to mind after posting yesterday’s images of buildings made out of candies. So, here is “Sweet Dreams,” a stop-motion short by Kristen Lepore. (And I wish I could say I was heading to bed now, but I still have my work to do…My own sweet dreams will have to wait. But maybe I’ll eat some candy.)

beautiful inedible fruits

Here are three photos I’ve taken in past years of fruit-bearing trees and shrubs. The continued clinging of these fruits to their branches well into December and even into March suggests to me that no birds found these fruits to be palatable.

One of my ongoing projects came to bear fruit today, again of the inedible kind. But not the photogenic kind, either. I got notification that some funding I applied for, my first research grant application that was all my own, is likely going to come through.

looking up

To follow up on yesterday’s post of spirally gates and grates in Boston, here are some spiral-adorned balconies in Sevilla, Spain. While walking through the streets one evening during my visit there in 2009, I looked up to admire the shadows of the balcony gates.

This particular building had lights shining in several directions, producing a pleasing tangle of spirally shadows.

I also enjoy the contrast of the bright orange walls and the dark metal.

Today was a much better day, by the way, and I did not have to fight the urge to stay curled up in a little ball. Things are definitely looking up when I have gotten a bit more sleep.

curled up

It’s true that I’m a sucker for spirals. They are a frequent motif in my doodles. I love the spirals are also a frequent motif in the gates, grates and railings of some of the older buildings around Boston, especially those at BU. Over the years (because I have been a student for so many, many years) I have found my eyes drawn to many such spiralled details, and have quite a few photos to show for it. Here are a few of them.

This is one of those days when my biggest accomplishment was to keep myself from staying curled up in a ball all day. I need to do a better job getting enough sleep, eating properly, and getting some exercise to help get me through this really stressful time.


These Japanese maple leaves curl up so gracefully as they shrivel.

After another hectic week, and being up too late, I’m feeling rather shrivelled myself today. Also like I want to curl up into myself. (I just don’t think I am doing so with the same grace as these leaves.)