17 October 2011

change in the weather

It's October and the temperature's dropping. That can mean only one thing. We're playing Furnace Wars.

Okay, to be honest, it's actually Baseboard Heater Wars, but "Furnace Wars" sounds more dramatic. It's mostly an effort to drop our heating bill this winter, because baseboard heaters use a lot of energy. We're competing with ourselves, since most of our friends don't appear to be that competitive about it.

I'm layering up, with warm socks and sweaters. J. hasn't noticed the cold much yet, because he radiates heat like a miniature star. It's not that cold at the moment, but we're starting to notice the change in the weather in our apartment because we're on the first floor, above the garage, and at the corner of the building, neither of which are locations conducive to just absorbing heat from the neighbours.

This is actually one of my favourite times of the year, because it's cool, crisp, and yet I don't freeze at the bus stop. Bright sunlight doesn't feel oppressive because it's not accompanied by stifling heat, and my habit of drinking hot tea with everything appears sensible. There's the rest of it, too: the leaves change colour, there's squash at the produce store, and it's foggy in the mornings.

But right now, my toes are cold, in spite of the wool socks, and I'm drinking hot tea because it is cool in here. Admittedly, part of me wants to turn on the heater for a little bit. But I won't. Part of the game is to see how long it takes to cave.

16 October 2011

sense of wonder

These thoughts were sparked by a post from here. The topic of surprise quickly leads me to thinking about wonder.

What do we mean when we say that something is "wonderful"? Take the word apart, and you get the idea that we're saying it's "full of wonder." But do we really intend to convey that? What is this thing called "wonder," anyway?

I know what it is to wonder about something. I'm thinking about it, and the sense that I get sometimes is that it's maybe more casual than pondering (possibly not, but work with me here). I'm thinking about an idea, or a topic, and that object of my wondering is something I don't understand. I don't know it. Je le connais pas. This is an unknown that I might not even be able to understand soon.

And in that sense, it is possible that wondering is far more serious than pondering. It's forming ideas. New ideas, about things I don't understand, in an attempt to reach understanding. In the Peircean sense (I've been reading a lot of him lately), it's part of the process of abduction (as compared to deduction or induction; I'm not talking about kidnapping here).

Of course, wondering may not lead me swiftly to understanding. What it will ultimately lead me to, if I allow the process to draw me down its natural path, is a growing sense of mystery. Of awe in that mystery. A respect for the workings of this universe. A desire to learn more. That deep feeling of serenity which tells me of the peace I can't possibly comprehend.

A sense of wonder.

10 October 2011


Because it is so damp around here, wearing layers is a fact of life. It's cooled down enough that I'm starting to do the wool socks, the jeans, the long-sleeved shirt, the jacket, the scarf, and the mitts. Fortunately, it's not cold enough for the thermals yet.

I carried the layering theme over to Thanksgiving this weekend (albeit unintentionally). My family and my husband's family came over on Saturday, and we had lasagna, followed by baklava for dessert. The lasagna comes from my former roommate's husband's recipe--his family is Sicilian and their lasagna is so good that I, a former lasagna-hater, will eat it cold for breakfast. A few years ago, we did lasagna for a family Easter and he made it. It was amazing, and now I associate lasagna with holidays. It's also a simpler meal, in many ways, than the traditional turkey dinner.

The baklava came from the giant bucket of honey that someone gave us. It seemed like a good excuse to go buy walnuts and phyllo dough. Then I realized that dinner was turning into a layered theme. I didn't stretch the theme to a layered salad, because those scare me.

Today is a quiet day after the craziness of the weekend (family visit, Cranberry Festival, Houston Trail, unicycling, and learning to make espresso). I ought to be doing homework and baking bread but I'm still trying to summon up the motivation. Most of me just wants to have a nap.