Well, mostly nothin’. I did use up the rest of last year’s amazing apple crop making two kinds of chutney and lots of applesauce (some of which will turn into apple butter). But I’m done with that phase of my life now.
The dogs are glad it’s over. Boiling chutney makes them sneeze. The tang of fruit cooked in vinegar with pungent spices makes the house smell really nice for days (IMO; NSM in the dogs’ O).
Other than that, nothin’.
I did start re-reading Atlas Shrugged, which I got last Christmas. Hadn’t visited it in maybe 10 years and my first thought was, “Wow, I like this story as much as ever, but everything anybody ever said about Rand being a leaden writer was absolutely true. How did I ever get through this — let alone be awestruck by it — when I was 19?”
Then the story and its meaning caught me up. Pretty soon, I was reading it while stirring chutney because I didn’t want to put the book down.
Rand got so much right (even foresaw sloppy loan-to-anybody practices like those that helped trigger the 2008 crash) and got so much wrong (totally missed the consumer culture and innovations in technology that would sustain the U.S. for years after its industrial base collapsed).
Above all, Atlas gives comfort and inspiration for any individualist living in a collapsing, collectivist world.
Though Rand barely mentions guns, reading Atlas has helped me get my mind & spirit out from the shadow that’s loomed over them since the Newtown shootings.
Man, the Five Questions thing worked great!
Commentariat — pat yourselves on the back! I’m not at all surprised, but gratified nonetheless, that … well, erm … you don’t actually need me.
In fact, that worked so well I think I’m going to make a freedom question a regular Friday feature so people can keep coming here over the weekend for the discussion even when I’m laying low.
Laying low was good, too. Actually, it took about four days for me to quit being restless. It took time — and a 1200-page dead-tree book — to detach myself from news, politics, and other less-savory aspects of ‘Netly reality.
Laying low. Reading books on paper. Hitting the kitchen — or the home-improvement routine. Does wonders for one’s sanity.
Also one afternoon I had to drive a friend to the Medium-Big City where her car broke down and she needed to pick it up from the shop. This is not the little market town I jokingly call The Big City. Nor is it the genuinely Big City. But this is one big enough to have Real Stores. Not cool stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. But good enough.
While there I grocery shopped at a Safeway. Now, you who live in Civilization may wonder why anybody would bother to mention anything so mundane. But for me it was like a trip to Disneyland.
Wow. A store whose Greek yogurt section is bigger than the every, single kind of yogurt section in the local stores. I stood there amazed and took 15 minutes just to choose. Imagine that — choose! (I still make my own yogurt, but not in winter when my house never gets warm enough to enable the yogurt maker to produce anything beyond a sort of yogurt-flavored soup.)
Wow. A store with strange veggies I’ve never seen in actual person before.
Back when I lived in Civilization, I took stores like Safeway for granted. Mostly I didn’t even like them (for their obnoxious “club cards” and the like). But somehow that hour I spent wandering those clean, beautiful, abundantly stocked, and softly lighted aisles lifted my spirits. In fact, that hour in Safeway was the thing that set me on the path to a better mood and, finally, a feeling of renewal.
Almost made me think I could handle living in a town again.
… Nawwwwww, not gonna happen. Nice to visit, though.
Then there came the bounty of California sunshine — in the form of dried fruits — that two Great Gentlemen blessed me with this week. Some of that sunshine went into those chutneys where it’ll keep on giving.
Thanks again to K, P, H, A, M, and anon, whose gifts, past and recent, helped make this week more fruitful.