“I want to feel the brass and hold it. Feel the movement of each piece and know I’ll be able to calibrate it for him,” I whine to the cat. The autumn winds blowing down from Alaska drown out my words as they wind their way over the Rockies.
Staring at the pictures, I imagine the heavy brass of my family’s sextant balanced in my clumsy hands as my father lets me look at it. His calloused palms poised to catch the instrument should I falter.
“This one won’t do.” I toss it into the mental pile of surveying and mapping equipment I look at; never purchase.
Who can afford to spend over a thousand dollars on something like this over the internet? I mentally discard another with a fancier, more modern black finish.
I call my parents. “I want to buy Jacob a sextant for his birthday. What’s the story behind ours? Does Dad have any advice?”
Thousands of miles of static and telephone lines crackle. “The one your dad has was your great grandfather’s from the maritime academy. Why do you want one for Jacob?”
I pause and shrug into the phone. “To record our locations for dark sky photography. GPS can’t be trusted out here.” I grasp my forehead and castigate my own thoughts. But I’m the one that knows how to use one for surveying, navigation, and astronomy – that would be a terrible gift.
I stare out at the horizon hidden by mountains and try to find the ocean beneath the curvature of the earth. Jacob doesn’t care about the difference between a mile and a nautical mile. What does he care about?
I catch him and ask about his feelings around flying and clouds pass over the sun – visibility down to less than 5 miles and he gives me a look that says VFR ain’t going to fly. He never got a seaplane rating and this dream is about to try a water landing without pontoons. “I don’t know when the next time I’m going to fly is. Please don’t get me anything that could be related to flying.”
I decide against getting him a sextant and reminisce about when we spent hours talking about the intersection of history where airplanes and ships used the same navigation systems and why. I stare at the stormy sea of sky lapping against the mountain sides and remember our last aerial photography trip. I order his birthday cake and continue to brainstorm better gifts.
Montana now has the highest rate of transmission of any state. Distracted, I stare at the news and try to process how dangerous it is to step outside. This was all predictable based on the behavior patterns of 1918.
Birthdays have to remain special in the face of COVID, so I order wine and check our reservation for the weekend. I check that his favorite decaf pop and breakfast cereal are in the pantry. I try and decide what else we should do to make it a special day about him.
While most of the United States has been living with this since March, Jacob has been living with COVID since it first hit obscure global news last autumn and I brought it home by explaining how diseases follow human behavior patterns. In February I set up forecasting models and told him how to prepare before the preppers drained the stores of paper products, resulting in channeled anxiety and full isolation.
My incredible husband and love of my life sits with me in my mind while I wonder how to celebrate someone as amazing as him. I think of bonfires, quality time, adventures, and our daily lives. I think about these acts of preparation and foresight and how they are gifts and acts of love in themselves.
I buy Jacob 2 books and 2 glass vessels for his birthday following the theme: Scientific Magic. I write a blog post about not buying a sextant and realizing that was a dumb gift idea. I refuse to spoil the surprise while I continue further preparations and celebrate his existence everyday.
Happy Birthday to my amazing partner and best friend, Jacob. I have many best friends, but you are the one I married and the one I celebrate today. My forever partner in adventure 💕
Today I turn 31 in the year 2020. The world is chaotic (to say the least). But there is so much for which to be thankful. We have an opportunity in this dark time: we can use this as a pathway to finding our similarities and common ground. We can use this as an opportunity to show compassion toward our fellow human beings. Don’t believe me? I have a challenge for every person reading this.
If you’re ever feeling alone, think about the population of the country where you live. I currently live in the United States – a country with a population of 328.2 Million people. Approximately 27% of Americans report using Google as their primary search engine. That means approximately 88.614 Million Americans use Google as their primary search engine.
That means that whatever the statistically most likely predicted completion of a search phrase is results from millions of people searching that phrase.
This means you are not alone. With every crazy question you have for the internet, you are not alone. For these first fifteen, I’m going to be very general. Then, once this concept has been demonstrated, let’s go on a journey. Some of these are funny, some are depressing, some are revealing.
1. “Is it…”
2. “What to…”
3. “Does the…”
4. “Are there…”
5. “Do I…”
6. “Why is…”
7. “Who was…”
8. “Did I…”
9. “Where are…”
10. “Am I…”
11. “How to make…”
12. “When will…”
13. “Does the United States…”
14. “How many…”
15. “How often…”
That’s a doozy.
Okay! So 15 questions in and you’ve noticed that Americans are just as confused about our units of measure as the rest of the world and things do seem to be interesting. Plus, if you’ve been sedentary and are questioning while your bowel habits have changed, you’re not alone. Drink more water, eat more fiber, and start going for more walks. You’ll feel better.
These next questions are for those of us that recognize that search histories get a little weird when you’re writing. So, let’s start looking at some of the autocompleted questions related to writing research I’ve seen lately. These get a bit dark and others are truly revealing.
1. “What do serial killers…”
2. “Why do serial killers…”
3. “Why do wives…”
4. “Why do husbands…”
5. “Why do partners…”
6. “Do cows…”
7. “How to fake…”
8. “How to destroy…”
9. “Why doesn’t…”
10. “Humans are…”
I warned all of you that was going to get dark.
There’s one final search I am going to show you – it leads to one of my favorite poems I had forgotten about and hadn’t read in over 10 years.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers (314) – Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard – And sore must be the storm – That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land – And on the strangest Sea – Yet – never – in Extremity, It asked a crumb – of me.
I hope you can hear Hope’s song, and even if you can’t right now, know that you are not alone in searching for it amongst the noise.
What were your autocomplete results like when you searched similar beginning terms? Were they the same as mine? If you have suggestions of other terms for me to search please leave them in a comment 🙂
I am so thankful for your company on this bizarre journey through search engine autocompletes on my birthday. If you enjoyed this post, please share it, like, or comment. Without you, this post would be stored quietly on a server somewhere. Have a wonderful weekend ahead 🙂 With Love – Lo.
The “passive aggressive” got added in there because a lot is happening in the United States right now. There are a couple wrong turns with this recipe. I’ll admit that it’s an invention based on this one I created in a way similar to that story about the Ship of Theseus.
All of what’s happening right now in the United States though? That’s where I got distracted today. There’s a lot. I’m trying to hold back because my words here aren’t the ones you should be listening to. Listen to the disenfranchised that are trying to make their voices heard.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
Ingredients and Supplies
If you’re going to make this recipe with me, you’re going to need to gather some ingredients – no specific brand should be necessary:
Frozen Blueberries (Costco sells big bags)
Lemon Juice (There’s a theme here)
Cup for Cup Gluten Free Baking Flour (I use Namaste from Costco)
Stevia In The Raw or equivalent (I’m not sponsored, but I might have a Costco problem)
Almond Milk (Okay, we’re calling it a Costco solution)
Coconut Oil (Costco non-polar solvent)
Supplies To Grab:
1 Large Mixing Bowl
1 Medium Mixing Bowl
1 Small Mixing Bowl
1 9″ Round For Your Great Idea
1 18-muffin baking tin
Muffin tin liners
Measuring cups / Kitchen Scale
While you look for those, I’m letting Jacob takes over. [You will continue to see Jacob’s thoughts in italics]
It’s weird how normal everything seems here, in Montana. I worry about the future of the United States and I have absolutely no idea of what that means to me, to us, here. The steady increase in violence from our government is terrifying. I wonder when it will reach here (or if, but I wonder if that’s too hopeful). But we’re in a low population density state. I can’t yet decide if I’m glad or disappointed that everything that’s going on is so far away.
If you’re following along, then you may have noticed that we have liquid ingredients and dry ingredients. I bet you can guess what I’m about to do next.
For your dry ingredients combine the following:
2 cups (0.47 l) of the gluten free flour blend
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp (75 g) stevia in the raw (or whichever baking stevia)
I whisk those together until evenly distributed and get distracted again.I want the protesters to return home safe and alive at the end of this storm. Refocus. Regroup.We have liquid ingredients too. Whisk together almond milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and egg.
1 large egg
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 mL) almond milk
You may see something that looks a little like curdling. It’s almond milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract and egg. Don’t freak out. Keep calm and carry on, etc.
Measure out 1/2 cup (120 mL) of coconut oil (soft and pliable, not hard), then look everywhere for your pastry cutter. Once you find it, cut the coconut oil into your blended flour mixture until homogeneously incorporated. While I’m doing that, I definitely got distracted again.
I’m Distracted Again.
I keep reading about the violence and the destruction of these places I know and am from.
Statues and museums can be replaced by new, better statues and museums that discuss the same history. Maybe these new ones won’t be meant to remind an entire portion of the population that white people still have power in the South.
I don’t consider those protesters violent.
They are not taking life, and they are not injuring anyone.
I miss the days when it felt like, over time, the world was becoming a better place.
Using a wooden spoon smash the blueberries in as I gently mixed them into the scone dough.
I tried not to destroy them, but during my distraction the blueberries melted. I try to form them.
Next I have my round pan ready to form my scones. Supposedly, I do this by transferring everything to the pan, then cutting it with a knife after it has sat in the freezer for a bit.
Baking The Scones
I prepare the pan by cutting out parchment.
I put the pan in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to help it firm up.
I give up on the first idea after transferring all the dough into the pan. I have no idea how I’m going to separate it with a knife. I try, and I fail. Then I realize that I forgot to preheat the oven.
The blueberries are melting more – they are weaker than before – the thin blue wall around their exterior is failing them.
I re-smash the blueberries and scone dough into a muffin pan with muffin liners. They’re still scones – they’re not round scones or nice looking scones.
They’re downright disaster scones for a downright disaster of a day, a week, a month, a year?
They bake at 400 F (204 C) until golden brown. This was about 25 minutes in a gas oven (non-convection setting).
Glazing The Scones
We finish these off with a lemon glaze. 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and accidentally pour the remainder of your bag of powdered sugar into the bowl because… oops.
Stir until no clumps remain.
I served them up with Whittard’s Chelsea Garden tea. This is one of my favorite teas and comforts me because I tend to prefer floral and citrus flavors.
What would I do differently next time?
Use canned coconut cream instead of coconut oil.
To lighten the mood Jacob has a joke to share:
What’s the difference between a hippo and a zippo? One’s really heavy, and the other is a little lighter.
Verdict? At least the scones and tea taste good. Next time: gluten free dairy free pesto risotto with black caviar. Jacob and I will leave you with a teaser of our next dish, warm wishes, and thoughts.
Be compassionate. Be safe. I support you and I hear you. Black Lives Matter.
FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK
ALL LIVES DON’T MATTER UNTIL THE LIVES OF THOSE THAT FEEL THEIR LIVES ARE AT RISK AT ALL TIMES BY BEING ALIVE IN THIS COUNTRY MATTER.
What did you think of this installment of Lo Is Domestic AF? Are you planning to try out this scone disaster and improve upon it? If you do, I hope you don’t get as distracted. If you would like to see more of these, please comment below or like this post.
Today we did something crazy. We drove from Missoula, Montana to Eureka, Montana and back to give a friend a ride back to civilization from their family’s compound after they tested negative for COVID-19. What a great chance to show everyone this amazing place I live!
I am blessed to live in a place of wide open spaces and the optical illusion that creates a bigger sky
Where glaciers collide with clouds
Flathead Lake is always a welcome sight
Flathead Lake is a gem
We hit a bit of rain on our way, but it eventually subsided.
As with any good Montana road trip you have to stop for the wildlife.
Don’t worry – they move eventually
Nearing Eureka as it begins to get darker
Blue sky still visible at 9 PM? Not for long!
Near Trego, Montana the last bits of day find their way into this beautiful night
We managed to catch the sunset on our way in to town
As I’m pleased to share with you some of the magnificent clouds we witnessed about 15 miles south of the Canadian border at the port of Roosville
As we return from Eureka we see signs reminding us to social distance and stay close to home. Missoula County and Lincoln County both have 0 active cases. Our friend safely in tow, they are also high risk, have been isolating, and need to get to Missoula for a doctor appointment that cannot be done over a video chat.
Whitefish looks desolate. There’s no one on the roads here. It makes sense – Flathead County is among the hardest hit in the state – every case that’s been traceable has been connected to travel. Flathead County is where the airport for West Glacier and Whitefish is. We head south toward Kalispell.
We stop in Kalispell to charge the car and use a disposable barrier for handling the charging cable. Charging will require a couple of hours.
It’s dark, so the pictures aren’t going to be very interesting for the rest of tonight. We will be safely back in Missoula soon.
And there’s your Montana road trip during this crazy time. The world is a mess. Stay safe – hold your family close.