December 16, 2022
This past week I made a whole lot of cookies to share with people for the holidays. Consequently I did not spend time outside exploring and taking photos. We knew some weeks would be like this in the winter. After all, we have had lows in the past week in the single digits and the highs have only hit the low 30’s. I made five varieties of cookies and they are all cookies I have never made before. They all came out delicious, but I won’t be making the peppermint candy cane cookies again. Mixing the dough nearly broke my small kitchen aid mixer and they were a pain to make. Thankfully, Luke jumped in to help roll the dough worms. I shipped out 7 boxes of cookies to our closest friends and family and then realized it would have been cheaper to just buy everyone an edible arrangement. Shipping stuff is damn expensive so I apologize to anyone who hoped for some and didn’t get them.
I do have a river hike planned for this Sunday so I’m hoping I don’t get wet and freeze my ass off.
Next week is my first community potluck meet up on Wednesday night. Luke also helped me to make these fliers that I posted up on bulletin boards in town. I decided I will be making Buckeye chili for it. It’s easy to make a lot, everyone loves chili, and I know I can get all the ingredients I need around here.
The other thing that has captured my fancy this week is the social media platform Mastdodon.social. Luke has been using it for a bit now and enjoying sharing photos as well as engaging in discussions with others about his interests. I thought I would give it a try and enjoyed that they show trending hashtags each day that can be prompts to share photos. It made me go back and look at different photos of mine. Some I had to research a bit as I didn’t remember much fun information about them. Sometimes I did an edit on an old photo I had previously uploaded and ignored. It was a fun way to exercise creativity and revisit memories about places I have been.
Since I think perhaps you will enjoy it too, here I will share some of the photos that came back into circulation for me this week. There was tomb Tuesday which I had a surprising amount of photos to share for. Here are two that I shared. The first is a monastic settlement in Glendalough Ireland. Luke had to go there for business in 2015 and I got to tag along for the trip. One day while he was at work I took a tour into the more wild parts of the country and enjoyed every moment of it despite intermittent hailstorms. In the background of the photo is a building called the priest house. Folklore about this place informs us that the clay from the floor can be used to cure toothaches. The second photo is from Pompeii which is an astounding place to visit. I had the privilege of going there in 2019 on a trip with my mother. That particular day we split up and I went to Pompeii while she went to Florence. In Pompeii you can see several perfectly mummified bodies of people who perished in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The calcium from the volcanic ash preserved many bodies in the exact position they died in.
Recalling these experiences has me thinking about possibilities to travel overseas again one day soon. My mother is also eager to do so and so we’ve talked about the Norway trip we were supposed to take, London, and the pyramids in Egypt. Our hope in going to Norway is to see some amazing glaciers in the remote northern area of the country, perhaps find places our ancestors are from, and see some northern lights. This would be a fall trip if we can make it happen.
Today was window Friday so I shared this picture, also from Pompeii of a window within ruins looking out to a statue of a Centaur. What a view!
We have been to some amazing places and have seen beautiful things. Our cover photo today is of Bash Bish Falls in the state park of the Taconic Mountains of southwestern Massachusetts. I visited this spot in June of 2021 with my mother and decided that weekend to start living like a nomad as soon as possible. This is the tallest waterfall in the state with a series of cascades totaling about 200 feet.
Traveling can be fun and exciting. It can give you great photos and memories. More importantly though, traveling can help you build empathy and perspective around the values and beliefs of others. We have watched the Daily Show with Trevor Noah on and off for the past year. During his last episode this week he talked about how context matters and we should seek to understand this before we make judgements. I feel strongly about this and also try to spread this message when talking with others about things that have bothered them or that they disagree with. This holiday season, we can all think about this and ask questions more often than we share opinions.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents her journey through her photography and blog to share with others.