TOUCH: My new camera arrived yesterday! Each piece of equipment was nested inside a box, inside a box, inside a plastic, as enjoyable to unwrap as a russian stacking doll.

After camera research that mostly went over my head (what do all those settings actually mean? and how will they help me particularly in photographing my knits?) I took my father’s advice and just tried out all the camera models belonging to my family members. From this random sampling, I picked my favorite, and ordered that.

So I am now the excited (but still pretty clueless) new owner of a Lumix Panasonic DMC-ZS25!

My Finger on the camera trigger. The button feels a little loose; it jiggles. Half press… stay steady… now firmly down. I feel a cram in my leg, the cold ground seeping up through my belly, and a stiff pain in my elbow, since I’m half squatting half laying on the cold bricks to get the perfect shot.

SIGHT: While the rest of the country has been talking about cold, we in California have been having a different weather problem: drought. Winter is normally the only rainy season in CA, so it’s vital we get some drops soon.

One can’t always see the effects of the drought, living in a city, since people water their yards. I always stop and admire this little yard, just around the corner from my house, for the way it embraces the beauty of dryness, and it is even more poignant in a drought like this one.

SOUND: My latest audiobook is Stephen King’s The Stand. I chose it because I really enjoyed the wild ride of reading The Shining a couple of months ago, and because it’s 45 hours long! That’s bang for my audiobook buck.

I listen to the gruff male narrator tell of a post-apocalyptic world, engulfed by a deadly flue, where any sneeze portends imminent death. Then I hear a sneeze from someone in the real world around me, or a friend complains to me of a cold, and I get chilly fingers of fear up my back.

SMELL: My nose is a bit stuffed, so my smelling is limited… yep, chilly fingers of fear are crawling up my back

TASTE: Last month, my taste was chocolate, and if I were being honest, I would admit that chocolate wins as the dominant taste again this month. But there is a second flavor that I have tasted a lot of this month: the lovingly nick-named “green purée.” My mom has lots of kohlrabi in the garden. The fat stems are the part one generally finds in supermarkets, but not wanting to waste the leaves, she’s been cooking them up with caramelized onions and pureeing them with sweet potato, and the whole family has been eating a lot of them. Gloppy, healthy and delicious.