2-15-2018 Half Price Chocolate Day

I tell you it is amazing to feel well after you have been sick! We just don’t appreciate how wonderful just taking a breath, or having the energy to do a load of dishes is, until we haven’t had it for a while! I’m loving it! Feel free to remind me if I ever start taking it for granted again. Given that I was working on recovery, I didn’t stick my nose outside much. John kept the fire going, bless him, which kept the kitchen nice. I think the weather was warmer- I don’t remember snow. There are rumors of some coming. I just saw a request for folks to bring shovels to the Mensa regional gathering. Sadly, I have fallen off their radar, so that won’t be an issue for me next year. Maybe I should hint at them that I’d like to come again.

 It’s actually pretty wonderful when I think about it. I don’t much remember when I was sick. After getting back from Feast of Lights I think. The girls both seem to have come down with the cold, but as is the way in our family, one just keeps doing everything one can. Willow hopes that Bianca and Kalen have already been exposed to anything she has to offer, and she can sit down most of the time. Kalen’s assignment Monday was to get a box for the valentine exchange and he had Willow help him. I have to admit it looks professionally done. Apparently they are allowed to have “help” with all of his homework. From what Willow says they really expect the parents to do a whole lot of work with the homework.

She made a few personal valentines, although we didn’t send out any this year (that I know of). Occasionally it’s fun to send the silly little school cards I hated so much when we were in school. But not every year. I loved this one Willow wrote- not that it’s great art, but I really love that she knows and can use the word Hurple. (If you don’t know it, it’s that posture with your shoulders pull up around your ears you take when you are cold.) We all do it, although we don’t all know the word, much less use it.”

Speaking of rarely used words- scurryfunge (or scurrifunge): it’s the hasty cleaning you do when someone is coming to your house. Funge by itself seems to mean idiot, or dolt, so I suppose a hurried dolt is someone who thinks that the guest won’t know she only did a last minute quick cleaning. I scurrifunged Tuesday. As you might imagine, having been sick much of the week my normally lax housekeeping was worse than usual. But another reason we were behind on the dishes was that less and less water was coming out of the kitchen faucet. I had gotten to the point of sending John to the bathroom to fill the teakettle, because the water ran in there. By Sunday we were so frustrated that I called the plumber on Monday. Of course, if I wanted him to work on the sink, it had to be clear and clean, and I also noticed the unswept floor, unemptied trashcan, etc. We DID look up loss of water pressure on the internet, and take the faucet apart as much as we could, not discovering anything. So Tuesday Richard Wright came over and he took it apart. He thinks we should be able to find a replacement faucet- he could put one on that didn’t match, but I’m not quite ready for that. So we’ll probably have to get another faucet. I thought we’d “just” replaced it, but as I try to look back and figure out when we did, I have come to accept that it was a lot longer ago than it feels to me. We had that faucet when we had Wally and the guys in to six up the house after Dad died, and that was a few years ago. (When we redid the pantry?) So maybe I shouldn’t be offended that the “new” faucet needs replacing. So I’m supposed to investigate whether a replacement part or whole replacement faucet needs to be acquired, then I can call him back and have him install it. It may be a while- after he fiddled  with it the water is flowing through it again, so I guess he cleaned something out.

We dropped off my car at Winkles last week, and picked it up yesterday. There was a bunch of stuff wrong with it (the car isn’t young). The fuel pump needed replacing, and then another part “neck?” attached to that, and with the way cars are put together these days, he had to take the tank out to get at those parts. Thank the gods for men who know their way around an engine. I think he also did some welding and replaced the fender where rust was setting in. Whole bunch of stuff. But it came down to about $1200, and he said that will keep it on the road for another year. If you think of it as a hundred per month car payment, that’s pretty good, so I’m not complaining. And I sure wasn’t going to be going anywhere last weekend anyway!

I covered my birthday last week, but I got a late birthday present Steve sent me: more sealing wax stuff! He got me a set of stamps with the Hogwarts seal and seals for each of the houses, and another seal with a dragon, and one with a tree. Now it’s time to look forward to John’s birthday next week. (And after that, I am thinking I’d love to have a tea party on Tiara Day, with all my friends who like a bit of fancy fun.) I have a tiara since you can now find them at Walmart for $10, but when do I get a chance to wear it? Or make cakes and scones and muffins for tea?

 Also, next weekend I’ll be going up to Mimer’s Well, and SCA event in (Mountain Freehold) Vermont. This is a teaching event (my favorite kind) but no selling, so the girls wouldn’t have their favorite occupation. But I can go myself by driving during day hours, and Marieke offered to have me stay at her house, Friday and Saturday. They just got back from a trip to Mexico and I look forward to hearing about it! The girls are arranging to go to a Dr. Who Con in March- they are still arranging with whom to share a room. Doug was going to, but it looks like his leg is still giving him problems. Damn, every time I turn around there’s another friend who has a problem that would not be a big deal- if they could afford for medical care. I hate living in a backward country!

As I said, poor Willow has got “the cold” and drags herself out to do whatever she needs to do, appointments, being a governess. But Avi got her flowers!

Kat seems to be getting it too- and she’s just pushing herself to finish the dress and jacket she’s working on. Poor thing, when she’d done all the pin gathering of the VERY big skirt and many layers (pink, lavender, blue, maybe more) you’d expect on a loli dress, she discovered that she’d sewn them backwards to the design and had to pick them all out so the right one goes on the outside. The next mini-disaster was when she was finishing it- she had sewn this multiple layered full skirt to the bodice top and was inverting it, (so all the bits would be inside the lining, only to discover that while she might have been able to take the skirt out the top- that was sewn and it couldn’t cup out one arm hole. Having picked THAT out, she opted to go get more fabric and remake the bodice so it would look well. Once she’s done with this, (last I popped into her room there was lace on it- lots of lace), she’ll be making a matching jacket. And that’s what’s she’s been doing! I’ll try to get a picture before she sends it off!

John’s been helping with stuff- like putting the rocking chair back together- I’m not sure why it’s falling apart. Willow’s desk chair isn’t fixable, although we tried. John and I, then John and Willow replaced the hinge on the cabinet door under the sink. The door seems to have been made of hardwood- it really didn’t want to take the screws! And he helped with the faucet, although neither of us knew what we were doing. Sue called to wish me happy birthday and he chatted with her, but got discouraged because he isn’t really doing much with his life.

The news has been SO freaking depressing. The Brat in Chief wanting a big military parade? Claiming that not applauding him is Treason, praising another staffer who’s accused of sexual violence, wanting to switch foodstamps for commodity boxes. I saw the tail end of that in the 70s. They learned that it didn’t work because it doesn’t take cultural cooking differences into account, but since the Republicans want to make the whole country over in their image (white and their idea of Christian) they don’t care. Actually considering the efforts they are going to to make people poor, unschooled, scared, unhealthy, and unable to do anything about it, I am beginning to think they are trying to create a modern version of peasants. Someone to be workers in their businesses and generate wealth for them, without benefitting from it themselves. Sadly, they seem not to have studied history themselves, and noticed what happens when they oppress those they severely outnumber.  I was very impressed by Nancy Pelosi’s 8 hours filibuster speech for DACA, in 4 inch heels! I should be doing that well at 77! (I had no idea she was that old!) Well done her! How long before they are able to prove the collusion with Russian interference in the elections? The problem seems to be that what with gerrymandering, and voter suppression, and control by lobbyists, it’s really hard to find one turd in the cesspit! Of course most of the posts on fb are about the most recent school shooting. Once again we see the bias because the shooter is white. I am waiting to see if the suggested Teacher’s strike if they don’t do something about gun control happens. On a less depressing note, I was amused at the “Don’t Panic” message on the Testla car in space, and very impressed that they got the booster engines to come back and land. I suppose it’ not surprising that there have been technological advances since the 60s.

I saw an interesting article about depression and how it can result from trauma not simple brain chemistry malfunction- although the mood creates the chemicals in your brain which make you feel a certain way which causes the brain to make the chemicals cycle is hard to disrupt, and as I understand it that’s what the pills are supposed to do. A cast doesn’t heal a broken bone, it supports it while the body heals itself. You are supposed to be getting some other sort of therapy to deal with the stresses that made you ill in the first place while antidepressants simply are supposed to keep you from being so miserable that you can’t do anything to help yourself. But I have a horrible feeling that seeing a therapist every month or so (because that’s as much as is available or you can afford) is something like taking an antibiotic every week or so. It’s not going to help, but may convince someone that they are doing SOMETHING!

I have decided that I totally love Frank Capra films. This week I watched It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to TownLost HorizonYou Can’t Take it With youMr. Smith goes to WashingtonMeet John Doe, (Arsenic and Old Lace and It’s a Wonderful Life are already two films I love and own, actually so is Mr. Smith.) I’m looking for Lady for a Day and some of his war documentaries. I love the corn and the optimism. I loved Mr. Deeds giving money to people to get back to work making the government feel threatened. I loved that in John Doe it was people helping people that made the difference. I am a bit depressed that the corruption in the movies does seem to be very like the current political situation. It’s fictional, of course, but probably based on similar circumstances. I love that nearly everyone seems redeemable, and no one is perfect. Just wonderful movies, and its so nice that we can watch these performances so many years later. I also watched the 70s musical remake of Lost Horizon, and somehow it seemed more dated that the 30s version- possibly because it was from a period where that style looked normal to me then, and now seems odd.

I finished the available Haunting Danielle books this week. The next one (The Ghost and the Doppleganger) comes out in mid-March. I have it on pre-order. Looking back, I started the first January first, and it was a bit hard to get used to not going to bed and reading the next chapter, The Ghost and Little Marie The Ghost and the Bride. I really like the characters and the writing, and am trying to get other people to read it so I’ll have someone to talk to about it. I hope the series doesn’t end with the 16th book, but it might. And I respect an author who has a story to tell, tells it and stops, but there are still several little details she’s thrown in, such as Danielle remembering that not all the ghosts that she’s encountered have been nice- and I want to know that story!  Ah well.

So I’ve started reading the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series (they suck me in with “the first one is free” on kindle, and then… I have checked though. The library has this series, which it didn’t have for the Haunting Danielle.) which is about a group of historians that travel through time to observe history up close and personal. The first one is Just One Damned Thing After Another and I think I’m going to like the series. I was a bit confused- some of the newly trained historians were jumping up and down excited because they were getting sent to the Cambrian era  (“We’re gonna see a T Rex!”), but one of them was mostly trained on Byzantine history, and the other on Ancient Greece, so I’m sort of wondering at what point archeology intersects with History. But I suppose if I had the opportunity to see a live dinosaur, I’d be pretty excited. I expect they’ll hit many places- from Troy to Agincout, in the next trips. One thing that is enhancing this for me is that I’m also reading the non-fiction book: American History Revised: 200 Startling Facts That Never Made It into the Textbooks. It’s full of all sorts of interesting bits of trivia, and aspects of the stories that don’t get mentioned in most history books. We really do need to include the Trail of Tears, and genocide of the Native Americans, Japanese Internment Camps, the KKK, Jim Crow and Lynchings, in our history books- especially the school texts, because a lot of people don’t ever get any other history for the rest of their lives. My feeling is that we should give the best information we can, and if the parents want to contradict it when the kids come home, they are free to do so, But we shouldn’t be simply feeding the kids junk simply because that’s what the parents know. The reason we have public schools is because the parents don’t know it themselves. We need the equivalent of the  Auschwitz  memorials so we can say, yeah, we screwed up. We are going to try hard not to do that again. We can’t really do that when we are not addressing the current problems with various prejudice first.

I have continued to read some art books from the library, I really like Imaginative Reality,  but sadly haven’t gotten back into a schedule of painting every day. I also haven’t done much baking, although there are a lot of holidays that would have inspired it- I didn’t make “fishing cakes” (jelly donuts) for Fat Tuesday, and probably won’t have anything special for Chinese New Year (since we got Chinese for my birthday). We did pick up some mochi at Costco when we went down to pick up the prescriptions, so that’s nice. I have tried my new crepe pan twice. I’m not quite good at it yet, although, as expected the pan shape helps. I’ve started Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to Streuselkuchen. I’m eager to try some of the recipes, but already I tripped over an interesting nugget- the tray of assorted cookies that’s shared at Christmas is called bunter Teller or “colorful plate”. I am SO all over that!. The book looks like it’s got a lot of gluten free options, as many of the old ones are made with ground nuts. It hasn’t got half enough pictures of the baked goods- mostly pictures of buildings. feh. It looks like it’s got some good links for finding rare ingredients! Actually this one looks so good I’m tempted to get a physical copy. (A real book doesn’t disappear when the batteries run out!)

I’m not sure who suggested The Fun of Dying. It’s OK, sort of Christian oriented for my taste, but it does look at dying without ducking what’s going on for the person who’s doing it. I wonder who suggested it to me?

As you probably noticed, I didn’t get the letter out for Valentines, but I have been working harder to get to bed before midnight, and to catch up on the chaotic house, and get back to painting, so I guess that’s a reason, even if it’s not an excuse.

Holidays this week:

Th 15 Gumdrop Day, Hippo Day, Susan B Anthony Day, Singles Awareness Day, Remember the Maine

F 16 Almond Day, Innovation Day, Kyoto Protocol Day, Do a Grouch a Favor Day

S 17         Cabbage Day, Cafe au Last Day, Whale Day Human Spirit Day, Random Acts of Kindness

S 18 Drink Wine Day,  Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, Thumb Appreciation Day, Battery Day

M 19 Chocolate Mint Day, Presidents Day, Tug-o-war Day

T 20 Cherry Pie Day, Clean out your Bookcase Day, Day of Social Justice, Love your Pet Day

W 21 Sticky Bun Day, Mother Language Day, Card Reading Day, Single tasking Day

Tchipakkan

It’s supposed to be easy.

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