I’ll bet that one won’t fit in most subject lines well! So here it is again: it’s Love May Make the World Go Round, But Laughter Keeps Us From Getting Dizzy Week – (7-14) and here’s a couple of applicable bits of trivia.

Laughing lowers levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system.
Six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults only laugh 15 to 100 times a day.

To “over think” it, subtract the hours you sleep from 24, and if it would be a problem at work, subtract your work hours. That’s how much time you have left to laugh. Then take that 8-16 hours, and multiply time 60 to get minutes, and then divide it by your goal of times to laugh per day- I’m thinking 200 is a good target, more would be better, but especially if you lost so much by not laughing at work, you can’t get as good as a six year old (think of the effort we put in at schools making the kids suppress their immune systems during class!). So you’ve got 480-960, or about a thousand minutes (or half that) so you should be laughing every five minutes (or two and a half minutes) for every other waking minute to keep your immune system up. That’s going to take some work guys. And think about it. Suppose you watch something like CSI or another serious show for an hour and there are no funny commercials- that’s another dozen laughs you should be fitting into some other hour.
More realistically though, since it improves the immune system, we really should value laughing more, and not try to suppress it as much as we do. Think about it- if people are smiling as they walk down the street- people wonder if they are nuts. You aren’t supposed to laugh much in public. Spend the week just noticing how often you try NOT to laugh. I’m not talking at laughing AT someone who’s done something embarrassing, I’m talking happy fun laughing. If it means adding reading the comics to your daily schedule- go for it. It may do you more good than a flu shot. As I understand it, pretending to laugh tends to leave to real laughter, so it’s worth trying, even if you can’t figure out any way to find funny things to trigger the spontaneous kind.

I may be a bit sensitive to that right now because while Willow has reached the “I’m not sick anymore, but I still get weak and wobbly when I try to do anything” phase of her cold, I’m getting a tickle in my throat, sneezing and occasional feelings of feverishness. Doing a lot of tea and vitamin C. Also, because of my theories on getting sick I am going to try to do more things I like and enjoy until I feel better. Yesterday I paid the bills (can I blame being sick on that?). Managed to cover everything due NOW and still have a bit of money left, but the credit card balance is way high, we are going to have to replace the van soon, and I am afraid the septic system needs work, so I am not terribly optimistic. Still, it’s a LOT better than not being able to cover the immediate bills. I’ve been trying to work through the receipts and stuff for the taxes and have come to the conclusion that we really need an accountant, but I have no idea how to find one who’d be able to deal with our type of business, so I guess what I need is to learn how to deal with it myself, and I don’t think my mind works that way. Sigh. Anyway, I’ll shelve that for a couple of days because I’m sure THAT is lowering my immune system. Feh.

It’s Fettuncini Alfredo Day, which I know how to celebrate THAT, and it’s also “Send a card to a Friend Day”, which I think is intended for “no occasion” cards- but they may be thinking about Valentines, which although not invented by Hallmark was exploited by it. Our compromise is that any home-made card is acceptable. Around here we refer to it as “People without Sweethearts Awareness Day”, because while for people who have a sweetheart, it’s an excuse to do what they should be doing all the time, for those without it’s a media blitz which seems to be trying to make you feel inadequate because you aren’t in a relationship at the moment. I suppose I shouldn’t gripe. I still cry every May when I pass a Mother’s Day card display because I’ve got no-one to send one to. I just wish they’d treat it more like Mother’s Day or other days where they are singling out one group of people and not trying to expand that market.

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The girls are, at this moment, out mailing a valentine to Willow’s Doll’s pen-pal. (Willow used her down time to make cards and sew doll clothes. Here’s Xander lolling with his cat and ball in his chair in his new cargo pants and “wife-beater” shirt.)
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The girls’ll be picking up whipped cream and strawberries for my birthday cake (tomorrow’s my birthday- yay, cake and curried lamb!). I’ll be 55- that’s definitely “old enough to know better”. Kathryne Goodwyn already sent me a card. Steve (who was up this weekend) commented on how I remember his birthday, I pointed out that I put reminders on several calendars and still forget to send cards to probably two thirds of my friends anyway. He’s just been lucky so far. I have reached that point Dad confused me with when I care more about NOT getting things I don’t want than getting things I do. Space to put stuff is more valuable than most stuff these days. Let’s face it, I’ve had a great life and have almost everything in the world that I want. As Joseph Addison said: “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” I love just about everything in my life except the stress of what it costs to fight entropy (maintaining house, car, bodies…) I work to get things the way I want them, and then usually I want them to stay that way. If the wallpaper gets ripped and stained- I want to replace it with identical wall paper. The only time I want something different is when I’m replacing something that wasn’t quite “right” in the first place. New stuff? Books- there is never enough information (or place to store it. I LOVE the way computers have made it easier to store more information, but there’s still nothing better than a physical book.
If you really want to get me something, here’s an idea- I collect the commemorative state quarters, and am still missing about a third of the states: if you spot any of these: AK HI WA MT WY OT AZ NM ND KS OK OH KY MS NC GA MA RI, I’d love to have the full set. (I’m assuming they are all out now, it seems like it started years ago. I can’t figure out how I missed RI and Massachusetts!) Mine aren’t “mint” (and I don’t have one from each mint), I pull them out of circulation. I just think it’s neat.

Last weekend was “Superbowl Sunday”- Steve came up, and we had barbecued chicken legs, chips, shrimp cocktail, and Kat made mini-pizzas, (as well as real food) and ostentatiously did NOT watch the football game. We DID, however, watch the Best of Superbowl Ads show Friday night. Personally, I liked the herding cats ad best- although I’ll admit the streaker lamb WAS good. I’ve always pictured herding cats as the moment when a person who has too many cats puts down the food, and you get 15 cats running down a hall to converge on it- then transferring that image to an office locale. I have NO clue how they got the hundreds of cats in that ad. They don’t LOOK computer generated, but I can’t figure out how to do it with real cats. (If you haven’t seen it, which I hadn’t- here’s the link:
Many of the ads did make me laugh, so I suppose they had that value. I’m not sure that it would be worth it to sit watching U Tube for an hour, but I suppose I did- there were lots of funny commercials on there.

Star has hand-sawed off most of the little branches, and we’ve burned them. (It’s still bitchy cold, but the pipes haven’t frozen, so it’s all good.) We got the Husky (chainsaw) back from the shop- apparently when Star filled it he used the wrong mix, and we are way lucky he didn’t get it going, or that would have killed it. So we got a new bottle of oil, and a new container for the chainsaw mix (in case the old one had water in it) and we also got a second chainsaw, (there was a used one for sale there) because Star works better when someone’s working with him. Haven’t gotten out to use it yet. The first half of the week my arms were sore from when I fell down on the ice.
Bella came up to clean Megan’s chimney, and since she was in the area, she dropped by, and I was showing her the downed tree behind the barn. There’s a huge slab of ice out there, and when I tried to cross it I went down hard. “Bruised my dignity”, as we say, but my arms ached- probably from catching myself- and that was BEFORE shoveling the next day. Anyway, I wasn’t up for chain sawing until they felt better (and NOW I’m skating on the edge of a cold!).
Also we were admiring our bulgy goats. Since we had such a hard time catching them in heat we decided to have a male in with them and they could handle it themselves. So this year we expect to have plenty of milk and plenty of young goats to butcher. The big problem will probably be getting around to butchering. But since we are actually buying milk (around a half gallon a day doesn’t seem like too much for four people, until you are carrying it home- and paying for it).
Here’s a picture of Vanadis- the most bulgy of the goats, and Al our last goose.

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Ugh, you can see what the back yard looks like with only three inches of snow- all overgrown. I expect Vanadis will “pop” soon. We’ve carried a couple of pallets over and are going to nail them to the walls to make a down and dirty kidding stall.

The kids got back from the PO (Willow might have a picture of Xander posting his valentines on her Live Journal) and tell me that the news in Wilton is that a pipe broke under Main Street, that Carl (at the color shop) is looking well (seems to be beating the cancer), and they got to watch them pouring fudge at Nelsons. Now she is dyeing and listening to Queen.

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These are the other goats- Michaelangelo, the buck, Cobweb, the old lamancha, Fiona, who we have been meaning to eat, and probably will because she doesn’t look pregnant, and Sweetie, the black and white Alpine who is now the queen goat (so she’s not so sweet anymore).

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Luckily for writing this letter, we didn’t do much this week. We had our first “real” snow last week- of course it was only three inches, just barely worth shoveling. And that’s only because if we left it, it would get crushed down into an inconvenient sheet of ice. I’ve been doing paperwork and wishing I could be writing or doing art. In the evening I knit and watch TV.

Movies I watched She’s the Man is a modernization of Shakespeare’s 12th Night, which I didn’t think was one of his best anyway. The girl pretends to be her brother in order to prove that girls can play soccer, and most of the humor comes from her acting the way a girl thinks guys act, so it’s over-done. I’m guessing that that may have been the appeal back in the 16th century too- only the mannerisms would be different. My favorite bit was that the guy who was advising her on male mannerisms was gay. We took out Chocolat again (Johnny Depp is generally worth a second look); it’s about how a small, stolid French town is forced to take a second look at how important it is to enjoy life when a mysterious woman opens up a chocolate shop. Left Behind was a boring “mystery” in which a bunch of people disappeared, and it turned out it was because the Rapture was real, and those left had Armageddon to look forward to. Willow warned me not to bother with it, and I didn’t listen. Next time I’ll pay more attention. Star rented Ice Pirates a mildly funny “B” science fiction, which I saw decades ago- I didn’t bother watching it. I wish I could get him to watch movies where the humor didn’t all come from sexual innuendo and broad physical comedy. I worry that he may be learning what “normal” behavior is from the dumb guy movies he watches, but hey, as I understand it, most women don’t get Three Stooges, and most people like Mr. Magoo, which just makes me cringe it’s so dumb. In contrast, The Muppets Wizard of Oz was amusing- not up to their Treasure Island or Christmas Carol, but at least they followed the book in lots of ways than most Oz movies don’t, although they modernized it, and had a black Gale family, which I didn’t see as necessary, but on the other hand, when it was written it was about a current girl going to an American style Land of Faerie. They did have a lot of clever jokes- I really loved the scene with the flying monkeys- they were a “biker gang” (mostly made up of leftover pirates from Treasure Island) with the name Flying Monkeys on their studded leather jackets, on flying motorcycles, and flew to the Ride of the Valkeries. But they had the Great Oz doing his assortment of different roles, and had the full range of witches, so that was good. Not so good: Toto was played by Pepe, the weird little oversexed Hispanic prawn from Treasure Island. Ick. Pepe is not QUITE as annoying as Elmo, but close. I can only assume that they have fun with him back stage- I’ve never seen the appeal. On the other hand, I DO watch Three and a Half Men, and Charlie other than being human and Anglo, is not that different than Pepe. I guess the appeal may be of watching people do stupid things and suffering the consequences. I suppose it’s because we all do stupid things (or want to) and feel better when we see that someone else is as dumb as we are. It’s escapist fantasy, but at least I laugh, eh?
Mostly I tend to borrow/rent old TV rather than movies- Buffy, Angel, I’ve ordered Firefly which people say is good. I got through the second season of LOST, and am now eagerly awaiting the third season which isn’t out yet. It’s a great series. I guess putting people on a desert island cuts away the veneer of modern stuff that seems important but isn’t, and cuts it down to relationships. Took the series 6 Feet Under out from the library. It tells the story of a family when the father dies and leaves his sons the family business which neither of them want. It deals with relationships and what’s important. (Is it more important to get the bodies tucked away with as little fuss and expense as you can, or is to deal with the issues arising from an interrupted life?) And the fake commercials for funeral products are hilarious!
I find that I really prefer watching TV shows a season at a time, so I can get into the ongoing story lines- which are far more important to me than the “this week’s plot” part of a show. Of course, I’ve almost finished the second season of Medium that Steve loaned me, and started doling episodes out because I hate the idea that I’ll be done with them. I love their family dynamic, and the way they have to try to balance their psychic abilities and how they are clearly there, with cultural antagonism they aren’t as “reliable” as acceptable methods of getting information. Yes, it’s real, but nearly useless. It’s that nearly that gets you. Boy, what if they did a show about a family of artists who all lived together because at least together they could share expenses and people who understood their passion for art? Are there enough artists out there to make that a sellable project? Seems like most of the people I know have some artistic talent which they sideline because it’s not something they can pay the bills with- I bet they’d relate to it. (Especially if one of the members of the family had a “real” job to help with the bills, and had to try to fit his art in around it.)
Good lord, I’m babbling this week- I’m going to blame it on fighting off this cold. At least I’ll use it as an excuse not to go back and edit. Sorry- until next week, stay warm!


“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” M. Scott Peck

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