Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

Hi again! November 7. 2019

I’m sitting at the computer drinking tea. It is much easier to drink tea all day if you are only a few steps away from the restroom. So far I’ve had Rhubarb, Lemon Ginger, “Raspberry Inferno”, Vanilla Chai, English Breakfast,  & Chamomile. Today I’m going for variety. Some days I just drink Chai, but figured I should change up a bit.

 I went out today and got a picture of the foliage- not exciting any more, and that’s not just because it’s raining. The last time it rained we had that ‘defoliation’ that happens at the end of October. There are still leaves up, but most of the maples are bare, we have a lot of brown, which does contrast nicely with the yellow of the birches, but it’s not flashy the way the maples are at peak.
It’s been cold for the last several days. It was mild, warm even, around Halloween. Gorgeous on Halloween itself! But we have been really looking forward to getting the wood stove installed. I have to admit that I’ve been baking a lot, not JUST to have the baked goods, but also because it warms up the kitchen.
Of course, the thermostat on the gas oven has been deteriorating for the past year. Last winter we figured to get 350º we had to set the stove to 408º and it’s been creeping up. Now we need to set it at 450º and it doesn’t stay, we have to check it about every 15 minutes and if it’s decided to not bother to track the oven heat, we must turn it off and on again to maintain the heat. We replaced the thermostat a few years ago, I guess we have to do it again. Sunday I tried to make a Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and was so tired I forgot to check it, so it was flat as the proverbial pancake. Same taste, nasty texture, we tossed most of it out.  I can’t make popovers and that really bothers me. Well, better to replace the thermostat than the whole stove I guess.
The girls posted these pictures of when they went to Salem in October. I really like the one of Willow!
When Willow and Kat went to the amusement park with Avi last week (or weekend before?) they were talking about the challenge of taking two kids who are sort of the opposite of cooperative out on Halloween, so good old Willow decided to do the Governess thing and take one of them, and Kat offered to go over and pass out candy for Avi while they were out.
Part of me says “when I was a kid, parents didn’t have to accompany…” but frankly, with Avi’s kids, I totally agree that it’s a good idea.
Anyway,we don’t get kids recently, I was hopeful this year, since the school bus which hasn’t been going by for the last few years, has come by again, but sadly, I think their parents took them down to the center- or maybe even apartment complexes, because it’s all about finding a target rich environment. Kids may have been willing to walk farther for more goodies, but while the parents are driving or walking with them, there isn’t so much internal “I’m ready to go home now”, and more planning.
  So they set Kat up on the porch with a veil, and long dress, a black light (or purple light?) under her skirts, and the bowl of treats in her lap. During the day Willow made a large spider with adjustable legs which I think was hung over her. She apparently got a lot of good reactions from the kids who came by. She was holding quite still and got to overhear a good deal of discussion of whether she was real or not. She actually got to answer one. Even better, Willow overheard some other kids suggesting to friends they encountered to “Go over to X street, they’ve got a really cool thing!” (All we had was a couple jack-o’lanterns!) They are talking about maybe putting up an actual dummy next year in one of Kat’s dresses just to mess with people. They are in the suburbs/ neighborhoods of Keene, so it’s a good place for trick-or-treating.
Willow and Avi each took one kid, so they could go at different speeds, smart women that they are! Willow got Kalen, who started complaining that his feet hurt right away. Willow had helped (done) Kalen’s outfit. He’s some cartoon character I don’t recognize, but the mask was made by drawing the face onto cheesecloth so he could see through it. Creepy as all get out.
John and I each carved a Jack-o’lanturn. He went for the traditional face to repel evil influences. I couldn’t decide until I’d actually taken out all the innards. I was trying to see which face was the flattest, (we’d waited until the thirtieth to buy it, and it was sort of lopsided), and seeing my hadn’t on the side of the pumpkin, I decided to do a “palmistry ad”. I think I’ll do a traditional face next year- it may attract kids. Also if we carve and light them up a week in advance that might advertise.  I don’t like to carve them too early, in case they rot. (The little sugar pumpkins we had on the newel posts are starting to go, although we didn’t carve them!) Technically, the Saturday following Halloween is “Pumpkin Destruction Day”, and if I’d had the energy, I’d have chopped mine into pie. I cooked down the bits we removed from our jacks and made a lovely custard (like a pumpkin pie, without the crust). It was good. Lots of good pumpkin seeds too.
  The girls got back from Keene between nine and ten, the seeds were in the oven- then the power went out! “Gotta love those Halloween power outages.” White it was warm, there was a dramatic level of wind. (I guess it was the cold coming in.)
That just shot all my ambition straight into the toilet! I couldn’t wash dishes or laundry (no water pump), couldn’t bake (the thermostat on the gas stove is electric), couldn’t go on the computer, couldn’t read after dark- so I basically read my kindle until I’d used up the battery. I hadn’t finished doing the holidays for the first, so when I woke up and the lights were back in the morning, around 6, I rushed down and posted them, then went back to bed. When I got up again around 10 or 11, the power was out again. WTF? Well, I had noticed that it was windy. I ran down the battery on my other kindle, then we (Willow, Kat and I) went out. To the store and library- what else was there to do. When we came back we noticed a power truck going down Holt Road, and wandered over to see what they were doing. As Willow remarked “Well, THERE’S your problem!”  A tree down on the line- on the south side of our property. The tree was not big enough to break it, but apparently big enough to mess with the power. One doesn’t usually see a bent angle in a power line like that! Not too much later the power was back and I could gleefully wash up the dishes!
I am pleased that we have a gas stove because I can, at least cook on the stove top when the power is out.
I guess I last wrote October 27th, we were gearing up for Halloween. Having missed Steve’s birthday on the 13th and being busy the next two weekends, he finally got up to celebrate on the last Sunday. He liked the cards I got him, and admired the pen and ink art the girls had been making for Inktober. We had shepherd’s pie with ground lamb, mushrooms and pearl onions. It was REALLY good. Sour cream based coffee cake. We watched The Raven (Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff); a lovely, low key good time.
My application to switch the mortgage over to the coop was turned down, they suggested trying again in six months when my credit is better. I thought it was pretty good. I think it’s because we don’t know how to talk about our household combined income. My Social Security certainly can’t pay for all our expenses.
When November 1st came, the pen and ink drawings all came down and I tried doing a reading with them. Each day there was a prompt, which I figured would give some symbolism. We’ll have to wait to see how the reading worked. I did it for “the rest of the year”. It’s sort of sobering to think we’ve only got 52 (51, 50, 49…) days left until it’s 2020! (I am SO jealous of the British quick election system!)

John and I have gone over to Mark’s to help him organize the last couple of weeks. It’s been long enough since Bruce died that he’s ready to toss some of the more personal items, clear his closet etc. Bruce had outlived his family so there was no one to take the artifacts of his life. We tossed out his diplomas- two masters and a bachelors. Wow, you work, you achieve, then, you die and your stuff means nothing any more. Sobering to think about.

Mark takes us out to lunch, and I blush to admit that I took out my phone after we’d ordered to check my Facebook. Our friend Brian was practicing armored combat the previous Friday and during a Grapple Melee, ended up on the bottom of a pig pile. Think of one of those American football piles- only in full armor. Sadly, his leg was twisted wrong, and broke. They whisked him to the nearest hospital, where there was a lot of waiting. (Don’t hurt yourself Friday evening, hospitals have skeleton staffs on weekends.) They put a pin in the tibia Sunday, then sent him up to Greenbriar Rehab in Nashua on Halloween.  At some point they found a blood clot in his lungs, so he’s on blood thinners, and got sent over to the SNHMC for a couple of days for some complication (that’s what I wanted to check on, even at the risk of doing the phone thing in a restaurant), but he’s back at the rehab again. Amusingly, his new “legs” (leg armor) has shipped, although I expect it will be a bit before he gets to use them. I also figure He won’t be coming to CTCW this year.
Jane is planning on coming, although she had cataract surgery at the beginning of the week, and won’t be able to lift anything. Honour is going in to have a lumpectomy (limpoma)  removed tomorrow. Despite my slowing down, crumbling teeth, and failing hearing and vision, I’m feeling in comparatively good shape!
We had no voting in NH, (that I was aware of, and I checked the internet). Guy Fawkes Day came and went. Willow brought home sausages so we could have sausage and mash, but it was too cold and we were too tired to go out and shoot off fireworks. (John and I did watch V for Vendetta while I washed the dishes though. It’s sort of depressing that while in England the day is celebrated with bonfires to celebrate the incompetency of terrorists, here, because of the movie, it represents the ability of the many to overcome even the powerful few. To me it represents just another example of how religion can give people an excuse to force other people do what they think is the right way to live. It has happened WAY too often.
I read another Poirot Mystery “Hallowe’en Party”, which was as fun as the others I’ve recently read. I have to say reading both authors who are pretty darned good, and ones who are just fun does bring the talent of the former into clearer perspective. I can’t deny that I thoroughly enjoyed the Witch Squad (witches in college) and Coffee Coven (witches in their 60s) books, but at the same time, I was frequently irritated by the flaws in plot, and disagreements with the author about how magic works (in my experience). Similarly I was irritated by a John Oliver rant about psychics in which he used examples of psychics failing in their predictions combined with psychics who took advantage of clients to argue that there are no real psychics. Sorry guy, your logic doesn’t fly. Just because there are bad doctors, crooked doctors, and sometimes good doctors make mistakes, doesn’t mean that the profession is all a scam. I don’t see why this is a hard concept. I also recently noticed how many ’samples’ I have on my kindle, and have started trying to read them, and decide which I want to eventually get the whole book, and which I should just delete and forget. Frankly, I like that they’ll give you 10% of a book so you can decide whether you want to get it. It’s very frustrating, though, when there are short books (like 40 pages) for which you get four pages which include the cover, title page and first page of the introduction. NOT enough to know whether you want to get it! Please start counting from where the book starts! I’d also like to start getting through the physical books on my bedstead!
There’s a page on Facebook Grandiloquent Word that shares fun, lesser used, usually archaic words, and I enjoy it, It’s where I learned scurryfunge (clean quickly in advance of guests). This week these went by:
Loganamnosis (n.)-A mania, or obsession, for trying to recall forgotten words or a specific word.
Lethologica (n.) -The inability to remember a specific word or to put your finger on the right word.
Vellichor (n.) -The wistfulness of a second-hand bookshop.
Lethologica and Loganamnosis are real problems for me. On the other hand, when you use a word that the person with whom you’re speaking doesn’t know, it’s rather pointless isn’t it? Maybe not if they are interested in learning the word and ask you to share it with them, but if they don’t care, it is. 
Ah, well it’s gotten late. If I’ve forgotten something, I’m going to have to live without sharing it.

Tchipakkan 

      “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.― Søren Kierkegaard

Upcoming holidays:
 Changing Times-Changing Worlds Conference tenth one this weekend!