3-16-2016 Everything you Do is Right Day!

We’ve had all sorts of weather here this week- sunshine, snow, rain… During the weekend it was very sunny and Willow and I talked about getting the leaves raked off the side garden, but I didn’t get to it. Two days later I went out and there were four inch green spikes coming up through the leaves- when the daffodils decide to grow, they don’t waste time! We now have the first crocus.
I am beginning to get past the Daylight Savings Time disorientation. I am trying to concentrate on how much I like the longer days, and ignore the switch. There are enough other things to be cross about.

Willow did get sick, but felt well enough to go out to see Raye and Joanie for Raye’s birthday Saturday evening. They almost missed them, because Artist Alley closed early, and Willow only really wanted to see her friends so she skipped the con, and got to the restaurant just as they were leaving- not getting there. But they went to the movies together and saw Zootopia, which they enjoyed, although Willow still doesn’t like the 3-D they do these days. Just in case she was still contagious, she wore a face mask- decorative, of course.
Sadly the cough has hung on and hung on. It’s at that stage now where she’s mostly coughing because the throat secretes liquid to soothe the irritation, but of course, that has to be coughed up or it would run down into the lungs, so there’s more irritation which stimulates more mucus. Frustrating. She doesn’t care for the taste (licorice and anise dominate) my cough syrup, so we got some commercial cough syrup, and it helped, but she doesn’t really like to use it because it’s got that sucralose, and by and large we prefer to avoid products that haven’t been around for a few decades to see what “surprise” results show up.

I have been having very weird and disturbing dreams lately, at the same time not being able to remember them, which is odd for me, but I am given to understand that this is just something that’s happening this cycle. I am uncertain whether it’s terribly widespread because my friends do tend to be more likely to mention things like this than perhaps the general population. But really, are people going to tell casual acquaintances about having weird dreams? The usual response is to ask what happened in the dream; we are especially interested in them if we appear. It seems that how someone sees you in their dreams MUST be how they really see you, and it’s disturbing when we have done something we wouldn’t do in non-dreaming reality. (Is that really how you see me?)  But I don’t expect that’s how we see people any more than we expect rooms from different houses to open into each other or our travel to morph from driving to walking without our noticing, as it does in dreams. One thing that bugs me is that the people talking about it report that it’s a time of disturbing dreams AND that it’s a time for dreams to come true. I don’t remember them well, but I have been waking up feeling miserable and disturbed most mornings, and really look forward to going back to normal dreams, which tend to be fun for me.

On Friday John and I went over to help Mark clean out Bruce’s office. We started by working on his living room so we’ll have a place to put things down and clear space to sort stuff. I bet we’re going to find a lot of obsolete technology in there. Mostly this time what we took out was four largish cat “furniture”. Bruce really spoiled his cat! We switched out the one we’d been using for the one that was in best shape, and the kittens seem to enjoy it. One clever toy was a spring on a base with a bit of fluff on top. I thought it looked like a “Truffula tuft” from the Lorax. It looked like a great cat toy- but it didn’t last. Pyewacket liked it, but is like one of those people who hate seeing a hanging thread. He’s very susceptible to dangling strings, and found this irrisistable. I kept finding him with his mouth full of blue fluff, and he kept at it. The tuft is now bald. We have to decide whether to add something else- preferably sturdier- on top of the spring and base or just chuck it. Time will tell whether it gave up it’s fur because it was old or whether Pyewacket just likes disemboweling things. That bodes well for his skills as a mouser, but ill for small toys. I have to admit that he has ripped the guts out of several stuffed cat toys already. We are looking forward to letting them out. We’ve put the anti-flea drops on the adults, but are waiting on the kittens until they’ve had their balls cut off.

While we were at Marks, John used his scale (the old fashioned kind- I love those!) and was disturbed that he was nearing 300 pounds. So since I was disturbed that my winter baking and comfort foods has allowed my weight to creep back up to 275, I have gone back on the low-carb diet, and he’s joined me. Willow’s going along a bit- not totally eschewing all bread. It is a bit odd for me to try to make dinner without a starch- I deal with this by making two vegetables. With the salad that makes plenty of food on the plate and enough variety. I guess I’m used to having the plate divided in three, not two.
I have every intention of having potatoes tomorrow with my corned beef. I think in order to make it a “life style change”, one has to allow for the occasional deviation. I think it’s hardest on Kat, who has such a hard time eating anything, and things like french fries and other junk food are often what her gorge doesn’t reject. Luckily, it will accept crudites, and those are nutritious. I have to accept that meat, cheese and nuts are more expensive than bread and pasta, and they sure don’t feel the same psychologically. Yesterday 3-14 was Pi Day, and we didn’t have pie. <pout>.  On the other hand, John has dropped six pounds already, and I’ve lost a couple. I would be pleased to continue losing and get down to what I’d consider a reasonable weight. I do NOT agree with the wii-fit that I should be 132 pounds, the foolish thing thinks Kat is obese! It’s coming up on 1000 days (Friday) since we got the wii-fit, and we HAVE been using it since we got the living room back.
This was helpful when Avi’s kids came over during the weekend. I enjoy seeing them, and they are not hard to deal with. Mostly Bianca will amuse herself with her tablet or the wii, and Caelin likes the legos and the wii. Avi is Willows best friend, her “other sister” (although usually we dislike the modern habit of re-defining friends as family), and don’t mind watching her kids when she gets weird schedules. She’s mid-level management with Verizon and has to go to lots of stores, and often work weekends, and sometimes both she and Trevor (who now lives in Manchester) are both working at the same time. They are a bit fussy eaters, B doesn’t like oranges, so I couldn’t tempt her with one of the blood oranges I have. My kids loved them. Better, I suppose, not to create a fondness for weird expensive foods; she’s already fond of nori (or some other snack type seaweed- which she brought along).
We put out some apple slices and cheese and Caelin discovered how wonderful Havarti is. Big surprise. Some kids don’t know there’s anything but american cheese. But there are so many flavors- Kat and I like swiss, Willow doesn’t. We are all fond of cheddar, but I think I’m the only one who likes smoked cheeses. I think kids should know that there are different types of cheeses- and different varieties of apples, oranges and bananas. There are so many examples of people not realizing that what they learned to dislike  as a kid wasn’t the only way a food could be prepared. I was surprised to discover that they are fond of tea- the herbal/fruit kind.

I am SO domestic. I fixed the toilet. Sadly while it took alltoilet flapper guts of about five minutes to install the “flapper”, it took me an hour to get the part (in Milford), and about 5 hours of watching clips about toilet repairs on youtube before I felt confident enough to do it.
I am also jealous of all those toilets I watched that are as white on the inside as the outside. I guess we must have iron or other stuff in our water, and know it’s at least 20 years old- we certainly haven’t changed it since we moved in. One of the videos suggested that everything in your toilet should be cycled out and replaced every five years. Another mentioned that the reason they moved the blue disinfectant from the tank to the bowl is because it was degrading the flappers and other plastic parts, so maybe that’s not as important. Another was by a plumber who has been working since the sixties and compared flappers- apparently there used to be a “one size fits all”, and now there are so many that they have to carry around a couple dozen to be sure to have the one that will fit. He suggested taking the old part to the store to make sure you get the same one, so I did. I am still not sure it’s a perfect fit- as with everything else in the house it seems a melange of jury-rigged disparate parts.

This week I watched Skinwalkers, which I thought was a TV show, and was very disappointed to discover was a series of TV movies, because I really liked the three they made. It’s a cop show about Tribal police dealing with crimes on and around the reservation. The scenery and culture were gorgeous, alien to this New England ever-so-white woman. I thought I was going to have another series to watch like the Midsomer Murders with wonderful characters in a foreign environment. I loved that the young officer, Chee, was trying to walk the line between learning the medicine way and being a policeman. (It has to be  The other main character, Longhorn, is trying to balance his life as a cop with caring for his wife who’s fighting cancer. The characters are all appealing, and I wish they’d made more.
My re-watching of NCIS has taken me up to the 200th episode, from back in 2012.  I note that they have recently done their 300th, so I’ve still got a ways to go to catch up. (I haven’t seen any past the 10th season.) Kat’s been running through the X Files, and tells me about the fun ones. It is easier to follow the character interactions when you watch them all, but I don’t have that much time to invest. I watch while cooking and washing dishes, and then when I am knitting because climbing the stairs seems like too much energy.
While Avi’s kids were here, I put on The General, (1926) which I hadn’t watched before. To my surprise the General wasn’t a character, but the name of Keaton’s railroad engine. The plot revolves around the hero (young Buster Keaton was surprisingly handsome!) being rejected by his girl friend when he’s rejected by the army at the outbreak of the war. No one told him that they’d decided that he was more valuable as an engineer than as a foot soldier. Later on he gets to save her as she’s traveling to see her wounded father, and save the army from the bad guys- in this case the Union. There was a lot of jumping off of and onto trains and cars, and shooting and near misses. I was wondering if it was a “hard sell” in the north, since they are portrayed as the bad guys. This would have been about 65 years before the movie came out. While there probably weren’t any veterans of the Civil War left, there were certainly people who’d been brought up with a highly glamorized version of the Southern Cause.  I’ve been trying to get my head around the idea that 40% of Trump supporters want “the South to Rise Again” now- 155 years later, so how did people feel when the movie came out? Who was the audience? Historical romances so often use lovers from opposing sides of a conflict finding love by getting past their prejudices. There was none of this in the movie. Was Keaton southern? It was a good film.
I’ve been hearing a great deal about how Hollywood doesn’t bother using the right ethnic types for lead roles, and having just watched the trailer for the new Ben Hur, I have to say that I agree. I’m sure there are lots of excellent actors out there who’d actually look like they were from the middle east. It’s one thing to be “color blind” and let anyone play any role, but another thing to do movies where the plot revolves around people’s nationalities, and not take advantage of the wealth of acting talent out there. It looks as stupid as John Wayne as Genghis Khan, with a lot less excuse!

I finished the Fablehaven books, and cannot recommend them enough. It’s a great fantasy series, the heroes are young, but the characters are well rounded, the story has no slow spots. I really admire the way that the young people act like teens, not adults in young bodies. Also, people react differently than each other, which is something one doesn’t always see in fiction. I expect that at some point we’ll have to get a copy of the series, the only question is hard copy or kindle (or both)?
Other than that, read some medieval history- Medieval Monasteries made it sound rather appealing, although I doubt I’d really do well with the poverty or the obedience, but for an occasional vacation from thinking, it would be a great way to just BE.  Medieval Castles made me depressed because while talking about how they were designed for defense, and other aspects, I couldn’t help thinking about the poor Saxons being forced to build these huge structures so that the Normans would have a more secure place from where to dominate them. It was depressing. All these years studying Saxons has given me a really huge anti-Norman bias.

I could share a recipe with you- in my attempts to make high protein breakfasts for us I found a way to make “ham bowls” you can use to serve salads. You need to put 2 slices of deli ham crossing each other over custard cups or I used the back of muffin pans. Then you have to put another cup on it, or put a bowl over the other bowl to keep it from shrinking. Also trim the excess off so it doesn’t blacken- whatever sticks out. Bake for a half hour at 350º. Take the top off while it cools.  For advice I’m going to say that I put it back in to use the waste heat, and then forgot it was in and only discovered them when I had preheated the oven for dinner. Oops. Yes, without the top holding them down- they do shrink. So leave the top on if you try it. More successful were the mini-quiches  I made, with ham crusts. I cut the ham slices into squares and cut slits on each side to allow them to lie flat against the side of the pans, and put the trimmings in the quiche with the cheese and onion. Those were good.

Well, I’m off- have to get ready for my podcast. Tonight I’m having Jeffrey Cerneson a Cunning Man on tonight.  Stay sane.
All goals are achievablein increments.
Some tasks cannot be achieved that way.