Happy Public Sleeping Day


    Oh My! Where has the month gone‽ I don’t seem to have accomplished anything this month, and it had stretched out before me as a great realm of possibilities since I only had that one event to attend- the Mensa RG. Now it’s pretty much over and I feel like I’ve done little but putter around, read a bit, watch some videos, cook a few things, and shovel the occasional bit of snow. (this pic is from after Nemo)
after nemo
I got my van inspected- I need new tires, sigh. I put it off, waiting for enough money to come in (which it has, but I’m not going out today- we’re having snow and freezing rain). There was another “blizzard” over the weekend. This time we didn’t bother digging out more than 4 cars worth of the driveway- what for? Many people would have lawns. (can you imagine me grimacing when I say that word?) I’m actually thinking of possibly putting in some raised beds, and a salad garden there. It would be easier than going out back every day to weed and harvest. We don’t get the huge numbers of guests we used to. This one was not much more than five inches. I wonder if it’s accumulating any faster than it’s subsiding.
My achievements appear to be things on the order of advancing the card calendar, painting my nails (something at which I am very bad, as I don’t seem to have the patience to wait long enough for it to dry, so it always gets smudged), and organizing small pockets of chaos. Entropy is winning however.
I know I am spending too much time on facebook. As with so many other things in the modern world, it claims to be asking for “only” a moment of your time, and then another, and another and another, and to my surprise the computer is reminding me that hours have passed. I am plotting methods of escaping this, but so many of the things I do are on the computer- updating my websites, advertising my “radio” show, banking, writing this letter….
I also like reading the articles friends share on facebook. I seem to have a wide range of friends who are on both sides of many issues from GMO foods to guns. By and large facebook tends to send you things that go along with what you already like, which doesn’t lead to much learning of new things. I did get to see the Captain Kirk section of the Oscar ceremonies (then requested the winners from the library). Someone shared a strange version of the music: “O Fortuna” from the Carmina Burana, with subtitles for “misheard lyrics” for those who don’t understand medieval Latin. (Some of the original are available on Wikipedia.) On Youtube, one clip leads to another, and I ended up watching several, and it’s been going through my head ever since!
John's birthday
Last Thursday was John’s birthday. We had a roast and a marble cake, and a balloon and some candy, but didn’t do much else. We’d planned to go to the Science Museum the next day, which we did. This time I got to try the so called “experience a hurricane” tubes. They must be broken, the winds hardly flapped my coat and hair when they were supposed to be at 80 mph. I’d guess them to have been closer to 30mph. Kat got it on film, but it was not impressive, except the bit with Kat when her skirt was blowing up like Marilyn Monroes. In my opinion if it’s not strong enough to blow up a woolen skirt, it’s NOT a gale force wind. If you want wind, stand in front of one of the house cooling fans like my grandmother had in the attic of her house. It was about 6′ in diameter and could push a small child backwards when plugged in. (Before there was air conditioning, you’d put one of these pointing out of an attic window, turn it on in the evening to push all the warm air out, thus sucking cooler air in the lower windows. Then you’d close up tight during the day.) We also went into the Butterfly room, and saw the electric show. I’m fond of the electric show- when I came home I watched the Sorcerer’s Apprentice again. Tesla coils rock. We also played with the frozen shadow wall, and looked at a lot of their bones. Somehow the loggerhead turtle scull looks cute even though it’s over a foot in diameter.butterfly room
On the way home we asked John to pick a restaurant, and he chose the Texas Roadhouse because he was in the mood for steak- just so long as we promised not to let them know that it was his birthday. (They “make” birthday boys sit on a rolling saddle while they sing to them.) Then he had the fisherman’s planner. I had steak, the girls had ribs. John also had cheesecake. I guess we’re all grown up now. More relaxation seems good for birthdays.
It was “Margarita Day” and they had a special- a flight of 3 different margaritas for about $8, so Kat tried it (and we tasted). The peach was rather nice, but I think I preferred the more usual citrus flavor. This is one of the first times I’ve seen other people paying attention to these odd holidays. If I worked in a grocery store I know I’d put up a display touting everything from Coc au Vin Day to Chocolate Covered Peanuts Day to Chili Day (tomorrow). I think it was rather clever, and Kat enjoyed them.
This week the gifts bought on line for John’s birthday, mostly videos of classic movies, are coming in. Sadly, I didn’t think to order them with time enough for shipping. Annoyingly, the program that organizes the Amazon Wish-list isn’t quite good enough at detecting and preventing duplication, oh, well. I still like it, just wish it were more effective.john's birthday presents(this is Johns Haul)
Just sharing something that amused me- when last I ordered from Amazon, after I checked out a page came up saying: “get yourself a little something”, and suggested (based, no doubt on my previous purchases and searches) A New Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Great Square-Headed Brooches which I would love to read, but the price is $521 new, and $262 used; hardly what I would call “a little something”.

Willow went over to Megan’s twice this week to help her reclaim her studio. While she was not doing as well, they started “sticking” things in there, and now that has to be cleared and reorganized. Thinking about my studio, I SO understand that! People really don’t appreciate storage space enough- it’s impossible. It’s almost as wonderful as toilet paper. The second time she left a “trap”. We picked up a Whitman’s sampler heart on the post Valentine’s “75% off” sale, and it included a light sensing music chip that plays Sonny and Cher’s “I got you Babe” when you open the lid. She left it in one of their kitchen cupboards, and I’m sure they’ll be leaving it somewhere it can keep spreading the joy. We didn’t know about it when we bought the candy, and the first time we’d opened the box, it was too dark to trigger it, so it was quite a surprise when it went off. This should be allowed to continue to spread joy and trepidation until it’s battery dies.Valentines tableOur February settings.
Also amusing- I discovered a new site of facebook- the Grandiloquent Word of the Day, which this week has introduced me to the words “Tiffin” (lunch or any light meal, “Hebetic” (pertaining to puberty), “Accubation” (the posture of reclining on a Couch), “Ultracrepidarian” (someone who gives opinions on matters beyond their knowledge), and “Bathycolpian” (having large breasts). I do love new words, and many “word a days” are aimed at people who don’t know the ones I already know. These are generally unusual enough that I haven’t yet encountered them. (I guess that shows you what a quiet week it’s been around here!)

The other day I found myself saying “I’m only 60.” I suppose I should say only 61, but still, 60 is a lot younger than 90, which I expect to hit, but isn’t it amazing that an age that once seemed so old can seem young. I suppose it’s because I know more people who are in their sixties, seventies and eighties. This may be why I’m thinking about how to get off the computer and get something done. I’d rather expected to do more cleaning and art this month. Watching QI or listening to Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me is fun, but it’s not accomplishing anything.
I suppose the same could be said for the audio courses I enjoy so much, but I can convince myself that they are improving my mind (at this point I’m listening to the Celts: Icons of the Iron Age, although I’m still reading Ceasar’s Wives, Helen of Troy, and Portrait of a Priestess, and looking at the art books that I took out while I was listening to the Greek and Roman courses. The other day I got another catalogue from the Great Courses company and reorganized my collection (to make sure I didn’t order any I had already). I have a couple dozen on history of the ancient world, and another dozen on comparative religion. I do really enjoy learning about this stuff!
Not surprizingly, my fictional reading is integrated, I finished Saturnalia and started Alexandria (which I’d started a while ago, but stopped when I realized I was out of order). I also re-watched I, Claudius. Some of their aging make-up was excellent, and some was less convincing. I suppose it’s because we now know what those actors look like now that they are older.
I continue to have a hard time remembering to do the half hour a day on the Spanish, at the computer. I’m so used to doing it in the morning as I rise, audio only, that sitting at the computer doing both audio and video eludes me.  Speaking of which, Steve has gotten his computer hooked up so that he can do video chatting, which I quite enjoy. It’s very easy on facebook, you only need to click the camera icon, if both of you have a computer that has the camera and microphone. First, he didn’t have the microphone on, and then the sound and image wasn’t synced up properly- but it reminded me of the old space to earth videos where one had the long pauses in conversation, and then of Star Trek. (I remember when people who were working on the automatic doors to which we are now so accustomed called Rodenberry to find out how he managed it, only to find that they had a guys behind the doors manually pulling them open. But it does make sense that doors would automatically open in the future.) Or that we could speak. Actually, what I want is a Dick Tracy wristwatch with a screen (that would be something like wearing your smart phone on your wrist, I guess), so I can continue the conversation as I wander around the house.

Liz tells me Kitty came up to visit for school vacation (Kitty’s an Art Teacher), and they went car shopping together. Kitty found a Lincoln, although she has hasn’t yet posted a picture of it on fb. To me, letting people know about this sort of thing is what facebook is all about.
I’m rather annoyed about the Supreme Court finding in favor of Monsanto in the case where they claim it’s not their fault if their pesticides contaminate a neighboring organic farm, while they’re still allowed to claim reparations from when their grain gets mixed in with someone else’s crop when they didn’t want it there.
Clearly this is a “slow news week” here at Four Oaks Farm, so I’ll sign off until next week.

Tchipakkan
“In the silence I heard Bastet, who had retreated under the bed, carrying on a mumbling, profane monologue. (If you ask how I knew it was profane, I presume you have never owned a cat.)”
― Elizabeth Peters, The Deeds of the Disturber