10-3&4-2018 Taco and Soft Taco Days

Yes, this is a day late, I’ve been captured by good books too often lately. If not having the virtue of industriousness, I can at least be honest about that.
I have hardly been out of the house- I did notice that we have echinacea blooming in the herb garden, and the phlox keep coming back. I hesitate to cut them for vases because I want them to reseed, but maybe I don’t know how it works. The leaves are beginning to turn. Big surprise! It’s October. How did it get to be October? That’s nearly the end of the year! Argh! It’s been raining a lot, and I haven’t been too hot in a long time, which is nice. I also love not worrying about using too much water.
The weather was cool enough that I baked this week- I made some brownies and some oatmeal cookies, they were both all gone in a few days, and I’m ambivalent about that- I don’t think we should eat that much “treat”, but an oatmeal cookie feels like it’s not that bad for you- oats, nuts, raisins, eggs, butter, good stuff. Brownies have no such claim to any virtue.
It’s “Inktober” and the girls are doing a drawing a day. I did one on the first, but haven’t kept up. Oh, well.
Mark came over on Saturday, and while seeing him out I tripped, knocked the wind out of myself, banged my knee, and twisted my thumb. It’s annoying that now that I’m old, a pratfall that would ordinarily have simply been embarrassing, is a bit scary. One cannot fail to remember that old people tend to injure themselves severely when the fall, and since we, as a culture, don’t seem to distinguish between 66 year olds and 88 year olds, I don’t know whether or not to be worried at any point. Generally I figure that my lifetime of slow aging is probably continuing, and I’m not old as other 66 year olds physically, but who knows? I aged a bunch during the Lyme! I know I’m not as strong as “I think I am” and can’t do things as fast as I expect to do them. I took arnica and did healing, and both the knee and thumb are much better. Perhaps it is my being worried about it, that makes me still notice them.
Sunday Steve came up. (Weekends where we aren’t doing anything are good for socializing.) The girls brought home some ground beef when they wen’t out to get fabric for Kat’s latest commission. Possibly because of the shock when I fell, I had a toothache all day, which I treated by taking a LOT of Vitamin C. Whether because of that or the tea I’ve been drinking, I was up all night, every 45 minutes or less, using the facilities; I didn’t get to sleep until five. Then, of course, I slept until noon, and the next night the same- my sleep cycle was thrown WAY off. (It occurs to me that this is probably TMI, sorry.) Anyway, Willow loaned me one of her sleep pills, so I was asleep before midnight to get me back on schedule before Twilight Covening. (I’m leaving Friday morning, so I’m trying to get packed tonight!) The disturbed sleep did have a major impact on what I got done this week, but I’m happy to say that taking a gram of Vitamin C an hour shot down the toothache. I really do have to sign up for the Tufts Dental program!
I think the biggest thing that happened this week is a local friend and I and I both mentioned we were looking for kittens on fb last week, and one of her friends had a litter, so she snagged one for us. Due to our relaxed way of allowing new cats to integrate into our clouder, I actually haven’t seen it yet. Christine brought her in a cat carrier, and Kat installed her in her room- a, Kat is our resident cat expert, and b, her room is a closed system. (Simply add one cat, kibble, water, litter pan, and wait.)  As expected the kitten immediately hid in the closet, venturing out to eat when it seemed safe. She has moved to under the bed today. If Kat can get a picture before I send this off, I’ll include it. Cats do start exploring the environment in their own good time, and Pyewacket insisted on going into Kat’s room last night. (Pye is a VERY vocal cat!) Kat says he bristled up at the kitten, but that’s expected. I figure the older cats will probably cuff it a few times to show her her place.
We are having a bit of pronoun trouble. Being younger, the girls have easily adopted using the pronoun “they” for any person (or cat) of indeterminate gender. Christine says that the donors thought the cat was female, but we haven’t yet turned her upside down to check (it seems rude when you’ve just met, doesn’t it?) so Kat feels we should call it “they”. I figure we can go with she and her until we know better. Every time I hear “they” I think there is more than one kitten or cat she’s talking about. While I understand intellectually that “they” is a gender neutral pronoun, I cannot get used to it being used as a number neutral pronoun. To me They always implies more than one. I suppose if it’s used in a discussion of a friend who prefers to be ambiguous, fine. It still throws me off. At this point we are referring to the beast as “Singular They”. I hope it won’t stick.
Guess Kat didn’t get a picture- next week I’m sure. (Meanwhile I will sulk because I still haven’t figured out how to get all those pictures I didn’t want on my phone off again, so it will be able to take pictures again. Phooey! Technology is frustrating when you don’t know what you did wrong.) I don’t like being dependent on other people to take pictures for me, any more than I like having to have others drive after dark for me.
So, I’m off to Twilight Covening tomorrow, from Friday until Monday. I will make every effort to get home before dark on Monday. Tuesday morning I’m heading up to Maine to spend time with Liz. She’s out of the hospital now, and family are taking shifts to give her whatever help she needs until she’s back on her feet again. Erin mentioned talking to the hospital about a visiting nurse, but Liz hasn’t got the money, and probably not the insurance to cover it. (Why can’t America have universal health care like the Civilized world‽ At this point I’m not going to say the “rest” because I’m not sure we count as part of it anymore.)
Liz’s doctor found a tiny spot on her lung this summer, and they seemed not particularly concerned. Until last week Liz thought she was going in for a small biopsy- take out the spot and check it, but last week she was told that the plan was to take the whole lower lobe of her lung. I can see the logic of that, as if it’s snipped at the place the connection is smallest, there’ll be less tissue cut, and it’s less traumatic. At least that’s the theory behind doing a heart and lung transplant. Still, it’s hard to wrap your mind around the change from taking a small core sample to taking most of your lung! And they kept her jumping with calling with new things for her to get done, like getting a flu shot beforehand, and making all the arrangements. Apparently Erin has stepped up and organized a schedule to make sure someone’s with her as she recovers. She took her to the hospital and was the one who called me to tell me when she got out, and was doing well. The surgery was Monday and I think they had her home Wednesday, so I guess she is doing fairly well. I suppose no one expects her to be running any marathons or doing other exertion.
There always seems to be a small glitch of some sort, hers was that while coming out of the anesthesia somehow she scratched her cornea. They said that wasn’t uncommon.  So she had to wear a patch for the first day, and it’s fine now. I know scratched corneas hurt like the devil, so I guess whatever pain meds they gave her took care of that too.
It occurs to me that this may be an example of when having a dog that only weighs 6 pounds is a good thing!
Speaking of dogs, Bella played service dog for Megan on the plane to Venice this week. She apparently detected when due to the cabin pressure and oxygen mix, Megan’s personal blood oxygen got too low, and alerted them. They told the stewards who apparently rounded up three doctors (and canned oxygen) to take care of her. So they are in their villa in Venice again, but she’s going to have to rest up a bit before getting back to being a mad artist! And we are all terribly impressed with Bella the Wonder dog!
Honor called me on Friday, I think, and gave me her new address, she is moving to a new house of her very own (and presumably a bank) with Alex. At least they told her to get the utilities switched to her name (before closing? That’s not until Friday, sounds a trifle risky.) Anyway THAT’s exciting.
Maryalyce also got the keys to her new store Tuesday, so stuff is happening for everyone. I don’t know if you remember that the theme of the CTCW this year is Change? (Subtitle: Rising to the Opportunity) Friday we found out that the hotel was dropping out but Tuesday Maryalyce had found us another! It’s even farther west, and they’re full, but had the function rooms and are housing our attendees in Timeshare spots, which is going to be weird. So yes, change. At the most inconvenient time. We are scrambling to try to figure out who’s going to drop out, at the same time as finishing up all the last minute stuff that has to be done during the final month. I am terrified that no one will be able to get past the front desk who will happily tell people that the hotel is full. Oh well.
As I said, I’ve read too much this week. I finished Occult America which was fascinating. We have had one eye on the mystical at every point of our history, and I find it hard to understand why we always feel that the other guy is a nut, but what we do is OK. The book covered everything from Shakers, to Mormons, Masons to AMORC, Edgar Cayce to Norman Vincent Peal,  Christian Scientists to Spiritualism (although he just barely touched on them), Ephrata to Psychiana, the movement from Mesmerism to Hypnotism, and Ouija boards to newspaper horoscopes. Oddly (to me) the book didn’t mention Dowsing although several of the people he covered were prospectors. He also didn’t talk about the occult in the media much, nor did he go much into Wicca, Santaria, and neo-paganism. I think he was mostly covering things that people tend to think of as more mainstream or was close enough to seem mainstream at the time.
I finished Uncle Tom’s Cabin late Sunday, and I found it a wonderful story, well told. Yes, it was heavily Christian. I found myself feeling sorry for these poor Africans who not only had their freedom taken away and their families broken up, but were force fed the religion of their captors as they had the clothing and language forced upon them, until they embraced it. I see it as the ultimate Stockholm syndrome, while I’m sure Stowe, and most of the readers based on the theory that it is the only right religion, was a good thing to have done for them. Just as good as taking away the First Nation people’s ability to hunt and farm for themselves, and replacing it with fry bread and booze- and criticizing them for their malnutrition and alcoholism. Yes, I can easily see Uncle Tom as a Christ figure, but it makes me uncomfortable. While exposing the hidden racism of many varieties of people, did she not recognize her own when she seemed to consider mullatos and quadroons better than pure Africans? I never realized how complex and subtle a story it was, having simply accepted, to some extent, the Small House of Uncle Thomas in the King and I, which reflect Tuptim’s exploration of dance as special effects more than the actual story.
Having finished Uncle Tom, I turned to The autobiography of Frederick Douglas, which seems to reflect a very similar perception of antebellum slavery. I was also reminded of my old affection for the Little Colonel books, and went back to see how racist these books written in the south between 1896 and 1915 might still seem. Yes, the view of “darkies” shows prejudice, but no more than one would expect in any book where there’s a personal filter of culture.  It actually holds up pretty well.
While cooking and doing other things around the kitchen I’ve watched more of the Ken Burns Civil War. I have to say that I can’t help wondering why McClellan was so over cautious, and why Lincoln and the Cabinet put up with it?
  I had the fun of watching Lincoln vs the Zombies a very funny low-budget film- much better in my opinion that Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. (Possibly because it didn’t take itself seriously. If you want to see Lincoln and a dozen secret service men (including John Wilkes Booth), along with Stonewall Jackson, a couple of whores and a young Teddy Roosevelt fighting off a town full of Night of the Living Dead style zombies, I found it fun.
I also watched a “horror” film, Annabelle, which had been mentioned in the Conjuring, as a “based on a true story” film. It was supposed to be taking place in the late 70s, early 80s, and I hate to admit it, I didn’t notice that the clothing was “period”, it just looked normal to me. “I’m OLD!” They did a dumb thing- they changed the Raggedy Anne from the true story to a creepy faced huge china doll that I can’t imagine anyone getting fond of. But perhaps the people who still sell Raggedy Annes wouldn’t give them the rights to use the image. Anyway, it was not particularly interesting, or well done. Oh, well, they can’t all be good.
John and Kat have both started the usual October Horror Film marathons, which are always fun.
I must finish up and finish pulling my stuff together for this weekend. I’ve already put an extra feather bed in the car, and am wondering if I can locate a hot water bottle. I will have to find my favorite sweaters, hats, scarves, and not forget mittens. It feels so ODD to be going as an attendee, and not have handouts, tools and materials to bring. Of course a week ago I was thinking about all sorts of wonderful things I COULD make and bring, but now if I can just get out by noon tomorrow with clothes and bedding, and my onions for the soup, I’ll be happy.

“Inadvertently, I had stumbled across what has been called the Harvard law of animal behavior, which is related to Murphy’s law: “You can have the most beautifully designed experiment with the most carefully controlled variables, and the animal will do what it damn well pleases.”
Barbara Ehrenreich, Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer     

Holidays this week:

Th 4 Vodka Day. Animal Day, Golf Day, Cinnamon Roll Day, Kale Day, Pumpkinseed Day
Fr 5 Apple Betty Day, Do something Nice Day, Teachers Day, Walk to School Day
Sa 6 Noodle Day, Garlic lovers Day, Diversity Day, Plaid-erday, Warld Smile Day
Su 7 Frappe Day, Flower Day,  Ripe Pumpkin Day, Plus size appreciation Day, Smile Day
Mo 8 Pierogi Day, FLuffernutter Day, Tag Day, Octopus Day, Global Learn Day
We 10 Angelfood Cake Day, Handbag Day, Homeless Day, World Health Day, Squid/Cuttlefush Day