4-20-2016 Pineapple Upside-down Cake Day

DSC02502    It’s a gorgeous day out, there was a dandelion growing by the front steps, we have hyacinth blooming, the lilacs we planted are beginning to leaf out (maybe blossom this year or next?), with this level of warmth can the black flies be far behind?
The kittens are VERY eager to get outside. Two or three more weeks and we’ll be able to let them out, meanwhile they have become window lurkers!
We brought in some of our hyacinth where they looked crowded, but had to move them off the kitchen table because the scent was overpowering the food. These are not as perfect as the ones we bought in plots, but they smell just as well and are spreading. Lots of colors, although the white ones need the most thinning.
DSC02503Yesterday was Hang Out Day, by which they mean hang out your clothes, and we are doing that today. John had to climb down under the line and knock down the old knotweed plants that kept grabbing the sheets. Line dried clothing smells SO much better than from the dryer!
Here’s some holidays to amuse you for the next week:

Thursday is National Surprise Drug Test Day (since today is Weed Day) as well as Cheddar Fry Day and Respect Lima Beans Day
Friday is Earth Day and also Passover, as well as Big Word Day and Chocolate Covered Cashews Day
Saturday is Talk Like Shakespeare Day, Dance Day, and also Book Night and Jelly Bean Day
Sunday is pretty awful, choose from New Kids on the Block or Meningitis Day or maybe Armenian Genocide Remembrance Ick! luckily I found it’s Picnic Day and Cherry Cheesecake Day
Monday is World Penguin Day and Zucchini Bread Day
Tuesday is Hug an Australian Day or Pretzel Day
Wednesday is Secretary (administrative Professionals) Day and National Prime Rib Day.

Personally I prefer the holidays (even when they were probably proposed by a group that grows the food) that celebrate things for which we can be grateful to the many days of awareness or remembrance for things we should probably not be ignoring, but are depressing. Sadly, I’ve been getting into doing the holidays- yes, I know I’ve been posting them for years, but so many are attached to days of the week or lunar phases or other things that one can’t really trust the internet sites that talk about them- including me. The work day after taxes are due is called Stress Awareness Day and also Wear your Pajamas to Work Day, and I figure that it would be Monday (the 18th) although some sites had it as Saturday (the 16th, which I don’t think counts as a work day although a lot of people work on it), but then apparently this year taxes were due on Monday, so Pajama at Work Day was Tuesday! I give up!
Except that I don’t. I really enjoy reading about the holidays. Mostly the old ones that are cultural, rather than the new ones that are made up by us. Talk Like Shakespeare Day is a variation on English Language Day. And often sites don’t have a clue what the origin of a day is- Hang Out Day is all about line drying laundry to save energy, not hanging around with your friends. Apparently Weed (pot) Day is on April 20th because 420 was a police code for “smoking in progress” so it started being used as a verb by potheads, and some of them decided to make it a holiday, like Pi day is 3.14159 so it’s celebrated on March 14th. I think holidays are fun to learn about and since I’m curious about just about everything, I tend to think other people will also be, so I tend to want to share cool stuff with everyone whether it’s about history, psychic abilities, complimentary medicine, art or whatever. I am apparently also pretty bad about picking up on social cues when people are trying to disengage. Oh well.

This week I tried corn dogs for the first time. Willow had said that she enjoyed them, so I mixed up some corn bread batter and stuck in the mini/cocktail weenies. I figured at that size I could easily fit them under the inch or so of oil in the fryolator. It also made little ones, in case one lost interest after a bit or two. They were pretty good. I wish I’d taken pictures. We were looking at a bouquet of tiny corn dogs! The batter swelled and cooked nicely. I expect the ratio of wiener to crust is critical, and still want to perfect the technique. Does anyone else think that hot dogs and bologna are very similar in flavor? I agree with Willow that the corn breading goes well with it- and mustard. I took what was left, fried it and sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar making another popular fair food.

Speaking of food, something is going on, and I’m not sure what: not only have we got $2 gas, but we had hamburger for $1.99 this week. Also smoked sausage $1.99.  We haven’t been eating hamburger much, (and have missed it), because when the roast beef is 3.99, and the hamburger is $4.69 or more, you eat roast beef instead of hamburger. Actually we did choose to “splurge” on hamburgers, the other week- with cheese, bacon, sautéd onions and jalapeños, and we considered it a treat! Also last week we had grilled cheese sandwiches, another treat since we’d been going low carb all March. We put in sliced ham and onion and tomato, and wow, they were great. (But then, isn’t everything fried in butter great‽) This week the roast beef is down to $3.50 as well, pork sirloin around $2, and the flyer says that next week boneless chicken breasts are $1.69. This seems very odd to me, because I would think slaughtering time would be in the fall, and I don’t remember having meat prices drop like this. I wonder what’s going on? (and me still clearing out the freezer!) Is this a local phenomenon, or is it going on where you are?

I don’t think I really accomplished anything this week. I’ve been updating and catching mistakes on the CTCW website, which takes time and effort and doesn’t feel like accomplishing anything, although we’ve got a few class proposals in. I have knit; mostly finishing the rainbow shawl for Willow (now that it’s warm and she may not need it) except for putting a fringe on. I can’t find the book I have that shows me how (I’ve done it before!) and looked at some internet instructions for knitting fringe on Youtube. Tried them and they didn’t work well. Actually, it did work well with fine yarn, but not the bulky stuff. We took my test piece and  tacked it to the cat tree for them to play with. (I am not certain that this is a brilliant idea.) I worked on finishing that jeweled gown I didn’t get done for Coronation. I watched some movies (which I will talk about shortly).  I have been having REALLY weird dreams, and wake up feeling very ambitious- but then I want to see what’s happening next in the mystery book, and read until Willow comes in to see if something’s wrong. (Is lazing in bed wrong?)
I thought about going down to Laura Gray’s funeral, but didn’t want to go alone. Steve would have gone, but had a bad cold, and I haven’t seen David for decades and wasn’t sure he’d recognize me, so I didn’t go. I sure hope a lot of other people came. Laura was an incredible person, but while on immune suppressants one can’t go out a lot, so she hadn’t been involved in the SCA for the last 30 some years. I’m sure that just by living she taught the transplant doctors a lot, and was a joy to those who did get to see her. I should have gone down more.
I am feeling a bit nervous because my uncle Charlie (my mothers “baby brother” who used to come play with us when we were young and get us all excited when she was trying to get us ready for bed) is in the hospital. Liz says he’s had 4 units of blood, they’re thinking diverticular disease. I haven’t made time to see him lately, and I really love him. I’ll have to do something about that. The problem with knowing people all over the place is that it’s hard to go see them! I want the transporter technology from Star Trek!
Of course, that assumes I’d be able to afford it, and there’s no guaranteeing that would be the case. People think about flying as being weightless, and while it’s true that things that fly tend to be lighter than other things their size that don’t, there’s also work involved. I figure that any way we could fly would involve at least as much energy as we use to move our bodies around by foot. If you were going to fly to school, for instance. You’d spend at least as much energy flying up to over the tree tops as it would take you to climb enough stairs to get that high, and then you’d have to expend energy to maintain that, while covering the distance. Even if we could, I think the chances are that a lot of us would still bike, walk or take our cars!

Once again I’ve spent the week reading Hillerman Navajo mysteries, and I think I mentioned getting Willow to join me. They are fairly quick reads for me (I can finish one in a day if I ignore the rest of what I should be doing), and Willow reads even faster and has caught up, and will probably pass me today. Luckily we have the entire series out of the library- except the ones we’ve taken back already. This week I’ve read Skinwalkers and Thief of Time, Sacred Clowns, and Fallen Man. One difference in our approach is that I am a map reader, and Willow isn’t. When the author mentions a place, I want to go look for it on a map. There’s a fair one in the Hillerman Companion. I’d make a copy, but the printer is being uncooperative.
At first I didn’t bother sending for the books of the movies that got me interested in the series, but since Willow likes to read series in order, I sent for them. Luckily, I did decide to read the books and see if they had “more” than the movies. I forgot that movies are only loosely based on the books. Oops. Yes, there ARE characters named Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, they’re Navajo, and the case they are working involves a doctor and people who believe in witchcraft (calling bad witches skinwalkers). That’s about the only thing the book and movie have in common. Really.
It doesn’t make the movies worse, they do stand on their own. Also I am glad I’ve seen the movies because (as I seem to have not finished saying last week), that area is totally alien to me. I’m a New England girl. You know: mountains, trees. Trees everywhere. Lots of rain. Flat means ocean. The movie helped me picture that flat, dry area better as I read. This is not to say that I haven’t gone back to googlemaps nearly every day, and also looked for images of Shiprock, Window Rock, and southwestern plants (a Piñon apparently is a pine that’s shaped like a deciduous tree). But his world is pretty alien to me.
On the other hand, the Navajo culture makes so much sense. I get that wealth is mistrusted as an indication that you aren’t helping others enough. It makes sense to me that you want to help people who are doing horrid things back into balance, not try to punish them. And if Navajo time is relaxing and letting things happen, taking time to look at the beauty around you rather than worrying about schedules, I’m all over that! I find a lot of common modern attitudes indecipherable, and I like and believe in both natural, spiritual healing as complementary to modern medical marvels.
At the same time, I’m beginning to appreciate my mothers affection for mysteries. It’s fun to try to catch the hints that you may catch or miss along the way. Hillerman does a wonderful job with that. The more I think about it, the more I think Willow is like fictional detectives- she notices things I totally miss all the time, whether foxes or deer we are driving past, or where I put down something I was using yesterday. She’s a good “finder” and would probably be a good detective.
I’d rather like to see some of these natural sights: the buttes and mesas, Grand Canyon and Painted Desert. I guess the things I’d like to see are mostly natural like Mammoth Caves, the Everglades, Redwoods, etc. Someday maybe.
I watched the last episodes of season two of Newsroom. Love a happy ending. Have sent for the third season. I watched The Usual Suspects, and know know what Verbal Klint refers to. I’m more culturally literate. I also rewatched Zoom and Sky High, mostly because John’s been washing dishes and Kat’s been making the salads recently. This means that he gets to have a say in what’s on the TV while he washes and I make dinner. And the salads have been much fancier. We also watched Grease and I was reminded that while it has some good musical numbers, no one in it is really appealing. There is no way that Sandy and Danny will be able to get past their cultural differences.  It’s really hard to intentionally overcome your programming unless you’ve got something internal (like me and my point of view that resonates so much better with the Navajo culture than the New England WASP one) that makes the change more feel like you’re becoming more yourself than you were in your original culture. They sure didn’t make any hints like that in the musical.

On the New Normal tonight I talked with Deb Jarvis about community, and how the internet has impacted our various communities, and what they need to thrive. The archive is here.

And that must be it for the week. I hung laundry, I made corn dogs, a read a bunch of Hillerman novels. Willow sent off a blanket today, and Kat’s doing finishing work on her commission, and John’s getting better at doing dishes. Slow week.

“Procrastination is the Thief of Time” Edward Young
“Punctuality is the Thief of Time” Oscar Wilde
“Worrying is the biggest Thief of time.” anon-