Siblings Day

April 12/13, 2019

Hi again. Sorry I’m late, hope you didn’t worry. Similar to last time, not a heck of a lot happened.

As the Subject line says, it’s Siblings Day. Other than Christmas pictures, I couldn’t spot one with all five of us, so Imagine Trish as a glimmer in Dad’s eye. With the group on the camp porch. I’m guessing that Kitty was 2-3, Liz 4, I was 5 or 6, and Bob 7 or 8. The camp itself would have been about three years old. I had great siblings. Sometimes I remind myself that when my grandmothers were my age, they too looked back on their siblings as I do now (without benefit of photos), and so on, down the line of ancestors. I’m frequently disoriented by coming up against something that reminds me (creaky knee or a mirror) that although I feel like the same person, I’m old now. Weird. I can only assume that that’s how other people feel as they age.

This Siblings Day I’m less than thrilled as my sister Liz is in Maine Medical. She went as she thought she’d had a heart attack, Erin went with her. Yesterday I talked to her and it wasn’t a heart attack as such, but rather Broken Heart Syndrome, which seems very like a heart attack to me. It’s caused by stress, and damages your heart and hurts. Perhaps the treatment is different. (“Avoid stress, you owe us $20,000, have a nice day.”) OK, that may be a bit cynical, but I am a cranky old lady, who’s worried about my sister.

I called Kitty to find out what room Liz was in and chatted with her a little too. She retired at Christmas break (she is my sister who was an art teacher), and has been doing a lot of painting, and posting them on Facebook.  This week she got a little dog: a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel she calls Sunshine. (It does have one of those fancy pedigree names). Apparently its birthday was the day she retired, and is at this point is 11 weeks old, and weighs about five pounds. It seems bright and already uses the dog door to go out to “do his business”. Sadly, this is a cause of some concern, as there is an eagle’s nest right next door, and she’s worried that Sunshine could look like a tasty morsel if she’s not there to protect the puppy. Mostly the Cavalier KC’s are indoor dogs, called “Love Sponges”, but I think having it go outside to dump is a great thing.

I’m hoping Liz with be turned loose soon, but hospitals rarely do anything on weekends.

(Edited) a couple of mornings ago we work up to snow. Today (Saturday) we left the door open because it was warmer outside. (Welcome to New England!) To be honest, the snow WAS gone by noon, which is why there is no picture of it, I figured I could get it later, and was wrong. The Crocus are up. I have to admit that I did a “fan girl squee” when I saw that. Willow has raked the garden (including many threats to the climbing rose that would so much prefer to run across the ground than to go up the trellis we put in for it), and there are lots of spikes of daffodils and hyacinth coming up.

There has been enough brough-ha on the internet about Easter Lilies being toxic to cats, that Willow has decided to forego getting one this year. Apparently although Zoloft tends to sleep on my bed from about midnight until 11 or 12 the next day, during the day she’s taken to going into Willow’s room, and she STILL spends a great deal of time sitting in the hall with her nose up against Kat’s door growling through it at Gretle, sneaking in when she can and chasing Gretle around to beat her up. We wish we knew what was going on with that. She has never acted this way with other kittens.

We have now each gotten our new garment for spring (actually John got a few new shirts, and chose shorts for the summer). I have recently tossed out the colored eggs I made this year- no one seemed to be interested in eating them this year (or forgot they were in the refrigerator). I had a mighty craving for the malted milk eggs and got some; I think I ate four but either they’ve changed or I have and they weren’t that good. Oh well. It’s not like I need to eat sugar. (Not sure if you can tell what this picture is. On the right is Pyewacket, on a black fur on a chair, and Zoloft is cured up on a cushion on the chair on the left. She is shedding heroically, and Willow has started calling her “Princess Fluffy Pants.” I keep taking the brush to her, but it’s spring and the undercoat MUST come out!

I am feeling a bit better- I’ve been taking the herbal tea I got at the Magical Marketplace, so it could be that, or it could be that there’s more light. Sadly, I haven’t had a lot of urge to actually accomplish anything, and spend “far too much” time reading, when not doing the usual cooking, washing dishes, laundry, posting holidays, and the rest of the stuff that fills everyone’s lives.

Last time I talked to Winkles they said that Gary says he may have found a car, but I haven’t heard anything since.

The most exciting thing that’s been happening is going to the dentist. Willow is working her way through about $2K of stuff Tufts thinks she needs. As she says that’s why she’s skipping most of the cons she usually goes to. Kat had a toothache, and I took her to Aspen, who do walk-ins. She got antibiotics and an appointment for the immediate issue, which lead to another appointment for a root canal and crown ($4K). While we were looking at financing, Mark offered us a no-interest loan which we gratefully accepted. Her next appointment finished her “intake”, and generated a computer generated list of everything they want to do totally $10k. Frankly it reminded me of the computer diagnostics at PepBoys auto shops, where they hook your car to a computer and decide that anything that isn’t almost the same numbers as factory standard requires intervention. I expect to negotiate it down to something reasonable. A couple things I noticed were “coating” and “cancer screening”. Sure, if it’s something that your insurance covers, why not? But for normal people, I think we don’t get that. I was also not thrilled by hearing the people who were talking to the large office staff while I was there, where more than half the conversations were some variation on “they told me the insurance would cover this” “well, we don’t see it, so you’re responsible for it.” Not reassuring, and definitely a system designed to maximize the income for Aspen. On the other hand, Kat really likes the dentist there who doesn’t talk down to her, and listens when she tells her things, and doesn’t disbelieve her. I think that’s worth a great deal. One hopes she can keep seeing that lady. Oh, and after helping us get Kat’s dental work, Mark took us out to China Star to celebrate! I had something called Scholar’s Chicken, and Kat had spicy shrimp -only not very spicy. She told them “you can’t make it too spicy for me”. The double negative apparently confused the waitress who clearly spoke English as a second language, and we suspect they thought she wanted it not spicy. She brought it home and added hot oil. (You know how restaurant servings are far too much food!)

Mark was by several times last week because when he got back from his trip to California, the wifi in his apartment was shot. He came over here and used ours. I love that he feels comfortable enough to do that.

I did my second trip down to Tufts dental (bus to South Station and a half mile walk (14 minutes for me), and I find the bus quite a good option. I think that I have finished my intake. I haven’t got the total write- up, he had to put it all into the computer, but from listening to my dental student talk to his instructor, it sounds like a lot of work to me. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the level of “repair” they were talking about. I tried to count crowns on my fingers as they went through the diagram tooth by tooth and I think it was over five. They also blithely talked about several extractions. Yes, several. I know I’m OLD, but I don’t feel ready yet for dentures, even partial ones. It’s going to take a while for me to wrap my mind around that. What will also have a bearing on it is money- even at half normal prices that sounds like another $10K (although Chris said he didn’t think it would be that much when I asked him). I told him I’d get as much as I could afford, and I will. But I am still a bit freaked out about the partial plates. I get the feeling they just don’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with yanking teeth out, then drilling holes in healthy teeth to anchor the replacements between the good ones, thus putting extra pressure on the good teeth (that now have holes in them). What I was hoping for is something like the “regrowing teeth with stem cells” I read about on Facebook. Crowns first I guess. Protect what’s left. On the other hand Chris admitted that when you put a crown on a tooth, it’s not unusual for rot to get into the tooth underneath, which seems to have been what’s happened with my previous crowns. It reminds me of finding out when I went in for my second hernia repair “We don’t expect a repair to last more than ten years.” Not that they told me that when I had the first one. I get the feeling that they keep hoping we’ll die before the repairs wear out. Feh.

I chatted with Kerensa last week. He mentioned something I hadn’t heard before. I knew that diabetes can result in loss of circulation which can lead to amputation, and neuropathy. But I was thinking more of neuropathy as numbness, or pins and needles. He let me know that it’s more like burning pain. All the time. He has had to give up many of the types of art he used to do. People don’t complain nearly as much as you’d think they would, especially for chronic conditions. I am quite irritated at the way people act like everyone’s always complaining, and acting like having handicapped parking is such a burden on the healthy folks. If I had the sort of magick that exists in fiction, I’d like to share the symptoms that some of my friends have with those who criticize for just an hour or a day, and see how they feel about helping them, (and how much they complain) after they’d had it for awhile. There is so much courage and grace, I don’t think people realize!

Speaking of rants (which I wasn’t, I was just ranting) I did a blog post last week in reaction to a post going past on fb about the advantages of “getting hit in the face”. The theory is that you discover that it won’t really hurt. I have to disagree. It’s why mothers kiss boo-boos, and shaman lead seekers on their peyote voyages. If you don’t have support during these hard times, they can break you. If you are hurt and your friends all tell you that you’re doing great, and they’ve got your back, sure, you can grow stronger from it. But if you are hurt and mocked for it, it can crush you. When people don’t see the advantages they have (aka “privilege”) they don’t have a clear view of what’s happening to others without those advantages. I’m afraid I went off on gym teachers. Since they tend to be jocks and tend to have the support of the other jocks, they have no clue what their response is doing to the nerds who don’t see the problems through the same filters. People so often refer to things as “crutches”, meaning unnecessary support. But damn, when you have a broken leg, you need that crutch! If you do’t have it, you could end up permanently lame. No, we shouldn’t keep using them for too long, but while we need them, they are good to have.

I checked my weight and have gained more again. I ordered and got the resistance elastics to go with the Ruth Bader Ginsburg exercises. I’m thinking I should also use the light weights too. The plantar fasciitis never really went away after walking around the marketplace (concrete floors), and while the weather keeps saying “take a walk”, my feet say “don’t”, so upper body it is.

I guess I’m keeping the new mobile phone. I resent every “improvement” they made because I’m not used to them yet. I try to learn, but it’s slow. Today Kat, bless her, commented to me (as she helped me with my computer) said that “computers are intuitive… when you already know how they work.” Absolutely. I really get cross when people act like everyone has a smart phone on them going all the time. I don’t and I be I know lots of people who don’t, but it’s not a moral value. Some people have uses for them, others don’t. I will acknowledge that they have become quite ubiquitous (although I see no reason for school kids having them, except for special uses. It’s just more convenient and cheap to make them all the same and hope the kids don’t use what they don’t need.) I even know some people who still don’t have computers, or cell phones. They are a convenience in some situations. But not all, and I certainly don’t feel like being on call to everyone all the time. I don’t “check caller ID” because first, by the time I’ve gotten to the phone it may be on the third or fifth ring and my friend may hang up before I can focus on the tiny dim writing, and second, on most of the occasions I have looked (usually when I was sitting by the phone and figured I had time to do it) there was no ID. So what’s the point?  The other day I got a robocall from someone saying they were trying to collect a debt. Really? If they did they would have said what it was, and given the call-back number more than once or more slowly. I have a feeling that doing it that way is simply a legal way to meet a requirement before they do something nasty that will make them more money. (Grumble)

Last week John’s kindle died, and we replaced it. The new ones seem to be 8 inch not 7 inch, so I got his old case for my 7.  Funny how it’s a great gift the first time, but once you’ve had it for five years it seems like a necessity. Also, he uses his completely differently than I use mine- he watches movies (I don’t like watching on such a small screen!) and plays games. Maybe I would too if I didn’t know I was addicted, and don’t have time for it. I use mine for reading. I also discovered a function of the kindle where I can borrow books to read once then circulate them out when I borrow another. I blush to admit that I’m mostly using it for “mind-candy”, although I also read history and other stuff eagerly, although not quite so much like eating popcorn or playing solitaire which is the closest way I would describe reading these romances.

We did get signed up for Pennsic, and RI Pagan Pride Day. Now I should look into the other local PPDs to see about getting selling space and put in proposals in a timely manner. In the CTCW prep we are trying to get our speakers to send theirs in. Being on both sides of the situation should make me more responsive, but it doesn’t seem to work like that. I made some jerky so that Kat would have something she could eat when stress is making normal eating impossible. I feel I should have made a lot more quick while the beef is cheap. I understand that the floods in Nebraska will result in a large upsurge in beef prices. If I can stop reading too much, I have a couple sewing projects I’d like to get done. My wardrobe is not what I’d like it to be, and I do have that show at the end of the month where I’m speaking, and I’d like to look good.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve spent far too much time these past weeks reading the supernatural romances. I read all of the Harper Harlow/ Ghostly series, and noticed there are new books in the “Peculiar”  series, so read through that one to the end as well.

Peculiar is the name of the town in Missouri to where the psychic protagonist moves, and everyone there is a therian (shifter). The sheriff is a “were- raccoon”, her best friend and lover are coyotes, another friend becomes a deer when the moon is full, the woman who runs the local cafe is a bear-shifter, and there are sexy werewolves too. There is just a trifle more sex than I’d want, but it’s not too intrusive.  I now have 9 of these now, and can lend them via kindle if you’re interested. They amusing, fun, and have good action. As with so many of this variety, in order to support exciting plots, police are often the love- interest, so that there’s a window into a murder (or at least assault) mystery to solve. These books are quick reads (three or four hours) and have led to the bad habit of my going to bed, reading for an hour or so, then picking it up when I wake up in the morning to finish the book (then switch it for the next in the series). I’m pretty sure that some of the attraction is the familiar dopey affection I recognize from my own life, and I expect there’s a good deal of “want to see what happens next” in the relationships. (There’s a trifle more insecurity than I like, but I suppose it allows the couples to have stress.) The ones I read are all “supernatural” although it’s rarely a big deal. The one described as a witch in the Wicked (Ivy Morgan  series is not a witch or Wiccan (although her aunt is) and doesn’t identify herself as anything but weird, although she is increasingly psychic as the books go on.  The most interesting one was where her future mother-in-law showed up for Thanksgiving unannounced to try to convince her son to return to the city, and stop living up in the sticks (Shadow Lake, MI). While my habit is usually to tell you what books I’ve read, I figure I don’t need to bother with these, because it’s a lightweight series. I will recommend them for fun, but I don’t think any of them is great writing. It’s mental marshmallow, not steak and potatoes. I also read one where the premise was that Bear and Wolf shifters are common in the Pacific Northwest, and the reason that there’s a coffee place on every block in Seattle is that the were-wolves hate coffee, and the bears use it to repel the wolves. This is NOT great literature and I have guilt.

I have read some non-fiction. I am nearly done with John Michael Greer’s The Occult Book , a chronology of points in Occult History. I’ve begun his A Magical Education: Talks on Magic and Occultism. It’s a collection of his most requested workshops, and BOY do I want him for CTCW!  I’m a good way through Raymond Moody’s Paranormal: My life in Pursuit of the Afterlife, which is his autobiography. Uniquely starting with his suicide attempt, it goes back and I am waiting for him to catch up to that point. I suppose I could write a book showing my interest with and interaction with the occult, and if I took out most of my sixty years and only included the interesting bits, it would look very cool too. On the other hand, I am toying with the idea that Willow suggested as I was posting holidays on fb last week, that I write a book on holidays. Given that there are dozens of websites on them and many books, there may be a market. I do have a lot of opinions about how holidays are used within culture, and have started playing with an outline. I pitched an idea for a “CTCW book club” to discuss Manly Hall’s Secret Teaching of all Ages, because while it’s interesting, it’s rather chewy, and I think it would be easier to digest if I had someone to share it with as I went. Sadly, no takers. I also read an odd little book called You are dead, Sign here, about am afterlife where you have to sign a contract to be processed, so he doesn’t stay dead, since he refuses to sign. Gosh, if only it were that easy.

Unsurprising, as it’s been two weeks, I’ve seen a few movies. I saw a bunch of film noir:

The Postman always rings twice, To have and have not, & Maltese Falcon, (watched that with Steve, when he came up the other weekend). Good movies, but since Bogart’s detectives created the mold for most of what came later, they seemed sort of stereotypical, although they probably weren’t at the time. I didn’t find The Postman rings twice that compelling. Perhaps the book was better. The characters didn’t seem to have sufficient passion to actually kill someone, (and weren’t being played as sociopaths or psychopaths). Similarly I found the short documentaries on Huey Long more interesting than the 2006 movie of All the Kings men. I’ve requested the 1949 version,  and the book, which I’m told is life changing. Clearly this movie wasn’t. I think I was a bit thrown off by having seen Milk, also with Sean Penn as a politician, and that may have confused me a bit. Or maybe it was my usual dislike of any book or movie where there aren’t any appealing characters. Feeling sympathy for someone who is having a hard time isn’t enough. I have to like him or want him to succeed, and I don’t think there was one character in this movie for which the was true. I am, however, intrigued by Huey Long. The concept that in order to win to get anything good done, you have to be bad, is a very difficult one for me.

I also watched Ralph wrecks the internet, sequel to Wreck it Ralph. As with the first one, I don’t think I got most of the references, but there were many I did get, and I really enjoyed the bit with the Disney Princesses. I also watched the first episodes of Quantum Leap, which someone we seem to have missed when it was on the air. It seems like the sort of thing we’d have watched. I’m not entirely certain I will bother watching more, but it’s the sort of thing I enjoy.

Well. That’s it for this week/weeks. I like the idea of “chatting”, but it works much better when one has actually done something worth talking about.


“Stay human.” Mazin Qumsyieh