Friday, October 27, 2017


Happy day
Seriously it is worth a scroll through twitter's black cat day offerings. Such excellent ebony cat frens. A good day to remember the heft of Jimbo and his bus engine purr. Best boy.

Our ginger cat is still scratching but I think we're at a better plateau. I've just cut out the wet food and have almost completely transitioned to the sensitive skin dry. Clearly the next step will be witchcraft.

Local wastes of space
Cars keyed and pumpkins stolen on my street this week. We woke up to three fewer pumpkins on our stoop this morning. Sounds like crummy teen boys to me. I assume their attentions will wander on to other targets soon. I guess I'm glad we hadn't carved our jack o'lanterns yet. Spouse and I are agreed we're going back to the farm and getting more pumpkins - mwa! ha! ha! Okay it's not revenge exactly but the farm's pumpkins are marked down and we want some to carve.

Bibbity Bobbity
8th grader is working on her Queen of Hearts costume. Not the murderous AIW character, to my sorrow, but a more pack of cards character. I'm making her a crown because she was threatening to buy a plastic one and that sticks in my craw. 10th grader wants to do a duo costume with her friend but doesn't have an idea yet. Nod was offering Casablanca or Star Trek og ideas but that won't work. I have half a hermit crab shell but it needs ironing. Maybe I'll feel inspired tonight. I'm thinking I may use chalk on it -- it doesn't have to last long anyway.

Monday, October 23, 2017


Great galloping cats
Chaos and the unknown predominate in our cat care at the moment. Zing scratched bloody spots in her neck. I temporarily made her wear a cat shirt to cover the worst spots. (Very proud of my improvised catwear - shoulder and sleeve of a 4 year old's shirt with holes cut for front legs.) This worked, the worst spots have healed now but she is still scratching and making scabs on her neck and head. I switched her cat litter over the summer, so I've switched it back. I started feeding her wet cat food over the summer and tried to switch her to a non grain dry food. I'm still giving her wet food but only bird-based (chicken and turkey) because I read that fish/dairy/beef are the most common cat food allergies. I'm moving her to a sensitive skin dry food. If she doesn't stop scratching herself bloody her days are numbered because I'm not going down the allergy testing road with another animal. I just can't. She's been discontent, so much scratching, I hope the dry food helps.

Wellness otherwise
Youngest had a fever over the weekend and has a terrible sore throat right now. I tasked Nod with taking her to the drop-in clinic for strep test but am unsure whether he will follow through. I will take her at 7:30 tomorrow if I have to. I started a sympathy sore throat last night but slept fine and it's gone now so that's good. The rest of us are okay but I guess I'm waiting for the next crisis.

Movie night
I went to see a free showing of Get Out at a local bar with a friend last Wednesday. It felt like such an accomplishment -- a topical flick I wanted to see and a friend thing. Before I went I asked Kat, but what if it scares me forever? It was really good and not as scary as I feared. Reminded me of a good Twilight Zone episode. And Rosemary's Baby of course. Gotta love the conspiracy-theory-spouting friend.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Brassy celestial

Dark days
I'm reading a memoir about life with anxiety disorder. I find that I am learning a lot from this woman's experience of generalized anxiety disorder and the diagnoses and treatments she's had over the last twenty years. She's also included a history of the medical, neurological, pharmacological and psychological understanding of anxiety. I find those sections pretty skimmable. But the drug history has surprised me. I didn't realize that xanax and klonopin were cousins of valium. No wonder the addiction concerns. Sharing with a teenager who is wrassling with some anxiety of her own.

Hardly any substance at all
During a previous time of violence I was thinking about population density on the earth and wondering if we just had so many Americans per square mile now we are going to see more friction and mental illness and explosions of violence. Maybe we're driving ourselves insane being crowded. Or we're reacting to the fact that there are Plenty of extra humans, human life is no longer a precious resource, we have a surplus supply. But then I realized that Asia has a vastly higher population density than North Am and aren't experiencing these incidents of violence. So I'm putting the density theory away.

Warning: onion smell
I may try to make this slow cooker onion soup with mushroom/veg broth instead of beef broth. I do like the beef broth version but the other onion soup fan in my family is the veghead. I like the warning that this will make your living space smell like Onion Central. I don't really have a problem with that but I could put the slow cooker in the garage.

I don't know where the banner image came from but I like it very much. Maybe it's German? [Found a reference that says this is a gate inside the Kremlin.]

The one before

I read Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner several years ago after reading descriptions in the Book Slut's blog. (I originally typed that I read it 'last year' but Goodreads tells me it was in 2012 and I am but a dry leaf in the rushing current of Time.) Here is a good meaty little article about this author. Currently I'm trying out The Corner That Held Them. It's got a good strong start and I laughed out loud at the description of one particular benefactress in the 1300s who was described as devoted to litigation the way other women are devoted to love or needlework. It made me think of the detailed legal court descriptions that survive of that era when other narratives haven't. I wonder if this was based on a real English convent or if it is a fictional amalgam of such.

Bring me a book
This is a discussion of great interest: Wanted, a fairly short and cheerful novel.

I haven't done my homework re-watch of Blade Runner yet. I plan to do that before going to the new movie. Nod thinks it's a pointless sequel so I will have to find another enthusiast.

Jane Lynch is a jazzy Christmas carol nerd
I am a fan and when I saw this pop up on the library's list I wanted to hear it. (I granted myself an exemption to listen to xmas related music even though we are not in the family rule November to New Year's range.) It's fun! I love We 3 Kings, the Hallelujah Chorus and Silent Night renditions. Jingle Bells and the Russian Children's carol (new to me!) are good too. Turns out I can't accommodate a jazzy Good King Wenceslaus. And the 7 year old naughty song didn't do anything for me.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Midwest, Naples, Madagascar

New authority
Went to meet a new piano teacher last night. It was a bit of a shock to realize that we'd had K in lessons for 12 years with her original teacher. This was a different experience, someone who has a great command of her instrument and lots of strategies for teaching. K will be doing scales for the first time in her life and have an opportunity to learn to read lead sheets (I didn't know that term).

K was shaky afterwards and said it was stressful. I assured her that she'd been very brave and that playing for a new person you'd just met to show what you could do was way up on any stress measure. I also assured her that it will get easier as she gets to know this teacher. I let her make the decision and tell me whether after that she wanted to start lessons. She's going to try weekly lessons and maybe a recital. But K will be the oldest student and is more like an adult playing for pleasure than a kid being run through steps of a repetoire. I am going to keep checking in - I don't want her any more than faintly stressed by music learning.

Neapolitan season
It took me at least halfway through the second Ferrante book (Story of a New Name) for it to really catch fire for me. I am now almost done and am really enjoying it. Finally got to Lila's notebooks getting tossed in the river and Lina getting through college. It pretty much sucked to be a (modern young) woman in 1960's Italy. I empathize greatly with Lina and her outsized desire to be liked, to be taken for a knowledgeable, articulate person. Backpedaling if she didn't get what she wanted to and acting as though she hadn't really wanted it anyway. I also empathize with her self criticism about all that.

Plague in Madagascar
No poetry in that heading. I just read in this piece that plague is a seasonal occurrence in that country. Only since 1898 when it was brought by ship from India. But now there's a larger than usual number of people sick and it may be airborne as well as flea transmitted. Sorry to hear it, Madagascar.