Saturday, March 31, 2018

Stubborn As A Mule

     Tamara's been fighting some sort of thing -- respiratory infection, most likely -- since suffering a torn intercostal quite some time ago, coughing and hacking.  Over the past week or so, it has grown to include upper respiratory troubles, which she is describing as "just a cold."

     Maybe it is, maybe it isn't; either way, I am having trouble convincing her to see a doctor, or even a nurse-practitioner.

     Swelp me, she's goin' today, even if I have to drag her in at gunpoint. Stubborn?  Sure she is.  I am, too.

    Follow-up: Took her and, surprise, she's sick.  But on proper drugs now.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Dinner Last Night

      Dinner last night: Picadillo, or as close as I get to the real thing, anyway.
TAMARA KEEL PHOTO
      The basic setup is a pound and a half of ground meat (I used a pound of ground beef and a chorizo sausage), an onion (I used three "spring onions," which are a little more delicate in flavor, but just see what you find), a bell pepper (I used one orange bell and an Anaheim, but again -- whatever; you can heat it up here if you wish but ponder the spice palette first -- read on!) and some garlic -- you can use fresh, I used the powder.

     Since I had chorizo, I started with the meat. Some versions will have you start with the veggies. A little good olive oil, some garlic (I'd like to tell you how much, but you know what you like), some cumin (seeds or powder, maybe a quarter-teaspoon?), a dash each of nutmeg, cloves (ground or a few whole) and cinnamon, maybe a little black pepper and the meat; get it browning and be breaking it up as you slice the onion, add it, and do the same with the bell (or whatever) pepper. Use your nose: you want it to smell good. Add more of any of the spices that appeal to you but don't go wild. Depending on the meat, you may want to drain the liquid and separate the grease/fat from the broth -- add the broth back in.

      You'll want 1/3 to 1/2 cup each of raisins (the store had some nice golden ones, but again, whatever) and good pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced. You'll probably want to slice them while the meat and veggies are cooking.

      With the meat well-browned and the onion translucent, give it a little Worcestershire sauce (A teaspoon? More if you like it, leave it out if you don't) and add a 16-ounce can of diced tomatoes, followed by the raisins and olives. You're trying to balance the salt and sweet here, so once it starts bubbling, give it a taste. Put some oregano in it (start with a quarter-teaspoon). You can float a bay leaf or two, if you like (don't break them up and be sure to take them out before serving!). Basil's never really out of line, either. Add garlic, cumin (light hand, that stuff can take over), nutmeg, cloves and/or cinnamon as needed -- they're what makes this work. Cover and let simmer for five or ten minutes. It is not at all soupy; you don't want lots of liquid.

      It gets better if it goes longer but it's essentially ready after that. Refrigerate for the next day.
Flavor is complex and fragrant, with bursts of sweet from the raisins and salt from the olives over a solid meat/onion/tomato background.

      You can put a few capers on it for serving. Some versions add diced potatoes and/or a little beef stock. Without potatoes, it is often served over rice. Black beans are good on the side or even mixed in.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Insight Is Where You Find It

     Yesterday morning, I was chatting at Tam and mentioned my admiration for Robert E. Howard, the Texan writer who created Conan the Barbarian and launched "Sword and sorcery" fiction.  Howard's prose could be as purple as the pulps that published it, but he had remarkable imagination, good discipline and an excellent ear for dream-like narrative.

     Robert E. Howard's mother was ill with tuberculosis all of his life.  He helped take care of her and they were very close.  The disease eventually resulted in her death, which appears to have prompted  his suicide.  His mother and father were somewhat estranged to one another, though they stayed married and lived together.

      People -- perhaps F/SF fans especially -- being what they are, the mother-son closeness and his suicide led to all manner of speculation, some of it quite smarmy.  But -- as I remarked to Tam, "It may have been no more than his despair at having failed to keep his mother alive."

     I choked on the last few words and felt unexpected tears rising in my eyes.  Had I failed to keep my mother alive?

     Sometimes it feels that way.  Maybe if I'd been a better child, less of a disppointment, more dutiful, quicker to reconcile...?

     No.  I might've had more time with my family -- stressful though I often found it -- but Mom's heart wore out on her long before she passed.  She kept going for years on pluck and determination, and I am glad we had as much time together as we did.  I still miss her.

     Comments are closed.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Placeholder

     I have nothing for you.  I'm old (as old as I've even been) and I am feeling pretty down.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

I Am In A Lousy Mood

     Seriously lousy.  This whole "interacting with people" thing is reaching at least a middle for me.

So Who Do They Want To Control?

     On social media, links to a New York Times article about the process to legally buy a gun in fifteen different countries are being posted by gun-control supporters.

     --But even the NYT piece admits that illegal purchasers in any of those countries don't have to do anything but hand over cash and take their gun.  All those lovely, well-meant laws and requirements are no barrier to sellers and buyers who won't abide by them.

     And never mind that the home-inspection requirements of many nations violate the Fourth Amendment.  I guess we're not supposed to notice that.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Children's Crusade

     You know, there probably wasn't a "Children's Crusade" as the term is commonly understood; even the best accounts aren't very clear or especially trustworthy.  One of the connections scholars have made that seems to hold up is to the use of teenagers as soldiers in that time; not exactly "children" by the standards of the day, the bulk of armies were made up of young men in exactly the age range at most risk of committing or suffering violence in the modern world.

     This past weekend's "Children's Crusade" also uses teenagers for foot soldiers.  They are, after all, excellent cannon fodder: idealistic, inexperienced, and full of the belief that they can Fix Everything.  But who are the generals?  Follow the money, and it circles back around to Michael Bloomberg's "Everytown "organization, relying on subsidiary "Mothers Demand Action" and the Gifford anti-gun organization for organizational help and logistics.  Yes, Mr. Bloomberg and his big, well-funded anti-gunners are hiding behind children in the manner of Saddam Hussein. 

     Ah, but the media tells us kids are being shot at school in ever-greater numbers, and we must do something?  No, kids are not.  School shootings are on the decline.

     But the U.S. is a horribly violent places, isn't it, third worst in the world, and we have got to address that?  No, we're not.

     And the big, bad NRA is buying Congressman, aren't they?  The New York Times tried pushing that, and came up with small change as political money goes -- and they had to use career-total funding plus non-coordinated advertising to do so. NRA is nowhere near the top-spending lobbying groups.

     On the other hand, donations to the political activism division of NRA are up.  So all the marching and rallying has done some good, after all.

     Interestingly, all the links above are to Left-leaning or neutral groups and organizations.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Saturday, March 24, 2018

It Begins

     I slept as soundly as ever -- which is to say, not hardly -- and every time I woke up to commune with nature, ease a crick in my neck, or shift to a position that didn't make my fingers tingly or my left ear hurt, I looked out the window, because Snowmageddon was coming.  It's been all over local TV and Internet for the last few days: White Doom From Above!

     The initial prediction called for the snow to begin late Friday night.  It kept not arriving.  Along about 6:00 a.m., non-local double-daylight time,* it was 38°F and the back yard looked pretty nice -- dry, leaf-piles ready for the Spring clean-up, sky overcast but not especially threatening.

     Seven-fifteenish, in the middle of making an indulgent breakfast,† I glanced out the window: sidewalk still dry.  Well, dry-like.  Or not. Kind of blotchy, really -- I looked up: snow is just starting to swirl down.

     It's here.
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* Indiana is on the far western edge of the Eastern Time Zone.  Come Daylight Savings, the sun rises late and stays up partying until long into the night. Tamara loves it (it's good match for her, if you substitute "writing" for "partying") but I do not.

† Three slices of bacon, one egg and a stack of "Swedish" pancakes, basically thick crepes served with butter and sugar (or, traditionally, lingonberry jelly; I like blueberry jam on 'em but the good stuff is spendy), which I dearly love.  I feel guilty making them just for myself -- but I'm home alone this weekend, which somehow makes it okay.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Tick-tock, Tick-tock....

     The Spring Winter Storm approaches inexorably, and I still haven't laid in full French Toast supplies.

     Worse yet, I'd made arrangements to meet Saturday to meet with techs from one of the few outside users of vertical space at my employer's North Campus, so they can swap out some equipment -- and yesterday, they sent me e-mail asking, "So we're still on and the place will be ready, right?"

     Um, no.  We've got one (1) guy on snowplow (and emergency assistance) duty, and he will be doing that at the Main Campus with a working staff of around twenty (20) people, many of them needing to be traveling and returning in the course of their duties, not the North Campus with a normal working staff of zero (0) people.  Our facility up north is down a long, winding private lane that crosses a couple of swales on short embankments, easy places to nosedive a car in heavy snow and just high enough to make for trouble when you do.

     Haven't heard back.  Perhaps they'd not been paying attention to the forecast.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Hahaha, It's Spring, We're Out From Under, We're....What???

     Thought we'd made it, did you?  Ha!  Figured the big bad storms had sated themselves on the East Coast, did you?  You've watched Hollywood horror films, right?  It's just when you think you're safest that you get this:

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Indianapolis IN
356 AM EDT Thu Mar 22 2018

INZ021-028>031-035>042-046>049-056-057-065-221600-
/O.NEW.KIND.WS.A.0002.180324T0600Z-180325T0000Z/
Carroll-Warren-Tippecanoe-Clinton-Howard-Fountain-Montgomery-
Boone-Tipton-Hamilton-Madison-Delaware-Randolph-Hendricks-Marion-
Hancock-Henry-Shelby-Rush-Decatur-
Including the cities of Lafayette, Frankfort, Kokomo,
Crawfordsville, Anderson, Muncie, Indianapolis, and Shelbyville
356 AM EDT Thu Mar 22 2018

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE FRIDAY NIGHT THROUGH
SATURDAY EVENING...

* WHAT...Heavy mixed precipitation possible. Total snow
  accumulations of 3 to 6 inches, with localized amounts up to 8
  inches, and ice accumulations of a light glaze are possible.

* WHERE...Portions of central Indiana along and north of
  Interstate 74.

* WHEN...From late Friday night through Saturday evening.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Plan on difficult travel conditions.
  Significant reductions in visibility are possible.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Winter Storm Watch means there is potential for significant
snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue
to monitor the latest forecasts.

&&

$$

For more information from the National Weather Service visit
http://weather.gov/ind

     Oh, damn.

     And here I was thinking from earlier forecasts that Saturday might be a wash but maybe I was going to want to replace the battery in my motorscooter for Sunday....  Not!

     I'll be stocking up on French Toast supplies tonight.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

It's A Winter Springtime Wonderland

     In the abstract, it's pretty -- fluffy white snow on the ground, big, fat, white flakes drifting and spiraling down to join them....

     Except it's the the first darned full day of Spring!  We seem to have annoyed the Weather Gods.  Oh, not as badly as the people out East (Northeast), who have had snowstorm after snowstorm.  Still, we must've trod their corns, or burned the wrong sort of barbecue upon the ancient, storm-wracked stones of their altar.*

     Oh, well.  I made chili last night, or maybe red stew† (it's not my fault, really it isn't -- the grocer's decided to add a little kale, broccoli and carrots to their "fajita mix," half of which I stir-fried with mushrooms Monday for side vegetables to go along with a couple of little pan steaks, and it needed to be used up).  I'll grab some leftover chili for a stay-in-the-office-lunch and hope to be able to avoid the worst of the weather until the temperatures get above freezing this afternoon and stay there for the next twelve hours, which is what the weather prognosticators say will happen.  Of course, that's the same group of mages, charlatans and arch-priests who claim Winter is over, which any fool can see is self-evidently wrong.
_______________________________
* Man, if you want to see people square off to restage WW I, only with at least four sides and better chemicals, get a nationwide cross-section of cooks going on just what exactly does, or does not, constitute "barbecue."  But step back smartly once you light the fuse -- it'll heat up fast!

† And once the barbecue fight cools down -- along about 4:43 p.m. on the 32nd of Never -- you can have them start in on the essential nature and ingredients of "chili."  Texans and Sooners on one side, Upper Midwest church ladies on the other, Cincinnatians way out there in left field with the cloves and cinnamon, and accusations of "filler," "inedibly spicy" and "what even is that stuff?" flying as thick and fast as dark-red kidney beans, hot peppers and elbow macaroni.  Shredded stew beef or hamburger, and who's that over there with ground turkey?  Infidel!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Quickly....

     I must type and dash.  There's an exciting day ahead -- well, for, "Oh damn what is this" values of exciting: snow and sleet incoming and the Statewide Tornado Drill.

     If the snow/sleet/Welcome To Springtime weather is bad enough -- and if lines of authority are clear enough -- the cat-herding exercise that is the Statewide Tornado Drill will be called off.  The thinking is that John and Jane Q. Public, fighting their way to the grocer's, doctor's office or neighborhood bar through sheets of Nature's Lard will be confused enough without wailing sirens and, as the Rolling Stones foretold, "...[T]he man come on the radio/He's tellin' me more and more about some useless information/Supposed to fire my imagination."*  Under sufficiently-bad real weather conditions, the Statewide Drill is liable to fire only indignation or confusion, and no one wants that.

     But I'm betting the process will proceed as planned -- they've already sent out the e-mail, after all, and the forms were filled out in ink.
________________________________
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, (1965) Jagger M. and Richards K., a brief essay about lack of physical and emotional companionship amid relentless commercialism.  You're already humming the guitar riff.

Monday, March 19, 2018

What I Did On A Day When I Didn't Do Anything

     Yesterday began with reduced expectations.  I wasn't feeling great and had slept poorly.  Still, a day so sunny and warm -- outside temperatures officially reached 55, and felt warmer in the sun -- cried out for doing something.

     Something it was.  I went to fetch the trash can from the curb and stayed to pull up the stalks of last summer's hostas and wildflowers.  That out of the way, I rested a bit and then went to the garage to look for a gadget that should be out there somewhere.  Didn't find it, but I did start up the scooter, and take it up and down the alley slowly before deciding that I'd better replace the battery, which I didn't get out before winter temperatures plunged into the single digits and stayed there.

     After another rest and a bit of lunch, I decided to assemble a typewriter stand I've had for several years.  It turned out to be nice enough that I replaced the ribbon in my Oliver portable to celebrate.  And I did a little --  a very little -- sorting and straightening up. 

     Not bad, I think, for a "sick day."  And I'm taking my medicine and starting to feel better.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

And I Have Cancelled The Day's Activities

     Broken sleep last night and I'm still not feeling great.  Taking my meds and I need to get to the store sometime today.

     Still haunted by sadness and loss.  So many gone.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Overtired And Underwell

     I'd been feeling lousy since late February, but with everything that was happening, I was ignoring it and hoping it would pass.

     Kind of hadn't.  Mostly sinus stuff, the details of which I will spare you, along with dizziness, lightheadeness and stabbing (occasionally bilateral) earches.  The last had gone away after my sinus surgery in December and I was hoping maybe forever.*  Early last week, I called my ENT's office and left a message; a day later, her nurse called me to go over my symptoms and two days later called back with prescriptions and the news that the doctor was sick herself ("a sinus infection, wouldn't you know?"), thus the delay.

     That was Thursday.  I was deep in a project and got home too late to get to the pharmacy, so it wasn't until last night that I picked up the heavy-duty antibiotic and some kind of a steroid.  She'd put me back on an OTC spray decongestant, too, which I was able to start Thursday.

     I hadn't been sleeping well -- stabbing pain is an effective alarm clock, but follows its own schedule.  Last night through this morning, I finally got a little over eight hours and it seems to have helped.  Vertical is still a slight challenge, though, so I'll be staying around the house and resting today.
________________________
* Maybe not.  Any kind of aggressive treatment in the affected area will often result in immediate relief, since the body tends to mute jangled pain signals while healing.  This is typical of trigeminal neuralgia.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Spring?

     At least we've had sunshine the last couple of days, and more is in the forecast for today.  Saturday?  Rain in the morning.  But Sunday should be sunny and maybe even a bit warm.

     ...Which is good, because the first day of Spring is Tuesday and the prediction calls for snow!  So far, it doesn't look like the kind of nor'easter (which is not, you may note, in any way representative of the speech of New England sailors*) that's hammered the East Coast over and over, and which we have been spared.  So I mustn't complain -- despite the cold, this winter has been mercifully free of heavy snowfall here in Indianapolis.

     But it seems spiteful to deliver even a small snowfall on the first day of Spring.
_______________________________
* Alas, Edgar Comee passed away not too long after his fight against what he called "a pretentious and altogether lamentable affectation" got national attention.  He was 88.  Think of him every time a weatherperson smiles at you out of the tube and talks about a "noR'easteR," and remember people up that way say, "nu'theastuh," precisely as one might expect.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

"The First Hit Is Free"

     Tam has loaned me her old iPad 2 -- as in clean-slated it and handed it over -- so I "can see what it's like."  I have been a Windows/Android user ever since they yanked MS-DOS out from under me and dumped me into a world of colorful, simplified icons.

     For those of you who aren't old, or who had successfully avoided computers until they became ubiquitous, to many of us the abandonment of MS-DOS for Windows felt like a step back, or at least a step toward the softly-safe Apple world, where you could do whatever you wanted just as long as you did it Apple's way, with Apple's fully-tested-and-approved software and hardware.  If you'd started out with grotty mainframes (the "big machine" my extension campus had timeshare access to was a DECsystem10, sixty miles away in Indianapolis; the smaller, slower one was a PDP-11, or one of the PDP-series, at another campus), moved up to CP/M (the last operating system I was really comfortable with) and nice little Kaypro-II (which -- except for color and fancy graphics -- did more in 64K than modern computers manage with 2 Mb*) and then clawed your way into desktops running MS-DOS, with all the crazy frustration of trying to make the pieces work together and do useful things, the Apple world looked like a coloring book and when Microsoft decided to do the same, it appeared to be a betrayal.  Having been hauled into GUIs kicking and screaming, there was no way me or any of my peers were gonna go Apple.  Nope, nope, nope....  (Meanwhile, one of the most user-friendly remote-control devices at my workplace ran on touchscreen Macs, and the system ran great right out of the box.  Thank you, Michelle Unpronouncable and your coworkers at Troll Technologies!)

     And here I am, multiple versions of Windows on, poking at the screen of an iPad.  If I can get it to recognize one of my (supposedly) dual-system wireless keyboards, it's going to be interesting to play with.  After all, this going from one to the other hasn't done Tam any harm -- and CP/M or MS-DOS isn't staging a comeback, last time I checked.

     (But if someone wants to port PerfectWriter for any modern computer?  Oh, where do I sign up to support that!)
_________________________________
* PerfectWriter spoiled me for word processors, with easily-implemented standard TEXT/PAGE NUMBER headers or footers, automatic building of tables of contents and footnotes, and a clear set of inline commands -- and it was seamlessly integrated with the database and spellchecker.  The awkwardness involved in setting up Word to produce plain, standard-formatted manuscripts never fails to frustrate me -- PerfectWriter did it with a simple command.  Q10 is as close as you can get, but lacks much of the dot-command formatting features. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Rereading

     I found my copy of A Wrinkle In Time (and a couple of sequels) a couple of days ago.  It was right where I expected it (after Lem, Stanislaw and ahead of Lewis, C. S.), but I was looking for larger "trade-sized" paperbacks.  Nope, mine are standard-sized paperbacks, and a bit old.

     The story is fairly simple but the language is not, and Mrs. Who's lovely quotes in multiple languages are rendered in their original and translated after, not the sort of thing one encounters often in books for younger readers.  The relationships are fully-developed, though our viewpoint is an early-years teenager and we see them as she sees them.  It's not super-duper, tightly-plotted hard-SF but it's a good story, well told.

     And I have to tell you, if they play it right -- if she plays it right -- Oprah Winfrey's not a bad choice for Mrs. Which in the film: she's been occasionally speaking in the same manner for decades.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Wrinkle In -- Hey! That's Not Your Billboard!

     I was looking forward to seeing Hollywood's take on A Wrinkle In Time.  I have fond memories of reading the book in childhood, one of the first overtly science-fictiony books to cross my young horizons, and with a female protagonist, no less!

     Of course, the big (or little) screen never tells the story the way you read it; some things can't be staged or CG'd -- fewer and fewer, these days -- some casts don't offer much in  the way of visual appeal or "star-worthy" roles, some stories for children are a bit preachy and some screenwriters and directors Just Don't Get It.  (Exhibit A, Starship Troopers.)  Sometimes, Hollywood does get it right -- The Maltese Falcon is as perfect an example of how to film a book as you will ever find, with one exception: Humphrey Bogart, wonderful in the role, doesn't look a thing like Dashiell Hammett's description of Sam Spade!*  My expectations are never high; in the case of Madeleine L'Engle's classic, casting Oprah Winfrey meant the cinematic Mrs. Which was likely to be significantly different from her literary original.  This is just the kind of thing that happens in the leap from book to screen; sometimes it's okay -- Jeremy Brett or Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes aren't quite the fellow from the stories but we recognize them readily enough -- and other times, you get Robert Downey, Jr.

     Meg gets a makeover too, one I find entirely plausible for a young lady who frets over her unmanageable hair.  This is what Hollywood does: unable to easily let you overhear a character's thoughts, they use shorthand, hints and cultural tropes.  I expect it.

     What I didn't expect was a frikkin' social justice (pro and con) war in the reviews.  Reviewers all across the political spectrum use the not-100%-lily-white cast as a banner to wave, one direction or another, and get so tangled up in it that they're not telling me much about the film itself.  Look, it may or may not be carrying the weight of Hollywood's present preoccupations and that may be occasion for cheering or jeering, but that stuff is just background noise for the story.  Very few of the reviewers, perhaps dazzled by Ms. Winfrey, appear to have realized there's a story happening. Oh, I see "choppy" used a lot, but the book is choppy; that's essential to the narrative.  And not a one of the reviewers has bothered to bring a child along and ask them about the movie, either.  After reading reviews and looking at Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, I know a little more about human nature but I learned more about the film itself from the trailers.

     Clearly, I'll have to go see it for myself.
_______________________________
* Seriously different: “He looked rather pleasantly like a blond Satan.” ... “He was quite six feet tall. The steep rounded slope of his shoulders made his body seem almost conical—no broader than it was thick.” 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Getting Back To --

     No, I can't write it, not yet.  "Back to normal?"  Not going to happen.  I can't call up Mom.  She was there forever, as far as I knew, and now she isn't.

     Both of my parents were hypercompetent people.  At least it seemed that way to me as a child, as a young adult.  Even with maturity (such of it as I have found) and time to provide scale and perceptive, they were outstanding.  Baffled by their children sometimes, but what parent isn't?

     I started this blog about six months after my father passed away.  Now Mom is gone.  Sometimes I still want to ask a grownup what to do -- and then I remember that's my job now.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday

     Spent the day clearing off the dining room table, which has been a catch-all for several years.  Still not done -- but I took a break at dinnertime for the year's first grilling of steaks.  Yes, the good hardwood charcoal in the closed-top grill.  Tasty!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Shape Of -- Theodore Sturgeon

     Tamara and I went to see The Shape Of Water today.  It's a remarkable film, and more than merits the awards it has won.  It's all of a piece, as well-crafted as classical Greek sculpture, and tells a marvelous story, a sort of fairytale for adults.  I would rate it with the very best science fiction films, as good as Gattaca, and the visuals are simply stunning, scene by scene and in they way they tell the story.  The soundtrack is wonderful as well, and the cast--  All I saw were the people they played. 

     And the story...!  Simply remarkable.  There was something familiar about it; not the plot or character, but something -- the tone, the heart of it: about halfway through, I realized it's a Theodore Sturgeon story.  Not literally, but if you like Sturgeon's work, you'll like this film.  It's a love story; it's a story about people doing the right thing, not always for good reasons, and about people who think they have good reasons for doing wrong.  It's about recognizing the human in the alien and seeing the strangeness of everyday life.

     If you haven't seen it, maybe you should.

Friday, March 09, 2018

There's Not Sleeping Well, and Then

     Then there's being really bad at sleeping.  I have been sleeping poorly for the past week or more, insomnia, waking for no reason, backaches, difficulty getting up in the morning and, yes, nodding off in the afternoon.

     Last night, after getting up due to hydraulic pressure, waking up when cats were spatting, evicting a cat that was trying to bite my Kindle and succession of episodes of wondering what the weather was and falling asleep before the screen loaded, I capped it with an episode of sleep paralysis.

     I used to suffer sleep paralysis when I was growing up and in early adulthood, and found them utterly terrifying.  I'd be awake but trapped in my own body, unable to move, unable to even open my eyes and sure of a looming doom.  I was in danger!  Or so I thought.  My heart would beat faster and faster as I struggled to regain control and fear fed fear.  I'd either finally get my eyes open to find nothing out of the ordinary or fade back into sleep, still struggling to move.  I had no idea what it was about and I was darned well not going to tell anyone about such a crazy-sounding experience.  It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I plugged the symptoms into a search engine and discovered that it wasn't uncommon and wasn't life-threatening in and of itself.  Armed with that knowledge, I was able to shrug off such episodes, which became more and more rare.

     But last night, after all the other fuss and bother, I thought I heard a cat throwing up.  Great, after everything else, I was going to have to clean that up!  I tried to open my eyes and roll over--  Nothing.  Couldn't move.  Could not move!  I wasn't very awake.  I fought and fought and started to panic.  After what seemed like hours, I got my eyes up, drew a shuddering breathe, and said, "Help," in a voice barely above a whisper. 

     Never did find the cat-hork.  It might have been a dream.  When the alarm went off forty-five minutes later, I shut it off and just laid there while the TV talked to itself.  I didn't get up until I heard Tam feeding the cats.  That's usually my job but they must have pestered her after giving up on me.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

And Overnight, It--

     You know the drill.  Snow.  Yesterday was chilly but only partly cloudy; it was above freezing and by evening, the snow that had fallen was gone. 

     We got more.  And the temperature dropped and kept on dropping.  It was snowing pretty well on my way home last night.  This morning, we have a coating of snow -- and patches of "black ice" on the roads.  Stretches of interstate highway have been closed, just as rush hour begins -- and the first batch of drivers appear to have found the slick spots the hard way.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

And Today, It Snowed

     I woke up about 4:30 this morning and looked out to see big, fat snowflakes, falling thick and fast.  It has slowed down, but yards and roofs have a nice (?) covering of snow.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Tuesday

     Back to work.  Kinda dreading getting caught up.

     Here's a photo of a good-looking young couple.  I first met them a few years later: my Mom and Dad.

Monday, March 05, 2018

I'm Exhausted

     I should post something today, but I'm just exhausted.  Got up this morning to help my sister with her cat at the vet.  The poor old tomcat had ingrown claws!  He wasn't wanting anyone to touch his front feet, but he let the vet soak them and trim his claws.

     Tam and I had brunch after that and I have mostly just sat since.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

In Memory

     Here's my family in Christmas time, 2016, I think the last time we were all together until just last week. 
     Today is my Mom's funeral service.  At least it's a pretty, sunny day.  She would have liked that.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Power Outage

      Woke up at 5:45 this morning in pitch-darkness. I usually fall asleep with a seven-and-a-half Watt light on, but sometimes I turn it off. No blue-green glow from my nightstand clock, either, and that was unusual. Very quiet—
 
      I sat up and leaned over to the window, pulled back the curtains: dark. No security light shining on the back yard, no streetlight glow from the alley, no lights on in any house I could see.

      Picked up the flashlight I keep on my nightstand and went out to the dining room: no lights from next door on the other side, no lights out the kitchen windows. Out the front windows, the houses across the street have power. They're on a different distribution branch and it is rare for both sides of the street to lose power at the same time. 

      Went back to my room. Cellular phone service was working, so I went to our power utility's web site. Checked their outage map and we were not on it. Reported the outage, received bland, automated assurance, and Tam walked in.
T: "So, power is out.  That shoots my morning all to hell."
RX: "I reported it. Do you want coffee?"
T [cheering up a little]: "I do!"

      Of course, when I went back to the kitchen, I started to pour water in the electric teakettle. Caught myself, looked at the old teakettle that lives on a back burner and decided to wash it before use. Making coffee took a few more minutes than usual, but pretty soon we both had mugs of the stuff and the thermal carafe was nearly full with more.

     Now here I am, composing this offline as the sun begins to rise. I'm hoping Tam will let me post it using her phone as a hotspot, if power's not back on shortly. —No sooner did I ask her about that than the power came back on!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

A Lot To Go Through

     Spent time with my sister this morning, sorting through Mom's jewelry: earrings and necklace for her, things for the older granddaughters and oldest great-granddaughter, costume jewelry for the younger great-greats, some interesting coin collections for the great-grandsons.  Sister's got a lot of the family art (fewer bookshelves, though not for lack of reading!), which was nice to see again.  We never got around to going through photos, with breaks for recollections and tears.

     Oh, this isn't easy.