Chagan's Miscellany

Random Babble and Blather

Spring - to be hoped for SOONEST!
khatun
While I don't actually mind snow, I have reached the point where it has worn out its welcome for this Winter. I'm running short on Sunshine doses and hoard them when they occur.
To that end I decided to start on some things that are Spring oriented. At least it gives me hope. The 2 major items are a Spring purge of excess stuff and putting in a garden. Preferably a raised bed garden. Currently I have the lumber, hardware and space. I have a promise from my neighbor to do some plowing and harrowing so I'll have readily prepped soil and another friend owns horses so fertilizer is available on a "Free-you load and haul" basis. All good. A week ago I got out my seed starter trays and wet down the little disks of growth medium and filled them up with seeds I'd purchased a week or so earlier. Minus any Rutabaga seeds. I wonder why there are none available in my area? I will check that out in my free time. It isn't a major loss.

It did not take nearly as long to set up the seed sprouting operation and my back survived nicely. I did - knowingly - over-plant the number of seeds to start. 1 - I wasn't sure how many would make it to plantable status, 2 - I have cats, as you all know, and the possibility of catly interference is always there. I did lose a couple seed pods to the cats the day after I finished the planting of the starter trays. So far no repeats of that accident - which it actually was - an accident. Today, 8 days later, I have seen sprouts from almost all of the varieties of veggies. Still lurkingg, unsprouted, are the green onions, watermelon and jalapeno peppers. I am not worried since most sprouting can take longer. So now I enjoy checking out the sprouts and how they're coming along. I will need to pick up some larger cups for an initial transplant as they get near outgrowing the little pod/disks. The garden is geared to a collection of freezable/can-able/root cellar-able (Probably won't find that word in the dictionary) varieties of veggies with just a couple items that will be a fresh treat come Summer. I am exceedingly fond of spinach salads. I have started some watermelons for picnics and things like Pennsic and other SCA events. I am hopeful that I will have at least some success with this project. Should I get carried away I will add some raspberry canes and strawberry plants. They can be frozen as well. First year gardens can have random results. Fingers crossed.

On another DIY front, for folks who want to be self-sufficient - 3 friends and I got together and made soap this past weekend. Not the melt and pour stuff but the 'from scratch, milk, oils, lard, lye and essential oils' soap. We had a BALL! We've done this before and we have a great deal of good conversation and always end up with lots of soap. It does have to sit and cure for a number of weeks while the chemicals break down the caustic aspects of the lye, but the soap that results is always nice. I doubt seriously that I'll have to buy any sort of bar soap for several years. This latest batch netted me 44 bars.

The other projects are all pretty much going to be scattered over the next 6 months - simply decluttering and thinning out the stuff in the barn, the underporch and a second round of thinning on the house. With luck, somewhere in all this I shall add a hen house and chickens. However, that isn't a top of the list item. Just something to look forward to when I can afford it.

All this is a simple continuation of restructuring my life and continuing on minus Himself. I continue to improve, as does life in general. Having a positive out look is a big help and watching those little seeds sprout helps that a lot!

Just cruising
khatun
I haven't posted in a good while now. I suppose I really don't have a good reason other than life has been fairly mellow and I've been relatively busy.

Yesterday and today I was absolutely non-productive. I'm going to blame the "Winter blahs" for it. The closest to being productive was to take a 30 minute walk OUTSIDE in the almost warm day. it was overcast, dampish and for the first half block sort of misty, but I was OUTSIDE! I was NOT wearing 4 layers of clothing and all bundled up. It felt good - even the last two blocks of wheezing and puffing - as I crossed my time based finish line - muddy shoes and all.

I've slowed down on the de-cluttering a bit and can only blame that on the cabin fever inducing lethargy. It will pick up again. I hope to get a part time job so I'm not so limited in what I can afford to do. It will also give me a change of pace that always seems to help kick start home projects.

So, I'm still alive and kicking. Still semi-active with SCA but mostly just continuing to redefine the house, activities and me as a single entity. That's all for now.

The New Year - 2013
khatun
Ah, another fine year to entertain us. Mine has started out like a fine old touring car...slowly excelerating to a pace that allows one to indulge in watching the scenery go by. Then sometimes it hiccups.

I spent New Years Eve at home with the catly crew and we watched the ball drop and then the fireworks in Baltimore - all from the safe and warm easy chair in the living room - viewing the annual insanity on the boob tune. New Years Day I had company come by and we went to lunch together then we gave Hemi a hydration treatment. Normally when this is done the worst we have is some struggling and wiggling on Hemi's part, but on New Years day he decided to show his macho side. He got into a serious vegematic mode and escaped my clutches, making a beeline for the bedroom. despite leaving me with bloody tracks on neck and forehead we followed him in and SHUT THE DOOR! Recaptured, my friend took over and carried him - calming him as we went -into the bathroom where we succeeded in our task. Other than looking like I was bitten by a vampire with 3 fangs, I actually suffered only minimal damage. Thursday found me at the Chiropractors and I got the good news that I was progressing well and had only one more week of 2 appointments. After next week I go to 1 appointment a week. Yay!! So I finished off Thursday having dinner with friends at a Mexican restaurant I'd never been to, but the food was really good. So - good food, good company and Thursday was a very good day. The wind has picked up today but overall it has been nice. Hemi got to go to the vet for his post hydration checkup and managed to make a real mess of the vets room where they collect samples. Poor guy just couldn't hold it any longer. So when the vet went to take a sample he let go and soaked all sorts of things, people, the room and the vet. Shortly after that I was cleaning up another puddle in the carrier and when I stepped away to dump the soggy paper towels he did his 'grande finale' and brought up his breakfast in the carrier. Apparently the combination of being full of food, liquid and the stress of the car ride and vet visit was just too much for him this time. I'll know Monday how the test went and where we go from here. The vet seemed optimistic, if slightly damp. Hemi was all about going home and so we did. Tonight I skipped going to our Friday SCA gathering, despite it being the annual 12th Night Party. I was not feeling particularly sociable and really didn't want to have to be 'cheerful and sociable' when I suspected there could be some general social fireworks going on. Later on I discovered I'd definitely made the right choice. So I threw caution to the winds and paid bills and started gathering paperwork for my taxes.

All in all a good start to a New year. I really hope this one has more good things than 'interesting' things happen....

Weather - or not.
khatun
I believe I have mentioned in the past that the phrase "Winds of Change" is quite accurate weather-wise. Whenever it gets particularly windy in this area it heralds a change in the weather. However, in the past few months it seems more likely that it's just the period at the end of the current weather-sentence.

Tonight the winds have, once again, picked up and brought me more cold breezes. Where it used to be seasonal, as in March's "In like a lion, out like a lamb" scenario, it has now become the more common precursor to the end of, or arrival of, another assorted front. Generally a cold front. I practice the joys of the layered look in clothing because I never know what layer will be the best one. An hour or two past I noticed the light howling of stronger winds. Yes, as predicted - tomorrow is to be WINDY. Today we gathered in a couple inches of snow but nothing worth worrying over. What I hope for is a slow melt of what little snow we do get. I want it to soak in and help fill up the aquifers. We need some healthy snow falls up in the Appalachian mountains West of Hagerstown to really help the water supply. I read an article recently telling us that Carroll County has actually had a "snow drought" over the past 2 years. I'm on a well, so I am concerned. Wells are NOT cheap to replace. You pay by the foot for the well and by the foot for the line into the home plus the pipe, plumbing, ditch digging and the pump. Consider a 300 ft deep well with a 50 foot trench to the house and all that's at around 10 bucks a foot. In 2006 it was $9 a foot for the well and $7 a foot for the trench. That year was a drought year and 30% of the wells in Carroll County went dry. Boom year for the drillers! There were waiting lists! So some snow is always greatly appreciated - even if I have to drive in it.

Today I vegged out mostly. I had some plans but decided against them since it included some driving and it was snowing. I am a firm believer in "if you don't HAVE to go out, don't go out in bad weather". Am I a wimp...so what! I'm a live wimp with all fenders intact. Instead I cleaned house. Not exciting, but at least I accomplished something.

Just cause I feel like sharing this - a couple winter weather tips that have paid off for me. Feel free to try them out.

1. If snow is forecast and you do not have a garage or a car with defrosters in the outside mirrors - put a plastic bag over each mirror and tie it closed. When you have to clean off the car you'll at least have rear view mirrors you don't have to chip ice off of or clean off the snow. Keeps them from freezing up by keeping water out of them also.

2. If snow is forecast go out and raise your windshield wipers to an upright position. This keeps them from freezing to the windshield. Takes all of a couple seconds and saves wear and tear on the blades.

3. If you must drive, especially if you have a lightweight car or an empty pickup truck, go buy a couple bags of the cheap, non-clumping kitty litter or building sand. Store the bags as close to your rear axle as possible. You have a two fold item here. The additional weight helps give traction and if you get stuck on ice you can open a bag, scoop out some sand or litter and toss it under the drive wheel(s). Instant traction and no damage to the ecology. salt is fine too, but you aren't trying to melt the ice on the road - just trying to get your vehicle off the ice.

4. Stuck on snow? DO NOT spin your wheels. The spinning wheels turn thr snow slush into ice. I don't understand it - I just know it happens.

5. For those macho folks with 4 wheel drive. 4 Wheel Drive won't help you on ice. Sorry. It also won't help if you forget to engage it before you start driving. Check to be sure which kind of 4 wheel drive type you have - the on-all-the-time type or the optional kind you can turn on and off. Learn how to handle it before the blizzards hit.

6. Last but not least. Keep the gas tank full. Don't let it go below half a tank in bad weather. Keep an emergency kit in the car for cold weather - spare blanket, snacks, bottles of water, flashlight and batteries, that sort of thing. You may never need it, but if you do, isn't it nice that you actually have it in the car rather than in a box in the garage 'just in case'.

Happy winter commuting to all!

And then there was industry!
khatun
Tis the Holiday season and my first one alone in a very long time, except, I won't be alone! My friends are taking me in this Holiday and that's a very nice feeling. Himself never cared for Christmas but he usually humored me. No more Himself. :-( BUMMER!

So I have been industrious these last few days. Custom dictates I shall not go empty handed. So I dusted off the cook books and found some of my old favorite cookie recipes. My hosts will not suffer from a lack of cookies. Molasses cookies were requested and await delivery, as were the old fashioned sugar cookies. I even tried a cookie I'd never heard of before- Anise Seed Borrachio cookies. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Anise-Seed-Borrachio-Cookies/Detail.aspx?prop24=RD_RelatedRecipes !! YUM !! Only tried a small batch but they are well worth making lots more! I'll take a few and see how they're received. The Shortbread recipe I used needs help. I need to find an older version for a better cookie. I realize that sounds odd but, honest, many of the older recipes just work better and use fewer "new and improved' ingredients. Fannie Farmer, here I come.

With the activity stirred up by the cookie making, the old house cleaning urge kicked in and the laundry got done early, the dishes are all done and things generally got picked up and put away. With the help of 'Polish Stitcher' we got poor Hemi a dose of hydration several times this week. It was gorgeous on Sunday so I even got in a nice, brisk walk and caught some vitamin D. So now I'm down to the wire and only have cookies to pack up for dinner to night. I will be chore free - except maybe a few dishes tomorrow - until Wednesday. YAY! relaxin' time!!!

Currently the cats are doing well, Hemi and Munch continue their special diets and (hopefully) Hemi has only another 4 or 5 doses of hydration therapy. This morning found me at the Chiropractor's and he tells me I am doing VERY WELL! I have been feeling better - much better - so I'm happy with that. Look out world - I'm alive and kickin'!!

Hmmmmm... just looked out the window. It's snowing. Not sticking yet and hopefully it will just melt and ooze into the soil. They promised us fog this morning but it didn't happen. They are also calling for rain and/or a "wintry mix" this evening but I'm hoping for just rain. Tomorrow is supposed to be nicer and I hope that pans out because I have a much longer drive to my other friends home for Christmas. It's also mostly on 2 lane, winding, hilly set of country roads, so I really would like dry roads for the trip - both ways. We shall see. Fingers crossed.

Just checked again...it's starting to stick on cold things. Better bring in the mail and check on which cats are still outside. I see my neighbors are being even more industrious - they're out spreading fertilizer on their fields. Farming never stops.

May your Holidays - whatever you celebrate - be wonderful!

Signs of the season
khatun
Let's see, so far this week we've had one seriously awesome fog that lasted all day, one bright balmy day, one gray, chilly day and today - cold, chill, gray and RAIN... since around 3:00 PM. The rain has continued off and on for the rest of the day and is, I believe, supposed to continue through the night. Naturally, I was out in it twice. I succeeded in acquiring the much bemoaned cat treats that we ran out of last night...may the pride forgive me....and the christmas present for the hardly ever seen step-grand daughter. Xmas shopping done!

My only concern with the rain is if it freezes over night. If we have ice I will NOT venture out. Even Tinymite came in tonight to avoid the cold and rain. She tolerates rain less and less as the weather gets cooler. Smart kitty.

The wooly worms seem to have gone to ground as well. I haven't seen any in awhile and the ones I accidentally uncovered seemed to be attempting to hibernate. Now I'm wondering - where do wooly worms go in cold weather?

I haven't noticed near as many Christmas trees being carried home on cars this year. Do you suppose the (ugh) artificial trees are really winning out over the real thing? A highlight of the day earlier this week was seeing a house decorated with actual real live garlands of greens. I much prefer the real thing. It was very pretty.

Coming home tonight I spotted 4 young people - probably teenagers - carrying cardboard signs stating "The End is Here" and other things about the so-called Mayan prediction that "The world, as we know it, will end on Dec. 21st, 2012". That could mean so many diffferent things. The most recent one was that it signaled the beginning of a New Age. I read up on it a bit but will probably look up more on that idea. December 21st is Winter Solstice, longest night of the year. Funny - Himself and I had planned to get married on Dec. 21st (insert wild notions of what we'd DO with that very long night) and then ended up with Fourth of July. Ah, fireworks of another sort!

I have been making attempts at baking Christmas cookies. So far everything tastes fine but is aesthetically lacking in appearance. I'm thinking it needs more butter. All the doughs have come out drier than anticipated. Dry dough is a pain in the butt to work with.

Missed my evening with Thursday friends tonight as I was attempting to write checks for my neighbor. Fantastic fellow but he was in a talkative mood and finally feeling upbeat. Lately he's been a grouch because he is having back issues and can't work. I can relate to his plight - especially since he's always got to be busy doing something. So I stayed late and listened. I miss the dinner company but I wasn't unhappy about missing a drive in the rain - especially if the roads developed ice.

Got another Christmas dinner invite. Had to turn it down. Apparently I'll miss having roast goose but that's okay - I'm not a big fan of goose or many of the other fowls that appear at holiday tables.

Well, that's it for now. Happy Winter Solstice!

Hmmmm.... just everyday stuff
khatun
So far we've had a fairly mild series of weather since Sandy struck. I am NOT complaining. A mild weather pattern is just fine with me for the inter, although I do want one week where we have very cold nights - maybe 3 in a row. That will minimize the bug population for next year. I don't want them all to go away - Mother nature needs her little helpers - but a shortage of such things as ticks, mosquitoes and stink bugs is a reasonable request, I think.

Yesterday we had an awesome fog! Visibility was minimal. Naturally, I had a doctors appointment but I got there and back in one piece so that wasn't bad. I was amazed and mildly dumbfounded by the number of people driving WITHOUT their headlights on. I don't care what color your car is - fog hides them all. Last night we had a short but strong storm and today is gorgeous but still has a litle wind. Around here that usually means the weather is changing due to some new front moving through. Guess I'll check the weather forecast and go for a walk.

Had a request for some Christmas cookies so I'm starting that later on today. Found a recipe I'd never heard of before but it sounds YUMMY so I think I'll give it a go. The recipe calls for rum and when I stopped in and asked the clerk where the miniatures were he looked confused. He knows I don't drink, I only stop in for my weekly lottery ticket. Then I mentioned cookies and he asked how soon they'd be ready. Silly man! Now I'm off to restock my cloves supply...not enough for the intended batches.

Chiropractic care continues and is a "Good Thing". It won't rebuild the deteriorated disc but it will stop the wear and deterioration or at least slow it way down. No pain from those pinched nerves in several weeks. YAYY!!!

Hydrating the cat continues to be an exercise in patience, frustration and exasperation. The towel on the head worked once. End of that method. Will try the pillowcase method but, frankly, it's a 2 person chore. I only have 2 hands. Happily still no scratches from poor Hemi.

I am so proud of my friend who just graduated with his Bachelor of Applied Science degree. He's in his 50's. He graduated with honors and a 3.84 grade average. Now I can only hope the fussy bitch (who totally Ruined the celebratory dinner for me) got a case of heartburn from her meal! Her actions could have been done more politely and quietly and achieved the same results, but..NOOOO... she did her usual thing and gave us the full dose of histrionics and drama queen crap. So tasteless, so stupid. Not worth the angst, though...I finally overcame my displeasure and am happily anticipating the cookie making! She was the trigger for my previous post/rant.

I never know when I'll write in this thing so Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Yule, Winter Solstice, Happy New Year - Your choice - and have a wonderful year in 2013. I sure hope to!

Why?
khatun
This has been a week of sad occurrences. So I have to ask WHY?

Why is it always the bad news that gets splattered all over the TV, Internet and newspaper but the good news seldom makes it closer to the front page than page 4?

Why do vets think one person can medicate an animal when it takes the 2 people to do it in their office?

Why do so many people feel they need to jump up and down, scream and cuss to get a restaurant order corrected?

Why have the public speeches we hear so often done so poorly?

Why won't parents take responsibility for the upbringing of their children?

Why can't the government see the reason behind a flat tax with NO deductions is a better moneymaker than the umpty-thousand page collection of rules we currently have with the IRS?

Why haven't we gotten rid of the electoral College AND the 2 party system?

Why do I bother to ask?
So, I'm going to venture a thought on the WHY behind the series of folks who have 'snapped' and gone on killing sprees.
1. It is not the weapon they are driven by because if they couldn't get guns they do have access to knives, bow and arrows, clubs, poison and rocks to throw. So let's leave the guns out of it.
2. It's not religion in the cases that we've seen recently. So let's leave religious or non-religious beliefs out of it.
3. Only one recent attack that I recall would fall into a socio-political-religion based rampage. By recent I'm referring to attacks that have happened in the last 5 years. 9/11 is another matter entirely.
4. Hate crimes. So far I haven't seen a pattern of classic hate crime victims emerge from any of the attacks. The victims weren't all gays or all Jewish or all Hispanic or all unwed mothers.

So, WHY? We need to find the triggers to these incidents - not go after the NRA or the churches or specific races or categories of folks.

So what might cause these 'snapped' incidents. Think about this. FOOD. In the 1950's we began to see the first of the 'convenience foods' - TV dinners, microwavable foods, "New, Improved and enriched" foods such as breakfast cereals, instant mixes and just-add-water items. Consider it was shortly after that started that we also began the supplementing of animals diet with steroids, hormones and other chemicals to boost size, weight and other aspects of the animals growth. Further along were the new crops with hybrid varieties as well as 'enhanced' growth additives, etc., and let's not forget the arrival of legions of Fast Food emporiums and now we get genetically engineered foods. Pick up a package of virtually anything other than canned or frozen veggies and read the ingredients label. Would you knowingly eat plastic? No, but what are those chemical additives or man made versions of good old salt and butter and flavorings and what will they do to your system? Go on any of the special fad diets and see what happens when you delete or add back in something the diet called for or eliminated. The reactions may surprise you. Now this alone probably won't cause many folks to 'snap' but if you combine it with someone who may already have mental issues or has violent tendencies and you can develope a nicely ticking bomb....
The other down side to this current food versus plastic issue is staring us in the face and making faces at us big time. We have obese kids, ADHD, type 2 diabetes at earlier and earlier ages, people developing Rickets because they never go outside and get any sun, allergies to all manner of things that were NOT common prior to the 1960's and physical problems due to lack of physical activities as well as heavy use of toys, game systems and computers. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis elbow, and the list grows.

Has it occurred to anyone that the food we now call Organic is what EVERYONE ate up until the 1950's? Isn't it about time we started doing more to eliminate the poisons from our systems as well as finding better ways to catch and correct the numerous mental issues kids are developing that may very well be caused by our New, Improved foods? It just might slow down the number of people who snap and we may have a lot healthier generations of kids if parents will be caring parents, food is less poisonous and every one goes out to play OUTSIDE more often. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. We are poisoning ourselves, our kids, our animals and Mother Earth! Go thank a tree for the breathable air we've still got before we cut them all down and pave the world with blacktop!

Tucking away my soapbox and returning you to your previous activities.


Mulling sans the wine.....
khatun
This week has been sort of 'down' and I've been looking back at the year and its changes. I still seem to be in a sort of semi-limbo over pretty much everything. As I've mentioned before I'm between 'doors' - having had one close but not finding the next one opening up yet. I suspect this is actually somewhat normal after a major loss. Your world is turned upside down. I've had the great good fortune to have a safety net of friends who've kept me sane and been available whenever I needed them, without smothering me with attention. I shudder to think what it would be like without them.

I'm not going to bore you with a long list of have's and have-nots that figured in my year. There are a great number of things that one should very definitely do in anticipation of a major life alteration such as divorce, death or similar occurrences. I am so very glad that Himself and I did a fair bit of planning ahead but we should have done a bit more. Things that can make the survivors life a tad easier are both small and large things - wills, listing of beneficiaries on all the accounts, policies, retirement funds, titling of vehicles, any major property, that sort of thing. I wish we'd made prearrangements with the funeral home because they supply you with a mountain of ideas, advice and "Things you NEED to know". Wills are a must. No one knows how long they've got but we all tend to put it off, thinking "I have plenty of time". Don't do that. Have some fun - pre-write your own obituary! Creepy? not really. You get to tell the world what was important to you. Laws covering inheritance vary from state to state so what I went through may be more or less than what would have happened elsewhere. We managed to set things up so that there was virtually no 'estate' to contend with, thus minimizing the dreaded estate tax and probate process. Lots of things along those lines that we planned for went smoothly but could have been a five-star migraine if the homework wasn't done.

I think the more difficult aspect has been the transition from a couple to a single person. All of a sudden you have fewer errands to run, no one to run home to and tell the good news, or share a laugh with. Cooking for one sucks. No more channel surfing while you try to watch something your partner doesn't want to watch. Going out to eat alone sucks. Having the big bed all to yourself and still finding you sleep close to one edge. Why keep all those pillows on the bed? Decisions are yours and yours alone. All your friends are 'couples' and one wheel's missing, even though you're still part of the gang. Even the pets went through a massive restructuring of the pecking order. Some days you just don't .... anything, and for no good reason that's made itself known. You suddenly realize there are tools and machines that you have but don't know how to run or fix or what kind of fuel they take because ...you never had to do it. You wonder what might happen to your pets if they outlive you. You have to thin out your possessions because you really don't need those clothes your partner wore or the things they liked that you have no interest in. You send out cancellation notices for magazines and such and wonder why they continue to send you 'please come back' notices after you've explained on too many painful times that the subscriber has passed away. Anniversarys, birthdays and holidays are sort of awkward. Silly little things will often set off tears for no good reason or make you laugh.

So, life goes on, but the wheels are a bit wobbly sometimes and you wonder if you're going to make it. I'm sure the semi-limbo will resolve itself in the (hopefully) near future. As long as I keep just doing things beyond the house and my friends continue to put up with me I figure I have a good chance of doing fine. I think I had it pretty easy. I hope others will take the advice and make it easy on themselves as well. It isn't hard but it is very important.

No, really, I'm fine. This sort of thing - writing or de-cluttering or going through collections of old photos is therapeutic. Laugh, cry, tell stories, it all helps the healing. My Band-aids are growing smaller as time passes and the empty spots slowly, ever so slowly, try to close. Be good to yourselves - plan ahead!!

Observations and general nonsense.
khatun
Today is cold, windy, heavy overcast and dreary. A very BLEAHHH day. Even the cats aren't really interested in going out - with the exception of Tiny, Chocolate and Moppet. They seem to be impervious to most weather and insist on going out for at least some amount of time. I've noticed several of our woolly-worms have actually gotten into the house. I do not recall that happening before. Makes me wonder what Mother nature truly has in stock for us this winter. I limited my outside time to getting the mail and the paper.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I was invited to celebrate twice - once on Thursday with friends and once on Friday with friends who had a slightly goofed up schedule so they waited a day to celebrate. Lots of good food. I did some of the cooking but didn't have the huge amount of dirty dishes to contend with. I had wondered how this holiday would go. I knew friends would take me in, so to speak, but with Himself missing I wondered how I would feel. There was a small empty spot but we joked about his goofy habits and all went well. I sure do miss that silly old man. Friday morning a friend from NY stopped by to say hi and we had a nice visit for an hour or so before he hit the road for the return trip. Then I got to go to the vet and the chiropractor.... what fun!

I had a burst of energy earlier and gathered up a lot of my SCA paraphernalia in preparation for going through it and thinning it out. There's so much I never use that could go to someone more active in this hobby. Looks like I should have a varied selection for sale at our Baronial Birthday event in February. I suspect there's more stuff hiding in the barn but I'm hoping I've found the bulk of it. I should have a number of empty tote boxes as the thinning out progresses. Handy things, tote boxes. There's always a use for them somewhere for something.

I haven't gotten as far along in my quest for a totally decluttered home by the end of the year but I'm still making progress. There's hope still, and the additional empty totes show me I am making progress. That puts me on the plus side of the project.

Visits to the chiropractor are working. I am feeling much better and the original pain and immobility have mostly subsided. The Doc tells me he can see improvement based on how I move and my posture. Careful happy dance over that.

I did NOT indulge in the Black Friday insanity. I'm actually pretty anti-Black Friday shopping nonsense. It occurs to me that we have virtually destroyed the true meaning of not only Christmas but, now Thanksgiving as well. I've always seen Thanksgiving as a day for family and friends to gather and enjoy each other. It's also supposed to be a day of reflection - to look at what you have, or don't have, and consider how you have progressed through the year, to enjoy and appreciate what you do have. Instead, the legalized prostitution we call advertising and retail sales, is out there luring us away from a pleasant, relaxed, enjoyable day to gather in mobs, racing through stores to claim our prizes at deep discounts and run up our credit card bills so we dump ourselves deeper in debt for things we really don't need. I watched the news and they showed A WOMAN LOADING 3 FLAT SCREEN TV'S INTO HER SHOPPING CART!!! Her companion waited, keeping a watchful eye on his cart load of electronic goodies and off they went for the next 'score'. ??? 3 flat screen tv's ??? The mind boggles. Ah yes, one more way to put cracks in an already weakened family togetherness. What happened to the family sitting down to the table to JUST eat and talk? No tv, radio, I-pads, I-pods, tablets, texting, cell phones, smart phones, I.M.-ing or other interruptions. Sigh..... And then I get an e-mail telling me I'm eligible to upgrade my phone... ooooohhh...the visions that dose of adver-crack gave me...

I must go find a seed catalogue to read or find plans for a chicken coop... I want to be ready when our electronic empire collapses. After all - I still know how to spell, write a letter on paper and not answer my phone when I want to. So there PHHHHTTTTTTTTT...............

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