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This little beauty came to live with me! Margaret Owen, Daily Painting. I see she just added another cute little thing. Mine is a 4×4 canvas, but it truly commands the space it is in. I’m looking for a place it deserves. I’ve learned a huge amount from Ms. Owen’s blog over the years, and am happy to finally support her in a small way.

Other good things? Daughter and I drove over to Duluth today. I was crabby and wanted to stay home and do things, but I’d put her off already, so we went, and had a good time, and had several long talks, and made a big long list of things we are grateful for. Such positivity out of two incredibly sarcastic people! But really. I like my phone, we like our car, the sky was blue, we have a place in the life of our town. And we aren’t the kind of people who shop for clothes.



Daughter: Is there any stroganoff left over?

Me: In the Cool Whip tub in the refrigerator. I mean, the Sure Fine imitation Cool Whip tub in the refrigerator.



D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s right in front of you.

D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s on the top shelf, in the box, on top of the lemons. It’s right square in front of you (which, jeebus knows, is my error, because “right in front of you” to her meant I don’t know, somewhere in the hinge or something).

D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s in the white tub with the blue label with a red thing in it. In the box, on the top shelf, on top of the lemons, on the left side of the refrigerator. I can see it from here.



D: Oh, do you mean the whipped topping tub?

I mean, I know it’s semiotics. It’s the Kleenex (registered trademark) problem, writ large. To me, “Cool Whip tub” means anything that falls in that general range of substitutable products. Part of my problem is that I can see where she gets confused. That to her, “Cool Whip Tub” refers to – and only to – “CoolWhip tub.” I could have sworn I had thrown in enough descriptors to make it clear. Some days I’m not sure if it’s her or me with the problem. Anybody want to borrow her for a few weeks?

Daughter spends a lot of time on video games (n.b. is that even what they’re called now?), which irritates me. But it also means she’s spending time listening to and learning from critical analysis, which Is. So. Cool. to an art historian. It also means we have discussions revolving around which character in the Elder Scrolls represents which god in classical mythology, which led to a brief discussion about Nature and the Wilderness as a representation of supreme beings of different types. Which is good, because – oh, there’s a list of reasons. Neither of us is letting our brains rot. We are equal in our geek fandomness of Big Things and Ideas. And we can spend quality time together in so many different ways.

The summer was cool, which is good because I hate being hot. It was bad because the few hot days we had (I think it was three) were too hot to get in the car and go where we could go swimming. We’ve had what seems like an early cold snap, which means that it’s time the garden closes down, which is sad, but it also means a return to hot bath season, which is Thank You Universe. Hot Bath Season is good, in that it means hot – HOT! – baths, which is also bad, because it means that that hot bath should have been lotion instead of water.

The return to Hot Bath Season means a return to many many blankets on the bed, which is good, because snuggle in and sleep like a log. And also because –


I get to play.

I’m not sure how or what or anything, and there’s things I don’t like, but for now I’m switching to Chrome because it loads fast enough that I can actually click on a youtube and it loads fast enough that I can listen to it as it downloads! right straight from the beginning. This will totally change my internet experience, and maybe drive Daughter bonkers because I will be sitting here listening to my music, which sounds better, too.

Um, Joni Mitchell.

Like pretty much everybody in the blogosphere, I am making some changes in my day-to-day life thingie. You will also notice that I’m not putting a lot of weight on this new stuff, because I will run away screaming to the nearest convenience store to buy chocolate. And if it’s that healthy, holier than normal dark chocolate, it will be wrapped around a Milky Way bar, and accompanied by some dark roast Columbian with a goodly dollop or six of half-and-half. I can only do so much, people.

So, yeah. I’m also trying to do the half-caf tango, no milk, no cream, no magic flavoring. I swear there is no life for a Scandinavian without The Essence, but I’m backing down, because I am close to two pots a day. Even I can’t delude myself into believing this is a good thing. I’m fairly certain it has to do with that half-assed shift I’m on. It’s coming to an end soon. We’ll see.

And the fritatas for breakfast. For a long time it was scrambled eggs with some stuff in them. Now it’s back to a pile of stuff with an egg in it. See? Subtle. And a sprinkling of Parmesan instead of a glob of cottage cheese. I’m not sure how much the added salt is taking away from my internal reward-point system, but we’ll pretend.

So. I see this has wandered away from where I started. How could that happen?

Anyway. My ears itch. My ears have been itching for years. Three, maybe Four. I went to the Nurse Practitioner (the old one, the one who eventually lost her mind) and she gave me drops that kind of quelled it, but not altogether, and the Itch came back. Sparing you the TMI stuff, I was looking for ways to clean with vinegar and found a mention of half apple cider vinegar and half olive oil. It works, but now I smell of salad dressing most of the time. As long as hungry people don’t start coming up and licking my ears, we’re all right. At least I think that’s a bad thing. But I’ll leave you with that idea, and you can tell me what you come up with.

We went and got Daughter’s x-rays done yesterday. I was going to plug the CD into my computer and view it, but decided it would put me right around the bend. I decided to walk over to the dental clinic which is sister to my doctor’s office and have them transport it the thirty miles or so. I decided that since I’m going to be concentrating more on my photography this year, I should take my camera, just to get in the habit of carrying it again, not expecting to see much on this grey day. I got all the way out the door…

And then on the way home…

And to prove I’m human…

My tin man heart.

So, for some unknown reason, Daughter and I are each on the upswing side of our own personal internal weather systems. I’m sure it has happened before, just never so noticeably or in such synchrony. Scary.

So, we’re both making changes, or trying to, at any rate, without spooking ourselves too much. How we look, a little, and not so much with the hiding, and food, some. I’ve been nagging the Gunslinger for about five years that HFCS is the work of the devil, and all those articles I’ve been emailing her finally kicked in. She is now down to maybe two sodas a week. Of course this explains why she nags me to go to the co-op, with its guaranteed cane sugar sodas that I will buy for her with only a little complaining. But, you know, Co-op. With those things.

I suspect all co-ops smell the same, fresh ground coffee overlaid with spices and the cool rainwater smell from the recently misted fresh fruit and vegetable display right there at the front of the store, with strands of shipping carton and paper bag woven through. Exotic and comfortable at the same time, the kind of person I want to be. And no perfumes, no perfumed powdered laundry detergent with built in softeners and bleach and whatever else gluing itself to your palate. We go in to buy yogurt, and come out 20 bucks lighter, or 30 if I give in to the vegan cookies and the Lindor Truffles at the checkout counter.

So, co-op. And steelcut oatmeal, and organic frozen blueberries, and Greek honey yogurt. We read Michael Pollan, and we have all those things, and today we ate a good breakfast. No, we pigged out on a good breakfast. For the first time in the 20 or so hours I’ve been on this not-a-diet, I’m not hungry.

Because. Who else would take a picture of oatmeal cooking? I should have shown it to you all pretty and blueberry-ey and yogurty before we gobbled it, but there just wasn’t time.

I was going to send this to my brother in D.C.

Ha. Hahahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.
We might get 5 inches in the next couple of days.
Excuse me, but I have to go tape my ribs. I’ve been laughing too hard.

She says I shouldn’t.


(Remember. This is a sibling thing. The rest of you, I know your pain.)

I am of Scandinavian descent, and I was in my element today.

Yes, a fantastically bad picture of snow. I didn’t realize til I was out wandering about that I have become terribly sunshine deprived. Today, the sun was out, the sky a wild blue, the air cold and clean, the snow still white and the streets relatively untracked by sludge. And, I got to wear my pseudo-Scandinavian sweater, and my neck warmer and my head band and my fingerless mitts and my new thrummed mittens and my red coat, and just walked around like I was home.

In other news, Gunslinger Gal actually is a vampire, and has horribly low blood levels of vitamin D3, and now gets to take prescription levels of the stuff. Hah! But her 3 month glucose test came back fine, so I can no longer threaten her with looming diabetes. She’ll have to come up with her own reasons to eat better.

But, Sunshine! and Blue Skies!

Gunslinger Gal Turns Twenty-One.

Her Buddhist-Pacifist-Preacher-of-Non-violence mother gets her a gun. A Nerf Maverick, but still.

Because little is lost if alliteration can help hop up the hope.

(Sometimes I hate my brain.)

Anyway. This was supposed to be the *good* holiday, the first in a long time with all that stuff; people and food and laughter and happiness. Of course, everything went to fucking hell about a month before, and I’m sorry, I’m not as young as I was and my recovery time is a lot longer and I’ve been using a lot of that “pull yourself together and scrape that shit right off of your shoes” stuff, and when it proved to not be a bulwark against the chaos that I’d hoped it would be, I did what any sane person would do. I went to bed.

Except of course it isn’t just as simple as “go to bed.” Nooooo. All those thoughts came back as well, and, really, they’d been gone for a couple of months and I’d lost the defenses against them, as well.

But I had one new, thin, mostly untried tactic; Wait it out. Pretend. Act like you can do it.

Like I said, it was a weak and clumsy defense. You have no idea (well, some of you do) how hard it is to pick up anything – the phone, a skillet, knitting needles – when you’ve got that voice in your head telling you how worthless you really are and of course everybody left you because you are incapable of keeping the kitchen table cleared off and look at how stupid you are wrapping this present on your bed in a box that sat too long in the basement and it’s all wobbly and the corners are coming apart – how stupid are you to think that this feeble little gesture is good enough –

and then handing Daughter the one present you managed to buy, while she was with you, no less, wrapped in the Charlie Brown paper with the seams taped with masking tape – and having her face light up because you did it just to make her happy.

I’m making these little birds. The two bluebirds, with the white angel wings, are for the two women I work with, the ones who fight some of the same devils I do, the ones who make me feel human. The pink and purple one was just for fun, a little exercise in color, and Daughter snatched it up and it hangs on her doorknob.

Sometimes all you need to do is pretend, and the world swoops in under you and lifts you back up.

Happy Holidays.