Tuesday, January 17, 2017

For Caroline #1

 Given the width of this entry, you might prefer to read it at http://www.funnytheworld.com/2017/Jan/17.htm

It has been more than 20 years since we have had a stranger from another country come to live with us.  It is so long ago I don't even remember who the last one was.  But I had an email from Jane, from England, who stayed with us in 1980, the first year of our 10 years of hosting foreign students.  She was a delightful person and we actually managed to see her once a year for three or four years after she left here, sometimes here, sometimes in England.  It was she who arranged for us to have the best seats for Phantom of the Opera when we took the kids to see it in London.

Anyway, Jane's oldest daughter is now a year older than Jane was when she lived with us.  She is a veterinarian and is doing a program here at the vet school through the month of March and needs a place to stay, so she is going to move in with us.  Thanks to the NextDoor Neighbor site, I was able to find someone who can lend us a bike for the month, which will help a lot.
I invited her to read Funny the World occasionally to get an idea of what life is like around here.  I also thought it might help to add photos of what things are like TODAY (and hope they will be better by March!).  If she's going to live in this chaos, she might a well be prepared. 
So, Caroline, I just took the camera and went through downstairs, without attempting to clean up first.  Hopefully it will be a little better than this March.
My office is the most important room to me.  Ned built it for me last year and it has both a working part (were I now sit) and a craft area and shelves for craft supplies.  Behind me are shelves for books. Believe it or not, this is neater than the office was before Ned rebuilt it.
The door to my office is on the right and you walk into the family room area.  I am standing at the TV and and looking at where will be, when we get the furniture removed. the table where we eat meals.  Right now it's right behind me as I take the picture and there is only room for one person to eat at it. (Note Polly sleeping in my recliner)
The other side of the room, looking at the table where I was standing.  This is where we spend most of our time and there are two dog beds for the two dogs, though usually one or both of them are sleeping on the recliners.
Here is the kitchen.  We have more stuff than we have shelves, so most of the time the counter is covered with packages of things.  The laundry room is to the left of the sink.
This is the the living room, with Lizzie watching me.  The couch at the left is where I sleep because my back kills me if I sleep in a bed.  Sadly you can't see my amazing collection of dust on many of the shelves.
This is the other side of the living room.  This is actually an older picture and I hope it will look like this when you get here.  Right now there is other furniture that needs to be removed.   Note the trio from the Wizard of Oz, which was a decoration for my 70th birthday party.
Here are the stairs to the second floor.  Walt is keeping usable boxes here because he is trying to clean up the upstairs and these are handy storage boxes.  We get a box like this once a week, when food is delivered, so the wall of boxes continually grows!
This is enough to put Caroline into shock, so I will save the upstairs for another entry.  In the wake of seeing The Whale yesterday, where the hero was so intent on being truthful that he finally let his internet students see his 600 lb bulk, I decided to photograph the house as it is most of the time.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Serendipitous Three

We saw three plays this weekend, and as I thought about them, they all sort of blended together for rather odd reasons.

The first was the musical Beauty and the Beast, based on the Disney movie.   This was the third time I'd reviewed this show. which was an enjoyable, if not exactly "great" show.  I highly recommended it.

But the thing that was most impressive for me was the costuming of the beast.  The actor was very tall, and well padded and made an ominous beast, though watching his heart melt as his feelings for Belle grew was lovely, and it was especially endearing watching his household staff trying to teach him how to be less beast-like as he tries to let his feelings be known to Belle.

The thing that impressed me the most, though, came at the transformation.  You all know the story -- the beast is actually a prince under the spell of an evil sorceress.  When he was rude to her, she cast a spell on him, turning him into an ugly beast and his household staff into appropriate household furniture.  The spell can only be broken if he learns to love and if someone loves him in return.

He nearly dies and Belle kneels over him professing her love.  The transformation back to the handsome prince took place behind her voluminous cape.  When he is revealed in all his princely splendor I was stunned.  He hadn't been padded at all.  He was a large young man and made me think how wonderful it was that he had been cast in this role because based on his appearance, he probably would never have been considered for a romantic lead, despite his magnificent voice.  In fact, I immediately had the sense of a kid who had been bullied in school.  But the clothing and the hair around his head all hid what was underneath and we loved him before he revealed himself.  Great lesson there about not judging  a book by its cover!

The next night we saw The Christians, a play which I really didn't like much at all.  It was too much like being in church.  It has received great reviews, but sadly, not from me.  The acting was great; it was the story that dragged and dragged.
Basically it's about the pastor of one of those megachurches.  He has just paid off his building expenses for his fancy new big church and is giving a special sermon.  In his sermon (which I felt went on too long), he talks about an emotional experience he had while listening to a missionary talk about a violent incident he witnessed 
following a car bombing.  A boy ran into the fire to rescue his sister.  And did.  The sister had been saved, but the boy died.  He had not yet accepted Jesus as his savior and so it pained the missionary to think that this hero, who died after rescuing his sister, was in hell for all eternity.

This caused the pastor to re-think the concept of "hell" and how we had been misinterpreting the Bible all these years.  He said from now on, in his church there was no hell.  This sparked an amazing backlash led by his junior partner (pictured), who believed in the strict interpretation of bible verses.  Ultimately the junior pastor left, started his own church and so many parishioners followed him, it destroyed the pastor.  

I came away from the play thinking what good performances everyone gave, but how unfortunate that the play seemed to assume that everyone believed in Jesus and in Christianity.  Would Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, etc. actually enjoy this overly long sermon? 

So on Saturday it was Christianity.  On Sunday it was Mormonism which was under scrutiny.
The Whale is about Charlie, a grossly obese man, who is dying and who is visited by one of those Mormon missionaries, trying to give him religion so he can die in peace.

Religion wasn't at the center of the action, but played a big part in it.  And, of course, the size of Charlie harkened back to Beauty and the Beast.  I haven't had a week end like this before, where the shows just kind of dovetail together, no matter how disparate they may seem on the surface.

But I suspect that the show we see on Tuesday, Becoming Dr. Ruth, is not going to follow suit!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Stealing

1. Do you have/have you had any pets?

Polly in the back, Lizzie in the front

2. Do you play video games? If so, do you have a favorite video game series?
Word with Friends and 100! Puzzles (a tetris-like game).

3. Any unpopular opinions on anything?
Well, a portion of the country could say that my opinions on our about-to-be president are not popular, but I share them with a majority of the country, so I don't know how unpopular they really are.

4. Do you have a favorite gem? If yes, has anyone ever bought you jewelry with that gem?
I don't have a favorite, but a family friend bought me an amethyst, which is my birthstone, and a friend once bought me an opal, which was beautiful (and of course there was the diamond in my engagement ring, which belonged to Walt's grandmother, so technically speaking he didn't buy it for me)

5. Favorite story genres?
I seem to read more crime stories than any other (Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen, etc.)

6. What was once a secret that you can now share? (The original question was "What kind of fruit do you hate" which is type of question that I think "who cares?" so I just change them.)
There's that whole story of my friend's affair, which I helped her manage and cover up, much to my later regret.  But you don't want to hear that story.  It ultimately ended our friendship.

7. Do you like reading?
I'm a readin' fool.

8. What time is it for you now, what are you usually doing at this time of the day?
It is nearly noon and I am usually doing...this.  Sitting at the computer.

9. What character on TV or in film is most similar to you? You can go with looks or personality. Or you can make a quip and go to the next question.
In my mind's eye, I have always been the auburn-haired Maureen O'Hara of The Quiet Man, running across the emerald hills of Ireland.  In real life I'm more Roseanne Barr of Roseanne.

10. What's something weird you wanna do? It cannot be weirder than Mr. Watermelonhead.
I want to ride a wild stallion bareback along the beach of a deserted island, like Alec Ramsey of The Black Stallion.  As an obese nearly 74 year old who has only been on a horse once or twice, I think that's not likely to happen.

11. Have you ever accomplished a New Years Resolution?
No, because I never make any.

12. Is there any music artist you look up to?
Uh...Steve Schalchlin?

13. Are you allergic to anything? If yes, what?
Not that I have found yet.  Thought maybe those sneezing spells say something different...

14. When was the last time you took a swim? Who else was with you?
Char and I swam together in a swimming pool at the top of a hotel in Italy back in 2009.

15. Would you rather have the ability to sleep for as long as you want, or have the ability to never have to sleep?
In my younger days I would say never have to sleep, but these days I'm enjoying my sleep and have nothing special to get up for.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Today at Logos

After today, only two more of these left.  Doesn't seem possible.  The woman who alternates with Sandy was there today.  She is getting a bit more friendly, and I'm starting to like her more, which is nice.  We talked a lot about the ending of the store and what will happen on February 1.  Not my concern any more, of course.

I brought with me "The Geography of Bliss," the book I started at Logos months ago and never finished.  I had only one chapter left to go and was determined to finish it, so that was my goal for the day.

My first paying customer bought a book by Steinbeck (written during his war correspondent days), a photo book on lighthouses, and a children's book about the history of the Pilgrims. We talked about the Steinbeck museum in Salinas and I told him it had a special section for Steinbeck's war years.

An older couple came in looking for a book on sleep, and surprised that I couldn't look it up in the computer.  Once again I explained how you can't do that in a used book store, since at least 90% of the time (if not more) we only have one copy of each title.  They were new in town, he told me, and this was his first time in. The man sneered that Amazon was ruining the book business and we talked abut Borders and how most of the book stores left when Borders came to town. (Logos opened after Logos went out of business).

The next customer was a tall, delightful English woman wearing a long black coat and a bright knit tam on her head.  She was looking for books on embroidery and tells me that she makes embroidery kits to send to vets in VA hospitals, who are there for lengthy convalescence, so they have something to DO all day.  She also, she tells me, mucks out the stalls of horses at a ranch nearby which does horseback riding therapy for disabled kids.  We talked a bit about the book I was reading and after she bought a book on embroidery, she left saying she hoped that I find happiness.

A woman came in the door telling me that she had pushed the door when the sign on it said "pull" and smiled when I told her the door actually went both ways.  She didn't buy anything, but said that her back was bothering her and wouldn't let her walk far, so she was wandering around town.

An older man came in looking for a book for his pregnant daughter.  He wasn't sure what he wanted but found that beautiful photo book by Lennart Nilsson with photos of babies in utero at all stages of development. I told him that I had loved that book when I was pregnant and did not tell him that at some point I realized that most of those photos were probably of dead babies!  The book was originally published >40 years ago, but developing fetuses haven't changed much since then!

Two girls found a NY Times map puzzle.  One of those puzzles that you can have made of an aerial view of your neighborhood.  They wanted to know if I could open the box so they could see what the pieces looked like.  We discovered photo inside of "Cottage Circle" here in Davis and we spent time trying to orient ourselves as to where exactly it was.  Ultimately she didn't buy the puzzle.

A woman with frizz-curly Cher hair and a straw hat buys a book about Chicago artists and got into the discussion and examination of the Cottage Circle puzzle

FINISHED reading "The Geography of Bliss"

A very pleasant woman bought a copy of Plato's Republic.

A delightful very tall woman came in and bought a book of the biography of Isak Dineson.  We got to talking.  She's new to Davis, moved here for a teaching job and seems thrilled to be here.  She grew up in San Rafael (where my mother lived) but moved to the east bay and lived in several places there.  We reminisced about Moe's book store in Berkeley.

With my new cell phone, it is easier for me to connect with Twitter and I have been reading it periodically so I found that the Senate had voted to remove pre-existing conditions, kids on their parents' insurance, contraception coverage, and maternity care from the Affordable Care act.  I was physically sick to my stomach.  Then I watched the coverage of Obama giving Biden the Medal of Freedom and it brought me to tears.  How can we be losing these wonderful men and getting what we are getting....?

My friend came at 4:15 and bought a Dick Francis bargain book and a very thick history of MI-6.  I wondered if that came out of the new (unverified) allegations about Trump misconduct in Russia said to have been released by a former member of MI-6.

A rather odd couple bought a book of poetry by Gertrude Stein.
I was looking for something new to read and picked up one of the books on Gilbert & Sullivan that I had donated during the office purge. It's called "The last Curtain" and is an account of the writing of the duo's final two operettas, neither of which was successful. It's fascinating and I don't know why I hadn't read it before this.  I decided to take back my donation and brought it home again with me.

A slow moving barrel-chested guy wearing jeans and a hoodie over a sweatshirt sauntered in.  He had a beard like Walt's and he bought 2 bargain books.

A guy came in with a bag and a box of donations.  The box, he said, was very heavy and he took our handcart out to his car to move it inside.  "Some  really good novels this time," he said.
An oriental young man bought a science fiction book called something like "Quarantined-Catastrophe of the Earth" (that must not be its name because I can't find it on Amazon).  Anyway, all I could think of was that it sounded like a story of the impending Trump administration.

Walt arrived and we came home.  Tonight is Blacklist night, so a good night.  Ned called letting us know he and Marta are going to go up to Tahoe for the weekend.  He tells me he's giving me one task:  "turn off Rachel Maddow for the next four years."

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Pleasure of Your Company

Truth to tell this is an old entry, but I came across it today and liked it so much I decided to reprint it, since I really didn't do anything today but have lunch with my mother.  So here goes...
It seemed a fairly innocuous invitation. The kind I've had many, many times through the years. "You are invited to a bridal shower...."

The party took place nearly 15 years ago, now, I guess.

The party was for one of the medical assistants in the office in which I worked. It was being held at the home of one of the nurses.

This party had a bit of a twist. Like a Tupperware party, only this was for "intimate apparel." We would have the chance to view some fancy lingerie and perhaps choose to purchase something at the party for a shower gift for the bride.

Sounded like fun.

Most of the women in the office attended. We were a social bunch to begin with, but I suspect that the unusual nature of the party intrigued those who might otherwise have sat the evening out.

When we arrived at the house where the party was being held, it suddenly dawned on me (duhhh...I can be dense sometimes)...that we would be viewing a bit more than simply "intimate apparel." It turned out this was from a home-shopping sex store and when we arrived we were greeted by a table with a dazzling array of penis-shaped objects in every size, shape, and color.
 Well. This was a new experience.

As the party started, I began to get a whole new appreciation for what's available for the purpose of enhancing sexual pleasure. There were feathered things and creams and powders and things that vibrated or rotated or did both. There were books and unusual toys. We played a game,
There was much hilarity, a lot of red faces as we took turns either eagerly or gingerly examining each thing that was passed around, taking little licks of flavored things, watching moving things and making comments.

When it came to the lingerie, the bride-to-be modeled a few very expensive things and some of us went in together to buy her something.

Finally the saleswoman began packing up her wares and the hostess was getting the shower cake ready for serving in the kitchen.

The doorbell rang. And he stood there. The cowboy.
The main event.

He quickly identified the bride and gyrated up to her, and began to disrobe. He was obviously quite experienced and had us all laughing at our guest of honor's discomfort.

As usual, I was hiding behind my camera, and snapping photos as fast as I could to distance myself from what was going on in the room. I was also joining in on the laughter watching what was going on. The bride-to-be seemed to be enjoying herself, even though very embarrassed, so I didn't feel I was laughing at her discomfort.

She was definitely a participant in what was happening.

But eventually he seemed to have run the gamut of attention paid to the guest of honor and then he uttered those fateful words: "Now let me go have some fun with your friends..."

I was outta that room in an eyeblink. There was no way I was going to participate in the "fun." It was very definitely not my idea of fun. Not when I was the recipient.

I did my usual run to the restroom while the noise of shrieks and gales of laughter followed me. I decided I couldn't stay there forever, and noticed that there was a room off to the side of the bathroom, which I knew from previous visits to be the computer room. I went into the room. It was pitch black. I found a chair in the very farthest corner and I just sat there listening to the noise from the party.

At one point the hostess came in looking for something, saw me, asked if I was ok, and then turned the light out again when she left, leaving me in the dark.

When the noise finally subsided, I crept out and back to the rest of the group. I don't think anybody had noticed my absence.

I learned that day that the idea of watching some hunky guy in a string bikini bumping and grinding in front of a group of women is very definitely not my idea of a good time. The photos were a lot of fun and I'm glad I was able to take them. But "enjoy" the strip part of the party? Nosireee. Very, very definitely not my cup of tea.

The next day I discovered that there was another guest hiding in the bathroom, so I was not the only one uncomfortable!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gotta Have It

One of my new favorite TV shows is This is Us, which is getting all sorts of buzz as it is slowly being found.  Those coming into the show late may be confused (and should find a way to watch episode 1 first) because it is the story of a family over the decades.  We follow each person in the family as well as the parents and don't discover until the end of act 1 that the parents, who are expecting triplets throughout the first episode, have lost one of the three babies at birth and end up adopting an abandoned African American baby who was born the same day.  And it goes from there.  I love it.

In last night's episode, during one of the flash backs to the parents, just discovering that the pregnancy they thought would yield their longed-for baby is actually going to give them triplets...and how will the low income family, already struggling financially, be able to handle three babies.

Early in the pregnancy, mom has a craving.  I don't remember what it was for, but it got me to thinking about pregnancy cravings.  Fortunately, for Walt, I didn't have a lot...and really only when I was pregnant with Jeri and Ned (by the time I was pregnant with Paul, I was too busy dealing with the first two to think about cravings.

Early in my pregnancy with Jeri, Walt and I went out for a Japanese dinner during which I had something called a "sushi cone."  I think it is made differently now because if you order a sushi cone today you get your rice and fish mixture in a black seaweed (nori) cone shape.

But the cones we had were wrapped in some sort of fried bean curd wrapper.  It was delicious.

When we got home that night, all I could think of was that sushi cone and how I wanted another one.  The craving was so strong, Walt finally went out, drove across town back to the restaurant and bought another one.  In truth (and he probably doesn't know this), by the time he returned home, the craving was gone.  I ate it because he had been so sweet in getting it for me, but I really didn't want it. 

Pregnant ladies are crazy.  Fortunately, I don't remember having another craving throughout that pregnancy.

It was different when I was pregnant with Ned.  I couldn't get enough Italian peppers.  I could go through a jar in a day and would often call Walt at work to let him know that I was out of peppers and ask him to pick up another jar on his way home.

Oddly enough, I don't remember ever caring about peppers before and certainly not since that pregnancy.  I never eat peppers today, but it certainly was a strong craving that may have shaped Ned's personality!

What pregnancy does to our tastes is weird.  Mine anyway.  I was birthin' babies during the era when you had to actually wait for a certain season to get your favorite fruits and vegetables and so, ever since I was a child, I wanted eagerly for August when Gravenstein apples, my favorites, hit the market.  I loved them.  

Ned was born in August and after his birth, my mother visited me in the hospital and brought me a bag of Gravensteins.  I couldn't eat them.  Even the smell of them made me ill and I ended up throwing the bag away.  To this day I still prefer sweeter apples and don't know that I have ever bought Gravenstein's in the past 50 years.

I still have cravings, but now I can't blame pregnancy on them.  I just blame faulty taste buds miswired into my brain somehow.  I crave peanut butter, I crave tortillas, I crave peanuts and certain brands of crackers (oddly, I don't usually crave chocolate).  In fact, I've been thinking, since I woke up this morning, that I have buttermilk in the fridge and I really want to make buttermilk pancakes, so that's what I'm going to do....

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The State of Funkiness

I am in a funk.  And I am not alone.  When I saw my therapist for an annual report the other day, I asked her if she has seen an increase in depression among people upset over the election and she said she definitely had.

I really want to give Trump a chance to become presidential, but he's not helping.  The ridiculous tweet about Meryl Streep's right-on comments about his mocking of that poor reporter (which Trump denies he did, because he'd never do such a thing, despite video evidence to the contrary!) was just stupid.  What?  About to become the most powerful man in the world doesn't give you anything to do but dump on an actress at an awards show?

In the same (or related) tweet he also scoffed at those who predicted attendance at his inaugural ball(s) would be small and gave as proof the fact that you can hardly buy a ball gown in Washington, DC because all the stores are empty.  It didn't take much sleuthing by the reporters to find out that this is another blatant lie, and that there are lots and lots of gowns availble and if someone were to walk into the store(s) on the morning of the inauguration, they could find a beautiful gown, no problem.  There were several interviews with people who own dress shops in DC on The Today Show this morning. Why does he have to lie all the time? Is it that important to him that people in the country think it's going to be standing room only at his parties that he casually tosses off a ridiculously easy lie to disprove?

And then there was this that I found on Facebook tonight:

For those who believe that Obama abused his power, take a look at what is happening in Washington now:

The federal week in review:

1. Trump fires all Ambassadors and Special Envoys, ordering them out by inauguration day.

2. House brings back the Holman rule allowing them to reduce an individual civil service, SES positions, or political appointee's salary to $1, effectively firing them by amendment to any piece of legislation. We now know why they wanted names and positions of people in Energy and State.

3. Senate schedules 6 simultaneous hearings on cabinet nominees and triple-books those hearings with Trump's first press conference in months and an ACA budget vote, effectively preventing any concentrated coverage or protest.

4. House GOP expressly forbids the Congressional Budget Office from reporting or tracking ANY costs related to the repeal of the ACA.

5. Trump continues to throw the intelligence community under the bus to protect Putin, despite the growing mountain of evidence that the Russians deliberately interfered in our election.
6. Trump breaks a central campaign promise to make Mexico pay for the wall by asking Congress (in other words, us, the taxpayers) to pay for it.

7. Trump threatens Toyota over a new plant that was never coming to the US nor will take jobs out of the US.

8. House passes the REINS act, giving them veto power over any rules enacted by any federal agency or department--for example, FDA or EPA bans a drug or pesticide, Congress can overrule based on lobbyists not science. Don't like that endangered species designation, Congress kills it.

If you supported Trump because you wanted change, beware of just how profound this change is. We've lost all balance! This concerns me to no end!

and this is before the inauguration when we have a sitting president still living in the White House and presumably still in charge of things!

My therapist says that the thing to do is turn off the media and just not think about it.  And, short of starting a nuclear war, probably nothing he can do will much affect me personally.  I am an older white middle class woman living in California, which went for Hillary. But it's like the train wreck you can't stop watching.  I don't want to look at that smirk or hear that snarky voice any more, but it's everywhere. 

Everywhere except the Food Channel which is, at least, a safe haven, at the moment, from all the unpleasantness that is politics today.

 It's not quite Big Brother Is Watching you.  Yet.  But who knows what will happen when he settles and discovers the extent of his powers.  Maybe my mother is the lucky one after all.  She has never heard of Donald Trump, though she says she reads the paper, front to back, every day.

Dementia is her friend.

The rest of us are stuck in funky-town.