About excentric

I love sci-fi, music, reading, gardening. I am ill, but I am not my illness. Life is good. BTW, have I mentioned that I am a fan girl. Because I Am A FanGirl. Torchwood!

November

Finally had to close the window as very cold air was blowing straight in. Window has been open for days, and it maintained a steady almost 70 degrees in here. Colder at night, but only upper 60’s. It felt muggy for a bit last night. Muggy. In November. Weird weather. Weird year.

Had a really good day Tuesday for no known reason, then yesterday and today were the usual crap. On the couch, hobbling around. Doing nothing. But got several things done Tuesday and it almost felt like a was a real person for a while there.

More people getting covid, my friend exhibiting riskier and riskier behaviour. It worries me a lot. She is the one friend that always, always makes me laugh and we always have fun when we are able to get together. I have expressed my concerns, but it is her life to live as she sees fit, and I can only stand by and watch. I don’t think her husband says anything about it, either. She did make me a new and better fitting mask, so that was nice. I now have two, both made by her, so if one is not dry from being washed, I have a backup. Not that I need a mask very often, since I don’t normally go out, and the homemaker has only just been coming in briefly. But we are always masked for that.

I actually cooked on Tuesday. Broccoli pasta. So easy, so doable for me. Tasty, too. I got a very small broccoli crown and just separated it into florets and boiled them briefly with the pasta, meanwhile you saute garlic and pine nuts in olive oil, drain the pasta and toss it all together. Add tons of parmesan, which I know I have some in the freezer but was unable to find it, so no cheese. Was still very good, though. Good olive oil makes all the difference. I used Campanelle, too, my favorite pasta, cause it’s pretty and reminds me of the flowers, and it catches the pine nuts in the curls. Neat. I was planning to make unstuffed cabbage today, but too much pain. Maybe tomorrow. I used to always make cabbage rolls in the autumn, but too much energy to do the leaves and divvy up the filling, etc., so am just going to shred the cabbage and put it all into a pan with the tomato sauce and either cook it on the stove top or bake it. Not sure. You do the rolls on the stove-top, but not sure how it will work this way. Experimentation. It’s a good thing. 🙂 While I was looking for a picture, I came across this. Looks good, I think.

https://www.marthastewart.com/898871/campanelle-walnuts-ricotta-and-lemon

Stay safe, everyone. Wear your masks, please. It is a health issue, not a political issue. Keep your loved ones safe even if you don’t care about your self.

Covid Fees?

Watch out for Covid fees
From The New York Times Coronavirus Briefing Newsletter.
Health care during the pandemic has become more costly. Providers need to purchase protective gear and sanitize equipment more often — even as their revenue declines. Dentists, for example, have lost billions as their patients have postponed care, and assisted-living facilities have had to take on fewer residents to help prevent infection.
To address the financial shortfall, some health providers are charging surprise “Covid” and “P.P.E.” fees, according to bills examined by two Times investigative reporters, Sarah Kliff and Jessica Silver-Greenberg.
One woman found a $45 fee tacked on to a dental cleaning in New York City. An 87-year-old resident in assisted living was charged a one-time fee of $900 for masks, cleaning supplies and meal delivery. The bill for a woman who took a one-mile ambulance ride included a $60 charge for personal protective equipment, even though she was already wearing a mask.
Some state attorneys general have said that charging patients directly can take advantage of vulnerable consumers or violate health insurance contracts and consumer protection laws. The new charges range from a couple of dollars to nearly $1,000 and seem to be especially prevalent in dentists’ offices.
“If someone sees a P.P.E. or Covid fee on their medical bill, they should feel comfortable asking questions about it,” Sarah told us. “You might want to ask your health provider why it was charged, or ask your insurance company why it wasn’t covered. If your health provider is billing you directly, you might consider filing a complaint with your state attorney general’s office. Maryland, Connecticut and New York have already outlawed this type of practice, all after they received consumer complaints.”
You can also be proactive, she said, and ask if any new fees have been implemented since your last visit.
“This is obviously easier for some services than others — you can do this for a trip to the dentist, but not necessarily a ride in an ambulance,” she said.

Calm

It’s freezing here, and I am thankfully not outside, but calm woman reading. Just realized that it’s election night, and I am calm. Listening to my Calm Instrumental station on Pandora, reading The Witch Elm by Tana French, which is nothing like I though it was going to be, but very very good, baking leftover Kraft mac and cheese with crumbled bread dotted with butter on top, for my dinner, because even though it feels like 9 pm, it’s really only 6:30. And I hadn’t thought once about the election until it suddenly just popped into my head. I will wait til tomorrow night or the next day to look for results, although I imagine it will be hard to avoid them. But I am calm and not stressing and that is a good thing.

Found this while looking for an illustration, and it just cracked me up.

Anxiety?

Just saw a headline, How to Cope With the Anxiety of Watching Election Results Alone. Don’t. That’s my advice. I don’t have regular or cable tv, so no chance of doing it anyway, but I wouldn’t. I may not look for a day or two, just like I did last election. Let it settle first. If it’s bad news, dig a big hole and crawl in. It it’s good news, celebrate like crazy.

We need to do something about algorithms, because just feeding people more of the same tends to create tunnel vision, I think, and you cannot see any other point of view. I do consciously try to read things with differing opinions, even though sometimes they make me cringe, but you really need to be informed to make good decisions. Just read an article about books and algorithms, too, which just point you to more of the same on Amazon and other sites. I used to wander the shelves in the library and pick up anything that caught my eye. Things I would never see on Amazon or wherever, just because they are not my usual choices. I never really realized how much the online world affects us, not in a good way. It seemed like an excellent way to see other points of view, find out from those living it how other people manage in their countries, personal experiences, meeting people from all over the planet. And then along come algorithms, and they gradually narrow and narrow and narrow your vision, your sources, your information. This is not a good thing in my opinion. Don’t know how to fix it, though, which is the big disappointment of my existence. I don’t know how to fix anything. Please vote, if you haven’t, and please vote them out. Thank you.

November

Gray and dreary, and I just realized it will be getting dark in three hours. Three hours. Got to start getting up earlier. Like that’s going to happen. Feeling the usual not that great today. Yesterday was better. There are good days here and there. It’s not all fog and pain and exhaustion. Thank goodness. Snow is all gone, but it was pretty while it lasted.

Think I’m going to couch and read for a bit. I am reading The Witch Elm, by Tanya French. Different from her other books I’ve read, but good. I read all of the Faith Martin Hillary Greene books, and I’ve read In The Woods by French, among the zillion other books I have read. I like mysteries. I’ve read all of the Spenser books, all the Agatha Christie books, several times, all the Sherlock books, again several times, Nero Wolfe, Dick Francis, that’s all I can think of in the midst of brain fog. I usually go for a mystery or a non-fiction. I have always been a reader, from before I knew how and would pretend to read the paper. I’m done. Too tired and too foggy to really think about what I am writing here, so hope it makes sense. Happy November, everyone!

First Snow

And it is coming down. When I got up at 9, you could almost mistake it for rain, but it just keeps getting heavier and heavier and the trees are coated and cars and even the parking area across the street is getting coated. I love snow. It’s only just above 30 degrees F, too, so a bit chill. I have my heater fan on under the desk.

It’s almost change the clocks time, too. Means day ends much sooner. Would be okay I guess if I was an early riser, but sadly, I am not now nor have I ever been. I am a definite night owl.

Had a pretty good day yesterday, took three ibuprofen, which helped. Today, not so great. Allergies, sinus headache, tired. Took two 8-hour Tylenol, will see if they work as well as the ibuprofen does, although I know two is not really enough. I try not to take too many too often, because I like my liver. 🙂

Am I the only one dreading election day? Last time, I did not turn anything on for a couple of days, cause I just did not want to know. Was a crushing blow when I did. I hope this time goes differently, but I am not overly optimistic. I ask myself how anyone can think the orange man is a good choice, but then I remember the article I read about how we don’t all see the same information. Algorithms feed you more of what you’ve already seen, so you only really get one point of view if you get all your news from Facebook or whatever. The one that reinforces what you already saw. This is so bad for all of us. Differing points of view make it easier to make good choices. I have kind of given up trying, though. Whatever happens, I will have to live with the consequences, and so will the rest of us. Scary if things go on the way they have been for the past four years. ;(

This was taken a couple of hours ago. Was trying to post more, but for some reason I cannot download from gphotos to my hard drive, or send them to Dropbox and have them work. WTF? Just going to enjoy looking at the snow. Can I take a photo with my laptop? 🙂

Pain

Major flare popped out of nowhere. Started last night. Fingers hurt, then hands and one foot started cramping. Could not hold my Kindle and had to sort of prop it to continue reading. Then, when I woke up today, everything is hurting. Bend my knee to get more comfy, thigh muscles start to hurt so have to move again. Hands hurt, feet hurt, everything in between hurts. Even my teeth hurt. And on and on. Don’t know what brought this on, but then I never do. Will be better tomorrow, she says confidently. Meanwhile it’s me and the couch, with the occasional Gertrude thrown in. I did manage to feed and fresh water her, so yay. Hope everyone else is having a good day, and have either voted or are about to.

Safety

I am worried about one of my friends, because she told me today she and some friends got together at the friend’s house. Inside. She seems to be taking more and more risks, and nothing I can say makes a difference to her. I decided against having the homemaker come in and will just have her do shopping, because she comes here directly from the nursing home where she works. I do not think I am irrational about this. I may have mentioned ten or twenty times about being ill in December, and I doubt that was the virus. I was really, really sick and breathing was very difficult, so I do not want to risk getting the actual virus because I don’t think I would survive. Seriously. My friend could bring home the virus to her husband, even if she didn’t get sick from it. Not my business really, and nothing I can do anyway.

Thinky Thougts

Dressing my self this morning, and it was not going well. ‘Why is everything always so much harder than it needs to be?’ popped into my head, a thought I have probably at least once a day. Nothing ever seems to go well. I can’t do anything in the kitchen without making some sort of mess. I run into things. I omit steps in cooking because I just can’t stand there long enough to do everything, if I can even cook at all. Everything I do seems to be harder than it needs to be, harder than it used to be before my body betrayed me.

Then something else I’ve been thinking about a lot popped up. How would I manage if I was in jail, or a concentration camp, or a refugee camp? Privacy, access to hygiene materials. Clean anything. I sometimes think of all those anti-maskers. I would imagine they would be the first to collaborate with the enemy to avoid any inconvenience to themselves, because they are obviously the only ones who matter.

I read that a restaurant in NH closed rather than ask their patrons to wear masks, because it’s their bodies and they can risk them if they choose. No concern at all for the people who do not choose to abandon masks and become ill from these selfish and self-centered people. Does no one think about the fact that they are not the only ones whose lives they are risking? Do they not understand contagion? Do they just not care?

I am listening to some good bass notes on Pandora. Right now it’s Jungle, by X Ambassadors. I do love some good base-centric music. Drums. Yes. Lots of beat going on. Makes me want to move, which is not something I am usually too enthusiastic about because pain. I wake up in pain. Before I’ve moved at all, and it just goes on all day. Today I took three ibuprofen, because I really need to get a couple of things done, and not being able to stand up straight or for more than a minute or two is not helpful. And two ibuprofen are not enough. I have a high pain tolerance, but I also need a lot of medication to combat it when it is just too much to deal with.

It is gray again today. No rain, no snow, just gray. Bah! Also, humbug! The 7-eleven across the street closed down yesterday. Signs gone, dumpster in front, and some guy is over there tossing things today. I don’t think they would have lasted even without the pandemic, because they just never did the business that L’il Peach or Tedeschi’s did in the same location. No booze. Booze brings in the customers, that seems a given. So one business left in the mini-mall and that is the laundromat. They drove out the hair salon several years ago, by raising the rent to an unmanageable level, and the shop has sat empty ever since. Like foreclosing homes and then leaving the houses to rot. How is this a good business model? Is there some invisible to me financial advantage to leaving shops and homes vacant and rotting? Which reminds me. Watching the West Wing (finished last night) and the Chinese ambassador was dealing with the Chief of Staff who was trying to make a deal for something. I give you this, I make that easier, if you do whatever. He was very snarky about the whole thing and wound up saying this, and remember, this episode is from 2005 or 6, fifteen years ago. He said ‘Your American Dream is financial, not ethical’. And how true is that. We don’t destroy governments to help the citizens, we do it because we want access to oil or other resources. Greed is our motivation, not humanitarianism. I remember when we were told we are the beacon of freedom for the world, and everyone wants to be us or be here. Yeah, right. We all drank the koolaid back then, it seems. Because it was never true. Ever. We even experimented on our own citizens without their knowledge. We overthrew governments, we did a lot of really bad things that if another country had done them, we would be shouting for punishments. Disillusionment. It’s hard to take. And yes, I would not just complain but change things, if I had even the vaguest idea of how to do that. Remember, more people voted for Hillary Clinton, but the Electoral College decided for us that they liked Trump better.

Still Here (cannot preview this, so hope it posts. I hate the block editor, WordPress.)

It was mentioned that I haven’t posted in a bit. Sorry about that. First, I could not focus or settle to anything, then I have just kind of shut down. Doing nothing. NO thing. Napping and reading and the odd bit of streaming watching. Almost through The West Wing. Really do not like the ones after the booted Sorkin. Depressing.

I have been alone too long, and it always messes with my head when that happens. But I will prevail, sooner or later, and get back to my normal bouncy, fun, interesting self. Oh, wait, I think that’s someone else, not me. Anyway. I always get over this eventually, so no reason to think it will be any different this time. Just getting back on the laptop after several days, and replying to a friend’s email and now writing here…these things help me not to keep feel like I am alone in the universe and no once actually cares. My homemaker is coming Tuesday after a couple weeks without, and she is nice, so that will cheer me up. I am really nervous about the whole homemaker coming in thing, but I cannot run the vacuum on my own or take out the trash, so I have to take the risk. Anyway. Hoping to post something positive and enlightening sometime soon. LOLOL I can feel the black hole, but refuse to be pulled in.

Black Hole of Depression

Raining

Finally. We are in sad need of it. I like rainy days, too. It’s chilly and gray and may turn on the fireplace. Am having coffee with cinnamon in it. Just sprinkled some in the basket before turning it on to brew. Very nice. Supposedly cinnamon is good for you, too.

The muscle relaxer prescribed by my doctor helps with the pain. Not enough, but some. Unfortunately it is wasted, because all I do is sleep, so pain is not an issue. So I had to quit taking it. Being awake is a good thing in the daytime. I’m thinking chiropractor or acupuncture or what? I don’t have a clue what to do. It’s very debilitating, because most of the time I can’t even stand up straight, or stand up for very long. Wash one dish, go sit for a bit. That kind of thing. I cannot seem to catch a break. Every time one thing seems to get better, something else pops up to mess things up again. I did get a regular homemaker for once a week. Not for very long, I just tell her what’s most important, like unloading the dishwasher and vacuuming, she does it and goes. She takes the trash out, too, which is a good thing. I used to get 4 hours a week before the pandemic. I think I’m lucky to get any time at all now. The people who do these jobs, and working in restaurants, and stores and whatever are risking their lives for us. I’m not sure lot of us appreciate that.

Got my ballot, filled it out, need someone to take it to town hall for me. I am not mailing it, and I’m sure you have read enough about the Post Office to know why.

AND, they have messed with WordPress again and it is the block editor page that I had done away with some time ago. Cannot figure out how I did it, so I guess I will learn to use this. Why does everyone feel the need to fix things that aren’t broken?

I need to figure out something for winter, because I am already getting a bit wonky from the shorter days and the isolation and the closed windows. I need a project or something. Something I can do in spite of pain and cramping hands and whatever other fun things mother nature sends my way.

Meanwhile, it’s October. I love October. It is so colorful here in New England.

Good Morning

The flare is over. One day flare. Had those many, many times. Slept all day, up a few hours, slept all night. Woke up feeling okay, and the back isn’t even too bad so far.

Reading my emails, which I absolutely should not do first thing.

From The Guardian:

James Baker will vote for Trump. The Republican former secretary of state told the authors of a new biography he considered voting for Biden but decided re-electing Trump “was worth it to get conservative judges, tax cuts and deregulation”.

If you think any of them are on your side, are looking out for your best iterests, this is what they are really looking out for. I may have mentioned that even Bill Gates has said he would vote for Trump if it meant no tax increase. How rich is he? Those taxes that we have to pay because we are not rich enough to hire lawyers who specialize in finding loopholes, those taxes pay for infrastructure, police, fire, healthcare, schools, etc. If you already have more money than you can spend in several lifetimes, why would giving up a bit of it to make the world better for everyone else be such a bad thing? Just so you know the kind of people you are voting for, or allowing to succeed by failing to vote.

Also from The Guardian

Donald Trump fuelled growing concerns about his post-election intentions on Wednesday, when he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose in November

If you think this isn’t the end of our country, I think you may well be very, very wrong.

Major Flare

Fun, fun, fun. This is the second time recently I’ve noticed a connection between the weather and a flare. It was 62 yesterday. It is 78 today. It actually started yesterday, with various pains. My fingers ached. My arms, too. Pains in my legs. But annoying is all. Did not sleep well, and woke up to the alarm feeling like many, many semis had run over me. This one is gorgeous, though.

So slept most of the day, am up now and sprayed a couple of window glides with WD40, and opened one in the bedroom. Am going to attempt to open one by the desk in a minute. I hope. Have to move a couple of things, like the plants and the small, light desk in order to get decent leverage and not do more back damage. Someday I am going to live in a nice place, with windows that work, hardwood floors instead of eons-old crappy wall-to-wall, and better closets. New stove and dishwasher. A porch, balcony or possible an actual yard. (I almost typed ‘garden’, I read way too much Brit fiction.) Hey, if you’re going to dream, dream big, right? However, an actual garden would be nice, although I doubt I can take care of one now.

I feel really terrible, but I am used to it. How great is that? Not great at all, let me tell you, but after more than two decades of chronic illness, you either get used to it, or you cannot survive.

Warming up the last of my shepherd’s pie, which is actually cottage pie by what I’ve read because it’s made with beef not lamb. I make my own version of this, which we always called Nancy’s Casserole, because I got the recipe from a friend named Nancy lo these many years ago and being from Colorado I had never heard of shepherd’s pie. Brown the ground beef, add a can of drained veg of choice although I love creamed corn in it, add a jar of chicken or turkey gravy, top with mashed potatoes and seven pounds of grated cheddar. Well, maybe not SEVEN pounds, but a good bit. I like cheese. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Dinner. Yum. You can do it all right in the iron skillet, too, from browning to baking. Use good beef so not much grease to drain off.

Am in a much better frame of mind than yesterday. It comes and goes. Sometimes I am just so angry and hopeless and then I kind of rally and just try to get on with things. You can’t stay angry all the time, you need to compartmentalize, like with pain, so it doesn’t consume your entire being. My being wants to have fun, people. Miss G has a vet visit next Tuesday, and I am hoping to be well enough to go with my friend Tess, who is taking her there. You call when you get there, once they answer, which can take many, many redials, they come out and get the pet, then when the pet is ready, I assume they call you and you pick her up and pay with your phone. Not sure how that works, but Tess has done it with her dog, so she’ll know. If I am up for going, we are going to Dunkin Donuts for frozen coffee. Just sit in the car and drink and chat. It’s a good thing. We used to do it regularly, but it’s only been one time since mid-March. This will be the second time I’ve gone out, except for when we had the fire alarm. Tess is out and about all the time, shopping, visiting friends (outdoors with masks) and I admit to being a bit concerned for her.

Gertrude has turned out to be the best cat, after that whole ‘let me destroy everything in sight’ phase. She comes up and rubs her face on mine, stands back, repeats, then goes about her business. How can you not love that?

Okay, my warmed up dinner has dinged the toaster oven, so if anyone has connected flares and weather and wants to tell me about it, I’d love the comments. Thank you, dear readers.

I Just Don’t Know

First, healthcare became a business, all about profit rather than health. Now it is a political weapon. If you worship the orange man, you are against masks; if you are a normal human with a working brain, you wear a mask. How did we get to this point of gross stupidity? Trump says this that or the other, and people die for believing him. People have drunk bleach, because he said to. They refuse to believe science and instead believe a real estate failure/tv personality. Have I stepped into an alternate universe? People dancing down the aisles of Target, shouting ‘no masks’. Personally, I don’t care if they all die, which I think is the real Republican goal, but what about the innocents around them who will also die. A wedding in Maine is killing people who were not even there. Because once you are exposed, you expose everyone around you This is what I don’t get. The utter self-centered selfishness of Republicans. I am not saying Democrats or any other party do not have issues as well, I am saying that these particular Republican issues kill people. And no one gets it, or seems to care.

I should not be surprised. If you look at history, humans have never been the most sensible, compassionate, caring species. We do horrid things to one another, and every revolution, every stand meant to make things better, in the end winds up the same, because to quote Jon Kabat-Zinn, wherever you go, there you are. No matter how many try, the basic human traits wind up winning. Over and over and over. Greed, selfishness, hate, we torture each other, murder each other in horrific ways. Disillusioned human here. Seriously disillusioned. A good many people fought and a lot died so the world would not be ruled by Nazis. What is happening now? Nazis are taking over again, and how many of us are complicit, how many actually welcome this? I don’t understand my species, and I wish those good and caring and unselfish and wonderful people were the ones who were in the forefront, but it always seem to be the bad, uncaring, selfish ones who are on top.

I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t know that it is fixable. I just want to curl up in a cave somewhere and pretend I am not a member of the human race. Being ‘Christian’, quoting Jesus and referencing God frequently, does not seem to have any meaning at all as far as how we behave. How we treat each other. Christianity is, I thought, about what Jesus taught. Jesus. You know. Christ. After whom Christianity is named. How many Christians do you know who even have an awareness of what Jesus taught. They use his name, but I can call myself anything I choose. It doesn’t mean I believe or live the tenets of whatever I am calling myself. It’s just a name. I do not want to feel like this anymore. I want to be happy and hopeful and feel good about my fellow humans. Maybe I should take up drinking, or drugs? Mental oblivion. It’s a good thing? IDEK.

Smoke Update

From Enviroflash:

NOTE: There has been significant wildfire smoke aloft for the past several days, which has been really impacting sunshine and visibility aloft. However, none of the smoke has been reaching the surface, and air quality has been VERY GOOD. For Thursday, mild, with southwest flow, temperatures into the mid 70s, with continued GOOD air quality. If any smoke reaches the ground, it will be very brief and with minimum impact. A strong front passes overnight, with a chance of showers early Friday as a coastal low develops offshore. Strong northeast winds, much cooler temperatures, sunshine, and GOOD air quality lasting into Saturday.

My asthma still disagrees. I really hope the rain forecast pans out. We need it badly, and I miss rain anyway. It used to rain a lot here, sometimes for days at a time. That has not happened for several years. Climate change happening before my eyes. 😦