Sunday, December 14, 2014

'Scopes

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):  Usually I'm an early to bed, early to rise person, but I've made new rules, one of which is that if it's dark out, it's okay to be in bed.  As you know, it's dark from about 4:30 pm to 8:30 am around here, which means I miss a lot of stuff, but I am keeping up on the 68 podcasts I subscribe to.  I'd like to recommend sleeping through the dark times, Pisces.  A little dormancy never hurt anyone, and in the case of bulbs it's essential.  It's not time to bloom just yet.

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):  As you know if you've ever e-mailed with me, one of two things is true:  I either have a cousin in Uzbekistan who needs a new kidney, or I've been hacked.  You decide.  The worst part of all of that is that my entire inbox was wiped out.  I'm not a hoarder of things, but I do hang on to the e-mail.  It's better than a diary -- you can oflook back and see what was going on a year ago, for example.  And oh, how I love words.  They arrive in little tidy packages, and don't take up any space, and sometimes are just lovely.  And, I lost the chocolate cake recipe!  I know!  It seemed dorky a week ago, but I actually thought about printing e-mail out and putting them in a little notebook, kind of a lazy-person's journal.  Then I decided that was a dumb waste of trees.  Now I wish I had.  I know, I'm supposed to be excited about the blank slate of it all, but I'm not there yet.  It's not quite like the relief I'd feel if my house burned down.


Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  What I really want to do is create a tiny diarama of the Catalhoyuk site.  Little skeletons under tiny little beds, and ever so miniature people sitting on the floor trading skulls.  Arrgh.  How I wish I were doing that right now.  I'd decorate the tiny little cave walls with bad cave art, and it would bring me great gladness.  I have the gene lurking in my dna from my grandfather who spent his retirement creating what I call "situations", like a blacksmith shop with a very tiny bellows that really worked.  Taurus, just writing your horoscope made me want to go draw a bull, so I did.

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21): I went with TG (The Gangster) to get salt this week, and we went through the border four times, and I didn't even panic once, even though TG kept saying, "where's your passport?" as if it were missing, just to freak me out because she knows I have border anxiety.  And there, at latitude 49.0000 (gasp!), I waded up to my waist in the cold dark ocean, the same ocean where the titanic is.  Ok, different ocean, but still, filled with danger and ominousness.  Even with ocean warming, it was inhospitably cold.  But the point of this is that after making, like, 17 trips into the water with my pitcher to fill up the jug, the water spilled in the car on the way home.  I have some sort of weird thing with water that I'm spending my whole life on.  I've always been a spiller. I wreck stuff -- I'm not very good with things.  I see other people take care of their possessions, and it's oh so lovely, I wish I'd do that too, but I forget, and I get in a hurry, etc.  I do try to take good care of the people, even though it doesn't always work out, but I slow down and listen.  Wait, where were we?  Oh, right.  I was explaining how cleaning a trunk filled with saltwater is a good gangster skill.  Substitute body for saltwater, and it's the same process.  Anyway, Gemini, peace lives in your heart.  Listen.

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21):  If I were a hacker, getting into other people's e-mail accounts, rather than wiping the email out, I think it would be fun to just write to their friends.  Maybe work on some troubled relationships, and enjoy the good ones.  Rewording things carefully so they go down a little smoother, keeping in touch with people that the owner doesn't have time for, deepening with aquaintances.  Wouldn't that be fun?  Kind of like a dog-walking service, but completely different.  Cancer, offer your own version of a dog-walking service.  Oh, I see that you are.

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  Speaking of dogs, I almost got one this week, or at least came seriously close to giving the nod on that idea.  Because what's not to love about a dog?  But alas, the poor dog would be lonely lonely lonely, so I can't do it.  I even had a name picked out.  (Kerberos, sort of an outside joke.)  In my imagination, I have a super-well-trained dog that can go with me everywhere, but I know better.  And, I still hold out remote hope of finding companionship within my species.  A companion with thumbs.  Is that too much to ask, Leo?  

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  Khortnee got a letter! 
Dear N'3lvra, 
If you accidentally ignore a leaking roof for several years and then discover that an entire section of your house has dry rot, and you're in the middle of trying to sell it.  Can you tell your friends that the William-Sonoma Mushroom Logs are very nice, but you were doing a home-made version of that years ago? 
-Pablo Magnifico
Dear Pablo,
Oh, you bring up all kinds of TRAUMA for N'3lvra, involving a rotting house (but not just one section) AND the mushroom logs, if you can believe it.  The rotting house, and the horrible breakup that involved someone hurling the mushroom log at her.  Sheesh, I'm not even making any of this up, sadly. I guess houses and mushroom logs are over-rated.  What's the deal on the gutter repair people, btw?  Do those people not even have phones?  Oh, wait, your question?  Yes, of course, boast about your DIY rotting house!  You're ahead of the curve, Pablo.  But you knew that.  Thanks for writing!
- N'3lvra (pronounced Khortnee, the three is silent)
Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  I was at a party recently and walked over to a small group of people chatting. As soon as I arrived, the person I actually wanted to talk to walked away, and it took about three seconds to understand why -- I had arrived in the middle of what is possibly the most boring story in the world.  It involved a child, a rash, and a mis-diagnosis.  (Not athletes foot at all!  Instead, excema!)  But it took about a week to get there, and it turns out this whole thing happened more than a decade ago, and didn't pertain to anything else.  (Like, this wasn't a holiday party for skin doctors or anything.)  Anyway, my point is, tis the season, people.  Try to be a little interesting.  I deeply believe (doesn't that phrase sound weighty?!) that if we took as much time preparing for party converstations as we do fussing over food, housecleaning, and cute outfits, the world would be a better place.  Crime and war would cease, ebola would be cured, the turkeys would get along better. Make it so, Libra.

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  What does it mean, to prepare conversationally?  Okay, you're going to a party.  You can either spend your time listening to old yarns about skin rashes, or you can bring something to the table.  Let's practice, shall we?
Boring Person:  So one time, in 1998, my daughter, she was 7 at the time.  Well, anyway....You:  OMG! 1998?  That's the year that George Michael got arrested for indecent behavior!  (Then start singing - "wake me up before you go-go cause I'm not planning on goin' solo..."  Hopefully you can veer things off before you have to sing, "You put the boom boom into my heart.")  But, you'll do what you must, Scorpio, to keep things vital.

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21):  Seriously, though.  That's not a good conversation either, George Michael.  Scorpio just hijacked the conversation but didn't take it anywhere good.  Party foul!  That's like hijacking a plane and going to Detroit.  But it creates enough of a conversational gap that someone else on your team can get the ball.  (Do you like how I'm using a sports analogy?  I know!  I was going to take it a little farther, but I'm not sure what you're supposed to do with the ball once you have it.) Anyway, Sag, it's your birthday season!  How lucky we are for this time of year, when you arrived. Arose.

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19): One reason I like studying massage is that there's no room for bullshit.  It's either true or not.  I can talk myself into thinking the whole wetland biz is worthy, and at moments, sure, a tree gets planted or something, but  a lot of it is paper and rules and so much blah blah blah.  Touch is as real as it gets.  But that's not your horoscope, Cap!  Be well in the dark times.  May it be so.  


Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18):  One of my pet peeves is when people get all blame-y in a passive aggressive way, like, "Someone left their shoes in the middle of the floor and now I tripped."  Instead of saying straight up - "Yo, I tripped over your shoes!  Grr!"  It especially bugs me when people blame others for colds.  There are germs in the world, people!  None of this, "I was fine, but I went over to Mabel's house -- she didn't seem sick but next thing you know, I have a cold, so she must have had a little something..." Or whatever.  As if the cold orginated with Mabel.  Anyway, I've been doing this thing to amuse myself -- I live alone, of course, and lately I passive aggressively talk to myself in a blamey way, like, "someone, and I don't know who, used the last of the coffee."  And then I laugh out loud for like, three reasons, but then I quickly silence myself because it seems kind of creepy and Sybil-esque, you know what I mean?  And there's lots to blame myself for because as a roommate, I kind of suck.  Anyway, Aquarius, may all be will with you.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pisces and Apple Pie (sans the apple pie)

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20): Besides the other crushingly sad on-going news about justice for people of color, the other thing going on is that big companies (FB, Apple, others) are offering the egg-freezing benefit, which means they'll cover the cost for a woman to put her eggs in a freezer for later use, not unlike corn dogs or leftover soup.  

So, rather than letting the world be how it is, where women, mostly in their 20's and 30's, have babies (and adore them, by the way), we're asking women to mold their reproductive timeline to fit with the corporate world.  Because women should LEAN IN and focus on their careers in their thirties, and not get distracted by the love of children!  Why perpetuate the species when you could get STOCK OPTIONS? Women should set their eggs aside and wait for a better time.  (No one has ever addressed the question as to when it's a good time to completely surrender yourself to another helpless needy being who communicates primarily through unconsolable shrieking.)

Oh, this is all so complicated.  I have nothing against women (or men!) who prioritize careers, and in fact, most of us have to, because duh, life costs money.  And, the challenges presented by a career are stimulating, unlike a lot of housework, and that's healthy too.  I get it.  Hell, I might even give me some flack about this rant too.  I sort of disagree with myself.  It's not like I'm all about motherhood and women being home in the kitchen.  Au contraire.  (Although, true confessions: there's something primal in me that longs for that, especially if there were sister-wives to hang out with.  Oh, did I say that out loud?  Is that creepy?)  

Anyway, of course women should have the means to support themselves in a decent manner, and they do miss out and become economically obsolete by checking out for 10 or more years, and sometimes get stuck in crappy relationships because they can't take care of themselves or their children.  GRRR.  

But is the answer the freezing of the eggs?  It's not simple, like making an ice cube.  First, daily hormone shots for two to four weeks to turn off natural hormones.  Then, a few more weeks of self-injected hormones to stimulate egg production.  This creates abdominal pain, irritablility, discomfort.  Which is fine, because these women are in the workplace, where people tend to be so irritable that it's not even notable.  (Oh, wait -- there's one person at my booty call job who's NOT irritable.  She gives herself helpful little instructions aloud all day long, like, "Time to go potty!" and then she disappears for a few minutes, returning to say, "Breathe in, breathe out."  But my booty call job is not the topic, people! The topic is egg harvest.)

The harvest happens under sedation.  I won't describe it, but it's nothing like going out to the hen house and collecting a warm little loose egg.  After the harvest, women again experience bloating, abdominal pain, and discomfort.  (People in the workplace are used to pain and discomfort, though, so it's not really an issue.)  And then the eggs are in the freezer with Walt Disney, waiting for a good time.  (Turns out that Walt isn't frozen, contrary to urban legend.  But speaking of all that, did anyone listen to the This American Life episode about that cryogenics club where they planned to freeze one another, and then the guy who was stuck with all the dead people couldn't pay the refrigeration bill, and the bodies were just in a warming up storage locker?  But that's not the topic, people!  Stick with me.)

I'm not a luddite.  Really, I'm all about technology.  In fact, I have my new little Arduino kit and spend ridiculous numbers of hours playing with resistors and trying to learn how to program it to do dumb things, like blink out messages in Morse code, which is flawed in so many ways that I won't even get into it.  (For starters, why send a message in code when no one knows how to read it?  If a light blinks in the forest and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound?  Is this the topic, dear readers?  No!)  

But haven't we freakin' noticed by now that when we mess with the natural order, there are consequences?  Remember when we dumped our garbage in the ocean, how that worked out?  (Oh wait, we still do that.  Is anyone as sad about the dying starfish as I am?)  But remember when we used to pour all those chemicals on the crops and all the birds got the thin eggs, and we learned from that and stopped putting chemicals on the crops?  (Oh wait.)  Remember when we started burning fossil fuels at an alarming rate, built our whole economy and lifestyle around it, and it messed with the planet so much that it might become uninhabitable within the foreseeable future?  Oh, this has turned into such a cliched rant that I'm almost sorry I started it, but haven't we freakin' figured it out yet, that we need to take some things as constants?  And if anything is a constant, it's this:

Young women often have an unbearable, primal longing to have children.  When they do have babies, they grow into bigger better people than they were before, because now they know what it's like to love unconditionally, and to be patient, not as an abstract thing, but as part of the grueling demands of daily living.  Because suddenly they have a jagged, immature, weird little roommate who couldn't give a fuck about social norms or boundaries.  And the mothers, they love those people anyway, and they see them as exquisite humans with potential to grow into outstanding, useful people.  And because they see that, the mothers gently, with patience and diplomacy and perseverance, and, lets face it, occasional shots of whisky, bring those little people around into human-hood, where, lo and behold, they do grow into outstanding humans.  

I don't mean to imply that mothers are better than fathers, or better than childless humans, by any stretch, or all mothers are great, blah blah blah.  Everyone is learning a lot from where their life leads them, I know that.  And of course, I generalize.  I just know more about mothers, what they go through and how deeply they care.  I know so many incredible mothers that it's more than the cliche.  I think they're forced to learn something hard, which I can't really articulate, but it involves loving people unconditionally, and truly wanting the best for them.  It's about being hopeful about the world, because someone who looks up to you is counting on it.  Someone trusts you when you say it's gonna be alright, and you want, with everything you've got, for it to be so.  

And over time, as the young people grow, you gently redefine "alright" from fairy tale happy endings to living well so you can live with yourself.  Alright turns from "happily ever after" to a life of being decent and apologizing and giving everything your best shot, and remaining curious and hopeful in spite of the disappointments.  You will fail, people you love will die, mean people exist.  But you can be a light in the world, a light of kindness and compassion and striving, and that's what alright becomes.  It is gonna be alright.

Mothers are in the business of creating the magic for their young, and then, working to make that magic true -- that the world is a good place, worth inhabiting, worth striving for, because it's full of mystery and wonder and good people and grand adventure and things to discover and learn. 

And I think the workplace needs that.  It needs women whose priority is simple:  survival of the species.  They care about building cooperative relationships, health, in all it's forms, and a habitable planet.  I think workplaces would benefit by welcoming that perspective, not just enduring it.

Oh, I'm all tired out from just Pisces.  More horoscopes another day.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving, Part 2

Ok, here's part 2.  Thanks for listening!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving, Part I

We'll see if I can pull this off.... It will require some cooperative guests who are willing to play along...


Friday, November 21, 2014

The News

I was talking with a friend yesterday who is understandably down about the state of the world.  I realized that I have slowly crept away from the news, and I'm a little happier that way.  I used to listen to NPR, read the paper, and listen to a few political podcasts, and I don't do that so much anymore.  But when I dip my toe back into that water, I find that the news is pretty much the same.  The details change a little tiny bit, but not much.  Here's the latest news, as I understand it.  Let me know if anything changes.

  1.  Every few days there's a school shooting.  A disturbed, lonely, angry, disenfranchised and/or mentally ill man shoots innocent people.  This sparks a mini discussion about gun control, but the gun people always win, not budging on their stance that every whack job should have access to a gun or we aren't truly free.  Freedom has come to mean having the chance to be shot dead in math class.
  2. Funding continues to be cut for mental health and family support services that could, in theory, prevent some humans from becoming distrubed, lonely, angry, disenfranchised and mentally ill.  
  3. Israel and Palestine are engaged in a horrific, violent war.  Every so often there's a pause (that's where the news is), but the ceasefires don't last.  There is deep mistrust on both sides.
  4. Every few days, a man with power is accused of raping young women with less power.  These athletes, comedians, cultural icons, priests, and politicians tend to be protected by the system at large, and rarely go to jail.  Women aren't surprised by this news.  Men wonder why women don't do more to stop these crimes in the moment, or report them later.  Women know why.  
  5. Congress is fighting like immature children and can't get anything done, mostly because a few small-minded extremists won't compromise on anything for the good of the whole, which is what government should be about.  The reasonable electeds who are willing to negotiate aren't met with the same courtesy, and thus, are labeled as weak. 
  6. Gender equality has stalled, in part because the 40-hour work week makes it difficult for families with children to have two parents working full time.  In most families, it makes more sense for the man to work because duh, on average, he makes 25% more than she does, perpetuating stale gender roles.  Corporations have done little to respond to the needs of families with children by offering flexibility; it still is framed as an issue affecting women, who are told to LEAN IN.   Caring for our young, the most important function of a species, is the some of the most underpaid and undervalued work around.
  7. Growing food, another essential life-sustaining function, is also among the lowest paid jobs in this country, and is frequently conducted by people who don't have basic rights of citizenship.
  8. Climate change is happening due to man-made carbon emissions.  Gases are accumulating, causing heat to become trapped, and the average temperature of the earth is increasing. This is leading to all manor of chaos, including melting glaciers, extreme storms, and drought.  White guys who would lose money if we slowed down our carbon emissions argue about whether this is actually happening, ignoring the data.  Individuals can do little to stop this.  We change our lightbulbs, buy fuel efficient cars, and recycle what we can, but without major government regulation, our efforts are insignificant.
  9. Young unarmed black men get shot by police routinely for minor infractions.
  10. It's become acceptable that profit is the only metric by which business success is judged.  Worker health, safety, satisfaction, and security, environmental concerns, and community health aren't part of the equation.
  11. Several thousand people have died in Africa from Ebola.  One person has died in the US from Ebola.  
  12. There are violent conflicts over land, resources, religion, and power throughout the world.
  13. Millions of people get up every day, are good to their families and friends, love their children almost more than they can bear, and strive to be decent and kind in their dealings with one another.
  14. Oh, and this.  A giant rock was unearthed at a construction site the other day.  
  15. People continue to search for the words, "Canned Ham", and land on my blog by way of that search term every day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bucket list

The to do list creates slavery
I've been thinking about bucket lists -- wondering if I should have one, and considering the wavery line that exists between to do and bucket lists.  I met someone last spring who, when the topic came up, said, "Oh, I don't have a bucket list.  If I want to do something, I just do it."  I won't go into how annoying that was, because I'm trying to be positive.  Yes I am! [But really, who says that?  It's like saying, "Yeah, I never have problems -- when something arises, I just address it!"]

The taxonomy is obvious in some cases.  "Tidy the kitchen counter"  -- definitely to do list.  But what about, "clean out the freezer that has weird layer of frozen crumbs and goo of unknown origin that's been stuck there for a long time and I never want to clean it because it's so very very cold cold, not to mention out of sight?"   Should that be a bucket list item?  Because it's for sure way out of reach and may or may not happen in this lifetime.  But should the BL be fun?  The to do list makes us slaves, while the bucket list lets us dream?  Anyway, here goes.

1.  Spend a few months on an island in Greece eating olives and riding a one-speed bike to the market every day for seafood and retsina.  (The olives I'll just pick from a tree in the yard.)

The bucket list creates fantasy
2.  Press shin to occiput and hold.  (That was an actual instruction at a celebrity yoga class I took last week. And yes, that's a thing, celebrity yoga.) My tibia and occiput will never meet in the body that I wear around now, but maybe in some other lifetime.  (But I'm getting closer to being able to answer the phone that is my foot! Luckily my foot has no reason to call just yet, but one day, foot will call, and ear will be all, "Hello?  May I help you?")  But I put the S to O thing on this list to remember to imagine that things could be different, and there's not too much downside in trying.

3.  Finish writing my book, and try to make it good.  As Charles Frazier, who wrote Cold Mountain,  said, "even if it's just a book that sits in a drawer, I want it to be a good book in a drawer."  His, of course, turned out to be a smashing success, not a dust-gatherer in a drawer.  But still. I want a good book for my box in the basement.  If I had a basement.

4.  Learn to be a better communicator.  Not that my communication is particularly bad, but there are ways to listen and to speak, I believe, that bring out the best in everyone, and I'd like to get better at that.

 5.  Age gracefully. By that, I mean that when I become a little more crazy than I already am, it will be in a quiet, unobtrusive, victimless way, and I won't be mean-spirited or needy.

6.  Land on a comet.  Oh wait.  I don't want to climb in a tiny metal unit and go shooting out into space.  I like the earth, it is my home.  I have no interest in going anywhere at all.  Oh, except greece.  (That's on earth, no?)

7.  Write an entry for Atlas Obscura.  I don't do it, though, because I want to create a local entry, but what's to see?  Do I want to be responsible for encouraging disappinted tourists to drive through traffic to look at our big rock?  Does that really on my bucket list?

8.  Love and be loved.

9.  Heat my home with flower pots and rabbits.  (CHECK.)

10.  Create a little podcast where I interview interesting people.  And let's face it, we're all interesting.

11.  Work on a better bucket list.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Hope in a box

I had an unexpected burst of energy today, and decided I actually could clean my house beyond the stuff I usually do, which is, um, the dishes.  I do the dishes! Go me!  But I had a moment the other day when the sun was shining and life was good, and the windows looked grimy.  So I cleaned the two I look out most often, inside and out.  Go me!

Anyway, I went to the big box store today to get some things I need, and then, drafting on the success of cleaning the two windows, I decided to buy some plastic bins.  And we know what that means.  Hope.  A pathetic, materialistic western world sort of hope, but hope is hope.  I had a glimmer where I imagined I'll harness all my free range shit into little plastic boxes, labeled and fed and snuggled into their little clean plastic stalls.  I've fallen for this before, and I know better, but I'm a naive believer that if hope is on sale ($6.99 for FIVE PLASTIC BOXES!), it's kind of like spitting in the face of life if you just walk on by.  It's like giving hope the finger.  I believe with all my tiny little might that life only hands us so many chances, and if we keep saying no, life eventually gives up on us.  And we never know exactly when our last chance is.  There's no warning  It's like that friend you thought you'd see again, and maybe work things out with, but they die suddenly.  It's exactly like that when you walk by the plastic boxes, but in a vague, unremarkable sort of way.

So I have a million things I must do - deadlines, reports that people are waiting for, plastic flagging that longs to be hung on a branch in a hard-to-reach spot in the woods, and a bunch of muscles to memorize.  Name, origin, insertion, how to make it fire, what does it do, and most of all, what can I do for it?  (The answer with the muscles is the same with the humans in their entirety:  Listen.  Be gentle, but firm.  Take it slowly.  Understand first, then act.  Communicate and lubricate, as C. says.)  But I also must get organized or I'll die and leave my poor undeserving (but not unsuspecting) children with this.  And it's not cool stuff, like the headwaters of the river e-bay, as someone said in a book.  It's just run-of-the-mill stuff that I haven't dealt with.

I've been thinking about people, and how there are three kinds:  solid, liquid, and vapor.  I tend to be watery, which I like to think is good in some ways -- I move around gently, don't make a big fuss, and slip around the obstacles in an unobtrusive way.  Water eventually leaves its mark, though. But the solids, those people can really get inanimate objects under control.  They know where things go, and they close all the drawers after themselves because they notice that kind of stuff, and they don't leave things all over in little piles because they might get back to it this century.  I love the solids.  I truly do, but I'm not one.  And the vapor.  Well, I love the vapor people too, of course.  They bring the magic.  But it doesn't always bring me joy, loving those who. ever-so-predictably, evaporate when the heat gets turned up a tiny bit, even if the turning up of heat only happens in their own heads.  And those people don't know shit about plastic boxes.  (I had to throw in the plastic boxes so you'd keep reading.  BECAUSE THAT'S WHY YOU'RE HERE.)   (That's my outside voice, btw.  I'm getting LOUD in case you were losing interest.)

Yes, that's the purported polar
bear skull next to the light
It's supposed to get windy again tonight.  Or if not tonight, one night soon.  And if not actual wind, imaginary wind in my head, or metaphoric wind, which isn't always at your back like it should be if you're half Irish.

In this neighborhood, the wind blows for about three minutes and then the power goes out,.  A dozen hours later it comes on again, but while I sit in the dark, my neighbors have their big generators that make it sound like a truck stop, with semi trucks idling all night.  I know, that's not about the boxes.  You're holding your breath, wanting to get back to this story about hope.  Even the tiniest bit of hope involving plastic bins.  That's what the humans do.  We imagine better things ahead, against all odds.

Did you know the humans can get to
Mars in about 3 days?
I took all my hope-y changey little purchases and went into the laundry room, and decided I'll start right out on emergency preparedness.  That's what a solid would do, right?  They'd have a little kit.  And when the power goes out, they'd grab their kit and all would be well.  Me, when the power goes out I go to bed.

I surveyed what I have in the event of an emergency:

I don't think this will carry
me through...
1.  A few little lights that I made shaped like people and planets and so forth.  They don't match my vision AT ALL, but still, they keep the darkness away.  But honestly, not in a practical way.  You couldn't find a can opener or read a book by the light of my weird little light globs.

2.  A small, rapidly diminishing pile of dry wood, and three trees worth of wood that I have split in the past month.  By hand -- have I said GO ME lately?  But it won't be ready to burn til long past the windstorm.

3.  A basket full of emergency supplies, including three candles, a bunch of batteries of unknown usefulness, and a handful of flashlights that don't work.

Now it seems like the first order of business is to acquire a battery tester.  I think I need that more than I need the five plastic boxes.  But I have the Internet!  So I look up, "how to make a battery tester," and read a few recipes.  Copper wire, razor, etc.  I don't have these ingredients on hand.  But I remember this doorbell I made in Science Club in fifth grade, kind of the pinacle of my science life, that club.  It involved a bell from a bicycle, a battery, and a little piece of metal that would vibrate and hit the bell somehow.  So I start trying to build that, because I don't have the supplies for the battery tester, and coincidentally, I also need a doorbell.  For the Jehovah's Witnesses, who come once a year.

Meanwhile, I wanted to fuss with the pictures of the light things before I posted them, above.  So I downloaded a free photo editor program after looking for iPhoto for about 10 minutes.  Where'd that g
o?  So the new program reset my default search engine to bing, and shut chrome down.  And I decided to quit eating eggs, so I should take the leftover eggs and empty their contents so I can make them into pretty, fragile, useless lighting.  In the event of a windstorm.  It's all about emergency preparedness with me.  Some time later, I'm back in business.  (If, by business we mean sitting around amidst 5 empty plastic boxes, staring at a bowl full of egg shells, drinking a beer.)

So that's what I accomplished today.  Tomorrow, for sure, I'm going to get a handle on everything.

Thanks, as always, for sticking it out and reading to the end.  I'm sorry there wasn't more actual signs (or would it be symptoms?) of hope reported here.