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BY ME114

01/01 Direct Link
Watching TZ Marathon. Not only stories and concepts in most episodes, but dialogue, direction, acting, camera work, lighting, even background music together result in brilliance.

The Dummy has one of my favorite scenes with the dialogue between Cliff Robertson and Frank Sutton as the ventriloquist and his agent. Listen carefully.

In Dead Man's Shoes, you never see "Dane," only reactions of characters to the man who mysteriously acts and dresses like him.

In It's a Good Life, body language of the characters when faced with two unacceptable choices: to continue their desperate existences or to kill a child, is terrific.
01/02 Direct Link
A stunning orange tabby, very friendly and already neutered, was terribly thin. I fed him and put a collar on him with a tag, "Is this your cat? Please call me" with my number. A neighbor called. She was also feeding him, said he'd been abandoned. I prepared to find him a home. When I brought him to the vet, we found out he'd been microchipped! The woman who'd owned him lost him 2 years ago and then moved away. What a shock for her! I left him with the vet and she came to get him. Part Two tomorrow.
01/03 Direct Link
Part 2:
After leaving the long-lost orange tabby at the vet for his owner to retrieve - and she happily did, they told me - I stopped at my neighbor's house to tell her. One of the two very young kittens she was feeding had infected eyes. I have veterinary antibiotic ophthalmic gel. After treating the kitten, I convinced my neighbor to let me take both, continue treating their eyes (both kittens needed it) and find them a home. Two of my adult cats fell in love with them, and so did I. After much consideration, I decided to keep them.
01/04 Direct Link
As of this writing, the kittens are approximately 5 months old. They're tortoiseshell beauties. Tyli, I named as short for "Tiger Lily," because she has more orange than black, and "Cami" for the camellia flowers that grow in my backyard. My bouquet of kittens! I didn't really want five cats again as Danny and I had and loved for so many years, but I have no regrets about any I've adopted. There were six for awhile, but Cato, who lived to be over 18, finally had to be put to sleep. He was a unique character and I miss him.
01/05 Direct Link
Couldn't help but hear the conversation of the college-age couple in the booth in front of me. The ambient music is of my era. I heard them naming songs correctly, then couldn't resist correcting them about "Band on the Run" being Paul McCartney. "Did you hear us say Eric Clapton?" I admitted I did. "Did that make you angry?" "No. Paul McCartney wouldn't be angry. Neither would Eric Clapton." I didn't act at all angry, and it was all lighthearted anyway, so my guess is that his parents or someone my age must've been angry at a similar mistake.
01/06 Direct Link
A few days ago, Mom called me at 5-something a.m., confused at where she was, who was living and who was dead, and other things. "Is my mother still alive?" If Grandma were, she'd be well over 100, as I told Mom. Yet, she knew her own age and thought the year was 2011, so she was only off by very few days. She was so confused and upset, I told her to pull the cord so someone would come up and talk to her. She called at 6 a.m. two days later or so, asking, "Where's your father?"
01/07 Direct Link
Now that I finally gave in to my cable company and agreed to be upgraded to digital, my TV addiction seems worse. I'm glad to have some channels back that had disappeared. So, my excuse for being up all night last night was watching lots of Charlie Chaplin movies. He was the first internationally-known movie star, and for good reason. His incredible talent is legendary. His character of The Little Tramp was a study in contradictions: Sloppy yet dapper, crude but always graceful, violent yet lovingly protective, quick though able to be very still... the list can be endless.
01/08 Direct Link
Another too-much-TV day, stuck again to TCM for movie after movie. This time, a tribute to José Ferrer because this day would've been his 100th birthday. I didn't know much about him except that his son, actor Miguel Ferrer, looks just like he did. Thanks to Wikipedia and other sites, I read about José Ferrer, which is well worth doing (so do it!). Turns out his role as Cyrano de Bergerac was, unsurprisingly, one of his best-known, considering it earned him both Tony and Oscar awards. A brilliant actor playing a brilliant character is a great combination.
01/09 Direct Link
Does anyone see the humor?
In Gwinnett County, some teachers added slavery into math problems.
To say the questions were inappropriate and racist is a gross understatement, and the sheer stupidity is pretty funny.
The worst one: "If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?” The questions imply that slavery as a concept, even in the past, is being condoned and treated as matter-of-fact.
I say, "If a group of teachers attempt to incorporate history into math without using their brains, how many days will they have before getting fired?"
01/10 Direct Link
Yesterday, I was in the cat food aisle at the pet supplies store when an elderly man slowly shopping there said to me, "You have kitties?" (His words, not mine; I never say "kitties," I say "cats" or "kittens.") Of course, I replied, "Yes, I have five." "I have forty two." Wo! "My allergies would not be happy." That was the first thing that came to my mind. Yes, I'm allergic to my own, but I've restarted allergy shots. Anyway, he may be a hoarder, maybe not. Some people claim to have that many when they're feeding a feral colony.
01/11 Direct Link
I recently sent a letter to the last people I'm in touch with about how I lost Danny. It's my long-ago ex-boyfriend and his wife and daughter. There's no excuse for having not told them these past few years, but having to break this as news is hard. The only way we'd been in touch was through holiday cards, so I'd been getting cards from them still addressed to both of us. I continue to receive mail to Danny, of course, though it hurt less when his subscriptions ran out. I push some things out of my mind.
01/12 Direct Link
It's unusually windy out tonight, a regular mistral, assuming this is what the mistral is like. It hurries the cold along and makes you do likewise. I could feel the car being pushed sideways, threatening a slight loss of control. Once home, the wind enjoyed knocking something loudly against the side of the house for awhile, and with it came a fleeting fear of a pine tree or large branch destroying my roof. Eerie rushing, rustling sounds affirm its comings and goings. What are the wind's intentions? What does it want? Is it full of restless spirits and unresolved longings?
01/13 Direct Link

How to Make Popcorn, Part 1

You don't need a popper, just a pot with a lid, popping corn, and oil.

Smaller pots are easiest, but larger pots work, though may take more practice.

I usually use olive oil, but probably any cooking oil will work. I've tried a flavored safflower oil, and that worked fine, imparting some of the flavors to the popped corn.

Add enough oil to spread across the bottom so that it flows just a little, not too much. Add corn, but no more than enough to cover the so that all kernels touch the bottom.
01/14 Direct Link

How to Make Popcorn, Part 2

Swish the popping corn around in the oil to mix the two.

Start with medium or medium-high heat. When popping starts, shake the pot by quickly sliding it in short movements across the top of the burner (if you can't do that, then do the same above the burner fairly often). Continue this throughout the popping process.

The faster the popping gets, turn down the heat a bit more and more. When pops are 2-3 seconds apart, turn off the heat. Let it rest for a few seconds.

See Part 3, next.
01/15 Direct Link

How to Make Popcorn, Part 3

If you want buttered popcorn (also, try it unbuttered) and don't want to pour it all out yet, you'll need a second pot for melting butter and/or warming oil. Otherwise, use the same pot, which is already hot.

Added to the butter, I like extra virgin olive oil: it's healthier and stretches butter without sacrificing flavor.

Popcorn salt is a finer grind, which works best. Experiment with seasonings.

Popping on the stove may take some practice to make unburnt popcorn with all or almost all the kernels popped, but it's fun and delicious.
01/16 Direct Link
MLK day, or it was, being after midnight. It's beyond tragic that it took the martyrdom of a great man to keep very alive his words and actions and those of the early civil rights movement. Appreciate him and all who fought that tremendous battle.

Growing up in the sixties meant being dropped into a time of turmoil, confusing to a child. We learned the word "assassination" early on, for one.

On a school morning when I was 8, Mom woke me up with, "Dr. King was shot." "Who's Dr. King?" From that day on, I learned. We all learned.
01/17 Direct Link
I don't know what to write. I'm tired, I hope I'll be able to sleep for a change, so I don't want to take time and brain work to do this. Random thoughts will do, I guess. Got the TV on as usual, some show about tattooing. It's a competition. Strange TV trend that's come about these past, what, 15 or 20 years (which has flown by) making not just "reality" shows, but now they're all competitions. Has this replaced game shows? Now, there are relatively few. I admit, I do get drawn into some of these reality/competition shows.
01/18 Direct Link
It seems hard to believe that in this day and age that a modern cruise ship could sink. Of course, there is always a danger. With all the navigational technology, you'd never expect something like this to happen. All of the captain's actions are being called into question. Even in just photos and video, the sight of an enormous ship on its side is shocking and disturbing. So tragic. A particularly sad story is of one of the ship's musicians. He helped save the lives of several children, then went back for his violin and didn't make it out alive.
01/19 Direct Link
Talked about hair while having it done. It's a natural subject. Approximately and shortened, "When I was a kid, about 12 years old, I braided my hair every night. I used to braid my late husband's hair. He was a musician and had very long hair. He was a redhead as a kid. It was several colors: blonde, brown, red - naturally. I'd braid it and it looked like corn; it was beautiful." I didn't say what came next: I still have some of it. My sister-in-law had his hair saved in an envelope before his body was cremated.
01/20 Direct Link
My Dear Cats,

Please realize how much I love you.
I treasure the love you give me and every entertaining moment, even when you're asleep. Adorable! You are soft, warm and beautiful, and it's endearing to see you interact and cuddle together.

Occasionally you get into places you shouldn't, scratch things - including me, unintentially - and knock stuff over (especially you two kittens!), but that's okay. I hope I do alright in taking care of you, and I apologize for times I've accidentally stepped on your tails. Don't play too rough, and stay as sweet as you are.

Love Always,
M
01/21 Direct Link
Late again, putting off writing, not knowing what to write, coming up with ideas and discarding them over and over.

I've been watching various videos on YouTube including someone's diary. She made an omelet. Then I watched a few from Japan making Japanese-style omelets. I have a rectangular pan like that - a small one. All these years, and I only used it once if at all. It may be harder than it looks. I'll try, assuming I can get to the pan way back in the cupboard. The main idea is to roll, add more egg, roll again, repeat.
01/22 Direct Link
"Your eyes are bigger than your stomach." Mom used to say that. Yeah, I learned to not waste food, but when I was a kid, that phase didn't make sense. How could my EYES be bigger than my STOMACH? Wouldn't my eyes have to be enormous? My perception - or really, expectation - exceeds my capacity. Okay, I wouldn't have understood that, either. Worse, though, was Grandma's saying, "Waste not, want not." Ugh. If I don't waste it, I won't (or shouldn't) want it in the future, or I won't experience want - meaning, starvation? "Children are starving in [insert foreign country here]."
01/23 Direct Link
I rarely enter contests or giveaways, but I did enter one recently to win really nice, expensive lampwork beads. Just checked: I didn't win. It wasn't a contest, but it was fun looking at photos of these beautiful pieces and write descriptively. Here's part of what I wrote:

I see various techniques are combined in exuberant swirls and bubbles, sparkling foils, deep waters, misty trails, candy, sunsets and other dreaminess and in many shapes, textures and finishes. Those with relief lampwork-sculpted flowers adorning the exterior are a marvel of naturalism in a mastery of minature.
01/24 Direct Link
Ohhh, I'm achy. Bought a pedometer yesterday. So far, so good, though I don't think it's accurate. I've been trying to go to the fitness club more often and am doing better, plus all the walking has made me hopefully tired enough to sleep through the night. At the gym, watching the beginning of the State of the Union Address and wondering if I'm contributing to society, I figured it this way: Exercise improves your health which keeps you out of the hospital, thus making you less of a burden on an overwhelmed health care system, especially into old age.
01/25 Direct Link
January 25th, five years since Dad had passed. Thinking of the more fun or unique things of our family life, I realize these must've been Dad's ideas.

I'm sure Mom and Dad planned vacation destinations together, but I'll bet they were Dad's choices, and not just because he did all the driving. (I mentioned these in my 06/21/06 entry.)

One day in San Francisco, Mom stayed at the hotel to do laundry, and Dad took himself, Kenny and me on a helicopter ride over the Bay and Alcatraz. I'll remain forever grateful to Dad for that amazing experience.
01/26 Direct Link
The $1.99 theater shows, of course, movies that are between their normal run and going to DVD. Tonight, I caught Tower Heist. I'd wanted to see this movie anyway; it has a good cast. It was fun, and any movie that shows a lot of New York City is another visit to my far-away hometown. I think there were only 4 other people in the theater. In the movie, Astoria was mentioned often (yeah, because of Silvercup Studios), and it was hard for me to not yell out, "I'm from Astoria, too!" Yes, L.I.C./Astoria, Queens.
01/27 Direct Link
Watching PBS tonight including a documentary on Niagara Falls. Of the family vacations, Niagara was the most amazing natural wonder I've seen on the east coast. We did go sort of under the falls as tourists do, wearing very heavy borrowed rain ponchos. The power and volume of water is frightening and beautiful. Wow! I was bored on the tour of the power plant; well, I was a kid. We stayed on the Canadian side (the only time I've been out of the U.S. to this day). Constant mist and rainbows. I'd love to go there again some day.
01/28 Direct Link
Made my first Zentangle. Figured that this form of drawing patterns, sort of a deliberate doodling, isn't terribly different from stuff I've done for years. Made me envious. Still, going step by step is best, and allows me to monitor my thoughts: I can see why they say it's meditative; takes time and patience. Thought it would be easier. Fun? Yeah. Despite my years of art school and doodling, I'm not that good. Can't see very well. Glad I bought 2 sizes of markers. Get humble and do patterns by others. I need practice. Do I like my finished piece?
01/29 Direct Link
It's often hard for Kim to get away because of the puppy. Caring for her is sometimes like having another child. Xena would have been okay in her pen if she hadn't dug her way out. She's a bull terrier - very sweet, but strong and determined. While we were out, Kim got a few calls from neighbors who had found the pup. We ordered the food to go. Luckily, Xena ended up at a neighbor's who loves and has dogs of her own in a fenced-in yard. It was a relief to see Kim's puppy safe, sound and found.
01/30 Direct Link
Two more entries to go. I decided not to do February. It's a difficult month. February has the date I lost my husband to suicide. I know; I've written about it here before. If I write more about grief, I'll probably be repeating myself.

I miss Danny so terribly much, it's more than I can put into words. It'll be four years ago, but it doesn't feel that long at all. There are still times it seems unbearable to be without him. There's no such thing as a happy life anymore. It's a broken-hearted life with good moments sometimes.
01/31 Direct Link
January's entries:
Several are in relation to TV and some concern news, a few are regarding cats and kittens (mainly mine, but not all), some are about various aspects of food, one about exercise, one as a memorial to my Dad, one about going to a movie, one about beads, another touches on braiding hair, several about how much I miss my late husband and dealing with grief, some childhood memories are thrown in, and one is on a windy night. This list isn't in order of when I wrote what. Oh, and I'd misspelled "miniature." It was a typo.