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Or rather my lungs right now seem to want to come up my windpipe. I started this cough a couple of days ago and suppressed it with cough meds and drops so I could run the show. Last night was a bit of a challenge but I made it through to awake with a pounding head and a cough that just won’t quit.

My brackets are broken beyond repair. A number of interesting games in the tourney but the only team I have left is North Carolina. I would find it amusing if North Caroline plays South Caroline because of 1776.

Baseball starts soon. The preseason games have been interesting enough but it’s time to really play baseball.

I feel like a run down battery. I have no strength today.

In the women’s tourney, I think that an UConn vs. Notre Dame game would be an interesting one for the final 4. UConn is probably going to go all the way yet again.

Caroline and I had fun working on Footloose together. I was surprised that I got called out for special thanks for running the sound board.

Yes, I have seen the new Justice League trailer. Apparently November is turning into are you a Marvel Fan or a DC Fan since Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League both open in November. Looking forward to Wonder Woman and Aquaman. And of course Guardians vol. 2.

There are a lot of cars on our street today. I don’t think we have a parade or arts festival in the village. The fun run was last weekend and we aren’t to Memorial Day yet. So I guess it is someone’s birthday or other form of family celebration.

We were thinking of going to see Kong but I don’t think we are up for it. I am thinking more put on Fantastic Beasts and kick back kind of day.

I am very tired of coughing to the point that my ribs hurt. It is possible to pull a muscle coughing which makes it that much harder. I am also tired of the taste of menthol in my mouth from all the cough drops I am sucking on.

Quiet day at home is in order. Caroline declared it a jammie day so she is going to be wearing her PJs all day.

Inky and Fig, our cats, have given up the pretense that they don’t get along. They have been curling up with each other to sleep. There is still some cat fighting but over all they have gotten to be friends.

I see a cup of hot tea in my very near future.

I have the last of the War Doctor audio plays. It was one of the last things that John Hurt recorded. It is very good but I am going to be sad when I get to the end of it because that will be the end of the War Doctor as played by John Hurt.

I’m not much for grammar today.

And it is apparent someone is moving today from the house that is really a series of apartments.

At least Caroline is coughing less. She still has glitter in her hair from last night.

The WGA is informing their members that a strike might be in the offing over some rather complex but important issues like health care costs, digital streaming revenues, and how people are paid for the work they are doing. The SAG contract is up as of the end of June and currently is on strike against video game companies over compensation and working conditions for both vocal and motion capture actors. I still belong to Actor’s Equity so I do have a horse in this race too.

Peter was a good husband and went off to do the grocery shopping that had to be done today so I don’t have to cough my way through the store. I love him so much for so many reasons.

Off to make tea with a little honey in it. *cough cough*

I am grateful that Caroline and I got to do a show together.
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A number of months ago at a Parent’s Meeting for this year’s Middle School play, I said, “If you want, I’ll operate sound.”

This week, as they say, “The Bill comes due.”

Sound was one of my fall back jobs when I couldn’t find stage management work. I am good at it too. I have a good ear and very long fingers. There was one project I operated sound on that the designer made me swear that I would show up unless I was dead because the soundscape that she created could only be run by me. At that point she couldn’t figure out how I could get everything running and timing out perfectly. It’s a knack and I had it.

So I find myself behind a soundboard for the first time in a long time.

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(For the VI: This is a soundboard with a script on the right half.)

Parts of the job are like riding a bike and other parts felt very rusty. So I have been spending the week getting to know the show and my board.

There was a first for me in all this. First time I put a wireless mic on my daughter.

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(for the VI: This is a photo of Caroline in profile. She has a wireless microphone taped to her face. She is wearing a brown shirt and her brown hair is up in a bun)

We had our final dress on Thursday. This is my view of the show. My microphone plot is on the left and my script on the right. We had a couple of mics that had to be passed around a bit which made sound even more interesting.

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(for the VI:the sound board with the mic tracking sheet on the left and script on the right. The kids are on stage in the far background)

After three months of work on the casts part and a week of work for me, we finally get to opening night.

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(For the VI: This is a photo from the back of the room showing the stage with the red curtains closed.)

Curtain Call. Caroline is the blob to the far left.

 photo 1F837C88-C1E4-43F2-A162-4D56A1BAF46C_zpsycdjd3bq.jpg
(for the VI: This is the cast of Footloose on stage during the bows. They are dressed in either church clothes or prom wear.)

So we did it. We got through the opening night. We have two shows today and then Footloose will become a memory. I have to say that I am very proud of these children and the dedication they have shown to this show. Special shout out to my assistant Kevin who has been on top of things from the beginning so I know that if I tell him I need ‘x’ done, it will get done.

I am grateful I could share this experience with my daughter.
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I had a couple of topics that I worked out in my head at 3 AM but went to sleep and forgot what I was going to write. The one that stayed is something rather delicate so I decided to not write about that.

As one gets older, one starts to question what is going on in their brain every time they have an absent minded moment. We hear a lot about various brain problems later in life and wonder each time if we are sliding into Alzheimer’s or Dementia or some new form of our brain slipping away from us.

I can get distracted in my thoughts by something I see or hear and then I have to walk it back to remember why I went into the kitchen or whatever room I find myself in.

Right now my head is wrapped up in running sound for Footloose. We have some microphone problems that are being sorted out. I have a plan but now I need to revise it with the new data I received last night. This is where my head is going to be at for the next couple of days. I plan to take Sunday to reset and start up on things again on Monday.

I am not forgetting things as much as getting distracted by other things around me. Stress from various outside forces is not helping but I recognize that it exists and deal with it as I can.

My mind may not be as flexible as it was 30 years ago but it still works pretty doggone well. I still learn new things and retain what I have learned. I am still a good problem solver and the creative side is working just fine.

Still I have concerns about where my mind wanders to and where thoughts seem to vanish. I don’t think it is unhealthy to do so. I think it might be a bigger concern if I dismissed it out of hand.

I am grateful for thoughts that stick.
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Today is World Puppetry Day where we take a moment to recognize the art and whimsy of puppets.

Puppets are important to me for many reasons. I have made life long friendships because of puppets. I have had some interesting adventures due to the puppets. Caroline owes her existence to a Klingon Puppet that Peter bought in an Art Show oh so many years ago.

I have enjoyed seeing a lot of different kinds of puppets and puppet performances. I am always amazed that what people can do with puppets.

I also have a lot of fun building them. I like watching people’s faces when they see a puppet that they like. I enjoy playing around with people with the puppets.

And I am pretty good at creating these puppets. I found a niche that works for me and I play in that sandbox for the most part.

I really think my calling is educating people about puppets and puppetry. I have done panels on the history of puppets, building puppets, and so you want to build a puppet. I will always treasure my time at the Center for Puppetry Arts working in the museum and everything I learned there.

So celebrate the puppets today! Think about your favorite puppet performance you have ever seen. About your favorite puppets. About when you first discovered puppetry.

I am grateful for all the people I have met because of puppets.
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Yesterday I went to an artist’s brunch that a group of artists have been throwing for a while now. I joined the group last year. It is a big mix of people from all kinds of disciplines, which makes it even more interesting as we look and talk about each other’s work. Fired me up and got me to thinking about my art in a different way. I would publicly like to thank my gracious hosts for the lovely afternoon.

Today I am finishing up the sound paperwork for Footloose. I have my parameters and my script so I can see if I can sort out the puzzle of who gets a body mic when. That and we would like to get one monitor so that the kids can hear the music better. We have rehearsal this evening and every evening until we open on Friday.

Tomorrow will be the next thing on my list and so on and so forth until we get to Sunday where Footloose will be done and I can focus on other things like LunaCon and some private projects.

I am grateful for structure in its many forms.
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Occasionally I will dust off my theater skills and put them to good use. Last year I built puppets for the middle school production of Little Mermaid. This year I told the powers that be that I would be willing to run the sound board for Footloose.

Yesterday I found myself back in the middle of sorting out body mics and sound and running sheets. We have to do some trading around of the body mics. I worked out the second act and then started on the first. Now I need to sort out how I am going to do all this. I have all my materials and the script so by rehearsal tomorrow I will have the whole thing sorted out and we will give it at go at the run through.

It amazes me how much I remembered about running a sound board and how to make things sounds nice. I walked out knowing what limitations I am working with and have a plan to help fix it.

Today Peter and Caroline are off to I-Con and I am joining some friends for an Art Brunch in the city. While riding on the train, I plan to work through the soundscape for the show.

I am grateful for the bicycle effect.
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Peter and I were off running a couple of errands yesterday and were talking about this and that while in the car when I got an idea based on our conversation. I told it to Peter who built on it and then I added and by the end of the car ride we had worked out an entire TV series that could come out of what I came up with.

We do that a lot. I am Peter’s first sounding board as I am usual in the room with him when he wants to see if an idea sounds good or if he is totally off base. Sometimes we tell the other one an idea and then say ‘well that’s interesting but have you thought about (fill in the blank)’ and we are off and running on developing the idea into something that we can use. This is how Maddrox came to have a multiple personality problem in X-factor.

There are times he comes to me and says I need an idea for (fill in the blank). I’ll think a bit and give him my take on the subject. Sometimes he uses it and other times he won’t but what I said will give him another idea that does work. I am good at ideas and working out stories.

I am working on actually writing the bloody things. One can have a million good ideas but nothing more comes from them other than the thought, ‘well this is a good idea’. Executing the idea is the hard part.

I have lost count the number of people who have come to Peter with an idea that if he writes it up, they could make money. Peter always stops them before they tell them the idea. It’s his policy, unless being paid by the person with the idea, to not listen. That way if he just happens to write something similar, he has a clear conscience that he came up with it on his own or with me. And writers do come up with the same idea at the same time. Many times it has to do with current events or some scientific breakthrough that gets them thinking in the same direction.

I need better follow through on a number of things and I recognize that my follow through has been lackluster at best. And that’s a great idea.

I am grateful for great ideas.
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Or rather I feel like I let a friend down and it makes me rather sick to my stomach. We have talked it out or rather started to talk it out and there is a solution that I plan to implement. I honestly didn’t know things were going south until they pointed it out to me and they are right and I am in the wrong. Now I correct my fault and my behavior towards this friend. And if my friend is reading this, know that you have absolutely no fault in this what so ever. You are right and I am in the wrong and I am glad you pointed it out in such a polite way.

Peter is attending a funeral today. It is the second funeral in the same family within a two-week period. I feel sorry for the family as they have lost two loved ones in rapid succession. My sympathies to them.

Starting Saturday I am jumping into the school play having agreed to run sound for them. I am hoping I have an assistant but not counting on it. Need to find my good headset for the board. I have run sound for various forms of entertainment and know how to get things setup and done. The real fun is going to be rebalancing the body mics on the fly since more than one kid uses them during the show. I am hoping that the voices will be close enough that I can do a general setting but I am not counting on it. Need to also find my black t-shirts without logos on them.

Gives me two days and a bit to make good on my promise.

Then I have to get the next thing done because that is also looming over me. Fixing some puppets and sending them off to their new homes.

I know what I need to do and I can do it. It is me that is stopping the forward progress that I need to make. I do not blame anyone for the situation I find myself in.

The cold weather and the time change aren’t helping me either. I usually am such a polar bear but this winter I can’t seem to stay warm and if I start shivering then it can be a while before my body stops shaking. I have stated previously how much I loathe Day Light Savings Time and what it does to my internal clock. Nothing has changed there. And an inability to sleep through the night more than one night in a row is not helping my mood.

There is some other stuff going on right now that has me down but nothing I care to talk about publicly. Just think good thoughts that someone who has made us some big promises can come through on them. One would be nice two would be even better and if all three come through, my stress level will reduce greatly.

I will be attending LunaCon this year. I still am waiting to see if I have a table or not in the Art Show.

I will feel better once I get a few things off my plate. But right now I recognize that I am not at my best and I know how I can improve. I also recognize that I am feeling a little down because of things both in and out of my control.

I am grateful for friends who are honest with me about things.
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Yes, I know it is Wednesday even though it was hard to tell because of the snow day so this felt like a Monday but I know it is Wednesday. However we made this on Tuesday so I am counting it as Crafty Tuesday. And yes I probably could use a little more sleep.

Caroline has a friend whose nickname is Brownie. Brownie and Caroline are good friends and share a lot of the same fandoms in common. One thing they both love is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them especially for the critters. Brownie’s favorite creature is the Niffler.

 photo 6df652a1f83791b43493c29d1a90aabc_zpssyxkjfss.jpg
The Niffler from Fantastic Beasts
(for the VI: This is a still from the film with the Niffler who has black fur and brown eyes and a pinkish snout reaching for some jewelry)

Caroline looked for an official plush Niffler for Brownie. We looked for one while we were down at Universal in Florida and, after talking to the people in the animal shop, discovered that there was never one made except the statue and the Pop figure.

After striking out on that, we decided that we could make it ourselves. A Niffler is basically a baby echidna with a different snout.

 photo Echidna-Puggle_Photo-by-Paul-Fahy-11_zpsmefj2j2l.jpg
A baby Echidna photo copyright and all rights reserved Paul Fahy
(for the VI: This is a baby echidna with a black furry body with white tips, a black snout and black eyes on a human hand looking at an eyedropper)

So we took a hedge hog pattern from a Beatrix Potter stuff animal book and changed it up a bit for the Niffler. We made the first one from scraps from another project just to get the shape and size right.

 photo F9BDEDE4-1EBF-4B65-9E4C-35392244DC04_zpsx6mj0hhe.jpg
The Prototype Niffler
(for the VI: This is the first try at the plush. The material is brown fleece with brown eyes and a pink snout.)

We looked at that one and did some adjustments like the belly had to be bigger and the snout could be a bit wider. The neck didn’t quite work either so we had to adjust that as well.

 photo 9ED56A72-6FC8-4FCE-AF98-21C1F31DA679_zpszwxhh3zg.jpg
Brownie’s Niffler
(For the VI: This plush is black fur with brown leather hands and feet, brown eyes, and brown eyes. He has a pouch that has a necklace in it. He is holding a silver chain in his paws)

I am already working out the third version of this critter and a puppet version in my head.

I am grateful for a project that Caroline and I could do together.
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So yesterday we had all the warnings of a major blizzard with dire predictions of what might be heading our way.

This morning we awoke to discover that a warm front moved further north than expected so we are getting a miserable mixed of snow/sleet/rain with the sleet being small hail stone sized.

We aren’t getting the two feet of snow but driving is very hazardous as I have watched more than one car unable to brake for the stop signs and slide through. I am glad Caroline has a snow day today because getting to and from her school would be more of an adventure than it needs to be.

By tomorrow the school system will figure out if they can safely get the students to and from school but today is an indoor day.

I think our biggest fear is the power going out since the winds are very strong today. One tree limb could make for a bad day for a lot of people. These winds are here through tomorrow. It has been a very windy year.

Today will be a marathon of something and the making of soup. Along with crafty activities and laundry. A quiet day at home with none of us even sticking a toe outside our domicile.

Tomorrow I will post what we made for a belated Crafty Tuesday.

I am grateful that the warm front did us a favor and kept the snow at bay.
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We always seem to have one of these. They happen in March and we always seem to be surprised by it. I think by this point once the calendar says March, we should start counting down to this snow-pocalypse.

Last week’s snow storm was annoying especially after the hint of spring weather before the snow hit. The winds have been so strong this month that Peter’s flight last Thursday was cancelled and he had to redo his travel plans to get to the Lexington comic book convention.

This week we have a blizzard warning north and west of us however, unlike the other storms this season, we will be getting a big miss from the terrible snow totals for 6 to 12 with high winds.

So today has been all about battening down the hatches here. Got an oil delivery. Got the village approved salt. Got the larder restocked. Shovels have been moved into place. Car cover goes on after I get Caroline from rehearsal. Then we hunker down and just wait it out. We just got a notification that Caroline’s school is cancelled for tomorrow. The local officials are declaring a state of emergency allowing them to dictate who can be out and when.

Now we wait to see what happens. If the front moves south, then we get it in the teeth again. If it stays then we get slushy mix of snow/sleet/rain, which will be a pain to shovel.

I am grateful for that which got done today.
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Whelp, I broke Lent. Or rather I found myself back on social media when I vowed not to be. It started innocently enough. I was taking care of a page that I am in charge of because we have a project that we are getting ready to announce. Then I was keeping up with Len Wein’s surgery for his neck which lead me to some other things I hadn’t looked at and down the rabbit hole I went.

I feel bad about it but I am just going to continue to try to do what Caroline and I agreed to do. She has been golden about her Lent so far, but then that’s honestly Caroline. She decides that she is going to do something and she has control of it, she does it.

Peter is off to Kentucky this weekend for the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention. He leaves tomorrow evening so that’s a set of things that have to be done including pre-bowling for my league.

This weekend Caroline and I are already making plans for what we are going to do with it. I see Nifflers in our future. I need to finish banging out that pattern.

There are a number of other things that I need to start up again now that we are back from vacation. Motivation has been a fickle thing at best but I will pull it together. I am proud that I have kept the kitchen chaos down to a dull roar.

I am watching Face Off as is Caroline. She is really interested in this new show that they are doing about cos-play or as I call it costumes. Never really warmed up to the term cos-play but use it where needed because it has become the go to when describing what people do at conventions. Caroline has so many ideas of things she wants to do in that realm.

So restart on the social media blackout and try to get things done. New mantra.

I am grateful for things that are getting done.
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At the most recent convention I went to, Farpoint, an acquaintance of mine was looking over the Doctor Strange puppet. She made the comment that she enjoyed seeing that my skills have improved over the years. That 15 years ago, I probably could not have made the puppet that I made last year. And she is right.

Bill Sienkiewicz starts each day just drawing a few things for warm up and practice. He is not the only artist I know that does that. Part of it is to get the work flowing but part of it is to continue to hone his skills as an artist. Not every drawing is perfect but it is in the imperfections that you learn. And Bill’s imperfect work out strips most people’s really good work by a mile.

Part of the process of getting better at something is to do it repeatedly. I don’t know many puppet builders who haven’t sewing something in backwards or had to scrap a puppet halfway through because the form just wasn’t working correctly. You learn from those and something that might have to be scrapped at one point can turn into a head start on another puppet. I find myself sewing fewer collars into shirts incorrectly because I have done it so many times now that I know how to make sure I have everything right way around.

It doesn’t mean I don’t have my Ah! moments. This past year I finally figured out that if I write top and bottom on the mouth plate after I sew the puppet skin to it, I don't put in the foam skull upside down which can be a major problem.

How long does it take me to make a simple hand and rod puppet? I have it down to four hours with a shirt but it can’t go much lower than that because there is just a certain amount of time that goes into sewing the puppets which is never going to reduce. Hand sewing is always going to take longer than machine and there are some parts that have to be sewed on by hand.

Doesn’t mean I don’t still learn tricks from my fellow puppeteers. One of the reasons I enjoy DragonCon so much is to be able to talk construction with my fellow puppeteers. People come up with cool solutions to various problems that I can use to make my puppets better. I have learned about glues and ways to use tools that I have in new and interesting ways. I can come with a problem I am working on and someone has an idea of how to solve it.

When I go into making a puppet, there are parts that I know so well I think I could do them in my sleep. Those skills I have cold. But each puppet presents me with new things to think about. How am I going to do their hair or clothing? Getting them to look right to my eye is probably harder than getting them to look right to others because I can see all the flaws and imperfections but others only see the finished product.

I have been building puppets for a long time and hope to do so for many years to come. I don’t think I will ever be done learning what I can do with them and how I can make them better. Each one teaches me something even though it may be the same as the one before it.

I am grateful that my skills are continuing to grow.
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Last week was a bit of a wash. I did get some things done but not as much as I would like. Funny that Caroline felt the same.

This week has its challenges including Peter going to a convention this next weekend and losing an hour’s sleep on Saturday.

I think a list and a little planning is in order along with some time for the unknown to change the entire plan.

I am hoping to show at LunaCon but I don’t know if there is space available. I have a few pieces I can just put out there but I want to start to get ready for DragonCon now.

But first I have four puppets that need attention, which I am hoping that this week will bring to fruition. And a niffler, I really need to get cracking on the Niffler.

Panic is not a good motivator but it works entirely too well for me. I know I need to change that within myself and teach Caroline the same. She worries constantly that she is procrastinating. I need to get her to a point to see that she does as much as she can within a day and she has a lot to do within the day.

We came up with the sketch for DragonCon Puppet slam. It is going to take some work but not as much as other years. I think I can do all this in the time allotted. And there is going to be some serious thinking outside of the box.

I am not worried about that. I know that my skill set as an artist is getting better with each piece I make. I know I can do what my mind comes up with and that’s a good feeling.

I have another idea for an art piece that I might get done by LunaCon but not going to beat myself up if I can’t get it done. Paper manipulation.

The list today is kitchen, niffler, yarmulke, and magnets.

I am feeling motivated so let’s see what I can get done.

I am grateful for a feeling of confidence about what I am able to create.
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Today is one of those milestone birthdays for my mom.

If you were to look up unselfish in the dictionary, you might find a picture of my mom there as an example. She is one of the most unselfish people I know. She is kind and giving in so many ways.

As a child if I needed her, I knew that she would be there for me. As a young adult, she stood by my side and let me live my life but was there when I screwed up with the help I needed to get to the next point in my life. She has supported me in so many ways.

She made sacrifices for her family so that we could be our best selves. She took the time to spend with us and get to know us as we grew up.

I can remember as a child after seeing the Wizard of Oz for the first time, she made me a flying monkey vest and wings that I put on and proceeded to hop from place to place trying to fly. I was obsessed with those monkeys but she took the trying to fly in stride and asked me not to break my bed please with all the jumping.

I remember the look on her face after I fell from some scaffolding while hanging lights for a show I was working on at Emory. I also remember how white her knuckles looked as she clutched her purse strap. She went to the emergency room with me and took care of me at home making sure that the lump on my head was not a concussion.

I remember her talking softly to my brothers and sister as she nursed them. She had a rocking chair that she still has that she used when she feed us. She knew how to sooth a fussy baby and proved that she still had that skill with each of her grandchildren.

She has always been there for us. She loves us and we know we are loved.

Having a child of my own just clarified for me how much she did do for me as I grew up. She is my shining example of how to be a good parent. If I hit something that I am not sure how to respond to my child, I think first what would Mom do and go from there.

She is retired from teaching but still helps out at Emory. She is part of a group that takes medical supplies that have had just a few pieces taken of the pack and repacks them for places that need these supplies desperately. She worked as a Master Gardener and answers peoples questions about plants and the like. She serves her church in many ways. I think she has been doing the church linens for over 30 years now and has clever ways to getting red wine out of white cloth.

I have friends who think of her as a second mom. She has helped them in so many ways over the years.

I feel very blessed that my mother is my mother. I love her with all my heart.

Happy Birthday Mom! I hope the day brings you lots of lovely things.

I am so very grateful to have my mother in my life.


Mar. 4th, 2017 09:43 am
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When I was a child, I assumed that you moved every couple of years. This was during the time that my father finished his doctorate and then did his post-doc at Harvard. My mother finished up her masters. They had an agreement that where ever they moved, they would both have to get tenure to make it a place of permanence. This happened in Atlanta where my father got his tenure at Georgia Tech and my mother at Emory.

Neither me nor my brothers or sister spend an entire year in the same house. Patrick came closest but we moved into the house that became the house I would say I grew up in on his first birthday.

To me moving around was not a big deal. I did it for a while stage-managing. The idea of going off to live somewhere away from my family was not an alien one to me. I found out later that my brothers and sister had really no memory of living anywhere else but Atlanta.

Yesterday marked the 19th year I have living in the house I am currently living in and it is the longest I have lived in the same place in my life.

Permanence is a strange thing. In some ways there is a finality to it. But there is always change even in a state of permanence like I have right now.

I have friends who have been part of my life for more than 20 or 30 or even 40 years of my life. I have one friend that we are heading towards 50 years of friendship. That’s a long time to be part of someone else’s life. We have gone through good times and bad. We have been there for each other especially when we needed each other the most. There have been health scares and a couple of deaths along the way but these people have a permanent place in my heart even those who have passed.

Peter and I have been together for 19 years now and will be married for 16 in May. I can’t think of my life without him. The time before I knew him is becoming less of my total time on earth with each passing year.

I find myself in a state of permanence that I thought I would never find when I was younger. I just assumed I would be living my vagabond lifestyle my entire life. I still consider myself a bohemian considering what goes on in my life. It sure is not boring. I do have a home base that I go back to after the adventure is done.

I am grateful for a sense of permanence.
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I think I am running out of clever titles as the three previous attempts at something new were all on my hard drive as essays already in existence.

I am trying to correct my spelling and grammar without consulting the spell checker these days. According to what I have been reading, it is a good way to engage the brain and will help with cementing the correct spelling in one’s head. I can remember a day when I had my dictionary next to me to check on the spelling of words as I wrote various papers.

It is interesting to see the cycles at the gym. Over the years I know which months are harder to get to the machines and weights I need and which are easier. March is a much easier month for me to be able to do my routines without having to wait for someone to finish something up. January can be tricky because of all the people who decide to resolve to be fitter that year. By February we have the shakedown to the people who are going to keep it up and the people who will probably try again next year. May is the next time I expect an influx of people as some try to get ready for swimsuit season. The summer sees more teenagers in the weight room. Fall is pretty quiet. When it turns cold we get the folks who run and do physical activity outdoors as much as they can. Then we are back to the New Year.

It does amaze me how one person leaving their weights and exercise equipment all over the place sets the tone for everyone else and they don’t pick up after themselves. Also not putting things back makes it harder on the rest of us who are trying to do our routines and have to pause to find out where X went off to. Yesterday it was one of the medicine balls that wandered off. Apparently it wandered into another part of the building or possibly out of building since the staff hadn’t a clue where it was. And this with a sign that says, “Please do not remove equipment from the exercise room” but then that is next to the sign that says “Please re-rack your weights” which a number of people ignore anyway. I swear more people think they have to be the exception to the rule these days than ever before.

Traffic is something else that ebbs and flows around here. Not as much as it use to since they have build apartments and condos in the village and near the village that has added about a third more cars consistently in the area. I am use to the traffic slow downs May to September as people come through to go to Fire Island but this is getting a little ridiculous. Trips that took maybe 5 minutes by car are now 10 to 15 due to traffic and some strangely timed traffic lights. Walking is not much better as the drivers seem to think that pedestrian crossings don’t apply to them even though there are big signs informing them otherwise.

I am sad to see the end of standard time is just around the corner. It means that Caroline has to get up when it is still dark in the morning for a couple of weeks. I really feel sorry for all the kids at the other end of the time zone who have to walk to their bus in the dark. Can’t we just get rid of it? It does us no good and doesn’t do the things that they say it makes easier.

Today is going to be a creative day for me with a little cleaning tossed in. It is cat box day so that needs to be done. Might want to tackle another corner of the room that needs cleaning. Peter and I have a couple of errands we need to run today. Caroline has rehearsal afterschool and we need to find her some costume pieces this weekend. We are talking conservative business suits that a principle of a school would wear which is easy with the thrift store having reopened with a large parking lot.

This weekend we are not going anywhere. I have a friend coming out here for lunch and conversation and fabric shopping. Next weekend Peter is off to a convention.

Things start to speed up again for us from there.

So I will take the time to breath and center before we move onto the next thing.

I am grateful for back ways that let me get where I am going .
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It took me a bit to sort out that it is Thursday.

Getting back from vacation can screw with one’s sense of time.

The only way I sorted out the day of the week is that Peter bowled yesterday and it was Ash Wednesday so that was a big clue.

If you asked me what day it was when I was at Disney World, I would have consulted my phone.

It is nice to have some time that one is not worried about time.

However now I have to get back into sync with the calendar and what’s next on my docket.

I was surprised to discover that we slid into March without a by your leave.

Yesterday was a bit of success as in that the laundry is done and put away from the trip and one corner of the living room.

I did keep my Internet looking down to an hour, which made me realize how many times I just go to check something and end up down the electronic rabbit hole.

This weekend Caroline and I are going to make a niffler. I am taking a hedgehog pattern and a platypus pattern and mushing them together. Should be interesting.

I also plan to fix the puppets so I can send them out Monday. Finish another puppet for a friend who has been very patience with me. Then onto Dragon Con puppets and the puppet slam.

The NFL combine has started. I am trying to figure out why we still need it considering all the metrics that the scouts have collected on these kids over their college careers. It is a meat market that is now out there for the public to watch. I find it embarrassing for the young men that have to prove themselves over a week’s time to their potential employers. I think if it happened behind closed doors I might not have as big a problem with it but the NFL has turned it into a spectacle for the public.

Spring Training is here and soon the season will start. I am looking forward to the baseball season. Peter has two sports seasons in his mind, baseball and the rest of the year.

Basketball is winding up into the playoffs, which seem to go for months before a winner is crowned.

Hockey has also seemed to expand their season.

Lots of sports for those who love watching sports.

Today is a gym day and then I plan to clean up another one of the seven corners of our living room.

I am grateful for calendars.
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Today is the beginning of the Catholic Lenten season.

Last night on Jeopardy the answer to final jeopardy was ‘what are you giving up for Lent?’

That is a question that is being asked a lot today. But it is not just giving something up, it can also be doing something for the betterment of all.

Caroline and I had a long discussion about what we might do and came to similar conclusions that we both spend too much time on the Internet just poking about so we are limiting ourselves to an hour on the Internet a day. This can be broken up into 15 minute segments or a half hour or an hour all at once, but it will be limited.

There are some other things that we have agreed to but that’s between the two of us. Personally I am going to try to spend more time being more mindful of that which is around me. Meditation will be part of that.

To me this is not like a New Years resolution that, from the state of our gym, is something you think about in January but by March it is but a memory.

If I don’t achieve my goal, I will just try harder to do so. We fall down and we get back up and try again.

Lent is a marathon not a sprint and we have this time to reflect on things that we really don’t seem to think about the rest of the year.

So those who are taking part of this, may you have an easy Lent.

I am grateful that my daughter and I can talk about these subjects with each other.
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Peter, Caroline and I went to Farpoint and had a great time then drove to Orlando, Florida and spent a little less than a week at Disney and Universal.

We had a lovely time. Only one day where the weather was against us but we worked around the series of severe storms that flooded the Magic Kingdom, which Caroline and I were in at the time.

Today is Fat Tuesday, which is the last day of Mardi Gras leading into tomorrow and the beginning of Lent. Caroline and I have been having some discussions about what we are giving up for Lent or what we are going to do for Lent. I think we both have it sorted out.

Normally this would be a crafty Tuesday entry, but I am bereft of any ideas for it at this time. Hope to have something for it next week.

Today is also resort the house back to a semblance of order since we finally have heat back and aren’t spending our day shivering. A clogged valve was the culprit.

The cats seemed pleased that we are back. Inky has been a little clingy for her but now seems to be fine.

So plans for today include cleaning up the kitchen now that I have hot water again, laundry because hot water, and putting things away. Later in the week I have to do some puppet repair and then send the puppets off to their new owners. More on that when I know they got to where they needed to go.

I had best get started.

I am grateful that we went on Vacation.


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