Category Archives: Fantasy

Eavesdropping

The other day I went into the kitchen when Husband was there cooking something,  and I opened a drawer to get out a spoon to eat some yogurt.  I had my phone in my sweater pocket.  I exclaimed upon grabbing the spoon “The silverware drawer is disgusting”!  It had lots of crumbs and crud in it, as happens with such drawers.  I made a mental note to clean it later.

I sat down and pulled out my phone.  There in the Google search bar were the words “The silverware drawer is disgusting” and below were many references to cleaning tips and strategies.  I was both shocked and amused. I never use the Google  function on my phone in which I could ask the phone to look things up for me or search for something. I must have tapped the button unbeknownst when I put it in my pocket.  It really felt as though the phone was eavesdropping on me. I plan to be far more careful in the future to make sure I haven’t engaged that function .

Where and when would you have wanted to be a fly on the wall?  

Folie a Plusieurs

One benefit of working as a mental health professional  in the middle of nowhere is the opportunity to see people with all sorts  of different diagnoses that one wouldn’t necessarily see in urban areas due to the increased specialization there. When you are the only game in town (or a 100 mile radius) you get to see it all.  Very few of my urban colleagues have seen Huntington’s Chorea first hand, tested people with Lewy Body Dementia  or Korsakoff’s psychosis, and also treated  children with PANDAS (Look it up. It isn’t as nice as it sounds).

The recent uptick in conspiracy theories and QAnon reminded me of a case I was privy to decades ago involving a shared delusion.  Folie a Deux is a condition in which one person with a Delusional Disorder convinces someone else without a Delusional Disorder that their delusions are real. It usually occurs in couples or close relatives.   It is rare.  It barely made the last edition of the American Psychiatric Association  Diagnostic and Statistical  Manual.  The case I remember is that of  one person in a couple having  the delusion that a member of a famous  Country Western singing group loved them,  and transmitted secret messages to them over the television.  The delusional person convinced their partner this was true, and both had to be hospitalized.

I wonder if APA is reevaluating the rarity of shared delusions in our current political climate.  It may be more prevalent than we previously thought.  I love the French terms for these conditions.  Folie a Plusieurs is the term for “madness of several”,  which we certainly have observed recently.  The treatment usually involves separating the truly delusional from the ones they have convinced about their delusions.  Then they can see what is really happening.

What are your favorite non-English terms?  Make up some fun and helpful  conspiracy theories.  

The Bookmark

I have never spent much time thinking about who has read a book before I have.  Every now and then I get a book from the library that is old enough that it still has the check-out card in the little pocket in the back and I love to see the dates on the card, but even that only suggests when it might have been read prior to computerization. 

Last week I found a bookmark (photo above) in a book from the library, left by the prior reader.  It’s not a store-bought bookmark, but a little piece of artwork that some parent (probably) grabbed when they need to mark their place.  This resonates with me because I often use a folded post-it note, an old receipt or even a piece of used envelope when the need arises, although I do have massive numbers of official bookmarks.  When I was working in the bookstore, publishers often sent bookmarks and I always grabbed one.  If I found a bookmark when I was traveling, I always picked it up.  And, of course, I make bookmarks, often as gifts, but I always make one for myself any time I do that.  But you know how it goes; if you are downstairs when you get to a good stopping point, you’re not going to go upstairs just to find a bookmark!

This particular bookmark looks to belong to someone who works in a financial advice company and is the parent to a four- or five-year old.  The book that I found it in was How to Fly in Ten Thousand Lessons by Barbara Kingsolver, so clearly a poetry lover and someone who prefers library books to purchased books this year.  But in my fantasy world I’d love to think that the last person who picked up this book was Shirley Jackson.  I just finished her book Life Among the Savages and she mentions reading several times.  She had four kids and I can imagine her grabbing a scrap of kids’ scribbling when she needed to put down a book.

What was the last book you finished?  Who would YOU like to have read it right before you? 

Keeping Fit

My mom (Nonny) is a jock.  She was very active as a kid and played many sports when she was in school (basketball, field hockey, tennis).  She got my dad interested in tennis after they married and they played consistently until his death.  She even played tennis the night before my baby sister was born.  Doubles and she was happy to tell everyone that they won against the other team.

So imagine Nonny’s disappointment when all three of her daughters turned out to be complete non-jocks.  I cycled fairly seriously for a couple of years (way before YA was born) and my baby sister runs occasionally, but for the most part, we are couch potatoes.  Of all seven grandchildren, only one has any spark of jock-ness: YA.  Swimming, gymnastics, running and weight training have been part of her regime over the years. 

Santa brought YA a 10-pound weight, so now she has two.  I noticed a couple of days ago that she has set up a “gym” in Nonny’s room upstairs.  She has her yoga mat, her weights, a big yoga ball and some kind of exercise bands.  This morning she had music playing on her phone while she worked out.

I admire her get-up-and-go.  While I’m doing the stationary bike at the gym occasionally (translation: every 4 or 5 days) and walking the dog occasionally (translation: if the sun is shining), I wouldn’t say that exercising is my top priority these days.  If would be nice if YA’s commitment to working out would rub off on me, but I’m thinking if it hasn’t happened yet, it probably won’t.

Have you ever had a “favorite” exercise?  If you could have your own In-home gym, how would you like it set up?

Safe Deposit

We have had a safe deposit box at our local bank for 30 years. We also have a fire proof security box in our bedroom closet for things we might need in a pinch when the bank is closed, like passports. (Who knows when we might have to make a quick getaway out of the country!)

Our bank built a new headquarters across the street from the old building that is to open next month.  We who have safe deposit boxes have to make an appointment with a teller to remove the stuff from the current box and walk over with her to the new bank and new box. Same lock, same keys, same box number.  We did the transfer last Monday.  The teller told us they have had all sorts of customers cashing long forgotten savings bonds they are finding as they clear out their boxes. We didn’t have any surprises like that, but it has been several years since we visited our box. Our box is full of insurance policies, the abstract for our house, and our wills and POA documents. We have   copies of those last things in the bedroom closet as well.

The impish part of me wants to put some weird thing in the safe deposit box to startle  our children  when they open it after our demise.  Husband suggested a roach clip. I thought of springy cloth snakes that pop out when the lid to the box  is opened.  If I actually did that, I know that whatever child opened the box would exclaim “Mom!”.   We shall see what I do.

Have you ever had a safe deposit box? What did you keep in it? What would you like to put in one that would surprise your heirs?

 

A Little Diversion: The Queen’s Gift

Today’s post comes from Barbara from Rivertown:

Drawing on our recent discussion of what it’s like to be Royal, I wonder if part of the fun might be owning stuff no one else owns, and having the power to give things away if one was so inclined.

I happened on this article listing 31 unexpected things owned by HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

They are as follows:

1. All the swans on the River Thames

2. A pair of corgis

3. All the Dolphins in the United Kingdom

4. Nearly all of London’s Regent Street

5. Half of the UK’s shoreline

6. Six royal residences

7. More than 200 Launer handbags

8. A private ATM

9. The best seat in the house at Wimbledon

10. The Tower of London

11. 150,000 works of art (many of them priceless)

12. Queen Victoria’s Sketchbook

13. A winning team of race horses

14. A car collection worth more than $10 million

15. A tiara covered in 1333 diamonds

16. A massive Faberge Collection

17. Westminster Abbey

18. Hyde Park  [et al.]

19. A Gold Record

20. A bat colony

21. The world’s largest clear-cut diamond

22. Three Crown Dependencies

23. An Aberdeen Angus Cow

24. Two tortoises from the Seychelles

25. Her own flag

26. Four Guinness World Records

27. A bold Blue Peter badge

28. The British seabed

29. An offshore wind farm

30. The UK’s Continental Shelf

31. All of Scotland’s gold mines

32. 25,000 Acres of forest

33. Trafalgar Square

34. Queen Victoria’s wedding dress

35. Henry VIII’s armor

36. Queen Elizabeth II’s own tartan

37. Millions of square feet of retail space

38. A baptismal font

39. A national collection of Mulberries

The game is:  

The Queen has decided it’s time to “lighten up”, and will give each of you one  (or more) of these gifts.

Which of these items would you most like to have?

What Kind of Cookie aRE yOU

YA and I had decided that we didn’t need to make as many cookie varieties this year; although we are still putting together cookie trays (vet, library, hardware guys, milkman, boss), we don’t have all the parties/functions to which we normally take cookies.  We made our list and then the next day, YA said “what about speculaas?”.  Then I found the recipe that Edith had given me for lemon lavender shortbread.  Before we knew it, we were up to 13 on the list and we couldn’t compromise on what to take off, so 13 is it! (Anna’s M&M, White Chocolate Macadamia, Lemon Lavender Shortbread, PB/Chocolate Fudge w/ Heath Bar, Frosted Sugar, PB Blossoms, Speculaas, Gingerbread Raspberry Thumbprints, Mint Surprise, Cream Cheese Snickerdoodle, Milk Chocolate Fudge, Pecan Meltaways, Ting-a-Lings)

I always do the frosted sugar cookies last because it’s quite a production – double recipe, lots of cookie cutter options, frosting, sprinkles….  The last few years I’ve had to do these all by myself but this YA volunteered to help with the decorating.  The photo above is the disaster area we created!

As I was relaxing afterwards, I found a Christmas Cookie quiz online – one of those things that I normally ignore, but since I could still smell all the sugar on myself, I threw caution to the wind.  Turns out that based on just 5 questions, I am Gingerbread – fond of my traditions and a little old-fashioned.  I didn’t make straigh-up gingerbread this year, and it’s not even my favorite, but I guess I can live with this categorization.

You have to pick a cookie to represent yourself.  What will it be? 

Driving Dreams

For the most part, I love my car.  I love that she’s red, I love that she is a hybrid.  I love having a hatchback again.  I really like that she tells me when it’s time to change the oil, based on her internal workings and not an arbitrary date.  And she’s small.  No Intimida or Sherpa here; with a tank capacity of 8+ gallons, my monthly gas budget is about $30.

There is one frustrating thing though.  She feels the need to let me know when tire pressure has changed, with a big ding and a reminder every time I start the car once she has noticed a pressure issue.  This usually happens twice a year… when it first gets cold and then again in the late spring when it starts to get really warm.  I usually just drive down to the dealership; they top the tires off right away and I don’t even have to get out of the car. 

But this fall, the pressure notification has gone off TWICE.  When we had a couple of seriously cold days last month and the again this past weekend when it was warmer.  I will admit that I whined a bit to the service guy and he said that it was happening a lot this fall since the temperatures have fluctuated quite a bit.

While he was adjusting the air, I daydreamed about my fantasy car.  I’d like to have those little lights on the sideview mirrors that indicate when someone is coming upon alongside you.  I would love to have built-in GPS and a north/south/east/west display.  Heated seats would be nice.  Of course, my fantasy car would actually drive itself; of course that could only be supplanted by my ultimate fantasy car — a transporter.  “Beam me over, Scotty.”

Tell me about your fantasy transportation. 

The Millie News

Out tortoiseshell cat, Millie, was recently  diagnosed with what is probably lymphoma. It could possibly be a form of leukemia, but we would need to do a bone marrow test to find out, and the treatment is the same in either case. She gets a smear of prednisone cream in her ear every day, which we will gradually reduce to a maintenance dose every other day in a week or so.  She is rallying, and is almost back to her pre-cancer goofy self.

Our children are real cat lovers, and insist I give regular news updates regarding her condition  and prognosis. It feels some days as though I am running an official Millie news network. I could call it MNN.

I myself have been consumed with the news of late, and go to my regular news sources. NPR, CNN, Reuters, and MSNBC too frequently  for my own mental health. I am alarmed  by 45’s plan to start his own news service, which I can’t imagine being at all reasonable or accurate. I doubt I would ever look at it.

What news services do you follow or not follow? What kind of news service would you start if money was no object?

Mrs Pollifax: Spy

I just saw a headline (yes, big enough to warrant a headline) that the tv series Friends is doing a reunion show in the spring.  I never saw an entire episode of Friends when it was originally airing – the bits I did see didn’t make me want to tune in.  But between what other people talk about and all the various commercials, I know enough that I’m thinking an enjoyable reunion show almost 20 years after the fact will be hard to pull off.  I’m sure I’ll be passing.

But there are a few bits of entertainment that I would like to have seen more of —  Mrs. Polifax, Spy for one.  There are boatloads of Mrs Pollifax books by Dorothy Gilman but just two movies.  The first one came out in 1971 with Rosalind Russell and Darren McGavin.  It’s clever and a bit silly, but just what I need every now and then.  Rosalind Russell was perfect but a follow-up was never made.  Then in 1999 Angela Lansbury starred in The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax.  Good enough to waste a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon but that was about it; she was too old for the part and the movie took itself much too seriously.  It really just felt like an episode of Murder She Wrote

The 1971 version is currently available on Amazon Prime and I will admit that I’ve watched it several times since March.  I wish that Rosalind Russell had made a few more of them!

Anything that you would have like to see more of (or read more of)?