Snoooze-VVVVVVVVV

Today is one of those days when I am falling asleep on my feet. My body missed an hour of sleep last night and now it takes the initiative to make up for it any way it can. Usually, it in in the middle of a sentence as I am writing or reading. If you see a string of a single character running across the screen you will know that my body just went into rest mode. The single character comes from my thumb which has stopped while in the middle of a stroke and is resting on one key.

September days can be outstanding in, Illinois and today is one of them. It is sunny bright with sparsely spaced billowy white clouds streaming across the sky. The temperature hovers around eighty mid-day and then quickly descends into the sixtes after sunset and finally bottomming out in the fifties near sunrise.

I should be out riding my bike, but that is a sport I gave up fifteen years ago and now it would take me a better part of the afternoon just to prep the machine for riding. At one point cycling was my life, I belonged to a bike club that went of regular rides several times a week, and in between I commuted to work by bike. I scare myself when I think about the number of hours I spent riding and enjoying the physicality of it all. I also realize how lucky I was to have an understanding wife who tolerated my sport. We spent many hours apart because of my selfishness in choosing to pump the pedals instead of spending time with her. That is one regret that I have which I have compensated for by abandoning the sport.

Today, I spent the afternoon cooking my supper. As I write there is a pot of beef stroganoff simmering on the stove, and next to it is a pot of water in a very slow boil ready to accept the wide noodles to compliment the dish. This is certainly not a KETO meal, but it is so very delicious that I have to forget KETO once in a while. I use a recipe from Paula Dean who showed me how to do it on the Cooking Channel. It is way too simple but tastes like a very complicated affair. It is my favorite recipe. Next to the stroganoff my next favorite is chicken parmesan cooked in home made tomato sauce. It is another a recipe downloaded from the cooking channel years ago. I learned from these two recipes that cooking can be much like chemistry. Pay attention to the details and measure the ingredients to make it taste like Emiril made it.

My plan is to chill until it is time to eat, then afterwards go for a walk. The walk will take off the edge of a big meal and allow me to enjoy the evening watching a few episodes from two series that I have become attached to: Bosch, and Downton Abbey. I have to control how much I see of the detective program because it is very explicit in showing murder scenes. A month ago I overloaded and decided to take a few weeks off to unload the depressing story and the scenes that come with it. The stories are so enthralling that It is like being hooked on a drug.

If there is any energy left in me after the walk I may forget TV and choose to descend into my wood shop to work on my bird. My latest Intarsia project is an owl in full flight going after prey. I started this project in December of 2020 and feverishly worked on it to about 75% complete in March 2021. The devil is in the details however, and after taking a break from the wood shop to concentrate on a number of other projects one being my garden, and another my wedding it was not until September that I resumed. Now I am competing with beautiful days and the regret of not spending those hours with my partner. Thankfully, my body tells me how much time I can spend in the shop just as it tells me when I need to rest.

My goal to read a book a week for the year is finally becoming real. After a non-stop reading marathon to catch up to four books a month I am at thirty-three and on track to reach thirty six by the end of September. To give myself some variety I’ve decided to mix non-fiction with fiction, male and female authors, old and new. Mostly they are stories copyrighted in 2020 and 2021 because I zero in on the large print section and they are recently published. I love historical fiction because it blends facts with characters and story’s that become real. For instance, last week I finished Kitchen Front which takes place in England during WWII and deals with the population that didn’t fight. They are the ones who contributed to the war by dealing with rationing of food and other necessities like gasoline, and tires. At the same time I have been watching Downton Abbey, a story about how an aristocratic family living in a huge manor deals with World War One. The two stories mirror each other and the difference in life between 1918 and 1940 were not very large. One thing that did change was the attitude of the people who were serving the aristocrats. The servants began to realize that maybe they had the short end of the stick and were itching to change their lives to become something better than a maid, butler, or valet.

It is time to blend the sour cream into the stroganoff and to drain the wide noodles. It has been pure pleasure staying awake throughout this report.

Escape Reality Into Fantasy

Last night I finished watching an entertaining TV series labeled “White Collar.” The premise of the story is a unique FBI division that specializes in solving white collar crimes. I had to look it up to determine if it is a legitimate function of the FBI. It is legit, but this story stretches the premise a bit.

Mozzie, Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke, Elizabeth Burke, White Collar Characters

In this series an FBI agent is paired with a Criminal Informant. The FBI agent represents law and order while the CI is the opposite. In this case the criminal is a convicted art thief-forger who has been released from jail to work with the agent to solve major crimes. The bad guy gives the good guy insight into how thieves think and act. What this did for the FBI good guy is give him an upper hand in solving crimes. The series has played for six seasons with fourteen episodes, and last night I saw the grand finale. It surprised me, and left me wanting more. I will miss living with these people.

Afterwards, I always like to read more about the actors who starred in the story. In White Collar I was particularly interested in learning more about Matt Bomer who starred as Neal Caffrey the Criminal Informant. Bomer is what I call beautiful. He has exceptional good looks, a charming manner, and is very appealing to women. While investigating Bomer’s acting background I watched an interview with him and Stephen Colbert. Immediately I detected a mannerism in Bomer’s voice which made me suspect he is gay. I continued my search and learned, yes he is gay. Like the ending of the story, this surprised me. I am of a generation that grew up not knowing there was such a thing as homosexuality, and as such don’t really believe it exists even today. When I heard him openly declare his proclivity for men it unnerved me. Why? Who knows why? I just prefer to believe that this anomaly doesn’t exist. Over the years, I have known several men who were openly gay and liked them as human beings. I put my deep rooted teachings aside and dealt with them as people, but it still shocks me when I learn someone is.

Usually, when a series is popular it keeps on going. For instance, the series Heartland filmed in Canada is in its fourteenth season and beginning to film the fifteenth. The same actors who were in episode-one, season-one, are still playing in season fifteen. That means the viewer gets to watch the actors age and grow in their characters. Heartland is smart enough to add new characters throughout. Many of them are kids who need help. A principal character in Heartland is Jack Bartlett the grandfather who has a soft spot for troubled kids. The local social worker brings him new ones to raise on his ranch with his family, two grand daughters, their father. The story line is continuous with new twists intertwined throughput. What helps this series is the magnificent scenery in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Calgary, Canada. The second advantage of the story is the theme of using horses. The relationship between horses and people is amazing and also therapeutic.

Tonight, I begin a search to find a new series that will allow me to escape from reality. Is that normal, or is it sick? My wife often sits next to me and says “this is not interesting for me.” She prefers I find some concert or some doctor who gives information about life. She loves knowledge, so do I, but I also love fantasy, and choose to escape into a great story whenever I can.

A Normal Thanksgiving Day

NOT! The weather is normal, but the circumstances are totally out of whack. A grey cloudy day, cold, and a little wet, but where are my friends, where is the turkey in the oven and the stuffing next to it? Where is the cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes, and the pumpkin pie, where are the friends and family? All hunkered down. In compliance with our governor’s mandate to stay at home, celebrate alone, or virtually. How does one pass the gravy over a Zoom meal?

For as long as I can remember, and that is not long these days, Thanksgiving has been at my house or at one of my kids’ houses. It is not to be this year. I am made to feel like I am placing my life in jeopardy by visiting my daughter for dinner. God did not encourage us to have families so we could abandon them during the holidays.

Add to the gloomy day, and the lack of familial fellowship is the gloominess of having lost an excellent series called Home Fires. I got hooked watching this historical drama about a small town in England just as WW 2 begins in Europe. The folks are privy to having an RAF Airbase located right out side their town limits. This soap opera has stories galore to tell. Nearly everyone in the population has some part to play. The number of social issues and taboos is limitless, such as divorce, lesbianism, the call to duty, the declaration of conscientious objection, poor versus rich or class distinction, crooked business men taking advantage of the government spending, cancer, rationing, black markets, spousal abuse, women living without their men, etc. The actors all fit their parts and play them well. So well in fact that I had become one of the residents living next door to the action. This is one story that could well have run for ten or more seasons with many episodes in each and it would not fail to fascinate me. Evidently, I am not enough of an audience to meet the needs of the producers. Sadly, I have just read that the producers learned that the program leaned toward an older audience and have chosen to look at something that’ll lean toward youth. Being an old fart I will agree with their assessment, but not their action.

I switched to a new series being pushed by Amazon labeled The Pack. This mindless non-sense will no doubt run forever without adding a single scintilla of good to the world. It will make dog lovers happy, and since all of us love dogs the program has a chance, but I didn’t finish watching the first episode and will avoid any more.

I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving Holiday.

Iris Cove

Just another day in paradise, this morning was glorious. I say was because it is already after noon. When one finishes breakfast at ten o’clock noon comes quickly. Thankfully, I haven’t kicked myself out of KETO this week, God knows I have tried. On Thursday I thoroughly enjoyed a sub sandwich from Jersey Mike’s bread included, then washed down with a sugar cookie. This morning I feasted on a mushroom-spinach omelet with thick sliced bacon.

Last evening I went for a bike ride with a friend and as usual I was way ahead and stopped to let us catch up with each other. I did something stupid on the start-up and wound up prone on the street. The last time I dumped on a bike was fifteen years ago when I hit a patch of wet leaves on the trail and found myself skidding on my side for twenty feet. It just goes to prove that if you ride long enough, you will have an ass dumping accident. At one block from home I stopped again to allow us to even up, and a white haired man stopped at the same corner. He shouted out “how are you doing?” “Fine” I relied. “God bless you,” he answered then drove off. Strange.

I was determined to find a new series on TV to watch and tuned into one called “Red Oaks.” The story revolves around a country club called of course “Red Oaks.” It takes place in the eighties and resembles “Mrs. Robinson.” Of course all the characters are filthy rich except the kids who work there parking cars, life-guarding, teaching tennis, or carrying golf bags. It is funny how all the staff sucks up to the rich membership. I would never do anything like that. I found it amusing and will continue to watch.

I spent another afternoon in the garden cleaning the other half of my pond which took a lot longer than I wanted to spend, but it was worth it. I cut back a huge bed of irises and the cattails for the first time in twelve years. I learned that one of the things drawing the pond water level is the irises. Another culprit is the cattail. I pulled a root that turned out to be two feet long and the diameter of a garden hose. If ever there was a pipe pulling water out it was that root.

Cattail Root–One Inch In diameter by two feet long
Iris Cove

The water level in the pond was down by six inches and I started the water to fill it. After half an hour the level was where it should be. It’ll be interesting to learn how the level changes now that two of the main culprits have been cut-off. At the end of the day I came in exhausted and sat at my computer staring at a screen fighting off sleep. I vowed that if I am still at this house next year that my garden will be as magnificent as it has been up until two years ago. The garden must be in my blood, just like bike riding is.

Menage a Trois

Today was one of those days where I didn’t accomplish a darn thing. I had one appointment on my calendar at 3:45 and I missed it. I went to the meeting, but it was already finished.

I had early morning shock when I took my window blind in for repair. The price for replacing the string on this unit was twenty dollars higher than the last one I had fixed in in May. Thankfully, the last repair date was written on the frame in small print. This particular blind was serviced in 2015. I guess opening and closing a blind 1825 times is enough to wear out the polyester string that makes it happen. I thought sixty bucks was expensive when I paid for the last one, but now I have to shell out $80.

I invited my house partner to ride with me, and of course she invented an agenda of her own. She is famous for visiting deli’s for her ethnic food desires. I dropped her off at not one, but two different deli’s. By the time I got home is was past lunch so I snacked and did not eat a substantial KETO lunch. Guess what? I lacked energy all afternoon. I’m learning that eating a substantial KETO breakfast is necessary to maintain my body-machinery. This morning I opted for a small sandwich using a brand new loaf of KETO bread I baked the day before. It was a good sandwich, but evidently not enough to give me the energy I needed. It was a low fat sandwich that did it.

I made up for the energy deficiency by eating a very ample KETO supper. Now, I feel better and I am no longer cold. My hands are finally warm and my body warmth is much better. I find that after losing weight I get cold easily. I guess having a thick layer of fat all around helps keep me warm.

As soon As I post this piece of useless information I will retire to the TV to watch the first Presidential Debate between Biden and Trump. I am afraid that it will bore me to pieces and I will escape to the universe of streaming tv programs non-stop for the remainder of the night. I have learned that my favorite program, Heartland, is out of episodes after thirteen seasons. I happily watched thirteen years worth of a story in less than eight months. Production of season fourteen has been slowed because of COVID-19 and I’ll not see my favorite family until 2021 as the production company rushes to catch up with new product. In the meantime, I find myself watching movies again.

I found a remake of one of my favorites called The Grand Seduction which was done in 2013. It is an English language version of a French Canadian film titled Seducing Dr. Lewis made in 2003. I have watched the original five times over the last ten years and I still love it. The two films are nearly carbon copies of each other in content, but the characters in the 2013 version are not nearly as interesting as they were in the 2003. Another difference was in color. For some reason the new version was not as rich in color as the first. I give Seducing Dr. Lewis five stars and The Grand Seduction four stars. I’ll watch the 2003 version again and again.

The theme of the story centers on a small harbor town on an island in the St. Lawrence river in Quebec province. Their livelihood was fishing but Canadian government regulated them out of business. They now subsist on a monthly check from the government. They hate it. Their mayor is seeking a new company to settle on their island so they can all work again and feel human once more. They find a company but the business requires that they have a resident doctor. They do not have a doctor, and there begins the story.

This story is serious drama but the creativity exhibited by the population is comedic and keeps things moving along. In one scene the mayor is frustrated and can’t sleep. He walks the town at night and winds up entering the home of his associate who is sleeping. The mayor enters his bedroom and plops down in bed next to him. The two men speak of the problem when the partner’s wife pops up and makes a comment that the neighbors will talk about their three-way bedroom tryst. This story is sad, funny, and also up lifting.

The Grand Seduction 2013 -* * * *
Seducing Dr. Lewis 2003 * * * * *

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