This week has been consumed by studying (I’m pretty sure that I aced the final exam) and the arrival of my new laptop. I’ve been limping along for a long time on old computers that can’t quite handle the new technology, at least not well. My husband loves to gather up old computers and reassemble the working parts together to make a new computer. He bought the laptop I previously used for $60. It was a good deal, but it was just about to kick the bucket. Now I have a CD/DVD player that works and a battery that charges and a processor and memory that can handle more than one thing at a time. I can use iTunes again. The only thing left to do other than finish transferring my files (in progress) is to hook up the wireless to our router.

It finally turned cold here and the Back Forty is done except for broccoli, kale, parsley, and various lettuces and mustard greens.

It has been funny watching the competition for Top Cat play out. The social hierarchy is different for the various cats. Jazz is the tiniest and the oldest. Lucy is the biggest and the youngest. Theo is the newest and next to the youngest and next to the heaviest. Poor Guido is just confused.

Jazz and Theo’s new pecking order:
1. Jazz
2. Theo
3. Guido
4. Lucy

Guido and Lucy’s new pecking order:
1. Theo
2. Guido
3. Lucy
4. Jazz

I’ve been exceptionally lazy and a bit depressed about my continuing problems with pain. Last night I managed to get it together enough to do some cleaning and some laundry, make a soup that is kind of like clam and corn chowder, but low-fat, fire up the woodstove, and read some good books instead of watching Hulu or farting around on Facebook all night. I finished A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman, and began Ordinary Magic, Everyday Life as Spiritual Path, a collection of essays and excerpts from some of my favorite authors such as Thich Nhat Hahn, Natalie Goldberg, and Frederick Franck. I hope that this will give my spirit a positive boost and improve my perspective, which can only be described as kind of blah. I don’t really feel much of anything.

I do feel some irritation toward people who have totally equated Christmas with shopping. Maybe I’m more sensitive to it this year. It’s hard for me to keep my smart-ass mouth shut. For example, a woman from my childhood on Facebook is outraged because a Walmart near her has not decorated for Christmas and is not playing Christmas music. Doesn’t sound true to me, but whatever. She is a Sarah Palin fan, if that explains anything. I want to say – Miss ******, what does Walmart have to do with Christ’s birth? Isn’t it actually LESS offensive if they are not tying in with Christmas? But the paranoia of the folks who have been convinced by the right wing that the libs are trying to take Christ out of Christmas is deep-seated now. They don’t trust anyone else, so I try to stay out of it, other than voicing my opinion here. But it is hard, and sometimes I don’t succeed.

I am a little excited about some woodcut ideas that I have, and I hauled my woodcut and printing supplies from the studio in the back (which I think will be converted over to storage) to the second bedroom where I have set up a workspace. It has to do with family history and autobiography in visual terms. I want to make some Christmas cards too.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a cold rain again (we are weary of it here, but our drought seems to have been broken) and I plan to get together with a good old friend that I haven’t talked to in years. So I do have a bright spot on the horizon to look forward to.