My New Year’s Resolutions

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Boxing Day Recipe: Lamb Stuffed Cabbage Rolls In Tomato Sauce

[This entry is cross posted at]

Why can’t I simultaneously heat the interior of my car and defrost the windshield? Why is this an either-or proposition? Yes, I can get heat through the floor vents while defrosting but the steering wheel is freezing and leeching whatever warmth was left in my numb fingers so immediacy is required up top instead of down below and no promises of eventual relief from rising heat will mollify my mystification at the inertness of the wide open and ready dash vents. I drive a Hyundai. It’s not the most luxurious vehicle ever devised but if there’s one thing they nailed, I mean engineered beyond my dreams and avarice, it’s the power of the heater. I can go from teeth-clattering misery as I get in the driver’s seat to wishing I had taken off my jacket or sweater in a matter of minute, from sitting in an icy pond to standing under a launching space shuttle. It’s a quick quickener.

The Koreans outfitted my car with four fan speeds. That tells me that there’s a little wiggle room. I could set the heat at fan speed two or three to warm me and my fellow travelers and there should theoretically still be enough juice in the motor to push warmed air through the vents at the base of the windshield where carpool number cards live. Naturally, I’d prefer to have both the defrost and heater roaring at speed four, but I would settle for as low as two if that’s what it takes to see both in action simultaneously. Not speed one though. I’m not a pushover.

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Some Housekeeping

I just realized that I haven’t posted any links to the stuff I’ve written over at Splice Today. It’s a cool eclectic site that you’ll likely get a kick out of if you have a moment or so. Check them out. Nice people.

A Quick Note on the Rossetti POETS Day Post

I mentioned the parallel between the sisters Laura and Lizzie in “The Goblin Market” and the sisters Lilian and Lilias in “An Apple Gathering” in my earlier post. I didn’t make clear my beliefs on why Rossetti didn’t use the names of the first set of sisters twice rather than give the second original names meant to call the first to mind.

This is probably something apparent to many, but I had an “Oh… of course.” moment when thinking about it so I figure it deserves mention if for no other reason to show that what you may consider obvious I may consider cryptic and secreted away. We know that in “The Goblin Market” it’s Laura that gives in to temptation and that Lizzie resists in the face (literally) of an onslaught of enticement. We know who was strong and who was weak. That is not the case with Lilian and Lilias. They are meant to be counterparts to the first but not individually. One of the two has sinned, but we don’t know which. We assume the heroine of “An Apple Gathering” knows which of the two needed forgiveness, but to the reader, so complete was the power of redemption that, Lilian is indistinguishable Lilias and vice versa. We’re not supposed to be able to tell the difference.

I thought that was a deft little move on Chrissie’s part.  

Amble On

Today I imagined my neighborhood differently. It was during our early evening walk where my wife and I discuss the lighter parts of the day: the children’s preoccupations of the moment, oddities we saw or heard about, a bit of gossip, or what we’ve been reading or watching. Sometimes our conversations verge on free association riffing off each other as we stroll. Sometimes we walk in quiet. My mind wanders when we do that.

In my head the streets are filled with other people walking, more than the usual dog walkers and joggers by a large margin. These new people, make believe neighbors all, were social; waving to each other and asking about this or wishing well about that. The houses were still one story two- or three-bedroom constructs, but they were also shops. One was a florist, another a bookstore. There was a grocer and a wine shop(pe), and aside from the architecture the streets looked every bit as if they belonged in a British country village where tranquility threatens to be shattered by first one murder and then another. Unfortunately, the nosy vicar or widowed librarian figures out who the murderer is, but only after the cad strikes his third and final victim (the police detective being otherwise indisposed at the Covington Estate, investigating the connections between a land developer and the murdered local dowager’s playboy nephew who just yesterday returned from the south of France only to find his aunt gasping her last almond-scented breath.)

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On the Cusp of Wisdom

[This entry is cross posted at]

Wisdom is acquired. It is something that takes time to realize. I’m on the cusp. I ordered COEVALS CLUB Men’s Western Cowboy Long Sleave Pearl Snap Casual Plaid Work Shirt (Black & Gray #9, L) on October 14th. The web site said that I should expect the item on the 30th.

That’s a bit more of a wait than I’m used to (I’m a Prime member, natch) but the exercise of patience is a stepping-stone along the path. To test me further I was taunted by an email from Amazon informing me that my arrival date (because that’s what it is, really) had been revised and to expect my package on the 16th. Here I sit on the 17th lamenting the latest missive. Arrival has been changed once again, this time to the 18th by 10pm. Waiting and acceptance of disappointment deliver bitter lessons. Considerate of the amassed wisdom of Tantalus I sit.

The stage is otherwise set. I have a beard and some comfortably-fitting worn jeans. My work boots have visible scuffs (you have to look kinda close) and I live near a creek. My hair is not particularly long or stylishly unkempt but I don’t fuss with it much so it has a natural look even if it’s not the natural look and I grew up in Alabama so I can convincingly affect a southern accent. All I’m lacking is a casual plaid work shirt and I can project the same discerningly non-judgmental, soul-searching savoir faire as our modern-day Gandalf: Kris Kristofferson. But in a non-threatening way like that guy in that commercial.

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COVID Throwback

My sister-in law and her husband went to Mexico and got COVID. My mother in-law didn’t – travel to Mexico that is. She did get COVID though through a seemingly unrelated English as a first language vector. All three have managed to have flu like symptoms. That happened to my immediate family a few months ago and, with the exception, of one throw up on the part of my youngest and a few days of sniffles and congestion on the part of my wife, you’d hardly have known we had it at all. Even the vomit could be chalked up the regular rhythms of a nine-year old’s digestive system.

The previous time my family was plague my wife lost her sense of smell for a few days and felt fluey. My kids tested positive and loved it. An infected house doesn’t have to go to school and their symptom free battle with the virus meant movies, video, games, walks by the creek, and even a book or two. I remained, at least for the time, immune throughout our ten days sequester. I lived amongst them, slept in bed with one of them, and finished their leftovers. I couldn’t catch an outbreak.

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A Few Thoughts About Vaping Restrictions

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that when you make something illegal to sell you create a black market. Some things should be illegal, but any laws passed should be considered carefully with the realization that enforcement may require force. Eric Garner’s confrontation with police was about selling untaxed cigarettes.

This morning I came across this Slate article by Jacob Grier from last week: “Why Banning Juul Won’t Save Lives.” I’ll not go too far into his arguments, ones I agree with, about the foolhardiness of treating all bads as if they are equally bad. I don’t think vaping is a wise health decision but it is not as harmful as cigarette smoking and pretending it is and overregulating the vaping industry removes a less dangerous vehicle for cessation. I don’t always say this about articles from Slate, but it’s a good read and worth your time.

What strikes me is the bevy of restrictions already in place on vaping and the supposed reasoning behind it. Most states have bans on where vaping is allowed and by whom and while I’ll agree that keeping these products out of the hands the dangers to bystanders appear to be very small, ranging from ”hide the children” to inconclusive to unquantified claim that “you can find the same pollutants from vaping that you will find from everyday activities like cooking or burning a candle.”

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This is a person that gets paid to talk about politics and has no idea that the Supreme Court can reverse itself.