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In Which I Rejoin the Living
Hello, living.

I am not sick any more. It got me awfully behind on things, but I seem to be about caught up. Now I shall catch you up.

Our Thanksgiving trip was quite nice, and I have here on my desk a giant hard drive full of all the home movies ever, courtesy my sibling. Yay sibling!

While I was sick, my permanent retainer succumbed to the pressure of years of flossing. I had my dentist remove it, polish off the remaining adhesive, and recommend me some orthodontists to consult about whether it (and/or my top retainer, which has been broken for years) should be replaced or altered in some way or whether I can just have teeth like a normal person now. I am really enjoying having the back surface of my front teeth back, so I intend to be very thorough about explaining to these orthodontists, when I get around to calling them, that I do not care what my teeth look like as long as they are more or less symmetrical, I did not want braces in the first place so the effects of said braces wearing off are irrelevant, and really they should only recommend I do or wear anything if not doing it is going to hurt or make it hard for me to eat. I like eating.

I made cookies for a holiday cookie swap and swapped them for other cookies yesterday. They are mostly gone now. The swapping-party was fun.

Andres put the house lights up and we hung the wreath on the door, but we haven't got a Christmas tree yet. This feels late to me, but we will go fetch one and decorate it up this weekend and there will be plenty of days of Christmas tree. (The live tree we used to have is no more; it was scraggly and horrible anyway, because of having been painted blue before we got it, and it's hard to keep container plants alive outdoors here. Or, as Andres put it: "You murdered Sparky!" Yes. Yes I did.)

Galen has been doing fairly well learning Rally Obedience. The class proper is over, but the instructor has started doing drop-in classes to cover the Advanced and Excellent exercises. He's still having trouble with right-hand finishes, which I expected given how long it took him to learn left-hand finishes. He's having trouble with them in really interesting and consistent ways, which reveals a lot about his thought processes and learning style, but it would be nice if he would just get the hang of them already. Also, apparently he really likes backing up (this was one of the new exercises last week, although I vaguely recall working on it a little bit just as a trick a while back). I should practice that this evening just to see if he's still as enthusiastic as he was in class.

Galen also had a veterinary incident a little while ago. Google has dispensers containing a particular kind of chewing gum that is high in xylitol, an artificial sweetener with some antibiotic properties. Unfortunately, xylitol is also extremely toxic to dogs. Someone spilled some of the gum, and Galen, who loves gum, found and consumed it instantly. Three pieces of the stuff is a lethal dose for a dog his size, so Andres rushed him to the vet, and he was unhappy for the rest of the day but is fine now.

The chickens have been molting. This is an unfortunate state in which feathers fall out, new, itchy, poky pinfeathers grow in, no eggs are laid, very little food is eaten, and tempers are even crankier than usual. (I would be cranky, too, if my feathers fell out in this weather.) I think Teckla's about coming out of it, though -- somebody's been starting to eat a reasonable amount of food again, and all the feathers clogging up the bedding-scoop have white spots so they're definitely Norska's. Also she's been merely her normal level of cranky the last few days, rather than the Bitch Queen From Hell she was last week and earlier.

Cathy is sick again, poor thing. She has a well-deserved promotion and accompanying massive raise to comfort her in her extremity, but it's awfully unfair to be sick again already.

Tethys is no longer sick, which is surprising but good. I was expecting her to need to stay on the antibiotics to manage the respiratory disease, since that is what the boys needed, but one course seems to have cleared it up. Hurrah!

As of yesterday, all the presents that need to be shipped have been ordered and/or mailed. I thought I had about half the household Christmas present shopping done, but then I got an e-mail that one thing I ordered wouldn't be in until after the new year (and did I perhaps want to cancel, which was very nice of them to ask, so I said no, I'll save it for a birthday present or something, but I should come up with another little Christmas thing in the meantime) and decided to maybe add a few things here and there, so there will be more happening on that front. Also the first of the presents I ordered to come to me arrived, so I can begin wrapping now. We probably need more ribbon, I think we were low last time I used some.

Tomorrow I will begin using the Clipper public transit payment system. I think I have set it up in such a way that it will actually work, and if this is so I will e-mail the various companies involved to tell them how to do that, because their customer service departments were well-meaning but entirely unhelpful. Or perhaps I will be ignominiously ejected from the train. We'll see.

... and I think that is the entire contents of my brain at the moment.

How are you?

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I'm glad you're not sick anymore! Also, yay no more retainer!

May I ask what was difficult or confusing or complicated about the Clipper setup? I have heard this from a number of people, and yet I had no difficulty setting up 3 recurring items on my card, and have been happy as a clam using it since September. I am curious. Also, I did it entirely online and not with the machine at the station or by involving any well-meaning but clueless customer service folk. I was very very pleased that I COULD do that.

The complexity in my case was introduced by using the thing we have at work that lets us use pre-tax money deducted from our paychecks for transit services. The actual Clipper part was relatively straightforward, but the interface between Clipper and the pre-tax people was complex.

Seems to have worked, though, so yay.

I'm stoned on painkillers, still a bit ouchy anyway, tired, but otherwise pretty good.

Pesky painkillers, leaving untidy bits of ouch around.

I did not want braces in the first place so the effects of said braces wearing off are irrelevant, and really they should only recommend I do or wear anything if not doing it is going to hurt or make it hard for me to eat.

That was pretty much my attitude towards it. I never wanted braces, my parents made me do it. And they never told me I would have to wear a retainer basically FOREVER afterward. I gave up after maybe 4 months. And my teeth started to move back and the retainer didn't fit anymore and my parents took me back to the orthodontist who told me they could make me a new retainer but they wouldn't bother if I wasn't going to wear it. And I said I wouldn't and that was the end of that. 15 years later I have noticeably crooked teeth and NOTHING BAD HAS HAPPENED!! My only regret is that my parents wasted all that money in the first place.

I was good about wearing my retainer for years. It still fits, so I don't think my teeth have moved much if at all, but given that the retainer's been broken for most of those years it may not have been doing what it was supposed to.

The cookie swap was excellent fun. What were the pink sprinkled cookies? Those were delightful.

Those were the peppermint cookies. Remind me, and I will get you the recipe when I'm home.

Ping! I looked in Joy of Cooking but didn't see the peppermint ones in there. Are you home?

Right, here you go. I got this one online somewhere but I've adapted it over the years.

Peppermint Cookies

1 c. sugar (plus extra for rolling)
3/4 c. butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
3/4 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix flour and salt in a small bowl.

Mix butter, eggs, and sugar together in a separate, larger bowl. Add vanilla and peppermint extracts.

Add flour mixture in 3 parts to sugar mixture until well mixed.

Form dough into small balls, about an inch or so wide. Roll the balls of dough in sugar and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake
for 8 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute, then roll them in sugar once more before placing them on a sheet of wax paper to cool.

(I keep trying different things for decorating -- this year I just put some red decor sugar in with the rolling sugar. The original recipe called for only 1 tsp of peppermint extract and rolling the cookies in crushed peppermint candies instead of just sugar. It looks kind of neat, but I don't really like the combined texture.)

Right, and did you make those tasty dark brown maybe-molasses cookies? Those were tasty, and I was wanting to know what they were and how to make them.

I was lucky to never have braces. My teeth may not be *perfectly* straight, but good enough. Fun fact: I still have my upper baby canines. The adult canines are up in my jaw. Sideways. They press down on my upper incisors, so I have a bit of an overbite.

I love xylitol, but I don't love poor dogs getting into it. :(

I feel for you on the chickeny pinfeathers. We always seem to have one or more parrots molting at any given time.

Boo sickness. :(

All of our shopping is done, though we still need to ship out a few things. WHEE.

My wisdom teeth were coming in sideways, so they had to go.

"the first of the presents I ordered to come to me"

...You can just order them around? Like minions?

Re: "the first of the presents I ordered to come to me"


Isn't modern technology great?

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