The Madwoman's Journal
Copyright 1998 New Moon
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  Prev 18 August 98

  I like rhymes, guess that's why Dr. Seuss is one of my all time favorites. Last night I read Bartholomew and the Oobleck again. I had got to thinking about it because of the heavy fog we had the other morning, and the day-long rain that it turned into. I remembered the King of Didd, who growled all spring when the rain came down, and all autumn when the fog came down, then summoned the Royal Magicians and said, "I wish to have you make something fall from my skies that no other kingdom has ever had before." For a moment they stand, thinking, blinking their creaky eyes, then they speak: "Oobleck." What's that? "Won't look like rain. Won't look like snow. Won't look like fog. That's all we know. We just can't tell you any more. We've never made oobleck before." Of course, it turns out to be a disaster, and Bartholomew has to save the kingdom, but it was a really cool idea.

Nowadays, when I get to feeling down, I sometimes make a batch of Oobleck. It's easy-- and so versatile! You can serve it as pudding, pie, or use it to frost cakes, cupcakes, or cookies, your choice. Kids love it because it looks so gross. Here's the recipe: Buy a box of instant Key Lime pie filling. Follow the directions, adding the sugar and the water, but DO NOT add the eggs. Cook as directed. Use as imagination dictates. And don't worry, whatever you do, it won't turn out to be a disaster.

(If you want to make it from scratch, it's cup lime juice, cup sugar, 6 Tablespoons cornstarch, 2 cups cold water. Mix the cornstarch and sugar together, then add the juice and water. Stir over medium high heat until the mixture boils. (It's boiling when you can see it "roil" when you stop stirring for a moment.) And, for the record, you can use any kind of juice: lemon, grapefruit, raspberry, cranberry, orange-- whatever. If you put the grapefruit filling in a crust of crushed pretzels, you've got a Salty Dog Pie.)

The Ultimate Dr. Seuss Page

So. Today I had some personal vindication, as well as a measure of satisfaction. Last Thursday I took the library's Internet computer in to have diagnostics run on it's hardware because I couldn't get the Internet up and running-- in fact, things were so balled up I thought the hard drive or the mother board must be busted. On Friday they returned the computer with a clean bill of hardware health, and I felt like a fool. So, yesterday, Monday, I spent three hours trying to reload Windows system files from our tape backup, and then from floppies, and it just wasn't working, and everything I did made the problems worse. I thought I was losing my mind-- and I felt worse than a fool, I felt stupid. Finally, though, there was nothing to do but admit total defeat and ask for permission to take it in and have the "professionals" reload the system software. Permission granted, I packed up the computer and all the software CD's and floppies, and took it in. Today, when I picked it up, they-- the "professionals"-- told me that they had found corrupted files on the floppies, and that it was no wonder I couldn't do a restore! It wasn't me! I am not crazy! Or stupid! Thank you! (And thanks to whatever Powers there be for this day of grace. I appreciate it.)

And that's how it came about that I spent a quiet, relaxing afternoon reloading browsers, and other doodly, easy to load software packages, onto a nice, clean system, with nobody bugging me, and getting paid to boot. And, to make me feel even better, while I was doing this, a woman came into the library looking for books to help her find out how to get her CD drive back after her son crashed her system. As soon as I heard her problem, I knew exactly what she needed to know because I had gone through a week of hell last winter when my hard drive crashed and the system restore wouldn't, and I "lost" my CD drive. I told her exactly what the fix was, got her the book on upgrading and troubleshooting, and I felt brilliant-- and useful, too. It feels good to be able to help out a fellow sufferer.

And now I think I'll go finish reading the Charles de Lint Someplace to be Flying. It's pretty good-- about animal people, folk who are really crows, magpies, foxes, et cetera, and some who are part human and part animal. You'd have to read it. De Lint's forte is mixing Native American and European folklore with a kind of modern urban "reality." The result is a peculiarly believable fantasy. You get to thinking that if you just look a little harder, you'll be able to actually see the magic all around you. And, who knows? Maybe you will.


Addenda: Rhymes

  Prophesying by Sneezes: Sneeze on Monday, you sneeze for danger; sneeze on Tuesday, you kiss a stranger; sneeze on Wednesday, you sneeze for a letter; sneeze on Thursday, for something better; sneeze on Friday, you sneeze for sorrow, sneeze on Saturday, see your sweetheart tomorrow; sneeze on Sunday, your safety seek, the Devil will have you the whole of the week.

Birth days: Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace, Wednesday's child is full of woe, Thursday's child has far to go, Friday's child is loving and giving, Saturday's child has to work for his living, but the child that's born on the Sabbath day is fair, and wise, and good, and gay.

Days for marrying: Monday for wealth, Tuesday for health, Wednesday the best day of all; Thursday for crosses, Friday for losses, Saturday no luck at all.

Prophesying by the Crows: One for sorrow, two for mirth, three for a wedding, four for a birth, five for riches, six for a thief, seven a journey, eight for a grief, nine is a secret, ten is for tears, eleven's a love, twelve joy appears.

As the poets have mournfully sung
Death takes the innocent young,
The rolling-in-money
The screamingly-funny
And those who are very well hung.
-- W. H. Auden


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