Money, Money – Brains!

I am newly in possession of a coin I’ve been looking for for many months: a silver English coin minted in 2016. So now I have both ends of my coin collection that covers one thousand years, beginning with Canute and ending with Elizabeth II. The coin was sent from England at the request of a local friend to Barnaby Wilde, who writes a mystery series. So now I have to look him up and buy an example of his writing, then post a review on Amazon. The coin, by the way, is beautiful, a bi-metallic with the usual portrait of Her Majesty on the obverse, but a gorgeous reverse: a crown with a Tudor rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek rising out of it. Take a look:


There are still eleven coins missing from the collection. It’ll take me awhile to get all of them; the Harold II, for example is rare and costly, so unless it turns up at a price someone absent-mindedly sets too low, it will probably come last. Meanwhile I’m in the market for a William and Mary or perhaps a George IV.

Looking for a story idea? Remember those spooky (and sometimes unintentionally hilarious) old movies about human brains being kept alive in big, bubbling glass jars? Well, scientists at a university report keeping pig brains alive in glass jars for up to 36 hours. Whether the pigs are conscious is unknown, and the scientists seem curiously reluctant to try to find out. They do admit that their success means that any brain, including a human one, could be kept alive with this treatment, though any attempt to place the brain in a body would very likely be unsuccessful. At least at this stage of experiment. Spooky.

Warm and sunny yesterday, light rain this morning. Grass is greening, new grown everywhere. Ahhhhhh . . . spring.

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Weather or Not

Ah, changeable Minnesota! On Sunday the temperature hit seventy warm, sunny degrees, and I put on shorts, sandals and a sleeveless top to sit out on our south-facing balcony soaking it in. There are still patches and swaths of snow on north-facing slopes or where protected by trees and houses but elsewhere the grass has a green tinge and the buds on trees are swollen. I expect a crocus at any moment – or a dandelion, I have witnessed them coming up through the snow!

Of course, today the temperature is only supposed to hit sixty-three at its best, but that’s still better than the city shut down because over a foot of snow is blowing sideways down the streets. In either case, I’m sitting at my desk, struggling to get into the next chapter of Tying the Knot.

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Let It Snow

We are still digging our way out from under a big blizzard that started late Friday, exploded on Saturday and continued most of Sunday, dumping over sixteen inches of wet snow that came down horizontally in a wind that at times blew over forty miles an hour. I went to the funeral of a good friend late Saturday morning in a light snowfall that barely coated the streets. By the time it was over, including a lovely catered lunch, there were whiteout conditions on the streets, and I crept home leaning forward over the steering wheel, barely able to see other cars on the street. Church services on Sunday were cancelled, I watched television and stitched and worked on Tying the Knot – which has a blizzard in it, so that was appropriate.  Work on TTK is starting to move along – hurrah!

The forecast says tomorrow, Wednesday, will be either lots of rain or some more snow. This is not exactly unprecedented for April in Minnesota, it often snows in April. But we did set a record for the amount of snow this past weekend. And unless it all melts by Wednesday – it’s trying to do that, but temps are hovering between twenty and forty degrees, so it’s slow going. The snow is cooling the air, which keeps the temperatures low, so I suspect Wednesday is more likely to see more snow or at best a rain and snow mix.

Perhaps we’ll see daffodils and tulips some time in June, and lilacs by the Fourth of July.

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Another Mad Hatter’s Tea

Just as a casual aside, during the Mad Hatters Tea on Saturday, I put out a sheet of paper and asked the guests to name words for hats: topper, helmet, bonnet, etc. I was amazed at how many there are. Here’s the list:

And here’s a recipe for really delicious cucumber sandwiches:

A loaf of cocktail bread
A brick of cream cheese
An 8-oz container of sour cream (or plain yogurt)
One envelope of Italian salad dressing
One tablespoon of milk
One big, fat cucumber, peeled and sliced
A jar of pickled ginger

I fancy-peel the cucumber, leaving green stripes, before slicing it.

Blend the cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressing, and milk, and spread the mix on the slices of cocktail bread (I like the rye). Top each with a slice of cucumber, and top that with a couple thin slices of ginger. The dark bread, pale mix, green and white cucumber and pink ginger makes an attractive display. And a delicious treat.

We served it with a selection of hot flavored teas, lemonade and cookies.

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Mad Hatters

The robins are back in force, singing their hearts out – and it’s snowing like this is the last chance it’ll ever get. Which is probably true, at least for this winter. After all, it’s April and even in central Minnesota it should cease and desist by April. What this probably means is that spring will be even shorter than usual, as in blizzard, then crocusdaffodilstulipslilacs for a week, then whew, it’s hot!

Easter was lovely. I served at the altar without tripping, or losing my way in the readings, or pulling a big candle down on my head while snuffing them. Dinner was excellent, but more, the company was also excellent. I love it when a gathering jells, when everyone talks and has something interesting to share. Because of all the walking and standing I did on Friday and Saturday, my knee had me nearly in tears, so Elizabeth, who has the gift of healing, laid her hands on it and in about twenty minutes the pain just slipped away – and is still mostly gone this morning.

And now I’m working on this coming Saturday when the women of the building I live in will gather for tea, cucumber sandwiches and cookies – and hats. I have a very large collection of hats to bring out and a surprising number of residents also have hats and we will dress up, and try one another’s hats on and act like sweet and delicately-bred ladies for a few hours.

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A Mix of Things

The knee aspiration went normally, not very painful. The result: no bacteria present. So it’s not an infection that is making my knee hurt. It is apparently just taking more time to heal than usual. I’m to be patient – a virtue I’m seriously lacking in.

I’m in the final stages of planning a big Easter dinner for eight, which is an excellent number. A spiral-sliced ham is the featured dish, and we’ll wind things up with cherry pie a la mode. I’m braced for a sigh when I step on the scale Monday morning, but it’ll be worth it.

I saw a robin on Sunday. He wasn’t singing his complex territorial song, but his wary cry – not the bark! Bark! Bark-bark-bark shout of danger nearby, but the in-between warble mix. He was sitting in a sunbeam on a high naked branch, his orange breast glowing. Probably just passing through, on his way to Canada, though he was alone, not with a mob of males. His appearance is another sign of early spring, along with a stronger sun, some budding on the trees, snow banks shrinking, and a “soft” feel to the air.

Yesterday I bought a toothbrush for our cat.  I didn’t know there were such things, but PetSmart has them.  And Java chewed on it when I showed it to her, a good sign.   It came with a little tube of cat toothpaste, which she licked a taste of off my finger, another good sign.  I wonder if she really will eventually allow me to brush her teeth?

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Love of Money, Part II

I was very briefly on television at the coin show on Saturday! Channel 11 came by to interview coin club members, and the producer found my display of “1,000 Years of English Money” to be photogenic. One question I was asked, “Do other collectors share your interest in medieval English coins?” And, caught unprepared, I blurted the truth, “No, and that’s a good thing, because it leaves more of them for me.” LOL!

Here’s a picture of me being interviewed.


The show was great fun, as always. The variety of money on sale at the show was mind-boggling. There was a bucket of Peace Dollars, badly worn or damaged, your choice for seventeen dollars. There was a Harold II (medieval English king) for eight thousand dollars. And the Harold was not at all the most expensive coin for sale, nor the Peace Dollars the least costly. Artisans from the Society for Creative Anachronism came to the show and sat hammering aluminum roundels into coins to demonstrate how money was made in England until around 1600.

Friday I am going to have that painful right knee “aspirated” to remove some of the fluid accumulating in it. I hope it reduces the pain and presume the result will be closely examined to see if it contains bacteria.

Speaking of the Society for Creative Anachronism, the local small publisher who brought out a new edition of Murder At the War is looking for a reader to help her turn the book into an audio version. That first novel of mine certainly has legs!

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