Archive for January, 2010

Sushi Friday II

January 30, 2010

I had intended to do a Sushi Friday review about once a month. Last week I realized I hadn’t written one since October. Oh, well. There are intervening circumstances: starting with Buy Nothing Day, the day after Thanksgiving. Christmas and New Years both fell on Friday, and I had more important things to eat, like coulibiac on Christmas and Hoppin’ John on Jan. 1. Also my blog agenda was full of other stuff. Here at last is the review of the second restaurant.

Chikurin Restaurant

2815 Main Street, Glastonbury, CT 06033


The place must be doing something right as it’s celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. I’ve visited many times and was recently surprised by the renovations. Chikurin has added tatami seating with a well for westerners’ legs and hibachi, which gets raves from other customers. Have never been there when the hibachi is in operation. I’m not including a link because the place doesn’t seem to have its own web site.

What I like: The sushi bar is small but situated away from the main entrance and curved so that one can have a glimpse of the door.

The sashimi presentation is gorgeous, done with the right flourishes of shiso and daikon.

The salmon had that extra fresh flavor of the sea and a fabulous buttery texture.

The flavorful miso soup contained generous amounts of seaweed and tofu.

Rice came in an equally generous portion with a minor downside because it bore the imprint of the bottom of the kitchen storage container.

The sushi chefs, though young, offer traditional hospitality.

Soft western rock with a tinge of country remains very much in the background.

The $9 price can’t be beat for the quality.

The quantity of food is just right.

The stand-alone location with its own parking lot has easy access to the highway.

What I don’t like: Only three types of fish come with the sashimi luncheon: two pieces each of salmon and tuna and three pieces of the ubiquitous escolar.

The tuna lacked the traditional bite.

The wait staff didn’t seem to know who was supposed to serve the patrons at the sushi bar. A young man took my drink order then disappeared. The owner had to find another server to bring my soup, salad and water long after the chef had finished the sashimi platter.

The salad contained less of all the usual ingredients: a single wan slice of tomato that had probably never experienced real sunlight. A half slice of cucumber with peel and seeds removed was lurking among the smallish pieces of iceberg. Later I found one tiny curlicue of carrot that I would have missed if I hadn’t been digging around in the lettuce.

Overall score: B

Girls’ Night Out

January 29, 2010

Quick update: Just found out that Public Market catered the installation on Tuesday. Props to John Passacantando and his crew!

And RIP, J.D. Salinger. My mom escaped from New York before you did but otherwise you served as a model for her on how to be a recluse. You succeeded far better than she.

Now for the main event. It was all girls and moms and grandmoms all the time last night at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, and Deb scored another hit. She introduced the annual event – now in its fifth year – by saying, “I see moms running here and there, dropping off their daughters to run and pick up another child. They never have time to stop. So here it is. This is YOUR night. Laugh together, talk to each other, have fun together.”

The evening had several themes – health, beauty and fitness. The overall aim is to build self-esteem in girls in grades five through eight, and to give the caretakers a much-needed break from the chauffeur-chef-coach-teacher-wife treadmill and be a mom or mentor. Wish there were more programs like this. And that we could do this more often, but there’s only one Deb and only so many volunteer hours in the day. We think 350 people attended, but there may have been lots more.

The students and their moms chose from sessions in hair and nail care, kick boxing, scrapbooking, making lip balm, working with clay, making trail mix, learning to read food labels, yoga, etc. etc. Deb outdid herself teaching step aerobics and country line dancing. She couldn’t make her knees bend afterward. I hope she stopped early enough to receive a chair massage. They were being offered throughout the evening.

There are always a couple of sessions that fascinate me, but I’ve never had a chance to observe. One is “Can We Talk?” on improving communication skills. This year two new ones appeared. One called Miss Manners, offered by another sister-in-law, Sharon Riley. I could feel my mother smiling down. Most dismaying was “No Name Calling Week.” There were signs up all over the school about bullying and how to avoid it. I know it’s always been a problem, but apparently now it’s reached epidemic levels. So sad that youngsters who are facing myriad challenges have to deal with this sort of nastiness and that it’s become worse than the stuff I faced.

Kudos to the Women and Girls Fund of the Middlesex County Community Foundation for supporting this great effort.

My Reiki session was overbooked, I think because the moms saw “relaxation technique.” I started the half-hour session at 7:15 and could have filled the rest of the time. I finally stopped at 8:10. Next year I’ll bring another Reiki therapist and use a sign up sheet. Otherwise everyone seemed to think that it went well. I’ve never experienced such strong residuals – I stayed warm for three  hours afterward and pretty much had to force myself to have something to eat. I could have survived on the universal energy.

As a bonus for the evening and another “blast from the past,” (see yesterday’s post) I reconnected with Geoff Colegrove, the executive director of the regional planning agency. I worked alongside Geoff years ago when his office rented space to the Connecticut Inland Wetlands Project where I was office manager/editor. Geoff had a reputation that endures for “big picture” work, making everyone’s lives so much easier. Nice to know he’s still on the job.


January 28, 2010

Now I have to call him “Commander, Commander.” Larry is officially the commander of two veterans’ organizations: the Veterans of the Vietnam War and the Council of Veterans, which is the umbrella organization for all the groups.

He’s been in charge of the Vietnam veterans for a couple of months, and last night the Council held its installation. He and the other officers received their oath of office from William Pomfret, age 93. Bill is just as sharp and as steady on his feet as he has ever been and conducted the proceedings with dignity and panache. About 60 people, mostly local veterans but a few from area towns, attended, accompanied by wives and other family members.

In relinquishing the reins, Commander Morty Pear grew emotional when he talked about how nervous he was when he assumed the post last year and how amazed he was at the outpouring of support from all the members. Larry, in turn, said that he was honored to assume the commander’s post and would make every effort to continue the successes achieved by Morty and other past commanders.

A highlight of the evening was the award the Council gave to Andrew Avalone. He is an Eagle Scout who singlehandedly raised money for an elegant gazebo that has been erected on the South Green to honor the veterans. Andrew and his proud parents were in attendance. His mom, Cathy, who is a dear friend of mine from years ago, performed double duty as she photographed the event for the Middletown Press. Another community service award went to Middlesex Health Care Center for its support of veterans. In another of the continuing small-world events, one of the women from the center was a student of Larry’s sister and played softball with her, too.

After the meeting concluded, Larry issued his first order, “Let’s eat!” The food received uniform raves and could have fed twice number of guests. We munched away on large platters of chicken, sausage and peppers, pasta penne, eggplant Parmesan, salad, bread, and a huge cake.

I was also pleased to see Phil Cacciola, who performed duties as sergeant-at-arms for the Council. He has been active in local affairs for years and we’ve known each other almost that long, though neither of us could remember how we first met. I had not seen him recently, so it was great to reconnect.

The Council of Veterans organizes the Memorial Day parade and local participation in the Veterans Day parade in Hartford. It consists of three representatives from each veterans group.

For the unbiased view check out the Middletown Eye.

Let It Blow, Let It Blow, Let It Blow

January 27, 2010

Well, we survived yesterday, though there were a couple of times when I thought I’d be saying, “Isis, I don’t think we’re in Connecticut any more!” The prediction was for a blustery overnight from Sunday to Monday with bad weather for the early morning and clearing later. Things were still fairly quiet at 8 a.m., just sprinkles of rain and a few wind gusts. Then the pace began to change.  By about 10 a.m. when I got up to pour cup of coffee No. 2, the rain was coming down sideways and covering the windows so that I wasn’t sure how much the trees were swaying. Reminders from the last storm were still in full view in the neighbors’ swimming pool, so I really didn’t want to gaze at the trees too much.

It would have been a great day to stay in, but I had decided to go to the hospital to do Reiki on Monday because of a commitment on Tuesday. I told Larry that I should probably think about taking a boat instead of a car. As I was getting ready, I realized that an umbrella would not survive and that I shouldn’t carry it unless I wanted to do a Mary Poppins number over the hospital parking lot. So I hauled out my long raincoat with the hood. As long as I fastened it from top to bottom I would be spared any involuntary elevations, or at least I hoped so. The one blessing was that the temp was 55 degrees so there was no danger of freezing.

I struggled out to the car with two bundles wrapped in plastic, one containing my volunteer jacket and the back issues of Newsweek that I donate; the other containing my purse and a package that needed to go in the mail. The wind was supposed to be from the southeast, but the rain seemed to be blowing right at me no matter which way I faced.

The trip to the hospital went off without incident. Of course it’s only about a two-minute drive. Once out of the car, however, I had to lean into the wind to make it to the door. Having reached the lobby, I thought all would be well. The building as far as I knew had solid construction and certainly they’d do everything to keep the patients safe.

In fact all was well until I hopped on the elevator and could hear the wind howling in the shaft. I arrived safely at the fifth floor and took the stairs for the rest of my visit. Started my rounds on the seventh floor, and as I began treating the first patient I could hear the windows in her room rattling and the wind howling, not exactly the most relaxing sound and it nearly drowned out the music.

After I finished I found the unit secretary patrolling the halls – asked him what he was doing. He said the roof leaks during bad storms and he was checking the corridors and the patient rooms to see if water had started coming in. Oh, great! Then I took the stairs down to five again and discovered that the engineering crew had towels all over the floor and had wedged pieces of a sheet around the window frame. Could hear the wind whistling through that one, too. Back up on seven, someone said that the top floor was fine, but the brand-new (less than a year old) emergency room was under water. How could they?! That’s got to be the place with the maximum amount of electrical equipment that absolutely could not be allowed to short out.

As I walked back down to the lobby from the seventh floor I discovered that engineering had missed a few floods – on floors four, three and two to be exact. I think the only reason first floor avoided the deluge was because of some big compressor or other that blocks the worst of rain and wind. Either that or the water just hadn’t dripped down yet.

Larry’s uncle, who used to work at the place, said that the entire south side of the building which was renovated or constructed about twelve years ago is plagued with leaks. So much for state-of-the-art.

Here at home, our basement got some water, but I’m pleased to report it was nothing that didn’t disappear within a couple of hours. And all trees are still vertical. Plus, the guy that took our tree down last winter (“Crazy Day,” January 23, 2009) came today and removed the pieces of the last disaster. Kind of depressing to see the swimming pool all bent and broken. I just hope the guy doesn’t think he’ll be making an annual visit along this part of our street.

Thunderstorms were the only part of the forecast that didn’t materialize. All I can say is thank God we had rain instead of snow.

Read To Succeed Blog

January 26, 2010

A few short posts this week because Larry and I have an active social schedule that will carry us through to Thursday and maybe Friday. Details to follow.

Back in November I spoke to the students at Read to Succeed. (See “Profiles in Courage,” November 9, 2009). I am pleased to announce that the program now has a web site with the students’ work. It felt great to be the first person to follow the site. Their passion and drive shine through these essays and poems. I wish them great success. Seeing some of these pieces for the first time, and revisiting others, brought home once again how brave the writers are for acknowledging a shortcoming and having the stamina to overcome it. Attending school under ordinary circumstances is a challenge. Add family responsibilities full- or part-time jobs, and I cannot fathom the level commitment needed to overcome a years-old inability to decipher words on a page.

The truly magnificent part of this first set of posts is how the students acknowledge their teachers’ dedication. These folks, and the volunteers who help them, not only provide lessons in reading and writing, they also offer an emotional boost of a kind that’s almost impossible to find after one leaves kindergarten, or maybe first grade. They are part cheerleader, and part coach with the successful students providing emotional support.

I eagerly await the next installments and wish everlasting success to all the students in the program.

Quick hit: I’m glad the Connecticut state police have finally recognized the “grandson scheme” six months after I wrote about it. (See “Spread the Word!” July 16, 2009) Better late than never?

Annabelle and Other Friday Follies

January 23, 2010

First a quick update. I’m going to have more on Tribune troubles in a week or so, but I had to link to this article from Baltimore Magazine. The Sun article had a mere ten words in the sub-head, and two had typos. That’s beyond pathetic. While we’re on the subject of competition for the Olympics of errors, Trend-Micro put the following on its web site: “Auto start applications are a huge waist of your system’s resources. First of all they make you PC take longer to launch as your operating system has to wait for each application to load.” I hope the excuse is that the writer’s native language isn’t English, but I have a suspicion that the culprit is relying on “spel-Czech.” Credibility batting zero for both entries.

Now on to Annabelle. I have taken to listening to classical music while I write during the day. It cuts out the barking dog and various other noise intrusions. The stream comes over RealPlayer, which has a typical web display – spots for file, edit, view, with places to store a library, burn CDs, and so forth.

The screen is mostly covered with my work, but when I change files or open a new internet window, I’ve noticed the main part of the screen. It started with Annabelle the Sheep. She danced back and forth on her little stick legs, not in time to the music as far as I could tell. (Found out later that it is supposed to be in time to the music. I suspect she’s not trained in the classical genre.) I found the tab at the bottom of the page that allowed me to sub in another graphic but they were all dizzy-making – “cosmic belt” and “nebula,” which both change color in a rather sickening way, three banks of a fire that looks more fake than the TV log, or “audio analyzer” with bars jumping in time to the music. It was back to Annabelle as “none of the above” was not an option.

It took me months to realize that one could change her appearance and even more time to notice that she comes with set changes – a microphone, snow, the moon at night, birds, a butterfly, clouds, a gopher on a spring, a space ship with little LEDs and two little friends. Today I learned their names are Monica and Casilda, but I think “dooyoo” made up that part.

A couple of days ago I accidently hit the screen and Annabelle suddenly acquired a top hat, then a red baseball hat, then a cowboy hat. A click elsewhere and she had a peace symbol tattooed on her flank. Kind of painful for a peace symbol, isn’t it? So far I’ve given her a pink bow, then pink wool, then a pink feather (I think) and a gold earring, sunglasses, and boots. Then I made her blink her rather large eyes,

At least she’s an improvement on Clippie and can be closed or covered up at any time. However I find I “waist” far too much time so she gets minimized next to the start menu as soon as she launches from now on.

Burt’s Bees

January 22, 2010

Winter skin has been a problem for as long as I can remember with chapped lips, cracked and dry hands and feet – not to mention the rest of my anatomy, which threatens to flake off and blow away unless I use extreme measures. This year and last have been made worse by the constant hand washing when I do Reiki at the hospital. We have to wash before and after each patient, and I’ve been even more diligent this year because I couldn’t get a seasonal flu shot. If I saw four patients, that was eight times subjecting myself to soap and water in the space of about three hours.

The problem is the soap that kills germs also destroys my skin. I tried Purell, with the dispensers inside and outside each patient’s room and in strategic locations all over the hospital. Not sure if it’s the perfumes or the dyes but the first time I used it a couple of years ago my hands swelled and itched. I was too distracted at the time to realize what was happening. Now limit my use to once or twice a hospital visit. I still find the smell appalling, not something I want on my hands when I put them near the faces of the patients. After I’m done for the day I carry the odor with me unless I washed and washed and again washed at home with various soaps and whatnot. Taking a long shower and washing my hair supplies about the right amount of cleansing to eradicate the smell.

Also  my finger nails have stopped growing, and what little is left is flaking, and I have cracks at the edges that bleed and snag on the covers when I’m asleep, which no doubt contributes to my insomnia. There is only one source for hand lotion that I could find at the hospital and of course it only stayed on my hands till the next scrub up.

The beauty trick of putting lip gloss (from a tub, not a tube) on the edges of my fingers helped some except that I obviously couldn’t use it at the hospital or at the computer or when handling any paper. So I’d wait till I was ready to go to sleep and then slather it on. I ran out of the store brand and happened to be in my local health food store and picked up a tub of Burt’s Bees. What a difference!

Burt and his bees have been around for quite some time, and I had seen those little round tubs of lip balm with the picture of the scary looking guy for years. When I picked up the tub a couple of weeks ago I was startled to learn that operations had moved from Maine to North Carolina. The web site doesn’t really explain why, but dissention in the ranks emanates from other sources. Burt Shavitz, whose picture appears on all the products, no longer owns the company. In fact, Clorox does. And the hair on the CEO is just as scary as Burt’s. Yipe! It was clear that Burt was after simple living, while Roxanne Quimby was after profits.

So even if Major Corp now owns the bees and their products, I’m happy to report that my nails look progressively better each day – no more scaring the patients. Even better, the cuts are healing and don’t hurt any more. So despite the corporate ownership and sequence of bad puns – business is humming, what’s the buzz? a hive of activity, etc. etc. I’ll be trying out more Burt’s products.

My New Atlas

January 21, 2010

First, a quick RIP to Robert B. Parker. I was never a fan, but my mother LOVED “Spenser: For Hire” and the books that spawned the television show. She watched the show because of Avery Brooks who played Hawk. My ladylike, genteel mother adored the ex-mob enforcer with the gold earring and black glasses who beat the crap out of people without breaking a sweat. She also liked “Kojak,” so it must have been something about those bald heads.

As for the main topic, my featured Christmas present this year was the Atlas of the World by Oxford. It is a thing of beauty with glossy pages crammed with information and stunning photographs, including satellite shots of the earth from space. The gazetteer alone is worth the price, with each country’s flag and thumbnail map displayed alongside relevant information about population, geology, economics, politics, etc.

This big, gorgeous book takes up so much space I have to clear my desk of everything else (not a bad thing). But I really do need to buy a stand so I can return the antique foot stool to the living room. But there’s hardly room in the office for a book stand.

It is so much more satisfying than computer generated maps, which seem to lack perspective no matter how far out one zooms and contain hapazard information: I’ve heard of the Gildersleeve section of Portland, Connecticut (last I knew much attenuated descedants of the settlers still lived in the area), but on a couple of maps it looks like a separate town. Ditto Goodrich Heights in Cromwell. At this point that section should be called TCP River Highlands. in honor of the pro golf course and multimillion dollar condos that have just about consumed the Christmas tree farm along the main road.

The biggest culprits are computerized map directions.  They all need help. A couple of years ago Larry and I decided we wanted a lobster bake for New Year’s, so we used MapQuest to go to Bud’s. We drove and drove, and when we finally arrived, I realized that the map directions had taken us miles out of our way. The young woman who waited on us said, “Oh, yeah, those directions suck!” The detour seemed to be an effort to avoid a railroad underpass, which trucks couldn’t clear. Otherwise it made no sense to go west some eight or ten miles and then loop back east.

Thank God GPS has negated most online maps. It’s not perfect, but it’s sure an improvement.

Now that I have this big gorgeous atlas with perspectives from space and with scales where one inch equals almost 790 miles down to (up to?) one inch equaling sixteen miles. The earthquake in Haiti got me thinking about the static nature of the printed atlas. Even though the book is just a year old, it’s already outdated with the population decimated and many physical features changed beyond recognition. New satellite shots can get tucked into the pages to update it but there will still be a sad testament in updated population figures with the untold lives lost and people, especially children, who move or are adopted away. Of course the same thing has happened many times over the years, with the fall of the Soviet Union, the Balkans division and redivision. Goodness knows how long Iraq will look like it does, let alone other parts of the Middle East. I don’t think it will justify buying another atlas, but you never know …

One big, unforgivable complaint nearly ruined my thrill over this glorious book. My hometown of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, is nowhere to be found in the 448 pages. Neighboring Clinton appears, but there is mostly a big gap between New London and New Haven. The authors explain, “Settlement symbols and type styles vary according to the scale of each map and indicate the importance of towns on the map rather than specific populations figures.” Ha! Fort Saybrook was the site of the original colony in 1635, the original home of Yale College, and the burial place of Lady Fenwick, originally declared the first white woman to die on Connecticut soil but in revisionist thinking the first one with a monument that survives to this day. What’s Clinton’s claim to fame? A nearly defunct Chesebrough Pond factory (HQ is in Greenwich), downscale marinas and an outlet mall that brings in busloads from various cities in the Northeast. I’m lodging a complaint as soon as I look at some more of the amazing photos.

‘Pants on the Ground’

January 20, 2010

For your laugh of the day watch this clip of  “Pants on the Ground.”

I love the fact that the 63-year old performer essays a split. And no matter what gansta moves he mocks, he may just embarrass those punks into hoisting their pants somewhere north of their ankles, maybe even in the vicinity of their waists. President Obama didn’t succeed, but maybe General Larry Platt will!

And I disagree with David Hinckley that the song or Platt undermines the strength of “American Idol” by threatening to turn it into a “sideshow.” Like it wasn’t already with Paula Abdul drama queen, bitchy Simon Cowell or the scandal du jour. I say the more of the “Pants on the Ground” genre the better. I just might start watching the show. On second thought, probably not.

The cover versions are cringe worthy. Watching Jimmy Fallon perform the song made him even less appealing. Oh, and Bret Favre, keep your day job, but only long enough to let my Saints to beat you! These performances aren’t viral; they’re toxic!

As for General Larry, he’s been trying to get his message across for years, according to his nephew who appeared on “The View.”“Pants on the Ground” just proves that dreams can come true.

Flow Of the Day

January 19, 2010

I honor Dr. King by dedicating myself to my work.

This entry began during the 2008-2009 school year. I updated it during the summer but never finished. Now we’re half way through another school year, and it’s time to send it out into the world. My days develop a routine and when it’s broken I have problems.

Here’s the normal routine:

6:30 to 7 a.m. On many days Isis decides it’s time for her humans to get up and give her treats. This is after wake-up play at 4:30. I try to ignore her. Her favorite “alarm” method is to walk back and forth across the pillow purring loud enough to rival a lawn mower that needs a tune up. I succeed in staying put about half the time. Larry is usually downstairs first and gives her Temptations cat crunchies, which she would eat to the exclusion of everything else if given the chance. If I’m still in bed after she finishes she comes back up and curls up next to me. Once I get up she follows me to see if she can finagle more treats. She succeeds about half the time.

7:30 Sixth graders arrive next door to catch the school bus. Last year one little girl had talked nonstop at full vocal bore (in both senses of the word). One of the boys serenaded the neighborhood on his trumpet. After school ended, that part of the routine was gone, and this group walks or gets rides down the hill to the middle school. The new crop of sixth graders is a smaller crowd and far more muted. In fact they are almost as quiet as the sleepy bunch of high school students who catch the bus up the street at 7 a.m.

8 to 8:15 Last year on Monday and Thursday, one of Larry’s clients dropped off her king Corso who stayed until 8 p.m. because her humans worked late. She took a summer vacation, too, and moved in the fall. Now we have a doberman in temporary residence Monday to Friday from about 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Between 8 and 9, school buses rush past to the elementary school down the street. During the summer the rush is down to a single bus that comes to take the kids to camp.

9 to noon. Neighborhood is quiet except for birds and the odd trash truck. Larry walks the neighbors’ puppies and the dog down the block whose human just had surgery. People walk, people jog. There’s a serious cyclist who zips south every day about 11:30 unless it’s pouring or snowing. I can concentrate on whatever writing chores are at hand, with the occasional break to reheat my coffee. Isis sits on my desk and watches her morning news shows, then moves to my lap if she needs body heat. She hangs around for about an hour and then retires to her (heated) bed for her morning nap, which lasts until about 2 p.m. Occasionally a funeral procession turns into the cemetery down the street. The number of speeders diminished for a while after the police started running radar down the street. Would that it were ever so.

Noonish. Mail arrives if our regular letter carrier is working. It used to arrive at 10 a.m., but the P.O. added to his route. I’m always amused because he dons short sleeves when the temp goes above 50 but he never ever wears shorts even in the hottest, most miserable weather. If he has the day off the mail arrives any time between noon and four.

Afternoon: I continue working. Traffic picks up. UPS and FedEx make their deliveries at the same houses over and over. I finally decided that my neighbors must either buy or sell a whole bunch on ebay or else they do serious Avon or Amway business.  Between 2 and 3 Isis gets up, nibbles a little food, and checks out the afternoon soaps in the bathroom window if it’s warm and on my desk if it’s cold. In really hot weather, she goes to the porch and bakes in the sun. If it’s cold and the heat is running she sits next to the radiator in the living room with her tail under it, turning from side to side. Then she sprawls on the kitchen counter with her nose as close to the radiator as she can get it. Larry said he expects her to catch fire one day. Sometimes she’ll hang out in my lap for a bit. If the spirit moves me, I go for a walk. Generally it doesn’t.

3 p.m. Sixth graders tumble off the school bus. (I still haven’t figured out how the bus makes it across town in less than twenty minutes, but it does.) Last year’s kids didn’t make as much noise as they did in the a.m., but they hurled their books, coats, and musical instruments on the neighbors’ lawn and rough housed or ran in circles with the golden retriever in hot pursuit. Again this year’s crop is much quieter, and they just wander off to their houses.

Between 4 and 6 p.m. If I haven’t had any exercise, I get on my ten-speed which I’ve put up on a trainer in the basement for a half hour. The time drags, so I take a radio and a magazine. It’s still the longest half hour of the day. Lately I’ve been doing yoga instead.

Between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Isis starts her food dance, an hour before her scheduled dinner time. She winds around our legs, purrs, looks longingly and makes a beeline for the kitchen when anyone looks like they might be headed that way.

6 p.m. Isis eats dinner and then disappears for her after-dinner nap. I start cooking dinner and listen to “All Things Considered” on NPR.

7 p.m. Dinner, wash dishes, clean up kitchen.

8 p.m. Finish emails or other computer related chores. Try to remember to back up the files I’ve been using.

9 p.m. till 10 or 11. Phone calls, reading in the chair in the bedroom with cat on lap. Slowly wend to bed.

I manage to keep this routine about three days out of five during the week. What can intervene may be educational, a trip to the library. Or fun, lunch with friends. Or boring, a trip to the grocery store or a medical appointment. On Tuesday afternoons, there’s a good break when I do Reiki at the hospital.