1. “Stupid is not to be underestimated,” I told my friend J. “Stupid things can save your sanity when life is out of your control.” And it’s true. An hour or two of doing something silly and mundane and all yours is a precious thing. My most fervent hope for this evening is that I get to spend an hour alone in my sitting room watching a new episode of Ghost Hunters. If that happens, I will not think the day a total loss. If it doesn’t happen, then I will watch the tape during some other precious hour, and having DVR’d it, the day will not be a total loss. One has to stay flexible.

2. And speaking of flexible, I’ve lost roughly 30 pounds in the last month. (My God, has it only been a month? Feels like several weeks more than that.) I say roughly 30 pounds because I made a decision some time back to live without a scale, so that’s based on the last time I stepped on a doctor’s scale. I may have lost a bit of that before the current month, but I’ve definitely dropped a lot of weight since September 14. What do you know? Eating less and running around a lot do help you lose weight. Fewer aches and pains, too. I haven’t got time for them, so they’ve been banished to the aethyr.

3. I poked at my novel, The Numberless Stars yesterday. I don’t know if I have the energy/time to write new prose again, though. I thought of revising something already written, but I didn’t have the stomach for that. Sustained focus is difficult these days.

4. My mother decided to make mini cheese cakes because a friend is coming to dinner tomorrow. Mom has always been someone who loved feeding peopleā€”and overfeeding people. I encourage her to do things like this because it makes her feel better about herself, and stronger. I thought she’d make her usual dozen, but when I got home from work last night, she’d made three dozen and was in the process of making another two. “What??” I asked. “I decided to make some for the girls at the dialysis center, and some to send home with L. and some to send with you to work.” We didn’t finish up until about 9:30 last night. I’m glad she’s feeling better. It was not how I’d planned my evening, however. Flexible!

5. J. and I were just discussing the strange culture of tipping. I am usually a 20% straight across the board tipper. Service is hard work and I want people who do work for me/serve me to know that I appreciate that. (Plus, 20% is so much easier to calculate than, say, 18%.) I realize not everyone feels this way and some are scandalized at tipping over 15%, but these days that seems a little on the low side to me. I say this even though I am feeling something of an economic pinch these days myself. If I can’t afford the tip, I should not expect the service.

J. was saying how the first time he went to his barber it was Thanksgiving, so he gave him a larger tip than he otherwise would. The second time was Christmas, so again he gave a larger tip. Now he feels like he’s always got to give that same tip or risk insulting/hurting the man’s feelings. “If you’ve got a barber you like,” I said, “best not to make him mad.” J. concurred.