Tuna Undertakes Pod Retribution

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I had my couch neatly wrapped like a holiday gift to protect it from The Wrath of Tuna, but the dude decided to get even with me after I scolded him for emptying a bag of dishwasher detergent pods all over the living room: He artfully ripped off the blanket covering one of the sofa arms last night and the material now looks like it’s got measles thanks to claw pock marks. I’ll be re-wrapping today and adding extra safety pins to hold things together, but he seems terribly goal-oriented. I’m wondering if plastic coverings might be my only salvation.

No Booby Traps Discovered During My Year-end Ritual

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Some women dress to the nines for their New Year’s Eve celebrations, but I like to do something that’s a bit more practical: I show up for my annual mammography during the last days of the year. What? You don’t think boob torture is a great way to welcome 2015? Okay, so it’s not fun. And there’s no glass of champagne waiting for me at the end of the checkup, but the exam brings me peace of mind and as 2014 rolls to its inevitable conclusion—given my less-than-wonderful year–frankly, having peace of mind leaves me feeling downright giddy.

Putting on a Happy Face

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My son installed a software program on my computer that conducts clean sweeps of the internal workings whenever it detects anomalies. I appreciate the program’s efforts—I really do—but when the icon on my screen morphs from happy face blue to frowny face brown, I’ve got to tell you that my heart sinks and I assume the worst. Running the diagnostic takes just minutes, and I’m always impressed to see how much unnecessary stuff winds up on my system simply because I surf the Internet to research articles. Sony should buy this software if it keeps running into hackers!

The Great Cover-up

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I had two weeks to enjoy the pleasures of a new couch when I found the first fang marks embedded in the arms of the sofa. I’d hoped Tuna would ignore the couch until I could find the right slipcover to protect the material, but he’s got his own agenda, so no such luck. Using quilts and blankets, I fashioned a makeshift cover (with his help, of course) that’s thick enough to sustain sharp claws and I’m happy to report that so far, the thicknesses have held and the two dozen safety pins holding things together remain in place. Sigh.

A Sign of Winter Hope: The Midwives are Coming!

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The PBS holiday special featuring a retrospective of Call the Midwife characters was the most delightful holiday addition to this season’s TV schedule. I’m looking forward to the show’s new season in March. This viewing season for us sickies has been dismal: Swarmy Christmas movies on every channel. I thought of opting for Duck Dynasty out of sheer desperation when I couldn’t find a single Law & Order episode being broadcast. Between the Midwife special and Downton Abbey previews, I believe I can make the transition to January with a song in my heart. Not a Christmas carol. A song.

The Next New Craft Trend: Dog Dying?

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Giant pandas are adorable, but faux pandas? Not so much. When Italian police recently seized two from the Orfei Circus, the problem wasn’t possession of an endangered species; they turned out to be dyed Chow-Chow puppies passed off as panda cubs. Animal activists alerted police after volunteers spotted the unusual-looking animals. A close look revealed the panda lookalikes had been painted. The dogs were healthy, but had watery eyes–the result, police believe, of exposure to too many camera flashes. Chow-chows are Martha Stewart’s favorite breed, but dying dogs? Probably not a project she would feature on her craft show.

Should Have Gotten Some Swedish Fish First

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I’m spending some of my flu convalescence catching up on 19 episodes of the most recent Wallander, a long-standing favorite TV program produced in Sweden. The broody detective is played by an overweight, aging Swedish actor with zero sex appeal, yet he beds young women with little effort in the final hurrah of this iconic series. The plot lines are dragging lower than my ass these days, but my compulsive need to see how things wind down keeps me engaged. One show to go. Then, I’ll need Swedish fish to cheer me up after a dismal conclusion to this franchise.

RX: Avoid Immediate Care Centers

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If you need “immediate care,” it’s not always wise to show up at an immediate care center during flu season in Champaign. I dropped by when my doctor was booked solid and my symptoms hit day eight. What did I find? A 3 hour wait at one facility; a 2.5 hour wait at the other. The thought of sitting for hours in an amphitheater of people hacking, sneezing and moaning was dreadful, so I grabbed soup, oranges and cookies (you read that right) and went home to Tuna and Dreamsicle for some TLC. Now, that’s what I call immediate care.

Some Protests Beg to be Staged

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The best idea I’ve heard thus far for getting back at Lil’ Kim (my nickname for the North Korean squirt in charge of that particular government) in retaliation for his outrageous Sony hack is this one: Movie goers show up at theaters dressed as the Korean dictator, making fun of his “countenance.” What can the mini-megalomaniac do but fume? He hates being ridiculed, so can you imagine tens of thousands of mini-mes flocking to theaters in taupe Neru jackets just to make fun of the little guy? It’s better than a boycott–and doesn’t involve bombs, troops or boycotting kimchee.

Worst Vacation Tops Worst Year Ever

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The ship left port without us after I got the flu on the plane going to Dallas and then fate delivered a second blow when son David discovered he had no passport on his person when we approached ship security. It took nearly 3 hours to find our already-loaded baggage and by the time we returned to Dallas, I sunk into a fever that lasted three days. Getting a flight home was the easy part. Getting back home was a blur, but here I sit with Kleenex and unworn shorts. I’m sure I’ll laugh about this eventually. But not today.