A lot of people who had to sell their homes at a loss in the last ten years might disagree with that sentiment, but it has worked for Charlotte. She stood her ground, er, dirt, through the recession, and now her dirt is worth more than ever.

Each year, according to Brad Lemley, in his book The Secrets of Underground Medicine published in 2017, 2,00,000 people in America get the frightening diagnosis of cancer of some sort.  Despite millions of dollars spent yearly on cancer research,  and on treatments, the percentage of those cured does not rise.

In the article in The Beachcomber about housing prices on Vashon, several things seemed clear to me:  1) demand far exceeds supply, 2) properties always go to the highest bidder, 3) low and moderate incomes lose out, and 4) everybody seems to think this is an inexorable situation like the tides or the seasons.

In my previous column  I mentioned Chicken Soup for flu prevention and to ease symptoms if you already have a cold, stuffed up nose, or the flu. How do you know the difference between a cold and the flu ? With a cold you don’t have a fever; with the flu you have cold symptoms plus both a fever and aches. Both are caused by viruses.

“I’m sure there was some familiarization, but the question is, how familiar was he with        it?”      
Allen Zarembski- Univ. of Delaware

Right from the start, I will have to state in this latest struggle with words in this space, that for purposes of clarity I will have to suspend (at least this time around) my substitution of the term 45* for the name of the so-called current president of these United States.

Well, friends, comes now the end of another year, and with it come Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the Solstice which will mean longer days and more light for us up here in the Northern Hemisphere. Hanukkah has passed. The sixth of January will bring Epiphany for western Christianity,

The winter solstice has always seemed to me to be more meaningful than the summer solstice.  The promise of longer days at the darkest and coldest time of year is more heartening than the beginning of shorter days in the summer.  The darkness of December lends itself to stillness, introspection, and peace:  Silent Night.

To remain healthy through this coming holiday season, we need to pamper our immune systems. Iron feeds the immune system. Think red meat, the best food source. Think zinc gluconate, a 13 milligram  lozenge of it at the very start of a cold, every two hours for up to a week but not longer. Too much zinc actually weakens immunity says Reader’s Digest book 1801 Home Remedies.

Men are hound dogs, and suddenly it is news.
Not all men, I hasten to add. Most men are good, decent people, despite the hand life deals them, and that is admirable.

My column on affordable housing in the last issue was one that was first published several months ago.  I was delirious with fever at the time last week’s column needed to be in and didn’t even get it together to tell as much to The Loop.  One of my older columns was chosen to fill in, one of my better one’s, if I do say so myself.

Well, for those who have been counting, or reading what goes on here, I have to say that so far the whole exercise thing has been a bust. I would say that in part, I have been avoiding the physical side of things because I’ve been trying to finish up other projects in deference to all those pre-resolution day sales and specials- the ones where if I finally edit the lectures I’ve been recording at the VCA for the past year, a certain local station will send me a check.

On Thanksgiving Day eleven to fourteen family members--counting heads is like trying to count a flock of chickens--will gather around my dining table to feast on smoked turkey, cranberry relish and whatever  dishes the others contribute.

Throughout November, Southern Resident orcas have teased us a few times by changing direction between Dilworth and the north end ferry lanes -- dashing hopes of any Point Robinson encounters. One of those occasions was at Loop deadline! Fortunately, our intrepid colleagues Mark and Maya Sears deployed in their research boat, in the rain, to obtain identification photos and collect samples.

When I moved in with Rick in 1977, this building was the most run-down place I’d ever lived. The walls had holes in them. The roof leaked. Rats had free run of the place.

For a number of weeks recently we had our washer and dryer out on the back porch. The reason for this displacement was not as a banishing punishment or as a mini stay-cation to allow the machines a brief outside adventure before the wet of winter made time spent out of doors by objects with electronics an inadvisable alternative.

Back in 1988, Joy Goldstein strong-armed me into working with her and a handful of others on the Community Council Affordable Housing Committee.  We went on to form Vashon Household (Joy’s name).

You start with the leanest, cleanest, grass-raised beef. You can ask the butcher to grind a pound of round steak for you. Besides its yummy flavor, each low fat serving provides 20 grams of high quality protein, 3 mg Vitamin B12, 5 mg niacin (the happiness vitamin) and a smidgeon of B1, B2, and B6, also 258 mg of potassium.

According to all the calendars I have, winter begins with the solstice, on the twenty-first of December or thereabouts. I say that’s broccoli, and I say the hell with it.

I am often to mostly running these internal monologues, which more often than not are where these scribblings come from. Writing things down is a means of purging the echoes, and it works well enough that there are times when I find myself the next day wondering what it was that I just wrote about, since I’m usually fairly certain that what is currently running in my head is a new tangential, mental squash game, banging around in there in search of an exit strategy.

Now that most of the deciduous trees have cast down their leaves and we’re having  cooler weather, often with a brisk breeze that makes it feel even cooler, we’re also hearing complaints of aching joints. Of course, those are always with us, but now the cold and the dampness actually interfere with people’s ability to do what they need and want to do.

My husband Rick has been gone for almost four years now, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw him walk out of the men’s room on the sixth floor of the James Tower one afternoon a few weeks ago. That’s the cardiology floor at the Cherry Hill campus of Swedish Hospital.

When I was growing up in the 1950’s, plastic was one of the most exciting new materials.  Everything from dinner plates to furniture were being made from plastic.  It was lightweight, strong, and would never rot.  In the 1960’s film, The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman is pulled aside by his likely-to-be-father-in-law and given this sage advice in one word:  “plastics.”

As I sat down to this internets box this morning I came upon a headline in the lineup of what counts as news stories on my ATT or Yahoo home page among the many that reside there with their own amazing headlines like, you know, “the Best Frog Jumping Contests in Every State” or “ the Six Foods You Should Eat Today and Not Tomorrow”.

I’ve referred before to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice to characterize our unrelenting belief that we understand how the world works and we can alter portions of it without any adverse consequences.  The story goes that while the sorcerer is away, the sorcerer’s apprentice decides to dabble in a bit of magic to make his chores a little easier.