This has been kind of an uphill/downhill week, so it’s nice to have things slow down enough that I just have some time to think and catch up with everything.

One of the “downhill” parts of my week was that my iPod stopped working (AGAIN) right while I was in the middle of photographing a teen craft program.  I wasn’t able to turn it on at all for several days, and part of the process of trying to download something to my PC that I thought might fix the problem included unknowingly downloading a virus to my PC.  Luckily, I scan my PC every day to check for problems, so as soon as I discovered it I went on an aggressive anti-virus campaign that lasted several days.  But it meant that while I was tackling THAT problem I was only reading and sending email on my iPad and my older iPod with varying levels of success — I hadn’t used them for that purpose in so long that several of my passwords had changed, and emails sent from me sometimes looked spammier than they should have.  By Thursday night I got the PC problems cleared up so I was able to catch up on some stuff I needed to do on that computer — I got a Tumblr post up 12 hours late, and a podcast up 24 hours late, which was bad but not awful.

Then on Friday night I was on the Apple website getting ready to make an appointment at the Genius Bar when I picked up my iPod to discover that … the battery had drained and it was ready to recharge???  Okay, GREAT!  So I recharged it and managed to get my pictures uploaded, which included not only those program pictures but pictures of my last visit to my brother’s apartment.  In case you’re wondering what kinds of things catch my eye when I visit …

An Unhealthy Freezer

This is what’s inside my brother’s freezer.  Well, to clarify, ONE of his freezers, since my mother had us order her a standing freezer last year because he had so much STUFF that there wasn’t enough room for her food.  So, yes, apparently ONE PERSON needs six quarts of ice cream, two bags of onion rings, one box of “Oven Cravers” Chicken Parm, two boxes of Stouffer’s Swedish Meatballs, half a bag of frozen spinach (don’t get too excited — that was left over from the last time we gave him a cooking lesson over a month ago), and several other nitrate-laden meals behind the ice cream.  Not pictured here is the inside of the freezer door, which contains even more frozen/processed meals.  Plus, you know, the entire OTHER freezer that’s full of similar stuff.  *SIGH*

Unopened Kitchen Tools

Unopened kitchen tools.  My brother asked if we would teach him how to cook, and we’ve given him several cooking lessons.  Since my mother hadn’t been able to cook for years, a lot of the kitchen equipment had fallen into disrepair so we had to throw out lots of dirty/damaged kitchen equipment.  We bought him new equipment to replace the stuff we threw out, but the equipment has remained in the boxes and the “While the Pasta Cooks” cookbook I ordered for him hasn’t moved from the shelf where we left it out to remind him to use it.

Latvian 3D Paintings

Being in a Latvian household means that there is always some amber around.  While most of it is in the form of jewelry, apparently there’s just SO MUCH amber lying around in Latvia that people will use it in many different ways.  Here are some examples of amber that’s been added to small paintings for a curious kind of 3D effect.

Latvian and Latvian Themed Books

Here are some Latvian and Latvian-themed books from my mother’s collection.  Since I don’t speak or read the language, I’ve only been able to appreciate the books written in or translated into English.  My mother gave me Dear God I Wanted to Live to read when I was a kid, and I read A Woman in Amber when I was an adult.  I bought her the Riga Mortis book and the one about the displaced persons camp (an ex-boyfriend of hers was featured in that book!)  While the stuff that’s entirely in Latvian is fascinating, I don’t know what any of it means.  One project for 2015 will be working with our few Latvian contacts to figure out where to send that stuff so that it will go to good homes or good organizations.  It’s so hard to get Latvian books in America that I don’t want to throw any of it away.

In other news, I’ve spent the last few days learning about movies in subject areas I know next to nothing about.  Last night I saw the tail end of Caddyshack on TV, and I sent a text message to D. saying that I was watching the end of the best golf movie ever made … based on the fact that it was the only golf movie I’ve ever seen.  This led to a spirited discussion about golf movies, in which he said that in his opinion Tin Cup was the best golf movie, Caddyshack was the funniest golf movie,  The Legend of Bagger Vance wasn’t great but it wasn’t the worst golf movie, A Gentleman’s Game WAS the worst golf movie, and that Happy Gilmore wasn’t that bad and had some funny moments.  Okay, you can take that last part with a grain of salt, since D. was the one who insisted that I see White Chicks.  Anyway, I didn’t even realize that so many golf movies EXISTED.

And then today my boyfriend was watching a Western movie from 1980 called The Long Riders, and if there’s anything I know less about than golf movies it’s Western movies.  But anyway, the cool gimmick of this film about the Jesse James gang is that all the brothers are played by actual brothers!  David, Keith, and Robert Carradine play Cole, Jim, and Bob Younger.  James and Stacy Keach play Jesse and Frank James.  Dennis and Randy Quaid play Ed and Clell Miller.  Christopher and Nicholas Guest play Charlie and Bob Ford.  Oh, and Jesse James and Little Jesse are played by father and son.  My boyfriend says it’s a great film, and the parts of it I saw I enjoyed.  I did get a kick out of some of the script / directing choices — lots of meaningful glancing going on, and lots of shots of brothers talking to each other in closeup and/or profiles, and it’s like the director is saying SEE THE FAMILY RESEMBLANCE?  SEE IT???  Anyway, it’s worth checking out, and you won’t have to be a fan of Westerns to get something out of it.

Okay, I’ve now spent my entire morning  and part of the afternoon playing games, listening to podcasts, uploading pictures, and working on this blog post.  My boyfriend just went out to brave the snow to get to the store (we’re running low on milk and half-and-half, and desperate times call for desperate measures).  When he comes back we’ll figure out what leftovers we’re going to have for lunch, and then I’m going to catch up on some reading this afternoon.