Dec. 29th, 2009

mellicious: pink manicure (winter berries)
This entry - or maybe the next one - should get me "above the line" in Holidailies, meaning averaging one entry a day. Jette and Chip have the site set up where you can only post to the portal so often, and this year it seems like you can't get above that average of one a day. So currently it's day 23, and there are a couple of people who already have 23 entries, and quite a few more with 22, and then there is the dreaded line between 22 and 21. I am mostly joking about the "dreaded" part, but I know I'm not the only person who tries to stay above that line, because I've heard other people talk about it. I should probably value quality over quantity, but let's face it, I'm not ever going to be the next Joan Didion, so I mostly settle for quantity. It's not really that hard for me to write an entry a day - when I get a blank page, I usually can ramble along and find something to say fairly easily. If I tried to demand of myself that I write a really quality entry, I would probably freeze up and never get anything written at all. Low expectations apparently help keep you from getting writer's block.

I have pictures from Christmas but I'm still working on those. I took a lot of pictures of wiggly small children and I have to sort out the good ones from the blurry ones!

We saw two movies yesterday, although they weren't the same two. Rob apparently watched Burn After Reading (is that the right name?) before I got up; then we went to see the Sherlock Holmes movie, then after he went to bed I fired up On Demand again and watched Adventureland. Adventureland was better than SH, although I liked them both. I went through an entire viewing of Adventureland without realizing that the girl love interest was Kristin Stewart, of Twilight Fame. I did know she looked familiar, but I didn't snap to who she was. Good movie, anyway. Sherlock Holmes... I dunno, I liked a lot of it, but I felt like it lagged in the middle. Good comedy bits, though - in fact they both did.

I just watched another movie, actually, because I installed Windows 7 and I needed something to distract me while it was doing its thing - it took it the whole length of the movie to install, too. So I watched "Wimbledon" which I had picked up at Tuesday Morning or someplace for really really cheap. But it turned out not to be a bad movie. I'm sort of a sucker for romantic comedies, if they're reasonably smart ones, and this one was. (Reasonably so.) It's actually a romantic comedy/sports movie, which is sort of different. And I adore Paul Bettany.

Windows 7 is so far so good - I really can't tell that much difference from Vista. I need to try out LOTRO and see how it runs - rumor is that it runs faster. I've felt like my computer was dragging lately so I'm hoping maybe it'll fix that.

2004

Dec. 29th, 2009 10:43 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (Happy NY - sparkly)
There was a Holidailies prompt from a couple of weeks ago to talk about the holidays 5 years ago. It took me all this time to write it up, but here it is:

2004 was a memorable Christmas (and year) to me. I don't really have to think about it much to recall it, because it was completely unlike any other year. First of all, it was the year it snowed in Galveston on Christmas Eve, and we completely missed it. One of my friends said that they had gone to church and they came out and it was snowing, and it was like being in "White Christmas" or something. And of course the chance of a measurable snowfall in Galveston on any day at all, much less Christmas Eve, is miniscule. So it figures that we weren't there.

We were in Austin, visiting my sister. Rob and my mother and I drove up there, and I remember that I had made some Christmas mix CDs just for the occasion, which were basically crafted just for my mom - I put a lot of old stuff on there, Louis Armstrong and Judy Garland and such, and I remember her saying that she really liked the music and there was even some she didn't remember having heard before. (It might have been the Louis Armstrong version of "Winter Wonderland" that I'm thinking of.) I'd almost forgotten that my mom wasn't supposed to drive at the time, which was one reason she was riding with us - although we probably would have done that anyway. She had had seizures a couple of months before that, and had had a biopsy, and by Christmas we already knew that she had a brain tumor and that the prognosis was not all that good. (I think the oncologist told me, when I pressed him, that patients with a tumor like hers typically lived 3-5 years. She lived a little more than two.)

It wasn't a bad Christmas, but it was a deeply weird one, as you can imagine. In fact there was even more to it than that. Both my mom and my sister were supposed to have surgery right after Christmas - brain surgery for my mom, and a hysterectomy for my sister. My sister and her husband had just moved to Austin with their teenage son, and were still adjusting to that. Or not adjusting so much, because I don't think we knew at the time that my sister was intending to leave her husband, and was only waiting until the surgery was over to do it. We knew that they were having trouble, but not that things were so immediate, I think.

The house that they were living in in Austin was an interesting one - it was sort of a patio home, but a big one, and it was right up against a creek (Shoal Creek? I'm not sure). I remember that they had a big, pretty cut Christmas tree, but it didn't have any decorations on it. I think my sister had been too busy getting the house straightened out to worry about decorating specifically for the holidays. (Remember that this is the same sister who has pretty much refused to have anything to do with Christmas in the five years since her divorce. But I never have been sure exactly why.)

Let's see, my nephew is 18 now, so he was 13 (going on 14) then. He is a nice kid. I don't really remember that much that he did or said that Christmas, really - I was all centered on my mother, mostly. I do remember all going down in the gully and scrambling around for a while. It was really, really cold and I remember seeing icicles on the rocks over the roads around Austin, but it didn't snow.

We came on Christmas Eve, and went home on the 26th. On Christmas afternoon, my nephew and his dad left and went to visit the other side of the family outside Houston. I remember being terribly relieved - I think we thought that my brother-in-law was acting awfully weird, and so we were happy that he was gone. We were always on civil terms with him and in fact we still are, but we've never had anything much in common. He thought I was flaky and I thought he was pretentious, so we did really good to be civil to each other all these years, I guess!

I even remember where we went out to eat: we went to Cheesecake Factory on Christmas Eve - it was the first time I had been to one - and on the day after Christmas before we left, we went to the original Chuy's, down by Zilker Park. Both of them were mobbed. I don't remember much about Christmas dinner itself, though. My brother-in-law usually cooked the turkey, so he must've done that, but I don't much remember that part.


Oh! I remembered one more thing - my car got broken into the night before we left, in Galveston. Maybe I didn't lock it, because the window wasn't broken, but somebody got into the trunk and stole some food and CDs and stuff. The food was stuff I was taking for Christmas, but we scrambled around and replaced most of it, and the CDs were actually mostly homemade CDs from TUS people, so they didn't have any particular commercial value, but that also made them a bit irreplaceable. (Although people did make me copies of some of them later.) I told myself that whoever would steal food out of my trunk on December 23rd was probably hungry themselves, but I'm not sure I believe it. I think some people just think that Christmas is a fine occasion for theft. Anyway, there were no presents in the trunk, so it sure could've been a lot worse.

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