The Big C

Feb. 9th, 2019 04:09 am
mellicious: pink manicure (nails)
Well, so the biopsy was positive. I am actually not completely freaking out about it because it's very minor, as cancer goes. It's small and it's away from the chest wall (which apparently is good) and there's no lymph node involvement (I know that's good, it has to do with the way cancer can spread, for one thing) - I just have to have a lumpectomy. And that's really all I know right now. I have an appointment with the surgeon next week so that's when I'll know more.

I didn't tell anybody but Rob and my boss and my sister, so far. I definitely want as few people as possible to know at work because I don't want to have to deal with a million questions about it. Thank goodness for HIPAA, because I can tell you from personal experience that in the old days everybody in the whole hospital knew everything, pretty much immediately. It's a small town, where I work. (Far as I know, nobody I know in real life follows me here, so I'm not worried about you guys.)

I had a bad feeling about it - the first radiologist I talked to acted like it was probably nothing, but then after that I could just tell from the way they were talking that it sounded more worrisome. Then I got a call this morning from a doctor (rather than a nurse) and by the time I woke up he had called several times. So that didn't sound like it was going to be good news. But cancer is not the death sentence it used to be, in general. I've even managed to completely forget about this whole thing for long stretches of the day today.


Um, as far as the rest of life, I'm still playing Covet Fashion with my sister - have I talked about this here? and my god, is she competitive. I'm actually getting pretty good scores though so I may give her more of a run for her money than she expected. Also I finally went to my second movie of 2019 and it was a repeat - Into the Spider-verse. I liked it even better the second time. We will probably go see the Lego thing this weekend but we are waiting til Sunday night so there will hopefully be fewer kids.

Happy 2019!

Jan. 1st, 2019 12:39 am
mellicious: Happy New Year! (new year gif)
Shit, how did it get to be 2019 already? I've mostly been home sick the last few days, although I'm better. I think the only time I've been anywhere since the last time I posted is that we went to Chili's kind of late last night, because somebody gave us a gift-card. I tried being true to my low-fat-low-carb thing (because it's doctor-mandated, mind) and ordered a chicken salad and I didn't really like it. But that was Chili's. I didn't like their vinaigrette and I didn't really like the chicken that much either but I think I would be okay with a salad with chicken at other places. Anyway, it was good to get out. Today I'm still sucking on cough drops and noticing that my nose is horribly chapped, but I'm definitely in recovery mode.

(If I go to Chili's in the future - because Rob gets the urge to go there occasionally - hang the diet, I'm ordering country-fried steak.)

We had a horrible thought. Remember how I said the waitress at the breakfast place we went to might have been the one that infected us? Well, I was thinking that that kind of seemed like a short time window anyway, and then Rob said that he actually thought he got the virus from our co-worker, which sets the whole time-frame for him back about three days, so then I probably got it from him before that, because I was feeling a little better yesterday when my sister said they were both feeling horrible. And then Rob (or I) probably infected them too. That fits the overall timeline who got sick and well in what order a lot more neatly than the IHOP theory. But I decided not to tell my sister about that theory unless she brings it up. Really it's useless wondering about where you got a cold most of the time. (But my brain bounces between subjects all the time - I imagine it going ping! ping! ping! sort of like a pinball - and so I'm always contemplating all sorts of useless things.)

Doctor Who episodes keep taping so I've been watching a lot of those. Let's see, besides the ones I know I already mentioned, I watched "A Christmas Carol" and "Blink" and "Let's Kill Hitler" for chrissake (I don't think I'd seen that one since it first came out) and the most recent one, the Battle of Some Random Name. Tonight I've been watching a bunch of year-end news shows, which mostly were not quite as depressing as you might think. Tomorrow we're going to have another try at "Bumblebee" (and we've already got the tickets so that ups the odds we're actually going this time). And it's at 6:00 so we're going to miss the Doctor Who thing, which is at 7 our time. I already checked and it's set to tape, though, and god knows BBC-A will probably rerun it about a zillion times even if it didn't.

Oh, I almost forgot - we watched "Room" earlier. We had never seen it.  I expected it to be good, and it was. I was really afraid the second half was going to veer off and become a courtroom drama, and I am so glad it didn't!

This ends Holidailies, unless I get my shit together and write another entry before midnight tomorrow - er, tonight, officially. I did maybe 15 journal entries, which is not completely terrible. I think I played out on Music Advent somewhere around Day 15 also. I have consistently written nail journal entries. I have been working on my year-end thing where I decide what my favorite polish of the year is. These will start going up tomorrow - it starts with just the list of everything I've worn, as best I can tell, and I narrow it down from there. The plan is to get my favorite up on Friday. I got down to a tentative top three last night so I think I'll get there.

(Hmm, maybe I'll do a Best Movies post! If I get another post done it'll probably be that.)
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
 (I was just watching "Last Christmas," the Doctor Who episode where Nick Frost plays Santa. Now the TV - specifically BBC-A, of course - has gone on to "The Husbands of River Song," and I'm sure I'll end up watching that too.)

I was deliberately unspecific about exactly what I was doing for Christmas because it always seems weird to advertise when I'm going to be out of town ahead of time. But now we're back so that's okay.

I think I have to back up and explain that I haven't spent Christmas with my sister in years. (I'm just going to call her P here.) She had a bad divorce some years ago now and she just stopped doing Christmas completely - only in the last couple of years has she started wanting to have anything to do with it. I went to see her last year right before Christmas. She said something vague about us coming to visit her this year, and I talked to Rob about it and we were thinking that we would go to my aunt's for one night (which is what we've been doing) and then we would go see P. So there was a whole minor comedy of errors, basically, where I assumed she could read my mind and probably vice versa, and eventually she decided she and her husband were going to come visit us, and they would stay in a hotel, and that eventually turned into going to stay in a hotel in Galveston, instead (which is where we work, but not where we live, but in easy driving distance, of course). And they were staying several days, and we finally decided we would stay on the island for a couple of days, too, rather than drive back and forth, so that we would see them more, and it sort of felt like a mini-vacation for us, too.

And then with the dates they chose there was no chance of going to my aunt's as well, and I was pretty apprehensive about calling my aunt to tell her that but she took it pretty well. (I basically blamed P for the whole thing, which probably wasn't really fair, but eh.) We promised to get with my cousin & work out some sort of mini-family-reunion sometime soon.

And it all went pretty well. We basically sat around and talked a lot, and went out to eat a lot, and shopped a little bit. We went down to the Strand on Christmas Eve, which is the downtown shopping area, and spent a while down there. We ate Mexican food and IHOP, and then we had two meals at the San Luis, which were fabulous. I had never eaten there before, but it was really great. I don't know if we'll ever do that kind of Christmas again, but it was virtually stress-free, which was lovely.

Happy 2018!

Jan. 1st, 2018 11:57 pm
mellicious: Happy New Year! (new year gif)
 I'll quote what I just said about Last Jedi in my own comments:

 I think I enjoyed it more the second time, without all those pesky "what's going to happen?" thoughts running through my head. If nothing else, it's really pretty to look at. And I didn't think the middle was especially saggy the second time, either.
 
There were still a good many people in the theater, but nothing like the crowd that was at Jumanji last week. Probably most of the kids have to go back to school tomorrow, come to think of it.
 

(I was trying to hurry so I could make the Holidailies cutoff at midnight, but then I realized they're unlikely to have the cutoff be Central time, anyway, unless they have a rolling cutoff that uses each person's own time zones. I'm just not going to worry about it.)

We saw the aftermath of a horrific-looking wreck on the way to the movie theater (a car basically underneath a pickup) and when we came back through three hours later they were still clearing it up. It looked like they basically had cut the car that was on the bottom apart. I'm trying not to speculate about what happened there.

I stayed up until well after daylight the last few days. I have to go back to work on Wednesday so I need to shift my bedtime at least a little earlier than that! I have no sense of time, that's basically my problem. Sitting here in the living room facing away from the windows I don't even necessarily notice that it's getting light until I get up to go to the bathroom or something.

Which reminds me, I don't really make resolutions, but I want to stop feeling guilty, somehow, for being a night person. People get so judgy about it, and I'm sick of that shit. I like to sleep in the daytime, so what. (I'm not really talking to you guys, of course.) Oh, did I mention that my sister is now on the exact same schedule? She sleeps til the middle of the afternoon just like I do. Apparently at her previous job - which she has now quit - she was mostly working evenings, too. We used to seem so different when we were younger but now we are exactly alike in a myriad of ways, so much so that it's slightly alarming. (What, is my entire personality just genetics?)

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
I think it was a mistake to try to go two different places in one week. I'm just not used to things like that. Both sets of relatives stressed me out to one degree or another. I don't mean to be coy about in what way but I just feel exhausted and I don't have the energy to rant about them right now. 
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
I tend to get stressed out at Christmas - I guess a lot of people do, right? Kids and gifts and family and big dinners, etc., there's a lot of stressors there. On top of the normal stress triggers - I need to wrap some stuff, I haven't packed - I've been sitting here trying to remember all the things my sister told me and then told me not to tell anybody. (Except Rob, thank goodness. I'm allowed to tell him the whole kit & kaboodle.) I guess that also means I shouldn't turn around and tell the internet all her secrets, should I? But really who she was worried about was the piece of the family that Rob & I normally spend Christmas with. Let's see, I guess the piece of super-sekrit info that I feel most comfortable sharing here is that her book that she wrote long ago is up on Amazon, and has been for a good while, under a pseudonym. I didn't know about the Amazon part, although I knew about the book. I haven't read it, but she gave me a paper copy to read. (I'm waiting til after the family thing is over so I'll be less likely to slip up on that.) She says something happened with autocorrect or something and it's riddled with typos. She wants to get it fixed and put it up under her own name, although that would require jumping through some hoops such as getting a new ISBN, I guess, as well as copy-editing it all over again. I'm not going to tell you where to find it right now (actually I haven't looked for it, although I've seen the fake name now) but if she gets it fixed and I don't completely hate it, I won't rule out sharing that at some time in the future.

In other Christmas-related news, my aunt was trying to guilt us into staying longer when I called her to tell her when we were coming. I went to see her last month specifically because she always complains about that, and (why am I surprised?) it didn't help at all, apparently. I like seeing her and my cousins of various removes at the holidays, and if it was just me on my own I probably might stay longer, but man, I do NOT want to have that fight with Rob. One day and he's ready to go, and I know better than to suggest otherwise. Plus I was off this past week, but he worked all week. I don't particularly blame him for wanting some time at home. 

I'd write more but I think I better go wrangle presents instead! Merry Christmas, or whatever the holiday of your choice is. (Christmas is just the holiday I inherited. I seem to be less interested in it every year.)
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
 So the reason my sister finally invited me to come visit her was so I could go to the Armadillo Bazaar in Austin with her. She'd kept saying, "When we finish the renovations to the house you should come visit!" They have a older house (by which I mean, I dunno, 80s, maybe?)  which sustained a lot of damage in that big hailstorm they had a couple of years ago - so bad it tore all the windows out on one side of the house, and I think part of the roof, too - and the renovations seem to be ongoing, to some degree, but they're mostly done. P. said she had a guest "suite" for me to sleep in (with its own bathroom, is what she meant by that) so that part was fine. (That bedroom faces the other way than all the storm damage and as I understand it, she had her husband slept in that bedroom for a year or so because it was the only one with intact windows!)

I'll talk more about my sister and her husband at some point but right now I feel like talking about the the Armadillo Bazaar. It's technically just a Christmas gift show, but being in Austin it ends up being kinda different. I had been many years ago - I think I mentioned that at some point earlier this month. (Here.) I don't have any clear memory of where it was back then, although I would have said it was somewhere downtown, on the other side of Town Lake. Now it's at Palmer, but it's possible that's where it always was and I'd just forgotten. It's been something like 35 years, after all.

Going to Austin is always a huge nostalgia-trip for me, because college, and then also because Austin is so different from anyplace else. Austin of course has grown up in the meantime and is a big city now (I started college FORTY YEARS AGO, omg, when I think Austin had around 300,000 people) but bits of the old Austin are still there and they were totally on display where we were. Palmer Center has two parts (+ possibly some more that I don't know about), and I went to concerts at both of them back in the day. There's a conventional auditorium and then there's just a big room that I think had bleachers (so sort of like a big basketball court, I guess!), and this was where bands played. It was general admission, and you could sit down on the bleachers if you wanted or you could just stand up in the middle, Which was what most everybody did. I saw R.E.M. and, god, Howard Jones and Frankie Goes To Hollywood there, and more. And that's where this Armadillo Bazaar thing is held.

My sister is back to wanting to try to be a real artist again - if you've been reading here forever you may remember that she's been through this before, and she is actually talented so I don't mean to demean her about that. She does kind of mixed media stuff which is pretty fashionable these days and I think it has possibilities, commercially speaking. So anyway, what she wanted to do was look at other people's artwork and booth setups and stuff, and boy, this was a good place to do it, because this was mostly an art show. There was other stuff but there were a LOT of artists, and it's juried so they were all good. P. is one of those people who can talk to anybody, and she did stop and talk to people in the booths from time to time, and one of the artists told her that they made $18k in eleven days at this thing last year. Which is not a huge fortune but it's nothing to sneeze at, either!

I knew the Armadillo Bazaar had music because I looked at the website, but I was imagining that it was off in a separate room and I didn't think P. would want to sit down and listen. But that turned out to be wrong. The booths are all around the edges of the big room (no bleachers in evidence) and the stage and a smallish number of seats are set up in the middle. So you can walk around and still hear the music - you can't avoid it if you wanted to, in fact. It wasn't so loud you couldn't hear so it was great, actually.

We got there, as it happened, right when the 7pm entertainer was starting, and I knew who it was going to be and the name was familiar - I think he may be one of those people who's hung around the Austin music scene off and on for years - but I don't remember having heard him before. It was Ray Wylie Hubbard, and you can hear a little snippet of his stuff in the video below. I liked him a lot. I insisted on going around to where I could actually see him, briefly. (P. said, "He looks like an old man," and well, that's true. But it just seemed weird to be there listening and never see the guy.) Anyway, it was very enjoyable. I enjoyed the music and I enjoyed looking at the artists, too.


I already posted this video for Music Advent, but here's Ray Wylie Hubbard from several years ago, on David Letterman:

mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
I went to San Antonio to see my sister, and briefly to Austin, and when I got back late Wednesday I was already planning out the entry I was going to write. Then the exhaustion set in. I didn't sleep well in the unfamiliar bed, for two nights in a row, that's the main problem. Plus I drove all the way to San Antonio (which is a several-hour drive at best) in the rain on Monday, and spent more time walking around than I'm accustomed to on Tuesday, before driving back again on Wednesday. I enjoyed the trip more than that makes it sound like I did, but still, I'm tired. Yesterday I still felt pretty much exhausted, but today it's better.

I meant to leave earlier on Monday, but I dawdled around and kept thinking of things that needed doing, and then I lost my debit card and had to go to the credit union and get a replacement one. (I wasn't sure if I had actually left it somewhere else or not, but the old card was having an issue with the stripe and so I needed a new one anyway. I finally did find the old one way in the depths of my purse, last night.) We had worried about me hitting rush hour traffic in San Antonio because I was planning on leaving in the early afternoon. Instead it was four o'clock by the time I left, and I ended up in Houston rush hour instead. It took two hours just to get across Houston in the spitting rain to I-10 so I could go west. Not fun. (I could have skirted around the edge of Houston somehow, but I'm pretty sure anything like that would have taken just as long.)

(I hit enter accidentally - I keep doing that - so I might as well do this in installments.)
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
 The town holiday parade is tonight. We usually go out to eat on Saturday nights, but we went yesterday instead (on the way home from work) because we knew to go out tonight would be a mess. There's no way out of our neighborhood without running into it.

Rob said, "They act like this is the Macy's parade," and I laughed. People who've always lived here are very fond of this parade, it's true. It's just a little dinky parade, but they come out and score their spots on the sidewalk hours ahead. The first year we lived here, we went and watched it, and we enjoyed it, it's really cute - but I haven't had any desire to go again. I think if I had more ties to the people here, that's what would make it different, but I'm kind of a hermit, let's face it.

So we're just staying home tonight. Rob's watching Fury, that Brad Pitt movie about the tank, and I'm half-watching and fiddling around on the computer. (It was near the end when I walked in, or I'm sure I would have gotten more into it. We saw it in the theater and I liked it a lot, although it's pretty depressing.) Tomorrow we think we're going to see "Coco," and Monday we're both off so we thought we might go to the mall and goof around. I don't like to go when it's crowded, but it ought to be alright on a Monday.

I'm going to go see my sister the Monday after that, in San Antonio, and we're going to go over to Austin and go to the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. I went once with our mom, years and years ago - I guess when I still lived in Austin, which means it was in the early 80s. I imagine it's changed a bit since then. And I haven't seen my sister in ages, either - I guess we're both kind of hermit-ish. We talk back and forth but hardly ever get around to visiting. So I'm sure I'll have more to say about that later. I'm off work the entire two weeks before and after Christmas, which is going to be kind of weird. I haven't had that much time off all at once in years. (It'll go by like a flash, of course.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Default)
I'll get around to doing the last Music Advent post sometime this week, but one of the videos was "Careless Whisper" and that just makes me sad all over again about all these people dying this week. Then I looked at the phone earlier and there was a breaking news e-mail about Debbie Reynolds being rushed to the hospital, and so it was like, aaand here we go again.

It occurred to me that I didn't mention much about gifts in my last post. As I've said before, Rob and I are terribly pragmatic about gifts. We usually give each other some small surprises but we pretty much pick out the larger gifts so as not to waste money on stuff we don't want. (He gave me some nail things, for the surprise, and I bought him an Ohio State shirt that I had found on Amazon.) We got a couple of nice gifts from my cousins - a pair of those large stainless steel travel mugs (my cousin actually apologized because they were Sam's Club brand and not the name brand, and I said, "Honestly, I don't care at all about that, I like them") and a very pretty wreath that I can put out on my balcony. And my aunt gave us gift cards, as she nearly always does. I gave all the females who are old enough to wear makeup little gift bags full of sample stuff - everybody really seems to like those. I also gave some Star Wars stuff, which of course also goes over well. As for me, my big gifts were my planner - I like Erin Condren's and they are not exactly cheap - and I got a Kindle Fire when they were on sale on Cyber Monday. (I had a regular Kindle - in fact I'm on my 3rd one, I think, but I'd never had the Fire.) (Rob wanted - and went and picked out for himself - a weight vest. To each his own.)

We went to see the Pixar movie Moana this afternoon - I knew it was supposed to be good, and it was - and on the way home we went down this street with a lot of big houses to look at the lights. In particular this one house has a gigantic oak tree in their yard that is completely covered in blue lights. Something about it is just mesmerizing, I love it. Also it always makes me happy when people still have the lights up the week after Christmas. There's something depressing about it when all of the decorations disappear on the 26th. (I do think it's fair game to take stuff down closer to New Year's because I know a lot of people have to go back to work right after the 1st. I don't insist they stay up until Epiphany or anything.)

We are watching one episode of Stranger Things a day. I figured out that this will get us finished on Sunday, just in time for Rob to go back to work on Monday. Some of the episodes have big cliffhangers, though, and sometimes it's really tempting to just keep going. But so far we haven't. (Episode... I mean "Chapter" 4 - they don't call them episodes - is called "The Body" so I think you've gotta say that's a direct Stephen King callout there. I also still think it's very reminiscent at times of early Spielberg - the thing where the lights kept going off and on reminded me a lot of Close Encounters - with a big heaping dose of X-Files and maybe even Twin Peaks. All of those are good things as far as I'm concerned.)

Holidays

Dec. 27th, 2016 12:16 am
mellicious: pink manicure (retro-style holiday lights)
I'm off all week - it's not actually holidays for me, technically, because I'm part-time and I don't get paid if I don't work. But we'll manage, financially, and I can't say I'm unhappy about the break.

We went to see my aunt and my cousins yesterday, Christmas Day, and came back today - which is Boxing Day, other places, but nobody calls it that here. It really should be called Returns and Gift Cards Day - although I admit it's not terribly catchy - because that's what an awful lot of people do on the day after Christmas, right? You return what doesn't fit, etc, you maybe buy some Christmas junk that's marked down (I used to do that a lot but I don't as much as I used to), and you spend the gift cards that people gave you, often on newly marked-down merchandise. However, we didn't do any of those things today. We got up (terribly, terribly early, by my standards), we went to my aunt's and had breakfast, and then we came home. Rob went to the gym after we got home; I played Marvel Heroes for a while and then went and took a nap, because I only got maybe 5 hours of sleep last night. And then when I got up we watched another episode of Stranger Things and then the Doctor Who Christmas special, which luckily taped because I set it in some past year and it always remembers. I do love U-verse for that (although we are plotting to get rid of the TV portion of U-verse if we can figure out how to make that work - I'm not really sure it's doable at this point but I'll report back if we make any progress on that).

I guess I should back up and talk about yesterday. Oh, no, actually I'll back up to Saturday night (or very early on Christmas morning, really) right after I posted the previous entry. I did paint my nails - the color is Twinkle Lights, if you want to know. I do really like it but it was a bit difficult to get opaque. Between coats of nail polish, I was messing around on the internet like I always do, and at some point I went back into Marvel Heroes and my inventory panel was suddenly chock-full of stuff. Presumably this was a Christmas gift of sorts from Gazillion (who runs the game), although there were two of everything and Col said today that the rumor yesterday was that the doubling-up was a mistake which they just decided not to try to rectify. It was all these different kinds of gift boxes, and I was determined to sort it out before I went to bed, and I felt like it took for-freaking-ever. There was lots of good stuff in there, so I'm not exactly complaining but it did stress me out for a while there. I did still get to sleep at what for me is a decent hour, because I knew I had to get up by 10 or 10:30, so we could get to my aunt's house in time for a late Christmas lunch.

I had talked to my aunt on Friday and I told her that we were leaving about 11, and she said "but it'll take you three hours!" and I'm not sure where she came up with that number, but we made sure to time ourselves because we were sure she was wrong. We started out the door at 11, actually pulled out at 11:15, and got there at 1:30 even with a brief stop at Buc-ees for a bathroom-and-cold-drinks break. so it takes, what, actually about two hours flat, driving time. (Of course there wasn't all that much traffic, on Christmas Day.) I had told her if they got ready to eat and we weren't there, not to wait, and they didn't. We got there right when they were finishing up. I was trying to decide if it was rude not to get there on time, but since they won't actually ever set a fixed time it's hard to work up much guilt there. There were actually still a couple of people lingering at the table and we just fixed plates and joined them, so it was like Christmas dinner, act 2, more or less.

I'm not going to try to distinguish too much between my various relatives, because there's too many of them, but basically, this group of people is composed of my aunt, who is actually my aunt-by-marriage (my uncle died about 15 years ago), my two first cousins who are in their 40s, their four children (between them), and the family of the oldest of those four children (husband & three little girls). (I always just say "my aunt and my cousins" - obviously some of them are actually first cousins at a remove or two,)  Plus there was my aunt's father, who is 103 and not in particularly good health (although he's hanging in there very stubbornly) and his caregiver. He is still living at home but he broke his hip and now has round-the-clock care as of this past year. (I can't imagine what costs them, but he's pretty well-to-do so I assume he can afford it.) The caregiver just joined right in with everything like she was part of the family. This is all a pretty extended family, I imagine you're getting that from this description if you've read this far, and so it has expanded and contracted to include a variety of people over the years. We usually only see them this one time of the year, but they always seem happy to see us, and it's sort of the last remnant of Christmas that we much participate in.

We normally go on Christmas Eve, stay one night, my aunt ritually complains that we don't stay longer, and we normally go on home late in the afternoon on Christmas Day just the same. This year, since we had to work on the 23rd, we begged off coming until Christmas Day. I enjoyed being home on Christmas Eve, as I said in the last entry, but I'm not sure if the logistics will work out to be able to do that every year. (We'll worry about that starting 11 months or so from now.) Anyway, people came and went, we opened gifts, we watched movies at my aunt's house ("Elf" and "Enchanted") and then Rob & I & a couple of the younger ones went down the street to my cousins' house to spend the night, and we watched more movies ("A New Hope" - which I hadn't actually seen in years, I decided - and part of "Avatar" before we finally collapsed. (To connect around to what I said earlier, I got about 5 hours of sleep, woke up at 6am and never did go back to sleep again. I finally gave up and started setting up my new paper planner that I got as one of my gifts.)

It was a pretty good Christmas, overall.
mellicious: pink manicure (retro-style holiday lights)
Well, the junk first of all: If you went to movies a lot in the '80s, like we did, this is a stupendously easy quiz. (A 50-question quiz that 11% of people get 100% right can't be too difficult, after all.) (I did have to guess on a couple, but they don't even make guessing terribly hard. I am kinda the queen of the educated guess.)

We went to see Rogue One again (still love it) and ate lasagne and watched the first episode of Stranger Things. That was our Christmas Eve. Honestly, it beats most Christmas Eves cold, at least the ones of recent years. Tomorrow we have to do the family stuff. I've washed my hair and I need to do my nails and I'm sure I'll think of ten other highly-important things I have to do before bedtime. I can't much make myself care, though.

Stranger Things was pretty awesome, although more of you probably know much more about it than I do. (Does that sentence make any sense at all? I'm not sure, but I'm leaving it like that anyway.) We finished Jessica Jones yesterday (also awesome) and I told Rob that we could watch Stranger Things next if he wanted before we go on to Luke Cage. I don't know that Rob knew anything at all about it, but *I* knew that he would love Stranger Things, it's totally right up his alley. (Speaking of '80s.) It's very, um, early Steven Spielberg crossed with Stand By Me. Or something like that.

Col and I played Marvel Heroes for a while. He is playing Luke Cage and is surprised that he likes it. I liked Luke too (not to mention that he's stupendously hot in Jessica Jones, but I hadn't seen that yet when I was playing him) so I'm not too surprised. Oh, having seen Jessica Jones TV now, I realized suddenly what she's wearing in the game, the other day - it's the "Jewel" superhero outfit that Trish is seen in the series trying to get her to wear. She's been standing talking to Ben Urich in Avengers Tower since I've been playing, and I always wondered what the hell that was she was wearing. (I believe you can also play Jessica as a team-up but I haven't tried it; I'm pretty sure she's wearing something else in that incarnation. And Ben Urich in this game is a younger-looking white guy, in contrast to the older black guy who's in the first season of Daredevil. Reconciling all this now that I've watched half - exactly half - of the existing Marvel Netflix stuff is kind of weird.)

Also (still on the Marvel Heroes track) I spent some money on costumes last week and I now have the girl version of Thor and a couple of Christmas costumes (Daredevil and Squirrel Girl). I'm probably going to feel like I wasted my money on Christmas costumes later but I really like the female Thor. There are actually two female Thors; the other one is Jane Foster (who I think becomes Thor for a while in the comics?) but the one I'm using is the Earth X version, which I really know nothing at all about. She says something about Loki having tricked her into the new body (but she also says she kind of likes it.) Either I read somewhere or Col told me (I have no idea which) that this version, or maybe both versions, won't let anybody call her Lady Thor or anything like that; she's just Thor, still. That's about all I know about that, although I'm interested that they bothered to do two different female voices for Thor. He has a buttload of costumes, too (although not as many as Iron Man) - some of the male ones might have "enhanced" (aka different, rerecorded) voices, too, for all I know. I haven't paid much attention. But I tried playing regular Thor with the default costume and I stalled out about level 30-something. So I was hoping that the different take on Thor would propel me along, and it has - well, I'm still not all that far along in story progression but she hit level 60 tonight, so that's definitely an improvement. I'm not sure why it makes that much difference, exactly, but apparently it does.

OK, that's enough for tonight. I need to go do my nails. Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, or other holiday/nonholiday of your choice. Or Christmas Eve Gift, as my grandma used to say. (Family phrase of unknown origin; I think I end up explaining that one pretty much every year.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Calvin - not fair)
We're almost a week into December and I've barely said a word about Christmas. I did mention having made paper chains and of course I mentioned Holidailies and I mentioned Music Advent, but actual Christmas or gifts or anything? Not really. We do have plans for it but I can't say I'm feeling enthusiastic about it, and I guess that's why. I'm looking forward to Rogue One more than I'm looking forward to Christmas. (I think I said basically the same thing last year - or rather I said that the day we went to see The Force Awakens I felt like a kid at Christmas, which amounts to more or less the same thing.)

Christmas is when I miss my mother the most, for one thing. I try not to dwell on that because I'll be a big bawling mess in no time if I do, but it's true. My mom was very childlike in her love for Christmas, and she liked getting gifts and I enjoyed buying them for her. (She liked giving them too and of course I enjoy getting them, as well, but honestly I loved picking out gifts for her more than anything else. She and I spent so much time together in the last ten years or so of her life, especially, that I always could figure out stuff to give her.) I enjoy buying presents for Rob, too, but it's not the same, somehow. Rob and I are both very pragmatic about gifts and we either pick out gifts for ourselves or we give very clear hints, at least. I think it comes of not having much money for most of our lives together. And I've given up even trying to buy gifts for my sister because for many years she wouldn't have anything to do with Christmas at all, and now she works for a luxury department store (I usually avoid saying the name of it anywhere public, but it's based in Dallas and it used to put out a famous Christmas catalog, you know the one) and anything I could buy for her of that sort she can buy for herself at a discount. I used to send her jewelry that I'd made and stuff, but now I just send her a handmade card and have done, because I can't figure out what else she might want.

My parents have both been gone for a number of years now, but this is the first Christmas Rob has been parentless. Last year he went to Ohio at Christmas because we knew his mom was going downhill fast, and it was good that he did because she died in early January. (And he ended up going back up there for the funeral right in the middle of the Snowpocalypse, remember that? I didn't even go with him, mostly because I freaked out at the very thought of flying... but all that's really another story.) Anyway, all that plus the awfulness of 2016 in general makes it real hard to get into the Christmas spirit, that's what I'm saying.

We are going to do what we usually do at Christmas and go see my aunt and my cousins, who live a couple of hours away and who are the last remnant of my mom's side of the family. Usually Christmas is the only time we see them, most years. Because of Christmas being on Sunday and the fact that we have the whole next week off, we have to work the evening shift on Friday the 23rd like we normally do on any other Friday, and so I told my aunt that we weren't going to try to come on Christmas Eve and we would just come up on Christmas Day. It seemed simpler. Usually we go up there Christmas Eve and it's just a long afternoon of hanging out doing nothing much. I think I'll llike this new way better, actually. And I'm going to try real, real hard not to let a word of politics come out of my mouth.

I guess I should go find some sort of little gift for my cousin's three granddaughters, who are in the sort of 5-10 y.o. range now. I think I have enough stuff to go around for most everybody else. (I'm doing the same thing I've done the past several years for all the female people old enough to wear makeup, and making up little gift bags out of Sephora samples, etc., which they all seem to love. I'll have to take a picture of the pile of stuff I have - I haven't remembered to the last couple of years, but it's usually pretty substantial.)


(I put the "it's not fair" icon up there because I dislike the tone of this entry - I feel like I'm being childish. And I'm not as depressed as it makes me sound, so don't freak out about me or anything. I was tempted to just delete it but I'm not.)

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas excess)
I believe I used the phrase "up in the air" regarding our holiday plans before, and well, now they're really up in the air, because barring weather problems, Rob is going to be in Ohio on Christmas morning, and is coming back home later that day. Rob's mom is apparently sliding downhill fast (she has Alzheimer's) and Rob's brother is worried about it enough that he thinks Rob should make another trip up. So he's going on the 20th and coming back on the 25th. We made the reservations tonight and the plane fares really weren't as outrageous as I was afraid they might be. I'm not sure how much of an emergency it really is but if it was my mom, I wouldn't want to take chances with that. It works out pretty well because he only has to take a couple of days off work, and then he's still got the whole week off after that to be on holiday. I can still do... whatever it is we end up doing with my side of the family, and I don't kid myself that Rob is going to care that much about missing that. And then I can go pick him up on Christmas night.

(We had a string of years starting in 1999 when my uncle was in the hospital over Christmas, and ending, I guess, in 2006 before my mother died, where just about every holiday season got disrupted by somebody's serious illness. That's why I wrote that in the title. But, y'know, there's not much to be done about that.)

So Rob was off today and I had a doctor's appointment, and I started to offer to change the appointment, and then I realized that the doctor's office is right by our favorite little Chinese restaurant, and so instead I kept my appointment and Rob met me at the restaurant afterwards. And then we actually went to the mall, which we hardly ever do, especially in December when it's so crowded. We figured a Monday would be the least-crowded you could get this time of year, and I think that was true, in that we actually were able to find a decent parking space, but it was still pretty crowded. We picked the end away from the brand-new wing, but there were still lots of people around. (The new two-level parking garage was already open, which probably helped with the parking. I had had some vague idea that it wasn't finished yet.) We wandered through H&M and into Sephora, and a friendly Sephora employee saw us looking at Nest perfumes and showed me the last remaining Black Friday Nest gift set, which was three small rollerballs of three different Nest fragrances for $10. I snapped it up without even worrying about which fragrances were in it, because if I don't want them for myself, I can always use them for stocking stuffers.

But that was the only thing we bought other than coffee. We browsed Yankee Candle and Bath & Body Works and I heroically refrained from buying any more candles, which are always one of my weaknesses. I do want to see the new expansion eventually, but I can stand to wait til the holiday rush is over for that, and we didn't venture down that far today. It was a big mall already, even before this last expansion. (They were building this mall when I was in high school. I could pretty much name you the expansions and the changes in the major tenants over the years. It started with Joske's, Montgomery Ward, and Sears - Sears is the only one still there. Joske's got bought up by Dillard's, and M.Ward went bankrupt, what, years ago now.)

2015holibadge-blue.gif
mellicious: pink manicure (madness)
My plan for #musicadvent (I'm using the hashtag because that name came from Twitter) was to start with the first year I can remember at all, which is 1963. If you didn't see any of this last year, the idea here is to pick one song a day, a different year each day. Last year it started in 1989 and worked up to the present, year by year. It turns out that the person who came up with the idea last year had a similar idea to mine for this year - or possibly that's what they were actually doing in the first place, if they're young. (Added: actually she may have gotten the idea from me, at least there's a tweet I missed at the time that makes it sounds like it. I wasn't sure.) In any case, this year the rule is to start with the year you were born and then work onward from there. Because I'm not good at following rules and because I was born in 1960 but the music of the early '60s mostly bores me (and also because I largely came up with this idea in order to have an excuse to talk a lot about the music of the 80s, and starting earlier would mess up that plan), I've decided I'm going to come up with something for 1960 today - I have no idea what, right now - and then tomorrow I'm going back to my original plan of starting with 1963. (The plan for the LJ/Holidailies part of this also includes plans to talk about what I remember about those years and such, and since I don't remember 1960-1962 at all, that wouldn't work for that, either.)

OK, I have looked at the Billboard list from 1960, and I'm going to go with the #1 song here, because it illustrates oh-so-well why I'm skipping ahead: it was "Theme from A Summer Place" by Percy Faith. I went and listened to 15 seconds or so of it, and I swear my blood pressure started going up. I'm going to link to a YouTube video in case you don't know the song offhand, but I can't even bear to embed it.

If you're younger, you may not understand why I hate this song with quite such a fiery passion. Well, of course it pretty much objectively sucks, too, but that's only part of the reason. I grew up on a steady diet of The Percy Faith Orchestra and Mantovani and all that kind of thing (which nowadays is not even anything you hear on elevators, but it's pretty much where the term elevator music comes from). My dad, especially, loved that stuff. My mother had slightly cooler tastes, for her era - by which I mean she liked Elvis, at least - but she didn't care about it enough to try to overrule my dad. The only radio station my dad would listen to was KODA, which even nowadays is "Sunny 99.1" and still annoys the crap out of me, although it doesn't play Mantovani any more, of course. (Actually it's one of those stations that switches over to 24-hour Christmas music sometime in November, and you know how annoying those are.)

You notice I was all neutral about it in the first paragraph and I just said it was boring, and then I actually listened to one of those songs and I was like omgplznoooooo in about two seconds. So much for neutrality. Anyway, you get the idea, I think. Like many things in childhood, I had this shit crammed down my throat, and even in middle age I can still get worked up about it. So I think that's enough said, right?
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas - pink aluminum)
I was thinking on the way home tonight about where we spend Christmas. Rob was reminiscing about a Christmas long ago when one of my cousins was a teenager and it was at "my dad's house" - so he said. This had to mean my mom AND dad's house, before they got divorced, since the cousin is on my mom's side of the family and anyway, we never had Christmas at my dad's after they were divorced. Honestly we never had Christmas terribly often there before that, either. But that was mostly because most years, we went to my grandparents' house, on my mom's side. I know we had Christmas at our house at least a few times - there was a year that I remember laying in bed (then as now, I was pretty much an insomniac) and watching my parents put out the "Santa" gifts - there was a clear line of sight between the front bedroom, where we slept, and the living room, and apparently nobody stopped to think that either of us might be awake. I don't think my parents understood how bad a sleeper I was. (For one thing, I think I thought that I was doing something wrong by staying awake, or at least they would think so, so I didn't say much about it.)

That was at the house we lived in when I was a kid, though. The house that Rob was talking about was the house on the bayou that my parents moved to after I was in college. They lived there for about 10 years, until they got divorced, and then my dad lived there for quite a few years more, although I can't remember exactly what year he finally sold the house - but we never had Christmas there in those years, I know that. In fact I hardly ever saw him on Christmas Day after the divorce. Mostly he spent Christmas with whatever wife or girlfriend he had at the time, after the divorce, and we went on going to our grandparents' house on the other side, like always, until my grandparents both died. We rarely ever spent Christmas with my dad's mother, even when we were young - as you may have already figured out - but usually we would go there at some point, on the way home from the other grandparents'. It felt a bit like an afterthought, quite frankly. (Even my dad liked it better at the other grandparents' house, we all knew that. His mom was not really a fun person, to say the least. She was a good cook, though. We didn't spend the night but we always stayed for a meal.)

We did have at least one Christmas at the bayou house, though, and one Christmas at my sister's house, a few years later, and a few times we went to my uncle's house at least for Christmas dinner, too. I'm sure there were a variety of factors that figured into this that I don't really remember any more. I remember some discussion about keeping my grandmother (probably both of them, really) from having to do too much work. But the outcome of that was that we kept celebrating Christmas just like we always did, we just made sure everybody else did most of the work.

I'll never be able to remember all 50 years of Christmasses, and nobody would want to hear about all of them if I could! But I can't come close. It's interesting to try to sort it all out in my head, just the same.

Santa

Dec. 23rd, 2012 06:32 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas excess)
I was thinking vaguely about doing another Christmas quiz that I saw, but I'm feeling entirely too lazy. (Actually I feel a little light-headed, which had better not mean that I'm about to get sick again. This time of year you never know.) But the quiz had a question about Santa, and that reminded me of this:
Visit to Santa, mid-60s
I think this was probably 1966 - at least my hair matches the other pictures from that year - and I do not look really thrilled about seeing Santa. My sister (the blonde one) looks a little intimidated, too, and she's usually one of those people who lights up any time there's a camera nearby, so it's possible that something else was going on to draw those odd expressions out of both of us! (Look at her body language, that's what I'm looking at. Like maybe Santa's squeezing a bit too tight, or something. I just look kind of bored.)

(We have other Santa pictures somewhere from other years, I'm pretty sure. This is just the one that made it onto Flickr.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas light gif)
Because I have mentioned this topic several times this month: I was surprised to see the Crown Princess in port in Galveston today, since I thought Princess Cruises were not coming to Galveston. Maybe wherever they're going to go in LaPorte - which is inland, up the Ship Channel - is not ready yet. But it was definitely here for today. (In fact, if it's on a normal cruise ship schedule it's probably gone by now. They usually leave around 4 or 4:30, far as I've ever been able to tell.)

It's quiet at work today, but not quite as much as I expected. Really not much more so than any Saturday has been lately. (Hospitals do have to keep functioning through the holidays, after all, though, so campus is never completely deserted, even on Christmas.)

I've been going gradually back through my old LJ entries and fixing keywords (and icons, which also got broken somewhere along the line) - it's interesting to read through those old entries. The keyword I was fixing today was "news" and some of those entries are a bit perplexing to read now. I was talking about current events to an audience who presumably knew what I was talking about at the time, and I didn't always bother to explain to any great degree (or sometimes at all). And most of the links don't work now, of course. Most of it I remembered after thinking about it a while, but there were one or two that I had forgotten about completely.

I also found a reference to the movie "Hollywoodland" which I had completely forgotten the existence of. I had to go look it up before I remembered what it was at all. I vaguely remember it now, but only vaguely. The George Reeves thing, yeah, but what actually happened in the movie? Not really. And yet I quite liked it at the time.

Oh, last night I found About a Boy in the $1 section of OnDemand, so I watched that. I remembered that I liked it, although not a lot about it, either - and Rob also wandered through and got interested, so he's going to have to come back & watch it later. It's a 2-day rental, so if he'll remember to do it we don't even have to pay another dollar. It really is a pretty good movie - it holds up better than a lot of Hugh Grant's movies. (Also, the "boy" of the title is one of the mutants of "X-Men: First Class." I would never have figured that one out without IMDb. He doesn't look much the same at all. And Natalia Tena is in it! - she did actually look the same once I stopped and looked at her, although she was 15 or 16 at the time.)

I did finally talk to my aunt. We are having Christmas dinner at my cousin Brittany's new house, which of course I haven't seen. She also has a new baby which I haven't seen either. (I'm pretty sure I never sent a baby gift, either, come to think of it. Darnit.)

(Yes, my cousin is much younger than me. I use "cousin" extremely loosely to refer to a bunch of first cousins and cousins-once-or-twice-removed and people who I have known all my life - or theirs, anyway - and usually don't stop to figure out my actual relation to. They may or may not be actual blood relatives, but they're all cousins as far as I am concerned.)

Come to think of it, I read the book of About a Boy once too - Nick Hornby wrote it. I remember that it was not quite so heart-warming but y'know, Hugh Grant movies of 10 years ago were required to be heartwarming, it was like a law or something. So not surprising.
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas light gif)
I seem to be somewhat in denial about the onset of Christmas. I have done some things - for example, I dragged out the wreaths a couple of weeks ago, and put them on both the front door and the balcony door. (I like both my wreaths - the balcony one is battery-operated and twinkles merrily every night. I like to watch it, and this is its fifth December on our balcony, so I think you have to say we got our $30 worth out of that purchase.) And I put the big long string of LED lights across the balcony railing, as well. My apartment complex is way into the holiday decorating, and since our balcony is the ONLY one visible from the street, I feel compelled to do my bit there. And I have done part of my cards and have been gradually working on the rest. And I bought Rob some gifts.

But... there are a number of things I haven't done, either. We discussed putting up the tree and sort of abandoned the idea, because it's a pain and we don't have a really good spot for it. I did put out a couple of decor things, so I made a token effort there. I haven't called my aunt and asked about what I should bring - or (hell!) even told her that we're definitely coming, now that I think about it. (I really, really need to do that one, now that I think about it.) I haven't done anything about a gift for Rob's parents. They're at the point where it's really difficult to get them anything they actually want, but I do try to at least make an effort. I'm going to have to think up some last-minute something, there. Although, man, with mailing issues I'm cutting that one close, aren't I? I haven't wrapped presents or gotten any kind of token presents for my aunt and my cousins or any of that, although all of that is stuff I usually do at the last minute, too. But I'm working this weekend so even getting out the door on Monday is going to be a bit problematic. I really do have to do some of this stuff, and some of it had best be TODAY or at least tomorrow, while I still have a week to go.

Hell, now I've worked myself into a bit of a panic. I'm not sure that's helpful. But knowing me, I'll have pushed all this to the back of my mind again in 15 minutes, anyway.
mellicious: pink manicure (HP - Phoenix)
(The title is by way of a trigger warning, I guess. You can't say I didn't warn you.)

I was sitting in the bathtub earlier, thinking about what I was going to write an entry about - I was thinking about Livejournal keywords, to start with, but that will probably be a topic for another day, because my thoughts wandered then to my most-often-used keywords. I suspect that my actual most-often-used keyword might be "meme" although I haven't checked to see what LJ says (and the whole topic of memes might also be another topic for another day) - but certainly a couple of them, over the years, have been "family" and "mom." (My keywords are sort of partially broken, which was the original topic that I was thinking about - but that also means that the keywords you can see at the side of my page now are not necessarily reflective of what I was using back before they were broken.) I don't think I started using "mom" as a keyword until the last year or so of my mom's life, anyway, but if I had been using it every time I mentioned her over the years, it might be the top keyword hands down.

Background, for those of you who don't know this stuff already: my mom and I were really close. We made quilts together. I went over to her house just about every Saturday for many years - usually we had lunch and went shopping a bit and then worked on quilts, that was the normal itinerary, anyway. And well before I started journaling online, in 2001, she was diagnosed with cancer. Then in 2004 she was diagnosed with a different cancer (which might or might not have metastasized from the first one - that's never been clear). The second one was a brain tumor - I wrote a whole entry about the tumor one year as my introduction to Holidailies, which is partly why I assume that a lot of people know this story already. (It was an attempt at dark humor. I'm not real sure how successful it was.) Anyway, the brain tumor worsened kind of abruptly in the last part of 2006 and she died in early 2007 - and then I spent most of that year and into the next dealing with her estate, so that's another year-plus of mom-related entries. It's probably only after Hurricane Ike late in 2008 that I stopped talking about my mom constantly, one way or another.

My dad actually had cancer, as well, and it eventually killed him too, or so we think - he died last May of what was probably complications of prostate cancer. If you are a cancer patient and you die, it's assumed that the cancer killed you, not surprisingly, and autopsies are not routine, so nobody is really sure. My dad and I were not particularly close - his appearances in LJ tend to be more of the venting variety - and besides, by the time he was diagnosed, my mom already had the brain tumor and mere prostate cancer just could not compare. Back years ago when he had multiple-bypass surgery, I rushed to his side and hung around the ICU for days and all that kind of thing, so it's not that I entirely didn't care. But when you have a job and are 100 miles away, it's hard to hang around the hospital for months and years of radiation treatment. Both my parents were more into "years" territory there, and I didn't actually hang around for my mom's either, although I did go up to M.D. Anderson with her a few times. Luckily both of them had spouses/partners who were willing to shoulder the burden of the daily stuff, or I don't know what I'd have done. (I do have a sister, who was in another city altogether and was no help there. That's another topic that came up often in those years.)

So actually this is my first Christmas as an "orphan" - a 50-year old orphan, but an orphan nevertheless. I haven't spent Christmas with my dad for many years, and my mom has been gone for a surprising number of Christmases now - this will be six, I guess - so it doesn't make all that much difference, in an immediate sense. But it's still weird, no matter how old you are.


Added: I mentioned writing about my father in order to vent, and there's certainly a lot of that, if you poke around (some of the venting entries are still friendslocked but others are not), but I feel like I have to point out that I did my fair share of venting about my mom, back in the day, too. I adored her, but she was still my mom and she sometimes drove me crazy, as moms tend to do.

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