Wednesday, December 31, 2003

The last day of the year. Wow. My last day at work for 2003 was yesterday and i certainly went out with a bang. I was carrying a bag out of my manager's office which is right next to the reception desk. Actually, it was 2 bags and 2 additional boxes of stuff which I was going to purchase.

I dropped one bag, or so I thought, but one handle loop was still on my finger. Since I thought I dropped it I tried to step around where I thought it had fallen. Since I did not fully drop it, it sort of dragged with me and I tripped over it which sent me careening toward the desk. I saw the sharpest desk corner litterally an inch from my eyes. There were, of course, several people around to witness this. I am fine having just broken two nails and skinned my knee a little. I thought my back might be a little sore today, but really, I am fine.

Let's hope that marks the beginning of a clodzilla free year!

Tonight we will take the boy to Dave & Buster's and we will leave there by 10 to come home and see the ball drop on TV. Since I am starting the year by working 10-7 tomorrow, that is whoopdedoo enough for me.

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 29, 2003

Yesterday was the last Texans home football game, so also it was the last time we will have our nephew for the day fo rthis season. I just realized how it might be better next season when he is a year older and that is not to say this season was bad, just that next will be better. Then I also realized he will have an infant sibling with him next eason so I am not so sure it will be better...

After he left yesterday, E decided we should go out and do something. We had a fun night out Saturday night going to see "A Christmas Carol" at the Alley so it was a sort of let's extend the holidays sort of idea. Normally we would be home watching Alias but last night it was not on.

We decided to go down to the Montrose location of Slick Willies. We usually go there quite often and have not been in a couple of months. We had heard they were doing a remodel and were surprised to see this had been done. It is a cleaner look than what they had with memorabilia everywhere. The walls are basically bare now though it could be the remodel is not complete. I think we were there about an hour and a half and in that time, after having had a few chicken nuggets at the mall several hours before, I proceeded to drink six, maybe sven beers. After the fifth one I began to feel the buzz slightly and we were having fun regardless. As we drank the last beer, the last of our 18 songs on the jukebox was over and it was time to get soem food.

We took the easy answer of going across the street to MoMong for Vietnamese. That is another place we frequent but had not been to in months. We had the crab claws and then tried the Mushu chicken and also had a beef dish.

Today it is basically work back to normal after the holidays and 4 days off. I have been thinking lately of saying screw healthcare and working just part time. If I do not have many appointments today, I will be thinking about it a lot more.

Friday, December 26, 2003

I was feeling like a slacker for having not taken the time to blog the past few days, but after reading my daily reads today I see it is a pretty even split, so I have no hangover drama surrounding it.

I worked through 5 pm on xmas eve and then went to my father-in-law's house to make dinner. We had mashed yellow potatoes, green beans, grilled toast, and grilled pork tenderloin. It was absolutely divine. Left there around 99 pm and came home with the boy to open presents. We really had a nice night of it. I got some plants to grow from seeds and bulbs, hopefully I will not be killing them. There is an Amaryllis kit and a Sunflower kit. E bought aa Kodak digital camera for the entire family to use, so now I really need to find out how to post photos to a blog.

I got some new cds, some I ordered myself a few weeks ago, some E got me, and 2 I picked up today at Soundwaves. The ones I got today are the newest from my man Sting, "Sacred Love", and a dvd from Sheryl Crow, "C'mon America 2003".

From E are Linda Ronstadt "'round midnight" which is a 2 cd collection of standards with Nelson Riddle and his orchestra. Also, Celia Cruz "mi vida es cantar", still can't catch more than a word or two, but I really dig the latin sound. Then there is Diana Krall "When I look in your eyes", "The Julia Fordham Collection", Joan Armatrading "Greatest Hits", and kd lang "Shadowland".

A few weeks ago I ordered "Vision of Peace: The art of Ravi Shankar", "The very best of Cesaria Evora". "Shirley Bassey Greatest Hits", "Retrospective: The best of Suzanne Vega", and Pure Funk, an as-seen-on tv compilation.

What does one listen to first?

I also got a B and N gift card from my bestest as well as various other gifts from various sources. My mind is just not on the right path to remember it all at the moment.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Tuesday morning. Ugh.

I suppose that is overstating it just a little. I am just not feeling like going to work today or tomorrow. It is time to begin enjoying the holiday season now! But I have yet to earn the benefit of sick days, but holiday or not, I would certainly use one today if I had one to use.

Of course, I will see Paul today at work, so that is a perk, but I am it.

I also do not feel like going to Papu's house tomorrow night to cook dinner. I did, however, commit to doing this and I will be going, but I told E I would be leaving by 9 so we decided to take two cars. Just in case she wants to stay. I would rather she come home with me at 9, and that might happen. We will have to just wait and see. It is sometimes a challenge to not judge others, I am discovering.

My dad got his gift which likely means my mom did too. I was chatting with her the other daY\y and told her it was coming and she said, "Oh, sorry you went to the trouble." Likely that is depression from the death of my uncle 2 weeks ago as it is his home she is staying in at the moment, helping my aunt. She then said that 'they' should just "turn the m in Christmas upside down." I did not want to dive into any sort of philosophical discussion with her, so I just said ok. It really was rather an exhausting conversation.

My women's group met last Saturday, and that seemed to go well. I volunteered to get that up and running as a yahoo group to make it easier for everyone, and there was unanimous support of that. I came home and got it going rather easily and I also took the time to clean out the various lists I run and also to unsub from many that no longer interest me. It was rather an impulsive moment, but it felt good and perhaps it is a kick off to other purging to come. Like the wardrobe purge. But certainlt not the book purge. I just do not see that happening.

Friday, December 19, 2003

I think my shopping is done. I have one more trip to the post office to get my youngest son's package in the mail, and then I can enjoy the holiday. Of course the enjoyment is relative because excepting Saturday, I am working each day until xmas.

On Saturday my women's group meets from 10-1230. After that it will likely be family type stuff...sounds like more work to me!

E's brother is coming to town tonight to spend a few days with dear old dad. As a surprise to Dad, he is bringing the kids who are I think 11 and 8. I think dear old Papu might be more disappointed than surprised. The kids put a bit of a damper on the merrimaking that was on his agenda. I am certain, however, that it will still be a fun time.

After working until 9 this evening, I am scooting over to Papu's house to set up a tree to add to his surprise while he is at the airport picking up his son. E is going to go to the airport too, though he is unaware, because someone has to pick up the kids as Papu has a 2 seater truck. There will be merrimaking until the wee hours I am sure. Of course, I will have my car, E will have hers, so I can leave if I am ready to sooner than she.

Last night I picked up some tools for her, a ratcheted driver with sockets and driver tips, 69 pieces in all, and a multi-tool pliers. I also got a small gift for Hitaji, rounding out my list. The only shopping yet to be done is for les chiens, and their feelings will not be at all hurt if it does not get done until 12/26.

I think Sawyer is getting a new collar and leash, and Nola maybe a new bed and blanket to see if I can get her out of ours. I hold no expectations around that, but maybe... I will also get them some new booda bones and some puppy treats. The treats will come from Three Dog Bakery and I hope to pick them up on Saturday after my group.

Fa la la la laa la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I got all my hair cut off yesterday...wooooooooohooooooooooooo...

It has been short for most of my life, but ervery once in a while i get a most excellent super-short haircut and I am reminded how it should be. It is rather pixie-like and, umm...well...short!

Snap your's that long.

I have been looking here and there for a flight for my son to come for xmas, but have yet to find one cheap enough. There is one for $245 which I can afford, but it has him returning to his dad's on nye at 10:45 and that would be rather mean on my part. I feel like I need to look deeper and see what the real reason is that I remain uninspired to buy him a ticket. Might connect to having to deal with the pimp-daddy wannabe mentality he has lurking beneath his surface. I just do not know.

Tomorrow is my last available day for shopping. I did some tonight at JCP and got E some more socks and panties that she likes, and I can of course still hit other stores at the mall on my lunches on my remaining work days before the holiday. Like the Godiva store, Origins, Sephora, Williams Sonoma...oh wait, those are all stores for me... I think I will pick up a multi tool plier knife thing we have as well as a ratcheting screw driver set...totally dyke gifts, available at your local JC Penney.

Not much else going on. Baked a fabulous cream cheese pound cake and might make another one tomorrow. Also cookie baking is on the agenda. And shopping, and the post office.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Tis the season to go shopping...

We went to a new place for lunch today, or at least new to us. I think it has been open less than a year, though. Annabelle's Diner is somewhere we will likely frequent for a while to come. We started with the spinach dip which was served with pita chips lightly fried in olive oil then dusted with parmesan. OMG!!! They were outstanding and the dip was rich and creamy. I cannot wait to go back there and have that again.

E had the corn clam chowder and it was served in a hollowed out bread bowl. Very good. I decided to try a different soup and had the crawfish bisque. Again, very good, rich, creamy...and the crawfish were nicely tender, not at all overdone.

Of course, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we ordered a pizza to split. It was a moderate size, either small, for two, or decent sized for one. We got shrimp and roasted garlic with fresh basil and cheese with a white cream sauce rather than the other choice of tomato sauce. We each had a small piece and it is sitting in a to-go box in the freezer.

Everything was delish and we will be going back again, and again. I have not been inspired to do a review for EP for a while, and I think one of Annabelle's will pretty much write itself.

After lunch, we went to Ikea to walk off the food and get the next piece of our closet room, another double Pax wardrobe unit. I think the next piece will be a single, or if we decide we need the room, maybe another double that we will el around the corner of the room. Then we will get the doors too, but we need to decide if we need more hanging space or not first. I think we will get the wardrobe put together tomorrow.

We also bought a sideboard table which we decided to use on our open pantry wall rather than building it out with base cabinets. I think it was a good decision, and I will post a pic of the finished pantry if I ever figure out how to do that here. The sideboard took a little bit of time to put together, interrupted by e having to go pick up her son, so that is why the wardrobe is waiting until tomorrow.

I finally brought the boxes of ornaments in from the garage today. One box has been gone through and is actually mostly on the tree. there are three more tubs, maybe 4, which would mean one tub is MIA, still out in the garage somewhere. I will know more once I get the rest unpacked...tomorrow.

Tomorrow's to-do list is growing...

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I was up until after three a.m. Not really a problem as I have the day off today. When I woke up this morning, I looked over at the clock nd it read 12:47. I thought it was odd that I actually slept til after noon, but then I saw that the clock was flashing, indicating that the power had gone out. It was actually some time before ten.

I have to pick up some movie passes today at four, and I think I am also going to go do some shopping down in the Rice University Village shops. There is an awesome bead store there, and I have a few necklaces I want to restring, so that is one of the stops I will make to see what they might have to supplement the beads I will be redoing.

There is also a small store, a house actually, called The Blue Hand. It is an eclectic mix of gift items imported from around the world. There are a lot of artist items, jewelry, gauzy clothing, folk art, tribal get the picture. I have been there only once before and I got a string and bead necklace, very delicate, for $4.95. Now you know why I am anxious to return.

Also in this shopping area there is a 10,000 Villages store. "Ten Thousand Villages provides vital, fair income to Third World people by marketing their handicrafts and telling their stories in North America." Go to their website to see if you have a store near you. The stores are staffed mostly by volunteers and there are often appearances in-store by touring artists. Most of the artisans are women and the prices are pretty reasonable.

If there is still time, I will also browse the Half Price Books location in the village as a girl can never have too many books!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

As I awoke this morning, I was having the most bizarre of dreams. The dogs were barking to be let out and I thought my girlfriend had already left so i was fighting the dream, where I wanted to remain, because I knew that if the dogs were so excited to be making so much noise, then either someone was at the door or someone had to pee. When I realized my girlfriend was still home, it was rather disorienting and the dream was pulling me back to bed.

The dream:

I was standing at the base of a huge hill looking up at a mansion-like house. There was no perceivable way to get to or inside the house. Then, Lauren Hutton appeared and told me that she would show me the way and that I need only to trust my instincts and all would be okay.

She took me through a doorway in the side of the hill and we were immediately in the dark underground. There were snakes, worms, and a myriad of other icky crawlie things.

My reluctance was more than apparent and Lauren repeated her earlier words. "Trust your instincts and all will be okay." She then beckoned me to follow her.

I followed her and all was fine as I went through a doorway without incident. The second door led to a glassed off acquarium style wall. Through the glass I could see huge loooooong eels everywhere through the weeds and dark murky water. There was a portal to dive into and once again i was hesitant.

Once again I heard the same soothing reminder from Lauren, "Trust your instincts and all will be okay." Once again I followed taking a deep breath and divng in.

When I came out of the water, I was coming out of a clean pool inside of the house. Italian marble tile and columns reaching to the ceiling. It was a marvelous exquisite place. Lauren was on a poolside chaise in a long white billowy goddess-style dress.

The dogs were still barking as I got up to let them out.

I was recounting this dream to a coworker today and she was telling me that snakes, in dreams, symbolize death. I found that curious as I had heard right before bed about my uncle's passing and wonder if the connection is to him or to another, perhaps impending death.
I found out last night that my uncle passed Sunday morning. He has had lymphoma diagnosed more than a year, and after a stem cell transplant that ha could not have, the docs estimated he might live til Thanksgiving. My mom is with my aunt as she has been there to help out for most of the past year or so as my aunt had a lung transplant in August of 2002.

It is all an interesting dynamic. She and my dad are both so much happier apart, yet I am fairly certain there will be no divorce. I imagine she might stay to help my aunt through her grief and also help her maintain for more of her own recovery.

Funeral is Thursday, cremation to follow.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

I was going to blog this morning but blogger was not available. Of course, I have no idea now what I had to say, other than it was something totally necessary and relevant.

And now it is another time.

Laundry time...

Saturday, December 06, 2003

I went to the premiere lesbian social event of the season last night and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. There was a group of four I was officially with and another who sort of joined us who was someone new to me, but the others knew her. I drove so had just a few beers which facilitated having to get up this morning.

The party was at Carol's house. Her house is totally amazing. It is huge, considering she is just one person, certainly enough room for the 300 or so lesbians in attendance to mingle. There is a large foyer where the admission system was set up, and to the left of the entry is a library alcove with a polished marble floor where the tree was set up. Up the stairs to the left was a pool table with a balcony that overlooks the merry making. Out back is a rather large deck where the bar was set up, and off the kitchen is a breakfast nook which housed the buffet of heavy hors d'oeuvres.

Carol does a weekly email newsletter of social events, and that she puts this party on each year, giving her time, and especially her home, is just a genuine gift to the community. The admission is also a fundraiser for a community charity, this year benefitting the Montrose Clinic and Counseling Center.

I saw at least a dozen women I am acquainted with by name, and a few more I know to see around. It was a nice occaision to get to know some of these women a little better, and to meet a few more along the way.

One woman we were talking with arrived with her sister who ditched her there, and the person who agreed to take her back to her car also left unannounced, so I took her to her car as it was somewhere not at all convenient, sort of on the way in a round aboout sort of fashion.

It will be nice to recognize more faces when we go to Meteor next time, and E will be curious as to how the conversation was enough that I know more people...I am such a chick magnet!

I was home at 2:30 this morning. Yawn.

This morning I got up and went to get my nails done, then I got some yarn to make a scarf for E and a plain wreath to hang on the door. I then went to pick up the dogs from the doggie Hilton, and I think a nap might be in order before I work on cleaning up around here and getting more of the holiday decorations out and about.

Yes...a nap is definitely in order.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

I cannot believe it is December 4th. No matter how many references I make here to time flying past, I will still have trouble believing it.

I was off yesterday and had a lovely day. It was 70 degrees or so, and it was just a good day to be out running around. E finally has a cell phone! I added her to my plan and gave her her phone amidst a garden of tropical blooms. Well, really we were at Cornelius. I went to see about getting a wreath but when I saw the prices for them I decided my dolllars were better spent on some of the gorgeous plants they had. I got a small cyclamen, a mini rose bush, a small christmas cactus, a pencil cctus and a small jade like plant and only spent thirty bucks. The wreaths started at forty-four so it was a good compromise. Maybe I will pick up an artificial wreath this weekend at Target or Garden Ridge.

The cell phone for E was timely in that she is going to Dallas this weekend to her Aunt P's for the twinkle parade at the marina where they house their boat. I have to work and will be attending one of the premiere lesbian parties of the holiday season with my friend Irina, whose girlfriend will also be ut of town, and a mutual friend ot ours, more hers than mine, Mimi. It should be fun, though less so without E.

Time to scoot to yoga...

Monday, December 01, 2003

Lately I have been working on memoir pieces inspired by photographs. If someone knows how to post a pic directly without linking, please let me know via comments or email.

Oh Christmas Tree

The six foot artificial tree at People’s Drugs was one of the cheesiest I have ever seen, and even though it was a bargain at just $19.99, I still had to wait until I had enough extra cash to pick one up. Tips were good that year, Christmas of 1987, but there were always higher priorities such as presents...and food.

Two days before Christmas, my determination to get one of those god-awful trees rose to its peak. I popped into the drug store on my way to the bus stop after work, only to discover they were sold out. I cried all the way home on the bus not bothering to make any efforts to conceal it.

My oldest son was not yet four and was spending the holidays with my parents in upstate New York, my home until the previous spring when I had taken the giant risk of relocating to Virginia. I had met my ex-husband, then boyfriend, soon after settling in Norfolk, and it was our first Christmas together. We were so very much in love and I wanted everything to be absolutely perfect. Now we would have no tree, slightly less than the perfection I had been hoping for.

I had pitiful few ornaments and a single strand of lights. I was late arriving home that night and I went straight to bed to cry my eyes out some more. On Christmas eve I had to work eight to five, so there was little to be done about finding a tree or other decorations as everything would be closed down before I was through for the day. The manager I worked for at the time was a miserable human being, and even if time had permitted, she would have never allowed me the time to search for a tree. By that time, even a Charlie Brown Christmas tree would have been preferable to none at all.

I was twenty-three years old at the time and so very much in love. Truly, this was my first serious relationship, though I already had a three year old son from my previous thought-of-at-the-time as serious relationship. I had finally learned the difference, and I wanted to make this holiday special. How does one make that happen at the worldly-wise age of twenty-three without a tree?

I got home on Christmas eve at about seven and had the brilliant idea to string the lights up on the wall in the shape of a Christmas tree and then tack the pitiful few ornaments I had onto my beloved tree. It simply wasn’t enough and the tears I thought already exhausted returned. Once I calmed down a little, I thought to add the holiday cards I had received, but still the tree remained pitiful. I then arranged the few presents I had “under” the tree. I was so extremely upset and forlorn for lack of a tree.

My boyfriend came over sometime later that evening and found me in the dark, sleeping on the couch. He was careful not to wake me as he placed his own gifts under the tree. He then saw the plug and plugged it in. Though the light was dim, it was enough to wake me and I smiled in surprise at the tree, the soul source of light in the room as it twinkled and brought yet a few more tears to my eyes, this time tears of joy.

We sat in silence just watching the tree lights twinkle. Christmas day was pleasant as we relaxed together and enjoyed each other’s company. The presents were meager and few, but the presence was spectacular, especially when viewed in silence at night.

As it happened that year, the day after Christmas fell on my day off. I made my boyfriend persevere the post-holiday sale chaos at K-mart so I could buy a suitable tree for subsequent Christmases to come. I bought a decent eight foot tree, for $19.99.