Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy Enough Old Year

The evening is underway, as are feline and canine post-supper naptimes. Goss has his front half upended inside the warm curve of his back half, curled in the new chair, and Pen is flaked out on her flank in the floor. I chose "Arrival" tonight; slow-moving and blessedly low on explosions, at least halfway along it is - it's gloomy and murky but not too thinky so far. Seems to be just the ticket for me.

The year has been dwindling down with oddness and pains in my head, a great deal of work around the house, but mostly quiet. It is one of my pensive years, to be rung out alone and contemplating.

Last year was a jangle. Good times with friends, but the car got towed, there was loud music and cigarette smoke. This year, just this; staying in, staying warm. Remembering, and looking forward as as I do: seldom and poorly. The memories are ones which once were so painful, but now only make me who I am. And I am content with that, mostly. Always some work to do.

Life is like homeownership; if you don't have something you think you need to work on, the place'll go to pot.

In two weeks from now, many long months of meeting planning, and two trips to attend them, will be over. I realized this a couple of days ago, to my own surprise. Most of 2017 has been occupied with these events; and now I will be able to just do my day-to-day job. It'll be strange for a little while.

I am as content as the fur-bearing critters, this hour. Never satisfied. But content.

CONTENT NEW YEAR TO YOU, and to yours.

*Raises a glass, be it whatever you happen to like* Cheers!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas is When We're Together

Three years ago, my mom and stepfather, D, and I postponed Christmas a day because both of them had pneumonia, or the flu or something. I don't recall the problem so much as the beautiful day out with Pen-Pen, and the nice, quiet holiday the three of us shared.

The quiet time with just us three has been the nature of Christmas long enough that it is tradition now. But we are willing to change that, and this year the advent of my brother and nieces was a welcome change. D has been ailing for about seven years now, and at long last, the doctors have said it "won't be long." I'm not sure either my mom or I are genuinely capable of  rasping that he ever can die, after so long doing poorly, but logically it's "real" enough we know this is the last family Christmas, probably.

So it was an extra pity when my brother, then both nieces, and finally D, all came down with the flu.

Christmas has ended up still being sort of a small affair for us, even with twice the population. My nieces have been great troupers, putting up with a huge houseful of relations yesterday, most of the day, and opening presents this evening almost as if they were not half-dying, missing out on snow at home, and far far away from their own comfortable beds and puppies.

Tomorrow is fake Sunday. Run the fam to the airport, come home, nap, eat something. We've had Christmas early, and - as far as this can be said given the circumstances - it was pretty lovely.

May yours, if you celebrate, be merry and bright.

As for me, it's about time for a long winter's nap. So Merry Christmas (etc./or not) to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 16, 2017


We use the word Barbarian to presume ourselves better.

It's all about ourselves.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Have you ever found yourself feeling a kind of ... distrust, when you find out someone isn't a reader? Or special admiration, even a crush, on a writer? Even the smallest phrases can be great storytelling; I am able to clearly remember some of the things that have swept my heart away: Beloved Ex's calling me a wonderful bag of things. Humorous, sure. But ... "telling" in a way that was important to me. A girl who once said to me, I have a voice like rain and brownies baking. The friend who called me a flower-eyed waterfall. And Mr. X ... that time he said to me, "You use your wit and intelligence as if your appearance had no power, and the effect is devastating."

Why the self-aggrandizing intro, today? Well, READ on, my friends. On the evolution of storytelling. It keeps humanity alive, literally. And the best storytellers get the greatest rewards, in egalitarian communities. Hmm.

And now, a little consumer culture ...

Of all the people I have known in the 25-year SUV trend, I am aware of ONE who ever used their winch, and none who ever went offroading, or even camping. (In the 1970s, my cousins did have a proto-SUV, but they skiied and camped and hunted and used its immense capacity in full, though not every single time they drove it.) SUVs looked to my contrarian eyes like a Baby Boomer/yuppie fad from the start, and what rugged behavior I ever *have* seen with them seems to be confined to drivers imagining that "SUV" confers upon them not merely invulnerability but also immunity to the existence of others on the roads when it is snowy and/or icy. (Strangely, this does not appy to rain; everyone in this whole town seems to just *crawl* when there is rain, mist, or drizzle anywhere in a 50-mile radius. No matter what they drive.) Anyway, to the link, Batman: on SUVs, and the developing social structure in America, over the past 30 years. As always, there is room for quibbling here. But it's an interesting wider look at "trends" ...

The older I get, the more I LOVE investigative journalism. Doesn't matter when it's a couple or few years old; the detective stories hold up, and truly good writing never goes out of date. Here's a great piece about discovering provenance, and for my writer friends, stay tuned to the end - the bit about publishing a book is priceless.

Here is a joyous(-ish ...) stocking stuffer for you all! More demented cover fails with the Caustic Cover Critic, guesting over at the Australian Book Designers Association. Featuring: Jane AusTIN and Slash. You know you wanna click!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Es Schneet

Last year's tree

I am in the path of the snowstorm, and as far as I know it hasn't stopped for about 25 hours. It's not getting deep, because it's very wet, and where I live (fortunately) it doesn't seem to be accumulating on the roads much. The ploughs, which were surprisingly frequent last night, and wigging Pen and Goss right out every time they passed, haven't been active today. Good sign, I suppose.

It is pretty, and my across-the-street neighbors have played in it a bit; I love to watch them. Little kids in snow is fun.

As for me and the resident Poobahs, we've stayed in. I have accomplished less than I'd have liked to, but the big wardrobe is back in its rightful home (no injuries to me or it), and the tree is up out of the basement. All but four stubborn screws away from having my lower cabinet doors ready to sand and spackle and paint, that's still only half of six doors actually de-hardwared. But, with further messes to make, and work on the house pending this week, there will be no regular housecleaning today. So, of what I need to accomplish, I suppose it is not so bad.

And the paid job has been productive of late. And, after this week's electrician and handyman visits, I'll have the full run of cabinets, range hood, and backsplash.

Thursday, I'll actually decorate the tree; the night we always did it as kids. I have a couple memories to enjoy while I get to that, and the couple of days' activity to anticipate. Then, a big family visit, the best part of the holidays to look forward to.

Puddy (every year)

Channumas is comin' y'all. Who's excited? Who is ready?

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

It was a day ...

... and it is an evening.

One of those days it's hard to keep yourself together. One of those days you feel like this, or this - or wish you did, because actually you are so much more fragile. One of those days you break, because of music. One of those days you are angry - and impotent. Cruelly, inhumanly, inhumanely - impotent. To help, to love, to DO.

It was a productive day. The sort of day you clear out the "pending work" folder and fill the recycling bin. You lob a few balls into other peoples courts, and check off a few things, completed, too. And even still, the sort of day you still have time to realize ... terrible, terrible things. Things you have always known, even articulated before, in different ways. But which still have the power to devastate.

Sometimes, it is a good thing to know that, when I say I am possessed of a  wee and paltry brain, really it is a joke.

Sometimes, it is a burden. To understand too well. And still be powerless. And still be the little girl, who is desperate and too tender and devastatingly weak.

Sometimes, it is a good thing, having a daily routine, having discipline - it keeps us together, most of the time.

Sometimes, it is a burden - the routine, the discipline. Keeping it together. And being devastatingly weak.

It is time to feel this. Instead of maintaining, to succumb.

It is evening.

It is night. Oh, Lord.