Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year

May 2009 be Most excellent for us all.



video

Monday, December 29, 2008

Testing, testing

I'm figuring out how to use the video portion of my camera. Wish me luck!


video

Yikes, I've gotten old and jowly. Ah well, my time machine is broken, the face I have is the face which will have to do.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Come On, New Year!

I need a new year. A do-over. I thought I was doing alright about my brother, but I can tell I'm down and in denial. Quite okay, that's the way it works, some days will always be better than others. So unfair to lose him at such a young age ... 58 is nowhere old enough. I miss him. I went through my jewelry to sort it out, and there were all the wonderful things he'd made for me over the years. What upset me was the bag of loose stones, and now there is no one to make beautiful pieces. Crap. That's not the point, the point is I'll never pick up the phone and hear, "Hi, it's your Rotten Brother." He won't drop by to chat. We'll never hit the thrift stores or rock shop again. Crap. I miss him a lot today.

On Friday, Larry headed down to West Valley to pick up his semi to deliver Coors to Spokane. We were worried about the route, there's been several interstate closures with this past storm. He was driving Boo, our little blue Scion, and was scarcely at the foot of 89, near Uintah, when Crunch! A pick up had turned north out of Uintah where there is no light, and cut off a car. That car spun out and smashed into Larry. He'd come to very nearly a full stop, but couldn't get out of the way. So little Boo is in the shop and we're waiting to hear from the adjuster. Larry did go have his wrist checked out because it hurt so much, but he's fine, just rattled and bruised. Early Saturday, when I was sound asleep, he left in the TrailBlazer. He spent the night in Missoula, and should make Spokane tonight. If the pass isn't closed, who knows?

I'm still sending out Christmas cards. I knew I didn't have them all out, I was waiting for snail mail addys in a couple cases, and got a couple cards unexpectedly. Yeah, I'm down, and I forgot to get them all done. Only heard from one of our old Navy buddies, and only one card from a great-aunt. Nothing from the aunts, the cousins, on my side. Larry did get a card from a cousin, the one who organizes the family reunion and had all our addresses. Sue sent lovely gifts, although smaller ones than normal; she may lose her house this year. The Breedens did send a little card, take notes people, that's my EX-husband's family. I got the most cards from burner, online and skiffy friends. I know stamps and cards cost money, and I don't expect cards from people we talk to on the phone often, or those who are in touch with me online, but as for the rest of my family ... come on, once a year wouldn't kill you! Bah, humbug!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holly Daze

On the 20th, I am having a Solstice party. This was planned weeks before my brother died. I don't want to take it back, I want to go on, I just am not feeling it.

I got all the bows and beads and poinsettias up in the kitchen. I got the holly garlands up downstairs, but they are breaking. The plastic must be brittle. All the lights are in the windows and I have hung my stockings and put up the garlands in teh front room. Did a lot of good cleaning, but I had to climb on and off chairs to reach the high places. My foot hurt like hell.

I'd been to the doctor, the x-rays show nothing wrong, there is no swelling or bruising. I did not see my regular PCM, this was a civilian filling in. Oh, I could take celebrex ... wait a minute, I already am. Stay off the foot and wear stiff-soled shoes. If it still hurts in a few weeks, I might be able to see a foot doctor. Right. In the meantime, I am in a great deal of pain if I try to get anything accomplished.

The kitchen table is cleared off and decked out with my beautiful linens, I brought up Mom's roombox and filled it with Christmas miniatures. Larry's medieval silver pieces are in my curio cabinet now. I got the tree up, and the red wooden beads and the silver beads and the topper and skirts on it. I have the ornaments out, but I don't feel like unwrapping each one. Why bother? It won't make me happy. But I know better, and I will get it done. What was a joy feels like a chore.

I have to get the living room downstairs clean and clear, bake cookies and breads and cakes and pies, get art supplies for the suns, tidy the guest room, vacuum, haul out all my serving dishes. Seeing all my friends will bring me a lot of tears and smiles.

The cards are sitting, waiting for me to lift a pen. I do not want to do them. Maybe I can wait?

I will get back to normal, I do bounce back. I just hate the sad times in between.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Great Christmas Road Trip 1980

I had spent my first Christmas in the Navy in bootcamp. We did get to open cards and the chow hall served a nice feast. Pretty boring day. However, my next Christmas was in Great Lakes while I was still in A school. I was a petty officer third class by then; this is when the ET schools awarded the crow at ten weeks. I decide to fly home for Christmas. I knew my parents weren't there, Dad was still working in Saudi and Mom was with him. The only person I had who I could stay with comfortably was my brother Larry. As children we never got along. He was seven years older, I was the only baby girl and spoiled. As I grew up and he mellowed out, we became fast friends. Enough so some people thought I was his girlfriend we hung out together so much! (euw)

He had a little apartment and a wandering ferret who nibbled toes. He wasn't working a full time job, there was no tree, and I wasn't up to visiting the aunts and cousins. So Larry and I decided to hit the road into Southern Utah where the weather was warmer. Maybe visit Four Corners because we'd never been to the place where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet. We hopped into his bright orange Chevy Nova and off we went.

Driving into Southern Utah isn't difficult, we had no map, but there were plenty of signs. We stopped for lunch in Capitol Reef N.P.; I'd made an "Engine Stew" by wrapping meat and veggies in foil and placing it on the manifold. Yummy! And the scenery was amazing, of course. As we drove south, there was holiday traffic on the road, but it steadily decreased. Late in the afternoon and low on gas, we realized we should have headed for Blanding after we left Hanksville. Oops. We were headed for Bullfrog Basin on Lake Powell on Christmas Eve. There wouldn't be a soul there! We'd be stranded for days!

What to do? We saw a sign which read: Escalante. 75 miles. Dirt road, drive at your own risk. I now know this is the unpaved Burr Trail. It didn't look too bad, very well-graded. So we risked it. Soon we reached a low flat river, the Western kind that's shallow. I waded through the ford and he followed in the car. So far so good! Then we reached a hill. The red dirt was shadowed, the sun was dipping. No choice but to drive up the switchbacks. I was a little dismayed when I saw the empty red car stuck in the bank over a deep drop. Yikes!

We reached the top of the plateau. The sun was setting and the needle on the tank touched "E" for the first time. We kept driving, five to ten miles per hour. The sun set and we got our first taste of back country dark. That's really, really dark, but there's so many stars! The trail led into a canyon. Here the soil and rock was not red, it was ghostly white. Shadowy trees and thick bushes lined the road. Both of us got the chills and creeps at the same time and swore that if the car ran out of gas, we'd not set a foot out of it in the dark. Spooky doesn't begin to describe our sense of impending doom. We kept driving.

Pavement! We were overjoyed! We limped into the sleeping town of Boulder and parked under a large tree in front of a small gas station. In the night, the owner came out to fill her sons' trucks. She sold us gas and gave us a map. Hmm, Escalante was still a good long ways away; that "75 miles" meant the length of the Burr Trail, not the distance to a town! Larry decided to keep driving to Kodachrome Basin.

There was an old-fashioned radio show on, the Twilight Zone I think. The story was about a man and a woman driving in the night on Christmas Eve, and the road was empty, they were lost without gas, the road bordered by fallen logs. We were spooked now! Turns out they were toys in a toy cars and the logs were pine needles from the Christmas tree. Whew, we whistled the theme song for miles afterward.

Leaving the pavement once more, we bumped over the ruts of the unpaved road into an unknown state park, the low slung Chevy moaning and groaning at us. We found a clear spot and parked, falling asleep soundly, one of us up front and one in the back.

Christmas morning in Kodachrome was spectacular, it was more undeveloped than it is now. We were parked under an enormous stone pillar washed with sunlight, showing all the glorious colors of Red Rock Country... reds, pinks, salmon, white and cream and beige and rose ... just beautiful. I was cold and cramped from sleeping the car, hungry because all we had to eat was chips, but it was a wonderful Christmas morning. Even driving down to the Grand Canyon didn't compare to that morning, nor stopping in Vegas because I had gotten violently ill from food poisoning and Larry took $20 and turned it into $700 at the craps table ... no, that morning in Kodachrome Basin with my brother was a Most Excellent Christmas gift.

Thank you, Larry.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

...just like that.


My brother is gone. Cardiac arrest just after midnight. As we know, he'd had cancer, and that terribly risky stem cell transplant. Well, in the last week he had caught a cold. Apparently he couldn't kick it and was failing. The SIL called, he was in the ER and they were trying to stabilize him to get him flown down to LDS ICU where they can do the specialized isolation care. He got there but they couldn't keep him going.

We've contacted the Red Cross to get Jeremy home.

I have a lot of issues right now. A lot.

Life is too short, far too short and often unfair. Grab that rascal and wring every drip drop possible from the wretched thing.

The last gift I gave him was a Star Trek Communicator ornament. Lights and sound, he loved it. When I went to sleep, I knew he had been in the ER and was headed for ICU. What did I dream of? Receiving a garbled message through my matching communicator. I could hear the voice and strained to catch the words but they were too faint and fading. I will need to sleep, and to dream, to find his farewell once more.

See ya later, Rotten Brother.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thankful ... that I live in Utah.

I have returned from the wilds of Wonderful West Virginia. I love my hubby's family, I really do. I just don't love spending time with them all that much.

We flew into Pittsburgh. Larry prepaid for a full tank of gas because we thought we were going to drive down to his mom's house and/or to the farms. This was not to be. We spent the first night in Morgantown with his sister, which was cool as we got to chat while she cooked. Broccoli casserole and sweet potato casserole with pecan topping, and raw cookie dough for the girls the make cookies. She's a real sweetie! Her king-sized bed was comfortably spacious, but far too firm. I could feel the S curves of the springs, ouch.

Turkey Day and we're off to Independence, WV. His other sister has a nice house on 15 acres in the woods. Deer and squirrels and all that very nifty country living. His sister from Ohio was there with her family, and his mom and dad came to stay the weekend also. We got the bed in the loft. I forgot my feather snuffles and had to ask for different pillows, but we did have the honor of the best bed in the house. No privacy in a loft, but you can't have everything.

Ah, dinner. The turkey was perfect, the stuffing was good, different from what I am used to, but very good. There were rolls and veggies to munch, and a spectacular artichoke dip. Of course, I couldn't have more than a bite of mashed potatoes or cranberry sauce, what with all my stupid food sensitivities.

And then there was dessert. No pie. No pie, you say? Nope, no pie of any kind. There was green marshmallow fluff, and banana cake with cream cheese icing, and pumpkin cake squares with Oil-Whip, and sugar cookies and thumbprint cookies and marshmallows covered in chocolate with sprinkles and candy and some s'mores bars made from graham crunch cereal which I really truly enjoyed, but not one slice of pie. Pie is too sweet and fattening. I think there were apple pie intentions, but there was so much food that pie never happened.

I think you come to love your family traditions, and when it isn't your family, those traditions don't fill the emotional gap. Just as every family is weird in their own way, and you get used to your own family weirdness, and find it uncomfortable to endure other families' weirdnessess.

Tomorrow: family weirdness.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Better

I feel much better today, actually did a couple chores on the new chore list. I make a chore list each week and chip away at the little things to be done. There's always art of some kind on the list.

I restarted my Tamoxifen. I'd forgotten how interesting hot flashes could be.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No change

Still bleh and sniffly and sickish.

The swollen vein in my palm (from Tuesday) has gone down and doesn't hurt half as bad. Scared me a lot though. I couldn't use my hand at all without it stabbing and pulsing and throbbing. Aging sucks.

Getting the dishes run through the dishwasher was a major chore. I'd started the kitchen floor, but when Desi came over, she had to finish up for me. I had to wait until Larry was home to move everything back in place. And my floor still looks funky to me. It needs a hands and knees scrub. Riiiight.

Went to base yesterday, eye appointments, new glasses, commissary, gas at the minimart. The glasses take about aweek, but they're tons cheaper than Lenscrafters. I have new single vision s for far seeing, and a second pair for reading. My sunglasses can wait for next month or so.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What?

I'm congested and running a fever. I'd thought I was coming down with a cold last week, but it never materialized. I was so sure it was so sure it was a sodium benzoate reaction. I even looked up all the foods in which benzoates occur naturally. I got very depressed about that. So when I felt cruddy this morning, I thought maybe I'd scarfed down too much apple cake (apples, pumpkin and spices are sources). But no, I still feel awful and now I feel like I have a fever.

I give up.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Again? and Random Piccies












Halloween was fun; Desi and I sat out on the porch while she carved a pumpkin. Trent came over with Jack, the chubbiest cutie-pie baby ever. Jack's eight months old, he was wearing a size 12~18 month devil costume with little black wings. Did I mention he's a big baby? So cute! The guys got home about the time it began to rain. We hauled in the Halloween decor, threw on costumes and headed for RHPS downtown Ogden at the Peery Egyptian.

I couldn't find my Criminologist tie, so I dressed up as Hunter S. Thompson. Made sense to me. Larry wore his black kilt and tails, Desi was wearing my Stewie jammie pants and We Do the Weird Stuff tee, Genius had on my Star Trek uniform shirt. It worked. He and I did most of the callbacks! Larry and I did the timewarp on stage pre-show. At one point, someone behind me yelled, "Shut up!" I turned around and informed them that this was frickin' Rocky Horror, what did they mean, shut up? All part and parcel of the experience, folks!

The days have gone rapidly from mild and cool to cold and rainy. The maple has dropped a ton of golden leaes in the back yard and is stilll wearing plenty of green. Larry raked in the rain today, but he didn't seem to mind. Actually, he used the snow shovel!

Last night he brought in wood, one piece had shelf fungus on it. Fungus, mold, mildew, they're worse triggers than smoke for me. I had one of the nastiest asthma attacks I've had since Japan. That time Larry called an ambulance. This time I almost asked him to take me to the ER, my breath meter was in the red zone. I mean, the thing said I was barely breathing! The rescue inhaler took care of it. Tonight was cold, so Larry lit a fire while we watched Stardust (great movie, btw). I was fine until he put in the pine bark. Now I feel tight-chested and it hurts. Scary, but I have the inhaler. He's gone off to Genius' party to say hi. I am going to have some nice hot tea and albuterol.

I screwed up my Tamoxifen. I thought I'd renewed the prescription, but I had only not thrown out the old bottle. I hopped online to refill it; I get three months at a time from Express. But no! Oh no! The script had expired just two weeks ago. So I am stuck without the estrogen suppresor for a few days until I can call the oncologist. I'll be fine I am sure, but in the meantime, I'm having random hot flashes. Bastard!

We took the family silver to my brother today. We're talking sterling, not silverplated crap. He'd just had his 25th anniversary, and they do have holiday and family dinners more often than I do, so I was alright giving the set to him and the SIL. I priced Gorham online, wow. That's a chunk of change. I also gave him an early Christmas gift, a Hallmark Star Trek communicator ornament that lights up and has sound. Captain Kirk and the crew talking, you can get it to mimic a conversation. Hilarious!

Pics: apple-pumpkin cake (there was maple drizzle later), whole wheat egg bread, haunted dollhouse, how much Halloween crap can I own? Fat Harry. The Buckys ... note the new baby. Yet another truly terrible self-portrait: Me, Doing the Weird Stuff.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday ... oh. Wait a minute.

Tuesday isn't it? Larry's dispatcher told him there was nothing going, so he made an appointment at the Ogden Clinic to take care of his dripping, rotten sinuses. Two types of antibiotics. Then we swung by the Ice Sheet to vote. I'd lost my Utah handbook, so had to read up on the amendments quickly. Mostly yes and one most assuredly NO. I'm glad we went, now I don't have to hustle a ride on the 4th, and Larry won't miss out. This is do time people!

Pondering, pondering. Dr. Horrible is seeping into my life. Hmmm.

A fellow twitterer is following me on twitter, an applicant for the Evil League of Evil, Fury of Solace. Nice name and he can sing. So, am I evil enough? Hmmm. Maggiemayday is an alias from the George "Don't get mad get even" Hayduke days. Crappy writing or not, I am on paper as a freelance payback artiste. Mayday, not as in the lovely first of May, but of Mayday! Mayday! You are going down in flames! So that's kinda evil. Not rule the world evil, just personal vendetta evil.

And then there's "Anti M". That sounds nice and evil, but it is a burner playa name, and some people actually use without irony as my given name in RL. How can it be an evil alias then? Nope. Anti M is the kindly yet snarky Matron of The Home for Wayward Art. I do encourage throwing Really Bad Art to the flames, but I try to find Lost and Found and generally trashy art new homes. That's not very evil at all. And I am Auntie M to my nieces and nephews. However, I do like the concept of Evil Art influencing unsuspecting victims. "Just hang that nice picture of the hypno poppies in your foyer, dear."

There's Death's Shadow, where death goes I am at his heels, an assassin. But that's evil for a paycheck, not evil for evil's sake. Skilled ot not, that's almost Henchmen's Union territory. And the alter ego of an alter ego, so that's too far removed, and cheesy to boot.

Am I badass enough for the H.U.? Hmm, nope, neither badass nor subserviant enough. I have done the sidekick thing when I was younger, being the quieter of the Yanqi Kids duo. I always was the Mastermind of that little crowd; I would come up with hilarious acts of teenage terror and my friends would carry them through, led by my best buddy Doobie. Seems like I always was somewhere else when things fell down and they got their tails in a sling. So that was evil in a modest way. Mastermind is good. I can direct henchmen.

Is there then a middle management position for evil? A sort of den mother/housekeeper of evil? The Evil Clearinghouse, the evil think tank matron, the evil braniac homemaker? I envision a large clattering ring of keys on my waist, with which I can kill with a single "clank"! And a plate of tempting cyanide cookies and arsenic warm milk. Auntie Evil. Death in a charming roly-poly grandmotherly package. "Eat your veggies, dear, or you'll never rule the world."

Evil Mrs. Santa, who boffs the elves and makes venison jerky in the off season. Killer toys, hmmm? I have the outfit for that!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

DeCompression 08









Marvelous party! The venue was great, the Jellyfish warehouse. There was a good entrance way for ticket sales; a large area for dancing and the bar, an upstairs balcony for art and relaxation, plus a fenced and gated outdoor area with a fire pit and sofas and the portos. Very nice! The decor was fabulous, the set-up crew did an amazing job. And the band ROCKED. I've completely forgotten their name, but will look it up.

I went as a MOOP Princess. MOOP, as we know, is matter out of place, i.e. trash. I wore a hoop skirt embellished with trash bag ruffles, baby wipe fluerrettes, shredded wings with a mardi gras bead/plastic cup cascade. Dead glowsticks and zip-ties embellished the bodice, dead ciggie butts sparkled on the tiara, and the earrings were made of condoms. My picture was taked a lot, I hope someone gets a better one than what was one my camera. The skirt slipped right before my picture was taken with my camera. the first row of ruffles is supposed to be up against the bottom of the bodice. Ah well, wardrobe malfunction of the un-sexy kind. arry wore a silky monk's robe I made for him.

I danced, had some mai-tais, chatted a lot. So many beautiful people. I was sad we had to leave early. Larry is working today.

We took the Buckys, of course, and a new installation called Bodies of Light. That's the Victoria's Secret clear manneqin torsos on VS panty tables painted black. The torsos are filled with LED lights, some strands, some color-phasing snowflakes. We knew it would look good, but once it was set up, it looked amazing. I couldn't get a decent picture of it, but I do want it to be displayed sometime again. As usual, I didn't get enough pictures. I never do. I wish I'd gotten a decent shot of Dean's wood sculptures, he is very talented. Hot Jesus was supposed to go in the raffle, but I was leery because there were a number of non-burners and I wanted the Very Special piece to go to burners who would love him. So I withdrew him from the raffle and sent him to a new home. I painted a Vortex Poppy, I very much liked it. I can hardly wait to see who got the painting. I hope they like it!

Sigh, Time to unpack the trailer.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Farewell, Yakkums






My hamster Yakkums died yesterday, or perhaps late Monday. I didn't see him all day Tuesday, but he's nocturnal so I wasn't worried. When I went to check on him before bed, I thought it was odd he hadn't taken the pistachios Larry had put in the cage on Monday afternoon. Yak loves them, and stashes food immediately. He wasn't in tower saucer, so I reached in his bed nest in the bottom of the cage. He was all curled up, like he was sleeping, so cute, but stiff and cold. Wah! And his fur was all soft, it really did look like he was sleeping. Larry won't be home for a few days, so I had to put Yak in a box in the freezer. He'll be buried out back, near Keeper. Wah! I know, just a little hamster, they don't live long, but it still made me cry. He was two years old or so.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mundane World

Paying bills, catching up on blogs and community sites. Sewing Decompression costumes, I hope. Larry went to the dentist, he's in pain from that tooth which was just crowned. Poor guy. So that makes another day without work. This does not combine well with paying bills. Ick. Oide is clawing my leg. I need to change the catbox and take out the trash. Yuck. Chores.

I have a nasty sinus headache, second day in a row. Yesterday I went to the Burn Community meeting, planning decompression. I felt awful, but the weather was nice and I was able to volunteer our coffeemaker for behind the bar. Sally needed me to come sit with my brother while she went to the commissary with dad, but with this level of pain, I can't see well. Noises and sound bother me. I don't know if I can actually sew or not. My teeth ache and my face is puffy. Sitting with my brother wouldn't work out well. Desi volunteered for the afternoon shift while Sally is at work.

Larry got out the humidifier; I dug out my nasal steamer. Divya says she's coming down with a cold and wants to stay over here. As usual, I have my doubts. About everything. Last thing I need is a cold, but my brother needs it less.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Random Thoughts

Larry did not go to work today; the company had nothing for him to do. If this keeps up, he will have to go back over the road. I don't want that, but his pay is down 20~25%. Sure, they pay him for the days he does not work, but it is not the same. He helped me with my costume and he went to give blood, so that was ... not the same as having a full week's pay. Oh, we're alright, the mortgage, insurances, car payment, utilities and food are covered. Not to worry. All the extras have to go. I'm worried that I overspent this past year, on Wyndham and diamonds. I still feel good about the car for the kids. They needed it so badly. So, no eating out, no fabric, arts and crafts, no shoes or clothes, no eBay, no impulse buys. I know I can do it, easily enough, I simply have to get tight-fisted once more and shovel money into savings.

Dad was reminiscing. He told of a retired woman who used to work at Hangar 18. That's Area 51. She told him she'd seen "the bodies." Greyish-green skin, huge eyes, long fingers, about four feet tall. Wow. Dad has never, ever spoken of it; I was sure he didn't believe in aliens. I believe this woman told him these things, but I do not know if she was lying. Dad says when she told him she was 72, and disclosure agreement be damned at her age. Wow.

I spoke to my brother. He sounds better and I am glad he's home. He's not a bubble boy, just half-bubbled. Conversations with him are strange though; he's still ... loopy. Turns out that the steroids give him bouts of "steroid psychosis." That's tough and a lot of bouncing back to do. The stuff from his garage was not stolen after all, but someone did swipe his red garden gazing ball. Probably the kids at the school across the street. Dang kids!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Halloween?


Too darn early for this crap!

I will update my roadtrip to San Francisco in the big rig later today or tomorrow.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Drive

















Even though it has been stormy this weekend, I asked Larry to drive me up Ogden Canyon. I just needed to get out. Yesterday he cleaned house for me; we went and got hair cuts, then we went to the mall. he bought me an incredibly lavish bracelet. I just wanted to relax today. We drove up the canyon, through Ogden Valley and over Monte Cristo (9,000 feet) all the way to Woodruff. That's an old farming community which has nothing open on Sunday whatsoever. There's a skiff of snow up in the mountains; although the snow gates will close in a few weeks. There's five feet of snow in the winter up there or more. We saw beaver dams and cows in the road, and hunters in blaze orange. Archery elk season now. On the way down the valley it began to rain; by the time we were home it was hailing. Fire in the fireplace!

Photos: Larry in his kilt, hanging decorations, the drive, cows in the road, snow and ice.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blink

My brother didn't come home after all. He is still not making enough red blood cells, and the docs are watching some of the complications closely. One hopes this gives the SIL time to finish her cleaning. One hopes. She's not asked for more help. That's neither here nor there on her progress though.

She called me the other day while I was running errands and wanted to borrow money until payday so she could mail packages. Selling chunks of my brother's marble collection, no doubt. Well, it is an investment for times of need. So I said sure, I'd lend her money ... but the problem was it was after four in the afternoon and she needed it so she could mail the packages before five-thirty. WTF, woman? I wasn't at home, I was out with Desi trying to get the bug running so they'd have reliable transportation. I wasn't even in Ogden! No way I could get to the ATM and then to her in time.

So this is my complaint: I will help, I love to help, MyLarry really loves to help. Even my friends and burners love to help. But you have to ask us in time, give us a head's up, an opportunity to reaarrange plans. The SIL does this, and I suspect she has no clue: if we can't bend over backwards when she needs it she doesn't ask again. All in the timing. Just freakin' ask in advance, and by advance I mean other than last minute. Honestly! Poor planning on her part is not a crisis on our part. Grrrr. I know, there are times it can't be helped, but it shouldn't be Standard Operating Procedure.

Let's see. Got the teeth cleaned. Let Larry go to Rita's bakery unsupervised. Now I have a pack of local flour tortillas and a pack of 90 corn tortillas. 90. We ate the bolillos and pan de dulche already. Found a decent used car for the kids, to heck with financing, I trashed the money market and paid cash. Now they have their own car and I'm not so tense about the insurance and our vehicles. Now I have to make a car reservation in Malaga, pay the AmEx and the Citicard. And get the kids passports too. Screw retirement, I'm spending it all now. Might as well, the banks and the government are doing a fine job of screwing the pooch.

Point of clarification: I do not have kids. The kids are friends in their 20s. Larry has a kid who never calls. The ex raised him to hate his father, so there you are. Guess who's in the will and who is not?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Didn't I say so?

The good news is my brother is coming home on Monday. Maybe. Things can change in the blink of an eye.

Anyway, as I predicted, the SIL didn't call and ask for help cleaning until the last minute. That was late last night on Saturday. MyLarry has to go to work at noon. He offered to go over and help clean early, but no, the SIL has to go to morning mass. Mass? I'm sorry, but I think preparing a clean and sterile environment for one's husband takes precedence over church. I think God would understand (if there were a God). And I feel bad for my brother, he's asked me to ask for help from the burners, but of course it is all last minute and people are busy. So the SIL dragging her damn feet and not getting shit done has turned into my guilt trip. I am very angry at this point.

Oh, and she couldn't even afford the furnace filter? Then WHY did she call Friday night and ask what type of booze to buy for Jeremy's going away that the recruiters were holding? Did someone give her money for it? And Jeremy isn't old enough to drink anyway ... sure, none of my business. But it adds up, like drops of acid on my heart.

Maybe I will start believing in God so I can then believe in Hell, and wish the SIL would go there.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Boring is Good

No new news on the brother front, I couldn't get in touch with anyone. Not that I tried as hard as I might have done. No news is good news, and I sleep better if I don't upset myself right before bedtime, Ambien or not.

Yesterday I had a good chat with the nephew; he's so ready to leave for boot camp. Imagine, Navy boot camp is less stressful than his home life. Then again, it is the Navy we're talking about. He's worried about his dad, but at least the situation has improved. He's one smart and tough kid, well, young man. I never talked to him much, so I didn't know he was that sharp and mature for 19.

Larry is in Vegas, he sounds tired, poor guy. I had a nice boring day, did many chores. Finished the laundry. Not my laundry, the kids' laundry. Now they need to come get it. And some gas for their bug so we can take it down and get new hind feet for it so it will pass inspection so they can register it and we'll have less wear and tear on our vehicles. I don't mind, but I do get ... anxious. More chores, including scrubbing both bathrooms and the stove and a chunk of kitchen. Tomorrow: floors? Living room? The dreaded dusting? The *gasp* work room? Baking cookies for Larry fer shure. He lives on my big cookies when he's on the road. He loves my big cookies. Heeee ... that sounds dirty.

I did have fresh bread and Nutella for supper. The bread is a touch heavy, I forgot my dough relaxer; plus it needed a tablespoon or two of water. Too much wheat germ I suppose.

Good night!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Getting Better All the Time

I talked to the SIL last night. She's trying to get the house ready for when and if my brother comes home. With a compromised immune system, there's much to be done to sterilize his environment. Cleaning, plus sanding and sealing the wood floors; new grout, chemical cleaning for the one carpeted room, new paint, new furnace filter. And they have no money whatsoever. As in not a dime and had to ask Dad for gas money to go down to the hospital to visit. Except it was two of the kids who went to visit, she has a cold.

The news on my brother is good, he is making his own white blood cells now. This means the stem cell graft has taken. He isn't making red blood cells yet, so they have to give him platelets nearly 24/7. The ulcers in his throat are reduced, so he can drink water now. There's still complications, but the hospital staff has those under control. I feel much, much better about him now. He's not out of the woods by any means, but this is a piece of good news.

So now I'm still irked she doesn't work, but understand she's theoretically busting ass to clean the house. So now I'm in the position of "why aren't you helping?" and I have that answer. I'm not physically able to be of much help, painting and bleaching don't mix well with asthma, and if I helped, and ezpecially if I had MyLarry help, she'd drop everything on us to run off an do other things. Larry says we have spare filters if they'd fit her furnace. She's talking cleaning party, and I'm hoping to hell that isn't going to be the main body of work. I know the timing will be bad, it always is.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Blood Rain and Sleepless Nights

Why am I up blogging at four in the morning? Can't sleep, and no, it isn't the clowns.

I didn't take my Ambien last night; I don't have insomnia per se, but I don't sleep soundly because the Tamoxifen blocks estrogen and that steals my sleep. Sometimes I can sleep, so sometimes I skip the Ambien. Anyway, I was dreaming I wanted to commit suicide (no, I don't) and I was trying out my various swords. I settled on the Sword of Valeen because it is actually pointy and sharp (it is). I noticed playa dust on the scabbard, and when I pulled it out, it was covered with dried blood, and blood all down inside the sheath. Then I dreamt a memory of a dream in a dream ... some guy had been bothering me at Burning Man and MyLarry had my sword and ran the man through, left him in a puddle of blood on the deep playa. I was dreaming about bleach and DNA, which I learned from CSI, when I woke MyLarry up, telling him the rain smelled like blood. Which it did, it had begun to rain outside and the bedroom window was open. I almost went downstairs to check the sword.

So, what's this got to do with anything? Stress. I don't have nightmares unless I'm under stress. This bit with my brother is getting to me, I've been crying on and off at odd moments. I mean, my oldest brother died suddenly of colon cancer in 2001, I had two kinds of cancer in 2004, Mom died slowly of heart disease in 2005 losing all memory of us. Now my brother Larry has multiple myeloma, and if by chance he survives the stem cell transplant, he also has amyloidosis which means his organs will fail, blocked with protein chains. My third bother, the middle one, has polyps removed annually. We suck.

Now for the horrible part. My father is still alive, and is watcing his second son died of cancer after losing his eldest in less than a decade. Wayne was 57, Larry is 58. Dad's dad died of lymphoma in 1941, a painful, awful death when dad was 18. His mother died peacefully when she was 90, watching TV on New Year's morning. Mom's mom died watching TV in our living room with dad right there. He didn't know she was gone for a good twenty minutes when the dogs began whining. That's a lot for one man to bear, and nothing I do can cheer him up. No wonder he retreats into deafness and a daily Lortab. I can see the temptation, but I'm not into drugs, I have teh interwebs. TV will kill you, apparently.

Mom's dad died of "stomach" cancer when I was little; I bet dollars to donuts it was colon cancer. I've had an maternal uncle and two cousins died of colon cancer (brother and sister), had it myself. And that's just the family members I know about with any certainty. Wouldn't be surpsied if there were more, I have over fifty cousins. Can we say "cancer family"?

Seems like everyone on the skiffy board is having a bad time too ... death of a parent, death of a beloved pet, an alcoholic, injured family member, a husband at war, a slacker son, a pregnancy in tight times. How do we bear it all?

Today we will move hay from Ogden to Idaho, in the rain. So mundane, but it need to be done. How do you keep going in the face of all this? You do what you always do, each day after the next. You don't give up and you don't run away, you just keep on keeping on.

Rain that smells like blood and sleepless blogging notwithstanding.

(A point of clarification, my brother AND my husband are both named Larry.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cancer is Eating my Family

I am less optimistic about my brother's life than before. I talked to him on the phone, he sounds drugged up, which I know he is, and in pain. He's still himself, but so impaired, so diminished.

He's asked me to help find out how much his Zap Comix are worth, the old original printing of R. Crumb's underground comic books. Very valuable. Very. I was distressed when he'd sell off his antique toys and collectibles; and later his marbles, but now .... his Zaps? The last icon of a past life? His treasure chest of alternative life? This is the end. Even if he happens to get through this phase, the time after will not be long enough. Ever.

And still, the SIL has no job past a few hours of reading tutoring. She's still talking about going to Jeremy's pass in review; I understand the desire, but I've seen the airfares before Thanksgiving. (I'm traveling myself with MyLarry). She always talks about my brother's last chance to do this or that, so I think I understand the motives. But realistically, there's no money. None. She says she has to care for him, but as long as he's in the hospital, and it will be a long, long time, no she doesn't. He is being cared for by professionals. Is she capable of working? I don't know. She has a bad back, and I know how that is. Still, I'd never put my wants before the bills. Never. I just gave up my first convention so Larry could see his dad. I'd sling burgers if I had no other income. I'd hate it and bitch and whine and moan, but if Larry were incapacitated, I'd make my hands busy with something to bring in money no matter how much I hated doing it.

I am in a big anger phase right now, I am very angry with cancer, but I'm more angry with what seems to be selfish laziness on my SIL's part. She has a knack for spending what she does not have, and a complete inablility to grasp that bills and food and the mortgage come before trips and clothes and games. I don't care how bored a person is, they can't watch fancy TVs on the street. I may be planning a couple big trips or three (WV for Thaksgiving, Malaga, Rosarita) but the bills are paid and the mortgage covered.

I wonder if she knows this blog exists. She'll be pissed if she does read it. I think my brother would be too. I know he loves her, but this is my blog and if I want to be angry here, I shall. Sigh. Life is so very unfair sometimes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cancer sucks.

Updates on my brother with multiple myeloma (and amyloidosis) who just had the stem cell transplant and is still in isolation in the hospital. He had pain in his chest, turns out he has an ulcerated esophagus. Impressive lesions says the doctor. He has no immune system or platelets, so it will heal slowly. In the meantime, he can have nothing by mouth, not even ice chips. His GI doctor wants him in ICU, the cancer/transplant docs say no, he has to remain in the isolation ward. He's on some really heavy duty painkillers, so communication is difficult. He says he isn't dying yet, but he feels it may be touch and go.

Touch and go? I am going to eplaya where I can swear in the F*ck thread. !%$#@*& (%&$ &^%( &^%$#&#@&^ (*&* $*&^% %^ ^%^$@$^%&^ oh. And Fuck Cancer.

Monday, September 15, 2008

pugly, poor pugly

Yesterday evening while we were doing yardwork, a little pug came running up the street. We called her and she came right over. She had a tag on her purple harness, but it only had an old Ogden City number on it. We kept her overnight in a kennel, she didn't cry or whine, just watched us or slept. Friendly and active and peed a lot on all the wrong things, spilled Larry's coffee and just adored him. Poor thing was hungry, still, we could tell she was young and well cared for ... except she was running loose without tags. We asked up and down the block, but she's not from this street. If I see a Lost Dog sign, I will feel bad, but there's only so much you can do.

Hopefully her parents will call animal control, we didn't want her to run loose, she'd get hit by a car or worse. Worse being our good backyard neighbor* was walking her two dogs and two dogs ran out and one attacked her while the other killed her Chihuahua. Her big dog (I forget which breed, unusual mastiffy hunting thing that's not a mastiff at all) protected her but the boxer picked up the tiny dog and shook it to death. The police came and told her they had to take her dog, the owners of the attacking dogs hadn't even seen the little dog's death. Bastards. She still has her big dog, Annabelle. She comes over and barks at us through the chain link fence for a few minutes, then satisfied we know she's there, she goes and stretches out in the sun. The dog, not the neighbor. Like most dogs, she likes Larry. *We also have a Bad Backyard Neighbor.

Anyway, no way we could care for the pug for more than a short time, she was waaaay too bouncy and our cats were super freaked out. Cricket was jealous. I wish people were more careful about tagging their dogs. She wasn't microchipped either. Nice dog, but I'd never want a pug of my own. Hyper! If her owners don't call, she'll go into the permanent adoption program. She won't be put down as a stray, she's too sweet of a dog. They promised. I'm sure a family would love her to pieces. Someone will miss her an awful lot. I already kinda do.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thankless?

Okay, so I haven't deprocessed Burning Man yet, that blog is forthcoming.

I am however, very upset. I'd asked my neighbor ages ago if she could watch the house and the dog while we were gone. She said yes, the acted surprised when I reminded her of it. She told me she was going south for a few days, but her husband could do it for a little while. She never mentioned she had a vacation planned, nor asked me the dates of mine. I made the mistake of assuming she knew; we'd been gone the very same week every year for eight years.

So we get back and Trent is watching the place; he's the neighbor on the other side. We'd given him a key, but the copy didn't work, he got the one from Rowena. So she's upset about that. This morning was the first time I'd seen her since we both got back. She did this horrible frosty cold shoulder thing to me, chewing me out for never saying thank you for all the stuff they do for us for free. Excuse me? For free? Um, yeah, but we do things. And then she frostily told me she didn't appreciate that I'd yelled at Glenn. Excuse me? I didn't! I was upset that he'd put the dogs out back after I'd specifically said never to do that. Smoky digs and tore up my new calla lilies. Was I venting? Sure. Was I yelling at him? Hell no. Yelling at people involves adjectives such as stupid mother-fucker. Anyway, that bit with the dogs happened when we went to Dark Skies more than a month ago! If it was bothering her, why didn't she SAY SOMETHING THEN?!

If she couldn't watch Cricket, why didn't she say something outright? Did I miss hints? I could have made other arrangements.

I HATE this passive-aggressive martyr act. I hope she can let it go. This blog is my way of venting, of taking the first step of healing myself. I wrote her a nice formal apology letter, although I don't think I'm entirely in the wrong. Still, the ball's in her court.

I suppose I get too familiar with people I consider friends. I may have forgotten my formal manners with her. Obviously a mistake.

Now I'm worried that I've failed to properly thank people I know. If anyone feels that way, remind me. I'm not thankless, I do appreciate the good people in my life. Don't just let things slide if you think I'm wrong, freaking tell me so I have the chance to mend my ways.

Thank you all for being my friends, for doing all the things you do for me and mylarry. Thanks for hugs, for good thoughts, for kind acts, for smiles and sticking by me when I'm a flake or being tired and cranky and petty. Thank you all for being the vibrant wonderful people you are.

I have a fucking headache.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blast Off

Bye bye Miss American Pie,
Drove my Chevy to the playa
and the playa was dry
Them old burners
were flaming
all who came by,
singin' this will be the day that we fly ....

Pink Cadillac, ride in the back

I got me a Buick that seats about twenty,
so come on and bring your juke box honey!

All he wants is the keys to her Ferrari..

There's a girl, my lord,
in a flat-bed Ford,
slowing down to take a look and see.

Kharman Ghia plates say "Lost in Space"!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

... and counting.















So much to do, and there's more every time I turn around. The trikes are done, although there's lighting to be considered. We were able to hammer and weld the snot out of the bent frame, it might hold up. We have our doubts. The Buckys are done except for finding black shoes for Bucky, and making their sign. They're packed already, in the topper which goes on the roofrack of the Trailblazer. I can just see being pulled over and searched now. Yes, Sir, there are three skeletons in there. Mrs. Bucky is difficult to undress, we pulled the gown up and pinned it around her head to protect her face. Cricket the flesh dog doesn't care for Scraps the Bone Dog. I am still painting. A lot. And sewing. I can has a cupholder and blue cobra handlebar covers. Genius and Borderline mounting the photos for the Home for Wayward Art.

Dusty, dusty year from the playa reports. Hot, well above 100 degrees. The playa surface didn't get enough rain this year, the ground is bumpy with ruts and moguls. Biking may be difficult. I can hardly wait.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Don't Panic!





The Departure for Burning Man is fast approaching. I don't have enough art, I haven't finished a costume ... yikes!

But we're making progress, the faux marbling is done except for a top clearcoat. We ordered an adult trike for me, it arrived bent so the seller is replacing it completely. It is orange, and will be repainted. Pink and lavender with sparkle overglaze. Although I really like the pink and orange together. If we get the replacement trike in time, we're considering crashing the spare parts into another vehicle, although unless we do some welding and repainting, it won't be safe or pretty. Safe we need. Moral of the story, even on free shipping, pay the shipping insurance.

I have a bunch of fabric and patterns scattered, but it seems like I can't get anything completed. I have a golden poncho thing, a sundress, a loincloth and shorts for Larry, robes, fuzzy ears, a blouse and a top, a shrug .... but primarily new seatcovers for the Rhoadescar. And we've been working on el-wire for the bikes and trikes. And I need to dye my hair and Larry's beard. and and and!