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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Flat End of the Year

Post-Xmas, things slow down a bit for the last hoorahs of the old year. I'm crawling along in first gear here. Four days of friends stopping by was wonderful but tiring, and it's not over (there are still 6 Muffinpants family members and 3  iBrattleboro-related people to see). I'm glad for the break. The "just keep drinking til it's over" technique of coping is long gone, with nothing to take its place. So I guess that means I'm finally an adult. It was much easier to just meander through the holidays in a stupor.

As nice as this Yuletide has been, I think next year will be different. Maybe I'll go down to Billy's for the week. He ended up alone and I feel bad. Chiefy went to a family do instead of going out to dinner with him. And now it's looking like Chiefy and the Bensonhurst Bomber won't be buying a house in Florida, and Billy won't move there by himself. Florida is a pit anyway and I've been hoping they wouldn't. So, yeah, next year in Jersey! Maybe I'll get Billy to decorate and take the opportunity to help him weed out all the mountains of Xmas stuff Mac had bought and stored over the years, and maybe even go into the city or have people over to his house. We'll see.

And here comes 2015. In 2015, I'll have lived in Vermont for 20 years, Ian will be dead 20 years, and I'll go into my 5th year of living in The Shire. The Shire itself will be going through changes, as the new housing complex will be built to house most of the population that the government doesn't want living in the flood plain. I'm hoping to avoid living in this new building (which I'll call Red Rover) and waiting for the 2nd, smaller development to develop. It'll be rotten to leave this place when it finally happens, but it's inevitable. Old people and gimps aren't welcome where flooding occurs, so out we go. One way or another, 2015 will be my last whole year in The Shire. Every year brings changes.

There's a lot of good in 2014 to look back at, and a lot of bad, like every year. People left and people entered, things happened that impacted everything from my little home to my whole country. Years do seem to go by faster the older I get. Someone said that's because when you're 20, 5 years is a quarter of your life but at 60 it's just a twelfth. It's perspective. Days roll on, things happen, you keep going. Before we know it, Summer will be back. Pretty soon I'll be shopping for next year's Yuletide gifts. And we'll still, I'm sure, be waiting for George RR Martin's next book.

So here's to us and 2015. Let's make it unforgettable. Cheers! x

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Beestitude for the Holidays

Beest has taken up residence under the tree. The last Tortie in my life, my parents' cat Patches, also thought it was her domain. However, Patches went to the space where there were no presents, in back, and stayed there until New Year's Day. Beest is front and center. She will not tolerate gifts near her unless they are suitable pillows, has shredded the gift wrap on the few I put under the tree (the rest are in an ottoman, and under or on top of my desk) and keeps kicking the presents back out across the floor of the front room when I put them back. In holidays past she bit off all ribbons, bows and tags, and I've adapted to those insults. But this is war.

I'm considering my tactical options.   

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Blitzlebahs and Waazzlewahs

In spite of the Daily Horror (there's at least one every day now), I'm feeling very holidayish. Didn't think it would happen this year, but something is back. Maybe because the house is a shambles of decorations and odd foods that are only here in December... bits that make up traditions. Doing those things- the cards, the foods, the gift wrapping, the decorating and decisions, the budgeting, the shopping- makes things feel hopeful. Thanksgiving with Billy was great, and then bang! it's Christmastime. Haul out the holly! It's a longer process; the decorating I used to do in 2 days now takes at least a week, but slowing down has its benefits.

Hanging the ornaments on the tree is more of a marathon than a sprint these days, but every one of those bells, balls and tchotchkes have a story. So many people that have been in my life, and every year I take each piece out and remember something about that person. Kevin Destein's little china Pan and choirboy. Ian's Mom's straw figures. The old glass balls that have been in my family longer than I have. I can still hear my Mom sputtering when I picked up the ancient blown glass bell in 1968. NOBODY touched that but her! The angels that my brothers and I got, one each, after the elders died. Some of the snow frosted ones my Dad bought for his own sad, artificial tree when he and my Mom split up. Ornaments friends have given me through the years. I pull out Woodstock and wonder whatever happened to Jenny. The bagpiper that Cam gave me years ago is the second heaviest ornament. The heaviest is a Lennox china ball that MaryAlice had bought for me just before she died, almost 2 years ago already. I try  to put groups together, the rock band pieces, the Peanuts gang, the ones family members made. More than a hundred ornaments, each with its story. So it takes a while.

And food! Since I made mincemeat last year, I'm doing a fruitcake this year. A drunken one, and a big one. I've put off making the Irish cream, because if I make it when you're supposed to, it's gone by the Solstice, much less the rest. But it's got to be made soon so it tastes like something. So does the fruitcake. That's my weekend. There's no citron to be found, but raisins and currants will have to do. And I'm not doing brown paper around it, either. So there.

Today was a challenge. Hanging garland was at the end of to-dos, and when I reached up, my arm and hand shook like I was 99 years old. That wigged me out a bit. And I couldn't stop it, either. I hate when that happens.

And there's been a real-life Santa miracle. A couple days ago, I ordered a nice but not expensive art supply set. Ostensibly for myself, cuz I'm trying to teach myself to draw with my left hand and thought a new hand deserves new instruments. Then on FB today I see a mother asking for help getting her 15 year-old daughter art supplies for Christmas. Perfect fit. It was delivered tonight and mom will be here tomorrow afternoon for it. I also made some jewelry this year for gifts and have a spare silver wolf necklace. Happens to be her daughter's favorite animal. Tell me Santa didn't have a hand in this here.

So it's slightly nostalgic in the Shire, I'm feeling like Mrs. Cratchit putting the holidays together again. I really don't think Billy will be coming up with the weather we've been having, and he's driving to Florida 2 weeks after New Year. He was just here. I'll see him in the Spring. I also won't see Strider til the Spring. She has surgery and recovery time coming up, then it'll be deep Winter. She's happy as someone can get in this day and age, that's all I care about. And I've freed myself from obligations. Which leaves me free to have a huge debauchery episode a la 1978! Woohoo, bring on the holidays! 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

ARRRR! and GRR Martin's Name Day

It's finally cool. AC is off, windows are open. Allergies are annoying and I've caught the snotmonster bug that's going around, but we've made it through another Summer without fire or flood or dragons swooping down on us. Now comes the slippery, wet leaf-strewn path to the holidays. I've already started shopping, but that's because everyone lives elsewhere and things need to be here whenever the people are. Strider is so busy I haven't seen her since last November! Billy will probably be here for Thanksgiving but not Christma-Solsti-Channu-Kwanza-Yule. I think I'm done making dinners. If he comes up, we'll go out. Or we'll order the take away meal from Chelsea Royal. Ach, Fall brings all the "what to do" into the house on little cold papery gusts.

First, though, is Halloween. This is my season. Horror movies, cold dark nights, whistly winds. The trees seem to change color and drop their leaves faster every year. That lovely smell of death and decay just before we reach Stick Season. Which is a stark beauty of its own. And then the snow...

What a strange week this has been. Last Friday my old friend Bruce came by, up from Atlanta. I hadn't seen him in 31 years. He's old now (I haven't changed a bit, cough). We haven't been in close touch, he was more a friend of my Mom's, but it was like I'd seen him yesterday. He brought me a signed copy of his book, so I asked him to sign the one I had bought to Fr. Thomas and I'll get that in the mail. What a nice man. It's a bit odd to fast forward from the relationship we had decades ago. I was 17 when I met him, 24 when I saw him last. He was the 13 years-older-than-me, sophisticated, Wharton MBA, upper west side, gay Adonis who taught A Course in Miracles. Now I seem to have caught up to his age and we spoke as equals. Curious how different that is. We skimmed through all the years; our work, our loves, our moves, our losses. It crossed my mind it may be the last time I see Bruce this lifetime. That's fine, we're okay.

Of course I was rooting for Scotland's independence. But rooting for Scotland to do anything in their own best interest is pretty pointless. Like being a White Sox fan. It occurred to me it's like the first union drive at the co-op. It didn't make it, and there was much disappointment. But a few years later it reared its head again and this time people weren't afraid of it. And the second union drive worked. Maybe it'll be like that.

Beest abides. She has her issues, but she's turned into a mostly sweet and only sometimes psycho mushpot. I do wish she'd stop chewing off her belly fur. She looks like a cow.

Everyone else is doing well, just the same old sagas of life. Hilarity, boredom, stress and grief.
While writing this we've passed from Talk Like a Pirate Day to George RR Martin's birthday. Monday will arrive, bringing the Autumn Equinox. Scott Fitzgerald's birthday soon, too.

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And one fine morning -
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."- FSF

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Hard Month's Week

August hasn't been an easy month. Not horrific (well, for the most part) just difficult.

One thing has been the changing of plans every day. Billy still hasn't gotten here and I could've seen Strider but for plans, new plans and change of plans. Billy has had a terrible time with getting his meds from CVS and finally at my bitching changed drug stores. Then there was an issue in registering his new car (a Nissan Murano), then I got wicked sick, and we missed Phoebe Muffinpants' wedding. Then Tuesday I got no sleep and he had 9" of rain fall in one day. The falling limbs missed his new car but are all over his yard. Then Wednesday night he got no sleep. (And here's the true freakiness of that- at 4 a.m. today he was woken by MaryAlice's voice saying, "Hello?" He couldn't get back to sleep. At 9a, I was woken by MaryAlice's voice saying, "Hello?" In my zombie sleep mode, I responded, "Thanks, Mac." We were both surprised, but I was even more surprised that lifelong skeptic Billy would tell me such a thing.) Since tomorrow starts the weekend, we're now planning next Tuesday for arrival. As it turns out, it's a good thing he's down there, as Chiefy was rushed to the hospital today. CVS didn't have his meds for a week and now he's in CP in New York. So it's all for the better, and who knows maybe that's why Mac yelled hello at us. His sofabed is open and dressed, whenever he arrives.

The sofa story is too upsetting to recount. Let's just say there are 2 guys I may never speak to again and 2 guys (Paul and Mike) who are always, always there when I need them. And I think the only times they see each other is when I need help. Bless 'em. And thanks for the Irish single malt, Mike!

But there has been darker news lately- the police killings here in the US are escalating. Our militarized robocops are out of control and brutalizing protesters, creating news blackouts and making no fly zones. I don't know where this will end.

Or look at what's going on almost everywhere on the planet, if you can stand to look at it.

And Robin Williams kills himself. It hit me like a meat hook to the gut. I get sad when a celebrity I love passes, but this one put me down. I cried buckets for 2 days; just a few tears today. Why it affected me so I have no idea. I didn't know him. I met him once at the "Dead Poets Society" premiere and he was so sweet it wasn't like meeting a star at all.  Over the last 35 years, he lifted me out of many a funk. I wish I could've returned the favor. So very, very sad to lose him.

The next day Lauren Bacall died. The last of the cool old movie gals. Here's looking at you, kid.

But life goes on for those still breathing. MaryEllen's surgery went well and she starts chemo Monday. She's in good spirits and looks better than she has in months. Emily's son has both his hips adjusted and his tendons lengthened tomorrow. Poor kid. He can't even speak to express his pain.This should help him, and they may still be able to get up here later in the year. We'll see how it goes. Bruce, whom I haven't seen in 32 years, is coming by on September 12th. When I last saw him I'd just graduated culinary school and went to my Mom's house to make dinner for us all. That was several lifetimes ago. His book is out and I'll be so happy to have him sign it! I'm writing regularly, and not shirking it. Without jinxing it, the WIP is coming along. Beest is a bit tubbier but still her charming self and still biting all the fur off her belly. There are projects to be done, things to help out with and Fall is coming. In spite of everything, life goes on, and that's good.

I hope life is treating you well. x