lydamorehouse: (renji has hair)
 I just got back from picking Shawn up from work. She only did a half day today, and wouldn't have gone in at all except for the fact that some budget or other is due. Shawn has the crud that Mason had last week. So far, knock on wood, it's passed me by.  Possibly due to my mutant healing factor.

Because it's that season, Kowalski's had corned beef on sale. There's a hunk of it in the slow cooker right now, waiting for Mason and I to get back from dropping off his PSEO application at the University this afternoon.  Next up, getting a PSEO application together for Metro State. I will be sad if Mason doesn't get accepted into the U's program, but he's going to have to get math somewhere next year so we're going to put in a couple of back-up applications. I would have driven the application to the U myself already today, but Mason is VERY insistent that he wants to come along. He's been the one driving this, so I can hardly deny him the pleasure of turning everything in. Plus, he has a couple of questions he wants to ask the admission folks, so.... Anyway, the offices are open until 4:30 pm. It should be no problem getting there before then.

I'm slowly getting back into the mood for reading actual novels. I'm about half way through a book called CONDOMNAUTS by Yoss, which, I think, was up for the Philip K. Dick. It's... arty, but I'm enjoying it, anyway. I'lll tell you all more about it, if I finish it by What Are You Reading, Wednesday.

I have a literal pile of books I want to read next, so I'm well motivated to finish it up. It's a sliver of a book. If I wasn't dyslexic and used to being a much slower reader than anyone I know, I'd feel bad about it taking me this long to get through it.

I worked on my apocalypse story again today. I've established enough that I now have to figure out how I want to end it. I'm going to have to do something about an ending in the next day or so, though, because I need to be able to hand it out at Thursday's Wyrdsmith's meeting. If I'm going to get it back in enough time to do revisions, it needs to go out at this first meeting.  It's a weird story. Very sad. Eleanor is going to hate it; she hates sad stories. Right now, despite having an official title, it's in my documents file as "Sad Apocalypse."

Speaking of finally getting back to reading and writing again, I also managed a letter yesterday. I have about four pen pal letters that I haven't replied to yet. Did I tell you guys that I FINALLY got a Japanese pen pal?  Eiko. I have been very careful so far, not to mention that I'm a giant, nerd otaku. I don't want to scare her off.

She's already been somewhere to see the cherry blossoms, so I'm looking forward to sending her pictures of the massive amounts of snow piles we have.

Okay, I'm going to get up and put the potatoes in the oven. I'm making twice-baked potatoes to go along with the corned beef.
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
The phone rang just now and it was our old vet, Dr. Holly.

We stopped going to All Paws some time ago for various reasons, including issues of money, but when the Lap of Love people asked us if we had vets that should be informed, we told them to let both Como *and* All Paws know, since it seemed right. All Paws had seen Ball for years before we switched.

I can't get over that she called, but Dr. Holly is just that good, just that caring. She was devastated by our loss and was desperate to know what had happened. It was hard to have to tell her that we ultimately had NO IDEA what killed Ms. Ball in the end. I could tell that she was trying very hard not to be incensed on our behalf that Como wasted time with a mistaken first diagnosis. I had to reassure her that this was a mystery that even Dr. Ralph had no clue about when he did the ultrasound, and, given that we were racing against time with Ball's weight loss, Como did the best they could.

Which I really do believe.

Even though she never pressured me to say anything about it, I told her that we absolutely would have brought Ball to her, but she's basically become unavailable. She works one day a week, starting at 3 pm, and then ONE Saturday a month. Otherwise she exclusively does animal surgery and dentistry. My problems were with the other main doctor there (and I couldn't tell Holly that, as the other doctor is not only her colleague, but her WIFE.) We needed someone who could see Ball ASAP, someone who wasn't half way across the metro area. St. Louis Park isn't the end of the world, but we were ALWAYS fighting highway traffic, even during the best of times. I feel badly about this, because everyone in this family secretly believes that Dr. Holly would have moved heaven and earth to find out what was wrong with Ms. Ball.

I need to remind myself that Dr. Holly saw all our previous cats, and none of them lived any longer than our current eldest cat, Ms. Piggy, who is easily closing on 18. Also, sometimes these things just hit like a storm and there's nothing to be done.

I'm glad she called, though. She's such a good person. Shawn and I did some calculations and we'd been seeing Dr. Holly exclusively for 29 years. Almost as long as we've been together, Shawn and I. (Shawn and I met in 1985; we started seeing Dr. Holly with our first cat, Artemis, in 1990.)

Other than that, it was a low-key Tuesday. [personal profile] naomikritzer came over for lunch and I fed her hot dish (as provided by the Randalls.) I'm always impressed by the range of conversation Naomi and I can have--everything from professional jealousy, mastectomies and reconstructive surgery, to Star Wars movies. I guess that's what it's like with a good friend.

The only other thing that's worth reporting is that Mason's PSAT scores (he took a practice practice test, as it were, in 10th grade) went public and now a bunch of colleges are emailing him, letting him know that, you know, when the time comes, they'd sure like to have him. That's fairly gratifying. I feel proud, even though the only thing I did was help prod Mason to prod his school into letting him take the test early.

So that's cool.

Spell-a-Day (Jan. 8) )
lydamorehouse: (Default)
A friend of mine pointed out that she's been anxiously awaiting cat news, so I suppose I should catch you all up on it.

You may not want to read this, the news is grim and potentially disturbing... )

So, that sucks.

Yesterday, I skipped being with my usual ladies for our Friday writing gathering to stay home to be with Ball. I let her sleep in my arms while I watched a sappy Japanese soap opera called Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light. Its a Netflix original about a young man who tries to reconnect with his dad through video gaming. I ended up reviewing it on MangaKast, if you're interested in reading my take on it.

Mason is currently at the robotics kick-off. (He's the one in front second from the right with the gray hoodie and dorky smile.)

robotics brainstorming

He had to chose between work and robotics today, so that was tough--especially since work was team kick-off. So it was robotics first day or first day with his new work team. He handled the choice well (doing all the due diligence about informing his team leader, etc.) and I think, ultimately, this was the right pick. Work will be there. Robotics season is temporary.  Both are worthy STEM projects, so....

I should try to eat lunch.
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
This morning as my family piled into the car to head off to work and school, we discovered we'd been robbed. Someone had gotten into our car and rifled through the glovebox and the various compartments. They absconded with my adorable kitty change purse and about $1.50 in loose coins, most of them pennies.

I hope that $1.50 was useful.

Though I want my change purse back, you b*st*rds, That was a Solstice gift!

If you're wondering if we also suffered a broken window, we didn't. I have a 50/50 chance of remembering to lock the car doors and last night was apparently one of the times that I forgot. I should know better, as this has happened to us numerous times before. But, there's just so little to steal.. I mean, seriously, the cute little zip purse was probably worth more (to me, anyway,) than the collection of odd change within it.

We have to park outside, on the street, because, though we TECHNICALLY have a garage, it's so old that it still has "barn" doors. Currently, it's function is as junk storage/a potting shed.

I used to feel weird to see all of our stuff tossed around the front seat, knowing some stranger sat in our car trying to find something useful, but it's happened enough that now I just feel vaguely annoyed and sort of sad for an individual who is so desperate that a $1.50 makes it worth the effort/chance of being caught. Seriously, whoever you are, you missed the big payload on New Year's Eve. There was probably a whole two or three dollars in dimes just sitting on the steps outside of our house. Think of what you could have bought for three dollars! A whole Slim Jim! (maybe.)

This is why this is sad to me. I hope the other cars this person rifled through last night actually netted them enough money to buy some French fries at Wendy's, if that's what they needed.

Speaking of the car, it's currently at the mechanics. Our car's dash has been flashing an oil change warning for over a week now, and yesterday I called to see if our usual place, Dave's, had any time this week to slide us in. They told me that 8:30 am today would work, which is why I am writing to you all from the Dunn Brother's Coffeeshop in Roseville, which is kitty corner from the auto repair place (and attached to the Roseville library).

With all the vet bills, I really didn't want to have to take care of the car, but it's our only car and if it stops working with the kitty in it on the way to the emergency clinic... that would be more than bad. An oil change SHOULDN'T break the bank, either. It's just a hassle and it means I'm away from home and Ms. Ball for however long it takes.

Continued kitty saga for those following along at home... )
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
All I know is that it's 2019. I have no actual idea what day of the week it is. Wednesday is my best guess.

My family all went back to school and work. I stayed home with kitty, who is still with us, but it's unclear how long (more under the cut at the end.) I was extremely grateful when [personal profile] naomikritzer reached out to offer to bring lunch and chat. She brought some potato/leek soup that was left over from a New Year's Eve party that she'd gone to. I supplied some day-old French bread, and she also brought a spinach and cheese stuffed naan that needed to be rescued from a freezer that apparently stopped freezing and used up. All and all a lovely meal, made more lovely by the chance to chat with a dear friend about anything OTHER than a sick cat for several hours.

It is also "What Are You Reading" Wednesday, and I can report that I read another short story last night. "Sour Milk Girls" by Erin Roberts which I kind of hated. There's no hard and fast rule that stories have to have a happy ending to be satisfying. Lots of people will tell you that they sometimes feel that grim endings are more realistic, but what "Sour Milk Girls" felt like to me was "mean girls being mean, the end." There was a clever sort of word-building going on, but one of the main plot points (memories being wiped) was never explained in context of the world. What was the point of it? What did the people doing the wiping (institutionally, and then, later, individually) get out of it? What was the benefit? And, then it was just "ha, ha, we were mean."

Or, so it seemed to me.

Well, I will keep hunting. I have five slots I can fill in my nominations for the Nebula, and I only have three filled so far. There are lots and lots of eligible short stories out there.

I'm also revisiting Starhawk's Truth or Dare.; Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery, which is a book I tried to read when it came out in the late 1980s. I'm not sure how this type of book bills itself. It's not non-fiction, though it tries hard to be, with footnoted research and a lot of academic language. It's kind of like creative nonfiction, maybe? With a dash of memoir and a lot of poetry? Starhawk (a native St. Paulie!) is one of those people that a lot of pagans my age read back in the day. She's probably best known for Spiral Dance, which is a bit more of a how-to. Possibly my revisiting of Starhawk should have started there, because I'm finding Truth or Dare tough going. Reading it has made me think about how little has changed and how many revolutions are still needed.

When I need something lighter (or to pass the time at the vet's office), I've been SLOWLY making my way through the first Longmire book, The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson. Shawn and I really enjoyed watching "Longmire," and Shawn found a copy of this at on the library friends bookstore's free shelf.

Cat update (not good) )
lydamorehouse: (ichigo irritated)
New Year's day is the day we take down our Christmas/Yule tree and pack away the decorations.

This year is no exception. Though we did start in on the process a little bit yesterday, since we knew any big undertaking all at once would be too much for us. Normally, I find this process a little sad and emptying, but, this time, it restored a small sense of order.

Partly because we often use our downstairs bathroom as a place to store all the boxes and bins that the Yule stuff comes out of. Normally, this is a temporary hassle that is tolerable and makes more sense than dragging everything back up to the attic, only to drag it all down and back up again in a matter of weeks. However, with the very much needed addition of an emergency downstairs litter box, it was impossible to keep the floor clean of litter bits and everything just felt chaotic any time I needed to change the box or even just didn't want to bother to go upstairs to do my own bathrooming.

The decoration bins are now staged to migrate upstairs over the next day or two and then be tucked back into their corner in the attic. The rocking chair is off the porch and back in its spot as the guest chair. It was never MEANT to only belong to guests, but... well, funny story about that:

I have a friend Theo, who, when they were buying a house for themselves, got really into the theory of interior decorating. They read a book that talked a lot about what your furniture and style choices say about you and your family's values. They took one look around our cozy little living room, the three overstuffed chairs pointed towards each other in an intimate circle, and the weird, almost out of place rocker and nodded and said, "This house is house for three."

And they are absolutely right.

We happily entertain others, but in the end of the day, this house is a house for three. Possibly three HOBBITS, given the amount of food around the house. We have little stacks of books at our feet and blankets (and snoozing cats) everywhere. The house often smells of something baking.

In fact, I took bread out of the oven only a few minutes ago. I have a French bread recipe I always make as an accompaniment to our traditional wild rice soup for New Year's day. Wild rice soup became the tradition because the recipe we have--from my late stepbrother Mark--calls for BOTH turkey and ham, and we always have leftovers of each in the freezer from the holidays.

We have a pagan ritual we do every morning of the new year, too. Last night, some time before midnight, we find a dime minted in the current year and add it to our collection of dimes that are wrapped in a gold silk square. We put this symbolic "silver and gold" outside of our house and then, in the morning, we bring it in over the threshold to symbolize the act of bringing fortune to us in the new year. This has been our good luck tradition for years (we could probably count the years, given the number of dimes. At least 20, at a guess. I can't remember if we were doing this when we lived in Uptown before we bought this house or not.)

Do you have something personal like that, something to bring you luck in the new year?

I have to say, this is the first year that I've even heard of the whole "rabbit, rabbit" thing. But, I had two FB friends discussing it this morning. Despite my surname, I'm clearly not British (or American?) enough for this whole tradition.

Quick cat update for those interested... )
lydamorehouse: fish obsession (makoto)
ms. ball in better days

This is an old picture of Ms. Ball hiding out in the fabric basket that Shawn uses for her rag rugs. I have more recent pics of her, but mostly they're of her sleeping and I wanted folks to see her awake (albeit sleepy.)

As my subject today says: knock on wood, it's been a quiet day.

Last night around 2 am, there was much crying again. It really did NOT seem as if the meds were helping and, in fact, they seemed almost as if they were making things worse. That 2 am Hell PoopTM was... hellacious and so MUCH that I just sort of broke. I ended up staying awake from about 2 am until 4 am, anxiously cleaning the house (people who know me, know how BAD things have to be for me to find comfort in any kind of housework.)

I woke up to give her her meds and then went for another run to PetCo, because yesterday we found a great soupy food that she seemed to really, really love. So, I picked up more of those and more cans labeled "gravy lover." A side note about PetCo? I think I know why I stopped going there regularly. It's literally impossible to tell when they will be open. What do you mean, Lyda? Surely, their hours are posted on their website. Oh, yes, my friends, there are hours posted there, but THREE DAYS IN A ROW, THEY'VE BEEN WRONG. Yes, I am looking at the store that matched my location. It's just... I swear to god they post their hours this way: "Oh, Lyda wants to be here at 8 am and our website says we'll be open then, let's open at 9 am! Now it's Sunday and she's double checked that you'll be open at 9 am? HA! We will open at 10!" I SWEAR TO GOD THIS IS PERSONAL AND THEY HATE ME.

If I had remembered to bring my phone with me, I would have taken a picture of the hours posted on the door, because those seem to actually be accurate.

Anyway, I digress.

After much sobbing last night, I was steeled for another rough day.

Yet... so far, so good. We had one Hell PoopTM around noon, but nothing since. I am moderately hopeful that she will make it until some ungodly hour again tonight. Ideally, of course, she'll go even longer, but Murphy's Law predicts somewhere in the middle of the night. Possibly just as I've entered the most restful sleep cycle, because sleep? What's sleep?

However, I've been able to relax enough today to make not only dinner, but lunch, too.  If things proceed like this, our household may be back to its regularly scheduled three squares a day.  

Wacky, right? 

Who knows, if things continue this way I might actually be able to only mention the cat's health in passing and actually write about other things again.
lydamorehouse: (temporary incoherent rage)
I started a fight on the internet today.

This, my children, is never advisable. To be fair, I stand by my impulse (if not some of my exact words). But, as a consequence, I spent a lot of today being really annoyed by people I only barely know in real life, and... I'm pretty sure that, thanks to a literal case of mistaken identity, my FB "footprint" has changed in some people's minds. Now, because there was a PM resolution (and apology) that didn't appear in public, all that remains of the fight is weird and disjointed and potentially makes me look like someone who is well-known in other venues as an absolute horrible VILLAIN.

Thanks, internet.

I guess it served to distract me from our sick kitty, but I can't say that, in the end, I even ever managed to MAKE MY POINT.

Which is: don't be a TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminist) in front of me, end of story.

OMFG.

Sick kitty remains sick, so read only if you want the continued updates )

I think I will get up now and make dinner for my family and maybe write some long form, snail mail letters.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Today, despite waking up to freezing rain, I took Shawn into work this morning, got myself some coffee, and made another quick run to PetCo for a bunch of cat food for Ms. Ball.

Friday is normally the day that I go meet my writing friends at Claddaugh Coffee. It was looking like it might get cancelled, since Eleanor is out of town and [personal profile] pegkerr was visiting family. But, [personal profile] naomikritzer and I decided to meet, anyway. I really, really needed to get out of the house and think about something OTHER than Ms. Ball and Mason is perfectly capable of looking after her while I was out for a couple hours. (I will give y'all an update under the cut, below.)

Hanging out with Naomi bolstered me enough that I was able to make a normal dinner for my family when I came home--something I really had NOT been up to for the last few days. To be fair, I made a staple: Indian chicken (sauce from a box), rice, and homemade (fake) naan. And, I fell asleep in my chair while waiting for the naan to rise. But, getting everyone to the dinner table felt like a real accomplishment.

I've been thinking ahead to the new year and one of the things I really want to get back to is my regular reading habit. It feels very weird not to have read much over the past few months. If any of you have suggestions for books, I'd love to hear them. Currently, I'm looking for new-ish authors (preferably PoCs, queer/trans folks, and/or women) who write science fiction/fantasy. I'm fairly well read in the last few years' SF/F award winners, as I challenged myself to read those a couple of years ago. But, even if you have something you love that doesn't seem like it would fit that, I'd still love to know what you've been reading and enjoying. There is no genre I won't read. I'm currently reading a Western, so, seriously, offer up anything! I'd even be up for a good non-fiction book.

The only thing my brain has had energy for over the last few days have been novelettes and short stories. I'm a SFWA member (smartest thing I EVER did, career-wise, was buy a lifetime membership) and so I've been prepping to nominate for the Nebula Award. Things I've read so far and enjoyed are:

A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E Harrow

You Can Make a Dinosaur, but You Can't Help Me by KM Szpara (has a trans character and is #ourvoices)

Cherry Wood Coffin by Eugenia Triantafyllou (Horror)

The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births by José Pablo Iriarte (has a non-binary character)

The Thing About Ghost Stories by Naomi Kritzer

I read several others, including: "The Court Magician" by Sarah Pinsker, which I enjoyed, but which felt like the author had discovered Orson Scot Card's book on writing and particularly the section about "the price of magic" and didn't really have much else for a story. I also read "Mother Tongues" by S Qiouyi Lu, which I liked quite a bit, but it actually HAS to be listened to via the podcast as there are large sections of untranslated Mandarin. I also listened to "Dandelion" by Elly Bangs, which I felt mostly 'meh' about, but that might be because everything was starting up with Ms. Ball about the time reading that one.

There were a number that I started, but gave up on, too.

I haven't read any manga in weeks. I need to get back into that habit, too. But, to be fair on that front, I did participate in Yuletide this year as a pinch hitter, so I was busy reviewing some of my favorites.

Okay... and now for the Ms. Ball update (TMI warning) )
lydamorehouse: fish obsession (makoto)
 To anyone who kept Ms. Ball in their thoughts: IT WORKED. IT F*CKING WORKED.

Technically, Ms. Ball is NOT out of the woods yet. I just got back from the vet and I wrote this to my friend [personal profile] naomikritzer  I am 100% frazzled.  You know our dying cat?  Well, she's gone from "pretty sure it's bladder cancer" to "yeah, or maybe an infection?" To be fair, we finally got to talk to a real expert, an ultrasound guy that I've actually met before, "Dr. Ralph." Dr. Ralph is a hippy nerd who goes around in blue mini cooper and carries his fancy ultrasound equipment on a push cart from vet clinic to vet clinic and he cost us only $300, which is kind of astounding. Anyway, he ruled out OBVIOUS cancer.  What he found was a lot of liquid in her bowels and at first he expected to find an obstruction, but didn't. He looked for carcinoma of all sorts, including bladder and felt pretty confident that even though her lymph nodes were a bit swollen he didn't see any.

So, last night at two am we were crying and looking for in-home euthanasia and now we're like, "This antibiotic is all we need? WTF."


I kind of blame our first doctor. He was very cagey and wouldn't commit to a diagnosis, but the only words we heard more than once were bladder cancer. And, it was in his printed notes.  His bedside manner was... well, okay, the thing I've learned about myself and about my family is that what we like in our medical professionals is ALL THE SCIENCE. We need words. We need people who are comfortable bouncing theories around in front of us or even, more importantly, WITH us. We like running commentary. We REQUIRE details, specifics, and _words._  

Luckily, the second doctor we got connected to on the phone had the science. We met another one today who also worded good.  

We used to have a vet we LOVED out in St. Louis Park, but she's gone into semi-retirement and their clinic is the sort who treats first and then presents you with the bill and our financial situation has changed substantially since I was writing full time and before we had Mason.  So, we can't have a doctor who (true story) says "Oh, I'm just going to take Inky into the back and take a look at this lump under his skin" and then when we're paying the bill discover that the "look" was actually an aspiration, which counts as a procedure and COSTS AND ARM AND A LEG.

Como Park Animal Hospital is the sort of place that comes out with an itemized bill for you to go over before they do ANYTHING, even a routine vaccination.  You can cross things out or ask for them to be delayed or check the box that says "would like to discuss payment plan" because they are in a very urban setting and deal with a much wider swatch of the social-economic spectrum.  

But, we haven't really seen many people at Como Park Animal Hospital and we literally took the first appointment available for Ms. Ball and it happened to be with Dr. No Science.

A crisis is not really when you want to be learning about whether or not you have good chemistry with your vet but OH MY GOD IS IT IMPORTANT.

It was kind of funny, because when I right away suggested that I would much rather have a different doctor take over Ms. Ball's care the entire room started nodding their heads and saying what seemed like a practiced phrase when I hedged a bit and said that I would understand if Dr. No Science wanted to follow this case through, though I would rather he took a secondary role, "Please don't worry about it, it is ENTIRELY up to you." 

Anyway, lesson learned. 

And Ms. Ball is NOT out of the woods. She has lost significant weight and we are still NOT sure what the hell is going on with her.  But... maybe an infection and not IMMINENT DEMISE?

Finger crossed and now I may go collapse in a heap.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
It's been a rough couple of days for Ms. Ball, though she seems to be having a good morning, so far.

Potentially TMI Cat issues under the cut )

Okay, so somewhat brighter news.... Of course, my whole family and I spent much of Christmas day worrying about our cat, but we still did our usual round of Christmas eve/day presents. 

Shawn's family has a tradition of the big meal on Christmas Eve followed by present opening. We have morphed this tradition over the years and now open presents as soon as consensus is reached. This year, with Ball's initial appointment and extremely bad news, we ended up delaying opening presents until 1:00 pm.  

Mason got more D&D books, plus a fantasy series he wanted, the Grishaverse trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. We got him "Luigi's Manson" for the 3-DS and several gaming related gift cards, which he promptly spent on games for the Switch. He had also been covetous of an electric blanket that his girlfriends' family owns, so we bought him one of his own. And, of course, socks. Everyone should get a nice pair of socks for the holidays, IMHO.

Shawn turned out to be a trauma this year. I had ordered the presents I wanted to get her ahead of time--two different earrings from a catalogue that specializes in Native American art.  Unfortunately, because each piece is handcrafted, they almost didn't arrive in time and this causes me to turn into one of those deadbeat spouses who wandered around all the nearby stores that were still open wondering if she would like an air-freshener in the shape of a tree or a tin of sardines, you know? Luckily, I was actually able to find a meaningful gift card (when Mason has robots we often have mini-dates at the Caribou near his school) and a gag present of some cookie cutters in fun shapes (a unicorn! A dragon! Stegosaurs!)  And, then, ON CHRISTMAS EVE AFTERNOON the earrings arrived so I was able to quick add one under the tree--after we'd opened, but, hey, the day wasn't over, AND surprise her with the second one in her stocking (she'd only known that I might be buying one of her two choices.)  SAVED FROM DEADBEAT SPOUSE-ING.

I was too frazzled to make a yeast bread with our ham dinner, but I whipped together some popovers last minute. The ham was good, we had mashed potatoes, wild rice hash, and roasted root veggies for sides.  

Christmas morning is when my family used to open presents, so we always reserve one or two for Mason 'from Santa' (yeah, he's fifteen, but he likes the tradition, so we keep it up.) And, then some time in the middle of the night I fill up stockings with candies and small things--normally this is when everyone gets socks, for instance.

Of course, this was the one time Ball's illness worked to our advantage. I was up checking on her at 2 am, anyway, so I took care of the stockings then. I got up again at quarter to six, because that's when we've scheduled her prednisone dose (6 am + 6 pm).  

Christmas day, as noted under the cut above was a hard day for Ball, so I can't say it was our best ever Christmas. Normally, I look forward to having so many days off with my family. We all get along really well (minus hormonal surges.)  And, with nowhere to go and nothing to do, there are usually lots of board games and eggnog.  Shawn is off yet today, so perhaps we can have a day-after Christmas Christmas celebration.

I set up our altar to Bast and we've been keeping a candle going for Ms. Ball. I hope whatever happens, Bast keeps Ms. Ball safe in Her arms.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
After my post about the horribleness of fruitcake, my friend [livejournal.com profile] empty_mirrors decided to send me DECENT fruitcake from the UK, where she's from.  The packages arrived earlier this week and included some other UK delicacies that we can't get 'round here, including Jelly Babies and Treacle (because Mason always hears about treacle in the Harry Potter books and had to know!)  We haven't had a tasting yet, because Shawn came down with a horrible case of the laryngitis crud that we've been passing around the household, and we wanted to wait and have a special UK day/tea where we tried ALL THE THINGS and it seems unfair with her snorfling and unable to taste much beyond her own mucous....

With any luck, that will be this weekend.  I plan to take may pictures and post all our reactions.

But, poor Shawn, this cold/laryngitis thing has been growing stronger with each person it attacks (like a shounen hero!), so she's been really knocked back, far worse than either Mason or I.  I'm still suffering a tiny bit--my sinuses are still runny and my throat hurts, but I'm otherwise mostly over it.

The issue of British food (and fruitcake) came up last Friday when I dined with the Wolves (the good folks at Sofa Wolf had me over when my friend and fellow writer Kyle Gold was in town.)  Turns out, the Wolves make their own figgy pudding, which is another one of those things that you always hear about, but... at least in my case, have never had.  So I slyly invited myself to some holiday gathering so I could taste it.  I mean, it sounds like some kind of sweet version of haggis!  You make it one year and let it... ferment?... age?... in a cold, dark place for OVER A YEAR????  Seriously, I can't wait.

I had a lovely time, as usual, with the Wolves.  Afterwards, Kyle and I have been emailing back and forth percolating on an idea for a furry-type novel for me.  Could be fun, is all I'm saying, and at this point, I have so very little to lose.

In fact, later this afternoon, I have scheduled a phone call with my agent that I'm kind of dreading.  It's one of those that could go either way.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Also, since I was sick, I've been neglecting my around the house duties.  Today I tackled a pile of dishes.  One of the things I like to do while doing the dishes is watch Anime on my iPad.  It sits nicely in the windowsill above the sink, so I can do my work and still read subtitles.  I've gotten through Full Metal Alchemist, Free!, Attack on Titan, and Samurai Champloo that way.  I've just started Death Note.  Death Note is different from a lot of other shounen Anime in that our hero is... kind of a villain.  No, not kind of... totally.  The basic premise is that a death god, a shinigami, has dropped his notebook , into which the names of the dead are written, into the Human World.  A bright high school boy named Light find it and discovers that he can kill people by writing their names, times of death, and cause into it.  His plan, of course, is to use it for GOOD.  He starts by picking off condemned criminals.  But, what's interesting about the story is that the slippery slope is VERY slippery and pretty soon we discover when the shinigami comes to track Light down, that our "hero" plans to create a new world and SET HIMSELF UP AS GOD.

I spend a lot of this show not sure who to root for.  It's like "Dexter," without the funny/interesting insights into human nature from the point of view of a sociopath. The only thing that's compelling about Light is how smart he is.  But he's DEVIOUS-smart, which is compelling, but also kind of... scary, especially now that Light is trying to save himself from discovery.  I like the show a lot, but it makes me remember why I'm not terribly fond of vigilante heroes, like Batman.

I know everyone loves Batman, but Batman has never been a favorite of mine (nor his Marvel analog Iron Man), because essentially Bruce Wayne (and Tony Stark) is a rich vigilante.  Both heroes use money to give them powers that allow them to operate beyond the law.  Both heroes believe they're serving justice.  In the Marvel and DC universes, it's very rare that either of them make a mistake and it's clear that we're meant to believe they're right, they *are* doing the right thing for the right reasons and filling a real need.  What's funny to me is that I'm a huge fan of two other rich vigilantes: the Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro, but in both those cases, the universe in which the heroes live is very clearly screwed-up and both heroes fight to protect those being harassed by corrupt governments.  You could make a case that Gotham is a corrupt government, but it's not usually portrayed that way OVERTLY.  Again, over in the Marvel Universe, the same could be said for New York (or LA, depending on if Tony is in the East Coast or West Coast Avengers at the time), but, you know, again not strictly obvious or overt....

I don't really know where I was going with this thought except to say that I guess shows like "Death Note" feel more honest to me, like a REAL exploration of what might happen if you have an intense sense of justice combined with the knowledge that sometimes the system fails to catch the bad guys/punish them properly.  And maybe some Batman story lines *have* dealt with this, I don't know.

I probably just don't like Batman because he has a butler.  Who has a butler in this day and age? (And yes, I KNOW some people still do, but do we LIKE them??)
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I thought that I'd missed the horrible coughing thing that Mason had over Christmas break (we even ended up taking him to the doctor's on Christmas eve day because we worried he might have strep.)  But, alas, no.  I've been feeling pretty miserable these last four or five days and I LOST MY VOICE.

Perhaps you have no idea what a tragedy this is for me, but I can't talk!  Me!  Who loves the sound of her own voice so much that I've been known to carry on conversations with myself when I'm alone in the house!

Actually, I can talk, just not very well.  On Friday when I went to my library job despite feeling crappy I sounded like a deranged mouse.  They sent me home early because I really couldn't work the front service desk squawking and squeaking.  Now that the cold/laryngitis has progressed I sound a bit more like a growling bear.  So I guess it's improvement that I've moved up the food chain.  :-)

I used to kind of enjoy losing my voice because, in the past, I'd hit a stage where I sounded like some kind of sultry drag queen or jaded phone sex operator.  But, I guess that just cements the fact that I'm an odd duck, because I used to love to just say strange things out loud to crack myself up or call up Shawn's work and croon sweet nothings into the phone in a scratchy  voice.  Alas, if I tried that now it'd sound more like, "bark, snarl, growl!" and not much else intelligible.

I suppose I ought to mention the weather.  Apparently, outside my door right now, it's -20 degrees F/-28 degrees C.  I could guess it was cold because there's so much frost on the INSIDE of our windows, it's not even funny. I could hardly see out this morning before the sun came up and melted things a bit through sheer force of will.  -20 F.... that's probably the coldest I've seen things, ever, because I don't believe that temperature includes windchill, which I'd heard on the radio might be as low as -60 F/-51 C, which frankly is f*cking arctic.

The governor closed schools in advance, which, in my opinion, should be his re-election platform for next year.  "Remember that stupid cold day?  I didn't make you go out in it.  Vote for me!"  except I think Dayton might be on his last term, which is also a shame because he's possibly one of my favorite governors.  I like him not for political reasons (though his are pretty good), but because he's the single most depressed puppy on the planet.  It's like having that sad dog from Looney Tunes (Droopy Dog?) as your governor.  When Mason and I went to see him announce the passing of marriage equality, he gave a short speech that was like this: murmuring in a kind of wet blanket voice.... any pause at all in monotone, and WILD cheering and squeeing from fabulous gay people... more monotone.... At that moment, I thought, "I love you, Governor Dayton.  For so many reasons." Plus, he's actually been upfront about the fact that he does/or has, in point of fact, suffered from depression.  He also adopted a puppy at one point and when we drive past the Governor's mansion on the way to Shawn's work every day, I always look for the sign that says "SLOW DOG AT PLAY."  Which is, of course, meant to be read, "Slow.  Dog at play."  And it is, in point of fact, interrupted with a picture of a dog, but it has no official punctuation, so I've started waving to the mansion and saying, "Good morning, Slow Dog."

Right, okay, it's probably time to brew another pot of coffee and hunker down under cats and blankets.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
XOXO (possibly being renamed "Bullet" as well,) made it through the night, much to everyone's surprise. She's even lurching a lot less.

Fingers crossed.

In other news, it snowed. This means that Mason would like to go sledding this afternoon for, and I quote, "As long as possible." I'm sure to get exercise today.

There's so much I should really be doing instead, but these are the days to enjoy, right?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I am going to be _so_ bleepity-bleep mad if I catch Mason's cold and miss my up-coming yellow belt test AGAIN.

The coughing this morning doesn't bode well. I may have to try to coax Mason (who is home sick again today) into letting me nap. Maybe I can kill this thing with sleep and vitamin C.

Dangnabit.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
As you know, Bob, I have a deadline kicking my butt. What you may not know is that yesterday (and Sunday), I was down for the count thanks to a wicked flu. I was smart this time, I think. Instead of resisting, I gave in to my impluse to sleep it off. I slept nearly all of Sunday when I first felt it coming on. Then on Monday, Shawn left for Washington, D.C. on business and I stayed upright long enough to get Mason ready for school, fed him and drop him off. Then I slept. I slept and slept and slept until time to pick him up, feed him again, stand over him while we did homework, brush his teeth, and get him into pjs. Then I told him he was on his own.

We have a tradition that when one parent is away that Mason is allowed to be somewhat mischevious. This mischief can involve wanton bookshopping, daring trips to McDonalds and other usually off-limits restaurants, or playing videogames/watching TV past the usual cut off time of 6PM. Last night, since I was so very, very sick, I told him he could do whatever as long as he crawled into bed at a semi-reasonable hour (say, before 9:00 pm, which is quite late for a school night for us, but we could sleep in in the morning since we didn't have to take mama in to work by 8am.) That rascal watched RETURN OF THE JEDI and then read until bedtime. Wicked, wicked boy, that one.

Meanwhile, I only monitored him during my semi-conscious moments. I'd bolt awake at 8pm and ask him what he was up to ("just finishing TV, ima!") and I'd tell him to start getting books together or whatever ("I was going to, ima!")

The best part of having such a mostly well-behaved young man is that I totally could trust him. He was in bed and asleep before 9:00 pm as promised. Too bad I was restless and in a bad way for several hours after he was out.

Still, the important thing is that my plan to sleep it off seems to have worked. I'm not 100% today, but compared to yesterday... whoo! I'm much more bright-eyed and busy-tailed and ready to start my writing.

Strangely, I'm feeling like, with Shawn gone, I might actually make a good push. It's funny but sometimes I write more when Shawn's away. I think it's because I don't have someone interesting to talk to (once Mason is asleep, I mean.) And, TV mostly sucks now that "More to Love" is over, so what else is there to do? :-)

Wish me luck. And if you don't hear from me in the next week or so, know that I'm head down over the keyboard typing furiously.

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