Monday, December 29, 2014

Not Really Resolutions

Hiiiiiiiii there.  What's happening?  You good?  Things okay?  How's the family?

It's almost 2015.  2014 wasn't awful (except that whole dog-cancer thing, that sucked).  I'm not chasing it out the door with a pitchfork like 2013.

That said, I felt a shift the other day.  The shift was made up of several smaller facets.

Facet One was actually registering the asexuality thing from a few weeks ago.  It was very freeing to realize how many things I no longer had to spend physical or mental energy on, because I don't care if anyone finds me sexually appealing or not.  Seriously, it was a long list.  It's a very hard feeling to describe.  I've rewritten this paragraph about fifteen times, and I have yet to be able to find words for it.

Facet Two was a similar realization about career and work.  I spend a lot of my time and energy doing things because they're my way of earning a living.  They are not things I would ever do if I wasn't getting paid for them.  They wear me out, and I don't have energy to pursue my own interests.  I am trading my life for money.  If I can figure out how to need less money… and in this mental state, I stumbled across a website that advocates generating wealth for early retirement through extreme frugality (  Usually, I only vaguely understand financial talk, but this particular website did not make my eyes cross or my head swim.  Perhaps I was in the exact right position to read this particular point of view because I had already been wrestling with

Facet Three, which was exhaustion from constantly bailing out my cluttered mess of a home.  I really like my house, and I like my stuff, but I'm absolutely overwhelmed.  I couldn't even emotionally handle bringing home leftovers from Xmas dinner, because it would involved bringing OBJECTS into the house, and I'm at critical mass.  One of the things I did get for Giftmas was a Barnes & Noble gift card, so I decided to go browse (I'm a Kindle devotee, because of the OBJECTS problem, but sometimes I just like to roam around a bookstore, even if I can't imagine actually buying something).  I stumbled across a book about hardcore tidying.  I flicked through it, put it back on the shelf, and went home, gift card unspent.  It nagged at me, though, so I purchased the Kindle version.  I ripped through it in about 2 hours.  Purge things that I do not love, in order to gain serenity and sanity?  And in doing so, perhaps become accustomed to the idea of having less- buying less- wanting less?

Facet Four involved ripping out a dead tree in my backyard.  There is a great big empty planter now that I intend to use to grow some sort of food plant in a straw bale.  Perhaps I'll make Zippy a fort out of the bale-planters, who knows.  Either way, I'm going to replace something I don't want with something I DO want.

Someone (probably many someones) once told me that you never say what you're NOT going to do, you say what you ARE going to do, because giving a name to the negative gives it power.

I am going to dress and behave in ways that make me happy.

I am going to spend money on things that I love, so that I may eventually spend all my time doing things to amuse myself.

I am going to surround myself only with objects that I love and want to be there.

I am going to build Zippy a strawberry plant fort.

Shall we saunter into 2K15?

Monday, December 1, 2014


I have had a headache since Thursday night.

I have been sickish since Friday.

I stayed home from work today, and I will probably stay home from work tomorrow.

I am at my wit's end with the headache.  It's not even that bad, it's just unrelenting.

The air pressure has been fluctuating wildly, which is probably why it's happening.

It's supposed to rain buckets tomorrow, I am hoping that the pressure will level off.

The dog and the cat have been extremely ON ME since all this began.

I love you two, but come on.  You're heavy and hot and everything hurts and please I can't roll over in bed if you're all draped on me.

I'm tired of feeling like crap.

Friday, November 28, 2014

This Month's Homework: The Beasts I Live With

I'm not having human children.  I have no interest in reproducing.  

I have pets.

I don't think "pets" really captures the severity of the situation.

Exhibit A:  Trixie LaRue, aka "Trix"
I have a 55 pound rescued Poodle named Trix, who has survived 3 years living in a shelter, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, some sort of sepsis situation brought on by eating (but not passing) a corncob that rotted in her stomach for two weeks before puking it back up, a weird autoimmune disorder brought on by the corncob incident, pancreatitis brought on by the steroids used to try to combat the autoimmune issue, a very aggressive melanoma of her conjunctiva that tried to kill her and took her eye, and now has vitiligo triggered by the melanoma vaccine.  She also appears to be allergic to fleas.  She is intensely needy, hogs the bed, has terrible leash manners, is jealous of everything I pay attention to that isn't her, and costs a fortune in both vet bills and grooming fees.  On the upside, she is entirely made of love, keeps the bed very warm in winter, will let you do anything you want to her aside from touch her toes, and lets the cat eat out of her dish.  She is the only reason I get out of my house after work.  She loves humans more than is probably healthy, including the nephews and all three of her vets- GP, eye guy, and oncologist.  She panics when I take her collar off, because she does not like to be naked for any reason.  She looks really goofy without her moustache and beard.

Exhibit B:  Michael Leroy Sandman, aka "Zippy"
I have a more-than-10-less-than-20 pound gutter kitty named Zip, who was an abandoned feral kitten rescued from crows by the grounds manager at work.  He was only 5 weeks old when his destiny changed.  He has only had minor eye problems (probably brought on by trauma from running through the bushes), and will probably not have any real health problems because I shelled out for pet insurance because I will never finish paying off Trixie's vet bills and I learned my lesson.  He cannot handle being petted without biting, is an insufferable morning person, and likes to escape from the house and lead me on a merry chase when I'm already late for work.  He is also deeply in love with his dog, has a tail like a fox, and makes a devastatingly cute BLEE noise when he hears my voice but can't find me.  He is currently learning to love roast chicken enough to come in when I call him.  He pretends to be a badass, but is afraid of sounds, strange movements, and humans who are not me.  He will steal the dog's toys, but it's okay because the dog steals his.

Are you ready to look at pictures of my kids?  IT IS TIME.

Curly black planet, fuzzy tabby moon.
I am also responsible for the lives of four coworker animals.  

Exhibit C:  Boris
Exhibit D:  Vincent
Two of them live in my guest room.  They are healthy, pleasant old men, and enjoy human food and shredding paper.  Boris is starting to lose fur and the lead-like density of youth, and Vincent is probably going grey, but I can't really see it because he was taupe to begin with.  Zippy is a terrible predator, so I must keep the guest room door closed at all times to prevent their brutal murder.  I told them to kick his ass when he was a kitten (and approximately their size) so he would fear them as an adult, but they could smell the scent of carnivore on him and refused.  They often come to work with me in a cat carrier, and Vincent feasts upon sunflower seeds while sitting in my mail tray while Boris sleeps like the dead wrapped up in a towel.  They are tolerant of children and will allow themselves to be petted.

Exhibit E:  Mr. Bunnyman
Exhibit F-You:  Geraldine
 The other two live in a very posh little outdoor complex that I designed and built for them.  They are aloof but friendly enough, and like having their faces rubbed and their food dish refilled.  Neither of them are super keen on being picked up, and they're not really thrilled with humans who are not me, but that's understandable, as we are predators, after all.  Geraldine has chronic eye problems, but Mr. Bunnyman loves to groom her face, so it works out.  Their favorite time of year is complex cleaning day, when I release them into the butterfly house so I can work.  They greatly enjoy running around a giant, plant-filled enclosure, and make me chase them to get them back in their real home.  Both of them need the exercise, though.  They will allow children to pet them, but it's not their favorite activity.

I'd write more about them all, but the dog and the cat are currently wrestling on top of me.  That's sort of the story of my life.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

TMI Time!

So, I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I'm sorta asexual.

I say "sorta," because I don't know if it's just a phase in my life, or if it has always been this way and I am just now realizing it.

I do not know that I have ever found anyone sexually attractive.  I am not aromantic, and I have been in love many many times, but I do not really know if anyone has really turned my gears that way, so to speak.

I know when people are physically beautiful specimens, and I certainly like looking at that sort of person, but it's a detached sort of feeling.  I like to look at flowers and gemstones and beautiful architecture, too.  It's pretty much the same emotion for me.

When I was younger, I craved the feeling of being wanted, and I figured that the feeling I got when someone desired me (for whatever reason) was sexual attraction.  Now that I'm older, I'm not sure it is.  If I do become aroused, it's certainly not directed at anyone.  It was an odd day when I realized that other people DO find each other arousing.  The only thing I wanted from other people was to be approved of.

In any case, over the last five years or so I have stopped performing behaviors that would indicate that I am interested in sexual relationships of any kind.  I do not flirt.  I don't make sexual jokes.  I do not use double entendres (at least, not on purpose, which can get embarrassing when people think I've said something suggestive and I didn't realize it).  I do not move my body in ways that could be interpreted as inviting.  My vibe is "chilly and distant" or "human Muppet."  Neither are alluring.

For the most part, I think people pick up on it.  If anyone asks, I generally say that my sexual preference is "no, thank you."

When someone doesn't pick up on it, I get extremely uncomfortable.

When a casual acquaintance includes a winky-face emoji and a reference to massage in an FB message about whether or not I will be attending an event, it makes me cranky.

Yes, I will be attending this event.

Before, I figured that the days leading up to the event would be filled with thoughts of "what appetizers shall I bring?"

Now, they get to be filled with the discomfort of knowing that I will have to be face-to-face with someone, and that I will have to bluntly state that I do not welcome that sort of interaction.  I don't like making someone feel awkward, but I also am not interested in being flirted with, jokingly or not.    I do not like being made uncomfortable.  I don't like making others uncomfortable.

But if it's going to happen one way or the other, I'm going to make damn sure it's not me.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Annual Review

Today was my annual review.  For a few years now, this has meant a day of a really dramatic and embarrassing emotional breakdown in front of whatever poor supervisor was delivering the goods.

Bad times.  Ugly crying.  Days of despair.

The reviews, by the way, were never bad enough to have warranted such a messy reaction.  They weren't great, to be quite honest, but neither was my performance.  It's part of why it sucked so hard- it was fair.  I was a big ole mess for a long time.  I feel bad for having put my coworkers in the position to have to deal with me.  Probably made their jobs harder than they should be.

This year was positive across the board, and I felt mellow about it coming and going.

I feel pretty mellow in general lately.  In fact, I'm not sure I could generate the emotions to fuel that kind of off-the-rails shitshow right now.

This has led me to gaze into my navel for a bit to figure out what's different.

The first thing that pops into my head is my living situation.  It will be one year without a Shitty Roommate next week, and that certainly does help with my overall mental health.  Not having to deal with another deeply disordered person's chaos and mess makes a huge difference.  The fact that I can actually afford to pay my dramatically-lower utility bills is icing on that particular cake.  William Gibson's quote speaks truth- "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes."

On a related topic, all of the animals are generally healthy right now.  I loved Old Man, and I miss him, but caring for a chronically-ill creature for years takes its toll.  I have not had to bleach urine out of the garage floor in almost a year.  I have not had to inject anything into anyone.  I have not smelled ketones wafting off a filthy sticky cat, and I have not had to plan my day around carefully timed feedings and insulin.  I had forgotten what it was like to be able to swing by the grocery store on the way home from work.

Trixie's doing well.  Her pirate eye doesn't seem to bother her, and the melanoma vaccine seems to be working.  All her X-rays have come up clean, and she's developed vitiligo, which suggests that her immune system really IS going after pigment cells with a vengeance.  Her spotty pink lips are a little goofy looking, but I'll take it.

Zippy is beginning to understand that I need to sleep at night, and has not been keeping me awake at all hours.  He's becoming a lovely real boy, instead of a devastatingly cute kinetic needle-beast.

The rats have passed the two-year mark without tumors or lung diseases or dementia, which is a first for me.  Getting them from a breeder who really takes health into consideration was a very good choice.  They're still clicking along, active and happy, although Boris is starting to lose a little fur on his back and is getting some greys on his face.

I have been off the Diet Pepsi for a little over four months.  I know that the FDA says aspartame is safe, and aspartame poisoning is one of those fad-diseases that doesn't really exist, and all that rot… but seriously, I think I had aspartame poisoning.  I am way less moody, I have far fewer headaches and allergic asthma symptoms, my skin is clearer, and all my physical pains have a definite injury associated with them.  Nothing seems to hurt for no particular reason.

All in all, I am less angry, less desperate, less offended, less terrified, less disgruntled, less obsessive, less compulsive, less disgusted, less cranky, less irritable, less hopeless, less less less less less.

More…. content?

I don't remember ever having any of the emotions I have right now.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I am having genuine teary feelings right now.

Have I told you guys that I love David Suchet's portrayal of Agatha Christie's Poirot?

Like, a lot?

Like, more than is probably healthy?

I have not read all of them (I don't tend to read fiction, I've read the big ones and a few of the short ones), but I will watch David Suchet mince around in a suit and spats all damn day if you let me.

He has finally finished filming every single Poirot story Christie ever published.  And I have watched 69 of them, and all of them more than once.  Sometimes more than twice.

Except "Curtain."  The final story.  The end.

It's been out for a few weeks.  I just couldn't bring myself to watch it before tonight.


My heart.

It hurts.

I do not own a TV.  In the entire history of me, there are only three TV series that I have watched Every.  Single.  Episode.

Firefly.  Planet Earth.

And Poirot.

I will miss you, mon ami.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lookit my boy!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Tante's Life Hacks

Hi, schmibbles.  I don't have my shit together.  Really, I don't.  But I do a very few things that make my life easier in small ways, so I thought I'd share.

     Keep a bungee cord in the back of your car.  Thread the handles of your grocery bags onto the bungee cord, and then strap it to either side of your cargo space.  Now your groceries won't roll around and clunk into each other and the jar of pickles won't squash your bread.

      Replace all the reasonable light bulbs above your vanity with the brightest daylight CFLs the fixture will tolerate without causing an electrical fire.  You will be able to do surgery in your bathroom, and there is no possible way you will encounter lighting during your day that is less flattering.  Voila, you grow increasingly good-looking as the day wears on!

      Draw on the tails of your eyebrows with a very faint blonde eyebrow marker before committing to a shape.  It is easy to use a wet cotton swab to erase the less-pretty one if it's just a faint marker swish, and then you have something to trace over with your waterproof brow pencil.  Set that shit with powder, and your eyebrows will survive 6+ sweaty dirty hours outdoor in the sun with children.  Maybe.  Keep your hands off your face.

     To prevent accidental duplicate purchases, keep an alphabetical list of whatever product you tend to hoard in the notes section in your phone.  When you are faced with a particularly good sale, you will be able to verify that yes, you already own that lipstick/eyeshadow/DVD (these are my weaknesses, what are yours?).

     Keep a different list in your phone of other things that you really like, but don't tend to buy very often, so you can remember what you liked last time.  My list includes my bra's make, size, and model number, the size and diameter of the circular barbells I wear in my ears almost constantly, and the types of cosmetic contact lenses I've purchased over the years.

      You know I love me some lists.  I also measured every possible thing in my home- tops of tables, length of curtains, dimensions of shelves, you name it.  I have them listed by room in my notes on my phone.  Find a tablecloth at a yard sale, but don't know if it'll fit your kitchen table?  Now you know.  Browsing IKEA?  No, that drawer organizer won't fit in the cutlery drawer, it's too big.

      Can you tell that Tante hates making returns?  She can never remember where she put the receipt.  This one is for you hardcore homebodies.  Get yourself a Pantone wheel.  I bought mine from Dharma Trading.  Find out the colors of everything in your home.  Couches, walls, artwork, whatever.  Take that Pantone wheel to the hardware store paint counter.  Find matching paint chips for all your stuff.  Cut those paint chips into small squares and affix them to notecards by room.  Make sure those notecards fit into your wallet.  "Will this vase go with the rest of my bedroom?"  Whip out the bedroom chip card.  "Oh, wow, that is WAY too yellow."  Don't do this with photos in your phone- cameras lie about color.

     Frozen fruit as an ice cube makes water seem fancy.  Oooo, fancy tap water.

     Don't look at the registry.  Give them a fireproof waterproof safe and a bunch of external memory storage devices.  They didn't register for one, and when the wildfires rage and the water main bursts, they'll at least have their important documents and data somewhere in the wreckage.

      Plain greek yogurt can go almost anywhere sour cream can go, and for way fewer calories.  16 ounces of plain greek yogurt mixed with one packet of French onion soup mix makes onion dip you won't feel guilty shoveling into your face.  Use raw vegetables as a mode of conveyance for the dip.  Or ruffled potato chips.  I don't judge.

      Like to have emergency supplies on hand?  Go get a Slurpee and grab a few extra thick straws.  Take a pair of needle nose pliers and clamp the end of the straw, leaving about 1/8 inch of the straw exposed beyond the jaws.  Use a lighter to melt that bit together, and keep it clamped until the melted plastic cools.  Stuff important things into the straw, cut it to size, clamp the other end, and seal it.  Label the straw with a Sharpie.  Now you've got a handy little waterproof tube that you can stash in an Altoids tin.  Suggested things to seal in tubes:  Baby aspirin.  Salt.  Water purification tablets.  Waterproof matches and dryer lint.  Neosporin.  Sugar.

     Don't buy Pill Pockets.  Hide dog pills inside miniature marshmallows.  They don't chew them, they just swallow them whole.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sophistique Noir's September Theme: Makeup

Well, it's been too hot for any sort of makeup (aside from eyebrows, because I have to draw mine on), so I figured I'd just share this again.

I'm a makeup volunteer at the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, California.  It's a tableaux vivants that's been going on for over eighty years, and I've been slapping paint on people every summer since 2003.  If you're in Southern California during the months of July or August, and you want to come see this thing, hit me up- I can sometimes get discounted tickets, and sometimes do backstage tours after the show.  It's definitely a good way to spend a summer evening.

For the record, I did not take this picture, Marcia Gay Harden did, and she tweeted it, and I just stole it from her twitter. It is the only photo that exists of me actually doing makeup at the show, because nobody's allowed to take pictures backstage (unless you're famous, then I guess it's okay?).  I am the spiky black thing in the middle.  This was 2012.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

More small thoughts

-The termite guy is coming tomorrow to start the process of evicting many chewing insects from this house.  Mom is coming over to supervise this process, as the guy has to get in the attic and into the garage and I'm going to be at work.  Most of them are subterranean termites, and for all we know the nest might be halfway down the block in the middle of the damn street, so the plan is to make them all retreat and then make the house so unpalatable that they don't come back, while also replacing all the damaged wood.  A tent will not be involved, which is sort of a relief.  That sounded like a pain in the ass.

-I cleaned up part of my garage since someone will be poking around in there.  I wonder if I will ever reach a point where the house isn't in utter disarray?

-I am such a friggin good cook, you guys.  Green chile pork mixed with steamed diced sweet potato and corn and queso fresco and greek yogurt and crushed tortilla chips?  For real, I love me right now.  I might have a popsicle for dessert.

-My hair has felt a little dry and fragile lately, what with the bleaching and the heated tools and the constant sweating and the cotton pillowcases.  During my internet wanderings, I noticed that a lot of black beauty bloggers spoke highly of Shea Moisture hair products, and I figure that they're probably the authority on delicate hair.  So I go buy a bottle of the Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner and give it a spin.  Organic, fair trade, cruelty-free, smells okay, not even very expensive or hard to find.  It suggests that it can either be a quickie 3 minute conditioner or be left on for 15 minutes as an intensive sort of treatment, so I go big.  Wash my hair, wring it out, slam some of this stuff in there, comb it, wait 15 minutes, and then rinse.  Well, not really.  I tried to rinse, but there was NOTHING TO RINSE OUT.  It just absorbed.  It was the strangest thing I have ever seen conditioner do.  Thank you, Black Beauty Bloggers.  My hair feels like hair again.  I shall be seeking out a silk pillowcase next, and Shea Moisture will probably be getting all my money.  Super pleased.

-I have one more week and one day of camp left.  It is DRAGGING ASS.  Some of that might be my fault, as I am an idiot and decided that it was a good idea to roast the marshmallows early today, while there was still morning cloud cover to keep us from frying in the sun near the fire pit.  The sugar rush that seized all 20 children was something I did not plan for.  Sunburn vs. hyperactive children?  TAKE THE SUNBURN.

-Nature is trying to kill me.  I knew I was allergic to pollen and dust and mold, but now it seems that I am also allergic to mosquitoes.  Every time they bite me, I get a massive huge welt that stays painful and hot and hard for days.  A friend saw one of these welts and was convinced that it was some early stage of necrosis, or perhaps blood poisoning (they do go away, they're just angry until they go).  One of the wretched little bloodsuckers got my forehead, and now I look like I'm growing a horn.  I think this is all the Universe's way of telling me I need to be in a different industry.  An indoor industry.  Out of the sun and away from the allergens.

-Seriously, really enjoying this bowl of food.  I smell like onions and cumin.  That lime popsicle is looking pretty good, too.

-My baby boy gato is asleep on a chair.  He is precious and adorable and no doubt charging his batteries for total mania when I go to bed.  Trixie is sleeping with her head under his chair, as usual.  They're never more than three feet away from each other.  She's the curly black planet to his fuzzy tabby moon.  Tomorrow, Mom is taking both of them with her after the termite guy leaves, so they can play with my nephews at her house while she babysits.  I hope Zippy is gentler with the boys than he is with me- I have fang puncture marks on my arm from his most recent bout of ecstatic frenzied biting.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Small thoughts

* I am ready for it to not be summer anymore.  I'm tired of sweating like a beast, I'm tired of shorts, and I'm tired of worrying about my animals roasting when I'm not home to have all the windows open.

* I think I have an unhealthy love of canvas drop cloths.  They're everywhere.  I've got one tied to my antique loveseat that the dog likes to sleep on, one wrapped around the blue couch that doesn't match my den, and several that I use during camp as seating areas outside.  I just bought another one to make into a bedspread.  I have to hack it up first, though, because I don't want a seam down the middle of it.

*I'm steadily unfucking my habitat.  The dining table is clear once again, the kitchen is in order, and my bedroom is 80% tidy.  I spent part of this afternoon gathering all my sewing supplies hidden about the house and organizing them in a set of drawers in the Rat Room.  Sewing in the Rat Room, books in the Guest Nest, beads and paints and sculpting and tie dye in the Garage/Workshop.  For all it's weird little faults, I am incredibly lucky to live in this house.  Yes, it's got termites, and screwed-up plumbing, and the kitchen counters are trying to die, and the floor is a messy patchwork of stained carpet and plywood and tar and pink paper, but it is slowly becoming a sanctuary.  I hope my grandparents would be happy with how I'm taking care of the joint.

*I have been dropping obscene money on melanoma vaccines in the hopes of preventing my dog from producing more cells that want to kill her.  Once she was healed from the eye removal, she got a shot every two weeks for eight weeks.  She just had a chest X-ray to see if there were any signs of cancer, and it came back clean.  Her lymph nodes aren't poofy, her other eye is okay, and she seems happy.  Now she only needs one hideously expensive vaccine booster every 6 months, which I will gladly budget for.  Good dog.

* The Predator Prince is getting VERY big.  He's pretty much learned to not claw me, but he's still having trouble with the NO BITING part.  I feel bad for the guy- no mommy or siblings to teach him to knock it off!  He loves his dog, but it's just not the same lesson.

*It seems I'm allergic to some small arthropod that likes to bite me.  My friend yelled at me when I sent her a pic of the giant blistered welt on my arm, convinced that it was the early stages of necrosis or blood poisoning.  I assured her that this is normal for me, and it will go away, it just looks awful in the meantime.  Secretly I hope I'm absorbing the power of whatever creature it is.  SPIDERME, SPIDERME.

*  I have been shuffling clothes together to try to come up with an outfit for Bossman/Coworker-Former-Roommate's wedding.  It will be hot, and out in the canyon, and the weirdest mix of people you can imagine.  Any excuse to dress funny, I say.  Tally ho.

* I have to work tomorrow.  The idea of it is making me sad, but maybe I can get all my camp crap for the week set up, so all I have to do is autopilot this week.

* I have a lot of things that need to be dyed.  I should do that today before the dye in my fridge poops out.  It doesn't last once it's mixed, and it's been in there for over two weeks.  I hate wasting dye.

*  All the animals in my house are asleep.  It is very quiet.  Just the sound of fans.  What a pleasant feeling.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

An Inauspicious Start to the Week

So, this week I have to go back to teaching regular camp instead of my Ravens, which I'm trying not to have grim feelings about.

I can't find the giant drop cloth with a fictional island country drawn upon it, which we use for the first day of this camp.  I've managed to lose Turgundy.  How did I lose a whole country?  It's not a small object.  It's about the size of a small corgi when rolled up (maybe a really fat dachshund).

I'm going to go see Motley Crue and Alice Cooper on Tuesday with Bosslady and Bosslady's Boyfriend.  They bought my ticket, so I'm in charge of food and drinks.  I have to turn a pork sirloin into green chile pork tacos tomorrow between camp and Pageant, and make many margaritas.

My garbage disposal has died.  My dad tried to fix it, but, like all house-related issues, it's a bigger problem than it seems.  My brother is not around to save the day- he's in Thailand.

I'm not entirely sure how to make tacos with no sink.  It's a slow-cooker recipe, though, maybe I'll just take it to work and do it there?  That'd be kind of a dick move, though- Bossman and Coworker/Former Roommate are still fasting for Ramadan.  "What's the delicious smell permeating the office?"  "Green chile pork."  "Rude."

Finding Turgundy would do a lot to quell my sense of unease.

Back into the garage to continue the search.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Middle of Summer

Well hellewwwww.

I pull disappearing acts in the summer, don't I?  Summer is overly busy for me.  Between camp and Pageant, I barely have time to eat, let alone share my life with y'all!  I miss you, though.

So let's see, what's been going on since we last met?

Still off the Diet Pepsi.  I still really really want one.  I had a Sprite about two weeks ago, but that was mostly because I wanted the cup of ice.  Haven't noticed any real effects except that I'm less caffienated.

Decided to be turquoise for the summer.

Manic Panic Atomic Turquoise, Voodoo Blue, and some Electric Banana thrown in to green it up in places.
My boy is getting big.
Yes, he's on the bathroom lighting fixture.  He's a brat.
Made this year's Pageant makeup room name tags.  We've got a bunch of Egyptian stuff in the show this year, so I went with that.  They flip up to reveal everyone's names in Classical Greek and in English.  Yes, I made everyone find their name tags without flipping them up.  I told them which ones were mine and my mothers, and made them figure out the rest Rosetta Stone style.
Mine is the top left.  My mother's is right below mine.  They roughly say RW SR EE and SN DI.
Finished a two-week experimental camp for 7th and 8th graders that we'd been planning to try for a while now.  Called it Order of the Raven to make it sound cool and exclusive and secret-societyish.  Only had 5 kids to 2 teachers, which made my boss kind of crabby because usually we go 10-1 on that, but they LOVED it (and so did their parents), so I imagine they'll rave about it and the applications will start pouring in for the next time.  I had a good time, and I was very proud of all my little Ravens.  I've been saying all along that I don't like little kids, I like the older ones, and it is indeed true.  I was very exhausted the first week (setup from 7-9, kids from 9-3, cleanup from 3-4, animals and showers and life from 4-6, show from 6-1030, dog walks from 1030 to 11, lather rinse repeat, yeah, I was trashed), but my heart was not destroyed like it usually is after camp.  I'm kind of sad to be going back to 3rd-6th graders for the next 5 weeks, actually.  Oh well.  Gotta pay the bills somehow.

The Boss and the Coworker/Former Roommate are getting married on the 30th of August.  We have been informed that the dress code is "western-Renaissance-Victorian, hats not optional."  Oooookay then.  I'm going to take the opportunity to throw together some outlandish stuff to wear in public.  I think I'm going to pull part of my Goblin/Plague Rat Rennie costume and augment it to go in a sort of Dark Mori Girl direction, but with blacks and teals and dark burnt oranges.  I'm also treating the "hat" requirement as just "something on your head."  I think I'm going to make a sort of Mucha-looking headband with great big burnt orange flowers and maybe some antlers.  That counts, right?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Something in the stars

Have you ever been tootling along, sort of okay with your life but not overwhelmingly happy, and suddenly


felt really powerful for no real reason?

I'm not talking about economic power, or social power, or even control-over-one's-own-life power.

I'm talking the earth shall tremble beneath my feet and I shall rearrange the very stars powerful.

I don't know what's bubbling up in my little black marshmallowy heart, but it's certainly interesting.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


So, I have a lot of vices.  Nothing illegal or consciousness-altering, and I'm about as boring sexually as a concrete block, but I've managed to rack up a few bad habits.  I'm super lazy.  I will nap an entire weekend.  I don't really do any sort of appreciable exercise beyond walking the dog and hiking around work.  I eat out a lot.  When I don't eat out, I have the diet of a college frat boy.  Onion dip is a food group in my house.

I am also addicted to Diet Pepsi.

I am not using the word "addicted" hyperbolically.  Five and six cans a day.  I drink it with breakfast.  I can have it late at night and still be able to sleep.  I get very substantial checks from can recycling.  For a while, I was actually a Diet Pepsi Max devotee, which has more caffeine than the usual stuff.  I managed to get myself back down to the regular stuff, and occasionally the decaf.  I have clutched the can uttering the phrase "from my cold, dead hands."

I know it's awful for me.  My father is a dentist, so I know what it's doing to my teeth.  My pH is distressingly low (I lick pH paper once in a while, it always turns orange or red).  I'm sure my bones are borderline birdlike.  My skin is a wreck.  I imagine the aspartame is doing all sorts of terrible things to my brain and heart and pancreas.

I woke up two weeks ago, and discovered that I was out.  None in the fridge, none at work.  I thought, okay, that's probably a good thing.  If I want it, I have to leave the house.  For a week, I was Queen of the 7-11.

About 6 days ago, I didn't have time to make my morning Super Big Gulp run (yes, I consume soda by the bucketful).  I nearly fell asleep teaching children, and I take prescription meds for ADHD.  You know, the sort of drugs that Hollywood starlets like to snort to get high?  Yes, I can sleep with that in my system.  I needed the caffeine ON TOP of all this in order to stay awake during my job.

I interrupt this narrative to express my disapproval of the misuse of prescription stimulants.  I genuinely require these medications to function in society.  Because of the recreational abuse of these drugs, I have to jump through many more hoops to get them than the average prescription.  The irony is that I cannot focus long enough to jump through the hoops unless I have my medications in my system.  If I run out of meds before I can jump through the hoops, my life just spirals out of control until someone reminds me to call my doctor for a triplicate prescription, go fetch that slip of paper, drive it to the pharmacy, wait a few hours, and drive back to the pharmacy to pick them up.  Unmedicated, each of those steps is a massive accomplishment.  It can take several days.  The ethics of criminalizing recreational drug use is a discussion for a different day.  Today's message:  Stop taking my medications for fun, assholes.  We now return to the Diet Pepsi story.

That day, as I was greedily slurking down an unreasonably large cup of bubbly brown aspartame acid at lunch, I admitted I have a problem.

The next morning, I woke up and decided to go just one day without my liquid crutch.  I can do anything for just one day, right?  Immediately, I became aware of how much fluid I am consuming all the time.  If I am not pouring liquid in my face, I don't know what to do.  I figured tea was a safe caffeine replacement.  I drank about three quarts of unsweetened iced black tea, and I was a little twitchy and fiendy, but I made it to bedtime without straying.  Yeah.  Go me.

The morning after that, I woke up and decided to go another day.  I spent a lot of time white-knuckling my armrests, and lot of time fantasizing about the crackpop-shhhhh noise of a can being opened.  More iced tea was consumed.  I continued to be a little twitchy.  I made it to bedtime again.  Woo, I am an animal.

The morning after that, weird competitive pride set in, and I was mostly determined to not break the streak.

I have been Diet Pepsi free for 5 days.

I have ingested a LOT of unsweetened iced black tea.

I'm still a little fiendy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

CorpGoth Status Report- My Work Cave

Hellooooo, darlings.  Greetings from Overly Busy Land, where laundry doesn't get done and kittens bounce all over the house at godforsaken hours.  Trystan over at CorpGoth assigned us "cubicles" for our mid month status report, and I have one of those, so I decided to play.

When we moved into our new building at work, we all got to pick our desks.  I picked the one in the darkest corner, farthest away from windows and the public eye.  I think you'll be able to see why.

It's clearly for everyone else's safety and sanity.  Nobody needs to see what's coming.
This is an unreasonable number of faux flowers.
For real, though, I can find things.  I just need to be able to SEE everything or I forget it's there.
I may or may not have a treasure collecting problem.

To be fair, a lot of this stuff IS actually work related.  I'd say at least a solid 60%.  In two weeks, it gets it's quarterly overhaul to prepare for camp season, so that the ridiculousness that is in the line of other people's sight is taken care of.  The rest is my security blanket.  I'd apologize for it, but I've been like this for 36 years.  It seems unlikely that I will change anytime soon.  I've decided to just like myself in spite of the clutter.

Do you all feel better about your work nests now?  Aren't you tidy?


Monday, June 2, 2014

Building Yancey the Sea Serpent


Wire frame.

Cute distraction.

Added mesh.

And eyeballs.

Added skin (and the cute distraction again).

Added teeth.

Added paint.

Added handler. 
And happiness.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cap'n Mankybeard and the Predator Prince

Let it never be said that I live a boring life.

On Friday, May 16th, my dog had her eye removed.  The surgeon was surprised at how contained the tumor was, as usually these things have tendrils creeping into other tissues.  This one was quite solid, and had an edge, and he seemed pretty optimistic about having gotten it all, even without MRIs or CAT scans.
My coworker SF took the kitten for a few days, so that I could tend to my drunk, coned-up pirate dog.  This was a lovely gesture, and allowed her kids to have Super Fun Mammal Time without the problems that come with owning a Super Fun Mammal.  Everyone is a winner in this game.  The dog got some quiet time, the kitten got to play nonstop for an entire weekend, I got to sleep past 540 in the morning, and her family got to spoil the hell out of the Predator Prince.  He enjoyed his weekend so much that I caught him sleeping in his travel carrier, something he's NEVER done before.  
The pirate dog is no longer really in pain from the surgery, but she must remain in the cone until the 28th, when her stitches come out.  Food gets stuck in the cone, and gets squished into her beard, so that's sorta manky and gross.  She has been bashing her cone on every possible surface, trying to itch the surgery site.  Yesterday, she figured out how to get the kitten to untie the string holding the cone together, so she could get out of it.

Poodles are terrifyingly smart animals.

After 5 days of being home with the recuperating pirate dog, and 3 days of running interference so that the kitten wouldn't reach into the cone and smack the incision, I went back to work.  There, I discovered that all of my monarch chrysalises have parasites.  Wonderful.  Coworker AL's comment:  "Man, you just can't catch a break, can you?"  Nope.  No, I can't.

One of the rats made an upsetting breathing sound this morning, so I'm watching him like a hawk to make sure he's not developing pneumonia.

This week, I have to build a large sea-serpent puppet for 10 people.  The kitten barely allows me to type, so bending wires and sewing fabric on those wires should be a challenge.

I also have to make a prototype name tag for this year's Pageant.  I came up with the idea before everything came apart at the seams, so this should be interesting.

It's really hard to type with a kitten latched onto your arm.  Leggo, dude.

Oh well.  At least I have things to do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

No celebrations yet.

So, we spent the afternoon at the oncologist yesterday.  They took chest X-rays, and did an ultrasound, and took some blood, and did a needle aspirate of her lymph nodes to see if this malignant eye thing has spread.

The oncologist was optimistic yesterday, seeing nothing troubling.

Today, after having the radiologist look at the films and the cytologist look at the aspirates, he called and said it hadn't spread, and she just needed to have the eye and tumor surgically removed.

Hey, that's rad.  Relief.  Awesome.  With any luck, we can do this ASAP, as I'm taking Friday, Monday, AND Tuesday off work, so I could sit with a pirate dog in a cone.

I started cleaning the gook out of the bad eye with a wet washcloth.  It involves sitting the washcloth on the dried nastiness, and letting it rehydrate so it can sort of be wiped away.  I stroked the other side of her face while we did this, so she'd hold still.

I rarely see the whites of my dog's eyes.  I was petting her firmly enough to stretch her lids open further than usual.  And then I see THIS, in her GOOD EYE.

This better not be what I think it is.
I swear to everything holy, if that thing on the edge of her iris is a melanoma, I will SCREAM MYSELF INSANE.

I don't exactly have the money to be spending on ANOTHER biopsy.  

And if one of these vets dropped the ball and didn't think to look at both eyes…. 

I will concede, it is unbearably hot here.  91 degrees right now, and it's 7pm.  I have a mild sunburn from having been outside teaching all day, and neither my house nor my office has air conditioning.  I haven't slept much since His Kittenship joined us, and I am also covered in small scratches from his gleeful rambunctious playing.  This all probably has bearing on my mood.

But still.

Barely holding it together.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sometimes it pays to show the wounds

I cancelled my trip next weekend- I can't justify spending 4 days out of town, and $500+ dollars, when the dog is possibly dying.  The hotel I could bail out of until the 15th, but the tickets to MakerFaire were no-refunds-no-exchanges sorts of things.

I don't usually challenge policies like that.  The rules apply to me, and I make my own choices.  I'm not the sort of person to yell at the customer service rep or send my entree back.

But it's $60.  With the amount of work I've missed due to vet visits, and the horrifying amount of money I'm going to be spending at the oncologist on Monday, I decided to try.

I emailed MakerFaire's customer service to ask for a refund.

"I just found out that my dog has a very aggressive sort of cancer, and I won't be able to attend the event.  I know it's silly, but my dog is my best friend, and I can't spend the weekend away from her when I know she might not have many weekends left."

The customer service rep replied within 5 minutes.

"We don't usually refund, but I just lost a furry friend of my own.  Spend time with your dog.  My condolences.  Your purchase has been refunded to your credit card."

The older I get, the more I realize that if you show people your wounds (your REAL wounds, not your "I ORDERED MY STEAK MEDIUM AND THIS IS MEDIUM WELL YOU SHOULD ALL BE FIRED" wounds), they will recognize them, because they have scars in the exact same place.

Thank you, MakerFaire Customer Service Rep.  You made a crappy situation a little less crappy.  My condolences on the loss of your friend.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Biopsy says...


We see the oncologist on Monday to see if it's spread anywhere else, and then figure it out from there.

She still has no idea anything is wrong.  The melanoma is ugly, and sorta blocks her vision in that eye, and bleeds if she rubs it funny, but is otherwise not really bothering her.  She's totally focused on playing with her kitten.

Dammit, Sandman, you are a companion, not a replacement, do you hear me?

Come on, Trixie LaRue, let's go for a walk so you can sniff the neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"This is bad."

I preface all of this by stating that I am a stoic person, and that everything about my demeanor in a vet's office suggests that I do not appreciate delicate sugarcoating.  I am a grim realist, and I very rarely interact with a vet or tech who does not pick up on this immediately.  

Took the dog for a biopsy of the thing growing out of her eye.  Went back to retrieve her this afternoon.  Took my mother, because I had a suspicion that an extra pair of ears would be useful.  I tend to get flustered when I have emotions while listening.

The dog came into the exam room first.  Her eye was icky with blood, but otherwise she was happy as a clam at high tide.

The surgeon came in a minute later.

"This is bad."

Oh.  My.

"This is a particularly nasty melanoma.  I don't see one like this very often, and I see a LOT of melanomas.  Black as night.  Lots of blood vessels. It's almost certain we won't be able to save the eye.  We might not be able to save the dog."

Oh.  My.

"I hope I'm wrong.  We can't be sure until the biopsy comes back.  Once we know exactly what we're dealing with, we can decide how to proceed."

When will that be, do you think?

"The biggest vet pathology lab in the nation is literally three blocks from here, so it should be pretty fast- by Monday, possibly earlier.  You can call on Saturday and ask if the labs are in."

Should I be calling the vet oncologist now, to schedule chest films and whatnot, just in case?  So we don't have to wait if it turns out to be malignant?

"You'd just be spinning your wheels, without the labs.  In a few days, we can make that call."

Oh.  My.


Thank you.  Come on, Trix, let's go home and see the kitty.

Monday seems very far away.

I live a very small life.  I see my coworkers, and my family, and I text a very few far-flung friends.  My dog has been my only daily companion for years.  The kitten is here to keep HER company while I'm at work, and he adores her.  She is his universe.

She is lying on the floor, probably tired from all the goings-on.  I should take the pressure bandage off her leg.

Oh, Trixie.  My darling beast.

This is not how I wanted today to go.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Springtime is for vet bills

Trixie's eyes appeared to be sinking into her head.  In February, we went to the eye specialist to see what that was all about.

"It's Deep Pocket Syndrome.  It happens with deep-set eyes, the fat pad behind the eyeball starts to deteriorate with age and the eye sinks.  Happens with old people, too, which is why they tend to look a little skeletal.  Here's some drops, and use an eye wash twice a day to keep crap out of it."

Okay.  Seems reasonable.

By the beginning of April, it became evident that only ONE eye was sinking.  Does this happen?  Is this weird?  If it's deteriorating fat pads, wouldn't it be… symmetrical?

Maybe it's not so much that it's sinking, but that the tissue in the inner corner is rising, perhaps?

It's gotten quite large.  On Wednesday, it bled.  We go back to the eye vet.  It's not the usual guy.  She peers at my dog's big poofy third eyelid.  She makes grim faces.  

"This looks like melanoma."

Well, shit.

"I'm going to take pictures of this and show them to the surgeon on Monday.  These things are rather locally aggressive, but aren't as likely to spread throughout the rest of the body.  The challenging part is going to be the reconstruction."

Reconstruction.  How much of my dog's face are we going to have to remove?  I know you gotta get all the way past the edges of these things, but the edge is basically her eyelid and tear ducts.  She's got pretty loose skin, but damn. 

Mom had a black standard poodle when she was in her 20s who had eye cancer, and had his entire eye removed and sewn shut.  She just let the hair grow over his missing eye.  Nobody has mentioned removing her eye, but eyes need lids and tear ducts.

I don't care how she looks.  She can be a pirate dog, I don't care.  But the idea of someone slicing up my dog's face… this is not going to be fun for anyone.  She doesn't seem to be very uncomfortable, it's obstructing some of her vision, but I can't have that shit spreading anywhere else.  She won't understand that, though.  All she'll know is that her head hurts and she's in a cone.

Oh, my little broken friends.  I rescue you all from gutters, and then you become horrendously expensive.  Do other people's gutter animals get this expensive?  Or am I just the only one who pays attention to sinking eyeballs?

We must fix this, Trix.  Sandman loves you too much.

Friday, April 18, 2014

I never learn.

As I was driving into the parking lot at work yesterday, Metallica's "Enter Sandman" came on the radio.  I am fond of this song, and was mildly disappointed that I could not hear the end of it because I am not prone to sitting in a motionless car in a parking lot waiting out songs that I have on my MP3 somewhere.

When I walked through the office door, everyone turned and said my name in a very suspicious fashion.  "Oh good, you're HEEEEERE!"

Oh no, what's wrong?

Wrong.  So very wrong.
Small terrified feral kitten in a blanket in a laundry basket.  Oh dear.  I peered at him, and he spat.

"He wasn't spitting before."

The grounds manager found him in our grassland, being swooped by crows.  His mom bailed when the crows got aggressive.  The coworkers called Animal Control, because we have too many feral cats on the property.  This guy was not destined to be coyote food.

I scruffed him to check if it was, indeed, a him.  He hissed and spat again.

Nice try, Sandman.  You're going in my sweatshirt, you aggressive little freak.  And possibly home with me.  We're gonna cuddle the feral outta you.

He hung out in my jacket in a basket while I taught.  He fell asleep, probably from fear exhaustion and possibly hunger.  
I cannot fight anymore.  Do with me what you will.
Animal Control had come by while I was teaching.  By the officer's estimate, he was about 5 weeks old, and could probably start eating canned kitten food.  Bosslady (who was babysitting the angry fluff beast) got her business card, in case I came to my senses about what I was about to do.

I took him home.  I put his sweatshirt-basket on the guest bed, which is covered in decorative cushions and a very large stuffed octopus.  He hissed, and eventually left the basket for the protective overhang of the octopus's mantle.  He fell asleep.
This is a piss-poor substitute for Mommy, but it will have to suffice.
Mom came over with a kitten bottle.  She manhandled him and we fed him and let him climb around on the cushions.  He had given up the hissing by now, too confused to bother, even when Mom picked him up and planted him on the dog's back.

"What's his name?"  

Sandman, but that's his last name.  His first name is Michael, just like the guy who plucked him from the crow-infested grassland.

"Needs a middle name."  It will be revealed in time.

By bedtime, he was following me around in his wobbly-drunk kitten way.  Not wanting to let him wander loose, I put him in the rat's carrier at the head of my bed.  The dog had an existential crisis.


Sandman demanded to be released from the carrier.  He opted instead to sleep on a blanket next to my head, about a foot from the dog.  He woke at about 3, to pee and eat and attack my head with little needle-feet.  He purred the whole time.  The dog was surprisingly well-behaved.
It's too hard to photograph the black dog on the black bedspread in a dark room.  She was there, though.
I took Sandman to work today, since he was trying to eat the clumping litter and I didn't want to leave him near it unsupervised.  He again protested being confined to the rat carrier.  He meeped all day.

I called my vet, whose whole office knows me all too well.

Yeah, I kind of impulsively accidentally adopted a tiny baby feral kitten yesterday, and he hasn't pooped since then, and I should probably bring him in for the usual new kitten thing.

"Okay, have you been a patient with us before?"

Ohhhh, yes.

"Last name?"

I give it to them.

"Ohhhh, hiiiiiiiii."

At 3:45, Sandman and I are in the vet's exam room.  The vet's pug comes in first, followed by the doc.

"New kitten, huh?"

Yeah, I'm a sucker.  He opens the meeping rat carrier.

"Hi, Leroy!  Is his name Leroy?  His name should be Leroy."  He needed a middle name, and since his whole life with me has been pretty impromptu, I figure it works.

Michael Leroy Sandman, my new little buddy.
He's gonna be handsome as hell, too.  Longhair.  His ears will probably be quite glorious, with black tufts.  White feet, white collar, faint dark tabby everywhere, black tail.  He's already silky, instead of just having that weird cottony kitten fur.  He's got sad eyes, but it's mostly the markings.  His eye color will be a surprise, since they're still baby blue.

What a fool I am.

Don't worry….. tomorrow we shop for vet insurance.  I may not have learned the "no more pets" lesson, but I sure as hell learned the "vets are hella expensive" one.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring Break

So, I've had the week off work.  It's spring break camp, and I worked both winter camps and ski week camp, so I was able to weasel out of this one.  This is the best possible scenario for me, as it is allergy season and I hate teaching camp while having asthma attacks.

No work means:

Screwing up my sleep cycle completely.  I only see daylight because I am paid to be awake during those hours.

Wearing the really grubby holey jeans and the shabby tees and the sports bra all week long.

Working on house projects.  Mom has been busy tearing down my patio cover, and I have been working on the paper floor in my den and on stripping the paint off my metal dining set.

Termite and dry rot fiesta!  
The dark stuff is what I did today.  It'll dry the same color as the rest of the floor.
I am seriously considering making an instructional tutorial about the floor.  I feel like I've made enough mistakes now that I could possibly guide others through the process.  It's quite difficult to take pictures of myself doing it, though.  It requires both hands.  Perhaps I will have to use a tripod and a timer, or enlist someone else to hover over me while I sling polyurethane around the room.

"Tante's Guide to Improving Your Home While Not Increasing Your Property Value."  There will be a very special chapter on abandoning the idea of having free time or hobbies.  THE FLOOR IS YOUR HOBBY NOW.

Seriously, though.  It'll look good when I'm done.  The red paper is quite fetching with the pink walls and red-pink-burgundy furniture.  It looks like the room is blushing.  Awwww.  It's shy.
My hair is blushing, too.  Red ends, pink middles, blonde roots. 

Friday, April 4, 2014


In 8 minutes, it will be my birthday.  I will be 36.

That's two high school seniors,

or three sixth graders,

or six kindergarteners.

I still don't feel like an adult, but I feel really old right now.

Monday, March 31, 2014

April is in 2.25 hours.

Hey, shmibbles.  What's crackin?  April looms upon us (indeed, it IS April in many parts of the world right now.  California gets April very late).

It's been a weird few weeks.

My dad's mom died on the 14th.  She was 99 and a half.  What can you say when someone who is 99 and a half dies?  You had a good run, lady.  I wish your last decade had been easier.

Of course, when someone dies in a small family such as mine, there is much "stuff" to sort through and absorb.  Mom and I spent many many hours going through my grandmother's house, because Dad didn't seem capable of dealing with that particular unpleasant task.  Mom and I are very good vultures.  We are quite efficient bone-pickers.  Everything has been catalogued and sorted and folded and delivered to the people who could use the objects most- wheelchairs and whatnot to veterans organizations, furniture and housewares to people we know who would not otherwise have such items.  I've inherited many many objects in the last few weeks, which has been stressful to say the least.  I'm still weeding through my maternal grandmother's belongings, and now I've got paternal grandmother's stuff to boot.  I cannot bear to part with things that are useful, or solidly-made, or weird.  There is a lot of all those things in my house right now.
My new dictionary stand.  The dictionary is 6 inches thick.
Grim needlepoint, which is something I can get behind.
My dear friend from back in the day came to California for a whirlwind visit.  She has 9 siblings, and the youngest was getting married.  As her mom no longer lives in town, and only 3 of the 10 kids still lives here, and all the kids have big ole Mormon families, there was a dearth of guest rooms and couches within her immediate family.  I'm cheaper and less icky than a hotel.  Indeed, I actually wash the bedspreads!  She brought her 3-year-old daughter.  This is the first time a child has been in my house for more than five minutes since I moved in.  I spent many days cleaning and hiding potentially upsetting objects.  The dog LOST HER MIND.  One day, I would like to feel the sort of love for something that Trixie feels for guests.  I doubt a human heart can hold such an emotion.  The Small Girl Child was quite taken with the rats, however.  She fed them many treats, and they loved it.
While this is not a picture of my guest room, it does show how clean my house is right now.  Yes, that's a doily.  Yes, I washed the slipcover, the blanket, the doily, AND the tablecloth before people stayed here.  I guarantee that the hotels around here won't do that.

Allergy season has descended upon Southern California.  Antihistamines have become a food group again.
Am I allergic to wistera?  I might be.  
In a crushing wave of apathy (fueled by a fistful of Benadryl, consumed because the wind was blowing), I made the executive decision to skip the Ren Faire on my birthday next Saturday.  I just couldn't muster up the energy to hide my pink hair and ditch my sunglasses and drive out into the dust and heat.  The sunglasses thing was at least 50% of that decision.  I'm getting crabby in my old age.  Maybe I'll go another weekend.

In a fit of non-apathy (fueled by heaven knows what), I made another executive decision to go to Maker Faire Bay Area this year.  It took some serious rearranging of the entire work schedule (thank you, Coworkers, you have no idea how grateful I am that whole training days were rescheduled just so that I could go poke around a big weird event).  I think I'm going to go by myself.  I like attending things alone, especially if there's a drive involved.  I shall go see what I shall see.  I haven't taken myself on a vacation since… oh, maybe the sculpting workshop in 2010?  I've visited friends, but that's different.  This is just me going for the sake of going.


There is a show on the Science Channel called "How It's Made."  Usually it's just large-scale factory sorts of things, occasionally smaller scale stuff.  I caught a segment about restoring vintage advertising posters.  It involved chemicals, and painstaking color matching, and artistic ability, and an obscene attention to detail.  It made me very angry, because I had no idea that this sort of thing was something people did.  I'm bashing around in the bushes with kids getting skin cancer and dying from pollen overload, and I've been doing this for 11 years, and I could have been RESTORING ART?  I flailed about quite violently after the episode.

I got my hair cut.  It's very short.  I'm still trying to figure out how to make it look decent.
When my hairdresser does it.
When I do it.