mellificent: (Xmas light gif)
I seem to be somewhat in denial about the onset of Christmas. I have done some things - for example, I dragged out the wreaths a couple of weeks ago, and put them on both the front door and the balcony door. (I like both my wreaths - the balcony one is battery-operated and twinkles merrily every night. I like to watch it, and this is its fifth December on our balcony, so I think you have to say we got our $30 worth out of that purchase.) And I put the big long string of LED lights across the balcony railing, as well. My apartment complex is way into the holiday decorating, and since our balcony is the ONLY one visible from the street, I feel compelled to do my bit there. And I have done part of my cards and have been gradually working on the rest. And I bought Rob some gifts.

But... there are a number of things I haven't done, either. We discussed putting up the tree and sort of abandoned the idea, because it's a pain and we don't have a really good spot for it. I did put out a couple of decor things, so I made a token effort there. I haven't called my aunt and asked about what I should bring - or (hell!) even told her that we're definitely coming, now that I think about it. (I really, really need to do that one, now that I think about it.) I haven't done anything about a gift for Rob's parents. They're at the point where it's really difficult to get them anything they actually want, but I do try to at least make an effort. I'm going to have to think up some last-minute something, there. Although, man, with mailing issues I'm cutting that one close, aren't I? I haven't wrapped presents or gotten any kind of token presents for my aunt and my cousins or any of that, although all of that is stuff I usually do at the last minute, too. But I'm working this weekend so even getting out the door on Monday is going to be a bit problematic. I really do have to do some of this stuff, and some of it had best be TODAY or at least tomorrow, while I still have a week to go.

Hell, now I've worked myself into a bit of a panic. I'm not sure that's helpful. But knowing me, I'll have pushed all this to the back of my mind again in 15 minutes, anyway.
mellificent: (HP - Phoenix)
(The title is by way of a trigger warning, I guess. You can't say I didn't warn you.)

I was sitting in the bathtub earlier, thinking about what I was going to write an entry about - I was thinking about Livejournal keywords, to start with, but that will probably be a topic for another day, because my thoughts wandered then to my most-often-used keywords. I suspect that my actual most-often-used keyword might be "meme" although I haven't checked to see what LJ says (and the whole topic of memes might also be another topic for another day) - but certainly a couple of them, over the years, have been "family" and "mom." (My keywords are sort of partially broken, which was the original topic that I was thinking about - but that also means that the keywords you can see at the side of my page now are not necessarily reflective of what I was using back before they were broken.) I don't think I started using "mom" as a keyword until the last year or so of my mom's life, anyway, but if I had been using it every time I mentioned her over the years, it might be the top keyword hands down.

Background, for those of you who don't know this stuff already: my mom and I were really close. We made quilts together. I went over to her house just about every Saturday for many years - usually we had lunch and went shopping a bit and then worked on quilts, that was the normal itinerary, anyway. And well before I started journaling online, in 2001, she was diagnosed with cancer. Then in 2004 she was diagnosed with a different cancer (which might or might not have metastasized from the first one - that's never been clear). The second one was a brain tumor - I wrote a whole entry about the tumor one year as my introduction to Holidailies, which is partly why I assume that a lot of people know this story already. (It was an attempt at dark humor. I'm not real sure how successful it was.) Anyway, the brain tumor worsened kind of abruptly in the last part of 2006 and she died in early 2007 - and then I spent most of that year and into the next dealing with her estate, so that's another year-plus of mom-related entries. It's probably only after Hurricane Ike late in 2008 that I stopped talking about my mom constantly, one way or another.

My dad actually had cancer, as well, and it eventually killed him too, or so we think - he died last May of what was probably complications of prostate cancer. If you are a cancer patient and you die, it's assumed that the cancer killed you, not surprisingly, and autopsies are not routine, so nobody is really sure. My dad and I were not particularly close - his appearances in LJ tend to be more of the venting variety - and besides, by the time he was diagnosed, my mom already had the brain tumor and mere prostate cancer just could not compare. Back years ago when he had multiple-bypass surgery, I rushed to his side and hung around the ICU for days and all that kind of thing, so it's not that I entirely didn't care. But when you have a job and are 100 miles away, it's hard to hang around the hospital for months and years of radiation treatment. Both my parents were more into "years" territory there, and I didn't actually hang around for my mom's either, although I did go up to M.D. Anderson with her a few times. Luckily both of them had spouses/partners who were willing to shoulder the burden of the daily stuff, or I don't know what I'd have done. (I do have a sister, who was in another city altogether and was no help there. That's another topic that came up often in those years.)

So actually this is my first Christmas as an "orphan" - a 50-year old orphan, but an orphan nevertheless. I haven't spent Christmas with my dad for many years, and my mom has been gone for a surprising number of Christmases now - this will be six, I guess - so it doesn't make all that much difference, in an immediate sense. But it's still weird, no matter how old you are.

Added: I mentioned writing about my father in order to vent, and there's certainly a lot of that, if you poke around (some of the venting entries are still friendslocked but others are not), but I feel like I have to point out that I did my fair share of venting about my mom, back in the day, too. I adored her, but she was still my mom and she sometimes drove me crazy, as moms tend to do.
mellificent: (Xmas excess)
I know it's not the most important thing about Christmas, but the first thing I want to talk about is that my cousin shellaced my nails (shellacked? I dunno). I have been somewhat less nail-obsessed lately than I had been in a while, but this has woken that obsession up just a bit, apparently. For those of you - probably most of you - that don't know what that means, it's sort of the latest thing in nail polish. I think it was this color that she used (but she didn't pay that much for it because she's a licensed cosmetologist and all that stuff - but I think she said she paid $15 a bottle for it, which is still a lot, and it's not a very big bottle, either). Anyway, the deal is that you set it with a UV lamp and it goes on very thick and shiny and hard and it's supposed to last a long time, that's the idea, anyway. I am not entirely convinced about that, but it really looks good, at the very least. That's really why I let her do it, because I wanted to know if it really lasts long enough to be remotely worth it. It didn't really take any longer to do than a regular manicure, because the drying time is built in - and with somebody else doing the painting, you can paint one hand while the other one is stuck in the UV thing, so it goes even faster. (Although I am too cheap to pay for manicures, not to mention the fact that I just don't want anybody messing with my cuticles - little quirk of mine - so even if I bother to go out and buy all the stuff for it, I will still be doing it myself, anyway.) So that was my "unofficial" Christmas present from my cousin, and I'll try to remember to report back on how it lasts!

As far as the actual Christmas festivities... well, my cousins have children of various ages, and some of THEM have children, so there was a lot of coming and going between the various sets of parents and grandparents and such, and there was one pair of children I never did see at all, but at least I managed to see most of the extended family, anyway. (My aunt is now a great-grandmother, which I still find kind of freaky.) The children I did see all behaved very well, and it was quite a pleasant couple of days, overall.

I'm not really talking about presents, that much, because I already had most of mine - SWTOR was one, technically, because it was pretty expensive, and I also have a new printer which I haven't even hooked up yet. (And there's all that Stampin Up stuff I bought lately, which I would like to be able to count as a Christmas present because I feel guilty about it, but really it's not.) Rob got a couple of surprises for me - a Dr Who video (it was a Pertwee one, I forget the name), and "The King's Speech". His surprises are almost always either DVDs or jewelry, and this year it was videos. He's pretty good at picking both, really. I got him a t-shirt that I found on Etsy that said, "Danger ZOMBIES Run" which he really liked. (I think it's on my Pinterest account, if you know where that is, but otherwise I'm feeling too lazy to go look it up.) I'm glad he liked it because it was fairly expensive by the time I paid shipping and everything. And he got a whole bunch of comic book anthologies, and a couple of videos - one was an old Warner Archive movie that I can't remember the name of. (It had James Farentino in it, and it may have been an old Movie of the Week, I'm not sure. He loves those. -- And yes, as you may be able to infer from all that, he told me what to buy.) Oh, yeah, and the other one was Fright Night (this years' version - he of course already has the old one) - I said that one was really a present for both of us, because I liked that one too.

(Okay, I talked about presents more than I thought. Oh well.)

mellificent: (winter trees)
(Middle of the night, last night) I need to go to bed, because I have to get up relatively early, but I can't quite make myself go to bed. We are having lunch with my dad tomorrow - I haven't seen him in nearly a year, I think. I talk to him on the phone occasionally but that's about it. So I'm simultaneously sort of looking forward to and dreading this lunch, all at once.

(Later) I got to bed and got a reasonable amount of sleep but I feel sort of crappy, still. But then I have felt sort of crappy for days on end. I think I have sort of a low-level sinus infection going, or something like that. I've had earaches and sore throats sort of sporadically - they come and they go. I've been through most of a monster Sam's-Club size bag of cough drops already. But I think it's gradually getting better.

It's almost noon and I'm waiting for Rob to get back from the gym so we can leave. It's raining outside, again - it's been raining or raining with sleet and snow mixed in (that was in Bryan on Christmas Eve) or something of the sort off and on for days. (The kids were excited about the snow even if it WAS mixed with rain - it was funny.)

(Even later) I did feel better this afternoon, and to balance out the karma, or something, my voice disappeared. Well, not completely, but everything came out as a croak all day. Still, it's better than feeling bad.

The afternoon didn't go too badly. We had Chinese food and watched a movie, which is much preferable to attempting to have a conversation with my dad. (The problem there being that my dad doesn't really have conversations, at least not for more than a couple of minutes at a time. After that, he gets excited about some subject or other and he stops hearing you, and just orates. It never fails.) The movie was 8 Below, which is about sled dogs; it's a Disney movie, but not one of those ones where the dogs talk. I had actually heard halfway decent things about it, so I was happy to watch it. (Spoilery thoughts about the movie below.) I don't know if Rob really wanted to stay and see a movie, but considering, as I said, that we hadn't seen my dad and his wife in a year, I felt obliged to stay a while. So we watched the movie and played with their dog - who, probably not coincidentally, is a husky - and whiled away the afternoon. It was well after dark before we left.

I didn't have a very good present for my stepmother, and I felt bad because she made us a really nice afghan in very pretty colors that I really like. (And it's not too heavy, which is the problem I have with many afghans.) I'm gonna have to attempt to make up for that at some point, although we have the excuse of my unemployment for bad gifts, this year. Come to think of it, I don't even know when her birthday is, and they've been married for years now. Which probably tells you a lot about my relationship with my dad, right there. I had a couple of books from Half-Price for my dad, which he seemed to like. I always buy my dad the same sort of books - stuff from the history section, about WWII or the Alamo, mostly, or sometimes about the space program. If he's tired of them he's very good at hiding it!

spoilers, seriously )
mellificent: (winter trees)
We are back to playing LOTRO again (Lord of the Rings Online, that is), since we finally exhausted the available quests in WoW. (Come to think of it, I need to go into WoW and cancel my monthly billing plan, before I forget again, or I'm going to keep getting charged $15 a month indefinitely!) While we were gone, they did a big update in LOTRO and changed a bunch of stuff. There's a new expansion, which is Mirkwood, but we're not likely to see it any time soon since it's a high-level area and we don't have any characters that high. Actually they raised the level cap, too, from 60 to 65. My highest character is 45, and actually we haven't even been playing the highest ones since we got back, we've been playing my "champion" (like a warrior), who is an elf, and Col's minstrel (LOTRO's version of a healer). I can't even remember for sure if Col's minstrel (who is named Loere) is an elf or a human - I think elf. Elves and humans look awfully much alike in LOTRO, except elves are a bit taller and have pointy ears which you can't see half the time anyway. I think they should have made them look a bit more different!

Anyway, those characters were around level 30 when we got back and have gone up several levels since then. Col has another character who he plays when I'm not around, who is one or another of the warrior-ish classes which I never can tell apart, and who is progressing even faster since I was gone for two whole days and Ceir got to play a lot while I was gone, apparently! Col and I both are given to more or less inventing our own names, if you're wondering where all these names come from. He has Loere and Noere and Ceir and Cleia - that one he's used in other games - aaaand one more that is escaping me right now. I have Anerulias the elf-warrior (who I usually just refer to as Ana) and Ceinnwyn the minstrel (she's human) and Zaina the hunter, who is a hobbit, and then I have two more I rarely play - Meleuriel, another elf, and Fineldir, a male human. I hardly ever do male characters and Col never does, but once in a while I do get the urge to try one out.

I usually just make up names by combining bits of things, like, well, Ceinnwyn is supposed to be from Rohan so she gets the "-wyn" suffix like Eowyn, and I think I just thought the "Cein" part sounded sort of generally Celtic. "Meleuriel" was because I usually have a character named Mel-something, and the '-riel" part is another bit of Tolkien-ish name. And so forth.

There are actually four races in LOTRO - elves, humans, hobbits and dwarves. Dwarves are male exclusively - I'm guessing that's because Tolkien was coy about what female dwarves look like. The joke that's in the Two Towers movie about female dwarves looking just like male ones, beards included, is straight out of canon, but it's in an appendix somewhere, as I recall, and it's just given as sort of a rumor - Tolkien just kinda says "nobody really knows." Which is kind of annoying, really, but what can you do. So anyway, Col won't try dwarves out at all, and I did try one once, but I never played mine and I finally deleted him after he stayed stuck at level 6 for a couple of months, because looking at him was annoying me, for whatever reason.

Another new thing that came in with the expansion was "starter horses" or what we refer to as "poky horses" because they're very very slow. But they're faster than walking and you can get them a lot earlier than you can get a regular (non-poky) horse, and they're not all that expensive, either, so I've been getting them for all my lower-level characters (which is all of them except Ceinnwyn, who is the level 45 one). Horses also have names, which they didn't have before - apparently starter horses default to being named Barley, and Zaina's starter pony was named Silver. (Ceinnwyn's horse had a different name which I can't recall at the moment, but it was something botanical.) I didn't think much of Barley as a name, so in a fit of silliness I changed Ana's horse's name to Malt, at least until I get a better idea.

(Interestingly, I actually had an Uncle Barley, although he died when I was little and I don't remember him too well. He was an uncle, or actually great-uncle, by marriage - he was married to my grandmother's sister Ethel. An awful lot of those old-fashioned names have been coming back into style, but I haven't heard of anybody naming their child Barley just yet!)
mellificent: (Xmas excess)
This was the Holidailies prompt for yesterday:
Tell us about an odd-but-beloved holiday tradition you or your family celebrate.

And I wasn't intending to write about ours because I was sure I had written about it before, but if I did it's gone - at least, I couldn't find it on Livejournal, so if I did it was on Diary-X or some other mysterious place, no idea. I checked every Christmas Eve or thereabouts back as far as my LJ goes - which is 2004, although really I didn't move over here full-time until 2006 or so, I think. And it's a Christmas Eve tradition so that's when I would have thought to write about it. It's the only weird holiday tradition I can think of in my family - so I guess that means I get to tell this story again, after all.

It's not really so much a story, anyway; it's just a thing. This little random thing that I've never heard anybody else anywhere mention as a family tradition, so I don't know where it came from or anything about it. It came from my maternal grandmother, as far as I know, and I would guess that possibly it's Czech, because my mother's family was from there, except that it was the other side of the family that came over from Moravia - that is, my mother's father's side, not her mother's. My grandmother didn't pick up on any other Czech family traditions that I know of, so I can't imagine that she would have just picked this one up and run with it. It's a mystery.

Well, anyway, all it is is this: on Christmas Eve, my grandmother and mother would go around kissing/hugging people (they did primarily stick to family members) and saying "Christmas Eve Gift!" Because - I guess - the kiss was the gift, you see. It got to be this family joke. And now that both of them are gone, my sister and I say it to each other, and maybe to Aunt Linda and some of the cousins, because they're the only ones who know what the heck we're talking about. It's this weird little stranded tradition, and it's sort of sad and sweet and funny, all at once.

My parents, 1960 (which would also have been my first Christmas)

Note: apparently I was asleep, or something, when I looked to see if I had posted about this before. There's a much more concise rendition of the story right here, from last Christmas Eve.

mellificent: (Las Vegas sign)
(The, uh, less coherent part is here.)

I wasn't sure whether renting a car in Las Vegas was really a good idea, but I would absolutely do it again - besides, I still want to go out to Red Rocks (or whatever that place is called) and we didn't get around to it this trip. We had a little bit of trouble parking at the Golden Nugget, which makes sense since it's downtown and it was Friday night and there were a lot of people at Fremont Street. And I had a bit of trouble navigating here and there but it's not like you can't see the landmarks from most places in Vegas. Parking turned out to be free just about everywhere, which I didn't expect. (The Golden Nugget does charge, but not for guests; noplace we parked on the Strip did.)

We got in so late Friday night so we didn't do anything except go to the hotel and check in and collapse. The Golden Nugget is nicely remodeled, and they're in the process of building another tower - which I certainly hope will include more parking, since we had to go from bottom to top to bottom of the parking garage twice before we found a space. I was happy to see that downtown looks just like it did nearly 25 years ago when I first came to Las Vegas, although frankly I think more places than the Nugget could stand to do some remodeling. (All I care about preserving is the exterior, really.) My sister Paula and her boyfriend Dave were already there when we got there, but they had been walking around all day and had gone up to their room by the time we finally arrived.

When we finally saw them at breakfast Paula was flashing that ring around - it's a big wide ring and I wasn't immediately sure if it was intended to be an engagement ring, but it was. They had already been talking about marriage in December when I was there so I wasn't terribly shocked. Dave is a nice guy and seems much more grounded than most people she's dated, so it's not like I disapprove. They haven't known each other all that long, but as I said yesterday, she's doesn't seem to be any hurry about things, anyway.

They had already been to a lot of different casinos, but Paula said she hadn't been to Paris so that was where we went. I've been there enough times that I had stopped thinking a lot about it looking different from other casinos, but it does, and she loved it. It's true that every other casino does look pretty much alike, as far as the actual casino goes. We wandered around and gambled a bit, and then we went up the Eiffel Tower. I was the only one who had done it before. (Paula has been to Paris, the real one, a couple of times, but didn't go up the real tower, either - she said the lines were too long.) Rob had some pretty serious vertigo on the way up, just like I did the first time. It didn't bother me so much the second time. Everybody was ok once we got up to the top, though, even though we could feel it swaying, which I don't remember noticing the first time. I sure wouldn't want to go up there on a windy day!

After that we walked down to Margaritaville and had late lunch/early dinner - it was about 3:00 by then. We had to wait in line for a good while but we goofed around in the gift shop, which was a fairly interesting place even if you're not a Parrothead. (I really wanted to buy a t-shirt that said "Yes I am a pirate" - don't ask me why that appealed to me so much, but it did - except that I really don't wear t-shirts so it would be a big waste of money, and I wasted enough money gambling that I didn't have much budget left for junk.) The food was pretty good and the drinks were better. The place was hopping and noisy but it was fun.

That reminds me that I can't really say I saw much sign of a recession, overall - although I'm sure most people were paying considerably less for their hotel rooms than they would have a year or two ago, and of course that's having a big impact on the casinos' bottom lines. But people were sure eating and gambling and buying stuff like crazy, as far as I could tell.

The other place we went before we went back downtown was the Rio, where none of us had been before. And it wasn't all that impressive, except for having the cheesiest cocktail-waitress outfits, by far. (And some of them climbed up on podiums and danced, from time to time, too, so I guess they were doubling as sort of go-go dancers, as well as waitresses.) There were sure a lot of people there, though.

That was enough walking that I was starting to have blisters on my feet, by then, so we went back to the hotel and regrouped. I put some neosporin on the blisters and changed shoes, and that gave me enough of a second wind that we were able to go down and see the light show on Fremont and wander in & out of a couple of the casinos down there. I had thought I would want my coat down there after dark but I hardly ended up wearing it at all. It really didn't feel that cold. We did win a little money gambling, Rob and I both did. (He ended up about $100 up for the weekend and I was probably nearly that much down, overall, so hopefully we came out even, or a bit better.)

So that was Saturday, and I've already talked a good bit about Sunday. The only thing I didn't mention was that we were still on the kick of checking out off-Strip casinos, so we did go spend some time at the Palms Sunday before we left. We liked it better than the Rio. It seemed a bit more upscale (although it had just about the most penny slots I've ever seen anywhere) - and it has a movie theater inside, which is something I don't think I've seen anywhere else.

It didn't seem like we walked as much as we did on the last couple of trips to Vegas, but I'm still exhausted today. Actually I just don't think it's possible to go there without walking a lot - unless maybe you're a star and can have your limo pull right up at the front door. (And even then, it's still an awful long way across some of the casinos!) Even with driving ourselves around, well, they don't put the self-parking anywhere convenient, that's for sure!
mellificent: (Las Vegas sign)
I posted about the lack of weddings, but I failed to say that there is in fact an engagement, a very official one, this time, with his mother's diamond ring and the whole bit. Paula seems to be in love but she is a bit reluctant when it comes to the actual marriage - which is how it should be, as far as I'm concerned. Why hurry?

We got along well with them, all weekend. We didn't spend every minute with them but we mostly moved around together, generally - we would separate and pick a new meeting place for a half-hour or an hour at a time, but we were basically with them all day yesterday and a chunk of the day today. We were supposed to go eat brunch fairly early and then we were going to go drop them off at the airport - I didn't mind, it's not far - and since their flight was earlier than ours then we would have a little time to kill before time for us to go. That was the plan. What happened was we got up early and did our stuff and got dressed, and then I called Paula at 9:00 and she was still in bed and they had ordered breakfast in bed and were planning to go back to sleep and furthermore that they had decided to stay until tomorrow. (I found out later that this was because Paula wasn't feeling well, but they didn't say that at the time.) So we decided that fine, we were hungry and we were going in search of food and furthermore in search of a breakfast buffet. The Golden Nugget's buffet was under renovation and noplace else downtown appealed - they all seem a bit seedy - so we drove back down to the Strip. To the Luxor, actually, whose buffet I had been to before and liked, and I also figured they were better set up for big crowds than TI, which is the other one that we thought of. (As near as I can remember, the basic brunch menu is very similar, between the two.) (People who were at TUScon - wasn't the name of the buffet at the time - nearly five years ago now!! - wasn't it "Pharoah's Pheast"? Well, no longer. it's "More" and their slogan is something like, "Less is not more. More is more." I roll my eyes every time I see it.)

I am sleepy and you are only going to get scattered bits and pieces out of me. One thing is that sunset is still very early in Las Vegas in January - 5:00, it's starting to be twilight; by 5:30 it's dark.

The weather today was lovely - about 68 this afternoon and bright and sunny. We had to figure out how to turn the a/c on in the rental car. (Which was a Pacifica SUV because we got in late Friday night and all the midsize cars were gone.)

In the fast-food line at the airport, the woman behind me was telling her friends about how she had been arrested the night before. She was not particularly young - didn't appear to be the party-girl type, let's say. But apparently there was some drunken hooting and hollering in support of the Arizona Cardinals, and she seemed to feel that if she had been been hooting and hollering for a different team, it would have gone over better. (There was discussion of what her husband would say, and then inevitably, somebody said, "Well, what happens in Vegas...")

Ok, I give up. I will try to write something more coherent in the morning when the drugs wear off.

Teh random

Jan. 2nd, 2009 09:37 pm
mellificent: (buffy quote - plastic)
I am cleaning, and it's no fun. Which makes a "random" entry a good thing to do in the intervals when I run out of steam. I HAD to go and offer to cook lunch for Daddy and Barbara tomorrow. (I still have to go to HEB and buy groceries, too.)

1. I have "I Kissed a Girl" (the Katy Perry one, that is) stuck in my head and it's starting to drive me crazy.

2. Sort of related to that - only because I made it related - my Facebook status is still on what I set it on Wednesday night, which was "waves bye-bye to 2008. It's lucky I don't kick it in the ass on the way out." I think that little piece of bitterness has been there quite long enough and it's time to change to something else. So I just changed it to "has 'I Kissed a Girl' stuck in her head."

3. I am really tired of these commercials about how your antenna TV is going to stop working soon. Surely if people haven't figured it out in the past SIX MONTHS, they're not going to get it now.

4. Like [info]karen_d , I am interested in cemeteries - although maybe to a lesser degree - and through this entry I found this website which has pictures and info on many cemeteries, including George Cemetery, which is the cemetery that most of my mother's family is buried in, and which I have posted pictures of before, I believe. I am going to have to dig through my pictures, because I should be able to add some information that's not already there. I am related to all of those Batson and Martins on that list (my grandmother was a Martin, and the Batsons are cousins in some way I'm not sure about), but my more immediate relatives are missing as yet.

5. Ghost Whisperer was a kind of dumb show to begin with, but seeing the repeats makes me realize how much it's gone downhill this season. (It's one of those shows that I only watch at all because Rob does - when I'm sitting at the computer right next to the TV it's hard to ignore.) The changes they made this year - I'm trying to say this without being spoilery - were not at all to my taste, let's say.
mellificent: (Xmas tree lights)
Some bits of How the Lich King Stole Winter Veil are funnier than others but it has its moments:

"All I need is a reindeer..."
The Lich King looked around.
But since Nesingwary turned up, there was none to be found.

(If you don't get that, or play WoW at all, I probably wouldn't bother with it.)

We are babysitting at the moment, but since the "baby" (two-year-old Layla) is asleep, so far it has been a piece of cake. Her mom and dad have gone to buy last-minute presents and my aunt went to the grocery store to get something-or-other. (Actually Bryan is not Layla's dad, come to think of it, but he seems to function in that capacity so we'll let it go there. The ins and outs of my cousins, of varying removes, and their various spouses and boyfriends and exes is much too complicated a subject to try to explain.)

I only got about four hours sleep night before last, but I made up for it by sleeping about eleven hours last night. This is a nice comfortable bed that I always sleep on at my aunt's house. And I certainly do feel much better today. My aunt made a rather elaborate lunch - considering we're going to have another one tomorrow - but apparently we are going to have a smallish dinner. We are going to be dragged to the Christmas Eve church service but I am not going to complain, those are usually pretty tolerable, and I like singing carols.

I am not on the laptop, I haven't bothered to get it out yet. We are going to get it out later so that my aunt can try it out, though.

*Family phrase of uncertain origin. It's gotten to be a compulsive thing over the years - I can't say "Christmas Eve" without finishing it with the "Gift" part. My mother and grandmother both used to say it all the time.

Anyway, happy holidays, whatever your holiday of choice may be!
mellificent: (Christmas tree)
As expected (see entry above), I spent most of the day running around madly and then we drove to Bryan (and ate way too much Mexican food upon arrival, if it matters). The problem of the long to-do list was exacerbated by lack of sleep - I went to bed around two and woke up around six, I think. I don't function well on four hours of sleep, which I certainly hope was the reason I had to stop running around mid-morning in order to have a crying jag. In any case, I did start feeling better and I got most of the to-do list taken care of - Chase asked for paperwork I didn't have, which is par for the course for them, in my experience. I didn't go by the lawyer's, either, but I talked to her and all is under control as much as it can be, I guess. (We were trying to distribute some estate money before the end of the year but we do still have some time to work on that next week.)

We got here with tons of beads, it looks like - and as far as I can tell, with everything else we needed as well. (Knock on wood.) Everything on the list, anyway - although frankly, as long as I have ambien I don't so much care about the rest, right now. I'm going to be going to bed really shortly.

Oh, and Linda's dog pissed on the bed (Rob's bed, actually) while we were making it up. He's a rather princess-y Jack Russell and I think we upset his routine and failed to make up for it by giving him sufficient attention. I hope this isn't a bad sign for the next couple of days!

(One more thing - my sister e-mailed me and she and the bf are meeting us in Vegas. This should be interesting.) (But she is, of course, flaking out on Christmas again. That one I expected.)
mellificent: (Default)
This is my happy thing for today, old photographs out of one of my mom's albums. Newspaper photos tend not to scan too well, but I think you can get the idea!

Basketball coaches, 1967

More )
mellificent: (Christmas - all I want is Darcy)
I have been reading about Japanese porn on Wikipedia. Don't ask me why. (I am not providing a link, since I've already lost the page and I think that's easy enough to find, if you really feel the need to read it.)

Things that made me happy today (I am tempted to say "Japanese porn" but since I didn't actually see any I don't guess that counts):
- actually doing some useful things
- clementines
- apple pie (from HEB again, they make really good apple pie)
- finding a letter in my mother's handwriting
- the fact that I don't actually need Mr. Darcy for Christmas, thankyouverymuch, since I already have a perfectly good husband. (Ok, better than perfectly good.) Admittedly the "rich" part would come in handy but I'd rather not have to deal with his relatives. Lady Catherine and I would not get along.

Rob took the apple pie to his party at work and apparently nobody ate any. He said there was an overabundance of desserts. (It wouldn't be a Christmasholiday party without an overabundance of desserts, really.) Fine, then, we have to eat it. Such a terrible thing.

I have talked to all the relatives involved in my holiday plans, I think, and we are going to Bryan on Tuesday and probably coming back late on Thursday but might stay til Friday morning. This latter decision partially depends on whether my nephew and his father decide to stop by (on their way between Austin and Lake Conroe) and if Parker comes his mother may actually come too, which would make it interesting. Some of you may remember some drama on this subject from last year. I am absolutely not holding my breath that Paula will show up, but I suspect that the presence of her son might do it if anything will. They don't seem to see a great deal of each other even though they live in the same town.

Then at some unspecified time after we get back, I am actually going to cook dinner for my Dad and Barbara, something I've never done before... well, not in their presence, anyway. I figure pot roast is really really difficult to fuck up, though, and I'm not planning to have much of anything else complicated. I will manage. (I will also have to clean up the living room, but it's not in all that bad a shape, luckily. I cleaned up much of the overflowing paperwork during my flurry of usefulness earlier today.)

My dad had called and said, "It's nothing, I just wanted to chat with you" to my answering machine, and that's not a phrase he ever uses - and so I immediately wondered if that actually meant something was wrong, and I guess I was right about that. His prostate cancer seems to be reoccuring. However, it seems that in this case it's not necessarily as dire as other cancers can be when they reoccur. At least, they don't seem unduly concerned. They are going to freeze part of his prostate and cut out the offending part, or something like that, tomorrow. I guess I could have volunteered to go hang out at the hospital with Barbara but I didn't. I am very bad at waiting and I'd rather do it at home if I have a choice.

I finished the damn cards, finally, and I boxed up the apples and jewelry for the in-laws (along with a card explaining what was for whom and denying any responsibility for the apples) and I need to go to the post office first thing in the morning and get all that in the mail. There is also somebody supposed to be calling me about bank stock, of all things. And I may actually make a visit to Chase. (If I actually manage TWO productive days in a row, Rob will faint.)

mellificent: (Vegas sign)
Today'sYesterday's Holidailies prompt: Your most vivid memory from last year's holiday season.

I don't really tend to pay a lot of attention to prompts - I usually manage to find things to rattle on about without them - but when I tried to remember last Christmas, it was all a big blur and that did interest me. The only thing that sticks out about our actual Christmas celebrations was that I had two pre-teen cousins* who got this huge pile of Hannah Montana merchandise between them - a really staggering amount of it. (I was wondering the other day if they're still into Hannah Montana or if she's all last year and they've moved on to something else. I will try to remember to report back on this later.)

* I suppose they're technically cousins once removed or something, since they're obviously not of my generation. That's another thing I tend not to pay much attention to, though, and I just call them all cousins.

So anyway, the reason Christmas was all a blur, presumably, was because we had Vegas on the brain. Last year (as some of you will recall) my husband and I left late in the afternoon of Christmas day and flew to Las Vegas for a few days. I loved it and I'd do it again, but it really did distract me from the family holiday celebration to a large degree. Which is sort of sad, in that we have had this big void about family Christmases and there are members of my family that have gone out of their way to include us. All of my grandparents' generation is dead now, in the family, my mom and my uncle are both dead, my sister has been on this huge anti-Christmas kick and my dad usually spends Christmas with his (third) wife's family. So my aunt - the widow of the aforementioned uncle - and her children have become our family, as far as Christmas celebrations go. (I mean, they are our family at other times, too, but... oh, you know what I mean.) And I feel bad that I was sort of giving them short shrift. On the other hand, I gave them all really nice presents!! They probably didn't care at all, it's probably just me doing my usual guilt thing. I am really good at guilt.

And hey, we were going to Vegas! We did have an excuse! So here's some pictures of both phases of things:

Pictures over here... )

(The whole Vegas set is here - it's actually pictures from all three of my trips there, but the bulk of them are from last year.)
mellificent: (sparks)
We spent Thanksgiving with my dad and his wife. It was pretty quiet, especially since Daddy slept for about an hour after dinner in his chair while the rest of us half-watched the football game and talked. Barbara had bought the dinner someplace, I don't know where - but it wasn't really too great, and I think she knew it. The turkey was pretty good, and the rolls were ok, but most of the rest of it sucked - green beans that didn't really taste cooked, a fruit salad covered with what was supposed to be coconut, I guess, but which tasted like hay... and so on. The sad thing (as far as I'm concerned, anyway) was that the turkey dinner is wasted on me and Rob, in the first place - neither one of us cares a bit about it. Last year I made pot roast and it was a big improvement as far as I was concerned.

We started putting up the Christmas decorations - I figure it's fair game as soon as Thanksgiving is over. I'm not really sure about the solar lights - they look alright but they seem kind of temperamental. I had found a wreath at Target that had lights on it that was battery-operated and we put it on the balcony door and it looks really good. And we had bought two little pre-lit trees - they seem to call them "porch trees" - and we put them inside where you could see them through the french doors, and the whole effect is pretty good. It may not win the decorating contest or anything but I don't care about that, I just wanted it to look nice. Everybody knows everybody here - well, I don't know everybody yet, but Rob mostly seems to! - and so it seemed like the thing to do to decorate since everybody else was. (I guess this is how people that live in subdivisions feel.)

Other than that we haven't done much this weekend - I have to admit that we watched a fair amount of the "Mork & Mindy" marathon on Sci-Fi yesterday - oh hush, it was funny - and there has been some WoW, as well as some game-playing on Rob's computer, too, I think*, and some reading of books, and on the whole it's been a nice relaxing weekend. I would suggest going to a movie tomorrow except the reviews for "Australia" don't really seem to be that great and I can't think what else we would see.

* Rob was a bit astonished to find that his games - he mostly likes combat flight-sim things - run better on the laptop than they did on the old computer. Considering that the old one was my mom's which might have had 512mb of memory but more likely had 256, while the new one has 3 gigs - and presumably a somewhat better video card, too - I don't find that quite so surprising. But I guess he thought that a laptop would automatically be slower, somehow!

mellificent: (Vote)
From [ profile] nonelvis :

1. Stop talking about politics for a moment or two.
2. Post a reasonably-sized picture in your LJ, NOT under a cut tag, of something pleasant, such as an adorable kitten, or a fluffy white cloud, or a bottle of booze. Something that has NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS.
3. Include these instructions, and share the love.


I think I posted this one last year sometime, but I don't care, because I like it. And, kittens! And also because I posted about my grandma yesterday and that made me all nostalgic again.

My grandma's name was Maedelle. I am not completely sure if it was originally Mae Dell, and it just got squished together over the years, or if they named her that from the beginning. That name definitely belongs to that East Texas school of double names, in any case, which has mostly vanished nowadays. (I always remember that for years she had a hairdresser, a woman, whose name was Cecil Rae.)

Maedelle was a bit of a character. When she died, in 2000 - age 89 - my cousin Pat wrote a piece for the local paper detailing some of her eccentricities. One was their house, which rambled all over - you had to go down a few stairs, for example, to get to what Grandma called the "sleeping porch" - which may have originally been a regular porch, but by the time I became old enough to remember had been enclosed. Come to think of it, I'm sure it was originally outside, because I remember that for a long time there were still windows on the inside. My grandfather was (a) very low-key and (b) adored her, and so he pretty much let her do whatever she wanted. Later the porch my sister and I are standing on here also got enclosed, as an add-on to the kitchen.

She loved to cook. She was a great cook, in a very country, fried-food-heavy sort of way. At my grandparents' house, the big meal of the day was what they called dinner and which was at what most people nowadays would call lunchtime. I remember "the men" coming home at noon for dinner - I guess it must have been the men who worked for Papa selling tractors. Then Grandma put the leftovers in the oven where they stayed all afternoon (yeah, I know, botulism and all that, but I don't remember anybody ever getting sick) until they were warmed up again for supper.

I suppose the meals when we were there were probably bigger than usual, but what I remember was that there was always a helluva lot of food. More than one meat, several vegetables, rolls, dessert. Usually there was this thing called "congealed salad" which I always hated, but which was jello mixed with whipped cream or sour cream and fruit or nuts and then refrigerated until it, well, congealed. And, oh yeah, cakes and pies and cookies, always. She always left batter in the bottom of the bowl for us when she made cakes. And I still can't see a chocolate meringue pie without thinking of her, to this day.
mellificent: (fall leaves orange)
My aunt was shocked, SHOCKED, to find out that somebody in her family was pro-choice. Heh. (I refrained from pointing out that since she didn't speak to any of us for nearly 20 years, she doesn't really know me very well.)

She seems truly to think that Obama is insincere. I see plenty of faults in Obama, but I do believe he's sincere in what he's trying to do. (I started to say, "What do y'all think?" but since my friendslist is pretty overwhelmingly liberal I suspect you guys are mostly going to agree with me.) The fact is, I see the world in such a different way from my relatives, maybe the meme below is right.

Not that I didn't know this already )
mellificent: (Austin)
We just got back from dinner at Trudy's (North). The sheer volume of orange t-shirts in that place was overwhelming. But the fact that I had a couple of margaritas may have affected my judgment and/or sensitivity to the color orange somewhat.

The Longhorns seem to have won the game this afternoon - against Arkansas, this was, for those who don't automatically know these things. It was 17-3 pretty early on and I lost interest. Incidentally, I believe I checked when I first booked this trip to Austin months and months ago, to verify that it was not in fact a football weekend. Another thing in my life that Ike fucked up. (This was supposed to be the bye weekend, so the game from two weeks ago was pushed back to today.) However, aside from an awful lot of southbound traffic on 183 earlier and the aforementioned preponderance of orange garments, it really didn't cause us a lot of trouble, so oh well.

The quilt show was very nice. I went around with Anjea and her mom, which was sort of a hoot. Her mom is very opinionated, that was the hoot part. (She was, for example, aghast at a quilted grasshopper with only 4 legs. The conversation went something to the effect of: "But it's not accurate!" "It's artistic license, Mom." "I don't care!")** I did take some pictures but I don't know where the card reader I bought in Celina is, so I don't know when you'll see those. The Best of Show quilt, in particular, was really stunning.

Both of our bosses were heard from today, apparently for completely unrelated reasons. Mine wants me to do some stuff involving sending a couple of e-mails. Rob's wants him to come back to work on Tuesday, which was a bit of a surprise. We figured all along he was likely to get called back earlier than I was, but we still didn't expect it to be quite that soon somehow. (Although that will be 2-1/2 weeks since the storm, actually. Time flies.)

Which means I really need to make some hotel reservations for someplace for the next couple of days, in case we have no power at home still (or worse). Typically, I have been avoiding this. I may continue to avoid it until tomorrow morning, or not, I don't know. I know that I don't want to arrive in the Houston area tomorrow afternoon and have to wander around looking for a hotel. I am going on the assumption that hotel rooms are not as hard to find as they were a week or so ago, since a lot of people have gotten their power back and - presumably - gone home.

** I don't get the impression that Anjea will mind this bit of levity at her family's expense. I hope I'm right about that! (She can retaliate with funny stories about me and my sister, if she cares to, having been witness to a bit of my family's craziness as well.)

(Incidentally, the icon has no particular relevance to anything. It just amuses my slightly foggy brain right now.)
mellificent: (umbrellas)

I said I'd talk about Hurricane Carla, and if I don't do it while I'm thinking about it I never will. The thing is, my mother was pregnant with my sister, who had been due the end of August (1961). I was a toddler, so I don't remember this, myself, and I don't have my dad handy to ask him more, but I asked him again the other day, and apparently what happened was the hurricane started in (it was at Matagorda, southwest of us) and stalled. And what Daddy told me the other day - and he didn't even have to stop and think about it, he remembered - he said they had hurricane-force winds that lasted from Saturday night until sometime Tuesday. It was just about this time of year. I believe the sequence of things was that they had taken to my mom to the hospital and then they had sent her home again because she wasn't actually in labor, and then in the middle of the storm she started having labor pains again, and they drove her back to Texas City - at least 15 miles or so - to the hospital, and she stayed the rest of the storm in the hospital. And my sister wasn't born until it was all over, on the 15th. So Monday is her 47th birthday.

We started talking about Carla earlier this week when it looked like Ike was going to come in down at Matagorda, just like Carla did. Carla was a stronger storm - it had been a category 5 when it was out in the Gulf, and was still a 4 when it came in - but apparently not much bigger, and Ike for some reason had this really bad tide/storm surge effect. (Although they have said today that the worst of the storm surge was east of us, back toward High Island and Beaumont.) I'm not sure when was the last time a storm came directly over Galveston like this one did. Alicia in 1983 came over the West End, which is still much more lightly populated than the other end, even nowadays. Since the 1900 storm, I know there were another couple of bad ones, one in 1915 and I think one in the '40s, and then Carla and Alicia. But I don't know exactly about the tracks of those other ones.

mellificent: (Xmas lights pink)
 I love this icon with the tree. I think that may be my very favorite thing about Christmas - the lights. I'm such a kid inside.

The influx of relatives has not begun yet, so it's relatively peaceful here. Brittany did come by for a little while, to leave presents, and she'll be back later. Layla (16 months old) was with her - I hadn't seen her since May and Rob hadn't seen her since last year - and she is now afraid of Rob. Linda thinks it's the beard. (Linda is Layla's great-grandmother, which seems incredible to me. I think LInda is 65, that is awfully young for that!) Last year Layla was fearless, and she'd let anybody hold her. But she was four months old then, that's a very different age. This year another cousin has another four-month-old baby who we haven't seen yet, a boy. They named him George - which is a name that's been so out-of-fashion I suspect it's about to be in again. In our case it's a family name, anyway. And presumably baby George and his family will be descending on us any minute now, as well as assorted other cousins.

I thought I would really be missing my mother at Christmas - she loved Christmas - but so far it hasn't bothered me as much as I thought. Actually that seems to be the pattern: the times I worry ahead of time will bother me don't, so much. It's the ones that sneak up on me that kill me.

Linda hadn't bought a gift for Rob because she said she didn't know what to buy, and I thought he would be happiest if he picked out his own gift (is that strange? I'm kinda the same way) so we went to Half-Price Books and bought him a whole little pile of things with Linda's money. Of course I ended up with several more things for myself. For one thing, they had the next C.J. Cherryh book in that series I've been reading for months. It was hardback but it was cheaper than a new paperback would be, so I went ahead and bought it. And I bought a little spiral-bound journal to take to Las Vegas so I'd have something to write in. If I can't write online, I like to at least write offline!

Then we went in Kroger's and bought a pumpkin pie, which we had promised to buy, and also a small cake, because Rob decided he wanted one. Somebody better eat it because we sure can't take the leftovers home with us! (But I'm sure they will.) And I bought Linda a gift certificate from Macy's - Kroger's always has them - because I never had come up with a better gift. I should've gone and gotten her one at the quilt store, probably, but she does like to shop for clothes sometimes so I was thinking that might be just as good. I don't know. I always second-guess myself too much about these things.

I might sneak in another entry tonight, if I have anything new to say. Tomorrow will probably be chaos, what with the gifts and the dinner and then the flying and all!


mellificent: (Default)

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