Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Back to the ordinary

The days immediately after Christmas are a let-down, don't you think?  Unless you have relatives still in the house, or the odd kid who needed an extra day of vacation.  Here the schools are closed until Jan 3rd, since Jan 1 is on a Sunday and therefore Jan 2nd is a holiday.  For us, it was a day of cleaning, laundry (as always), gutter cleaning, kitchen duty, and so on.  I was ill last night and traded dinner for an early bedtime.  I feel OK now, too much rich food that I am not used to, so it was back to housekeeping.  All except the gutter work, I don't do ladder work. 

I got a nice gift a day early, a book called "Field notes from Grief:  The First Year" sent by a friend.  I need to go to see a therapist; I am having terrible terrible nightmares, the kind where you can't distinguish between asleep and awake. I get them whether I take a sleeping pill or not; and waking up several times a night doesn't help either.  I spent one night on the living room couch, just to keep from picking up the nightmare from where it left off.  I did some calling around, but the problem is Medicare; not all therapists take it, even though I have an excellent secondary coverage.  And some weren't accepting new clients.  If this next one can't help me then I will give up.  If I can just continue through the new year...

The T-shirt I got for C says, "Don't blame me, I voted for Bill and Opus"  and there is a cartoon of Bill the cat and Opus the penguin.  None of which is understandable unless you've been a fan of Bloom County, which has only recently been back in publication.  I also got C the latest book of Bloom County,  a pokemon pikachu jump drive, and an agate wind-chime made of really lovely geodes that make a musical sound.  He is so hard to buy for.  R got boots, a sweater, an emoji bracelet, and a necklace.   I am not convinced that the boots fit her.  She always says (whatever the gift) it's fine! and then half the time puts them in her closet or dresser and are never seen again.  A big waste.  These are from Zappo's, so the return is free, maybe she wants a larger size, or brown instead of black, no problem, so long as the boots are as new.  Sigh.  Kids, irregardless of their age.

So I hope everyone had a fun relaxing day, and that everyone is safe and sound.  A New Year  coming, maybe make some resolutions?  Or just continue with ones made before now.  Anyway...

Friday, December 23, 2016

The shopping it is Over

Initially, when son, daughter, and I were discussing Christmas this year, we said, no big decorations,  the usual steak for dinner, no gifts.  But as the time grew closer, I decided a few small things for them were OK, and things have escalated.  I now have several gifts for each of them, and I hope they like them.  That is the best part of christmas for me, seeing how the recipient enjoys their gifts.  It was all the internet for me, and I never did make it to the mall.  Today we went to walmart to pick up a few things for dinner and my god! the crowds!  And they weren't very nice either.  I saw one woman, messing with her phone, drop a credit card just after leaving the register.  I said, excuse me ma'am I think you dropped a card.  She gave me the biggest smile as she picked it up, so I guess all is not lost in the Christmas spirit.

i am missing N more now than previously.  I have been getting cards from people all over the country who did not know that N had passed away.  So as I write cards to them, I am telling them the bare bones of his illness, and it is hard to do it without making it sound too bleak.  And each telling makes me a little more sad.

Well, time to rustle up some dinner, here is today's cartoon:

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cross Stitch

Cross stitching and machine knitting are the two main crafts that I do more or less constantly.  The knitting has to go on hold until my right shoulder mends a bit.  I use a magnifying glass that hangs around my neck - maybe you have seen them? for the cross stitch, so I can put my arms down further, and not be peering at the fabric.  It is lighted too.  One by one all my bits are falling apart, it seems like.  I can't figure out what to do with the stitched pieces, I usually frame them (have them framed) but where will I hang them?  It seems like every bit of wall is already occupied.  Maybe I will rotate them, that will also make me see them anew.  After they are completed I usually am sick to death of the sight of them.  I also try not to begin a new project when the old one isn't completed, the knitting people call them UFOs (Un Finished Objects) but unlike hand knitting, using machines means I can't readily start a new item because the old one is hanging on the machine, taunting me. 

I am having the devil of a time with an eBay seller in Beijing.  I bought a winter coat, very lovely, but about 5 sizes too small.  The listing explained that Chinese sizes are different from our sizes, so to be safe I ordered the largest size they make, supposedly a US size 3X (Chinese 5X).  The coat was about a size 12 I think.  So, with regret, I returned it.  $60 in postage, custom forms, etc.  The seller says the coat "never arrived" and ebay confirmed that they are not obligated to return my item price (I would still be out the shipping to and fro).  I have opened a case with the USPS because the coat was insured, but I don't know how that will work out.  I should have donated the coat to charity.  Damn.  My advice:  don't buy from China, many packages routinely "get lost" and how do you prove that you did not receive it, or that they actually got the return?  And they will get bad feedback from me anyway.  I have NEVER given bad feedback, and I have 100% positives and glowing comments from all 600+ sellers from whom I have bought, over the years from 2005.  Damn it.

 Well, enough sour grapes for this post.  I hope all my readers, casual or following me, have a safe trip to the family gatherings, and that all the gifts DO NOT have to be returned!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Getting closer

It is 12 days until Christmas.  Aren't I supposed to get a partridge in a pear tree today?  I've always hated that song, it goes on and on and if you can remember the "lords a leaping" and the rest, you're spending WAAAY too much time listening to the radio this month.  And partridges are very messy birds, also.  I'm not sure about how tidy eight maids a-milking would be, cows being non- housebroken and all.  Anyway...

I got t-shirt number three yesterday, two white ones in two different sizes, and one black one, a ladies black one, all with the same logo on them.  I'll show the shirt(s) after Christmas, as I don't want to give it away yet.  Anyhow, I am clearly not proficient in on-line shopping yet.  Yet.  Practice makes perfect, yes?

Also, I opened a package that was addressed to our neighbor, it was from China and I had a correct package from there too that day.  Oops.  We get a lot of mis-directed mail, it hasn't been a problem until lately.  I hope all our mail isn't suffering the same fate.  Some of it is very important, like the check for $$$$ from a class-action lawsuit of ten years ago.  Can you believe they just poke a check in an envelope and drop it in the mailbox, no confirmed delivery, no signature needed, no insurance?  I sure hope ours is on its way without a glitch.

I was selected by the Nielsen TV group to participate in a survey about TV watching a few weeks ago.  I ordinarily pitch such mail unopened, but this time I opened it and money floated out.  It was followed, over the next week with two more dead presidents.  I'll do their surveys anytime now.   At one time I was part of a consumer survey group, and sometimes I received products ( like shampoo, bug spray, laundry detergent, and paper towels) to test.  Sometime in there I was dropped as a tester, probably skipped too many products.  I remember one where I had to keep track of how many loads of laundry I did in a month, and I was surprised at how many there were, 50 or so I think.  Four of us then, even so that is a lot. 

Did you ever hear a piece of folk superstition regarding New Year's Day?  I had a friend in the 60s who was appalled when I told her I was doing laundry on that day.  She said, 'oh no, someone in your family will be washed away (die) that year'!  I don't know where that started, she was a Georgia farm girl before moving to south Florida, so maybe that was the source.  Superstitions are always fun to hear, but now I count on www.snopes.com  to get the lowdown on dubious tales.  Some of the ones floating around on the 'net are really old, but still believed by a lot of people.  Tales of dying children that want postcards sent; chances to win a great prize if you forward an email to 20 of your friends (that used to be called chain letters, before the net), and so on.  Snopes is a great source for quashing the false rumors, or even validating the ones that are true (not very many, I notice).  It is fun to check out their web pages once in a while.

Oops, the load in the washer is done, time to load the dryer.  Take care these next 12 days especially, lots of maniacs on the road this time of the year.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas in 15 days...

I have finally gotten all the stuff I ordered, so other than wrapping, I'm ready to go.  Well, there is one sweater that is due Dec. 23, but that's OK.  It still feels like N should be here, doing all the outside decor and more of the tree trimming, but I just don't have the heart to do it.  It will even be strange on Christmas morning, as he was the one who handed out the gifts, one at a time so we could see how everyone liked the choices that were made.  He was also the chef for the steak and trimmings that is our traditional menu.  None of us have actually ever cooked steaks.  So, a little anticipation there.  Given what steak costs, it is to be hoped that it turns out great.

I was thinking the other day about blogs that don't exist anymore.  Back when I started, way back in 2004, I remember one blog supposedly written by a British call girl that was quite amusing.  She stopped writing because she got an offer to put her musings into a book.  Supposedly.  I don't remember her name or the name of the blog, so I can't google to get the whole story.  There were others; most only lasted a few months, for whatever reason, perhaps just boredom and failing to come up with things to write about.  I, of course, have never been at a loss for words, a factoid that was frequently found on my report cards many many years ago.  No point in trying to change now, is there?

If my sister was still alive, she would have been 70 in March.  She's been gone for 12 years.  When she was alive, it was a crisis a day, and I was supposed to mediate whomever she had pissed off.  It got really really old.

She was the first of all our relatives to go, due to a fall.  Now there is no one left except me and 3 cousins (out of eight) that I haven't seen more than once in the last 20 years.  All the earlier generation has been gone years too.  It makes Christmas a little bleak, and maybe we try too hard to be jolly.   Ho?  Ho?   Ho?  Hello?  But it is what it is.

Definition for the day:  "OCD : Obsessive Cat Disorder."  (We have 6)

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Cold and windy

We are truly getting a taste of winter today.  R left to go to work, then came back in for a warmer coat, a hat, and gloves.  Brrr.

I ordered my xmas presents in what I thought was ample time to get here before the big day.  But I still haven't received most of them, and I am getting annoyed.  In one case, the present is not available until February!  Why advertise it on your web page when it isn't available until months later?  Which, I should point out, wasn't revealed until the purchase was complete.

For one item, it was attempted for delivery yesterday "unsuccessfully".  We were home at 4 pm, and checked the mail right away - nothing.  At 5 pm C checked again, and this time there was a pkg., but not the one that is to be redelivered.   I did get 2 copies of Consumer Reports, the extra for someone I don't know at an address I've never heard of.  If that pkg. was OK to put in the box, why isn't this one?  Anyway, we will be here all day today, so no excuses.

I am making slow progress on the cross-stitch which I started years ago.  I am determined to finish it and get it into the trivet case, however long it takes.  Before I start another, I want to see how the "Red line " product works to grid the canvas and makes stitching go faster.  It  hasn't arrived yet either.

OK here is the photo of the living room and the dining room, actually taken before the Great Flood in July:

Things are not quite in the same place now, but you can guess what havoc all the "stuff" from downstairs (where my bedroom is) made on this area.  All that, plus in the garage for the furniture.  The room had to be stripped to the walls for the carpet guys to do their thing; afterwards I offered them (2 of them) a tip for the very good job they did, but neither one would take it.  I couldn't figure out any way to tuck it into their tool boxes, etc.  So when I went to get my hair done (see the post below) I tipped the beautician $20 and I thought she would pass out.  It is a little place, no appt. taken, if you want a particular stylist there is an extra charge, etc.  But I think of it as "paying it forward".  The rest will go in the kettles of the Sally Army.  They have an anonymous donor that puts a $1000 bill in a kettle every year (the specific kettle is revealed to the main Army ahead of the time), isn't that neat?  I wish I could afford that too.  Donations have been going down every year as more people are unemployed.  But of course DT is going to fix all of that, restore the coal mines that are closed, put all the coal miners back to work, happy days will be here again.  Right?

 T shirt for the day:  "I've finally reached the wonder years!  Wonder where my car is parked?  Wonder where I left my glasses?  Wonder where I left my phone?  Wonder what day it is?"