Ooooh, aren’t we pretty? We’ve been revamped by Mollie, and I think we’re looking very spiffy.  My computer is being problematic.  First I realized the camera is broken (this is a very old computer, even for a Mac).  Then I looked for an entertaining photo to put up instead, but I can’t access Dropbox or Pinterest from here and I finally gave up, because I have WORK!  Jenny and I have been talking about coming here each week on a different day and talking about what we’ve made, what we’ve written, etc.  I have lots of things to tell you – about the Great Sewing Room Beatdown (didn’t take long for that to get out of control) and the sewing I’ve been doing, and the bathroom redid like Cinderella’s dress (the mouse and bird one, not the fairy godmother one).  

In the meantime I’ve got so much work to do and it’s taking for freaking ever, though I made good progress last week.  And I’ve decided to be grateful for our cold, rainy summer.  I was watching the Weather Channel yesterday and it was horribly, dangerously hot through most of the country, and then they had a reporter over in NH (same kind of climate) and it looked lovely (like it does here, even in the rain) and I decided I was grateful for our weather.  I don’t do heat (unless it’s at Disney World, and then I suffer happily).

So, work work work.  Which I’ll do all week, except when I go into Burlington with my cousin, who’s facing cancer surgery in a week.  And maybe I’ll see if I can breath new life into this computer.  At least I better back it up.

So what’s on your agenda?

All About You

Here I am. Can’t have a picture today – my Photo Booth app isn’t working. Oh, I know, I’ll find an old one for the date. That’s five years ago. I like me better now.

So … we finally got a decent day yesterday, and I floated in our pool holding Richie’s hand (while he floated too). I’ve been sorting stuff in the upstairs bedrooms and making a huge mess as I do it, but sooner or later things will start to be streamlined. Crusie gave me a whole bunch of antique quilt blocks a few years ago and I’d sandwiched and quilted lots of them so yesterday I trimmed them out plus made three more sandwiches. I’ll quilt and trim them, then put ’em together using a method I saw on Youtube via Pinterest. Have I told you how much I love Pinterest?

Next task will be weeding through my fabric again – anyone looking for something in particular? I’m not sure how many of you guys sew.

Doing business this morning, and then moving ahead with the never-ending revisions which are almost coming to an end. We take a good friend out for dinner tonight at the fancy pizza place nearby (our favorite is The Green Man pizza – pesto and spinach and cheese. Except it’s weird when I can and say “I’d like a large Green Man.”)

And we’ll have some warmer weather this week, both my children are comparatively stable, so life is good, one day at a time.

Goal for this week – move ahead on the book, do some more sorting, maybe a trip to Goodwill, hey, I guess it’s time to make a start on my bedroom. I’ll show you pictures tomorrow or the next day.

But mostly, write.

What’s on your agenda? Who’s making stuff (gardens count)?

Alt om Du (Krissie)

I am no longer worried about my hair. It’s still great, and I just used a leave in product and the frizzies are gone.

But on to more important things. The light’s on because it’s cold and dark, as usual. We’re having an arctic summer, which figures, since we got a new blow-up pool. I think the last really hot day was early June, high temps in the 70s this week, rain every day, and on Friday it only reaches the 60s. Don’t we all just love weather? Actually I’m thinking this is what summers are like in Scotland, and I’d rather think of it as a Scottish summer, so don’t disillusion me.

I made great progress on the never-ending revisions, enough so that the end of revising might be in sight, praise god. I’ve got to check on business stuff (every Monday morning) but then I can get back to work, and I’m into it.

I’m running into trouble with my screen time again. I was awake till after one playing solitaire, damn it. I’m thinking maybe don’t do the iPad in bed (I go up early but I do my Danish, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, Pinterest, and surfing, plus watching videos). Gotta stop that, but Richie comes to bed and uses his iPad too and it’s a nice time. Maybe I’ll limit what I allow myself to do. Pinterest can kill hours, but right now I’m really into it, with organization ideas, sewing, heroes and heroines, current books. Jenny has a board for her books as well – it’s fun and inspiring.

Shit, here comes the rain again. Speaking of music (who sang that song? Without the “shit” – trivia question) I’ve been going through my old (I’m talking about late ’60s early ’70s) music. I’ll tell you about that later.

In the meantime, work beckons, and that’s what this week is about. Work – I’m going to get some business stuff sorted and then, dammit, I will finish the revisions on this sucker and soar on into the future.

So what’s on your agenda? Who are you listening to right now? We had a jazz service at church and the prelude was a John Coltrane number with a very good local saxophone player, and it was so good I went to Spotify this morning and opened John Coltrane music. Are you guys listening to anything good – I want to know. I love country music and opera, rock, folk, standards, hey,even some rap. Not to mention Japanese, french and Danish music.

So tell me what you’re listening to. And what are you doing this week of Scottish summer?

Oh, that’s All About You in Danish – I hit 180 straight days in my studies.

My hair (And all About Your)

My hair is frizzy. It’s never been frizzy before – and these frizzy strands seem to be shorter strands from the top of my head. What’s happening to my glorious hair? Waaaah!

I’m hoping these shorter strands are usual – they’re just standing out because they frizzed – or maybe my glorious mane is breaking down! Waaaah.

First step – find some anti-frizz stuff. In the past humidity (and our recent amount has been ridiculous) simply made my hair thicker, not frizzy. And I’m such an impossibly vain creature! Not. But I did love my hair.

Oh, well, on to other, less epic things. My mouth still hurts and I can’t eat anything but yogurt (I think I’ll make a quiche tonight). Good news is I must be losing more weight.

As for the week – well my BFF Sal is up for the next ten days or so, which means a lot won’t get done, but I’m gonna try. I have a load of stuff to take to Goodwill, plus I have things to return, small things to buy (screen patching, buttons, swimming pool shock). One tricky thing is to avoid spending money (Richie was panicking yesterday). I went to the opera night and it was lovely but it was also $25. I was going to bring Richie and go again but decided I couldn’t spend a total of $75 on that right now. I’d told my cousin I was going, but when I said I couldn’t she asked why. So I quietly told her. (I have no shame). She couldn’t hear. I told her again.

We got up, and as we walked outside with everyone else she asked again. So I said, very loud, “We can’t afford it.” And yes, apparently I do have some shame.  I hate the thought of repeating that over and over again.  But we have to stop spending on unnecessary things.

So I’m not going to be able to go out to dinner and shopping with Sally and her daughter (my goddaughter). but this summer, if there’s no way of getting out of lunches (which I don’t want to) I can get tap water and an appetizer and say I’m not hungry. Sigh.

It’s all right. Richie was moaning about he wanted things to be better for us but we adopted special needs kids (whose issues took a while to show up) and what with the line of disasters we ended up being foolish about taxes. Hence, disaster. But we’ll work it out. All that money I had to pay to Social Security is coming back in a small way, and I’m focussing on the business end of things.

And Crusie, next time I’m down don’t let me shop!

Mind you, I’ve been good. But I slipped in the last month, what with visits, and that steaming kettle of soup that’s beckoning us is getting closer.

We’re finally going to have lovely weather, albeit cool (nothing in the 80’s this week). I’ll work on book and business, I’ll float in the pool, I’ll play with Sally. And maybe by the end of the week I can begin to chew again.

So what’s on your agenda? Are you having cookouts and family over? My kids are stable right now, we can pay our bills, the sun is shining … what more can you ask of life, reasonably?

So, what’s on your agenda? Is your sun shining?

Epiphanies at the Dentist (Krissie)

So I had a startling realization yesterday, an off-shoot of one a few years ago, and I haven’t been able to talk to anyone about it, so here goes. (Haven’t been able to talk about it because I had two back teeth taken out yesterday).

A few years ago things in my life were very very bad. I was in the depths of a depression, one grown child was nuts with no diagnosis and making our lives a living hell. Our money situation was ghastly (still is), our other child was a mess, everything felt horrible. I’d been down to visit Crusie, and I was driving back, weeping. Everything felt terrible, with no hope or joy in sight (remember, I was depressed) and I felt so empty, driving back to nothingness. And then I remembered the current story I was writing. And I thought of other things I wanted to write, and the book I was reading, and that was the one, undeniable hope I could hold on to and stop myself from crying . It always struck me that when I had nothing I still had the stories, wonderful books to read and write.

Of course, things got better, but I’ll never forget that when things were at their lowest, story saved me (as it’s been doing all my life – I would’t have survived my childhood without my incessant reading, and I know some of you are the same).

Fast forward to yesterday. I’ve been lucky enough never to have to have teeth removed as an adult. But on one side I had a root canal that had taken five or six visits and they’d never been able to finish it (shit-load of money thrown away on that). That was still bothering me. Then a few months ago I ended up with a huge abscess on the other side, in a tooth that was mostly filling and there was no chance of saving, and that had to go too. Fortunately both of them are at the back , I’ve had some difficulty chewing, so I was on board (though not happy). I got to the oral surgeon yesterday, a little edgy, but assuming I was going to have some kind of anesthesia. Uh, nope. Just novacaine. They could do other stuff but I’d need to come back for a consult and then have it done, and yes, it would cost more (we don’t have dental insurance). So, being a relatively tough cookie, I sighed and said “go ahead.”

It was freaking awful. The doctor was great, the aides were wonderful, but sitting in that fucking chair, having them yank and drill and yank and crack and pull was unbelievably difficult for me, and I started crying, which was really embarrassing. I told them I was very anxious and then closed my eyes, trying to keep the tears behind my eyelids, trying not to let it get worse which would involve hiccuping while they were drilling.

While I’d been waiting earlier (for the novacaine to take effect) I’d come up with a brilliant thing I could do with my revisions – where I could place my dreaded flashback scene. So as I was clutching the arms of the chair and trying to keep from sobbing (and it didn’t hurt that much it was just so … invasive) I cast around in my mind for anything to distract myself. Every time I thought that I shouldn’t cry it would get worse. So I thought about moving that scene, and suddenly I was calm. Like I’d had an instantaneous shot of something. I couldn’t really concentrate on anything, of course, and they’d yank, and I’d get weepy, and again I thought of the scene. Again, instant calm. It was amazing.

Unfortunately both teeth were difficult, in particular the one that had had the root canal, which apparently had fused to the tooth beside it, plus was a very large one, so they had to work exrtra long and hard on it, so I had plenty of time to keep observing the phenomenon. Each damn time it would work – tears would be sliding down my cheeks from my closed eyes (and of course any sign of sympathy, like Carol, the really nice nurse, putting a comforting hand on my arm, made it worse) and I ‘d think of my characters and the panic would just vanish for the moment. It really was extraordinary.

I remember when I was an adolescent I would leave the house in the middle of the night when my parents were raging and walk across town to our church, about two miles away. They didn’t lock it, and I’d hide in one of the back pews and recite the Lord’s Prayer or some of the psalms I’d memorized over and over again to soothe myself. I imagine it’s similar to that, and to Transcendental Meditation where you have a certain mantra that you can focus on to make things better.

Story is my mantra, my lord’s prayer, my escape from an awful childhood, the only hope when things are terrible. For me story is the only way I survive.

Having the physical proof of it, over and over again yesterday, was really enlightening.

Has anyone else gotten into a similar situation? And if things have been disastrous, what helped?

Mind you, I’m not comparing having a couple of impacted teeth out as the same as losing someone. When someone dies (or stuff on that level, like Richie’s heart-attack) you have to deal with it, work it through. But if you’re in the midst of a short-term, or even longer-term situation that’s unbearable, what do you turn to for calm, for relief, for succor?

All About You (krissie)

Yuk. Wrong picture. I meant to put one up where I was chomping on something and looking ridiculous but I uploaded the wrong one. This was a second one where I was trying to look better and then realized that was ridiculous and meant to go with the first one.

OK, I’ve been busy. Drove back from Crusie’s last Monday, spent the week working on rewrites and sewing. Spent the weekend revamping my sewing room. I’ve got before and midway pictures, but it’s still mostly disaster so I’ll work on that later in the afternoon and will reveal all later this week.

Ugh. This week, however, I am going to have two teeth taken out. I haven’t had that done since I was 12 and supposed to get braces, so I’m not looking forward to it. One’s on one side, one’s on the other (both in the back, fortunately) so I don’t know what I’m going to eat (I hate Greek yogurt and there’s not much of the other kind around). Also have no idea how shitty I’ll feel. I’m hoping I won’t be out of commission for more than a day.

I’ve got an opera to go to on Saturday, a cabbage-chopping party on Friday (cole-slaw for the church’s July 4th barbecue), I’m an usher and greeter at church on Sunday … I guess that’s it. Most of the time I resent things I have to do, but right now I’m making an effort to get out and about. I desperately miss my theater – I’d be in the midst of rehearsals right now – but I’m enjoying having more time.

It’s 61 degrees with a breeze this morning. That would be lovely in November but it’s freaking cold in summer. I’m sitting by an open window and had to close it a bit and put on a sweater. Our blow-up pool is almost full, and if it ever warms up (it’s been staying in the 70’s) it’ll be lovely.

So – having teeth yanked out, revising, business planning, church stuff, working on my sewing room. Lots of things to do.

BTW, if I don’t seem like a churchly person that’s probably because the religious right has sort of co-opted Christianity, so a lot of people don’t talk about being Christian or going to church.  I’m UCC, and our front sign has a rainbow on it, welcoming every spectrum of humanity.  We’re open and forgiving.  I’ve been a (terrible) Sunday school teacher, an adequate sermon giver, a good choir member, a wise Deacon, an incompetent trustee.   I found a letter my grandmother sent to my father, saying she wasn’t going to church that Sunday because it was raining and because of the minister, and I love that there was that kind of continuity from 75 years ago.

So ha, religion right!  Jesus loves me too!

Anyway, tell me what you’re doing.  And if anyone here is part of the religious right, mea culpa.  I don’t mean to sound negative – I love when people have a solid faith.  I’m just not big on people pushing their definition of faith on others.

Enough.  What have you got going on this week?  (Damn, I’m going to have to close the window -it’s too cold).  Got plans for the big weekend?  Maybe we’ll get snow.

What’s on your agenda?

Mo Jo and Gidget and Ethel and Lucy go to the Eye Doctor (Krissie)

So  … my excuse for coming down here was to take Jenny to the eye doctor, where they usually dilate her eyes, rendering her unable to drive, and even give her a shot in the eye (squick!)  Unfortunately, neither Jenny nor I have any sense of direction, and I hadn’t been able to find my GPS before I came down this time.   Being responsible, we had both looked up the directions on our computers, compared notes, and took off with the assurance we would find our way there.  The last time we’d gotten lost and were half an hour late – that wasn’t going to happen again.

So, we left with twenty minutes to spare.  Uh … no.  We started down Route 206 and suddenly we were on i-80, which wasn’t supposed to happen.  But okay, next exit was 206 and we took it and sailed on down the road.  After a while Ethel er … Jenny hadn’t noticed any signs to Hackettstown, so I pulled over, looked at my phone and saw we were on the right road.  We persisted.  (Not always a good idea).  Finally about an hour later we pulled over, Jenny called her doctor to tell him we were lost in the wilds of New Jersey, and I checked Maps again.  Apparently the last time I checked I hadn’t realized that the place I thought was our end point had been our beginning point and we had to go back for half an hour.

So, I get the direction thing going on the phone and finally get there (just a few more wrong turns easily fixed), just an hour and a half late.  Okay, we’re there.  They were not pleased.  We sit for a little bit, Jenny looks out the windows and says “Oh, there’s the cutest dog …” and then she leaps up like Road Runner with an Acme Exploding Bird Seed under him, races to the receptionist and then out the door, saying a woman had collapsed.  We all rush out.  The woman is lying on the sidewalk, blood pouring in front of her, her ancient and darling toy poodle prancing around in concern.  (That was Gidget).  Jenny, whose priorities are clear, grabbed the dog, the nurse went to the lady, sent other sback for something to mop up the blood.  I scooped up her keys and an earring and her glasses.  She couldn’t get up — she’d tripped, probably, but she’d just gone straight down without trying to catch herself, and then hadn’t moved.  The blood came from her chin, and she was unable to get up because she’d just had two hips replaced.  We kept her company, I went back and forth with information (her name, etc), killed the bugs that were crawling toward her in her pool of blood, then took the dog when the doctor (who’d come out to check) saw Jenny.  The police came, the ambulance came, they were able to patch her up and let her go, and we reluctantly surrendered Gidget to her (after Jenny helped her to her car). She was very very grateful, of course, but we stayed and watched her leave – her license plate said Jo Mo (hence the Mo Jo because her name was Judy and her last name began with a V).

So the, after all that excitement we went to Target and rewarded ourselves with new 18 inch dolls and McDonalds, came back home and napped.

Ah, New Jersey!

I’m writing, Jenny’s making vast improvements on clearing out her house, and as usual I’m staying an extra day.  I always have too much fun to go home when I plan to.

Anyway, good times at Squalor on the Lake, and Milton likes me more than he likes her, ha ha ha!  (I’m going to steal him)

Oh, and it turns out I didn’t need to come down to take her to the eye doctor – he didn’t give her a shot in the eye or dilate her. Still, it made a good excuse, and I made her pay for McDonalds. Life’s an adventure.

Typical conversation in the car-

Jenny: If I were a better person I’d like wine
Krissie: If I were a better person I’d be a Lesbian.

We spent a moment brooding on our inadequacies and drove off down the road.