Monday, Monday (Krissie)

Blasted upgrade. Now I can’t figure out how to find my photos. I need to spend time with the new wretched upgrade but the days are just packed. For instance, today I drive 40 miles, go to Social Security (and wait and wait and wait), then 25 miles further to pick up the back-up to my poor dead computer and drop off my only working one (the trackpad isn’t working), and then another 15 miles to Fedex to ship out a heavy present, then back to Montpelier to go Christmas shopping (JoAnn’s for fabric I mis-cut, sewing machine store to drop off good scissors to be sharpened, TJ Maxx because, Wal-mart for a list of things, the grocery store, anything else I need to do, then take Route 12 over the mountain to Morrisville to pick up meds and then home. Tomorrow was going to be a trip to Morrisville and my therapist, but we’re supposed to get heavy snow so I’m guessing I won’t get there.

So – many of you lucky people have snow! I know it’s a pain, but it’s Christmas, and man, I am a Christmas junkie! Everyone’s doing well for a change – Daniel has a job that he likes, we gave Tim a ski pass for Christmas and instead of staying in his dark room and never seeing anyone he’s out on the mountain and happy. It seems absurd that someone on disability spends his winter snowboarding, but he’s unable to interact with other people. He starts out fine and then gets squirrelly and paranoid. So getting him out in the sunshine is the best thing for him.

Which means I can enjoy myself and not worry. Neither of them are coming home for Christmas, which will be the first time since Daniel was born that neither of our kids are home, but it’s okay, as long as they aren’t dissolving into crisis. And my OBFF (Old Best Friends Forever – Jenny is NBFF) is coming for Christmas with her family, and they’ll have enough crises to keep my busy.

So Monday, Montpelier, Tuesday, MOrrisville, Wednesday a get-together to meet the new minister and baking cookies I promised, Thursday Burlington for a writer’s lunch, Friday all day rehearsals and carols, etc. that night. (Take a deep breath, Krissie).

Funny – I am exhausted and in massive pain. Yesterday I almost threw up from exhaustion and pain (and all I did was go to church and come home and sew). I’ve got all this creative and mental energy and everything just sort of pancakes. Not sure if that’s aging. Oh, hell, yes I am. Because it’s a combination of my body being no longer able to keep going as long, and the physical effects of the arthritis and fibromyalgia dragging me down. Except I don’t say no. I bustle and play, etc., collapse in exhaustion and then do it all the next day. Because life is fun.

I watched Auntie Name again yesterday. It doesn’t hold up that well, I’m afraid (I watched it for the Macy’s scene because of my WIP) but her mantra still holds true. Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death. Live!

Do I’m living, amplifier turned up to eleven, playing christmas carols on the stereo (almost the only time we use it), wearing Christmas clothes and having a marvelous time.

So, is anyone having fun with Christmas/the holidays? Or are you stressed and anxious? What are you doing to enjoy yourself?

If you’re blue watch a Christmas movie. It’s good for what ails you.

Prezzies (Krissie)

So all you noble people who don’t want anything for themselves for Christmas – you’re all a bunch of poops!
No, not really. You’re wise and grounded. There are too many things in this world, and I keep decluttering like mad, so what’s my problem?

I don’t have a shopping disorder. I do like to shop, I have bought too much in the past, but I haven’t gotten into debt over it, ordered stuff and never opened it, etc. I think maybe during times of grief, like when my brother died, I went out to shop a little obsessively, though it was the trips, more than the purchases, back then, and now that I have a hard time wandering stores I haven’t substituted Amazon, etc.

I think part of it was that shopping with my mother was one of the rare times we really had fun together. Even when we were little she would take Taffy and me into Philadelphia to the big department stores (Strawbridges, Gimbels, etc) and we should shop. For my mother, who was, fortunately, a bargain hunter, it was her major recreational activity, a way she could interact with people without interacting. She was very much devoted to her self-image as an intellectual, and she wasn’t interested in gardening, fiber crafts, cooking, outdoors, sports, visual arts, getting together with friends … She would read and she would shop and she would rage.

I remember one Saturday when she took us into Philadelphia (we lived in Princeton but we’d moved from Philadelphia so we tended to focus there rather than NYC), We’d had a fabulous time – gone out for a fancy lunch, I’d gotten a beautiful pink easter dress (god, I loved that dress!) and arrived home to find my father passed out on the floor, and everything came crashing down . There are certain moments that stick out in a child’s memory (I must have been around ten) and that’s one of them.

So, since I’m spending all my time giving stuff away, why do I have a big Christmas list? Part of it is that we’re so tight for cash that I can’t just get what I want. We’ve been spending $2,500 more than we bring in each month, and that’s just about the amount for Tim’s rent and food and Daniel’s college loans. But Tim just got approved for SSI and disability and Daniel’s got a job he likes, so things are looking up. But I still have to double and triple think every purchase and then still probably not get it. Here’s my list:

Ha! Okay, I can’t cut and paste, but I laughed when I looked at it. I thought I was being so fucking greedy, but what I’d chosen was $15 Thor’s Hammer, three craft books, a couple of crochet patterns, a set of fabric stamps, and a cd of Danish Christmas carols. There are a couple of things that cost about $25 and the rest are about $10. So I guess my soul-searching about my shopping and acquisition needs was totally unnecessary. I think buying stuff for creativity/craft is excellent, except when you substitute buying for doing. For instance, I spent years buying fabric and books (and even then I paced myself – I’m a bargain shopper too). But a book on learning a new technique or a tool for doing it (the fabric stamps) is stretching you rather then hemming you in with stuff.

All right, none of this is terribly interesting for you, and that’s okay. It’s a way for me to work things out, which is exactly what this did today, and I feel less grabby, and delightfully righteous.

Anyway, it’s Christmas, and since I’m a Christmas fanatic I tend to think about Christmas-y things. Today I’ll decorate plain sunglasses with christmas stuff just for giggles. Ho ho ho.

Which reminds me, I once made matching nightshirts for the kids with xmas fabric that said “ho ho ho” but I forgot to pay attention to direction when I cut it out, so the kids had xmas nightshirts that said “oh oh oh”.

Off I go in my sleigh. Er … to shop.

All About You … Fuck it, all about me (krissie0

Okay, I slept late. And I realized that All About You is really All About Me so I need to have All About You on another day. When I drag my sorry ass out of bed on Monday I’m focussed on the week ahead … but then I want to hear about your week ahead too. I view this as conversation (with me hijacking most of it), not so much blog entry.

But we’ll see. We had a very nice Thanksgiving – the turkey was overcooked, the potatoes were gluey (never use an immersion blender), the stuffing was soggy and there wasn’t enough gravy. It was just Richie and me, and my cooking, so none of that mattered – it was delicious anyway. I’d been cleaning for a couple of days, actually making progress, and I ended up in ghastly pain by the end, so we didn’t even sit at the table to eat – just had dinner in our laps. And it was lovely. I did ace the bread pudding, though. I was going to go for an oil-based pie crust with whole-wheat pastry flour but the pain had won out by then so I made an apple bread pudding with cranberry bread I had on hand, and it was ambrosial.

Spent a lot of the long weekend face timing with the grandkids and Tim – yesterday I played parallel Barbies with Ali (I had Richie go down to the basement and find Daniel’s old Barbies). I had unhappy conversations about and with two people and my relationship with them is going through similar problems, which makes me wonder if I’m the cause and not them. Nah, it’s them. Not sure what to do about it – I’m afraid I have to let it go.

NANO has been a qualified success – I won’t make 50k but I’ve written tons, and gotten back into writing again. Putting off the knee surgery was the smartest thing I could have done – if I’d gone through with it I would have ended up stalled out for another six months and who knows when I would have pulled it back together.

You know what’s damnable? All that cleaning, including stripped the kitchen back of all the shit that had come to live on the counters …. it’s all chaos again. That’s what I hate about cleaning.

We’ve been having Saturday morning write-ins at the library this month for NANO, and I’m going to see about continuing it. It’s great for me, and good for other people as well, and it would be great if we could build a community of writers (I live in a town of 700 people but it’s a writing town, especially in the summer).

So back to work. Tons of stuff to do before I sleep, but mainly keep writing.

So, come on, tell me about Thanksgiving. What was the worst thing you ate (or managed to avoid). What was the best? And we you thankful for anything in particular? Despite my two troubled relationships, I’m thankful for EVERYTHING! Life is a banquet.

Good Riddance 2016 (Krissie)

Photo on 1-2-17 at 11.13 AM That’s the sun shining in, celebrating the new year. I was going to list all the nastiness of last year, ending with a big bang on New Year’s Eve with one of my best friend’s marriage collapsing. But I’ve been hungrily reading everything on how to get beyond all the panic and grief and uncertainty and grab some positivity, so that’s what I’m doing. Tim is okay for today. Has been okay for a number of days. There’s no certainty how long it will last, but for now it’s good.

Daniel is heading back to work and is going to start taking over some of his college loans (over $100,000 of them and we co-signed them). I’m having fun restoring and making things for my American Girl dolls. My grandchildren are fabulous, my granddaughter particularly loved one present I got her, they went to Medieval Times (a present from me) and had a blast. Richie seems to be doing a little better.

And we have kitties! We’ve been without cats for a couple of years, since three of ours died. (Two that were ancient and my most beloved was hit by a car). Since cats tend to find us every fall and we were traveling a lot I thought I’d just wait until one showed up, but in two autumns they hadn’t. Then I thought I wanted kittens – we hadn’t had any in decades – so I checked with the local farms, etc. but none (which is a good thing – fewer unwanted animals around). So we went to a nearby (25 miles away) animal shelter that had kittens and applied for adoption.

Did we get kittens? Naaah. Everyone wants kittens – they’re easy to place. We ended with with Thunderpaws (originally Meat and then Zeke) and his half sister Olivia, age 8 and 6. And they’re fabulous. Originally they’d been separated because Thunderpaws hated the shelter and took it out on Olivia. I was going to take Olivia and a two year old fluffy black one but the Shelter really wanted us to try Olivia with her horse-kitty older brother, so we did, and it’s been so wonderful. Turns out Olivia is a feisty creature – maybe she’s just getting her own back, but she tries to bully Thunderpaws. He’s too big and ooofy to let her get away with it, though. They love to curl up beside us or on our laps – we now decide who gets up to get the coffee etc. by who has a cat cuddling. Thunderpaws sleeps at our head or between us, Olivia sleeps at our feet if Thunderpaws has gotten there first or on my stomach if she’s first.

Daniel fell in love with Thunderpaws and wept when he had to leave him. So we’ve got something very good in our lives.

Jenny wanted me to take a picture holding them but they’re still not sure if they want to be picked up. Like most cats, they decide on the cuddling (which is most of the time). This was my present to Richie (thought not a surprise and of course a present for me) and it may have a lot to do with his feeling better.

Rats. I took pictures with my phone and I sent them via mail to this computer but they’re not showing up. I’ll put this up and add pictures later.

So I’m … hopeful. Yes, I guess I am. Things are scary, for me, for my loved ones and friends (who are loved ones as well), for the country and the world, but living in fear is a waste of the soul. so I’m grabbing for the joy wherever I can find it.

In Denmark you go break dishes on your friends’ front steps as a sign of affection on New Year’s Day. Since none of my friends live near me I can’t do that, but I kind of like the idea. Smash the old year and open your heart to the new. So I’m opening my heart.

And I guess that’s my New Year’s Resolution. Don’t get so bound up in fear and anger.

So … how did you celebrate New Year’s? Anyone break any dishes? Do you have any resolutions or plans for facing a challenging year? Wassup?

All About You (Krissie)

Photo on 12-26-16 at 10.18 AM Happy Boxing Day. It’s a shame that didn’t become an American Christmas tradition like Christmas trees and Silent night.
I’ve been giving money to the homeless. I know, I know, it’ll probably go for heroin but they’ll find the money anyway.
I know what a good new tradition might be. A lot of people make donations at the end of the year – Boxing Day might be a good day to do that. Or go someplace and make a donation. Walk into Planned Parenthood, or the local Red Cross or homeless shelter and write them a check.
Richie’s already done our year-end donations (alzheimers, adoption & family home, cancer, heart disease, habitat. I’ve given to the theater group a couple of times, but I just got the pledge stuff from the church so I’ll do that. So go and give!

Christmas was quiet – I slept till ten and then woke up singing “I slept till ten on Christmas day” to the tune of “I heard the bells on Christmas day.” I had a long FaceTime with the grandchildren on Christmas Eve and made a big pan of ziti for dinner. Tim seems to be fairly stable – we put him in a historic hotel in Placerville since prices in Tahoe skyrocketed during the Christmas season.

Hmmm. Quiet and just slightly melancholy, but okay. The week’s gonna be Loki (low-key) too. Life will move into regular gear after the new year (or maybe after Daniel leaves on Thursday). In the meantime I have to concentrate on one day at a time, not panicking about Tim, etc. I’ll nap a lot, watch tv, listen to music, cuddle the new kitties – (more on that later). I’m looking forward to getting back to writing (and sewing). So I’m still in a foggy, post-Christmas (well, I haven’t been sleeping well) daze.

Too logy to talk about 2017 – I’ll come back in a day or two when I’m feeling livelier. In the meantime, Merry Christmas, my darlings! Tell me how you spent Christmas Day/First day of Hannukah.

All About Christmas (Krissie)

Photo on 12-19-16 at 9.15 AM #2 So … I’m celebrating Christmas. The house is in chaos, haven’t sent the presents off yet, have to do last minute shopping, but I’m celebrating anyway. Tim is stable for now, Daniel is arriving tonight (complete with beard). The grandchildren are tucked all snug in their beds – last minute change means they’re not coming, but that’s best for them, so it’s okay with me. Better for a low-key Christmas.
And tomorrow we get two new cats from the animal shelter! We need furry ones to snuggle – we’ve been without for more than a year, and that’s not good for our mental health.
So I’m lighting candles against the darkness, hanging in there.
I want to hear all about your Christmases! Details, please. Everyone has different rituals, whether they’re in the US or elsewhere, and I love hearing about them. So spill, guys.

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life …. (krissie)

Photo on 12-13-16 at 1.13 PM Argh! That’s my anthem and my life – not Jenny’s website, but every bit of aggravation and frustration that word means.
Thank you all for your posts of hope etc. It was wonderful to read them. And yes, I know he’ll never be “normal.” I just want some stability and hope. Crap.

Anyway, had a good weekend. We did a staged reading of Katharine Paterson’s (she of The Bridge to Terabitha and others fame) play “Good King Wenceslas” and I got to be the romantic lead! It’s a ensemble play, but I got to play a mousey little woman (whose name is Mouse) who finds true love and bravery. I did the first act in a baggy sweater and my hair in a bun, did the second half with makeup and long hair and a flashy red shawl around my neck. And I was good!

Interesting thing – up until this summer I thought I was an adequate actor. With the right role I could be very entertaining (the Mayor’s wife in Music Man) but generally I was not distractingly bad – I did the job. But I actually got good this summer in To Kill a Mockingbird, and I was good in this one too. Which is cool. Trust me, I have no false modesty – I do think I’m glorious in many areas, but I recognize my limitations. So actually beginning to get good at this is a treat.

It was also a good thing to keep my mind off worrying. We’re going into a NAMI meeting tonight and having dinner in the big city, so that will be nice. We’ve got Tim in a decent hotel for now, but he’ll have to leave on the 23rd and we’re not sure where he can go. Of course, that’s ten days away and who knows what will happen with him. He missed his appointment (the one he was supposed to do when he got out of the hospital) which comes as no surprise but it doesn’t bode well. He’s still not terribly with it, but that could be the new meds (assuming he’s taking them).

Ah, but I made the dress for … I keep renaming her. Now I’ll call her Leslie … anyway, I made her a charming dress and I’m going to do some more sewing. it makes me happy. My grandchildren aren’t coming for Christmas after all, which is okay. It simplifies things and it’s much better for them and their mom, so I’ll just do without them. But it makes Christmas simpler.

dolls That’s Kirsten in the St. Lucia outfit, Anna in the chair (with a tiny vintage Mr. Spock by her side) and Leslie is wearing the dress I just made. Now I just need to get back to my book, which I’m loving. It’s just so hard to get things done when you’re being pulled apart and worried.

So, today shrink and support meeting. Tomorrow make an apron for my SIL and bake pans of ziti for a thing our theater group is putting on for the school. Thursday I have lunch with a friend (Miranda Neville is her pen name) and go to the school dinner. Friday I curl up in a ball and scream …

No, it’ll be okay. I’m going to celebrate Christmas, damn it!