The merry bells are jingling

Me in 1974 or '75.
Me in 1974 or ’75.

The pug and I have been holed up in the master bedroom all day, knitting, catching up on television (namely the Doctor Who holiday specials), and sipping non-alcoholic drinks. Pajamas have not been removed but a sports bra was added. Last night’s holiday merriment, which started with my brother and I splitting several bottles of wine and ended with me finishing the night by imbibing in one vegan White Russian1 after the other means that my liver needs a rest. I’m indulging in one of my favorite non-alcoholic drinks, Shirley Temples, because the thought of drinking any more alcohol makes me ever so slightly woozy. My goal in becoming an alcoholic is clearly failing.
The holidays are nearly over and I am in mixed feelings of these events. The experiment, “Ornaments for Cookies” has been a resounding success as so many fabulous people from across the internets sent all the lovely things that decorate our tree. But experiments in dairy free baking have frustrated me, which meant that I chucked it up for man and made “regular” treats to send since my numerous attempts to create vegan condensed milk, which was needed for many of the treats, were illuminating failures. Illuminating in that no matter how hard vegans like to think they can replace every animal product with a vegetable one, there are just some things that do not work well. Cheese is one, condensed milk is another. Because of the dairy free baking failures, my plans to be prepared for cookie distribution was slowed since since I ended up replacing the dairy free items with their original counterparts. I thought I was going to be behind in shipping of the goods, but it seems majority of the people waited until the last minute to send me their ornament so the unnecessary pressure I put on myself was for naught. So far, I shipped/gave nearly 20 boxes of cookies over the past week with another few boxes to go.
I will tell you that If I look at another fucking cookie anytime soon, I may slit someone’s throat.
My brother and I reconciled earlier this month after months of palpable tension and yesterday’s big holiday dinner was the first time since TheHusband’s and I wedding meal in May, 2010, that my brother, mother, and ourselves had a dinner together. It was not as painful as I had suspected it might be – though we did find out that my mother is a snitch and quite judgmental of her fellow Retirement Villa peers. According to Mother, any female that had a boyfriend (granted, the average age of the residents is well into their 80s), was clearly suffering from severe Alzheimer’s, but Mother never explained the the correlation between sexual freedom and dementia. This launched into a conversation between TheHusband, my brother, and myself of our generation getting older and that the uptightness exhibited by my mother and her peers would be flip-flopped by our generation with our tattoos, piercings, and shocking blue hair trolling the hallways and byways of retirement homes.
The younger generation shuddered in horror.
Friends came later in the day, with Mother meeting most them as my brother hustled her out the door. The general consensus of our friends was that it was clear Mother preferred the company of my brother to any other, and we all drank to dysfunctional family relationships.
Shaking of fists occurred several times in the night, primarily when we all know that we should be standing on our own and rallying against the societal expectations of hanging with the blood family during the holidays instead of taking a stand and creating our urban families. One year, we all proclaimed, we will take a stand! Then we ponied up to the kitchen counter to pour ourselves another drink.
And with that, another holiday is over.
1. Instead of half-and-half, I use very vanilla Silk soy milk.

So I asked the Internet to trim my tree – Day 6 (MIL, @shinyinfo, and @papersquared)

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TheHusband asked his mother to crochet an ornament of Aunt Lupe, who was apparently a witch with skin like a tomato and would eat children.

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Kristin hand carved and painted a TARDIS out of clay and encased it in a clear ornament with snow to emulate a snow globe. Awesome? Yes!

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It’s pretty clear when my friends know me so well that I get multiples of the same theme – here is another TARDIS given to me by Carolyn.

38::39

To celebrate my turning 29 for the 11th time, we held a small party here at Throbbing Manor last Saturday in which I invited close friends and new neighbors. The turn out was good, last person was kicked out shortly before 4 AM, we ate party left overs for days and I did not, unfortunately, wake up in my own puke as I have been known to do before.
TheHusband, who is not so much socially awkward but that he hates people, wanted “TheHusband time” on Sunday, the actual day of my birth, to balance out all the socializing he did the night before. With TheHusband off doing whatever it is he does when he’s alone (namely, reading the interwebs, listen to podcasts and watching sports), I figured it was a good time to start unpacking boxes of books and journals for my office that I had not seen in years. Our living room bookcases finally arrived a few days before and in the process of unpacking and organizing those, I discovered more stuff for my office and I knew, likewise, that more items would be in the boxes marked the office that belong downstairs.
[In contrast to the recently arrived living room bookcases, my office bookcases have been here for months and I’ve not done a thing with them. Boxes in the guest room have been silently waiting for me to unpack them. The glare of the unpacked boxes is much like the glare of the pug when she thinks you’re up to no good.]
officebookcases-small For the better part of that Sunday afternoon, I spent time reading old journals dating back to my teens and 20s. Some entries were difficult because it was clear I thought of myself as being this sophisticated teenager when I was obviously so wholly naive. Other pieces were just sad in that back of hand to the forehead type of way and others were painful just for the memories they stirred. In addition, I also ended up reading some of the short stories I wrote through high school and it seemed that a lot of them ended the same way: someone dies a violent death. It’s pretty clear some things never change.
As I was reading, sorting and unboxing, I thought of these papers in several ways:

  1. As an archivist and with that in mind, how future generations are going to look at my work and attempt to figure out chronological order and such. Also how to preserve these materials in their current state AND move them digitally? Seventeen year old Lisa did not think to buy everything on acid-free paper. Seventeen year old Lisa was also hugely romantic.
  2. Collection fodder for story telling and telling of stories. I’ve long known I have had a habit of writing down bits and bobs on scraps of paper, which I’ve now collected into a folder with hopes to turn them into something solid instead of just collecting random bits of paper.

Re-reading these old tomes of mine sent me into two equal, but separate, trains of thoughts: I have accomplished much, have had experience and seen much of the world that most do not. Go team Lisa! On the flip side: Jesus Christ, I’ve pissed away a lot of opportunities, I’m soon to be officially old and there is still so much work to be done. Will I be able to get it all completed? Recently, my lovely friend John wrote an interesting spec on his own life plans and the fluidity of his life plans (from game Reindeer to game Caribou) as things in his own life have changed. This got me thinking about my own life and how I plan for the short term, not the long term. I have game ThinkAboutItTomorrow! TheHusband gets on me about this quite a bit whenever we talk about moving to Europe. He points out that if we go abroad every year, as I want to do, our chances of getting a home across the pond will either take longer or cost us more. Logic does not bode well with my own reasoning. I’m about instant gratification, I could be dead next year from a car accident and where will my savings get me then?
Since we’ve moved into Throbbing Manor, I’ve been having this minor existential crisis, of sorts, on a near weekly basis. But after reading John’s post, I began to wonder: If I spent more time living and less time wondering about this life I think I am supposed to be living, how different would my life really be?
Interesting thought.

Morris Street Project: May 21, 2011

Happy Memorial weekend, or as we American’s like to think of it: Another weekend for us to light things on fire, drink copious amounts of bad beer and strut our painfully overweight bodies in clothing three sizes too small.
TheHusband and I are getting ready to head out for own hedonistic fun, but wanted to get these images up before we left. I also took an amazing shot of a poppy this morning, that has bloomed in our front gardens while its brethren are too heavy to even keep their heads up. The poppy plants in our backyard, also the same gorgeous tangerine color, have also bloomed and the heads too are so heavy that they are laying on the ground.
I was thinking today as I wandered around our gardens taking picture that it seems that movement, blooming and the like doesn’t seem to have moved that much through the month of May. Turns out I was wrong. If you look at the shot of the front of Throbbing Manor from two weeks ago on 05/07/11, it looks positively barren compared to the shot taken on 05/21/11. The other thing you can notice is that on 05/07/11, the blossoming cherry located to the right of the image is in full bloom while two weeks later, the blossoms are gone and the tree is fully green.
Who would have thought so much has changed in a matter of two weeks? But it has and this is why I will continue to do this project, to document the things that previously would have gone unnoticed or possibly, even ignored. I love how lush our neighborhood is becoming and our backyard is looking positively like a rain forest.

MorrisStreetProject-052111b-small
Morris Street view.

MorrisStreetProject-052111a-small
Throbbing Manor view.

Morris Street Project: May 14, 2011

Morris Street Project, Week 9
Nothing earth shattering to report in the world of our gardens this week other than everything is blooming within an inch of its life after the recent rains, including all the fucking ivy and creepers that keep coming back though I seem to spend a gazillion hours pulling, chopping and murdering anyway I can. We’ve also planted some of the vegetables and began plotting what to do with the rest of our lot as either the former owners or the flippers laid out and landscaped the plot to an inch of its life but did not do any upkeep in the interim until we bought it. This means that various ivys, nettles and creepers have taken over controlled areas and we may end up tilling most of our front and back yards back to soil and starting anew for next year. TheHusband grumbles that our city lot is much harder to tame then if we had bought the damned 22 acres in Ada with the bubbling brook simply because we could have just let everything gone wild. His consolation is that our dream of buying a ruin villa in Italy for our vacation home means that he can get his goddamned bubbling brook with olive trees aplenty. That is until we both see something of a modern condo layout in which, all plans are pulled from the table on the goddamned bubbling brook.
But I digress. In other news, the excavation company has not been working on our street all week, so what you see below has not changed since the image was taken. The talks from the crew that our street will be “finished” by the end of June seems to be a lot further away then they make it seem. I’d just like to point out that since we moved here in January, there has not been a week a port-a-potty has not been installed somewhere on our block. I’d like to think that with this being a historical neighborhood, that is not necessarily “period.”

Morris Street Project: 05/14/11
Morris Street view.

Morris Street Project: 05/14/11
Throbbing Manor view.

Morris Street Project: 05/14/11
Drainage ditch across the street from our house.

Morris Street Project: May 7, 2011

Morris Street Project, Week 8
At first I was going to comment that I wish I had some torrid or interesting tale to tell to accompany this entry when I realised that I already forgotten about Conversations With My Mother (part i), which events occurred over the weekend. Forgotten is probably not a good word, “choosing to ignore” is probably better.
Mother’s Day weekend was almost too beastly hot in addition to the blinding sun which meant TheHusband and I spent most of the weekend in the gardens. I shot loads of images from around the gardens, which are far more interesting then the same street view and Throbbing Manor view I’ve been shooting almost religiously with my iPad2, but I still need to process them and I’m feeling lazy.
The images taken below have a washed out look to them, which I attribute to too much sunlight and I was not able to really color correct. I kind of dig the washed out look, so I’m okay with that. This weekend is such a contrast to last (blindingly sunny and hot, droopy with rain and cold) that the images taken from today (May 14) are looking much more lush.
I have been uploading all the images to a Flickr set and the transformation of our street is much more remarkable when you run it through a slideshow rather than the weekly installments I’ve been dishing out.

Morris Street Project: 05/07/11
Street view.

Morris Street Project: 05/07/11
Throbbing Manor view.

Ciao,x0x0x