Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Candy Canes of Death and Destruction

Ok, not really....but man, if they sold those evil little crooks of minty sweetness all year 'round?  I'd be in a sugar coma non-stop.  I have absolutely no will power to resist them, zero ability to not power them down.  Rather like a beaver....I gnaw and suck, and chew and bite and lick.....and sigh tis all gone... sigh.  So what do I do then?  OPEN ANOTHER ONE!!!  YIPPEE!!!  What you don't know is that it can take me several days to finish a candy bar the size of a Hersey's, so yeah... I have it bad for these thank gods only seasonal treats.

I've been a bad blogger, and haven't updated my blogs, and only sporadically read and commented.  Sorry about that folks, but winter has me in her cold and dark talons and I'm lucky to get outta bed.  It's gotten to the point of the year where I have to decide if I cook dinner OR shower cause I dont have enough energy to do both.  A good day for me now is to manage both, which leaves me weak the next day.  I sure do hope my winter sojourn to Arizona gives me back some semblance of life, I'm well tired of flying a sofa thru my day.

Last Christmas was such a disaster, TH and I almost gave away or threw out everything that had anything to do with Christmas.  Early in November 3rd son, called me and said, "Turkey day is at our house this year.  What would you like to bring, the turkey?  hint, hint, hint..."  "Hahahaha!  Sure kiddo, I'll do the turkey."  Turkey day was a huge success, and yeah the turkey was tasty too. ;-p  Eldest and his wife didn't show, which is why it was a drama and stress free zone.  In fact it went so well, TH and I decided to give Christmas a try again.  However being so burned from last year, we went in a different direction.  No decorations, no gifts to each other, only for the kids and baby, and a non-traditional dinner menu.  I went with a super bowl theme.  We had hot wings, teriyaki wings, hot german potato salad, green salad, yeast rolls and desserts.  I did make gingerbread, but its a cake like thingy, and we never made it for Christmas, traditionally I made it during fire wood cutting days.  The guys would come in all cold and tired and be met with the fantastic smell of gingerbread.  While we never had a wood burner, TH cut many cords of wood for elder neighbors, or families where the husband was north working, and didnt have time to get their wood 'in'.

We called all the boys, even the one who is currently living in Minneapolis, we didn't want him feeling left out.  I had picked the Friday before Christmas, thinking that would work for everyone.  However, youngest had a 'do' at his GF's father's home, so we scooted it back to Thursday.  I didn't manage to get eldest on the phone, so finally ended up texting him about the date change, and he never answered my text, which TH and I took to mean, he wouldn't be attending.

Monday the temperatures started to climb up the scale until we hit +30!  Whoo-hooo!!!!  And they held pretty much consistent, which made me functional.  Halli-fucking-lula!  The day started out with building the brine for the wings, and off to the desserts, the afore mentioned gingerbread, peanut butter cookies, and a cookie we christened 'dutch crunchies' due to none of us being able to pronounce them.  Call them what you will, these are great cookies!  Then the steamer was drug into duty for the potato salad, and while I was working up the dough for the rolls, my nerves started to ramp up.  TH had the same haunted look around his eyes as well.  By 6 the wings were done, the rolls in the oven, and we waited for the doorbell to ring.............

3rd son and bride came first.  The door bell rang again, and thinking it was youngest and gf, I answered the door, and almost fell over, it was eldest with the baby, and no wife.  It was awkward for a moment or two, and then he leaned over and gave me a hug, and on the way back up, I bussed baby's cheek.  The fact that DIL (the daughter in law) wasn't in tow wasn't spoke of.  Shortly after eldest arrival, youngest came with gf.  Now bride and gf dont get along really well, and its a silly reason really, but we were hoping they could get along for the evening, and they did!  So, that leaves TH and I wondering how much of the friction between these girls is made worse by DIL? 

The night was a total success!  It was easy like it was before DIL came with her drama, and her need to be the center of attention, and her need to stir up conflict.  We laughed, everyone played with the baby, we ate, talked, told stories, and everyone had fun playing with baby and her new toys.  When everyone left, youngest told TH to wait it out, he thinks things will get better, so we shall see.  TH and I went to bed happier than we had been in many a day.

I'm almost completely packed for my trip.  TH leaves Thursday morning in my packed car, and I fly out the 3rd.  Since we have air tickets and a hotel room, the trip is a concrete thing.  I'm getting better with the idea of being alone without TH for 4 months.  We can't afford for him to come down very often, so yeah it will be a swim situation.  Sinking is NOT an option.  I know I can do this, I know I can.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

           Merry Christmas to one and all!

with affection and gratitude,

Saturday, December 10, 2011

And The Winner is........................TH!

For years now, TH has been attempting to have me go to a warmer climate for most of the winner, and every year I've dug my heels in and refused to go.  Why?  For many various reasons, but the two most important boil down to:
1) I'd miss TH like crazy
2) believe it or not, I'm a shy person in real life and slow to open up.  I'm fantastic with the superficial stuff, like with clerks and waitstaff.  But put me in a social situation, and I'm at a loss, sigh.

But after years of quiet wrangling back and forth, never a fight, never a cross word, just that defeated look in TH's eyes when I again refuse to go, and again fall ill due to the cold and dark, I finally gave in.  This September when I hied off to Atlanta to visit Steve and his hubby and go to the concert, I couldnt believe how good I felt.  No painful joints, loads of energy, and my allergies were much improved, and then it hit me I am stone dead tired of being ill all the damned time.  I love and adore Alaska, but it seems the love is rather one sided as the climate here isnt all that good for me.

So, January 3rd will find me on a plane to Arizona.  TH is driving my wee car down for me, and then flying home after a few days visit.  And then it will just be me, alone.........for the first time in my life.  I went from home (not that my homelife was all that good, but I knew my place in that world), to college, and then to TH and later the boys. 

Knowing that unless I make a huge giant effort, I'll spend the 4 months alone, I've come up with what I hope is a workable plan.   It's a mix of taking some classes and hopefully some volunteer work.  I've found a place that rescues homeless teens, some of them are street kids while others are removed from their families by the courts.  They ofer the older teens classes in life skills, and that is something I would be good teaching.  Even better?  They serve LGBT teens, which is something that is vastly underserved as you know.

As for classes?  Well.................I'm a rabid knitter, yeah.  My grandmother taught me to knit.  Early on she discovered the trick to shut me up was to fully engage my brain.  My poor grandmother, I know that I drove that poor woman to distraction. After grandmother passed away angel uncle took over teaching me knitting.  If I dont have something on a set of needles, I feel restless and at loose ends.  Its what I do while tv watching.  If I just watch tv without doing something else, I become like a caged lion and pace, and get jittery.  Yeah, me and tv not the best of combos.  Lately my passion for knitting is for socks.  I dont go in for the fancy stitched socks, but just brightly colored socks.  These all were knitted these last six months.
But in the world of knitting there is loads of stuff I dont know how to do, or an easier method to do something, so knit classes here I come!  Ya know how it is, sitting with people all engrossed in the same pursuit, tis mega easy to chat, and if nothing comes out of meeting these knitters, at least its time not spent alone, so that's to the good.  Maybe I'll take a language course, a wire jewelry class, maybe a tai chi class, which is something that has interested me, but never had a chance to take, who knows the sky is the limit, yeah? 

And if you are curious as to if I'll still be blogging during this time?  Hellz yeah!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

tis been a while

Hello All!

Yeah, I know that I've been gone awhile again.  Remember that virus that laid me out?  Well, ya see, for some reason that crazy assed virus got to comfy living in me, and wouldnt move on.  For the most part, I've been sofa surfing and bed lounging.  Long dark days where I slept more than was awake.  Long nights of no sleep, my longest stretch was 28 hours and then only napped for 3 hours, and was up again for over 24.

Part of the issue is I have a compromised immune system which is worsened by the cold.  Yeah, lucky me huh?  It's been a bit warmer of late, and so I'm feeling a bit better, don't know how long it will last, but one must enjoy every morsel, yeah?

So, what occupied my waking hours?  Hmm, lets see......ok I watched way way to much tv.  I watched so much of Mythbusters, my all time favorite show, next to Star Trek, that I can tell in what order certain scenes were filmed.  How?  Well, some by the size of Kari's tummy the year she was preggers.  By the healing of scrapes and burns, and ultimately wardrobe.  No, really!  But one must watch episode after episode to see what order the clips were filmed.

I've read loads.  No, let me repeat that, I read LOADS AND LOADS.......there that's better!  I'm what most people would classify as an eclectic reader, and most of the books I read are e-books.  Why?  Well, many of the inks and glues burn my hands, however a more precise view honestly is, what bookstore is open at 2 am?  Exactly, none are, but Kindle and iBooks never close! Whoo-hoo!!  Books available 24 hours a day!  Now that is my idea of heaven on earth.

Here are just a few from my "hit" parade.
"the kids from nowhere" The Story Behind the Arctic Educational Miracle by George Guthridge
 Life in most of Alaska is vastly different from the "lower 48".  We seem to view things differently here, and for the most part it isnt what you wear, what you do for a living, what you drive or even what your home looks like, if indeed you have one that you're judged by, but its who you are, if your word is able to be trusted that matters.  But as different as the larger towns here are from y'all, the villages are a world apart from everyone.  To a great extent they are still tied, willingly mind you, to the tides and seasons of the year.  Honestly to me they lead a much more authentic lifestyle, than our acquisition centered lifestyle.  They live in the here and the now, not next week, month, year but now.

George drags his family to an extremely remote corner of Alaska, and yeah I hear what you're thinking, and yes they can see Russia from their house on a clear day.  Schools as a whole in Alaska are rather dismal, but schools in villages are the absolute dregs.  We get the teachers that no one else will take, the fresh faced kids right out of a large school from the 'states' who think teaching in Alaska will be.....sigh "romantic".  But every so often we capture a rare gem, and George is the rarest of the rare, he battled the other teachers to prove these kids were teachable.  Found ways to reach these kids who scholarship was just a waiting time until their real lives could start, where school honestly to them was a monumental waste of time.  These kids are all ESL (English as a second language) who had grave issues writing in English, as Yupik is arranged differently than English.  George was tossed into teaching a class on Future Problem Solving, without any resources or experience, and in two years took two groups to the nationals, and won fighting against enormous odds.  Before you have a chance to think,  "ahh, one of those pat myself on the back books", no no George is quite clear that while he pushed them forward, it was the kids who were motivated to win.  The first year they wanted to win because they knew they would be the only Eskimo team competing in Anchorage, and wanted the chance to prove they were more than whale hunters, the second year they wanted to score better to show that their last placement wasn't a fluke.

Dragon's path by Daniel Abraham
A solid book, there were several characters that really stole my breath with how well Daniel managed to "draw" them.  I'm not quite sure how to classify this book, I'd suppose fantasy as at one point in time there were dragons, but they aren't any left when the book takes place.  There isnt any magic, at the heart of the story is political intrigue and how the most far flung person can cause epic changes.  What I liked about this book the most was that their world is populated by many different types of people, think Star Trek with the mix of all the cultures/beings, and ya got it.  Some of these beings were created by dragons to be servants, and as in any society there is class distinction, and racism.  Daniel draws his people with a deft hand, and isnt shy about peeling away the thin veneer of society and showing the raw underbelly many people possess.  There is one character who did a deed so vile, so horrific I had to put the book down for awhile.  But then, y'all know my low threshold for violence.

Josh Lanyon

I adore Josh's writing, and haven't found anything he's written that I haven't loved.  What is it about his writing that draws me?  Hmm.....his word usage, his playfully smart dialog, and his everyman characters.  He is to use a rarely used term, witty.

My first introduction to his work was the Adrien English Series.  Adrien is a owner of a mystery bookstore who keeps getting drawn into murder investigations, the first of which because he was a "person of interest" to the police, and was afraid if he didnt investigate he would be railroaded straight to jail.  As the case unfolds a very unlikely romance develops between Adrien and Jake.  Jake is everything that Adrien hates, a closeted man, but something about Jake gets under Adrien's skin.  Adrien has a mom that worries about him non-stop as Adrien has a bum ticker, and is honestly not healthy.  As Adrien works his way through the murder of his high school best friend and more currently employee, he fights with his mom about moving back home, works to keep the store staffed, and tries to figure out what to do about Jake.  There be sex here, but unlike many m/m books tis a book that includes sex as a normal part of Adrien's life, not a word porn book with just enough plot to hang a story on.

Take The Lead by Johnny Diaz

Johnny's book is a loving portrayal of a son's love for his dad who is dealing with the debilitating effects of Parkinson's while he navigates through the dating world.  Gabriel is a college professor who has moved from Miami to Boston, leaving his family behind.  All is well with Gabriel's world until he realizes that his father needs help, and he begins to look for something, anything that will help his dad move better.  Then he finds an article on how dancing improves some of the issues Parkinson's patients have, and while exploring the dance class he begins to crush on the dance teacher, Adam. 

Ooku: The Inner Chambers by Fumi Yoshinaga
Manga about the Edo period in Japan where a strange new disease called "Red Pox" has begun to kill the country's men, and continues to do so until there is only a quarter of the men left.  This manga explores how society would change to accommodate this occurrence.  Men become too valuable to use for manual labor, war is a thing of the past as they cant be so easily thrown away.  The Shogun is now a woman who has an "inner court" ie concubines of over 800 men. An unbelievable wealth in a society where every man is cherished.  Men no longer work, but are cosseted and cared for, and women pick up the slack doing traditionally male centered jobs.  The main portion of the series takes place in the inner court and the repercussions it has on all of these men who have no outlet for their sexual needs, their needs to having something to strive for and against.  And so they plot and conspire against each other.  When one young handsome man comes in, the men who have been there longer take an instant dislike to him, and after dark rape him.  A very multi layered series.  It reads from the "back" of the book to the front right to left on each page.  If you only try one manga, this might be a good one to try.  Like 99% of manga available only in print form.

And if you were curious as to just how dark it is in the winter here during the day?  Well, we havent yet approached the darkest day yet, but it sure feels like it.

This was taken at 2:30 pm.  Yeah just a typical day here in the frozen north.  If I think about it, I'll do a picture tomorrow at noon, yeah?

See y'all soon!