I wanted a specific thing.  This is not a NEED but a WANT, I am well aware.  But I knew it would be too much $.  I've been saving (and the $ from my xmas bonus at work was earmarked for this thing).  At best, I thought I might get a check with $ toward the purchase of this specific thing.

My parents splurged big time and got the specific thing for me.

I have some new tech to play with (omg - I got *exactly* the specific thing I wanted!).

Plus my 5.5 y.o. nephew was extremely excited that he got to pick out gifts to give everyone, and was SUPER EXCITED to give me earrings (which probably sparked the whole family debate of whether or not I have my ears pierced.  My brother thought I did not, my s-i-l insisted I did.  For the record, they are double pierced - and have been at least single pierced for the last twenty-five years.).

I have never seen a little girl SO EXCITED to get a pair of boots (exactly the UGGS she wanted) as my almost ten y.o. niece.

It has been a super exhausting, but super good day.
Christmas came and went - a very low-key Christmas, which is all to the good.  Dad was released from the hospital directly home.  There was talk of him going to rehab, but decided home nurse visits would be what he needed rather than in unit somewhere dreadful.  So he came home on December 16th.  He's been getting stronger ever since, and late last week his cardiologist gave him back his car keys - which means he is driving himself to the mall to do his walking therapy (too cold and too much snow/ice to walk around the outdoor track, and he needs it to be a level surface - so the mall it is!).

Today he even showed up at the gallery with the dog.  He really shouldn't have had the dog with him (muscular 70 pound Lab) because he shouldn't be pulled - but I guess it all went okay.  Interesting things I did not know about cardiac surgery.... when they do the "long cut" (from just under the throat notch to around the diaphragm area) there is less pain, and easier recovery than if they do the "short cut."  Longer scar, but easier path back to health.  Dad had the "long cut."  He was only on heavy duty pain killers while he was in the cardiac ICU unit, and off them completely pretty much before he left that unit to go to the step-down unit.  And he's only had to take the prescribed pain meds once since he got home (first full day home, he had trouble readjusting to a non-adjusting bed - completely normal).  He is healing well.

I spent a lot of time at the gallery today, because not only did we redo both windows (wtf? both?) we also took down the Christmas ornaments and cards and things, which necessitated the reorganization of the whole front of the shop - and then the cleanup of all the holes left in displays around the shop.  In between customers, of course.

My "big gift" this Christmas from my parents was exactly what I asked for.  I got an airbrush - which I spent a lot of Saturday playing with.  So damned cool, I can't even.  It has much much MUCH better control than I realized, and learning the ins and outs is going to a hell of a lot of fun.  I am using it with ink at the moment.  I have some fluid medium that I can mix with regular acrylic, but I am not really ready for that yet - the ink will let me learn with fairly easy cleanup.   It is pretty and shiny and I will be hauling the whole rig over to my folks in a couple of weeks to show my mother how it works.

Went to NYC for New Years (no, not Times Square - but we did see the fireworks in Central Park).  It was awesome, and exactly what I needed - a few days away.  I spent more money than I should have, but less than I expected to all told.  I used the cash "holiday gift" that work gave out at the holiday party - pretty much exclusively all weekend.

Second year in a row Bergdorf Goodman blew us away with their holiday windows.  They were spectacular.  Even the one or two we were less fond of were amazingly well thought out and executed.

While I was gone we got TEN inches of snow... which had compressed itself down to about four inches by the time I returned.  I had no idea it was ten inches until my mom told me today.  Oddly enough, someone plowed my drive while I was gone, because it was very clear it had been plowed.  The walkways hadn't been touched, but the driveway was mostly clear.  Weird.  No idea which neighbor gave me the New Year's gift of a plowed drive... But I won't turn it down (since I was a couple hundred miles away when it happened...)!

G turned ELEVEN last week.  ELEVEN!  Soon, she'll be taller than me...
etakyma: (Default)
( Nov. 13th, 2012 10:53 am)
So my s-i-l is in Florida until tomorrow seeing her grandmother. My brother has been alone with the kids since Friday. Sunday, he brought them over to my folks' house so he could fix the decking and entrance to their house, and my mom and dad could play with the kids.

It was fun - we got into all kinds of mischief. I found out the oldest, G, who sepent the last couple of years half-heartedly playing the upright bass and the violin is FINALLY learning an instrument she likes! She is playing the Saxophone! I've always wanted to play the saxophone - I don't have the manual dexterity required of it in my left hand anymore. But she LOVES the saxophone! Both my mom and I are delighted - we're both a little soft over the type of sound the sax is capable of.

B went off mid-afternoon for soccer evaluations. Came back after all sweaty and windblown, having had a lot of fun. L spent the afternoon flitting from one activity to another. After B had returned my mother mentioned Max needed washing. So the kids and I washed the dog (mom just supervised and kept them on task)... I got a LOT wetter than when my mother and I wash the dog... G had hold of the nozzle for a bit. B thought washing the dog was great fun in theory - but when it came down to it, really didn't like getting wet, soapy, or having Max's fur come off on her hands.

L kept opening the door to see what was going on, and I had to hold Max pretty firmly so we didn't have a wet, soapy dog running amuck through the house. We kept telling L to make a choice, in or out and he kept choosing out. But he really wanted to be in, and so the door kept opening and I got wetter and wetter and wetter.
Unexpectedly saw my nieces and nephew Sunday afternoon.

L, my three-and-a-half year old nephew asked me, in all seriousness, if I had a "daddy" - and I replied I do, and he is standing behind you, and you call him Grandpa.

No, he said, sort of garbled (he was eating a chocolate "gingerbread man" at the time), at your house, do you have one?

I must have looked as confused as I felt because B (newly minted eight and obsessed with my single status) piped right up and said, he wants to know if you have a husband! o.O O.o

Cue awkward silence.

No, L, I do not have a husband. Or a "daddy at my house."

Is B infecting her little brother with the notion I need to be paired off? Is he just curious because everyone else in his life comes in pairs and he is confused why I don't? I mean, my parents (my mother described herself today as happily married), L's parents, K's folks - L's other grandparents, K's brother and his wife (while not "happily married" and possibly headed for divorce, they are still a pair as far as L knows).

And me. The lone singleton.

I should ask K if any of her other sister-in-law's siblings are single and if they get the third degree from B also - or if I'm the lucky one to have all that intense scrutiny on me.
etakyma: (Anton and Steffan MofRD)
( Jan. 15th, 2012 08:07 pm)
We celebrated my mom's birthday today (its really tomorrow). Lunch with the fam is always a barrel of laughs.

My younger niece, B, is a complete chatterbox who does not know when to be quiet or quit asking the same questions (she is incredibly single-mindedly persistant). She is the one who, at five asked if I had pet and then told me I could get a baby (like I could pick one up at the corner store).

She is turning eight next month and today's conversation went a little like this:

Aunt A? Do you have any children?
No, B, You would know them if I did. They'd be cousins like K (their cousin on their mom's side)
Oh. That's too bad.
Well. I don't think its too bad. I wouldn't be able to spend my time with you if I had kids of my own.
Aunt A? Are you married?
(at this point I'm a little wtf?)
No, B, you would know if I was married, you would know him. He'd be your Uncle.
Oh. That's too bad. (this was said slightly less sincerely)
Well. I don't think its too bad, I'm pretty happy as I am.
Aunt A? Do you have any pets?
No, B. I live by myself.
Oh. Don't you get lonely?
No B. I really really don't.

And then I proceeded to tell her we've had the same conversation several times over the past several years. And I was hoping that we'd not have to have it again. She made no promises.

Ugh. I really don't like being grilled by my ALMOST EIGHT YEAR OLD niece on my marital and family planning status. I mean, I can take it from my grandfathers - each of them asked in his own way before he died if I was going to get married (ever), and as one died when I was in my mid twenties and one died when I was in my mid thirties, I didn't really have a good answer for either other than, "maybe if I find the right person." I'm okay with defending my life choices to my grandparents (all of whom are now gone because I am Just That Old), but not to my niece.

Yes, I could have a baby, or a spouse, or a PET even if I chose to do so. I could adopt or get artificially inseminated or any number of things. But I am not ITCHING to bring a child into the world or rear one myself. I really am OKAY with that.

My S-I-L told me that even now, all B wants is to be a mother herself. She has always been all about the baby dolls. I sure hope this dream doesn't come true TOO quickly. Maybe not before she is twenty-eight or so? Because this one has A LOT of maturing to do!
etakyma: (Default)
( Nov. 25th, 2011 12:55 am)
And now its not.

My brother and sister in law hosted this year - and I don't think they could have done so if they hadn't moved into the upstairs bedrooms in the addition. Because they were able to ove into the upstairs bedrooms (and wow - they look really nice!) they had the space to empty out the study/library off all the furniture and put the double table in there.

They fit five kids under the age of 10 and ten adults around the table (my sister-in-law is the youngest adult, as she is four months younger than me). Plus their elderly golden retriever. The spread was epic - and yes, there was turkey even though the vegetarians hosted. The in-laws brought the turkey, gravy, and pies.

I brought a box of chocolates (about all I was mentally capable of seeing as I am still jetlagged as whoa and falling asleep at odd times and waking up in the middle of the night (hi midnight - I WAS asleep - quite happily too, and now I'm NOT... what do I do when I can't sleep? I'm blogging. Oy).

My three-and-a-half year old nephew L (our youngest person at the table) is a major chocoholic. He is a very good eater, but he *loves* chocolate. K's brother (also K) brought a chocolate chip pumpkin cake that L ate the chocolate chip out of his piece (funniest thing I saw).

And I saw G's (my nearly-ten year old niece) multimedia geneology report about my (my father's father) side of the family - funniest bit was about my great grandfather and his brother being run out of Italy because of the Sicilian mob (true family legend).

Story goes Great Great Uncle Luigi's wife had taken up with a mob boss and he (Luigi) had broken into the house and stolen back the bedroom set (that he had made, as he was a cabinet/furniture maker). The mob boss was not pleased. So Umberto (my great great grandfather) brought Luigi to the US. Don't know what happened to the famous bedroom set. Of course G's report only said the Sicilian mob was mad at Luigi so he came here. I filled in the other bits since it is a family legend of how we came to the US in 190whatever.

My father's mother and my mother's parents and K's parents parents parents (possibly parents) (her mother's side has been here a long damned time) stories aren't nearly so colorful. Although my father's mother's parents came in 1880s and were first cousins. Which for Italy in the 1880s was not such a strange thing. Most possibly an arranged marriage.

Anyway. Now I'm just babbling nonsense so I'm gonna give sleeping another go. Hope everyone who celebrates had a lovely Thanksgiving!
Saw the progress on my brother's house today. The girls rooms are carpeted and the trim is going up. The carpet in G's room is pale blue - to match the color on the wall, and it has a pattern of very small squares, that makes an almost-herringbone type of pattern. B's carpet is varigrated pink and green stripes - to go with her pale pink walls. Apparently K found her canopy bed (sans canopy) on Craigslist. K will make the canopy for it (I suggested sari fabric - but we'll see what actually happens!). G's bed is something else - she found something she liked but it was $$$$$ to get the "kit" to make it. My brother will probably end up making it since she wants something pretty rustic looking, I understand.

The master bedroom carpet is a luxurious creamy beige - in a square relief pattern (and since we were wandering around the upstairs barefoot at his request, I got to sink my toesies into the pile - lovely!

Doors have door nobs and all. Thresh holds aren't in yet, but the pot lights are in and dimmer switches are working. Closet lights aren't quite in yet - but the wiring has been completed for it. The upstairs hallway hardwood floor is GORGEOUS - it had been installed but not finished the last time I saw it. It is stained and varnished a lovely pale amber color. And he's really thought very hard about how to turn the corner with the wood.

The tile has been picked out for both the laundry room and the hall bath (but not quite ordered - M is waiting a couple of extra days in case K changes her mind AGAIN).

As soon as the newel posts are complete and the railing is in around the stairs he can get the upstairs of the house inspected and certified for occupancy. And then his family can come home just in time to get settled into their new bedrooms before starting school.

In other news my folks are going away midweek, so I'll be moving into their house for a couple of days to care for their dog (and do lots of laundry!) and then I'll be leaving on vacation myself on Friday, when my brother will take over care of the pup until my folks return on Sunday.
etakyma: (Default)
( Jun. 20th, 2011 07:11 pm)
We were lucky, in that my brother brought his whole family to lunch for Father's Day yesterday. It has been a while since I spoke to my sister-in-law. The girls took my parent's dog out and tired him out just running around, as B quite seriously told me "Max doesn't know what Fetch means!" Well, no, he has barely mastered "Sit" - and only shows off his "Sit" when there are treats - or the hopes of treats.

But after my brother and family left to go to the town pool (brrr... I doubt it was very warm! the town pool is outside and it has now been open for only two days), my dad turned on golf, as he usually does and watched the kid from Ireland kick ass on the course.

But my mom and I got to talking (as you do) and wondered about sports, sports aficionados, and fans. We had been reading about the riots in Vancouver (because four sections of the newspaper had full color photos of the Bruins on their front page - above the fold), and the Stanley Cup Final.

We wondered about fans of various teams rioting. You never hear of tennis fans rioting, or fans of golf. No equestrian arts fans ever rampaged through a city because their pick didn't get the big prize. People barely know archery IS a sport, and swimming doesn't seem to bring out the caveman in people (swimmers, however, are just as likely to rampage on behalf of a team they root for as anyone else). No, rioting seems to be the just for fans of team sports.

My S-I-L has a memory of hockey players from her childhood, which sort of tints the way she sees hockey in general. She had a friend growing up that had a couple of older brothers - both of whom played hockey. She was maybe early teens at this point, so the boys were probably eighteen/nineteen. The boys took my S-I-L and her friend to a rock concert one night, and parked in the city. When they got back to their car after the concert, they'd been parked in. The boys swore and inched their way around the car parking them in. Then, they parked at the gas station on the corner, told the girls in the back seat to NOT GET OUT OF THE CAR NO MATTER WHAT, took golf clubs from the trunk of the car and went to put the beat down on the car blocking them in. The girls sat there with the doors locked, the radio on, and they could hear the damage being done.

So hockey players. That really made an impression (and not a good one!).
Valentine's has never really meant much to me. So, I kind of avoid the whole pink/red/white extravaganza.

Although helping at the shop yesterday I assisted a man with picking out a pair of seven hundred and fifty dollar 18K gold earrings. I assume he has a Valentine.

Lots of men were in and out all morning - Mum and D (the other display committee member present) sold about $200 worth of stuff long before the shop officially opened. And I helped a gut with a pretty glass vase. Another couple with a gorgeous bird batik, and my afore-mentioned earring gift buyer.

All in all it looked like sales would be good for a Sunday.

Why is it that my parents dog cannot seem to coordinate his feet to climb stairs, but has no trouble leaping from the ground to the top of a snow bank four feet high in one bound?

Rehearsal last night was choreo review (holy hell we needed it!).

Tonight we get to put singing and dancing together. Terrifying!

My sole contribution to it being Valentines is that I am wearing my pink and red heart-print underwear.

Sorry if that is TMI.
Between Friday night plans (tickets to a local production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"), Saturday errands and Saturday night plans (dinner and budget meeting with [livejournal.com profile] flourish and [livejournal.com profile] gwendolyngrace (and Dr. Blue joined us for just the dinner part), Sunday plans (lunch with my family in honor of my mom's 72nd birthday) and rehearsal Sunday night, this weekend was quite busy.

Highlights include the show (which was pretty damned good, very high energy, but the narrator was a little flat, and kind of annoying), trying out Flourish's Kinect (which I am hilariously bad at, because I am not terribly coordinated on the best day), glancing out my parent's back windows and seeing what I *thought* was a deer at first in the woods (big grey brown/grey shape moving through the snow), but what resolved itself to being the biggest (most gorgeous) damn coyote I've ever seen. He was picking his way over the snow along their property edge just within the yard's tree line. Just passing through.

No rehearsal tonight, but I've got rehearsal tomorrow and Thursday. Today I am kicking around in my PJs because I can, and the end of this cold is being a bitch to lose.

We still have one more number to choreograph for Annie - the "Gonna Like it Here" number. "New Deal for Christmas" is fairly simple for us Adult Ensemble members. Lots of getting into position and standing there, but I found out I can not kneel down on one knee and lean back without tumbling over. Balance issues. The precision needed for the "You Won't Be an Orphan For Long" number is something I am working on daily - none of it is terribly difficult choreography, but it is necessary to do it precisely and at exact times. So I work on it. Our two teenage boys in the adult ensemble are thirteen and fourteen, but both have had their first growth spurt, so both are taller than me, I was telling them that I watch the videos we make each choreography rehearsal every day. Neither one has even looked. But then, one is Dancer Boy and the other is also pretty damned good. I need the remedial training.

Ah well. That's the news from this ice-encrusted part of the world. And we expect more big snow this week. The idea of the spring thaw kind of scared me this year.
So earlier this week I saw my nieces and nephew at my parent's house. It was like a playdate. My brother took the day off to work on the addition, and my sister-in-law took a few hours as well. My parents got the kids until noon, when K picked up the eldest (swimming practice) and the youngest (nap time), and left the middle child, my niece B, to have lunch and continue playing with me and my mom.

She has got to be the most exhausting child I've come across. Not only does she talk without ceasing, she has an enormous "I want" streak. Every other sentence seems to be "Can I have?" and she does not take no for an answer. She will just continue asking until she wears you down. Although, I am a mean mean auntie and for me no means no.

Anyway, she wanted to set up a "fort" in the living room, which consists of a folding card table, two animal pillows, two fleece blankets that get thrown over the card table that make sides, and a box of oversize cardboard blocks (storage box included). The card table is kept folded up in the dining room out of the way, and I pulled it from the hiding place, and B wanted to carry it over to the softer rug in the living room. She didn't want help. She is not-quite-seven years old, so big enough, but the table is still twice her size.

I told her "be careful not to hit any of the furniture and, don't knock over the Christmas Tree. Watch where you're going, and don't step on any of the tiny invisible people." O.o

Honest, guys, I have NO IDEA where that came from. Tiny Invisible People? Really brain? What the hell? But I went with it when she looked at me with the "are you crazy" look. I just wanted her to watch where she was going and be careful. All of a sudden I am spinning a load of blarney about the society of mice-fighting people who live in the house, and hide things like keys and toys. I had her pretty well convinced there were legions of tiny invisible people everywhere. And when she was doubtful about it, I got my mom to back me up with absolutely no prompting. B went right up to her and asked point blank if there were such a thing. "Of course we have tiny invisible people! You must be careful not to step on them!"

Reason number eighty-six billion three hundred and sixty two why I love my mom.
etakyma: (Default)
( Nov. 25th, 2010 11:33 am)
My mom loves this story.

Thirty-mmnrghphl years ago yesterday, my parents were living in a two-bedroom apartment in a urban suburb of Boston. They had one child, a boy (just 18 months old at the time), and were awaiting the arrival of their second, a girl (me, for those playing at home). I was due in mid-December.

So they invited my father's father and his wife to join them for Thanksgiving. They drove the seven or so hours to get to Boston from where they lived, and arrived Wednesday late afternoon. The Boston area was hunkering down expecting a storm. A Nor'easter. My parents met my grandparents at the door with this startling pronouncement: Watch M (my brother), we're going to the hospital!

Nor'easter blows in over night, as do I. In the wee hours of Thursday morning, I arrived, three weeks early.

Mom never did cook Thanksgiving dinner that year.

Every so often the calendar brings Thanksgiving on my birthday. This is just one of those years.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving all my fellow US folk - however you celebrate! *This* year I get birthday cake with my pumpkin pie.
A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with my parents and my brother brought his family, too. G, the eldest is nearly-nine, B is six and a half, and L is two. G and B were sitting together directly opposite me, and I was engaged in conversation with the chatterbox - B. We'd just gotten to the cookies part of lunch when G had to leave the table for some reason known only to her.

She had chosen a chocolate almond biscotti cookie and before she got up she quickly licked it, said "nobody touch that!" and put it back on her plate. Of course B was going to be a little shit and "stole" G's cookie (she only held it, because biscotti is not her favorite, and she already had a cookie she was eating, she only stole it to get at her older sister - plus, ew, G licked it!).

G came back and was all "where's my cookie?" and B giggled and handed back to her.

Now the reason G licked it was a story she'd heard from her Papa, my brother. When M (my brother) was in High School, he was on the track team, and the team would go out together. At one of those times, they were at a pizza place for some kind of meal (teenage boy athletes, it could have been second lunch or first dinner for all I know - they were ALWAYS hungry) and one of the boys got a plate of spaghetti. When he went to pick up his food, his was the first food ready, and the whole table was staring hungrily at his meal when he realized he didn't have a fork on the tray. Seeing his meal in jeopardy, he spit onto the top of his spaghetti and mixed it in with a finger before leaving the table to find a fork.

The whole table cracked up when other diners sitting nearby commented (I believe it was a couple of older women) "Did you SEE that? That boy just spit into his food! Oh my God" etc. etc. etc. As hungry as they were, none of the other boys at the table were willing to steal his meal and he got back with his fork to an unmolested plate.

It has been a family story for so long (my brother has a great ear for voices and his imitation of the two women is pretty awesome). And I just had it told to me again by my nieces who giggled the whole way through. M was vaguely embarrassed when I mentioned G had learned the lesson so well, she had licked her cookie before leaving the table. Ah, family!
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