etakyma: (Technobabble SG1)
( Apr. 18th, 2014 10:46 am)
So I will be the first to admit my family doesn't have a whole lot of traditions.  And we are pretty okay with changing our minds at the drop of the hat (too tired to do a big spread for Thanksgiving? No problem).

I was raised - nominally, mind you, Unitarian.  In a Unitarian church in New England, which admittedly has the most pomp and circumstance of any Unitarian church I've ever been in or heard of.  Sunday school we learned a whole lot about other religions of the world.  For example, in fifth grade we learned all about Passover and even had a mock-Passover luncheon where we set the table and asked the questions and tasted the traditional foods and tried to understand how it all fit together in the Bigger Picture of Religions of the World.  We did stuff like that throughout my years of Sunday school - that was the one that I can most vividly remember, even if some of the details are fuzzy (and yes, we substituted grape juice for the wine - we were TEN).

I sort of left that all behind when I graduated high school, and don't really do anything church-like in my life.  So Easter doesn't mean that much to me, personally.  I'll probably go have lunch with my folks, because that is what I try to do on Sundays when I am not doing anything else.  Easter was my paternal grandfather's main religious holiday.  He did traditional lamb dishes and had the family together and it was as foreign to me as anything.  I still can remember the one Easter we made it to join with them, they had no idea what to do with the two vegetarians in my family.  My mother and my brother did not get to eat a lot while there (honestly, neither did I, because the lamb/egg/peas dish did not look at all appetizing, and the roasted half-a-lamb - well, I wasn't sure it was fully cooked).

Anyway, traditions.  We don't really do them.  So I don't understand this Easter egg bread I have started seeing in the grocery store.  WHY do people bake whole in-the-shell eggs into bread?  What do you DO with them when you go to eat the bread?  What happens to the eggshell?  I mean, I get the Easter/Ishtar/Ostara connection to rebirth and spring and fertility.  Bunnies, eggs - all of that.  But how did baking raw eggs into bread become part of the traditions?  And do folks color the raw eggs first just for fun, or is there a purpose to that?

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...
Spending the morning with my brother's kids. By the time they left Nephew L (3 and a half) was desperately NEEDING a nap - K said he's been wound up all week in excitement and besides that he's at the age where nap-taking is difficult and sort a hit or miss proposition.

G, turning ten-next-week, is a goofy goofy kid. She is not a girly girl - prefers jeans and tees and sweatshirts to any thing else. Cares not a jot about her hair (which is very curly like mine, but a pretty golden brown like my brother's). But then she also spent some time using the cast off wrapping paper to make a "gown" and swan around the room in it acting silly (my mom got pictures).

B, will-be-eight-in-february, is all about the shine and sparkle and bling. Apparently, she was wearing a shirt her Nammy (her mom's mom) got for G, but G never ever wore it - it was a pretty soft grey shirt with a large slightly wonky heart shape in black. K said she finally put it in B's closet on Saturday, and made a bet with my brother "she's going to come down in that this morning - its new!" sure enough it was "Mommy - look, a new shirt - I found it in my closet!"

Their Nammy also took all the granddaughters to get tinsel in their hair the weekend after Thanksgiving - even K got some. B's tinsel strands were purple and lavendar, G's were crystal and silver, and K's were reddish bronze. It is a fad, I guess, that is not-quite-here (as in there are only a couple of places in the wider New England area that offer it). And the each only got one bit of it (about four strands in one spot). I guess celebrities have been seen with this stuff? I don't know.

The thing they got was something they couldn't stop playing with was from me. I found these moldable filled with not-sand rubber covered "heads" that could be shifted and pinched and pulled into forms and then "whacked" back into neutral. They had two eyes made of stickers and a bit of yarn glued to the top for hair. They are washable. I got one in pink and one in blue and figured Luca was a bit too young. The girls loved these strange things! I found them at a night market in Taiwan and paid less than $3 US for each. I had no idea this would be the thing they couldn't keep their hands off of. My mom gave them extra stickers for eyes (they kept falling off because little fingers kept poking, prodding and picking at them).

They're off to DisneyWorld today - their Ogo (mom's dad) is taking the whole family via frequent flier miles (that is Nammy, Ogo, M, K, and the kids G, B, and L - that is a LOT of miles)! But then Ogo has been traveling for business nearly every week for years. Plus - four adults and three kids? ALMOST the right ratio of kids to adults! K's grandmother and great aunt live in Florida and are traveling up to stay with the family in Orlando for the week and spend time with the great grand children.

My parents gave the kids bean bag chairs - ginourmous ones. Ones they could lounge on with a couple of other kids and all still be comfortable. B had asked and asked for one for Christmas, and my parents got it for her.

G has been lobbying on behalf of her little brother for an electric jeep he can ride around in. For months she's been talking about it and when she helped him write his letter to Santa she asked for it. I guess this summer, their cousin E had one that L just adored - and G has been going on and on that L would love something like that. Well, he got it!

I know B's gift from Santa was an iPod Touch. I don't know if G got one too or not, she didn't say. It didn't seem to me that G was all that concerned about opening presents - she wanted to see everyone else open theirs, but she didn't seem to want to open her own. Goofy goofy kid.

After they all went home, I spent the rest of the day with my folks.

It was a good day.
I'm in California this week (ugh waking up at 5am Do Not Want) and yesterday my company spent the day at its holiday party activities.

We started the day "volunteering" - that is preparing things for one of the local soup kitchens. I was delegated to the arts and crafts table making cards for dual thank you and holiday cards for the group to give its most stalwart volunteers. Other folks put bagged lunches together, and made chex mix and packaged it, and put together sample packages of diapers and toiletries for folks in need to pick up. We would have also been set to cutting vegetables in the kitchen, but the chef didn't arrive in time for us to do that activity. But it all seemed to go well.

Then we had lunch at Palacio in Los Gatos (which doesn't seem like it is usually open for lunch - we had the whole place to ourselves). During lunch we did a modified white elephant ornament exchange. I'm glad the ornament I ended up with isn't glass. Delicate, but not glass.

Then we were set loose on the streets of downtown Los Gatos with a sum of money and told "spend it or lose it - and you must spend it on yourself!"

OMG STRESSFUL (last year they gave us the same amount in amazon gift cards and I still have some left over from that)!!! I did not spend the whole amount - but I have an item in mind that I *will* spend it on, and that seemed to be okay - but it is a gadget and I need to research more about them before I purchase (e-reader for those who want to know - Kindle or Nook or Other?). Four people put the whole amount toward the purchase of an iPad (it got them more than halfway there), and two people upgraded to the iPhone4S. The apple store did very well with our crowd!

A few people cheated (a bit) and got kitchen/cooking stuff. I know it isn't technically cheating, and I suppose if cooking is where it is for you it might be fine, but I still felt appliances aren't "personal" enough. Whatever.

I got a few baubles in one of the cutest boutiques - just to have *something* to show. One of the ladies and her husband are going on vacation between Christmas and New Years to where they had their honeymoon, and she saved most of hers to go toward the golf cart rental which is the preferred mode of transportation on the island resort. I thought that was a good use of the money - because it will make their vacation that much better.

We ended the day at a wine bar, and spent some time showing off what we got - or describing what we were going to get. One woman has a fancy party for her father's 75th birthday and thought she knew which fancy dress she was going to get, but tried it on and decided not that one! so she saved it for when she finds a dress (and if any is left for shoes, etc.).

Shopping - especially under a time crunch like that - is incredibly difficult for me. The one co-worker I hang with the most gets even more stressed out and freaked because we are both "let me think about it" types. She, however, decided to upgrade her iPhone to the new one and spent it all in one fell swoop. Which left her so much more relaxed than I remember her being two years ago when we did this same activity. I guess the take away for the holiday party is *always always always* have a short list of pricy items you would love to own but might put off buying yourself to trot out and either talk about purchasing when you get home, or actually get while there.

The day was a lovely one though, sunny and and not cold at all (damned California and they still have roses and pansies blooming in freakin' December - which is a weird juxtaposition with the evergreen holiday decorations!).
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!
etakyma: (Default)
( Nov. 21st, 2011 09:08 am)
Saturday lasted an age, I tell you! Actually, it only lasted about fifty hours due to the international date line and various flights.

I left Tokyo/Narita around 5:20pm on Saturday and landed in Newark, NJ at about 4:15pm also Saturday. Landing an hour earlier than I left... weird!

I finally got myself and my stuff home around 10pm and promptly crashed. Sunday started well - if early - but I was exhausted by the end of it - fell asleep just before eight, woke up around 9:30pm and went back to sleep around 11pm. Up this morning at 5:30am... Its going to be a long damned week.

I hope Thanksgiving goes more or less smoothly for me - although I may be sneaking off to my niece's bedroom to take a nap...

Ugh - I could happily go back to sleep for another couple of hours.
etakyma: (Default)
( Apr. 22nd, 2011 06:57 am)
Here are some links to information about the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive.

I love what these people are doing. Go explore. And if you have donation money in any amount think about them this Earth Day.

Their Web site.

Their blog.

An article about them in the NYT.
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.
etakyma: (Default)
( Dec. 26th, 2010 09:52 pm)
Due to the frickin' BLIZZARD going on outside.

So I'm stuck inside until we're through most of the day tomorrow. I'll shovel first thing in the morning, and likely again sometime tomorrow afternoon. The town has, due to our state of emergency, canceled trash and recycling pickup for tomorrow (Monday is my trash day), and all trash pickup will happen one day late this week - like a Monday Holiday schedule. Which is good, since I have been spending the day throwing things away and getting the multitudes of boxes broken down in prep for recycling.

The Christmas holiday was good, if a little weird. My brother invited us to dinner on Christmas Eve, and he, his wife and kids, his in-laws, my folks, and his wife's brother and his family all crammed ourselves into their tiny kitchen/dining nook/livingroom. Five kids, nine and younger (the youngest is my nephew, he's 2.5yo), all hyped up on sugar and holiday excitement, and nine adults. Plus one aging golden retriever.

Dinner was amazing, mostly because both my brother and his wife are really good cooks. Plus they are vegetarian, so they prepare a wide variety of foods (my SIL's folks brought meatballs and Italian sausage for the carnivores - my folks brought wine).

After dinner, we went to their across the street neighbors to carol a little bit (although we need to widen our song base if we do this again next year - plus, some hand held electric lights might be useful, as it was dark and extremely cold).

Christmas morning found my parents and I back at my brother and sister in law's for brunch and presents. All three kids were excited and wound up, but also really really appreciative of everything they got - L loved the wooden workbench my folks got him - he wanted to bang on it all afternoon. I have awesome pictures of him standing at it with the wooden hammer, just happy to bang on it for the rest of the day. G wanted to play her Muppets Monopoly game (even if it was slightly defective in that it did not have a Gonzo player piece, and TWO Swedish Chef player piece. I suggested painting one of the Swedish Chefs so six people could play the game and not get confused if they were going to keep the game as-is (G wanted to keep it, as she didn't mind there were two Swedish Chef's and no Gonzo)). My folks and I left around 2pm, so they could get to the other grandparent's for dinner. I went to my folks for a mellow afternoon with them, and a comfortable dinner.

Came home around nine, and nearly went straight to bed.

Today it started snowing around 2pm, although there isn't a heck of a lot of accumulation yet. But the storm isn't supposed to end until tomorrow afternoon, so there is lots of time.

In other news, I cleaned up on tea and tea-related items, which is *completely* awesome. And I *think* my brother and sister in law liked the pancake extravaganza I gave them. They are so food-oriented, this might be a good idea in general, to keep gifts consumable.
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.
etakyma: (BandB Innocent!)
( Jan. 2nd, 2010 06:13 pm)
Tired... and still slightly sick (little cough, slightly runny nose, nothing big.). And I've had to shovel my driveway twice today. Once before I went out, and once when I came home. Although, it seems to me like I should go out and shovel again, I have decided screw it, I am getting into my jammies.

I've been prepping a t-shirt quilt, which is spread out in pieces over my work table. Next step - figure out what size to make the squares, and cut them all down. That way, when I have the rest of the t-shirts going into the quilt, I am that much further along.

So wow, new year! 2010 - we're out of the naughts. I've got a friend who has started a podcast about planning weddings, and why you need a wedding planner - or event specialist whose job it is to make sure everything goes smoothly on the day.

I thought the podcast was endlessly entertaining, even though I am not planning a wedding. I basically listened because she is my friend. But one of the stories she told is about a wedding of a friend of hers where she was a guest. This friend decided she didn't need a planner, because they were on a tight budget. She had designed a beautiful set up of candelabras around the ceremony site (flowers were too expensive), and the site was gorgeous - but after the site was set up, there was nobody whose job it was to LIGHT THE CANDLES before the ceremony. So throughout the wedding in this picturesque scene my friend was bothered by the *multitudes* of unit candles behind the bride and groom.

So even if it is just a good, responsible friend who knows when things are supposed to happen, and how things should look (a stage manager if you will), all the brides out there who think they can do *everything* themselves, please delegate or get an event planner whose job it is to make your day special (her first Wedding Talk podcast aired on December 19, 2009 - and you can download it here:

I don't really want to do a year in review - 2009 was pretty okay for me. I know a lot of folks who had terrible times this past year - lost jobs, lost family members, lost pets, lost friends. My year was pretty okay. It had high points and low points, but I think it ended pretty well. I am really looking forward to hearing all the better things going on this year in everyone's lives. I would love for those who are out of work, or in dreadful jobs to find work/find better work.

And since I can not put it any better than Neil Gaiman put it at a few moments past midnight on New Years Day here in Boston at Symphony Hall:
etakyma: (BandB Crumbling!)
( Nov. 28th, 2009 04:48 pm)
...Thanksgiving make my birthday into a birthweek. Which is the difficulty of having a birthday at the end of November. It tends to get lost in the hustle of holiday *stuff.* [ profile] gwendolyngrace took me out for dinner on my birthday proper, which was lovely and was capped by divine pumpkin bread pudding (OMG so GOOD).

But I won't celebrate it with my parents and whatever segment of my brother's family shows up until tomorrow (one is working on either a cold or the flu - so who knows how the rest are feeling now).

Thanksgiving was very nice - my Uncle V came for a couple of days and hung out with my dad. I know my dad treasures the time he gets to spend with his brother, even if he wouldn't put it in those words. We had turkey and lasagna (Mom is mostly vegetarian - she will eat fish, but not any other types of animal protein) - with a few fixings. Just a few, since there were only going to be four of us. My brother's family went to his in-laws for most of the day - and then stopped by for about an hour with overtired, but still pretty manically-cheerful sprogs. Only L, who'd had a nap, was really all that awake. I do not envy my brother and sister-in-law getting the kids to sleep that night.

I successfully avoided most retail establishments for the last few days. Although, I did shop a bit on Amazon, only because when I checked "Supernatural Season Four" is on sale for $15. and since I've been waiting for a good price, I went ahead and ordered it. Sadly, I stopped watching Supernatural since I missed a number of programs in a row last season and haven't caught up yet.

So hopefully while I am off between Christmas and New Years (my company pays us to not work between December 25 and January 2 - no vacation time needed) I will catch up on everything I've been missing.

I'm also contemplating doll clothes patterns. My nieces are old enough now to appreciate and not destroy anything I might make for their American Girl Dolls. And my younger niece is very into clothing - both her own and her dolls.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. And if you braved the retail crowds, I hope you were able to get that item that tempted you out for it.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes - I so appreciate it! And [ profile] hazelhawthorne - happy belated birthday to my birthday twin.

Whatever it means to you, to me it means HOLIDAY! And most places are closed... for a holiday that only Massachusetts and Maine celebrate (although Wisconsin lets all their public school kids have a day off for it). Patriot's Day celebrates the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord (the battles that officially started the war - fought on April 19th 1775).

Sometimes it falls on April 15 or 16, which postpones Tax Day for us a day or two. This year, it did not. I remember, as a kid biking down to the center of Wellesley to watch the marathon runners go by. Wellesley is at the very middle of the race (12.5 miles is the Congregational Church in the center of town, and occasionally couples get married there "as" they run by during the race. Yeah, I don't get it either). One year, the report focused on the last person who crossed the finish line. She was older, I remember, and it took her nearly twelve hours to make it the 26.22 miles.

I remember Marathon Monday weather as being all over the map. Sometimes it is rainy and extremely cold. Sometimes it is sunny but with a cold wind. Sometimes we're having an early spring heat wave, and people passed out on Heartbreak Hill near the end of the race in droves (Heartbreak Hill is between mile 20 and 21 I think).

People run the marathon in costumes, or carrying flags, or props. One man pushes his son in a wheelchair (the son has cerebral palsy, he's in his forties now, I think) - they are local celebrities because the marathon became a labor of love - last year they ran their 26th Boston Marathon together. I remember the year - maybe two or three years ago? the dad had surgery and couldn't do it. I don't know if they are running this year, but I would bet they are - and I'll find out for sure tomorrow when the TV news tells me so.

The stories surrounding the marathon are many and vast and varied. And the real stories have very little to do with the leaders or the winners. Most of the stories focus in on regular people. There is a challenge every year, and when GPS technology was new, one of the first applications talking it up was "trace the marathon route in real time with one of our runners" that the local network news people did - and you could log in and find out where in the race the anchor, or weatherperson, or segment producer was at the moment.

The years I was at the bookstore, Marathon Monday meant a longer than usual commute to work - since the store was right on the race route - parking was at a premium, so I'd have to park maybe a third of a mile from the store in the commuter lot just to find a spot - also because I couldn't park in the store lot, because I wouldn't be able to even approach the lot since the race closed the only road between where I was living and the store. Good times.

I found out today a boy I knew in High School is running tomorrow. Never would have ever thought he'd run a marathon, but there you go. It has also been twenty years since I've seen him, so lots of folks change.

However, I will be working tomorrow, and watching the Marathon on TV, as my company is located in California, and it is a regular Monday in April for them. I kind of miss that air of excitement watching the runners go by. The leaders, of course go by long before the main part of the pack. I've known lots of people who have run the race over the years. Although, I've never been able to pick them out as they ran by - most of the folks are a blur. The 100th running of the marathon a few years ago was huge - between the people running in costume (I remember seeing someone run by in a statue of liberty costume) and the sheer number of people who flooded the route between Hopkinton and Boston, it was a party atmosphere for hours.

So for anyone running in the 113th running of the Boston Marathon, good luck tomorrow!
Happy New Year to anyone passing by. 2009 seems like a year full of hope for a lot of people. Which is a great thing, as we all could use some hope right now. Everyone is posting retrospectives on last year, and bright shiny resolutions, or plans for this new year we've got so shiny bright.

My 2009 starts off with my eldest niece's birthday today. She is turning seven. Happy Birthday G! She is reading better and better every time I see her, and has begun to be a crafty, arty little girl. She has dolls she is fairly uncomfortable playing with, but likes to have. I think in contrast her little sister's doll collection (which is steadily growing out of control with Barbie this and Barbie that) G is ... more sane? No, wrong word. More balanced in her pursuits. G is artistic and athletic and a definite girl without being a girlie-girl. B is the girlie-girl and so definitely into the hair and makeup (they got beginner makeup cases for Christmas, and I think B will completely enjoy hers way more than G) and clothes and PINK everywhere.

G is at once more aggressive and also kinder and more empathetic than her little sister. L is still too young - but my brother says he seems to like football - he quiets right down when it is on the television. I am not sure whether or not that will have any bearing whatever. He is only six months old. I liked bananas and tomato sauce when I was six months old. Neither is something I am likely to eat now.

Back to the new year... 2008 started off fairly sucktastically with me changing jobs in February. And January as a whole month was phenomenally bad. I single handedly shut down an office space while doing my day job on top of that. February started well with the new company and while getting up to speed with the new folks, it was a relief to finally talk to competent people and have them grok. And while February and March were pretty much a wash, by April things eased off a little bit. By July I took a few days and didn't feel like I would come back to disaster. By August, I took a whole eight days off (in a row!) and didn't check email once, and it was my first real not-checking-in-at-all vacation since 2003. It was awesome. I'm in the swing, now, and the "new" company is still made of win and I am way happier as a result.

2008 was also the year I finally lost the weight. I am down to a size 12, but those are getting a bit loose, so hopefully I will settle into a size 10. Size 12 was kind of pie-in-the-sky. Size 10 kind of blows my mind a little. I am eating better, and will continue to do so. I should continue to eat more things with chlorophyll and seeds. I need to pick up the exercise, though. Maybe start weight training this year? Maybe some higher impact aerobic stuff? Diet only gets you halfway to healthy. So 2009 will be the advent of more exercise.

2009 is also the year I want to build up my savings account. I have 401(k) and IRAS I contribute to faithfully. But my emergency savings doesn't really amount to much yet. By April, I should have a small bit a month I can put away into savings (car payments ending). I want to remember to do this each and every month. Its not a lot, but it should add up.

High points of 2008 -

Philadelphia (March) taught my new company, that while they had a lot to learn, they also had a lot to offer.
Dublin (July) was beautiful and got us closer to a meeting where the company was confident and feeling good.
Minneapolis (November) was close to perfect. The hotel is the perfect configuration, and in an urban setting where there are multitudes of places to eat within walking distance. The wireless throughout the hotel worked swimmingly, and the complaints we got were of the room too hot/cold variety and easily fixed

Portus (July) was fabulous. People were terrific, a good time was had by all, and while I haven't jumped on the Wrock bandwagon (and don't quite understand the phenomenon) I can listen with appreciation
Maine (August) was better than it had any right being. Only one flaw, and that was our missing friend who couldn't make the 2008 trip. 2009 will hopefully not have that drawback, and Rhode Island promises to be all kinds of fun
Holidays (December) my company pays us to take the week between Christmas and New Years off. It doesn't count against your vacation time. So big win there, also. Even if I monitored email a little

The year got progressively better. I love the people I am working with, even if I am a remote or "virtual" employee. The time difference between here and there works in our favor.
I gained a new family member who is cute as a button and healthy as a horse.
I've been reconnecting to old friends on Facebook - my high school class is coming out of the woodwork - and one has even posted a class photo from second grade - me in all my pigtailed glory back when I was wee
I got the bathroom mostly fixed. It needs a couple of coats of paint, a new window, and a new medicine cabinet, and new lights, but the tiled walls and floors are done, new sink and new toilet, and I can shower instead of bathe!
This is the year I pay off the car! By March it will be all mine instead of just mostly mine.

So I'll end the navel-gazing there. Here is to a better 2009!
etakyma: (Abby Style)
( Dec. 25th, 2008 10:53 pm)
Anyone who knows me in real life knows I am not a girlie-girl. At all. My youngest niece is nearly five (in seven weeks or so), and the GIRLIEST-GIRL I've ever met. She got approximately ten million Barbie items, and each Barbie set comes with a thousand teeny tiny pieces. "Blush and Bashful - my two very favorite shades of pink" kind of describes B to a tee.

She wants to play Barbie *all* the *time* - which seems to consist of her playing with all the "real" Barbie dolls, where you get to play with the cardboard cut outs of Barbie from the playsets packaging. Thankfully, I was occupied trying to put some of her new items together, or just wrangle them from the boxes. So "playtime" was mercifully short. She constantly wants someone to play with her, but she doesn't let you actually *do* anything. Its more she wants a suitably appreciative audience. Tiresome, but she's also only nearly-*five.*

Mattel's motto seems to be "when in doubt, tie it down, tape it down, wire it down." She got the Scuba Barbie (with dolphins - and the Barbie and dolphins have spots that change color in warm water - bathtime fun!), the LifeGuard Barbie (whistle and stopwatch included), Barbie's pool (which Santa brought, and must go back to Santa because it arrived with two left sides, and no right side of the pool - B was *very upset* - poor mite). The Barbie kiddie pool - with one adult barbie and twin girls - blonde and brown haired. She also got a livingroom set, complete with flat screen TV with remote, and the computer cabinet and desk chair. She seems to have gone from Playskool directly to Barbie without even a pause anywhere else. Barbie is *IT.*

Her older sister got another American Girl doll - and some American Girl furniture to go with the doll, and a wider range of type of toys. My folks gave them each a Nintendo DS and a couple of games - one of the games G plays online, so she was excited she could take it with her wherever she went.

L fussed a bit, napped a bit, and teethed a bit. He wasn't much for presents, but his folks and big sisters were more than happy to help him delve into his riches. Then dinner with my folks was a nice, low-key affair. It was fairly relaxing all day.

I hope you all had as lovely a day! I think it is time to crash, now.
I am stealing this from something someone emailed me. But I thought it was funny - so here you go:

At this special time of year, and in the spirit of universal tolerance,
understanding, equality, balance, freedom, global connectedness and
non-discrimination, it is my long-standing tradition to send an email
out to everyone with universal greetings and positive karmic wishes for
you all. I wish you and all those within your sphere of influence/
circle of concern/ general vicinity/ group of friends and
broadly-defined family units a very merry/ happy/ peaceful/ joyous/
relaxed/ pleasant/ quiet/ calming/ blessed/ spiritual/ fulfilling/
renewing and/or other-emotional-state-as-desired Christmas/ Hanukkah/
Kwanzaa/ BodhiDay/ Santa Lucia Day/ Las Posadas/ Eid-al-Adha/ Boxing
Day/ Feast of Saturnalia/ Ceremony of the Goddess/ Emancipation Day/
Epiphany/ Moonlight Festival/ Midnight or three-day mediatation and/or
other-secular-or-religious-holiday/feast/celebration as appropriate, and
hope that the holidays bring you closer to your husband/ wife/ domestic
partner(s)/ significant other(s)/ children/ parents/ aunts/ uncles/
nieces/ nephews/ nuclear family/ extended family/ favorite TV show/
favorite toy/ favorite pastime/ fond memory/ friends/ the planet/ the
world/ transcendental understanding/ the path/ the Goddess/ the Well/
the Temple/ the council or Quorum of the Twelve/ the Sanctuary/ the Tao/
the prophet or Prophet/ the Saviour/ Samsara/ the Buddha/ the Ancient
One/ the Way/ a ribbon or wormhole in the space-time continuum leading
straight to the Nexus and/or the secular or religious diety/ object of
worship/ meditative focal point/ path of learning/ hobby/ pastime/
positive addiction or future goal of your choice in accordance with your
particular situations, persuasions, beliefs, goals, wishes and desires.

Or, as they say where I come from.... I wish you and your families a
Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
Merry merry everyone - something that has been around a while, but still full of the spirit of the season!

Like all the best a cappella, it starts off kinda normal, and devolves from there.

etakyma: (Jamie Boom!)
( Dec. 17th, 2008 01:13 am)
Yeah, totally screwed. I got just acclimatized enough to California to have my sleep schedule fucked up for the last few days. So yeah, after 1am and I am still wide awake. It is snowing here. Supposed to turn to rain in the morning, and rain for while tomorrow (later today). Whatever - its gonna be messy. But the snow won't stick around since it is supposed to get up into the forties.

No response to the email I sent detailing *why* I said no when asked to do something for the production this March. The president of the group responded, and we talked a little bit tonight. But the producer(s) - nothing. I know they got my email. I did find out one producer has dropped the project entirely.

Still feeling conflicted and crappy about it. But I still feel I made the right decision, so. There is that.

Was at rehearsal for the children's theatre production tonight. I am filling in for the stage managers because one is sick, and the other can't come to rehearsals until after Jan 15. Blocking act 2 - in a tiny tiny space. But I think they'll be fine - even if they only have about a month to mount this production. Wish they had about ten more feet in every direction to play in. Because the stage they will be playing on is frickin' huge.

Ah, well. How can it be December 17th already? I am so not ready for the holidays. Want to sleep now, please. And it seems I am really damned random when twiddling my thumbs in the wee hours...
etakyma: (Quiet Ones)
( Nov. 27th, 2008 10:27 am)
Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate such a day in late November. I'm headed out soon to spend the day with family. And while the vegetarians are hosting dinner this year, I am assured my SIL's parents will supply a turkey. My mum made the cranberries last night, and they are bringing fancy cheeses, lots of wine, and my uncle, who arrived last night.

I had dinner with them last night - and it was mostly a lovely evening. Family dysfunction was discussed (after I got mad and yelled at my father for being an asshole). So yeah, mixed night. I think my dad was a bit ashamed of himself after I hammered home a few home truths and called him on his bullshit. My mom kept out of it (because she agrees with me on this particular subject - and really, her silent support was awesome).

And I can be cryptic like a cryptic thing, huh? It really wasn't as dramatic as I am making it out, though. And he probably thinks I am still mad at him (not really. Actually, not at all.).

So I am taking my box of chocolates and going to play with my nieces and nephew. Y'all have a good day!
etakyma: (Default)
( Nov. 17th, 2008 02:14 pm)
I love love love this hotel. The people are mostly the same folks who were working here back the last time we were here in march of '05. So they know us. They are on top of issues as they arise, and it is a very easy meeting (so far) for those of us who are meeting logistics.

And the hotel is a very nice place. Perfect layout. We are contained on the second and third floors. And the hotel is attached to the Skyways, and you can get all over downtown without steeping outside. Awesome.

Been here since Thursday, and already tired of the room service menu. But luckily, the skyways stay open for way longer on weeknights than on weekends, and we can get out easier thn the last couple of days.

The days are kinda blurring together as they do when one is onsite. The hotel folks took us out to dinner on Friday - a very nice place in walking distance, sadly not connected via the skyways (but only about five blocks, so even in the cold it wasn't that bad).

Macy's has their eighth floor display up, and we were there Saturday evening just to poke around, and ended up going through it. This year's theme? A day in the life of Santa's Elves. Cute. Some of the animatronic displays were better than others, and there were a few elf faces that were interesting. I wouldn't stand in line for it, but it was kinda sweet to see it. My favorite bits were reindeer flight school, the mail drop with the mail bags coming in on hot air balloons, the elf bunkhouse, and the one poor elf spinning drunkenly with a gift box stuck on his head.

I have seen bits of snow flaking here and there - but nothing that amounts to anything besides a bit of prettiness while it is airborne.

I feel like it is later than Monday because I haven't really had a weekend, and won't have one really until Thanksgiving. I might take the 25th off as a comp day, though. Just because.

Wish I was home.


etakyma: (Default)


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