Saturday, January 14, 2017

Weekend musings

I have a few things to say. I apologize in advance; I fear it may be a bit of a ramble.

Aunt Pegi's been sick for awhile, for long enough to know that the additional six months to a year past her expected departure date have been a blessing. But let me get back to that, after this brief story:

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Before we made it to that ^^^ location yesterday, I'd received word from Daddy that Pegi was gone. Now, I'm okay. Pegi was only my aunt by marriage. She was a fine woman, but she wasn't the mother of the cousins I'd grown up with, and we were never particularly close.

But Daddy lives nearby to his brother, who has had his own health issues to face/fight, before, during, and after Pegi's cancer battle. Daddy gets to walk his big bro through the entrance to the widower's club, and help him sort out "what next". And because the big bro has his own health issues, there's always the possibility that he'll allow his broken heart to give him an easy exit from the club. So Daddy is grieving the loss of his SIL, and pre-grieving the loss of his big bro. And I've asked him if he needs any of his progeny to be present now or if big bro goes. He's said no, but I'm not sure that won't change. Even if big bro doesn't have any kind of service, there's still all that stuff that survivors have to deal with. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch Manchester by the Sea. Think about the stuff that you will leave behind, if you leave this plane of existence early. All the stuff that your survivors will have to deal with.

Typically in my household and my family, winter months are difficult. When Mommy was alive, winter was always when her Depression would hit; she was as much a victim of SAD as I and my InnerHippie big sis are. She's been gone ten years this past October, so there's our family's first Sadiversary. And I do usually get hit by SAD or just my own version of Depression.

Then, four years ago, Stephen's dad left us in November. Another Sadiversary for our family. And his grief becomes my grief, and we deal with our Depression together or separately. Then there's also the natural hiatus of the entertainment industry that makes me wonder if I'll ever work another day on set, ever again (I have not yet worked in 2017). More D.

Anyway. Winter usually equals D, or at the very least SAD, at least in this household. But as you know, I haven't really been hit by it this season, oddly.

So whilst we were walking yesterday, I suggested that we make time to watch a movie or two (since we have so many screeners now). When we finally sat down to do that, since I suggested that we both wanted to re-watch Arrival and La La Land, Stephen put in the latter, assuming that it would be too bright and cheery for me to get morose.

When we saw it in a theater, I was distracted and angered by a woman sitting two rows forward, filming on her phone every time Ryan Gosling had a musical number. Her phone was too bright but also, filming during a screening is PIRACY. It was a SAG-AFTRA event, which should mean that you, the "filmer", are a SAG-AFTRA member, and you know why PIRACY is both wrong and illegal. Put Your Fucking Phone Away, You Stupid Cunt!

Sorry. Ennyhoo, I wanted to watch the film again at home, to see if I liked it better than the first time. Stephen wanted to see it again to find out if he liked it as much as the first time. But while we were watching it, he started looking up particular filming locations, and then he allowed politics and/or Facebook to distract him, on his phone, which meant I was also distracted by his phone. Not that he was filming. Still. That's how he watches stuff at home, after he's seen it at least once,

We got to two very important scenes and I started tearing up, at least internally. This movie was making me SAD! It's making me SAD right now, thinking about it. Once it was over, I was full-on crying, and the more we discussed what we'd just seen, the SADDER I got. And it doesn't really make any sense. It doesn't necessarily attach to the story being told. And the music is lovely, and the singing and dancing is fun or beautiful or whatever it's supposed to be, and all of the performances and characterizations are spot-on. But I honestly don't know if this film is going to make it any higher on my "faves" list above "top ten for the year". Because I don't like being SAD for the characters, and this one does that to me.

And maybe I'm actually grieving my Aunt Pegi. She was only ever my aunt by marriage, and she wasn't the mother of the cousins I'd grown up with, and we were never particularly close. But she's gone now. She went peacefully in a morphine sleep, and she was 78, so I doubt she had much left she wanted to accomplish, so it's all good.

But still.

Here's your assignment, should you choose to accept it. Please do not comment "Sorry for your loss" statements below. I know, if you are a regular reader, that that sort of thing is what you wish to express. If you have healing vibes or energy or prayers or anything like that, go ahead and send them to Daddy and his big bro. They can really use them. But for me, if you have ANY kind of personal story to tell me in the comments, Please Do. It can be relaying your own grief, or something silly/stupid/fun/funny you've recently done, or your own experience with SAD or Depression, or your own musings regarding coffee, La La Land, Manchester, actors, music, this blog, whatever. I love hearing from you and interacting with you. Thank you in advance.

*****In looking through old posts for appropriate hyperlinks, I just came across this "thinker". My sister commented that she would be commenting, and then never did comment! Maybe this go-round?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Adventures in Groceryland (post-Holidays version)

We needed some stuff, as happens. I asked Stephen to add stuff to the list last night, so I'd know where I needed to shop, and whether I'd be able to get steps in whilst at it, or if the car would have adventures with me today. There were sufficient items that we get from different places that I decided to drive and hit 'em all!

I've been having breathing issues. I think you knew this; I've posted about seeing a doc about it before my insurance ran out, and getting a rescue inhaler like asthmatics have. Mine also has a separator, to allow the meds to mist into my airways rather than forming larger droplets in my throat. It's huge and cumbersome and awkward looking, and I'm grateful that as my breathing worsens, come nightfall, I can usually take one or two hits before I go out into the world, rather than carrying it with me Just In Case. Yeah, I do have a little vanity. Whatevs.

I saw a post on Facebook yesterday (yes, I actually scrolled through some of my FB feed yesterday! So what?) that talked about the five houseplants that can help you sleep better. Now, I sleep fine, and so does Stephen, but the reasons the little article gave for poor sleep spoke to breathing issues more than relaxation, so I figured, if I can get a few houseplants to clear our air of unknown toxins, then maybe I'll stop waking with coughing fits, or maybe I'll be able to stash that inhaler away somewhere.

So I made a plan to buy as many of the five as I could easily procure at Lowe's (because we do not have a high success rate with keeping plants alive or healthy, and Lowe's has a one-year guarantee on all of their plants). Shopping at Lowe's automatically means a #WalkingSamplingLunch at Costco, if I time it right. And since a majority of the list was Costco items, BOOM!

I had pretty good parking karma today. Arrived at Costco before noon and parked in our favorite out-of-the-way section of the lot, which was practically empty upon my arrival. Went in for my #WSL and then walked over to Lowe's to shop for plants (~2500 steps each way). Put the plants in the car, which at that point had company in its lot, and went into Costco to shop. As I was leaving Costco, there were cars in each section of the huge parking lot, waiting for spaces. So I made mine available, and headed over to Smart-N-Final.

The items I didn't or couldn't get at Costco, I was planning to get at SNF. If you don't have a(n) SNF, imagine a fairly large grocery store with somewhat-bulky items, intended for small restaurants. They carry items like 10k to-go containers, 4x normal paper products, plastic silverware, chafing dishes, etc., as well as 5-10 lb. bags of shredded cheeses. That sort of thing. They're not a warehouse club; they don't have the space or the inventory that Costco does, but the GROCERIES are great, if you need what they have. It's the only place we've found that carries frozen collard greens or okra, year-round.

So I pulled into the main SNF lot, which was mostly empty, again. I picked up the very few items I needed and checked out, and someone was waiting for my parking space, again. Still didn't have everything we needed, so I headed over to Trader Joe's.

TJ's, you've probably figured by now, is my favorite grocery store of all time. No, they don't carry everything, and they typically don't have a large quantity of the item you're seeking. Doesn't matter. The prices are good, and the quality of the food is outstanding, and the caliber of staff is always very high. The running joke amongst folks who know TJ's, tho, is the utter lack of parking.

TJ's planner, talking to shopping center landowner: I like the building, but how's the parking?
Landowner: um, not so good.
TJ's planner: GREAT! We'll take it!

When I arrived today, there were umpteen open spaces. I backed into one, as I'm wont to do, and noticed the the adjacent SUV was a teensy bit over the line, so I fretted for a microsecond over that driver dinging me with the door. As I walked out of the lot, I noticed that the car in the first space had all of its windows open an inch or two, and there was a chihuahua (or chihuahua-sized other breed) lying on the back dash, sunning itself. I stopped and greeted it, through the glass. It seemed only interested enough to acknowledge the presence of another being, and went back to sunning.

TJ's was my last stop, and now I had frozen items in the car, and I was buying refrigerated items there. So I hit the demo station for the butternut squash and spinach dish they were sampling, as well as a tiny cuppa joe. I circled through to pick up the items I needed, and spoke to the occasional crew member or captain, as I encountered them. I was neither rushed nor lollygagging.

When I returned to the TARDIS, I found a new SUV parked adjacent, even further over the line. Also, the lot was now full, although it had not yet grown its customary queue of waiting-to-parks. However, pup in the window of vehicle in space #1 was now panting, and looked a bit distressed.

Now let me tell ya. It was not HOT today. I think the temp gauge in my car read 64ยบ all day, every time I was in it. And not only were the windows in pup's car cracked, but the sunroof was also open about 6". But you are NOT supposed to leave your pets in the car. You're not supposed to take them in shopping with you, either (although try enforcing that one in this town). You are supposed to leave them at home. Unless you're going to the dog park and then going home, you shouldn't need to have your pet in the car at all!

So before I gave up my parking space to the next contestant, I found Edgar, a crew member who was on carts duty, and showed him the situation, and asked him to relay what I knew to Dave, the captain. I didn't know what they would do, but I certainly wasn't going to be the one to break into that car. Edgar went inside to talk to Dave, and I got into my car to join the queue that had formed (yeah, you can't escape the queue at TJ's; if it exists and you're past parking space #1, you're in it, too). WHILE I was waiting for the queue to move, Bad SUV driver began to back up. Without LOOKING. Thankfully, I saw her doing it, and laid on my horn, and she stopped! Whew!

By the time I was able to exit the lot, I could see in my rearview that Edgar had returned to the pup, with another crew member, and possibly the owner of the car. It was being handled; yay.

So in conclusion:

  • Don't shop for groceries at all during the holidays. Order in, or starve yourself, or go to parties and take home doggy bags. Grocery store parking lots (as well as the stores themselves) suck during the holidays.
  • Once you return to "normal", shop for groceries on Wednesdays, being sure to incorporate as much walking and snacking as you can into your trip. Shop at multiple stores in one day, rather than one store per day. I think I heard or read somewhere that that's better for your gas mileage, and therefore better for the environment, or something.
  • If you MUST take your pet with you wherever you go, um... DON'T. "Go for a ride?" should not be the last thing Spot ever hears you say.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Whoops! Published without a title! Erp!

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A VLOG! Wherein I talk about... um... nothing, really? Low volume to not disturb Stephen, and poor quality because of the webcam settings. Seriously. 15 fps. Who ever heard of such a thing? At least it's not vertical!

What the hell, I'm still fartin' around with the webcam, so here's another:
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Whatchoo wanna say 'bout it? Tell me below... I dare ya!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New You? Not Hardly

I went to bed after midnight last night, but not because I was staying up to ring in the New Year or drive out the Old Year or watch the ball drop or attend a party or kiss under some mistletoe or drink champagne or anything else "festive". I was up late because we had watched a bit of television, as we are wont to do. I found a recipe for crockpot Hoppin' John, and I was soaking black-eyed peas and following the recipe, so I could get to bed and let it all be ready by the time my alarm went off at 7:30 this morning. Yes, Hoppin' John is meant for BREAKFAST! Click on the link... there's lots of good "lore" preceding the actual recipe.

Stephen had spent a good chunk of the day taking down Christmas decorations, and re-organizing them in such a way as to make them handy enough to retrieve, next time around, whilst also being "out of sight", for the most part. When we first moved in, the tree lived in its box on a shelf above the washer and dryer. NOT unobtrusive, that, and a waste of good shelf space! While he was getting started on that project, I went grocery shopping. We needed some stuff, not the least of which was a decent-sized ham for the Hoppin' John. So I shopped, called him to help me carry it all up from the garage, and marveled at his immense progress once I was putting the groceries away.

Since our move, I've been drinking more than I had been (particularly in this "hiatus" from work that I know as "unemployment"). I've not been walking my 10k steps daily, as I've not yet discovered my "perfect" walking paths, and I don't walk to my #WalkingSamplingLunches at Costco, now that we live further. I've gotten lazy, essentially, sitting on my ass on the futon, playing on my computer or my phone, and because I'm not exerting myself into any kind of sweaty situations, I'm also not bathing as frequently as the rest of the world. Again, lazy. I do enjoy a nice soak in the tub, but more often than not, getting clean is not my primary objective. My breathing still isn't what it needs to be, so I'll soak as a form of aromatherapy, with essential oils in the water.

I'm not depressed this season. It's amazing to know that I Am Not Depressed. Part of what amazes me about that statement is the fact that my hygiene and exercise and drinking would all point otherwise. So I dunno what's been going on with me, but I'm #Blessed and #Grateful to know that I Am Not Depressed.

So how does one make a change toward improvement when one is not depressed? I'm not one for "Resolutions", because January 1 is just another day. There's nothing special about the "new" year, any more than there was anything special about the "old" one. But I do know that I am unhappy with my physical being. The meatbag I'm currently transporting my soul in has gotten weak and flabby, and I'm having trouble breathing freely.

So while shopping yesterday, I decided to not purchase any alcohol until I'm back to my fighting shape. I'm not talking about a number on the scale. I'm talking about how I feel in this meatbag. I bought a bottle of sparkling chardonnay grape juice so we could drink some "bubbly" with our Hoppin' John today, and maybe have mimosas. (Sparkling chardonnay grape juice is not "dry" enough to mix with orange juice for mimosas, FYI; too sweet).

Today, once we were up and had consumed sufficient Hoppin' John, we took a walk up to Target and then back down to Big Lots. We got home at 10,500 steps! Then I farted around on my new computer, resetting it and reinstalling MS Office and Quicken and Chrome, and getting to know it a little better, to see if maybe it will live up to my exceedingly high expectations. So far, I'm not in love with it, but it is growing on me.

Not resolutions, but #ThreeGoodThings:

  1. Hoppin' John is delicious, nutritious, sticks to your ribs, easy to make, and gluten- and dairy-free, in case you were wondering
  2. 10,000 steps is not that hard to get, as long as the weather cooperates
  3. I Am Not Depressed, and my plan is to improve from that not-rock-bottom starting point. Not a "new" me, but certainly the GOOD "old" me that everyone knows and loves
It's too late in the day (or early, for you) for me to try any video, considering how long it takes to create and load, and I want to finish this post on January 1st, so I'll leave you with this:

Did you make resolutions or do anything fun, stupid, traditional, or boring last night (New Year's Eve)? Tell me; I wanna know.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

one last test before 2017

Blogger still doesn't have access to the webcam for VLOGGING, which IMO is redonkulous. So I have to find a way to access the webcam separately and try it again...

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...well, that looks like the video I just shot. Now to figure out how to adjust the settings, because what the hell is Windows 10 thinking with its 15 frames per second? This thing looks like crap, don't you agree?