Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Week Later...

and I made another thing!

Okay, it's actually been almost a year since I'd set the crochet hooks down. Once I completed Emily's Moebius Scarflet, finished in February or March, but not in time for her to need it, I didn't mail hers to her until this Christmas. So in the meantime, I packed all of the handicrafts away for colder weather.  Then I recently picked it all back up, finished
the wrist gauntlets
that I had started with the small remainder of InnerHippie's yarn (but had kept connected to each other, making them impossible to actually wear), started a new something-or-other that turned into
a headband,
using more of Emily's yarn, and then pining for a bulky yarn like I'd had with
my own, original Moebius Scarflet,
but doing nothing about that yearning.

Then, last weekend, millions of men, women, and children marched in the #WomensMarch, and large numbers of them were wearing "(Grab 'em by the) Pussy Hats", mostly in pink, and ALL hand-knitted or -crocheted by the wearers or by crafters who couldn't physically march but could contribute warm headgear. I marched, but without the hat, because I hadn't gotten around to figuring out how to make one, or buying the appropriate yarn, or anything else.

See, prior to the march, all of my crocheting was single straight lines, back-and-forth, until I was ready to connect the thing to itself. Well, except for the gauntlets, which were essentially tubes, straight lines of stitches that spiraled until I was out of yarn. But really, I had no idea how to make anything that wasn't a straight line, and I didn't feel I had time to learn a new stitch. So I marched without any headgear.

However, upon my arrival at the subway station beneath the starting point of the march, I commented on one hat in particular, and indicated that I only knew straight-line crocheting. The wearer told me that you just stitch a big rectangle, fold it in half, and stitch the sides. The "corners" become "ears" once you put the thing on your head! Voilá! ... too bad I didn't know that two weeks ago. Hrmmm...

So. The march itself was super-energizing, even with the 1.5+ hours of standing still, waiting. I got home from it, blogged, and then found time to make a dummy hat with more of Emily's yarn, break the hook I was working with (I'd always used plastic, rather than metal hooks, and the finer the yarn, the smaller the hook, meaning the "weaker" the hook. I've broken two plastic crochet hooks in my time doing it; probably the same size. Thankfully, Jo-Ann has allowed me to replace the full sets each time). I completed my dummy purple hat (without "finishing" the stitches), tried it on my head, liked how it looked, for the most part, but ended up taking it apart (because an inspired dream gave me a better plan than "folded rectangle"). The purple-dummy-hat-rectangle is currently another Work-In-Progress, a soonish scarflike something.

When I returned the broken hook, I "upgraded" to a metal set. They are not as comfortable to work with, in my hands, so I'm glad that while I was at it, I also picked up a coupla skeins of really bulky "baby" yarn. This stuff is SO soft! And with it being "bulky", I get to use my larger (stronger) plastic hooks.

So here we are,
one completed "pussy hat" 
and one just started, in a smaller size, just in case any of my nieces would like to wear a soft pinkish kitty on her head!

Who wants one? I also have the super-soft bulky yarn in purple (of course, DUH!)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The last of the reviews (for awhile) PART TWO

Moonlight A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.: It would have improved my viewing of this film (possibly our viewing? I dunno; you'd have to ask Stephen) to have read ^that^ little IMDb blurb before watching our screener. We had no idea what this fucking story was about, or who we were supposed to be rooting for (I mean, okay, we had an inkling) or who were the antagonists (again, the bullies were clearly "bad guys", but who else?), or where the hell the story was going (nowhere, truth be told). We did not care for this film. We were impressed with the casting, but other than that? Meh. You may hear otherwise. I have heard glowing praise. I also heard glowing praise for Fences. Didn't care for that one, either.

(the new) Ghostbusters Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.: OMG, kids, if you have any love for the original, then you have to watch this one! It isn't a sequel; it isn't an "homage" (altho it does pay mad respect to the original); it is simply a different take on "what if there were ghosts invading New York City?"

It is So Much Fun, this film. Every character is FULLY defined, and the acting is So Good. We picked up our Blu-Ray at Target, both because it was on sale for $TEN (what?) and because Stephen had "won" a Target gift card at his place of employment, so we watched the flick on a night before I was booked for work, and then we watched all the special features on the following night, after we were both home from work. We laughed our asses off, probably the entire time. I don't think it's even up for any awards at this point, but so what? Acquire a copy to add to your collection, and prepare to laugh your ass off. <-- That is my recommendation. #ChrisHemsworthOMGSoFunny

Captain Fantastic In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.: Okay, so I had to stream this over my laptop screen, because the #SAGAwards folks hadn't made it available on hard disk, and the one or two screenings I'd tried to attend didn't pan out. I may have said this before; I'm not a fan of streaming video. Every six seconds or so, it would do a micro-pause, which, of course, I got used to. But that is not optimal viewing, and everyone knows it. If I get my wish, next year, ALL of the films and shows that are up for even a single award will arrive in hard copy in my mailbox, WITHOUT all the extra mailers that are trying to get me to vote but are essentially wasted trees.

So. That said, this was another I had no idea before I watched it, what it would be about. Honestly, with its title, I thought it was an off-brand superhero film. I was looking forward to it. It had good moments, I won't lie, but overall, I'm not sure whose "side" I ended up on. There are some really difficult choices made, and there's no clear "good vs. evil" fight. So whilst watching, you sort of float along with the family, who are clearly more used to floating along than you are. Recommended IF you've ever wanted to live simply, off the land, and "home-school" your kids out in the wilderness, with an excellent library and minimal civilization. NOT Recommended IF the wilderness would kill you in your first week.

The Girl on the Train A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.: I started (streaming, yes, again) watching this under the impression that it was a thriller. And it is, sort of. There are definitely plot twists, and there's definitely a murder to solve, and there are definitely people to like or not like. But you follow along for a rather long time, not entirely sure if this person you kinda like is okay, or if this person you're kinda creeped out by isn't, in fact, heroic. So, yeah, thriller.

This film has been compared to Gone Girl
in its storytelling. I guess, maybe. We only liked Ben Affleck's character in that one (honestly, in our opinions, that was his #RoleOfALifetime). I don't see Emily Blunt in the #RoleOfALifetime here. Not that her character isn't full of depth and well-portrayed. I mean, you do kind of hate her, then pity her, then "root" for her. But this Girl film is not, in fact, anything like the other Girl film. So stop comparing them!

Ennyhoo. Recommended if you're a fan of 1) thrillers 2) trains 3) pretty people who are slightly psycho 4) murder mysteries 5) Emily Blunt. Otherwise, take it or leave it. I don't see it finding a space on our wall o' movies, unless it appears before us really super-fucking cheap, in which case, okay, fiiiiiiine.

And that's it. I dunno what I'll review for you next, as I've gotten through this #SAGAwards season's screenings and screeners. Think I'll take a break and find other shit to talk about. Tell me here what you'd love for me to talk about!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The last of the reviews (for awhile) PART ONE

Jackie Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband's historic legacy.: Okay, so the "plot" of this revolves around an interview Jackie Kennedy gave to a LIFE magazine reporter a week or so after the assassination of JFK. It's a real interview that she gave and the magazine printed, but it's told with many flashbacks, and Jackie is understandably emotional/not emotional (she's grieving, DUH). But there's a lot we're told that the reporter is not allowed to print. The moment that stands out for me, that made me question the script source (is it real or fantasy?), is when the reporter reads back to her something along the lines of "as she lit another cigarette, she...", Jackie responds "I don't smoke" (even though we and the reporter have been watching her chain-smoke). So, has the statute of limitations run out on Ms. Onassis' control over the subject matter, that we somehow now have access to the original notebooks the reporter filled? Because if so, maybe there should have been a tag "based on true events" or even a more complete "disclaimer" in the end credits. Hell, there may have been one, and I just didn't see it, because the movie left me feeling... meh. Natalie's portrayal of the new widow was fine. It was probably rather harrowing for the actress to embody such an iconic figure, capturing her speech patterns and other mannerisms, whilst also GRIEVING on camera.

But this film season has shown us plenty of GRIEF. I'm tired of it. Particularly in this one. Jackie is neither protagonist nor antagonist in this flick. She just happens to be the title character, living her life (or at least, we are led to believe that). So, if you happen to be a huge fan of 1) history 2) 1963 in American history 3) Jackie Kennedy (Onassis) or 4) Natalie Portman, then you will probably enjoy this movie more than I did. Most of the grief movies I've watched this season, I've shed a tear or two with the protagonist. Not during this one. I just didn't know if I was supposed to like her or not. Tough call. I can't recommend, but see ^above^ to decide for yourself.

Arrival When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.: The first time we saw this one, we saw it in a theater (at a screening), knowing only that it had to do with space aliens arriving, with all that wonderful "First Contact" stuff that sci-fi fans (like Stephen and myself) love. We LOVED this movie. The opening sequence had us (well, maybe us but possibly only me) crying, and then everything got so complicated and interesting from there. The lead characters are Louise (Amy Adams) and Ian (Jeremy Renner), so shout-out to my Daddy's neighbors and besties, Ian and Louise! Y'all are heroes!

Um, sorry (to the rest of you who are not Daddy or Ian and Louise). Where was I? Oh. How AWESOME this movie is! Yes, it is sci-fi. Yes, it's set in "present day". No, you can't just let it wash over you, even though there are some very interesting special effects here and there. You have to use your brain. You WILL root for the good guys. ALL of them (and there are many). After the film ends, you will have questions and thoughts, and you will discuss it amongst yourselves.

Recommendation: Hells, yeah. Just see it with at least one other person, so you don't have to discuss it alone with yourself (unless you're into that sorta thing).

The Crown The early reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is portrayed.: This is a series on Netflix, which we had managed to view the entire first season of prior to my attendance at the screening with Claire Foy and John Lithgow, as well as prior to our receipt of the very cool Netflix boxed set. We were riveted by every episode, so we managed to blaze through the series pretty quickly (without binge-watching in two or three nights). Epic.

At most screenings in LA, the guests who are featured in the Q&A that follows typically do not sit through the screening; rather, they wait in a green room somewhere away from the show. This can be for any number of reasons, including flight or drive-times delaying their arrival at the theater/screening room, having seen that particular episode or film so many times they are personally sick of it and to be gracious would be painful, not ever watching themselves on screen ever (like that Kylo Ren dude at the Paterson screening), etc. So no one expects the guest to have joined you, the audience, in the audience seats for the screening. But John Lithgow did, at the screening I attended. And he and Claire were incredibly gracious and funny and fun, and we all felt badly that Winston Churchill won't appear (much? #FingersCrossed he appears #AtAll) in Season Two. But we are looking forward to Season Two, and beyond, so if you need a recommendation, here it is: Hells, yeah. Check it out on Netflix, at your own pace.

Stranger Things When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.: This one is another Netflix original series, and because it's set in the 1980's, it speaks on numerous levels to my generation. Winona's one of US, ya know? Portraying one of our MOMS, right? I mean, it's weird or meta or something not grody to the max.

But we loved this series. Season One is only eight episodes, so if you have the time and the energy, you can totally binge-watch it in, like, two days. Totally. I think that's what we did. The main story arc is compelling; the characters are very real; the acting and direction are superb. We can't wait for Season Two. So, It's Bitchin', Dude. Totally rad.

Here are #ThreeGoodThings (in no particular order):

  1. I have watched all of the screeners I intend to watch this awards season. I thought I wanted to be on the Nominating Committee, but frankly, who has the time? I'm surprised I got through what I got through!
  2. I have voted for the SAG Awards. My electronic ballot was due by this Friday at noon, and I got 'er done this afternoon. Yay, me!
  3. I have made a pretty penny on set this week (short day on Monday, lots of "bumps" today;I could still book work on Friday or get rush-called for tomorrow). #IAmBlessedToWorkInThisBizILove
Whatcha got? Sumthin'? Ennythin'? C'mon! I love hearing from you!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Labels and -isms (Fair warning, this is a long one)

I am not what you might call a Feminist, nor an Environmentalist, nor an Activist. I often doubt that I am an Artist, although I think when I doubt that particular label, it's because my Depression is Lying to me.

I was, for most of my life, the most apolitical person I knew, and possibly the most apolitical person you knew. Then the presidential election process got jiggy in 2016, and while I still did not cast a vote (because I live in a state that I knew would overwhelmingly go to Hillary, I knew that any vote I cast for or against her would not essentially "count" in the overall process), I became somewhat more outspoken about my fears of if we, the U.S. of A., followed the Brexit path. (i.e., the American public elected the orange-faced monster)

I started re-tweeting all of the anti-Putin's Puppet stuff that crossed my Twitter timeline. Those tweets made it onto my Facebook page. I became angry and upset and even more frightened of the potential outcome.

When the popular election went to Hillary but the Electoral College initial result went to the Cheeto, I was even more convinced that my reasoning behind not voting was valid: my vote wouldn't count. I furiously re-tweeted anything that had to do with attempting to sway the EC voters to vote their consciences, rather than whatever their states had somehow mandated.

When the EC vote followed the old rules, I became even more intensely frustrated and angry. How was it possible that thinking citizens were allowing such an -ist to become MY president? He's proven himself to be "ableist" (when he blatantly mocked the disabled reporter and then lied about it), misogynist (when he talked about "grabbing 'em by the pussy"), racist (all the time, but specifically when he mentioned building a wall and having Mexico pay for it), elitist (regarding anything to do with the working class), etc. He is an outright LIAR, and he's breaking Constitutional Laws by not divesting himself from his businesses and releasing his taxes. The man is Not Fit to serve, and he's made it clear he has No Intention of Serving (us, the citizens of the United States).

But a few days ago (one or two before the inauguration), I decided that my online actions weren't doing anything positive. I was only becoming more angry and anxious by re-tweeting all of that negativity. So I made a vow to myself to focus my online energies towards positivity. If there was something that was Anti-HIM but FUNNY, I would give myself permission to RT because it made ME laugh, which meant maybe it would also help others to laugh.

I also decided that, if I were able, I would physically participate in the #WomensMarch, specifically the #WomensMarchLA. I went online to the "register for a local march" page and found that there were actually 3 marches in Los Angeles County. And even though Beverly Hills and Pasadena were both closer (geographically, as the crow flies) to my apartment in North Hollywood, the Downtown LA march was easier to reach. So I signed up, and there was only one thing (other than somehow working today) that would stop me from going: rain. Yes, I'm being honest. Rain would have stopped me (and likely ~100,000 others) from attending. Also, I was a little bummed that I hadn't crocheted myself a pink pussy hat (didn't know how to crochet in other than a straight line, and hadn't bought any pink yarn). Maybe somehow, I would acquire one at the march, if it didn't rain.

So I got up this morning with my standard 7:30 alarm (which, under normal circumstances, I would've just told to "shut up" and then gone back to sleep), got dressed, ate a little, and then walked over to the subway station to catch the 8:10 train to downtown. There were a lot of people at the subway station at 8 o'clock on a Saturday! There were people milling about on all levels (ground level and subterranean), including some Anti-#WomensMarch protesters. That was weird.

But I got downstairs and onto the platform, which was PACKED. When the train arrived, we were the last/first stop, so once it emptied, we FILLED it. I was going to take a picture, because it looked like a New York subway car, not an LA one. But I didn't, so you'll just have to imagine it. Or find Rene Auberjonois' tweet.

I knew where we were getting off, but I wanted to be more sure of how many stops it was. So I asked some of the ladies near me to check the map on the opposite wall, to count the stops. Everyone around me was buzzing with excitement, trying to assure me that there was no way we'd miss our stop, but they also followed through on my request. Then 3 people in the middle of the path to the map realized that, for whatever reason, they really didn't want to go to Pershing Square with all of us #NastyWomen, so they exited the car. Their spaces were quickly filled, though, and each stop our train made was met with a crowd. We only had room for "one more" at each of those stops. I dunno, but I hope the LA Metro system added a few trains this morning, just to get everyone there. I know the organizers of the event could not have predicted the attendance; I wonder if Metro could. They did allow all of us going to the event to ride for free, though, which was a nice thing! No driving, no parking, no paying for transpo TO! Yay!

Arrived at Pershing Square and was already impressed by the turnout. 8:30 - 8:45-ish, and these are just the folks getting off the trains with me (and queuing up for the porta-potties)
Then I made my way over to the "front" of the march. I passed a group of sign-makers in the middle of the street, and got their permission to take this photo:

Continuing on to the "front", I passed the motorcycle cops and then a motorcycle "gang" (that I will join, as soon as I have acquired my requisite motorcycle). They ride every Tuesday evening.

Finally found where the march was intended to begin, and worked past the folks holding the street-wide banner. The crowd was getting crowdier, and the one thing I really wanted to accomplish was capturing the scale. That desire was shared by the people I shared street space with, but alas, when you're 5'3" in the middle of an already-crowded street, there's just no hope of capturing the sheer number of people on a simple cellphone camera. Here are my attempts, though:

the living embodiment of the latest round of "hope" posters

This is Judy. She's looking for her friend Cambria, who she never finds.
She's with her other friend Nancy, and I stick with them for the march.
Original art by a German artist,
who didn't want his sign-holders
to show their faces in any
march photos. wtf, dude? :/
By 9:30, we were getting antsy. Wasn't this thing supposed to start at 9? I thought maybe, since there were so many more marchers than originally predicted, the organizers had pushed it to 10. Judy says there were speeches at 9, and the march was supposed to begin at 10. But we were at the "front" of the line; where were these supposed speeches? And Why? I came to participate by Moving Forward, not standing still and listening to rhetoric (not that I was anywhere near the alleged rhetoric). ... Shortly after 10 a.m., we "older" folks began complaining of pain in our knees, hips, and low backs. So the chants began "Begin the March! Begin the March!"

And then a firetruck arrived. Apparently, someone behind us had fallen, or something. The firemen were meant to lend assistance, but there were too many people blocking their path, and the trucks were blocking the path out of the way for US. Some celebrities showed up, led by organizers, and they were walked forward, past us and the trucks. Then some "groups" were led through. Then some of us who'd been waiting rebelled a bit and tucked in with those groups. Judy and Nancy and I made it past the banner. We made it past firetruck #1. We inched along and made it past firetruck #2.

Then a random dude with a megaphone prop and a lanyard and a non-march badge climbed up on top of firetruck #2 and started riling us up. He was SHOUTING, because his megaphone was nonfunctional, although he kept "acting" like it was working, even though he was only getting a response from those of us who could actually hear him. But his nefarious plan worked. The crowd started moving, like a march, forward, towards the "goal".

As a group, we were chanting. Leader: Show me what democracy looks like! Us: This is what democracy looks like! And then a little bit later, Men: Their bodies, their choice! Women: My body, my choice! And another bit later, Leader: Donald Trump! Us: You're FIRED! and so forth. 

We didn't actually move as a group until 10:39, so we were good and ready to not be standing still. But frankly, it was a good energy, at all times. There were so many people there; men and women and those identifying as such. Small children, old ladies, every color and shape and size and age and sex and such an amazing group filled with love. There was zero negativity, other than the #NotMyPresident sentiments. We were all there supporting each other. There were people moving forward, and people lining the sidewalks, not walking, but holding signs and wearing pussy hats and cat-onesies and pink and leather and whatnot. And SMILES. Everyone was "Pro" each other.

And today, I was a Feminist. And an Activist. It felt good, no matter how badly I'm going to ache tomorrow! ... and I still don't have a pink pussy hat, but I know how to make one now, if this sort of event shows up in my path again.

Have you ever participated in an -ism event? In what way did you participate, and what was the general outcome of your experience?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Jan 17 - DAY ONE of employment for me in '17

I BOOKED WORK FOR TOMORROW! I GET TO BE ON SET TOMORROW! MAYBE IT'LL START A NEW TREND FOR ME (of, ya know, WORK... like for multiple days or consecutive days or a "steady gig"?)!

I know none of y'all get as excited as I do about going back to work, especially after "long weekends" like the one some of us just experienced, But in my industry, with the holidays comes "hiatus" and with "hiatus" comes a period of unemployment. Sure, I'm collecting UI benefits, but I'd rather be on set, and the longer I go not working, the longer it feels I'm unemployable.

I know that the statement I just made won't make any sense to those of you who have never suffered with Depression or SAD, or been around a suffering loved-one during an episode of either of those things. And even though I have stated repeatedly lately that I am Not Depressed this season, it doesn't diminish the previous statement of feeling unemployable. I also know that that feeling is just a Lie that my broken brain tells me, even when I'm Not Depressed, because #DepressionLies.

Do you ever celebrate going back to work? Is it only when you're changing jobs or bosses or workplaces that it feels celebratory, or does it ever feel great following a long weekend?

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:

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 64º 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!

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:

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.