Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Many Prompts I Couldn't Follow

I didn't write a blog entry yesterday. I started one. The title was: "Objects of Desire." This was an old topic that I've written about until I seem to have exhausted my enthusiasm for it!

Yesterday I really had no excuse for not writing. I have, after all, made a list of over a hundred topics for my 'by the numbers' memoir. And I never showered or got out of my sweats that I slept in. I didn't leave the apartment. I put a few pieces in the jigsaw. I worked crosswords. My husband made some lunch and dinner. I wrote a few Christmas cards and letters and reviewed my bank accounts and bills. I read some of the three newspapers that arrive every day.

But I just couldn't write a blog entry!

I did get out of my jammy sweats to go out and play tennis today. And I took a shower. And I voted in a runoff election. We walked around taking a few pictures at hotels and other businesses of decorations. (See above.)

I still have lots of topics I want to explore: my boycott of football; the dynamics of keeping up with friends; graffiti; my aches, pains, injuries, and medical nihilism. But not today.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Culture is a Funny Thing

As soon as we start to stumble along on our own we take a look at the people, things, and events around us and adopt some of it as our own. This is me. I'm four or five. Maybe Christmas has just come because I have a toy six-gun and a cowboy hat. Oh, and a doll. The doll is a 'boy' doll in that it was dressed in pants. Already showing my preferences by picking toys, huh? I'm sure I begged for the gun and the hat. The doll was meant to try to interest me in dolls, I think.

We grow up with this set of cultural things associated with our parents' beliefs about religion and life. We see what girls are supposed to do and want. We desire things we see touted to us, by society or marketers. No one is immune. But from a very young age, we may pick and choose and question. We may accept some things only to reason out a rejection later in life. I recently rejected football and years of being caught up in the vast cultural sinkhole that football is in our culture. And. I don't own guns either!

Saturday, December 08, 2018

The Spirit of the Season

Some people are always willing to inject that little bit of fun into things. My mom worked to do it. She cooked, made stockings, decorated, invited people (lots of people) to come to the festivities. But my dad? He just made the fun. He told stories, true or not. Here my dad on the left (RIP) is amusing his brother-in-law, my Uncle E.C. (also RIP) with some story. The gift he has unwrapped is a pack of long matches for lighting the fireplace. Fire-building was his job. My Uncle E.C. loved to tell a story, too. They both enjoyed a bit of the spirits, too. I miss them both.

Friday, December 07, 2018

The Holiday Card Conundrum



Every year I wonder: Should I do holiday cards? What should they look like? Who should I send them to? How many should I order? Should I write a letter.? This year's answers: 

Yes, do a card. See design above. (That's a screenshot from Snapfish of my order. The Paramount Theater provided the photo. And, yes, they really put our names up there to shoot it. The small text says: "And make your New Year theatrical." The template was a Snapfish one so that was my entire contribution after sticking in the picture.) 

I ordered 140 flat cards with blank envelopes. I have written a template letter and, if I feel writing a letter is appropriate for the family or individual, I modify it to personalize it and print it out. So most cards won't have a letter included.

So far I've distributed 46 of the cards. Some I sent after I got a holiday card from someone. Some I sent because I expect to get a card. Some I sent with gift money enclosed.

I have hand-written both addresses and return address. 

I have a database of people's addresses on Access. It has 714 entries. It has many names where I've lost a proper address. I frequently 'scrub' the deceased and handle the couples who have parted ways. There are people in this database who no longer seem familiar to me. And I know a lot of people who aren't in this database that I interact with regularly or am 'friends' on Facebook with. They just never came into the 'snail mail' space although their emails may be in my contacts.

I have written something with a red pen on the back of the flat cards. 

I'll check the mail today and if I get cards from people who haven't been sent one, then I'll respond. 

I have exhausted this topic for yet another year. It makes me tired. I feel like the introvert I am at a cocktail party full of people I know but I don't know what to say to them.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

I Meant to Post Yesterday

I spent a lot of time yesterday in my chair, working puzzles, reading papers and watching the interminable memorial for the 41st President. I saw Jimmy and Rosalyn looking at their watches. I'm a generation younger. I would have needed a bathroom break before the thing started. I have gotten our Christmas tree out. (Normal size ornaments are shown for reference.) I still have a few tiny rubber animals to put on it. Ho. Hum. Or Bah Humbug.

Anyway, I spent time with my injured foot up so that I could walk a mile or so down the trail and go to a joint called Pool Burger near Deep Eddy Pool to celebrate someone's 55th birthday. The burgers were really good. They mixed me a couple of Manhattans. There was a big crowd of a lot of locally-famous people. It was fun. We took a rideshare home street level and I put my foot up and watched episodes of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." What I didn't do was write a daily entry here. So soon to fail.

Off to play tennis on my injured foot again. I was pretty tentative Tuesday. I think it's better but still swollen and bruised. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

And So It Begins...The Holiday Puzzle

There are certain things inextricably associated with holidays: food, drink, games, and puzzles. My only disappointment in spending Thanksgiving with relatives was that they spent the afternoon watching football (which I'm boycotting...more on that later) and there were no jigsaw puzzles or games. These things have always been a tradition that delighted me on holidays. So we are starting a thousand piece puzzle, having expanded our dining table to accommodate it on one end.

Monday, December 03, 2018

It's Always Something

Today's picture was taken in the house where I lived from about age 10-18. This was back when we put those silver icicles on the tree by tossing them up in the air and letting them fall. I recognize a couple of ornaments, the plastic angel for one. This tree looks pretty sad given the ones you see today. There are a lot of presents, but I really don't have any idea what year this was or what anyone got wrapped in those boxes.

Today I stood up when my foot was asleep and stepped awkwardly and turned my ankle. I expect to walk and stand a lot this week. I iced it but have some soreness and a bit of a bruised knot. Oh, and I'm supposed to play tennis tomorrow. Ah, well. This should be interesting. I already had a niggling after-effect of allergies.

I did get my Christmas decorations out of storage (but not put up) and I expanded the dining table leaf to accommodate the jigsaw puzzle. So, ready for Christmas season but actually falling apart.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Such an interesting time of the year for children who, like me decades ago, look forward to ripping off that colorful paper and having what the heart desires. Or maybe it would appear, unwrapped under the tree while you slept. These days, for us, there are rarely wrapped presents and no live, lopsided tree. I'm thinking this was at my grandparents' house in McKinney, Texas years ago although I could be wrong.

My husband and I are childless and orphaned (the parents would be 108, 102, 98, and 97 if they hadn't died at 100, 94, 91 and 80). This year we will go to parties, decorate in our own silly way, attend our annual performance of "The Nutcracker" by Ballet Austin, see "A Christmas Carol" at Zach Theater and a Holiday Chorale at The University of Texas.

We will put together a jigsaw puzzle: this year's choice is a 1000 piece image of a bookshelf!

I may make Welsh Rarebit from Fergus Henderson's cookbook, a tradition I tried to start last year after going to two St John restaurants in London in the summer and having it at both. Because: who doesn't like cheesy toast? And this recipe involves Guinness Stout.

 It will be quiet for us on the actual holidays although we may go out for dinner and jazz on Christmas Eve.

It's possible no presents will be wrapped. Or maybe we won't even have presents.

We will probably walk around downtown and the Capitol Grounds and take pictures of decorations in public spaces and shop windows. We will treat ourselves to some movies. We will watch lots of shows and movies on DVD, satellite, Netflix, Prime, etc.

There will be no anticipation or surprises (or disappointments) in gifts. I will trot out my 30-year-old red blazer and consider myself holiday-outfit worthy.

Truly, I enjoy the peaceful times, the days when we haven't scheduled any events and other people are gathering in masses. (Or attending masses: we aren't religious.)

So, have yourself a Merry Whatever.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Holidailies-Repetition Brings Reputation

First, a random Christmasy photo to celebrate the 'season.' (This was taken at an annual charity garage sale here in August at the beginning of November. They had lots of decorations for sale.)

I have written nothing in this space since I completed the last set of Holidailies posts. (This is a portal where people who pledge to write every day from December 1-January 1 post links to their entries.) I wrote about the phrase 'Repetition Brings Reputation' last year about this time as I geared up to write for Holidailies. I won't bore you with that again, but basically, if you want to do something (write) then you need to do lots of it! Right?

I have been considering writing a hypertext memoir. I dream up weird things like this to distract myself from completing anything or really writing. The title of the thing would be 'About 100 Things Concerning About 100 Topics Shaping My Life.' Each paragraph or short vignette would be categorized by one or more of the topics and would allow back and forth navigation between the relevant passages. One could simply read the memoir in a linear order or one could follow threads like 'photos' or 'links' or 'years' or 'beginnings' or 'endings' or 'people' or 'articles of clothing' or 'crosswords' or 'words.' This elaborate project isn't going much of anywhere beyond the 100x100 list which keeps growing. It would be a feat of HTML and thought. And, of course, it will just exist as an imaginary work like several novels and short stories in my head.

I did write one vignette about words the other day (that was also about crosswords): "In today’s (11/26/2018) NYT crossword, there was a clue (amasses?) and the answer was 'hoards' and FFP wanted to put in hordes. (We both do the NYT crossword on M-F by making a copy.) I had thought of using the word horde the other day in describing, I think, a gaggle of my cousin's family who planned to I go out for Mexican food the night before Thanksgiving. (As in 'I think I'll let you and your horde do that and we will have a quiet dinner by ourselves.') This is a most interesting homophone pair. They don't seem to have originated together although one could make a case that they could have. I looked both up in my old American Heritage Dictionary. Something I used to do quite often before the miracle of the Internet. I miss the serendipity of what else happened to be on the page where you were looking.
Horace was an answer in today's NYT puzzle, a Saturday that I couldn't quite finish. It was clued as 'Roman who wrote "Whatever advice you give, be brief!"'

And there's Bob Hope!

Anyway, I'm not good at brevity or getting to a point. But I'll be writing and rambling along for thirty-one more scintillating entries!

Come along. And read better stuff at holidailies.org,

Monday, January 01, 2018

Getting My Affairs in Order

If I have any resolutions (I don't really do them unless I do), it is all about 'getting my affairs in order.' People who are given a fatal diagnosis are often encouraged to do this. But we will all die. And I worry about troubling those I leave behind with pesky details.

I'll probably live another twenty years. (And outlive my money.) But you never know.

When FFP and I were first married, we read an article in a magazine. An elderly man had 'willed' himself to live during his wife's last fatal illness and then lived long enough to see her memorial headstone erected on her grave. I told FFP he needed to do that for me. I'd like to hold him to that only I worry about the things I do in our domestic and financial partnership that I haven't sufficiently explained. I worry about possessions that I'd leave behind that would seem burdensome. I went through first my mother's possessions, then my dad's and then FFP's parents.

We are taking down the Christmas decorations. The ones above are on top of a cabinet that you have to get the ladder out to reach. I haven't done that yet. What will someone make of all those bendies when I'm gone? And even more so, when both of us are gone. I'd like to get a jump on tossing stuff. (Although I think the Christmas 'toys' I put out this year are going to stay until I'm gone.)

I'd also like to feel like FFP could figure out the bills I pay, the WEB space and domains we own, how I organize various things, how I continuously balance our cash accounts, how I account for his Subchapter S business and communicate with the CPA to get all the tax forms done.

I don't know how many times I've started on this task and how many ways I've tried to do it. But maybe 2018 is the year. If I'm lucky.

Speaking of luck I ate black-eyed peas and cornbread and collard greens. We attended two 'good luck' New Year's Day parties. At one they grilled sardines which, I learned, some believe to be a good luck food. Fine by me because I love sardines and these were delicious.

And good luck to all the Holidailies folks out there who've been writing this month. I've enjoyed reading a few. Until next year.