Tag Archives: Christmas

Holly Happy Days (2010) Song Ranking

30 Jan

23.1% awesome; 38.5% good; 15.4% 23.1% OK; meh; skip out of 13

3 awesome
I Feel the Christmas Spirit
The Wonder Song
Happy Joyous Hanukkah

I’m not really a fan of Christmas music. Only because I’ve been oversaturated with it. The songs are nice, but then there are 800 remakes of the same 10 songs. So you hear them over, and over, and over. That is why this album is in my top 3 for Christmas all time (after TSO & Michael Buble’). The Indigo Girls made an all-inclusive, unique album, and I love that.

5 good
I’ll be Home for Christmas
It Really Is (A Wonderful Life)
Angels We Have Heard On High
Your Holiday Song
O Holy Night

2 ok
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
In the Bleak Midwinter

3 meh
Mistletoe
Peace Child
There’s Still My Joy

Skip

Reflection: Best Moments of 2020 (good to very, very best)

31 Dec

*Covid-19 note: We haven’t been into public since March 14, when we were sent home to work. Other than contact-free vet appointments, walks around the neighborhood (crossing the street if there were other people), and one curb-side pick up of Bountiful Baskets in March. Other than that, we have not had contact with people or gone anywhere. So a few of these items (marked with *) happened before America took Covid-19 seriously, so don’t worry about us being covidiots. Pics on items w/o * are from prior years. About when the sports-world went dark, I realized it was an emergency. Then, after we no longer had to go to the work building we didn’t go anywhere.

-Instead of being in an old stadium very far from where it’s feasible to see games, Covid-19 allowed us to see way more televised WNBA games then ever before. And our favorite team, Seattle Storm, won! And our favorite player, Sue Bird did AWESOME!!!

-My awful/lazy/inept supervisor got transferred to a different department. What a relief.

-Labor Dave Weekend (drive in YouTube streaming). This sounds kinda sad, but it was actually better than having to miss it year after year when we moved away from WAshington. We always went when we lived in Seattle and Spokane, but it was too difficult and expensive from Utah and Arizona. But it would happen without us, and people would talk and post pics, so it was a hurt for missing out year after year. But not this year! We saw exactly what everyone else saw. For free! From the cleanliness and comfort of our own home. No expense. No long drive. No parking craziness. No $13 shitty nachos. No terrible and overpriced shasta beer. No wind or dust. It was an introvert’s dream!

-Christmas was spread out: online shopping before Halloween, decorating in November, cooking in December. I’m usually disgruntled about the holiday season b/c I’m completely overwhelmed and there are all these expectations and societal pressures. But spread over 3 months is more festive, and less stressful! I’m doing it this way from now on.

This isn’t it, but similar

*Mardi Gras: went out to eat, had the cake, watched YouTube videos, listened to podcasts, had a gold/green/purple outfit. Just got really into it!

-My former Supervisor only did one 1:1 with me in the year (the company mandates a monthly one on one for each employee) and that one didn’t include my numbers, so I always thought I was doing shitty.  Because I only ever heard when I was fucking up.  BUT my new Supervisor had a 1:1 with me and shared my production info (1st time I’d ever seen it).  

Feb 212.45% of goal

Mar 173.86% of goal

April 149.10% of goal

May 158.03% of goal

June-July I was in training

Aug 143.61% of goal

Sept 144.99% of goal

Oct 148.42% of goal

Nov 156.53% of goal

Dec 159.88% of goal

Avg 156.39% of goal

So I had been so nervous all of the times, having the perception I wasn’t doing well. And people kept telling me all these things I wasn’t doing right, but nobody ever told me what I had been doing right. So it was nice to see I was kicking ass on my production!

*Phoenix Lights of the World. We were smart and went in January. So we totally missed the crowds–which made it so much more fun! There were all kinds of giant animals and stuff related to each of the continents. So it was good pictures, and a non-crowded, non-stressful time. After we’re vaccinated and things are happening again, we’ll make sure to hit this in January after the holiday crowds have dispersed.

-lots of time saved with delivery groceries. This is a luxury that we usually don’t never have indulged.

-Good music. 2020 had a lot of albums that I liked, and special mention for Taylor Swift putting out not one but two surprise albums. And both inspired me to analyze, which I like, and stretches my brain.

-sitting outside in the yard w/the kitties. Because we were home all the time, we had a lot more time with each other and the kitties–which I loved. And because it’s AZ, the weather allowed us to work outside, and sit outside, and play games like ladders and jumbo jenga outside. And without all the showering, commuting/traffic, errands, and all that we gained lots of hours in our week. It was beautiful, and I want to keep it this way forever!

*Innings Festival. The last event in Feb before we knew Covid-19 was upon us. We love music. We love food. We love drinking in a park. And this year the headliner was Dave Matthews Band! Also, the venue is in very close proximity to our house, so it’s very convenient. It was a good, good time, as Dave would say.

-less guilt about ordering delivery restaurant food. We love restaurant food, but know it’s full of fat and salt, and really hurts the wallet. But with grocery stores getting striped, and delivery difficult sometimes, this became nearer to a necessity item. Which has been such a treat! I’ll be sad when we’re able to go back inside a grocery store and this is over. We’ve eaten really well this quarantine 🙂

*got a treadmill! My used Craigslist treadmill finally died before we moved to AZ. And we lived in a teeny, tiny 3rd floor apartment for nearly 2 years, so we didn’t replace it. But this year in Feb, I used my bonus money to get a really nice (new to us) used one. It is SO much easier to run my daily mile. And I don’t know what I would have done without it during this pandemic. We use it every. single. day. And I love it.

-(contact-free) getting a kitten–Bison. We had been discussing a kitten for some time now, and had even named a future kitten. When we found out we got to work from home, we thought it would be the perfect time to situate a new kitten. So we got Bison. He is very ginormous framed, so he doesn’t look like a kitten, but he’s only one, so he’s a true baby. And he is hyper. But also he’s a really good kitten.

-working from home. My favorite movie for the longest time was Copycat. I thought the premise was clever, and it was suspenseful and historical. And I thought the actors did a good job. But I was truly enamored with the agorophbic lifestyle. She had 3 computers, a mansion-apartment, an online chess game, delivery food–everything you’d want. Like, I’m not afraid to leave my house, but that movie made being a shut-in look really classy and cozy. And I’m not kidding when I say it’s been my dream to live that way ever since I saw it. What a relief it would be! But I thought I’d either have to win the lottery or retire in order to achieve it. But 2020 has been a lot like that.

Our CEO is old-school and said nobody, never, ever would work from home for any length of time ever. And when the pandemic began, all 200 of us worked at low cubes in that same room, sharing 2 bathrooms. Then, when the hospitals were getting overwhelmed, work said we would be split into an A group and a B group and every other week one or the other would work from home so the people remaining in the office could socially distance. They still didn’t really want to let us work from home. But pretty soon, Covid-19 was real bad, and we were all allowed to work from home all the time.

Other than Covid-19, it really has been a dream come true for me. I never realized how tired just going to the office had been making me. I felt rested during the day for the first time in like a decade! And my stress and anxiety went waaaaay down. And we never skipped another workout. Everything good is happening since we’ve been able to work from home. I love it so much, and hope we get to keep doing it forever.

I’m Sorry that You’re a Bitch

3 Sep

I’m so sorry I came when you invited me–

I didn’t realize I’d be the fourth party

 

And what a mistake I made going away when you didn’t want me

at your Thanksgiving dinner, you didn’t invite me to

spending the night in the break room

just sleeping in a place with a bathroom

since the one where I was living was through your dining room

But I cleaned and that’s such an infraction

you came in for chairs and saying nothing was your reaction

I’m sorry your later statement was a contrived exaggeration

 

I’m contrite I worked to the best of my ability–

and I apologize I came to my own work party

And I regret that you manipulated the gift giving

 

what a criminal using my kennel duty keys

And I’m genuinely regretful you were spying on me

I was such a thug feeding and dog walking

 

And what a mistake I made asking my mentor for a letter

it was very pushy and I guess I should have known better

Good thing you called the school and said, “forget (h)er”

best of 2019

4 Jan

Day of the Dead

I painted my face and wore my senorita dress and monarch butterfly wings to work.  Cool and I did an offrenda to our deceased loved ones, and I liked having a happy time to think about them and remember them.

 

work x-mas party

One of the supervisors really outdid herself and planned a fun party with catered food, nice decorations (including wine glasses with our work and the year etched on them as memento), a photo booth where we got copies of the pictures, cash bar, and a dj.  Cool wanted to go very badly, and even though parties are later than my bedtime and make me stressed out and anxious I agreed to go.

And once I got some wine in me, I loosened up and had fun.  The people that sat at our table were tipsy to drunk, but that made them really talkative and friendly, and it was nice to finally interact with people at work!  Some coworkers dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus and really put a lot of effort into the costumes, so we asked them to take a picture with us.  And it turned out really cute.  Maybe we’ll make it a future Christmas card.  And Cool and I took a picture together with a giant rose as a prop, which turned out really cute.  And it’s special because we never get pictures with both of us.  I even got up on the dance floor and did the 7 moves I know–and people were trying to keep me to come dance in the middle of the circle (I did not).  It was a success!

 

played Jenga at Social Hall

After we went to the zoo (also one of our favorite things to do) we stopped at Social Hall for lunch.  It turned out to be happy hour and our server was really nice and good too.  This never happens in Arizona.  We noticed when we first moved here that the service pretty much everywhere and every time of day, is bad.  Like abyssal.  But she was friendly and efficient so it was a special treat.

They have games inside and a big patio with a jumbo Jenga game made of 2×4-size wood.  Cool and I played and generally just had an unexpected fun time.

 

parents visit

I wanted my parents to see where we live, our cute house, our favorite spots…  So they came, but it was July when everyone is hot in AZ, and un-acclimated people want to die.  Not the optimal timing.  And I am very much conscious of utilities and we usually keep the temp no lower than 90F because in AZ you could easily spend $300+ on utilities if you let yourself be comfortable.  Anyway, so it’s not a good time of year for visitors.  But I wanted them to see and have fun, and that’s when they could come so we tried to make the best of it.

I planned a very detailed itinerary to try to accommodate everyone’s needs and desires:

zoo-because all 4 of us are animal lovers.

Sephora- to try scents and makeup and lotion.

heard museum-because it’s personal history to all of us and I knew they would all like it.  Also, it’s free the first Friday of every month.

aquarium-this was not on my itinerary, but we had time between plans so we made it happen.

movie-Cool and I are addicted to the luxiorious movie experience with the comfy seats and restaurant-food and bev brought right to your seat.  So I wanted my parents to enjoy it also.  And–it’s an AC space (AC I’ not paying for).

book store-  All 4 of us are readers and we have a local bookstore that also serves snacks, coffee, and adult beverages.

casino & buffet- to bring a little of my parent’s home to the visit.

brunch-for my birthday!  I love brunch so much!!!

WNBA-I wanted to go to a game for my birthday, and I got us 1st row tickets (closest seats of ever) to enjoy.

We really packed in the activities and they are already Cool and my favorite activities, so it was fun to share them.

 

color run

Not only was it a color run, it was unicorn-themed and that’s like my favorite ever.  Cool was a good sport and even dressed up in complementary-colored tutu with me.  They had all kinds of selfie stations, and threw color on us as we ran.  The location was beautiful, and the sunrise in AZ is always gorgeous.  So it was a fun time with tons of cute stuff!

 

tour de fat

We discovered this in 2018, and at that time I spontaneously danced in a talent show.  Which was very fun.  Except I finished the routine with crowd-pleasing splits (with zero stretching/preparation) and messed up my hamstring for the 8 following months.  But it had been a real fun time, so we went again.

This year it was much hotter, so I was drenched in sweat the whole time.  But we dressed adorable, tried new beer, and spectated some of their quirky contests and shows.  It’s always a unique and entertaining time!

 

pride wk at work

Since Phoenix summers are uncomfortable (an understatement) the city has Pride in April.  Which is really a terrible idea.  Because everyone else is doing Pride in June and nobody in the spring, so AZ is out of sync, and it ends up being lackluster as a result.  Also, it can still be 95-100F in April, so it’s not really even a nicer temperature to most people.  I could tell the people in the parade were hot and uncomfortable, fizzling, and spirited by the halfway mark.  They really need to find a stadium with a roof or somewhere cooler to hold the thing–in June.

So that’s why when work agreed to celebrate a Pride week in June it was like the best thing!  We dressed up and got to partake a little bit in what the rest of the nation was talking about so much.  Also, I’m really proud of my company for being inclusive, accepting, and going as far as celebrating the week.  Makes me feel safer and more welcome.

 

AZ fair

So in AZ, it’s less of a fair with animals and crafts and more of a carnival.  Which I guess for a city in the middle of a desert makes a lot of sense.  It was just different from what we’d experienced before.  Animals were hard to locate, and there weren’t many.  Crafts were not plentiful either.  Plant stuff was literally 12 pumpkins and the honey people–that’s it.  So that felt weird.

I found residential parking so we didn’t have to pay the $10 or fight the crowd, and that made me over-the-moon excited.  We just had to walk an extra mile, which is no problem for us.  We walk all the time.  They had all kinds of giant fair food and beverages to pick from.  There were rides, but the safety of those sketches me out so we didn’t do any of those.  But we did try our hand at a couple of the games, knowing they are rigged, but just wanting to enjoy the experience.  I did the Wack-a-Mole, and am so good at hitting those vermin that I won a prize!!!  Which never happens to me.  And it wasn’t just a little dinky thing, it was a good sized purple sparkly unicorn!  So that was super-cool.

 

brunch crawl

I saw it on social media and spontaneously (which I never am) bought tickets for the next day.  As you know I love a brunch!  All around town there were deals at the restaurants on pre-fix brunch stuff.  So we got to try a few different places all in one day.  And we found some new gems in town that we had gone to before and ended up being tasty and pleasant.

 

Halloween costume

I always think I’m going to lazy out of the costume and just wear something easy from a previous year, but then the spirit hits me.  This year I went from easy bear I already had to…fish!  I learned how to do mermaid face-paint that looks like fishnet.  Got some purple tights.  Painted my Mohawk blue.  And made a fin out of closed butterfly wings.  I looked amazing (if I do say so myself).  And I enjoy painting faces a lot, and am getting better and better at it.  And the planning phase is fun too.  Also, not gonna lie, but the accolades are fun to get as well.

 

my mohawk

My hair was long, just out of laziness and being cheap.  But I made the mistake of trying to save money by box dying it.  And Cool and I were actually getting really good at the process.  Even the lady who cut my hair said she has worked with professionals that didn’t do as nice a job of even coverage as we had–which I took as a major complement.  Anyway, box dye does horrible damage to hair.  I knew that before, but I didn’t realize just trimming it wasn’t going to fix it.  It was the kind of thing that I was going to have to trim and trim until all of it was cut off so I could start fresh.  And that sounded like a long plan.  But Cool suggested I get a mohawk.  And I’ve had short hair before, but nothing so dramatic or trend-specific.  But I am feisty and fun (and also thought it would be easier to just cut all the dye off at once) so I found some pictures.  The haircut went well and I felt cooler than I actually am.  I got a lot of genuine compliments at work–like people coming out of their way to tell me they loved it.  Not just the ‘I noticed a change and say nice hair’ stuff that you sometimes get with a fashion risk.  And not everyone liked it, but I was totally OK with that too.  Some people are old, gender-conforming, or conservative.  And I don’t care about any of those group’s opinions.  I thought I looked awesome and that’s what mattered!

 

 

#3:  Left Mck

I had been relieved to have a job after the terror of both my mate and I losing our jobs in the same week.  And for over a month.  I was really afraid.  But then, the job just wasn’t what I can accept.  I don’t want to be treated as dispensable.  Don’t want to be micromanaged and watched to the extent I feel like I’m living in a Big-Brother world.  I want to know ahead of time if I will be in my same team, position, or location–not told right as it’s happening.  I don’t want to constantly be training new people all the time all the time, without being in some leadership position or getting a raise or recognition for doing that.  And I sure as fuck don’t want to commute.  So I was ecstatic when I got a job close to the house and could leave all of that behind.  I just wish I hadn’t had to lose all the acquaintances/friends I was getting to know.

 

#2:  10 year anniversary with my mate- Nov

What a special time!  Cool and I have made it ten years and now it sounds just as substantial to others as we always felt about ourselves.  It’s really neat to be able to say ‘decade’ and also really a relief that this is it.  Love.

 

#1:  Got a permanent job

As much of a relief as it is not to be a precarious temp having to worry constantly about messing up and losing a job, and having to save every penny for just in case–this happened really late.  It was promised that in 90 days I would go perm.  Feet were dragged for additional months.  So when it did happen, it was less of a happy occasion and more of a what took so long?  But now life in Arizona can truly start and I’m really happy for stability.  I want 2020 to be the year of stability!

Moments of 2015-Good

1 Jan

I usually like to post all my reflections by December 31st and all my aspirations on January 1st.  Because of a full-time work schedule, and a holiday visit–it didn’t happen this year.  I’m setting aside more time tomorrow to write, but I did want to get something up on the actual 1st.  Even though I really didn’t have time because I spent the day rearranging the whole living room, organizing all the books, textbooks, class notes, and scrapbook items, and cleaning.  And that was a huge project, which was worth it because it looks so much nicer in here, there is more space (somehow, even though we added a bunch), and it’s less cluttered.  Anyway, so you’ll see the most important items in the countdown are unfinished.  But the post has to be posted on this date, I’m hungry, and times a tickin.  So I’ll edit it after dinner and after Cool goes to sleep, but for now–bare with me.

15-the relief of staying at the Missoula hotel at a halfway point in our move.

We hadn’t planned on spending the money.  Plus, the cats are generally horrible in hotels, and no sleep is had anyway.  But we finished packing, and loaded the Pensky in record time–like it was noon or something equally early.  So we decided why stay in a dusty, empty apartment when we could just shave off some miles.  We made a spur-of-the-moment reservation at our lucky hotel (lucky because they had an opening WITHOUT a reservation on Independence Day and saved me from a major allergy attack.  And from camping at pow-wow in the dust (and allergens).  The cats even slept a little that night and it made it a more bearable two day trip rather than one long haul.

14-getting a full-time position with a schedule that still allowed me to see Cool

You never know when homophobia will rear it’s ugly head.  I wasn’t sure if any work or housing protections are in place for LGBT people.  Besides, this is Utah–known for Mormons more than tolerance.  Also, work has a policy against spouses working in the same department.  Even though we’re not legal or married or domestically partnered in any way, if they want to make a case against you, they can usually find a way.  In short, asking for an alternative schedule to SEE Cool was a touchy subject.  With driving time, her job keeps her away from home from 8:15AM to 3:30PM and mine was supposed to be 4:30PM to 1:30AM.  We would see each other for 1 hour each day–while getting undressed from work (Cool) ready for work (me), and eating dinner.  It just wasn’t going to be enough.  And especially with bipolar in the mix and needing to stay apprised of the situation, it was going to be a major hardship.  I got brave and negotiated a good schedule, then it was promptly reneged (see bad moments blog).  In the end, work couldn’t give that other bitch Sundays, because that left Saturdays empty.  I was still not trained enough to take that day, and the other kid who could take it (and didn’t want Saturday, of course) is a lead–so he MUST work M-F.  So because they couldn’t move the lead, I did end up getting my schedule.  But not because they were doing me any favors.  Still, I’ll take what I can get.  And now I LOVE my schedule.  It’s really ideal.

13-Temple Square at Christmas

temple square christmas

Who knew Mormon Christmas festivity would make my top-of-the-year list?!  No, I haven’t been drinking the Utah koolade, it’s just that spectacular.  Around the temple, every tree, bush, and pond is saturated with lights.  There’s music and wreaths, and a really nice atmosphere.  Both malls have decorations, and all of downtown is dressed up for Christmas.  We took pictures, Cool stood in the middle of someone else’s marriage proposal, and we saw a fountain/light show to Christmas songs.  The best part?  We live within walking distance.  We did not have to fight for parking or make our way through the heavy traffic to enjoy it.  It’s so nice, people come from all over the state to partake.

12-exploring SLC, especially walking around the city

green haze

We didn’t move into this apartment complex to be downtown.  It just so happened that the ONLY apartment in our price range that accepted pets, AND actually called us back was practilly downtown.  We can walk less than a mile and be at both malls, the planetarium, the sports/concert arena, farmer’s market, the rapid transit–all downtown has to offer.  We took full advantage on the warm days, and even some of the freezing ones, walking everywhere this year.  And we’ve explored and taken pictures, and genuinely enjoyed this new city.  I can’t wait to explore more areas while increasing our step counts.

11-getting true weekends off of work

My whole working life I worked weekends.  Kennel work, of course, requires cleaning and feeding the animals.  As an assistant, I had to medicate animals as well.  In janitorial, those are the off-hours available to deep-clean.  I’ve never had a true entire Saturday, entire Sunday off.  Every weekend.  So when I went to a corporate job it was a really nice treat being in sync with the rest of the world (and Cool).  This only lasted for 3 months, but it was MY choice to work Sundays, and I exchanged it for Friday and Saturdays off and a late-start on Wednesday, so I’m still winning.

10-having a larger, brighter, more functional kitchen

kitchen

I knew I didn’t love the galley kitchen in Spokompton.  It was dark and unventilated and there was very little storage.  But I didn’t really how much I hated it until I got a huge, bright, super-storage kitchen that was more open.  All the kitchen stuff fits in it, AND there’s counter space!

9-getting a job in another state, before we moved

Moving is horribly stressful.  And it’s expensive.  I feel like it’s 2015, you should be able to secure jobs and housing online–but we are not there yet.  You pretty much have to be IN the state you’re moving to in order to get the job and housing.  Which is a major problme when you’re not made of money.  Because where do you stay in the meantime?  And how do you pay deposit and rent if you are not working (and you don’t know when you will be)?  It’s very scary and logistically almost impossible.  But, luckily, Cool’s Spokane company had openings within different departments in Utah.  So she couldn’t tansfer, but she was pretty well guarenteed a position in the company.  So she got a job.  Then, they had another opening in her company, and since I have a medical background and a minor in chemistry (and knew Cool), I got a job.  It was one of the greatest moments of my life because I was hired over the phone!  And it was a big relief because it gave some answers to questions and a safety net.

8-the entire Christmas visit to my parents’ house–especially the owl painting.

our owls--mine, Cools, Dad, Mom

We saw my parents a third time–a record–over Christmas.  It was special, because I’ve rarely gotten time off of work to go anywhere.  Especially over a holiday.  And Cool could come again.  So it would be the biggest Christmas I’ve ever had.  When I was growing up, it was just my parents and I because extended family lives in Montana where winter weather makes travel dangerous.  And after I moved out, vet hospitals got busy because everyone else was on vacation so where either boarding pets or using that time to catch up on their appointments, or bringing them in for Christmas-related emergencies.  So I always had to work, and be by myself over the holidays.  So it was special just having the 4 of us together.  But my parents had got Cool and I a surprise.  And they were so excited about  it.  And really building up the anticipation.  We were really worked up into a frenzy about what it could be.  At the very end, I guessed it was a painting session, and I was right!  So we were excited to try it because my parents had a good time with it previously–and you get to keep what you paint.  And my dad especially was all weird when we got there, because he was actually excited to paint, and for us to paint.  It’s a big deal, because he’s usually stoic.  The painting process was fun, and seeing all of our creations was a pleasure that lasted and lasted.  We gazed upon them, commented on their different personalities and styles, and looked some more.  We rearranged them and rearranged them again.  The whole thing was really the best from start to finish!

7-running on the trail with Cool

Aquarium with parents 134

Historically Cool HATES running.  And she’s not fun to run with because she slacks off, complains, and just doesn’t want to be there.  But this summer the stars aligned, she was in generally better shape, the weather was nice, and the trail new and beautiful.  We ran almost every day together.  She (mostly) actually ran, mostly without complaint too.  It was a time we could work on our fitness, then we walked back to the car together.  It was a really good time, being out and nature and having no distractions or screens, so we just caught up and talked to each other.  It was really nice times and now that our schedules are opposite, I miss it terribly.

6-Getting to see Brandi Carlile in concert

brandi and twins onstage

Duh!  Brandi always puts on an outstanding show.  Even though I wasn’t in love with the new album, I loved the way she performed the songs live.  She makes the crowd feel like family.  She gets me jazzed up and also moves my heart.  We weren’t stressed about standing in line or getting a good seat, so I was just able to relax and enjoy myself–unheard of for me.

5-Hope:  Moving to a better, cleaner city with better job prospects and working a job that might offer future (non-veterinary) prospects for me.

Spokane only offered so much.  We had sort of burned through what few prospects it had and were reaching a dead-end.  We didn’t want to get a Spokompton mentality or get stuck and be unable to move out, and unable to move UP in life.  So coming to Utah was amazing.  It opened doors and gave us options again.  Plus it’s a really clean, safe, walkable city where Spokane is not.

4-getting a washer/dryer

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This was a long time coming!  I had been doing coin-op since I moved out of my parents house in 2003.  And it sucked pretty much the whole time.  Taking your laundry out of your house is a burdan.  No matter the sute dorm bags, you still have to haul it.  And not just out to the washer.  You then have to leave the comfort of your house to change it to the dryer.  That’s if you trusted enough to leave it unattended in the first place.  Then you have to make a third trip to collect it from the dryer.  And good luck getting it dry–it’s never dry!  That costs a boat-load of money and forget any special care instructions or color-sorting.  That’s just not practical.  Also, think about if the cat pees on something.  Or you spill something.  Or after camping when everything is all icky.  You can’t always go to the laundry facilities at 4AM or midnight, so you then have to store that ultra-dirty stuff.  And it’s ick.  So getting a washer/dryer was AMAZING!  Now we are real people, and I love it pretty much every time I throw something into the laundry basket.

3-when my parents visited over the summer-especially the aviary day

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It took my parents 5 years to visit me in Missouri.  And we hadn’t seen them since 2010.  So when they came to Salt Lake City almost immediately after we moved here, I was really excited.  Even better, I had a training schedule at work that was only 25 hours per week–so I actually had time to see them.  We visited the aquarium and went to Cheesecake Factory, and showed them a lot of the same sights we had just barely discovered.  Nobody fought the whole time, which was a record!  That hadn’t happened in forever–we had gone through such tumultuous times.  So it was all really special and really fun.  The best was when the 4 of us visited the Aviary.  We got to feed Sun Canards by hand, watch a show, and just look at all the bird exhibits.  I love going to animal places normally, and including my parents and Cool was optimal!

2-when Cool and I had the exact same schedule, and worked together

It seems like Cool and I are always ending up on opposite schedules.  In Spokompton, I worked days, weekends, went to school, and pretty much studied the rest of the time.  While she worked swing shift.  We barely saw each other.  Then, when we got here, we suddenly had the same job, in the same department, and we worked the exact same hours.  We had the same sleep schedule, got to hang out together all day, then worked in the same room.  I loved those few months!  We could do all the errands together instead of 1 person having to suffer through it alone.  We could both clean the apartment at the same time, so it was faster and equal responsibility.  Our runs could happen together.  We had time to talk and hang out. . .  Then at work, it’s independent, but we could take our breaks together.  But then, Cool got an job offer doing billing in a cubicle upstairs which is more tailored to her personality, so in July or August, she went to the day shift and a different part of the building.  But being together was sure nice while it lasted.

1-DMB/Hot air balloons

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We visited Nevada and had a great time with my parents!  My mom and I went in some historic railroad cars and got lost in Tahoe.  We were both very scared (we’ve seen the helicopters searching for unprepared stupids on TV many times) and despite that, we never fought!  Which is unheard of for us.  Especially when there’s no buffer person with us.  And very especially when we’re stressed.  So that was a milestone.  We also, on that trip, got to see Dave Matthews Band in Tahoe.  Which our seats were in the perfect spot, and it was fun to have my mom along–since she hadn’t been to a real concert in forever.  And DMB is always one of the best times.  But, the very, very best time was the balloons.  My mom and I had gone in 1994.  And it was miserable.  3 AM is too early, especially when you’re 9 yaesr old.  Even though it’s September, Nevada is COLD at that time in the morning, and we hadn’t dressed for it.  Also, back then, they didn’t sell blankets or sweatshirts, or warm beverages.  We got starving, and they didn’t sell food back then either.  My mom and I didn’t have a blanket to sit on, let alone chairs.  So the whole time we were tired, cold, hungry, cold, uncomfortable, cold, dusty, and cold.  It’s difficult to enjoy even the best things when you’re so physically uncomfortable–and I did not.  So ever since then I wanted a do-over.  I’d be prepared THIS time!  But September and college in no way work together.  Every time the Great Reno Balloon Race came around I was just starting school.  Or in Missouri, and getting ready for the first round of exams.  Or working at vet hospitals and unable to take a busy weekend off.  This year, I was only working a training schedule–and they had screwed me over on that PRN deal, so I didn’t feel guilty at all taking a week off.  I wasn’t in any kind of school for the first time in TEN years.  We could stay with my parents so it didn’t cost a bunch of money to visit.  I packed winter layers knowing I would be cold.  We made our own snacks and took hot coffee in thermoses.  We didn’t have chairs or remember a blanket, but everything else fell into place.  I was ready to enjoy myself this time!  We got a good parking spot and walked to the event, then stood/sat in one of the only empty areas.  We got to see the dueling balloons in the dark, and dawn patrol as the sun was rising.  I got great pictures.  Then, the BEST part was mass ascention.  We had unknowingly sat right down in the middle of the field, so all the balloons were blown up all the way around us.  We were right in the middle of the action!  And I got more good pictures.  It was even greater because my parents and Cool were there and everyone was in good spirits having a good time.  I had anticipated the event so much, and had previously been so disappointed, that this was AMAZING!  Now, I can’t wait to do it again.

our DMB posters

 

Overall, 2015 was a time of doubt and uncertainty.  But it was a very family-focused year and that salvaged things a lot.

 

Disingenuine (a non-poem)

24 Dec

I have used that title for a blog post before (in 2007?) but I think it’s appropriate today.  I read that poem, and though it’s total Douch-baggery to say, I think it’s good.  It still conveys my emotions about the time, and that person really well.  This one is not a poem, but a scenario.  One that made me feel disappointed and. . .  bad.  Not angry, but bad (for lack of better word).  Also, bare with me, because I’m really tired, so quality on this isn’t going to be outstanding.

Work.  Yes, that again.  These trouble never really go away, do they?  I suppose until I finish my education and AZ gatormove on with my life, they never will.  I was asked to work 2 additional hours today, which I did.  And I went in early to do processor chem.  While I was doing all the washing, chemicals, and horribleness that is processor chem, my boss comes near me and says, “I left something from the clinic in your shoe.”  That was it.  No “Merry Christmas!”, no “I hope you have a happy holiday!”, no “We thought we would do something nice for all your hard work.”  The whole thing felt forced to me.  An obligation.  I got the feeling my boss saw a Christmas tid-bit as some sort of job that HAD to be done, and that she wasn’t terribly excited about–maybe even–what’s the word–not quite put-out or stressed, but something that was an effort and that she didn’t really want to do or love doing.

The gift doesn’t really matter–this post isn’t about the fact I was down-graded, no doubt because I’ve left Forster-my x-mas 11Fridays.  It was the SPIRIT of the gift-giving I had a problem with.  I almost gave it back, but thought that would create drama, which isn’t my goal.  Getting the gift, made me feel icky, no happy or joyful or appreciative.  And that just isn’t the point, is it?  I felt like I had caused. . .  Hardship–that’s not quite right either.  I told you I’m tired.  I felt like if they didn’t have the right intentions behind the gift, then they shouldn’t have given it at all.

I had given everyone at work personalized, home-made, thoughtful gifts the last 2 years.  Because that’s who I normally am as a person.  I’m actually very thoughtful and thankful–this has just sapped all of that out of me. birch trees on Mars-upright All the baggage at work has made me more standoffish–and who could blame me?  The way they have treated me. . .  But this Christmas, because I did not feel the same good will and cheerful intent, I didn’t get any of them anything.  And not out of meanness, or drama, but becuase I didn’t feel it.  You should ony do nice things if your heart is actually in the right place.  I don’t wish them ill-will, but I’m fairly indifferent now, due to the past.  I think they should have done the same, if they didn’t really want to give me anything.  After all, employment is a contract.  I work, they pay me, we don’t OWE each other any more then that–certainly not Christmas cheer or presents.

I’m not going to whatever dinner they’re planning (in the same, “I have to do this” sort of spirit) in the near Walking about-July 2012 014future.  It was announced as if it was inconveniance, but had to be done.  It was made clear spouses were NOT invited.  And no one ASKED, just informed me to pick a date that would work.  So I have no intention of partaking in that for several reasons:  1.)  It is also disingenuine.  2.)  I do not like, and do not want to spend time with anyone at work–it’s bad enough I have to deal with them AT work.  Life is too short to hang out with people out of obligation and phoniness.  3.)  I do not like going places without Cool.  4.)  I do not like going places.  Or leaving my jammies. Especially if no paycheck or grades are involved and especially, especially since it’s at night and cold outside.  5.)  I’m afraid alcohol would be involved, and I do not want to deal with that scene at all.  I’m not sure how I’m going to get out of going (maybe the idea will fizzle out all-together anyway) without looking bitchy or creating drama, but there is 0% I’m showing up to anything like that.

It’s too bad that all this negativity is occuring around and because of Christmas.  That’s not really what the season is all about.  I’m going to try to forget how sad I am about this deterioration the whole thing, and have a genuinly good time with people who truly love me for who I am–my family:  Cool and the kitties, with a call to my parents in there somewhere.  Maybe I’ll donate the gift card to someone who really needs it, because I have all these bad feelings associated with it now.

 

I Just Wanted to Write

21 Dec

I don’t have anything in particular to share–nothing to say.  It just sounded like a cool idea to write tonight.

I’m getting more excited for new years then Christmas.  Honestly, I don’t love how capitalism has taken over chicago zoo lightsChristmas, and I have never really loved the uber-tradtional family-centered holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I’VE never had huge family gatherings.  I had to work most of the time on those holidays.  I have been unable to travel to my loved ones the majority of those times.  So it seems somewhat of a let-down.  Not because I don’t make the most out of those holidays, and not because I am particularly disappointed.  It just doesn’t meet the hype, or fall into expectations.

But New Years–I can get on board with that.  And not for drinking/party/social reasons.  I’ve only gone OUT on spikeone New Years Eve/New Years.  And I found that very empty and unworthwhile.  I like the time for reflection and new beginnings.  New Years is a day for assessment and goals.  A day to take it easy and work on myself.  I’m excited for that this year.

But Christmas will be fun.  We’re eating crepes with my Aunt tomorrow (in an effot to take Holiday-Lights-Display-in-a-Garden-JSC3782alcohol out of the equation) then making tid-bits to snack on.  Oh, and hopefully, finding/buying Rusty an oil cap.  We 4×4 around town today, getting lost on the way to sledding.  And Rusty was a trooper, but smelled really hot after such intense driving.  So I thought I would give a drink of oil before heading home.  But because I was in gloves, I dropped the stupid cap somewhere in the hood.  And we couldn’t find it in there because it was getting dark.  Then on the communt home, I heard a clunk, and am pretty sure the dumb cap must have dropped out on the road.

I’m fretting about that.  Will I be able to find the cap?  Will the cap work in between something important withinimages the hood?  Are auto stores open on Sunday?  Does the cap come in a specific size, and will it be easy to obtain?  If I can’t get the cap tomorrow will I be OK to drive to work and home on Monday?  Then of course what happens when everything stops for the Osborne Family Lights (c) disneyholiday and I still don’t have a cap?  On and on–endless worrying.

But the holidays.  Back to those.  It will be nice to have Cool and I both home simultaneously.  That was a weird scene.  We live off a side-street and some flatwheel with x-mas music and a live Santa waving from a-top of a lit float just drove by as if a parade was going on.  And now it’s all dark and quiet again out there.  I have no idea. . .

 

Just Appreciate the Sentiment

23 Dec

bearI am so tired of the “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” December refrain debate.  Firstly, I think it’s nice that people take the time to wish one another a good future for that little piece of December.  For someone to turn that nice gesture around to be something negative is idiotic.  Really.  If you’re a Jehovah Witness, Jewish, atheisest, or something else that doesn’t celebrate CHRISTmascrazy tree and someone wishes you a merry one, why say anything but thank you?  Don’t make a federal case out of it–they just mean to tell you they are thinking about you and have a little bit nicer of a life–big deal if it wasn’t your denomination.

I end up saying “Happy Holidays” more often, just because how could I possibly know every single person’s personal religious and spiritual dragonbeliefs?  So I find saying holiday is more all-inclusive.  But some people take issue with taking the Christ out of Christmas.  Lame.  Don’t they know where the word holiday came from in the first place?  Holiday started as HOLY-day.  Holy–meaning a very Biblical root, indeed.  So saying Happy Holidays isn’t the ruin of Jesus’ birthday, people.

Yesterday, I had to work reception–which is an endeavor for sure.  I’m cross-trained, but usually my x-mas 2always in the back.  So I was, of course, nervous.  Though I don’t work the front much at this particular hospital, I was one of two receptionists for 6 weeks in Seattle, and was the primary receptionist for 4 months at DVVH–so I’m no stranger to the wave-like influx of people.  But Saturday, I did not get one non-client trying to get in, no crazy emergencies called, no one kept me talking on the phone for a lengthy santa's planechat, not a single client fussed at the wait, and no one was angered by the price.  Unusual and stellar.  And I said “Happy Holidays” to every one of them.

But I paid for the pleasantness when it came time to close out the $ for the day.  Things were messed up somehow.  And after working  literal 50 hours in the week, the longer I looked at the numbers, the LESS things made sense.  It was awful.  Tony x-mas 6Then my calculator broke.  Surprisingly, I was not frustrated–just tired and confused.  I think I could have sat there calculating and recounting for 5 more hours, and still come out unbalanced.  I have never, never gone home past 1 PM on a Saturday (and can usually finish before that) but at 1:45 PM, the vet offered to look if I made a phone call to a notorious client.  And for the only time ever, in history, I was actually happy to do so. My brain was just numb from looking at those numbers.  Which I’m still not certain if they are correct and accurate–hopefully they are.

x-mas 3I made the call, and at the end of it slipped up and said, “Have a merry Christmas!”  To which the obnoxious client indignantly said, “I am NOT Christian and do not celebrate Christmas.  I had a wonderful solstice yesterday though.”  I wanted to reach through the phone and choke a bitch.  Instead I abruptly cut off the continuing diatribe and said, “Goodbye,” hanging up the phone.x-mas bulb

So during the holidays, whichever you celebrate or don’t, please hold back from being THAT douche that lectures when good (possibly erroneous to your very personal beliefs) sentiment is shared.  Whichever refrain is used, it’s better than someone saying, “Eff you and go to hell.”

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Merry Christmas, Grandpa George!

21 Dec

I always think of my Grandpa George during this time of year.  As a child, I always got just the right trinket from Grandpa George.  Unlike my Aunts, who gave me awkward, age-inappropriate gifts, and my maternal grandma who sometimes would remember, and sometimes even included a card and return address to tip us off who sent whatever it was–he always knew just what I wanted.  I had no idea until after he died that my parents were behind his gifts.  He always sent money, and if he didn’t (I still have no idea if he always remembered) my parents would buy something in his name.  Being so far away from family–that meant a lot to me, and sticks with me still today.

Hopefully, my writing will convey my true intent–I love my grandpa even though I knew there was something about him. . .  I don’t want to come across as spoiled, or hateful, or evil, but maybe this will.  That’s not my meaning at all though–just know that.

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You probably remember every other summer we visited extended family in Montana, which included my only living Grandpa.  Instead of looking forward to this, I dreaded it, hated it, and feared it.  Then felt guilty for feeling those things.  There was something about my grandpa I found unsettling.  I’m not sure what it was exactly.  He was always kind, but sort of in his own world too.  Sometimes in the middle of a visit he would just resume his television show and be largely oblivious that we were still there.  He (and his various houses and apartments) smelled a little funny, and his hands shook.  I didn’t know what (if anything) was wrong, but even though there was family-love between us, I didn’t want to hang around him very long.  It still makes me feel terribly guilty.  But I was just a little kid, so cut me a little slack.

My grandpa never called me by my proper name.  I don’t think he had true dementia, but he always got my dad’s (his oldest son) identity wrong at first too.  Granted, he did not see us often.  When my Dad entered his house (room at the assisted-living in later years), Grandpa George would go through the list of his own brothers, then my uncle, before finally guessing my dad’s name.  Anyway, for whatever reason, Grandpa could never really get my name right either.  He would settle upon some L-name or other, usually Laurie, Laurel's pics 050never Laurel, my given name.  But despite this chronic mistake I never doubted his love or adoration.  My grandpa relished me, anyone could see that.  Despite getting my name wrong, I always knew he cared.  Still, to this day I do not get upset if people mis-label, mis-pronounce, or otherwise mistake my name.  I figure if my own grandpa couldn’t ever get it, and I couldn’t say it until I was three years old, it can’t be all that important to be a stickler over it.  It’s one of the few things I’m NOT a stickler about, funny enough.

A large part of the dread I felt was just not knowing.  I had heard snippets that my Grandpa had tried to enter the military, but was refused based on some or other mental issue.  The diagnosis was never made clear to me.  I also heard that he was made to cook for all the farm workers even as just a little guy, and his brothers (maybe his father too) beat him pretty badly on a regular basis.  The poor man had also been through the Laurel's pics 195horrors of shock therapy, which made him fearful for the rest of his life.  But back in those days you were just “crazy” so I don’t know what prompted this.

I heard that he was a big drinker, and my aunt tells stories of him taking her and her younger brother to the bar and making them sit outside on a bench (in cold Montana) while he would get wasted for hours.  And a few times my dad would go in with the intent of our family visiting my Grandpa, but he would be drinking, so we would leave, without me seeing him.  Also his hands shook.  He was incontinent for awhile, and later my grandpa was diagnosed with diabetes.  Again, I was never privy to his medical conditions, so instead of compassion, I felt weary towards him.  Today, I wish I had some diagnosis to attach to my Grandpa George.  I’m glad mental health has come so far from just “crazy” or “dirty secret” too.  I think with education comes understanding–and that unlocks many doors.  Not to mention gives a clearer picture of hereditary genetic conditions.  I find it very scary that some undiagnosed mental illness runs through my family, that I am susceptible to get.  But this post is not really about me–so that’s a topic for another day.

My memories, aside from the thoughtful gifts, are of visiting Grandpa in the summers.  He would immediately want a ride.  Usually we went to the store.  At that time, in that small Montana community, all the containers seemed to be made of glass.  I was always on edge while my grandpa’s trembling hands would reach out, knocking the glass ketchup bottles in proximity, to grasp one.  It made me very nervous and I worried he would topple all the bottles to the floor, spewing red ketchup everywhere.  Shopping with Grandpa was very nerve-wracking.

Once, my friend Crystal and I danced with Grandpa George at the home.  He was very happy when Laurel's pics 508he was dancing, and you could tell in his day he probably danced a lot.  Maybe my love of music comes from him, because I guess he was also very proficient at playing the accordion and was in a band for a time.

I also remember Grandpa telling my dad that he liked the retirement home, because “A women–she bathes me, Jim.”  Even old dudes still have testosterone I suppose.  Anyway, the comment still makes me laugh when I think of it.  I’m glad my Grandpa was well taken care of and happy at the end.

So Grandpa George, even though I didn’t know you well, and didn’t understand you–I love you.  I hope you’re having a happy holiday season in heaven 🙂

Early Holiday Letter

10 Aug

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope this holiday season is well.  Because I anticipate my classes hording the lion’s share of my time, I am writing this in July.  I just had my 29th birthday, and got to go to Walla Walla, WA to celebrate it.  Visiting the wineries and seeing the Palouse was simply amazing!  I want to go back as soon as I can manage getting another string of days off (and simultaneously having extra spending cash) to see more of the cute little town.  Also to get my first professional massage, which they offer there.

Other then small getaways I have had a very busy year:

I am still in Spokane and working at Cat’s Meow Feline Veterinary.  I still love working with cats, but am ready to find a big-girl job that I can live on.  Spokane is OK.  I like that it is more affordable then Seattle, but I dislike many other things about it.  Eventually, I want to move somewhere less cloudy, probably Colorado.

Aside from work, I snuck into the second semester of Speech and Hearing last spring, and got an A in my first course!  I’m pretty proud as it is a new field for me and I did not have the pre-requisite course prior to taking the class.  This fall I am enrolled in Anatomy and Language Development.  This is the reason I am writing this holiday letter well before the holidays.  I hope I can keep up with the pace of Anatomy, especially!  If I get my pre-reqs at the Riverpoint branch of Washington State University in the Speech and Hearing program I will be able to pursue a Doctorate in Audiology in Colorado.  Then, I can help people (like Dad) with hearing loss.  My back up plan is obtaining my Masters in Speech Language Pathology right here in Spokane.

That’s pretty much it for me.  It’s just diving my time between work and school, mostly.  I hope your year treated you well, and that your holiday season is merry.