coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters

Saturday coffee pot post

Pablocito posed in perfect lighting for a photo shoot yesterday. Sandy started taking photos and then I took some from a different angle. I love the Batcat shadow.

This also had the purpose of being my “before” photo of the chest of drawers, which hasn’t been cleaned off since at least 2017, since I found a receipt and an Amtrak ticket stub from that year. But the photo really doesn’t show just how bad this spot was. There’s a reason that I have shied away from cleaning it for so long, despite swearing that I was “going to do it today!” It not only has piles of dust and cat hair, but many bowls and containers that have a mishmash of coins, earrings, buttons, miscellaneous shit that I pick up in the parking lot for found object art, shells, rocks, beads, various toiletries, hair bands, and barrettes. That is just so far. I am sorting those bowls out now and I apologize for the coin shortage this year, people. Turns out that I am responsible. I will turn them in.

Also, that oil painting of the lion cub on the wall? I painted that when I was 16. There was a bit of a rebellion in my art class. Several of us wanted to paint animals and abstracts. Our teacher didn’t want us to, so we did it anyway and she wouldn’t help us. She was really put out with me by the time I quit, which was soon after this painting. I didn’t want to paint landscapes, tobacco barns, still lifes, and flowers any more, at least not in her style. My mother was pissed at me too, because the art teacher was her friend. I found this in the back closet when we cleaned out her house.

Here’s the progress I made yesterday:

Pablocito isn’t arrogant and regal. He is actually quite a goof.

Diego often grooms Pablocito but it seems to be a dominance thing because it almost always ends in a fight. This time it didn’t. I’ve noticed that this issue seems to be the pillows. If Pablocito is on a pillow, Diego has to have it. Last night he wasn’t on a pillow.

We had crab cakes, broccoli casserole, and corn for Christmas dinner last night, which we ate on the sofa while we watched an episode of Schitt’s Creek.

I did some laundry and the plumbing held up this time! At first I let it drain into the old washtub in a couple of buckets. I had no idea how much water a washing machine uses – those buckets filled all the way up on just the wash cycle and then I had a time getting them out the door because they were so heavy I had to transfer the water to smaller containers. So I tried putting the hose back into the drain for the rinse cycle and it didn’t overflow for that load or the next two loads. Hallelujah, a Christmas miracle! Thank you, Baby Jesus!

Not sure what is on the agenda today. It is really cold outside. I think that I will try to organize and clean up my studio space a little more and sew more masks. I put more books in the box to go to McKay’s and to Boomerang Books. I have two boxes that are filling with miscellaneous stuff for either Reconsidered Goods or Goodwill. I’m going to pack a box of some family heirlooms for my niece Brooke whether she wants them or not. Her son can help her sell them if she doesn’t want them.

It feels so good to get rid of stuff and clean up the dust.

I end this post by giving thanks to the Co-vid testing people at Cone Health – Sandy was tested on Christmas Eve morning and got an email with his negative results on Christmas night! Way to go, health workers! I wish that I could give you all big raises!

He was feeling much better yesterday so I hope that his symptoms will eventually go away now that he has stopped taking statins and he has been doing low-impact exercises to a video once or twice a day. From what I’ve read, this may take a while to build his muscle strength back once the toxicity is out of his system, and there could be some permanent damage. Hopefully we will know more once he sees his doctor.

This is why I have resisted taking statins for my cholesterol. The difference between us is that Sandy had a heart attack ten years ago, and he loves sausage.

He was so relieved yesterday at how much better he feels after only two days off the statins that I realized just how upset he has been for weeks and was covering it up. He said that the reason he doesn’t complain when he feels bad is that if he starts he is afraid that he will never shut up, like taking the finger out of the hole in the dike. I told him that I will never mind if he needs to talk about his health.

God knows I do.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, Reading

Merry Christmas from the (O’Neill) Family

My favorite Christmas song. I just can’t abide the syrupy bouncy ones any more. I do love some of the old crooners like Sinatra and Clooney, though.

One year, we had a receptionist that was quite mentally ill and very angry at me and the office manager. That December she had gotten another job on campus and was just working out her sentence in the history department. (She was miserable in the next two departments she worked in as well, until she had her final meltdown and left the university.) She played “Oh Holy Night” on repeat until I thought I’d lose my mind. The day she walked out for good (early, of course) I put on every hokey stupid funny Christmas song I could find on You Tube for the rest of the week.

Sandy and I saw Robert Earl Keen play this live at Ziggy’s about ten years ago. I won tickets on a Facebook promotion for the “VIP section” for any show I wanted to see on their schedule. It was a hard strange choice between George Clinton and Robert Earl Keen, but in the end, I thought that REK would be easier on my nerves at the time. The VIP section meant that you got to sit at a table at the side of the stage next to the bar. I’m sorry that I never got to see George Clinton, but I had several chances and didn’t take them. He has local roots so he has played around here a lot. I can’t stand for long periods of time – the pain is terrible – so I don’t go to many small concert venues. Plus, I really really really hate crowds!

This has turned out to be a coffee pot post. We are drinking a Christmas blend with vanilla and clove that was a gift. It smells heavenly.

I am super concerned about Sandy now that I’ve done what everybody says not to do: googled statins and muscle damage. He downplayed his weakness and pain for a long time because he attributed it to getting older and being out of shape. Thank God he finally called the doctor’s office and we are talking about it. He was worried about sounding like a hypochondriac. This is why when other women friends complain about their male partners being babies when they are sick, I have nothing to say. It is the opposite with Sandy. Besides, everybody knows that I’m the hypochondriac in the family. (Kidding, not kidding. There’s a little bitterness in this joke.)

Hopefully he will recover after the statins get out of his system, but he has been taking them for a very long time.

I couldn’t find the Pillsbury Orange Icing rolls that are a Christmas tradition in my family, and I wasn’t going to shop a bunch of different grocery stores for them this week, so I have Annie’s cinnamon rolls in the oven. They are good too. I talked to my sister on the phone for a long time yesterday. She made sure that she got the orange rolls, damn her. She and Tim are at the lake while her daughter and grandson do Christmas at their house in Chapel Hill. No extended family time for any of us during the pandemic. Man, those cinnamon rolls smell wonderful!

A major cold front came through last night and the high is supposed to be in the 30s today after a deluge of rain and wind yesterday. Tornado warnings in some parts of the state and snow in other parts. I don’t know if there were actually any tornadoes. The low is supposed to go into the teens tonight so I’m going to cut all my lettuce and we brought the lemon tree off the porch.

Yesterday I caught up on rest and did some clean-up, but mainly chilled out. We still have plumbing problems but at least both toilets are working now. It’s the outgoing pipe from the washing machine and kitchen sink that is slow, slow enough that when the washer drains, it is too much and it spills out all over the floor. I brought in the old washtub and wringer that I had bought for papermaking several years ago and I am going to drain the washing machine into it until we can get a plumber to clean out these pipes for us. We have tried everything at this point, but it keeps happening again. When I replace this washing machine, I am shopping for one that has mechanical, not computerized, controls on it, even if I have to buy a used one. All I need is wash, rinse, and spin.

I am going to watch the last episode of The Queen’s Gambit today. I’ve stretched it out as long as possible. Also, finishing the Patternist series by Octavia Butler, which despite my revulsion at all the incest and rape, I understand why it is essential to the basic theme, and I grew to appreciate the entire story arc more as I worked my way through the books.

Next up in reading: Your Spacious Self. I can’t decide on my next novel and I keep starting one and putting it down to start another. I have a lot to choose from here, though.

Will cook a few dishes today, nothing complicated, and sew masks, and cuddle with kitties. Feliz Natal!

Coronavirus Chronicles

Christmas Eve, 2020

I am hardly even pretending that I am celebrating Christmas this year. Honestly, it feels like any other day. I did turn on the Christmas lights on the front porch, which I never take down.

The good news is that the Flickr project is officially done. I don’t have to worry about my links being broken when my Flickr Pro expires. It would have made me very sad. I backed up the photos, but they are scattered on various Google Drives and an old laptop, and in no kind of order. It was a long, sometimes tiresome project, but the pandemic presented the perfect time to do it. I relived a lot of great travel experiences. There were a few years when the posts fed my depression, but I kept going and I did it.

I think that I have mentioned that Sandy and I have been concerned about his health. He talked to his nurse practitioner on the phone yesterday and he recommended that he stop taking his statins and go get a Covid-19 test. So I rode with him to get his test. I was surprised that he had to go inside the Women’s Hospital, which has the dedicated Co-vid ward in Greensboro, after seeing all the photos of people getting tested inside their cars. They did the nasal swab, not the long one that goes through your nose to the back of your throat. So we really will be isolating for Christmas, since it will be several days before he will get the results. I am not getting tested unless he tests positive.

That is a bit stressful, but honestly, neither of us thinks that he has Co-vid. His muscle weakness is scaring him, but this has been coming on for weeks and not getting better. He is short of breath, but other than that he feels okay. No fever, no headache. Just fatigue. He has been doing a very low-impact exercise video for 15 minutes once or twice a day for a few weeks to try to strengthen his legs. Actually, this reminds me a whole lot of his high-altitude problems when we were in Colorado and New Mexico a year and a half ago.

I made a couple more masks, but I have to wear elastic around the back of my head, or they pop right off my ears. If I make the elastic looser, it is too loose. Tighter, and pop! The elastic around the back of my head is a good solution for another reason. I can wear my mask around my neck when I don’t have it on, and pull it up quickly when needed. I don’t care about it messing up my hair. Hell, I forget to even brush my hair some days.

Anyway, hoping not to have cooties for Christmas, but it’s always a possibility, even when you are as careful as we are.

Coronavirus Chronicles

Woo hoo, Tuesday!

Yeah, I know. But it IS an early payday for me. I am making way on being debt-free, although I will probably need to hit this home equity loan again once the pandemic is over for house repairs and yard work, maybe a used car or car repairs. The tax refund from this spring with the big credit for the solar panels has not yet been deposited in my account yet. It is frustrating, but it was partly our fault for forgetting to sign the forms. At least we know now that they received it. For months we couldn’t even get an answer to that. That’s the part that I was mad about.

The so-called stimulus is a joke and doesn’t begin to meet the country’s needs. Of course we can use $1200 right now, but we don’t need it. The unemployed and people who are losing their businesses and health insurance sure do. Economists say it is not nearly enough and needs to be targeted. I give a lot throughout the year to charity and people in need, so I won’t feel guilty socking $600 into the Portugal fund. I don’t know what Sandy will do with his $600.

The solar people came yesterday and found that the circuit board for the panels was blown and has to be replaced. It is all under warranty. We are considering asking them to add another two panels, since twelve don’t quite cover our needs in summer, and now with Sandy retired and me working from home, we are using more energy cooking, etc. than we did with the earlier estimate.

I’ve done okay with my daily housekeeping goals, although I forgot to go outside one day, and I haven’t done any artwork, just catching up on the blog project. Once I am officially off work for the holidays and finished updating the blog, that should ramp up.

First I’ll finish sewing a bunch of masks, since I have those pinned together and set up, and we need them. I don’t know where so many of ours disappeared to, but that’s another reason that we need to get this clutter under control. (I suspect that several are buried somewhere in the man cave.) Then I will get going on that blanket made from Sandy’s old shirts and pants and get back to one of Sharon Payne Bolton’s online classes. I found a bunch of faded prayer flags that I had hung on the greenhouse in the back house, and those should be interesting in a collage book.

Christmas lights are plugged in on the front porch, and I may light some candles, but that’s pretty much it for Christmas decorating here in Casa O’Neill.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Saturday coffee pot post

Feeling kind of flat, but I am trying to break my spell by making a big list of tasks that need to be done around the house, with checkboxes so that when I do a simple chore I can check it off and feel like I have accomplished something. I am going to try not to retreat to my bedroom every day until I have accomplished at least a task or two on the list over the next month.

An hour of artwork/play is on my list for my every day tasks, as is reading, watching TV/movies, and blogging. I have to do these before I play any games. Also, I have to go outside and take a walk or work in the yard every day.

I won’t have to go back to my office for three weeks, thank God, because the virus is so virulent that it is truly frightening to leave the house. My office feels pretty safe, and we have a zealous housekeeper on our floor that keeps our bathroom squeaky clean, so it’s not so bad. Hardly anyone is in the building. In a way, it is a safe way to get out of the house for a while and talk to a couple of different people. I am still working from home but our winter break is Dec. 24-Jan. 1, and there are two weekends in there. We don’t get it all paid holiday – we have to use a couple of vacation days or make it up – but it is still SO MUCH BETTER than any job I ever had. I plan to put a message on my email and really shut down, because when you work from home and the people you work with are on salary instead of an hourly schedule, it is necessary to draw boundaries. There is not much that can happen that can’t wait until Jan. 4.

We did another grocery trip to Bestway on Thursday night, and I think that should do it for a little while. I have to go to Walgreens for a prescription today, but I feel pretty good about both those places, as well as Deep Roots Market. I have to remember not to be chatty with one of the Bestway cashiers, who has pretty much shut me down twice now with negativity. We will probably go back to having groceries delivered again from Deep Roots or Costco. The only reason we haven’t done Deep Roots Market the last couple of times is that I wanted Smithwick’s ale, and Sandy likes some really unhealthy frozen meals. Hey, it’s his body.

What worries me is that Sandy really likes to go out and do errands, and sometimes announces that he is going out to buy something that is not essential and can be ordered online. Then he gets mad when I object. I have convinced him so far to order his new headphones and a new router online, and although we don’t really want to order stuff from Amazon any more, that way got us our orders quickly when other orders are stuck in DeJoy postal limboland around here. He is vigilant about mask wearing, but I don’t think that he keeps up with the ones that are clean, and of course, masks are not totally preventative.

That router has improved our wi-fi so much. One reason we decided to get a new one was that our solar panels went incommunicado on Oct. 21. At first I thought it was because the company changed monitoring apps. Then Sandy thought it was a bad port on our router. But none of these things have solved the problem, so NC Solar Now is sending someone to take a look at the box outside on Monday. Fortunately this happened in a low energy month. I would have noticed it right away in July or August because of our electric bill. One thing is for certain is that I need to keep a better eye on the monitoring app. I am glad about getting the new router anyway.

I felt really good after my virtual appointment with my TIAA (financial) rep on Thursday, because she said that I have saved enough to be able to retire at 62, and that I’d even be able to do it at age 60 if I really wanted to or lost my job to a budget cut. So May 2023 is my retirement goal now. A couple of years ago I was told the same thing, but with everything that has happened I wanted confirmation.

It’s good to be frugal. Also not to have children.

We are definitely going to have to spend some money on this house once the pandemic is over, though.

I am booking my ticket to Dublin (and then to Portugal) in September 2021. I have to do it before the end of the month or lose my $542 credit. That means I will still have to pay $135 plus baggage and insurance, but at least I will have it settled and can stop thinking about it at 1 a.m. If the prices don’t change before I call them. I’ve seen them change in the middle of looking them up. I have to do it through Orbitz, unfortunately. This will probably be the last time I use Orbitz.

My brother-in-law is okay after his surgery, although they were not able to fix his heart after six hours. He will have to take a ton of meds instead. He was home the next day and when I called my sister yesterday he was taking a bike ride, ten days later. Amazing. We won’t see them for Christmas, but we seldom do Christmas at all any more since my mother died. Sandy got in the habit of volunteering to work on Christmas to let the workers with family have it off, and he got holiday pay. This year he is retired but it is too dangerous to get together with anyone inside.

Okay, back to the Flickr project, now on late 2017. And I am going to plug in some Christmas lights – I do like that part of Christmas.

Back Forty, Blather, Coronavirus Chronicles, Reading

A cold rainy day

Here it is Wednesday, with icy cold rain falling outside. Fortunately the ice is not sticking here, but it has rained a LOT and that means water flowing through the Back Forty from two directions, which culminates in a pond in my next door neighbor’s back yard. This, despite an effort to redirect the water to a large burrow under that garden bed. It’s not a big problem for us any more, but I feel sorry for the next door neighbors. They are not there right now, though.

In the middle of a big rain, that curving path looks like a stream. I have considered the idea of digging a trench and filling it with lovely river rocks to make a rain garden and help with the drainage, but since we plan to sell the house in a couple of years, I won’t do it. I used to mulch this path and others throughout the Back Forty with wood chips, only to find them all deposited at the side of the house after a hard rain.

I am now working on 2016 – finished the big train trip to Glacier and Oregon. That was a marvelous memory to relive. That also means I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for the Flickr project!

The continuing uncertainty about travel and the vaccine is making me cranky. I miss my art retreats. They truly are sanity savers, and doing them online is just not the same.

Work was busy and frustrating yesterday and this morning. It shouldn’t be this hectic in mid-December. I’ve transferred my ranting about work to a private post, but it was good to get it out of my system.

I am now totally committed to reading How Green Was My Valley and stayed up way too late last night because I lost track of time. Also, I had forgotten what a witty and well-written book Harriet the Spy was! Thoroughly enjoyable adult re-read. Started The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix and I am trying not to binge it.

My life feels so boring right now. I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way. But it is better for it to be boring than being in the middle of a civil war or dealing with serious illness, so I’ll try to keep that in mind.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, Reading

Monday morning

I never got around to the mask sewing this weekend. I did make myself get out and take a walk each day. Part of my routine is choosing at least three books to put in the little free library on the block. Either that, or I’m putting them in a box that will eventually go to the used book store for credit or cash.

I read more of the Patternist series by Octavia Butler. I’m having a hard time getting through these. They have an interesting premise, but it feels so offensive and twisted. I’ve picked up How Green Was My Valley again, but that one looks to be sad as well. I downloaded The Water Knife on Google Books as part of a NC Humanities Council statewide read. Scary. Maybe I’ll have to find something else.

Even if we don’t end up moving to Portugal, I’d still want to leave North Carolina. The Western US is still attractive to me, but the increasing wildfire activity is frightening, not to mention the overdue cataclysm due for western side of Oregon (earthquake/tsunami).

It will make me feel better to downsize some stuff. This means that my niece and nephew may be getting some family heirlooms whether they want them or not. I already did this with the Sanford/O’Neill side of the family and shipped boxes all the way to California, and she might be getting some more. If I have to, I will leave some on the doorsteps of a few NC residences. 🙂

I keep telling myself that if we end up staying here, we are still lucky. This is a very good area to live in. Good neighbors, good restaurants and entertainment, liberal politics, and a paid off mortgage. We are pretty well set financially – not rich, but solidly middle class so far. I hope it stays that way.

Which reminds me, I have some phone calls to make about the solar panel loan. I’m probably going to pay it off. And I am ordering take-out shrimp burritos from Fishbones. Bye!

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Now, actually in the morning!

^^^My next-door neighbor’s house. I have the nicest, coolest neighbors on this street!

I need to get back to moving the photos, since I found that I posted a lot more photos in 2014 than I expected. The nice part of this was reliving my first visit to the Oregon coast at Pam’s cabin – it was maybe the best travelogue that I ever did. It was organized around this poem that was posted in front of a house in Portland. The bad part was that I know that afterwards I was falling apart. I was drinking so much that I almost got taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, and I lost that awesome purple fedora that I am wearing in some of the photos. Instead of writing about my pain and grieving, I either posted nothing or I posted a visual journal photo, so you won’t see any of that on the blog. I was furious with my husband. I was helping to clean out my mother’s house, and that was major. My sister did most of the work since she was retired. Between the emotional anguish and the allergies from dealing with packed mildewy mousy closets, deciding what to keep and what we had to let go, it was a rough time for both of us.

That’s why I was avoiding 2014. It dredged up a lot of memories of grief, anger, and shame. 2020 was very, very bad, but other than my wonderful trips out west, ordinary life in 2014 was worse. I did not cope with it well at all. I think that it is important to acknowledge that now.

One reason that I’ve thought of this time lately is because I have cut down on my drinking so much. I figured that I would want to drink more alcohol during the pandemic, when the opposite happened. Occasionally I will have two beers in one evening, but usually I have one beer around 5:30 and then I don’t want another. Sometimes I don’t drink any alcohol at all. I used to drink a lot at home. Sandy hardly drinks at all any more and he has never drank at home much. I enjoy my porters and stouts and dark ales, and I talk a lot about Smithwick’s red ale, which I consider to be a little taste of heaven. Surprise! I am more of a social drinker than I thought.

As bad as it has been, I am actually much better as far as my mental and physical health goes than I have been at other times of my life. The years 2002-04, 2007-08, and 2014 come to mind right off the bat. Sandy mentioned one time that he and I are actually well suited in personality to deal with having to stay home. That is somewhat true, in a way. I am not the kind of person who needs to go out much around town. When I’m in Greensboro, I mostly stay home or go to work. Sandy and I miss going out to eat in restaurants, but we still get take-out once or twice a week. My biggest grief has been missing the art retreats and big travel trips that were my sanity savers.

I thought that working from home and not being able to get my monthly massage was going to be murder on my back. I have actually been in much less pain because I have a good office chair and I get up and walk around a lot more frequently. When my back does hurt, I can lay down flat on my bed for a hour and that usually does the trick. My neck pain is almost completely gone these days – I need to knock wood here – and I don’t remember the last time my neck hurt. So I will be very reluctant to go back to the office on a regular basis.

I do need to get more exercise and I’m going to try harder to make that happen. My hips are getting stiff again.

It looks like from the timelines I have seen posted that I am in this for the long haul, unless my high cholesterol is considered heart disease, and my BMI crosses the line of obesity (I stopped weighing myself – it may have by now) I will likely be in the very LAST group to get the vaccine. Wow. But I accept that. At least I won’t have to worry so much about other people being sick or contagious.

Okay. Back to finishing the 2014 posts and moving on with the day.

Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Saturday coffee pot post

Should I even pretend that I don’t go back to bed after I get up to feed the little monsters at 8 a.m.? Nah, I want you to think better of me than that. So let’s pretend.

I didn’t want to get up from my last dream this morning. For once, it was helpful. I dreamed that Sandy and I were visiting some friends in the mountains, and I wanted to go hiking, but no one else wanted to, and I was annoyed about it. Then I realized as we were packing up to go home that the little cabin we were staying in was mine. There were clothes and furniture in it that I had brought on my last visit. I didn’t remember it, so that concerned me, but the overwhelming joy that I felt when I realized it was wonderful. There was a pair of high top purple chucks (Converse sneakers) on the floor. “Are these mine?” I yelped. Yes, they were. I was so happy. I brought in some trays of seedlings that were going to get frozen, and put them next to the window.

As I cleaned up, I told Sandy that I didn’t want to leave yet. “We’ve got all day,” he said. And I knew that I could drive back to this place whenever I wanted, since it was a hour’s drive away. Far enough to get away, close enough to be doable on a regular basis. I could leave my stuff in there and not have to pack up to go back and forth.

I’m taking away a couple of things from this. This house is mine and I can (and usually do) whatever I please here, and so I need to remember that when I curl up in the bed and daydream about hiking. I am not going to be able to hike anywhere if I don’t stop curling up in the bed in a cocoon waiting for the world to change because I won’t physically be able to do it! There are plenty of beautiful trails and neighborhoods for me to take safe walks by myself. I am in control of this.

The other is that I absolutely need to buy a pair of purple high top Chucks.

I am really tired of this emotional roller coaster where one day I feel hopeful and motivated and then severely depressed for three days or more. Today should be good, and I’m rolling with it.

This week I accomplished a couple of major tasks at work so I feel a lightening of weight.

I sewed enough masks to give to the co-workers that I saw at work on Wednesday and Friday, and I have another stack in different stages of construction ready to sew.

I made it through the tough part of moving the photos over to the blog, the time period when my mother grew sick and died. I honestly never thought that I would grieve so much over missing my mother, but I still do. I am up to August 2014 now, when I made my first trip to Pam Patrie’s lovely cabin on the Oregon coast, so those will be some good memories to bring up. I canceled my renewal to Flickr Pro, so I have until Jan. 3 to finish this project. I can do this now. I think that a few hours on a couple more weekends will be enough time.

It is cold outside today, but I am going to make an effort to get out for a walk. I’ll set a goal of moving 2014-2015 over to the blog, and sew a few masks. We need some new ones.

I am settling in with the acceptance that we probably won’t be able to travel overseas this summer, and I am considering booking the ticket for early September or over Christmas break. Those are the two times during fall semester when things slow down because I am mainly waiting on other people to send me stuff.

augggghhhh, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Again, I stayed up way too late and got up early to feed the little monsters, then went back to bed and slept way too long. My dreams were vivid and not necessarily good, but I still wanted to remain within them rather than join reality today. I was brutally honest on a Facebook post yesterday: “I am a bitter, angry person.”

However, last night I was up because I was caught up in reading “The Last Days of Dogtown” by Anita Diamant. It is a thin volume and I had been warned off by the words “not as good as The Red Tent” but I am enjoying it immensely.

Orbitz finally responded to my third follow-up email in which I said that if I didn’t get a response by Nov. 30, the original date of my flight credit’s expiration, I would go higher and go to social media. I hate having to threaten to go to social media, even when I do it nicely, but it seems to be effective. They granted me the same credit that they had in August, with the same conditions, but I have to book before Dec. 31 now.

I immediately went into some kind of frantic angry brain-fogged research and decided that the airfares were now too high for the credit to be worth flying on Aer Lingus again. I filled out a customer service survey that I now regret. Somebody, please, help me get control of my brain back.

Because when I calmed down and thought about it, I looked at my Southwest account and found a lot of miles had been refunded from that trip. Which reminded me that on the original trip, I used those miles to fly to Boston, and booked Aer Lingus through Orbitz from Boston-Dublin-Boston. Well, that is an entirely different scenario. Flights are much, much cheaper to Ireland from Boston. So the current plan is to fly by myself the same way that I planned to this past summer, and the other three in our vacation party can fly together from Raleigh on United. We’ll meet up in Dublin. I don’t mind flying by myself. The only issue left is dates.

Vaccination against Co-vid 19 is naturally the key. If it becomes available as expected, I will not be in the first groups to get it. I’ll turn 60 in February and fortunately in pretty good health. The other three are over 65 and will likely be able to get it in time for summer travel. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see, but as an INTJ, contingency planning is “my thing” and this much uncertainty is driving me a bit bonkers, considering that my planning (with wasted money on travel insurance) didn’t mean much this year.

I remember pronouncing, “I’m going to Ireland even if I have to swim there!” HA! I’m not that strong a swimmer.

Anyway, I am bitter and angry, mostly about politics, but also circumstances that I won’t mention here. Let’s just say that I am very disappointed in a few people and leave it at that. I should store that up for the Airing of the Grievances on Festivus. And I am SO TIRED of all the cheery gratitude and sappy Christmas songs and I’m gonna stop here before I regret that too.

I talked to my sister for about an hour on the phone on Thanksgiving Day. Usually we spend this holiday together, and it is the only holiday that I actually celebrate and enjoy any more. Our personalities have a lot in common, even though our personal styles could not be more different. I love and miss her deeply, but I’m not sure that we could live together without making each other crazy. We have talked about doing that as we get older, and maybe we will both move to Portugal. It could happen, but she will be doing all the interior design and decorating, and I will just try not to embarrass her with my total lack of care about fashion and style trends. She would probably be good for me, but I’m not sure that I’d be good for her.

Just looked at my last few posts and realized that I am obsessing and repeating myself. But whatever. At least there has been progress.

The turkey dinner from Deep Roots was pretty good. The only thing we really did not like was the brussels sprouts – they were tough. But the cornbread dressing was delicious, as was the bacon/swiss quiche and cherry pie. It’s been really nice to have plenty for turkey sandwiches and leftovers. I think that I’ll make turkey tetrazinni today or tomorrow.

I haven’t sewed up my masks yet. I found that 2013 was a very photo-heavy year for me on this blog, in part because I took up a visual journal project. So I got obsessed with trying to get this blog/photo project done and it is taking up a LOT of time. It is also dredging up some unhappy memories and I expect that is part of my current malaise.

The man is up and about, complaining about it being too hot in there and turning off the heat. It’s really funny because we have switched in this respect. Now he is the one who is always too hot, and I get spells where I am so cold I wrap up in blankets and shiver. He used to be the cold one, always wearing sweaters and wrapping up while I was getting ice packs out of the freezer and turning off the heat. We keep the thermostat at 68 F and that hasn’t changed.

Time to finish up 2013 and begin 2014, which was a very, very tough year and I’d like to get that one over with.