December 22, 2016

Last Day At Work

I left the factory extremely satisfied yesterday. I had finished making an illustrated directory for the wiki of our first 40 employees, when each left the company and what they'd been doing since. I wanted to keep tweaking this morning and then I got the call. Kinda like last week's calls from my mom ("Your brother is dying, and we have to go see him"), but from a reliable source this time. The Bro-ham is in the hospital, melanoma's in the brain and they don't expect he has long.

There are only so many times you can hear such a thing. I thought he had a reprieve. His PET scan from ten days ago showed no melanoma in his brain, or as he put it "Melanoma everywhere *but* my brain". I feel so bad for him. His kids are on the way up there and will give us the lowdown. My sister just touched down and will be at Mom's soon.

I was at a good stopping point, so I left work early. But not before watering Dave, my ficus.

Then I went to the gold place and got $90 for the charm that came with the chain I got at an auction. On the way back to my car I appreciated this:

Then I went to the German deli and got mrguy and I smoked turkey sandwiches. I am in love with this crown of weiners they have on display.

Then to the Japanese supermarket to buy comfort food: udon, edible chrysanthemum, tobiko, tofu puffs.

Then home, to wait it out. Who knows? Maybe he'll come home and do hospice. Or he'll leave us today, which he'd kinda predicted, because it's the anniversary of our dad's passing.

Poor bro. 

[A happy update: he had his meds tweaked, came home for Christmas, ate a fat pile of bacon and is taking it day by day. The future will look more like this (up and down, in and out of the ER) I imagine, as his disease progresses].

December 19, 2016

Pantheon of Dudes

Last night we went to a party at our neighbors' house. Their tree was a classic beauty -- tasteful ornaments, nice tree with lots of space between the branches and (a guilty pleasure) it was flocked.

They suspected I'd have an artsy tree, so they inquired about it. I think they'd be horrified. It's a Nordman Pine, which is perfectly normal, but my tree is all about sentimentality. I didn't even have the energy to be very artful this year, but all the elements are in place.

The glass garlands came from a structure in the backyard of a house that had housed shipyard workers during WWII. Some of the older ornaments did, as well. The color is coming off a bunch of them because the oil from flocking spray must have broken down the paint, but some of those decomposing balls are my favorites.

There are some ornaments that I got from the five and dime near the diner where I worked when I had my first apartment. Some more recent Santas came from the estate sale of an acquaintance. 

The two caricatures of Iris Apfel, star of the documentary Iris, are tags that came off my bracelets from her collection at Macy's.

The potholder is a tip of the hat to my sister, whose tree used to sport a photo of the same Democratic candidate (she'd cut it out of one of his expensive glossy mailers and used it as an ornament).

 And then there are the dudes. Last year when I had to clean out the ancestral toy drawer at my mom's house there were some random dudes left behind. 

Their heads were all floppy and they didn't have the cars, horses or motorcycles that they'd originally come with. I fell in love with them. Now those dudes are wired onto the tree. By their chests, mostly. I tried by their necks, but that was too disturbing. Anyway, today I passed by the free pile at work and saw these two dudes. I couldn't resist. They will join the Pantheon. The Pantheon of Dudes.

I also found an anatomically correct hog (male) but I'm saving him for mrguy. There is no Pantheon of Hogs today, but if a hog finds a friend, suddenly there is a Pantheon of Hogs where once the category was unaccounted for.

December 17, 2016

Calling Linda Wong

Linda and I first met a year ago, when I got a new phone number. The first time I called middlesis using my new phone she said "Linda Wong?!!!" Her caller ID had identified me as Linda Wong. And thus it started. I am now officially Linda Wong to my sis.

And then I guess Linda need insurance. And a loan. And maybe she was an undecided voter. So I started hearing from the Obamacare phone bank. Love the President. Love the Affordable Care Act. Don't love receiving 8 calls between 8 and 9am for Linda Wong.

Since the election the flow of calls has slowed somewhat. Until yesterday.

But let's back up about 15 years. We'd moved to the little house on the hill, and had a peekaboo view of the mountain and the flats of the city. But there was this annoying weather balloon in the middle of my view on weekends, and hideous rock music blaring out of a building nearby, both courtesy of Greg Smith Motors.

Maybe I was an obnoxious dork for complaining about the balloon in my sight line, but maybe they were dorks too. They cut down the city's trees in front of their dealership and eventually defaulted on a quarter million in taxes they owed the city before skipping town. Anyhoo, I would call to complain about the big balloon in my view and whoever would answer the phone would hand the phone over to "Greg Smith" himself, who would field my complaint. The first time I called he had a local accent. Next time he sounded like he was from Nashville. Finally "Greg Smith" had a very thick South Asian accent. Such a crack up. Eventually Greg Smith skedaddled and the next dealership didn't use balloons.

So yesterday I'm at work and I see a call coming in. Urgent calls related to my mom can come from anywhere, so I picked up. I hear a crunch and a pause, and a guy with a very thick South Asian accent introduces himself as Greg Brown and says he's in charge of cybersecurity blah blah blah and without thinking I just burst out laughing. Then I hung up. Just like the old days. So excellent, "Greg Brown".

Lots of people who work phone banks take pseudonymns. As an example I had a friend, last name named Gil-Sola, whose phone bank name was "George Sola." It wasn't so far off the mark but gave him anonymity. That works. Make it believable, People.

Feed Me

And now a word from our sponsor, old man cat, who says "Feed Me!"

This is his first day of no-feeding-in-the-morning-because-you're-finally-plump-enough. I don't think he'll be celebrating. 

For years our routine has been to feed all cats once, at night. For people who don't like to wake up in the morning, this is best. The cats don't try to wake you up to be fed, because they don't know any different.

But since the old man is 20 and was sick earlier in the year and was very bony, mrguy started feeding him twice a day. Our reward? No sleep. Our sweet old deaf boy greets our every motion in bed with a comment, sometimes loud, because he wants his bowl. Starting at about 6am he faces the bed and waits for movement. When he sees it, he meows. Hilariously, mrguy realized that if old boy sees a limb, he also meows. By waving your arms you can play him from the bed, like a conductor. 

We call it the meow-onium.

Yesterday mrguy declared an end to morning feedings. We'll put away the meow-onium.

December 16, 2016

December Beauty

I looked at my phone when I got home and found this photo.  A funny moment of accidental beauty.

And this was a photo I took while something else was happening. I couldn't reveal factory secrets, so mrsguy gets a photo of turnip greens.

Looking for photos to distract me as the year winds down.

December 14, 2016

More Moments!

My bro saw a specialist on Thursday. He has more like a year. To a guy who was going to call Hospice on Monday, having a bunch more months to think about that seems like a great deal. We all agree.

Bigsis has a yearly tradition of cookie decorating with her granddaughters around the holidays, but she wasn't going to be home to host. She was with the mama and our bro, supporting everybody as we grappled with this horrible and then less horrible news. I suggested that we host cookie day at our house, because the kids live near us. So in the middle of all of this chaos we had a magical day.

Mom came over with her wonderful caregiver (who saved my bacon by bringing dozens of lumpia with her). The kids and their kids came and decorated cookies with the caregiver. Our awesome niece's family comes from the same province in the Philippines, so they talked about food for a while.

Nephew was suffering from a neck issue, so the mama gave him a massage. And she helped me finish trimming the tree. And I put on a bunch of awesome music (Jack Teagarden, the Talbot Brothers, random Mexican rock music from the 60's). The mama danced with me.

Oldest grandniece called it Mini Christmas. I have to agree that it was tremendous.

December 4, 2016


I try not to make this blog about life's challenges, and there is an internal battle I have between wanting to commune with the blog and not wanting it to be about those struggles. But that's where I am, man. Life is a mixed bag.

Lately death is the topic. My mom's best friend left us, the cousin who had the stroke almost died this week, and my brother called me the other day to tell me he has weeks to live. This was moments after getting my holiday bonus at the factory. It was as if someone had hugged me and then slapped me.

Which is a great example of how there are moments in every day, week and month that are good and bad. Failing to appreciate my great good fortune only makes the bad worse. And on the whole I am going through this rough patch surrounded by a cocoon of love and support. Hell! A handsome man just brought me a cup of coffee. I am a lucky lady.

So here are a few life appreciations. Here is Squirry. He is on a tear at work. He eats little berries that are the fruits of the palm trees and makes a crazy mess. He is bold, unafraid of humans and in this photo his little tummy is about to droop onto the ground.

And here are a few photos from Thanksgiving.

I made an impromptu dessert when I found that Mom had over a dozen apples at her place. When you have an elderhoard, make elderhoard-ade! It was delicious, by the way.

 The sunset was amazing, and we bundled up to watch the whole thing. Mom said it was "almost perfect".

When Mom went home on Saturday we had a skype date with our dear dear friends in New York, including chasing the cats down with the laptop so they could all be seen. Here's our side of the conversation before it started.

And here we are. Another day, another cup of coffee, another different friend in the hospital with a stroke. Really, people?

Gotta concentrate on those moments. Moments are where it's at.

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