Wednesday, February 06, 2019

I miss my Mother. I miss talking to her on the phone, or rather listening to her talk to me about all of the things that she found interesting. I miss sending her presents. I miss having her here at my house. I miss complaining about her eccentricities and her constant criticism of the food I cooked her.

There are a lot of really good things happening in my life, one in particular.

But I really miss my Mother. Little things set me off. Tonight it was messages on my phone and realizing I would never have one from her.

So there's that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ruby chews everything. My couch has a big hole in it. As does my mattress.  I sprayed bitter apple stuff on the electric blanket plug and I caught her licking it off in the middle of the night. I had to put hot sauce on the corner of my wooden bed to stop her from gnawing on it. She does not like that. I put the vintage coffee table upside-down on the couch and last night she chewed on the leg. I was so angry. She is locked out of the kitchen and living room now. She knows she isn't supposed to chew on things, but I guess it is just something puppies do. I had to take her plastic chew toys away because she was just eating them and not eating her regular food.


It seems like the people of my child hood are all dying. Everyone from my grandmother's generation are gone, of course, and most of the people from my mother's generation. I laid in bed the other night and thought of them- particularly Jerry Burton, Mr. Cooper. The celebrities of my child hood- the people who would star on Fantasy Island and Love Boat, are going too. Yesterday it was Carol Channing. I watched some videos on Youtube, she was a very charming performer. For whatever reason, her death made me feel very sad.

Last weekend was Living History. We had about 150 people come through, and sold some stuff in the gift shop.

Living History, a soldier stands guard.

Matt stopped by and it was nice to see him.

 Matt traveled back to the 1890s.

I have been president of the group for four years and this April I will switch to being vice-president. Money has become an issue, we need more of it. And I lay awake at night worrying about that.

The politics of this country are so crazed. I have to watch Youtube videos of Scrabble games or vintage game shows to calm myself.

A valve in my early-1950s Visibake stove wore out one night. I turned the knob and flames came shooting out from behind it. About three feet high, it was scary. I quickly pulled the stove out and turned the gas off. I had an old-stove-repairman, Sidney, came over and looked at it. He claims he can fix it, but it will be a few weeks with no oven (I can still use the burners). No delicious cakes, pies, cookies, etc. I will probably spend enough repairing the stove that I could buy a new one, but I like this one, it has successfully baked dozens of cakes.

Sidney working on the Visibake stove.

It hasn't been too cold so far this winter. Haven't had to worry about pipes freezing. Buddy Dog comes in and sleeps on the couch when it gets below 40 (although I think his doghouse is probably warmer). Ruby has a sweater that she wears when it is cold and surprisingly enough, she does not chew on it (she has destroyed three harnesses). I put the electric blanket beneath the sheet so Ruby cannot get to the delicious plug, and I turn it on and night and she and Snowball lay on it. Buddy Cat sleeps either on the bed or in the cat bed next to the little radiator heater. He starts meowing at 4 AM, wanting his wet food. I tell him to shut up. Then Snowball gets on the desk and starts pawing at things and then walking across the keyboard, which makes loud beeping noise. I yell "Snowball!" and eventually he gets off and comes back to bed.

I know, my life is exciting. I finished one of my newspaper transcription books last week. Finally finished the overdue genealogy newsletter. Getting ready to start a dig on Monday. Have not been successful at losing weight. Why do I hate salad so much?

Did Retro Game Show last weekend, with Matt and Mark helping out. I was in charge of taking money and assigning seats to people who had not reserved. It gets hectic, I get serious. Had the worst customer to date and I probably over-reacted, he told me to "chill out." I did not appreciate that.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

End of the year self portrait.

A new shirt, an old vintage tie.

2018 was the worst of years and also the best of years. 

Holiday continues.

Every night I turn the lights on and sit on the couch and look at them. So pretty.

Buddy Cat in the rocking chair.

Snowball next to the real tree.

At night Buddy comes inside and sleeps on the couch. It has been rather cold here, it froze two nights in a row and the pretty bouganvillea is frozen and looks awful.

Buddy chewing on his teddy.

I will confess that it has been a difficult time this year. I have broken down many times, sometimes over the most mundane things. I see something and think, "Mother would have liked that." 

Santa Claus and Santa Matt.

Christine's Antique Store closed and had a big sale. I purchased some transfer printed dishes. Also three decal printed plates with quails and pheasants (I already had two). I finally found my stash of picture hooks and hung them up in the study.

On Holiday Eve I went to Richard and Roger's annual party. It was nice to see Esme, Richards 90-something mother. She and his brother Tony liked the lemon meringue pie I made with some Meyer Lemons I picked from my tree. As usual, Roger and Richard cooked fabulous foods.



At night Ruby crawls under the blankets to keep warm. Sometimes she gets her sweater put on and she runs around, I'm glad she hasn't chewed it like she chews everything else.

Sleepy buddies.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Holiday season ensues.

I have been really busy. I began to make cards and I'm still not finished. I copied Connie's birch tree design. New design- chirping bird.


Peter came over Thursday and helped me cut cookies. I made a vegan batch of apple pie spice sugar cookies for him. Also made gingerbread and sugar cookie.

Peter rolling.

I've bought a few new ornaments.


On Friday night Matt and I drove north to Mesa. The next morning we went to Gilbert to have tintypes taken by David Emitt Adams.

Matt and Homer.

You have to hold still for about five seconds.

Matt having his tintype taken.

I got to watch the tintypes be developed. One moment a plain metal plate, then slowly the image appears. While they were drying after being varnished, we went to two antique stores and I bought two plates and two 1960s ornaments. Both shops had really good stuff and quite inexpensive.


On Sunday I went and got Robert and he helped me out getting ready for the party. It was a good thing because I developed a migraine and that made things difficult. I got him some ornaments and he was really happy about them.

Robert and cowboy ornament.

I made Martha Stewart's eggnog, but cut the alcohol in half. Last week I found a punch bowl set with 12 cups for $8 at a thrift store.


I also made veggie chili, cornbread, gluten-vegan cornbread, Chex mix, hummus, white bean-artichoke dip, cream cheese-garlic dip, and a cheese and cracker tray. Also I made a fruitcake several weeks ago, saturated in booze.

Dining room.

At 6 PM the guests began to arrive (a few arrived early). Cookie decorating began. As always, Patrick did a great job. Robert's friend Phil had been hesitant about attending, but afterward raved about how much fun he had. People also loved the chili, cornbread, and eggnog.

Peter, Patrick, Tommy, Jane, and Rich decorating.

The cookies ended up at work, where they were rapidly devoured. People at the party: Doug, Matt, Mark B., Addison, Kevin, Robert, Phil, Patrick, Jane, Tommy, Chris, Rich, Peter, Jeffrey, Mark R. Rich and Roger stopped in beforehand.


Close up.

After the party ended I cleaned up, put food in the fridge, and then threw up. I do not recommend getting a migraine while doing a party.

Last night I was so tired. I washed some of the dishes and then sat in the living room and looked at the lights.

Buddy Cat and the Victorian flocked tree.

Snowball and the paper flower tree.

I had to take up the rug in the living room because Ruby decided to chew on it. When I came home this afternoon I discovered she had chewed the zipper of my hoodie.

List of things that Ruby has chewed (not complete):

3 phone charger cords
2 pairs of glasses
my mattress
a quilt my mother made me
a couch pillow
living room rug
my hoodie
the rocker on the rocking chair

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Holiday decorations are going up in my house.

When I was a kid I played with a set of ridged alphabet blocks. They disappeared somewhere. In the last 15 years I found a bunch at an antique store, then two more. Last week I found a complete set (I had been missing the N) on Ebay at a very reasonable price. So I got them.

Happy Holiday.

In front of the TV I put some bottle brush trees and Santas. The one on the left was made by Mother, the one in the middle used to hang on the family tree, and scary Santa on the right came from my former co-worker Susan's mother.


I set up the four artificial trees. The red tree has white ornaments, many of which were made by Mother or by my sister Susan.

Red tree.

The flocked tree has Victorian-looking glass ornaments, with stockings Mother made hanging from the picture rail.

Victorian tree.

The silver tree has Mexican-themed ornaments, mostly purchased at the Presidio gift shop.

Mexican tree.

I love this ridiculous pink tree, which looks absolutely nothing like the picture on the box. I put gold-colored ornaments on it.

Pink tree.

So last night I went over to Home Depot and bought a Norfolk Pine for $69. Matt loaded into his truck and brought it over. I opened the door and discovered that Ruby had torn open a couch pillow and it looked like a snow storm on the floor. When Matt picked her up she promptly peed on the couch. SIGH.

The tree was much bigger than I thought. I had to cut the top of it off. After I stood it up I wired it to the ceiling vent. And then put on something like 500 lights on it. Decorated it with the paper flowers I used on the All Soul's altar, along with some red ornaments, mostly made by Mother and Susan.

Massive tree.

Doing all of this decorating has taken up the last week. It has occupied my mind, which has been dwelling a lot on the fact that Mother isn't here. I always liked buying her presents and surprising her on Holiday morning. She would protest that she had gotten too many presents, but you could tell that she secretly loved the bounty.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

After my semi-annual physical I am told that I have to eat a low-carb, low-fat diet, lose weight, abstain from breathing, and report to the Soylent Green facility.

As usual, two days after the physical I did something to hurt my lower back and have enjoyed whining about this.

Holiday preparations are underway. I decided to make a wreath. I purchased a grape vine wreath, several sets of ornaments, and a new glue gun and glue sticks. It took about an hour to assemble, and only scorched my fingers twice.

Ruby has been a good girl and hasn't pooped inside since the horrific pooping-in-bed incident. Snowball has decided that he isn't going to take any crap from Ruby and chases Ruby around. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Well, Russian hackers first hacked my Instagram account in October. Then last week is started happening over and over again. Finally on one day last week they did it seven times. I kept changing my password and doing everything Instagram suggested. Nothing worked. Finally it just disappeared. Who knows why some Russian assholes or bots targeted me.

Ruby is grown up. She and Snowball rarely get along, although once in a while Snowball lets Ruby sit next to him.

Homer, Snowball, and Ruby.

I didn't have to work much at Game Show this month, basically set up chairs. Peter took over my ushering duties. I got to sit in the audience with Matt and Robert. I had a good time. I wore my new striped pants!

Homer and Robert.

Today is Thanksgiving and I am home alone. Mother used to come around this time, but that is over. I'm trying not to be sad. Thanksgiving has never been a favorite holiday and this year it is rather depressing. But I do have something special to be thankful for.

I made myself a pecan pie, only the second time I have made one. Later on I am making parsnip and leek stuffing, and of course cheesy mashed potatoes. 

Pecan pie.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

This year my All Souls Procession altar had special significance. It featured my mother and her ancestors. I hosted my annual party, starting things a few days before, putting together my altar and decorating the house. I went out to my Meyer lemon tree and picked a few. My tree has lots of lemons on it this year.

Meyer lemon.

Robert and I made lemon sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies. We had a fun time doing so.

Robert cutting lemon sugar cookies.

 I taught Robert some decorating tips.  He did a great job.


I used the Meyer lemon juice for the frosting, it came out nice.

Close up of cookies.

I made a tres leche cake.

Tres leche.

And a chocolate mayonnaise cemetery cake.

Cemetery cake. Tombstones made from chocolate bars.

I also made spanikopita, hummus, three bean salad, and mango salsa. I ran around like a maniac.


Finally it was time to start. Robert found a real mariachi sombrero on 4th Avenue. I lent him my vest and matching bow tie that I am too fat to wear.

Robert at the altar.

Richard came and took photos of people.

Robert (photo by Panchesco).

I had made all of the paper flowers for my altar. Matt brought me bouquets of roses and I bought irises, mums, carnations, and other flowers to hand out along the procession route.

Homer and Matt at the altar.

My friend Emily arrived from DC. She worked with me back in 1996. I had made her a floral crown the night before and she loved it.

Emily (photo by Panchesco).

I confess, I was so tired. I probably did eight or nine sugar skull makeups on people. I did an okay job, I really need to take a class.

Moi (photo by Panchesco).

Matt used glitter around his eyes.

Matt (photo by Panchesco).

At 5:30 we walked down to the Procession and ended up along Bonita Avenue.

Robert, Trav, and Ray.

This year people had the choice of walking down Bonita or down the river walk. Many people did the latter, which I thought spoiled the Procession, since you could not see them.

The urn.

I had a melt-down moment while talking about my mother. Sometimes I see something and think, "Oh, Mother would like that," and then remember she has died. I showed someone the little heart-shaped rock that she liked and burst into tears. It is still a hard thing for me.


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