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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] mercurykitty AND [personal profile] tacit!!



It...has been a busy weekend. Yesterday felt like a bit of a lazy day, but, it was okay for it to be. First off, my eight-year-old angel fish, Spectrum (all my angel fish are named Spectrum) died. This is the second long-lived angel fish I've had. The last one lived about eight years, too. Anyway, he was the last fish in the tank. I have since shut down the tank. When the weather gets nicer, I'll drain the rest of the water down, toss the gravel, clean everything up, and store it until we move. The plus side of Spectrum's passing is that now I don't have to worry about moving him, switching tanks for transport, and so on, and doing everything quickly so that he doesn't die of hypothermia and expertly so he doesn't die of water shock. Now, I can simply move the tank and equipment, and after we get set up in the new place, put everything together, get new gravel, fill it with water, take a few days to balance out the water, then get new fish.

I briefly thought about just simply...not having a fish tank anymore. But, it's been a bit of a hobby for me for almost 20 years, and when the tank is clean and there are fish in there, people like to come in and see the fish and watch them for a bit. In the new house, I'll have the tank set up in my "office" in the basement so people can more easily enjoy the fish.

The other downer for yesterday was that Mom's aunt, Aunt Carolyn, lost her battle with cancer. Even though she was Mom's aunt, she was only about 10 years older, if that. My prayers are with her second husband, Fred, down in Florida, where they moved to after they got married. They were very active with Habitat for Humanity, until her cancer came back. She had originally had kidney cancer, which she beat, but then came down with lung cancer. She's been in hospice for about two months.

I...wasn't especially close to her. But I am very grateful for something she did. About a year after Dad died, Aunt Carolyn was talking to Mom and said she sounded like Mom needed a break. She paid Mom's air fare for her to go down and spend about a week down there with her and Fred. The trip was a rather healing one for Mom. And for that kindness towards Mom, I am very thankful to her.

There will be a funeral and burial down there in Florida. Given everything happening right now with new jobs, new babies, and new houses, we just...can't get away. Which sucks. But I'll admit I'd rather be playing with my niece than traveling.

Mom and Rich are down in Odessa today, signing the almost-final papers for the new house. They want a letter from Mom's new employer stating that she is employed and such before they make the final papers for the mortgage and such and start construction. But after today, it's pretty much a done deal and we don't have to worry about someone else snatching up the lot or anything.

So many ways in which life is changing. Starting anew...

I've gotten most of the housework for the weekend done. Just need to take care of some computer things and finish up my laundry. I might also go visit my sister and niece and do my grocery shopping. Alas, I still haven't gotten to work on my taxes. And next weekend? I'm scheduled for the ALYX blood donation (hopefully, my hemoglobin will be high enough for it, or else I'll try again next month). And next week is a vacuuming weekend, though, I'm going to try to get that done before I go donate some RBCs. But I was hoping to go dancing next Saturday night, but, we'll see how my energy level is after donating.

Anyway, more later...

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Mom and I went to visit Mandie and Danielle last night...

Mandie is doing much better and is out of the High Risk area. Danielle had to spend a day in the NICU under, essentially, a heat lamp to stabilize her temperature, which turns out to be a common, minor problem to babies born a few weeks early. But she was reunited with her mommy, and her mommy was moved to a regular room.

I got to hold Danielle for a little bit. First off, she's only the fifth baby I've gotten to hold. The first was my sister, the second was a neighbor's baby, third and fourth were cousin's babies. Danielle is the fifth. And I got to hold her for a good half hour, or at least, it felt like that.

Again, she has a hell of a personality already! A nurse came in to take Mandie's temperature and blood pressure, and then to take Danielle's temperature (via armpit). Danielle didn't fuss, but gave the nurse a hell of a stink eye.

Holding her, I felt her moving through the blankets and swaddling she was in. Little feet kicking slightly, little arms moving around, and her picking up her head slightly. She went through a range of facial expressions, opened her eyes and looked at me a few times... In many ways, it's like her brain is running constant diagnoses on everything, calibrating for whatever responses it's getting.

Mandie says she hasn't been fussing or crying very much. I think this is because Danielle's getting all her needs met. And getting showered with tons of attention and luvins. And it occurred to me that she's an exceptionally lucky baby. We may not be rich or anything, but she was born to two loving parents who have loving, supportive families. There is an abundance of both practical and textbook knowledge among everyone. And there is an abundance of unconditional love.

There will be pets who, when they meet her, will accept her into the family as unconditionally as the rest of us, largely because they, the pets in question, were accepted and loved unconditionally. This is a situation where karma comes in and repays kindness a thousandfold. I'd lay money that Loki and Lily will give Danielle the gargoyle treatment, standing watch. Lily may take a few days to warm up to this pink thing that makes noise and such, but I'm sure she'll step up to the plate. Loki will probably fall over himself to be her first buddy.

I'm reminded of the TNG episode "The Defector" when Romulan Admiral Aladir Jerok explains his defection to Captain Picard, that as a parent, there comes a time when you look into your child's face and realize that you have to change the world for her. I may only be her uncle, but I feel the same press to make the world suck less for her benefit.

And there's a part of me that feels badly for all the kids out there who aren't as lucky as Danielle.

But yeah, Danielle's one of the quiet ones. She'll be the type to have a secret lab in her closet at the age of eight, working on cold fusion or something.

I told Mandie that yeah, her and Scott's lives are now forever changed, but I'm realizing that with the closeness of the relationship, Mom's, Rich's, and my life have all been changed as well, as well as our counterparts in Scott's family. Though this is Mom's and Rich's first time as grandparents, and my first time as an uncle. It's still sinking in for me that I'm an uncle, and figuring out what that means in general and what it means for me.

So...yeah...

Though of one thing I'm certain... I need to re-learn how to change diapers. Two things, actually... I'm going to be taking and posting lots of pictures...

With the camera phone, so, the quality isn't as good, but still... )

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You know, I've discovered that each time I re-watch my Firefly DVDs, I enjoy the series even more than the last time I watched it. Each time I watch, I discover another layer of nuance. I notice different details. I see evidence of larger arcs.

They should have given Star Wars to Whedon. With what Whedon did with Mal and Inara, I think he would have done great with Han and Leia. And with what he did with River? Yeah, we'd have Jedi fights of sheer awesomeness.

Something that's struck me about the series since I first read the novelization of Serenity is the relationship between Simon and River. My sister and I had our fair share of sibling rivalry, but, and I just watched "Safe," which is the episode where Simon and River are kidnapped by hillfolk, and River's telepathy leads her to be deemed a witch by the townsfolk, I still love my sister. Indeed, while I'm not out risking my life to save her from an alliance trying to turn her into a weapon, I think some of my current animosities towards family are a...protectiveness...towards her, given that such animosities have arisen about people feeling snubbed at not being invited to her wedding.

I think some of our past rivalries had come from a security to have such rivalries. When I look at some of the darker times in our lives, predominantly when Dad was sick, we still worked well together. And we've always managed to set aside differences when pets were concerned. When the going got tough, we were backup for each other, and typically didn't go for each others' throats unless there was nothing else going on. Maybe sibling rivalry, or at least our sibling rivalry, was born of boredom. But now, we play very nice together, whether we're rescuing abandoned felines or breaking Mom out of a nursing home or making sure Rich doesn't have a diabetic episode while with Mom at the hospital.

Fortunately, Mandie and I also had parents who gave a damn. I look at Simon and River's parents, who just plain didn't really know their kids, didn't see the signs River gave that the Academy was hurting her... At least our parents would have been more concerned about us rather than about how things might look to other people. Then again, we were too poor to worry about anything other than each other.

I'm glad my sister and I get along well these days.

And as far as Firefly goes... I realized I can't pick a favorite episode. The whole series is my favorite episode...

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It's a good thing this is a three-day weekend. I need the time.

I didn't go to dance last night. Instead, as it was Mom's birfday, we all went out to Capons and Lemons (Italian restaurant), courtesy of Rich, for Mom's natal day celebrations. Mandie and Scott came along, too. It was a good family fun time.

Today, I...pretty much slept through the day. Not sure if this is anemia-related, just plain fatigue, or if my body was fighting off something. I don't feel particularly ill. And now, I'm just feeling a little bit restless. I want to go for a walk and then do some reading.

On the bright side, I think I may have come up with some sort of "work flow" for writing that will keep me engaged and (somewhat) sane with it.

I stopped at Staples and bought $25 worth of desk organizing stuff. Hopefully, tomorrow, I will get a little more work done on organizing my desk and such.

More later...

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Some moderate family drama going on that has me a bit...stressed. Mom's a bit upset at my rant against the "relatives" who are mad at her for not being invited to my sister's wedding. As for me, I stand by what I said. Fact is, I stand by the statement that we did nothing wrong, and have nothing to apologize or atone for. Mom's still going to invite them to her wedding, and that's her choice. I have no more right to tell her whom to invite and to not invite than they do to tell us they should have been invited to my sister's wedding. It still bothers me that Mom's kinda sorta inviting them because other people are telling her whom to invite to her wedding, and 2 or more spots are being given to people who aren't worth it, perhaps at the expense of people who are more deserving to be there.

If I ever get married, those people most certainly will not be invited. And that's my choice.

Actually, if I ever get married, and that's a pretty big "if" right now, I might just elope and avoid all this bullshit.

Other than that... Today was busy and productive. I gave myself a haircut this morning. Then I cleaned the bathroom, took care of cat boxes and bird cages, and vacuumed the house. That wipes out most of the rest of the nasty chores and such for the rest of the break. I'll have cat boxes and laundry to do this weekend, but, that's about it. Tomorrow will be another errand day, what with the blood bank, the chiropractor, and the drug store. And maybe getting my new watch resized. But for the most part, the chore part of things is done. What's left isn't too terribly time or labor-intensive, so, time for some R&R. Reading, writing, and gaming. Maybe socializing, if anyone's around.

Actually, the Return to Dance kind of invaded my thoughts last night and today in that I found myself wishing I could go dancing this weekend and get away from everything for a bit. When I was talking to Lydia on Saturday, and she was telling me about having to care for her husband as well as herself and so on, she said that dance was like medicine to her. I'm realizing it's kind of like that for me, too. Cue jokes about being off my meds. Though at the same time, when I left the team, I had to change something, because at that time, the medicine wasn't helping and was in fact creating additional problems.

You know, as I reflect on this past year and life in general, on the bit with family and dance and so on... I don't think people realize how cyclical things are. To quote BSG, "All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again." And we all play roles. Sometimes we switch roles. Sometimes we play the same roles over and over again. And...it takes courage to break the cycle. To break out of the patterns and either form new, positive patterns or start moving linearly or something. Some people never apologize, and the people around them are forever apologizing for being human, apologizing for the sake of friendships or family, forever giving up what they want for the sake of someone else, and until they break the cycle, they will never get ahead. It's hard to break out of these cycles because we're afraid that we'll lose our role and end up lonely. But in that case, perhaps it's most important to break the cycle, risk being alone, end up learning independence, and be stronger for it and more in charge of one's destiny.

And as I write this, I realize I need to take my own advice. With so many things. With sleep... The past few nights, I've been up too late and slowly eroding my progress for a stable sleep cycle. Yeah, there's stress and life stuff and business and excitement at not having to get up early and go to work. But, I need to maintain the sleep habits that work best for me and use the time for writing and such. For eating? I work hard, lose weight, look good, then slowly start gaining weight until I'm fat again. Except for the past decade, where I've just been pretty consistently overweight by 40-60 pounds. Broke the cycle, but not in the way I wanted. Time to change that. Actually, a new cycle was formed. I feel bad, vow to lose weight, manage to stress myself out over it, then give up. The feel bad after a few weeks, vow to lose weight, stress myself out again, and so on. The stress doesn't help, and neither does the resultant sleep loss, and added stress from sleep loss, etc.

So, for 2013, I plan to start breaking bad cycles.

In other news... Rich gave me a rather nice gift card to Amazon for Christmas. I used it to order a new printer. A decent Canon printer/scanner/copier that also does duplex printing. Oh, and can print on CDs and DVDs. Plus, better photo quality printing. And wireless. I'll still connect it via USB to the desktop, but I'll set up the wireless to print from my laptop.

If it gets here before the end of the break, then great! If not, well, 'll be busy after work for a few days. Once it gets here, I plan to clean out and reorganize my desk area, getting rid of old tech (meaning printer cartridges and such that I don't even have the printers for anymore), refiguring everything for the new equipment or even better configurations for old equipment. The goal is to make it all a lot more streamlined and conducive to writing. It's still all kind of in a "student" configuration. Anyway, yeah.

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