Category Archives: home

Hallooo…

Crap. It’s been forever since I updated this thing.

We took a trip to TX in late June/early July. Went to my in-laws’ 50th anniversary party, saw J’s side of the family, got some vitamin D. Loads of fun.

After flying back to Alaska, we had an interesting time getting back home. Flew into Anchorage, landed late at night, drove all night toward Fairbanks, arriving at Nenana sometime after 7 am. Couldn’t go any further since a wild fire had blocked the highway. Backtracked an hour or two, took a gravel road connecting the Parks Highway to the Richardson Highway, got a flat tire about 70 miles in. We only had one spare on us, no cell service, no sleep, and just a few bottles of water and some junk food. Amazingly, a few miles after changing the tire, we came across a lodge/tire repair stop. Got a room, got the tire patched, ate, slept, and resumed the journey the next morning. Another 40-ish miles and we were on the Rich, then another two-ish hours and we were finally back home. All in all, it took about 60 hours to get home from Texas.

I lost the rest of July and most of August due to some fun medication complications. JR started 1st grade at the end of August, turned 7 in September, and can now read, write, add, and tie his shoes. He’s such an amazing big boy.

J has had a couple of back operations (to repair a bulging disc) and is recovering slowly but well enough. I’ve had a lot of doctor appointments in my bid to finally find a diagnosis, as well as dealing with part of my Social Security disability appeal. Little to no progress has been made on either front.

Autumn is here, brightening my mood since it’s my favorite season. The kids discovered the simple fascination of a Coleman lantern last night in the backyard. JR very much wants to go camping, though I know that he’d be freezing and unable to last the night through if we actually did it. Next summer.

I got to see Bill Maher and Dave Chappelle when they came up here, got to visit briefly with my dad once, and meet some new people. Also have some new furniture — two new couches, and a matching coffee table/end tables set. Looking forward to rearranging the rest of the house when I have a good day or two; I plan on bringing up a twin bed from downstairs to put in a now-vacant upstairs bedroom, moving a dresser and some shelving units, and changing around various wall hangings. Eventually, I’ll get my china cabinet and antique sewing table from my parents’ house in Anchorage. When it’s all done, home will feel much homier.

Lately, I’ve been sucked into books, predominantly 18th and 19th century lit. I’ve done some writing again, and touched up some paintings. I have lots of ideas for new paintings, and hope to actualize them soon. I’ve also been making some hand-knits for this coming winter.

Ultimately, I just felt like it was time I posted something to say, “Hi. I’m still alive.”

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Jam session

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Rebuttal, of sorts

There have been a lot sentiments that baffle me beyond belief, and I’m confounded further by those who own the sentiments. Like those saying about the most recent school shooting:

  1. This would’ve been prevented if people noticed the warning signs sooner & reported them.
    Saying that if people had only reported this guy would have saved the children from being murdered only spreads survivor’s guilt. There’s enough of that to go around already. Also, there aren’t enough resources or recourse for those who do need help, and would benefit by it.
  2. This is the reason we need to arm all teachers & school staff.
    How can we arm all the teachers & school staff if we aren’t even willing to standardize their working conditions, or pay them a living wage? Are we to expect our teachers to be more like first responders now too?
  3. If only we’d do away with all gun restrictions.
    Yes, doing away with all gun restrictions is clearly the solution. Make them even easier to get than mental health care. That’s fucking logical. Your right to bear arms isn’t worth the price of the lives of these children, is it? What a price to pay. Let’s start throwing virgins into volcanoes again, while we’re at it.
  4. This is why public schools aren’t to be trusted. 
    It’s the fault of public schools? Adam Lanza was homeschooled. Education and indoctrination in all matters starts first with the parents. What was Nancy Lanza teaching him? Should she be held accountable for brainwashing him? Does this idea piss off you other homeschoolers? Good.
  5. The media made him do it.
    And the Twinkies. Don’t forget the Twinkies.
  6. The shooter needed more drugs, or less. 
    Let’s not forget that it’s easier to get guns than it is to get mental health care.
  7. This is what happens when you remove god/church/etc. from school/government/whatever.
    Right. Because invoking your god in school would have made those children bulletproof. The separation of church and state must stand.
  8. God made this happen as punishment for legalizing gay marriage.
    If this is the same god that you want to idolize in schools, no thanks. I don’t want my children exposed to such a hateful deity, or its faithful. Keep your stupid to yourself.
  9. It’s Obama’s fault.
    The radical right doesn’t know how, yet, but it must be Obama’s fault, right? Puh-lease.
  10. Any combination of the above, or whatever else I’ve heard and blocked out.
    I’ve heard a lot of bullshit. I just want to focus less on his motivations than on celebrating the lost children. If we can celebrate their short lives and be a comfort to their families, that will be a good start. Preventing this kind of massacre from happening again is necessary, but I don’t have enough faith in our national conscience to accomplish something so grand.

    I want my children to grow up safely, attend school safely, learn, laugh, and love safely.

Today’s Product Round-up

Hair:  Feria, Havana Medium Brown; got2B Glued spiking gel; cut by me
Glasses:  Cover Girl frames in Plum
Earrings:  James Avery sterling silver “Mother’s Love” leverbacks, diamond stud, James Avery “Rose” sterling silver post
Necklace:  James Avery sterling silver cable chain, James Avery “Mother’s Love” sterling silver pendant
Shirt:  Old Navy fitted scoopneck, Stainless Steel
Fragrance:  Dolce & Gabbana, Rose the One
Face:
Tinted moisturizer — Miracle Skin Transformer SPF 20, Medium
Mineral foundation — Prestige Skin Loving Minerals, Medium Beige
Bronzer/blush — Too Faced Brightening & Perfecting Bronzer, Peach Leopard
Eyelid primer — Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer
Eyebrows — Sephora Retractable Brow Pencil, waterproof, Midnight Brown
Eyeshadow — Too Faced, Romantic Eye palette.  Lid: Kiss the Bride. Outer lid/crease: First Dance.
Eyeliner — MAC Liquidlast pen liner, Point Black
Mascara — Dior Diorshow Iconic, black
Lips — MAC Prep & Prime. Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick, Lolita
Finishing — Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray.  Guerlain L’OR Radiance Concentrate w/Pure Gold

Jellybean’s Jambalaya

3 cups calrose rice
3 cups chicken stock or broth

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 large celery stalks, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch of greens, chopped (kale, chard, collards, etc.)
1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can great northern beans
1 can red beans
3-4 cups chicken broth
1 palmful sea salt
1 palmful dried oregano
1/2 palmful dried thyme
1/4 palmful black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 palmful dried parsley
1/4 palmful cayenne pepper

1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 1/4″ thick slices then cut in half
1/2 to 1 lb chicken pieces (leftover chicken is perfect)

Meatloaf Deluxe

1.5 lbs ground angus beef
.5 lb Italian sausage
3-4 stalks celery, finely minced
.5 to 1 small onion, finely minced
1 large carrot, finely minced/grated
1 palmful sea salt
1 large pinch black pepper
1 palmful Italian seasoning
1/4 palmful garlic salt
1-2 palmfuls seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4-1/2 cup half-and-half
Top with ketchup

375* for an hour. Pour off excess fat. 10 more minutes, pour off excess fat, make incisions. 10-15 more minutes, pour off excess fat, set to cool.

Randomly on a Tuesday

I like Random Tuesdays.  Because they’re random.  Like me.

I’ve been in contact with one man I suspected of being my biological father.  His name isn’t quite the right match, but his age is, as well as his location at the time of my conception.

I’ve found a few other potential bio-dads.  One was a definite ‘no’, one was deceased, and one looks like me.  The one that looks like me lives in Lugoff, South Carolina.  He hasn’t responded to me yet.  Good thing I’m persistent.

My cousin Stephan committed suicide last week at age 26.  He left behind three young sons, and a lot of loving family and friends.  We drove to Anchorage last Friday for his memorial service, but didn’t quite make it.  We stopped for brunch at Rose’s Cafe in Healy, where Mia fell on her front teeth.  She bled a bit, chipping one top front tooth and loosening the other.  We debated whether we should continue to Anchorage or turn back to Fairbanks, and decided to keep on.  We hit up Alaska Native Medical Center as soon as we got to town, and good thing.  Poor Mia had fractured both top front teeth down to the nerve, and they had to be pulled.  She’s fine now, though she pronounces a few things differently, and won’t have any lasting damage to her adult teeth or rampant love of running.

We stopped at Stephan’s wake, where the place was teeming with my extended family and lots of good food.  I saw family members I haven’t seen in years, and learned that a couple of them live up my way.  We were all exhausted from the trip down so we didn’t stay long, but I was there just long enough to give my love and sympathy to Stephan’s mother, Aucha.  My most beautiful, smartest cousin, just like me.  May G-d bless you and keep you.

The kids got to hang out with a few of their cousins, Faith, Caleb, and Victoria, as well as Aunt Jessie and Grandpa.  Mia was completely captivated by all the mountains around Anchorage, poor little mountain-deprived Interior girl that she is.  We were going to take them to Beluga Point before we left town Saturday, but opted instead to take them to Valley of the Moon Park.

That’s where I got to finally catch up with an old friend, Amanda, and finally met her beau Todd and adorable son Mason.  River had fun on the swings, JR climbed on everything in sight (and has declared it his favorite park), and Mia was so taken by Amanda and Mason that she kept talking about them on the way home.  There are many, many more friends I want to see; I’ll be back in Anchorage before too long!

It was fantastic to come home after such a short trip.  My home stays messier than I want it to be, but it’s mine.  Mine, mine, mine!  The animals gave us a great greeting, as has the laundry pile.

John has a new-to-him motorcycle this summer — a 1991 Harley Davidson Sportster.  He got it late in the season, got it fixed up, and takes it out whenever he gets a chance.  I keep pushing for him to get chaps, but possibly not for the reason he wants them.  I picked up a helmet this weekend, so I’m ready just in case I get a chance to ride with him.  Hopefully he can take a long ride this coming weekend since there probably aren’t a lot of riding days left.

I’m still knitting — I have a lot of finished projects that I haven’t pictured because the kids got hold of my camera, leaving me unable to point-and-shoot at my leisure.  That’s also why there are decidedly fewer photos here on the blog.  I have a lot of knitting projects lined up, including a shawl for Amanda (because she admired the ruffly one I was wearing at the park), hats/scarves/mittens for the kids, hats for the nursery at Fairbanks Memorial, items for the upcoming homeless youth shelter, and items for various auctions like the Toys for Tots one held in Anchorage.

I’ve been reliving some drama from 15 years ago in my dreams several nights in a row.  Rather, I should call them nightmares, more appropriately.  I’m pretty much ready for that to stop.  Though last night I dreamed I was the star in a recital, and had all manner of dance training to undergo before the big show.  It was strange.

I’ve been reading about Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, tarot, and the Torah.  When I’m not reading about spirituality, I’ve been lost in Kathy Reichs books with Margaret Atwood bringing up the rear.

My cholesterol has come down over 50 points, possibly 70, since the beginning of the year, and I’m thrilled about that.  I wasn’t sure if my approach was working.  It’s still not great, but I’m getting there.

Fibromyalgia pain comes and goes.  I feel like I’m finally on the tail end of a flare.  If I hadn’t had two root canals that need to be retouched, I’d probably feel pretty good.

I’m going to scrounge up some dinner now, then hopefully finish a sock I’ve been working on for what feels like forever.

Protected: Letter to my biological father

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Whoa.

Holy absentee blogger, Batman!

I’ve sort of been writing.  Elsewhere.  Stuff more for me and less for public consumption.  I just haven’t been writing enough, which is likely why I feel… congested? emotionally.  Time for a cathartic dump.

I’ve been exhausted, aching, and/or ill, for what seems like for.ev.er.  I have depression/anxiety/panic issues, and fibromyalgia, and chronic back pain from an ancient injury.  Those are all the basics that are with me on an almost daily basis.  I’ve had in increase in migraines (complete with aura, awesome), a resurgence of insomnia, an uptick in panic attack intensity and frequency, and some unexplained diffuse lymphadenopathy which hit me like a freight train.  And this has all just been my shit.  Each of the kids has had their own (typical, uneventful, unremarkable, viral) illness, and John has had his fair share of ickies.

So through all this shit, a lot of things have taken a back burner.  This blog was one.  My spinning.  My painting.  My knitting too, on occasion. Reading, some writing, most frivolous/fun things.

I’ve spent more time primping and preening.  I figure if I feel like absolute shit, I will at least look good.  Hot, even.

I listen to more music than before. [Side note: each of the kids has a distinct musical preference. JR = bluegrass/jam bands, classic rock. Mia = ’80s hair, metal, industrial.  River = r&b and hip hop.  These are usually incompatible genres, often leading to musical chaos and at least one disappointed child.  Thank goodness for Pandora.]

I text more, play Words with Friends, nurse an ever-teething baby.

River’s not really a baby anymore.  He’s 26+ lbs of adventure, charm, and mischief.  He turned ONE YEAR OLD on July 3.  My Itty Bitty Baby Boy is ONE.  It’s amazing, and kind of heartbreaking.  (He got cake.  He loved it.  He took his first steps just days before that.)

I’ve reconnected with some really great people.  My friends and my music have really gotten me through some crappy times these last few months.  Thank you.

My lymph nodes are all starting to calm down, finally.  My spleen still hurts, but it too is on the mend.  I have medication for the panic attacks and insomnia.  Now that I’m getting at least 4 hours of sleep a night and am in less pain, I’m starting to feel like things are looking up.

Maybe I’ll get over this mental block I have about sharing certain things and y’all might see some more posts.

Pictures soon, promise!

Randomly, and in no particular order:

Femmer is getting bigger and more rambunctious.  He’s a very pretty, very talkative kitty.  He really loves it when I take the pet hair slicker to him, usually comes when called, and will stand on his hind legs to get a yummy treat.  Camilla is his favorite person though.  He tried to curl up on her when she’s sleeping.  Sometimes this wakes her up, which makes her furious, and then they both cry.  Still kind of cute.

Femmer, sleeping on the couch. (Click to enlarge.)

Buffle is bulking up, and is totally happy hanging out in the back yard sniffing at strange things.  Surely spring has sprung.  She’s a bloody stupid dog, but she’s mine, and she makes me smile anyway (even if she can never find the ball once I’ve thrown it).  She puts up incredibly well with the kids using her as a jungle gym and trying to ride her like a horse.  Stupid horse dog.  She just licks them.

Muttley, the ferocious pine cone chaser. (Click to enlarge.)

I found out last month that my baby sister Melinda died of dilated cardiomyopathy.  Miss you, Sissy.

Dad fell, broke his ankle, spent a few days in the hospital, gave us all a scare.  We went down, spent some time near him.  The kids, of course, love playing with their Grandpa.  It was bittersweet for me to spend a few days in my parents’ house; I miss my mama terribly, but I enjoyed having my kids play in the house I grew up in.

There was inevitable bullshit drama with my sisters.  I give up.  I hope they find peace and happiness because, until then, they’re just going to continue to tear others down to make themselves feel better.  Sad.

I finally got to hang out with my dear friend Kelley and her daughter Jazmynn — twice!  Our kids had a great time together, and I’m so glad to have reconnected with Kell.  We need to make damn sure we don’t let another 4 years go by without seeing each other again!

I never showed off my new ink here!  I’m absolutely in love with my new tattoo (that I got at the beginning of February).  Custom work done by Jedidia Reid, owner of Element Tattoo Studio in San Antonio, TX.  I vow to only get work done by him, or by an artist recommended by him.  I hope he comes up to Fairbanks to do a guest spot!

Photo by Jedi Reid, owner/artist at Element Tattoo Studio, San Antonio, TX. (Click to enlarge.)

I’m trying my hand at a garden for the first time this year.  I’ve started seedlings for cherry tomatoes, basil, green onions, summer squash, spinach, carrots, and butternut squash.  This weekend, I’m going to get a prefab mini-greenhouse and some planters, start transplanting a few things outside.  I love love love the idea of fresh homegrown food!

River can crawl!  And pull up on people/furniture!  And cruise around it!  Poor little guy has another ear infection, but he also has 8 big teeth, and insatiable curiosity and charm.  I’m a sucker for him.

River, at a rest stop on the way back up from Anchorage. (Click to enlarge.)

JR & Camilla are getting taller, smarter, funnier, and more charming every day.  They have new rain gear and XtraTufs, and just need to search out some huge puddles now.  I’ll definitely share those pics once they’re taken!

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