Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas, New Year and Questions Answered

I'm thinking of having Jon wait until next weekend to take down the tree and the lights. I have really been enjoying how pretty everything looked in the wee small hours of the morning just before Jon gets up. I'm reminded of how happy I was with the Christmas decorations Jon put up after my first surgery. They are the simplest we've ever had, but somehow they are the prettiest. I had been so surprised to be home for Christmas three years ago that I found Jon's humble decorations magical. I still do. The moments sitting in the room lit only by the twinkling lights while I sip coffee makes me feel so happy and content. I'd love to keep that feeling for just a few more days. There is so much on my plate in the next few weeks, I need some magic. Side Note: it is a very nice bit of magic when up at 4:30 in the morning with another bout of acid reflux. It is very nice, indeed.

Hustle and Bustle

Last year was not a good one for getting Jon presents. He is very difficult to buy for in general. The one option that I had was not in stock when I had the money to get it. I was forced to improvise by making a treat that he was having trouble finding of late. Thus, Deb's Roasty-Toasty Peanuts were born. I make them every few months since last year. Honey roasted nuts are welcome any time of the year. He loved the treats and the new video game when it finally arrived. However, this year, I wanted to get him something really nice. My very own laptop helped me find the gifts at a really great price. I have Google everything on my laptop. Advertisements follow me every where I go when I'm online. Usually that is an annoying and often creepy phenomena. This time, it worked. I did need an office chair for Jon. His was falling apart. So was his windbreaker. Google remembered that I had comparison shopped for these items more than once. It was happy to point out that a deeply discounted office chair was available with free shipping on cyber Monday. Likewise, JCP (JC Penny for us older folks) had a great sale on men's windbreakers with free shipping. Jon was out of the way in short order, but there was still a lot to do.

We're already having a far rainier in Los Angeles than it has in three years. I'd gotten tired of cleaning the rug over and over. I needed to get a welcome mat and an area near the door where we could take off our shoes like Japanese homes have. Jon came up with a great idea of using a desk mat. It fit the area in front of the door perfectly. We now have a pretty good Genkan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genkan and hopefully a much cleaner floor. I also needed to pick up some gift bags for the baked goods we were giving out locally. All of these items meant trips to malls and major shopping districts during the busiest buying season of the year. The retail veteran in me was really dreading this. I was expecting a heavy press of crowds, lots of noise and lots of really unhappy people. I was shocked to find all of the items without any real problems. The crowds weren't bad at all. I found no long lines. I think I was a little resentful that none of the staffs I ran into had that hollow eyed stare that I often had a few days before Christmas. Even my unscheduled trip to Costco was less of a hassle than it would be on a regular week day. I have to say that I enjoyed the mild hustle and bustle along with the Christmas music and children laughing. I was particularly tickled by a young father teaching his toddler daughter how to swing dance while waiting for Santa. It was the first time in many years that I felt like I was part of the holiday season. However, the shopping trips did take a lot out of me physically. I wasn't left with much energy for the rest of my tasks. But fatigue seems to always part of the holidays season, and stuff was getting done.

We used to have an open house at Christmas every year in Philly. The hubs and I had our first hook-up during one 19 years ago. Nineteen!!! We haven't had one since moving into our tiny apartment. And then, there was my illness not making things very festive. I even did the very scary thing of sending out a general invite on Facebook. That could have made life extremely entertaining. In the end, we had pretty much my extended film family in attendance. That was very nice. The food turned out fairly well despite a few minor disasters. I even held up fairly well despite running around and cooking for the open house and for Christmas dinner. That bodes very well for the treatment I'm on to battle the damage done by chemotherapy. I was glad to see Phil and Jack and Sunshine and Ralph and Marguerite and young Mister Shelton. I used to see them routinely for large stretches of time out here. It felt so strange to have drifted. I hope this gathering means that there will be many more to come. We also had a bright spot in our home on Christmas Even and Christmas Day. Sunshine Lliteras was in the house for two days and nights sharing the holiday programs and our favorite Christmas movies. You should know those by now. I harp upon them every year. Really quickly they are Tokyo Godfathers and A Christmas Carol (1952 version with Alistair Sim). We haven't had an overnight guest for any holiday since the days back in Playa del Rey. Happily, Sunshine is a super easy going guest who is a lot of fun to have around. She even put on a Santa hat to delivery cookies with us to the police on duty down the street. And she kept the same odd hours as I do. Good times! View all my Christmas photos here: https://plus.google.com/photos/115054950092873560149/albums/5828120788318857745?authkey=CM3ioNjU8qT9Mw.

Q and A

And now to answer those questions raised in the blog preview.
  • Apparently, those giant car bows seen in TV ads are really expensive. Really. And the dealership is loathe to give them away without a vehicle attached to them. They also really abide by that time is money stance and can be quite short in ending a discussion that doesn't involve driving a car off the lot. Really. I had an old lady shopping cart with me, and I'm pretty sure the bus top I came from was visible through the picture window to anyone paying attention. Odds of my buying a car was remote. And when I can afford one, I'm not going to a place that was so rude.
  • Too many of my male friends are willing to hide in our closets indefinitely for a chance at surprising Jon. I had two such offers to help me out together his new office chair. I considered shoving Craig and an actor friend in their just to see what mayhem would arise. I thought better of it later. Jon enjoyed putting together the chair himself.
  • Apparently, I am attractive enough for dapper elderly gentlemen to speculate about my fidelity in public places. I had on no ring when they started pointing out all the mistletoe hanging about. The situation was more cute than creepy though I think I'll return home for my ring if I forget it again.
  • I'm getting good enough at cooking on the fly that I can whip up an appetizer, main course and dessert in under an hour with a weird set of ingredients. One of my cutie pie guests at the open house had an allergy to olive oil. The next thing I know, I'm whipping up buffet alternatives. My pantry and my skills have come into their own! Can you say Chopped ?
  • I'll tell you more about the question that resulted in a whole lot of work when the details are finalized. But it was fairly amusing and quite exciting.

Year in Review – Briefly

2012 was a very good year overall. I became a published short story author at long last. I also became a published essayist. I directed actors and ran shoots on my own this year. We have a web series well under way. The first interviews for my documentary on Appendix Cancer is in the can. I also came into my own as a manga editor and a spokesperson of sorts for the yaoi industry in the US. Writing and editing have brought some wonderfully creative and fascinating people into my life from around the world. And despite some deeply perplexing and at times horribly disheartening developments in publishing (I won't go into it too deeply here as I have ranted on the topic a few times. In short, two authors writing in arenas where I have made my home over the last 15 years achieved fame, fortune and even critical acclaim in one case while I toil in obscurity. One of them can barely put words into sentences), I have figured out a path for raising my profile as an author and perhaps even following suit. No, it doesn't involve taking anyone out literally or figuratively. I have had a difficult time physically and emotionally from the damage my cancer treatments have caused, but I face 2013 with tremendous gratitude for all the lovely people in my life who have helped make it better. And I am incredibly optimistic that I am on the right path for creative fulfillment and – hopefully – success.

Stay tuned! And Happy New Year!

1 comment:

stoneygirl said...

Happy New Year to you too, Deb. I hope it is a wonderful year for you and your family. God bless and keep on keeping on.