Category: Brown Paper Packages


Well, Halloween has come and gone. My kids dressed up and threatened people for sugar along with their ravenous gang of friends. They’ve entered the time of the year I like least, when the perpetual sugar high from Halloween begins. It’s a sugar high that lasts through the end of the year thanks to holiday baking and stocking candy.

I was able to complete Pynni’s Weeping Angel and I didn’t have to threaten her within an inch of her life to get her to wear it, either. I cannot express to you the rush I felt when she WANTED to wear that costume and was determined to get it on almost two hours prior to trickertreating time. That rush, of having finished. That rush of her LIKING the results of my work. That rush of seeing her traipse along the sidewalk among her friends, completely satisfied with her costume. SUCH a rush.

I’ve made things for people before; worked really hard on them, but I don’t live near a vast majority of those people. I never see them wear what I make. Oh, sure, I get thank yous and lots of great feedback, but somehow, it isn’t the same. It is a GREAT feeling to see her unabashed enjoyment. And she was SO grateful! I was worried that she wouldn’t wear it. Not because she didn’t like it, but she balked so strongly whenever I had her try parts of it on. She would get embarrassed if anyone asked her about it. She didn’t want to be seen in the various parts and stages of this costume, but boy, how she owned the role, when she donned it in its entirety.IMG_1668

So after all the hard work and random moments of drama, The Weeping Angel was finished. I was glad that I’d planned in advance for Chi to be something other than another involved costume creation because I was tweaking Pynni’s costume until about 4pm on Halloween.

Chi decided he wanted to be a Ghostbuster. He likes them an inordinate amount for a kid who doesn’t like scary or freaky things. His costume was purchased and it came with a jumpsuit and a blow-up Proton Pack and gun thingy. He was over the top excited about being a Ghostbuster.

Pieces was the 10th Doctor. I got him a pinstriped suit and a Sonic Screwdriver. He already had the Converse. He, of course, was unbelievable cute in his suit “fixing” everything with his screwdriver. He was, also, super stoked to get dressed in his costume.

I went prepared when we went trickertreating this year. I brought bottles of water and a wagon. The wagon was to hold the costume parts my kids would inevitably shed through the course of the evening. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when my kids kept all of their costumes on almost the whole evening. The only exception was Pynni and her wings. She wore them for probably 80% of the night, but they started getting heavy and she wanted to take them off. Which, wow! My kids have not once, EVER worn their entire costumes all night.

When Chi was Mario, he took off his mustache right away and his hat about 15 minutes into trickertreating (that’s 3 Halloweens). When Chi was Harry Potter, he removed his glasses right away and took off his robes and put down his wand about 15 minutes into trickertreating. When Pieces and Chi were Minecraft Steve and Armored Minecraft Steve, I ended up carrying two heads, an axe, and a sword. Tinkerbell? Wings. Wall-e? Uh, no wait, Pieces wore that all night. He wanted to sleep in it.

Ok, so wow, this post has gotten away from me. So here they are. My kids on Halloween.

The dress.

So you have to understand that I’ve made curtains. I’ve sewn pillows. I helped assemble quilt tops. I have altered clothing to various ends. I have never made a garment from scratch, and this garment has no pattern so I have to make that, also. Two firsts!

My nieces and Pynni in their Grammie Dresses.

My nieces and Pynni in their Grammie Dresses.

IMG_0822My mother is pro at making clothes so I have a great resource right there. My conundrum was that I really have no idea how to even start making a dress and I needed this particular project to be as easy as possible since I have several other parts I need to complete to make the whole costume.

So I asked questions that I thought would get me started and watched videos after I got some answers. Being a visual learner, videos clarify things spoken and written words confuse. I gathered some of Pynni’s tops and dresses that had a similar style to the Weeping Angel dress, and I found a bunch of blogs were cosplayers had documented their costume making. You can find the one I liked best here. Also, Pinterest was my friend.

I measured and measured and made notes and drew outlines on paper until I felt like I had the top part of the dress figured out. Some of the people who made the cosplay costumes made their dress in two pieces with a blouse type top and a skirt. I was wanting to make one piece. Also, cosplay costumes have to be worn for a whole day at once and maybe to multiple cons, and I only needed this costume to suffice for a night of trick-or-treating, and potentially, a Halloween party.

There were things I was going to take into account that maybe a cosplayer would not. Pynni is little and the dress can’t be too heavy. The dress can’t drag on the ground or be stiff because Pynni will get tired of wearing it if it’s too cumbersome (I do have experience with this. Picture me walking around holding Minecraft heads and pickaxes while my sons trick-or-treat in their street clothes. It happens every year. I’m bringing the wagon this year.) I was not going to try to make this costume a perfect replica. I’m trying to make my own version of a Weeping Angel because disappoint lies down the perfection path (this being my first garment and all).

I ended up having to make the top twice. When drawing the pattern out, I intended to cut the straps longer than the pattern in order to pin it to the correct length. I completely failed to do that once I started cutting and ended up sewing a top together that was too short in the armpits, which makes it too small everywhere else. So I had to do that twice.

Fabric all gathered.

Fabric all gathered.

Instead of making a blouse-y top and a skirt, I opted to gather material one time and attach it to the top I’d made, which is basically the yoke of the dress. The gathered material is 4 yards long and I don’t know if you’ve ever gathered material by hand, but it can be tricky. You sew along the edge with the longest stitch your machine can do, twice to make two parallel rows. Then, pulling either the bobbin threads or the top threads, but not both, you gently push the material toward one end of the length. You have to be super careful because the thread wants to break, and if it breaks you have to pull all the stitches and resew and start the gathering process all over. I had to restart once. In the end I was very proud of my gathers. I got my visual tutorial from this blog, The Crafty Cupboard.

Here you can see where the top and the skirt meet.

Here you can see where the top and the skirt meet.

Pynni practicing her Weeping Angel.

Pynni practicing her Weeping Angel.

I created the simple placket where the velcro was going to attach to the skirt and did the same on the top before pinning it all together and sewing everything into place.  I got it all tried on Pynni. Instead of sewing a hula hoop into the bottom hem of the skirt like the cosplayers did, I’m going to have Pynni wear a hoop petticoat.  So once I get her in the petticoat and the skirt, I’ll pin up the bottom for hemming. I’ll post a picture of that next time.

 

Mom's Kitty all the way.

Mom’s Kitty all the way.

I’ve talked about my kitties before. They’ve always been my best friends. Sebastian McAwesomepants came to live with me when I was 16 and passed away last October at the age of 21. It was much harder than I thought it would be considering his age.

Then there was Biggus Sithus aka Sith. He was more my baby than my friend. When we adopted him, we had two other cats (Aravis: 15 years old and Sebastian: 7 years old) and a dog (Grendel: 2 years old).

To explain the title, I have to go back in time a little bit. Grendel was a rescue. A friend of mine and I found litter of dumped puppies on the side of the highway. We brought them to my townhouse and shut them into the kitchen. After rounds of being told that if you rescue them they are yours, basically zero help from either the city or the Humane Society (in that it town should be called “The Extremely Rude Society of People Who Claim to be Humane so They can be Superior and Snarky”).

Anyway, after the “I have way too many dogs” snafu, my husband and I ended up with a new puppy. Our two cats were fine with this development. Sebastian, especially, seemed taken with Grendel. Sebastian had always been great with babies of many species (although not species of birds or reptiles or rodents. Those were for killing.). He helped raise a little litter of kittens in the past, and you’d never have seen a more gentle, patient adult dealing with little kids. The same was true of Sebastian with this puppy.

Grendel, at that time, was about the same size as Sebastian, who at a healthy weight for his stature, pushed 13 pounds. Sebastian would wrestle around with Grendel and let Grendel pin him. They would bat at each other, run, play, pounce, stalk; all in good fun. Sebastian never got aggressive with Grendel and never clawed Grendel or scratched him. Sebastian would groom Grendel and they would nap curled together. It was super cute.

This relationship resulted in Grendel thinking he was a cat. He ended up being about a 40 lb dog with the legs of a much smaller dog. He was never big, but he was very substantial. This dog would walk around on the backs of the furniture and try to perch in the window sills. He would groom the cats like he had a cat’s rough tongue. That mainly resulted in soggy cats, but Sebastian never seemed to mind. There were things Grendel did that were dog-like. He was after all, a dog.

Along came Sith.

Sith was itty bitty when we got him. Sebastian and Grendel liked him almost immediately. Aravis never did care for him, although the open animosity dwindled with time. Grendel took Sith to be his very own right away. Grendel carried Sith around in his mouth, and romped and played the way Sebastian taught him. They groomed one another, resulting in another soggy kitty, and they snuggled and napped together. They were like peas and carrots.

Sith hugging his pal Sebastian.

Sith hugging his pal Sebastian.

So there you see, Sith’s doggie surrogate thought himself to be a cat resulting in the awesomeness that was Sith: the cat who thought he was a dog, who thought he was a cat.

Sith and Sebastian BFFs

Sith and Sebastian BFFs

Sebastian and Sith became the best of buds after Grendel and Aravis were gone. They could almost always be found curled together somewhere sleeping.

Sith began a slow slide after Sebastian passed. He became very needy and clingy. He followed me around needing to be always in my company. He sat on me whenever I sat down. He started sleeping on top of me. He began to eat less. He stopped grooming.

I decided he needed a kitty pal, and that I was ready for another kitty four months or so after Sebastian died. We found a kitty and named her Sith’s Minion because that was her intended role. She made a great minion except for the small fact that Sith did not like her, not one little bit. She didn’t care, but he most assuredly did.

He started eating less.

I called the vet to have him checked over. His blood workup was fine. He was about as healthy as a 14 year old kitty can be, especially one with his severe allergies (he could eat only a very narrow selection of foods: chicken, mackerel, pumpkin. No grains of any kind, no other meats or fish. You try and find food that fits that criteria. Oh, and he didn’t like pumpkin.) But he had some infected teeth that needed to go. And by some, I mean almost all of them.

Sith home after surgery.

Sith home after surgery.

We chose to do the surgery. Dr. Vet did a follow-up blood draw to reassess organ function: still good, but a little worse than before. Nothing alarming; all within normal parameters. He came home a day later still oozing blood from his mouth, but he was happy to be home. He ate  and drank nothing for three days. I called the vet. She came to the house and gave Sith subcutaneous IV fluids to keep him from dehydrating while he healed. He acted like he felt better, but he still didn’t eat or drink and still was oozing blood-tinged saliva from his mouth. His right eye and right nostril started running, and after a couple of days of no bleeding, he suddenly started bleeding from the mouth again.

The vet came to get him to see what she could see and give him fluids until he could start eating again. She did a blood work up to assess organ function. She took xrays to see if there was something going on with the extraction sites. After nearly a week in Dr. Vet’s care, we went to the office to talk about Sith’s health.

The x-rays showed what Dr. Vet thought was a tumor behind his right sinuses. She felt that was the reason for the almost completely blind right eye, runny right nostril, and continued bleeding that she could not find the source of, as all of the extraction sites were healed. To top that off, he was in renal failure. The third blood draw showed significant deterioration from the second, post surgery draw, and that, she said should not have been the case even with the potential tumor and continued bleeding.

We had choices, she said. We could ignore the potential tumor, mainly because of it’s location and likelyhood of Sith not surviving surgery due to his age and now his kidneys’ condition. While ignoring the surgery, we could treat him for renal failure which requires a low protein diet and subcutaneous fluids every three days or so, meaning a vet tech visit a couple of times a week. My first thought was of Sith’s food allergies. They were severe and as hard as it was to find food he could eat, I couldn’t imagine there was anything out there that was low in protein that he would tolerate since most forms of protein and vegetable nutrition were not available to him. But, you know, I was willing to try.

Sith and Minion. Not quite snuggling.

Sith and Minion. Not quite snuggling.

Problem was. He still wasn’t eating or drinking. He acted like the food bowl was a vicious bully who was just waiting to poke him with knives if ever he opened his mouth near it. He literally jumped backward from the food bowl every time he wandered over there to eat. I had started feeding him with a syringe filled with watered down wet food paté. He HATED that, but at least it was something.

Another problem was the steep decline of his kidney function. It wasn’t slowly getting worse. It was rocketing downward at an alarming rate. Dr. Vet felt like the decline would continue, and rapidly. She felt like he had, with treatment, a month at most. A miserable month.

So I brought him home with the intention of keeping him with us for the three days before he’d need another IV influx and then letting him go with dignity.

So. Hard.

He was only 14! Sebo was 21. Aravis had been 20. I just assumed Biggus would be with me at least that long. I still can’t fathom that he’s gone. I still miss him, achingly.

Sith's last photo.

Sith’s last photo.

He came home, he purred the whole way in the car just snuggled up in my lap. Hubs and I slept on the couch with him that night because he was still oozing blood. He slept right next to me whenever we weren’t up dealing with his bleeding, which was quite a bit. At around midnight, Sith started pacing around in the kitchen and calling to us. I went in and gave him a bowl of his favorite food and he chowed down! First time in almost two weeks! I was ecstatic, over-joyed! And then the bleeding started. It was awful. In the end, he’d made a horrible, grotesque mess, and had eaten very little. I was beside myself with my selfishness. How could I DO this to this wonderful Super-fuzz who has never done anything but love me?

I called Dr. Vet near 2am to let her know I couldn’t watch him suffer like this for three days and that I’d call her in the morning with my decision.

The next morning, Sith was waiting in the kitchen with Minion for morning foods. So I fed him. Why not? Regardless of the mess, he wanted to eat and I wasn’t going to nay say him. There was no mess and he ate the whole bowl of food. He even tried to drink some water after. Then he got back on his pallet on the couch and began to groom himself. He hadn’t groomed himself since Sebastian died! I was so happy! I decided right then that I would do whatever I had to give him the best rest of his life that I could! The rest of the day was much the same. No blood and he at 5 separate times for a total of 3 oz of wet cat food.

I slept downstairs with him again, but it was a much quieter night.

The next morning he was waiting in the kitchen, again. Food, drink, groom. Again, everything seemed great. Then, while he was grooming, he collapsed. He went completely limp. His breathing was shallow and extremely slow. He didn’t respond to any stimuli. I gathered him to me and he stayed limp for almost 5 minutes. Five excruciating minutes. It took him fully a half hour to come completely back to himself. I knew, then, that yesterday had been an anomaly. A gift. A last day of Biggus being himself to hold on to tightly.

Dr. Vet came that day, just before the noon hour. She talked sweetly to my Sith as I held him close to myself. We talked about how this scrawny, black kitty had picked me when I went to get an orange tabby with orange eyes. We talked about how that kitty perched on my shoulder in the car on the way home with his paws tucked under his chest and purred while the world whizzed by. We talked about how that scrawny kitty could leap fully 4 feet into the air from a standstill to grab whatever you were teasing him with. We talked about how that scrawny kitty, who was sleek and black when we adopted him turned grey and a little fuzzy for a while before sprouting longer black hairs. He was very odd looking for a while before he became the Super-fuzz that was Sith. We talked about his great friendships with Grendel and then Sebastian and how Sebastian and Sith were such great buddies. We talked about how Sith would lick you like a dog and how he had zero catlike instincts. About the first time I let him outside after we bought our first house with the fenced in backyard, and he had not the foggiest what to do in the out of doors. We talked about how he walked the perimeter of the fence upright on his back legs, following the fence with this front paws. How he watched Sebo and Aravis eat grass and how he munched on some and then looked around, as if in disbelief, with grass sticking out of his mouth before he spit it out. I told the vet about the time we had a mouse in our kitchen, Sebastian was too old to care at the time, but Sith went in the kitchen and just watched. He never had any intention of hurting that mouse.

He was my favorite in the end.

He was my favorite in the end.

I told Dr. Vet about how much Sith loved to sit in my lap, but never wanted to be held. I told her the story of Sith and my Grandad and how Sith turned around so Grandad would be petting him head to tail. I told her how Sith opened cabinet doors and kitchen drawers and how he knocked on doors instead of scratching at them. I talked about this substantially sized cat with a tiny kitten’s voice.

I buried my fingers in his fur and pressed my nose to his head and told him I loved him the mostest.

And then he was gone.

It has taken me a long while to get all of this out. Sith passed away on June 6th. Losing Sebastian was hard, but losing Sith has left an abyss that even the adoption of two new kitties hasn’t been able to fill. I miss him so much.

Endings

It’s strange how expected things can creep up on you. It’s strange how foreseen things can surprise you. It’s strange how the death of someone so far away can leave such a cavernous empty place.

How is it that a loved one can be ill for a time? How is it that one can visit that loved one and barely recognize the person in that bed? How is it, that even barely recognizable, that loved one exudes the aura? personality? vibe? of the loved one you came to expect? How is it that once you come to visit that loved one and they are barely there, yet somehow so present? How is it that you return some weeks later and the change over that person so great; so positive? How is it that in the end, they never recovered; never really got better?

How is it that after all the visits, phone calls, photos, low expectations…how is it that a death can so derail you? How is it that the world can continue on? How is it that no one else knows?

How can she be gone? How can it be that I’ll never hug her neck again? How can all my chances for tomorrows with her cease?

These are the things I’m struggling with right now as I deal with the death of my grandmother. She was this cantankerous, LOUD, amazing woman. You never wondered what she was thinking because she spoke her mind often and all her feelings were always written all over her face. She was bossy and a worrier. She wasn’t super demonstrative of her love with all the kissing and telling you she loved you.

But you knew she loved you.

You knew she loved you because she laughed out loud when you walked in the door. You knew she loved you because she would make your favorite “Nanny dish” whenever you came to visit. You knew she loved you because she wrote your name on things in her house to give you some day. You knew she loved you because she cared for you in subtle ways; letting you pick the banana peppers right off her plants to eat, letting you play in the upstairs bedroom even though it was shut up for the season; giving you little surprises in little bags whenever you dropped by for a visit; letting you watch her shows with her when you weren’t allowed to watch the shows your cousins were watching; letting you turn her laundry room/walk-in closet into your own special kingdom; letting you walk to the Price Chopper for snacks after you were a certain age. The list could go on and on.

My relationship with my grandmother wasn’t always comfortable. We butted heads a lot when I was growing up; too much alike in some respects for complete harmony, I expect. Yet, in her later years, she became one of my most favorite people. The reasons we butted heads became things I admired greatly about her. She became much more demonstrative of her love with lots of hand holding, hugs and kisses.

She wasn’t perfect, my grandmother, but she was honest and real. My favorite memory of her, and there are a great many, is of her laughing loudly, a cackle really, her joy at my presence when I came to visit and then patting the seat next to her so she could link arms with me and chat.

Good night, Sweet Nanny. Your long, long, long day is finally over.

I’ve written about my kitties before. I am a cat person through and through. I love all kinds of animals, really, but cats own my heart. I wrote last year about my most favorite kitty ever, Sebastian McAwesomepants and his antiquity. That post turned out to be very timely. Sebastian passed away one month later. It was really, really hard, and I still can’t quite believe he’s gone. I truly, although completely illogically, thought he’d live forever. He was my buddy and bestest bestie for over half my life. I haven’t known many people as long as I knew him.

That said, I was devastated when he died. I felt this giant hole open up in our household where Sebastian’s EPIC presence had always resided. I was completely at a loss as to how to fill it or fix it. Just learn to live with it until it becomes the way things are supposed to be? Until the memory of his presence has faded? All I knew was that I suddenly never wanted to have another fuzzy friend ever again. Biggus Sithus would be the last. I just couldn’t stand the thought of incorporating another yummy fuzzy buddy into my life only to have to deal with his/her loss. If Immortal Sebastian could come to the end of his life, then no mere mortal kitty could possibly survive. My heart couldn’t take it. (Don’t let me down, Sith!)

But, Time did what Time does and continued unspooling out ahead of me into the future, lumping itself up into heaps of memories behind me, and helping to heal that which seems impossible to heal.

So it happened that I decided I need another cat. Sith isn’t as clingy as he was for the three months or so after Sebastian’s passing, but I think he needs a friend. My kids have only ever lived with decrepit, ancient kitties. Even Sith, who is now 13, has never been a kitten in their lifetimes. Young, yes, but passed that attack-your-under-the-covers-feet-in-the-middle-of-the-night phase. I decided to get a kitten.

Easy Peasy.

Wrong.

Meet Sith's Minion.

Meet Sith’s Minion.

There were ZERO listings for “kittens” in the classifieds and craigslist. Since when is it so hard to find free kittens? Sheesh.

So off I went to the Animal Control Shelter. This is a kill shelter and I didn’t realize how hard I was going to take knowing that. On the bright side there was a litter of sub 2 month old kittens. On the down side, I perused all the cats, even though I wanted a kitten, and I fell head over heels for like 5 other cats. Then, of course, the lady who took all my info and my adoption money lectured me about how the grown cats tend to die as opposed to finding forever homes. Yeah, like I didn’t know that and like that was doing anything but making my decision worse.

Ugh, I still get upset thinking about it.

Not Happy about the Minion.

Not Happy about the Minion.

So. I adopted a little fuzzy kitty and due to it’s age, I had to wait a week to pick her up because the Shelter requires that all the animals leaving their care be spayed or neutered. I picked her up this afternoon. She is rockin.

We decided to name her Minion. Some day, she’ll be Sith’s Minion. We’ll call her Min, or Minni, or Minute (cause she’s no bigger than). For now? Sith is unhappy about the Minion we’ve chosen for him. He’ll come around.

It's the end of the world.

It’s the end of the world.

There is currently a computer on my dining room table. It’s the kids’ computer they got for Christmas. It has played a lot of Minecraft since Christmas morning. Usually there are headphones involved so the whole downstairs is not inundated with Minecraft sound effects. Yesterday evening, that was not the case and this song was playing over the speakers. If you don’t go listen, it’s a quiet piano piece in the vein of Final Fantasy VII music.

Anyway. I look up (yes, I was playing Minecraft. Shut it.) and see Pynni and Pieces standing in the doorway to the kitchen with their arms around one another. Then Pynni murmurs, with her head pressed against Pieces’ head, “Oh, isn’t it beautiful? We’re watching the end of the world. It’s end of the world music and we’re just standing and watching it.”

Pieces nods his head ever so slightly and replies, “Yeah. It’s beautiful.”

Pieces' hat.

Pieces’ hat.

Aye, that’s right. I’m bamboozling my kids. See I crochet and I’m almost always in the middle of a project, and if I’m crocheting a hat or scarf, I use my kids as models to make sure it’s looking okay or is going to be a good size. This year, unlike every other year, I’m making something for them. I’m making them hats. These hats will be in their cans. The great thing about these hats is that I’m making them right out in the open. I even got the kids to pick out the colors of yarn they like best.

They. Are. Oblivious.

Pynni's hat she insisted on the sunflower button.

Pynni’s hat she insisted on the sunflower button.

I’m taking pictures of the kids in the hats as I finish them. It’s GREAT! The best part is listening to their comments as they try on the hats:

“It’s so pretty!”

“It looks like Pieces!”

“I like it!”

etc.

Chi's hat. He may be suspicious.

Chi’s hat. He may be suspicious.

Lovingly decorated by little hands.

Lovingly decorated by little hands.

Christmas season is in full swing in our home. It is my most favorite holiday. Normally, I decorate the weekend after Halloween because I like to enjoy my Christmas decorations, but I don’t really start getting into the holiday spirit until after Thanksgiving. Normally, I am in total control of the whole holiday. I make the lists out based on things the kids have asked for over the course of the last few months and based on things I know they’d like to have. I do the decorating, I do the shopping, I crochet some gifts, I do the bulk of the wrapping, I make the grocery list, I do the baking, I do the cooking. You get the picture. Christmas is pretty much my show. I put it on and sit back and enjoy watching my family enjoy themselves. It is stressful. It is rewarding.

We glittered some of the ornaments today. Even with careful application, I am covered!

We glittered some of the ornaments today. Even with careful application, I am covered!

This year, I’m giving up some of that control. (I may have just passed out. Did I miss anything?)

This year my mantra is Kids’ Christmas. My kids have never decorated the tree because my tree has to be PERFECT. This year, they decorated it. Now, I put some of the ornaments up high and wound the tree with the garland, but they did all the rest. This year they helped put out the other decorations. This year the kids have a stake in Christmas. They even picked out the presents they got one another. I usually give them a pre-chosen/purchased selection from which to choose the gift they will give their siblings. This year we went shopping. I think they are happy with their choices. This year, they still did not put out the Star Wars Ornaments BECAUSE THEY ARE FRAGILE! What?

I may be in love with this thing.

I may be in love with this thing.

This year, as with last year, we are making some of our own decorations. We made a felted wool ball garland, we made borax crystal snowflakes (my kids’ interpretation of ‘snowflake’ is highly amusing). We made salt dough ornaments (probably WAY too many). We made cinnamon/applesauce ornaments which smell divine.

Next week is baking week and we will make LOTS of things that are DElishUS, but I’m fairly certain are not nutritious. Also, this year, we aren’t doing a big dinner, although I’m hoping I can still talk my brother and his family into joining us for….wait for it…. RIBS! It’s Hubs favorite and it’s easy and also DELICIOUS! And also. Not nutritious, but HEY it’ll be tasty and the company will be great and the tree will be kid decorated and then on the following morning there will presents opening.

I am SOOOOO excited!

IMG_0473 IMG_0468 IMG_0460

All in all, this whole Kids’ Christmas thing is working out pretty well. I don’t hate the tree. In fact, I love it and I was worried. The garland is my most favorite new decoration on the tree and I look forward to making more.  The borax snowflakes will probably be done again, if for no other reason than the cool factor. I don’t foresee the snowflakes looking sparkly for long, but you never know. The applesauce ornaments are super cool because they smell SO GOOD.  The salt dough ornaments have been fun, but seriously time consuming considering the number we made. AND THE GLITTER IS EVERYWHERE. It’s really pretty, but VERY messy. Maybe next year we’ll make one or two ornaments per kid. Chi had the right idea.

Maintain the Silliness.

Our wedding story isn’t typical. Unless you consider that we had plans, and some of those plans didn’t happen. Then, I guess, it’s a pretty normal wedding day story.

But let me take you back. It was September 1996. Me? I preferred to be at home and let my friends come hang out at my place, but I was feeling restless. I had all these great friends, but I felt like there was some type of connection missing. I didn’t have a “music” friend. I didn’t have that friend that I totally bonded with on music and that had been the case since I’d graduated high school and moved away from home.

All my new friends from college and beyond listened to a bunch of chill type music. Music I despised (Phish and The Grateful Dead? Ick). I mean Dave Matthews Band has its moments, but one can only stand to listen to that for so long before one needs METAL! Until college, I thought everyone felt that way. Apparently not.

So one night in September, I caved into my roommate’s (here after known as Lady) pressuring and went to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Greek Theater on campus. There we met the roommate of Lady’s new co-worker (co-worker is here known as COW and co-worker’s roommate is LCR). I was immediately smitten, but I’m crap at meeting new people. I always feel self-concious and awkward and stupid beyond all belief so I didn’t say much. I probably barely made eye contact. In the end, it turned out he was fairly shy and felt painfully awkward, as well. (could have fooled me, but whatever.)

After the show and after COW had closed Club Red, we headed over to our place (on Betty Jo Drive, because you know that’s where ALL the fun happens!). The only way I can put this is that LCR and I bonded. We sat in front of the stereo and talked music and played song after song. We talked about what music meant to us (His favorite was Nine Inch Nails, but no worries, I forgave him) and we talked about bands and we talked about albums and we talked about lyrics and we talked about shows. AND WE TALKED. Until the sun came up.

Then we proceeded to talk as much as possible every day. This was hard for me because I was working 55 to 60 hours every week and trying to go to college. My talking time was very limited. So I gave up sleeping and eventually school and then decided to marry LCR.

I asked him. At the time, I wore a bunch of silver rings on my fingers. I pulled on off my thumb and asked him. He said yes. So a year and  a month after we met, we got married.

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Kids, really. Just kids.

We were kids. We were broke. We weren’t always sure if there would be food in the fridge. We sold items to make money so we could pay the rent. We got second jobs. Hubs went to work for Wal-Mart’s corporate office. (it was horrible, you should ask him sometime.) (on second thought, don’t ask him. It dredges up bad memories.)

Our wedding was simple. It was small. And it cost $50. I borrowed a shirt from my friend, Raye Donnovan, because I liked it so much. We bought $30 worth of daisies and made a bouquet and various flower arrangements for decoration. We had $20 to pay the JP. Hubs wore clothes he had, and I wore this black, floor length skirt that I was in love with at the time and the borrowed shirt. My mary janes were doodled on with markers. We packed our little town house to the rafters with friends.

My parents and brothers came all the way from IL and my grandparents came all the way from NM. Hubs’ friends from high school drove down from Chi-town and then went with him to kidnap his brothers. As many of our friends as could make it came to celebrate with us.

Everyone was gathered. And we waited. And waited. And waited. The JP never showed. To be fair, it was the University of Arkansas’ homecoming game that day. FOOTBALL WAS HAPPENING PEOPLE! How dare we get married. heh. Anyway.

All was not lost. My dad, being a minister in a past life himself and having married other people, performed the ceremony. So he walked me down the aisle (stairs), gave me away after asking himself who was giving me away, and then read the ceremony. It was amazing.

Wedding Cake

My Grandad took us all to have pizza on Dickson Street and there we ate and ate and had cake, made lovingly by Lady. Hub’s best man, D, gave a toast and food was had by all.

After the adults left, because, HELLO! WE WERE JUST KIDS!!, we had a largish party that was BYO. This party was attended by almost everyone I’d ever met and hung out with in Fayetteville. It was a grand ole’ time and the crossing of all the paths of all the people who didn’t normally hang out together was so amazing. There was no drama. There was just good times and new friends being made.

In fact, two of my most favorite people met that night and they’ve been married for 14 years, now. Pretty cool.

So, now, here we are, 15 years later. I wouldn’t change a thing about any of it. In fact, I’m looking forward to the next fifteen and the next and the next and on and on into the end of the universe.

Happy anniversary to us, Hubs!

Sebastian thinking about napping.

I seem to acquire cats that live FOREVER. Aravis was almost 20 when she passed and Sebastian is pushing 21. Sith is merely 13. I have had the oldest cats more than half my life. I was a KID when Aravis was born (4th grade) and I was 16 when Sebastian came into my life. That’s just CRAZY!

Geriatric cats are a lot like demented old people. They forget what a litter box is and just sort go where ever they happen to be. So now I have a litter box in the living room. Nice, yes? But it takes the old man such a long time to go UP the stairs that he just says ‘eff it’ and goes where ever is most convenient.

He (Sebastian) also sort of does odd things.

He can’t jump or land on his feet anymore so he just sort of falls places. He works really hard to get up high (his climbing skills are impaired, too) so he can fall over something he should have been able to just jump, like a baby gate. I stop him and stop him and stop him, but he is very single minded. He makes the effort until he wins because he needs to eat any crumbs off the floor left by my kids (He is not allowed to do this and he isn’t a dog. This is a new development.) He acts like he’s a starved creature. I assure you he is not. Still, he will steal your food right off your plate. This is also relatively new. My cats have always been very picky and they will sniff something to death and maybe lick it, but never eat it. Watching him snarf a bit of pizza crust is very odd as it isn’t meat (so he just about attacks me when I have tuna salad or something), but there you are. He tries to drink my coffee and he walks around on the tables in the living room, knocking things off and generally rearranging the photo frames and various other knickknacky sundries.

Also, he smells. He doesn’t clean himself anymore and so I have to wash this domestic short haired cat and/or shave him. He is extremely docile about the whole process. I don’t even have to hold his scruff, he just submits.

He is mostly deaf and this cat who talked and talked and talked is mostly silent. He’ll meow every now and then but it’s like a person hard of hearing who refuses hearing aids: he yells. He will get very loud indeed, especially if he thinks you need to feed him. One good thing about it, though, he isn’t scared of the vacuum cleaner anymore.

He’s still just as loving as ever, although like extremely old people, he has no meat on his bones. In fact, he is mostly bones and saggy skin. He seems to weigh almost nothing these days.

He is still my favorite. (Sorry, Sith)