January 1st, 2014


Obligatory New Year Post Postponed

But first, how my day went. I slept in, which did not amuse Domino who wanted her morning treats. Procrastinated until about 12:30, went to Home Depot with a list of things I needed for the house, expect to actually to the work tomorrow:
Hummingbird feeders
Brackets to hang them from the porch posts
An indoor bracket to mount somewhere in the kitchen for my 3-tier fruit basket
A fire extinguisher, because the house was supposed to already have one but didn't
Wood screws and anchor screws
did not find the kind of box cutters I wanted. Probably need to get those at Lowe's.

Continued on to Central Expwy and Menlo Park, an hour early for my coffee/movie meetup. As I was walking to Starbucks from the parking lot, a friend in Seattle called who had received a calendar, wanting to know what that metal tube thing was. She was the occupational health nurse at Moffett back when it was still a Navy base, but she and her husband retired up north before AT&T Park was even on the drawing board.

Janice was right on time, we had a short (for us) chat and then walked to the cinema, just in time to be a minute or three after the movie started. Philomena. Oh my, what a story. And so much good acting! Excellent tech, and the flashback 8mm home movie snippets are priceless, a fine example of how a movie can improve upon the book. One thing which threw me is how often the title character makes surprisingly out of character statements and decisions for a thoroughly indoctrinated middle aged Irish Catholic woman.

J invited me to join her and a couple of our mutual friends for dinner, but I was wanting to stay up for midnight, which she doesn't do, so I went home, planning to stop at the nearby mega-Safeway for egg nog. They were completely out. In the spaces which were labeled for 7 varieties, here were 186 quarts of house brand vanilla cinnamon flavored, and that was all.

I did get the rest of my short shopping list, turkey franks, pizza dough, ice cream, Ritz crackers and cheese in a can. The first two for making pigs in blankets, which is my traditional NYE snack.

Obsessed, I detoured to Piazzi's, and got a quart of their over-priced Bud's egg nog, which is all they had. Not satisfied with that, I turned off the freeway at the first of my two possible exits and turned right instead of left to go to Lucky's, which had insanely cheap half gallons of both regular and light egg nog, so I bought 2 regular. The egg nog is really an excuse to use up some of the bulk nutmeg which I bought a couple of years ago and have barely made a dent in.

Home, unloaded the car, gave Domino her treats, took a nap until 9:30, gave her her half can of Fancy Feast, poured a glass of nog, opened the crackers and cheese and finished a roll of ritzes and shared some canned cheese with the cat. Finally cleared all the flotsum off the kitchen island and made the pigs n blankets, put them in the oven, and watched some Bones on TV. Which I rarely do, but everything else on was total crap.

Flipped channels, settled on KRON 4 which is now a local all-news channel except when they are playing failed syndicated junk and paid misinfomercials, because they claimed to have live from SF complete with fireworks from three angles. Unfortunately they chose their three least attractive, non-talented staff to host, outside in the cold. So I also had a button set for Ryan Seacrest, and managed to catch Miley Cyrus' act, including her finale, a touching rendition of Wrecking Ball. Not just the song, but the fact that the audience sang along so loud she was able to hold out her mike to catch that for a few words. One thing filk has taught me is few things are as rewarding for a songwriter as hearing the audience know all the words.

Pigs in blankets turned out excellent, I only ate half (they are great leftovers) and set KRON to record while I watched the NYC ball drop. Toasted the new year with egg nog.

Then played back the KRON recording, and saw spectacular fireworks with craptastic sound track, I would rather hear the bang of the explosions. So I muted the TV and did hear explosions - there was probably a fireworks show on my end of the bay, but where the house is located I can't see. May have been from the Hindu temple across the street, they are big on blowing things up.

Plans for tomorrow:
One last morning to sleep late
Put up hummingbird feeders
Hang the fruit basket
Install two more towel racks in the main bathroom
Find a lace for the fire extinguisher
Drink more egg nog


Not a very eventful year, but the events which did occur were major.
- The company I work for was sold to Google, the unit I am in was spun off and sold to Arris.
- My last remaining uncle passed away, my mother's sister's husband. She is my last living relative of my parents' generation.
- My first brother in law was taken suddenly by cancer. My oldest sister's husband, the only sane member of my Israeli family, days after his 76th birthday.
- I bought a house. Technically a manufactured home in a retirement community, but it was still a gut-wrenching process
- Part of moving required surrendering my half-Siamese, half-Labrador cat after only a year. The most affectionate cat I ever owned, but this turned out to be a good thing for Domino, who hated him and was terrorized by his playfulness.
- My only American nephew became a dad for the first time. They named him Wesley, because, "As you wish". I think he is my 27th grand-nephew/niece. I lost count of my older sister's grandkids at 22.
- In April I was in a craptastic production of Brigadoon. The less said about that the better.
- Bought a new Yaris for cash. Traded it in the next day for a new Toyota. The dealer lost my HOWEIRD plates in May, I finally got replacements in December.
- Ye Olde Towne Band in Los Altos was fun for the third summer in a row. 
- Attended Conflikt and Consonance filk cons.
- Was a panelist about 10 times at Westercon 66, made some new friends and rubbed elbows with the man who wrote The Trouble With Tribbles

A bevy of whale watching trips with heavy lenses at the ready for hours on end gave me tennis elbow, as a result I didn't do much photography the rest of the year. The elbow is finally back about 80%. In addition to the tendinitis I also sprained or fractured the elbow just enough to make it very painful to bump on things, when I crashed it against a door.

The 2014 calendar came out well. For the first time I used more than one photo on some pages, and only left a small number on the cutting room floor. Next year I need to switch to a format which is not spiral bound, to save postage and customs hassles.

Attended many shows which friends were in, saw Reilly & Maloney in concert and Uncle Bonsai. Saw the girl who played Dorothy to my Cowardly Lion in 1986 land a leading role on Broadway.

Plans for 2014:
Stay employed
Continue breathing
Maybe do some more theater. Maybe.
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    nostalgic nostalgic
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Overcoming Inertia

One of my challenges in life is, when I have several disparate things which need doing, my brain freezes trying to choose which to do first. And next. And next. And each step of the way there is usually a moment of "I don't really have to do that one yet".

Today was a series of getting over these blocks and putting milestones behind me. My usual rule is tackle the easiest first, because I am basically lazy.

But this time I was stymied by the easiest to do not being the easiest to plan. All I needed to do was mount a bracket somewhere in the kitchen and hang my 3-tiered mesh fruit basket from it. Sounds easy, until you look at the layout of my kitchen and find there is no clear answer to the question of "where?".

Second task first, then. Mount two fancy garden brackets on each of two posts on the porch, hang a hummingbird feeder from each one, and fill the feeders. Turns out the wood screws I'd gotten were not sharp enough to dig their own path, so I had to drill pilot holes first. I think altogether it took half an hour, part of that time being spent misremembering where I'd unpacked the hummingbird food mix.

Third task was by far the most daunting. Install two towels bars in the master bathroom. I cannot believe she only had the one by the shower, and used lame stick-on hooks on the back of the door and the back of the cabinet. The directions on the box were clear, they came with all the mounting hardware, and all it took was marking the bracket location with a pencil, drilling 3/16" holes, screwing the brackets on, sliding the rack mounts over those and screwing them down. Maybe an hour for the two, because placement for the second one was not intuitive.

Finally the first task, made simpler by taking the calendar an Thai hills tribes necklace off the wall and mounting the bracket where the latter had been, hanging the basket in front of where the former had been parked. Moved the calendar to the wall next to the porch/kitchen door, and moved the necklace to a wall in the livingroom on which the previous owner had slapped her collection of crosses.

Watched the Rose Bowl until it was clear Stanford was not going to run away with it, threw some laundry into the washer, and decided to go for the minus-first project, which should have been done last week: Put my "NOLA Art" on the wall.

Which meant taking down the necklace, moving it to the top of the piano for now, screwing in the tie rack, and hanging all the large beads which fit. Then moving the sofa about 2 feet to the left, which I should have done almost a month ago after the new thermostat was installed, screwing the second tie rack above that gap, and hanging the remaining large beads every other peg and all the small beads in sort of random places, trying not to have two of the same color together.

Watched enough of the sports reports to see that Stanford didn't come through.

Brunch today was a pastrami sandwich from Togo's I'd bought yesterday, had the leftover duck soup for a snack later, and most of a baked brie in pastry shell and a handful of leftover pigs n blankets for dinner. Dessert was some lactose-free chocolate ice cream which Breyers does so well I'll pay extra for it. Very very chocolaty, and the lack of lactose doesn't make any difference to the taste.

Domino tried to jump onto my lap during the soup phase, it smelled and sounded more appetizing than it was cat-friendly. All bones, not much meat. She likes the cartilages, though.

Time to print a January Hgl log sheet for the fridge. Looking at December, the numbers are way too high, I probably should go back to shooting up before meals. I suppose it would help if I always had dinner at about the same time.

Plans for tomorrow:
Hand out calendars
(there are two kinds of people in the world - those who want to see all the photos right away and those who want to be surprised each month)
Maybe get my nails done