Quote of the Moment

"It's never wrong to hope, Byx," said my mother. "Unless the truth says otherwise."
- from Endling #1: The Last, by Katherine Applegate

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Countdown to 2012

Ah, yes, the infamous year 2012... so-called Armageddon date according to the so-called Mayan calendar. Year of the Water Dragon. Election year, leap year, etc.

Time to ramble aimlessly about the previous 12 months.

Well, let's see. 2011 was certainly a little more eventful than I'd have liked. I nearly lost my father. I nearly lost my grandfather. We nearly lost net neutrality and freedom of speech and the right to decide what's best for my own body... oh, wait, I may have spoken too soon on that. (Election year, after all...) But any year that ends with a roof over my head and clothes on my back and air still moving in and out of my lungs can't be all bad.

In a little over two hours, my 2011 Resolution list will be obsolete. Don't ask how I did on them... ball not only dropped, but rolled into the gutter, down the drain, and on to the sewage treatment facility. So the 2012 list will see some repeats.

Dang it...

To avoid staring my failures in the face, I've spent today tidying my spaces (my bedroom and my workshop, mostly) to start 2012 with a clean (or cleanish) slate, in a physical sense if not necessarily a mental one. Well, mostly clean. Turns out that it's impossible to eradicate glitter from a given area, even with a high-powered shop vac. The next projects that come out of my workshop will be a little more sparkly than I'd intended, and the trail of glitter that formed between my shop and the front door in December will likely persist until Valentine's Day, at least. I also updated my book review website, trying to stick to my once-a-month schedule. (My updates look pathetically small now, after Project Animorph's inflated numbers. I need to find me a new serial series to addict myself to...)

Tomorrow, I'll have a whole new calendar to face, and a whole new list of resolutions staring at me from the closet door above my computer monitor. In the meantime, I have two more hours to kill before midnight. I could take a last crack at a couple resolutions, or I could blow it off and goof off online.

Wonder what's on Hulu tonight...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Past

For 35 years - my entire life - we've celebrated Xmas as we've celebrated Thanksgiving, Easter, and other family gatherings: at my grandfather's house, the house where my mother and her siblings grew up. Every gathering was an opportunity to relive their childhood, recollecting which families used to live in which houses and what fates befell them over the years, while my sister and I sat on the couch and pretended we knew who the heck they were talking about. It was a house full of memories, of history.

This year was different.

For some time, Grandpa's been fading, mentally and physically.  After his close call last March, he has been unable to live alone anymore.

We had Easter at his house anyway, as it's near enough to where Grandpa was undergoing rehab that we could stop by afterwards. It was awkward, to say the least, eating in the empty house of a man who could no longer live there.

Now, Grandpa's doing a little better. He's in a group home, where he will probably live out the remainder of his days. The family is still working out what to do about his house - it's fairly clear, at this point, that Grandpa is never returning to live there again - but, in the meantime, we have to met somewhere for the holidays.

And so we found ourselves at my aunt's place.

In many ways, Grandpa's better off than he was last Xmas. He was able to stay awake, and could open presents with minimal prompting.  But it was still strange, being in my aunt's house, without the old plastic Xmas tree blinking in the corner.

Didn't stop my mother and her siblings from yet again recreating their childhood neighborhood from memory...

Anyway, another Xmas means another round of Xmas ornaments.  This year, I told myself I'd be extra-clever and start early, picking designs that couldn't possibly fight me until 2 AM on Xmas morning.

So, guess who was up at 2 AM on Xmas morning, trying to will tacky glue to dry with sheer psychic willpower...

Family Ornaments - Front and Back
Papier mache bases from the craft store, with metallic acrylic paint, glitter, glue, and sequins.

Relative Ornaments - Front and Back

Friends' Ornaments - Front and Back
Paperclay over a flat wooden base, glitter, and acrylic paint. (Looks like a simple design, right? I mean, it's flat. You don't get stress fractures opening up when you're just sticking Paperclay on a flat shape, right? You wouldn't think so... you really, really wouldn't think so... Long story short, I wound up scrapping my second set for another project, meaning they left my workshop so late that probably haven't reached their destination yet.)