Dept. of Return

Tuesday, 15 January 2019 01:36 pm
kaffyr: Diane/Leo Dillon illo of young black girl (House of the Spirits)
A Homecoming, of Sorts

It has been two weeks since I last posted, and once again, I'm trying to redress my absence.
kaffyr: The TARDIS in snowfall (Christmas TARDIS)
George and Mary

It's the night before Christmas. 

Stars and Loving Couples )

Dept. of Joy

Wednesday, 12 December 2018 05:04 pm
kaffyr: The Doctor, his wife, her mother and father (Wedding)
Thirty-Seven Years

Thirty-Seven years ago today, just about now, Bob and I were saying "I do" to each other, in a friend's livingroom.

My mother and brother traveled from Canada to be there. My mother brought me the wedding gown in which she'd married my father. It fit, and I wore it.

Friends came to the wedding; friends made the wedding possible, with livingroom, a sheet cake bought by a friend, a small buffet made by the same wonderful woman who'd lent us her home, and hammer dulcimer music by one of Bob's fellow musicians. A friend married us, and we didn't mention to Mum that he'd been ordained in the back of his cab as a tip. 

Later that evening, carolers knocked on the door, and we invited them in to sing. Bob rubbed the pot roast all over his chest. And we were married. 

It was the best choice I ever made. Better, worse, sick, healthy, always together, and better together. 

I love you, Bob. Thank you for being my husband.

And here: have a ridiculously over-sized picture of us in our long-ago dissolute youth, the same year we traveled to Winnipeg. 
[personal profile] maruad , do you recall the year? 
Underneath because, really, way too large. )

Dept. of Goodbye

Sunday, 4 November 2018 04:34 pm
kaffyr: Fantasia - night and the profile of a hill (Dark and lovely)
Philip Cat Morrison

I'll probably be able to say more, later. Not now. 
He's most excellent )
kaffyr: Animated rain falls on the bathhouse from Spirited Away (Bath house in the rain)
Phil

So the cancer has returned in our little black cat. Bob found two lumps along his throat, that popped up seemingly overnight, and he's been lethargic for the last week or so. Took him in to the vet. She did a needle biopsy, looked at it, and apparently told Bob that there was no need to send it to the lab. Bob said she used the word "aggressive" and I guess it won't be long. When he seems to be in bad discomfort or pain, we'll call for the same vet that eased Alex across the bridge to come. 

Last September, the diagnoses we got was such that we were expecting only two to five more months with him. We got so much more than that, so I should feel grateful. We'd actually started wondering if the initial operation, to take the tumor out of his ear, had been more successful than the team told us it was. I guess not. Still, a few extra months with our most excellent pussycat. I need to remember that. 

What a day. What a fucking day. 

Dept. of Contentment

Saturday, 27 October 2018 06:05 pm
kaffyr: Clara in medieval attire, smiling (Medieval Clara)
Saturday, With Spanokopita

I'm sitting here, with a glass of good Japanese whiskey, listening to Nat King Cole, while our friend Josh Allard makes spanokopita for us. All we had to do, he said, was keep chatting with him. He brought all the ingredients, the lovely lad, and so we've kept chatting, and watching him make spanokopita. In a bit, after we've put that in the oven, I may have a Big Ass Martini (tm), or a drink I learned about last weekend, the Turf, which is made with gin, sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and angostura bitters. We'll talk into the night, and every muscle in my body, every molecule, will relax. I hope your Saturday proceeds, or at least ends, with something as satisfactory. 

Dept. of Andy

Sunday, 21 October 2018 12:20 pm
kaffyr: (See the Sky)
To Andy, With Love
Andy  )

Read more... )

Dept. of Calm

Saturday, 20 October 2018 04:59 pm
kaffyr: Still from Arakawa Under the Bridge (Arakawa afternoon)
It's Saturday

I've had a mani-pedi; I've gone out for lunch/dinner with Bob to our favorite greasy spoon diner; we've listened to old time radio, from swing music to Jack Benny shows; I've put the gin and sake in the freezer and fridge respectively; our cats are curled up and sleeping. 

Yes, both of us are slightly under the weather; yes, my work situation still comes with daily douche meter readings; yes, union negotiations are less than optimal. 

That doesn't matter right now.

I hope your Saturday has gone well. 

Dept. of Monday

Monday, 1 October 2018 09:19 pm
kaffyr: (See the Sky)
Got Through It

I wrote three stories, and covered a fourth, which I'll have to write about tomorrow, in time for a 10 a.m. deadline. I think I can do it, but yeah, a hell of a start to the week. 

I had a video chat with Andy this evening; I want to let him know that we're here for him to vent to, as he needs it. He's looking for work in all sorts of places, and waiting for his Washington Uber driving OK to come through; I knew that work and available cash was going to be their stressor really soon after they got to Seattle, but knowing it doesn't make it any easier to watch. And of course, they knew it was going to be difficult at first - but knowing it and experiencing it are completely different things. Sent them some good vibes, if you think about it, eh?

I did clear up one potential glitch in my efforts to get a new Canadian passport - I'd simply downloaded the wrong form, which was giving me wrong, and very worrisome, information about the process I need to go through. Thank heavens it was, as I found out today, wrong. 

I still haven't uploaded our Seattle visit pics. Then again, I don't intend to inflict too many more of those on you, My Faithful Readers. 


kaffyr: (Sen Waits)
I Hope I Can Handle Monday

I'd like to think that this weekend has provided the spiritual nutrients necessary to fortify me for the coming week. After all, I've been relatively productive, which is one of the metrics by which I measure my worth (thank you, Nana!)  I got my nails redone yesterday, and made a decent beef and vegetable stir-fry yesterday. Today, I got out the big slow-cooker and made a beef stew, complete with parsnips, apples, celery, onion, potatoes, wine, beef broth, diced tomatoes ... we'll see if the various flavors blend or fight with each other. (ETA: they blended quite nicely.) 

In the past few days, I managed to write and post a drabble, I've managed to converse with people online, and I've read some lengthy essays on things non-Kavanaugh related (and some that were). all of which I think provides excellent mental exercise for me. 

Question for some of you: am I a minority in thinking that this essay not only smacks of "hey, you kids, get off my lawn," and of an obdurate refusal  to acknowledge language's evolution, but that it's poorly written? As far as I can tell, it doesn't even properly make or advance its supposed core argument and theme: "We are allowing a perversion of meaning to creep into our language, where words are used for control, rather than persuasion."

Just me?

I remembered today that I hadn't posted any pictures of our Seattle trip, which I'd said I would do. Here's one that Andy took of Bob and I at the Chihuly gallery and museum. 


Under the cut )
kaffyr: A picture of the Eighth Doctor (Eight in time)
 Scattered Thoughts on Seattle

We're all packed and ready to head home to Chicago; it's been a surprisingly good visit, but I know the two of us are looking forward to sleeping in our own bed, and I suspect Andy and Emily will be happy to get their bedroom back. 

(I said surprisingly good, by the way, because I hadn't expected to be able to do so much, in such a relaxed way, in so short a time.)

The environment in Seattle reminds me a lot of Nova Scotia, except that there are mountains and tall hills instead of short rocky hills, and redwood type conifers instead of scrubby spruce. Seattle and it's surrounding suburbs remind me architecturally and atmospherically of a mix between Halifax, N.S., and Minneapolis; a lot of art, tiny hip neighborhooods cheek by jowl with cruddy neighbor hoods. I'd love to see what the zoning rules and patterns. Are in the city, but that's just the policy wonk in me. 

My birthday went beautifully; I was coddled to within an inch of my life, and ate some of the best sushi I've had in ages. I took more pictures and may post two or three of them when I get home. For now, I'm just enjoying some quiet time with Andy.

Dept. of Sunday

Sunday, 16 September 2018 09:00 pm
kaffyr: A happy smiling superintelligent Corgi (Ein is happy)
Writing, Chihuly, Temporary Ailments

In reverse order:

1) I finally got something written, a drabble for 
[community profile] dw100 . Drabbles are my most difficult challenges, because I write long, not short. 
2) The four of us went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, right below the Space Needle. It was wonderful - shapes and colors and textures that were amazing, and a garden where Chihuly's glass art interacted organically with, well, the organic garden around it. I didn't take many pictures, and I was ultimately glad; the place was full of people who seemed to want to do nothing more than take selfies, or have people take pictures of them, in front of the art - but very few of those people seemed interested in actually looking at and experiencing the art. When Andy convinced me that he could send me pictures from one of his earlier trips to the museum, it was very freeing. 
3) I appear to have successfully fought off some sort of stomach and gut-based bug that bid fair to make the day miserable for me. Hurrah for medications that kept that at bay!
4) We went to the Ballard Locks tonight, to watch the sunset, see salmon swimming up a ladder around the locks, and see boats sailing out to Puget Sound. And then we found a very nice Tex-Mex place to have a late supper and talk about music (Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, and such, because we're old farts.) Totally enjoyable.

And tomorrow is my 63rd birthday. 



Dept. of Birthdays

Saturday, 15 September 2018 11:43 pm
kaffyr: Dillons illustration of Nix's Abhorsen world. (The Old Kingdom)
Happy Birthdays

Many happy returns of the day to the much-traveled, hugely talented, very patient 
[personal profile] azriona , whose lively non-fiction writing takes me across the world, and whose fic writing is a source of joy. I hope to see more of your wonderful posts, and learn more about your remarkable life!

Another birthday wish goes out to the Daughter of My Heart, who once was around LJ as [livejournal.com profile] art_tastic, but is here no more. She is wonderful, and most recently introduced me to the joys of the mani-pedi. When I first met her, she was 15, and she is now in her 30s. She has gone through many changes in the years since, some heart-breaking, and she has emerged a strong and wonderful woman. Happy birthday to her!

Dept. of Seattle

Saturday, 15 September 2018 07:34 pm
kaffyr: Kitty from "Kiki's Delivery Service" (kiki cat)
Cats Safely Delivered, Humans Recovering

Lots of words and huge pic )
kaffyr: Hayao Miyazaki's Kiki scrubs the floor in animation (Kiki scrubs)
Write In Haste, Repent at Leisure Hope for More Leisure

I haven't posted at all for a few days, and only once during the Labor Day weekend, which was probably a terrible use of my labor-less time, but I plead stress on all counts, your honors. 

I've been fighting back spasms and general pain for the last five days, and for some reason it has refused to go away. I've gone back to my exercises (did I mention this in my last post?) and have taken many, many trips to our tiny bathtub jacuzzi, but the usual cycle of the pain going away doesn't seem to be repeating properly. We'll see if the weekend helps. 

We'll be flying out to Seattle with Tommy and Lily, Andy's and Em's cats, on Friday night, and will stay there until Tuesday. I'll have five days to completely rest, so I'm hoping that will help lay the back pain to rest, if I haven't gotten it properly under control by then. 

This isn't much of a post, I know, but I wanted to keep an oar in. I'll try to respond to other people's posts (I hope) tonight. 
kaffyr: Mid-afternoon view from the spirit world train. (Train view)
Goodbye - You Took the Trailer and the Cowhorns. We Got the Cats.

Goodbye and pics under here )

Dept. of the Weekend

Saturday, 25 August 2018 05:43 pm
kaffyr: (Rabbit Mom 2)
Getting Things Done

In less than a week, Andy and Emily will take off for their eight-day trip, u-haul trailer and all, to Seattle. They're in the last crazy days of packing, always in need of more boxes, and terribly behind. Which is absolutely normal for moving, but I feel for them. If I have any evening time this week, I'll go over and offer what help I may. 

I've determined that I have another week of vacation available to take this year, and I'm going to ask to be cleared to take it the third week of September. That will allow Bob and me (wow - that's grammatical, but sounds weird) to fly out to Seattle, with their cats, Tommy and Lily. We'll be babysitting the cats while they drive out and get settled into their new place. Thank god, they found a place they could afford, 20 minutes outside the city. Emily has found a couple of part-time nanny gigs that she can handle on top of her classes, and Andy, who hasn't yet found a job in his field, says he'll Uber until he can. With GPS, one doesn't have to be familiar with where one's driving, I suppose. 

Argh. I'm worried. 

Today, we got rid of some medical records and such that go back mostly to 2014, but a few that go back to 2010. None of them are necessary at this point. It allows us to clear out a section of the office which we've sort of planned to make the visiting kitties' space - we have a cat tree, so the old cat tree, which Bob was able to cut down by one level* has been moved in there for the micro-cats (they're full grown and still only half the size of Phil and Opie.) That's where their litter box will be as well, oh joy. Still, it's only for two weeks.

I got my hair cut, and I'm about to take a shower to get ready for karaoke shenanigans. Why karaoke, you ask? 

Because tonight, we're invited to a goodbye party thrown by some of their close friends. It's at a favorite bar of theirs, where, I am reliably told by my first born, There Will Be Blood Karaoke. The party doesn't start until 9 o'clock, which strikes me as altogether too late to get started on partying of any kind. That undoubtedly marks me as a feeble oldster, to which I willingly cop. Ah, well; that we're invited is a mark of ... I don't know - respect? Andy definitely wanted us there. 

Dept. of Birthdays

Thursday, 9 August 2018 07:55 pm
kaffyr: Still from Arakawa Under the Bridge (Arakawa afternoon)
My Best Friend
I tried making it smaller; no luck.... )

Dept. of Love

Saturday, 4 August 2018 06:00 pm
kaffyr: The Doctor, his wife, her mother and father (Wedding)
Another Wedding

This morning, Bob and I attended the wedding of a young lady whose twin was once the love of Andy's teenage life, and who went on to become his Best Sister, and the daughter of my heart. Her twin is also a lovely young woman, filled with the same light as DoMH, blessed with talents as delightful (she is an oboist, while DoMH is a visual artist. They both dance, they sing, they love with all their hearts; DoMH is far less bound by social expectations than her beloved sister, but her sister is far less confined by those  social expectations than she once was. 

This marriage was in a church; both sisters have a deep Christian faith (one that nonetheless seems to understand that there are as many doors as there are rooms in the celestial mansion.) I put aside my more than occasional irritation with religion, and chose to focus on the joy they took from it.

DoMH walked her sister down the aisle, as their beloved father died last year and their mother is not part of the family. There was much singing. The sermon was a fine one, as those things go. The ceremony, as traditional as it was, also contained laughter, cheers, applause and hoots of support from their friends as they were announced husband and wife.

We don't know the new husband very well, but we saw how happy they were on the dance floor; we know how much his family, from Puerto Rico, has taken Twin Sister to their hearts. It was all very good, especially the dancing. I didn't take part in the latter, because heat - it was 102 when we got home at 2 p.m. - and high heels hit me today as they didn't last month. It was enough to see everyone else dancing. There were young, old, very young, and very old, iced tea for those who couldn't quite deal with mimosas at 11:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and much, much happiness 

It was a very good way to spend that Saturday morning. 

kaffyr: Animated Canadian flag (Canada!)
Happy Canada Day!

Because this is my last vacation day, and I'm trying to expend very little brain power, I don't have much eloquence with which to speak about how much I love my native country. So have this picture of my brother Mac, standing with a very nice employee at the hotel where Bob and I stayed during the wedding weekend. He's wearing his RCMP dress uniform (the version without the jodphurs and the "high browns" - the boots he says are actually quite uncomfortable.) 

He's as Canadian as they come, and that's a good thing for Canada. 



Cut for size )


Dept. of Wedding

Tuesday, 26 June 2018 11:48 am
kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
My Heart Going Boom, Boom, Boom ...

Image under cut for size )

The day was supposed to be damp and cloudy. The sun disagreed, and came through, hot and bright. We were all drenched in sweat soon enough, but we would have been damp with tears of joy no matter what, so we happily lived with the sweat. 

My new daughter was lovely, beautiful, glorious, glowing, all the words you can think of to describe a bride. My beloved son was snappily dressed in a sharply tailored suit with a wooden bow tie, because of course he would find a stylish wooden bow tie, he's my Andy.

I walked Andy down the green and grassy aisle (which failed in its attempt to trip me by grabbing at my heels), hugged him when we got to the front, then sat down with Bob. Emily's dad walked her down the aisle, then went to sit down, and the act of joining two lives together began in earnest.

They wrote their own vows. No talk of death parting them, just talk of going on a journey together. Emily cried as she told Andy just when she fell in love with him, and why she loves him, and what his friendship means to her. Andy cried as he told her how much he loves her, and how hard he'll try to be worthy of her love.

There was plenty of laughter during the ceremony, between Star Trek: The Next Generation references by Josh Allard, the wonderful friend who officiated; a rambunctious toddler flower boy; and an escaping wedding ring. Andy and Emily are both actors and writers, which meant they made the ceremony as inclusive as all such ceremonies should be.

They exchanged rings, and kissed, and became the newly-married Emily Bates and Andy Berlien. 

Later came the cocktail hour and the dinner (pizza from Gino's East because, hey, they're from Chicago, so that's exactly what was called for), and hugs and laughter. 

My brother Mac, resplendent in his RCMP dress uniform, announced Andy and Emily to the gathered guests, using his most official and stentorian voice to do so.

So many people became part of the day - my beloved brother; found family, like Gonzo and Dr. Bob (Sandy and Bob Andina), and Jack Targonski;  friends of Andy's who have long been friends of ours, like Gordy Andina, (Gonzo's and Doctor Bob's son, and Andy's oldest friend) and Sarah Fields, the daughter of my heart and Andy's sister of the heart, and so many more;  and even friends we were delightedly surprised to have join us, like Neil Rest and Mike Butler. 

Bob toasted the couple, speaking about the difference between a contract and a covenant, asking those gathered with us to toast the covenant between Andy and Emily.

They danced their dance, smooth and practiced, because they are performers, and it delighted them to delight us by doing so. 

Emily danced with her father, and her father then beckoned to Emily's mother and her husband to take part in the dance, an act of extraordinary grace that brought a lump to my throat. By the end of the dance, Emily's two sisters had joined in, everyone with their arms around each other. 

Finally, I was summoned to the dance floor to dance with my son. I didn't know what music he would choose, possibly Moulin Rouge, I thought, the short and quirky Tim Buckley song we both liked?

Instead, Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill began playing, and my son began pogo-ing to the music. No sedate dance for Andy and me, I realized. That's not us. We danced around each other, and sang the song to each other, our hands to our breasts beating out "my heart going 'boom, boom, boom!'" every time the phrase came round. 

We urged those watching us to clap, by virtue of our own clapping. We jumped high, and often, and heard everyone singing along with us. As the song swelled to its end, Andy beckoned everyone to come dance with us, while my own 62-year-old heart went boom-boom-boom, and I realized anew how much I loved my son, even if he was bidding fair to kill his couch-potato mother with such musical cardio.

He told me later that he chose the song because it always made him think of me. He's wise; the song always makes me cry, mostly for joy. 

The wedding was about Andy, and Emily, and our dance was just a tiny part of the whole, but it fit the day that Andy and Emily created for themselves; it fit the way they chose to create an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, 

After all, a wedding is also about family - finding one's family, and drawing people in to join the circle, and starting new branches that still are part of the old trees. We have a new daughter, and Emily's family has a new son. 

And I am blessed to have been part of the day.



kaffyr: Two elegant dancers (Dance)
Forty-Eight Hours

You'd think that Bob and I would be relatively dispassionate about Andy's and Em's wedding, since they're handling it themselves, paying for it, organizing it, etc. No such luck. It may be only indirectly ... crazy by osmosis ... but, since Andy's and Em's heads are ready to explode, so are ours. 

That's part of the reason why I haven't been posting. The frenetic pace of the wedding's approach has reminded us that positive stress is still stress. And part of that stress is just the all encompassing nature of this oncoming event. We wake up in the morning thinking about it, and it's the last thing we think about at night. Just imagine how Andy and Em feel ... I think their heads are ready to explode.  

Having one's head filled with nothing but weddingweddingWEDDINGauughh means that my ability to chat about anything was severely straitened. 

My brother Mac has arrived from Canada in advance of the wedding, and it's lovely to have him here. I'm surprised at the ease with which we've conversed thus far. I think Bob's reminder to me not to get too tense around Mac was very helpful. 

OK, that's enough - we leave for the wedding venue tomorrow morning, the wedding's Saturday afternoon, and we'll be back sometime mid-Sunday. I promise pictures when I get back, and I promise my head will be considerably more communicative. 
kaffyr: (See the Sky)
Finally

The last time I wore my wedding ring was sometime in 2009, when I had to have it cut off my finger in preparation for having an MRI. I finally had it repaired. Along with the ring, which had been my Nana's wedding ring, I had her diamond ring repaired as well. I gave my wedding ring to Bob when we picked them up Saturday afternoon. He asked me if I would marry him. I said yes. He put the ring on my finger for the second time in 37 years. When we got home, I put Nana's diamond ring on the finger as well, in the place an engagement ring is supposed to go. We never got engagement rings 37 years ago. 

Both of them feel good on my finger, but the wedding ring feels especially good. 
Saving bandwidth )


Dept. of The Weekend

Saturday, 2 June 2018 10:35 pm
kaffyr: Miles and Ekaterin's profiles (Komarr)
This Saturday Was A Good Day

Saturdays aren't always good days, but this one was a good one. 

I am an habitual procrastinator. One of the things I've been putting off for altogether too long is the care of my wedding ring. I haven't worn the ring since (thinks) somewhere around late 2009 or early 2010. That's when I had to have it cut off my finger, as I readied myself for an MRI. I always meant to have it turned either into a necklace or rebuilt so I
 could wear it properly again, but never got around to doing so. 

But I finally was moved to action with FB's wedding approaching. I wanted to wear it again, either around my neck or back on the proper finger (which I managed to forget was the left ring finger. It has been so long that I, for some reason, thought I was going to put it onto my right ring finger. BB pointed out that that wasn't the correct finger when we were at the jeweler's.)

We went to the jeweler who was able to refit my great-great grandmother's topaz and diamond ring to Miss Em's finger. I'd given the ring to FB, so that he could present it to Miss Em as an engagement ring, but it was a little too small, and the gold was so worn away that it was almost ready to break. That wasn't surprising, given its age ... anyhow, they were very impressed with this particular jeweler, so we took my ring in; he was able to repair it.

It will be ready before the wedding; it was so unexpectedly inexpensive (two figures rather than the three figures I'd estimated), that I was able to bring in one of the diamond rings that belonged to my grandmother, and have its gold band replaced. That truly was so worn away that it had to be completely rebuilt.

That, plus the repair of one of my mother's old-fashioned winding watches, came to about what I thought my wedding ring repair would cost. All in all, the cost is a bit expensive, but to have three family heirlooms replaced is completely worth it. 

It's important to me that I will be wearing my wedding ring - which was my grandmother's - and a diamond ring belonging to her (because BB and I never exchanged engagement rings ... we were poor as church mice when we decided to get married ... ) when FB is married. It fulfills the traditions that I feel are crucial for something as important as his wedding. 

So, yes, it was a good day. 

Dept. of Remembrance

Wednesday, 30 May 2018 07:41 pm
kaffyr: (See the Sky)
Happy Birthday, Mum




Cut for size )

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