Sunday, November 05, 2017

Another Step Forward

I purchased a new wool long coat yesterday.

I have been looking for a new long coat for three years, when it became crystal clear that my beloved size 12 Worthington black long coat with black rabbit fur trim on the hood, was falling apart by inches. Fur went missing from the hood and there were spots near the bottom where the wool had worn almost completely away.

My beloved long coat, purchased by my mom from J.C. Penney’s sometimes in the mid 90’s, approved for wearing by my mom and her best friend Jane, who said she liked the way the back flared out when I twirled and walked. I liked that it was long, with lots of buttons to keep out the cold and that the wool was light on my shoulders.

And because having something with flair is important when you are 22 years old and broke.

Three years ago I started looking for a new coat. But I wanted the kind of coat I was losing. One that was long, with lots of buttons to keep out the cold and some flare in the back to make me feel like a princess when I walked.

Because having something with flair is still important when you are in your early forties and not as broke.

But nothing I looked at was right. Wrong color, wrong length, too flashy, too strange. I tried a vintage navy peacoat, but it turned out to be too heavy and too warm for every day wear.

I wanted something that was going to keep my happy for the next 20+ years of my life.

Last year my mother gifted me with a wool-cashmere blend camel colored long coat. She had purchased it for herself, but it was too large.  It is lovely, Not perfect, but very lovely. So I wore it.

Then yesterday I found the coat, in Nordstrom. On sale. One left. In my size. With a flare in the back when I twirled. I purchased the coat. With wool that hung light on my shoulders.

I came home and happily showed J my purchase. He grumbled about the number of coats I owned, grumbled about the price, grumbled in general. I reminded him that I had looked for a new long coat for three years. That I would finally purge the old coat from the closet (and a bag of clothes I no longer wear).

(Aside: I also stocked up on Teavana teas as well, as Starbucks is closing all the stores and the stock is being sold off. Seeing that I had purchased over six pounds of assorted flavors, J asked how much I paid for the lot, *after* telling me *not* to tell him how much I pay for things. It was rather amusing.)

I hung the coat in the closet and put the tea in the tea drawer. I changed my clothes and headed downstairs to clean the litter box.

And I burst into tears.

Because until yesterday, my mom had purchased every single long coat I had ever worn. And every single one of them was beautiful and made me feel like a princess when I wore it. And I was letting go of the last one, the one infused with the memory of the laughter of my mom, her best friend Jane and 22 year old me twirling in the middle of the coat section of a small town J.C. Penney’s.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Personal Day in Many Ways

This is going to be a ramble...
J and L went to the beach after all, leaving the house to me for the week. It only took a day for me to miss both of them, but coming home to a quiet clean house without a spouse shouting down the phone has been very, very nice to experience.
Last evening was strange. I had planned to stay out for a while, reading in the park then having some dinner, taking a zTrip home if the bus was too inconvenient. I dropped Uber because of their shitty business practices and treatment towards their female employees (although I still need to delete the credit card from the account, which I really should do because a business that treats employees like crap is bound to get hacked sooner or later...).
I walked down to the Point and sat in the shade to give J a call. As I was talking to J I noticed my hands were shaking, my chest was tight and I felt a bit faint. While it was quite hot and I had not eaten in several hours, I don’t think all my symptoms were physical.
Metafilter has a thread which discusses this comic:
The comic is about one woman’s FIVE YEAR experience to get doctors to take her sudden weight loss and fatigue to the point of passing out seriously. A sleep therapist finally tested her thyroid function and discovered she had Graves Disease, a condition 7-8 times more common in women then in men.
Reading the thread was difficult, but allows me to finally say out loud what has been bouncing in my head, what I have tried to rationalize away as “they would not have been able to save her anyway” (and I still believe that statement is true). My mother died because she was not a man.
My mother died because even though she had multiple factors that put her in the high risk category for what killed her - a rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm - she was missing the most important risk factor - she was not a man.
I know the 10,000 arguments against the above statement. Doctors are human. She had an existing confounding diagnosis. She waited too long to see a doctor. Or X. Or Y. Or Z.
People have a hard time looking at two statements when seem to contradict each other yet still be true at the same time.
My mother died because she was misdiagnosed. She would have died anyway. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Too Many T-Shirts

6 June 2017 - Tuesday at 4:09 AM is what is says at the top of the screen of this application and I originally used that as the header.

I can’t sleep. I miss my mom. My mind whirls with all the tricks it is using to cope. Mostly in buying things, because buying a thing gives me a temporary moment of relief from the sadness. Buying things is how I ended up with far too many t-shirts that I will not wear and will end up giving to charity shops. I’ve already discarded one, the rest are not too far behind.

My mind plays tricks to cope, which is why I lie in bed and obsess over a phone I do not need and don’t really want. Except that J’s phone died and it makes sense to get him the most recent model of something, hoping the new one will last 4+ years through a screen and a battery replacement. But it does not seem fair that he gets the latest and greatest, which I wanted, and that I have to spend money from my savings to pay for it.

He has not been much help - he told me to just pick something out. The only problem is that I don’t know what he wants and it does not seem that he even cares to make the effort to go to one of the stores and play with the phones there before making a final decision.

I have a long day ahead of me, work until 5:00, a bus ride home, a trip to the mall to replace the phone. It will be a long and sleepy one.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Tale of Two Sunscreens

Observe sunscreen A, at $26.88 (which is slightly less than the $31.55 I paid several days ago):

Decleor Aroma Sun Expert Protective Hydrating Milk High Protection SPF 30 Sunscreen for Unisex, 5 Ounce

Observe sunscreen B at $32.09:
Decleor Aroma Sun Expert Protective Anti-Wrinkle SPF 30 Cream, 1.69 Fluid Ounce

Sunscreen A is marketed as "unisex".
Sunscreen B is marketed as "protective unit-wrinkle cream" (a quality of most good sunscreens).

1. Which one is marketed to women?
2. Which one is marketed to men?

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Saturday Thoughts on Sunday Night

Yesterday J and I celebrated our 17th Wedding Anniversary.

After a respite lasting several years, I came down with my first serious sinus infection. Naturally this illness began during my 15 day break from work, shortly before Christmas and I stayed sick right into the new year. I cycled through the normal progression of infection, starting with headache and bad congestion and ending with two days of glands so swollen that I could not move my neck properly, only to feel better right on time to go back to work.

The point of the digression is that J caught it this week and has been really miserable. Too congested to use the CPAP and sleeping on the couch like he did pre-CPAP.

And, in spite of his misery, he got up and headed in the frigid weather to our favorite bakery, Boy Alien in tow, to buy peanut butter blossoms and flowers for me. While I stayed happily ensconced in bed reading and continuing the setup my new laptop1.

It was a good day, favorite cookies and flowers aside. I spent most of it in my pajamas, changing at 3:30 into a dress and boots to have an early anniversary dinner at the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto.

The restaurant sits on top of Mount Washington, along Grandview Avenue. We took advantage of the valet parking, as parking in general is rather dear in that neighborhood and usually involves a hike of several blocks. A pleasant journey in the summertime, a terrible one in January when the temperature is negative and the winds are wild.

From the lobby guest take an elevator to the dining room. I admit that the elevator stumped me at first, I hit one of the unlabeled emergency buttons instead of the giant oblong metal button labeled “Dining”. Which meant we waited far longer than necessary before my brain finally made the connection and J pushed the button again.

It was worth the wait. We were a bit early and the maître d’ sent us down the stairs to the lounge, to have a cocktail before dinner.

Although we ordered drinks, we never got them. This was not the fault of the bartender, even in a high-end restaurant such as Monterey Bay customer assholery abounds. The bartender’s time was taken up by a man who was demanding a receipt for the payment he made via a gift card and he was rather determined to be unhappy as he harangued the bartender. Our pager went off 30 seconds after we finally ordered, so we decided to just re-order them at the table instead.

We were seated next to the windows and I demonstrated again that I don’t get out much as I got confused about where to sit and had to be gently instructed to take a chair that faced the window. That really happened.

·      The view was magnificent.
·      The old fashioned I ordered was strong and perfectly made.
·      I asked for a recommendation on a wine to drink with the entrée and the waitperson bought two different chardonnays for me to sample. Both were buttery and light and I could not tell the difference between the two, much to J’s amusement.
·      The oysters were insanely fresh.
·      The octopus starter was good, but not something I would order again.
·      J enjoyed his first try of the rockfish.
·      The scallops stuffed with crab were a rare treat – perfectly cooked without a hint of bitterness.
·      The Brussels sprouts were sweet.
·      And the Angel Food Grilled Cheese dessert was divine.

The biggest surprise of the evening was the sheer number of young children in the restaurant. Monterey Bay even has a kid’s menu and it was clear that they were used to serving families and making adjustments to ensure that even kids are happy. And all the kids we saw were well behaved.

I suspect better behaved overall then the miserable man we saw in the bar. He had a seating in the dining room but was long gone by the time J and I finished our meal.

And thus we marked seventeen years.

1.            I will sorely miss my old MacBook Pro and would still be using it, but the screen finally started to die, two years after I dropped it in such a fashion that the screen separated from the aluminum case. Coupled with symptoms of motherboard failure, a dead DVD/CD drive and its agonizing slowness, a new laptop came as an expensive relief.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Couple Attempts to Head off the Inevitable

I've written about my in-laws, especially my father-in-law, a fair amount in the past. Not so much in the present, as I have not really written much of anything since the boy alien came along.

J's birthday was this week, and fell over a workday. Due to demanding work schedules we decided to push any celebration to the weekend. J wanted to go on a drive "somewhere" with no definite destination in mind. Since taking a meandering, hours-long drive with no set destination is a six year old boy's definition of hell and boy alien was scheduled to spend most of the week with his grandparents anyway, we asked J's mom if we could bring him a day earlier then original planned. My mother-in-law checked her schedule and said yes.

And in the background, during a recent call, J could hear his father asking when J was coming, as he had work that he wanted J to do.

My father-in-laws' standard operating procedure in circumstances such as described is to wait until J arrives with the boy alien and then drop a set of chores on J that need to be done before J can leave. He rarely gives advance notice that he needs help, always underestimates the amount of time these tasks will take and usually drops these need bombs on days when he knows that we (as a couple or as as a family) have time sensitive activities planned.

It is galling. It is especially galling because he does it on purpose to create havoc and drive a wedge between J and myself. He has pulled this stunt numerous times during the course of our marriage. He takes advantage of the fact that J is too nice to say no. He takes pleasure out forcing me into being the bad guy as it gives him an opportunity to complain to other members of the family about how difficult I am behaving and how ungrateful I am.

Since we had some advance indication of the inevitable, J called his mom this morning and asked if he could bring boy alien this evening. He explained that since he had no idea how long it was going to take to do the things that his father wanted done, he would rather bring boy alien down early then watch our plans blow up and put me in the position of being the bad guy again.

J asked if I was interested in going with him tonight and attempted to bribe me with wings from one of our favorite wing places. I turned him down, as I am irritated with his father and have little desire to put myself in the position where he can give me a hard time this evening.


I don't even know where to start with this.

I had a truly awful high school experience. I have written about it in the past, but not recently.

The short version is that I was not verbally bullied (although there was an element of that) as much as I was socially ostracized. I was not invited to parties, to the movies, to go bowling, on sleepovers or to just hang out at the mall for a few hours on a weekend night. I had one close friend, but even our time outside of school was limited due to the fact that she lived 20 miles away, in another town. My class was very small and I spent the better part of six years very unhappy, including a stint in therapy for suicidal ideation.

When I graduated from high school, I made no effort to keep in touch with my classmates. As of today I am in regular contact with a total of 2 former classmates (3 if I count my brother) and the above mentioned friend is not on the short list, due to my realization that her social views had hardened instead of evolved.

After I graduated, I made no effort to keep my mailing address up to date and ignored reunion invitations. When mom and dad downsized to a smaller house last year, I destroyed my high school yearbooks, as I did not want a reminder of how unhappy I was.

I don't even hate my classmates. It is just as a group they represent a very painful part of my life that I prefer not to remember.

Thanks to technology, a former classmate found me on Facebook last week and sent a friend request, which I accepted.

The next morning she added me to the class reunion page and I learned that the next reunion is in a couple of weeks.

Since then, I have wrestled with whether I want to go or not. Part of me does, out of prurient curiosity and I admitted this to Jeff a couple of nights ago.

The other part of me is dealing with a mild anxiety attack, manifested as an inner shakiness, which started last evening at dinner and has continued unabated for most of today. It is not paralyzing, just the sensation of inter vibration coupled with the feeling that if I don't get up and move I will come out of my skin.

I don't know what to do with this anxiety. Even after 25 years I am not emotionally equipped to deal with a class reunion and I should pass on this one. But I feel cowardly.

79°F Sunny

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Miscellaneous and More to Come

Mainly about our lovely, lovely neighbor, who will henceforth be known as "AN". I'll leave up to my one astute reader to determine what the "A" stands for.

AN especially enjoys throwing parties that start in the wee hours of the morning, after the bars close

I have sampling of his behavior, courtesy of one of his guests. At 7:30 on Sunday morning. But the video is not working right now.

I also have to fix a syncing issue with my journal application, as there are more details to come.