Thursday, December 27, 2012

part II: christmas letter

I couldn't get it all down on paper afterall. Not in one swoop.

I made Christmas hats for the girls. I slaved away and learned by trial and error how to sew with fake fur. And in traditional judybluesky style, I didn't start easy: I used fake llama fur, long and twisty. Its funny, not really, when you go to these sewing stores to buy this shit and ask the twelve year old at the counter at Fabric Depot, " is there anything special I need to know about cutting this stuff out?" "Naw," she says, perky in her red christmas vest that I'm sure she made out of felt scraps collected for free from the cutting room floor. "Just cut it out and  sew it up. You can grade one of the seams to make it lay flat." I decided to make my task even more difficult and line them with velvet, so went out to the Milwaukee store (Mill End) where the clerks are older even than me, for some washable velvet. (I only have silk-velvet. Poor me.) I asked the same question of her  "Oh, yes! Have you never worked with this fabric?? Well, then you need to cut it out like this and sew it like that and blah blah blah..." I learned so much in two minutes. It made the job somewhat more manageable, although I learned much the hard way - -my way.

I made my own pattern: a pointy hooded hat with attached scarf. My girls, tiny little things, look like abominable snow-pixies with them on. This year was the first year they felt like my kids. It is our 9th year together, and finally we are almost comfortable as a family.

Medifast update: I've lost 58 pounds. I gained back three during the holidays with some permitted leniency. On the trip south, Nicole and I decided on a Christmas menu that would fulfill the carbohydrate void I've been experiencing since July third: a Mexican CarbFiesta menu, with green chicken enchiladas, tamales from Canby Asparagus Farms and refried beans, with hot carrots, greenbeans for color, eggnog and all that. The morning before, I OD'd on Christmas cookies: cutout and frosted thinly with powdered sugar glaze and a hint of lemon zest in both cookie and glaze. yummmmmmmmmmmmm. But the way I ate them: in secret and as though it was a contest, made me realize that my eating habits, while in limbo, remain untreated, and when the medifast food ends, which it should eventually, I will surely regain the hard-lost poundage.

So I signed up to learn Tai Chi, a taoist class that meets once a week for 4 months. My goal is to learn the form and practice it at home when I'm done. It has always interested me, and with my various painful joints, it seems the better choice between tai chi and yoga. Yoga intimidates me. Well, not yoga, but the tiny women who carry their little mats down Clinton street and disappear into the studio that is all draped with velvet with Bahktishop scrolled in white across the windows.Turns out bahkti-style yoga is about love, and the group is about loving Bahkti and the place is about love first and not really about exercise for health,which is fine, which is what I say when it is not fine with me. The Tai Chi class is more health-based with the religious association secondary. I may need an influx of religion, but that's another post for another day.So happy new year plans include movement.

Two posts in two days. Wow. Just like olden times.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

the traditional christmas letter

I have many things to discuss and I don't know if I'll get to it all. None of it matters, Still, I'd like to get it down on paper. Paper. Have you seen the new Paperwhite Kindle? We already have paper books. Now, behold: an electronic device with a screen that looks like paper, is as easy to read as paper, no glare, just like a book. Oh wait. We already have that.

Anyway, I haven't updated my fan base for months and apologize to you both. It's been an interesting time. Let's see.... Since Halloween I've been actively pursing my habit of pumpkin seeds. I've purchased or found eight pumpkins, seeded them, and consumed all of the seeds. My lips look like I've had botox and my sodioum level is through the roof. I've also purchased many packages of pumpkin seeds only to re-bake them myself with olive oil and sea salt. I can't get a thing done at work or at home. My car is full of seeds, the housekeeper at work is mad at me for having to vaccuum six times a day. At home, well, let's just say it is an effective hand to mouth distraction.

To tree or not to tree? Being Martha Stewart is hard sometimes. I usually wind up spending at least sixty bucks on a beautiful Grand or Noble Fir, perfectly shaped, to go in our perfect bay window. Sometimes I just pull out the Charlie Brown replica and leave it at that.
This year, husband says, "There's a lot out in Hillsboro and every tree is 15$."
"I'll hate them," I assure him. "I'd rather have no tree than an ugly one."
"Let's just see," he says.
So off we go on a holiday mission, to replace our Christmas lights with LEDs and to find the perfect cheap tree. I'm sure it can't be done. The first lot we visit has a small spray painted sign, ALL TREES $15. I roll my eyes and get out of the truck. Before me stands a lot full of perfect 8-foot Nobles. "Really?" I ask. They don't speak any English. They just smile and nod. Kurt loads up the tree and gives him 17 bucks. I am put in my place. I'll never live it down.  

 Mid-December we made the obligatory pilgrimage to the Southlands. We didn't know what was in store from hubby's side of the family since he had effectively started WWIII with his clan in July by being the first in twenty-some-odd years to tell his most recent in a long and notorious line of step-mothers to shut the fuck up.I have to admit, I'm on his side in this one. So, with the step-monster-in-law in check, we had a decent visit, but didn't stay over like usual. The beautiful little cabin we used to stay in has deteriorated into rat piss and decay, so we stayed with Rita, my mother-outlaw, my son's grandmother. Things are never awkward with her. I envy her social skills. She is the best person I know. Really.

So there we were, basking in the glow of the Blessed Season, playing UpWords instead of Scrabble, which completely taxed my never-agile left brain, when my husband shouted from the basement: "JUDY!!!!!" When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,.... I ran to the stairs to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below. "Duffy's got skunked!" my sweetie howled into the once-pleasant early dark of winter. "He's through the fence." Crap. True to form, my little West Highland White Terror saw the skunk waddling across the backyard and bolted after it like the ratter he was born to be. Apparently, the skunk's escape was stalled by the hogwire fencing and it turned in self defense, spraying Duffy full in the face--in the mouth and in the right eye and all down his right side. By the time I arrived, Duffy was across the fence, choking and gagging, rubbing his face in the dirt and pine needles, trying to get away from himself. Nicole, bless her, jumped the fence to rescue him. Not considering the ramifications of handling a freshly skunked dog, she handed him to me across the fence and I received him and hugged him and cuddled him, and too late, smelled him. Aarrgghh.

Jane, my sister-outlaw, for lack of tomato juice, brought around a bottle of spray and wash and a water-tight garden cart, and out there in the cold and dark, I bathed my poor little dog. He looked at me with his little coal black westie eyes, wondering at this fresh torture, never once considering the consequences of his actions, I'm certain. Once the first layer of oil was scrubbed, we moved inside and bathed him again with peroxide and dish soap. He stunk all the way home where he has been twice-bathed with tomato juice and he still stinks.. Even Rita, bless her, will probably not welcome Duffy back for a repeat holiday visit.

So, back home, I received a letter in the mail that it is time for Duffy's annual exam. Now, it won't surprise you that I barely attend to my own health concerns, let alone that of my dog's. But give the recent skunk contact, I thought it prudent to check things out, rabies and all. As we stood in the exam room, Duffy high up on a steel table, quivering-- me keeping him from jumping -- the vet came in. A nice young woman, serious about dog-health. As she got close, she inspected his teeth and I said, "Sorry about the smell. He got skunked last week." She was immediately embarrassed that she hadn't identified the smell. A country vet would have known right away. Either that or she'd assume Duffy had a bag of good weed stashed nearby. Anyway, she asked about the skunking and I told her about the bathing and that he had some bumps from soaps and stuff -- his skin is sensitive. She found one larger bump and I told her I'd just pulled a tick off him while we were in the office.

Good God. You'd think I'd told her he was on fire.
"Where is this tick?"
"In the garbage. It was just a regular old tick."
"How big was it?Was it engorged? When do you think it embedded?"
The questions were urgent. She was very excited. I wondered if she'd ever even really seen a tick. Me, I've pulled about a million of them off animals and a few from humans. This one was small and I got him out easily, smashed him and put him in the trash, like you do. But the city-vet was pretty agitated about the whole thing.
"Even 'regular old ticks' carry lyme's disease and rocky mountain spotted fever." She mocked.
I didn't like that very much."Right," I said. "I'll keep an eye on him."
After a litany of related symptoms to watch for, she launched into a dissertation on the need for proper dental care. A sales pitch, really. "He'd have to be sedated, of course," she claimed, handing me an estimate for $1009.00.
"This won't be happening," I admitted. I'm sure. A grand to take my dog to the dentist? Really?

Okay. So that's the Duffy update. What a fun dog he is.

Merry Christmas.