Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Big, scary day

Today I had an adventure.  I borrowed my dad's car keys and left the house by myself.  It's the first time I've gone anywhere by myself since Labor Day weekend, when I drove to the airport in Houston and got on the plane.  It's only the second time I've been behind the wheel since then.

It was pretty damn scary at first.  Almost three months is a long time to go without driving on doing anything independently.  I was way out of practice.  The fact that I was driving someone else's car didn't help.  (My car is long gone.  sniffle.)

Mom was in a foul mood this morning, and apparently all day yesterday, too.  (I missed yesterday.  After all the company and Thanksgiving hoopla, I declared Sunday an I'm In My Room, Leave Me Alone day.)  She was upset because she thought she would have all the house done, and there are still boxes everywhere, and she can't find her Christmas stuff, and she was MAD.  So while the 'rents went to the Social Security office to get stuff straightened out, I went shopping.

The two things she specifically mentioned were her Christmas mugs, which she always puts out first thing and are very important to her, and the Advent wreath.  I found some cheap mugs at Michael's, so I was able to take care of that, but the Advent wreath was a bust. 

Michael's had undecorated, do-it-yourself Advent wreathes for a while, but they were sold out when I got there.  And they had one pre-decorated one, but it was way over the top and fugly.  The whole things was covered with purple flowers and white things crusted with glitter.  She would have appreciated the thought (and she damn well better if I'm spending 25 bucks for the ugly thing), but she'd rather die than have something that over done and ugly on her table.

I went to four other places-- four!-- and none of them had ever heard of an Advent wreath.  Even Hobby Lobby, which is Christianville USA, didn't have them or know what they were .  I was beginning to feel like a freak.  I'm not the only one in the world, aside from Michael's Happy Glue Gun Lady, who knows what these things are, right?

One of these puppies.  Light a candle every Sunday in Advent.  You've seen these, right?  I know a lot of people don't go in for the religious aspect of Christmas.  I can't say I worry about it too much myself.  But I grew up with one of these on my table for as far back as I can remember.  My family can't be total weirdos.  There have to be Advent wreaths out there somewhere.  It's just so bizarre to me that I spoke to at least 7 people in 4 different stores, stores that carry all kinds of Christmas decorations and people who work in and stock those departments, and not a one of them even knew what an it was.  Very strange.  I knew that Indiana was the Twilight Zone, but come on.

Anyway, even though I couldn't lay my hands on a non-fugly Advent wreath, I did find a few other Christmassy things to brighten up the place.  One was a small pillow that says "Those who don't believe get underwear."  I was highly amused and had to have it right away.  The fact that it was on sale helped. I got a magnet with a snowman on it that says "snow".  (I collect magnets, so it's always exciting to find a new one.)  And I bought a set of blocks that spell out the word "joy".  Mom has a set of acrobatic elves that spell "Joy" that she always puts on the piano.  My brother and I delight in scrambling them, so that they say "oyj" instead.  One year I hid the J, so it just said "oy!", which I found highly amusing.  So I took the blocks and put them on the piano, out of order, of course.  So far Mom has noticed the mugs, which she couldn't help but notice since I put one at her place at the table, and the pillow, which she also couldn't help but notice because it was on the couch right where she planned to sit.  No one has noticed the magnet or the blocks yet.

The weather is supposed to be cold and crappy for the next several days (plus I totally wore myself out shopping and will need a couple of days of rest to recover), so I think that's all the stealth decorating for a little while.  I may call Michael's and see if a new shipment of the undecorated Advent wreaths have come in.  If they have, I may pick up one of their decorated wreaths for the front door, too.  There was one there that I liked.  And maybe I'll get a fake poinsettia, if I can find one that's bushy enough.  (Not a real one if I can avoid it-- they're poisonous to cats, and Trouble is dumb enough to eat the whole damn thing.)

This place may start to look a lot like Christmas, whether Mom finds any of her decorations or not!

Friday, November 19, 2010


I have nothing of any depth to say today, so this is going to a group of tweet-ish length updates, or Twits.

Julie, yes my birthday was Monday!  It's the first birthday I've spent with family in years.  One of my favorite breakfast, one of my favorite dinners, birthday cake-- yellow cake with chocolate frosting and Homemade Vanilla Blue Bell Ice Cream (the best ice cream in the world and formerly available only in Texas), a dozen roses from my parents, and a bunch of birthday cards.  It was a good day.

But my hand still hurts.

I was in the bathroom earlier this evening when I heard, "Bad cat!  What did you do?"  Turns out, what the cat did was get up on the table and chew up four out of the 12 hamburger buns in the package.  I mean just totally annihilated them.  It was bound to happen sometime.  I warned Mom that he does this.  She may be annoyed, but she also thought it was funny.  She had a heck of a time telling me about it without laughing.  Mom always smirks at how Troub has Dad wrapped around his little paw, but he's got her, too.

Tomorrow we get my stuff out of storage.  It's lived there since I moved to Massachusetts Labor Day weekend.  I can't wait to sleep in my own bed and set up my Wii.  I want to see my Wee Peeple dolls again and have my own clothes hamper.  Unfortunately, this means I'm going to be up to my eyeballs in boxes or the foreseeable future.  Pray for me.

Things are... not going well for my brother's marriage.  I would not be surprised if she files for divorce sometime after Thanksgiving.  You never know, things could work out after all.  But I'll be shocked if she doesn't file by the end of January.  Ordinarily I wouldn't mention any of this, as it's most certainly Not My Business.  But it's causing drama with the 'rents.  If he does what he was talking about doing earlier today and moves to another state, there will be an explosion of epic proportions.  Mom has been gloating for weeks about all of us being together again.  She is going to lose her shit if he takes off now that we've moved across the country to be here.  Maybe this is just early-onset divorce crazy, and he'll live on our couch for six months instead.

I finally broke down and ordered my new clothes today.  I got:

2 zip front hooded sweatshirts
1 zip front, floor length, hooded bathroom (I spend so much time lounging in the one I already had, I decided to get another)
3 long sleeve tshirts
3 thermal shirts
1 long thermal henley sleep shirt
3 long sleeve sleep shirts
3 flannel sleep pants
3 layered look tshirts
2 pair of jeans, hopefully the right size this time

So, basically, I should be drowning in warm, cozy clothing by the end of next week.  Yay!

Extra points if any of it comes in on Wednesday.  They're predicting snow here for Thanksgiving.  Yuck.

I think that's everything for now.  I tell you what, this may be a particularly boring blog to read, but I could crank out these little updates all day.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Moment of Grace

I hadn't been out of the house for a couple of days, so this afternoon I decided to go grocery shopping with my mom.  I made it as far as the driveway, where I committed one of the greatest pratfalls of all time.  It wasn't pretty, ya'll.  The only thing I could think as I sprawled across the pavement was, "oh, please, don't let me have broken anything."  Because, of course, I don't have any insurance.  Fortunately, while the palm of my left hand is pretty shredded, and the whole hand is stiff and swollen, there's no sign of broken bones.  Whew.

And speaking of graceful, Julie mentioned in the comments getting food all over her sleeves.  I don't have that problem so much, but I do have an amazing ability to dribble food down my front.  I don't think I have a single shirt that doesn't have a stain somewhere.  Since I'm getting new clothes, it's time to do something about it.  When we saw my great aunt last month, she had something she called her "pearls", and I plan to try to make something similar for myself.  Auntie's is a string of pearl beads with an alligator clip at each end.  You sling the strand around your neck and clip each end to the napkin instead of tucking it into your shirt.  The difference is that I plan to knit a length of icord instead of using beads.  Sock yarn should make a thin enough cord, and the colors should be a lot of fun.  When I told Mom what I was planning to do, she decided she wanted one, too.  So now I have a new project, as soon as the swelling goes down.  ugh.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Upon the Horns of a Dilemna

It's time to share another secret with you all.  Despite my love of Project Runway and America's Next Top Model, I'm pretty ambivalent about my own clothing.  I have few requirements, and none of them have anything to do with looking stylish.

The first problem is fit.  I am a fat girl.  I'm not being coy.  I'm not talking about needing to lose 10 lbs or comparing myself to models on the covers of magazines.  The last time I was on a scale I was over 300 lbs, and that kind of weight comes with clothing challenges.  Shirts are constantly too short, revealing, if you'll forgive my mixing of metaphors, my fish belly white muffin top.  It's embarrassing.  If you notice us fat girls constantly yanking down the hems of our shirts, that's why.  They're just too damn short.

With pants I often find them unacceptably tight over the gut, hips, and tush, but ridiculously wide from mid-thigh down.  Sometimes the waistband is tight also, but more often it gapes ridiculously.  Not only does the skin tight stuff over the tummy, butt, and thighs emphasize exactly what we'd like to pretend isn't there, but with the Crohn's anything that presses against my stomach is painful.  So the challenge becomes finding pants that I can sit and stand in without swimming in them or being cut in half.

Those are two of the *ahem* biggest problems I have with finding clothes.  The next problem is one of availability and standards.  Have you noticed how often big women wear unnatural fabrics and sequins?  This is not by choice.  It's exceptionally hard to find sane clothing made from natural fabrics for plus sized women in stores.  There are catalogs, but you never know what you're getting until it arrives.  Will the quality be good?  Will it fit right or will it be a complete disaster?  And because fat clothes are apparently a specialty item, even though a growing portion of the population need them, they tend to be more expensive.  It makes sense, I guess.  Significant demand, plus limited supply, means higher prices and fewer bargains.

Well, I didn't mean to rant.  I guess I had a few things to get off my chest.  The real reason I started this post was because I have some wardrobe building to do, and I'm feeling stuck.  I've already ordered a few things, a couple of which fit and are exactly what I was looking for.  A couple were what I want, but the sizes were completely ridiculous.  I bought jeans in two different styles, figuring one or the other would work for me.  I followed the sizing instructions.  And they both look like clown pants.  I followed the same sizing instructions, and the flannel pants and thermal top sets I bought are just right.  Go figure.

Anyway, I'm going to post a few things, and I'd love to get your opinion.  Keep in mind that I spend 90% of my time at home, so comfy is the word of the day.  When I do go out it will be casual-- jeans if I can figure out what size fits me and a basic top.  And I've moved from toasty Texas to the frigid north, so warmth is an issue.  I'm doing most of my shopping at OneStopPlus.com, but I can also get basics, like long sleeve tshirts, for a good price at Walmart.com.  They might not carry the sizes I need in the store, but I can sometimes find them online.

So, here's some of what I'm looking at.  I'd like at least a couple more pair of flannel pants for lounging around the house. 
Option one
Option two

I'm not absolutely in love with any of the color combinations.  There's a sage thermal top that matches the sage flannel pants in option one, but I like the top much more than the bottoms.  The french lilac combo of option two is all right, and you can get discount on both pieces when you buy a long sleeve cotton tshirt to match.  But again, I'm not totally sold.  (I prefer more vibrant colors.)  The red/white/black check in option two is all right, but I'm not sure the large square checks are the most flattering.

I do really like the yellow-with-blue-flowers version of this thermal, but several people mention in the reviews that it's scratchy.  I'm a delicate flower, and if it's scratchy I probably won't wear it.

scratchy thermal?
And I like the layered-look crewneck tee, which comes in colored sleeves and white sleeves.


I'm spoiled for choices with these-- there are a million colors so it's hard to make a decision.  They're offering $4 off if you buy two or more.

And I really like the look of this sherpa sweatshirt.  Looks snuggly and warm.  I'm even pretty sure what color I want-- golden wheat.  I'm just not sure I want to spend the money.

sherpa sweatshirt

I know this is dumb.  We're just talking about around the house slouchware.  But funds are limited, and I can't try any of this stuff on before buying (although I can return it if necessary), and I need some help.  So help!  Which of these should I get?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fun With Drugs

I just finished pricing my meds at all the local pharmacies.  Fun, fun, fun.  I have no health insurance at the moment, and the future does not look promising on that front, so I'm paying for all my meds out of pocket.  Let me tell you, this shit ain't cheap.  If you've got prescription drug coverage, raise a glass to your insurance provider.  You could be paying much, much more.

I was a little surprised at first how widely the prices varied at different pharmacies.  Then I thought I would end up with a different prescription at every pharmacy in town.  But it turns out that the best prices are evenly split between two places-- Sam's Club and Walgreen's, with the W card.  All but one of the worst prices are at CVS.  The cheapest refills will save me a little more than $150 over the most expensive ones.  That's a pretty big difference when you consider it's the exact same pills in either bottle.

On a brighter note, I remembered something about the trip from Massachusetts to Indiana that I forgot to tell you.  (I have Swiss cheese for brains, I swear.)  As we were driving through Pennsylvania we passed about a million deer crossing signs.  But someone in the Keystone State has a sense of humor, so they looked a little something like this (not my picture):

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Monday, November 08, 2010

I'm Back!

Glory, hallelujah!  We have achieved internet!  I went approximately 9 days, four hours without any kind of communication with the outside world.  Please God, never again.  It may have been the cold, dry air that I'm totally not used to anymore, but I choose to believe it was the lack of internet that has been causing this all over body itching.  Hopefully it will go away now that I have unlimited access to all the LOLcats and porn a person could ever hope to consume.  (Oh, pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease!  I'm not kidding about the itching part.)

We've only met a couple of the neighbors so far.  Next door we have two sisters, somewhere in their 60s I'd guess.  There are raspberry bushes at the back of our property lines, and they brought us a jar of their homemade raspberry preserves.  This stuff is good.  As of breakfast this morning, the preserves are already gone.  I'm hoping if we return their glass jar, they'll share again next year.  Either that or Mom's going to have to take up making and canning preserves again, because this was way better than what you get at the store.

Last week I went to visit my new LYS.  (Local Yarn Store.  Not that the store is new, although I think it might be new-ish.  More that I'm new to the local.)  It's small but serviceable.  But the best part is that they're friendly.  The shop cat, George, came over to make friends before I'd had a chance to more than glance at my first shelf.  (That was a bit bittersweet, because George looks a lot like my best friend's cat did about 10 years ago.  Nico-kitty is getting up there, and his plumage is much less plumy these days.  Plus they are a thousand miles away now, so not much chance to stop by and see them.)  They have knit ins on Friday nights, so I'll probably go this week and check it out.  Goodness knows I have plenty of knitting to do.

There's probably other stuff I meant to tell you, but it's late and I'm high on internet.  G'night, all!