little_tristan: (Gilead Gunslingers)
For some reason Mark woke me up at three this morning. He gets up early, I get up early? That was not in the vows.

Ebay has been kind enough to throw me a couple more pairs of jeans that Mark can wear. Man thing: I didn't know he needed pants because there are at least 5 pairs lying around the bedroom. Draped over the heater we don't use, sticking out from under the bed, just kind of everywhere. I don't dress him or do the laundry, so how was I supposed to know he only considers two of them wearable?

Other man thing: Russ has been letting me buy him socks that are too small for, I don't know, ten years. Why would he not tell me he needs bigger socks? Are big feet an embarrassment for big men? Is he a girl? Commune Purchasing Officer is a hard job enough without all this disinformation re: socks.

Heather is learning the second hardest way why people don't let toddlers play with their Kindle Fires. I gave her an Otterbox to save her the hardest lesson, but the little boogersnot--the same kid who tells his mother in complete sentences that he has to poop and then hides in a closet to do it in his pants because he wants privacy--has figured out that hitting certain buttons makes the games better. By buying upgrades. Which are then charged to me.

Am I the only one who thinks Amazon should require a password when buying apps and upgrades within apps? iTunes does, and it's not nearly as good as Amazon in most other ways. I wouldn't mind if Heather was buying them. She has good sense. Her son, otoh, thinks nothing of billing me $7 so he can have a wider variety of Angry Birds.

Maybe there's a way to turn off One-Click on certain devices. That can be my project for the day.
little_tristan: (Otters Significant Otters)
This still isn't the enormous picspam I've been promising, which gets bigger every day. It's just what I did to get pix you haven't seen yet. Heather's kept her promise to be over twice a week, except yesterday when I went to work with the boys and she picked me up there to go to another county fair! A much bigger and more involved one than we have here, but equally hot and with fewer horses. Apparently horses are such a big deal there that they have a county horse fair as a separate event. If it hasn't happened yet, I'm going to ask if we can go.

The temp's been in the high 90s and low 100s for a week. This is bad for everyone but me, as I'm mostly inside with the a/c on. The fairs and air show are exceptions that have led to a really nice tan. With just a little more work I should have enough color to last the winter. Not that I'm out to impress anyone, I just feel more alive in the cold and dark when I don't look like snow.

Heather's grandma, her dad's mom, is living at the fair in a tent in Pioneer Village, which is also incredibly cool. She's an herbalist and candle maker, as well as a Native American drummer, in real life, too. I like her a lot better than I do Heather's dad, the useless piece of trash who cheated on her mom (my first cousin) for their entire marriage, while she worked two jobs to support the family and he mostly took her money to buy drugs. She died not long after they were divorced, and he's since ruined the lives of at least three other women (one of whom died during their relationship--he won't tell us why). Now he's living with his mom and still being frighteningly useless. Like, to the extent that Heather had to take her two year old into the ladies at Safeway and try to keep him in the stall while transferring me because her dad refused to watch said child. That would have meant standing by the open door of the van where the baby was strapped into his car seat, instead of sitting in the shade twenty feet away and smoking. She doesn't allow smoking within 5 feet of the baby, so to grandpa the choice was clear.

Also, he kept following me around, bragging about how much he knew about flowers and herbs, and showing me how his cigarette rolling technology is so much superior to mine. (Dude, it's not that important!) After a while I realized I was being hit on by a fifty year old thirteen year old. Who used to be married to my cousin. And is the father of the cousin I think of as a sister. Can I get an EW? Thank you.

Fortunately, once we were at the fair we were able to ditch him by asking him to push the stroller or carry the diaper bag. I did my usual fair eating and shopping: a corndog, two pairs of stripped knee socks (black/mauve and black/grey, for the days when Hello Kitty isn't appropriate), some polished stones that I want to make into necklaces, and a turquoise bracelet to match the necklace that you've seen and the earrings that you haven't. Yet.

And there was a butterfly tent! With free admission! I've never done an up close and personal with a kaleidoscope of butterflies before so that was a real experience. I had to go alone, though, because Heather can't handle bugs on her. Normally I can't either, but I make an exception for flutterbys. We also saw a hop of rabbits apparently living wild in someone's yard. And I looked up the words for these groups so I could use them here. Butterflies are also called a rabble but I don't like that word as much.

At quitting time, Heather returned me to Mark for the trip home and went back to the fair. It was hard for her because going to the fair was something she always did with her mom. Which is a problem I've always had too, needing to go with either my mom or sister. But when Heather and I are together, it's still family but it's different enough to distract us from the people who are missing. Also, when she's stuck with her dad and sister, she's the only grownup. I need care like a baby with a motorized stroller but I'm still an additional responsible adult. Seriously, when she went to get some stuff from the van and I wanted to go along to have a smoke, she asked me to stay and watch her dad and sister watch the baby, who was strapped into his stroller. Because she needed one person with him that she could trust. That's actually the level of useless I'm talking about here.

The worst part of the day was when we were loading me up to go meet the boys and I scratched the shit out of someone's car with the poorly designed headrest adjuster on my chair. I've torn up windowsills, scarred the front door, and seriously injured half the members of the household, but this was bad. The car apparently belongs to someone else living in the Pioneer Village so they probably don't even know yet. Of course I left a note, but I still feel so bad, especially after what happened to Heather's van outside our house last week. I can't stop worrying that the note will blow away or something and they won't find it. Not that the two things are related, it's just a weird coincidence.

The best part of that is that we were alone so we didn't have to deal with her dad's take on the situation. In spite of the complete role reversal that's taken place, he kept spontaneously turning parental and trying to give orders. That's right, the same guy who said yes twice when his daughter asked if he had the fair tickets (he got free ones from his mom), and then announced when we were halfway there (we had to pick him up, forty-five minutes out of town) that he didn't have them, was trying to be in charge. I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know that his youngest child is about an eyelash away from becoming the Barber family matriarch (attrition's hit us hard the last ten years), and he wouldn't respect her if he did. But the fact that she doesn't care about having his respect just makes me love her more.

Anyway, everyone was hot and tired and hungry, especially the boys--who didn't even get to play with butterflies while being hot and tired, so we stopped at Burgerville for awesome milkshakes. I wasn't going to actually eat high calorie, high fat, fried food after the corndog, but they accidentally gave us two orders of fries. Russ needs them even less than I do so I did the right thing and jumped on that yummy, salty, reasonably portioned grenade. And I'd do it again, damn it. That's how much I love my family.

Now I'm helping Mark out by watching Breaking Bad all day on Netflix. He's on his third time through S1-4 and desperate for me to catch up so we can watch all the S5 eps stacking up on the DVR. Of course I'd do anything for my otter half, but it really is a good show. Probably the best way to fill time between Criminal Minds DVDs.

In other news, Sister finally got a wheelchair van so if she survives this sudden staph infection, she'll be going out more. And my uncle is coming a week from tomorrow to help me bury Mom. Sister probably won't go to that even if she is better, but Heather asked if she could. I'm still awaiting Harold's approval. He could really go either way.
little_tristan: (Puppy Upside Down Willow)
But it could have been worse. Long version of the story: The other day I was out on the front porch smoking (because I don't allow it in the house, except in Mark's man-cave office). I was gone 5-10 minutes, and when I came back in, the arch-nemesis was in the kitchen/dining room doorway beating Willow with his cane. I started screaming at him, telling him for the millionth time that that kind of behavior is just making things worse (he tries to close the half door by waving his cane around in the dining room (her territory) and hooking the door to pull it shut, which she also hates) and he went off me. There was a lot of shrieking about how I'M the one making it worse (now?) by not having trained her better from the beginning, and it's all my fault that she's a vicious bitch who deserves to die.

Sadly, Steve was out on the side steps having his own cigarette and telephone break (he likes privacy when he talks to his friends, which is totally his right) so he missed the whole thing. I took Will into my room and put up the baby gate, which she's terrified of because she hates inanimate objects that move when she touches them, and stayed in there crying like a fool until Steve came and found us. I told him what happened and explained that it's so awful because "Willow is our puppy of life and hope. Everyone died last year and Willow is the only good thing that came out of that whole God-awful mess (well, and you, of course)." Which made him go all shy and adorable, and eventually got me a hug. He said he couldn't talk to the a-n about it because it's not his place, but he would be willing to talk to the boys about the effect it's having on me (near hysteria), because that's unacceptable. I asked him not to because they know what the problem is and told me to handle it. And venting to Steve did make me feel better.

The next day, I found Doc's old Gentle Leader out in the shop and put it on Willow. She now wears in all day, until the boys come home at least, so I can keep her on a leash and not keep wrecking my arm like I was doing with the collar leash. She does pretty well with it and is with either me or Steve at all times, so she's safe. I also wrote the a-n a lengthy and rather hostile letter telling him she won't be running loose so he can just back the fuck off and leave her the fuck alone.
You can read it here if you want. )

Which brings me to my elbow. This morning when the boys left, I decided to play with Will for a while before putting the halter on. I was throwing her rubber bone and she was bringing it back, having a really great time. Right up until the fourth throw, when she brought it to me and then started playing keep away. I'd reach for it and she'd lower her head or drop it altogether, then hold it up and lower it when I reached again. It was on the third reach that I suddenly lost my balance and remembered as I fell that I hadn't put my seatbelt on. It's such an automatic action, the minute I'm dressed and sitting down I buckle up, but I totally forgot today.

Luckily Willow didn't know what was happening (is she coming down here to play with me?!?), so I landed pretty squarely on her with the right side of my body. This is good because my right shoulder is already nine kinds of fucked, so I rolled off her and landed on my left side. It was loud and scary and I hit my head. I also left my phone in its pocket on my chair, and since I can't sit up at all, it may as well have been on the roof with a dead battery. This being ten (TEN!) minutes after the boys left, and Steve being in the habit of sleeping til seven or eight, I had to make a LOT of noise to wake him up. It took about half an hour of shouting and other things (the third thing he said, after "What happened?" and "Are you okay?" was "Where did the video tapes come from?" My answer? "It was all I could reach and I was pounding them on the floor.") but he very promptly rescued me. He's a small man, maybe 5'6" and definitely weighs less than me, and has a sore back, but he refused to call the fire department for help and did an astounding job of picking up my enormous ass and getting it back into my chair. I gave him a Vicodin after and he said it helped.

So it was kind of my lucky day, even though my left elbow and knee are beautifully bruised. But don't worry, Willow is fine.
little_tristan: (Puppy Willow)
The weekend's Freecycling went great. We got rid of everything, even the thing that Bruder said was garbage, because nothing is garbage when someone needs it and can't afford it. I put up my first wanted post, for a larger crate for Willow, who still loves to hide in hers even though she can't stand up in it, and got a reply last night. Of course it was from someone who missed my note to call before 6 pm, so I wasn't awake for it. I'll call back in a few hours, when people who were up all night will be up again.

And speaking of Willow, Bruder just came in and told me a story that made me cry a little, but in a good way, so I'm going to share it. (I think it's [livejournal.com profile] oddmonster safe, but if not, let me know so I can adjust the definition.) He and Herr are working in the office off the library and he put the dogs out for a bit. Both of them can open the sliding door--years ago I put a handle on the bottom outside so I can open it with my feet and Ray picked right up on it--but Willow uses her head and shoulders while Ranger uses her paws. This is very hard on her defective elbows so I try to always be there to let her in before she can do it herself. But since Bruder let them out, it was up to him to watch and bring them back.

Of course Will got impatient, as border collies do, and opened it herself. She uses her nose to push on the handle until she can get her head in the door and then just shoulders it open far enough to squeeze through. But Ranger, who was right behind her, couldn't fit. She tried to push it with her paw and then sat back whining because it hurt. Willow, who was almost to the office (no doubt planning to jump on people while her feet were still good and wet), heard her, went back, and pushed the door open a few more inches so Ray could come in.

We've seen a lot of teamwork among our dogs over the years. Our favorite has always been little Doodle barking for backup before facing strangers at the door. She would seriously run to the kitchen and call down to the library, then run barking at the front door only after she was sure the big dogs were coming. But that was home defense and self-preservation. This was Willow caring that Ranger is hurt and can't open the door anymore. I've seen videos attesting to things like that (please don't comment with examples, they aren't [livejournal.com profile] oddmonster or [livejournal.com profile] little_tristan safe), but I've never seen it personally, among my own dogs, and Bruder says he hasn't, either. Not in 50 years and dozens of dogs. I guess Will was the right choice after all, even if she is 9 months old and still crapping in the house.

Now I need to get busy finishing a fic in progress, because this week I'm going to start gutting out and rewriting The Dancer, my non-Bedlam novel for 2012. I feel like a writer right now. My sister started talking about my books on her FB yesterday and it turns out that a couple of her internet friends have read at least one of them without knowing I was her sister. And now a cousin has come forward and admitted to reading, too. It seems to be stirring interest among Sister's 2nd Life followers, so I'm a little excited. And in the mood to get back to work.
little_tristan: (Firefly See Kaylee Smile)
Alice is 15 years old and has been battling cancer for the last four years. She's been up and down with it, but apparently the fight is winding to a close. She hasn't given up, she's just being realistic about the whole thing, which I appreciate. Her blog is actually kind of fun, and a lot more cheerful than my LJ when you get right down to it, as she's basically a happy kid and too busy being grateful for life to complain much.

It's called Alice's Bucket List, as the main point was to talk about the things she wants to do before she dies. Her list makes me happy, too, because it's mostly simple things that she could easily do if she just lived to grow up. And many items involve doing things with her sister and dog, like having nice photos taken. And catching up on it today, I see that she's accomplished nearly half of the things on the list. Her posts are sweet and filled with gratitude, every day says it's the happiest day of her life, and it's just lovely, in spite of the sorrow behind it, to share in her simple joy. And that's all she's asking us to share, too. There are no requests for donations, no PayPal links, and absolutely no demands for pity. (Although there is a threat of prosecution, posted by her mother, against commenters who say incredibly cruel and vile things. I wouldn't go up against an angry mom, I tell you what.)

You can also follow her on Twitter @alice_pyne. She doesn't have a FB page as too many people were pretending to be her and it got overwhelming trying to straighten it out all the time.

Anyway, her blog is new enough that there are fewer than thirty entries and you can still read the whole thing pretty easily, if you don't try to read all the comments. I recommend it to anyone looking for a little happy inspiration.
little_tristan: (Ranger)
I don't have pictures yet--you may have to wait until Monday for that--but there's a new ball of fluff in Gilead. So new that she doesn't even have a name yet. She's a two month old tri-color border collie, whose great accomplishments thus far include not barfing in the van on the way home, and getting the pee scared out of her by Ranger before she came in the house. :D

It's hard to say what the overall effect of this will be, but we were all agreed that we needed to make something good happen for ourselves. Sometimes when life just keeps handing you crap, all you can do is get a puppy.
little_tristan: (Catch a Fallen Murray)
Day 7 - Who do you feel safest together with? Why?

Too easy. My lovely, crazy, educated-in-the-ways-of-combat-and-extremely-ethical-in-their-use husband, and his slightly saner but infinitely bigger and meaner brother. They're like superheros in every way that matters, and when they're on your side, you're untouchable. They will kill for you, go naked so you can have clothes, go hungry so you can eat, and extend all of these protections to your relatives that they hate and your cat that hates them.

Even having to live with the arch-nemesis isn't too high a price to pay for that.
little_tristan: (Super Squirrel)
Day 4 - What would your dream job be, if you could do anything and get paid for it?

Another of those impossible to answer questions. If I could do anything in the sense of if I could get any job that I'm currently able to do or if I were capable of doing any job? When I was a kid, I wanted to be a firefighter. I'd still kind of like to do that. But in all seriousness, if I were of average health and strength, I'd go to work with Herr and get minimum wage (I think it's $8.50 now) to do the repetitive shit job that they seriously can not get an American citizen to do with any reliability for more than two days at a time. (That's right. Even in the state with the third highest unemployment rate in the country, and the county with the highest rate in that state, white folks is still being picky.) I actually like manual labor, both for the constant activity and for the mindlessness that lets me plan and plot what I'll write when I get home. (I pumped gas during most of my free time between the ages of 11 and 14, and I'd do that again if I could. I love the smell of exhaust in the dark of a winter morning.) Still, I'd rather work with Herr, because if his work went more smoothly, everyone would be happier and our home life would improve drastically.

But so long as we're dreaming, I'd settle for just getting paid better for doing what I already do--reading and writing and spreading memes.
little_tristan: (cutter john)
So, I finally gave up watching Knight Rider over the weekend. I was in the last season (I know, so close!), but it was just too ridiculous. Then I accidentally put on a playlist that had this song and now I want to watch it again. The whole thing is the fault of this song--it makes the show sound exponentially cooler than it really is. Then I have to watch for a while, until I'm thoroughly bored again, and then I hear the song and it starts all over. I'm hopeless. And I want to suck you in, too.

little_tristan: (thinky)
I'm watching the Knight Rider pilot, and, forgive me if I'm stating the obvious here, but all of a sudden it really reminded me of Christine. There's a scene where Michael is in jail and KITT is impounded by Comtron, the evil corporation. (There's always an evil corporation.) In the dead of night (no pun intended, [livejournal.com profile] catyah, but feel free to giggle anyway), KITT wakes up, flips on his headlights, and drives through a wall. Except for the fact that Christine had a remote to work the overhead door, it was so like her rolling out of Darnell's garage to wreak her vengeance.

At first I thought KR was an obvious rip-off of Christine, which was enormously popular as both a book and a movie. But the book came out in 1983 and the show in '82. So who borrowed from whom, Mr. King? Or was it simply car-that-drives-itself time?

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