Ok, Holidays are done.
A few days before Christmas Paul and I went up to the Riverhouse. My parents were in town with their new adorable puppy, Maggie. She has this problem with wanting everyone to wake up at the same time and so she runs around and jumps on you when you are sleeping and just waits for you to wake up. it would be more annoying if she wasn’t so damn cute. Both of my aunts brought their dogs and one of the aunts brought her boyfriend. My sister and brother-in-law came with their two dogs. The final count was humans: 9, dogs: 5. Although one of the old dogs was taken away by Santa to doggie heaven on Christmas Eve. That sort of put a damper on things but it was the right decisions. he lived a long and loved life and was a very special furry friend.
We aren’t really a family that buys each other clothes or ties or whatever. Some of the unique gifts I received were: a set of ingredients for brewing a brown ale (my aunt drove all the way from Texas with the yeast in a cooler so it wouldn’t spoil!), that gift also came with a bottle opener that was also a keychain and a 2 gig flash drive!, a stainless steel soap (even though I like my hands smelling like garlic!) and tickets to Portland Center Stage. My parents gave me some money which is always a good gift but I think it will have to be used for the not so fun-ness of going to the dentist.
We played a multitude of games: Uno, dogs with a laser pointer almost as fun as cats with a laser pointer) Life (on a computer and not the boardgame) crossword puzzles, Apples to Apples (the best game ever!) and I think I walked in on a failed attempt at my family to play Mille Borne with a french deck left over from my parents when they used to live in Ontario.
A Christmas with our family wouldn’t be complete without two things: Copious amounts of drinking and Chinese food. Last year for Christmas Eve we got Chinese food from the town near the Riverhouse and Paul got sick. This year we had some from a different place the day after Christmas and Paul still got sick. We have had this tradition for as long as I can remember where we each take turns shooting Champagne corks and try to get the farthest distance. The Champagne is for our traditional Christmas morning Mimosas. I held the record at two separate house my grandparents lived in Texas. I was able to make it to the center of the river from the back door but I think my sister’s shot was farther this time. We went through about 7 bottles of Champagne for 11 people. Good times! My dad also made the mistake of taking me to the beer store and telling me I could get a six pack… I grabbed 6 beers that added up to over $40. He should have put a money limit! I did impress wine drinkers who say they don’t like beer with some Belgian Ales and the syrupy black Abyss by Deschutes. yum!
I love my family but after 4 days in a cabin it was time to go home. I had about 80 e-mails waiting to drown me and my housemate’s cat who were not very happy with the food that their person left them with when he left for the Holidays. It was nice to sleep in our own bed.
One of the days we got a zip car to run errands and spend some gift cards. We had ones from Home Depot, Target, Lowes, and Pet Co. The pet go one was sort of due to the passing of a family animal. My mom decided the cats at our house should get treats too. Paul and I wandered around thinking that we could get pets for the cats like parakeets or ferrets but decided on a case of ultra fancy human grade cat food with trout and salmon. It always seemed weird to me that cats like fish. The thought of a cat taking down a fish is just ridiculous!
Paul and I decided to be adults with our gift cards and buy boring adult things like weatherizing stuff: air duct covers, spray foam for cracks, silicone caulking, plexiglass to replace a cracked window pane in the basement and air vent to put in it for our clothes dryer exhaust, stuff like that. If it was up to me alone I would have got a bunch of plants and dirt and garden stuff but, this was about being practical and hopefully saving a bit of money on our heating bill. You see, I have finally come to the conclusion that I will be staying in this house so I better take care of it. For so long it was sort of up in the air if I was going to sell it and more on but things seem to be going well here so I think we’ll stay.
For New Years I made black eyed peas and collard greens, tradition from my Texas side of the family, but them in Tupperware and we met James and Christina at the Tugboat brewery and headed to their house. I was amazed by the people drinking in public! Dude on the street car with a half empty plastic gallon jug of vodka, girl with the comically large bottle of Champagne, and her friend with a half empty case of Coors light. I felt I should join in and drink some vanilla infused vodka from my flask although I was a bit chicken and didn’t drink any until we were off the train. At James’ and Christina’s house we snacked on food, drank more beer, and listened to records. Then someone has the bright idea to do Screaming Nazi shots (Jagermeister and Rumple Minze), something we used to do about 11 years ago that always seemed to lead to bad things. At the 3rd shot Christina said something hilarious causing James and I I to spew our drinks all over the kitchen. Good times! and also sticky floors in the morning. We were up until 4 listing to Oingo Boingo, which seems to be perfect New Year Music, and Paul kept howling at other people on balconies off the porch to see if he could get them to howl back. Paul and I got home and crashed out again only to wake up later to watch the new Doctor Who!
I guess there were a few things I missed in there. I snowed the other day. We don’t normally get snow but we got 3 inches of fluffy white stuff. The housemates and I made a chickpea stew to eat over barley and watched episodes of Spaced. We also had the one night a year amnesty of smoking in the house. Oh, also Paul and I listen to 1st and 2nd wave ska over the Holidays. I’m not exactly sure how that happened last year but it seemed to make sense. I have been on a Cure kick lately. I blame it on Paul getting me that disintegration album and also reading Roger Odonnell’s memories of making that album. He posted it on his site here as a sort of a celebration for the 20th anniversay of the album. The Cure were my first favorite Band and that album came out the year I entered Jr. High and pretty much changed my life for ever.
Now it’s back to work life for me. I have 75 copies of my new zine to put together and finally send more out to distros, I have button orders to attend to and about 50 pounds of coffee beans came the other day and I have yet to put them away. But first, the year end meme:
1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Took a train underwater to France, Went to 5 zine fest and 2 other zine events, started a podcast that I swear we’ll put another one out someday, did everything from pre-press on for my own book all by my self, put out a zine i have been meaning to do for years, sang on a song a let Paul record it, took part in the Anchor Archive zine residency.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t really make resolutions.
3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
I was with Paul and James and Christina eating black eyed peas and Champagne.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, a puppy nephew.
5. What countries did you visit?
USA, UK, France, Canada
6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
More time and energy to work in my yard and on my house.
7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
7a driving though the Redwoods with Paul in June with all my books in the car and listing to music and singing along.
7b One of my last days in Halifax Caleb found a car to drive us to the ocean. I drew a labyrinth in the sand and stared out at the sea thinking about how I had been on both sides of that sea this year. It felt like an accomplishment.
8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?
Publishing my own book, getting my zine done, doing a lot of traveling by myself, meeting some very special friends.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not doing enough in my yard and no doing much in Portland.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had The Sick.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
plane tickets, publishing my book, and my new computer
12. Where did most of your money go?
13. What song will always remind you of 2009?
The whole Lemuria-Get Better album has been on high rotation. I have also been listening to Cub and love the song Chinchilla. Paul says it reminds him of me but I’m not exactly sure what that means.
14. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Saved money, planned more, ridden my bike, brewed more beer.
15. What do you wish you’d done less of?
16. What was your favorite TV program?
I watch too much tv on the internet. I think Battlestar Galactica ended this year and that was sad. I also liked Mad Men and Doctor Who.
17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I try not to hate. There is some weird power in that. I am still annoyed at the people I was annoyed with last year but I don’t want to talk about it.
18. What was the best book you read?
I read three books in the Dies The Fire set. They were alright. I can’t really remember what other books I read and enjoyed. I read a lot of zines.
I19. What was your greatest musical discovery?
New Music discovery? Fifth Hour Hero (thanks Steve!) and also my housemates’ band The Tagalongs!
20. What was your favorite film of this year?
I don’t really like movies. it is hard for them to hold my attention. I prefer tv shows where there is time to develop character. I think I saw Star Trek and Avatar this year and that’s about it.
21. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 32 but I don’t think I did anything that special. Soon after Paul and I took a plane down to Oakland to sticker copies of SSR and drive back up. it was a fun birthday trip.
22. What kept you sane?
Paul and knowing I had a home to come back to wherever I went.
23. Who did you miss?
Friends who live to far away. I hope they all come visit me soon!
24. Who was the best new person you met?
I met a lot and sort of have have a top 3 even though it seems sort of unfair: Steve, Isy and Caleb.
25. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family at the Riverhouse, see above.
26. What was your favorite month of 2009?
June or October… probably October.
27. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Travel and getting my book printed
28. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier and a bit more hopeful.
b) thinner or fatter? fatter but whatever
c) richer or poorer? about the same
29. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009: Traveling alone is a worthwhile experience in wits and a total adventure!