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A bad portent, or a last kick.
Bad day
So yes, I spoke too soon. It looks like we're going to have to put one of the cats, Vanyel, down today. He had most of his teeth pulled 2 weeks ago and apparently that set off a chain reaction of brain and mouth cancers, that the vet says are preventing him from opening his mouth to eat and bugging out one eye. I don't actually get this, as the eye thing has developed over 72 hours, I asked about how a mass that size could develop so quickly, and she didn't know. There's not much she can do for him, and suggests we just end it.

We're waiting to hear from the vet as to how we handle this, come down say good bye, pick up personal effects and so forth. It's going to be hard, given the last year, I'm surprised I have any tears left.
Not cool, 2010.

...my grandmother just suggested we bring the body home and keep him in the shed with all my stuff until Spring. Just...no.

So Far, so good 2010
New Year's was fun, I happily said goodbye to extended family that stayed with my grandmother and I for a week and a half. One cousin has gotten increasingly tough to take with age, while the other, whom I've never been close too, but we had a good time. He gets extra points for realizing I did have a Christmas movie, and it was Die Hard.

After that I went to work for a half day then left to help decorate for a Mardi Gras Murder Mystery themed NYE party. I got to wear a tux and a masquerade mask, so I was pretty happy. The party was with some old friends and some new ones. It was a touch sad as I was 9th wheeling it with a bunch of couples, most of the people I spent NYE with last year, with one notable exception. I also had a really peculiar dream about having a shape-shifting toddler with said notable exception, but I suspect that was mostly the host's 20 something lb. cat climbing into bed with me.

New Year's Day was spent with friends in pajamas hanging out watching the Rose Bowl and The Bruins game while being stuffed with an excellent brunch and supper. I got a bit antsy so I volunteered to escape but taking one of the sweetest dog in the world for a walk. Then I took off to come home, take a bath, putter about on the laptop while watch House, to soothe my Sherlock Holmes jones and read a good book.

Saturday was more reading, it's a really good book, Lois McMaster Bujold's Young Miles. We have one cat who's not doing so hot. Vanyel, the last of my childhood pets, is 15 and had to have all but his front teeth pulled a couple of weeks ago. He's having a tough time eating, he hasn't gotten the hang of not being able to chew, so I made him a grotesque slurry of low sodium tuna, olive oil and chicken stock. It looks like melted silly putty, but it's a big hit with the cats. I wasn't all that productive, I'm still working on putting my areas back together post company, interspersed with reading then spent about 40 minutes shoveling out the driveway, walk, and side of the house back around to the shed in preparation to brave the snow for a game night with more new friends. Where I lost at everything, I wouldn't mind except for in Scene it on the XBox. I knew more of the right answers but was too slow in hitting the buttons. It's good for building the brand, but a bit frustrating that the game's vague directions and unusual controllers tends to skew it towards those more frequent players. I don't mind losing, I just don't like it when it feels like I didn't have even a shot at winning. It's like the difference between losing because I'm less experienced at a game, vs. losing because the more experienced player conveniently forgot to explain a portion of the rules that undermines the strategy I've been building. Not a big deal, but it makes it less fun. It all worked out though, I was glad I saved my good luck for my thrilling, and ultimately successful drive home in the snow.

Today I will try to be for real productive. I need to finish re-converting the guest room to an art room, reconnect my desktop and it's devices, run some back ups, work on recutting my demo reel, and continue learning Blender in the hopes of improving said reel. I'm moving forward, it's just frustratingly slow.

The miserable 2009 leaves with a kiss.
Sherlock Holmes is quite possibly my favorite movie of all time.

Boggle of the day.
Apparently our street has a snow parking ban that alternates a side of the street every month. There are no signs about it, yet my Dad and grandmother insist since ignorance of the law is no defense and it's ok because they post it in the paper. While that's true, there needs to be some sense in the application. I've lived here 7 months and didn't know about it until today...does this seem strange to anyone else?

Be the change!
Back when I was in Danvers, I thought I was being fiscally and healthily responsible by trying to limit our eating out to 4-6 meals a week. We'd usually grab 1-2 dinners, 1-2 lunches and 1-2 breakfasts. If I was really on the ball with meal planning and food shopping I might get it down to 2-3, though a bad week might be more like 6-8. To be fair to James, he would not only cook once or twice a week, but he was also perfectly happy eating food that came out of plastic packets and into the microwave. I was the hold out because not only was it unsatisfying, too much salt gives me a throbbing headache.

Now I do absolutely all the cooking and due to financial concerns, my eating out is probably more like 0-2. Particularly since I've been back from NZ I've been trying to make more veggie heavy meals from scratch. I haven't gotten that far in my recounting of the trip, but when I was in Hawaii we went to a lot local landmark eateries, which tended to be burger joints, taco places, or donut stands. After two days I started throwing up like it was my job, so I tried to imitate what I had been eating in New Zealand as much as possible and avoid processed, preservative laden foods along with limiting my red meat. It's more effort, but some lovely ladies there blew my mind by regularly coming home from work and whipping up like a 6 dish meal, so when I drag my feet over making soup, I feel like a whiner.

It's cheaper, it's healthier, but it's still a bit of a moral struggle. Not only does cooking take time, I dream wistfully for the days I had a dishwasher. My commitment to being environmentally friendly is being sorely tested by the siren song of the paper plate.

Sobering thought
Bad day
I think traversing NZ* on my own made me kind of cocky.

Tonight I went to a networking/gaming thing in Boston. I've generally avoided going to Boston by myself since the split, I have this totally irrational concern I'm going to bump into The Soon To Be Ex Husband (TStBEH), and his friends, and feel like I'm in 6th grade all over again. I know it's silly, so I'm trying to get past it.

I drove into Cambridge, did my usual thing of parking off the beaten path, and scored some super ninja free parking. It was a bit further than I thought from my destination, but I could use the walk. I was a little nervous because there was a Tow Away Zone sign, but rationally it was for the loading zone NEXT to the parking, particularly since there were a half a dozen other cars there. I even asked a nearby security guard, who said it should be fine. I also got directions since I was wandering around on foot frowning at my GPS, which given it's limitations was only marginally more useful than wandering around with an EKG meter.

It still took me another 25 minutes to find where I was going, it was in a cluster of sequentially numbered buildings, which were not quite in numerical order. The thing was fun but after an hour and a half I was feeling tense about the car and my drive home so I took off. Then I realized A) I have no direction sense in urban settings, so I only had the vaguest idea where my car was. B) I was wandering around a strange part of Boston, down abandoned side streets, at night, alone.** It's hard to look like a bad ass in a parka with a little purse and board game. This was emphasized when a large creepy dude told me to "Have a nice night, now." C) If my car was towed, I'd be screwed.

Then it occurred to me my folks are in NC, and James hasn't taken a call from me since June. If my car was towed, or I got rolled, or something else horrible, there was nobody to come rescue me. I mean, I have some friends I could try, but no one I was certain could/would come and help me. And that's really a depressing first. I went from my folks, to my college boyfriend, to having some close, if complicated, friendships in Columbus, to TStBEH. I always had an emergency parachute. Which actually kind of pissed me off, given with other relationships, even if we weren't talking, even of we hated each other's guts right then, we could still make that "ZOMG! Help!" call and the other one would come through. Now I still have an actual legal husband, who couldn't care less. Granted, he wasn't all that great with that call when we were together, which I guess is telling. (I LOVE YOU, Laurewyrm!>***

Thankfully the car was still there, one of only like 2 things that went right today. Still, next time I think I'll just eat the $7 and park in the nearby garage.

* I will get back to Tales from New Zealand, I have the journal to jog my memory. Last week was our first court date and it was really rough for me, so I just wasn't into posting much.

** I was actually right off the MIT campus, so it wasn't really as dodgy as it seemed.

*** From an incident that WILL be a comic some day involving a power outage, a canceled flight, no keys and I think footie pajamas.

(no subject)
I gave my Dad a really nice brass and wood 40 year calendar for his 60th birthday. I told him I knew it was optimistic. He said I'd better like it because I was probably getting it back.

Day 2: Auckland
This will probably be broken up because Day 2 was nuts.

I got to Auckland airport and played some phone tag with Red Hat. We finally connected, dropped off my stuff and went out to a delicious breakfast of savory french toast with bacon, tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms in a sauce. I got a large coffee, which arrived as what I would normally call a latte, but in a cereal bowl.

After we headed to the Auckland Museum, which was not actually option yet, so we went to the duck pond by the Winter Garden, then into the Winter Garden itself. It was basically a somewhat Victorian botanical garden; ferns, water garden, currently styled in an English Country theme. We looked at flowers, some gardeners flipped over a massive lily pad with thorns on the bottom for us, then we returned to the museum.

We wandered around for a while then I caught the Maori cultural show. They welcomed us with various countries traditional greetings. Ours was "Hey Dawg!". Singing, dancing, fairly impressive dexterity building games, cultural discussion, I had fun. The most amazing part was probably four people tossing and catching 4 wooden rods through the air in a diagonal pattern while singing. Though my favorite bit might have been the little girl beside me asking why people were using flash photography when we had firmly, repeatedly, been told not to. To which her mother replied simply, "Because they're stupid."

I met back up with Red Hat, at the cafe and we took a spin through a special exhibit on orchids called "Wonderland". The exhibit was divided into "Nature" a technical/scientific discussion of the plant and "Art" which went more into it's representation and influence. Overall it was a great exhibition, though I was most struck by a hallway focusing on obsession. I walked through diaphanous banners of botanical illustration in a red/black and white shadowy color scheme, while various voices whispered their stories, focused so you could only hear them when positioned just right. It was actually, really, really creepy. Then we went home for nap time.

NZ Day 1: The Plane!
The trip from Boston to SF was kind of a misery. for 6 hours I was in a middle seat between a bubbly woman who really liked to take up space, and a strange older man with a fedora, a huge arcane ring and a leather satchel. He looked like a guide on a magical adventure, but in reality he just (nicely) gave me 2 cinnamon Altoids and wished me a nice day.

I had a great big hamburger and vicious delicious garlic fries at the airport fearing I'd have the same limp "meal" options on Air New Zealand. Not so, Air New Zealand is fantastic.

Through an amazing bout of luck I had a whole three chair row to myself, a console to watch as many movies and TV shows and I wanted and the food was fantastic. Compared to United's cold, limp, $9 turkey sandwich, Air NZ had free corn fed chicken thigh with a basil-tomato sauce, chickpea, pineapple and onion salad, fancy cheese and crackers, roasted potatoes and an almond cake on vanilla custard for dessert. This was with complimentary tea, coffee, wine, and other beverages circulating almost constantly. I wasn't that hungry but I didn't want to pass it up, (I did resort to a fresh fruit plate for breakfast, containing possibly the best grapes I have ever eaten. I find I can make up for a lack of sleep with more food. ) I watched Bolt which was really cute, though my over tiredness made me so teary I was glad the lights were off. Something about kids and dog absolutely kills me. I blame them reading, then showing, us Where the Red Fern Grows in the third grade. I started G.I. Joe, decided I'd rather nap, watched some TV, and some travel channel, played some games, and the 13 hours absolutely flew by.

I've made it home, I'm still a bit out of sorts and gearing up for Thanksgiving. I will begin posting about my trip tomorrow!