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Christmas 2005

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Got back safe and sound from the plains of Illinois yesterday. The drive was incredible. It seems we brought the balmy Georgian weather with us when we went up. For the whole time we were there, it stayed pretty much in the mid-30s to low-40s. However, this resulted in the pea-soup fog of doom driving back. And then for several hundred miles around the south edge of Illinois, we drove through an extensive, breathtaking lightning storm. I watched, wide-eyed and awed, as brilliant, HUGE zags of blinding white arced from cloud to cloud, illuminating the night sky. And the weird thing was, there was no thunder or rain to accompany it.

fosteronfilm and I take turns driving the long trip from Georgia to Illinois and back--he starts late in the evening, and I take over at around dawn (6:30ish). When it was time for my shift, it was still dark, and the storm had been going for hours. About fifteen minutes in, the lightning started hitting the ground--often several bolts simultaneously. At one time I counted five bolts striking in the distance, in synchrony. These brought thunder and rain, although the rain was fairly brief, which I was thankful for.

It was overwhelmingly beautiful. Left me feeling all solemn and reverent.

Christmas was lovely with the folks, as it always is.


Although there was some stress. Matthew's father is quite ill, and he's going in for a test and surgery next month. When we first heard about it, it sounded like they were going to do open heart, which freaked me out, as his dad is over 70 and has been struggling with health problems for years now. He's not exactly a good candidate to crack open his ribs and put on a heart-lung machine. We had lots of questions, which we expected to have answered when we got there. However, upon trying to find out what was going on, we got confusion and conflicting information. There's some denial going on there from his parents, which I understand as this is a terrifying experience for both of them, but I was feeling pretty frantic, not knowing, and them apparently unwilling to ask the questions they needed to from the surgeon. His mom thought he was going in for a "corroded" artery and we needed to explain to her that no, the doctor was undoubtedly referring to dad's "carotid" artery.

They had a pre-surgery appointment yesterday, and they were unprepared for any sort of Q&A. Fortunately, his mom found in an envelope (written by hand, not one of the handouts people are supposed to get before surgery!) the name of what his dad's going in for--an angiogram. Armed with that information and a couple key words (thickened valve and catheter), I hopped online and researched both angiograms and treatments for valvular stenosis. I surmised that they were actually planning to do a percutaneous transcatheter heart valve implantation which is a much less invasive and stressful procedure than standard open heart valve replacement, which they'll do at the same time as they perform the angiogram (after using the angiogram to ascertain their diagnosis). I also printed out a several page article on angiograms, valvular stenosis, and questions one should ask one's doctor before going in for treatments like these, and gave it to his folks to read. And Matthew told his mother in no uncertain terms that he expected her to call us after the pre-surgery appointment and be able to explain clearly what was going on next month. With that to spur them to ask questions, they went in and did indeed find out what was happening (and called us to report after).

As it turns out, my surmisal was correct, which I'm quite relieved about, as it's a much less risky procedure overall than the alternative. Still, his dad is pretty sick, and I'm very worried about him. I absolutely adore his folks, and I cannot stand the thought of anything happening to them. Meep.

On the light and fluffy Christmas side, the loot was bountiful:

My hubby got me a Targus docking station and a cooling pad for my laptop (which I am sending to HP today or tomorrow to fix the spontaneous power-down problem). And for fun, because I am a silly, vain thing and spent time gazing wistfully at it when we saw it at the store, he also got me a hair streaking tool. Hee! I shall undoubtedly end up looking like Frankenstein's Bride, but it washes out in a single shampoo, so any hair tragedies can be quickly remedied. And he also got me . . . socks! A ridiculously cute pair with a cat on it.

His folks got me Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees by Roger Fouts, Harry Potter: HBP, Hammered by matociquola, and socks--the cuteness continues with a dog face! His brother and his wife got me more socks (!) and got us a HUGE bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin. We also received a 4-piece luggage set, a pizza stone, and other useful and thoughtful prezzies.


Matthew's brother, laid low by the Christmas puppy.


Matthew and his dad in typical conversation mode.



And a huge Thank You to dude_the who got me Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, teflaime who got me The 18th Annual Year's Best Fantasy & Horror and The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed, and mouseferatu for Tithe by Holly Black (blackholly).

If I'm quiet on LJ for a while, it's because I'm immersed, face down, in a book. Or perhaps absolutely sozzled on blue gin.

   

Writing Stuff

Did not get nearly as much writing or editing done as I had expected. I am way behind on Tangent work as well as my own writing "Things to Do" list. Playing catch-up.

Also dwelling upon my 2006 writing resolutions, a tradition I share with my DC2K writers group.


Received:
- Contrib. copies of issue #279 of 9. Next up (I hope), payment. Snazzy cover art:

I'm feeling:
bouncy bouncy
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On December 29th, 2005 03:27 pm (UTC), faerie_writer commented:
I like the tree picture! It looks like mine, like you're building a fort with presents. ;)
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On December 30th, 2005 12:33 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
It's always so festive and pretty for Christmas with the in-laws. It's almost (almost) a shame to open the prezzies.
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On December 29th, 2005 03:53 pm (UTC), terracinque commented:
I can see Matthew in both his brother and his father.

Lookit all those presents under the tree!

Had you not yet acquired/bought Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince?
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On December 30th, 2005 12:34 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
"Had you not yet acquired/bought Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince?"

I'd read it--borrowed it from the library, but didn't have my very own personal copy of it.
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On December 29th, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC), j_hotlanta commented:
ahhhh Sapphire!
Nothing quite as simple and pure as good Bombay and an olive. As with Churchill and I, I hope you only "look disgustedly at the Vermouth".

May it bring you a very happy New Year.
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On December 30th, 2005 12:43 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Re: ahhhh Sapphire!
An olive? Ah, a very dry martini. But alas, no, that's not my preferred gin flavor. I like it Tom Collins-style, with lime, sweetener, and tonic. Yum.

I don't think I've ever had vermouth.
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On December 29th, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC), dire_epiphany commented:
I have to agree that your socks are ridiculously cute! I would be tempted to stretch out on the couch and have sock puppet plays with my feet though. :D

I am so glad you both got back safe and sound from your trip! I remain awed with a slight shivery dose of fear over lightening storms. Maybe that's why I love them. :)
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On December 30th, 2005 12:53 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
I find myself looking down at my feet and giggling at regular intervals. And actually, last year, my brother-in-law and his wife got me actual toe sock puppets:


A close-up


I have the coolest in-laws!
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On December 29th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC), aimeempayne commented:
I could tell you were in the Midwest from all the lovely wood paneling. ;)

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On December 30th, 2005 12:55 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
My in-folks have a really beautiful house. Unfortunately, it's just way too big for them now, and they've got so much stuff, they've been putting off moving into something more manageable.
— On December 30th, 2005 02:52 pm (UTC), aimeempayne posted a reply · Expand
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On December 29th, 2005 05:43 pm (UTC), yukinooruoni commented:
Welcome home!! I'll bet Hobkin was madhappy :D
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On December 30th, 2005 12:56 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Thank you! And madhappy is an understatement! I've had a fuzzy magnet attached to my leg pretty much non-stop since we arrived.
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On December 29th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC), basilwhite commented:
Do your socks fight each other?
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On December 30th, 2005 01:05 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Most definitely! But only when I'm not wearing them, as otherwise it would just get terribly awkward--walking and all . . .
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On December 29th, 2005 06:30 pm (UTC), nwhyte commented:
That is a great cover picture!
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On December 30th, 2005 12:56 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Isn't it just!
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On December 29th, 2005 09:23 pm (UTC), ex_angeldove677 commented:
Sorry about Matthew's father... looks like you had a great Christmas.
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On December 30th, 2005 12:59 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
I'm much relieved knowing more about what procedure they're planning for him. Hope you had a great Christmas too. And thank you for the lovely cards!!
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On December 29th, 2005 10:03 pm (UTC), mroctober commented:
You know, I would just love to read a scary spec fic story about a bear (burly gay man not critter) and his female friend from you.

::pokes:: Hint, hint.
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On December 30th, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Dur? Eugie confused. Last I checked, I hadn't written a story about a burly gay man and his female friend, or am I being prodded to write one? Ack. I go on holiday for a few days and when I come back, I feel like I've got half as many neurons firing.
— On December 30th, 2005 01:36 pm (UTC), mroctober posted a reply · Expand
— On December 30th, 2005 01:43 pm (UTC), eugie posted a reply · Expand
— On December 30th, 2005 01:46 pm (UTC), mroctober posted a reply · Expand
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On December 29th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC), reddherring1955 commented:
I hope all goes well with Matt's dad's surgery and after-care and that you get back on track with your laptop and with writing and editing goals without too much difficulty. I've also been sytmied by the holidays. Perhaps too much of a good thing? Then there are those resolutions to face! Arrgghh.
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On December 30th, 2005 01:02 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
I think the holidays are simply not a good time to try to get anything accomplished! I'm so far behind on my Things to Do list I feel like I may never catch up!
— On December 30th, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC), reddherring1955 posted a reply · Expand
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On December 30th, 2005 01:54 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
I hope you like Transitive Vampire. I'm teaching my 10-year-old from it, and he loves it. Painless grammar ;o)

Doug
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On December 30th, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
So far, I'm absolutely loving it. Grammar and punctuation should be taught like this always--funny and accessible. If it were, maybe more kids would come out of grammar school vaguely literate.
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On December 30th, 2005 01:26 pm (UTC), elvesforeyes commented:
Happy happy joy joy birthday to you, Eugie!
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On December 30th, 2005 01:44 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Thank you!
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On December 30th, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC), raecarson commented:
I got the exact same socks for Christmas. Schrody, however, thinks they're cat toys. Such floppy, fuzzy goodness!
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