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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28

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1:09 p.m. - 2013-07-31
It's a nice day for a 75th birthday.

The office windows are open for a stunning third day in a row! Not that anyone needs a weather report, this is just keeping track for my own self. A reminder for when the horrible heat closes in again and it feels like I'm one of the subterranean workers from Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis'. Denied sunlight and fresh air, machinery endlessly grinding and pounding, a wearisome Hell. For when the heat is bad my flimsy office becomes such a place. Windows shut, blinds down, and the heavy insulated curtains loosed from their jaunty ribbon tie-backs to make a solid wall of energy-saving but depressing gloomy murk. The window a/c does its job, but DAMN that sucker is loud! After a week or two of that and when I do have to go outside the weighty heat bearing down, the air tasting of hydrocarbons and ozone, the car a stifling sweaty glass coffin, every parking lot a smelly asphalt griddle, well, it feels like punishment. Serving a sentence for a crime I hadn't done. So I'm reminding myself. The weather today and for the two days previous has been wonderful. Cool. Breezy. Through the screens I hear the birds, the buzzing of the insects. After dark it's the chirp of tree frogs and the nightly owl smackdown. (Exact species unknown, but there are three male owls living in our trees out back who spend hours and hours every night insulting each other and bragging about their own owlish prowess.) Speaking of birds, the wild turkey hen flock is back. The ladies and their fledged turklets spend a good portion of the day browsing in the shade of the side yard's trees. They're out there right now talking amongst themselves and reminding their chicks to eat up. I'd happily listen to their chatter all day but Princess needs to go out soon and that'll be the end of the turkey gabfest and bug smorgasbord for today. Princess doesn't chase them, it's just the turkeys like their own company best. When I let the dog out the turkeys will hot foot it over to the Flo's, race down her driveway and make a beeline for the woods across the road. In an ideal world Princess would learn to use the cats' litter box in the cellar and save me and the turkeys all kinds of hassle.

I tend to associate actors with one perfect role and when they pop up other places it's a startle. Lately it's been James Remar. To me he'll always be Ajax in 'The Warriors'. An outlaw in a gang of outlaws. Not that I begrudge an actor a living, not at all. I'm glad when actors I like get to keep working. I watch a lot of cop shows. The Law and Order franchise, 'NCIS', the CSI series, 'NUMB3RS' (thanks, Netflix!), what a godsend those shows are for the workaday actors. The Star Trek franchise was another of those steady paycheck deals. Today's Klingon was tomorrow's Romulan. Anyway, James Remar. He's cropped up fairly regularly in the cop shows. (Mostly as a bad guy, he's got one of those faces.) Recently I've been re-watching 'Sex and the City' (own it on dvd) and there he was again. A multi-episode gig as Samantha's possible fiancÚ/husband. Then last night I couldn't settle on what I was in the mood for and chose '48 Hours' on a whim. Helloooo James. Makes sense. '48 Hours' is a Walter Hill picture as is 'The Warriors'. Not only was James Remar in '48 Hours', so was David Patrick Kelly. As a guy named 'Luther' no less. Luther in 'The Warriors' is the psycho who clanks the beer bottles together. "WAAARRiors! Come out and play-aaaye!" That his character in two Walter Hill movies has the same name gives me the grins. Interesting? Probably only to me. But this kind of trivia is my favorite mind candy. (As I've said before- I am well-qualified for a game show that will never be invented.)

Today is MIL's 75th birthday. It's a big deal kind of birthday. We're going out to her place later to celebrate. Normally I'd have invited the folks here for a meal and cake but FIL can't deal with the cat hair anymore. This sucks. I totally understand there are a lot of people out there who can't deal with cat dander. I always feel horrible when Darling Deb comes to visit. I vacuum the hell out of the place but I know she's struggling. Along with the privacy it's a big part of the reason we hole up in my office during her visits- no cats EVER in here. So FIL's worsening emphysema and all-over disintegrating health have put our house off-limits. It's going to make the holidays even more cumbersome and a pain in the patoot now. For instance I luuuurve Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday. I love making a big dinner and sitting everyone down in my pretty dining room to eat. That's off the docket now. Feh.

Where was I? Oh, MIL's birthday, right. Last week the famously procrastinating and dippy SIL made some vague reference as to having MIL and other family (us) over for a pool party to mark the day. No concrete plans made after that. No invitation, not even last night. Cue Mick's ballistic response. His sister's flighty self-absorbed way of carrying on makes him crazy anyhow. To be left hanging until the very last second about something as important as their mother's 75th birthday...GAH! Me? I'm used to it. Last year I planned out a party for MIL two weeks in advance. Shopped, cleaned, cooked. The day before MIL's birthday SIL threw out one of her last-minute invites and (big surprise) my party was given the chuck and there we were at SIL's eating scraps from the fridge (she hadn't bothered to shop or even pick up some deli) and then hustled out the door at 4:00 because SIL had a tennis game she didn't want to miss. I know MIL's deal, she'll kill herself to please people who treat her like shit and turn around and dump on the people who treat her well. Classic low self-esteem behavior. I roll with it, but it makes Mick crazy. This year I didn't bother making any big or perishable preparations, I knew we'd all be left dangling waiting for SIL to decide if she'd bother with her mother's birthday or not. This year? Not. So here we are, having to schlep over food and cake and presents. A moveable feast ready on the instant to pick up SIL's slack.

Have I said recently how glad I am to be an orphan with no other family to bother with? Dealing with Mick's neurotic tribe is quite enough, thankyouverymuch.

So. We'll stop at Shoprite and buy a cake and some nibbles to bring over. We'll use the pool and make as much of a deal as MIL will let us over her birthday. Besides the eggplant parm I brought the other day we have gifts and cards all bought well in advance and prettily wrapped. Can't tell you what a joy this afternoon will be. Mick is going to be pissy and furious with his mother for not minding SIL's offhand and extremely rude behavior. Jealous that despite his devotion and constant care MIL will always prefer SIL over him. FIL will whomp up a health issue or two because he can't deal with not being the center of attention. MIL will be fretting because she'll think SIL is dead in a ditch somewhere instead of facing the truth that SIL honestly doesn't give a shit that it's her birthday. And Wolf and I will be trying to get on as best we can in this seething cauldron of bad feeling and putrid family history. Sigh...

And it's such a pretty day.

Warding up, rolling my eyes, and looking forward to a swim, ~LA the eternal monkey-in-the-middle

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