January Recap

I’m not going to worry about style or skill this time, for it’s already 10:39 PM and I only have one hour and 21 minutes to fulfill my goal of posting at least two blog entries per month. Granted, this post will make the bare minimum, but … better two than one (or none!).


  • Starting right off with some hardcore drama! We have these “Indian meal moths” that keep flying around our laundry room and kitchen. Occasionally they venture into the living room, and once one of them tried to be bold and fly back into the bedroom (I saw it lounging on the wall and … ended its life). Another time, I was eating a piece of pizza and one of the pests LANDED on it. (Needless to say, I did not finish that piece of pizza.) Fortunately, they’re not a huge problem; I’ve yet to spot more than two at a time, but even after one is caught, another one usually appears out of nowhere about five minutes later. Ugh! Someday, we will buy a trap and hopefully take care of the little annoyances once and for all (we looked for a trap the other day at Target, but no such luck).


  • Yes, much of my January has consisted of watching pesky meal moths cruise around the house in groups of two. Well, I don’t stare at them intentently or anything, but one might as well take up moth-watching for as exciting as is January in Washington state!


  • Actually, a few noteworthy things did happen this month. On January 8th-9th, Merwyn and I took an overnight trip up to Victoria, B.C. This was a Christmas gift from my parents, and a very lovely one at that (you should have seen the basket my mom made up to present the gift; it came with not just the trip itinerary, but a bottle of sparkling cider, a whole bunch of chocolate, bath salts, even a little angel ornament!). We had a fantastic weekend! One of the things I LOVE about living in Washington state is our proximity to the Canadian border. It’s so easy and (relatively) cheap to just drive — or, if you’re headed to Victoria, take the ferry — to a whole different country. Not everybody who lives in the USA can claim that!


  • Merwyn and I are planning to return to Victoria for another weekend getaway on April 14th, which happens to be 3 days after our 3-year anniversary. It also happens to be my 33rd birthday, which means I get to ride the ferry for three … I mean, free.

I wanted to include one of our Victoria pictures, but Merwyn's camera is back in the bedroom and he's asleep in there right now, so ... this picture of a Coffee Crisp bar will have to do.


  • Mmm, Coffee Crisp! I had one for the first (?) time while we were in Victoria. (The packaging looked familiar; however, I couldn’t remember ever trying one, and evidently they’re not available down here.) Yeah … we went a little hog wild with the candy this time. I also had a “Wunderbar” and a peanut-butter O Henry. (Merwyn had Turkish Delight and some other stuff that I didn’t sample. He offered me a bite of the Turkish Delight, which was good!) What can I say? It’s fun to try things you can’t find in the local grocery stores! And I haven’t even mentioned the poutine — seafood poutine, which was part of our dinner, and which must have been swimming in at least 456 grams of fat, but was gooooood!


  • I’m now on a bit of a “rare candy” kick. Not the healthiest habit, but I think it will be short-lived. It started with our Victoria visit, but was also inspired by my recent discovery of The Candy Blog (see Blogroll; WordPress keeps screwing up my attempt to link!), which proved a fun way to while away those dull January hours.  (I wish I had a candy blog!) My newest love:

    Divine. Totally worth the with-any-other-bar-it-would-be-overpriced $1.49 at CostPlus World Market!



  • Besides candy (from our “neighbors up North” and elsewhere), I’m also on a general “Canada kick” — the fulfillment of which involves browsing CBC.ca, watching episodes of Degrassi, and skimming Canada guide books. I’m currently in the middle of a book about British Columbia and the Yukon. It’s not just for amusement, as Merwyn and I are (tentatively) planning a road trip to either the Yukon or Northwest Territories this summer!


  • Okay …  enough about Canada.


  • Here’s something scary that happened in January: one of Merwyn’s back molars grew infected; this actually started before our Victoria trip. He got some Penicillan and hydrocodone and was fine through that weekend, and for about five days after. But the pain didn’t go away — in fact, by the end of those five days, it had grown significantly worse. So he went to some quack of a dentist and asked them to pull the tooth, but (despite the still-present infection) was given an appointment for several days later for a root canal (plus a handful of extra hydrocodone) and sent away.
  • Two days later, Merwyn went into shock and had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance! True story! And, fortunately, one that ended well: an ER doctor at St. Peter Hospital “lanced” the abscessed tooth, and Merwyn was fine — even joking about the incident — within a few hours. As you can probably guess, it was quite frightening watching my husband shake uncontrollably, although (like with most crisis situations, at least those involving others) I managed to maintain a sense of calm. But I felt so bad for him. And while I was sitting in the ER, (for once) in the role of caretaker … even knowing Merwyn was going to be fine, some of the scenarios that went through my head, well … I’d rather not get into. I’m just REALLY glad that it all turned out okay!


  • Throughout all this, we — meaning western Washington state — were in the middle of another crisis (or rather, “crisis”). We had an unusual amount of snow. Like 12 inches, which might not be a true crisis but (for us) is pretty rare! Truthfully, this didn’t affect Merwyn and me much; he had to miss a few days of work (but got paid for them anyway) and we lost power for a few hours … which was nothing compared to many of our friends and neighbors, who lost power for several days. (No sarcasm with the “crisis” there. Power outages are not fun.) I think everyone’s power has finally been restored. Thank goodness. I used to love when the power went out when I was younger … NOT so much anymore. (For one thing, unlike my parents, Merwyn and I don’t have a fireplace!)


  • And that just about sums up my January. Well, throw in some fun stuff like taking down (most of) our Christmas decorations, doing my usual volunteer shifts at KAOS and the Crisis Clinic, playing ungodly amounts of Words With Friends on Facebook, beginning the laborious process of reapplying for SSD — and, of course, working on my book (surely, but verrrrry slowly). I guess the month could have been a lot worse! (Still, the Victoria trip, which was just over three weeks ago, feels like centuries ago.)


  • I doubt that February will be much more exciting, but … who knows. Something I thought would happen in February that instead has to wait until March = my scans.  Part of me would have preferred to get these over with in the dull winter months. At the same time, I’m not especially sorry that they’re still several weeks away. I’ll undoubtedly blog about the joys of “scanxiety” and everything it encompasses when that time comes.


  • Meanwhile, stay tuned for at least two new posts in February! (Hey, isn’t this a Leap Year?)

This has no point, and is not profound.

Oh, Writer’s Block.


If that’s in fact the proper name for the somewhat-conflicted feeling running through me right now … where part of me feels the urge to update this blog, while the other part of me worries that it won’t be interesting enough, or that I MUST recount each and every second that’s occurred in my life since the last time I posted an entry (including detailed recaps of Christmas and New Year’s Eve) or I’ll lose all my readers (because, of course, everyone who has ever clicked on this blog has been SICK with anticipation wondering about my holiday!).


And if I do post an entry: should I include a “profound” anecdote, or do I need to talk about cancer…?  Or will anyone care if I just list all my DVD’s (because sometimes I like to be simplistic that way)?


I know …  it’s just a blog, right? Technically, I should be able to write about whatever I want, right? But, STILL!


Anyway. The point to all my rambling above, and a big part of why writing is sometimes a struggle for me: it’s not always that I don’t know what to say. It’s more like “will anyone actually give a crapola?” about what I’m saying. Plus that whole bit about worrying whether every sentence “sounds” right, or if it’s too awkward or too flowery or too … whatever.


But I’ve decided to give in to tonight’s urge to write … because if I can’t post a frickin’ blog entry because I’m worried it might fail in some way, how am I ever going to finish a book? Just be warned, all four eyes that might actually still be reading this: some entries of “Writin’ Shotgun” — like this one, for example — might contain … well, they might contain a whole lot of nothing! (Sandwiched between a healthy sprinkling of quotation marks and parentheses.) Okay?


(Hmm, “a whole lot of nothing”… now I can’t help wondering, is that too much of a cliché? Was it proper to use ellipses before “just be warned” and dashes before “including this one” — or does my NEED to use ellipses and dashes mean that I’m too wordy, or…?)


(Just kidding.)


(Sort of.)


Well, now that THAT’s out of the way. How are you? How was your holiday season? Good, I hope!


I definitely had an enjoyable (if a bit chaotic at times) Christmas Day. Now, I know not everybody is a fan of the holidays; I do enjoy them, but I have to admit that Christmas Day is perhaps my least favorite day of the season. I much prefer the weeks leading up to the 25th… particularly the very beginning of the season. At some point, it always just starts to go by so FAST!

This actually bothers me in a way that I’m too fatigued to really go into detail about right now. And it doesn’t just apply to Christmas — although the holiday season is a prime example of something that starts out with such promise and hope and possibility, until life and fatigue set in … which makes me want to stop the clock just long enough to take a nap and get my energy back and my “Christmas spirit” back, because this is CHRISTMAS, dang it, and it’s almost over, and how can I enjoy it if I’m busy with such-and-such not-even-Christmas-related thing, or I’m just too tired (more of a problem for me this time of year)? But next thing you know, it’s the 23rd, then Christmas Eve, then the big day … and suddenly my spirit’s back but now Christmas is almost over, and where does the time go, and WHY DO THE HOLIDAYS ALWAYS GO BY SO FAST? (And, trips, too, for that matter?)

Yeah. If I felt more confident in my ability to write something “profound”, I’d elaborate on wanting to savor every second of every day — especially times like the holidays and other events that revolve around loved ones and “making memories”, and … oh, I dunno. Well, I do know, but I don’t want to go on and on for fear of sounding like an idiot. (How did I even get off on this tangent? Am I even making sense?)

And yes, sometimes I think living with cancer exacerbates these anxieties about how too quickly time passes … plus there’s the fact that I’m rapidly approaching my mid-30’s! But more on that some other time.

Meanwhile, I might as well tell you at least a little more about my holidays! As per usual, the “this go by too fast” feeling kind of took away from Christmas this year … BUT not enough to keep me from enjoying the time with my husband, with his family (on the 22nd and 24th), or with my parents and most of my siblings (lucky Missy was in Germany) on the Day itself.

The only part that was just TOO chaotic was the present-opening (NEVER AGAIN will we open gifts with 20 people milling around in a tiny space … haha, right!) but at least I can look back on it “fondly” now. Heh.

As for New Year’s Eve, I had a pleasant one. Pleasant and low-key, which was fine with me!

New Year’s Eve never was my favorite holiday, but I don’t hate it or anything… and I certainly can’t complain about this one. We didn’t go to any parties or do anything crazy. Instead, Merwyn and I went over to my brother’s in Milton in the late afternoon, and spent a little time with him and my folks, plus Angie, Doug, and my nephews Cooper and Jonah. Afterward, Merwyn and I drove through Fantasy Lights over in Spanaway (which is UTTERLY charming, and which next year I want to do before Christmas!) then came home and carried on our sometimes-tradition of eating chips and dip and watching that ball drop in Times Square. (Only this year, since we no longer have cable as of mid-2011, we had to “listen” to the Times Square festivities on the laptop, while watching a New Year’s countdown clock in another window. I’m not sure why two separate windows were required; you’d have to ask Merwyn about that one.)

Of course, Merwyn and I also kissed at midnight; then he had to go back to consoling poor Daisy — who absolutely LOATHED the fireworks show our neighbors were so kind as to put on, and barked her head off all night long. (Richard, meanwhile, while a little bit scared, took the loud booms and bangs pretty well for a sensitive Siamese.)

We didn’t celebrate New Year’s Day (does anyone? the closest my family ever came was my mom for some reason cooking corned beef and cabbage every January 1st…); however, since it was Sunday, we got to do the Think Tank, specifically a “Best of 2011” show (programmed by yours truly). Later, perhaps inspired by the many cheap DVD’s we scored during the holiday season, and in a rare burst of energy … I decided to re-organize Merwyn’s and my 10 billion-50 trillion-6037 DVD’s, books, and CD’s. Surprisingly, I made a decent amount of progress on this yesterday; but my energy did not return this morning, and now we have paperbacks and other assorted media scattered across half the living room floor. I’m confident I can finish the job, though; the clutter is nothing compared to when we first moved to this house!

That brings me to tonight — and my urge to update this blog. I’m sure the resulting entry has THRILLED you, but here it is: I updated! I wrote! Now I’m that much closer to getting back into the writing habit, and finishing my book, and … and not finding it necessary to turn every other sentence into a list of “and’s”, like I’m doing with this one. (Who cares, though? I’m writing, aren’t I?)

Finally: for succinct,  witty, thought-provoking, sometimes snarky, occasionally downright controversial writing from an author who doesn’t find it necessary to italicize half of his blog entries, I encourage you to visit my husband over at Kalhoun. Seriously, he’s a very talented writer and I’m very proud of him for getting back into blogging himself!

And he can cook! On that note, he just gently placed a steaming bowl of fish stew on a pot holder next to the laptop, so I must say goodbye for now, and go enjoy some white ruffy, butternut squash base, potatoes, carrots and general soupy goodness!