superdaintykate: (jumpyrat)
I apologize about the complete lack of Leota posting. Things got frantic enough that I shut most of the rest of my life down in order to finish the darn thing, bless her, and -- as you know if you read FaceBook -- I left the wig until THE DAY BEFORE I WAS SUPPOSED TO LEAVE. Which was utter insanity.

Luckily the sewing went largely without a hitch, the biggest issue being that sewing takes forever. I always forget and think I have plenty of time managed and then everything takes pretty much twice as long as expected and god help me if there is a problem, because then I lose my freaking mind. This is the only time I regretted having a job and, more specifically a commute, because I loved being able to sew all day in natural light when we have it, and I kept swearing at Bellevue drivers and thinking I would have rather have been home banging a lining into a bodice than dealing with their passive-aggro shenanigans.

I was very, very glad that I had the forethought to put in the extra bits at the front. I didn't really end up using them, but it really helped me relax somewhat knowing they were there and I could Fix Things if they turned out too tight. I am also very glad that I made the new bodice rather than trying to let out the old one, as much of the problem was the sleeves being (period-appropriately) tight and I think trying to deal with gores and fussing with lining and all that would have made me more insane than starting from scratch. The biggest issue was placing the sleeves -- they sit lower than the shoulder point, and I think my idea of the Point of Shoulder is different from that of the pattern designer, and I hate fitting so there I was trying not to sweat panic sweat into my bodice as I poked myself with pins. Luckily, once I got to that point I went back to her website and re-read the tips she'd given me on fitting the last time around, and I saw an illustration that showed me pretty much where things needed to be.

The only other real issue, I think, was with the stenciling. I had planned to use felt pens, thinking I would save drying time, but ended up shredding the pen tip on the sharpish edge of the stencil and hello, coloring in a stencil by a pen takes way longer than glopping on paint with a brush. Plus I couldn't find pens that wouldn't bleed and get fuzzy -- they were "fabric dye" pens, technically, and not meant for line linework. I considered testing Sharpies in a moment of panic, and then thought, hell with it, and went with the paint. Unfortunately I loaded up the brush too much on the first one, which OF COURSE was on the front breast, so very visible, and OF COURSE some of the paint ran under the stencil and made it a bit blobby. But it looked okay enough not to beat myself about it too much (lots of hair to cover if necessary), and I used the paint-drying time (which was shorter than I thought it would be) to make a nice little Leota pendant which turned out to be a good addition to the costume.

So then it all came down to the wig, and I just set everything up in the sunroom and Went At It for several hours. I had sectioned the wig several days prior, and started the teasing process the night before during Paint Drying, and then just made a space for it to happen and it did, thank god. I watched a few other tutorials for ammunition, because my Wiguru's technique is very much about polished, fabulous retro styles and I needed a FRIED QUEEN thing happening. So I went through and used Guru's technique for teasing in sections, brushing through the ends and twirling the curl around my fingers when finished, and used all the hairspray, and then just lightly backcombed the front section with a brush and glued it together with more spray, and I am completely, completely happy with how it turned out. I got more and more relaxed the bigger and poofier it got, and as I saw that my teased sections were standing perpendicular to the wig.

And so I went off to Disneyland and wore it, and it was great, but would have been much more great had I not been at the Party alone, which was weird for me. I am usually totally okay with and prefer doing the Park by myself but I guess this was something social that should have been shared, so now I know for next time.

Some frustrating stuff happened, the first of which was Alaska Airlines ripping the front pocket off my newly-purchased suitcase in a repeat of damage they did to my last suitcase, which is such bullshit, I can't even believe it. I mean, COME ON. I went to the baggage agent's office as soon as it happened and got a voucher for repair, but I knew that would mean a trip with the bag out to Sea-Tac for repairs and I had kind of lost my faith in this bag to withstand further travels, so I took a shot and took it back to Target and they didn't bat an eye and gave me my money back. And Now I am thinking of investing in an Eagle Creek bag after the holidays for upcoming trips.

The other frustrating thing was completely my fault, as I neglected to check Alaska's carryon requirements and assumed the wig box would fit in the overhead compartment. Which of course, it did not. And this led to an attendant telling me in no uncertain terms that it was probably best that I not attempt to bring said box onto my next flight and I should find alternate transport for my poor wig. I totally accept responsibility for this, though not for her pretty piss-poor attitude about it. I made it very clear that I was depending completely on their mercy and good graces and was incredibly vocally thankful for them; there was really no need to act like I was being a privileged snot, which is how she made me feel. When I got to the Sheraton I saw in the room guide that I could inquire at the front desk about assistance with outgoing packages, which got my hopes up, but what that actually got me was vague directions to a maybe-walking-distance post office. Thanks to local friends who regularly stay at hotels in the area and my smartphone, I was able to determine that there is a FedEx office at the local convention-focused Hilton, and so I shipped my styling tools and wig and box home to myself. I still haven't opened the boxes. I am pretty afraid that I cut the lace badly when I trimmed it (I waited to do it when it was on and was kind of rushed) so I am denying that reality for a little while longer.

But the costume and the wig and the makeup turned out in a stellar fashion, I think, and I would really, really like to style and do a photoshoot in this costume very soon. Brewing in the back brain for now.

The next big challenge is Mom. She is making zero effort (all right, she can't. She just can't do it, she's not mentally able, thanks, depression!) and I am getting really tired of worrying about her and hearing her complain about all the same things (home maintenance, dog, junk mail, being alone) and so I have decided to bite the bullet and make quarterly trips home on weekends this year to give her some assistance, both in large issues like deciding what she wants to do (stay in house/move to condo/assisted living -- that last one is mine, she wants no part in it) or at least give her some tools for it; and in small issues like getting her off of junk mail lists and getting her prepped and ready for a community shredding event, etc.

This was kicked off, sadly, by the suicide of her neighbor. This was the one guy Mom had decided that she was okay with having a key to her house in case of emergency, and it took her FOREVER to come to that decision, and then she never, ever got around to going over there and just fucking asking him to keep a key to her house. I would ask if she needed me to do it, and she would get irritated and say no, and then she'd not do it again for another week. I had to keep reminding her that this was necessary so I wouldn't need to have the fucking cops fucking break into her fucking house again. And then one day she found out that he was crushed by the depression surrounding his wife's untimely death, and then the death of his mother, and took his own life. And for a while there she was regretting not talking to him a little bit, saying maybe she could have helped in some way, and if you think I agreed with her and encouraged a tiny bit of guilt over that, you would be incredibly correct, sir.

This is also spurred by her missing Mass repeatedly over the last few months. Those who have heard me talk about her, or know any old-school Catholics, will know this is a huge thing. Yes, she's 84 and not feeling well, but up until recently she has been able to talk herself into going. Now, she isn't going at least half the time (I think) and so she's not getting out of the house and seeing other people. Only a few weeks ago she had been mentioning trying to rejoin the choir (not to sing at Mass, just to go to rehearsals, because she can't stand for that long...and she wouldn't listen to anyone who told her that the director would probably be happy to make arrangements to accommodate her, as it would throw off the sound mix. Like this is some royal production and not a bunch of seventy-year-olds yelling. Every time she brought that up I would remind her that she was not the director, and that was his decision, wasn't it? And she would grudgingly agree. And then talk herself out of it the next week, again.) and now she is just as often not feeling well enough to get out of her pajamas before noon. Anyway, those who know and love me know my skill to think up every possible reason why something will not work, and this is where I get it from, folks, and it is, once again, hello, depression. Depressives have a gift for assuming how things will play out (never in their favor) and how other people will react (again, not well) and part of why it is so maddening to deal with her is I get angry at myself for indulging in the same habits.

I know I need to keep very, very calm and hold a lot of love in my heart while I am doing this. Otherwise all of my issues will come screaming to the fore and I might kill her with a frying pan. I need to remember to allow her to keep her agency while assisting her, I don't want to just swoop in and get her agitated (okay, more than any iota of change will do); and I need to keep my cool and act like an adult who can manage passive-aggressive people and not let her push my buttons, at least to her face, anyway.

I am making a GoogleDoc of all the things I want to accomplish as well as contact information for people and agencies who will be able to help me. There are a number of things I want to tackle for my first trip, which I would like to happen in January, so this weekend I will be taking some time to review and plan. I also peck at it while at work.

I have no doubt that, when I reveal this plan to her as her Christmas present, she will tell me not to bother, and I will have to hide all the gin. (I did try to set up a nice surprise for her for Thanksgiving: a friend of mine volunteers as a Therapy Animal Team with her dog, and very kindly agreed to take her dog and a pie over to my Mom's for a short visit on the holiday. I thought this would help Mom realize that people do actually give a damn about her (a major gripe) plus get her a little socialization and dog-time. I know her well enough that I called her to make sure this was okay with her, and she angrily and sharply said "oh, I wish you HADN'T." and I got to tell her, fine, (subtext: you crabby old lady) I will call it off.)

Work is being very awesome about this and my manager agreed without so much as a blink to let me flex my hours, to work a week's time in four days so the other person in my department (there are only two of us) won't get the short end when I go flitting off to Arizona. I do realize that four ten-hour days (or a little less, I actually work a 37.5-hour week) plus NONSTOP MOM will mean a long two-week stretch for me, and I am also considering ways to make that less stressful for me as a long-distance caretaker. I think it will help that Mom goes to bed early and so maybe I can have a little recovery while I am in town. Probably not enough time to, say, take a dance class, but maybe time to go sit under the stars.
superdaintykate: (jumpyrat)

I am more okay with being childfree than I have ever been. It helps to have a partner who is also truly okay with it and makes assertions voluntarily to that effect. It also really helps to not have the equipment anymore, and to be at an age where people just assume that I have them and they just don't know about them.

The first years really, really sucked. Okay, not the *very* first years, those were pretty easy because I was in college and my peers were so not into the babyhaving thing. Pregnancy was still very much an "oh no" event. And my mother has never, ever been the "when are you giving me grandchildren" type. Whatever difficulties we may have had in our relationship, she never pressured me to get married or start cranking out babies. Bless her.

But the years after college, where I guess I was in prime babymaking mode, and I was out in the retail sphere, those years really, really sucked. Because I had to bat down the questions ALL THE TIME. Some of the ladies at the store were mortified that I wasn't taking J's name; not getting busy getting pregnant right away signaled that there was something Super Wrong with our relationship. (I remember an amusing moment in the first morning meeting I attended as a married woman; my store manager announced I had gotten married, I got a round of applause, and then everyone turned to me expectantly as she asked "and your name is?" And I got to give her a great "what are you, nuts?" look as I slowly said "THE SAME NAME I HAD WHEN I LEFT ON THURSDAY.")

Those years, people were relentless. They would ask if I had kids, and I would say no, with no inflection or affect, just stating a fact. And then they start circling, asking questions to clarify exactly how much I wanted kids, because I did, of course, I mean, every woman does, and exactly when I was going to get to having them because, you know, it was TIME. And I would just say I didn't want them, and that would make it so much worse. Either they would just keep at it right then, or it would keep. Coming. Up. There was a clutching desperation to it; it was pretty obvious that I had 1) shaken their worldview pretty significantly because they'd never questioned IF, only WHEN; and 2) they needed me to validate that worldview toot sweet because otherwise everything they had accepted about their own womanhood to that point came into question and they didn't like where that was headed.

I was young and cared too much about what people thought and I did not want to get sucked in and so my only defense at the time was to cut it off, to say I didn't like kids, to say "heck no" instead of just "no" and be THAT person. I would rather be The One Who Doesn't Like Kids and have a moment of goddamn peace, frankly. After a while I adopted the Curious approach when I had the time and and energy, and would start asking "why is this important to you?" I could only do that to people I didn't want to interact with regularly again, because it generally didn't end well.

It didn't matter, really, because the reaction was usually the same. Complete and utter incomprehension, followed by repeated assertions that I would change my mind. I would. I would change my mind. I would know. I would just KNOW. That ticker would go off and I would turn into a babyhaving demon. I would.

My store manager did that to me. I told her I didn't want kids, and she said I would, and I said, I don't think so, I have felt this way for almost twenty years, and she just shook her head and said no, no, no, with a knowing, sad smile. JESUS WHY WAS THIS EVEN A TOPIC OF CONVERSATION, AND WHY DO YOU NEED TO BE RIGHT ABOUT MY CHOICES? What the actual fuck.

It has diminished now, thankfully. So much that when the Question came up during my consults for my hyst, it startled me, it had been so long. But I get blindsided by the concreteness of my surgery and my decisions every so often. I went to Midnight Mass a few weeks after surgery and broke into tears sitting in my car after looking at a bunch of nativity scenes. Lately we've been watching "Call the Midwife" and some episodes will sit weird. I am still absolutely one hundred percent okay with and glad of my choices, but there is this one kind of defining Feminine Moment (for some people) that I won't ever have and *can't*, now. Before it made me uncomfortable, people ascribing a divine feminine and ultimate creative power seated in the uterus and blah blah; now it makes me sad. Not in a left-out way, but sad with the realization that this weirdness is so thoroughly ingrained that there isn't room in the collective psyche for women like me. Or, at least, not in, um, woo-woo second-wave feminism, I guess.

A side benefit, though, is I feel able to appreciate babies in public now. I couldn't, before; even if I thought they were cute (and I am not one of the Babies Are Automatically Cute people), I couldn't smile at one because that would open the door and then I would have to fight off the insistent Babyhavers who would descend on me from nowhere, I swear. Now people just think I'm going to snatch the kid; though I get that side-eye more often at dog parks, so, whatever.
superdaintykate: (Default)
He's gone.

His decline was steady. He moved back to the nursing facility, and then he refused all treatment, including lung suction. A few days ago (Monday?) they started morphine for him. I called Mom to tell her and had to explain to her what that meant. She broke down, then, and asked if she should send him cards or letters, and I told her I didn't think she had time to send them, that she should call if she wanted to tell him she loved him. I spoke to his fiduciary Monday? Tuesday? and he said that Brother's lungs were obviously filling with fluid. I called the nursing home every day to leave a message for him; yesterday, the nurse I spoke to was pretty short with me. I imagine it was hard for her to see him like this. She said he was conscious; he had stopped talking as of a few days ago, because he just couldn't, anymore.

Tuesday night I couldn't stop hearing the Archies song "Sugar Sugar" in my head; Rob had it on a cereal-box record and when my Dad had called him to tell him I had been born, he went and played it.

I didn't sleep much Tuesday night, waiting for the Call.

Last night I got hammered on hard cider and slept a little despite myself. I woke up and got ready for work and put on my hamza necklace and evil-eye bracelet. I don't know why.

My friend emailed me this morning to tell me she'd had a dream about him last night. That he loved me so much, in the dream, and he was happy and relaxed and comfortable.

I called the facility today around three o'clock, for an update and to leave a message, and no one answered the phone at the nurse's station. Mom called around four or four-thirty, to leave a message for him, finally, and she said the nurse she spoke to sounded sad.

I got the call just after five, and he had died maybe fifteen minutes previously.

I oscillate. Sometimes I am desparately sad, sometimes I am relieved, to know he's not suffering anymore, and sometimes I am numb and in shock, a little. And sometimes I am okay.

Going to wait until tomorrow to email my nephews, to make sure they have all gotten the news from their brother.
superdaintykate: (Default)
Things to work on from the Leila workshop today:

-- working the standing leg as well as the free leg
-- traveling and turning pelvic circles, keeping it floaty; ending with a hip up into a little knee-up arabasque
-- attitude up in releve, holding, and releasing down into a shimmy
-- using the weight into the feet as an accent
-- using abs for forward pelvic drops, speeding up into a shimmy
-- pelvic rock on top of a "pony" step forward and back, accenting either forward or back
--- moving in a circle, keeping one foot stationary and rotating around it with an accent on the back step (a la Aziza)
-- touch and rock forward, then step (a la Dahlia)
-- 3/4 shimmy under a camel traveling sideways (lead with a cross-over foot instead of stepping directly to the side)
-- keeping strict time with shimmy; supporting and driving shimmy with inner thigh muscles (a la Nagua Fouad)
superdaintykate: (Default)
Had a good couple of gigs! Both had the potential to be epic disasters but neither did, which was a delightful surprise.

First was a private lesson for a "girls' night" party over on the island. I actually caught myself trying to lowball myself since everyone I teach normally on the island is broke-ass. I then snapped out of it and put a value on my services and time that I was comfortable with and was still marketable, pitched it to the client, and she bought it without blinking, so yay. (I knew I was on the right track when I suggested they do the lesson on Saturday afternoon, since I was going to be back Saturday night for the other gig and that would lower my fee, and she responded that, weather permitting, they would be taking a cruise, so Friday night was better. Right then. No price breaks needed, I see.)

I made a o.O face at my computer at one point -- I asked if there were any particular things she wanted to cover, and she responded hip lifts (fair enough), shimmies (okay, fine), shoulder and arm work (wow, that too, okay), belly rolls (hey now, getting kind of advanced), AND veils (full stop). AND CYMBALS (*head explodes*).

So I packed all my gear in to work, took off a little early (thanks, boss!) took the back way up to the island (sneaking around Woodinville to 405, instead of getting mired in the slog around Kirkland -- glad I tried it, keeping that trick for future reference) and didn't get lost. And made decent enough time that I was able to drive on to the ferry, thank god, because there was some nasty-ass cold rain happening at that point. Found that the ferry time is just long enough to put on Basic Bellydancer Face (sans eyelashes). Had a moment of alarm bells when I found the room at the hotel they had given me and heard male voices inside, so I backed out to the well-lit parking lot and hung by my car with my cell phone to make contact. Luckily, it was a case of sending the Husbands away to play poker while the Ladies had their lesson (they had rented an entire block of rooms here, I should have doubled my rates), so once that was sorted, we got down to business.

It was pretty much what I had expected, some ladies wanted to goof off, some were game, some were frustrated at the goofs because they really wanted to learn. We covered a lot of stuff and everyone laughed a lot and told me 1) they all had a great time, 2) had their eyes opened inre: bellydance (YES) and some 3) actually live in Woodinville, are familiar with Ottoman Bellydance, and are interested in taking classes there. Plus I got a tip on top of my fee that means that gig covers the deposit on my new costume. SUCCESS. Drove home, collapsed.

Side note: my jaw actually dropped when the hostess told me she had asked the Port of South Whidbey people for recommendations about various activites on the Island, and when she (somewhat jokingly) asked about bellydance lessons, my name came up immediately. What the heck? Well, all right! Thank you, Port of South Whidbey!)

Woke up the next morning to a delicious breakfast prepared by my most excellent husband and then packed up to go to the other island gig. I had been contacted a few weeks ago by the woman who owns the studio where I teach -- in her youth she was a dancer at the Moulin Rouge. The Northwest Language Academy was putting on a Belle-Epoque-themed event for Valentine's Day and she was assembling a floor show and asked if I'd be willing to join the festivities. Ever hopeful, I asked her what the budget was, and got the response I expected, which was "HA! BUDGET?!" but I was still intrigued, so I talked to the event organizer a little bit to get the feel of things. I decided to go ahead and do it, mostly because 1) I'd have a chance to do a theatrical but light piece, 2) work with live music, and 3) I had ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL over ANY of it. Which scared the crap out of me, so I knew I had to do it.

Bounced a few ideas off the planners about costumes and music, and got some challenging direction that would have made a sane person say "no, thank you" (they liked the songs I floated that didn't sound Middle-Eastern, I couldn't make any rehearsals because they were all held during business hours during the week, and my absinthe-based costume was vetoed because they wanted everyone to follow a black/red/purple theme). I put together an Indigo-inspired vintagey cabaretesque costume (assuit panels and halter from Domba, black velvet trumpet skirt from L Rose [from the sale rack! Though I need to take it in some, the XL is too big in this fabric], black and grey vertical-striped footless tights, and a red burnout-velvet scarf from Lane Bryant pinned to make a shrug). I teased my hair into a Gibson pomp and adorned the back of my head with half-a-dozen velvet-and-glitter rose hair clips I made ages ago from sale-bin flowers from Michaels. Topped off with some red jewels from Shiny Sparkly Things and was looking quite epic. Epoque?

I was able to make contact with the musicians about a week and a half ago, an accordionist and violinist. I asked if they could do anything Balkan/Klesmer, and they came back with this:

to which I said YES PLEASE.

I got all excited about it and then the accordionist said she couldn't play it fast. Sigh. But we went with it.

So I got packed up (which took longer than expected) and got to NWLA about 3 p.m. (cue more cold rain plus wind), and was met by an office worker as I pulled into the parking lot, asking me to go park in the event parking....a hundred yards away. Seriously? So I offloaded my gear (suitcase with costume, cooler with sammich, full-length mirror) in the office and overheard another office worker who was busy on a phone call mention something to the guy I was with about having performers park close by...and then the guy I was dealing with had me slog out to the event parking anyway. I should have said "hey, let's wait to see what this lady here has to say" but, well, I didn't. "Event Parking" was actually "angle parking off the main road in the mud", delightful. Did I mention it was raining?

But I got back to the locale and was shown to the room in the B&B portion of the Academy that was reserved for the dancers, and was able to put on my full makeup in an hour flat, which astonished me. Got into the base of my costume and made it downstairs for a little run-through, and then got together with the musicians and got music sorted, and it turned out they could play it to a pretty reasonable tempo, thank goodness.

The event itself seemed quite nice in a rich-white-folks kind of way, with a fronch dinner and a cabaret atmosphere, red velvet curtains and candles and red tulle everywhere. The dance troupe did a few numbers, with the organizer opening with Edith Piaf's "Milord", and then yielded the floor to a chanteuse during dinner service. The troupe then came back out for a great waltz and tango number, and then I got to do my piece. I ended up entering with a slow intro, making a show out of stirring an absinthe strainer in a glass and downing the contents, and then being swept away as the music picked up. The musicians did a fine job, I had hoped for some crisper stops but with their limited rehearsals I thought they were great. I finished as the musicians slowed down and got nice and oozy, picked up my glass and tapped it with the strainer as I gave a meaningful look to the bartender and walked off. The troupe then finished with a cancan, and then the chanteuse came back for a longer set. I stayed a while to get some folks up and dancing, and then went back to the room to change and came back down, hoping for leftovers. Everyone else had gotten a plate, so I wandered to the kitchen to see what was left...and the guy in the kitchen gestured vaguely at a tin of pate and some garlic toasts. Oh, honestly. Luckily, I wasn't terribly hungry, though I was a little pissed when the musicians came off to FULL PLATES, HOW STRANGE.

But. I got lots of compliments on my dance and the organizer gushed over me and asked me back for next year's event (and will be sending me a check for travel costs), so we'll see how that goes.

And now I have to comb all of this product out of my hair and put a whole bunch of shit away.
superdaintykate: (Default)
Still here, though I have to admit, FB has drained my will to blog. I find myself wanting to save LJ for Really Important Stuff and then when I sit down at the computer, I figure, ah, fuck it.

But I am here, and still reading, and waiting to see how The Russians are going to ruin things. We shall see.

Got a chance to teach at a studio closer to me (i.e., I don't need to take a BOAT to get there), but unfortunately the session started right after the holidays and with not much of a promo run-up, so the first class fizzled. The studio owner has said she wants to bring me back for workshops, though; and the students I did have for the classes we did run were enthusiastic and generous with positive feedback (I ran the Improvisation Without Fear material in a weekly format), so overall I feel pretty okay about that.

Got actually snowed in for the first time in my life last week. Okay, technically, this has been the third time in four years, but this was the first time I actually had to BE somewhere and couldn't get there. I was supposed to dance Saturday (opening for Dahlia [] with the MB Orchestra, OMG) but was wary as snow and freezing temps had been forecast and we now live on top of a hill -- it's a bit of a plummet to get to I405. I know my limitations re: driving on ice, and since the ground rarely freezes here, snow warms when it his and then freezes over to make a nice slippery sheet. Dahlia, bless her heart, was trying to convince me to go anyway via encouraging FB posts and then MB cancelled the gig due to weather, so I felt like less of a puss.

Sunday we watched the snow pretty much all day, and it continued off-and-on through the week. Monday and Tuesday, my boss came and got me for work in his 4WD truck -- luckily, we now live on the same side of the shop as everyone else, so I can beg for rides more easily -- but Wednesday was bad enough that he decided there was no point (even if he could make it up the hill and through our neighborhood, there was no one driving through town anyway) so I got to stay home. I promptly learned that an unplanned day-at-home is less fun than I thought it would be, especially since I lost my internet connection at some point. I did, however, make banana bread; as soon as I got the egg into the batter the power flickered a couple of times, but luckily it stayed on through the storms. People north and southeast of us were not so fortunate. I had a customer from Fall City who said he doesn't expect power until Tuesday.

Thursday and Friday, I hitched a ride from a co-worker with a heavier truck, again with 4WD but with better tires, and even he was fishtailing slightly though our complex. Roads near our house were still gnarly Friday afternoon after a day of warming and rain-that-turned-to-snow-oh-crap, leading to slushy ruts that people were having to chain up to get out of. I'd be comfortable saying we got at least six inches of snow and would be willing to speculate a little higher, frankly, considering it was almost up to the tops of my boots in the front yard. Luckily the Snow Event that had been predicted ended up staying south of us

...and our power just went out and came back. Now we are getting wind gusts and rain, so I guess I will make this a bit more short.

Our street was magically clear yesterday morning thanks to a godsend plow, so we were able to leave the house and get into town, where we were joined by everyone else. I was really nice to be able to get somewhere under our own power -- J had been stuck in the house for days and his relief was palapable.

Other things continue as usual. I am trying to decide which costume to buy during Dahlal's Customer Appreciation Sale; I am thinking it is going to be the Pharonics Extragavance in copper. The aubergine is really tempting and unusual but I am afraid the silver base of the rhinestone chain would stand out too much. I might go ahead and get the full costume this time so I have a cool skirt that matches the set on hand.

Mom is Momming in overdrive. I got some info from the Council on Aging that I am going to send to her; I am just hoping she doesn't see it as just more papers to add to the pile, and actually reads the stuff. They offer a service to help with decisionmaking re: aging in the home, which is right where she is at this point; although she is all about blaming other people for her getting older. (For example, she is pissed at the air-conditioner-guy for telling her she needs to clean her air filters because it would require her to get on a ladder, and doesn't he know she can't do that, and why doesn't the company include that in their service?) I totally understand the fear, but don't get why she turns it on others like that. Ok, I get why, since that has been her defense mechanism forever (and it took me YEARS to shake it myself and I still fight it all the time), but still. Frustrating. I am looking into getting some counseling myself to deal with, well, dealing with her, caregiving from a distance plus depression issues plus guilt over not being willing to offer her a place to live (because NO. Just no. But that doesn't make it easy). Somewhat relatedly, I decided to start getting regular massage so my shoulders have a chance of getting away from my ears now and then. It's also been great at getting my calf back into shape, though my bodyworker is RUTHLESS if efficient. (She's of the "yep, hurts, doesn't it?" school and then suddenly the knot is gone, bless her heart.)

Other fronts: J continues to be the best husband ever (including getting me a hilarious and adorable Snow-White-themed apron to wear when I make cupcakes, and being really understanding when I decided I HAD to make a weekend jaunt to Disneyland), and La Llo continues to be the best dog ever (she's recently taken to lying on her back, feet in the air, in the crook of Jon's arm when we go to bed, OH GOD THE CUTE). So, how are you? *chinfists*
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Is there any limit to the stupid shit Bhuzzers get their knickers in a twist about?

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But, to be fair, a lot of other awesome stuff happened this weekend. They included cuddles and lovins from two adorable Mini Aussies, a gorgeous home-away-from-home complete with Amazing Shower, foodz from several favorite restaurants (La Indita: carne seca cheese crisp and indian taco; Guero Canelo: sonoran hotdog; Lucky Wishbone: one half of a cheeseburger and a really good onion ring; and Kingfisher: Vietnamese black mussels and Caesar salad) as well as amazing home-cooked meals; twice as many people as I had expected to have in my workshop (I didn't get all the way through all my material), a chance to see a friend dance and smoke a hookah without feeling hung over the next day; dinner with my nephew and niece-by-proxy, coffee and gossip with my mentor, and dancing 1.7 miles through the All Souls Procession. I also was able to eat half a burger, take a shower, AND do makeup and hair and dress for the Procession in AN HOUR AND A HALF, WORSHIP ME.
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For our anniversary, we enjoyed an amazing dinner at Chez Shea, in Pike Place Market.

Since we had a late reservation, I came home from work to find the kitchen clean and a plate of amuse-bouche waiting for me, with a sweet note from my darling husband. I tried not to gorge myself on feta-and-onion tartlets and apple slices, and went to get cleaned up and dressed purty.

The restaurant is upstairs in the Corner Market building (the same building as the Can Can) and thus 1) looks like an artist's garret, and 2) has a view of The Sign from the dining room. It feels very, very Seattle.

I started with a Mezcalito, which was supposed to be a Melon Mezcalito but they had run out of melon, so a lemon Mezcalito it was. The one on the menu includes sake, I don't think mine did, but it sure did have Mezcal in it. And lots of lemon, so it was perfect to cut through all the butter we were going to eat soon. Like a very tart margarita, really.

To start, we split a plate of escargot with garlic, shallots, and parsley butter. I couldn't wait to snap a picture before I had shoveled two into my mouth.

Next, a salad course, where we shared two choices: a simple salad of pears, candied pecans, slivers of endive and feta in a champagne vinaigrette, and foie gras with sweet and sour figs, teensy sugar-poached huckleberries, and a slice of brioche toast. The salad was a great balance of flavors and textures, with the slivers of endive being a nice surprise. The foie gras was delicious, but Jon commented that he thought he might have liked it better when we had it at Lark, and I think I agree. It certainly wasn't anything to sneeze at; the figs and berries were really complementary to it and the toast gave everything a nice amount of crunch.

Next, our mains: I had spectacular pan-seared scallops with green lentils, fava beans, baby artichokes, bacon, parsnip puree and apple cider gastrique;

Jon had an exquisite duck confit with roasted fingerling potatoes and baby turnips. The potaotes were just crispy on the outside and I would have eaten a whole plate of them alone. My lentils had a surprising and delicious amount of bacon in them and the scallops were done perfectly, sweet on the inside and caramelized on the outside.

For dessert, Jon had the Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie with Bananas Foster Compote:

and I, of course, had the "Bete Noire" (flourless chocolate cake with plum sauce).

When I ordered my dessert, the sweet French motherly type who was our server said very politely "excuse me?" and I immediately dropped my face into my hands and apologized for my horrible French. She was very nice about it and said I had actually pronounced it perfectly, she just hadn't caught it, which eased my FrancoAngst long enough for me to dive into dessert. The cake itself was so dense you could stand a fork in a 45-degree angle. But it was served with a tart plum sauce that set it off perfectly.

The food was amazing, the service was kind and polite, the view of the Sound was lovely, but all I could think about all evening was how much I love Jon, and how fucking lucky I have been that he loves me like he does.

And then tonight, Jon continued our gastronomic indulgences with monster-head baked zucchini, filled with a homemade "meatloaf" of a mix of lamb and turkey, cumin, allspice, and apples.

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The recipe is originally from the LA Times, but I plan to make it in the Crockpot and need to blog about it because HOLY SHIT it was good.

Adapted from "Heart of the Aritchoke and Other Kitchen Journeys" by David Tanis.
4 to 6 servings.

6 oz dried NM chiles
2 T lard or veg oil
1 lg onion, diced fine
salt and pepper
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 t coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 t cumin seeds, ditto
1 bay leaf
3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, left whole or cut into chunks
prepared hominy

Rinse and dry the chiles, then toast them in a dry cast-iron skillet over medium heat until they puff a bit and become fragrant (2 - 3 minutes). Cut them lengthwise in half and remove the stems and seeds.

Put the chiles in a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Simmer until softened, about 5 minutes, then set aside in the liquid to cool. Puree the chiles with a cup of their liquid in a blender until smooth.

Heat the fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, season with 1/4 t salt and 1/8 t pepper, and and cook for about 5 minutes. There should be no color and no browning. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin and bay leaf, then add the chile puree and 1/4 t salt and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool the mixture (you can do this ahead of time).

Preheat the oven to 350. Put the pork in a low roasting pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the chile over and mix to coat, and then cover tightly.

Bake until the meat is falling apart, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Serve with a big spoonful of hot hominy.

Amazing. I did half a batch and it turned out great. Instead of toasting the chiles in a pan I did them in a broiler so OF COURSE they got away from me and burned a little, but they were fine. I need to get a fine-mesh strainer for the puree, since there is always little flecks of unsoftened chile skin left over, but we didn't let them stop us. I also neglected to get coriander seeds so J ran out and got me powdered coriander and it was just fine. I also used whole cumin and doubt I toasted it and that was fine too.

So good. Tastes like fall.
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I have to say that Urban Decay's glitter eyeliners are my new BFFs. I kind of want to wear them all the time.
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So fucking much to blog. Might happen, might not. I will say this, though.

Confidential to the sweet young things backstage: Tom Waits? NOT STEAMPUNK.

He has never:
1) worn stripey tights,
2) sung about being an Airship Captain, or
3) hot glued miscellaneous watch parts and chicken bones to a bowler hat.

superdaintykate: (Default)
I am hoping everything will subside tomorrow, everyone will change their freaking internet avatars from flags and towers and crying eagles back to .gifs of dumb shit. I am hoping all of the "never forget" billboards outside of businesses will come down and everything gets back to normal. It all smacks not of patriotism but of maudlin sycophancy; it reminds me of the way people act when they only go to church twice a year so they try to be extra showy about their piety on Easter and Christmas, and then peel out of the parking lot before the recessional is over so the can catch the game and eat some extra ham.

Never forget. What the hell does that mean?

1. How the hell can we forget? We were ALL THERE. If we weren't in the wave of people who had tuned in for news and seen that second plane flying in from offscreen like a bad special effect, we were watching with our hands clutched over our mouths in horror as the towers came down. We were walking home from Manhattan, covered in dust. We were stuck at work, held by higher-ups that insisted that business continue as usual, selling discount socks rather than racing home to our loved ones; or we were allowed to go home early only to wait, and to worry. We were trying to be good and not snarl up the phone lines, waiting for emails and messages on newsgroups from our friends and neighbors and family.

2. And how the hell can we forget; because we have not been allowed to. Not just because of the typical American spectacle of commemorative coins and country music songs, but because the spectre of the Towers has hung over our every shitty foreign and domestic policy decision, the killing of unfathomable numbers of civilians, the creation of tidal waves of refugees, the destruction of sovereign nations, and the insane curtailing of basic rights we enjoyed in this country. And if we dared speak up about it, and point out the insanity behind those decisions -- really? I can't check out library books without arousing suspicion? -- we were branded as Sympathizers, not real Americans.

We won't forget what happened today, but we sure did seem to forget what happens when you arm and train insurgents and then leave them to rot when they no longer suit your purpose.

Never forget. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Never forget that we as a nation are vulnerable? Well good, I fucking hope so, welcome to the rest of the goddamn world. I'm sure the people in Oklahoma City hadn't forgotten that by the time the 11th of September rolled around, but I sure don't see their commemorative plates or memorial t-shirts, thank god.

Never forget that our government is more than happy to capitalize on our shock and horror and need and use it to advance their own causes?

Never forget that there was a time when there was a presumption of innocence, rather than of malice?

Never forget that we used to value calm common sense, tolerance, and decency?

I sure will be glad when it's September 12th.
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Wanna see my incredible freaking fantastic birthday gift from Jon?

You know you do.

Read more... )
superdaintykate: (Default)
Oh, Martha Stewart Living Halloween issue, when will I learn not to buy you? And how long ago did you stop having interesting, original content?
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Rather than blogging about recent events, I am going to show you what I've been working on for the past few weeks.

A friend invited me to dance at her bachelorette hafla back in June. I know this lady originally from the Solstice Parade (she dances, I drum), but then I was her Riff at my first Rocky show up here, at the Cuff. Given the shared background I figured it was meet and proper that I create a Frank-N-Furter bedlah and choreography for her and promptly got to work.

Thankfully, I am surrounded by creative and competent people. I talked to my friend Will (DJ D00d), who had wowed me with his tabla remix of Ministry's "Every Day is Halloween", and asked him if he'd be willing to play with me on this. He was game, thank god, and I sent him a copy of Anthony Head's "Sweet T" ( to tinker with while I got other stuff rolling. I also talked to my costumer friend Cindy and asked if she could help me out with the top and skirt I had envisioned...I can sew, but stretch fabrics just do better on a serger, and I haven't gotten the nerve up to try and learn how to use mine yet. I sure wasn't going to try to conquer the learning curve with this project. She also said she'd be happy to help.

And then the project languished for a couple of weeks while I concentrated on healing the calf muscle I'd torn. I finally got a sketch to Cindy (way too close to the deadline for me to admit, frankly) and she said it would be no problem.

Read more... )
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Jon's birthday party seems to have gone off swimmingly. We worked our asses off over the last two weeks (and that certainly was made more pleasant with the calf muscle strain), got most of the house set up and unpacked and clean. There are a few pockets of boxes, and my studio is still a wreck (*anxiety*) but the rest of the place looks pretty hip. If I knew where my camera was I might take pictures.

A small bump occurred when we discovered that the oven door is akimbo enough to affect cooking times, thus the tacos took FOREVER but once they were out of the oven they were magical. I only made one kind of meat this year to avoid being in the kitchen THE WHOLE PARTY. Jon filled up the need for another entree by cobbling together some really good Sonoran-style hotdogs. Even without the bolillo rolls and the mesquite bacon, they were delish and will be on our menu for dinner tonight, since neither of us ended up eating much yesterday.

Squirrel Butter played and were amazing. They showed up just as guests started arriving (dear guests: way to be fashionably late) and Jon saw them as they were setting up and thought for a moment they were at the wrong place, as there were signs for another party in the neighborhood as well. The look on his face as he digested that they were there to play for him was priceless. Added bonus: they are really nice folks and seem fun to hang out with. We made sure to stuff them with tacos and sangria and chocolate mole ice cream (Jon's recipe, which turned out better than last year. SO GOOD.).

Our yard kicks ass and now the patio is strung with cafe lights so it's not a pitch-black void anymore. I am going to grab a coke and the phone and go sit out there in the dappled sun and call my mom in half a moment.

We stayed up until after four (okay, Jon stayed up and I faded in and out of consciousness on the couch) watching Deadwood episodes. SO TIRED.
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I've been reluctant to post to LJ, because I don't want to be all "Hey, LJ, I hurt myself again," but I did, and this Journal has been an incredible help in the past when I've needed to document when shit happened, so, here I am.

Read more... )
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La Llorona!
The best dog in the world!
La Llorona!
The best dog in the world!

She loves her belly skritches!
Her tail is but a nubbin!
She can't scratch where it itches
'cause she's too darn fulla stuffin!

La Llorona!
The best dog iiiiiiiiiiiin the world!
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November 2013

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