• Lisa Millraney

recent events, and deep thoughts in the bathroom

Maybe I should drop this blog? I feel so bad when I have ‘update blog’ on my to-do list for like, two months, before I finally sit down and make myself do it. Isn’t it weird, that it seems harder now, when I am home most days with what seems like plenty of time, for me to oblige myself to get some things done?

I wonder if it’s partly the general stress of the world right now. It was actually easier to write these back when mom was with me, in some ways. For one, I feel like I had more of significance to say, more things a few folks might be interested in reading, when I was caregiving. Perhaps that says more about how I view myself, though? I mean, if I make the attempt to look at my life objectively, I guess I still lead a fairly interesting life. LOL. I know people have said, to me or to other folks who passed it on to me, that they think a lot of me for picking myself up after the tests in my past, and going on to live the way I want to and do what I want to do. Hopefully that doesn’t sound arrogant. It’s taken my entire life to get to a point where sometimes I can say ‘yeah you are good at a or b’, so I guess I should practice that, like any skill, if I want to get better at it, huh?

Hope everybody is hanging in there like Garfield on the screen door, with the holidays upon us! As I write there’s a bowl of gingerbread cookie dough in the fridge firming up. With my whole family vaccinated (YAY) we are able to get together in our small groups, for Thanksgiving and now for Christmas. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit, when I was asked to bring a dessert, I decided to try something I had never made, cake mix cookies.

They turned out amazingly well, were attacked with much gusto, and I was asked for more. Hence the dough in the fridge right now. I do enjoy learning to express my creativity in the kitchen—since we last chatted, I’ve learned to make ratatouille, shakshuka, and continued fine-tuning my muffins.

With happy little antibodies busily fighting off covid, I have been able to get out a bit more in recent months. Most notably, it being outdoors, I did feel safe enough to use the ticket I bought in February of last year, for the concert I’ve been waiting since I was a kid to see. The Rolling Stones!! I’d post pix, but my old phone camera sucked at a distance (update on that below). Suffice it to say, I now aspire to be as energetic at 70 as Mick Jagger; and they really are the best live band ever.

I got my booster literally the FIRST day I was eligible, thank you lovely pharmacist and assistant at Wal-Mart. So I’ve ventured out this fall to thrift and used book shop, and get Christmas presents. Of course, now we have another damned variant—go AWAY, omicron (friendly regular reminder to get vaxxed y’all!) so I’m holing up again, which isn’t so bad since the weather gets funky this time of year anyhow. (Although it’s supposed to be 75 degrees tomorrow, Christmas day, and only a few cooler today, Christmas Eve. I’m giving serious thought to grilling out tonight. Climate change makes my hair stand on end.) I finally snagged a pack of N95 masks, and tried them under my handmade cloth ones (because doggone it, I am still gonna be cute in a mask. lol) and surprisingly, it’s as easy if not easier to breathe for me! One of the very few things I don’t like about my homebrew masks is that they squish my nose; but the N95 has a foam strip and an adjustable wire insert at the top. So I can mold that to fit perfectly, and it functions sort of as a framework for the decorative fabric mask to cover and give an extra layer of protection. (It’s principle by now, dammit. I’ve gone this long without catching covid, I do not intend, if I can do anything to avoid, to get hit now when we are so much closer to the end of this mess. Also, not gonna be a Typhoid Mary and spread the crap.)

Circumstances led to a spot of unexpected shopping for myself, though. My poor old laptop finally croaked…at 7 o’clock on a Saturday night. Thank heavens the electronics store I like best is literally within walking distance of my house! (not that I walked there, but I could if I wanted to. lol) They had a great little laptop on sale, so everything else that was going to get done had to get put on hold while I set it up. THEN I discovered my old printer, while it still functioned fine, wasn’t compatible with the new computer, so, back to the store, where happily they also had a nice little printer on sale! (I almost got it for free, in a sense, since the software they sold me with the computer turned out to be something I didn’t need, so I exchanged it.)

Then a few weeks later, my cell phone carrier apparently got their new network up enough for it to recognize my ancient phone wasn’t compatible with it. Instant dead. Like, that morning, working fine; that afternoon, no longer able to phone or text. Wouldn’t have minded it so much, if A, they had sent some advance notice, or B, it hadn’t been 5 o’clock on a Friday afternoon. Timing, I haz it. NOT. Anyway, so I now also have a pretty snazzy new phone (still the low end, but hey, it does everything I want it to do and then some, so, you won’t see me complaining. Also, this means henceforth, the photos in this blog will be MUCH better quality, less like I'm taking pictures with a potato. hurrah!)

Book update—publisher still having issues; I’m waiting till after the first of the year, and if he’s still on hold, may ask if his offer to release me from our contract is still open. He assured me it was, so, sadly, may take him up on it. I’ve been working my way through a second draft of my other book, but it sometimes has to take second place to things like charity crafting. Most recently, I made gloves and a doll for Marvel Trumps Hate. The doll winner was an artist friend of mine, who wanted me to make her a 3d version of the drawings she does of Tony Stark after Avengers Endgame. Yes, I know, he dies in the movie, but not in our hearts, or the many, MANY alternate universes we fans create. My friend Ali is one of those, and she particularly likes to draw him enjoying an easygoing retirement, so I made her this soft greying dad Tony with his prosthetic arm and warm cardigan.

Here’s a cross-stitch I graphed from a comic online, of Jeff the baby land shark. (I posted it on twitter and the writer who created him loved it!)

And I've been exploring my own art some more too--a little drawing I did of the superhero Black Panther, captured mid-pounce!

Got that idea in the bathroom. LOL, why do thoughts sneak up on you in there? Seriously, some of my best writing inspirations have hit while in the tub. The other day I was washing my hair, and had to remind myself to get my conditioner. Now, my hair has always been on the oily side, so I NEVER used conditioner, ever; but in cool weather, especially as I’ve let the color grow out and let it go to its current natural state of grey-blond-ish, it goes berserk with static, and my hairdresser suggested a dab of conditioner. I was skeptical, figuring it’d turn me into the La Brea tar pit, but it works! I now have fine and manageable hair, who’da thunk it? It made me think too, about how we hang on to things from earlier in our lives, sometimes way waaaay past the point where we need to let that crap go because it doesn’t fit who we are anymore.

Which kind of brings me back to where I was at the start of this post. Balancing who you are at your core, and the recognition that you do change with time, is a heck of a dance to master, and one that takes a lifetime. I hope y’all are managing that dance with all the grace you can. Sending love and {{hugs}}, and hopes for the new year to be better.

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