• Lisa Millraney

still missing...a lot.

Sigh. Happened again. I kept saying ‘I need to update my blog!’ and then I go ‘but I have another story chapter and pictures of craft projects in progress to post, and I need to clean this cabinet out and organize my cross-stitch floss and mask fabrics, and water my garden and pick beans, and and and’. LOLOL. Sorry.

I stay busy, as usual, and it makes days fly; but sometimes, it gets to be a bit much. More than a bit, if I’m honest. In recent weeks, things keep popping up that remind me of my parents. I’m still thankful neither of them is here to have to put up with the bucket of crazy that the world has become. A couple of weeks ago, I was dropping some bills off at the post office and decided to splurge on lunch to go. As I headed home, I passed the IHOP that mom used to love to go eat at, and to my shock, it was permanently closed. It seems dumb that that struck me so hard, I guess, but I did almost cry over it. It was like losing another bit of my past with her.

She’s still around though, in spirit. I’ve dreamed about her a few times of late, and in the dreams I usually am aware enough to know what reality is, but I always remember, when I wake up, that I made a conscious decision to accept her as being there, for the duration of the dream, and enjoy it. (Not that she isn’t her usual, sometimes overly critical self. Last weekend I dreamed we were out shopping, wearing masks I had made, and hers began to fall apart and she got mad at me. First time I ever ended up laughing over her being angry. LOL) And one day I read a hilarious post on tumblr, and had a sudden powerful mental image of myself reading it to mom, and I could almost literally hear her laughter. I don’t imagine I have to tell y’all that losing someone you love is a journey, that it takes different paths for different people, and different timespans. Then again, maybe I do. I know sometimes it still surprises me.

Oddly enough, that applies when the time since the loved one left is even longer. I had the tv on the other day, and a commercial came on, for a medication, I think? A gal is driving her elderly father to the ER after he fell and hit his head, and at one point she asks him how he is and he says softly ‘I’m okay’. My gosh, the words and the tone were so much like my daddy, that even almost nine years after his passing, it was a shock to the system that nearly brought tears to my eyes.

That said, life has its ups and downs and we learn to ride the waves, don’t we? A few weeks ago, I discovered water in my garage and traced it to the water heater. Good thing the wonderful plumbers I have called in the past (longtime readers may remember the story about how they had to pick up some supplies for a previous repair for me, and when I joked I should have asked them to grab me some grill tongs, they did and didn’t even charge me) were able to get to my house the next day. Turned out the heater needed replacing, oof, but it was twelve years old, so, better now than if it had happened a couple of years ago while I was struggling to wrangle mom too.

Of course it left me one parting gift…a $600 water bill. BIG OOF. Thankfully, the water department was very understanding, checked their records, and knocked it back down to its normal level. Didn’t mean I didn’t lose a couple of nights sleep over it, because of COURSE the bill came on Friday afternoon and I couldn’t call them till Monday morning. Thanks for nothing, cosmos. All’s well that ends well, they say, so, yeah.

I got a few tomatoes off my vines, small but tasty. My zucchini plants have had tons of pretty yellow blooms but no squash! What the heck, plants, you have one job, please do it. Why can’t you be like your cousins over here? (points to wax bean plants I mentioned at the top of this post) Those bad boys are bearing well! I only planted three, since it’s only me, but I’ve had several good eatings so far. I found a recipe for a warm bacon vinaigrette to toss them with. YUM. In other food news, a knitting friend gave me a code for a free trial box from one of those subscription services. I’ll cancel as soon as it arrives, obviously, since I’m not so fond of staying home that I’d spend that much for half a dozen meals’ worth of groceries, but hey, y’all know I’m all about free. hehe. Food experiments continue—I actually haven’t gotten to do much with the food truck project, but I did make green smoothie popsicles that were amazingly good.

The hot chicken I threatened last time happened too, and was excellent. Well, the hot part was excellent. I need to work on my chicken-frying skills. Not sure if it was overdone or underdone. Next time, I went totally lazy, bought prefried chicken (hey, I can get a whole one from Kroger cold for 4 bucks, if I hit them right. Who’s gonna turn that deal down?) reheated it in the way I learned to make it stay crispy, then spread the hot paste on it and got DOWN. (With kool-aid pickles)

And I learned to brew another beverage, tepache. It’s a Mexican light brew made from pineapple rinds, and it’s fizzy and very tasty. I learned the hard way not to drink too much at a time, though! Not that it’s really tipsy-inducing, no (although apparently you can make an alcoholic version); the thing with it is, the probiotics in it are pretty strong, so if you drink a lot, you get, shall we say, cleansed? Irritating, because it’s good and I WANT to drink more than just a teeny glass at a time! grrr. Making it was very cool though, because I got a couple of pineapples for $2 each and used literally every last bit. The rinds make the drink, the fruit got eaten (I LOVE fresh pineapple) and I even planted the tops!

My adopted baby bird nieces and nephews are on their own, but they aren’t the only families who set up housekeeping in my yard. A couple of weeks ago I went out for my periodic trimming of the ivy on the outside of the Ivy Encrusted Cottage. A mother mockingbird who is a usual neighbor squawked at me when I got around to the far front corner, definitely annoyed about something. I kept asking her what, thinking maybe I needed to have a stern talk with the local cats, but when I finished and went to pick up my tool basket, I found this little guy sitting not a foot away.

Forgive the potato quality of the photo. (I love that term for an awful picture—like you took it with a potato instead of a camera. LOL) I didn’t want big mama to dive-bomb me, so I took the pic in haste and retreated. By good fortune, I hopped on twitter and found an outdoorsy acquaintance was on too, so asked them if leaving baby birb where it was was the best action and got confirmation. They were gone when I ventured back out a while later, so I suppose it was all good.

I was hoping to get my hedge trimmed, and the man who cuts my yard knew a guy, so I took his card and said I would call him. Evidently, he didn’t want to wait for a call. Guy showed up at 6:30 ON SATURDAY MORNING (the next day) UNANNOUNCED, and proceeded to spend the hour before I woke up and discovered him in my yard, doing THIS.

Needless to say, I expressed my displeasure, and he got pissed and left. So, I have a hole right in the middle of my dang hedge. Grow, would you? (sniffle) Oh well, at least I caught him before he mangled more. My neighbors are big on having their privacy, but fortunately they haven’t bitched.

Enough bitching myself. On to better things. The crochet dolls for the charity auctions are done and turned out quite cute if I do say so myself. The high bidder in the BLM auction wanted Miles Morales, aka Spider-Man, with a removable cowl along the lines of my tiny Tony’s removable Iron Man helmet. The top bid in the Random Acts auction asked for Dean Winchester with his demon-killing knife and his signature plaid shirt.

The other test cross-stitch isn’t finished yet, though close, but the Girl On Fire shawl is done.

I started on another shawl, but lost my place (that’s what you get for trying to count stitches and watch a fascinating documentary at the same time. NO) and had to frog it to start over. (You know what frogging is, in crafting? I’m asking because this came up in conversation in a craft chat, just this morning. It’s because you have to rip the messed-up part out. Rip-it, rip-it, get it?)

There isn’t a lot of paid writing work at the moment, so I’m catching up on other stuff. Made some earrings to sell, sold off some excess perfumes, then spent that on another nice fountain pen (makes it not guilt-inducing, lol)

I've done some house cleaning (quelle surprise, hehe) and queued up assorted crafting and pleasure-writing projects. Here’s the organizer I mentioned, with my embroidery floss in it; I found it out in the garage, brought it in, cleaned it up and repurposed it.

That freed up the old-school folding craft bag that belonged to an aunt’s mom, to stash my mask supplies in. Getting things in order where I can go through them and find stuff easily is very soothing to me. Granted, it may not look much more organized to anybody else, but it works for me! Plus, I love putting vintage things to use.

Still working my way through second-drafting Blood of the Fire-Born, and believe it or not, after a little over two years, I just started writing the last chapter of my epic fanfic series. It's nearly half a million words in total. I won’t know how to act when it’s done. Oh, who am I kidding. I have a dozen more ideas I haven’t had time to address yet other than in scribbled note form, plus many things to binge-watch, and multiple books to read, and more things to make than I probably have hours left in my life to spend on them. Plus, there’s an election coming up around here, and I intend to do all I can from my house to support its going off in the appropriate manner.

And one day, I hope to no longer have to do everything from the house! Until then, though, there are activities online aplenty. I think I mentioned that Dragon Con wisely cancelled in-person festivities, and will be doing all online, even panels and the parade! Another fun thing going on at that same time, the end of this month, is Burning Man, the big art festival that usually takes place on a flat dry lake bed in the middle of the desert in Nevada. They are doing loads of things online, and since I’ve never gotten to go (but secretly dreamed about RV’ing it out there one day) I’m hanging out with the veterans, listening to their crazy tales and enjoying their art and music and spiritual things. Very cool way to participate without getting sand in your teeth and bra. lol. I may even build myself a miniature version of the giant human figure they put at the center of the fest and burn at its end. I could set him in my grill and light him up. Burn safely and responsibly. hehe

I hope all of you are being careful and staying safe! The one time I’ve been out since March, I drove across town to a park for an aunt’s outdoor socially distanced birthday party. The weather was perfect, the food was good, the company was great.Several online friends of mine have been sick, had near misses, or had friends or loved ones who got sick and recovered…or didn’t. Please take this mess seriously, take every possible precaution, and use your noodle for the purpose God gave it to you for. If everybody does that, we can get back to something approximating normal that much quicker. Otherwise, it’s like a bunch of kids on the playground who can’t get their treat because every time most of them calm down, one or two have to start acting a fool, and I know every last one of us has had THAT infuriating experience.

Hugs to you all! I’m not going to promise, this time, to blog next week, or two weeks from now, because that invariably gets me in trouble. I will promise to blog again, though, for anybody who continues to be interested in my meandering through this weird version of life.

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