Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

December 10, 2009

Decemberrrrrrrr

Sunrise, December 9, 2009 - Fircrest, WAIt's been crystal clear and ice cold here the past few days, as evidenced by the weather widget on the right. By the end of Monday afternoon, I was sitting in my office wearing my winter jacket and typing with gloves on. Do you have any idea how hard it is to type with gloves on? But hey, I'd rather have it cold than the 105 degree days we had during the summer.

We watched the Lakewood Officers' Memorial all day on Tuesday. When I left for work at 6:30 am, I saw 5 Bonney Lake PD cruisers leaving the station with their lights flashing. At first I wondered what had happened to cause that kind of response but then remembered they were heading to Lakewood. The local radio stations had encouraged people to shine a blue light in their windows for police support. When I finally got out to I-5 in Tacoma, the giant reader board at the Emerald Queen Casino had an "In Memoriam" message up. As I approached the Dome, their reader board was flashing the officers' names and photos. But what hit me hard was the huge condo building on the hill across from the Dome. It was all edged in blue lights and nearly every window had a single blue-light candle.

The procession left from McChord Air Force Base at 9, went past the Lakewood PD and down South Tacoma Way, all the way to the Tacoma Dome. Unfortunately the people that planned it forgot to take into consideration how long it would take to get 2,000+ vehicles the 10 miles b/t McChord and the T-Dome. It took HOURS. But it was quite a sight to see. The streets were lined with people, braving the bitter cold. Law enforcement and military personnel from all over the Pacific NW showed up, as well as from several states. Members of the Boston PD arrived at SeaTac at 3:00 am. The RCMP showed up in full force & wearing those snappy red uniforms. The aerial view of the 4 long columns of Mounties filing into the Dome was really, really cool.

I left work at 4 and as I crawled by in rush hour traffic, I could see the snipers ringing the edge of the Dome. It was supposed to have started at 1 but didn't get underway till after 2. I was able to catch the rest of the service after I got home. I was doing really well with it, until the Final Radio Call. What they did was have the police dispatcher call for each officer, one by one, but ending each with, "...Gone, but not forgotten." The grief in her voice was heavy....she was practically whispering. At least that's how I remember it sounding. Or maybe I was bawling so hard that the dispatcher only sounded like she was whispering.

So we're approaching our longest nights of the year. Washington's winter solstice is actually December 16 and 17, when the sun rises at 7:49 a.m. and sets at 4:20 pm. By the time the recognized Winter Solstice arrives, we've already gained 4 minutes of light. I love these cold, dark nights. Even with the light pollution, we can see the stars. I wish I could see the Northern Lights though. I've only see them twice and both times I was too young to appreciate it.

It's gonna be a very lean holiday in this house. Steve gave us a very generous christmas bonus, but I am afraid to splurge, even a little, b/c we are probably gonna owe income taxes on Brian's unemployment. Although he hasn't gotten any benefits since the end of Sept. and they are reviewing his info to see if he qualifies for extended benefits on his old claim, or start a new one. We're hobbling by on my salary, but there's no room for extravagance this year. Steve gave me a Shipwreck Beads gift card several months ago, so I would like to use that, but again, I'm afraid to spend anything. The Victoria Clipper is offering amazing Holiday Lights package deals - roundtrip from Seattle plus hotel for like $110, including the evening tour of Butchart Gardens. On a whim I tried to book a quick overnighter, but it's completely sold out, even for a weekday trip. I could book each part of the trip separately, however, it would cost way, way more money. My friend Moriah told me I'm welcome to stay at her house anytime, and I'm sure she and her family wouldn't mind going to Butchart Gardens at night, so that would save me on the hotel and rental car cost. Perhaps next year.

There aren't many holiday lights up in my neighborhood, except for the Holiday from Hell house at the end of the block, which I plan on blogging once I shoot some pictures. Let's just say I can see maybe having one of those (tacky) inflatable holiday scenes, but this place has them all over the yard. The inflatable manger scene is particularly disturbing, esp. in the mornings when I drive by at 6:30 and Joseph is all deflated, except for his plastic head. It's creepy. The Recovering Catholic in me screams "SACRILEGIOUS!!!!!" But overall, I don't see near as many lights as I used to several years ago. There wasn't much last year either, but there are even less this year.

Overall 2009 has been the Worst. Year. Ever. I am too scared to be hopeful for 2010, because my hopes were dashed this year. We've been dealt some crushing blows since January. A lot of people have. A lot of people are way worse off than we are so for that I am thankful. And I really do cling to that thought like grim death. And we have a client whose husband makes an obscene amount of money. Like over $430,000 a year. He gets these ginormous bonuses that are way, way, WAY more than I've ever made in one year, in my life. One bonus! More than most people's yearly salary! That shit makes me so ill. Does anyone really need that much money??? The charities are begging for donations and these uber rich people can't pony up some money? What's few thou to a someone that makes that kind of salary?

And speaking of the charities, some soulless bastard broke into a food bank in Seattle and stole all the Thanksgiving food, 2 days before the meals were going to be distributed. What is this asshole gonna do with 200 lbs of potatoes? And onions? They had to scramble to make up all those donations in a short period of time, and hope that people can afford to give twice. More people are using the charities than normal, and the rest of us are on a tight budget that doesn't allow for a lot of wiggle room. But I do plan on going to the Grocery Outlet and getting some discount stuff there for the Bonney Lake Food Bank.

That's another thing that I want to point out. The call went out for donations for the families of all of the slain officers' families. You know who stepped up? LOCAL businesses. Mom-n-Pops. The only large companies that donated 100% of their proceeds from sales yesterday and today were Papa John's Pizza, and Ivar's Seafood. Where was Costco? Or Microsoft? Or Boeing?

Not sure if I'm going to decorate. It's already December 10 and I haven't started. And I'll be honest, if I don't get the shit up either Thanksgiving weekend or the weekend after, it's just not worth it to put any of it up, because I am fanatical about taking it down on the 26th. Brian's been having a hard time, understandably, and said he's just not into it at all. He doesn't feel like celebrating because there hasn't been one thing to celebrate at all for a loooooooong time. And I'm inclined to agree. Although I did make holiday cards and am glad I did because they came out pretty good. I scanned them and will post them after they've been sent out. I don't want to give anyone who is getting one to have a sneak preview!! I still have about 6 to make. And I am also going to bake cranberry bread, our once-a-year treat. It's also hard to get into the holiday spirit when clients are having emergencies. Inevitably someone will do something to their ex, just to ruin their holidays. Then we have to race around like crazy, setting emergency Motions, because so-and-so drained the bank account, won't pay child support, or refuses to allow the children to see the other parent, even if it's that other parent's year to have the kids.

It's felt good getting back to Kraft Korner. It's a real stress buster. And it also keeps me from wandering upstairs and returning with a cookie or some other snack, as I can sit there for hours working on my projects. I keeping saying that I'm gonna pull the trigger on this Etsy thing, but I've taken no steps toward that end. I don't make New Years resolutions but maybe that could be a goal for 2010. The photos I posted are of necklaces in my own personal stash and not really for sale. Plus I have to make more pieces and do a little research. Maybe I'll use a little of my bonus money to buy my State Resale License and secure the Tahoma Beadworks name with the State.
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Let's see what else. Oh, I dumped another game off Facebook. I used to love Egg Breakers but they changed the whole game and it looks like shit. Very cartoonish and dumbed down. I was so pissed off last night that I removed the game, which I've been playing for over a year, had a decent score and tons of trophies/awards. I was surprised to find that I was OK w/ my typical knee-jerk reaction to change. Usually I fly off the handle, vent loudly to anyone who will listen (or pretend to listen) then eventually get used to the changes. This time I was just too annoyed, mostly about the awards. They all used to be in a cute little trophy case. Now they give you a really lame looking, dusty, cobwebby garage scene, and not all of the awards fit onto the limited shelf space. In order to upgrade to a better scene, you have to spend the Egg Breakers currency, "Egg Tokens", which you have to buy with money. That's crap.
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I find myself actually spending less time on FB these days, mostly because our work access was cut off when the new server was installed. The software blocks social networking sites because of the many viruses. So I get home at 4:30, play Pet Pupz, Fairyland, Hatchery and Hatchlings, check in w/ some friends, and shut it down fairly early. This has been a good thing because again, it's forced me back to Kraft Korner.
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"Remember, I'm pullin' for you. We're all in this together!" Red Green

7 comments:

  1. As usually you made me laugh. Your description of the inflatable things in the neighbor's yard is priceless. I have had a couple of those over the year for Christmas. I only have one left which is Snoopy on his dog house. That is my own touch of a bit of my childhood for my Christmas decorations. The nativity scene thing is scary though! I have seen those and thought they were freaky.

    Christmas is going to be slimmer then usual around my house as well. My children are my primary focus when it comes to gift giving. To reduce expense and to make things a bit more special, I have decided to make homemade gifts for all of my family and friends. I'm about ready to pull my hair out trying to get them all done but each one I finish makes me feel really good.

    I can feel your pain on the emergency motions for visitation during Christmas. That is what I did the majority of yesterday. Sometimes I understand where they are coming from but other times... I just don't get it. I pissed off a client not to long ago because she was freaking out, needed to talk to her attorney IMMEDIATELY. I started trying to get some information from her and in short what she told me is "He is talking to my son. He comes to visit. He wants our son to come see him more often.", etc. My response "I'm sorry but I really don't see where the problem is with him wanting to be an active part of his child's life unless there is some piece of information I am not aware of." She got mad and hung up on me. Oh well.

    I posted on Facebook yesterday (in my status) that I got your Christmas card. I LOVE it! When I saw the return address I started bouncing up and down like a little kid lol. I absolutely love Christmas cards. It is like a present every day. The card was beautiful and you are very talented :)

    Happy holidays.

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  2. It's good there was such a big thing for the officers' funerals.

    But you know, JoJo, you are beginning to sound like a socialist, saying those hard-working rich dudes don't deserve so much when the lazy ordinary folks don't earn much. (Yes, the filthy rich do really believe that they earned it. I earn hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, but they only pay me a few of them!)

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  3. Oh inflatable "decor"-I use that term lightly. One neighbor of mine switched from a turkey to a snowman, snowglobe and Santa in one day. Hideous!

    I feel so bad for the families of those officers-I can't imagine the grief,

    As for the rich-don't get me started.What we live on is what many make in an hour,maybe even a minute. What is a blessing monetarily to me is a joke to them.I just remind myself-it serves no purpose for them after they drop dead.

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  4. Siobhan - I forgot that you were blogging till I saw your comment here, so I went back over and left a few comments on your posts. I also added you to my blog roll. I'm glad you fixed the comment feature! Am I the Washington hippie you mention in your Thanksgiving post? I sure hope we can meet someday!!

    Val - I remember when I was a kid, saying to my parents (rather loudly and in public) that I didn't understand why rich people couldn't share with poor people. This was the 70's Cold War era. I was shushed, as they glanced around and whispered, "that's socialism and communism! don't ever say that again!" lol


    Bryde - I can tell you firsthand that money doesn't buy happiness. I walked away from 2 high paying jobs in my life. My only hope is that these disgustingly rich people are miserable in their lives.

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  5. Hahaha!You should see these damned Suburbian concubines and their well-trained hubbies' XMas decor here. Its sick, man! Two thousand lights and a million woven starts, all flashing insanely like a twisted funhouse full of fireflies. It blinds us at night. I can't believe people spend so much money and electricity on petty shit like that.

    What happened to those officers made me soooo sad. And sad for their families. Of course the bigger companies won't donate, hon. What world do you live in? Its not financially feasible or tax deductible or whatever, so god forbid they have a heart!

    Great to see you are putting all that energy into your beads, babe. You sure are so good at it.

    xxx

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  6. Let's hope 2010 has better things in store!!!

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  7. jojo - the first part of your post put shivers through me and your picture is stunning

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