kaydeefalls: nixon proffers flask (i need a goddamn drink)
I would very much like to switch over to Friendsgiving from here on out. Not that I don't love my family, because I do, but all of my local cousins (three brothers) are spawning and it's gotten insane. (I'm an only child with a very large extended family; fortunately, we're very spread out across the US, so I only see the NY/NJ contingent on the regular.) So at my parents' house upstate this year, there are thirteen adults and four children under the age of three. My parents and I are actually sleeping at a neighbor's house because there isn't enough room in their own house for us. That's how insane it is. And one cousin's wife is pregnant again, so next year there will be FIVE children UNDER THE AGE OF FOUR. This is too much, cousins. I'm not saying they have to stop breeding entirely, but could they at least take a breather between kids?

It is very nice and quiet at the neighbors' house.

All I want is to finish my goddamn Steve/Bucky fic, but my brain is too fried from all the child-wrangling. At least I can escape back home to my own apartment tomorrow afternoon. Where I will be blissfully alone. Unless my roommates are also getting back to the city early, in which case I will continue to not be alone, but at least I have my own room with a door that I can close.

Also food coma, obviously. At least we're a family of cooks, so we do eat well. And plentiful booze as well.
kaydeefalls: winters silhouette on paris street at night (another winter in a summer town)
My grandmother died tonight. Which means I've lost all three of my grandparents in a little less than three years. (The fourth died before I was born; never had a chance to think of him as Granddaddy.) I guess that's what growing up is: outliving those who came before.

Grief is weird. )
kaydeefalls: nixon proffers flask (i need a goddamn drink)
My grandmother died two hours ago. That's about two weeks more time than anyone expected her to have. Two weeks ago, her heart stopped in ICU and the hospital team resuscitated her despite her DNR request; in very traditional Dottie fashion, she had this to say about it:

"Well, I was flying, and I don't know if I was going up or if I was going down, but dammit, someone pulled me back!"

Last weekend all six of her kids made it down to Tennessee for goodbyes, and they pulled out her old martini shaker to mix her up her favorite drink. Not that she was allowed a drink, but my aunt filled the syringe the hospice staff had been using for her oral morphine allowance and filled it up with martini instead. Her eyes lit up with glee when she tasted it.

She was a salty old dame, our clan matriarch. Former WAC, wife of a hard-drinking asshole blacksmith, raised six boisterous kids on very little money, chain-smoker, cocktail hour devotee, bone-dry snarker, largely unsentimental and always called things as she saw 'em. She was never a particularly warm or cuddly grandma, but she indulged all eleven of her grandkids and loved to pull shit with us while our parents weren't looking. She made awesome homemade applesauce and mixed a mean martini.

So this drink's for you, Dottie. Give 'em hell upstairs.

ARGH.

Nov. 18th, 2011 03:59 pm
kaydeefalls: wash's dinosaurs: "curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!" (curses! foiled again!)
So my parents were in town last night, and they stayed at my place. This morning, after I'd left for work, my mother used my laptop to google my office location so that they could meet me for lunch. I had 20+ different tabs open, mostly fics I'd seen linked someplace and wanted to read but hadn't had time for yet, accumulated over several weeks(/months?). My mother knows about my fanfic habits, I really don't care what she sees open. She did the google search, then wanted to get back to whatever I'd had open to start with so as not to have interrupted anything. To find the tab I'd had open? She systematically went through and closed every. single. tab. Then couldn't figure out which page I'd been looking at anyway, so she closed Firefox entirely. And Safari, which had a set of work-related tabs open. And Word, with my performance report.

Every single fic I'd had open waiting for me? Gone. No idea where I'd found them in the first place. The one I was reading this morning I'd opened recently enough to show up in my recent history, but none of the others. Or the rec lists I was slowly working through and therefore had open tabs for. I only bookmark things I know I'm going to go back to multiple times; for short-term "oh I'll get to this later" fics, I just, y'know. Save a tab.

GODDAMNIT MOTHER.

advice!

Jul. 18th, 2011 02:38 pm
kaydeefalls: nixon proffers flask (i need a goddamn drink)
I have officially run out of good ideas for gifts for my mother, and her birthday is Friday. HELP HELP HELP. My parents are in the process of renovating their apartment, which means it's currently a complete mess and my mom does not want any more STUFF to litter it up; beyond that, my father was utterly useless in any sort of advice. I can't afford a nice gift certificate to someplace, so that's out. For Mother's Day, I got her one of those Edible Arrangements, which she LOVED, but obviously I can't do that again only two months later. But something like that, maybe? That delivers in NYC?

...or something?

Seriously, ruling out books/DVDs, I am at a complete loss here. Anyone have any suggestions?
kaydeefalls: amy&eleven in front of vincent's sunflower painting (for amy from vincent)
My grandfather was a scrawny Jewish kid from Brooklyn. His parents owned a shop. I have no idea what they sold. Penny candy was involved somehow, according to my mom's childhood memories, but that was probably just at the register. His dad was born in France, immigrated to America to avoid the Great War and wound up serving in it anyway. His mom was born in Russia. I don't know her story. Her name was Sarah. I was almost named after her, but my mom changed her mind.

My grandfather grew up really close with his older brother and their two cousins, also brothers, all in Brooklyn. One of those two cousins grew up to take on the stage name Stubby Kaye. He originated the role of Nicely Nicely Johnson in "Guys and Dolls" on Broadway. My grandfather loved to go to Broadway shows. He idolized his cousin for making it big.

My grandfather was nineteen when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He joined the Navy. He shouldn't have been allowed in because he was colorblind, but everyone taking the color test was shown the same series of images. His last name was Rakow. By the time the tester got to the Rs, my grandfather had memorized the correct answers by listening to the guys ahead of him. No one ever found out that the only color he could see clearly was red.

My grandfather was assigned to a boat in the South Pacific. I don't know what his job was, or what kind of ship it was exactly. I know it was a small boat that followed the aircraft carriers around. When pilots coming in to the carrier missed and landed in the ocean instead, my grandfather's ship would go pick them up. Because their boat was so small, they lacked a lot of the luxury amenities that the huge aircraft carriers had. When they picked up a pilot, they refused to give him back unless the carrier sent them tubs of ice cream in exchange. I think that sounds like a fair trade.

My grandfather met my grandmother at a party in Brooklyn after the war. She didn't think much of him at first. The first time he proposed to her, she rejected him. The second time it took. One of those proposals was on a carriage ride through Central Park. The other was at the top of the Empire State Building. My grandfather held her at the edge, looking down a hundred-odd stories, and said that if she didn't agree to marry him, he'd throw her off. I honestly can't remember if that was the one she accepted. I don't think it was. It makes for a good story, though.

My grandfather was a salesman. He never told me any stories about his work.

My grandfather was an amateur actor. He spent a good thirty-odd years performing in his local community theaters in Connecticut. He had the time of his life. He also loved film. After retirement, he made decent cash on the side working as a professional extra in movies. He had a list of the big name stars he'd been in the background of scenes for. But I think he loved theater best. He cried at my college graduation, and told me he was so proud and thrilled for me because I was going to make a living in the theater. My parents have always supported my choice of career; my grandfather celebrated it.

My grandfather loved to travel. Every year he chose a new country as his destination. He had a wall of framed photographs of his travels -- at least thirty or forty different countries, from Indonesia to Greece to Argentina to Kenya to the Galapagos Islands and everything in between. The only continent he never hit was Antarctica.

My grandfather died this morning, peacefully, in his sleep. He was eighty-eight years old. I should be so lucky to live half as fulfilling a life as he lead.

I love you, Grandpa. Bon voyage.
kaydeefalls: walking across the bridge, lincoln memorial at night (back to work)
I survived Tennessee, and the drivers of Tennessee and Virginia survived me. So I'm calling this one a win.

There is a car that is supposedly mine. After work today I'm supposed to drive it down to the DMV and make it officially mine. My mother is deeply concerned about the fact that I will be Driving Alone, because having survived the drives to and from Tennessee and rush hour traffic coming back into DC, clearly I will die in a ditch on the 2-mile drive to the DMV. Which, hey, given my hate-hate relationship with parallel parking, it's still a possibility.

This weekend my entire immediate family on my dad's side convened upon a house in Knoxville for my grandmother's 90th birthday. There were 25 of us. My dad and his five siblings haven't all been in the same place at the same time in over a decade, and only one of my (ten) cousins was missing. We are a large, loud clan, and I think we get worse exponentially the more of us there are. That was...yeah. Intense. Fun, but intense. SO MUCH FOOD ALL THE TIME, I will never need to eat again. And one of my cousins dragged me out to the only bar in walking distance of the hotel -- after spending all of Saturday in a car -- and got me soused on suspiciously blue drinks, which was ill-advised but fun. But holy shit I have too many cousins, it's a good thing we all live scattered across the States or we would just be getting each other hilariously drunk all the time, and my liver would be sad.

I have not really seen the internet since Friday afternoon. HI INTERNET.
kaydeefalls: kim&jeremy&dana running sports night (control room)
I have some Sports Nights icons now. I seem to be going through a textless phase of icon-making. Anyway, I think I shall use this as my directing icon, because it is the control room and Dana is kind of like a director, in a TV news sort of way. I wish I could give orders straight to my actors' ears in the middle of a play soemtimes, that's for damn sure. Anyway, last night was the first rehearsal for one of the two short plays I'm directing as part of a new works festival in June, and oh, bliss. It's been so long since I've directed my own damn show, I almost forgot how happy it makes me. I mean, first rehearsal, so some awkwardness, and getting the cast sorted out, and flying by the seat of my pants as always, but that's part of what makes it fun.

And tomorrow I'm leaving work at noonish to get on a plane and fly home for Passover, which makes me very happy indeed. I've missed NYC. Family shall be, as always, stressful and argumentative and endlessly entertaining, and there will be seder, and possibly catching up with old friends, and a day and a half off of work, and respite from the general suckiness and loneliness that has been my life in Chicago of late.

I think, secretly, the best part of moving to D.C. will be taking me that much closer to home. Not my parents, necessarily -- we get along much better when we only see each other a handful of times per year -- but I really am an East Coaster, and more specifically a New Yorker, at heart. Chicago's a great town, it's entirely possible I'll move back eventually. But it's not home.

In other news, I started reading Kushiel's Dart a couple of days ago, and I'm loving it to bits. Although every now and then it hits me that I'm reading incredibly kinky smut at work. :D
kaydeefalls: chihiro/spirit sitting on train, text "and miles to go before i sleep" (miles to go)
So, back in Chicago now. Was at parents' for almost exactly 24 hours -- I feel like I've spent more time in transit (train, airport, plane, airport, plane, car and then again in reverse) than at home. Which is probably an exaggeration, but whatever. Haven't gotten much sleep in the past two days. Thanksgiving was nice, only eleven of us this year (my dad's family is made of huge), although that still meant a full house, so I had to sleep on the couch. Just kind of reinforces how little either of my parents' places feel like "home" anymore. But it was good to hang out with my cousins and their girlfriends.

Also, first big family shindig since I started my diet-type thing, and it was interesting to realize how much my eating habits really are changing. I wasn't restraining myself at all, but I took way smaller portions than anyone else, and stopped eating when I wasn't hungry anymore, and didn't get seconds of anything. A year ago, I would've stuffed myself to bursting. It felt way more satisfying this way, oddly enough. Eh, whatever.

And one of my flights tonight had to make an emergency landing! Very exciting, in the I-wonder-if-I'm-going-to-die-today sort of way. It wasn't all that serious, really, but I've been flying since before I could walk and I'm fairly certain this is the first flight I've been on that had an actual honest-to-goodness emergency situation. The flaps malfunctioned, so there was no help reducing speed on landing, so the plane had to circle gradually lower and lower and eventually just hit the ground running, basically, and took a very, very long time to finally come to a stop. There were fire trucks waiting for us and everything, though fortunately they weren't needed. Not too scary, as emergencies go, but hey, still counts.

I've got work tomorrow, and I'm dead exhausted, so I'm probably gonna crash as soon as I finish catching up on the f-list. Happy belated turkey day!

*facepalm*

Jul. 23rd, 2007 01:54 am
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (dumbass)
And, of course, with all the Harry Potter madness, I managed to completely forget that today -- er, yesterday -- was my mother's birthday. Oops.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (glomp!)
Happy turkey day!

OMG, there are sixteen people at our Thanksgiving dinner tonight. Me, my parents, my grandmother, one aunt, two uncles, three cousins, three cousins' significant others, and my cousin's wife's parents and grandmother. And this is only a fraction of the Duncan clan, here. Clearly, I have too many relatives. And we're very much a cooking family, too (particularly my dad the amateur gourmet chef/caterer, and my cousin Thomas's girlfriend the PROFESSIONAL gourmet chef/caterer), so the kitchen is a scary, scary place right now.

But that's all right, because I can hide in my room and do B.A. research.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (so sleepy)
Back in Chicago, after spending the past week back home with the parents. They were on their best behavior due to the presence of the boyfriend, but still, PARENTS. I'm more exhausted now than I was BEFORE this vacation. I've got to meet with my uni department head tomorrow at 12:30 to talk about how I want to completely change my B.A. project (eep), but I think I won't go into work after. I need a day just to myself, to destress a bit.

And I need need NEED to get working on that [livejournal.com profile] xmmficathon fic. At least I've been thinking about it, and have some idea of what to do with it. I just need to get rid of this soul-crushing writer's block that has plagued me all summer.

But for now, methinks, bedtime.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (dumbass)
My mother's birthday was yesterday. Guess who forgot to call her? Guess who's being completely reamed out by both parents for it?

Yeah, I know, it was really dumb of me. But I've been out of it with strep and pain meds all week. I couldn't tell you today's date if you stuck a calendar in front of me and told me to point at it. And this is literally the first time in my life I've missed a single birthday, or mother's day, or father's day, or random other parent-calling holiday. And I'm sorry, I am, because yes, me stupid, I get it, and I've ordered her something from amazon.com that obviously hasn't gotten there yet, but for fuck's sake. Just cut me some slack here, please?

Fuck. I am never going to hear the end of this. Maybe I just won't go home ever again. I can't afford the plane tickets anyway.
kaydeefalls: frodo's ship disappearing into the sunset (frodo lives)
An e-mail from my mother:

I left Friday night for Connecticut and just got back last night. We moved Grandma into the Alzheimer's home, and she's doing really well. Didn't want to go, but by the next day had forgotten, of course, and was totally enjoying it. Talking to the other women (who knows what kind of conversations they have) and smiling and looking quite comfortable. It's a huge relief. Robin [her sister] and I spent two days cleaning out the house of all kinds of crap they'd collected. Filled five trash bags and barely made a dent, but things are looking much better. Grandpa's doing okay, though now that we've left I imagine he'll be a bit lonely. But he'll pull himself together.


Well. So that's that, then. This has been a long time in coming. We found out that my grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's almost five years ago, on Passover. I remember my cousin and I locked ourselves in a bathroom for half an hour, crying together. No one ever actually told Grandma her diagnosis; I don't know if she ever figured it out, or if her mind started going before she realized what was happening. My grandfather did a good job caring for her as her condition slowly deteriorated, but he's got health problems of his own, and I guess the strain just got to be too much. Almost sixty years of marriage, and it ends like this. I wonder how long she'll remember his name. I know she doesn't really remember mine, although she fakes it well. The worst part is, physically, she's in fantastic health for a woman her age. I wouldn't be surprised if she outlived her children. It's just her mind that's almost gone. What sort of a life is that? I'm relieved that this last transition for her went smoothly, but it still hurts like hell.

There are so many stories she'll never be able to tell me.

So here's a big "fuck you" to every redneck bastard who opposes stem cell research, research that could help cure or at least ameliorate this disease, because this is my grandmother, and no one should have to go through this.

hee!

May. 31st, 2005 04:20 pm
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (oscar wilde)
My grandfather is so cute. Whenever he finds the barest mention of Dublin in a magazine or paper or whatnot, he mails me the clippings.
kaydeefalls: confused!pippin asking "meh?" (meh?)
My mother, having mastered the finer intricacies of the word "meh," just sent me an e-mail demanding an explanation of "woot."

You have to know my mother to fully appreciate how ridiculous she would sound saying "woot."

Oy vey.

Nov. 6th, 2002 09:44 pm
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (countdown)
This is basically the transcript of a conversation I just had with my father (who saw The Movie twice and really liked it).

Me: I've been reading reports by people who just saw the extended version of LotR and--
Dad: Extended?
Me: Yeah, the extended version that's coming out on DVD next week! And it's half an hour longer and they said it's like a whole different movie!
Dad: That's the one you ordered? The extended one?
Me: Yes. And they said--
Dad: Did we buy this just because, or as a Christmas present?
Me: Um. Early Christmas present.
Dad: Oh, right. So you can wait 'till Christmas.
Me: *blank stare*
Dad: You're waiting for Christmas, right?
Me: *twitches* No?
Dad: Or Chanukah. Chanukah's early this year.
Me: It's COMING IN NEXT WEEK. Hence, EARLY Christmas present.
Dad: Oh.
Me: *twitches*

The only reason I'm working through my father at all is because I don't have a credit card. This was obviously a Very Bad Idea.

On another note, does anyone know whether the first midnight showing of TTT will be between the 17th and 18th or the 18th and 19th? Because. Need to know. Planning ahead. And. Yeah.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (help)
Current location: suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.

This morning I was introduced to about five trillion relatives I've a) never met before in my life and b) will likely never meet again. Blech. It wouldn't have been so bad if it was about tewnty degrees cooler. Also, one of the great disappointments of life is to be introduced to a fucking gorgeous guy, and then learn that he's your third-cousin. Bah. Fecking relatives.

Six hours of car riding. Not too bad. But I'm worried about what happens when I run out of CDs.

The University of Chicago is NOT in a pretty neighborhood. Nor is it really in Chicago (more on the outskirts). I am very disappointed. Northwestern, however, is in a fucking gorgeous neighborhood. But, alas, also not really IN in Chicago. On the bonus side, it has humongous fish. These fish could swallow ducks whole. I wonder if accidents like that ever happen. "Sorry, Mr. Duck, I thought you were a loaf of bread..." Right, that's my cue to stop thinking.

Somehow managed not to mention LotR even once all day. ...Oops. Well, I can't work on the Fic From Hell (TM), because we're staying at my parents' friend's house, and the computer is in her bedroom, and I don't want to give the poor lady a heart attack. Or be forced to answer any questions about RPS. So it goes. I'm thinking about the fic, though. Thinking about how I'm NEVER gonna get through this supposed smut scene...
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (innocent)
Current location: about 20 miles outside of Cleveland, Ohio.

We're here because some distant relation got married today. I was not invited to the ceremony. My parents were. So it goes. I don't really mind; I got about 9 hours alone in a rather nice (albeit still cheap) hotel room. Finished a book, looked over the Fic From Hell (TM), had dinner, etc.

Was allowed to order one (1) movie from hotel Pay-Per-View. I almost watched 'Ocean's Eleven.' Almost. I really intended to. I've been wanting to see that movie. I came so close.... but, no, LotR won out at the last minute.

Think of it as getting the most for your money. That's a whole extra hour of entertainment for no extra charge! So, yes. Viewing #16. ::ducks head in shame::

Notes on viewing #16 )
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (cheshire cat)
Why I like family gatherings:
1. Food. Constantly. And usually GOOD food.
2. Cousins. Who are about as nutso as I am.
3. Food.
4. Boat trips across the bay at 1 AM, led by said wacko cousins.
5. Food.
Why I don't like family gatherings:
1. The only thing I have in common with these people are my genes.
2. Guilt trip every time I visit the computer.
3. My father yelling at me for being antisocial.

Yeah. It's good to be home and alone again.

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