AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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that’s what it is

I'll tell you what love is, love is leaving for work and discovering that your best friend has left you a package for V-Day, which contains your favorite candy and Starship Troopers on DVD.  That's real love, people.

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bright stars shine on NYE

The Lucero show was great, despite the fact that I have actual injuries.  One second I was moving forward to tell some asshole to fuck off, and the next thing I knew I was on the floor with like four guys on top of me, all of whom were trying to punch the asshole I was going to tell off.  I didn't feel bad the time, but this morning I'm all bruised and I'm pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my leg.  Still, tons of fun was had by all.  No one argued or made drama (amongst my friends anyway, I'm sure there was plenty of drama at the show and the after party we went to), everyone got to do what they wanted and I think everyone is glad they made the drive to Memphis.

Now I'm watching silly romantic comedies with Hols and cursing myself for turning the heat off while we were out of town since it's fucking snowing now in Nashville.

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it’s over, bring on the new year

My family is now on their way to the airport.  They are all about quick goodbyes and no drama, although my sister started crying, which made me cry. And my mom hugged me a little too long.  Ugh, if I think about it too much I'll start crying again.

We had a pretty good visit, with minimal fighting and lecturing etc.  It was maybe a day too long of a visit, only because of my exhaustion from trying to keep them entertained though, not because they were awful or anything.

Christmas went well, I made dinner and it turned out alright: roast duck, carrots, potatoes and salad.  I'm pretty please with how the duck came out.  The carrots I made with the recipe we use at the Wash and that came out perfectly. It was a surprisingly easy/low-key event, doing all the cooking.

I believe everyone very much liked the gifts I gave.  Budgeting makes me more thoughtful and I think it worked out for me.  My parents weren't budgeting at all and got me both a new digital camera and a new laptop, which I am gleefully typing on right now.  Everything on it all works so well!  So shiny and fast and awesome.  I'm a nerd, I know, but man, nothing is really quite so happy making as a new computer.  I'm reformatting and cleaning up the old one, such as it is, to give to Jami to use basically as an internet machine.  Hopefully it has enough life left it in it to be useful to her for a bit.

The camera is a 7.1 megapixel Canon PowerShot and wow does it take great pictures for such a little guy.  I might try and get most of my jewelry photographed and up online this weekend (although I might just clean up a little then sit and stare for hours because my family's visit took a lot out of me).  I am very excited to play with though.  Also I figured out how to make it chirp like a bird instead of beep.  So cute!

David came out to dinner with my family last night which was great because a) they already know and like him and b) it took some of the pressure off me.  They came down to the Wash as I was getting off shift and ate, drank and laughed a lot.  Met everyone I work with and, I think, generally had a great time.  David gave me a little, green, carved soapstone hippo with squeazles painted on it.  It's so cute I don't even want to put it with the other hippos in the collection, I just want to carry it in my pocket all the time.

Also my aunt sent me a lovely frame with this picture of my and my cousins.  Lisa is the bride, (I'm cheek to cheek with her) and Katie and Keri are our other cousins.  I really love this picture.  I scanned it to save it and I think I'll keep the lovely framed one on my desk at work.

There's lots to say about my family's visit, our tour of Nashville, visit to Memphis, how grown up my sister is, and all but I'm so tired and I have so much else to do today (much of which includes staring off into space and pretending I have no responsibilities–right now that's very important).

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merry xmas

Gift giving went swimmingly.  Family seems happy.  I made Xmas dinner almost all by myself: roast duck, fingerling potatoes roasted with olive oil, carrots and shallots cooked in white wine, butter and thyme and salad, baby greens with almonds, blue cheese, warm poached pears and basalmic vinegar.  Mom made the salad.  It was all delicious.  Especially the carrots.  And the duck.  The skin was perfect.

I got a new digital camera for xmas, so I took pictures.  Will upload once I've actually figured the thing out. 

Tomorrow is apparently shopping day.  Only my family would decide to go shopping the day after Xmas.

Visit is, so far going very well.  Am sitting around the living room right now with the whole family watching Love Actually.   We watched A Christmas Story last night (family tradition) and Saved! earlier. Before that we walked all around Vanderbilt and Centennial park and drove all around town. And before that was breakfast and opening of presents.  Not a bad Xmas day so far.

Two days into their visit and I've only been subjected to a very teeny tiny (acceptable) bit of prying into my private life and one short lecture about my career and what I should be doing with my life.

I am so tired I can barely think of a smart thing to type.  Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.

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two left feet, two right shoes

This morning, whether we like it or not we are braving the mall.  This is utterly necessary because my dad brought two right shoes with him instead of a match pair. I refrained from actually laughing at him, because while he is hilarious, this is one of his unintentional hilarities. It is quite funny.  Though not as funny as hearing him say, in a carefully measured way, "Say, what are you talking about, Willis?"  Which makes my sister cringe and insist that he can't say it like that.  My dad in turn assures us it's the proper Scandinavian way of expressing the sentiment.  Teenageness seems to have made my sister slightly embarrassed by dad about half the time.  Which is good, I guess, since it's not 100% of the time.  Mostly she thinks he's funny too.

The big downside of going to the mall is that Dad will drive.  Even though he doesn't know his way around the city.  I will 'navigate' and my mom will 'help.'  This is extra fun because Dad is a little hard of hearing and mom just doesn't listen and thinks she's knows something, but doesn't so often gives incorrect directions. At the most crucial point my my sister will interrupt to tell us we are all annoying, and cause Dad to miss an important instruction and make, most likely, an illegal u-turn and starting the whole process all over again. I know the way, where we are going, which lane to be in etc.  but no driving for me, presumably because I am not The Dad.  Maybe I can change all that on this trip since I guarantee Dad won't like Nashville drivers.

Am generally looking forward to their visit.  I expect to spend the whole day shopping.  Hopefully that will divert from the other stuff.  Mom is already making pointed comments about people with southern accents (Ma, we are IN the South) and Dad is complaining about wine prices (Pop, it's room service is a $200 a night hotel, of course there's a mark up).

Now, I am off to Jami's to shower.  Luckily the plumber is here now, so hopefully I will have my own hot water soon.  And bless the plumber for coming, I wish I had a present for him.

Merry Christmas to those celebrating.  I hope you have at least a little joy in your hearts.  I have a lot so I'll share if you need.

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the waiting IS the hardest part

My family's flight is still delayed in St. Louis. Ugh.  My sister was complaining on the phone, my dad says the airport there is so nice he doesn't mind staying, in fact he might just move there.  To the airport.  Yeah, I don't know either.

So everything is ready for their impending arrival, and I'm just puttering around the empty house, waiting.

My cousin Joe called me.  The whole rest of my family is at his parent's house right now drinking and being rowdy.  My aunt got the leg lamp from A Christmas Story in the family gift exchange.  She asked me if I thought she was going to hell for putting it in the Nativity. I love my family. Really a lot.

My sister just texted to tell me they made it on to a plane, but the plane has been sitting on the runway for 30 minutes and they don't know why. Ugh.  At least they are on a plane.  That makes it less likely that they will not be spending the night in St. Louis.

Here are pictures of my Shrinky Dinks from today.  The first is pre-shrinking, though unfortunately that one didn't turn out (I didn't heat it long enough and when I went to seal it the art smudged. Boo.)  The second one didn't smudge but was all warped.  I liked it anyway and I know the recipient will too (Dinos in love!) The second came out better, it's a Victorian pattern drawn on the front, shrunk, and then the back was painted red.  It actually looks really cool in real life.  Neither photographed very well.  I am very happy with my tiny dinosaurs though.  They are cute as can be.

The Shrinky Dink learning curve isn't very big, so I expect to be making some damn groovy stuff out of it soon. I have an awesome idea for charm bracelets, we'll see how it goes.  I'd go to the craft store right now if it was open.  Would definitely be better than just sitting around here.

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because it isn’t a holiday without some disaster

So we got up today to finish cleaning the house for the impeding arrival of my parents and discovered that we had no hot water. One sad call to the landlord later and it looks like we are getting a new hot water heater tomorrow.  But really? On a Sunday is bad enough, the day before Xmas eve is even worse.  So luckily my parents are staying in a hotel and I can shower at Jami's.  But UGH.

The house is clean.  I was crafty all day mostly finished the rest of the presents I had to make. My new crafting venture? Shrinky Dinks!!  Yes, you heard me.  Most awesome necklace pendants ever.  Oh yes there will be pictures!!

Now off to take miss Hols to port of air, make hotel reservations for New Year's and go meet my folks.

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