Letters to Holly

Thursday, December 16

Christmas Shopping

I scrambled through the mall, desperate to find a gift for Your Sister. I had no clue. I considered jewelry and used the constant TV ads that appeared during football games as her barometer. She wasn't having it. Said it's needless. Said she'd never get to wear it around the deputy. The first jewelery I bought her was a pair of diamond earrings. She traded them in for a wristwatch. She hadn't asked for jewelry since her last-second request for a Valentine's Day ring a few years back. She probably wants a trinket, but the commercials turn her off to the whole industry. So that's out.

I considered a Kindle/Nook, but it doesn't seem like that great a deal. The tech is eye-catching initially, but they're small and limited, and you're still paying double digits for books. There's no savings, and the machine is more fragile than a paperback and more expensive to replace. I very much like the idea of it, and I think she does too. However, I think she'd see it as a luxury. Maybe after a couple more advancements, they'll be irresistible. Besides, we didn't throw down a pile of money on bookshelves for nothing. And the final argument against buying a Kindle: Amazon gives away the software free for laptops.

I left the mall empty handed. I hoped to find the new John Mellencamp CD for her, but the mall's only record store didn't have it. I knew than that Amazon would be my lord and savior, and after about five minutes of freeform scanning, I found the gift.

It's the collected O'Brian books about Jack Aubrey, including the unfinished 21st novel. Also she'll get this:

It's an illustrations of ships from that time period. And I found that CD to give her too. Amazon saved my fish-pill-popping bacon.

Speaking of the Omega 3 pills, they make my stomach unhappy. Your Sister received a similarly solid report from the doctor yesterday. Our stats are parallel, small wonder given that we eat almost the exact same things. Her cholesterol is fine, and she will be taking none of my fish pills. Here RDW (red blood cell distribution width) was a little low, but that's not surprising. She's always cold and quick to get lightheaded. The doctor suggested that it's normal for her and possibly no cause for alarm. Considering all the junk food we eat, our overall cholesterols are strong.

Moving Picture of the Day
The first trailer for Thor, Marvel's next comic movie. Captain America follows soon after, and those will set up Avengers, with characters from the Iron Man and Hulk films.

This plot is not canon. Yes, Thor was banished from Asgard for hubris, but he was trapped in the body of a doctor with a limp working out of New York. Still, seeing big-budget Asgardian production design is cool and cool some more.

Wednesday, December 15

Take Your Medicine

Oh, sure. I could have bought the cheaper Omega 3 pill that gives me only 300 mg of magic fish essence. But the slightly more expensive pills give me 460 mg of Omega 3. Decision made. Bottle opened. Eyes widened.

These pills could derail a train. They are large-calibre bullets of oil.

The bottle suggests three pills a day, but the doctor says two will do. She shall be heeded. I've had three so far with no signs of gills yet.

It remains shockingly cold, and more things are to tumble from the sky tonight. My online weather source gave up on forecasting what we'll get and replaced "snow" or "rain" with "precipitation."

Your Sister today for her physical with the same doctor I just saw. We'll compare blood work when I get home.

I sent off my submission for the 2011 convention collector cards, but I'm skeptical that it will be used. Despite assurances that they would contact me in October to follow up on an August request for card art, I was told just last week that they had filled up all their card needs. It was suggested I could send in my submission, and they would use it if room magically appeared. This greatly displeases me. If a card is not produced, I'll make my own and distribute them where their cards are. Also, I can use the card art to make fliers. Your Sister started reading my script for the new hero comic. I'm curious how it reads in script form.

Picture of the Day
Yes, it's that cold.

Tuesday, December 14

Checking Things

This is some cold cold right here.

We tested the road conditions Monday afternoon. Your Sister needed to deposit a check, and she was feeling the pinch of cabin fever. I was in the workshop almost all day, working on office stuff through a virtual desktop. The ice was the worst on the road connecting us to the main road; the shade prevents the sun from burning away anything. But it's been scraped and sanded, and we made it down and back with no trouble in her newish Nissan, the SUV. It was a cookie-and-beer run, and I discovered my hometown microbrewery label in our grocery store. Huzzahs erupted.

I had my physical this morning, my first in more than six years. I peed, I coughed, I exhaled during the prostate check, and I wore a terrycloth skirt for the whole thing. We ran through my blood work from last Tuesday, and the only hiccup is my good cholesterol is too low, and the doctor suggested I take Omega 3 supplements. My total cholesterol is 179, a solid number despite my diet of junk and crap and fluff. Also, she told me to keep running. Everything else was solid. She said I have good genes. 

Picture of the Day
Doesn't everyone have their physical in an operating theatre?

Monday, December 13

Double Drained

I'm on the call/mail list for the local charity group that organizes blood drives, and I made an appointment for this weekend. Almost as soon as I sat down with my waiting number, I was asked what my blood type was, and a shining light appeared in the eyes of the organizer when I told him O positive. Would you consider a double donation, he asked. I've done it before, and I know it takes much longer than the usual pint. I said it depended on the time involved and was assured it would be maybe an hour. Twenty seconds later, that was an hour and fifteen minutes. I called Your Sister to see if she could spare me for two hours, and she groggily said yes. OK, I told them, hook me up.

Unlike with previous donations, I had two "yes" answers on the pre-pint checklist. I always tell them I had a heart murmur in middle school, but I had to tell them this time that, yes, I had come in contact with someone else's blood because my wife gave birth. They blew those off, and I suspect I could tell them that not only have I, say, had sex with someone who lived in Africa, I could have dug a hole in Somalia and actually had sex with the continent of Africa, and they wouldn't care. These drives have quotas, and they eye my big-veined supply of warm blood as a walking snickerdoodle.

But the apheresis machine was wonky, and they announced I'd have to wait. I wasn't keen on that, and I said so. Also, if I'm going to be hooked up to that contraption, I'd like to know what's wrong with it. Nothing major, they said. It was a problem with the displays. It had to reboot. The drive organizer backed me up here and told them I couldn't linger. I had a limited window to bleed, and I had to get to steppin.' Within 15 minutes, the machine was back up, and I was in the chair and draining. They gave me the aluminum blanket to stay warm (trivia: this is the same type of foil used to insulate the Apollo lunar module) and Tums for my tingling lips, a symptom of calcium deprivation.

I noted that the floor trembled when someone walked by, and the nurse instead suggested I was shivering. I doubt that. Still, the saline replacement for the plasma was chilled and obvious as it hit my arm. Once they had their fill, and I ate their cookies and juice before getting Starbucks for Your Sister and me.

Rumors moved through town that the Sunday snowfall was gonna come early. We zoomed to the grocery store, and there was everybody. The rumors panned out, and we got almost five inches before Sunday. Your Sister felt some cabin fever (and probably some misanthropy) and volunteered to clear the driveway. I hovered over junior. Within a half-hour, she had caught the eye of a passing freelance snowplow, and he happily scrapped our driveway clear. That left Your Sister with less to do, and she helped the neighbors shovel their pavement. They told her they were tired of clearing their steep drive, and they were selling the house. It's a nice place, but that driveway does look like a beast to shovel.

We gave the boy his first sweet potato, and he seemed to like it. I mean, he puts everything in his mouth, so I can't see him getting indignant over foodstuffs. He returned from Your Parents' Friday, and Your Mom seemed more cheerful than she's been maybe since they came back from the last trip. Maybe Your Dad talked to her.

My Mom is feeling Dad's absence again, and I wonder if she's becoming inured to the anti-depressant. It's also the holidays and she's no longer working. I want her to get out of the house, and we suggested she hang out with Your Sister and the boy every once in a while. She's keen on coming up for a holiday meal and visit with whomever can make it.

We're asking a high-school friend of mine to do our first portraits as a trio. She lives fairly close by, and we'll feed her in addition to paying her photography rate.

I'm working from home today and will spend some downtime proofing the comic script so Your Sister can read it. I think she'll dig it.

Oh, I bought a set of markers and took another pass at the holiday cards I'm sending out. Even with the snow, they should be received before Christmas.