kelliem: juncoes & a cardinal (snowbirds)
2013-11-22 08:58 am

Nature

Every morning before I go to work I put out my bird feeder, scatter seed for the ground feeders, and fill up the bird bath if it needs it. It snowed yesterday, and was extremely cold last night, but the bird bath has a temperature-activated heater so it stays ice-free. It has a sand-coated finish that's a dull brownish-gray, and when I went out to fill it this morning, I did not even realize at first that there was a little brownish-gray sparrow just sitting on the edge of it. She was the exact same color as the bird bath so she was hard to notice. If she hadn't startled a little when I started pouring in the water, I would probably not have seen her at all.

She didn't fly away but continued to sit there as I finished filling the bath, which made me suspect that she's ill or injured and the warmth of the heated bath helped her make it through the night. I didn't want to scare her so I moved slowly and put up the feeder, and as soon as it was up, she immediately flew up and started eating. Made me feel good that I was helping her. I hope she makes it.
kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (Default)
2013-10-25 09:44 pm

A mystery!

Thank you to the anonymous person who sent me goodies off my Amazon wishlist!  Very much appreciated!
kelliem: House 4/ rubber glove (bend over)
2013-10-22 02:03 pm

Life this year...

It's been a long time since I posted, so brace yourself, this is gonna be tl;dr - I won’t blame anyone for not reading on!

This year has been too eventful.  You all probably remember that in July, our old housemate committed suicide in her room in our house.  I am still angry and upset about this and though I try not to think about it, I sometimes randomly flash back to hearing the shot, and smelling the gunpowder, and feeling the dread of knowing what I would find when I went downstairs.  It’s not fun.  She was a major hoarder, and we had to clean out massive amounts of her stuff from her basement room (quite large) and her half of the garage (and as we later discovered, OUR half of the garage too).  We filled up (to the brim!) *two* huge twenty-yard roll-off dumpsters with crap, and also donated a bunch of stuff to charities. Her family helped with much of that, which was good, but I still resent having had to do it at all. 

As part of getting the old housemate’s space ready for a new tenant, our landlord decided to recarpet not only the basement, but the main level of the house as well, which meant we needed to get all of our stuff out of that level. We decided while we were at it that we’d get one of those roll-off dumpsters for ourselves and get rid of a bunch of stuff we never use, and also clean out our half of the garage. That’s when we discovered how much of her stuff was actually hiding on our side of the garage, so at least half that dumpster got used to dispose of more of the housemate’s stuff, though the rest was ours.  It was a good thing to do, and I’m happy we did it, but it was a lot of work.

Read more... )
kelliem: Riku-kitty w/ tongue out (bleah)
2013-08-24 05:50 pm
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Long three days

OMG, so. frakkin. tired. In the past three days we have filled up a 20 cubic yard rolloff with *stuff*. Probably about half of it belonged to the former housemate- stuff that got missed when the family was here either because she had stealthily put it on our side of the garage (30 year old scuba gear, mouse-shredded tents, ancient skis, a bike, boxes of dishes...) or it was stuff we told them we would deal with like all her out-of-date food.

The rest was ours- stuff that we just never used any more, or it was something we'd replaced and we couldn't quite bring ourselves to pitch it because surely someone could use it. And lots of empty boxes we saved because 'we might need it someday', etc., etc., We've also been totally ruthless with books, I have boxes and boxes of books I have accumulated over the years but haven't read in ages. They will probably go to Goodwill or ARC because I can't bring myself to throw books away.

Once we had the garage all cleaned of 'stuff' we had to sweep out the all the utterly revolting mouse turds that were everywhere in the garage. We've both had to use our asthma inhalers several times, and Kham had a really bad attack. I'm feeling a bit paranoid about hantavirus right now.

We still have a bit more to do tomorrow to get the furniture completely cleared off and ready to move Monday morning so the new carpet can be installed. But I think the amount we've already done is amazing! I am feeling very proud of us, especially since between the two of us we might comprise 3/4ths of a healthy person. My ex did help some today for a couple of hours, helping us get the heaviest stuff into the rolloff.
kelliem: Kitty hi (hi)
2013-07-27 07:57 pm
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Tour de Cure

The Tour de Cure is a series of fundraising cycling events held in 44 states nationwide to benefit the American Diabetes Association. The Tour is a ride, not a race, with routes designed for everyone from the occasional rider to the experienced cyclist. My brother is a diabetic and he is also riding in our local event.  I'm sponsoring him in memory of Betty Burch (aka Bluster) who some of you remember, and who we lost to diabetes.  If any of you would like to sponsor him too, either for Bluster or anyone else, here's a link to his TdC page.
kelliem: aurora borealis (skylight)
2013-07-14 06:54 pm
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Sunday update

For some reason I thought it was Monday most of the day today, only to find out it is only Sunday. Don't know if that is good or bad. ;) The former housemate's family (13 of them in total) came into town and worked like demons all weekend and now Amanda's things are about 98% gone, what's left will be going to my brother and SIL's church rummage sale.We filled up TWO twenty-yard roll-off dumpsters with her stuff - much of it was just gross- dirty and unsalvageable, though we did send a lot of books to Goodwill and our used bookstore, and filled a couple of long garage shelves with stuff for my brother and SIL's church sale, including hundreds of unopened brand new DVDs - many with duplicates since in the mess she couldn't tell that she already had a copy so she would buy another one. :/  The landlord is going to need to hire professional cleaners to finish up down there - bugs, spiders, mice.  Ew.

She listed me in the will to receive 1/6th of her total estate once it's figured out.  Probably won't be a lot, but it was touching that she considered me equal to her blood siblings. She lived with us for 23 years, and was like a sister.  Her family were all really nice people. Too bad we had to meet under these these circumstances.

kelliem: dandelion (ephemeral)
2013-07-12 09:42 pm
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Update

Ten of the former housemate's family came in last night, and we spent the day sorting and throwing stuff away. We filled one dumpster (full size, not a small one) to the brim, had it taken away and a new one delivered. O.o Also took several loads to Goodwill and the Salvation Army, and set aside a bunch of stuff for the rummage sale my brother and SIL's church holds every summer. Her family did most of the work, thank goodness. They will be back tomorrow to continue, along with 3 more relatives to help. I'm so grateful for all the help- the idea of tackling it alone was daunting! Her family is a really good group of people.

Her family has found something like a year's worth of unopened prescriptions down in her room. So that makes it even longer than we'd already discovered that she had been off her meds and only using pot. x.X  Things makes so much more sense now. Also makes more sense why she was so weird during her brief stint in committment a few months ago -- she went from being on no meds except pot to double what she was supposed to be taking but wasn't.

Our kitties were incredibly unhappy when we let them out after her family's left for the night.  (We had to lock them upstairs all day) Then they seriously WTF-ed at her living room area being half clean. Poor boys. I feel bad we have to do it again tomorrow. We did have them in more than just the bathroom (where their water is, also brought their food up) but Riku being a brat pushed one of my window screens out. (The bathroom connects to my room via a second door.) We discovered he'd climbed down a pine tree and come in the front door that was wide open, which none of us noticed somehow o.O, and went upstairs to lay on his heating pad. Sora in the meantime had been hiding under my bed. "AHH, THUNDER. AHH, RIKU WENT -OUT THERRREEE-"
kelliem: tree & lawn (green)
2013-07-10 12:40 pm

Progress

Thanks for your good thoughts and prayers, everyone. We're doing ok.  I think in many ways we had already mourned her - she hadn't been the person we remembered in a long time.

Things are progressing- the 'crime scene cleaner' was here last night and took all the contaminated stuff, which was a relief. It was really weird being in the house and knowing it was down there. The housemate's family is flying in this weekend to clean out her areas and pick up her ashes. They are not having a service, but we may go up to a lovely park in the mountains that she liked and remember her the way she was before mental illness got the best of her.
kelliem: White lily (calm)
2013-07-08 02:56 pm

Coping

I finally got a call from one of the housemate's sisters this morning- apparently they were not even notified until today! It's a big relief to know that they have her will and are planning to fly out and help us with cleaning out her stuff. In the past few years she'd turned into kind of a hoarder so it's not going to be easy. Also, the landlord is being incredibly great and is going to hire one of those specialized cleanup services to deal with the worst of the suicide aftermath. They're probably going to come out tomorrow. I did tell him we should wait on other cleaning until her family is able to come out and he agreed.

Even though I know in my head that it's okay to be angry, it still feels vaguely wrong emotionally.  But I'm trying to just let myself feel what I feel and not try to 'block' any of it, because that isn't healthy :/

I also have a call in to her therapist and I'm going to let them know how badly I think Kaiser failed her.  They kept switching her therapists and psychiatrists so she didn't have any stability of care. And when they committed her back in late January/early February they let her out much too quickly (less than 2 full days!), she needed a much longer term in-patient commitment.  They just didn't want to deal with her or the expense, I think.

Thank you all for your kindness and support, it really helps.
kelliem: aurora borealis (skylight)
2013-07-07 02:06 am

Bad Night

Our housemate committed suicide tonight. The cops & coroner just finished up and left. She'd been talking about doing it for so long we didn't really think she would do it, but when I heard that shot, I knew instantly what it was. I feel a weird combination of sad, angry, and weirdly relieved, and a bit worried about how we will cope with the expenses associated with this. We don't really know yet what's next - the coroner's office needs to contact her family before we can figure out what arrangements to make.

She broke the one promise I made her make to me years ago - that she would not make me be the person to find her if she did kill herself. From what the coroner said, it seems like she had not been taking her medications - she said the found a huge number of unopened prescriptions.
kelliem: Illya and Napoleon (eyes)
2013-06-27 08:43 am
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Heh

Y'know that very poppy song "Ula Ula" on the Target commercials? It's performed by an Argentinian group called Illya Kuryaki & the Valderramas. I am highly amused. ;D
kelliem: = sign (Equality)
2013-06-26 08:57 am
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WOOT!

DOMA8

Fan-Freaking-Tastic!!

As George Takei said: "Today marks a watershed moment in history and a tremendous victory for the principle of equality. The 5-4 decision by our Supreme Court striking down DOMA affirms the universality of love--the desire of all people not only to find, but to value and affirm, a lifelong commitment to another person."
kelliem: can of spam (spam)
2013-06-24 12:11 pm
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Miscellany

I don't know where this originated (I got it from [personal profile] aukestrel but she didn't make it), but it needs to be disseminated as widely as possible:
commonly misused homophones


Also, had an amazing example of great customer service recently.  A couple of years ago I bought a really nice, expensive squirrel-resistant copper cage bird feeder.  Over time (and a bear attack) one of the tension clips that holds the lid of the tube down went missing and the other one lost its tension so the lid was no longer secure and the squirrels could get the lid off, and they did, and they chewed up the tube and kept stealing seed.  I emailed the manufacturer, WoodLink and asked if they sold replacement tubes and clips.  They wrote me back and said they didn't sell a replacement tube but they did sell the clips, and they said they'd send me a replacement free of charge if I sent my address.  A few days later, this HUGE box shows up on my doorstep.  I wasn't expecting anything (other than the small clips) so I was puzzled, but upon opening the box, I discovered not just replacement clips, but an entire replacement bird feeder!  O.o  Wow.  I was NOT expecting that!  Below the cut is a pic of my old feeder (festooned with bird poop and lid held down with some pieces of wire) and my pretty new replacement.  Pic below cut )

Oh, and I finally caved and got on Facebook.  And Pinterest. 


kelliem: old-skool TV (tv)
2013-06-17 03:52 pm

Dear TV programming executives

There are actually SEVEN nights in a week.  You do not have to put ALL your interesting programming on Monday night.

Yours;

Not Enough DVR Slots. 
kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (Default)
2013-05-22 11:55 am
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Costume Con - in brief

Had a very fun but tiring weekend.  Saw a TON of people I haven't seen in decades. I mean that.  And saw some absolutely amazing costumes. The Dealer's Room was extremely dangerous- however as I was broke, it wasn't too hard to avoid buying anything.  Eventually I want to get a new corset from the fabulous corsetier that was selling at the con, but must save up $$$ for that. They have a great proprietary fabric in several shades which features gears, perfect for your steampunk needs. :)

Two pix, one of me in my new 'rustic' steampunk:

Drucilla Farnsworth, Explorer

Not entirely happy with the color scheme. In person the corset looks decidedly less yellow- it's a cross-dyed blue and gold- kind of iridescent but it photographs yellow. Bleah.  The gray over-skirt doesn't look as good with the rest of the outfit as I had hoped, so I will probably make a new one in brown. Also, must do another holster as the one from my dressy steampunk is wayy too bright for this outfit.

The other photo is Kham as Mab, the Winter Queen from Jim Butcher's 'Dresden Files' novels.  This costume came out GORGEOUS!  I swear she got stopped every five minutes for pix. 

Mab, the Winter Queen

This photo's a professional one done by an outfit called "FantaScenes" who take green-screen photos and then insert the appropriate background of your choice. The color of the dress is a bit dark in the picture, you can't really tell what a fantastic royal purple it is. Check out their Facebook for a few more photos from the Con, including the absolutely AMAZING Darth Maul Cyborg and the gorgeous Moondragon.

kelliem: Spring crocuses (spring)
2013-05-17 10:05 am

Costume Con

I should have posted about this before- in case any of you will be there.  This weekend is Costume Con 31 and since it's in Denver this year, I couldn't not go.  I've spent the last several weeks working on a new Steampunk costume, a more 'rustic' one that I can wear several different ways for variety.  It involved making about 8 yards of 1.5" pleated trim for the skirt, which just about killed me, but it turned out really well.  I'm also re-wearing an old Lwaxana Troi costume which I wore at the *last* Costume Con I attended- which was CC10 waaay back in 1992.   I have also been helping the Kham with some hand sewing (trim) on a gorgeous Queen Mab from Jim Butcher's "The Dresden Files" novels. It may be the single most expensive costume we've ever made - high quality royal purple velvet, iridescent embroidered & beaded trim, iridescent chiffon lining (for the sleeves), and Swarovski crystals  (the fabric and trim were bought at the amazing Allyns Bridal & Millinery in Denver) I'll try to get some pix of us.


kelliem: blue stairs (possibilities)
2013-03-14 11:26 am
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Tour de force?

Oh, wow. Patrick and Ian on Broadway. Man, I would LOVE to see that!!
kelliem: DS: RayK & Fraser (bf-kellie)
2013-03-13 03:27 pm
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Goldurnit!

So, I missed the 11th of March!! Argh. Stupid Norovirus. Grrr.

I'm gonna post it anyway.

They have called this day the Eleventh of March! And whomsoever of you gets through this day, unless you are shot in the head or somehow slain, you will stand at tiptoe when e'er you hear the name again, and you will get excited at the name March the Eleventh!

We happy few, we few, we band of brothers. Our names will be as like household names. And those who are not here, be they sleeping or doing something else, they will feel themselves... sort of crappy. Because they are not here to... to join the fight, on this day, the Eleventh of March!
kelliem: juncoes & a cardinal (snowbirds)
2013-02-15 01:40 pm
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Counting Crows, and everything else!

It's time for the annual Great Backyard Bird Count!

February 15-18

The GBBC is a cool citizen-science effort where tens of thousands of bird watchers from around the world get outside (or even just look out their windows!) and start counting the birds in their communities to help inform scientists and conservationists on how best to protect bird populations. It takes as little as 15 minutes, or you can count all weekend long. And it's fun. If you're unsure about identifying birds, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology has a fabulous online reference site. In past years the counters were limited to North America but I believe this year they have gone global.
kelliem: SGA Radek headdesk (d'oh)
2013-02-11 03:37 pm
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How to clear the bench



Hee!

(Ok, why is it that it works fine when I view it on my own journal but it looks like a different video entirely is embedded when I look at it on my flist?) It's this: http://youtu.be/fAVeAjPzGxE