My sweet home

We ventured up to the northern Chicago suburbs today, the part of Illinois I used to call “north Northytown” back when I actually lived in the city, to celebrate Christmas with my brother’s family. The fact that it took us nearly two months to do so should indicate just how many times we’ve had to reschedule this visit. We’re home now, but that means I spent maybe five and a half hours driving for what was probably about a five and a half hour visit, so .. I’mma go collapse into bed now.

Probably going to review Peacemaker: Season One tomorrow, but if I don’t, be it known that you should watch it.

Super Social Saturday

I had family in town today— my favorite aunt, along with her oldest son and his wife were in town from Michigan and California, respectively, and they went and picked my dad up and came over here for the day. It was a lot of fun but I am well and truly worn out from just being a human for several hours. I’m trying to beat Dandara just so I can put it to bed and figure out what I’m doing with the YouTube channel (wanna be subscriber #115? Sure you do!) in the days between this final episode going live on Monday and Elden Ring coming out on the25th, and right now I’m kinda clueless. I do know that my hands hurt because my current strategy for this utter bullshit final boss involves lots of button-mashing.

This is all a lengthy way of saying this is going to be all the blogging I have brain for today. Any cells I have left in another hour or so will be devoted to finding a couple more jobs to apply to. One of the ones I sent in an application for today has a salary range of $125-185,000, so I am denying myself nothing; if I think I’m even vaguely interested in the job, I’m applying. Not like I have anything to lose.

(There is an interesting phenomenon going on here, where I’m looking at jobs with high salaries and immediately feeling like I can’t possibly be qualified for them, and fuck that. I’ve met businesspeople. They’re people. I can be people too. Fuck it. I want a six-figure job. Give me one. I’m not letting my own bullshit hold me back here.)

On creativity, and taking showers

I’ll get to the image in a minute, don’t worry.

Also, this one’s going to be kind of stream-of-consciousness, sorry about that.

I just took a shower– yes, it’s 3:00 in the afternoon, it’s also Saturday, shut up– and while I was in the shower I was, as one does, putting together a blueprint in my head for the dedicated library that I will eventually have in the house that we don’t have yet. I am not joking when I say I have been thinking about this room for most of my life, and until I live in a house with this room, built to my specifications, I am immortal, because I plan to die in my library with my feet up and a book in my hand and simply am going to refuse to go any other way.

This isn’t about the room, specifically, but it’s what led me down the path: thick, plush burgundy carpet. Two expensive leather chairs, the type with hand-driven nailhead accents (this, roughly, but I’m picturing a slightly lighter leather) and two matching ottomans, each with a reading lamp on a chairside end table, facing a fireplace at an angle. Behind the chairs, an executive desk. Bookshelves lining the walls up to an angled ceiling with exposed beams and skylights. Behind the desk, the shelves would come into the room at 90 degree angles to the walls, too– as many nooks as the room could hold.

And above that fireplace, the piece of artwork I have pictured above. That’s a style of artwork called bunka, which is basically painting with needle and thread. While it’s done with a pattern, the entire thing was done by hand– and this one specifically was made by my grandmother. She made enough of them that she had seven children and most of her grandkids have at least one piece by her in their homes; we have two, this one (technically my uncle’s, who gave it to me for safekeeping at one point when he was moving a lot, but he’s never getting it back) and another of Scamp from Lady and the Tramp that hung in both my room and my son’s room when we were very young.

My grandmother was crafty as hell, and we all have tons of stuff that she made, ranging from those bunka pictures to ceramics to intricate Christmas ornaments made with beads and fishing line. I don’t know if she ever drew or painted with, like, actual paint— I suspect not, because if she did surely we’d have some examples around– but she must have always been making things with whatever the hell spare time she managed to find while raising seven kids.

And thinking about all of that got me wondering what my grandmother would have done if she’d had access to a 3D printer. And … man, that’s a rabbit hole. I have often lamented my lack of ability to Make Things, which honestly is probably more of a reflection of my unwillingness to spend the time learning how to Make Things, but more and more lately I’m pushing the TikTok algorithm toward showing me people who are doing art of some kind or another, whether it’s painting or sculpture or 3d art or carpenters or resin art or miniature painting or Gunpla or god those people who make like entire D&D castles and taverns and scenery sets out of styrofoam and shit, they’re amazing, or digital artwork or oh my God the cosplayers and there was a bookmaking account that I really love that went dormant on me and I really miss it. I actually bought a bunch of bookmaking supplies and managed to make a little notebook for my son, which to my great gratification he still uses and carries around with him a lot, but I’ve not yet started a second one.

Grandma just, y’know, went out and made stuff, while her grandson sits around and wonders what he could make “if he had time,” when he’s spending 20 hours a day fucking around on his phone and not raising seven kids.

I should maybe follow her example.

On things I probably didn’t see

A couple of days ago, I looked out the window in my kitchen at exactly the right time to see a bald eagle briefly perch in a tree in my back yard and then fly away again. It was there exactly long enough for me to register the brown body, the white head, and the yellow beak, and long enough to process the fact that if it was some sort of crow with a skin condition it was also the largest corvid I had ever seen by a multiple of two or three, but not long enough for me to get my phone out of my pocket and get even a blurry picture. I’ll be honest; I didn’t believe my eyes.

A few minutes of research later, I discovered that not only are there known bald eagle nests in St. Joseph County, one of the more recently discovered ones is within a few miles of my house. So … yeah. It’s actually more plausible, given where I live, that I saw an actual bald eagle in my back yard than that it was some sort of mutant crow or cosplaying hawk. I mean, it was fast, but it wasn’t that fast. They’re kind of distinctive-looking animals.

This is the place where the post takes a little bit of a turn, so brace yourself, but: as of right now we’re three days away from the two-year anniversary of my mom’s death, and … well. I’ve actually texted her number once since she died, complete with an apology if someone else had the number. It either hasn’t been reassigned or they were nice enough to not respond to me.

It has been a long time since I wanted to talk to my mom as much as I did during that moment. Mom loved birds; she’d have been over here in a flash, and she’d have camped out on my back porch, winter weather be damned, until she saw the damn eagle herself. If I were a more spiritual person, I’d construct some sort of metaphor here abut her watching over us through the bird. I don’t have it in me to allow myself that sort of comfort, unfortunately.

But damn, I wish I had a way to tell her about it.

Getting there

Well, the tree’s up— no ornaments, because there’s a kitten in the house and the tree alone is risky enough— and there’s some Christmas treats in the fridge cooling off. My wife spent the day preparing the master bath and the closet we’re about to lose for the big renovation, since demo starts Monday, and I got a spot of shopping done.

Not bad for the first day of break, eh?