Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rounding Up the Year.

To be brief, 2008 was not a bad year.
To be drawn out; Yes, quite a bit of crap happened but I must say for the most part I was able to continue to eat food, I felt loved, I had a warm house, and I have a job. I didn't lose my house. I could afford the gasoline and the overpriced rice. But for the most part I am happy and comfortable, even more so given that the tides of human attention are now turning towards the thought of renewed hope and action, when anything is possible and there's a slim chance they just might buck their usual habits and thought patterns and run free on the fields of possibility. It's good, and occasionally it bears permanent fruit from the seeds planted in these gathered days.
It was a good vacation. I got to see the niece, who is much less tiny now and a LOT more interactive. She can see you coming and react, and she seriously has the commando-crawl down pat. I told my brother if we ever encountered concertina wire in a hostile situation, we knew we could count on the niece to belly crawl and get away to freedom. All we would need to do is strap a note to her back and watch her scoot in to the jungle with our hopes and fears resting on her.
It's a funny image in my head, anyway.
It's interesting to watch someone start from scratch and figure out how to interact with what's around them. It's the unique perspective not granted to one who is in the middle of doing all of that sort of thing and doesn't have the luxury of experience or reference to analyze what's going on. Watching her crawl up to things and touch them, expecting to sense something about them, is a bit of wonder. Her laugh each time she does this stuff is also. I don't know that I've ever heard such a noise of pure joy from something before. Perhaps it's because she's being presented with something and takes it at face value. Humans after this will make happy noises, but it's with the tinge of expectations met, or surprise at not expecting something. My niece, she's just cool with anything that comes up. I should take lessons in no-mind from her. Part of me wonders how long it will be before she has judgment in her eyes when taking things in, and I'm thinking that day will be a sad one.
This was a good year. I turned 30 and didn't die, which totally caught me off guard. It wonders me bigly if others carry their thought of "I'll never get that old!" to the extent that I did. I was struck dumb with the realization, frankly. Still trying to figure out what's going on with the rest of my life after this, but I've got a good start with figuring out that what I'm in now isn't it. Enough process of elimination and it will reveal itself!
We said goodbye to our old calendar today, hanging up the lovely one with Hiroshige's block prints given to me by my mother and step-unter-jaju. Bob remembered so much, I was embarrassed to not recall it. We did a LOT. Otakon, ConnectiCon, our epic birthday trip to DC, Longwood Gardens (which I never really wrote about but certainly meant to because it was awesome). Looking back, it was an incredibly active and enjoyable year.
I made three official New Year's Resolutions, despite my general sneering regard for them. New Year's, to me, is rather arbitrary and carried only by the energy of those who believe in it. A thought is a thing, and the decision that January 1st marks new beginnings for so many does carry weight. At the same time, there's also the general idea that few people keep the resolutions. So if you're going to make them, do it for yourself and not because it's expected. For me, the new year is pretty much always going to start November 1st, so really my letting go of old habits ritual was done 2 months ago. But in the spirit of the common celebration, I decided to do it now.
Resolution 1: To be awesome and bombastic.
Resolution 2: To publish a story some time in 2009. I'm thinking more of a short story than a novel, but eh... whatever happens.
Resolution 3: To stop buying things and enjoy what I've already got. To this end, I am not purchasing anything that isn't 100% necessary (a.k.a. gasoline for the car, food) For the next 3 months. That means no new books, CDs, video games, or craft stuff. I just have to deal with what I've got and make do. The lone exception might be stuff for Valentine's Day.
We've purchased some exercise equipment that I'm looking to using. Treadmill for walking, which will be nice for when it's freezing cold and windy but I still want to walk.
Also got my hands on a crochet booklet from Japan of Sanrio/Hello Kitty patterns. I'm looking forward to working with it, and translating it as it's mostly in hiragana and very little kanji. Of note - apparently the kanji for "eye" is used to represent a loop of yarn as well as the opening in a button or bead. Kinda cool.
I'm looking forward to catching up on the last season of Lost over the long weekend here, playing more Little Big Planet (we found the greatest ocean-themed level this evening, user-created, and it was AWESOME), and drawing a bit with the super-groovy copic markers my honey got me for Xmas. More on that later.
This evening we greeted the New Year with raw oysters, a $7 bottle of twist-top champagne that was actually pretty good, and some lobster bisque from the local seafood market. A kiss and a toast at midnight also marked the occasion, and I'll be damned if Dick Clark didn't do the countdown in spite of a stroke. The man will NEVER die.
Happy 2009, folks. It'll get better. I swear it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Actual Conversation #34 ~ Wherein I have fun at work

Bryan: could you re-add one more blackberry to the server for me? It's a reactivation of pin XXXXXXX for
Helen: I can't. The server is completely full.
Bryan: this handset is already on the server - I had to wipe it
Helen: Actually, I can, no problem.
Helen: I just wanted to give a different answer than "Yeah, sure!" for once. :-)
Helen: Sorry, you were the guinea pig.
Bryan: LOL
Bryan: very funny

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Actual conversation #30-something, wherein the correlation between clowns and servers is covered.

me: Uh oh.
Robert: Hmm?
me: :(
I don't care about work today.
Robert: Uh oh.
me: I hope nothing breaks.
Robert: Hopefully! But if it does, at least hope it's interesting and exciting.
Like...clowns start coming out of the database server.
Or the Blackberries become self aware and start making fashion critiques.
me: "omg... those shoes with these pants? Are you serious? Take me off this belt. Take. Me. Off. This. Belt."
Robert: *laughs*

Friday, December 12, 2008

फ्रेय'स डे काम राउंड अगं.

A few items in my droll little existance here...

One, I borked the migration of my Trolly Girl account. Destroyed the ftp setup somehow in exporting it. You can find all of those old articles now attached in here somewhere, but hopefully if it was done right, you have to scroll back a ways to find them. In the meantime, I decided to go ahead with the Journaling RP idea, and created one for both Kaetze (who already had one tucked away in the annals of my "fiction" files) and for Krotze, my dk. We'll see how far the idea goes. Thankfully the interweb just sort of holds on to things until you get back to them.

Secondly, something I'd forgotten about but keep coming back to every few years is the Cats House out west somewhere. These wonderful people went to all the trouble of building stairways and tunnels for the cats to run around the house on. Most individuals today who try to set up something similar for their cats base it off the original design. It's neat. Unfortunately the website isn't fully up and running, but the front page gives you a neat look at the staircases that were built for it. Some day when we're not renting the place we're in, it could be fun to set something like that up for everyone. For now, though, they can make due with the wall around the kitchen, the fridge, and the top of the cabinets.

I have lost 3 lbs. I feel better about my outlook health-wise, like perhaps I won't develop diabetes and die at age 40 completely blind and inable to walk due to the strain on my knees. Not that I'm THAT big....but if you haven't seen me in a while, you're not going to be able to tell I lost the 3. *sigh* Ahh well. It's a start.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I get up on my soap box and open my mouth... enjoyedwith a side of yorkshire pudding.

Yesterday was pretty damned good. We donated money to save the trees and the bees, and I popped some seriously delicious yorkshire puddings out of the oven for eating.

Colony Collapse Disorder, and I'm going to only say this once, is immensely serious. Honey bees are a key pollinator in our agricultural industry. Not just for our food, but for all kinds of other plants, they carry around pollen and help create fruits. If one in four animals of any other species on the planet -save perhaps slugs- were to disappear, we would raise a major alarm. But not with bees, for some reason.
If flowers don't get pollinated, fruit doesn't grow. Seeds aren't created, and old plants do not get replaced. You'll hit an apex ecosystem with nothing to perpetuate it. Also, not to mention, the price of fruits and vegetables will go through the roof, as will for meat when feed costs more because, you guessed it, it's eating the foods that are pollinated by the wind and there's a shortage again.
Penn State University has a specific research program set up to study colony collapse disorder. If you haven't already, I'd encourage you to read up on the issues and make a donation if you feel you can.
As for the trees... that was done in replacement for the douglas fir that sits in our living room, magestically adorned with all sorts of shiny ornaments. It just seems if I'm going to take something that could be used for paper, soil and water retention, lumber, somebody's ~fire~, a bird's home.... I should replace it at least two-fold.
In addition, I just learned about a bill signed in to law by Congress that could potentially ruin my budding business of crocheted toys and goods. It's rather interesting how sweeping the legislation was, when the country that sinned is China but it's punishing those here. Read up if you love hand-made plushies or Etsy, it's worth your time. I've signed and donated some cash to their cause.

Aside from that? Made a kick ass meal of steamed green beans, pot roast with gravy (It came in a microwave tray, so really all I did was reheat it) and a tray of yorkshire puddings. Having only ever tried this once and only pulled it off with mixed results, I've got to say those things kicked some serious ass, and we're having them again the next time we have potroast, or perhaps turkey. Anything where gravy could be involved. I used vegetable shortening to get them piping and crispy, and I find myself sitting here craving them. It's almost ~sad~, really. So much so that I'm trying to figure out how to just make a whole bunch and eat them with gravy and that's about it. For dessert? Bread pudding, of course. ^_^

In the spirit of Xmas and eating too many sweets, I must admit I am looking forward to putting together mounds of kissy-cookies with my Mom in Ohio. It's a tradition and despite my attempts to lose weight, I will forego quite a bit to be able to bake and eat those little guys!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tyr's Day - a lot better than I thought it'd turn out, akshuly!

If you've been around in the last little bit, you know I'm getting pretty hyped about producing amigurumi plushies and general crocheted goodies.
Well, I just got word that my first commission arrived in Australia last week and is absolutely adored. My second was given to a coworker that promptly went on a tour of the building to get shown off to people.
The first commission got back to me and turned me on to a project where they're actually crocheting a coral reef. That's just awesome on so many levels... and I want to contribute, but I can't think of what to do. They've already got a seaslug. Maybe I could do a seacucumber or something simple? Or maybe I'll forget about it in a week and we'll never here about it again.

I finally got everything to work last night on the computer, Hallelujah! It chokes and sputters in the cities for some reason, but for the most part it bumbles along like a trooper and renders the colors beautifully.
I made a tremendous mistake last night, though. I was dutifully grinding along on the mage when I got bored and decided to start a death knight.
Wow. I went to bed 4 hours later. And I don't care that I'm lacking sleep, it was that much fun. It'll be damned hard not to jump on again tonight and try to play again!
There is just something immensely fun about using the force-grip on someone 30 feet away, yanking them to you, and then introducing an axe to their head. So far the only times I've died I wasn't being very careful or making good use of the runic power that was developing as I fought. In spite of this, though, I was so enthralled with the storyline and how things were set up that I didn't realize I needed to go to bed until I fell asleep in the office chair.
I really like this character. I deleted my old RP character and stole the name for this character. She shall be my new RP! With her I shall enjoy the game again, be in it for the story line alone and the sheer joy of enjoying the game. Plus the ability to force choke people is really freakin' awesome as well.
I am contemplating in the back of my little head possibly taking up journaling for Kaetze again, moving it from the old website I used to do it on to somewhere new, and throwing in Krotze as well. It would be fanfic, yeah, but it would also be an excellent RP. Seeing as I intend to RP walk with her wherever I go and in general play her up just for fun, fleshing her out with a journal and a back store (Although now that I'm thinking on it, I should change her name, as Krotze is already taken in my journals as the father of Kaetze, and that's what she's got now. Maybe she'll just be Kortze.) Not to mention that doing that will get me creatively writing a lot as well. The only real setback is figuring out how to set it up. That can probably be overcome pretty quickly, though.
With the computer drama now behind me, I can probably start diving in to Left 4 Dead with my honey, which I was hoping to do back when the damned thing first came out. I'm only, oh, a month behind now. *sigh* Hopefully we can download it and run it, playing together and blowing away super-fast zombies.
In the meantime, though, I think I'm going to open myself up to commissions with crocheting. Seems easy enough to pull off, and so far both people have been really happy. We'll see what becomes of it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Actual Conversation #33 - wherein the causes of headaches are explored

Robert: I'm trying not to take advil, but the head pain is getting back worse. It must be tied to how much I move my head because it didn't hurt almost at all til I got in the car, and it's worse now
So I took one and we'll see if that helps.
me: That seems like it's more connected to muscles and tendons than your actual head.
Robert: Yeah, I don't know anything for sure, I just hope it goes away soon.
me: kk
Sent at 9:50 AM on Tuesday
Robert: Yeah, the web is it's usual bounty of information. I seem to have a aneurysm, a toothache, neurological damage, a stroke, occipital neuralgia, and am possessed by demons.
me: <#(0_o)
Robert: Indeed
me: I can help with the demons part, but you're gonna need a dentist for the rest of that stuff.
Robert: Yeah....huh
Robert: Oh, it's also a pinched nerve...and caused by eating too many stale bakery products (I wish I was kidding)
me: When does it tell you your chi is stagnant?
Robert: I haven't gotten to that continent I guess yet.

So, yeah...this is what my Tuesday is going to be like.

Yes, people, Obama uses a Zune. Get over it. Probably because of the FM receiver, as is mentioned elsewhere, which makes it hella more convenient than an iPod.
Not that anybody gives a damn, but yours truly is still rocking her Creative Zen:M mp3 player in lime green to carry all 22 gigs of her music around, not to mention a few awesome cartoons. AND it comes with an FM tuner as well. In fact, I disliked iPods so much that I went and got a Zen: Stone at 2 gigs for only $50 with an LCD screen. It's small, efficient, well designed, and perfect for exercising! (Also lime green. It's like a little music pod that breaks away from the Zen, almost...)
And yes, I am really pleased with myself for it.
But getting back to the main issue, I'm puzzled as to why it's such a big deal. It's just an audio device. It's like if he showed up in Seattle Sonics jersey instead of a Bulls jersey. People, I guess, want someone of import and power to agree with their choices. Gives it more credence, perhaps? Who knows, and truly, who cares. He can listen to music while he exercise, and it's great that he's a bit of a technocrat like the younger generation.

In other news, this morning I won an argument by spamming someone with The Final Countdown, as portrayed in a YouTube video. It caught me so off guard that I'm still trying to figure out how that worked, but a sound logical argument did not. It boggles me...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend shenanigans

I saw two utterly disparate but equally fantastic movies this weekend, in the midst of snow and crazy winds and a Christmas tree with suicidal tendencies.
The first we watched together was Kamikaze Girls. It came highly recommended AND decried, which told me I pretty much had to get my hands on it. The people who decried it had nothing worse to say than "it was weird and I couldn't follow it", which in common parlance translates in to "There were obvious tits and explosions".
Not to paint it with so fine a brush, but that did tend to be the crowd that didn't like it, based on their spelling and grammar.
So we popped it in, and I'll admit I was hesitant, dubious and hopeful all at the same time. The different reviews I'd read had mentioned something about motorcycles, embroidery, and gosu-rori dresses. I could not reconcile in my head how all of these were going to come together and not be horrible. Thankfully, they did it for me.
It was very similar to Amelie in how it presented the story, including the shorts that looked like they came from TV to tell side stories. It was irreverant, it made fun of Japanese culture, and it was highly enjoyable. So much so, that I honestly might consider snagging a copy of it for myself to keep around. And I would definitely watch it again.
What was great was that ther ewas no chance to listen to it in English. You got Japanese with subtitles, and that was it. By listening to it that way, you got a feel for the differences in culture and education based on how they were speaking, the inflection versus the body language... ti was subtle, and nothing I think could've been picked up in an English translation.It's one of the reasons I love to watch "Hero" in Mandarin. The intonation, how they carry the language, conveys a lot of the story. The emperor is obviously more pompous and far less noble than his English-voiced counterpart.
Bob admitted he'd hesitated, too, to watch the movie thinking that we would be smote with another August Rush or some equally crappy thing we didn't want to see. But I'm happy to report that he had as much fun watching that as I did.
The other film was the Director's cut of Donnie Darko. I'm told that the original did NOT have the chapters flash up on the screen explaining what was going on, and I can't for the life of me figure out how the hell anybody made sense of the movie without it. Having never seen the original theatrical version, I'll never be able to tell you, either, because I now know the story and I'm ruined when it comes to trying to glean a meaning from a storyline. It was handed to me. Alas.
I don't know what to say about this one. The entire premise of psychosis and time-travel in regards to water and metal and Frank, who is actually already dead, sort of escape me. Especially when the movie STARTS With the end of the anomaly.
Either way, it was enjoyable and I have a feeling if I watched it a second time around that more of it would make sense now that I know what's going on. Also catch more details the first time around that were probably missed. I would watch it again if it came up on cable one weekend.
It snowed Saturday night in to Sunday morning, with lovely big flakes drifting nearly sideways in the driving winds. I snuggled up under the blankets and watched it happen. Sadly, it didn't stay long. There was only a light dusting of it left by the end of the day. I got just enough to make a good sized handful, which I then did NOT through, because I am a good girlfriend and Bob does not actually make a good target as much as he really looks like he might.
I rooted out the crap in my computer, taking out the sound card that was never fully integrated with the machine for some reason, and rolled the sound over to the motherboard. For some odd reason it sounds spectacular now, but that's probably because the drivers never were fully installed for the Diamond Stealth soundcard, so I was getting the bear minimum. I'll leave it like this and keep the sound card around for the next play machine I build. However, upon removing it and fixing the drivers for the onboard sound-card, my video card degraded noticably when trying to run WoW. SO... that did not fix the issue and the only other thing I can think of is replacing the memory at this point, as the error that popped up talked about being stuck in an endless loop waiting for resources to be freed up. I dunno, we'll see what Santa brings me, then I'll get me some new memory and crank my baby up.
In the meantime, the old laptop and the old desktop will be sporting shiny new Ubuntu OSs just as soon as I remember where I stuck the dumb CD.
We also got ourself a Xmas tree this weekend, which has me very excited. It was, unfortunately, just a bit top heavy with a slightly curved trunk. So when we got it fully decorated, it took a header that Bob just barely missed saving it from, and we had to rig it to the wall with hemp twine and a lot of complicated boy scout knots. But it's staying upright!
Another neat thing this weekend, we went to the Victor Cafe' in South Philly. It's a lovely little place where the waiters will stand up about ever 20-30 minutes on the stairs, ring a bell, then announce the aria they're going to sing... then, accompanied either by piano or piped in CD, they sing loudly and beautifully. Most are students at a school in downtown Philly that teaches opera.
On top of beautiful live music, the food there was wonderful, and I would absolutely go back there. But probably in the summer, as parking was a bit nuts. It's a row home directly on the street with no lot.
An amusing side note, we actually did manage to get a parking space about a block away, which was ridiculously close, and it was under the only tree with plum blossoms raging on it in the whole city of Philadelphia. The light pink of the flowers coupled with the snow that was falling were almost surreal in the purple-white glare of the sodium vapor streetlamps. I enjoyed it.
We took a side trip to see Pat's and Geno's, and I must say that the last time I saw that many neon lights on the outside of a building, I was in Vegas and there were strippers being advertised. We could see it from 3 blocks away. Geno's, that is. Pat's was understated with a blue and red lit up near the ordering window. The difference was amusing.
We have sworn to go back there at some point and compare the two, as they are catty-corner to each other on the intersection. Meanwhile, I'm thinking of researching opinions on who's is better and why, as well as what to order when you get to the window, and why.
It'll all be very scientific. And possibly very greasy.

Actual Conversation #32

Helen: Okay, this is fucked up.
Helen: I opened up my candybar... there were pieces of another candy bar in there with it.
Helen: It was like a mob hit.
Helen: And they dumped part of the body in with this bar.
Ben: lolololol
Helen: What's weirder is... it was a heath bar or something.
Helen: And this is a milky way.
Helen: How does that even happen??

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Epic Summary Win

The Dark Knight. All told with Team Fortress 2 kill notifications. That's freepin' brill...


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stuff I Learned before I was Really Awake.

It is only 10 am just now, and already I have been angered by people who can't do their work out in Malaysia (or rather, their American counterparts calling up and being ignorant re: lack of VPN), I have had to look up what a Tarrasque is, thanks to, and courtesy of an article on MSN, I have now learned that of the top 11 lamest blogs out there, the dullest blog in the word and The Adventures of Pat O'Neil are probably the most amusing blogs I've come across. That last item is mainly because it does not contain the self-aggrandizing, pretentious, pseudo-intellectual junk found in most blogs posted by people who think the interwebs gives a damn about their opinion. Basically like what you read here, if you read. ^_^
Anyway, that's an awful lot, and that was before I had coffee or food. So I think I'm going to be fully justified in hanging up on anybody who gives me one iota of shit for ANYTHING today.
Of course, being that an iota isn't really quantifiable given the tools available to me, that's going to be really subjective in the measuring today. (Wikipedia was no help in calculating an iota, btw.)
I have also learned in the short time of this morning, that marketing done to grandparents is done so with the notion that they are gullible, stupid, and prone to bright packaging. We were trying to find books for my family and Bob's and there's not a single one that didn't sound pandering, over-simplified, or just plain cheesy. So there's a good reason to not become one any time soon. They haven't yet figured out that the far savvier boomer generation is now in the grandparents chair.
And one last thing... if you should happen to crochet a Cthulu and bring it to work for a coworker, always make sure that they take it with them back to their own cubicle. The one that I gave to a coworker ended up in another coworker's cubicle while they were working on something, then he forgot and left it. The second coworker found it and was severaly freaked out by it. I call that good craftsmanship. ^_^
(As an aside, I was just told via IM that GM will be killing off the Hummer as a commercial vehicle as part of their proposal to the government. Thank god. Those things were only useful in Africa and don't belong in American garages.)
Now that...that is a lot of learning for only being away 4-5 hours.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Giving the Thanks-ish things.

Every year I sit down and go through a list of what I'm thankful for in my life, as do most Americans. In a moment of extreme arrogance, I'm going to float the idea that while a lot of them might be thankful for having food on the table, not a lot of them are really and truly grateful. It's expected, and expected that they'll have the means to acquire it. Food just appears in this society and is consumed, sometimes in abusively large quantities. And while I didn't set out to bitch, I guess that's where we're going with this. An attitude where there is enough food to be consumed in gluttonous amounts without using it for nourishment, without enjoying it, is an abuse of the resource. In the history of the planet it was only recently that we had the ability to produce such massive quantities of nourishment. Starving children in Africa aside, most Americans probably haven't had the priviledge of starving to be appreciative for their food. I give thanks for being in a society of such affluence that getting my hands on food is as simple as going to the gas station for a set of Twix bars. I don't have to carefully tend crops or pray the war stays away until after harvest so there's at least something in the cupboards for winter. I give thanks for being an American, and for being able to get my hands on something to feed myself. I give even more thanks that it tastes of turkey and honey-baked ham and sweet potatoes... and not ramen.
I was struck recently by the difference in two shows that had basically the same premise... get stuck away from civilization, try not to die. There was Man vs. Wild and Survivorman. And their reactions to being out in the wild were vastly different.
Where as one would talk about how starved he was, but how grateful he was for any nourishment that came his way (even if it was the most godawful tasting bug around)the other would declare everything to taste like shit and stress that he was only doing it for survival, otherwise he would never try it. Whereas one spent his time picking around for nourishment, constructing little shelters of things and generally just finding what he needed, the other went slamming through the wilderness like a child with a new baseball bat. He tore things apart, dug in to things, and generally destroyed anything he came in contact with. We had a good laugh at the second guy's expense with jokes of "Caught it, tried it, tasted of shit, raped it, left it to rot in the desert after setting its den on fire with its young still inside." Except that it really wasn't that far off. One was an American. One was an Englishman. I will leave it to you to figure out who was less the "leave only footprints" kind of guy.
But this is sort of what I mean. One man is grateful for anything that comes his way. The other...subsisting and begrudingly takes what is offered or captured. It's fucking keeping him alive, and he's talking trash about it. This sort of mentality can only come from someone who hasn't really ever been in danger of starvation a day in his life, and what's more, feels entitled to have something better. That's great to have such priviledge. But what most people don't realize is that it isn't a right, getting to have good food on your plate. It's a conjunction of national economic policy, socio-economic status, and just plain luck.
So with this little mini-tirade of mine, I'm hoping the point shines through that to be able to celebrate with a turkey and EVERY fixing that is a part of one's family tradition is amazing, and something truly worth being grateful for. I'm hoping when people say it, a good portion of them really, really mean it.
I was going to throw in something about materialism and the poor bastard that got smashed at Wal-Mart but I think the event really speaks for itself, along with all the major news outlets screaming over it right now. It doesn't needed the added weight of my two red pennies, honestly.
I'm grateful to breathe, to heat, and to receive and give hugs this year. I am grateful to have a good man in my life whom I love, and cats that come in for the cuddle the second I lay down. And I am grateful to have all the supplies I could possibly want to draw, paint, crochet, or do anything else with the arts. I'm pretty damned blessed.