It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas

The insomnia came back last night for some reason, but I don’t feel exhausted this morning or tired, just like I could have gladly stayed in bed for another week or so. But it is what it is. Yesterday was a pretty good day, all around. I managed to get some more work done on the book again, and was able to do some relaxing last evening. I was tired by the time I had done a load of dishes, so I simply repaired to my easy chair for the evening, doom scrolling on social media with my iPad or reading some history of queer rep on television in The Prime Time Closet, which I think I’ve already read before, years ago–but it’s interesting to look at how we’ve been portrayed on television over the years, especially when televisions stations or religious bigots protested our inclusion.

It really is amazing how much progress we’ve made during my lifetime, even if we are still under constant attack from bigots.

I doubt homophobia and its evil twin transphobia will go away before I die, alas.

I hate being so busy and single-minded during Christmas, which makes it kind of hard to enjoy the holidays. Paul and I have decided to get a new refrigerator as a gift to ourselves–ours is on its last legs. I kind of want one with the freezer on the bottom, since bending down is getting to be an issue for me, but they are ridiculously expensive; even the ones that have side-by-side freezer/refrigerator compartments. But it will be nice to have one that works properly and seals properly when you shut the door, so I am going to take that as a win. The most important thing is having one that works, not getting the specific kind that I want. (I’d love to have one like my mom’s, but Jesus, those are expensive.)

I’m not going to have the time to do cards this year, either, which is unfortunate. Well, maybe. I don’t know. We’re going to Costco this weekend, so maybe I can get some cards there and take care of them over the weekend (again, no college football; I need to do a lot of writing this weekend). Hopefully I can get a lot done this weekend. It’s amazing what a difference no college football on Saturdays can make to my time availability. Anyway, I hope that I’ll be able to find some time to take, at the very least, a walk around my neighborhood to take pictures of the decorations for everyone to enjoy; New Orleans really does Christmas right. One of the reasons I set Royal Street Reveillon during the holidays was precisely because I wanted to write about Christmas in New Orleans–it may not be white, but it’s definitely Christmas down here once Thanksgiving has passed. The weather has remained oddly all right–lows in the 60’s, which is why I think my sinuses have been so out of control lately; the damp and mist and fog wreak havoc on them. I am also not sure what we’re going to do for Christmas day itself. I may drive out to Metairie to get a pizza from That’s Amore (the best deep dish pizza in the New Orleans metropolitan area); I don’t know. I could also order a turkey dinner from either the Fresh Market or Rouses, too. Decisions, decisions.

Apparently, we’re in a severe weather alert with the possibility of flooding through tomorrow night. That should make running my errands after work today rather interesting, don’t you think? New Orleans weather is so much a part of the city that not writing about the weather would be absurd. (That Elmore Leonard advice about not writing the weather, or opening with the weather? I break it all the time. Sorry, Mr. Leonard, but you cannot write about New Orleans and not write about the weather because it impacts everything here.) Imagine writing about New Orleans and not mentioning the heat and humidity, or talking about the torrential, street flooding thunderstorms that make you think you live in a tropical rain forest? Ah, well, I can just pay attention to the weather and in a worst case scenario, can run the errands tomorrow. I just have to mail something as well as pick up the mail, so there’s really not much of a rush for either, frankly. I am not expecting anything in the mail and Paul hasn’t said anything about any packages coming for him, so if it’s nasty today, I can skip it. I also have to wonder how the weather will affect the no-show rate with my clients. AH, well, it’s not like I don’t have plenty of work to do if we do have a high no-show rate today.

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. May your Tuesday be happy and joyous and fabulous, Constant Reader.

Both of Us

Well, it’s Saturday morning, how are you all doing out there? I am doing well–I cannot believe how much better I’ve been sleeping lately; I almost feel completely rested for the first time in I don’t know how long–and there’s no LSU game today. You know what that means, don’t you? That means a day to clean and write and get things done as much as humanly possible. I may even clean the windows this morning–crazier things have happened, of course, but there you go.

I made it to the gym for my third workout of the week last evening, and it was the first time I’ve gone where it was dark when I set out for the place and even darker when I walked home. There was an unusual occurrence as I walked there–I actually got cat-called by a woman in a car as she drove by while I waited on the corner for her to pass. It completely caught me off guard–and trust me, it’s been a very long time since anything like that has happened to me. As I said, it was a very pleasant surprise but I also don’t think it served as an indicator of dramatic changes and improvements to my body in the two weeks since I returned to the gym, but I will say I’ve noticed that my muscles are being kick-started up again to look better than they have been–taut rather than slack, if anything. When I was a trainer I always used to tell my clients that once you’ve built a good, strong muscular base that it’s much easier to get back to that after some time away from the weights–I did notice the other night while doing my bicep curls that my arms looked better, and the definition was coming back, which was lovely. The trick is going to be my storage of excess body fat around my middle, which, coupled with my enormous ribcage, tends to make me upper body barrel-shaped–and my narrow hips and pelvic girdle always ends up looking–because of the barrel shape–like I have no ass, which I absolutely hate and despise. And yes, while the entire point of going back to the gym is to be healthier, lower my cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce my body fat percentage, the side effect of looking better physically certainly is working as a motivator–perhaps not as strong of one as back in the day, when I wanted to run around gay bars shirtless and attracting flirtatious attention, but it is a motivating factor.

I’m also enjoying wandering around the neighborhood on my walks to and from the gym; getting to know the neighborhood better that I’ve lived in for the better part of the last twenty-four years or so. There’s an absolutely fascinating house on Camp Street, hidden behind a church, that has its entire first floor porch (or gallery, or balcony; whatever you want to call it) hidden from the street and the sidewalk by a massive, thick hedge that reaches all the way up to the second floor balcony; it’s so thick you literally cannot even see that the lower floor porch/gallery is even there. Anyone sitting there is completely hidden from the sidewalk. Likewise, the gorgeous house on Coliseum Square owned by the actress Jennifer Coolidge is similar; the back yard and its fence is completely hidden by a towering, thick hedge and trees and enormous elephant ferns–so sitting in the back yard you would feel like you were sitting in a forest clearing rather than in the heart of a city, which is a very cool effect.

We are very much enjoying the second season of The Mandalorian, to the point where I honestly think the smartest thing Disney–and Lucasfilm–could have done was do these “meanwhile, somewhere else in the galaxy” movies and series to flesh out the skeletal structure of the universe as laid out in the Skywalker stories rather than continue the sad, twisted melodrama of the Skywalkers. I rather enjoyed the final trilogy when I saw them in the theater, and of the three films The Force Awakens is probably the strongest–it’s also the only one I’ve been able to watch more than twice. The more I watch The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker the more flawed the films seem; although I will argue The Last Jedi is not as bad a film as the fanboys screamed to the ends of the known universe it was. I think they listened too much to the fan complaints and thus rejiggered the script of the final film to the point where groundwork laid in the second was completely ignored or totally betrayed by the third. But The Mandalorian is quite marvelous, and it’s the highlight of our Fridays every week,

We are also watching The Murders at White House Farm on HBO MAX, which is quite good. Based on a true story about the mass murder of a family–in which it was originally thought the mentally ill daughter murdered her parents, her twin sons, and then herself–it’s remarkably well written and well-acted; the story also hinges on a chief inspector who simply accepts the evidence at face value and asks no questions, preferring to close the case as it seems without looking any deeper. This is a problem with police investigations, which we have seen, time and again, in true crime documentaries and books and weekly series: the police tend to come up with a theory of the crime and look only for evidence that supports that theory, even if it means ignoring other evidence that contradicts their theory. This should scare everyone, as it is a terrible flaw in police investigating; they are not necessarily looking for the truth and the actual criminal as they are looking for someone they can convict in court, regardless of whether they committed the crime or not.

If you don’t think that’s a serious problem for our justice system–although this series takes place in the UK, the statement still holds—then I don’t know what to tell you other than I hope it never happens to you.

I also hope to find some time–around the cleaning, writing, and organizing–to finish reading Westlake’s The Hot Rock. I also landed a copy of Lawrence Block’s first Burglar book–Burglars Can’t Be Choosers–and I am looking forward to being immersed in that. I’ve read one of his burglar novels before–I think it was The Burglar in the Library–and really liked it, so it only makes sense that if I intend to read the entire series I would go back to the very beginning. I should also get back to reading Elmore Leonard; it’s been years since I read anything of his and I know I greatly enjoyed the ones I did read (although I disagree with his writing advice that you should never start a novel or story by talking about the weather; I do it all the time. But then again, in New Orleans the weather is a very important part of the fabric of the city).

I also want to get some work done on short stories this weekend. I really do need to prioritize the novel, though. Decisions, decisions–there is so little time in which to get everything done (as well as have the necessary down time) that it will undoubtedly make me quite mad by the end of the year, when the book is finally due.

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines for the day. Have a lovely Saturday, Constant Reader, and perhaps today will see the end of the election.