Monday, December 31, 2012

Going Out

Can I get a list of the books I read in 2012 from Goodreads? Yes, but not a text list of titles, authors and dates which is what I wanted to paste here. 68 books finished makes me happy, it seems a good meaty number. I should acknowledge that seven of those were unfinished, books I gave up on. Twenty five or so were mysteries. There were some re-reads. Disclaimers finished, I am proud of having read so much this year. Onward to good reading! Wishing you the discovery of funny, poignant, heart pounding text in the new year.

I have put my photocopied knitting pattern somewhere safe. So safe I cannot find it. I would like to knit something before February and argh. Tiny cardigans are cute, so cute. But here's what a one to three month old does not need: a cardigan. I will do a baby blanket instead. Back to ravelry.
Impulse control? Well five dollars later I am the proud owner of this beautiful pattern. Which includes instructions for twisted stitches that alarm me. Don't care, proceeding onward with all speed. May go look for yarn at lunch time.

Snow has started. Lovely thick falling snow. Mm. We adults are all slightly unwell. I had a sore throat start after I selflessly went to the grocery store yesterday afternoon. I craved sweets to soothe it but was disappointed in the taffy that I bought. The red and white pieces that I hoped were peppermint flavored turned out to be "cherry" or something equally insipid. I repaired to the couch and watched hours of football and that seemed to help because I felt better by evening. My bedtime remains absurdly early. Hibernation in action! I started doing some stretches and pushups again this morning because #(@$as!_ if it's not time to move the large muscle groups. Grumble grumble. Otherwise the hibernating will result in a fat layer larger than I had planned.

We watched The Amazing Spiderman movie over the weekend. We adults liked it better than we expected. Andrew Garfield was as good as reported. I like the Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi movie from 2002 but that villain is not handled well. This one did better with actual motivation. The ambiguity of the vigilante crime-fighter's relationship with the police was more nuanced than I expected. Emma Stone's role was thankless, of course. I think Kirsten Dunst got to have more fun as Mary Jane. More screamy *and* more angsty. Emma was watchable and agreeably knowing. She did not convince me she was a h.s. senior. Garfield was more plausible there. We are now watching a Phineas and Ferb dvd. As much as I like them I may have had enough already.

A new year's present if you, like I, have not previously been to the Book Snob blog. Lots to love in her writing about wonderful books.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

There and Back Again

No dragon to see, just the rigors of air travel during Christmas week. Am not recovered yet. Best part was sun and warm temps for most of our visit. Pedernales Falls State Park on Christmas day was beautiful. The icy wind had picked up that afternoon but it was still sheltered enough at the bottom of the canyon to be fun. I could whinge about my mother-in-law but I'd need to defend her too and that's tedious times two. I'm sorry we didn't get to see her new church but we were warned that their Christmas eve service is so in demand that they cut off entrance to the building after the fire code capacity is reached. A certain number can fit in the sanctuary, the rest go to the attached school gym and they start the service as soon as they've filled all those seats. Admirably efficient and entirely to be avoided. We all ate as many tacos as we could comfortably fit. Even Bun, who prefers to eat every food separately, found a favorite: bacon and egg breakfast tacos. We all got a little depressed about leaving the good tortillas behind us. The girls and their grandmother did a lot of Smurf Village management. I am thankful that I was not required to supervise any smurfs during my holiday.

I was just reading a post by someone who always feels bright and shiny on the day after Christmas. It feels like a new world she said. I am glad someone can feel that way. I am more likely to feel jaded if not actually hungover. Christmas clutter is different than every day clutter but still... I felt so glad to be home last night. Once we were in the house my eyelids were headed south. I only made it to 9pm which is a good thing since I needed to hit the grocery store before I went to work. The cat is in fine fettle and it's gratifying to see how excited she is at our return.

Listening to NPR this morning I remembered that it's the silly season between the holidays. A cocktail historian was urging us to revive a cocktail that is multiple liqueurs poured in distinct layers and sipped one at a time through a gold or silver straw. Oh please. There is room in my life for a good strong cocktail now and again but not for a sucking ritual. I'm not learning the Japanese tea ceremony either.

My MIL has offered to get both her sons' families together in August in some location to be chosen by the oldest grandchild. Apparently southern Italy and the Grand Canyon are in the running. I will send some brainwaves to my nephew about Scandinavia.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Freak White Out

It's white out though I can still see the tips of the grass. At 6am I got the school cancellation message and despite my webpage refreshing, no corresponding message from my employer. Merry Christmas from mother nature and the less than doughty district, kids.

I have cards to write, presents to wrap, suitcases to pack. Time to make some coffee and read some of my novel, clearly.

Happy Solstice! Merry Christmas! happy snow if you've got it. Get some stuff done, sure, but contemplate some twinkle lights too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Checking off items

Felt odd and removed on Saturday before our carol sing. Had trouble following through with plans. The sing went very well. We had old songs, new songs and plenty of silly stuff. My spiced cider with cranberry juice and bourbon worked better than eggnog for singing. (I really like how that stuff tastes but be warned that it is sour and turned out to be a gross color. Mixed recommendation here.) My period started while we were singing which was a relief and let me relax several notches. It explained the weirdness earlier in the day. Even more importantly it means that I'll be almost done with all that before we travel on Friday, thank the goddesses.

My shopping for Nod is done. I have a book and the scarf for Elaine. My order for my mother probably won't arrive until after Christmas, maybe by her bday on the 28th. I am a bit stumped for the girls. I have a book for Bun and sketch pads and French hard candies. And I guess we'll do some xmas shopping in TX or at least Nod will. The wii will be waiting for us when we return.

I have lost all momentum with my sweater that is still in pieces. I'll probably figure out how to fit it together in
April when I won't be interested in wearing anything of the sort. I should be looking for yarn and needles for the baby blanket I want to give our neighbors who expect their newbie around Valentine's Day. That can surely wait until we're back from TX. I'm going to do it in white cotton.

I was glad to go to church on Sunday. I would have skipped except that the kids were singing. Our pastor was only a little ranty and there were many sniffles. We had two baptisms which was very affirming, thank you boys. Ooh did you hear the story on This American Life about the Oklahoma charismatic preacher who had a revelation about salvation being for all people, not just the Christians who go to church? He lost a bunch of his congregation and his big mega church was foreclosed. But then he was packing them into the Episcopal church and now he's written a book and is in Chicago. Very American protestant sect culture clash. I liked his theology (fallible Bible, no hell, inclusive love of God for all people) and his beeyootiful voice.

Made gingerbread dough with Bun on Saturday and had the girls help me roll out dough and bake the cookies on Sunday. I worked very hard to rein in my control freak who does not like to share the kitchen. I decided that the girls could decorate *all* the cookies because they love to do that stuff. They had only done six or so each by bedtime last night. More frosting artwork to come. It was definitely worthwhile chaining up my control freak. I may have to make my own batch to decorate though...

Friday, December 14, 2012

In a Place of Safety

Alternately tuning in to coverage of the elementary school shooting in Connecticut and then turning away. The NPR reporter I heard most recently was saying it was a hard story to report because no one could avoid thinking of their own child's school and what if.

Sundry's thoughts are well put. She mentions considering what to tell her kids and I reluctantly realize I'll need to do the same. I hate that I need to tell them that children were killed at their school. Better that they hear from me than hear it from their friends I suppose. Will there be any change in US gun laws in my lifetime? Judging from the history to date, that would be a no. Have heard some ideas that appeal to me like taxing ammo rather than forbidding guns. Very much out of my control. And so is a violent attack.

These events take the meaning out of anything. I am mentally swirling my capacious coattails and turning away again with a swift rattle of footsteps. I'd like to keep my familiar horizons and deny that those I love could ever be in danger.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Looking for the snow effect I've seen on British pages for my blog. I've clicked on a widget but whether that gets me what I want or if I've just sold my blog to the rooskies is yet to be seen.

Day eleven, my energy is back so I have confidence of a full recovery. But am still slightly congested, looks like a two week cold.

4th and 5th grade music program at elementary school tonight. Kat is excited, she was practicing the words to 10,000 Fireflies last night (a very wordy song). I'm looking forward to it. We need to provide $2 for her pizza party tomorrow and she wants to bake over the weekend for next Monday's bake sale. Last night she went to a bday party at a friend's house in the country and had big fun running around the barns and fields with 8 friends and the family's collie dog. Busy girl.

During a shared dinner on Wednesday* our neighbor got a reminder that the International Space Station was about to pass overhead and could be seen. We all trooped out to the parking lot and saw it clearly going from SW to NE. Fun experience to share. I hear that the Geminids are peaking tonight. I probably won't go out at 1a to watch but I sort of want to.

*We cohousing folks have what is intended to be a simple meal most Wednesday evenings hosted by different people. And that 'we' is incorrect because while I eat sometimes I have never cooked for that one.

Both girls were practicing for their spelling bees last night and this morning. I remember Kat getting knocked out early last year. We'll see what happens this time around.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Back Laughing

Back on my feet and feeling very grateful. Acting like a fully functional adult until it comes more easily. Felt restless yesterday but as I told Nod, I wanted to leave the house but didn't quite have the energy. Remembered in the nick that Kat was acolyting for Lessons and Carols at church. It was just the right dose of outing for me. Stand, sit, sing a carol, listen to beautiful music, repeat a few times, go home.

Clearer about what we're planning for the xmas Austin invasion. Nod wants to wait and shop in Austin rather than try and pack presents. I believe I can safely attribute this strategy to his Y chromosome. The wii u from Georgia will come soon. We will hide it until we return so we don't die from pestering (can we set it up now? can we play it now?!!). Still unsure whether we'll need more accessories, games, a new tv, different color of carpet?

Patton Oswalt's recommendations for pop culture this year. And also from the Onion's AV Club, a top ten comedy album list for 2012. I'd like to hear them all.

Friday, December 7, 2012


My favorite lines from Mr. Fox will have to be paraphrased because I just returned it to the library without copying them out. They're on page 163 if you have a copy handy. Miel is remembering talking to her mother on the phone while at school.
Other mothers would say things like "Be good" or "Take care". But my mother would tell me to be wicked and not to worry. I was the funniest, cleverest girl in the world when I spoke with her.

Love that. In total I found the book a bit haunting and was frustrated with the constant return to violence. But it makes sense for a book based on the Bluebeard story to be violent.

Through the dreckiest part of my cold and hoping for a gentle return to normal over the next couple of days. Took the last two days off work after coughing and sneezing and being mopey on Wednesday. Sorry co workers.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


My very satisfying lunch was homemade tomato soup and toasted whole wheat bread with gravy poured over it. Still a few more delicious days of t'giving gravy left. Nod has no interest in gravy or in avocados. Which leaves more for me of course. Noodling around on Smitten Kitchen's comments has netted me many random food blogs to peruse. Here's a page with a Japanese-y chicken wings recipe I'm going to try. The book giveaway is over but I've located a copy of A Cook's Journey to Japan by Feldner at my city library and am going to pounce on it. The pickle recipe that comes with the chicken wings should really be re-titled Salted Cucumber Slices since that's all it is. Sheesh.

I have an icky cough and a gravely voice today. I find that I am very grumpy which is good because this voice is great for delivering grumpy. I got a good night's sleep so despite my alarming vocal qualities I am feeling better than I was yesterday. To keep my positive outlook going it is time for a new lashing of acetaminophen. A neighbor has started working across the hall here in IT. I am very happy for her. Like me she was in an underpaid admin support position and moving to IT has brought more money and a better career path. I said she could ride with me to work and apparently I made the invitation very open-ended. She's been with me to and from work and to and from home for lunch yesterday and today. I am feeling hemmed in and need to quit that shit. I feel that I can't leave work early since I'm giving her a ride home. That's dumb, she has a husband to call. May go home early to recline on the fainting couch and... oh crap, contemplate my trip to the grocery store tonight. There are times when the grocery run has been put off as far as it can go. We have arrived at one of those times. Maybe I'll swing by the library first to maximize the funness.

Recently went diving in Kottke's collection of flash games. Got hung on Wonderputt which is really more about the music and graphics than the golf game. I am crushing.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Via Nag on the Lake, a customizable snow globe that will show the location of your choice. Pretty keen. Don't know if the donations are still going on but fingers crossed.

Sore throat this morning. It followed an idle thought this weekend, wow, I haven't been sick at all this fall. Grumpety wumpwump.

Looking over my reading for the year. I had some fun. I'm currently pushing on with the Achilles book. But it's more dutiful than attractive. The description of demigods among the humans is very convincing. Wish it was more lighthearted but that wouldn't really be the Iliad now would it? Tried a few pages of an Aisling Grey novel my mother left behind at her last visit. (Fire Me Up by Katie MacAlister) It's too much the other direction. Maybe another time.

My sweater (pattern from Knitter's Stash) continues to confound me. I've put the sleeve and torso back on holders and will take another run at getting them together. It's somewhat heavy and stiff made with larger yarn. I think this one is a learning experience. Oh goody. Gen's lent me the book (I had to return the library copy) but it still is not showing me a clear path forward. My plan is to bumble onward and see if that makes it plain what I'm doing wrong.

Contemplating the upcoming adolescent storm. Several of us parent neighbors were talking about what our corner of the world will look like in five years when there are a crop of new teens. Replacing the existing solid door with a window door to the comfy couch room in the Common House was proposed. I think the occasional beer and wine in the unsupervised fridge should also go, but others were more concerned with the nookie. Nookie Concern would be a good band name.