Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Set it down gently

We're having bitter cold weather now which means good snuggling conditions. It should be warmer for the rest of the week and it sounds like snow will be coming by the weekend.

I've got some stuff done on my work projects that were a-stressing me. Part of this seems to stem from a relationship with a supervisor that is tripping some of my mom-wires. Nothing intentional, just something I will observe and try to de-fuse for the future.

It's the end of the year, time to talk about books. There's a few more days to enter a drawing for a new book by Elizabeth Bear.  I like her and I really like the cover art:


Enter on Goodreads for a chance to win an ARC of Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear.

My favorite reads of the year (although I feel badly for the ones I'm leaving out):
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Forever Rumpole: The Best of the Rumpole Stories by John Mortimer
Half Magic by Edward Eager
The Old Home Place: The Story of a Kansas Farm by Joy Lominska (about a small farming region near here)
Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway by Sara Gran
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Plus two three some genre series in particular: the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch (oneI haven't read yet!), the Medicus books by Ruth Downie, the Siobhan Quinn series by Kathleen Tierney, and the Mercedes Thompson books by Patricia Briggs.

A very happy new year to you. May it bring good books and the comfort in which to read them.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kings of the Road

We got down to Austin in 12.5 hours which is a new family record. This made us feel mighty because between small bladders and hunger we often stop more than others do while on a road trip. But then we remembered that the kids were much smaller last time. We were all tough and pushed on intrepidly. No weather or road delays. We had a couple of traffic delays (one in Ft. Worth, of course, and one in Austin - a powerline had fallen across the freeway) but nothing terrible.

The holiday was lovely. My gifts ordered at the last minute arrived on Christmas Eve -- I wish I could send a hug to the vendor. My sis-in-law liked her scarf and said she'd bought me one but hadn't brought it because 'what if she doesn't wear scarves?!' Hee. The cousins mixed well and it was good to spend time with our far flung ones.

Back to bitter cold and to work (can you tell?).

Monday, December 22, 2014


Happy Solstice, yall! We had a party, sort of, to celebrate on Saturday night. The house got cleaned, a fire was built in the fireplace, and Kat and I made delicious foods. Due to illness, holiday travel and probably other mysterious forces we had just two friends come over. But we had a lovely low-key time.

Then we finished the very last Burn Notice episode. It was pretty good. I thought Madeline's fate was avoidable but Nod thought it brought nobility to the ep. The show is good cheesy fun but that last season was too bloody for me.

We had intended to blow town tonight and try to make the southern border. Both the drivers had to work today and Nod says he's not up for a night drive. I hope he can sleep tonight and we'll get out in the am. Going to Austin and holidaying.

Welcome light in the darkness. Welcome back, sun. Don't forget to lie on the floor under the tree and look up through the lights and ornaments. Aaaah.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A little feasty, Sing three

Dreamed last night that I was going to have a baby, child number three. In the dream I was calm and pleased about this and was figuring out scheduling things with my workplace. I am happy that was the emotional tenor of the dream although I think a real life pregnancy would be more alarming. Ha!

My pumpkin muffins were well received at today's work potluck. It was a good feast, better than I expected. (Thank you, Smitten Deb. Follow her advice to use a full 1 1/3 cup of pumpkin.) I haven't done any other holiday cooking lately. Last weekend I was so wigged out that I couldn't even look forward to food. Better now, thank the roots. On Tuesday evening Kat made a masala chickpeas recipe out of the veggie cookbook her Dad gave her for birthday and lo, it was good. I made some baba ghanoush out of the one little eggplant that roasted well. I used my Moosewood book recipe as a starting point with fresh parsley and green onions and lemon juice and tahini and it was greatly yum. I am going to make both of those recipes again for tomorrow's solstice party.

This is another childhood favorite. The album is one that strikes my spouse as both gloomy and whitebread. But he's hard to please. I love the uncommon songs they chose.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gently does it

Late yoga was fine and in addition to the gifts of breathing and movement, it gave me something to grumble about. (Is this strap really necessary for just one measly pose? Is the instructor going to release this hold any time soon? The mat smells faintly of ginger and feet. It's late, I'm hot -- enough shivasana, already.) It was good to stretch. I was the oldest participant and will try harder not to compete next time.

Feeling less stuck, more able to tackle work stuff without involving my sense of survival.

Proceeding into the unknown. Tonight we're due for snow and that sounds like an adventure.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Small vickies

Still working on unclenching. Time to be gentle with myself. I am not being paid to be freaked out. I got some walks in although I did not manage to jog over the weekend. Yoga? Just checked the nearby studio and I could go to gentle yoga tonight at 8:30p. It couldn't hurt.

Full on fit of despair about death and separation from loved ones on Saturday morning was prompted by the sight of a road-killed squirrel. Not an uncommon sight here where squirrels and cars are both so plentiful. Must be seasonal-affective lack-of-sun related. Plus being stressed out, see above.

Just re-read the first two Peter Grant books, Midnight Riot and Moon Over Soho. Author page on Goodreads. Really good stuff, very much like an exciting tv series. The first book is titled Rivers of London in the UK and Midnight Riot in the US which is off point and sounds like generic thriller-ese. They must have thought they had to pump up the hard hitting cover appeal.

Am more than halfway through Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis by George Sayer. It is more objective than I expected, having checked it out of the church library.

Accomplished a presentation this morning for four people. Am happy to be through. Onward and upward and doing what I can do.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Managing Anxiety Holiday Style

Trying to stay reasonable in an unreasonable season. I've been letting work stress build up and xmas shopping snuck in as well. I got to be quite worked up yesterday and came to a realization that this is not a worthy path. I have to find a way to be myself and not feel under the gun all the time. Job shopping is one possibility but more immediately I should be able to find a new approach to my current situation. Apparently I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself related to work. In the past I have been happily underemployed and realize now that it was a strategy for managing my stress. I opted to be poorer and to not feel on the brink of disaster.

Perhaps disaster is not poised and ready to strike. Some of this anxiety could be completely beside the point. No one is asking me to feel this way and I'm not being paid to feel scared.

This could take a while. The short dark days are contributing to some of my mood stuff. I wasn't feeling the Christmas spirit when we had our carol sing. But that was fun for me and I felt much better after singing out than I had beforehand.

The girls painted pottery for their grandma and I picked it up yesterday. One kid's presents are on their way. It'll be good to see everyone in Texas even if I give everyone a box of chocolates.

More singing. Some shopping. More laying down of crazy dumb burdens.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Xmas Biz

Christmas tree discussions have begun. It's a new space so we have to figure out where a tree can go. Nod thinks a small one on the table by the front door. I lean toward putting it right by the front window for max showoffitude. Briefly considered buying one at the grocery store last Saturday but historically Nod likes to be in on the selection process. When I asked him he said that would have been all right. Always a moving target, that one.

Our pets have a sitter! It's our wonderful animal-enthusiast piano teacher friend. She will fold our dog into her menagerie for the duration and visit the cat every few days. I am mightily relieved to have this settled. She also reminded me to stop the mail which I have now done.

Somewhat related: dog gets bathed tonight. I will wash the canine bedding while spouse and kids wrassle the hound at the dog washatorium.

I tried to make a wish list last night but kept spacing out. Reverse shopping is hard -- add that to your 1st world problems.

Bun is going to be making gingerbread houses with some friends this afternoon. I want to bake some gingerbread people/critters. Maybe I could get some dough in the fridge tonight...

I have been making progress on my scary work powerpoints. One big one to go. Thus all the blog posts. Back to the salt mines.


I'm tickled at finally getting the snow effect to work for this page. I have noted one vote against. Let me know if you have feelings pro or con. So interesting how opinion varies widely on little things.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sing two

I grew up with this 45.

This Year's Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt

The song is a follow up to the one Our Madonna made uber famous but hardly anyone knows this one. It deserves a place in the Killer Queen genre and I like it better than the first one. Which could just be because I heard it first. But the second one seems wittier and vampier and less slutty. Wishing everyone the spirit of Eartha for Christmas.

Monday, December 1, 2014


Thanksgiving Discoveries:

I can make gravy in a wok.

I now know what the smoke alarm sounds like in this house.

Too much wine was fun. Until the next day. And that's enough of that.

Spatchcock! was a very successful experiment. I was able to cut the backbone off the turkey but could not crack the breastbones. Imagine me puffing and thumping on the carcass to no avail. Nod did the strongman honors.

Bacalao (Brazilian fried codfish balls) are tasty but Fishy.

Fresh herbs I bought but forgot to use: sage.

Picturephone was a hoot. I will be soberer next time I play so I can remember more.


Ripping back my squirrels hat was useful. I hadn't allowed nearly enough slack in my floats. (There's some knit jargon for ya!) But my re-knit squirrels are still a bit lumpy. I have decided I don't care and am planning to finish it and block the crap out of it. I love the colors and the cotton yarn. Maybe I can wear the lumpy one and make a yet-more-smooth squirrels version for the kiddo.

Some of the knitting took place while waiting for my kid at her aerial silks open gym. She is working on a routine for her December 22 recital. The session was at a former Russian Orthodox church (complete with teeny onion dome!) that is now a studio space owned (and lived in) by her teacher. It was fun to visit. Kat's routine is good and she picked great music. I think it will go over well.

Because it was a good vacation, I got through several books over the long weekend. I finished the latest Ruth Downie Roman legion medical officer mystery Tabula Rasa and it was great! Before that I read Arthur & George by Julian Barnes. I liked that one too. I would give more details but finding out who the protagonists are is part of the journey. Just last night I tried Russell Brand's biography My Booky Wook. That one I was able to put down and won't be picking up again. I like his acting and some of his essays. How could it miss with heroin addiction, outrageous sexual escapades, etc? But it felt more like a journal than a finished work. Plus the explanatory footnotes for Americans were pesky and by turns overexplained and skipped some British code-speak entirely. I am not called to be an audience for it. Godspeed, Russell.