Friday, March 27, 2015

Dinner with Jesus

The Pioneer Woman is having a Le Creuset giveaway. The question to answer in the comments is “If you could have dinner tonight with one person from throughout the history of time, who would it be?” My answer: P.G. Wodehouse. I have a hard time picking for this sort of thing. I figure if I could get him talking about golf or cricket we'd have a fine time. In the few comments I scanned I saw lots of dead relatives (understandable), several Jesuses (okay but isn't that sucking up?) and one woman who wants to dine with George Washington and ask him what he thinks about this country going to hell in a handbasket. I'll be glad I don't have to dine with my fellow commenters.

Went jogging yesterday evening and am proud of it. While on the trail it occurred to me that I am okay with looking shlubby while exercising but that at an earlier time in life it was less acceptable to me. I am making room for more movement, reminding myself that it's half an hour I can afford now that daylight is here. I hope the pre-Easter thickening can be turned around.

Nod and Kat got the new futon frame put together in the basement. It is a quantum leap for couch-kind. I found her down there when I got home yesterday. She had music going on her phone and was working on the Canadian Provinces jigsaw puzzle.

Both kids had school homework that had to be done last night. Bun's was somewhat last minute but she stayed positive and got a lot done. Her Chicago Fire board game came out well. Kat got both of her things done after some nagging. How to teach/support planning and getting crap done before the last minute? I suggested to Bun that next time we pick a day two days before the due date to be our home due date. That way she can get it ready to show us and then tweak if needed for school. We'll see.

Kat sneered at my suggestion of music camp over the summer. Turns out she wants to do a circus arts camp, in the past we did some web searching and found programs in far flung cities. Not for this year. Both girls want to do rec center softball again with their friends. So softball, instrument try out (Bun), circus arts (Kat) and maybe a couple of other things is how it's shaping up so far.

I think I'll be sent to DC for a conference in July. Nod and I talked about getting the three of them out to meet up with me and do the museums and monuments. But now he's leaning towards North Carolina beaches instead and I'm there with him. Sounds like more pleasure and less cost/fuss. More scheming to come.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Armpit issue
I've finished 3/4 of another sweater, just one sleeve to go. I was finishing the right sleeve last night and it was uncomfortably warm to work with the sweater over my lap. But we're due for a cold snap at the end of this week so I can probably get it done without melting. I notice that I have trouble attaching sleeves. My sweater armpits are often more hole than pit. A few stitches will close it up but I wonder what I'm doing wrong. Here in the last act I still like the pattern and it's turning out more attractive than my last woolen sweatshirt.

Spring and another wedding anniversary. We watched a few crunchy xmas trees burn in a brief towering torch on Saturday night to celebrate. Party at a friend's house. We discussed hopping the firepit for a rite but we lost interest before it burned down far enough. Then Nod got into a yoga conversation in the kitchen which threatened to last a long time. I slipped out since I had come in a separate car. Felt disconnected and not sure I wanted to be at a party but it was pleasant enough. I stayed for everything but the yoga yakking.

Late March is when we go outside and expose our pale skin to the bright sun. We went to a college baseball game yesterday. There were a few sunburns in progress to be seen in the stands. We left in the bottom of the 6th when our team was scoreless against their opponent. But first we got to see a valiant over the fence catch and it was a good day out. I moved us up into the shade in the 5th inning. Afterwards Nod felt the effects more than I did. All hail my hat and the multiple layers of sunscreen. Mild expletive but I think I may be getting better at managing sun protection.

Fuzzy bunny
The girls did bunny sitting for our neighbors this week. Jeffrey is a beautiful black and cream rabbit who enjoys the good life in a bunny mansion in their dining room. Yesterday evening I remembered the bunny when I remembered to feed our livestock. Am considering taking a cut of the money the girls got for this duty. Argh. They do so well and then they forget things. I think I will insist on phone alarms being set so I don't have to be the backstop next time.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Just add butter

I love the moiré satin and the black/dark grey against red paint.

Two days of rain and highs in the 40s. It was just what we needed for precipitation. My personal reaction to the dark grey skies was to apply butter to everything. Yesterday I cooked polenta with butter, colcannon with butter and piña colada cupcakes made with two sticks of butter. We are down to less than a stick of butter in the house and that's probably a good thing.

I am not trying to maximize my butter and sugar intake but if I eat it I intend to enjoy it. I did planks and can do some more by the weekend. I am breathing deeply and envisioning my intention in a golden ball of light to get out and jog. Starting tomorrow the weather will get pretty again.

So Your Son Is A Centaur is a wonderful entry in a project to create fake self-help books and leave them in bookstores for the unsuspecting. It's inspiring me to try to write my book that tells you how to live right and protect yourself from everything: Poison Makes A Bad Breakfast.

A clever metafilterian has asked for recommendations for games she can print and have at each table during her wedding reception. Some of the responses recommend games from Cheapass Games. We love Kill Doctor Lucky and Give Me The Brain. Devil Bunny Needs a Ham sounds very important.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Opening now

Daffs and forsythia started on March 16 on our block. I want to buy a new rake and free up the flower beds in front of the house. Nod burned the old tomato bushes from the garden in back. Our bonfire for his birthday was a fiery success after he stopped trying to burn green wood.

My eyes and the roof of my mouth are itching so I started taking half a zyrtec each morning. I need to flea treat the dog and cat before we find any of those wee beasties.

Not just one but two fantasy series that I like! Max Gladstone's starts with Three Parts Dead. Richard Kadrey's starts with Sandman Slim. Gladstone's book takes place in a universe with magic and a variety of gods who exist in a very complex legal arrangement. Contractual legalities are part of the magic and the book made me think that part of the writer's motivation was revenge after law school. But that is only one thread in the weave and did not detract. The adventure and newness and humor is all very good. Kadrey's main character is Stark who has the endearing quality of not being able to wear clothes for more than a few hours before they are reduced to shredded rags. He comes back to L.A. after eleven years in Hell and there is much to do. I am pleased to find books that draw me in. I told Nod that the only problem with reading a lot is that my tolerance for certain patterns and tropes has gone down. I weed faster these days.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

And a day

I need to take a picture today of the crocus in our front yard. The birthday boy got some pretty nice gifts: saw a badger and weather in the 70s. The badger he sighted by the train station, the first one he's ever seen. I've never seen one and am happy for him and jealous at the same time. The warm temps are pleasing to all.

An emergency chocolate pie order worked out and we all went to dinner at the Vietnamese place by the nail salon. At the restaurant I traumatized oldest daught when I read URA TWAT written on her hand in ballpoint ink. I said it was unacceptable, inappropriate and woman-unfriendly (sorry, grammar). She gave the excuse that someone else wrote on her. I handed her a pen to draw over it but her dad sent her to the bathroom to scrub. She came back teary. I don't like the idea of someone (probably male) writing female anatomy epithets on her. Grrrr.

Nod said he was feeling less melancholy this morning. His mother called me at work yesterday to ask if her son's cell phone number had changed. I picked up the call thinking it could be dire news but probably would be for some emotional urge. I explained that his cell# was the same but that he often couldn't pick up during the day since he was likely to be underneath a dishwasher. She apologized for calling during work and I do wonder how the next fifteen years are going to go for all of us.

My own internal weather is fair but storms expected. Leaving metaphor behind I can hardly wait for a good thunderstorm, it has been a long time. C'mon, March!

For future book inspiration, the Edgar Awards. It says new database coming soon. You'd think they'd want to sell some books.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Critical Potato

Nod is 49 today, seven squared, one annual cycle away from what has been until now, the unthinkable 50s. He's melancholy as is his tradition on his birthday. Or rather he's usually furious at the passage of time/proximity to death, so melancholy is a more civilized version of the usual pattern. He has ordered a party for Saturday night and we'll have a bonfire if it's not too windy. The kids and I gave him cards this morning and we'll all go out to eat tonight in tribute to his venerableness.

I had back spasms in my mid back a couple of weeks ago. They subsided without intervention although I did call the dr.'s office to ask about the possibility of a physical therapy referral. While speaking with the nurse I realized it had been about ten years since I hurt my back picking up toddler Kat. I remember lying on the wooden floor upstairs in our NH St. house and waiting for the pain to recede. The physical therapy back then mostly involved things to strengthen my abs. And it's time again. I planked Monday and will plank tonight. I intend to make it a four times a week thing.

I just read a recipe called "Broccoli Cheddar Tots" and was deeply disappointed to find that it contained no potato. Those ingredients, broccoli/cheddar/potato, are a powerful taste trinity. I wonder if I can rejigger the recipe to include the spud... schemeschemescheme

Going to bed last night I realized that I was feeling both peevish and unworthy. The unworthy feeling and tendency to doom I recognized as an unrealistic reaction to current events. I bumped up against it a few times but remembered each time to discount it. The peevishness seemed perfectly justified until examined. This morning I notice that I am driving peevish and need to stop that shit. End of cycle hormones, I detect some!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Crack of squirrel butt

Heard on the college radio station today a song with the line "gargoyles gargling oil." It has lots of spliced together voices and unexpected but still hooky properties.

Am liking the new fantasy novel I stared at for a few weeks before starting: Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. I am liking the odd world of many gods and contractual obligations. Our protagonist magic wielder is smart and scrappy and when she does acts of powerful magic laughs loudly at death.

Currently I am drinking darjeeling tea just this side of scalding. Our first daylight savings morning went well. I know better than to think we're done with the adjusting. Here's to ten more days of feeling that things are too early!

Caught up on most of Season 3 of Buffy over the weekend. Watched Doppelgangland with the vampire Willow brought to our Willow's world. Alyson Hannigan plays Willow very smart yet kawaii in the series. These eps are too long for me to try and cram. I ff past the fight sequences but still! I am selfishly wishing there was a 30 min dialogue version for each. I remember some of these from my original viewings. I am pretty sure we started watching faithfully in Season 4.

Link to Language Hat post about the obscure French phrase for the crack of dawn.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March on

Dumb dumbness. The world was full of it this morning when I was expected to get out of the warm bed and start my day. I sang a few verses of the Tigger Song in the shower. It gave me vigor without removing any of the injustice. More sunlight, please. We have sun and clear skies but continued face-aching cold today. Warmer starting tomorrow, can I get a fast forward?

Tried starting a new sweater. I bought the big needles for a cute oversized fair isle sweater with bulky yarn found in this wonderful book. I had some hand-me-down bulky yarn for a quick start. I didn't want to buy the big dbl pointed needles to start the neck. Felt clever when I re-purposed some short weaving/loom needles my mother got in a kit from a women's magazine in the 70s. As of this morning I have gotten about halfway through the yoke. But the colors of my random remnants are blech together, I much prefer the gray and white stipulated by the pattern, with two accent colors. I will be yarn shopping. In fact that's what I'd rather be doing right now. hmph.

Or taking pictures of the sunlight slanting in through a window. That sounds appealing.

My No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency reading has gotten me through February. My husband's nightly Aerosmith listening helped him survive. But I have been wandering off from the book I have underway. It's #14 of 15 in the series and I expected my complete-ist drive to take over. Instead I may need to switch gears and go all Anne Rice or something.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Smell Map

In case you're in downtown Chicago, you should consult the tumblr Chocolate Smell Map. Hopefully it'll be recently updated. When I was there in late 2013 I was delighted with the rich chocolate smell we kept walking in and out of during our transit between buildings. At first we thought the pizza restaurant we were at was baking cookies. But some quick googling told us about the Blommer Chocolate Factory. Every city should have one!

The big storm here was not. We got 2" which melted very politely yesterday. My brother in the Denver environs says they got the rest. His sig.other had a 2+ hour drive home last week due to snowy roads. Awful. Nod and the kids went sledding before the melt yesterday. They did some good testing on a campus hill but it was just a quick trip. I tweaked my back and sledding was not indicated so I went along only for the fancy coffee afterwards. Bun got to try a croissant for the first time (aww) and said it was flaky and good. My mocha was almost too bitter but not, delicious.

Many things checked off lists this weekend. My sweater is finished -- triumph! It feels like a wooly sweatshirt and that's a good thing in my book. So satisfying to take it to the finish line and wear the damn thing. The pattern called for I-cord neckline. I liked it so well I added I-cord to the sleeve edges and the bottom edge as well. You can knit an I-cord to create a tube for hat ties or hood ties. It's one of those techniques that I could never invent and struggle to wrap my mind around. I can follow the instructions and marvel. The sweater is super stretchy (so many ribs) and definitely not kid size. Homely but serviceable. It reminds me a bit of what knights wore under armor.

Kat's at Model UN in capitol city today and tomorrow. We argued over the pants I bought her to wear for this specific event. The rules specify 'formal clothes' which means (as far as I can tell) business wear. Kat finds that the pants bag at the ankles and so she wants to wear leggings that are too tight because she has grown out of them instead. I did not forbid anything but felt pretty exasperated by the entire exchange. I did not get a good look at her this morning and that is probably for the best.