Thursday, December 31, 2015


The week of highs in the 20s turned into 30s and I am relieved. We've shed most of our ice. Only two days this week of wearing hiking shoes to work. More sun to come, thank the spheres.

I've been watching Father Ted and thinking of the Danish. The laugh track is execrable but the accents and underplaying are worth it. Won't you have a teeny little sandwich then?

I've been making a grocery list all week. I suppose one day I'll need to go out and acquire those things, rather than just recording their absence. Still no yarn, I've been too slayed in the evenings to go out and search for that either.

Lost and Found
Bun's phone was dropped outside her friend's house on Tuesday. Picked up by neighbor kid and dropped off to us on Thursday. That's two phones lost and found in December. Enough of that sort of thing. Kat says hers isn't working very well, stops responding and has to be frequently restarted. I'm not feeling urgent about this but we will probably want to replace it in the spring or at the end of the school year.

Nod's woken up at 3 something for two mornings in a row. It makes him angry and who can blame him. 3 to 5am in the winter is a useless time of day as far as I can tell.

All the Books/Food
Went to the library with Nod last night to stock up before their two day closure. I have a nice pile including two cookbooks by the Three Many Cooks author Pam Anderson. I'm trying to find a good veggie chili recipe and I have particular requirements. I don't want it to skew sweet so not much corn or sweet potatoes. She uses hominy in her recipes and that sounds like a good direction. I'll try a batch and see if our resident veggie likes it. I also have 2# of green chile thawing, to make a meaty stew with.

Monday, December 28, 2015


Suited ourselves and had a fine holiday. Went to sweet neighbors' brunch on xmas day. It was a good reason to get dressed and be civilized by 11am. At the meal I conversed with her dad, a farmer originally from Nebraska. He told me that he had about twenty cousins and they all grew up within 15 miles of each other. But that now people scatter and relocate and are not so much from one place. I agree but as a contrast I recently heard a statistic that the average adult American lives within 18 miles of their mother. Here's the NYT story with statistical layout. Interesting to see that the NE and central South have the closest distances.

Had a couple over on boxing day for chile and cornbread. They are a May (male programmer) December (female yoga teacher) pair who are getting married in March. They're on a shoestring budget and often don't socialize because $. It was good to see them and I will try to get them to come over and eat our food on a more regular basis. They brought Exploding Kittens and we had a great time trying it out.

Need to go through my bag of holding. I think there are important checks in there somewhere. Nervous belly.

Got freezing rain and snow last night. More today. I am at work which is my latest accomplishment.

Ran low on grey heather yarn. Went to fabric store and they were out of my color! Have striped the back of my sweater to conserve some of the grey. I like how the stripes look and it reminds me of a sampler. But I will need more to do the sleeves. Will try a couple of other yarn retailers.  
...after the ice storm is done.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Get your sparkle on

Accordion Noel
Thinking about playing some fun xmas music tomorrow when I'm at work all day. Remembered Brave Combo and wondered... Yes! They do have a Christmas album! I think that must be where old Bob Dylan got his conjunto stylee 'Must Be Santa' arrangement. Research continues...

Temps in the lower 30s yesterday when I was expecting 50s. I was dumb and I was cold.

Circus arts recital last night. Sound level was much better this year. The little kids were cute but that part took a long time. Kat was a star. Bun got the pix and video so I can post on FB.

Technical breakthrough. Finally figured out how to download photos and videos from phone to laptop. I give thanks to the Acer how-to video I found. Got old phone pix saved, got a year of the new phone pix and videos saved. Now I will feel more cavalier about filling up the phone knowing that I can easily save and share this stuff. Still not comfortable with cloud storage stuff although I do have pix in Google Docs.

Some Christmas cards flung into the postal system. (Imagine a Hilary Knight illustration of Eloise flinging a cyclone of envelopes in a chaotic post office scene.) Brother's shirt and both of Mom's gifts should arrive before Christmas day. I will write some more cards to send after Yule. Got more done than I expected!

A friend is caroling at a nursing home at 11:30a on the Eve, I may take Lexi and do that. And I may visit our church on Christmas Eve. Trying to decide between kid's pageant at 5:00pm and Lessons and Carols at 10:30pm. I suppose if I get all my wrapping done I could take a nap and make the late show. But it is seeming unlikely.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Ear attention
Rinsed the dog's ears again because she's been rubbing at them. It was an unpopular procedure. I wiped at them a little bit. Suspect I need to do the med drops too. I will need a dog wrassler for that.

New mystery
Reading a Murdoch mystery by Jennings set in 1880s Toronto. Couldn't find the first book of the series so am trying the second. I like the removed tone. I notice modern concerns (feminism and the inner life of women so far) but not it's not excessive. Officer Murdoch doing his calisthenics reminds me of PGW's description of Ashe Marson's morning exercises in Something New:
The Larsen Exercises, invented by a certain Lieutenant Larsen, of the Swedish Army, have almost every sort of merit. They make a man strong, supple, and slender. But they are not dignified. Indeed, to one seeing them suddenly and without warning for the first time, they are markedly humorous. 
No one laughs at Murdoch so far. But then he is doing his situps in the privacy of his own room.
Finished that book and I liked the ending which had Murdoch sandwiched between female admirers while everyone watched the police force tug-o-war contest. He may be humor-impaired but the author isn't.

Mailed Mom's birthday present and card today. Ordered a Christmas present which may or may not be delivered on 12/24. Feels like a hurdle cleared. Wish we were closer. Air travel costs are not going down. I am thinking that our next ABQ visit will be by car.

More inches
Have finished 13" of the front panel of my sweater from a pattern out of Stitch 'n Bitch. Here's someone else's finished sweater pics. I changed the pattern so the crossed bones are now crossed arrows and the skulls are 4 petal flowers. Also added a small flower in the center of the chest. So I girlified it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


The Christmas wave is happening. Tree was wrassled. It wanted to lie at a 30&deg angle in the stand. Nod had a go at it. I theorized that the hardware store nimrod who trimmed the trunk for me had left too much of a lip on one side that made it topple. I found a wood scrap in the backyard to shim it. Removed a couple of rusty nails and then it was just the right size. Tree is up straightish now and no one is allowed to adjust it anymore. It's lovely with our lights and ornaments. Haven't hung the small candy canes yet. The race is on to hang them before we eat them all.

A few things ordered. A little one for my mom arrived - a Navajo sand cast silver letter opener. I should have checked the description better, it's smaller than I expected. But it feels nice and is pretty. The little piece of turquoise doesn't appear to be a hunk of blue plastic. I need to find a box and fling it into the shipping lanes.

One more trip to the toy store should do it. Oldest daughter is a puzzle. That's traditional for 14. Hmm...

Nod is in the Slough of Despond with no sun lately. I think it'll reappear tomorrow and that ought to help all of us. During our Sunday of rain I was feeling a bit of anomie. But hell, I jogged Saturday and got a lot of things done over the weekend.

Including going to see The Good Dinosaur with youngest. It was better than I expected. I'm glad Bun is an ancient 11 y.o. because our protagonist went through many natural disasters and got clonked on the head in frightening ways more than once. I cried a lot because the movie fulfilled its destiny as a Disney production, exploring parental loss. One killed on screen, two lost before the plot started. But it was a good cry. I commend the writers' sincerity. On the entertainment front I especially enjoyed the herding T Rexes. They looked like centaurs when they ran. Sam Elliott is welcome to bring that rumbly bass voice over here by me any time. I liked this movie better than Inside Out which sets me against other friends my age and the Rotten Tomatoes voters.

Solstice is next week so we can swing into gaining light very soon. Slow pivot through the darkest point.

Finished one card. Am giving myself Jan 31 as my deadline for the entire project. I can send paper missives!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Honey fence
How do you keep elephants in a preserve? With beehives of course. Found at Nag on the Lake. Beehives are mounted on fence poles which are connected by wires. If the elephants bump the wire or the poles the bees react.
Zoologist Lucy King came up with the honey fence solution, which takes advantage of the fact that elephants are terrified by the sound of bees. (The delicate skin inside their trunks is apparently particularly vulnerable to being stung.)
Cacophony Society
6th grade band concert is tomorrow night. I am ready to watch my little darling and her trombone. I am prepared for novice ensemble playing. I will keep any giggles silent.

Tree petting
There are two pretty douglas fir xmas trees left at our favorite neighborhood hardware store. Cost $65. I think I'll try to convince the fam that one of these is our destiny.

Long Things
Maybe you just need some long articles to read right now. There's the Emma article that I've been pushing, written by the Austen critic/enthusiast John Mullan. Or for a taste of world finance, how about an article on the boom/bust that the Isle of Jersey is going through? I'm currently working my way through this interview with the Johns that are They Might Be Giants about every single album they've recorded so far. Aah.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Jostle On

Crock Pot Hot Tub
Before we left for the holiday I cooked black-eyed peas in the crockpot overnight. In the morning they were still tough. Nod told me he thought it wasn't hot enough, said I needed to boil 'em! I looked at the steamy but not bubbling pot and turned the heat up a bit. Checked back after half an hour, nothing. So I put them on the stove and boiled 'em! And that's what it took. Apparently I had been treating the black-eyed peas to a lengthy hot tub session rather than cooking them.

Followed a link to author Blair Thornburgh's blog and was delighted at these prose seashells:
Important sea chanty info, strong opinions on Christmas carols, and valuable life hacks.

Power thru
Had an accidental party on Saturday night. It was a couple coming over and then we invited more neighbors and another friend. They all came and we had beer and snacks around the fire in the backyard. Much chat and cackling. I got my second wind and was up til 1:30a. Short sleep, two strong beers and not much dinner brought some follow up bleariness the next day. I slopped around until noon then made fast soup (Tomato Basil Soup with water instead of broth and no cream but we add yogurt to our bowls).

Post-soup I agreed to take K to get the top of her ear pierced. It's what she wanted for her birthday. After initially saying that she could pierce whatever she wanted after she was 18 I decided it wasn't the end of the world. Nod had no objection. So she got directions to the mall in the state where it's legal to get a cartilage piercing at the mall. And we drove there. In our state you have to go to a piercer to get that done. Only got lost once. Was very efficient and K reports it didn't hurt much at all.

Jogged Saturday after the holiday hiatus. It was short and a bit lame. Jogged Sunday with my neighbor SK who'd been at our party. She's trying to get back to a routine too. Sunday's outing felt better and I was not tempted to slack off early. Am going to propose a weeknight outing to the indoor track to try that out. I need an option when daylight and dry sidewalks aren't available. SK says she read a study about fast walking vs. running. The study said that running produced a better toned butt even if the walkers went fast enough to maintain an equivalent heart rate. They concluded that it must be the jiggling that made the difference. I think the jostling of jogging is good for my entire organism. Gives all those systems something to react to.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Cake or Books?

I am taking inspiration from the Little Professor's recap of her year in reading. I'm curious to see how many... The stats from Goodreads say it's been 71 books. Even adjusting for some abandoned books -- Gosh.

I count 14 cosy books, 22 fantasy books, 5 general fiction, 3 memoirs, 10 mysteries, 7 nonfiction titles and one SciFi. Sounds like a life well lived. Mostly 3 or 4 star reviews. I'm getting good at quitting books that aren't bringing me what I want.

Words to conjure with = Applesauce cake with caramel glaze. I also want to make more fridge pickles but I promise not to eat them with the cake.

You may need to read these tweets about mortifying moments. I need to wait until I'm not at work to read the rest.

Swedish Spice Cookies. I think I'll try buttering the bottom of a cut glass tumbler and marking the tops with that.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Black ice dancing

Icy highways on the plains. We saw rain and then freezing rain on Thanksgiving morning while watching the temperature go slowly down. After crossing into Colorado we hit some black ice and the Dreadnought sashayed back and forth on the road. Nod brought it to a gentle stop on the correct side of the road. Points for him. I gave running commentary (Steer into the turn! We're okay! It's going to be okay!) which is what I had to do in order not to scream. Watched a car with Georgia plates go off into the right hand ditch. They were able to drive it out again with no trouble. But many miles where the back end tried to creep around if we went more than 45 mph which makes a long drive much longer.

We got there and had a wonderful visit in Denver. It was lightly snowing most of the time and the roads were treated and fine. Visiting with the brother and nephews and honorary sis in law was very good. Even went for a lovely snow hike with Jenn near Morrison. Couldn't get Rye or the nephs to come, too cold. There was no wind the snow and ice covered every branch and leaf. Hushed and expectant. Saw deer browsing above the trails, watching hikers and even dogs without much interest. Bun found a hideout under a pinetree and spooked a bunny out of it. Kat got a picture of the bunny and the trail and the foothills and everything else.

Rye deep fried two turkeys, standing outside in the side yard in the snow. He earned his feast. Food was delish and 9 adults and 9 kids were good company. The kids between 11 and 16 all played Risk after dinner. The girls are so ancient now that I didn't have to do anything for them except tell them to be patient when they were ready for pie before the adults were.

More ice on the way home and we stopped for another motel night. Glad to be home and off those roads and what was I thinking? Next time: CO in summer. Jenn says cabin camping and that appeals.