Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Year's Approaching

I've never really been a big New Years celebrant. I don't like big, fancy parties and they don't really happen in my world anyway. Christmas usually takes most of the urge to celebrate out of me and when New Years comes around mostly I just stay home and maybe stay up until midnight to see that the new year has arrived safely. It might not if I'm not up to greet it.
I'm not feeling much like reflecting on 2005 or making resolutions for 2006. I read an op-ed piece in the New York Times today by some psychologist or professor of psychology and he wrote that research shows that people who analyze their emotions too much are less happy with their lives and that perhaps a lot of what passes for conventional wisdom about having to replay and rework through bad experiences might just not be true. Dwelling is not the answer. Maybe the best way to be is to accept and enjoy what's good and not spend too much time worrying about what isn't. Maybe that's as introspective as I need to be.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Knitting, Knitting, Knitting

I think I've got the hang of drinking and knitting. Part of the secret to lack of a mess is to be familiar enough with the pattern that you don't have to think about it much. I'm making the Branching Out scarf from Knitty in a navy blue merino wool. It's probably long enough now that I could be done with it, but I have more yarn and longer scarves have more wrapping up possibilities, so I'll keep going a bit more with it.
My girl knit her first scarf yesterday. I've tried teaching her to knit a few times already, but she hadn't even gotten too far with it. She got two knitting books as presents (one from me and one from her Gram). When we went to the yarn sale at Michaels I got some size 17 needles and encouraged her to pick out a super bulky yarn, which she did. Then she knitted like crazy for the rest of the day and evening and the next morning until the scarf measured from the tip of her toe to her thigh, when she proclaimed it long enough and done. I taught her how to bind off and sew in the ends and she had a very excellent looking scarf.
Hmm, I seem to be neither knitting nor drinking now. Damn all this sidetracking!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Quote of the Day

This conversation took place in the car in the parking lot outside of Michaels, where we had ventured out to take advantage of the yarn sale.
Me: So, do you want to go anywhere else while we're out?
My Girl: No. I just want to go home and knit some more

Christmas 2005

Christmas was good. There were times in the build up that I was a bit frazzled, but it all worked out in the end. Sometimes it helped to remind myself that it's a whole season to enjoy and not only about THE day. I entertained more than I probably ever have and while I'm still not the most confident or gracious hostess, it was fun and something I've always wanted to be able to do. When I was growing up my parents occasionally held big catered parties at the house and maybe that set my standard of what it means to entertain at home, but of course that has nothing to do with what I can or want to do anyway.
THE Day itself was good, despite a little stress and a fashion crisis about what to wear. It started out nice and calm with my boyfriend and me opening our presents together. Early in the afternoon my girl came home and opened the mounds and mounds of presents she got from everyone. I've never seen a kid get so many presents. She spent the rest of the day saying, "I feel so spoiled!" and I wasn't about to disagree with her.
Later in the afternoon we joined up with my dad and stepmom, her sister and mother and my sister and her family at my dad's house. There were more presents for everyone and then we headed to the Wentworth by the Sea for their Christmas buffet. That was like being in a movie. The ball room is huge and was decorated with larger than life sized mechanical reindeer and sleighs and other Christmasy things. There was a real gingerbread house that must have been five feet tall. The food was magnificent and I finally stopped eating only after it had become painful to take another bite.
Sure, I stressed about being late to get to my father's house because I couldn't figure out what to wear. I stressed about buying presents or not buying presents and whether the presents I bought were good enough or if the recipients would like them. I stressed about what to serve, if the house was clean enough and a bunch of other stuff that in the end I probably didn't need to worry so much about. I'm working on reducing the worry factor in my world. It's going to take some effort, but I think it will be worth it.
Anyway, now comes the fun part. I get to sleep in. I get to hang out at home with my girl and watch her enjoy all her presents and play with some of them with her. There's nothing more to buy or wrap. Nothing to bake unless I feel like baking it. No place I need to be other than right where I am, on the couch in my jammies and bathrobe with my new fuzzy slippers on my feet. This is what it's all about.

Friday, December 23, 2005

C is for Cookie...

I think I've finally recovered from the cooking baking shindig I threw at my house last weekend. I thought a cookie party would be something the kids would enjoy and since I have somewhat of a reputation of being the baker in the family, it seemed easy enough. The easy enough assessment of things was a bit off, but it was fun. I went nuts cleaning and straightening up the house, made sure there were other savory items on the menu so we wouldn't all die or end up strangling each other due to over consumption of sugar. The night before I started making the dough for sugar cookies to be used in a cookie press, butter cookies to bbe cut out with cookie cutters, maple walnut spice cookies for that holiday spice and then had four egg whites left over from one of the cookie recipes so I baked up a batch of meringue cookies too to keep from tossing out the egg whites. Sure, I coudl have saved the whites to make an egg white omelet, but with all those cookies waiting to be eaten, what good would an egg white omelet do me anyway? We had chips. We had dips. We had salsa. We had mini-Moes. We had veggie sticks. We had a whole lot of food up on offer.
Even with all the advance prep, the cookie making took more time that I had imagined. The cookie press thing just didn't seem to work out. The cut out cookies came out fine and we set up the kitchen table as decoration central and everyone got to show off their creative talent with four colors of frosting (yes, of course homemade), sprinkles, colored sugars, little sugar stars and even those metallic sugar balls. My brother in law managed to score those at a wedding cake store and came back to tell us the story that the reason you can't find them in the supermarket anymore is that the government no longer recognizes them as a food substance, so you have to buy them at specialty shops now. Of course, they made their way into just about every single decorated cookie made that day. Gotta have a little non-food substance with your holiday cookies.
Despite the fact that my diet for the past week has consisted mainly of cookies, with a few small meals thrown in occasionally just to keep my from passing out from the sugar crashes, there are still some cookies left here. Eventually I will go back to eating like a sensible, adult person, but not until after Christmas has come and gone.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Sometimes I wonder why I try so hard and I need to start wondering more about why I lack the ability to question the thought processes and actions of people who seem less than competent in matters that mean a lot to me. I really should not leave the office of my girl's counselor always feeling like a shitty parent who can't win no matter what she does. I don't get why it never occurs to me to question this woman about why she isn't encouraging my girl to talk to me about her apparently many complaints. At best, she tells me that I should try to encourage the girl to talk to me about it. At worst, she tells me it's my tough luck and that sometimes kids stay mad for a long time.
All I know is that on our way there we were laughing and joking and having a great time and on the way home I just felt like crying. My personal experience with this counseling that is supposed to be for the girl is that it makes me feel estranged and like a crappy parent and like I'm stupid for thinking that just because she talks to me all the time and seems happy that doesn't mean she is adjusting to the situation at all. When does the counseling get to the part that helps her adjust? So far all she seems to be learning is that it's okay to talk behind my back and not tell me when she's mad or unhappy and that it's okay to stay angry and not tell me about it.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I'm not sure how funny this is if you don't understand Japanese. It's subtitled, but I think what really makes it good is the narrator's delivery. I think it's brilliant and I hope they come out with more of them.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Slippery Slushy Stormy Day

Second Friday storm in a row. Friday is usually my day off anyway, except today I was supposed to go in and work with my uncle but he told me to take the day off and come in on Monday. So I stayed home with my sweetie who had the day off since the uni preemptively cancelled finals schedule for today and curtailed all university operations. The only time I left the house today was when we had to go across the street to help the elderly woman who had slipped and fallen on the icy road in front of her house. Other than that I stayed inside and knitted, worked on my legal research and writing class' final assignment, made up some cookie dough to be baked at my little Christmas cookie get together happening this weekend, made dinner for me and my honey and drank wine, which is what I'm still doing right now and it's making my typing even worse than usual.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Decisions, Decisions....

What do I want to be when I grow up? Seems like the question comes around too often. Once again I am beign asked by my school if I will come back and teach again next year (academic 2006-2007). They are not offering my any better deal than I get now. They like the status quo. I like the job well enough but it isn't a fulltime job, nor anything close to a fulltime paycheck. I guess I'll just say yes for now and if something better comes along between now and next September I can let them know. It's not like I ever sign an actual contract with them and even tenured profs have been known to give notice in July.
I feel like this year just started but the truth is that I'll be giving finals this week. The semester is done. In retrospect it looks like both classes have made progress. It's always easier to see that with the elementary students because they go from zero to something. I like both groups of students this semester. That helps. I guess it's okay. I guess I'm doing okay. Work is okay. My private life still has some annoyances, but on the whole it is so much better than okay and it's so much easier for me to see the annoyances for the minor issues they are than it was a year ago. I used to spend so much time thinking I was so much to blame. Now the more time passes, the clearer it becomes that I am not the one in the wrong and I am not the one to blame.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Call the Dog!

If I ever won the lottery I would totally buy this cell phone for my dog.
In fact, just this past week I let the dog off line to run free in the ball fields near my house. It's kind of a habit we have and during the summer and fall he was so good about not going too far away that I was fairly certain I had succeeded in training him. A little bit of cold, soggy weather cured me of that notion last week. Rather than continue subjecting his delicate, wimpy, drama-queen girly-man paws to the wet sandy track around the fields, Pancho elected to skitter off across the parking lot and disappear from view. He was gone. I headed off in search of him across the parking lot, the street (where no dead carcass was visible, so that was good) and through the neighborhood back to my house. I looked in the backyards of all the homes I knew have dogs, but didn't see him and didn't hear any telltale tag jingling either. I was fairly close to home and contemplating where to look next and how to tell my girl I lost the dog when I saw a black and white form moving up on the landing in front of my door. It was the dog, waiting to be let into the house. He had obviously tired of me and the whole silly "walk" idea and had gone home. I would have been spared those minutes of worry if I had only been able to call or locate him via GPS tracking. Although I'm pretty sure he'd freak out if he suddenly heard my voice emanating from his collar saying, "Pancho! Where are you?!" And how would he answer anyway? Oh wait, I could get a Bowlingual too!

Saturday, December 03, 2005


For months I've been seeing commercials for Mega M&Ms and never saw them in the store. It got me to thinking-- how mega would a Mega M&M be? The size of a quail egg? Like a ping pong ball? How mega are we talking about here anyway?
Today in the supermarket I came across a bag of Mega Peanut M&Ms. Although it was perfectly possible to feel them up through the bag, I decided I had to buy them. Now I've eaten too many and feel kind of gross, but it was done in the name of investigative blogging (and shopping for groceries on an empty stomach). My verdict is: I can't tell if they are really that much mega-bigger than regular peanut M&Ms. The colors are kind of muted and ugly for candy. There's a tan colored one, something sort of raspberry colored and a smoky blue. They'd be Autumn or maybe Spring if you typed them according to Color Me Beautiful. And they're kind of lumpy shaped. They taste like M&Ms though. And they still melt in your mouth, not in your hand. I give them a C+.