Tags: holidays

*gen - tiffany

Four for Monday.

1. I am full of knitting success! Yesterday I finished Mom's Christmas present, nearly a month early. Here's the Ravelry page, though it's more of a reddish-purple eggplant than in that photo. It turned out pretty well, but I'm worried that it might be too small despite knitting a slightly larger size than her measurements. And tonight I finally finished a Clapotis that had been lingering in my WIPs pile for nearly a year; last week I picked it up and realized I was closer to the end than I'd thought. Mmm, it's gorgeous, luxurious, emerald green Karabella Aurora 8. It's scarf-width (and in Clapotis terms that means nearly 9" across), but seven feet long. Now I have to decide whether to block it. I've made two other Clapotis, and I generally prefer the way they look stretched out, but the problem is that once I block it, I can't go back to the waves. Hmm!

2. I cleaned out my hall closet and took out my tiny Christmas tree. Of course, the moment I put it out for display, my cat started gnawing on the branches. He's going to knock it over eventually, even though I tried to move it out of reach. And once again, I am feeling a lack of holiday spirit, which I really want to get back. Any suggestions for how to do that? :)

3. One brief rant: I really, really hate the term "Cyber Monday". Hell, I just hate the word "cyber", along with "surfing". They sound so darn cheesy.

4. Yeah, broken record, but I have to geek out about Collapse )
*gen - tiffany

Snuggie Dog

Our very rare and treasured White(!) Christmas came and went. Overall, a fairly good one, aside from some unpleasantness that involved a Swiffer and rubber gloves. To commemorate the day, here are two low-quality iPhone pics: Collapse )

My sister gave me a copy of Catching Fire -- the sequel to The Hunger Games -- without realizing that I've had one since September. She got it at a Scholastic Book Fair and can't return it. So, anyone interested in it for, say, $10 plus book rate postage? (Or best offer.)

And finally, a poll. I am very much pro-giftwrap. I avoid giftbags unless I simply cannot wrap a present, because they seem like such a lazy way to do it. Plus, I'm enough of a purist to prefer ripping the paper off of something. OTOH, bags are reusable, and many people swear by them as looking more festive than a sloppy attempt at paper-wrapping. Where do you stand?

For optimum present concealment, I use

Wrapping paper!
Gift bags!
Shove it, unwrapped, in my friends' hands.
My acquaintances don't deserve gifts.
*gen - tiffany

Fun with traveling.

So, I'm now in D/FW (technically the midcities), and everyone's freaking out that IT IS SNOWING OMG. Hell, it's a top trending topic on Twitter. It's coming down fairly hard and actually starting to stick a bit. I must say that it's rather cool to have a White Christmas (Eve) for the first time that I can remember!

Yesterday's travel went fine. Did not oversleep as usual. No traffic whatsoever going through downtown to Hartsfield, and the airport itself was damn near empty two days before Christmas -- which is a bit alarming for the world's busiest airport on the 23rd. My suitcase was only 41lbs. No problems on the flight, aside from the selfish woman who demanded I remove my small laptop bag from the overhead bin so she could stow a 20" rolling bag AND a large carry-on satchel -- her purse was staying in the seat. I won that argument.

I have plenty more to say, along with catching up on comments, plus a ton of bookmarks that need to be moved into a linkspam. But right now I'm yawning and will either take a nap or go play in the snow with my nephew. Happy Christmas Eve to all who celebrate!
*gen - tiffany

The night before holiday.

Time for the saga of my Christmas knitting. Collapse )

I leave for Texas in the morning, so I've been cleaning and packing. The most frustrating thing about packing is not knowing whether or not your suitcase will exceed the weight limits. American's limit is 50lbs; last year my suitcase was 49.6lbs. No scale at home, so I have no way of knowing whether or not I'm safe. This means frustrations like leaving one of my winter coats at home along with other things I'd rather have with me. And packing also means hiding my suitcase from my cat, who sees it and immediately hides under the bed -- which is a problem because I prefer to keep my door shut while my neighbor is checking on the cat. Sigh.

I was going to say more, but I really need to be packing. So, I'll see everyone on the other side!
*gen - tiffany

Legend of the Meh.

Well. I am officially halfway through the school year. Overall, it's been a fairly good one -- certainly better than last year. The past week was quite a challenge, though. The next time someone jokes/snarks about how many vacations teachers get, I'll challenge them to spend the week before winter break with a hundred and fifty 11-12 year olds. (And while I'm being kinda bitchy, I get bristly when people tell me, "You're a middle school teacher? They couldn't pay me enough to do that!" It makes teaching -- a career for which I have a Master's degree and tons of experience -- sound rather repulsive and beneath them. I know they mean well and are expressing admiration, but I wish they'd phrase it another way!)

My hands are sore because I've spent so much time knitting in the past few days. With a bit of luck, I should have all my projects finished by the time I fly to Texas on Wednesday. Knock on wood! While knitting, I've been listening to the "Holiday Pop" station on Comcast's music selection to get me into the Christmas mood. It isn't helping much. Most of the holiday-themed music out there is pretty awful. And for some reason they threw in "Hold on to the Night" by Richard Marx, which totally took me back to 8th grade and begging to go to his concert at Six Flags Music Mill Amphitheater. Ah, the (cringeworthy) memories!

Just read an article about how charity donations tend to double in the last week of the year vs. the previous fifty-one weeks. Gotta love folks going for the tax deduction, though at least they're giving something! I really like This American Life's new fundraiser: you send a text message to a certain number, and $5 is added to your cellphone bill. So easy! And tacking it onto a bill you're already paying is perfect for someone as profoundly lazy as me.

This afternoon I watched Galaxy Quest on the local NBC affiliate for the first time since it came out. Such a cute little movie. Why has nobody written crossover RPF in which Jamie Bamber, for instance, finds himself in spaaaaaaace?

I also watched last week's episode of Legend of the Seeker; for some reason, the local affiliate is showing them a week late. Huh. Must track down the new ep. That show is so bad that it must actually be really good and I'm just oblivious to its merits. Also, I want to applaud the show for having two strong female leads (Kahlan and Cara), yet it loses points by showing tits and ass whenever possible. It's hard to wave my feminism banner when most of the women on the show are dressed in such skimpy outfits. Alas.

Anyway. Off to knit some more. (And the 12 Days entry might be late this time, thanks to me having no ideas whatsoever. Eh, when I finish, I'll just backdate the post. ;)
*gen - tiffany

The late afternoon update.

1. Wow, thanks for all the snowflakes! Seeing them lined up on my profile page is a lot of fun. :)

2. Collapse )

3. Was quite pleased to discover that my school library has The Ask and the Answer, the second book in Patrick Ness's trilogy, which means I don't have to buy it -- I liked the first book, but not quite enough to splash out when money's so tight. The downside is that a student currently has it checked out until 12/17. I'm resisting the urge to track her down and wheedle ask nicely for her to return it!

4. Last week I ordered some sweaters from the Women's Plus section of Old Navy (because I am a Big Girl), only to discover that one of them had a hole in the arm seam. Collapse )

5. Yesterday I discovered that season one of Legend of the Seeker was available via Netflix On Demand (another reason why I love having a TiVo.) So, I got sucked into marathonning the first 9 episodes. It's a fun little show, and beautifully shot. I have a mental block against fantasy -- sorry! -- and it's not pinging my meta jones. But so far it's been great background viewing while I do something else, and I plan to finish S1 and download the aired episodes of S2. Oh, and I wish they'd let the actors keep their Kiwi accents instead of forcing American ones!

6. I fear I may never finish all my Christmas knitting -- SO much of it! -- which is not a good thing given how many of my gifts involve yarn. And why do I keep starting fingering-weight scarves that take forever? They always seem like such a good idea at the time, but I'm quickly bored out of my mind.

7. One bit of fandom news: nicole_anell has been posting some fun and detailed writeups from the recent London con with BSG and Firefly actors. Start here then just go to her main LJ page for the other two. :)
*gen - tiffany

Feeling festive!

Right now I am inordinately proud of myself. I headed down to IKEA this afternoon to get a housewarming gift for a friend, and I noticed that they were already marking down all their holiday decor. Their theme this year is a bit too reliant upon oddly-shaped hearts, but they still had some great deals. So, I bought a plain wreath and lots of other decor, and in my opinion it turned out fabulously. Well, as fabulously as one would expect for less than $10!

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I'm also trying to organize my gift shopping lists. I need something great for my nephew, who'll be three in March. Sis said I should get him an oldskool View-Master, but it looks like the best deals are on Ebay, and I don't like shopping there. Turns out my father wants ... a Snuggie, though I'm not sure whether he's joking. At least they're cheap and easy to get!

Finally... any tips on how to make a great pumpkin pie? Last night I did a trial run, and it was too soft in the center despite leaving it in the oven five minutes longer than the recipe indicated. I don't need for it to be impeccable. I just want it to be halfway decent. :)
*gen - tiffany

"Do you mind? This is personal."

1. Today I took a deep breath and braved Publix for pre-Thanksgiving grocery shopping. It wasn't too bad on Tuesday afternoon, but the portents of holiday insanity were visible. For the hell of it, I decided to attempt my first-ever pumpkin pie as a hostess gift for my friends. I bought supplies for two pies, so I can use the first as a trial run (even though I'm using the easiest recipe ever.) Oh, and I'm thrilled that Cool Whip now makes sugar-free whipped cream. Now I just have to clean out my refrigerator to make room for everything. Yikes.

2. Although I'm not particularly into soaps, I've been amusing myself with clips of James Franco's appearance today on General Hospital. The second video is absolutely priceless. I'm glad that the woman is snarking instead of simpering, even if Franco looks stoned. At least he seems to be having fun.

3. Speaking of women on TV... I also watched Oprah today because I was bored. It was one of her "heroes" episodes, and there was an Iowa HS cheerleading squad with developmentally delayed girls. Really neat! Another guest was, of course, Chesley Sullenberger, who I really like for how he always insists "I was just doing my job" and gives equal credit to his co-pilot. Would've been so easy to hog the spotlight, and there's something rather sad about how such humility is a surprise these days. (Oprah also brought out all the first responders from NYC, and while I know this is the reality, I was a bit dismayed that of the 20-odd people on stage, only one of them was a woman. Sigh.)

4. The horrors -- or just bad taste -- of the Ed Hardy craze have spread to our youth. Last week, one of my students showed up every day with fake tattoo sleeves. Yes, these are nylon armwarmers from wrist to armpit, printed with gaudy Hardy-style tattoos. I suppose I'd rather he have those than real tattoos at age 11, but still. Yikes. I finally had to confiscate them when he took them off and started snapping them like a wet towel.

5. asta77 was the first to embed, but now it seems like half the bloggers on my RSS readers have linked to The Muppets performing "Bohemian Rhapsody". That is the HD version, which is absolutely gorgeous quality. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a faster lo-def version. And when you're done watching that, check out good ol' "Mahna Mahna". When my toddler nephew visited a few weeks ago, he was obsessed with that song. He'd chirp "Mahna Mahna!", and we had to sing the rest. Very, very cute ... for the first ten times. ;)
*gen - tiffany

The Great Yam Debate

I loooove yams. They are the best thing about autumn dining. Yesterday I made a few requests in various places for Thanksgiving sweet potato recipes, and people replied with some great links! It looks like yam dishes fall into two camps: the traditional casserole with a sweet crust of brown sugar and/or marshmallows, or a "healthy" roasted dish (including one I found with a nice side of chutney.) I am torn! While I definitely need to cut back on the calories and especially the sugar, those marshmallow-and-cinnamon concoctions are a tradition, dammit!
So, where do you stand?

Poll #1489138 The Great Yam Debate

A Thanksgiving (or any other holiday) sweet potato dish should be ...

Healthy: roasted potatoes, with just a bit of sweetness and lots of spices.
Decadent: bring on the marshmallows, cinnamon, and a stick of butter!
For some inexplicable reason, I don't like yams. *hangs head in shame*
*gen - tiffany

(Not) Resolved:

Last night was ... odd. I went to dinner with some friends, but backed off of New Year's Eve festivities because I didn't feel like going to a bar. I came home and prepared to ring it in on my own, which suited me just fine. But right at midnight, I suddenly wanted to cry. Even got a bit teary-eyed. Not that it had been a BAD year or anything. I suppose just PMS and general holiday malaise. Then, a few minutes after midnight, a neighbor knocked on my door to ask what was up with the gunshots -- the revelers sounded like they had cannons and a dozen clips of ammo. Turned out to be fireworks at the Village Green. Oops! But we had a laugh and then sat outside in the chill and talked for an hour. So that was good.

Lifehacker has a great feature on Free Tools to Manage New Year's Resolutions. One suggestion is to make them realistic and specific. I dislike resolutions because of my fear of commitment. Instead, here are Seven Things I Want to Do in 2008:

  1. Back off on the avoidance and excuses, you idiot. I'd get so much more out of life if it weren't for all that procrastination and fear. Out of sight might be out of mind, but it's gonna come back sooner or later.

  2. Be more social. Go out at least once a month, even if it's just to the knitting group at Knitch. Only decline invitations for legitimate reasons, and not because "I just don't feel like it."

  3. Read at least six books. Hey, gotta keep this realistic!

  4. Spoil the nephew until he stinks. (Sorry, psychomab, but you are powerless against this. It's part of the Auntie Code. At least Mullet Kid gets some free toys out of it.)

  5. Take better care of myself. Get a physical in the summer, and routine checkups when necessary. Yoga and a long walk at least once a week. Cook for myself at least twice a week, not just takeout or microwave meals.

  6. Branch out beyond my usual fic genres, pairings, and fandoms. Take more (potentially unpopular) risks.

  7. And, of course, get better at replying to my LJ comments! I resolve this every year, but I seem to get worse and worse. Hell, I don't think I've done ANY comments in the past week, because I just freeze up when I click the button to reply. Understandable, I suppose, but still a bit inconsiderate.

Anyway! Here are a few links for a chilly New Year's Day:

-- Most of you have heard the news, but: BSG season 3 DVDs will be released on March 25th. Gee, that’s exactly one year (to the day!) since “Crossroads II” aired. Stupid, frakking NBCU. Hopefully the 70-minute version of “Unfinished Business” will make up for the wait.

-- If you're into celeb gossip, Crazy Days and Nights is revealing a bunch of blind items.

-- Slate talks about what movies get wrong (and right) about gardening, plus an interesting article on how Starbucks actually HELPS mom-and-pop coffeehouses. Incidentally, I just discovered the brand-new Starbucks two blocks away is open 24/7. Uh-oh.

-- Hello Kitty contact lenses. Probably fake, but still funny.

-- Yes, I'm still borderline-obsessed with Ravelry. And for my fellow knitters, I found this cool blog with tips on how to make your knitting look better and more professional. On that note... I'm closing the laptop and picking up some yarn. Gotta finish that other sock!