Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Yearly Reckoning...Not!

New Year's Eve once more, and I find myself not at all reflective or seeking closure of the year just past. Unusual for me, but at the moment, it seems like such an arbitrary thing, to say this is the last day of the year and so you must reflect, sum up, list accomplishments, and set goals for the coming year.

It seems so very is a dynamic process, and it doesn't always fit into those nice, neat little boxes that you can stack in alphabetized (or colour-coded, for the more visual among us) rows.

So this year I'm going to do something I never do...I'm going to poo-poo the Yearly Reckoning. No lists of accomplishments (I swear that's a lingering side effect of spending twelve years in academia with that whole publish-or-perish imperative), no goal setting, no angst about how little I've actually done. Instead, there will merely be a nod to the new calendar, and a desperate attempt to remember to write "2009" on my checks...

Writing Prompt: Do you have an end of the year ritual? What is it? Why is it important to you? If you don't have one, why not?

Friday, December 19, 2008

In Which I Win an Award and Attempt to Warp the Space-Time Continuum

A big thank-you to Matt at It's Quite an Experience for bestowing the brand new A Hoy Award upon my humble little blog (which I haven't been paying nearly enough attention to lately, and it's amazing that it hasn't wandered off to find someone else who will love it and nurture it a bit more than I have lately).

I am to pass this award on, and I fully intend to do so, but at the moment...

Xmas is less than a week away and I feel like it is rolling inexorably towards me...the gift shopping is mostly done, the food shopping is not. The tree is up but the baking hasn't even begun (it was attempted, but after two disasters in a row of which we shall not speak, I am living in fear of trying again lest the Wrath of the Universe be vented upon my white chocolate cheesecake which the whole family waits for in hushed anticipation. No pressure here, dudes). One hand-knitted scarf is finished, but three are still on the needles. The wrapping is not done, though that should probably happen today because as of 2:57 this afternoon, the children will be home on break (we will not discuss for whom this is a "break") and it will be relegated to a Clandestine Late Night Operation, which I'd really rather not have to perform...And all of this is on top of the usual cleaning, scaling Mt. Laundry, polishing the dogs, and trying to remove questionable sticky substances from floor and table. (Any advice on warping the space-time continuum to allow myself a whole lot more temporal leeway here would be appreciated right about now...)

So a big thank-you to Matt, and I will be passing this award on...just not right away...patience, my friends. And sweet holidays to you all!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Does This Mean I'm a Grownup?

Sad, but true...the first thought I had last week when the kids started wondering when we were going to put the tree up and decorate the house was, Didn't I just take all this stuff down?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Holiday Meme

Most memes are kind of annoying, but I found this one on one of the knitting blogs I read, and I thought it was kind of neat, so I thought I'd do it. Anyone else who wants to can consider themselves tagged. Go for it, dudes!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial. And way too big. But we're not going to go there.

3. When do you put up the tree? Soon...probably this weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down? As soon as I can without my kids calling me "Scrooge" and "horrible mother"...which generally means once they have gone back to school.

5. Do you like eggnog? *gag* Bailey's Irish Cream is my alcoholic beverage of choice. That or a nice, cold Guiness.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Mastermind (the game...when it first came out it was only available in England, and one of my English friends had gotten it from his Nana for his birthday, and I wanted one desperately, and my Nana sent me one for xmas that year.)

7. Hardest person to buy for? My dad.

8. Easiest person to buy for? My mum.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? No--we're not religious.
(ETA--although after RamblingMad's comment about having a Lego Star Wars Stormtrooper in the manger, I may have to rethink that one...)

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? The Dreaded Clown Cookie Jar that my sister-in-law gave us the first year we were married...even if clowns never ever gave you nightmares before, this thing would have!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Hogfather...and we also have a fairly new tradition of trying to watch the entire Lord of the Rings extended cut over the xmas holiday.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Summer...I give a lot of homemade gifts like wall quilts, beaded ornaments, and now, knitting, so I generally have to start pretty early if I'm going to meet my own expectations.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No. (Given the number of friends and relatives who read this blog, I dare not say otherwise, do I?)

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Wine gums (English candy, which I've just started finding in the international foods sections of some of the grocery stores over here) and anything drenched in chocolate...decent chocolate, I mean...

16. Lights on the tree? As many tiny fairy lights as we can get on the thing...
(ETA: 1050 lights this year...the most ever...the kids were ecstatic!)

17. Favorite Christmas song? Anything on any of the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums...and I also like George Winston's December CD.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes, and I even know about Rudolph and Olive...

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A teddy bear, actually...

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Rampant consumerism and loud xmas music in the stores.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Homemade beaded ornaments (made with all those sparkly little glass seed beads...I haven't done any yet this year, I've been too busy with the knitting...)

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Lasagne (The Chief is Italian, so there's not a whole lot of room for negotiation on this one, and since I am a vegetarian, I have to make two trays--one meat, one veg).

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Yarn. Although I've been thinking it might be interesting to learn how to spin, so maybe I should just ask for a sheep?

26. Will you bake any cookies? Oh, yes...Death by Chocolate Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies, which are used for the crust for my white chocolate cheesecake, gingerbread men (and women)(which are so yummy they are death to any diet plans I may have), chocolate covered digestive biscuits (an English thing), cranberry-white-chocolate chip cookies, and crunchy bar...which is more candy than cookie, but since it is made in a 9x13 pan, I consider it baking anyway...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Gravity Must be a Bit Screwy Over There...

The Chief and I have shared living space for over twenty years now and I fear I shall never enlighten him regarding the difference between in the laundry basket and next to the laundry basket.

The difference between in the laundry basket and next to the laundry basket is, in actual, three-dimensional, Euclidean space, about six inches, possibly less.

In The Chief's own little world, however, that distance might as well be 20 light years. The socks, the boxers, the T-shirts, never seem to make it in the laundry basket. The man would have me believe that it is not that he is deliberately dropping his clothes a mere six inches from the laundry basket, oh no. He would have me believe that he begins putting his clothes in the basket with the best of intentions, but no matter how hard he hurls the socks, no matter how carefully he takes aim, they simply will not go in the laundry basket. There must be--and I quote--"something screwy with the gravity over in that corner of the room."

He would also have me believe that a man who can find his way into the bathroom, perform his nightly ablutions, get ready for bed, and find his way into bed amongst the various canines who may or may not be stretched out on the floor or curled up on the bed in the dark cannot get his clothing in the laundry basket, which has occupied the very same space for as long as we have lived in this house.

Now, I have ventured into that corner of the room many a time, let me tell you, both to deposit my own dirties in the laundry basket, and to scoop up the pile of clothes that have been left next to the laundry basket, and near as I can tell, there is absolutely nothing wrong with gravity in that part of the room.

Neither of the children, both of whom are considerably younger (and possibly brighter) than The Chief has any difficulty with this concept (although their grasp of the difference between in the dishwasher and on the dishwasher is tenuous at best, but we'll save that one for another time). Their laundry baskets are always full of dirty clothes, and aside from the occasional sock that escapes the heap, I rarely find any laundry on their floors. (Clothing that has been worn by Little Mouse for about 6.5 seconds before being flung off and hurled to the floor because it is not exactly right and then left there is an entirely different story, and we will not speak of it here lest I completely lose it.)

After twenty years, I guess I am mostly resigned to my fate, and to put it into perspective, there are a lot worse jobs out there than scooping a pile of dirty clothes off the floor and depositing them in the laundry basket every morning. But hell, I thought when I married him that he would at least be trainable!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Maybe I'll Catch Fire...

Every year about this time I get Anxious and Worried about some Terrible Event occurring just before Christmas. Like someone ending up in the hospital or worse. So every time I have to go out, I'm imagining ending up dead in a car wreck. And every time The Chief goes out, I'm imagining him ending up dead in a car wreck. And if it's not that, it's some other unlikely, convoluted event that only my dark imagination could come up with.

Can't help these thoughts...

Whenever something good or fun is coming up--like Christmas or a vacation or something--my mind has to conjure up all the ways that something horrible could come along and twist it all up.

When I was on antidepressants, I did not feel this way. Of course, when I was on antidepressants, I didn't feel much of anything, so I suppose that's not really a fair comparison.

Writing Prompt: What kinds of things make you Worried and Anxious? What do you do to help yourself when you feel that way?