Thursday, December 31, 2009
Anyhoo, I just reviewed my New Years Resolutions and To Do List for 2009. My results? Pretty dismal. Lots of incompletes. I did join the Y and swim weekly from January through June (yea!). I did start to balance my checkbook (at least three times...ugh). I did finally read Dickens (I made it all the way through A Christmas Carol--last week!--it's kind of been a holiday tradition of mine to start that book every December and never finish). I was definitely not patient or grateful (we did send out Christmas thank-yous last year, though).
It seems I still have a lot of work to do. I'll keep that list on hand as kind of a running self-improvement plan, though without any specific deadline for finishing (should probably get that damn will written--apparently you can buy one for $1 at the probate court).
As for 2010 specifically? I kind of want to give myself a break. Learn to accept who I am as I am (though keeping that list in mind...ahem...writing every day for instance). Though C did buy me this book, One Year to an Organized Work Life, for Christmas. I'm not a super-big fan of self-help books, but I think it's sweet that he's so excited about my new job and wants to help me be successful (probably he hopes that if I like my work, I'll be less of a shrew at home). I'm trying to convince him to go through the book with me (on the principle that I'll be more successful if I don't spend the whole time thinking, "This is helpful, but you know who could really benefit from this advice?" Let's say he could use a little assistance in the organizational realm as well). I'm hoping (and I gather from the introduction) that my home life will ride on the wave of organization I'm bringing to my work...or something.
How about you? How did 2009 wind up? What are your hopes and plans for 2010? And is it just me, or are these years flying by now that we're all old with kids?
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
made at the Make-A-Craft fair and some old apples from one of our many wild apple trees. Making a tree for the birds is something I've wanted to do for a long time (at least since last year, with inspiration from Lone Star Ma), but have only just now gotten around to it. I also finally cleaned and filled our bird feeders and put some seed in the platform feeder, so the birds and squirrels should be quite happy now.Later we made some sugar cookies (the third and final batch in the holiday cookie parade). I used a recipe that I came across many, many (many) years ago, when I was in college, and two of my housemates wanted to make cookies to mail home to their boyfriends for Valentine's Day. I worked in the library and randomly grabbed a cookbook off the shelf and photocopied this sugar cookie recipe. They ended up buying pre-made cookie dough, and I ended up with this amazing sugar cookie recipe, which I really believe makes the best sugar cookies, hands-down. It's my Christmas gift to you (with no citation because the book it came from is long gone from my memory):
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Ooof. I have finally produced Issue 11 of my zine, GEMINI. For some reason, this issue just did not write itself as the first ten did (OK, maybe they didn't write themselves, but they did come together a bit more smoothly than this one has). I was just totally blocked on the writing front all spring (I think, looking back, that I was probably a bit depressed—which was no doubt evident to everyone who reads this blog, except me), then this summer I was working on material for the course I took, and then I just felt so busy, busy, busy all fall. Finally (when I started contemplating a full-time job) it occurred to me that, no, no one was going to hand me a large chunk of time to devote to writing—I had to make time. And that time, it turns out, was there all along. It's called 5 a.m. (or, more often, 5:18 a.m.). I never, ever, thought I'd become a morning person, but it's now my most favorite time of the day—and I am soooo much more personable once 6:30 rolls around and I have to start dragging kids out of bed than if I am just then dragging myself out of bed too!
Anyway, back to the zine, I picked them up from the printer last week, finally got some stamps yesterday, and, if all goes well and I make my way to Staples to pick up some mailing labels soon, they should be in the mail by the end of the week (which is, technically, still fall, so I'm not lying when I call it the fall issue). If you have a subscription or we trade, expect yours in time for post-holiday relaxing! If not, I'd like to offer blog readers a free copy of this issue. Just leave a comment on this post before Wednesday December 23 and email your mailing address to andreaelani (at) yahoo (dot) com. No I'm not a stalker and I will not give away your address or use it for any non-zine-related purpose.
In this issue (GEMINI #11: Along the Tangled Path):
In the Hot Springs Pool
The Fifth Circle of Hell: Halloween 2007
The Witching Hour
A Day at the Fair
How it Came to Be that I Was Thrice Saved by the Hausfrau
Plus poetry, cartoons, and lots of amusing kid quotes.
So don't worry...it's probably not bad, and who doesn't love to get mail?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
In any case, the reason this is stressing me out is that I have (as usual) given myself too much to do in way too little time. If only I could be a normal presents and, you know, BUY presents, it would be fine, but something about this time of year turns me into Crafty Sue. I would blame the Internets and my obsession with craft blogs, but I remember one Christmas, way back in the late 1990s before anyone even used the Internet for anything other than term papers and weird chat rooms (when the only computer we owned was the Big Mac--one of those old, all-in-one Macintosh's--that definitely did not have any way to access the Internet), when C and I made the paper for 50 Christmas cards that we printed with a hand-carved wood block. So apparently it's my nature, not the interwebs' fault.
Anyway, this weekend was a flurry of celebrating. We had our annual Hanukkah feast Saturday night with our usual golden latkes made with half sweet potato using the Sundays at Moosewood blender technique (though I left half the potatoes unblended for a bit more texture). And, as usual, me acted like I was poisoning him, though Z gobbled his down and E, with a little help from me (is it wrong that I still spoon-feed my 4 1/2 year old most dinners?), ate his too. Sunday I got up early and made Lucia buns for St. Lucia day, and then the boys helped me cut out gingerbread boys, girls and babies. (Does it sound like our multicultural celebrations just involve eating? Hmmm...maybe I should work on this). I used the Lucia bun recipe from Christmas in Scandinavia, which we checked out from the library for the occasion, and I always use a chocolate gingerbread cookie recipe from a back issue of Martha Stewart Living (I don't often have good luck with Martha recipes--usually they involve a huge amount of work for kind of "meh" results--but these cookies rock my socks).
I'm really liking this new system of making one batch of cookies each weekend all December, and then just eating them, without worrying about saving them or giving them away (though if anyone is around, we do share!). I've also found that it works great for me to mix the dough Saturday evening after the kids are in bed--it saves me from the arguments over every 1/4 teaspoon of ingredients (my turn! no mine!), and it gives the dough time to chill, so that we're not all tired of making cookies before we even start making cookies--and then involving the kiddos in rolling/cutting Sunday morning (it also makes the day a bit longer--we were done with buns and cookies by 10 a.m.!). It also divides the dishwashing over two days, which is nice.
No pictures of either cookies or buns (which didn't turn out that pretty anyway because I had a bit of trouble with the egg wash--forgot to mix in the water and no longer have a pastry brush since mine got all moldy and disintegrated) because we also spent the weekend in Sweat Shop mode, with the kids cranking out holiday gifts and me cracking the whip...nothing like enforced creativity. Actually Sunday C took over for the most part, and things went a bit more smoothly than Saturday when their tired and cranky (because she went out to celebrate her last day on the old job) Mama was at the helm of the Fabric Marker ship.
Sunday afternoon we met friends in Waterville to see a performance of The Nutcracker. I've taken M the last two years, but this was E and Z's first time. They lasted until about the last 10 minutes when they got restless, but they were quite rapt through most of the show (though now Z claims to only have liked the soldiers!). We finished out the night with Thai food and drove home through the snow-turning-to-rain, for our Advent book of the day (Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas--a favorite around here) and early bed, so I could spin my wheels a bit on Christmas projects (I really am pushing the limit on making things that I need to mail to Colorado ASAP) before retiring for an early bed myself.