Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving II

aka leftover night has left me filled....
with serious over-eating/food regret.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Come Ye Thankful People Come!

Come, ye thankful people, come,

Raise the song of harvest home;

All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Working Here

I can be super-immune sometimes when it comes to illness and death - immune as in my office mate and I talk about the terrible cases we've reviewed that day, or say things like "if it was me, I'd stop treatment, go to Hawai'i with my morphine and OD on the beach." or "if it were a choice between mastectomy/prostatectomy/whatever-ectomy  or death, I'd give up the breasts/prostate/whatever." We talk about "end of life care" on a regular basis here, we debate the ethics of continuing to treat a patient's cancer when there's no chance of survival, whether it's giving a patient false hope to enroll them on a clinical trial that may not work. I see sick people every day, sick babies, bald little kids, girls my age getting chemo for breast cancer, grannies who should be at home gardening being wheeled through the sucks, but I feel immune most of the time. People see ads for the pediatric cancer charity run by my hospital and say "how do you do it?" I tell them "I'm not treating these kids, I'm not a parent to these kids. I see them in the halls and elevators and in the cafeteria and all I think is "there's some sick kids here to get better." My interactions are brief and rarely personal. I've become unphased by blood, vomit, hearing people vomit, body fluids, visible tumors, graft versus host disease, etc.

There is, however, one thing I will never get over - seeing one of our patients go down...."go down" as in just drop, wherever they were standing. It's scary, scarier to me than the people who are so sick they come here by ambulance. I mean, if you are going down, you want it to be here - the guy I just saw, middle-aged, bald, probably once a big guy but now reduced by chemo, whose knees just seem to give out right from under him - he's going to be fine. He had three construction workers, two security guards, at least three oncologists, and three or four nurses surrounding him, an admin running with an IV pole towards him as well as a couple Boston policeman who happened to be working a detail nearby. They obviously called a code because as I stepped into the elevator, another doctor was running out. It the great shuffle of people, he was actually trying to get up and into a wheelchair by himself. Obviously he's just having a lousy day, and we see people having crappy reactions to their treatment ALL THE TIME. Despite that I'm still worried about him as I sit here at my desk. Because we're an outpatient facility, having patients drop where they stand is not the norm, and I think it is a reminder of how sick most of the people really are. The brave faces they put on for us while they're here are amazing.

I guess the point of my post is that seeing all this is a reason to be thankful - it's fitting, given Thanksgiving is tomorrow, that I come up with something for which I am thankful, and that is, without a doubt, my health and the health of my husbando and family and friends. We're so lucky to be well this Thanksgiving, to be able to gather together and share a meal, watch the Pats game, take a snooze after dinner and probably play an exhausting game of Cranium because Auntie Jayne looks forward to it all year - for all those great and small things I love or love to hate about the holiday, I am grateful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not blogging tonight!
Pie phase I/III done.

Monday, November 22, 2010

That damn bike!

I got on. I rode it for 12 miles.
I feel BADASS!!!!
Well, right now I feel badass.
Tomorrow, I think I'll be filled with slight regret as I pay for my overzealousness with very sore muscles!

For a laugh:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Night

This weekend ran me ragged. Ugh.
It included lots of cleaning, rehabbing the old fish tank, framing and hanging seven pictures, doing five loads of laundry (not alone! I helped Jam by requesting Dunkin Donuts and complaining!), an mini emotional breakdown, and eating at least two meals out.

Needless to say, I am glad:

I survived the weekend (and I owe you a phone call EE)
I feel like I accomplished things
Our exercise bike is coming tomorrow so I can stop feeling so gross
It is a short work week
The PATRIOTS beat the COLTS. YEEEEhhhhhhaaaaWWWWWW

I regret:

Eating about two pounds of gummy frogs. My parents had the wedding leftovers and gave them to me. YUM!!!!....oh wait, a wad of gummy candy in my tum. booooooo.

I am apprehensive of:

Being in charge of three pies for Thanksgiving
My first Thanksgiving away from home(!)

I am looking forward to:

Making the three Thanksgiving pies
Trying something new (traveling to the in-laws) for Turkey Day!! I know I have won the "good daughter-in-law prize" already for bringing dessert. No need to dwell on the fact that I am the only daughter in law, lol!
The end of Thanksgiving, which to me marks the beginning of "advent" if you will - the magic of the Christmas season, both "secular" and not. We skipped church today but I made Jam promise we'd be there for all the Advent Sundays, I find them so lovely.

Things I'm really worried about:

Getting overwhelmed. I got a second (though very very part time) job this weekend and am looking forward to learning some new things (it's in a flower shop), but I'm mildly worried that I won't get to enjoy the holidays as much because I'll be stressed. Here's to not letting that happen and enjoying every moment, surrounded by family and FRIENDS.

And here's to a good night. Phew.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Road Rage

*in my fantasy world*

Somewhere in a large parking lot, the supermarket, perhaps, or Wal-Mart.

I am pushing a cart, very zen.

Suddenly, I see a familiar car.

I stop, and pull something from my oversized bag.

"Volvo, 22H Y54?! Remember me? Subaru Forester? You blatantly cut me off by taking a left in front of me as I was taking a right from Quincy Ave to Faxon Park Road? Then you even MORE blatantly gave me the finger for no apparent reason?!!! Remember?? Well, I have really been hoping we'd meet again....."

Friday, November 19, 2010


Was asked to participate is someone's annual review.
I work pretty far away from this person and do not see this person....ever, basically, but we have contact via phone and email. And just to cover my ass, the person does not work in the same place as me, not even the same state, and that's about all I'll tell you about that....

I usually ace review writing, especially since Jamaal taught me this concept he learned in MBA school:
pet, kick, pet. It works wonders! Basically you do this: "Jim, we love having you as a part of our team. It's a shame your work is so substandard when compared to the rest of our employees. We love you so much though, and we want to give you another chance, so go out there and do something other than playing Angry Birds on your iPhone all day!"

I use the method all the time. People don't even realize you're scolding them half the time. Usually they just nod like a bobblehead. Too bad I have to send this review via email and can't see it happen in person.

Actually, the employee in question is, overall, an excellent one. But there are, uh, issues. I had to list this person's strengths and weaknesses. Here's what the review looked like:

Strengths: conscientious, attentive to detail, quick when responding to requests, dependable, accurate
Weaknesses: trouble multitasking, has to catch up after many sick days this year, hurt by odd data-processing mechanisms at office (though this is out of employee's control)

What I really wanted to write:

Strengths: perfectionist ad nauseum, able to write sinister email that sends people running to me for help, able to make someone switch their job because of negative interactions, able to make psychotic flow chart
Weaknesses: EXTREME PARANOIA, time-wasting due to perfectionism....and trouble multitasking.

but even the "pet kick pet" method wouldn't have softened the blow of "paranoia" lol.

Sometimes I wonder if I have "enemies" at the office and if my enemies had to partake in my review, what would they write?

I think it would be something like this:
Strengths: talking, typing, being someone's b*tch, multitasking (for real, I work 3 jobs here, 1 full time, 2 part time lol), calming people the f*ck down, monitoring the bathroom (long story) and bringing in holiday baked goods
Weaknesses: occasional bouts of extreme lassitude, eats at desk, tries to please everyone and often fails, messy desk, kills house plants, kills pet fish, prints too many personal documents on printer, goes to Tuesday meetings for the free breakfast......, I think I'll stop myself there...and reread what I wrote about that employee. Yikes! Self-criticism was hard enough to take, I can't imagine getting it from thousands of miles away. Lesson learned.

Seriously though, I wonder if someone at work can't stand me? If so, then I wonder why? I wonder what all my annoying work habits might be? None of my coworkers read this blog (I don't think...maybe they do in secret!) sadly, so I'll probably just continue to bug the hell out of everyone for years to come, lol. I wonder if other people on the project see me as a weak link in the chain. Uh, probably not, I work fairly hard..still though, this review thing has me wondering how others see my work and my role. Hmmmm. Something to think about for the weekend I guess!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unintended Exchange

I arrived home tonight with a big bag of goods from the Paper Source.
I finally bought some archival-quality, rustic, and perfectly shaded paper to back the Audubon prints - and I found some re-positionable glue dots to go with them.

I bought this:

Thinking "a mistletoe kit! It will look adorable hanging from the archway between the living and dining rooms! How charming! I will be able to trick people into kissing in our house! yay!"

And these, thinking "cards that are mittens! They're a blank slate too! I will embellish them in an adorable nordic pattern with glue and glitter and tuck them into the ornament swap packages I'm sending out!!"

I casually browsed through the holiday displays before getting in line. I did cut myself off when I saw this:

I still think it's a little early for wreath-time....

As I waited in line, I looked at kits containing these two things:

And wondered how the snowflakes would look hanging amidst the mistletoe (glittered, of course) and whether I could fashion a leafy branch out of paper upon which to hang those cheerful red cardinals. Lost in my thoughts, I actually let the cashier overcharge me for the flat paper, which I didn't even realize until I was on the T.

I was at home when I realized that I had left a bag behind at the Paper Source, containing a tupperware with left over Shepherd's pie and a pair of Old Navy flats that are not expensive, but are adorable and have only been worn twice. TWICE.


Not that I think they won't be there when I go to the store tomorrow to fetch my grimy bag of leftovers and cute shoes....but still....


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Diet and Exercise

yeah, I know they're practically swear words (to me at least), but my alumnae e-zine put out this article today, and I found myself nodding along with huge sections of it...and then found myself saying "aw CRAP, that's me!"

This was particularly striking:
On cravings
There are two versions of women—the well-rested version and the not-well-rested version. When you’re not rested is when you make your worst food choices. Making sure you have protein and fat, and not just sweets and carbs, will ensure that you won’t crave more sweets and carbs

Balls. I'm not rested. And I totally make bad food choices. I know I need protein and "good" fat. Instead, I boil like, half a pound of spaghetti. Why? Cause it's fast, easy, and it tastes delicious. I'm back to drinking a lot of soda, cause the bubbles feel so good ("it feels so good when it hits your lips" lol). I'm sluggish. I'm getting out of shape. Even worse, I'm LAZY as sh*t. I kid you not. I come home and do an occasional free weight routine or some Jillian Michaels, but now that it's dark, I'm happy to throw on my PJ's and knit in front of my Netflix Instant Watch Queue. Terrible. 

While I do like a lot of what the article says, I'm not about to go crazy vegan or anything. I might take a look at some of the steps Dr. Laura recommends, like mixing whole wheat and white flour when cooking (though not in the Thanksgiving pies!) and trying to find healthier snacks and appetizing lunch options (today's lunch: spaghetti, because I didn't make my usual turkey BLT. Dang carbs). 

Jam and I also invested in a folding exercise bike. We both agree that the likelihood of us exercising outside now that I get home after dark is rather limited (this is the part where I'd argue a dog would come in handy, I'd have to go out to walk him/her...but our lease prohibits four legged friends at this point. boo). I'm determined to be a little slimmer by 2011 and above all, I'd really like to feel a bit more energized. 

I know for me, it's not just diet. Like today - I slept in on purpose because I'm too lazy to get up at 6:20. I slept until 6:45, which means I have about 25 minutes to get ready and leave the house. I did shower (woohoo) but I did not: iron my clothes, style my hair, or put on makeup, except for spf 50 moisturizer. Do my coworkers care about this? Definitely, definitely NOT. Do I care? Mmmnnn not really...until I use the ladies room and see my reflection and I look like a mess! WTF did I leave the house looking so busted? I ironed everything yesterday and did my hair and felt I feel gross. Trust me, I don't have self-esteem issues, I have presentation issues. Why don't I put the effort in? It's the whole vicious "I'm tired, I eat crap, I don't exercise cycle" rearing its ugly head. Definitely time for a little change. Time to bust out the clarisonic and blast my skin, iron my clothes with a real iron, and leave the house with a little spring in my step. I could definitely use it.

Do you ever feel like you need to push the "life" reset button and change things up??

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today I drove my husband to Target to buy new socks. No, not because he *needed* them, but because we're too lazy to do laundry and all of his socks are dirty. That's kind of the state we're in right now...and I liken myself to a junior Martha Stewart - ha, as if!!!!

I did, however, replace my commuter coat today for an amazing price. Small victories, right?!


Confession: We've been married for nearly 6 weeks and we haven't written a single thank you note.


Many would scoff at this - heck, if someone else told me they hadn't written their notes six weeks after their wedding, I'd laugh at them too. I'd be like "dude, relax, you *just* got married like, a second ago." Heck, it took my friend over two years to write a thank you to me. I'm not sure why, and actually, I was pretty damn confused when I got it in the mail a few months ago, but I still appreciated the gesture.

Why am I so uptight about it?

Of course part of it is because I'm so frickin' type A. Another huge piece of it is the fact that I finished my shower thank you's the day after the shower.....thereby setting myself up for internal wedding thank you fail unless I brought the notes on the honeymoon...because I had them...and customized stamps from zazzle to match. SICK.

I guess that's one thing that's on my list for this week. Along with ordering a compact exercise bike from Amazon, so I can stop feeling like "fat piles of fatness." Jam gets upset when I say this, but I actually stole the saying from a weddingbee board post because I thought it was so funny. The post itself turned creepy rather fast, because you had all these people coming out the woodwork who were like "I'm 5'10'' and weigh 115 but I'd really like to be down another 5 lbs" Sh*t, I ran away from there as fast as I could. I was like "Honey, I am 5'6'', weigh a fair amount more than you but could crush you with my THIGH." And I wasn't thinking that in an "I'm upset about my weight" type way, more like a "who would survive longer if we got lost on a trek through the Amazonian rainforest?? oh right, ME!" ha ha ha.

Seriously though, getting some of these "life" tasks in order are really going to help me out. I know I'm not getting enough exercise because I'm feeling sluggish and my clothes are tight (ha ha not pregnant, for the last time everyone...coworkers specifically....) and I'm tiiiiired all the time, even though I sleep like, forever. Getting the thank you's done will be one of the last wedding things I have to do (cleaning and preserving wedding dress, getting shoes cleaned and dyed, and sending out special bridesmaid thank yous round out the list of "remaining 5 wedding things to do."

Why am I hell-bent on getting life in order? Well, I think it might make things a little nicer. Less flippage. Like, I won't be doing the dishes one night and realize that we don't "have enough money for 'things.'" Maybe I'll get a better night's sleep and not be all procrastination and sloth at work. Maybe my pants will stop cutting off the circulation to my head. I dunno, maybe everything will be the same...hmmm except I would really like it if my pants weren't so tight.

In happy news, I think I have wrangled holiday crafting for the first time EVER! I think I'll actually be able to knit/craft everything and have it delivered/wrapped/given on time! This is a huge advance compared to holidays past, lol. I mean, I still owe EE the gay quilt, that's only four years overdue, but for this Christmas, I think I have it handled. Some of it is dumb socks - I am making some gift socks and they are already moving quickly and coming out quite nicely if I do say so myself:
- but I'd like to say it's less luck and more organized planning. Or maybe it's just the lack of wedding crap. Oh I don't know. I guess I should stop rambling so I can finish up my work for today and go home to craft. Ornament swap pals came out today and I'm ready to get started! YAY!

Aw crap....I have those thank you's though.....argh!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Post

Oh noes! I failed "NaBloPoMo" by completely failing to post on Saturday.
I actually totally forgot.
Here are some photo highlights of the weekend to compensate (instead of my ranting!!):

Jamaal is excited about riding on the Kancamagus

The "Sister Wives" lol. Not really, but my sister calls Jam "my brother from another mother of another color" It's special

Should we put this on the Christmas card? *cackles*

Bridge/River off the Kanc

North Conway Five and Dime (we were shopped out so I snapped this from the car)

 Back through the White Mountain National Forest via RT 302

That explains the "falling rock" sign...

The road stretches out before us. 

302 took us by the beautiful Mount Washington Hotel 


Pausing with the sis for a photo op

Getting closer to Littleton  - I'm not sure we've ever made it there in the daylight!

Downtown Littleton - crapass picture, it's really lovely in person


Gummy eggs - these are an inside for gummy brains and gummy teeth? that's just impressive

The glory!

Even Jam had to indulge when he saw the "old school Halloween candy" (bull's eyes, boston baked beans, etc)

Jawbreaker on a stick....insane

So needless to say I can barely button my pants for the gluttony of the weekend....can't  believe tomorrow's Monday and I ate all my candy from Chutters in less than 24 hours!!

Friday, November 12, 2010


We are in the great state of New Hampshire for the weekend!

What's in store??

Driving through the White Mountains on the "Kanc"

Outlet shopping, tax-free!!

Lunch at the Muddy Moose

Drive from North Conway to Littleton, through White Mountain National Forest

Visit to the world's longest candy counter....

Needless to say, there's plenty to be excited about...

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I was baking again tonight.

I should've been packing for our weekend away in NH or working on the two things I have due at work tomorrow, but I couldn't resist. Finally, a captive audience greater than two stuck with my baked goods! Glorious!

I began with chocolate cookies - easy and straightforward, and ended with pumpkin bread.

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread is one of my all-time favorite recipes. I think I love it because it combines a glorious mix of spices and taste better with time. Perfection.

We received a box of spices from Penzey's as a shower gift. Inside was a small bag with a round nut-looking thing inside. The label said "whole nutmeg." I didn't know if it had to be peeled or chopped or what. Google saved the day - I learned I could grate as needed with my microplane. I love how the inside looks! It also smells amazing when grated.

I make a big mess in our small kitchen whenever I cook. I also cook off my ipod, which you can see on the counter.

I especially love pumpkin bread because you add cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg and ginger on top of the dry ingredients. They contrast each other in a way I find quite lovely :)

Love my stand mixer!! Look at it go!

Baking also gives me a chance to use all my little baking tools that I've accrued over the last few a mini snowman rubber spatula!

Naturally type-A me loves what happens AFTER baking - the restoration of kitchen to sparkling clean!! Ugh, note our horrid green floors!

Well the oven timer calls - seriously, try the pumpkin bread some day. It makes three decent sized loaves, taste better the day after it's made, pleases a crowd,'s totally worth it!

Night night interwebs!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I meant to post something interesting...but when I got home, I found that my sister-in-law sent us a microwave as a wedding gift. Honestly, I was so excited that ramen and easy Mac and popcorn could be a part of our lives again, all efforts to blog were promptly tossed out the window. More tomorrow!!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

1 Month!

Forgive the lameness of this post, but today is our 1 month wedding anniversary!

Before mocking me for getting excited about it, I have to admit, I didn't even remember until my mom mentioned it on Facebook. Yes, I did say "mom" and "facebook" in the same sentence, ha ha.

My coworkers are always asking me how I enjoy married life. Before I can say anything, they always answer the question for me: "well it must be hard because you've only been married for a month and you still have to work out a routine since you didn't live together very long before getting married, BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH"


I know they mean well most of the time. It's just that they're very very nosy and opinionated. I wouldn't have the balls to say have the crap they say to me back to them. Oh it would be glorious if I could be as snarkalicious to them....."the reason you are anxious about your son is because he has a warrant out for his arrest and is a deadbeat dad" or "the reason your daughter isn't looking for jobs close to home is because she doesn't want to move home with you after college." Then again, it's kind of not worth it and I try to be a nice person....but I digress.

So we've been married a month. It's been pretty good, I think. I mean, the only person who has really legit freaked out about sh*t has been me. Last night I had this moment where I basically decided that we didn't have enough money. You know, two twenty- and thirty-something fully-employed people with benefits, suddenly in my mind don't have *enough* money. Money for what you ask? Oh I don't know. I told this to Jam when he asked why I needed money - I said "FOR THINGS!!!!!" I clarified later with "a house, for kids, do you know how expensive it is to have a baby? And what about my car? My car won't last more than another two years!!!" Then I proceeded to imagine us living in our apartment forever, beholden to our pudgy, balding, and very whiny landlord...depression sets in...I imagine fitting small children and a dog into our apartment....momentary uplift as I imagine children and a dog, replaced by devastation as I realize they won't be able to run around and play in our miniscule yard (nevermind the fact that husbando grew up in a city, in an apartment, had plenty of space to run around and play, spent hours and hour playing outside with friends, etc...oh hell no, rational thoughts are long gone) then I go on to think of us in our apartment, which has, in my head, shrunk in size by about 80% to the point where suddenly we're living in a tenement heated by a woodstove and sans electricity, the only thing that thrives in the darkness and heat are germs (think NYC at the turn of the 19th century) ....then in my head, we're scrabbling in the streets for a crust of bread, dressed in nothing but gray rags....wait....that's Les Miserables.....

I hint at these fantasies to Jam and he looks at me and sighs and says "WHY are you thinking like this. Why are you about 25 steps ahead of where we need to be right now."
Jam (mildly offended) "Uh, I plan. I plan all the time, but on a more reasonable I plan the next 2 or 3 years. We're not at a point in our lives where we need to be planning 5 or 10 years from now."
I let his words sink in. Damn. They make sense. So I come back with this:
Seriously, Jam needs one of those dart guns you see on Animal Planet that subdues the angry elephants. I am irrational and crazy sometimes. Last night was one of those times. I think I looked insane. I was ranting and gesticulating wildly and running around the house simultaneously yelling, crying, and cleaning. Of course thinking back on this now is hilarious. I'm actually laughing as I type this, that's how ridiculous it is, but at the time it was all so sad and tragic. I totally needed to be darted.

I guess one of the huge bonuses of being married is that you're there for your spouse when they really need something: comfort, reassurance, a valium with a shot of coconut're there for them. Jam was there for me. He gave me a big hug. He told me to calm down. He wrote out our finances on a pad of paper to tell me that we would not have to scrabble all 18th-century-style in the shadow of the Bastille. Oh relief.

Of course later we were talking about benefits and whether J should jump on my health insurance. He admitted that he's hesitant not only because my plan is a bit pricey, but because that would make me the primary insurance holder and what would that mean for him if I went out on maternity leave, etc. I looked at him and said "well I honestly do NOT know why you'd worry about something like that now, since we're years away from having a child and your benefit situation might completely change in that period of time. I don't get why you're so worried." His jaw dropped and his eyes got wide as if to say "woman, are you INSANE? I just spent an hour talking you from the ledge and now you're telling me to calm down?"

Marriage is all about equity, no?
ha ha ha

Luckily after that we mutually agreed to stop stressing and watched "I Shouldn't Be Alive" and "The Big C" to put our issues in perspective. It worked. As for tonight, I'm shelving the histrionics for a little quiet celebration time. We survived a month! Here's to many more years worth of months!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Work Rant

I promise I'll write something more interesting than this for today's post, but I need a moment re: stuff happening at work.

I am not exactly a grammar and syntax queen when it comes to blogging, I totally admit that. Since I usually write as I think (and think in my speaking voice which is East Coast fast) I'll sometimes even type the wrong word in a post (e.g. "sail" instead of "sale" "right" instead of "write" homonyms - you get it).

I have been placed in charge of writing a cover letter for a manuscript we are about to submit to a scientific journal (for which grammar and syntax will be regarded with the utmost importance on my part!!). We have been waiting to submit this paper for four weeks because one of the potential co-authors has "comments and concerns" she's wanted to send.

She finally sends them today. As a statistician, I understand she is going to focus stats and everything she things we did wrong with the statistical analysis. That's fine. What's not so fine? The fact that all of her COMMENTS ARE IN CAPS WITH FRANTIC PUNCTUATION?!!?@?@?@?!???!?!?! And she loves to comment in fragment sentences that. Don't make a lot of sense. Because they are fragments. A lot of them.

It kind of makes me want to fling the paper against the back wall of my office. There's a lot of other drama going on with this person that I don't really want to (and probably shouldn't) write about here. It's amazing that she has the nerve to not only delay the submission by four weeks, but she also gives us nonconstructive (read: SH*T) comments. This person wasn't originally on our author list because she gave so little to this manuscript, but we extended the authorship invite for political reasons as well as out of pity. Just goes to show you were pity gets you. UGH.

Rant over! Back to working on this cover letter!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday Craftasticness

The photos make everything look pretty garish, but I did glitter some gourds:

More photos to come, maybe with the good camera!!

Saturday, November 06, 2010


1. Pick up car with new brakes. No longer worry about being unable to stop.

2. Church fair. Three crochet-top hand towels (stop using paper towels to dry hands, save paper, environment, etc), one Christmas cactus, one clivia plant, one pumpkin bread, one apple walnut bread, and the last straw-barb jelly from our canning/jarring dive = $36

3. Visit friend whose husband died. Cry, talk for a long time, laugh a lot.

4. Get Dunkin Donuts for me and hubs

5. 2 hour nap

6. Movies and knitting

7. Walk down the hill and get subs for dinner

8. Netflix and more knitting

9. Raspberry Stoli, straight up double on the rocks

Full day. Maybe the not the most exciting day ever, but full and as good as it could be. I'll sleep well tonight.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Death of a Friend

My friend, Roger, died on Tuesday.

This was expected, but it does not make it any easier, of course.
He had MS for a long time, and it came to the point where his body just couldn't keep up anymore.

I met him in middle school - he was my friends father. I knew him in this way for a long time (you know, in that way you know your friend's dad) but after I graduated from college, he and his wife asked me do a presentation on lions to their book club. Then they asked me to join.

I can't tell you what this meant to me. It felt like being allowed to join some sort of secret society, though the book club was anything but secret. As the youngest by about a generation, I felt like being asked to join was a great honor. The book club consisted of smart, heady group of people who always seemed to read and understand the books on an entirely different plane. Every meeting was a learning experience for me, and the few times I had knowledge to impart to the group, they listened intently to me.

That's what Roger did though - he connected people. While he was limited physically he was never limited mentally, and compensated for the physical with the mental 100-fold. He knew SO much, and if he hadn't experienced something, he usually knew someone who had, and knew how to get you two together to talk or email.

He had a great sense of humor too - I walked into his house one day and his back was to the door. I said "hello everyone" and he said "Is that Nancy?" Knowing he loved a dirty joke here and there, I walked around to face him and said "No it's me...but you can call me Nancy if you want." He laughed and laughed and then made me repeat that to everyone as they came in. That's how I'm going to remember him - quick to laugh, lover of a good joke, strong spirit, amazing courage, and quick wit. That was Roger.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Yeah, I just used the word "Christmas" in my post title.

Thanksgiving = 3 weeks

Christmas = 7

I will now pause to allow blood pressures to return to normal.

I've posted here lots of times about Christmas and how I love it...oh and of course of my intense love for Thanksgiving too...but Christmas is special, and this year it will be EXTRA special. Why?
It's my first Christmas with the Jamonster. Though we've be
en together nearly 6 years, we've never spent a Christmas's our first Christmas in our apartment.

I'm not getting too crazy with decorating the house for fall. We're not hosting Thanksgiving here (we'll be upstate with Jamaal's parentals), so I'm not going to leaf-garland the whole place. I did hang up our fall-oriented wedding centerpieces on the front an
d back doors:

Mum wreaths from the Paper Source

And I do intend to glitter some leftover wedding decoration gourds a la Martha Stewart (dammit she strikes again!):

I'll put them in the Charleston centerpiece bowl I received as a shower gift - it's been sitting empty on a shelf waaaay too long:
Beyond that though, my energies will probably focus on Christmas. I super-excited to be tackling non-wedding crafts again - I know I mentioned that earlier - but I'm also excited to bring a little cheer to our small apartment.

First off, we have to finish framing our Audubon prints. My roomie from undergrad gave me an amazing folio of Audubon prints as a gift when I graduated with my master's. I really really REALLY wanted to hang some of the prints in our apartment. Since I'm a huge bird nerd and husbando is only "eh" about the bird thing, I thought just getting one on the wall would be a battle. Luckily the prints are sufficiently rugged and manly to fill the "hunting lodge living room" fantasy Jam has (which btw, I fully support - I grew up in a house with a room decorated with duck decoys, people!). While my favorite print, the Baltimore Oriole, was passed over, Jam chose seven (YES SEVEN!) prints that he loved. Adorning our walls will be:


Screech Owls
Louisiana Heron

Great Blue Heron

Carolina Parakeets

Blue-Winged Teal

Pileated Woodpeckers

Sadly, the Baltimore Orioles did not make the cut. They are quite lovely though, and will hopefully find a home somewhere else:

Of course, these vintage prints are 9"x12'', nearly impossible to frame on the cheap. I managed to find some decent frames on Amazon that were supposed to be 9x12, but must be some other odd shape, because they're too big for the prints. Ugh. The good thing is that I was messing around with some cream colored vellum and cut it to the frame size. The prints looked surprisingly good on top of the vellum, so I'll be going to Paper Source to pick up some more. For now we've solved that problem.

OK OK enough about that. Christmas is supposed to be my focus, right?! Christmas and decorating!

First up, we get to buy a tree this year! Thankfully neither one of us have pine tree allergies, so a live tree will be possible (oh and we have absolutely no place to store a fake one. that's ok though!). This means investing in lights and a tree stand. I hated LED lights when they first came out and loved the little "merry midget" twinkle lights. LED's though, are a better choice for your tree and for efficiency purposes. Dang! Luckily I found that LED strand lights have come a loooong way - while wandering through my local (and shiny new) Target (which I love because they converted an existing structure to a Target instead of mowing down a forest - CHAIN STORE WITH SLIGHTLY LESS GUILT!) I saw a display of Phillip's lights. I loved the soft, glowy faceted sphere lights in warm white:

If there's a tree, there has to be a tree skirt...and of course, I want to make one. I already bought my Moda Layer Cake Fruitcake thingamajig to make THIS:

Look at that gloriousness! And there's even a "20% off your whole purchase friends and family" sale at Joann's this weekend, so I can buy the rest of the fabric. Perfect!

Over the years, mostly because I've participated in freshlyblended's ornament swap, I've amassed a good deal of ornaments. Many come from trips as well. I think I might ask my mom for my egg ornaments this year as well, though it will feel weird! Every Christmas, my grandmother makes us a new faberge egg ornament for the tree. She has been doing this since our first Christmases, and this year I will have 29 (!) to hang on our tree's branches. I stole these from my sister's flickr so you can get an idea of what the heck I'm talking about:

I mean, there are tons more, those are just a few shots of some of the ones we have. They always come out looking garish with a flash, and you can barely get them to come out in photos without a flash - maybe this year I'll try and photo catalog mine with natural light, since we get amazing natural light coming in our windows in the afternoon.

Moving on - I'd love to pick up a few more ornaments. Of course I was totally sucked in by the safari theme that I'm seeing this year at places like Crate and Barrel and Anthropologie. C&B has the better deal. Would I shell out $32 for a set of ornaments? Um not normally. But look at the cuteness:

And since I'm all about all things Africa/all things Kenya, these are perfect.  Plus I need this - we can put a wedding picture in it!:

I think I even found a decent tree topper at Anthropologie. No, not the $400 woodland fantasy tree topper, the reasonably priced vintage-inspired star:
Very nice.

I'm still contemplating the whole candles-in-the-window thing. I love love LOVE the look, but am afraid it might look strange if just the second floor of our house sports candles. Maybe I'll wait and see if the neighbors do anything?

We'll also need some mini lights for our love tree:
And some sort of door decoration wreath thing would be lovely.
How about something a little less traditional and very DIY?:

Two thumbs up.

I know someday I'll amass the amount of decorations my mother now possesses and I'll be able to transform our home into a delightful wonderland of holiday cheer. For now though, I think we're doing OK, considering it's our first Christmas and all! Excitement!