Friday, December 07, 2018

Christmas Came Early

I think I'm liking having this tree up early (early for us, that is):

Christmas 2018, featuring my $5 flock

Let's not bury the lead here, however: I have just been offered an honest-to-goodness full-time job, the kind that a grown-up who has not spent the past quarter century being home with the kids might get. I mean, it has a SALARY.

I really thought that, at this point, my only chance of employment was somewhere that would offer me a store discount, okay?

Best of all, after 2 or 3 months, I will be allowed to telework. Meaning, Susie won't be completely neglected. I said this to Theo, and he said, "I'm sorry, but 'neglected' is not how I would ever describe Susie." Apparently, there are some sibling issues to work out here. Then again, we DO call her "the grandchild."

And that's all for tonight, folks - my brain is too full of "I have a job!" to be able to produce anything even remotely interesting to read here. Also, I need to start online shopping for work clothes. I'm thinking my JAG jeans won't be appropriate for office wear - even if I don't make the mistake of putting them on backward...

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

This, That, And The Other Thing

Okay, I'm beginning to think that it is my big frying pan that is making all my dinners look Pinterest-y lately:

Croatian chicken, or some such thing
Who knew that was all it took?

We did a surprising thing today. I mean, it may not seem surprising to most people, it being December and all, that we bought a Christmas tree. But, you see, we rarely buy a tree before the 19th or 20th of December, for a bunch of reasons. One, I have my whole I'm-not-worrying-about-Christmas-until-a-week-before routine. And usually there's Chanukah to take care of first, you know.

But somehow, this year, we got all wild and crazy and Larry and Theo and Susie went out and picked up a tree at Home Depot today.

No lights, yet - the branches need to relax first.

It's a nice one, I think. Of course, this means I have an entire 2 extra weeks to worry about its burning the house down, so I'm not sure we'll repeat this next year.

Christmas knitting is proceeding apace. I'm working on a delicious cowl right now, in a delicious shade of orange. Then there are fingerless mitts that I had half done before I realized they were too big for Rachel - those will have to be restarted one of these days. Another couple of pairs of mitts are done, minus the thumbs. A couple of hats have been promised, but they are merely figments of my imagination at this point.

Actually, the knitting isn't exactly proceeding apace, now that I think about it.

Anna came back from her overseas sojourn (over a year working in Israel) this past Sunday. Of course, she's leaving at the end of the month for ANOTHER overseas sojourn (Tunisia, this time - that girl gets around), so we're just trying to enjoy her while we can. I'm pretty sure she's already sick of us, but she's putting up a good front. She even baked us banana bread the other morning, which for some reason got me all choked up. I mean, not literally - it was very good banana bread. But it made me think of all the times I had baked for her and her siblings, and wow, here she was baking for me, and okay, I'm just a little maudlin in my encroaching old age, all right?

Susie's been busy making ornaments:

Crayons and a hair dryer - that's the secret.

We were both surprised this project worked, because she got the idea from Pinterest and, well, our house is where Pinterest goes to die, quite frankly. But, hey, these look pretty good, IMO.

Last week Larry and I took Susie to see the annual free dress rehearsal of A Christmas Carol. Susie and I have gone the past 3 years, but this was the first time Larry could make it, too. It still feels weird to be going somewhere with 2 parents plus only one child, after all these years of dragging a bunch of kids with us, but we're getting used to the fact that Susie has, for all intents and purposes, become an only child.

We stopped at the potato chip factory on the way down, and bought way too many potato chips (as is our wont), but we dropped some of them off with Brian (whose college is near the factory), so that's okay. He needs to keep up his strength for finals, right? Of course.

Unlike moi - I really shouldn't be eating these things. Having 4 pounds of potato chips sitting in my kitchen may not be the wisest way to kick off Christmas-cookie season, come to think of it...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

No Clever Title Available

Hi! I was cooking dinner last night (gee, that's new) and I realized that, just for a moment there, I looked like a cooking blogger:

Surprisingly healthy, too

Amazing, right? It turned into a frittata, if you're wondering, but I forgot to take pictures of the finished project. Which is, uh, just one of the many reasons why I am NOT a cooking blogger.

It finally turned really cold here, which is how I just noticed that, hey, my car doesn't seem to be getting warm while I'm driving it. I spent a while telling myself that it was just because I'm not used to the cold yet; then I spent another while telling myself that it was just because it's so cold out, the car can't get very warm; because, hey, the heater couldn't possibly be broken.

And then I remembered how I spent the entire hot, humid summer riding around in a car with hardly any air conditioning, because I kept thinking that maybe the AC in my car was fine and I was just being too fussy and hey, it was really hot out, and then I finally got the darn thing fixed in October (mechanic said the coolant was almost GONE).

It wouldn't have cost me any more to have fixed that in June and not suffered all summer, you know.

So I came home tonight after picking up Rachel and said to Larry, "I don't think the car is heating up the way it should. Could the heater be broken?" And the man who trusts me to educate our children said, "You should check the controls."

For a second, I just stood there, thinking he could not have possibly told me to see if the little dial was turned to the red part and if the blower was on the correct setting. Of course not.

So I said, "What?"

And he said, "You know, check the dials."

And I said, "WHAT?!?"

Whereupon the poor man sensed he had entered dangerous territory. "Well, I only meant you might have it on the defogger or something," he huffed.

Really. Larry thought I sat in the Best Buy parking lot for 15 minutes, waiting for Rachel and freezing my butt off, in a car I have driven for over 9 years, and didn't think to see if the blower dial was set correctly.

Anyway, sensing the animosity radiating from my general direction, he Googled "Toyota Sienna not getting warm" and read that maybe the thermostat is broken and - hooray! - that's not expensive.

And then he went to bed, because I was still glaring at him.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Turns Out, Black Friday Is Fun

I'm terrible at remembering to take proper pictures. Do I have any pictures of friends and family seated around our Thanksgiving table? No, I do not. Not one. I do, however, have photos of silverware. That's right, SILVERWARE.

I don't even remember why I took this photo. 

Do I have a picture of my 3 youngest laughing and joking with their three next-door friends? No, I do not. I do, however, have a strikingly posed image of the leftovers I sent home with Theo.

That's definitely something the kids will want to look back on, years from now, right? Of course right. 

So you'll just have to take my word for it that we had people over for Thanksgiving, everyone ate and talked, and then (after our guests left and Rachel and Brian went to work at Best Buy) I went upstairs and fell asleep for an hour. When I came back downstairs, I apologized to Larry and Theo and Uncle Matt for my absence. Turns out, though, that they had all fallen asleep, too.

We are an exciting family, is what I'm saying here.

Susie and I finished off the evening with a rip-roaring game of Yahtzee, because that's how we roll. Get it? How we ROLL? Oh, I'm a laugh riot tonight. 

Rachel and Brian had to work again on Black Friday. I visited my yarn store (30% off, between 8 AM and 10 AM!) and did a little damage to my wallet there. Then I came back to find Susie waving a Michael's coupon at me, determined to go pick up a little snowman she'd had her eye on. So off we went.

So adorable! And only $5...
I used to be a total Black Friday refusenik, you know. I may have even smugly boasted in this very blog about not participating in this barbaric shopping ritual every November. Indeed, I looked down my nose at those consumption-driven souls who sacrificed family time to chase after some holiday bargains. 

Well, it turns out that the price for my soul is some discounted yarn and a cheesy holiday decoration made in China. 

I can't think of a good segue here, but I need to talk about trees. Stay with me.

Let's start with the sorry fact that the holiday magic of driving to our local Home Depot each December and tramping through the not-snowy parking lot to pick out our pre-cut tree has never really taken with Susie. In fact, she's been trying to convince us to stop buying live Christmas trees for a few years now. Since I usually spend the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas and the 2 weeks after convinced that our tree is about to spontaneously combust and kill us all, I am sort of on board with that plan. 

But not Larry. He clings to the romantic idea of the fresh pine smell in our living room, to the dubious enchantment of an honest-to-goodness tree draped with lights and ornaments, gradually dropping all its (flammable) needles on our living room floor. Also, he apparently thrives on the stress of running to all the stores (ALL OF THEM) 5 days before Christmas, looking for lights to replace the ones that used to work but don't anymore.

So! Susie convinced me that what we needed to do was gradually introduce Larry to the wonder of reuseable, less-ignitable trees. You know, wean him gently from his addiction to the combustible kind...


Yup, while we were at Michael's, we bought a cute little pre-lit tree, which Susie happily set up in our downstairs family room. Hey, it was only $20, okay? Doorbuster prices!

And, whaddaya know, it's been 2 whole days and all of its needles are still on. I call that a win.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


I don't know when cooking got so tiring, but I passed out on the couch last night after baking 8 loaves of cranberry bread and making a double batch of cranberry sauce, plus all the usual stuff I do EVERY SINGLE DAY around here. Then I bounced back up this morning to make a vat of stuffing and roast 6 pounds of vegetables, which look to have shrunk down to approximately 5 mouthfuls, and no, I don't know what I'm going to do about that, thanks for asking.

LOTS of cranberries

I was getting a little annoyed, what with ordering the kids to help me and getting a ton of attitude from some of them, even though this food is being prepared for them. You'd think they'd know better by now. I mean, really, Rachel is a smart chick, yet she still thinks she can out-bitch me? Girl, please.

So, like I said, I was sitting here feeling a little pissed off and thought, hey, hasn't this happened before? Yes, indeed, it has. What's happening here is, in fact, an honest-to-goodness holiday tradition, albeit not the heartwarming type. The solution, happily, is the same as last year's - I'm going to be a Thanksgiving prep Nazi tomorrow (also a tradition). All hands on deck!

I'd like to mention here that Theo (who lives in his own place now) spent the day preparing 2 pumpkin pies to bring tomorrow. Maybe they all just need to move out?

Anyhoo, in the middle of all the holiday prep, Larry came home early and we all went out to see Fantastic Beasts 2 (don't know the real name of the movie and I'm not looking it up). Because, when you're super busy, it's always a great idea to plan a major family outing.

I did that, you know. I planned it. I can't even pin the blame on anyone else.

In other news, Brian is home from school! And this is what happens when I ask him to help cut up the bread for stuffing.

Edible jenga, anyone?

What can I say? He's an artist.

I need to get to bed, so I can rise bright and early and order the kids around. Tradition!