Monday, December 31, 2018

Not Bored, That's For Sure

Here it is, New Year's Eve. I've spent the last week doing I don't know what, but it's been BUSY. We ran out of Christmas dinner leftovers after 2 days and I had to start cooking again (the horror!); there were doctor's appointments for a recurrence of vertigo (and the first person to recommend the Eppley Maneuver will get blocked, if I can figure out how to do that); there was baking and more baking for our New Year's neighborhood open house tomorrow...

I swear, I am so done with lemon bars. DONE.

Happily, David doesn't mind helping. In fact, he baked 8 dozen snickerdoodles today. He helped with dinner the other night, too:

Engineers cook tater tots very precisely

There were out-of-town guests, and there was helping Anna get ready to go to Tunisia, and there were movies to see, and yes, vacation time is surprisingly exhausting. Normally I would be looking forward to a nice, slow boring January, because remember? It's my absolutely favorite month. But on January 7th I start my first full-time employment in 27 years, so the days preceding that will be filled with looking for office-type clothes and making sure Susie isn't simply abandoned for the 2 or 3 months until I can telework and generally getting ready for a pretty major lifestyle change.

So, yeah, not exactly relaxing, right? But still, exciting - I'll give it that. I'm thinking I should prepare by watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - you know, to get pointers on how to function in a totally new, real-world environment. Do you think I'll get my own desk? I'd like that.

Me, going to work the first day

Do people have desks anymore? A lot's changed in 30 years, I'm guessing.

[Kimmy Schmidt image credit: Vanity Fair]

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

I didn't go to sleep until 2 AM this morning, because we ate Christmas Eve dinner late (Rachel and Brian worked until 6:30 at Best Buy) and then Susie wanted to watch Scrooged and nearly everyone wanted to watch with us, which is beyond rare in a family of grown and almost-grown kids, so we had to do that, and then I came upstairs at 11 and realized I had never prepped the baked apple French toast for Christmas breakfast. So I did that, and then I neatened up the kitchen so we could hit the ground running (as it were) in the morning, and I had to start a load of laundry so our Christmas place mats would be clean for the big day and....well, if you've never seen a woman practically weeping with exhaustion past midnight on Christmas Eve, you're probably just not paying attention.

Yes, we're using paper plates - sue me
Since it was 1 AM already, I decided to clean the crap off the dining room table and set it for Christmas dinner. I know, it sounds crazy, but the boost this gave me when I came downstairs this morning was worth the lost sleep. Every time I feel overwhelmed, I gaze at my set table and pretend that I am an organized, competent person.

This morning we opened presents. Now, I like to think we don't go overboard in this family when it comes to Christmas gifting: we just do candy in the stockings (plus Moose Munch under the tree), and Larry and I give each kid (or "kid") 3 items. But when you have 8 people in a family, and everyone is giving everyone else a present, the math, okay?

That's 8 x 7 plus 2 x 6, approximately

If you hear that Amazon earnings went up this month, you can thank me.

[Apologies to my neighbor who owns the independent bookstore. Mostly not books, though...]

So, yeah, up until 2 AM, up again at 7, opened presents, cooked the French toast, threw the place mats in the dryer, bitched at the offspring to put the wrapping paper and recycling out back, ran the dishwasher (ALREADY), and made the kids take charge of the mashed potatoes. I'm taking a nap now, and NO ONE can stop me.

That's the theory, anyway...

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Lit Christmas

This month is speeding by (hello, all those Christmas presents I haven't bought yet!), so I thought I'd just slap some pictures up here, with brief descriptions of what I've been doing, and then I looked at the photos on my phone and, uh, I haven't even taken any in the past week. Things are THAT hectic.

First off, there are 4 of my offspring living here, which means I'm expected to cook again. I've been churning out the chicken salad, the mashed potatoes, the beef stew, and I don't know what all. I ran the dishwasher THREE TIMES on Sunday (Theo came to dinner). How did I do this all those years when the kids were younger? Beats me.

Brian is home now, so I had to spend some time cleaning up my yarn studio so he would have a place to sleep. David arrives tomorrow, which means Susie and I need to turn the couch downstairs into a bed, since Anna has claimed the guest room until the 31st. Thank goodness Theo has his own place now and doesn't need a bed.

A bit of holiday baking has been happening - lemon bars, pizzelles - but you wouldn't know it, because we ate all of them. I mean, except for a few pizzelles that aren't long for this world:

These will be gone by noon tomorrow

I don't get how people bake batches of Christmas cookies and the cookies are all still around for Christmas. Could someone enlighten me on that one? I grew up Jewish, and we didn't save cookies. Actually, we didn't bake, come to think of it. Why bake, when an Entenmann's outlet is only a couple of miles away?

I've been to 2 parties already. The first one was full of couples just like me and Larry, who only get to go out in December, so we all had a lot of catching up to do. The second was the annual ornament exchange at my friend's house. I ended up with a very nice set of chopsticks, which - if you think about it - is the perfect thing for a Jewish person to get at a Christmas ornament exchange. If you don't understand why, ask someone of the Hebrew persuasion.

Perfect for Chinese take-out on Christmas Eve

I've also spent every spare minute informing every single person I know that I have a job, starting in January. I need to keep repeating it, because I don't really believe it myself.

I have a job.

Larry was happy for me, until he realized that I am using "I have a job" as an excuse to spend money this month like a drunken sailor. Maybe his epiphany came when Susie and I brought home a light-up deer for our front yard. Or maybe it was this purchase of mine from Aldi's:

When you're rich, they let you buy yard ornaments

"Hey," Larry said the other day, studiously ignoring the Knitcrate box that had just arrived on our doorstep, "we need to figure out how much of your paycheck is going into a 401K. And don't forget, we'll need to buy a car in a few years."

You know, I'm beginning to suspect Larry doesn't want me to spend my entire paycheck on yarn and eating out. I mean, he's all retirement this and transportation that. It's as if he doesn't even CARE about my Nando's fetish, people. What can you do with a man like that?

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...