Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye to 2010

This ended up being sort of my theme song for 2010, for reasons that would require an incredibly long post. I won't write that post, yet, except to say that posting this is...maybe a little bit defiant, and maybe a little bit hopeful too, that the hardest part is indeed over.

Seven Quick Takes: Christmas traditions edition



Because I'm Catholic, so it's still Christmas.


1. Since my parents were first married, we've always bought a new ornament each. My parents still have the lovebirds they got back in 1986 and hung on their banister because they went back to Ohio for Christmas (ironically, they grew up about 100 miles away from each other, but had to go all the way to San Antonio to meet) and thus didn't put up a tree.

We have so many ornaments now that we don't even put them all up. When I leave I'll get about 30 of my own ornaments and then probably a box of generics.

2. For about 10 years now we've had an Advent wreath. Usually we (attempt to) sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel" immediately after we light it.

(Updated to add: Immediately after I started this post, 14 days ago, the Little Man and the Princess were fencing with the candles and broke the pink one into about 5 pieces. No joy for us this Advent.)

3. We put up our Christmas tree on Gaudete Sunday. This has been official for about 10 years, but it developed organically out of an older tradition. You see, my dad's oldest sister's birthday is December 15, and my mom's mom's birthday was December 18. So their respective families used to put up the tree on those respective birthdays. When my parents married they decided to put up the tree the weekend before the weekend before Christmas. Which just happens to be the one dedicated to, you know, rejoicing and stuff.

4. We watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas at some point during Advent, usually when it's on TV. We watch a lot of movies, but this one has a funny story behind it. First: My mom really likes dogs. When she was a little girl and the movie came on the TV, she'd always start sobbing when the Grinch was whipping poor Max up Mount Crumpet. Her sobs kind of dampened the holiday mood, so her mother would tell her to please leave the room until she could control herself. This happened, I think, pretty much every year for my mother's entire childhood. Then she grew up and got married and had children and one day Dad said, "Let's read them How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" And Mom got really upset because didn't he know that's a horrible story?! And he was greatly perplexed. And at some point he coaxed her into sitting down and letting him read it to her. And then a few years later he even got her to sit down and watch the entire movie all the way through to the end, where poor Max gets the last slice of roast beast. (<---Spoiler.) Actually, now that I think of it, the real tradition is finding somebody who hasn't heard the story before and telling them about how Mom didn't watch the end of the Grinch until she was 30 years old.

5. On Christmas Eve, Dad sits us kids down on the couch and we read Twas the Night Before Christmas. Miss Kitty and I are very adamant about this. I have a picture from 2006 of him sitting down and reading it to us. For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that means we were 19 and 17. I'm pretty sure he did it in 2007 as well. Then in 2008 we had Teresa, but she didn't pay attention at all.

6. We put out cookies and milk for Santa, because our parents believe in lying to us, instilling a spirit of secularism and greed, and perpetuating evil traditions based on the pagan god Thor. :) We also put out carrots and celery for the reindeer. Dad suggested last year that we didn't need to put anything out because Santa knows where we keep the beer, but I believe Miss Kitty and I held firm on that one as well.

7. We make birthday cake for Jesus. This one started just 2 or 3 years ago. We make carrot cake, with cream cheese frosting, because by Christmas afternoon we're well on our way to an excess-induced chocolate allergy attack and need some spicy sweetness to balance it out.

For more quick takes, see Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Background: I call the two protags of the Novel "the boys"

Immediately after revising a bit of dialogue till it crackled:

[7:14:46 PM] Margarita Nivea: I love my boys.

[7:15:00 PM] Philagneia: that's good.

[7:15:00 PM] Margarita Nivea: That's probably horribly...narcissistic, or insane, or something.

[7:15:12 PM] Philagneia: yeah, probably.

[7:15:16 PM] Margarita Nivea: XD

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another random bit of family history

Today, I am exactly the same age as my mother was when she had Miss Kitty.

I am trying not to feel like I'm being an underachiever here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

To my Joseph, on the feast of the Holy Family

I've known the Cobbler for almost 4 years now. (Unbelievably.) When I first met him, that long-ago February day, I was actually afraid of him. Those of you who know him probably find that incredible, and honestly so do I. I thought my level of discomfort around him odd even at the time.

Well, the other day I was pondering it, and it suddenly occurred to me why.

He saw me when I was invisible.

That probably doesn't make sense to anyone but myself, unless some of you also spent most of the first 18 years of your life making invisibility your life goal. To get an idea of the enormity of that meeting, think of that scene in The Incredibles where Violet is watching Tony talk to his friends and then turns invisible the second he looks in her direction. Now imagine that instead of shrugging and walking away, he had struck up a conversation with her as if she was still perfectly visible. As if he was a superhero too and being able to see her was his superpower.

If you can imagine all that, maybe now you can understand why I think the Cobbler is pretty much a superhero.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas Eve

The stockings are stuffed, the presents are piled under and around the tree (having seven people in the house means a LOT of loot--especially since the kids are getting some relatively cheap but giant items). I am sitting here in the glow of the little colored lights, and for a second I can be a child again through them and everything is magical.

Jesus is coming.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What I think about at 4 a.m. when I can't sleep

I'm the only female creature in our house who doesn't have a three-syllable name ending in A. Even the cats' names fit this pattern.

(Tammy is Tabitha Michelle, because she's a tortoiseshell tabby. [I thought I was so clever at 13, oh yes.] By rights it should be spelled "Tami," but it's not, so there. Julie was originally just named Jewel after the singer, but then that turned into Julia Rose.)

(Yes, we gave our cats people names. In hindsight I don't think giving people names to animals is such a great idea, but those are their names now.)

(The other names are Rebecca, Andrea, Teresa, and The Bunny's Real Name Which Is Very Googleable.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I think we need a merit badge or something

Miss Kitty and I washed the dishes without being asked today.

Also, an exchange that shows just how much we're catching on:

Me: "I have a job for Andrea if she's ever bored."

Her, not missing a beat: "I'm NEVER bored."

But now she's organizing the tupperware cabinet anyway.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Scatterbrained Chef: Fudge so easy, even I can't mess it up

(This episode heavily inspired by Eagle Brand Festive Fudge. Please note that Eagle Brand is not paying me at all for this. They probably don't know that I exist.)


Step one: Get out the larger of the two little pots. (If you do not have the same set of pots and pans as I do, you can use any pot that holds about 4 cups.)

Step 2: Look for chocolate chips.

Step 3: Find them in the freezer of the kitchen fridge.

Step 4: Be glad you do not have to go out to the garage fridge.

Step 5: Get out two bags of chocolate chips.

Step 6: Dump one of them into the pot.

Step 7: Think about eyeballing the next step.

Step 8: Get out a 1-cup measure instead.

Step 9: Measure 1 cup chocolate chips from the second bag.

Step 10: Get a bread twisty out of the junk drawer and put the half-bag of chocolate chips away in the fridge.

Step 11: Eat a few chocolate chips out of the pot.

Step 12: Open the can of sweetened condensed milk. It is not Eagle Brand. It is probably from Aldi.

Step 13: Very carefully lick the lid--because sweetened condensed milk is good, but you don't want to have to explain to anybody why you have lacerations on your tongue.

Step 14: Dump the can on top of the chocolate chips.

Step 15: Use a spatula to get the rest of the milk out of the can.

Step 16: Lick the spatula.

Step 17: Shake some salt into your hand. Decide that it looks like "a pinch" and toss it in.

Step 18: Turn on the burner. Stuff cooks faster that way.

Step 19: Stir with a large plastic spoon.

Step 20: Eat a peanut butter cookie.

Step 21: Stir some more.

Step 22: Realize that you have a mother on one side of you and a sister on the other, both of them intently watching you.

Step 23: Announce, "If anybody's close enough for me to reach out and smack them, I will."

Step 24: Revel in your newfound privacy.

Step 25: Remember that you need to prepare the pan.

Step 26: Ask your mother if it's okay to use tinfoil in place of wax paper. Get an emphatic no.

Step 27: Use plastic wrap.

Step 28: Stir the fudge some more.

Step 29: When the fudge has turned into a gigantic chocolatey lump around your spoon, turn off the burner.

Step 30: Find the vanilla and adjustable measuring spoon.

Step 31: Reflect on the fact that for some reason you are always forced to use the adjustable measuring spoon when you make fudge.

Step 32: Quickly measure out a teaspoon and a half of vanilla, because if you don't do it fast it leaks under the adjustor and you get more than you bargained for.

Step 33: Toss it in.

Step 34: Lick a drop off your finger. Remember that vanilla extract doesn't taste good.

Step 35: Notice vanilla-scented smoke coming off your fudge and take it off the heat.

Step 36: Stir in vanilla.

Step 37: Turn into plastic-wrap-lined pan.

Step 38: Smooth over with spoon.

Step 39: Lick spoon.

Step 40: Fold over plastic wrap and put pan in fridge to chill.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: Liveblogging the shorties

1. Just a minute ago, the Little Man was trying to lasso me. "Hee-ha!"

2. "Now make a belt!" he demands, handing me the string. So I tie it around his waist.

3. Now they are enthralled by The Incredibles, rather than doing interesting and amusing things.

4. Oh, here's something interesting: When the Princess eats a boiled egg (she loves them and can peel them by herself) she only eats the white. Mom just took the shell and yolk away.

5. The "cool" way to drink orange juice is apparently dipping your fingers in the cup and then sucking on them.

6. Revelation: Grilled cheese, it be hot.

7. LP: "We need straw!" Me: "No you don't." LP (going into the kitchen): "Yes we do!" LM: "I need straw too!"

Now I should get up and make sure they aren't playing with knives in the kitchen.

For more quick takes, go to Jen's blog.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Incorrigible

So, my body is being very disobedient this week.

You see, my body and I have an agreement. I feed it large quantities of refined sugar and it stays healthy. Since I came to college, I have been more than keeping up my end of the deal, but my body has been totally slacking off.

For instance: On Sunday I developed what seems to be a pinched nerve in my right shoulder. (So far, my strategy has been Taking Ibuprofen and Ignoring It. I have finals, okay, and I really can't write with my left hand.)

Then yesterday I woke up and went to 8:30 Mass with my roommate, and partway through Mass started feeling like death. I continued feeling like death for the ENTIRE DAY, while valiantly attempting to study for my Christian Marriage final. Memorizing stuff is HARD when you have your chin on the desk and are trying to push your glasses up high enough on your nose to still see the computer screen.

On the plus side, I was distracted from the shooting pain in my arm by the dull pain in my entire body.

I got out of my final at 7, puttered around for a bit trying to be productive, and decided at 8:10 that I was just giving up and going to bed.

So I put on my pajamas, brushed my teeth, and was in bed by 8:20. I set my alarm for 5:45 because I wanted to get up and go to 6:30 Mass.

My alarm went off at 5:45, and I sat up in bed and thought "I feel fantastic!"

I am still sick, and my arm still hurts, and right now I could really use a nap, but the fact remains that at 5:45 this morning everything seemed absolutely wonderful.

I am such a morning person.

Monday, December 6, 2010

This could be bad

Scott just told me that I have STATS. I did not know this.

I will not bore you with all my stats. I will just give a shout-out to Jen at Conversion Diary, because apparently about half the people who visit my site come from her. (Most, if not all, because of Seven Quick Takes.)

But very very very few of you comment. Like, 5% of you. Tops.

Obviously, you are all so in awe of my brilliance that you are struck speechless.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: Sugar highs, zombies, and getting carded


1. I went home for Thanksgiving, which means I've been on a sugar high for the last 8 days or so. (I came back to school on Sunday, but after 4 days of sugar-high you just have to keep feeding it to fend off the eventually-inevitable crash until after finals...) I blame any and all incoherence on the cake. And pie. And drinking 4 or 5 cans of Sierra Mist (natural! now with REAL sugar!!) in the course of a few days when I almost never drink pop normally.

(Well, I do cut my "orange juice" with pop here in the caf, because I hate the syrupy taste of fake orange juice. But somehow that seems different than straight pop.)

2. While there, I got to see the lovely and brilliant Emily. I also got to see Scott, who has posted again, though he claims that his blog is still dead. I had insane amounts of fun with both of them.

3. I bought wine on Tuesday, and got carded. It was very anticlimactic, though.

(I have no idea what I expected, but the checker just looked bored.)

4. I did get carded in a sense once when I was 19 and buying an R-rated movie (for my grandfather for Christmas; something with Mel Gibson in it). That was much more climactic, since I got all confused and couldn't figure out why she wanted to see my ID and almost forgot to pay in my flustered state.

5. I have never bought cigarettes. Or superglue.

6. My mother got carded the other week, buying beer for Dad.

7. There have been several different occasions in the last 6 or 7 years when people have sworn that my mother and I must be sisters, and we're just making up the mother-daughter thing.

Bonus quick take: My mother would probably kill me if I posted a picture of her on the internet to show you how young she looks/how much we look alike. Maybe I'll ask for her baby picture, and I can show you how we literally looked like little clone babies, except her eyes were brown and mine were blue. (Neither of us had hair until we were toddlers.)

Now I must go back to studying for my two finals tomorrow (TWO! FINALS! On a SATURDAY!), so visit Jen for more quick takes.