Friday, November 30, 2012

Seven Quick Thanksgiving Takes



--- 1 ---

First, some prayer requests: My mother-in-law's brother was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. I haven't heard any updates on how he's doing, but I'm sure he could use prayers no matter what.

Meanwhile, my mother-in-law herself had to have gallbladder surgery a week ago. She's doing okay last I heard, but of course she wants to recover as quickly as possible so she can go visit her brother.

--- 2 ---

Thanksgiving with the in-laws was nice. Relatively low-key, since my mother-in-law was not exactly feeling 100%. I made green beans and bacon, which were a big hit; my father-in-law reported having 3 helpings.

Younger Elder Brother brought this board game called something like The Game of Things. One of the prompts was "Things you wouldn't want to be allergic to." I was trying to think outside the box a little bit, so I wrote "copper."

As soon as YEB read off my response, Scott and Eldest Younger Brother immediately said, in unison, "Your weakness is copper!?"

Yeah, they're kind of awesome.

--- 3 ---

I finished my NaNoWriMo novel today! I have 50,496 words according to Microsoft Word 2003, and 50,487 according to the NaNo counter.

Now I am totally burned out on writing, so I am going to spend the entire month of December playing Sims.

--- 4 ---

The lovely and brilliant Emily stopped by briefly last Saturday on her way home from visiting her parents for Thanksgiving. (We're actually probably an hour total out of her way, but we'll pretend it was on the way.) We spent most of her brief visit talking about health problems, because apparently we are 80 years old instead of 23/24.

There was going to be something else in this take, but now I forget what it was.

--- 5 ---

I remembered around Tuesday that I still don't have an advent wreath. (Last year, as you may recall, I got married less than 24 hours before the beginning of Advent. I was a little distracted.) So on Wednesday I went down to Wal-Mart and got myself a new watch (I've been needing one for a while) and a fake evergreen wreath and five candles. (3 purple, 1 pink, 1 white.) The wreath and candles were less than $7 altogether. Then I was looking at the candle holders, but they were like $5 apiece, and I didn't want to bump my spending from $7 to about $32. Fortunately, I remembered that we actually already had candle holders in our Big Box o' Christmas Stuff. When I got home, I dug them out (there are 5, which is perfect) and now we just need to set up the Advent wreath and we'll be good.

Well, we also need to figure out if we're actually allowed to light candles in the apartment. THEN we'll be good.

--- 6 ---

Anybody know how to get rid of used books in an easy but mildly profitable way? I have a dearth of closet space and spending money and a surfeit of books I'm never going to read again.

--- 7 ---


Here is a picture of Matthew eating his birthday cupcake. His hair is not actually as dark as it looks in this picture. Our parents DID take him to get a haircut, though. Now his lovely curlies are all shorn. :'(

You can also see the string of one of his dollar store balloons. Teresa was intensely jealous of those balloons, even after Mom pointed out that she got to go to the aquarium for her birthday. Obviously next year Mom and Dad will be able to save a pretty penny on special birthday treats, since it turns out $1 balloons are about a million times better than $25 aquarium admissions.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Twelve Quick Matthew Takes


My life is boring, and today is my baby brother's first birthday, so I am going to do something different.

1. Very late November/very early December 2011: Being held by Mom in the NICU. When he was born he weighed 3 pounds, 15 ounces and was 17 inches long.


2. January 2012: Matthew says, "You're not going to post these pictures on Facebook, are you?" Mom does, but crops them for modesty. 


3. February 2012: Matthew learns how to smile and in general becomes more interesting. I stop getting accused of heresy for calling him "Cute but boring."


4. March 2012: My family comes to visit and we go to the children's museum. Matthew sleeps through the whole adventure but wakes up for the photo op. (This might be the only picture of all six of us together. This will have to be remedied.)


5. April 2012: Matthew actually loves swings, but hates hats and hoods with a burning passion.


6. May 2012: Matthew discovers dogs. (At our uncle's house.)


7. June 2012: Matthew is far too cool for King's Island. (He kept putting his leg like that on purpose, promise.)


8. July 2012: Matthew apparently doesn't do anything cute. I will have to hound my mother for a picture to complete my collection.

UPDATED TO ADD: The dearth of photos apparently occurred because they were busy taking videos...July was the month in which Matthew learned to dance. 


9. August 2012: Matthew is not amused by being dressed up and posed like a little doll. Also, he pulls himself up for the first time, but that picture is blurry. 


10. September 2012: Matthew stands up long enough for people to get non-blurry pictures. He also wears awesome polo shirts and coordinating pants and has the best elbow dimples ever.


11. October 2012: Matthew dresses up as a panda for his first Halloween. 


12. November 2012: Matthew is 1 year old. He has curly brown hair and bluish gray eyes. At his last checkup (at the end of October), he weighed 21.5 pounds (more than five times his birthweight!) and was 31.5 inches long. I don't know the percentiles, but I think that means he's tall and skinny. He has 6 teeth, can say a few words ("Kitty!" and "Yum" being his favorites), crawls REALLY REALLY FAST, and can stand while nonchalantly resting one hand on the wall. One of these days he'll take off running, I'm sure.


We never knew just how incomplete our family was until you were in it, little brother. We love you and happy birthday!

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Anonymous commenting off

Lately I've been getting several spam comments per week, all anonymous. They get caught by the spam filter, fortunately, but it's still really annoying. So anonymous commenting is off.

I think all of my regular commenters use Blogger accounts, except my husband, who has a Blogger account but can't be bothered to sign in. So this shouldn't be too much of an inconvenience for any of you. (I think the way I have it set now you could also use a Wordpress or Livejournal or whatever account. You just can't be anonymous.)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Seven Quick November Takes



--- 1 ---

A little election humor for you, courtesy of my father-in-law (red) and Middle Younger Brother (yellow):


--- 2 ---

I am getting very tired of leaving the house. On Monday Scott had an allergist appointment (went fine, thanks for asking), on Tuesday we went to vote, on Wednesday I went to the library, on Thursday I went grocery shopping. Tonight, I am seriously considering going to a write-in, which involves TALKING TO STRANGERS. Talking to strangers who are as crazy about novel-writing as I am is a little less scary than the regular kind of strangers, though.

Then this weekend Scott and I are having a private birthday celebration for me, because next weekend on my actual birthday we will be at my parents' house, celebrating Matthew's birthday and my birthday and Thanksgiving. (I believe I mentioned this last week. By the way, don't come steal all our stuff while we're gone. We may or may not have sentry robots who will kill you.)

(You are scoffing, but my husband really can program robots. I wouldn't be too sure that I'm bluffing if I were you.)

--- 3 ---

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, at this very moment (8:36 on Friday morning), my novel has 16,668 words, which is just a hair over 1/3 of the way. Considering this is Day 9 (not Day 10, 1/3 of the way through the month), that's pretty good. It's especially good considering that only a couple hundred of those words are from this morning's writing session. I'm hoping to inch up to 18,000 before I go to bed tonight.

There's still plenty of time to crash and burn, though. :)

--- 4 ---

On Wednesday, Scott worked a little later than usual, so I didn't rendezvous with him at the bus stop until about 6:30. Then I had to stop by the library to return a book that was due and pick up some reserves, so we didn't get back to our apartment until 7:00. Then I stared at the pound of ground beef thawing in the fridge and thought, "Meh."

Scott wasn't feeling well, and I wasn't feeling so great myself*, and it was late, so we mutually agreed that spaghetti and meatballs were just not a priority. We ate toast sitting around in the living room instead. It felt cozy and pleasant for some reason, perhaps because we were kind of playing hooky from adult responsibilities. (We should do that more often; we are very boring now that we are old and married.)

Scott fell asleep on the couch around 9:00, which made me kind of excited because he takes up a lot of room in the bed for being so skinny. I proceeded to wake up roughly every half hour all night because I kept trying to kick him in the shins and not being able to find him. (No, really. I'd wake up with my feet way over on his side of the bed, pawing forlornly at the empty sheets.)

On the other hand, Scott says he slept really well on the couch. I wonder why.

Scott thinks this is especially funny considering that I am forever fussing at him for having his feet on my side of the bed.

*We both felt better the next morning, so I think we just had a bad case of the Tireds.

--- 5 ---

Scott and I are doing the De Montfort Marian consecration again this year. It's a 33-day process; we started on November 5 so we could finish on December 7 so we could consecrate on December 8.

Last Saturday, November 3, I was thinking it was about time to start so we tried to calculate exactly what day we needed to start on and got into an argument (I was in a bad mood) and then got over the argument and got into a long and spirited discussion about math. Scott tried to explain to me the proper way for calculating start and end times of a 33-day process, but I got hopelessly confused, so he asked me to explain how I calculated it. (Since I had gotten the right answer before he tried to start explaining it to me.) So I told him the exact literal thing that goes on in my head when I am performing that particular mental calculation. The high point was when I said emphatically, "AND THEN THE NUMBERS CHANGE COLOR."

This is why I had trouble with those "show your work" math tests. I basically had to lie, because nobody actually wants to hear how a highly visual, somewhat synesthetic person does math. They want you to pretend that you got the answer the same way normal people do.

(The numbers aren't inherently colored, in case you're curious. Mathematical concepts have color, and the numbers change color depending on what I'm trying to do with them.)

--- 6 ---

I finally got around to making a pumpkin roll this week. It went well up until the point when I tried to roll it up, at which point it the cake broke into 3 pieces and frosting oozed everywhere and everything was all sticky. I'd show you pictures, but the pictures I took do not adequately convey the overwhelming sticky-ness.

After some frustration, I managed to mummify it in plastic wrap, shove it in a loaf pan (so it would hold some of its shape), and stick it in the freezer. That ended up being the right choice, because a day later I cut myself a slice that looked like this:


Not exactly spiral-shaped, but still pretty, right? When it's frozen, it's still soft enough to eat easily, but it doesn't ooze everywhere and it doesn't taste cloyingly sweet; the spices have a chance to come out. (Sometimes that "freezing things makes them less sweet" concept works to my advantage. Don't freeze pudding, though.)

(I used this recipe, except I used a 13x9 glass pan and no wax paper, I omitted the nuts, and I put 2 extra cups of powdered sugar in the filling because frosting is supposed to be FLUFFY, not runny.)


--- 7 ---

Stolen from my mother's Facebook page, but paraphrased:

My mother and my siblings were out running errands when they heard an ambulance pass by. Teresa said, "We need to pray!" Then she said, "Please help the people and the doctors help them if they broke their leg or their arm or their neck came off." Mom snickered a little bit. Teresa said, "Would that be hard to fix?"

Yes, dear, it would.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Threeish Quick Gloomy Takes and Four Birthgiversary Takes



--- 1 ---

Ever have one of those days when you burst into tears because of a song on the radio?

Me neither. }:^|

(My brother-in-law invented that. He calls it "The Vulcan emoticon! The only one you'll ever need!")

--- 2 ---

Don't you hate how by the time you're old enough to do whatever you want, you're old enough to realize you shouldn't be doing it?

In addition to my recent discovery that I can be a civilized human being if I go to bed by 11:00, I discovered that I can actually feel semi-normal if I don't eat carbs. (By not eating carbs I mean I restrict them to 30-40% of my calorie intake. Stop clutching your pearls.)

Exhibit A: I stopped eating carbs a couple of weeks ago and experienced immediate relief of some annoying physical problems I will not describe to you all.

Exhibit B: On Wednesday I had five pieces of candy. FIVE. And two of those were tiny little Starburst candies. (I also ate more tortilla chips than were strictly necessary to go with my nacho dip. That didn't help. Altogether I estimate that I bumped my carbohydrate intake to 50-60% of total calories, which is actually within USDA recommendations instead of below them.) Yesterday, in addition to being violently ill, I was a sobbing ball of anxiety all day long. I am exaggerating only a very tiny bit.

So when I dragged myself to the store to buy groceries, I bought some smoked sausage stuff and some pepperoni. And told Scott that he was not allowed to even THINK about eating them. (He gets the munchies at midnight and instead of eating carbs like a normal person he vacuums up all the meat in the fridge. It's annoying.)

I was all excited and optimistic for about 2 seconds. Then I accidentally had some smoked sausage this morning as a snack, instead of eating cheese or tuna or something. So now I'm even more depressed because eating high-protein ruins my religious life. (Updated later in the day: I skipped dessert and eventually felt better about my life. Probably due to not getting the carb-hit of dessert.)

--- 3 ---

I started NaNoWriMo yesterday. It's actually going fairly well, but I've got a whole lot of room still to crash and burn.

(That's how pessimists brag. "I haven't crashed and burned yet!")

--- 4 ---

Scott and I decided to get Matthew this for his first birthday (November 16). By "Scott and I decided" I mean that I decided, asked Scott if he had a problem with it, and when he said no took care of the order process myself. In this case, "taking care of the order process" meant that I asked my mom if she was ordering anything from Amazon, because I don't believe in paying shipping for Amazon products ever but you can't get Super Saver on a $16 order. Fortunately, my mom was just getting ready to place an order, so we both got free shipping and I don't have to remember to bring anything along when we come visit. Win!

It's a grossly age-inappropriate present and he will probably eat it, but I always wanted one of those wooden train sets and what's the point of having a little brother if you can't live vicariously through him? (I'd buy trains for Teresa, but she's not the "sit quietly and build things" type, like I was.)

Anyway, by the time Matthew is 3 and can actually play with wooden trains, his penny-pinching sister will have managed to round up a fairly large set piecemeal. I do not see how this could be a bad idea.

--- 5 ---

I told Scott that for my birthday (November 17) I want him to make me a lasagna. This is because I would not enjoy a present that required taking money out of our funds, unless it is something we are going to buy anyway, like food. (He might also "get" me a new watch, since the battery in my old one died.) I think Scott has also promised some Calvin and Hobbes reading.

Meanwhile, my mom wants me to give her "fun" gift ideas, and I have very few ideas. Saving money is fun. Other than that...

I am not even 23 yet and I'm already a boring old person.

--- 6 ---

We are going to Scott's parents' for Thanksgiving. Younger Elder Brother and his wife are coming over as well. I am actually kind of excited. I think my general enthusiasm over Thanksgiving (BEST! HOLIDAY! EVER! How did Puritans come up with such amazingness?) is overshadowing any in-law anxiety I might otherwise have.

My mother-in-law has not yet replied to my offers to help cook, but hopefully I will succeed in gaining a backstage pass to the kitchen. For one thing, I handle social situations better when I have a defined role, like "cook the potatoes." For another, I want to agitate for things like real mashed potatoes and no glazes on meats. (In her defense, my mother-in-law has never put a glaze on a meat in my presence. But you never know when mothers will get fancy ideas...)

(I can gag on cue just thinking about cranberry glaze. *gag, gag*)

--- 7 ---

To round out the Trifecta of Novemberly Awesomness, Scott and I will be celebrating our first anniversary on the 26th. (The Trifecta includes my birthday, Thanksgiving, and our anniversary. Matthew's birthday is awesome too but doesn't count.) So far we have no plans except making beef stew out of steaks. Go ahead and clutch your pearls over that one; I am pretty sure it will be delicious and don't care if that's not the right way to cook steak.

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