Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Live Long and Prosper

Saturday, Dec. 22
Drive to Appleton. Some rain spatters down, and the phone tag with Mom in the middle of Chicago traffic stoppages is diverting, but the big story is the dense fog in the Wisconsin night. It feels as though dementors are breeding out there, though I don't feel sad.
Get reacquainted with Ruthie. She won't let me hold her yet, but she smiles at me and bounces on her Mama's lap. Parents finally arrive from the hotel, and when Ruth is in bed we eat Mom's gumbo. It is delicious, and she does not get kicked off the island. I begin reading The Golden Compass.

Sunday, Dec. 23
It snows. A lot.
I spend some time with Ruth in the morning and get her acceptance, so get to hold her. We play on the floor quite a bit, and I try to teach her to crawl.
Later, Mom and I go get groceries for my guest chef night. I plan a pork roast, with sauteed zucchini and yellow squash and (gulp) boxed scalloped potatoes decided on in the store (my own scalloped potatoes have never worked, and, as my Mom points out, there is absolutely nothing wrong with boxed potatoes).
When it is time for me to cook, the directions go like clockwork, although a minor hitch with the food processor sets me behind by about half an hour, and I need my mother's assistance to monitor the squash.
When dinner is ready, we sit down. The roast, crusted with basil-caraway-mustard-parmesan, is good and moist; the mustard sauce is hardly necessary, but also tastes interesting, if strong. The potatoes rock. I find I don't care if anyone else enjoys the squash or not, because I need that sort of palate-cleansing normal taste with the flavor of everything else. I do not get kicked off the island.

Monday, Dec. 24
At this point, life is falling into a pattern; we get up one by one, I come down to find Sarah with Ruth, I take over and play with Ruth for a bit, our parents arrive, they play with Ruth, she goes to bed and we eat lunch (today it is sandwiches made by Dave; I hear they have mustard smileys in them), we take naps and read and so on, we get up after Ruth's nap and play with her some more....etc.
Tonight, though, we go to church. We all get glammed up, and go to the local First United Methodist Church, where we enjoy a pleasant service. Ruth likes the handbells, but grandma takes her out for the sermon when she gets restless. At one point, though, I swear she makes a kiss face close to grandma's cheek. The sermon is funny, and I manage to keep my church giggles to a low ebb.
For dinner, we have Dave's stroganoff, which is creamy and hot and makes me very sleepy indeed. Dave does not get kicked off the island. It is Christmas Eve, though, so we also put out the presents and close the stockings away where the cats can't get them. My sister and I also decorate the tree and make the cranberry sauce for tomorrow's big event.

Tuesday, Dec. 25
Christmas. Eventually, we are all gathered together, safe and warm. I think this is the day when Dave makes a great breakfast, with eggs, sausage, bread, cinnamon rolls, and so on. Actually, it's brunch, and we all leave the table stuffed. So, we unstuff our stockings. This is Ruth's first stocking, and she has a great time chewing on everything that comes out of hers, including her special baby food desserts (in their packages...though she is learning how to work the spoon, and will take it out of the hand of whomever is feeding her. She is particularly fond of orange squash, which I cannot relate to.).

Once she's in bed for her nap, we begin the presents in earnest, setting Ruth's giant pile aside for later. This process takes forever, and by the time Ruth is up we all still have a pile to open, but we do some of hers, so I finally get to hand over Paddington Bear, all the way from London.

Eventually, Christmas dinner must be cooked, so presents go on hiatus until tomorrow. Mom and I pitch in where we can in the kitchen and entertaining the baby. The end result is a beautiful and delicious capon dinner, with all the trimmings. My sister's prayer makes me cry. She is not kicked off the island.

Due to various elements, new or simply out of the ordinary, my sister pronounces it a weird Christmas. That might be true, but we were all together, surrounded by love and introducing the baby to this strange, new world of holidays, and all told I think we did a pretty good job.

Wednesday, Dec. 26
Boxing Day. We finish opening presents, particularly the giant stack that is Ruth's. She receives a lot of clothes and some pretty neat toys, but finds particularly interesting her new bib overalls, which offer an enticing set of buttons. Her I'm a Little Teapot book, which sings, is also riveting.
The rest of the day leads up to the current tradition of Chinese takeout and a movie, this year HP 5, which we don't finish because we are all tired. I work on the little white knit pixie hat I have for Ruth. When finished, it will frame her face with white fuzzies.
The weather for Friday is iffy...there is a snow watch out, and I may need to leave a day early. I agonize about this.

Thursday, Dec. 27
The snow watch is canceled, but snow is still in the forecast, so I decide to leave for Madison after lunch, and book my hotel for an extra day. I am going for the Badger Showcase hockey, which BG is playing in and which I am doing as a Christmas present to myself before heading back to Ohio.

Our parents come to say goodbye and depart for Michigan. Ruthie goes to bed for her nap, and my sister and I settle in with soup and salads, and Poirot's Christmas, then some Christmasy desserts--pudding for her, ice cream pie for me. After, I clean the snow off my car and sadly leave.
The drive to Madison is fine. The sun is going down, and I listen to Feist while zipping past snowy fields and houses. I do get lost for quite a way when I get stuck in a lane that has to turn off, and then there is no way to get back on. This is frustrating, especially because it is dark, but I eventually work it out and check in to the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club, which is right downtown and walking distance to the arena. There is practically no one around.

I am cranky, so I go to sit in the hot tub, and there is no one there, in the entire pool room. The hotel does have some guest rooms that open right onto the pool, which is weird, but the family is in the arcade and I have the place to myself, even though it is about 7 pm. I soak out some of my anxiety, and then get showered and changed to seek out dinner. The Bar, one of the hotel's restaurants, is also empty, but I order some wine and a burger anyway, and chat with Kate, the barkeep. Then some guys come in, then some more guys, and a few more scattered people. I eavesdrop on the guys behind me, and it turns out they are official-type people from Colgate, one of the schools in the Badger Showdown that I will be attending on Friday. Also, one of the hotel's manager-type people is evidently bored, because he comes into The Bar to chat with Kate, and ends up getting my takeaway box for me. I mention this only because he looked a little like Judd Nelson, in a good way. He says no one ever told him that before, which makes me feel old.
I sleep badly.

Friday, Dec. 28
Snow Snow Snow. I go shopping on State Street in the snow. It is really coming down, and I am glad I drove in before it hit. I buy some bath stuff, some ski vests, some arm warmers, and a really cute and sparkly jacket and black dress. I sit down for some chai and journaling, and then set off to loop past the Kohl Center on my way back to the hotel, so I can see where it is. About an hour later, I head back there, pick up my ticket, and walk into the arena. It is huge...three tiers of seats. There is hardly anyone there, but the very first people I see I know, which was fun.

Sadly, BG loses their game to the Northeastern Huskies, a game they could win, but in keeping with their unfortunate trend, they play awesome for a half hour, and then the second half of the 2nd period it's like they get distracted and then never get back on focus until the last half of the 3rd. Every team has a period or stretch in which they struggle; MSU's used to be the 2nd period. But BG just seems to slide too far during their bad stretch. Some of the opposing fans are jerks, too, which doesn't help. I do manage to catch up with the rest of my guys after the game, just to say hey. I watch part of the Colgate vs. Wisconsin game out of curiosity, but want to get home before it gets too dark and revelers get drunk. It turns out this is wise, because the game went into overtime and then an 8-man per side shootout! I later catch this part of the game when they replay it on TV...after I've already seen the Colgate team come back to the hotel looking tired but cheerful.

I spend some more time in the hottub and pool, too, which had a few people there this time. Later I realize my swim might have been a bad move, because my shoulder is killing me. I cannot sleep in this room very well, for some reason, and the problem is made worse by the bed springs of my neighbors. They are enjoying their hotel time. I eventually drop off, but keep waking up.
Funniest moment of the day: I had the closed captioning on while watching the end of the Colgate vs. Wisconsin game. At the end, the announcer says the Badgers will be playing the Falcons tomorrow, only he says Falcons like "Fulcons," and the closed captioning reads: Badgers vs. Vulcans.

Saturday, Dec. 29
I check out of my hotel, not without a little sadness. I begin my drive home and aside from brief stops for tolls, I only really stop once to get gas and lunch. This is really pretty amazing, if you know me. Also, I realize that I look sort of like the Unabomber with my hood up.
I arrive home around 6, get situated, and then begin my new London jigsaw puzzle while eating a cheeseburger and listening to the Falcons lose to the Badgers, though all my guys played, which I enjoy, and the game sounded like it went better than the night before, with, as the announcers point out, better teamwork and aggressive play. While I had a wonderful time on my vacation, I am glad to be back in my space. I'm not glad to return to the cares I'd temporarily left behind, and I have some new cares shoving the old ones around in my brain. But soon I will have a fridge full of food and some places to wear my new T-shirts, and that ain't half bad, is it?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Does anyone else have that problem where they can't relax, but they can't get motivated to actually do anything either? That describes me yesterday, when any normal person would have just accepted that it was ridiculous outside and stayed in to be nice and warm, and when I, instead, got bundled up and walked in to school since the town library was closed. Then, I looked at recipes and watched TV (movies I've already seen, no less...and own) for hours and sewed TWO, yes two squares of my hockey scarf together, rather than actually making strides towards finishing the scarf and wrapping presents, which is what I was supposed to do.
Today, I cleaned off my car. I took a picture of how much ice is on my left passenger door and's bubbled up in great bulbs of solid ice from the roof dripping on it. I had to get some off my driver door, and of course scratched the window casing up because I'm an idiot.

In other news, if anyone was considering buying Irresistible Apple anything at Bath & Body Works, thinking it is their new version of Country Apple, don't. It's basically like strongish perfume that doesn't smell like anything in particular. It does not smell like apples. I don't dislike it, but I sure would not be able to wear it around my allergic papa, and it sure ain't what I was expecting.
Actually, my whole shopping experience the other day was kind of a wreck. Every place was crowded, I scared a girl when all I wanted to do was ask where she got her snood, and it turns out she was with one of my students who didn't pass, the dance store I tried to go to has moved, and all sorts of crazy people were out. I did finish my Christmas shopping, but I wish it had been a little more uplifting. For once, though, I didn't cry after I put money in the Salvation Army bucket (Why cry? I don't know. It's Advent). I staunched it with a hearty Merry Christmas and momentary inability to get my money in there.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

PR This Week

Well, it's blizzardish outside, but let's talk briefly about fashion anyway.
PR this week was interesting; I really liked the challenge. I kind of wanted to step through the TV screen and whack Christian in particular for his snarky attitude about it initially, but I didn't let him dampen my interest in the project. And Steven...well, he was unexpectedly irritating, but he also shot himself in the foot right from the beginning. He doesn't work with white? What the heck is that? I kind of lost respect for him. And whining so much about the type of fabric he had also irritated me, since polyester versions of things are often all I have access to. Shut up and sew already! His final garment wasn't hideous, but it had all kinds of problems and I was not sorry to see him go as a result. At least, unless I'm mistaken, no one made stupid remarks about the ladies' sizes. They weren't stick-shaped models, and they were all different, but everyone respected their achievements and worked to applaud that with clothes.
I really liked Kevin's outfit, and his model was just absolutely aglow about the whole thing. I also actually liked Christian's results and would love to have that blouse/jacket. I loved Jillian's dress, but as Amanda pointed out to me, her lack of use of the original fabric should have kept her out of the running for the win.
You know, since they do some sort of everyday woman/everyday fashion challenge every year, I would have thought the designers would come in knowing that will happen and be prepared for it. Why do they always look so shocked? Instead of getting better designers who are more adaptable, we seem to be getting designers who are less ready to throw it all down and just do it. People like to whine, and that's normal, but being actually unable to perform due to lack of preparation for anything really gets on my nerves. It's like a poet refusing to write a poem unless she has her favorite pen or brand of paper. I don't hold with that kind of nonsense. That's why I'm really still waiting on this year's grocery store-esque challenge. Really shake them up.
Now get off my porch you crazy kids! I got to sew up a scarf of t-shirt squares on which my hockey students have signed their names.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy birthday to my classy sister! I hope you have a marvelous day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On Balance

I feel cross and frustrated. I feel ugly and tired. And so, the glad game:

Today, it is not raining. I see sunshine. I believe I shall take a walk or two.
Last night, I took myself out to dinner at Sam B's. I had a salad and bread, tomato-basil chicken on penne, a glass of reisling, and creme brulee with a cup of coffee. I was full to the brim and felt a little icky by the time I went to bed, but I deserved eating out and decided just to go for it.
New Pushing Daisies and Project Runway tonight.
I am finished reading portfolios.
There are children whisper-yelling outside my office door. They are saying "Be quiet! You're going to give it away!"
I might be able to finish my Christmas shopping on Friday after my workout (also, I worked out yesterday in what I hope will become a regular twice-a-week thing). Presents will be wrapped, oh yes.
Harry Potter 5 is out on dvd. And so is Pirates 3, which I haven't even seen.
I might make cookies tonight. We'll see how the oven feels.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

PR 12/5

All righty, time for the weekly PR rundown.
An interesting note about last week: Nina's blog mentions that she also liked Kit's outfit the best. So there!

What's most interesting to me about this week is that I was moaning to Amanda pre-show about more group work this week, and that the only way it would be okay for me is if they had to make a mini-collection.
And that's what they did.
I like mini-collection days. I like to see a variety of outfits toward the beginning of the season, and that's part of the reason I dislike group work so intensely. It cuts down on the number of things I get to see. I've actually been feeling like nothing I've seen so far this year has totally blown me away. I mean, where's the fashion drama? Of course, they haven't had much amazing inspiration yet, either. Still waiting on this year's grocery store.
Anyway...collections. Drama aside, I think the judges made the right decision on the winners. Jillian's team was polished and realistic, but also fresh. Jillian's outfit was lovely...I loved that blue sheer top she put under the bibs. Christian's collection was interesting, but I felt like it wasn't quite at the same level of cohesion. When I watched Team Jillian coming out, I seriously thought they could get away with that at a real runway show. It just felt good.
As far as fashion sins go, I didn't "get" either of the bottom teams' collections...I thought Ricky's outfit was the most hideous, but I really didn't like any of the six outfits at the bottom. This is unusual for me. I didn't blame the judges for giving the winner immediately, because the contrast was just so unbelievably huge.
Also, did anyone notice the model who cleary has no idea how to walk like a model? It was a little bit pitiful, poor girl. She's going to break an ankle.

Looks like there's a revelation of some kind coming up next week, with some tears. Good times.

Sadly, Supernatural tonight seems to be a rerun. The one with the creepy kids. But there is also an intriguing Top Chef holiday special at 9.
Now, you must excuse me. I have to go purch a hockey ticket so I can actually get in to Michigan vs. BGSU tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hockity Update

#18 BGSU is headed into a home-and-home series with UM this weekend, and since I know you are fascinated by my thoughts on hockey, here is some input from last weekend's series with Wayne State:
1. Passing looked better. There were still some turnovers (I'll have cherry, please), but pucks were actually connecting with sticks in a much more satisfying fashion than usual. Seemed like there were fewer underleds, and more coherence.
2. Two of my students scored, one on power play (David's third, I think) and one even strength (Tommy's first, I think). The power play in general has been tons better than it was initially. The PP unit is getting lots of chances, and also looking for rebounds.
3. Dan Sexton finally got a shorthanded goal; I say finally because I've been waiting for this freshman to get an SHG ever since the season started...he'd already had a number of chances, and his pick-up really got it going this time.
4. When it comes to simple puck handling and keepaway, I enjoy watching Brandon Svendsen do his work. He's a hard battler, and while he's not a huge guy, he has a good command when he has the puck.
5. Generally, I've just really gotten into watching the team develop in its teamwork, its ability to hang together. Things seem to be "gelling" this year, so much so that even BG's typical dull stretch, when they kind of look like they've forgotten what they're doing, was almost unnoticeable in Saturday's game.

That's about it. It was nice listening to the win Friday and watching BG smear Wayne State on Saturday. Michigan should be interesting, and I already know I have to go early to get a seat; pretty sure I won't be able to sit in my usual spot. It's going to be packed up in there, even if the weather is bad.

In other news, I love my new Feist album.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's Tuesday!

I am pleased to report that my new "tap" heels are awesome, they are very comfortable, and they were very popular with my Arts students. I am wearing them on the day I walk the most, and I haven't had any trouble.

Yesterday I kept thinking it was Tuesday. Today I'm very sleepy and having trouble grasping that it's any day at all. I look forward to the conclusion of Tin Man tonight, and hope that I'm awake enough to enjoy it.

I bought the new Feist album last night. It's been kind of a while since I bought music, so I'm kind of excited about this. I haven't listened to it yet. Probably during office hours tomorrow.

I used my Meijer canvas bags again for my groceries last night. I think it's a little extra burden on the checkout people, but worth the effort. I am considering trying out one of those long self-checkout lanes they have now sometime with my bags, because I think that might be fun.

Have you been to I'm addicted to it. Thanks a lot, intern Megan.

I keep feeling guilty, like I should be doing something for work. Only there isn't any, and I keep forgetting. It's like when you're not working retail anymore but you can't stop yourself from picking stuff up off store floors, or when you're not working in the library, and you ignore instructions not to put books away. I have lots of stuff to do with my manuscript, but I have from now until the end of the year to get a viable copy, and I'll meet that easily.

I believe I shall go to the library and peruse the newest Dance Magazine.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Hey, how was your weekend?

On Friday, I went to the ice arena to dance (I know, it sounds funny, right?) for somewhere in the region of two, maybe two and a half hours. It was bliss. I was exhausted. I also got hugged and picked up (!) by someone nice, and I think I might have smiled a lot.
Most of the weekend I worked my eyes to smithereens. I took a break for the hockey game (BG wins, with passing looking much better than it has recently) and chiseling my car out of the ice. I'm pretty much finished with essays, and that's good, because I just don't think I can stand any more.
Today things haven't been all that great, and I am anxious and tired and weepy, and it is Advent, which makes me even weepier. I'm trying to remember how good I felt on Friday, and thinking about how nice raspberry smoothie from Sephora is, and how cozy big sweatshirts are whether you are in one or someone else is, and how good it will feel to watch a TV show tonight without feeling guilty. And how good it will be to go get groceries tomorrow, and do a new jigsaw puzzle because I'm a nerd. And also that my pretty shoes from La Redoute came, and Lush goodies are on their way.
And now it's time to go to the library to find something nice and escapist to read.
I'll try to be more interesting another time.