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April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Sorry for the long silence. My move is winding down so things should be getting back to normal this week. In the meantime, how about some Easter goodies?

The Dread Pirate Bunny Cake:

The Dread Pirate Bunny Cake

Easter egg cookies!

Easter Egg Cookies!

Posted by Kat at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2010

Personalized Gift Guide: 5-Year-Old Girl

I offered to come up with gift suggestions for your hard-to-buy-for friends and relatives, and a friend has taken me up on the offer! I'm not going to name/link her just in case her kids are wily enough to find this. Knowing (of) her kids, it wouldn't surprise me. (Note: This friend is Canadian, so I've used Canadian links and prices where possible.)

The recipient: Her 5-year-old daughter
Likes: World domination, baking, and stuffed animals
Challenges: The child has two older siblings, so the family already has "every toy in the world."

So, trying to avoid actual toys . . .

A baking book: Amazon.ca has Sara Lewis's Kids' Baking and Linda Collister's Baking with Kids. Oh, and Cakes for Kids looks fun. Wait, I just remembered that this child is also gluten-free, so scratch those cookbook ideas for her, but I'll leave them up here for others who might be interested. I don't see any gluten-free cookbooks designed for kids to use themselves, but, you know, someone should get on that. There's certainly a market.

Cookie cutters: Fun and (reasonably) practical! I have a set of 100 I got for $20 at a craft store, and they cover all seasons, letters, sports, etc. They're plastic, which would be easier for kids to handle. Here are animals and letters and numbers.

Other baking paraphernalia: There are some kids' baking sets, but they don't look that great. I'd go right to adult stuff - maybe some of the brightly-colored silicon stuff if you like that sort of thing - and look for fun shapes - I've seen cake pans in the shape of animals, Christmas themes, etc. Along these lines, or these. Or, oh!

How about a cupcake kit? Get her her very own cupcake pans, paper liners, some little jars of sprinkles and other decorations, and a cupcake stand on which to display her creations. For a child not on a special diet, you could also throw in one of the multitude of adorable cupcake cookbooks out there.

World domination needs maps, right? Here's a magnetic map game that looks fun. And there are lots of great map puzzles out there, like this one. A globe - ooh, or a globe ball - might be fun too.

Any budding world dictator needs a fun coin bank to save her pennies to finance the revolution, right? This one has some sort of magic art and makes your coins disappear. Or Paint Your Own Piggy Bank! And I was looking for some sort of coin sorter but couldn't find one. Hmm.

Books! Books are always good, but I have no idea what she or her siblings already have. I think this kid might find mythology fun - D'Aulaires, of course, is the best. I was trying to find a series of biographies of explorers, to stay with the world domination theme, but I keep getting Dora the Explorer results. Ooh, So You Want to Be an Explorer? looks good. I also love Klutz books - they're really well-made activity and craft books with kits.

Craft kits, actually, are good for when you have too many toys, because theoretically they're consumable and don't just sit around, and at least they're an active, creative thing rather than another piece of plastic. And this girl has a crafty big sister, so maybe having some of her own stuff helps keep the little one out of the big sister's stash? One can hope. (Not that I'm suggesting that these children are anything but perfectly behaved at all times. Totally just extrapolating from my own experience here.) I love the Creativity for Kids brand, and it looks like they're available in Canada.

Since she likes stuffed animals, suggesting more stuffed animals probably isn't helpful. But how about somewhere for the stuffed animals to live? I had an open-topped toy box just for my stuffed animals, and that was nice.

I know they have a Nintendo Wii. How about Where's Waldo? or Just Dance Kids or Playmobil Circus? And as a bonus, I think they should get Epic Mickey as a joint gift for the whole family, because it looks awesome but I have no Wii, so someone should get it and play it on my behalf.

Posted by Kat at 09:10 PM | Comments (1)

November 29, 2010

Gift Guides 2010: Time's Holiday Shopping Guide

Time's guide was the one I reviewed last year, so it seems appropriate to start with them this year. They seem to have dropped the charity aspect, so we just have "this year's coolest books, music, DVDs and gifts for every budget." Here we go!

Under $5

The Christmas Gig
What is it? A free 13-track download of holiday music by indie bands, from target.com. (Downloadable starting November 28.) No, I have no idea why it's called what it's called. Bands include Guster and, um, other people I've vaguely heard of.
How much? Free!
Who is it for? Broke hipsters.
What's wrong with it? Well, it's free. Which is fine, but since it's so obviously free, people might be offended if you give it to them as a "gift." This is the sort of thing I would certainly TELL my friends about - and I'm working on a "free holiday music" post so I'll add it to that, and likely download it myself - but I wouldn't call it a gift, exactly.
Grade: C-

"Norwegian Wood" on iTunes
What is it? A digital version of the song. (By the Beatles. But you knew that, right?)
How much? $1.29
Who is it for? They say you could give it as a "token" to a Beatles fan who undoubtedly has it already, but that seems dumb. And I'm not sure this is the best song to use to introduce the band to someone who isn't a fan. Hm. Actually, if you have a relative who has all the albums on vinyl and you're trying to convince them to try digital music, this might be a decent way to start.
What's wrong with it? As I said last year when they recommended a Darlene Love song, I'm skeptical of "giving" a one-song download. There's probably a way to buy it and send it to your friend's email address. (Okay, I finally gave in and looked, and there is a way.) But it still seems more like a nice friendly gesture than a gift, per se.
Grade: B for content, D for presentation


Decoy Gift Box
What is it? An empty box made to look like it's for a fake product like a USB toaster or an underwater cell phone case. (Wait, but those actually do exist.)
How much? $7.99 for one, $25 for 4, or $37.99 for 7
Who is it for? People who like gag gifts
What's wrong with it? Well, it's way more than I'd want to spend on a joke, but you may have someone on your list who would love this.
Grade: C

Glee: The Music, Vol. 4
What is it? An album of music from Glee.
How much? List price is $13.99, but you can find it cheaper in all sorts of places.
Who is it for? Glee fans, or maybe fans of Gwyneth Paltrow or Darren Criss, as their songs both made it onto this album.
What's wrong with it? Well, nothing, and I might actually put it on my Christmas list. I'd just check that your Glee fan doesn't already have it, because there's a lot of hype around these albums and people tend to pre-order or buy them on release day.
Grade: B+

I Live Real Close to Where You Used to Live
What is it? A book of kids' letters to Michelle, Malia, and Sasha Obama. Proceeds go to charity!
How much? $12
Who is it for? Kids, Obama fans, anyone into presidential memorabilia
What's wrong with it? Well, I would make sure I was aware of my recipient's (or his parents') political views before I gave this, so as not to offend, but that issue aside, this is a great gift!
Grade: A-

Let's Bring Back
What is it? A book of interesting things that have been forgotten, been made obsolete, or just fallen out of fashion. Examples: the automat, paper dolls, serenades, Mae West.
How much? $13.57
Who is it for? Nostalgic people; those into social history
What's wrong with it? Well, on a philosophical and political level, I tend to get annoyed at all the "The past was obviously better" stuff, but this book looks really fun and interesting and I certainly wouldn't mind receiving it!
Grade: B+

Atlas of Remote Islands
What is it? A book about isolated islands, with both narration and maps. It promises cannibalism and "macabre glee." SIGN ME UP.
How much? $18.48
Who is it for? ME. I WANT. Also, it would be an awesome gift for my professor who taught that Literature of Isolation and Exile class. Anyway, also good for people into maps and sea adventure stories, as well as amateur anthropologists, maybe.
What's wrong with it? NOTHING. Well, it looks kind of dark, so make sure you get it for someone who likes that sort of thing. But seriously, it looks awesome.
Grade: A

Water.org CamelBaks
What is it? A fancy water bottle. Proceeds go to charity.
How much? $18.99-$24.99
Who is it for? Hikers? People who work out a lot? These seem to be popular with college students at the moment, too. Also: Matt Damon fans (he endorsed them).
What's wrong with it? Well, it's a little expensive for a water bottle, but not unusually so, I guess. Trendy water bottles vaguely annoy me, but I actually can't articulate any reason why this would make a bad gift. Ooh, unless it's hard to clean. That tends to be my issue with water bottles and travel mugs.
Grade: B


Green Toys Fire Truck
What is it? A toy fire truck made of super-safe recycled plastic, safe for any child over one.
How much? $24.99
Who is it for? "The kid whose parents won't let him have anything." Children of overprotective ecoconscious hipsters.
What's wrong with it? Well, it's a little precious, and expensive for a toy truck that doesn't light up or make noise or do anything fun, but they're right. It is perfect for that precious little child who only eats organic baby carrots and isn't allowed to get dirty.
Grade: B

Community: The Complete First Season
What is it? DVD set of the (very funny) sitcom Community.
How much? $26.99, but it's been on sale practically everywhere for less.
Who is it for? People who like funny things. Joel McHale fans. Maybe people who work at or attend community colleges, if they can take a joke.
What's wrong with it? Well, it's a great show. But I always have issues with TV show seasons as gifts, unless they're specifically asked for, because otherwise there's a pretty good chance you've given the DVDs to someone who has never seen the show and might or might not be interested, OR you've given them to a fan who has seen every episode and may already have the DVDs. So . . . I wouldn't. But Community itself is probably the best sitcom on TV right now, so.
Grade: B-

Kiehl's Creme De Corps Holiday Collection
What is it? Lotions and stuff with labels by Jeff Koons. Proceeds go to charity.
How much? $27
Who is it for? People who like fancy bath and body stuff. Jeff Koons fans.
What's wrong with it? Actually, $27 isn't bad for nice lotion, and the interesting labels and charity aspect make this into a really nice gift! Just make sure your recipient can use scented stuff. (I have several people in my life who can't.)
Grade: A

What is it? 236 little magnetic metal balls. No, really.
How much? $29.99
Who is it for? Older kids or adults who like sciencey things or abstract toys or just interesting things to fiddle with.
What's wrong with it? These actually look pretty awesome. Just make sure you don't give them to kids with younger siblings who will eat them, because that would end badly.
Grade: A-

Electronic Spy Camera Shirt
What is it? A t-shirt with a picture of a spy - but his camera actually works.
How much? $39.99
Who is it for? Wannabe spies, people who like nifty gadgets.
What's wrong with it? Well, it's sort of for a niche audience, I guess, but it's pretty great.
Grade: A

iPod Shuffle
What is it? A postage-stamp sized iPod that holds 2GB of music, but has no screen and limited controls.
How much? $49
Who is it for? I'm . . . not sure. See below.
What's wrong with it? My feelings on this are complicated. I mean, first of all, OMG, you can get an iPod for under $50! We really are living in the future! Awesome! On the other hand, now that iPods and other mp3 players are so cheap, pretty much everyone who's serious about music (and wants one) has one. And I know I would be frustrated by the lack of a screen; I also sort of assume that makes it harder to navigate your music or control what you listen to, but I don't know that for sure. I think the two big categories of people who don't have mp3 players yet are little kids and older people who are wary of the technology. This would probably make a fine "my first iPod" for a kid. I'm less sure that it would be good for an older person, because of the aforementioned no-screen issue. (I'd probably spring for a Nano instead.)
Grade: C+

Disney Epic Mickey
What is it? A Wii game about Mickey Mouse that is hard to describe but sounds pretty cool. Battling evil! Forgotten Disney characters! The chance to play Mickey as heroic or self-serving!
How much? $49.99
Who is it for? Are you the sort of family that tries to do a "family gift" for everyone to play together? And has a Wii? If so, this would be perfect for you, as it promises that it's accessible to kids but also interesting for adults.
What's wrong with it? Very little, actually. Just make sure your recipient has a Wii and not some other gaming system.
Grade: A+

Slings and Arrows: The Complete Collection
What is it? All three seasons of the critically-acclaimed Canadian dramedy about a somewhat dysfunctional Shakespearean theater troupe.
How much? $49.99
Who is it for? ME. I've been meaning to Netflix this for years. Also, people who like critically-acclaimed dramedies. This might actually be good for people who watch a lot of British TV and need some new things to try, because it sounds like it's in roughly the same vein as a lot of popular British shows, but since it's Canadian, they might not have seen it.
What's wrong with it? This is one of those things that's for a bit of a niche audience, but for that audience, it's perfect. And my usual reservations about TV on DVD as gifts are somewhat lessened here, because a) this hasn't been shown on American TV (I don't think) so it's less likely that people have seen it and b) it's the whole series rather than one season.
Grade: B+


Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
What is it? A racing game. I think it's the kind with lots of crashing.
How much? $49.95-$59.95, depending on platform.
Who is it for? Teen and twenty-something guys, mostly.
What's wrong with it? Well, if you have someone on your list who likes this sort of thing (and either has parents who don't mind it or is old enough that Mom's opinion doesn't matter), this is probably a good choice. Make sure you get the right version, and if you're getting it for a real fan I'd check that they didn't buy it themselves on release day.
Grade: B

The Making of The Empire Strikes Back
What is it? A gigantic book about, uh, the making of The Empire Strikes Back.
How much? $50.68
Who is it for? Star Wars fans, movie buffs, people who like "behind the scenes" stuff.
What's wrong with it? It's a little expensive, but it sounds really interesting.
Grade: B+

40: A Doonesbury Retrospective
What is it? A book with 1,400 comic strips, essays, and more.
How much? $63
Who is it for? Doonesbury fans, presumably. Leftists. People who like comics.
What's wrong with it? Well, I am not really a person who likes comics. I mean, I don't dislike them, but if someone was going to spend $63 on books for me, I can think of many, many titles I'd pick over this. But for people who do like comics (and aren't going to be offended by the strip's political position), this looks neat.
Grade: C+

The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete Series
What is it? A DVD set of this comedy set behind the scenes at a late-night talk show.
How much? $98.49
Who is it for? Fans of the show who don't have it on DVD yet. People intrigued by all the late-night drama in the news the past year (with Team Coco et al.).
What's wrong with it? Confession: I had no idea what this show was until I read this description, which makes it sound like the Sports Night of late night. Now I kind of want to watch it (although probably not own it). But my usual caveats about TV on DVD apply.
Grade: B-

The Pacific
What is it? WWII miniseries; follow-up to Band of Brothers
How much? $56.99
Who is it for? Band of Brothers fans. WWII buffs. This will probably be one of the season's most popular Dad/Grandfather/Random Hard-to-Buy-for Uncle gifts.
What's wrong with it? Well, I certainly wouldn't kick it out from under the Christmas tree. I guess it's probably pretty violent, so that's something to keep in mind. Oh, and this link seems to be specifically for the Blu-ray; unless you're sure your recipient has a Blu-ray player I'd just go for the DVD.
Grade: B+


75 Years Of DC Comics: The Art Of Modern Mythmaking
What is it? Okay, I said that Star Wars book was gigantic, but this is really gigantic: 15 pounds, 720 pages, of DC Comics (Superman, Batman, etc.). Plus some annotations and such.
How much? $126
Who is it for? Fans of comics, superheroes, or the history of pop art.
What's wrong with it? This looks like a beautiful gift, if you have a comics fan and $126 to spend.
Grade: A-

Microsoft Kinect
What is it? A thing to add to your Xbox to be able to play games with no controller - it uses a camera and your body movement.
How much? $199 with two games
Who is it for? Like the Wii, this is probably mostly for less-serious gamers who want to do dancing and sports type things. And already have an Xbox.
What's wrong with it? Well, make sure the recipient has an Xbox - it doesn't work by itself. And make sure they actually want to play the kind of games this uses, or it's a waste of money. But I saw a demonstration of it on TV and it was pretty nifty.
Grade: B-

Lost: The Complete Collection
What is it? Complete DVDs of the show, plus some extras and interesting packaging.
How much? $148.99
Who is it for? Lost fans who aren't quite fanatic enough to have bought this already.
What's wrong with it? Well, my usual TV on DVD issues apply, especially with a show so ridiculously popular and well-known as this. But I hear that this set is pretty neat, so if you do have a Lost fan on your list, this would be great!
Grade: B-

The Rolling Stones Limited Edition Remastered Vinyl Box Sets
What is it? Boxed sets of remastered Rolling Stones records. Yes, on vinyl.
How much? $277.27 for 1964-1969, $296.90 for 1971-2005.
Who is it for? People you really really like who really really like the Stones.
What's wrong with it? I mean, I like the Rolling Stones as well as anyone. At first I thought this was a remastered CD set, and I could get behind that idea, but . . . Really? Almost $600 for vinyl? I mean, fine, if you have a lot of money to spend on a vinyl purist. But most of us don't.
Grade: C-

Posted by Kat at 07:54 PM | Comments (3)

MORNING CHEER (11/29/10)

Good morning and happy Monday! We're at that point at which we're just past Thanksgiving and it seems like it's time for Christmas, but then comes the realization that we have another four weeks of work to get through first. Sigh. So let's have some nice mellow music to get us through this Monday morning back at work:

I don't know much about this blog in general, so I'm not endorsing their overall program or anything, but a friend sent me the link to this list of things to do now to get ready for Christmas and it has some good ideas.

This Morning Edition story about a gay Marine discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell was very interesting.

Leslie Nielsen has died, and here's where I admit that I've never seen any of his movies. I know, I know. I shall Netflix Airplane posthaste.

NPR is doing a Christmas Carol-themed series on the deficit. I love NPR.

Posted by Kat at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2010

Brunch-time CHEER

It's not technically morning anymore; I'm sorry. But hey, it's Sunday, so we'll call it brunch! It's been a busy morning at my parents' house and now I'm getting ready to head home this afternoon. I'm thinking "Home for the Holidays," with its mention of traffic issues, is good for days on which I'll be driving a lot. Are there other songs about traffic, or should I just use different versions of this one? Hmm.

Three good links from Apartment Therapy:
Goblets for the Holidays (Slightly random, I know, but I love goblets.)
Last Minute Things to Do before you entertain
Setting Up a Beautiful and Efficient Buffet

Posted by Kat at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2010

Dickens' Village!

I set up my Department 56 Dickens' Village yesterday. I usually set it up at my parents' house, since that's where I actually have Christmas, and since they entertain more, so people will see it, and since they have no cat to knock it all over. This year, we decided to put it on the hutch in their kitchen, and I like the result:

Dickens Village

The problem with using the hutch is that there's nowhere to hide the cords, so Mom decided they would look better if I braided them. Let's just hope they don't need to take it down in a hurry for some reason. (Mom's response to that comment? "Like what? If the Nazis come?")


Here's a blurry picture taken with no flash so you can see how pretty it looks all lit up:

Dickens Village

And if you'd like to see close-up pictures of the various pieces, click here.

Posted by Kat at 12:32 PM | Comments (2)

MORNING CHEER (11/27/10)

Good morning! Welcome to your first edition of MORNING CHEER! The dog (my parents' dog) and I are the only ones up, and he's gazing at me adoringly, which is nice, but he's kind of stinky. Anyway! You need a morning song! I promise I won't use Glee music every day, but we've been decorating my parents' house, and I love their version of "Deck the Halls" . . .

A few Thanksgiving-specific links I didn't manage to post before Thanksgiving:
Where to Buy Last-Minute Thanksgiving Pie in New York
What all the food magazines are pushing this year.
The women of Slate on mothers and holiday cooking traditions. (Warning: This made me cry.)
I know I already recommended this Awl series in general, but this apple pie recipe reads like some sort of cross of Spencer Ackerman and Jay McInerney, and it's completely hilarious and now I want to make pie. (The pie crust article it links to is pretty great too.)
Backstage at the Macy's Parade

These were written for Thanksgiving but will work for the whole month of holiday events to come. Want to win all the arguments at the holiday dinner tables? Slate and Foreign Policy have you covered.

Happy news! The early, out-of-print novels of Rafael Yglesias are now available as ebooks.

Looking for a movie to see with family or friends over the holidays? TWoP has you covered.

Annie Lowrey visits the offices of one of the companies that makes those airport scanners everyone's talking about.

Which books are Penguin authors giving and hoping to get this year?

I liked the Avalon High movie better than the folks at Forever Young Adult did, but their take on it is hilarious regardless.

Not quite feeling the holiday spirit? This is for you.

Ten Things I Hate About Slideshows [A Slideshow]

Posted by Kat at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Cooking and Macy's Parade Liveblog!

8:39: Good morning! On NBC, we're having the kind of odd cultural moment of cutting back and forth between soldiers in Afghanistan talking to their families - and making me teary, Martha Stewart cooking a turkey, and Al Roker at the parade talking to Jessica Simpson. Also, I'm not sure whether to be pleased or ashamed that I recognized Jessica Simpson. I'm going to try to get in a shower before the parade itself starts, and then I'll start cooking . . .

9:07: Just got back downstairs and had the following conversation.
Dad: It just started! This is the first routine.
Me: Oh, good, thanks.
Dad: Everyone from Kanye West to Arlo Guthrie is going to be in this parade!
Me: Wow.
Dad: This is a dance troupe of sure-footed kids from around the country.
Me: Did they say that or is that your word?
Dad: No, they said that.
So. Everyone, thank Dad for keeping us informed while I was in the shower! And now I shall start my gravy.

9:12: Oh, hi, Jason Ritter! You're pretty.

9:16: I want Meredith's sparkly coat. Ooh, the Broadway performances are always my favorite part, although I've heard mixed things about Memphis. But this song seemed fine, if unexceptional. And the performers did a good job of performing out in the street in the cold, which is sometimes iffy. (Not that they're singing live. But still. Sometimes it looks really dumb.)

9:20: If you were wondering, Terrence Howard's new gig on LOLA is making him appreciate law. And presumably order. Ooh, American Idiot!

9:24: Oh. I was hoping they'd do the song "American Idiot," or maybe "Holiday," but I guess "Time of Your Life" is better for the general TV audience. It was fine. Oooh, Christmas Coke commercial! I think that's the first one I've seen this season. I love those. I think I need more coffee. Almost all my vegetables for my gravy are prepped, so I'm starting the broth.

9:29: Marching bands: yay! Spongebob: Meh. (Still? Really? We're not over him yet?) And I usually like Million Dollar Quartet but this medley seems oddly unenergetic.

9:35: I don't think I approve of a capella versions of U2. Dad and I are watching the turkey while Mom's at work. Dad: "I heard juices forming! Let's see if we can baste." Nope. Not yet.

9:40: Oh dear. Outsourced. I was afraid of this. And no, Al Roker, it is not literally a fish out of water comedy. Not unless they've added real fish. Actually, now that I think about it, that might be an improvement. My gravy is at the point at which it simmers for 45 minutes, so let's see if I can get my roasted vegetables started in that time.

9:42: SUMMER GLAU!!!!! Yes, I will watch The Cape for her. At least for a few episodes.

9:44: I still haven't managed to see the whole movie of Elf, but I can't say I've heard anything good about the show.

9:49: That number went on forever. I got vegetables out of the basement and went upstairs to find a hair elastic and when I got back it was still going. Now we're on a St. Jude's commercial, and since when does Robin Williams have a mustache? And does he have an excuse?

9:50: If you had told me 20 years ago that, when I grew up, there would be American Girl commercial on TV, I would have been ecstatic.

9:53: Aw, the Rockettes! What can I say; I like tradition.

9:59: The parade itself! I love when the marching bands do traditional stuff, and especially New York themed stuff, so good job, Purdue! Ooh, the parade is getting a new executive producer next year, and I'm probably a dork for caring, but I do. Snoopy!!

10:01: Tom Turkey! WITH ALTON BROWN! Speaking of, our actual turkey is looking a little dry. Hmm. I have never heard of this "top recording artist," fwiw, and I listen to awful Top 40 radio all the time.

10:04: I'm not sure how I feel about these "feminist" Barbie commercials. But now I'm wondering the odds of being home in time for this Taylor Swift special tonight. So make of that what you will.

10:06: Arlo Guthrie's doing "This Land Is Your Land"!!!! Yay.

10:07: I was going to be mad that they cut away from Guthrie, but it was for Kermit, so. "Rainbow Connection"!

10:14: I got distracted because of a basting emergency, but yay, Sesame Street! The turkey was looking dry but there weren't enough juices to baste effectively, so we poured some melted butter over the top. Can't hurt, right? Dad: "As we learned from Julie and Julia, butter is pretty much the solution to everything, right?"

10:19: I love the high school bands. And I also love Jimmy Fallon, although I have a whole list of issues with this song he's doing. ("Do They Know It's Christmas?") Oh, but is it a medley? That would be better. Really, now I want to watch his Emmy opener again.

10:22: Ronald McDonald. Enh. Ooh, but I like the Mount Rushmore float! Wait, it's carrying Mannheim Steamroller? Um, okay. Their music doesn't seem very paradey, does it?

10:29: I assume that Despicable Me thing would have made more sense if I'd seen the movie. Did Miranda Cosgrove even sing? I like her. Oh, Mickey! Nice to see NBC and Disney/ABC can unite in the name of profit. And, um, holiday cheer. I think they just said something about pizza but I missed it.

10:35: Dad on the frightening mob of hundreds of cheerleaders: "Dear God, they're all smiling!" And on the ridiculous "medley" with ten seconds of each song: "This is like the works of Shakespeare in 60 seconds." We take our surfing music seriously around here.

10:37: Oh. Spongebob. He's still the #1 animated program? Wow.

10:39: Who's that singing? Is that a pirate ship? What's going on? Dad: "Oh, it's the Singing Pirates!" My roasted vegetables are almost ready to roast, by the way.

10:45: That Native American/Country thing was fine, I guess. I am deeply unsure about this marching band version of Black Eyed Peas stuff, though. My vegetables are in the oven! Time to strain the gravy.

10:57: A bunch of things went by while I managed to spill gravy all over the kitchen. Hello Kitty! Kylie Minogue! Shrek! Now we're on some sort of princesses of questionable quality.

11:06: Uh, I totally had something to say and then my aunt called and I forgot. I don't think there's been anything wildly exciting on the parade, though. Oh, Power Rangers! I didn't know they were still around. Is it just me or does the parade seem front-loaded this year?

11:10: I know some people get very excited about Pokemon. I am not one of those people.

11:13: Tap dancers! That's more like it.

11:14: Gladys Knight! WHERE ARE THE PIPS?

11:18: Oh, here's Kanye finally. I was beginning to suspect that my father was lying to me about his promised appearance. I will admit that I've heard so many good things about his new album that I'm actually considering buying it.

11:23: There's Horton, presumably hearing a Who. Meanwhile, my dad ran to the store for gravy mix so I tried to baste the turkey and discovered that my mom has the most counterintuitive turkey baster ever.

11:27: And Folgers commercials continue to make me cry. If you were wondering.

11:40: Jessica Simpson just sang a song that was probably the closest she could get to "All I Want for Christmas Is You" without actually being sued. Right down to the drum part. Now someone is singing "Blue Skies," which is much better.

11:47: "We Need a Little Christmas." "My Favorite Things." Nice choices. SMURFS!!!! Where's Ausiello?

11:55: My brother started playing the drum set, so I can't actually hear anything. Sorry! Balloons! Dancers!

11:57: And here's Santa! Yay! Time to go read Miracle on 34th Street! (Not really. I'm still cooking.)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

Posted by Kat at 08:39 AM | Comments (2)

December 26, 2009

I have to admit...

I am kind of relieved that Christmas is over.

I know this is weird for me, since I'm usually such a Christmas fan, but this year . . . I don't know. I was just ready to be done. And please don't misunderstand - Christmas has been very nice, and I've had a great visit with my family. But now I'm looking forward to getting back to normal life.

I'm also exhausted, which is why you're getting this instead of a review of the movie I just saw or the book I just read or something. Sorry.

Posted by Kat at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope you're all having a great day. Real post tomorrow!

Posted by Kat at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2009

O Tannenbaum

Complete with sleeping kitten:

Christmas Tree 2009

Posted by Kat at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2009

First Sunday of Advent

Happy Advent!

First Sunday of Advent

Posted by Kat at 06:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2009

It's snowing!!!!

Really! It's been snowing steadily at least since it was light enough for me to see out the window this morning! Now I don't feel so bad about giving in and turning on the heat last night. I figured out how to change the programming on the thermostat. (My landlord had set it up last year, but he likes the house MUCH warmer than I do.) I feel accomplished.

According to family rules, the snow ALSO means that it is now acceptable to listen to Christmas music. I put a bunch of holiday stuff on my iPod this morning, and I think I'm going to break out the Christmas tea as well. Maybe I'll watch White Christmas this weekend. Eee! This is so exciting!

Posted by Kat at 07:08 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2009


So much for Blog Every Day April. I went home to visit family for Easter and totally missed two days. Ah well. I'll try to get back on track . . .

Posted by Kat at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2008

What I Have Left

I have the following left to knit before Christmas:

1.25 socks

2 wrist warmers

1.75 hats (these are actually crocheted)

small amounts of sewing/weaving in ends on two other things

Now, is it just me, or does that not actually seem so crazy, for once? Of course, that doesn't include the lots of knitting I have left on a gift for someone I won't see until around New Year's, but still... How is everyone else doing?

Posted by Kat at 09:45 AM | Comments (2)

March 22, 2008

And off I go...

I'm heading to my parents' house for Easter, so I might not get a chance to post again until Monday. I hope everyone who celebrates has a blessed Easter, and everyone else has a great weekend!

Posted by Kat at 10:27 AM | Comments (1)

December 27, 2007


Hello! Obviously, I didn't manage to post over the holidays. Sorry! I hope everyone who celebrated had a great time. Today I'll start posting pictures of the handmade gifts I gave!

Posted by Kat at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2007

Bye for now!

I'm off to my uncle's house now and then to my parents tomorrow. I'll try to check in as I have time; regular blogging will resume on the 27th - with lots of pictures of Christmas gifts I haven't been able to show you!

Good luck with the knitting, everyone! I still have hopes of finishing. I'll let you know how it goes.

Posted by Kat at 03:02 PM | Comments (1)

December 19, 2007


I don't want to say this too loudly, but things are going shockingly well. I survive the post office, which means that my packages are all sent. The shopping is done.* Half of the cards have been sent, and the other half will be done tonight. Baking is on schedule. Knitting is about 1/3 of a hat behind schedule, but that's not to the point from which it's unrecoverable. And last night I found out that I will have more knitting time than I'd anticipated - my parents will both be at a party on Sunday, and my mom is working on Monday. Loads of time. I'm trying not to let that ease me into a false sense of security, though. Must stay on schedule.

* I do have to go to the grocery store for ingredients for crockpot cider for the office party, but that doesn't really count as shopping, right?

Posted by Kat at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2007


A week until Christmas? How did that happen? I'm floored. I don't know why I'm so surprised, but I am. Odd. It really seems to have snuck up this year. I am starting to realize I need to let go... no, not of the Christmas knitting madness, don't be silly. I'm still trying to do everything that affects others. But I have let myself recognize that it's really okay if I don't put up all the decorations I'd planned to put up, read all the Christmas books I'd planned to read, etc. It's supposed to be fun. Going through a mental checklist of the "essential Christmas movies I need to watch" is not necessarily fun, and if I want to spend an evening letting Buffy accompany my Christmas knitting instead, that's totally fine.

I did have that Moment last night. You know, the Moment when you realize that all this stress and all these deadlines aren't a thing in and of themselves... that when it ends, it's actually going to be CHRISTMAS. Wheee! And that's why I started getting really excited and feeling Christmassy. (And feeling like I really shouldn't have to go to work for the rest of the week. Alas, that part is not true.)

One thing that is making this week feel particularly Christmassy is the amount of snow on the ground. Now that I've forgiven the snow for ruining my plans last weekend, I'm completely loving it. I always think there should be a lot of snow for Christmas, and there very rarely is. But at the moment we've got about a foot and a half on the ground. There are mounds in my driveway as tall as me. It's great. I hope it lasts. (You know what's not great? The way people are driving. People! You live in New Hampshire! You have seen snow before! This isn't a surprise!)

You know what, guys? I realized last night that I have finished making 38 Christmas gifts thus far. THIRTY-EIGHT. 25 of them were needle-felted ornaments, and therefore quite quick, but... still. Oh, and I have a follow-up on yesterday's musings about how long it takes to make dishcloths. In the interests of Science, I decided to investigate this today. During my two 15-minute breaks at work, I took my knitting to the breakroom, checked the clock, and knit for exactly 15 minutes. I got ten rows done each time. Not quite the "minute a row" pace I was hoping for, but fairly quick. (I think. I actually have no idea how quickly most people knit, and am somewhat insecure about this.) Amazing how much more quickly these things go when you're sitting in a barren breakroom just knitting, and not watching TV, reading blogs, and/or checking e-mail. Huh.

Okay. Twelve gifts to go, all knitted. Two for the 22nd (one in progress), seven for Christmas Day (two in progress), one for the weekend after Christmas, two more (one in progress) by January 6th (the end of the 12 Days of Christmas, and therefore my self-imposed absolute deadline for Christmas knitting). How's everyone else doing? Keep knitting. We can do this.

Posted by Kat at 04:28 PM | Comments (2)

December 15, 2007

Silent Night TV cartoon?

Does anyone remember that cartoon about the writing of "Silent Night"? I think there might have been mice or something involved. What was that called??

Posted by Kat at 10:54 AM | Comments (2)

December 14, 2007

Well, that was unexpected.

Remember how Stephanie said the other day that maybe we should all call in sick to get an extra week for Christmas knitting and stuff? And we were all talking in the comments about what a good idea it was? Well, apparently Santa heard, because I suddenly have three whole unexpectedly free days - my travel plans were canceled due to weather. It's bizarre.

It's good that I'll have more time for cleaning and baking and knitting, but I'm sad that I won't be able to see my dad on his birthday after all. And it's one of those nice round-numbered birthdays, you know? And two days ago was my mom's birthday (not as significant a number, but still). So I got what we were all saying we wanted - unexpected free time in December - but I'm really just bummed that I won't see my family until next weekend.

Since I won't be there to do it myself, would you all like to help me wish them happy birthday in the comments? Let's see how many comments for them we can get. Thanks!

Posted by Kat at 08:43 AM | Comments (7)

December 12, 2007

Unfortunately, this is not from the Onion.

Congress votes to say that Christmas is important. Seriously?? Don't they have better things to do? Plus, even though I'm Christian, I don't necessarily agree with all the things they state that Christians believe or do. And, really, not all Christians in the country celebrate Christmas on December 25. Do those churches not count? Sigh.

Posted by Kat at 02:57 PM | Comments (1)

December 11, 2007

Two weeks? Seriously?

How did that HAPPEN? I'm back from my trip and starting to realized just how much I have to do. Yeah. Goals for this week: Finish transcription project; Clean house (after neglecting it for said transcription project); Finish a few knitted gifts. We'll see. I do have some knitting and snow and kitten pictures to show you, though! Soon. Maybe tonight, even.

Posted by Kat at 09:29 AM | Comments (2)

December 08, 2007

I'd really rather be asleep.

I finally finished this batch of transcription at about 8:30 last night. Toward the end, I had reached some sort of transcription nirvana* mindset, and had just accepted that I was going to be sitting at my computer transcribing these interviews for the rest of my life. By the end of the week, I was dreaming about transcription. I would be sitting in meetings at the day job and find myself translating my coworkers' words into text in my head (not that I don't do that anyway), complete with figuring out where to put the ums and uhs and punctuation. It was exhausting. By last night I could barely type; my fingers were rebelling, and letters were being transposed all over the place - but, interestingly, just in my personal typing, not in the transcription itself. Words, other than the most basic, are just not coming to me; even thsi (see?) morning, I wrote a short e-mail in which I used the phrase "or something" at least five times. See? I'll probably get back to normal just in tiem (there it is again) to start the next batch of transcriptions on Monday.

And in the meantime I'm flying to Ohio, to see friends and go to a Christmas party. I'm excited, even thrilled, about this in the abstract, but I woke up with a raging headache, the house is trashed after spending all my evening time transcribing this week, and the Christmas knitting is so far behind schedule it isn't even funny. (I'll be knitting a hostess gift - for this trip - on the plane today. I can knit 1.75 dishcloths during an hour waiting at the airport and a two-hour flight, right? Sure I can.) So I can't help sort of wishing I could spend the day napping and cleaning and drinking tea and knitting. Ah well. I'm sure that once the trip actually starts, it will be great, but convincing myself to leave the house is going to be a little tough. (It helps that I already paid for the plane ticket.)

Oh, and look where we're going: Jeni's. Home of Goat's Cheese with Cognac Fig Sauce ice cream. (I think that's the one I'm going to get, but I haven't entirely decided.) Yeah. No way I'm going to miss that.

* I mean the Buddhist definition, "...characterized by the extinction of desire and suffering and individual consciousness," not the common "a state of complete bliss" definition. In case that wasn't obvious.

Posted by Kat at 08:43 AM | Comments (1)

December 06, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like...

On my lunch break today, I went to the Wal-mart down the road from my office. Now, I don't go there often - Target is my discount store of choice - so I'm not familiar with the store layout and what it's usually like. But wow, it was difficult. There were lots of people - I can only imagine how it is during peak shopping hours - and it seemed practically impossible to find anything. It took me quite a while to even find the Christmas section, which you'd think would be, you know, bad for business.

Although I went in looking for a Bratz comforter (my gift for the church Giving Tree) and some ingredients for shortbread and a tin to carry it in, I of course found a variety of other things that I did vaguely need but hadn't really been looking for: small slippers for my trip this weekend (I'm going carry-on only), a snowflake turtleneck to wear under a sweater, things like that. And when I finally made it through the lines and got it all out to my car, I realized that I hadn't been charged for the $3 salt and pepper shakers I'd picked up. Sigh. It was only $3, but I knew I'd feel bad every time I saw them if I didn't go back and rectify this. So I went all the way in, and luckily was able to do the transaction at the customer service station instead of getting back in line.

Speaking of guilt, the Salvation Army bell ringers are really bothering me this year. Now, I know it's a good cause. I do. But I plan out my charitable giving, and I simply cannot be donating to them every single time I go into or out of any store. (Today, for example, I was in fact at the store to buy a gift to donate in the first place.) If I have change in my pocket, I will usually drop it in, but otherwise I am just left feeling guilty and un-Christmassy. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Is it just me? It seems like there should be a better way.

Posted by Kat at 04:01 PM | Comments (1)

November 30, 2007

How much for the Twelve Days of Christmas?

$78,100, according to CNN. Hee.

Years ago, our deacon gave a homily explaining the Catholic meaning behind the words of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," and I really liked that, but unfortunately Snopes has pretty much debunked that story. Oh well. It's still a pretty song - but more fun to sing along at a party than hear on the radio, I've realized. (When it's just one person singing it, without any participation, it gets a bit boring.)

Posted by Kat at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2007

Sleepy Wednesday Randoms

1. Blah, sleepy. Oh well. This week is crazy busy and it's not going to get better any time soon. My big dream for the day is that I might have time to stop for milk on my way home tonight. Yeah.

2. Speaking of sleepy: I got a surprise transcription job last night. The good news is that it will about cover the tires I had to buy last week. The bad news is that there goes most of my knitting time (and a bit of my sleeping time) for the next week or so.

3. My Christmas knitting list is scaring me. My goal is that by the end of this coming weekend I will have fewer projects to finish than days left. We'll see.

4. I have at least finally purchased all of the supplies and tools I need for holiday gifts. I think. Of course, as soon as I post this I will realize that I need another set of needles or something.

5. I want to make fudge. (Because obviously I don't have enough to do.) Anyone have a favorite recipe?

Posted by Kat at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2007

Missing the Department Store

In time for the "shopping season," here's an essay on bygone department store culture. I'm too young to have experienced the things she discusses, of course, but even I remember that department stores (and shopping in general) were different twenty years ago.

A case in point: last week, I was in Macy's (my new default now that it took over Filene's, which in turn took the place of the G. Fox I dimmly remember from childhood), and wandered to the Intimates section to look for a few slips. I couldn't find any. I asked the young woman at the desk if they sold slips, and she just said "No," with a look that clearly said she thought I was asking for something crazy. No?? How can Macy's not sell slips? I ended up checking out in another section, and the clerk asked whether I'd found everything. I usually just say "Yes" to that question regardless, but in this case I figured I might as well mention my disappointment at the lack of slips. The clerk and her coworker, both older ladies, were stunned and appalled when I said they didn't sell them, so I felt slightly better that I wasn't the only person in the world who thought that slips were a logical thing for a department store to sell.

And, actually, if anyone knows where to buy slips, let me know...

Posted by Kat at 02:42 PM | Comments (5)

November 26, 2007

Good morning!

How was your Thanksgiving? I hope everyone had a great weekend. I was enjoying a nice visit with my family and didn't have time to do much online except briefly check my e-mail a few times; sorry I disappeared on you. The traffic was awful yesterday, but I finally made it home around 8:30 pm. And now I'm back at work and quite tired. Ah well. It was a good holiday overall. Now for the Christmas knitting...

Posted by Kat at 09:54 AM | Comments (1)

November 15, 2007

Sugar cookie tea!

Celestial Seasonings has added Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride to its holiday tea lineup. Have I mentioned how I'm a sucker for anything holiday themed? Yeah. I pretty much want them all. I think I've had the most of the others in the past, but the sugar cookie one sounds particularly acute in its potential to be either disgusting or wonderful. If I find it, I'll try some and report back.

Posted by Kat at 04:42 PM | Comments (2)

January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

In case anyone wondered, the 24-hour emergency animal clinic is not, in fact, the most cheerful place to ring in the New Year. This afternoon, Dewey started throwing up periodically for no apparently reason. The first two times, I thought "Okay, he's a cat, it happens." After the third time, I started to get worried, so I called the clinic to get their advice. They told me to take his food away for a few hours, but to bring him in if he did it again. He did. So off we went at 9:45 tonight. After a brief wait, during which I called my parents to play the "Hey, guess which ER we're in now, Mom?" game, $200 of tests and exams concluded that Dewey appears to be in perfect health. But really, it was worth every penny to get the scary stuff ruled out. He got an anti-nausea shot, and has been okay since, so... we'll see. No food until tomorrow. And now we have a CD of nifty pictures of Dewey's insides!

So anyway, we got home around 11:45, and I just managed to turn on Dick Clark, change back into my pajamas (I'd put on jeans to go to the clinic), and make some adult hot chocolate before midnight. My throat still hurts too much for champagne or really any alcoholic beverage that isn't based in warm milk. So I managed to see the ball drop, and Robot Dick Clark try to speak. Depressing, really. Ah well.

Happy 2007!

Posted by Kat at 12:22 AM | Comments (13)

December 22, 2006

Oh, right, Christmas.

So I've been really out of the Christmas mood for the past few weeks. Honestly, it seemed like Christmas was just a reason for more things to be added to my to do list. So I was doing the things, checking them off, but not really feeling it. I was looking forward to seeing my family and all, but getting through Christmas itself seemed like just one more thing that had to be done and checked off. Kristy, among others, has written about the pressure and stress induced by hearing how we're supposed to get rid of stress and chill out and enjoy the spirit of the season, and I've definitely been feeling that as well.

And then last night I was in the bookstore cleaning up the kids' section, and "O Holy Night" came on the overhead, and it suddenly clicked and I got it again. I don't think I can express exactly what I "got," but I finally remembered that oh, yeah, it's Christmas. It's not just meaningless stress. There's a point to it all. I like Christmas. Right. Must try to remember that.

That said, I am continuing to stress about all the stuff that needs to get done. I'm working a half day today so I can do errands and pack and such. Also, I have 42" of a scarf that needs to be done tomorrow. Can I do 18" in the midst of everything else today? (60" is an acceptable scarf length, right?) We shall see... Tomorrow, I work at the bookstore from 8:45 to 4, and then head go home to pick up Dewey and head to Connecticut.

PSA: If you're going to be in any stores for any reason this weekend, please, PLEASE try to be particularly nice to the people working there. You know those annoying fellow shoppers? The people working in the store have to deal with them all day. We know it's almost Christmas. We know you're stressed. We are too. You should know that we are doing our absolute best to help you find what you need and get out as quickly as possible. We don't enjoy the lines any more than you do. We can probably be more helpful than you expect, though, so give us a chance. Thanks.

Posted by Kat at 09:08 AM | Comments (9)

December 05, 2006

Christmas in Miniature

For various reasons - including, of course, the imminent kitten - I'm not doing too much with Christmas decorating this year. My main decoration is a little tableau on my coffee table. I spend most of my time in the living room, so that seemed like the best place for it:

Yes, the current Hallmark singing decoration is my tree this year. I mean, seriously, I'm getting a kitten. A tree sounded like a poor idea. And this was just so cute. I love penguins. On one side is a gingerbread house tealight burner, and on the other is my Advent wreath:

It's tiny, a "personal Advent wreath." I'm slightly worried that the wee little candles won't last the whole month, but we'll see. I tried to get a close-up so you could see the actual wreath, but it was hard to get it to come out decently:

If you can't read it, in between the candle holes, it says "Silent night, /Holy night, /All is calm, /All is bright." I've actually been lighting it in the morning, because that's when I'm most reliably home, but oh well. It's shiny pewter and simple but elegant.

I've been waking up cold the past few days, so last night I bit the bullet and put my big sleeping bag on my bed. That means that I'm now cuddling up under a sheet (albeit not flannel - must remedy that soon), cotton blanket, quilt, faux down comforter with flannel cover, and sleeping bag. I hope that will keep me warm enough this winter. We'll see. (Oh, I just remembered that I have a big fleece blanket in the attic somewhere. I should find that.) Also, we had some nice snow flurries yesterday! It's really starting to feel like winter. Finally.

Posted by Kat at 07:27 AM | Comments (11)

November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! I'm in CT with my family - I'll be back home tomorrow night. Enjoy your turkey!

Posted by Kat at 11:55 AM | Comments (8)

October 31, 2006


Happy Halloween, to those who celebrate it! I'm headed over to the home of a friend who lives in a neighborhood that's more... neighborhood-like. Because I love trick-or-treaters, but I live in probably the worst spot possible for them. My road is busy with lots of blind curves, and my apartment is rather well-hidden.

So I'm off to eat give out candy, watch addictive TV, and work frantically on magazine stuff. Then at midnight we start our novels. Wheee!

Posted by Kat at 06:17 PM | Comments (2)

July 31, 2006

Happy birthday to me!

I have to work all day and go to class, and I don't get to see my family, but I'm still sort of excited about my birthday. I opened a few cards and presents this morning, and I got a nice card from my coworkers when I got here - and a cube full of streamers and balloons and a personalized birthday banner, as is customary in my department. And a friend I work with (he was a friend first, and is now a coworker) just said he's taking me out for lunch! Aww.

And why yes, a big data entry project is EXACTLY what I wanted for my birthday! However did they know?

Posted by Kat at 10:02 AM | Comments (11)

January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy 2006, and happy birthday to this blog! I ended up having a lowkey but very enjoyable New Year's Eve: my roommate and I watched Harold and Maude and then shared some cheesecake and a bottle of champagne. We barely stayed awake until midnight, but we made it, and I was asleep by 12:15. Oh, and all of the above was accomplished while in my pajamas. There are certainly benefits to staying home.

2005 wasn't my favorite year, but I think it was a fairly important year, and I learned a lot and am ready to have a better 2006. There's an old saying that says something about how what you do on January 1 is what you'll do all year. So far I have called my mother, made coffee, blogged, and knit. I think that's a pretty good start.

Posted by Kat at 10:03 AM | Comments (1)

December 24, 2005

And to all a good night...

So it's been a decent day, and things are... going. Today I finished the Secret Santa scarf and knit about half the scarf for my aunt. (But I'm not seeing her until Sunday afternoon, so I clearly have "plenty" of time.) While doing so I watched Beautiful Thing (a new favorite), My Beautiful Laundrette (also very good), and two episodes of Six Feet Under. I also wrapped presents, did dishes, packed, and did errands. Whew. Now I'm sitting by the tree, knitting my mom's mittlets and listening to the Nutcracker and finishing up that wine from the other night. It's a nice moment of relaxation amidst all the craziness.

One less-than-relaxing moment of realization today was that the end really isn't as close as you'd think, at least as far as knitting is concerned. None of the gifts for my immediate family will be complete by Christmas (without some sort of miracle), so I'll give them to them partially done and try to finish my New Year's. So I'm in for another week, at least. Then I have to finish my roommate's gift. But I'm trying - trying - to remind myself to relax and enjoy things. We'll see.

Honestly, I haven't been in that much of a holiday mood this year. It's quite unlike me. I think it's good in some ways - I'm being less rigid about things being "perfect" and holding myself and others to ridiculous standards - but it feels like some of the magic is gone too, and I'm not sure why. It's probably a combination of things - being busy, this being the first Christmas after five Christmasses with my ex, just growing up, etc. So I'm trying to just go with the flow and see how it goes. Who knows; maybe it will be better if I'm not forcing myself to wake up early on Christmas morning to read the things I have to read every Christmas morning, and not trying to make my family do everything the way we've always done it because otherwise the world will end. (Of course, I'll probably be waking up early to knit, but...) So... we'll see. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm working at the store from 7:45 to five tomorrow and then heading to Connecticut - it'll be a long day. I'm not sure about the status of Internet access at my parents' house at the moment, so I may not post again until the 26th. Everyone, have a lovely Christmas or Hanukkah or weekend. See you on the other side.

Posted by Kat at 12:08 AM

December 20, 2005

To whom it may concern:

Dear knitting,
Thank you for being reasonably cooperative thus far. Might I suggest that we step up the pace a bit?
the knitter

Dear stupid coworkers in the neighboring department,
I don't think the word "gay" means what you seem to think it means. You might want to look it up before you yell something like "You all must think we sound really gay" over the row of cubes again, because at least two of us over here are about ready to throw big cans of soup at you.
Just a thought,
P.S. Boss, that goes for you too. Also? Stop with the jokes about women. Thanks.

Dear Chris Botti,
"Hallelujah" (yeah, the Leonard Cohen one) is not a Christmas song. Just no. I don't care if it has the same name as the Handel chorus. No. Have you heard the words? I know you don't sing them in your version, but please tell me you at least know what the song is about. Your muzak version really has no reason to exist, especially not on a Christmas album.
No love,
Jeff Buckley fan

Dear customers,
I know you for some reason think the online reserve thing saves you time, but it really doesn't. And here's a little secret: it just makes us really, really annoyed with you, although I do understand that it's not your fault that the system's so screwed up. But please. Call and ask us to hold your book. It works just as well, if not better. I promise.
The girl with the pager

Dear out-of-it teacher lady,
30% of $30 is not $10. It is $9. I promise. I'm not sure how many different ways I can explain this to you. You're a teacher. Aren't you supposed to understand things like that?
Your cashier
P.S. I was nice. Next time find your darn educator's discount card. Preferably before you get up to the register and start holding up the line.

Dear reading public,
No, The Da Vinci Code is not out in paperback. Neither is virtually any book published in hardcover in the past year. That's just not the way it works, and I promise, it's not my fault. It is also not my fault that you didn't decide until December 19 that you need to order an obscure book for brother-in-law. I can't magically make it appear. I know that you are probably angry at yourself and just taking it out on me. The holidays are stressful. I know. Please try to remember that it's stressful for me too.
Let's all smile and try to get through the next few days.
Your friendly neighborhood bookseller

Dear salespeople,
I know this may come as a shock, but when you send a request to my department that includes direct insults to my department, that does not make me feel especially inclined to hurry up and get it done for you right away. Just in case that hadn't occurred to you.
No love,
The data corrections girl

Dear Mr. Ledger,
Well done. Couldn't you have played both roles?
Much love,
P.S. Casanova looks cute too, if a bit historically debatable.

Dear readers,
Thank you to anyone who waded through all that. Something coherent (like a review of Brokeback Mountain) will be coming one of these days, but, honestly, it might not be until after Christmas. I will try to at least get some Christmas knitting pictures up soon.
Much love,

Posted by Kat at 04:41 PM | Comments (4)

December 18, 2005

Christmas Knitting Dos and Don'ts

It's... going. Not quite as well as I'd wanted, but I figured that would happen. So to distract you from my lack of pretty pictures or actual content, here are a few pointers for you based one what I've picked up over the past few days.

* DO just keep knitting, and avoid thinking about any of it too much.

* DON'T use yarn or needles you hate. Metal 15s? Ribbon? Eyelash? The end results are pretty, but what was I thinking?

* DO take advantage of the lovely technique that involves doing some extra wraps before each stitch one row and dropping them the next and stretching it out. (I'm sure it has a name but I don't have time to look it up.) My God, does that make a scarf go quickly.

* DON'T take a break to argue with your mother. Or at least put her on speakerphone or something so you can keep knitting. (At least I won.)

* DO "carpool," i.e. get people to drive you places so you can knit in the car.

* DON'T just keep adding things to your list. My list went from 12 to 14 before it got down to, um, 13 at the moment, but two of those are almost done, I swear.

* DO cut back on sleep and housework. 5 hours a night. Laundry and dishes. Everything else can wait.

* DON'T watch anything too enthralling or complicated while knitting. I'm finding that Simon Schama's History of Britain works well - it keeps me interested but, well, I know the plot, so it's okay if I don't give it my full attention.

* If you are making anything that comes in pairs like socks or mittens, DO knit one of each pair first. It will keep things interesting, and it's better to give each recipient one mitten and some yarn instead of two mittens to half of them and just yarn to the rest.

* DON'T let yourself get dehydrated. Dehydration does not increase knitting speed. I've been going with mostly Tab and various kinds of tea.

* DO keep the house stocked with easy-to-make, non-messy food. You don't have time to cook or to take food breaks. Knitting while eating is possible. I've been concentrating on canned soup, chips and dip, baby carrots, Twizzlers, and chocolate.

* DON'T develop a new addiction to an online game. (I'll give you the link after Christmas. I promise. It's for your own good.)

* DO remember the twelve days of Christmas. Nothing is technically late until January 6. Especially if you're Catholic.

* DON'T let yourself feel too much envy or resentment when you walk by your roommate's open door and notice the neat stack of books and CDs that he's giving people for Christmas. So what if they come already assembled? You're putting in way more effort.

* DO resolve to drag him into the madness next year. It's not like you forced him to start knitting.

Posted by Kat at 10:35 AM | Comments (4)

December 15, 2005

The Plan

Okay. Trying not to panic. Plans solve everything, right? I'm a good planner. I like to make lists. So. I just need some lists and a plan.

First, knitting hours as calculated last night:

Coworker scarves (2): 5 hours each
Dad's and brother's scarves: 10 hours each
Roommate's scarf: 20 hours
Nosewarmer: 1 hour
Cousin scarves (3): 3 hours each
Pairs of mittlets (3): 5 hours each

Total: 75 hours. KHPD: 7.5. Um, right. That's another full time job. I have one of those already. Huh. This might be a little difficult, you think? So.

The Plan

1. This weekend will be the big marathon knitting. Friday night: finish at least one cousin scarf. Saturday night (since I'm working all day): finish at least one coworker scarf. Sunday: Knit all day. Finish other coworker scarf and nosewarmer (and hopefully something else, but let's let that be a pleasant surprise). Those three scarves are the things I really need done before Christmas, so I will breathe a bit easier then.

2. The next focus will be the mittlets, since those are harder to knit while out and about. Monday and Tuesday I will work on the mittlets at home and scarves while out (in line, on lunch break, etc.).

3. The three cousin scarves? I'm going to go with these. Two hours each. Steph promised. And did you see how I budgeted three hours for each above, since I know I can't possibly knit as fast as she does?

4. I am leaving work early tomorrow to go to the yarn store to get the yarn for the cousin scarves, mittlets, and nosewarmer. Oh, but there's supposed to be an ice storm. Please God, don't let the yarn store close. That would totally mess up the plan.

5. Basic schedule for next week: work 8-5 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Probably other work Monday and Thursday evenings. Wednesday I'm taking the day off to go Christmas shopping with my cousin in Boston. I'll carry a scarf around to knit while we shop. I'm sure she'll love that. Wednesday night I need to make something for the work potluck on Thursday, but I can knit while I make meatballs, right? Wednesday night is probably around when I'll cut down on sleep, as well. Don't want to do that too early, or the adrenaline will run out.

6. Tuesday evening I have agreed to see a friend. The conversation went something like this:
Friend: We should hang out before Christmas. I have presents and I miss you.
Me: Is hanging out something that can be done while knitting?
Him: Of course. I figured as much.
So hopefully that won't cut into the knitting time too badly.

7. Friday evening is free. Thank goodness. Oh, except for packing for CT. Saturday (Christmas Eve) I'll be working and leaving for CT right from work. Sunday is Christmas and there will be lots of people at my parents' house. Nevertheless, I seem to think I will have a fair amount of knitting time both days.

8. On Christmas, I will be knitting my roommate's scarf, since Christmas Day is one of the very few days on which we won't see each other (as we'll be with our respective families). And he's okay with it being a Boxing Day or New Year's or Epiphany present if necessary.

9. And really, I'm not above giving a few things on the needles and having them done when I see everyone again at New Year's.

10. But. That's only an extra week. This is still quite a lot of knitting, even with the extra week.

Progress reports will appear when possible. Let's hope I can get lots done over the weekend so I don't get too discouraged. Send caffeine and chocolate.

P.S. I was vaguely thinking of a few more nosewarmers for other relatives, "if I have some extra time." The delusion runs deep.

Posted by Kat at 03:41 PM | Comments (2)

December 14, 2005

Random Wednesday ('cause I can)

Yeah, I know, twice in one day. But I had stuff I felt like saying and liked the idea of posting Random Wednesday on Wednesday for once. (It is Wednesday, right? I think?)

1. First, because Lauren asked for it:

The five scarves-in-progress, albeit a bit blurry. The stray needle and brown yarn coming in from the left belong to another scarf-in-progress, but that one is my roommate's, not mine (thank goodness).

2. Tonight was my last class of the semester. We had pizza and wine and cookies and then left early. Really, all classes should be like that.

3. During class, my professor asked me: "Could you make your life any more difficult?" Hah. He doesn't know the half of it.

4. I also discovered that when I e-mailed my final paper to my professor yesterday, I didn't actually, you know, attach the paper. I am so smart.

5. While walking to the train after class I started calculating my Knitting Hours Per Day for the next ten days or so. Let's just say that it's looking rather appalling. Details, and hopefully a Plan, will be forthcoming. Tomorrow. When I'm bored at work.

6. I have decided that Green Day's "Holiday" is what I wanted Franz Ferdinand's second album to be. Not necessarily politically (because Franz Ferdinand is/are British [Scottish?], for one thing), but musically.

7. Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the fatal shooting incident that occurred at my alma mater. Although I was there long afterward and didn't know anyone involved, the reverberations are still felt throughout the tiny community, and I felt I should mention it and that everyone affected is in my thoughts today.

8. On a happier note, it is also my dad's birthday.

9. New Dunkin' Donuts favorite: Vanilla Spice coffee. Yum.

10. I'm dreaming, not of a white Christmas (well that too), but of all the things I will have time to knit after Christmas: the baby Aran, Birch (which was going along swimmingly until I finally had to admit that I should stop on it until after Christmas), Trekking XXL socks, and some sort of freaking head covering, already. I am in New Hampshire. It is cold. I do not seem to own a hat. What I really want is a hooded scarf, but I'm not letting myself think about it yet.

11. It sounds weird, but I have discovered that sleeping in hoodies (yes, with the hood on) is SO cozy. Another thing for which I can blame my roommate. Caffeine, Auden, alcohol, Michael Nava, Six Feet Under, cilantro, sleeping in hoods... what will be next?

12. Since I am home in time to go to bed on time, I should really do so, huh? 'night.

Posted by Kat at 10:35 PM | Comments (3)

Ack ack ack ack ack

See? Told you I'd be panicking soon enough. Christmas is in 11 days. ELEVEN. How did that happen? How? I have several presents started, at least. The majority of them are some variation of "red scarf." I am sick of red. And scarves. And I've thought of several more people for whom I need gifts. And decided that no, if I'm knitting for my dad and brother, I need to knit for my mom too. Especially since she doesn't much like scarves. So. How about a new list?

Projects in Progress
1. Irish Hiking Scarf for Dad. Red. Maybe... 1/6 done? Ish? I haven't even looked at it in weeks.
2. Ribbed scarf for brother. Red. Several inches done.
3. Ribbed scarf for random semi-coworker. Red. About 1/3 done. (Yes, the project on which I have made the most progress is for the person I don't really know. Not that I sabotage myself or anything.)
4. Fun fur scarf for secret santa person. Pink. (Not quite red!) Several inches done.
5. Campus Scarf for roommate. Not red! About 10% done.

Now, you'd think I'd be able to say "enough already" and just concentrate on getting those things done. But, um, apparently not. I am taking 1/4 of a vacation day on Friday to get to the yarn store before it closes to get yarn for the following:

Projects I Have Not Even Started
1. Three pairs of mittlets. (Mom, aunt, other aunt.) None of them will be red.
4. Three scarves. (Cousin, other cousin, godmother/cousin.) Think big needles, novelty yarn, quick quick quick. Also not red.
7. A nosewarmer. Also for godmother/cousin, because she was complaining about her nose being cold the other day. And because it won't take very long, so I can have a feeling of accomplishment.

And, um, yeah, if you look at my creative numbering scheme up there, you will see that I have More. Projects. Than. Days. I just figured that out as I was typing it. And there's no chance I will finish anything today or tomorrow because I won't be home until midnight-ish either night. So. Um. Basically, I need to barricade myself in my apartment this weekend (except that I'm working Saturday 8:45-5) and drink lots of tea and watch lots of DVDs and knit. Oh, except if my roommate wants to go see Brokeback Mountain. That's worth leaving the apartment for. But otherwise... not so much, I'm thinking.

And, of course, I am stuck here at my desk and cannot knit. Torture. If I think about knitting enough, eventually something will start knitting itself, right?

Posted by Kat at 02:10 PM | Comments (1)

December 13, 2005

Don't worry, I'll be panicking soon.

I feel like I'm crawling out from under a rock. I've been MIA for a few days. First, I survived three days with my family with no Internet access (a temporary problem in their neighborhood) or cell phone service (a permanent one). And no knitting, due mostly to a large dog who likes yarn. A lot. Sooo... aaah. Aren't you proud of me for not yelling at anyone or even crying? I know I am.

And then yesterday I got back home and had to finish my final project for my class this semester. It. Is. Done. I mean, I'm not totally satisfied, of course, but it is done enough and I have e-mailed it to my professor so I'm not allowed to think about it anymore. Right? I finished it this morning while making Death by Chocolate for a coworker's birthday. It was sort of a nice combination. I'll have to remember the "assemble elaborate dessert while typing madly" trick for next time.

So... it's done. I have no homework. I barely know what to do with myself. Other than go to work in a few minutes. (I took a half vacation day for the aforementioned baking/typing festival.) And clean my house. And, you know, think about the Christmas knitting I've been ignoring. I need to reread the "It" chapter of Yarn Harlot. But... later. When I get home from work. I'm going to try to focus on the "relief" for a few hours before "panicpanicpanic12daysleftPANICalready" sets in.

Posted by Kat at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

December 08, 2005

Indisputable Evidence

I've been making a good show of the "oh, there's plenty of time until Christmas" thing. But I can't do it anymore. Because look what has taken up residence in my living room?

Isn't it pretty?

Oh. What's that on the top, you ask? Well. I had no tree topper, and it was looking a little bare. Plus, it's COLD in my apartment. So what do you do when you have someone bareheaded and cold in your house? Think about it for a minute.

Yeah. I thought so. You knit it a hat. It's really only logical.

Posted by Kat at 08:15 PM | Comments (3)

December 02, 2005

The invisible divide

Isn't it weird when real life friends become online friends and vice versa? Yeah. I mean, I'm used to meeting people online and then meeting them in person. We all know how that goes. But what happens when an in person friend starts a blog?

Well, first you start finding about things in odd ways. Like you read that she's going to ask you something before she actually asks. I'm not, of course, suggesting that she shouldn't have written it... but perhaps it would have been easier to kill two birds with one stone and ask me directly in the blog.

And then this thing happened to me last night that I was going to blog about, but I looked over and Erica already had. You should read her post, because boy, is the holiday season at the bookstore fun. And to whet your appetite, my new favorite quote:

What a customer said to me last night:

"Hey, can I get, like, a library card for here? Is this a library? Nah, this ain't no fucking library."

I kid you not.

Posted by Kat at 03:30 PM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2005

Giving thanks

Things I am thankful for this year...

* My family. They may drive me crazy, but I love them and I know they love me and that means a lot.
* My roommate. Not to be overdramatic, but the past year would have been much harder without him.
* My "real life" friends. I seem to have more of them than I think. It's nice.
* Especially the friend I spent Thanksgiving with... she's actually an online friend who seems to be crossing into "real life" territory.
* Which brings me to online friends/bloggers/e-mail lists/etc. Quite thankful for you all as well. (And then of course there's Erica, who also manages to straddle the real/online barrier, to sometimes interesting results...)
* Knitting. It has also done its part in saving my sanity.
* Books/music/movies. In all the relationship drama, I'd sort of... forgotten. Not had the mental energy to read/watch "hard" stuff. And I'd felt like I shouldn't, for various convoluted reasons. But I'm loving getting back to it.
* My job at the bookstore, because I love it.
* My other job, because it provides financial security.
* My lovely apartment, even with the bizarre shower.
* And now we get to the hard-to-define part... it has been an incredibly hard few months, and I can't really say I'm thankful for getting my heart ripped into a million pieces, but I am thankful for how it has made me take stock and think about who I am and what I want and how everything in my life was wrong. Um, I seem to be failing with the "positive spin" concept here. Sorry. But... I guess I'm trying to say that, even though I'm still fairly miserable a lot of the time, at least I'm getting better at letting me be myself. And that deserves thanksgiving.

Posted by Kat at 12:14 AM | Comments (1)

November 17, 2005

Dear universe,

Just a few small requests:

1. The new coworker in the cube next to mine really does not need to talk to himself, randomly laugh vaguely maniacly, or sigh and/or moan at random times. Really.

2. It is getting toward the end of November. Will you get over this wishy-washy "Oh, maybe I'll rain or just fog up everything" thing and just snow already? Hint: This might be easier if you would also stop with the yo-yo temperatures.

3. I like working with the public. Really. I'm just not sure how many more times I can explain something as complex as, oh, alphabetical order or the fact that the bookstore has two floors or how, if you want a price changed, you do in fact have a "price issue" without attaching "you idiot" to the end of all of my sentences. Could we make everyone just a tad smarter?

4. You don't really want Christmas to be in fewer than 40 days. Really. How about an extra week or two? How do you expect me to get all this knitting done?

5. I'd also vaguely like to know how I ended up with two iPods in my desk, but hey, I'm not complaining.

6. Oh, yeah: Thanksgiving. Haven't I agonized over this enough already? Shouldn't it be over by now?


Posted by Kat at 04:59 PM | Comments (1)

November 07, 2005

Dear readers: Need advice.

So. Humor me for a minute and imagine a hypothetical scenario, okay?

You are a manager at one of a big chain of stores. Someone who works at the sister store up the street stops by to see your new paint job, and you end up talking for a while. (You've met her once before, briefly, at the other store.) Somehow the conversation turns to Christmas shopping and she mentions that she's planning to knit most of the gifts she gives this year. (Shut UP. I said this was hypothetical.) You jokingly describe a scarf you'd been wanting.

If said scarf were to actually appear sometime around Christmas, would this be a fun surprise or just creepy? (Erica? Would interstore mail be a possibility, a la the socks? We could start a trend...)

Yes, I know I'm skewing the sample a bit by asking a group primarily composed of knitters. But I asked a group of non-knitters (yes, I do know a few) and, while they concluded that no, it was not creepy, they also all said things like "So are you trying to hit on this guy?" and "Is he cute?" And no, that hadn't even occurred to me. But yes, I guess he is cute, although I wasn't really paying attention to that at the time. He did seem nice and smart and fun to talk to.

So, basically, the non-knitters said to go for it, but be aware that it could come across as flirtatious. I suppose my question for you, dear readers, is threefold.
1. Good idea or bad idea in general?
2. Are random acts of knitting inherently flirtatious?1
3. If it looks like a go... any suggestions on a reasonably priced yarn that comes close to the L.L. Bean color claret red?2

(Yes, I realize Erica, who also works at my store, will now undoubtedly proceed to tell me that she knows this guy and he's married or obnoxious or a psychopath or something. But psychopaths need scarves too, right?)

1 And after reading Juno's post today, I sort of also have to wonder whether that would necessarily have to be a bad thing.
2 It will probably show you a blue coat, but you can click the little "claret red" box to see the color bigger.

Posted by Kat at 01:33 PM | Comments (7)

October 21, 2005

And where was the graffiti, anyway?

Just to keep us updated:
Days until Thanksgiving: 34
Number of phone calls with parents about Thanksgiving in past two days: 4
Number of neurotic e-mails to roommate about Thanksgiving in said time period: about a dozen
Number of hysterical conversations with said roommate about said topic in said time period: It's kind of hard to say. Since we live together and work together, he has a kind of hard time getting away from me.

Conversational highlights:
Dad: "No, really. It's not like you're going to be missing anything fun."
Mom: "It's a holiday. Someone might as well have fun... Maybe I can tell them I'm on call?"
Roommate: "I had no idea Thanksgiving could be this complicated."
Me (e-mail): "One more thing and then I promise I will shut up about Thanksgiving until at least, you know, November."
(In my defense, I kept that promise for several hours until my mother called me at work to discuss - say it with me now here - Thanksgiving.)
After witnessing said phone call:
Roommate: "You know, I'm starting to be surprised you turned out as normally as you did."
Me: Hysterics. Sort of unquotable.
A bit later:
Me: "So now do you see how I'm not really being unreasonably obsessive about this? Just being prepared for the inevitable?"
Roommate: "It certainly does seem to be a learned behavior."
A bit later still:
Me: "I'm driving myself crazy. I must be driving you crazy."
Roommate: Did not exactly reply. Did watch a movie with me so I could, as I put it, just stop thinking for a while.
Yes, he's a very patient man. Yes, he will be getting a darned good knitted Christmas present. (No, let's not discuss my family's Christmas plans yet. Thanks.)

So, to help me Just Stop Thinking, we watched American Graffiti. Great soundtrack. Interesting seeing the actors (especially Dreyfuss and Ford) so young. Loved Harrison Ford singing "Some Enchanted Evening." But. WTF?

Problem A: The plot. Let's just say that I was not surprised when George Lucas said in the "making of" documentary that the original version was almost twice as long. I definitely felt as though a few of those deleted scenes would have been helpful for figuring out, you know, what the heck was going on.

Problem B: The message. Let's review what we learned:
1. How to get your boyfriend back: Don't sleep with him. Do get into a potentially deadly car crash with another man.
2. How to control a man: Threaten to accuse him of rape. Alternately, threaten to rape him.
3. How to control a woman: Threaten to rape her.
4. Women ruin everything. The boy with the girlfriend did not go away to college. The one without a girlfriend did.
5. Get in cars with strange men. Really, what could possibly go wrong?
6. How to be a good teacher: Chaperone a school dance. Smoke with one student and sleep with another.
7. How to find your soulmate: Hook up with your ex-girlfriend. Join a gang (okay, it was somewhat under duress). Get a message on the radio to "the blonde in the white T-bird," because there could only be one of those.
8. Or: when you respond to his radio message, make sure you don't tell him your name.

It also really bugged me that, at the end, there were little notes of what happened to the four primary male characters, but nothing about the women. Presumably they all got married and lived happily ever after. Or, you know, went insane from dealing with these men.

I also did not notice any graffiti in the movie. Huh?

Posted by Kat at 11:17 PM

October 20, 2005

Reality Check

So it looks like I'm not going home for Thanksgiving.

This in itself is not necessarily all that odd. Of the past four Thanksgivings, I have spent two away from my family, with my ex-boyfriend and his parents. That, in fact, is part of the issue. This Thanksgiving, I will not be with the person with whom I spent the past four Thanksgivings. I know, I know, Thanksgiving is about family... but still. This year will seem strange, regardless of what I do.

The reasons I'm not going, though, are more practical.

Here's how I think Thanksgiving should go:
Everyone should be relaxed and getting along. There should be snow flurries. I should be cooking yummy things with my mother. We should all be watching the Macy's parade. Dinner itself should all come off flawlessly and conversation should manage to be interesting while avoiding any dangerous ground. The rest of the weekend should be time to relax and have a bit of family bonding.

Here's how this Thanksgiving would actually go:
Wednesday: Work all day, go to Boston for class. Leave class at nine and head to Connecticut, arriving perhaps around 12:30 am if I'm extremely lucky. Try not to fall asleep driving. Try not to go crazy because of the inevitable traffic.
Thursday: Get up to watch parade. Argue with brother, who will think the parade is stupid, about use of the TV. Try to help my mom with whatever we need to cook to bring to my aunt's house. Head to aunt's house for fun family excitement! Try to figure out who's mad at whom. Get interrogated about my ex, school, my job, etc. Listen to comments about my, and everyone else's, weight and appearance. Be the good little peacemaker and try to keep everything running smoothly. When we all sit down and go around the table listing things we're grateful for this year, try to figure out how to appropriately phrase "I got dumped," "I hate my job," and "I am so beyond stressed right now. Why am I here?" Try to make conversation with my cousins. Try not to think about the in-jokes and whispered comments my ex and I would have been making.
Friday: Mom goes to work. I drive back, panicking about finishing my final project for class, due the next week and trying to deal with more inevitable traffic. Try not to think about last year, when my ex and I had a lovely (really) time at the day after Thanksgiving sales.
Go to work at the store either Friday or, at the latest, Saturday morning. Wish I had time to sleep or, you know, work on my final project. Try not to think about last year.
Now doesn't that all sound like fun?

Nevertheless, I had planned to go, mostly because I was worried about my parents' reaction if I didn't. And I was worried about my parents getting flack from the rest of the family if I didn't show. But then I talked to my parents, and they both seem to think that doing all that driving for so little time home, when I have all this other stuff I need to be doing, is, well, insane. So. Everyone seems agreed. No need for me to go home for Thanksgiving.

Now, of course, the question is what to do instead. There are a few possibilities. Plan A involves going with my roommate to his parents' house. Plan B, which is perhaps more likely, involves spending the day in my favorite pajamas, knitting and watching the parade and Christmas movies, and then having some sort of celebration with my roommate later in the weekend. Really, either sounds okay. I think. Of course, I'm not sure how I'll feel when the day arrives, but I'm trying not to worry about it too much. I'm sure some variation of sad (re: loneliness) and/or guilt-stricken (re: filial duty) will be in there somewhere... might as well let it be a surprise so I have something to look forward to.

Aren't holidays fun?

Posted by Kat at 11:02 PM

October 09, 2005

Crazy idea

Plans are in the works (as of about two minutes ago, honestly) for Kat's First Annual Pre-Holiday Knitting Slumber Party. The idea is that we all (er, most of us) go crazy with the holiday knitting, so why not make a party out of it? If you're going to be pulling knitting all-nighters, wouldn't it be better with friends? The basic idea is to take just a quick break from family and holiday craziness in early to mid-December and have a night of knitting, talking, watching movies, and eating junk food (or healthy food if you prefer).

If you're in the area (southern NH, but there's no reason you couldn't drive here from MA or even the greater New England area), would you be interested? (I can't guarantee a completely open invitation because my apartment isn't huge, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.) If you're not in the area, do you have any suggestions for such a party? And would you be interested in some sort of virtual component (a chat, or all picking a night and blogging about it, or something)? I'm still at the brainstorming stage here, so let me know any thoughts/ideas.

Posted by Kat at 11:18 PM | Comments (3)

March 29, 2005

Random Tuesday morning thoughts

It is raining. Which is good, because it means it is not snowing. And I love the sound of rain on our skylight here at work. But I do not love walking or driving in it, and I have to do both today.

I need more candles. I have decided that the great big jars are really not that good, because I get tired of the scents but feel I have to use them up before I can buy more. Right now I have way too many vanilla/buttercream/etc. type scents and not enough springy things.

I did get a hydrangea-scented candle for Easter, but it is in my SO's car along with all of my other Easter presents and candy. As a result, I have not had any Easter candy since Easter. And that just feels wrong.

School is not so much fun this semester. But four weeks from tomorrow, everything will be handed in, and I will have time to breathe again. Just in time to move.

I am greatly looking forward to decorating my new apartment, but I really wish the actual moving part could just happen in my sleep or something. At least I will have lots of time so it will not be so stressful. Theoretically.

I love packages. I am expecting one from Amazon and one from Adagio Teas. In preparation for my exciting new tea, I got this puppy creamer, as well as an infuser ball and a pretty scoop to measure out the tea. I got all these at Kitchenworks in Litchfield, CT, which I think is my new favorite store. Fun.

Posted by Kat at 09:01 AM

December 31, 2004

Hello out there!

This is really just a test post, but while I'm at it I might as well say Happy New Year's Eve to anyone who happens by! Watch this space--I have some exciting stuff planned for the new year.

Posted by Kat at 03:43 PM

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