what I'm thinking and doing

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retrospective: old journal

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Les Semaines



Yes, It's Really Christmas

With my parents here and all I couldn't write this entry or even make notes for it. I didn't have access to my study and my computer, and my old laptop was crammed full with System X and had no other room for useful programs like BBEdit, while my new laptop only arrived on Monday, and Jim hid it away until Christmas. With the house full of people and dogs (and suddenly cats--how do our two cats occasionally seem like four or more?) I didn't even think about my journal more than for a second at a time. And now, weeks later, it's hard to reconstruct what we did and make any sense.

I know we went to Top Banana (really, that's the name of it--it's a fruit stand for most of the year) and got a little Scotch pine tree. We put it on top of my old monitor box so it wouldn't look like such a dwarf, then we decorated it. We put up other decorations around the house, including the Santa that always gets stuck in jail in the little viewing port in our door, and the Santa strung so that when you pull the string his arms and legs jingle up and down was hung on top of our (no it has never worked) barometer. The Mrs. Claus panel made by my grandmother was hung in the living room by the vestibule where she always goes, and we draped the mesh lights on the door from the living room into the hall then hung decorations from that as we have the last few years. The halls were decked, indeed.

We watched a DVD a night, pretty much. We went grocery shopping. The dogs were walked (I don't think I went even once this year). Many, many meals were cooked and eaten, far too much rich baking was eaten, and I felt like I was doing dishes all day. Presents were wrapped and placed in the vicinity of the tree.

Speaking again of the tree, it was the best present we could have gotten Sophia. She loved having the monitor box there because it gave her a terrific perch to look out the dining room windows while the tree camoflagued her from the rest of the house and the tree even came dripping with toys for her to knock off and play with and, best of all, a water supply right there--all she had to go was tear off the tin foil annoyingly put there to keep her out. Feline heaven!

Zach was happy because there was almost always someone sitting down whose lap he could climb on.

The dogs, well, the dogs suffered their exile with good grace. One day we brought them in one at a time to sit on Mom's lap in the living room. Zach ignored all this, but Sophia just stared and stared from only a few feet away, traying, I think, to intimidate them into going back where they ought to be.

Christmas day itself we slept in until about 9:00 and had our family morning, then shortly after noon I went to the airport and picked up Christina, who was a little weary with a bad cold after her travels to Syria. She had a wonderful time there, though, and we had family Christmas part 2 as she unpacked. I roasted a turkey (this year I made certain there was room in the frig for it--no chance that I'd let happen what happened last year again, even though it was colder this year). It was a really lovely Christmas.

The days with Mom and Dad and the two dogs and Christina in the house were packed. I can't remember what all we did, but we ate a lot and watched movies and slept. Christina was jetlagged and kept going to sleep immediately after dinner and waking at two and three in the morning. To entertain herself, she built the zillion Lego kits she'd had sent to us: Harry Potter and Orient Express. Amusing and fun!

Mom and Dad and the dogs left on Saturday. It was sad, but not as sad as when they leave and there's no one left but Jim and me and the cats.


last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing



More holiday music everywhere we went! Ugh! Though I did really enjoy listening to Amahl and the Night Visitors while we decked the halls.


last week's listening § next week's listening



Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw is a singular work--a Victorian- (or is it Regency-) style novel about dragons and their social customs. It begins with the death of a patriarch, who has left the bulk of his wealth--minus token amounts--to his youngest children. However, his wealthy, son-in-law, privileged and expecting the best, assumes that he gets a greater share of his father-in-law's dead body, and eating each other is how dragons grow in power. This results in family strife, as does the whole process of acquiring wealth. Dragons like to sleep on gold and own estates. Nasty dragons eat their servants while more judicious dragons only cull the weak. An interesting, unique, and clever, enjoyable read.

Sarah A. Hoyt's Any Man So Daring is the third of her books about Shakespeare's adventures with magic and the world of faerie. Here his son Hamnet gets kidnapped by a band of faeries plotting against the king of faeries, and Shakespeare forces his way after to rescue him. There he lands in the crux of magic, where the king is also to rescue Hamnet, and where there is young Miranda who has been deceived by Proteus, one of the plotters, the troll Caliban, and a group of nasty centaurs nominally helping Proteus but really with their own agenda. This series just hasn't worked for me, because somehow the imagination just has too many tethers here.


last week's reading § next week's reading



Just before their December 31 deadline, I submitted a story to an anthology. I also sent out a batch of poems to a poetry anthology. A good way to end the year. Go, Neile!


last week's writing § next week's writing


Retrospective: old journal

The Retrospective Journal is currently on hiatus while I catch up.

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