stitchwhich: (Willowcote)
We rose early enough to attend the first show of "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies" in the normal manner, none of that 3-D IMAX stuff for this one, thankyewverymuch. Luckily for us our Youngest was free from working so we all went together. It was 'okay'. I'd give it 3 stars on a scale of 1-5, but probably only because I liked one or two of the actors in their characterizations.

Then we walked across the central courtyard to enter the Lynnhaven Mall to attempt lunch. Disastrous! Post-Christmas crowds reminded me of an old Star Trek scene about an overcrowded planet looking for the means of death... it was elbow-to-elbow in there. We retreated back to the theater to enjoy one-person-per-seat comfort while watching "Big Hero 6", where my husband stunned me by eating a second full bucket of popcorn. The movie was nicely amusing. Nothing I'd re-watch, I think, but I'm glad to have seen it.

After that all we could think of was acquiring food. Or rather, the two non-popcorn-eating moviegoers were hungry. The Village Inn, which we hadn't visited in months, was sparsely attended and featuring a sale on pumpkin pies (a whole pie for the price of one normal slice). Brunch, or perhaps "lunner", was consumed and each household retreated to our lairs with a new pie in hand, with many a delighted "because, pie!" exclamation throughout the last hour of our outing.

It was a nice, unhurried day. Spending eight hours of it with our child made it even more relaxing. Although I am far past my limit in conversations about certain Sci-Fi channel TV shows, RPGs, and video games. But we did have other conversations which were invigorating and of course there were a few moments of complete accord in viewing conventions of polite society, politics, and poor US news sources. And the fact that we all were unable to come up with a replacement word for referring to our sons now that they are long past adulthood. "The boys" doesn't actually sound right when talking about two men in their 30s, yet "the men" certainly isn't going to do. "Our sons" does work, but also sounds stilted. Our Youngest tells me that I have the right to continue calling him and his brother "the boys" "because you are our mom, mom - geez!" but he was as engaged as I was in attempting to find an new designator for use.

In other news, thanks to a vigorous windstorm last weekend, our willow tree has caught a cold and sneezed all over our lawn, our neighbor's lawn, our roof, and both streets on our corner.
stitchwhich: (yule reindeer)
Bossman gave me a new mouse, mousepad, and a cool "ergobeans" wrist support. My goodness, the comfort. And that darned mouse makes the arrow fly across the screen. I am currently using the touchpad to navigate with in order to make this entry bcause I'll have to play some solitaire games using the new mouse so I can grow accustomed to it. It has thumb-buttons, too, which I shall have to go online to read about and decide if I want to download their program and activate them. I've been using a tiny 'travel' mouse for the last two years and this feels like heaven.

New socks (they're very cute. And one pair is knee-length merino, which I'm going to bless during our winter events) and new slippers... and a big gift certificate for Barnes & Noble to make my Nook explode. Followed by two more certificates from Youngest Son and Opi. Oh, oh, oh - my fiction world is going to be incredibly full.

I am feeling very, very rich right now.

Our pot roast dinner came out perfectly - no knife was needed to cut the meat. We ate until the bursting point, pretty much, then sat around the table packaging everything up into "keep" and "send with them" sets. Our youngest and his room-mate went home with a goodly haul of food. Even though one tried to steal the largest pot roast and leave the second one's leftovers for us. Of course, he was grinning as he oh-so-carefully tried to slide it into the empty cake container he was taking home. He didn't have a chance in heck - Bossman was arguing with me about sending any roast anywhere but into our fridge! So I guess I can count that meal a success.

Next year, I'm going to suggest "breakfast for Christmas". Outside of purchasing the supplies, all I'd have to do is make toast. Bossman is in charge of family breakfasts.
stitchwhich: (yule reindeer)
It is cold & windy here and has been for the last few days. It appears it will continue, too, for the next few, so our Christmas will be dreary on the outside.

I'm cooking the weirdest Christmas dinner I've ever cooked in my life. Yankee Pot Roast. I asked the guys (there will be three guys and myself at the table) what they were interested in having and this was the surprising consensus. Must be because two of them are bachelors and of the two, only one of them cooks - if you can define 'cooking as "messing around with various pre-mixed spice packages to add to either rice or beans". I know for a fact that our youngest son hasn't had pot roast since he left our house years ago. But still - it is very weird for me. Everything else will be our normal fare; saving Savoury Toasted Cheese, which I deliberately left off of the menu for once. We'll see how that plays out.

I've been incredibly slothful for the last couple of months. I have barely even looked at anything heraldic. Last night I finally went through the unread messages in the email list, the earliest of which dated to the second week in October. That's pretty sad. After laying down my office that same week I think my heraldry-brain just shut down. I'm starting to regain my enthusiasm for it now, off and on, with the 'on' growing longer in time daily. Perhaps there was more stress involved in it than I had realized. Instead I've been sewing, sleeping (yay head-cold & sinus/ear infection!), reading novels, and taking apart Lego buildings that have been waiting for almost a year to be disassembled. Oh, and I built "Santa's Workshop", the newest of the Lego Winter Village sets. But mostly I've been sleeping and playing solitaire on the computer.

I had to have a ring cut off of my finger last week. It was my dedication ring, purchased 25 years ago to commemorate my dedication as a Wiccan priestess. I've not removed it since that night, saving surgical necessities. Right now it is sitting on my altar looking sadly misshapen. I don't know if I shall ever be able to wear it again as the reason I had to have it removed was because of developing arthritis. The knuckle just above where I'd worn it is still swollen and the doctor tells me that while the arthritis isn't very bad, there will likely always be swelling at that spot, especially if I should wear a ring on that finger. He had the same sort of experience himself, he said, and now wears his wedding ring on a chain around his neck. The X-ray didn't show any signs of damage to the bones so my arthritis is slight. I'll just have to be a little more aware about how I use that hand.

Growing old isn't for sissies.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I want to post about what is going on with me, or rather 'the most immediate thing that is going on in my world', but it is actually too private to be throwing out here into the aether. Suffice it to say that I am now enrolled in a weekly support group, to help me sort out issues which will decide the direction of my future life.

Yeah, vaguebooking, I know. I'm sorry. One of the things I brought home with me tonight was a sharp awareness that I have absolutely no one to talk to about what I am going through. Possibly I could talk with one of our sons but it seems very wrong to ask one's child to be one's comforter.

Speaking of 'one's child' - our Eldest and his sweetie flew out from Las Vegas a week before Thanksgiving. We had some family laughter around the table (first stop - all the eateries that have been missed) and then drove up to the DC area to attend an event (Holiday Faire, where I 'merchanted') and visit with a few young people who'd grown up in the SCA with our children. That was fun but rushed - except for Sunday afternoon, which Bossman and I spent in a Fairfax Barnes and Noble while the 'kids' went sight-seeing. We'd stayed in a hotel near the event site but the younger set overnighted in the townhouse now owned by one of them. So we were 45 minutes away and in a poor position to try to time it to join them for the sightseeing. The elderly (sic) slept in, had a leisurely brunch, and then settled in at B&N. Which was having a kid's event and was absolutely packed. So packed, in fact, that I ended up sitting in our truck for the last hour, napping and reading. It was so much more peaceful there!

The rest of the week was spent shopping, helping our Vegasites gather supplies for her family's Christmas celebration. There is no "5 & Below" in Las Vegas, with its bargain prices for handy gifts. We visited three different ones here, taking in all the variety to ensure that they had all their list provided for. As it was, they ended up having to pay shipping costs for a large package via UPS, and for extra luggage when they left - and yet they were gleeful about the amount of money they'd saved. Or more truthfully, gleeful that the same amount they'd set aside paid for things of better quality than they'd hoped for, even after the additional shipping fees.

And I taught her how to sew. They flew out on her birthday, with her knowing that our Eldest was going to give her a sewing machine when they got home. He wisely gave her an "IOU" so she could choose which model she wanted. Me, I gave her "The Idiot's Guide to Sewing".

Oh - and the PET scan my husband had has been interpreted by the radiologist. We haven't seen the oncologist to hear it officially, but the scan showed no evidence of surviving cancer cells. He still has a huge mass of scar tissue where the tumor once was, which will most likely not be re-absorbed into his body, and the four ribs are going to stay divided into parts, which blows for ease of movement along his left side, but still - the cancer is dead.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Very few people will get why this is cool, but anyway - our eldest's Giftmas present to his dad was this picture and an autographed $2 bill from Gallegher.005
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
During Family Time we discovered that using either "Winter chai" tea or "Cinnamon tea" greatly enhances the flavor of the not-so-good instant chai in my cupboard. I had it in stock thanks to an autumnal camping season (because "hot and not coffee" is sometimes more important than "my god, it isn't 'Oregon Chai' - ugh!".) I recognize that chai = tea but I'm going with the American-ignorant names used on the products. Anyway, brewing the spiced teas and then using the instant mix for creaming & sugar worked well and was wonderfully welcome during our snowed-in period.I, on the other hand, drank hot cider. :)

During that period, we (the younger set and I) made Lego buildings. Yes, yes we did. After we tore down all of my "Winter Village" sets, which I neglected to photograph while they were up. Oops. We were crazy, I think, but we actually managed to build all of the 'city' sets that I owned, with the added bonus of the arrival of the newest one coming just after the snow began to melt. Then we made a 'town', even going so far as to buy fabric for a base and a backdrop. Photos were taken and my Eldest actually made a video-tour of the 'city block' that we constructed. I have no idea how he's going to get that long video from his phone to a computer, but it looks great. As a tease, here is the single (blurry) photo I took of our set-up while we were still tweaking it. I stopped trying to photograph anything once Zack & Mylissa got their phones out and went camera-crazy. They've promised to post the results and I'll share their better pictures when I get them. (They'd better hurry, too, because I am itching to see those photos!)

IMG_20140203_205842-1
stitchwhich: (yule reindeer)
Suddenly we're hosting a gathering on Christmas day. "Suddenly" as in being told by, not my husband, but a group message via phone from someone else who'd been in the room, "Oh, by the way, after you went to bed (tummy problems1), the rest of us decided that we're going to go see The Hobbit at noon on Christmas, then head back over here to hang out, play games, and such." Since I'd already invited one couple of military Holiday-Orphans to the house, we went from a quiet TV watching/gently chatting group of four to a house of seven people looking for entertainment... and dinner will be expected. Holiday dinner. I told them all to bring one item "that you would eat with Savoury Toasted Cheese" and one desserty-thing. I am hoping that the males will interpret "what you eat with STC" as meat, while the females will think of either veggies or breads/rolls, and we'll have a somewhat easy dinner which can be eaten catch-as-catch-can, as I know that once they're in the house gaming will commence and continue until the wee hours. They're all bringing their own preferred beverages. For that, I am looking forward to our Coast Guard couple since she's a tea drinker (first person I've known besides me who'd squeal about getting a small electric water pot) and she's bringing her own. I have various types here that she is interested in trying "even though they are in a bag rather than loose", so I suspect that I'll be drinking tea most of the day rather than diet sodas so she can have a sip of each type I brew for myself. Which is a good thing. I have been contemplating cutting sodas out of my life but as Diet Pepsi has been a staple for over 20 years, it is not going to be an easy thing to do should I truly decide to go for it.

Anyway. We have one picky male who never eats veggies of any kind, one overweight high-blood pressure male who says he is being careful about his diet but who shows up to our house with chips & packaged processed foods, and one girl who has made the ugly twisted-face-of-rejection after trying nearly everything I've offered or suggested with the exception of three dishes... Luckily, STC is one of those. Thus that choice2. I have no idea what our Coasty friends are going to think of this thrown-together plan. I am thanking my stars that there are only two people in my acquaintance who are lukewarm about Digby's cheese dish and neither of them will be here.3

So tomorrow will be dedicated to cleaning the house and decorating. Right now all we have up for the holidays are the cards on the wall and the wonderful wreath of Douglas Fir that Marion sent to me for my birthday. It smells glorious. Everything else is still in the boxes. Our children will be here in the middle of January and that is when we'd planned on celebrating Giftmas but our guests are all Christian and stuck here rather than able to go home, so the least we can do it make it festive to look at and 'homely'. To that end, I will be putting together my Lego Winter Village, which will be sitting on the mantle since it has grown too large for the top of a bookshelf.

And completely off of the subject... I hate cussing. I do it too much. But there isn't a person in my social sphere who'd stop me if I did it in public after making sure that everyone knew I was trying to stop. I've got too much of the 'mother/teacher face' or something. Got any suggestions about how I can self-edit? Certainly, when I am around people older than me, or extremely young, or even in settings such as schools, churches, hospitals, I manage to never curse. In fact, I don't when I am by myself and do something stupid or painful. But get me with people who are laughing and fooling around, or have high energy while working together, and my mouth fouls up. I hate it. I got trained into the behaviour by my shipmates in the Navy and with everyone around me also cussing (and it so common on some TV shows or in the movies), there's been no noticeable lack of it in my everyday world. But *I* don't like hearing myself do it. So how can I train myself to stop? The difficulty seems to be that it happens during social interplay, when people are talking a mile a minute, so it is out before I can even think. And the setting is such that the last thing I am being mindful of is my speech patterns. The only thing I can think of is to try the old rubber band on the wrist trick but surely there is something better than that which might work!

1 I have been exhausted for the last week, and stressed with mild tummy distress. Exhausted - I slept about 44 hours out of 48 on Thursday/Friday. Saturday was a carolling party and a trip to the Commissary, which wiped me out again, and yesterday was our normal card-playing day - with friends we hadn't played with in months! Yay! - and I ended up having to take anti-nausea medicine and then lay down on the bed within dashing distance of the bathroom (overshare. Sorry) before they left. I'm not happy about this... these last four month cannot pass fast enough, I tell you. The cumulative effects of this therapy suck!

2... and we bought a good ham but I'm not telling anyone that we did until I see their offerings. It's already baked so all I'll have to do is re-heat it once we get back to the house while the STC is being prepared. :)

3 I'm going to try it with a blend of brie and cambert cheeses, just to see how different it will come out. Digby doesn't specify so even though it's been drummed into Atlantian's heads that it must be Brie, any mild and soft "farmer's cheese" will do so I thought it'd be fun to experiment. Besides, I'd only bought 8oz of Brie and now need more - which isn't available at our local stores, it being (basically) Christmas Eve..
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
The week has been... busy and yet not. Being stuck with a double ear/sinus infection means that there are brief periods of energy and intelligence which are marked by a flurry of activity as I try to get as much done as possible before the 'bleh' strikes again. Once the lassitude strikes there are long hours of either playing silly (and very easy) card games on the computer or else muffled snoring coming from the region of my pillow. Those are the l-o-n-g hours of the day. And night.

A trip to an ENT confirmed profound (temporary) hearing loss. The chart shows a lack of movement pretty much in either eardrum so all I perceive are high squeaky sounds. Some of which are painful. Poor Bossman got a dose of "stop that, stop that NOW" when he went through an evening of absentmindedly whistling while we were playing cards. I have new medicines and it was confirmed that everything I was already doing was what he would be suggesting anyway. Next comes tubes in the ears if they don't clear within four weeks.

Thanksgiving dinner was cooked and served later than our previous norm. I think the timing threw me off - the turkey was not as moist as it normally would be and it was not done, either, at the time we were sitting down. Back into the oven it went and we ate all the side dishes. Which filled us up so much that the turkey became instant sandwich fixings instead. We had pumpkin roll for a late dessert. I couldn't hear the timer that was at my elbow that morning and so the pumpkin pie was burnt to a puffy-topped cinder. It'd been in the oven 30 minutes longer than it should have been, which made me cry like a weakling.

I am still craving a pumpkin pie.

We followed up dinner with card playing. Then our youngest and his roommate left for their place and Bossman and I settled in front of the TV, revelling in the silence. The roomie is one of those people who talks non-stop, mostly stream-of-conscious stuff, with frequently mid-conversation-style comments from a discussion he must be having in his own head. It becomes somewhat stressful after a couple of hours of attempting to interpret what he is referring to or even trying to describe. I'm sure he believes his rhetoric is witty and "deep" but I'd describe it as convoluted and murky.

Friday-my-Birthday (dubbed "Black Birthday" by a friend on Facebook) dawn cold and grey. Very cold. Breakfast was leftover fruit salad. Yum. I make it only twice a year so we go nuts with it while it is available. Salads made with cottage cheese, whipped cream, and tropical fruit ingredients tend to have short shelf lives. The afternoon featured another round of cards - three different games - with a new set of players and later the roomie again. His chatter was in direct competition with Protégée Two's, who had worked nearly 24 hours of 48 at Best Buy and was bursting with stories about the people she dealt with. The evening ended around 2:30am, one of the longest we've had in quite a while. Afterwards I stayed up, afraid I'd not hear my alarm clock, and made the 6:00 online "door buster" sale of a shirt Bossman had been lusting over... $15 for something normally $49. I like that. :)

We were suffering cabin fever by the time we woke up today as it'd been three days without leaving the house so we carefully ventured to Barnes and Noble. It wasn't too bad at all. Best of all, Bossman let it be known how he'd been really tempted, nay, sorely tempted, by the Nook HD, "especially as it is on sale right now" so while a chance meeting with Rabah (Ross Wilkins) and his wife distracted him (they were in on my little plan since I bumped into them first) I was able to slide over to the cashier and buy that Nook for him. And now my Giftmas Shopping for Da Man is complete. It is safe to write about this in here - he never reads my journal.

We've been home a few hours. I NEED to get started on finishing my heraldic work for the month but oh is my mind sluggish. The will is laggard too. Perhaps a cup of strong tea sweetened with a tablespoon of sugar will generate some energy. Once I get rolling it should be easy to keep the momentum. But oh is it hard to get myself going. Tomorrow's deadline looms high.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
January has been lovely - and stressful - but mostly lovely. Our local 12thnight (an interbaronial one shared with our once-twin barony) was more quiet than normal, which I appreciated, and the feast was absolutely fantastic. Fantastic not only for the variety of textures and flavours, but also in the old-fashioned SCA tradition of diners groaning towards the end of the third course because we were all full yet just couldn't not taste the latest dish. Pacing ourselves would have been beneficial. Perhaps not begging the server for a second round of the freshly baked bread and the savoury toasted cheese may have been more beneficial. None of us at the table had regrets, however.

My sons (plus one live-in love) took a week off and spent it with us. That was so grand! Because we had scheduled Giftmas during the week, the first couple of days were not as relaxing as we would have liked as we spent them scurrying around buying stocking stuffers and last-minute gifts. Poor Bossman was our exception. He spent the time resting after his herculean efforts to finish one of the bathrooms before the out-of-towners arrived. That didn't happen but we did have walls up between the two rooms again (YAY!) and most importantly, both toilets were installed. What a relief to a hostess! Two toities between five people (two of which are of the 'take a book and not be seen again for thirty minutes' variety).

Shawn and I, after Bossman was abed, introduced his older brother Zack (I just couldn't keep up the habit of typing "the youngest" and "the eldest") and Zack's sweetie to the series "Suits". Wow, can those kids watch TV. We gathered around my PC with its big screen and started with episode one and all of them sat through four or five episodes a night. I don't think I could have done that for more than one night. It highlighted for me, again, the difference between me and my children's generation. Or perhaps between me and the rest of America (who knows?). I am just not that visually oriented. No, wait. I'm not sure how to put that. I certainly love reading! But sitting still and watching shows for hours on end isn't something I can do. I have to get up and do something in between, and even then could only maintain that level of inertia for one round. Night after night? No way. Especially with my hands empty.

All of us travelled south to Atlantia's Kingdom Twelfthnight. The site was stunning in its elegance compared to any other site I've seen used and the large prints of Holbein's paintings on all of the walls added further to the feeling of being in a palace or large estate for the holiday. I don't know if these will be accessable to everyone, but Mistress Tannis took a nice variety of pictures and posted them in a Facebook album here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.4678161765400.170801.1634454451&type=3 . As you can see, it was quite lovely. I was surprised by the number of people who actually came in late-period garb. One lady I spoke to said she was wearing a gown (mid-Tudor) that she'd purchased at Pennsic five years ago and had never worn. Until she said that she "usually wore Viking", I didn't recognise her!

We had our portraits taken by Baron Bardulf in the morning. Zack's sweetie wore a gown we borrowed from Baroness Anne, a local lady better known as "The Cheesecake Lady" by most of the kingdom and a healthy few at Pennsic. It was a gown she'd made for herself years ago and fit Mylissa surisingly well. The petticote I made for her at the last minute was not sufficient but she still looked wonderful. I've stuck a picture of her in it at the bottom of this entry. Right now it is the only picture I have available as my phone is being resistant to transferring pictures anywhere... it seems to only work if I post them to Facebook, which would probably tick off my friends by the number of them in one gulp. I can't wait to see the pictures Bardulf took.

The feast was disappointing, but only because of the timing of serving of dishes. Each dish was pretty good but came out so slowly and so far apart that the effect the cook (probably) wanted was completely lost. It was unfortunate for me that the week before we'd had such a kicking one - it made this other suffer in contrast. I felt for the Head Cook. She had challenges I would never want to take on, starting with the kitchen being on a totally different floor than the feast hall. Not to mention the sheer number of diners she had to serve. Still, individual dishes were tasty and ultimately filling, and the feast was better in review than in experience, if that makes sense. (Bera and I were sitting side by side at the table and when we started going over the dishes, mentally putting them together with what would have been their sides, it added up to a very nice array. Well planned and thought out, if not hosed by the serving timing.) Zack's sweetie loved it, though, and was thoroughly impressed by the whole day. She'd never experienced the SCA save at Pennsic, camping with Pandora's Box and attending the Middle Eastern dance classes (she is a ME dancer by profession), so this was a real eye-opener for her. I'm afraid that any subsequent events may disappoint her when compared to how lavish this one was.

I came down with a cold while the kids were here. It slowed me down over the event weekend but thankfully stayed minimal until after the visit was over. Then it hit with a vengence. Now I'm on the upswing from it (so long as I continue to rest - yeah, I beat you to that comment!) but poor Bossman has contracted it and is in the first stages of discomfort. I'm glad I stocked up on chicken soup. We're all out of gumbo - I ate all that was left after the kids were gone, counting on the chicken and the spices to help me recover! It worked, too!

Mylissa at Atlantian 12thNight 2013
stitchwhich: (yule reindeer)
Everyone has seasonal decorations that carry a story. Our families know them - or do they? Do your friends? Share...

Here's one of mine )
stitchwhich: (antler sparklies)
Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] windsingerbard, I had to save this for later finding in my 'tags' section.
stitchwhich: (antler sparklies)


Or this one (I guess it depends upon your mood)



stitchwhich: (VikingSnowman)
Last night I was up for about 3 hours, suffering from indigestion, hearing my Grandmother's voice the whole time... "Well, what did you expect?" and feeling like a little kid again. Oh my. Or maybe feeling like I was re-visiting pregnancy, because my snacking food choices were so bazarre and so varied that when Arn (who had to get up for more pain medicine) asked me what I'd eaten, he couldn't handle even hearing the food selection... I don't know what imp of perversity was in me that I tried all those things! (For the curious: Fresca Raspberry Citrus and (later) Diet Pepsi, along with Ruffles and French Onion Dip, then trail mix w/almonds, macadamia nuts,cashews,pinapple, papaya, raisins and cherries, followed by (are you ready?) chocolate bridge mix. And then, when my tummy was truly at war, I thought, the Gods alone know how, that eating some *chocolate pudding* would make it feel better! Sanity, thy name is NOT 'terri'!) Oddly, a mix like that was pretty normal when I was pregnant except that it's missing the big glass of milk and some olives & pickles. How come it didn't make me sick then?

Oh well. At least I didn't drink any beer or wine or something...


Giftmas )
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