Malkin Grey
27 December 2014 @ 11:04 am
What with Christmas coming on a Thursday, and Boxing Day coming on a Friday . . . today is a Saturday that keeps feeling like Monday.

(I checked with Twin B, and he feels the same way. So it's not just me.)
Malkin Grey
26 December 2014 @ 02:49 pm
As in, "What's for dinner?"

Weather-wise, after having snow on the ground since November, we had a thaw for Christmas, just in time to mess up the snowmobile trails at the start of what should be their most lucrative season. So today everything is dim and grey and clammy.

But we have lights on the tree, and plenty of pie.
Current Mood: okayokay
Malkin Grey
25 December 2014 @ 11:09 am
Everybody has something without which the Holiday of Their Choice is not Their Holiday.

For me, at Christmas, it's the tree.

For some people, the tree is traditional, but not their holiday sine qua non. If you're a tree person, discovering that one's significant other is not of your tribe can be a startling discovery . . . which is why the very first Christmas tree Himself and I ever shared was a drawing of a Christmas tree, taped to the wall. ("It's Christmas Eve, and we still don't have a tree! What are we going to do?" "Um . . . go to midnight mass and open our presents?" "Not without a tree, dammit!" Pause. Scribble scribble scribble. Tape tape. "Tree?" "Yes. By definition. Tree. Merry Christmas!") When we were in Panamá with the Navy, and Christmas trees were imported and cost the world, we made trees out of crepe paper streamers, again, taped to the wall. ("Tree?" "Tree!")

Now we live in the land where the Christmas trees grow. Literally . . . if you pay the Forest Service what at least used to be a $5 fee, you can go anywhere in the local National Forest that's 100 yards or more from the road and cut your own tree, if you're so inclined. Himself and the kids did that one year. ("See? Tree!") Starting in November, trucks laden with trees from the local Christmas tree farms roll south, carrying trees to the big cities, where they sell for prices that make North Country minds boggle.

We bought our tree yesterday from the IGA grocery store, and the offspring put it up and decorated it. ("Wheee! Tree!")

Merry Christmas to anybody reading this who celebrates it, and to everybody -- all the seasonal happiness you want (or that you can stand, as the case may be.)
Malkin Grey
24 December 2014 @ 08:04 pm
And it's raining. But it's supposed to be snowing again by tomorrow night, so there is that.

One of the good things about having grown-up kids . . . I no longer feel under the moral obligation to Make Christmas Happen No Matter What. If the offspring want to re-create the ideal Christmas of their school-age years, they can make it happen their own selves; for myself, so long as I have a tree I can take Christmas as it comes.

Meanwhile, the Elder Son, Twin A, and Twin B are temporarily in residence. The Elder Son will be heading southward to Boston on the day after Christmas, because he's heavily involved in best-man duties for one of his old high school and Boy Scout buddies between then and the scheduled 2 January wedding date. Twin A will be accompanying him and spending the time hanging out also in Boston with her high school and college bestie, in order to save on travel fare back to Rutgers. Twin B will be staying here until shortly before the wedding proper, to which both twins are invited.

I can deal with having Twin B around for a week. Like his twin sister, he's restful and non-judgmental; if he has Bright Ideas about how his father and I could do things better, or at any rate differently, he keeps them to himself. And except for those very rare occasions when he really truly doesn't want to do a particular thing, he is sweet-natured and obliging about helping out when asked.
Malkin Grey
23 December 2014 @ 03:45 pm
'Tis the season. Ho ho ho.

Nevertheless, we managed to get a load of trash to the town dump (all you people who have curbside pickup don't know how fortunate you are!), and managed to acquire the necessities for Christmas dinner -- the crown roast of pork and the sausage for stuffing it, the white baking potatoes and the sweet potatoes, the broccoli crowns and the makings of the cheese sauce, and the ingredients for pumpkin and apple pies -- in case neither Himself nor the Elder Son-and-the-twins make it into town tomorrow before the IGA closes at 6:30.

If one or the other does make it into town in time, then (Wednesday being a payday) we can add more ruffles and flourishes to the dinner menu, but even if they don't, we're good to go.
Malkin Grey
20 December 2014 @ 09:41 am
...if you live in a cold climate and are stingy with your heating (as we have always been, first because we were heating with a wood furnace, and willingness to put up with lower interior temperatures directly correlates with unwillingness to move large heavy logs from woodpile to furnace several times a day for an entire winter; and second because when we finally got tired of heaving logs around we dropped back to the electric baseboard heat, which is like burning dollar bills to keep warm):

  • Footstools weren't just ornamental. They were to keep your feet off the cold floor, so that what warmth you could pull around yourself didn't leak out through the soles of your shoes.

  • Shawls and caps and fingerless gloves weren't just fashion statements. They kept the drafts off the back of your neck, and kept heat from leaking out through the palms of your hands and the top of your head.

  • Lapdogs weren't just frivolous pets. They were self-propelled organic personal space heaters for people who could afford the cost of feeding an otherwise unproductive household critter. (Cats and small terriers could also fulfill the "space heater" function, but escaped the "silly rich woman's toy" stigma by also catching household vermin.)

Current Mood: coldcold
Malkin Grey
Another grey day -- cold and clammy and overcast. The only up side to weather like this is that it isn't as cold as the clear-blue-sky days. But right now I think I'd trade this weather in for some sunshine, especially if I had someplace to be that was well-heated. Like my fantasy apartment in the World Without Shrimp, which I'm thinking about a lot these days.

(The fantasy apartment has excellent heating, and it's included in the rent.)

I continue to work on my writing/editing biz newsletter. It goes without saying that if anybody reading this wants to subscribe, they're certainly welcome to do so; there's a signup form here. Or I can add people manually if that doesn't work.
Current Mood: coldcold
Malkin Grey
16 December 2014 @ 05:44 pm
But now it's dark and damp and we've got a freezing rain warning up from 9 tonight until noon tomorrow.

Today was mostly spent in working on putting together a newsletter for my editing business -- all the cool kids are doing it, which given my historic relationship with cool probably means that it's set to become fiercely uncool sometime in the next 48 hours or so. But we do what we can. The fun part (for values of "fun" that don't include actual enjoyment) is going through all my files to pull together a starter list of names for the inaugural mailing. Which will come with an "unsubscribe" link, naturally, so that I can depress myself by watching the list thin out again.

The next step will be figuring out how to put a "subscribe to my newsletter" link on my WordPress blog. Such excitement.

This is all, of course, highly unnatural activity for me. Presented with my own horn, I am far more likely to look at it blankly and put it back into its case than to use it to play a merry and self-promotional tune.
Current Mood: embarrassedpointlessly and pre-emptively embarrassed
Malkin Grey
15 December 2014 @ 11:39 am
Again. Or still. I don't think this year has been as bad as the year the twins were in third grade, and it took Twin B's teacher three months before there was a day bright enough that he could take the kids out into the school parking lot and demonstrate the working of a sundial . . . but it's close.

I finally got online with the healthcare site. Waiting until this morning when nobody else in the house was online, and when (presumably) at least some of the horde of other last-minute applicants were off at their day jobs, did the trick. Filling out the forms did confirm my suspicions of one thing, at least -- this past year has been, objectively speaking, pretty damned thin.

That's the thing about the freelance life. There's never any guarantee that this year will be as plump as last year, or that next year will be as thin as this one. Either change is capable of upsetting one's carefully-balanced apple cart.

On the positive side: Last night's dinner experiment -- chicken enchiladas -- worked well. Turns out the steamer basket in the rice cooker is also good for steaming chicken tenders for shredding afterward; also, the recipe for scratch-made red enchilada sauce turned out to be both easy and effective. Normally, the highest-octane sauce available up here in the north country, where a goodly proportion of the population belongs to the Yankee "black pepper is an exotic spice" school of thought, is "medium." I (accidentally, I will admit) substituted cayenne pepper for about half of the chili powder called for in the recipe and got something in our own preferred household strength. Eight enchiladas for three people was just about right -- everybody had seconds, and there was one left over for Himself to take down to Groveton for lunch, and one left over for me to have for breakfast.
Current Mood: blahso-so
Malkin Grey
14 December 2014 @ 06:57 pm
Another grey and clammy day, made greyer by time spent wrestling with the healthcare insurance renewal page. It doesn't help that I keep getting kicked off the site with a network error, or that our internet has been slower than molasses in January ever since before Thanksgiving. (Thank you, FairPoint Communications . . . judging from other people's comments on the web, you're managing to make even Comcast look good.) And I really don't want to have to spend time tomorrow talking to a series of 800 numbers.

At least our local hospital is now part of Anthem's network, so I don't have to go looking to switch providers. Small mercies.
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated