December 28, 2014

Book Review: The Chaperone

Before we get to the review, look at what has me smiling today!

I bought this orchid last year, despite the fact they seem intimidating.  Perhaps because they are so beautiful and delicate?  Shortly after I bought it, all the blooms fell off.  In a moment of rashness, I trimmed it back without consulting the almighty Google and then immediately regretted it, wondering if I had doomed it.  I went to water it this morning and look!  Five new buds getting ready to pop.  I can't wait.

Anyway, back to the main point.  I recently picked up The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty.  This book was inspired by the life of Louise Brooks, a silent-film star.  Somehow I completely missed that fact until late in the book.  Now, to be honest, before I'd read this book, I had never heard of Louise Brooks.

And if you haven't either, don't let that stop you from reading this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

From the book jacket:  In 1922, only a few years before she will become a famous film actess and an icon for her generation, a fifteen-year old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita for a summer in New York City and the avant-garde Denishawn school of dance.  Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six year old chaperone.  Cora Carlisle is neither mother nor friend, just a respectable neighbor whom Louise's parents have hired for propriety's sake.  But upstanding, traditional Cora has her own private reason for making the trip.

Of course, Cora has no idea what she's in for: young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob, is known for her arrogance, her disregard for convention, her keen intelligence.   ....Ultimately, the five week they spend together will be the most important of her life.

This book takes turns that you will never see coming.

I don't generally do historical fiction - why, I don't know.  Every time I do, I end up enjoying the book and this one is no exception.

December 26, 2014

The Aftermath

Well, Christmas is behind us.  That really went fast didn't it?

As I'm sure you are curious; the Scavenger Hunt went really well.  Man-Child enjoyed it immensely and I sense a new tradition in the making.

Today was the day he went in for the extraction of all four wisdom teeth.  He was pretty nervous about it, particularly about being put under; which I completely understood.  He's never had any kind of surgery.  He even made it through toddler-hood without having to have tubes in his ears.  He also made me pinkie promise not to take any pictures or videos after he came out.  I suppose he didn't want to go viral like these two did....

To be honest, I hadn't even thought about taking pictures or video before he made me swear not to do so.

When I had my teeth out many, many moons ago, they brought me out of recovery in a wheelchair and handed me over to the Husband (he wasn't the Husband back then though) and he tells me what I was incoherent, drooling, and shaking uncontrollably and he was shocked when the nurse told him I was free to go.  He didn't want to take me in that condition, but he did.  True love, I suppose.  I was just hoping that Man-Child didn't have that kind of reaction as it would have completely freaked me out.

When they brought me back to Man-Child while he was in recovery, he was coherent and gave me a thumbs up when I asked how he was.  He was even able to walk himself (with the nurse helping) to the car.  There was none of the random rambling like in the above video.  About the only thing he did do that was funny was bark out "SPOON!" when I went through the drive-through to get him a milk shake and the guy asked if we needed a straw; which is a definite no-no after oral surgery.

The Husband came home from work early so that I wouldn't have to somehow navigate Man-Child into the house by myself in the event he reacted to the anesthesia the way I did.

At first, he was resistant to taking the pain medication.  But eventually, the drugs they'd given him earlier wore off and he finally agreed to take some medication after having a little soup.  Now, he's resting comfortably on the couch.  I don't think he fully realized just how much this was going to knock him for a loop as he had wondered prior to the surgery if he would be able to go out with his buddies tonight.  Now he realizes that is not possible.

He has been freaked out about the copious amounts of blood he's lost.  For a while he was convinced that something was wrong.  There is nothing wrong.  He had four teeth extracted; there's bound to be some blood.

It's hard seeing him in so much pain and knowing that I made him do this - but it needed to be done.  And as the surgeon said, it's much better to get it done earlier rather than later.

So, I've been doing the mom thing and fussing.  I've made him pudding, brought him milkshakes, bought soup and rolled his gauze for him.  I've also promised him an amazing meal, wherever he wants, once he's all healed.

I'm not the only one doing the fussing.  The Husband was not pleased with the milk shake that was initially purchased, as it had chocolate chips (how was I to know?  It wasn't in the description).  And went to purchase one that was plain.  He has made soup and grits and cajoled Man-Child to take some pain medication.

I expect that by tomorrow, he will be feeling a bit better - albeit really sore - and that by Sunday he will be feeling much better.

To be honest?  I'm glad this is one milestone that is behind us.

December 23, 2014

Christmas Eve Eve Update

My mother in law just called to thank my husband for her gifts.  The gifts that I bought, wrapped and sent.


I love this woman - how could I not, we are twins after all.  But honestly?  Buying gifts for her is never an easy task...even if we are practically twins.  And it seems she has asked that "we" not buy her any more plants because she's not a "plant" person, nevermind the fact that she has a sunroom FULL of plants or the fact she loved it the last time "we" bought her a winter bloomer.

But, according to my husband, the other gifts "we" bought her were perfect.  Of course, they are.  I bought them - special coffee and books.  She gets the same damn thing every year and doesn't seem to want any variety thrown into the mix.

That's fine.  If that's how she wants it, that's how it will be.  It's certainly easier than trying to rack my brain for something for this woman who has - or could easily buy - everything she could want.  And really?  I can't blame her.  When the guys ask me what I want for Christmas I invariably ask for the same things (new slippers and my favorite perfume) too.  As I said, twins.

Despite the fact that I know she really doesn't want anything more than coffee, books and maybe something sweet; I am sure that next year will find me racking my brain for something a little extra to throw into the box.

At any rate, at this point, most of my shopping is done - maybe a stocking stuffer or two left to pick up tomorrow.  I have somehow managed to save the scavenger hunt and even have all the clues done and ready to hide, no thanks to the Husband.  Yes, I have forgiven him by now, but I haven't forgotten - he's not to be trusted.

The cookies have been made.  How I absolutely adore Spritz cookies...until I have to make them.  But then, I guess it just isn't Christmas until I've wrestled the beast cookie press and wondered for the millionth time WHY the recipe claims to make 6-7 dozen and I only get maybe 2-3 dozen out of it?  It's for the best, I suppose, because God knows I don't need to eat 6-7 dozen cookies!

The almond bark and the Oreo truffles have been made - and are already almost gone; as are the cookies, thanks to Man-Child.  I've had to hide a few of each away to have some left to give to friends.

We are expecting to have an extremely quiet Christmas with just the three of us this year.  The friends we usually celebrate with at some point between Christmas Eve and Christmas are actually spending the holiday with their family across the country.

And then on Friday, normalcy resumes; theoretically.  Man-Child is having his wisdom teeth extracted.  Don't question me on the wisdom (see what I did there?) of having them removed the day after Christmas; that was his bright idea.

He's very nervous about it - mainly the being put under part - I don't blame him but am trying to soothe his nerves - as you can tell by all the sweets mentioned above.  I'm sure it will all go fine - but still I must ask that you keep him in your thoughts Friday afternoon.

Odds are good, I won't pop back in for a few days, so I wish you and all your loved ones a very Merry Christmas.


December 18, 2014

Stick-on bows or ribbons?

That's the question today...which do you prefer?

My mother always used the stick-on bows, because it was easy.  But, much like my love for stationery, my heart has always been with real ribbon, especially when I realized it is reusable.  With the advent of wired ribbon, my love has only deepened...particularly since I could never quite figure out how to make a beautiful bow from regular ribbon.  Until....I stumbled across this video

I LOVE the did we live without it in the good old days?

This video immediately sent me on the hunt for the ribbon mentioned on the video.  Guess what?  I couldn't find it anywhere.  When I Googled it, I discovered that's because the company has been bought.  Of course, despite multiple Googling efforts, I have been unable to discover which Offray ribbon is comparable to the C&G Pattern 800.  So I compromised.  I used something that looked like what she used.  And it worked okay.

Now that I think I've mastered the perfect bow - I've decided that for the family Christmas presents, it's just not that practical since you completely mangle the ribbon undoing the present, but for other gift giving occasions it would be totally appropriate.  Because presentation makes every gift that much more special, don't you think?

As I mentioned above - I absolutely adore the Internet.  It gives me the opportunity to learn how to do all those things I've always wanted to know how to do.  So what about you - what fabulous new thing have you recently learned thanks to the Internet?

December 15, 2014

OMG...I married a blabber-mouth.

It started out as a nice, quiet morning.  I was working on a crossword puzzle, Man-Child was doing whatever he does on the computer when the Husband walked in and said to Man-Child,

"Hey, I need to tell you...don't go in our closet because your gift is in there."

He was then puzzled when my head snapped up, I shot him a look of disbelief and then promptly began banging my head on the table in an effort to keep from killing him right then and there.

WHY would he say that?  WHY?

First of all, why in the HELL would you tell someone where you had hidden their gift?  That's just stupid.

Secondly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, we had talked about it two days ago when we purchased this particular gift.  It is awkward to wrap and if I somehow managed to get it wrapped, the shape alone would give it away.  So I told him to leave it in the closet and that I would work up a scavenger hunt.

The plan was perfect.  Until, for whatever asinine reason, he opened his mouth.

I suppose I could find somewhere else to hide the damn gift (where?! This place is too small to have a plethora of hiding places) if, and only if, he learned his lesson and didn't mention to Man-Child exactly WHY I was mad at him.

The whole point of the scavenger hunt was to be part of the surprise; if you know it's coming it's not the same.

To say that I am irritated with him is quite the understatement.  The big, blabber-mouth.

December 13, 2014

Let's DO this....

I've finally got it ("it" being Christmas) under control.  Hallelujah.

Yesterday was the start of my extra long vacation - it appears that I will be off until the new year (pretty much - I fully expect to pop in to the office at least once or twice before then).

The tree has been standing in the corner for at least a week, bare except for the lights.  And you know what?  A tree with lights is pretty beautiful all on its own.

I think that is a major revelation for me.  

For many, many years I obsessed over the tree.  And pretty much everything else.  But after living through the unemployment, and not really enjoying the holiday due to the stress, I've learned to let it go.


Tonight, we decorated the tree as a family.  The tree isn't "Pinterest Perfect."  So what?  It's still beautiful....and you won't find me secretly rearranging it when no one is looking; because it's pretty much perfect just the way it is.

As a family, we laughed over the memories that some ornaments brought to mind.  We laughed when Man-Child dropped, and broke, the pink "Baby's First Christmas" ornament (WHY it was pink is still a mystery after all these years).  We laughed, even after I somehow sliced my palm on a glass icicle.  Ouch!

The baking isn't done...but I've still got time.  And, realistically?  How much baking do I really NEED to do?  Not much.

As for the house hunt, it has been determined; I've been very open to every house we've seen.  I can say with no reservations that there have been at least three houses that I've seen which could work...with some renovations.

Here's the deal, the Husband really doesn't want to live with renovations; since he finds a reason to nix each and every house.  Didn't I predict this some time back?  But yet. he's still not quite ready to commit to building.  *sigh*  So the hunt continues.

But despite the housing woes (I am really ready for a new home!), life is good and I have no complaints.  Come on Christmas...I'm ready.

December 2, 2014

Wasting time...

That's all I seem to have done in this past week that I've been off work.

Oh sure, in a fit of guilt, I actually cleaned the house today. but that's about all that has been accomplished.

Christmas gifts that need to be purchased are still unpurchased.

I have that list of "wishes" from the family.  And they fall into three categories.

1) Ain't ever gonna happen in a million years - just forget it and give me a realistic list already, Man-Child.

2) That is the MOST ridiculous request - if I buy it, I KNOW you will never use it, dear Husband.

3)  Okay, that is a reasonable request and I know it will be used...but if I buy it and the Husband checks our bank account - as he is known to do - he will then know that I have purchased the item because why else would I be purchasing anything from that particular store?

So you see my dilemma, yes?

Despite the fact that I've accomplished nothing of value, if you discount my clean house (and you shouldn't, because that was the busiest I've been in over a week!). since last Wednesday I'm soothing myself with the fact that I still have ten more vacation days to try and get it all together.

I had hoped to at least do some minimal decorating around here today.  Only to discover that our Christmas boxes are nowhere to be found.  I vaguely recall sending a bunch of things to Goodwill last year, I'm hoping I didn't completely lose my mind and send it all.  I'm sending the Husband up into the attic this weekend (ssh, don't tell him.  It's a surprise!) - so fingers crossed that it's there because if it's not, then we don't have any decorations at all.

I also had planned to do some baking today - for the ingrates my you can tell from the lack of cookie aroma around here that didn't get done either.

So what have I done all day?  Who knows.  It seems, upon reflection, that I spent an inordinate amount of time driving around today (where? why? It's not like I came home with any Christmas presents) and even more time just cruising along on the internet...Alice thought she fell down a rabbit hole?  HA!  That was a cake-walk compared to the internet.

So tomorrow, I go back to work where, presumably, I will be productive and busy...