Silence is golden

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The "wrong side of the bed" must be a real thing because I definitely woke up on that side this morning and all of a sudden hate everything.  I am sick of the holiday traffic, parking lot wars, endless stream of people gathering and milling about, cold weather and the rain / dryness, loud parties and muzak, etc etc.  A bit of peace and quiet, silence and calm, just twinkling light and the scent of smoke in the air.  I know, I know that the holidays are about friends and family and loved ones but sometimes I wish they could leave me some room to think, just for one second.  Just a teensy tiny breather with no requests and no pressure.

Maybe that's why I feel like running away (again).  To New Zealand again, of course.  So it's not a coincident that this beautiful home is located there on 12 acres with gorgeous views of Te Mata Peak.  I'd imagine in the winter time, the grounds are blanketed with snow and the dark exterior of the house is a stark contrast against that backdrop.  There are numerous dining areas you could choose from but I think I'd prefer to relax in the cushy breakfast nook, with endless cups of coffee and a stack of books.  Surrounded by pure, golden light and silence.

Graphic novel gift guide

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dads are notoriously difficult to shop for.  Goofy socks?  Check.  Useless techno gadgets?  Check.  Uncomfortable scratchy sweaters with cheesy patterns that will only been worn on that specific Christmas day and never seen again?  Check.

This year though, I may have my dad pegged.  In the past few weeks, I've gotten my dad hooked on graphic novels.  It's a Christmas miracle!  Yes, a 60+ year old man who has been stubbornly reading only non-fiction has been devouring comic books.  After a frantic email from him mid-week after he finished the last Think Tank volume, I brought him both Maus volumes... which he managed to finish that very same day.

The Think Tank series is about Dr. David Loren, a genius, hacker, inventor, and "investment" of the US military.  His inventions and ideas have been weaponized by the military and when he has a change of heart about how his creations are being used to kill hundreds of people, the organization won't let him quit.  Or leave.  So what's a guy to do except for try and escape?  The series is full of smart science, weapons, action, and conspiracy - all of which my dad enjoys.  Even better, half of each volume is dedicated to the factual research and real science that author Matt Hawkins did for the comic.

Maus is a classic graphic memoir, story about a father and his son, and also a story about the Holocaust, which I've blogged about here on Book Adventurers (I'll save you the pain of reading it here again).  Dad kept asking me if there was a movie made out of this story - Spielberg, you should be expecting an email soon.

For Christmas, I'm thinking of putting in an order for these graphic novels, which were honestly just tons of fun.  Lazarus takes place in the future where the world is in a state of organized chaos and select families control large tracts of land, worked by serfs.  Each family has a member who acts as its protector, their Lazarus, and Forever Carlyle is that warrior for her family.  But are things really as they seem and what isn't her family telling her?  In Black Science, a group of scientists have figured out how to travel between multiple universes.  Unfortunately (and obviously) the instrument has malfunctioned and sends the scientists careening throughout the multiverse without any idea of where they'll end up next and also how they'll ever get home.  Manifest Destiny is about the journey of Lewis and Clark... and MONSTERS.  It's history AND monsters and one ass-kicking Sacagawea.  Enough said.

Note: There is no reason these graphic novels wouldn't be great gifts for anyone else (and not only dads) or yourself!

A couple of holiday haikus for you

Monday, December 15, 2014



Come sit on my lap
Caress my beard and red robe
Oh Santa, you cad


what the eff is nog?!
missing egg, lost in the rum?
so merry and drunk


Scratching and itching
Symptoms of sweater weather
Grace need not apply


Sunday, December 14, 2014

I've just gotten my head to stop pounding from the holiday party last night.  And now if my hip and my neck would feel the same.  I may or may not have gotten dragged by a horse yesterday.  Yes, just like those old westerns where the cowboy is being pulled along in the dirt, holding on to the end of a rope.  Really, I should have just let go of the rope.  Luckily, I only hit the ground moderately hard and there is not permanent damage.  Sigh, this is why I can't have nice things.  I've spent the day traversing between the bed and the couch and could honestly use another day off.  How did your weekend go?


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Luckily, I can type without having any feeling in my fingers because my hands are all cramped up after a marathon session of writing and addressing Christmas cards.  I apologize to some of you who will be receiving them because you're going to have an extremely difficult time deciphering my scribbles.  It'll be a miracle if they even make it there, if the handwriting machine can read the addresses.  Take it on faith that the message in the card says something to the effect of "Merry Christmas!  I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!"  I may have gotten a bit overzealous this year in writing and ordering cards; my eyes are bigger than my mailbox?  I think I have next year's set of cards ready to go now as well.

I suppose it's a sign of my age that every single card that I've received this year has a picture of a baby on it accompanied by some dogs.  Although I debated long and hard about doing a photo card of Ryon's sweet mug, I decided against being the crazy(ier) horse lady this year.  Maybe next winter after I've trained him to hold still and pose with a Santa hat atop his head.

With the majority of the cards out of the way, it's now time to move on to Christmas crafts.  I've got an empty wreath frame that is calling my name and a few peppermint ornaments I want to try my hand at.  Of course all of this could possibly go out the window as soon as someone invites me out for a hot drink (with alcohol hopefully).  Stay warm this weekend!

Bring your stretchy pants

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Photo Credit: Food52
After some epically wild and vacillating Christmas holiday plans and due to some unforeseen circumstances, we won't be hosting a packed house this holiday season nor will we be escaping to the mountains to ski (sigh).  It's true what they say about the best laid plans; they change.  However, we will be fortunate to be hosting my sister's BOYFRIEND for Christmas.  DUN DUN DUN.  Although originally from Texas, he moved to Portland for work a few months ago and him and my sister may or may not be joined at the hip now.  It will be our first time meeting him and the first time that my sister has ever introduced a boyfriend to my parents.  No pressure or anything.  And it's not like my parents have already started poking fun at the two of them behind their backs.

Ever the big sister and the host, my goal for Christmas is to make sure that Siri and Misha (that's my nickname for him) are stuffed to the gills with holiday treats.  For Christmas dinner, my dad has already planned on having a traditional Chinese hot pot meal (yess) so we've got that covered.  Below are some of my ideas of things to mix, bake, and cook:

  • Eggnog pie - Siri and my dad are big nog fanatics and what better way than to incorporate it into pie (particularly as I finally have the whole crust making thing down).  I found this recipe here that could serve nicely
  • Figgy pudding butter cookies (pictured above) - I've never had figgy pudding for Christmas but I like figs and I like pudding.  And everyone likes cookies.  So really, what could go wrong?  I'm grabbing this recipe from Food52, as part one of the Christmas cookie series
  • Black and white cookies - Part 2 of the Christmas cookie series.  Just because I love them and I've never made them before.  Maybe these will be the birthday treat that I bake myself.  And then devour, all by myself
  • Amaretto cheesecake - Or any type of cheesecake really, but lately I am on an almond kick.  This one looked particularly delicious and if you're going to go fat, you might as well go all the way.  Go big or go home.  Actually we'll be both of those
  • Alcoholidays - Basically, everything here that Kelly Beall over at Design Crush has pulled together into one master list.  We are going to have some red cheeks and noses this Christmas.  Treat yo'self and make merry!
They may need to waddle back to the Pacific Northwest.  Any traditional Christmas treats that you'd like to share or recommendations of food/drink I should make?  I'm all ears!

Yea or Nahh? December 2014 (so far) edition

Monday, December 8, 2014


Christmas shopping:  Guess who's done, suckas?  Yep, that's right, this girl right here.  Almost a full three weeks early too.  That should leave enough time to get it all shipped and wrapped, don't you think?  It's all going to get delivered in time, right?  Oh lord, another thing to worry about.  Honestly though, I know Christmas time isn't all about presents but this is one of my favourite things to do during the holiday season - buy surprises for people who I love and care about.

Too much fiber: You know you're old when you start supplementing your daily allotment of fiber.  And you know you're not old enough when, instead of eating the recommended two gummies, you eat SIX instead.  I'm not even going to tell you guys how old I'm turning this month.  Old enough to know better?
Man hands: By now, those of you who read regularly know that my mom has a lot to say about my man hands that have grown calloused and rough with daily barn chores.  It is also damn near impossible to keep nail polish from chipping after one day.  Until now.  I went to Ulta this weekend and picked up some glittery Zoya brand polish, which I've never tried before.  Two barn days later, no chipping.  I imagine this polish is going to be hell to scrape off when I finally want to change colours but for now, I'll continue being dazzled by the glitter.

Light it up: In my dinky apartment, for the second year in a row instead of putting up a Christmas tree, I drape twinkly lights all around the windows a la college style.  They're not the super fancy / expensive kind as I've featured above from Terrain but they make me smile and remind me that it is truly the holiday season.  We've been blessed with wonderful weather (among other things) so far into December and it looks like it will continue that way.  It's funny that lights remind me of how blessed I am this holiday season, even with everything else that's going on.  Focus on the small glowing things, they seem to say, and keep peace and calm in your heart.

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