Wednesday, December 27, 2023

A merry little Christmas

Low key was the order of the day. My husband is feeling much better but I've apparently started a completely unrelated cold, the kind with the huge surprise sneezes that come with the risk of putting your back out.

We waffled about whether to do our big meal on the 24th or the day itself, but decided to go with Christmas Eve. The meal is important because we don't go gifts anymore, just usually go shopping and buy something fancy and spend the day wrecking the kitchen. Neither of us had the energy for that, so we made paella from a box and added extra mussels and peas, and it was delicious.

The box said four servings. That was probably accurate because we each had two, and then fell back on the couch and moaned about how full we were.

That didn't stop us from going to our local cafe the next morning for breakfast. They were open until noon today and the town came out to support the owner getting up on Christmas morning to take care of us. There were probably a dozen people there, and I knew all of them. One of the perks of being in a small town.

After that, we took a long walk to settle all the calories and then came home. 

Nothing wrong with a quiet holiday. Nothing at all.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Positively positive

Well, this was unexpected.

Maybe it shouldn't have been - most of us have either experienced this or been anticipating it since March 2020 - but there are only two positive tests I don't want to see, and the ship has sailed for the other one.

It's not me; my husband went to his office's holiday party at a bowling alley last Thursday, and by Saturday was feeling achy. Sunday he had a sore throat. Monday was a cough and chills. Yesterday was a fever.

I'm clear so far. Not sure how, but I'll take it because someone needs to be healthy enough to ask, "Have you taken your cough medicine? What was your temperature just then?"

He's feeling some better already. Not there yet, by any means, but I think for the most part we've also all forgotten how to be sick. Masking didn't just prevent Covid, it kept all the normal nasty germs and allergens from getting in.

What absolutely astounds me is that we flew to Las Vegas, hung out in a smoky, crowded casino with thousands of people, and then flew home again, and while a lot of attendees did get Covid and RSV and just general con crud, we didn't. 

At a bowling alley. A freaking bowling alley. 

Christmas will be quiet this year. (There's an upside to everything if you look for it).

Wednesday, December 13, 2023


Rufus can always sleep.

I'll be 60 in January. No, I have no idea how that happened, and it's a topic for another day.

What I'm thinking about today - because I haven't slept - is another one of the benefits of aging. How much more I can get done be because I'm rarely tired at bedtime.

Peri- and then full-on menopause has been fun. Not. Would not recommend. Except for the parts that I would, like a better sense of what my body is going to do (gain weight, slow down, ache in random places) and the at-first-insulting but then rather wonderful realization that I'm now mostly invisible to a certain class of annoying people.

Which means I don't have to worry about impressing anyone except myself and the select few I care enough to want to impress. It's lovely.

All this to say, I couldn't sleep the other night. I listened to my favorite bedtime podcast, Nothing Much Happens, where a woman reads lovely, no conflict, low stakes stories that normally relax me and send me to sleep long before she's finished.

Except that night's episode was called The Pantry. It was a simple story about the kind of chores we put off, and how good cleaning and organizing your space can make you feel.

Not a good thing to tell me when I'm lying there, still with my tank half full. I wanted to get up and go down to the basement and organize things. I wanted to scrub the floor. That's how I knew I was stupid tired, because I never want to do that.

And guess what? Next day, did I get any of that done? 


Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Representation matters

Stepping away from books agin this week to talk about a custom order I just shipped out on Monday. A woman reached out to me, and said that her four-year-old granddaughter was obsessed with the character of Chrissie from Daniel Tiger. Apparently Chrissy has spina bifida and uses crutches and braces on her legs. The little girl had never seen a doll like her before, and Grandma wanted to know could I do something similar that wasn't exactly Chrissie.

It's high craft show season, so custom orders aren't my favorite, but I took this one as a challenge. I didn't have any pale gray felt on hand, and since this order was already going to take more time than it should have, I wasn't going to run up to the fabric store to buy any. The braces and the crutches are made from felt of another color, covered with light gray cotton which I did have in stash.

The braces are stitched onto the doll's legs, while the crutches have a snap fastener so they can come off her wrists. I was baffled with what to use for the crutches, and then it came to me that straws would work. Of course, I didn't have any of those either, but my local buy nothing group supplied a handful. Really, the hardest part of the whole doll experience was calculating the width of fabric to make tubes for the straws. I left a tab of fabric at the top, to be sewn to the cuff, and the leftover fabric at the bottom was tucked inside the straw using the tube turner.

I can't wait to hear what the little girl thinks of her.

Also, because everything does lead back to books eventually, another reason I wanted to do this was because the youngest daughter in Coming Apart wears braces on her legs, and I tried to imagine how it would feel to her to find a doll that looked like her. Representation matters.