Looking up

Things are looking up around here.

In the first place, it’s the day after Christmas, which is probably the best day of the holidays. You don’t have to do much (it’s already done — or not done, but too late) and it’s perfectly fine to sit on the couch and read your book.

Which is what I’m going to do right now.


Greetings from the House of Pain


Whoever thought it would be a good idea for children to have four wisdom teeth carved painfully from their heads 4 days before Christmas was an absolute idiot.

As is the dentists’ office who didn’t come straight out and say, until I called them this morning, that the amount of pain medication recommended on the bottle “won’t begin to touch [the excruciating pain]” and that you really have to double it to even function.

The good news is, I think the pain is now just from having their jaws manhandled, and not from some hideous infection or “dry socket.” (What ever that is, I never want to suffer from it, nor do I want anyone I’ve ever encountered however briefly to experience it either.)

However, in between nights spent in agony on the bathroom floor and hours spent moaning in pain waiting for inadequate meds to kick in, it’s been a good Christmas. These are the things we exchanged: woolly things, earrings, books, games and puzzles. M got electronic stuff and N wanted footwear. I have new slippers. We went to friends’ house last night, which was great — there was no way we could have made dinner, and it was nice to get out of the house of pain. Also, it meant that K and I could eat chewy foods. If we eat them at our house, people look at us sadly.

Anyway — I’ve got to run out and get more supplies, and then pick up the keys to the house we rented in the snow. Hooray — I don’t even know if we’ll ski. We may just stay inside and do puzzles, and that will be fine with me.



(Lass and Freshhell — that poor baby Jingles. Not a sight to see after experiencing bodily trauma. Did you know they send your teeth home with you? Also not a sight you really want to see –)



Well, progress is slow around here. One feels better while the other feels worse, and they spend a lot of time sitting on the couch watching television which, I admit, is beginning to drive me crazy. N and I did go out Christmas shopping yesterday late afternoon. I did begin to feel a little bit more seasonally appropriate.


The tree is a bit more decorated than this.

I’ll keep you posted.


Unsilent Night

This was my brother D’s idea.


After an early dinner, during which for some reason we had a manic discussion about socks and underwear, we walked to a nearby park to wait for the event. (When I was little, my mother married my stepfather. I think because his first wife was of Norwegian descent, they had always opened presents on Christmas Eve. We’d always opened on Christmas morning. In a merging of the two family traditions, it was decided that we’d open one present on Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas morning. You always wanted to open the new nightgown. What you really did not want to open was the package of new socks or new underwear. Although now, I might be happy with a package of new underwear.)


People had brought boom boxes, and then we each got a CD to stick in our boom boxes.


The we took off,


and walked through the streets.


It was kind of cool — you were in the middle of an aural cloud.


To be honest, it felt a little bit like being on drugs. M thought it was creepy. My brother, who can be something of a brat, was playing Celine Dion on his boom box, since apparently his cd didn’t work. M walked near him.


It also seemed sort of — well, sort of like the modern equivalent of caroling, which people don’t do so much anymore. Instead of people walking around together singing, which implied engagement and social interaction and connection, we were a mechanized blob, each holding our machine, not connecting really, and walking thought the street in a drug-like haze.

I liked it, but it was a little creepy.

Better days

A much better day.

We got the tree, and hung out with my brother, and generally just got used to hanging around together.

It takes time, actually.

The tree is lovely, although honestly, it’s a bit too big for our rather small living room. Tomorrow we’ll either move it to the dining room (one possibility) or turn it and trim it — which might work just fine.

Oh dear oh dear oh dear — there’s a lot to get done.

So I’m off to bed.


Thank god it is now Christmas vacation.

I looked over the plans last night and sent my very tiny changes in. They don’t affect anyone outside of our department, and I think they actually make things better. The architects will like them because they make things symmetrical. We will like them because they will make our space better. It will make our space more versatile, actually.

So — I hope the boss will pass them on. I do sympathize — she’s sort of caught in the middle. But in any case, I have done all I could do. Better that than to have the horrible feeling that I could have tried one last time to make the small changes that would have made things better significantly better.


Now — breakfast, and Christmasification! I need to clean up a bit. I also need to wrap the presents that need to be sent. And M need to go Christmas shopping. Poor thing — too much school and then wisdom teeth removal does not leave a lot of time for Christmas shopping.

And then the tree, and then we’re doing this very odd thing with my brother and his spouse. Should be fun.

Okay. Got to go.

Trees around town

It’s late, and I’m alone, so I thought I would give you the promised post about “trees around town.”


This is some kind of a rare speciman, possibly from Africa. It has no flowers, but nice fall foliage and a pretty shape. It was already moved once from someplace else on campus. With any luck it will survive this new assault — being smack in the middle of the construction workers parking lot — and become a beautiful umbrella in the middle of a new patio.


These gingko trees are so pretty. They really glow on a cloudy day, or at dusk, but that’s hard to photograph.

It’s been a hard week. N was gone (and I wanted to see her). M had many many assignments, plus the promise of many more to come over the holidays. At work, it’s always hard to get anything done around parties and the feeling that you need to go Christmas shopping. Plus, we’re trying to arrange the new offices, which is hard, because they don’t even exist at this point. And it always seem that Those In Charge say, “we’re not arranging this space to account for people’s personalities” when it comes to your department, but NOT when it comes to their own, or those of the people who whine, which in turn makes you feel like you’d better whine, too. It also seems that we spend hours discussing the arrangement of tables for the Whiney Ones, and then the fact that the woman in your department who needs to work with 6 huge trucks is squeezed into a 60 ft workspace is just something we’ll have to deal with, nevermind that it’s going to be like a huge intestinal blockage for the other people across the hall from her who are pretty much going to be unable to get into their desks at all. At least the talkative woman is sequestered down the hall far away from the people who don’t wish to consider personalities. In a 140 square ft office, although it seems to me that a simple chair would do.


A Japanese maple on my way home.

Oh dear. I really hate getting caught up in office politics. I’m unable to whine effectively, so I just get sarcastic, which I’m afraid never helps my cause. I think I need to look at our space one more time and try to fix what needs fixing. Mostly it’s okay. There are annoying unfairnesses, but those are really nothing I can do anything about. The things I want to fix should not really affect anyone else — anyone else likely to whine, that is. I think we can solve the intestinal blockage without causing distress to anyone outside our office.


Here are the gingkos at night. Sorry, I’m afraid they’re hard to see.


And I think this is another one.

I’m not exactly sure why I feel so out of sorts. Part of it is surely the holidays, which we are singularly unprepared for, but maybe that’s okay. Maybe a sort of pared down holiday is good. I was so ecstatic to not be going anywhere, but I’m now remembering how un-Christmassy it always feels around here. I suppose I’m just being a pill, but then — why am I not allowed to be a pill?

Maybe that’s the tricky thing — figuring out what I want. Maybe I can’t have what I want, but I should probably at least know what it is.


Here is our tiny little gingko tree. I am sure it will be much more impressive next year. But already it is a nice shade of yellow. See?

Hmmm. I think that’s it. I want to figure out what I want, and then if I can’t have it — because M needs me here, or because the noisy one gets the enormous office so that no one has to hear her long conversations on the phone — it’s okay. (Especially the M part.)

I think what I want is to go skiing with my friend L in Maine in January, and N can come with us. I would love to have M and K, too, but they may not want to come, and if they don’t, well — okay.


I will leave you with some turkeys from yesterday. Aren’t they cute?

And now I’ll check the plans one more time, and then I’m off to bed.

Bah humbug.

But I think I’ll feel better in the morning.



M has riding lessons out in the country, which is actually not all that far from our house. I always forget how beautiful it is out there.


The cows are already having calves. I guess because the rain has started and soon there will be green grass.


It was a dark and wintry day.


It really is pretty out there.


People are coming and going. K’s brother N is in and out, and I went home yesterday to find N and a friend wondering what to do on a rainy day. So we made cookies.

I am really wanting to go home right now and make some more.

And apparently there was snow on the hilltops!

I am documenting trees, but you will have to wait for the results.

And we are plotting our ski trip. It does seem that the time to go will be exactly when the girls are having all their teeth pulled, rendering them unfit for much of anything till the end of the week. Bah.

Wintry mix

It is chilly here! (I’m looking it up.) 47 degrees! Chance of thundershowers! Hooray hooray hooray!

Which means, of course, that it is going to be cold and snowy in the mountains, and (hooray hooray hooray) we can go skiing!

I can’t wait.

Lets you think otherwise, I should tell you that I’m a careful and rotten skier — I’m old and creaky and I do not want to break anything. So I go pretty slowly down not very difficult hills. I work on my technique. My technique is not so great, but you know — it could be worse.

What I really like about skiing is the chance to go visit winter and then spend the day outside thinking about pretty much nothing. It is pretty mindless. You go up, and then you come down. You wonder where the children have gone. You eat cold turkey sandwiches and oranges and chocolate bars. Yum.

I really was beginning to think it would never snow this year, and now it has.

In other news, N has returned. She is so happy to be finished. K’s brother N is visiting. M is suffering because she is not finished. I cleaned the bathrooms, made a batch of virginia bars (a strange christmas tradition — they’re really pretty much these, but were always made at Christmas by our beloved housekeeper, who called them virginia bars), we did not go get the tree, OR put up lights, because it was raining.

So we sat inside, lit a fire, read a book or two, knit a sock. M fretted over an assignment she doesn’t quite understand. N was out with friends. A strange kind of weekend.

We did go see Cadillac Records, which was good.

I’m reading something Harriet recommended, The Box of Delights. I’ve finished it, actually, and moved on to its prequel, the Midnight Folk. Good reading for wintry Christmas days.

Okay — got to go.