meirwen_1988: (Christmas House Mouse)
During Christmas break I gorge myself on Christmas themed novels--mysteries, period pieces, Regency and modern romances--and in that way refresh my somewhat academically bruised psyche so I can walk into the Spring semester refreshed.

For reasons I haven't quite discerned yet, that did not happen this year to the usual extent. I had the books, but the reading did not happen as much as I wish it had. However, here are the last three of this season. A very mixed bag in terms of quality. I almost want to read one more, but Memory of Light is singing a siren song, and it's time to call my Warder and get to work. (Now, where did I put that shawl....)

Snowbound Wedding Wishes: An Earl Beneath the Mistletoe\Twelfth Night Proposal\Christmas at Oakhurst ManorSnowbound Wedding Wishes: An Earl Beneath the Mistletoe\Twelfth Night Proposal\Christmas at Oakhurst Manor by Louise Allen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Usually romance books of this sort (collections of novellas around a shared theme) start with a strong novella, then move to a weaker one, then end with one that is either very weak, or one that confounds a convention (for example, the Regency heroine wears glasses, or is plain, or the hero is a schoolteacher, not titled, or nerdy rather than athletic, or the characters are Jews in nineteenth century England...).

This volume confounded that convention. I found all three novellas A) well-written, B) with engaging characters, and C) a pleasure to read.

Merry Christmas to me!!



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A Christmas Journey (Christmas Stories, #1)A Christmas Journey by Anne Perry

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I came to the Anne Perry Christmas novels late, and so am reading them out of order. I look forward to them every year, and eagerly opened this one.

*Sigh*

Of all of these I have read (about 5, including this one), this one I enjoyed least. I didn't like many of the characters, I thought the plot was "forced," and the usual sense of place and context I find in Perry's Victorian world was missing.

I am glad I came to this novel late, because it is the first, and if I had read it as my first experience of the series, I never would have read the others, and one of those became one of my favorite Perry novels. So, next year I'll hope for better.



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A Christmas PromiseA Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I really liked the premise of this book, but was less enamored of the execution.

Still, in the great, wide world of Regency romance writers, Mary Balogh is one I can rely on to respect the English language and her readers. Her prose is always good, and her plots are never stupid. She has a deft hand with giving minor characters depth, and manages to avoid getting so detailed in descriptions of the scene and artifacts that the stories leave center stage.

So, all in all, worth the time I put into reading it, but not much more.



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meirwen_1988: (Default)
Someday I will write about these last few days. About cars and pooling. About hemorrhages of cash. About sounds and grindings when LEAVING the place of repair. About Peter and Paul and the robbing and paying thereof.

About Dan and Wendy.

About my 40 year old office mate (active, father of 3, all under 13) who one week ago today had a heart attack, and 6 days ago had quintuple by-pass surgery.

But let it suffice that when Duchezz came home today she said "Hello Adventure Woman. Do I want to know how you bleached your red Forester into a white and grey Outback?" And that tomorrow, in theory, will see "The Return of the Forester."

Most of all, let it suffice that because it is Brighid, I made mac and cheese from scratch, using all the fat and cheddar cheesy goodness. And that tomorrow, because it is Candlemas, I will light a new candle.

meirwen_1988: (Christmas House Mouse)
The presents are nestled all naked in their places,
Tummies are full, much good food was tasted.
Friends and their child filled our hearts with delight,
And with other friends, at Nail Creek, we closed out the night.

At home once again, with our four-legged kin,
We're refereeing, and squeeling, here at day's end
Wishing and hoping that whatever your reason,
You're laughing and loving this holiday season.

Round Two

Nov. 26th, 2011 03:39 pm
meirwen_1988: (cookies)
So, Duchezz and I went out early this AM (but 90 min. later than yesterday) to hit the stores EJ had no interest in. We got some things we've been talking about getting/wanted for years (found at Christmas Tree Shop). Then we headed to the big JoAnn's in Northboro so she could get fabric for her Hael Investiture outfit. As I was killing time as she searched, I found a lovely herringbone wool blend (fake, wool, and silk). Very pretty. Checked the price. Had to be a misprint, but, well, I could always changed my mind at the cutting counter. Saw the endcap sign--"60% off, 11/25 all day and 11/26 to 1 PM ONLY." It was 9:45 AM, 11/26. Might apply. I'd find out at the cutting counter.

Duchezz taunted me with a Christmas fabric. Hell, one yard won't kill me.

So, cutting counter. "How wide is the wool?"
"Hmmm. Looks about 58."
Sweet. "I'll take it all." (5.75 yards).
While standing in a very long line, a very nice older woman hands us some coupons she's not going to use. Duchezz takes one, I take the other.

I check out.
Christmas fabric--50% of marked price.
Wool--60% of marked price.
Coupon--25% off selected items.

Bill? $17.46. I win.
Not quite as big a win as the JC Penney score on Friday, but, a massive win. Yes, that means the Friday win was epic.

Then we went to the Wegman's that just opened up in Northboro. The folks out here are...rather overwhelmed by it. *Yawn*

Okay, it is bigger than the one in Dewitt (which is bigger than the ones I've been to in Buffalo, and some of the ones in Roch-cha-cha), but it is bigger because A) it has twice as much seating and twice the number of conference rooms as that one, and B) because it has a complete liquor store, complete with some of the most high end wines and champagnes I've ever seen. And of course the usual selection of import and craft beers.

I think I like the layout of bakery and produce in Dewitt better than here, but I like this ones deli, meat, and cheese layout better. Other than that--it was Wegman's. One of the more interesting shelf selections (their English and Indian import sections were particularly nice), but, otherwise, it felt like home.

So, back we are. I just finished screening CV's for the Sociology position open at the college, and soon I'll head down, say high to folks, and get ready for Turkey!! I feel poorer (cash wise), but content that nothing purchased was wasteful, at least according to the William Morris rule of acquisition.
meirwen_1988: (Cooking)
For sixteen years now, Thanksgiving has meant driving to Massachusetts on Thanksgiving Day, dinner in a restaurant, then Black Friday battles in the malls (one of my fondest memories ever is tag teaming in the checkout line at 5 AM on Black Friday morning with EJ, Brianne, and Ro), and celebrating Thanksgiving on Saturday. Then home on Sunday, after hitting the food markets we don't have at home, for foods we can't get at home.

Usually the Thanksgiving restaurant is Chinese. I know Lute Squire hoped it would be this year as well, but She Who Must Be Obeyed wanted to go to Pizzeria Uno, and so we did, with youngest son (who has to be at work at midnight).

We are home now. The puppies are busy being adored, I have moved some of Peter's money into Paul's pocket so as to be able to enjoy a bit of expenditure tomorrow, horribly tight as the budget is this year, and Herself is downstairs making the apple pie (the pumpkin bread, the pumpkin pie, the pumpkin cheesecake, and the cranberry sauce already done). I suspect Duchezz is being a puppy mat as she continues her latest crochet project.

I shall go down in a bit, and enjoy the company of chosen family.

Sometimes people talk about "chosen family" as though, somehow, they are less problematic than the ones we are born into. That is, at best, an illusion. They are people, and like the blood we're born into, they hurt each other (and us), we hurt them, some of them don't even like each other, or respect each other. And some only see each other at funerals--not even weddings. It doesn't matter. At least not to me.

I came from a family that was rather emotionally detached on the maternal side, and separated by massive distance on the paternal. And so, I am grateful for this chosen family, both the ones whose roof I shelter under tonight, and those who this holiday are under other roofs. We have our own version of the crazy uncle; and annoying great-aunt; the ne-er-do-well cousin; the needy middle sibling; the hyper-efficient older sister; the know-it-all teenager; the spoiled rotten baby; the bookish nephew; the tomboy too gorgeous not to be a model, but she isn't; and the younger sibling sitting quietly in the corner, mentally recording it all for the "Great American Novel" to be written at a later date. And I love them all, and thank God for putting me in a place to know them, to be loved by them, for the blessings they bring.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
meirwen_1988: (mischief)
Originally thought I'd see H&S for NYE, but their plans changed (congrats to Svan, La Presidenta of the Ambulance Co.). I'd been feeling sick (turns out it was an allergy--offending party removed: Voila! feel better), so was able to take Heidi up on invitation to her house. Had lovely time with Heidi, Grant, Matthieu, Little Michael, Heidi's folks (who provided transportation) and nephew, and her friends [forget name] and Eric. Quiet, friendly night that included good food, a (very) little wine, and playing Apples to Apples. Home before midnight. Cuddled pugs, went to bed.

Slept in and had for breakfast what I'd originally planned for Christmas, sort of. I wanted Bagel Grove Everything bagel, but missed the shop by 5 minutes (they closed at 1 PM yesterday). Sigh. So got the same from Bagel Factory. Acceptable, but not BG. Wanted plain cream cheese, lox, capers, and red onion. No lox to be found, so got smoked salmon cream cheese.

Still good. Just not AMAZING. Maybe next year.

Collected groceries this afternoon, only *just* avoiding being sucked into Barnes and Noble. Dinner in the oven. My Spartans got CLOBBERRED in the Captial One Bowl. *sigh* Oh well. Tonight is the Extended version of Return of the King, and whatever else I feel like.

Okay, hands are telling me I'm done, but before I hit "post" just wanted to say that I'm beginning the year as I mean to go on--grateful for love and friendship, and enjoying my own company.

"The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say."

Bah-humbug

Dec. 6th, 2010 02:28 pm
meirwen_1988: (Christmas House Mouse)
Just got the 2000 word papers from my 63 person film class. *sigh* Just shoot me now.

The weekend involved some Christmas-fying of the house. More requires thinking about it and actually caring. Meh. See "caring."

I love my students this semester. It happens that way sometimes. I really hope next semester isn't too much of a let-down. :-(

I hate driving in the snow. So, there is an upside to the future. Yeah. Clinging to that.

This buying 8 presents for Hanukkah was not planned for this year. My bad. Still--timing sucks, not having money and all.

Oh, right, and the embroidery thing. Yeah. Not happening this week. Just sayin.'
meirwen_1988: (Christmas House Mouse)
Duchezz and I were talking last night.
We decided we have too many things.

We decided to let everyone know that this year, if you are the kind of person who likes to give seasonal tokens of affection, that we request:

Gift cards to places like Red Lobster, Outback, Pizzeria Uno, 99, Applebees, etc.
Munson Williams Proctor Institute membership (Meirwen)
Farmers Museum membership (Rowan)

The gift of your company at any of the above.

Feel free to share this information widely as appropriate.

We now return to your regularly scheduled program.

Quiet day

Jul. 3rd, 2009 12:56 pm
meirwen_1988: (Default)
After the delightful yesterday of talk and laughter and good food, today is quiet. I am, as usual on Fourth of July weekend, watching Gettysburg. I usually watch part of it on the 2nd, part on the 3rd, and finish on the 4th.* This year, I missed the second (see delightful day above), so I'm getting the a big brain deluge today. I just finished the Battle for Little Round Top and visited John Bell Hood in the field hospital.

I think the reason I watch it every year is that more than any other war film I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot) it makes war itself something heartbreaking. More importantly, Maxwell's Gettysburg re-affirms the basic decency of human beings, even nobility, even while showing that even the best of men can make horrible mistakes with devastating consequences--but that those mistakes do not change the fundamental decency or value of those who make them. It is, ultimately, a movie optimistic about the human spirt and, as Chamberlain would say, the inherent value of every human being, and that I think is why even the heartbreak of Pickett's Charge can't make me turn away from it.

Added a bit later in the afternoon )


The morning began with hearing the NPR voices I know and love read through the document that begins "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."; now I am watching courage and conviction; I will spend my evening with friends from my youth, singing and laughing.

May your day, your holiday, give you as much satisfaction.

And for those of you going to Glenn Linn, where I spent part of last year's holiday weekend--fence, giggle, and drink some rum or Scotch. He would.
meirwen_1988: (Bride)
There are a dozen beautiful long-stem roses on my desk--11 white, one red.
Dinner tonight is yummy French toast made with the bread we bought at the Mennonite's store.
I'm off to buy Duchezz a card, and a piece of jewelry for me (she already got her prezzie).
I miss you.

May 4, 1991

And from May 4, 2008 (when Himself was at Grand Lodge)
9:24 PM update from The Boy in NYC: He just called from the intermission here http://www.nymasons.org/cms/divas_with_heart_Ticket (it's been sold out for awhile--don't be confused by the matinee line--that's for the added show). On their way down one of the mucky mucks called him on his cell and said he had some extra tickets, so himself is hanging out with the charitable crowd, watching Chaka, and Patti, and waiting for Diva Diana. I'm glad for him. He's all excited. He's so cute.


meirwen_1988: (girlhawk)
Getting together the basket for the Grand Matron's visit on Saturday. Theme--"A St. David's Tea."
Lots of yellow silk daffodils, some leeks (on a tea towel), Knorr Leek Soup, Welsh Tea cakes, Tawny Marmalade, Cream Scones Mix, Prince of Wales Tea, a cup with daffodils on it, a vase with daffodils on it, some Double Gloucester, and a recipe for Welsh Rarebit. Couldn't find a little Welsh flag. All pretty in a basket.

Tuesday morning had small Le Creusset bakeware for CHEAP, just the right size for two people. Buy!

The funniest thing that happened all morning (okay, other than me running around shopping before noon, which is just unnatural) was in Tuesday Morning I found "The jacket." Background: Two years ago Chadwicks had this lovely jacket (summery, white linen with flowers) that I really wanted. Finally I ordered it, and they were out of that particular pattern, so they substituted a close match, which was okay, but not the one I *really* wanted. Last week Coldwater Creek was doing a promotion where if you took in business casual jackets or pants they would donate them to a "starting over" women's foundation, and give you 35% off a similar item. So I took in some (more than I bought), and one of the pieces was the linen jacket, because, frankly, rhiannon14 and I would now fit together in the jacket, and still have room for one of the cats.

So, in Tuesday Morning what did I find? BOTH jackets--the one I'd just donated, and the one I really wanted in the first place. And the one I really wanted was...wait for it...there in my size! AND CHEAP.

My magic blade of shopping power strikes again!!

(Now if my magic blade of teaching power would just strike and actually have more than two students make an online deadline I could actually feel useful.)

I think the only solution is to go have tea and a piece of the still awesome soda bread from Tuesday.

And for those of you paying attention, today is the feast of San Giuseppe, so go out and eat lots of yummy bread, cakes, and fava beans--red sauce optional.

Home safe

Feb. 15th, 2009 04:50 pm
meirwen_1988: (Default)
We are back in CNY from our adventures in the land of Eastern PA. Duchezz has headed off to pick up the pugs, and then she'll be home, too.

There was much love and laughter. Duchezz won at Clue by 5 squares (grrrrr), and there was WAY TOO MUCH FOOD. YUMMMMMMMMMM!

For all who wished us well, thank you. Given how desperately hard it was at moments to not fall completely apart, I can't even begin to imagine what it would have been like to not be surrounded by family, buoyed on everyone else's good thoughts.

May your friends and family give the same buoyancy to your own lives.

And now, to work.
meirwen_1988: (happy dance)
Happy Birthday to [livejournal.com profile] anglesandlight .

She is in Georgia, which is far too far away. In these last 4 months I have missed her fiercely, for her brand of no-nonsense compassion, our shared sense of humor, and fun together in the kitchen.

Today is her day. Happy birthday sister waterbearer. I hope it's a wonderful day!

Birthdays

Jan. 30th, 2009 10:32 am
meirwen_1988: (Roses)
Again, thanks to all.

Just so you know, since so many hoped it was good:

My best work friend Donna took me to a lunch of chicken soup, Insalata Caprese, and conversation. Since it was at Cafe CaNole, she insisted I pick out two pastries for Duchezz and me to have for "birthday cake." Raspberry Napoleons.

I had a late meeting on campus--and yes, the chair brought cake, and birthday napkins, and they sang (which was not the usual trial since 3 of them on the committee are musicians/singers) [chocolate oreo cake, if you care]. I gave the leftover cake to the campus photographer to share with friends, which made her day. :-)

Duchezz got home late, but since requested dinner was French toast and sausages with a green salad with strawberries and kiwi, we were still done by 8. I then got completely absorbed in the DS game she bought me for a prezzie, so only half paid attention to Hell's Kitchen.

I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to try out the new Calaphon cake pans!

Then to bed. Where I had a dream with a certain guy in it. Who I haven't seen in what feels like a long time, feels like yesterday. (This is a rare thing for me--I dream often, but my dreams seldom include people I know.) Not an entirely good dream, but he was real, and present. And alive. At least in the dream.

And the strangest thing of the day was that I went through the entire day making myself a year older than I actually am. How did I find out? Well, the Duchezz bought me Brain Age for Christmas, and when I turned it on (after putting the little purple dragon to bed), the game said "Hey, Happy Birthday! You're___ today!"

So, a little animated Japanese guy hit me with a digital butter knife and I realized how old I actually was. I thought it was a little funny.
meirwen_1988: (Roses)
Thank you--

for the good wishes,
for the paper flowers from Philly,
the balloons,
for the beautiful photos today that are now part of my screensaver,
for the YouTubes I will listen to when I get home,
for the emails,
and calls,
and for being my friends.

My mother taught me that every birthday is the celebration of 365 separate victories.
We've shared some amazing victories this year--and I couldn't have done it without you.

If someone's life is judged by the quality of her friends, then my life is truly a great one.

Bless you.

(I'm gonna go eat a scone now!)
meirwen_1988: (writing)
Well, we were going to take trash and recycling to the place in Utica where we do that, then catch a movie.

We got up to snow, the fallen and the falling. We are staying home, playing various versions of handheld games, watching the CSI marathon on Spike!, Duchezz dosing, eating of easily prepared food, petting the pugs, just being.

Tonight we will watch TV, and have promised to stay up at least until it's midnight in London, England. I figure it's a pledge we can keep.

Tomorrow there will be college football, more Nyquil, perhaps knitting and reading. I may update my LibraryThing, or do the Year in Review meme. Post a house "wishlist" for 2009...who knows.

Today my spirit is held together by duct tape and chewing gum. I will make myself some tea, eat a cookie, and try desperately not to think.

Wish me luck.
meirwen_1988: (happy dance)
We are home.
We have collected the puppies.
A blissfully sodium free, fat free vegetable soup is simmering on the stove.
The Duchezz has been Nyquil'ed and is curled up in her chair.
I have a pot of tea and a book.
We anticipate being Pict-ed sometime today, which is wonderful.

Over the weekend we will head to Ra-cha-cha to see Duchezz brothers, perhaps most senior squire (in longevity) and family, and to deliver peanuts.

Until then, our own house, snowing outside, and kitty cuddles are the order of the day.

As such things are measured these days, life is good. There's a huge hole in the world, our hearts, our lives--but we take the blessings as they come, welcome them, and say thank you.
meirwen_1988: (Christmas House Mouse)
...time was cheerfully spent at the abode of [livejournal.com profile] dwolfhunter and [livejournal.com profile] bnsysabeau  with [livejournal.com profile] deadised , [livejournal.com profile] theboomboom , [livejournal.com profile] visrose , and honorary grandchild.  Then my favorite evil Atlantian and his beautiful lady arrived, and there was merriment.

Then we went back to our amazing prezzie (aka, hotel room) and crashed hard after having spent the morning with the demon brother-in-law and wife where they taught us to speak Costco and other languages of Satan.

This AM was a return to the land of The Baron Who Feeds You Too Well. We were joined by various Atlantians and our own [livejournal.com profile] baronsteffan , which was delightful.

We are now collapsed in our hotel room, preparing for the long drive home tomorrow. Fortunately we'll be having breakfast with the Baroness before we go, and all will be well. We will be lectured by the cats, no doubt. Then Tuesday we will retrieve the puppies from Camp Holland. We'll be glad to be home, but it has been a good road trip. We feel very loved.
meirwen_1988: (tired)
My brother-in-law is in league with the devil. I knew this. I conveniently forgot. Really, I ask you--did I need more yarn? Of course not. Did Duchezz? Still "no."

But...

We have more.

Not to mention the other stuff. He gleefully shepherded us into various establishments designed to separate people from $$$. We were strong. Mostly.

Evil, I tell you.

And he took us to Kohl's.

'kay, here's the deal. Neither Duchezz nor I has ever been able to find anything we like in Kohl's. Unless The Boy was with us.

So, his brother took us to Kohl's. And here's the rather disconcerting "Ghost of Christmas Past."

Last year Morguhn bought me a pair of Dockers. Striped. Colors I don't usually wear. But I really liked them. But they're too big now. Given the circumstances, that makes me more than usually grumpy. The Boy always bought me clothes for Christmas, and the fact that most of the last set he ever bought me are no longer things I can wear....

Well, I was wandering around, thinking that since I'm in a different area, maybe they carry more in the smaller sizes. I'm looking at jeans, and happen to look up over towards the shirts.

There, hanging on the end of a rack, nowhere near pants-land, is a pair of Dockers. Same fabric as the ones I can no longer wear. I go over and check the size. 4P--exactly the right size. Nothing like them anywhere else. All alone. In Kohl's. Where I never find anything. But Morguhn always could.

Yes, of course I bought them.

"God bless us, every one."

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