Thursday, November 27, 2014


We have so very many things to be thankful for this year. Here are just two. (These two turkeys have fattened up nicely since June, haven't they?) Five months and two days old.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

25 Things to Do on a Rainy Day

Today was a cold and crappy rainy-snowy-slushy day. If I'd had my druthers, I wouldn't have gone to work. But I pulled up my socks and went in. Since so few of us were there today, we had a group lunch which was pretty fun. And then they let us go early, which was pretty fun. And then my driver's side windshield wiper broke as I was pulling out of the parking lot, so I drove leaning over looking out the passenger side of the windshield with my broken-wiper arm pulled off the glass and waving like an amputated hand. Fortunately, there was a service station less than two miles from my office and they fixed me up. That was pretty fun.
Photo courtesy of raumrot.

Anyway, I've been thinking about rainy days and things to do.
  1. Call in sick and stay in bed.
  2. Snuggle the dog.
  3. Color. I still love these books. Hard to find but you can get similar ones at the big box craft stores.
  4. Watch classic movies. Or organize a film festival with movies on a theme. Or watch all the movies in a series, like Lord of the Rings or Richard Linklater's Before series. Don't forget the popcorn!
  5. Watch all six hours of the BBC Pride and Prejudice straight through.
  6. Bake cookies: this recipe is very popular in my family.
  7. Read.
  8. Build a fort. Stick the blow up mattress inside. Read in there!
  9. Take a bubble bath. Keep adding hot water. Wrinkle your skin. Read in there!
  10. Have a tea party. Here's a scone recipe the dude and I use regularly.
  11. On a day like today make hot chocolate from scratch. Or try hot vanilla.
  12. Try painting your nails with eye makeup. Did you even know you could do that? Check it out.
  13. While you're at it, give yourself a pedicure and a deep cleaning facial mask.
  14. Experiment with make up looks. You may not know there are thousands of videos for make-up application on YouTube (like 348,000). They are awesome! (And when I say that, it's like I think Graceland is awesome--a little hilarious, a little sad, and a little educational. And why the hell not?)
  15. This one is more my sister than me, but read that pile of magazines on your nightstand.
  16. Organize something: your pantry, your closet, your medicine cabinet, your stash, your photos. (You can get some help with that.)
  17. Just listen to the rain. (Is there a more comforting sound?) (Okay, the ocean, but rain is second.) 
  18. Make fondue. (Definitely a day like today rainy-snow storm and not a summer thunderstorm kind of activity.) 
  19. Walk around the house and make a list of all the repairs your house needs. Maybe do one.
  20. Walk around your house again and make a home inventory. Use your phone and film it.
  21. Find a Pinterest project slightly outside your comfort zone. Try it!
  22. Write to someone you haven't written to in a while. Or email. Or call.
  23. Take stupid Buzzfeed quizzes to find out which music video, Pixar character, or which year of the 80s you are. Find out where you should live, what nationality your inner self is, or what song you should play on repeat this weekend. For slightly more intellectual undertakings (by which I mean the geography category) there's Sporcle.
  24. Make soup. Or stew. Or a casserole. Something to warm you from the inside.
  25. Stitch!
Of course these were all things you can do alone. There's many more you can do if the kids or friends or a special friend are around, but those are different lists.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgivings Past

Facebook showed me this photo the other night. Apparently I shared it three years ago. It's my "history." In advance of Thanksgiving, I cleaned out the fridge. It generated 24 comments...which may just prove I have a lot of weird friends.

Thanksgiving is at my cousin's house this year, so I won't be repeating the exercise.

*If you think I've reached a NaBloPoMo low, check this out: one Nablo'er wrote a post about how it feels to write every day, in pictures. Right about now, I'm baby Sylvester with a bag on my head.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Maggie Monday: The Boston Accent

Keep in the back of your mind that, being from southern NH, many of my relatives have a Boston accent. (Me? You can only tell when I say "Bawstin.") Where we're from polar bears are "polah beyas." Keep this in mind for later.

My aunt took Maggie to the eye specialist who only visits Nashua once a month. "The place was jumping," my aunt writes:
Our appointment was at 1:40 but we did not get to see the doctor until 5:45. There was an abundance of mothers in their 90s with their daughters in their 60s. After waiting for a few hours we started comparing notes. We found out that a couple of us had appointments at the same time with the same doctor. The waiting room has magazines from the year 2000 and no TVs. Most of the old ladies are half blind so reading a book to pass the time would be out of the question. One of the patients asked the receptionist if was ok to leave and do some errands and come back. That was not an option; they would lose their place in line. One of the married couples was concerned because she hates driving in the dark and her husband would not be able to drive because his eyes were dilated. Who would think you'd have to drive home in the dark when you appointment was at noon!?  
There was a moment of levity when one of the other old ladies (only 83) mentioned that her 30 year old grandson was a research scientist [at a famous place]. He is thinking of making a career change. He wants to get married and have a family. She mentioned how smart he was in spite of being bipolar*. Maggie didn't skip a beat and asked if we had heard of the doctor who had just died of bipolar. The woman and I practically fell off of our chairs lauging. It was quite obvious she meant Ebola.
So now in our office we call Ebola "bipolar."

*You know, old people. Us younger folks know that mental illness does not affect intelligence.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Books Inside Me

The November 20th NaBloPoMo prompt was "Do you have a book in you? Fact or fiction? Related to your blog, or totally different from it?" I'd have answered it then, but I had more important things to write about.

I was struck by how strange the wording was. The only other time I've heard someone use the phrase "book in you" was when I was graduating from college and my mother told me she believed I had a book in me. This may be one of the most supportive things she has ever said to me. It turns out I did. They called it a dissertation, and it went out in a limited run (two copies, although today you can access it online with the right databases).

But I have had other book ideas. I had a friend tell me that he loved my list for that "25 Random Things about Me" that was going around on Facebook several years ago, and that he would buy notes if I could get a contract to write them. How many Random Things About Me would it take to fill a book? I also thought you might, might, be able to write a novel entirely in lists. I started sketching that one out, but like so many of my great ideas it's still in my head.

For a while there, people were getting contracts to write blog-like essay-filled books. I could do that. And there's the idea for the "Stitcher's Life List" kicking around in me.

So the books might be inside me, but they have a hard time getting out.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wild Friday Night

Last night I was out late...stamping with the girls. We know how to have a wild time! :p

I started working on my Christmas cards. I had selected a few ideas from Pinterest that I knew I could make with my friend's stamps. I stamped all the pieces first; those have gone no further: no coloring, no cutting, no gluing together. Instead, I turned my attention to these pinwheels with birds. I only completed a few of them, but I did cut out all the squares. It uses my most favorite Stampin' Up designer paper, Be of Good Cheer. Now I am down to the last scraps. :(   (On the other hand, I have used the paper, which is the point!)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Flashback: Fashion

I have heard from some commenters that you enjoy these flashbacks, and I am glad because I love reading the magazines to find a delightful tidbit.

Today's article begins by stressing the importance of dress not only for a woman but also for how her dress (and, later in the article, toilet) reflect on her husband, and in fact the importance of dress for landing such a one. In fact they go so far as to compare it to phrenology of the body. I mention this mostly because I love the nineteenth century for believing in phrenology. A lost art (a psuedoscience), phrenologists tried to ascribe meaning to the lumps and bumps of the head with regards to what was going on inside the head. Head size and other measurements would indicate intelligence, personality, tendencies, and character. And apparently clothes did the same for women. The article considers different aspects of women's contemporary dress--gowns, skirts, flounces, hats, and the black scarf:
The plain black scarf is come of too graceful a parentage--namely, from the Spanish and Flemish mantilla--not to constitute one of the best features of the present costume. It serves to join the two parts of the figure together, enclosing the back and shoulders in a firm, defined outline of their own, and flowing down graceful in front, or on each side, to mix with that of the skirt. The man must be a monster who could be impertinent to a woman in any dress, but especially to a woman in a black scarf. It carries an air of self-respect with it which is in itself a protection. A woman thus attired glides on her way like a small close-reefed vessel--tight and trim--seeking no encounter but prepared for one. Much, however, depends upon the wearing--indeed, no article of dress is such a revealer of the wearer's character. Some women will drag it tight up their shoulders, and stick out their elbows (which ought not to be known to exist) in defiance at you--beneath. Such are of the  independent class we described with strong sectarian opinions. Others let it hang loose and listless, like an idle sail, losing all the beauty of the outline, both moral and physical. Such ladies have usually no opinions at all, but none the less a very obstinate will of their own. "Old and New Fashions: Art of Dress," Godey's Magazine and Lady's Book; Nov 1847; 35, p 245.
I worry that I have entirely missed the power of the plain black scarf! Oh, for this kind of empowerment. (Actually, for my dissertation defense I wore a pair of black patent leather slingbacks with a then-fashionable square heel. I called them my power shoes, and I am not kidding they did embue me with some kind of power. [I was in tears after the first question, looked at my shoes, thought, "they can't do this to me while I am wearing my power shoes," and a sudden fierceness came over me.] After that, a handful of women went out and bought special shoes for their defenses. Sometimes, you just have to have something to believe in.)

Although it is not addressed, I believe that a woman who wears the black scarf properly has both the right kind of opinions and knows when and how to express them. Of course!

All right, ladies, elbows in. I'll be back tomorrow.