Chattering Magpie Past Web Log
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December 2001
December 31 2001
Wrapping it up.
It's the last day of the year and I'm stuck with this nasty cold. I can't breathe, except through my mouth, and we all know how attractive that is. Plus, I've got a weird headache - it feels like someone had hit me on the top of the head with a hammer. Good thing we plan to stay home tonight.

I've begun my annual orgy of organizing. I start small, with the countertop baskets, then the junk drawers. Next I'll move on to the kitchen closet. Evenutally I'll even polish the silverplate.

Everyone, please have a safe and celebratory New Year.

December 30 2001
It's not knitting if I don't rip it out three times.
I'm still knitting a Christmas present (the Molteni jersey). It should be going much faster, given that it's pretty much solid colors. But, as I say, it's not knitting if I don't rip it out three times. I had it almost up to the armholes, but I didn't like how the short rows on the back were looking, so I tore it all out down to almost the bottom. I'm much happier with subsequent work - more even and the short row transitions are smoother. So it's all worth it.

Nothing like Christmas bourbon balls to get you through the day. Some bourbon wouldn't be bad, either.

December 28 2001
Miss Cranky Day 2.
Actually I'm much better today, thank you. I stayed home from kung fu last night and went to bed early. Slept about twelve hours. Today I am lounging around the house in my bathrobe. We managed to get the DVD player hooked up so that we can also use the VCR and sound goes through the stereo. Of course, the tape player had to go, but it wasn't hooked up to anything anyway.

December 27 2001
Miss Cranky.
Yup, Miss Cranky, that's me. I've got a cold. Pressure behind my cheekbones, irritation in my nose, that sort of thing. It makes me a little dingy. Of course, it would be better if I stopped eating left-over Christmas cookies and instead ate some of the nice fresh fruit I bought.

December 26 2001
Merry Post-Christmas.
This is actually my favorite time of year - immediately after Christmas. The rush & hustle & bustle & pressure & stress are done with. Time to relax and reflect and reorganize.

This is the time of year when I get a hankering to sort through the material nonsense I've accumulated, toss the trash and get everything tidied up. I long to be neater, though it seldom has a lasting effect. I've been inspired by Christopher Lowell. That's the sort of show I end up watching during the day when I'm unemployed. It's fabulous! You can do it!

December 24 2001
Alone at Christmas.
Well, I'm not exactly alone (cats are here) and it's not exactly Christmas (2 hours away to be more accurate). I am eating myself silly on Christmas cookies, compliments of one of our favorite bartenders.

E and I had a lovely little Christmas Eve celebration of our own ... once I woke him from his nap. We opened presents: lots of books, a couple jigsaw puzzles and a nice pair of amber earrings (for me, not E). Then we ate crab. Even the cats got some. Then I dropped E off at work and hit a bar downtown for a little cheer. Now I wait until I fetch E tomorrow morning. May as well just go to bed. :-(

December 23 2001
Home for the holidays.
We just got back from early Christmas celebrations at the coast. The cats seem happy to see us.

Since E is working the graveyard shift on Christmas Eve, we visited my dad and other sundry relatives this weekend instead of Christmas. We enjoyed the annual crab feed Saturday night and exchanged gifts. I congratulate myself that everyone seemed to like their gifts. E made an especially good haul, coming home with one bottle of Wild Turkey 101 and two bottles of Rare Breed. Booze is good.

Our holiday plans now are to relax and enjoy ourselves. We brought back a couple extra crabs, so we can have our own little crab feast Christmas Eve and open presents (and by "presents" I mean "books") to each other. Then I'll take E in to work, catch a few Z's myself, then pick him up. More bed time then over to E's folks for one last family celebration and gift giving extravaganza.

December 19 2001
Hey stud.
Got the studded tires on the car in preparation for our trek over the mountains to the coast for the holidays. I've been making krumkake, too. It's the one cookie I can't make in advance. Very delicate.

One nice thing about being out of work this time of year, I have plenty of time to do all the last minute stuff without stressing too much. The bad thing is without a work schedule around which to structure my life, I tend to get a little disorganized.

Oh, and I got my hair cut and colored today. Ronnie talked me out of platinum tips. He did update my style to something more "sporty" - back is blunt cut instead of wispy and we're letting the sides grow out. I'm liking it!

December 17 2001
I ♥ NY.
We are back! Had a great time in New York. No, we didn't go down to Ground Zero.

New York is overwhelming. There's so much more of *everything*.

We spent the first couple days of our fabulous New York vacation on Long Island, with E's Cousin David & family. Saturday was Aunt Bernice's surprise 70th birthday party. Of course I hardly knew anyone, but the food was good and everyone had a good time.

Sunday: Drove into the city. My heart lept at my first sight of the Manhattan skyline. We settled into our room at the Hotel Lucerne on W. 79th St., then had a few drinks and noshes up and down Amsterdam Avenue.

Monday: Spent all day at the American Museum of Natural History and didn't get past the first floor. We saw the Willamette Meteorite and we want it back. Dinner at Dock's - it was New England Clam Bake night and we had the lobster special. Fabulous!

Tuesday: Took the subway downtown and tramped around. Saw newly rennovated Grand Central Station with its magnificent vaulted ceiling showing the night constellations. Up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Not exactly a clear day, but you could almost see forever. Dinner with Cousin Carla at a cute little Italian restaurant in her neighborhood.

Wednesday: Stood on line for half-price matinee tickets. Meandered through Madame Tussaud's before going to the show. We saw the newest Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, By Jeeves. A charming trifle, not great theater. Look for it in your local community theater within three years. Took the Long Island Railway out to Long Island for dinner at a diner with Cousin David & family.

Thursday: Lunch with Aunt Bernice in Times Square. Uptown for sushi dinner then back to Broadway for Dance of Death by August Strindberg, starring Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren.

Friday: To complete my New York experience, E took me to Katz's Deli on the Lower East Side. Katz's is one of the last old-time Jewish delis. We were lucky to beat the lunch rush. We both had the matzoh ball soup and I had a chocolate egg cream - which has neither egg nor cream. Back to Time Square for last minute souvenir buying. I finally got my photos of New York firemen for Connie. They're big and beefy, Connie, just like you like 'em! We caught a taxi to JFK airport with Jack the Hack, New York's oldest working taxi driver.

Of course I want to go back. There's so much to see and do, it will take several trips. It took E nine years to talk me in to flying to New York. We didn't get to go to all the museums we wanted to and I know E wanted to see some late night shows.

Still, I'm glad to be back home in our quiet podunk state where the water is soft and the traffic is mild.

December 6 2001
Leaving on a jet plane.
Tomorrow in the wee hours we fly to New York, with a brief layover in Seattle, no plane change. So it's nearly as good as a non-stop flight. I've been spending the day on those last minute tasks before traveling. I'll pick up Eric tonight, we'll have a quick drink, then sleep for a few hours. I expect to sleep on the plane as well. I have to pack away all my knitting, but I've got a couple good books and games on my Palm to help me through the flight.

So until we get back, ta ta!

December 4 2001
Don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
We have been getting some serious weather coming through, even a little sleet mixed in at our elevation. I've been considering when to put on the studs. The last couple years I could have done without (and saved our roads the wear and tear). But I suspect this year will be different. I'll be sure to have them put on before driving to the coast the weekend before Christmas. Of course, it's not such a time crunch now that I'm unemployed.

I'm finding myself a bit at loose ends. Without a job to structure my day, I think I've got all the time in the world and forget tasks still have deadlines. I'll have to make a list for myself.

December 2 2001
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Ah, the Christmas season. That lovely time of year when houses twinkle with lights, the malls fill with saccharine sounds of muzak carols and I get laid off.

That's right, I am out of a job. Same position I was in this time last year. Things are a little more hopeful this time: Purple Mountain intends this to be an extended (unpaid) winter hiatus and to restart publishing in January. My fingers are crossed. And I have updated my resume.

Hell of a time to be out of a job. Job market sucks, economy sucks. I had two weeks of vacation scheduled, so I don't want to get a job right away and lose out on my vacation time.

We're still going to New York in a week though. We have our plane reservations and our hotel reservations. If you have recommendations on things to do and see in New York, e-mail me.