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Archive for December 2006

Handmade Christmas Presents

December 30th, 2006 — 12:58pm

Now that there are no surprises to spoil, here’s a round-up of a bunch of stuff I made for people for Christmas:

A knotwork bookmark in cross-stitch, for Henry. I drew the knot, translated it into chart-form (using Andy Sloss’s awesome book) and worked it while watching two movies and a couple of episodes of Seinfeld one night when I was home alone:

I drew and embroidered this knot onto a pillowcase for Dan (and I gave him a new pillow to put in the pillowcase):

I designed and made this hooded cloak for Henry. He chose the fabric — a green linen blend for one side, and a soft brown plaid flannel for the other side. The cloak reverses from Elven to Celtic. I put a silver knotwork button at the throat. It’s cut in gores so it flows and hangs nicely:

Henry and I were driving around, planning presents for people. I suggested a Dark Side of the Moon T-shirt for Sally, and Henry said he thought we could MAKE one for her. So I bought a plain black T-shirt, blew up the Dark Side logo nice and large, and traced it off my laptop screen onto thin paper (carefully!), then transferred it to the fabric. I backed the design area with a scrap of woven cotton to keep the stretching and puckering under control, and worked the design in a quilting hoop. It’s outline stitch with split-stitch filling the colored areas.

5 comments » | Blog, Handmade

My pharmacy

December 29th, 2006 — 5:17pm

The ginormous Stater Brothers grocery store around the corner has a tiny pharmacy counter near the front of the store.  Between the two of us, Dan and I need about 6 different medications every month, and they never all run out at the same time, so I’m at the pharmacy a lot.  Two friendly fellows work there — Howard, who’s middle-aged, and Jeff, who is late-twenties-ish.  They never goof up our prescriptions, they recognize my voice when I call for refills, and they’ve always got friendly conversation for Henry.  The reason I mention this today is that Jeff just called me to ask if I left my gloves there today!  He said they’re small knitted gloves, and he knows I’ve got small hands and wear knitted gloves :) They’re not mine (turquoise, ick), but I was really touched that Jeff thought to call me and check.  Happy new year, pharmacy guys!

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Visit to B, C, and C

December 27th, 2006 — 11:48pm

Woke up around nine, not quite enough sleep considering how late we stayed up last night. Lazed around on the couch doing nothing. Finally figured out how to get our Wii to let us message our friends’ Wiis, and trade Miis, etc. BOTH parties must register each other as friends. Liwii registered me, I registered him, and voila — we were able to trade Miis and send messages! It’s different when you want to register a friend with a regular email address — you register him, and he gets an email asking if it’s ok for you to message him. So now I don’t have to obsess over this anymore.

Dan woke up eventually, I fixed him eggs, and he played Twilight Princess until Henry got home, and then we went down to visit Bob and Chloe and Celia. We brought along the Wii and we all had a lot of fun playing. I’ve become very fond of the bowling game, surprisingly! And we played a lot of music, too. Bob showed me some simple patterns to play on the drums and he played along with me on the bass, which was wildly fun!

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Twilight Princess

December 26th, 2006 — 11:09pm

Henry got up early and played Twilight Princess for a couple of hours before his dad came to pick him up for their Christmas. He took his Transformers and his cloak with him :) I’m so glad he likes his cloak! He’s been wearing it every chance he gets. I’ll post pictures eventually…

So after Henry had gone and while Dan was still sleeping, I finally got a chance to start my own Twilight Princess game! I had watched the guys play, obviously, and it seemed like it would be pretty fun, maybe not great, though they were both raving about it being the Best. Zelda. Evar. Once I started my own game and got past the training stages, I was in total agreement. OMG. I played for 4.5 hours straight, all the way to the point where Link gets his green hero outfit. It’s so good, so good. I love riding the horse! And the Wii controls work beautifully.

In the evening Bob and Chloe came over for a visit. We watched some SNL Christmas sketches and then Pulp Fiction, and then we showed them our Wii. They made a couple of Miis (oh, the Wii UI is so darn good. We gave them a wiimote and a shove in the right direction, and they had great Miis in no time. Then we played Wii sports until 1:30am, heheh. A great time!

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Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2006 — 10:56pm

Merry Christmas, everyone! Here are some presents for you!

For those who like Christmas carols, here’s a collection of public domain carols sung by an assortment of LibriVox volunteers:

For the audio-book lovers, here’s a great collection of short Christmas-themed works — poems, stories, essays:

(Don’t miss Henry playing Father Christmas in the Cornish Christmas Play!)

And here’s an oldy-but-goody — LibriVox’s first version of A Christmas Carol, recorded a year ago:

We had a wonderful day. Henry woke up at 6, opened his “open me now” present (Yoshi’s Island for DS), played for ten minutes, and fell back asleep until after 9, so we had a blissfully late start to a long and lovely day. Henry gave me two new Tony Hillerman novels and John Hodgeman’s “Areas of my Expertise” which I’ve been wanting for a long time. I started reading it already and it’s just about the funniest thing I’ve ever read. Dan gave me a delicate necklace of little square topazes set every 1.5 inches on a very fine white-gold chain. It looks like a little chain of stars, kind of. I adore it — it’s feminine but not girly. And Dan picked it out for me himself! Oh, and March of the Minis for my DS Lite — super-fun game! And a little 2g USb flash drive which should come in handy. OH! And a CD which I LOVE — “Across The Western Ocean” by John Roberts and Tony Barrand. I heard one of their songs on my Pandora folk music station, looked up the CD, heard some samples, and added it to my Christmas list. It’s soooo good!

And Santa brought the whole family a Nintendo Wii (scroll down to Dec. 17 for the full story), which, at the time of this post, has been in use almost constantly for over 12 hours. It’s THAT MUCH FUN! Henry and I must have played tennis together for a couple of hours, spaced throughout the day. That’s our favorite of the sports games, though baseball is fun too. We can be on the same team in tennis, which makes it more fun. He and Dan started Twilight Princess and have both gotten pretty far. I’ll start my game tomorrow maybe. If you have a Wii, and I know you, or you’re a nice homeschooling family or some other non-creepy person(s), email me your Wii’s number and we can exchange Miis :)

4 comments » | Blog

Christmas is not tomorrow!

December 23rd, 2006 — 6:07pm

I woke up too early so I’ve been tired all day, but it’s been a nice day anyway. I did all the rest of the wrapping so we’re all set. I have one more present (for Mom) that’s not finished yet but everything else is done! And I worked on Mom’s present this afternoon for a bit while we finished watching Rudolph. Henry and I drove Dan to Escondido to pick up his car, and then after that H and I played WoW for a while. Then we ate frozen things and leftovers for dinner, and now the guys are baking a batch of chocolate/chocolate-chip/peppermint cookies, and they say they will vacuum and mop for me tomorrow :)

Dan and I have been watching the US version of The Office. The first season was not very good, but second was excellent. We watched the first two episodes of the third season last night and it’s as good as the second so far.

Dan and Henry keep telling me that Christmas is tomorrow but I know better!

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Christmas Music Fun

December 22nd, 2006 — 5:15pm

Tonight Henry and Dan and I went down to Chloe and Bob’s house for music and fun. Sally and Gary came too. We played Christmas music and sang and watched The Grinch (the real one). Mom played the piano for us; Gary, Henry, and Bob took turns on the drums; Henry played a bit of bass, and we all sang. We had a great time :)

2 comments » | Blog

Lear in One Week

December 21st, 2006 — 11:08pm

On Dec. 18th David (Earthcalling) had the crazy idea  the maybe we LibriVoxers could put together a performance of King Lear in time for Boxing Day 2006, the 400th anniversary of Lear’s first performance.   I can’t believe how quickly it’s going together!  As of right now, all parts are cast and only 6 roles have yet to be submitted.  Henry and I each had a small role, which we’ve already sent off to David.  I think we’re going to succeed!  Here’s the thread:

If you read through ot to the end, you’ll bump into some teaser links for a few of the already-pasted-together scenes.  Go, David, go!

1 comment » | Blog

Carl Sagan Blog-a-Thon

December 20th, 2006 — 3:28pm


Fans and bloggers are planning a worldwide blog-a-thon to commemorate the life and legacy of Carl Sagan — consummate scientist, communicator and educator — on Dec. 20, the 10th anniversary of his death. Sagan was Cornell’s David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences.

So I just thought I’d say a few words.  In 1980, or so, my parents bought our very first color TV so we could watch Cosmos in color. I have vivid memories of watching Cosmos all together, once a week.  It was a big deal!  I remember enjoying it very much.  Thanks, Carl :)

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My Fair Lady

December 19th, 2006 — 10:07pm

After Karate this morning we did a little bit of grocery shopping, then came home and put on My Fair Lady (thanks, TiVo). I hadn’t seen it in many years and Henry never had, so that was a lot of fun. I worked on a secret project while we watched. Super tired all day, still catching up from the weekend I guess. Also I dreamt I was at the north pole, and woke up early to find that most of my covers had fallen off.

Tonight Mom and I went shopping to see if we could find some jeans for her to give me for Christmas, heheh. I tried on a million pairs and didn’t find one that fit. I’m tall and thin and not especially curvy. Also I HATE the ones that are sort of faded-looking on the front of the legs, or are cut too low, or have trampy details. I tried on a lot of boy-jeans which had better, plainer styling (and didn’t puff out with extra fabric at my non-existant hips) but the ones that fit through the hips were a couple of inches too short. Heh. But we did find some nice shirts on ultra-super-sale at the Gap outlet. I will now forget about them until Christmas. :)

If anyone knows where to get nice plain ordinary jeans or cargo pants that will fit a beanpole, please let me know.

1 comment » | Blog

Yul vs. Ozzy

December 18th, 2006 — 8:50pm

Ozzy should have won.

1 comment » | Blog

Rock on, Back off, Wake up

December 18th, 2006 — 7:51pm

Dan’s having a spot of bother with his car, so I drove him to work this morning, and Henry and I picked him up again before Karate tonight. Spending that time in the car together make it feel like I had extra Dan-time today, so that was really nice.

Henry and I did LOTS of Christmas gift crafting today. Let’s see… I’d better not go into specifics but let’s just say that we both did a lot of sewing and designing :) And he helped me with housework by running up and down the stairs, fetching things and putting things away. I got really tired and had to have a little lie-down in the afternoon but mostly I felt pretty good all day!

Henry just brought me a printout of the lyrics to Gold Dust Woman. He’s been in a Rumors mood lately. I was startled to see that the first line is “Rock on, gold dust woman” — I thought it was “Wake up” and Henry thought it was “Back off.” Heheh.  Henry loves to play the drums along with that song, but he needs a cowbell desperately.  Tonight he made a makeshift cowbell by holding a metal dustpan against his stomach and beating it with the eraser end of a pencil.  It sounded pretty good!  I had already done all my Christmas shopping when I found out that he was longing for a real cowbell, so if anyone out there wants to make him really happy, send a cowbell.  He’s got a fever… and the only cure… is MORE COWBELL!!

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Dec. 18 (Monday)

December 18th, 2006 — 7:34pm

Finished math chart
designed and made stuffed cloth sword
designed and made pillow
A Way with Words
History of Christmas

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The Quest for the Wii

December 17th, 2006 — 10:12pm

As you may know, Nintendo released their new console, the Wii, in late November. We planned to get one as a family Christmas present, but they’ve been in short supply and we hadn’t managed to get our hands on one yet, though I did buy a copy of the new Legend of Zelda game for Wii, just in case we did manage to get one by Christmas :)

I found out yesterday that Toys’r’Us was probably getting a shipment of Wiis this morning, so I set my alarm for 5am and got to the store at 5:08. There were already seven people in line ahead of me, and we were quickly joined by another handful. Around 6am, an employee popped out and said they had ten Wiis, so that was a relief. The two fellows behind me were happy, and the rest of the people left, though later a lot more joined us, just hoping that by some freakish chance there’d be more than ten units, I guess. So we all sat there in the cold and the rain, chatting and stamping our feet to try to stay warm. There was an overhang so we didn’t actually get rained on, though we had visitors come over from the Best Buy, where there was no overhang, who said people had spent the night there in the rain under tarps. Gack, not me, thanks. In our line, Numbers One and Two were a middle-aged couple who got there at 4:30am. Three and Four were a couple of dudes, Five and Six were a 20-ish couple, Seven was a 20-ish dude, Eight was me, Number Nine in line was a Marine with a wife, a one-year-old, and another on the way. He was friendly and chatty and let me sit in his folding chair for a while (I was just sitting on a folded blanket on the cement,) and Ten was a 30-ish DJ who’d been up all night DJing a party.

So, we waited and waited. I was fairly comfortable, ’cause I was wearing my gray wool sweater, Dan’s big winter coat, Henry’s wool scarf, my wool hat, my gloves, and my cloak over all of that. My lower legs and feet were cold but the rest of me was fine.

At 8am another employee popped out and handed out slips of paper to the first ten of us in line, that said we had the right to go in and buy the “Wii Bundle”. We were all a bit alarmed, ’cause there was a rumor going around that Fry’s was forcing people to buy a bundle of FIVE $50 games if they wanted a Wii. But it turned out that we were only forced to buy one game, um, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, some lame-looking super-hero thing. Whatever. (Henry will get to be Spiderman, so he’ll be happy.) They let us in, we all zoomed speedy-quick to the video game section, and… ta-da! I bought a Wii! I didn’t really believe it until it was in my hands. I bought an extra pair of controllers, too.
Got home by 8:20am and collapsed on the couch until Dan woke up about 9:30. He was soooooooo happy that I succeeded! Neither one of us had much hope of getting one by Christmas. We’ve been telling Henry that we’ll probably get a Wii in spring when they are easy to find and probably cheaper, so he’s going to be one surprised boy!

We wanted to test it out before Henry got home, of course, so we unboxed it and set it up — quick and easy, no hitches. It’s a sturdy-feeling little thing, white and sleek and Appley. Nice packaging, too. Nintendo includes a sports game with the Wii, which is a nice touch — right away you get to play a game that takes full advantage of the wireless, motion-sensitive controller. When I first heard about the sports game, I thought, whoop-dee-do, sports. But it’s Nintendo-style sports! Cute, colorful, happy, and fun. There’s baseball, tennis, bowling, boxing, and golf. Dan and I played baseball for a long time. I suck at batting :) We both got kind of worn out from playing. You really do want to stand up and swing that remote around! Dan tried out the boxing game and loved it, and got tired and sweaty again heheh. I tried tennis and it was fun too! Then we packed it all back up and hid it away until Christmas.

I am really looking forward to making my “Mii” when we get to play again. A “Mii” is a little avatar person that represents you in the sports games and other future games too, I imagine. We played as guests today but when we get to make our own, we’ll get to choose from all kinds of features, hairstyles, body types, etc. It’ll be fun :)

(Note: My right arm and shoulder were sore as heck for three days after we tested our Wii. Exersize!)

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December 17th, 2006 — 6:00pm

I did a special Christmas errand today, which I can’t talk about here I case the wrong person sees this post.  So I’ll write it up and save it as a draft, and publish it in this slot after the 25th :)

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Dec. 15 (Friday)

December 15th, 2006 — 8:53pm

Christmas crafts
history of Christmas

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December 15th, 2006 — 12:31pm

Do not read this post if you haven’t yet seen the Eragon movie, and plan to. Go ahead and read it if you want an excuse NOT to go see it ;-)

This morning I took Henry to see Eragon. He’s been looking forward to this movie so much, and was worried that the first show (11:30am) would sell out, so we got to the theater an hour and a half early, bought tickets from the automatic kiosk, and hung out in Starbucks until the theater opened at 11. We were the first ones in so we got our very favorite seats, in the center just behind the railing. About 15 other people joined us eventually, heheh. The movie was a steaming pile of elephant dung. Fans of the book might like it, I guess. Henry certainly did and gave it an 8 out of 10; he had some complaints but was mostly just happy to see those beloved characters come to life. I didn’t read the book — couldn’t get past the first few pages, not being a fan of heavily derivitive, poorly-written fantasy. The movie was a series of strung-together cliches, badly written and directed. I spent the time playing “Spot The Continuity Flaws,” “What’s Wrong With This Scene,” “Didn’t I See This Scene In Star Wars?,” and “Who The Hell Designed These Ghastly Sets And Costumes?”

Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich did the best they could with what they had to work with, I suppose.

Oh well, at least Henry enjoyed it and I had fun taking him and seeing his pleasure and excitement.

LOL. I just went over to Rotten Tomatoes to see what the rest of the world thought about the movie. It got an average rating of 4.4/10, so I guess I am not the only one who hated it. Here are some choice quotes:

I left Eragon feeling like I’d just watched a Renaissance Faire stage its own production of “Star Wars.”

In a time of darkness, under the evil reign of John Malkovich… a hero shall rise. But lo, there will be little rejoicing, for this dragon rider (newcomer Edward Speleers) is but a nancy boy.

A load of generic mush perhaps best served as a piece of bitchin’ ’70s van art.

That last one especially cracks me up. I kept having flashbacks to 1977, what with Eragon’s flared leather hip-huggers, puffy shirt, and sweet leather vest. God. Go read some more of the hilarity:

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Teddy Bear

December 14th, 2006 — 11:10pm

Yesterday Henry made a Kunai Dagger out of felt for his best friend, Fargo, and a little wire and bead bracelet for Fargo’s little sister.  Today he found out that Fargo’s little brother is wishing for a teddy bear.  My first thought was, oh, that’s easy, we can find a nice little bear at Toys ‘r’ Us, but Henry said he wanted to make one!  So we found a simple bear pattern online and Henry dug through my fabric box and chose a soft brown plaid flannel.  I cut out the pieces and pinned them, and Henry did almost all of the sewing on the machine.  The pieces didn’t fit together perfectly so I helped ease them together from time to time.  I clipped the seams, and Henry turned and stuffed the little bear.  He chose button eyes from my spare button bag and I sewed them on (Max is old enough not to eat button eyes).  Then we tied one of my red hair-ribbons around his neck and Henry wrapped him up!

I’m so proud that Henry likes to make gifts and that he understands that, while store-bought presents are great, hand-made ones are special too.  Speaking of handmade gifts, I need to get cracking!  I’ve got a lot of big ideas and a few half-finished presents and only 10 days left, heheh.

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Dec 14 (Thursday)

December 14th, 2006 — 6:19pm

Science – grasshoppers
Spanish – Christmas words
made a teddy bear for a friend

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Dec. 13 (Wednesday)

December 13th, 2006 — 8:26pm

Baked cookies at Jason’s house
made presents for friends

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