Before the Post-Christmas Post

A very merry Christmas to all my blogreaders!

I will have photos to post and stories to tell about my weekend soon, but in the meantime, let's talk books.  There must be at least one blogreader with a new e-reader or a gift card to a bookstore burning a hole in his/her pocket.

Books I recently finished (all borrowed from the public library):

1. The Puppy That Came for Christmas: A good, medium-length read about a couple who help raise and train pups to help people with disabilities, and receive help in return, dealing with emotional struggles stemming from childhood tragedy (for one of them) and infertility, from the very dogs they train.

2. Forgotten: This is a YA title about a teen whose memory "resets" each day as the result of a trauma that occurred when she was six.  (Obviously she and her mother have devised a system to keep her a functional high-schooler.)  It was a fairly good page-turner that obviously requires some suspension of disbelief.  There are a couple situations that make it more suitable for older teens and up.

Movie I recently borrowed from the library: Christmas in Connecticut, which was a romantic, mistaken-identity comedy featuring the wonderful Barbara Stanwyck.  The week before, I managed to get hold of The Shop Around the Corner (Jimmy Stewart) which for me is as much a Christmastime must-see as Miracle on 34th Street.

Books I currently am working on (again, all borrowed from public library):

1. Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies: I can't remember why I wanted to read it, but again it's YA, so probably I'm going to see if it's something that might work for my 7th/8th graders.

2. Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: funny memoir-ish essays by Lisa Scottoline (local author and columnist) and daughter.  I've been reading a couple before bed the past few nights because it's nice to go to bed after a few laughs.

3. A Brief History of Montmaray: YA again, probably not acceptable for my school's library (too mature), but--and I'm taking a guess here, so nobody jump down my throat--seems to be that period-piece teen romance-type a la Libba Bray.  I'll let you know for sure once I read it.

I'm on the waiting list for The Night Circus (started but had to return because it's got a million holds on it and renewals aren't allowed; it started slow and while I'm not enthralled I do want to know what happens) and Wonderstruck (been watching for coupons to get it cheap for school library).

Sometimes it's a little weird to think of everything I've read in the past year. But there's so much out there to read!  How can I resist?



Living Room Is ALMOST Clean Enough for Tree

Maybe surviving a crazy/shortened week of school and a faculty Christmas luncheon (including one wicked pollyanna) was the motivation I needed to clear some space. Or maybe I'm excited that I finally get to meet BunnyBoy tomorrow!

Still remaining on the Christmas to-do list:

*Shop for a few more presents

*Wrap all the presents (which reminds me that I need to wrap a present for the baby before tomorrow's event)

*Make requested foods.  Those would be marinated peppers (Dad's request) and meringue wreath cookies (Mom's request).

*Plan outfits for tomorrow (Baby!), Christmas Eve (Dinner!), and Christmas (Mass! Fun at Parents'!)

*Finish cleaning up living room and put up tree.

Exciting times.



Decapitated Jingle Bell Spiders and Other Craft Disasters

I think for the most part, the primary grade kids did not mind having me as their librarian for a day.  But the crafts--oh, the crafts.  What a mess.

All the third graders had to do to make their Jingle Bell Spiders (to go with this story) was twist pre-cut pipe cleaners around the "neck" where a large jingle bell (body) and small jingle bell (head) were threaded together.  Piece of cake, right?  Um, not when twisting causes the thread to break!  I had to collect all the separated bells (jingle bell heads will roll!) and do careful leg attachments to their fragile replacements.  This so did not happen when my co-librarian made the "model spideys."
That said, once things came together, the kids seemed pretty delighted by their jingle spideys.

First grade--well, I think they just didn't understand what they had to do.  Not to mention they were a little fried from their Christmas play performance the night before.  We were supposed to read this story and talk about what St. Nicholas really brought the villagers--you know, in the abstract. . . only some kids have a one-track mind at this time of year, and they wrote down what they wanted from Santa.  I think my co-librarian is going to crack up when she sees that St. Nick brought a new Kindle (seriously? first grade?) to a completely snowed-in village in Old World Russia.
Not to mention the scissor-happy kids who sliced up their cut-outs and the overzealous gluers who slopped Elmer's everywhere.

Nobody can say I didn't try.  But man, am I tired.



Reaching the End of a Crazy Week

I've been enjoying the psychological roller-coaster of having to call in to the federal court juror system every night since Tuesday to see if I had to go into the city.  (When I say "enjoying," I mean "not sleeping; being stressed out.")  Contingency plans for a substitute, all the other stuff going on at school you're trying to get in before Christmas vacation next week, kids whacked out on sugarplums. . . and a co-librarian with a family emergency.  Great timing.

I could have been out from Wednesday on, but instead I kept getting the "don't report tomorrow but call in again after 5 to see if you need to go the next day" message--it was just hard not knowing from one day to the next where I was going to be.  

So, no court for me.  (I wonder if I'll ever serve on a jury.)  No sub for me. . . but I will be subbing for my co-librarian tomorrow.

I'll let you know how it goes reading and doing crafts with the little ones.  

The crafts part scares me more than anything else!



Some Things That Are Way More Interesting Than I Am Right Now

This cat's got 26 toes (a.k.a. polydactyly).  And he seems like a cat with a nice temperament.

Oh, and guess who came home yesterday.




Lecturing Deer in the Road and Other Weird Chores

I've been going at a pretty fast pace at school, partly because school is closed today and tomorrow, and also partly because there's all this other pressure--like the kickoff of a major reading group thing across the grade levels (can we say, "team drama"?) and the possibility that I will have jury duty three days next week (and maybe beyond). Oh, and my co-librarian's dad is having surgery next week, too, so she's going to be out.

Today was a chore day.  Make the phone calls, take out the trash and recycling, get the dishwasher run, try to get The Cat to eat.  (Yeah, as of yesterday, The Cat has been picking at her food.  She seems as if she wants to eat, but food tastes bad to her or something.  The vet did say that steroids sometimes alter tastes.  Maybe I should make her a salad.)

Tonight, I dropped my car off for an oil change and a look-see at that pesky starter problem (which happened twice today but fortunately not before Mass).  Mom offered me the use of her car (you know, the man-magnet station wagon with the baby seats in the back) and I ran a few errands.  Decided to take the back roads home, and sure enough--three deer in the road!

Deer 1 hightailed it to the other side.

Deer 2 slowed down but eventually ambled across.

Deer 3 stood in the middle like the proverbial deer in the headlights.  Guess who got a lecture from me?  Eventually Deer 3 decided to run for the other side as a car approached from the opposite way.

Never a dull moment around here!

Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to helping my mom sort out her digital camera problem--and at this point I'd rather the camera be broken than the memory card unreadable, because she took photos at my Pop-Pop's 90th b-day party--and picking out a Christmas tree for my parents' house.  

More about that b-day party, books I'm reading, and maybe a new photo of baby nephew, soon.



So, Where Did I Leave Off?

Well, here I am, nursing the tail end of a cold that I probably got from Younger Sister.  (She never brings me anything good from DC unless it's my birthday.)

Let's get back up to speed.

Thanksgiving: My mood was inexplicably awful, my maiden aunt came and talked nonstop the entire time--and I'm pretty sure she stole the other half of the one measly beer I was trying to enjoy--but the two new people I met, my uncle's friend (girlfriend, but I think he can't say it), and Younger Sister's boyfriend (she couldn't say it when she introduced him, either!), were really great.
We're almost afraid to say how much we like Younger Sister's boyfriend.  He is British--in fact he's her second boyfriend with U.K. roots, but the first one we've met.  There's a lot of good-natured-ness about his personality (not surprisingly, one of his jobs is coaching high school students) that I think makes him a good match for Younger Sister. . . so he can take what Younger Sister dishes out.  He's not too bad at giving it right back to her, either.  With a smile, of course.  And he didn't seem to mind all the cats--even dangled a string for one or two for a little playtime.

Friday afternoon, I got my hair cut.  I don't know what my hairdresser did or said, but she snapped me out of my bad mood.  Must get her really nice Christmas present.

Friday night, the three of us saw "The Muppets."  Hilarious but you definitely can hear Bret McKenzie's style in the music.  There was a cute little girl standing rapt in the aisle right next to us for the second half of it.  And afterwards I got to explain to a couple of older people in the row behind us who Jason Segel was.  Among other things.  Me, my favorite part (that I can mention without spoiling it) was the appearance of Wayne and Wanda.  Seriously, at some points I was laughing so hard I was wiping tears from my eyes.

Saturday night, I cantored the vigil Mass, which was the first one using the new translation, at my side parish.  I was worried I was going to screw up, but it went fine.  The parish had been well prepared, and that was really helpful.

Sunday, however, my car refused to start for several tries--until after I called my dad and he dispatched my mom to come pick me up with five minutes to Mass at my main church.  I think either the starter or the safety lock on the steering wheel is going.  Out of the dozens of times I start my car in a week, it happens once, and always when I need to get going!
Needless to say, I was a little flustered by the time I got to Mass.  I wouldn't have gone, except the more people they had to sing the new music, the better.

The weekend was over way too fast!  And I don't think I need to see pie again for a while.

And I actually didn't get many points on Seraphic's Thanksgiving Game for Singles. Just the one for Younger Sister's boyfriend.  And maybe one for when my uncle (the one who brought the lady-friend) kept asking me if things were going O.K. for me.  In spite of my having said "Yes," each time.  Really, I'm O.K.  O.K. enough, anyway.

I leave you with this to ponder: Coca-Cola drinkers unhappy because Polar Bear cans look too much like Diet Coke cans.