Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Little Story on the Day of My Birth

On this day 29 years ago, my mother was three weeks past her due date. I should imagine she was really sick and damn tired of being pregnant. In fact, she was so sick of it that she went for a bike ride on December 27th, because her doctor had said exercise could induce labor. I can't imagine balancing a 43-week-pregnant body on a bicycle, but she did. And she went into labor.

Unfortunately, my father, who was in the Air Force at the time, was on night duty at the base. He was not free to leave his post. But he did anyway. When he got the phone call, he raced over to his commanding officer and told him he was leaving. Yup, my dad went AWOL for me (he was not disciplined for it that I know of).

He did not go AWOL in time to get home and drive my mom to the hospital, however. That task fell to my mother's father, Holy (of Burned Cabbage fame). Duchess and Holy had come to spend Christmas in Sacramento, CA, with the family and see the new baby. The new baby who had so far proved to be a stubborn pain in the ass (a bit of foreshadowing for the rest of the child's life, perhaps?) and ruined plans for a nice Christmas with the new wee one.

BUT ANYWAY.

Duchess had to stay home with the two small children already in residence, and Holy had to drive his very pregnant daughter to the hospital. In a strange city. In a strange car. And just to make it more nerve-wracking, in the middle of a blinding snowstorm. Do you know how comfortable native New Orleanians are driving in the snow? Especially when they don't know where the hell they're going and their daughter is in labor in the passenger seat?

Yeah.

But he got her there. I don't think Holy had ever been so relieved to see a person as he was to see my dad when he finally arrived. And around 11:30 p.m., I was born.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Twiddling My Thumbs

December 26th has always been a nothing day for me. This is because my birthday is on the 27th*, so the 26th is The Day After Christmas AND The Day Before My Birthday. With no joyous occasion resulting in gifts for me, December 26th may as well not exist.

Especially because on THIS December 26th, A. had to go to work and the house is a wreck, so I will be not so much twiddling my thumbs as employing them in picking up and vacuuming. What a buzzkill, man.

However! I have a small pile of birthday presents awaiting me, as well as the anticipation of an actual dinner out at an actual restaurant, which means I actually won't be cooking OR doing dishes tomorrow. SWEET.

So December 26th can just be over already. I'm ready for it to be the 27th.

* Don't worry--you still have time to send me a gift! I'm told e-mailed gift certificates arrive almost instantaneously.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas

I know it's the American custom to wish people a "Merry" Christmas. But "merry" seems so impermanent. Any fool with a bottle of whiskey can make himself merry. But happiness . . . well, happiness is a state of being, a contentment with the world and life. So today, I will borrow a turn of phrase from the British.

Peace on Earth, goodwill to all . . . and Happy Christmas to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Never Say Die


In the midst of the frenzy that was the tomato harvest this year, there may have been some hysteria-tinged jokes made about having fresh tomatoes at Christmas. HAHAHAHA. How funny is that! Fresh tomatoes at Christmas! The very idea!

You see where I'm going with this, don't you?

Yeah, the joke's on me.


Yes, despite taking no special measures whatsoever to make the tomatoes last, they WILL NOT GO AWAY. They are the tomatoes that will not die. Tomatoes of the undead. Freaky, supernatural tomatoes. CHRISTMAS tomatoes. It's starting to scare me a little bit. So I think I'll eat them. Just to show them who's boss. And to win the tomato war once and for all.

And also, to get them OUT OF MY DAMN KITCHEN ALREADY. Because, really. Tomatoes at Christmas is just not right.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oh, Right--There's This HOLIDAY Coming Up

So here I've been blathering on about snow and cold (I took a reading of 28 degrees in the north bedroom this morning--wheee!) and TOTALLY IGNORING this tiny little holiday that all of the sudden is THIS THURSDAY. How did that happen?

I don't really make a huge deal out of Christmas. I don't spend hours beforehand running around buying numerous gifts, because I only give one gift to immediate family members. A gift I either make (meaning food--lots of people are getting canned pears, spaghetti sauce, salsa, etc. this year) or buy at a real store in the Small City. No shopping online. I don't like to bake, and I don't need to because the MiL has been churning out bread and cookies enough for us both. Or so I tell myself. I don't go to a lot of parties, because I'm a reclusive freak*. I'm not religious, so I don't have a lot of church obligations. A. will be working both the day before and the day after Christmas, which means those will be days pretty much like any other.

But I know that a lot of you are running around like crazy people, whirling like dervishes and possibly ready to just run away to Egypt until January. Or maybe just spike your eggnog so heavily with rum that you won't CARE if you didn't get that last dozen sugar cookies decorated. Which brings me to The Question: Are you ready for The Day?

* Except I DID go to a cookie-baking gathering at a friend's house yesterday (hi, Alyssa!), where I basically sat on a bar stool and watched four other women race around the kitchen while I ate guacamole and made sure the small child in our midst didn't eat the five-pound bag of chocolate chips or do a face-plant onto the hot stove burner. That was pretty fun. Mostly because I didn't do a damn thing and just got to watch OTHER people work in the kitchen. How novel.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Cold, COLD Truth

I've mentioned once or twice that our house is cold. But I haven't given you the cold (HAA), hard numbers to back that statement up. Today, I will.

See, before moving here, I thought I knew what cold meant. It meant having to wear slippers and a robe in the morning, a sweatshirt or sweater during the day. Oh, what an innocent I was. That IS what "cold" means in an insulated, centrally-heated house. But at Blackrock, where there is no insulation, no central heat, and in fact NO HEAT AT ALL in much of the house, "cold" means something entirely different.

It means being able to see your breath. It means long underwear and four layers at all times while indoors. It means fish tanks, WITH MOVING WATER IN THEM, freezing solid. It means ice on the walls. THAT is what I mean when I say that our house is cold.

The MiL found a little thermometer that can be moved from room to room to take temperature readings. What fun! Let's see how cold it can get inside a house!

Okay, so first of all, when I took these readings, it was 20 degrees outside the house (all degrees in Fahrenheit, because, uh, because I'm American and have NO IDEA what the equivalent in Celsius may be). I took readings in three places upstairs, where we basically don't have any heat at all. But these are not the rooms we close off in the winter. These are rooms we use. Bear that in mind.

In the upstairs hall, which is the same temperature as the MiL's bedroom and the study the computer lives in, I found that it was 38 degrees. Cozy!

In the north bedroom, I took a temperature reading of 35 degrees. This is the coldest room in the house at all times. It is also the room our bedroom door opens into, so THIS is what I face every morning when I leave our room. And, more importantly, it is ALSO the room all our clothes are stored in. Putting on a 35-degree bra in the morning is a real eye-opener. Don't try this at home, kids.

And in our bedroom, which has the benefit of a small space heater set on low, the thermometer read a toasty 44 degrees. However, lest you feel too sorry for me sleeping in a room that cold, I should mention that I was hot last night and pushed the covers down. (I KNOW. What is WRONG with me?)

Of course, we haven't even gotten into the coldest part of the winter yet, so these numbers will be going down. Way down. I can't wait until February.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Weather Report

Sunday at Blackrock: Harsh winds, with the likelihood of more snow.

Monday at Blackrock: Even harsher winds, with the guarantee of some crazy-cold temperatures.

By the woodstove at Blackrock: Mild, with a possibility of hot chocolate.

You know where to find me. Peace out.