a few things

i thought i might tell you

about December 10th.

10 December 2017 by elizabeth

Things I was successful at today:

1.  Baking bread. After the Saturday Burn, I mixed up white and whole wheat doughs last night and baked them today at 25 degrees lower and they both came out dreamy. I’ve eaten half the white one already. The wheat one went into the freezer for next weekend.

2. Buying yarn. Which I 100% do not need to do but having finished my sweater yesterday, the urge to cast on another fingering weight sweater was overwhelming, and not being much of a sock knitter, I don’t have a lot of fingering weight in stash. Plus I get 10% off in December (it being my birthday month and me being a Very Good Customer) so really it was very wise for me to get a sweater quantity of yarn today.

3. Casting on said new sweater. It’s going to be a Breton stripe type thing. I’m really excited.

4 . Watching three episodes of The Crown. I’ve just finished Episode 5 which had a few seconds of “Here’s the real-life deal about this episode’s storyline” at the end and it was fascinating. This show is so well done and Claire Foy deserves every accolade she gets but also Matt Smith is amazing.

Things I was not successful at today:

1. Pretty much anything actually responsible or productive. I’m 100% fine with that.

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about December 9th.

09 December 2017 by elizabeth

8:00 am: I had a dream last night that my house burned down. Good times! It’s because I left the downstairs heater on last night, which I never do, but otherwise it would have been too cold for my no-knead bread to proof, so I left it on with a passing thought of “I hope it doesn’t short out and catch on fire” (it’s a very old electric wall unit heater) and presto, in my dreams, my house burned down. Like, spectacularly and with realism, where I was inside and realized it was on fire and ran outside and watched it burn and it never even occurred to me that I was dreaming, and so there was great relief when I woke up.

10:30 am: It’s snowing right now, and it’s lovely. The bread is on its second two-hour proof, I have coffee, there is Chex Mix in the oven, and I am watching knitting podcasts while furiously trying to finish my sweater sleeve which will mean finishing the sweater.

Speaking of the snow, I always read the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang, and I do love them, but a few years ago they predicted a massive snowstorm which led to government shutdowns and school closings and no work, and it ended up just kind of raining all day, and everyone was all “WTAF?”. And ever since then, their snow forecasts in particular have been hilariously waffling. Here’s a couple of bullet points from their latest update:

“We continue to expect 1 to 4 inches in most of the area… Based on the latest information, we somewhat favor the lower end of our predicted snowfall ranges.”

“Given a delayed start, there may also be a delayed end. Pushing the end time back into the evening is certainly a possibility.”

In other words, it might snow a bit but it might not and it might end soon-ish but also maybe later LOOK FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T HOLD US TO ANYTHING WHAT DO WE KNOW.

12:45 pm: My bread is in the oven and IT SMELLS AMAZING. I browsed the comments on the NYT recipe and decided to try half AP and half whole wheat flour. Everything else I followed to the letter.

1:20 pm: Alas, the bread burned, basically the entire bottom. I will let it cool and very likely eat it anyway, but I mixed up more dough to bake tomorrow morning (because it is flour and salt and water and yeast and takes 90 seconds). My oven is new and apparently it runs hot? Or, I just left it in there too long. Who knows.

2:00 pm: I turned on ESPN as I was expecting a KU basketball game right now, and it turns out that the game is actually at 2:00 tomorrow, but I did get to see Duke lose, which is always nice. Shall watch The Crown instead.

5:15 pm: I have just finished FaceTiming with my parents. This happens every weekend. Confession, there are weekends when I’d be fine not doing it, but it’s one of those things where it’s important to them and they’re important to me, so I do it. (Like, tonight they literally said “You know this is the highlight of our week” and I laughed and my dad turned to my mother and said “Look at her, she thinks we’re kidding.”)

And, I finished the sweater right before. YAY. It’s my first ever fingering weight sweater. Fingering weight yarn is very thin yarn, so knitting a sweater out of it uses a lot more and takes a lot longer than the yarn one usually uses to knit sweaters, so I have avoided them out of laziness. But the truth is that they usually fit better and look nicer, especially if your size runs larger, so I really should knit more of them, but GAH they just take so long.

7:00 pm: Pizza and hard root beer. I KNOW HOW TO ROCK A SATURDAY NIGHT.

Also, I threw away the bread. Will try again tomorrow.

8:00 pm: Spider-Man: Homecoming. Have not seen it before. I caught up on like five Avenger movies during the two weeks in August between leaving my last job and starting my new one, just so I could go see this in the theater, but then never actually did.

10:30 pm: Still watching Spider-Man because I keep pausing it to do other things, like text Melissa about bubbly wine preferences and look up fingering weight sweater patterns. It’s really delightful though. Ned! I mean honestly.

11:38 pm: I’m still watching and still texting and still browsing and will probably be doing all three beyond midnight so I’m posting it now. (I don’t plan on doing one of these tomorrow, although it felt very Bridget Jones-ish and made me think it’s time for a re-read even though the book is now old enough to drink.) Night, everyone.

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about December 8th.

08 December 2017 by elizabeth

I had to get my professional picture taken at work this morning. (Bleargh.) On the plus side, we got an email that said every day is jeans day between now and the end of the year, which is nice. I mean, my dress-and-leggings uniform that I wear the other four days of the week (Friday is jeans day all year) is basically as comfortable as jeans, but it’s nice to have the option.

I have one episode of Alias Grace left. This is a very, very good show. Sarah Gadon is amazing and I was stunned to learn she is not actually Irish. I like that it has been written and produced by Sarah Polley and she brought in Paul Gross and Martha Burns and probably other lovely Canadian people from Slings and Arrows that I don’t necessarily remember, and it’s all made me want to watch that series over again. (Paul Gross has turned into a much handsomer James Brolin. Or maybe has been turned into one for this show, but either way I’m here for it.)

It’s supposed to snow here in the morning, a couple of inches maybe, and it may not stick around that long since the ground isn’t that cold yet, but snow is snow and I am pleased and it makes me want to do wintery things, like wear pajamas all day while knitting and eating pizza and marathoning The Crown and making (more) Chex mix and baking NYT no-knead bread, all of which I plan to do tomorrow.

(It is a very, very exciting life I lead.)

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about December 6th, and 7th.

07 December 2017 by elizabeth

I missed a day, I shall not miss two. Not yet, anyway. But it’s late, and I have to get up early, so.

My commute to work takes me through the campus of George Washington University. There are times when my commute coincides with what must be the time in between classes, and so there are days when I have to sit at a four-way stop for ages, because they do that thing where as soon as one student clears the crosswalk another one enters it, and it’s not like I’m in that big of a hurry to get to work, so I sit there, and wait, and watch them.

I feel very old at these crosswalks. They’re so young and determined and uniquely beautiful that it can make my heart ache. That’s the part that makes me feel old. Not the age difference, not really, not the math of it, but the sheer potential they possess that the person waiting for them to cross the street can never, ever get back.

It’s a lot of existential crisising first thing in the morning. I don’t really like it.

 

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about December 5th, a winter’s night

05 December 2017 by elizabeth

It’s not really a winter’s night, I feel like that requires snow. But it’s a chilly, rainy, drizzly night, and that’s pretty close.

I left work. There was enough gas to get me home, but not enough to get me to and fro tomorrow. There are nights when stopping anywhere after work feels like it requires too much energy, but I knew I’d be sad when I got in my car in the morning because I am always basically late anyway (my boss works in the San Diego office, so I have a little bit of leeway, but rolling in at 10AM is still a Bit Not Good) so here’s a thing I said out loud to myself in the car when I was leaving work: “If you stop for gas tonight, you can have Christmas Crunch Berries for dinner.”

Hello, my name is Elizabeth, I’ll be 46 years old in two weeks, and I use crap cereal to bribe myself to adult. (In my defense, I do only ever eat Crunch Berries at Christmas. It’s like Chex Mix. There’s a season for it, and that season is now.)

Anyway, there was gas, and then there was home for the well-earned cereal and also a slice of peanut butter toast in the interests of ingesting some nutrition, and during dinner there was an episode of As Time Goes By (sidebar, I have watched an episode of this almost every day for almost ten years, I have seen them all six thousand times, there’s always a dozen or so on the TiVo, they are total comfort television) and then there was going to be The Crown but I soon realized I received bad intel from my dad today about it being out already (it’s totally not, and I think he got his intel from my mother, which no one should do) so instead I watched the first episode of Alias Grace which was very good, and knit some hat. Then there might have been some Scandal in Belgravia on the laptop while I took a bath and got ready for bed and strung remote control fairy lights over my new bedroom furniture, because fairy lights you don’t have to get out of bed to turn off are the bee’s knees.

And now, hopefully, there shall be sleeping. There was no sleeping last night until after 2AM, which hasn’t happened in a while, and I would very much like it to not happen again right now.

Also, I think it’s fairly evident that I am ridiculously out of practice at this journaling palaver, but I didn’t want to go out after a mere four days.

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about December 4th.

04 December 2017 by elizabeth

Mondays are dumb. Work is meh. Here are my top 10 favorite Christmas songs as of, I don’t know, a half hour ago. It was super hard to narrow it down, although #1 hasn’t changed in 23 years and I don’t expect it ever will.

10. Fairy Tale of New York by the Pogues. This song is a classic and a delight and I sort of feel like the holiday music season doesn’t officially start until I hear it.

9. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. WHAT. I love this song. Fight me.

8. Gabriel’s Message by Sting. Back in the 90’s, if you heard a song on the radio and you didn’t know what it was, you either had to just wait and hope you were listening when it played again, or you had to call the radio station and ask what it was. I called the radio station.

7. Carol of the Bells by BarlowGirl. Carol of the Bells is hands down my favorite traditional carol. I have something like 168 different versions of it in a Carol of the Bellses playlist. This one (it’s the acapella version) is amaaaaaazing.

6. The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole. As straight up classics go, it doesn’t get much better than this.

5. Joy by George Winston. These are all my favorite individual songs, but if I had to pick a favorite album, it’s December. That album sits in my soul. Someday I’m going to learn how to play this song on the piano. Someday.

4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Mannheim Steamroller. There’s actually two versions of GRYMG on their 1984 album, one right after the other, and I’m calling them one song. (If I HAVE to pick one, I’d pick the second one.) After all these years and a zillion Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums, it/they is/are still my favorite song/s of theirs.

3. O Come All Ye Faithful by Pentatonix. I walked around my birthday weekend in NYC last year with this song on repeat. It is glorious. I’ve been having a hard time mixing up my music in the car this year because I still just want to listen to this over and over.

2. Sleigh Ride by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. The only good versions of this song are instrumental versions, and this one is the best. If your heart does not soar when it syncopates, then God, Jed, I don’t even want to know you.

And, OBVIOUSLY:

1. All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey. It’s perfect, the end, your argument is invalid. (All remakes are crap except the one that girl sings in Love Actually. Honestly, Michael Bublé, what were you thinking.)

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about December 3rd.

03 December 2017 by elizabeth

I didn’t get dressed today. The best kind of Sundays are the Sundays I have everything I need to survive until Monday. Which today included leftover beef stew, Chex Mix makings, and the Hallmark channel. (I swear, I only watch the ones that involve a lodge.) (So far they have all involved a lodge.)

I FaceTimed with my parents, a thing we do every weekend. My dad fake-yelled at me for telling him to listen to Dirty John (“That woman is CRAZY”) and then they spoke wistfully about Longmire, which apparently just ended. Is it just my parents, or does a certain age bracket go bananas for that show? I’ve seen one episode, while I was home one time, and it was fine but nothing I felt like I needed to see again. They seemed to think I should reconsider.

I did some more work on the guest room though you really can’t tell by looking at it. I wielded a box cutter for a while without injuring myself, though.

Back to work tomorrow. Work is stressful. I started a new job after Labor Day, and it was a change I absolutely needed to make, but having been at my last job for four years, I forget about this initial period time, the necessary adjustment time where you feel a little bit like you are stealing your salary because you don’t know anything and are generally ineffective. I don’t like not knowing anything, and I don’t like being ineffective.

It’s also very lonely. I came from a firm where 90% of my department and the lawyers I worked with were in the same office I was. Now every single member of my team is in a different office around the country, I only have about three lawyers I work with in DC, and I can go the entire day without speaking to anyone except the secretary I pass when I go to the kitchen. I think this part will get better once I get busier, but I still have doubts about how it’s going to be long-term.

Anyway. That’s three for three with Holidailies, but starting on a Friday helped for sure. Still, in the spirit of positive thinking, I will see you tomorrow!

 

 

 

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about December 2nd.

02 December 2017 by elizabeth

How I spent my Saturday:

1. Woke up with the worst headache, a tension headache around my scalp and neck. It took three Aleve over the course of two hours and some caffeine to finally and completely let up.

(Okay, Holidailies confession time, I am fairly certain this is because two weeks ago I got Botoxed. Or more accurately, Dysported. There are three deep lines in between my eyebrows and they are all I see whenever I see my face in the mirror or in a picture. They are definitely a result of being confused a lot during the day, but it’s the worst when I am asleep, and I regularly wake up with my brows bunched together so hard it hurts. My hunch is that now, because that muscle can’t contract the way it did, the tension has to go somewhere, so it just does a number on my whole head. This is obviously completely unscientific and probably not entirely true, but the fact is that I have had really bizarre dreams and I wake up with weirdo headaches ever since I had it done. We’ll see if it is a temporary side effect, but if not, I suppose I will have to let the Dysport wear off and live with a constant expression of confusion for the rest of my days.)

ANYWAY. I woke up this morning with a terrible headache, read the news about the Republican Senators’ revolting middle-of-the-night assault on the 99%, and made a snarky comment on Facebook.

Which garnered a snarky reply from my cousin’s wife who is a Trump supporter which utterly baffles me considering she has been a public school teacher for twenty years. (Her comment was actually 100% accurate, probably not in the way she intended, but allowed me to politely reply “That’s very true” and we seem to both be satisfied at that.) But also: SIGH. I very rarely post anything political on Facebook – I very rarely post anything at all – and the fact that the one time I post something expressing my opinion, I get snarked by a cousin who I otherwise happen to like, it’s just… sigh.

2. Went to Target because of malfunctioning Christmas tree lights. My tree is a few years old and came pre-lit, and only half of each strand of lights worked when I plugged them in, resulting in a striped effect that was not pleasing. So I went in search of more lights, and apparently 5PM on the first Saturday in December is a terrible time to buy tree lights, as they were completely out of any white ones longer than 50-bulb strands, so I bought six of those. My tree is now very shiny, and fortunately the lights match well enough that I can’t tell which are the originals and which are the new ones. (I don’t know if you’ve ever bought a pre-lit tree, but there is no way those lights are coming off.) Trimming shall commence shortly.

3. Knitted on three different things. There’s a Pavement Sweater (Neighborhood Fiber Company Studio Sock in Cooper Circle) that is half a stockinette sleeve away from being done but LORD the second half of a second sleeve on a fingering weight sweater is a SLOG. There are Selbu Mittens (Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in Treehouse and Thaw), I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first one. And there is a Skiff Hat (Shepherd’s Wool in Royal Blue) which I just cast on today and am about an inch into the ribbing. All of these, BTW, are for me. I’m a ridiculously selfish knitter. Aside from a baby sweater now and then, I don’t knit gifts.

4. Spent an hour on the guest room, which at this moment is a storage unit for all the crap that I need to get rid of before I finally officially formally start the actual home-buying process. My goal is to have it finally cleared out by MLK weekend, and frankly that’s going to be a challenge. It’s disastrous. (It’s really all just the-last-15-years-of-my-life clutter that needs to be purged. And cardboard. SO MUCH CARDBOARD. I am the literal worst at breaking down boxes in a timely manner when I can just throw them into my guest room to deal with later.)

5. Made beef stew in the Instant Pot. (I looooooove my Instant Pot. I bought it last October and it changed my life. Being able to go from frozen chicken breast to dinner in half an hour made it worth every penny.) I’m now at the point where I can basically make up my own recipe, so: dredge a pound and a half of stew meat in seasoned flour (salt/pepper/garlic/rosemary/thyme), saute it in the IP, add a can of beef broth, some baby carrots, a quartered onion, maybe 15 halved new potatoes, more S/P/G/R/T, high pressure for 35 minutes, deliciousness.

6. Read some other Holidailies entries. Hello people! I have not yet figured out how to like your entries, but I will work on that. (ETA: Apparently you need to be logged in to like entries! The more you know.)

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about December 1st

01 December 2017 by elizabeth

I have no idea why I signed up for this. I’m so out of practice.

I can’t imagine there is anyone reading this who doesn’t know me, but hello, I’m Elizabeth. I live in Alexandria, Virginia, in a house I have been renting for 15 years and will finally buy early next year because that is how reticent I am to be a grown-up. I work in Washington at a law firm with the coolest nickname in all of Big Law. I knit a lot.

I’m really boring. It’s okay, though.

I love December. I love winter, cold weather, snow, the holidays. I love cards (especially ones that have handwriting on them somewhere) and Christmas music and candy canes (and now, this year, Candy Cane Tootsie Pops, which are brilliant.) My birthday is the 19th and it is the best birthday.

Unsurprisingly, I have many December traditions. Tonight, December 1, is when the tree goes up. After I post this, there will be George Winston’s December, the Netflix fireplace video (shut up), some wine, hopefully not a lot of swearing as the tree itself is assembled, and then crazy nostalgia as each ornament goes on. And then there will be lights on a timer, something I only thought to do like three years ago and I don’t know why it took me so long but the timer is amazing, because then the lights are on when I come downstairs in the morning and they’re on when I get home at night and it’s just very lovely, is all.

And so I shall get to it! More anon.

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