Warmies

Dec. 27th, 2015 08:38 am
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A package from [livejournal.com profile] teddyradiator was waiting for us yesterday upon our return from my mother's house. Our girl has been working hard at her job and decorating her house like a veritable Christmas elf, yet she still found time to knit me a scarf, hat and gloves for the winter!


They're lovely and just the thing. Thank you again, dearest.
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a very happy holiday, in whatever form your holiday takes.

I ate too much, drank way too much, put little sweaters on dogs, told jokes, took pictures, open gifts ... but I didn't sing! That would have been over the top.

Looking around now, I see my room, and in particular my Desk of Doom,  is a terrible, terrible mess. Wow.

I see the [livejournal.com profile] sshg_giftfest has posted its reveals. I'm looking forward to reading pieces I didn't get to before now. This will be a delightful way to round out a month of delightful things. I hereby resolve to figure out where to leave comments on the multichap pieces. If you can offer a clue, please comment below.
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After a so-so week, I hand-crafted a nice, busy weekend full of delights.

100% spoiler-free )

Lights

Dec. 18th, 2015 07:16 am
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Here's a fuzzy picture of Groom's choir, taken at intermission. Wanted to give you an idea of the size of the thing.

Came home last night to find my daughter had enlisted the help of a few friends to put up our Christmas lights. It especially meant a lot to my husband, who loves that sort of thing. But I'll admit, the house looks lovely. It was a very nice gesture on her part. 
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Sorry, no delights the last few days, unless you count my delight at seeing the new Fantastic Beasts trailer. OMG, it looks like it's going to be so cool, with its American magical sensibilities, its period costumes, and the beauteous Eddie Tremayne carrying a case full of mysterious beings ...

I was surprised at the 'meh' reactions I heard yesterday. It was just a teaser trailer, people, enough to whet your appetite for the movie, for new situations and characters within the JKRverse. I mean, the silly thing isn't coming out until November 2016. They can't reveal too much, too soon--it would kill the sense of anticipation. And it would step all over the build-up to 'The Force Awakens.' Obviously, there's professional courtesy between movie studios at work here.

No, I don't know what I'm on about either.

Stupid Report is kicking my ass. Groom and I are Christmas-bickering. Send hugs.
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Saturday I was appropriately busy and productive. And the whole day culminated in a choir concert, so we were all out rather late. On Sunday, we Rested, and it was Good.

Sunday's delightful things included: being cozy and warm indoors during a storm; staying in pajamas all day; watching a whole lot of West Wing on Netflix; competitive snacking; and making crock pot pinto beans so we could have vegetarian burritos for dinner.

Bring on the week .....
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Have I mentioned December is a Time For Concerts? It's been this way all my life, from the time my father conducted high school band. Then I grew up and married an aspiring opera singer, and begat an aspiring composer. End-of-the year concerts are our way of life.

On concert days, this is my usual dinner menu. It contains no dairy (which clogs a singer's throat), a lot of protein, vitamins, and just enough carbs to kick-start the evening.

Appetizer: Orange juice
Dinner: Spaghetti marinara
             Baked chicken
             Salad with italian dressing -OR- steamed broccoli
Dessert (optional): Sorbet, black coffee

For the vegetarian who doesn't happen to have to worry about her singing voice, I sprinkle cheese on the marinara and include fried tofu in the broccoli.

Anyway, I digress! Last night's delight was the annual Christmas concert, put on by our city orchestra and choir. The place was jam-packed with families wearing red sweaters. I chatted with one of Santa's well-meaning helpers--which, as you know, are easily recognized by their false beards.

I can't say I strictly enjoyed all the music. I think the choir director is trying to keep from getting bored with the usual fare by finding brand-new composers who spruce up carols with witty embellishments until the poor simple carols wind up losing their way to their own finales. His choices are starting to get too clever for the average ear. I must make a note to write to him; I'm sure he'll be delighted to take concrit from some random blogger.

Not to say everything on program was gratuitously esoteric. They did play Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride. Santa came up and did the thing: he tricked the choir director into giving up his baton and then conducted the orchestra for a while. I don't know why that never gets old for me. I might be entering my second childhood.
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Yesterday I honestly did not find anything I could consider delightful. And I looked, because a challenge is a challenge! But I can't let two days go without a post, so I will tell you about the Koreana Plaza.

It started as a little international market, taking over retail space in a nearly-deserted shopping center. Six or seven years (?) later, they've doubled their space and put in a food court, bakery, liquor store, beauty salon, Korean BBQ, and I don't know what else. I stopped in tonight because I knew I would be on my own for dinner and suddenly craved bibimbop. The place was packed with families shopping and also eating together in the food court. It turns out on Friday nights, they also sponsor a wine-tasting booth. Well, I was a singleton, wasn't I? So I paid a dollar and tried blue champagne before I picked up my dinner. What a nice place to hang out.
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Santa Claus boarded the commuter train last night! I heard the buzz while I was hunched on my seat, solving the daily spider solitaire challenge on my phone. For a while, it was too crowded to see him, but what I did see at first was smiles. People who had caught sight of him would smile and exchange a few funny observations with strangers. It felt like the mood of the whole train car elevated just a little bit.

Farther down the line, with fewer bodies in the car, I managed to turn in my seat and see him.
Read more... )
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The 2015 [livejournal.com profile] interhouse_fest came to a close today! Reveals were posted this morning. Now I get to claim the piece I wrote: One Night at the Long Wand. It is a Draco/Neville comedy, rated PG because I don't know how to write human beings relating in a carnal way. Still, I try to up for it with crazy situations, creepy adversaries and snappy dialogue. Please check it out.

Next week I'll post it on AO3 and ffn, after I go through it with a fine-toothed comb. You know, I couldn't remember whether Draco's eyes are blue or grey in canon. Did JKR ever specify?

I forgot to mention another piece I wrote recently. On [livejournal.com profile] grangersnape100, the weekly prompt was "Parodies," so I wrote a drabble, a Star Warsparody I called Harry Potter and the New Hope. I'm pretty proud of it, so please take a look.

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I made vegetable soup tonight. I tried to recreate the soup they serve at our local family restaurant. Mine came out quite delicious, though not precisely like the restaurant's.

My daughter works there as a server. You would think she'd agree to steal the recipe for her beautiful mother, but no!
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Here's Sunday's Daily Delight. I've already heard great reviews!

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Not here--we don't get snow in Central California. I mean the movie. My daily delight was, I yelled at one of my least-favorite films.



This is kind of a holiday tradition, in the spirit of my larger sense of ambiguity over the entire Christmas season.

It's one of those movies I love to hate, I guess. In case you happen to like it, I won't list the reasons I do not, because they will only bring you down. Suffice to say, it is a lengthy list.

I only agree to watch with my husband (who loves it) on the firm understanding that at the part where Betty hears a rumor that Bob is going to go behind the back of his beloved general and make a big TV show that exploits the poor man's hardships, my husband will indulge me as I yell at the television screen.

"Jesus Christ, Betty! Tell Bob why you're mad at him! Don't just run off to New York, you passive-aggressive chowderhead!"

Nobody should watch "White Christmas" with me. Too noisy.
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After I went to bed, I remembered I had not yet posted Friday's daily delight. I tried do it using the LJ app on my smart phone, but it was a fail. I think we each failed in our own way. (Why didn't the text word-wrap? Why couldn't I write in paragraphs, why?)

Anyway, I'll share with you yesterday's delight. After a day of slogging through my Stupid Policy Paper, it was 4:50 and I was more than ready to go home. Normally, I ride the commuter train to work, but my husband drove in, so I was going to meet him at the car. He texted me when he was downstairs. I logged off, packed up my papers, got my coat, turned off the light ... and then the phone rang. I almost didn't pick it up, but I had placed so many phone calls, begging for information on the subject of this policy, I couldn't afford to let anyone go unanswered. (Yeah, there's the necessary evil of voice mail, but ugh.)

So I picked up. And the person on the other end was a district attorney from a remote county, who prosecutes fraud cases having to do with the policy issue at the heart of my stupid paper. I listened ... then I grabbed pen and paper ... then I sat down and furiously scribbled notes. I didn't even bother to turn the light back on. She has scads of information that will really help me explain the controversy at the heart of the policy I am writing about. And to think I almost missed her call!

I was so happy to have this, I broke my cardinal rule in life and I gave her my personal number so she can call me on Saturday morning. That's how delightful this daily delight turned out to be. 
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We put up our agency's tree today, and decorated it with the help of a 12 foot ladder. The "presents" underneath are empty boxes. We bring them out every year! They add to the decor and also provide a bit of a buffer, to keep people from walking close enough to brush up against the tree. There weren't very many of us involved in decorating; most employees (and a few members of the public) simply stopped by to add a bauble or two and to chat. 
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I think I'll accept the Daily Delights of December challenge set down by [livejournal.com profile] mimimanderly and post one thing that delights me every day this month. Heaven knows I am not in a space where I am easily delighted. Work is stressing me greatly. I have a long report due Friday after next, and there's a mountain of work yet to be done. But walking around in a state of fear won't help me write faster or better. A looming deadline is all the more reason to keep an eye out for delightful things.

My cousin posted this video on Facebook this morning. Stop the presses! Today's delightful thing has been found bright and early. It is now my new favorite rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

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Each train station along my route to work features a little artwork. This guy never fails to make me smile, especially on a beautiful autumn day like this.

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