webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
Today I decided to celebrate having a holiday on a day where there was nothing to celebrate by having people over for pancakes. So I made buckwheat pancake batter and [livejournal.com profile] lovelybug, [livejournal.com profile] babysimon, and [livejournal.com profile] trishpiglet came over and kept me company (and ate my food). This was actually fabulous and very cheering and a really good plan on a day when I might have got a bit mopey.

You see, my plan for Christmas, to keep me from getting hit with mega-depression, boo-hooing, and the usual "my life is a disaster" feelings (as my life is a disaster) was to make sure I spent every day with people. I had this covered really well as I was going to be Chez [livejournal.com profile] noirem from December 23-27th, and then [livejournal.com profile] wechsler was going to return from his parents on the 28th (after the pancakes were all served) and hang for a full day of toodling about London just before his surgery. Only ... everything got tossed upside down and I wound up being at home and having peopleless gaps in the schedule. In the land of the people dealing with bad stuff (or, rather, "me"), these gaps usually get stuffed full of self-hating thoughts and "if I was only a decent human being someone would want to spend the holidays with me." (It may not make sense but when I'm really down this is how my brain works.) But I counteracted them with [livejournal.com profile] exedore and English National Ballet's Nutcracker yesterday, and today I had people hang out with me just for ages, and it was super nice. I should look into hosting people for breakfast on weekends more regularly.

Anyway, I finally dashed off to the Streatham Odeon to see Harry Potter and the Really Long First Half, which was fine but irritatingly done in digital projection. Doesn't anyone care that they're just basically watching a giant TV screen? I mean, if people are going to sit there and text people on their phones and talk loudly during the show AND I can see the pixels on the lamps in the tent, what's the point of seeing this in a movie theater? I came home and felt ultra worn out but dragged myself through writing up the really wretched non-ballet Nutcracker I saw two weeks back. This was the one I described as "Kate Bush's Christmas Acid Trip." I only wrote it up because I've realized, basically, it was the single worst show of all of 2010: thus, its name must live on in ignominy. Butterfly Wheels: you are the baddicle of the year.
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
I am having a very nice Christmas, although I have this creeping feeling of DOOM that everything will go wrong suddenly kind of nibbling around the edge of my consciousness. [livejournal.com profile] wechsler is here with his brother Will and we've all been having a lovely time except that last night at least two of us were suffering from A Bit Too Much Duck. Anyway, we all played lots of games last night, Alhambra and Guillotine and Through the Desert, and as you might guess it was my idea of an ideal Christmas eve (just needed some American Christmas cookies to be perfect). The dinner I made was a hit, pretty impressive considering the key "I don't know what to do with this" item was prepared in an utterly made up way - the parboiling them turned them into near-mush, so I put them in a pan in a shape loosely approximating their normal one, melted some "sweet chile sauce" with some honey, poured that over the parsnips then zested some lemon peel on top and put in in the oven. Half an hour later: voila, something entire edible, which Will said were "the best parsnips I've ever eaten." He may have been feeding my ego but I liked it anyway. For dessert, we had baked apples stuffed with raisins and brown sugar, a recipe I've been carrying around with me since I lived on 13th street back in Tempe - it's actually from my neighbors at 70, written in their handwriting on yellow lined notebook paper. Ah, memories.

Anyway, here's a Christmas present for all of you, one I think is perfect. Horseshoe crabs!
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
Two front teeth are fine, thanks! Went into the doctor this morning and had my blood pressure measured. 145/82 , diastolic looking really good. Not having tea beforehand helped but realizing I had five minutes to make it up the street to my appointment did NOT! However, overall I am looking much better than I have the many years prior to this, clearly I am making progress in reducing my life-stress and getting to a healthier physical state.

In a sudden change of events, I am now home and hosting a Christmas dinner for 3 at my place. I'm pretty happy about this, really. The weather has meant bad news for many in regards to their Christmas plans, but my biggest worry was spending it by myself. I knew I had that covered, but as it turns out I'll now be helping someone else not to spend Christmas by themselves, and that pleases the person in me who loves to be a hostess and help people out. I am also sure now to be in London in time to play nurse for [livejournal.com profile] wechsler post-operation (starting December 30th). I'm really sorry about not getting to enjoy a snowy, lovely visit with [livejournal.com profile] noirem, but I know I'll be seeing her again before too long - Inverness is now a place I feel very warmly about, even if it's actually quite cold there! To make it all even better, I am now snowed under (as it were) with further invites to people's houses, on the 23rd, the 26th, and the 27th. And of course there's Pancake Day in December here on the 28th ... hope you can make it!

Yesterday was interesting as I had a major fustercluck trying to get out and see a show. I was heading south to London Bridge from Angel at 6:45 ... and the Northern Line just stopped running, flat out, after I'd been waiting for 15 minutes wondering what was going on. I wound up on a bus, then on a taxi, desperately trying to get to Tower Bridge in time for a 7:30 start time ... then wound up, at 7:40, realizing the theater had sent me two receipts with two different addresses, and the one I was at was not where the show was taking place. Bad job, Theater Delicatessen. This may be the year without a Christmas Carol for me and I am not pleased. However, I had a lovely pint with Sophie that well made up for it all, and I think, given that earlier I'd had dinner with [livejournal.com profile] exedore, that in fact it was a jolly evening full of Christmas cheer. So there!

Anyway, today is work from home day, and I need to get back on it ... the awesomeness, though, is that the meetings I MUST MUST MAKE SURE I ATTEND OR SOMEONE COVERS! have almost all been cancelled. Woo!
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
I said this was going to be a rough Christmas, and I'm sure it will be, but I'm doing everything I can to make it survivable, like getting myself out of town and off to someplace semi-familiar, one where people (I think) will be really excited to see me (it is VERY far north after all!) and it will be relaxing and homey and full of love.

You also are doing things to make this a not-disaster for me. Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] dimitra for sending me a book I really wanted but didn't feel I could justify buying for myself, thank you [livejournal.com profile] noirem for opening your house to me, and thank you a million times over to [livejournal.com profile] varina8 for sending me the quilt your grandmother made.

A little more about this: it's a beautiful thing covered in tulips, and I slept under it when I came to visit Seattle last summer. I oohed and aaahed over it and in one of the nicest moments of my time with Irene she showed me all of the quilts she has from her grandmother and shared with me their stories and a lot about the history of her family. I was good and did NOT slip it into my suitcase, but appreciated that it was just as special as I thought it was as I sat there, night after night, admiring the stitching and the individuality of each of the squares.

And now it's been gifted to me and for the fifty years or so I think I've got in me, I'll be admiring it on a near daily basis. I feel so lucky. When I realized what had shown up in that package on Saturday morning, my eyes welled up with tears (I had only been up for about 5 minutes so my brain was soft). It was a really incredible gift and the fact that Irene had reached out to me so hard to let me know I was not forgotten or unwanted during this holiday season meant so much to me. (I know this may sound like self-pitying and whinging, but I feel like, as a woman in the middle of the big D and as someone who many see as "a bad wife" I'm feeling like a major social outcast today. And it's not just my imagination about the pariah status, even though it's, to be honest, not universal, the people that have made me feel that way hurt me heaps and heaps.)

Thank you guys so much. It's been a hard year, but when I look back on it in a moment of clarity (when I'm not feeling so broken I can't get my head up high enough to look over the curb), I realize that so many of you have been trying to be there and support me all year long, and you can't really put that it a box and mail it, but I know that's the gift I've been getting from all of you, and I'm so very, very grateful.

One more day until the solstice. Bundle up when you go out, it's 18 degrees in London this morning, but all over the world I can feel hearts shining with warmth and love.
webcowgirl: (snow)
Massive highlight of weekend: getting four more days sorted out for January, including a game night, a show, a Xanadu night, and a girlie chat evening. This is the kind of thing that gets normal people excited, right? This is how I like my life to be, lots of things to do, lots of time planned with people, happy things to look forward to as well as Be Happy Now.

This was a very busy weekend. I haven't knocked out my review debt yet and will probably skip "Kate Bush's Christmas Acid Trip" from Friday; however, this afternoon's trip to Kneehigh Theatre's Hansel and Gretel is now recorded for posterity. Best thing about the show: seeing it with [livejournal.com profile] booklectic, whom I'm really going to miss while she's gone for Christmas. Wah. On the other hand, we're going to watch Xanadu together in January, and how awesome is that?

Rest of night was teaching new person to play Puerto Rico and then winning a bloody battle of four by all of one point, then trying this Board Game Mashup thing that's making the rounds these days. It was pretty cool but I suddenly realized at 9:15 I'd hit the wall and needed to go home, which is where I am now just having written a review, and the wall is staring at me and by God, it's way past bedtime. Tomorrow will be my last day of doing retail and I am ready for it to be over and the holidays to begin!
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
The weekend seems to have flown by. I spent rather a lot of time socializing with [livejournal.com profile] theta_g, who went to see Red Riding Hood panto at Stratford East with me Friday & had lunch & breakfast with me today ([livejournal.com profile] noirem's Scottish oats, very good). Yesterday was nearly entirely wrapped up in party prep & party. I felt like I spent almost half of it wrapped up in private conversations (read: hiding) in my room, but I also know I got out and socialized. About 30 people made it, so it was a good turnout, and I'm convinced people were having fun, which is what really counts. I ended the night with more booze and cheese than I did at the beginning, so that's positive.

Today was comedown day and I was rather blue and lonely, but I picked up at the thought of dinner with [livejournal.com profile] wechsler so much that I post-party tidied like a whirlwind and then went to see "Uncle Boonmee and His Past Live" on Panton Street. It was an odd film, briefly reminding me of Picnic at Hanging Rock, and rather more about death than I expected. Then it was Putney for dinner, and now home. Tomorrow and Tuesday I will be working the retail side of my company's operation: feel free to come by and have a laugh at me. If nothing else, I know these two days will most certainly fly by.
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
So in some ways I think this is going to be a massively sucktastic Christmas, as, well, my life is in what I would call major transition right now. I haven't spent a Christmas without a loved one by my side in, oh, seems like decades. I should feel lucky, I'm sure, but, well, instead I feel lucky that some people I really like are willing to open their house to me for some Christmas cheer. Thank you so much [livejournal.com profile] noirem!

I also am finding myself doing almost no Christmas shopping because, well, I don't think I'm really GETTING any gifts, and don't much have people to exchange with. But I kind of have an imaginary Christmas list, of things that I want but don't feel like I deserve to get for myself. I'll probably get some of these things for myself eventually, but ... I don't know, I don't feel like I deserve so much of a treat a lot of the time. But this is my ideal list of presents, and the good news is: some people have given them to me! That makes me happy. I'm also happy because my Pilates teacher gave me a present, and that makes me feel kind of honored. Sick, isn't it, but I always kind of wind up idealizing my coaches, and she's always so kind and funny and it just makes me happy that she'd see me in the kind of light of someone that deserves a present.


1. Tate membership. Concept: ideal present from my dad as it can be bought from afar; I can enjoy it all year long. SCORE! He has bought me this!
2. Box of home made Christmas cookies. Concept: deelish treat I never have time to make for myself, can't get in the UK as people don't really go in for cookie baking and too expensive to ship, reminds me of being at Grandmas. SCORE! This nice person on Twitter is going to mail me some anyway, I am now totally in her debt. Also <3 !
3. Someone who will go on vacation with me somewhere warm in January or February. I hate feeling stuck here because I can't find people who want to travel with me and travelling alone is frankly like an .
4. Books. There are titles by Connie Willis and Kage Baker I still don't have yet and this needs to be fixed! (Amazon wish list has most of them.)
5. Tea. Real tea! Good tea! Not flavored tea! Not herbal tea! Not that stuff that smells like pipe tobacco! Actually I got a catalogue from Mariages Freres today and it was TOTAL PORN for me, even though a lot of what they have is flavored tea. They have this whole series of new tea tins with the word for tea written on it in different languages (including Tibetan and Arabic) and I craved it in a very bad way. Best bets: black tea, unless you're [livejournal.com profile] ms_vermilion, in which case I know you will just pick something brilliant.
6. You. Real you! Good you! Not flavored you! Preferably you hanging out with me! This has got a lot better over the last few months but I'd still like to spend more time with people. Bonus if we can go see a movie, a play, or a classical music event, but I'll also do visits for meals and a natter. Have me, will travel. (Wait, I didn't mean it like that.)
7. A Persian kitten. I miss Boo, that's all there is to it. I want a new kitty, and I'd like the pleasure of watching on grow up. You only get to do this about every 10 or 15 years and I'd like to take advantage of being catless to get the full-on kitten joy experience. And I really liked my little lint production factory. But this is the gift I'm pretty sure I won't get. So, why not ask for ...
8. A pony! I've been really good and I promise I will love it forever. I'm sure it will fit in the yard, and mom already said okay, so can I have one now please please please?
9. Oh yeah, and I want a tea set by the guy who did this set of cups. His name is, I think, Judia Uviche, and he's one of the oldest and best ceramic artists in Caltagirone. However, I think that would run about 300 quid, so there's no way I'm getting one from anyone except from me, but, gosh, I really want to get one made for me before he dies.
webcowgirl: (London)
This is the single worst day of the year to not have a car and be in London, one of the biggest cities in the world. Here's what TFL says when I ask them about transportation options:
CHRISTMAS DAY: Please note that there are no London Buses, London Underground, National Rail, DLR and Tramlink services on Christmas Day. Journey Planner may return the first available journey on Boxing Day or last available journey on Christmas Eve in such cases.

I liked it much better in New York when the transport services were fully up and running on Christmas day - what with the overtime pay and the multiplicity of religions, it's not like there was a shortage of people to do the work. Maybe the US is just a more secular place than England - who knows! I wonder if Mexico City and Paris are also completely shut down today?

Okay, time to get my company clothes on and walk over to Streatham ...
webcowgirl: (Default)
Well, you probably all know where I stand religiously, but boy I sure do love my sparkly tinfoil tree. I'm setting it as my default icon for the next week, at which point I think I'll switch to the Narnia tree for as long as it's cold outside.

I did actually go to the trouble of reviewing the show we saw last night, "Sandy Toksvig's Christmas Cracker," though truth be told I had far more fun watching "Snog Marry Avoid" with [livejournal.com profile] trishpiglet and [livejournal.com profile] babysimon. It's not a traditional Christmas show but it did make me feel merry, as did the lovely afternoon I spent with [livejournal.com profile] wechsler wrapping presents and eating Christmas Eve Spaghetti. J and I are now ready for a full 36 hours of merry-making before we go to Istanbul; my guess is that it's all going to fly pretty quickly.
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
I am working from home today, if by "working" you can understand me to say "at home." I am going to do a little work in just a bit. I told my boss I needed to stay home to collect a package, and, to my surprise, a package did show up just a few minutes ago (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] irrationalrobot and [livejournal.com profile] wordknitter!). I have also tried my best to catch up on some sleep and started out my semi-awake time making French toast out of sourdough cranberry bread: really great, all things considered. I also made ham, sausage, and bacon, because we've stocked up anticipating the shops to be closed tomorrow.

The week's been awfully busy so far. Monday I worked in a retail branch of my esteemed employers, then made my way in the snow to the BFI to watch The Red Shoes with [livejournal.com profile] booklectic and [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy. It was a truly great movie, at least if you like ballet and enjoy seeing places you go to regularly as they were fifty years ago (i.e. Covent Garden and the Royal Opera House). BTW my day in the office was really unpleasant as I didn't have enough work to do and pensioners kept telling me off for not being behind the counter - a sight they didn't really want to see as I'm not trained on the point of sale system AT ALL and it was hardly the time to start training me. I was glad that was done, I tell you. At least since I was in Wandsworth I got to do a little shopping over my lunch break.

The next night (after work) was the Hike to Hackney and a trip to the Hackney Empire to see their Aladdin. I had a fantastic time (my writeup here) and was thrilled to have [livejournal.com profile] lovelybug and [livejournal.com profile] bathtubgin there as well as [livejournal.com profile] trishpiglet, [livejournal.com profile] babysimon and [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy. Hackney always does the best panto ever and I felt like I was 8 myself watching it. However, getting back home was a slog and since I was supposed to be at work at the normal time, I was in sad shape yesterday and not really on for the "Sandy Toksvig Christmas Cracker." At least I got some fake battery operated candles to take home as a souvenir.

Note: Hackney Empire's Aladdin is GREAT. Go see it.

And now - I need to do some work, and wrap some presents, and do my best to enjoy [livejournal.com profile] wechsler's company before he heads to his sister's house. Possible we'll all play a game this afternoon - it would be really nice, given how cold and damp it is outside. But first I must actually do some work!
webcowgirl: (Theater)
Last night was my big night out of the year, the trip to the fancy dress ball that required a new dress to be done right.

I spent the day watching Southwark Playhouse's Christmas Carol (really fun, please go see it if you like the story and buy your tickets soon as it's selling out quickly, details to follow). When I got home I settled down to finish my review of The Misanthrope that I saw on Friday with Amy and J, the one with Keira Knightley (summary: a good night out, but not worth 50 quid - more in the 20-30 range).

[livejournal.com profile] wechsler and I headed out quite late to the fancy dress ball. J went to "The Peryl's (a band) Victorian Christmas Extravaganza." My evening consisted of: 35 quid tickets; 500 people in room fitting 300; performances that you couldn't get to because of the crowds and couldn't see if you made it in the room; the zipper on my dress busting (FAIL!); five quid for 1) a mixed drink 2) a beer 3) orange juice 4) water; a 40 quid taxi ride home. J had: good music; a gift from Santa; two pound beers; one pound slices of cake; piles of friends; a bus ride home. I do really think he had a better evening overall. It all makes me think that next year I should host a Steampunk Christmas Extravaganza, hire a hall, and really make an event worth attending.
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Yesterday we were awakened at 7 AM by the arrival of my brother in law and his girlfriend. YAWN. And then we slept until 10, at which point we started stirring ourselves in anticipation of brunch. Brunch was deelish Mexican food at El Maguey Y la Tuna, but the real point in going was to see Michael S., a friend of J's from the Phoenix days (also a friend of mine) and meet his husband and their 2 year old daughter (Vivi, who wanted to hold my hand when we left the restaurant and flirted outrageously with me during the meal). It was fun to see them both (er, well, all three of them). Oddly, they may wind up moving to Seattle, depending on where Husband gets his medical residency. And the food was fantastic.

Afterwards it was off to the Noguchi museum in Queens. I have really come to love Noguchi in the last five or six years - the Black Hole Sun in front of the Asian art museum is his. And this had a broad collection of his stone carvings, many of which had features I really associate with him - a sort of respect for and fascination with the rock itself. Basalt isn't just a material to create sculpture - it's interesting on its own, and somehow his sculptures, especially from the 80s, make you see the rock better (as well as having interesting shapes). It was a big hike to the museum from the subway stop but the trip was well worth it - I doubt I'll ever see so much of his monumental work in the same place again. I left asking myself, now, why can't I have one of these in MY back yard?

Then it was back to Brooklyn and the official meeting of the sister outlaw and late family Christmas present opening. Afterwards we went to a Korean bar for Korean chicken wings and drinks, then across the street to Chorus for a late night Karaoke bash. And by late I mean we went until 2 AM. Apparently the bartender likes my brother in law and sister outlaw, as he gave them free shots of Johnny Walker Blue and also gifted our table with several free drinking snacks, including a wonderful plate of fresh fruit. We ordered four or five of these jugs of Korean hootch (shoju? shochu?) as well as beers (for the boys) and sang and sang. There were a fair bit of other people there but it was a really nice atmosphere - people jumped in on other folks songs and helped them out or just participated because they liked the song in question. I think we got eight people up there for "Bohemian Rhapsody," among them Tom, who later tried to give me his number. Dear dear, I think we _all_ had just a bit to drink. We were in bed around 2:30 and we all decided that we would just not plan to do much today.

I actually got up at around 11 (I had been dreaming about [livejournal.com profile] dreamsewing, who was in England and wanted me to go to brunch in Cambridge with her), and broke down and ate some of the turkey from Christmas dinner at around noon. Now J and I are getting ready to have some tea (it's about 1:30) and with luck we might be having some brunch soon. J's holding on to his DS Lite (his Christmas present from me) like it's his lifeline to reality, and I am waffling between reading a silly Charlaine Harris mystery (Shakespeare's Christmas, my present to me) and writing up the Nutcracker ballet. Ooh, and drinking tea. I should really do that now.

Note: my mother in law got me a (in my mind) ridiculously expensive Christmas present (necklace and earrings). I'm not talking to her or having anything to do with her now (and basically hoping to never see her for the rest of my life). Do I thank her or do I let J do it or do I mail it back? What can I do to politely discourage such largesse?
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
After what I would call a fairly bad start to the day, Christmas started picking up when the "outlaws" (my sister in law's family) showed up. They brought over the Christmas presents that were waiting for us at their house (half for my brother, half for me and J) and we gave them the ones we had for them. Then, of all things, the doorbell rang - and it was the postman - delivering a package on Christmas day! Well! We certainly knew for sure that we were in New York, the city that really never sleeps. (In fact, it's been making London feel a bit 17th century. I mean, the subway was running today - with people in the ticket office! It was great!) Then we got to open another present of two, and then call my brother and SIL and visit with them for a while before we headed out for the day.

Then it was off to Dim Sum "Go Go" in Chinatown, where the four of us (after an hour spent trying to park the car, don't ask) had the most amazing dim sum I've had in ages. The variety of gorgeous vegetarian steamed rolls alone blew me away. It was (sadly) all done by ticking off things on an order box, but at least this made it easy to know what the eating options were. The restaurant was half filled with Jewish people, if I'm not mistaken - I felt like I was in the Secret Jewish Christmas Party, and I liked that a lot. I swear people were winking at us and acting generally conspiratorial, like we were all there together. Which in some ways we were. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] koaloha for the hot tip - I want to have dim sum on Christmas day every year!

At this point we said goodbye to the outlaws ... who still thought we had Christmas dinner to go to (it had got switched to Christmas eve after [livejournal.com profile] thedivas found out we were stuck high and dry that evening) ... and headed off to the half priced tickets booth at Times Square to see if we could get tickets to Forbidden Broadway (we did). We killed some time at Wacamba, the gay Colombian bar, then stopped in "Carve" (760 8th Ave) for the second best pie we've had (the garlic butter on the crust was the selling point). Then it was down the street to the 47th Street Theater for "Forbidden Broadway," in which nearly every big show on was mocked deliciously. (With luck I'll get a full review up in the next two days.)

Afterwards we went to Marie's Crisis in the Village - a proper divey piano bar, like the Sea Wolf meets Sorry Charlies. It was in the basement of the building where Thomas Paine died, and a man was sat behind an upright with a bar (to hold drinks) attached to it, playing away while he and pretty much the entire bar sang along to whatever he was doing. This was great - really homey and unpretentious. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] koaloha (in person at last) and proceeded to shoot the shit until sometime around midnight or so. She's got an idea for my first movie and I am looking forward to spending a lot of tomorrow with her. She gave us a Christmas present - a cab ride back to Brooklyn (she had the cabbie drop us off before her stop) - which was really great. When we got back, I dug into yesterday's congee and we opened the remaining presents from [livejournal.com profile] wordknitter and [livejournal.com profile] irrationalrobot. Thanks, guys! We'll get your presents in the mail soon.

And now - it's 1:30 and I am going to bed. Harold Pinter and Eartha Kitt in the same day ... isn't it sad?
webcowgirl: (Default)
We had a bit of trouble getting to our Christmas Eve dinner - the cab companies just weren't answering their phones and I didn't really want to carry a bunch of hot food through the streets in the rain.

Half an hour after we started trying to get a car we were finally in one, and on the corner of Vanderbilt and Atlantic (or so) we saw some guy on a bike, in the rain ... with rain gear on.

And then we realized he was delivering pizzas.

On his bike. In the rain. On Christmas eve.

I mean, shades of Bob Cratchit! Suddenly it was obvious my life could be so much worse at that very moment. I think even the cabbie was feeling good about things.

When we got to [livejournal.com profile] thedivas, food was a-cooking and folks were happy to see us (but fortunately not bitching about us being so late like I thought we deserved). My stuffing was popped in the oven for its final baking. When it came out, Ben effusively praised it, which just pleased me to no end. So just in case anyone wants some hints on making stuffing when you don't really have the fixings, here's the recipe I followed (rather, here are the ingredients I used - I made it all up). It serves about four.

Fry an onion in some butter. Add the meat from about three full sized sausages (I used two spicy Italian and one regular - the spices were important because I didn't have enough around the house to really add flavor to the stuffing). Add about six chopped celery stalks (the leaves are useful, be sure to use them) and half an apple. Add three tablespoons bacon fat and two more tablespoons butter (to make things nice and rich). Add some appropriate spices, such as thyme, sage (this one's really tasty), parsley, and of course salt and pepper. (I had to do what I could with what I had, and all I really had was parsley, salt, and pepper. The sausage really took care of it for me.)

When everything looks cooked down, add in a loaf of good bread that has been mostly decrusted, cubed, and allowed to dry (I cheated and used the oven for a bit). Stir this into the celery mix so the buttery grease gets into the bread; then add chicken broth/stock (I cheated and used bullion cubes) to soften up the bread a little. There should not be any liquid remaining in the pan. (I used about one cup of liquid total for this recipe.)

Put in a lightly buttered pan, pack down a little, toss a few pats of butter on top, and bake at 350 until it's a little crunchy on top.

Anyway, I was really happy that after all of those years of slaving over Thanksgiving dinner I was able to make a dressing totally freehand. WOO HOO! I should get a special merit badge.

Afterward we played Carcasonne: the Discovery, which J won by a long shot. Then we BSed about individual freedoms in other parts of the world, whether or not it's practically criminal to be a Christian, genetically inheritable liver disease, and everything else, which was great. With luck we may try Agricola Friday night.

Okay, well, Merry Christmas to all, and let's all be happy the days are getting longer already.
webcowgirl: (Default)
We spent the only productive part of today looking at the reconstructed apartments of two Jewish immigrant families who lived in lower east side tenement buildings during the great wave of Jewish immigration into the states. I was fascinated with the whole Tenement Museum project - it was kind of like a much more thorough version of the Dennis Severs house, but still with the magic intact.

Based on how tomorrow is going, I'm thinking it would be great to start a new Christmas tradition of biscuits and gravy for breakfast (biscuits from Popeye's, gravy courtesy of the sausages I bought at the really expensive grocery store across the way) and dim sum for lunch. That's most of what we'll be doing. Afterwards we'll be listening to drag queens sing and maybe even making it to a piano bar.

Now we're off to [livejournal.com profile] thedivas's for a Christmas even dinner. I'm so grateful we have somewhere to go and some people to spend it with. I've even got a copy of Agricola I bought yesterday for us to figure out how to play. I tried whipping up some stuffing with a kitchen that's not really stocked to do it, but I think she won't mind the randomness of it all. And with luck [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy won't mind that he's only got one little present from me to open - everything else is lost in transit. *sigh* Oh Christmas snow, how much you've screwed me over.

Miss you all - see you again in a week.
webcowgirl: (Default)
Oops. I spent too much time writing my review of the Klezmer Nutcracker last night and didn't get to bed until midnight. That means I pretty much missed my chance to see the Noguchi museum unless I go on Saturday. What's sad is that I'm still insanely behind on my reviews - I've got four more to write up. Aaargh! What am I doing when I get back to the flat?

My Christmas message to all and sundry can be pretty safely considered to be this long editorial by Polly Toynbee, which I'll summarize as, "Why do religious people think they are better than us? This is crap."

I guess part of the reason I wasn't spending all of last night typing away is because I was making plans to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] koaloha on Friday. She also recommended Dim Sum Gogo for our Christmas brunch with [livejournal.com profile] wordknitter's mom and dad. Christmas night I'd like to see about seeing a play (Forbidden Broadway) and then going to a piano bar. [livejournal.com profile] koaloha recommended "Marie's Crisis," Sue recommended The Duplex. Maybe we can see both somehow. We've also been invited to hang out with Michael Sullivan, an old friend of ours from Phoenix (so really back in the day). This looks like it's going to turn into brunch on Saturday, which I was already planning on doing, only it will be more fun because it will be with someone instead of just us.

Yesterday our big do was going to the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center (I kept typing "Lincold," which makes me think I've been using the word "cold" rather a lot lately). We were running behind thanks to the overly long trip to Trader Joe's and didn't have time for dinner again (thus meaning slices once more - sure is a cheap way to feed ourselves!) - well, actually, we could go but instead we went to a shop to pick up a copy of Agricola, which I thought might be a good way to entertain [livejournal.com profile] thedivas's household while we were over. (If I got a copy of it for Christmas from someone else I will be very embarrassed.) Our seats were awesome and I even managed to sell my brother's tickets, albeit for about half face value - so now I can send them a little Christmas present in return. I'll do a full writeup of the ballet later, I promise.

Wow - 36° and raining outside. We've got tickets to the tenement museum at 2 PM but I don't really feel motivated to do much else. I guess that means it's time to make breakfast.

Dear Santa

Nov. 25th, 2008 10:41 am
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
I really haven't been all that good, but can I have tickets for Ondine anyway? The picture on the ROH home page has given me a powerful hankering to see this show.

(Also, Red Lion Square has two lit Christmas trees in it as of yesterday! They were so cheery to see heading home - in the dark - at 5 PM!)
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
People just aren't generating enough LJ content to keep me amused these days. What's wrong with you people? Write, dammit, write! Otherwise you'll force me to admit defeat and go out of the house, or worse yet, join Facebook.

I've been sleeping rather a lot these days, which I think is mostly due to post-cold recovery but might have a bit of post-holiday blah to it. I am getting tired rather easily, but I can't tell if the solution is to do more or to do less. Every day I've had just a few things to take care of - get bills paid, item X for trip Y, reconfirm Z, whatever, but no actual challenges. I think I want to be playing more games. And then there's the weather. What is it about those clouds outside that should really make me want to leave my house? I could be napping on the couch. Instead, I think I'll put away clothes for a while, have some more tea, go to Borough Market with [livejournal.com profile] butterbee and [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy, hit the Hayward, and then meet up with [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady for pizza and a trip to Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker. Somehow, though, I could see a few more board games in my immediate future, but we'd have to have [livejournal.com profile] wechsler here to really make it work. The nerve of him going to Cambridge when there's lazing to do!

Harrumph, bah, and humbug. There's no excuse, is there? I really must just put down the computer and reduce the mountain of clothes in my bedroom. I could have a whole other guest sleeping in there and not know right now. But first, of course, there will be tea.
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
Yesterday ended very nicely; after the big old roast had been served, [livejournal.com profile] wechsler, [livejournal.com profile] butterbee, [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and I played Uno and drank port until we were all very silly. It made me happy.

Dinner itself was a shocking success; It was something the size of my thigh but with much less marbling. )We also had roasted parsnips with orange zest and garlic kale (again). Ultimately we had slices of the raspberry star cake from Maison Blanche. I'm very sorry they're closing their Putney branch. Morons.

I don't want to indicate all we've done is eat, but my tendency now is to talk about having biscuits and gravy for breakfast and then sausage and booooooze I mean butterbean gratin for dinner. This is probably because today is a holiday in England and you can't really do much because most of the shops are closed and public transportation is limited. But instead, I'll talk about Stephen Frye's Cinderella at the Old Vic, which we saw this afternoon. Spoilers, but in short: you'll get more panto kick at Dick Whittington's Cat at the Hackney, and it is very rude. )

Afterwards, the four of us went to [livejournal.com profile] rosamicula's for drinks, which becames drinks and hors d'ouvres AND dinner and dessert (I mean, she said she was going to feed us but I did not expect such a spread!). Wow. We just yacked away - she and [livejournal.com profile] interior_lulu are great company and I know [livejournal.com profile] butterbee was feeling right at home. We finally got home at 10:30, and ... I've got a whole 'nother week with no work to look forward to! Damn, but it seems like I still haven't had time for my long winter's nap. I'll get to work on that now.
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
So we're sitting here unwrapping presents, and we've got the HP Lovecraft Christmas CD playing in the background ...

which is especially funny because the music is all ever so familiarly Christmassy, but then sometimes you'll hear the lyrics. So we've got "Deck the Halls" playing, and in a moment of silence we here this:

"Watch them kill and disembowel/Fa la la, la la la, la la la!
"Troll a yuletide carol foul/Fa la la la la, la la, la, la!"

Now I've got the soundtrack to Starlight Express on, which I think we all agree is far scarier than The Carol of the Old Ones.

"I am electric/Feel my attraction
"Feel my magnetism/You will agree
"AC/DC it's okay with me
"I can switch and change my frequency."

And if you just want to hear the lyrics, try this one:
Better recording in this clip: )

This is great. The day is going well. Merry Christmas to you all, and to all a good Yule!


webcowgirl: (Default)

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