O Christmas Tree. . .

. . . why are you wet and crumpled on the edges?

And what's that munching noise in the back?



At least with an artificial tree, I don't have to worry about her drinking from the stand.


Posting While Baking

Every year at my work around this time of year, my office has a huge potluck over the course of two days. Before the merger, it went for three days. Five years ago, when I started there, I made some meringue cookies and they were an unexpected hit. There's no need to mess with success, so I make them every year--and every year, people get excited when I tell them what I'm making. Meringue cookies have to sit in a low oven for a loonnng time. So, in the meantime, I thought I'd post my final grades for the quarter. Obviously, they're pretty decent or else I wouldn't want to share them.

Background: I'm in my second year of grad school for Library and Information Science, with a specialization in school media. (IOW: I'm studying to be a school librarian.) I've been taking 3 courses a quarter--full time--and working full time as well, with the added challenge of keeping my studies a secret b/c this is my springboard to a new career. (Most likely the career I always wanted, had I known about it.)

I just finished my fourth quarter, having taken a break over the summer. Here's what I earned (using simplified names for the courses):

Cataloging: A
Library Systems: A
Education course (my 2nd ever): A-

Tears came to my eyes when I looked up my grades. I didn't think I was going to see a single A this quarter, let alone two. I mean, cataloging took forever to "click," and the instructors of my other two classes were somewhat detached and difficult to "read" so I could figure out what they wanted. There was also the small matter of the bizarre midterm for the education course that barely matched up with the materials we'd covered. Some of these instructors re-use others' materials and don't bother to check them at all.

The other funny thing is, I "experimented" this quarter. I wondered what it would be like if I acted the way everybody else had when I was an undergrad, so I tried it. I procrastinated, and not just a couple of times. Was patient with myself every time "writer's block" happened and tried not to freak out. Went on dates, or at least met some dating prospects. Heck, the week of finals I took a day trip to North Jersey to visit my grandfather, and the night one of my final projects was due, I had an hour long phone conversation with someone. Sure, I took some time off from work to accommodate this approach, but I still wound up having enough vacation days left to take off yesterday and the day after Christmas.

I managed to "get a life" somewhat, and I kind of liked it.


Getting to Know You, Christmas Edition

My little sister sent this along via e-mail. This is my response with a few modifications for clarity/privacy. I'm not going to tag anybody, but feel free to "borrow."

01. Wrapping paper or gift bags? If the item is hard to wrap, I'll use a bag.
02. Real tree or Artificial? Prefer real, currently have artificial.
03. When do you put up the tree? When I'm done cleaning the living room after finals are done. (In other words, not yet but soon.)
04. When do you take the tree down? Mid-January
05. Do you like egg nog? No, but I love Silk Nog. Hard to find it but so worth it. (I have one younger cousin who always drank the real stuff and I called her out on this one when I tagged her via e-mail.)
06. Favorite gift received as a child? A doll house. (I almost walked right past it Christmas morning!)
07. Do you have a nativity scene? I have a pretty Holy Family statue my parents gave me.
08. Hardest person to buy for? None of them are really that hard.
09. Easiest person to buy for? They're all pretty easy to please. Or I'm just that good.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? You can e-mail Christmas cards? Um, no, thanks. Everybody likes to get mail!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A cat encyclopedia a few years ago. I've had cats since I was ten so there's not much more it could tell me. (It was from a then-boyfriend. He was a terrible gift-giver and a stingy one at that.)
12 . Favorite Christmas movie? Miracle on 34th Street (in black and white, thank you very much).
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Beginning of December. It's a good study break or lunch hour walk.
14 . Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, but I've donated some discreetly.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Shortly before Christmas there's a potluck at work, and my co-worker makes this kielbasa recipe involving bourbon and ketchup--sounds weird but it's good. Christmas Eve I look forward to crabcakes (whether Mom makes or orders them, ha ha. One year things were hectic and she passed off some she ordered as her own).
16 . Clear lights or colored on the tree? I've had colored globe lights the past couple years but this year I have a pre-lit tree with white--I think it will be both.
17. Favorite Christmas song? Too many to choose from. But I will say I always have to play the John Denver/Muppets Christmas album, and I laugh really hard when I hear the parody "The Twelve Pains of Christmas" (finding a Christmas tree, no parking spaces, etc.)
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Hang out at the parents'.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Name them? I'll sing them if you want.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A star I found in my parents' basement that likes to lean over a bit. I suspect it belonged to my grandparents and ended up at my parents' after Mom-Mom passed away and Pop-Pop moved to an apartment. He went to Mexico to see my aunt & uncle every Christmas, anyway.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Neither, but at some point on Christmas day.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The prevalent idea that Christmas is about being over the top and having to give the "perfect" gift to outdo everyone else.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Who needs a theme?
24. Favorite meal for Christmas dinner? Don't really have one--just like being with loved ones.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? That's between me and Santa Claus.
26. Who is most likely to respond to this? No idea.
27. Who least likely to respond to this? Anybody who's short on time.
28. Favorite Christmas smell? Fresh Christmas tree
29. Favorite Christmas tradition? Picking out a tree with Mom
30. Favorite things in my stocking? The huge wad of cash (I said that just to throw my sister for a loop.)
31. Favorite ornament on my tree? I like them all.
32. Least favorite thing in my stocking when I was a kid? Well, as a kid it was a toothbrush, but I have since come to appreciate that and so has my dentist.
33. Always good Christmas gifts? PJ's!!! (Flannel, not lingerie, you pervs out there.)
34. Least favorite Christmas food item? I usually pass on the baccala Christmas Eve. But this year I'm feeling a little daring.

(UPDATE: my egg-nog loving cousin just responded and said, "Yes, Kate, you know it! Mmmmm. . . and I like spiked nog even better." She's in her mid-20s but I wonder if her aunt--also my cousin and our hostess for Christmas Eve dinner--gave in to the spiking a bit early.)


The Maiden Post

I've been thinking about starting a blog for the past year, but every time the idea came up the sensible part of me asked, "Are you nuts? You're working full time, and you're going to grad school full time--you don't have time for this." The time seems right, now: I'm halfway through my grad school program, and I've made a lot of great "invisible internet friends" that deserve some reciprocation for hosting me on their blogs.

So, here goes. I'm not promising stellar stuff. I'm not even promising coherent thoughts 100% of the time. But I'd like to share my ideas from time to time, and maybe even have some fun.

Not allowing comments at this time, because I don't have time to moderate them, but feel free to e-mail me: StingsLuv aaaat gmail dotcom.

("StingsLuv" was the name of my alter ego superheroine sidekick for a comic strip a friend and I created in high school. When you go to an all girls' school, you wind up with a superheroine named The Skirted Wonder. If demand is there, I'll gladly explain further.)