brilligspoons: (asshole)
Internet, I am pleased to say that I made it through yet another family Thanksgiving without punching any of my siblings. It was a close call at some points, but I restrained myself by choosing to pour myself another glass of wine rather than engaging. Hooray! I'm growing as a person! Among other things.

It was nice getting to see my nieces and nephews, too (Dad, Cathy, and I Skyped with Sarah and Kathi on Thursday afternoon - UGH THEY'RE SO CUTE). Bella and Gavin are both getting taller, and it's TERRIBLE. Bella's only 9 and already at my shoulder height. :( Look, I really enjoy not being the shortest person in the family with them around, and I'm just not prepared for them to be bigger than me quite yet. Luckily this dapper little gentleman still has some growing to do:

Monsieur Evan )

(Best thing: he likes to play hockey - my brother is a hockey coach - with spatulas, oven mitts, and bottle caps, so he spent most of Thursday doing that in my parents' kitchen. I may have died from cute a couple times.)

Anyway, in non-family news, the Teen Wolf Holidays 2013 fic collection went live today! Check it out here. There are 60 stories all told, which is AWESOME. :D
brilligspoons: (douche!)
Finally talked to Doug about how stressed out and overwhelmed I've been since June, and though this hasn't magically made everything better like I'd hoped it would, it IS nice to know that he's aware of it all. Anyway, I'm trying not to think about this shit too much because it makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry when I do, so here is a list of things in my life that are good these days.

+This weekend I'm going apple-picking with [ profile] paper_tzipporah and Kyleigh! Kyleigh has NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE, so I am maybe a little too thrilled about introducing her to the experience. :D

+In related news, I am going to make all the applesauce.

+Also this weekend: [ profile] sky_was_green and I are going to have fancy s'mores at Max Brenner!

+Have fallen deep into the abyss known as One Direction and it is ruining my life.

+Television! The Sleepy Hollow pilot was decent (have yet to watch the second episode), and I thoroughly enjoy everything Abbie Mills chooses to be. Elementary is back tonight (YAY). The last few weeks of Project Runway have been intense, but it's cool because most of my favorites are still in the competition. The Voice blind auditions started this week and I may have gotten [ profile] paper_tzipporah hooked on it COMPLETELY BY ACCIDENT.

I think that's all I'm watching right now. I have to finish Orphan Black and Hell on Wheels and catch up with Almighty Johnsons, but it's hard to make myself do that when I just want to watch Big Fat Quiz Show episodes and 1D vids all the time.

+TWHols assignments went out! Yuletide nominations happened! NaNo is nearly upon us! Maybe one of these days I'll stop feeling like I should never write again and work on something. Anything. Whatever.

+I finally know what my family's holiday plans are. Have literally been asking since May. This shit is usually set in stone at Christmas dinner for the following year.

Alright, back to work with me. Happy Thursday, all. <3
brilligspoons: (i hate everyone)
The bad news is, my vacation is over and I'm back at work. The good news is, I've gotten myself addicted to Castle and ship Beckett/Castle like burning, and now I need fic recs. :D?

It was really nice to be home (mostly) for the last week. I slept and watched TV a lot and read a little, and while I didn't get as much writing done as I'd hoped, I feel as though I've recharged my batteries enough to get me through the next couple of weeks. [ profile] paper_tzipporah and I hung out on the 4th; Cathy came up Friday afternoon and stayed through Sunday morning, and we went down to Connecticut to visit John, Jen, and Evan for a few hours on Saturday. Other than that I was on my own. I meant to go down to Cape Cod with [ profile] sky_was_green on Monday, but I started feeling gross and peopled-out over the weekend, so we'll have to go some other time.

Currently slogging my way through 1Q84. I'm enjoying it, it's just...really dense. Like, ridiculously so. I've taken to playing it out in my head as an anime series, which is helping me get into the rhythm of the dialogue and the characters' thoughts (sometimes I have trouble reading novels in translation. See: every Russian novel and play I have ever attempted to get through. Manga and foreign comic books are easier because there are pictures to go along with the dialogue). Still, I'm probably not going to be able to finish it before it's due on Friday, so I'll just take a break before requesting it again.

Joni and I went to see The Heat on Thursday, and it was AMAZING. I highly recommend it, guys. I basically want to cross-stitch samplers of everything Melissa McCarthy said in the movie. There need to be a million more female-led buddy cop movies.

Teen Wolf )

The Almighty Johnsons )

More on Welcome to Night Vale: [ profile] pocky_slash linked to where you can find the episodes (they're all available for free!) here, so I'll just reiterate - they're really great! If podcasts aren't your thing, some lovely person is in the process of transcribing the episodes here! There's an emerging fandom that's produced some wonderful fanart and excellent fic already, too. I have some fic recs, if anyone's interested. Knowledge of events from episodes 19a, 19b, and 25 is kind of important, so. Get on that. :D!

*The Rat and the Ruby Slippers (Carlos/Cecil) [Carlos is having the strangest dreams, and the strangest headaches, like there's something he's supposed to be remembering. Not to mention the intern's wedding coming up, and that new chemical StrexCorp wants him to develop. It's going to be a busy week.]

*The Knowable Universe (Carlos/Cecil) [“Let us approach a much more modest question: not whether we can know the universe or the Milky Way Galaxy or a star or a world. Can we know, ultimately and in detail, a grain of salt?” – Carl Sagan // or, Immediately following the events of Episode 25, Carlos realizes he’s been asking the wrong questions.]

*Somewhere a Band is Playing (Carlos/Cecil) [Cecil and Carlos deal with life, sex, pancakes, and possibly being anthropomorphic personifications. Also, Night Vale history as told by Night Vale, and a step-by-step guide to defying Death. Today's weather is by Ray Bradbury.]

*The Voice of Night Vale (Carlos/Cecil) [Cecil is, at worst, not much longer for this world. (And at best, a bit high-maintenance.)]

There's a decent amount of good stories for WTNV on AO3; these are just a few of my favorites.

Alright, I have work to catch up on. Later.
brilligspoons: (time-traveling nazis)




Like, I've gone over everything with Kyleigh and emailed all the people who will have to deal with shit while I'm gone, and I still have to get all the way to 2:45 tomorrow. PLUS the person who does all the checking on my reports every month hasn't said anything to me about them since I told her they were ready (Monday!), and if she waits until tomorrow to do this, going to be SO CROSS with her. But I will also make her edit everything because VACATION.

I really should have taken tomorrow off.

Anyway. The Museum of Natural History has a special exhibit on whales (!!!) going on right now, so I am now 1000% more excited about taking Bella and Gavin there next week. I don't even care if they don't give a shit about whales. I'll make up for it by taking them to the space show, or something. Regardless, the trip should be sufficiently nerdy and ~*educational*~ and satisfy Julia's request that we don't just sit around the house all week.

Mom and Dad are going up to CT for Easter, so Cathy and I are off the hook for that morning. We've decided to celebrate by eating all the pancakes Hoboken has to offer and making sure our aunt's old champagne glasses still work by drinking all the mimosas (for science). We feel like this is the best possible way for us to spend our not-holiday.

In conclusion:

Evan. )
brilligspoons: (h50 team)
So I've had a couple months' worth of Elementary and H50 episodes on the DVR for a while now, and since we're snowed in, I decided to use the weekend to get through as many of them as I could. I'm finally up-to-date on Elementary (JOOOOOAAAANNNNN, guys, my emotions), and I started in on H50 this evening. I think I've still got five or six episodes before I'm caught up, but I just need to flail about S3E10, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE EPISODE I MUST HAVE WILLED INTO EXISTENCE.


Steve: I'm going to teach these girls how to kill and gut a pig tonight, Danny.
Danny: That's actually a horror film.

*screaming* I can't even handle how wonderful this episode was. CANNOT. It's basically all I've ever wanted since I started watching the show - Danny being long-suffering about Steve's special brand of intensity, Steve wanting to make sure the girls could ~survive in the wilderness~, the team being fiercely protective of each other, the girls all being super smart and brave and resourceful. Just. UGH. SO GOOD. I LOVE THEM ALL.

:D :D :D :D :D

Continuing to have lots of feelings about the following: Community (ABED), North and South, The Hobbit, a theoretical fic where Erica asks Lydia out on a date, Dylan O'Brien and those stupid fucking glasses he wears in The Internship, and Richard Armitage (ugh, that recording of him reading T.S. Eliot is TERRIBLE and I listened to it way too many times today).

In other news: tomorrow's surprise party for my brother's 40th was cancelled on account of snow. :\ The T is completely shut down, so it's not like I would've been able to get to South Station for my train anyway, but I was really looking forward to seeing my babies. And celebrating John's birthday, I guess, but mostly the babies. I was able to cancel my tickets and get a voucher for the amount of the round trip to New Haven, so I'll just schedule a weekend to go down there and hang with John, Jen, and Evan.

I think it might be time for hot chocolate. Yes.
brilligspoons: (how to be normal)
Vacation was glorious. I had a hard time last night, both because I knew I had to go into work today and because my niece had an emotional breakdown over me leaving, but it's also nice to be back in Boston and in my apartment, so. Yeah. Am adjusting back to life with mass transportation and no car (sort of strange how quickly I got used to driving again). I went to the beach twice and am tan/sunburned. We also went to Jenkinson's on Friday night, and I have bruises in weird places from going on rides that were not made for adults. Ahh, the things I do for my nephew. (Look, there is even pictorial evidence that I had fun.)

Mostly I spent the week reading/sleeping/watching TV/playing Wii sports with the kids. Mom was in the hospital for several days with a heart problem (she's fine now!), so we had dinner on Wednesday at Julia's instead of the parents' and went to fireworks after that. I saw Spider-man on Tuesday with Ashley and hung out with Loretta and Jay on Saturday night. Did some writing but not much. Cathy and I saw Moonrise Kingdom and loved it. Basically all was well in my world.

And I feel like I need another vacation to recover from it. *flops*

I managed to read 4 books and start a 5th this week! It's the most I've read in quite a while. I enjoyed all of them in varying degrees, so have a quick overview:

1. Touch of Frost (Jennifer Estep) - There are 2 strikes against this novel, one being the overuse of epithets, the other being the main character's tendency to slut-shame every couple of pages. Uh, other than those, I really enjoyed it? Like, it's a really awesome idea for a story, and I liked Gwen a lot when she wasn't judging these 2 or 3 other girls who happened to have slept with a couple boys. If you're able to ignore these things, I recommend at least trying it. I've put the second story on hold - we'll see if the author tones the stupid shit down at all.

2. After Midnight (Teresa Madeiros) - Basically this is a typical period romance novel but with vampires and vampire hunters. It was enjoyable, and the heroine was pretty awesome. Ta-da!

3. The Night Tourist (Katherine Marsh) - [ profile] sky_was_green recommended this to me, and it only took me until the end of the fourth page to understand why she liked it (Jack, the main character, agonizes over which meaning of the word occidit to use in his translation of Book Ten of the Metamorphoses). Overall it was super charming! I think it dragged a bit in places, and it waited too long to reveal some plot points, but I liked it a lot.

4. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (Aimee Bender) - I. Love. This. Book. It's beautifully written, and the concept is SO interesting. I highly recommend it. Love love love love love. :D

I started reading Angelmaker (Nick Harkaway), but it's boring, so I'm probably going to drop it soon. Also started Joy for Beginners (Erica Bauermeister), but I haven't read enough to form an opinion yet.

Anyway. How are you, friends? Do anything exciting last week? :D?
brilligspoons: (cuddlebot needs love)
An explanation of sorts. )

I have one episode of Hawaii Five-O season 1 left. Kind of scared to watch it, BUT. I'll do that tonight and let you guys know if I die or not. The last few episodes have made me clutch my heart all the way through - just. CHIN HO KELLY, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING. KONO, YOU ARE INSANELY BADASS (and also you are Steve Junior and adorable and I love you). DANNY AND RACHEL AND GRACE. STEVE IN SEAL-MODE MAKING A BATTERING RAM IN THE FOREST AND HOLDING IT STEADY WHILE HE TAKES A CALL FROM DANNY.

lskefnlsknfslknf CAN'T. In fact, I can't so much that I bought the DVDs for myself. They, uh, showed up yesterday. \o/ WHAT EVEN IS THIS SHOW, YOU GUYS. :D :D :D :D :D

Okay, so. In honor of Valentine's Day, let's do a commentfic/meme of sorts. Comment with a pairing, and I will write you a few sentences of fic about their ~romantic excursion. Go go go!
brilligspoons: (red riding)
[ profile] therealljidol Week 7: Bupkis

"The worst part," she tells me when we're alone for the first time since I arrived with Dad last week, "is waking up in the morning and not knowing where you are or why you're there. When you open your eyes that first time after a night's sleep, you expect to see the ceiling you've been meaning to patch for the last decade, the dresser from the bedroom set your mother bought you when you first moved into the house forty years ago, and the tape player that's been broken since you dropped it in '96."

I stay silent and try to keep still, but nursing homes make me uneasy and my leg bounces wildly from nervous energy. She doesn't comment on my restlessness like I expect her to - I wonder, briefly, if she even notices that it's happening, and whether or not she knows it's me and not my mother or sisters. I can never tell anymore.

"It's so strange." She pauses to clear her throat, the same high-pitched hem hem sound I've heard her make since I can remember. She continues, "It's so strange, the things you think about in that moment when you don't know what you've been doing for the last four or five years. Terrifying, in a word. You've got all these memories of chasing after your little brothers and helping Mother make Sunday dinner for the cousins, of going to college and then graduate school and traveling and teaching and taking care of nieces and nephews, and then - nothing. It all goes away and you're left with nothing."

She tries to turn her head to look at me, but her body is so weak at this point that she barely manages it. She gives me a wide, toothy grin (and years later I'll see the same smile on my nephew's face and clutch at my sister's arm and cry because I miss her so much) and chuckles, warm and low. "Then, of course, it all comes rushing back to you. Doctors visiting, selling the house, the first assisted living place, updating your will, the nursing home, being confined to your bed, making sure you get to see everyone one last time. I practically ran this family for half a century, you'd think I'd be a little better at managing these things."

I think she wants me to laugh, but I know if I start I won't be able to stop before I dissolve into tears.

"I wouldn't worry too much about it, kid," she says after a while. "You have the whole world until then."
brilligspoons: (bacon)
[ profile] therealljidol Week 6: Food Memory

It's force of habit at this point, so I do it despite Bella yelling at me that I'm making it wrong.

First, I lay out the two slices of bread on a paper towel, bottom edge to bottom edge but not touching. I take two knives out from the drawer, then go into the pantry and retrieve the peanut butter container, and then I take the jar of strawberry preserves out from the refrigerator. I place both next to the bread. I pick the peanut butter up first, open it, take one of the knives and dig it in deep to get a nicely sized glob. I spread it over one slice of bread, and then repeat the action for the other.

"That's not how Mommy makes it," Bella complains.

"No," I say to her, "but it's the way Papa taught me."

I set the peanut butter aside, and then I lick both sides of the dirty knife. Mom used to scold me for this, tell me that I was going to cut my tongue open, and then where I would be? But I'm careful, I repeat this in my head even as Bella scrunches her nose up at me, I've done this a million times, it's fine. I put that knife in the sink once I'm done with it, and then I open up the jar of preserves. I take the clean knife and dip it in, careful to only pick up one of the whole strawberries in the jar. I spread that on top of the peanut butter on one slice, and then I lick that knife, too, before placing it in the sink with its match.

"That's not enough jelly," she says.

"It's plenty. Any more and it'll drip out between the bread."

I take the peanut butter-only slice and place it carefully on top of the one with the jelly, and then I slide it around until the edges align perfectly and wipe the excess peanut butter off with a finger. Bella waits until I've rinsed the knives off and put them back in the drawer to ask me more questions.

"When did Papa teach you that?"

I pick the sandwich up and bite into it. I close my eyes. "I was as old as you are," I tell her. "I kept complaining to Mommy - my mommy, your Mama - that the jelly was soaking through the bread before I even got to lunchtime at school." I hold the sandwich out to Bella for her to rip a section off. "She told me that if I was going to complain, I had to make my own. I went through a lot of bread and got so frustrated with the whole thing that I broke down and went to Papa, and he helped me out. I've never made it any other way since."

I take another bite, and I remember the roughness of his hands as he taught me to glide the knife over the bread gently and without tearing it, the amusement in his voice as he explained the superiority of strawberry preserves to grape jelly, and the mock-stern warning when he told me not to take all the strawberries before he'd had his toast on Sunday morning.

Bella holds out her hand for more of the sandwich. "You still make it weird," she says.

"You come from a family of weird people, sweetie," I say. "Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches are the least of your problems."
brilligspoons: (simon/alisha)
I don't even know how far along in the process I am for realsies, but here is a picture of the baby blanket I'm making for Jen -

Cut for size )

Becca told me to get 3 skeins of yarn but that I wouldn't need all of them? And I just started the 2nd skein last weekend. So I think I'm doing pretty well - I mean, Jen's not due until March, which means I've got time. The bottom of the blanket makes it perfectly obvious that I'm a novice knitter to anyone with an eye for these things (when I showed it to Mom when she visited in October - "Oh, messed up the pattern here, you realize that?" "Yes, Mother, perfectly aware, thanks." "Just making sure. Nice, otherwise."), but I think my second blanket will be much prettier.

Since I'm more or less on schedule, and Andrea's not due until April anyway, I might try my hand at a scarf or two once I finish this one. IDK. Something less...bulky. There's just so much blanket to maneuver right now. XD

Anyway. I'm going to try to be productive now. I make no guarantees, really, but I ought to at least poke at things. I'm just so TIRED. :\
brilligspoons: (dying)
[ profile] therealljidol Week 3: Coprolite

I got all excited when I saw this week's LJ Idol topic (well, more like after I figured out what the word meant) - "YES," I said to Kokomo (my teddy bear and constant companion). "Yet another opportunity to tell people the story about my niece pooping in the baby pool! I love telling that story." Alas! I realized shortly thereafter that I'd written about that for LJ Idol last year, so I guess I have to find something else to talk about. Le sigh.

Don't worry, you're safe from more entries about my nieces' and nephew's bodily functions. For now.


So about a year or so ago, my sister Julia calls me and asks, "Hey, where's your Kirsten doll?"

"Hi Jules," I reply, "nice to hear from you. How's life?"

"Very funny," she says. "Where's the goddamn doll? Bella's been asking me to get her one, and I'm not sure I can justify throwing $100 on a doll when you already have one."

For those of you who don't know: the Pleasant Company has been producing a line of dolls based on fictional historical characters known as "American Girls" since 1986. Each doll represents a unique culture and time period in American history - for example, there's a Native American girl named Kaya whose story takes place in 1764; there's also Rebecca, a Russian-Jewish girl from 1914, and Addy Walker, who escaped from slavery with her mother in 1864, and a couple others. Each doll comes with her own book series, five somewhat formulaic stories that are designed to educate and empower.

(Er, don't take me calling them "formulaic" the wrong way - they're awesome! They're part of the reason I love history so much! But looking back on them now, they're all sort of the same. Not a bad thing, just making an observation.)

I don't remember asking my parents for one back in the day, but I suppose I must have. Regardless, a Kirsten Larson doll (timeline: pioneer era, 1856) appeared under the Christmas tree when I was 9 or 10, and I played with her somewhat faithfully (she was a regular character for at least 4 months in the soap opera all my stuffed animals were a part of, married and divorced Kokomo twice) until we moved to a new house when I was 12.

Then, as I'm sort of wont to do with a lot of my possessions, I lost track of her. I didn't think I'd thrown her out, but when Julia asked me about her, it'd been 12 years since I'd last seen the doll. The way things go in my family, she could have been tossed out into the cold and eaten by wolves for all I knew. (Spoiler: she wasn't eaten by wolves.)

But because I live in Boston and the rest of my family in Jersey, I kept blowing Julia off. "I don't have a clue," I'd tell her repeatedly. "If you're so keen on finding her, look for her yourself."

"You're such a brat," Julia would say to me.

"Yes," I'd agree. "Your point?"

Anyway, two weeks ago she and my brother-in-law were going down to Key West for a short vacation, and I offered to babysit with our other sister for the weekend. They accepted, and then Julia told me that it would be the perfect opportunity for me to tear Mom and Dad's house apart and find the doll. I sighed dramatically a lot but agreed - the kids could go play at the park with Grandpa for a couple hours, giving Cathy and me a break from their craziness, and I'd brave the attic in search of Kirsten.

Dad very graciously shifted the heavy attic door for me before he took the kids off our hands, and I very carefully climbed up there and crawled around the exposed patches of insulation to where there was a pile of dusty boxes all marked "MARGARET - STUFF."

"How likely is that?" I asked myself. "I never have this much luck."

Sure enough, Kirsten was in one of those boxes, buried under a couple sweatshirts and skirts I hadn't seen in 13 years. I picked her up and sniffed at her, then recoiled.

"Oh yeah," I said. "You've definitely been the victim of Dad smoking inside this house since we moved in. I am so sorry."

I made my way back down with her (but not before I managed to slam my head into one of the crossbeams because I made the rookie mistake of standing up) and sent a quick text to Julia - the squirrel is in the tree, I repeat, the squirrel is in the tree.

You think you're funny, she wrote back, but thanks, I will send her off to the doll spa when I get home.

(Yes, the doll spa. You can send your dolls in to the company to be fixed up - it's pretty nifty, I think.)

So the outcome of this year-long doll quest is that my niece will be inheriting (a hopefully better-smelling) Kirsten this Christmas. As reluctant as I was to participate, I have to admit that I'm pretty pleased to be passing her off. Uh, mostly because this gets me out of actually buying her a present. That's the best.

Oh, hush, she's getting the first couple volumes of Tiny Titans and Marvel Adventures: Avengers out of me, too.
brilligspoons: (no tea no work)
[ profile] therealljidol Week 1: When you pray, move your feet

Gavin and Bella throw their backpacks on the floor and go tearing through the house and right out the door to the backyard once we get home. Cathy and I exchange a look and laugh as we move our groceries into the kitchen. She lifts the blinds on the kitchen windows and watches them chase each other up the ladder on the playhouse.

"They'll be fine out there by themselves, right?" Cathy asks me. She turns away from the window and hands me the bag of tortellini we bought especially for the kids.

"It's their swing set," I reply, "what's the worst that could happen?"

I pull out a pot from the cabinet next to the stove, and as I start to fill it with water, Bella comes rushing back inside. Over the sound of the water, someone is screaming in pain.

"Gavin's crying," says Bella. "He fell, I think."

"Oh, jesus fucking christ, not now," I say, and I rush past her and out the door. Behind me, I hear Bella tell Cathy that I said a bad word in the middle of Jesus' name, but Cathy's response to her is lost in the haze of oh god oh god oh god please let him be okay and thank GOD I kept my shoes on going through my mind.


brilligspoons: (Default)

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