Gnome for the holidays

Puppyface Cheeks McGee, the person I LOVE MOST IN THE UNIVERSAL WORLD

Puppyface Cheeks McGee, the person I LOVE MOST IN THE WORLD

Hey, check it out, I actually feel like writing a post! It’s been months, but blog writing doesn’t have the appeal for me that it used to. I generally get stymied wondering why anyone would be interested in my ramblings, especially considering that I myself no longer read other people’s rambly blogs. Thank god for special-interest sites, however, because I use them a lot. Just in the past week I learned a passel o’ stuff–from how many graphic novels collections of the Walking Dead there are (22 and counting),  to why my six-month-old grandson has suddenly begun thinking  “stranger-danger” when he looks at me (normal but soul-crushing), to the best crustless gluten- dairy-free quiche recipes (still to be tested), to where I’d seen Tony Robinson of Time Team before (oh yeaahh, he’s BALDRICK!). As well as about a million bazillion other things, important and non. I love internet.

Anyway, THAT was a bunny trail, right out of the chute.

So how is everyone? I’m hoping well. We’re deep into the holidays now (did you notice?) and our personal family is a week away from Yule, which we celebrate instead of Christmas. It started out for me to be a spiritual decision, but that doesn’t matter so much anymore as I’ve laid spiritual beliefs aside for the mo. For however-long because they just don’t matter to me anymore. But I like Yule’s emphasis on nature and light AND my kids love it because when we celebrate the week before Christmas, there’s no competition between our family and the families of their significant others over who spends the holiday where. It removes about 82.7% of the stress. This year, on the 21st, we’re going to treat everyone to Zoolights up at the Portland Metropolitan Zoo. We’ll take the MAX train up there early evening, walk around oohing and ahhing for a couple hours, then ride back to Jess and Lauren’s house and cook a big extravagant breakfast for supper. (Hence the quiche recipes.) Afterwards we’ll exchange gifts and sip hot drinky-poos around the fire, maybe play some games! I’m super looking forward to this. Our gift exchange will work like the classic white elephant game only it’ll involve actual nice gifts instead of duds, and people can keep what they like. I always hated the obligatory trading-away part, so that’s been abolished. The beauty of making up your own rules. Scott and I went shopping for our individual gifts to exchange yesterday and had a blast looking for unique gourmet items to fill our baskets. The peeps who get those are going to love ’em. This week I’ll be making a few homemade items to add to the mix as well. I’ve been having fun.

A few highlights of the past couple months:

Ginger mania!

Ginger mohawk!

~We took a little trip to the Newport Aquarium for Jesse’s birthday in November and had a great time wandering through the exhibits and especially up and down the old waterfront. I love that part of town because it’s an actual working waterfront, complete with fishing trawlers going in and out of port,  walls and walls of crab pots, salt- and gull doo-encrusted sidewalks, and at least one drunken old salt who kept crowing “Hey, BAAABY” at me from his bench on a pier. In the past this may have meant something completely different, but this time I was 100% sure that he was trying to get Sol’s attention, as I was carrying him in a pouch in front of me. Man, here’s a hint: if you’re ever starved for attention, carry a damn baby around with you. You’ll never be lonely again. Haha! You’ll at least have all the old drunken sailors you want. Oh, and there was a wall of rocks below one pier that was  SWARMING with sea lions, barking and roaring and biting at each other, and this went on for hours. They were still at it when we left. It was great.

Jess, Lauren, and Sol

Jess, Lauren, and Sol

~I’ve been making natural lip balms, flavoring them with peppermint and lime oils and tinting some of them with beetroot powder, and they’re utterly fantastic… I’m so happy with them! I will never be without lip balm again, which is some claim for this addict, I’ll tell you. They’re stashed everywhere. Plus, they’re cheap enough that I can keep my peoples supplied with them. I’ve also been using a homemade peppermint oil-infused glycerin spray as a humectant for my skin and hair and have found out it works as a headache remedy, too! Yes, peppermint is a current theme. It’s been fun to mess around with beauty concoctions.

~Also! A few days ago I began drawing in my art journal again, after a year, and that feels really good. After my first entry a few days ago I realized that I actually felt normal again. When Jess asked what I wanted for Yule, I told him chalk and oil pastels. Gotta get this engine humming again. With our tax return in February we plan on buying a new laptop and printer/scanner, so I’ll be able to show my new work to you.

~For quite a long time now, Scott and I have been reading the Repairman Jack and Adversary Cycle series (they intertwine) by F. Paul Wilson, and eighteen books later, we finally finished! Well, other than three teenage Jack novels, and three prequels to the series, that is… I’m working on those while Scott takes a break. Jack is one of the best characters EVER and I’m eternally grateful to the author for bringing him into the world, and taking him out (figuratively) so perfectly. I’ve been reading scads of novels, on average a book every two days, but as always there are only one or two out of an entire stack that stand out. For me, the latest is The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. That book SLAYED ME. I was SLAIN.

~Also, I’ve been reading the Walking Dead graphic novels. Due to a strange series of events, I’d ended up watching the fourth season of the show three times in the past month, so you can imagine that I was thoroughly immersed in its world, even to the point of dreaming about it. I don’t care about zombies in the least. It’s the people I care about, seeing how dire circumstances changed them, how they survived in the worst situations. I’m completely enthralled by this. What’s nice is that the books are really different from the show; even the characters don’t share too many of the same traits, so nothing is ruined from one to the other. I prefer the show. Say, when Michonne in the book does something I don’t like, I can huffily proclaim, “The REAL Michonne would never do that!” Etc. I do appreciate the reality that if it weren’t for the books, there wouldn’t be a show. Which I love.


~Torie moved out last month, to a huge house with three housemates and two pit bulls, and she’s doing extremely well. I thought that having the Spare Oom back to use as a work room would make my life worth living, but to my vast surprise, not so much. I waited a few days to see if Torie’s new situation was going to take, then began fixing up my new room, getting everything organized and pictures hung and all my tools in place. But I find I barely use it. I like being in the living room. This is the first time since we first moved in that we haven’t had someone living with us and I’m finding I miss the company and extra bustle. First it was my friend Stephanie, then Torie, then Jesse, then Jess and his girlfriend, then Torie again. I’m thinking of advertising on Craigslist. (Kidding.) My ideal living situation would be one of those sprawling Spanish villas surrounding a central courtyard, with my kids and their families filling the rooms. In the evenings, we could swarm into the middle of the yard, barking and biting and roaring at each other far into the night.

Happy season to all!



Filed under Art Journal, Baby!, Beloveds, Cold places, Creative, Fambly, Small blue box, Stuff to read

3 responses to “Gnome for the holidays

  1. Happy Christmas Kelly. And I hope you had a great Yule :) And have a great New Year.
    I see its snowing on your blog :) we don’t get too much snow here, was very cold the past day or so but Ireland doesn’t really get huge variations in temperature.

    I still go to my family home for Xmas and the husband goes to his, so we have our mini-Christmas when we meet back up, which this year was yesterday, so I’m still very much in the Christmas spirit.

    The zoo sounds lovely, I know some people don’t like them because of animals suffering, but in a well-run zoo they always try to make sure that that can’t happen. Dublin Zoo is, I think, a well run zoo and I always like to visit it.

    • Merry holidays to you too, Fence! :) I really like that you and your husband are able to celebrate separately with your respective families. A lot of stress can be alleviated if couples remember they’re not attached at the hip! Sounds like you’ve hit on a good solution. Plus, that only stretches out the holiday. I’m a big fan of whatever brings “more” of the stuff I like. :)

      I’m not a huge fan of zoos either; they kind of make me sad, though like Dublin, Portland has one of the better ones so it’s not too bad. However, we didn’t end up going after all… It was raining and we nixed that idea, which turned out to be good because we would have had to rush too much. As it was, we stayed in and had a truly lovely, relaxed evening, sitting by the fire until well after midnight. It was great. As far as snow goes, the only snow we’ve had here is what’s floating across my blog! sigh. It’s been a dry year. It’s COLD, though. Right now it’s about 26 degrees (Fahrenheit). Yikes.

      At least it’s coats and boots weather. Man, I love coats and boots. :) Have a great time tomorrow night, whatever you end up doing. Enjoy! Happy New Year! :)

      • We were warned about a “winter devastation” in a couple of the papers, but if you read anything past the headlines you’d realise that no, that was just the slimest of slim chances, and luckily we weren’t buried in snow :) Just plenty of rain.
        Still at least I haven’t had to worry about driving in snow yet.

        Hope you had a great New Year!

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