Thursday, December 31, 2009

In 2009, I:

Started a blog.

Celebrated with the hubs when he was offered his dream job.

Finished school, never to return. (Well, never say never.) (But also... never.)

Bought a house. A good one.

Took the last and biggest exam of my life.

Moved away from a very cool city.

Finally saw West Texas in person.

Worked on the house. Made it better, brighter, cozier.

Discovered I'd failed the last and biggest exam of my life.

Wallowed but good.

Borrowed a rabbit from my sister. Let borrowing become stealing, because I fell in love.

Learned how to pick myself up and start again. Grudgingly, maybe, but it still counts.

It's all been very exciting, but you know what I could go for in 2010?

Getting stuck in a nice, boring rut. At least for a little while.

Happy New Year,

Love, J

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


It's what's for dinner.

Love, J

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What I did on my winter break

Dad-in-law showing off the slippers his son made him

I made presents:

Homemade 'Twinkies' for Grandpa

T-shirt blanket for the hubs

I wrapped presents:

All furoshiki, all the time

I celebrated the holiday 4 different times:

With the in-laws,

The grandparents,

And at the big Christmas Eve bash.

And then Christmas morning with my sisters. I've stopped taking pictures of those celebrations, because no one wants to be photographed at 6 am, and we usually just open gifts by the light of the fireplace and tree lights, so the pictures don't really turn out anyhow.

And now for some Lily pictures (because she doesn't stop being photogenic just because I stop blogging for a while):

G is the only critter I know who can out-cute the bunny.

Love, J

Thursday, December 17, 2009


The stack so far.

I won't be keeping up with my posts for the next little bit, while I scramble to finish my flash cards before Christmas. The end is in sight, it's just going to be a stretch to meet the deadline I've given myself - especially since we will start celebrating 'Christmas' on Monday with an early gift exchange with my in-laws.

Wish me luck!

Love, J

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The secret to domestic bliss

Must be not to strive for perfection. Unless you are able to obtain perfection, in which case, strive away.

If I were a perfectionist, all the sewing, baking, knitting, gardening, party hosting, etc. would bring nothing but pure stress instead of joy. Because as much as I love to dabble in the domestic arts, I'm not all that good at most of them.

So here's to crooked seams and too-crunchy sugar cookies smothered in too-sweet frosting. (I'm going to Grandma's for a dough-making tutorial tomorrow. While I don't need perfection, I do need to be able to make a passable holiday treat if I'm going to give out plates to my neighbors.)

Love, J

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Letting it snow



A change of scenery.

'It's different, but I like it.'

He's wanted to take her out in the snow since September.

Ready to come in.

Warming back up.

Love, J

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cookies & books & sleep

I have the beginnings of an idea of how to better use my blog. I'm very excited about it, but I'm going to let the thought percolate for the rest of December, and kick it off with the beginning of the new year. Stay tuned.

Today we're having what many people would consider a lay-around Sunday. Only it's Monday, and by this household's standards, we're actually being very productive.

I'm taking a flash-card-making break to whip up some cookie dough and dance around to Harry Connick Jr.'s holiday album.

The hubs is studying for work. When I asked what he was going to do with his days off, he couldn't think of anything, because his job is his favorite hobby now.

And the bunny is napping. She wore herself out by being both extra-naughty and extra-affectionate and cute this morning.

Love, J

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A simple demand

I saw 'Julie & Julia' tonight. As an audience member, I was totally delighted. As a blogger, it left me feeling like I'm not living up to my potential. And thinking that I should come up with some sort of direction for my space here. But not tonight. Because tonight I have a very important letter to write:

Dear Lily,

Stop eating my flash cards.


The girl who will not give you apple slices anymore if you continue to eat her flash cards

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blue & white checked sweater

My grandmother is moving to a slightly smaller apartment and is handing off her worldly possessions left and right so that she won't feel all cluttered in her new digs. Being the very good granddaughter I am, I went over there a few nights ago to root through the bags of things she no longer wants, and I came up with some major finds.

My favorite is this blue and white wool sweater. Grandma told me that either she or her mother knitted it, she can't remember which.

I spend plenty of time with my yarn and needles, but I can't imagine making so many clothes that I could knit a whole sweater and then forget I'd made it. Have you ever knit a sweater? Even if you're speedy, it takes quite a few hours. The only one I've made (that wasn't baby-size) took me two years off-and-on because I kept getting sick of it.

Anyway, it's warm and fits cute and if you spot me at the supermarket this winter, I will almost surely be wearing it.

On another topic, I have learned that it is very hard to take an un-blurry photograph of yourself in a mirror when you don't have good lighting. Especially if you try to do it with the camera away from your face while capturing more just your right hip or the very top of your head.

Love, J

Monday, December 7, 2009

Furoshiki, baby

Do you know about furoshiki? It's the Japanese art of using a cloth to wrap gifts or carry items. It's both pretty and eco-friendly, so I'm on board!

I'm trying to wrap our gifts this way exclusively this year, so I've been busy hemming up a storm to get enough scarves ready. I like that the wrapping material doubles as a gift itself. In the picture, the one in the front is an old silk scarf I had, and the other two are squares of old sheet I hand-hemmed. I'll be doing the rest on the machine though, because my hand-hemming takes forEVer.

If you want to try it yourself, I recommend a silky fabric - it seems to be the best weight for giving a nice, crisp result. But there's something nice and homey about the little cotton and fleece bundles too. Thrift stores usually have lots of pretty scarves, and that's where I get my sheets for fabric for all my sewing projects. That way everything is re-purposed, interesting, and a little more quality for the price.

So far I've only used the folding method shown here, but I'm going to try this one next. There are lots of different ways to fold it, depending on whether you're wrapping soft objects, boxes, wine bottles, etc. Have fun!

Love, J

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Down and out

Besides blue eyes and a very fortunate metabolism, I inherited three things from my mother: a tendency to exaggerate; a love of gift-giving; and depression. It's this last little legacy that has plagued my day.

It begins in a way very similar to catching cold. Only instead of waking up one morning with a hint of a sore throat, I'll be driving down the road and feel a soft tug on my heart. A gentle but very perceptible feeling of dread. And just as the sore throat will develop into a runny nose and achy limbs, the dread mounts and slows me down until I stop. And for a while, I will be sad.

I love/hate the word 'depressed.' It's too shrinky and overused when I look at it from the normal perspective. But if I think about it in the physical way - like, a button that has actually been pressed down, it feels quite apt. 'Deflated' and 'leaded' work nicely too. Depression isn't a hot topic of conversation, at least not in any circles I run in, but I know it's around. I've seen shadows of it in others. However, because everyone other than me has some sort of filter between their thoughts and their words, it doesn't get discussed.

My sad days seem to follow some of my more manically high, happy hours, but I can't say that's true without exception. In my experience, self-absorption does not equal self-awareness, and I am embarassingly bad at keeping track of what, if anything, triggers my blues.

But that's fine because I'm also not particularly bent on heading them off. What self-absorption does equal is self-indulgence, and I find it completely appropriate to take advantage of a buy-three-get-three-free candy bar sale at Safeway and then hole up in my sweats until I'm all moped out.

Understand that this is very different from a run-of-the-mill bad day and subsequent pissiness. When you get yelled at by a client, or miss your bus home when it's raining, or, say, fail the bar exam, that's one thing. There is a reason for the foul mood that follows, and there are usually ways to cure it. But the baseless gloom that overtakes you (or maybe just me?) out of nowhere every once in a while has a different heft to it.

It is both a frustration and a relief to not know when it's coming, and to not know how to climb out when it hits. I don't attempt to cheer myself up anymore, because I know that I can't. It's just time to be sad. Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up and it will be time to be happy again. Until then, I am self-medicating with a dinner of Reese's and Hershey's, and thanking Mom for the metabolism.

Love, J

Friday, December 4, 2009

Needle & thread burnout

Here's some important making-stuff advice that I know and yet can never seem to follow:

When you're working on a project, make sure that you quit and clean up before you're sick and tired of it. Otherwise you'll find yourself up to your knees in fabric scraps and bits of thread after 10 hours of sewing, and wishing you could just move out of the house rather than clean up the mess you've made.

Only you have to pick it up, because the project is your husband's Christmas present, and you don't want him to see it when he comes home.

And then by the time it's FINALLY all put away, you'll be pretty sure there's just no freaking way you're going to want to get everything out again and finish the project between now and Christmas. So then you have to start thinking of a backup gift.

On the plus side, I think I'll get some studying done now, since even just looking at the mending I set aside for this evening is making me queasy. I guess this is what's meant by 'too much of a good thing'?

Love, J

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Miss Productivity

This week I have made:

~ Around 500 flashcards

~ Some little knitted buddies for the ornament exchange with the aunts next week (pattern here)

~ The house all Christmas-ee

~ A date with G for 'ornament night' at her school (I'm not sure what this means, but it sounds fun...)

~ My way through 3 seasons of the Friends DVDs

~ A new friend in my neighbor Greta

~ And a pretty present for sweet Beth (man, it's hard not to show off all the homemade gifts! But trust me, it's good.)

And it's only Thursday!

Love, J

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Put down the gun and pick up some yarn

You know the old saying:

Pattern here

If you crochet a man some slippers, he will wear them and be happy and cozy.

But if you teach a man to crochet slippers, he will be infinitely more helpful at Christmas-present-making time.

And if after learning of his new hobby, you find yourself tempted to question his manliness, I say 'go for it.' Just one rule: you can only tease him if you too wear a bullet-proof vest to work every day.

No one?

That's what I thought.

Love, J

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Where legal research meets holiday cheer

The list of things I liked about law school is sparse indeed. But I can now add festive holiday decorations to that list.

There are two major legal databases that attorneys use to look up cases and statutes. Both companies try their best to get future lawyers hooked on their database while we are still students, so that after graduation we'll pay the big bucks to use their services. They buy our love with free lunches, gift cards, and points. Oh, the points.

My first year of law school, I researched with both databases constantly, for the sole purpose of earning those beautiful points. They can be redeemed for some pretty choice prizes, and I wanted very badly to have enough by graduation that I could cash them in for a fancy projector or a nice camera.

But my interest waned during my second year, when I started working and didn't have time to go to the lunch classes that earn you major pointage. Plus, one of the companies hired a new rep, and he really annoyed me (and was stingy with his points), so I sort of boycotted them for a while.

Still, by the end of my third year, I had a pretty huge point stash. Not big enough to send for the big-ticket items I'd had my eye on, but I did okay.

From the first company, I ordered a dutch oven from Le Creuset (I LOVE Le Creuset, mostly because of the colors. Probably it cooks well too, but I don't know what I'm doing enough to be able to tell the difference.) And I got a box of ramikins with the leftovers.

I looked through probably every prize in the online catalog for the second database, but nothing caught my fancy. So I redeemed my points with them for a cash card that is good only at certain vendors.

And Home Depot is one of those vendors.

And Home Depot has Christmas lights.

Fabulous, giant, LED Christmas lights.

So the hubs and I had a shopping spree, and I fulfilled a lifelong dream of having my very own home decked out in lights. And now we sleep in one cheery, colorful little house.

Happy December!

Love, J

Monday, November 30, 2009

Maybe she gets depressed during the holidays?

Have you seen the bunny suicide books or calendars?

Last week I heard Lily making noises in the other room as I was getting ready for my day.

As I walked down the hall to investigate, she ran from the living room to the bedroom. I stopped at the end of the hall, looked to my right, and saw her:

Then I looked to my left and saw this:

Love, J

Friday, November 27, 2009