Make Your Life So Sweet

Just give me one more day, please.

So Try Another Flavor

Busy! busy! busy! today reworking and revising the menu for Italian Christmas Eve. Tomato sauce for the manicotti is cooling on a back burner. The crepes are thawing. Pete’s dashed out for fresh herbs. We have a thousand things to do today, but they’re all tasks I’ve looked forward to for weeks. I enjoy wrapping presents and rolling manicotti and fussing over details of grilled vegetables on a gorgeous platter. Plus, there’s time for a much-needed nap. On Friday, when I was too tired to lift my arms, I called out for pizza. When the pizzeria got the order wrong, I nearly burst into tears, a ginormous hint that I was long past exhausted. Other than last winter, I’m not the teary type.

Bonus picture of fog hanging over the river and obscuring the city. I assure you that New Brunswick with its bland skyline sits there beyond the water. I can see parts of it from my living room window, perhaps because they’re about a half mile to the left of this section of the Raritan and surrounded by the orange plastic fencing one sees during lengthy construction works. You can’t miss the orange.

I’ve never planned the menu for Italian Christmas dinner before. and it will be our first without Dad. Daria and I are determined to get through it and New Year’s Eve with a minimum of drama. My stomach flutters a bit. Outside, snow may be falling.

Is Pointed At Me

A Pleasant Solstice to you.

Today, we begin a new project Pete and I are excited about: 180 Days. One of us will take a digital picture from the same spot at the same angle every day until the next Solstice. We’ll publish the pictures on PIC every day (unless I am, say, on a boat in the Caribbean). The view is of the City of New Brunswick from the sidewalk in front of my apartment. Pete took this picture this morning. We discovered last night there’s no way to take these pictures at night because the city photographs at night on my camera like a distant Christmas tree fire.

So. The city sits on the other side of the river and through the trees. We will see more of it, then less. The place where we photograph from may change a bit. We shall see what we shall see.

I urge you to pick a place, take your digital camera there and try this experiment yourself.

Friday Cat Blogging: Teenage Hopes Arrive Edition

Topaz, you may recall, came to me with respiratory issues manifesting in the form of a weepy right eye. The vet promised me the condition bothered me more than it bothered Topaz so I let it go. As the temperature dropped, hatches were battened against the weather and the apartment felt snug, then stuffy. So did Topaz, who seemed to be constantly sneezing. On Wednesday, when I opened my bedroom door in the morning, the apartment felt like an oven and the sound of Topaz’s breathing was louder than the TV. I brought home a humidifier and set it up to run constantly. Minstrel advised what I pretty much guessed I should do, then the Chinese medicine consultant at the health food store agreed: eucalyptus drops in the humidifier. This morning, Topaz sneezed a bit but not much and was cranky enough to resist my efforts to wipe away a bit of snot. So: things are looking up. And speaking of looking up –

Topaz sits at Pete’s feet all the time and gazes up at him with all the sticky emotion one hopes to avoid in a torrid teenage love affair. Tuesday night, I was working on something and Pete said, “Get the camera.” Though Topaz usually sees the camera and takes a powder, this time Topaz sat still and blinked out her message of awkward, gooey love. Mostly, Pete ignores this peculiar source of unguarded affection, which reminds me that in high school he went out with the beautiful, shy blonde girl everyone stared at and sighed. I had forgotten he must have had awkward girls in pigeon-toed droves staring at him like this.

Yesterday was the longest day of my life, I think. I just have to get through today and then I’m off until 3 January; crucial, as I am running on fumes. Wednesday morning, I dragged a case of Joint Juice to my office, plus two packages to be mailed out, lunch and oranges for my co-workers. It was too much for me to carry, really, which I discovered during the quarter-mile trek from my car to the library. The wind was blowing in great gusts. I put up the hood of my coat and threw my messenger bag over my shoulder, which pushed hair in my eyes. I balanced the whole load and set off, pretty much blind. A minute later, I realized I was standing on a 30′ sheet of ice in 2″ heels, carrying more than I should. I wish I had this on video for you. You would enjoy it. I’ve recovered nicely!

Somehow, I got across the street before the case of Joint Juice shifted. Instead of plummeting to the ground it flew up in the air. I juggled it – juggled it – juggled it, then BLAM! It slammed to the sidewalk and one side burst open. I burst out laughing. A wide-eyed, almost hysterically earnest young woman appeared out of nowhere and helped me gather up the little cans. Still laughing, I said, “You have to admit: this is pretty funny.” She exclaimed, with deep feeling, “I have an exam. THANK YOU.” After she disappeared – whoosh! – back into nowhere, I toddled another fifty feet before I heard the shopping bag in my left hand tear. I put the bag down and marched into the library, where a man I know pretended not to be wetting his pants at my misfortune. He took the box of Joint Juice. I went back outside, gathered up disintegrating shopping bag and its contents. Then I went downstairs to tell everyone I was having a bad day with containers and should in no way make coffee. Fortunately, the office was out of bottled water.

Pete looks at Topaz and in his best Jan Brady voice says, “Drusy, Drusy, Drusy!” Pete claims Topaz has a Drusy doll stuck full of pins. As you can see, our long-legged princess doesn’t seem to care – not when there’s festive tissue paper to steal and destroy! Gift-giving holidays are a boon to the pussycats, who try to help with these chores. Tuesday night, Drusy stole and de-ribboned presents as fast as I wrapped them. I couldn’t get mad about it, though. She looked so happy, vanquishing the raffia. I almost didn’t have the heart to steal them back.

I have agreed to catsit for the people upstairs again. They bribed me with homemade pralines so good I wanted to slap them for the extra pounds on my butt. So next week: double your pleasure, double the cats.