Tuesday, December 20, 2011

these halls are DECKED! :)

Keith and I are only at our apartment for another night before packing up (again) and heading north for Christmas, but I finally got around to taking pictures of our tree and decorations with his camera. (Well, technically, I made him take them.) They aren't the best pictures, but at least they exist!

I am glad to be going home for Christmas, but it also seems a little sad that our home will be all decked out and lonely during most of the actual Christmas season. Maybe these decorations will stick around for a bit longer than Epiphany. :)

Our Fontanini Nativity. There are shepherds on the right, where you can't see them; on the left are the musicians (the Little Drummer Boy, a bagpiper, and some other sort of piped instrument that may or may not actually exist). Baby Jesus isn't in the manger yet.

Our mantel, decked out with trimmed branches from the Christmas tree, and extra strand of lights, and two mini stockings. :) You can't really see in this picture, but the stocking on the left says "Casey's First Christmas," because that was a possible name for Keith before he was born, and a sort-of nickname because his initials are KC.

Our TV doesn't usually live in the fireplace, but we've rearranged things to accomodate the tree. When we had friends over for caroling, we played a video of a fireplace on the screen. ;)

The Christmas tree! We don't have a tree skirt yet, or a star for the top, but we have plenty of ornaments--some of mine, some of Keith's, and some that we've started collecting together. And ... it looks really, really crooked in this picture. I don't think it actually leans that much in person. (Maybe it does ...)

Speaking of pictures ... some long-distance friends (who are also pregnant) have been bugging me, so I want to take a "bump" picture sometime soon ... maybe in my (maternity) Christmas dress! :) Probably at my parents' place; but maybe here. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Hat!

So, my camera has officially died. I mean, it still turns on and focuses and everything; it just doesn't take pictures anymore. I push the shutter button and everything goes blank.

Which means that the only picture I have to share with you today is a very, very crappy cell phone picture.

I lost my beautiful purple Meret--the first thing I ever knit myself--and had no other hat. So I knit myself a Brambles instead, out of lovely teal Berroco Ultra Alpaca. Right now it's blocking over a plate, and I'm starting to doubt that it will be dry in time for Christmas caroling tomorrow night. Maybe if I put it on a radiator? I almost didn't block it for this very reason--it fit like a beanie rather than a beret, but it was functional--but I decided that 24+ hours should be more than enough time for it to dry. That was before I came home, 3 hours after blocking it, to find it still soaking wet. Sigh.

As for reading: I just finished Stephane Pearl-McPhee's new book, which was of course awesome, and am returning to The Voice of the River, which I neglected in favor of funny essays about knitting. I love this book a lot, but I have realized (and should have known) that it is NOT the sort of book you can put down for a week without feeling a little lost when you pick it back up again. The narrative is too loose and meandering, shifting characters even within chapters. I love it, though.

Right now the apartment is all decorated for Christmas, which makes me happy. I will try and remember to ask my husband for his camera so I can take pictures. :)

Linking up with Ginny at small things.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Off I go ...

Fortified with tea and cookies, I embark on my revisionary quest.

It isn't due til Monday, but I'm hoping to finish it by Saturday so I don't have to worry about it on Sunday. (Gaudete Sunday. Geez. Advent is so short, and I always feel so unprepared!)

So I may be a bit rare around these parts, but believe me, I am reading all the blog posts that pop up on my Google Reader. Obsessively. :) That's what happens when I have work to procrastinate ...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

what words can do

You remember Uncle Roy on his knees, hammer in his hand, mouth full of nails--a man bending to do his work, calm at last, strangely grateful--a father humbled by hurt, building a ramp for his fifteen-year-old son's wheelchair. [...] He let the hammer speak: one word at a time, one word over and over.

Sweet Mary Mother of God slit the man's violet scar to slip her own bright heart inside him. She took his in return, pierced and still bleeding. Enough, she said. Let me love you. She's not afraid of grief. You think I don't know? Tulanie's pain has lifted Roy's rage out of him.

(from The Voice of the River, by Melanie Rae Thon)

(Roy is a veteran (Vietnam?) who was sent home after being wounded, and whose wife left him because of the anger he carried after his experience; his son, Tulanie, was paralyzed waist-down in an accident.)

This novel is half fiction, half poetry. I was a little scared to read it, after In This Light, which was often too dark and gritty for my tastes.

Not that I can't read fiction that acknowledges darkness; not that I need happy endings. But I want to feel that I am seeing the darkness of what's human and broken as God sees it: not through eyes of despair or resignation, but redemption. And this book ... this book. I wish I could write it.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Today I was going to:

-do laundry
-finish a draft of the book review due Monday
-write a grad student email (still must do that ...)
-and, ambitiously, get started on my revision due in two weeks. (This would never have actually happened, but.)

Instead this is what I did:

-ate breakfast
-sat at table and felt tired and sick
-lost breakfast
-went back to bed
-got up and ate some pasta
-sat around and did nothing until posting here.

Seriously, I am more than halfway through this pregnancy, haven't felt nauseous for weeks, and now morning sickness?? Sigh. I can't complain much, since I my first trimester was easier than it was for other women I know. But it's so frustrating, and I just can't seem to get enough sleep, and it makes me feel like a bum.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Advent

Over Thanksgiving, I gathered up the Christmas ornaments I had left at my parents' house, and my mom also sent me home with some of my grandmother's. So Keith and I are ready to decorate our first Christmas tree. I'm really hoping that we get one before the end of the week. My family always set up trees late--sometimes not til Christmas Eve--and kept it up a while afterwards; but since Keith and I won't be here over Christmas or New Year's, we'd like to decorate early so we can enjoy it during Advent.

I love the idea of entering fully into the Liturgical year at home through family traditions and decorations, and my wish list for Advent is growing: an Advent wreath and candles, a Jesse tree, a manger that waits for the Christ Child under the tree. But I'm realizing these will be things that Keith and I gather year by year (especially things like the Jess tree, which can wait until we have kids).

One thing we do have is a Nativity set. When I was confirmed I received a lot of Fontanini figurines, and although my collection is a bit lopsided (I have one wise man, unless you count the giant Balthazar that stands a good two inches taller than all the other people), I remembered to pack it up and bring it back down with us last week. (I remember religious stores used to have crazy displays for these, on par with those railroads some people set up in their basements. The entire city of Bethlehem, buildings and hills populated by people and animals, and off in a quiet corner--the stable.)

So farI've just set up the stable, the (empty) manger, and Mary and Joseph. This was because I felt lazy at the time, but I've decided to add the figurines one at a time, as a sort of Advent calendar. (I tried to take a picture, but it seems my camera has finally gasped its last.) Keith pointed out that yes, Jesus isn't here yet; but technically, neither are Mary and Joseph, so they shouldn't be in the stable either. I suppose I could have them travel around the room with a donkey until they reach the stable on Christmas Eve. But ... no. I won't. :-P

And as we are, of course, awaiting the arrival of our own little baby (although not until well after Christmas!), it adds something extra special to this Advent. Caitlin called me out in my last post--we got our ultrasound yesterday, which means we now know the gender! I'm happy to inform you all that we are having a little boy!

It's something of an adjustment, actually, because we've been thinking of the baby as a girl and calling him "she" for a while now! It means I have to save the pretty baby sweater patterns I've been looking at for a later pregnancy ... and now start gathering handsome ones. :) But we are pretty thrilled!