Friday, December 31, 2010

An Apology to My Family

I just finished reading Lord of the Rings last night, and I feel I owe my family an apology for several things related to said reading. Like, for example, disappearing for hours at a time. Or not making it to the grocery store. Or not wrapping gifts as prettily as I might have were I not anxious to get back to the book. And also for referring to my children as "Risa, Vida, and Lea of the Shire." But most of all, I think I should apologize for the following statements and a dozen others like them:

Statement: The Dark Lord calls.
Translation: I'm going to bed now.

Statement: I have scaled the black mountains of Mordor. I have battled on the Fields of Pelennor.
Translation: Sure, I'll play a round of Clue.

Statement: I prefer the trees and flowers of Lothlorien.
Translation: No, I will not consider a camping trip in 2011.

Statement: Beware the web of Shelob, my halflings. Away!
Translation: Clean your bedroom. Or else.

I am wishing you and yours all the delights of Middle-Earth in 2011. Make merry and be safe. I'll see you back here in the new year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bad Start, Strong Finish

After a morning and early afternoon of unrelenting mayhem (buy 30 bagels! buy 6 cookie sandwiches and a giftcard at Teacake! buy 2 gallons of milk! now use the milk to make a vat of homemade cocoa! cut out a few more corrugated cardboard circles! transfer cocoa to thermos carafe thingies! pack chocolates, cookies, and...well...everything! bring it all to school, but make sure none of it gets wet! put your hood up! try to maintain some dignity, you hood-wearing pack mule! set up 2 class parties! do a craft with the 3rd graders! try not to scream while all of them at the same time say, "Ms. Montes? Ms. Montes? Ms. Montes? Ms. Montes?") punctuated by equally unrelenting rain, the kids and I crossed the threshold of our warm little house. Vida went to the den to read. Lea went to her room and shut the door. Risa checked in at Woozworld. And me? I earthwormed into my bed and read Lord of the Rings while the rain pattered my window. Just like that, the hours preceding disappeared and life was good, warm, dry, and so nice.

Then I decided I would make Arroz Caldo with Chicken. The recipe (I know what you're thinking: why does she need a recipe?) called for "1 small chicken." I didn't have "1 small chicken," but because the cookbook was my mother's and was published in 1970, at which time I imagine chickens were quite small, I just decided to use the fat chicken breast in my refrigerator. Also, sadly, I lacked "1 small onion, chopped." I did, however, have a leek. So I used that. And it turned out so excellent and reminiscent of both my childhood and, not unpleasantly, the Greek version (is it avgolemeno?) of the soup. Now the kids and the SU are sitting in front of the fire playing Monopoloy and drinking eggnog. And, yes, there are Christmas carols and twinkling lights and stockings. I like it here.

Despite the annoyances that occurred earlier today, I just caught sight of the holiday craft I did with the 3rd graders, and it's kinda cute. Here's Lea's:

The SU says it's the "least offensive craft ever." I think that's what people mean by the term "faint praise." I'll take it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Post in Which I Start with Lord of the Rings and then Veer Off Course

For reasons unfathomable, I picked up a copy of Lord of the Rings, pondered briefly, purchased it, and now cannot stop reading it. I don't know why I've never read it before, though I have a vague memory of thinking that it must be exceedingly dorky. Now I don't care if I'm dorky. Frodo rulez!

On the same day, I found a new, hardcover copy of The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (which I have wanted for quite some time now) for twelve dollars! So if I ever get lost in Middle-Earth, I can refer to it, and all will be well. But seriously, it's difficult to pass up a book billed as " invaluable guidebook to more than twelve-hundred places-that-never-were," including Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Eco's Island of the Day Before, much do I love this?... a two-column entry for Dictionopolis and Digitopolis from The Phantom Tollbooth!

As I continued to ride the train of consumerism that day, I also purchased Hunter rain boots. But I did this for good reason, as heavy rains were imminent and my current boots had a hole. And also I bought other things, for reasons not as logical.

Moving on...

The spousal unit and I recently watched two films which I thought were excellent. First, I Am Love with Tilda Swinton as the lady-what's-in-charge of a villa-dwelling Milanese family. Super rich folks have major issues, people, but they also have dreamy shoes, textiles, food, and wait staff:

And then there was The Kids Are All Right with Julianne Moore (on whom I have a huge crush) Annette Bening, and the charming, rakish Mark Ruffalo. It was hilarious and true and good:

While I'm on the subject of recommendations, I shall now call your attention to my Pinoy/Pinay lit recommendations for this holiday season, which were cross-posted at the PAWA blog and the Re: Angelica's Daughters blog.

Finally, I will post a picture of my youngest, who now appears to be not-so-very-young. I post this because she was so extraordinarily overjoyed on this day and it made me—by maternal extension—extraordinarily overjoyed, as well. She performed in a holiday dance show, you see, getting all jazzy to the strains of U2's It's A Beautiful Day. I find these dance shows absolutely hilarious, but they also make me cry. Life is confusing.

Hey, the doorbell just rang and it was the UPS guy (did you know I harbor a not-so-unreasonable belief that one day I will open the door and the UPS guy will be an old high school classmate? Well, I do) with a big old box of holiday cards for me to address, so...yeah. I have to go.