scaifea's thread #14

Això és la continuació del tema scaifea's thread #13.

Converses75 Books Challenge for 2020

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

scaifea's thread #14

1scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 12:12 pm



Hey, everybody!

From the Introductions Thread:
I'm Amber, a one-time Classics professor, turned stay-at-home parent/lady of leisure, turned part-time library assistant, turned once again Classics professor. I spend my free time sewing, writing, knitting, baking, and, of course, reading.

My reading life is happily governed by lists, which means that I read a healthy variety of things across various genres.

I'm 45 going on 12 and live in Ohio with my husband, Tomm; our son, Charlie, and Mario the Golden Retriever.

For those of you wanting a photo of me on my first day of teaching, well, I forgot, but here's one of me on my second day (you can tell that I'm Professional Amber here because my hair isn't, for once, in a messy bun):



Favorite Books from 2019
Next of Kin
The Book of Boy
Ficciones
Night Watch
The Name of the Wind
A Monster Calls
Check, Please! Book 1
Art Matters
The Heart's Invisible Furies

2scaifea
Editat: des. 30, 2020, 2:10 pm



What I'm Reading Now:
-The House on the Borderland (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list)
-Thick as Thieves (series reread)
-Spinning Silver (Alex Award)
-Outlander (romance list)
-Silas Marner (audiobook)
-The Queen of Attolia (Charlie's bedtime book)
-The Book Thief (books I'm reading with my friend, Rob)
-Manchild in the Promised Land (Banned Books list, AlphaKIT: M)

Books on Deck:
-Lord Foul's Bane (BSF Award)
-The Experience of Insight (Buddhist reading list)
-Uncle Silas (books by year - 1864)
-Guard of Honor (Pulitzer list)
-(an unread book from my shelves)
-(a book from my Read Soon! shelves)
-A Likely Story (cozy mysteries)
-Henry VI Part 1 (Shakespeare re-read)
-The Ugly American (Banned Books)

3scaifea
Editat: des. 30, 2020, 2:10 pm

Books Read
JANUARY
1. Still Life (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A
2. Breaking Stalin's Nose (Newbery Honor Book, audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
3. The Golden Name Day (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
4. Lumberjanes #2: Friendship to the Max (series read) - 10/10 = A+
5. Lumberjanes #3: A Terrible Plan (series read) - 10/10 = A+
6. Lumberjanes #4: Out of Time (series read) - 10/10 = A+
7. Lumberjanes #5: Band Together (series read) - 10/10 = A+
8. Lumberjanes #6: Sink or Swim (series read) - 10/10 = A+
9. Lumberjanes #7: A Bird's-Eye View (series read) - 10/10 = A+
10. Lumberjanes #8: Stone Cold (series read) - 10/10 = A+
11. Lumberjanes #9: On a Roll (series read) - 10/10 = A+
12. Lumberjanes #10: Parents' Day! (series read) - 10/10 = A+
13. Lumberjanes #11: Time After Crime (series read) - 10/10 = A+
14. The Adventurous Eaters Club (Read Soon! Shelves/Christmas gift from Charlie) - 9/10 = A
15. The Black God's Drums (Alex Award) - 9/10 = A
16. Call Down the Hawk (Read Soon! Shelves) - 10/10 = A+
17. Mr. Justice Holmes (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
18. I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld) - 9/10 = A
19. The White Stone (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
20. The Corn Grows Ripe (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-

FEBRUARY
21. The Book of Essie (Alex Awards) - 9/10 = A
22. Lumberjanes 12: Jackalope Springs Eternal (series read) - 10/10 A+
23. Lumberjanes 13: Indoor Recess (series read) - 10/10 = A+
24. Lumberjanes: Bonus Tracks (series read) - 10/10 = A+
25. Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass (series read) - 10/10 = A+
26. Lumberjanes: The Shape of Friendship (series read) - 10/10 = A+
27. Mooncakes (recommended by Laura (lycomayflower)) - 9/10 = A
28. Vanity Fair (audiobook) - 7/10 = C
29. They Called Us Enemy (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A
30. The Rattle Bag (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B
31. Queen of the Sea (impulse library checkout) - 8/10 = B-
32. Pumpkinheads (impulse library checkout) - 9/10 = A
33. Snuff (Discworld) - 9/10 = A
34. Agnes Grey (audiobook) - 8/10 = B+
35. New Kid (Newbery Medal) - 10/10 = A+
36. Telephone Tales (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
37. Pawn of Prophecy (Charlie's bedtime read) - 10/10 = A+
38. The Girl Who Smiled Beads (Alex Award) - 7/10 = C
39. Cranford (audiobook) - 8/10 = B+

MARCH
40. Best Friends (impulse library checkout) - 9/10 = A
41. Old Ramon (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
42. Bloodlust & Bonnets (impulse library checkout) - 9/10 = A
43. Raising Steam (Discworld) - 8/10 = B
44. The Terrible Two Go Wild (Charlie's nightly read-aloud) - 8/10 = B
45. If You're Reading This, It's Too Late (Charlie recommendation) - 8/10 = B
46. Me in the Middle (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
47. The King of the Copper Mountains (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B
48. The Specter in the Magician's Museum (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
49. Green (Alex Award) - 9/10 = A
50. Thistle and Thyme (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
51. The Fearsome Inn (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
52. These Old Shades (romance list) - 8/10 = B
53. The Wise Man's Fear (Read Soon! Shelves) - 10/10 = A+

APRIL
54. Mary Barton (audiobook) - 8/10 = B
55. The Slow Regard of Silent Things (Read Soon! Shelves) - 10/10 = A+
56. Pride and Prejudice (Read Soon! Shelves) - 10/10 = A+
57. Read It and Weep (series read with my mom) - 8/10 = B+
58. The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare re-read) - 8/10 = B
59. Secondhand Souls (Moore bibliography) - 9/10 = A
60. Candyfreak (Unread Book from My Shelves) - 8/10 = B-

MAY
61. Yarn Over Murder (series read with my mom) - 7/10 = C
62. Henry VI Part 2 (Shakespeare re-read) - 9/10 = A
63. The Graveyard Book (Charlie's bedtime read) - 10/10 = A+
64. Shiver (Stiefvater bibliography) - 9/10 = A
65. Family Don't End with Blood (a gift from one of my favorite people) - 9/10 = A-
66. The Thief of Always (an unread book from my shelves) - 9/10 = A
67. The Art of the English Murder (a book from my Read Soon! shelves) - 8/10 = B
68. This Book Is Not Good for You (a series Charlie and I are reading together) - 8/10 = B+
69. On Borrowed Time (series read with my Mom) - 8/10 = B+
70. Henry VI Part 3 (Shakespeare re-read) - 9/10 = A
71. The Shepherd's Crown (Discworld series) - 8/10 = B+

JUNE
72. The Beast under the Wizard's Bridge (Charlie's bedtime read-aloud) - 8/10 = B+
73. Winter Wonderland (Romance list) - 8/10 = B+
74. The Silence Between Us (Schneider Award) - 8/10 = B+
75. Of Human Bondage (NEH list) - 9/10 = A
76. The Duke I Tempted (Romance genre list) - 8/10 = B+
77. Genesis Begins Again (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
78. This Isn't What It Looks Like (Charlie book) - 8/10 = B+

JULY
79. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (Charlie's bedtime read-aloud) - 9/10 = A
80. Any Duchess Will Do (Romance list) - 9/10 = A-
81. Other Words for Home (Newbery Honor Book) - 9/10 = A
82. Bleak House (audiobook) - 8/10 = B+
83. The Folio Society Book of the 100 Greatest Portraits (unread book from my shelves) - 9/10 = A
84. The Tower at the End of the World (Charlie's bedtime book) - 9/10 = A-

AUGUST
85. Coraline (Charlie's bedtime book) - 9/10 = A
86. Frankly in Love (Morris Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
87. Potent Pleasures (romance genre list) - 7/10 = C-
88. I Kill Giants (impulse library checkout) - 8/10 = B+
89. You Have to Stop This (Charlie series recommendation) - 9/10 = A-
90. The Shop on Blossom Street (romance genre list) - 8/10 = B-
91. Tom's Midnight Garden (Charlie's bedtime book) - 10/10 = A+
92. Our Eddie (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+

SEPTEMBER
93. There Will Come a Darkness (Morris Award) - 9/10 = A-
94. The Demon Headmaster (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
95. Holding the Cards (romance genre list) - 8/10 = B+
96. Little House on the Prairie (Charlie's bedtime book) - 9/10 = A-
97. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager (Morris Award) - 9/10 = A
98. Lumberjanes #14: X Marks the Spot (Lumberjanes series) - 9/10 = A
99. So Anyway... (a book from my Read Soon! shelves) - 8/10 = B-

OCTOBER
100. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (books I'm reading with my friend, Rob) - 8/10 = B+
101. Silver in the Wood (a birthday present from a best friend) - 10/10 = A+
102. Anpao (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
103. Sing Me a Story (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B
104. The Many Ways of Seeing (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C-
105. Lumberjanes #15: Birthday Smarty (series read) - 10/10 = A+
106. Pet (Stonewall Honor Book) - 9/10 = A
107. The Thief (series reread) - 10/10 = A+
108. Homesick (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
109. Purl Up and Die (cozy mysteries) - 2/10 = F
110. Lawn Boy (Alex Award) - 9/10 = A-
111. Giant Days Vol. 1 (GN rec from...Micky? I think?) - 9/10 = A
112. One Hundred Years of Solitude (books I'm reading with my friend, Rob) - 7/10 = C

NOVEMBER
113. A Thief in the Village (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
114. A Tale of Two Cities (audiobook) - 10/10 = A+
115. Lord of Scoundrels (romance) - 9/10 = A
116. Giant Days Volume 2 (comic series read) - 9/10 = A
117. Figgs & Phantoms (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
118. Pit Pony (1001 Children's Book) - 8/10 = B
119. The Queen of Attolia (series reread) - 10/10 = A+
120. Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare re-read) - 10/10 = A+
121. The Thief (Charlie's bedtime read) - 10/10 = A+

DECEMBER
122. The Best At It (Stonewall Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
123. The Wild Robot (Charlie's read-aloud) - 7/10 = C
124. A Christmas Memory (yearly reread) - 10/10 = A+
125. Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
126. The Mill on the Floss (audiobook) - 8/10 = B
127. A Christmas Carol (yearly reread) - 10/10 = A+
128. Two Weeks with the Queen (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
129. The King of Attolia (series reread) - 10/10 = A+
130. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle (Books I'm reading with my friend, Rob) - 8/10 = B-
131. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (read for, um, reasons) - 8/10 = B-
132. Peyton Place (Banned Books) - 8/10 = B+
133. Indigo (romance list) - 8/10 = B-
134. A Conspiracy of Kings (series reread) - 10/10 = A+

4scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 12:17 pm

Charlie and Mario giving off Holiday Buddy vibes:

5katiekrug
des. 9, 2020, 12:23 pm

Okay, I was promised cookies...

6MickyFine
des. 9, 2020, 12:24 pm

Happy new thread, Amber! Love your hygge topper.

7laytonwoman3rd
des. 9, 2020, 12:26 pm

>5 katiekrug: AND beverages....

8scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 12:26 pm

>5 katiekrug: Katie: Um...dues, pls.

>6 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky!

9scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 12:27 pm

>7 laytonwoman3rd: Linda: I'm gonna need to see those dues first. THEN drinks. The bar doesn't stock itself, you know.

10scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 12:27 pm

(Also, it's a HoCho bar - everyone knows that, right?)

11katiekrug
des. 9, 2020, 12:27 pm

I feel that my friendship is payment enough. No?

12katiekrug
Editat: des. 9, 2020, 12:28 pm

>10 scaifea: - *smuggles in some schnapps*

13scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 12:28 pm

>11 katiekrug: Katie: I only mention dues because *you* mentioned them first. *ahem*

14scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 12:28 pm

>12 katiekrug: (peppermint is acceptable. goes with the hocho.)

15katiekrug
des. 9, 2020, 12:29 pm

>12 katiekrug: - Well, of course. You don't want just anybody rolling in off the street. Everyone must offer something. I offer the warmth of human kindness and amity. And schnapps.

16scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 12:32 pm

>15 katiekrug: Katie: Well, okay. I was hoping for snark, too, but okay.




17katiekrug
des. 9, 2020, 12:34 pm

>16 scaifea: - I'm trying to be good for Santa!

18katiekrug
des. 9, 2020, 12:45 pm

Speaking of Santa, did I ever share about how I learned he was a big, fat fraud?

Sweet little Katie was 4 years old, living it up at New Horizons Day Care. The Christmas season was upon us and Santa was coming to visit! Sooo exciting. The jolly man in the red suit and long white beard gave each little girl and boy (even Hit Eddie who was a nasty little brat - a story for another time...) a present from his sack, and we sang Christmas songs and drank hot chocolate. Then Santa went to take a nap in the teachers' lounge before his long journey back to the North Pole, and the teachers told us to be very good and very quiet and NOT TO DISTURB SANTA. So as soon as their backs were turned, I tip-toed down the hall, determined to see if Santa snored. I opened the door to the teachers' lounge and there he was, changing out of his suit - MY FATHER! My little-girl beliefs and dreams lay shattered on the ground, like so many broken Christmas ornaments. It was terrible. They tried to tell me some bullshit story about my father "helping out" Santa, but I knew better. The whole thing was a racket, based on lies. (Cue: "You sit on a throne of lies!") And then I got in trouble for telling the other kids.

-Fin-

PS: Is it any wonder I am the way I am?!?! ;-)

19scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 12:45 pm

>17 katiekrug: Katie: Ha! Fair enough. I'll await said snark post-12/25, then.

20scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 12:48 pm

>18 katiekrug: Oh no! Ooof, that sucks. And I bet your dad felt just awful, too.

21lycomayflower
des. 9, 2020, 12:53 pm

I can bring the snark, if everyone is agreeable. I'm not trying to be good for Santa. If he doesn't know about me by now...

22Crazymamie
des. 9, 2020, 1:03 pm



Okay. But I'm going to pour my own glass then.



I brought comfort and joy - they are open and breathing in the kitchen.

23quondame
des. 9, 2020, 1:03 pm

Happy new thread!

Sweets are wonderful, but if you need something to fill in the edges here are a few classical savories.

24scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 1:09 pm

25scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 1:10 pm

>22 Crazymamie: Mamie: *SNORK!* Excellent!

>23 quondame: Thanks!

26lycomayflower
des. 9, 2020, 1:13 pm

27ChelleBearss
des. 9, 2020, 1:35 pm

I came in search of cookies and found so much more!

Love the cozy topper pics and the Charlie pic!
Happy new thread!

28drneutron
des. 9, 2020, 1:53 pm

Happy new thread!

29scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 1:59 pm

30scaifea
Editat: des. 9, 2020, 2:04 pm

>27 ChelleBearss: All sorts of treats here, Chelle. Aaaaallll sorts. (And by all sorts, I mean HoCho. And picture of Dean Winchester.)

And thanks! I need lots of cozy right now, so that topper seemed to fit the bill.

>28 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

31lycomayflower
Editat: des. 9, 2020, 2:20 pm

32thornton37814
des. 9, 2020, 3:17 pm

>16 scaifea: Reaching for a cookie and saying Happy new thread!

33scaifea
des. 9, 2020, 4:27 pm

>32 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori - and help yourself!

34bell7
des. 9, 2020, 6:05 pm

Happy new thread, Amber! I will sneak a little HoCho myself, no marshmallows if-you-please, but maybe a swirl of whipped cream on top.

35PaulCranswick
des. 9, 2020, 7:07 pm

Happy new one, Amber.

36figsfromthistle
des. 9, 2020, 9:04 pm

Happy new thread!

37banjo123
des. 9, 2020, 11:55 pm

happy new thread!

38FAMeulstee
des. 10, 2020, 5:21 am

Happy new thread, Amber!

It took me a while, to figure out HoCho. I thnk it means hot chocolate, if so I'll have some ;-)

39scaifea
des. 10, 2020, 8:03 am

>34 bell7: Mary: I prefer my hocho with no marshmallows, too, really. But they're there for those who like 'em. I don't judge.

>36 figsfromthistle: >37 banjo123: >38 FAMeulstee: Thanks, everyone!

>38 FAMeulstee: Hi, Anita! Yep, HoCho = hot chocolate; help yourself!

40scaifea
des. 10, 2020, 8:14 am

Well folks, I am officially ready for next semester! All the pre-semester stuff on my To Do list is done! I just have final exams appointments and turning in grades between me and a month of reading and sewing with no work obligations! WOOT!

Our toaster broke this morning. Wouldn't act like it was plugged in even though (and I checked enough times that it became comical) it was, in fact, plugged in. So. New toaster, I guess. And no toast for me this morning. *small, irritated noises*

The last Latin class was a hoot: someone's cat sauntered by the screen, which immediately ignited a Pet Show-and-Tell time, which was wonderful. So many adorable doggos and cats!

So, today's agenda is being around just generally in the background for Charlie's school day, some work on tidying up my desk area (little To Do piles that I've been letting stack up while getting the course prep done), menu planning for next week and grocery ordering for pickup tomorrow, and some sewing and reading. No exam appointments today; those start tomorrow.

On the reading front:
I read a bit of The King of Attolia, which is my favorite of the series (so far), so that was afternoon-happy-making, and then progressed a few more pages in Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush.

What We're Watching:
Last night was If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie (and the pizza was *delicious*, by the way) and Rudolph.

41MickyFine
Editat: des. 10, 2020, 12:38 pm

>40 scaifea: Huzzah! Congrats on completing your course prep!

My Facebook memories from this time of year always crack me up because they're full of references to final exams and papers. Today's included ones about the next term's textbook list being up and avoiding studying for a Canadian History final. Don't miss those stresses.

42scaifea
des. 10, 2020, 12:09 pm

>41 MickyFine: Micky: Ooof, yeah. A different kind of stress, being a student vs. being the instructor, but both are definitely real.

43katiekrug
des. 10, 2020, 12:18 pm

>40 scaifea: - Hooray for finishing up prep and almost being done for the semester! I love that feeling when a break is in sight... the anticipation of it is almost as good as the actual it.

44scaifea
des. 10, 2020, 12:25 pm

>43 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! Right? I'm really excited at the prospect of doing not much more than reading and sewing all day, and I agree that the anticipation is one of the best parts!

45drneutron
des. 10, 2020, 12:52 pm

Well that's weird. Our toaster stopped working today too. Is there a toaster strike going on?

46lauralkeet
des. 10, 2020, 1:04 pm



>40 scaifea: Way to go Amber!! I'm sure you'll enjoy your new-found reading and sewing time. Bummer about the toaster though!

>45 drneutron: *checks toaster* whew. Ours is okay.

47scaifea
des. 10, 2020, 1:57 pm

>45 drneutron: Oh, whoa, Jim. That *is* weird.



>46 lauralkeet: Yabbadabbadooo!

I'm glad at least *your* toaster is working fine. Sheesh.

48foggidawn
des. 10, 2020, 3:07 pm

Happy new thread! So much deliciousness! But I didn't use my toaster this morning, and now I feel like maybe I should go check on it.

49johnsimpson
des. 10, 2020, 3:55 pm

Hi Amber my dear, Happy New Thread dear friend.

50scaifea
des. 10, 2020, 3:56 pm

>48 foggidawn: Hi, foggi! Yes, do check your toasters, people.

>49 johnsimpson: Thanks, John!

51foggidawn
des. 10, 2020, 4:29 pm

It's the Great Toaster Uprising! The revolt begins!

52scaifea
des. 10, 2020, 5:01 pm

53Crazymamie
des. 11, 2020, 6:54 am

Morning, Amber! I am hoping that the Pecan Paradisio gets to skip participating in the Great Toaster Uprising. We have bad luck with toasters, and I have finally found one that I love, so it would be great if it could be happy here.

54scaifea
des. 11, 2020, 7:37 am

>53 Crazymamie: Morning, Mamie! Yes, here's hoping the Toaster Rebellion doesn't catch on. Ours was so old that when I went looking for a replacement online, I was shocked at how fancy new ones can be!

55scaifea
des. 11, 2020, 7:44 am

Fridays are always a little crazy here at Scaife Manor, with grocery pickup, cookie baking, quiz grading, bill sorting, office hours, and today I also have a couple of exams to proctor. I'm hoping for a bit of reading this afternoon, but we'll see.

On the reading front:
I spent my reading time yesterday with The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush and am still enjoying them both a good deal.

What We're Watching:
Thursdays are still GBBS days for us, so we watched a couple of the holiday specials, one with Selasi (LOVE him) and one with Rob Billington, whom I'd never seen before because we haven't watched his season yet, but DANG, that boy is ridiculously pretty. I mean, honestly.

56scaifea
des. 12, 2020, 8:45 am

A rainy day here at Scaife Manor, but I'm okay with that. I'll be baking today (I didn't manage to get the Gingerbread Men made yesterday - the timing just didn't work out with the spacing of the exams I gave), sewing, and reading. So, perfect rainy day activities, really.

On the reading front:
The King of Attolia is my favorite in the series for good reason: reading it always makes me happy. And I made a bit of progress with Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush, too.

What We're Watching:
Mickey's Christmas Carol last night, along with a couple of episodes of Staged, which is so, so funny and so well done.

57ChelleBearss
des. 12, 2020, 11:15 am

>56 scaifea: enjoy your rainy day baking!
I have yet to find enough energy to do any Christmas baking. I need to at least make some shortbreads soon

58kidzdoc
Editat: des. 12, 2020, 11:29 am

Only rain? The wife of my best friend from medical school posted photos of the snowfall from their house in Middleton, WI, just west of Madison, a couple of hours ago. They are expecting 3-7 inches before it ends later today.

59scaifea
des. 12, 2020, 11:41 am

>57 ChelleBearss: Chelle: I'm going to be honest: I'm not super in-the-mood to make roll-out-cut-out-bake-then-decorate cookies today, but well, here we are. I prefer drop cookies - *much* less effort.

>58 kidzdoc: Darryl: GAH. I miss Wisconsin so much.

60scaifea
des. 13, 2020, 9:03 am

We're having a ginger-themed weekend here at Scaife Manor: Gingerbread Men yesterday and then Spiced Ginger Muffins for breakfast this morning. The house smells pretty wonderful right now, and I'm thinking of stirring up some cider wassail later on, so it will smell even better!

I managed some good sewing *and* reading time yesterday in between the various steps required by the gingerbread men, and I'm hoping for the same today. I woke up with a borderline-awful headache, though, so I'm waiting and hoping that that calms down a bit before I make any solid sewing plans (sewing with a headache never works out well).

On the reading front:
I spent my reading time yesterday with A Christmas Carol and Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush.

What We're Watching:
Last night's marathon entry was Down with Love, which isn't, technically (=at all) a Christmas movie, but Tomm and I watch it every year anyway and can't even remember why. It just feels...Christmasy to me.

61rosalita
des. 13, 2020, 10:44 am

>60 scaifea: I wish I could send you some of this fabulous White Ginger Orange Peach tea that I'm drinking right now — it would be the perfect accompaniment to your cookies and muffins!

I hope your headache clears off and let's you enjoy the rest of the day.

62thornton37814
des. 13, 2020, 11:11 am

>60 scaifea: Ginger always makes the house smell so good!

63scaifea
des. 13, 2020, 12:42 pm

>61 rosalita: Julia: Ooh, that *does* sound good!

And thanks! The headache has eased up enough for me to get some sewing done, so yay!

>62 thornton37814: Lori: Right? So good.

64MickyFine
des. 13, 2020, 2:51 pm

>60 scaifea: Down with Love is a favourite of mine, Amber.



Hope the sewing is a swinging good time! (see what I did there? I crack myself up).

65scaifea
des. 13, 2020, 2:53 pm

>64 MickyFine: *snork!!* Thanks, Micky!

66Crazymamie
des. 13, 2020, 3:15 pm

I have not seen Down With Love - adding it to The Movie List.

67Crazymamie
des. 13, 2020, 3:17 pm

And I want some gingerbread men, please.

68scaifea
des. 13, 2020, 3:49 pm

>66 Crazymamie: Oooh, you will LOVE it, Mamie!

And of course - help yourself!

69scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 8:11 am

Ah, Monday. Yep.

I've got two exams to proctor today, plus keeping an eye on Charlie's schoolwork. I'd like to get some sewing done today, too, and some reading time would be lovely. We'll see. Chicken and Sausage Stew for dinner tonight, I think. Oh! And I made rice pudding yesterday for dessert, so there's that, too.

On the reading front:
Indigo is coming along nicely, and I'm nearing the end of Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush, too, although I can't figure out exactly where it's going and where it will end up even yet (and that's a good thing). The Mill on the Floss is still coming along nicely, too.

What We're Watching:
Merry Madagascar and The Penguins of Madagascar Christmas Special. Adorable and hilarious.

70Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 8:18 am

Monday indeed, Amber. Don't look it directly in the eye. Dinner sounds good, though.

71scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 8:25 am

>70 Crazymamie: Mamie: *snork!* Sound advice. I'll do my best.
This is one of my favorite meals, really. Warm and comforting. If I remember later (I'm just getting ready to give an exam now), I'll post the recipe.

72msf59
des. 14, 2020, 8:30 am

Morning, Amber! Happy New Thread. I have returned after our travels. Back to the retirement grind. I hope all is well at the Scaife Manor!

73Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 8:32 am

>71 scaifea: Oh! No pressure, but if you do remember that will be great.

74scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 9:07 am

>72 msf59: Hi, Mark! Welcome back!

>73 Crazymamie: Mamie: Here it is:

Slow-Cooked Chicken and Sausage Stew
Ingredients:
• ½ cup sliced carrots
• ½ cup sliced celery
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon dry mustard
• ½ cup ketchup
• 1 tablespoon vinegar
• 1 package smoked sausage, sliced
• 2 chicken breasts
• 1 (16 oz.) can baked beans

1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and mix well.
2. Cook on low 5 hours.
3. Shred chicken and return to cooker; stir and cook until heated through.

Notes:
-I don't remember which cookbook I found this in - apologies.
-I suspect the original recipe included onions and possibly garlic? But I have to leave those out for Tomm, so I left them out of my typed-up version. Add in as you see fit.
-I actually don't use the crockpot for this anymore. Instead, I cook the chicken breasts in the instant pot, shred them, then add then with all the other ingredients into a pot on the stove, bring it to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover and simmer it until the carrots are cooked. Serve it up with a side salad and there you go.

75kidzdoc
des. 14, 2020, 9:22 am

Mmm. The chicken and sausage stew sounds delightful. I love using my slow cooker, and the aroma that wafts through my house when I make something in it.

76Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 9:37 am

>75 kidzdoc: What Darryl said. Thanks, Amber!

77scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 9:46 am

>75 kidzdoc: Darryl: I used to love my slow cooker, too, but the instant pot, and much as a LOVE it for the pressure cooker part, isn't a very good crockpot and I got rid of my actual slow cooker when we bought the instant pot. Gah.

>76 Crazymamie: You're welcome, Mamie!

78kidzdoc
des. 14, 2020, 10:08 am

>77 scaifea: I'm sorry to hear that. Someone — I can't remember who — advised me to keep my slow cooker, as that person (or probably people) said that the Instant Pot wasn't a great crockpot. Would a new one be a reasonable and desirable Christmas gift for you from Tomm?

I had intended to do a bit of cooking yesterday, but I only managed to make Crunchy Chinese Chicken Salad from Budget Bytes, which is quick, easy and delicious. I lost a bet to two members of the Infectious Disease team earlier this month, so I will be making Emeril Lagasse's Macaroni with Four Cheeses! later today, along with his recipe for Alligator Sauce Piquante, as I found frozen alligator fillets in my favorite Publix supermarket the weekend before last. I may also make the knockoff and far healthier Zuppa Toscana recipe from Budget Bytes, using ground turkey in place of Italian sausage. Hmm...I'll probably make the mac & cheese last, as I could make it one day after work this week if I run out of time.

79scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 10:11 am

>78 kidzdoc: Oh, Darryl. Never give a woman kitchenware as a gift. NEVER.

I've pretty much come to terms with not having a slow cooker anymore. We don't have room in our kitchen storage for more appliances, and it's not like I work away from home anymore, so I can keep half an eye on a simmering pot on the stove. So it's okay.

Oooh, Macaroni with Four Cheese sounds AMAZING. ANd I'll have to check out the chicken salad recipe, too - I do love Budget Bytes. Zuppa, as you probably remember, is a stape here at Scaife Manor, so I approve.

80kidzdoc
Editat: des. 16, 2020, 5:02 am

>79 scaifea: Oops. Sorry about that. My Instant Pot (2018) and Ninja Kitchen (2017) were greatly appreciated Christmas gifts from my parents, as was my still unused KitchenAid mixer (2019). I had every intent of using it to bake bread this year, but I wasn't inspired to do so; I still haven't opened the box containing the Cuisinart Bread Maker I purchased this summer. Hopefully I'll feel differently in 2021.

81foggidawn
des. 14, 2020, 10:20 am

>79 scaifea: See, I don't think I would mind getting kitchenware as a gift -- IF it was something I had specifically asked for, and AS LONG AS it wasn't the only gift I received. My mother often requests kitchenware and power tools as gifts. But I agree that "Never give a woman kitchenware as a gift" is probably the safest rule to follow, in general.

82Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 10:21 am

"Never give a woman kitchenware as a gift. NEVER." Unless that woman is me. I LOVE to get all things kitchen as gifts. But if it is an appliance, then it had better be high end and GORGEOUS.

And now I'm hungry.

83foggidawn
des. 14, 2020, 10:23 am

>80 kidzdoc: My parents also gave me a KitchenAid -- thinking back, it must be about 15 years ago now, but it still works like new; I used it to make cookies last night. Those mixers do live up to the hype.

84kidzdoc
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 10:33 am

>81 foggidawn: See, I don't think I would mind getting kitchenware as a gift -- IF it was something I had specifically asked for, and AS LONG AS it wasn't the only gift I received.

That makes sense.

My mother often requests kitchenware and power tools as gifts.

Ha! Love it.

But I agree that "Never give a woman kitchenware as a gift" is probably the safest rule to follow, in general.

Duly noted.

>82 Crazymamie: I LOVE to get all things kitchen as gifts. But if it is an appliance, then it had better be high end and GORGEOUS.

I can see that. I think my view is skewed as both a man, a cooking hobbyist, and as someone who is not responsible for preparing meals for his family.

And now I'm hungry.

I blame Amber.

>83 foggidawn: Nice. The KitchenAid mixer was my father's idea, after I used it during the holidays late last year to make my mother's South African Coconut Gingerbread, which we hadn't had in years.

85laytonwoman3rd
des. 14, 2020, 10:42 am

"high end and gorgeous" makes anything a good present...kitchenware, clothing, jewelry, books, sheets, towels, cars. Just in case there are inquiries from Santa, you know.

86foggidawn
des. 14, 2020, 10:44 am

>84 kidzdoc: South African Coconut Gingerbread sounds amazing!

>85 laytonwoman3rd: You make a very good point.

87kidzdoc
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 10:53 am

>86 foggidawn: I'll have to make it again the next time I visit my parents, and write down what I did. The recipe in her recipe box is incomplete, and she doesn't remember ever making it, due to her worsening dementia. Hopefully I can duplicate what I did, and if it turns out well I'll share the completed recipe in Amber's thread, and in mine in Club Read.

88scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 10:57 am

>80 kidzdoc: Darryl: I'm teasing, of course (sort of. The chastisement was teasing, but I *will* get angry if I'm given kitchen stuff for Christmas/birthday. For me, those things go in the Stuff One Needs and not Stuff One Wants category.)
I've never used a breadmaker before, but I know some people love 'em. I look forward to your reports once you break it out of the box!

>81 foggidawn: Yeah, you won't catch me asking for such things as gifts. That shit Those particular kinds of items should come out of the Household Needs budget and not from the Gifts for Amber budget. *ahem*

>82 Crazymamie: Mamie: Oh, yes, high end and gorgeous is a must.

>83 foggidawn: I have a bright red kitchenaid mixer and I love it. But it wasn't a gift. HOUSEHOLD NEEDS BUDGET.

>84 kidzdoc: Yeah yeah yeah, blame me for everything. And on my own dang thread. Yeesh.

South African Coconut Gingerbread sounds amazing! Except for the coconut, which is close to cilantro on my list.

>85 laytonwoman3rd: Oh, fair point, Linda.

89scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 11:00 am

>87 kidzdoc: Darryl: You've reminded me that I want to ask my mom about a couple of her own recipes so I can write down the details. She's to the point where she tells me the same story about three times over in one conversation, so I need to get some things down in writing while I still can.

I *never* let her know that she's already told the story, though. I just let her tell it again and enjoy hearing her voice. Occasionally she'll stop and say, "Have I already told you this?" And I'll tell her, "Maybe, but you tell it so well I want to hear it again."

90katiekrug
des. 14, 2020, 11:01 am

"Never give a woman kitchenware as a gift. NEVER."

Nor any household utility item, IMO. If we need/want something for the kitchen or house, we buy it. We'd both use it, so giving it as a gift to one person is just odd to me. But that's us. The one exception is that I always try to find a small, "uni-tasker" gadget to put in The Wayne's stocking. This year, it's a wooden citrus reamer, because he hates the one we have.

One year, TW hid a Christmas gift for me inside a vacuum box, so when I unwrapped it, I thought it was a vacuum, and I was SO MAD. He thought it was hilarious, of course.

91scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 11:03 am

>90 katiekrug: EXACTLY.

Oh, man, he's lucky you opened the box before deciding just to leave. I mean, the thought would have crossed my mind, at least.

92katiekrug
des. 14, 2020, 11:03 am

My Kitchen Aid mixer is bright red, too! It was a wedding gift, and I used it for the first time this year (TW had used it a few times previously, though).

93katiekrug
des. 14, 2020, 11:04 am

>91 scaifea: - Luckily, I realized the relative weight of the box indicated it probably wasn't a vacuum. But apparently the initial look on my face was priceless.

94Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 11:05 am

Let me just clarify that I am talking about luxury kitchen stuff, not replacements for something that has broken. SO if the toaster breaks right before Christmas, then I will replace it, not be gifted a replacement.

>85 laytonwoman3rd: Agreed.

>86 foggidawn: "South African Coconut Gingerbread sounds amazing! " I concur.

>87 kidzdoc: Hoping you get the chance because I would love that recipe.

I also have that bright red Kitchenaid mixer - the big one where the bowl moves up and down not the mixer head. One of my very favorite things ever.

95scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 11:05 am

>92 katiekrug: Woot! I love the bright red appliances!

>93 katiekrug: Hmm. So glad your anger amused him. (I'm taking this way to personally and getting irritated on your behalf.)

96foggidawn
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 11:07 am

>89 scaifea: *hugs*

>90 katiekrug: Oof, yeah. Any kind of cleaning equipment is NOT a gift. I would have been pretty irritated at that trick, myself. Glad it wasn't an actual vacuum... for TW's sake.

(Edited to add: My KitchenAid is dark blue. I love it. Mom's is red, though. And I think my brother has the black one.)

97scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 11:07 am

>94 Crazymamie: Oh, no, yeah, I got that, Mamie. And I agree.

I don't have the big mixer - do you like that the bowl moves and not the mixer head? I think I would have to have time to get used to that.

98scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 11:08 am

>96 foggidawn: Thanks, foggi. I admit I teared up a bit typing that. I love my momma.

And ooooh, I love the dark blue, too, and if my current mixer ever dies, I'll probably go for blue because our kitchen is white-and-blue.

99katiekrug
des. 14, 2020, 11:09 am

To know TW is to love him and his sometimes questionable humor :D

100scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 11:09 am

>99 katiekrug: *snork!* Same with Tomm, really.

101foggidawn
des. 14, 2020, 11:15 am

>98 scaifea: I love the dark blue color. It doesn't go with any of my kitchen stuff. Nothing in my kitchen matches, actually-- I lean hard into the "eclectic" look in that room.

102Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 11:17 am

>97 scaifea: I absolutely love it, and it has a larger capacity, which works for our large household. I mean, when I make mashed potatoes, I use a five pound bag. I bet it is at least twenty years old, possibly twenty-five. All of my appliances like that are bright red - coffee maker, Nespresso machine, toaster, mixer...Even my washer and dryer are bright red. My newest daughter's favorite color is...white!

103scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 11:17 am

>101 foggidawn: I used to have mostly red KitchenAid appliances, but I got rid of the blender and food processor when I bought the Ninja and the toaster just died, so it's down to just the mixer now.

104scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 11:18 am

>102 Crazymamie: Mamie: Interesting! My mixer is getting close to 20 years old and boy, have I used it tons.

White? Really? Interesting.

105Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 11:20 am

Yep. White.

106scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 11:24 am

>105 Crazymamie: Mamie: Well, bless her.

107jnwelch
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 12:00 pm

Happy New Thread, Amber!

>90 katiekrug:. Never give a woman kitchenware as a gift. NEVER!

I wish I’d read that a lifetime or so ago. Madame MBH had been complaining about our kitchen knives, so I got her a new , really good one for her birthday. To my surprise, she was not well-pleased, and I knew I’d done something wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what. Now I know!

108Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 11:46 am

>106 scaifea: *belly laugh*

109scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 11:49 am

>107 jnwelch: Oh, Joe. Poor thing. *pats shoulder*

>108 Crazymamie: *grins*

110laytonwoman3rd
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 12:02 pm

>107 jnwelch:....I'll bet you didn't tape a coin to that knife...bad juju, Mr. Joe. You're supposed to give a coin with a gifted knife; the recipient then gives the coin back to you, "paying" for the knife. Otherwise, it's interpreted as cutting the bond between the giver and the recipient.

111jnwelch
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 12:08 pm

>110 laytonwoman3rd: So many ways to be wrong . . . :-)

112scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 12:05 pm

>110 laytonwoman3rd: Linda: Oh, interesting! What's the provenance of that, I wonder?

>111 jnwelch: Joe: *snork!*

113lunacat
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 12:10 pm

Meanwhile my husband does nearly all of the cooking in our house and adores receiving anything kitchen related as a gift. I regularly have to veto him asking for more/different appliances or utensils as we’ve run out of space. Not that that stops him buying them for himself. I’d go mad if he got me something of that ilk as a present, but that’s because I dislike cooking and he knows it. A new high quality knife is always a go to gift for him.

114scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 12:13 pm

>113 lunacat: I think Darryl is on to something, above, when he mentions that he's not someone who is expected to be responsible for making meals; my resistance to receiving kitchenware as a gift is at least in part related to my resistance to the notion that cooking is 'women's work.' I know that Tomm doesn't see it that way, of course, but still the distaste lingers. But if you actually *want* that sort of thing as a gift, sure! To each his own.

115katiekrug
des. 14, 2020, 12:14 pm

>110 laytonwoman3rd: - OH, that's so interesting, Linda! I'd never heard that.

For our wedding, I gave TW a beautiful set of German knives (the real kind, not the ones with the German name that use lesser quality Chinese steel - I learned a lot while researching!) but no coin. No bonds cut yet, though :)

116lunacat
des. 14, 2020, 12:27 pm

>114 scaifea:

That makes some sense. Anyone who knows me knows my dislike of cooking so would never dream of buying me anything to do with the kitchen, but I can see how there would be an intrinsic pushback to the stereotyping.

I don’t think I’ve ever noticed anyone expecting me to be the main cook in the household, and John has certainly never expected me to do so, though when he was working out of the home he appreciated me occasionally doing the cooking when I got home before him. However he also appreciated if I ordered in for us, so that may be either greed or laziness that made him so appreciative ;).

117scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 12:32 pm

>115 katiekrug: Katie: Wait, was I supposed to give Tomm a gift for our wedding!? Oops.

>116 lunacat: Well, if it's still scandalous for a woman with a PhD to call herself Dr. then yeah, stereotypes are still around.

118katiekrug
des. 14, 2020, 12:34 pm

>117 scaifea: - Eh, I'm not big into "supposed to". I probably read about bride and groom gifts somewhere and decided it would be nice to get a present :)

119Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 12:37 pm

>117 scaifea: Craig and I did not exchange wedding gifts, either. In fact, I did not know that this was A Thing until Daniel was getting married and Kaitlyn told him about the bride and groom exchanging gifts.

120lauralkeet
des. 14, 2020, 12:38 pm

*skipping merrily over the gift-giving of housewares ...*

>117 scaifea: was I supposed to give Tom a gift for our wedding?
I gave Chris the gift of MEEEEE. I mean, what more could he ask for? The gift that keeps on giving!

121scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 12:40 pm

>118 katiekrug: Katie: Oh, WHEW! Okay, then.

>119 Crazymamie: Mamie: I hope it was something white...

>120 lauralkeet: Laura: *SNORK!!* YES!! That's it exactly!

122Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 12:46 pm

>121 scaifea: Ha! She gave him a watch, and he gave her his Colbert t-shirt. It's a funny story because I bought him this cute Colbert Report t-shirt ages ago - it's light blue and super soft and the graphics are so fun. A bear dressed as Colbert. Anyway, she loves that shirt and would sneak it out of his closet all the time and then he would have to get it back because he also loved that shirt. It's his favorite, so it was a big deal for him to give it up. She LOVED it. I think we have a photo, and I will try to find it.

123katiekrug
des. 14, 2020, 12:50 pm

>119 Crazymamie: - I wonder if it's a Southern thing (I got married in Texas)? I had never heard of a groom's cake but apparently that is a Southern thing (though I think it's more widely done these days...)

>120 lauralkeet: - Okay, so TW got TWO gifts! Heh.

>122 Crazymamie: - I love that story, Mamie.

124scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 12:51 pm

>122 Crazymamie: Aw, I LOVE it, Mamie!! So sweet.

>123 katiekrug: Katie: Cake? They get CAKE?!

125Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 12:57 pm

That's what I was thinking, Katie, about it maybe being a Southern thing. They also had a groom's cake. Here's the photo:

126quondame
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 1:15 pm

>78 kidzdoc: Oh, the Crunchy Chinese Chicken Salad reminded me that I was looking for one of the no-longer ubiquitous "Chinese" salad recipes - which entirely eluded me when I went searching a couple of years ago. The link lead me to the Peanut Noodle salad recipe. That used to be unavoidable and has become unobtainable with the tides of food fashion.

>82 Crazymamie: The "high end and gorgeous" relates to a bone of contention between myself and my mother - I would complement something she got for herself and later receive from her something similar but clearly not up to the same standard. I would specifically say that if she wouldn't want it for herself I probably wouldn't want it, but well, if she wanted it for herself she would get it for herself, so that didn't fly. I was such an ungrateful daughter.

>89 scaifea: By all means. Many wonderful recipes were lost when my mother died.

127laytonwoman3rd
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 1:07 pm

>117 scaifea: "Well, if it's still scandalous for a woman with a PhD to call herself Dr. then yeah, stereotypes are still around." Do NOT get me started on that... I'm surprised my daughter the Dr. married to the other kind of Dr. hasn't chimed in on this one.

>120 lauralkeet: Bingo!

>124 scaifea: Oh, yeah...Groom's cake. A real thing.

128katiekrug
des. 14, 2020, 1:05 pm

>124 scaifea: - Yep but it's not just for them. In fact, poor The Wayne barely got a taste of his (he's still bitter about it, because the cake-tasting and selection were the only parts of wedding planning he was interested in and he had taken forever to pick his out). We had cupcakes and a groom's cake. His cake was awesome - it was decorated like one of those old-timey postcards "Greetings from...." with a Florida theme (that's where he's from). It was chocolate cake with a peanut butter creme filling, IIRC.

129scaifea
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 1:37 pm

>125 Crazymamie: Mamie: Aw, that's beautiful! Thanks for sharing it here!

>126 quondame: Oh gosh, that would make me *furious*! Sounds like something my MIL would do, to be honest.

>127 laytonwoman3rd: Linda: I haven't talked to her about it yet, but a rant session with her about it sounds pretty excellent, actually.
(I still have an envelope Tomm and I received shortly after we were married that was addressed to Dr. and Mr. Scaife. (He didn't have his PhD yet at the time.) Love it.)

>128 katiekrug: Oh dang! I'd be furious about that, too. It sounds delicious!

130Crazymamie
des. 14, 2020, 1:47 pm

>126 quondame: I don't think that makes you an ungrateful daughter, Susan. That would make me mad, too. I would never give my daughters a lesser version of something I had purchased for myself - if anything, I would give them a better one.

>129 scaifea: You're welcome.

131ChelleBearss
des. 14, 2020, 3:46 pm

This thread moved fast today!

I agree about the kitchenware gifts as a no-no! I don’t normally, but my FIL told me my MIL wanted a fun blue toaster for Christmas. Hope he didn’t set me up for failure!

Recipe for your stew sounds yummy!

132SandDune
des. 14, 2020, 3:49 pm

Re calling people with PhD doctors. My brother-in-law has a PhD and has never really used the title Dr, but then he’s never worked in academia. (Certainly, I know everyone at Mr SandDune’s school who has a PhD does call themselves Dr.) But my sister always puts her husband’s name down as Dr when they go on a cruise. They go on these very small scale, very erudite cruises, and she feels that his first name might sound just a little bit too ‘downmarket’ so the Dr adds a bit of educational clout. The rest of the family think that this is hilarious!

133katiekrug
des. 14, 2020, 3:59 pm

>132 SandDune: - Now I'm dying to know what your BIL's name is, Rhian :) Being married to a "Wayne" I may have some sympathy for her...

134kidzdoc
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 4:31 pm

Great discussion!

>88 scaifea: I knew that you were teasing, but I also appreciate the comments from you and others about giving and receiving kitchen appliances as presents. This dumb guy needs all the advice he can get!

I hope to start baking bread early next year, and I'll certainly let you know how I like the bread maker. The model I bought was recommended to me by someone, either an LTer or a non-LT Facebook friend.

>89 scaifea: You've reminded me that I want to ask my mom about a couple of her own recipes so I can write down the details. She's to the point where she tells me the same story about three times over in one conversation, so I need to get some things down in writing while I still can.

I *never* let her know that she's already told the story, though. I just let her tell it again and enjoy hearing her voice. Occasionally she'll stop and say, "Have I already told you this?" And I'll tell her, "Maybe, but you tell it so well I want to hear it again."


I agree completely. Hearing my parents tell the same story multiple times in the same week can be a wee bit tiresome, but as someone wiser than me said, I'll miss hearing those stories when they are gone or are no longer able to tell them.

>107 jnwelch: Was that before or after Debbi looked at that book on how to cook your husband at Daunt Books, Joe?

>114 scaifea: That makes sense. I've never viewed cooking as women's work, as I grew up in a house in which both parents cooked on a regular basis, my mother more than my father before she returned to the workplace when I was old enough to be left alone with my younger brother, then both of them relatively equally, my father more so while my mother studied for her associate's degree, and my father entirely so for the past few years. The husbands of my mother's two sisters also cooked on a regular basis, as did many of the men in my parents' group of friends and fellow churchgoers, so I always thought it was normal for men to cook.

>116 lunacat: Now that I think about it, most of the British men I've come to know through LT are eager and accomplished cooks: your John, Rachael's husband Rupert, Rhian's husband, and Paul Harris.

>117 scaifea: You saw my post on Facebook yesterday about that despicable WSJ article about Dr. Jill Biden. I'm still shocked that such a prestigious newspaper would publish something like that in 2020...but perhaps I shouldn't be.

>126 quondame: Beth's Crunchy Chinese Chicken Salad recipe is a good one, and I like her Peanut Noodle Salad as well.

The Zuppa Toscana is done, and I'll get started on the Alligator Sauce Piquante shortly, as the alligator fillets have been thawing in my refrigerator since this morning.

BTW, I attended a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) webinar for clinicians about the COVID-19 vaccines earlier this afternoon, and summarized the information on my Club Read thread. I'll also let everyone know there what my experience is with receiving it, as I'll possibly receive the first jab through Employee Health at Children's this week or next.

135scaifea
des. 14, 2020, 4:46 pm

My sewing machine is being an absolute butt today, so I rage quit for now. Gah.

>130 Crazymamie: If anything, I would give them a better one. Right?! THAT'S what good moms do.

>131 ChelleBearss: Chelle: Ha! Fingers crossed the toaster goes over well!
And yes, it *is* pretty yummy! And easy to throw together, which is also very important.

>132 SandDune: Rhian: I never really called myself Dr until I started teaching at Univ of Dayton. I'm not on a TT there, so I'm not officially "Professor" and "Dr. Scaife" is the alternative. I don't introduce myself as Dr. Scaife pretty much ever, but Tomm will do it, especially if an older person introduces himself to us as "Mr." So-and-So in a clear indication that he feels his being older than us requires automatic respect from us. THEN Tomm will hit 'em with, "Nice to meet you, Mr.---, I'm Dr. Scaife and this is my wife, Dr. Scaife." *mic drop* The Slytherin in me LOVES it.

>133 katiekrug: Katie: Oh, me, too! (Also, I kind of love the name Wayne, just because you don't hear it very often anymore.)

>134 kidzdoc: Darryl: You know, I haven't gotten to the point where the repeated stories are tiresome yet, but that may be because I haven't seen them in so long that I just love hearing their voices.

I grew up in a family of depression-era midwest parents, and the idea of The Wife Stays Home and Keeps House and the Husband Works was just the thing. My mom had a job before my parents married and for some time after, and that was no big deal, but she was also perfectly content to leave that job to stay at home, too. My dad would quit work with just enough time to wash up for supper, then go right back out to the barns or the fields, so Mom did all the cooking and cleaning and everything. That's just how it was/is. And that's completely fine if that's...completely fine with everyone involved. But assumptions that that's just how it MUST be are old hat. And should be old hat. (I feel like that was more babble than sense, but I'm too tired and irritated at my sewing machine to try to fix it right now. Apologies.)

Oh, I need to hop over and see about your Covid vaccine update. I read somewhere today that the current one is only okay-ed for those 16 and older - any thoughts on what they'll do for the kiddos?

136PaulCranswick
des. 14, 2020, 6:41 pm

I have experience on this and I have to agree with Amber and Katie. It is a bad idea to buy kitchen equipment - even very good kitchen equipment for a birthday, Christmas or (heaven forfend) a Valentine's Day gift.

Many years ago in my very callow youth and the early years of my marriage, we used to enjoy going out to a particular Thai restaurant that served steamboat meals. SWMBO always loved them. Out shopping one day (I must have taken the wrong turn from the bookstore) I ended up in an electrical goods outlet and hit upon a lovely looking steamboat cooker. Took it home wrapped up nicely in time for Hani's birthday. If the bloody thing wasn't so unwieldy she would have thrown it at me. She kept it but NEVER used it. Darryl as a friend - DON'T DO IT.

Our toaster, sandwich maker, coffee machine, kettle etc are red.

137thornton37814
des. 14, 2020, 7:18 pm

Chiming in on the kitchenware. I don't mind getting kitchenware as a gift; however, what I want is usually added to the Amazon wish list so family members know I want that item. A lot of times I put something (like a pan) for which I want a higher quality on the list so a niece/nephew can purchase. My sister-in-law asked for new skillets which some of her kids purchased last year. My nephew's wife always has some kitchen stuff (usually something new in cast iron) on her list. A niece has some kitchenware on her list this year too because she's moving her existing stuff to their new camper and replacing it with something a little better. (She's only been married a few years.) Kitchenware is perfectly acceptable in my family, but we generally make sure we get what the person wants.

138kidzdoc
Editat: des. 14, 2020, 7:30 pm

>135 scaifea: I read somewhere today that the current one is only okay-ed for those 16 and older - any thoughts on what they'll do for the kiddos?

I watched most of the Food and Drug Administration's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting about the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine last Thursday. The data from Phases 2 & 3 of the trial of that vaccine, which were published in an article in The New England Journal of Medicine last week (Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine), included a limited number of 16 and 17 year olds, and because of that several committee members were reluctant to approve the vaccine for people under 18, although the committee as a whole did vote to approve it. The Moderna vaccine trial did not enroll anyone under 18, as far as I know, although we'll find out when the FDA advisory committee meets this coming Thursday to discuss approval of the Moderna vaccine. So, no one under 16 years of age will get approval for either vaccine at this time, and 16 and 17 year olds will only be allowed to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Although the published data from Pfizer-BioNTech only included recipients 16 years of age and older, the trial itself included patients as young as 12 years old, according to the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other sources. Moderna has only recently announced that it would enroll 3,000 12-17 year olds in a trial of its vaccine. No one as far as I know has done any testing in the 0-11 year age range.

So, having said all that, I think the best we can hope for is that kids 12-17 years of age will be approved to receive either vaccine by the spring or early summer, and those younger than that by late summer or early fall, probably after they return to school in August and September. This makes it that much more important that as many adults as possible receive the vaccine, to protect children from the virus as much as possible.

NPR: A COVID-19 Vaccine For Children May Still Be Many Months Away

I should have mentioned that both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine spaced 3-4 weeks apart are required to achieve the 90+% efficacy that has been widely reported, and that will happen two weeks after the receipt of the second shot. I would assume the same would hold true for the Moderna vaccine, as it is also a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine.

>136 PaulCranswick: Oops. I'm glad that Hani let you live, Paul.

139PaulCranswick
des. 14, 2020, 8:59 pm

>138 kidzdoc: Thanks for that update, Darryl. Fascinating and informative.

and hahaha yes it was a near run thing at the time with Hani!

140scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 6:59 am

>136 PaulCranswick: Paul: Ha! I'm so glad you came out the other end of that one unscathed!

You've reminded me that I used to have a red kettle, too, but traded up for an electric one (and it's stainless steel).

>137 thornton37814: Lori: I think another part of my resistance to kitchenware as presents is that, mentally and gift-emotionally, I am a 6 year old child. I want things that I WANT, not things that I need. Kudos to you and yours for being actual grown-ups.

>138 kidzdoc: Thanks so much for taking the time to explain all that, Darryl! Hopefully by summer we'll have a vaccine that Charlie can take, too.

>139 PaulCranswick: Paul: So glad you've learned your lesson. Is Hani a good gift-giver?

141PaulCranswick
des. 15, 2020, 7:03 am

>140 scaifea: Yes, she is a good gift giver and actually ludicrously generous.

142scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 7:10 am

Four exams to give today, plus keeping an eye on Charlie's schoolwork. I have a sewing project I need to polish off and then some packages to prep for the post office. I'd love to get that all done so that I can get to the PO on Thursday, but we'll see.

Not much to report on the reading front for yesterday, just a few pages in Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush and some listening to The Mill on the Floss.

143scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 7:11 am

>141 PaulCranswick: Paul: That's excellent! But also puts the pressure on you to do better than cooking supplies...

144kidzdoc
Editat: des. 15, 2020, 7:33 am

>140 scaifea: I hope so, too. I may get more information next week, as one of the pediatricians who typically works with us over the Christmas holidays is an acting deputy director at the CDC (which I'm sure you know is here in Atlanta), and was part of the committee that was involved in creating the priority list for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. There are other pediatricians here who are employed in some capacity by the CDC, including one of my current partners, and several other pediatricians in the District of Columbia work for the FDA, particularly as members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. Rita usually sits in the same small cubicle as I do when we work together, as we've known each other for, I think, the entire 20+ years I've worked at Children's, and we'll both be on service on Wednesday and Thursday of next week. If she provides me with any shareable information about the timing of the pediatric vaccine trials or estimates on when these vaccines will likely be available to kids in the general public I'll post it on my thread.

There is still no public word on when the vaccine shipments will come to the major hospital systems in Atlanta, including Children's, although we should receive them sometime this week.

Eek. Christmas is next Friday?!

145scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 7:40 am

>144 kidzdoc: Darryl: Oh, interesting! And impressive!! I look forward to hearing more. Thanks so much, again, for being willing to share your expertise with us - you are the best!

I just read an article this morning that The Wexner Medical Center here in Columbus is the first place in Ohio to receive the vaccine, and some nurses and medical staff have already gotten the first shot. Progress!

And Eek, indeed. I'm fairly certain I can get everything done in time, but I really do want to get my packages to the PO as soon as possible to give them plenty of time to get where they're going. I know the postal workers must be absolutely swamped this year.

146Crazymamie
des. 15, 2020, 7:48 am

Morning, Amber!

>140 scaifea: I have a red electric kettle, but I lucked out because just when I was replacing the Keurig with an electric kettle Kitchenaid was having an anniversary. They came out with special red editions to celebrate 100 years, so that's the one I bought. We love it.

I just cannot believe that Christmas is next week. How did this happen?

147scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 7:54 am

>146 Crazymamie: Mamie: Whoawhoawhoa. How does an electric kettle replace a Keurig? I need to know, because I suspect my Keurig is on its last legs and I'd love just to use my electric kettle...

148kidzdoc
des. 15, 2020, 7:54 am

>145 scaifea: You're welcome! Rita is very humble, especially about her status at the CDC, but she is definitely a bigwig there and despite her meek outward appearance she is not a milquetoast!

Excellent! For some reason the first vaccine shipments in Georgia went to...Savannah. On the surface this makes no sense, as the Atlanta airport is the world's busiest, UPS is based in the city, and the state's most prominent health care systems (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory Healthcare, Piedmont Healthcare) are all centered here, and of course Atlanta is the capital of Georgia. I'm sure we'll get our fair share, though, and probably very soon.

I know the postal workers must be absolutely swamped this year.

Absolutely, and that would also hold true for the employees of UPS, FedEx and other private shipping companies. This is a busy enough time of the year, but now they are tasked with providing priority shipping to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, along with continuing to provide supplies to hospitals for COVID-19 patients in this worsening pandemic. You're wise in getting your packages sent as early as possible.

149Crazymamie
des. 15, 2020, 8:02 am

>147 scaifea: I pretty much only used the Keurig for hot water for tea or for making chicken/beef broth (we love Better Than Bouillon) to go in recipes. I have a Nespresso machine for espresso and Technovorm for coffee. Do you use yours for mainly making a single cup of coffee? You could replace the Keurig with a French press or a pour over.

150scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 8:05 am

>148 kidzdoc: Darryl: As I was reading your previous post, I kept thinking in my head, Here's another example of a badass woman doctor! *LOVE* (Did you see Dr. Biden's response on Twitter? LOVE it.)

I'm actually kind of okay if the packages don't arrive absolutely on time for Christmas, really. They'll get there when they get there. I'd just like to get my part of the deal done and dusted. I'm happy to be patient once I've dropped them off at the PO. I'm contemplating making up a batch of cookies for the employees of our small PO as a way of saying Thank You, but I'm not sure if they'd be comfortable accepting them right now? I don't know.

151scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 8:08 am

>149 Crazymamie: Mamie: Yep, I just use it for a cup at a time, since I'm the only one who drinks coffee here. I use the reusable little k-cup things. I need to look into how French presses and pour overs work.

152Crazymamie
des. 15, 2020, 8:10 am

If you have questions, Abby used to be a barista, so...

153scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 8:11 am

>152 Crazymamie: Ha! I was just thinking, "Maybe I should ask Abby..."

154Crazymamie
des. 15, 2020, 8:14 am

She says that she would be happy to field any questions, and says if you do get a French press, NOT the Starbucks one because they are prone to breaking.

155scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 8:21 am

>154 Crazymamie: Aw, thanks to Abby! If I knew enough to ask specific questions, I would! I'm happy to listen to her unfiltered advice, if she's ever so inclined.

156kidzdoc
des. 15, 2020, 8:34 am

>150 scaifea: Right! I wish that I could introduce you to the very accomplished, super smart and impressive women I work with on a daily basis at Children's. This includes physicians, but also advanced practice providers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants), nurses, pharmacists, and others.

I follow Dr Jill Biden on Twitter, but I only saw this statement from her, which was short and subdued yet powerful:

Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished.

I also loved Michelle Obama's statement in support of Dr Biden, which I posted on my Facebook timeline.

For the record, this man's definition of happiness is an unexpected day off from work, which I found out about early this morning. This will give me time to make alligator sauce piquante and macaroni & cheese today, although I'll probably wait to make the latter until I know for certain that I'll be working the next day, so that it can be as fresh as possible for Andi & Elizabeth.

Good point about the cookies for the postal workers, especially this year. The satirical web site GomerBlog has a hilarious flowchart for nurses who must decide if they should eat the homemade cookies their patients give them, which I posted on my Facebook thread several years ago; I'll have to look for it. One option was to throw away cookies baked by anyone who owns more than two cats, as they would undoubtedly taste like cat piss. Obviously your cookies would be vastly better than the ones that most nurses get!

157lauralkeet
Editat: des. 15, 2020, 8:36 am

Seconding the French Press as a way to make single cups of coffee. We use a larger one most of the time, but I have a small press that makes enough for a biggish mug (12oz maybe?).

The method itself is super easy and we're happy with it. I'm sure Abby could give you tips on how to make a great cup of coffee with a French Press.

ETA: here's a 12oz French Press:
https://smile.amazon.com/Clever-Chef-Superior-Filtration-Capacity/dp/B00VKR4F8K

158kidzdoc
Editat: des. 15, 2020, 9:03 am

The coffee discussion between you and Mamie reminds me that it's time for me to make my morning cup. I use a Chemex to make coffee at home, and a French press at work. I buy Peet's or BLK & Bold whole bean coffees, and grind the beans as the kettle is heating.

I tried a Nespresso for the first time several years ago, in a hotel in Amsterdam when I met Anita (FAMeulstee) and other Dutch LTers for the first time, and I was very impressed with it.

159scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 8:57 am

>156 kidzdoc: Darryl: Oh, nurses are amazing people for sure, and don't get enough credit even in a normal year! Just...amazing.

And yep, that's the tweet I was referring to - simple, brief, kind, and powerful. I love her already.

Oh, there's that mac & cheese again. You're making me so hungry!

I love the idea of the cookie flowchart! Hilarious!! I think I may just try to tell the person at the counter when I go in how grateful I am that they're working so hard for us. We'll see if I can manage something borderline eloquent.

>157 lauralkeet: Thanks for the French Press tips, Laura! That seems like the simple solution and I may end up going that route.

>158 kidzdoc: Darryl: I've had my two cups this morning already, but I'm not nearly as classy as you: I just use pre-ground Folgers, although I'm hoping that Santa brings me my usual Godiva coffee in my stocking again this year.

I'm intrigued by the Nespresso idea, but am leaning more toward not replacing a machine with another machine. I kind of love the idea of the French Press for its simplicity.

160kidzdoc
des. 15, 2020, 9:17 am

>159 scaifea: You're absolutely right about nurses, especially hospital based ones. We couldn't do anything without them, as this meme clearly demonstrates:



I can program and adjust a cardiorespiratory monitor and a pulse oximeter, but that's about it. I just keep hitting the Silence button whenever an infusion pump or other piece of equipment goes off until the nurse comes into the room to rescue me.

I also love that Dr Biden grew up not far from where I did, in the northern Philadelphia suburbs, and went to a rival high school. You just don't mess with women from Philly!

Sorry...no more discussion of macaroni & cheese, then. 😎

I still can't find that flowchart, unfortunately. It is hilarious.

Simple gestures like a thank you, a smile, or the Dunkin' Donut that one of my very sick patients (a five year old girl with lupus that is now in our PICU but is thankfully doing better) gave me last week can mean so much. We highly value the cards and posters that our young patients make for us, and display them on our desks with greater pride than our medical school and residency diplomas.

161drneutron
des. 15, 2020, 9:41 am

>158 kidzdoc: I knew I liked you for a reason - just finished up my French press of Peet's Colombian dark roast... 😀

162kidzdoc
des. 15, 2020, 9:46 am

>161 drneutron: And all this time I thought you liked me for my good looks (and crawfish étouffée). 😢

I'm an Aged Sumatra guy myself.

163scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 9:48 am

>160 kidzdoc: Darryl: Ha! YES! Such a varied skill set they must have, those nurses, plus dealing with all sorts of...stuff...from patients and doctors (NOT you, obviously) alike.

Woot for Philly women!

And I bet those heartfelt thank-yous from your patients mean everything. Wonderful.

>161 drneutron: Hi, Jim! I'm afraid I can't take the dark roast stuff. I'm a medium roast gal at best. But I do prefer it black (except when I add a little HoCho mix sometimes).

164scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 9:49 am

>162 kidzdoc: Darryl: Aw, you're not that old, buddy.

165kidzdoc
des. 15, 2020, 10:33 am

>163 scaifea: Agreed. Nurses work very hard, and even when they are sitting down they are often catching up with patient charting on their computers. I learned very early on, as a third or fourth year medical student, to listen to and have trust in nurses, as the vast majority know what they are doing, know their patients, and are adept at picking up early signs that they may be getting worse, far more so than we are. I'm glad that I have good relationships with practically all, and warm friendships with many of them.

Yes, those cards and posters from patients are greatly treasured by us, and they lift our spirits when we are having bad days, as do smiles or funny comments from the kids.

>164 scaifea:. Ha!! Well played, Dr Scaife. 😂

166scaifea
des. 15, 2020, 10:54 am

>164 scaifea: Darryl: I remember when I was volunteering at Charlie's school library that it felt so wonderful when a kiddo would come up and thank me, often accompanied by a hug, for guiding them to a book that they ended up loving. Nothing like what you do for them, but I understand how lovely those little appreciations feel.

167quondame
des. 15, 2020, 2:36 pm

>160 kidzdoc: My sister, the Ph.D. M.D., has a great deal of respect for nurses, but I'm pretty sure there is no equipment she cannot set up. Not that she wouldn't have asked the nurses to do it - back in the day when asked how she'd get a 6'4'" male patient back into bed she said she'd call a nurse, any doctor would. But all 5'6" of her is hellaciously strong even as she approaches 80 and I'm convinced she would have managed handily.

168SandyAMcPherson
des. 15, 2020, 6:33 pm

>18 katiekrug: Great story (now). But I can understand how let down you must have been.

We never made a big deal out of "Santa Claus" to start with anyway.
I could *not* lie to my kids, so when they asked, I told them don't tell the other kids but we have a "spirit of Christmas" which is how we feel happy when we celebrate by gift giving.

And then I told them about the St. Nicholas tradition and was honest that the Santa myth was all about *marketing*.

Our family had wonderful Christmases so it was never a let down and I scorn to flinders the elf-on-the-shelf thing that has pervaded North American society. I know some adults will think it is being grinchy but it is way better than the disappointment that the trusted adults made up a fairy story.

169SandyAMcPherson
des. 15, 2020, 6:48 pm

Hi Amber ~ I got way behind on threads lately (You can tell by the ^^^ post at #168!).

Anyway, I have a favour to ask... could you find time to pop over here and double check my Latin commentary? I feel like I may have forgotten too much in the intervening years... and now "inquiring minds" want to know. *Grin*

170scaifea
Editat: des. 16, 2020, 7:21 am

>168 SandyAMcPherson: Welp, I'm one of those awful parents who lie to their children, then. Sorry to disappoint. (Although I do find the elf on the shelf business ridiculously creepy.) (And also, *I* still believe in Santa. So, *shrug.*)

>169 SandyAMcPherson: Done. My consultation bill is in the mail.

171scaifea
des. 16, 2020, 7:35 am

So, the ONE day that I plan on leaving the house on an actual errand (to the PO) and we're supposed to get slick road weather. Faaaaaantastic. I'm hoping I can beat the freezing rain, but we'll see.

I have four more exams to give today, and five tomorrow. They're going pretty well, and it's nice to see and chat with each student one more time before break. Charlie's starting to wrap up his semester; he has an exam today and a big-ish English project, and then he'll pretty much be finished. He polished off the reading assignment for English yesterday (he's been reading a book from a Suggested Reading List all semester (he chose Eragon), and the project is to create a book report/poster/project - he's choosing to make a powerpoint), and he's decided that his holiday break reading will be my Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales. I approve.

I've got *one* more Christmas gift sewing project (matching pajamas for all of us as a Christmas Eve present), and then I'll be finished. And those shouldn't take too long.

On the reading front:
I'm nearly finished now with both Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush and The Mill on the Floss, and I have to say that both have taken...interesting turns here toward the end. We'll see how it goes.

What We're Watching:
Last night's entry in the Christmas Movie Marathon was the How to Train Your Dragons holiday special. Then we watched a couple of Gilmore Girls episodes and a QI. I am unashamedly in love with Alan Davies. I can't help it: I would follow him anywhere.

172scaifea
des. 16, 2020, 9:52 am

Back from the PO and a borderline scary drive there and back again. It is *slick* out there. But now all packages are sent and I am happily settled back in with a cup of coffee with HoCho mix stirred in and watching the snow.

173SandyAMcPherson
des. 16, 2020, 10:10 am

>170 scaifea: You are not an awful parent... I look at how supportive and inventive you have been with Charlie. I bet he was let down gently about Santa.

It is all a matter of degree. I possibly was a bit too scathing (ooops) but then as a naive 6 y.o. I had a total *meltdown* when I discovered Santa wasn't real. Those feelings persisted down through the years. I like the St. Nicholas approach, though. It feels genuinely based in an old context.

Can I pay the bill with Christmas treats? How about some homemade Christmas baking? ~~

174scaifea
des. 16, 2020, 10:23 am

>173 SandyAMcPherson: Ha! Well, I'm not sure where Charlie stands as far as Santa is concerned at this point (I think I discussed this on an earlier thread). We haven't had any Conversations about it, and I will forever talk about Santa as being real because, well, see above. He is real to me in all sorts of ways. I do suspect that he suspects, but that he's not saying so to save his slightly-insane momma's feelings about the matter. He's the sweetest thing.

I will the delicious looking home as payment. That'll do just fine.

175foggidawn
des. 16, 2020, 12:08 pm

>174 scaifea: I was... 11? 12? when I stopped believing for sure; Mom made some casual comment in front of me that gave the game away. She probably thought I had stopped believing long ago, but I wanted very much to hold on to it. I don't remember feeling angry or betrayed, just a little bit sad. I still love the whole thing, going to sleep with that feeling of anticipation and waking up to all sorts of wonderful surprises, so if I ever have kids I will probably do the Santa thing for them, although maybe "Santa" will just fill their stockings and the large gifts will be from their parents. I agree, Elf on the Shelf is creepy as heck and a lot of work for whoever has to move it around and set up new scenarios every night. I've seen a different option, where some kind of small creature shows up periodically with ideas that the kids can do to help others (e.g. collect some cans for the food bank, make cards for their grandparents, etc.). I like that idea, but it's still more work in a busy season.

176scaifea
des. 16, 2020, 12:34 pm

>175 foggidawn: Aw, I love that you held on! I did, too (again, still a bit of me believes in the Santa Magic). When Charlie was just starting school, I read somewhere that Santa's gifts shouldn't be big, expensive things, because if a kiddo goes to school and says, "Santa gave be an XBox!" or whatever, and another kiddo, maybe from a less fortunate household, didn't get much at all from Santa through no fault of anyone other than circumstances, that would be so hurtful. So. Santa has brought some neat things for Charlie, but they've never been big, fancy, or expensive.

177foggidawn
des. 16, 2020, 12:44 pm

>176 scaifea: I've seen that making the rounds on social media periodically, and it makes sense to me.

178Crazymamie
des. 16, 2020, 1:11 pm

Afternoon, Amber! I love that Charlie chose Eragon - Daniel, Birdy and Abby love that one and have read it multiple times. It's also fabulous on audio. And the holiday reading choice!!

We always do Christmas Eve jammies. I wrap them and present them on Christmas Eve, but now I wrap them whenever I have them all and put them under the tree. Each person gets to decide when to open them. Rae always opens them right away, and Birdy always waits until Christmas Eve.

179scaifea
des. 16, 2020, 1:27 pm

>178 Crazymamie: Mamie: I'm the only one in this house now who hasn't read Eragon! I need to fix that - I love the idea of listening to it, so I may have to check that out.

This is the first year for family jammies here, although in the past I've made Christmas PJs for Charlie. When I was little, I always had two presents to open on Christmas Eve, one was always something special my mom had sewn for me (dolls and such) and the other was always a new fancy nightgown. So I have really fond memories of Christmas sleepwear. I LOVE that Birdy and Rae approaches the unwrapping differently! So fun.

180laytonwoman3rd
des. 16, 2020, 2:17 pm

Y'know, I have no memory of learning the "truth" about Santa. So it must not have been a biggie in my life. My husband, on the other hand, found out too soon. He was willing to give up the Easter Bunny, which he thought was silly anyway, but asked for reassurance that Santa was real, right? and got told the truth instead. Poor little tow-headed munchkin. Hasn't been truly happy at Christmas since. (Kidding, of course...he loves Christmas.)

181scaifea
des. 16, 2020, 2:30 pm

>180 laytonwoman3rd: Linda: Aw, poor little guy! I learned about Santa in the same way: Easter Bunny and then I asked if Santa was the same. Again, though, I have only ever half believed my mom on that count. She always still left out gives from Santa every year, though, and I will always do it for Charlie.

182katiekrug
des. 16, 2020, 2:48 pm

*fist bump* of solidarity to Mr. Laytonwoman3rd

183MickyFine
des. 16, 2020, 3:46 pm

Glad your errand is done and dusted and there's no more icy roads for you today.

And now I'm curious whether it's still nightgowns for you when you make Christmas PJs or if they're identical cuts for you and the Scaife men?

184scaifea
des. 16, 2020, 5:53 pm

>183 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I'm extremely glad, too, since it hasn't stopped snowing all day. It's so nice to be snug at home, knowing I don't have to go anywhere!

Ha! Nope, no nightgowns for me since I was little. I prefer pajamas now. I move around a lot in my sleep and gowns just get twisted around too much. So yeah, identical cuts.

185PaulCranswick
des. 16, 2020, 6:46 pm

>158 kidzdoc: & >159 scaifea:

I have a Nespresso in the house which is unfortunately broken and the store nearby has been closed during the lockdown. I also keep a French Press which Erni is a dab hand at making arabica sing.

I am a shorts or easy pants and comfy tee-shirt kinda guy in the evenings.

186scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 7:28 am

>185 PaulCranswick: Paul: Can you make just a regular cup of coffee with a Nespresso machine? (I am such a dummy when it comes to these contraptions).

187scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 7:32 am

Today's agenda: Five more exams today and then I'm finished. It will be a quick job of entering grades after that, and then I'm done! I also need to do the menu planning and grocery ordering today, and I'll maybe get some pajama sewing in, too. Charlie has requested Rando Rice-O for dinner tonight (a recipe he and I created at the beginning of all this as a homemade version of Rice-a-Roni), so that's dinner sorted, too.

On the reading front:
I finished up Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush yesterday (mini-review to come), and made progress with both The Mill on the Floss, which I'll likely finish today, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

What We're Watching:
Last night was one of my very favorite Christmas movies: Arthur Christmas. So funny and sweet.

188msf59
des. 17, 2020, 8:00 am

Morning, Amber! Sweet Thursday. Do you think you will be satisfied with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle once you finish it? I am glad you at least hung in there and finished it.

189scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 8:09 am

>188 msf59: Morning, Mark! I'm still only about 170 pages into it, but it *is* picking up more of my interest. It was a slow starter, but I do love his writing style. I'll definitely stick with it to the end. I've just read the bit about the spy guy getting flayed alive! So it's certainly not slow right now. Gross, but not slow. Ha!

190katiekrug
des. 17, 2020, 8:10 am

We almost watched Arthur Christmas last night, too! We've never seen it, but it's on The List. We ended up watching The Family Stone instead...

191scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 8:13 am

>190 katiekrug: There are so many good points to Arthur Christmas. I mean, it's the Wallace & Gromit people, so of course it's great. Plus, excellent actors doing the voices: Hugh Laurie, James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, Michael Palin,... And it's such a neat idea for how the whole Santa thing works. I just love it.

192katiekrug
des. 17, 2020, 8:22 am

We will definitely watch it soon!

193scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 8:33 am

194PaulCranswick
des. 17, 2020, 8:35 am

>186 scaifea: It depends exactly what you mean but most definitely you can make very straightforward cups of coffee with nespresso - you just choose the flavour capsule you prefer and press - remembering to put your cup in the right spot and after making sure that there is water in the machine.

195lauralkeet
des. 17, 2020, 8:35 am

>191 scaifea: Amber, as a fellow fan of Wallace and Gromit, you might be interested to know that in celebration of the 25-year anniversary of "A Close Shave," a UK knitting magazine has released a very cute pattern for Shaun the Sheep.



You have to register on their website to get the full pattern, and then you'd probably have to work out yarn substitutions. But it's all doable for the true W&G fan! More info here!

196scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 8:39 am

>194 PaulCranswick: Paul: Interesting - thanks!

>195 lauralkeet: Laura: I knew that it was the 25th anniversary (yoicks!), but didn't know about the pattern! Thank you!!

197Crazymamie
des. 17, 2020, 9:00 am

Morning, Amber! We have also not seen Arthur Christmas, but it is on The List. Looks like one we will love.

My Nespresso machine only does espresso. They make several different machines, so some can do coffee. I almost always combine my shots of espresso with steamed almond milk to make a latte.

198scaifea
Editat: des. 17, 2020, 9:11 am

>197 Crazymamie: Morning, Mamie! You and your crew would LOVE Arthur Christmas, I just know it.

See, here's the thing: I like the *idea* of a Nespresso machine, but I don't really drink espresso? So I guess it kind of doesn't make any sense for me to get one.

199Crazymamie
des. 17, 2020, 9:18 am

They have a model that makes coffee - the Vertuo line, but that is not the one I have. It uses pods, which is what makes me think you would not like it - but they do recycle their pods in certain areas of the country. Our closest location right now is Atlanta - hoping we will get a closer one eventually. I don't know if they make an insert thing where you could use your own coffee or not. I think you would like a French press - I just was clarifying on Paul's comments upthread.

200scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 9:37 am

>199 Crazymamie: I know you were, Mamie. I'm just coming clean on the fact that I don't think it's for me even though I weirdly kind of really want one. I do think you're right about the French Press.

201Crazymamie
des. 17, 2020, 9:38 am

I love that you really want one even though you don't think its for you! That sounds SO like me.

202scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 9:55 am

>201 Crazymamie: Mamie: *snork!* I *want* to want one. *You* know what I mean.

203MickyFine
des. 17, 2020, 11:00 am

I love Arthur Christmas also. It was the film I put on this year while we put up and decorated our tree.

Being a non-coffee drinker myself, I bought a French press for Mr. Fine when we were dating so that he could have coffee at my place. It's now his favourite way to have coffee although he usually only does it on weekends since it's a bit more time consuming than just pressing the button on the traditional coffee maker, which when you get up at five is a big consideration. ;)

204lauralkeet
des. 17, 2020, 11:25 am

>203 MickyFine: I have to admit our adoration of the French Press increased in retirement. At one point during my working years I had a coffeemaker that would grind the beans and brew the coffee, all on a timer. The timer was the most important part of the process.

205scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 11:31 am

>203 MickyFine: Micky: Arthur Christmas is so great. I'm glad to see others think so, too!

Hm, more of a time commitment, eh? *sigh* I don't have much patience for...anything, really, first thing in the morning, and I get up at 5am, too, so...

>204 lauralkeet: I have fond memories of my dad getting the coffee machine reading every evening so that the timer would go off just before he got up (which tended to be 4:30am or so!). *sigh*

206MickyFine
des. 17, 2020, 11:42 am

>205 scaifea: These instructions should give you an idea of what's involved. It's not a huge time suck, just more hands on then pressing a button and coming back to a pot of coffee.

207scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 11:55 am

>206 MickyFine: Thanks, for the link, Micky!

208scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 4:39 pm



125. Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush by Virginia Hamilton (Newbery Honor Book, 215 pages) - 8/10 = B-
Teenaged Tree and her brother, Dab, live together - and alone - in a shabby apartment while their mother lives and works elsewhere (it's not entirely clear where and at what) and occasionally visits to fill the fridge and cupboards for them. It's far from a perfect situation, but Tree loves her brother and seems to have contented herself with all the hard work that goes into caring for the two of them. But then she starts seeing the vision of a young man standing in the middle of the table in a back room of the apartment, and gradually comes to realize that he is the ghost of her mother's brother. He tacitly takes her through his memories, back to when she was little more than a baby, and she learns some disturbing things about her family. Her uncle has, it seems, come to her as a harbinger of soon-to-be events which will change her small family forever.
I'm not sure what to say about this one, mostly because I'm still not sure how I feel about it. It's a strange little story, disturbing in parts, both in its actual plot content and in its disjointed structure. Tree's mother is troubling on many levels, not least of which is that I can't tell if Hamilton means for the reader to be as angered at her actions as I was. It's certainly an interesting story, and definitely different than a lot of offerings in this genre, and Tree's character is well drawn and instantly one for whom you want to root.

209scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 5:58 pm



126. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (audiobook) - 8/10 = B
Follows from childhood the lives of siblings, Maggie and Tom, who grow up on the eponymous mill land in the 1840s. The novel is the story of their relationship, their fluctuating devotion to one another, through the varied fortune of their family.
My feelings toward the book are as varied as Maggie's and Tom's for one another; at times I really enjoyed its humorous depiction of stodgy, stuffy aunts and self-amused uncles, but by the end I became frustrated with the "Oh, I mustn't" "Oh, but you MUST" "Oh, but I MUSTN'T"-ness of it all. And the ending, although I understand the reasoning behind it, still felt abrupt and unsuited, and seemed (to me, at least) to make the previous plot elements pointless even while making its own sort of (overly-) dramatic Point. Also, I have a low tolerance for men being So Very Put Out because a woman doesn't behave the way he thinks she should, which happens on multiple occasions here. Gah.

210lycomayflower
Editat: des. 17, 2020, 7:02 pm

>209 scaifea:

And the ending, although I understand the reasoning behind it, still felt abrupt and unsuited, and seemed (to me, at least) to make the previous plot elements pointless even while making its own sort of (overly-) dramatic Point

211scaifea
des. 17, 2020, 8:41 pm

>210 lycomayflower: *snork!* I appreciate the boys' solidarity.

212scaifea
des. 18, 2020, 7:11 am

Today's agenda:
Weekly bill sorting, grocery pickup, cookie baking (Christmas-themed sugar cookie cut-outs), turning in final grades, maybe some sewing (I still have those pajamas to finish).

We're celebrating all of us being finished with work/school at the end of the day today by ordering dinner; I am looking forward to a delicious French Dip sandwich from Hudson 29 ( https://hudson29.com/ ). *happy sigh*

On the reading front:
I started Two Weeks with the Queen and Silas Marner yesterday and I'll probably start Peyton Place today.

What We're Watching:
We finished up one of the GBBS holiday specials ( The one in which Benjamina wins), then watched a couple episodes of Arrow.

213katiekrug
des. 18, 2020, 10:25 am

Morning, Amber! We watched 'Arthur Christmas' last night and LOVED it! Thank you for the hearty endorsement of it. The Wayne especially chortled all the way through it. Bryony the wrapping elf was my favorite :)

Yay for dinner delivery! And thank you for posting the restaurant menu - I do love perusing them. And that sandwich sounds just about perfect. I am a sucker for anything with horseradish. Enjoy!

214MickyFine
Editat: des. 18, 2020, 10:49 am

>213 katiekrug: Yay for loving Arthur Christmas!

Also happy Friday and vacation eve to the Scaifes!

215scaifea
des. 18, 2020, 11:13 am

>213 katiekrug: Katie: Woot!! I'm *so* glad you both loved it! It's the perfect mix of zany and heartfelt, I think. And Bryony is fantastic.

You're welcome for the menu! I love looking through them, too. I don't know what Tomm will order yet (probably the salmon), but I can tell you that Charlie wants the Caesar Salad. Because that's totally what a normal 12yo boy would order. *snork!*

>214 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky!

216foggidawn
des. 18, 2020, 11:24 am

>215 scaifea: Mmm, nothing wrong with a good Caesar salad! Charlie has great taste in food. He must have been raised right. ;-)
(Not to slight the long-suffering parents of picky eaters; I know it's not something that you can really control.)

217scaifea
Editat: des. 18, 2020, 11:30 am

>216 foggidawn: Oh, we went through a phase with him, but it didn't last too long. I agree that there are some picky eaters out there whom no amount of parenting will change, though. Thankfully, Charlie isn't one of those; when he went through it, we just let him know that he didn't have to eat what was for dinner, but he wasn't getting anything else until breakfast - I am *not* a short-order cook. But yeah, he has much better eating habits than I do now. *shakes head*

218SandyAMcPherson
des. 18, 2020, 11:41 am

>209 scaifea: Well, humpf.
I think I'll give George Eliot a miss. I did wonder how The Mill on the Floss would strike you, Amber. As mentioned a thread or two ago, I have bogged down trying to understand Middlemarch.
Perhaps I simply don't connect with Eliot's writing, because a very long time ago, when I belonged to a book-reading group, I couldn't grasp the point of Silas Marner, which is considerably shorter compared to the other chunksters.

219scaifea
des. 18, 2020, 12:22 pm

>218 SandyAMcPherson: Sandy: Well, I started Silas Marner today, and I have Middlemarch lined up for soon, so we'll see how those go.

220London_StJ
des. 18, 2020, 12:25 pm

>138 kidzdoc: Thanks for this. I hadn't thought about children and testing; my youngest is only nine, so this is important information.

I missed 85% of the tool-gifting discussion. FWIW, I warned my wife not to buy me a lawnmower as a gift, considering it's work I do for our family.

And I will use my professional title because I earned it, and because I hate that gendered address requires a primary recognition of my marital status. My marriage is no one's business but mine. :)

Now I'm going to go catch up on other messages here...

221London_StJ
des. 18, 2020, 12:34 pm

>170 scaifea: I take great delight in lying to my children, and tell them as much. :-D It's usually to increase surprise and joy, so I feel no guilt about it. And I'd rather they believe in magic for a few joyful years than take credit for it.

>174 scaifea: I'm pretty sure my two oldest (13 and 11) suspect, but they are as whimsical as I am and have no interest in confronting it. Middle Child did just assert that they believe Santa is a spirit which directs and controls parents as opposed to a physical being, which is slightly sinister - and appropriately odd for this household.

When/if they tell me directly that they don't believe I will continue the traditions of separately-wrapped gifts and stockings, and tell them "I'm Santa." They won't argue.

222scaifea
des. 18, 2020, 12:42 pm

>220 London_StJ: YES to all of this: Housework is work and not a gift-appropriate area; doctors are doctors, no matter what gender, and you're right that marital status is NO one's business but your own (and likely your spouse's, too, I suppose).

>221 London_StJ: Charlie's been quiet about Santa this year, but yeah, I suspect he suspects but is keeping it from me because he knows how much I love believing in magic. But he's also really very happily imaginative, and I think he's okay with having a mom who loves believing.

223thornton37814
des. 18, 2020, 5:58 pm

>222 scaifea: I guess I stopped believing in 2015 when my Dad died. Santa brought me an iPad for Christmas 2014. ;-)

224scaifea
des. 18, 2020, 6:09 pm

>223 thornton37814: I'm sorry about your dad, Lori. I'm assuming he gave you the ipad? (Sorry, I think I'm a little slow today.)

225thornton37814
des. 18, 2020, 6:11 pm

>224 scaifea: I think he knew it would be his last Christmas. He got all of us big gifts that year.

226scaifea
des. 19, 2020, 8:32 am

>225 thornton37814: Lori: Aw, that's bittersweet, then. *hugs*

227scaifea
Editat: des. 19, 2020, 8:41 am

Today's agenda:
I'm going to bake a cinnamon loaf (a quick bread) for breakfasts this week, do a little sewing, and hopefully a ton of reading.

Dinner last night was really good! The French Dip was so tasty, and they have really good fries. Charlie liked his salad (and shared some of my fries), and Tomm got a steak that looked amazing (he confirms that it was). Saturdays are usually Tomm's night to sort out dinner, and I think he said we're having burgers and fries.

On the reading front:
I started Silas Marner and Peyton Place yesterday; it's too early to tell with Silas, but Peyton seems like it could be a wild ride... I also spent a little time with Two Weeks with the Queen, with which I'm not wowed, really, and I'm suspect that it will end in a sad, sappy mess. We'll see.

What We're Watching:
The night that we're all finally done with work and classes is traditionally National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Night. So quotable and so fun.


228scaifea
des. 20, 2020, 8:20 am

The cinnamon bread turned out pretty well, and goes perfect with a first cup of coffee (or glass of milk, if you're Charlie):



Today's agenda:
I finished up the family pajamas yesterday - woot! - so today I'll finish up the wrapping and be Officially Ready for Christmas! And that means I can look forward to a week of mostly reading and puttering around in the sewing room. Heaven.

For dinner tonight, I'm going to try making Buttermilk Fried Chicken for the first time ever. So, we'll see how *that* goes.

On the reading front:
I started Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death yesterday and I'm loving it so far. I also listened to a bit of Silas Marner Apparently he has "fits" and is probably a vessel of The Devil, so this one's a HOOT so far, and I'm nearly finished with Two Weeks with the Queen. I predict I'll be in tears by the end of that one. Yoicks.

What We're Watching:
Last night was the Shaun the Sheep holiday collection. We absolutely love that little guy here at Scaife Manor.

229Crazymamie
des. 20, 2020, 9:13 am

Yes, please to the cinnamon bread - yum! Good work getting the jammies finished. I need to get the wrapping started - YIKES! I cannot believe Christmas is this Friday. I am just starting to get into the groove, and it will be done and dusted and I will be standing here blinking my eyes saying But...but....but... Pretty much the story of my life if I am honest.

Good luck with the fried chicken - be sure to report back.

230Whisper1
des. 20, 2020, 9:27 am

Happy Sunday Amber. I send all good wishes for a wonderful holiday!

231scaifea
des. 20, 2020, 9:49 am

>229 Crazymamie: The bread is lovely - and pretty easy, too (I'll share the recipe below).

Yikes, indeed, to Christmas being this Friday! I'm happy that I have this week to sit back and enjoy the quiet and the decorations.

Fingers crossed about the chicken - I don't have much experience with frying things? I may be a big mess.

Cinnamon Loaf:
Ingredients:
Cinnamon Sugar:
• ½ cup sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon nutmeg
Batter:
• 1 ¾ cups flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ½ cup butter, softened
• ¾ cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 8 oz. sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Coat loaf pan with baking spray.
3. Combine all the cinnamon sugar ingredients in a medium bowl. (This recipe uses about ½ the mixture; you can store the rest.)
4. In medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
5. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 6-8 minutes.
6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
7. Add vanilla.
8. Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream in 3 or 4 parts, mixing only until combined.
9. Spoon 1/3 of the batter into pan.
10. Sprinkle ½ of the cinnamon sugar onto batter and spoon another 1/3 of the batter into the pan. (NB: This means half of *half* of the cinnamon sugar mixture - see #3 above.)
11. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon and finish by spooning in the final 1/3 of the batter.
12. Take a knife and make a zigzag line from one narrow end of the pan to the other. Only do this once.
13. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a knife emerges clean from the center. The top will be golden and it may also be split.
14. Cool loaf on a wire rack 15 minutes before turning out of the pan to cool completely

I found this in a cookbook somewhere and wish I could cite the source, but I didn't record it. Apologies. If anyone knows, please feel free to inform.

232scaifea
des. 20, 2020, 9:49 am

>230 Whisper1: Thanks, Linda!

233Crazymamie
des. 20, 2020, 10:43 am

>231 scaifea: Oh, thanks for that.

Frying anything is kind of a big mess, so...

234scaifea
des. 20, 2020, 12:14 pm

>233 Crazymamie: Mamie: Welcome!
And yeah. That's mostly why I don't do it, but this recipe sounded so good.

235MickyFine
des. 20, 2020, 1:17 pm

Cinnamon loaf sounds super tasty. Enjoy being in vacation mode, Amber!

236scaifea
des. 20, 2020, 2:58 pm

>235 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky!

237scaifea
des. 20, 2020, 4:16 pm



127. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (yearly reread, 85 pages) - 10/10 = A+
Yearly re-read of this lovely little story. Puts me right in the Christmas spirit, every time.

238scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 8:07 am

Today's agenda:
Not much, honestly, and I'm *so* excited about that. We're going to get back into our summer habit of playing a board or card game everyday for the winter break, and I'm going to try to get into the sewing room for at least a bit today, too, plus reading time. Lots of reading time, I hope.

Tomm is using his week off to work more on his office room renovation: he's torn up the carpets and is putting down a hardwood floor. Exciting? Yes. Noisy? Also yes.

The Buttermilk Country Fried Chicken recipe worked out great! And not too messy! I used my electric skillet, both because I didn't want to worry about keeping the temperature even and I thought it would mean less mess, and that seemed to work really well. Tonight we're having Taco Soup.

On the reading front:
I finished up Two Weeks with the Queen last night (mini-review to come), and read a bit more of Indigo, plus listened to more of Silas Marner.

What We're Watching:
Charlie Brown Christmas, followed by The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

239msf59
des. 21, 2020, 8:13 am

Morning, Amber. I hope you had a nice weekend at the Scaife Manor. What are your Christmas plans? Bree and Sean are coming over Christmas Eve, along with my FIL. Sue is making dinner. That will be the extent of it, this year.

240scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 8:19 am

>239 msf59: Morning, Mark! Very low-key Christmas here this year: it will just be the three of us, with no visits or visiting from family. My parents agree that we all need to stay put and "hunker down" until we all get vaccines, but Tomm's parents are pretty angry at us about it. *eye roll* I am missing my family so, so much (I haven't seen them since last February), but I'm also looking forward to our small, cozy, quiet Christmas.

241MickyFine
des. 21, 2020, 8:33 am

How was the Nutcracker flick? I haven't tried it yet.

242Crazymamie
des. 21, 2020, 8:54 am

Morning, Amber! Good thinking with the electric skillet - I do not have one of those. Tragic, if you think about it. *blinks*

Hoping you get your loads of reading time.

243scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 9:07 am

>241 MickyFine: Micky: Oh, we love it! It's an interesting take on the original story, excellent cast, and I love how the music runs through the background almost the entire movie. I definitely recommend it.

>242 Crazymamie: Mamie: Maybe you'll get one for Christmas. (*SNORK!!!*)

And thanks! I hope so, too. Now, being able actually to read over all the hammering is another issue...

244Crazymamie
des. 21, 2020, 9:13 am

*belly laugh*

We love that Nutcracker movie, too.

"Now, being able actually to read over all the hammering is another issue..." This is why I have noise canceling headphones.

245scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 9:14 am

>244 Crazymamie: Mamie: Oooh, I like the idea of headphones. I didn't think about that. I just may do that.

246Crazymamie
des. 21, 2020, 9:17 am

I have been known to wear mine even when not listening to anything because then people don't talk to me. *grin*

247scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 9:19 am

248London_StJ
des. 21, 2020, 9:32 am

>237 scaifea: Oh, I just started my yearly re-read this morning. What a lovely way to kick off the holiday week.

Happy Solstice!

249scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 9:35 am

>248 London_StJ: Woot! Christmas wouldn't be right without a re-read of this one, for certain.

250scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 9:37 am



128. Two Weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman (1001 Children's Books, 141 pages) - 8/10 = B+
Colin's little brother is dying of cancer, and his parents send him from their home in Australia to stay with his aunt and uncle in London while they deal with..."things." But Colin, who has long been jealous of the attention his brother gets, is determined to turn the tables and get the appreciation from his parents he thinks he deserves: he formulates a plan to see the queen about borrowing her Top Doctor to save his brother's life.
I spent the first part of the book borderline-annoyed at Colin's attitude, and most of the rest of it worried that it was going to turn too sad and sappy. But, in the end, everything evens out, and although it *is* quite sad, it never turns maudlin or saccharine, but instead transforms into a perfectly balanced story of love and grief as experienced in childhood and beyond.

251katiekrug
des. 21, 2020, 10:49 am

I was going to make the joke about Mamie getting an electric skillet for Christmas, but you beat me to it! Great minds and all that....

I hope you enjoy your first day of winter break, Amber!

252scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 12:10 pm

>251 katiekrug: Katie: Ha! I love it!
And thanks! So far, it's been wonderfully uneventful.

253kidzdoc
des. 21, 2020, 12:14 pm

>238 scaifea: If you can make buttermilk country fried chicken then you're on the road to becoming a True Southerner. I expect to see posts here about collard greens with ham hocks (or turkey neck bones), fish & grits, okra & tomatoes, and especially Hoppin' John on New Year's Day.

254scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 12:23 pm

>253 kidzdoc: Well, Darryl, I wouldn't hold your breath. I suspect I'd like collard greens, but I can't stomach grits or okra, I'm afraid. I'm still firmly a Yankee, I think. That chicken was super good, though (I had a leftover cold chicken sandwich for lunch - yum!).

255kidzdoc
Editat: des. 21, 2020, 6:43 pm

>254 scaifea: Collard greens are easy to cook, at least the way my father taught me to make them. I need to learn his method for making grits in a double boiler, but I know how to make okra & tomatoes. Grits made by Northerners are generally abysmal, and would turn off anyone who didn't know what they are supposed to taste like. I think okra is hit or (mostly) miss for many people, due to its texture, but I love it, either in gumbo or stewed with tomatoes, with or without rice.

256scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 1:58 pm

>255 kidzdoc: I've only had okra once, and yeah, it was the texture. The grits I had were made by a true Southerner and I still didn't like 'em. Apologies.

257kidzdoc
des. 21, 2020, 2:03 pm

>256 scaifea: Since you've tried authentic grits and apparently authentic okra that's all I can ask for, and I respect your dislike of both foods.

258scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 3:51 pm

>257 kidzdoc: Darryl: One of these post-vaccine days, maybe we'll be able to get together. I'll make cookies and cakes and you can make grits and okra; if I'm going to like anyone's, it'll be yours.

259kidzdoc
Editat: des. 21, 2020, 4:25 pm

>258 scaifea: That would be lovely, although I would rather make something you specifically wanted or I think you would like, such as the pan of Macaroni Cavatappi with Four Cheeses! I made on Thursday night for a physician assistant friend on the Infectious Disease service after I lost a bet. She said it was the best macaroni and cheese she's ever had.

260scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 4:38 pm

>259 kidzdoc: Oooh, I'll take it!!

261scaifea
des. 21, 2020, 6:12 pm



129. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (series reread, 387 pages) - 10/10 = A+
My favorite of the series (I think - #2 is also so, so excellent). Gosh, I love these books.

ETA after another reread: Yep, my very favorite of the series (so far, at least - we'll see what the last book holds). Goosebump-level goodness, folks. Every time.

262scaifea
des. 22, 2020, 7:45 am

Today's agenda:
More of the same as yesterday: a bit of sewing, a midday board game (yesterday we played Apples to Apples), and a bunch of reading. I also need to hop over to the library to pick up holds.

My sewing room time yesterday was spent on my current long-running cross stitch project, and it was nice to get back to it after a long time away. It's a fractal pattern in greyscale:



The Taco Soup hit the spot last night, with tortilla chips and shredded cheese. Yum. Tonight I think we'll have Lemon Chicken with Basil.

On the reading front:
After finishing The King of Attolia, I started Spinning Silver. I've been so excited to get to this one, since I loved Novik's Uprooted so much.

263rosalita
des. 22, 2020, 7:49 am

Nice fractal! Is that from the website you shared with me? I liked a lot of their patterns.

Also, woot for Spinning Silver! I loved both Uprooted and that one. I have her newest book, A Deadly Education, but haven't gotten to it yet.

264scaifea
des. 22, 2020, 7:51 am

>263 rosalita: Julia: Yes, it *is* from that site!
And thanks for reminding me about her newest one - I know I'll want to get to it, too. It's funny, but you're always in the back of my mind with I think of Uprooted, because I bought it at Prairie Lights at one of our meetups...

265rosalita
des. 22, 2020, 8:32 am

>264 scaifea: I love that!

266scaifea
des. 22, 2020, 8:34 am

>265 rosalita: *grins* I miss those meetups so much. It's in the top three things I miss about living in WI.

267rosalita
des. 22, 2020, 8:36 am

>266 scaifea: Me, too! Those Prairie Lights LT meetups were always the highlight of the year.

268scaifea
des. 22, 2020, 8:49 am

>267 rosalita: Agreed. *sigh*

269MickyFine
des. 22, 2020, 8:53 am

>262 scaifea: Wow. Gray scale on black aida. You're a brave soul. :)

270scaifea
des. 22, 2020, 8:58 am

>269 MickyFine: I'm doing it on white cloth, but it's still really fiddly because it's TEENY. I have super-magnified reading glasses that I use when I work on it.

271MickyFine
des. 22, 2020, 10:21 am

>270 scaifea: Tiny cross-stitch is intimidating. I'm doing 14-count and I still have to squint occasionally.

272scaifea
des. 22, 2020, 10:25 am

273ChelleBearss
des. 22, 2020, 11:57 am

>231 scaifea: Looks yummy! I'm confused about the cinnamon sugar though. I feel like they should have just had 1/4cups instead of 1/2cups if they didn't intend to use it all?

274scaifea
des. 22, 2020, 12:49 pm

>273 ChelleBearss: Chelle: Yeah, I'm not sure, either.

275scaifea
des. 22, 2020, 1:39 pm


130. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (Books I'm reading with my friend, Rob, 607 pages) - 8/10 = B-
Welp, *that* was weird.
I think if this were a normal year, if I were in a normal headspace, I would like the weirdness more (I *loved* Kafka on the Shore when I read it years ago). But not this year and not in this ongoing mental state. I do recognize the inventiveness and the well-crafted atmosphere of the text, but it was a real struggle for me to stay the course to the end. I may try a reread someday.

276johnsimpson
des. 22, 2020, 4:07 pm

277scaifea
des. 23, 2020, 7:43 am

>276 johnsimpson: Thanks, John.

278scaifea
des. 23, 2020, 7:51 am

Today's agenda:
I need to do my menu planning and get my groceries ordered for pickup tomorrow, then I think I'll work a bit on the quilt I had started before Halloween costume and Christmas project madness set in. We'll play our daily board game after lunch (yesterday was Monty Python Fluxx - so crazy and fun), and then I'll settle into my rocking chair next to the fireplace for some reading.

Tomm has all of the hardwood floor laid in his office and is already busy with an industrial-sized floor sanding machine this morning. So, more of the dulcet tones of construction as a soundtrack today. Woot.

On the reading front:
After finishing up the Murakami yesterday, I spent time with Indigo, which is enjoyable so far, and Spinning Silver, which is just as wonderful as I knew it would be.

What We're Watching:
The Polar Express last night. I'm not a fan, really - it's weird and borderline creepy, plus the kiddo who lives on the poor side of town and has never had a visit from Santa before meets him, gets a present, and now everything is okay? *grumbles* - but Charlie loves it, so it's always on The List.

279ChelleBearss
des. 23, 2020, 8:09 am

>278 scaifea: My kids love the Polar Express as well. I don't usually watch with them, and prefer to read while they watch.

280scaifea
des. 23, 2020, 8:24 am

>279 ChelleBearss: Chelle: I did some reading last night while it was on, too.

281MickyFine
des. 23, 2020, 9:09 am

>278 scaifea: Oh I do love Fluxx. We've got Star Fluxx (all the sci fi tropes mashed together) and Fairy Tale Fluxx. Mr. Fine is going to find Batman Fluxx in his stocking this year too.

282scaifea
des. 23, 2020, 9:20 am

>281 MickyFine: Micky: I'd never heard of it before and this one was a gift. We instantly LOVED it. So crazy and fun.

283SandyAMcPherson
Editat: des. 23, 2020, 11:08 am

My gosh, there were 50 unread messages here this morning.
I'm sure I at least 'lurked' a day or two ago!

It's cinnamon bread-making day here and finishing some book reviews. I thought I was going to meet my "Double-75" objective this year but I'm only at #135 so not likely, unless I power through a ton of Christmas reading...

I just had a lot of fun with an old-fashioned cozy mystery by Cathy Ace (Book 2 in the Cait Morgan series). I'm reading a Gary Paulsen right now, Puppies, Dogs, and Blue Northers. I think it's going to be a bit sad because he writes so well about his dog sled team and one of the old faithful huskies is really getting old. But Gary is very realistic and kind about how he discusses the life of 'being owned by a pack of sled dogs'!

Be well, enjoy the season. I'll try to drop by before you hit the 300 mark!

284scaifea
des. 23, 2020, 11:35 am

>283 SandyAMcPherson: I like some of Paulsen's things, but I don't do dog stories. I can't handle 'em.

Enjoy your bread making!

285scaifea
des. 24, 2020, 6:42 am

Today's Agenda:
A quick trip to pick up curbside groceries, then baking/cooking (deviled eggs for tomorrow's dinner, mince pies for us, and cookies for Santa). Maybe I'll fit some reading in there somewhere, too. Tomm and Charlie have left their present wrapping until today, of course (OF COURSE THEY HAVE), so even if I *did* have time to sew today, I may not be allowed in the sewing room, were all the wrapping accoutrements are kept.

On the reading front:
I made it through a nice chunk of Peyton Place yesterday, plus a bit more of Spinning Silver.

What We're Watching:
December 23 is always Muppet Christmas Carol day for us. Hands down, the very best version of that story, and I will brook no arguments. Hands. Down.

286msf59
des. 24, 2020, 8:10 am



Merry Christmas, Amber! I am sorry to hear that you haven't seen your folks since February. That really stinks, my friend. Lets hope for a much better 2021.

287Carmenere
des. 24, 2020, 8:55 am


Wishing you and yours a merry Christmas and a joyous 2021!

288scaifea
des. 24, 2020, 9:19 am

>286 msf59: Thanks, Mark. My parents are in their 80s, so hopefully they'll be in line for the vaccine soon. We'll still probably wait until we've had ours before we risk going to see them, and that may be several months still.

>287 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda.

289scaifea
des. 24, 2020, 9:22 am

Welp.

I screwed up the deviled eggs (way too much salt) and I'm not making 'em again. So we'll just go without them tomorrow (which is no big deal). But then I've also now managed to burn my hand on a cookie sheet that I sat on top of the stove and on a burner that I didn't realize was still on. Went to grab it to put it away and yoicks. Apparently I'm the Sookie St. James of both the sewing room *and* the kitchen (minus the actual cooking talent).

*SIGH*

290Crazymamie
des. 24, 2020, 9:34 am



Amber, I'm thinking you should just sit down and read - it's practically a direct nudge from the Universe. Perhaps a beverage?

291scaifea
des. 24, 2020, 9:36 am

>290 Crazymamie: Mamie: HAAAHAHAHA! YES. I need one of those. STAT.

292MickyFine
des. 24, 2020, 9:46 am

>285 scaifea: Ha! I just made the same argument about Muppet Christmas Carol on my thread. We'll be watching it tonight.

Have a lovely Christmas Eve, even if you are exiled from your sewing room.

293scaifea
des. 24, 2020, 9:47 am

>292 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky. It's off to a GREAT start so far...
(And WOOT! for Muppet Christmas Carol!)

294SandDune
des. 24, 2020, 10:55 am



Or in other words, Happy Christmas! And have a great New Year as well.

295katiekrug
Editat: des. 24, 2020, 11:25 am

The Wayne left all his wrapping until today, too. I still have some to do, but that's because I was busy wrapping everything for out-of-town family and then suffered from a bit of wrapping burn-out and needed a break :)

ETA: Sorry about your hand :( And the eggs. What else is on the menu?

296laytonwoman3rd
des. 24, 2020, 11:38 am

Oh, ouch! I think Mamie has it right....an adult beverage might be just the thing. Even if it is not even noontime. S'what?

297lauralkeet
des. 24, 2020, 11:45 am

Ooh that sounds painful Amber. I hope to make it through the next two dinners without incident but you never know. I find it's worse when I'm distracted and/or trying to do too many things at once.

298scaifea
des. 24, 2020, 12:20 pm

>295 katiekrug: Katie: I didn't have a lot of wrapping to do this year, so mine didn't take too long, thank goodness. Tomm *still* hasn't started wrapping and I'm trying not to get irritated.

And thanks. I've got the filling for the mince pie simmering now, and I'll make corn pudding and mac and cheese tomorrow - Tomm's in charge of the ham.

>296 laytonwoman3rd: Linda: Ha! I honestly don't drink much at all, ever (it gives me an instant headache and/or makes my heart race), but I *do* think I'll treat myself to an enormous HoCho with a mountain of whipped cream on top this afternoon.

>297 lauralkeet: Laura: Good luck! I'll keep my burned fingers crossed for you.

299jnwelch
Editat: des. 24, 2020, 1:42 pm

Have a wonderful Christmas, Amber!

Good review of Mill on the Floss. I've yet to be tempted by that one, although I loved Middlemarch. I did like Silas Marner, so I hope that goes well for you.

Wind-up Bird Chronicle: I'm sorry to hear it didn't mix better with your pandemic/2020 experiences. It's one of my top two of his, along with Kafka on the Shore (I'm glad Kafka worked so well for you).

300scaifea
des. 24, 2020, 2:16 pm

>299 jnwelch: Hi, Joe!

So far so good with Silas Marner, and Middlemarch is coming up soon on my list, too. I won't give up on Murakami, because I loved Kafka so much.

301lunacat
des. 24, 2020, 2:34 pm

My favourite version of A Christmas Carol is one recited by a single man by candlelight, with accompanying music, in an old church on Christmas Eve. He does it entirely by memory, performs it wonderfully, and it’s all for charity. We go to the performance every year and it’s utterly brilliant.

I miss it so much this year. He’s streaming it on YouTube but it’s nowhere near the same. Still, I’ll be thankful for being able to see even some version of it.

302scaifea
des. 24, 2020, 2:57 pm

>301 lunacat: *ahem* I'm fairly certain I said that I would brook no arguments on the Muppets Christmas Carol issue. (Kidding. (sort of.))

303katiekrug
des. 24, 2020, 4:24 pm

I've never had a mince pie. Some day, I will correct the oversight...

Thumbs up to corn pudding (I'm not sure what it is, but I generally like anything corn-y (heh)) and ham!

>301 lunacat: - That sounds lovely, Jenny. When I was in high school, the weekend before winter break, the English Department faculty would read A Christmas Carol by the library fireplace, and the reading room was only lit by candles, and it was all very cozy and lovely. It's my fondest memory associated with the work, though watching A Muppet Christmas Carol with our nephew last year for the first time (his first time seeing it, not mine), was pretty awesome.

304Berly
des. 24, 2020, 5:35 pm



Amber--Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May 2021 bring you less need for masks, loads of peace and joy, good health and, of course, books!

305scaifea
des. 24, 2020, 5:36 pm

>303 katiekrug: Katie: Oooh, mince pie is lovely. Warm and apply and spicy. And I'll try to remember to post my corn pudding recipe at some point - it's easy and super delicious.

306AMQS
des. 24, 2020, 5:47 pm


307SandyAMcPherson
des. 24, 2020, 10:33 pm

Lots of images going the rounds, so I'll just say Happy Christmas to all, and to all a Goodnight. (quoting Clement Clarke Moore, 1949 edition).

308ChelleBearss
des. 24, 2020, 11:05 pm



Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

309Copperskye
des. 24, 2020, 11:58 pm

310quondame
des. 25, 2020, 12:53 am

Happy Holidays Amber!

311scaifea
des. 25, 2020, 7:34 am

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Charlie had us up at 5:30, of course, so we're already through with the unwrapping. The Scaife Men are always pretty good to me, so I made out like a bandit again this year:



The fabric thing is an infinity scarf with The Count of Monte Cristo printed on it (possibly my favorite book of all time). Those boys know me so well.

Charlie *loved* the bag I made for him, *and* we have Christmas snow (it started snowing yesterday evening and hasn't stopped!), so I am the happiest gal this morning.

He's 12 and is probably only humoring his momma about Santa at this point, but that Christmas morning magic is still pretty powerful:

312scaifea
des. 25, 2020, 10:43 am



131. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton (310 pages) - 8/10 = B-
The first in a cozy mystery series, this book introduces Agatha Raisin as a just-retired PR corporate big shot, who decides to move to a small village in the Cotswolds, finds the quiet country life isn't as satisfying in its peacefulness as she'd hoped, and then finds it to be almost more excitement than she can survive. She decides to enter - and win (by cheating) - a baking competition as a method of worming her way into the village's closed-off-to-outsiders society, but her plan ends in disaster when the judge dies of poisoning after eating her store-bought quiche. So, of course, she decides she needs to solve the case herself, and in the process wavers between hating the village and its inhabitants and discovering that she has inadvertently grown to tolerate/like/need them both.
Hm. Well. Yes. I do love a good cozy mystery, and I did love the story and the villagers and the village. But Agatha herself, along with her former work associate/sort-of-friend, Roy, are utterly unlikeable. So I think I'll likely not go on with the series.

313PaulCranswick
des. 25, 2020, 11:56 am



I hope you get some of those at least, Amber, as we all look forward to a better 2021.

All the best to Charlie and Tomm

314scaifea
des. 26, 2020, 8:26 am

>313 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul.

315scaifea
des. 26, 2020, 8:31 am

Today's Agenda:
I made Mini Cinnamon Muffins for breakfast, and that's all the time I'm spending in the kitchen today, since we're ordering carry-out for dinner! Leftover consumption will commence tomorrow. I'll do a bit of laundry and a bit of cleaning (I'm on dusting and surface cleaning duty, while Charlie's in charge of vacuuming and Tomm is doing the mopping), then I may spend some time in the sewing room before settling in for an afternoon of reading.

On the reading front:
I got a nice chunk of A Conspiracy of Kings read yesterday, plus a bit of Spinning Silver. I may start The Book Thief today.

What We're Watching:
Christmas Day we always watch A Christmas Story, and then a handful of of Christmas episodes from our favorite TV shows (Big Bang Theory, Brooklyn 99, Modern Family,...).

316kidzdoc
des. 26, 2020, 8:47 am

I'm on dusting and surface cleaning duty, while Charlie's in charge of vacuuming and Tomm is doing the mopping

Yikes. Poor Tomm...

317scaifea
des. 26, 2020, 9:01 am

>316 kidzdoc: Darryl: Ha! Well, since I do all the laundry, most of the cooking, all the menu planning and grocery buying, I don't feel so bad that Tomm does the mopping.

318drneutron
des. 26, 2020, 10:22 am

Wanna help me kick 202 to the curb? 2021 group is here

319scaifea
des. 26, 2020, 10:23 am

>318 drneutron: Jim: WOOT!!

320MickyFine
des. 26, 2020, 11:02 am

So productive already. I'm planning to carry on my holiday slothfulness until New Year's Eve.

321scaifea
des. 26, 2020, 11:09 am

>320 MickyFine: Micky: Well, to be fair, I would have let it go longer, but Tomm wanted to get the cleaning over with now. *eye roll*

322kidzdoc
des. 26, 2020, 12:41 pm

>317 scaifea: That's more than fair. Mop on, Tomm!

323scaifea
des. 26, 2020, 12:57 pm

324Familyhistorian
des. 26, 2020, 2:42 pm

Happy Boxing Day, Amber. Just caught up with your thread and I can remember a Christmas gift that a woman I know got that tops the kitchen gadgets. Her husband gave her a padded toilet seat. Not sure how that is a personal gift.

325scaifea
des. 26, 2020, 2:52 pm

>324 Familyhistorian: Meg: *snork!!* Wow. Just...wow.

326MickyFine
des. 26, 2020, 2:59 pm

>321 scaifea: Oh Tomm.

327scaifea
des. 26, 2020, 3:00 pm

>326 MickyFine: Micky: Right? Yoicks.

328scaifea
des. 27, 2020, 8:02 am

Today's agenda is much the same as yesterday, minus the stupid cleaning. So yay! Some sewing and some reading and not much else. Sounds like heaven to me.

On the reading front:
I started The Book Thief yesterday, and wow, it's excellent so far! I also spent a bit of time with Spinning Silver and Silas Marner.

What We're Watching:
Well, the Christmas marathon is over for another year, so we're back to taking turns picking. Charlie went first and chose Gilmore Girls last night. Did I tell you all that I got him a "Babette Ate Oatmeal!" t-shirt for Christmas and he LOVED it? I'll have to try to get a picture of him in it...

329scaifea
des. 27, 2020, 8:43 am

So I just discovered this and it makes me really happy (apologies if it's already common knowledge and I'm just way behind on things): I have been silently grumbling to myself about the new Talk page setup, how we no longer have a choice between clicking through to the top of the thread or the bottom, since it *always* automatically takes you to the first new unread posts at the bottom, no matter where you click. (I prefer to start at the top.) Anyway, this morning, by accident, I discovered that if you go to the actual Group page, you still have the option either to click on the title of the thread, which will take you to the top, or to click on the unread/total posts column, which will take you to the first unread post, just like the good old days. Woot!

330lauralkeet
des. 27, 2020, 8:52 am

>329 scaifea: well I'll be darned. For the most part I like jumping to first unread and, when necessary, using the little up-arrow at the far right of the post to jump back up. But it's nice to know there's another way, when starting at the top is what you want.

331scaifea
des. 27, 2020, 9:10 am

>330 lauralkeet: Laura: Sometimes I'm fine with getting tossed to the bottom, but particularly for my own thread, when I'm ready to post a finished book, I want to start at the top and have no patience for waiting while it loads at the bottom before I can click back up.

332katiekrug
des. 27, 2020, 9:26 am

>329 scaifea: - Good to know. I usually navigate via the Starred Threads view, but like you, I get annoyed when I want to update my reads at the top of my own thread.

333MickyFine
des. 27, 2020, 9:44 am

Glad you're enjoying The Book Thief, Amber. For me it's one of those books that has stuck in my brain in the best of ways.

Charlie's shirt is awesome! Lucky kid!

Hope Tomm doesn't think up more productive things for today. ;)

334ChelleBearss
Editat: des. 27, 2020, 9:45 am

>331 scaifea: Also, you can click on the little up arrow beside the time on the last post it will shoot you to the top again.
I find jumping to the bottom very annoying on my own post, as I'm often there to update my beginning posts for tracking. I do like it when visiting pages though

Glad you are enjoying The Book Thief. It's on my life list of favourites.

335thornton37814
des. 27, 2020, 10:09 am

>329 scaifea: I wish they'd just left it all alone. We were used to it the other way. They did not improve it.

336scaifea
des. 27, 2020, 11:13 am

>332 katiekrug: Katie: I also tend to open several threads at once in multiple tabs (if feels faster that way?) and so it's sometimes not easy to know who's thread I'm on when I'm dumped at the bottom.

>333 MickyFine: Micky: Oh, yes, I suspect this one will stick with me for a long time, too. So good!

I was *so* excited for him to open that one and I'm so happy that he loves it as much as I hoped he would!

And yeah - Tomm's working on putting in a hardwood floor in his office, so there's lots of noise but at least nothing specifically for me to do.

>334 ChelleBearss: Chelle: I know about the up arrow, but it annoys me that I don't have a choice but to wait for the thread to load and then have to click back up. I want to start where I want to start.

>335 thornton37814: Lori: I suspect they had their good reasons for changing - I don't presume to know the details of running a website like this one and I'm sure they know what they're doing, and change isn't always bad just because it's change. But this particular aspect of the change does bother me and I'm glad I've found a way around it. Hopefully they don't switch that page over, too!

337scaifea
des. 27, 2020, 11:39 am

Tomm and Charlie gave me a two-volume Gilmore Girls cookbook set for Christmas (Eat Like a Gilmore), and I tried a coffee recipe today, which is so good! I've tweaked it a bit to fit what I have (it calls for instant espresso and I just used actual coffee), but I'm definitely making this again. The original is called Mocha Chocolate Caramel Whirl-a-Chino and calls for frothing the milk and all that business, but I just made a cup of coffee, heated about half a cup of milk, squirted a couple tablespoons of chocolate sauce and a couple of caramel sauce into the bottom of my mug, then stirred in the hot milk and half the coffee. Simple and really tasty!

338MickyFine
des. 27, 2020, 12:21 pm

Fancy schmancy. I feel like eating like a Gilmore might be hazardous if done all the time. But treats would be great. :)

339scaifea
des. 27, 2020, 1:03 pm

>338 MickyFine: Micky: I eat like a Gilmore most of the time, to be honest. It's...not advisable, though. I just have ridiculous eating habits.

340quondame
des. 27, 2020, 7:24 pm

>328 scaifea: Ah, that reminded me I meant to buy Uprooted and Spinning Silver for my daughter's immanent birthday. Thanks. For Christmas I sent the Katherine Arden trilogy. She may be winter/Russia'd out though, or I might add Enchantment!

341EBT1002
des. 27, 2020, 10:00 pm

>329 scaifea: Huh. I have also been rather annoyed that it takes me to the first unread without my prompting it to do so. Like you, I'm okay with that most of the time but when I want to go to the top of my own thread to post a new completed book, well, it's just an extra step. And then I can get confused about where I left off in the unread posts.

First world problems, I realize, but it's nice to have some flexibility.

I didn't make it round to drop off holiday greetings so I'm here to be first in wishing you a Happy New Year! I hope 2021 brings in-person meet-ups back into our LT lives.

342scaifea
des. 28, 2020, 7:25 am

>340 quondame: You're welcome.

>341 EBT1002: Hi, Ellen - thanks for the new year wishes! I assumed everyone probably already knew about this little trick, so I'm glad it's actually helpful to some.

343scaifea
des. 28, 2020, 7:30 am

I know this thread is getting long, but, in solidarity with Laura, I'm refusing to start a new one this week. Besides, it would likely just get lost among all the new new group threads anyway. So. Sorrynotsorry, I guess.

Today's agenda:
More of the blissful vacation same: sewing and reading and not much else. We'll play a board game at some point today, and I may try to convince Charlie to do some MarioKarting with me. I can't decide if we'll do leftovers again for dinner tonight or if I'll try a new recipe: Parmesan Lemon Chicken Bake. We'll see.

On the reading front:
I'm nearly finished with Indigo, and SIlas Marner and Spinning Silver are both still chugging along.

What We're Watching:
We started the last season of Agents of Shield last night. I love it so far, if mostly for the costumes (they're time traveling in the '30s and the '50s so far).

344scaifea
des. 28, 2020, 7:31 am

The student evaluations for last semester are in, and I just have to share this tidbit:

"Everyone needs a Dr. Scaife in their life."

Ha! Those sweet little Latin cherubs. Made my day, that did.

345lauralkeet
des. 28, 2020, 7:32 am

>343 scaifea: in solidarity with Laura
*fist bump* Yay! Thanks for the support, Amber!

I have to admit my longest-thread-ever is making me a bit twitchy, but it's even more ridiculous to start one now, with only 4 days left in the year.

346lauralkeet
des. 28, 2020, 7:32 am

>344 scaifea: awww, that's lovely.

347scaifea
des. 28, 2020, 7:36 am

>345 lauralkeet: Laura: Yeah, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't slightly anxious about how long this thread is getting, too, but I'm determined to ride it out. *firm head nod*

>346 lauralkeet: Right? So sweet. And it's nice to know I'm doing *something* right, at least.

348jnwelch
des. 28, 2020, 9:50 am

Hiya, Amber.

I got one for Hanukkah or Christmas that I may end up recommending to you. It's The Time of Green Magic, and it sure looks good. I told you how much I liked the you-recommended Pet, right?

I hope you've been having a great holiday season.

349scaifea
des. 28, 2020, 10:14 am

>348 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! Oooh, that one *does* look good - I'll wait for your review. And yay - I'm so glad you liked Pet! I thought you might.

350MickyFine
des. 28, 2020, 11:18 am

>343 scaifea: Yay for MarioKart! I told Mr. Fine that sometime this week we're having an epic tournament and doing all the cups to see who comes out on top. He and I are pretty even skill-wise but his daughter beats us both every time the three of us play.

>344 scaifea: Aw, knew you were deserving of all those shiny apples, Prof!

351scaifea
des. 28, 2020, 12:37 pm

>350 MickyFine: Micky: YES! MarioKart is the best! Sooo much fun. Charlie and I are about evenly matched, too, which makes it even better.

352drneutron
des. 28, 2020, 12:50 pm

The Son and I recently started gaming together - ours is Divinity 2, a very D&D-like rpg. It’s been a fun way to connect with him now that he’s so far away. I hope you and Charlie can continue sharing like that!

353scaifea
des. 28, 2020, 3:54 pm

>352 drneutron: Jim: Oh, very cool!

354scaifea
Editat: des. 28, 2020, 4:33 pm



132. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious (Banned Books, 372 pages) - 8/10 = B+
Details the lives of three women mainly, along with various other characters, living in a small New England town in the late 1930s-early 1940s. It was banned many times over for its sexual content, and while I suspect it was fairly salacious for its time, it's pretty tame now. That doesn't make the story any less interesting or well told, though. I enjoyed how all the characters - well drawn, to a one - interacted and influences each other's lives, and while the book is arguably not high literature, I thought it was a great read.

355rosalita
des. 28, 2020, 5:06 pm

>354 scaifea: I read that one a long time ago — really, when I was a bit too young (or naïve) to fully grasp what was going on. I found it on my mom's bookshelves, which is where I found a number of books that were probably "too adult" for me but she never stopped me from reading them, happily. What I remember most vividly was the author photo on the back of the dustcover of the early hardcover edition we had. Let me see if I can find it in the Googleplex ... yes! Here it is:



A grown woman who dressed like a tomboy! Rolled up jeans, oversized flannel shirt, sneakers. I wasn't allowed to even wear slacks, never mind jeans, to school until junior high, so you can imagine how it felt to realize that when I grew up I might be able to dress however I wanted!

:-)

356scaifea
des. 28, 2020, 5:38 pm

>355 rosalita: Julia: Oh my gosh, I LOVE that!!

357rosalita
des. 28, 2020, 5:43 pm

>356 scaifea: I knew you'd love it, too!

358scaifea
des. 28, 2020, 5:44 pm

>357 rosalita: That photo makes me want to be friend with her - she looks so cool! And I love the idea of you reading books from your mom's shelves, finding that photo and thinking of future wardrobe freedoms!

359lauralkeet
des. 28, 2020, 5:51 pm

My mom's books weren't that racy but I remember reading parts of The Godfather once while babysitting. Well that was eye-opening, and I don't mean the violence parts.

360kidzdoc
des. 28, 2020, 5:53 pm

>344 scaifea: "Everyone needs a Dr. Scaife in their life."

What a great compliment. I can't think of a better present from a student than that. Congratulations on that well deserved kudo, Amber!

361scaifea
des. 28, 2020, 6:10 pm

>359 lauralkeet: Laura: My parents didn't have many books at all and none of the ones they *did* have were anything near to being racy. I've not read The Godfather; I think seeing the movie was enough for me.

>360 kidzdoc: Thanks, Darryl! It sure made my day to read that; makes me feel like I must be doing *something* right.

362AMQS
des. 28, 2020, 8:58 pm

Amber, is this your first time reading The Book Thief? It's in my top 5, I think. I have been thinking I'm due for a reread,

Spinning Silver was the book everyone got from me two years ago after it was one of my top reads. I'm envious if you're reading those two for the first time.

363lauralkeet
des. 28, 2020, 9:26 pm

>361 scaifea: Well Amber, I only read *selected* bits of The Godfather and I was probably around 14. So I can't say much about the book, but I have a general gut feel that the movies are better. And they're not for everyone that's for sure.

364quondame
des. 28, 2020, 10:44 pm

>355 rosalita: What a great photo. What a world when women were judged for what the wore at home, or while working outdoors, much less at work or school. Of course the judging continues, just the standards have shifted.

365quondame
des. 28, 2020, 10:50 pm

>361 scaifea: Hm, well, I guess The Erotic Art of the East could be considered racy, and really I wasn't a child when it entered the house, but I don't think my parents would have thought to curate their shelves. Certainly Kristin Lavransdatter was there from my earliest memory of books and Tom Jones as well.

366scaifea
des. 29, 2020, 7:01 am

>362 AMQS: Anne: It *is* my first time with both and you're right that they *are* amazing! The Book Thief was a pleasant surprise, but I just knew I'd love Spinning Silver, because Uprooted was so, so good.

>363 lauralkeet: Laura: Mob movies are just not my thing, I think. I can't seem to follow the intricacies of all the intrigue and I can't seem to care enough to try harder.

>364 quondame: Oh, yes, the judging definitely continues. To be fair, there are expectations for men, too; they just get bigger pockets.

>365 quondame: When I was really little, my mom read picture books to me every day, and I had a good supply of those, but by the time I got into school, I relied on the school library because we didn't have chapter books, or very many non-kid books either, in our house. The bible and some reader's digest books (the latter of which I devoured). It wasn't because my mom didn't love to read (she did); we just didn't have the money to spare. But I made very good use of the school library!

367scaifea
des. 29, 2020, 7:05 am

Today's Agenda:
Same: sewing and reading, with a bit of laundry thrown in. Tomm thinks he'll probably finish up his office renovations today and tomorrow, and I have to say that the new hardwood floor looks amazing. I'm so impressed - it's his first time doing such a thing and he nailed it (sorrynotsorry). We went with leftovers again last night, so I'll make the Parmesan Lemon Chicken Bake tonight.

On the reading front:
After finished Peyton Place yesterday, I started Manchild in the Promised Land, which has started out with a bang and grabbed me right away - I think this one will be memorable. I also made more progress on Spinning Silver and it's so, so good. *happy sigh*

368ChelleBearss
des. 29, 2020, 7:31 am

>344 scaifea: scaifea: Isn't that wonderful!

Hope you have a lovely day!

369scaifea
des. 29, 2020, 7:47 am

>368 ChelleBearss: Chelle: Right?! So sweet.

And thanks - you, too!

370katiekrug
des. 29, 2020, 7:51 am

I got a little behind, but yay for MarioKart! We haven't played in forever but now I have a hankering to...

Double yay for the nice student comment, though I am completely unsurprised :)

I'm very impressed with Tomm's project - we put in hardwood floors in a hallway in our house in Dallas and it was a pain in the ass. The Wayne is fairly handy but he was Over It by the end, and when we decided to put the same in the master bedroom and living room, he readily agreed to have a professional do it. So go Tomm!

Lemon parmesan chicken bake sounds good. I made risotto for the first time last night. I thought I would hate making it because of the endless stirring and adding liquid a little at a time, but it was very soothing to me somehow. Weird, I know.

371scaifea
des. 29, 2020, 8:42 am

>370 katiekrug: Katie: MarioKart is the best! So fun. And half of the fun is all the smack talk that occurs during the races, at least here at Scaife Manor.

Tomm is very handy; add his physics brain to the handyman-ness and it gets pretty impressive. I'll try to remember to post a photo of the new floor.

I've never tried to make risotto. I generally have pretty good luck with rice, but for some reason risotto has always sounded too complicated (I blame that on Gordon Ramsey yelling at so many people for screwing it up), so I'm impressed!

372laytonwoman3rd
des. 29, 2020, 11:58 am

>370 katiekrug:, >371 scaifea: I was intimidated by risotto for a long time, but then I tried Lidia's shrimp and leek version, and it was a hit. It was only a bit tricky that first time. POOH on Gordon Ramsey. I have not time for the food snobbery. It gets in the way of good cooking.

373scaifea
des. 29, 2020, 12:13 pm

>372 laytonwoman3rd: Linda: The interesting thing about Gordon Ramsey is that he's much more of a turd in his US shows than in his BBC ones. American television. *shakes head*

374scaifea
des. 29, 2020, 1:48 pm



133. Indigo by Beverly Jenkins (romance list, ebook) - 8/10 = B-
A rescued slave, Hester Wyatt lives as a free woman in Michigan, helping others to freedom as part of the underground railroad. One night, she takes in a seriously wounded fellow member of the railroad, known as The Black Daniel, and her world will never be the same.
I enjoyed this one a fair amount, although I do have a few quibbles. Some of the prose is a bit clunky, the sex scenes are a bit repetitive and sometimes don't seem to fit smoothly into the story, and the end goes on a little too long - the climax and resolution felt like it was a tagged-on fan fic chapter. So, I liked it fine, but I think it could have been a step or two up on the engaging scale, with a few fixes here and there.

375katiekrug
des. 29, 2020, 2:15 pm

The Wayne did make a Gordon Ramsey reference while I was making it. I told him he was an idiot sandwich :)

>374 scaifea: - Anyone else giggling at the use of the word "climax" in Amber's romance review? No? Just me? Okay then.

376scaifea
des. 29, 2020, 2:46 pm

>375 katiekrug: Katie: *SNORK!* "idiot sandwich" YES!!

And yay! I'm glad someone caught on! Ha!

377MickyFine
des. 29, 2020, 6:19 pm

>375 katiekrug: Add me to the giggle-fest.

378lauralkeet
des. 29, 2020, 6:46 pm

>375 katiekrug: tee hee! Love it.

379quondame
Editat: des. 29, 2020, 9:26 pm

>366 scaifea: There really weren't very many books in my parent's house in comparison with our walls of books and over flowing piles on every horizontal surface. The 11th ed. Britanica in the front hall (missing a signature which my dad who was reputed to have read it cover to cover never mentioned) a pair of 2 shelf long low under the window cases to either side of the fire place, and 3 others distributed in bedrooms as I recall, most made by my dad and painted with the enamel left over when, every 5 years or upon moving, the base public works re-painted our interiors. The base library saw us weekly if not nightly and was good if not rapid for inter-library loans.

380scaifea
des. 30, 2020, 7:07 am

>377 MickyFine: >378 lauralkeet: I knew my pun would be appreciated here!

>379 quondame: We lived out in the country, so not within any city limits, and in Indiana, at that time, at least, you had to live in the city limits to get a library card for free. So, I didn't step foot into a library until my first day of kindergarten, but boy, what a day that was. I knew I'd hit the jackpot. I still remember the first book I checked out - and made sure that it was on Charlie's shelves before he was even born (and I'm happy to say that it remains a favorite read for us all to this day).

381scaifea
Editat: des. 30, 2020, 7:16 am

ARRGH.
I typed up a post and then lost it. *deep breath and then try again*

Today's agenda:
More sewing, more reading, more MarioKarting, more board/card gaming. The Parmesan-Lemon Chicken Bake turned out great last night - here's the recipe if anyone is interested:

Parmesan-Lemon Chicken Bake

On the reading front:
After finishing up Indigo yesterday, I read a chunk of A Conspiracy of Kings and a bit more of Spinning Silver. It's such a treat to be in the middle of multiple *really* good reads.

What We're Watching:
It was my pick last night, so we watched the last of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Fun, but none of them are as good as the first.

382MickyFine
des. 30, 2020, 9:27 am

Sounds like an excellent day on the roster, Amber. I heartily agree with your assessment of the Pirates franchise.

383scaifea
des. 30, 2020, 9:38 am

>382 MickyFine: Micky: Charlie also loves the third movie, and I agree that that one is re-watchable, too.

I am *so* cold this morning that I'm still trying to convince myself to go down into the sewing room (it's always chillier down there than in the rest of the house). I may just skip the sewing today and go straight to the huddling under a blanket in my rocking chair with my space heater pointed right at me and my cup of tea and my book.

384MickyFine
des. 30, 2020, 9:48 am

Cocoon now, sew later?

385rosalita
des. 30, 2020, 10:15 am

>381 scaifea: The parmesan chicken bake sounds scrumptious — thanks for sharing the recipe!

>383 scaifea: I sympathize with the chilly room problem! My work from home setup is on a card table in the living room. Because my landlord is a jerk, there are no storm windows and no drapes to block the drafts, just thin Venetian blinds. When the wind is from the east that room is freezing no matter how high the heat is cranked up. Yesterday we got a biggish snowstorm (I think we ended up with about 9 inches) and the wind was coming straight out of the east. By 2:30 I could hardly feel my fingers and ended up signing out early and huddling under a blanket. All of which is a long-winded way of saying you have my vote to go huddle under that blanket!

386London_StJ
des. 30, 2020, 10:51 am

>383 scaifea: I think book and tea and heater sounds like a grand day...

387scaifea
des. 30, 2020, 2:03 pm

>384 MickyFine: >385 rosalita: >386 London_StJ: You all win: I abandoned sewing plans for today and have spent the day under a blanket and reading instead!

>385 rosalita: You're welcome for the recipe! Easy and tasty is my favorite, and this fits the bill.

I'm sorry your place is so cold! It's been rainy here, and I can always count on being freezing all day when it's damp outside. Nothing to do with the temperature inside the house - it's just me. *sigh*

388scaifea
des. 30, 2020, 2:11 pm



134. A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner (series reread, 335 pages) - 10/10 = A+
Just...*sigh*
I love this series so very much.

389katiekrug
des. 30, 2020, 2:46 pm

That recipe does look nice and easy. And tasty. I'll be saving it for future reference.

Damp cold is the worst cold, as far as I'm concerned. Glad you snuggled all day.

390scaifea
des. 30, 2020, 3:37 pm

>389 katiekrug: I hope you like the recipe as much as we did!

And yes, I'm still snuggled up with the space heater pointed at me. I've added fleece-lined stockings under two pairs of woolen socks, and a sweatshirt, and a sweater. Still cold.

391johnsimpson
des. 30, 2020, 4:00 pm

Happy New Year Amber, Tomm, Charlie and Mario

392rosalita
des. 30, 2020, 4:30 pm

>390 scaifea: Maybe I need to invest in a space heater for my WFH icebox. Any shopping tips or recommendations?

393scaifea
des. 30, 2020, 5:38 pm

>391 johnsimpson: Thanks, John.

>392 rosalita: Julia: This is the kind we have and it works great. I particularly like the oscillating feature:

Lasik Heating Space Heater

394rosalita
des. 30, 2020, 5:53 pm

>383 scaifea: Ah, thanks for that — I'll check it out!

395quondame
des. 30, 2020, 6:01 pm

>380 scaifea: There were some compensations for growing up fenced on a military base in the middle of the Mojave desert. And there were monthly trips to the big city during my teens. The local library systems seem quite liberal in giving out cards, though for two years of budget crunch Santa Monica did charge $25/year for non-residents. But stopped perhaps because the library brought shoppers into SM, which I know for a fact it did.

396Familyhistorian
des. 31, 2020, 1:10 am

>366 scaifea: The reader's digest books, I remember those. We had books at home but mostly the reader's digest condensed versions of stories. I devoured most of those.

I hope that you and your family have a Happy New Year, Amber!

397weird_O
des. 31, 2020, 1:25 am

Time to take out the trash!

398scaifea
des. 31, 2020, 6:31 am

>394 rosalita: Welcome, Julia! I can't imagine not having a space heater in my life. I use it almost all year round, much to Tomm and Charlie's amusement. (I am cold about 92% of the time, it seems.)

>395 quondame: I know every state has a different system and that each one changes over time, too. I'm delighted that here in Ohio you only have to be a resident *of* Ohio to have access to a free library card at *all* public libraries here. So I have several.

>396 Familyhistorian: Meg: Yep! I have pretty fond memories of reading those condensed books! And thanks - happy new year to you and yours, too!

>397 weird_O: Bill: Ha! Before I scrolled down to see the gif, I though you were smack talking me! Fightin' words! But post-gif, yes, AGREED!

399scaifea
des. 31, 2020, 6:39 am

So. I've gotten into the habit of coming home on Fridays with my groceries, putting them away, and then immediately starting the next order so that I can pick my pickup time for the next week. But, of course, tomorrow morning (when my pickup time for this week occurs), the ONE TIME in the week that I get in my car and go someplace, the forecast is predicting an ice storm. Faaaaantastic. I managed to figure out how to cancel my time slot, but now I'm hoping I can squeeze in a time either later tomorrow or on Saturday. This is causing me more anxiety than it rightly should, but hello? have you met me? Anyway. I have *that* to deal with this morning, along with the actual menu planning and figuring out what I need to put in the order. Then I'm determined to get into the sewing room today, even if it means three layers of socks and multiple sweaters. I'll reward myself with an afternoon of reading.

On the reading front:
After finishing up A Conspiracy of Kings yesterday, I read bits of The Book Thief and Spinning Silver, and I'm still loving both tons.

What We're Watching:
Charlie's pick last night, so more Gilmore Girls. We're in the bit were I'm pretty much constantly irritated with Luke *and* Lorelai's choices, plus wavering between being completely annoyed and completely charmed by early-days Logan.

400MickyFine
des. 31, 2020, 8:57 am

Ah yes.

401scaifea
des. 31, 2020, 9:13 am

>400 MickyFine: Micky: Yep. And alternately sweet and charming and adorable. It's infuriating.

402MickyFine
des. 31, 2020, 9:16 am

Agreed.

403ChelleBearss
des. 31, 2020, 5:14 pm

>399 scaifea: Such a good series, even with the annoyances. Enjoy!

404scaifea
des. 31, 2020, 5:16 pm

>403 ChelleBearss: Chelle: So true. This is Charlie's second time through, and for Tomm and me, I think it's maybe 5th or 6th?

405scaifea
des. 31, 2020, 5:22 pm

Welp, it doesn't look like I'll get any more books finished tonight, so I'm officially calling this thread Finished. Please do come find me over in the new group, and Happy New Year, everyone!:

https://www.librarything.com/topic/327656#

406katiekrug
des. 31, 2020, 5:50 pm

Thank God. This thread was getting SO long ;-)

407scaifea
des. 31, 2020, 5:58 pm

408PaulCranswick
des. 31, 2020, 9:31 pm



Amber

As the year turns, friendship continues

409quondame
des. 31, 2020, 10:26 pm

410jnwelch
gen. 6, 2021, 9:49 am