Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving and Christmas

We had a lovely Thanksgiving! My sweet sister invited us all over to her place, so we went and spent the weekend. Her cooking was magnificent. We even ventured out shopping to a small neighbor town for Black Friday and hit the antique mall and a little clothes store with some deep clearance.

It was supposed to be a 10 1/2 hour drive... Google doesn't know what it's talking about. It was more like 13 1/2. But the advantage to Very Slow and Mountainous West Virginia roads is that there's no traffic on them. (Nobody else wants to go 25 mph down cliffs in winter either.) Meg did really well on the drive, too, and we had dramatic snow, fog, rain, etc, which I did not get pictures of. But I could have. Jonathan wants to tell all my blog readers, if you ever get the urge to drive Highway 50 through WV, don't.

We got some disappointing news last week. Jonathan's boss broke the news that they don't have enough business to keep him on staff any more, and as of the end of this week he's going to be unemployed. He's been making contacts and sending out applications, but if anyone knows a firm around here who wants a new lawyer, by all means let us know. He is licensed for Virginia and good to go. The main thing you can do for us, really, is pray. I'm not nearly as worried as I could be because God keeps sending us jobs in the nick of time. He's taken care of us for the past three years, and He's hardly likely to abandon us now.

Today I rearranged the furniture to make room for the tree and got out our Christmas decorations. That would be exciting, but I'm still kind of disjointed. I wanted to get out the Christmas music when it snowed a month ago, but I was strong and didn't. Only now it's still warm outside and I can't quite make the transition mentally from fall oranges to Christmasy reds, either in the decor or my clothes. BUT. The tree is snugly set up in a corner by the couch, and it's lit and ornamented. So there.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm not a very good target audience

Since we don't have landlines, we avoid most of the telemarketers and survey-takers, but this evening one of them found me. At first I thought it was just a conservative focus group out of Colorado, but then they started asking very specific question about my alma mater. Um, don't hate me, but I think James Dobson is still more influential than our college chancellor, and I've never heard of that other guy at all. (Is this a popularity contest?) If I gave them money, it would be because I know them and they're close to my heart. ...What do you mean, that's not specific enough? Yes, a Biblical worldview is very important to me. (At this point Meg started screaming in the background.) What do you care what I think their mission statement is?? Is this a quiz? I can't remember exactly. I can make up something close.

We also discussed my politics, not very helpfully. Oddly, the only three political people they brought up were Santorum, Bachmann, and Huckabee. Why them? Towards the end, there were a series of soundbites along the lines of "Liberal activists are pushing through judgments that would enforce international law on Americans. [That College] students are being trained to spot inaccurate legal arguments and fight for constitutional protections. Does this make you more or less likely to donate to that college?"

I'm not a fan of the whole "world is going to end if we don't get our people in power" fundraising method and I don't like being a target donor group. In any case, they ought to ask me as an alumna, and not as a random conservative - they should at least do that much homework. Also, I know more about my college than that woman does, so why would her soundbites make a difference?

Most importantly... why do surveys always ask the wrong questions?

Jonathan: "I'm afraid being trained in Christian classical education makes you a very bad target audience."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What goes around

Jonathan picked up a pile of old design textbooks a while back and I was deeply entertained by this one. It's copyright 1944, and the author has definite opinions. She starts out delineating, in great detail, each stylistic era from about 1650 - 1900, all of which look alike. But then she gets to Victorian style. I have to quote.

"Victoria's interest in art was negligible and the style which bears her name, as ruling Queen, does her no honor in its conglomeration of decorative gingerbread. Intermingled are Greek, Egyptian, Turkish, French, and Venetian ideas used indiscriminately.

"Houses were as folderol outside as they were within. The height of the Victorian Period is now considered the low-ebb of good taste in decoration. It makes you dizzy with its merry-go-round of unrelated ideas, grotesque furniture, heavy colors, mantels, pianos swooning with silk scarves, millinery windows and stuffed parrots!

"A full vote of disfavor, however, is unfair, for there are many of the plainer settees, chairs, tables, and chests... which are not overly ornate and do have definite charm. ...If you own some Victorian pieces and will carefully combine them with a modern treatment of 'unstuffed' rooms and windows, the effect is, paradoxically, naive, sophisticated and charming." Decorating for You by Florence B. Terhune, page 50.

You can't really blame Florence. Well, you can. But her entire book is about how you should pick an era and stick to it, and on top of it she's writing from born-again modernist taste, so I suppose it's natural she'd detest cheerful Victorian eclecticism. I think it's funny how we've gone back to it. Mexican textiles on a curvy Louis the Whatever chair? Cool! Interiors inspired by Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra? Fun. Chinese paper lanterns in a hot pink room? Good for you!

Abby and I were just talking about how we're part of the generation that mixes pattern and color perfectly happily. Yep.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cookies and deeps

We had a rough week, so I made cookies. There's a big casserole pan on our counter now, full of cowboy cookies with chocolate chips, raisins, dates, and pecans. That helps.

In other news, at dinner Meg asked me for grapes. (She calls them "deeps.")

I said, "What do you say?"

She said, "I want to EAT!"


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The clock pot

Do you see the little white ring on the crock pot lid? That's where the old, broken handle used to be. Until it broke. So at the party, Mom caught me using tongs to get the crock pot lid off, and it would fall into the chili, and it was all very slipshod and awkward. So in proper Mom fashion, she said, "Why don't you get a drawer pull for that?"

Brilliant. When we were down in Richmond to get Jonathan licensed, we ran by Hobby Lobby and perused their drawer pulls. I saw this clock face one and couldn't resist. The red is perfect with the stoneware base. But more importantly...

Now it's a clock pot!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Meg gets crafty

Meg started crocheting today. She hopped up on the couch by my half-done sweater and started earnestly poking it with the hook. When Jonathan asked if she was crocheting like Mommy, she agreed yes, she was. She didn't even unravel any of my stitches.

I'm also kind of amused with how the sweater is turning out. I dreamed up the idea in church a couple weeks ago and it's actually working. It is, however, a lot like wearing an afghan, a big purple afghan.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Birthday and Christmas all rolled into one

No, seriously. My parents came to visit and they brought my last birthday present and a load of early Christmas presents so they wouldn't have to ship them. We also had a party full of old friends, went and saw Jonathan get officially licensed before the Virginia Supreme Court (congratulations, esquire!), dressed Meg up as a mouse even though we didn't have a single trick-or-treater, fixed my crock pot, and visited the ribbon outlet in Hagerstown and bought disgraceful amounts of ribbon. It's definitely been a successful visit.