Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Year's

So, usually our family has a New Year's Eve celebration, but this year we had a New Year's Day celebration due to people seeing crazy drivers last year and the holiday eve falling on a Wednesday (prayer meeting) night.

I prefer this because people do not stay too late. I still found it quite loud and only came down later (we told people to come waaaaay too early even though we still had to prepare, so I was super not in the mood especially as I had stayed up until midnight . . . as required, of course).

Dad always makes Alton Brown's yeast doughnut recipe and then we also had pork (cringe) and a few side dishes. I think we need more options next time. I think the doughnuts disappeared faster this year.

I played Ticket to Ride which I love although I never win (except my beginner's luck a few months ago). I find it so much fun to plan and lay out tracks. I also sort of played/watched people play Settlers of Catan which is somewhat similar although it does not seem quite as fun.

I also tried my hand at a few rounds of Trivia Crack plus a few minutes of a board game similar to it. I think it is stupid. I am decently smart but do not know loads of facts, and I think this is one of those games that people think require intelligence but really require knowledge (NOT the same thing at all). I could memorize facts but that would be a complete waste of time, and I probably know plenty of more random ones myself. The choices in Trivia Crack were quite silly. I know this sounds bitter, but I really think it is worthless and easy and simply to make people feel smart which, as one of my sisters remarked, is why it is so popular. The Merriam Webster vocabulary and spelling games are much more interesting (and I do MUCH better on them . . . coincidentally).

Monday, January 12, 2015

My 2015 Re-Reads List

I may have more and may not have time for all these this year, but here is a list of books I have either not read in quite a while, only have "read" when my parents have read to me (certain of the Narnia books and Pilgrim's Progress), or do not think it would make me sick of them to re-read "so soon" which I, hopefully, will re-read in the near future. Most fall into the first category.

~Anne of Green Gables series. I wonder why I want to re-read these . . .
~Jane Eyre
~Wuthering Heights
~Northanger Abbey
~The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (plus, I want to read any works of Tolkien I have not read)
~Pilgrim's Progress
~Friendship and Folly (in between reading the newer ones in the sequence)
~The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Elusive Pimpernel, El-Dorado
~Much Ado About Nothing (just before re-watching the film)
~The Hunger Games Trilogy (I do not care about making myself sick of this; I am certainly sick of the movies and have not even yet seen the newest one)
~The Tale of Two Cities
~100 Cupboards, Dandelion Fire, The Chesnut King
~A book of Walter Scott's poetry
~The Screwtape Letters
~Aunt Jane's Hero

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Phantom of the Opera

I find it incredible that anyone could remain "team Phantom" after reading the novel (not that I really sympathizing with him much anyway). By the way, the Viscomte de Chagny is 40ish year old Philippe and Raoul is his 20 years younger brother the Comte de Chagny. Christine Daae is Swedish, and Carlotta is the Viscompe's mistress. Madame Giry is an old, ignorant, superstitious woman. The narrator is sort of part of the story as is an old Persian. The Phantom's name is Erik.

When the Viscompte comes looking for his brother, the Phantom knowingly lets him fall in one of his death traps and die. We hear the bell and guess what happens, but Raoul and Christine have no idea until after the contest with the Phantom. Yes. Take that in. The Phantom was also quite willing to torture people to death, and he made torture instruments as part of his former occupation. He was a socio/psychopath. This story is written in a sketchy, "ghost story" sort of manner. Here a source of information, there a clue; here a rumor, there a witness. Nice and creepy. I really want to see the Paris Opera House.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Yarn Along

I am linking here again.

I am knitting a log cabin baby blanket. I love how it looks. Although I am still technically reading The Talisman Ring, I have most recently been reading Bleak House and hope to finish soon.

Here is the baby sweater I wanted to finish for Christmas Eve . . . I finished it New Year's Day. I learned how to seam which was time consuming but fascinating in the way it turns out. I borrowed Natural Nursery Knits from the library and used this pattern out of it. The neck looks really small on mine, yikes. I would use the pattern again for a baby boy; I think it is really cute. And I think I would try more patterns from the book as well.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day Twelve

Future Christmas Traditions

I am considering what I want to do when I have my own family. I know that I do not like rushing to start Christmas right after Thanksgiving and then immediately taking the tree right down. I just read a book on Christmas in Switzerland, and some Christmas celebrations started early in December. I think early to mid-December and then until January 5/6 (end of the Twelve Days of Christmas) is ideal for me, but I might let the decorations linger until mid-January. I remember a family saying something about letting the kids unwrap a gift every day for a couple of days. I like that tradition.

I want to do some sort of Advent Calendar for certain. I might want to do a King Cake. I remember a book from the library (I wish Mom kept lists for us because I have several books I wish I could find but only have memory of the contents not the titles or authors or illustrators; note to self, do that for my children) describing a cake decorated with marzipan holly leaves and berries that had a bean in it one side and a pea on the other for king and queen (or something like that) . Here is a reference; the Swiss book and Wikipedia (do not cringe) only mention a King. I thought it was for New Year's but apparently it is for Twelfth Night. A Shakespeare reading would be fitting since Twelfth Night was apparently written for this night.

While I am still at home with my parents I want to have my own mini tree. I thought about buying one, but I wonder if you can buy tiny real trees. I think I want a real tree with my own family. I will use silver and white so as not to clash with my room. I want to study up on Christmas traditions, stories, movies, and music.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day Ten

Christmas Music

This is really rough, and I feel like I am missing song/carol or a version of one that I heard on the radio.

"Carol of the Bells"

"Sing We Now of Christmas"

"Do You Here What I Hear"

"Here We Come A-Wassailing." This I like because it is sung in Little Women (1994)

"Ding Dong Merrily on High." Same as above.

"Last Christmas": this version (we have it on one of our Wow Hits)

"Angels from the Realms of Glory"

"Angels We Have Heard on High." I think the U.S. has a different tune for one of these, but the U.K. uses the same one for both. I am now confused. Thanks Youtube.

I may make this a page at Christmastime, so I can research my favorites and favorite versions. I need to listen to more Wow Hits. I think one of those albums that at least my dad owns has a song or version that I really like.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day Nine

Merry Christmas To Me

I know I probably picked up more stuff (besides what was in that other yarn batch) for me than this while Christmas shopping, but I still had to keep it low. The crescent moon journal is my new winter scrap-journal and most of the stickers are mainly for these scrap-journals, but the stars are for my book lists. I decided to do a different shape for each year, in order that I could know when I finished the books as I did not exactly leave much room on my lists. Smiley faces were 2014 and stars will be 2015. All that yarn is so scrumptious, but I still have what feels like a bazillion gifts for other people that I need to finish.

P.S. Oh, yes and I bought two craftsy classes: this one (when on sale for $14.99) and this one (when on sale for $19.99). I have not looked at them yet.