chomiji: Sanada Yukimuka and two of his Juuyuushi - trusted warriors - with the caption All in the Family (family - juuyuushi)

We never have Christmas with the Mr.'s family on the actual day, because our brother-in-law (married to the Mr.'s sister) is a minister (formerly Lutheran, now Episcopalian) and he is always too busy. So we've taken to having it on M.L. King Day weekend.

Cut for more and a couple of pictures of the weather )

In related news, I have leveled up in Waze and am now a Waze Warrior, so my icon on the map has a little shield. I go up very slowly in Waze because I only use it on expeditions of some length, when someone else is driving.

Also, I got a couple of late holiday cards in the last few days, including a very cute handmade one from Spain.   :-) (You know who you are!)

chomiji: Hakkai and Gojyo form Saiyuki, with autumn leaves drifting down and the caption Falling (Gojyo and Hakkai - falling)

It was mostly low-key. We went to my sister's house for the actual holiday.

Cut for food pr0n )

Everyone else have a nice weekend?

chomiji: Kami-sama form Saiyuki with angel's wings and the caption, Angels we have heard on high ... (Kami-sama - angel)

The family are all a bit hungover today after our annual pilgrimage to the Mr.'s sister's place in western Maryland for a late Christmas celebration. It's a trip of 154 miles (248 km), which GoogleMaps thinks should take 2½ hours, but it took more like 3, with backups caused by roadwork outside of Frederick and a stop for restrooms and coffee near Sharpsburg (site of a famous Civil War battle, Antietam). We left home at 10:00 a.m. and were back around 12 hours later.

The weather was great for traveling, as clear and dry and open as I can remember its ever being for this trip. It can get very snowy in western Maryland, and there are ski resorts, despite the mountains' modest heights. Of those on the list at the link, we drove over Meadow Mountain, Big Savage Mountain, and others, including the titular Sideling Hill (site of a dramatic road cut that displays the local geology in a striking fashion). Savage Mountain is also the site of part of the Eastern Continental Divide: the watershed on one side drains into the Chesapeake Bay and thence to the Atlantic Ocean, while on the other side, it drains into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico.

We actually spent only about four or so hours hanging with the relatives, eating home-cooked (for the most part) food (roast lamb and ham, baked salmon, and lots of sides and desserts) and exchanging gifts. On the way back, the sky was so clear and the stars very bright, even from inside the car. We made an unplanned stop in Frederick and had a late supper at Dutch's Daughter, which was pretty good "traditional American" food (heavy on beef and seafood).

Today we are all stiff and spaced-out: too much driving and sitting.

chomiji: Mibu no Shinrei (from Samurai Deeper Kyo by Akimine Kamijyo) as a child, grinning, with the caption Thank You (Shinrei-chan-thanks)

T - 2:15 hours and counting ...

chomiji: The Hebrew word 'Hineni,'  meaning 'here I am' (Hineni - Hebrew for "Here I am")

My twin niece and nephew, Ilana and Sam, became b'nai mitzvah this morning. We are at a break in the raft of family events that have been arranged to celebrate this event: a family dinner last night at the hotel where most of the out-of-town guests are staying, the service this morning (where Ilana in particular knocked our socks off with LOTS AND LOTS of singing in Hebrew) followed by a Kiddush luncheon, tonight's fancy dinner party, and then brunch at my sister's in-laws' house tomorrow morning. The Young Lady and I had our aliyah and managed to get through it, and The Mr. read the "Prayer for Our Country."

So far so good, except that for some reason the ankle-strap dress shoes I wore this morning had both heel caps (a/k/a top piece or top lift) fall apart by the middle of the morning. It was the most bizarre thing. They are about 8 years old, but I have only worn them some half dozen times, and I always pack them back up in their box, wrapped in tissue, once they have aired out. These are not cheap-ass shoes, either.

Also, by the time the weekend is over, I may have had enough chocolate cake for a while.

chomiji: Miyazaki's Totoro, standing in the rain with an umbrella (Totoro - umbrella)

... Thank God!

On the other hand, now it is pouring rain and will continue to do so until Monday, when we will have wind instead. At least all the previously impacted spring flowers seems to appreciate the rain and milder temps, and are busting out all over.

Today we had the mass birthday party for the Mr. and his siblings and others (February-March is the big birthday season for that side of the family). The Young Lady and I made spring holiday/Easter-ish bags for everyone, with cosmetic stuff and little hardware store gadgets (eyeglass mending kits, mini flashlights and tape measures, etc.) and chocolate goodies. They looked delightful and went over very well with the recipients. We had a pot luck mid-day dinner: spaghetti with sauce, roast chicken, baked sweet potatoes, and a massive salad (my contribution) followed by chocolate cake, pumpkin ice cream pie, and fruit salad. A lot of it was store-bought because everyone has had a cruddy couple of weeks (one abdominal surgery, one oral surgery, one case of a very elderly parent who lives nearly 1000 miles away and had a fall, and horribly busy work and school schedules all around). But we all made it, and exchanged gifts, and talked.

chomiji: Hakkai from Saiyuki, smiling forcefully, with the caption I'm so happy I could just puke! (Hakkai - so happy (not!))

So I mentioned at one point that I had received a shiny new printer for Mother's Day. The box said it was compatible with Mac OSX 10.5, which was good, because I'm at 10.5.8, and I'm not sure I can upgrade any farther. (This is an oldish computer.)

It turns out that the HP installer program for the printer drivers requires ... 10.6.

Oh, Hewlett-Packard, you so crazy!

Anyway, The Young Lady worked over her old printer, which is usually just sitting here collecting dust unless we need to make copies (she has a newer, smaller printer that she took to college), and made it work, and then helped me install the drivers for it on my system. So now I can print and scan using that. (I had been printing with a little Inkjet, but I had no scanner.) So that's what she gave me for Mother's Day.

There remains this lovely new large printer (with scanning and duplex printing). Either the Mr. will take it (in which case maybe we will try to move his current one down here for me - it's newer than the one that the Young Lady just fixed up), or the Young Lady will take it to school with her: she has more room now than she had her freshie year, when we got her the little printer.

I should list my Inkjet on the neighborhood listserv - it still works, and likely someone can use it (maybe for another kid who's off to college in the fall).

chomiji: Hakkai from Saiyuki, in a hooded parka. Animated snowflakes fall; caption is A hazy shade of winter (Hakkai - snow)

So, here we are, half a week past the Vernal Equinox, and the forecast is calling for snow/rain.

March is supposed to go out like lamb, right? This seems to be the Killer Rabbit version of said lamb ... .

And tomorrow night is the first night of Passover, and we're invited to a Seder at my sister's. Which means we'll be traveling through the weather mess during Rush Hour, because Nice Colleague is out all next week (her young daughter's school is on spring break), so I can't really leave early.

I need to get my act together and go off to the grocery store, to get chicken to make stock, because I have been requested to do matzoh ball soup. I already picked up some fresh dill for it at the Farmers Market.

chomiji: Hakkai from Saiyuki, in a hooded parka. Animated snowflakes fall; caption is A hazy shade of winter (Hakkai - snow)

Just a few flurries, but it was very seasonal for the Winter Solstice today.

We'll have a late Hanukkah celebration with my sister Amy's family and our stepmother tomorrow. There will be cheese (goat brie, lemon Stilton, mustardseed gouda, and cordobes) and crackers with fig jam and red grapes; latkes (shredded potato pancakes) with applesauce and sour cream; beef brisket made with beer; fresh spinach cooked with scallions and parsley; cucumber sunomono (made by [livejournal.com profile] smillaraaq); chocolate Hanukkah gelt (coins); and iced gingerbread cookies (made by The Young Lady) ... .

Cut for cookie picture )
chomiji: Akari, the shaman from SDK ... more to her than you might imagine  (Akari - autumn colors)

On the other hand, the family room addition to my sister's house (about 25-minutes' drive from ours) was crushed by a large falling tree.

The weatherfolk are calling for storms tonight as well, but it should be the more-usual "scattered thunderstorms" and nothing like last night's derecho event (link to WaPo).

chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Muramasa - food)

Have just returned from back-to-back outdoor social events featuring mass quantities of food. Am covered with sweat, sunscreen, and (on my ankles) bug bites, and am much too well fed.

Party A featured mainly cold foods, including slices of sandwich wraps, salads, cold meats, and fruit, followed by ice cream and very nice lemon poundcake. Party B featured flame-grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, spicy pork ribs, veggie crudites, and potato and cucumber salads, followed by strawberry and peach shortcakes and [livejournal.com profile] smillaraaq's very evil chocolate brownies.

I am in a food-induced stupor.

chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Default)

27 years and still ticking!

chomiji: Hakkai from Saiyuki, in a hooded parka. Animated snowflakes fall; caption is A hazy shade of winter (Hakkai - snow)

The official record snowfall (since the 1880s) for a single storm in Washington, DC, is 12 inches on December 17, 1932. There's a decent chance that record may be broken here in the next 36 hours: the predictions call for anywhere from 16 to 24 inches. Ironically, my sister-in-law's area out in Garrett County (extreme western Maryland), which is usually very snowy (the state's only real ski resort, Wisp, is located there), is not slated to get any at all from this storm.

I had taken work off today (I had use-or-lose leave), so I hit the grocery stores. Seasonal activities are planned for tomorrow: I bought things for cooking and baking (the Young Lady mentioned making cookies, and I got yeast in case the Mr. wants to bake bread, and spaghetti sauce makings for one of us to use), and I plan to finish the holiday cards up. I still haven't done the family newsletter for the relatives. In a move reminiscent of the classic joke about the over-confident law school student who only removes the shrink-wrap from his textbook the night before the final, I have finally installed iWorks on my almost-year-old Mac so I can do said newsletter. I also installed my new Photoshop CS4.

I usually include little thumbnail photos in the newsletter. This year, that's a problem. I think no one took any decent ones of me (I take most of the photos myself), and the most enjoyable event to report was probably the college-visit road trip for the Young Lady and her best friend on spring break - and I declined to lug my big camera along on that. (And in NYC, when it was pouring rain, I was very glad I hadn't.) The Young Lady may have some pix on her Facebook that I can snag, though.

chomiji: Sanada Yukimuka and two of his Juuyuushi - trusted warriors - with the caption All in the Family (family - juuyuushi)

Does your family (or group of friends, for that matter) have words or terminology that are unique to you? I mean, when you say xword, you all know what's meant, but anyone else is likely to go "Huh?"

Cut for photographic - work-safe - example and details )
chomiji: Akari, the shaman from SDK ... more to her than you might imagine  (Akari - autumn colors)

You've probably heard me tell stories of my ancient Accord, Ruby Lee, who has been getting less and less dependable. The Mr.'s Avalon made sense when he bought it a decade ago, but it's a little silly at this point in terms of gas mileage. So, Ruby's days are probably numbered, and I'll be stuck driving a Toyota boat. Which is OK, I guess, because I don't drive to work (I take Metro), so it's only for shopping and such. Hence the Prius.

It's white and its rear visibility sucks, but it has a back-up camera (and lots of other strange electronic gizmos). I'm thinking we could call it Jeep and confuse everyone.

Oh, and half the power at the dealership building was out. So it took us more than 3 effin' hours to complete the paperwork (the staff were all sharing the printers in the powered part of the building, for one thing). At one point, I was lighting the process with the Mini-Maglite that I carry in my bag, like the geek I am. I am now more behind that ever on what I was trying to get done this weekend ... .

chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (sanzo - sleep)

As proof, I offer the fact that I spelled "dead" as "ded," above, when I started this message.

We're RPGing on Saturday night for the second weekend in a row, in an attempt to get the monthly game back on its pre-summer schedule (it has now become a space opera game; I am an uplifted dog ... who happens to be a fantastically skilled paramedic). And the Young Lady is in a high-intensity driving/driver safety course that runs 10:00am-1:15pm on every weekend (both days) for the rest of the month, and it's located in Rockville (= 40-minute drive).

And between dropping her (and her best friend) off at driving lessons tomorrow and going to the game, I am driving to Glen Air to visit my sis-in-law who is recovering from a hip replacement. So I am not going to be able to mellow out for a day any time soon (hmmm ... maybe Columbus Day, although TYL has school, so I will still be waking up early).

And also! Sunday is the Takoma Park Street Festival. Which will make it hard to get in and out of our neighborhood, because they block off the end of our street near the main drag and set up one of the stages there ... .

No wonder I can't get any creative thinking done ... .

chomiji: An artists' palette with paints of many human skin colors. Caption: Create a world without racism (IBARW - palette)

Yesterday I showed the Young Lady, who is now 17, a piece from IBARW 4, called Unlearning Racism Adventure #1. I read aloud this part: "Comedian W. Kamau Bell notes that if 70% or more of the people in a place are white, it’s possible that place is racist. That place is my life. In Oakland, California, only about 35% of the people are white. So why couldn’t I think of anyone to bring with me to La Pena get the 2 for 1 discount for coming with someone of a different race?"

I said to my daughter, "This was pretty much my life too, until quite recently."

She said, warmly, "My life isn't like that at all! I could have taken K-. K- is black, and she is my friend!" She listed several more friends of color she could have brought. They were Asian: she hangs out with the Robotics Team, which skews heavily Asian and Jewish.

So, not perfect diversity - but better than her parents' generation. She then went on, musing: "It's hard to know what to call people sometimes. Some people say 'black' is disrespectful. Other people don't want to be called African-American, because they're Haitian or something and are proud of that. You have to get to know them."

chomiji: Yukimura from Samurai Deeper Kyo, smiling and clapping his hands. Caption: Happiness (Yuki-happy)

It is good to hand down the important things in life to the next generation.

I just introduced The Young Lady to They Fight Crime.

(The impulse was inspired, I should add, by oyceter's recent book review.)

chomiji: A chocolate cupcake with a birthday candle and the title Birthday Love! Make a wish ... (birthday love)

Yes, I know you never use your LJ anymore, having abandoned it for Facebook.

17 years ago today ... your grandmother recognized you in the nursery. She said you looked just like I did!

chomiji: Hakkai from Saiyuki, smiling forcefully, with the caption I'm so happy I could just puke! (Hakkai - so happy (not!))

So I meant to post about this like, Tuesday night, or maybe yesterday. Didn't happen. And nothing disastrous happened either - in fact, I had a lovely (if too-brief) visit with smillaraaq. But so much that was supposed to happen - didn't.

Cut for mild yet still banal griping )

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