emergence (and Thanksgiving 2018)

The pit was dreary, my friends, and deep.

For 22 days, I moved. For 22 days, I unloaded, unpacked, organized, painted, culled unnecessary old things, bought necessary new things, spent hours at Home Depot and Target, went back to Home Depot again for one more thing, went back to Home Depot again for one more thing, threw a slightly subdued Thanksgiving party, gave up on Christmas shopping and just ordered a bunch of toys off Amazon, handmade 40 Christmas cards, and decorated, decorated, decorated.

For 22 days, I didn’t write! At all!! D: D: D:

I haven’t had a writing gap longer than a couple of days since the dark month after my second child was born. That was about a year and a half ago. I always stumble in November because of holiday commitments, but the move really kicked things into high gear.

I know that once I start a project, it’s painful as hell to bounce in and out of project mode, so I decided to buckle down and finish my New House To Do List as quickly as possible, rather than spend months of weekends doing one piece at a time.

Anyway, it took 22 days.

But I’m back, baby! In approximately two hours one hour, naptime will begin, and I shall finish reducing the word count on a synopsis I wrote a month ago, and then I shall very grimly contemplate how to next prioritize my time.

Knock out some short stories, because I have lamentably little on submission? Or dive into research for 2019 Book in order to fill in the outline? Or dive into the outline in order to suss out what I need to research?

Wish me luck!

And finally, a couple of subdued pics from subdued Itsa Me, Thanksgiving!

mario thanksgiving

Itsa me, Italian stereotype!

thanksgiving dinner

Itsa me, Thanksgiving lasagna!

We had already planned a lasagna regardless of the theme. I know what you’re thinking: it’s supposed to be a Christmas lasagna! To which I say: nah, nah, Christmas is for fish.

Now, away! I have naptimes to exploit!

Mr. and Mrs. Cat are moving!

The blog has been quiet this month (and will continue to be, my apologies) because Mr. and Mrs. Cat are officially moving! We’ve got to be out of our house in one month, after which there’s a six day gap before we get the keys to our new place. So let’s all hope that nothing falls apart or we’ll have no place to stay and no rental set up in advance, wooo!

NATURALLY everything came together such that we’ll be moving four days before Thanksgiving. Luckily for everyone involved, I’m an intense packer and culler of unnecessary belongings, so in a couple of days I can orchestrate the unpacking of everything except my books.

Nobody else is allowed to touch my books.

DSCN1937

So many books…

Did I mention we’ll have one week till Thanksgiving? If you think this means I’ll be forgoing my annual tradition of themed sibling Thanksgiving dinner, you are 100% wrong.

This year’s theme is Nintendo. There will be costumes! There will be themed foods and drinks! There will be a filthy bout of Loaded Questions followed by Mario Kart! Children will cry as their parents absolutely destroy them on an obsolete gaming console, a slumber party will ensue, and my new home will be broken in with style.

My life: to be continued…

the adventures of young ham solo

I’ve explained the increasingly grand tradition of Sibling Thanksgiving before. In 2015 we leveled up our theme game with THANKVENGERS: The Winter Solstice, and in 2016 we went all in on Harry Potter and the Day of Thanks.

For 2017 it was time to head for the stars. Without further ado, I present The Adventures of Young Ham Solo: A Star Wars Story!

Only approved guests could get past the door guards.

DSCN1613 resize

Nothing to see here, move along

Once admitted, you were free to help yourself to a drink at the Dagobar.

DSCN1616 resize

There is no try. There is only drink or drink not.

Dinner was served beneath the shadow of the Empire, but never fear, a squadron of X-wing fighters were en route to do battle overhead.

DSCN1618 resize

Let’s blow this thing and get dinner!

And for those inclined to join the Rebellion, there was an optional Jedi training piñata for just that purpose.

DSCN1640 resize

Use the force, Luke!

There weren’t any themed dishes this year, although there WAS a round of blue milkshakes for the kids and blue milk (rumchata) for the adults afterward. We had our usual unnecessary flood of side dishes instead: cornbread, rice ball casserole, lumpia, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, obligatory turkey breast, stuffed jalepeños, stuffed mushrooms, stuffing, and French bread! *gasps for breath*

DSCN1670 resize

Why do we do this?!

There were five kids toddling-and-up, but between the piñata candy, soda, dinner, and dessert, they vibrated so hard they achieved singularity and melted into the infrastructure of the house, only visible in blurs out of the corner of your eye.

DSCN1680 resize

The rare candy-ghost caught on film.

Dinner, of course, was followed by kicking all the children from the room and playing a disgusting and curse-filled round of Loaded Questions.

IMAG2475

Almost anything can be answered “your mother’s vagina”

All in all, A ROLICKING SUCCESS!

DSCN1677 resize

NEXT UP: CHRISTMAAAASS

And on a final note: it sure is nice to have professional help to clean up after a big party. Thanks, guys!

Harry Potter and the Day of Thanks

Have I mentioned that Thanksgiving is MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY? After a few years of it petering out as most of my family got married/moved houses/had kids, my siblings and I decided to take over the proceedings for ourselves and make a huge thing out of it. That means massive amounts of food. Games. And THEMES. Because what’s more fun than a costume party?

Last year it was Thankvengers: The Winter Solstice. This year we decided on Harry Potter and the Day of Thanks. What’s that, you say? Harry Potter is in England and has no Thanksgiving? Never fear! In this holiday fanfic, the entire cast is on a field trip to America. And every book is happening simultaneously. Accept it and move on!

For better or worse, Thanksgiving is an all day affair. Everybody comes over by 10 or 11 (or already lives there…) and we decorate the hell out of the place and cook half the day, inevitably eating dinner later than expected and wondering why we didn’t make lunch. Then, when everyone is good and comatose, we play games. Usually there is some combination of Mario Kart and Loaded Questions, the former designed to trounce children and make them cry, the latter designed to kick kids out of the room so we can indulge in filthy jokes at each other’s expense.

chamber

When I say we decorate, I mean WE DECORATE

This year we had 8 adults and 6 kids. Help, they’ve nearly outnumbered us!! To start the festivities, we lined everyone up and sorted them into Houses. For the sake of fair competition, we had one kid and one adult in each House (leaving out the kids too young to care and a few adults to cook and judge the games).

snape-bar

And leaving Snape to judge your choice of beverage.

We played a few rounds of corn hole Quidditch, which ended up being more challenging than expected because apparently nobody knew what corn hole was.

quidditch

Look at this little cheater. Slytherin for sure.

There was also a backyard hunt for the Golden Snitch, which ended in tears. Sorry kids, THERE IS NO CONSOLATION PRIZE IN QUIDDITCH.

house-points

House Points: the ultimate motivator.

Of course, the Harry Potter world isn’t all frivolity. There were some escapees from Azkaban lurking around, ready to cause trouble:

costume

We’re looking for HAAAARRYY POTTERRR.

And everybody got freaked out once or twice glimpsing a certain pink-suited spy in our window. (Don’t worry, I’m definitely not keeping her around the house to hide inside cabinets and windows and other startling locations…)

umbridge

Oh helloooooo

It was great, and I love everyone, and we made way too much food so in the end I could only take a few bites of each dish, and by Sunday night I swore off Thanksgiving leftovers for all time because ungh, when do we ever need that much ham?

dinner

Salud!

Oh and Sirius Black peeked in on the proceedings at one point, too.

sirius

HAARRYYY

 

THANKVENGERS: The Winter Solstice!

I’m almost a week late posting this blog because directly after Thanksgiving I fell into a pit of baby-won’t-stay-asleep. After several nights of zombie-walking through the wee hours I entered a state of semi-consciousness which is difficult to describe. I could see sound? My limbs were no longer connected to my nervous system? My husband tried to roll over in bed and I shoved him away because I was convinced he was about to lay down on knives and screwdrivers?

Anyway, things are improving, and you aren’t here for baby woes, you’re here for THANKVENGERS! The holiday was a blast, even though we were a couple siblings short this year. Everybody dressed up, I got to put my new kitchen to the test, and the decorations… well, I’ll let the decorations speak for themselves!

DSCN0807r

Edited for content.

Even the beverage station got in on things, and while we didn’t finish off the drink stand (I think somebody would have died), we were certainly feeling toasty by the time dessert rolled around.

DSCN0814r

Google her.

We ended up expanding the theme past the MCU. For one thing, Wolverine showed up (um, he did a comic run with the team!). For another, Daredevil and Kingpin made appearances (though they WERE the MCU versions). There would have been even more chaos if all the family kids made it, but my family doesn’t need a lot of children around to act like them.

DSCN0871r

We need a theme song.

There are plenty of photos of individual battles, food being chopped by adamantium claws or smashed by Mjolnir, and my baby being the adorable Hulk, but I think you’ve got the idea.

So that’s it for this year! Now I have 1.5 weeks of madness leading up to our birthday/housewarming party, followed by an additional week of madness leading up to my family Christmas party, followed by one last week of madness leading up to Christmas itself.

I’m basically a fool for ever expecting to accomplish personal goals during the last quarter of the year. The holidays consume me. In January I will emerge from the ashes, phoenix-like, to read all of my holiday books and write up a storm.

At the end of the day, I have a new family photo to plaster everywhere worth plastering:

DSCN0852r

MERRY THANKMAS EVERYONE

the move part 2 / thanksgiving part 1

Dear lord I am down to my last couple of boxes, and those are waiting on a shopping trip for baskets and other creative storage solutions. Perhaps second in importance to the present-ability of the living areas: my books are up!!

DSCN0792.JPG

Just don’t turn around to the other side of the room just yet…

We’ve spent this week scrambling to prep the next-door unit for my brother and sister to move into (hell yeah we are talking family compound over here), because I’ll be damned if we are not ready for Thanksgiving next week.

That’s right, my new favorite holiday! In 2012 my husband and I began to host dinner for my siblings and their progeny. This was after a couple of years in which he worked on the holiday, and then a year in which I realized nobody in my family was stepping up to host for the current generation and that was supremely lame.

The first year we decided to launch an all-out attack on Autumn and made crowns and everything:

P1040344r

Queen of Thanksgiving motherefferrrrs

 

The second year was still in our teeny condo, and we didn’t even have enough seats for everybody so this happened:

P1060458r

Who needs chairs??

But we watched a bunch of Xena: Warrior Princess and had a Mario Kart championship slumber party. The notion of having a new theme each year stuck, and in 2014 (by this time living in an apartment) we concocted TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURKEY!

P1080038a

There were also children dressed up I suppose

This year… hoo boy am I excited about this year. Now we have enough space to justify a party! And I’m not pregnant this time so I can drink! And we are going all out on the theme! I mean ALL. OUT. Our costuming expectations have leveled up dramatically over prior years’ token efforts. Don’t bother showing up if you aren’t in character.  Also don’t bother showing up, who are you?

So be prepared for some epic party pics next week, because I am off to decorate.