Category Archives: holidays

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: Advent Blog Day 22

I’ve rarely been called simple anything but I have a yearning for more simplicity in my life, the ability to be mindful and focus on what I’m doing at any given moment. Today when I was reading at H.D. Silversmith’s blog and saw an entry to The Simple Woman’s Daybook and decided to use the writing prompts too. I’m not sure how the original author will feel about a kink blog linking to her, but we’ll see.


Outside my window all is dark and chilly.

I am thinking about my small neice and how fun it is to see her laugh.

I am thankful for my family, that I’ll be teaching next semester, and for the medications that keep me sane-ish.

In the kitchen all is quiet. I wish there were cookies, but we’re leaving town soon.

I am wearing jeans, a tee-shirt and turquiose Vans.

I am creating this blog post and basking in the glow of the Christmas tree.

I am going to Portland on Saturday.

I am wondering how much work it will be to move this blog and The Punishment Book to WordPress from TypePad.

I am reading Here Come Everybody.

I am hoping against hope that I end up with an interview for MLA. But I’m also at peace with the idea of going to the conference without one.

I am looking forward to giving myself over to Christmas.

I am hearing the heater and my fingers on the keys. It’s all pretty quiet.

Around the house there’s dust and clutter and Christmas lights.

I am pondering how many books to bring with me to Portland.

One of my favorite things is watching Doctor Who.

A few plans for the rest of the week: packing and flying to Portland. Enjoying time with my family.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…



Christmas is over, again

Christmas is finally and officially over in our house.  The tree is at the compost center, the decorations are boxed and put away and the furniture is back in its usual alignment.  I feel a little sad about it, mostly because it was a great Christmas.  The Doctor Who Christmas special was amazing  My family was mostly great fun (though my mom carries with her a stress force field).  I got some wonderful presents, including a Doctor Who t-shirt with the all-too true “You Never Forget Your First Doctor” warning and a radio controlled tarantula. And people liked the cookies I liked baking.  It’s always hard to box up all the lights and joy.

Still, as Paul pointed out, it’s only 11 months until I can pull it all out again.  Happy 2011 everyone!

Holiday Meme: Question 8

Do you remember your favourite gift?

As an adult, I was taught Christmas presents are for children and so gifts are mostly symbolic, to show someone was thinking of you but they aren't supposed to dazzle.  That all changed when I met Paul.  He puts a huge amount of thought into gifts and therefore generally gives really thoughtful and special presents.  He's given me some really amazing gifts, each of them somehow changing how I do something or other.   The ones that stand out the most:

  1. My first iPod (which sadly was lost when my backpack was stolen in London).  When I got it I didn't completely appreciate it but over the course of a year it became vital to my life and happiness.
  2. An orange KitchenAid Mixer.  This gift rocked my world — I'd wanted of these stand mixers for years and this one is such a cool color. I use it a lot for cooking and baking. Every time I use it I remember what an indulgent gift it was and how surprised I felt opening it.

But the best gift ever?  The Christmas Paul gave me The Treehouse as a space to house our stories.  :)  

Are gifts important to you?  What's your favorite present you've gotten in adulthood?

Holiday Stress

Don't get me wrong; I had a great day today.  I listened to Christmas music and did a good deal of baking (made oatmeal, chocolate chip and sugar cookies).  Wrapped all my presents and admired them under the tree.  But I also got some insight into how my family works. 

My mom was trying to finish up the last of her shopping online.  I made the mistake of suggesting she use my Amazon Prime account.  I logged her in on her iPad and started going about my business.  No, not good enough.  I had to be there to help her work through the menus (multiple presents going to multiple addresses that all needed to be entered).  My dad (who kept wandering away) had to be there to read her addresses from his ancient Palm.  We all needed to give input.  My mom started snapping at my dad for not staying nearby or for making phone calls.  And I was suddenly transported back to being a teenager.

My stress level went through the roof.  I was afraid of my mom suddenly lashing out at me (she didn't) and wanted to escape, wanted to make everyone happy, wanted us all to just relax and get along. What I didn't do was say anything about it.  As ever, once the shopping crisis had passed, my mom was lovely and nice again. I was relieved, but unsettled and insecure.  

But my cookies.  My cookies are amazing.  Wish I could share them with everyone who reads here. 

Holiday Meme: Question 6

Snow! Love it or Dread it?  

Snow? What's that?  I know, just one more reason to hate California.  Seriously I've only experienced snow at Christmas a few times, either in England or Ohio. I associate Christmas with sweater weather — cold enough to dress up but still okay for outdoor parties.  That said, this year it looks like it may rain on Christmas Day.  We'll have to see.

 Angel or star, what tops your tree? 

An angel I bought at Target for our first Christmas together. She has to be wired to the top with a loop of floral wire. Last year a bought a very cool star but discovered when I tried to put it on the tree it's too heavy for tree.  Besides, I've gotten a bit sentimental about the angel.

Christmas all over again

It’s after 11:00PM  and I’m just sitting down to blog for today.  Almost missing my daily advent promise and I would hate that, though I suspect you, dear reader could get by without a day of my blogging to blog.

Yesterday was a rough day — the last day of my job and my last day officially as a graduate student (the two are connected).  I felt a bit bittersweet about it, glad to be done but worried about what the future holds and sad to say goodbye to the good people I worked with.  Just as I was getting my head around the day, we had a bit of disappointing news.  Nothing horrible but, as is our way, Paul sees it as something that will make life more interesting, while my first reaction is to feel that we’re  doomed. I suspect the reality is closer to Paul.  On the plus side, my parents both arrived from Portland and will be with us through New Year’s — except for a few days when they’re going to the desert and a kinky friend is coming to stay with us.

Today, as is so often the case after a bit of a storm, was a wonderful day.  The sun shone and Paul, Mom and I ventured out to hunt for a Christmas tree and tree stand (the one we used last year was so shallow it basically killed the tree).  On the way we had breakfast, managed to pick up some presents at See’s Candy and found some crackers for a bargain price at the Tuesday Morning store.


Each year I think we’ve found the very best tree ever and each year I like the new tree better than any we’ve ever had before.  This year is no exception — clearly we’ve found the perfect tree.  From the moment the tree was delivered I was struck by how lovely and straight it was, just full enough to fit the space but not taking up more of the living room than we have to give.  I snapped a picture and then pulled out the Christmas music and decorations and my mom and I trimmed the tree.

It’s amazing how the act of pulling out familiar Christmas things (which includes my nana’s mismatched nativity set) and listening to Christmas songs suddenly makes the holiday feel real. Tonight, filled with good cheer (and a nice sized scotch), I feel happy not to have to go to work for a few weeks, hopeful that one of the jobs I’ve applied for will materialize and not too worried about the future.  Mostly though I’m feeling like it’s Christmas all over again.



2010 – Closing Days, Opening Lines

[I got the idea for this blog post from padme’s blog (and she got it from viemoira’s who got it from — well you get the idea –) and it seemed like a fun idea. This blog entry is constructed by taking the opening sentence or two from the first blog post of each month.]

This blogging idea seemed especially appropriate in the closing days of 2010 — especially since I missed Love Our Lurkers Day this year.  I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read here during 2010, especially if you left a little comment here and there.  It wasn’t an easy year, but it’s one I’m going to remember.  There’ve been sad moments — the death of Alex being the worst and most enduring among them, the loss of Bryson being up there too.  But it’s also the year I finally finished my Ph.D, the year I started studying calligraphy (on hiatus for the past six months) and most wonderful, the year Bryson was returned to me twice over.

Thanks for traveling with me.

: Welcome to 2010. It was a great Christmas and thus far a great new year.  Despite the fact I should really be working on my dissertation all day, every day in every bit of available free time for the next six months, I’ve decided to celebrate this year by taking a calligraphy class, something I’ve been wanting to do for at least the last twelve years.

February: No of course this isn’t about my dissertation (though no doubt that’s what I should be doing rather than writing to you, faithful and much neglected Reader). It’s about my first research love — which would be anything related to corporal punishment.

March:  The other day I was at my calligraphy class, which is held at a middle school in Beverly Hills.  When I came out I saw the following very cute SmartCar police car.  It’s a real police car, complete with lights and siren.  So very cute — and like all SmartCars it looks like you could pick it up and tuck it in your pocket.

April: No blog entries.  For shame!

May: For those of you not following me on Twitter, I’ve had an amazing time during April (and part of May) which explains the radio silence here and elsewhere.  Here’s my attempt to explain it all in one fell swoop though I suspect more news will come out as time goes on.

June: This story was written for the 2010 SSC (Short Story Contest). Go on, play along.

Yes, yes, you don’t have to tell me.  I already know there are pages where I can go and look for “trending” topics, find out what words and letter codes are being used to discuss this or that.  I =know= all that.

July: As I wrote a while ago, I’m bipolar 1.  For eighteen months I was a good girl and took lithium twice a day — had bloodwork for it on schedule once a month.  The drug worked, in so far as my mind and body were quieted by it. And goodness I slept well.  But maybe it worked too well.

August: In an economic time when so many adult children are moving back in with their parents, I’m experiencing the opposite. My dad has now lived with Paul and me for six months.  While he stayed with us two years ago for some months, this is the longest stint and one with no end in sight.

September:  Paul and I got back on Thursday from our travels.  Where have we been?  Vegas where we attended yet another amazing Shadow Lane party.  Northeast England, where we visited Paul’s family and I got to attend a wonderful conference. London, where Paul attended a counter protest about the Pope’s visit and finally Paris, where we spent far too little time. Through it all we got to play in hotel rooms.  I feel like my mojo got a lot of love.

October: Today is a Ferris Bueller kind of day for me.  You see, I’ve called (well, emailed) in sick to work. I am a bit sick — allergy eyes, ears and throat making me feel a bit like I have a cold. Mostly though I was aware I can’t be out tomorrow and was a bit afraid I’d end up really out sick if I kept pushing it.  Plus, my mom is coming in tomorrow so today is likely the last day I can be home alone with Paul for a few weeks.

November: I don’t really have a question about this.  I know I suffer from anxiety disorder, complete with panic attacks that wake me up from a sound sleep feeling like I’m having a heart attack.  I also have manic depression (or bipolar disorder 1).

December: I’m going to try for 25 blog posts in the month of December.  Why?  No real reason except to remind myself what it’s like to blog every day.  My promise isn’t to do the impressive thing others (like Graham) have done and try and have kink stuff daily. Much as I might want to, that’s not going to happen.  But my promise is to try and write something every day.

And that’s it.  To you other bloggers out there, come play along — it’s a great way to get a sense of the year past.  I’m going to do the PB next.  🙂   Thanks to padme for blogging hers!

Holiday Meme: Question 5

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

Sad to say, but I think I stopped believing in Santa before I’d really started.  I know I’d figured it out by the time I was four but somehow didn’t want my mom to know I didn’t believe for fear of disappointing her.  Yes, I kept my non-belief in Santa a secret for fear of ruining the holiday for my parents.  This little detail probably tells you more than you want to know about my family.

How did I find out?  It was when I was taken to see Santa.  I knew he wasn’t the real Santa somehow and, it seemed clear to me that if he wasn’t real there probably wasn’t really one Santa at all.

My mom figured out that I knew the truth when I was five — I think I gave myself away during a “visit” to Santa.  She told me she understood, but that I was to keep the truth about Santa secret so as not to spoil things for my little sister.  What’s funny and a little sad is that Little Sister reminded me recently that I was the one who told her that Santa was our parents.  I didn’t remember doing that and felt terrible until she pointed out she was eight at the time and I’d saved her from social embarrassment.  Hmm.  She is the nice one.


Holiday Meme: Question 4

Do you open any gifts on Christmas Eve?

I come from a family with delayed gratification issues.  We open all of our presents on Christmas Eve.  And it's a struggle to wait that long.   Part of the reason this tradition of opening our presents Christmas Eve started is that generally my childhood holidays were spent on the freeways, going from one family event to another.  My mom and dad are both from large families and we tried to see everyone on Christmas day.  Later my parents hosted Christmas so Christmas Eve was time for our immediate family (including my grandparents) to hang out, open gifts and be together.

The other reason though is that my mom and I suffer from a desire to give gifts as soon as we buy them.  I've gotten a little better, mostly because Paul won't open his presents early even if I try and tease him into it, but it's still a struggle.  For years I did all my shopping and wrapping Christmas Eve day because it was the only way I could wait long enough.  I'm endlessly impressed by people who do all their shopping before Thanksgiving.  Not just because they're clearly more organized than me, but really because they're able to wait to give their gifts.  I just couldn't do it.

We do open one thing Christmas morning — stockings.  Because, you know, Santa doesn't fill them until then.  

Holidays: Weekend With Dad

After whining about my father living with us, I sort of feel like I need to write this for a bit of balance.  The fact is, stressful though it may be, I love spending time with my dad, especially when, like this weekend, I want to be busy but don't have a lot of direction in terms of what I want to do.  

Last week was stressful.  I found out at the last minute about a post-doc I wanted to apply for and basically spent every waking moment between Monday and Wednesday night writing a research proposal for it.  Thursday and Friday were recovery days as I'd stressed myself past all comfortable limits.  It's a real long shot but it'll be awesome if I get it. I'm just vaguely proud of myself for getting the proposal in at all.

This weekend my dad and I spent pretty much every waking moment together.  I got up early on Saturday, made coffee for us both.  We then went to visit my great-aunt who's recovering for surgery for sinus cancer.  After a late breakfast with her went went shopping for supplies for soup and over to visit my brother who was home watching the Oregon games.  When we got home, I made nachos, dad made tuna salad and we watched the USC / UCLA game.  Sunday I slept in until 9, then dad made me bacon and eggs for breakfast.  I turned on the computer and researched making cocido (a traditional Mexican soup).  He took me to the pharmacy then did some work for a couple hours.  We made soup, went for a walk and made Christmas plans.  In the evening I helped him find gifts online for his clients.  Finally we watched Time Team and then Antique Roadshow before I collapsed into bed.  

I had a great weekend.  Everything was fun, I felt productive and wasn't worried that either my father or I were driving Paul (who spent a lot of the weekend working) too crazy.  Most satisfying?  I heard from my mom that my dad had had a great weekend and was enthusing to her how much he'd enjoyed spending time with me. 

Next weekend Dad will be in Oregon with my mom.  After that they'll both be here until early January.  As much as I love having time alone and alone with Paul, I'm looking forward to being surrounded by my family at Christmas — especially at having my brother and his family and my parents over to our apartment for Christmas Eve.  It feels happy and right.