Metatalktail Hour: Happy Things December 22, 2018 5:38 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week has been a bumpy one in the McGee clan, so tell me something good. Something happy. Whether that's holiday plans/traditions, a wonderful gift you gave or received, something you're looking forward to in the New Year, a dopey dad joke you just heard, a cute otter picture -- just something to make us smile and to share the warmth of the season.

As always, this is a conversation starter, not limiter, so go nuts, and hit me up with any future topic suggestions. And a Merry Christmas to all who will be celebrating it this week!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 5:38 PM (133 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Tomorrow is my birthday. I'm getting a pedicure and having friends over for hors d'oeuvres and drinks. Then the next night, as we Jews do, I'm ordering the best Chinese food in Burbank and watching the original Mary Poppins with the husband.

Happy Solstice all!
posted by Sophie1 at 6:09 PM on December 22, 2018 [23 favorites]

I took the ferry into San Francisco today and had a lovely wander. My goal had been to go make googly eyes at the kittens for adoption in the Macy's holiday windows, but I ended up enjoying meandering through Chinatown and North Beach more. Also every time I ride the ferry I think, "Boats are awesome! I should spend more time on boats!"
posted by lazuli at 6:11 PM on December 22, 2018 [14 favorites]

I attended a Sydney Meetup!! In Australia, where Sydney is currently located! With other Mefites!!

Alas, there was no mug for me, because Mug Thuggery was Not Tolerated.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:26 PM on December 22, 2018 [14 favorites]

The constant rains have brought up so many little sprouts! these are the first of my green onions and these are turnips! the peas haven’t come up yet- nor have the leeks or the dill, but that’s understandable, as the pea seeds were so old I doubt they’re still viable and dill and leeks take a while. The Pac Choi are growing like gangbusters which if you ever grew a cabbage isn’t a huge surprise. Cabbages: dependable! Astonishingly- all those late season tomatoes are ripening! Ripening in December!!!! I’m thrilled of course. But the best news is that, once again, this year as every year the lemon tree is producing ALL OF THE LEMONS I’m thinking of preserving some and baking with some and lemonade and... it’s a good tree Bront! The Swiss chard is growing well As is the spinach!
In other news the wonderful metal grasshopper that the amazing elsietheeel gave me is at home next to his Ant friend. But the most wonderful news of all is upcoming. I got two potato bags and as we speak I’m sprouting a few old taters in a bag with a banana. I’m planting Potatoes soon!!! That plus the upcoming post about bee houses (spurred by the other wonderful gift elsietheeel got me- a mason bee house) will of course be on my blog.
This is always my favorite time of year-because of the rain, of the weather- you can grow so so much this time of year so simply in San Francisco.
In other good news- I turned in my last paper. I’m done with college! I’m... freaking out a little bit? Which is probably why I’m throwing myself into the garden so much lol!
Hope everyone has a good holiday!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:30 PM on December 22, 2018 [22 favorites]

Once I went to the farmer's market, and bought a huge bunch of fresh basil for $1.50. I rinsed it and it sat in the dish drainer for a fragrant couple of hours. I live in a duplex and there is an attic vent in both sides. Some time went by and I know the guy next door loves to cook, so I split the basil bunch in two and went to the front porch to knock on their door and give basil. But just as I was going to knock my neighbor tore the door open, and I said, "Hey would you like to share this basil?" He stood there blinking and his wife was right behind him shocked. It seems she had an awful craving for basil until he was heading out to buy some. Y'know, magic! We just laughed over it. Now I am the basil fairy, whenever I hit the market, I split it. Right now it's licorice basil. So fragrant!
posted by Oyéah at 6:35 PM on December 22, 2018 [35 favorites]

I missed my chance to post this in the Ask MeFi - follow up edition thread, so I'm posting this here: I married the woman from this Ask, we have a 2.5 year old and another on the way. I guess the current happy news is we're telling our families about the pregnancy this week!

I didn't take anyone's advice from that Ask, but if memory serves just reading it helped me think things through and feel better prepared to plan the date. So thanks, MeFites, for giving me lots of advice, none of which I used. Also it's funny to read all of those suggestions since back then they were all mysterious places and now that I live in Cleveland I've been to nearly all of them.
posted by Tehhund at 6:42 PM on December 22, 2018 [50 favorites]

After a very stressful three months, I'm taking a bit of time off work to restore myself and to celebrate the season. I'm actually managing to disengage from work and have been doing almost nothing but reading and watching relaxing TV shows. My brain is finally slowing down, I no longer wake up thinking I'm late for work, and I might even wind up enjoying the Christmas celebration with family.
posted by purplesludge at 6:50 PM on December 22, 2018 [9 favorites]

My teenage daughter learned today that liberal arts colleges are not places where politically liberal people study art. The meaning of "liberal arts" is one of those things we never explained because we never stopped to think that it wasn't obvious and might need an explanation.

That kind of thing might make a fun topic for a future metatalktail hour - perfectly reasonable assumptions you or your kids made that were completely wrong, because no one ever thought to fully explain something that seemed obvious. For instance, my daughter mentioned recently that when she was younger she assumed that if you drank too much alcohol and got drunk, it was permanent.
posted by Redstart at 6:50 PM on December 22, 2018 [27 favorites]

I'm flying back to Philly for the holidays, and not super enthused about the endless array of family stuff. (Why are we having a family dinner. Why. My parents divorced so we would not have to endure such things Mom why can't you feel superior on your own time.) But I am going up to NYC for a day, and can't wait. I love it there so much, and I'm gonna go to Central Park and see the Bethesda angel. (The last time I was in the city was to see Angels in America.) And do a bunch of shopping and go to the Guggenheim, and that's really what's keeping me enthused about waking up at 4AM tomorrow to get on a plane and be politely bland for ten days.
posted by kalimac at 6:54 PM on December 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

I was nearly hit by a deer driving in town a half hour ago. This huge doe decided she didn't want to be on the sidewalk anymore and instead decided to walk into the street toward the front fender of my truck. The deer around here are unbelievable.

So as soon as I came home I finally enrolled in the Hunter Education course and I'm going to get my hunting license this year. Granted, it won't do anything about the weirdo deer IN town, but I have a good imagination.

(Edit: Um, finally getting off of my ass and working toward getting my hunting license is a good thing. Sorry for any deer lovers out there. I promise to eat anything I kill and that I won't kill anything but deer.)
posted by elsietheeel at 6:54 PM on December 22, 2018 [15 favorites]

Christmas is all about the music for me. Here’s what I absolutely have to listen to every year, in no particular order:

4 versions of Messiah
Bach’s Christmas Oratorio
Two random carol records from the 50s that mom played during my childhood
A random CD of alto flute Christmas music
A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack
Andrea McArdle’s Family Christmas
Patrick Stewart reading A Christmas Carol
Harry Simeone Chorale’s Little Drummer Boy
The great Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth duet of Bing Crosby and David Bowie
A CD of John Rutter
“   “   “ David Willcocks
“   “   “ Sandi Patti
“   “   “ Trans-Siberian Orchestra
A playlist of my Christmas Revels CDs

Every year, without fail. Argh, it’s already the 22nd and I haven’t done the alto flute CD yet!!
posted by Melismata at 6:58 PM on December 22, 2018 [13 favorites]

Congratulations, Tehhund! I went to college in Cleveland and reading through the responses to your Ask made me feel really nostalgic. :)
posted by eirias at 7:02 PM on December 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

We went walking around Cabbagetown looking at x-mas lights and someone had managed to find three different very unique colours of LED strings, kind of a lilac, a deep purple, and a medium violet. I don't think they were RGB colours but I could be wrong. Anyway, the vibrant combination of these three different colours on the tree was super pretty.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:20 PM on December 22, 2018 [14 favorites]

This is literally the first year in my life that I will not be with my parents and brother on Christmas day. Instead, my friend and I will spend part of the 25th making a pilgrimage to this intersection with holiday paraphernalia and taking Christmas card style photos, because we are both teenage boys. We may also photoshop Gritty into some of said pictures.
posted by ActionPopulated at 7:29 PM on December 22, 2018 [11 favorites]

My mom hurt her foot (4th & 5th metatarsal fractures) a few weeks ago. She's wearing a boot, but is on the mend and getting around OK. She's a benevolent control freak who loves to bake and hates to delegate authority. When she asked her doctor about prohibited activities he said, "You're absolutely cleared to bake if you really want to, but I'll give you a doctor's note if you want to skip it and your family won't have to know!"

I've been calling to check in every day, and it's been great to talk with both my parents regularly. I especially love to hear my mom grumble about her children nagging her to take care of herself. (Of course she not-so-secretly loves the nagging, so we do it more.)

My biggest source of smiles this week has been the Kangaroo Sanctuary instagram feed. That Ralph is such a cheeky roo!

Tonight it's the annual Hogfather re-watch!
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:39 PM on December 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

Today I had a bunch of people over to my place. Doesn’t seem like much, but it had been years. We drank four bottles worth of mulled wine and were reasonably raucous.
posted by wellred at 7:40 PM on December 22, 2018 [11 favorites]

Happy: For my career, Lean is my bread-and-butter, Health and Safety is my passion. Ive done Lean activities for... 10ish years, and prior to leaving Job 1 was managing both. Job 2 is EHS Manager. (Environment, Health and Safety). Our Lean manager quit this week. I went straight to my boss, and said "heeeyyyyyy..... I am thrilled with my job now, but juuuuusssst to throw this out there, I can do, and have successfully done both." He floated the idea to the Quality people (who owns Lean here), and it was warmly received. Where we are now with the (failing) Lean program and (fledgling) EHS , it would slot in almost perfectly. I've been here 7 months, and am already making moves. To borrow from Nicki Minaj's best work (Monster), "Just killed another career it's a mild day". Actually just take her entire section of that song because that's the kind of big d energy I'm feeling about my job.

Meh: I have been super sick for almost a full week. Scratchy-ass voice, tons of post nasal yuck, coughing fits. I keep thinking that tomorrow! Will be when I feel better, but so far, nope. I am supposed to host Christmas. Just immediate family, but still. I was going to do a taco bar, but today made the call to get catering from Chipotle. Same concept, less work for me and less typhoid for my family, win win. This is not how I planned on spending my Christmas break. My last day at work was Weds, I'm going in this Weds to help with inventory (depending on how I feel), then off til Jan 2. I am getting lots of rest, reading and Stardew Valley in.
posted by Fig at 7:42 PM on December 22, 2018 [25 favorites]

Mini McGee had his first rank test for his martial arts-type activity (like a belt test) on Friday night, and passed! He was sooooooo proud to be invited to test and soooooooo proud to pass! (He's been kinda bouncing off the walls ever since, actually.)

We're looking forward to my sister and her family arriving soon for Christmas and the whole family being together for the first time in 18 months or so. We will be 15 this year! Of whom six are children under 10, which always makes Christmas double-extra fun.

Nano McGee asked Santa for a tail for Christmas (from a safe distance of 8 feet away). I found a lemur tail that clips to the waist of your pants, which I hope completely blows her 2-year-old mind. :D
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:52 PM on December 22, 2018 [25 favorites]

Look at this absolute unit. (Insta link)
This is the bunny that was looking for a home in this AskMe. So far, he's been a delight - sitting and listening to my son read a half dozen Elephant and Piggy books to him, running around my feet as I did a bit of printing, and flopping out for a serious hang sesh with my wife and I.
Tomorrow, I'm off to the hardware store to get materials for a multi-level hutch that with fit half in and out of a closet in out living room, allowing him privacy, sunlight, and people.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:03 PM on December 22, 2018 [59 favorites]

Notes from Kindergarten the week before Christmas: (on Pajama Day) "You know what's weird about Pajama Day? You know how when you're sick and it feels like you're peeing in your pajamas? That's weird." "I think Santa never brushes his teeth and has REALLY bad breath!" "Tomorrow my mom turns REALLY OLD!" " Oh? How old?" "I guess about 100!" I finally figured out why one kid is always talking about "poopers." PURPLE! I'm so relieved! Those r's and l's are hard! And finally, I received a bent up purple sparkly pipe cleaner from a little sweetie as a Christmas gift. She thought it was beautiful and it was all she had. I just love Kindergarten!
posted by Cloudberry Sky at 8:03 PM on December 22, 2018 [19 favorites]

Boats are awesome! I should spend more time on boats!
Whenever I travel (and honestly, I should find opportunities when I'm near home), I try to find time for a touristy boaty thing to do. Boats just offer such a different perspective on a place.

My ADHD/peri-menopausal brain somehow managed to not add "get tourist visa" to list of preparation things that needed to happen in couple of months leading up to complicated holiday travel plans that involve a quick trip to visit the Illinois fam of origin--as has been the tradition ever since I moved to the East Coast 16 years ago--followed by a 9 day trip to Bolivia in the new year to reunite with the family that hosted us while I did my doctoral dissertation research there. I realized this a week ago, roughly 2 weeks from my scheduled departure.

So on Monday I went unto the Consulate of Bolivia to beseech mercy, and behold, a Quonsmas miracle occurred! And the tourist visa which the Googles foretold would take 10 business days to process and would then be mailed back to me, was processed and returned in person within 30 minutes of my walking in the front door.
posted by drlith at 8:25 PM on December 22, 2018 [23 favorites]

Fig, Chipotle sounds like a great idea! Mom's still on the mend from knee replacement surgery, and because it's still too early in her healing for us to do our usual Christmas Day drive up to check on her cabin (and probably too cold and snowy to boot), I'll bring her some take-and-bake pizzas, open up a salad, and make a simple dessert (crustless apple pie with lots of ice cream!). Easy peasy and done! Our holiday theme is Quiet-Quiet-Quiet-Shhhhhh.... The dogs will play. We will probably binge an entire season of Alone on Hulu. It sounds perfect.

That said, her healing is going exceptionally well. A physical therapist comes to the house, and Mom's supposed to still be using a walker and hasn't needed it for a week, so right before the PT arrives, I often find her racing the walker up and down the carpet to make tracks. Secretly, she has gone out to the road to check the mail. She has lugged the giant garbage bin back into the garage. This week, she was supposed to start using a cane, so she practiced needing one. Next week, pogo sticks.

With her so independent, I've finally returned back to my own house, and the first thing I did my first night back was draw a long bath with lots of eucalyptus lavender bubbly stuff! It's becoming a daily thing. Tonight I tied my ipad to the bathroom sink cabinet and sank into bubbles and watched the Timeless finale start to finish (so good! I cried!) and I tell you it felt beyond amazing.
posted by mochapickle at 8:27 PM on December 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

I went into a ball pit for the first time in my life this morning, and found it way, way more fun than I thought it would be. Flailing, floating, crawling, frolicking like you're a puppy in the surf, it's awesome and hilarious--I've been madly eager to tell people about this new immersive experience all day and everyone I've talked to has said, Rrrrright, it sounds like you were in ball pit, that's what they're like, dude. I'm not sure how I'd missed them before--were they not around in the 70s, when I would have been a more appropriate age? Did my parents not tell me about them, the way they didn't tell me about white bread?

Anyway: I like ball pits now! (Or this one, at least, which was rather pretty as well as providing such silly joy.)
posted by miles per flower at 8:31 PM on December 22, 2018 [13 favorites]

My grandpa died, which is both a sad and happy thing. We will miss him terribly, with all his kindnesses and foibles and hospitality and larger than life charm, but he had been suffering for a long time, so it's also a happy thing. And he died on the Solstice under a full moon, which is quite a night for it, and I will always remember him and my grandmother, who passed earlier this year, over the holidays, which they made so warm and comforting and big enough for everyone around them-- friends and family and strangers.

My grandpa was a Christian but I'm not, so Christian comforts around death don't do a lot for me. I've been going to gnostic masses recently though, and there's a little blessing from Crowley's mass ritual about death that I particularly love: Unto them from whose eyes the veil of life hath fallen may there be granted the accomplishment of their true Wills; whether they will absorption in the Infinite, or to be united with their chosen and preferred, or to be in contemplation, or to be at peace, or to achieve the labour and heroism of incarnation on this planet or another, or in any Star, or aught else, unto them may there be granted the accomplishment of their wills. Love you, Grandaddy, wherever you are.
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:31 PM on December 22, 2018 [31 favorites]

I've got people that love me, I've got the best kitty ever, and I had a great time at chaoticgood's annual holiday party. Life's real good.

Although my time at the party was short because I needed to go to bed early to get my sister from the airport but haven't fell asleep yet. Ugh.
posted by deezil at 8:38 PM on December 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

We are finally housemate/guest-less today for the first time in about a year. A very long year. We are extreme introverts and it's been...a challenge. But it has also been interesting for the two of us to team up against anyone else, and I don't think it's been an entirely bad experience.

We are having a quiet night watching gentle youtube videos. We had a nice solstice and are having a nice Yuletide, probably our last with at least one of our dogs so there's a lot of spoiling and petting going on, and now we can do it all unobserved by third parties. That's pretty okay.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:44 PM on December 22, 2018 [13 favorites]

A year, Lyn Never? That's about 51 weeks too many. All the mental rest to you and yours
posted by deezil at 8:45 PM on December 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

I went years, YEARS, working in a miserable toxic environment at work, and now I'm working in a wonderful environment for good people and I have a gang of work friends and we eat lunch and laugh and enjoy each other and we went out for dim sum on Friday and things are super at work. It's the same job I did before but it's made so much better now that it's not such a miserable place. And I didn't really do anything, there was just a re-org that very much worked out in my favor. It's been just over a year now since the change and every day I appreciate how good it's gotten and I enjoy it because I know one of these days they'll go and muck it up. Until then, it's good.

About three years ago on a whim I decided to build an electric guitar. I may have mentioned it once or twice here. Anyway, I built a couple more and a while back I set a goal of selling one. Well, I'm currently working on my first commission. I'm building a four string bass for a family friend. He's getting a "my first commission, I'm still making mistakes and you're also a friend" price, but a price I think is fair for both of us.

I have never made anything for money, I have never had a side hustle, so this is all very new to me. It's a very different experience, every shipping charge for every part comes out of my profit, and suddenly that means something. I don't really need the money and I'm not going to quit my day job, but there's still pressure to see how much I can make for my time. In then end I'll probably make not much more than minimum wage, if even that, but I'm also building a bass guitar for someone for money. That's pretty cool.

All my life I've bounced between hobbies and nothing ever stuck and somehow in my late 40s I found a passion, something that is amazingly satisfying and something I'm actually willing to put effort into getting better at. I've never finished anything before but now I've finished six guitars and I'm working on the seventh.

He also put in the request via a link on a little website I built, so now I can say I made money on the internet. When do I get that some of that sweet VC money?

I'm teaching my son to drive. Or, rather, my wife and I are teaching him to drive. He's doing as well as any permit-having constantly-distracted sixteen year old should be expected to do. It's terrifying. Never have children.
posted by bondcliff at 8:55 PM on December 22, 2018 [31 favorites]

I have a giant head so hats never fit me. My friend just got me a gorgeous striped knit hat from Madwell and it's big enough to fit my enormous melon. What a perfect gift! These past few months have been pretty great for me personally, so I'm trying to really relish them. Yay happiness!
posted by kinsey at 9:06 PM on December 22, 2018 [8 favorites]

I'm at the beach! We're driving home tomorrow, but tonight was a clear night with moonlight glittering on the tops of the waves and a moon so bright we didn't even need flashlights to walk around on the beach. We had a very relaxing soak in the hot tub afterward.

robocop is bleeding: "Look at this absolute unit. (Insta link)"

YES YES YES! This is the best news ever and I am mentally punching the air. I was so anxious to hear this outcome after I saw the AskMe. He is a gorgeous lil unit! A pet adoption miracle just in time for the holidays!
posted by capricorn at 9:08 PM on December 22, 2018 [10 favorites]

I have had an amazing solstice and am currently recovering by snuggling a cat and having a full day of pajamas and napping, I just made hot cocoa and I'm about to watch me some David Attenborough vids, smoke some white-knuckle sativa and repeat all of the above until I'm asleep again because that's where I'm a viking.

Friends put on a really cool solstice eve variety show that my friend was a performer in, then went to crash at their place where they're house sitting and they have a bunch of really cute tiny houses.

The solstice show was just utterly charming, a lot like the Solstice puppet thing in Portland or the Fremont Solstice parade in Seattle. But smaller, way more intimate and with a totally enthralled audience in a packed old theater.

Last night I had another DJ night for Solstice. The turn out on this one was great and we burned it down, and my lazy-ass strategy of planning these things about 4 months apart seems to be working and paying off because it makes it really easy to do promotion and people can schedule time off of work for it and so on.

And this is likely gig 2 out of 3 this month. Last weekend I did a ambient thing with all original material, and next weekend apparently someone is throwing two day music mini festival thing and everyone I know from the area that does anything with dance music is either DJing or playing live.

Happy Solstice, everyone! I hope your next year nicer and better than the last.
posted by loquacious at 9:19 PM on December 22, 2018 [10 favorites]

Well, after 2 solid weeks of moving we finally have all of our stuff from our old house moved into our new house. We moved exactly one block south of our old house, because we absolutely love the neighborhood but needed a bit more space. We moved into our old house almost 17 years ago before we ever thought we’d have kids. It was a hundred year old two bedroom craftsman cottage in an old working class neighborhood, now seriously gentrified. We expanded and remodeled as Thing one arrived and expanded more with Thing two and now they’re getting bigger and we are just living on top of each other.

There was a house a block away that we *almost* bought 10 years ago when we were pregnant with Thing one. It would have been a serious financial stretch and we had this conversation at the time that to move into such a place we would have to make money a serious priority in our lives and we just didn’t want to live like that. Then the house went on the market again 3 years ago while the Seattle housing market was red hot and it listed for almost twice the price 10 years ago (and we were kicking ourselves). Bidding wars were the norm 3 years ago and it went for over asking so we didn’t bother. Then this past summer the couple that bought it got divorced and it went on the market again. By now, my wife has been promoted to the head of her department at World Famous Academic Medical Center and although we still strongly resist living our lives as though money is the most important thing, we decided to put in a totally low ball offer. The house stayed on the market through the fall and finally they accepted our ridiculously low offer about three weeks ago.

I’ve had some big moves before, but 17 years in one place with two kids you accumulate a ton of crap. It is the worst, having to sift through 17 years of memories, tossing out or giving away almost 2 decades worth of stuff that had been crammed into every nook and cranny of our old place. But it’s now (mostly) done.

The fact that we only moved a block makes me really appreciate our neighborhood. We already knew all our neighbors from previous block parties, the kids get to keep their same friends and go to the same bus stop. Tonight, to celebrate, my wife and I went to the corner saloon (which we are now 1 block closer to). The owner greeted us and asked how we were settling in. We ran into an old friend who lives a few blocks away and caught up with him. All in all, I’m just feeling just super blessed to be living in my dream home in a neighborhood where we have strong social connections, where I can still walk to work and walk to school, where I have views of the skyline and the Space Needle and Lake Union and the Cascades and this just feels like exactly where I want to be.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:26 PM on December 22, 2018 [38 favorites]

Something happy, huh. Well, the stomach flu that has had me praying to die for the last four days is finally simmering down. And my dog's diarrhea will wash out of his crate bed eventually. Uhhh. Oh, I know! I lost four pounds with the flu! Every cloud a silver lining.
posted by HotToddy at 9:35 PM on December 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

It's terrifying. Never have children.

Now you tell me! ;)

Smallest light thief turns 4 tomorrow. Biggest little light thief is 7. They will never drive a car, until I'm sure they suddenly are. But for now, they're small enough to carry on my shoulders or in my arms, and life is good.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:48 PM on December 22, 2018 [11 favorites]

I’m having dinner at the bar of a nice restaurant and have been flirting with the bartender for a while. I told he and his colleague that I’d give them $100 if they’d both dance on the bar.

I asked him and he said he was the bartender in this story.
posted by bendy at 9:52 PM on December 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

I found an unexpected package on the porch today, and inside was an intricately-boxed and lovingly-prepared snow globe from the amazingly-talented Room 641-A.* I had a big smile on my face the whole time I was opening it because everything was so charming and interesting. That made my day.

*I got a deal on hyphens but they go bad quickly
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:14 PM on December 22, 2018 [11 favorites]

I'm organizing a Mefi Meetup to look at the Alameda Christmas lights and it's been a great excuse to go scouting the town! Really doesn't feel like the Bay Area.
posted by twoplussix at 10:36 PM on December 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

I’m having a pretty crappy week, but I’ll try! I made lemon shortbread and raspberry curd sandwich cookies as part of a little solstice gift for a few witchy friends, and holy shit they’re good. My kid (age four) is going all in with the simplified say-thank-you-to-the-sun framing of the solstice, and has been assembling an elaborate offering to the sun involving a pitcher of water with cut up lavender stems, red yarn, the seeds from some random seed pods that blew into our yard in a windstorm, rosemary leaves, and pine cones in it. I asked her why those things and she shook her head and said I wouldn’t understand the reason. Okay. Also, I’m taking most of next week off and will be cleaning the garage and making art and possibly-successfully giving the kid some Christmas magic even though I’m a single parent with no backup, instead of doing math about death.
posted by centrifugal at 10:39 PM on December 22, 2018 [15 favorites]

I couldn’t go with my girlfriend to visit our families (we grew up in the same area), so for the first time in my life I’m all alone for Christmas. But I get to keep my cat company (she gets lonely when we go out of town), and I bought some DVDs for myself at work: last night it was the complete Columbo box set, tonight it was all of Miss Marple.

I have the next few days off, so I plan on cooking and baking in between episodes. I might honor my Jewish heritage and get Chinese food on Christmas, which is something I’ve never done.

At the moment, I have a very contented cat sitting on my lap, after a brief freakout when I got home from work; she seems very relieved to have me back, and I’m happy to be back too.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:54 PM on December 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

So, I've had a hernia for a long time, never been much of a problem, but for whatever reason has gone from bad to worse to horrible over the last 3 to 4 months. So I went to the doctor, where it was revealed that, overachiever that I am, I don't just have a hernia, I have three hernias. Got a referral for a surgeon, made an appointment, will likely have to wait until the end of January, which is going to be a long wait.

I promise, this is a happy story. Just had to set the stage.

So last night, I'm driving to pick up our dinner order, and come upon a woman with a car stalled out in an intersection. I asked if she had already called for assistance, and she said no, but the woman who had just driven past and into a parking lot had said she would help to push her car out of the intersection and into the lot. So naturally, I parked and got ready to help, because one person was going to have a hard time, especially since we were on an incline. But one person and an old man with three painful hernias... yeah that was probably a bad idea, right?

No seriously, it's a nice story.

So just as the two of us are getting ready to start pushing, two cop cars drive up, block traffic from running us over, and come over to help push. Now there are four of us pushing, and it's easy, none of us are even straining. As we push, I turn to the cop closest to me and say, "Sure am glad that you showed up! I've got a hernia, and I'm not going to lie, I wasn't looking forward to trying to push this car with just two of us!" So the woman who had been the first to stop hears this and says, "I just had my appendix out!" So the cop says, "I'm not going to lie. I just had hernia surgery!"

Not one of us had any business pushing a car uphill for a block. But together it was a breeze.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:03 PM on December 22, 2018 [55 favorites]

It's terrifying, never have children.

I once asked my brother when his two children were 2 and 4 if he was going to have a third. His response which came out with no hesitation whatsoever was, "3? We're thinking about giving one back no having more."

This was while my wife was pregnant with our first. We were clueless about having kids. We were quite sure he was joking, but we kept wondering what if he wasn't. We have three, 29 months apart top to bottom. It is terrifying.

But the good news is they do grow up. They do survive the teenage years. My oldest lives in NYC. My middle child is in the Army. I rarely get to see those two. My youngest is home from his fourth year in college. Just tonight, when I came home and asked him if he had had dinner, he told me to sit down, take a load off and he would make dinner. I think he should have properly said, "Dial for dinner", but that is not what my quibble is about. It is when the delivery person showed up and my son asked for the credit card. Silly me thought he was making/dialing for dinner and that included paying for it or using existing ingredients in the refrigerator.

He did try to redeem himself by telling me he paid the tip in cash.
posted by AugustWest at 11:13 PM on December 22, 2018 [10 favorites]

My cat is purring and snuggling with my dog and they are both snuggling with me and it is the best thing in the land.
posted by Grandysaur at 12:01 AM on December 23, 2018 [16 favorites]

We went to see a magic show today at the opera house. My eldest daughter was pulled up on stage by the magician - though she volunteered, she was absolutely terrified and couldn't even look at her face on the big screen.

The magician (Kevin James, excellent), was so gentle and kind with her. He made her move a tissue just by waving her fingers, then set it on fire and transformed it into a rose, which he gave to her. She sniffed the rose, then gave a totally unconscious surprised head-nod that cracked everyone up. I was so proud of her for doing it even though she was scared. I love that little girl.
posted by smoke at 12:05 AM on December 23, 2018 [21 favorites]

Tomorrow is my birthday.

Hey, tomorrow (Today now, I suppose.) is my birthday! Go us!

Smallest light thief turns 4 tomorrow.

Hey, Lower-Case* Ampersand turns 4 tomorrow (Today now, I suppose.)! Go them!

Best birthday present I ever got.

*Yeah, that doesn't really make sense
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:13 AM on December 23, 2018 [8 favorites]

So I went to my local tavern's pre-closing-for-the-holidays party because I love them, and I love this neighborhood- and I wore a star trek sweatshirt and com-badge instead of an ugly holiday sweater because I don't have one of those and I talked to people and was social and ended up with the phone number of an Englishman!!! because he was a Trekkie!!! and awesome even though he was flying back to Wordshoreland tomorrow and I drank a fair amount but it's ok because I was only a few blocks from my house but I talked to people and was social and ended up with a number and everything was good and local pubs rock and maybe this nice Englishman will text me eventually I'm going to bed because I drank probably more than I've drank since I was properly young and I love you all along with my neighborhood and I like England regardless of political issues and everything is very nice goodnight.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:25 AM on December 23, 2018 [29 favorites]

We went to see an evening of ghost stories for Christmas last night, I had a lovely birthday last week and I’m now off work until the 2nd of January, hooray! My parents are winding their way down from Oop North to join us for Christmas and we are very much looking forward to Christmas in our first house.

We did have to get rail replacement buses last night, which...if there was one thing I’d really like for Christmas, it would be the ability to zap the speakers in phones when they're used to play music without headphones. 😒 But the bus back was a coach, rather than a retired TFL bus and was practically empty and although it didn’t go all the way to our station, it was worth the walk home in the clear, quiet night.
posted by halcyonday at 1:28 AM on December 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

So so so happy to hear about bunny!!! I’ve been looking at that question 1x/day to see what happened. What a lovely creature.
My parents are coming to our country for the holidays, which will be so great. I just want to drink wine, eat all the things, and look at cranes and other birds with them, and watch our cat cheat on me with my mother right in front of me as if I’m not there.
And I’m really excited about food lately, and new recipes, and cooking, so much that I actually *used up* a spice and had to buy more.
I stopped running, because my back hurt, and now I’m working my way through The Walk and going back to look at all the neighborhoods I used to live in this prefecture for some reason.
Finally, I am knitting my first sweater with great difficulty and much redoing. All is well.
posted by sacchan at 1:49 AM on December 23, 2018 [8 favorites]

Happy birthday Alvy Ampersand and Sophie1! I’m back in England and my parents dog is thrilled!
posted by ellieBOA at 2:08 AM on December 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

I am going to be a bit of a downer next to everyone else’s holiday cheer, skip ahead for cat stories!!

I unexpectedly lost my job last week so I’ve spent the last few days trying to pick up the pieces. I don’t expect that anyone is going to make hiring decisions the week of Christmas !!! %#*^% but I’ve been applying anyway, because otherwise I just sit on the couch in a low-level panic. Does anyone need a data entry admin assistant? I am punctual.

The cat had his annual checkup yesterday and everything is fine. When we got home from the vet he burrowed into the duvet and slept away the afternoon, as one does. I was expecting him to be ready to party at some point in the evening but he declined my offer of cat games, so I went to bed.

Only to be woken up at 4AM by the sound of him chasing a mouse around the kitchen.

Is it wrong that my first thought when I went downstairs and saw the panicking rodent was not “oh no mouse” but “oh good the cat has something to do, maybe he will let me sleep in.”

And behold, he has not come to sit in front of the bedroom door to cry.
posted by janepanic at 2:32 AM on December 23, 2018 [12 favorites]

Let's see. Right now I am feeling pretty fortunate.
The box I mailed myself from Germany, which I had completely given up on, arrived: lots of souvenirs which I will give as New Year's gifts, some postcards to send my mom (mostly of weird churches in Munich), three bras that fit, and a shameful quantity of Ritter Sport chocolate.
Also, we had our chamber music party today and I got to play a movement of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet with four people I like, two of whom I've had a crush on since forever, and I did not completely screw up the performance and putting it together over the last couple months was insanely fun.
Also Tuesday is Yuletide day, which means lots of new fics to read, plus I've written two and half (hopefully three by Tuesday) of my own and I feel like they might be pretty good.
And Monday is our first wedding anniversary; being happily married (knock wood) is a thing that improves overall quality of life.

lazuli, you want to come to my city sometime and ride the free ferries. The city runs seven or eight of them in places where it's cheaper than building bridges, little tiny hops across rivers and canals on little motorized boats with room for pedestrians and a couple of bicycles. I still haven't quite been on all of them, but I mean to.

smoke, while I'd like to meet you in real life sometime, I think I want to meet your daughter even more.

Best wishes everyone, take good care.
posted by huimangm at 2:33 AM on December 23, 2018 [11 favorites]

My little brother flies into Logan today and I'm going to take him for ramen and for beer from my local places this afternoon, and then we're heading up to NH tomorrow for family Christmas at my grandma's, and then home family time during which hopefully my brother will limit the number of times he says fuck in front of my grandmother and mother and nobody will notice his tattoos... And I'll get to spend a whole week, more or less, with my brother and Triceratops, two of my very favorite people.

My brother and I have taken over stockings for the family, and they tend to be the only decorations we put up. On a whim, I got everyone in my immediate family Yellies for their stocking, so we'll see how this goes over.
posted by ChuraChura at 3:17 AM on December 23, 2018 [10 favorites]

a shameful quantity of Ritter Sport chocolate

There is no such thing. It is the best chocolate.
posted by Dysk at 3:42 AM on December 23, 2018 [9 favorites]

One has completed the Christmas food shopping, as one is not going to engage in the last minute yellow-sticker marked-down supermarket bargain hunting and the various pushing, shoving and throat-punching to get at a 75% off box of mince pies that entails. Presents and cards have been delivered, druids visited (and their various yurts sat in), and the local vicar met in passing (unlike the local funeral director, who makes for an excellent selfie and yes that is the funeral director, I have skilfully avoided being in her many selfies this year).

So, I'm in, and cupboards and fridge are stocked, and I can wind down a bit now. I'm working my way through the DVD extras on Arcadia, which is about the closest one can get to a alternative, distinctly sideways, view of rural England without being under the influence of various substances.

Oh; a few MeFites asked if I could send them a Christmas Greeting, so I recorded one and it's on the soundcloud (if I ever go viral on social media, I will be the one person who actually does have a soundcloud or three to promote). It's somewhat muffled, so if you need subtitles the text is as follows:

+ + + + +

Good afternoon, from deepest rural England.

One sends splendid greetings of the season to all MeFites, new and old, lurking and active, even those who write derailing comments on my posts. One also sends finest greetings to the moderators of this fair forum for their hard work over the past year, and to Mr Cortex for his steady hand on the tiller of the good ship MetaFilter.

One also send best wishes to all MeFites for the year ahead. May it be marvellous for you in whatever endeavours you engage in; may the course of your politics be more agreeable; and may you continue to enjoy the convivial exchanges on MetaFilter. But, do not incabinate yourself! The greatest of nature is always outside your front door.

Toodle pip.
posted by Wordshore at 4:30 AM on December 23, 2018 [25 favorites]

A happier update: I was up at 4 AM and am still chilling in bed, about to get dressed and head to SeaTac. I can hear the trains sounding their horns from my bedroom over the patter of rain. (I can also hear the cruise ships signal their leaving, which is more romantic-sounding than you'd think.) The cat came and snuggled while I had my breakfast, so I got to have a little see-you-in-ten-days love with him, and has been blessedly chill. I assume he is also rather sleepy.

My mother still has no concept of things like asking if I want to be picked up from the airport instead of informing me that I will be picked up, but I managed to get out of dinner tonight, so baby steps. (Mom takes an enormous amount of emotional management, which I do not have right now, and will really not have this evening.) I feel surprisingly good for about five hours of sleep and looking forward to watching the sun rise over America. I love the cross-country flight.

Right, time to get dressed!
posted by kalimac at 4:35 AM on December 23, 2018 [7 favorites]

Our next door neighbour spontaneously decided to host Christmas drinks for the whole neighborhood this afternoon and surprisingly most people were available, so I met all the neighbours at last (after living here for three years and only knowing two of them) and they are all lovely.

One couple has lived here since 1964 so they told us all about the history of the street and all the people who have lived in our house. (And apparently the area was originally an orange orchard, and when they moved here it still only had dirt roads. Now it's rapidly gentrifying suburbia.)
posted by lollusc at 4:41 AM on December 23, 2018 [11 favorites]

I’m at work today and while responding to a tedious email from my boss I looked up and saw, at fairly close range, a bald eagle soaring by.

It was very quiet where I was standing on the dirt road.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:00 AM on December 23, 2018 [16 favorites]

OMG someone else also has the complete Columbo set! Woo-hoo! :)
posted by Melismata at 5:01 AM on December 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have the complete Columbo set too. My favorite I think is the one with Jackie Cooper as a murdering political candidate.

This may be the last Christmas for some time where I get to do exactly whatever I want, because next year my sister will probably be living in the area and will not unreasonably expect to spend holidays with me. So, it'll be a quiet day at home with the cats, the 4th day of a 5-day weekend, which I have very much needed because work is a serious chaotic zoo right now, and will only get zooier when I return on Thursday.

I have already bought All The Groceries and laid in plenty of wine and beer, so I'm all set. Right now I'm in Boston; boyfriend & I are "doing Christmas" this weekend because of his weirdly scheduled life, but Monday morning I take the train back to Maine for the Christmas of Blissful Solitude. I am thinking of watching Die Fledermaus.

I am much better on the ukulele than I was this time last year, but still not particularly good.
posted by JanetLand at 6:12 AM on December 23, 2018 [7 favorites]

My daughter is home from graduate school for a month, and I'm not working again this year. The Appalachian Trail is in our immediate future next week if the weather forecast holds.
posted by COD at 6:30 AM on December 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

This is the happiest thing in my life right now.

My kids are 21 (son) and 18 (daughter). They've always gotten along splendidly, always been friends. But this year it feels like their relationship has leveled up, now that little sister is in college. My husband and I went Christmas shopping and the two of them went Christmas shopping, and we agreed to meet up and have dinner. As husband and I were walking toward the meeting spot, we ran into the kids. But before they saw us, we watched them laughing and talking and just generally enjoying each other's company.

It's just really, really lovely to see their adult relationship bloom. I'm so glad they have each other and I'm so happy to have them both home for the next few weeks. This might be the last time we're all together for so long and I'm going to savor every moment.
posted by cooker girl at 7:10 AM on December 23, 2018 [28 favorites]

I'm working in a Grown Up Office environment with a bunch of awesome people, so I got a lot of chocolate and gift cards and (consented) hugs!

I also started writing a gratitude journal. Barf, right? I've avoided doing this like the plague even though it's in my family's cultural backdrop. What I find is that it helps me refocus on the little things that are going well, which helps when I need to stop obsessively thinking about what all has gone wrong.

I am currently wondering how people find "their people" other than by accident or throwing themselves into a lot of hobby groups!
posted by Freeze Peach at 7:37 AM on December 23, 2018 [9 favorites]

lazuli, you want to come to my city sometime and ride the free ferries. The city runs seven or eight of them in places where it's cheaper than building bridges, little tiny hops across rivers and canals on little motorized boats with room for pedestrians and a couple of bicycles. I still haven't quite been on all of them, but I mean to.

Oh, neat! I lived in Venice for a short while and I used to love taking the traghetti, the gondolas that just went straight across the Grand Canal in places without a bridge. Everyone stands, including the older women in their fur coats and high heels, and it's all very business-like but, like, you're in a gondola!

I totally need more boats in my life.
posted by lazuli at 8:15 AM on December 23, 2018 [5 favorites]

We're having our first Canadian Christmas this year. Some friends have invited us around for lunch, our job is to bring a stuffed pumpkin and other veggies.

I have just finished a 4 week learn to knit class and completed my first scarf and beanie. Super happy with the beanie and plan on wearing it everywhere this winter.

Also, my new job has given everyone Christmas week off with pay, so I shall be spending the rest of the week on the couch watching terrible Christmas movies and knitting a pair of pink leg warmers as a joke gift for my sister.
posted by Kris10_b at 8:15 AM on December 23, 2018 [7 favorites]

I am currently wondering how people find "their people" other than by accident or throwing themselves into a lot of hobby groups!

MeFi meetups, and watching for the people at work who get my actual jokes, not my watered-down-for-work jokes.
posted by lazuli at 8:16 AM on December 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

I've been giggling at the name of this charcoal starter all week, The Chimney of Insanity.

posted by lucidium at 8:28 AM on December 23, 2018 [12 favorites]

We went to my wife's alternative holiday party last night (there's the official on campus one, which got canceled because a foot of snow in December, and then the one one of the professors throws that's invite only and a weirdly big deal), and it was really nice and everyone got along and we had a good time.

We figured out a good Christmas present for my dad (we think). Experience gifts don't really work with him, since he pretty much lets us take him places these days (which is very nice, it's like dad, we have jobs, we want to do this, please stop arguing and he has!), so we got him an Instapot and a cookbook (which is very much, do this, do that, hit this button, hit this button), and I think it will really benefit him if he can get in the habit. And the cookbook was an unmarked half off! (And if he doesn't use it, we'll take it back and do something else, because I can always use another IP.)

We have family coming into town that we don't get to see very much, so that will be a treat.

Our adopted cousins are headed up here for our housemate's birthday dinner today.

But, the best part of this week is that after Christmas we get to head out to Texas for most of a week with my wife's girlfriend and husband, and the teenager is going to be gone at some leadership camp until New Year's. We love the teenager, he's fantastic, but we never get time to the four of us. We're probably going to get wild and crazy and go see Aquaman and play Cards Against Humanity and it's going to be great.
posted by joycehealy at 8:34 AM on December 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

This time of year, I just love a good, traditional English Christmas wassail.

Wassail, wassail all over the town!
The Bronx is up and the Battery's down
The people ride in a hole in the ground

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:04 AM on December 23, 2018 [10 favorites]

I made an amigurumi spider which pleased me. Also my cat has had some splendid birthday cards through the Card Club.
posted by paduasoy at 9:34 AM on December 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

A very huge +1 (+++) to messing around in boats as a source of Happy Things, even if it's just taking the ferry somewhere.

Sigh, I miss the Staten Island Ferry since I don't live in NYC anymore. It was something like $ .25 (cents, not dollars) when I was in high school and we rode it for fun occasionally.
posted by twoplussix at 9:34 AM on December 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

OK, TheWhiteSkull, I am adopting your traditional wassail forever. And a drop of strong beer will do us no harm.
posted by moonmilk at 9:57 AM on December 23, 2018

In my undergraduate political parties class here at Big State U,

*EVERYONE correctly stated that the Republicans currently run the House and Senate

*Only one student chose "Donald Trump" as Speaker of the House and I suppose I can take a little solace that the student at least ruled out Chewbacca and Speaky McSpeakface

*You will have to take it on faith that this topic came up maaaany times during the course, but *almost* everyone correctly chose that parties are not the devil, with only a few choosing "the devil," "evil pure and simple from the eighth dimension," or "concentrated evil."

The part that's a little weird is that while I'm not going to actually do the counts, I think more people got that last one wrong than did this relatively complex question about one of Krehbiel's articles on party paradoxes but whatevs, li'l grasshoppers.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:59 AM on December 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm femdomming a new sub and it's amazeballs.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:05 AM on December 23, 2018 [14 favorites]

No, wait, one of the emailed tests I got back from our disability/accessibility folks said that the House is currently being led by Speaky McSpeakface. Student's otherwise not fucking up so I'm gonna chalk this one up to smartassery.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:09 AM on December 23, 2018 [8 favorites]

You want good news? I have some good news for you. In 2 weeks time my daughter will be back from college abroad. And it's been to far away and too long this time around. This week she sent me a list of dishes that she craved most. I cannot wait to start cooking.
This year the first movie I wrote was in the cinema and this week we got a generous ok to start two new serious projects. It looks that finally, after decades of trying, my life will revolve around what I would like to do most for the coming years. It is very difficult to fathom, but I definitely can live with this kind of happy.
posted by ouke at 10:51 AM on December 23, 2018 [15 favorites]

I spent most of last week being overwhelmed by Christmas prep--we are hosting, just my parents, but last week was also finals and grading week, and we leave for extended New Year's the day after Christmas, and the kids had various activities, was just a lot.

Friday night after all that, we had a friends' open house to go to, and while I was exhausted, I went, drank a little too much wine, and had a fantastic time. My older boy, who is in 8th grade, has been dealing with the adjustments of middle school social lives (his lifelong friends are expanding their circles and going to events and parties that he's not included in. He is less interested in putting himself out there, and everyone likes him, they just don't think to invite him to stuff). Anyway, he was invited to go to the high school basketball game with a big group of people, and then sleep over at his friend's house, which made me so happy for him.

Yesterday, I did nothing except help my kids wrap their gifts for each other, my spouse went and got us Chinese food, and it was a glorious lazy day.

So what's making me happy? The past couple of days, it's been the 4 of us, no real schedule, no events, and we've been able to just be with each other. They're my favorites and I'm so grateful for this time, which is increasingly limited as the boys get older and more involved.
posted by TheFantasticNumberFour at 10:59 AM on December 23, 2018 [7 favorites]

Our holiday traditions are an a la carte sort of thing.

I was raised Catholic, my wife's mother was Buddhist (she lives on our farm and is now a practicing Druid), but my wife's grandparents were her after school caregivers and were bible-thumping Baptists, so she also had Christmas as a child.

We traditionally volunteer for the town's food shelf and help package food boxes for the less advantaged the week before Christmas. On the Winter Solstice we have a bonfire and share a bottle of mead. On Christmas Eve, I embrace my Italian heritage by making a fish dish. There's only the 3 of us -- and my wife is allergic to shellfish -- so I don't try to make 7 seafood dishes! I'm making a baked cod dish this year. Then we watch films, and our tradition is to watch About a Boy, which we first watched on our first date the year we got married, and have watched every Christmas Eve since.

Christmas morning the 3 of us gather for my wife's homemade cinnamon rolls (a slightly modified version of the Alton Brown recipe) and then exchange gifts. Christmas night we go to the local Chinese restaurant. We used to watch a movie at the local playhouse, but with new owners -- which we are grateful bought the place! -- have decided to not be open on the 24th and 25th, so we will likely go home and watch holiday-themed specials and movies.*

We host an annual Boxing Day dinner party for friends where we pull Christmas crackers, eat lots of food, get drunk on home-brewed beer, cider, and wine, and then play Rock Band.

We don't do anything on New Year's Eve, preferring to stay home.

* We are about to record a video on our favorite holiday video watching for our YouTube channel, which will be up tomorrow if you want a laugh.
posted by terrapin at 11:36 AM on December 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

This is a weird place to put this, but ima roll with it. After referring a friend to the concept of emotional labor and That Thread, I revisited it. I didn't read much of it when it was first posted (3.5 years ago already, eeep), and reading the comments now, after so much marital BS and personal growth, hot damn. It hit me like a ton of bricks and made me have so many feelings that I had to put it away (still working on this "feelings are OK, and you don't have to avoid them!" concept in therapy). I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm ready for Crone Island. And that Metafilter is the best place on the web, but you already know that. Cheers all, may you make it through this holiday season unscathed.
posted by Fig at 11:43 AM on December 23, 2018 [26 favorites]

I have referred many, many people to the EL thread and PDF. Almost always with a warning that it may shake things up. It is a powerful testament and transformative document.
posted by loquacious at 11:51 AM on December 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

I've been on a Holiday Break Cleaning Binge at home (Dr Bored for Science has been on a sewing binge - she made a remote control holder / magazine holder / laptop holder for our new couch yesterday and is now making a ton of bias tape so she can weave it into a cushion cover). The last couple days have been good for weird cleaning projects, like "take the outer grille off the bathroom fan and suck out the dust bunny colony" or "reorganize parts of our study so we can house the ~70 pounds of paper reprints we took home a couple weeks ago".

Today's weird project? Digging up the sandpaper, and sanding down the top of my desk (a hunk of Ikea hardwood countertop that I bought my first year of grad school) to get rid of most of the inkstains from careless fountain pen wrangling. There are a couple of wee ones left that I'm not getting without a lot more sanding, but the vast majority? Gone. That was damn worthwhile.

Christmas isn't our holiday (although Dr Bored for Science's family celebrates it in the secular gift-giving sense), so we'll do some version of the Christmas celebration of my people: Chinese food and a movie. Potentially doing the former at a restaurant in Cambridge where I get asked - at 32! - "is the professor coming" when I walk in the door. The professor being my father. My parents have been regulars there since the late 70s/early 80s.

We're heading to Portland ME for a couple nights next week, with the same minimalist plan we had for our honeymoon there in 2016: stay in a nice hotel, and eat really, really well. And not much else. And then come back to MA via Kittery and the Candy Store of My Youth (Yummies) and associated other Maximum Retail experiences in Kittery.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 12:13 PM on December 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

So, another cause for happiness even bigger than my first dive into a ball pit: for some months now we have had a new baby in the house, a tiny human who's the source of all sorts of joy, but I'll mention one particular happy aspect because it's done so much in the restoring-faith-in-humanity department: we've been feeding the baby mostly with donated breast milk.

I did not really know this was a thing, before, sharing breast milk outside of milk banks, directly from mothers who for various reasons have more milk than they need. Through word of mouth & various social media, we've been connecting with generous mothers all over the city, meeting strangers in this really intimate way. It has been this rich, lovely way to take care of our baby and feel buoyed up by the community we live in--and an excellent way to meet people we wouldn't have otherwise. The generosity and the glimpses of others' lives (and the wacky logistics of moving frozen milk around the city without a car, while we're going back to work, while everyone involved is sleep-deprived) have been a mindblowing addition to the already intense experience of taking care of a baby.
posted by miles per flower at 12:51 PM on December 23, 2018 [12 favorites]

Visit to my parents has been fine, but now they really want to discuss antisemitism in the women’s march. Pray for me, everyone!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:17 PM on December 23, 2018 [9 favorites]

I proposed to the Boyf. We've been together almost 12 years (minus 2 months).

He was suprised, but said yes. It was a low key proposal. Almost 48 hours later he's still in happy shock.

As we live together, if he had said no it would have made christmas *super awkward*.
posted by Faintdreams at 2:06 PM on December 23, 2018 [38 favorites]

Everything is quiet and peaceful and... the kid just puked spaghetti all up the wall. But I've just cleaned up and he's watching an old Doctor Who episode with a bucket in his lap, so now everything is quiet and peaceful and... it sounds like I'm getting a Bucket o' Puke for Christmas. But I'll give him a minute more to finish.
posted by pracowity at 2:15 PM on December 23, 2018 [8 favorites]

I've been working my ass off on a difficult project for the last couple of months, and my work secret santa absolutely killed it this season with thoughtful, simple, unexpected gifts that have kept me afloat (at work now, at work tomorrow, no one else around in either case). Thank you, work secret santa; I am looking forward to learning who you are next week.
posted by Kwine at 2:34 PM on December 23, 2018 [5 favorites]

I worked my last day of retail before the holiday today. Am so glad to finally have a day off tomorrow. Monster cat number one has broken 4 ornaments on my mini "tree". Le sigh. My sweet "Good kitty" is in my lap. I should be getting all the things done now, but thank dog for catlap.
posted by mightshould at 3:03 PM on December 23, 2018 [7 favorites]

Just moved. We're in one of the US's original New Deal communities, now a housing co-op. There's a stray cat in the neighborhood that everyone looks after, and our new next-door neighbor is a metalhead with a Shiba Inu named Bento. All is well.
posted by duffell at 3:06 PM on December 23, 2018 [13 favorites]

Congratulations, Faintdreams!
posted by lazuli at 3:08 PM on December 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, I mentioned that I got a promotion in one of the recent MeTalktails threads, but more good news is that it should start January 2, though I'll be straddling both jobs for a while, but I'll be getting paid at the promotion-job-rate so that makes it better. Also my current manager was creating a gigantic mess about my leaving but I think that all just got unofficially resolved, at least the broad strokes of it, on Friday, in a way which will make it much easier for me to transition out of current job than I had anticipated. (Which is good, because I am having actual nightmares about current manager and I need out.) New job for the new year!
posted by lazuli at 3:12 PM on December 23, 2018 [9 favorites]

It’s been a long week, heck, a long month, and I’m very happy for a break of a few days’ time to recover a bit. Like bondcliff I am teaching a 16-year-old child to drive. She’s doing just fine and today she drove our family of four to a very nice brunch with family friends. On the way, we insisted that she take the expressway for about a mile, and she did! It was all the things she finds hardest about driving - merging, using side and rear view mirrors, going fast - and she did just great. I’m very proud, even if it was entirely too nerve-wracking an activity for an ostensibly lazy Sunday.

The brunch itself was lovely. Our 14-year-old son tried raw oysters for the first time and liked them, which was neat. He supplemented the oysters with another FOUR full plates of food. “First breakfast, second breakfast, brunch, and lunch,” he named each plate, then remarked, accurately, “I eat like a hobbit.” I’m nibbling on an apple for supper, and he just fixed two full plates of leftovers for his own supper. It’s amazing to watch him eat!

The best recent news of all is that the head of my office at work is retiring. It’s about 2 years later than would have been optimal, but I won’t complain. My direct supervisor, who reported to him, is terrific and I have high hopes that this will be a very good thing for her. (And, by extension, for the rest of us who report to her.) So that’s good news, too!

Happy holidays to one and all!
posted by cheapskatebay at 3:12 PM on December 23, 2018 [7 favorites]

I'm officially a poet now, I got a couple of pieces published in the just launched literary magazine The Willowherb Review.
posted by dhruva at 3:13 PM on December 23, 2018 [22 favorites]

I should be writing a proposal for work, but instead I’m laying on my bed with two very good cats watching the first season of Luke Cage, and I can’t feel bad about that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:29 PM on December 23, 2018 [9 favorites]

I got some much needed help and perspective via an Ask this week. I also got to catch up on sleep with my husband home from travel and get a haircut that makes me feel good.
Presents are wrapped and husband organized it so the in-laws are coming to us on Boxing Day which will be much better for eveyone!
posted by CMcG at 3:35 PM on December 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

As a kid, we listened to novelty Christmas songs *way* more than I would ever allow in my house as an adult now. One of the songs we listened to was I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus, which in retrospect is a gleeful paean to wealth redistribution:
I'm gonna lasso Santa Claus
And the reason is because
I know a boy and girl he never goes see
He never brings 'em toys like he does for me

I'm gonna pop, pop Santa Claus
With my water pistol gun
And then I'll take his bags of toys and run
And bring to all the kids who don't have none

posted by duffell at 4:07 PM on December 23, 2018 [9 favorites]

I spent all afternoon making chicken soup from wcratch for dinner tonight, which my oldest daughter said was the best chicken soup she has ever had.

posted by wenestvedt at 5:11 PM on December 23, 2018 [14 favorites]

We started the summer with seven chickens (two over the legal limit in our town). One of them got sick while still fairly young, and died. Then one of them was late getting into the hen house one late autumn evening, and was (likely) taken by an owl. So now we're down to five. THEN another chicken got sick, and also died (this does get better, I promise).
We have four chickens, all good layers, all good girls. Until yesterday, late afternoon, when only three of them are hanging around (we let them free-range, and they seldom leave our property). Mr dbmcd called and called, and heard nothing. He was about to post on our neighborhood coalition Facebook page when a neighbor a block over messaged him "I think one of your chickens is on neighbor's porch!" The Mr goes over to said neighbor's house (they share a lot line with us), and sure enough, there's our silly girl, hunkered down on the porch, all alone. She got carried home to her house, and both neighbors got jars of honey in thanks.
I love my town, and our neighborhood!
posted by dbmcd at 5:45 PM on December 23, 2018 [13 favorites]

I celebrated legal weed in Massachusetts by getting high and going to the Christmas light show at the local Catholic shrine. Everything was totally chill until we got to the museum of nativity sets which was like the Department of Mysteries except instead of prophecies it was nativity sets where everyone was dressed in different folk outfits. Hundreds and hundreds of them, jostling for space in this little area. By the end I was pretty sure I’d had too much Jesus, and I say that as somebody who consumes Jesus on a regular basis. The lights were pretty, though.
Tomorrow I am going to church where I will read the part of the apocryphal St. Anne in the Christmas pageant. This year we have a live baby Jesus and nobody knows how that will work out, least of all my 18 year old son, who is playing Joseph. Should be entertaining!
posted by Biblio at 5:47 PM on December 23, 2018 [12 favorites]

This isn't something I really set out to do, but I can call it today: I've watched The Last Jedi once a week for the past year.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:18 PM on December 23, 2018 [11 favorites]

How did that work out for you? I feel like I want to hear more about this.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:21 PM on December 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

Well, it hasn't been 52 close viewings; sometimes it's while I'm going to bed or just doing stuff around the room and I'm not like super focused on it. But I still see little details and nuances that I didn't pick up during the theatrical run, whether that's a product of me being a Junior Crone with imerfect eyesight who just can't follow all the swooping FX sequences of Movies These Days or what. And there are bits that I didn't warm up to at first viewing that I've really come to appreciate.

I still cry every. damn. time. Luke and Leia say goodbye.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:34 PM on December 23, 2018 [7 favorites]

Brother and I have gotten ramen, taken naps, and are now watching Fellowship of the Ring in my room. We stopped just after the Council of Elrond to get dinner and beer at my local pub. We were the only people in there who did not have Irish accents, but since our names are Erin and Brendan we felt right at home!
posted by ChuraChura at 6:37 PM on December 23, 2018 [16 favorites]

Have you seen the Die Hard Christmas ornament?

I’m not crafty; I can’t draw a banana. Mr. Lemon_icing is a maker. He prints out MLP:FIM cookie cutters for the pseudo-nieces; he builds me tools for the kitchen. but I thought yeah, I can do that. I can print a picture and use one if my square aluminum molds! I can be responsible for the custom ornament!

Just as I was watching how-to-do YouTube once more . . . . . he burst into the lounge, clutching batteries and wires. . . and swung a 3D printed Bruce with fiber optics running under his arm and into the lighter, inside a custom aluminum duct.

We thought of the same thing, I am charmed beyond belief.
posted by lemon_icing at 9:47 PM on December 23, 2018 [16 favorites]

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and after a half day of work I'm very much looking forward to being off until the New Year. I am, as usual for this time of year, dead tired and really not in the spirit much - but tomorrow will be the time to finish the wrapping and make my own eggnog, which is my family tradition for Christmas and something everyone that will be here tomorrow night loves. It is making that nog that gets me into the Christmas mood.
posted by nubs at 10:18 PM on December 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

I actually got off of my butt, and signed up for a meditation class at the local Insight Meditation Center. I've been wanting to for months now; now I finally did it.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:35 PM on December 23, 2018 [9 favorites]

Mr. Lemon_icing’s 3D printed Bruce / Die Hard ornament
posted by lemon_icing at 11:24 PM on December 23, 2018 [14 favorites]

Congratulations Faintdreams!!
posted by ellieBOA at 12:20 AM on December 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

So, I'm generally a pretty positive and optimistic person. I mean, I think that even though there is so much crap going on in the world these days, it's important to notice and appreciate the good and beautiful things in the world. Like, if you don't take time to appreciate the good stuff around you, you're doing it a disservice, you make the bad stuff more important if you devote more attention to it. So I really put effort into finding and cherishing all of the amazing things around me. Normally a thread like this would be a perfect place for me to talk about all the stuff I have been enjoying lately. But this fucking week has goddamn broken me. I have been fairly worn out by work lately, getting assigned work from a lot of different projects and it seems like none of them check with each other to see if maybe my schedule is already full with the other 5 projects assigning me their hardest work too? But I've powered through it just looking forward to having almost 2 weeks off around Xmas to just sit on the damn couch and watch movies and eat lavish homemade dinners with my boyfriend. And there was one club night I wanted to go out dancing with friends. Monday and Tuesday, I work extra long hours so I can take wednesday off, and go to the company party with an old friend. So far so good. Wednesday I wake up just sick as a dog. Like, food poisoning and a cold at the same time? what is even that? So, no party, no seeing my friend. 2 damn days in bed, avoiding the boyfriend so I don't give him what I have, but I'm getting better. Last night was the club night, but I was still feeling too tired to go out. (Looks like all my friends had good fun, so at least there's that. have fun for me my buddies) Tomorrow is Xmas and family stuff, but hopefully after that it will be that glorious relaxing couch time I have been so depending on. And just tonight it looks like my boyfriend is coming down with whatever I had anyway. fuuuuuuuuuuuck. I still hold out hope that he'll bounce back and be better in a day or so, but arrglebargeledy it is making me disappointed and cranky as hell and oh rats I just spread all my misery into the happy things thread. sorry. Bitching about it has made me feel a bit better. So I guess that's my happy thing - that I have this place to whinge on for a bit when I really need to. Thanks everyone.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:31 AM on December 24, 2018 [10 favorites]

*hugs* if you want them, 5_13_23_42_69_666. I wish you non-sick relaxing couch time!
posted by lazuli at 5:32 AM on December 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've run out of PTO for the year, so Christmas Eve isn't a day off for me, but at least it's a light work day. I was going to work from home today, but my manager left me something on my desk, so I came in to find two 500 ml bottles of Hardywood Christmas Morning. It's gloriously quiet here, and if I don't move around too much, I can trick the motion-activated lights into thinking nobody is here.

Tonight, we're hosting family for what's become a chili night tradition, and the chili recipe I've settled on for this year is from one Barack Obama. Curious to see what the red wine vinegar the recipe calls for will do.
posted by emelenjr at 6:26 AM on December 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just want to talk about how awesome my mom is. This came up in conversation a few weeks ago and I’ve been waiting for an appropriate place to share. My mom was a dental assistant in the 80s, during the AIDS crisis. She was the only assistant in the office who would work on patients who had AIDS and was actually instrumental in getting one person diagnosed. She later worked at a hospital and did secret nursing duties when no one else would. I’m just so proud of her. I know what a big deal that was then and she’s so nonchalant about it which is even better, because treating people with dignity is just what she does.
posted by Ruki at 6:57 AM on December 24, 2018 [33 favorites]

My favorite triki-pop band, Huntza, released a new album a few weeks ago. So I've been enjoying that (and slowly trying to decipher the lyrics).
posted by nangar at 7:03 AM on December 24, 2018 [3 favorites]

My job this past month blew chunks. A coworker and I just don't always have the best communication skills and we're also two of three people all crammed into a ridiculously tiny WeWork office so I can't get away and go into another room. But the big annoying project that we'd been working on for the past year - which involved us tracking down financial records assembled by people before either of our tenure, and which were seemingly organized according to insane troll logic, and then trying to compile it in a way that humans can comprehend - is done and I never have to do anything like that again.

But I had a bit of an epiphany last week - that part of what bothers me so much about that situation is that my outside-of-work life is really kind of....dull. So I already have the New Year's Resolution that 2019 is going to be the Year Of Challenges:

* I will visit one new neighborhood in the city every month.
* I will eat a weekend lunch out at one restaurant in my own neighborhood that I've never been to each month.
* I will try to take at least five photos every weekend with my beautiful and glorious new camera.
* I will do the Penguin Books UK classics reading challenge (one classic book a month), and maybe one other.
* I will complete about half of all of the unfinished craft project I have lingering in the house by the end of the year.
* I will hike once a month.
* I will attend the Brooklyn Museum's First Saturday event every month.
* I am still deciding the speed and rate and frequency, but: I will cook [x] recipes out of this gorgeous cookbook every [y]. (My roommate has already taken a great interest in helping me with the resultant eating.)
* And all this is on top of keeping going with my already-existing movie challenge - watching through all the 1001 Movies To See Before You Die books - and blogging about my reactions. I've been doing that for nearly 2 years now, and am about to roll it out onto its own blog because the project just got so big.

So: regardless of what my work situation is, I won't care because the rest of my life will be full again; I have been reluctant to take control of my fun for various complicated reasons, which I seem to have shed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:53 AM on December 24, 2018 [18 favorites]

I took my 5 year old son to see The Grinch yesterday afternoon while my husband and daughter napped. It's pretty rare that we spend time together just the two of us since we are always doing stuff as a family. As we were walking to the theater he looked up at me and said "I love spending time with you, mommy. This is so much fun." I'm no Grinch but I still felt my heart grow three sizes.
posted by gatorae at 8:45 AM on December 24, 2018 [22 favorites]

I have a hard time finding authors I like, and often feel guilty about not reading enough (especially fiction/literature), and also have a tendency to feel guilty for wasting time over the holidays, but I've actually managed to discover an author who clicks with me just in time for my week and a half off work, so I'm happy to have those three problems temporarily solved, simultaneously.
posted by as_night_falls at 9:53 AM on December 24, 2018 [6 favorites]

I don’t know if anyone is reading down here at the bottom but hey remember that mouse?

Well. This morning I took a bag of laundry across the hall to be washed. I don’t like waiting for the dryer so when the wash cycle is finished my usual habit is to just shove it all back into the bag, take it home and hang it up on my drying rack. While I was pulling clean damp clothes from the machine my neighbor came in with HER laundry, so we chatted a bit and then she ...disappeared somewhere? I dunno. I was fishing out the last socks and oh dead mouse. In the washing machine. And he was certainly in there the whole time, probably thought that the laundry bag was a good hiding spot from the cat. And then I just tipped him in with the soap and the clothes. And now my neighbor needs the machine.

So I used a clean sock to pick him up and deposit him in the garbage with the lint balls. I am...sorry that I maybe drowned him? Or at least hastened his demise?

In any case I resolve to stop leaving bags of laundry by the back door.
posted by janepanic at 11:53 AM on December 24, 2018 [8 favorites]

I have many acquaintances on this small island, and we all just kind of opt out of holiday gifting because it's just too much to deal with. About six weeks ago, I saw an ad online for holiday grab bags that contained, "lots of small, fun giftish items, product overruns, stuffed items, etc" which sounded kinda fun and would be low-pressure gifty for handing out casually, even if they were all banana slicers. Only $19.99, shipping included, so I ordered one for fun.

Well, Quonsar came and went, then December 10th, then I kinda forgot about it until I got a notice on the 19th that it was enroute via USPS, with a tracking number. I got my hopes up, and checked and sure enough it was moving slowly Eastward from California, to Texas and thence to Topeka, where it has now been sitting in a processing warehouse since I got the notification.

I don't hold out much hope for it to arrive today, but I thought it might make a good trop-rock song about Santa and Topeka and Key West for Christmas, since it isn't doing anybody much good being stuck where it is.

Anyway, have a very happy ChrismaHannaKwanzaaMas wherever you're stuck this year, and remember your banana slicers could magically appear any day now.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 1:00 PM on December 24, 2018 [3 favorites]

It's officially Boring Day Eve, and I'm already bored! Do Christian people get bored on Boring Day? I feel like you can't actually spend all day doing Christian stuff. When I rule the world, Americans will adopt the British tradition of having Christmas TV specials to make Boring Day a little less boring.

Anyway, other than Boring Day being boring, everything is fine in my neck of the woods. I am going to have to work hard not to pick fights on Twitter just out of sheer boredom.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:36 PM on December 24, 2018 [3 favorites]

Well, I just opened a present from my brother, and it's The Complete Columbo Box Set! Which, as noted above, I already have. So, if anyone reading this thread was thinking, gee, I wish I had the complete Columbo box set, just like JanetLand and shapes that haunt the dusk and Melismata, memail me and I can hook you up.
posted by JanetLand at 5:40 AM on December 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

I have been ill for the past six months or so (I have a chronic disease, and my function has been declining) but today I got back some very good blood test results, so I'm thrilled.
posted by sockermom at 11:25 AM on December 25, 2018 [20 favorites]

ok, thinks are looking up again - finally over the illness, family has been visited, and now we have the free time to goof about that I have been so eagerly anticipating. yay. Also I got to play with a puppy yesterday.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:15 PM on December 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

I thought a friend didn't like me anymore but they do. I survived some stressful festivities. And then I hung out at my chill neighborhood bar for a bit. All in all a good Christmas season. And it's nice to read all of y'all's good news!
posted by ferret branca at 3:01 PM on December 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have about two pounds of leftover sausages and stuffing in the fridge that I am going to strafe basically continuously for the next 96 hours.
posted by lucidium at 3:03 PM on December 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

I ended up getting very sick for the last few days, so that’s a bummer, but my girlfriend and I unwrapped gifts together via FaceTime (capitalized thanks to autocorrect), and she gave me an LP of my favorite album (which isn’t currently available any other way, as far as I know). And that’s wonderful and thoughtful, and it’s exactly what I wanted.

So that’s my good news! She seemed happy with her presents, and now I can get back to watching Columbo and Miss Marple.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 3:14 PM on December 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

I am apparently still good enough at games to be able to thrash my 14-year-old brother at Rocket League 1s. He destroyed me at FIFA 19 though, which he just got for christmas. Introduced my parents to Reinbert de Leeuw's performances of Satie, and was in turn introduced to Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel. Everyone else has gone to bed, so I'm now sitting in the living room of my parents' vicarage, drinking some lovely beer from just over the border in North Germany while blasting breakcore on the surround system. Overall, this has been a fantastic Christmas day.
posted by Dysk at 3:16 PM on December 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

Tied for Top Moment Of My Christmas Day:

1. My nephew inexplicably changing into a full-body karigumi-style dinosaur costume mid-afternoon, and my cousin's two little girls taking turns wearing a full head T-Rex mask, and the three of them all chasing each other around the house like we're in Jurassic Park. (I tried the Chris Pratt pose on them at one point but they didn't recognize what i was doing and just ran past me.)

2. My niece insisting on giving us all a saxophone recital, which consisted of various Christmas carols - but then ended with a performance of "We Will Rock You". (We didn't recognize the melody at first, but then when it got to the chorus, I figured it out and started drumming on the table in time - and everyone else twigged to it and started stamping and singing along.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:28 PM on December 25, 2018 [11 favorites]

Y'all. My cousin who works for the PO, who was supposed to be on mandated overtime today, got told at 11 last night that he didn't have to work today and was able to surprise us and be at Christmas today and I literally squealed and ran up to him in the church basement to give him a hug.

And my aunt, who's a bit homophobic (but also oddly supportive of us, it's weird, IDK, too long to explain right now) told me she loved my haircut and that was my hair was beautiful today, even though I was rocking the queerest, freshest undercut pompadour today.

It was a good day.
posted by joycehealy at 7:01 PM on December 25, 2018 [11 favorites]

I followed the Lying Son-of-abitch Google Maps several miles to a Safeway that was not, in fact, open on Christmas like the aforementioned lying son-of-a-bitch had claimed, but then discovered that the tiny local produce stand across the street was open and wildly overcrammed with others who had followed Lying Son-of-a-Bitch-Google Maps to the same place. I bought green things and several hours later am about to make chill and healthy dinner, having ignored all other Christmas options today.

After the MeFi meetup on Sunday night a bunch of us had eaten at a local bar where I ordered the super spicy, greasy, garlicky, oversalted green beans of joy, and I realized today that I now have a new New Year's Resolution- to make green beans into an unhealthy snack as often as possible.
posted by twoplussix at 8:07 PM on December 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

Nano McGee's mind was adequately blown by her tail! (sorry the overwhelming joy picture is so blurry! She couldn't contain herself!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:33 PM on December 25, 2018 [19 favorites]

Eyebrows, *love*!
posted by lazuli at 8:51 PM on December 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Hello, Metafilter. I have a happy (?) story for you.

My wife has been interested in homesteading for a long time and wanted to get some farm animals. She wanted goats. I did not want goats (yet, anyway, I'm still too tired from the toddler), and upon elsietheeel's and Rust Moranis's urging, we ended up compromising on getting chickens. As it happened, we had pretty different ideas of what "getting chickens" meant. She wanted thirty. I wanted, like, six. We compromised at eighteen.

We got them in the spring and it's actually worked out really great. We've learned a lot, we've reduced our household waste even above and beyond what we already had, and our expenses have gone down a bit. (Also, some of our chickens are cuddly, which really helps after a bad day at work, of which I have too many.) And, incidentally, eighteen hens is about right for our level of egg consumption.

But this isn't a story about chickens, it's a story about roosters.

See, my wife and I are all about sustainability, and you can't have a self-sustaining flock without roosters (for reasons that I hope are obvious). And since the whole chickens thing has been going so well, we figured we'd get a rooster or two. With that in mind, and since things are quiet in December for us, she'd been trawling Craigslist for the last week or two for breeds we're interested in, and finally, yesterday, found just the ones for us.

Now, yesterday was already a full day: we were going to meet my brother and his new girlfriend (who were in from out of town) at the mall, spend the afternoon together, and finally drop them off at the train station in the evening for their trip home. It was fine, though: the roosters were only a few blocks away from the mall, so we'd pick up the roosters, stash them in a large dog crate in the trunk, meet our folks at the mall, spend the day together, and then bring the roosters home. No problem.

Everything went fine until my brother tossed his suitcase into the trunk. He bonked the cage, the door popped open, and one of the roosters hopped out and began to run around the mall parking lot. My wife, my brother, his girlfriend (who, like, we barely know), and I all start chasing this rooster around the parking lot.

Now, lest you think this is not a big deal, let me point out a few things:
  1. This is the major regional mall. It's got like 75 acres (30 hectares) of rooster rampage territory parking space.
  2. It's the fucking day after Christmas. The mall is damn near filled to capacity with spectators people hunting for clearance deals.
  3. We're in an urban center. Most of the people here have never seen a rooster in real-life before.
  4. My wife and I have significant chicken-chasing experience, but A) a rooster is in a different league from a hen, B) our chickens know us and like us and this rooster does not, and C) my brother and his girlfriend have no clue what they're doing.
  5. After a few years of being shitty farmers, my wife and I don't own nice clothes any more, so we're wearing things up to the task of chasing a chicken. My brother's a computer nerd who works in IT, so he's wearing jeans and a sweatshirt—fine. His girlfriend, though... she wanted to make a good impression, so she's wearing a skirt and heeled boots and fancy gloves and makeup and...
  6. It's a fucking parking lot. There are cars driving around.
So here we are chasing this wily beast around as a crowd gathers around us with smartphones and tablets and film us chasing it around snowdrifts and under SUVs and so on for an eternity fifteen minutes or so. We finally corner it under a car where it misjudged and is just barely within arms reach and with it's weak spot leg facing us. My brother's girlfriend manages to grab it by the leg before it can get away, and we place it back in it's cage and enjoy the rest of our afternoon.

Anyway, we've determined that the girlfriend is a keeper.
posted by ragtag at 7:46 AM on December 27, 2018 [18 favorites]

ragtag - good story, and I can relate!

We decided my brother's new girlfriend was a keeper when she (and he) came to stay just after my spouse had been listed for transplant surgery. During that weekend, the Call came, and instead of hanging out with me and the toddler, they had to accompany us to the hospital, entertain toddler while various conversations took place, and then accompany toddler back home and unwillingly into grandma's arms while I stayed in relatives' accommodation at the hospital. Neither of them turned a hair at these events.

Spouse is now doing OK, and brother is now married to that girlfriend and they have their own baby.
posted by altolinguistic at 8:26 AM on December 27, 2018 [8 favorites]

Ha! I would personally have just stuck with buying a new set of chicks every couple of years instead of getting roosters, but you do you, friend! That's awesome.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:01 PM on December 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

yeah, but if you want your own chicks you get to experience your hens going broody which is apparently an increase in intelligence and cunning and sneakiness, but not always wisdom. We had one who seemed to be able to brood a clutch outside the chicken run without, like, going missing beforehand. Doop doop doop all fine and then the cats bring in a dead chick and we run out and there she is free-ranging with another dozen fluffballs all exposed to the cats and the hawks and the bobcats and all.
posted by clew at 12:57 AM on December 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

My US Passport is being printed, and mailed off to me by Priority Mail. I should have it by next week or so.

Considering I had to fill out the forms by hand, am submitting both a name and a gender change request, and submitted the passport application the week that the Shutdown started, I'm considering this nothing short of miraculous. However, I'm not gonna truly celebrate yet, until I get that passport in my grubby little hands.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:15 PM on December 28, 2018 [9 favorites]

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