Monday, December 24, 2007

Goes the clock

Two bunnies down.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tick, Tock

One bunny down, two to finish .....

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bunny Burnout

So it turns out those adorable little bunnies are more time-consuming than I figured. Apparently, even though the number of stitches is not large, going around and around making little tubes on double point needles just takes a long time. It also turns out that I'm not very good at picking up stitches, something that you have to do a lot of for this bunny.

It's also true that life has thrown me a few curveballs lately, and time that I had planned to use for knitting got taken away through no fault of my own. So here I am, still plugging away on those bunnies, still optimistic, but wondering if I am really using these last few days before Christmas wisely. I doubt any socks or hats will be finished before Christmas.

Bunny status report: Two complete torsos, with limbs, one still needing legs. Six ears to go, then faces to embroider, stuffing to put in, and final knitting up the back, and lastly three tails to knit and sew on. If I can finish the legs and ears today, I'll know I'm in business, but is that a realistic target? Time will tell.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Khalil Gibran

I remember when the work Khalil Gibran was something of a cliche; this verse of his has been kicking around for a long time. I love it, though. It may not be great poetry, but I think what it expresses is beautiful.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A shameless plug for my friend

I first met Mary Jane when both of our children were involved in a homeschool coop. It was a big venture, and our kids weren't actually in the same program, but we still bumped into each other now and then at school-wide events, or on the playground. We share a similar family structure -- both of us have children in their twenties and smaller ones as well. I've always liked her. She's down to earth and open-minded, always interesting to talk to. And it turns out she's no mean businesswoman.

She's started a business selling bath and body products. I've tried some of her bath salts and body butter, and I think they are really, really good. The bath salts were lemon verbena, which is one of my favorite fragrances. They produced a sweet, intense scent in the bathwater that was just perfect. The body butter was very hard, almost solid, but absorbed into my skin fairly quickly, which meant that I wasn't all greasy after I used it, which is always a big plus with skin moisturizers. It seems to me that her products are extremely reasonably priced when you compare them to similar products at spas or health food stores. Check out her website. It's definitely not too late for last-minute Christmas purchases.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

EPA petition

The EPA has denied California's request for a waiver that would allow California to enact more regulations on car emissions more stringent than current Federal emissions. This from administration that has touted its support for states' rights. Hardly surprising, though, given their conjoined status with Big Oil and Big Oil Money.

There are way too many reasons to support this waiver. Even if you don't think that cars are contributing to global warming, they are clearly related to childhood asthma. Air quality is always important. And if, like me, fear of the environment children will inherit keeps you awake at night, this decision is a huge blow to the solar plexus.

I think if you click on this link you will be able to send a letter to the head of the EPA, condemning this decision. If the link doesn't work, you can e-mail me and I'll forward you an e-mail that definitely has the proper link.

This isn't something we should take lying down.

Midweek muddle

Well, the Wednesday chore day hit a new low today, as a day that seemed open turned out as crazy and chaotic as any other. This time, however, the fault can clearly be traced to late sleeping and foot dragging, as Ziad and Maya took a full hour to eat lunch (they didn't like it) and a full hour and a half to only partially wash the dishes (there were a lot, but still ...). That used up all the time between piano classes and their dental appointments. We got a little bit done between our arrival at home and dinner time, but it's the least we've done so far. At least I didn't have to do it, is all I have to say.

Am I beating a dead horse here? Are we, in fact, not yet ready to make that commitment to a clean and orderly house? I hope that it turns out we ARE ready. One reason I keep writing about it is to keep the focus, to keep looking forward to the next week, to remember that this is a long-term project. (Changing our habits, I mean. I understand that actually keeping the house clean is a never-ending project.)

As for next week -- Boxing Day. We'll have to have some time for cleaning then.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Home is where the heart is

On interview night, one of our book club questions took off somewhat from Jennifer's post about home. There's a lot of food for thought there. I can certainly see Jennifer's point, but I'm not sure I agree completely. It made a lot of sense to me when Zelda offered her insight, "Where I live now is a place that I learned. Where I grew up is the place that shaped me. That's my home."

In some ways, I think this is a discussion about language. What word are you going to describe the place you come from, the one that's part of who you are, the one you remember when other more recent memories have faded? If you don't call it home, what do you call it?

My mom grew up in Los Angeles, in a city I can barely imagine now. She remembers walking to school through groves of orange trees, picking fruit as she went. Even I can dimly remember visiting my grandparents when were young, stopping at roadside stands that have long since been paved over, buying fresh squeezed orange juice that was the best thing I had ever tasted. That agricultural valley is long gone, and I avoid LA as much as I can, because it's the only place where I have ever been stuck in what I would call rush-hour traffic if it wasn't ten o'clock at night. My mom, however, after getting married and moving to the East Coast to raise her family, never stopped yearning for California. Partly, she didn't like the East Coast. The winters were cold, the neighbors were stand-offish, her family hadn't lived there for generations so she never felt she belonged. So during the entire eighteen years or more she lived there, it was never home to her.

Ironically, I went to college in California and ended up staying, even though in my heart of hearts I always loved New England best. I detested the laid-back frivolity I saw among my college peers, I missed the snow and ice of winter and the incredible melting wonder of spring. For more years than I can remember, California was an alien place. So of course, I raised a family here. Two, actually. And now I've lived in California for more than half of my life, more years than my mom lived in New England, and I guess you could say I've acclimated. I actually like San Jose. I do feel this is my home now, although I'm not sure when that happened.

Maybe, like Humpty Dumpty, we expect words to mean what we want them to mean. Of course, that doesn't make communication with other people any easier.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Knitting

What I want to know is, why am I so extreme in my personality? Sometimes all I want to do is read, sometimes (rarely)I clean the house like there's no tomorrow, other weeks I cook so much food we could never eat it all. There are times when I exercise hours every day and let the newspapers pile up, and then I stop to catch up on the newspapers and the most exertion I make is to fold up the papers and take them out to the recycling. Why is this? I don't seem able to balance things out.

Right now, all I want to do is knit. I have several projects that I could easily finish by Christmas (actually, I could probably finish them in less than two days if I wasn't always interrupted by things like my children's concerts and their annoying need to eat). They're fun to knit, and I love the yarn, and all I want to do is sit down and knit. There are little yarn bunnies that will go in my children's stockings (all three of my children) and peek their adorable little faces out from over the top. And why not finish up the socks I've been working on for them and throw them in there, too? And some more of those fair isle caps I love to knit so much, this time with a variegated background just to make it interesting.

Meanwhile, the house is not really where it should be if I was maintaining its pre-party cleanliness (and of course party burnout is part of the reason). The laundry has reached mountainous proportions. Now that I think of it, though, I actually prefer to let the laundry pile up and do a whole bunch all at once, rather than little bunches here and there. Is there no aspect of my life I can live in moderation?

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Three bunnies-to-be (one is just a skein of yarn) and the brim of a fair isle cap.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Concert

Ziad and Maya sang in their choir's winter concert this evening. Not every song was equally beautiful, but there were a few that brought tears to my eyes. I really love choral music, and it is so wonderful to listen to children singing. The advanced chorus sings especially well. We're all looking forward to the time when Ziad and Maya reach that level.

This chorus has been a very enriching experience for our family, having given them songs to sing together. And sing they do, at home and in the car, when they're doing housework and when they're just walking along. I'm really grateful that my children have found their voices through this choir.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Soap Guy

His name is Prince. He has a small shop in Santa Cruz where he sells soap and candles, garden ornaments and angels, all kinds of pretty things. But mostly soap. Mostly French soap, when it comes to that. I love to go into his store and smell the soap, all beautiful botanical fragrances. He also frequently wears a beret, and he carries it off very well. It looks so natural on him, in fact, that I didn't stop to think about it until after I knew that he spends a lot of time in France (well, a lot for an American) where he does some business, shares a ownership of a small pied-à-terre with friend, and sings in a jazz cafe. It amazes me how many stories are tucked away in that small soap shop.

Maya and I first stopped by when we had some time to kill while Ziad was in a class. Prince was friendly and charming, and to top it off, he gave us some soap. Free soap! Beautiful free soap! Of course we went back next week. Since then, we've gone back almost every week. He doesn't usually give us free soap any more, although he does sometimes for special occasions like Mother's Day. He's always friendly and interesting to talk to, though. For a long time, Maya didn't consider her day in Santa Cruz complete unless she had said hello to the soap guy. Even now, when we've found a lot of things to do on our day over the hill, and are often in a rush to pick Ziad up, we still make it into his shop almost every week.

I love the nooks and crannies of this world, and all the surprising, interesting people who inhabit them.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mischievious Meg

by Astrid Lindgren

A non-magically realistic book, written in a very natural and simple style that avoids being dull at all. Meg lives in the countryside of Sweden. Her family is very comfortable in their big house by the river. This book follows her through a year in her life, with an especially beautiful chapter as the family prepares for and celebrates Christmas.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of this book is the neighbors, of whom her parents disapprove. An adult can see that the father drinks too much, that the son carries too much of the burden of supporting the family. But Meg sees this family on their own terms, with the father and mother dancing together in the living room, and the son singing as he makes the pretzels that they sell to earn their living. It's not your typical black and white presentation, and no judgment is passed. For Meg, her neighbors are amusing and interesting, and she likes them, especially the son. They're just a part of the way her life is.

You can tell from the title that Meg is a lively girl. Lindgren seems to have a special sympathy for such children. As the mother of a challenging child myself, I found the following passage especially resonant:

At that Meg started a real earthquake. That was what Father called it when she got furious and desperate as only Meg could. The tears streamed down her face, and she screamed so loud she could be heard all over the house.

And again, it interests me that there is no judgment here, and that Meg is not portrayed as a child at odds with her family. It's very refreshing that her whole family is so matter-of-fact about her temperament even though they don't indulge it.

Many of Astrid Lindgren's books are extremely funny. This one is more low-key, but still amusing, and very enjoyable to read.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Le Bookclub Dangereux

Well, as it turned out, I was not the only to have reading remaining. We all do. But I think we all also left our meeting inspired to actually do the reading, and finish this book, with more discussion to follow, perhaps online.

It's interesting to think that this book, scandalous at the date of its publication, languished more or less quietly until the 80s. At that point, it inspired a play and a movie, soon followed by another movie, then a modernization, and now pretty much everyone's heard of it, even if they haven't read it. Now that I think of it, it's kind of like that rash of Truman Capote movies a while ago. As Lesley asked, what is it about what was going on in the 80s that made this book so suddenly relevant? I'm not historian enough to answer that, but I bet there's someone out there who can.

It's interesting, too, that four women, married with children, sitting in the living room discussing this book, take a much more jaded view of romance than they would have in their younger years. We're all happily married, we all love our children, but we also know that there's more to life than youthful passion, and that a good marriage is built on so much more.

More later .....


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Many a Slip

In the event, this is how my day turned out:

before 8: try to read LLD
8-9 AM: keep on reading, wait for Ziad and Maya to wake up
9-10 AM: make breakfast, supervise guitar practice, get piano stuff together
10-11:15 AM: drop children off (I NEVER do this) to run errands
11:30-12:00 PM: wash dishes while children eat lunch
12-1 PM: go to Los Gatos to pick up some educational supplies, drive to Brownies
1-2:30 PM: Brownie Meeting
2:30-3 PM: drive around aimlessly looking for friend's house
3-4:30 PM: friend's house
4:30-5PM: drive to rehearsal, stop for a quick bite to eat
5-6:30 PM: chorus rehearsal -- try to read, try to rest, try to read
7 PM: get home, vacuum floor, macaroni and cheese for children
7:30 PM: book club

Tomorrow I have to be in Santa Cruz by 9, ready for both children to spend the day there.

Friday we will be making ocarinas in the morning, gingerbread castles in the afternoon, and then I go to visit some friends in the evening.

This week is getting out of control.

Book Club Tonight

We will be discussing Les Liaisons Dangereuses. I love this book myself, and I especially love the title. It just rolls off the tongue.

Much as I enjoy reading it, I doubt I will have finished it by tonight. I think I may not be alone in this, but we'll see.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Midweek Housecleaning

Well, this may be the week that begins our decline.

Wednesday chores? I did as many of them today as I could, because this is what tomorrow looks like:
before 8: try to finish midweek housecleaning
8-9 AM: breakfast, pet care, general morning stuff
9-10 AM: get ready for piano class, try to squeeze in guitar practice
10-11:15 AM: one child has class, the other does schoolwork with me
11:15-12:30 PM: errands & lunch, maybe finish guitar practice?
1-3 PM: Brownie Meeting
3:30-4:30 PM: Friend's house
5-6:30 PM: chorus rehearsal
??? dinner?
7:30 PM: book club

Doing chores by myself on Tuesday while my children practice their instruments is not a good thing. Thankfully next week we will probably have time for a real group effort.

However, I'm a little concerned about the clutter. We're still kind of recovering from a party this weekend, and I'm trying to sort through and organize some stuff, with the result that the house is looking pretty messy. This is where the whole housecleaning adventure could founder, and this is exactly why I'm blogging about it. If I can get the time to sort and organize and put things away, all will be well. If not, we can kiss our clean house goodbye. We have a busy few days ahead, so next week will be a good time to check back in and see how things are going. Wish me luck!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Ronia the Robber's Daughter

by Astrid Lindgren

This book deserves all the superlatives that have become cliches, and then a whole new set of superlatives again. It is that good. Set in a fantastical landscape of wild mountain woods habited by dwarves and harpies in addition to bears and wild horses, this book celebrates the beauty of nature just as Rasmus and the Vagabond does.

Its basic story is old as the hills: boy and girl from warring clans meet and join forces. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, they swear kinship, not love. Roaming through the magical forest where they live, each finds themselves up against dangers they cannot survive alone. Fortunately, the other is always close to hand. It is this chain of chance encounters that forges their relationship. In the end, they are the catalyst that brings their two clans together again. This is not a simple story, nor is it heartwarming in the cloying Disney sense. Instead it is human, and recognizable, and believable in spite of its surreal elements.

This book is written in a multi-level kind of way, so that a preteen interested in first love could find traces of it here, but a child interested in adventure would probably not even notice. There is, it seems, something for everyone here, and it is written, as usual, in a clear, matter-of-fact style that still manages to be lyrical and full of the joy of life.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Le Gros Monsieur

Did I mention we're studying French? Yes, we are, and I love it. I think the kids love it to. I also love our French program, but every now and then it makes me wonder, "Can they really say that?"

My first indication that this program was not too PC was Le Gros Monsieur. They don't give you translations, you're supposed to be thinking in French right from the get-go, but in my world, Le Gros Monsiuer means The Fat Guy. And indeed, the accompanying picture shows a person of some girth. Who eats. A lot. Or as they say on our CD, "Le Gros monsieur mange, mange, mange." Le Gros Monsieur has many lines along the lines of, "Garçon! Encore des spaghettis!" (Waiter! More spaghetti!) And then, to top it off, le monsieur mince rit (the skinny guy laughs). No, wait, tout le monde rit (everybody laughs). Ziad and Maya are cracking up right along with the CD, although I think it's more for the pleasure of laughing than anything else. And, of course, a French program that makes you laugh is a French program you will continue with. Still, is this really OK? Of course, le gros monsieur get his chance to laugh later on, when le monsieur mince tries on some pants that are too big, so maybe it all evens out in the end.

But then, in lesson 9, the mom spanks the baby! Admittedly, he has been throwing eggs all over the house, but still. What crazy world are these French teachers living in anyway?

Except I have a sneaking feeling that the PC bubble that is Northern California looks more like the crazy world to almost every one else.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Two degrees of separation

How do you get to Gilbert and Sullivan

from chemistry?

Via Tom Lehrer, of course.

It's amazing to me how our study of chemistry, via the periodic table of the elements, is opening out into so many other fields. We've talked a little bit about history, about different fields of science, about Greek word roots, and now, we're enjoying DVDs of the Pirates of Penzance, courtesy of Netflix. We've done dictation and copy work and drawn pictures of the uses of helium. All this after only three elements! I'm looking forward to seeing where the rest of the elements will take us.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Our house

is a very, very, very fine house.

Too bad it's not a very, very clean house.

But it's still in the running for my clean house countdown! We live in this house, and we do activities that use lots of stuff (guitars with their cases, music stands and music, books, workbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, the CD player and CDs ....) so the only way we are going to achieve that pared-down elegant look is to move out.

Cleaning on Wednesday went pretty well this week. Wednesday is turning into a crazy day, and I was very concerned we wouldn't get our work done. So I did half of it myself before the kids got up. The beauty part of this for me, though, is that it was so clear: I am doing them a favor! This is not my job here! They owe me!

So I feel comfortable saying that we haven't lost it yet. Lesley has been a cheerleader and well-wisher, and I'm so grateful for that. I feel as though I'm accepting her good vibes under false pretenses, though, because I was only ever trying to keep the two downstairs levels clean. That means five (or six, if you think the breakfast nook is it's own room) rooms and an entry way get maintained, while upstairs six rooms and a hallway steadily deteriorate. But this way I don't cringe when people come to the door! That's a good thing, right?

So, for the record, this house has been officially clean for (drum roll) 14 days!


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mirage the Cockatiel


Mirage was a sweet, gentle, friendly bird who died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday. We had been caring for her for a friend, who had adopted her from a rescue society, so her former life was a mystery, and her age unknown. Although she had stayed with us only a short time, we loved her dearly. Ziad and Maya were devastated. I probably would be too, except I have to be the mother and help them through this. We really miss her.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Holiday Tea

Sunday afternoon, after Maya's piano recital, I went for holiday tea. What was once a fairly large group of women, some of whom I knew pretty well, has dwindled down to quite a small group, none of whom I know well at all. I really like tea, though, so why would I let being the odd person out stop me from enjoying myself? Why, thank you very much, I wouldn't at all.

This year we went to Lisa's Tea Treasures in Campbell. We've also been to the one in Santana Row, but for some reason the one in Campbell is better. I can't exactly put my finger on it. It was a pleasant meal, with scones and lemon curd, and a lovely eggnog cake that I brought home for dinner.

The woman who organizes these teas is someone far removed from my normal circle of friends. She is a real estate agent, she is a religious Lutheran, she is an entrepeneur. I really like her, despite all these black marks against her. Because she is also thoughtful, open-minded, a little off-beat, and seems to share a lot of my views on what is important in child-raising. And she throws a mean tea. We eat, we talk, we exchange Christmas ornaments, there are always little favors. Nine years now, we've been doing this. How is that possible?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

No one cares what you ate for breakfast

I saw this title on an article about how to write a blog. Words to live by, I suppose. Although frankly, if one of my friends comes up with a breakfast menu they think is noteworthy for some reason, I'm game. Tell me about it.

However, if you're one of those people who don't care what I ate for breakfast, read no further. I'm not going to talk about what I ate, but what I did, and express my amazement that I can get up at 4 in the g_d morning and not really accomplish what I had planned.

Because, frankly, I thought I got up at 4 to have time for my reading. It turns out that if I want to really feel caught up on my reading, it takes a good 3 hours per day. An hour on the internet, an hour reading papers/magazines, and an hour reading an improving non-fiction kind of book (usually history). Since I don't actually HAVE 3 hours per day once the kids are up and things are moving, I pretty well have to start around 4 if I'm going to read.

So imagine my surprise when it turned out that I got up at 4 because I have become the kind of person who can't sleep well when they have tasks to do. I was even having a strange dream that I'm pretty sure was prompted by my promise to our guitar teacher that I would post an announcement about his school on some e-mail lists. One of the first things I did when I got up. But then, instead of cruising my e-mail and my blogs, I went downstairs and started looking at a history book I want the children to read. Then I did some prep for the Brownie meeting tomorrow. Then I wrote a little French dialog for the kids to perform as a puppet show. Then (and this is what really boggles my mind) I actually ironed the patches that Maya earned onto her badge sash, and followed that up with finishing a small amount of ironing that has been kicking around for approximately three months, and then reinforced another of her badges with some hand-sewing, as those iron-on patches don't really stick all that well. What is up with that? I am so not that mom. I am the mom who shows up with her kid's patches NOT ironed on and a million apologies and excuses as to why that is the case.

So here it is, 7 AM, too late to really count on a good block of reading time, and I haven't even started the soup for lunch, or looked at the Latin I'm trying to learn, or knitted a stitch on any of the many projects currently adorning my living room. I haven't planned the food for Ziad's party on Sunday, or even decided whether I'm going to buy or bake the cake. No exercise for me today, either, I'm thinking, because Tuesday is a day when we touch down at home very lightly. Guitar class, library visit, park day, and tonight an extra special treat, a presentation of magnetic tricks and hoop-la that I've heard is quite amazing. I wonder if I'll be able to stay awake.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Maya's Recital

Maya started piano lessons in August. She's been very happy, and practiced willingly, and this month it was time for her first recital. Her teacher played some songs for her to choose from, and Sunday she played her choice, The Bunny with no Name. A cute little song, and despite her obvious stage fright she played in a very interpretive way, with lots of little hopping effects. We were so proud of her.

Then the recital progressed, and towards the end of the hour the advanced students got to play. Beethoven, mostly. I am still reeling from that overpowering blast of musical talent and ability. Apparently this teacher has several, and I mean ten or more, students playing at the level of concert pianists. Including many who look to be younger than ten.

Before Maya's first lesson with this teacher, I had a few qualms because a) she sounded somewhat strict and b) I thought she might be kind of crazy. What sounded strict? Well, she is apparently completely adamant about practicing. If students don't practice enough, they get a warning. If they don't improve, that's it. She won't teach them any more. Although the fact that she can be this uncompromising also shows how much in demand she is. And this in spite of the fact that her students are not allowed to refer her to other people without her permission. I heard of one mother who wouldn't even tell other people her name. Why crazy? I heard that she teaches until 9 at night, and then, after she's finished teaching, her sons practice from 9 to 11. Her young, school-age sons. Who go to school the next morning. One of whom performed at Carnegie Hall this summer.

In person, however, she is completely wonderful. Very nice, and always so positive. She has had nothing but praise for Maya. And even though Maya has to write down how long she practices each day, and does not always practice the half hour she is supposed to, she practices enough to learn her assigned songs and maybe a few extra. So no problem. After the recital she gave all her students, even the big ones, little teddy bears. She seems to embody a love of music, and a commitment to it, that is completely warm-hearted and generous.

This is why, even though his commitment to practice is perhaps not so consistent, Ziad will be starting lessons this week. Damn, we're musical.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My madeleine

I am really more of a wine drinker than a beer drinker. I follow all those studies that keep popping up in the news -- wine has antioxidants, wine is good for your heart, wine lessens your risk of strokes. Beer, on the other hand, has been associated with gout in populations of men who drink it heavily. Although now I think I'm going to focus more on the B vitamins in hops, because beer is back in my radar again.

For reasons that could be a whole different blog post, I ordered Kirin with my sushi at lunch the other day. I drank it out of the bottle, not the glass, and when I took that first swig it was an amazing experience. All of a sudden, all those many beer drinking experiences of my distant youth hit me with full force. It was high school beer parties on warm summer nights, it was fancy Japanese dinners at long tables on tatami floors*, it was funky little restaurants in Japantown after a long evening of martial arts practice, it was every night I've ever spent when drinking beer for its own sake seemed a worthwhile pursuit. It was youth in a glass and it tasted good.

Amazingly, the whole bottle tasted good, not just that first drink. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Should you like more information on the mythic beast this beer is named after, here is a picture of a kirin, and here is Wikipedia's edifying entry on the subject.

* You may think of sake as the Japanese alcoholic beverage of choice, but I can tell you from experience that they drink a lot of beer. Also whiskey.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Book Club Recap

Well, without a book to bring us back to earth, our conversation soared. It took us a long time even to get around to our questions, and they weren't really questions, it seemed, just topics we wanted to talk about. Vivian asked about traditions -- how have our traditions changed now that we have families, what traditions are we creating with our families? Zelda asked about the places that we came from -- what do we miss? I was curious about siblings -- I wondered how our sibling relationships have changed now that we're all adults.

Of course it's not my place to share other people's stories on the internet. Still, it's safe to say that all of us have come a long way. We've traveled many miles, and we've also come through many difficult experiences. I'm proud to have such intelligent, thoughtful, and courageous women as my friends.

I can now also state from experience that drinking too much tea at night can leave your stomach as unhappy as drinking too much wine. Next time I'll have to be more moderate.