Previous month:
November 2010
Next month:
January 2011

will not have to worry about vampires tonight

Where I am, two hours from now, it will be 2011. I hope yours is all you might hope for.

We just finished a fierce Apples to Apples game with all of the kids, which we started shortly after we got back from a Czech pub where we had really good beer and I had old Czech garlic soup (Staročeská česnečka s chlebovými krutony, šunkou a sýrem), which was something like this recipe but also with little chunks of ham. It was perfect, frankly, for a cold night.

Before that, the adults went to a performance of Handel's Messiah, where we discovered that no one in Prague stands during the Hallelujah chorus. Also, like in the U.S., the women's restroom line is always 3 times as long as the men's.

Before that, we went to the Christmas markets in the Old Town Square.



There was ham. Yummy, fire roasted ham.

And this, the name of which has escaped me:


It's like an Elephant Ear covered with garlic sauce, ketchup (yes, really) and cheese. It's good - but far too much for one person to eat. 

The kids climbed a chunk of ice while the adults wandered and ate:



We climbed the astronomical clock tower and took some pictures of cool old stuff.


And some cool newer stuff.


And a shout-out to Slovaquie, because humans can't resist leaving their mark. 


For all of the old, there's also new. Like Starbucks.


And subways. Which the kids are learning to ride like pros.


On New Year's Eve here, the locals set off unlicensed fireworks wherever they can. Right now, it sounds like we might be being shelled. Soon, I will be going to bed. While we've mostly adjusted to the time change, every so often, it feels like being hit in the head with a brick. This is one of those times.

we have taken the castle

Can you guess where we are?


This was taken after about 12 hours in the air on various planes. No wonder her eyes are closed.






There are organ grinders here but I don't think they should count if they don't have live monkeys.


The Hub is in the brown coat. It's a little chilly in Prague right now - but, really no colder than at home. WE have the clothes for it and it's mostly just fine.  St. Vitus' Cathedral is on the left.


From the top of the Cathedral's tower, which was 287ish steps straight up. Worth the climb but oy. Lots of steps.


So funny story: 


There are gingerbread ornaments hanging on the tree in the absolutely stunning gothic-y front bit of the cathedral. We stopped keeping an eagle eye on Cory just long enough for him to eat part of one of them. Is that a venal sin? 

Speaking of - both kids did amazingly well on the flight. Last night was a little touch and go, since the Boy had been up for 27 hours by the time he fell asleep. We've been really impressed by them, tho. It's nice to be pleasantly surprised by your children. As opposed to the oh-god-no sort of surprise.



More later...

many things make a post

* I still don't understand why there hasn't been another Bands on the Run.

* Does anyone know if Elizabeth Zimmermann was an American citizen? If so, we might just need to nominate her.

* A little late for Christmas but still useful: GF gift ideas. (HT to Stitch Bitch.)

* How to not go crazy when traveling with your kids. Given that we leave soon, this is good to keep in mind.

* The excruciating process game designers go through when envisioning female characters.

* It's like parenting's version of the Darwin Awards - but without death and dismemberment. 

* "I try, it tries."

* Aaron Sorkin on Sarah Palin's Alaska.

* A little late for the actual event (sensing a theme yet?) but the Real 12 Stages of a Lunar Eclipse.

a night and a day in photos

I hope that your holidays were all one could hope. And if this wasn't your holiday, then I hope that your weekend was pleasant and your Chinese food hot.

In short, our weekend looked like this: 


In some Italian families, Christmas Eve is celebrated with seven kinds of fish. Given that I am only half Italian and don't much like fish, we had two. Next year, as Doula K suggested, we will add Swedish fish and listen to a Phish CD.


The tree.


The McGregor under the tree.


The Boy's favorite gift was a construction set that used some kind of space age foam as the "wood." Also note the cardboard box in the right side of the frame. Each kid got one from Grandpa S. Also big hits.


The Diva got all kinds of American Girl stuff, including the Care and Keeping of You book, which was a big hit, if also a reminder to the Hub and I that we'll be dealing with all sorts of stuff before too long.


Christmas morning waffles.


The first toy casualty. We think we can fix Adam with some glue. Or C4. Whichever.

A note: posting might be weird* for the next few days, which will prove to be full of airports and passports and angst. Even now, I am doubting the wisdom of what we're about to do. But the hope is that no one will wind up like Adam.

Wish us luck.

* well, relatively weird, given the normal state of things around here.


thither and, indeed, yon

Couple of things -

If you've ever wondered about what my desk looks like, the lovely and talented Terri Windling has blogged about it (and said the kindest things about my books). 

I've been meaning to tell you about the Christmas card holder I made:


There are now significantly more cards on it. 

Two Christmasy links, then I need to away. I feel like I ought to be wrapping something.

Link the first: Scalzi's interview with the Innkeeper.

Link the second: a musical interlude from Lenny and Squiggy.

up with figs, god help us everyone

Once upon a time, Lisa and Adrienne worked for the same alternative newsweekly. Now, both spend their respective days mining their creative souls and leading hermit-like lives. And so an idea was hatched. Every week, one would send the other a sketch - either in illustration or word form - and the other would make a companion sketch. The result would be posted on both their blogs every week, just for grins. Even if the result isn't award-worthy, the exercise might make both minds more nimble. Hopefully.

God help us every one

No one ever asked what she wanted for Christmas. She would have been happy to tell them. 

It isn’t a new car. Or a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Or a mink. Or a diamond necklace from Jared.

It isn’t peace on Earth, if only because that is impossible as long as there are animals and plants living on it. It isn’t a perfect day with her family, because that, too, is impossible. She’s happy with what her family usually gives her, which is themselves as they are, even if, at times, that makes her want to tell them to all just shut up already. Those moments pass quickly.

She doesn’t want her two front teeth. Or a pony. Or a puppy. Or, really, anything else that requires care. Even sourdough starter is too needy right now.

What she’d really like, deep in her heart of heart where even Santa fears to tread, is for it to be easier. She’d also like to know how this story ends, just to know if this is a light comedy or a cautionary tale.

Barring the impossible, however, she’d like something that no one ever seems to think to give her: a tin of Peppermint Bark from Crate and Barrel and a chocolate babka from Dean and Deluca. And to not have to share.


Text ©Adrienne Martini; illustration ©Lisa Horstman. Until the end of time. Or something.

(A note: Up with Figs will be taking a wee ickle break until Jan. 12, because both Lisa and I are going to loll around and let our minds go slack have places to go and people to see.)


many things make a post

* Not sure how I missed these darling mittens when they were first published. I worry about my brain.

* Tweed wreath. Must make.

* These Simple Science photos are gorgeous and informative.

* Gnomes! And OWLS!

* What to do with all of your day-old news. (HT to JaNell)

* "It's a way of getting their heads to meetings." Heh. Sir Ken Robinson's talk is just a great lecture about education overall - but that quote sticks with me. Also: "degrees aren't worth anything." (HT to my dad.)

* Related: we were just talking about how we're seeing a lot more serious mental illnesses in our students. And I don't mean that in a glib way.

* I love these Christmas tree ornament trees.

* An inside glimpse into the life of a nonfiction writer.

* Top 14 astronomy pictures of 2010. Space is just amazing, ain't it?

* "I will not whine. I will not blubber. I will not make mewling whimpering cryface pissypants boo-hoo noises. I will not sing lamentations to my weakness." I need to photocopy the Writer's Prayer and pin it above my computer.

* Cookies tell a story.

out and back again

Even in the depths of winter dark and dreary, New England is just darn scenic. And the region's knitters and shop owners rock.

As is usual, I managed to take no pictures. I did, however, remember to hand my camera to someone who did take some pictures. 

This is Madeline, the Yarn Sellar's daughter, wearing Mary Tudor:


And the assembled knitters of York, ME:


Then on to the Woolery:


Owner Deb and I. 

Sadly, once I hit Metaphor Yarns, I reverted to my camnesia. When will I learn? When? At least I'm consistent, right?

Thanks again for having me!

In addition to a wicked annoying cold, which I strongly suspect I caught from my son before I even left, I brought back some other goodies.


The wooden thing is not for staking the hearts of vampires a la Buffy. It is a yarn ball holder spinny thing (which I suspect has a real name that I'm blanking on) that is crafted by a local woodworker in Maine. It'll come in handy with the other two items pictured. The gray yarn will turn up in a later post. The purple yarn, tho, is a yummy discontinued color from Harrisville Designs, whose shop nearly sent me over the edge with glee. I Have A Plan for the 7 skeins I picked up. Alice Starmore is involved. I've said too much.

Also, before I left, I finished the Hub's mittens.


He was in the process of doing an interpretive dance about butterflies* when I snapped the picture.


* Not really. He was watching the Bills game. Same difference.