Saturday, December 24, 2016

Holiday ups and downs

Generally things are going fairly well on a personal level; so as long as I don't think too much about the state of the world, I'm ok.  Actually, I just recently found that I have been authorized to go to TRB in a couple of weeks.  I thought that TRB was generally the 3rd week of January, but perhaps every fourth year when there is an Inauguration, they move it up or down to avoid conflicts.  (It's hard enough to get rooms in DC during TRB, so I can't imagine trying to hold the two at the same time!)  I'm still not entirely sure I would have gone to TRB after Inauguration.  It's all still pretty raw, and it certainly looks like Trump is going to live down to our worst fears.  Maybe in a year or two, I'll think more seriously about taking the family to DC, but certainly no time soon.

While I am in DC to present at the conference and network and go to a bunch of sessions, I should have some time to see museums on Sunday.  I'll probably aim to check out the National Gallery (particularly the Stuart Davis exhibition) and the Hirshhorn.  The Freer is closed, and I probably won't go to the Sackler, since the two are sort of a pair.  I often try to get to the American Art Museum, especially as it is open a bit later than the other ones, though I may not this time around.

The Phillips Collection (off DuPont Circle) is always worth visiting, though I am not interested in the special exhibit (I've already seen the Jacob Lawrence migration series).  Depending on how many other sessions I am going to, I may be able to sneak away towards the end of the day Tuesday and just go see the main collection.  The Corcoran Gallery of Art has been taken over and is being remodeled, so I won't be going there.  At any rate, I think this should be a manageable trip, but it will be sort of weird going to TRB now that it has moved to a more central location.

I'm doing a bit of writing (not as much as I should of course), and I've been reading a bit manically (and delving ever deeper into semi-obscure authors).  I'm just about to wind up my best reads of 2016 post, though there might be a late entry if I get through these other books first (and then I have to decide which books comes off, though I think I know the answer already).  I've had some luck with inter-library loan (one of the local librarians will order novels even if they are reference, since she recognizes people want to read books at home, not sitting in the reference room).  Also, unbeknownst to me, the Toronto library ordered a couple of copies of Sherrill's The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time, which is a much delayed sequel to The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break.  I'm fairly excited about reading this in January once it turns up at the local branch.

As far as holiday things are going, I have the presents and stocking stuffers bought, though I suspect the kids might want a bit more in the way of gifts.  It is a relatively light Christmas for the kids this year, though the relatives are adding to their catch.  Anyway, I am about halfway done with the wrapping, so that tomorrow night won't be too bad.

Probably the biggest single downer is that I waited too long on sending the Christmas card around (basically Friday morning when most people had already taken off).  I also sent almost all of them as bcc's, and I think this year that triggered a warning and my account was blocked (and the emails didn't get delivered!).  Anyway, there wasn't any notification one way or another, and I had a technician reset my password, and I went back in this evening.  I sent off the cards as a smaller batch of specific emails with only one or two bccs.  I think these went out, but it is hard to tell.  When I tried to log back in, I was frozen out again, and the Bell technician said it had to get elevated to level 2, so someone will deal with it in the morning.  I'm actually kind of pissed.  It's not so much that I resent my Christmas card being taken for spam, but a lot of people are sending Christmas e-cards and there ought to be a way to tell the email provider that these are legitimate.  In any event, once they block your account for presumably spamming people, they have to notify you that they did this!  It's not fair to have to try to track them down and get them to reopen your account.

On a more positive note, I managed to get back in the sewing mode.  I never did make the other apples for the children's teachers, as I said I would in this post.  The curtains just took so long, though I finally finished them a few weeks back.  I decided to try another idea I had for a while, and that was to make a stuffed cat.  It took about 4 hours in total.


In the end, I would say it came out better than I had any right to expect (especially the tail and ears), but still not quite as well as I had hoped (though seen from the back it is fairly close to what I had envisioned).  The fact that it is homemade and has "character" isn't going to cut that much ice with my daughter, who will probably think it is ugly.  It is nice that the sewing part went really well, with only a few snarled threads, which bodes well for other projects using cotton.

At any rate, over the next week or so, I will try to get a second set of curtains made, and then I'll make one or two more stuffed animals for friends who have kids, but I think I'll try something a lot simpler, like a fish.  Then I guess I'll make an attempt at a Christmas-themed quilt.  Fingers crossed.

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