End-of-Week Attention Grabber

What if I were a real blogger? Someone who thought they were she was interesting enough to add their her favorite posts/photos/songs this week to the deluge of Friday link-roundups? (No, the pronoun article did not really interest me in the least.)

This would mean I thought I was pretty cool. Look, guys, look at all the things I liked this week, most of which you did not read or see or hear, because you are not me, and we read different things. (This is actually a useful practice, in that respect.)

But a list of links makes me panic a little. It's like the pile of tabs I have above this draft post, waiting for me to read them/send them on/put them on the list of things I meant to read but haven't yet. Those lists. Those lists. There are so many links in the world! So many links.

Should I really contribute? Can I even remember what I liked this week? Do real bloggers keep a running list on an e-sticky note on their desktop, so they know where to send their readers at the end of the week?
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Nico posted this great video of old-timey Moscow. 

Emma returned to the blogging world recently! And blogged about captivating photos from the USSR.

Russia continued to be a bad place. (Spiegel probably told me this a lot, but I delete Spiegel newsletters as soon as I've looked at them, because anxiety.)

I continued to not be Emma, and didn't read that much about Russia.

I'm halfway through this post about William James and being an expat in Berlin. It was published in December. I like it.

John showed me how he makes these delicious chicken pot pies, adapted from Stephanie on 3191, adapted  from a cookbook. (We added potatoes and decreased the other veggies.) All I want for the rest of forever is a pile of them in my fridge. And a few useful belts. 
I thought a lot about big dogs, and soon John was, and now I have this great series of photos to look at whenever I want.

The Billfold posted a link to a useful-looking budgeting spreadsheet. I'm attached to mine, which is unwieldy, poorly organized, and almost six months in, so I don't know if I'm going to try this one out.
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How'd I do?

Now That the Epiphany Is Long Past: My Family's Christmas Miracle

As I promised on Facebook: the Christmas miracle of sustainability that confronted my family's apathy and laziness with holiday cheer.

Before Christmas, I talked to my brother John. He had to work on the 23rd, and the 26th, and so would only be home two days. I would only be home for three -- three glorious days without work, two of them paid!

My family has suggested cancelling Christmas most years I can remember. There's a lot of work, you know? You have to leave the house and deal with the commercial world, at the most commercial time of year. You have to clean up the living room. You have to purchase presents. Wrapping them? Ha! Christmas trees...can't we just skip the tree this year?



NO, we said, every year. I think my high school boyfriend helped me buy a tree one year. John started going with me. Occasionally, my dad agrees to come along, like we used to do.

This year, I talked to John. Then I talked to my mom. "It's probably not worth it this year."

"I guess you're right," she said. "But I like the tree."

The lights on the tree are my favorite part of Christmas. But why support the death of a tree (albeit one from a tree farm) for only two days of maximum enjoyment and so much griping from my dad? He always has to take the ornaments off it, because John and I are back in Ann Arbor. He hates it.
I started to get sad about the tree. I decided to bring my tiny Euro cypress tree from Trader Joe's home with me, complete with its string of ten little LED lights from Ikea. The string was far too large for this itty plant, and the bright white of the LEDs was too strong for so little foliage, and not that lovely goldy twinkle I look forward to. But at least it was a Christmas "tree."

I was pretty sure it was dead, but I would stick it in the cupholder in Emma's car for the ride home, and it could adorn the coffee table in the living room or something. 

(Later confirmed: very, very dead, with such painful little prickles.)

December 23rd came around. We woke up to a sunny morning, and I had no obligations. Just pack and go home. Maybe sample some fancy truffles at the nice cheese and liquor store on the way out of town.
Good choice.

But before Emma and I loaded up her car, before I threw five outfits worth of clothes in a bag -- over-prepared for my three-day trip to cat and dog hair everywhere -- my boyfriend ate his oatmeal, donned his coat, and left my building through the front door.
It was meant to be! Who cares if you throw out a tree after three and a half days of use if you're the second family to enjoy it! It cost nothing! 
I rescued it from the curb, and was delighted to find it was a Frasier fir. And not so little, either...
It took up Emma's entire backseat, and the top foot was sticking out the window, the whole ride home on I-94. 

When I knocked on the door to my parents' house, Finn barked through the window at me in excitement and my dad came to let us in. Emma claims that he looked horrified to open the door and find her standing there with a surprise tree on her back.
Oh well. All he had to do was trim the bottom and the top and stick it in the stand. I did the lights, and we skipped the ornaments, to make it easier for him to take down later. Pretty good for a free tree, right?

I got two ornaments for Christmas, though:
Such cuties.

And there were wrapped presents to open under the tree, and The Hobbit to reread and then watch in the theater as a family, and my Isa-kitten, who treated me fairly well, this time. (Sorry about the pictures in that old post...I think the ones from Facebook aren't working. Rude!)
I'll spare you the saga of the floor-clearing, and the table-clearing, because that is the most boring saga. But the rest was a good, good time. We ate so many clementines and delicious macarons and double-cream brie and roast beef. Yum. The End.

I Resolve

...that this plastic-wrapped, chocolate-enrobed peppermint oreo (it's a "jo-jo," ssshh) is going to be the last sweet I eat for a week. Because it's the last prepared sweet in my apartment, so it probably has to go before I've got a shot at this.

In the meantime, I've had two cookies at work, because THEY WILL NOT END. They're not even good after five? days on the counter, but I'm hungry and I can see them and they are chocolatey.