Signs of the Season?

For me, the holidays begin when Starbucks starts using their special festive cups, which come in both red and white this year.

Well, not really.
I mean, they do use festive cups, and they do come in two colors (I think the red ones are only for Venti though), but that's not truly the harbinger of the holidays.

Still, there are some holiday traditions that make it or break it for me, and they are far more crucial than not having turkey using my grandfather's recipe.

The first is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Because we've been at other people's houses for so many Thanksgivings recently, I've missed it, and stupid as it may be, the day just isn't right without those silly ballons, and canned singing. The San Jose Christmas Parade just isn't the same thing.

The second is the appearance of Pfefferneusse in the stores. They're not my favorite cookie, but those little half-spheres coated in powdered sugar bring back all my best childhood memories.

And then, there are craft shows. Every year, my mother and I would find a craft show to attend on the weekend of Thanksgiving. Here in SJ, that's easy, because Harvest Festival comes to the convention center. It's cheesy, but it's cozy at the same time. And there's always the hope that my favorite hatmaker will be there.

Reading Journal – November 2002

Nova from Open Diary got me hooked on keeping track of what I read. I haven't posted a list since, well, the first time I posted a list, which was months ago, and thought, well, it's Thanksgiving (ok, technically it's not any more, but the sun hasn't come up yet, so, it's still fiscally Thanksgiving), and I'm thankful for books, and literacy, why not use this as the day for posting my list. And then I did my whole BookCrossing thing, earlier, and forgot. And then I remembered. So.

Animal Husbandry, by Laura Zigman: There's an Ashely Judd movie based on this that I've never seen. The book was both funny and sad, sometimes at the same moment.

The Boy Next Door, by Meggin Cabot: Yes, this is the same woman who wrote The Princess Diaries. Yes, I've read them, as well. No, this isn't in journal form. It's about actual adults, and it's all in email. Perfect for people who have to do their reading in fits and starts.

A Highland Christmas, by M.C. Beaton: Hamish MacBeth does Christmas. At a mere 70 pages, this barely qualifies as a whole book.

Colony, by Anne Rivers Siddons: I read this eons ago when it first came out, and re-read it in the last few days before my mother came because it was in a box with another of ARS's novels and a bunch of shoes. All the other books that we'd brought from storage at that point were already shelved, so I picked this up. I like her books, because she does nice characters, but it gets hard to read so many novels where EVERYONE is dysfunctional.

A Deep Blue Farewell, by Sharon Duncan: I love mysteries, and I love books about sailing and stories where weather is an issue. This had all three. Total mindcandy. Yum!

Farm Fatale, by Wendy Holden: This book could easily be a BBC sitcom, except that then it would go on forever, and become closer. Actually, it's rather like a combination of To the Manor Born and that other BritCom about the cityfolk who move to the country and go organic (Good Neighbours?). This entry in my list made me nostalgic for KTEH's British Comedy Night, which I never remember to watch any more. Yeah, it's true, I'm a PBS kid.

Low Country, by Anne Rivers Siddons: See the entry for Colony above. The only real difference is the accent and the temperature of the water.

Dance Upon the Air, by Nora Roberts: I don't generally read romances. I also don't generally read parts of trilogies out of sequence, but in this case, I'd picked up the first book in the Three Sisters Island series over the summer, and, because I wasn't familiar with the author, didn't go hunt down the other two. Then in October I found this, and took it home with me, but couldn't read it until I'd finished something else. It reminded me of how much I've dreamed of owning my own cafe.

Confessions of a Shopaholic, by Sophie Kinsella: Anyone who's seen the millions of pieces of clothing that hang in my closet, never worn but still bearing tags, can understand why I picked this up. I'm told there's a sequel, too…

Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, by Stanly Weintraub: I registered this at, so you can read the review I posted there. Username is Ymedath.

A Dog's Ransom, by Patricia Highsmith: Another book I reviewed at Another mystery. I have been in a mystery mood, I guess.

Face the Fire, by Nora Roberts: Book three in the Three Sisters Island trilogy. I bought two copies, intending to pass one along to my mother, who has instructions to leave it at the La Paz Cruisers Club, for some yachtie to grab. The thing I hate about the last book in a series is that they always end too soon.

Scarlet Feather, by Maeve Binchy: When I was ten, my mother and I would fight over who got to read Ms. and Redbook first. Now I win every time, although both subscriptions are still hers (because her mail comes to me, and it's stupid to have two subscriptions to the same magazine). But I digress. When I was ten, an excerpt from Ms. Binchy's first novel, Light A Penny Candle, was in Redbook, and just as we fought over the magazine, we fought over the book when we finally read it a few years later. I've drifted in and out of love with Binchy's books ever since, but then on my last trip to Barnes and Noble, this book was sitting on the $3.99 rack. Since I firmly believe that it's nearly impossible to go wrong with a book under $4.00, I bought it. Then I read it. Does it mean something that I keep picking up books about women running cafes, bakeries, bookstores, and catering companies? *sigh* Anyway, it was a nice read.

Feeling Bookish.

I started reading before I really even knew what reading was. Or something like that. Some of my favorite books – ones that won't be released – are classic children's books from when I was three and four. By the time I was seven, I'd finished the entire Little House… series, and the unabridged version of Little Women.

By the time I was nine, it was normal for me to have stacks of books near my bed, near my seat at the table, and, of course, in the bathroom. (Actually, bathroom reading was prescribed to me by a doctor, once, but that's far too personal a tale). My mother says that she used to find me asleep with the light on and a book folded open on my chest at three in the morning, when I was a kid (my husband says this still happens) and I know I've broken the straps on my backpacks and bookbags more than once from overstuffing them.

These days, with work and a house and all, I usually finish 10-20 books a month. Not bad, for someone who does most of her reading in the bathroom – still. (And everyone wondered why I inisted the toilets in our new house have poofy seats).