I see that the last thing I reported was that gingerbread cookies were on the agenda for Thursday night. I am happy to report, they were made. We have successfully captured the gingerbread people (including the rare cyclops ninja) and trapped them inside this cookie jar. Resistance is futile.
As you can see, we had too much fun decorating these. Initially, I thought I'd stay out of the kitchen and let Maria and Shawn catch up. Maria is a former colleague of Shawn's. She used to work at the Minnesota History Center, but has now moved on to records management, maybe? (I wasn't entirely paying attention early on), at Thrivenet, formerly Lutheran Brotherhood. BUT, when it was clear that what they wanted to do was drink wine and chat, I let them settle into that and did the rolling and baking. At this point, it's second nature to me, so I could join in the chat while getting things together.
When the cookies were cooled, everyone did the decorating.
I had bought the "googly' eyes from Micheal's along with a bunch of other odd edible bits, including lips and mustaches--they all came in a packet for a couple of bucks. I also bought a few frosting tubes because I was there and decided that I was feeling too lazy to do the frosting from scratch on top of everything else.
They're quite whimsical, so I'm very happy with them.
I got together with the usual crew on Friday afternoon, except for Eleanor, who was off getting her hair cut. pegkerr
brought along her holiday cards to label and stamp. It's interesting to note that Peg's family has always done a Christmas family newsletter. She and I had both come across recent articles talking about how fewer people are writing these sorts of things any more and how this is a concern for historians, as sources of 'mundane' life. The article I had read was from the Smithsonian and was called "The History of Our Love-Hate Relationship with the Christmas Letter"
I happen to enjoy a well written holiday letter, myself. But, given that I still enjoy the long form of blogging, that's probably not a surprise.
But, otherwise, we were all fairly low-key on Friday. naomikritzer
is still, in many ways, recovering from her trip to Taiwan and China. And, I think we were all suffering from a lack of sunshine (though it's been more sunny here starting on Friday. Previously it had been gray with gray sauce.). These dark nights have been tough on me. I'm already an early to bed sort and when it's dark at 5:30 pm, I think, "Okay, great! Time for bed!" Except, yeah, it's like 5:30 pm.
Saturday was a busy day for our family. I took Mason into his job at the Science Museum at 10 am. I was able to say "hello"/"goodbye" on a hangout with jiawen
, but then had to take off to go to Mason's work's "open house" that they had scheduled from noon to 2 pm. The Science Museum is not normally more than 10 minutes from our house, but we have gotten in the habit (thank goodness) of leaving a bit earlier because it always seems that there is something happening at the Xcel Center. Saturday seemed to be no exception. There was a Minnesota Wild (our hockey team) game happening and we ended up having to pay $20 for parking. (Outrage! Except, that Shawn pointed out that we could think of it as a donation to the Science Museum, which we happily support in all of its endeavors.)
The open house was cool.
The program that Mason works for is called KAYSC, which stands for the Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center.
They're a nifty little organization that focuses on bringing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills to high schoolers in underserved communities. Mason goes to one of their target high schools, which is how he ended up able to apply. Washington Technical has a predominantly Asian-American student body, with Caucasian students making up only 6%
. At KAYSC, Mason gets an opportunity to get paid to learn STEM and project management skills, with a focus on using the sciences to served local communities--something the KAYSC people call "STEM Justice," which is a term I adore. Honest to gods, I would have killed to have a job like this when I was Mason's age. Heck, I'd love one like this _now_.
At the open house, we got to see some of the areas of interest that the students had identified for themselves. They had set-up various presentations (some static/interactive displays, a couple of video programs, and one tour). I wanted to do the tour, because they were going to talk about gentrification, but we also didn't want to miss the big team reveal at the end of the open house, where Mason would find out which project leader he would be assigned to. They have four "tracks." There's an environmental sciences and sustainability one, which is where Mason ended up, a Engineering and Design, a Biological Sciences and Public Health, and a Media and Technology one. There were some really well put together displays, including Mason's which focused on stereotypes in storytelling. I was also really impressed with a team that had micro greens growing and talked about ways in which low-income houses could cheaply incorporate more nutrient rich foods. Another group has a display about the problems GLBTQIA+ students have in high school.
So you can see the sorts of things they focus on.
Mason seems very happy with the assignment. Engineering and Design had been his first pick, but Environmental Science was his second. Given that he has an engineering track at his high school, I imagine they factored that into their decision where he might learn the most. Because, getting serious, this job is 100% about getting paid to learn, which is why it is SO awesome and probably the best first job any high schooler could hope for.
But, the event was high energy and full of people moving around and OMG, even this extrovert needed a NAP after that.
Mason, meanwhile, had us stop at home to pick up some gaming stuff and headed over to his friend's house to play D&D with his robotics crew. He was there, with them, until almost 10 pm.
Shawn and I came back and collapsed into a heap, but we got back up to make homemade pizza for dinner. Shawn had a work holiday party at a house on Summit Avenue (fancy!) which I bowed out of for a bunch of reasons, but not the least of which was that I am staring up some RPGing of my own.
I had such a lovely time doing a Star Trek: Discovery
one-shot with jiawen
at CONfabulous this last year, that we decided to try to make it a regular thing. We spent Saturday night rolling up our characters, and I'm already very happy to watch everyone's character histories comes through my e-mail feed. We're doing this online, as our players are scattered across the globe. I'm looking forward to the campaign beginning in earnest. It's been some time since I had a regular gaming group... probably college, which is going on 30 years ago. Though to be fair, I did keep up with some folks a few years after that, so let's call it 25 years ago?
Even so, that's a long time ago.
I had gone cold-turkey from gaming about the time I started concentrating on novel writing as a career because, for me, I felt it used a lot of the same mental muscles. I felt I could EITHER use those muscles to write _or_ RPG. I'm not sure I was right about that, however--I know a lot of pro writers who could do both.
But, that was the choice I made.
I'm excited to get back into it, regardless. I also love that in the twenty-five or so intervening years the demographics have flipped. The STRONG majority of us are women (4/5ths). There's only one guy gaming with us. That's amazing. I can't wait to find out what that's like. In the past I was always the only woman or one of a very few... I met my wife gaming, but we drifted together partly _because_ there weren't many women in that campaign... though I think there was at LEAST one other. (To be fair, it was actually love at first sight, since when she asked me to draw her character and said that they should have blonde hair and brown eyes, I told her I thought that was an unusual combination, and she said, 'that's what I am,' and I looked up and literally said, "Oh. You have the most beautiful eyes I have EVER seen." So, you know....)
Anyway. I'm not sure exactly what happened on Sunday, except that Mason and I got into a hormone fueled bickering session that ended with us marathoning several hours of the new Super Smash Bros, Ultimate
game on the Switch in order to work it out (which we did. Gaming as therapy is real in the house of hormones, which is what we call our house as Mason is in puberty and Shawn and I are both in various stages of menopause.)
So, that's me. How's by you?