After my last post about Mouse Guard, I got the okay from David Petersen to post pictures of Sadie!  My husband bought this original page from him for my birthday, and my dad blew up the colored page from the comic to the same size, then framed them side by side.  This is hanging on our living room wall.

Mouse Guard Sadie

Isn’t she gorgeous?  I love her!  Here is the sketch he did for me in my hardcover book, while we were chatting at the New York Comic-Con.

Sadie sketch, done while we were chatting!

This is why I was clutching the book in my arms in the picture I took with him!  Brilliant.

Speaking of small rodents, we had a pair of real mice for almost 2 years, but they both passed on recently.  Unfortunately their life spans are pretty short.  They were very darling, but were more afraid of us than interactive with us.  So Chris decided on rats instead (we would love to get a dog, but don’t have the space or the time to raise a dog right now).  I know that most people think, “ewwww, rats!”  But we had a friend in college who kept a rat which was quite smart, clean, and cuddly, and Chris read a lot to confirm that pet rats tend to be that way.  So when the Paper Heart Rattery had babies available, we put together a rat home and went to pick up a pair of new rats! Here they are:


Here’s Tim meeting them for the first time:

Tim meeting the babies

He did manage to be gentle.


Even so, they were pretty scared, especially in the travel cage.

In the carrying cage

Here’s the new home we had ready for them. Pretty sweet for a pair of rats, if you ask me.

Our setup

During the car ride home, we decided on their names. I’ve always found human names for pets to be funny, so that’s what we did. This little guy we named Steve.  Pretty darling!


And this one we named Joe.  He’s a little bigger and bolder than Steve.


Already, they’re settling in and starting to get used to us. Here’s Joe getting acquainted with Daddy Chris.

Getting acquainted with Daddy

They like to climb around on us, and when we go near the cage, they come up and try to snoof us through the bars.  Pretty cute!


I have always considered myself somewhat geeky, since I enjoy sci-fi, comics, video games, and other geeky things, but I never thought I’d find myself at the New York Comic-Con!  Chris convinced me to go because we’d be seeing an old college friend, and because we’d get to meet David Petersen, the creator of Mouse Guard, which I love and have mentioned on this blog before.  It is a comic world set in the 1100’s, with mice that are adorable, yet fierce, resourceful, and fearlessly determined to protect their society.  How can anyone resist that?

We got to the Javits Center early, and went straight to David’s table, so we had a nice long chat before he got too busy greeting fans.  Our friend Jason Liang snapped this photo of us chatting with him and his wife, Julia.


Chris started off by telling them that he bought one of the original Mouse Guard pages for me.  It turns out that it is one of their favorites, and one they did not intend to sell, but we managed to get it due to a miscommunication between the two of them.  So I feel guilty, but very fortunate to have it.  He did reproduce it in watercolor for her later, which is so sweet.  I don’t think I can post a photo of the original that we own, but here you can see it on a T-shirt.  Of course I have ordered the shirt and will be wearing it all the time when the weather warms up!

As you can see, I was wearing my Malabrigo sweater that day.  I don’t remember how it came up, but Chris mentioned that I made it myself, so Julia told us about a scene in David’s upcoming children’s book that involves some porcupines who knit with their quills, and a bunny who tries but has a really hard time with it!  You can see a preview of this on his blog and it is delightful – I can’t wait for it to come out!  I told them they would have a large built-in audience of knitters looking for the book.

I brought my copy of the first Mouse Guard series collected in hardcover for him to autograph, which he signed with a little sketch of Sadie, the mouse in the artwork that we own.  I was going “squeeeeee!” on the inside the whole time.


I don’t normally do the ga-ga fangurl thing, but Mouse Guard is really worth it!

After that, I didn’t really care what we did for the rest of the day, but it was enjoyable.  We ran into characters like these:


Princess Peach from the Mario games – she was actually being interviewed for a cultural anthropolgy study.


A mother and daughter duo, not matching, but cute.  

And of course, the requisite Stormtroopers!


We even got to meet Colin Baker, the 6th Dr. Who.  As we were standing on line, I felt highly unworthy of even being there, because the women in front of us were totally geeking out – reciting what TARDIS stands for, debating over what will happen after the 13th Doctor, and fawning over a guy who was dressed like David Tennant, but didn’t look anything like him.  I never saw any of Colin Baker’s TV episodes, which apparently were pretty bad, but Chris and I really like the work he’s done in the Big Finish Dr. Who audio dramas. He was pleased to hear that we like them and said, “they are well written,” implying that the TV episodes were not..  Anyway, he signed a CD for us, and posed for a photo:


He actually said, “a rose between two thorns.”

After that, I almost fell asleep a few times at the DC Forum, where Chris was eager to hear the latest about Green Lantern.  Then we left the convention and went for dinner with Jason.


It had been forever since our last meeting.  He published some comics in college, and Chris contributed a couple of pieces.  Chris also commissioned a piece of artwork from him for my birthday many years ago:


Talented, indeed!  It was great to see him again, and a great day in general, geeking out with the best!

My sister Pat, her husband Rob, and baby Andy, my Mom visiting from Thailand, and my Papa, all came to stay with us for Christmas. We had a great time together. The preparations involved tons of gifts for each other, and for the two little boys.Lots of presents under the tree

They were so excited they woke up at dawn. The rest of us were tired from staying up late preparing everything!

Early morning Christmas excitement

Here’s Tim eating a leftover Linzer cookie from Santa.

Mmm!  Linzer cookie!

Since Tim is allergic to eggs, I took two different Linzer recipes, one with egg and one without, and combined the best parts. I also baked some of the little shapes cut out from the middle to make mini cookies.

Linzer cookies!

Okay, so my sugar powdering skills could use some work. But they were delicious, if I do say so myself!

Of course, Tim and Andy had the best gift hauls. Thomas the Tank was Tim’s big theme this year. I have to say, having a kid obsessed with a certain character makes the gift shopping sooooo easy. He loved everything!

Thomas dinner set from Grandpa Dave

Grandpa Dave sent some Thomas dinnerware, as well as a Big Wheel! Uncle Natty sent this 3-headed dragon.

Three-headed dragon from Uncle Natty

Chris and I expanded his Thomas Duplo set with James, Percy, Gordon, and Spencer with Sir Topham Hatt! He wouldn’t even look up for a picture, he was so busy playing.

Tim's new trains

As for me, my spinning wheel was my big early Christmas gift, and then I got a digital scale from Pat for my yarn and fiber — I’ve always been terrible at splitting skeins of sock yarn in two, so that will help! I also got The Knitting Workshop DVD by Elizabeth Zimmerman from my MIL Judy, and I got a subscription to Spin-Off Magazine from Nat and his family. Yay! Pat also got me Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (and So Can You!). I love him, and think he is an absolute genius. (Okay, so now you know where I lean in terms of politics.)

Chris also got me Mouse Guard figurines. Unless you’re a comic geek you may not be familiar with Mouse Guard, which is a complex and beautifully illustrated series, and of course I can’t resist the cute characters. They aren’t cutesy though, they’re actually pretty realistic. If you’re interested, the first series has been collected in a hardcover edition which I have, of course! It is brilliant.  We are also fans of Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix series, and have been collecting some of the English versions.  I didn’t have time to read them much during residency, but now Chris bought a bunch and has caught me up to all the ones that have been released to date.  It’s great reading.

Here’s our Christmas dinner spread:

Christmas dinner

We had beef oven roast wrapped in bacon, brussels sprouts with bacon (hey, Tim and I like bacon), and Yukon gold baby potatoes. I watch the Food Network a lot but rarely make anything from it, but Rachel Ray made the potato dish which looked soooooo good, and it really turned out well. It involves chicken stock and butter. Tender on the inside, browned on the outside! For dessert, I made a chocolate ganache pie topped with fruit and whipped cream. Mmmm!

After dinner we did some more photos, here’s one of my favorites:

Christmas nuzzle

Here are the two silly hubbies goofing off:

Goofing husbands

There are more Christmas pictures on my Flickr account, for those of you (Mom) who want to see some more. This is already a pretty long blog post!

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays!