Monday, December 31, 2007

Bring on 2008

This year, we look forward to a new relative emerging from the woman whose lovely belly is pictured above. That, and many fun times and infuriating political moments and musically revelatory sensations. May you enjoy some or all of the same.

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Jones Soda hostess gift (thanks Lynn!), prices vary. Whole Foods Chocolate truffles (these are better than the Cappuccino flavor), $4.99, and Method brand holly berry dish soap, currently on sale for around $2.97.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

When entertaining relatives, one can go a bit batty. It is certainly understood that one should BYO Love, Attention, and Appreciation. (I read that, I shit you not, in "O" magazine. Sound advice.) Perhaps you are not eager to discuss the year's tensions, or future travel plans to family obligations (and not tropical getaways), or you just don't need to hear about little Johnny's overachievements yet again. I have the solution for you! Table games!

I've played many this season - in the guise of icebreakers for folks who don't know each other all that well, or in the spirit of convivial fun. One friend has an annual quiz....I found one here and combined some of the questions with this one here. I printed out a quiz that the head of the table will read out during brunch. We'll have children at our table this year (I think its time, and I'm eager to see how that works) so I've left in the easiest questions knowing they will get them.

Copying Lynn's icebreaker, I'll also ask everyone at my table about some faves and least faves of the holiday season. Fave ornament, least favorite Christmas song (religious and secular), fave gift to give, favorite Christmas beverage. I'll also ask each person to share a very favorite memory, hoping that my parents will share some of their childhood and memories of their parents and grandparents.

My children aren't crafty, but they do enjoy making placecards. We used a snowflake stamp, light blue paper, and glitter pens for ours. More creative types can read this article.

I'm looking forward to fun and festiveness around my table. Now, I'm going to go take a sleeping pill.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What a week! First I meet Bill Clinton, and now this? It's all too much.

(I am somewhat peeved about the new time, as it will really mess up my Thursday night issues. Who will host me for Friday "Lost" viewings?)

My children bought their gifts for each other, the neighbor food gifts are done, the champizzle is chilling for cocktails on Christmas Eve, and my melismas are in decent shape for all the Messiah sangin'. Bring on Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Though I loathe the clutter they create, I enjoy receiving magazine subscriptions (thanks C.! thanks mother-in-law! thanks CP! ) I was thus thrilled to see a feature on excellent subscriptions at The Morning News. This year, Santa is giving my daughter a subscription to Discovery Girls mag, but I'm reminded of how much more delightful and innocent Cricket is. Maybe next year. I love the shout-out to The Week, a fave of my dear friend Lynn (and rightly so! tis the thinking girls' Reader's Digest), and of course I am in lust with Cook's Illustrated.

That said, I don't know why, as today's neighborhood treat cooking went strangely awry. How in the world will I ever do something even slightly complicated?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Can you believe I didn't know that Ella had a whole Christmas album to herself? Where have I been? Here's a place where you can listen and download.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Home with sick boy and pressing deadlines...this seems like the perfect time to enjoy some spiked egg nog or a Prosecco cocktail. Instead, I'll stick with my fave holiday coffee this morning. Later this week, though, I'm going to check out the Jones Soda festiveness. This would make a great hostess gift or even a little something-something under the tree for your relatives and friends.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We interrupt this holiday revelry to smash all your baseball hopes and dreams. I doubt we've seen the last of the indictments. As for John Rocker, I am so proud of how well he has represented my hometown.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Peppermint Cupcakes, Anyone?

From the world's greatest cupcake website. Were it me, I might do a white icing with red glitter, or variations (green with white glitter, etc.). But it's not me, and I can assuredly state that I will not be making cupcakes this holiday season, so just go read the Cupcake Queen and do her bidding.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

(to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell")

We all have colds,
we all have colds,
sniffle snuffle sneeze and cough
we all have colds.

No meds work,
no meds work,
nothing that I ever take
seems to work.

I'm glad it's not next week,
I'm glad it's not next week,
at least we're sick right now
instead of next week.

They don't pay me the big preschool music teacher bucks for nothing. Despite being sick, I ran a pageant rehearsal, went to a barbecue featuring the original Red Clay Ramblers, went to a wedding and a reception, and went to an oyster roast -- all yesterday. I can really bring the noise.

For your holiday nugget this post, I recommend the following web site for an intimate look at an emo Christmas tree.... and that is just about as seasonal as I get at 76 degrees.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

During this, the Festival of Lights, I wish I could honor my Jewish brethren by learning more about their homeland and its ongoing issues. I would also enjoy some babka, if I could find it!! These recipes look too hard for me to make, but would be worth the effort if even marginally successful.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

We've been watching Fellini films. Last night, after I finished "La Dolce Vita", I went to sleep at peace despite the dark realities and violence of the movie. But I had meaty, symbol-ridden dreams. I was walking down my current street. The houses were the same mid-century ranches we still have, but only those: no brand new McMansions. As I walked, the houses got smaller, the trees denser, and I was on the street of my early childhood. Both streets are dead ends. I passed so many houses, wondering who lived in each one. Were they people with interesting lives? People who would fascinate me or people not worth knowing? People I might have met before or even know now? I saw the house of my childhood music director who had indeed been my neighbor, but the paint was peeling and the house was dilapidated and empty. At the end of the street, a vision! A beautiful glass and cedar modern house on a woodsy lot near a stream. An Asian man and his wife and child were working on it and invited me to tour. I met the man's father, who told me the story of how he met his wife, the daughter of a wealthy, powerful corporate leader. Then my children joined me, and we heard a funny noise, a noise that was very familiar to me. I knew at once it was my toddler son, waking up from his nap. So I took my children with me, warned them to be very quiet because they were about to be able to enter the past, and walked into the room. My little boy, about 18 months old, was in a crib smiling and asking to be picked up. My children laughed at him and we watched my son's former self until my eyes opened.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Little Wake Forest has done it again, and will go to the Meineke Bowl. Hurrah!