Archive | December, 2008

What I’m Reading is Back!

30 Dec

After a long hiatus, I just updated What I’m Reading.  I think this will be a once a week update, so keep checking in.  I’m starting Twilight tomorrow — can’t wait!

Interview Time!

27 Dec

Thanks to Lydia for the great questions! 

1.  What is your best Scrabble word?

I’m terrible at Scrabble, so, as lame as it is, my best word is probably “quit.”  “Quiet” would be better, but I never seem to have the “e” when I need it.  A close runner up is “axe.”  You need that extra point for the “e”!

2.  Would you attend a party with many fascinating people you have never met if you had to attend alone?

I think so.  I would want to go, and know I would kick myself for not going, but mustering up the courage to walk into a party alone would not be easy.  I won’t do a lot of things alone: eat at a restaurant, go to the movies, go to a bar, etc.  I have a bad habit of talking to myself out loud, and that makes me the creepy girl muttering to herself at the table in the corner.  But, I think I could pull it together to go to a party alone, if I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t.

3.  What is your favorite special feature on a DVD?

The deleted scenes.  I like to see if they would have made the movie better or worse if they had made it in.  Nine time out of ten it would be worse.  Those movie makers are smart.

4.  If you were to add a 13th month into the year, where would you put it and what would you call it?

Hmmm…this is a good one!  I think I’d put it in between May & June.  That way it would be warm, but not too hot.  You could go to the beach at night with a sweatshirt, and there would be an extra month of baseball and cookouts.  I’d name it Geoff, because I like that name, its short and can be abbreviated to Geo, which is kind of cool.

5.  Would you take 5 months off to travel the world if you only had a 50/50 chance of being employed when you got back?

No.  I’m not a risk taker like that, although I envy people who can do that.  Maybe before, when I didn’t own a house.  Now, keeping this house is probably the biggest responsibility I have right now now, and I don’t think I could risk losing it for a five monthvacation.  Plus, as cliche as it sounds, with the economy the way it is right now, I’m just happy to have a job, and am desperately trying not to screw it up and lose it.  I want to say yes, but I know I wouldn’t do it.  Being a grown up is hard.

Bored and looking for ways to pass your day? Care to play along?
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

The First Day of Christmas: The Rest of the Best

24 Dec

Here are the rest of my favorite things about Christmas that I didn’t get to blog about:

  • Eggnog: Best drink ever, even without alcohol.  The thicker the better.
  • Candy Cane Martinis: Making an appearance Friday night.
  • Themed Yankee Swaps: My college friends always pick a theme for our Yankee Swaps.  We’ve done CDs, funky wine labels, booze, etc.  This years is not family friendly, but will be fun!
  • Peppermint Flavored Anything: Candy Cane Hershey kisses are the best invention ever.
  • Dogs in Christmas Outfits: I think my “sister” Chloe the Crazy Puggle ate the sweater I gave her for Christmas, but she was probably cute in it.
  • Holiday Coffee Cups: I’ve been happily enjoying my morning coffee from Au Bon Pain in a green cup with snowflakes for weeks now.  How does that not make you happy?
  • Christmas Songs: I could have done a whole blog about these, but I’ll just give you my top 3:  O Holy Night (the Harry Connick, Jr. version used to be my favorite, but Josh Groban has inched Harry out of that spot), All I Want for Christmas is You (Mariah Carey) & Baby Its Cold Outside (Dean Martin & some chick).
  • Spending Quality Time with Friends & Family: Which is what all this hoopla is all about anyways, and the best part by far. 

Happy Holidays!!!

The Second Day of Christmas: Christmas Morning

23 Dec

Christmas morning is the single best morning of a kid’s life, by far.  My dad insisted on taping us opening gifts, so we had to wait until got coffee and set up the ginormous camcorder.  Then we could run into the living room and start destroying my parent’s hard work of wrapping after a few Christmas cocktails.  At the end, we were supposed to say “Thank you Santa Claus” to the camera, but we usually refused until threatened with removal of toys. 

Even when I was older and all of my gifts had been under the tree for weeks, and I had been shaking and unwrapping as I deemed appropriate, I still felt a little excited upon entering the living room for the first time to see what was waiting for me.  I was horrified when my brother suggested we open gifts on Christmas Eve so we could sleep late.  Who does that?  What if more gifts magically appear after you go to bed and you miss out on them?  I quickly vetoed that idea by stomping my feet and heading to bed like the mature adult I was.

In the 5 years that J & I have been living together, we’ve started our own Christmas morning traditions.  Each year, we get up, put on A Christmas Story, and pour coffee or hot chocolate with Bailey’s.  Then we eat homemade banana bread with cream cheese while we open our gifts.  We each open one, and alternate (sometimes one of us have to open more than one to keep up with the other), finishing with our stockings.  Then we just chill for approximately 3 minutes before we have to get up and drive to my parent’s for the craziness of Christmas dinner.

One day (not for a while!), we’ll have our own kids who will make their own traditions, and things will change for us, just like they have already.  I don’t think we’ll ever lose the Bailey’s tradition though — that’s one to keep for a while!

The Third Day of Christmas: Festivus

22 Dec

Today is Festivus, and, since I’ve been so bright & cheery the last few days, I thought I’d take part in the Airing of Grievances (inspired by this article):

People who take up more of their allocated space on the train:

I know I’m little, but that doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to my space.  I don’t want you sitting on my lap.  I certainly don’t want your elbow in my side as you dig out your wallet for your train pass.  I want to sit in peace and quiet with my headphones and a book.  And your kid, with the spinning quarter, and the banging, does not make the ride more enjoyable.

People who don’t think the rules of the road apply in parking lots:

You can’t just drive all willy-nilly through the spots, people.  The lines are there for a reason.  And you have to stay on your side of the road, that’s just the way it goes.  Oh, and your wife can walk the ten feet into the store (unless its thundering or she’s 9 mos. pregnant).  There’s no need to drop her off in front and then wait directly in front of the doors while she shops.


We’re on the Do Not Call list, yet still get a random telemarketer here and there.  I try to be polite to them, even though J says I should just hang up on them.  But they’re people too, so I politely tell them we’re not interested.  Then they hang up on me.  I can’t believe I try to be polite, and they hang up on me.  Serves me right for being nice once in
a while.

People who run for the train the minute its called, then push their way along the swarm of people:

Look, buddy, we all want to get on this train, and if we do so orderly, we’ll all get on.  No need to run, push, and generally crawl up my butt while I’m walking.  And you don’t need to run me over with your rolly either.  I’m moving as fast as I can without jumping in the guy in front of me’s coat.

Well, that felt good to get off my chest. Maybe we should all do this at Christmas dinner this year.  I’m sure that will go over well 🙂   Tomorrow I plan on kicking J’s butt at the feats of strength 🙂

The Fourth Day of Christmas: The Tree

21 Dec

When I was a kid, we had a fake tree.  I hated it, and never understood why we couldn’t have a real tree.  Despite my hatred, I still helped decorate it every year.  At one point, my dad videotaped the whole tree trimming experience.  It was pretty boring until my brother found himself stuck on the step-stool and started crying until someone took him down, and I laughed at him.  As we got older, my parents moved from the gaudy tree with loads of garland, colored lights and ornaments made from shellacked cookies to white lights, clear ornaments, and angel thingies.  I always stuck my macaroni tree ornament on there thought.  It was my proudest accomplishment as a first grader.

When J & I moved into the apartment, we went out and got a real tree, and were surprised by the cost.  Maybe that’s why my parents had a fake tree.  We had no problems the first year, the tree was beautiful, decked out in red & silver, and lasted through Christmas.  After that, J happily tossed it off the balcony of the apartment as we were told to do.

The next year, however, we got Terrance the Terrible Tree.  He was way too big for the apartment ceilings, and J had to hack off the top with a steak knife.  His trunk was too big for the tree stand, so we had to get another one.  Terrence fell numerous times, and was petty much dead from the day we got him.  I was still finding tree needles when we moved 2-1/2 years after that Christmas.  Terrence’s terrible life caused J to toss his sneakers into the bedroom, misjudge the closet, and have one fly out the (closed) window.  Good times.

The last two years at the apartment, we put up the fake tree I got at Target for $5 after Christmas, as we were away for the first week of December both years.  This year, being our first year in the house, we got a lovely tree (Bruce the Spruce).  He’s just the right size, still alive (knock on wood), and didn’t cost a fortune.  I wish he smelled a little more tree like, but I have Bath & Body works to help me with that!  We did have some trouble finding Bruce, as we schlepped to a farm, where we were overwhelmed with the thought of tying the tree to the car ourselves, so we went to a parking lot and had Bruce tied up tight to the Civic.  Hopefully, Bruce is a good sign of things to come, and we won’t have any more National Lampoons-Esq tree experiences in the future!

The Fifth Day of Christmas: Christmas Movies

20 Dec

I love Christmas movies.  Not enough to buy them, but enough to watch them every time they come on tv.  There’s just something much better about watching movies on tv.  J bought me the Wedding Singer one year, because I love that movie, but I’ve never watched it on DVD.  I only watch it when its on tv.  Christmas movies are exactly the same.

Here’s my top ten Christmas Movie list:

10. A Charlie Brown Christmas: Poor Chuck and his goofy dog serving toast for Christmas dinner.  But the Peanuts gang is all there, and the song with no words that screams Christmas, so its all good.

9. The Muppet Christmas Carol: Best version of A Christmas Carol ever.  Yes, they’re puppets, but so funny and so cute. 

8.  The Year Without a Santa Claus: This is a contribution from J, who walks around singing “I’m Mister Heatmiser” when I turn down the heat at night.  I do enjoy claymation.

7. A Very Brady Christmas: J reminded me of this one, and I can’t believe I forgot it.  The Brady kids are all grown up, I can’t remember if Bobby has confessed to being a race car driver yet, but they’re all home for Christmas.  Poor dad gets called into work, ad the cave in happens, but Flo and the kids lure him out with “O, Come All Ye Faithful.”  Its a beautiful moment.


6. Frosty the Snowman: Why the kids’ moms let them leave town with a giant snowman is beyond me, but its still a classic.  John Goodman’s Frosty gets a big thumbs down, though.  Dan is not a snowman.

5.  The Santa Clause: Only the first one, the other two were not good at all.  But Tim Allen is amusing, and the story is cute.  Its a nice family movie. 

4.  Rudulph, the Red Nosed Reindeer: I admit, I think I was older when I saw this for the first time (thanks Mom), but its a classic.  I cry for the misfit toys, and poor Hermie.  What’s so wrong about being a dentist?


3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation:  Second only to the original “Vacation” in humor, who doesn’t love a family fighting through Christmas, setting fires and killing cats while exploding their RV toilet?  Its how everyone celebrates, right?

2. Elf: Really, how can you not love a movie that promotes “candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup” as the four major food groups?  Hilarious.  I’m watching it now.

1.  A Christmas Story: This is the only thing we watch on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I fall asleep with it on, I wake up and its on again.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the entire thing, but Randy eating like the piggie gets me every time.  By the way, there’s another movie with the same family, called “It Runs in the Family.”  I saw it once, and could never find it again.   


The Sixth Day of Christmas: Snow!

19 Dec

Yes, I know snow is not just a Christmas event, but I like it.  I like it now, in December.  Its pretty and fluffy.  I don’t like it in March, when its grey and icy and gross.  So I guess you could say I am not an equal opportunity snow lover. 

I hate driving in the snow.  Hate. It.  My fear is compounded by my mother calling hours before it starts snowing to tell me I should leave work and go home before the roads get bad.  She totally stresses me out, and then I call J and stress him out.  He’s stubborn and won’t call in for anything, so I just sit and worry while he’s out driving.  When we lived at the apartment, we had to drive up a large hill, and every time it snowed I didn’t think I would make it.  I kept threatening to park at the end of the street and make J drive me up the hill, but he wouldn’t do it.

I don’t really mind shoveling.  Its good exercise, and lord knows I could use it right now.  It was hard at the apartment, because, even though we only had to shovel our cars out of their spots, there was no where to put the snow except in front of your car, which made for a lot of carrying around heavy snow.  And then you’d leave and someone would steal your spot.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Here at the homestead, we have to have the driveway plowed, because we share it, so I think we just have to shovel out our cars and the short walkway.  But we’ll see tomorrow, while J is at work and the shoveling interferes with Cookiepalooza Part 2 – the Solo Tour. 

Tonight I like the snow.  I made cookies, the fire is going strong (until we run out of propane, which could happen at any moment), J is safe at home and shoveled once, and its hot cocoa time!  Its a nice, cozy, Christmassy night, and I’m happy.  That is, until J leaves at buttcrack o dawn and the panic sets in.

The Seventh Day of Christmas: Office Holiday Parties

19 Dec

Okay, okay. This blog waswritten at 11 pm via my BAC Blackberry, on a train that’s twenty minutes late leaving South Station. I was too afraid I’d end up in Providence to close my eyes, so I sacrificed my thumbs to email myself this post and upload it later (yes, I know, a day late).

Today’s favorite thing about Christmas is office Holiday parties. I know a lot of people hate them, and don’t understand why they have to spend unpaid time outside of work with co workers. I admit to doing a fair amount of griping about them myself.  In the end, you have to weigh the pros and cons. Free food and booze, along with the opportunity to watch your co workers embarrass themselves and ridicule them about it for months to come vs a few extra hours with people you spend 85 percent of your time with anyways. You do the math.

At TAC, we had parties with our spouses, who could share in our pain, er, joy. We had casual dinners with a cool kids table (you had to get there early to get a spot, and we somehow always ended up with a non cool kid as well), free martinis, and Pilgrims who J tried to talk into believing I was a witch.  Perfectly normal, right?

Here at BAC, however, we have a holiday extravaganza, full of food, games, and people I don’t know.  It was a secure affair, with lots of rules, but still fun. The downside was that I couldn’t find people I know, and, considering I don’t know many people, it was tough. There are a lot of people at BAC, and I would guess that most of them work where I do.  The upside was there was open bar, and a ton of food, yet not a ton of places to eat.  This left people to play the “balancing your drink while cutting roast beef and trying to not look like an ass” game.  Good times.

So, there was no cool kids table this year, but there was a group of people who went out afterwards, and I was invited, so that must make us the cool kids, right?  And, even though the party was a little less casual than TACs, it was still a good time.  So, office holiday parties can stay on my list of my favorite things of Christmas.  That is, until someone breaks out a picture of me dancing with a Santa hat on and a mini burger in each hand.  Then they get booted of the list.

The Eighth Day of Christmas: Gift Giving

17 Dec

(This may be short & incoherent, as I am sick from raw spinach.  I told you veggies are bad for you.  I should have had the burger.)

I love giving gifts, but only to certain people.  J is easy, I can find a million things to buy him.  He loves stupid movies & games, and he’s so easy to buy clothes for (plus, I can secretly throw out his old, grubby clothes and feign innocence when he looks for them weeks later).  Plus, who doesn’t love new socks & underwear?  My mom is another easy one to buy for, because I know what she likes and she tells me what she needs.  My brother can be hit or miss.  I sometimes find the best stuff for him, or at least something decent.  My dad can be tough as well.  Sometimes he’s tell me what he wants, and its usually some obscure car part that I make my mom pick up for me.  Most dads want something easy, like a toy, but my dad has to have something I have the schlep to AutoZone for.

Everyone else is hard.  My little cousins are practically grown ups (sniff sniff) and don’t want art supplies or a trip to Build a Bear.  Now they want Coach purses and war games.  I tried to buy something for the girls at the Coach outlet, but I couldn’t even afford a key ring.  Besides, how is it fair that a 13 year old has a Coach purse and I don’t?

I digress.  I’ve resorted to begrudgingly giving a lot of gift cards.  I know people like them — heck, I love them.  But I feel like its so impersonal.  I want to find the perfect gift for everyone, I really do, but its too hard, and I always feel like I can’t quite get it right.  So gift cards and $4 bottles of wine fly around my parent’s house on Christmas Day like there’s no end in sight.

This year, a friend mentioned she buys gifts each year for homeless veterans, so, as my one good deed all year, I signed up.  The vets fill out a wish list with clothing wants and personal wishes.  It was fun shopping for my guy, because he told me exactly what he wanted.  I didn’t spend a ton of money on him, but I made sure his jacket was warm, his jeans weren’t too crunchy, and I threw in an extra hat for good measure.  I wish everyone was as easy to buy for.  Then I could stop giving out gift cards.

Every once in a while, I do a really good job on picking out a gift, and I truly am happy to see the looks on the recipient’s face when they open it.  I think the last time it happened was when I dragged Rock Band into the apartment for John’s birthday gift.  Hopefully he’ll react the same way to his socks this year.