Archive for December, 2008

I just have TOO much to blog about from the Christmas holidays – – so bear with me as I flood my site with it.

Ok…so on Decemeber 24th, after my family Christmas festivities were over, I turned on the TV at 10:30pm CST thinking that I could catch a repeat of Leno or something of the sort on Christmas Eve.  But what I found instead was this:




Yes.  That would be a crackling fire on TV.  A crackling fire on NBC, specifically.  A crackling fire with Christmas music being played in the background.

Has this always been done and I just haven’t been aware of it?   Does anyone withOUT a fireplace think that a TV fireplace really hits the “Christmas Ambiance” mark?  Did you feel the need to break out a bag of marshmallows and fake-roast them over an electrical screen? 

Because I DIDN’T!


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When I walked into my mother’s house the evening of December the 23rd, what I immediately saw on the kitchen counter was what looked like a hunk of meat.  Meat of what variety, I couldn’t be sure.  I think my next words (after laughing) were “I gotta get my camera…”  (…and I think mom replied with “You’re not going to blog about THAT are you???” )  I would like to qualify that my mother is an outstanding cook….I’m talking Martha Stewart incarnate….but this meat looked a little suspect .

Here it is:


(candle added for ambiance by my mother in a desperate attempt to make the mystery meat more “festive”)

So I ask you readers…..is this meat:

A.  A turkey

B.  A ham

C.  A chicken

D.  Stolen remains from a human autopsy


(Yes Mom, I blogged about it…)

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As I’ve gotten older, it seems that every year, I find myself trading holiday war stories with my friends like we just returned from the shores of Normandy.  No one, it would seem, remains mentally and emotionally unscathed during the holiday season.  Whether you’re a parent, a singleton, old, young, rich, poor, male or female…everyone has his or her own scars to bear once the holiday season draws to a close.   Everyone struggles to bake the cakes and souffles, they try valiantly to meet unrealistic familial expectations, they shuffle schedules to attempt to arrive at three Christmas gatherings in one day.   Presents are breathlessly wrapped just in the nick of time,  stores are gamefully conquered, and arguments over politics quelled at the dinner table.  We gobble up the last bite of figgy pudding and…….then what?  All that drama and fuss and worry and frustration all comes to a close with a bit of a whimper as we amble home, re-injecting ourselves back into the normal rhythms of life.

This year was no different for me in many respects.  I still had my Annual Christmas Meltdown that results from me trying to please too many people at once.  I had my Seasonal Freak Out where I declared, not so graciously or gracefully that “EVERYONE IS GETTING A GIFT CARD FROM ME AND THEY’RE GOING TO LIKE IT!!!!”  I argued with every person in my family at LEAST once, but more often, multiple times, with the exception of  my neice and nephew because, you know, they’re 2 and 4 respectively, and I want to spare them the wrath of “Crazy Aunt Amy” for as long as possible (though they will, likely, eventually be told stories about me around a campfire some day very soon – – the story teller speaking in a spooky, somber tone with a flashlight held under his or her chin:  “And then…Crazy Aunt Amy pulled out the gift card slowly…slowly from her pocket…and held it above her head as she cackled loudly…”)

But what made this year a little different is that on Christmas Day….the actual DATE of December 25th, I had nothing to do.  Oh, I was still at my mom’s house and surrounded by Christmas fare….but there were no plans.  There was absolutely NADA to do and it was…for me…nothing short of Heaven.  I worked on a puzzle with my mom, briefly….but mostly, I read a book…..and more blissfully important:  I took a nap.

When I stay at my mom’s house, I sleep in one of the guest bedrooms and I’ve grown to really enjoy this room.  It’s slightly drafty, but it has two small lamps on either side of a soft, comfortable bed with cool white linens,  an irory bedspread – – and various colorful, thick quilts to add on top for extra warmth.  I sleep like a rock when I’m there – – and it’s absolutely perfect for naps.  It BEGS for your head to hit its pillow about any old time of day…but I’ve found it beckons the loudest at about 3:00pm in the afternoon.

And that’s exactly when it began to call to me on December 25th, as I lay down to read my book.  I looked out the window at the rain falling, and the sound of it began lulling my eyes closed.  No internet…no TV…no conversation.  Just me, that bed…..and sleep.


It was the best Christmas present EVER.  😉


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I got a new camera and I’m verrrrryyy excited about it. I’ve been using my little point-and-shoot Nikon and i-phone for too long….they’ve worked in a pinch, and my little Nikon Coolpix has actually taken some pretty dad-gum good photos when I’ve been abroad…but it’s time to graduate to a big-girl camera considering that, you know, I have an Art Degree and I should use it sometime even if it’s just for a hobby. It’s a Nikon D40 SLR – – fabu!!! I’ve been taking a whole myriad of random shots of random things (many really bad, some pretty good) the last day and a half…including:


(note: sparkly star crown was due to fun holiday party with friends where we were all wearing sparkly star crowns. As one does.)


A pan of sauteed zucchini, bell pepper, celery and onions… (what…YOU don’t take photos of your cooking vegetables? 😉 )


A noble portrait of a statue of Napoleon Dynamite (“Sweet!”)


And my neighbor’s paints


Yes…I know. Astounding subject-matter. Bear with me as I learn how to use this little gem…..I’m warning you in advance that sometimes, it might not be pretty! 😉

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I went to my friend Cathi’s last night to help her decorate her Christmas tree. Her boyfriend was out of town, and she had a bare tree in desperate need of some sparkle and pizazz and we were just the ones to do it. Considering my “Christmas Tree” was actually a pint sized rosemary tree clad in a band of gold stars….and that’s about it…I was looking forward to decorating a tree this year, even if it’s not mine!

Anyone who knows Cathi knows that she has a child cat named Rad whom she rains adoration and attention on like he is the Anointed Prince of all Felines. He used to be small enough to fit inside of her two cupped hands, and we all got photos of him e-mailed to us as a kitten curled up in sinks and other nooks, displaying his cuteness in full glory. You would get photos of Rad and an involuntary “Awwww” would escape from your mouth before you could stop yourself.

Rad is now 2 years old, a beautiful kitty…..and he is also similar in size to a moose and similar in coat to a woolly mammoth. The exclamation one has upon seeing him now is something akin to “Sweet MOTHER of Bobby-Jo – – that cat is HUGE.” In short, he looks like an area rug with paws.

Exhibit A:


I told you, didn’t I?

Well last night, Cathi was pulling down all the boxes of decorations from the attic and handing the boxes to me below her in the hallway, when I heard her exclaim “Ooooo! It’s Rad’s Santa suit!!!!”. I bit my lip, looked up and said “That cat has a Santa suit?” She said “Yes, it’s the same suit he wore last year for the picture I put on his stocking…”

***crickets chirping***

Despite not understanding the rituals of “cat people”, I still had to admit that I was dying to see how that gi-gant-a-thon cat could be put into a santa suit – – and…you know. I had my camera. Therefore this was simply a photo op that NEEDED to happen…..so I encouraged the event, against my better judgement. If the Christmas Humor Elves were raining blessings upon me….who was I to argue with them?

So after we decorated the tree to the nines – – and decked it out in sparkling lights and be-jeweled ornaments, Cathi pulled out the Santa suit and beckoned Rad over for his fitting. The amazing thing about this cat is how docile he is – – he lay there like a slug – – completely resigned to his fate, somewhere in his distant memory he remembered last year’s humiliation and understood it was best to cooperate fully, and then just pretend it never happened. It was over much quicker this way. (and for the record, he was only left in the santa suit for about 5 minutes…before anyone yells at us for being mean to the cat! 😉 )

Once Cathi had him fully dressed, and hat planted firmly in place….she gathered up all his tufts of gray fur into a bundle and held him up for the photo-op.

The result was this:


Now…..take a real, close look at that cat’s face. Because he’s plotting our deaths right there. There is a very clear, meticulous plan being hatched underneath that jaunty red cap….“First, I’m going to take down the blond human holding the metal box that flashes, and she’s not even going to know what hit her – she’s going down….then the brown hair human, her death will be slower…I’m going to take my time with her…because she made me do this TWICE”

Let’s take a closer look at that face again…for good measure…


Seriously….it’s all fun and games until that cat learns how to use a gun.

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So I was casually thumbing through a fashion magazine last night (tangent: how would one un-casually thumb through a fashion magazine? Would there be an earnest, purposeful knit to my brow….a more substantial speed in which I flip the pages? Would I be wearing formal-wear?)….and I ran across an ad for something called the “Ab Rocket” (photo above).

Now…..I did a double-take…because…….”A rocket”? And the ad further stated that I could have “..rocket hard abs in just 5 minutes”.   I would like to make it clear….and I don’t think I can be too explicit on this point….that I don’t want my abs to look like a ROCKET.

Then, I took a closer look at the photo and became more puzzled….because it looked to me like the model who was “demonstrating” the “Ab Rocket” was sitting in a chair similar to one I own for beach lounging. Or perhaps it was more similar to a portable stadium seat. I tried to imagine myself doing abdominal exercises at the beach or a football stadium but that seemed slightly inappropriate. Unless there were a couple of margaritas involved because, then let’s face it, things become more appropriate in that state.

Then I noticed in the upper right hand corner what looked to be a timed photo of the “Ab Rocket” in action. Based on the depiction, it looks like the “rocket” part of the name is referencing the fact that one could be catapulted into outer space if using the machine correctly. And if you get toned abs in the process….hey!….not a bad deal.

And then I thought: “I gotta blog about this”.

Lucky you! 😉

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Will power currently at very unacceptable levels.


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