12.31.09 making indirect resolutions

I don't remember if it's a family tradition or just something I picked up after moving out of the house, but I do believe that my actions on New Years Day serve as a kind of template for the coming year. Waking up totally hungover after a night of revelry isn't so much on my radar anymore...been there, done that. My 2010 is going to be different.

I've spent this week preparing...the house is organized and clean - well, as clean as it gets around here. The menu for 1.1.2010 is something new - it might be a flop, but it's a step out of our usual repertoire. I have a workout planned, as well as quality time with hubs and the animals. And there's some time with my buds on the schedule for the weekend. But lest you think I've planned myself into a corner, I have oodles of time for daydreaming, for making big plans, for deciding which windmills are worth tilting at this year.

While it's not a resolution by any means, I have decided to do less navel-gazing and more giving in 2010. Favors, good vibes, blood, my last $20...all are fair game, so be brave enough to ask. (For my part,  I'll try to be aware enough that you don't have to.) To kick it off, you can find my first mix tape of 2010 here . Lots of the tunes are new to me, as are many of the groups. It's equal parts positive, ruminatory and a wee bit melancholy...just like I like it.

 I saw this on someone's FB page, and am co-opting it for my own gain.

2010 is at the door…

Life is short, break the rules.
Forgive quickly,
Love truly,
Laugh uncontrollably,
Never regret anything that made you smile.

As far as my five, well, you are my five, my friends. I hope that the best parts of your life thus far have been only preparation for the good things that await you in 2010!

with love,


12.28.09 change of plan

So, I didn't really stick to plan today. I did get the basement all gussied up and organized and pretty, but to be honest I did that right after posting last night. I woke up this morning with the purest of intentions and a long list of plans.

Plans that were, happily, thwarted.

I had a big workout at the gym, and found out that they started carrying this brand of soap/shampoo/lotions in the locker room. Yes! (I'll happily pay that gajillion dollars for selected physical abuse if I get the lotion for freeeeee!) I left the gym, chatted with a colleague, and met a friend at Silver Diner. Now, normally I wouldn't head for an omelet right after a workout...because I have no self control and the double-helping of hash-browns would negate all my hard work. BUT we were heading to the Red Cross for 2pm donation appointments. All food - especially a spinach-mushroom omelet - is fair game.

(Have I mentioned that I tend to feel faint at the sight of blood? I haven't actually ever fainted, but the times I've been closest there's been blood in the vicinity.)

As prompt, thoughtful girls, we arrived early. We read the materials. "In the last year have you slept with a Libyan prostitute? Have you ever been a Libyan prostitute?" (Hey! Who called my mom? I'll never admit it! NEVAAAAH!) We waited for our numbers to be called. My friend's number was up first: she did this sci-fi blood swap thing where you get some of your blood back. (I guess it's cleaner than before they take it, as her hangover was totally gone by the time they were done.)

I was still waiting for them to call my number, and my girlfriend was eating cookies. In the words of Seinfeld, they knew how to take appointments, just not how to hold appointments.

Three hours after we walked in I got my cookies. Without fainting. And they were good cookies, too.

One of the bonuses to giving blood before year's end is that they'll make a donation on my behalf to  Susan G. Komen for the Cure. A friend just got confirmation of her own impending struggle, so the news was both timely and welcome.

And in addition to having a sense of well-being at having given something necessary to the community,  I've been jotting ideas of the written and musical varieties down for the last two hours! While I'm not ready to judge any of them I'm happy that they're in a form that I can revisit.

Hot damn.

(Do I really have to wait six weeks to donate again?)

In all seriousness, if you've not donated for a while, please consider making an appointment and paying it forward...start 2010 with some good karma in your bank!

My five:
  1. Health.
  2. Being in a position to help, and following through.
  3. Spending quality time with friends. (Even if most of it's in a waiting room.)
  4. Unexpected bursts of creativity.
  5. Blowing off plans for something better.


12.27.09 christmas and beyooooooooooond!

Wow, what a fab Christmas!

Last year's was a mixed bag of memories and mourning, topped by my father-in-law's emergency trip to the hospital for surgery. So granted, the bar for this year was fairly low. But we had a great time - a small gathering with my family for the first Pokego Meatatarian Christmas Eve (we've always had fish - meat's always been forbidden. Until now!) and some great time with my super-fab niece and nephew. I have more fun with those two each year. And next year? I'll be kicking some serious Wii fanny...y'all better start practicing!

Christmas day we spent with hubby's family at Aunt Vi and Uncle Joe's house, where we're relegated (willingly!) to the Kids' Table for dinner. Still. Even though the youngest "kid" is 18 and the oldest "kid" was born in 1950-something. It's awesome. Conversation ran the gamut from soap operas to sailing, and was interrupted only by occasional dramatic readings from a large volume of dirty jokes. That's my kind of crowd!

We drove home this morning in beautiful sunlight, and made it in a little over 3 hours. And now I'm making plans for the next few days...plans to organize and purge, to get my house in order for 2010. If I'm successful it'll be a busy few days...and extremely satisfying, to boot. Plus I'm hoping that some of our unused items will be useful to a shelter or agency...I feel like we have way more than we can even keep track of, and am hoping some of these things find good homes. I'm going to post my progress here, to make myself a little more accountable, and to keep myself from stalling out on the couch. Here's my plan:

Basement: Toss out everything we've not used in the last year-and-a-half, including the seventeen opened tubes of caulk the previous owners left behind. Set up an electronics station with chargers so that I can use the drill when I need it. Organize the decorations and kitchen stuff. Clean up the laundry area.

1st floor: Tackle the den closet. Pack up rarely-used coats for Goodwill. Organize the orphan electronic cable collection. Clean out the fridge and the cupboards. Shop for new spices, tea, and pantry supplies in a thoughtful manner.

2nd floor: Organize my closet. Clothes to the dry cleaners. Clothes and shoes to Goodwill. Reorganize the linen closet, and throw out all the expired cosmetics and medicines. (I may have nothing left afterwards!)

Whew! It's a big list...especially for a pack rat like yours truly. Tuesday is garbage day...here's hoping that the purge portion of the plan is finished by then!

My five:
  1. Time spent with family...it always goes by too quickly.
  2. Getting organized.
  3. Being fortunate enough to have too much.
  4. Streamlining.
  5. Gratitude.
Here's hoping that your Christmas was wonderful in just the way you needed it to be, and that 2010 is your best year yet!



  • I made a bit of a boo-boo with my nephew's gift, and found myself running to Tysons Corner (aka the third ring of Hell) at 4pm this evening. By 5:15pm I was home. The catch? I didn't even make it into the mall...not even into a parking lot. GAH! There were police at ever intersection, waving people through - or not waving people through - in a thoroughly random fashion. But getting frustrated with the police? Not cool, especially at this love-your-neighbor time of year. Actually, I think love is driving around a shopping mall on one of the busiest days of the year at rush hour. Even if you don't make it in. 
  • (I am thanking my stars for amazon.com right about now!)
  • Hubby gave me the best present - a piano keyboard that hooks up to my laptop via usb. I had one when I was teaching, and have wanted that accessibility back since I left the job. I love noodling around on garage band, but it's so much easier with this new tool. And he got it for me because he noticed how happy I was when I was doing something musical...looks like I wasn't the only one who noticed that something was missing. Yay hubs!
  • I broke myself. My right hip is killing me, and a workout (including a good stretch) didn't really help. Hoping it's just the aftermath from some vigorous snow-shoveling.
Heading to the great white north tomorrow for some family time. Wishing you all a happy holiday!

My five:
  1. Feeling prepared.
  2. Seeing great gifts for my dad all around me.
  3. Godiva liqueur. Yum!
  4. Wired ribbon.
  5. Family.



12.21 is a good day. There's a symmetry to it. It feels lucky. Likewise, if I happen to see a clock that reads 12:21, I hold my breath and make a wish...always have.

(I will not be trying to hold my breath for the entire day, though. If I succeeded, well, I'd be dead. )

Today is holding to that same lucky pattern...our office is closed, which means that my holiday break actually started at about 4:30pm on Friday. Sweeeeet! I'm hoping to get out of the house for a bit today, as well...the car has been dug out, and the gym and the mall are both calling my name. I have loved having a nature-made excuse for staying close to home, but I'm getting a wee bit stir crazy! Plus I should get some Christmas presents or I'll be in some serious hot water in a few days.

Speaking of luck, did you know that New Year's Eve is also the night of the last blue moon of 2009? I think that's pretty cool. Here are some other things I think are cool:

  • This guy's art. Anthropomorphism is a fancy word that explains in part my need to narrate everyday situations on behalf of my dog. I think that this little Hangover Fairy is brilliant, though, as are the peanut zombies and the shaving kiwi fruit. 
  • This lady's singing. I especially like that she embraces all the things that classical training tends to wipe clean, but still has such an impressive range and flexibility. She's cool.
  • This explanation (scroll down) of Perceived Desired Tempo. Brilliant. 
  • This article. I actually saw (and heard) the one that looks like giant intestines in NYC in 2005. I could've spent hours listening.
  • I agree with this.
  • I can feel my butt getting bigger just reading this recipe. But I still wish that it would just appear in my kitchen in its warm, nutty loveliness.
  • After seeing a snip of this band from the UK's V Fest I am really wanting a Scottish accent.
  • This is my new hat. It's warm and comfy. In fact, I'm wearing it as I write this from my couch.
  • This is my default in most situations, and like the author I wish otherwise. Maybe a 2010 resolution?
My five:
  1. Dogs in snow. 
  2. Kneesocks.
  3. Hanging with my favorite people.
  4. Making travel plans.
  5. Reflecting.



    Well, we got more of the white stuff last night, and today it's beautiful! Sunny, cold, and pristine. We're contemplating a trip to the Park to do some sledding, and I'm thinking about baking some apple spice cake since a neighbor brought over a bag of Pink Lady apples from a PA orchard.

    And, even though I shouldn't, I think I'm going to wait one more day before I finish up Christmas shopping.

    Just so you see how much snow we actually got, here's the Hubster and Boo playing in the yard. Keep in mind that the human in the video is 6' 4" tall.

    It's a lotta snow for south of the Mason-Dixon line!

    My five:
    1. Pancakes and Canadian maple syrup for breakfast. Yum!
    2. Sunshine on snow.
    3. Warm socks.
    4. Tea.
    5. Nesting.


    12.19.09 snOMG!

    It's a snowpocalypse! We're up at the ass-crack of dawn (of course...that's how we roll), and there's already about 8 inches on the ground. And it's supposed to continue throughout the next 24 hours.

    This little Pennsylvania girl is psyched.

    I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed as we had RSVP'd to 3 different holiday parties over this weekend, and I was really looking forward to catching up with folks.

    But, on the other hand, SNOW! COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF SNOW!

    I'll update throughout the day with photos and maybe even some video of Boo in his glory. (It's not light out yet...that's how early we're up! But once it lightens up I'll be snapping away.) It's pretty awesome. And yes, I did get my bread and milk and toilet paper yesterday, so we're alllll set. Bring it on!


    9:18am The neighbors brought over a rawhide toy that's gotta be 3 feet long, as well as two bottles of raspberrytinis...I think we all know what we'll be doing this evening!

    4:22pmWow, this morning and afternoon just floated by! Boo and I have been outside several times, and there's enough snow (and sparse enough traffic) that we've been able to forego the leash in the neighborhood. We stopped by to see his girlfriends (the two labs on the corner) and ran with them, lost several tennis balls in the snow, and totally molested several neighbors who just happened to be outside while we were walking. (Good thing they're good sports!)

    I made blueberry muffins this morning, and let a pot of soup simmer for an hour or so this afternoon. Got some laundry done, and even shoveled out my car! (Well, kinda...I got most of the snow off the top of the car. Can't open the doors because there's too much snow blocking them, but hey! I'm not going anywhere that my feet can't carry me for a day or two.) Now I'm stuck between making an apple spice cake or figuring out what to make for supper... it's a happy conundrum, I won't lie.

    The dog is pooped! (I would be too, if the snow was up to my chest and I ran around in it naked!)The snow is over my knees in most parts of the yard, and all my lined pants are damp, as are all of my hats and every single glove in the house. 

    I call that a successful winter day!

    My five:
    1. The Snowpocalypse. I love it when Mother Nature gets all pretty and bossy.
    2. Electricity. This event would be much less fun if the power went out. (Fingers crossed that it doesn't!)
    3. Movies. I've seen Harry Potter 6 twice in less than 24 hours, and the funeral scene made me all teary both times. Unbelieveable.
    4. Quality time with hubby.
    5. Reconnecting with my neighborhood.


    12.17.09 holy crap is it early...

    ...and let's be honest, I've not caffeinated sufficiently to write anything worth reading in this little spot.

    But I suppose that's not stopped me before.

    Kid Ca$$ tagged this video, and I have to say I really like it. The song is good (what can I say? I like me a good twangy, sentimental waltz!), and at about the 3 minute mark there's a very sweet, slightly awkward dance sequence. The twinkly lights are the best...I'd like them for my house, please.

    I was also going to point you toward Citizen of the Month, as I was convinced that I was going to participate in the online holiday concert. But I chickened out...sent the tune to a friend who I knew would both like it and be gentle. But check out the other folks who are getting into the holiday spirit!

    Me? Still waiting for that holiday spirit, actually. Having a hard time getting excited about gifting, in particular...I'm excited to see people and spend time with them, but I'm not so into buying crap that I'm not sure they want or need. Maybe I'll give everyone a card as a placeholder, that says "Your Xmas present is delayed," and then wait until they need or want something, or have forgotten totally about the whole thing and Pow! Here's a present!

    Or maybe I just need to suck it up and hit the mall. Harumph.

    Let's see if I can wake up sufficiently to go for a quick jog (in the cold...eep) before getting ready for work. I get bonus points for working out early AND in the elements, right?

    My five:
    1. Coffee. The sponsor of this blog entry, and many others.
    2. Morning stars.
    3. Singing.
    4. Quiet time.
    5. New beginnings.
    Edited to add: Ok, I'm NOT a chicken. A bad recording of me channeling my inner Joni Mitchell is up at Citizen of the Month's Christmahanukwanzaakah Concert.  But there's hordes more SUPERFAB holiday goodness up. Even I'm getting into the spirit!


      12.15.09 good day

      Right before I woke up today, I had a short dream...I was in a store at the mall, Macy's maybe? Hechts? I was looking at Jerry Garcia ties, obviously searching for a present for my dad. I couldn't decide. (If you're familiar with the ties, they're pretty loud and colorful, and my dad had quite a collection in his day. It was my go-to gift for him when I was singing, as I wouldn't buy him his beloved cigars. *cough*) I looked up from the display, and he was standing there with a loving, indulgent look on his face and laughing soundlessly, shoulders shaking with glee. And I started to laugh, too...it was a "yeah, I'm ridiculous...I know." moment, but an exceedingly silly one.

      I guess that means I'm officially off the hook for his Christmas gift this year.

      But a good dream about Pops augured a good day all around. Today I:
      • walked the dog three extra blocks on a lovely, mild morning.
      • got a new, zippy computer at the office!
      • noticed there were PIEROGI in the lunchroom vending machine! (TG, the other basement Pollock, did quality control for me...he said they were great!)
      • had sushi for lunch!
      • had a great meeting with a conductor.
      • drank champagne. Before 5pm. At work. (And I still have a job! Woo-hoo!)
      • played and sang a little bit...may have even recorded some takes! (Not brave enough to listen, but that's another step.)
      • took a great balance class at the gym, and rocked it!
      • ate a Wise Man, two sheep, and the Star in the East. (I love Christmas cookies!)
      It's 10pm...I'm going to do a little reading and head to bed. Here's hoping that I'll meet Dad in the tie section again this evening.

      My five:
      1. Small challenges.
      2. Glossy magazines.
      3. Laughter.
      4. Fizzy beverages.
      5. Loving and being loved.


      12.13.09 non-traditional gifts

      I have officially started my holiday shopping. I'm not anywhere close to being done, but at least I've started.

      One of my girlfriends and I have started a new tradition...rather than buying each other gifts, we're sending each other pictures of things. It all started with a pillow shaped like a black lab. My buddy said "I was going to buy you this labrador pillow, but it was waaaaay too expensive for, well, a dog-shaped pillow." I'm not a huge fan of even the most tasteful dog-shaped pillow, so I thanked her profusely for not buying it for me. The next day I received a magazine clipping with one of the most horrific outfits I've ever seen, and the note "I did NOT get this for you for Xmas!"

      Best. Gift. Ever.

      I never know when I'll get a photo of upscale denim (really, there is NO SUCH THING. It's like the Yeti of the fashion world.) or a magazine clipping hawking ridiculous feminine hygiene products...it's always a surprise, and it's always something that I would never, ever want to own. So, in that way, it fits perfectly...it's just right! Plus it doesn't need to be wrapped, doesn't cost anything, and most importantly, shows that she's thinking of me. Which is the real point of gifts, right? To let people know that they're on your mind...that you appreciate them. That's always the part I forget...the obligations and traditions always tend to take center stage.

      I promise a little bloggy present to come before Christmas, my friends. And it may truly be something that you'd never, ever want to own. But you'll just have to wait and see....

      My five:
      1. Laughing. 
      2. Listening to this tune at the gym, turned up so loud that it kinda feels like I'm singing along.
      3. Crock pots. 
      4. Brunch.
      5. Cold, rainy weekend days...if you need me, I'll be on my couch with a book and a cup of tea.


      12.12.09 operation Grammy dress

      So, the recording has been nominated for a Grammy. And it's sold out on Amazon (temporarily, I promise. And it's cheaper here anyhoo.) And the powers that be have graciously authorized our excursion westward to take part in the ceremony.

      Holy! Crap! SERIOUSLY???

      This awesome news has thrown a total wrench into my holiday plans...my plans to ignore the gym and eat as much butter as Paula Deen allows.

      (How much butter is that, you ask? ALL OF IT.)

      I headed to the gym this morning, and as I was warming up on the elliptical, I see her. Not Paula Deen, this other girl. She's got my haircut, my hair color. But she's beautiful. And skinny in that rich-and-rarefied-air manner. Her thighs do not touch, she has no body fat and she moves like a ballerina. She's like my doppelganger, but with better genetics and more willpower and better, well, everything.


      I hop off the elliptical and into kettlebell class. As does she.

      I resolve to wipe. the. floor. with her.

      (Blessedly I forget about her when I'm struggling through the class...lifting heavy things eighteen million times will do that, I suppose.)

      After class and another half-hour on the elliptical (GRAMMY DRESS, PEOPLE!) I head to the locker room. And find out that her locker is right next to mine.

      And that she just joined the gym.

      And that she thought the class was hard, too.

      And that she and her husband live nearby.

      And that she's actually quite lovely.

      And that I'm a total bitch (I know, you knew that) for jumping to conclusions.

      The positive in all this - other than the reminder that pretty people can be nice, too - is that I now have great motivation for Operation Grammy dress. We're SO going to be twins by the time this is all over.

      AND if decide to go ahead and eat all of Paula Deen's butter? I can just send my doppelganger to the ceremony. :)

      My five:
      1. Looking forward, especially at a time of year when I traditionally focus on the past.
      2. Having my assumptions challenged.
      3. Brisket in the crock pot...my house smells like meaty goodness.
      4. Good chats with good friends.
      5. Finding motivation.



      It's time for cleaning house, in every way.

      My actual house? A muddy mess.
      My office? Cluttered to the gills.
      My mental treehouse? Stuffed with things that are unhelpful, confusing or rut-fostering.
      My google reader? Like my bloggy friend the Airstream Diva, it's always at 1000+.

      I should purge. Get rid of some of the noise. But, truth be told, I'm enjoying the clutter, the fullness, the stuffed-to-the-rafters feeling. It's no secret that the holidays are paradoxically joyous and extremely difficult for lots of us...this year I think that my holiday gift to myself, my "woobie," consists solely of being gentle with myself.

      That and a glass of wine. Of course.

      My favorite (and sickest) thing to do on New Year's Eve is to deep clean my house. I've only ever managed it two or three times in my life, but I love it...there's something about starting the new year with a sparkly clean house and a champagne hangover that really can't be beat.

      In the interest of housecleaning, here are some interesting/silly/stupid things from teh interwebs.
      • This. Every time he writes, my secret plans to become a novelist weep tiny, futile tears.
      • This has strengthened my resolve to take advantage of the billion free museums and galleries in town.
      • This gets be excited for a new project.
      • This made me laugh out loud. FB is getting creepy. And why do you keep calling me Hal?
      • I like all of these. Need? Nope. Want. Yes, indeedy.
      • These are perfect for your iPhone friendys. But they're probably sold out. Still, a good idea.
      • Cartoons and dietary weakness? Count me in.
      • I can vouch for these firsthand. Plus, add some cinnamon and oats and cut them into bigger slabs and you have scones. They're part of my all-carb diet for 2010.
      And my five:
      1. Thinsulate. It is COLD outside!
      2. These guys. I should be over them by now, but I'm totally not.
      3. Carbs. Bread and butter, wine, chocolate, potatoes, pasta, cheese... I'm so in.
      4. More music. When one of their tunes pops up on my iTunes, I'm always pleasantly surprised.
      5. Being surrounded with folks who make me happy.


      12.8.09 bodies buried at the holiday party

      Once upon a time I loved singing in front of people. I could walk into a room or onto a stage and open my mouth and be reasonably assured that the sounds that emerged would be controllable and familiar.  Even in French or Italian or German...I would do a decent job. I, well, wouldn't suck.

      And then I stopped singing in front of people...there are lots of folks who sing better than I and all that. And on the odd occasion that I'd open my mouth in public to sing, the results were less than consistent.

      Sometimes? I sucked. In public.

      Or, perhaps more charitably, I was so uncomfortable that the experience sucked.

      Sucked like a Hoover freakin' vacuum, my friends.

      Tonight was fun.
      A little Sufjan Stevens with a group of colleagues who play and sing and collaborate well and generously? Heck, Christmas came early!

      Add to that a talented colleague who suggested a last-minute addition to the program, and then said "never mind - next year"...taking the onus of performing off my plate. And then add a dear dear friend who said "C'mon....pleeease?" and another friend who said "I'll play bass!" and a well-timed glass of shiraz and well, I sang in public.

      And liked it.

      Liked. It.

      Merry Christmas! I got what I wanted. Before I even knew I wanted it.

      My five:
      1. Being pushed out of my comfort zone.
      2. Collaboration. I can't begin to tell you how important this is to me, in all aspects of my life.
      3. Comfort food. 
      4. Playing music with friends...I can't emphasize how rejuvenating, invigorating, all-things-*ing it is!
      5. Happiness.



      ...the post in which I take the easy/ADD way out and use bullet points and links.
      • I don't use FUBAR often, but it seems to accurately reflect the way I feel fairly often. I think that's probably a problem.
      • Did you know Sufjan Stevens has a whole album of Christmas tunes? Did you also know that one of the tunes will be played at my office holiday party tomorrow? IN ADDITION, did you know that yours truly will be playing (badly) vibes and bass and fa la laaaaaing along? All true.
      • Hey! Did you know that we were nominated for a GRAMMY AWARD? (You have to scroll waaaaaay down, but we're there!) Anybody need a seat filler? I promise I can get skinnier  and cuter by January 31st!
      • My taste buds are rejecting every food group except carbs. (see previous bullet point.) This is also probably a problem.
      • A Texas Avocado (that's her superhero name) turned me on to Shelfari. If you're a reader, join me! It's pretty cool. And because I only ever remember the cover art, it's terribly helpful to be able to cherrypick the edition I remember.
      • If you're on Twitter and like language? Here's someone you should follow.
      • So, if one hypothetically volunteered to bring an appetizer to a hypothetical holiday party, is it tacky (hypothetically, of course) to bring a crock-pot full of meatballs in marinara and tiny little potato rolls for tiny sandwiches? They're tasty, but not so, well, elegant. (Please weigh in before 8am tomorrow...otherwise it's toooo late and I'll crash and burn by myself.)
      • This cartoon corroborates my feeling that FB is getting a leeeeetle too personal. Is it just me?
      • I wrote a whole post this morning about being detail-oriented, and how I need to be moreso...and after the day passed? I realized that I should be more detail-oriented, but will never be a nit-picker/do-it-my-way-or-else kind of girl. I just don't have it in me, and I love seeing the creative ways people problem-solve too much to dictate methods. That blog post? Recycle. Bin. 
      • This writer echoes my recent thoughts on praying. 'Nuff said.
      • There's the cat massage lady. And then there's this.
      • Some days I wish I could write a novel. And then I read through my blog archives and realize how very little I have to say. *Sigh.*
      • My tribute to Christmas, and more specifically, Santa (aka Mom). I remember as a girl of 6 or 7, "wandering downstairs" (read: checking for presents) in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. (Those of you who know me know my body clock skews early...as a child, it was even earlier...) I walked into the family room and saw my mom and dad still awake, having a cocktail and STUFFING OUR STOCKINGS???  And I said, lower lip a-quaver, "Uh, mom, why are you stuffing our stockings?" To which my mom had the best, most appropriate answer: "Well, we don't have a chimney, so Santa drops all the toys on the porch, and we just put them under the tree and stuff the stockings for him." It made perfect sense. And I think I slept in until 6:30a, that year (two and a half hours later than usual!) Parents, please feel free to use this little bit of gilded wisdom on Christmas Eve should you need it.
      • I'm a cotton-headed ninny-muggins. (They can't show this movie often enough during the holidays!)
      My five:

      1. Bullet points. Thank goodness.
      2. Your indulgence at my laziness. Again, thank goodness.
      3. Good, old-fashioned jam sessions.
      4. Remembering...boy, memories flow thick and fast this time of year!
      5. Carbs. Ho ho hoooooo!



      Ho ho ho! Holiday sing!

      Once a year we enter the Filene Center in the freezing cold... we hang wreaths and arrange trees and fir boughs and wear Santa caps to keep our ears warm. We welcome the Marines (for me, one in particular: their conductor, a buddy from grad school!) and hundreds of local choristers, and sneak cookies and hot chocolate from the Vienna Women's Club. All the volunteers bring their best attitudes and singing voices, and the event is a true gateway to the holiday season - no commercialism, no obligation, just thousands of folks making music together.

      It's one of my most cherished traditions.

      This year, the snow made things extra-special. While the lawn was only host to a handful of the most die-hard patrons (and their sledding kids - GREAT IDEA, by the way!), the house was packed. And seeing the candlelight from the recessional reflected in the snow was just beautiful.

      My five:

      1. Laughing with colleagues backstage - one of my favorite things, no matter the season.

      2. Gingerbread Spice Lattes. So. Good.

      3. Singing out loud in front of people (not for people...it's an important distinction.)

      4. Collaboration.

      5. Joyous adults...sometimes it's OK to let your inner child out, even in public.


      12.5.09 Part Two

      It's still snowing.


      We've had a little over 3 inches here in Vienna, and it's still coming down. After a short trip to the gym (a little slush doesn't scare this Pennsylvania girl!), I've been puttering around the house...casserole in the oven, laundry chugging away in the basement, a stream of movies and cooking shows on the tube. And a candle that smells like brown sugar. It really doesn't get any better than this.

      Except wait, it does.

      Hubby went to the grocery store for me (I hate to go on the weekend) AND brought home two pretty bouquets...white roses, foxglove, hydrangeas...all blues and purples and white. So now I have pretty posies and a stocked fridge in addition to the aforementioned good things. It's an embarrassment of riches of the best, homiest sort.

      My five:
      1. Snow day!
      2. Self-imposed house arrest.
      3. Getting lost in a story.
      4. Warm socks.
      5. Family time.

      12.5.09 part 1

      GeoTagged, [N38.91103, E77.26485]

      It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...


      12.2.09 yoikes!

      Ok, so, WOW. Office life! Back to work! Holiday shopping! Office Party! Carol Sing!

      Holy. Crap. Batman.

      There's oodles going on. I'm tempted to go back on the tour, not because I like being away from my little family, but because I liked flying under the radar...I liked that only a handful of people knew where I was at any given time...I liked not having to walk the dog in the pouring rain.

      I know. I'm a selfish, antisocial woman. A woman who doesn't deserve her loving dog, evidently.

      Lest I paint too bleak a picture, though, there's still a steady influx of good tunes in my world. As I'm cranking through some first-rate chamber music demo cds and opera dvds, I've been gifted with oodles of new music from friends. Local songwriters, mix tapes, mainstream and fringe-y albums...I have a veritable blizzard of new tunes to fall in love with! I'm sure that I'm the only person in the world wishing for a slightly longer commute and/or more time at the gym to spend with my headphones tucked in my ears and a smile on my face. If you've gifted me with tunes recently, thank you! I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with them in the days to come.

      (On a related note, even though I work in the business and see evidence of it daily, I'm still totally amazed at the power of a well-written song, a compelling performance. It's a testament to the power of the art form. That, or I have the memory of a guppy.)

      Tomorrow is going to be a mixed bag of a day...I'm starting the day trying to maek gud sentences in front of a TV camera. If you missed my appearance this spring, you have a second chance to see how many pounds the camera adds to my already chubby cheeks on channel 8 tomorrow morning. Stakes are higher, as I'm actually speaking for my organization - briefly, but it still counts (On second thought, who decided that the girl who lapses into LOLCat speak when she's tired should speak for the organization on tv? Seriously!?! ...what, I agreed to it? Oh, lawdy. I must've been high.)- and it's a live, CNN-style interview. Gah. After that I'll be changing into my grubbies and jamming evergreen branches into big chicken-wire-wrapped wreath forms. And drinking hot chocolate. And then maybe after that I'll get some work done.

      But it's not looking good.

      Warp speed, Scotty. Life is moving quickly! In its honor, I will be forsaking the 6am gym workout tomorrow morning, and will in addition be going to bed early tonight and reading in bed for, well, as long as I can muster. I am slowing life down a little, so that I can enjoy it a little more.

      My five:
      1. Doing something nice for someone. I gifted hubby with these. In a size 13. They're little plaid boats. But he loves 'em. (And, even better, he says I don't have to be seen with him when he's wearing them.)
      2. Homemade spaghetti sauce. I feel a little like an alchemist when it's going right.
      3. Early bedtimes. Necessary after an early morning.
      4. New music.
      5. Honest fatigue.