Monday, December 31, 2007

A new year...a new beginning.

Each day is a new day to have a good day.  The same goes for New Year's Eve.  It's the end of the year, and while in reality nothing changes - it affords us the opportunity to feel as if we have a new leash on life. 

2007 was a really decent year in my life.  There was very little change that wasn't for the positive.  I am very fortunate to have had a very healthy, happy and properous year.  Were there disappointments?  Sure.  There always is.  Nothing is "perfect" in life.  But overall there were no tragedies, and no real reasons for me to say "thank god this year is ending!".  I'm actually sort of sad to see it end, truthfully.  Life is cyclical I think, and I've had many years that I was looking forward to see changes come.  I'd like to think I'm going to be able to hang onto this cycle of good things for a while longer.

I always say that I like to raise my glass and toast the year that's leaving me, as well as the one that's coming in.  So my toast to 2007 & 2008 will go something like this:

"Here's to the bright New Year, and a fond farewell to the old; here's to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold.  Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow."

Be safe this evening...drink responsibly -- don't drink and drive.
Happy New Year to you and yours.  May this coming year bring you health, happiness, love and prosperity.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Adventures in Baking...

Santa and all his elves were very good to me this year. Very good. I love everything that was given to me, it was all really thoughtful -- and all so very "me". But I have to say, the biggest surprise was the one gift that I've always wanted and yet just never took the time to get for myself because 1.) it's rather expensive; and 2.) I just always hesitate on buying stuff for me.

I got a Kitchen Aid Artisan Mixer in"Metallic Chrome". To say I was psyched is an understatement. As I've mentioned many a time, baking is not my strong suit. I can cook like nobody's business, but for some reason baking from scratch is a struggle for me. But I've been convinced that this mixer will save me from all my baking mistakes.

Today, I attempted to make my favorite thing: White cake. Not yellow cake, not vanilla cake - but white cake. I got the recipe from my "Better Homes & Gardens" cookbook, and went to the supermarket yesterday to get all the ingredients I needed. And today, for the first time in 14 years - I was making a cake from scratch.

I heard the angels singing as I opened the box...birds were chirping as I mixed and blended my ingredients to the perfect consistency. And then, I poured the batter into the pans.....which is when I realized, I used the wrong attachment. See, it comes with the wisk attached -- and I didn't realize that there is a specific mixer attachment for cake batter. (oops.) So, imagine my surprise when I realized there was a little bit of shortening and sugar still clumped at the bottom of the bowl, which my rubber spatula didn't get to, because naturally I assumed my mixer was getting it all. Yes, I put on the cake attachment after it was cleaned to discover just how much longer that attachment truly is...but I figured, eh - that shouldn't make too much of a difference. I mixed into the batter that was in the pan and off to the oven they went.

Thirty five minutes later, I had two of the most delicious pancakes you've ever had.

Yes, pancakes. The cakes didn't rise. And I'm not exactly sure why? I followed the ingredients to the letter, and was very thorough -- so I can only suspect that my baking powder wasn't fresh enough? Funny thing is -- this is what happened the last time I made a cake from scratch 14 years ago. But that was a double chocolate pancake and truly, not quite so good as the one that the kids and my parents and I ended up eating this afternoon -- with lots of maple syrup, might I add.


Just goes to show that the mixer doesn't make the baker. But I'm not giving up. I'll just keep practicing until I get it right. And I'm sure the mistakes will taste good anyway.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Thinking about New Years...

I'm pretty tired today. All this celebrating, eating, visiting, and drinking glasses of wine at night are weighing heavy on me at the moment.

So not a bad thing at all… just a richer lifestyle than the traditional "day to day" that I usually go through, I'm tired in a good way. And, in a lazy way! I haven't worked out at all since the Monday after Thanksgiving. I can't even stand myself anymore. Which of course got me started thinking of my New Years Resolutions for this coming year.

So, as I was in the shower this morning (where is where I get to do all my good thinking!) I started thinking about what changes I'd like to make for this year. There aren't any really; I don't want to change anything so much as I want to continue where I've left off. For an example, here's a short list of what was crossing my mind this morning:

1. Hit the gym again, hard. So - I did great last year with running, yoga and raquetball. It's funny how I worked out so hard all year just to let it go to waste at the holidays! It's probably not going to be that tough to bounce back in January really, but psychologically it does a number on you to stop. So I'm really looking forward to Tuesday of next week to hit the gym after work. And while I didn't get to do last year's goal of a 10K, I'm thinking that….

1.a Runing a 10k is going to be an achievable goal this year.
1b. 108 Sun Salutations is going to happen at least once this year.
1c. Lose 5-7 lbs. Not a huge amount -- and 5 of it will fall right off once I start running again. I think a lot of it is water weight anyway from all the salt in the foods I've been eating lately.

1d. Trying a cleanse. Not a colonic type cleanse - gross. But a dietary cleanse. It's in one of my yoga journals and it just sounds like I'd feel all fresh and happy afterwards. It's liquids based, with fresh vegatables and fruits. Not such a bad way to start off the year, no? Hardest part: no coffee. I think I can handle it for 5 days.

2. Reorganize. I know that I could be better organized in the "hidden" places. Stop holding onto things that I really don't need anymore…things in my buffet side server, or the top of my closet. Maybe find a better way to organize my containers and the like. I do know that I am going to be reorganzing my dishes and glasses -- and I'm treating myself to all new dishware and flatware, courtesy of William Sonoma on New Years Day. Nothing like starting the resolutions on the first day of the year, right?

3. Find more patience with my daughter. I love, love, love my daughter. (naturally). But she's a very headstrong and independent little girl and I find that I haven't quite figured out the best way to counter that. But I will…and 2008 will be the year it happens. It might end up being a combination of my tweakings - and her growing up that does the trick, but it will happen.

4. Make time again for reading. It's funny, after reading "The Kite Runner", all other books have fallen short and I've been disinterested. If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to share them -- I like intelligent reading, not so much the girly type stuff -- and biographies are great as well. Political books are always good choices! I'd like to get back to reading one book a month, and maybe even trying to start up a book club.

5. Managing my time better and spend time with friends. Especially with the possibilities of a new business this year -- that will afford me more time overall, but until that happens, I need to be available to my friends. Life is busy, we're all hectic and crazy -- but I miss my girlfriends. Life cycles, and we all have different things going on -- and I’m sure we'll all meet on the same page once again, but for now, if I can do a little bit more -- I'll feel better about it.

And those were the Top 5 I thought of this morning. I'm sure I'll have more to come, but these I think are my top priorities for the year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

You never stop growing...

Christmas this year was really, really nice.  Everything about it…from Christmas Eve to Christmas Dinner was just enjoyable.

I was so very pleased; I've been hosting Christmas dinners at my house since 1993 -- and I think this meal was the best one yet.  It just tasted so good!    The kids opening their gifts Christmas morning was lots of fun; in the afternoon for the second round with the rest of the family was a bit hectic and chaotic -- more so than it has ever been, but still I think everyone was pleased with their gifts.  Next year though, I will be playing "Santa" and we'll all open gifts like we usually do; the whole "free for all" is not exactly what the family enjoys, and it got a little out of hand this year after dinner.  That was probably the only downside to the day.  But if that's the only downside -- it's not all that bad!

It's always good to have family get togethers and have everyone really just enjoy each other's company.  It's been quite some time since I've had an argument with my parents -- partly because I don't see them that often -- and partly because I've made conscious decisions over the years to really think about what I'm going to be upset about, and try to analyze whether it's something that's even worth discussing.  I'm not always right, I don't have to win all the time or every conversation; it's been a growing process for me over the years to just let things go.    Last night was the first time in maybe two years, that we had an argument at the house.  And while I didn't want it to become one, and had chosen not to voice my feelings about the subject -- the topic came up in conversation, and I couldn't stop myself -- out it came.  But…there's an upside to everything.  While I could've easily fed into some of the things that were being said, I stopped for a minute -- and said aloud "Let's not escalate this…".  Something I would never have done a few years back.  And my Dad, who normally I would've gone "toe to toe" with and yelled back and forth with -- also pulled back.  He wasn't yelling or anything - he was just talking loudly like I was -- but when I lowered my voice, he did as well.  You know what this means?  We've evolved!!  It's so easy to fall into familiar habits and personalities and while there's nothing wrong with that either, it's sometimes better to take a minute and just pull back.  And we did.  And the night ended up well…and it was a good thing I suppose, because where I don't see my family all that often, we don't have the "day to day" interactions with one another that most families have, so we don't necessarily have the same little arguments or discussions that most families go through; so it provided an opportunity to sort of clear the air in a way that you don't normally want to do because it's such a special occasion to see each other.

I'm glad that my recently acquired sense of "not sweating the small stuff" has worked; this is not to say that I don't slip into my normal behaviours from time to time -- but it does mean that I've grown as a person, and that we are all capable of change.  It takes a lot of conscious effort, but eventually - it will hopefully be ingrained as "me".   Sort of like my Boston accent; I lost it by conscious effort for broadcasting and theatre -- but if I'm really excited about something, it will come out from time to time.  It doesn't mean that I'm faking it; it just means that the one conscious effort I used years ago to speak properly, is now ingrained as who I truly am now.  I'm hoping that I will eventually always think about not escalating situations and rising to the challenge of an argument with my family "just because I can" -- as a part of me forever.

I think it's definitely going to take some more time and work….but isn't that what life is all about?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas...

"Let your heart be light..."

Isnt' that such a nice sentiment. Christmas is full of so much prep and hustle to have everything "just right", I think the festivity has come out of it for some. I asked an acquaintance yesterday if they were ready for Christmas, and her reply was "I'm SO over Christmas...". Wasn't exactly the answer I had been looking for, but I understand it I guess.

I'm SO not over Christmas, I'm SO looking forward to it. My cooking is done -- outside of course actually cooking the tenderloin and the goose; but my sides that need cooking are all par-cooked...the soup's been made...I've even already got my table set, complete with candles placed. That way tomorrow I can just enjoy the excitement of the gifts with the kids, and not have to worry about having everything done in time. This girl is prepared. And it hasn't always been that way in previous years -- I've been getting things ready just as people were walking through the door, but that hasn't stifled my excitement any.

One of my favorite stories when I was a child, was a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. To those who are feeling overwhelmed with the pressure of having "everything just right" and "buying the right gifts" and "cooking the right food" -- take a moment to remember that story. There is always someone else who would be so thankful for that effort, those gifts, and that dinner -- because there may not be someone around to do it for them, or they may be unable to do it themselves. Remember your elderly neighbors who might be alone...or the family down the street who just might have hit tough times this year. That is what Christmas is all about.

Have a lovely Christmas Day....and a joyous holiday season, no matter who you are -- or what holiday you celebrate, or what God you embrace as your own.

"God bless us every one!" said Tiny Tim, the last of all.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Couldn't Santa be "Switzerland"?

Here's the question I'd like to pose to everyone in the world -- what does Santa truly have to do with Christmas? Because the last time I checked -- there were no scriptures about elves, or Mrs. Claus -- most definitely nothing about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

So why has there been this movement towards "No Santa"? Earlier this season, a school in Winchester cancelled a field trip to see "Miracle on 34th St." because of the religious overtones that some parents felt are portrayed by the Santa character. My question in answer to that is - why is that the belief of Santa has to be construed as religious -- most specifically, to the Catholic religion?

Doesn't everyone believe in love? Kindness? Making another person happy? Are those all things that are specific to only one religion in the world? And I'm sorry -- but since when are those things exclusive to any religion? Isn't that just part of being a human being...?

Growing up as a child of the 70s -- I lived in a ethnically diverse community, and a relatively religiously diverse one as well. And we always colored pictures of Santa and Dreidels. We sang Holiday songs - and we called them "Holiday Concerts" because we sang songs of the winter holidays, not just Christmas. But it wasn't a political movement to do so. Back then, the political issue of the day was not having the Nativity Scene or a Menorah on public grounds such as school -- and that I understood. Those aren't places to practice a religion. But to not allow children to be happy and express their respective holidays, was unheard of.

Santa is representative of the positivity of the human spirit. He is not Jesus Christ, nor do I think he is supposed to be representative of him. He is about being selfless and kind towards others, which is a trait we should all have, regardless of our religious denomination.

Santa is equated with children's innocence; it's almost unfair to deprive a child of the magic of believing that someone is going to do something nice for them.

In a world that is full of ugliness and hate, predators and countless other horrible things in today's society -- is it so awful to have children feel good about someone who doesn't have a view politically, religiously or otherwise?

Friday, December 21, 2007


Today, my shopping for Christmas is officially....over.
And - even better: so is my wrapping.

Yesterday I did an emergency shopping at Wrentham because G and I said we were "not going to exchange this year". So...imagine my surprise when he said he would pick out a few things for himself to put under the tree from me! I was pressing him to make sure he hadn't bought anything -- because it would not be unlike either one of us to say "no, I didn't" -- but then of course, do it anyway. So I was mortified to think that he wouldn't have anything other than what the kids had picked out for him. Hence my final shopping spree yesterday.

Now I feel really badly, because I think he was pulling my leg - and is trying to find a way to go shopping this weekend -- which he truly does not have the time to do. The store is THAT busy. Not a bad thing, but he just doesn't have the time to shop. And he wasn't supposed to either. We were going to go to Wrentham after the holidays and just pick out a few things we each really wanted (Hello Williams Sonoma outlet -- that's me calling your name for all new dishes!!!) much for that.

Anyway, I got all of my food shopping for the holiday done today. All. of. it. And...all of the gifts are wrapped and sorted into piles: Ones to take for dance, the holiday party on Saturday; ones to take Christmas Eve; ones to open Christmas morning, and those to be opened Christmas afternoon with everyone else. I'm oh-so-organized in my present placement. (Are you shocked to hear that? Truly...)

And now, after the kids are in bed tonight I will finally rest easy knowing the rest of the weekend is low pressure.

Merry Christmas to me!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hark the Herald Angels Sing...

Or at least they sang to me today while I was on my way to Wrentham Outlets to finish what little I had left to do for shopping.

Truly, the sun started shining and almost blinded me as I made my way into the Bellingham area. Can I just tell you -- the Williams Sonoma Outlet alone is worth the trip. Which, by the way - while it took me about 1 hr 45 minutes to get there this morning, I made it home in under an hour. Fantastic!

I did not hit the mall once this holiday season. No mean drivers, no dealing with bad parking, and no long lines. Shopping at Wrentham is well worth it my friends. Well worth it.

And, I DID buy myself a little something special at the Burberry Outlet. On super, ultra clearance. I deserve it, after all of the shopping for everyone else I've done. And the wrapping. And the cooking I'm about to do. And the cleaning. And the putting all the toys together. And putting them away. And cleaning up after company leaves.

Now if only somehow, Jason Varitek could end up in a bow under my tree.....
*A girl can dream, can't she?*

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oops, she did it again! Sort of anyway...

So here's what I want to know. Is stupidity genetic? Are we inherently destined to make poor decisions in life based upon our DNA? Or, can it be obtained through osmosis? Just by being in close proximity to others who aren't that bright? Or rather, is it an acquired, learned behaviour. Tolerated and nurtured because one is a "celebrity" of some sort.

How disturbing is it to find out that Jamie Lynn Spears is 16 years old, and about to become a mother. What I find rather comical, is that instead of having pictures of her floating around with these articles, you're more inclined to find photos of her sister, Ms. Britney. Birds of a feather clearly flock together. One would think that Jamie would see the disarray that her sister is in and think to herself "hmm. That's so not the direction I want to end up in".

Here's the thing. Teenage pregnancies have been going on for years, and it is not - or rather should not -- be a reflection on parenting, upbringing or perceived as anything other than what it is - and that is an age old issue of children growing up too quickly and being involved with relationships when they are too young to be responsible about it. So, I'm here to say that I am not passing judgement on anyone else. I know plenty of wonderful people who were born when they're mothers were probably too young to have had them in retrospect. I'm talking only about the family at hand -- the Spears family in particular. I'm thinking that there may be a little bit more of a judgemental perspective here. Is it that everyone was so wrapped around Britney that they figured they could let Jamie Lynn do whatever she wanted? I'm sorry, but isn't there this issue floating around now with regards to professional athletes as well -- being thrust into money and fame so quickly and so young, with little or no mentorship?? Doesn't the same thing apply to actors/actresses and the like? I mean, don't 16 year olds still require adult supervision? I know that kids have ample time to do things and fool around and all that, but truthfully - I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I'm sure Jamie Lynn Spears didn't have curfews and other rules to follow that a 16 year old probably should have.

Let's look at another celebrity family. We can all laugh and poke jokes at Jessica Simpson's father -- but truth be told, it seems to me that he and his wife kept their family together despite the fame and fortune that his daughters found at young ages. Maybe that's why he was so involved in Jessica's life. Sure, we can say that he was too involved and what not, and that she's spoiled and not the brightest bulb in the box sometimes -- but maybe the joke is on everyone else instead. Because while he was and is so involved, despite the normal dating type issues that Jessica's going through under the scrutiny of a microscope -- his kids are actually doing okay and seem relatively normal and grounded.

So now, what do all of these teen magazines do now? Do they not feature her anymore? I would tend to think that pregnant at 16 is not something that should be perceived as glamourized, and should not be condoned merely because she's a quasi-celebrity. At the same time, to drop her might be considered discrimination to some. So what's the media to do? Will they lead the confused little flock of young teenage girls into thinking that it's okay to be pregnant at 16 by showing the latest in maternity fashions on one who is clearly still a baby herself?

The scary thing is, I think they will. What is the alternative? Is there a happy medium for the portrayal of this situation?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Joyeaux Noel...

I believe in magic and miracles…I believe in being kind to others. I believe that one small effort on my part can have a tremendous impact on someone else's day, quite possibly their life. I believe in the power of my words. I believe in the innocence of children, and the happiness of those who continually try to live their lives to the fullest. I believe in the beauty of the first snowfall, and the grace of the changing colors of the leaves in the fall. I believe in the spirit of Santa Claus -- and that he lives in every one of us. It isn't about the gift itself, but about the taking a moment to think of those who we love and showing them our appreciation for their existance in our lives.

I believe in love, hope and happiness. And I believe in all the beauty that comes with that perspective of life, because it is real. I see it in my day to day life -- and I hope that you see it in yours.

"Believe" - Josh Groban

Children sleeping, snow is softly falling
Dreams are calling like bells in the distance
We were dreamers not so long ago
But one by one we all had to grow up
When it seems the magic's slipped away
We find it all again on Christmas day

Believe in what your heart is saying
Hear the melody that's playing
There's no time to waste
There's so much to celebrate
Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need
If you just believe

Trains move quickly to their journey's end
Destinations are where we begin again
Ships go sailing far across the sea
Trusting starlight to get where they need to be
When it seems that we have lost our way
We find ourselves again on Christmas day

Believe in what your heart is saying
Hear the melody that's playing
There's no time to waste
There's so much to celebrate
Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need
If you just believe

Just believe

Monday, December 17, 2007

Suddenly the sense of urgency...

It just hit me this morning that Christmas Eve is a week from today.  I mean, I KNEW this -- but yet it suddenly feels as if I’m entirely unprepared.   Especially with the news that we may have yet another snow storm this Friday.  Did I not predict a white Christmas?

Anyway, it's time for me to start putting serious thought into my holiday menu; I had planned on making something rather unique this year, and based upon the not so great feedback I've received -- I've opted to change it.   No trying a Turducken this year…sigh.   I'm a little sad, but that's okay -- I'll try it some other time.   I'm also changing the menu a bit from what I usually do because my daughter is allergic to dairy products; and while she's always tolerated them she's right now at a point where she can not tolerate it at all, so to have a pasta such as lasagna or ravioli or even baked ziti which she couldn't eat -- would be unfair.  So "ixnay on the astapay" this year.

So now that the menu is ironed out, I'm going to be food shopping on Friday -- and prepping on Sunday and Christmas Eve.  And the menu for that day is as follows:

Shrimp Cocktail & Stuffed Scallops
Creamy Artichoke Soup & Antipasto
Prime Rib & Roasted Goose
Sausage Stuffed Italian Peppers
Roasted Potatoes
Fresh Greenbeans w. Portabella Mushrooms
Squash & Candied Sweet Potatoes

And I think that might be it for dinner.  Dessert, I normally just ask people to bring things.  I'm not the best pastry chef as I've attested to many a posts on here.  I do however, make a yummy chocolate hot cake in a crockpot - aptly named chocolate mess.  It's cake, and pudding, and sour cream and chocolate chips all melted together.  So that's my dessert contribution. 

Everyone else can do the baking - I'm all about the food. 

Saturday, December 15, 2007

So what does this girl think about steroids?

I have a variety of thoughts and opinons on this subject -- and I posted a much shorter version of this on Curt Shillings blog -- here, it's "my place" so I can tend to go rambling a bit more freely.

The first one being if there is overwhelming evidence that you bought Human Growth Hormones or Anabolic Steroids (e.g. reciepts you signed, checks signed by you - from your account, videotape of your purchases, etc..) -man up and admit you did it and move on. The gig is up - there is far more credibility in owning your mistake than to deny it and look foolish.

I do not condone the use of steroids - I want to preface my comment coming next with that. But I do believe that athletes who play sports for a living are not the “general public” and their bodies take a beating in such a manner that your average person does not. Excluding of course the body builder who uses HGH and Anabolic steroids. I get that body building is a "sport", but I do not hold that in the same esteem as I do football or baseball. Vanity is not a contact sport. Just this girls opinion…

However…I do believe that there is a difference between performance enhancing drugs used to take your body to a level of growth and performance that you would not have seen otherwise on sheer talent — and use that to break records and skew statistics; than using anabolic steriods in an effort to repair and heal the body quicker. From what little knowledge I remember from the 80s and 90s when steroid use was all the "rage" (no pun intended), HGH and Anabolic steroids together does crazy things to your body with regards to size and strength; using them seperately, or using different variations of the Anabolics that are out there -- does different things. And becoming bigger isn't necessarily one of them. Do steroids make the body stronger? Absolutely, in some ways yes — but it also breaks the body down in many other ways, sometimes even causing death at a relatively early age.

So basically what I’m saying is this: I disagree whole heartedly with how and why Barry Bonds used HGH and steroids. But yet, I may not necessarily disagree with the hows and whys of how other people in the sports world has used them. I almost feel like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here - because, in some ways - isn’t it all cheating?

All I know is this. I don’t think the Mitchell Report is going to change a thing for the players named within, except for maybe Roger Clemens. I think it’s great that the MLB wants to crack down on the use of illegal drugs - and I’m very glad that no one on the Sox was on that list. At the same time — I don’t know that it would’ve changed the opinions I hold of anyone even if they had been on there.

Would it have changed it for you?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Walking in a Winter Wonderland...

So it's finally looking a lot like Christmas, which is nice since it doesn't necessarily feel so much like the season. For the first time in I can't remember how many years - we actually might have snow on the ground for Christmas. I know, it's a bit premature for me to make that kind of statement, but given how the weather's been lately, I'm feeling rather optomistic. Yesterday's storm took quite a toll on the commute. I'm not exactly sure why it seems that everyone felt the need to be on the roads all at once yesterday -- the storm itself wasn't all that bad -- but the panic to get home was. It took me 3 hours to make a 9 mile drive home. Unbelievable.

Anyway, it afforded me the time to listen to the Mitchell Report and all the conversations that took place on WEEI immediately following. I have many a thought on the steroid situation but I'm going to hold that for tomorrow's posting I think.

Today is my son's holiday concert at his school. I can't wait. He's so funny, he's been keeping secret the songs he'll be singing because he said he wants to surprise me. He also said one of the songs makes all the teachers teary eyed when they rehearse, so he said I'll "definitely cry", which is a riot because he's never seen me cry -- ever!

Yesterday's holiday party at work, although brief - was actually kind of fun. They aren't usually, so to have laughed and had a good time was a nice surprise. There are actually some really great pictures floating around that I'm looking forward to seeing. It's pretty much a ghost town around the office today, so I'm thinking come Monday they should be circulating.

So, today's thoughts are ending with just a few lyrics from one of my favorite contemporary Christmas songs. I'd posted the whole song last year, but I just can't get this particular verse out of my head, so I'm sharing again. Have a lovely Friday!

"No more lives torn apart….And wars would never start...And time would heal all hearts….everyone would have a friend...And right would always win

And love would never end….This is my grown up christmas list…"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Um yeah, you can keep those....

So tomorrow is our office holiday party, and it's held at lunch time here on base.
As a contractor, I'm only allowed to be paid for the time that is "lunch". Everything else must be vacation, leave or unpaid.

Isn't that just a Ho. Ho. Ho.

Which leads to me thinking or rather, noticing that this year is different in the respect that people just don't seem to be in the holiday spirit. Normally, I notice that everyone is in a good mood and festive -- things just seem merry and bright. Not quite so this year. And I’m not exactly sure why. I mean, it's not a deflection of any kind because I’m in good spirits overall -- I'm not projecting my own mood as everyone else's. It just seems a little "ho hum" this year as opposed to "Ho Ho!"

Speaking of "ho-ho", how about all those pairs underwear from the Red Sox players that seem to be the topic of conversation all over the newspapers and NESN. I'm sorry, but as much as I love love love Jason -- I do not want to find a pair of his used underwear under my tree!!! STOP! That has got to be one of the grossest things I'd heard of. Listen, I'm all for him in his underwear under my tree (sorry, I couldn't resist!) but game used laundry? Um, yeah. How about no? I'm thinking 1.) clearly there's a sick person working the locker room collecting all of these well worn garments, and 2.) how horrified must these guys be to know that their skivvys are sitting in someone's closet -- and that someone's actually BUYING them?!?!

So if for some reason, Jason Varitek is a fan of my blog (doubt it but a girl can dream)…here's a gift giving guide for this girl: You under my tree with a red bow, great. Your game worn underwear wrapped with a red bow? Um, thanks anyway. As enticing as that might sound…I'm going to have to take a pass.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thoughts for Tuesday...

1. It's hard to believe it's already Tuesday - and that Christmas is 2 weeks away! Just when I thought I had everything under control... hmm. Well, I'm actually still okay, I just feel a little behind the curve but I don't think that I really am. I've been unable to wrap what I've got, though I'm hoping to go on a mission tonight and have a "power wrapping session". I just had hardwood floors put in over the past day or so -- and so that's taken up some of my time that could've been spent otherwise. And can I just tell you? Love, love, love the flooring. What a difference it makes from carpet. I don't understand why all newer construction doesn't just put it in. Seriously! Why should we have to go through all the aggravation or rearranging, moving, (or breaking!) furniture etc., after living there for "x" amount of years. I want to do it once - and I want to do it right. And I know, I never want to do this again. But I'm loving it now, so I guess it was worth it in the long run.

2. Gotta love GPS. I got a new option on my phone when I recently upgraded. I added GPS. Initially I thought, "Eh, I very rarely get lost". But I'm here to tell you - it's worth it's weight in gold. I went to a party up in Barrington NH this weekend, and though I knew I was on the right road, to be able to GPS my trip and have the phone tell me how many miles before the next turn I needed to take, or how long my estimated travel time was -- let alone just the company of her voice since the kids were sleeping -- was well worth it. AND...little extra bonus is that you can avoid those expensive 411 calls. Type in the name of the person's address or business you want - and if there is a published phone number attached to it, it will appear -- and you can either fat finger the number yourself, or select the handy dandy little "call" option. For an extra $9.99 a month -- add that to your holiday shopping gift list. Especially if you know someone who truly is geographically challenged.

3. A little television talk. What the heck is going on with Grey's? Please, someone tell the writers to stop asking for such crazy money because seriously -- up to this last episode, this season is just all over the map. What's that all about?? I watched October Road again last night - not because it's good, because I assure you the acting is subpar; but because I like the fact that it's about Massachusetts -- and I can see potential for the show. (Plus that was about the time I finished cleaning and rearranging the house.) It's just the actors who are all wrong. I think they only ones they've gotten right is the main character and his brother. Everyone else -- recast.

4. And finally...sports. Okay, so I'm a little out of the loop in the baseball talks. I haven't been around television/radio since Sunday so I dont' know what the heck is going on. I did watch the Patriots game which was the only thing I got to see glimpses of during the house turning upside down. And while I still think their defense is struggling despite the awesome block on Pittsburgh's last effort (what was that, the 3 yard line or something?) -- that seems to be their only weakness thus far. It's going to be so much fun watching the Jets game. I really hope they "run the score" up -- because if there was ever a team that deserved being beaten 57-3... my vote would be for them.

Friday, December 07, 2007

No place like home for the holidays...

Last night when I got home from work, I got the kids their dinner - changed into their feet pajamas -- and jaunted out to what has become a holiday tradition: looking at the Christmas lights. One night a week, sometimes two I take them out so we can sort of get a break in the monotony and enjoy Christmas without all the chaos. They each have their little travel mug and sippy cup filled with hot chocolate I made at home…we stop at Dunkins so I can get my coffee and for them --a few munchkins for the ride for dessert….holiday music on Sirius playing….and we drive around and look at all of the lights. Each night that we go, I pick a different side of town to see, and we really just have a lot of fun. It's also a great way to get them all warm and snuggly before bedtime without the usual finishing homework and watching a little television.

Traditions are important to me. And I think because the kids don't have grandparents in their lives on a regular basis to share in family times - what some consider as their immediate family, have become extended family for us -- and so ensuring that the kids have lots of traditions to reflect upon when they get older, is so important to me. I mean, some of my favorite memories growing up are about my grandparents and aunts and uncles; over the years, the family has grown smaller -- and so I am hoping to give to my kids a foundation of memories to look back upon that while might include a smaller group of family members -- are warm, fuzzy and happy just the same.

Tonight, after a much needed and anticipated yoga class, I have dinner plans with some friends…tomorrow, a holiday party at a girlfriend from work's house in NH…Sunday, a girls night shopping event. I don't have any shopping to do really, but it will be fun to see "the aunties" whom I haven't seen in far too long!

Fridays are fantastic, whether I have something going all weekend long - or don't have anything in particular at all lined up.

I wish you all the same!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

It just proves that a little effort goes a long way...

So, since my last business acquisition didn't come to fruition -- that doesn’t mean I've given up. Oh no. On contraire, mon frer. As a matter of fact, it sort of sent me out with a vengeance looking for another location.

Because I'm so specific on the type of business I want, I'd been thinking of building something from the ground up. It will cost me less money to do so -- the downside being no immediate revenue because I won't be gaining a clientele;I'll be building one. That's okay though. Initially, I was told that the hold up (no pun intended! Bite my tongue!!!) regarding liquor licensing might come from the town. So I approached the town; who informed me they loved the idea -- but it was a State Licensing issue. Which of course, led me to knock on the ABCC door. They inturn, were kind enough to inform me that it is indeed plausible and possible for me to acquire licensing -- pending approval at the State government level. So, I promptly made an appointment at the State House to visit the necessary powers that be. That meeting happened yesterday.

It went well. Very well. Still a long way to go…but off to a good start.

Wines & Spirits, Artisan Cheeses, Gourmet Foods/Appetizers, Kitchen linens, Entertaining Giftware, Menu Creation & Pairing, Wine Education.

Sounds yummy doesn't it?
2008 might just end up being my year.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How much do you like your co workers?

So, a few months back we (the collective we, meaning the co workers in my group) and I were talking about Jelly Belly Jellybeans. I love, love, love those jellybeans because they have the best flavors. They taste so good - and to be able to create new flavors by mixing up traditional ones is really very fun to do. Or, blind tasting them and trying to guess the flavor is a lot of fun as well.

Anyway, someone during that conversation mentioned that Jelly Belly makes Harry Potter Jellybeans in all these horrid, vile, disgusting flavors. Flavors so gross, that I won't even say some of them aloud. Check out the link, if you haven't already heard of them.( Available in these variety of flavors: Earwax, Booger, Sausage, Black Pepper, Vomit, Dirt, Soap, Rotten Egg, Pickle and Earthworm. Needless to say, I was absolutely horrified to see that these jelly beans actually come in these flavors! I mean, who taste tests them???? How does one know how accurate the taste is?!?!

Imagine this conversation: "yeah, it sort of tastes like vomit….but it needs a little more bile, a little less stomach acid. Oh, and sprinkle a little sugar in there, like someone got sick on marshmellow"… DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!

So. A box of them appeared in work today!! One of the girls I work with bought them and brought them in for us to either "try" -- which one of us did. She ended up eating what she thought was "Buttered Popcorn" and ended up with "Rotten Egg". Yeah, they mix in traditional jellybeans as well because that way you just aren't really sure what you're going to get. Disgusting!! There was no way in hell I was going to try any of them. Seriously!!!!!!! However….

We did try to play a joke on one of our co workers….except it didn't work. He actually liked it. He had the Dirt one -- and he'd had the others before and said they were -- and I quote -- "good". That in of itself makes me want to vomit.

But hey - if you want to play a joke on your friends, family -- or just want to laugh at someone else -- get yourself a box of these jellybeans.

And if you've got a sick, twisted sense of humor -- and/or taste, as one of co workers clearly does -- you'll be glad that you did!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Monday Morning Quarterback....

What a game last night.    Clearly there are holes in our defense, right up the middle.  But here's the difference between other teams and the Patriots -- they always keep their composure.  Doesn't that sometimes make all the difference in the world?   When it comes to gut check time, they focus and pull it together.   The Ravens were emotional from before the coin toss, and I wasn't the least bit surprised with all the penalties they received, outside of the fact that I thought for sure they'd have more "false starts".  They just looked antsy.   They were spectacular on the defense, that's for sure.  

It's unfortunate I think, that some of the Ravens players really let their emotions get away from them.  I get that last night's game was all emotional for them between Sean Taylor's funeral and just wanting to be the team to take the Patriots down -- but seriously, how can you play good ball if you can't keep it together emotionally?  And here's the thing -- there have been plenty of games that the officiating has gone clearly against the Patriots.  In this particular game - the only call that I think might have been questionable was the touchdown catch at the end, and I'm sorry, but I thought it as clear that Gaffney had control.  The other penalties really weren't anything to shake a head at. The Ravens were emotional and undisciplined - and they came across as such during the game.    Besides - in this girl's opinion - even if the Hail Mary pass at the end had resulted in a touchdown, there probably would've been a foul called against whomever the player was that came down on Assante Samuels. 

Here's a quote from Randy Moss that I thought was not only great to hear, but sort of an interesting commentary on his thoughts being here in New England:   "It was a tough game, so Baltimore came out with a game plan that they were going to try to try and be physical, and do a lot of talking with their mouth, stuff like that. Coach Belichick doesn't coach us or raise us that way. So for us to come up and shut them up with a last-second touchdown, that's what really felt good."   Hmm.  Sounds like a player who respects their parents....I mean coach.    I'd like to think that this is a positive sign that we will be able to maintain him for future years.

Did we win based sheerly on luck?  Maybe this time luck was involved a little bit.  But a win is a win -- and they clearly need to work on their defense because the Steelers are going to be all over them next week.  And I don't know how they'll be able to hold them back if they don't get their inside defense straightened out.  But I certainly don’t know the intricasies of football well enough to be able to spout statistics and specific plays -- but I do know enough to be able to determine what is or isn't working, and what needs to be worked on.

Speaking of working on….Santana coming to Boston?  As of this a.m., reports are that Jon Lester's medical records are being reviewed and that Ellsbury does not necessarily have to be part of the deal.  Will Crisp/Lester and the shortstop prospect (I forget his name) be enough?  I hope so!  It's a minute by minute watch at the moment, and I can't wait to see how it plays out.  If we have to let Jacoby go, I have to be honest and say that I'm not so sure that I'll be as excited about Santana coming here as I would've been…

Monday, December 03, 2007

What a girl wants....

It's funny how you often buy for others things that you might really want for yourself.   I hold back so much on things for me.

For example, I went and got two people on my list gifts from Coach.  You think I got myself one?  No.  And while I do have a spectacular knockoff -- I really, really would like to get myself a real one.  I keep kicking myself for giving away the one I had a few years back(seriously, whatever was I thinking???)  And it's not as if I can't afford to get myself a Coach bag…there are just so many other things that I would do with the money I think.  I find it hard to rationalize spending so much on a pocketbook -- even if I am going to have it for years.   I think it's the "Mom" in me shining through.  I mean, when I think of how much money I spend on other things -- but seriously, a bottle of perfume costs half of what a bag at the outlet costs -- and I don't bat an eye at that.  So, why do I procrastinate? 

And now that I think of it, it's not really the "Mom" in me that shines through - it's just that I don't like to spend money on myself for extravagant things.  I remember when I was younger - I'd know exactly what I wanted to buy myself when it was time to go shopping.  And when the time came, and my Mom would take me to go clothes shopping for school, and I'd find myself wandering aimlessly trying to find what I wanted; and then I'd come home --with nothing.  Well, unless you count the headache I gave myself.  It's almost as if I put too much pressure on myself to make the "right" decision.

Same thing with those silly shoes that I have yet to order for myself.  Sometimes I wish I could be more freespirited about spending on myself.   And it's not really as if I want a lot -- because I don't.  But there are some things that I really would like to have.  Maybe after the holidays….

(The postscript to this is that if I was the GM of the Boston Red Sox and actually HAD the seemingly endless amounts of money and resources to spend on this holiday season -- I would try to find a way to make the deal for Santana as enticing as possible without having to compromise Jacoby Ellsbury's place on the team.  I don't know what else outside of other future prospects, Bucholz and Crisp would work -- but find a way to make it happen and get Jacoby off the table!!!  Isn't there ANYTHING else that would work?!?!?  Just my humble opinion….. )

Friday, November 30, 2007

So glad it's Friday...

For a short week - I'm pretty tired!

Yesterday, I finished up on almost the remainder of my Christmas shopping.  The only things I have left to buy - are the gifts for my kids -- and the gift cards and/or ornaments for the adults.  I love exchanging ornaments -- they're so personal, and you always think of that person when decorating your tree -- so it's almost as if they're a part of the tradition, even if they're not sitting in the living room.

I went to Wrentham again yesterday.  (Insert angels choiring HERE).  My God I love that place.  And I can't wait to go back!  I found the BEST pair of Mary Jane shoes at Nine West (love love love Mary Jane shoes, but they must have a pointy toe AND high heel.  I'm so not into round toes, or little heels.  But I digress…)  that were available to be shipped to my house in both brown and black.  And, $29 a pair!  Buy one - get one 50% off.  I had them find me a pair, located in Lake George NY - but I didn't order them because…."I wasn't there for me.  I wasn't there for me".  That was my mantra all day long.   Not to say that I didn't get myself a little something -- new perfume:;jsessionid=FGB2LC5T20SO1LAUCJ2RXCQ?id=P48606&categoryId=C15137.  I couldn't resist.  My cousin wears it - and it was buy one, get one for $9.99, so we bought two and split the cost.  It cost us each $33 -- which is quite the steal!  And, I received two compliments on it thus far today - so…I'm glad it's a keeper!  AND - fun little tidbit -- my own perfume, Hanae Mori - happens to be a "similar" scent when looking at similar scents on the Sephora website.  Never would've have guessed because this one is much softer than mine.  So there you have it….And for the record - I think I AM going to order those shoes.    It's funny, I'll spend spend spend on everyone else, but really hesitate on spending for myself.  I even (get this) walked out of Ann Taylor without spending a dime on myself.  Can you imagine??

So, weekend is looking like this:  Yoga tonight; taking the kids to a fun "toys for tots" event in my town where they'll get to meet Santa; and then a birthday party on Sunday.  My cousin emailed me the other day saying they forgot us in the mailing of the invites.  I've been there, so know what it's like to be overwhelmed so I get it.  It's a Gymnastics party at a "Y" on the North Shore  - which should be a lot of fun.  We were tentatively planning on doing the skating on Frog Pond with another cousin, but I'm thinking that will get moved up to the following Sunday maybe?  My son was like "why can't we do both?"  and that might be an option, but we'll have to see how the day goes.   It's hard -- there's no one from my family going at this point outside of myself and the kids, so I'd hate to cancel - and I'm not sure if doing both is plausible, so we'll see…

So hard to believe that Christmas is less than a month away. 
Time to start wrapping…..!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Walkin' talkin' flim flam man...

So unimpressed with Mitt Romney. I have to tell you, when he was Governor here - I liked him. He was a moderate, middle of the road kind of Republican -- though fiscally conservative which is the way I tend to lean on money issues. But wow has he gone to the other extreme. Which makes me believe that he is the kind of man that will say whatever he thinks will win him the vote. And he did not present well at all. Which to me doesn't really matter because I wasn't going to vote for him anyway. But I was almost embarrassed to have him linked to Massachusetts; especially when he went on and on about being a Red Sox fan at the end. Seriously Mitt - you lived here for what, 2.5 years? Were you really always a Sox fan? I did however, love Rudy Guiliani's comments at the end about how the Yankees haven't won since he was Mayor. Very cute.

What was interesting about last nights debate was that they all were so different from one another in their points of views, whereas the Democratic candidates weren't all that much off the mark from each other's opinions on things. The Republicans ran one end of the spectrum to the other. Which sort of makes it difficult for me to choose a candidate to like in both instances. The Democrats are all rather wishy washy; the Republicans each have qualities that I long for -- but are often radically in the wrong direction of some of the social issues I believe in.

I have to say that Mike Huckabee surprised me and came across as the most rational -- even in the pro life/pro choice issue. I knew nothing about him going into this, and came out of it thinking that he seemed the most middle of the road. Guiliani came across well; McCain I thought came across a little too angry and condescending at times - though I agreed with much of what he said, the delivery was harsh. Should the delivery matter? I don't know. Perception is everything though, no? Ron Paul was very likeable as well...although I think he was anti-gay in the military, if I remember correctly - and that didn't sit well with me. But then again - not everything will, right?

What are the most important issues to me? Probably immigration, pro-choice, health care, fiscal health - not in that particular order, though immigration is top for me. But that's a rant for another day...

I just don't want this to come down to yet another "lesser of all evils."
So who's a girl to vote for?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ruminations of the day...

1. Prior to yesterday, my hair was really long. Wicked long, actually. (You know it was long if I revert to "wicked" as an adjective!). To my waist actually. I cut 4.5 inches off of it - and so now it's just long. But wow, it feels so short to me today! I still want to donate to Locks for Love…and I still will -- I'm just not ready to commit to shorter hair at the moment. But I'm quite fortunate in the respect that my hair is thick, and grows like a weed - so I'm sure that by the summer it will be close to where it was yesterday afternoon --and if I'm ready to commit at that point, I'll have more than enough hair to donate. I'm a firm believer in donating to all sorts of causes, and I try to donate to as many as I can regularly; and one that will help women and children when battling with Cancer is one that I just can't let pass by when I'm fortunate enough to be someone who can help in that respect.

2. Wow, is the media all over Brendan Meriweather now with the death of Sean Taylor. Well, the local media here is anyway -- specifically WEEI. I would tend to think that the Patriots did their homework on this kid when they brought him on, and I don't suspect that he'll go all "gangstah" and start shooting people because of his friend's death. Listen, Miami isn't Boston. The college crowds are a little different - the environment, mentality and lifestyles are a little different here than they are in Miami. I'm thinking that while he's probably grieving - he's loving his membership with the best team in the NFL more than he loved the thug life he supposedly was involved with 18 months or so ago.

3. I am really looking forward to this evening's Republican debate. I've gotten the opportunity to see where the Democrats sit on views - so now I'm looking forward to hearing where the Republicans sit. My vote as I've expressed before - is entirely up for grabs. I took this test online, and it said that my views aligned with John McCain at 70%, Rudy Guilani at 59%, Joe Biden at 50% and Hilary Clinton at 48%. Which is interesting because I'm not entirely clear on what the differences are between the candidates themselves. Joe Biden didn't surprise me, I really liked him during the debate. Hilary -- that surprised me quite a bit. But again, the questions that I answered may or may not have been either clearly understood by me -- or they may have been presented in a way to align to one particular candidate -- which wouldn't properly reflect the views that I believe in with a candidate. But that's the thing - I'm more than likely not going to agree with any one particular candidate on everything. So it's almost a call of the "lesser of all evils". I just want someone who truly believes what they say - and won't flop to try to win the vote.

4. I think I've made my thoughts quite clear on child abuse and stories of that nature. The Madeleine McCann case is really an interesting one though. I'm not entirely convinced that the parents had any play in this. I think that they made horribly poor decisions in leaving their children unattended -- what parent does that??? Be that as it may -- something about the way it's all been handled just really doesn't add up. I can't see why two parents who went through years of infertility treatments to conceive their daughter -- would kill her? And why her - and not the other two boys? It just doesn't ring true to me. An acquaintance of mine works for Fox News and has been on location following that story - and is convinced that the family is innocent and the Portugese police is trying to pin it on the family because they really botched the investigation -- starting from the crime scene that night and moving forward. I'm just not sure what to believe. All I know is that I sincerely hope that this story ends with her being abducted as part of a illegal adoption ring and that she's living with some family that's caring for her at the moment. While no one wants to have a child abducted ever -- I'd so much rather have this story end with her alive and healthy, than the alternative -- which we all know is not the happiest of endings.

5. The Novelle of Natick.
For those who buy "Manolo's" and don't like to "rough it". Well. My gut reaction was "wow, what a great concept for condos - I'm openly envious." But then reading the quotes from the clearly pretentious couple who was interviewed for this article, all I can say is "thank GOD I'm not a member of THAT condo association." This couple clearly needs to get over themselves. Because honestly, I'm a 30 something who while I don't actually own a pair of Manolos -- can afford to buy a pair and just choose not to. But that doesn’t make me above the rest of the people who live in Boston. There are places to go outside of the college bars in town, and it sounds to me as if Miss Thing in here - goes to the wrong places just to show the world that she "buys Manolos". Seriously sister. This girl is just not impressed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Never good one's ever happy

So here's what I don't get.

I know the Pats defense looked lousy Sunday night. And truthfully - Tom Brady made some not so great plays -- yet statistically, he did okay.

For most other teams - that game would've been a loss. (Despite the fact that we were robbed of a touchdown…but that's a refereeing issue, which is a whole different subject in of itself. But I digress...)

Here's why it's almost impossible to have a perfect season: on any given Sunday - it can be anyone's game, no? And the teams that are coming in to play the Pats now, they're not coming in with their tails between their legs admitting defeat before the toss of the coin. They're going to pull out all the stops and play crazy ball against the Pats -- sort of what happened Sunday night, right? Everyone wants to be David, slewing Goliath.

On one hand, people (including NE fans) have been crying about how easy the games have been; on the other hand…we have an "off" night, don't look "perfect"….and everyone's on their case saying "it's a win, but…." and they're being pulled apart. Call me crazy, but seriously… they won. Isn't that really all that matters? Now it's time to focus on the future. And let's be honest - no one adjusts a team like Belichick in the middle of a game - let alone within a week.

This is what it's like in the Boston market though.
To coin an old phrase, "you can't win for losing!"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Who does this kind of thing???

The authorities have finally identified Baby Grace.

It is amazing to see the photo of the victim, a beautiful 2 year old girl…and how closely the composite drawing of what the authorities think she would've looked like actually comes to the real thing.  Those artists and specialists who come up with the composite photos are just mind blowing.

And what is so especially devastating is the story behind this.   How can a mother do this to her own child?  My heart breaks when I think of this little child, the pain she must've endured and how she was just discarded like a piece of trash.

If there really are angels, I pray to God that little Riley - "Baby Grace"  is one of them.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

'TIs the season to be jolly...

It's funny, with the Thanksgiving holiday - my schedule feel a little "off". Of course, being up for 24 hours didn't help much with keeping track of the days. But today is Saturday - and we have one of my nephew's birthday parties which should be alot of fun. It's a bowling party - and the kids are really looking forward to it. Tomorrow, it's Christmas Card picture day...and of course, the traditional transition to Christmas with decorating, and the "Pièce de résistance" - the tree.

This morning I realized it's been sometime since I posted a Saturday survey; and with the official kickoff to the holiday season having taken place, I thought that a holiday themed survey would be a good choice for today. Similar to other survey's I've done in the past but you know how these things go, they all vary on a theme. So sit back, and if you're truly that's just a few more things about this girl and my favorite time of year!

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate...preferably with a touch of mint!

2. Letter to Santa? "Dear Santa, I already wrote on behalf of the kids, so this one's all me. Quick question for you...does the whole "naughty/nice" thing have to apply to grownups too? Because truly, I'm a little bored of the "nice" thing right now. I've got plenty of nice...could use a little naughty. A girl needs a break now and then, wouldn't you agree? Are there levels to this naughtiness thing? Just curious...Anyhow. I truly don't need much. Surprise me -- I love surprises. Could we talk about Jason Varitek somehow ending up under my tree....even for just, 10 minutes? I can definitely suppress the whole "naughty" thing if that's what it takes. Let's talk. Love you, and always a believer....Rebecca."

3. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Santa always wraps! And puts bows on...curly ribbon sometimes too. It's no fun for the kiddies if there's no wrapping to undo!

4. Colored lights on your tree/house or white? I'm a traditionalist, leaning towards the white. I used to be a multi color light kind of girl - but then I realized that the ornaments show up better with plain white. It makes them standout rather than get lost in all the color.

5. Do you hang mistletoe? No. And interestingly enough, I've never had anyone kiss me under it either... maybe it's because I've never hung it?

6. When do you put your decorations up? The Saturday or Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving.

7. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Truthfully, I make something different every year - I try to keep it interesting. But I guess ham might be one of them since I almost always include a ham in the menu. I love the stuffed scallops I make too though.

8. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Making play doh ornaments with my mother.

9. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What truth about Santa? Is he diabetic? Should I not be leaving out cookies??? I've often wondered why he doesn't eat them all...

10. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No, I don't like to do that. When I was little we always did, I'd always ask. But as a grown up -- no. Guess I acquired patience somewhere along the line....

11. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I'm discovering a whole new appreciation for coordinated chaos. Having the kids help is the whole fun...but the type A in me is just realizing that I can enjoy it, truly. It's eclectic I guess...leans towards the Victorian side with the colors, has some "fou fou" with feathered ornaments; but remains traditional as well with handmade ornaments made by my Mom as well as traditional figurine ornaments.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, I love love love it!!! Hoping to get to the Duck Pond -- maybe next Sunday?? I wish I had more time to go - but it just seems like once a year is the only time anymore.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I think my favorite gift ever was a cookbook that my parents made for me about 10 years ago now. It's got all their own "tried and true" recipes, plus a ton that my mom found online for me and printed out. I use it all the time still -- and about 6 years ago or so, in a non-gift related fashion - my Mother added to it with all sorts of crock pot recipes.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Being with my family.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Obviously, anything with peanut butter. Outside of that, love love love chocolate pudding pie --so simple, and yet so flipping good.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Most definitely the decorating of the tree.

17. What tops your tree? A teddy bear angel that my Mom made, I don't know -- 25 years ago maybe? She always made crafts and would sell them at shows...but this one was either an extra one, or it didn't sell - I can't remember which. But I loved it -- It was one of the few things I asked for when I first moved out. And it's been on my tree every year since I was 18.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Love to give. Definitely my favorite. But it always feels nice to receive a little something as well...

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Traditional, I'd have to say "Little Drummer Boy" or "What child is this". Contemporary, I'd have to say "Little Drummer Boy" with Bing Crosby and David Bowie - as well as "Christmas in Sarajevo" by Transiberian Orchestra. New/Original, then I'd say "Believe" by Josh Groban.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Yum! How can you not love a candy cane? Not only do they taste great - but they make your breath sweet and minty too! Who can't appreciate a candy that multi tasks?!?!

Friday, November 23, 2007

How tired am I?

So much so, that the word "tired" itself is an understatement.

I went to the Wrentham Outlets last night at midnight for "Midnight Madness".. and it was well worth it. My only regret was having to put back what I had in my arms at the Gap Outlet, but seriously - a one hour wait for the register is not what I'm up for at 1:30 in the morning.

First off, I was there by 11 sharp...but the exit was closed down. The State Police weren't allowing people to move on the exit until approximately 11:45. How irritated was I? Exceptionally so. girlfriend and I ended up one car away from each other in traffic, which is pretty funny considering that I came from the North and she from the South; so we were on our cell phones for the hour lamenting about the wait which in turn, made the wait not so unbearable.

I did really well - and for the first time ever - have about 70% of my shopping for people outside of my kids -- completed. I'm actually going back one day this week to re-capture the great things I had at the Gap that I had to "set free".

The only downside to the night was that as we were leaving, it took about an hour to get out of the parking lot and on to the highway - and it was so congested that we missed the turn to Cracker Barrell. So no fun breakfast for us. I did, however - stop in the Bellingham area Dunkin Donuts that gave me a piping hot, fresh wheat bagel. That was probably the most delicious bagel I'd ever had. And I didn't feel like I couldn't stay awake on the drive home, which might have been the case had I eaten bacon, ham, grits, and all things country from the Barrell. Everything happens for a reason, no?

I came home at 6, squeaked in one hour of sleep before Mom responsibilities kick in - and you know what -- I'm feeling pretty darn good despite my opening statement.

I would do it again next year... but with different expectations, and clearly a game plan on where to go first. But truly, with the fun friend experience and the great prices - definitely well worth the inconveniences and lack of sleep.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Twas the Day before Thanksgiving....

So, I've been talking a lot with my kids over the past few weeks about what they're thankful for.
Which led me to think about what I'm thankful for.

And while I feel that I'm always relative open about what I appreciate, and try to always take the time to call out the things that are important to me - today is a good time to reiterate them again.

1.  Family I'm so very fortunate to have a solid family foundation; while my immediate family isn't always near by, it's that sense of "home" and belonging that I still hold tight to.  I think that helps keep me grounded throughout time.  Needless to say I'm so very thankful for my own little family…I couldn't imagine my life without them.

2.  Health Knock on wood, thus far - we're all healthy, with nothing major or life threatening involved at the moment.  And that is something to always be thankful for.

3.  Friendships What is life without friends?  I'm so very thankful that I have a solid core of friends -- and acquaintances -- that I'm proud to know and be associated with.  It's funny, as you get older -- even your circle of acquaintances are the types of people that you generally want in your life, as opposed to them just occupying space out of a necessity of either work or play.  Let's be honest, we all have choices in life as to whom we choose to interact with and I've found that I'm really happy with the people I've chosen -- or rather, might have chosen me -- to be a part of life.

4.  Outlook I can't begin to say express how thankful I am that I have a positive outlook on life, naturally.  It's something that doesn't come easy to everyone - we're all different, and have gone through different experiences in life that can lend a hand in cycnicsm or negativity.  And while I by no means have led a life that has been laden with primroses…I've never let the negativity that has been thrown at me bring me down.  I whistle all the time.  I'm always smiling, sincerely.  I'm geniunely always happy.  And you know what, I love that about me!!   If there was one thing about me that someone asked me, "what is your best feature" -- I think I'd say "my attitude and outlook."  I'm really thankful that I was "made" this way.

These are the three most important things I'm thankful for.  Seriously.   There are other things in life I'm thankful for on a grand scale - but these are the "biggies".
The following, however - are the "fluffy" things I'm thankful for.

1.  Boston Sports.  Does it get much better than this?  'Nuff said / Nuf Ced.  (Anyone watch "Rooters" yet??)

2.  Mia Bella Candles I'm so thankful that I discovered these candles this past weekend.  I'm supposed to be attending a party Monday evening where there will be candles available for purchase.  I might have been skeptical had I not bought one this past weekend.  Love, love, love these.  Can't say enough about them.   Soy candles, that melt into complete liquid evenly -- and the best part is -- no black soot.  At all.  Anywhere.  Candle lovers everywhere MUST get these candles.   (There, I not only am thankful - but I'm generous too, because I'm spreading the word! Hahaha)

3.  Yoga Best thing I did this year was get myself in this activity.  I'm so thankful that I added it to my work out routine.  I feel better, sleep better, and work out with better endurance and stamina as a result of it.  I've always eaten "right" but it almost entices you to always eat right, and do good things for your body all the time.  How can you go wrong with that?

4.  The Body Shop I'm so thankful that I gave the shop another chance.  Didn't love their stuff too too much before.  But the Body Butter -- is to die for.  Gotta have.  So thankful I got a gift card for my birthday this year because now, I'm hooked.

However you celebrate Thanksgiving -- be it at home, with family, or a restaurant -- it doesn't really matter.  Be happy, appreciative and thankful…there's always another day to have a good day, even if you aren't in the best of places in life at the moment. Every day you wake up -- is a great day.  And know that you make a difference and have an impact on someone else's life. 

And isn't that something in of itself that's worth being thankfulr about?