1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Sold some photographs.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
None for this year, none for the coming year. But I made progress on the 101 Things in 1001 Days.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
Stayed in the country this year.
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A permanent job.
7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 15, when I officially moved to Rhode Island.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Moving to Rhode Island
9. What was your biggest failure?
Didn't get a permanent job.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Broke a toe. Otherwise, I've been pretty healthy.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
GPS for the car.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
John McCain's concession speech was the most impressive thing I heard all year.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Gov. Blagojevich. Shame on you.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Moving and setting up house.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Selling my photography. That was huge.
16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Uh... Code Monkey?
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
c. considerably poorer
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exploring our new turf.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Drove down to the 'rents to spend the long weekend with them and the babies and Nana.
21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
no, but I developed a serious crush.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
LOST, but it's been so long since it was on, I feel like it wasn't even this year.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No one new, no.
24. What was the best book you read?
I'm really enjoying Good Omens.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Jonathan Coulter. He's very witty.
26. What did you want and get?
Move to Rhode Island.
27. What did you want and not get?
The attention of the object of my affection.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Dark Knight.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 44 and drove to NY to see the 'rents and grandbabies.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Getting a permanent job with benefits.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
32. What kept you sane?
What makes you think I stayed sane?
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
None stands out.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Health care. Seriously, how can it be that we still have people without health care in this country? There's no excuse.
35. Who did you miss?
Some friends I moved away from.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Chuck. Mark. Mike. Jim.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Doing what matters is more important than the amount of the paycheck. But having enough to pay all the bills is still pretty important.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Nothing comes to mind.
1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Sold some photographs.
Sarah Vowell takes another stab at American History, this time focusing on colonial New England. She follows the turbulent journey of the "saints" from England to Massachusetts, and takes us along with them as they bicker their way into forming Rhode Island and Connecticut.
For those living in Rhode Island, Roger Williams is hard to miss, but Vowell goes into a bit more detail than the National Parks Service. It's a roller coaster ride, but it's nice to learn more about Williams than just that he founded the first colony dedicated to religious freedom.
We walk in snowy exile with Anne Hutchinson to Portsmouth, and witness the Pequot War with the wry humor of 350 years' worth of hindsight.
Most of the history is well-researched and fleshed out in vivid detail. However, the end of the book seems slapped on, as if she were in a hurry to finish.
I found this book less funny than her other books, Take the Cannoli, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, and my favorite, Assassination Vacation. Still, it's a good time and a quick read.
I like Shelfari. When I hear about a book I want to read, I can add it to my "to be read" pile on Shelfari, and when I'm ready, it'll be there to remind me.
I was just looking for a similar type of site, but for movies. Suddenly, I remembered: IMDB has that service!
IMDB lets you create a "My Movies" list where you can track the movies you own, the movies you want to see, and the movies you've seen but don't own. You can rate them, review them and organize them to your heart's content.
So, as I add Herb and Dorothy to my "Must See" list, I feel both a little foolish and a little wise.
Here's something else I haven't seen yet: an inflatable lawn menorah. I suppose it was just a matter of time...
You Should Make 5 Resolutions
Quit Smoking Now
Spend More Time With Family and Friends
Sunday Stealing: The Screaming Masses' Meme
1. What is a nickname a former (or present) lover gave you? princess?
2. How do you style your hair? If you just would say "cut" what style is it? naturally curly. I just wash and go.
3. What's your least favorite Christmas song? "I want a hippopotamus for christmas."
4. How many colors are you wearing now? two
5. Are you an introvert or extrovert? pretty introverted, but making an effort.
6. What was the last book you read? Currently reading The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch and The Wordy Shipmates
7. What's one piece of fiction that changed your life? Can't think of anything
8. If you are attracted to someone who is already in a relationship (or married), what might do you do? avoid that person
9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy recently? bogus grade on my Tech Writing final. Still sorting that one out.
10. What's your favorite dessert? So many choices...
11. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? about fifteen minutes
12. Name one website that you visit daily. Why do you read it? ProJo to check on the news
13. What was your last job before either you are at home or at another job?? I Communications Specialist at a nonprofit.
14. Do you like to clean? NO
15. What was the last song to get stuck in your head? Code Monkey by Jonathan Coulton
16. What's the last movie you saw? Christmas in Wonderland on ABC Family channel last night
17. Pirates or Ninjas? Ninjas, man!
18. What is your least favorite thing to do that you have to do everyday? be nice
19. Best time of your life? every day
20. What are you most looking forward to in the coming year? being mindful to live in the moment
I've seen this over at Kwizgiver's a few times and thought I'd give it a shot:
Sunday Stealing: The TV Meme
1. Name a TV show series in which you have seen every episode at least twice: M*A*S*H*
2. Name a show you can't miss: LOST
3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to watch a show: Harrison Ford (now that would be interesting)
4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to watch a show: Sean Penn
5. Name a show you can, and do, quote from: M*A*S*H*
6. Name a show you like that no one else enjoys: Pushing Daisies
7. Name a TV show which you've been known to sing the theme song: just one? How about WKRP in Cincinnati?
8. Name a show you would recommend everyone to watch: LOST
9. Name a TV series you own: Angel, Dead Like Me, seasons of a couple of others.
10. Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium, but has surprised you with his/her acting chops in television: no one comes to mind
11. What is your favorite episode of your favorite series? The LOST episode where Hurley found the van.
12. Name a show you keep meaning to watch, but you just haven't gotten around to yet: Can't think of one.
13. Ever quit watching a show because it was so bad? yes
14. Name a show that's made you cry multiple times: none
15. What do you eat when you watch TV? whatever
16. How often do you watch TV? daily
17. What's the last TV show you watched? The Plague on the History Channel
18. What's your favorite/preferred genre of TV? Crime/police and supernatural
19. What was the first TV show you were obsessed with? Wow... I don't know.
20. What TV show do you wish you never watched? Nothing I can think of
21. What's the weirdest show you enjoyed? LOST
22. What TV show scared you the most? none, really
23. What is the funniest TV show you have ever watched? The Powers that Be
- Destined :: ordained
- FAIL :: "your shipment of FAIL has arrived"
- Camping ::fun
- Only you :: can make the world seem right
- Incessant :: whining
- Tomorrow ::tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow...
- Impressive :: "most impressive." ~Darth Vader
- Riches :: "What riches!" ~Katharine Hepburn as Jo March, Little Women
- Dislike :: orange
- Speaker :: of the House
You Feel Nurturing Toward Your Family
You get along with everyone in your family, and you tend to play the peacemaker. You can see issues from all sides.
You feel like your family is prone to too many arguments and instability. You never feel like things can be completely peaceful.
When times get difficult, you are able to be the adult in your family. You are able to keep your family together.
You have trouble keeping up with your family member's birthdays and anniversaries. You are often late with your gifts.
You'd expect a site called "Menorah.com" to have some interesting and unique styles, and this one doesn't disappoint. It's a children's menorah called "bumble bee." It also comes with a dreidle and a yo-yo.
This photo from WikiMedia Commons, designed by Maurice Ascalon in 1948. It's a really cool design. I like all the little oil lamps at the foot, and the wreath.
Photo by Eric Ascalon, Ascalon Studios, Inc.
This is a nicely done Advent calendar, with all the members in the Nativity Scene, added one by one to the wooden stable. It even self-stores. The figures are in the images of the Fontanini scene.
Over at CasaSugar, she's got a "love it or hate it?" quiz regarding this menorah. I don't have strong feelings about it either way, except that it's pretty cool. I like the mix of colors, but I'm not sure it would "work" in my house. Maybe.
A pretty standard calendar -- the kind I grew up with, without the chocolate, but with pretty pictures behind the windows. This is a sweet picture that's a bit different than the usual Santas, Nativities, Fireplaces and Victorian Houses.
KidKraft gives a little Hanukkah love, too, with this cute lil playset. The little latkes are too cute.
photo: Mental Floss
Mental Floss (a great source for esoteric information) has a list of eight things you maybe didn't know about Hanukkah.
News to me: "The story of the oil offers an alternate reason for why the festival is eight-days long. It comes from the Talmud, which contains the law and lore of the early rabbis. And while the earliest rabbis lived long after the pious, honorable Maccabees, they were contemporaries of the Maccabees’ despotic descendants, who ruled Judea by combining the offices of king and high priest, corrupting both."
Local writer and shopper Liberty Goodwin has created the Healthy Holiday Handbook, aimed at providing advice and gift ideas for a "green" and "healthy" holiday season.
For example, she suggests easing back on the "stuff" and giving healthy gifts such as gift certificates to a bowling alley, swimming pool or other you-play sporting facility.
It's a neat idea, available at no cost, although she does accept donations.
You Are Gold Lights
Your holidays are a time of abundance and riches.
Even if you don't have a lot during the rest of the year, this is the time that you splurge a little.
Your holidays traditions tend to be a bit old fashioned and dignified.
You like old holiday movies, properly wrapped presents, and family recipes passed down over the years.
This is the Bear's favorite. Coincidentally, we discovered that Eldest wants one, too.
Hooray for after Christmas sales!
Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas
For you, it's all about sharing times with family.
Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.
What The Holidays Mean to You
For you, the holidays are about generosity. You give as much as you possibly can to friends, family, and charity.
You celebrate the holidays in a minimalist style. You are likely to only give one great present and decorate your house with a few special items.
During the holidays, you feel magical. You love all of the decorations and how happy people are. You like to sit back and take it all in.
You think the holidays should be nostalgic and sweet. The holidays bring out your inner child.
Your favorite holiday memories strongly evoke your senses. You are vividly aware of all the tastes, smells, and sounds of the holidays.
Your Christmas Sprit Level: 80%
Your Christmas spirit is almost as big as Christmas itself. Christmas is definitely your thing.
You celebrate Christmas with enthusiasm. You love every minute of the holidays.
Your Christmas spirit is inspiring to everyone who runs into you during the holidays.
You make everyone's day just a little bit brighter. And that's what the holidays are all about!
You Are a Gingerbread Cookie
You are an organized, responsible person.
You value success, and you're likely to get an early start on the day.
You are good with both planning and numbers.
You have ambitious life goals, and you're well on your way to achieving them.
- Carpet :: bagger
- Bottoms :: up
- Music :: soothes the savage breast
- Nails :: hard as
- Watch it! :: Look out!
- Your life :: or your money
- Candies :: chocolate
- Chafing :: dish
- Svelte :: trim
- Ding :: bat
I love these little door calendars, and this one from scrapcolors is more personal than anything you could find at Target. I'm going to have to update mine this year.
This is a pretty simple DIY, or you can order directly from EvenlySPACED on Etsy. With an extra set of numbers, you can have this one up year-round. I like the color and the simple design.
A musical version of A Christmas Carol that waves back and forth between faithful following and complete departure. Albert Finney is Ebenezer Scrooge, the miser who becomes generous.
Finney is effectively harsh and skinflinty, although the interpretation is of a Scrooge who thinks of himself as a good guy, which is not where Dickens took the character.
Most of the music is a lot of fun, and the reprises turn the original tunes on their heads. What starts out to be mocking becomes genuine at the end of the movie.
I didn't care for the interpretation of the Ghost of Christmas Past as an elderly woman, although Edith Evans does a fine job with a touch of wit. David Collings made a very fine Bob Cratchit, and the little Cratchits, including Tiny Tim, were appropriately adorable.
One surprise was a rather swishy Sir Alec Guinness as Marley's Ghost. Meant to imply weightlessness, it comes off sometimes as just strange ballet moves.
Scrooge spends some time in Hell, for some strange reason that is comletely apart from the book and seems to have been added in as either filler or comedic relief. It's a completely unnecessary sequence that should have been left out.
All things considered, it's not a bad movie. In fact it's quite enjoyable. It just takes a lot of liberties with a story that was perfectly wonderful to begin with.
Boston radio station B101 has nightly calls with Santa Claus. He's just wonderful with the children, and always makes me smile.
Individual calls are posted online here, or you can listen live at 6pm ET at B101.com.
• He asks for your address, the location of your tree, whether your dad has a gun, and then reminds you to leave a door unlocked on Christmas Eve, because he’s gotten too big to slide down chimneys.
photo: resurrection fern on Craft
I love these simple, beautiful decorations. Resurrection Fern froze lace doilies in a pan of water and hung them outdoors. They make pretty snowflakes whether there's snow on the ground or not.
Bob Felt, who went by the pseudonym Deep Throat when he passed information about the Watergate investigation to reporters Woodward and Bernstein, died Thursday, December 18.
Felt was instrumental in confirming and solidifying information as factual, said Bernstein. Only a year after Watergate broke, Felt was in some trouble of his own regarding Felt was 95.
Link to CNN article
Today marks the 165th anniversary of the first publication of A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas by Charles Dickens.
Dickens is by way of being an ancestor of mine (if a distant cousin's genealogy is to be believed). I like to read A Christmas Carol each year as a sort of tradition, and reminder of the meaning, and not getting bogged down in the material. Take-offs of A Christmas Carol have become a standby in movies and on television. Patrick Stewart (of Star Trek fame) did a one-man show of it on Broadway and then went on to play Ebenezer Scrooge in a television adaptation (with other actors).
Probably my favorite rendition is the George C. Scott version that played on tv in the 80's. I think it's the truest to the original story. On the 150th anniversary of its publication, PBS had a public reading of the work by Martin Sheen and James Earl Jones. I'd love to get a copy of that, although I haven't been able to find it on video or DVD. Sheen was especially fabulous.
Here's a bit of a challenging DIY advent calendar. You tie together walnut shells with a bow, and number them. You can fill the walnut shells with whatever you want. The tricky part is getting the shells apart, intact. After that, it seems reasonably simple.
Instructions at Plenty.com via Re-Nest
If you ask me, these gifts are good year-round. Things like a day of chores and companionship are on the Dollar Stretcher's list of gifts you can give that don't have t ocost a cent, but may mean much more than anything store-bought.
Every year I ask one of the kids to clean out my car - thoroughly, vacuum and all - for the holidays. I can hope, can't I?
Because I can. And because Kwizgiver already did.
Do you believe in Santa Claus:
Do you put up a christmas tree:
Do you decorate the outside of your house:
Do you decorate the inside of your house:
White lights or Colored:
colored this year, might switch to white next year.
When do you usually start listening to Christmas music:
Do you peek at presents:
Do you make gingerbread houses:
no, but I love them
When do you start your shopping:
the day after Christmas
Do you like snow:
On the grass, not on the roads.
Do you like to build snowman or have snowball fights:
yes to both
When do you get up on christmas:
when the kids wake me up
What do you do first eat or open gifts:
Are you in the Christmas spirit yet:
Whats Christmas eve like for you:
Sometimes church. Every year we do the Christmas light drive, too.
What about the day before that:
Are you anticipating christmas:
What is your favorite Christmas memory:
don't have one
Who do you usually spend Christmas with:
Is Christmas usually celebrated at your house or someone elses:
Mine, but this year with my parents.
Do you get everyone in your family a present:
All the children. The adults draw names (first time this year)
What is your favorite Christmas tradtion:
putting baby Jesus in the manger at midnight Christmas Eve.
Do you like eggnog:
in small doses
Do you have any shirts or sweaters with a Christmas design on it:
What is your favorite Christmas album:
John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together
Do you open your presents Christmas morning or Christmas Eve:
Do you go to Church on Christmas Eve:
Do you get a real or a fake tree:
Who decorates the tree:
Your Christmas is Modern
Your wish for the New Year is more happiness.
For you, Christmas is a spiritual holiday. You can't separate it from your beliefs.
You are patient when it comes to Christmas. You don't celebrate too early, and you don't like seeing holiday decorations in October.
You like Christmas traditions, but you're not uptight about them. You do things your way.
You have some preferred ways of celebrating Christmas, but you're open to compromise.
You love Christmas. You enjoy almost every aspect and tradition of the holidays.
You try to give as much as possible during the holidays. You are quite generous.
MSN City Guides has named Providence one of the seven great cities to live in. Citing the huge variety of food, ethnic diversity and art scene, as well as some wicked cool architecture, City Guides also bestowed the Independent Spirit Award on the city.
We do rock.
I love the creativity of people I find on etsy! This advent calendar by Keepsakesbykristi is made out of a mini muffin tin! It can be filled with a variety of items. Kristi suggests "Scriptures, lyrics to a Christmas carol, quotes, an activity to do each day." Great ideas. Adorable calendar!
swiped from Kwizgiver
1. Do you enjoy receiving or giving presents more? giving
2. What is you favorite holiday film? It's a Wonderful Life and Ernest Saves Christmas. I also must watch A Christmas Carol at least once during the season.
3. Have you started or finished your gift shopping? mostly finished.
4. What does this time of year mean to you? it's my favorite time of the year, I LOVE it
5. What is your favorite holiday song? O Holy Night and We Need a Little Christmas Now
6. What do you love about the holiday season? the feeling of generosity and goodwill
7. What do you hate about the holiday season? commercialism
8. Do religious ceremonies play a part in your holiday traditions? If yes, how? we go to church and have advent ceremonies at home
9. Who will you spend the holidays with? my family
You Are Merry and Spontaneous
You approach the holidays with joy and playfulness.
You refuse to let the holidays be stressful. They should only be about fun.
The holidays truly make you feel like a kid again.
And you believe it's your job to make everyone else feel like a kid too!
Of all the types, you're the most likely to give someone a gift early... because you can't wait.
You're also the most likely to wrap your presents quickly - or not at all.
photos: Monster Crochet
I so completely want a pie hat and monster turkey purse! I just love these, and the wicked sense of humor that inspired them.
both at Monster Crochet, via Neatorama
photo: List Universe
The five best, the five worst. Of course they include Charlie Brown and the Grinch among the best. And no bad holiday specials list would be complete without the Star Wars Holiday Special. I'm disappointed that The Year Without a Santa Claus didn't make the list. What would the holidays be without the Heat Miser and Snow Miser?
photos via Mental Floss
I tried so hard to describe the tree to the Bear, but she didn't have a frame of reference. "It's thin," I told her, "with blank spaces in the middle and branches that come out on levels every few inches. Cue the blank stare.
Well, this is pretty much what I had in mind. I had seen the first picture years ago, but couldn't find it until this morning, when I discovered in on Mental Floss. They also had a more modern version, called a "feather tree." Not quite the same, but close.
This year we used our artificial tree again. Maybe next year.
Holiday stress got you down? Here's some motivation for you:
There's 40 motivational speech clips from film in there. Can you identify them?
Neatorama has the transcript.
Yulia Brodskaya is a Russian artist with mad papercraft skillz. She also has a selection of art that is by turns cute and elegant. Be sure to check out her "old stuff."
Link via Neatorama
Simple boxes stacked, piled or pasted to a board are an easy DIY advent calendar. You can use plain numbers, holiday stickers, or whatever suits your fancy. For the re-user, images cut from magazines work great.
You Can Say "Merry Christmas" in 14 Languages
You can say "Merry Christmas" in:
This is an unusual version of the advent calendar for a couple of reasons: First, it's a lighthouse, and you don't see a lot of those as advent calendars. Second, the openings are drawers rather than doors. It's a very interesting one for people who like the coastal theme.
You Are Cider
Your holiday personality is cozy.
The holidays are your favorite time to stay home, stay warm, and spend time with those you love.
You don't need a lot to make you happy over the holidays.
Seeing an old relative or favorite holiday film is enough to make your day.
Again from Kwizgiver. Can't get enough.
When do you start Christmas shopping?
I pretty much shop year-round
Are you finished shopping?
How many people are you buying for?
What are you leaving out for Santa?
cookies and milk
Name 3 things you want for Christmas:
Rest, Joy, Laughter
Are you traveling this year?
If so, Where to?
Nan and Dann's
What kind of stockings are hung at your house?
Every one has their own kind.
Do you have a fireplace/ chimney?
no, but Nan and Dann do.
Favorite things to get in your stocking?
books or jewelry
Any family traditions?
Lots and lots.
What foods does your family have every year at Christmas?
Who is the most fun to buy for?
Who is the easiest to buy for?
Who is the hardest to buy for?
Who gives the best gifts?
Nan and Dann
Any movies/specials you have to watch every year?
It's a Wonderful Life, The Grinch, Charlie Brown, Ernest Saves Christmas, Christmas Vacation
Who passes out the presents?
We take turns
Main stores you have shopped at this year:
Great to Be Green, Aeropostale, Toys R Us, Walgreens, Forever 21
What kind of tree do you have?
What are your 3 favorite ornaments on your tree?
I don't think I can choose!
What adorns the top of your tree?
Do you collect anything Christmasy?
I used to collect angels
Whose kids are you buying for this year?
mine, my grandkids, my nieces and nephews (13 all together)
Can you name all 7 reindeer?
Ever watch Ernest Saves Christmas?
What's your favorite Christmas drink?
Do you like Eggnog?
in very small doses
What flavor candy canes do you like?
When do you take your tree down?
January 6, we have a last hurrah for Epiphany that closes out the season.
Is Christmas still magical for you?
very much so
What is your favorite thing about Christmas?
Do you donate at Christmas time?
Do you make sure to remember the TRUE meaning of Christmas?
How many nativity scenes do you have in your house?
Have you been naughty or nice?
what time is it?
Swiped from the Queen of all Things Meme, Kwizgiver.
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? both
2. Real tree or Artificial? artificial
3. When do you put up the tree? December 6 (St. Nicholas Day)
4. When do you take the tree down? January 6 (Epiphany)
5. Do you like eggnog? in very small doses
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Nothing stands out.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Nana
8. Easiest person to buy for? Dad
9. Do you have a nativity scene? yes
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? email
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? nothing comes to mind
12. Favorite for Christmas dinner? bits & pieces (we make a hodgepodge of all different frozen appetizers and feast on them buffet-style)
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? after Christmas the year before
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? yes, but only to someone who would really appreciate it
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? appetizers
16. Lights on the tree? Yes. Colored this year.
17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night/We Need a Little Christmas
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? travel
19. Angel on the tree top or a star? star
20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? morning
Here's a cool online advent calendar for the secular and stargazers among us. Boston.com's The Big Picture is hosting an advent calendar featuring images from the Hubble Space Telescope.