Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Photo of the Day

I must admit, internet, that I'm definitely more of a warm weather photographer. I can't find the motivation, despite the pretty sweet new camera, to layer up and get my butt outdoors to find some beauty.

But sometimes the beauty is found sitting around on my bed. And sometimes I remember to take a picture of her. I'm constantly in awe of just how still Molly can sit for a picture. I've heard dogs don't have souls, but one long stare into those eyes of hers always leaves me questioning that theory.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Santa Was Too Kind

Jonathan turned 15 on the 23rd.
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Twas the night before Christmas a day later and the tree was stuffed.
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I opened some gifts,
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a pretty pink iPod (video and radio...I love it)
a pretty camera strap
a sling style camera bag
a 50mm lens
cute boots
a pretty scarf and fingerless gloves to match
Glee 1 and 2
Ultimate Jackson 5 Collection
Apples 2 Apples
2 books
pretty house slippers
Skip Bo

The neighbors got pretty handmade gifts, especially since they are really the only people we buy for.

A homemade fruit basket with clementines, pears, apples and bananas, a container of peanuts, candy canes and soft peppermint, a snowman decoration, gingerbread men and a loaf of homemade banana nut bread.
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And for the other set: pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, decorated snowflake shaped sugar cookies, soft peppermints, a loaf of banana nut bread and a Christmas ornament.
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Jon got lots of purposeful gifts, that was the theme this year. Everyone got what they wanted but none of the crappy fillers that nobody ever uses. This photo is of an airsoft bb gun for the record. I just love his face here.
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Dad loved his socks and pictures and pjs and such.
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And for the record, my mom has not actually scrapbooked a day in her life. But if the Cricut inspires her, so be it. She was clearly smitten.
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It was simple and perfect. And after a stressful few days leading up to it, the holidays were exactly what I needed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


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Santa brought me an early gift, a 50mm lens for my camera to photograph Christmas with. Can't wait to play around with it more tomorrow.

Tomorrow being the day my baby brother turns 15. I can't deal.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How to Feel Old While Christmas Shopping

Find out while Christmas shopping that they make toy laptops for little bitty kids.

Remember that when you were little bitty you received a toy typewriter for Christmas.

Realize that kids today have no clue what a typewriter is.

Find out aforementioned toy typewriter is hanging out in your attic.

Figure out that you're probably sitting on antiques at this point.

Almost 24, man. Yuck.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

7digital and Amazon's Digital Download Store, drm free MP3s? I'm so there.

Tons and tons of blankets all piled up on top of me.

Lifetime, Hallmark, or ABC Family Christmas movies. These are all the best. And superior to anything else on television this year.

Hulu and Netflix. Since restarting Netflix I've found I'm enjoying it more this second go around.

Pat & Gina Neely

Bravo television.

Ukelele kid and Beatles music:

Making homemade Christmas ornaments.

Planning an entire weekend of cookie and ornament making.

Buying Riley Christmas presents. It's magical!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

...and then they drugged her

"There was enough tension in the room to send a fleet of the nervous running for their tranquilizers."

Charlaine Harris (Dead Until Dark)

Last night's Italian final was so easy I could spit about it. Like the kind of easy you get pissed about because you realize all semester long you've had the hard ass teacher and the cakewalk is actually the head of the department who wrote the final.

It still kind of hurts.

After that I just knew that today's history final, the one I'd worried about the least this week, would be the one that did me in. It was. All throughout the exam our professor kept writing encouraging tidbits on the board: be brave, keep thinking, your brain is getting warmer. I can't say my poor brain ever warmed up. I just keep hoping my grade prior to the final was solid enough that however badly I did it won't ruin things too much.

Now I wait. Waiting for grades to post is another dimension of hell if you ask me. Like the kind of dimension of hell that makes your mother slip you a quarter of a certain anti anxiety medication to make you chill out. (Not like that totally didn't just happen or anything.)


You know what's funny? I just wrote all of that, left the room to take care of a few things (like stopping the damn cat from unwrapping all of the presents under the tree and eating the bows) (for real, she ate ribbon a few nights ago and puked up was epic)

...wait, where am I? (who am I?) (what am I doing here?)

I do know I always tell people I'm dramatic, and I'm not lying.

So I'm thankful for family that cares in their own special way and for Friday Night Lights on Netflix. I've finally stopped crying enough for the evening to maybe enjoy an episode.

(before I pass out, of course.)

ETA: Actually scratch the FNL, I remembered (god knows how) that Real Housewives of OC is on tonight. Those bitches make my life on Thursdays. Team Gretchen!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Finals Week

English final was this morning and I also turned in a paper. All on 3 hours of terrible sleep. Came home, ran errands, paid bills, mailed stuff, ate tacos and slept for a couple of hours. I'm putting together a study guide (this is my break time) for my Italian final which is at 8:30 PM tomorrow. I haven't had a night final since my freshman year. Brings back memories.

Thursday is my history map quiz and primary source session. And then I'm home free to bake Christmas cookies, wrap presents and watch all the cheesy Xmas flicks I can get my hands on.

Sometimes I sit around wondering what my life will be like without finals and homework and school in it. Then I think about going to grad school. And right about that point I shoot myself for even considering it.


Last night I helped my mom find a deal on the last big ticket item she needed to buy for Christmas. It was for Jonathan, and while I wish I could share I can't be certain he isn't lurking about. I think she has a few more things to pick up but it's all stocking stuffer things I'm assuming. My Dad bought her a Cricut so I need to go pick up an extra cartridge or two for it at some point. And I'm sure he'll send me on a last minute run for something because he does that every year.

Our Dad is the hardest person to buy Christmas presents for. He just doesn't need a lot of stuff. And he likes getting goofy presents that normal people don't enjoy. Which means we picked up things like new thick socks, pajama pants and cologne. It's kind of hilarious.

But we did come up with an awesome present. On our last Sanibel trip he caught a big snook. We came home and I never printed pictures of it. All he's harped on for months is how he has no photographic proof of that fish.

So...I printed 70 shots of their various fishcapades on that trip and put them in a photo album. I also got some of them in 5x7 and 8x10 form and framed them.

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Best Christmas ever? Probably. He's so easy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Omg, now I want a British one...

I know I'm turning into a youtube blog, but whatever...the kids need to stop being cute. Blame them.

Classically-trained thespian and Royal Shakespeare Company alum Brian Cox guides 2-year-old Theo through the first sentence of Hamlet’s “to be, or not to be” soliloquy:

I'll Take One of These, Please

So he plays a bit fast and loose with the lyrics, just check out that killer ukelele playing! And the emotion!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Island Dreaming

Why can't I live somewhere where these are not only acceptable but appropriate to wear in December?

Instead I'm working on a history paper this morning while covered in 2 blankets, an internet search for warm slippers is pulled up on my computer and snow is on the ground outside my window.

Not fair.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Photo of the Day

This photo is classic Molly. Always wanting to both be on someone's lap, yet never content. She exists in some sort of heightened state of paranoia at all times.

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This one? Just because.
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I really hope I get a 50mm for Christmas. Santa, are you listening? Indoor shots would improve so much. It's taking a lot of self control for me not to just go ahead and purchase one. Sigh...patience is not a virtue I possess.

New Christmas list addition: The Dreamy Diana Lens

It's so pretty. Want. Want. Want.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 30: The End of the Road

My Favorite Holiday Albums

Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Charlie Brown Christmas (classic, classic, classic)

Jack Johnson (Brushfire Holidays vol. 1): This Warm December (Someday at
Christmas is my favorite track off of this one.)

Taylor Swift: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection (I love her version of Last
Christmas, as well as Christmases When You Were Mine)

Elvis Presley: Elvis' Christmas Album (Blue Christmas is classic, but I adore Santa Claus is Back in Town)

Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas (I'm in not in the proper holiday mood until I've heard Mariah belt out All I Want for Christmas is You)

Jackson 5: The Ultimate Jackson 5 Christmas Collection (funny that such great Christmas songs come from a family of Jehovah's Witnesses. My favorite Santa Claus is Coming to Town is from the mouth of baby Michael.)

Hanson: Snowed In (my absolute favorite, nothing beats their Merry Christmas Baby and Christmas, Baby Please Come Home. The throwback to The Beach Boys with Little Saint Nick is superb.)

A Very Special Christmas (1987): featuring numerous artists in a holiday album to benefit The Special Olympics (Christmas in Hollis, Run DMC. Santa Baby, Madonna. I rest my case.)

Beach Boys: Christmas with the Beach Boys (I can't like the Hanson album without enjoying the inspiration.)

Dream Christmas Album Artist: John Mayer. Just saying he should think about that.


I can't believe I've made it to the end of NaBloPoMo without skipping any days. I know my posts were not monumental and sometimes didn't contain many words. But who's to judge that lack of words somehow means that what I'm doing isn't blogging? Stories get told in a variety of ways. And I certainly feel, looking back on this month, that I have a perfect snapshot of what November 2009 was like for me. While I don't plan to continue posting daily I do hope to continue offering vignettes here and there so I have something to look back on. Thanks for reading and thanks to those who commented. I appreciate it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 29: Tree Trimming

And so they are done. And there are even presents under one. And the outside is decorated. And I downloaded Lady Gaga music. The point is...lots of things happened during Thanksgiving break.

And now it's over. And I'm never eating turkey again.

The end.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 28: With Flare

I spent a few minutes this evening as the sun was setting to test out a little sun flare photography. I had only just read a tutorial on it and I definitely need to read more and practice. But out of the 20 or so shots I really liked this one:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 27: Black Friday

My mother and I went out like three years ago or so for the first Black Friday of either of our lives. It was the easiest most stress free experience ever. No lines, empty parking lots, not terrible crowds, nothing at all like what I'd always heard about it. We were in and out of Walmart, Kmart and Target in no time at all. It was enough to make us do it again. And again, like last year when we easily picked up a new tv with no hassle. We could never understand people who complained about how crazy Black Friday was, because it'd have never been that way for us.

Apparently our Black Friday years were really recession years. And if this year's experience is any indication at all the recession is really over.

It was insane.

We arrived at Walmart at 4:30am, which in the past had been an adequate amount of time before the sales began. This year people were parking in the lots of restaurants that were quite a distance away and walking to the store. We left there and headed to Target instead. Which, while easier to park, left much to be desired in the moving checkout line department. Afterward we hit up JoAnn's, Best Buy (very organized chaos there, I'll give them that) and finally, Home Depot.

I'm thankful for a few deals. A cookware set we needed, a Cricut for my Mom, a new microwave for the kitchen (over the oven for only $68) and several presents for Jonathan (which I won't name in case he snoops around here).

But mostly I'm never doing that again. I'll stay home and shop from the comfort of the internet next year.

Til' the next recession, Black Friday. It was nice knowing you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 26: Thankful

It's not big or fancy. There are no more grandparents. Aunts and uncles are non existent. Cousins aren't running around. Just four seats at a modest table, plus one for the chihuahua. Too much food for the quartet. We all eat until we're stuffed and then push ourselves just a little bit more. Dessert is met with groans, we all agree not yet. Afterward we disperse. Store ads are scattered about and lists are made for morning shopping. Eventually the youngest one goes back for more turkey and the rest of us are left wondering where in the heck he's putting it.

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It isn't big. And it isn't fancy. But it's perfect.

For that, I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 25: Pre Thanksgiving

I started baking today. And as any good baking day goes it involved lots and lots of butter and some cream cheese thrown in for good measure.

I mean, it's my patriotic duty to commit such gluttonous crimes. I can't be held accountable.

I also can't be held accountable for the mess that ensued. For the record: I HATE this part. I hate cleaning but I hate for things to be messy. There is no happy medium in that kind of situation.

I managed to make pumpkin pies that were not from a can of Libby's easy pie mix.

But my favorite thing from today remains these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. Seriously, I cannot endorse a dessert enough. These things are magic.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 24

I don't really feel like updating tonight. But I'm soldiering on so I don't break my NaBloPoMo streak.

Good luck tomorrow to Cassie who will be bringing her precious little boy into the world. I can't wait to hear his name!

Molly can't wait to hear it either. We'll be anxiously refreshing Twitter all day. :)
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I'll be back tomorrow with Turkey talk or something at least a smidge more tangible.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 23: Photo of the Day

I have 76 of these, so forgive me if I don't have a favorite.

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It turns out if a cat lays down on your blue light covered Christmas wreath you're going to want to take a picture. And you'll get the brilliant idea to use a string of clear lights as an extension cord to light up the blue wreath. And once you find out how well she is going to cooperate you'll want to string those clear lights over her body.

Yes. This is my life.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day Ventidue

Rolos, my new candy obsession.

In the midst of my meltdown this past week my brother brought a bag of Rolos to me. I don't eat much candy and I hadn't had one of this in years. But oh my was I hooked. And I stayed hooked, until sometime yesterday when I finally calculated the total number of calories in a bag of them and decided to give away what I had left in mine.

It was a good run, me and Rolos, I'll miss them.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bonus Saturday

On this day in 1963, John Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline arrived in Dallas, the day before that fateful motorcade through the city.

This is a very real handbill that circulated on Novemeber 21st in Texas.

Angry, false rhetoric does sometimes have consequences. Scary, isn't it?

Day 21: The Elusive Flu Vaccine

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My Dad gets a 4 inch needle inserted in his abdomen for a good 3 to 4 minute period, once to drain and once to reinsert medication...every 3ish months. I don't think it needs to be said that he handled this shot thing better than I did.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Day Twenty: Survival

After sleeping with my box of kleenex last night from the crying and then getting over this Italian oral exam hurdle today with my partner. Tonight is decidedly less stressful.

My weekend plans include that elusive hair cut and shopping for Thanksgiving food. (and working on my history paper...but we'll forget about that part for now)

I'm all out of things to vent about today. For that, I am thankful.

I took shots of my mom Wednesday as she sat in my room talking to Jonathan. Not talking about photo quality or anything like that, but for awesome of an idea were my grey walls? The perfect picture taking neutral, no?
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Bonus: it's really me and check out my new camera!
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day Nineteen: It Sucked Again

Feel free to skip over the following:

I got into a huge tiff with my Dad before I even left the driveway this morning. I'm completely overwhelmed with the history group project, an English paper, and the Italian Oral Exam. I have to meet with my partner for Italian tomorrow (a non commute day) and I'm too EXHAUSTED to even contemplate that at this point. I meet her at 2pm. But before that I have to get myself, the brother and the Dad down to the health department for H1N1 shots at 12:30 and back home before I leave. And I only have 500 miles left on my car before I have to get the oil changed or my warranty is null and void...and I just got around to making an appointment today when I should have done it days ago (thankfully my service tech squeezed me in on Monday). My flu shot site is a huge bump that itches and my whole arm hurts. My head has been paining me for days. And I had to walk all over campus so now my feet (lacking the new shoes I had to return this past weekend because they were messed up) are hurting SO BAD. And I've still had no time to make a hair appointment.

Long story short: I'm so ready for Thanksgiving break to begin right now. I'm definitely in need of a holiday to reflect upon what I'm thankful for instead of what I'm overwhelmed by.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day Eighteen: Needle Phobic

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I played with my camera while my mom gave me my seasonal flu shot. I was the last one of the family to get it and Friday we're all going to get the H1N1 vaccine. Which is cool. I've taken an almost political stance on vaccinations over the last few months. But oh my word am I needle phobic. I cannot deal. My mom asked after she'd given it if I felt like passing out and I told her there was more risk of that happening BEFORE she gave it to me. I was fa-reaking.

This where I should probably mention I've avoided needles for at least the last decade. I was in middle school the last time I was vaccinated. All you needed in high school was an updated tetanus shot and guess what?! I'm super allergic to those.

Two shots in one week after such a long hiatus? K-i-l-l-i-n-g me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day Seventeen: It Arrived

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Too much? I mean, I know the subject matter of all of these is just thrilling and so fun to look at. ;)

Once I figure it all out and the sun makes its return I'm certain this thing is going to be a ton of fun. I'm salivating just thinking about it.