Archive for the ‘S 'n' G’ Category

Yesterday, whilst hanging with the kiddos, between playing “Trick or Treat’ (during which my skirts brandished as capes and swim goggles and/or sleep masks comprise super hero regalia) and making paper plate turkeys, I dusted off the Christmas Songs playlist in iTunes and we rocked out to “The Beach Boys Christmas Song,” “Christmas in Africa” and “Donde es el Santa Claus?”. Typically, I have a hard-and-fast “no xmas tunes before Thanksgiving” rule, but this year I’m in a festive state of mind and I say go with it, as tomorrow the Grinch could reassert his customary spot in my holiday heart.

So along with buying two-not-one evergreen wreathes and contemplating in what shapes to fold my niece’s and nephew’s cash gifts this year, my thoughts have turned to holiday cards, thanks to my lovely friend Jenny at www.zestyenterprise.com.

I haven’t sent out holiday cards in a long, long time. I bought Christmas cards with the best of intentions about three years in a row in the early nineties, and finally donated them to Goodwill when I moved two years ago. Follow-through (or lack thereof) aside, I’ve thought a good deal about what a holiday card from me might look like, now that photo cards are easy, affordable, and all the rage.

If I were less lazy, those of you who I know and love IRL would be receiving a card that had a photo of me wearing this:

surrounded by these:

But since I am what I am, it’s likely that you’ll be getting no card at all. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t love to receive cards from my friends! Let me recommend www.shutterfly.com, because what I’d like more than a sparkly image of an angel or tree shedding glitter all over my immaculate floors is a cute photo of you and yours. Here are my favorites (click on the card image to go to its page in the Shutterfly site):

Clean lines, nice colors, a great font.

I love the image on this one. Plus, it’s called “Holly Chocolate Christmas.” At first I read it as “Holy Chocolate Christmas,” which I liked even more.

Apparently, I’m attracted to cards with brown backgrounds. I really love the bird in this one.

So there, my bit of holiday advice (also, don’t overdo the nog). I’ll be awaiting your card with appropriate holiday cheer.


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I had the good fortune of being transported back to the best part of my teens tonight – the part that included jelly bracelets and Aqua Net and Michael J. Fox and pop music. My sister and I shared a stack of 45s that we’d play on the living room stereo and dance ’til we dropped onto the gold-and-white shag. Our tastes were typical – whatever Rick Dees was playing on the Weekly Top 40 would find its way from the back-of-the-store, second floor record section in Hi Ho Shopping Center to our turntable. Some of my favorites were “Making Love out of Nothing at All,” “Cum on, Feel the Noise” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya.”

And the two songs I got to hear at top volume tonight at the Key Arena, sung by those titans of popular music, Billy Joel and Elton John. They did “Uptown Girl” and “I Guess that’s Why they Call it the Blues” as duets, with two pianos as big as my living room.

The visuals for “Rocket Man” might have been inspired by a 1970s Elton John acid trip.
Billy Joel twirled the mic stand like a baton during “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.”

It rocked.

More than three hours of music from two men who’ve been performing longer than I’ve been alive — all I can say is damn! My ears are ringing and my head is filled with melodies and lyrics and awe. These sexagenarians brought. it. Sure, they ambled across the stage a little slowly, but at one point, Billy Joel was playing the piano so fast his hands were a blur on the big screen. And wildly screaming women in boas thronged the front of the stage all night long.
My takeaway? Life doesn’t end until it ends. EJ and BJ are by no means elderly or decrepit, but there are many people who start to hang it up sooner than sixty. Meanwhile, these two are singing about rock ‘n’ roll and sex. Play on, brothers, play on.

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I got this quiz from one of my lovely Jennys, and thought it looked like fun!

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? Right out of the gate, and I’m truly stumped. If anyone can remember anything I’m forgetting, let me know. Apparently it wasn’t a year for firsts.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I tend to make resolutions at my birthday instead of on January 1st, which feels like the middle of the year to me.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes! Julie and Julie both had beautiful baby girls. And in 2010 there will be at least five more!

4. Did anyone close to you die? Not last year. I’m grateful.

5. What countries did you visit? Mexico, amigos! Also Texas, which may as well be its own country.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? A little more organization in my job from day to day.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 20th. Need I explain?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Yep, I got nothin’.

9. What was your biggest failure? My therapist has taught me not to “should” on myself, so again, I got nothin.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing serious, thankfully. No swine flu, no broken bones, no ER visits.

11. What was the best thing you bought? A ukulele!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I have a whole load of people who deserve to be celebrated in my life! Moms in particular are high on my list.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Politicos, pundits and pricks who compared providing the least among us with health care to Nazis. Appalled, depressed, embarrassed and enraged.

14. Where did most of your money go? Isn’t that the eternal question? I ate out a lot, travelled a bit, and indulged in my love of books pretty regularly.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The new administration, my ukulele, visiting Mexico and DC.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” I sing it every morning to three darling faces.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Alas, fatter.
c) richer or poorer? Richer, but only on paper!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Traveled, maybe?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Jumped to conclusions about people.

20. How did you spend Christmas? I shared a delicious meal with stunning friends on Christmas Eve, and played cards and ate good food again the next day with my sister’s family and my mom in the house of my childhood. A lovely holiday.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009? With lots of things, but with no one in particular.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Eegads. I like to pose as someone who disdains television, but frankly, I watch my fair share online. In 2009 I loved new (or new to me) shows “Better off Ted,” “Glee,” and “Lost.” But the absolute best show on TV: “Modern Family.”

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope. I’m not a hater.

24. What was the best book you read? There were two that stand out, both set in or around WWII: “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” and “The Book Thief” (with which I had a love/hate relationship).

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? The ukulele!

26. What did you want and get? A ukulele (is there an echo in here?).

27. What did you want and not get? A trip to Sydney, Australia.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? “Up in the Air” maybe, or “Star Trek.”

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? For my 38th birthday, I hosted a party with grilled salmon, chocolate cake, and adult beverages. When the first guests arrived, I hadn’t even begun to grill. Thankfully, among those first guests were Tracie and Kevin, who stepped in and grilled four differently seasoned and mouth-wateringly yummy fillets. It was a feast! The last guests left after the bars closed, and I was cleaning up for the rest of the weekend. It was a grand time!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?  I don’t think there is one. I’m really content right now.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? Retarded? Am I allowed to say that? I mean it in the literal sense – my personal fashion is woefully slow.

32. What kept you sane? No one is more blessed than me when it comes to my gorgeous friends. They are world class.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Michelle and Barack. We’re like this.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Health care.

35. Who did you miss? Megan and Alex, Paul, Jill and Brian, Fred, Aaron and John, Noreen and Lou, Beth and Colby…. I wished they all lived closer.

36. Who was the best new person you met? They weren’t new in ’09, but Glory and Elena went from six months old to a year and a half in that period, and they get more fun every day!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009. This is going to sound a bit bizarr-o, but I learned how to be a better parent in 2009. Not that I’m secretly a parent. But I have the amazing privilege of spending a chunk of time everyday upstairs with three delightful children and their truly spectacular parents. I learn from all of them all the time. It’s a hugemungus blessing.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. “…and I think to myself, ‘what a wonderful world.'”

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We’re goin’ to a hukilau*!

Friends! I’m thrilled to announce the arrival of my new favorite thing: a brand new Kala solid mahogany long-necked soprano ukulele! I’ve named her Hani, which means “to move lightly” in Hawaiian, and “happy” in Arabic. The photo isn’t mine, but one very similar.

So far I can play “Silent Night” and “You are my Sunshine” (albeit not very well), and my fingertips are sore, in a good way. Stay tuned for some audio or video coming soon.

*A hukilau is a method of fishing invented by ancient Hawaiians. And it’s a groovy (cheesy?) Don Ho song.

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And… scene.


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