31 December 2009

A New Years Carol


I've been trying to figure out which way I want this post to go. Is a reflective look on all that 2009 has been? A look back over the last ten years of this new millennium? Or is it all about the new year coming, 2010. The hopes, dreams and promises that we aim to keep for the next ten years?

I guess I could write a post about a little bit of both. A quick dip into the past, and a little peek into what I think the future shall hold. I'll finish it up with a short bit about what I'll be doing tonight, the last night of 2009. A little 'New Years Carol', reminiscent of Charles Dicken's, "A Christmas Carol." I desperately hope that there are no ghosts though, they really don't know how to party.

Past: Memorable New Years' Eves (No particular order)
  • 2000: I was holed up in a skanky motel in my little hometown with some of my peeps. We were drinking cheap champagne and playing some game that involved wrapping up in toilet paper. I had to be home by two AM so I had one glass of champagne at midnight. Somehow a live fish ended up in our toilet, don't ask me how.
  • 2004: The Mr. and I are in college and broke as two goats. We get a cheap, cheap bottle of something, rent some movies, play some board games and fall asleep around eleven. You don't get much more fun than us!
  • 2006: Shaoxing, China. There was much drinking, dancing and general carousing. I dimly remember throwing beer bottles at the side of a wall. And having night noodles with about ten foreigners. Most of the night is hazy, but I do have fond feelings about whatever else we did that night.
  • 2008: My dear friend Connie comes into town and we spend the night drinking, gabbing and hitting on cute bartenders. We randomly meet up with a friend in town from China. I make it out past midnight and can still function the next day.
Future: ???
  • At some point I would love to spend New Year's Eve in Times Square. It will be crowded, and cold and I will probably be miserable. However, it's one thing that I want to do before I die.
  • I would love to partake in some crazy, cultural celebration for NYE one year. Perhaps Brazil or Thailand (actually in April) or New Zealand or Spain. Maybe when LN is a little older so she can participate and appreciate it too.
Present: NE Minneapolis 2009
  • Drop off LN at grandma's house.
  • Meet up with a dear old friend for a drink/dinner
  • Go see Holmes
  • Have another drink and hopefully be at some bar to watch the ball drop.

What are your big plans for tonight?
How's your list of resolutions coming?

30 December 2009

New Years Resolutions


I've never really been the type to make a (or a list of) New Years Resolutions. Oh, I might have made up something if someone asked me directly, but in reality I kind of thought that they were hokey. A way for gyms to sell you a membership that you are never going to use. Even for a list maker like me, I just could never get into it.

This year I feel like it will be different though. Mostly because I'm choosing to re-think the Resolutions list. In years past I always thought about them in terms of unattainable goals. Oh, I really love to lose thirty pounds, but I have no desire to go to the gym. Well, I would love to read a book a week, but I'm not willing to cut into my internet time to do it. Those type of things. This year however, I'm going to make a list of attainable goals. Things that I know I can accomplish, and not necessarily ones that have to last the whole year. I'm also going to add in a few things that I'll actually want to do. Like visit the Schell Brewery. Or institute a new family tradition.

I'm basing my New Years Resolution list off of two different kinds of lists. The "Bucket" list, like in the movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. And the list of "___ New Things Before My ___ Birthday", like my dear friend Sarah Von is doing over at Yes and Yes. Good, positive, make you happy to be alive lists. Oh, my new New Years Resolution list will have plenty of things on it that I won't be happy to do, but over all I want this list to be something that I can obtain, finish and feel good about.

So, over the next couple of days, think about what you would put on your list. I'll be making some notes and jotting down ideas too. Come Friday, New Years Day, I'll give you the list that I'll be living off of in 2010. Perhaps we can try and knock off some of these things together, what do you think?

29 December 2009

Tunes to Move Your Body To


As promised yesterday, here is a list of my favorite Tunes to Move Your Body To. Use them wisely. They may incite dancing in the street, in your living room or even some innocent car dancing. Add some to your playlist for the gym, it will help make those resolutions stick for more than the week they did last year. Now, get up and dance!

In Between Days- Ben Folds Five version
Ready for the Floor- Hot Chip
Wonderboy- Tenacious D
You're Fit But Don't You Know It- The Streets
Superstitious- Stevie Wonder
Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard- Paul Simon
I Just Want to Play Piano- Mark Mallman
Take Me Out- Franz Ferdinand

What songs make you want to get up and dance?

28 December 2009

Tunes


"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"
-Rob Gordon, High Fidelity

This is not going to be as depressing as the above quote sounds. I was just doing some thinking this morning while I was at the gym about the influence that music has on us. There I was, iPod stuck in my ears and I was running. Now, that may not sound so profound to most of you, but the thing is, I don't run. Not ever. Like, when the Army recruiter called me in High School I told him my personal motto was, "Don't run unless you have to." Strangely enough, he never called me again.

So what does this have to do with Rob's quote? Well, you see, I went into the gym all frustrated and upset and down and really, just very, very unsettled. Then I put in my earbuds (how strange is that term?) pumped the volume up loud and let my body rip. The music coursed through my head, made my feet pick up the pace and my hands do a little dance. I found that I could run the entire length of a song. Then another. Then another. I started to like running. Whatever worries or troubles I came in with; well, if felt as though the reverberating in my head and the pounding of my feet were slowly working them out of my body. One could argue that it was the running that made me feel better, not the music. The thing is, I would never have run, or kept running if the music hadn't been there in the first place.

So does music really bring pain, like Rob's quote surmises? Or do you listen to music because you're in pain. Maybe. Probably. Really, it's likely both. In my case I think it has more of an opposite effect. Music brings me happiness, or at least can put a little jolly in my step. When I'm happy I like to listen to something that I can groove to, that matches my mood. That's not to say that when I'm feeling down in the dumps I don't like a little Nick Drake or Tom Waites. I just normally turn on the radio or the iPod when I'm already feeling happy. So I think that Rob might be on to something. Music has such a powerful way of influencing us. Toward happy or sad. Songs, like scents, have the ability to bring us to other times/places. Make us feel things we thought we had forgotten. Push us into something new. I like that power that music has on us. Especially this time of year when I see the sun for less than ten hours a day and the snow is up to LN's shoulders.

Tomorrow I'll add a list of my favorite mood-busting, run inducing, make me want to groove songs. The songs that make the other patrons at the gym wonder who that weird girl is running and bopping her head on the treadmill. What can I say? When the mood strikes, dance!

23 December 2009

Holidays are stressful. Little sleep, over-stimulated, too much sugar, too many commitments. I give myself a lot of leeway this time of year. If you could take a look at my waistline you'd agree. I give myself some space; to be flexible, fluid, to try and let events transpire as they will. It's not easy, in fact I don't do a very good job at letting things go sometimes. The Mr. and I have a fight, I get stressed out and I hope that it doesn't ruin everyone's day/night/holiday.

This year seems to be going a bit better than years past. I feel even more tired than ever before, but I think I'm finally learning to pick and choose my battles. Which fights I can win, which are important to me, which will only turn into a fight. That's not to say that I don't still get stressed out, but at least now I feel like I can see them coming. And then plan accordingly.

So this Holiday Season I can only wish that you choose your battles wisely. For the sake of your family and more importantly, your sanity.

Happy Holidays!

17 December 2009

Place Marker Post


So we've had an eventful past twenty four hours over here at my house. A huge-chunk-o-somethin' flew off of a truck and struck my car. It proceeded to puncture holes in my oil pan which in turn drained the car of oil. Greee-ate.

So the Mr. took the day off of work and we've been dealing with stuff. Insurance companies are no fun to deal with, let me tell you! I always feel like I'm going in incriminate myself, although I didn't do anything wrong. Humph. Well, I hope this all ends well. Whether that means a new car or cheaply being able to fix the one we have. Either way I can't wait to be done with it all. Is there something wrong when your rental car is nicer than the car you're trying to fix?

On a side note, I also cut LN's hair. It looks great! A little crooked, but I'm ok with that today. It's really the least of my worries. :)

How's your day going?

15 December 2009

Confession #3


"Let's go driving in an automobile...let's take a ride in the car..."

One of my favorite things to do is drive. I think it might be because I grew up in the country and I found a lot of relaxation from driving back roads around the country. There is nothing more peaceful than a summer night driving around with your windows down, listening to the frogs chirping, and the breeze blowing. Once LN was born the one sure-fire way to get her asleep was to put her in the car. We did a lot of driving those first few months; I'd randomly drive around or I'd head to a park so I could read in the car and then take her for a walk afterwards. Even now she loves to go in the car and will often ask to go for a ride. When the Mr. and I travel I am the primary driver for the rental, partly because I'm a bit obsessive compulsive, but mostly because if I'm just riding I get so bored. I can't read in the car and that sucks, if I could I might let him drive once in a while!

Sometimes I feel guilty for the amount that I drive. We're in the car at least once a day. Especially in the winter! In the summer I can sometimes get by with just walking, but there's no way that I could take LN out for that extended period of time in the winter. We do only have one car though. It's paid off, nine years old and when it dies we'll get a new one. It's not the prettiest car, but I can always find it in the parking lot! (It's bright yellow) When we do get another car it will be as fuel efficient and as environmentally friendly as we can afford. I would hate to go into debt just so I can drive the newest, bestest car on the market. That's not the way we work. It will, however, have remote start. We live in the city and park in the street which means that I often can't start the car and let it run before we leave. That is one thing I will upgrade for. Oh, and a radio that works.

14 December 2009

White Elephants and Man Rooms


So how is everyone today? It's mid-December and the Holiday season is in full swing. We finally got our tree this weekend and LN and I decorated it yesterday. When I say decorated I mean, I asked her where she wanted the ornaments to go, she pointed to the same spot every time and after she turned her back I moved it. I really didn't want all the ornaments in one small clump in the corner.

Last night the lovely ladies and I had a Cookie Exchange/White Elephant Gift Exchange party. It was as awesome as it was last year! I got a great sign that reads:

"Put On Your Big Girl Panties and Deal With It"

It's teal with black letters and I hung it up in the 'Man Room'.

The 'Man Room' you say? Well when we moved into our house two years ago yesterday the Mr. was getting all pouty because I was calling all of the decorating 'shots'. We have a small room at the foot of the stairs that was claimed to be a bedroom, but really is more of a study. So the Mr. claimed that room as his own. Thus, the 'Man Room' was born. Why the use of quotes you ask? Well, because after awhile I got fed up with not having a place to set up my crafty/sewing stuff and took over a part of the room. So really, it's not a Man Room, it's a study, throw your junk in when company is coming over, sometimes spare bedroom room. We still call it the Man Room though, it makes the Mr. feel good.


11 December 2009

My Favorite Holiday Songs


So yesterday I was talking about how the All Holiday, All the Time station on the radio was helping me get into the Holiday spirit. For as many Holiday songs as there are out there, I sure do hear a lot of them over and over again. There are only a few that I don't mind hearing. So without further ado, here is my Top Seven Favorite Holiday song list.

Top Seven Favorite Holiday Songs
(In no particular order)
  1. I'm Dreaming of A White Christmas: Not only is this one of my favorite Holiday songs, it is also one of my most favoritist movies. I love the story, the songs, the dancing and I really love the little ballerinas that perform while they sing this song in the movie. Makes my little heart all warm and fuzzy.
  2. Alvin and the Chimpmunk's Don't Be Late: Who doesn't love this song? Scrooge maybe. LN thinks it is hilarious. Especially when I over exaggerate the hoooola hoooop part. There's just something about those little chipmunks that mean Christmas to me.
  3. O Holy Night: I'm not religious by any stretch of the imagination, but this song has the power to bring tears to my eyes every.time.I.hear.it. Truth be told I think it has something to do with the sweeping phrasing...but let's not ruin the magic, huh?
  4. The 12 Days of Christmas: I like this song the same way I like 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. It kind of gets annoying after a while, but that's what makes it fun to sing. Plus it tests my memory every year. Eight maids a milking? Twelve drummer's drumming?
  5. Carol of the Bells: It's one of those songs that you don't know the lyrics to unless you've sung it. The arrangement is so interesting to listen to and it's so fast that it's fun to listen to. Plus I've always thought that it sounds like it should be in a horror movie, it's got that creepy edge to it too.
  6. Hallelujah Chorus: My high school choir sang this song every year for the Holiday Concert. They invited the alumni to join the choir on stage. It was great going back the first year or so while my siblings were still in choir. It's a fun song to sing and all four parts have interesting parts to sing. Another song that most people don't know the words to unless they've song it for something.
  7. Little Drummer Boy: If you don't check out any of these links, check out this one. It's Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing it. Not to be missed.

What are you favorite Holiday songs?

10 December 2009

Holiday Music


So I'll admit that I was a little Scroogey after we got back from Arizona. The Holidays kind of snuck up on me and flying back the day before December started did nothing for my inner Elf. So here it is December 10th and I'm still struggling a bit to get into that 'Holiday Spirit'. Driving along in the snow, ice and cold, blowing wind has not really helped either.

Do you know what has helped (besides the glass or two of wine before bed every night...) is listening to the all Holiday, all the Time station in the car.

Not that I really have a choice. You see along with the one broken side mirror and the other mirror that no longer has a mirror my car's stereo hasn't worked since last winter. The six CD player still works, but that gets old and this mama likes to listen to her NPR in the car. (Ha, that rhymed) So one day last week, for a lark, I decided to turn the radio on. Lo and behold it worked! Well, 107.9, the Oldies station worked. The other stations? Hit and Miss, with an emphasis on the Miss. So Oldies and, for the rest of the month, Holiday music it is. I can't say I can complain that much. We've stayed out of the malls and other stores so I haven't been inundated with the Holiday Musak this year. It's kind of nice to get in the car and sing some ditties for LN. She likes it and it honestly lifts my mood a bit too. So hooray for Holiday Music!

Tomorrow I'll bring you a list of some of my favorites. Mostly oldies but goodies. What you guys think I get out and have time to check out new Holiday music? Ha! I also have time to get my eyebrows waxed and a pedicure, my house is clean and I make dinner every night. In the my dreams!

09 December 2009

Snow Day

So it snowed last night. Ha! That even makes me laugh. Why? Well, because it finally snowed the kind of snow that is going to stick around for awhile. Like, until May. (Not really, well, maybe) I'm trying to hunker down and get used to the idea that it's going to be freezing cold for the next three to four months.

Yay!
In order to really be able to enjoy this stuff I decided to make a list of all the things that are GOOD about snow, cold and most important of all...the Snow Day. This list will become even more important in February when all I can think about is sipping a cocktail with a little umbrella while sitting under an umbrella on the beach. These winters man, they are rough! So although complaining about the cold and the snow is what binds us crazy Mid-Westeners together, here is my list of why I think Snow Days are nice.
  • Shoveling: Is she crazy you ask? No, I just see shoveling as an hour of peace and quiet. I can even turn on the iPod and make things go even faster. Shoveling also makes me sitting on my a*s and not going to the gym just a little bit less guilt inducing.
  • Carb Loading: After all of that slipping, sliding and shoveling that I'm going to be doing I will need to be eating those extra Christmas Cookies and Egg Nog. It also means I can bake to my heart's content and 'not' feel guilty about eating it all up! Plus, a little extra padding is necessary for warmth and protection from falling on your butt.
  • Easy Excuses: Don't feel like going to your in-laws for dinner, it's too cold to take the kids out! Meeting friends for a drink, but all you want to do is stay in your PJ's, drink a glass of wine and watch Buffy? Your car won't start! Late for work/date/dinner? You just had to shovel your car out. The excuses abound this time of year!
  • Using the oven: I try to remember this one when it's four PM and dark outside. Come July/August the last thing I'll want to do is turn the oven on. So all of those breads/cakes/cookies/casseroles/baked goodies that I want to make all summer? Bust them out now because not only do you have the time (who wants to go outside after dark in winter?) but it will also warm up the house and make it smell pretty tasty too.

How do you get through the winter?
Any things that you look forward to this time of year?

08 December 2009

Duh! #4


Do you bake? Do you ever use honey, molasses or some other sticky substance that is a pain in the a*s to get out of a measuring cup? Well next time simply spray a little cooking spray into the cup first and it will all come sliding out. Well, not ALL of it, but it will be much, much easier than before.

You're welcome.

07 December 2009

Need #1


I need to finish Christmas shopping.
I need to finish making my nephew's presents.
I need to find a recipe for gingerbread.
I want to make gingerbread with LN.
I need to get myself off of email lists.
I need to finish my Holiday Cards.
I need to make the snacks for tomorrow's gathering.
I need to buy one of these calendars.
I need to start reading this book, book club is less than one month away.
I need to clean the house.
I need to drink some cocoa, preferably with some Bailey's in it.
I need to figure out what to make for dinner.
I need to buy some new pants.

What do you need today?

04 December 2009

The Skinny


Warning: This post may be a bit discombobulated.
Kind of like my brain at the moment.

So here's the skinny. It's the Holiday season. I'm tired. I'm busy. And sometimes I forget to update my blog. Ok, it only happened twice (!) this week, but I'm pretty sure that it's going to happen a few more times this month. It's just the way the Christmas cookie crumbles.

It's snowing outside!

(My house, doesn't look like this.)

The stuff for my Holiday cards are all ready. Photos, check. Envelopes, check. Cool pen that makes addressing a hundred cards fun, check. Stamps, check. Now all I need is my lovely ladies to come over for a little Card Writing Party! Yep, to avoid the hours of bad TV I usually watch while addressing cards, this year I'm having some of my lovely ladies over for some noshing and chatting. Hopefully it will make the time (and the cards) fly by!

(Aren't these cute?!)

I haven't even started Christmas shopping. I think I know what I'm getting everyone, but it has yet to appear all prettily wrapped underneath my tree.

Wait, the tree has yet to appear too.

We have a jam-packed, action filled weekend. Tomorrow morning we're headed to No Coast Craft-o-rama, we go every year and I think that's where I'll find gifts for my brother's girlfriend and the Mrs. Clone. Then the Mr. will take LN to a puppet show at In the Heart of the Beast theatre. Which is conveniently located about two blocks from where the market is. Sweet! Sunday we have a birthday brunch for a sweet three year old friend of LN's and then I'm headed to the Mr.'s aunt's house to learn how to make a fun gift that I'll be giving out this year. Yay! Hopefully in there we'll make some cookies and maybe some fudge too. Yipee!

Now I'm off to make some Chicken Tetrazzini for my dear, dear friend who just had a darling baby girl yesterday. Welcome Baby J! The little lady and I get to go over for a visit post-nap. (Don't worry honey, I don't have the Baby Ya-Yas yet!)

So Happy Holiday Friday to everyone! Leave me a note and let me know what you're up to this weekend. Whatever it is, I'm sure it will be fun!


02 December 2009

Arizona in Photographs

We took a trip to Arizona. We went to the Grand Canyon.

It's pretty awesome. It's cold there this time of year, did you know that?
Also, it's one big hole in the ground.

The Mr. was convinced that we were all going to fall off the edge and die.

But we didn't.

We also went to Sedona. It's warmer there.
And they have these really pretty rocks that come out of the ground.

They are especially pretty at sunset.

MP really likes to use her Macro setting.
She got good and friendly with a few cactuses while out on a walk.

Our family. Now, if only we were really that tall in real life.

Thanksgiving 2009? A success.



01 December 2009

Tuesday, Monday?


So, was yesterday Monday? I'm not really sure, you see I've been gone and I'm still not sure what way is up. This week going by fast is not a good thing. We have an action packed weekend coming up and I think I'll be doing laundry well into next year (which, incidentally is only thirty-one days away. Eh.)

I'll have a post about our trip as soon as I can get the pictures off of the camera. And delete some. I think I took a thousand pictures over the course of five days...no lie.

Now I need to go finish my book for book club, tomorrow night. Who knew that camping with a toddler doesn't lead to much reading time?

Did everyone have a nice Thanksgiving? The Mr. and I ate deli turkey sandwiches and Mac n' Cheese made over the fire. LN had a banana. The people camping next to us? Yeah, they had turkey, stuffing, potatoes, beans, some cranberry thing and pie. We kinda wanted to kill them. Or just wished they would have offered to share. Wasn't that what the first Thanksgiving was all about? ;) And isn't it amazing what you can find out about people when you are 'living' ten feet from one another?

Until tomorrow folks, have a great Tuesday!

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