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Showing posts from December, 2009

Quiet New Year's Eve Starts With Coffee

Caramel brulee latte at FourBucks with Matt before we settle in at home to bring in the New Year. This year we are spending the night in a decidedly more quiet fashion than recent years. Best wishes for the New Year to everyone!

Technically.. It's Still the Christmas Season

Since the Epiphany isn't until January 6th, I figure I'm not being too tardy in giving the Christmas update.

This had to be one of the more odd years. To be casual and personal, I swear that all the women in my family either had PMS or they're in some weird stage of menopause that makes them a little cranky.

Christmas Eve is a big deal for my side of the family. We eat a meatless dinner, open presents, and those who are still awake go to Midnight Mass. I'm just going to share the Christmas Eve dinner story.

This year is the first Christmas that all the cousins are age 21 and older. My cousin Andrew celebrated his newly legal status by disappearing just before prayers and oplatek breaking. As the family gathered in the dining room, my Aunt Ginny whispered urgently to my Uncle, "Where is Andrew?"

"He went on an errand."

"Where did he go?"

"Don't worry. He'll be back," my Uncle evaded her question as she tried to look him in …

2009 - In Review

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? My new job. There was a lot of stuff in it that was totally new to me.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Not a fan of making resolutions

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? We had several friends who had babies and a couple more that conceived this year but won't give birth until 2010.

4. Did anyone close to you die? My Great-Aunt Margie died somewhat unexpectedly this past July. She had gone in for surgery but I guess I didn't consider that she wouldn't make it out. She's been missed over these holidays.

5. What countries did you visit? Once again, I stayed stateside.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? A plan for where I will take myself next. More free time.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
- March 19th: Morrissey at SUNY UB.
- July 4th weekend: Spending time with friends but losing my Aunt
- July 25-…

2000-2009: My Music

The first decade of the millennium saw a change in my music listening habits. About half-way through the decade, I was given an iPod as a wedding present. Almost overnight, I went from listening to full albums to listening to my vast music collection on shuffle. The idea of creating a list of my personal top ten albums of the decade seemed almost silly because of this change, but then I realized that there were a few albums that I did listen to in their entirety over and over even though I had that lovely piece of technology.

In alphabetical order because I really couldn't rank them:

Coldplay - A Rush of Blood To The Head: Undoubtedly, this will end up on a lot of "Best of the '00s" lists for music. It was a stellar sophomore album that I couldn't get enough of when it was released. I haven't enjoyed Coldplay's latter efforts and this remains my favorite album by them to date. While the tour was in support of X&Y, the 2005 concert was one of the b…

Toss It All On Top

The collection of sprinkles that go into making an everything Xmas cut out cookie.

Naked Cookies

Cookies before being frosted and decorated.

My Parent's Glorious Christmas Tree

As I say almost every year, why put up and decorate a tree when we can just come and appreciate my parent's gloriously decorated tree? It continues to be magnificent another year. Incidentally, when I lived at home, decorating the tree was a big part of my holiday responsibilities and we had just as many ornaments back then.

WIRQ - 50 Years

I discovered today that the little radio station that started it all for me is going to be celebrating 50 years of being on the air in 2010.

WIRQ has been Irondequoit High School's radio station longer than any other high school radio station in the nation. My introduction came one night sometime my freshman year while dialing through radio stations as I avoided doing homework. Even though it was after 7pm, the station was still on the air for the weekly alternative countdown with Tim Carey and Jason Repp. I quickly popped in a cassette and hit record.

The cassette has since mangled a little with songs being recorded over in spots, but it still has snippets of some great, seemingly obscure songs of the early 1990s. I even caught part of a mic break where Tim, Jason and some other guy who dropped by the studio are riffing on the theme song to Shaft. The number 1 song that week?

Tim: "For the fifth week in a row.."
Jason: "Ehnnnnn"
Tim: "Detachable Penis.. Ki…

Holiday Story Time

I'm feeling the urge to embellish, but I'll try to stay true to history as I share one of the Christmas traditions my family has endured for years.

Christmas cookie decorating has held a hallowed spot in the days of pre-Christmas preparation for my family. Always a raucous affair, when I was a child there were bowls and bowls of frosting scattered around the dining room table between heaping trays of anise-flavored cut-out cookies. My eyes would grow large as I peered over the tower of sweetness at my dad and the daunting task of sprinkling colored sugars over the confectionery delights. He'd grimly assess the job and mutter, "Well, your mother certainly made enough this year."

Cookie by cookie, we'd slap on frosting with a butter knife and carefully consider whether the Christmas Tree shape should have red garland this time or maybe just nonpareils. That studious contemplation gave way to less heavenly creations and gingerbread men started to look a litt…

Enough Excitement for One Monday

Morning routine was smashed for 15 minutes after I discovered my dogs, probably Buddy, had pulled my purse off the dining room table and strewn the contents through the house. Only a few things were destroyed like a tube of hand cream and the plastic bag that contained extra batteries for the digital camera. I was grumbling, putting things away when my breath caught in my throat.

"Where is my wallet?" I said out loud, looking accusingly at my dogs who had guiltily slunk into their room.

I looked under the dining room table, the den/dog's room, the living room, the kitchen, and came back into the dog's room to plunge my hand into the crevasses of the couch. No wallet. I did come up with a bone that had been missing for some time and wondered briefly where the hell the dogs had found it since I had checked that spot before.

My chest felt tight. Visions of chewed up credit cards, picture ID, and other assorted bits churning around in Buddy's stomach haunted me …

Lady GaGa - Why The Fascination?

Before I start, I must give credit to Nick Dean for making me aware of some of the articles and for basically saying it was okay to be a fan.

Over the past year, Lady GaGa has blown up in pop culture. I didn't quite understand what the deal was with her, but I couldn't deny that I liked her songs.

Then I started to read about her after being pointed to the article that appeared in Slate.

Later, I realized she could really sing and play piano (check in at 1:45 mark):

Not only that, she wasn't afraid to speak her mind as part of the March for Equality Rally in Washington, D.C. this past October:

To cap off the year, Barbara Walters sat down with the artist as part of her "Most Fascinating People of 2009":

Of course, some people consider Lady GaGa's presence in the music scene to be of more sinister nature by trying to point out her connections to the Illuminati and claiming she's trying to control people's minds.

Maybe they have a point...

Lady GaGa presents q…

Web Comic Love

Over the last year and more, I started reading a sizable handful of web comics regularly. I've always enjoyed comic strips in the newspaper, but found that some of my favorite strips had become stale or were in re-run mode. My friend, Sabrina, started sharing links with a couple comics she followed online and it snowballed from there.

I think part of the appeal of web comics is the ability for the artists to broach topics you wouldn't normally see in the Sunday funny pages. Plus, I enjoy it when the artists do cross-over collaborations with other web comics. It gives the impression of a supportive, fun community. Then there's the style of the strips in terms of use of color, each artist's personal drawing style, and even how the strip has evolved over the years. A great example of how a strip has evolved is Questionable Content.

Here's the list minus one or two I'm sure I'm forgetting based on how often they update their site:

Questionable Content

Girls …

Music Mix: Not All The Usual Christmas Music

I burned the following holiday-themed mix this morning (more after the track listing):

Not All The Usual Christmas Music
Cyndi Lauper, The Hives - A Christmas DuelCracker - Turn On Tune In Drop Out With MeThe New Pornographers - Joseph, Who UnderstoodHall and Oates - Jingle Bell RockOwl City - FirefliesVince Guaraldi - SkatingMC Lars - Gary The Green-Nosed ReindeerDiscovery - Orange ShirtAimee Mann - Have Yourself a Merry Little ChristmasLady GaGa - Bad RomanceWhirling Dervishes - You're A Mean One Mr. GrinchDirty Little Rabbits - HelloJill Sobule - Merry Christmas From The FamilyMetric - Help I'm AliveDarlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)Lady GaGa - Christmas Tree
My relationship with the holidays is rather testy. I wrote about this in my recent editorial in the Word. I opened with "A Christmas Duel" because it moves, it's loud, and it swears. It's about a married couple who can't stand each other but decide to make the most of the Christmas s…

The Spirit of Trying

One of the traditions that got started around the holidays in our house some years ago was the tradition of not putting up a Christmas tree.

Some of it was fear of what the dogs would do to it. Some was laziness. Some was general frustration with the holidays and not "feeling it."

Today was a rough day. It was a rough day that has followed a long stretch of time where I've been going and going and going. I'm tapped out more emotionally than physically. However, my waistline is telling me that I better stop eating leftovers and concentrate on reaching for the fruits and vegetables.

The most I figured I could hope for tonight was to come home from work, shut myself in my bedroom and just cry. But somewhere in the late afternoon hours, I saw a friend post on Facebook that she was putting up a Christmas tree tonight. Something about it felt right. My schedule had been cleared due to my beloved Zumba class being canceled for the night. I thought, "Well? Maybe…