Monday, December 31, 2012

Wrapping Up


New Year 12-31-12Image courtesy of Idea go at

Wow, I absolutely cannot believe that another year is ending.  I think it’s a definite sign of age that I so often find myself saying, “where does the time go?”.  Still, I’m hoping that I’m not so old that I don’t still have quite a few more years of wondering left in me.

So, what few tidbits to wrap up 2012 and make room for 2013?  Let’s see . . .

  • No more excuses; it’s time to get back on the fitness wagon.  My steps last year were 3,925,361, covering 1872.75 miles.  Certainly, the average is skewed, because the last few months of the year have been so horrendously sedentary, but it averaged out to slightly less than 11K steps a day, or just over 5 miles.  My goal is to average 15K steps daily, which I think (if my math is correct, which is always a huge “if”) will be about 7 miles or so per day.  I also need to find some sort of strength training to work into my goals, since straight out cardio doesn’t seem to have very lasting effects for me.
  • Beginning tomorrow, the latest installment of the Ultimate Blog Challenge will begin, and I’m taking part again.  I did pretty well with it last summer, but did horribly with the October attempt, so I need to make up for that.  I already have a planning calendar, and even have a few things penciled in, so I’m hoping to be a bit more organized about the whole thing.  If you want to meet some new bloggie friends, I’d encourage you to check it out. 
  • My plan is to graduate in December, though that will take a couple of jam-packed semesters.  (I’ve enrolled in 18 hours for the spring, though I may need to drop one of those classes once I get a look at the syllabi.)  I’d prefer not to have to include classes during the summer, but that may be necessary; we’ll see how that works out. 
  • I saw an idea online that I really liked, so I’m going to give it a try:  You start the year with an empty jar and some note paper.  Then, as the days roll along, anytime something good happens, you jot it down on a piece of paper and drop it in the jar.  Could be reaching a goal, or having a good meal out with friends, receiving a compliment that made you feel great—just anything good in your daily life.  Then, on New Year’s Eve, dump out the jar and read through the notes, reliving all the excellent parts of life that you may have forgotten about in the jumble of daily living.  I think it’s a great idea, and I’m hoping Brian and Billy will play along.
  • Lastly, in the past few days there have been many cute/thoughtful/inspiring graphics floating around Facebook (many more than usual, I mean) with thoughts about how to live your life going forward.  I will leave you with the one that I’ve enjoyed the most.  Also, a hope that the new year brings to each and every one of you the very best of everything.  Happy New Year!

Mother Teresa Do it Anyway


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snapshot Sunday #20


Well, a couple of days ago, I was premature in thinking I was in recovery mode, so I’m not going to assume too much just yet.  However, I am hoping to maybe even leave the house tomorrow.  Whoo-hoo!  But for tonight, my only goal is to get my weekly pics posted before I fall asleep, so let’s find out what the prompts are this time around.  And, as I always say, if you’re looking for a simple way to put just a minute or two of creativity into every day, do check out the Photo a Day challenge over at Fat Mum Slim.  I always like to see what’s going on in other people’s lives.

23.  Joy


  Prompt:  Joy.  Having all the gifts wrapped and under the tree with a couple of days to spare!





24.  Tradition- Something You Always Do


  Prompt:  Tradition/Something you always do.  Sit in the dark and listen to Christmas songs on the TV.



25.  Lunchtime


  Prompt:  Lunchtime.  Well, remember when I mentioned that I forgot to take my group picture?  That was supposed to be my lunchtime photo, too.  But I did have one (or maybe two!) of these guys for dessert, so that will have to be close enough.



26.  Mess


  Prompt:  Mess.  Not as festive as all the wrapping paper and boxes and tissue and such, but that was already gathered and disposed of.  But even with my best intentions, there were still dishes some in the sink the next morning.

27.  How You Relax


  Prompt:  How you relax.  Well, this day (and several others), much of my relaxation was really just sleeping, but I did at least have the energy to bundle up in my Snuggie and give a bit of attention to a book I got for Christmas. 







28.  Cold


  Prompt:  Cold.  We were supposed to get blizzard conditions and half a foot of snow on Christmas, which turned in to barely a dusting.  And this morning, we were supposed to get freezing rain, but instead had a couple inches of snow.  But snow is better than ice just about any day of the week, and plenty cold.



29.  Hot


  Prompt:  Hot.  One of Brian’s gifts this year was a Keurig machine, because he really enjoys a nice cup of hot chocolate or tea.  Little did I know I’d be the one putting it to such use so quickly, but soothing hot tea has served me well the past few days. 

Thanks for dropping by for another Snapshot Sunday.  And, if you want to pick up the game in the new year, here’s the January list; click the image for full details.

January Photo a Day


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Six Word Yuck



Day four, still on the couch.  Sick smile



Drop by Cate’s place to see which words others are using to describe their Saturday.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Five Questions Before Bedtime


Today dawned a little brighter, at least from the health perspective.  (It was snowing when the day began, so no bright dawning there!)  I’ve managed to stay awake all day, and found that I actually do okay as long as I don’t move too much or too quickly, and don’t try to eat anything too ambitious.  Still, it’s an improvement, so I’ll take it.  Not that we ever do anything special to ring in the new year, but I still don’t want to be sick when it rolls around.

But, enough of that.  As promised, Mama M. has returned with questions this week, so let’s drop in and see what’s what.

five question friday


1. If you had to give 1 million dollars to just one person (not your spouse), who would it be and why?

Well, like Mama M., I wonder if the spousal exclusion applies to other members of your household.  If it does not, I’d probably give it to my son, though I’m fairly certain that would cause some arguments with my husband.  He’s not a big believer in giving things to people who have not taken steps to fend for themselves, and Billy is not always the most responsible person in the world.  But he’s still my kid, and I can’t imagine not doing anything in my power to make sure he has the best life possible.  But, if members of the household are all exempt, then I imagine I’d give the money to my sister, Tanya.  She still has a younger son to raise, and probably put through school, so it would be a great benefit to her not to have to worry about where money was going to come from.  Plus, I know if I needed a loan, she’d float me a few dollars!

2. What bathroom stall do you typically go to FIRST?

Oddly, it sort of depends on how big the bathroom is.  In smaller bathrooms, usually the last one before the handicap stall.  In larger facilities, just somewhere along the middle.  Mostly, I just don’t typically go into the very first one, though I couldn’t tell you why.  Also, if it can be avoided, I don’t like to be in stalls that everyone will have to pass by, or that are directly across from the sink.  I guess we all have our idiosyncrasies. 

3. How do you prefer to shop: In-store or online?

They’ve both got their advantages.  Assuming cost is not part of the equation, it goes like this:  If I know exactly what I need (and I don’t need it right away), I’d prefer just to order it and have it delivered to my home.  But if I need to browse, or compare features or something, then I’d rather go to a store.  Also, it’s rare that I buy clothes online; you can just never be sure about fit and all.

4. What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?

It’s been kind of cold since Christmas, and, as I mentioned, it was snowing this morning.  (Check out the link below to see a bit of this morning’s flakery in my yard.)  Of course, ever since our trip to Alaska last summer, Brian always likes to keep tabs on the weather in Fairbanks, and we’re nothing like them.  I think it just makes him feel better to know that while it might be a chillingly cold 25 here, it’s a miserable –13 there

5. Do you own a pair of Tom's and what do you think? Overrated, underrated or about right?

Well, I don’t have any, and have no desire to do so, but my feeling is that they’re overrated.  Really, I think that any slip-on shoe that’s casual enough to be mistaken for a pair of slippers but still costs $50 (and up) is the very definition of overrated, but that could just be my own brand of close-minded prejudice speaking.  Of course, this is coming from someone that would prefer to never have to dress in anything fancier than jeans and sneakers, so it’s possible my fashion opinions don’t count for much. 

And, that wraps things up for this week.  Just in the nick of time, too, as I switched medicine an hour or so ago, and I think the new kind is messing up my head.  I might’ve been bragging too soon about my ability to stay awake, though I suppose there’s no shame (or not much, anyway) in going to bed at 10:30!  Hope you all enjoy what’s left of your Friday evenings, and have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 27, 2012



virus 12-27-12Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at 

Last week, it was my husband; the week before that, my son.  I should have known I would not be able to entirely avoid the stupid virus that invaded my household this month.  Especially as I’ve been just on the verge of illness with a persistent cough for many weeks already.  Still, knowing it was likely coming does not make me any happier with its arrival.

Yesterday was not too bad, mostly just tired, but I could muster enough energy to make a trip to the store to exchange a jacket that was too small for Brian and stock up on some cheap wrapping paper, since I was running low.  I now have enough to last another several years, but that short excursion pretty much wiped me out.  Today, though, has been worse.  I slept (in my bed) until almost noon, and have lost track of the number of times I’ve dozed off while lying here on the couch.  I did not even make the effort to get dressed.  Right now, I’m thinking tomorrow I’ll just change pajamas and call it good.

It used to be that I would get sick every holiday season—sick on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and not precisely well the entire time in between.  There are lots of theories for why that happens to folks:  too much time indoors this time of year, too much crowd mingling and germ sharing, too much stress wearing on the body, too many combinations of things that just lead to illness.  I’m sure any or all of that is true, but again I say that understanding it does not make the situation any easier to deal with.  In truth, it really just sucks, though I am immensely glad to have not been really sick on either of the holidays proper.  That does make things much easier.

The thing that really bothers me, though, is that I think at least a good portion of the blame lies with me.  I wasn’t sick last holiday season, and I remember thinking it was sort of a blissful experience.  But, I was much more focused on my own health last year.  I was still actively working on weight loss and better lifestyle choices.  Most of that has gone by the wayside this year, especially in the past few months, and I’ve decided it really does make a big difference.  I’m ashamed to say that I’ve regained some (too much) of the weight that I lost, and I’ve lost almost all of my motivation to work out.  Oh, I still take some small steps to maintain some of my better habits:  very little soda, using my fitdesk and stability ball, some lower calorie options that have become the norm for me.  But it’s clear that those things are not enough.  This holiday bug that has reared its ugly head and bitten me in the butt is proof enough of that.  I already knew that getting back on the fitness wagon was going to have to be at the top of my resolution list again this year, but this is like a message from the universe, screaming at me loud and clear, just in case I should forget.  As I’m laying here for the next day or so, resting up between trips to the bathroom and hoping that my head does not explode, I’m going to have to make a specific plan, and I’m going to have to figure out a way to ensure that I will stick with it.  I know that I can do it; I’ve done it before.  I just need to keep reminding myself of the benefits even beyond getting rid of some excess pounds.  Like not being sick most of December.  Yeah, that sounds like an excellent goal.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

X is for eXpectations




Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas.  I love almost everything about it (I could live without the bills that follow; really need to learn to start shopping in about March!).  But, somehow, after all the hustle and bustle, all the build up, all the anticipation, the big day itself is never exactly how I expect it to be.

I’m not sure exactly why that is, and it’s never any specific thing that I can put my finger on that doesn’t go as planned.  I think the real problem might be that there’s this secret, subliminal idea of some sort of Norman Rockwell/Martha Stewart perfection that is never achieved.  Of course, I have no idea why I would expect such a thing; my family is nothing like a Rockwell painting, and if there’s anyone farther from Martha Stewart than I am, I’d like to meet them.  But doesn’t everyone hope that their family holiday will be so picture perfect that it could be on next year’s Hallmark card? 

I guess in terms of expectations, there are worse things to aspire to than a perfect holiday, but it’s sad to have the tiny little letdown feeling when it’s all over with.  Not that I have anything to feel let down about, not really.  My Christmases are always filled with the most important thing in life:  family.  I am blessed to be able to spend the holiday with those closest to me, more blessed that it’s always been that way.   And maybe the melancholy has more to do with those that I miss.  I can never make it through a Christmas without crying at least once, missing my mom.  And this year, Brian had to experience missing his dad for the first time, though I know it won’t be the last time.  And I think how sad it must be for my grandma, missing not only her husband, but two of her kids.  I can’t even imagine that. 

But even with the melancholy, I always enjoy the day.  The laughter, the love, the sheer volume of food!  This year was no different (though I did forget to take a group photo, dang it), and I went to bed giving thanks for the blessings in my life, even though I was still thinking about some sort of subtle expectation that didn’t quite come to pass. 

If I’m lucky, next Christmas will be the same.

Linking up with ABC Wednesday.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holiday


Since it’s a day of family and fun and celebration, there’s been very little TV today.  (Though I am currently watching a pre-recorded Hallmark Channel holiday movie.)  Anyway, with a break from TV, Tube Day Tuesday is also taking a break.  Regular television chatter will return next week, but for the moment, I will simply say that I hope each and every one of you have had a joyous day filled with the wonders of the season.

Merry Christmas!

christmas balls 12-25-12

Image courtesy of suphakit73 at

Christmas Eve Gift


The holidays are all about traditions, aren’t they?  Things you do without even thinking about it because they are just part of who you are, and things that make you smile year after year.  I like those sorts of things.

One of the things for me is Christmas Eve Gift.  I still remember every year my mom would come into my room, flip on the light, and offer that greeting.  “Christmas Eve Gift!”, she’d say with her beaming smile.  I  never did know what it meant, exactly.  Something about getting an extra present if you were the first one to say it, though there were never any extra gifts exchanged because of it.  (Though we did always get to open one present on Christmas Eve, but at night, not in the morning.)  Mostly, it was just the proper way to greet someone on December 24th. 

When I got older, I’d still say it as a greeting, though I have to say that Brian and Billy are not really all that big on goofy things like that, and neither of them have really picked up the habit.  If they’re going to adopt a tradition, they want to know the details.  So, I checked the ever-popular Wiki

"Christmas Gift" is an expression traced back as early as 1844 in the southern United States. It is derived from the tradition of saying "Christmas Gift!" among typically poor African American and Anglo farming families in rural areas, when people would wake on Christmas morning and rush to say "Christmas Gift" before anyone else. The person being told "Christmas Gift!" is expected to present the person saying it to them with a present. In addition, while "Merry Christmas" is the common and current seasonal salutation, "Christmas Gift" was an equivalent expression used in the rural south and also in southern Pennsylvania, Ohio Valley, West Virginia, and later in northeastern Texas as a simple greeting and recognizing the birth of Christ as a gift.

"Christmas Eve Gift" is another variation. The Dictionary of American Regional English traces the first written uses of "Christmas Eve Gift" back to 1954. The tradition is similar to the "Christmas Gift" tradition, but occurs on Christmas Eve. The person being told "Christmas Eve Gift!" is expected to present the person saying it to them with a small present, traditionally candy or nuts. It is a tradition that is carried out in fun, with no real expectation of the treat to appear. It often became a family tradition to try to be the first in the family to "get" the other members by uttering the phrase. it was a way to create fun when often in reality there were few Christmas treats.

So I guess it really is just something fun to say/do with your loved ones on the holiday; nothing wrong with that.  And, in looking around again today, I found this post, from a lady who apparently also grew up with Christmas Eve Gift without knowing entirely why—though it seems her family is much more competitive about it than ours ever was. 

In another vein, though, I always try to give myself a Christmas Eve gift of sorts: sitting in a darkened room, listening to Christmas carols and looking at the lights on the tree.  I am almost always the last person up, so the house is nice and quiet and it’s very relaxing.  In many ways, it’s like the calm before the storm, but I try not to think about it that way.  I’m not sure I’ll quite get the full effect this year as I probably will have to turn in before Billy tonight.  Our family gathering will be a bit earlier than usual tomorrow (trying to plan around the forecasted winter weather, though they still can’t make up their minds exactly what it’s going to do), so I’ll have to be up at the crack of dawn to get the turkey in the roaster.  Definitely going to cut into the late night tree gazing, though I don’t think I can give it up entirely, even if it means a really long day tomorrow.  Really, who would want to give this up?

Christmas Eve Gift

So, Christmas Eve Gift to all of you, and Merry Christmas.  My wish for you is for peace and happiness, and that all of your wishes come true.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Snapshot Sunday #19


I’m not sure why it is that every single year I seem to forget just how much work Christmas really is, but it surprises me every time.  Still, I don’t know what I’d do without all the hubbub, so I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But let’s get to this week’s pictures, shall we?  As always, prompts provided by Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim.

16.  Something You Made

  Prompt:  Something you made.  I’m sure many other folks showed something a bit more crafty (especially this time of year), but I’m settling for the night’s dinner—french toast and bacon.  Yum.





17.  On the Floor


  Prompt:  On the floor.  Brian, tools, and wire racks, as he installed my new sliding shelves in the kitchen.






18.  Makes You Feel Merry


  Prompt:  Makes you feel merry.  Cookie baking party with the PTK gang.  Group silliness, and fun was had by all.




19.  Something Beginning with S

  Prompt:  Something beginning with ‘s’.  Again, I’m sure others went for a more traditional approach, and I’ll admit Santa was appealing, but instead, I give you sitting geese.

20.  Weather


  Prompt:  Weather.  As the flag shows, it was windy, which is absolutely normal around here.














21.  Tree


  Prompt:  Tree(s).  A holiday display at the local mall.  (I had actually hoped to finish my somewhat crafty trees in time to use for this prompt, but it didn’t get done on time.  They’re done now, but no photos yet, but I’ll get there eventually.)



22.  Decoration


  Prompt:  Decoration.  This is a pretty bad picture, but the truth is, it didn’t look a whole lot better with the lights turned off.  The fact is, it’s just sort of an old, almost tacky Christmas decoration that has been part of my holidays for a really long time.  Years and years ago, my mom had one of these that hung in our home every Christmas.  I don’t remember for sure, but I think my paternal grandmother made it for her.  Anyway, then she made one for her parents, and they hung it in their house forever.  This is actually that one.  I’m not sure how I ended up with the one that belonged to my granny, but somehow I did, and I hang it up every year.  It’s really  not very attractive, but it lights up festively, and  it seems like home. 

And that’s Snapshot Sunday for this week.  There will be tons of pictures taken in the next couple of days (including with my new camera!), so maybe next week there will be more than just the daily photos. Or maybe not.  Really, with me, you just never can tell.  Winking smile 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Six Word Anticipation


Almost time to start tracking Santa!


Linking up with Cate for Six Word Saturday; go ahead and join in.

The Tree Tops Aren’t Glistening Yet


I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.  It’s sort of a perpetual dream, and it doesn’t happen all that often around here (statistically, 5% of the time), but the weather gurus say it could happen this year.  Of course, the storm is still days away, so they’re hedging their bets, but it could happen. 

A few years ago, we had the hugest snowstorm I’ve seen in my entire life—the hugest snowstorm a lot of people around here had ever seen in their lives.  When it was all said and done, I think it ended up being just over a foot of snow that fell on Christmas Eve and into the early hours of Christmas day.  Whatever we get this year, it won’t be anything like that, and, honestly, I’m just as glad.  That snow was beautiful, but it was incredibly problematic for an area simply unprepared to handle it.  First of all, it took me seven hours to get home from work on the 24th, a commute of about 50 miles.  Second, it really jacked up the Christmas plans, because folks were snowed in and couldn’t get to where they wanted to be.


 I seem to have misplaced the photos from the December storm, but this was just a few weeks later (we had a rough winter that year), so just imagine another 8 inches of snow or so, and that’s what it looked like Christmas morning!

Still, problematic or not, there just seems to be something magical about snow on Christmas day.  My true ideal would be to wake up to snow already blanketing the ground, and some giant beautiful flakes falling slowly all day long.  I’m pretty sure we’ll never have that, but I’m going to keep dreaming.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure (susceptible as I am to media influence) that the classic holiday song is a big reason I always hope to see snow on Christmas day.  (Well, that, and just about every Christmas movie ever made.)  So, I’ll leave you with my absolute favorite version of the song.  You can listen here, or watch this “video”, which is really just the song overlaid on a beautiful snowy scene. 

Do you get snow for Christmas?  Love it or hate it?

PS:  It’s officially December 22nd here now, so definitely no apocalypse.  Also, Mama M is taking a break from 5QF due to the holiday hubbub, but promises to return next week with more questions, so I’ll pick up then, too.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last Words?


End of the world 12-20-12

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at


If the doomsayers are to be believed, this will be our final day on Earth.  Or at least our final full day; while many folks seem convinced December 21st represents the end of the world, no one seems too certain of the exact time things will end.  I’ve seen people online counting down the hours until midnight, with the assumption that if they make it to 12:01, they’re probably okay.  I’ve also seen folks from other parts of the world—where it’s been December 21st for many hours now—declaring that all is well.  And, I’ve heard reports that the actual end time will be at the precise moment of the solstice, which will be at 11:12 UTC.  If that’s so, I’ve still got another six hours or so to go.  (Check your time zone here if you’re not sure of the conversion.) 

But, while I can’t say I buy into the current apocalypse scenario, I can’t deny that I’ve given it a passing thought a time or two today, usually in the context of “Is this how I want to spend my last day?”.  Honestly, though, while it wasn’t the kind of final day I would plan if given the opportunity, I can’t say it would be a bad way to end it all.  I did some last minute Christmas shopping.  (Not mine, I’m glad to say; shopping for Granny’s gifts now.)  Sure, it’s hectic and can grate on your nerves, but people (most of them, anyway) are smiling and doing fun things, stores are decorated, and there are Christmas carols playing over the sound systems, so it’s not so bad.   I even have almost all of my gifts wrapped now, so yay for that!

Also, I’ve been in touch with the important people in my life.  Some by phone, some email or text, and some right here in my home, but I communicated with both my sisters, my brother, my best friends (both RL and online versions), and my husband and son are under the same roof.  And, I’m making sure to hit ‘publish’ on this post before midnight, just in case.

Oh, and I had some really good potato soup for dinner.  Really, as days go, it wasn’t so bad at all.  If it has to be my last one, at least things will end on a relatively decent note.  I think that’s about all any of us can hope for. 

Here’s hoping your day also went well, and that you can be satisfied with it if it turns out to be your last.  And, if it comes to pass that we are blessed with more of them, let’s try to make them all good ones—for ourselves and others.


W is for Willy Wonka


Hello, and a fine evening to you all.  It’s time once again to join up with ABC Wednesday and see what the alphabet has in store for us.  I bet you might have expected a brief history of wrapping paper or something, given my recent postings about my wrapping dislike and procrastination.  Or maybe something about the original Trek captain, William Shatner.  Or even my own William.  But, no, tonight it’s another William, sort of.

Earlier this summer, in a Q&A type post, I mentioned a favorite film—Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory—and I thought it might be fun to talk a little bit more about that.



  The 1971 film was based on a book by Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and I’m sort of embarrassed to say that I’ve never read it.  But, my understanding is Mr. Dahl was not pleased with the adaptation of his story, which implies it’s not really like the movie at all.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like it, but it does make it likely that I might be disappointed. 

  The movie, though, never disappoints me, even though I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen it.  It’s got good acting, fun music, quirky characters, and some nice lessons to teach; how could that possibly disappoint?

  Starring Gene Wilder as Wonka, the film tells the story of a reclusive chocolate maker who has decided to re-open his long- closed-to-the-public factory by way of a contest (marketing scheme).  He’s hidden five golden tickets inside his candy bars and the finders will get a tour of the chocolate factory, and the grand prize winner will also receive a lifetime supply of chocolate.

Four of the ticket holders turn out to be incredibly bratty children.  So bratty that you don’t really worry about them at all when they begin to fall victim to their bratty ways while on the tour, even though those fates include being sucked out of a chocolate river into a series of pipes that lead ultimately to the “fudge room”, and turned into a giant human blueberry, among other things.  Really, those kids needed to be taught a lesson, though my guess is they didn’t learn much.

But the fifth child is different.  Charlie Bucket is a sweet, mild-mannered little boy who had the moment of a lifetime when he found his golden ticket.  He lives with his mom and two sets of grandparents in a tiny little house, with barely enough money to keep the family fed, and doesn’t have any of the worldly possessions of the other kids.  But he doesn’t care; he and his Grandpa Joe are going to enjoy the tour as much as any of them. 

Grandpa Joe was brought to life by Jack Albertson, who was still a few years away from becoming knows as half of Chico and the Man, but he’d been acting for decades and had won an Oscar a few years earlier, making him the seasoned veteran of the cast.  Really, except for him and Wilder, it was pretty much a group of unknowns, but they still came together very nicely.

Good boy Charlie was played by Peter Ostrum, who was not only unknown, but—if you can trust the listing on IMDB (and you usually can)—this was just about his only acting gig ever.  But my thinking is, if you’re going to be a one hit wonder, make the hit a great one.  I think he succeeded in that. 

Back in my earlier post, I brought up the movie by answering the following question:

What childhood fable, fairytale, or movie stretched your imagination and sticks with you today?

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Be nice, do the right thing, take responsibility for your actions, and let good deeds be their own reward.  And always be grateful when even greater rewards come your way.  It’s a wonderful way to live.

I stand by that answer, though I should’ve included the fact that Oompa-Loompas are also pretty cool.  Seriously, though, Charlie is a wonderful movie “hero”, and is thusly rewarded.  Life should have such fantastically happy endings.

I’ll leave you with my favorite song from the movie, though there are several I could choose.




Don’t wait, and do wander on over and wallow in the wealth of postings at ABC Wednesday.  You will certainly be welcomed there, and, much like the Wonka factory, there is wisdom to be gained, and wonder to behold.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Of Plans and Flu Bugs


So, my plan went like this:  after spending the day with my PTK friends, I’d come home, watch tonight’s holiday episode of NCIS—with Robert Wagner reprising his role as Anthony DiNozzo Sr.—then tell you all about it for this week’s installment of Tube Day Tuesday.  Or maybe talk in general about holiday episodes of regular series.  Something along those lines.  And, okay, so it wasn’t a fully fleshed out plan, but it was still a plan.

However, when I got home this evening, what I found was a husband who appears to have come down with the same stomach flu my son had last week.  Consequently, the last five hours have not involved NCIS, or television, and I’m only managing to get this post typed up in between sessions of back rubbing and ice chips.  It looks like we’re in for another long night.

So, I’ll go back a few months into the archives and re-introduce one of my previous television-themed posts.  I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you that I’ve got a few to choose from, right? 

I’m hoping tomorrow things will have settled back down and I’ll be back to the chatter, but right now, it’s all up to Brian’s stomach.

For now, “My Personal Addiction” . . .

Television is intensely personal.~ Jessica Savitch

For last Tuesday’s daily photo, I told you about my favorite color, inspired by White Collar.  Well, if I’d looked ahead in the prompt list, I probably would’ve waited, and used them for today’s subject: your addiction.   There is no doubt that I’m truly addicted to this television program.

But, really, my addiction goes deeper than that, to the medium itself.  After all, it was only just yesterdaythat I admitted to being a TV-aholic.  It’s been that way as long as I can remember.  Movies are great; live theatre is always fun; and books can take me places like nothing else.  But television . . . television isintimate.  With TV, I get not just an interesting story and fascinating characters, but relationships.  I can’t really explain it, but week after week, episode after episode, I feel like I get to know those characters, understand the way they think and feel, know how they’d react in certain circumstances.  It’s why I get crazy if the writers start taking short-cuts and making stupid mistakes with the characters in their care, because I know when something isn’t right.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not one of those weirdo people who can’t separate reality from make-believe.  I don’t get the actors mixed up with their characters.  I know it’s not real.  But it is a wonderful escape, that comes into my home every single day.  Hard to get much better than that.  And, as addictions go, it’s pretty harmless.

17.  Your Addiction


  My addiction: television.  Currently fascinated with White Collar and just about all things USA Network.

So that’s what was going on back in mid-July, which was a slightly better moment in time than this one.  I’ll admit it:  right now, I’d rather be watching TV.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What’s Up


news 12-18-12

  No big point to anything tonight, just a little catch-up on what’s going on with life these days.

  First, what’s not going on is the gift wrapping.  Even though I dug out the paper and scissors and tape and brought it all into the living room so I’d have to see it every day, still the only presents I’ve wrapped are the ones that had to be mailed.  I really should not put things off so long.  I’m pretty busy tomorrow, so I’m not pledging to get it started then, but Wednesday, for sure.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at

Today Brian installed some sliding shelves in the kitchen to hold the pots and pans.  IMG_2135[1]I’ve been wanting those for so long, and I’m thrilled.  Since I’ve not been working, I think I’ve used the kitchen more this year than I have the entire time we’ve lived here, so that’s why we’ve finally been doing something about all the things that have been bugging me for so long.  Tomorrow I’m hoping for an extra shelf to be added to my pantry to give me a bit more usable space.  The way it is isn’t really all that efficient, especially considering I like to store my big roaster in there, and there’s just no good spot for it at all.

I’m also trying to do something mildly crafty involving tree branches from my yard and Christmas ornaments.  If it turns out okay, I’ll post some pictures later this week.  Heck, maybe I’ll post some pictures even if it doesn’t turn out.  It can always be used as a cautionary tale for others like me who get these ideas even knowing the artistic talent is minimal.

Tonight I went with my sister to watch some improv performed by the class my nephew is part of.  The kids seemed like they were having a good time putting on a show, and the adults got some laughs out of the deal.  Then the three of us went to dinner and had some conversation.  Taylor has become a somewhat recent fan of Doctor Who, so that gives me another reason to be a proud aunt. 

Tomorrow I’m spending the day with the PTK folks.  First we’re having our group party, which is a cookie baking party.  We’re pretty much taking the easy way out and starting with pre-made dough, but it’ll still be fun to get together and make funny shapes, see who can decorate them the best, talk, laugh, and eat more sugar than could possibly be good for anyone. 

After that, we’re going to a local mall to do some gift wrapping to benefit Habitat for Humanity.  Can you believe that?  Not a single gift under my own tree (well, except for a few I received in the mail from a friend), but I’ll be spending a few hours wrapping for others.  Not only that, but the reason I always put it off is because I don’t particularly like to wrap, and I’m really not particularly good at it.  I’m still trying to figure out how I ended up part of this gig.  And, I’m hoping there’ll be some sort of organizational job I can do that doesn’t really involve putting paper on packages. 

And that’ll take us to Wednesday, which will almost certainly be devoted to wrapping my own pesky gifts.  On the upside, I think all but two of my mail-order items have arrived now, and they have both already been shipped, so things are coming together nicely.  Then the rest of the week will just be the normal pre-holiday stuff:  food shopping, house cleaning, and maybe seeing some light displays and drinking hot chocolate, all in preparation for the big day.

And, speaking of the big day, the weather people today said there is a slight chance of snow on Christmas; wouldn’t that be swell? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

So, that’s what’s going on with me; what’s happening in your world?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Snapshot Sunday #18



Well, I can’t say I’m completely back on track with Snapshot Sunday, but I do have this week’s pics completed, so that’s a step in the right direction, even if last week’s are still hanging in limbo.  This week will begin just about my least favorite part of the Christmas season:  wrapping.  If you saw my Six Word Saturday post yesterday, then you know I haven’t even started yet.  At least, not unless you count the gifts that have to be shipped; those are wrapped.  But I don’t count those because they aren’t sitting under my tree looking festive. 

Anyway, let’s get on with the photos, shall we?  Prompts, as always, provided by the charming Chantelle over at Fat Mum Slim.


9.  Out and About


  Prompt:   Out & About.  Driving around town, and here’s another bit of random art.  I’m not sure why our city council folk decided we needed this pain in the a** circle, but I’m assuming they put art in the middle of it to keep folks from getting too annoyed with the traffic issue.  Anyway, I’m pretty sure this is supposed to be wheat, and it’s cool enough to see when I drive by.  But it doesn’t stop me from being annoyed by the useless circle. 



10.  Under


  Prompt:  Under.  Taken from under my Christmas tree.  I can’t say this turned out exactly as I had envisioned, but I still sort of liked it.




11.  Sweet


  Prompt:  Sweet.  It was book buy-back day and I ended up with a little extra spending cash just in time for the holidays.  Now that’s what I call sweet!








12.  Hat


  Prompt:  Hat.  The hat on one of my favorite holiday decorations. 







13.  Lights


  Prompt:  Lights.  An interesting light fixture at the home improvement store.



14.  Something Green


  Prompt:  Something Green.  The holly bush at the front of my house.  And, a smidgeon of a cedar tree in the background.  Those are about the only green things around these parts this time of year.




15.  Outdoors


  Prompt:  Outdoors.  A colorful evening sky.







And those are the photos from this week’s daily challenge.  I still say it’s lots of fun, and you ought to give it a try.

Two totally unrelated thoughts . . .

First, there’s a comment floating around Facebook the past couple of days that tomorrow (Monday) we should all try to wear the school colors of Sandy Hook Elementary.  This seems like a fairly simple way to show a bit of solidarity from a nation full of people who wish there was some sort of help they could give.  It seems the colors are green and white, if you are so inclined.

Second, a shout out to my friend, Jen, who’s unexpectedly run into a bit of a rough time.  The details aren’t important, other than she’s a nice lady on the receiving end of some less than nice treatment, so I’m sending a prayer her way for a speedy resolution.

Thanks, everyone, for dropping by; hope you all have a great week ahead.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Six Word Procrastination


Really need to start the wrapping.

gift wrapping 12-15-12

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at


Tell the story of your day with Six Word Saturday.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Five Questions on a Solemn Day


It’s all a matter of perspective.  Twelve hours ago, I was sitting at the ER with my son because he needed some fast-acting medicine and fluids to help him fight off the stomach bug that had kept him (and, by extension, me) awake all night.  By the time I went to bed this morning, Billy was finally sleeping soundly, I’d been up almost 24 hours, and all I wanted was some sleep of my own.  Little did I know that at almost that very moment, a small town in Connecticut was undergoing a tragedy that would change their lives forever.Newtown

It’s only been a couple of days since I posted about the violence that seems so rampant in our world these days, but I certainly didn’t expect to have another example to add to the list so soon.  And who could have ever predicted the compounded horror of violence that would take the lives of those who had barely even begun to live?  I spent an exhausting sleepless night worrying about my son, but I can’t imagine the sleeplessness that awaits the parents of twenty children who will never get to grow up, or the pain and anguish of family and friends who will have a pall over their holiday celebrations for the rest of their lives. 

So, yeah, I’m plenty tired, because I’m getting too old to be much good operating on four hours of sleep.  And my son is still feeling pretty cruddy, and probably will for another day or so.  But we’re all still together, and have each other to rely on when we have those rough nights, so we’re some of the lucky ones.  It really is all a matter of perspective. 

But, in the spirit of believing that the normal parts of life have to go on, even while the nation deals with tragedy, we’ll continue with Five Question Friday this week, still knowing that there are so many more important things than silly questions and typing out a post for this blog. 

five question friday

1. If you bake during the holidays, what is your favorite thing to make?

My baking rarely extends beyond some slice and bake cookies or brownies from a box, though they still taste plenty yummy.  Though this year I’m thinking about making some of these cheesecake cups.

2. Present giving: Gift bag vs wrapped box?

I like a mix of both, because boxes look better under the tree and are more fun to open, but bags are a lifesaver for oddly-shaped gifts or when time is running short.

3. What do you keep your thermostat on during the winter/summer in your house?

During the winter, we’re mostly set on 69, though I still often need a blanket (or my snuggie) throughout the day.  In the summer we’re usually at about 73ish, but that’s must less consistent, probably because it’s harder to take off clothes to get cool than it is to put on a blanket and get warm.

4. When thinking of your "Christmas to-do list" what percentage "done" are you?

Not as far along as I’d like to be, but still pretty far.  I’d say about 80% or so.

5. Do you do the "Elf on a Shelf"? If so, is your Elf naughty and what shenanigans has he gotten into?

Nope, no Elf here, though I probably wouldn’t mind having one for myself.



And that, dear friends, is it for tonight.  Take a moment to remember the people that are important to you, hug them tight, and say a prayer for those who have already had their last hug and never even knew it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Picture Perfect Present


I ordered my Christmas present today.  Yep, my present.  From Brian.  Maybe that’s the way it works after a quarter century of marriage, but who knew?  Actually, it’s not like he didn’t have any say in the decision making process.  A few weeks ago, I gave him one very specific gift idea.  I picked something out, sent him a link to the best online price, and even gave him a coupon code to save some extra money.  Since he said he didn’t have any idea what to get me, I thought that was pretty helpful.  But, it was a boxing bag (for exercise purposes, you know), and with my history of carpal tunnel, he thought it wasn’t a good idea.  Could be he’s right, but I don’t think so.  Either way, he decided it wasn’t something he was going to buy for me, so there went a perfectly good gift idea out the window.  I may have to buy my own eventually, but for now I guess I’ll make do with the Wii.

At any rate, that still left Brian needing a gift idea.  He knew I’d been wanting a new pocket camera for a year, since my old one bit the dust last December, so he started asking about what sort of features I wanted and all.  We looked at some in a couple of stores while we were out and about, and even made a special trip up to the camera store to check out some others.  But a camera isn’t really something you can just rush in to, so it took a while.  Brian said I spent more time picking out the camera than I did my last car.  I imagine that’s true, but, really, the make and model of the car was pre-determined, so all I had to decide was color and trim level; that stuff is easy.  But zoom levels, low light capabilities, and print quality?  That stuff takes a while, especially when you want to jam it all in to a tiny little package.

So, yeah, there’s a lot to consider, but it’s fun look at all of it, especially all the cool demo pictures.  My “big” cameras have always been Sonys, but I’ve never used one of their compacts, so I looked at a few of those.  I read a comparison review article that put a Fujifilm model at the top of the pack, so I checked them out, and I compared some of the Nikons and Canons.  But, ultimately, I ended up with a Panasonic.  That was the make of my last compact, and I was very happy with it.  There have been some differences in the intervening years, of course, and not all of them are to my liking, but I still decided it had the best overall feature set that I was looking for.  Plus, it’s red, it’s cute, and Brian will do the wrapping so it will be waiting for me under the tree on Christmas morning.  Maybe doing your own shopping isn’t such a bad deal after all.


V is for Violence


Violence 12-13-12

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at

I’m having a “what is this world coming to?” moment. 

Yesterday, a young man in Oregon randomly (apparently) shot total strangers before killing himself.  That was just the latest in a string of public shootings that seems to stretch longer and longer as  I grow older.

And here at home (well, not my actual town, but my local big city), we’re setting homicide records these days.  We’ve had 95 so far this year, up from 60 back in 2011.  What is up with that?  I know 95 might not seem like a lot to some of the really big cities in the world, but wherever you live, I hope we can all agree that it’s 95 too many.

And let’s not forget about home invasions, armed robberies, and various assaults along the way.  Earlier this week, our local news was carrying a story about a fight between several young women that was caught on video tape.  Bad enough these girls thought the best way to solve whatever problems they were having was by slugging it out on a public sidewalk, worse still that rather than intervene, someone else thought the best way to react would be to film the incident and then post it to Facebook.  Seriously, if these sorts of things don’t make you stop and wonder what the world is coming to, I don’t know what will.

And speaking of the world, what about the wars?  People everywhere fighting for whatever their cause might be.  I’m not here to speculate on which of those causes might be just—any or all of them—but I am wondering if shooting, and bombing, and killing is the only way to solve the problem.

Sadly, I don’t have any answers.  I promise you, I would not be sitting here typing this if I did; I’d be out fixing things.  But I am a firm believer that violence is rarely the answer. (Really, the correct word is probably never, but I’ll grant that there are any number of circumstances I’ve never confronted, so I’ll hedge my bets just a little).

But maybe—especially at this time of year, when everything is supposed to be about peace on earth and all—maybe if we all just take a moment to deliberately think about the need to end the violence in our world, then maybe the idea will begin to spread.  We’re supposed to be the most advanced creatures on this planet, so surely we can find a way to work together to find more constructive ways to deal with our differences.  That’s something I’d like to see the world coming to.

Linking up over at ABC Wednesday; venture on over and enjoy the various ideas you’ll find.