Happy New Year

I hope 2009 is a great year for everyone who stops by here.

End of year assessment meme

Via Toast

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Cantored at a Mass. Got paid $50 per hour at my part-time fun job. Went on vacation with in-laws. Started dealing with some problems in my life. Finished a DIY project.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, I did not keep my NY resolution, which was to write more letters. I don't think I wrote even one letter, except to the editor. I will make one for this coming year, though - I've stuck to them in previous years, I know I can do it again.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
3 of my co-workers had baby boys this year; one of my friends from Harmonious Soul had a baby boy in February; my sister had a baby girl in August.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My friend Al and my friend and co-worker Linda.

5. What places did you visit?
New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Worcester, Northampton, North Carolina

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
More energy, more money, my own car.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 4th, 2008. Obama walking out on stage to make his victory speech. The emotions of that moment. First and foremost the overwhelming sense of relief that... we... won. Eight psychologically-punishing years had left me pretty traumatized and it wasn't until that moment that I finally started to unclench my political sphincter. And then the realization that we weren't just finally seeing the end of the Winger Era, we were in fact witnessing an incredible moment in our nation's history. We had a elected a black man president. It was, shall we say, heady. I just copied Toast's answer, and I'll add: November 4, 2008, because it was my birthday.

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?
Taking over for my boss while she was on maternity leave and by all accounts, doing a smashing job of it.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I continued to not lose weight, and I was very bad about keeping in touch with people. I love you, Leslie, even though I don't call!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just a few colds that were hard to shake.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Nothing that I can think of...maybe the 20 lbs of honeycrisp apples. They were fantastic.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Obama, Maeve, my SIL

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

John McCain, for treating the presidency with such contempt that he was willing to put a clownish simpleton like Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from it.
Harry Reid, for being a toothless, gutless punk.
Joe Lieberman, for being Joe Lieberman.
The douchebag who dressed up as Santa and gunned down eight of his in-laws.
Every one of those fucking asshats who trampled that WalMart employee to death. Get your consumerism under control, you sick fucks.
John Edwards for cheating on his wife.
Someone else who I do not want to mention.

(Mostly copied from Toast's answer)

14. Where did most of your money go?
Housing, followed by Siobhan's college, then utilities, food, etc.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Harmonious Soul rehearsals; going to North Carolina.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Everything on the Dr. Horrible soundtrack.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Happier or sadder?

a little of both
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Swimming; gone to the beach more; purging of stuff.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Watching TV; eating junk food; gotten cranky with the people I live with.

20. How did you spend Christmas this year?
In church : P; driving home from church; trying to make a Christmas tree of light; at my sister's for breakfast; at my SIL's for the rest of the day. I can tell you that I spent very little time sleeping on Christmas, and damn, it takes longer to recover now than it used to!

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

22. How was work?
Mostly good

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Pushing Daisies

24. What did you do for your birthday in 2008?

Voted for Obama, celebrated his win. By myself, in my living room.

25. What was the best book you read?
In The Woods by Tana French

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I mostly rediscovered stuff this year: David Bowie, Talking Heads, and ended the year by not being able to stop listening to the Robert Plant/Alison Kraus collaboration.

27. What did you want and get?
A Dutch oven

28. What did you want and not get?
Someone to come and clean my house.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
I didn't really see many movies this year. I did enjoy All About Eve for the 6th or so time.

30. Did you make some new friends this year?

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Same as last year: Impeachment proceedings. Again, copied from Toast.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Stuff that looks good on me.

33. What kept you sane?
My responsibilities

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Nathan Fillion

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Electing a Democrat to the White House

35a. What political issue stirred you the least?
I don't know

36. Who did you miss?
Leslie, my sister who I hardly ever see

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Someone I met in North Carolina - one of those people with whom you have instant rapport, you know?

38. Burn any bridges?

39. Best new restaurant you went to?
I didn't go to any new restaurants.

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
That you can only control your own actions. I'm slow, though, I have a feeling I'll have to continue learning this before it really sinks in.


Added to blogroll

beba by my fellow mom of an 11 year old, Betsy.


Esprit d'escalier

Now that we're packing up the remains of another War on Christmas, I finally thought of the perfect response to make to someone who gets in your face when you say "Happy Holidays". I've written a short play to illustrate:

Cashier: Okay, and $2.53 is your change.
Me: Thank you, and Happy Holidays!
Cashier: It's Merry Christmas, how dare you take the Christ out of Christmas!
Me: Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were Jewish*.

*You could, of course, substitute another non-Christian religion.


In Which I Fail At Christmas

So, in all the hubbub of present buying and wrapping and singing at
various gigs and masses and trying to clean my house and keep up
with all my regular grocery shopping/cooking responsibilities, I*
neglected to get a Christmas tree.

I was feeling pretty bad about this, but while getting ready for my
3rd mass of the day (just before midnight), I had a creative
epiphany, and devised a plan.

I would take the Christmas lights, create a tree-like shape with
them by taping part of the strand to the ceiling and part to the
floor, and we would have a tree of Christmas lights! I could
visualize it in my mind, and it was beautiful.

When I got home from mass (at 2:00 a.m.), I went down to the
basement and got the lights. I started building my beautiful Tree of
Lights. I had to use duct tape, which interfered with my creative
vision, and it kind of sagged inward more than I had anticipated,
but it evoked the idea of a Christmas tree, and that's what I was
hoping for. And there it was, more or less the tree I envisioned!
And it was only 3:00 a.m., it was still possible to get 5 hours of

I plugged the Tree of Lights in, so I could get the full visual
effect. The lights came on and they were good. And then, there was a
smoky *pop*, and every single light went out.

There was nothing to do but to just go to sleep. And as Loki said
the next morning, we spend 80% of our Christmas at other people's
houses anyway.


Snow and cold

But I'm inside and totally digging Raising Sand, the Robert Plant/Allison Kraus collaboration. It gets my recommendation.


Congratulations, Minstrel Boy!

Congratulations to Stevie Benson, aka The Minstrel Boy, on becoming the new Jeopardy champion last night. We were cheering for you!

My daughter wanted you to know that she guessed leopard seal about 5 seconds before you did. Also, she would like to order some truffles. How do we do that?


Favo(u)rite Actresses

I've been tagged by Hazel at Let's Fold Scarves. The meme is Twenty Favorite Actresses, and the rules are stated by Hazel as follows:

My first criterion is that the majority of the films made by the actresses are in English since I am not likely to have seen more than two or three of their films if they mainly star(red) in foreign language films. My second criterion follows from this and is that I must have seen more than four or more films with the actress in question. My third criterion is that I have to have watched any old nonsense in order to follow these actresses (examples of these in brackets)

I am amending rule three slightly by listing either any old nonsense or something I would not have watched if the actress in question was not in the cast. For example, I know The Mummy was a blockbuster movie. I didn't watch it until I had seen Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener, and then wanted to see more of her.

Hazel is organized and orderly and put hers in alphabetical order; I'm not, so they are just in the order I think of them.

Meryl Streep (Death Becomes Her)
Kathy Bates (Rat Race)
Rachel MacAdams (Wedding Crashers)
Bette Davis (Burnt Offerings)
Jane Fonda (Barbarella)
Betty Garrett (Words and Music)
Rosalind Russell (My Sister Eileen)
Kate Winslet (The Holiday)
Judy Garland (Andy Hardy Meets Debutante)
Emma Thompson (Impromptu)
Rachel Weisz (The Mummy)
Madeleine Kahn (City Heat)
Julie Walters (Personal Services)
Sissy Spacek ('night, Mother)
Eve Arden (Hit Parade of 1943)
Frances MacDormand (Somthing's Gotta Give)
Holly Hunter (Copycat)
Sigourney Weaver (Heartbreakers)
Shirley MacLaine (The Evening Star)
Juliette Binoche (Chocolate)

If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged.