Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays"*

M & D's wreath

After a lot of drama on Friday baking five dozen cookies/cookie bars (not including the two batches of dough that I had to throw away), I headed to my parents for Christmas Eve/Christmas/Boxing Day. And it was a lovely time spent catching up with family, eating delicious meals, going to the movies (We Bought A Zoo - cute!), and sitting in front of the fire. I hope that yours was equally enjoyable. (Although, I think that I am getting a post-holiday illness: URGH! Hopefully a good night's sleep will stop it in its tracks.)

*I am rather partial to the Perry Como version of this holiday tune

Monday, December 19, 2011

NPR's Holiday Favorites

It isn't really Christmas until you listen to writer David Sedaris recount his experience as a Christmas Elf at Macy's. My favorite part? Where he sings "Away in a Manager" in the style of Billie Holiday. The first time I heard that, I was in the car and nearly swerved off the road.

"I Stand Outside this Woman's Work" *

There is nothing quite so wonderful as a wintery Sunday, visiting with friends,

sitting by a fire,
Roaring fire

snuggling with a baby.

A big shout out to PunkRockMom, CG, and the Niblet on the arrival of the Sprout!! Yay!

*lyrics by Kate Bush, This Woman's Work (one of PunkRockMom and my favorites!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Catch me when you Can Mishter Lusk."*

So I have been playing catch up with my DVR and just finished watching the first series of "Whitechapel", starring Rupert Penry-Jones, Phillip "Shake me up, Judy" Davis, Steve Pemberton, and Alex Jennings. Really enjoyed this first series and am about to start watching the second one, although the reviews I have read on line say that the second one isn't as good as the first.

I have always been drawn to the mystery of Jack the Ripper, although at the same time it scares me to death. There is something about the combination of the seedy underbelly of Victorian London and unsolved serial killings that just is so tantalizingly awful. What's not to love about a century year old conspiracy theory, especially one involving the Masons and the Royal Family, including Queen Victoria herself!?!

I have watching a number of Jack the Ripper films and read several books on the subject, although I had to stop reading Patricia Cornwall's Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed and actually physically remove the book from my house because it was creeping me out. Shiver. I really liked both the graphic novel From Hell and its film adaptation, but I can totally understand why author Alan Moore was upset by the film and chose to distance himself from it. (They are two very different things.) I really liked the original take on the Ripper "murders" that they took in "Whitechapel" and am looking forward to watching the second series.

*from the infamous Jack the Ripper "From Hell" letter

Monday, December 12, 2011

"On Christmas night all Christians sing To hear the news the angels bring"*

Image from Tom Smith website
If you are an Anglophile like me, you are probably already familiar with the British tradition of Christmas Crackers at this time of year.

The famous Aunties introduced our family to crackers about 15 years ago. (There are some hilarious photos of us in the crowns that year. Those photos will NOT be making an appearance here. You now know that they exist; that's enough.) We couldn't figure out that year how to make them "crack" properly. (What we didn't know was that you aren't supposed to pull the cracker apart on your own; we have since realized that you are supposed to do that with a partner.)

I had been buying crackers for holiday festivities at my apartment at the Christmas Tree Shops ("don't you just love a bargain?"), but the crackers I got there were filled with this confetti that, no matter how many times I swept or vacuumed, would still turn up months later. I was looking for something a little less confetti-y. I had read somewhere (Twitter, maybe?) that you can often get really nice quality crackers at TJMaxx. I stopped by the one in my neighborhood the other night after work and was simply delighted when I found some gorgeous Tom Smith crackers. (Tom Smith holds the Royal Warrant from the Queen and makes the royal family's crackers.) I got a box in silver and also got some with a holly pattern. (It was a dozen for $10, which I thought was a very reasonable price.) I am going to try to go back and get one more box to bring home to share with the family on Christmas day.

* Lyrics from The Sussex Carol

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Don't Leave Me Hanging on the Telephone"*

Image from Apple.com
I had been hemming and hawing for a while now about replacing my old cellphone and making a switch to either an iPhone or an Android. So after my old Motorola Krazr crashed three times during a work event after I purposefully charged it overnight, I finally gave my old phone the heave-ho and picked up an iPhone 4 this past weekend. It is black and shiny, and I got it a cute case with travel labels on it (London!).

I picked the 4 over the 4S because of the battery problems reported with the 4S; I have had enough of those for the foreseeable future! I went with AT&T because I could use it in Europe, for all the European traveling I do. ;-) Actually, I went with AT&T because our office tech support, who is hooked on all things Apple, recommended that. (And I was glad I went there because the salesman was really nice, knowledgeable, and helpful. Thanks, Mike, in Chestnut Hill!!) So far, things are going well with it! ::knock on wood:: If you think that there are an apps that I should add to my phone, please let me know!



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