Friday Bullets

  • I like doing entries bullet-style
  • My stuffy nose is clearing up, thankfully. I have a bunch of wines I need to taste over the next few days, so I’m glad I’ll be able to smell again.
  • Jake suddenly has all these girls giving him things at school: stickers, shells, pictures they’ve colored, books they’ve made… He is such a ladies’ man.
  • He is really into making books these days, especially counting books and books about food.
  • Noah is way into Moon Sand (it used to be one of those as seen on tv products, but you can get it everywhere now, it seems), coloring, Legos, and Playmobil.
  • He also knows most of his colors too. Except he says “chocolate” instead of “brown.” That makes me laugh.
  • I wish my Christmas cards were done.
  • I have absolutely no idea what to make for dinner.

Oliver Kita Chocolates

Oliver Kita Chocolates
Last week I finally had the chance to visit Oliver Kita Chocolates in Rhinebeck, NY. I think he just might make the most beautiful chocolates I’ve ever seen. It’s a toss up between his work and the chocolatier from Chocolate Springs in Lenox, MA. Oliver is fantastic to talk to and clearly loves his work. I didn’t even know the shop was there until this summer (though he’s been open for a year). They’re almost too gorgeous to eat, but they really are irresistable.

Big, Important Day!

Not for me though. Today is my parents’ 33rd wedding anniversary! They were only 22 when they got married, can you believe that? Babies!!! LOL 🙂 Anyway, I hope they have a wonderful day today. Love you guys! Today is also a big day for my dad — he’s taking early retirement and today is his last day. He’s been looking forward to this, and it’s hard to believe that today is finally the day. I’m sure he’ll have no trouble keeping busy, between my mom’s projects and my husband’s ideas for large-scale magic tricks. I hope you have a great last day, Dad (yeah, I know you’re reading!). xoxo –

Ho Ho Ho

Truthfully I’m not really into the whole Christmas thing just yet, but I’m a little bored, and I’m sure I’d end up doing this eventually, so…

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags! They’re much less trouble, they’re faster to open, and they’re reusable. I think that between me, my family, and Drew’s family, we still have some of the same bags going back and forth that were new maybe six or seven years ago. I feel tremendous guilt on Christmas morning when there’s that big bag of wrapping paper to throw away. I hate it. We use gift bags whenever possible and only use wrapping paper for the really big stuff.

2. Real tree or artificial? Fake. Again, it’s a lot easier. You put it up when you want, you take it down when you want, no watering, and no needles to clean up. Plus, a decent one will last a pretty long time.

3. When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down? Whenever we get around to it? Most of the time I am ready for it all to come down on December 26th, but usually we leave it up until New Year’s and take it down then or the weekend after. I am always so happy to reclaim the open space in my house.

5. Do you like eggnog? Does a bear shit in the woods? You bet I like eggnog! Throw some Maker’s Mark in there and you have one tasty way to get through the holidays.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Impossible to pick just one. The big three that stand out are my Barbie Townhouse, my ice skates with the green pom-poms, and the drafting table my dad made for me.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? We have quite possibly the most fun Nativity scene ever: made by Playmobil.

8. Hardest person to buy for? I can usually find something for anyone, mostly because I am a big fan of restaurant gift certificates. Who doesn’t like to eat?

9. Easiest person to buy for? The boys. Though if I had unlimited funds, my brother would be easy to buy for too. I know he’d love a new TV and one of those plasma tv stands. Drew is usually easy too. He’s always happy with movies or some kind of electronic gadget. Or magic tricks (seriously — you didn’t know that my husband is a musician AND a magician did you?)

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I can’t really think of anything, so I must have blocked it out.

11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? Nat’l Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? We shop sales during the year for the boys. Everyone else? I start thinking about them in October, and then get really serious the day after Thanksgiving.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Pierogis, kielbasa, cabbage soup — growing up we did the whole big Polish dinner which was just so delicious. Of course, with my husband’s family not being Polish in the least we don’t do Wiglia, but if I’m lucky my parents still bring down some pierogis (the cabbages ones are my favorite!). I also love the spinach-gruyere strata that has become a fixture at my Christmas brunch. Lisanne gave me the recipe (she got it from a class she took at the CIA), and it is a huge hit with everyone.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear

7. Favorite Christmas song? “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (though it makes me cry every single time), “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron,” “Come All Ye Faithful,” and plenty more

18. Travel for Christmas or stay at home? We stay home!!! When Jake was two we decided that we didn’t want to tear our kids away from playing with all their new toys, but anyone and everyone is welcome to come to our house. We always have plenty of food, and I assure you there is never a dull moment. We’ll travel for Thanksgiving, but Christmas is ours.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Yes.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star. See?

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? A little from column A, a little from column B.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? How people suddenly forget a) how to drive and b) how to act.

23. What I love most about Christmas? I love the quiet on Christmas Eve after everyone has gone to bed, and I love the utter chaos of laughter and chatter and clinking glasses and paper and everything else the comes along with Christmas Day. And then I love collapsing with a glass of wine when everyone’s gone home and everything’s still a mess and looking at the tree and thinking about how lucky I am to have such an insane and wonderful group of family and friends.

Rainy Thursday

Oh, is that title inspiring or what? I can’t believe it’s already 1:30. I’ve been absolutely swamped today. I’ve had delivery after delivery, plus I’ve been trying to write my wine blog entry (finally finished that). I had intended to try to get ahead today, but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen. I got to try a new brand of Irish Cream around noon, too — yeah, it’s hard work but someone has to do it, you know?

Of course, I’ve also found time to screw around a bit. One of my friends has decided to make a little Red Sox City, so I’ve amused myself with that. (And you really should click here so he can increase the population of Soxville and beat his boss 😉 ) And obviously I switched my blog theme, too. I figured this was was wintery enough in an abstract kind of way.

I’m feeling totally overwhelmed for some reason today. I have all these things that I have to do swirling around in my head. Maybe I should just make a freaking list. Oh! Exciting: come February-ish I’ll be seeing my name in print again. I was contacted about contributing an article to a Boston-based wine magazine. Nothing has been finalized so I don’t want to say too much, but it looks good and I am really excited to be part of that.

More Annoying TV

Drew and I have been seriously considering getting rid of satellite TV and just not having any kind of cable service. Most of the time the boys watch movies or videos, and I can always watch episodes of “The Office” online, which I usually do anyway. I am so sick of all the junk on there! This morning I was reading about a new show that is going to be on VH1 called “Celebrity Rehab.” Why??? What is the point of giving celebs who are already neck-deep in substance abuse problems even more publicity. According to Fox News, Dr. Drew (not my Drew — the host of the show) says: “The goal here is to really pull back the curtain on what treatment is. The issue of celebrities going into drug treatment is something that’s in the press every day. Drug treatment is not something that’s easily described in a sentence. You have to literally watch eight episodes to understand the arc of how somebody is treated.”

Of course! You have to literally watch eight episodes of our crappy, exploitive program to get it. I’m sorry, I think it’s wrong. I can’t imagine anyone who is going through addiction treatment wanting it made totally public. But maybe these celebrities are so desperate for attention they’ll take what they can get and that is sad in and of itself. I don’t know. I am beginning to think I am really out of the loop when it comes to popular entertainment these days. [Quietly turns on NPR.]

The State of the Kiddo

Well, everyone else is writing about their children’s parent-teacher conferences so I guess I might as well too. We had our chat yesterday and everything is well and good. Jake is highly competent in all the basic skills they reviewed. She said he is a very bright boy and just is still having trouble focussing and following directions. He’s one of the younger kids in his class, so hopefully those skills will catch up by mid-year. There are some things we need to work on with him (mostly related to focussing and not rushing through projects), but academically he is doing just fine.

As annoying as it is to hear that your kid is easily distracted in a large group, it’s something he’s going to need to learn how to do in order to deal with life in this world, you know? To me, these social lessons are just as important as academics. I have dealt with far too many socially inept individuals in both professional and personal settings, so I’m really glad that we have good communication with his teacher and we’re working together to get Jake on the right track.

Someone Put Her Away

Yesterday Drew was telling me that he read that now Britney Spears want to adopt two Chinese (I think) children. She can’t take care of her own two, but yeah… adoption is in the stars for her. Somehow I doubt this will happen (I sure hope it won’t, at least). The girl needs to be put into a a drug rehab program and sort out her own problems before making more problems for innocent children.

Scrunchable Scarf

Scrunchable Scarf

By now I think most of you have probably seen this scarf on Flickr, but I’m going to blog about it anyway. This is the Sheep Shop yarn I bought back in May. Originally I had purchased the yarn intending to knit the ubiquitous My So-Called Scarf. I started a scarf over the summer using that pattern and I didn’t like it but I thought I’d try again. And so I did. And again I hated it, so I ripped it back and looked for a new pattern. I found the Scrunchable Scarf pattern and knitted a swatch, but wasn’t in love with it. Still, I couldn’t find anything else I liked so I thought I’d start knitting it and if worse came to worse, I rip it back yet again. Luckily, I absolutely loved it. The pattern moved so quickly that before I knew it, I was at the end of my second ball of yarn. The result is a very cozy scarf. The wool doesn’t itch in the least — I think it’s even nicer than Manos and would buy Sheep Shop yarn again without hesitation. Plus, the colors are just gorgeous. Now I’m knitting my second Scrunchable Scarf. This one is for Jake, though, so the yarn isn’t quite as nice because he has a habit of losing hats, mittens, and scarves, or else leaving them somewhere. Great pattern, though!

Let There Be Light

My parents have offered to buy us new table lamps for Christmas, and I am so excited about this! The lamps in our living room are actually the lamps my mom got for her bridal shower… in 1974. It’s magical what new shades can do, though. People rarely believe they are that dated, and I actually still like them quite a bit. However, it will be great to upgrade. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find table lamps that are not completely ugly. I’ve looked at all the major department stores, cruised sites that sell all kinds of light fixtures, and I’m coming up blank. I would say that our style is mishmash of American traditional/French country/Contemporary country (that is – no cows, pigs, bears — none of the cutesy stuff, but plenty of antique decor). If you have any suggestions as to where I can look, please help me out!