Thursday, December 31, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Last Stand of 2009
1. What did you think of 2009?
I hadn't really given 2009 as a whole a lot of thought. I think like most years, it had it's ups and downs. Overall I think it was a good year, in the sense that my family is relatively happy and healthy.
Want to play? Be sure to link up your post at Saturday 9.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I also collect ornaments when we travel. It is always such a joy to unwrap those ornaments and reminisce about those family vacations. There are other ornaments on our tree as well. There's the ornament I made in catechism in 2nd grade out of beads and glitter that were put into a muffin tin and melted. I love that ornament!
And the Christmas ball given to me by my mom that has a Christmas scene on it and says "To a Special Daughter, 1980". There are ornaments from dear friends that I left behind in AZ when I moved and handmade pasta angels that were given to me by my dear friend Margaret.
And then there are ornaments that speak to my soul.
Every year when I see those ornaments again I am reminded of our family's history. Where we've been, what we mean to each other, the milestones in each of our lives and how we've built this family together. It may seem silly, but I believe that our ornaments tell our story in a very tangible way. They are among my most valued possessions. Silly or not, they mean the world to me.
Oh and just for fun, here's a few pictures of what I woke up to this morning. These were take from the garage, there was no way I could even contemplate wading through all that snow to get a picture of my house from the street. Maybe after the snow plow comes. There isn't much I like better than a snowed in Sunday! I've been looking forward to today since they began predicting the "big snow" on Friday!
This is a picture of our side door from the garage. As you can see, we can not even open the door! YAY!
Here's Katie's car. Look how high the snow is on the tires.
What a guy!
The pine trees on the side of my house. Don't they look glorious! I love winter!
Friday, December 18, 2009
I really like the idea behind this meme, for a couple of reasons. First it allows me to give my opinion of a book that didn't resonate with me without having to write a full blown review. I'm not interested in writing lengthy reviews of books I didn't like, especially if I didn't finish them. Secondly, for those of you who look at my Goodreads widget and notice what I'm reading and what books I've given low star ratings to, now you'll have a way to know if I read the whole book and didn't like it or if I abandoned it early on because it didn't appeal to me. And thirdly, it serves as a way for others to have a realistic gauge of my Books Read This Year widget, because I include all books there, even those that I didn't finish .
Recently, I've been in a real book slump. It seems as though nearly every book I pick up, I abandon early on. This is a bit unusual for me. The idea behind this meme is to update your unfinished books every week, but since the meme is new I'm going to update for the last two months - especially in the light of the fact that my books have been dropping like flies recently.
So far in December I've given up on two books:
The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault - A mystery that takes place in the offices of a dictionary publisher. Two lexicographer's find clues to a mystery hidden in the citation files for new words. It sounded intriguing and it was mildly interesting. I got about half way through this one and I might have finished it, but a book I was anxious to read finally came in at the library.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery - I've seen this book come up on numerous lists and decided to give it a try. It takes place in France, which was interesting and it involves two quirky characters who live in the same apartment building. One a middle aged concierge the other an intelligent and sensitive 12 year old girl. I gave up on this one because the writing was so pretentious I couldn't stomach it. Yuck!
In November, I gave up on:
Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan - The latest Oprah book. I don't usually pay attention to Oprah picks, but this one sounded promising. I liked the idea of stories of hardship and poverty as told through the eyes of children. Depressing, I know. But a child's perspective could be enlightening (think Slumdog Millionaire). Anyway, it wasn't what I was expecting. The stories did not move me in any way. I kept waiting for one to be over so I could see if the next one was better. I finally gave up after 2 or 3.
A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary by Anonymous (actually Marta Hillers) - This book was originally published anonymously and was the diary kept by a female German journalist (Hillers) during WWII. It chronicles the living conditions, sights and sounds of Berlin in the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion. I found it terribly repetitive and uninspired as a "story".
And just because I'm completely anal, here is the list of the other books I started and left unfinished so far in 2009:
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Gone Tomorrow by P.F. Kluge
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
So do you have a book you haven't finished that you'd like to tell us about? You can leave a comment here and also at The Boston Bibliophile.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
My involvement began in 2001, when we moved back to RI. I started out as a volunteer during Distribution Week - the whirlwind week when all the donors deliver the gifts they've so generously bought and also when the recipients come to pick up their gifts. Like all first time volunteers, I was awed by the sheer number of bags of gifts that are donated.
Oh, I can't forget Santa's Workshop. The AAF board members also shop the after Christmas sales and stock up on toys and clothes just in case they don't have enough donors and need to complete what they refer to as "in house adoptions". This year, not surprisingly, there were fewer donors and more recipients. So, the AAF elves were hard at work putting together donations for over 300 children (Sandy, please correct me if I've got the numbers wrong). It's a wonder to behold.
This year gifts were donated for 2,310 children in 1,118 families!!! That's about 100 classrooms full of children! But beyond that, the Type A part of my personality was impressed with the simple, yet effective procedure that makes the whole process run smoothly. AAF is a well oiled machine!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
But, how would I feel if someone greeted me with Happy Hanukkah? Would I be offended? No, I don't think I would be. I think I would pause for a moment and wish them a Happy Hanukkah as well. Why not? I certainly do wish people of all faiths a happy holiday - whatever it might be. And if someone chooses to bestow upon me a cheerful greeting, I accept it with the goodwill with which it was given. Kindness deserves kindness. Look at it this way. If someone wished me a Happy St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day or Flag Day - would I get upset if I'm not Irish, their sweetheart or particularly patriotic? No, of course not. So why should anyone care if they are wished a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Ramadan or Season's Greetings. It makes no sense to me. My philosophy is to be grateful for the good wishes and cheer and move on.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I would give The Whistling Season 4 stars - I really liked it.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
On Tuesday I was invited by my college friend, Kristen, to attend a private tour of the Museum of Fine Arts. The tour was being led by an artist and teacher who would give us an insider's look into the museum building itself and would highlight some of the museum's more famous works. How could I say no? Even if it did mean driving into the heart of
The tour was totally worth getting lost. Our guide knew a lot about the history of the museum and the different collections. He showed us a wide variety of artwork - from sculpture, to ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek artifacts to John Singer Sargent murals and paintings. But my favorite moment came when we were looking at a famous Sargent painting, Daughters of Edward Darley Boit.
I was not familiar with this painting (even though it is apparently quite famous). As the guide was talking about the unusual composition of the painting he compared it to another famous painting by the Spanish painter, Velazquez. He couldn't recall the name of the painting and was describing it and gesturing to explain the skirt of the young girl in the painting while searching for the name.
I nearly jumped out of my seat, because I knew exactly what painting he was referring to! I had seen it in Madrid with our friends, Amy and Roberto, this past summer. Roberto had proudly shown us this painting and explained its composition to us. I immediately called out Las Meninas (I'm pretty sure I mangled the Spanish pronunciation, but he knew what I was talking about). This was such a great moment for me. It felt so good to be able to connect those dots in that moment. I love when that happens. Of course, my bubble was burst when I left the museum and was trapped in a labyrinth of one of streets and was seriously worried that I would never find my way out of Boston. Maybe I need to give the GPS another try. Ugh!