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Showing posts from December, 2009

My Very Eclectic Most Useful and Best of the Web 2009 (with initial caps)

I see some well-known online magazine sorts of blogs/sites have put up their annual lists of best/most popular bloggers and I see it is the same old names as always, ho hum. I'm put in mind of high school where every year we held voting for Most This and Best That and Miss This and Mr That. Some of the Mosts and Bests were people I liked, and believed should get recognition, but, of course, they weren't all of it. Anyway, I've got authority issues and never take well to The Man (whoever or whatever that may be) telling me who is Most or Best. I always spy on my friends on Twitter, Facebook, or their blogs to see who they quote, link or read. That's who I figure is a good shot at being a most or best for me.
Yes, I'm that person -- the one who is influenced by her friends, versus another source.
Also, I have a broad range of online interests. Web love is a many genre'd thing.
Anyway, I decided to put out my own recs, and solicit yours, in no particular order (hence…

Care package for troops -- our holiday tradition

Every year since the war began, I've sent care packages to troops. They've been getting bigger each year. Seems like the longer people are fighting, the longer they are away from their families...the more I need to do in support of them.
This year, I started thinking about a friend and how her husband was re-deployed, again. I wondered about these families that have to say hello and goodbye so often -- although she and so many others are so wonderfully eloquent and open about it that there is little actual wondering involved, other than "what would I do?"
My friend's husband got leave to come home for the holidays -- yea! -- but he left behind other members of his unit. So I said, "What can I do?"
Her husband asked his unit members, they generously shared their names and APO address, and I thought, "Who else can help?"
That's when I turned to my SeaWorld WildSide buddies. They all signed up to help without hesitation. One friend had her child&…

Don't look now

They say you aren't supposed to offer instructions with Don't in front. "Don't look down!" And you instantly look down because your brain is completely focused on the looking down part and the why not to do it part. They say you are supposed to say what to do instead. "Look up!" is supposed to be a lot more successful. But we keep saying "Don't look down."

Daphne du Maurier had that in mind when she wrote her creepy short story, "Don't Look Now." That story is what I call a train wreck tale: you can't look away. The movie, even more so. Does anyone remember that movie? 1973? Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as a young, grief-stricken couple who encounter psychics, ghosts, and serial killers in Venice? du Maurier could do Gothic. And creepy. It's kind of everyone's worst general fears all in one tale.

Isn't the creepiest thing of all when you watch a person in an everyday thing -- something you might do? -- a…

How the holidays fill me with loads of hope

I am part of a special holiday Blog Carnival hosted on Blog Nosh Magazine and this post was sponsored by the Tide Loads of Hope program.

I was standing outside my house, directly under my children’s bedroom window, in what passes for cold in Bay Area Houston. In my hands I balanced a big boom box, Say Anything style, except it wasn’t blasting music. It was blasting the sound of reindeer hooves on a roof, including snorts, and the jingling bells of their harnesses.

That’s when I knew it.

No, not that I had lost my mind; I knew that I had finally gotten my holiday groove back.

I knew that come what storms may, we could weather them, and when you have a chance to stand outside in what passes for cold blasting sleigh bells on a boom box to bring a little magic to kids, your kids, who still believe in, well, the everything sort of possibilities…you go for it, big.

This marked a huge change.

I’ve spent my life trying to find my footing during the holidays. My family had the general traditions – …

Someone's in the kitchen with...KIDS! And it's called Kinderkitchen by Kuhn Rikon

I am a frequent customer of my local caterer, which offers really economic home-cooked meals. You buy, bring home, and eat. Yum. And easy.
I used to like to cook, bake especially, and my true gift is as a saucier. I can also whip up amazing things with just what's in the fridge.
People used to fly up to Boston just to eat the seafood I made. Well probably also see the sights and maybe visit me, but seriously, they requested to eat in, specifically asking for my crab cakes, shrimp, and Scrod.
I can't explain how I morphed into a noncook. It's maybe the Unappreciative Audience (aka The Kids). It could also be the exhaustion. The other demands. But mostly, I think, it's the kids.
I do know that they'll eat food other people make. My kids, for example, turn their noses up at my homemade stew (and it's good, honestly, it is) but will eat it at a friend's house. They'll eschew my fish, but will chow down at Joe's Crab Shack. They'll savor the caterer'…

Bitten tongue

I, as you may have gathered, like to use my words. I try (like hades) to use them wisely and for good. But I am a woman of opinion, prejudice, judgment, and some immaturity as we all are and so sometimes my mouth, it does run away. Less these days than in the past, I hope. Although I do seem to talk a lot, still.

However, recently I've been learning how very much I say about the things that often matter little to me.
I have always kept up an artful show, a stream of lies and excuses -- a habit, a defense I developed long ago to protect myself, which, in turn, protected others around me too, for better or worse.
One time, in middle school, I pretended I didn't know how to clean anything. More specifically, I pretended I didn't know how to sweep. This from the girl who'd been sweeping and mopping for years, among many, many other responsibilities. I'm all for chores, but there's a distinction between responsibility and burdening. But at camp that summer, I wanted t…