Reason I’m going to hell #194,026,837…

This morning at the gym this odd commercial came on, where, basically, somewhere in rural Africa this katamari formed and began rolling, picking up people, trees, houses, livestock, etc.

And I thought, Huh… an African edition of Katamari Damacy. Weird… but cool that there’s a new one coming out…”

‘Cept it turned out to be a commercial for a charity about preventing the spread of AIDS in Africa.

Oh. Right.

Retrospective meme

Got time on my hands, got tea, feeling pensive. And so, we steal from Sherry…

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?

Started living alone. Procured my own pet. Put up my own Christmas tree.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t really make them. Got some plans for this coming year. We’ll see how it goes.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Everyone? 🙂 My brother and his girlfriend: one niece, a couple friends (so far), former co-workers, my cousin…

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Angela and I weren’t close, but it still knocked me for a loop. No family this year.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just my own. Planning to rectify that in 2008.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?

A job I love. A dog (not likely). A smaller size of jeans that fit.

7. What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory?

August 20th.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Moving in with myself and liking it. Buying my first new car (with my Philly lawyer, of course).

9. What was your biggest failure?

Keeping my job? 🙂 Tried dating briefly. Convinced me I certainly don’t want to be doing THAT.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Having a new car rocks. So does having furnishings, which enable one to entertain.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

My brother and his girlfriend. Violet and Coffee.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Anything/one to do with American politics, for the most part.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Car and furniture.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Cadence. Getting re-employed.

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2007?

Daughtry, Kanye?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

1. happier or sadder? Not sadder, but there’s no high following a very long and deep low this year.
2. thinner or fatter? About the same?
3. richer or poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Travel, write, get exercise, find a new job on my own terms.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Been unemployed, waste money, date.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

I hosted my family Christmas. It was good stuff.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

I don’t spend much time on the phone. Mom, maybe? Overall, work people.

22. Did you fall in love in 2007?

Yes and no.

23. How many one night stands in this last year?

None. Not my style, really.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

Hmm. Doctor Who, Torchwood, House, Bones…

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don’t think so.

26. What was the best book(s) you read?

I read a number of good ones. The pirate one, King John of Canada, Lullabies for Little Criminals, all the Christopher Moore, more Jasper Fforde…

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

That sometimes I like opera?

28. What did you want and get?

A pet. A new car. A couch. A job.

29. What did you want and not get?

A dog. A job I loved. Fitness.

30. What were your favourite films of this year?

Took myself to see Juno this afternoon. It definitely ranks.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

32. We re-scheduled dinner because Andrew and I were sick at the time. Had some pho and got my Angel doll… There was other stuff that I can’t remember right now.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Writing a book. Looking forward to going to work every day.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

Get by. Didn’t buy much, didn’t get too fancy. Spent the summer not working, so there were a lot of cargos and t-shirts.

34. What kept you sane?

My network. Sherry and Andrew. Anal retentive organization.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Chris Daughtry, for a while at least.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

I disagree with pretty much everything the American government gets up to. Not a fan of Harper’s, either.

37. Who did you miss?

Andrew. The guys I used to work with.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Trying to think of who I all met. Rose and Kate, certainly. Prolly a few other invisible internet peoples.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.

This, too, shall pass.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

Your eyes are closed, like you truly believe
You’re safe and sound with me


It’s a clear, cold, lovely day outside, and overnight Mother Nature saw fit to jazz the place up a bit. There are these wee, sparkly frosticles on the flora. Very cool. Though I had to be careful not to breathe on anything as I was trying to take pictures.

frost on branches and berries

frost twigs and berries

frost on shrubs

frost on twig

So this was Christmas…

I have a fridge full of leftovers, a counter full of dishes, a cup of tea, and a comatose cat.

Great success. 🙂

Let’s see… Grandparents with a big, fancy camera… Parents with a new, fancy camera… Baby’s first Christmas… Yeah, there were one or two photos.

Here we are conversing during the 12.6 seconds that Grandma was not holding the baby today.

Cadence and Melle

Ok, I’m conversing. She’s gumming her dress and laughing at me. What can you do?

Here are the people who brought the baby to family Christmas. With the baby, of course. And the sweatshirt from Grandma. (“I’m so cute I must be Irish”. Both Mom and Grandma cling very tenaciously to their Irish heritage.)

Chad, Cadence and Patience with sweatshirt

Four months old is, perhaps, a bit young to understand the logistics of present-opening. But we will concentrate very hard (and get some help from Mom and Dad), and will be triumphant.

Chad and Cadence opening a present

Of course, if it’s a stubborn present we can always use our laser beam eyes!

Chad and Patience helping Cadence open a present

This cracks me up because my brother is not the biggest fan of cats, and Anatole looks like Chad is the love of his life. Heh.

Patience and Chad with Anatole

And this has been the cat for the last couple/few hours. The baby wasn’t the only one who was out of routine today…

Anatole asleep

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Key learnings from the Christmas tree

  1. Anal retentive people shouldn’t be in charge of arranging the branches, especially when the tree has been in a box for many years and every branch is squashed.
  2. Trimming a tree by yourself is kinda depressing. Even spraying the cat with the water bottle when he got too curious wasn’t as fun as usual. Christmas trees are definitely a family thing. Especially when they’re silver foil with purple and blue lights. 🙂
  3. Putting up your own Christmas tree feels weirdly grown up. You decide on the location, the colour scheme, the style and quantity of ornaments…
  4. Buying Christmas-themed serviettes (napkins for the Merkans) just makes you feel like old people. (But hey, they go with the damask table cloth I bought…)
  5. I now understand why people would leave their trees up well into January. It’s an annoying amount of work. (I still don’t agree with putting the tree up at the end of November, or even early December.)
  6. All ornaments on trees in households with cats should be plastic or metal. Unless the cat is 1000 years old.
  7. Snow in a can is forever.
  8. Free tree and mostly free ornaments is a good thing. If I had my druthers my tree, lights, and ornaments would probably have cost me about $500. Tree snob! Who knew Alfred Sung had his own line of ornaments? Pretty.
  9. I never got the bulldog fairy or disco ball ornaments back from Chris when I moved. *sigh*
  10. How the hell did people not burn down their houses back when they used real trees with candles in them? I had (inherited) strings of lights that had circuits that were a bit wonky and which got kinda warm, and I wasn’t even comfortable leaving them on in a fake tree. (So I bought lovely white LED lights.)

Hi Deb.

So I’m sitting in a kitchen amid mountains of crumbs and dishes and baked goods. I have a half-decorated tree in the living room and a bag with a two-thirds completed sockmonkey in it. I hope to nap shortly.

Thing is, compared to Violet and Coffee’s house, this place is comatose. And my tree is boring green. 🙂

You didn’t seem to be around quite as much this year — fewer dead celebs and moments of glorious Schadenfreude. Granted, there is that whole Britney thing…

You’ll help Violet and Coffee raise good kids. Heh, you’re one of the few people who wouldn’t have been phased by Three Boys (insert appropriate number of question marks and exclamation points). There are only a few things that are really important, you know? The rest — enh. Nothin’ wrong with being Those People from time to time. I think about your son sometimes. I worry about him. But I also know I can’t help him. I’m sorry.

Babies everywhere this year. Most of whom got blamed on me. Guess you’re lucky you’re out of my reach, huh? I like my niece. More than I expected to. I certainly does make a difference when they’re “yours”. Might need your help from time to time with her, too. My brother and his girlfriend are a bit status quo for my taste. You’ll be happy to know she looks best in purple.

I’m okay these days. None of the abyss of down of two years ago, or the euphoric up of last year. It always gets better eventually, you know?

Say hi to Angela for me. Hope you’re keeping an eye on her for now. Though she never was one to need someone else looking after her. As deaths go, what is it with us WNET girls? Can’t anyone die well or peacefully or at a really, really old age? I don’t know how to process this brutality and unfairness.

I guess that’s the lesson, though, too, isn’t it? There are only a few things that are really important — whether you’re raising kids or living your own life’s adventure. Cuz who knows how long the ride’s gonna be?

And yes, just for you I promise to flash my boobs at Violet the next time I see her. 😉