Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gifted Garment Curse, Part Deux

Apparently, the garment curse holds true even if the item is nothing more than a simple Christmas stocking.

That shouldn't count. Seriously.

Who's in charge up there, anyway? Loki? Murphy? Coyote? I demand a re-roll.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

What a lovely Christmas it's been so far! Every year I gush at how much I love my family and spending time with them, and this year is no different. How did I get lucky enough to have been born to such a caring and wonderful family?

This year, we had our traditional meal: a tray of cold cuts, breads, and appetizers. Quick and easy, and we can get down to the serious business of unwrapping presents! We started at 6pm, ate and chatted til about 8, and then the marathon began. Everyone unwraps one at a time, so we can see what everyone got, see how they liked what we got them, and thank them personally for each one. It took us four hours. (We had to have an intermission at 9 to have dessert and stretch.)

Everything was sweet and thoughtful! I love all my gifts, and I'm delighted to report that my gifts to my family seem to have been well received, too!

My brother and I try to outdo each other every year, in a sort of unspoken competition. The winning gift, in my opinion, was his- this diabolical creation from my darling, demon-spawn brother. He tucked a gift certificate from my favorite yarn store (Babette's Yarn and Gifts) inside this clear plastic puzzle box. The certificate was taped in such a way that I could see the name of the store, but not the amount. You have to roll the ball around all six sides and get it plunked down in the right spot to slide the latch and open the box. He knows I love puzzles, and the easy solution (involving a good-sized hammer) is not an option for me, because I cannot, ever, allow a puzzle to beat me.

It's going to take me all year to figure out how to "repay" him for such thoughtfulness.

I love my family. =)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Which Serenity Character are you?

Your results:
You are Derrial Book (Shepherd)
Even though you are holy
you have a mysterious past.

Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)

Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)

Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)

Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)


Inara Serra (Companion)

Wash (Ship Pilot)

River (Stowaway)

Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)

A Reaver (Cannibal)


Click here to take the "Which Serenity character are you?" quiz...

I'm...holy? When did that happen?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Celebrating Freedom

Tissue alert... I cried when I read this, and can do nothing less than pass it on for others to read. The original story was posted in "A Soldier's Perspective" Blog, linked in the title of this one. Here is the full blog, including introduction and poem:

The following poem was sent to me by LCDR Jeff Giles, Al Taqqadum, Iraq. He asked me to do him "the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us."

Your wish is our command…

A Different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
He was huddled outside but near here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,

I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

The poem was written by Michael Marks.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jane Austen knows.

"The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have been already set forth by the capital pen of a sister author; --and to her treatment of the subject I will only add in justice to men, that though to the larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them too reasonable and too well-informed themselves to desire any thing more in woman than ignorance."

-Jane Austen, in Northanger Abbey

May I point out that the above is ONE sentence? I love this lady's writing. Jane Austen has to be one of the most brilliant authors the English language has ever known, next to Shakespeare. I love everything about these books: the sweet and intelligent heroines, the rich and handsome heroes, the gorgeous and meandering language, the wisdom wrapped in humor, and, especially, the subtle yet scathing insults which are oh-so-elegantly phrased as to appear a compliment no polite person would dare take offense to.

The flow of the language is musical in my head, and it's pure pleasure to read for that alone, even if the story were not engaging, which it is. The courtesy and manners of every character- even the villans- just makes me happy to imagine. In contrast, coming out from a Jane Austen novel to an email filled with "l8tr" "wut" and "lolz" makes my head hurt.

Perhaps what I love best, though, is the commentary she as an author shows in the narrations and through her characters. Such feminine perspective and insights attest to the fact that women have been making the same observations, suffering the same fools and putting up with the same masculine irritations for hundreds of years.

Viva la Austenians!