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from Zoot and Sarah and others…

December 30th, 2011

King Woogie takes a nap
(photo by Steve Rawley)

thanks for the writing prompt, y’all.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? Started working out every day.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I always pledge to get more writing done, and this year I did.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My girlfriend C! She had a little girl. Happy mama of four now. And K’s mommy had a little boy. Sweet babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes.

5. What countries did you visit? USA and that’s it. Would like to travel to Canada next year and check out Butchart Gardens.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? World peace. Again.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Hmmm — the kids’ birthdays, probably. And Steve’s and mine, too.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting my first novel published. Also I quit drinking. Christmas Eve made eight months for me. It feels really good, and we’re saving a load of money, too.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not going there.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No, knock wood.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Food.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My kids’. They make me proud every day.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? People who are in charge who should not be.

14. Where did most of your money go? House and food and utility bills. And gas.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Planting our first garden at the new house.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011? Probably “Forget You,” by Cee Lo Green.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier, for sure.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner.
c) richer or poorer? More content, that’s all I care about.

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

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

20. How did you spend Christmas? At home. It was peaceful and good, and we had good food to eat (in spite of a broken stove). For New Year’s Eve, we told the kids to invite their friends over for a kids-only party. Should be lively.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011? Man, I fall in love with Steve all over again every day. Thank God, cuz otherwise we’d throttle each other.

22. What were your favorite TV programs? Revenge, New Girl, Raising Hope, Glee

23. What was the best book you read? Whatever one I’m reading right now. Today, it’s Ruth Reichl’s memoir, “Garlic and Sapphires.” Funny and wicked.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery? Pop music! The kids have established full and complete musical domination over us.

25. What did you want and get? Love and time with Steve and the kids.

26. What did you want and not get? For all of my friends (and for me, too) to get (and keep) jobs. Also for everyone to stay healthy and for no one to die.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? The final Harry Potter.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 47. My family made me homemade ravioli and cake poppers, it was awesome. We celebrated at home, and we celebrated after the fact, but for some reason, this just made it more special. Awww…

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If it had worked out at my last job. But it didn’t. Next!

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Work-out attire, 101.

31. What kept you sane? Walking on my treadmill daily, doing yoga, meditating.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Occupy protesters.

33. What political issue stirred you the most? Occupy and everything they’re doing to give our country a shove in the right direction.

34. Who did you miss? (Same answer as Zoot’s) As always: My Dad. My friend Frank. And, for our entire community cuz we’re all missing him, Rob. Frank and Rob’s families are in my thoughts daily.

35. Who was the best new person you met? My friend A, who I hope to spend more time with in 2012.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Drinking makes you depressed. Who knew? hahaha.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year you can’t get out of your head.

“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you’d better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet.”

Cheerful, no? Music is a sign of the times, that’s all.

Happy Year of the Dragon, everyone.

– wm

i interrupt this dream to bring you a dream

December 29th, 2011

Winter glow

(photo by Steve Rawley)

i had a dream last night that we left the suburbs (where, oddly, it takes me five minutes to walk to the woods. even tho it’s the suburbs — i can walk up the hill, down the hill, or up the *other* hill and find… woods. #myneighborhoodhasdeer). where was i? we moved back to our old neighborhood and everyone and their chickens were happy to see us. that’s how i knew it was a dream. hahahahahaha…

seriously.

they were all, Don’t let the door hit yer ass on the way out. Sort of like when i left Thee Oregonian.

our last day in the old house (for reals, this wasn’t in the dream, it happened), Steve and I were making a final check and there were two of the neighbors — neighbors I had known well. Who we had had over for meals. Whose parties we had gone to. Hell, we even threw some parties together! there they were, staring at us from across the street. just having a little hen party and being weird. was it raining, or did it just feel like it? It was raining. No waves, no coming over to say goodbye, just the hard cold stares. I finally waved, and yelled, Guess we’re not going out for that drink you were talking about, after all! (steve: be nice. me: i cannot.) they were not friends, turns out. just asshole neighbors. our real friends from the old neighborhood we still see.

we’ve met some nice people out in our new neighborhood — neighbors, friends, co-workers, parents from the school where I was assigned last year, parents from my kids’ schools. we’ve settled in, it feels good.

seriously. i woke up this morning from that dream in a cold sweat.

QOTD: Rumi

December 26th, 2011

Freezing Fog

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

“Keep your intelligence white-hot
and your grief glistening,
so your life will stay fresh.
Cry easily like a little child.”

– Rumi

Thursday Thirteen, Ed.#69: A Christmas Celebration, In Thirteen Parts

December 24th, 2011

Our Sorrowful Mother

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

(this originally ran Nov. 30, 2006. happy reading :) wm)

And now, for the Thursday Thirteen you’ve been waiting for: A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION, IN THIRTEEN PARTS:

1. Mom and I decide to take the kids to the Grotto, the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, for the 18th annual Festival of Lights. Petting zoo! Puppet show! Strolling carolers and people dressed like olden times, who ask you, “Do you know the way to Bethlehem?” (No, I don’t. But if you figure it out will you take me?)

2. I tell Mom I’ll buy her dinner first, c’mon, it’ll be fun. She is game. She tells me she’s never been to the upper level of the Grotto. I am floored by this. “IT IS SO COOL UP THERE!” I tell her. The kids: “CAN WE SEE IT? NOW, CAN WE? CAN WE TAKE THE ELEVATOR?” Me: “No, it’s dark. And there are cliffs. But next summer!” Also, I forget to bring donations for the food drive. Mom brought some stuff from her cupboard. And she insisted on buying us dinner. Wouldn’t let me pay for tickets to the festival, either. Moms are like this.

3. Both kids, shouting: “LOOK AT ALL THOSE LIGHTS! AND THE ANGELS, LIT UP! THERE ARE PEOPLE SINGING!” Followed by, “What are all those candles for?”

4. We go to the petting zoo, at Wacky Boy’s request. The volunteer gives us warnings: Don’t let the goats grab the whole ice cream cone full of feed out of our hands. Spin around if they try to. And around and around and around. Don’t give any to the alpaca. Or the horse. Or the rabbits. I lose track of all the instructions. We spin and spin. We are mauled by goats, anyway.

5. Wacky Girl: “HEY! I do remember this place!” (Good, since it’s the seventh time she’s been.) She and mom head off for the puppet show. She is the only one to call out the answer when the puppeteer asks the audience: “What does Feliz Navidad mean?” She is proud of this. She and Mom like the puppet show. Mom is wearing a cute hat, and her warm jacket. It’s not raining. Or snowing.

(more…)

singin’ and dancin’ their way into Christmas

December 23rd, 2011

happy xmas from Terry Gilliam

December 22nd, 2011

Suzanne’s Candy Cane Cookies

December 22nd, 2011

Penguinos

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

another re-run… this one from Dec. 15, 2008.

happy winter, y’all.

wm

We had a snow day today — I got some Christmas cards made out, and went through some of the files, aka The Large Stacks of Paperwork Piled on the Dining Room Table. Yikes.

We made the Rainbow Walnut Cookies last night, without the candied ginger, fruit or nuts. They turned out great. “These are the best cookies you’ve ever made,” I was told by all three members of my family. High praise. Steve did homemade Phad Thai for us for dinner; for lunch we had a white bean and corn soup, with sliced jalapenos, onions, garlic and vegetable broth. So good and easy, too. The kids? Still in love with TV dinner ravioli and mac and cheese out of a box. Ah, what’s a mom to do? If they get sick of peanut butter sandwiches and pizza we’re really going to be in trouble.

No word yet on snow day for tomorrow — the weather seems to be calming somewhat, with more storms expected Wednesday and this weekend. As long as I’m in bed with the flannel sheets and enough movies to watch, I’m fine.

And now, from my girl Suzanne at Dear Reader

“It’s a lot of fun to make, the cookies look so impressive and they taste great. I love them!

If you mix up a batch, remember they “grow” in the oven, so don’t start with too big of a candy cane twist. Have fun and let me know if you try them–dunk one for me!”

Candy Cane Cookies

3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten with 2 teaspoons vanilla

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg mixture, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the dry ingredients, blending well after each addition.

Put 1/2 of the dough in another bowl. Add red food coloring to one part of the dough to make the desired candy cane shade. Leave the other dough plain. Flatten each ball of dough, wrap snugly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until slightly firm. Don’t over chill!

Dust your hands and working surface with flour. Roll a one-inch ball of dough into a rope about 6 inches long. Take one red colored rope of dough, along with a plain piece of dough and cross over, to make a candy cane. (The first time you make these experiment with a couple before you bake them all. They can turn out too big if you use too much dough.)

Bake in a 350 degree oven on greased cookie sheets for 12-14 minutes. The cookie dough may be a little soft when it comes out of the oven. Let cool completely before you handle the cookies.

That Spirit of Christmas — Ray Charles

December 21st, 2011

Our Favorite Christmas Books

December 20th, 2011

I’m on vacation this week and next. Here is a column that originally ran Dec. 3, 2007.

enjoy! and happy 2012.

wm

I published the BEST round-up last year, or the year before, who knows. All of these holidays run together. It was our favorite Christmas books, and it was a thing of beauty.

Then I hit delete on what I thought was a DRAFT and no, it was not a DRAFT, it was the published version. And poof! No more round-up.

I’ll try again…

Hershey Kisses,

WM

The Best Christmas Books Ever:

QOTD: Huxley

December 15th, 2011

Tiny alpine frog cousin

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

“To a clear eye the smallest fact is a window through which the infinite may be seen.” — Thomas Henry Huxley, biologist and writer (1825-1895)

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