Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So close to the New Year....

I'll have my resolutions done for a post tomorrow. Tonight is for a party.

Also, tonight is for a little retrospective on the things that really changed my life this past year. I will narrow it down to three.

First, and possibly the most obvious, is my acceptance and enrollment at Rutgers. Throughout high school I was a bit of a slacker, only applying myself to the things I really cared about. College has been good to me and for me. Now, instead of lazing around and letting the consequences roll off my back, I actually do what I'm supposed to. That means balancing a full course-load of school work, a 20 hour per week job, and an editorial position on the newspaper. And I love it. I am not sad to have left high school behind.

After that, I would have to place my time spent with the Free Spirits. I include our flurry of facebook activity as we received our letters of acceptance in this, as well as our refusal to let go. (Oh yeah, and the actual conference.) Journalism, especially print journalism, is not a thriving profession right now. But I sincerely believe that the 102 young adults that gathered for a week in March will change the world.

And, most definately not least, is the passing of my high school journalism teacher, my mentor, and my friend, Jane Hopper. I met her my freshman year of high school, when I was just 14, and all I knew about journalism was that my favorite character on the West Wing was CJ, and all I knew about writing was that I was good at it. I never expected to end up where I am, and it is all thanks to her.

I have tried several times this year to express in writing how much she meant to me and how much I miss her. Ironically, this is the one thing I cannot do to my satisfaction. Nothing works. But I know she knows.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guess what I did today

Sledding: Verb The act of throwing oneself, and possibly others, down an snowy or icy incline, on a specific toy intended for such activity. May result in wet clothes, bruises, and general soreness.

At Em's request I led an expedition to the local sledding hill, accompanied by a few other neighborhood kids. It was massive amounts of awesome, especially because we pulled out the old mini-luge that I won in a mini-luge competition when I was 12. It is still the best sled ever invented. At the end of our quest (when my jeans were finally to soaked for me to just tough it out any longer) we linked two sleds together for the final run.

2 sleds + 6 youths, ages 11 to six days shy of 19 + well-iced sled hill =

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rose, Rising presents... presents

You will, eventually, get the post on Christmas music like a promised.

Last weekend I finally tracked down where and when I can watch the West Wing, Bravo at 8:00 and 9:00 am. So I have been celebrating my new-found "free time" and watching it each morning. It is in season three, at the moment, and today they aired one titled "Bartlet for America." Season 3's Christmas episode.

Besides the festive decor, there is very little separating this episode out from the others as a holiday show, unlike the two previous Christmas episodes. No, it is much more somber, as the characters deal with the outcome of the President hiding his MS from the people.

Anyway, in this episode, President Bartlet gives a present to Leo, a framed napkin with "Bartlet for President" written on it in pen. It is the same napkin that Leo gave him when he proposed the then-governor's run for president.

In the next episode (which also ran today) Charlie gave the President a replica of a map of the Holy Land in the 1700s. Throughout the show, the rest of the cast advises the President to not hang it in the White House, as it does not recognize Israel. He thinks that they are being stupid, as Israel did not exist then. Naturally, as he can use now use it to irritate the other characters, he loves the map even more.

So, what is the best present that you have received? I can't decide on one for me, I'll let you know when I narrow it down to three or so.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Food

Holiday Food

Yes, I said Holiday, and not Christmas. No, this has nothing to do with being a secular liberal and everything to do with celebrating more than one holiday in between mid-November and January 1st. I was thinking about writing about Christmas music, but that's a post far too long to write before the Daily Show comes on. I also need to do more research on it.

So, a menu of goodness that reminds me of of the holidays:

My family isn't really big on appetizers. Possibly because my mom always buys Girl Scout nuts to put out, and always forgets. Always.

My mom usually makes fish pho (said fuh, and is supposed to have a particular accent mark, but I don't know what it is) for dinner on Christmas Eve. But there is a new family favorite. Squash soup. It made its debut this Thanksgiving, and was delicious.

There are all the classics like Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas ham. Screw that, I'm going to talk about lasagna. Specifically, chicken alfredo lasagna. My second-favorite holiday dish, it is my annual request for my birthday dinner. (Dec. 27, for those who might not know.) Mmmm, so good.

This year at the family "What I'm thankful for" session, I was thankful for the mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows. Seriously, they are the most delicious stuff ever. Easily makes the list as my most favorite holiday food ever.

Dessert: Christmas cookies. You will get a review of them soon, I promise.

Snack: Candy canes! Most years Dad has brought home a box of these sweets that we spend five minutes adding to the tree, and the rest of the season taking off.

Drink: Eggnog! Okay, it tastes like weird vanilla and has the same consistency as melted ice cream. But that's what makes it so good!

In prep for next week's blog, what is your favorite Christmas song?


In my Dec. 7 post entitled Tree Time pt. 2, I incorrectly identified an ornament as the Starship Enterprise. It is in fact the Starship Voyager. I regret the error.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I am now officially the Observer's NEWS EDITOR!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tree Time pt 2!

I love Christmas trees, to an extent that will not be made wholly apparent by the random pictures I took before heading back to college today. Even now, as I look back at what I decided to photograph, I wonder why I skipped some of the family favorites, such as our blue hippo. Or covered bridge. OR MY SPACESHIPS! Clearly, this will need to become a three part series, with an update on more family memories when I'm home to take pictures of them.

Here is one side of our tree. Why did I only do one side? I'm not sure. Also, there is an angel on top of it now, but that didn't go up before I had to give Mom her camera back. Oh, and there is a train set underneath, one large enough for all twenty seven cars and five engines we own. We take Christmas very seriously.

The golden pear! Over a decade ago, we had a tree calamity, where the tree fell, and many of the ornaments broke. My grandparents on my father's side gave us a few of theirs after, to help replenish our collection. This highly-reflective pear is one of them, and one of Dad's favorites.
The yellow ribbon in the upper left is one of our oldest traditions--a reminder that not everyone is as lucky as we are to have our family safe and near for Christmas.
The sequined green and yellow ornaments are part of a set of six and are the oldest ones we have. They are from Mom's side of the family, and pre-date her by at least two generations.
On the far left is a portion of a walrus on a motorcycle.

Though the star of this photo is obviously my ballerina, given to me during my dancing days (and lovingly repaired every time her damn arm breaks off) I want to talk about the lower left. I'm fairly certain that it came from a visit to the Capitol building. Every time we go ANYWHERE, we try to find a Christmas ornament, so we can tell everyone stories about that trip.

To help prove my point, we have this guy here, who I found at Medieval Times. He, and two others like him, are the newest of the whole tree, as I bought them on Friday. Behind him is a rather good example of the not-so-elegant fare that also graces our tree: a wreath I made in Girl Scouts.

I don't even know where to start with this one. Okay, most obvious first. Dead center is a fish catching Santa. I feel like there should be some more description of it, but that is all it is. Slightly hidden above that is the Capitol dome. To the right is one of three kings. To the left is one of at least six panda ornaments. The upper right has a baby bootie, probably from Em's first Christmas, but it might be Dennis's.

This one is featured mainly for the reappearance of the panda, here held by a mother brown bear. (Anyone want to guess why?) To the left is an apple. We have twenty or so apples as fillers, and I ALWAYS get stuck putting them up. There is also a zebra butt, on the far left.

This picture serves little purpose, except to showcase our slightly demonic-looking angel musicians. Oh, and STARSHIP ENTERPRISE!

And here is Santa on a Jeep. He's another one of mine, given to me by my Aunt Claire, who reads this blog and thinks I curse too much. The boys each got one as well; Joe has Santa on a plane and Dennis's is a helicopter. Just to the right of it is a bauble from the Grand Canyon. But what's that, hiding in the shadows on the left? Let's turn the flash on and find out!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tree Time

On something that is most commonly called a "whim," I went home today. Dennis and I set up the tree in about 30 minutes, including the time it took to saw off the bottom so it would drink properly, and sweeping up afterwards.

Now, Dennis and I are Christmas nuts. Seriously. So when Mom said if we put up the lights and garland tonight, we can do the real decorating tomorrow, we jumped on it. It took about two hours, most of that dedicated to the longest question ever asked. I'll post it here eventually. But now... pictures!

Here is Dennis with boxes and boxes of Christmas. This photo is actually pretty misleading, the white bag of lights in the foreground is on top of a very large carton, and the green and red tub in the back is on top of another tub. And there is another box behind them.

Dennis and I took our sweet time choosing garland. Yes, we have four different colored garlands (plus a fake fir one) and yes, we pretty much always pick the same ones.

Gold and colored lights rule the day!

Dad was proud. And look, on the right! ANOTHER CHRISTMAS BOX.

More photos tomorrow, as the decorations really go up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

20 in. hole x 30 min. = ?

A pretty decent column, if I do say so myself.
The morality of Prop 8 was discussed in another column, so I didn't touch that part.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Saved the paper tingle

Perhaps the other journalists know the tingle I referenced in the title of this post. It is the one where the problem article crops up at the very last second, and someone needs to do something about it. In my time on the Roxbury Review, it was often up to me to fix it. Guess what happened last night.

As the Oberver is coming out tomorrow, two days after the break, it is reasonable to have a slightly thinner issue. However, do to an oversight somewhere along the way, we ended up with a column that was unprintable, and a huge hole on the one of the Op Ed pages. So, I wrote a companion column to the other one that was running on the page. In less than two hours.

I'm proud of it, though it is not the best piece I have ever written, and I was writing to space, I am proud of it.

I'll link when it is posted.