A Visit from St. Nicholas

December 24, 2011
I can't remember the last time I read this poem to my children. Then again, it's been quite a while since I had both of them with me for Christmas Eve. You can't really maintain traditions if no one shows up.
Illustrator: Jessie Willcox Smith

At least this year I have more Christmas spirit than I have in the last few years. This year is low-key and I've kind of gotten used to the idea of having two Christmases or delaying it until the New Year when we're all together. Three Kings Day works just as well to celebrate the birth of Christ, and in my mind makes much more sense for the 12 Days of Christmas.

Maybe in a year or two I can save up enough to go to Florida for Christmas. That would be weird, I mean, what gets warmer than California at Christmas-time?? But what would be better than Walt Disney World at Christmas-time?

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
 ~Clement Clarke Moore (1799 - 1863)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Playtime! Ninja Unboxing

December 19, 2011
I just came across this today. Unfortunately, I have a deadline to meet. When you have some down time, check it out. There are three videos.


And don't forget to play the game in video 3.

Starbucks Coupon - 20% off Tumblers

Sharing the wealth here. I don't go to Starbucks as often these days since there is a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf nearby and I am still in love with our Keurig machine. Not to mention I just culled four or five coffee tumblers from my cabinet and have to stop myself from buying more. (Must declutter...)

So here you go coffee lovers:

Coupon valid December 19-25

Just click through and print it out for your next trip to Starbucks or use promo code 820 at checkout at StarbucksStore.com 

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Mamavation Monday: No Hating

This morning I don't hate my scale. Down another 1/2 pound. I'll take it. back to 186lbs give or take a few ounces. I've steadily been losing since getting back from vacation. More travel coming up, which means less control of what goes into my mouth, but I have become a lot better at making smarter choices when on the go. Except for coffee.

I know that I probably would make my goal of a full pound or maybe even two if I stopped my ritualistic stop at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf every morning. It's like my work day doesn't really start until I have that cup in my hand. I could bring coffee from home, which I used to do, or even use the Starbucks machine here at work. But I truly love my regular Cafe White Chocolate. And if Eddie makes my drink he always adds a little chocolate syrup. One of my few indulgences since starting work again is my morning coffee.

Ok, enough justifying. I'm just so very glad that I am still losing weight during the holiday season.
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Movies Worth Re-Watching

December 16, 2011

It's the holiday season and that means days off from work, school, and possibly contagious diseases. Do you remember being home sick, on the couch, or in bed, and watching TV in between doses of Nyquil or Theraflu?

Even when I am not sick, but want to watch something comforting and familiar I turn to these movies:

At the top of my list is "The Princess Bride". It has been my favorite movie since childhood. Romance, action, comedy - what more do you need?

Since it's the holidays, my favorite is "Miracle on 34th Street" - in B&W, not Technicolor. I also love "Arsenic & Old Lace".

When I want a great action flick, I turn to Captain Tightpants and "Serenity ".

If I need a good cry I watch "What Dreams May Come ".

What are some of the movies you watch over and over?

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Oh my!

December 14, 2011
Photographed by David Moyle
I never dreamed I could look like this! 

I was kind of an ugly duckling growing up -- coke bottle glasses, goofy grin (that hasn't changed), and over all awkwardness that I never grew out of. Suffice it to say, I didn't (and some days still don't) have the greatest self-esteem when it comes to my looks.

However, I have known since college that I have a decent pair of legs :D.  A few years ago (I can't believe it's been years!) I had a leggy avatar for twitter and about the same time I started hanging out with photographers in Long Beach/North OC. One of them is the amazing David Moyle. We talked about doing a shoot of my legs. He does some breathtaking work. Three years later we finally made it happen. And damn, don't I look HAWT?!?

I want to thank @Jonathan360 (another awesome LB photographer) for suggesting Smash Photo in Long Beach -- because, you know me, procrastinator - couldn't find a studio and there was no way this shoot was happening at home. Bill and Shirley got back to me ASAP and were able to fit me in on short notice. They are a very affordable studio, and Bill was great to work with. Especially when my shoot ran long. I would definitely recommend them again and again.

circa 1998
The shoot was a lot of fun -- I think I gave the impression that I wasn't happy with the shots because I am not used to the way I look. I still have this image in my head of what I am supposed to look like. The idea of being curvaceous is still new to me, especially with the Costco-sized muffin top I sport (thank goodness for shapewear!). A talented photographer can tell you how to pose to hid those trouble spots and bring out your best features without a lot of Photoshopping.

Now I have other photos to tag for a very special present.

Wordless Wednesday: Puerto Vallarta

December 1, 2011

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