Tag Archives: Christmas

Photo Friday: Christmas Card 2011

Last week, I shared our previous Christmas card photos. This year, I wanted:

  • an easy statue for Santa hat purposes (so our runner-up will have to wait until a year I feel like packing a gopher grabber and a step stool),
  • a short commute (so the perfect statue in Erie was out of the question),
  • not to get mugged or worse (actually, I want this every year. Sorry Baltimore, but “Homicide: Life on the Street” was set there for a reason–when the first page of Google results about our statue of interest in Baltimore includes an article about a stabbing in broad daylight nearby, that means no).

So we went back to the scene of 2008. Across the street from Winston Churchill is the Kahlil Gibran Memorial Garden. The statue is a bust so it was easily accessible for the hat. He also has some special meaning for us…sort of. We had planned to use “On Marriage” from The Prophet at our wedding. We thought we liked the message (which seemed to be about avoiding the fate of the Beautiful South song “We Are Each Other.”) We thought the officiant would bring it and he thought we would bring it. Wedding FAIL. I wonder if Gibran wrote something “On Stupidity.”

It was probably just as well, as a more recent read made me giggle like a 12-year-old:

    “Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.”

This is good advice, I hate sharing.

    “Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.”

Now this just seems inefficient and wasteful, a married couple should easily be able to share a single loaf of bread.

    “Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
    Even as the strings of a lute played by Sting irritate Tracy.”

OK I made that part about Sting up. It’s actually “Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.”

    “Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.”

Huh. I would have thought only the heart containers in the Legend of Zelda can contain your hearts.

    “And stand together yet not too near together:
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

And the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw!

My apologies to Mr. Gibran. His words on marriage are still lovely, but I’m done berating myself for not thinking to bring them to our wedding.

Hopefully he will forgive me for poking fun and for placing a Santa hat on his bust at his Memorial Garden. Various of his quotes are engraved at the Memorial site and my favorite was:

“That which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.”

Whoa, I think he understood Einstein’s theory of time considerably better than I did.



2011 Favorite Christmas Song Addendum

I shared my favorite Christmas songs last year, but I also like to expand my collection each year. So here’s an addendum to last year’s list, although it’s getting harder and harder to find new stuff.

The Sirius Christmas channel, “Holly,” makes me want to stab somebody this year (program director, perhaps?). I really don’t need Taylor Swift to sing ever, let alone sing Christmas songs that sound exactly like all her other songs. I would also prefer to live in a world without Christmas songs performed by the seemingly hundreds of interchangeable and faceless (to me anyway) “Talent” reality show contestants, and the frigging cast of Glee. And was anyone clamoring for new versions of Wham’s “Last Christmas” (where does the exclamation point go when you need to add apostrophe-s to “Wham!”?)? Dude, if you gave your heart away last Christmas, you no longer have possession of it to give to someone special this year. Stupidest lyrics EVER.

So I switched to Sirius’ “Holiday Traditions” channel this year, and I feel like I’m ready to retire and move to Florida. But I’ve found some good “dirt old, but new to me” songs to add to my collection this year.

“Snow” from White Christmas

I’ve never heard people so awestruck by snow, it’s like they’re from Mars (or D.C., HA!). Seeing the scene from White Christmas just makes it worse. Danny Kaye seems to be implying he wants to shovel. Dude, you’re welcome here anytime, wash our car while you’re at it.

“To see a great big man entirely made of snow…” Take it easy, little lady. Sexually frustrated much? 

I keep trying to come up with even sillier lyrics than “I’ll wash my hair with snow,” (I’ll get some hookers and blow?). Who the hell would want to wash their hair with snow, well…unless they watched this YouTube video and believed an ice-cold rinse would help their charming new frizz problem, when really this woman is just fucking with people. “Let’s see if I can get people to rinse their hair in ice-cold water…suckers!” Yeah, doesn’t work (not that I tried it or anything, ha-ha very funny lady, you got me!).

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme “Hurry Home For Christmas”

Oh good lord, this is bad. In a good way. “Until you get here, jingle-bells-won’t-jingle-not-a-single-jingle-baby…” Listening to this makes me feel dirty somehow.

Pearl Bailey “Five Pound Box of Money”

Tell it like it is, sister! I’m so with her. I don’t want a lot for Christmas, just early retirement. Santa, can you hook me up?

Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby “We Wish You the Merriest”

I love the almost frantic need to provide yuletide greetings. As is so often the case with Frank, he sounds a little drunk (even though there’s no dit-dit-dit). For some reason I find this drunken persona of the Rat Pack endearing and think they would’ve been fun to hang out with until I remember how uncomfortable I am with habitually drunk people.

Amazon has been giving away a free Christmas song download every day in December. I needn’t have been so excited about this. My favorite of the bunch so far, I already knew (but didn’t own, and now own for free, so yea!).

The Superions “Fruitcake”

Dave’s been threatening to make fruitcake for years…shudder. The song includes a fun mace reference.

The Grand Candy “America, It’s Time to Shop (Best of Black Friday)”

This song by Dave’s talented guitar teacher (who I’ve mentioned a few times and think I always refer to as “Dave’s talented guitar teacher”) makes me smile. Sort of a Christmas/current events (well, current as of 2001 anyway)/yet funny version of The The’s “Swine Fever.” And I’m willing to bet you don’t have any other Christmas songs that mention anthrax or smallpox (please, please tell me if you do!).

But, my favorite Christmas song ever is still this version of “Carol of the Bells.” Who doesn’t want to induce a burst aneurysm for the holidays?


What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Photo Friday: Glitter Moose!

It rained all day Wednesday. I had to walk home from the metro with only my useless umbrella to protect me. I shouldn’t be alive.

The first time I ever used my umbrella a light breeze blew it inside out and snapped one of the spokes. I’ve been walking around with a 1/8 limp umbrella ever since.

Wednesday night, the zippier-than-usual wind flipped my useless umbrella every few feet. I spent more time trying to fix it than standing under its protection. My pants were soaked up to my hip, the wind blew my hair into my eyes, and I didn’t have enough hands for the umbrella and hair wrangling. I noticed the broken spoke hanging down in front of my face, ominously waiting to take my eye out so I turned the umbrella to get the spoke away from my eyes. At the next gust of wind, I felt a sharp pain on my scalp. Mother fucker punctured my brain.

I held the umbrella over my head like an axe and started slamming it into the pavement as hard as I could. Repeatedly. Umbrella had it coming. I arrived home drenched, dragging a flattened umbrella behind me.

I thought about taking a picture of my sad, smashed, useless umbrella, and using it for Photo Friday, but in lieu of therapy and/or anger management class, I’d like to lighten the mood by sharing a picture of my favorite Christmas tree ornament, Glitter Moose! I found him during college in one of those specialty shops (Natural Surroundings? Nature’s Elements?) selling useful things like stuffed birds that make authentic chirping noises when squeezed, gold-coated pine cones, and adorable Glitter Moose Christmas ornaments.

Worship Glitter Moose before he destroys you. Glitter Moose is awesome. Glitter Moose is plump. Glitter Moose was made in China. Glitter Moose is dead serious about helping you celebrate Christmas, look at those imploring eyes. Glitter Moose is the last thing to go on the tree and I always place him near the top center so I can easily spot him. Glitter Moose gets doubly wrapped in tissue paper and then bubble wrap and put away separately from the other ornaments.

Glitter Moose was on our custom-made Christmas card once:

Glitter Moose ages well. Still glittery, after all these years.

Several years ago Dave made my life complete by finding this member of the Glitter Moose family. I may have squealed when I opened mega Glitter Moose. 

Do you have a favorite Christmas decoration? How about an umbrella recommendation? Anger management strategy?

I’m linking up with Mama Kat this week. The prompt I chose was to share a favorite Christmas ornament (the rage against my useless umbrella is a bonus!).
Mama’s Losin’ It

Homemade Advent Calendar*

Preparing My Heart for Christ with Belgian Chocolate

I’m sure you’ve all been wondering how I spent my free time in November. I spent it making advent calendars for me and Dave. Heads up for the devout among you, this has nothing to do with preparing my heart for the coming of Christ and everything to do with preparing my mouth for a daily piece of delicious chocolate (sanctioned by Jesus!).

Because I’m a 5-year old trapped in a 38-year old body, I get a Neuhaus advent calendar every year (two because I don’t want to share with Dave). I love the designs on the front and the anticipation of opening the little paper door to reveal my surprise treat each day…until the day when I’m greeted by a piece of dark chocolate. Then my 5-year old palate wrinkles its nose.

In past years, I’ve toyed with the idea of making my own advent calendar so I can fill it with chocolates of my choosing. But I’m lazy and not even remotely crafty.

But early in November, my ADD took over and I searched the internet for homemade advent calendar ideas. Because that was the best use of my time. Oh how my to-do list suffers when I get one of these brilliant “project” ideas.

This homemade advent calendar idea resonated most with me. But I think I might have mentioned I’m lazy? So I thought about buying these pre-made tins on Etsy. But as lazy as I am, I’m also cheap and picky. Since I want to retire early and have super cute tins, I decided to make my own in my voluminous free time.

This is the part of the craft project blog post where I’m supposed to say how easy this project was. This was a raging pain in the ass so easy. I started this nonsense during the first week of November and I didn’t finish until December 1st, which is actually four days after advent started, but who’s counting. Advent calendars always start on December 1st, I don’t make the rules. I stopped counting the time this project took when it reached 12 hours.

Now is the time in the craft project blog post when I’m supposed to tell you how to torture yourself do this.

“High-Maintenance Homemade Advent Calendar” Steps:

1.) Buy shit:  Having no crafting experience, this involved making a non-technical shopping list (i.e. paper cutter thingie, stuff to make paper stick to the tins, way to make numbers appear on the paper, etc…) and losing my Michael’s virginity. The only reason I didn’t leave in a huff when the cashier asked for $99 (seriously?!?) was that I’d already blown an hour and half wandering around the store in a stupor. I was by that point what I like to call committed.

2.) Design and cut (with fancy new circle cutter I can’t imagine ever using again as long as I live) two decorative paper circles for each tin. Curse each time the paper slipped and the cutter created a useless ellipse.

3.) Realize cutting circles out of the paper wastes a ton and return to Michael’s for two more packages.

4.) Tape (using special tape I had to order) smaller decorative paper circles onto larger background circles.

5.) Freak out about something happening to the paper given how much time steps 1-4 took. Research paper preservation products. Select acrylic sealer spray.

6.) Decide not to number the circles. Hope no one ever dares to question this decision. Thank you.

7.) Obsessively worry about my spraying competence and ruining my precious circles. Become frightened by how often the phrase “my precious circles” enters everyday conversation. Find YouTube spraying tutorial and consider hiring a professional spray person. Wonder if inhaling a toxin and the possible subsequent failure of my internal organs is a reasonable response to an aversion to dark chocolate.

8.) Choose the windiest fucking day since Hurricane Irene to spray toxic shit onto the circles. End up shellacking myself (three coats!).

9.) Wash tins. Dry tins. Be completely blown away when this takes two hours.

10.) Find Simon & Garfunkel limited engagement channel on Sirius. Finally learn Art’s harmony on “You Can Tell The World.” Sort of.

11.) Tape circles to tin lids.

12.) Stick magnets to bottom of tins.

13.) Obsessively arrange tins on magnet board. Take many mediocre photos.

14.) Buy chocolate. Feel the need to explain project to store clerk. Ignore her look.

15.) Use a random number generator to randomize the order of the chocolates. If you think I’m kidding, you don’t know me very well.

16.) Insert chocolates into tins.

17.) Eat delicious chocolate daily.

Enjoyable steps include: 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and portions of 1 and 2.

Cost Comparison

Now is the time when I smugly tell you how much money I saved by doing this myself.

–Two Neuhaus advent calendars = $60 plus tax

–Two sets of premade magnetic tins from Etsy plus a magnet board = ~$120

–“High-Maintenance Homemade Advent Calendars” = $222.57 ($139.01 without the chocolate)



So I spent a lot of time making homemade advent calendars that were more expensive than what I could have bought premade. But my calendars are super cute.   

Here are my precious circles waiting to be shellacked. Each one is stuck to the paper-lined cardboard with painters’ tape.

Here are my 24 finished tins on the magnet board. I couldn’t get a good picture of all 48, so use the reflection to imagine Dave’s set too.

Close up of my favorite pattern.

The chocolate on the left is called Louise and is filled with milk chocolate (of course!) ganache. I think the confetti look is pretty. The chocolate on the right is called Sapho and it’s my favorite. It’s filled with almond praline.

The funky-looking chocolate below is called 1857 and is filled with praline studded with crushed spicy speculoos cookies.

Happy Advent! I hope your holiday preparations go smoothly. Do you do anything special to mark the days before Christmas?


*I toyed with the idea of naming this post “Oh my God, that’s the crafty shit,” based on the Prodigy song “Funky Shit.” Because I want to, you know, build community with other apathetic agnostic, advent-calendar making, listeners of the Prodigy on the internet. But since I had to explain the reference even to Dave, I decided there aren’t any other apathetic agnostic, advent-calendar making, listeners of the Prodigy. So much for finding my tribe.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Songs

Keeping up with a blog is not so easy once you’ve been sucked into the Christmas preparation vortex. I am just about done with my shopping. I also finally got the two family photo calendars done this past week and have made three of my planned five kinds of cookies. Luckily, Friday was my last day of work until January 5th. Words are inadequate to describe the joy of that.

Now for some long overdue content. A friend has been posting his top ten Christmas songs on Facebook the past few days and I am now going to blatantly steal that idea. Music might be my favorite part of Christmas (well, maybe after the time off, or maybe the cookies, or maybe the presents, OK it’s not my favorite thing, whatever). It helps keep me festive while prying pecan tassies out of uncooperative mini muffin tins, etc…  While I enjoy the Christmas songs played on the radio, the selections can get a little monotonous. The radio station that I listened to in college used to slip Christmas songs in among the regular rotation during the holidays, which was very cool. I’ve been building up a Christmas music collection for years. My Christmas super shuffle has almost 300 songs now and I like to seek out new (at least new to me) songs every year. It was difficult to pick twelve favorites, and in fact I’m cheating and including two extras.

Honorable mention goes to these two songs that I found this year. It’s too early to tell if they’ll stand the test of time and become favorites, but this year, I’m loving them pretty hard.

“Holly Jolly Hollywood” by the Wedding Present featuring Simone White. If you know anything about David Gedge and his music of angst, this song might seem, uh, counter-intuitive? But I think it’s charming…and a fucking ear worm. “I know we’ll always be in love.”

“Deck the Halls” by Pomplamoose. Over Thanksgiving, Dave was all: “You know those music people you listen to on You Tube…they’re on TV.” And I was all: “What the hell are you talking about?” Then I saw the Hyundai commercial myself and was all: “Wow, that is awesome.” I love the “Christmas in Space” part of this song. You can download this and several other Christmas songs just for donating a book to a school.

Now for the official Logy Express list of favorite Christmas songs:

12. “Gloucestershire Wassail.” This one and number 11 are both songs I sang at the Boar’s Head dinner in University Choir (the singing group formerly known as Glee Club) back in college. I couldn’t find a version of it on You Tube that spoke to me of my Glee Club days, so here’s Blur’s version, which I was so excited to find today I could have spit.

11. “The Boar’s Head Carol.” It took awhile to find, but this version is pretty close to the way we sang this.

10. “Gaudete” by Mediaeval Baebes. Dave’s years of Latin are finally useful.

9. “Skating on the River” by Lily Frost. Damn if I can find this on You Tube or anywhere else, so here is the Amazon MP3 preview link. This cute little gem of a song is part of the “Christmas Songs” CD that I bought for the Bare Naked Ladies/Sarah McLachlan version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” but grew to love for this song, the song at number 10, and several other really good songs. There’s even a 20-minute long comedy routine which I listen to at least once in its entirety each year. This doofy Canadian guy gets 20 kids drunk at a neighbor’s Christmas party. Hilarity ensues.

8. “Gabriel’s Message” by Sting. Maybe everyone convinces themselves that the music of their youth was awesome, and that the youth today have crap taste in music, but that’s pretty much what I think. The Christmas music being forced into my ears by contemporary “artists” these days is so boring and also quite possibly auto-tuned (talking to you, Miley).

7. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” by Ray Conniff and the Ray Conniff Singers. There are so many versions of this song and I enjoy most of them. But this version adds “gaily” to the mix. How can you not love that? Ten lords a-leaping gaily! Nine ladies dancing gaily! Eight maids a-milking gaily…what???

6. “Sleigh Ride” by the Carpenters. Yeah, I’m going there. So what? Logs on the fire fill me with desire, I can’t help it. It was hard to pick just one from their two-CD Christmas collection. I used to make fun of my mother mercilessly for listening to it, but damn if it isn’t some good catchy Christmas-y shit. It just edges out the Johnny Mathis version for me, but not by much. I love how this song validates my irrational love of pumpkin pie.

5. “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney. This song was a significant part of my Christmas enjoyment as a child. I was six when it came out and I didn’t know this dude was a Beatle. All I knew was that this song sounded like Christmas.

4. “Dominick the Donkey” by Lou Monte. Somehow I got through more than 30 years of life without knowing this song existed, which is a travesty. I think I heard this for the first time on the “Sounds of the Seasons” cable TV music station. Then the Sirius Christmas channel started playing it too. Given how many great Christmas songs exist, there’s just no excuse for the number of times Sirius’ Holly is playing remakes of Wham’s “Last Christmas,” not when they could be playing more Dominick the Donkey.

3. “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano. You know, forget it. This one might just be the only Christmas song you ever need. This thing rocks and I never get sick of it.

2. “Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season” by Andy Williams. I’m sure I heard this song 8 million times in my life, but for some reason, I have no memory of hearing it before the National Tree Lighting Ceremony a friend took me to sometime in the late 90s. I remember Jose Feliciano performed, which rocked. But then this Broadway theater company (possibly included Lilith from Frasier, I can’t really remember) sang some stupid, grammatically odd song about Santa coming down the chimney down (yeah, you already said down). Then I heard the Andy Williams version, and it clicked for me. It’s hard not to be happy with Christmas-ness when this song is on. I used to enjoy making this song filthy and making my Mom cringe, but I’ve matured a little in the past couple of years and can now sing along with “whoop-de-do and dickory dock, don’t forget to hang up your sock” without wanting to change the words.

1. “Carol of the Bells (A Demonic Christmas)” by DJ Demonixx. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a version of “Carol of the Bells” I didn’t like. The natural frenetic quality of this song seems so appropriate for a holiday that most people go bananas over. Until I’ve heard this song, the Christmas season has not begun. I’ve already mentioned the story of the first time I heard this version here.