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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Friday Fun! (December: Michigan for the Holidays and NYE in Boston)

January 2, 2014 2 comments
A disassembled Model T at the Henry Ford Museum.

A disassembled Model T at the Henry Ford Museum.

Hello my lovely readers, and a happy 2014 to all!

Everyone’s always busy around the holidays, and I certainly was no exception.  I cross-stitched six presents and made homemade fudge for a bunch of folks as well, in addition to everything else that comes with this time of year.  My partner got us a lovely tree that we got to decorate with both of our ornaments for the first time.  We had an early Christmas together, because the week of Christmas, we went out to Michigan to see his family.  The drive from Boston to Michigan took us 13 hours, and the drive back took about 12.  We had a lovely vacation with his family, and I was made to feel 100% welcome and part of the family.  It was truly a lovely Christmas.

I’d never been to the midwest, so while we were out there, my bf made sure I got to do a bit of sightseeing.  My favorite excursion was to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.  Henry Ford invented the assembly line, in addition to starting to the famous Ford car company.  The museum featured displays of cars through time, the history of racing, the history of airplanes, the history of trains, and the history of manufacturing in America.  It also had a display on the history of Civil Rights in the US, as well as a display showing key items from the different decades of the 20th century.  The museum also has the Dymaxion House. A model house made in the 1960s as a fully automated house of the future. Only two were ever made.  In addition to all of these, there was also a special display of Presidential limousines, including the one JFK was shot in.  There was so much amazing US history.  We spent five hours in the museum and still didn’t see it all.

We got back to Boston and spent some time just relaxing at home, and then we got ready for New Year’s.  We decided to go out to see the First Night activities and the early fireworks.  Boston has one set of fireworks at 7 and the other at midnight to allow for folks who want to be inside earlier to still see a display.  First Night featured a lot of interactive art this year in the Common, as well as a parade, ice skating performances, and the typical ice sculptures.  The fireworks display was actually better than the 4th of July ones I’ve seen the last couple of years.  Then we went home and had a quiet dinner in just the two of us.  I’d spent the day making gnocchi from scratch, plus homemade sauce and cheesey garlic bread.  I loved the combination of seeing the festivities and getting to celebrate inside in the warmth just the two of us.

Coming up on the blog this month, I’ve got three books from 2013 that I still need to write reviews for.  I’ll also be announcing what 12 review copy submissions I decided to accept for 2014, and I’ll be doing my reading stats 2013 post, as well as a round-up of the best reads of 2013.  I also have five more cross-stitches to show off to you guys.  It should be a busy month here.

Happy reading!

Secret Santa 2011 #1

December 15, 2011 4 comments

My first secret santa swap package arrived, courtesy of Melissa of Gerbera Daisy Diaries! Yayyyyy!!  I’m not sure if it was via Book Blogger Holiday Swap or Broke and Bookish Secret Santa, since the package didn’t say, so that will remain a mystery for a bit!  Inside the envelope was a package wrapped in pretty blue wrapping paper and a red ribbon that I do not have a picture of because, well, patience is not a virtue I possess.  Here’s what was inside!

Books and postcards

From my wishlist The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston.  This made it to my wishlist thanks to a review by Amy for the Year of Feminist Classics project, and I’m super-excited to read it!  Melissa clearly paid attention to my tastes, because the other book, Red Scarf Girl, is a memoir by a woman who grew up during the Chinese Communist Cultural Revolution.  Nonfiction, women, China, Communism…..it’s perfect!  Melissa also included three bookmarks from the Arkansas public library system, as well as three postcards depicting art held by the Arkansas public library system.  Very cool!  The postcards will go up in my cubicle at the library where I work.

I enjoyed getting a package from a state I’ve never been to with representative art.  I’m more curious to pay a visit to Arkansas now!  Also, my Chinese culture collection on my TBR pile is much more fleshed-out now.  Thanks, Melissa!

Friday Fun! (Holiday Book Swap Time!)

November 18, 2011 4 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  Can you believe next week is Thanksgiving already?  Time flies!  I had a cold this week, so I only was healthy enough to make it to the gym once.  Sadness!  But I did track my calories to make sure this wouldn’t cause a slump, and I’m seeing my trainer tomorrow.

Santas holding boxes.I’m not a huge holiday person, but one of the things that I do enjoy is the various secret santa/book swap events that happen in the month of December for book bloggers.  I had a lovely time participating last year, so I was stoked to see the information go up.  In fact, I’m participating in two different ones this year.

First up is the one I did last year Book Blogger Holiday Swap.  Alas, the deadline for that one was November 11th, so it’s too late for any of you to sign up. But!  I already got my information for my swap partner.  I can’t wait to raid the used book cellar in Harvard and challenge myself to find awesome presents for her.

Santa peeking from behind tree.Next is a swap that Amy let me know about–A Broke and Bookish Secret Santa.  Apparently she participated last year and had a blast.  I visited Broke and Bookish’s blog and enjoyed it, so I signed up!  The deadline to sign up for this one is TODAY, so get on that ya’ll!

You guys don’t even know how excited I am to get not one but TWO packages of books in the mail this year!  There’s just something extra-nice about unwrapping books from a stranger who just so happens to be a fellow book lover.

Happy weekends all!

Friday Fun! (Happy Hanukkah!)

December 3, 2010 6 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  It’s certainly been a busy week here in Boston.  The holidays are officially in full swing, so on top of finishing up my final semester of grad school, I’ve been balancing everything that goes along with the holidays.

I hit up the sales on Saturday after all the crowds were mostly gone and picked up a couple of things I’ve been needing, including a rectangular baking dish, a bread pan, and a coffee maker.  The coffee maker was massively on sale, and I know it will save me a lot of money compared to buying coffee every day at Dunks.  So far, I’ve only forgotten my traveling mug full of coffee once…..  I already put the bread pan to good use by making banana bread.  In lieu of regular plain yogurt, I used pineapple Greek yogurt, and you guys, it was to die for.  The bread was incredibly moist.  I think this may be the secret to nommy banana bread.

I also did about half my holiday shopping (entirely online.  I’m a cyber maven).  Most of what’s left includes baking massive amounts of baked goods for various people including the mailman, coworkers, etc….  I then decorated my apartment with the few holiday decorations I actually have.  It didn’t take too long, particularly since my fake tree is pretty tiny.

Wednesday night was the first night of Hanukkah, which I celebrated with my cat.  She seems to have forgotten the menorah between last year and this year.  She loves sitting in the window with the menorah to the extent that I have to lock her in another room while the candles are burning.  Last night, for the second night of Hanukkah, I went over to my friends’ Nina and E’s apartment.  We celebrated with their downstairs neighbors/landlady.  We made three different types of latkes and had them with sour cream, homemade apple sauce, and homemade grape juice.  Then Nina and E gave me my Chrismukkah presents, and they know me so well!  I was totally blown away at the wide assortment of baking accessories, craft projects, cat accessories, and naturally a book that they gave me.  🙂  I have the bestest friends.  Next week, on the last night of Hanukkah, they’ll come to me and get their presents from me.  I’m excited for them to see what I got them!

Happy holidays to all.  I hope you’re already enjoying and celebrating this lovely month instead of letting the holidays stress you out.

Friday Fun! (Merry Christmas!)

December 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Ayla playing in wrapping paper. You can just see her ear sticking out.

I know, I know.  I’m posting on Christmas!  The thing is, I have time, so I may as well, eh?

I really did have a lovely week.  I was home sick Monday, and I spent the day destressing and recentering myself.

Tuesday night I went out for dinner with my friend and her boyfriend.  My friend is moving to California on Sunday, so this was our goodbye dinner.  It was sad, but also lots of fun.  My friend chose the restaurant, so I had Peruvian food for the first time ever.  It wasn’t bad, but it was a bit bland for my taste.

On the 23rd, my sister-in-law went into labor and gave birth to my niece via a C-section.  Welcome to the world, Clara!  She’s just over 5 pounds, and I’m excited to get to meet her next month.

Yesterday I was the only librarian in my library, something I actually enjoy.  This may be a sign that I’m suited to small hospital libraries, hehe.

Today I’m actually just chilling at home.  I’ve already been to see my family, since we knew my sister-in-law was due right around Christmas, and we thought it’d be best to visit prior to the baby being born and after sometime in January.  Since everyone else is obviously with their families, as they should be, I’m enjoying a day of watching Lost, snuggling my kitty, baking cookies to mail to my librarian friends, and reading obviously!  Tomorrow one of my best friends is coming over to hang out for the day, which will be our last chance before she goes to Israel for two months.  I should go get some of that reading and baking done.  Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and happy day off to those who don’t!

The Joy of Doing Less During the Holidays

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

No doubt about it, the holidays are a busy time of year.  There’s presents to buy and wrap, parties to go to, people to see, travelling to do, baked goods to make, decorating to do, and more.  If you’re at all like me, it can all add up to stress.

Looking back on last week, I see that I did a lot of things that should have been fun, but I was so stressed out that the stress over-shadowed the parts I should have been enjoying.  I was constantly plotting to make it to everything (not to mention to stay awake) instead of just enjoying the moment.  I realized this yesterday, and worked to make my week this week less stressful, but thinking about it this morning, I remembered a blog post from one of my favorite zen blogs, Zen Habits, entitled The Lazy Manifesto: Do Less. Then, Do Even Less.

The jist of it is that minimalism isn’t just about what stuff you own.  Minimalism is also about doing less and enjoying it more.  I think the benefits of this are easy to see if you just think about the last time you were distracted doing one activity out of a worry to get to the next one on-time.  Now imagine if the first activity was the only one you were doing that day.  See how that works?

If you live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest, you don’t need to hyper-schedule yourself.  Instead of going to every single holiday party, choose two for the month to go to and really go all-out at them.  Don’t be afraid to tell friends or family no, you can’t come, you don’t have time, even if you don’t have time just because you want to spend that evening at home baking cookies and watching Christmas specials.

I really like this idea of doing less, but doing it to your fullest.  I think as Americans we have the tendency to overschedule ourselves for god only knows what reason.  Maybe some lingering Puritan philosophy about idle hands being the devil’s plaything.  Regardless, there is such a thing as doing too much during the holidays, so don’t be afraid to say no and limit just how many festivities you partake in.  Partake in fewer to a more full extent.  I think you might wind up surprised at how truly festive you’ll feel.

Friday Fun! (Merry Chrismukkah!)

December 18, 2009 4 comments

What a busy week it’s been!  Full of good and bad stress.  Thankfully mostly the good kind.  Unfortunately stress of any kind can make me act kinda wonky, so…..sorry about that.

Over the weekend I visited my family in Vermont.  My nephew is 2 and has reached the “why” stage of development.  My brother and sister-in-law have grown a bit tired of it, but I gotta say I thoroughly enjoyed answering all of his “why’s” to the fullest extent.  Of course, I only was around him for a portion of 2 days, lol.  My aunt and uncle (who my dad lives with) were very hospitable, and I drank much wine.  My dad gave me housewarming money which was fairly promptly used to buy a toaster and a rice cooker.  They haven’t arrived yet, but they’re bright red and appear to be entirely awesome.

Monday was my presentation of my final team project for this semester of grad school, which means I am officially on winter break! Yayyyyyy!!!  I already got my grades, and they were both just fine and dandy.

This week I hosted a Chrismukkah gathering for my group of lesbian friends (I call them “The Lesbians,” and yes they are just fine with that.  In fact, they kinda love it).  I had my first attempt at making latkes.  I used the vegan sweet potato latke recipe from this month’s issue of Vegetarian Times magazine.  I was doubtful that substituting pureed sweet potato for egg would work, but by golly it did.  The latkes tasted great, although I need to work on figuring out the appropriate cooking time.  There aren’t the helpful bubbles that you get with regular pancakes, so a few got a bit, erm, burnt.  We lit the menorah (and I am proud to say that I can now sing the prayer), and we watched Claymation Christmas.  If you have never seen Claymation Christmas I hereby order you to go find it on Youtube.  It is quite trippy.  The Lesbians surprised me by giving me a crock pot!  This means you may be hearing about my vegetarian crock pot cooking adventures in the future.

You guys were totally going to get an adorable picture of my kitty snuggled up in wrapping paper, but I didn’t get a chance to download them to my computer.  I swear these Friday posts will have pictures eventually.

I hope everyone’s holidays are going well.  Try to enjoy and stay stress-free!