Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye Good Year

Despite my current illness, and the rather rough bout of depression through the summer, 2008 has been without a doubt one of the best years of my life. Here are just a few of the things that make me feel that way.

-Wonderful trip to Manhattan: Ellis Island, Pizza @ John's, Central Park, and 59th street bridge
-Marking 10 wonderful years with Josh
-My first jazz concert: sublime!
-Participating in the political process: caucusing, delegate at District 10 convention, and voting on a cheery election day morning
-Fun visits to the Amon Carter and Kimbell Art Museums
-Trying 4 new restaurants and finding a couple of favorites
-Getting more exercise: walking and pilates
-Eating better: Start making salad for us throughout the week, try more vegetarian recipes
-Making new friends and finding old ones
-Cruising along on our second wedding anniversary: lazy day on the beach, hiking Mayan ruins, good eats and good times
-Saving over $18K this year!
-House-hunting: maybe depressing at times, but a marker of a new phase in our life
-Celebrating with friends their weddings, birthdays, new births, etc.
-Supporting Josh in his new job that he loves
-Accomplishing half of my New Year's Resolutions
-Feeling positive about the year to come

Very much hoping that 2009 will be very jealous of this list and set out to top 2008! I'll share my new resolutions in the new year. Right now I'm hoping I'll be feeling well enough to drag myself out of bed to go by the party being thrown by Josh's bosses and then to the DeMeglio casa party.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The rest of our Christmas celebrating went reasonably well, aside from me catching a bug from my cousin on Christmas Day and being stuck at home in bed for the past few days. Still stuck in bed as I type this actually. Everyone really liked their presents, which makes me very happy. And I of course got wonderful things from my loved ones. I was lucky enough to get the Marx Bros. collection, 30 Rock Season 2, Across The Universe and I'm Not There on DVD. I got the latest Sarah Vowell book, which I already finished and loved, and Eric Lax's book of interview's with Woody Allen which I'm just starting to read. Best of all I got lots of stuff to boost my interest in photography. Josh's mom got me the Complete Digital Photography 4th Edition, my brother and family got me the 2nd and 3rd books by Ansel Adams, my mom got me a book on shooting people from a National Geographic photographer, and Josh got me all sorts of goodies. He said he wanted to get me photography stuff since I've needed a hobby as long as I've known him (which is absolutely true). He got me a set of filters for D40 lenses, a lens pen for keeping them clean, and the Holga that I really wanted. Josh's brother got me a package of 120 film, so I was able to take pictures right away. Now I just need to find a place to get it developed! I'm very excited to use all the tools everyone has given to me to learn more.

I've been working on my resolutions for 2009 and am almost done. I'll share them when I am. Now I go back to being sicky, laying in bed and watching more 30 Rock.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Josh's Christmas Gifts

I made sure that Josh wouldn't be peeking before I decided to share what I've got tucked under the tree for him to open Christmas morning. Shopping for Josh can be difficult. He tends to say he has everything he wants (aside from expensive technology that I refuse to purchase him). Add to that the size of our family who needs ideas for Josh too and I usually have to come up with a slew of suggestions for everyone, including me. On top of that, Josh usually ends up spoiling it a bit for me because he usually asks for something I've chosen for him already, ruining the surprise just a bit. But at least I know he'll like it! Here's what he's getting this year.

The Dark Knight Two Disc SE DVD, new cartridge for our turntable, 8 GB flash drive, Portishead "Third" LP, JellyBalloons tee from, graphic novel, Stephen King paperback, pajama set, and The Onion's "Our Dumb World"

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekend Roundup

-Work, blech
-Deposit check
-Pick up package at home
-Stop by mom's to pick up photograph
-Michael's & Lowe's for gifts
-Post office to mail package to Dad & Lindsey
-Target for more gifts and groceries
-Chick-fil-a for dinner
-Put up groceries
-Eat and watch Muppets Christmas special, not that great but I laughed a lot
-Veg out for a bit
-Make to-do list for next day

-Errands to Fort Worth Camera and World Market for gifts
-Egg & cheese sandwiches for lunch
-Wrap up Christmas treats for delivery
-Pick order up at Fort Worth Camera
-Wrap, wrap, wrap!
-Spaghetti dinner prepared by Josh :)
-More wrapping while watching White Christmas
-Make blueberry muffins for next day's brunch
-Make cookie cottages for Christmas deliveries while watching Scrooged

-Up early
-Get ready
-Christmas brunch at the Hoover house
-Visit, eat, open gifts, etc.
-Finally head home after some fireside chat
-Gather up our goodies and deliver to friends
-Home for more gift wrapping
-Salad and hot dogs for dinner
-Catch a little Wizard of Oz and munch chips & dip
-Hit the hay
-Can't sleep, read some Newsweek, finally conk out

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pretty Pictures

It's getting late in the day, but I just had to share. Through an unrelated search I stumbled upon the Boston Public Library's Flickr photostream. I'm loving the photography collections, most especially the Abdalian Photographs. The winter scenes really put me in the mood for my busy weekend of Christmas chores and activities.

My Christmas Wish List No. 4

From the Read portion of my Christmas list I'm hoping to find this interesting book under the tree this year. I found many of the pre-restoration photographs on exhibit through our tour of Ellis Island earlier this year fascinating and I know that I would love to spend some time examining all the interesting photographs behind this cover. Thanks in part to Mr. Wilkes' photography they have begun working on the restoration of the south side of Ellis Island. Maybe someday I'll be able to go back and tour the entirety of this fascinating historical place.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Cookie Cottages

Sometime last week while blog trolling I came across a link to these cookie cottages from Martha Stewart. For the life of my I can't remember what blog I saw it on, even after re-trolling in search of it. I've never made a gingerbread house before, so this seemed like these graham cracker structures would be just as fun, but a bit easier. I asked Josh if he'd have some holiday fun with me and he said sure. During our grocery shopping on Sunday we picked up supplies, including some pre-made royal icing at Central Market. That night we set up shop at the dining table, turned the Christmas carols on and got to work. This was such a fun and easy activity! We have plenty of icing and some grahams and candy decorations left. I'm going to pick up a few more supplies tonight and we're going to make some houses to deliver to friends this weekend. What fun we'll have! It barely took us an hour to make these and that was our first time so the rest of them should be a breeze. I think this will definitely become part of our holiday traditions, at least till I feel like tackling the big real deal.

Josh's Cookie Cottage Jessica's Cookie Cottage

Josh's cottage left, my cottage right.

Weekend Roundup

-Decide to stay home, sleep in
-Turn on the Christmas tunes and get to work
-Clean dining room ceiling fan, sweep cobwebs from ceiling & corners
-Clean off table
-Put up new silverware till have new cutlery tray
-Plan Christmas morning buffet arrangement
-Clean kitchen
-Drop off electric bill and work order for closet leak
-Organize Christmas gifts (all thirty-odd) into their to-be-wrapped packaging
-Clean bathroom
-Tidy living room
-Put out porch decorations
-Organize Goodwill donations
-Finish tidying up as much as possible with closet contents everywhere
-Blog reading
-Wait for Josh to get home
-Make dinner & eat
-Get ready
-Holly arrives to do some improvements on me
-Get awesome gift from Holly! Thank you!
-Watch TV with Josh before heading out
-Calhoun show with tons of people
-Head home
-Crash into bed

-Oversleep way too much
-Toast and coffee
-Make week's menu and grocery list
-Get ready
-Head to Dallas
-Dinner at Cafe Brazil
-Crazy detour to pick up iPod, then decide against it
-Sunward set
-Load-up and head home

-Up early
-House hunting
-Grilled cheese and soup for lunch
-Grocery shopping
-Unload the cargo
-Bake chicken for recipe later in the week
-Make muffins for Christmas brunch try-out
-Prep salad and veggies
-Make pizza for dinner
-Eat and finish episode of What Not To Wear
-Catch Barry Manilow on Graham Norton, love him!
-Make cookie cottages with Josh
-Tidy up

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Christmas Wish List No. 3

In the Wear section of my Want, Need, Wear, Read Christmas list I asked for these cute rain boots from Target. They remind me of some I liked from J. Crew awhile back. At least I think it was J. Crew. A little silly, but still somehow useful- I decided to add them to my wish list. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


We went to the park last week and I took some pictures of my niece Abbey. We got some cute ones so thought I'd share. :)

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend Roundup

-Work, blech
-Home in time to see Josh off to Dallas
-Make dinner for myself, grilled cheese and steak fries
-Watch What Not To Wear and make week's menu plan
-Sort out Christmas gift purchases for the week
-Watch 3rd episode of The Monarchy and re-edit some pics of Abbey
-Hit the hay

-Rise and shine early
-Shower and get ready
-Griffin's 1st birthday party
-Grab some Chipotle on the way home
-Eat and see Josh off to Rock School and Rollins gigs
-Catch The Shop Around The Corner on TV
-Watch White Christmas and eat rest of Chipotle while finishing 7 loads of laundry
-Find boxes for some Christmas presents and work on stocking stuffers
-Welcome Josh home from gigs
-Catch second half of You've Got Mail, what a coincidence!
-Finish off bread pudding

-Wake up with hot chocolate
-Watch show on Nazi occultism
-Finish up grocery list
-Get ready
-Grocery shopping at Target and Central Market
-Unload cargo
-Gumbo and demi-baguette for lunch while catching up on 30 Rock
-Do kitchen chores and veggie prep while watching A Muppet Christmas Carol
-Make ham & mozz paninis and rosemary potatoes for dinner
-Make a list of gift wrapping supplies needed while dinner cooks
-Finish off Newsweek issue

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

The past two years we have hosted my immediate family for Christmas morning, which means I have to play Santa Claus and handle all the stockings. Usually everyone contributes a little something for everybody's stocking, but I'm in charge of all the rest. I've taken care of a good chunk of my Christmas gift shopping, so my mind has turned to the little goodies I'd like to get for everyone this year. Some of these are ideas I've already used, some I plan to use this year and then there are some that are a constant tradition. What do you like to find in your stocking?

Gift Cards- they are always a welcome gift, popular ones are for iTunes, Target and restaurants.
Apples- a traditional stocking stuffer.
Clementines- so much easier to eat than an orange and easier to work in around all the other goodies.
Ferrero Roche- my bro loves these candies, and I happen to like them too.
Socks- I think a cute pair of socks is a nice surprise.
Burt's Bees- any lip balm could do, but Josh specifically asked for this after I gave him a tube last year.
St. Ive's Apricot Scrub- I always ask for a tube at Christmas.
Dublin Dr. Pepper- This is the Dr. Pepper still made with pure cane sugar, a local delicacy.
Mexican Coca-Cola- Again made with real sugar, so good right out of the nostalgic bottle.
Haribos Golden Bears- THE BEST GUMMI BEARS, everyone gets a bag every year.
Chocolates- Ghirardelli squares are a favorite as are Lindt truffle balls, Toblerone and plenty of classics like kisses, peanut butter cups, etc.
Hand Cream- A classic like Nuetrogena's is a unisex treat.
Handkerchiefs- I've gotten Josh some before and he uses them all the time. I feel like I married a real gentleman when he pulls one out of his back pocket. And I never have to worry about carrying tissues in my bag!
Candy Cane- Duh! Gotta have a candy cane hanging on your stocking.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Woody!

Weekend Roundup- Thanksgiving Edition

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend! We had a nice holiday at my Aunt & Uncle's house. Lots of turkey and pies, what more could you ask for on Thanksgiving?

Friday Josh and I lazed around until I finally urged him that we needed to get a move on. We went and got our hair cut and stopped by the store for a few supplies and my office to pick up a movie from Mom. We got home and had veggie stir-fry and chicken eggrolls for lunch. Then my cousin Angie came over to dye my hair and watch Miracle on 34th Street, which I had discovered she'd never seen just the night before. I popped popcorn and we had plenty of leftover cookies from the day before. After Angie left I just wasted some time watching television till Josh got home from being musical and stuff.

Saturday we overslept for sure. We pretty much decided to spend the day in our pajamas and that's just what we did. Didn't even get dressed when we ran by Mom's to borrow some Christmas movies. I watched White Christmas and worked on gift ideas a little bit. That night I made ham & mozzarella paninis w/ roasted rosemary potatoes and had a bottle of Merlot while we watched A Mighty Wind together. Josh played some video games and I goofed around w/ his music program before hitting the hay.

Sunday we really overslept again. We spent a good chunk of the day being lazy again. I baked a few more chocolate chip cookies and put the rest of the dough in the freezer for later. Watched Christmas Vacation while working on gift ideas some more. I got cleaned up and then Josh and I discussed some of our gift ideas. Then we went out to grab a few groceries from Central Market and pick up our Christmas tree. We got home and got the tree in place with lights and then I made dinner. We enjoyed fish & chips, split a bottle of Old Speckled Hen and finished the meal off with some bread pudding while watching Love Actually. Finished decorating the tree while we watched the rest of the movie. Read some David Sedaris and tried my best to fall asleep, darn insomnia.

So, overall a great lazy weekend. And boy did we need it. Josh has either a rehearsal or show this Friday night, I can't remember which. And then Saturday we have Griffin's birthday party, followed by the Rock School show, followed by the Johnny Lloyd Rollins show. Sunday is more house-hunting, joy of joys. So, a couple days spent mostly in pajamas was well called for and well enjoyed.