Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mew Year’s Eve (365/365)

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“The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to.”

P.J. O'Rourke (American, Political satirist, journalist. writer, b1947)

TIME:  9:32 PM
PLACE:  Living room

Because nothing says “New Year’s Eve” like a picture of a sleeping cat made to look like he’s passed out with a badly Photo-shopped New Years hat and bottle of Maddog.  Cheers!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pull Knob For Pack Selection (364/365)

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“People today are healthier and drinking less. You know, if it wasn't for the junior high school next door, no one would even use the cigarette machine.”

Moe the Bartender, “The Simpsons,” Flaming Moe’s, (1991), Television.

TIME:  8:00 PM
PLACE:  Kretzer’s Grill & Bar, Hoyleton, IL
SUBJECT:  Cigarette machine

This machine was at a restaurant where HH & I met with some friends of ours for dinner this evening.  You don’t see cigarette machines like this still in use very often anymore.
When we arrived home, this little vignette greeted us in the living room:

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StellaDella built this “house” while we were out.  DramaQueen said it took her about an hour to construct it. Check out the the security system she has in place:

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I don’t know what to else to say about it. I’m pretty much dumbstruck.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sleepy Time (363/365)

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“Everyone who gets sleepy at night should have a simple decent place to lay their heads, on terms they can afford to pay.”

Millard Fuller (American, Missionary, humanitarian, founder of Habitat for Humanity International, founder of The Fuller Center for Housing. 1935-2009)

TIME:  9:08 PM
PLACE:  Living room

That poor pillow pet.  Not only have I caught Jack trying to procreate with it in the past, but now the dog has claimed it as her very own headrest.  Looks like a trip to the washing machine is in the unicorn’s future this evening.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Have You Seen This Snail? (362/365)

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Gary: Meow.

Spongbob SquarePants. Perf. Tom Kenny. Television.

TIME:  9:40 PM
PLACE:  Home
SUBJECT:  Gary the snail

Two snails and two more algae fish were purchased today by HH and SD for the goldfish tank.  They made sure that the algae fish were large enough so that they would not succumb to the fate of their predecessors.  I don’t know if SD has named the new arrivals yet, so I took it upon myself to name this snail, “Gary“ in honor of Gary on SpongeBob SquarePants. (I named the other snail, “Ms. Tuftsy.”) Isn’t he cute?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bourgeois Buffoon or Early Morning Snowman (361/365)

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Calvin: “This is my snow sculpture, “Bourgeois Buffoon.” Can you believe my mom rejected my grant application to continue making these?”

Calvin and Hobbes syndicated daily comic strip (1985-1995), by Bill Watterson.

TIME:  8:09 AM
PLACE:  Front yard
SUBJECT:  StellaDella & a very leafy snowman

At 6:30 am, I was awakened by a loud, breathy whisper in my ear of “Mom!!! It snowed!!!!!  Can I go outside and make a snowman?”  Sure, SD, knock yourself out, just use what little snow there is in the front yard as opposed to the fenced in area where the dog does her business, m’kay?  And with that permission given, she went out and created her masterpiece.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Dog’s Chair (360/365)

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“No animal should ever jump up on the dining room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation."

Fran Lebowitz (American Writer and Humorist, b.1950)

TIME:  9:07 PM
PLACE:  Living room
SUBJECT:  Ruined chair and reason why

I bought this recliner about a year before the HH brought home the dog.  That means I had about one year of owning a nice piece of furniture – one that was un-molested by doggie nails and un-permeated by doggie odor.  That is so not the case now.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Fun (359/365)

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“At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year.”

Thomas Tusser (English Farmer and Writer. 1524-1580)

TIME:  7:03 AM
PLACE:  Living room
SUBJECT:  StellaDella, DramaQueen & MonkeyBoy

I hate using the flash, but had to do it this morning to get a decent shot of the kids.  This is right before the presents were opened.  They were all very happy with their gifts.  We do have an issue trying to get MB’s new Turtle Beach headset to work with his Xbox 360, but I think a trip to the store tomorrow for a compatible cable with fix that right up.
My gift?  Glad you asked.  I must have been very good this year. (Or, more than likely, I whined so much about it that DH decided he couldn’t take it anymore and bought it to shut me up.)  I am now the owner of a Canon EF-S60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens!  Can I get a “Woot-Woot!”  I played around with it a little this afternoon.  I think I’m gonna like it.

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TIME:  2:25 PM
SUBJET:  Blade

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TIME:  2:34 PM
SUBJECT:  MB’s eyelashes (he was napping)

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TIME:  2:41 PM
SUBJECT:  Bubbles in a bottle of Windex cleaner

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TIME:  7:14 PM
SUBJECT:  Radiatore noodles

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Traditional Stair Picture 2011 (358/365)

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“Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.”

Margaret Thatcher (British Politician and Prime Minister. b.1925)

TIME:  8:09 PM
PLACE:  Steps at Dad’s house
SUBJECT:  9 out of the 11 grandchildren (or 81.8%)

Here they are…almost all of the grandchildren sitting for the traditional stair picture at Grandpa’s house on Christmas Eve.  My brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew from California weren’t able to make it into town for the holidays.  We missed having them with us.  Shortly after this photo was taken, we Skyped them so they could be with us while the little ones opened their gifts from Grandpa.  Hmm, next time if they can’t make it, we’ll have to place the netbook on the steps while the two kids on the webcam and take the photo.  That way we will have all of the grandchildren in the picture!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Girl & Her Gecko (357/365)

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“A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest”

Alexander Pope (English Poet, 1688-1744)

TIME:  6:24 PM
PLACE:  Home
SUBJECT:  StellaDella & Blade

“Awwwww Mom…look how cuuuuuute Blade is!  Isn’t he the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen?   Ooooooh…I just love, love, love him sooooo much!  And look, he loves me too!”

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Shining Star (356/365)

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"Dear brightest star o'er Bethlehem, O let your precious light shine in with hope and peace toward men in every home tonight."

“A Thousand Candles,” Swedish Carol

TIME:  4:10 PM
PLACE:  Westfield Manor, Independent Living Community
SUBJECT:  Electric star

StellaDella’s Girl Scout troop helped to deliver Christmas baskets to seniors at an independent living community.  After all the baskets were delivered, the girls gathered in the lobby and sang Christmas carols to the residents.  Santa and Mrs. Claus even showed up to join in the caroling.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Solstice Santa (355/365)

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“If you ever have to steal money from your kid, and later on he discovers it's gone, I think a good thing to do is to blame it on Santa Claus”

Jack Handy (American Writer and cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1991-2003. Famous for his Deep Thoughts comedy sketches.)

TIME:  9:33 PM
PLACE:  Home
SUBJECT:  Playmobil Santa

This year, we got out one of our many Playmobil Advent calendars to help countdown the days until Christmas.  Today’s figure was the man in red, Santa Claus, himself.  I was reminded that there are only three more boxes to open until the big event.  I am so not ready.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Collar (354/365)

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“Relax, Georgie, I'm just making my collar and cuffs match.”

Carole Lombard (American Actress, 1908-1942)

TIME:  7:28 PM
PLACE:  Home
SUBJECT:  Jack’s new collar

StellaDella made this Christmas collar for Jack tonight from scraps of fabric left over from a school art project.  He looks so festive.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Am So Smart (353/365)

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Homer: Woo-hoo! I'm a college man! I won't need my high school diploma any more! [sets fire to it and starts singing] I am so smart! I am so smart! I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean, S-M-A-R-T...

"Homer Goes To College.” The Simpsons. Season 5, Episode 3. 14 Oct. 1993. Television.

TIME:  8:08 PM
PLACE:  Home
SUBJECT:  My new phone

Well I finally bit the bullet and upgraded my (4 year-old) phone.  I decided to get a Motorola Atrix2.  Yes, I have joined the dark side.  The most amazing thing to me about this phone?  It has an 8(!) megapixel camera.  That’s 3 more megapixels than my Canon Power Shot S2 IS that I take my macro photos with.  And it’s only 2 less than the megapixels on my Canon Rebel XS.  Crazy.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gecko Greetings (352/365)

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“With your lovely smile.
I see you slither away with your skin and your tail,
Your flickering tongue and your rattling scales
Like a real reptile.”

The Church. "Reptile." Starfish. Arista Records, 1988

TIME:  6:48 PM
SUBJECT:  Crested Gecko aka “Blade”

StellaDella has been fascinated by reptiles since seeing them at the library two years ago.  She has had HH and I take her to the exotic reptile store a number of times over the past year.  Apparently, for her, these trips were actually scouting expeditions to determine the reptile she was going to ask Santa to bring.  After many conversations with Santa, it was decided that she could have a Crested Gecko this year.  Since Santa can’t bring reptiles on his sleigh (it gets too cold for the critters), he called HH and co-ordinated the pick-up of the gecko from the Tye-Dyed Iguana today.  She promptly named him “Blade” and is one happy girl.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cookie Temptation (351/365)

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“An abstainer is a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.”

Ambrose Bierce (American Writer, Journalist and Editor, 1842-1914)

TIME:  1:27 PM
PLACE:  Kitchen
SUBJECT:  Italian cookies

7 pounds of Italian cookies were purchased from Rosciglione’s Bakery this morning.  5 of those pounds are individual gifts for friends of ours.  The remaining 2 pounds are for us.  Right now they are sitting on the kitchen counter, calling out and tempting me to consume them.  I know I could eat the whole damn box all by myself before Tuesday.  Stupid cookies.  Their deliciousness just overrides what little self-control I possess.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hansel & Gretel Were Here (350/365)

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"Knuper, knuper, kneischen,
Wer knupert an meinem Häuschen?”
”Nibble, nibble, little mouse,
Who is nibbling at my house?”

Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Hansel & Gretel. 1812

TIME:  8:17 PM
PLACE:  Kitchen
SUBJECT:  Graham cracker “Gingerbread” house

StellaDella made this house at school today.  She said that she had a lot more candy on it, but she was hungry and ate them.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Grumpy Monorail Cat Is Grumpy (349/365)

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Lyle Lanley:
Throw up your hands and raise your voice!
All: Monorail!
Lyle Lanley: What's it called?
All: Monorail!
Lyle Lanley: Once again...
All: Monorail!
Marge: But Main Street's still all cracked and broken...
Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!
All: Monorail! Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!
Homer: Mono... D'oh!

"Marge vs. the Monorail." The Simpsons. 14 Jan. 1993. Television.

TIME:  8:59 PM
PLACE:  Upstairs

Here is Tessa, lying “Monorail” style on the bannister in our upstairs hallway.  The recipient of her evil glare was the dog, who happened to be sitting right beside me when I took the photo.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pink Elephant (348/365)

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“If you've never seen an elephant ski, you've never been on acid.”

Eddie Izzard (British stand-up Comedian and Actor. b.1962)

TIME:  3:55 PM
PLACE:  Pink Elephant Antique Mall, Livingston, IL
SUBJECT:  A pink elephant of course

How can you not stop the car and take a picture when you spy a gigantic pink elephant as you are driving down the highway?  In fact, I believe it’s the law in 36 states.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How An Accountant Wraps A Present (347/365)

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I bought my brother some gift-wrap for Christmas. I took it to the Gift Wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping.

Stephen Wright (American Actor and Writer, b.1955)

TIME:  11:58 PM
PLACE:  Desk
SUBJECT:  Employee gift exchange contribution

Tomorrow is the Christmas luncheon and gift exchange at work.  The gift exchange isn’t mandatory, but I decided to join in this year.  It’s one of those exchanges where you can “steal” gifts from co-workers.  The only stipulations were the gift value ($15) and you had to wrap it pretty.  I bought a $15 Starbucks card and then I went “green” with the wrapping.  I used a cereal box to place the gift in; then made the bow out of a jeweler’s advertising insert and wrapped the box with the stock section of the paper.  I think it’s rather festive myself.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Looking For A Mate (346/365)

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Kirby: She is the only evidence of God I have seen with the exception of the mysterious force that removes one sock from the dryer every time I do my laundry.

Emilio Estevez, perf.
St. Elmo’s Fire. Dir. Joel Schumacher. 1985. Columbia Pictures Corp.

TIME:  8:15 PM
PLACE:  Kitchen
SUBJECT:  Unmatched socks

This evening, my kitchen table was host for the “Socks Without Partners” support group that meets weekly.  It is always a well attended event.  A few socks were re-united with their partners.  But, as usual, the majority of the single socks went back to their home in the community laundry basket alone.  It breaks my heart.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cleared Corn & Winter Wheat (345/365)

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Odysseus: If they ever tell my story let them say that I walked with giants. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die.

Sean Bean, perf. Troy. Dir. Wolfgang Petersen. 2004. Warner Brothers.

TIME:  4:12 PM
PLACE:  Outside of Sparta, IL
SUBJECT:  Fields

HH and I were invited to a Christmas party at the home of one of his co-worker and his wife this afternoon.  Their house was amazing.  She had placed a Christmas tree in nearly every room, all beautifully decorated.  My favorite was the picture tree she had in the utility room.  It was hung with small framed old family photos.  As a dabbling genealogist, I thought that was the cleverest thing.  Now, they like to hunt and had many taxidermied trophies throughout their home as well.  There were 5 deer and 3 antelope heads in their living room alone.  I know, I know - it sounds like a lot, but the way they were arranged in the room was perfect and it all looked natural and tasteful. ~*~*~  The picture above is the view as we drove out of the driveway to the road.  So pretty.  I need a home in the country.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Paper Snowflakes (344/365)

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General der Infantrie Albert Burkhalter: What would you rather have fall upon you, responsibility, or snowflakes?

"Color The Luftwaffe Red." Hogan's Heros. Perf. Leon Askin. 16 Nov. 1968. Television. 

TIME:  11:12 PM
PLACE:  Living room
SUBJECT:  Paper snowflakes

This is what I was doing while watching the James Bond movie last night – cutting out paper snowflakes to hang in the living room.  And after?  I vacuumed up all the little pieces of paper with my Dyson.  Now you just stop right there. Please. Please quit being jealous of my wild Friday night escapades…it’s not always that exciting of a time.  It’s usually quite boring.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Lion, A Cat & A TV (343/365)

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“I want to be a lion
Everybody wants to pass as cats
We all want to be big big stars, but we got different reasons for that”

Counting Crows. "Mr. Jones." August and Everything After. By Adam Duritz and David Bryson. Geffen Records, 1993.

TIME:  10:06 PM
PLACE:  Living room
SUBJECT:  Jack & MGM Lion

MonkeyBoy was just starting to watch a move on his Xbox (James Bond-Tomorrow Never Dies) when Jack decided he needed to lay right in front of the TV.  The MGM lion can’t believe that another cat is usurping his limelight.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mr. Pear (342/365)

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"The pear is the grandfather of the apple, its poor relation, a fallen aristocrat, the man-at-arms of our domains, which once, in our humid land, lived lonely and lordly, preserving the memory of its prestige by its haughty comportment."

Francois Pierre de la Varenne (Burgundian, author of Le Cuisinier françois (1651), the founding text of modern French cuisine, 1615–1678)

TIME:  11:49 PM
PLACE:  Christmas tree
SUBJECT:  Ornament

A very happy eBay find earlier this fall.  It’s a chenille armed, drumstick wielding, shiny majorette hat wearing, golden spidery eyelash sporting, red-mouthed grinning, green “velvet” covered pear.  What’s not to like?  I smile every time I see him as I pass by the Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Snow On The Car Roof (341/365)

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There may be snow on the roof, but there's fire in the belly

Proverb quotes

TIME:  8:09 AM
PLACE:  Driveway
SUBJECT:  Snow on the car roof

We woke up to just a slight bit of the white stuff sticking to outdoor objects this morning.  It didn’t stay, thank goodness.  I am sooo not looking forward to winter weather.  Who wants to move to Rio with me?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mascot (340/365)

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Goof: What exactly do you have planned for us?
Homer: Well, I get up and dance, and I spell out the name of the city,
all to the tune of `Baby Elephant Walk'.
Goof: Ah, Mancini. The mascot's best friend.

Homer and the Capital City Goofball plan their strategy, The Simpsons. ``Dancin' Homer.'' Written by Ken Levine and David Isaacs. Aired 8 November 1990

TIME:  6:48 PM
PLACE:  Junior High Gym
SUBJECT:  Raider – the Junior High Mascot

MonkeyBoy had his last basketball game of the season tonight.  Both his team and the 8th grade boys won their final games.  There is a holiday tournament coming up and then the season is finished.  To be honest, I’m looking forward to the next couple of months without any practices, games and all that kind of running about.

Monday, December 5, 2011

St. Nicholas Coins (339/365)

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“Golden coins, I’ll place at your feet
Precious jewels to make life complete
All my treasures are yours my sweet”

Golden Coins, words & music by Giant, Baum and Kaye. Performed by Elvis Presley.

TIME:  11:31 PM
PLACE:  Kitchen
SUBJECT:  Gold chocolate coins

Tonight is St. Nicholas eve, and the stockings have been hung on the door handles of the children’s bedrooms.  I had planned to get the stocking stuffers at lunch today, but didn’t make it.  I had a Brownie meeting tonight, then had to pick up MB from Boy Scouts at 8:30 – so I didn’t get to leave for the dreaded Wal-Mart until then.  It took me longer than expected.  Can you believe the Mart did not have the chocolate gold coins that St. Nick *always* brings.  So I had to make a trip to Walgreens as well.  Luckily, they were with the program and the tradition has been saved.  ‘Cause if the kids didn’t find gold chocolate coins their stockings, it would have been a tragedy of epic proportions.  At least, that’s what DQ was hinting before I left the house.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Juniper Berries (338/365)

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“Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to satiety…”
T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot (1888-1965), Anglo-American critic, poet. Ash Wednesday (l. 42-47). . . Oxford Book of American Verse, The. F. O. Matthiessen, ed. (1950) Oxford University Press.

TIME:  9:38 AM
PLACE:  Around town
SUBJECT:  Juniper berries

HH and I went to breakfast again while the children were at Sunday School.  As we were leaving, I grabbed this shot of the berries on the red cedar juniper planted outside the restaurant.  The rest of the day consisted of climbing into the attic to get the Christmas decorations down (because of the nagging urging of SD) and spending waaay too much time getting the tree up and the lights on it – this included a trip to K-mart to purchase two new sets of lights, because 5 of the sets I had wouldn’t work.  I decided I didn’t want to spend my time going through 750 lights (5 sets x 150 bulbs) to determine which one was loose.  Yes…I replaced the fuses first…stupid lights.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Poinsettias (337/365)

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“I have forgotten much, but still remember
The poinsettia's red, blood-red in warm December. “

Claude McKay (1889-1948), U.S.-Jamaican poet. Flame-Heart (l. 9-10). . . Caroling Dusk; an Anthology of Verse by Negro Poets. Countee Cullen, ed. (1927) Harper & Brothers.

TIME:  10:49 PM
PLACE:  M-- Company annual Christmas party
SUBJECT:  Poinsettias

StellaDella and I went with my dad to a Christmas party thrown by a contractor that his construction firm works with.  Here she is with Santa:

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And here she is later, with her cousins, after they had their faces painted.  Because, you know, nothing says Christmas like butterflies, skeletons and golden fangs.

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Where were my older two children?  They didn’t go this year.  Instead, they participated in a 5K run in our town.  MonkeyBoy finished 171st out of 822 runners with a time of 25:20 and DramaQueen was 603rd with a time of 37:28.  This was their first race and I am proud of both of them for their accomplishments.  I just might have to take up running and join them next time.

Friday, December 2, 2011

People of Wal-Mart (336/365)

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“Wal-mart... do they like make walls there?”

Paris Hilton (American, Socialite, b.1981)

TIME:  9:04 PM
PLACE:  Wal-Mart parking lot
SUBJECT:  MonkeyBoy and cart

Yes, this is how far down the tubes my life has sunk…shopping at Wal-Mart on a Friday night.  Poor MonkeyBoy was with me.  I’m sure the thought of having to be with his mom at Wal-Mart at 9 o’clock on a Friday night *and* having her take his picture in the parking lot, didn’t fill his heart with delight either. *wink*

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Spreading Christmas Cheer (335/365)

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Buddy: Sounds like somebody needs to sing a Christmas Carol.
Jovie: No way.
Buddy: The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.
Jovie: Thanks, but I don't sing.
Buddy: Oh, well, it's just like talking, except longer and louder, and you move your voice up and down.

Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel, perf. Elf. Dir. Jon Favreau. 2003. New Line Cinema.

TIME:  5:57 PM
PLACE:  Junior High School Gym
SUBJECT:  StellaDella

It can’t be that time already.  Didn’t we just attend this recently?  It’s really been a year already?  *Sigh*  In any case, SD sang and performed her little heart out…Afterwards, I had a couple of other parents and grandparents seek me out to tell me how much they enjoyed watching her on the stage because of her enthusiasm.  That’s my girl.
Gah!  I just noticed that SD is wearing the same dress that she wore in last year’s Christmas program.  What a major faux pas.  I’ll probably get my mom card revoked.