Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I bought "Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle,” by Major Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson, and Mary Nethery as a Christmas gift for my niece's children. Their dad is in Afghanistan right now and I knew they would all be missing him very much over the holidays. I love books and dogs and I thought this would be a perfect gift.
When the book arrived, I could not resist reading it before I wrapped it and sent it with the other gifts.
This is an amazing true story of a very special Iraqi dog and his big-hearted American Marine friend. Nubs (a nickname earned by having his ears cut off by an Iraqi soldier) immediately felt a connection to one Marine and his team and struggled his way through abuse, dogfights, a stabbing, and an over 70 mile trek in 18 degree weather to be together.
This book beautifully covers not only Nubs' journey to find his Marine, but also the journey Maj.Dennis endured to make sure Nubs made it safely to his home in San Diego.
This is a beautiful book for children and adults alike including photos, maps, notes and a happy, touching story of hope, resilience and companionship.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Jars Reunion

The idea behind "Christmas Jars" is simple, you take a jar and set it on your kitchen counter for a year. Everyday you drop your left over change for the day into the jar and on Christmas Eve, you give it to someone you believe needs it most. It doesn't have to be a lot, it's the thought that counts. It's a special way of letting someone know that you care.
The story, The Christmas Jars Reunion by Jason F. Wright (which I believe is a sequel to a book I haven't read), is a cheesy little tale of the people surrounding the origin of the Christmas Jars tradition.
Sure, it's sticky, syrupy, sugary, sweet .... sure, I welled up a bit on the train while reading .... sure, it was a bunch of powdery fluff ...
But it's Christmas!!
That's what it's all about!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oliver Twist

Thank God for Charles Dickens’ wonderful sense of humor and playfulness with words, or I would have found Oliver Twist far too tragic to enjoy. I read a version of Oliver Twist that most closely resembles the original print, and I actually found it somewhat difficult to read. I was forced to reread full paragraphs and pages at a time (not to mention my juvenile sense of ridiculousness that forced me to become hung up on trivial matters such as “Master Bates” being a funny name, as just one example). This means I spent nearly two weeks with Oliver and the cast of good and evil. It was honestly somewhat depressing for this glorious time of year!
It’s amazing how many people have never read Oliver Twist or much of Dickens at all. And when you read a classic, people will stop you to discuss the fact. I actually love that, although most people had nothing to discuss as they have never read it. I hadn’t read it either, frankly, and only remembered one line from the movie, “Please, sir, I want some more.”
Well, that little event happened in the first chapter of the book and really wasn’t the most important point, by any means!
I would suggest folks go back and read the classics. Mix them in with their contemporary counterparts because they can get a bit heavy, but books we were required to read as children (books we should have read as children but didn’t) have much more meaning and bring considerable more pleasure when read as an adult. I remember reading classic novels simply to find the answers to questions. And because I read slowly, I was always playing catch-up and skimming rather than reading.
I missed a lot ....
Oliver Twist is a lesson not only in poverty, but in goodness, evil, preservation, truth and justice. I had no idea there would be scandal, murder, intrigue, and oh-so-much anxiety in a story I thought was about a poor orphan boy with a cute accent!

It made me hungry!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Prep & Landing

I love television. I always have, always will, and I am not embarrassed about it! I love regular programming, special programming, network tv, cable tv .... you name it! I love it!
I always felt ripped off, however, on my birthday. On my early November birthday, all other programming was interrupted and I got elections. Election reports, election updates, election results. Mudslinging, slanderous ad campaigns ... I hated it! It wasn’t fair! How could God do this to me?!
And I was painfully jealous, too, because on my sister’s birthday just one month later (insert angels singing, harp and organ music, the heavens opening up and glorious beams of light), she got: (Ahhhhhhhhhhh) Frosty the Snowman. Seriously? I get Election Results and she gets Frosty the Freakin’ Snowman?!?!?!
Oh the humanity!
I adore Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Year Without Santa Claus, the Grinch ... all of them!
Last night I was excited to see that Charlie Brown’s Christmas was on at 8/7 Central! Yay! I was happy to watch an old favorite and enjoyed it almost as much as I did as a child.
But then, ABC threw me a nice little gift (and it wasn’t even my sister’s birthday!): Disney’s Prep & Landing!
Prep & Landing is ABC's first television special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and reveals the never-before-told tale of an elite unit of Elves known as Prep & Landing, who prepare our homes for Santa's arrival. It was brilliantly fresh and clever. The story was brand new and modern while never disrespecting everything we know and love about Christmas. In this modern day and age, Prep & Landing brought back so much magic that is Christmas and did it with a happy new twist and gorgeous animation.
It was funny, clever, suspenseful, tender .... in a word: Magic! I absolutely loved it and am only sad that I have to wait a whole year to watch it again! Maybe they will air it on November 7th, 2010 ... ?!
I’ll start campaigning now!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reindeer Pause

The real deer in our neighborhood really like the pretty lighted reindeer! Oh, and Dear Santa, I would like a new camera for Christmas! It's difficult to stalk our nocturnal friends with the one I've got! I've been a good girl, of course!
Thank You!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
(or A Visit from St. Nicholas)
by Clement Clarke Moore

'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 Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap.

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

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny 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, 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 on 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 bowl full 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's famous poem, which he named "A Visit From St. Nicholas," was published for the first time on December 23, 1823 by a New York newspaper, and it remains a family favorite to this day. It is a glorious example of pure magic. Not only of a season, but of words, and story-telling and of setting a mood.
It makes us believe in the unbelievable!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


My baby is nine! How did that happen? Allie is a sweet little dog who loves to play with anything you throw for her. True to her border collie nature, she likes to herd and does well when everyone stays in a group or at least in one room, and she does keep one eye on me no matter where I go. She sleeps with me every night and wakes up each morning to greet me as if she hasn't seen me for a month. She makes our home a happy place and I wish her all the doggie happiness she can imagine!
Happy Birthday, Allie! We love you!!