(500) Days of Summer

Rent it. Watch it. Listen to it. (Then don't forget to return it. Blockbuster changed their grace period for a late return. Bitches.)

A sampling of the soundtrack. I'm diggin it. Cheers!

You HAVE to love this next song. And check out those sweet pics of Hall & Oates.

I've always loved this song...

teeny tale: i see me

why are you putting up pieces of paper over your mirror? she asked. because i want to see myself better, she said. well that seems a little ironic, doesn’t it? & over the next few days she rediscovered her love for words. & a piece of paper came down. she wrote “words” on it. in the weeks that followed she found making flowers from fabric scraps brought together scattered pieces inside of her. two pieces of paper came down for that. “creating.” “giving.” then there was the joy she felt from the simple things, like a warm pair of socks, a cup of hot cocoa, seeing snow fall, a hug. each piece that came down, was given a word, signifying its worth. & as the pieces were taken down, one-by-one, she saw a little more of herself. months went by and the friend didn’t understand why there were still strips of paper on the mirror. i still don’t get what you’re doing with this, she said. & i don’t expect you to. besides it doesn’t have to do with you, it’s about me. well, it’s about me when i come over and can’t see myself in your mirror, she said. let’s just say that that mirror in particular isn’t for you to see yourself in, it’s there to help me see myself in. i want to make sure that i know the person staring back at me in the morning; i want the parts i can’t see to match the parts i can. & eventually, when the final piece came down she wrote the word “me” on it because it was the piece she had been trying to find all along. & she put all of her pieces in a box so that if she ever lost herself again, she could easily recall the parts that had helped lead her back before.


Back to the Basics

The smell of peppermint hanging in the air, small talk with Mom, splattered cookie batter and the jingle jangle of Old Saint Nick humming in the background -- these are "the basics," and they are the things we need to get back to during this holiday season.

This past month has been spent discussing gifts for A, B and C: "What are you getting her?" "How much did you spend on him?" The ordering online, receiving of packages in the mail, the lists made to check, the quick bursts of shopping errands, and the random phone calls to talk over gift ideas -- reconfirming or dispelling what one thinks is that perfect item for that certain someone -- are the things that have come to consume these dark days of December. I, however, was lucky enough to evade all of that for a few short days, and right before the heat of the holiday week, with an event that brought it "back to the basics."

A wedding. An exchange of vows -- both traditional and original. Dim lighting. A close-knit group of friends, family, strangers. Tears. Smiles. Laughter. Excitement. Honor. Promise. The marriage took place in Grand Pacific Junction, Olmstead Falls, Ohio. It's a historic town with commercial storefronts dating back to the '20s; the place, David Stearns, the second settler in 1816, described as having "four general stores, two drug stores, one tailor shop, one broom factory, one felloe (wagon wheel) shop, and one lumber yard." And I don't believe too much has changed. The beautiful history of the area, along with the decor of lights for the holiday season, and the group of people gathered for this special occasion made for a night that one can easily imagine Norman Rockwell would have loved to get his hands--or brushes--on. 

A candle-lit service ending with the chiming of bells, settles in quiet rejoices. Coats make their way to bare arms and ladies clasp the crooks of gentlemen's arms. A small, huddled mass of cheery guests, and  bride and groom--tulle in tow--lead each other in heels and dress shoes through a dusting of snow, down the sidewalk, over the train tracks into the warmth of a cozy restaurant, whose "Comfort food with a twist" description suites it handsomely. Good conversation, great food, wonderful drink, congenial company, loving words and the purest of gestures round the day and evening out. Departing with the exchange of loving wishes and tender hugs, I realize, I have been brought back to "the basics."

I'm returning "home" shortly for the holidays; however, I have yet to wrap a single gift. Instead, I've been making some gifts, with the help of some fabric and buttons, needle, thread and my own two hands. I'll eventual wrap the gifts I bought, but it's the gifts I'm choosing to make that I'm most eager to give. They won't be wrapped. Instead they will adorn the glossy packages -- the ones wrapped to conceal their identity and evoke surprise. Call them decoration, call them a token of my appreciation to the recipient, or see them as a reminder of the simple acts that aren't always so simple as they appear. An act from the heart involves giving some part of yourself to another, which isn't always the easiest thing to initiate or even follow through with, but they are the ones that feel the best to give, and receive. They're the ones that mean the most and the ones that hold us together, as individuals, and together, as friends and family, which are the greatest gifts we have to share this holiday season.

Not Your Everyday Christmas Carol

A few unconventional Christmas tunes to move your holiday days along...and hopefully in the right direction. ;)

These songs and more can be found on NPR's Holiday Music Mix '09.

And a holiday bonus:


teeny tale: press play

oh, there it is, she said. there's what? i knew i had left it behind this morning, and right next to the coffee maker of course. but i don't see anything beside the coffee maker, what did you forget? he asked. it's not that i forgot anything, it's just that the thing beside the coffee maker, was left, flipped from "on" to "warm," when i walked outside this morning. i'm not following, he said. i'll give you a hint she said, it's the thing that i look forward to picking back up the most when i get home. your coffee mug? he asked. hmm, well, although that's a good guess, that's not it, she said. then what is it? you really want to know? she asked. he nodded. and she said, it is the life i live beside you. that's what's left beside the coffee maker in the morning, and that's what i look forward to picking back up the most when i return. and you are the thing that i adore most, he said. and it was then that he made a mental note to never get rid of their coffee maker...