Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Nostalgia

I've been cleaning and sorting through clothes to my Christmas playlist. In between Celine Dion's high-note-shrieks when I have to turn the volume down (I do love her, though), some great x-mas tunes come on. My all-time favorite Christmas CD is- get ready for it- Snowed In by Hanson. Yup. It is pure boy-band greatness, circa 1997, and is much better than that stupid N*SYNC Christmas CD that everyone likes. I even heard it playing at the grocery store last week.

Also some of my favorites: all the songs from the Love Actually soundtrack, especially White Christmas by Otis Redding and the little girl's version of Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas; Bing Crosby stuff; my roommate Emily's mom's piano tracks; and the Notre Dame Glee Club songs, which took me right back to South Bend, Indiana.


There weren't too many things I loved about the other side of the street, but I did love going to the Glee Club's annual Christmas concert. I can remember them coming into the still-dark auditorium singing Wassail. A couple times I got to hear Lux Aramunque, an Eric Whitacre song that I loved  from my high school chorus-groupie days (I didn't ever sing, but basically all of my best friends were in chorus). It was also great when the Glee Club came caroling at each of the dorms at Saint Mary's, singing all the carols with funny twists- making a tunnel for unsuspecting girls that wandered in during the singing,  And oh man, how I miss my old dorm, Holy Cross, with it's huge entryway featuring a double staircase, St. George slaying the dragon statue, and dark, dark, wood everywhere. So when one of their songs came up on my playlist, I got that nostalgic feeling for school that pops up every now and then. Those songs are what winter in South Bend sounds like to me.

So this is dedicated to all you SMC women who I know are feeling the same nostalgia... and to that awesome tree (first picture) on the island that they cut down. I took these pictures 4 years ago, when we were little freshie babies not yet knowing the winter wrath South Bend could unleash (what were we doing out in the snow in formal dresses?).

Geesh. Who knew it would be possible to actually miss being in a South Bend winter?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Operation Organize Life

1. Clean room (really, this time)
2. Get rid of more clothes to giveaway to charity
3. Do the handwash laundry that I hate to do
4. Send thank you letters and emails to all the wonderful people that let me stay with them in Amsterdam, Belgium, Italy, UK
5. Send catch-up emails to those on my list
5. Think about a "real" job
6. Ponder what a "real" job that I would actually like might be
7. Search for "real" job
8. Find more temp work in the meantime
9. Create an online photography portfolio
10. Look for local art fairs
11. Experiment with printing my photographs from different online sources
12. Find an old school darkroom
13. Find out how long it is until Christmas
14. CRAP. Only 13 days and 45 minutes?! Write Christmas list down from the ideas in my head
15. Buy presents
16. Make presents
17. Do stuff on the computer then GET OFF.

Estimated time of completion: 2015.

My motto:

Image source
Really though. I accomplish more this way. Example A: I have 9 tabs open on Firefox right now. You see how much I'm getting done, right?

CRAP. Only 13 days and 32 minutes til Christmas now...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Longwood Gardens

On Thanksgiving day I ran around with some of the family at Longwood Gardens in Wilmington, Delaware.
Isn't it gorgeous? We got to go in a bunch of huge treehouses. When it got dark, everything was glowing in Christmas lights.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dinner: Linguine with Spinach, Etc.

I've been trying to eat more healthy spinach lately. You can throw a whole bag in the pan and it will wilt down to hardly anything in a matter of minutes. The other day I cooked up some linguine and paired it with sauteed spinach and garlic in roasted red pepper bruschetta topping. It was delicious.

I made a slight variation of that dish for dinner last night: sauteed spinach with roasted red peppers, chopped onions, a bit of extra jarred spaghetti sauce, and some left over red wine. I like to throw the pasta in the skillet before serving it. That way it gets better coated with sauce and picks up and extra juices or flavors left in the pan.

Pair with parmesan cheese and a bit of lonely and delicious prosecco won from a work training the other night, and you have yourself a delicious dinner.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Calendar for December

I accidentally missed a work shift last week (very bad). To keep myself more in check, and because beautiful/interesting calendars rock, I decided to make my own. OK, so it's not a whole calendar, but it is this month: December.

I set up a work station on my desk armed with: paper, a bone folder (for ripping the sheet of paper in half), blue and silver ink, quills, watercolors, paint brushes, a pen, and a cup for water (Pascucci! Yes. See this or this oldie.) I'm still figuring out just how to use a quill, but here goes...

The process:
-Rip paper to a good size
-Paint "December 2011" in watercolor
-Create ink splatters
-Draw lines for days in pen, spaced about 1cm apart
-Write dates and day abbreviations in ink (distinguish weekends with dots)
-With the extra line add a quote pertaining to December
-Add important days

Not perfect, but I think it turned out pretty well. If I had to do it over (or for next month), I would scratch the watercolor and change the "December 2011" to ink to match the more thin, delicate nature of the rest of the calendar.

 "In the depth of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." Albert Camus (Inspired by this beautiful set of work.)