Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Best of 2009

Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery and the worst of this fairly wretched year; I not only quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, I seldom bring them up in the first place. A partial, prejudiced and completely random list . . .

Best Trip: June 2009 -- St. Lou and Chi-Town to see Flicka and Dad

Best New Restaurant: A Terrible Beauty (Irish) in Renton, WA

Best Roger Kimball Read: The Rape of the Masters . . . wait . . . Tenured Radicals . . . wait . . . The Lives of the Mind . . . yikes! They're all good!

Best Sunday School Lesson: The Good Samaritan (I don't think the kids ever were as enraptured during Bible story time as when I gave my dramatic interpretation of this parable)

Best New Kitchen Discovery: King Arthur Flour (Thanks, Vermont! I owe you for this and vermonster)

Best New Album: Love Was Here First by Carolyn Arends (with Make Yourself Known by The Clumsy Lovers coming in a close second)

Best New Christmas Album: Christmastide by Bob Bennett

Best Online Store From Which to Buy Great Music and Books: Feed the Lake

Best Airline: Alaska Airlines (funny how that keeps its #1 spot year after year . . .)

Best Completely Addictive Mid-Afternoon Snack: New York Style Focaccia Sticks

Best Blogger & Friend Returning from Nearly Two Years of Silence to the World Wide Web: Flicka Spumoni

Best Newly Discovered Political Blog: Conservatives 4 Palin

Best Children's Book Series: Ivy and Bean Books by Annie Barrows (Chronicle Books)

Best Quote I Heard this Year: When the Father laughs at the Son and the Son laughs back at the Father, that laughter gives pleasure, that pleasure gives joy, that joy gives love, and that love is the Holy Spirit. -- Meister Eckhart (read in Tony Hendra's Father Joe)

Best Chesterton-Oriented Happening: Seattle's hosting the American Chesterton Society's annual conference (though, my being asked to write a review of Orthodoxy comes pretty close, as well)

Best Three Year Old: Rylee

Best Six-and-a-Half Year Old: Sadie

Best Beer: Harp

Best Wine: Chateau St. Michelle's Riesling

Best Bread: Mantovana

Best Big Purchase: My purple bike!

Best Little Purchase: Love Was Here First by Carolyn Arends

Best Play: Around the World in 80 Days (Taproot Theatre)

Best Thing I Saw Sadie Do: Learn to ride horses this summer

Best Thing I Heard Rylee Do: Sing her ABC's

Best Movie I Saw in the Theater: Up!

Best Movie I Saw on Video: Ghost Town

Best New Acquaintance of 2009: Flicka's Mom (everything she writes there is right, you know)

Best New (to me) Read About Jane: A Fine Brush on Ivory by Richard Jenkyns

Best New Joke About Justine for Family and Friends to Re-Visit Year After Year for the Rest of Her Life: My tragi-comedic inability to comprehend the workings of a candy thermometer.

Best New (to me) Author Who is Luckily Outrageously Prolific Thereby Giving Me the Delightful Anticipation of Many Happy Reading Hours: P.G. Wodehouse (Thanks, Roger Kimball!) (from Jason -- with sarcasm: Thanks, Roger Kimball.)

Best Hopes for 2010: The love of Jesus changing every heart and manifesting itself in every life across this planet (most important); continued health and safety of family and friends (almost as important); a new Congress (least important, but, unfortunately, still important).

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I love Christmas! Here are some photos to share the love with family and friends who stop by:

In early December we whisked Sadie away on a surprise 3-day trip to Disneyland Parks in Anaheim, CA!
Happy girl by the RR tracks -- the DISNEYLAND RR tracks!

Waiting in line for "California Screamin'" at Disney's California Adventure Park. She's finally tall enough to tackle this most exhilerating of roller coasters.

A meeting with "Christmas in Hawaii" Donald at Disney's California Adventure.

A must-have hug between Sadie & Tigger = 2 quite wonderful things!

Even the letters in the breezeway betwixt Disneyland and California Adventure were dressed for Christmas!

Then, it was back home for the regular Christmas time stuff:

Sadie sitting on the entryway steps: "Mom, I like these jeans because they make me look like a teenager." God help me.

You may remember Rylee and Sadie's attempt to construct a gingerbread house in 2008.

Here they attempt a second venture in Ginger Realty.

This time with far better success.

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care . . ."

"O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum! Wie treu sind deine Blätter!"

And, of course, Old Saint Nick himself gets a special place at Christmas time.

The couch is adorned for the season.

We were again blessed by my parents' making the trek westward to spend Christmas with us. Here they and Sadie await eagerly the production of "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" by Taproot Theatre. Such a delightful show!

Sadie cuddles her BIG Christmas present this year -- a Holland Lop bunny named Kona. If you are in need of such a sweet and gentle pet, and you live in Western Washington, be sure to get yours from "The Bunny Whisperer" at Dragonfly Hollands in Snohomish, WA. She raises exceptional bunnies.
And, who's to say there wasn't a bunny or two in that famous Bethlehem stable?
"Getting to know you . . . getting to like you, getting to hope you like me . . ."
A brand-new Ivy and Bean book to read and a lap bunny -- life is good for Christmas Sadie!

How Christmas morning always ends at our house -- everyone quietly and contentedly reading his or her new books. And drinking coffee. And usually listening to some beautiful Christmas music in the background. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Two Conversations

Rylee and Sadie happen to be adorable and also quite small. They are never trivial.

We were driving to Rylee's house the other day so that she could nap in her own bed -- or, rather, by her door, for that is where she likes to sleep. We passed by the Safeway. Rylee started yelling, "Turn left! Turn left!"

"No," I replied, perplexed, "We're going to your house for night-night."

"Can we go to the grocery store after night-night, 'Tines?" She calls me 'Tines. :-)

"What do you need at the grocery store?" I queried.

"Suckers." Kids are great!

"And how are you going to get these suckers?" I teased. "Do you have some money?"

"No, I don't have any money," Rylee replied. "Do you have money, 'Tines?"

"No, I don't have any money either. How are we going to get some money to go buy suckers?"

Rylee looked quite thoughtful. "Um . . . um . . ." I waited to see what she would say.

Very serious and concerned, Rylee slowly sighed, "I don't know."

And don't you wish you could be three again? Just for one day?

That same night, I was driving Sadie home after a trip to the grocery store where we did not buy suckers, but rather nutritious food like Pirate's Booty. As I was looking straight ahead, my hands ten and two on the steering wheel, cautiously within the speed limit, Sadie said, "Hey, Mom! What does this mean?"

"What does what mean?" I returned, my eyes responsibly glued to the road.

"Well, look, Mom. This." And, I will admit, I quickly flitted my eyes from the road and toward the back seat where I saw Sadie's nimble middle finger boldly extended in my direction. OK, so I laughed. Sue me.

"Where did you see that?" I spluttered.

"Some kid at school got in trouble because of it. He wasn't in my grade -- maybe fourth grade? Anyway, Delaney and Carter both know what it means, but they won't tell me. Why is it bad? What does it mean?"

"I'm not going to tell you. Just don't do it. It is a crude and profane gesture and not something that a lady does."

"Well, I'm not a lady, and I want to know what it means. It's not fair that Delaney and Carter both know and I don't. Tell me."

"No I will not. I hope you will grow up into a lady, someday, and will never use that gesture. You will find out in time what it means, but not from me."

Sadie argued with me the rest of the way home, which, thankfully, only took about five minutes. Once home, I distracted her with candy, and she has not brought it up since. But, don't you wish you could be six again? Just for one day?