Sunday, December 23, 2007

Have yourself . . .

a Merry Little Christmas. Let your heart be light. . . So goes the song that I'm listening to at this very moment. As a musician, it is music that truly puts me in the holiday spirit. Nothing de-stresses me more and nothing touches my heart more than the music. I have managed to avoid feeling stressed this holiday season. I come in from work and crank up the music while I complete some of my holiday tasks. Favorites? Well--I absolutely love the Cambridge Singers. They are a traditional chorale from England, conducted by the one and only John Rutter. Their CD's contain traditional Renaissance motets and traditional carols from different countries as well as Christmas pieces composed by Rutter and his arrangements of traditional carols. The first time I heard his arrangements of Silent Night and O Holy Night, I was literally moved to tears. I love his concept of a choral sound, his use of moving harmony parts and his typical instrumental grouping of strings, oboe, flue, French horn and harp. This music sends my soul soaring to heights unknown! I don't think my family appreciates these CD's the way I do. My other favorite Christmas albums include Mel Torme, The Manhattan Transfer, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Diana Krall, and Harry Connick Jr. We have a tradition at our house of listening to A Billboard Christmas when we open our gifts. This started when the kids were little when we played the cassette. I was delighted to find this one on CD. It has all the pop favorites including--yes, I hate to admit it--Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer and the Chipmunks Song! As you can see, we have rather eclectic musical taste!

So I got up, fixed my latte, put on Mel Torme and did some flower arranging which included this:
I also did two small vases in the living room. I had ventured downtown Silver Spring to the huge Whole Foods their on Friday after work and went nuts in their flower dept.! I have no clue what the white things are but they looked nice and wintery with the red roses. I also put fresh greens and holly around the house as the stuff I had put out a couple of weeks ago was dried up!

Speaking of Friday, Pheelya, Tracey, a former work colleague, Ems, KC, Josh (one of their friends), and I met at the Rams Head for happy hour! They have the best specialty martinis there! Last night, while decorating the tree, I attempted to replicate one of them at home. It's close but I have to tweak it. It is called a Pamatini. Here is my rendition:

2 oz. Pama (pomagranate liquer)
1 1/2 oz. premium vodka
1 1/2 oz peach schnapps
2 oz. pineapple juice

Place in shaker with ice; shake well, strain into martini glasses.

I think it needs a little less pama and vodka--perhaps reducing each by a half an ounce. The color was a little darker than the ones at Rams Head, but it was pretty darn close!

My other favorite coctail is a Pear Cosmopolitan. Ems turned me on to those. Basically you just order a cosmopolitan and ask them to make it with pear vodka. Here's my recipe for those:

3 oz. cranberry juice
1 1/2 ounce Grey Goose Pear Vodka
1 oz. Grand Marnier
Lime juice (optional)

Place in shaker with ice; shake well, strain into martini glasses.

That Grey Goose pear vodka is wicked stuff! And I mean "wicked" in a good way!

I have to wrap gifts today. I started yesterday. I got a phone call and when I went back into my bedroom to resume wrapping, I found this:

Needless to say, it was the usual suspect! I guess Greg thinks we can't see him there! Who knows what goes on between those little feline ears! In Greg's case, not much. He's a lover, not a thinker!

We will be changing some of our long standing traditions this year. We always go to the children's mass on Christmas Eve then to the Olive Garden for dinner afterward. We've done this for about 18 years! Bird and Maddy won't be getting in until late Christmas Eve so they won't be able to join us. Hopefully Ems and KC will be able to. If not, then we will start some new traditions. I'm so glad we are flexible. I've watched relatives get very upset when traditions cannot be kept because children grow up and go their own way. That's part of life. I feel so fortunate that my children actually want to spend time with us. I don't want to pressure them for the sake of tradition. This time of year is about treasuring family. Traditions are secondary.

I always tease Bird by putting clean sheets on his bed, turning them down and putting a mint there. This is because he comes home and we don't see him. I typed up a little card that said "Turn down service provided by Mom." Please call the front desk if we can provide any more service. Refer any complaints to Dad."

I probably won't blog until after Christmas. We have a full day that day and we hope to go to the movies as well!

The tree looks nice, but I still need to add more. DH collects Hallmark ornaments whereas I like handcrafted ones and often purchase mine at galleries. As the Crazy Cat Lady, I have a lot of kitty ornaments on my tree. I also collect snowman. I leave you with some photos of my collections:

Two other favorites:
A fairy made out of Polymer Clay and feathers:

And one with a political twist:

Which leads me right into:

Bushism of the day:
"I want to thank you for taking time out of your day to come and witness my hanging." —George W. Bush, at the dedication of his portrait, Austin, Texas, Jan. 4, 2002

For bonus "W" holiday "humor" go here.

Kitty Cam:
There are three kitties basking in this photo! Can you find them?

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!


  1. i'd love to witnes his hanging oops did i say that on christmas. love love the sound sof the pama martinin umm i have plans for a french martinin for myslef later on toady have a very merry and happy!

  2. Hope you had a great Christmas!! Thanks for the cocktail recipe and the pics of the ornaments - I have a lot of kitty ornaments too and I liked seeing yours. We collect our ornaments from different places we go on vacation too. I like your thoughts on the relative importance of tradition - it's nice, but it's not the main thing.