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Archive for December, 2006

Show us an unforgettable memory from 2006.  

I turned 30 on April 28.  So, to celebrate, we went whitewater rafting on the 29th – a double run on the Lower New River in West Virginia.  I highly recommend Appalachian Wild Waters, and ask for John as your guide.  The double run at Lower New meant that it was all whitewater, all the time.  We rafted down the Lower New once, had lunch (food never tasted so goooood), then went back and DID IT AGAIN.  The longest stretch of quiet was maybe 3 minutes worth of lazy paddling.  Then we'd hit the rapids.  When we went, it was mostly Class IV rapids, so that meant a lot of trying not to pee oneself or fall out of the raft.

It was the BEST way to spend a birthday, ever. 

Sorry for the shit pics – they're from the website.  I ought to buy a couple of the prints, but damn, I'm a cheap ass.

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P.S. I only know how to doggie paddle.  I have to say that the fear of drowning added to the thrill.

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I bet you didn't.

His name is Chad, and he's a day shift manager. 

Chad is awesome.

That is all.

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It was a blast from the past – four dark brown, sugar encrusted spheres a bit larger than a golf ball lay in a plastic sandwich bag on my mom's kitchen table.  It was tsokolate from Bulacan. 

It brought back memories of my childhood in the Philippines, of holidays filled with food and traditions.  I remember decorating the house with parol that we've used for as long as I remember, patching holes or repairing loose wiring.  I remember putting up the old, rickety plastic tree and decorating it with colored glass balls older than I was. 

I remember going to midnight masses with my grandmother, wearing my best clothing, shivering from the cool, early morning air.  I remember walking back to our house and passing by tienda that were selling bibingka or puto bumbong, filling the air with that sweet, mouthwatering fragrance and the unmistakable scent of charred banana leaves and wood smoke. 

We would get ready for Noche Buena, cooking our favorite Filipino food, and bringing out the canned goods served only on special occassions.  Yes, Spam, canned ham and vienna sausages were treats when I was growing up. If we were very lucky, we would have all three on the table. 

But most of all, I remember tsokolate the way grandma would make it.  It was served during Christmas only, as it was too dear to serve often.  She would use tableas or the balls of tsokolate, adding canned milk, water and tiny bit of sugar to sweeten.  She'd stand by the gas burner, stirring and beating with the batidor until the tsokolate thickened and darkened – I can still smell that bitter-milky-sweet odor that whafted from the kitchen.  Then she'd stir in local made peanut butter right before serving.  That first sip of liquid, so hot it would always burn my tongue no matter how careful I was, was a mouthful of Christmas. 

I've lived in the U.S. for almost 20 years, but that memory of tsokolate is still so clear.  And this year, we're going to have a piece of home for the holidays.   

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Who wants to ride my glider, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind styleee? 

God, I'm such a nerd.

 

 

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Charlie Brown Christmas – performed by the cast of Scrubs

 

Favorite part:  "All I'm sayin', Baby, is that you wearin' all those layers is tough on me.  You with your sweater, and your thermals and your jacket, hiding all your goodies and whatnots."

AWESOME. 

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What books did you love as a child will always be in your (mental and personal) library? 
Submitted by hearts

 

My taste in reading when I was a kid leaned towards fantasy and mystery and gothic romances.  Oh, who am I fooling?  I still love these books.

Much like Chayenne, I adore The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper.  It's still one of the series I pull out when I'm at home with nothing else to read.  I bought the series when I was back in 7th grade, and they had one of those Scholastic book fair things.  I saw it on their little catalogue and begged my mom to get me the set.  I still have a couple of books from that set, but had to replace Silver on a Tree, The Grey King and The Dark is Rising since the pages were starting to fall apart. Chayenne made my day because she told me there was a movie slated for release in 2007.  Bad news? The director sucks.  I hope they replace his ass and find someone who loves and respects the books.

Then there's Robin Mckinley's The Blue Sword and Hero and the Crown.  Those books were always overdue at the library because I would keep them and never return.  I also loved Beauty: A retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast.  I thought Disney had totally stolen the idea of a smart, book obsessed Belle from this book.  When I was in high school, Deerskin was released – another favorite.

I read Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre when I was in 7th grade, and fell utterly in love with Rochester. 

I adored the Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder not only because I was utterly obsessed with everything and anything pertaining to Ancient Egyptian, but also because I thought the illustrations were awesome.  I bought a copy to give to my niece, and ended up reading it a few times before wrapping it up.

To go along with the Ancient Egyptian theme, there was Eloise Jarvis McGraw's Mara, Daughter of the Nile.  Intrigue, betrayal, politics, class issues and romance!  Who could resist?

I was obsessed with Lloyd Alexander's Vesper Holly adventures.  I THINK I still have copies at my parents' place.

I read all of the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators books: I thougth they were even better than Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys.  Why? Because the investigators got to ride around in a fancy limo (they won some sort of contest) and had a secret base under a pile of junk.  I'm so sad these books are now out of print.

I'm sure there are more, but these were the books that immediately sprang to mind when I saw this QOTD. 

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Because I love you all so very much, and want only the very best for you during this holiday season, I present to you the most heart warming and touching* music.    I'm going to need to put this on my Creative Zen and play it during our holiday parties.  Thank you, Steve, for the heads up.

 

* by this I of course mean godawful, painful, ear splitting.

 

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