Saturday, December 30, 2006

very merry

i risked the insanity of the crowds at Magic Kingdom today to see the decorations & Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parade. so worth it!







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Christmas: two by two

two incredible & generous people

two very special Christmas celebrations

two mind-blowing meals

two favorite photos

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ouch.

the unsuspecting victim
(apologies to anyone who is foot-squeamish)


the culprit
which decided to lodge itself in the victim with no warning or apparent motive

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Stuff Portrait Fridays: December 30, 2006



Last SPF of 2006!!!!

1. Something that you won’t have in your home in 2007

2. Something random and odd

3. 07…..pick seven of something. Or with the number 7. Whatever. Be creative.

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1. Something that you won’t have in your home in 2007 - out to the dumpster tomorrow!


2. Something random and odd - this would be a hungry armadillo that i frequently open my front door to find!


3. 07…..pick seven of something. Or with the number 7. Whatever. Be creative. - seven.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

tagged. twice.

Marianne and Lisa both tagged me a little over a week ago, but the approaching holiday & travel preparations had me a little busy and then i was away for a few days. i am just now getting caught up again.

i'll start with Marianne's tag.

Here are the rules/requirements -

1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, go down to the 4th sentence.
3. Post the text of the following 3 sentences on your blog.
4. Name of the book and the author.
5. Tag three people of your own.

the three sentences:
"...Got the old boy wearing golf shirts and eating at the country club. He told his buddies he takes Viagra every day."
"Atta boy."

the title of the book:
The Summons

the author:
John Grisham

the three people i tag:
Andie (who i haven't tagged in quite a while)
Nichole (because this is a quick & easy tag that she might actually have time for since she's been so busy lately)
Michelle (just to see if she's paying attention)

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

and now for Lisa's tag.

A - Available or single: you know to almost everyone else, i bet these appear to be the same thing. i am here to tell you that they are in fact *not* the same at all! yes, i am single, but i am most certainly *not* available.
B - Best friend: irreplaceable, cherished & loved with all my heart
C - Cake or pie: a slice of warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream sounds really good right now...
D - Drink of choice: great big glass of nice cold water, please
E - Essential item you use everyday: cell phone! how *did* i ever live without this little thing...?
F - Favorite color: if i have to pick just one, a deep rich red
G - Gummy bears or worms: not really crazy about gummy anything. i kind of like the sour gummies though. shape doesn't really matter.
H - Hometown: Bristol, CT
I - Indulgence: in a word, chocolate
J - January or February: February
K - Kids & names: i don't have any kids so i guess it would kind of strange if they had names, wouldn't it? =P some names i like though are Claire, Emma, Meghan & Lauren for girls and Jack, Aaron & Ryan for boys.
L - Life is incomplete without? love
M - Marriage date: ummmmm... yeah.
N - Number of siblings: i have two younger brothers. one full. one half.
O - Oranges or apples: apples. crisp, crunchy & a little tart.
P - Phobias or fears: hurting someone i love. being a disappointment. gross bugs, like spiders & roaches.
Q - Fave quote: "Whatever souls are made of, his & mine are the same." (Emily Bronte)
R - Reasons to smile: ::eyes shine:: yes i do...
S - Season: Autumn in New England
T - Tag 3 or 4 people: Chele. Jamie. and Heather since she hasn't blogged in almost a month.
U - Unknown fact about me: i taught myself to read before i started kindergarten.
V - Vegetable you don't like: i am rapidly running out of vegetables i can claim i don't like. i can't even say brussel sprouts anymore, since the ones Daniel made for Christmas dinner were delicious. i think i am down to mashed winter squash at this point...
W - Worst habit: second-guessing myself
X - Xrays: just my teeth, i believe...
Y - Your fave food: i just can't pick a favorite...
Z - Zodiac sign: Libra

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Dawn's Thursday Thirteen, Edition Seventeen: In Review...




Thirteen Favorite Photos I Took in 2006



1)


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6)


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8)


9)


10)


11)


12)


13)


and a bonus photo that is a favorite, but obviously not one i actually took myself...



Links to other Thursday Thirteens!


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



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taking the plunge

i know a few of you had been expressing concern about switching over to the new version of Blogger. once they stopped calling it "beta," i decided to jump over, before they start requiring it & there are tons of people all trying to change at once.

now. you all have heard on many occasions that i am borderline neurotic about my blog, since it has been so customized. i have to tell you -- everything went without a hitch (though it took a couple of hours to process since my little blog has a whole freaking lot of Dawn-chatter in it!). i didn't even have to tell it to use the "classic" template model; it did everything itself! i have a current copy of my template saved all the time anyway, so i wasn't *too* worried, but it went smoothly & i've been over here a week now!

go ahead, make the switch. it's not as scary as you think it is, i promise!

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what a wild & crazy ride



and it doesn't look like it's letting up now, as the Patriots lurch into some post season play. i will admit that part of me is surprised that they've even made it this far at all, between the receiver issues this season & the uncharacteristically sloppy play & the Boston plague of injuries (which is apparently not specific to only the Red Sox). not to mention the second half run by the Bills & Jets, when i started having flashbacks on the AL East standings at the end of baseball season.

i didn't watch a single snap on Sunday, being caught up in Christmas Eve preparations & celebrations. i also had some serious doubts about the Patriots coming up against the Jaguars, who effectively squashed the Colts in Week 14. i got even *more* discouraged, when i was listening to the scores on Monday & i heard that almost all the away teams won on Sunday. (for some strange reason, i was initially thinking they were playing in Foxboro.) somehow though, in true Patriot fashion, they pulled off a win & clinched the division. i have the game DVR'd (since they were televising it locally but i wasn't in Florida for Christmas) & i wasn't sure i was going to watch it, but now i think i will, just because all accounts of this game were that it was a real nail biter. (and what better nail biter to watch than one you know ends well, right?) so now it matters less (only to playoff seeding, really) how New England does this week against Tennessee, but i think it would be cool if the Patriots could have wins against 3 of the 4 teams that beat the Colts this year. (for those of you not retaining such useful information, the Colts lost to the Jaguars, Titans & Texans, and the Patriots won their match-ups against the Texans two weeks ago & the Jaguars this past week; they face the Titans on Sunday to close out their regular season. the Colts also lost to Dallas, but the Patriots weren't scheduled to meet the Cowboys this season.) that would *almost* make me feel vindicated for falling to Older Doofus Spawn & his overrated "unbeatable" team, that is, interestingly, going into the final week of the season with the exact same 11-4 record as my New England Patriots! =P

we won't even talk about the panic i am feeling about the playoffs (please don't make us play the Broncos again in the post season), although i will admit that this snippet from an NFL.com article helped a tiny bit:
FIVE REASONS WHY …
…the New England Patriots will advance past the first round of the playoffs:
•Bill Belichick's coaching.
Tom Brady returning to his consistently efficient form as he continues to jell with his receivers.
Laurence Maroney and Corey Dillon combining for a solid running game.
•A defense that can rise to the occasion and force mistakes by even the most experienced quarterbacks, not to mention some of the younger ones who could end up in the playoffs.
•The overall experience and savvy of a team familiar with postseason pressure.


i had such a wonderful Christmas that i really don't mind not having watched any football this past weekend (shhh... don't tell anyone, but i actually didn't even think of it until *Monday* & then only because someone put it on the tv!) -- other than i would have loved to see this dejected pair slinking back into the locker room after the 5-10 Texans took out their frustrations of last week's 40-7 loss that they sustained at the hands of the Patriots.


and by some bizarre twist of fate (and a seriously pathetic NFC), the Packers managed to squeak out a win on Thursday night to remain alive in the wild card race, even if their pulse is weakening. crazy that not one, but *five* 7-8 NFC teams are vying for that sixth seeding. the Packers *must* win & then the following scenarios could bring them a playoff berth: a NY Giants win with Green Bay clinching the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over the Giants; a NYG loss & a Carolina win; a NYG loss & an Atlanta win; or losses by both the Giants & the St Louis Rams. ::crosses fingers... and toes, for good measure::


should anyone be looking for me, i will be over here, breathing slowly into a paper bag for a while...

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

it shouldn't matter

and normally it doesn't. not at all.

but every once in a while, something happens, like i get a Christmas card in the mail & i realize that even most of my younger cousins are at least engaged, if not already married & starting families.

and i realize that i'm not.

i start to hate all the "so... when is it your turn?" lines of questioning. and i start to feel like i've somehow failed.

it shouldn't matter. and normally it doesn't. but every once in a while, something happens and... suddenly it *does*.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holidays Around the World: Canada




from the waterways of eastern Newfoundland to the snowcapped mountains of British Columbia, the Christmas holidays hold special magic for the vast expanse of Canada. although favorite traditions such as awaiting Santa Claus, trimming the evergreen and singing Christmas carols are similar to those commonly found in the United States and Europe, Canada has many unique holiday traditions as well.

in some traditional Canadian homes, Santa enlists the help of devilish creatures called Belsnickles to determine which children are "naughty or nice." the Belsnickles supposedly enter the homes of naughty boys & girls to cause mischief. even Canada's Inuit children are visited by mysterious creatures called Naluyuks who travel from house to house. the children must sing Christmas carols to appease the Naluyuks, who pound sticks on the floor before questioning the children about their behavior. when the children say they've been good (which they always do!), the Naluyuks open special gift bags full of wonderful presents.

in Québec, Le Réveillon, a sumptuous traditional French dinner, is served after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

on December 26, Canada celebrated Boxing Day in honor of the ancient English tradition of giving filled Christmas boxes to the poor as well as to servants & tradesmen for their help during the year.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Holidays Around the World: United Kingdom



many wonderful Christmas traditions originated in the countries of the United Kingdom. Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales each have unique holiday customs, and many of these have been shared worldwide. well known Christmas carols, such as "Deck the Halls" and "Here We Come a Wassailing" were first sung in the United Kingdom. the Christmas card tradition also began in the United Kingdom. in 1843, John Calcott Horsley sent a card depicting an English family brimming with cheer to his friend Sir Henry Cole. this original card caught the attention of a British giftbook company, which published a thousand lithographed copies & sold them for a shilling each.

not surprisingly, the hanging of mistletoe is one of the United Kingdom's oldest & most popular traditions, dating back to the Druidic ceremonies of the winter solstice. each time a kiss was claimed under the mistletoe, a young man would pick off one berry. the kissing would end when all the berries were gone!

for children, Father Christmas, with his long white beard, green robe & crown of holly, is still treasured as the jolly gift-bearer who brings holiday joy to the well-behaved.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holidays Around the World: France



the magic of Christmas can be seen everywhere in France. the shops & baraques (booths) along the beautiful boulevards are brimming with toys, glittering lights, and Christmas decorations of every imaginable kind. children eagerly await Le Père Noël (Father Christmas), who will arrive on Christmas Eve to deliver wonderful presents.

Most churches & homes have a beautiful nativity scene called the Crèche; sometimes a special Yule log is also burned on the fire. after families return from Midnight Mass, they enjoy a feast called Le Réveillon, which consists of ham, goose, oysters, salads, cheese, champagne, and Bûche de Noël (a delicious cake in the shape of a Yule log). children then set out their shoes around the Christmas tree in great anticipation of Le Père Noël in the hope that he will fill them with goodies!

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Holidays Around the World: Morocco



Morocco celebrates the Islamic holiday of Ramadan during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. Ramadan is a time for worship & contemplation, inner reflections, devotion to God, and self-control. Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset, focusing on prayer & spiritual growth during the daylight hours. at the end of each day, Muslims break their fast with a meal called the iftar. following the custom of Prophet Muhammad, the fast is often broken with dates, then followed by a prayer and dinner. Muslims also generally have a pre-fast meal, called the suhoor, which occurs before dawn.

the evening of the 23rd day of the month, or Laylat-al-Qadr ("the Night of Decree"), is a very special day in which all sins are forgiven and any good deed returned multi-fold. this night is believed to be the one on which Muhammad first received the revelation of the Holy Koran.

the day after Ramadan ends, Muslims celebrate a holiday called Id-al-Fitr, a three-day "Feast of Fast Breaking." during this time, gifts are exchanged, large meals consumed, and the company of family and friends enjoyed.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

the season of giving?

so we got this Christmas card in the mail at work today. no one recognized the sender. it was some local church (and i won't elaborate any more than that...).

inside the card was a pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope to send a donation.

i don't even know what else to say to that.

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Holidays Around the World: Japan



O-Shōgatsu, which lasts from January1 - January 3, is the traditional Japanese New Year. it is a time for reflection, family, friends, delicious food, and fun!

an important New Year symbol & good luck charm for the Japanese is the Daruma doll, which has no pupils in its eyes. the custom is to make a wish & paint in the left eye. if your wish comes true before the end of the year, you paint in the other eye.

Daruma dolls have no arms or legs because they are modelled after the legend of Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk, who traveled to the northern Chinese kingdom of Wei, to a cave near the Shaolin Monastery, where he faced a wall in meditation for nine years, not speaking for the entire time. according to the legend, his limbs atrophied after nine years of sitting, which is why Japanese Daruma dolls have no arms or legs & appear much like a child's punching doll. because of the low center of gravity, the Daruma doll will return to its upright position after being tilted to the side. it has become sybmolic for optimism & strong determination, and reinforces the concepts of patience & persistence. as the Japanese say: "Nana Korobi, ya oki" which means, "Knocked down seven times, get up eight."

bell ringing is also a big part of O-Shōgatsu. the Japanese New Year is announced by bell ringing at the Buddhist temples throughout the country. a special New Year's decoration called the kadomatsu appears at the front entrance to many homes. the kadomatsu's plum blossom, which grows even in cold weather, symbolizes hope for the new year. Its pine branch represents everlasting strength, and the straight bamboo represents rapid growth. everyone in Japan enjoys the spirit of O-Shōgatsu and the symbolism & beautiful customs of the New Year.

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