Friday, December 30, 2005

Try this

FaceRecognition

Click on the link, upload a snapshot of yourself, and it tells you what celebrity you look like.

Mine said the following (because the picture I used had a very wide smile, and each photo matched did too)

  • Chelsea Clinton (gah!)
  • Mariah Carey( I wish)
  • Sigourney Weaver (Beth said no way)

PS: I found this on Jane's blog

It's OTT in here

I got an Ott Lite and I have to say, it is awesome. I 'll definitely start working on my projects more often in the evenings. (The beads I bought last spring are calling my name, and I'm about 3,000 pictures behind in my scrapbooks.)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Not quite resolved

I have mixed feelings as New Year's Eve approaches. I just don' t know if I want to watch Seacrest and Hilary and Dick Clark.

No, really. It's the whole "resolutions" thing. That's right, no pressure there. This coming year is the year you're going to finally fit that perfect size ten dress, and pay off all your credit cards, and quit smoking, and stop slipping 98% empty peanut butter jars and salad dressing bottles into the middle of the garbage bag because you can't stand to wash them out and recycle them.

You're going to stop screening your calls because you WILL get along with every family member (even THAT one), you'll never miss church on Sunday, and in your spare time you'll finally finish all of those projects that are stashed in your hobby area.

Are you exhausted yet? I am. Where is the reality check? The reality for me is that I will NOT work out an hour a day. My kids will be the reason, or the excuse. They'll come home from school demanding my attention and it will be round 8,492 of Good Mommy vs Time For Me Because I Am Important Too Mommy. Some measurement on or near my waist will probably stay aproximately the same number as my age. I will spend too much time blogging.

And yet there is something about the shiny blank new calendar I hung up tonight, some tiny whiff of hope emanating from the pages. (Ink fumes. I know...) Something about a clean slate hidden in all of those empty squares.

Maybe this WILL be the year that I finally incorporate exercise into my life. One tiny step at a time. (Suzy's got my back to the wall. "You can spend as much time as you want on the computer. You just have to spend an equal amount of time working out.")

At least I don't smoke. Ahah! I resolve that I won't take up smoking.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

No more donuts


Michale Vale
has died. The end of an era! Did you know he appeared in over 1300 commercials??

He really was an Everyman sort of character, who reminds me something of my Dad. For 25 years Dad worked the midnight shift at a factory where fabulous chocolate chip cookies are made. People like them help make the world go round.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Only 363 days till next Christmas

My eight year old son is kicking our BUTTS on Grand Turismo. No one in the house can beat him. Mr. C and I are cursing the thing because we keep going off the roads and ending up facing completely the wrong direction.

In another development, our American Girl apparently has a disturbing habit of cussing. It all started when I heard my daughter running, then a crash in the hallway, and I ran to see if she was OK.

She was sprawled on the floor holding her elbow and crying and the doll (which has been constantly attached to her hip since the other day) was face down on the floor next to her. I picked up Jessica (that's the doll) and asked her what happened. A high-pitched voice replied, "She fell on her ass."

"Jessica!"

"What? Oh shit, I can't talk like that anymore, can I ?"

"NO!"

Well, it made my daughter laugh, anyway.

Coolest Christmas Gift

My sister got me a little extra something this Christmas... a mini Coach bag, for taking care of her when she had her staph infections -- when a little boy puked in the garbage can next to me while I was waiting for hours with her in the ER, I turned to her and said "You owe me big for this" -- at the time, I asked to borrow HER Coach purse for a couple of weeks, and I thought after I did that, that we were even.

Ta-dah:


Nice, huh? (Two of her friends tried to steal it from her before she gave it to me.)


I'm still recovering from an intense case of maxiumus-relativus in-my-homeicus. More later, after a few bottles of wine.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

Something for you to read

Thank you all for visiting my blog. It's been a fun year.

While I'm caught in the tannenbaum tornado these next few days, I'll leave you with this.
(The entire document is much longer and has other elements I didn't even touch on in this excerpt. Please read it all. And thanks to Poly for passing it to me in the first place.)

Excerpted from: http://www.uucb.org/sermons/2005081401 August 14, 2005 Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley © Rev. Barbara Hamilton-Holway


I would like to have it a little more together.

I’d like to meet my challenges, find my way, keep the faith.

I’d like to be more certain of what I’m on earth for and not be so ready to bag it all when push comes to shove.

So I’ve been thinking, what on earth am I here for?

What are we here for?

Imagine seeing yourself and your purpose as assisting, supporting, and encouraging creation.
And witnessing to it

Your purpose is to notice the color purple in a field somewhere.

Life is here to support life. We are to encourage others to be their fullest selves.

Right now someone needs you - your listening ear, your supportive hand.

What a purpose you and I have — to reach out to shape a loving and just world, to nurture one another’s best self, to nurture the best selves of every one, family, friends, and strangers.

We have received so much. From all that we have, we give back, we turn our gifts and passions into work in the world. Not only our gifts and passions, even our sorrows, challenges, weaknesses, and losses can abet creation.

Perhaps even in our suffering and challenges, we can begin to ask, “What can I do with this?” What you do with your gifts and your hardships reflects your priorities, hopes, and dreams; what you do with your life tells who you are.

There is something that is uniquely yours to do. It is truly possible for us to make it through hard times, help others through theirs, and give to make the kind of world we long for.

We are here on earth not to busy ourselves, not, as the Chinese pictograph for “busy” admonishes, to kill the heart. Our purpose is to heal the heart. We are here right now to live with heart in the heart of life.


* * * *

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Don't ask me

A tiny alien being has replaced my son.

Mr. C turned to him at dinner and casually said, "so... why are the altar server robes black and white, Dan?"

Dan launched into a two minute dissertation on how "the black robe represents the fact that Jesus died and was gone for 3 days. The white robe on top is because He came back to life. " It was a lot more detailed than that, but I don't think I understood it all, really.

The whole time, Mr. C's giving me the hairy eyeball and telepathically saying "Can you believe this?"

After dinner Mr. pulled me aside and I said "so whaaat? he learned that in school, right?" Recall, he goes to our parish school.

Apparently, he made it all up. He was wondering why, and that's what he decided it meant. So, he's either going to be a priest, a philosophy professor, or a really good bullshitter.


***


Just before bed, he asked me "why do you measure a snake in inches?" (because they don't have any feet....)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Enough already

WHAT is the nonsense with which retailers are using the word Christmas or not? Don't we all have better ways to use our time and energy?

I think clerks should not have to say anything beyond "thank you for shopping at Carly's Wine & Liquor Shoppe". (Business is great, thanks for asking)

Enough already with demanding to be acknowledged for your own personal religious holiday when you are buying a frivolous consumable item. If you really ARE Christian why do you need to slap other people upside the head with it? Be a Christian, live and let live and be forgiving and love one another instead of picking a really, really stupid argument just to SHOW to everyone that you are Christian with a great big capital C.... stores exist to sell stuff. Kissing the customer's ass should only have to go just so far.

And if you REALLY object to the crass commercialization of your religious holiday, why are you out shopping? What does it matter WHICH retailers use the word "Holidays" instead of Christmas?? Yes in other words I think everyone who CHOOSES to be offended in this situation one way or the other is being silly. Stupid, really.

Why can't people stop making a big deal about this whole thing? Everyone, just say "Happy New Year" or in the words of Bon Jovi*, "Have a nice day" and chill out.

(*Isn't he getting kind of old to still be singing?)

Hi Googlers

what you're looking for is here: Dominick the Donkey

Sheeesh.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Best gift wrapping technique ever

Last year my mother had a little figurine for my sister. It was nice. But what Suzy REALLY needed was cash (who doesn't this time of year?)

My mother packed the little figurine in a box filled with crumpled up one-dollar bills. Who needs tissue paper? Then she wrapped the box, as though nothing unusual was inside. *

Suzy opened it up and screamed "It's a box of money!" and we all laughed hysterically.


* * * * * * * *


*Note, if you are a member of Mr. Carly's family, proper gift wrapping requires the following:
  1. Everything must be in a box. If you are giving a mail order gift that hasn't arrived yet you are obligated to tear a photo of the gift out of said catalog, and place that photo in a box. Recipient MUST have a box to open.
  2. Boxes must be lined with pristine white tissue paper. No re-using.
  3. Box MUST be taped shut on two sides, but preferably all four sides. We do NOT want the present to fall out. We DO want the recipient to get a cardboard cut and/or break a nail trying to get into the gift. Hey, no pain, no gain.
  4. Box must be wrapped neatly. If you have more than one present for someone, the wrap on all of your gifts for them should match, so they know they boxes "go together", even if the gifts are unrelated.
  5. Must have a bow. It must match the paper on the package.
  6. Must tape gift tag to bottom of box, so as not to spoil the appearance of the package.
  7. (Note, all gifts are to be referred to as "packages" and not presents)
  8. Tape Hallmark card costing no less than $3.99 to bottom of package.

Here is how my family wraps a gift:

  1. Roll in whatever tissue paper you have, if you have it
  2. Put in gift bag

Guess which way Yours Truly, who annually wraps 95% of all gifts under my tree, prefers.

Now guess which way I had to actually do it. However, I am done. So there.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Dolcetto



Dolcetto means " Sweet Little One"

Today has been a sad day for me. One of the babies I "met" in the NICU, has passed away last night, and I'm keeping his mother in my thoughts.

Please do the same.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dominick the Donkey Is Out to Get Me

Well I just realized (through my Sitemeter) that people are landing on my page after doing a Google search and trying to find the lyrics to my most favorite song.

Yes, Dominick the Donkey. Eee aw! (You can find the complete lyrics here ; whoever posted them as a comment to my initial blog entry, I'm going to find you and get even somehow...)

It's ironic, because I've really had it JUST ABOUT UP TO HERE with holiday songs, holiday cheer and holiday preparations, thanks....

Hey, at least I'm getting some traffic. :::wink::::

It's Erik's fault

It's Erik's fault
that I made this quiz.

Mine is horribly boring
compared to his

(he got a 30, by the way, in the original edition. See if you can do a little better, K man!!)

Or hey, you could take this one to see which Office Space character you are.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hey Santa

So...

I have been thinking that I'd like to get something like this if it would help me digitally edit baby photos.

This means I have to figure out how to find $200, which probably means I need to spend less time blogging and more time making necklaces, to start selling them. (Or I need to convince Johnny V to find me a good one at a cheaper price. Are you bored with yours yet JV?)

I'm going to mull this over until after Christmas.

Carded

E-cards are sometimes very odd (sorry, Hallmark) , but sometimes the creator does an exceptional job ...someone passed me a link to this one today and I thought it was pretty. Very seasonal.

I also like this one. (I like the reflection of the big tree in the water, and the flowers.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Found

Vaguely like Post Secret... something "found" is posted, apparently daily. Once again Poly is light years ahead of me... (of course!)

click here: Found magazine


Here's an interesting advent calendar I think I wandered to from Dooce somehow:

Leslie Harpold Advent Calendar

Cookie Monster

My very own Post Secret...



I tell Mr. Carly and my kids that they can't eat any of the cookies until Christmas, but I am sneaking a couple every day.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Santa looked a lot like Daddy

(... which is a funny Garth Brooks song for those of you who don't know)

Today in church the priest started off with something about Rudolph and how he lead Santa. There was some parallel to how Jesus was sent to lead us. A little lite humor, I guess.

Mr. Carly asked me what I thought of the sermon. It's really hard for us to hear up in the choir loft because this particular priest's microphone isn't always set right. So I more or less said that I didn't hear it, and he was telling me about it. Midway I blurted out "Rudolph is Jesus??"

It may not convey well but it was hysterical because my son got REAAAAAAAAAALLLLY confused by that one.

Good Old Days



Scrapbooker's nirvana... a whole new box of pictures has been found by my uncle. This is my grandmother, Gertraude.

I know what I'll be doing all January!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

FFF #19

FFF is Flash Fiction Friday. JJ asks us to write an anecdote, short story, etc, beginning with the sentence below. Visit Purgatorian for the details.

*****


I think it was her photograph that made me realize that perhaps I could DO something to help.

When the baby's mother handed that photo to me, I immediately noticed the scar on the child's torso. She'd recently had surgery. Breathing tubes covered most of her mouth.

I thought of the rolls of film I used when my daughter was born. I happily clicked away, every time a new family member arrived to visit and hold her, adorable in her Carter's outfits with teddy bears and yellow rocking horses stitched on the fronts. Those moments were routine, in a way, even though I cherished them all. I had the luxury of dozens of Kodak moments.

The first few days of life are not always a parade of visitors bearing flowers and balloons, and a portrait in the hospital nursery with a special outfit picked out by mom. Sometimes, there are tubes and monitors and a need for critical care from one moment to the next, and being so tiny that most clothing doesn't fit.

"I can edit this," I said, and I did.

I had the mom mail the photo to me. I opened some photo editing software I'd never touched before, and began to experiment. First, the scar. I found a "clone" tool that would take soft, unblemished skin and paint it over that heartbreaking cut. A lump formed in my throat when I began to stroke away that scar, making it look as though the surgery never happened. I wished that I had some magical power, and by simply erasing that mark, I could actually remove it from her delicate skin.

I was trying to make that part of her mother's experience a bit easier. To console her, in some tiny, miniscule way, for the fact that she couldn't just pick up a camera and take a typical snapshot whenever she wanted. That while her baby would have her own portraits, and her own story, I could give her a little bit of something that other moms cherish and take for granted all at once.

There is a photograph I'm working on now. This baby is gravely ill. His mother heard about the work that I do, and asked if I would do a picture for her. How could I say no? What holiday preparations could possibly be "more important" when I think of her, spending her days by his side?

She had a picture from his first day of life. He has the same little bow-shaped upper lip that my babies had. It's covered by a breathing tube and tape but I can see the edges of it, and I know what it SHOULD look like. Perhaps it's there in her mind's eye, when she takes a few moments to close her eyes and rest. I wonder if she dreams of a peaceful baby face, unobscured by tubes and tape.

When I'm finished editing the picture, the bruises and scrapes on his head will be gone, and the bluish veins showing so harshly through his paper thin flesh will be soothed away. No tubes will cover that heart shaped mouth.

The last thing I will add is a soft focus, dreamlike effect. I can only hope to be able to give her an image that she can cherish, so that when she thinks of her son, it will sometimes be a snapshot of a tiny angel.

Deck the halls

Keep in mind, the Carly household is inhabited by three rabid Christmas Elves, and one Grinch (moi).

I am under seige... my home is being taken over by Christmas decorations. All of my favorite framed pictures are vanishing before my eyes, going straight into the boxes where the 'trim' lurks all year long.

Boy, do we have trim. Santas of various styles and sizes. Votive holders with holiday themes. Candy dishes with Santas, holly berries, or snowmen. Wreaths and plaques on every door in the house, I'm sooo not kidding.

The cherry on top is the clock. My nice kitchen wall clock is now hidden somewhere, a location unknown to me, and in its place hangs a vile clock that plays a Christmas song at the top of every hour. Oh, the horror. I have threatened "No cookies" in order to get them to agree that they will only turn on the music "feature" today, and Christmas day.

Today the trees will go up. This is when I start feeling reeeeeeeally claus-trophobic. Yes, that was "trees", plural, because we have to have one back in the family room where we spend most evenings but we HAVE TO HAVE ONE IN THE FRONT WINDOW, YOU DON'T WANT PEOPLE THINKING WE DON'T CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS, DO YOU?

It doesn't stop there. Lighted houses underneath the trees. Oh yeah. Long garlands of "pine branches" with lights running through. Those hang over the french door, rendering the drapes completely impossible to open or close, and also along the top of my kitchen cupboards. (Yes, one year Mr. Carly DRILLED a fist-sized hole through the top of one of my brand new kitchen cabinets, so that he could plug the string of lights into the outlet used for the microwave. I left the house for the evening.)

While this decorating extravaganza is going on, I will make cookies and drink wine. Surrender seems to be the only option. Cheers!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Snow day!

well, for the kids at least... not for me. The good thing is, I can work from home.

While I'm working, y'all go read this: (thanks Steve)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Best Winter Song Ever

Harry Connick, Winter Wonderland, from the soundtrack of When Harry Met Sally.

No voice or other instruments, just him on the piano.

Go download it. Now! If you can sit absolutely still while listening to this song (cranked to full volume) I will buy you one drink of your choice.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Carly Cartman



Try this ... it's fun

Fast track to January 6th please....

Am I the only person who wants to just skip Christmas? Poly has correctly ascertained that I just want it all to be over.

I'm talking about the part where I spend - spend - spend, and do extra work because I'll have a house full of relatives on the 25th.

Christmas Eve will be nice. We'll have a nice dinner for just the four of us, then go to candlelight mass (at 8 pm, not midnight, which makes some of the choir crazy, but I prefer it) where my kids will serve, and I will sing. THAT part I enjoy.

But for the rest of it all... can I just "pass" ??

This weekend I got nearly all of my shopping done. The downside is that because I was doing that all day Saturday, I was overloaded with chores all day Sunday. Wahhh, I know.... exciting stuff like washing sheets for the entire household along with five other loads of laundry and writing the bills, and discovering forgotten homework; the house was dirty and we needed groceries -- there were tasks everywhere shouting at me "I'm not done yet!!"

I finally quit at about 9:03 pm. ( I hate the nun storyline on DH, it's stupid; and don't even get me started on Gray's. That is so NOT what a NICU is like, for instance a NICU nurse is MUCH more involved in the care of a preemie. Gaaah!)

The GrinchCarly mood this morning wasn't helped by our cars basically being frozen. The driver's side door of the SUV wouldn't open. I got into the passenger side and climbed into the driver's seat to start it up. Yeehaw. I went back in the house and let it run for about 10 minutes. Sorry, Ozone layer.

When I was actually leaving for work the door was still frozen so I climbed in again, from the back to the front. (It was a lot more fun to climb into the back when I was 18.... )

Sheer stupidity caused me to grab the handle and nudge the driver side door open just to see if I could. THEN, when I pulled it shut, it laughed at me and bounced back open. I outwitted it by pulling the door closed and locking it.

But...I swear to you, I had the thought flit through my brain that if I fell out onto the highway for just ONE SECOND, my family wouldn't make me host Christmas dinner.

I'm starting Yoga today.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Just so we're all on the same page

There was never a real person "Kris Kringle" either. (Man, it's been a long day.)

But this is a good thing, because according to "Santa claus is coming to town" he apparently only had a thumb and 3 fingers, so who knows what else would have been wrong with him.

Snarly out.

Sorry Virginia, there really isn't....

I thought we had this covered but I guess I was wrong.

Turns out my little darling thought that I was Santa's HELPER... and didn't get the part where he is a LEGEND.... or as Barry Manilow puts it "I guess there ain't no Santy Claus".....

She said to me tonight when we were sitting alone at dinner "I have to make my list for Santa". I said "Don't bother, I'm done shopping." (Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!)

Puzzled look. "What about my stocking?"

"I got that too."

"But I thought Santa filled that?"

"I AM SANTA!"

From there, the conversation went something like Hello.... remember that talk we had? It's ME. She said "but he's in the malls" and my answer was something like "that's a crappy part time job."

The capper was when she asked me "When did he die?"

I think she's FINALLY got it now. But somehow I'm not really sure.

It's Funny Until Somebody Loses An Eye


I was finishing my Christmas shopping by getting a few Simply Certificates when I noticed some sort of commotion centered around a kid who was just sitting on a bench. His parents, three guards, anda few EMTS were all looking at him.


I thought maybe he'd had a seizure; but then the Certificates guy said that he'd walked directly into the point of the big sign saying "This Way to Santa". (I'm assuming he then dropped like a stone, I didn't see any blood. He must have whacked it right good, because mall security was taking a polaroid of the sign and everything.)


That's gonna be one angry kid someday when his parents tell him the truth about Jolly Old Saint Nick!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Merry Christmas and all that -- I still don't like you

So many movies include the plotline where everyone makes up after an argument, just because it's Christmastime. That is SUCH a crock, if the differences that caused the argument are still there.

I have a friendship that I ended this year. There are two sides to every story, but it all boils down to me feeling like she had taken advantage of me one-too-many times, and that some of the things she said over the years were pretty hurtful to me & Mr. Carly. Grossly insensitive comments about his job being eliminated, and so on.

When I spelled my issues out in an email (yes, I am a total coward when it comes to outright confrontations, and the hints I was dropping steadily just weren't working) I got a lot of venom back in emails from her and her husband. I finally had enough, and finished it with a note saying "please don't contact me anymore." It has been six months and honestly, I'm sorry to sound like a total jerk, but I don't miss her.

Trust me, if my most Christian friend could look me in the eye and say "You know, I've never liked her", that speaks volumes.

She'd been pretty much out of my mind until the other day, when I got an email from her, wherein she announced that she is moving to another state, pretty far from here. Hmmm. Honestly, I felt nothing. I think she deliberately included me, but wanted to seem as though she'd merely sent to everyone in her address book.

Sorry, I'm not playing.

I'm not going to do the "Oh my gosh, you're moving? We have to make up! I'll miss you!" conversation, because, as previously stated, so what, we don't, I won't.

As a symbolic act, I took my copy of her house keys and threw them into a body of water I was admiring yesterday. They've been bugging me, really gnawing at me. I couldn't bring them back to her, because I don't want to see her. I didn't want to send someone else (waaaaaaay cowardly) and mailing someone's KEYS to their HOME is generally not a good idea. Now that I know she's leaving town, I felt no further need to give them back to her. Impulsive? Perhaps. Closure? Hell yeah.

It felt VERY good to watch them slip into the water and disappear with a small but audible "plunk." I just wanted to hug somebody at that moment --it was that much of a relief.

It felt even better to know that I won't come across the keys in a drawer, on my desk, etc. To know that it's very unlikely I'll ever cross paths with her again, since her family does not live in this area. To know that I stood up for myself, to rid myself of a relationship that only caused me unhappiness.

Buh-bye. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Top 10 Things I am addicted to

In no particular order...

  • The internet (hey it's REAL, ... read the article....)
  • Maple walnut fudge, which my mother makes for me every year for my birthday. The little people in my house try to get their grubby little paws on it, but I hide it.
  • Lost... I am working my way through my season 1 DVD's AND flipping out each week watching the new stuff. (Dad? !!!! )
  • Coke, never Pepsi.
  • Pizza (hmm, there's a lot of food and no exercise in this list...but, I have been taking the stairs back up, every time I go to the cafeteria for tea, and around 10 am every day I do one or two sets again with a couple of other people who sit near me. This would not seem like something that could be fun, but I have to admit it ALMOST is.)
  • This and these. Daily.
  • Downloading music and burning my own mix cd's.
  • Editing pictures I take with my digital camera. I took some great photos of my niece the other day (she was baptised in a handmade gown that her grandmother wore - I converted a couple of the portraits to sepia and they are A-dorable!!).
  • Oh, and a glass of Pinot Grigio and some bon bons, while I watch Survivor.