Thursday, December 29, 2005

2005- In a Nutshell

<-----Get it? Yeah, I know I know...Whatever.

I wanted to put together a list of the good, the bad and the ugly for 2005, but unfortunately, I have a terrible memory, and am a horrible record keeper, so I can’t remember anything I did before October. Did I go to the movies? Did I read any good books? What songs did I really like? I can’t remember mostly. Sad isn’t it? I must keep better records next year.

So, I’m going to attempt this, but it’s definitely not going to be an all inclusive list, these are just a few of my favorite (and not so favorite) things from 2005:

MOVIES – This list shall include not only movies, which were released this year, but also older movies, which I just finally watched:

Some of the good movies I saw this year:

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” – my favorite of the series so far
“RockStar” –Yes, I only just saw it this weekend, but I enjoyed it a lot
“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” – What the heck took me so long to see this movie? It was great.
“Garden State” – I loved this movie
“Mystic River” – Very sad, but a great movie
“Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” – Total little girl chick flick…I loved it
“Gangs of New York” – Another sad, but really good movie
“The Notebook” –Sappy, sad, cried like a baby…my favorite kind of movie
“Pirates of the Caribbean” – Very cute, can’t wait for the sequel
“Shark’s Tale” – It was cute
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” – It wasn’t great, but it was good, and Johnny Depp did a great job.
“Paparazzi” – Kickass movie, I love it when the good guy is crazy
“Mona Lisa Smile” - really cute
“Day After Tomorrow” – Not the greatest movie, but it was fun to watch, I love “end of the world” flicks

Of these, I’d probably say it’s a tie between Harry Potter, Pirates and The Notebook for my favorites.

Worst – scratch that – STUPIDEST movies I saw this year:

“Spanglish” – Watched it on the flight from/to (can’t remember which) Vegas…didn’t get it
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” – I should now better, I hate Jim Carey…and HUH?
“Closer” – Double HUH? Oh Natalie Portman how can you go from Garden State to this piece of trash?
And the NUMBER ONE dumbest movie EVER:
“I Heart Huckabees” – HUH doesn’t even begin to describe it…somebody please tell me what the heck this movie was about? At least Mark Wahlberg was hilarious in it, even though I didn’t get a word his character was saying.

Most disappointing movie:

“The Corpse Bride” – it was too short, and not at all original. I was expecting more, something different, I don’t know, I was very disappointed in it.


I didn’t read quite as much this year as I wanted to, but with the help of Audio books, I read more than I would have otherwise.

I know I read a book or two I didn’t particularly like, but I can’t remember their titles.

Books I read that I really liked:

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” –I held off on reading this until book 6 was released and then read them back to back
“Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” – HOLY TISSUES that’s all I have to say
“Lazarus Vendetta” – Robert Ludlum/Patrick Larkin – Who knew I was into this whole “technological terrorism” stuff…huh!
“Magical Thinking” – Augusten Burroughs – he just cracks me up
“The Wedding” – Nicholas Sparks – A follow up to “The Notebook” really sweet
“The Davinci Code” – Dan Brown – worthy of all the hoopla
“Digital Fortress” – Dan Brown – Equally as good as DaVinci Code
“Angels and Demons” – Dan Brown - I’m cheating here because I’m only half way into this one, but I love it already and can’t put it down.
“Queen of the Slayers”- Nancy Holder – The story of what happens to Buffy and crew after the end of the show…good book
“Jane Eyre” – Charlotte Bronte – It took me a LONG time to get through this book, but man am I glad I read it.
Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series, books 1, 2 and 3 (which I’m almost done) – I’m really enjoying these, and love that I’ll have 4 more to go after this, but hate that I’ll have four more to go before I find out the conclusion…which I could “hear” them faster.

I read more, but I can’t remember what…I’m not picking a favorite book, I can’t, they were all great.


Artist that I was surprised I liked every song she released this year: Kelly Clarkson
Song that made me cry every time I heard it: Tim McGraw’s “Live like you were dying”
Best “duo” – Jay –Z; Linkin Park “Numb/Encore” For some reason, I love this song.
Group I started the year off liking, ended the year being sick of: Black Eyed Peas
Most annoying and over-played hope I never hear this song again: Chris Brown “Run it”
Favorite song that was over-played but I still like it: “Don’t’cha” The Pussy Cat Dolls
Best Album (which is really not fair since I only got TWO albums this year but) Santana – All that I am
Other artists I enjoyed this year: Shakira, Bon Jovi, Nickelback, Gwen Stefani, Anna Nalick, LifeHouse; John Legend and I’m sure others I can’t remember.


Best shows: Prison Break, Lost (even though it ‘lost’ some of it’s appeal in the second season), ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Degrassi –The Next Generation (yes, I’m twelve), Bones (who knew David Boreanez could be funny?).

Best Show that TIVO discovered for me: The Ellen Degeneres Show – I just love her, she’s so funny.

I won’t name any worst(s) because I simply didn’t watch anything I didn’t immediately like.

CELEBRITIES (I know I’m too old for this crap, but it’s my guilty pleasure, so leave me to my celebrity gossip, will you?):
Celebrity that I lost all respect for this year and am so sick of hearing about: Tom Cruise
Second celebrity I’m sick of hearing about: Jessica Simpson…enough already
Celebrity that gained my respect this year after her appearance on Oprah and Ellen: Reese Witherspoon, now there’s a classy smart lady. I like her
Hottest male celebrity: This is a toughie, but I’m going to give it to Wentworth Miller because I can! ;-) Followed closely by about 10 other actors.
Celebrity who made a comeback but I think is completely washed out: Madonna (I’m sorry, I just don’t get it anymore), closely followed by Mariah Carey (but she had Wentworth Miller in her video, so that redeems her some).
Celebrity who belongs in jail the most: Michael Jackson (I’m sorry, but he does)

Favorite Purchase this year: My new glasses and TIVO (they’re tied)
Favorite place I went: Vegas (again not fair, since I didn’t really go anywhere else but New York, which although I love, it’s not quite Vegas)
Best addition to the household: Calla Lilly followed closely by my new couch

Worst News “event” of 2005: The Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina (Hurricane Season actually). Actually, 2005 was a bad year all around for natural disasters, wars, bombings, murders (Boston has surpassed it’s 10 year high in homicides), ugh…Come on people, get a grip huh? THIS is why I usually don’t watch the news.

Best thing about 2005: All the time I spent with my friends and family. Sappy but true.

There you have it, some of the things that entertained me (or not) this year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

And then it's over...

The thing about Christmas is that you spend the better part of November and definitely December building up to it. There’s the shopping, the wrapping, the eating, the parties, the sending of Christmas cards, the calling and inviting, and wishing of good tidings, the anticipation of giving and getting “just the right” gift…and then, in a flash…it’s over.

I love Christmas. I’ve always loved Christmas, and even though the last few years I tend to suffer a bit of the Holiday blues, and this year especially my spirit kicked in late, I still LOVE Christmas. I love all the preparations. I love seeing friends I don’t see the rest of the year (which is really sad and I need to make amends on this), I love the shopping, the wrapping, etc. etc.

I HATE IT when it’s over. I’m like a little kid in this respect. When it ends I feel very empty and sad. “It’s done? Really? OH…well, now what?” And don’t even say “now you have New Year’s to look forward to, because unlike Christmas, I HATE New Year’s Eve. But THAT is another blog entry.

Back to Christmas, I’m happy to say that my earlier fears of this Christmas not being a good one were unfounded. I had an excellent Christmas. It was different for sure, with half of the family having been in California, it couldn’t have been the same (missed you gusy). But it was WONDERFUL anyway. I finally had a chance to spend Christmas Eve with Kayla, and also brought along her little sister Joanne, and along with my brother’s friends, we had an extended family at the house, and had a great, fun time. There was laughter, hugs, joy and just all around good cheer. Mom’s great home cooking didn’t hurt either.

We broke with some traditions (didn’t make it to midnight mass this year as I had to have the girls home by 11), and started some new ones (opening gifts right after dinner), but still kept up with others (everyone opened their gifts ONE at a time, so that we could all see exactly what everyone received). Everyone was happy with what Santa brought them. I’m happy to report that my brother loved his gift from me, which I had been excited about for WEEKS (a very nice framed “Scarface” picture); and Kayla just about choked the breath out of me with the hug she gave me after opening her gifts from me (various Hello Kittie odds and ends, including a comforter, for her bedroom). Personally I was thrilled with every single gift I got, from the MP3 player that I was expecting to the surprises like the Sims2 game, clothes, godiva chocolates (thanks Danny), to the awesome journal that my cousin put together for me (it was SOOO sweet Monica), to Kayla’s little hand-blown glass unicorn figurine and everything else…I loved everything.

So, Christmas Eve ended earlier than usual this year, and I was actually home by about 11PM, which was weird. But I watched some TV, fell asleep on the couch, transferred over to the bed, and woke up in a great mood on Christmas day. Christmas Day I played with my MP3 Player, lounged around, and went to mom’s for a bit, and then to a friend of the family’s for dinner. Left there around 8 to go home and play with the Sims2..took me 2 ½ hours to install it (thanks to having to download new drivers and all kinds of crap so my computer would be compatible). Gee, what fun that was. Needless to say, after all that I played until the wee hours of the morning. I can see that this game will have me in front of the computer for hours and hours on end. Seeing as I don’t usually have hours and hours on end to play…this should be interesting…I’m very excited about it anyway! ;-)

Monday morning my cat gave me a late Christmas present and let me sleep until 9:30AM. I then got up, played with my cd’s to put stuff on the computer that I could download into the MP3 Player, and then went to mom’s for lunch, as we were doing another Christmas lunch with my uncle who had just returned from California. Lunch was fun, and it was nice to get to see my aunt and uncle, and my cousin’s boyfriend, who also joined us for lunch. A little after lunch my brother’s godparents showed up, with their daughter. There was a lot of chatting, drinking, eating and being merry all over again this day. It was almost 8pm by the time we all remembered that unfortunately the next day was a workday. I made my way home, once again played on the computer for a bit with my cd collection, watched a movie, and went to bed. However, sleep was nowhere to be found, and I read until about 1 in the morning.

Waking up to come to work this morning was NOT fun, and the “oh, it’s over” feeling slowly set in, making it even tougher. The saving grace is that it’s already Tuesday, and Friday is a half day…yay!

Anyway, had a wonderful Christmas, they should all be this wonderful for everyone. Hope you all had a great one too and that Santa was right on point with all your presents.

Now I’m off to go shopping for accessories for the MP3 player…It’s definitely my new favorite toy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Ode to Shortstuff

It’s my brother’s 22nd birthday today(okay yesterday, I wrote this and then forgot to post it). Twenty FREAKIN’ TWO…wow, I changed that kid’s diapers and now he’s 22. I’m old! So, in honor of his birthday, (even though he doesn’t read my blog), I’m going to take a little trip down memory lane as Shortstuff’s older sister. FYI, Shortstuff is what I used to call him when he was really my "little" brother, he's taller than me now, but he'll always be my baby brother.
Shortstuff and I have always gotten along great! Maybe it’s due to the 9-year age difference, but I don’t ever remember having a fight with him. That’s a lot to be said for siblings who lived under the same roof for almost 20 years. Especially with both of us being as hot tempered as we are/were.
I have such great memories of him as a little guy. I was so excited to have a little brother when he came along, having been an only child for 9 years. I thought he was the greatest thing ever. Of all my memories of him as a baby, two particular ones stand out. The first is of the first time he walked (more than just a few steps). If I have this right, this was the first time. My dad and I were in my room trying to make him walk, or maybe it was my Grandma Ana and I, either way, I remember I had this cute little purse, and I gave it to him and told him to go show my mom, who was in the kitchen. And all excited, he walked into the kitchen to show her. He’d probably kill me now for telling this story, but I remember it very clearly, he walked the first time to show my mom my purse.
The second is of a game we used to play when he was maybe 11 months to a year. I used to lay a blanket out on the floor, lay him down on a corner of it, and roll him up into the blanket. Then I would throw him over my shoulder and walk around the house asking my parents if they wanted a sausage (or actually, since this was in Portugal, a chourico) and Shortstuff would giggle hysterically. God, he was so freakin’ cute!
As we grew up, I never thought of him as a pest. I know a lot of older siblings have that reaction to their younger siblings, but maybe it was because he was so much younger than me that he never was old enough to actually “be a pest”. When he was a kid, he was cute, when he became a pre-teen, I was already too old for him to “bother me”. Instead, we would have these great conversations. He would talk to me about things that he didn’t necessarily want to talk to my parents about, and I was always a good sounding board for things that he did want to ask them, but wanted to see how I thought they’d react. Through the years, I was always the person telling my parents “oh, let him go” or “let him do it”, but I was also the one behind the scenes who would tell him “you can’t do that and you know it, so don’t even put mom and dad through that”. It was an interesting dynamic. He actually listened to me sometimes.
It was interesting too, to see him go through the personality/identity changes that teenagers will go through. He went from a hip-hop; jeans around his knees kid to a all black, dyed hair, piercings in his lips punk rocker in a matter of a year or so. As his big sister, it was funny to see how completely different the two of us were.
Another great memory that I have is of a trip we took a few years ago to California to visit my cousin. We spent a week together, 24/7 and we had a great time. I hope I get to take more trips with him in the future it was a blast.
Now that I don’t live at home, we have a weekly family dinner at mom’s and no matter how busy he always is with his friends, he makes it a point to be there for that dinner. I always enjoy the time I get to spend with my family that night, and Shortstuff never fails to entertain with his silly stories. The kid is a real comedian.
And today, he’s 22. He’s all grown up, and the part of me that’s always been “motherly” toward him is all emotional and crap. I’m proud of the man he’s becoming. He’s a good guy, he’s sweet, he’s funny, he’s a hard worker, always puts his family first, and is a genuinely good guy (when he wants to be). ;-) He's also outgrowing his punk rock stage more and more each day and he now looks...I don't want to say normal, but he looks good, healthy...a lot like in the picture above, only older.
And I know I sound all gushy and weird, but I’m proud to be his big sister, and I’m really enjoying watching him grow up. Wow, and I’m not even his mother, imagine what I’ll be like when it’s my kid?
So, tonight we are going on our new (within the last 2 years or so) traditional birthday dinner out to Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse, our favorite. YUMMMY…And I’ll have to make sure to let the waiters know to sing the Japanese Happy Song to him. After all, I love him, but it’s no fun if I can’t embarrass him!
Happy Birthday Shortstuff!!
PS: Yes, the picture is an old picture, but it was the only one I could find, and besides, I was skinny then!

Friday, December 16, 2005

I've been GEEK-a-fied!

And I couldn't be happier about it!
The picture above represents my shopping experience today. I have been participating in the "pre-tax 'Cafeteria' Plan" at work, which is basically a way to screw the government out of charging you taxes on some of your income (legally), but because I slacked off this year and didn't go to the dentist for my crown and whatever other work he wants to do, I had A LOT of money left over in my account. And for those unfamiliar with the way these pre-tax plans work, if you don't use the money by the end of the year, you lose it. SO, I had to go shopping! You can only use this money for medical reasons, and thankfully glasses qualify, so, since I've had to become a full time eyeglass wearer these last years, due to my complicated eye problems, I decided I was going to splurge and go buy some new eyeglasses.
If I'm stuck wearing eyeglasses every day, then I might as well be able to switch them according to my mood (or outfit). I already have a pair that I like, they are wire framed, and very thin and hardly noticeable. I also already own a pair of prescription sunglasses.
So, I decided to go for some glasses that would look like nothing that I have. I spent over 2 hours at the store picking my new frames out. I won't actually get my glasses for another week or so, so the pictures above are from the website.
I realize looking at the picture above, the two pairs I bought look alike, but they are actually quite dissimilar. They are differently shaped, and they don't look alike when I put them on either, and the colors are not like the picture.
The top pair is my "transitions" pair, you know, the kind of lenses that switch to sunglass lenses in the sun. The frames are actually black AND pink, not just black like the picture. They're adorable and I can't wait to wear them. The bottom pair are black and "crystal" (not brown like the picture) and really nice too. A stylish "geeky" pair, I love them. My favorite thing about these, however, is that I got "scotchguar" lenses for them. To see just how freekin' cool scotchguard lenses are, go here and watch the demo on what happens when you pour vegetable oil on them! I can't wait to go out in the rain in these things!
So yeah, I'm officially a geek. But it's cool, because I'm a stylish geek! Once I receive the glasses, maybe I'll post some pictures of me in them. (not likely, since I hate pictures of me, but we'll see).
So, seriously, the fact that I'm totally excited about my new glasses, does that make me a total geek?
Oh, and I also went out today and spent an hour and a half in a bookstore trying to pick out which books to buy with my gift card...I got three new ones, and I'm very excited about those too.
Yeah, okay, I'm a geek.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Open Letter to Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature:

Why do you hate me so? I know I must have done something at some point to anger you this much, and yet, I’m not quite sure what it was. This love-hate relationship we have has been going on for far too long, and I think it’s time we make amends. Truly, I’m sorry if I have offended you, and please allow me to attempt to fix it.

I don’t remember exactly when it was that you turned on me, it’s been subtle, and slow progressing, so it took me a while to realize just how angry you were at me. But now that I reflect back on it, I can see all the signs. There was that time on Spring Break where my cousin and I went to Florida, and even though the weather wasn’t terrible, it was only in the low 70’s and we got quite a few rainy days as well. Yet on the day we were driving back to Massachusetts, it was 95 degrees and sunny. Then there was that one week about 7 years ago, in the middle of July that I decided to take for myself between jobs, so that I could enjoy some time in the sun, and attempt to get a tan before starting my new job. It rained every single day that week do you remember that? And then the day I returned to work, it was 90 degrees and sunny. There was the cold, somewhat rainy weather at Key West and along other parts of our cruise, I think you feeling slightly forgiving that week though, because it was a decent week weather wise, all things considered. Like I said, there have been other signs along the way, but I’ve been slow to notice them.

This month however, you really have been playing with my emotions. It snowed on Thanksgiving, which was just strange and out of place. But I was okay with that. It was also in the 60’s for much of November, which really confused all of us New Englanders, we had no idea what to wear, but that wasn’t personal, as that affected everyone, so again, I let that slip. Now the temperature has been steadily declining, and it’s bitter cold outside today. But I live in New England, so that is to be expected. What I’m feeling is personal, however, is the snow. Look, I go the whole year barely taking any days off work. I work hard, I’m dedicated, I don’t call in sick. And then year end rolls around and I have a few extra vacation days that I must take before the end of the year. So I took last Friday off, to finish my Christmas shopping. And what do you do? You dump 18 inches of snow in the span of 5 hours, and cause me to be TRAPPED in my house at the top of the hill. I got NOTHING accomplished that day. One could argue that at least I didn’t have to drive to work in that storm, but really, I didn’t take the day off to spend it in my pj’s in front of the television, I wanted to get things done.

And this week? Well, it’s been bitter cold out, but not a spot of snow. It’s been clear and even somewhat sunny. But I have tomorrow off, and what, pray tell, is the forecast? WINTRY MIX…not just snow, but snow switching to ICE. JUST to make it fun for me to try to drive down my hill without getting killed. I HAVE PLANS for tomorrow! I’m going to buy new glasses, I’m going to mail Christmas cards and Christmas packages to friends from out of town, I have things to do, places to be. You can’t do this to me again. If I am trapped in my house again tomorrow, I’m afraid our relationship may be hurt beyond repair.

So can we please stop this crazy fighting? Let me know what it is that I did that has you so angry with me, and I promise never to do it again. Let’s be friends. We can get along I know we can.

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter. You know where to reach me if you want to patch things up. You could start by diverting that storm tomorrow.



Tuesday, December 13, 2005

All I want for Christmas...

Remember when we were kids and we used to write letters to Santa with all these things we wanted for Christmas, that most likely were unreasonably priced and not at likely to be gifted to us by our working class parents? We didn’t know that then, we didn’t know that asking for a $300 bike was insane, and that we would wind up with a $50 bike (which we’d be just as happy with anyway). The great thing about writing those letters was that we could ask for WHATEVER we wanted, no matter how crazy it sounded, because it was SANTA, he was expecting us to “dream big”.

So, in the spirit of a completely innocent child asking for a pony for Christmas, I’ve decided to write my very own letter to Santa.

Dear Santa,

How is the North Pole? I hope it’s not too cold there. It’s been really cold here lately, and on Friday we got about 18 inches of snow, so I can only imagine what it must be like up there. Are you very busy? Of course you are, this is your busy season after all, isn’t it? How are the elves doing? And Mrs. Claus? Have the reindeer been training hard for their big night?

I have been getting everything ready, and am excited to report that I’ve managed to get into the Christmas spirit after all. I know you were worried there for a minute. But I’ve done my shopping, and even all my wrapping, my Christmas cards are almost ready to go, and the decorations are all up. I’ve even already had my annual Christmas Party at home, and it was a lovely event.

So, Santa, I’ve been a really good girl all year. At work, I’ve been saddled with about 8 times the responsibilities I had last year, and I’ve worked very hard at trying to handle them all. And even though at times it’s been very frustrating and crazy, I’ve really tried to be positive about it all, and not focus on the negatives. Outside of work, I’ve tried really hard all year to focus on being a good friend, a good big sister to Kayla and a good daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin. I’ve smiled at strangers who looked like they could use a smile, and I’ve taken in a kitten and given her a home. I’ve kept my swearing, yelling and road rage to INSIDE of my vehicle when on the road, where nobody could hear me. I know I haven’t intentionally hurt anyone this year, and I really can’t think of any time when I un-intentionally did so either. At least I hope I haven’t.

With that said, here’s a list of the things I want this Christmas that only you can deliver for me:

I would like a Blackberry, a Treo, a T-Mobile sidekick or this thing:
A new Coach Handbag, preferably this one:, this one: or even this one:
I would also like some new shoes, I particularly like these by Carlos Santana:; or these Baby Phat ones: (see, I’m not even asking for Manolos);
I’d also love a digital camera. This one is nice:
OOH, I almost forgot…A Satellite Radio, such as Sirius would be a nice gift too.
And who couldn’t use an LCD TV?;_ylt=AlDTXEvB8c3fzZ_8Q4JsYuZPj3UC;_ylu=X3oDMTBuODM1YTJjBF9zAzU3NjkwMzg1BGx0AzQEc2VjA3Ny?clink=dmss//ctx=sc:ctelevisions,c:ctelevisions,mid:59,pid:1992134876,pdid:59,pos:1
And finally, I’d like to be able to shop like Paris Hilton for just one day.

Thank you Santa, I promise I’ll be just as good (or maybe even better) next year.