Outtakes ( A Merry Christmas to All!)

I have to credit myself on not going completely decoration crazy….at least not this year. I know that everyone insists on posting pictures of all the same things (trees, lights, tacky trinkets), but mine bring me particular joy and cheer along with the rest of the decorating crowd. Last year, I had but a couple things on my table to remind me of the holiday. This year, I had the works.

Our fine little tree. Although artificial, I have to admit that it doesn't look half bad.

Our fine little tree. Although artificial, I have to admit that it doesn’t look half bad.

Our kitty (who looks rather grumpy in that photo) and a fine angel top our tree

Our kitty (who looks rather grumpy in that photo) and a fine angel top our tree

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A parade of ornaments.

A parade of ornaments.

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My hutch display

My hutch display

The santa band is as old as I am and is one of my favorite Christmas things. Plays a bajillion carols and is annoying as a flustered chiguagua. I love it with  all my heart.

The santa band is as old as I am and is one of my favorite Christmas things. Plays a bajillion carols and is annoying as a flustered chiguagua. I love it with all my heart.

Mickey and Mischief the donkey looking sharp.

Mickey and Mischief the donkey looking sharp.

 

 

One of the few good things about working Christmas Town last year was that I taught myself how to make rather decent bows.

One of the few good things about working Christmas Town last year was that I taught myself how to make rather decent bows.

Merry Christmas my fine feathered readers, may peace and most festive colors follow you!

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It’s interesting that whenever I find myself at my sister’s place, I am always inclined to post. Not much of a leap considering I am usually spending large chunks of time on my own with narry a thing to chew away at my attention. November has surged onward to this holiday and I am winded, but still running. Work has loaded in a show that gave everyone one or two (billion) things to grumble over, but we prevailed. The highlight for me was that I got a chance to do some teaching. You see, the Stage has a symbiotic relationship with the big university in this town (shall henceforth be known as the University. I know, my originality is stellar) and thus the staff cross over as instructors in such classes. I got to teach what’s known as a “lab” portion of a generalized technical theatre course. The students receive a lecture portion, then they get lab sessions to accomplish projects that apply the things that they are learning in lecture. I have another session in December and I could not be more excited. I was so nervous about the first portion. I mean, I did some teaching in undergrad, but I had never been fully left alone to teach a whole lesson (on my own, no other adult in the room…debatable whether I should actually be considered an adult considering how much Disney music populates my playlists). However, the first session went supremely well. The day completely galloped away and I got to experience a most joyous ride. The students appeared to grasp the concepts that I demonstrated and they also seemed legitimately enthused by their progress. I personally felt a deep happiness at seeing them go through the first stages successfully. I know the next portion will prove a little trickier because there is more fussing during the process, but they are capable. I just hope I continue to present the information in a way that is accessible.

Another highlight was seeing the movie Catching Fire. I try not to talk too much pop-culture on this blog, but I feel I must extend an honorary “hat’s off” to both movies that have been released thus far. I enjoyed the books, but I am so excited that, finally, there appears to be “book movies” that are actually aiming for an accurate adaptation of the words on the page to a cinematic experience. So many times, I am disappointed that a movie touts to be “based on” a novel when it should actually say “loosely inspired by some plot devices and character names in the novel…” Not so with the Hunger Games movies thus far. Handsome and I spent an excellent evening seeing a movie that gave me the same deep satisfaction that I experienced when watching its predecessor. Catching Fire is actually my favorite of the trilogy and I was genuinely relieved that it was handled so well. Plus, Katniss was wearing some absolutely amazing knitwear!!! Did anyone else notice all the fabulous knits? Please tell me someone did because if you didn’t, go watch it again an then come back and gush with me. (Handsome humors me God bless him, but he wasn’t nearly as excited by her super-chic cowl, or her hunting neck piece, or her cardigan in that scene…)

Now I am here, at my sister’s for Thanksgiving. We switch off with our family every year and my family in PA lives super close to my sister and it is their turn to host. I didn’t realize how much I was missing my family until I saw my sister. Despite the fact that I was unemployed while I was in New Jersey, one of the nice things was that I saw my family a lot more often. Now, they are just far enough to make a weekend visit just a hair too short for full quality time. I am used to that reality, but it strikes me more now because I had that time where they were so easily accessible. I do miss that. Thus, this holiday will be grand, if only for the sole reason that I get to see people that I am proud to say I am related to.

Outakes (Romping through the Vineyards)

Yesterday was the last full day off for the rest of our time here at the Camp. Considering we have only a few days left, we decided to make it a most worthwhile day. Thus Helena, BearGirl, the Thinker, and myself a piled into my Silver Steed/Prius of Adventure and set off for an afternoon of wine and wondrous fun We had decided to hit three wineries along M22. The first was Good Harbor Vineyards. We all picked 5 wines to sample from the extensive list and a souvenir glass came with the tasting. I sampled a most glorious Cherry Wine that made dark chocolate sing in my mouth (the gentleman gave us dark chocolate kisses with the instructions, “sip the wine, take a bite of chocolate, then sip.”). Twas so good a bottle may have followed me out of the place ;). Next, on to Gills Pier Winery. Handsome and I had visited this winery on our previous excursion on M22, I had gone back again on my own, and I simply had to bring my friends with me. I truly like this sweet little place.

Overlooking the vineyard

Overlooking the vineyard

The whole gang

The whole gang

From Gills, we went on to our best find of the day. BearGirl had recently been on a plane trip and she mentioned that she had sat next to a most interesting person. The woman spoke of an organic winery in Northport Michigan…which turned out to be right where we were headed. Thus, we found ourselves at Good Neighbor Organic. Not only does this place have wine, but they also make incredible ciders that absolutely blew the socks and shoes straight off my feet. Stan, the owner, also bid us go play in the vineyard/orchard and pick some lavender.  We happily complied 🙂

Wine fun 8 Wine fun 9 Wine fun 17 Wine fun 14 Wine fun 19

Twas a very good day indeed :).

 

Two Happy (if unrelated) Things

Two things are currently making me really happy and considerate of that happiness. The first is space. I am extremely responsive to the space around me, and I am amazed at how easily I forget that fact. Like eating well, I definitely notice a significant mood change when I am operating in an organized space. The room that I live in currently was basically an utter disaster since my arrival. To be fair, I have not exactly been around much to fix that problem. However, I always felt anxious and disoriented when I stayed in this room, but yet this room is the most logical place for me to get the “alone time” I crave. Why so anxious and disoriented? Obviously, the fact that the room was a tiny disaster where I could barely move two feet without risking injury. Even knowing this, I still let the situation escalate. Finally, a rapid whirlwind of energy seized me from my stupor, and I restructured the space with a ferocity akin to a wild bird creating her nest. Despite knowing how a clean space would affect me, I am still stunned. I am soothed, tranquil and warm as a fresh cup of tea. I see the gorgeous new yarn and new painting I acquired, on a dresser that is only covered in things I wish to be displayed (rather than random bric-a-brac diminishing the fine surface). The floor is open, and the space can actually thrum with my energy as opposed to getting splintered and caught on all the crap I let build up.

The second thing is horses (grammar nazis, I am aware those subjects do not agree, please put the mental red pens away). I am in the unique situation of having an occasional opportunity to help  tend some horses. A woman in my father’s church, we shall dub her Epona, has multiple Thoroughbreds that she and her family board at a nearby stable. Seeing as how they do all the work themselves, Epona’s normal crew (namely her, her husband and daughters) are sometimes unable to make it to the farm every day. Thus, I am on call in case of such an occurrence. I love horses. Before I pursued the arts, I was fervently in love with riding and anything that had to do with taking care of such creatures. I dreamed of horses in waking hours, and rode them through the night in my dreams. A certain event caused me to voluntarily end my riding career, but over the years I have sorely missed being around the animals. Being in a barn, and grooming Epona’s fine (if somewhat feisty) steeds gives me a glow that absolutely consumes the whole of my torso. I don’t know if I could adequately communicate this deep passion for horses, but suffice it to say it is not something that went away just because I quit riding. The situation is further enhanced by the fact that Epona is a lovely woman who enjoys good conversation while the work commences. Being in a barn among good equine and human company is not a joy I expected to discover here in New Jersey, but the Lord’s surprises are endless.

The “Short” Version

Perhaps we shall just put down the short version of life for a moment.

Things That Made This Week Awesome

– My Colleagues: Yes it is true, sometimes the Lord hears the prayers that only our hearts speak. I am blessed to have people like PNinja and Ren Man around. While work was definitely a bit of a marathon to make up for the lost day on Monday, there is an excellent rhythm among the three of us. PNinja and I are not only talented and good looking, but we also work really we together in the midst of creepy places that can potentially undo one. Ren Man is a person who has so much knowledge and experience, yet he is probably one of the most chill people I have ever encountered, which is a quality that allows PNinja and myself to explore without fear that we are going to mess up the project. I know the both of us are going to miss him terribly when he flies away at the end of this upcoming week, but I know that I am extremely glad that I got a chance to work with such an individual.

-Phone Conversations: Indeed, I had the opportunity to speak to lovelings that I have been desperately missing. Today, I spoke to SexyLibrarian, who is a friend I have known since the very beginning of high school. She and I were in a summer program together, and I must say at first we were not fans of each other. I felt that she was an invasive snot, and she had a bias against my Care Bear tee shirt. Needless to say, such silliness was soon swallowed by a friendship that is nothing if not interesting. In the midst of the week, I spoke to Emrys. Now, this guy holds the record for putting up with me as a friend for the longest amount of time (the title goes both ways, just so you know). We met in 6th grade, and let’s just say I was not the incredibly mature and gracious young woman I am today.  He invaded my space (rather obnoxiously I might add), and I slapped him across the face (***Please note, this blogger does not endorse violence. However, there were multiple factors that contributed to her violent tendencies towards the male sex when she was younger and thus would beg the reader not to judge her to harshly****). After that event, our friendship blossomed, and we are knit so closely in our experiences and responses to those experiences that it’s almost uncanny. Finally, Persephone and I had a lovely chat somewhere in the beginning of my week. Persephone is a spritely pixie stick of a lady, and we met in my junior year of high school. I happened upon her eating cheerios in one of our school’s theatres, and I asked to join her. From that conversation, we discovered kindred spirits in almost every form and fashion. Though they are not right next to me here, such people still contribute a huge amount of love and joy to my existence.

-Knit Group: Always a light in the week 🙂

-Today: What did I do? PNinja and I had only a few hours of work, parted company to run some errands, and then rejoined at her domicile where we proceeded to veg out on television and stovetop popcorn. As someone who does not own a TV, it is a rare and special thing to join someone in the watching. We watched Faceoff, Thor, and Day Breakers, conversing the whole time. Another tech from work joined us for Day Breakers, then I bid them farewell so they could enjoy some video games.

What I Am Looking Forward To

– Farmer’s Market: Tomorrow, ZeldaStark and I hit the farmer’s market with our new baskets for some yummy produce. I do dearly miss her during the week, and it seems that this Sunday market business may become a thing to do together, so my heart is very glad.

-Another Phone Conversation: This time with Handsome, who is definitely super fun to converse with on any occasion. Perhaps that back story will come another time 😉

– New Travel Mug: Bought it today because my other one is nasty. Yay Busch Gardens employee store!!!

-Haircut: With color this time, let’s hope it goes as well as the last visit.

– World of Beer in Awesome Company: So, there is this magical place I have heard tell of that has hundreds of beers on tap. Take this magical place, and throw a friend who I have not seen since WordBridge into the mix, and you have one very excited panda over here!!

Now that I have certainly made up for my days of not posting, (remember, that’s the short version), adieu dear reader, may active peace follow you.