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Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

Here we are again, dear friends. The end of another year. In some ways, 2012 has been intriguing. In some ways, it has been a pretty ordinary year ~ which I will take, given some of the more recent past years. In every way, 2012 has been completely unique. We will never see another one.

The ride continues. There will be successes and failures and opportunities ahead. Spectacular wins and blazing losses. Moments of great elation and sorrow. Good, bad, or indifferent, though, we will keep trying. We simply...won't quit. Life in all its glorious mess. And we will keep dreaming new dreams ~ and be ready when old ones come to fruition.

I can hardly wait...

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Late, Late, Late

I'm working today, so didn't realize how much time had passed (an occupational hazard). Luckily, this is another one of those videos that can speak for itself and stand on its own. And I hadn't posted it yet this season! So, with many thanks to Crow, enjoy...

Those are busy, preparing ~ and soon to be prepared ~ Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Movie Review Time

We went to see the movie version of Les Mis the other night. First, of course, I wept my way through it. We literally took a box of tissues with us. The theatre staff was greatly amused. My overall experience was ... good. Second, Amanda Seyfried and Russel Crowe were miscast due to their voices. Their acting was spot on; their voices were weak for the roles. Weak enough that it pulled me out of some very important, emotional moments. And it's a shame because Crowe delivered an acting performance that will remind you why we all loved him originally and Seyfried is exactly who Cosette should be. The fact that their voices don't carry the score shouldn't detract as much as it does ~ but it does. For the rest...

Hm. I don't really know how to explain it. It didn't go onscreen well. So much of what is stirring and makes it work is the music. But when you have close ups of these deeply talented actors at the top of their game, who emote so well, and you can actually see them, as opposed to being anywhere from a couple dozen to a couple hundred feet away from them, the music becomes not so necessary, almost redundant. Also, when you are that close and the actors can act a song that realistically, the need for the song to be what carries the audience goes away. They can ~ and do ~ get away with a whisper, with a mumble to themselves. You lose that swell in your chest as those notes hit the back wall of the auditorium and you are swept away in the pain/love/angst/power ~ and yet the orchestration is demanding that kind of catharsis, in spite of the vocalization not giving it to you.

From back when the show first took the world by storm, I have never liked the innkeepers (the Thenardiers). Slapstick comedy is my least favorite and they are the epitome of slapstick. Every version I have ever seen has these two completely over the top. For me, their song, their scenes, were grotesque ~ and not in the way they were supposed to be. Repulsively unneccessary and offputting. Interestingly enough, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter ~ two actors completely capable of grotesquely over the top performances ~ deliver the most reigned in and sedate versions of these roles ever. While it wasn't enough to make me like the characters ~ in the way we are supposed to like intentionally unlikable characters ~ it was enough to make me not cringe, which has never happened before when these two are onstage.

The final negative critique is that having to cut from place to place to place and person to person during some of the ensemble pieces, instead of having them all there onstage, able to be taken in at once, takes away from the impact of a couple of songs. Part of what makes the juxtaposition powerful is the audience's ability to be with each character, constantly, through the song arc. Bouncing us between them all prevented that, in a pretty jarring way.

All that being said, if there is any justice in the universe, Aaron Tveit, who plays Enjolras (the lead student rebel), Samantha Barks, who plays Eponine, and Daniel Huttlestone, who plays Gavroche (the little boy) are about to become big stars, if they choose to stay in movies.  

Also, the moment that was better on screen than on stage ~ when the barricade is falling, the people haven't risen, the rebellion has collapsed, and the young men are scattering, ideals aside, just trying to survive the slaughter, they go to the doors of the people who have been supporting them, egging them on, assuring them they would stand with the young men. They find the doors locked against them, they have to pound on the doors that have been open and welcoming throughout the planning process. They have to beg to be let in ~ and they are ignored. It takes less time than it has to read this description. Yet, that two second moment and the cry of "PLEASE!" has stayed with me in the way that the stage production always has, and the movie...doesn't quite.  

If you get a chance to see it ~ or have seen it ~ let me know. I would love to hear your take on it as well. Do take tissues, though, because Jackman and Hathaway are as good as you want them to be.

Now, since there is no carol or that can follow that, allow me to strip your gears a bit. Have some Nat King Cole... 




Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Because It's Not the Holidays...

...without a song by Jessye Norman.

And what do you know? It doesn't sound like a dirge. :)

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.



 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Traditional Tradition

I haven't posted many traditional Christmas carols this year. Not because I'm Pagan or I'm trying to avoid references to Christ's birth. Beautiful  music is beautiful music and not constrained by faith or religion. The issue has been the choices I've been able to find. See, it's supposed to be a happy celebration. Joyous. Exciting. Uplifting.

When I hear carols and hymns in my memory, they are upbeat. Joyful. Those are the sounds of my childhood. The sounds I've been able to find this year may be the same songs, they are not the same sounds. When did carols and hymns celebrating the birth of Christ start sounding like dirges?

So, know I'm not trying to avoid anything. I've been actively looking for traditional carols and hymns. They are some of my favorites, too. But I want them to sound like I remember them, not like they are being sung by someone about to jump off a bridge.

'Cause really, that's not what it's about.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 25th ~ With Pictures

Wow. Christmas at Casa de Pobble was a massive success. For two people who took a while to get into the spirit, we certainly found it in spades in time for yesterday. We laughed and ate and told stories and ate and talked and ate and danced and ate.

There were wonderful storms moving in, so we walked down to the river and watched the clouds fly by and the storm build. Watched the pilots navigate the barges through the center of the river and around the bend, in spite of 30 MPH winds. And, as the clouds truly began to blacken, decided it was time to go home.

One of the many joys of it just being the two of us is the timing of the day. With no one else's schedule to keep, you cook when you want. You sit when you want. You wander when you want. About 2:30, we both started to get a little anxious because we hadn't started cooking yet. And then we remembered...it didn't matter. We sat back down and relaxed.

It was a delightful, peaceful holiday, full of laughter and happy tears, fun surprises, and really, really good food. Press play on the music, and check out the pictures. 





We decided to decorate our own wrapping paper this year. One of us is a little more talented than the other, but it was a lot of fun...


Even Bear and his buddy, Snorlax, got into the spirit...


And then, of course, there was dinner...






It was an embarrassment of riches and great bounty ~ and we loved every minute of it. Now, tell me about your day. You know I want to know.

Those are blessed Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, My Friends

Sometime today, Lithus and I will call Crow and BIL, my heart, and the hatchlings. We will talk with my mom and her husband. At least I will chat with the Lovely Cats and the Divine M. If nothing else, texts will be exchanged with Dr. B. And, fingers crossed, we will catch up with our kids, as they are off on their own Christmas Days.

But first...First we will be together. There are lights, presents, good food, snuggles, and music. 

Much love to anyone who happens by here today.

Merry Christmas and Blessed Be.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.





Monday, December 24, 2012

Tomorrow Is Christmas!

It's Practically Here!

In spite of the daily postings here, I haven't much felt the holiday spirit this year. Lithus and I were talking about it yesterday. All kinds of reasons, but, the point is that Christmas feeling has been lacking at Casa de Pobble this season.

Until last night. Last night, we hopped the trolley and rode down to the end of the line and back again. The lights, the city, the houses... sigh. So lovely. We went to the store and picked out Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas dinner. We came home and he wrapped presents, while I watched holiday movies. He has painted the wrap on my presents. Not only do I have whatever is inside the wrapping, but the wrapping itself is a beautiful gift. 

It's Christmas and I may be late to this party, but it finally got here. That feeling.










I have no idea why Ossie Davis is in the audience here, but I'm so glad he is. It always makes me happy to see him again, even just sitting there.

Pictures and more music here today.

God bless us, everyone.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Continuing the Tradition

The other day I wrote about my dad and his peanut brittle. I decided this would be a good year to return to my holiday baking. As far back as college, I would bake. Since Daddy did peanut brittle for his gift, I learned to do the same, only I baked instead. In recent years, I haven't had much chance to do it. Life has been different than it was in the past.

But this year? This year, we have a kitchen. We have a building staff that takes very good care of us. We have some local friends. Hell, we have a mail carrier who actually delivers our mail to our mailbox here in our apartment. (Seriously, this hasn't happened for a while.)

Thursday night, I made three batches of peanut brittle, and two batches of fudge. Friday morning, I got up and made cupcakes. By 11:30, they had cooled, be frosted, the goodies packed up, and delivered. People stopped us all day, thanking us, telling us how special it was. We were even called a blessing and welcomed to "the family that's part of this building."

*sniff*

As I was telling Lithus, holiday baking is one of those things that, when I don't get to do it, I miss it. Badly. And when I do get to do it, it makes me think "this is my life" and smile. This week has been a smile-y kind of week.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Since We're Still Here...

...I have a request:




 The apocalypse was a dud. Surely, a hippo isn't too much to ask. Right?


Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will still get you coffee.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Blessed Be

It's the Solstice. Can you feel it? Perfect imbalance, before the return of the light. Can you feel it?

Blessed Be, my friends.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee ~ but tonight I'll be drinking mead.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

What It's About

A special hat tip to Rose. Okay, more than a hat tip. A full on, huge hug and praise from the mountaintops. See, no one has been able to explain to me how to self-publish on amazon. The responses have been along the lines of "play around the site; you'll figure it out" and "I have someone who does it for me."

You know, I played around the site and never did figure it out. Honestly, you won't figure it out, just by playing around the site. There's a specific link and such. I know this now, because Rose replied with "oh, sure, let me send you an email." Then she actually and for real followed up with an email. With step by step instructions. And more offers to help.

Here's the thing: The publishing industry is cutthroat. Broad brush ~ authors are not nice people. There is a lot of lip service, and very little true camaraderie. I have been lucky enough to find it in a handful of people, but not many. Mostly, sure, there is support. There are warm fuzzies. But when it comes time for the tangible assistance, there is reticence. As if someone else's success might draw away from theirs. Again, don't get me wrong, I have met a few authors who will go the steps beyond supportive warm fuzzies. But not many.

Then there was this little light. Someone saying "yes."

Rose assured me it could be done in an evening. I didn't believe her, but she was right. And now? Now all three books in the trilogy are available in Kindle format on Amazon.

RIGHT HERE! In time for Yule. And Christmas. And New Year's. And just because.

You know what else are available? Books by Rose.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee ~ but ten bucks will get you some damn fine reading.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peace on Earth

In Newtown, Connecticut today, they are burying an elementary school principal. She was shot and killed trying to protect her children from a gunman. For some of us, it's a heart wrenching news story. For some of us, it's a reminder of other, equally horrific times. And for some, it's a local event. It's striking at home.

The Princess Kitty knew this woman. Had been one of her students, at another school, not too long ago. For her, it's a local event. Today, she is at the funeral, making and placing luminaries, to help line the path to the church. I'm so proud of her, her strength, her heart.

She is not alone. The outpouring of love and support has been indescribable. We are coming together, putting aside our differences, rejecting the darkness for light. I hope it lasts. I fear it won't.

Why must there be horror before we are good to each other?

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I'd Forgotten

When people talk about the smells of the holiday, you will frequently hear about nutmeg and clove. Ginger. Sugar cookies. Pumpkin and cinnamon. Maybe pine and cedar. If you had asked me this morning, I would've said my grandmother's dressing recipe, butter coffee cake, pecan pie, and roasting beastie. I would have been right, mind you, but I wouldn't have been complete.

Recently, I was emailing an old college roommate and asked for her recipe for chocolate covered peanut butter balls. In her email, along with the recipe for peanut butter balls, was my dad's recipe for peanut brittle. Wow.

My dad was known throughout town for his peanut brittle. He made batches and batches of the stuff and gave it away like, well, like candy. The mechanics at the garage. The folks at the bank. The dry cleaner. The postman. His hairdresser. Folks at the college. The post office. The Mail Boxes. Anywhere he was a regular or had casual business relationships ended up with peanut brittle.

He would take over the kitchen for an entire day, keeping three of four batches going at a time until he had enough. Plastic bags and red yarn was as fancy as the wrapping got. I don't even think he put a card saying who it was from after a while. If it was peanut brittle, it was from him. And everybody knew it.

Last night, I made Lithus peanut brittle. My kitchen smelled of...my childhood holidays. And damn, it was good stuff. As good as I remembered, even if I'd forgotten.

So tell me, what does your holiday kitchen smell like?

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.




Ps ~ be sure to check out the robot parade over here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Caroling, Caroling Through the Snow

A blog where I lurk has a post up about caroling. The author is part of a church youth group who goes to the church shut-ins and the nursing homes and the hospitals. Very cool thing and I am not disparaging it in any way.

It did get me thinking about caroling, though, and wondering if anyone does it any longer. And not the caroling this writer was talking about. I think church youth groups will always do that kind of caroling. I mean door-to-door, stranger's house, group of friends, caroling. Or am I on the edges of the last generation to ever know that?

When we lived in New York, the call of "CAROLERS!" would echo through the house as one of us had heard the music coming from the other side of the door. All four of us, my parents included, would race to the door so the performers on the other side would know we were home and keep singing.

In Texas, it happened as well, but I also remember going caroling by the time we were in Austin. It didn't matter if you knew the family living in the house or not. You stopped, rang the bell, and started singing. If no one answered after the first song, you moved on. If they did, you rolled right into the next two or three. And you always finished with We Wish You A Merry Christmas ~ although I never did get figgy pudding, in spite of the threat to become squatters should they not feed us.

And then one year in Virginia, maybe the first year,... my mother (I think) pointed out that we hadn't gotten any carolers that season. We talked about the possibility that they "don't do that here." But if it was the specific town in Virginia, or a change in the total culture of the country, I never again had strangers carol at my door. Church groups and choirs who knew where we lived would come, because everyone knew we would appreciate the music. But strangers? The random, unexpected call of "CAROLERS!" followed by the mad dash to the door and the delightful anticipation of who they might be? Never again.

Caroling became the church youth group ~ or the church choir ~ going to shut-ins and nursing homes and hospitals. If another church member lived in the same neighborhood, we might stop by ~ but probably not.

The last time I went caroling to a stranger's house was in Philadelphia. I was living with the Lovely Cats and LRNs, my sister had come to visit, and we got to talking about this very thing. Even though the Lovely Cats was sick with a cold, we bundled her up, and we went caroling (although I think LRNs was wise enough to stay home and warm). We didn't do much caroling. Not many people opened their doors and we realized we didn't know many carols and it was far better in theory than in practice to simply run out into the snow to sing to people. But we had fun. And we made a few families smile. It was a good last time, although I am sorry it was the last time.

Which brings me back to my original musing. Does anybody still just go door to door caroling, any longer?

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.






Sunday, December 16, 2012

Can We Stop This Now?

Twenty children are dead. Babies. They were six and seven years old. They held no political affiliation. They were not bullies. They were excited about the holidays and Santa and wearing party dresses.

There are adults who are dead, as well, and I mean, in no way shape of form, to minimize that or their sacrifices. But dead adults don't register, or we wouldn't've been in this mess to begin with.

These children were killed with legally procured guns. The gun control laws worked and were in effect.

It's time to stop this. The right to bear arms can be protected by revolvers and shotguns. Automatic and semi-automatic weapons have no place in civilian hands. Period.

It's time to stop this. Free speech is a magical thing. Freedom of the press is vital. Both are some of the few things I find worth fighting for. We can, however, stop talking about "the second worse shooting in our nation's history" or "the shortest time between such incidents" or anything else that draws a comparison ~ and can foster competition. Oh, but Pobble, only crazy people would consider it a competition! Only crazy people shoot up schools. Who do you think is listening to these reports and these comparisons?

In 2010, 2777 civilians were killed in Afghanistan. In 2010, 8775 civilians were killed by guns in the United States. You want your constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms? Until/unless that amendment is changed, I really am okay with that. And I'm not about to be an asshole and tell you that you can only keep a weapon that would've been available in 1787. I happen to believe that our founders were incredibly smart men who anticipated technological growth. Great. But if you really believe your right to own a Bushmaster .223 caliber is more important than these 8775 people, I truly don't think you understand the United States, or the founders, as well as you think you do.

It is time to stop this. None of the above changes that. Children are dead. More civilians have been killed than in a war. How is this anything but obvious?

It is time to stop this.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Time Out

Wow... Lots rattling around right now. Sandy Hook. Syria. Egypt. Turkey. Friends in pain and confused and hurting. Gun control. Oppression Olympics. The war on Christmas. The repeal of DADT not equaling the repeal of DOMA. Neo-McCarthyism. Fiscal cliffs. Unemployment. And on, and on, and on...

Until I get my own thoughts in order, at least a little bit, have a song. And a Happy Hanukkah.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Unexpected Happy Changes

You never know how a day is gonna go. Yesterday, Lithus and I had plans, knew what we were going to do (it was going to include wandering, looking at decorations, and a smashburger). Then the phone rang, and you never know how a day is gonna go.

A friend of ours needs a place to stay. Maybe for two days. Maybe for a week. For a few days, or for a week, we have a house guest. It's a little exciting. Plus, there are bed time hugs, and how is that ever bad?

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah

With the move, we have unpacked a lot of boxes. We have even unpacked those boxes that we haven't opened since we left Washington. It's been fun finding things. The picture the Muppet's parents gave me when I sold my first book. The card from the Divine M's aunt. My $2 bills from my dad, grandfather, and brother-in-law. And the SGM's challenge coin. Oh.

It was his first one. The one he got when he passed Special Forces Q Course. While I carried it proudly for years, I had completely forgotten I had it. I have had absolutely no desire to be in touch with him for years, but now... Well, I still have no desire to be in touch with him, but he does need to get this back. I have too many things that I have lost to our divorce, that I will never see again, to inflict that on anyone, including the person who inflicted it on me.

Earlier in the week, I wrote about thinking about another ex with kind indifference. Seems there's a lot of that going on this season. Over the next few weeks, I'll track him down. See if he can still get mail at the unit where I knew him to be stationed, or if he's moved on. I'll return his coin ~ and keep moving on, myself.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The People in Your Neighborhood

Yesterday, Lithus and I hopped the trolley up to the mall. A young-ish ~ late 20s ~ woman got on and wished the trolley driver a merry Christmas. Then, proceeded to announce "THAT'S RIGHT! I said it! Merry Christmas! If you're in retail or service, you're not supposed to say it, but I just did. What is happy holidays, anyway? It's not my problem if you got a problem with Christ."

She then moved on to tell us all about the new restaurant/pool/gym/private club that's opening ~ "only $100 per month!" ~ and she is a cocktail waitress there. By this time, she was sitting next to us. We were friendly, engaged her, joked about gyms that offer booze, and yes, as the conversation wound down, I said "And have a merry Christmas."

Oh! She was so happy. "I love it when people say it back! Happy holidays, bah! What is this holiday all those people are talking about anyway????"

*sigh*

I thought about it. I did. I thought about answering her "that would be the holiday Jesus Christ himself celebrated." I thought about telling her about my Yule that predates ~ and was co-opted by ~ her Christmas. In the end, I let it go. I let her be. Let her have her merry Christmas moment. She needed it far more than I needed to school her. Consider it my gift to her. Happy Yule.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.





Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Swinging Dreidel

I have a great post about watching our kids grow up, rattling around in my head. The intriguing combination of still wanting to protect them from the world and the slightly malevolent vindication that comes when they begin to learn you aren't quite as big an idiot as they always thought.

I have another about the "war on Christmas", also rattling around up there. The right's obsession with the fact that the rest of us want to oppress them somehow, when really, all we'd like is to not be treated the way they are saying we are treating them. 

Mostly, though, I have an hour to get out of the house and make my bus ~ and I'm only on my first cup of coffee. The rest will have to wait. 

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.



Monday, December 10, 2012

iHanukkah. Well, Actually I Don't...

...but my friend Jess Kidding, does. She is an amazing techy, geeky, computery, witty, intelligent woman, and I couldn't help but think of her when I saw this one. We haven't spoken in far too long. Maybe this is the sign I need to get back in touch... Happy Hannukah, JK!

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Sunday, December 09, 2012

My Own Holiday Miracle

Today, Lithus and I were on the trolley heading down to the French Market. As I was looking over the river, watching the gulls fly overhead, I thought about the ex that shows up every so often, and thought "He would really love this. I hope one day he gets down here to New Orleans and has a chance to see it." 

Holy shit. 

This is the first time since we split that I have thought of him with kind indifference. Up until now, it's been anger, disgust, or pity. There was no desire to share the experience with him. There wasn't even reminiscent affection. Simply an acknowledgment that someone I once knew would appreciate an experience. Who says miracles don't happen any more? 

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

 

Saturday, December 08, 2012

And With the Lighting of the First Candle

From someone who understands what it's like to be pretty much ignored this time of year, Happy Hanukkah.


The Best Night of the Year

...has never been Christmas Eve, not even when I was a Christian. A couple years ago, it was February 22, when Lithus and I got married at midnight. Back in 2009, it was October 3 and my 40th birthday. But the general best night of the year, the one that comes every year, is the night we decorate the tree.

One year, when I was in school in Boston, my mother asked if they could go ahead and get the tree and decorate it before I got home. I assured her it was okay to get the tree, but could they please wait to decorate it until I got home. She agreed and they did. I got home one night. The next day, I went out for some now-forgotten reason and came home to...the tree decorated. In one of my mother's greatest ~ okay, maybe not greatest, but definitely top 100 ~ moments of mothering, she undecorated that thing, so we could redecorate that night. And I let her. That's how much I love decorating the tree.

Guess what Lithus and I did last night? We put on carols. We poured egg nog. We had to get incredibly creative, because the tree this year is tiny. I danced and sang and was my Christmas Elf-y self. And now we are decorated. My plan is to cajole the hotel next door into letting me go up to their pool and take a picture of our window from there.

Until then, here's what it looks like around our place. My god but it's good to be home for the holidays.





Those are adorned, bedecked, bedazzled, festooned, garnished, gilded, gussied, and, of course, trimmed, Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Friday, December 07, 2012

The Holly and the Ivy

Because I really want to get music up daily.

Happy Pobble is busy.

 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Shameless Plug

I don't sell much here. The site isn't monetized. The kids in my life know I'm a soft touch, but I don't hit you up often. Mostly, when I do plug something, it's my own stuff (ebooks make great holiday gifts...) or my friends' stuff (I know some great authors, once you've, you know, bought my books). But I do have soft spots. You know a good many of them, so, while I'm not technically selling anything, you really can't be surprised by my willingness to post this:




 Or this tip of the top hat to Nemeria, who proves I am a wealthy woman.

 

 Those are thankful, happy, wealthy Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

A Quickie

Lithus and I are busy today, out exploring, learning bus routes, and seeing sights. Oh, and egg nog pancakes. Mustn't forget the egg nog pancakes! I do love the holidays. In light of all this, I'll let the song do the talking this post. 

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A Bit of Childhood

The rule was very strict in my household growing up: No Christmas before Thanksgiving. Period. And oh, at six, this was painful. I would sit in the big red chair, holding the Kingston Trio albums and long to play them.  The Friday after Thanksgiving, they would be the ones I raced to put on first.

Decorating would wait until later in the month. My mother would parse it out, slowly. First music. Then the greenery and bows along the stairs ~ we never did live in a house without stairs ~ and the nativity scene. Sometime in there, the tablecloth. More and more, until finally the night the tree went up. In New York, it went up in time for the annual Christmas party. In Texas, it just went up eventually. And in Virginia, it went up in time for Daddy's class party/final. The years when the party would be late in the month were excruciating. The years when it was early were years to be relished. Some of my favorite memories are still standing outside, sometimes in snow, sometimes in shirtsleeves, looking at the lit and decorated tree through the window, all four of us snuggled in together.

It always started, though, with the Kingston Trio and the music.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.




Monday, December 03, 2012

Roots and Growth ~ and Changing

Many, many years ago, the SGM and I bought our first house. We'd been looking to rent an apartment and I piped up "Why don't we try to buy a house, instead." Oh, foolish, foolish woman. Over the next five years, we would buy three houses in three different towns. When we finally divorced, I pledged that I would never buy a house again, ever. Live in a long-term rental, sure. In fact, probably. But buy another house? Oh hell no.

Skip forward to last night, seven apartments, and far too many temporary stops to count, later. Lithus and I were hanging out on the couch and I was hit by an overwhelming desire to own a home with this man. Not a condo. Not a townhouse. A single family, detached house in a neighborhood (albeit, not in suburbia ~ things aren't that drastic). I was so shocked by this desire that I even told him about it. By the time I was done telling him about it, mind, it was already sounding less desirable. Yard work. Maintenance. Water bills. Not so much. Still, a condo or a townhouse...

What I realized is that this isn't a desire to own a house. That's still not all that interesting to me. What I do want is to build something with Lithus. Put down some roots ~ even if we spend as much time away as we do there. Create a life and memories and traditions. Be in one place long enough for people to actually come visit us, not just talk about it. Host a couple parties. Maybe even a holiday or two. Not always have one foot out the door.

I'm making no grand pronouncements here. We haven't bought a house and we aren't even looking.  And wherever this takes us, I guarantee you that our definition of "settling down" is going to be different from anyone else's, ever. Still, it's our definition and that's enough.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

Happy Holidays from New Orleans

Sending you over to Stilettos In The Outback, for pictures of the Christmas Parade. God, I love this town. Psst...here's a tip: leave this open in a separate window or tab, so the music can play while you scroll through the pictures over there. The video here isn't very interesting to look at, anyway.






 Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Blessed Be

Last night, we had my holiday music playing and this song came on. I started to dance, as I almost always do when this song comes on. Lithus mentioned that I looked happy; I assured him I was. And he said "You are loved, and we have what we need."

I was struck silent. I am loved. I have what I need. 

Really, what more is there to say? Any time of the year, but especially now.




 Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Little Less Traditional

Lithus and I are still completely in explore mode. With New Orleans in general, and with our new neighborhood, specifically. So, we were out today, exploring, because exploring is one of the things we do best. We live down the block from the NOLA Public Library, main branch. I may never leave the apartment without my drivers license again, because Lithus has his library card now, and I still don't.

However! We also learned that we are right down the street from Ampersand. Yep, that's a rave club. So, we stopped and were looking at the posters. Paul Oakenfold. Skrillex. Such great music. Glow in the dark foam nights. As we are looking and oohing and ahhhing and reminiscing, a young man comes up and asks if we know what we're looking at. We assured him we did. We were able to actually speak some about Oakenfold and Skrillex and laser shows.

Still, when he asked if we'd ever been in, I assured him we had not. Actually, what I said was "Oh honey, no, we're old." At which point, I admit it, he made my day. "No, no," he said. "You should totally check it out. They have shows over at Mardi Gras World, too. You should totally come."

He wasn't selling anything. He wasn't invested. But even being *ahem* of a certain age *ahem* we still just got invited to hang with the local street kids. All because we could talk about a couple old school musicians and have been to light/foam shows. Not bad for 43 and 52, if I do say so myself. 

So, in keeping with the day's techno theme...



And with some dubstep thrown in, for good measure:



Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Blog, My Style

This is the second year I've done holiday music throughout the season here at Pobble Thoughts. It has confirmed what I suspected about myself. There are certain artists I like a lot. Of course, there are specific songs I adore, too. But on the days that I go looking for a random holiday song, I am more likely to stumble across ~ and enjoy ~ Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, the Canadian Brass Ensemble, Loreena McKennitt, Blackmore's Night, Manheim Steamroller, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and yes, the Muppets.

So, here is what I am sure will be the first of many.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bells, Bells, and More Bells

At the old apartment, we had old windows. 150 year old windows, to be exact. We were also only on the second floor. While we didn't live on one of the noisiest streets in the Quarter ~ Bourbon, or Royal, or even Decatur ~ there is no real "quiet" street in the Quarter. Combine all of this together and you get constant noise. Some of it ~ the music, the brass bands, the riverboat calliope, the laughter ~ was delightful. Truly. Others of it, though ~ the restaurant opening and closing, the drunken tourists, the twice-per-night trash collection, the arguments ~ got old quickly.

Here in the new place, if we have the windows open, we can hear the traffic. If the windows are closed, none of the life below us reaches us. Except for the bells. If you go back to the post a couple days ago, where I posted pictures, in the night view, you can see a building with a rose window. That building is a Jesuit cathedral. They have bells.

From 7 o'clock in the morning through 10 o'clock at night, the bells sound every fifteen minutes. At noon and at 6:00 PM, they peal and we are treated to a concert. Our first morning here, they woke me at seven. Our second morning here, I didn't hear them until 7:45. Now, sometimes I don't even notice them when I'm awake. I'll tell you though, when I do hear them, they warm my heart and make me smile. May they do the same for you.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday

First, we had Black Friday. Then, we added Cyber Monday. After that, we squeezed in Small Business Saturday. Now, we are following up with Giving Tuesday. I admit, I hadn't heard of Giving Tuesday until yesterday, when I was watching CNN at the gym and they mentioned it. I had to go look it up, because the captioning was bad and I wasn't 100% sure what I was reading. Sure enough, Giving Tuesday is a thing.

As someone who gives an annual PSA about giving during the season, I am all for this. As someone who truly believes what we put out will come back to us threefold, I am all for this. In fact, this may be the most sincere, earnest post I make all year, every year.

Because every year, I do a post about giving. This year, it's a little different. This year, if you want suggestions about what to give, where to give, or how to give if you're strapped, go to the links from 2005, 2007, 2008 (the first year Toys for Troops made an appearance, FYI), 2009, or 2010. I missed 2006 and 2011, go figure. Still, those five years should give you some really good ideas. And holy shit, I've been blogging a long time.

For this year, I'm just going to say "Give Something." Give today, if you want. That's great. Give a lot. Give a little. A can of green beans or a hundred dollars to the local food bank. Give a smile or time. Give a clean load of laundry or a swept floor. Give a can of dog food or a year's supply of kitty litter. You know what matters to you. You know what you have available to you. Give what's in your own heart. It will come back to you. Threefold.

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat...



Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Ebb and Flow of Friendship

The FE and I exchanged a few emails the other day, in which I admitted to missing her, just sucking at writing. In return, she admitted to thinking about me all the time, as well. Then she said "we each know the other is out there." It was spot on. We aren't in touch often and yet, it doesn't seem to matter. We each know the other is out there. And it is helpful in that we are both in the same tide as the other. It's not always the case.

Two other friends of mine... In one instance, I am the one wondering why the friendship has shifted. I've done all the things I'm supposed to do. I checked in. I made sure I was initiating. I asked if we were all right. It's all been acknowledged, appreciated, reassured. Because of who this guy is, I even believe him when he assures me we're all right. When a friendship ebbs, that's often the truth. Everything is all right. It's just...shifting. The truth is, even with us all right, I am not as part of his weekly life as I once was.

In the other instance, I am the one shifting. She and I are completely all right. At the same time, I am aware that I don't think to reach out to her as often as she thinks to reach out to me. My instinct isn't to share the good, the bad, or the indifferent with her immediately any longer. She didn't do anything. I still love her. And she is no longer as much a part of my weekly life as she once was. And I can tell she knows it, too.

To a certain extent, I'm grateful for the shift within the first friendship, because it gives me some persepective on the second. I try to reach out a little more than I might, otherwise. As the second frienship gives me perspective on the first. I trust when he says I haven't done anything, because I know she hasn't done anything. It's just the ebb and flow of friendship.

Mostly, though, it makes me grateful for my friendships like the one with the FE. Sometimes there are flurries of emails. Sometimes, there are long stretches of silence. And either is all good. Eventually, we'll come back together. Until then, we know the other is out there.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.




Sunday, November 25, 2012

Home, Sweet Home

As I mentioned yesterday, we are home for the holidays this year. I also mentioned we had moved. Living in the Quarter was great. It really was. It was also, as my mother pointed out, an experience, and sometimes you don't want an experience. Sometimes, you just want to live your life. So very true.

Now, we live in the CBD. We are still downtown. It is still cool. If anything, it's almost cooler. Because it is everything you want and expect from New Orleans, specifically, and everything you want and expect from a city life, generally. Steel, marble, concrete and glass. God, I love a city life.

The building is professionally run. There's a doorman. There's a maintenance team. There's a cleaning crew. There are elevators that are clean and work. There are enough outlets. The lightswitches are all in the right places. The kitchen, while small, is laid out perfectly. We even have our own washer-dryer. An oven. It's amazing the things I will never again take for granted.

For the first time since we hit the road, I have unpacked all my clothes. Everything is out of suitcases. All the sweaters and jackets are out of boxes. I can't wear them down here, because it never gets that cold, but dammit, they are on shelves, off the floor. Lithus is blessedly patient, because so far, every single morning, I have gotten out of the shower and announced that I was going into the closet to decide on an outfit to wear today, and remind him that I can do that because I am unpacked. Yeah...it's kind of a big deal after four years.

Not all the boxes are unpacked yet, and it already feels like home. Home in a way nowhere has since Worcester, for those of you who have been with me that long. Only here, I've got Lithus with me, too, which makes it even better.

Plus, there's this...

Palm trees to the left

Palm trees to the right

And the nighttime view out the window.

Finally, we are still surrounded by hotels, and always have a sleeper sofa, so come visit.

Those are happy to home Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

What's This?

It's Christmas. Yule. The countdown to Santa. The winter holidays. Hannukah. The most wonderful time of the year and God bless us, everyone! The season has barely begun and yet we have already had a wonderful evening with friends, and the coffee commercials have begun to make me cry. In the next few days, we'll decorate.

It's New Orleans, all dressed up in her party clothes. We'll wander the streets of our city and enjoy palm trees sparkling with lights. We've already wandered through the elegant hotels and enjoyed their lights and trees and wreaths.

It's home. Lithus and I get to spend the holidays here, in our own home. Talk about an amazing gift. We moved recently. Out of the Quarter, by about six blocks ~ but lightyears away from the drunken party that is always that part of town. The buildings around us are steel, marble, and glass. Gorgeous. Our view is all city. Even still among our boxes, we keep looking at each other and saying "God, we love this apartment!" I've unpacked, for the first time since we left Washington state and hit the road. Seriously. It's been that long since I had shelves and everything was out of suitcases and boxes. Like I said, talk about an amazing gift.

There will be more, but even if these are the only gifts of the season, you won't hear me complain.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.




Friday, November 23, 2012

It's The Day After Thanksgiving

You know what that means? That means it can be time for carols. And this year, the day after Thanksgiving also happens to be Lithus' birthday. So, in honor of my favorite person, I give you his favorite carol.

Happy birthday, my love. Happy holidays, everybody else.



Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Here's A Hint

* If you start your statement with "I'm not being racist but..." you're about to be racist.
* If you use the N-word, you are racist.
* If you use the word f*%%&t, you are bigoted.
* If you think there are levels of rape, you are anti-woman.
* If you force people to accept your belief that life begins at conception and abortion is murder, you do not believe in religious freedom.


* Not allowing you to oppress me does not make you oppressed.
* Religious freedom isn't about being allowed to choose which branch of Christian someone is going to be.
* No one else's marriage is a threat to your marriage.
* If your religious beliefs can't stand up to other people believing differently, your beliefs are the weaker ones.
* Laws based on Christianity are just as oppressive as sharia law.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Borrowing Words

As good as I am with words, sometimes others say it better.

In an article by Christopher Hennessy, Tony/Pulitzer-winning playwright Doug Wright puts it THIS WAY:

"I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they’re voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice, and say, 'My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood.'

"It’s like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movements, and apologizing for his racism. You’re still complicit. You’re still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don’t get to walk away clean, because you say you “disagree” with your candidate on these issues."

The rest of the article is definitely worth a gander, too.

Those are Pobble Thoughts, through Christopher Hennessy's and Doug Wright's words. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee. 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Screaming Liberal Post #6

With thanks to AppsRus.

In case you do not know the musical LesMiserables, there is a song entitled One Day More. It is the song sung the day before the revolution begins. If you are interested, you can find a version of it here:








If you aren't interested, or don't have time right now, that's okay. The point is, it's a powerful song about people being scared, not wanting to say goodbye, but willing to do what they have to do tomorrow. The fact that it is the basis of the parody below is not coincidence.



In spite of that intro, this really does stand on its own.






One Term More - With Subtitles from One Term More on Vimeo.


Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Samhain, 2012

Samhain is one of my favorite holidays. Before I celebrated it, and only celebrated Halloween, it was okay. Fun and cool, but no where close to a favorite. Now that I celebrate Samhain, it definitely gives Thanksgiving a run for its money.

In the past, Samhain has looked like  ~


This.
And this...


And even this (*sniff*)
This year, though... *sigh* This year, we are in a hotel room in Grangeville, Idaho. Our "kitchen" is this:

A microwave and minifridge






However! We found pretty plates:






Plus, the hotel, itself, has embraced the holiday:





And I always travel with candles (because you never know when you might need candles):






Holidays are, after all, what we make of them. Blessed be, everyone.


From Mrs. Pike this morning


Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.