Monday, December 31, 2007

i can't wait! 2008 is going to be great!

as you can see, i'm ready to ring in the new year with a bit of bubbly and festivities. i hope you have a joyous, healthful, creative, and abundant new year!

the guests of honor have arrived -

yes. the potatoes! these international tubers of tastiness have been honored by the united nations for their work in the field of feeding the hungry, protecting natural resources and providing food security for future generations. no wonder why 2008 was named the year of the potato!

after we ring in the new year, a couple of my pals from idaho and i are kicking of the 2008 in potato-y style with a special batch of potato latkes for brunch.

Friday, December 21, 2007

lions and reindeer and bunnies, oh my!

By this time next week, the christmas spirit will have given up the ghost. soon, new years festivities will take priority as thank you notes are written and resolutions are contemplated. until then, i'll enjoy the season and indulge in all my favorite christmas movies while snacking on fruitcake and sipping on a mug of cocoa. just in case you're in the mood to join me, here's what i have queued up for this weekend's festive film festival fete.

my holiday viewing season was kicked off with the classic grinch that stole x-mas. nothing says "merry christmas! let's slice the roast beast" like boris karloff. but, long before the grinch came on the scene, the holy trinity of children's christmas programing in chicago was the stop-motion classics "suzy snowflake" and "hardrock, coco and joe" and the "frosty the snow man." these short animated music videos of juanty christmas tunes may have been the inspiration for many an animator today. but i can't help wondering if the dwarfs in hardrock, coco and joe are not so distant relations to last years winner of the npr ornament contest "colbert elf"

my holiday viewing menu always includes "olive the other reindeer" based on the delightful book by vivian walsh and j. otto seibold, this animated treat is chock-full-o humor and toe-tapping tunes. drew barrymore's portrayal of our doggie hero-ette is sweet and sincere. i must say, i am a serious fan of the book and was not prepared to like the film. while the plot is different from the book, they have somehow managed to keep the distinctive look of the characters while breathing life into them.

when my kitty friends drop by, i always break out the turkey treats and pop in "bell, book and candle" kim novac and jimmy stuarts holiday romp with a charming siamese kitty.

now, i know everyone loves rudolph the rednose reindeer. i have to be honest, as much as i admire the craftsmanship of the production, the elf that wants to be a dentist and beryl ives as a singing snowman are just too creepy for me. for my dose of holiday stopmotiony goodness, i turn to nightmare before christmas. what chistmas would be complete with out something by tim burton? certainly not mine! if i'm still hungry for a bit-o-burton, i'll dip into a bit of edward scissorhands as a midnight snack.

after all the gifts are wrapped, the cookies baked, and the small electrical fires extinguished, i like to settle down on christmas eve with beverage in hand and a crown on my head to do my best katherine hepburn imitation while watching the lion in winter. what other christmas movie fits in the memorable lines "I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We're a knowledgeable family.", "they'll be pork in the tree-tops come morning" and "shall we hang the holly or each other?"

after a flurry of christmas morning gift opening, i like to calm down with a plate of cookies cookies, a cup of tea and my vintage vhs tape of the rabbit ears radio's retelling of "the velveteen rabbit." the film is not flashy, just david jergennsen's beautiful illustration with meryl streep reading margery williams original 1922 story of how one little bunny becomes real through the power of love. if that's not a christmas story, i don't know what is.

Friday, December 07, 2007

a date that will live on in infamy

when a date gets a bad reputation it's hard to shake it. even though it's made a lot of positive contributions to the world as a date, it will always be associated that one bad apple of a day.

today, for instance. any one who's taken a bit of american history will tell you that pearl harbor was bombed on december 7th 1941. yet, how many people remember that the december 7th 1938 issue of time magazine ran a lengthy article about fashion designer turned socialite turned adventurer ruth harkness who was returning from shanghai with what the ship's manifest described as "a dog". the magazine called harkness' little charge
"a scientific prize of first magnitude", mrs harkness called it su lin and i call it cute. the little black and white bottle-baby holds the distinction of being the very first wild panda to be captured alive.

prolific and eclectic musician, composer, performer tom waits was born on this day in 1949? coincidence? well, yes.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

st. nicholas day!

on st. nicholas eve, little boys and girls leave their shoes out for st. nicholas. if they have been very good, the will get a little treat. if they had been bad they'll find a coal or a switch. sometimes, for no reason at all, he will leave cushioned insoles, talcum powder or toe taps.

i imagine that our parents were very very very good. why else would they have found us in their shoes in the morning? yes! margaret and i have the same birthday!

we share our special day with nick park, the genius animator who brought the world "wallace and gromit", "creature comforts" and "chicken run." margaret has more in common with nick than meets the eye. she's a bit of an animation goddess herself. she's been constructing and dressing-up stop-motion puppets from "davey and goliath" and "robot chicken" to "moral oral" and the upcoming full length feature film "coraline."

happy birthday to us!!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

the dreidel spinning has commenced!

last night was the first night of hanukkah - the festival of lights. the family gathers, the prayers are said, the candles are lit. nothing makes holiday memories like faces bathed in the warm glow of the candles and the faint smell of singed hair. of course, after the first night tradition of the gifting of the fire extinguisher, there is a frenzy as everyone descends on the gifts and tosses their diets to the wind and sour cream is slathered on latkes.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

before a wonderful life

with jimmy stewarts extensive career it's no wonder he's been in a few holiday movies. tonight, i enjoyed the 1940's film "the shop around the corner" featuring margaret sullivan and the wizard of oz himself, frank morgan. despite the fact that all the signage in the film is in another language (i like to pretend it's bohemian)everyone speaks such perfect english!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

naughty or nice?

my favorite friend and fiend are in the holiday spirit. charlotte and vendetta have christmas songs that you'll be humming all season long!