The Countdown

In the wise words of the OC, “the way you spend New Year’s is the way you’re going to spend the rest of the year.”

May your evening be merry and bright. full of laughter and good friends.  Onward to 2011!


Christmas Wishes

My Christmas wishes:

  1. A cure for cancer
  2. For my loved ones to be happy, healthy, and close to me
  3. More travel, good food, and beautiful scenic views in the coming year
  4. To make a positive difference in the world

Steve Martin, however, has other ideas.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

[Hilarious, but not entirely suitable for work.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.]

The icing on the cookie

When life called for icing, I pulled out good old Betty Crocker to get some advice.  The only problem: the recipe was waaay too big for the mini-batches I had planned to make.

So, I used the same ingredients and mixed and matched until I got the perfect consistency for spreading, sticking, and eating.

  1. Warm up 1 tsp or less of button until melted.
  2. Add 1 tsp milk
  3. Add a dash vanilla (1/4 tsp or so)
  4. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar.
  5. Stir until creamy – then add more powdered sugar, stir, and adjust as needed.

The basic idea is to add a small amount of everything, then add powdered sugar until it ends up the consistency you’re looking for – overshoot a little if you’re not sure.  If you want cake frosting, use less powdered sugar overall.  But this mix, which ended up having about 1.5 cups of unpacked powdered sugar in it total, was perfect for frosting cookies.  It was easy to work with, didn’t harden up too soon, and tastes delicious, even days later.

If you get here in the next ten minutes, you can fight me for the last of this batch!  I’ll even throw in a cuppa tea!

Over the moon

Attention y’all:

Lunar eclipse tomorrow morning!

Tomorrow night is the shortest day/longest night of the year, which means the eclipse will be longer than usual and more easily visible.  Look for it to start around 1:33 AM and last 3.5 hours, with the peak (the totality phase, when the moon is entirely in the earth’s shadow)  occurring at 2:41 AM 12/21.

Bonus: due to recent volcanoes and dust storms, the moon could appear an amber color.

Extra super bonus: This is the first time in 456 years that a lunar eclipse has fallen on the winter solstice.  Oooooo!  Set an alarm, and don’t miss it!

[Photo taken by yours truly using the telescope at Williston Observatory at Mount Holyoke College in 2005.]

Dorky Doppelganger

I finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last night for the first time since it came out (and the first time since I saw HP7: Part 1).  It definitely held up to a second reading, especially because it helped me fill in the blanks of what they left out in the movie (the mode of discovery at Luna’s house, among other things).

It also helped me put to rest the nagging feeling of familiarity I had whenever I walked by a certain statue near my office on Milk Street in Boston.  I realized the similarity as soon as I flipped the page to chapter 16:


<– Tribute to Irish Immigrants
Tribute to the Potters in Godric’s Hallow –>



I know that it’s not exactly the same, but I feel like it could have been if they had about seven more years.  And you know, if all their potatoes had gone bad in a way that couldn’t be fixed with magic and then they had to immigrate to the USA in search of the American Dream.  But then they wouldn’t have those cute accents…

I wonder if anyone will ever make a real statue like from HP7.  I mean, there is already a Peter Pan in Hyde Park (London) and an Alice in Wonderland in Central Park (New York).  Where should this one be, if so?

How to mix up a perfect weekend

  1. Start with a full night of sleep.
  2. Throw in a sunny morning run, and cool down with brunch eaten while watching home improvement shows on HGTV.
  3. After a brief tidying session around the home, bundle up and explore the neighborhood while keeping an eye out for seasonal festivities.
  4. Add a dash of adventure by going down a new side street or checking out a store you usually just pass by.
  5. Stir well with the massive crowds who are out holiday shopping.
  6. Let this combination sit for three hours with best friends in a warm kitchen full of the scent of banana chocolate chip bread and the sound of game timers.
  7. Bundle up again and set out with your paramour for a wintery evening out.
  8. Rinse and repeat.

Did I miss anything?  How do you define a perfect weekend?