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Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day [in photos]

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday week, and if you celebrate Christmas I hope it was as full of love, laughter and good food as ours was :)

Making Christmas Eve Dinner
...behold, my cooking face

Dinner at Chez MacKenzie (our place) with my parents

Holiday decor

Ready to Bach and Roll

After 2 services and the Bach, this was the extent of my capabilities

Christmas morning - opening a special MacKenzie scotch from my dad

The two greatest books ever written

Obligatory photo in front of the tree

gift from Ben ~ a lovely mug from Mammaste

More gifts from my awesome husband

...and yoga books from my parents, yay!

I gave Ben this dashing he just looks ridiculously scottish all the time

Merry Christmas, peace and love to you and yours <3 div="">

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas is coming...

HOORAY!!! Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday and has been since...forever ~ the snow, the lights, trees, baking, music, family, everything I love wrapped up in a bow with time off from work as an added bonus. One of my fondest childhood memories is decorating the tree with my dad. We would put on the lights (well, he would...I was too short), hang all the ornaments (this I actually did help with) and when we were done, we would sit in the living room with some hot tea or hot cocoa, and just look at the tree, taking up half the room, shining and colorful. It might sound boring, but when I was little it felt magical.

 I work the rest of this week, as well as next Monday and Tuesday but then I am off for a WHOLE WEEK. My agenda during this time includes:

  • Choir. Lots of choir. We have an evening service on Saturday, a three hour rehearsal with orchestra on Monday, and two services + a special performance (Bach!) on Christmas Eve. I am also singing in 2 small ensembles this year (a sextet and a trio) so I've been putting in some time on the side, it's been a while since I had to sing over an orchestra. Like...many years. Haha.
  • Caroling! Ben and I are going caroling on Sunday with some friends from choir. I haven't been caroling in years so I am pretty pumped about this...although, it is supposed to be cold this weekend. I'm sure we will survive.
  • Baking. You bet your sweet buns I will be making at least 85 batches of cookies over the next week, time to stock up on butter I guess.
  • White Elephant party. One of my favorite traditions is the "Nasty Christmas" party my friends and I throw every year. 
  • Watching/reading Harry Potter!! Ben and I started a tradition last year of watching all 8 HP movies between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We just watched Order of the Phoenix on Tuesday, so Half Blood Prince is queued up for this weekend. We also bought the new paperback set and I'm hoping I can plow through a re-read over break. We shall see. 
  • Yoga (as always)
  • Running (as always)
  • Collaging. It's been a while since I made a yoga collage (2 years ago I did Shiva, and the year before that I did Kali). I have a great idea for my next one, I just need to pull all of the materials together. Can't wait :)
In case you were feeling sad that you can't make it to my stunning choir performances,
here is a sexy photo of me in my robe, with my dad. You're welcome.

Delightful cookies from last year's Nasty Christmas

Example of an appropriate Nasty Christmas gift
Last year's haul - rubber duck headphones

2011's creative efforts
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for (or not)...Christmas Survey! I found this on Janae's blog and thought I would re-post even though it's old.
1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song?
Favorite tracks: 2, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 31, 38, 41. Mostly stripped down, minimalist but new takes on classics. My fave.
2.  Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?
I will probably either run or practice yoga on seems more appropriate maybe.
3.  What do you usually eat on Christmas morning?
Pancakes! For years, I have been in charge of coffee and pancakes on Christmas morning...I think it just happened one year and the tradition stuck.
4.  Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition?
Harry Potter marathon. Baking with my dad. At one point, my whole family (dad's side) used to congregate at our place for Christmas and we would all sing carols around the piano on Christmas Eve. It got pretty out of control, especially the 12 days of Christmas which basically became a challenge to see how far over the top we could take "five golden rings"...I think I have a video of this somewhere. 
5.  Real tree, fake tree or no tree?
I prefer a real tree, but we have a fake one. My cat likes to eat any plant within her reach (which is everywhere) so, real tree is out unfortunately :(
6.  Christmas pajamas… yay or nay?
Oh, for sure yay. Absolutely.
7.  Where do you spend the holidays?  Your own house, your parents’ house, extended family, in-laws, friends?
Christmas Eve is full of choir nonsense, so we usually spend it with my parents and we spend Christmas morning with them as well. Christmas day we meet up with Ben's family.
8.  Food that you always have during the holiday season?  Favorite Christmas food/treat?
Spritz cookies! And unlimited hot cocoa.
9. Open presents all at once or take turns?  Stockings… yes or no?
Take turns. Stockings = YES but my parents are scrooges, so I may have to take stocking stuffer duty this year. Surprise, bitches YOU ALL GET COAL.
Kidding...kidding. They will all get delightful treats in their stockings. And maybe also coal.
10.  Favorite Christmas(ish) movie?
Miracle on 34th Street (the original)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Book of the Week: A Wild Sheep Chase

"Body cells replace themselves every month. Even at this very moment. Most everything you think you know about me is nothing more than memories."

I am a huge Murakami fan. I absolutely recognize that he's not everyone's cup of tea but...if he is your cup of tea call me; we'll talk. This is Murakami's first widely published novel and the fifth one I've read (after Kafka on the Shore, Windup Bird, 1Q84, and the nonfiction What I TalkAbout When I Talk About Running) and I've fallen completely in love with his particular, quirky brand of magical realism. Reading a Murakami novel is like floating around inside someone else's strange and slightly creepy dream. AWSC is part detective novel, part sci-fi, part quest/self-discovery and (and this part I was kind of unprepared for) part horror. 

There's always a sense of the eerie and foreboding in Murakami's novels, but this is the first time he has genuinely FREAKED ME THE F*&% OUT. Ben can vouch for that at one point I yelled AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! and threw my book onto the coffee table like it was a hot potato, because I was so creeped out. Anyway, if you are looking at venturing into the wonderful and weird world of Murakami I would highly recommend A Wild Sheep Chase...although I'd maybe say start out with Kafka on the Shore or Wind up Bird Chronicle (KotS is probably not his best, but it's a good introduction to his style. WBC is maybe his most critically acclaimed novel, but it is a bit more of a committment).

Yay reading!
Happy Thanksgiving!
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