Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas Meme

In Valerie Comer's Little World, she suggested this Christmas meme, which I thought was pretty cool. Want to play too? Link your answers in the comments section.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags, all the way! I can never find the scotch tape when I need to wrap something, or the room to spread it out, so the paper always ends up looking wrinkly and torn.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Love real but this year put up a very small artificial tree in my tiny little apartment.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually just before Christmas, like Christmas Eve. This year I put it up early, like yesterday.

4. When do you take the tree down? New Year's Day.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes. With nutmeg on top. And a tot of brandy or rum in it is also quite pleasant.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A Tiny Tears Doll one year and a 26-inch bike a few years later.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Everybody, because I always try to find unique gifts that I am sure the person will love (or at least use).

8. Easiest person to buy for? My daughter when she was little.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, but I can't remember where I put it. It's not in any of the Christmas boxes I've gotten down off the closet shelves yet.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I like to send both, if I ever manage to get around to it.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A pair of gray knit gloves and a matching hat. From a BOYFRIEND! I felt so depressed. I mean, if I lived in Alaska or Chicago, maybe I could see why he'd give me something that looked like it was meant to keep an old granny warm, but I lived in Los Angeles, CA for heaven's sake!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I really don't have one. Not a movie person. But if I were pressed, I'd probably say "Home Alone."

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Christmas week, sometimes Christmas Eve. (I am not in denial.)

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No. I may do it this year though. Haven't shopped yet.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Oh, my. Mincemeat pie. :) When we were little, my mom always made oyster stew for Christmas Eve, and we'd eat it with those little bitty crackers. Christmas was usually turkey, if I remember correctly, or ham. Or both. We had a big family.

16. Lights on the tree? No, but multi-colored lights on the potted palm and the potted ficus tree.

17. Favorite Christmas song? I love all the old carols: We Three Kings, Silent Night, Adeste Fideles, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Drummer Boy.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I've done both, but the older I get the more I like staying home.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Hmmm, I was just wondering that myself. Uh, let's see: Dasher, Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blixen, Vixen, and...um, Rudolph?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? I grew up with Christmas Eve gift-opening at home with my dad's family, and then we'd go to my maternal grandmother's for Christmas Day and open gifts there too. When my daughter was little, I'd let her open one present from me on Christmas Eve, but Santa came that night after she was asleep so she opened those gifts and the rest of mine on Christmas Day.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Sell, sell, sell. Buy, buy, buy. Lord, but the desperate commerciality of it makes me sick.

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color? Whatever I feel like. I do like angels, though, and have a lot of them. Actually, I leave most of them up all year.

24. Favorite for Christmas Dinner? If I had my choice, I'd make roast beef with mashed potatoes & gravy. Oh, vegetables? Sure, whatever. And mincemeat pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert. And maybe plum pudding with hard sauce. And a nice moist fruit cake. And those powered-sugar-covered almond crescent cookies. (Yes, I like sweets.)

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Not so much. World peace. To win the lottery so I could retire. Health care reform with Medical for All to pass. The end of homelessness and domestic abuse. The return of my passion & creativity. That my daughter and family are all safe and happy.

Merry Christmas, Everyone! And may the New Year be filled with happiness, health, prosperity, and all good things!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Truly, Madly ~ a review

Lucy Valentine comes from a long line of matchmakers who have been aided in the endeavor by being able to read peoples' auras. Unfortunately, while the Valentine's are uncannily accurate when it comes to pairing others, they seem unable to find true and lasting love themselves. 

Heather Webber's Truly, Madly was a fun, easy-to-read romantic mystery with delightful flashes of humor. I thought it was very well-written in a style that was breezy but not annoyingly so. It was written in the first person, which often puts me off, but Heather Webber managed to pull it off. Lucy is a likeable heroine with a couple of major issues: one is that she feels as if she's not really good for anything & doesn't quite belong, and the second is a giant fear of commitment. Lucy's paranormal talent was zapped when she was 14 years old, and now all she seems able to do is find lost objects, not much help when she's forced by circumstances to take over the family business.

She shares the story with a cast of supporting characters that include Sean ~ a hunky but not particularly well-developed P.I./love-interest, Dovie ~ Lucy's ditzy but hip grandmother who, in her desperation to become a great-grandmother, is both adorable and terrifying by turns, a couple of loyal best friends, a pushy reporter, a really creepily psychotic yet tormented villain, and, my personal favorites, two rescue animals ~ one a three-legged, neurotically needy cat named Grendel and a one-eyed hamster named Odysseus. Along with Sean's puppy Thoreau, the furry threesome promises to provide lots of comic relief as the series continues.

I thought the solutions to the various mysteries were pretty cool, but I wasn't thrilled with what I thought was a rather abrupt ending. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

Truly, Madly is due in stores in February 2010. I won an ARC through LibraryThing.com's Early Review program.