Wednesday, 28 December 2011

New Year Directions

It's been another stellar year in Boston. I love living here, especially in Cambridge. It's fun being surrounded by Harvard's leagues of preppy students (normally in Starbucks!) and professors who reside in the borough. During the winter months as flakes of snow settle layer after layer, the street is practically empty with only a few souls braving the minus temperatures. As spring and summer dawn, over the hum of air conditioners, I will hear someone playing a piano in the apartment block opposite or the lady that practices her scales again and again (will she ever learn the words I wonder?)

But not only did I enjoy my immediate surroundings, Hubby and I managed to explore further field. We visited the Fort on Georges Island where the Americans battled against the Brits (Hubby is often ribbed about owing the US a lighthouse?), Spectacle Island where we enjoyed not the beautiful scenery but the little girl who was very good with a hula hoop. I sampled peanut butter taffy on a pier in Salem and munched fried dough, covered in cinnamon sugar at a huge corn maze - I'm just about forgiving them for not letting us visit the farm animals because we didn't have a child with us!

We had a blast in Las Vegas  - Celine, slot machines, the gun range and the best waffle fries and chilli ever. Oh and I almost forgot "Britain's answer to Frank Sinatra" - Matt Goss - appearing weekends at Cleopatra's barge. The ropey cocktail waitresses and the spectacular views of the strip and the Nevada dessert from the Eiffel Tower. A few months later, we went to the nations capital and I'm amazed at how much we saw in four days. I'm still in awe at being able to stand at the feet of Abraham Lincoln's memorial, look down to see the National Monument and Capital building. Saw the Library of Congress (despite being shooed out a couple of times by security because of a private tour!), marveled at the Smithsonian Air & Space museum and stared through the railing at The White House dismayed that we had to make an application to see inside two months in advance.

I got caught up with the glitz and glamour of the Oscars, puzzled over the sports, got embroiled in new TV shows (Hart of Dixie, Falling Skies, Suits...) and desperately tried to understand the politics. Having read vol. 3, I'm about to start reading volumes 1 & 2 of William Bennett's America - The Last Best Hope, so I'm hoping I'll eventually get the difference between a democrat and a republican. I know I've left out so many memories (having my picture taken with Elvis (swoon)...OK, OK his wax model and filing taxes), but we've had another amazing year.

As the new year approaches, Hubby and I are looking forward to spending time with the great friends that we've made in the last 2 years. Hubby's wishes for the 2012 is to continue our stateside adventures as well as reach level 100 in GOW, get the Calendar Man achievement in Batman oh and for him to be a kept man. So, I'm thinking that I'll have to take serious steps to get published or open a really successful (illegal) cantina. Nevertheless, I've seen the future; Hubby donned with inch thick gold bracelets and shiny suit wowing at the Black Jack tables, me with a blue rinse, cigarette in one hand sitting at the 1c slot machine in Vegas. We'll make millions...

Whatever direction 2012 leads us in - the end of the world, visits to other states - I'm pretty sure that Hubby and I will make it a great year.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas Cards Galore

I just read an article in The Times (London edition) - "All I want for Christmas is a card or two" by Carol Midgley. It detailed her "suffering from the seasonal afflication known as the 'Why have I received so few Christmas cards and does it mean everybody hates me?'" - although she doesn't send out that many herself, but that's not her point, it's still great to receive them.

And, I completely sympathize with Carol. This year, I decided to make my cards, so created a list of people to send them to. A list I make every year and to which Hubby asks - why not keep that list and save yourself some time next year? A valid point perhaps, but my list does change. After all, people leave his office or someone I sent one to this year may well annoy me and therefore find themselves removed from said list for next Christmas. Yes, I know, a little Ebenezer of me...

But lately, over the last few years, I've made the list with a slightly heavy heart. Will I get any cards this year?  The numbers have dwindled. As Carol rightly points out, people are less and less inclined to send out cards. Be they environmentalist - save a tree, don't send a card or consider it a lengthy process - buy the card, find the address, sign card, get stamp, post's a lot of hard work.

I firmly believe that receiving a card at Christmas makes a person know that they are special, that you're thinking of them. That in an 'e' driven world, a tangible item such as a card means so much more. And despite knowing that I'll get a few e-cards (not everyone has my mailing address), I do so cherish the posted ones regardless of who sent them....I was both pleased and slightly horrified that I received a card from my local curry house one year..

So I sent out about 50 cards to those for whom I have an address and hung my ribbon (above picture is representative of my display) in anticipation that in a few weeks leading up to this wonderful holiday, I will be filled with cards of all shapes and sizes from family and friends wishing Hubby and I a joyous (US) Christmas. To date I only have 17 cards displayed but there's still one more week to go...maybe I should have left my forwarding address to The Sitar?..