Monthly Archives: December 2010

Dear Mike,

So this is Xmas, and what have you done?

I keep hearing John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War is Over) playing everwhere. I remember sitting on the floor in your room on Skank Ave. I’m infront of your stereo listening to that song. You’re probably playing it to show me how much better it is than Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime. You’d always get sentimental during the holidays and you’d pull out your old singles and the Beatles’ Blue and Red albums and play them for me. This year is the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s death and it is hard for me to believe that it has been that long. I also can’t believe that someday it will be 30 (or even 10) years since you died. I don’t want the time between when you were alive and when you were not to ever stretch that far apart but I cannot make it stop. I was listening to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast the other day and they were talking about It’s a Wonderful Life. Linda Holmes said that she really loved that movie not only because it’s about a noble person who makes sacrifices and how those choices enrich all the people in their life. She loves it because it shows how those sacrifices come at a price to the person. Making hard choices is hard and life sucks a lot of the time.

I made Glenn wake me up in the middle of the night on Monday so we could go outside and look at the lunar eclipse. It wasn’t as big as I hoped it would be but it was very cool looking. I thought it looked kind of like a smooth orangey cookie. Or maybe that was the oven talking. We just got our new oven installed on Monday and I started baking as soon as I got home from work. I had you partly in mind when I asked Glenn to get me up. I don’t know if you had ever seen an eclipse or not so I’m saving that memory for you Mike. I know that there will be more “things” I’ll be saving for you along the way. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to give them to you but maybe I already have.

Merry Christmas.

Love,

M

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Sea Monkeys and Other Disappointments

My daughter told me about a brine shrimp ecosystem she had seen on a shopping trip with Mr Awesome and it got me thinking about Sea Monkeys. I told her how I saw the Sea Monkey ads in the back of comic books and begged my mother to let me send away for them. Once they arrived I was very disappointed to see that they weren’t even remotely like the happy little creatures in the Sea Monkeys ads. They couldn’t “appear” to do tricks. The only way they’d dance to the beat of music is if you put their milk glass on top of the speaker and turned the dial all the way up. They didn’t have faces or even arms and legs. They were just brine shrimp or Artemia. They weren’t adorable, in fact they looked like swimming bugs. I just noticed the line of fine print at the bottom of the page “Caricatures shown not intended to depict Artemia”. Well, what were they supposed to be depicting then? I never saw that before. Maybe it was there all the time and I just blocked it out. I told her that these kinds of ads wouldn’t be allowed these days. But don’t worry kids today learn their cynicism in other ways. She and I laughed reading the ad copy. I hope that you enjoy it as well. Here is a link to a lot more ads if you’re feeling nostalgic.

While looking up the Sea Monkeys ad we also found the one for the “Gag Gifts”. I love how the Disguise Kit is described as “A Riot of Fun for Everyone!” I think my favorite is the “Radio Time ‘Bomb’. Looks like a transistor radio but can be set from 10 seconds to 10 minutes to explode – harmlessly, but really shocks and surprises. Plant and watch the fun.”

Wow, where can I get one?

I hope that this holiday season brings you everything you hope for!

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T-Baum 2010

We put up our tree last weekend. We are real tree people. I have always been adamant about having a real tree. I love the smell and how each one is different and special. Over the past few years I’ve noticed that I always get a lingering cold at Christmas time that mysteriously disappears as soon as we take down the tree. Smart person that I am, I have deduced that I’m probably allergic to the darn thing. I made one weak try to talk to my family about possibly going the fake tree route this year but it didn’t work. We are real tree people and we’re not going to change. I’m just taking extra allergy medicine and it seems to be working so far. Someone I work with told me a story about her friend who always got really sick at Christmas time. Ever since he was a young boy he would get so ill that he would have to spend the holidays laying in his bed with a fever and flu. His parents felt bad that he always missed the holiday festivities sick in bed so as a special treat they started putting a small Christmas tree in his room. It wasn’t until he was an adult many years later that he learned that he was highly allergic to pine trees.

We’ve been having a good holiday so far. My mom is feeling a lot better. She’s had two rounds of chemo so far and the pain in her leg is gone. There have been many other side effects and times when she’s really suffered but for now she’s stable. She’s going to have another CT scan next week and the doctor expects to see that the mass has gotten measurably smaller. This is all good news!! My daughter is in her standard holiday mode. She’s dreaming of all the presents she’ll get at Christmas and then for her birthday 2 weeks later. Though this year she has really gotten into picking out her own gifts to give to others which makes me happy. We’re trying (I mean, I’m trying) to not go too too crazy with the gifts for her this year. I hope that she likes what Santa brings! She still believes in Santa though I’m sure she has her doubts. However, she has told me that Rudolph is definitely a myth. No red nosed reindeer is pulling the wool over her eyes anymore. Santa is going to be very good to me this year. We are getting a new oven TOMORROW! I have been without a working oven for just about 4 years now. Mr Awesome has been truly awesome getting the kitchen ready for our newest appliance. Yesterday he moved a heating duct from its original position underneath the old cooktop to a new location right by the kitchen table. This involved cramming his almost 6′ body into the filthy crawlspace underneath the kitchen floor to detach and reattach the hvac piping. He grumbled and groaned his way through it but he got it done. I love my guy!!! I can’t wait to start some holiday baking. I especially want to make some brown butter cookies that are the most delicious things ever. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I always take pictures of our tree but they just don’t do the original justice. I set up the camera to take a little video of the trimming activities. I thought that we could speed it up and reverse it and have a fun little movie. However, once I started my editing process in imovie ’09 I started running into a problem with the audio. Somehow the audio tracks  from the footage were finding their way into the movie even after I had muted and in some cases deleted them. Since I’m totally bonkers and get obsessed with little projects while I ignore the million other things I need to be doing I have spent the last week working on my 2 minute video. Apparently there is some bug in this version of imovie that doesn’t allow you to completely get rid of audio tracks on clips that you’ve used custom settings to speed up or slowed down. I fixed it by going back in and re-edited all my clips to the preset speeds. I hope that you enjoy it!

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A Very Lenska Christmas

Once the holiday season starts I always have an overpowering desire to sing Christmas carols in four part harmony in the original latin where applicable. This happens without fail. I thank my High School Chorus teacher Mrs. Martindale for this and I say this without sarcasm. I really thank her for making me this way. I love that I know the words to the second verses of most of the traditional carols. I thank her for the thrill of getting to sing our songs in the city at the Pan Am building. Years later when I worked in that building it was almost as exciting to see all the school groups coming to sing every year. I would feel just a little bit jealous as I looked up at them singing at the top of the now removed grand white staircase. I remember practicing on the school bus on the trip into the city and singing out the windows to the people on the street.  Thank you Mrs. Martindale.

I try to fill my musical holiday needs by singing Christmas carols loudly in my car, in the shower and whenever I hear them playing. One of my most favorite “numbers” from that time was Dona Nobis Pachem. It is sung in a round and that makes it kind of unsatisfying to sing by yourself. I’ve started teaching it to my daughter but we’re not quite there yet. Then I realized that I could sing it by myself, with myself and I recorded the music you hear in the video (thank you GarageBand!) below. Originally I wanted to just have the music but couldn’t get it to load so I decided to make a year in pictures video and the rest is Roolalenska history. I hope that you enjoy it!

I want to wish everyone out there a very happy holiday. I’m hoping for a good holiday this year. Things have been a little harder and uncertain lately but we’re making our way. I guess that’s the best we can ask for? I’m wishing good things for you internets.

I’m wishing you peace.

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