Monthly Archives: December 2008

The End of the Year Meme

Boosted, lovingly, from Kizz.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
I taught at a “real” university, as opposed to a tiny community college – and found it quite to my liking!  I met four blog friends in real life.  I visited Alabama.  I had a cyst and two wisdom teeth removed.  I went on a whale watch where I actually saw whales!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I made a list of 108 things for 2008 – I’ve not checked the list lately, though, so I’m not sure how I did.  I’ve changed my attitude about new year’s resolutions, though, and while I’ll be trying to be mindful of establishing and maintaining good habits, I don’t think I’ll issue a formal list this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, and given that most of my friends are in their forties, I’m thinking that’s just as well.

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

I’ve not left the country since Mr. Chili and I visited Bermuda in ’94.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

A permanent teaching gig, even if it is part-time.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I have events rather than dates, though Labor Day weekend will be recalled fondly for many years to come.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I kicked ass as a college professor.  I completed my fellowship at the Holocaust center.  I completed a 200 hour yoga certification.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I can’t bear full responsibility for them, but a couple of my friendships tanked this year.  In each of them, the other party chose to terminate the relationship, and I know that I have no control over the decisions of others, but I wish it would have been otherwise.  All those doors are only closed on their sides, though; I remain open and unlocked.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Not really.  Aside from being laid up around my birthday last year with a back strain, a nipped-in-the-bud case of shingles, and a minor cold or two here and there, I was remarkably healthy this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I bought Mr. Chili a camera for Christmas this year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I’m going with Kizz’s answer here; anyone who voted.  Additionally, I celebrate the people who go out into their world and practice kindness and compassion and work to make their little corner a safer, more welcoming place.  Great things don’t have to be huge things.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Anyone who used the election season as a reason to treat others poorly.  People who don’t recognize that fear or resentment are not excuses to lash out at others.  People who prefer their anger and ignorance to the work it might take to overcome them.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Fuel, both for vehicles and for heating.  Food.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I was pretty excited about the election.  I also got pretty worked up about spending a weekend with Mr. Chili for our anniversary; it was the first time we’d been away without the kids since Dudley’s wedding, and it was a wonderful time.  I was also really, really jazzed to meet blog friends.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

I don’t think there is a song that stands out for me this year.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
 a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer?

a. Definitely happier.  Seriously; it just keeps getting better

b. About the same, though probably a bit fatter (it IS the holiday season, after all.  Ask me again in February).

c. Again, about the same.  The increase in fuel costs and the crappy economy have had an effect, but I was working last term as a real college professor and was earning far more than I ever have.  Of course, that’s about to change again as I’m not working for Local U. next term – ask me again in September when I’m hired back.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent more time with my old people.  One of the things I’m planning on reestablishing is the weekly grandparental visitation.  I’d also like to see my mom more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Fret about what other people do, especially as concerns me.  I need to remind myself that I only control myself.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

2008 was, perhaps, the best Christmas in recent memory.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been having the Bowyer family around, though I don’t begrudge them their vacation at Disney one bit.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

I’ve been crazy in love since 1992.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

There really wasn’t much “must-see t.v.” for me this year, though I really, REALLY enjoyed Sons of Anarchy.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don’t “hate,” though there are several people with whom I no longer actively seek discourse.

24. What was the best book you read?

I’ve read quite a few books this year, and I’ve loved several of them quite a lot.  Three Men in a Boat (to Say Nothing of the Dog) was fun, and I liked The Brief History of the Dead. Memoirs of a Geisha was also quite enjoyable, as was The Good German.  I’m going to admit here that I really liked the Twilight series, though I offer that accolade with the caveat that it really IS young adult fiction and, as such, lacks a certain depth and richness.  Regardless, it was wonderful for what it was.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I’m not sure that I made any musical discoveries this year.  Huh.

26. What did you want and get?

A new president.  A university gig.  A year of healthy family and happy marriage.  New friends.

27. What did you want and not get?

For some people in my life to get better.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Wow – that’s a hard one.  I enjoyed the most recent Batman outing quite a lot.  I was surprised by how satisfying Twilight was.  Beyond that, nothing really stuck with me.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 39 and I spent the day (and the week surrounding it) on the couch in excruciating pain from a back strain.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Though I’m not sure about the “immeasurably” part, getting a permanent teaching gig would have been cool.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Comfortable, understated, tasteful, classic.

32. What kept you sane?

My husband and my friends (especially O’Mama and Kizz and Sooza and Gerry!).

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Is this like a celebrity crush question?  I didn’t know people, other than geeky English-teacher types, still used “fancy” as a verb anymore!  I’m going to go with Barack Obama here, I think.  While I don’t crush on the man, I do admire him and am excited about the possibilities he represents.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I don’t think I need to mention that equal rights is my primary issue. Secondary to that is, I think, reproductive choice.

35. Who did you miss?

Xena and WeedWoman.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I got to meet four blogging buddies in 2008; Seester and Bo together in the spring, and Michael and Gerry separately in the summer.  I had profoundly wonderful experiences with each of them, though especially with Gerry and Honey who, after spending a single afternoon with Auntie and me, offered their time (and their home) to my family for the Labor Day weekend.  We went, we had a singularly marvelous time, and I can’t wait to see them again.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

People are going to hear what they want to hear, regardless of what I am trying to say.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I’m going to go with Dave Matthews Band’s Best of What’s Around here:

See you and me / have a better time than most can dream / have it better than the best / so we can pull on through / whatever tears at us / whatever holds us down and / if nothing can be done / we’ll make the best of what’s around.

Turns out not where / but who you’re with / that really matters / that really matters / and hurt’s not much / when you’re around / when you’re around / and if you hold on tight / to what you think is your thing / you may find you’re / missing all the rest


Filed under admiration, Blogroll, books, celebration, compassion and connection, concerns, Dark and Stormy Book Club, doing my duty, dumbassery, fiction, Friends, frustrations, fun, GLBTQ/Ally issues, health, holiday, Holocaust Study and Outreach, Home and Family, learning, Little Bits of Nothingness, meme, movies, music, My husband rocks!, my oh-so-exciting life, Parenting, Questions, randomness, reading, remembering, road trip!, ruminating, social issues, teaching, television, the jobs, vacation, Worries and Anxieties, yoga - theory and practice

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Ten Things Tuesday *Edited*

Ten Great Gifts.

Here are ten things that were given – and received – at the Chili household this holiday.

*NOTE – WordPress is having problems with their image uploader this morning, so I supplied links where I thought they would matter.  Come back later for pretty pictures.*

1.  Mr. Chili gave me this gorgeous dragonfly pendant.  He also gave me matching earrings, but I decided that to wear them both at the same time is a bit much.

2.  I gave Mr. Chili this Canon camera.  He’s having fun learning to use it and is looking forward to hanging with Gerry and talking (Photo) shop (sorry; couldn’t resist).  Seriously?  If you need cameras or camera accessories, get them from here, and here’s why;  I ordered this thing on the 22nd.  I clicked on the expensive, get-it-to-me-fast shipping and a little window popped up telling me that even though I was willing to drop the big bucks on the shipping, they couldn’t promise it would get to me in time to get it under the tree.  I figured the worst that would happen is that I would print out a picture of the camera and wrap that, so I chose the free, get-it-to-me-sometime-this-year shipping.  The camera arrived at 11:30 on the morning of the 24th.  I cannot tell you how thrilled I was, and I called the company to tell them so.  That’s quality customer service right there.

3.  Punkin’ Pie found a purple iPod Nano under the tree.  We wrapped it in a GINORMOUS box; she thought it was a Barbie car.  Imagine her disappointment!

4.  Bean received a Nintendo DS2 and is positively delighted with it.  We complemented the toy with two games – The Tale of Despereaux, which is an adventure game, and Brain Age, which has all kinds of fun thinking games on it.

5.  My sister received a wifi printer/scanner/copier for Christmas.  It seemed only fair, as she got me a printer for Christmas last year (or was it the year before?) and besides, I want to be more supportive of her studies in college.

6.  Auntie gifted me with the complete set of Band of Brothers.  Mr. Chili and I made a point of seeing every episode in order when they first aired on t.v., and I stop on them every time I’m channel surfing while folding laundry (which I do in front of the t.v. because folding laundry is perhaps the single most mind-numbing household chore I do.  I don’t mind it so much in front of the t.v.).  Mr. Chili and I started watching again last night.  Goddess, but it’s a really well done series.  The people who made it really cared that they get it right.

7.  Bruder presented me with two more seasons of The West Wing!  I believe it is true that he is responsible for every single season I own (which are one, two, four and five – for some reason, he couldn’t find season three this year).  I also believe it is true that I’ve seen every episode of this show and, in a few more Christmases, I will be able to see every episode again whenever I wish!

8.  Gerry and Honey sent me two gorgeous flower prints.  You can see them on Gerry’s flickr page here and here (and look around while you’re over there; Gerry’s got some kind of magic with a camera).  The morning glories have long been a favorite of mine, and I can’t wait to get these framed and hung where I get to see them every day.

9.  Kizz presented Auntie and me with matted photographs of us together.  I’m not in the habit of posting pictures of our faces terribly often, but this is a really great picture, so I’m giving you the link here.  We are some fierce bitches.  *Edited to say; Kizz has these pictures password protected, so this link doesn’t work.  I’ve posted it as a password protected post immediately above this one.  Email me at mrschili at comcast dot net and, if I know you, I’ll send you the password.*

10.  You can roll your eyes and call me sentimental if you want, but the best present we received this year is the gifts of friendship and togetherness.  I made – and kept – some really wonderful friends this year.  Bruder came up from Alabama to spend the holidays with us.  Auntie came and stayed all day at Christmas.  Meadmaker and his wife joined us for the holiday.  My in-laws behaved themselves.  We were invited to O’Mama’s latke party, and we’ll be going to visit her and the girls this afternoon.  The Bowyers are coming to share dinner with us tonight on their first full day home from Florida.  My blog friends email and text and generally offer up matter-of-fact fellowship that makes my life that much more rich.  My life is full of astounding love, and I am grateful for it every single day.


Filed under admiration, celebration, Friends, fun, holiday, Home and Family, movies, television, vacation

Kizz Does It Better

I believe that I’ve made clear my admiration for Ms. Kizz and her talent with the Hot People Posts. Despite the fact that I continue to bow to her particular talent in that area, I’m going to take a stab at a Hot People post myself, as I’ve been watching movies lately and have been impressed by some of the beauty I’ve seen.

Let’s start with an old favorite, shall we? Bruder, Mr. Chili and I watched Enemy of the State the other night. Sigh. I do love Will Smith.


I know it sounds strange to say, but I admire a man even more who’s completely devoted to his wife


We also rented a couple of profoundly disappointing movies over the course of the last week. We started with Traitor, which I’d been looking forward to with almost rabid anticipation but which turned out to be an utter dud. Oh, well; at least the scenery was nice to look at.



I brought The Mummy; Tomb of the Dragon Emperor home from the video rental place yesterday. Don’t bother. I had high hopes for the film; I knew it was camp (I’d seen the first two Mummy films) but I was unprepared for how really bad this was – I dozed off in the middle of it. Again, there was only one redeeming quality.



Maybe next Monday, I’ll do a Hot Women Hot People Post; I like to be fair.

Happy Monday, Everyone!


Filed under admiration, fun, Little Bits of Nothingness, movies

God Bless Us, Every One

I am not shy about admitting my geekiness when it comes to books.  It should come as no surprise to anyone, then, that when I discovered that I could download the entirety of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as a free application on my iPhone, I totally did it.


…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!

Now I’m waiting for a free download of Frankenstein


Filed under books, fun, holiday, Little Bits of Nothingness, my oh-so-exciting life, reading, weirdness

Phoning It In

I’m blogging on the go again. We’re having a busy yet thoroughly enjoyable day, and I’m not sure when I’ll get back to my computer, so I’m posting from the iPhone.

This morning was slow and lazy. When we finally got moving, we headed up-country so Bruder could buy little jars of jam from Stonewall Kitchens (yum!) for his friends back home. Afterward, we had a lovely lunch out, then I dropped the men at home and the girls and I are visiting with my mom. When we’re done here, we’ll meet the men at the movies to see Despereaux with the girls.

Like I said; busy, but good.

I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend as much as I am!


Filed under Uncategorized


The “Friends and Family, Fun with Flying and Fighting, Festive, Fucking Fabulous Food, Floral Friday” Edition.

Yesterday’s celebrations were just wonderful. The Chili household was warmed by the addition of Auntie and Bruder, Mother and Father Chili, and Meadmaker and his wife.  Kizz and MamaKizz came by for a glass of wine in the evening.  It was truly a perfectly lovely day.


Gifts were given and received. Mr. Chili and Bruder bought each other mini helicopters – Bruder got a blue one and Mr. Chili got a red one – and they figured out, in quite short order, how to get them flying. This was a huge relief because, last year, Auntie bought Bruder a helicopter that they couldn’t figure out how to get off the ground. It was SO frustrating, and I was thrilled that these little guys flew right out of the boxes.


Sorry – I didn’t realize until I uploaded it how badly that picture sucks…

There was also fighting, but the good kind. I bought Nerf pistols for Bruder and Mr. Chili (the girls already had them) and Auntie bought herself a six-shooter and brought it with her.  It was full-on warfare before the in-laws arrived; here’s Auntie using the chair for cover as she fires at Mr. Chili across the living room.


I’ll be finding Nerf darts around the house for months.

Now, I’m not one to brag, but dinner yesterday? A fucking masterpiece. I spent most of Wednesday prepping what could be made ahead (which, frankly, was most of everything. The carrots, onions, potatoes, and green beans were all assembled and ready to be heated through, and I made a flourless chocolate cake to offset pies and plum pudding (shudder!). I popped a prime rib into the oven around seven in the morning at 200°, and by about 1:30, we were feasting. Holy Mother of the Sacred Cow, but that was an amazing meal.


The flowers for this week’s installment were gifted to me by Gerry and, next to the dragonfly pendant that Mr. Chili gave me, were my favorite presents of the day.  (Go here and here for images that are prettier than the lame-ass picture I took of the matted prints he sent.)  I can’t wait to frame and hang them; I know exactly where they’re going to go.


Today’s schedule is pretty easy. The Wayfarer household came for our annual Boxing Day breakfast and are now on their way home. Bruder wants to hit the Stonewall Kitchen store sometime this afternoon, but the rest of our day is blissfully unscheduled. I may even take a nap.

Happy Friday, Everyone!


Filed under Blogroll, celebration, cooking, F-F-Friday, Friends, fun, funniness, holiday, Home and Family, love notes, My husband rocks!, my oh-so-exciting life