Thursday, December 24, 2009

Abby's Christmas Eve mass prelude

Abby played "O Come, Little Children" before the 4:00 Christmas Eve mass today. The sound on my little camera isn't the best, but you get the idea. I'm very proud of her.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cookie tray post

Lots of little thoughts here tonight. None are big enough for their own post, so here's a little tray of assorted musings and thoughts.

The big news is that I found the recipe for the Christmas cookies of my childhood today. How I love the internet. Just this week, I've found that recipe, "Christmas Jollies" by the Salsoul Orchestra (YouTube, originally found by a Facebook friend but then I ran with it), and also a website ( that lets you personalize a message from Santa for the kids or adults in your life. Actually, the Portable North Pole was posted by another friend on Facebook. Maybe I just like Facebook, not the internet.

Of course, I posted the cookie recipe on Facebook, too.

The funniest thing I heard all day was Timmy, my 4-year-old, chanting, "DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!) at the Celtics on TV tonight.

Not only did I make those famous sugar cookies, but I also made 8 little loaves and 5 big loaves of pumpkin bread. I'm baked out, for tonight, anyway. I still want to make ginger-pecan cookies and cranberry-oat-chocolate chip cookies, though. As Clarice the reindeer would sing, there's always tomorrow.

I've been trying to offset the cookie footprint by exercising longer today, and doing double sessions yesterday. It can't hurt, but let's just say it's a big, big footprint. A Bigfoot cookie print.

Tomorrow, I need to brave the crowds at the grocery store for Christmas dinner veggies, and Christmas Eve lasagna ingredients. I hate to use my child-free time for that errand, but it will take longer with Timmy in tow after preschool. The question is, when am I going to finish wrapping presents? Maybe I'd better sign off and do a little more of that tonight.

I suppose I should put away all those cookies, and clean up my kitchen, first.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays from the Fay Family

Abby, Brian and Timmy
December 2009
Merry Christmas from our family to yours
best wishes for a wonderful 2010

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bring on the holidays!

I am done! Done, done, done! I taught my last day of lessons today -- capping it off with a very well-done book recital by one of my students -- and am now officially on vacation until January 4th.

Of course, this refers to my teaching duties, not writing or cantoring (especially not cantoring, with Christmas in a week.) I love teaching, and wouldn't give it up for anything, but I also really enjoy my little vacations, or in this case, bigger vacations.

The best part is...the kids still have school through next Wednesday! Followed closely by the knowledge that my next deadline isn't for a week and a half. I'm giddy with anticipation of the free time.

I plan to thoroughly enjoy the next several days of preparation for Christmas. I'm not in a panic at all, and plan to keep it that way. A little wrapping, a little baking, and fortunately, no shopping, since I'm done with that, too.

Ahhhh. I don't remember feeling like this, a week before Christmas, in a long, long time.

Sebastien Lucien article

My feature on 12-year-old triple threat Sebastien Lucien, currently performing in "Best of Both Worlds" at the American Repertory Theatre, ran in today's Patriot Ledger.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter coat saga

I was in Rochester for Thanksgiving, when my mom asked, "Did you ever get the zipper fixed on your winter coat?"

I had no idea what she was talking about, as I hadn't had my winter coat out of the closet yet. After thinking about it, I realized that she was referring to my fabulous green jacket, a down ski parka I got from Freecycle a couple of years ago. I vaguely remembered that the zipper had broken late last winter.

When I got back home, I checked it out, and saw that the very first tooth on the left side of the zipper was bent, preventing the zipper pull from doing its job.

After trying to bend the wayward plastic tooth back into position, I got the bright idea of just snipping it off. This worked very well. The zipper closed, and it was great until I started moving around. The zipper promptly split from the bottom.

This would not do, with a Boston winter coming on.

So, being frugal (or so I thought) and always preferring to repair rather than replace, I took the jacket to a local seamstress. She informed me she wouldn't take the old zipper out, explaining that the feathers from the jacket would get all over the shop. I had my doubts, but she knows sewing and I don't, so I took her at her word. She said she could "shave off" the teeth of the old zipper and sew a new zipper on, probably for $30 or so.

Oh, and I had to go get the replacement zipper, since she didn't have time.

I cheerfully took down the name of the tailor supply store in Dorchester, and fully intended to get there, find a zipper (hopefully for a reasonable price) and bring the zipper and jacket back to the seamstress, who would shave the old zipper and sew on the new.

What actually happened was that I drove around with the jacket in the van for at least two weeks before I finally faced facts: I wasn't about to go to Dorchester, buy a new zipper, bring everything back to the seamstress and pay half the cost of a new jacket for the privilege.

I reluctantly decided to start looking for a new coat, and made a cursory investigation at BJ's, but didn't find anything I liked. I wanted a longer coat than a parka, preferably black, and absolutely needed a hood. BJ's had nothing of the sort.

I kind of brushed it off, until I heard the weather forecast a few days ago, which promised very cold temperatures this week. I put a shopping trip to Marshall's in my calendar, and off I went yesterday.

I found only one coat there I liked, but it turned out to be perfect. Car-coat length, black, down, with a wonderfully warm hood with (faux) fur trim. I feel like an Eskimo princess with all that fur around my face. It's a wonderfully cozy coat, and I drove directly from Marshall's to a clothing drop-off bin and sent my Freecycle green parka off to someone else, who hopefully will be able to find a way to keep it closed, and enjoy its warm wonderfulness this winter.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Out of sorts

I've been out of sorts for a few days. It all started when I overbooked myself last weekend. It's like I hate to see an empty space in my calendar, or something. I had decided we were going to put up our Christmas tree and decorate it, but hadn't put it in my calendar, so I kind of forgot about how much time that would take. Then, when I realized I'd be out during two prime decorating times, I got pretty grumpy about the whole thing.

I managed to shuffle some things around and it all worked out fine, but somehow that has put me in a bit of a funk. It's like I can't get started.

I just blocked out a bunch of time in my calendar for other Christmas things that need to be done. Now the trick is not to think, but to just do those things when the time comes.

Every year I swear this year will be different; that I'll enjoy the holidays and not get overwhelmed and overburdened. And, every year, I'm lucky to make it to Christmas Eve in one piece. I did get my shopping done early this year, and that certainly helps, but I'm still feeling as though I'm behind the 8-ball, and I'm so darned tired, too, that I can't seem to spring into action the way I need to.

What I'd really like to do is take a nap. Like until April.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another family column

This column ran a few weeks ago in the Patriot Ledger, but was never posted online. Here it is, from the Greece Post, my hometown weekly.

Saturday, December 5, 2009