Sunday, December 21, 2008


Whew! I was getting a little nervous, but I'm happy to report that the Christmas sewing is TOTALLY done!

I would be glad to show you some photos, but I don't trust those people on my gift list to not peek, so they'll have to wait until after the big day. I was very pleased with how everything turned out.

All of the "must-do's" have been done, so for the rest of the week I'm going to be just enjoying myself. I am going to bake some more cookies, just because I want them (oh, those peanut butter kisses, how I underestimate their power!). The poor blog has been feeling neglected, after it's November pampering, so I have to get it back on track, too.

Hope your Christmas preparations are moving along as nicely as mine are!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Brief Holiday Update

I've got the Christmas crud. No, that's not a Scrooge-y thing, just that little tiny bit of yucky sick you get when you work too hard at being merry.

Last week nearly did me in. There was Christmas cheer every night for seven nights straight, and it was supposed to be eight, but I had to wimp out on the last one. (Sorry, Bryan!) I also wimped out on half of my work day today and spent the afternoon and evening vegged out on the couch doing absolutely NOTHING to prepare for Christmas, which is now not even ten whole days away.

I cut out the contract knitting for Santa almost entirely, but added contract sewing, and lots and lots and lots of baking. So far, the Lewis household has the following waiting to be packaged up for gift-giving:

dark chocolate and walnut toffee
German chocolate fudge
peanut butter fudge
milk chocolate walnut fudge
date balls
butterscotch bars
almond biscotti

Still to come are Ina Garten's pecan squares, chai snickerdoodles, chocolate crackle cookies, and peanut butter kisses.

Sheesh. The contract sewing won't be done until the weekend, which is cutting it mighty close. Mighty close, indeed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh, Yeah, I'm in the Christmas Spirit Now

It's been a few months of fantastic musical experiences. There was Ben Folds in October, the Totally Rockin' Led Zeppelin cover band in November, then last night, my church hosted the Peter Mayer group in concert.

I told a few friends and family members about this concert over the past few weeks, but let me tell you, if they come back to my church next year, I will be DRAGGING everyone I know to see them. They were that good.

This group, fronted by Peter Mayer, an extremely talented guitarist who plays for Jimmy Buffett as his day job, also includes a Native American flute player, a piano player, drummer, and bass player who could each hold their own as solo artist, and my personal favorite, an eighteen-year-old fiddle player from Kentucky.

The music ranged from various influences, sometimes sounding like jazz, sometimes bluegrass, and occasionally hard rock. There was a smidge of traditional Christmas music that would always morph into something even better, and lots of original music.

So, guess what -- you missed out this year, but write it down for next December, because I'm SO not kidding about the dragging you there. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I'm finding it so very strange today, this story about the Anne Gottlieb case.

When I was ten, Ann Gotlib was twelve. My mom used to take me shopping at Bashford Manor Mall. I liked it because there were sunken-in TV-watching areas, and some stationary carousel horses I could "ride."

Ann Gotlib frequented that mall, too; one day her bike was found leaning against the front wall, and Ann herself was never seen again.

It's funny how much I've always remembered this event. In my mind, it was the dividing line between when kids in this area could go anywhere safely, and when they couldn't. Maybe because she was a kid, like me, and about my age, but it stuck in my head.

So today it was announced that the police have a prime suspect in the case. Unfortunately, he's dead, so the odds of any real "closure" to the case these 25 years later are pretty slim. I can't imagine what her parents have felt all these years; what they feel now. I don't know if this will feel like reopening an old wound, or if they will be glad for people to be thinking of Ann again.

I, for one, am glad that Ann and her case have not been forgotten, after all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Cheer, Sneaking Up On Me

I had another rant -- on a totally different subject from yesterday -- all planned out in my head, but I had such a pleasant evening, I decided to forego the rant for a day or two. (I'm sure I'll get to it eventually.)

Tonight Little and I went to an event organized by Big Brothers Big Sisters, where we blew our own Christmas ornaments at Glassworks. I've always wanted to do one of those, and it was fun and interesting, and as always, we had some great conversation. (Largely about Twilight these days, we're a tad obsessed, I admit.)

But what struck me about the evening was a brief conversation we had with the artist who was doing all the real work on the ornaments. He introduced himself to us, then introduced his own Little Brother, who was assisting him. I asked the Li'l Bro how long they had been matched, and he said, "Three years."

So I asked the artist if it was because of him that Glassworks began doing this event with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and it turns out that is the case. He told us that he had made a few ornaments with Li'l Bro, and just decided it was something he could share with the whole organization. He said he just wanted to give something back to the community.

I was impressed. This guy seemed like just an average, really nice guy, with a super cool job, who decided to share something he had, not only with a person he has a relationship with, but with everyone else, too. We could use more people like that in the world. I fervently wish that I could remember his name to give him some good publicity, seeing as how he's an artist and all, but I can't, so . . . "Way to go, Glassworks Big Brother guy!"

[Oh, just an update on yesterday's rant: it seems that the state is interested in some sort of arrangement to take over Otter Creek Park. Keep your fingers crossed that the arrangement is a good one, and that it actually comes to fruition.]

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where is the National Park Service When You Need Them?

Okay, so I took ONE day off. I don't think ONE day in thirty is too bad, huh? Nevertheless, I am back today!

Today's post is about budgets. And parks. And mayors who should step back and give somebody else a shot.

If you follow Louisville news, you will already have heard about the fajillion and one dollar budget shortfall that has some people getting forced "furloughs" from their jobs, and others biting their nails lest they be permanently "furloughed." So yesterday, the Mayor-who-has-worn-out-his-welcome announced his latest plans for making up that shortfall. None of it is pleasant, of course, but one really sticks in my craw.

(No, I'm not really sure what a craw is. I hope it's nothing dirty, because this is really stuck in mine.)

The one that really gets me is the abrupt and unprecedented closing of Otter Creek Park. The Mayor-who-has-really-crap-ideas-about-budgets announces that it is losing $500,000 per year, and in the same breath, informs us that the park has 500,000 visitors each year.

I'm no math expert, for sure, but even I can see at least one way to stop the park from losing money . . . CHARGE A DAMN DOLLAR ADMISSION FOR EVERYONE TO VISIT, STUPID-MAYOR!

A few other ideas: 1. Open the lodge that has never been open as long as I remember. 2. Offer seasonal memberships. 3. Host a mountain bike race. 4. Promote group hikes and dog-walking events. 5. Offer special city-wide fishing licenses. 6. Charge for all-inclusive wedding packages.

Etc., etc., and all that. I'm sure there are other people who can think of better ideas. The point is this: No one was given the opportunity to come up with better ideas. No one was questioned about whether the park matters to them.

It's no small irony that the His-craptacular-ness holds himself out as being the bigtime "fitness-crazed" Mayor, the great chosen promoter of the "Healthy Hometown." Yeah, well, this doesn't really fit into those ideals very well, does it?

At a bare minimum, the Mayor-who-hopes-we-are-all-asleep should be forced to provide a plan for the park's future. One can't just ignore a vast swath of land and hope people forget about it. Does he plan to build a wall around it? Lock the gates? Donate it to the state?

Hmm . . . that last one's not a bad idea. How 'bout it, Governor Gloomy-pants, want to come bail out a poor park?