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Nearly, but August will just have to do. Bean presented me with the bestest gift this past Christmas. I love gifts of time and of grand gestures. And these she gave. We gathered everyone up, passed out each and every wrapped package, and then in glutonous revel, assumed the position. Let the giftly excess begin! I’m the last to reach my seat only to find that no one’s moved just yet, they’re watching. On my chair lies a note informing me that in order to receive my gifts, there will be a puzzle of sorts to be worked, a game to play and win. Am I ready? Ding! Yes’m. Bean had worked out a series of clues and trivia to be figured out and answered correctly. All hand designed and colored, too. Each person there had a part to play with a clue to offer up. Beside myself with delight! When I was little, I loved my sister so much that all I could think to express it was to say “I could just eat her.” I’d be overwhelmed with the desire to chomp on her cheeks, to squeeze her impossibly tight, tighter than tight could ever be. How I felt from time to time with my munchkin charges in nanny times past as well. Immense and intense, love. Bursting with it, I was then and still am, the thoughtfulness and consideration she put into it. With each answer I gave correctly, another present was produced that in turn, held yet another clue until I finally earned the Grand Poobah of gifts to top off the already large stack of accumulated loot. Aaaaand, that wasn’t enough, apparently. She wrote me a story. It rivals the time the ex-fiancé, a musician, composed a song for me, penning the notes on paper he’d weathered and antiqued himself. I love my Bean. Think she may love me, too.

Yes, it wouldn’t have been a jolly holiday without a stack of new books from her. Prior years produced a host of children’s literature, a collection I’m always looking to grow. This year, she went a different route- a welcome one.





From top to bottom: the latest edition to add to my Everyman’s Library Pocket Poetry series, Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem. You can even catch a small glimpse of the bloody good cover. Years ago, during college part I, I took the bus up to the university every day. Treated myself to a spontaneous splurge one afternoon of nearly fifty volumes in the series (tops out at just over 60), telling myself I’d read them one at a time as I traveled to and from. Life had different plans, though, working full time had me busing back to my job at peak hours leaving me often standing room-only clutching my portfolio, backpack, umbrella and arsenal of art supplies as I tried not to get too cozy with the other riders.

J.G. Levitt’s presents their first book of stories. Touching, funny, some ponderous, nearly all charming.

Bean came across this book about fonts and thought I’d appreciate it. Can’t wait to read. Hope it’s just my type (wait, I’ll groan for you).

Bean’s pick for us to read together, the author being Daniel Handler, that wry and witty writer known for the Lemony Snickett series. A Sharpied binding, bumbershoot, and it’s black, white and read all over. Seems like a good ‘un.


Lastly, Wonderstruck! Brian Selnick’s latest offering of awesomeness, following The Invention of Hugo Cabret. One of his books sat on my nightstand for years until just recently with the whole revamp business. In a fit of need just now, I looked him up to see what he has in the works. Amazon has kindly let me know that something entitled Like Pickle Juice On a Cookie and another, Hamster Magic, though not Selznick, may well be of interest. Indeed.

My family often knows of whom I adore, the case being no different here, in which they bestowed a lovely mosaic frame upon me with customary yuletide cheer, housing nothing less than an image of my beloved Miss Piggy. Yes, she’s quite a porker at times, what with a dainty silver shovel with which to hoist heaping mounds of sweet cream to her snout- what? Paula Deen, you say? Pass the fava beans and a nice chianti.

Other highlights included a Marilyn Monroe ornament collection that my dad’s been gathering for me all year- I have a different Christmas tree in every room at the holidays and these will go nicely with glossy candy-red apple ornaments in the new Blue Room. New scarves related to my choker fetish- Tina thought they looked like the work of Gustav Klimt, and therefore, should be mine. A photo of my dad’s venture out to sit on Santa’s lap at the ripe young age of 71 then, 72 now. New umbrella for the collection as well- shaped like a revolver and when opened displaying- what else- BANG! Though, this year, I don’t want stuff. I want to be found, that is all. And perhaps a kimono and a new monocle.


Spent some time with friends down in Portland, OR during the holiday season. At the Grotto, a Roman Catholic sanctuary housing a replica of Michelangelo’s Pietá among other perdy sites and many, many Christmas lights, I nearly got my fill of candles … nah. Tried, though. Spent some time watching love grow. A friend falling in love, silly, open-hearted, beaming love. So strange to see him in that capacity. And good. I like to check the people I care about off my list, to know that they have a “someone” to take care of them. I held in the “I told you so” of years past when he fretted that the best fit for him- heck, any fit- just wasn’t out there. Then, had a staring contest with a llama. Again. Who was the only adult in the kid’s petting zoo? Then got lost in the cherubic voices of a children’s choir while staring up at the vaulted ceilings and waiting for the recently spilled hot flipping coffee all over my lap to fully dry taking with it the uncomfortable chill of damp denim. Ouchy mama, ooh-ahh! Dang Voodoo Doughnut, hoodoo in the java.


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