Merry Christmas

I’m sitting curled up under a big fluffy blanket on my Mom’s couch. My beagle is next to me snoring obnoxiously loud while my mom’s jewel-toned Christmas tree is in its full glory. This is my favorite way to spend the holiday. I cannot believe that this might be our last Christmas in New Jersey. How quickly life can change in a year. Even so, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & lots & lots of good cheer.


Cookiepalooza 2011

This is first year in quite a few years that I have not decorated my house for Christmas. Even though I usually spend most of December and January in New Jersey, in the past I have still put up my tiny tree and my ever-growing pile of Christmas decorations. Despite the fact that I love Christmas, it was stressful to come back late January with all of my luggage from my time in NJ, and find my house still fully decorated for Christmas nearly a month after the holiday.

I decided that this year I would skip decorating my house for the holiday, and hope that I could still get in the Christmas spirit. Luckily, I had two very brilliant friends who decided that making a bunch of Christmas cookies from a recent Washington Post article was the thing to do this weekend.

It was nearly nine solid hours of cookie baking with 7 different types of cookies by the end of the night.

Christmas spirit? Oh yeah, it’s there.

Tonight, for my last night in Cville in 2011, I’m hosting Bunco for my friends. There will be wine, loads of Christmas cookies and just a bit of Christmas spirit.

It’s Beautiful

As I have said before I am someone who falls on the unattractive side of being organized and Type A. I don’t even think the word “perfectionist” is a good way of putting it because it sounds like a good thing.

This week I’m in New Jersey to get some quality time in with my family. Today’s activity was to build a gingerbread house. In my mind it was going to be a work of art and architecture. Straight lines of perfectly piped icing and gently created icicles hanging from the roof.

What I didn’t factor in was the very antsy three year old who was absolutely dying to help with every.single.step of the project–from holding the walls while the icing dried to piping the walls himself. Not only that, the kid was consuming the vast majority of our building supplies. With a single “Jill!!! I want to do it!” I realized my perfect holiday gingerbread house was going up in smoke.

Instead of a perfect gingerbread house, we got something that would be dangerously close to being condemned if it were real–crooked windows, a detached roof and uneven walls.

When we’d used up (or more accurately when I realized that Evan had consumed the vast majority of) our candy, and our quick-dry icing was a solid brick, I was ready to give up and call it a day, but then I heard Evan let out a squeal and launch himself at me.

“It’s beautiful, Jill! We did a great job.” Now, how can I argue with that? His way of viewing it is so much better than mine.

Semester at Sea: Lip Dub

In the summer of 2009, I was fortunate enough to teach on Semester at Sea. It was one of the most unique experiences of my life. One of the things I like about the program is that each voyage has it’s very own feel to it. I was so happy to see this video come across my Facebook feed. It encompasses all the good of the program–the bonding, the willingness to try new things and just the joy that the program brings people.

I’m hoping one day I’m lucky enough to be a faculty member on the ship again.