Monday, December 24, 2007


I've always liked traditions. They give me a sense of comfort and continuity. My family has a lot of traditions, they just don't happen to be traditional traditions. Like swimming on Christmas. Often, we don't even know how a tradition starts- we've just always done it that way. . .

My favorite untraditional tradition is the Solstice party. As far as I know, I have only ever missed one Solstice, when I didn't come home soon enough from Prague. I don't really know what anyone else in the world does for the Winter Solstice, but our holiday tradition is a sort of mish-mash of other holiday traditions all under the umbrella of Solstice. Usually there is singing and music. Always wassail and eggnog. Sometime long ago, there began the tradition of performing "St. George and the Dragon" a traditional mummers play from England. Over the years, I have played almost every part in this play. From the Dragon as a child to Lady Holly and this year finally St. George him(her)self. The play is fun and funny- Even though people have been performing the play for years, no one seems to remember their lines (except the steadfast Father Christmas, Charles). The collected costumes (where did we get a foam dragon's head?) only come out once a year.

The other major Solstice tradition is of course the Sword Dance. You can see the children grow from year to year. . . a baby that has to be held as she rides the swords, a child that balances and grasps tightly to an adult relative's head, a youth that is just too heavy to ride but can barely lift the sword above his head for the clanging, a teenager who is now strong enough to hold all six swords in the star formation high for the whole party to see. And then the years of dancing in between until it is time to hold our own children on the swords.

Over the years, the solstice party has been held in many different locations. Someone's house, someone else's house, a church basement (my least favorite), someone else's house again, our house, maybe your house, a rented hall. Many people have attended, some just once, some return year after year. But it doesn't really matter where it is or who comes, because the tradition is there. The tradition evolves some new things appear, some old things disappear, but the tradition is there.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Doing Research

I started to read a book about Albania: The Accursed Mountains: Journeys in Albania by a British writer named Robert Carver. I am about halfway through the book and so far it is a really good account of being a Westerner in Albania. The author has a good sense of humor and his stories are enlightening and a bit frightening (scary in that I will be there in just a few months). If you are curious about my destination, I definitely recommend this book.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Coulda Woulda Shoulda

There are several things that happened in the month of November that I wanted to write about. For some reason I just never got around to writing the following posts:

I am not Denver's Next Top Model

The place- Liz's living room. The time- now. The event- the first annual Denver's Next Top Model party. And who is Denver's Next Top Model? Well, not me. I got eliminated in the first round because apparently I was playing it safe and my walk was too clunky (it's not my fault that I have to wear big shoes, I'm like 5 feet tall!). But I'm not bitter. Actually being eliminated meant that I didn't have to make a dress out of trash bags or do a commercial for a random product. I did get to watch and drink and hang out with my friends as they all acted like models and judges and help with hair and make-up.

Casa Bonita

If you have never been to Casa Bonita, then you have never been to Denver. On this wonderful trip to the pinkest Mexicanish resturant in Denver, the joys did not cease. It was Krista's birthday and being new to this great town of ours, she had never seen the magical world of Casa Bonita. The cliff divers, the sopapillas, black barts cave, the skee ball, the stomach ache the morning after because you actually ate the food. John Shoe (a little bit obsessed with the Casa) gave us a grand tour that included every nook and cranny of this massive place. Even though I have been to CB many times, I have to admit that I saw some new things on this visit. And I learned something: go with the taco salad- it is really hard to mess up when you are dealing with ice berg lettuce, a few tomatos and some cheese. I didn't even feel sick the next day.

And my new job is. . .

I am an overachiever. It's true. If I don't have a lot of things going on I get really bored. I mean watch the whole second season of the OC in one weekend bored. So when Wendy asked if I would help her out at the museum that she runs, I thought it sounded great. Work a few days a week. . . earn extra money. . . get out of the house. . . do something besides subbing. Wendy is the Executive Director of the Denver Museum of Minitures, Dolls and Toys. Yes, it really exists. It is in an old house near City Park and it is full of fun stuff. Overall, the job is good. I am just helping out until she finds a permanent person and I get to do things like Gingerbread House workshops and decorate for Christmas. I added my own little touch when I brought in a collection of Driedles for a Hannukah display. And yes, it is really creepy if you are there alone at night.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Do you know how much you can do on a PC without a mouse? A lot actually. Today I am subbing at a middle school for an English teacher. Now whether on purpose or by accident, there is no mouse on the computer. Not being one to give up easily, I decided to see how much I could get done using just keyboard commands and the tab key. I have been able to check my e-mail, read some blogs and even write a blog. Ok, enough for now, I need to search for a recipe for cooking club. Wish me luck. Ctrl + S. Goodbye!