11 goals for 2011

  1. Read more about the 11th president of the US, James K. Polk and learn anything about the 11th Vice President George Mifflin Dallas. Most of the latter will be watching a TV show about a paper company founded by a distant relative, Dallas.
  2. Meet Alton Brown or Tony Blair who are both cute and would both be excellent at selling grape juice.
  3. Play a game of mini golf at Peter Pan Mini Golf in Austin.
  4. I’m going to Washington D.C. in July. My goals for that trip: visit Colonial Williamsburg (and be disappointed and angry), visit the NMNH or NMAH and  take a tour of the White House and meet President Obama’s dog.
  5. Break in new hiking boots by revisiting the McKinney Falls State Park and trying to stop calling it the McKinley Falls State Park. And to stop asking the rangers what William McKinley had to do with Texas.
  6. Win a game of Scrabble or Scramble on Facebook. Remain undefeated at Word Challenge and never believe it is actually a game meant for people younger than myself.
  7. Visit the LBJ ranch and Texas White House.
  8. In December I watched Tron Legacy and I loved it. My favorite parts were the dialogue and Michael Sheen’s character.  In 2011 I will finally watch the original Tron.
  9. Revisit the (Good) Bush Library before August so I can look at dresses worn by former FLOTUS and former White House Press Secretary Allison Janney.
  10. Commit to memory something eloquent and impressive to recite at fancy parties like the Gettysburg address or an episode of Arrested Development.
  11. Get invited to fancy parties.

Books read in 2011

  1. Medium Raw: a Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain
  2. Fortune and Glory by Brian Bendis
  3. Americana and other poems by John Updike
  4. Life with Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
  5. Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush

Total books read this year: 180

Best accidental find: Always a Reckoning and other poems by Jimmy Carter. I remember picking this up at the library and wondering if it was just a coincidence. Could there be anything more random and delightful than a book of poems written by a former president? Now I know how the world’s biggest Jewel fan and occasional poem reader felt when she stumbled upon a copy of A Night Without Armor.

I don’t believe she wrote a word of this:  Miley Cyrus: Miles to Go by Miley Cyrus

So many unanswered questions: Hot Dog! A Global History by Bruce Kraig.

Too many answered questions: Collecting Political Buttons by Marc Sigoloff. Walter Mondale campaign buttons are the most desired of all political buttons, according to Marc Sigoloff: Walter Mondale button collector.

Sarah Vowelliest: The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell..

Gail Collins can do no wrongiest: When Everything Changed: the Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins
Best Collection of EssaysThe Fiddler in the Subway by Gene Weingarten
Reread Book I’ll Read Again: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Best Nonfiction: Loot: the Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World by Sharon Waxman

Worst Nonfiction: Confessions of an Heiress: a Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose by Paris Hilton with Merle Ginsberg. I’m not sure what this was, but the fact that it is shelved next to Going Rogue by Sarah Palin at the public library is pretty hilarious.

Best Title: Sabine’s Notebook: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Continues by Nick Bantock. I look forward to not watching the twee hipster film adaptions of these books.

Worst Title: America by Heart : Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag by Sarah Palin. Reflections on…Flag.

Best Fiction: Room by Emma Donoghue

Worst Fiction: My House in Umbria by William Trevor

Best visit down memory lane: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Worst visit down memory LAME (high-fiving a million angels): Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Best Memoir: Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things) by Abby Sher

Worst Memoir: So many candidates, but Stories from Candy Land: Confections from One of Hollywood’s Most Famous Wives and Mothers by Candy Spelling and its random and incomplete “food” recipes takes the cake.

Worst book to find a handful of blonde hair in: Diana, a Tribute to the People’s Princess by Peter Donnelly

Still no point for existence of TV companion books: The West Wing: The Official Companion

He should definitely be in jail: The Governor by Rod Blagojevich

Weirdest love letter to HEB Inside South Austin: a Guide by Diane Barnet

Funniest: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Dance by Elna Baker

Saddest: Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities by Elizabeth Edwards. Especially if you’re reading it on the day she died and have already read the terrible book The Politician about John Edwards.

I think it’s cheating to count this towards my books read list: Still More George W. Bushisms edited by Jacob Weisberg

Worst of the Year: The Politician by Andrew Young (Alternative title: Some People With Cancer Are Mean and I Need Cash by Andrew Young). The only thing one can learn from this mediocre and meandering book is that no one involved with John Edward’s presidential campaign is going to Heaven. And gross John Edwards was inspired to be in politics after watching The American President, which somehow makes him more gross.

Best of the Year: Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West by Benazir Bhutto. 
First book of 2011: Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

This year is the first time I’ve been in charge of decorating my own Christmas tree. My mom sent me a box of my old ornaments I received as gifts, which is why the theme is Angels and Apples from Elementary school. I’m most excited about being in charge of the topper, which I decided will be something I picked up from the St. Paul Museum of Science. I even filmed my tree lighting and set it to some appropriate music.

Before you watch the tree lighting, a not stupid idea that I came up with for my blog, I would like to announce that the winners of my November Win a Prize with Tad Hamilton giveaways:

The Word Museum will go to Gretchen, whose favorite word is diaphanous, and the winner of the “downgraded to only potentially” stabby Ford necklace is Srah! And now, my tree:

Oooo. Ahhh. 

Merry Star Wars Christmas Special, Everyone!

Happy Valentimes

I love Pink Martini. They’re the most NPR band that ever NPR’d and their lead singer China Forbes sang the theme song from the TV show Clueless. Their fifth album and first holiday album Joy to the World is available to purchase now on iTunes or at Starbucks. You can hear part of it on NPR. I highly recommend that everyone buy it and add to their holiday music collection, because this album is literally the Polaroid of perfection.


Today is Emily Elisabeth Day, or as my nephew called me today Cookie Monster (I do love cookies). Thank you for celebrating it by coming to my blog. Happy birthday to my fellow Nov. 28th birthdays, Jon Stewart, Anna Nicole Smith and Not Fergie or Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. I’m going to celebrate it by changing the name of my blog for one of my favorite Parks and Recreation quotes.

Thanks to my four nephews for being especially adorable. It’s been so fun seeing them in Houston during Thanksgiving week. I know every aunt thinks their nieces and nephews are the cutest and smartest kids around, but as far as nephews are concerned, they are all wrong. I’m sure your niece Torpal is very talented.

Thanks to  Gretchen and Giromide for tweets that made me laugh. Thanks to Srah for the birthday post. Don’t forget to enter to win these November book giveaways at her blog! And check out the best collection of animated gifs on one post. I received a Gerald Ford magnet and postcard with a few POTUS and FLOTUS on it from her. The postcard now lives from on my refrigerator, with the magnet placed strategically to cover up Barbara Bush’s scandalously uncovered gams.

I told Twitter this, but since I’ve met her three times, and most of the time she seemed really mean to both me and Henry Kissinger, I’m kind of obsessed with her. Forget Sarah Palin, Barbara Bush invented going rogue (I wouldn’t be surprised if she ever bit someone).  The first time I met Barbara Bush she introduced me to the man who would soon be Teri Hatcher’s ex-boyfriend. This will be a really interesting story if I ever meet Tony Parker.

Since today is my birthday, but this is also a post about Barbara Bush, here’s a photo of younger me and a picture of two first ladies who seem like they would be much nicer to me than Barbara Bush.

I know this is an inaccurate, third grade interpretation of the “First Thanksgiving,” but I’m a little proud of my paper cutting and drawing skills.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Harry S Turkey