Friday Five

1. My mom bought Reggie a Christmas present. She wrapped it up and put it under the tree. Thought you’d enjoy a fun video of him opening it on Christmas morning. He really does open it all by himself!

2. I was thinking, I would bake so many more cupcakes if I just had a way to transport them. They always get banged around in my containers. The frosting gets smeared all over the place. By the time I get them to the office or to a friend’s house, they look like an unappetizing mess. Then BAM! I got this fun collapsible cake/cupcake carrier as a Christmas present. The first trial run: red velvet cupcakes.

Did you get a present this holiday that you’re excited to use? 

3. Kiva Update. A few months ago, my Kiva loan was repaid in full, freeing up those funds to loan to someone else. Melissa Lizeth, age 22, from Honduras started her jewelry-making business two years ago. She took a course and now purchases the accessories for different styles of jewelry, which allows her to provide more interesting items to her customers. When I came across her profile on Kiva, I found her smile to be so engaging. She seems genuine and happy. Her loan was funded by 43 people around the world. So far, she’s already repaid 10 percent, right on schedule.

image via Kiva.org

4. I’ve decided not to make New Year’s resolutions. The ending of one year and the beginning of the next always seems like a good time to take stock, but it ends up being too much pressure. I usually blow all of my resolutions by January 5th, curled up in bed with a gallon of ice cream and wearing sweatpants. Maybe we should approach the whole idea of resolutions differently. Instead of waiting until the end of the year, how about applying the same philosophy every day? Then we could make minor adjustments along the way instead of going cold turkey on all of our bad habits.

How noble and good everyone could be if, at the end of each day, they were to review their own behavior and weigh up the rights and wrongs. They would automatically try to do better at the start of each new day and, after a while, would certainly accomplish a great deal.   ~ Anne Frank

Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions? If so, do you make several short-term resolutions, or one big one? 



5. This week, I finished reading The Diary of Anne Frank.
Maybe it’s been years since you read it, or maybe, like me, you’d never read it. (Surprising, isn’t it, that throughout all of my school years, none of my teachers had assigned it.) What stuck with me most was her connection to nature. Despite (or maybe because of) being cut off from the outside world for 18 months, Anne Frank was comforted by the power and beauty of the natural world. She and the seven others being hidden from the Nazis were not able to go outside for a single moment. “As luck would have it, I’m only able – except for a few rare occasions – to view nature through dusty curtains tacked over dirt-caked windows.” Anne took great pleasure in absorbing the outside. She makes several references to nature in her diary, but this is my favorite:

image via wikipedia

I also looked out the open window, letting my eyes roam over a large part of Amsterdam, over the rooftops and on to the horizon, a strip of blue so pale it was almost invisible.

“As long as this exists,” I thought, “this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?”

The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity.

As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer.

Peace and joy in the New Year to you! How will you celebrate New Year’s Eve? 

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34 comments

  1. I LOVE the video of Reggie opening his Christmas present! He’s very good at it! And I wish I’d gotten a collapsible cupcake carrier too — amazing! As for my favorite present? Is it too mom-ish to say “having everyone together”? That’s what it was… Happy New Year!

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    1. Reggie is an expert gift opener. He’d be happy to come to your house and open your gifts – for a small fee of meatballs, of course.
      What a sweet sentiment, Julia. It’s wonderful that you had all of your family together for the holidays.
      Happy New Year!

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  2. Love the concept of Kiva! Also? That cupcake Super Max Transporting Module 2000x (or, you know, whatever it’s called) is too cool. I would need it to come with a person who bakes the cupcakes, though 🙂

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  3. Oh gosh! Reggie is adorable and tenacious! Oh, and Jackie I really love the passage from Anne Frank about nature bringing comfort for those who suffer. I’m lucky to live in the “sticks” and believe me, I use nature a lot when I’m feeling low (well, haven’t been as low as Anne Frank must have been)

    #3 I got a kick ass camera and I’m going to a class of Wednesday to learn how to use it.
    #4 Going to make a resolution to welcome change; there’s been a bunch of it lately and I have a hunch it doesn’t ever stop so I better start handling it better
    #5 I rarely see midnight; this year I’m going to stay up and “welcome” it.
    Happy New Year to YOU, Jackie. I’ve so enjoyed your blog and am thankful for your friendship.

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    1. Here in NYC, it’s easy to feel cut off from nature – there is so much concrete and steel. Anne Frank’s passages on nature reminded me that I can enjoy nature even here – in the little birds that land on my windowsill or the tulips that pop up unexpectedly in a neighbor’s fire escape garden. And I have the luxury of going outside to be “in” nature. She didn’t.

      Sounds like you got an amazing camera! I can’t wait to see what lovely pictures you take of Quincy! 🙂
      Wishing you a peaceful New Year, Joy! I hope you can stay up to midnight to ring it in.

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  4. Jackie and Reggie, that clip just made my day. I showed it to Olive (of course) and she perked up. All the present we needed around here.

    And I’m with you on the resolution business. I’ve decided in the last few years that resolutions can be a daily exercise, that the desire to always self-improve should come as often as possible–and with it, the opportunity for self-forgiveness, of course too 😉

    Wishing you and Reggie the very best in 2012! Hugs from me and Olive!

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    1. Reggie would love to share his Christmas treats with Olive.

      I am with you on the self-forgiveness train. I did try to make that resolution in 2011 and failed miserably. (I’m trying to forgive myself for that failure though.) 😛

      Sending my best wishes for peace and joy in 2012 to you and Olive!

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    1. Reggie is very smart when it comes to anything involving treats, but immediately forgetful when it comes to leaving things like napkins. 🙂
      Happy New Year to you and Sara. I’m exited to see where you both land in 2012!

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  5. Jackie your dog rocks!! I am so in love with that there pooch, Reggie. Thank you for sharing the video.
    The Anne Frank quotes you shared are powerful. I don’t know if I will ever have the courage to read her diary. I appreciate the fact that you shared some gems from her writing. You know I agree with her take on reviewing each day.
    Happy New Year!

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    1. When I read that entry in Anne Frank’s diary, my first thought was: Lenore would love this. I had a feeling that would resonate with you. It’s a wonderful thought – to try to improve oneself a bit each day.
      Happy New Year to you!

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  6. When I was eleven I went to the house where Anne Frank stayed. I hadn’t read the story and I remember going through the house learning about her life and then being so shocked at the end to read that her and her family were sent on the last train to Bergen Belsen concentration camp. You’ve made me want to read the book again now…

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    1. I had no idea that she and the others hiding in the Annex were so close to freedom. They were captured in mid-August and Holland was liberated just a few weeks later in September. Her diary puts a real face on the atrocities of the genocide – her hopes, dreams, loves, evolution to adulthood. It’s all there.

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  7. That video of Reggie opening his gift just made me smile. He is so adorable and sweet. I’m totally smitten.
    I’m with you on the new year’s resolution thing, Jackie. No bueno, for me.
    Thanks for including the snippet of beautiful writing from Anne Frank’s book. I haven’t read it in decades, and I’d forgotten how talented and lovely she was. Now I want to read the book again!

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  8. Reggie is so clever!
    I love New Years Resolutions or rather plans, really. If I stick to the fine, if not, no biggie. I tend to make loads and loads like that I will certainly achieve the one or the other and feel good about it. It’s the new year’s resolutions that sound slike punishment I have a hard time with. No more this, no more that… That does not work.
    Thanks for sharing the Anne Frank quote. How moving and so wise. I had forgotten about this element of the book.
    I wish you a great 2012. Fun and inspiration and for Reggie too.

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    1. I like your approach about resolutions, Caroline. Making positive goals, rather than “punishment” goals sounds a whole lot better to me. I’m thinking about creating a theme for myself this year and try to focus my choices in fulfillment of that theme. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂
      May 2012 bring you many good books to read!

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  9. Please send cupcakes asap. Tired right leg needs cheering up with cupcakes.
    Oh I do love Reggie. My daughter had two English Springers and they were a constant source of fun and laughter.

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    1. Reggie would be happy to give Lotte some doggie tips on how to garner many treats from the humans. 🙂
      Cupcakes are on the way!

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  10. Go, Reggie! Rocky loves tearing open presents too. 🙂

    It’s been years since I read Anne Frank’s Diary, but I’ve never forgotten her writing and how it made me feel. I may have to reread.

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    1. She was certainly wise beyond her years, yet she struggled through some of the same issues that teens have always had. Reading it as an adult may allow you to come to her diary with a different perspective.

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  11. Anna read The Diary of Anne Frank over the break and did an oral presentation today at school. She quoted Anne Frank in the last line of her speech…”I don’t want to live in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death.” And, that’s exactly what she’s done!

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    1. I’m glad to hear that schools are still having kids read Anne Frank’s diary. I wonder how it would have made an impact on me if I’d read it at Anna’s age. I hope Anna gets an “A”!
      Wow! That line is poignant, as were so many in her diary.

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  12. Loved the video of Reggie opening his present. What a smart dog!

    I read The Diary of Anne Frank many years ago and can remember being impressed by how well she wrote and how mature she was for her age. Imagine if she had lived and become a writer?

    Do you have the ultimate (in taste) foolproof red velvet cupcake recipe that you could share?

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    1. Oh, I thought of the same thing, Lisa. She was such a gifted writer. What a terrible shame that the world was deprived of that light.

      I am working on perfecting my red velvet cupcake creations. I’ve gone through some test rounds. Once I have the ultimate, I’ll let you in on the secret recipe! 😉

      Like

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