Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bible Reading

The first month of the year has passed us by and I have failed yet again to follow any sort of Bible reading plan, chronological or otherwise. I don't like reading the Bible online and e-mail reminders aren't helpful in making me pick up the Good Book. So, I'm going to try something new and combine some practical advice from the Wilsons:

1. "Get yourself two bookmarks. Start reading the Old Testament and mark your place. Start reading the New Testament and mark your place. Keep reading. When you finish, start over and do it again."

And, because I'm always reading five books at once:

2. Read the Bible first before you pick up anything else!

It sounds so simple, and yet, why hadn't I thought to try it before? I'll let you know after Leap Year if this works out for me. I'm starting today at Genesis 12 and Matthew 2, where I've left off from other attempts at daily reading. I think this might become a lifetime habit -- hopefully.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

White Windmill

On Monday, I met a friend from my teaching days at a local coffee place for some book talk and sweet treats. Lauren's up for adventure, so we headed over to a new cafe and bakery that has opened up a few blocks from our apartment: the Korean-owned White Windmill.

It is one of the many new Asian-European inspired bakeries that are popping up all over the metro Atlanta area, especially along Buford Highway.

The smell of fresh coffee overpowered me as soon as I opened the door, but I love the smell of coffee, so this was a plus for me. As you enter, you can pick up a basket and select some fresh-baked creations in little plastic bags. We were there in the afternoon, and the popular items were mostly empty. Apparently, the morning crowd gets the good stuff. One lady who came through the line with us was grabbing things left and right and had enough in her basket to last over a week! It was like crazy Asian crack-cocaine or something, they way they were snatching them up.

We had no idea what most of the pastries were, and took our time deciding, but I scored big with some type of tasty doughnut, a green-tea and pistachio-nut concoction, and some sort of cream-cheese filled pastry (I was bringing some back for my mom and Gaines, I swear!). These pastries are much lighter and less sweet than American style cakes, and I enjoyed the delicate flavors.

We also decided to try something delectable from the glass-enclosed selections: we each selected a little round mousse, shaped like a miniature cake, topped with fruit. Lauren chose the one suggested by the guy behind the counter: the mocha mousse, it had a sort of gelatin-blackberry topping, and mine was a mango mousse, so cold it was almost a frozen treat. Upon reflection, we weren't exactly sure that these were quite "made in the store" but we thought they were good anyway. They were superbly adorned with fruit and tiny pieces of chocolate (mine had "Happy Birthday" written on it for some strang reason. Um, happy birthday to anyone born on Jan. 28th!)

For the drink selections, you can choose from a number of different hot coffees and espressos as well as Bubble Teas. I'm not much of a coffee girl, but I did order a reasonably-priced hot chocolate, expecting not much more than Hershey's syrup. I was pleasantly surprised by a large mug of cream-filled cocoa, which my friend said our server labored over "like a mad professor." It was delicious, rich and creamy with real chocalate flavor! My friend originally asked for a Green Tea Bubble tea, but they were out of that so she chose some sort of wheat (?) concoction. It was quite good, like a milkshake, but we're still not sure why it was pale lavender in color. Next time I go, I think I'd like to try the Honeydew Bubble Tea.

Overall, it was quite an enjoyable experience, from the conversation to the friendly staff and inviting atmosphere -- the cafe is nice and airy with some upholstered low seating near the windows and a long couch along one wall -- and especially the interesting edibles. If you are ever come across one of these stores, I'd definitely recommend you try it out!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mansfield Park

I was again able to watch this week's Jane Austen adaptation on PBS, though I did not re-read Mansfield Park, since it is not one of my favorites. My mom has been in town, which has been wonderful, and I was glad not to have to watch it alone. In addition, our local HD PBS station started broadcasting Masterpeice Theater on Sunday nights, so we were able to watch it clearly and in widescreen!

However, I was disappointed by this film version. In some ways, I preferred the recent theatrical production, particularly in the choice of heroine. I was most distracted by the actress playing Fanny. I know Fanny wasn't supposed to be a raving beauty, but this girl's strong features were not the plain Jane I have always imagined Fanny to be. (My mom and I both felt she looked a little like a horse. Maybe it was the toothy grin or the dark eyebrows under those blonde curls, but whatever it was about her, we were both turned off.)

Also, I never felt like Fanny and Edmund clicked in this version. I almost wanted Mary to win Edmund's heart, even though she and her brother were quite wicked. Somehow, her wit and charm made her much more appealing in this film version, whereas in the book she pales in comparison to Fanny's shining moral compass. And did Edmund not really seem like a clergyman to anyone else? I thought he was more of a brooding poet.

If, somehow, a screenwriter could combine the actors of the 1999 Mansfield Park with the feel and pace of this one, I might like it a bit more. As it is, I may just have to watch Northanger Abbey again. I much prefer PBS's Catherine Moreland to this flighty, ill-conceived Fanny Price.

What are your thoughts, if you watched it?


Sunday, January 27, 2008

LOST prediction

We've been re-watching the third season of LOST in anticipation for the new season that premieres this Thursday at 9p.m.

For those of you that watch the show, I just wanted to blog something I thought about while we were watching "The Man Behind the Curtain" episode:

I think the actor who plays "Jacob" is NOT Locke or anyone else we've seen. I think it is Dennnis Hopper.

There, I've said it. It's not really a spoiler, and I could be wrong, but look at that eye!


Baby's Got Taste

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were sitting in a local coffee shop with our two boys. A woman approached us and introduced herself as the co-owner of a local organic baby food operation called Jack's Harvest.

The recipes Connie described sound delicious, with herbs and spices mixed in to add a unique flavor experience. No bland bottled stuff here! She says they make it every Friday locally and in a certified organic kitchen. Her friend and co-founder Heather is the chef behind such delicious-sounding flavors as Butternut-Squashed Apples and Go Bannanas with Cherry. She spent quite a few minutes speaking with us and answering questions, so I would highly recommend them on customer service alone. She gave us each an info card and told us to let her know where we met her and she would fix us right up. I may have to place an order soon! I'll let you know how I-- er, Jacob-- likes it!

I wasn't home to watch, but she also let us know about this: Jack's Harvest was interviewed that night on the local news.

Last Friday I was happily reminded of that encounter when I saw that Jack's Harvest featured over at Cool Mom Picks! (If I had remembered to post this when I originally wrote it, you could've had a chance to win some free Jack's Harvest baby food. Curse my metal body! ...and mommy brain.)

Just remember, though, you heard about it from me first. ;)


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mythbusters' Values

If I had to identify people who most absolutely represent the highest ideals of a liberal arts education, I would start with the hosts of the television show Mythbusters.

A blogger writes on the merits of a liberal arts education as they relate to the show, and comes up with some interesting conclusions.

Maybe I should've taken a different career path? ;)

I may not be currently "using my degree," but I can say that it has prepared me for a myriad of life experiences post-college, from soliciting donations for large-scale apartment events (thank you, sorority fundraisers!) to one-on-one tutoring skills (thank you, Writing Center!) and even political discussions (thank you, Civil Rights and Justice!).

I believe the best value of a liberal arts education is that you leave a lifelong inquirer, interested in a myriad of subjects, possibly diving headlong into one particular area, but always seeking to make connections between disparate fields and wanting to know more. I agree with the author that Mythbusters embodies those ideals.

Jamie Hyneman, one of the Mythbusters hosts, puts it best:

You can’t expect to teach someone everything he or she needs to know. A broad foundation of experience allows you to extrapolate things with which you have no direct experience. Specialists are usually in danger of not seeing the forest for the trees.If you acquire both a broad foundation and deep knowledge in a specific thing, you become much more dynamic in that area. If one takes both of these things to extremes, something truly transcendental can happen. In my case, my college education was not specifically useful to me later, but it had an effect on me in fundamental ways that were very major in the long run.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Great Northwest Giveaway

In honor of my friend Lindsey H. and my awesome college English professor Dr. D, who are both from the Seattle area, I'm helping promote the Great Northwest Giveaway. It runs through Feb. 6th, and you could win 12 great baby-related products from regional vendors, so enter now!

These are some FANTASTIC products in this giveaway. Northwest folks are very lucky to have so many nationally recognized brands favorites being Babylegs (we love these -- I want more!), the Woobee blankets (I want one to match our stroller!), Metrosupial Designs (tres cool pouch slings-- I've wanted one of these for a while, too!), and See Kai Run shoes (which I've seen everywhere and are also awesome!). Go check out these great products at the link above.

Happy contest-entering! Good luck!


Five Favorite Craft Blogs

I'm not sure if "craft" is the right category, since it always brings to mind hand painted wooden heart creations from local hometown festivals, but it'll have to do. (Besides, "funky, cool, fabric-loving creative types" was just too long.)

Over the last few months, I've become drawn in to the world of kntting, sewing, fabric-designing, artsy, creative blogs. I've taken up knitting upon receipt of a most-awesome gift of needles, yarn and The Knit Book at Christmas, and I plan to expand my seamstress abilities beyond button-sewing to make something(s) from Amy Butler's In Stitches, another exciting Christmas gift. One day, I'd like to undertake the massive task of reupholstering our swivel rocking chair, but that may have to wait. I'll start small, and hopefully get around to finishing some of the things on my short list, like cards and scrapbooks and such. I have to finish my bib first, though.

Here are some of my creative inspirations, who all happen to be moms as well:
  • Angry Chicken
  • Anna Maria Horner
  • Soule Mama
  • Two Straight Lines
  • Wise Craft

  • And now maybe I'll finally complete my long-overdue blog series...


    Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    Northanger Abbey: A Quick Review

    I just want to say I loved Sunday night's PBS version of Northanger Abbey. I need to watch it again, though, because our PBS station was pretty fuzzy for some reason and I missed a few minutes at the beginning and was having a difficult time watching the snowy screen. I haven't read many reviews and I have little time, but I wanted to let you all know my basic impression.

  • Despite my viewing issues, I was drawn into the story and kept entertained throughout. I also thought that someone unfamiliar with the book would have a fair representation of the novel.

  • Henry Tilney was perfectly casted. Isabella was appropriately silly, Thorpe appropriately creepy and annoying, General Tilney as stern as ever, and I thought the actress who played Catherine Moreland did a superb job -- she was both naive and delightful and full of remorse.

  • Some of the Gothic novel/dream portrayals were a bit much at times and were sometimes jarring-- though they weren't innacurate. I've read some of those Gothic novels that Austen skewers and belive me, they deserve her sharp pen. They are much like the cheap thrillers and romance novels of today, and I might compare something like The Monk to that one about the Templar Knights secret society that they made into a equally bad movie starring Tom Hanks. (You read The DaVinci Code because it's a page-turner and then you dismiss it, knowing it is nothing but fiction.)

  • Most of the minor changes to the chronology of the storyline didn't bother me, though I thought some of the other deviations from the novel (like the promiscuity of Isabella) were indelicate and didn't fit with Austen.

  • Overall, I would highly recommend this. I'm not quite done with my re-read of the novel, and perhaps when I do I'll present a more autobiographical review. This is my second favorite Austen novel, partially because now I see so much of myself as a young girl in silly Catherine Moreland, especially getting things in novels mixed up with how they are in the real world. But that will be a much longer post for another day...


    Sunday, January 20, 2008

    Northanger Abbey: A Preview

    Don't forget about Northanger Abbey tonight on PBS (check local listings). I'm looking forward to this one, since I found particular insight from a class on 18th Century Novels I took a few years back in graduate school. We read many of the novels that Austen mentions or alludes to in the book, including The Mysteries of Udolpho, Pamela, and Clarissa. (I just noticed that the professor's current project is a screen adaptation of Fanny Burney's Evelina. That could prove interesting!)

    As for Northanger Abbey, I promise a review tomorrow. For now, you can read some others' reviews at the PBS blog. Be sure to check out last week's Persuasion reviews as well. Some are spot on!


    Saturday, January 19, 2008

    Aquarium Snow Day

    This morning we visited the outstanding Georgia Aquarium, in the company of Gaines' parents. We picked the right day, because the reports of a winter storm kept away many visitors, and we basically had the place to ourselves for the first hour or so. It was amazing! We could've spent the whole day there, but it began filling up about lunchtime and Jacob was getting sleepy...he was so excited he missed his morning nap. He kept *almost* falling asleep in the stroller and then waking up as soon as he saw some new creature swim by. I think we (the adults) enjoyed it even more because of his reactions, especially in the underwater tunnel. Less people was a plus, because we were able to linger and watch and take tons of pictures. While we were touring the Cold Water Quest exhibit, appropriately, we noticed through the windows that it had begun snowing! The sea lions seemed to enjoy a taste of their natural habitat. Too bad the penquins were under a roof. Jacob certainly liked his first taste (literally) of snowflakes!

    The afternoon has been spent digesting yummy bar-b-que, napping, enjoying hot chocolate and coffee, staying warm inside, and settling in for a supper of chili and cornbread. We might peek out before dark for a snowfall update and a few more pictures. Yay for snow days!

    (I spent way too much time this morning trying to figure out how to take good aquarium pics adjusting the ISO and aperture settings, so if anyone has any aquarium photo tips, please let me know. All that effort and sheer volume of photo-taking eventually paid off, though, and I got a few good shots.)

    Here is a recap of our morning in pictures:

    Happy Birthday, Grandmama Susanne!

    Blue Jacob and the Fish

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Sea Turtle

    Watch out -- you don't want to end up like Steve Irwin...

    Wow! A very large whale shark is swimming up there!

    Lunch! (Or, I'm Tired)

    Snow Falling on Aquarium Cedars

    Amazing Jellyfish

    This Snow Stuff is Pretty Cool


    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    4 Truths

    ...that I've seen on the internet in the last week or so.

    You can live in IKEA, at least for a week.

    Chinese Restaurant Fortune Cookies are actually Japanese.

    You can learn something about the economy from a LEGO film.

    And finally, clowns really are scary.


    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    For the powerless and voiceless

    From Daniel's blog:

    "The significance of your church is not in its numbers, but that its priorities match God's. The character of your leaders is not measured by their popularity or power, but by their attention and care for the powerless and voiceless among them." --Miriam Neff, Christianity Today

    I couldn't find the original article online, but I'd be curious to know the context. Either way, this is a profound statement that resonates with me and some of our past experiences. I find it interesting that the author does not say that churches are necessarily a voice or source of power for those without, but that they are measured instead by the attention and care of those within their midst (including children, I might think). True shepherds truly care for their flock. I am thankful for all the pastors and leaders and teachers who model the True Shepherd in this respect.


    Monday, January 14, 2008

    Persuasion: A Review

    The following is adapted from a jumbled message board post I wrote earlier today.

    I watched the PBS production of Persuasion last night!
    (Spoilers warned.)

    Overall, the film felt rushed -- I was surprised it was so short! And since I just re-read the book for at least the fourth time, I'm probably a bit biased. It just didn't feel like Austen's story to me...the whole running through the streets of Bath thing. I actually laughed. I'm sorry. I'm horrible, I know! The shaky cam thing and the constant looking into the camera just didn't work for me, though I did like the fact that they are taking Austen films in a new art direction.

    My favorite scenes were at Lyme (I've always wondered what that sort of seashore looks like) and walking from Uppercross. Also, I enjoyed getting to see Bath, especially in those last panoramic scenes, since I visited there in 2001. There were way too many tourists and cars in the way of all the beautiful buildings on my visit, so it was nice to see a representation of its golden-era splendor in the film.

    I thought most of the actors/actresses were well chosen, especially the Crofts and Charles and Mary. I thought Frederick looked handsome, but Elizabeth looked too old and the Baronet Mr. Elliot too young. I thought they should've done something else with Anne's hair. The tight bun thing bothered me, especially when every other female actress had at least some poufy ringlets or something to soften their faces, even the older ones. She's 27, people, not a spinster yet! She did brighten up a bit by the end, which certainly helped.

    The scene where Sarah the schoolfriend reveals the truth about Mr. Elliot was ill-placed and hurried. I mean, why was she out walking if she was an invalid? And why did she have to tell Anne precisely at that moment so immediately? The first part of the film seemed to drag and then we get the entire revelation about Mr. Eliot in 1 minute. If I hadn't read the book, I would've been lost.

    Also, I missed the ending and I was confused because I walked back in to see them at Kellnych Hall. (Apparently, it was a wedding gift.) I just found that a strange deviation from the book, among others. Making Anne think Frederick was getting married to someone else is clearly stealing from other Austen novels and isn't even in this book. I suppose it did add some drama, though.

    Overall, I'd say it was a fair film, just not my favorite Austen adaption. In short, I agree with Ann Barlow. I would recommend it to someone who is not familiar with the book or is an Austen newbie, as I think it is a short introduction (as preparation for the 6 hour Pride and Prejudice!). I'm looking forward to Northanger Abbey next week, as it is my second favorite of the six novels.


    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    Free Fabric Friday at Sew, Mama, Sew

    So, remember how I promised to be more crafty and creative in the new year? I just got my first big incentive...

    I was a winner of a free yard of fabric from Sew, Mama, Sew, just by commenting on their blog on their Free Fabric Friday!

    I chose an Alexander Henry fabric called "The Grove." (I like trees.) I plan to create something from one of the patterns in my exceedingly exciting Christmas gift from Gaines' grandmother: Amy Butler's In Stitches. I think I'll start with the Simple Shoulder Bag, since I'm such a novice seamstress. (Say that 5 times fast.) I'll let you know how it turns out!


    Monday, January 07, 2008

    Bike Ride

    Yesterday, I officially became a co-leader of our church circle. It was a bit surreal, having only been a member of the church less than a year. As I stood in front of all these wonderful women who I am really just know getting to know, I realized how blessed we are to have found such a loving, supportive church family only 10 minutes from our apartment. These ladies remind me very much of the faithful Titus 2 women in my hometown church.

    There were other things about the luncheon that sparked memories from my past: the speaker brought up one of those Chicken Soup parables I hadn't thought about in years: the Bike Ride. It has made the e-mail rounds many times, and you're probably familiar with it, as I was.

    Yesterday, however, I was struck by a different perspective. Ten or so years ago, as a teenager, I thought my life with God in the lead would be something quite different that the life I am living now. I thought I'd be an overseas missionary or a marine biologist or something else adventurous and risky. (Which perhaps shows that I was really just being a backseat driver.)

    I realized that every day of my life as a parent I am taking part in the grandest adventure of them all. It sounds cliche, but it is so very true. In sickness and in health, from bumped heads to ear infections to trips and falls, through growth spurts and growth plateaus, poopy diapers and potty training, through teething and nursing and night terrors, every day brings some new opportunity for grace. All I can do as each new challenge appears is to remember that Christ is in control and it is my responsibility to hold on and just "Pedal!"

    And then -- it was the pedalling part that got me. I'd never actually thought about that aspect of the metaphor before. Pedalling takes work! Pedalling can be difficult, especially up a hill with someone else on the bike! It reminded me that in this life I can't be passive-- I must be faithful. Faithful to love and to learn, to read the Word and pray daily, to honor my parents, love my child, and show my husband the respect he deserves. It isn't all coasting down hills -- though sometimes, there are those moments, too. And sometimes, pedalling can be monotonous -- pushing the pedals around and around, over and over again, travelling miles on a highway where every fence post and sign looks the same. Some days with a young infant can feel like that. But it's okay, because one day, he won't need me to do all these things anymore and I'll probably be a bit sad. For now, I'm just going to keep pedalling and enjoy the view.


    Recently Viewed

    In an effort to atone for my complete blog-neglect as of late, here are some brief thoughts on movies we've watched in recent weeks.

    Ocean's 13 -- Lots of fun, and of course, the ensemble cast is great. We actually re-watched the first two to prepare for this one. I still think the first one was the best, but 13 is a close second.

    Live Free or Die Hard -- Admittedly, I was skeptical about the latest Die Hard film. However, I found it surprisingly entertaining, albeit mindlessly so. Mac Guy makes a decent sidekick, but I still think John McClane works better alone. I was underwhelmed by the main villain, who was pretty bland (especially compared to Alan Rickman and Jeremy Irons). But the outrageous action sequences made up for these shortcomings. Oh, and to may shame, I must confess my disappointment at the way they edited out "Mister Falcon." (He who has ears, let him understand.)

    Amazing Grace -- Good biopic about William Wilberforce and his quest to abolish the slave trade in Britain. The movie was well made, with a very good cast. Also, it didn't shy away from the link between Wilberforce's Christian faith and his pro-abolition work in Parliament, as well as the influence of John Newton. My only complaint was that it was a wee bit heavy-handed in places, especially in how it tried to play up the link between Wilberforce and the titular song. But overall, it was enjoyable and worth seeing.

    The Bourne Ultimatum -- As with the Ocean's films, we rented the previous installments before watching the latest one. (As an aside -- Mr. Eko is in the first Bourne film! Crazy.) I think I liked the 3rd Bourne the best. The pace of the film is relentless, with almost no downtime. I'm usually a sucker for action-thrillers in the first place, but this film is extremely well-done. Highly recommended.


    Friday, January 04, 2008

    Jane Austen Marathon

    Beginning with Persuasion on January 13, PBS will be airing original and award-winning film versions of the complete works of Jane Austen.

    All you fellow Jane-ites, feel free to join me in my excitement! I'm planning on setting the VCR now in anticipation. I also would like to re-read the novels before watching the PBS versions, just to refresh my memory. Maybe I'll even read the chapter on each book from Peter Leithart's Austen commentary Miniatures and Morals while I'm at it. It feels like a Jane Austen year.

    Next, I just need to get my hands on a copy of The Jane Austen Book Club and A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love, and Faith to continue the theme. Anyone willing to lend me theirs? Or buy it for me from Amazon? ;)


    Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    Tales from the Crib

    Oh, no! The blanket monster is coming to get us!

    "Wait, mom! It's just me, see?!"

    "Hehehehehe! I scared you!"

    Thank goodness! It's only Jacob under there!

    "How could you ever be scared of me? I'm too cute!"



    Bacon and chocolate? Seriously? Yes! We've tried this inspirational recipe for Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies twice now, and we can definitely say the secret is in the maple-cinnamon glaze and bacon strip topping. Otherwise, it's just a slightly salty chocolate chip cookie and nothing special.

    Here is the recipe (halved, for only 2 dozen) in its condensed form, as I've been making it:

    Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Glaze

    1/2 cup butter
    1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 egg
    1 1/4 cups flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup milk chocolate chips (it's all I had)
    1 cup REAL bacon bits

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

    Beat together the butter, sugars, flavouring and eggs until creamy. Sift dry ingredients into the butter mixture and stir together. Dough will be slightly soft. Add in chocolate chips and bacon bits. Stir until well integrated. Freeze dough for 20-30 minutes (or refridgerate an hour). Remove dough from fridge, pinch off 1 1/2 inch pieces of dough and roll into balls. Set dough balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten dough balls slightly with your fingers in the center.

    Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, or until the dough starts to turn golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on a cooling rack while you ready the glaze.

    Maple cinnamon glaze

    1 cup powdered sugar
    1 tablespoon maple syrup
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    enough water to make a thick glaze (I used about 1 tablespoon)

    Mix all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Spread a small amount of the glaze on the top of each cookie and top with a small piece of crisp cooked bacon.*

    *The bacon piece on top is the piece d'resistance. An easy way to make it? Once you've got the oven preheated, put a few strips of your favorite bacon on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake about 10-15 minutes (while the dough is in the fridge) or until it comes to the consistency you like. We prefer slightly chewy. Enoy!


    Tuesday, January 01, 2008

    Is it 2008 already?

    Where did the holidays go? I've got lots to share from the last few weeks, including pictures. More on that tomorrow.

    For now, I'm looking ahead: Jacob's First Birthday, the Olympics in Beijing, and a Presidential election. It's going to be quite a year!

    Some of my resolutions:

    1. Attempt to have a regular schedule, especially at bedtime.

    2. Read more, watch TV less (thank you, writers' strike!).

    3. Show hospitality more often.

    4. Do something creative every day.

    5. Blog about all of the above and more, if only to fulfill #4!

    Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!