Adieu, 2008

It seems impossible that 2008 is already coming to a close. It's been a big year in the life of Little Ms. Bossy, but it's gone by in a flash. 2009 is going to be an exciting year, I can already tell: debuts at at least 2 companies, a world premiere, finally moving my stuff out of storage, paying off my credit card debt, the Obamas moving into the White House, and lots of other excitement I haven't even imagined yet, I'm sure. But first, I'm taking a little time to be self-indulgent and re-reading all my posts from 2008. Here's what happened to me this year:

I learned how to run. Then I forgot how again.

I worked up the courage to write about my divorce.

I found out that I like video games. Probably too much.

I attempted to blog every day for a month. Twice.

I traveled. To Chicago. To California. To the Rodeo (at least it felt like traveling). A road trip through New Orleans to Wolf Trap. To Oregon. To Shenandoah National Park. To Central City, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Back to California. And finally, to Vegas!

I survived Magic Flute, La Bohème, The Refuge, and Beatrice & Benedict. Also a 4-month long stretch of unemployment.

I made a couple big purchases. I bought an amazing new camera and learned to use it. Then I bought a beautiful new computer.

I made my Ultimate To-Do List and crossed off 9 out of 100. I started The Peer Pressure List as a weekly feature.

I survived a hurricane.

I celebrated my 27th birthday in style.

I helped elect Barack Obama. Then I got political, sort of.

2008, you pretty much rocked, but the time has come to say goodbye.

Bring it on, 2009.

Dear Santa,

Thank you so much for the present that arrived today. It was wrapped beautifully, but as soon as I saw it, I couldn't help it…I just had to open it right away.

You sure know how to wrap a present. It took a full 2 minutes of concentrated trying before I was able to tear it open, but what was inside was definitely worth the wait.

Please be sure to thank Mrs. Claus for sewing me my beautiful new tiger mouse. There's something about that mouse that makes me a little crazy, but I can't quite put my paw on what it is.

I stayed in bed all morning and part of the afternoon, so by the time I unwrapped my mouse, I was ready to play. The mouse loves to jump in the air and taunt me with its long tail, so I have to bite it and show it who's boss (me). It also becomes a lot more obedient when I hold it tight in my paws and kick it hard with my feet.

All that playing was exhausting, so I'm signing off now to go back to sleeping on the couch next to my mom. Thanks again for my beautiful gift.

The Bossy Cat

Peer Pressure List, Vol. 6

  • Las Vegas: Over-the-top and tacky and showy and all the other adjectives I thought it would be, but also fun and exciting and luxurious and unexpected. I never thought I would be a Vegas person, but I was so wrong. Vegas won me over with her wily ways, and I think she might do the same to you.

  • Quack Shot slot machine: If you see this machine at a casino, you MUST play it. Especially if you have been given $100 free slot credits, in which case, based on my experience, you have a 100% chance of winning $169 on this one machine.

  • iTunes gift cards: Want to make the audiophile in your life happy? Give the gift of iTunes. I got one from each of CM's parents, and I can't wait to use them up right away. I've got some ideas on how I'm going to spend them, but if you have any suggestions, send them my way, too!

  • Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party: Remember back on the PPL Vol. 1 when I was all, "Raving Rabbids is the best game ever and I can't explain why!"? Well, CM got the new version for Christmas, and it is even better and I still can't explain why. You can play with up to 8 people, so that's pretty awesome. Also, there's a new dancing game in it that is my favorite. If you have a Wii or know someone with a Wii who might let you come over and play it, you should definitely have this game.

  • Boyfriends: My absolute favorite of the list. If you're very very lucky, you might get one like mine, who takes you to Vegas on vacation, includes you in his family Christmas traditions, wakes up early to bring you Krispy Kremes and the Times in bed, poses for silly pictures when you ask him to, gets you a fancy new telephoto lens for Christmas because "you deserve it," agrees to take care of your cat for 2 months while you're out of town, and always lets you have the last bite when you share dessert.

Makin' a list, checkin' it twice

I am just starting to recover from the non-stop party that was our week in Vegas. I had an amazing time, and it was one of the best Christmases on record. I hope yours was, too.

If ever there was fertile ground for crossing off To-Do List items, Vegas is the place. In the spirit of the list, I won't count #1 or #90, even though I did the Vegas version of both. I did, however, find two others to cross off in the short week I was there.

  1. Eat snails the next time I'm at a restaurant that has them on the menu.

As an added bonus of our romantic/anniversary(!) dinner at the foot of the fake Eiffel Tower, there were snails on the menu. So I had to eat them. And they were delicious. Kind of anticlimactic, actually, because there was nothing uniquely snaily about them. Mostly they tasted of garlic and pesto. Also, I was hoping they would be served in their shells so I could re-enact that moment from Pretty Woman. You know the one I mean. Instead, they came in a dish (see picture) that made them very easy to eat. CM reminded me that not every single list item is going to be incredibly exciting to complete, and that the point was that I was doing something for the first time. And really, who doesn't like garlic and pesto? I would order snails again.

  1. Go to Vegas. Stay somewhere outrageous.

Ummm…done. I went to Vegas. I stayed somewhere outrageous. It was glorious. After going into countless hotels and casinos on the Strip, I can safely say that if I go again, I would stay in the Palazzo again in a heartbeat. The room was luxurious, the view was gorgeous, the service was impeccable, they took our minibar items off of the bill for absolutely no reason, and they gave us free money with which to drink and gamble. How's that for outrageous?

9 down, 91 to go. I think that's pretty respectable, don't you?

Although it's been said, many times, many ways...

Merry Christmas to you and yours,

With love from me and mine


Last night I had the craziest dream.

I dreamed I was eating escargots and moules frites and drinking red wine in a romantic bistro at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. I was sitting by the window and I could look out and see the lights of the Tower itself. In my dream, I took an elevator to the top and took pictures of the view from every angle I could find, and then I had dessert: mousse au chocolat and pots de crème and raspberries.

I dreamed I was sitting in a café in the Piazza San Marco. In the distance I could hear a gondolier singing as he paddled his boat along the canal. Street performers walked right by me as I munched on caprese and pizza con salsiccia. After lunch I walked along streets filled with designer boutiques and got lost on purpose.

I dreamed I skipped the rope line at an exclusive nightclub and was ushered right in, where a man in black stamped the inside of my wrist. A guy with an earpiece took my drink order, and a pretty waitress in a skimpy dress brought my drink right away. The music was loud and the lights were dim, so I couldn't tell for sure, but I'm guessing there were probably movie stars in the corner booth.

I dreamed I was in a casino, and someone gave me $100 in free credits for slot machines. In my dream I played it all, in $1 machines and 5¢ machines and 1¢ machines, and then I won $207.

I dreamed I sat at the edge of the water and watched dolphins leaping. I saw a baby dolphin swimming next to its mother, and I looked through a window under the water to see them swimming. I dreamed I wandered through a forest and saw white lions playing, and leopards snuggling, and 5 tiger cubs napping and bathing each other.

Then this morning I woke up, and I was in Vegas, and it was all true.

I could get used to this.

Peer Pressure List, Vol. 5

  • Clementines: Nothing says Christmas like an entire day where you eat nothing but clementines and cookies. I especially like the Cuties brand.

  • Joyeux Noël: One of those movies it's impossible to describe without using the word "heartwarming." It's in English, French, and German; takes place on Christmas Eve 1914 in France; and features opera singers (with singing dubbed by Natalie Dessay and Rolando Villazon). What's not to like?

  • Coquito: I was lucky enough to attend a party hosted by a Puerto Rican; otherwise I might never have discovered the delicious heaven that is coquito. It's the Puerto Rican equivalent of eggnog, but it's sooo much better.

  • St. Arnold's Christmas Ale: Made right here in Houston, this special holiday beer packs a punch (mostly due to its 8% alcohol content). I'm embarrassed to admit how many 6-packs CM and I have gone through this month. Oh well, Christmas (and Christmas Ale) only comes once a year, right? And yes, I am aware that two alcoholic drinks have made the list this week. Don't judge.

  • Deep tissue massage: I've been holding onto a massage gift certificate from the girls since my birthday, and this week seemed like the perfect time to use it. If you're in Houston, I highly recommend Luc at the White Salon. But you might want to carve out a whole day for it. I was so relaxed after it was done that I couldn't move from my couch the rest of the day.

My next post will be from VEGAS!

Bossy Best of 2008

Everyone's putting out their Best of 2008 lists, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon and making one of my own. Here's what I loved this year:


These are all albums that came out this year, and actually I had quite a bit of trouble picking just 5. I have what you might call an iTunes addiction, to the point where I often refer to the day after Monday as "New Music Tuesday." These 5 were the ones I loved the most.

Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend

Hip and nerdy at the same time, just like me!

Fave song: "Oxford Comma"

Rockferry, Duffy

I love Duffy's sultry soulful voice and her old-school style.

Fave song: "Mercy"

Paper Nest, Raining Jane

Plays right into my weakness for sensitive folky singer-songwriter types.

Fave song: "Broken Parts"

Hideaway, The Weepies

Listening to The Weepies always makes me happier. Always.

Fave song: "How You Survived the War"

Day & Age, The Killers

This one's only been out a couple weeks, but I'm already enjoying it just as much as their first album.
Fave song: "Human"

Honorable mention: One of the Boys, Katy Perry; Simple Times, Joshua Radin; Evil Urges, My Morning Jacket


I don't see enough movies in the theatre to make a list of 2008 releases very interesting, but I do watch an awful lot of Netflix. So, these are the best movies I saw this year, old and new.

Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

I am probably the very last person EVER to watch this movie, but somehow I missed it until I was preparing for B&B during the summer. I love everything about it: the chemistry between Emma and Kenneth (those were the good old days), the Mediterranean setting, the informal way with the language…I even love Emma Thompson's ridiculous tan.

Persepolis (2007)

Totally unlike any movie I've seen before, this autobiographical film based on the graphic novel is charming and completely engrossing.

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

I've already waxed poetic about this one here, but it bears repeating. Madcap, I tell you, madcap.

The Lives of Others (2007)

I watched this almost a year ago, but I'm still thinking about it. We've been inundated with enough World War II films that I have an understanding of that period, but the Cold War era remains something of an enigma. I love personal stories set against the backdrop of historical events. And you know I just love movies in German.

Milk (2008)

Again, I'm repeating myself, but really, it's that good. You'll want to go see it before the Oscars.

Honorable mention: Quantum of Solace (2008), Wall-E (2008), Joyeux Noël (2005)

TV Shows:

As with movies, much of my TV watching happens through Netflix, aka 6 months to a year late. I cannot speak to the current seasons of most of these (although Hulu is helping some), but what I saw on DVD rocked my socks off.

Mad Men (AMC)

Who knew the ’60s could be so fascinating? This show makes me crave cocktails at work, hats, and men in suits, although I'm happy to be watching from a safe distance when it comes to the smoke-filled meetings, and, you know, the subjugation of women.

Pushing Daisies (ABC—canceled)

Possibly the most bizarre premise I can think of, but the show is utterly captivating. They've created an entire alternate world for the characters to live in, and the look of it alone is enough to make you fall in love. Kristin Chenoweth is just too adorable, and Chi McBride gets the best sarcastic one-liners ever. I'm so sad that this show has been canceled.

30 Rock (NBC)

I. Love. Tina Fey. Almost as much as CameraMan does, but for different reasons.

The Office (NBC)

This will continue to be on my "Best of…" list until it goes off the air. It is the funniest show on television right now, and it's aging quite well.

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

The other day CM and I were sitting on the couch, and he said, "You know what? I miss our friends on How I Met Your Mother." Pathetic as it may sound, I feel the exact same way. This show is so good I would almost pay $2.99 per episode on iTunes for the new ones. Almost.

Honorable mention: The West Wing, The Daily Show, Lipstick Jungle


In making this list, I know I'm forgetting some excellent books I read this year, but I had a little trouble remembering what I actually read. Maybe in preparation for 2009's list, I'll keep some kind of record. There were a few standouts I could remember, though.

Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald

I went through a Fitzgerald phase at some point during college, but I never read this one. It isn't plotted as well as some of the others, but the characters are so richly drawn. I like the idea of the main couple being based on him and Zelda, too.

American Wife, Curtis Sittenfeld

A novel about the life of a First Lady remarkably similar to Laura Bush, this book provided some insight (although fictionalized) into the life of a woman to whom I had never given that much thought. I'm so excited to see what kind of First Lady Michelle Obama is going to be.

The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson

This historical nonfiction reads like a novel, as the author recounts the events of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, juxtaposed with the story of serial killer H. H. Holmes. If only all history books were this compellingly written, I would give up fiction all together.

The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende

I love this kind of epic South American novel, full of supernatural elements right in the middle of real life. This reminds me of A Hundred Years of Solitude or Like Water for Chocolate. It makes me want to move to South America to be in a culture that could produce this kind of imagination.

Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

Thanks to my To-Do list, I'm discovering some authors I never read before. I read 3 Waugh novels, and this is the best. He had a wicked sense of humor as well as a way of deftly dealing with deeper issues almost without you noticing it. After reading the book, I was disappointed by the 2008 film, but I'm looking forward to watching the whole BBC miniseries some time soon.

What were your favorites of 2008? What did I miss?

Filing a complaint

Dear Weather Gods,

It may seem like hubris to complain about the weather here in Houston when Mom and Pop Bossy have been snowed in all week in Oregon and the upper Midwest is getting some kind of blizzard tonight, but still, I have to ask…what the hell are you doing up there?

Twice in as many weeks we've been forced to turn on both the heat and the air conditioning on the same day. We've flip-flopped from 78° highs to 30° lows. As I write this, the humidity is 93% and I'm sweating in my short-sleeved shirt. A few days ago, I was wearing my new Thinsulate-lined coat and wishing I'd brought my earmuffs. I've been looking forward to ice skating in Discovery Green since it opened, but when we went there Wednesday evening, the fog was so dense it made my jacket wet and there were puddles of water on the ice. Instead of skating, we went inside for mojitos.

And I assume it's no coincidence that it snowed in Houston for the first time in four years on the one night we were out of town in Dallas, and then snowed in Las Vegas in the heaviest snowfall since ’79 less than a week before we arrive there. I wasn't even dreaming of a white Christmas, but I still don't like being taunted with it. If this is your idea of a joke, I can tell you one thing.

I'm not laughing.

Humid in Houston

Peer Pressure List, Vol. 4

  • Love Actually: This is hands down one of my favorite movies of any genre, so of course it has to top the list of my must-see Christmas movies. Just about every British actor you can think of is in it (including Mr. Bean), and I cry every single time I watch it (completely Emma Thompson's fault). I should warn you, it's very romantic, some would even refer to it as a "chick flick," so if you watch it with your boyfriend you might be required to watch 2 extra Vegas movies just to make up for this movie's girliness.

  • White Fudge Covered Oreos: A major guilty pleasure at this time of year. They only come out at Christmas time, and I always allow myself one box. They're incredibly rich, and terrible for you, but they taste soooo good. Get yourself a box before they disappear until next year.

  • Stella Artois commercials: Reason enough to go see movies at Landmark Theatres, because they always show these fantastic ads before the feature. I rarely drink Stella Artois (although I like that it comes with a special glass), but their advertising is brilliant. Check out "Last Orders" and "Train" (on the Stella Artois site or on YouTube) for a taste of what I'm talking about.

  • Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX: I'm a Houstonian (well, sort of), so it's unlikely that I would ever advocate going to Dallas. I will say, however, that should you be there already for some reason, make sure you check out this lovely museum and sculpture garden. It houses the incredible collection of Raymond and Patsy Nasher, the kind of art aficionados who commission Warhol portraits of their kids (seriously). The museum gets bonus points for allowing visitors to take photographs. One of these days I'll post a few of mine on Flickr.

  • Milk: Beautiful, poignant, sad, uplifting... all the praise you've heard about Milk is true. Sean Penn's performance is oh so Oscarworthy, and Gus Van Sant's use of period footage is masterful. This is a movie to see in the theatre. Bring your Kleenex.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas at the Bossy house is often a last-minute affair. We usually wait to do much of anything holiday-related until after Papa Bossy's birthday (that's today—happy 60th, PB!), and it is not unheard of for the Christmas shopping to begin on December 23rd.

So when I baked my first Christmas cookies Sunday night and started my shopping yesterday (when it was 75° outside, I might add), I was pretty proud of myself for being ahead of the game. Until I entered the world everyone else lives in and discovered that Target was already out of tree stands and every brand of clear lights with green wire, that is. And then I happened to look at a calendar and realized that we leave for Vegas in less than 2 weeks. Ack!

While our laissez-faire attitude to holiday preparations might lead you to believe Christmas doesn't matter much to the Bossy family, you would be dead wrong. I love Christmas. Adore it, in fact. And I'm especially excited about this one because it's my first with CameraMan (and definitely my first in Vegas). So, in the 12 days left in Houston, here's what I'm looking forward to:
  • Baking, baking, and more baking. My KitchenAid mixer is on standby, so please do send me your favorite cookie recipes, either as a comment or to littlemsbossyblog at gmail.

  • Ice skating! Outside! In Houston! It's true.

  • Attempting to shop efficiently and economically. Ha.

  • Getting a tree, carting it home, setting it up, and decorating it.

  • Lighting candles with wintry scents like cranberry and pine and vanilla.

  • Keeping the Santa Mix on shuffle all day long.

  • Stuffing my face with yummy things and washing it all down with hot chocolate.

  • A continuation of our Christmas movie/Vegas movie theme. Next up, the original Ocean's Eleven.
Oh, and visions of sugarplums, obvs. What's on your list?

Peer Pressure List, Vol. 3

  • Danny Kaye: To prepare for our upcoming Christmas vacation, we've been alternating holiday movies with Vegas movies. So far this week, we've covered Diamonds Are Forever, White Christmas, Viva Las Vegas, and The Muppet Christmas Carol. It was while watching White Christmas that I remembered how much I adore Danny Kaye. The ultimate triple threat, with impeccable comedic instincts thrown into the mix, he has always been one of my favorites. I had to watch The Court Jester right away to get my fix. You should, too.

  • Lush Ocean Salt: The Best Friend got me this incredible scrub for my birthday, and I've gotten into the habit of washing my face with it every morning in the shower (because it's never too early for vodka). I didn't bring it to Cali with me, and I got three pimples on my chin during the week I was there. Coincidence? I don't think so.

  • The Smart Set: I just discovered this online magazine, and I'm becoming addicted pretty quickly. It features lots of the travel writing I love so well, but they're also writing about ideas and personal stories and just about anything you can think of. And the writing is all really really good. Here's one of my favorite articles so far.

  • My beautiful bedding: I got this bedding out of storage a few weeks ago, and slept on it for the first time in well over a year. I'm especially loving it this week since I've been spending so much time in bed.

  • Metropolitan Opera HD Broadcasts: I haven't taken advantage of these as much as I should, mostly because by Saturday I'm usually all opera'd out, but I managed to see the latest, Robert Lepage's fascinating production of La Damnation de Faust, twice: once in a packed house, squinting because of a weak projector, and once in an audience of four with clear picture and painfully loud volume. So maybe the kinks haven't all quite been worked out, but it's still a great way to see these productions (and eat popcorn while doing so!). Oh, and if you want to see my name scroll by in the credits, you can do that on March 21 at 1pm EST. I'm just saying.

A code id by doze

What started as a mild sore throat the Saturday after Thanksgiving had developed into a full on head cold by Tuesday morning, dropping me into a fog so thick that I'm only just now starting to see my way clear of it. I've spent the week waking up unable to breathe from all the congestion, staying in bed or on the couch miserable for most of the day, getting my hopes up during a couple good late afternoon hours, and going to bed with a persistent dry cough that keeps me up half the night. My patent pending Mucinex/Tylenol Cold/Zicam drug cocktail doesn't seem to be working as quickly as it has in the past, so I'm stuck at home, lazing my days away and not enjoying it one bit.

Thank goodness for boyfriends. You should definitely get one, if for nothing else than to take care of you when you're sick. Poor CameraMan has been working overtime, what with his real job and all the pampering combined. This week I've had breakfast in bed, cold medicine and orange juice on a platter, and my choice on movie nights. He slept on the couch one night so that I could cough my lungs out while sprawled over the whole bed (minus the surprisingly large portion the Bossy Cat takes up). And he even managed to tell me with a straight face several times that I looked cute when I was sick.

Also, thank goodness for time off, so I can actually recuperate. And for tea, all kinds, so comforting on a sore throat. And for snuggly cats. And Netflix. And down comforters. And Advil PM.

And now that I'm almost ready to rejoin the land of the living, I might try rejoining the land of the blogging while I'm at it.

Peer Pressure List, Vol. 2

  • Peppermint hot chocolate at Starbucks: Like Christmas in a cup. Don't skip the whip.

  • How I Met Your Mother: Like Friends but funnier. The best thing about this show is Neil Patrick Harris, hands down. Every line that comes out of his mouth is endlessly quotable and repeatable (just ask CameraMan). It's legen…wait for it…dary.

  • Clinique Superbalm Lip Gloss: This one's for the ladies. Long-lasting, not too sticky, the perfect amount of shine. I like it in Currant.

  • Pumpkin gooey bars: I baked these for Thanksgiving dessert, and they were so good that some of my family members had middle of the night cravings for them. I originally got the recipe from Little Miss Hardcore, so if you make them, become addicted, and get really fat, blame her.

  • Hotel Cafe presents Winter Songs: We're just getting to the time of year when I want to hear lots of Christmas music. I've got an extensive Santa Mix on the BossiPod, and this is my favorite new addition. It features my fave ladies Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, and Brandi Carlile.

Are you feeling the pressure?


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