Sunday, December 9, 2012

#79 - Catching up on the Silver Screen

A few years ago, my then-boyfriend was always surprised to find that I had not seen one particular movie or another.  So, I asked him to make me a list of titles that he thought I should see; a list that I also added to.  Some of what was listed were truly classic films - like Casablanca (which I still haven't watched) and It's a Wonderful Life (which I did) - but most were just popular films that I missed for whatever reason.  I should add that my family did not go to movies when I was young; there wasn't a theater in my hometown, and my parents didn't really have the cash for such things anyhow.  I did see many movies with friends when I was a teen, but then had a long period in college, grad school, and my first job where money and time were just too tight for me to spend much of either at the theater.

I've also always had a hard time just sitting and watching a screen.  Reading a book can keep me motionless for hours, but it's a rare movie that engages me to the point that I don't start thinking of other things I can do around the house as it progresses.  So, progress on this list has been fairly slow.  However, I did watch the tenth movie off this list last night.  So perhaps someday ... I'll see Casablanca after all :)

#58 - Operation Baking Gals

This time of year, I tend to go a little overboard with baking cookies.  It's become something of a start of the holiday season ritual for me.  I make a list of the types of cookies I plan to make that year, go shopping for such things as a case of butter (36 pounds for those of you who have never had reason to buy butter in quantity), and spend the better part of a week and a half in my kitchen baking.

Most of what I make goes onto trays that I give to friends and co-workers.  Since I work for a local government, this leads to such interesting things occurring as an "official" email going out saying the cookies have arrived at the city offices and the fact that I am one of a very select group of people who actually receives a Christmas card from my local public works department (how many of you can say that?!).  I set aside a few of the more interesting types to go along with me to my family's celebration.  And there are some plates that I take in to work to just hand out to people who look like their day is overwhelming them and perhaps some cookies would help.

However, there is another batch of cookies that I save to mail off to troops serving overseas.  I belong to an organization called Operation Baking Gals - yes, it is gender-inclusive despite the name - that tries to bring a little taste of home baking to the military serving overseas.  While I only participate in the winter months, there are rounds of baking going on all year.  It is more personalized than many of the other programs I've seen where you write to "any serviceperson".  There are individual teams that bake for particular soldiers or units.  Each baker can choose to join as many or few teams as they like.  You get a brief description of the person you are baking for (as well as likes and dislikes) and send the boxes directly to that person (part of joining the organization is a promise that you will not share names or addresses with anyone).  If you like to bake, it's a fulfilling organization to be a part of  .... give the website a look (the link is above) for a more complete description of how the process works.

Contents of a typical Baking Gals box that I sent out - I always try to include a book and this particular soldier wanted nuts, so there was also a can of cashews included - the rest are homemade cookies and candies.