Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mele Kalikimaka!

"The only gift is a portion of thyself."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

This year my family celebrated a "simple" Christmas. In response to mopey mood of the economy, my mother and sister stated that they were limiting their gift giving to a few inexpensive, thoughtful items. On our part, Jason and I gave almost entirely homemade gifts.

The result?

Twofold success!

1. I was so pleased to not receive any superfluous junk this year. Every present that I opened was a joy - useful presents, heartfelt presents and things that were clearly carefully chosen just for me.

2. I have never before been so pleased with the reactions of people to the gifts that I gave. My family was genuinely thrilled with every gift, and I felt so proud of the love and work that went into each of them. The most memorable moment, for me, was when my mother was moved to tears by the gift that Jason made for her: a frame that displayed three photographs Jason had taken inside the church that my mom used to work at.

What was your favorite gift given or received?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In which I force myself to write because I haven't written in a month and there's NO excuse for that...

Last night Jason was working on a project for Spanish I and I assisted him by helping to pick out some songs that he could play during his presentation on "Música Hispana". For the portion of the presentation on tango, I chose a fairly well-known instrumental recording of "Por Una Cabeza".

As I listened to the beautiful and dramatic melody, I began wondering about the strange title. Por Una Cabeza. Here is how I originally broke it down, by way of my barely passable Spanish skills:

Por = For
Una = A
Cabeza = Head

What could this song be about? My imagination ran with it. My favorite theory was the story of a lonely headsman with a shiny, unused guillotine in a crimeless region in France.

Upon looking up an English translation of the lyrics, however, I was reminded that "por" often means "by way of" or just "by". So, the song title is actually By A Head, and compares a man's addiction to gambling on horse races to his addiction to women.

I like my translation better.