Peter and I collectively read over 200 blogs and websites every day (thanks to [Bloglines](http://bloglines.com/)). Out of all of those blogs, there are a couple that stand out this year as our favorites. Whenever we view one of these blogs, they make us laugh, smile, think, and wonder. We keep coming back to them day after day because of their interesting insights and observations.
**[(a)musings](http://www.amusings.net/clg/)**, by Christine
Christine is a fellow North Shore dweller, [Gordon](http://www.gordon.edu/) Grad, Oregon Extension alum and blogger. (We have alot in common!) Her musings center on her family, their adventures in life and geocaching, her love of [Barenaked Ladies](http://www.bnlmusic.com/), and some trials and tribulations associated with all of the above. We also love perusing her [flickr albums](http://www.flickr.com/photos/amusings/).
**[Mikao’s World](http://mikao.blogspot.com/)**, by Michelle
Representing the Great White North, Michelle blogs from chilly Canada. She talks about faith, travel, crafts, work and daily life…and her Hot Rod. We’ve been following her blog for almost 3 years now. Wow! I am pretty impressed at her artistic ability and creativity.
Congratulations to our favorite blogs of 2005. Keep up the good work!
One of the unexpected gifts I received for Christmas was a tripod. Ken and Dianne gave it to me while we were visiting them on the weekend before Christmas (though I forgot to take it with me… I had [Corey](http://corey.prwdot.org/) meet me to drop it off this week). It was originally used by one of Ken’s former employers for testing audio equipment, and he hasn’t used it much in the past few years, so he’s letting me have it.
Anyway, I’m starting to practice using it; setting it up and taking it down, adjusting the various controls, and taking photos with it. Here’s my first attempt at taking a [nifty photo](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/etcetera/grab_bag/P1060697.JPG.html) with help from the tripod. The main area where it will be of benefit is in taking photos at slower shutter speeds; normally, I can’t hold the camera steady enough to take a shot at slower than 1/30 of a second without some serious blurring… my camera’s built-in [image stabilization](http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz20/page5.asp) notwithstanding.
A really sturdy tripod is something I’ve been wanting for the past few years, but have never had the extra funding to purchase. I hope to utilize it to its full potential with our existing camera, as well as the camcorder which we hope to buy in the next few months.
For those who haven’t already noticed, I have switched my [Linklog](http://prwdot.org/linklog.html) from [del.icio.us](http://del.icio.us/) to [Yahoo!](http://www.yahoo.com/)’s [My Web 2.0](http://myweb2.search.yahoo.com/) service. Every time I come across an interesting link that I’d like to remember, or that I’d like to share with everyone, I add it to My Web 2.0. Occasionally these links make it over to our regular blog, but more often than not, the Linklog is the only place to find them. If you would like to follow along, you can simply check out the [Linklog](http://prwdot.org/linklog.html) page, or even better, subscribe to the [Linklog feed](http://feeds.feedburner.com/prwdotmyweb) (also available from our [Feed info page](http://prwdot.org/feeds.html).
My reasoning for the switch has to do with del.icio.us’ recent [acquisition by Yahoo!](http://blog.del.icio.us/blog/2005/12/yahoo.html). del.icio.us and Yahoo!’s My Web 2.0 serve the same function: saving, tagging, and organizing collections of links, as well as sharing these links with the web community (if you so desire). I don’t believe that these two products, performing the exact same function, will exist as separate entities for very long. I also don’t believe that del.icio.us offers enough advantages over Yahoo!’s existing offering to make it compelling for Yahoo! to keep around. So I’m just making a pre-emptive switch over to My Web 2.0, because I think that’s where the future is. I am sure that if you don’t switch, there will be some sort of transition in the future… but I’d rather just make the switch now.
If you’re looking for a great way to keep track of your links, try [My Web 2.0](http://myweb2.search.yahoo.com/).
Christmas Part 2 took place this past weekend in and around [Schuylkill Haven, PA](http://www.schuylkillhaven.org/)…
This morning, Becky and I exchanged our Christmas gifts to each other. You can ask Becky about what I got her, I’m just going to say, one of the thing I got her was the dermaroller that she wanted so much, but I just had to rave about the awesome [stuff she got me (and the baby)](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/events/2005/awesome_gifts_from_becky/).
What have I done to deserve such an awesome wife?
She is even more awesome now, because after a [tremendous response on Craftster](http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=71880.0), her geeky onesies have been picked up by [the MAKE blog](http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/01/geeky_onesies.html)! Sweet!
Becky and I are headed off to Pennsylvania to see my family, so we wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! We hope that you get to spend it with family and/or friends, and if not, may you be safe wherever you are.
I had a very surreal experience today. I was lying in a small room watching what should have been the most exciting ‘tv show’ of my life and what was I doing? Biting the inside of my cheek in order to stay awake.
It’s not that seeing our baby for the first time wasn’t absolutely thrilling, it was! We got to see the heart beating, the bladder, spine, brain, face arms, etc… It was so incredible to have ‘x-ray vision’ for those few minutes.
But the room was very warm. There were a few machines emitting a gentle hum. It was dark and I was lying on a semi comfortable table with a nice pillow. All the right factors were in place for a nice little nap. Fortunately, I was able to stay awake!
So, without further ado, the image you’ve all been waiting for…
Some others can be found [in the gallery](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/baby/first_ultrasound/).
Since Becky and I are going to be visiting my family in Pennsylvania for Christmas, we did Christmas with Becky’s family this weekend.
Saturday morning we [exchanged gifts](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/events/2005/lowe_christmas_morning/) with Ken, Dianne, and [Corey](http://corey.prwdot.org/). We got some nice stuff, including [Marriott](http://www.marriott.com/) gift cards so that we can have a weekend getaway before the baby arrives. We gave some nice stuff too, including a pair of magnetic mechanic’s gloves to Ken, some knitted wrist warmers for Dianne, and a [book safe](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/events/2005/lowe_christmas_morning/P1060183.JPG.html) for Corey.
Saturday afternoon we had Christmas lunch with the Lowe family ([pictures available with family login](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/events/2005/lowe_christmas_lunch/)). It was good to see everybody, and to have a chance to play with the twins. They’re getting quite talkative and inquisitive… it makes me look forward even more to having kids of our own. 🙂
On Sunday, we saw some of the Quitadamo family at Kevin and Susie’s Narnia Brunch ([pictures available with family login](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/events/2005/narnia_brunch/)). It was quite a busy party, with lots of kids, ice skating, hockey, and sledding outside, Turkish Delight and Narnia memorabilia inside, and even an appearance by Santa!
Christmas Part 2 will be this weekend, when we will be driving down to [Schuylkill Haven, PA](http://www.schuylkillhaven.org/) to spend time with my mom’s side of the family. Alas, it is only for a few days, but that’s all part of the changing traditions of a [20something Christmas](http://prwdot.org/archives/2005/12/adult_christmas.html).
With the holiday season upon us I thought it appropriate to bring up a topic of conversation I have noticed among myself and a number of friends. What happens to Christmas when you’re an adult?
Alternately we ask: Why, now that I’m in my mid/late twenties, does Christmas not seem so much fun? Why do I feel depressed as soon as Macy’s decks out in the green and red? Why am I so much more senstive to the materialistic aspects of Christmas than I was as a kid (or even a teenager). Why can’t I just be happy about this season?
Even I have turned to Peter and proclaimed, “If I hear one more Christmas song on the radio I’m going to drive off that bridge!” I don’t really mean it, of course, but as someone who used to sing Carols all year long I’m surprised to hear myself say that.
What’s wrong with this picture?
(Click on the image for a closer look.)
Here’s a hint: If you said “You can’t get spiral sliced ham for $1.89/lb!”, you’re wrong. I *wish* this was a joke. Thanks to Becky for pointing this out while looking through the circulars this weekend.