mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
I'll get around to doing the last Music Advent post sometime this week, but one of the videos was "Careless Whisper" and that just makes me sad all over again about all these people dying this week. Then I looked at the phone earlier and there was a breaking news e-mail about Debbie Reynolds being rushed to the hospital, and so it was like, aaand here we go again.

It occurred to me that I didn't mention much about gifts in my last post. As I've said before, Rob and I are terribly pragmatic about gifts. We usually give each other some small surprises but we pretty much pick out the larger gifts so as not to waste money on stuff we don't want. (He gave me some nail things, for the surprise, and I bought him an Ohio State shirt that I had found on Amazon.) We got a couple of nice gifts from my cousins - a pair of those large stainless steel travel mugs (my cousin actually apologized because they were Sam's Club brand and not the name brand, and I said, "Honestly, I don't care at all about that, I like them") and a very pretty wreath that I can put out on my balcony. And my aunt gave us gift cards, as she nearly always does. I gave all the females who are old enough to wear makeup little gift bags full of sample stuff - everybody really seems to like those. I also gave some Star Wars stuff, which of course also goes over well. As for me, my big gifts were my planner - I like Erin Condren's and they are not exactly cheap - and I got a Kindle Fire when they were on sale on Cyber Monday. (I had a regular Kindle - in fact I' on my 3rd one, I think, but I'd never had the Fire.) (Rob wanted - and went and picked out for himself - a weight vest. To each his own.)

We went to see the Pixar movie Moana this afternoon - I knew it was supposed to be good, and it was - and on the way home we went down this street with a lot of big houses to look at the lights. In particular this one house has a gigantic oak tree in their yard that is completely covered in blue lights. Something about it is just mesmerizing, I love it. Also it always makes me happy when people still have the lights up the week after Christmas. There's something depressing about it when all of the decorations disappear on the 26th. (I do think it's fair game to take stuff down closer to New Year's because I know a lot of people have to go back to work right after the 1st. I don't insist they stay up until Epiphany or anything.)

We are watching one episode of Stranger Things a day. I figured out that this will get us finished on Sunday, just in time for Rob to go back to work on Monday. Some of the episodes have big cliffhangers, though, and sometimes it's really tempting to just keep going. But so far we haven't. (Episode... I mean "Chapter" 4 - they don't call them episodes - is called "The Body" so I think you've gotta say that's a direct Stephen King callout there. I also still think it's very reminiscent at times of early Spielberg - the thing where the lights kept going off and on reminded me a lot of Close Encounters - with a big heaping dose of X-Files and maybe even Twin Peaks. All of those are good things as far as I'm concerned.)

Holidays

Dec. 27th, 2016 12:16 am
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
I'm off all week - it's not actually holidays for me, technically, because I'm part-time and I don't get paid if I don't work. But we'll manage, financially, and I can't say I'm unhappy about the break.

We went to see my aunt and my cousins yesterday, Christmas Day, and came back today - which is Boxing Day, other places, but nobody calls it that here. It really should be called Returns and Gift Cards Day - although I admit it's not terribly catchy - because that's what an awful lot of people do on the day after Christmas, right? You return what doesn't fit, etc, you maybe buy some Christmas junk that's marked down (I used to do that a lot but I don't as much as I used to), and you spend the gift cards that people gave you, often on newly marked-down merchandise. However, we didn't do any of those things today. We got up (terribly, terribly early, by my standards), we went to my aunt's and had breakfast, and then we came home. Rob went to the gym after we got home; I played Marvel Heroes for a while and then went and took a nap, because I only got maybe 5 hours of sleep last night. And then when I got up we watched another episode of Stranger Things and then the Doctor Who Christmas special, which luckily taped because I set it in some past year and it always remembers. I do love U-verse for that (although we are plotting to get rid of the TV portion of U-verse if we can figure out how to make that work - I'm not really sure it's doable at this point but I'll report back if we make any progress on that).

I guess I should back up and talk about yesterday. Oh, no, actually I'll back up to Saturday night (or very early on Christmas morning, really) right after I posted the previous entry. I did paint my nails - the color is Twinkle Lights, if you want to know. I do really like it but it was a bit difficult to get opaque. Between coats of nail polish, I was messing around on the internet like I always do, and at some point I went back into Marvel Heroes and my inventory panel was suddenly chock-full of stuff. Presumably this was a Christmas gift of sorts from Gazillion (who runs the game), although there were two of everything and Col said today that the rumor yesterday was that the doubling-up was a mistake which they just decided not to try to rectify. It was all these different kinds of gift boxes, and I was determined to sort it out before I went to bed, and I felt like it took for-freaking-ever. There was lots of good stuff in there, so I'm not exactly complaining but it did stress me out for a while there. I did still get to sleep at what for me is a decent hour, because I knew I had to get up by 10 or 10:30, so we could get to my aunt's house in time for a late Christmas lunch.

I had talked to my aunt on Friday and I told her that we were leaving about 11, and she said "but it'll take you three hours!" and I'm not sure where she came up with that number, but we made sure to time ourselves because we were sure she was wrong. We started out the door at 11, actually pulled out at 11:15, and got there at 1:30 even with a brief stop at Buc-ees for a bathroom-and-cold-drinks break. so it takes, what, actually about two hours flat, driving time. (Of course there wasn't all that much traffic, on Christmas Day.) I had told her if they got ready to eat and we weren't there, not to wait, and they didn't. We got there right when they were finishing up. I was trying to decide if it was rude not to get there on time, but since they won't actually ever set a fixed time it's hard to work up much guilt there. There were actually still a couple of people lingering at the table and we just fixed plates and joined them, so it was like Christmas dinner, act 2, more or less.

I'm not going to try to distinguish too much between my various relatives, because there's too many of them, but basically, this group of people is composed of my aunt, who is actually my aunt-by-marriage (my uncle died about 15 years ago), my two first cousins who are in their 40s, their four children (between them), and the family of the oldest of those four children (husband & three little girls). (I always just say "my aunt and my cousins" - obviously some of them are actually first cousins at a remove or two,)  Plus there was my aunt's father, who is 103 and not in particularly good health (although he's hanging in there very stubbornly) and his caregiver. He is still living at home but he broke his hip and now has round-the-clock care as of this past year. (I can't imagine what costs them, but he's pretty well-to-do so I assume he can afford it.) The caregiver just joined right in with everything like she was part of the family. This is all a pretty extended family, I imagine you're getting that from this description if you've read this far, and so it has expanded and contracted to include a variety of people over the years. We usually only see them this one time of the year, but they always seem happy to see us, and it's sort of the last remnant of Christmas that we much participate in.

We normally go on Christmas Eve, stay one night, my aunt ritually complains that we don't stay longer, and we normally go on home late in the afternoon on Christmas Day just the same. This year, since we had to work on the 23rd, we begged off coming until Christmas Day. I enjoyed being home on Christmas Eve, as I said in the last entry, but I'm not sure if the logistics will work out to be able to do that every year. (We'll worry about that starting 11 months or so from now.) Anyway, people came and went, we opened gifts, we watched movies at my aunt's house ("Elf" and "Enchanted") and then Rob & I & a couple of the younger ones went down the street to my cousins' house to spend the night, and we watched more movies ("A New Hope" - which I hadn't actually seen in years, I decided - and part of "Avatar" before we finally collapsed. (To connect around to what I said earlier, I got about 5 hours of sleep, woke up at 6am and never did go back to sleep again. I finally gave up and started setting up my new paper planner that I got as one of my gifts.)

It was a pretty good Christmas, overall.
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
I forgot to say that this came from a Holidailies participant named Pearl (who I don't think is anybody I was acquainted with previously, unless she's disguised herself well). I always feel like I have to do at least one of those during Holidailies. So here you are. I'm sure I've answered most of these questions before, but the answers tend to change from year to year, anyway.

1. Do you know what you want for Christmas already?
Hmm, yes and no. I know what I'm getting, for the most part, and I'm happy with that. I couldn't think of much that I really wanted. I think it's maybe part of getting older, that THINGS don't matter so much to you? I dunno.
2. Have you done any Christmas shopping yet?
Yeah, I'm done, basically. I started buying stuff early. (Lots of Star Wars merchandise passing through this house; I figured that was a proven winner, especially this year.)
3. Do you like Christmas?
I'm somewhat iffy about it these days because it feels now like it belongs to a religion that's not mine. But I was brought up celebrating it so I still have a tie to it. And I adored it for most of my life.
4. At whose house will you celebrate this year?
Probably my aunt's, although it's still up in the air. (I told this tale a week or so ago, so scroll backwards in my journal if you really want to know!)
5. Is there someone in your family you are not looking forward to seeing this Christmas? If so who, and why?
Eh. I have so little family left that I treasure them all, even the ones I didn't always care much for!
6. Do you decorate the tree early, or late?
We don't have anything up yet except a wreath on the balcony, so I guess we're on the late side.
7. Do you use tinsel?
I'm kind of nutty about tinsel. I don't use the old tinsel icicles, though, if that's what this is referring to - can you even buy that any more? (I'm probably dating myself by even asking.) Tinsel garland feels kind of old-school tacky now, too (it's the fat kind I'm thinking of, if you know what I mean), and I don't really use that any more, either, if I ever did. But I have a whole tinsel tree, now, actually. We quit putting up a green tree (fake or real) because it was too much trouble.
8. Do you own any antique Christmas bulbs?
Real ones? No. I'm fascinated with them, though; I have jewelry in that shape, and Christmas cards decorated with them, and stuff. (If I remember I'll put my icon up for this!)
9. Do you put a star or an angel on the top of your Christmas tree?
I've had both at various times. As I said, I don't really do the kind of tree that you have to decorate these days, so it's not an issue any more.
10. Do you hang stockings?
We have them (with our names embroidered on them and everything) but we live in an apartment so we don't have a mantel or anything to hang them on.
11. Do you drink eggnog?
Ugh, no.
12. Have you eaten a candy cane this year yet?
Actually yes, because one came in a box in the mail (with some nail polish, I think it was) and I ate it. I'm not that much of a fan of candy canes that I go out and buy them especially to eat, though.

2015holibadge-blue.gif
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Torchwood - 1899)
When I got to work yesterday, they had put up a Christmas tree in the middle of the counter where we work, right next to the computer monitor and completely displacing the cash register, which was relegated to a little low table. I'm not exactly sure whose idea this was, but I don't guess it matters since I assume the boss okayed it. The tree is right next to my face when I'm at the monitor, and I hate that, but I guess I'm stuck with it for the next three weeks. I'll live. I also got stressed at work because nobody had done any data entry while I was off and so I was catching up on an entire week of paperwork. I got most of it entered and left some only-mildly-bitchy notes about the part I couldn't figure out. I am definitely not full of holiday spirit at the moment. But then it's only December 3, in my opinion that's too early to be expected to have holiday spirit anyway. (I also think it's ridiculously early to put a tree up in a non-retail environment, but obviously everybody doesn't share that opinion.)

I actually have all my gifts bought, I think. I started collecting stuff early. Our normal Christmas routine may be shot to hell, though. Normally either one of my cousins or my aunt does Christmas, and we spent a night or two up the country at their house. But the cousin is in temporary quarters - they're in the middle of a two-step move out of town - and my aunt is in Houston taking care of her 102-year old father, who broke his hip. (My aunt is actually my aunt by marriage, if you're wondering, which is why her father is not my grandfather. But I've known both of them since I was five years old so they're just family in my book.) We may end up having Christmas in Houston, which would be more convenient for us anyway - and we wouldn't have to spend the night at all. It seems like it would be sort of hard on my aunt hosting it, but she volunteered (or rather sort of semi-volunteered, which is why I'm saying it's still up in the air). I certainly don't have room for all those people. George, the 102-year-old, has a good-sized house - although of course he's been in rehab after the hip incident - and if my aunt has been staying there for months it's clean as a whistle, if I know her. So anyway, we are just winging it on all that. (If I don't end up seeing my cousins I'll have to ship their gifts to them in the mail or something - but I bet I'll end up seeing them.)

2015holibadge-blue.gif
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas excess)
Huh, well, apparently the Galveston (County) Buc-ee's that's currently under construction is not going to be the biggest one ever. Darn. Well, we just went in the brand-new Waller location this afternoon, and I think a little smaller might actually be better. It was a LONG way (from the side door where we came in) to the restrooms. I assume that this newer one is not going to actually be small by any stretch of the imagination, so I'm sure it'll be plenty big to suit me.

Buc-ee's is a thing in Texas. I wasn't sure, but looking at their website, apparently they are still confined to Texas. They started out as just normal convenience stores that were maybe a little on the large side. They were in mostly rural areas around here - the first one I ever remember seeing was at Highway 646 and Highway 3, which is in League City nowadays, and maybe it always was, technically, but 20 years ago was totally the middle of nowhere. I'm not sure if that Buc-ees is still there - I guess it is. I also remember seeing one down around Brazosport, which actually could have been the original one, or one of the original ones, because apparently they started in Lake Jackson, and that's another one of those areas where the city limits are amorphous - Lake Jackson/Freeport, which is down across San Luis Pass, just south of Galveston. (Big Bang Theory fans may know that that's where Sheldon is said to be from.)

Anyway, we went in the Cypress location yesterday - which is smallish, by Buc-ee's standards - and got fudge, because I've had it before and knew it was really good. (Buy 4 chunks, get 2 free - the chunks are about a quarter pound, I was told, and they're 3.50, so you end up with a pound and a half for $14 and change, which is not cheap, but heck, it was Christmas Eve.) I also got gas - I've already forgotten how much the gas was, exactly, but it was pretty reasonable. Then we got about 15 or 20 miles down the road and found the new one in Waller, that they have built since we last came through there last year. We didn't stop there yesterday, but today on the way back, it happened to fall about right coming home from Bryan, since I'd had a lot of tea at lunch, and after about an hour of driving, I was absolutely ready for a bathroom break. So we took care of that at the giant Waller store, and I bought more tea to go in my refillable mug that I bought yesterday (I think it was $3.99, if you want to know, and refills are 99 cents), and Rob got a Coke, and we poked around the t-shirts and such a bit on the way out, too. Want a Duck Commander shirt? Buc-ee's has lots.

(I don't even know what Duck Commander is. I assume it's different from Duck Dynasty, right?)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (WoW - morning elf)
I don't have kids, so I didn't know Elf on the Shelf existed until a year or two ago, and I didn't know what the deal was with it (that is, moving it around in the house, etc.) until this year, when I finally saw somebody's pictures. It's sort of simultaneously creepy and cute - but I bet kids get a kick out of it. They must, right? or it wouldn't have stuck around this long. I notice it comes in various ethnicities and genders, which is nice of them. Although I guess that's pretty standard for toys nowadays, isn't it? The whole thing is very commercial, but eh. I think if your kids like it, it's fine. I do think it may depend a great deal on how parents present it - if you use it to hit your kids over the head metaphorically, in a sort of Big Brother is watching you kind of way, that's not so fine. But if you're the kind of parent who goes overboard with that kind of thing, the elf may be the least of your kids' problems. (I am now tempted to google and see if there's anything about kids being totally freaked out by Elf on the Shelf, but I think I'm in danger of way overthinking this question.)

holi13badge-snowflake
holidailies.org
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (ST - bones)
I haven't mentioned Christmas much so far in Holidailies - well, I guess I talked about gift-shopping the other day, but that's all - and I thought today I would mention the tree I have up this year, which is one of these pop-up things - specifically, the silver one with the multicolor dots. It's very apartment-friendly. It comes in a small flat box, and it has a metal frame inside and something that looks like those ties they put on sales tags holding the tinsel bits together. It's about a foot wide and five feet tall. And it doesn't need decorating, or lights. Our living room is a mess but at least we have acknowledged the holidays in a small way. (I will put some lights outside and such when I get around to it, which really ought to be soon, I guess.)
Neither one of us is religious but we were both brought up to celebrate Christmas (Rob was brought up Methodist and I was Baptist). We celebrate it in as nonreligious a way as we can manage but we do celebrate it. For us it's about family and cheerfulness at a time of year that could use it, and even joy, where we can find it. I tend to associate the concept of joy with religion, but there are other kinds of joy. We just have to find them, right?

(I'll take a picture of the tree later, hopefully. Right now I'm sleepy and I'm going to bed!)

holi13badge-snowflake
holidailies.org

Shopping

Dec. 2nd, 2013 10:43 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (ST - bones)
I had something-or-other (other than this) that I was intending to talk about, and of course now I've forgotten what it was. Middle-age is hell. Oh well, it'll come back to me eventually.

We went to the outlet stores today, more just to see what's there than intending to do our holiday shopping, but actually we managed to get a good bit of it done anyway. Rob needed a new wallet, and we had been looking at some pretty expensive ones online, and we looked at a bunch at the Fossil store at the mall when we were there a couple of weeks ago. (Don't get the impression from this that either one of us spend a lot of time shopping - I used to love to shop, but these days I've lost interest to a great extent, and I haven't been in a mall in a couple of years, I think.) Anyway, Rob decided he didn't like the looks of the Fossil wallets at the outlet store, for some reason, but we poked around and eventually found one he liked at Perry Ellis, for less than $20. (The ones we had been looking at before were, like, $40-75.) So he's getting a new wallet and he's happy with that, but it was so inexpensive that now I have to think of something else I can get him for Christmas. I'll manage, though.

We've done our Christmas gifts this way for so long that I forget that it's not the way other people do it, but basically, we pick out our own Christmas gifts. He picked out his own wallet, because he's picky about them. Typically over the years, his gifts have primarily been books and movies, and he tells me a bunch of things he's interested in and I go order them on Amazon, mostly. He's into horror movies and stuff like that, and I wouldn't be able to pick the right things out on my own. I know some of the things he wants, but he always manages to come up with at least one or two that I never would have thought of. And well, I am equally picky about what I want. Usually he buys me a couple of surprises and I buy him a couple, too, but the bulk of the money is spent on the stuff that we have picked out ourselves. Is that weird? I think it started because we were poor and didn't want to waste money on things we didn't want. But we've been married so long now that I barely remember.

(Actually, it occurs to me that I'm saying I didn't want to pick out a wallet for him because he's picky about them, and it's true, but actually I picked out the last one, the one that he loved and which held up for more than five years. It was from Levenger and I bought it on clearance for maybe about what we paid for this one, $20 or so. But I think I got lucky on that one.)

(Also, I already talked some about my own gifts and other shopping issues on the nail blog, so I'm not going to repeat myself. But it's safe to say I'm mostly getting nail polish for Christmas.)

The other thing we bought was some stuff at the Disney Outlet, for some small relatives. Princess dolls and cars, about what you would imagine.

holi13badge-snowflake
holidailies.org
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas - pink aluminum)
I was thinking on the way home tonight about where we spend Christmas. Rob was reminiscing about a Christmas long ago when one of my cousins was a teenager and it was at "my dad's house" - so he said. This had to mean my mom AND dad's house, before they got divorced, since the cousin is on my mom's side of the family and anyway, we never had Christmas at my dad's after they were divorced. Honestly we never had Christmas terribly often there before that, either. But that was mostly because most years, we went to my grandparents' house, on my mom's side. I know we had Christmas at our house at least a few times - there was a year that I remember laying in bed (then as now, I was pretty much an insomniac) and watching my parents put out the "Santa" gifts - there was a clear line of sight between the front bedroom, where we slept, and the living room, and apparently nobody stopped to think that either of us might be awake. I don't think my parents understood how bad a sleeper I was. (For one thing, I think I thought that I was doing something wrong by staying awake, or at least they would think so, so I didn't say much about it.)

That was at the house we lived in when I was a kid, though. The house that Rob was talking about was the house on the bayou that my parents moved to after I was in college. They lived there for about 10 years, until they got divorced, and then my dad lived there for quite a few years more, although I can't remember exactly what year he finally sold the house - but we never had Christmas there in those years, I know that. In fact I hardly ever saw him on Christmas Day after the divorce. Mostly he spent Christmas with whatever wife or girlfriend he had at the time, after the divorce, and we went on going to our grandparents' house on the other side, like always, until my grandparents both died. We rarely ever spent Christmas with my dad's mother, even when we were young - as you may have already figured out - but usually we would go there at some point, on the way home from the other grandparents'. It felt a bit like an afterthought, quite frankly. (Even my dad liked it better at the other grandparents' house, we all knew that. His mom was not really a fun person, to say the least. She was a good cook, though. We didn't spend the night but we always stayed for a meal.)

We did have at least one Christmas at the bayou house, though, and one Christmas at my sister's house, a few years later, and a few times we went to my uncle's house at least for Christmas dinner, too. I'm sure there were a variety of factors that figured into this that I don't really remember any more. I remember some discussion about keeping my grandmother (probably both of them, really) from having to do too much work. But the outcome of that was that we kept celebrating Christmas just like we always did, we just made sure everybody else did most of the work.

I'll never be able to remember all 50 years of Christmasses, and nobody would want to hear about all of them if I could! But I can't come close. It's interesting to try to sort it all out in my head, just the same.

Santa

Dec. 23rd, 2012 06:32 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas excess)
I was thinking vaguely about doing another Christmas quiz that I saw, but I'm feeling entirely too lazy. (Actually I feel a little light-headed, which had better not mean that I'm about to get sick again. This time of year you never know.) But the quiz had a question about Santa, and that reminded me of this:
Visit to Santa, mid-60s
I think this was probably 1966 - at least my hair matches the other pictures from that year - and I do not look really thrilled about seeing Santa. My sister (the blonde one) looks a little intimidated, too, and she's usually one of those people who lights up any time there's a camera nearby, so it's possible that something else was going on to draw those odd expressions out of both of us! (Look at her body language, that's what I'm looking at. Like maybe Santa's squeezing a bit too tight, or something. I just look kind of bored.)

(We have other Santa pictures somewhere from other years, I'm pretty sure. This is just the one that made it onto Flickr.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Las Vegas sign)
Weetabix posted an entry a few days ago including a picture taken in a Las Vegas bathroom, and I thought, "Hey! I have a bunch of pictures of bathrooms in Las Vegas!" I know that sounds kind of weird, but at TUSCon in 2004 I got fascinated by the themed bathrooms, and I remember taking pictures in a number of them. Only it was so long ago, apparently - c'mon, 2004! forever ago in internet time! - that I can only find one of them now. This is Paris, which was my favorite one anyway.
Paris bathroom 
I mean, is that not terribly Parisian? (I've never even been to the real Paris, but, well, it seems very French!)

And I honestly can't even remember what the rest of them were now - I'm starting to think I dreamed the whole thing. But I had some computer issues in the intervening years (especially that whole little apartment-flooded-by-a-hurricane thing) and then there was the crash of Diary-X, too, so while I'm pretty sure they did in fact exist, I have no idea what became of them. One must've been the Luxor, because that's where we were staying, and I think maybe one was the Aladdin, which I seem to recall had a doorway shaped like a minaret. But I have no evidence of these things any more, apparently.

So I'll throw some more Vegas pictures at you just for fun. Here are some Vegas-at-Christmas pictures from 2007, that's appropriate for Holidailies!

Many places were quite tasteful, particularly considering it's Vegas we're talking about. This is the Forum Shops:
Forum Shops

Outside at Caesar's:
holiday decor at Caesar's

This was the Tiffany store at the Bellagio:
Tiffany window display at the Bellagio

Venetian:
Venetian exterior (w/holiday decorations)

TI (I titled this one "Christmas at the casino"):
Christmas at the casino 

This one is the Conservatory at the Bellagio, which also had somewhat cracked-out decor when we were there in the summer of 2004. I don't know what's up with that, exactly. (I don't think it seems as overwhelming in the pictures as I remember it being in real life. It was a LOT of decorations stuffed into a very small space.)
Conservatory at the Bellagio

And we'll finish up with this picture, just because it's Vegas and I like it:
Bellagio fountains

Cards

Dec. 30th, 2011 06:46 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Happy NY - sparkly)
This might end up being a two-parter, because apparently I took a lot of pictures of cards.

I've been meaning all along to post this after all the cards (or rather, all the cards I'm going to get around to sending this year, which is not quite the same thing) went out - I did a little bit of experimenting around with making cards on my own this year, which I haven't done too much of up to now. My first few tries were not terribly successful, but I think I'm improving. I did a few things in the style I've learned in cardmaking class, and a few things my own way. So here's the photographic evidence. (If I get around to doing part 2, it will be the cards that we did in cardmaking class, because they're really cute.)

This is what I mean by "the style I've learned in cardmaking class" - lots of layers. It does come out very well. These are stamps from a big set of clear stamps I had, and the printed paper is just some out of a package that I bought at the craft store, I think. The trick here (learned after a couple of failed experments) is that the cardstock you make the base card out of has to be thick enough to bear the weight of the layers. The ones on these cards are in fact not very heavy, but some I've done are.

(The mustard-colored cardstock doesn't look very good in the picture, but I thought it was fine in person. I don't know if I was mistaken or if it just photographed badly!)

I used the same set of stamps to do these. I'm pretty sure the scalloped cards were out of the dollar bin, but I thought they came out pretty good, considering. (I could have tried to ornament these some more, somehow, but I decided that was likely to come out badly, and left well-enough alone. I liked the relative simplicity of them.)

I was experimenting with inks, too - the lighter green is Stampin' Up dye ink (in Wild Wasabi, if you want to know) and the darker one is a pigment ink that I already had (color was something like Evergreen). I like both of them but they do give you very different effects.

What are these big manila tags supposed to be used for? Bookmarks? Tags for very large gifts? Some commerical purpose that never even occurred to me? I don't really know, but I like this one. I have a fondness for snowflakes, so I've picked up several snowflake-themed stamps over the years, and I pulled out every shade of blue ink I could find, and stamped away. (I later did several cards along these lines, also.)


The music staves here are all the same rolling stamp from Stampin' Up - I bought a couple of them. (The other one is trees.) And I didn't know what the felt snowflakes might possibly be good for when I bought them, but they turned out to be very useful! I think I used the same "Happy holidays" stamp on the inside of this card that was on the tag above, to carry through with the snowflake theme.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas excess)
I know it's not the most important thing about Christmas, but the first thing I want to talk about is that my cousin shellaced my nails (shellacked? I dunno). I have been somewhat less nail-obsessed lately than I had been in a while, but this has woken that obsession up just a bit, apparently. For those of you - probably most of you - that don't know what that means, it's sort of the latest thing in nail polish. I think it was this color that she used (but she didn't pay that much for it because she's a licensed cosmetologist and all that stuff - but I think she said she paid $15 a bottle for it, which is still a lot, and it's not a very big bottle, either). Anyway, the deal is that you set it with a UV lamp and it goes on very thick and shiny and hard and it's supposed to last a long time, that's the idea, anyway. I am not entirely convinced about that, but it really looks good, at the very least. That's really why I let her do it, because I wanted to know if it really lasts long enough to be remotely worth it. It didn't really take any longer to do than a regular manicure, because the drying time is built in - and with somebody else doing the painting, you can paint one hand while the other one is stuck in the UV thing, so it goes even faster. (Although I am too cheap to pay for manicures, not to mention the fact that I just don't want anybody messing with my cuticles - little quirk of mine - so even if I bother to go out and buy all the stuff for it, I will still be doing it myself, anyway.) So that was my "unofficial" Christmas present from my cousin, and I'll try to remember to report back on how it lasts!

As far as the actual Christmas festivities... well, my cousins have children of various ages, and some of THEM have children, so there was a lot of coming and going between the various sets of parents and grandparents and such, and there was one pair of children I never did see at all, but at least I managed to see most of the extended family, anyway. (My aunt is now a great-grandmother, which I still find kind of freaky.) The children I did see all behaved very well, and it was quite a pleasant couple of days, overall.

I'm not really talking about presents, that much, because I already had most of mine - SWTOR was one, technically, because it was pretty expensive, and I also have a new printer which I haven't even hooked up yet. (And there's all that Stampin Up stuff I bought lately, which I would like to be able to count as a Christmas present because I feel guilty about it, but really it's not.) Rob got a couple of surprises for me - a Dr Who video (it was a Pertwee one, I forget the name), and "The King's Speech". His surprises are almost always either DVDs or jewelry, and this year it was videos. He's pretty good at picking both, really. I got him a t-shirt that I found on Etsy that said, "Danger ZOMBIES Run" which he really liked. (I think it's on my Pinterest account, if you know where that is, but otherwise I'm feeling too lazy to go look it up.) I'm glad he liked it because it was fairly expensive by the time I paid shipping and everything. And he got a whole bunch of comic book anthologies, and a couple of videos - one was an old Warner Archive movie that I can't remember the name of. (It had James Farentino in it, and it may have been an old Movie of the Week, I'm not sure. He loves those. -- And yes, as you may be able to infer from all that, he told me what to buy.) Oh, yeah, and the other one was Fright Night (this years' version - he of course already has the old one) - I said that one was really a present for both of us, because I liked that one too.

(Okay, I talked about presents more than I thought. Oh well.)


mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (winter snowflake)
I am definitely in denial about it being the 21st of December. I wish the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas went as slowly as it did when you were a kid - I could use that time. Now it just flies by. I guess that's how it works, huh - when you want it to go fast it goes slow, and vice versa.

I've got plenty of stuff for Rob - every bit of it ordered online - and then I got (smallish) gift cards for all the kids - the little ones get so many gifts they go into overload, anyway, and the bigger ones are to that stage where they don't like anything picked out by a grownup. Actually, I just sent my nephew Parker some cash stuck inside a card, because I never see him at Christmas any more. And he's barely even a kid any more, anyway - he's 20, amazingly. He'll be 21 in February. In any case, I figured I'd give the gift cards for the little kids to their parents and tell them to get something later. I got the gift cards at Target, cause I figured that's a good all-purpose option. Better than Wal-Mart, at least. I thought about doing Old Navy or something for the bigger pair but that was too many stops, and I think they'll be just as happy, or maybe happier, with the Target ones.

I need to do a token something for the adults, which I guess will be jewelry, if I can get myself together enough to whip something up. I never did the watches I meant to do last Christmas, so if I can find the watch faces I had last year, I can do that. Or bracelets, which are almost as good. (People are always more impressed with watches, though - like you made the watch-face yourself or something.)

I did finish with the cards, more or less, although I still have some here that I need to go and mail. TODAY. If I don't do it today, they may not get there before Christmas. Not that that's really a tragedy, as far as I'm concerned - I think the holidays go until at least January 1st and maybe longer, but everybody doesn't seem to think that way. Many people who are extremely Christmas-centric seem to think things are over the minute the presents are opened. (I am tempted to segue into a rant about the Christmas-centric but I will refrain.)

And solstice is, what, tomorrow? I read something online that led me to think it was yesterday, but I know that wasn't right. I still haven't figured it out exactly, not that it really matters. The shortest day of the year is definitely either today or tomorrow, whatever. It's not like I'm going to go out and make a sacrifice to the spirit of Yule or anything.

(LJ says this is Bah Humbug! Day. I can see why.)


mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas - purple star)
Hey, cool, look, glitchmas trees!
Glitchmas trees

Hmm, I hope that's not a ridiculously huge screenshot. But anyway, I thought it was fun. (Didn't make it, just stumbled across it.)

In other Glitch news, I am up to 8 of 11 of my pieces of DNA. (See yesterday if you want to know what the heck I'm talking about.) So yay me! (For what it's worth, I found three in Tamila and I'm not quite done yet. For me, anyway, Tamila was a hotbed of DNA.)

I haven't talked about the holidays much yet. We don't have a tree up - we don't really have a good place to put it at the moment - or much else in the way of decorations inside, but we have lights on the balcony and wreaths and such, and I have been sending out cards. Rather a lot of cards, as a matter of fact, and I'm not done yet. I may post pictures of some of them later, but I have been making cards as well as sending out some bought ones. I might yet make some more - I have new stamps (the rubbery kind, that is, not the ones that you buy from the Postal Service) and I kind of got on a roll with them again last night. I have been collecting bits and pieces of stamping stuff for a while now but I really just this year have really started doing much with them. I called myself a craft hoarder a while back, but I really do think that's for a reason: you kind of hit a critical mass of stuff where you have enough to assemble things. At least, that's how I work. It was true of quilting and I'm finding that it applies here too. I had snowflake stamps that I bought in previous years and I had some snowflake felt things that I bought on clearance last year, and I had blue cardstock that I acquired at some point and various colors (and brands) of blue ink... You pull all this stuff out and contemplate it and voila! Festive snowflake-themed cards start practically making themselves! My cardmaking skillz are not all I would like them to be yet, but that's something that takes practice, and hey, I'm practicing. (And I may still be sending cards out into the new year at this rate, but oh well.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas light gif)

I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with a cold, which probably means I shouldn't be breathing on the small children (who will be here later) any more than I can help. Right now we have quiet, which is why you're getting an entry. Everybody was doing their separate Christmasses at their own houses and they're all coming over here to my aunt's house after lunch (or for lunch, in some cases). We haven't opened presents at all; we decided to wait until the crowd is here. And I took advantage of that fact to sleep late. Sleeping late on Christmas morning seems like a great luxury, really! It's not often you're allowed to, in my family.

We came up here yesterday, and we timed it just right - we got here right before the front did, and I mean, not 5 minutes before it started raining. The temperature dropped from around 70 into the 40s, which does make it feel more like Christmas. If it's not a white Christmas (which it never is, here) at least it ought to be chilly.

Hmm, I'm conflating Christmas songs in my head. When I typed the title, my brain started trying to sing the "Sussex Carol" at me - I think that's the one: "On Christmas night all Christians sing/to hear the news the angels bring." But that's night, not day. For Christmas Day you have to go to "I heard the bells on Christmas Day/their old familiar carols play" or "I saw three ships come sailing in/on Christmas Day, on Christmas Day." And I'm getting words of one to the tune of the other. My brain is a weird place sometimes.

I will stop now and go be social. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it! and if you don't, well, at least all this nonsense will be done with for another year, after today!
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas - Mr Darcy)
I talked Rob into going out to eat with me tonight, and going to Half Price Books afterwards. I can't ever get him to go anywhere on work nights - I don't even try any more - but since he doesn't have to work tomorrow, I kidnapped him as soon as we got home and we went and ate Italian (just for fun, we went to a different Italian restaurant than the one we normally go to!) and then went book shopping. I completely forgot to buy anything for my father - that tells you how disconnected I've been from my normal Christmas preparations this year, 'cause normally I think of things like that a lot earlier in the process than December 23rd. I almost always buy my dad books, thus the trip to Half Price - they always have a good selection of the kind of thing he's interested in. Don't ask me the name of the book I bought - something about the days leading up to Pearl Harbor. My dad says himself that I have a good track record for picking books he'll like, so hopefully this one will work.

Jay Thomas is on Letterman right now, telling a story that I've heard before, I'm pretty sure. Maybe it's part of the Christmas tradition, along with throwing footballs. (Letterman seems to have a lot of Christmas traditions, after all these years. Wonder if Paul has done his Cher imitation yet.)

I mentioned something about nail polish and small children's gifts, or something to that effect, yesterday. I meant to talk about the highly important subject of my Christmas-green nail polish, I think, which I am now going to have to re-do, or at least touch up, because my nails have pink and purple paint stuck to them, from said small children's gifts. I had to go and buy something that needs painting. (I am still working on this. I'll try to remember to take a picture when I get done. I hope to god these gifts are not totally embarrassing in the end. Of course the kids in question, who are quite small, will probably think they're great no matter what.)

Stuff about A Game of Thrones, with one fairly mild spoiler. )
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas excess)
We went to see The Fighter this afternoon. I think I actually have something to say about it that resembles a review, for once, and that's this: it was almost like two movies, one of which I liked and one I didn't. I could care less about the Oscar-bait part where Christian Bale is on a downward spiral from crack. Seen that movie before, not interested. I do think it might have bothered me less if I hadn't already seen two movies most people probably haven't seen - the other two movies featuring Skeletal Christian Bale: The Machinist and Rescue Dawn. He's not a crack addict in either of those, but I still think it contributed to my bad 'been there done that" reaction. (Plus that part of the movie also just plain went on too long.) I did like the actual boxing part of the movie much better, although it also suffers from occasional bouts of Oscar-bait Syndrome. It managed to overcome that where the other part didn't. Verdict: worth seeing, particularly if you find Christian Bale less annoying than I do. (Dicky and Micky's troupe of foul-mouthed, big-haired sisters are particularly amusing, almost worth the price of admission by themselves.)

Then we went to an actual Christmas open house, which is something we only rarely, rarely do. Rob's co-worker who invited him has no idea what a unusual honor she got! It was very nice - I didn't really know many people there but I found some interesting people to talk to - I had a nice long talk with somebody else's spouse about (among other things) the redevelopment of Galveston. Oh, and there was a semi-celebrity there, for a while: George Mitchell (this guy). He has always spent a lot of time in Galveston, over the years, but I had never met him before. He's quite elderly, but seems spry enough. So we enjoyed that, on the whole. I hear the food was good, but like a good weight watcher I ate before I went, and didn't sample much (I did have some wine, though).

I mailed a whole fistful of Christmas cards and I hope they get where they are supposed to go, because all four mailboxes outside the post office were overflowing, with envelopes sticking right out the top. I tried to stuff mine in far enough to be safe from falling out!
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas excess)
Rob's parents sent us some money, so with my portion I ordered a sleeve for my Kindle (this one) and the "Ultimate Edition" of Prisoner of Azkaban. (I have the Sorcerer's Stone one so I'd like to have the whole set, theoretically - at least for the movies I don't already have.) I doubt that this was really the best use of my money but oh well. I went to Sam's earlier; I should really stay out of there because it makes me want to buy videos, every time. I looked at that Harry Potter box and didn't buy it, but then when I got home and found the check, I caved. (Rob is a big enabler on video purchases, too, I have to say. Why does he encourage me?)

I also bought some Christmas cards because I can't find the ones I know I already have, and I know I won't get around to making many, if any. But I only bought one box, which won't be enough, anyway, even if I pare down my list. (Also, I just looked at the TUS list and, whoops, I wonder if the one to Ireland can make it in, what, 6 working days? Be interesting to see.)

I am feeling... well, not exactly Grinchy about the holidays, exactly, but I don't seem to be interested in doing much. I have wreaths on the balcony and the front door, and one of my mom's big nutcrackers sitting on the TV, but that's about it. No tree, no lights, none of that junk so far. Rob was making noises about getting a real tree, which I don't think we've done since the first year we were married. I saw some good-sized Norfolk pines in pots ("good-sized" = four feet or so) at the grocery store, I wonder if those are big enough to suit him? I think he just wants something with a tree smell, though, and I don't think Norfolk pines have that kind of smell to them, do they? Not that I can recall, anyway. (I guess I'll have to go and smell them and see.)


Oh, I forgot to say before that we finally went to see Easy A at the dollar movie on Sunday. (We've talked about going every weekend for a month or more.) I liked it more than I expected to, which is fairly high praise because I expected to like it. As usual, I can't really figure out how to describe why. For one thing, I thought it would stick to the whole "Scarlet Letter" theme a lot longer than it really did. Which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (winter - snowflakes)
(Friday)
I just accidentally swallowed a cherry stone, and I'm having this totally irrational fear that a cherry tree is going to start growing out my ears. My grandmother - and possibly my mother, too - used to tell us an old wives' tale to that effect when we were kids. Although I think it was oranges, not cherries, at the time.

I've been doing Jade Quarry all night in GuildWars. I had never done it at all until about a week ago, because when I tried before there were never people available to fill up both sides to do it. (It's a sort of a hybrid PvP-mission kind of thing. You're playing against other players, but you also have an objective you have to do. In this case it's about keeping control of (guess what) jade quarries, and whoever gets a certain amount of jade back to their base first wins.) Columbine may be surprised to hear that I was doing this because we never used to do these missions. But I've been racking up the faction and I may get the Friend of the Luxons title this weekend if I keep it up.

(Saturday)
Rob asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Usually he gets me things like DVDs and sometimes a piece of jewelry, and I usually wrap up a couple of odds and ends I bought for myself, if I suspect I need it to balance things out. (I sort of try to make our gifts to one another match in size, if you know what I mean - I usually buy him a bunch of books and DVDs, and he tells me what to buy there, too. So I figure the expenditure should be more or less consistent for each of us, although I'm not stringent about it at all. In fact I don't really total it up at all except in the very roughest way. Some years my stuff costs a bit more, some years his does.) This year is a bit different, though, because of me not working, and while we're not out of money, we are definitely watching the purse-strings much more carefully now than we were. So when I thought of getting a Kindle I thought no, that's too expensive. Only it turns out that I have quite a large credit with Amazon, almost large enough to pay for the whole thing, if I get the Wi-Fi one. Although I'm thinking I might even go for the 3G one. The amount we'd have to pay in cash to get the 3G version would be roughly in the range of say, the MST3K box set I've got put away for Rob, anyway. Anybody have any opinion on this? If you do, speak up fast, I may be ordering something soon. (Too late, already, that ship has sailed. I got the 3G.) They say "In stock" but I don't entirely trust them. (Late word: I got an e-mail already that says that it has shipped, due in Wednesday.)

Poor Rob got called in to work today. That's been happening pretty regularly lately, at least sort of once a month or so. He went in and worked about 5 or 6 hours, but he told them that if the person who was missing doesn't come in tomorrow, they're going to have to find somebody else to cover then. Which I think is wise. We can use the OT, sure, but he needs a day off, too.


One of the things I've been reading, or re-reading (do you consider it re-reading if you listened to the audiobook the first time?) is A Game of Thrones, and I just stumbled onto replicas of the swords in the book, on Amazon. I guess I should not be surprised, but I am. Wonder if these were around before HBO announced the miniseries.

Anyway, here's Arya's sword Needle, for example. (I've started on the 2nd book but I'm not even far into it. So if you have anything to say about those books, be careful with spoilers, please! I would welcome non-spoilery discussion.)

Arya Stark's sword

Needle, Sword of Arya Stark. Licensed from George R.R. Martin

Profile

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Default)
mellicious

June 2017

S M T W T F S
    123
4 5678910
111213141516 17
18 192021222324
252627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 26th, 2017 06:50 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios