mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
We actually went to the mall tonight. Rob was off and I needed to return something to Sephora (or pack it up to return by mail, which would have been even worse), so we went. I figure if you're going to go to a shopping mall in December, Monday is usually your best bet. And it wasn't bad. The mall near us is usually pretty crowded, but we found a parking place right near the front of Dillard's, and then walked down to Sephora. Sephora wasn't mobbed either. It took a while for me and the clerk to get the return figured out, but we got that done eventually, and then we walked around the mall in a big loop, the way we used to do years ago. Rob saw something shiny in the window of Hot Topic that pulled him in - honestly I don't think I'd ever been inside the physical store, although I did buy a limited edition Funko from them online a few years ago. Rob didn't end up buying anything, but I decided to buy some nail polish since I always liked those skull bottles they have - they were buy one get one free so I got two. I'll swatch them and I might even wear them at some point but really I just bought them to sit around on the top of my little acrylic cabinet and look cool. Both of them together only cost about half of what one of the NailsInc polishes I had just returned did.

So we farted around the mall for a while longer - we went in Paper Source, we looked at the stuff in the window of the Lego store, as one does - and then we went across the freeway to Fuddruckers and had hamburgers for dinner. You can't even really say that we were holiday shopping because we didn't buy any gifts. We've bought what we euphemistically refer to as "our presents to each other"** already, and we're having an atypical Christmas this year - I'll get around to talking about that later, I'm sure - and I'm not really sure I actually need to buy anybody anything at all. (I have my usual assortment of leftovers from mystery boxes and stuff that I will give to somebody - that will probably get divided between several people as usual. But I don't really have to worry about some of the other stuff I usually do, this time.)

**Regarding the above-mentioned presents to each other that we actually buy ourselves:
His - a new leather jacket. He picks these out, always because he's very picky about them (although after all these years I probably could make a pretty good guess at it). He buys about one a decade - or actually not even that often, because he's only starting on his third one and we've been married for thirty years. I think we'd been married a couple of years before he got the first one, but we discussed this and neither one of us really remembers clearly where we got the first one, much less when, exactly - although we decided eventually that it must have come from JCPenney. (And actually he sold that first one for almost as much as he paid for it, that was maybe in the early 00s. It had cat scritches on it but the person who bought it wanted it anyway.) The second one came from Target of all places, and it certainly isn't in any shape to sell 15 years or so in - the lining is all torn out, etc. I told Rob to put it in the hall closet for emergency back-up. Anyway, he how has a third one which he is very happy with and is already wearing so there's certainly no use in pretending to unwrap it on the 25th.
Mine - nail polish, of course. All that stuff I've been going on about on the nail blog lately? That's my present. (I haven't even posted swatches for it all yet, much less worn it. I really need to slow my nail-polish purchases down so I can at least wear most of it before I buy more!)

(If you've noticed what I titled this - I thought "holiday horrors" sounded funny but nothing here is really horrible except maybe the amount that I spent on nail polish - which I haven't added up because I don't actually want to know the answer. But I'm leaving the title anyway because it amuses me.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Default)
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'm 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.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Calvin - not fair)
We're almost a week into December and I've barely said a word about Christmas. I did mention having made paper chains and of course I mentioned Holidailies and I mentioned Music Advent, but actual Christmas or gifts or anything? Not really. We do have plans for it but I can't say I'm feeling enthusiastic about it, and I guess that's why. I'm looking forward to Rogue One more than I'm looking forward to Christmas. (I think I said basically the same thing last year - or rather I said that the day we went to see The Force Awakens I felt like a kid at Christmas, which amounts to more or less the same thing.)

Christmas is when I miss my mother the most, for one thing. I try not to dwell on that because I'll be a big bawling mess in no time if I do, but it's true. My mom was very childlike in her love for Christmas, and she liked getting gifts and I enjoyed buying them for her. (She liked giving them too and of course I enjoy getting them, as well, but honestly I loved picking out gifts for her more than anything else. She and I spent so much time together in the last ten years or so of her life, especially, that I always could figure out stuff to give her.) I enjoy buying presents for Rob, too, but it's not the same, somehow. Rob and I are both very pragmatic about gifts and we either pick out gifts for ourselves or we give very clear hints, at least. I think it comes of not having much money for most of our lives together. And I've given up even trying to buy gifts for my sister because for many years she wouldn't have anything to do with Christmas at all, and now she works for a luxury department store (I usually avoid saying the name of it anywhere public, but it's based in Dallas and it used to put out a famous Christmas catalog, you know the one) and anything I could buy for her of that sort she can buy for herself at a discount. I used to send her jewelry that I'd made and stuff, but now I just send her a handmade card and have done, because I can't figure out what else she might want.

My parents have both been gone for a number of years now, but this is the first Christmas Rob has been parentless. Last year he went to Ohio at Christmas because we knew his mom was going downhill fast, and it was good that he did because she died in early January. (And he ended up going back up there for the funeral right in the middle of the Snowpocalypse, remember that? I didn't even go with him, mostly because I freaked out at the very thought of flying... but all that's really another story.) Anyway, all that plus the awfulness of 2016 in general makes it real hard to get into the Christmas spirit, that's what I'm saying.

We are going to do what we usually do at Christmas and go see my aunt and my cousins, who live a couple of hours away and who are the last remnant of my mom's side of the family. Usually Christmas is the only time we see them, most years. Because of Christmas being on Sunday and the fact that we have the whole next week off, we have to work the evening shift on Friday the 23rd like we normally do on any other Friday, and so I told my aunt that we weren't going to try to come on Christmas Eve and we would just come up on Christmas Day. It seemed simpler. Usually we go up there Christmas Eve and it's just a long afternoon of hanging out doing nothing much. I think I'll llike this new way better, actually. And I'm going to try real, real hard not to let a word of politics come out of my mouth.

I guess I should go find some sort of little gift for my cousin's three granddaughters, who are in the sort of 5-10 y.o. range now. I think I have enough stuff to go around for most everybody else. (I'm doing the same thing I've done the past several years for all the female people old enough to wear makeup, and making up little gift bags out of Sephora samples, etc., which they all seem to love. I'll have to take a picture of the pile of stuff I have - I haven't remembered to the last couple of years, but it's usually pretty substantial.)

(I put the "it's not fair" icon up there because I dislike the tone of this entry - I feel like I'm being childish. And I'm not as depressed as it makes me sound, so don't freak out about me or anything. I was tempted to just delete it but I'm not.)

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
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.)

mellicious: pink manicure (winter snowflake)
Somebody gave us a big box of these Taiwanese... candy or cookies, I don't know which you'd call it. I thought it was candy, originally, and everything is chocolate covered, but really it's more like chocolate covered cookies. My favorite is something called a Choco Roll that comes in white chocolate and milk chocolate, and tastes a lot to me like those vanilla creme cookies that I buy very occasionally. I can't think of the brand. I'm not talking about the Oreo-like ones, but the sort of crunchy rectangular ones. Oh, anyway, that's not much help if I can't even tell you what I'm talking about, is it? Here's some pictures of the Choco-Rolls - it's not the Taro thing at the top, but the ones further down. I like them. They're not really strongly flavored, which to me is a good thing. But they taste good to me. There was also one that was basically chocolate-covered puff-pastry, which I also liked. I like the texture of puff pastry, I think. (So far I have not encountered anything in this box that I don't like, which is unusual. I am a very picky eater.)



Dec. 2nd, 2013 10:43 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (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.

mellicious: pink manicure (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: pink manicure (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: pink manicure (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: pink manicure (winter - snowflakes)
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.

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
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas excess)

Dammit, I'm going to be behind on Holidailies when I get back. And I don't know my passwords - to practically anything except Livejournal, and, apparently, the one to my aunt's computer because she never changes it. We brought the laptop but I haven't even touched it. I don't know why I always think I'm going to have time at Christmas, and it's always kind of crazy and I never have time. For much of anything. (At least we didn't have to rush off to go to Las Vegas, although I admit that was pretty fun when we did it. But right now the thought of it just exhausts me!)

We just watched Julie and Julia - at least, my aunt and I did; the men were plainly bored by it. It was better than I had expected. At least, all the opinions that I remember reading said that the Julia parts were lovely and the Julie parts were boring, and I really wasn't bored at all. Maybe it's because I wasn't a reader of The Julie/Julia Project, or something. I didn't really have any preconceptions about it. (I do think I read it once or twice, but not enough to form any particular opinion about it.) I don't know if that's why, I'm just guessing - or maybe it's because Julie is self-centered and so am I. I dunno.

Rob is in bed reading The Kolchak Papers, which I bought him, although I'd completely forgotten it until I went to wrap things up the other night. He is fascinated. I think that's sort of weird, but I have my own little obsessions, god knows, so who am I to talk? I made a necklace at the last minute last night, which was a big success and the receiver wore all day, and *I* kept staring at the silly necklace. Luckily I have another strand of those beads and I guess I'm going to make another one when I get home, since I love it so much. It's one of those things where being constrained by circumstances works in your favor - I had to work with what I had, and I ended up doing it a completely different way than I would have otherwise. All of the gifts of jewelry went over pretty well, actually. And heck, my cousin even loved the bottle of ale I bought him at Central Market the other day. He acted like it was a bottle of fine wine, I was amazed.

Hope everybody had a good day. Mine was pretty good. And we head home in the morning, which will be good too.
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas bow)
I hate getting gifts that are useless. I guess that makes me a bad receiver of gifts, I don't know. But I hate it when somebody gives me something that's a big waste of money. I don't mean that I need my gifts to be something practical, like a vacuum cleaner, although I don't mind practical gifts. But mostly I'm just talking about the, well, bad gifts. Things I don't want, don't like, won't use. When I get one of these, I drive myself crazy because I keep thinking of all the things I could have bought with that money instead.

The funny thing is, I'm not so much that way when I'm buying gifts for other people. I mean, I'd much rather get them something they will like and be happy to get, but in real life, it's not always possible to read people's minds with that much accuracy. I try - on the whole I try pretty hard, I think - but I know I'm going to miss with this once in a while, and for the most part I can let that go. It's the receiving end I have trouble with.

And this is why I tend to buy my own gifts, when I can. Sometimes I feel like it's sort of unnatural - which I suppose is the reason for the two-paragraph preface up there before I could actually get around to saying it - but it's true. I've tried making lists and giving hints and all of that, but when it comes right down to it, the best way is if you can pick it out yourself.

(I'm not sure about the origins of this tendency of mine, but it might partly be because we never had a lot of money when I was little, and I never had a lot of money as an adult, either, and there's just something basically frugal in me that doesn't like wasting money. Time, I can waste like a pro, but money drives me crazy.)

As for the actual gifts... )

(It occurred to me again that I really miss giving gifts to my mother, though. She was lots of fun to buy for.)

mellicious: pink manicure (winter snowflakes)
I'm guessing that wrapping Christmas presents at 2:30-ish a.m., well after you've taken an Ambien, is probably not a good idea. Right? Right. Well, it's mostly done and nothing appears to be seriously out of whack, and hopefully everything is labelled correctly, and if some slightly surreal wrestling with tissue paper went on (damn stuff wouldn't unFOLD!!), nobody is the wiser. (Well, except all of you. But as long as nobody has video I'm cool with that.)

OK, I will go to bed now. Probably a long time after I should have, but it's too late for that now.
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
The presents are opened and we are packed - and we have our boarding passes - and dinner is cooking. I really should go offer to help, although I've been running around putting things in the car and this is the first time I've had a minute to just sit. The plane is not until 7:45, and working backwards we decided that we needed to leave here by 2:30 or so. We are a good hour and a half away from the airport, maybe a bit more, and we figured we better allow extra time in case the parking lots are all full, or something.

Everybody seemed happy with their gifts. I have lots of pictures but I'm not trying to get them onto the computer right now, that's just a bit more complication (especially on somebody else's computer) than I'm prepared to deal with right now. That will have to wait until I get home. Which will just be Friday night, this is a pretty quick trip. (Late Friday night. That part is probably not going to be too much fun. I just hope I'm not quite so tired coming home as I was the last time we went!)

The amount of Hannah Montana merchandise in this house is staggering. Seriously.

Hope everybody enjoys their day!
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas lights pink)
 I love this icon with the tree. I think that may be my very favorite thing about Christmas - the lights. I'm such a kid inside.

The influx of relatives has not begun yet, so it's relatively peaceful here. Brittany did come by for a little while, to leave presents, and she'll be back later. Layla (16 months old) was with her - I hadn't seen her since May and Rob hadn't seen her since last year - and she is now afraid of Rob. Linda thinks it's the beard. (Linda is Layla's great-grandmother, which seems incredible to me. I think LInda is 65, that is awfully young for that!) Last year Layla was fearless, and she'd let anybody hold her. But she was four months old then, that's a very different age. This year another cousin has another four-month-old baby who we haven't seen yet, a boy. They named him George - which is a name that's been so out-of-fashion I suspect it's about to be in again. In our case it's a family name, anyway. And presumably baby George and his family will be descending on us any minute now, as well as assorted other cousins.

I thought I would really be missing my mother at Christmas - she loved Christmas - but so far it hasn't bothered me as much as I thought. Actually that seems to be the pattern: the times I worry ahead of time will bother me don't, so much. It's the ones that sneak up on me that kill me.

Linda hadn't bought a gift for Rob because she said she didn't know what to buy, and I thought he would be happiest if he picked out his own gift (is that strange? I'm kinda the same way) so we went to Half-Price Books and bought him a whole little pile of things with Linda's money. Of course I ended up with several more things for myself. For one thing, they had the next C.J. Cherryh book in that series I've been reading for months. It was hardback but it was cheaper than a new paperback would be, so I went ahead and bought it. And I bought a little spiral-bound journal to take to Las Vegas so I'd have something to write in. If I can't write online, I like to at least write offline!

Then we went in Kroger's and bought a pumpkin pie, which we had promised to buy, and also a small cake, because Rob decided he wanted one. Somebody better eat it because we sure can't take the leftovers home with us! (But I'm sure they will.) And I bought Linda a gift certificate from Macy's - Kroger's always has them - because I never had come up with a better gift. I should've gone and gotten her one at the quilt store, probably, but she does like to shop for clothes sometimes so I was thinking that might be just as good. I don't know. I always second-guess myself too much about these things.

I might sneak in another entry tonight, if I have anything new to say. Tomorrow will probably be chaos, what with the gifts and the dinner and then the flying and all!
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas - purple star)
I'm so tired. For those of you who didn't get the benefit of the 6am entry this morning, I have been up since 5 or so. I wrote a locked entry early this morning, but don't really worry that you missed anything too terrifically exciting, it was just more along the lines of the one I wrote last night, except a bit more specific. I think I've gotten it out of my system a little bit now.

I need to make some pre-Christmas phone calls but I'm too tired to deal with it right now. I don't think I could be coherent. I'm sitting here watching "Ghosthunters" (not really by my own choice, you understand) and mostly just vegging out. I don't think you're going to get much more in the way of an entry from me tonight, either, unless I find a tangent to get off on.

We had the baby shower today - I'm not sure the mom-to-be was too impressed by my bibs, but I don't care, I still think they're cute and I think she will find them useful with the oilcloth and everything even if they're not really her style. (Apparently they're not really[personal profile] columbina's style either, he said he wasn't sure how he would feel about dressing his child in the tablecloth from the italian restaurant. Or something to that effect, anyway.)

It was a hectic day. It started with org charts and continued with balky printers and baby showers and by this afternoon I was just wiped out. The advantage of hectic days is that they go by really fast, though. Now there is just tomorrow and half of the day Friday and then Christmas and Vegas looming way too fast. I don't think I'm ready. (Also, the 10-day forecast for Vegas is looking rather ominous for at least one day we'll be there - they can't make up their minds if it'll be rain or snow, it's bounced around from one to the other since I started checking it yesterday, but they seem pretty sure it'll be one or the other. And cold - I think if it's gonna be cold I'd rather have snow. Cold rain is nasty.)

I did get a few cards done earlier, which along with the gift-wrapping of yesterday does make me feel somewhat more prepared. I also need to sit down again and figure out if there's any more gifts I need to buy that I've forgotten about. That would probably help. But not tonight. Tonight I'm staring at the wall a while and then going to bed. Or maybe just the latter.

Ought to.

Dec. 18th, 2007 09:13 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas bow)
I should be wrapping gifts and/or addressing cards - I am very behind on both. Probably the cards are more important, but we got a bunch of packages in the mail today and I have gifts on the brain, more. One of the packages was the one from The Land of Nod (which is actually the children's division of Crate and Barrel, I understand) - I am very glad those came because one was not a Christmas gift, it was a baby gift for my co-worker whose shower is tomorrow. (Cool retro bibs - and it better be a girl as advertised because I bought the flowered ones.... although I don't suppose the baby cares, come to that. But the mom might!) I also got an art jar for my 7-year-old cousin and a purple tutu - Rob corrected me on this, it's actually lavender - for the little one. I hope it's not impossibly girly but I thought it was really cute. I have my girly moments too, you know.

Oh, speaking of Crate and Barrel - that gift-wrap that I was complaining the other day was expensive? Is the most. beautiful. gift wrap ever. Seriously. I bought the ribbon and the little tree gift tags and I'm not even putting bows on the wrapped gifts, they don't need it. (There's red, too, but I don't think it could possibly come out as pretty as the green.)


I just went and wrapped a whole lot of gifts, so I feel better about that. Not in the pretty green paper, but just mostly in bags, which is how I almost always wrap my presents, and have for years. It's faster, it still looks good, and the bags are reusable, which I like both because it's "green" and because it saves money in the long run - although this is not as much of a concern for me now as it was back 15 years or so ago when I first started doing this. Back then, money was always oh-so-tight and it was a gigantic concern.


Y'know, it's funny. I am always saying I ought to be doing this, and I ought to be doing that, but that's mostly because I am not really good about doing the things I ought to do - or even the things I want to do, like sending cards. My sister, on the other hand, has done the things she was "supposed" to do (or at least that's what she thought) for all of her life, up 'til the last couple of years, and now apparently she's in full-blown rebellion against doing what she thinks she ought to do - or something like that. It's very hard to figure out what's going on, exactly, because of the way she attempts to communicate. I got a couple of extremely long e-mails from her today, the gist of which was, she's not coming for Christmas. She kept talking about "negative people" - how she doesn't want to be around these negative people, and while I'm pretty sure I know who she is talking about.... near as I can figure out, what she really means is that she's afraid those people will remind her of things she doesn't want to be reminded of. And it has to be things she also thinks she ought to have done, or she wouldn't be so afraid of them. She is running scared in a big way, that's what I think.

(Sorry to be sort of opaque about what I'm talking about, exactly, but I don't think I want to put that down in black and white. If you really are dying to know, you could probably go back and read the archives from a year or so, and it should become clearer. At least, I think it should. I'm not going back to read all that to see, because it's too depressing.)
mellicious: pink manicure (gift)
We went to the grocery store on the way home from my mom's house earlier, and it was really busy, which was no surprise - after all, it's less than a week until Thanksgiving, makes sense that people are stocking up on groceries. But the traffic was also really heavy, and that I don't understand. It's a rainy Saturday in November, why are there a zillion people on the Seawall? It's 6pm, it's dark, and there's no shopping to speak of on the Seawall, unless you want to buy tourist gew-gaws for Christmas gifts! (Which, okay, some people might want to do for one reason or another - but I don't think it's suddenly a major shopping destination.) Oh well. Some things are just unexplainable, I suppose!

We went to Fry's, also, and bought Rob a bunch of movies for Christmas gifts - I don't try to surprise him, too much, because he usually has certain things that he wants, and they are pretty unpredictable, at least to me. Here's the movies we bought: Burnt Offerings, Tales from the Crypt/Vault of Horror (two movies in one package - and that's the old Tales from the Crypt, not the recent version) and The House that Dripped Blood (which is a Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing one, I probably could've guessed that one if I'd known it existed!). They were all 9.99 each, which makes them a pretty good deal, I guess. We also bought him a Flight Simulator add-on called "Battle of Britain" which we don't know anything about, I hope it's decent cause it was not especially a bargain. And we bought me some old Half Life games just for something to play with when I'm bored! (I have never played Half Life and have no idea if I'll like it, but hey, it was $10 as well.)

I was thinking I might buy him a DVD player to put in the bedroom - Rob first said he didn't even care about having the TV there, but I noticed it has been getting used a good bit. If I get it, then he can watch his horror movies in the bedroom while I'm on the computer in the living room. A lot of those movies make me crazy. I looked at the region-free ones from J-list but they weren't especially cheap. I am going to look around more before I go and buy one.

(11:59, I think I'd better stop!)
mellicious: pink manicure (Frank Burton)
Since I never know what to get my father for Father's Day other than books, and I am tired of getting him books, I think I am going to get him a Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Kit. What the hell, maybe I'll get my father-in-law one too.
mellicious: pink manicure (Default)
I ordered Rob one of those bumper stickers that says "1-20-09" (the last day Bush will be president) for his birthday, because we saw one a couple of weeks ago and he couldn't stop talking about it. I bet we end up putting it on my car instead of his, though, so as not to mar the pristine-ness of the Corolla. We'll see.

I also ordered him a pair of pants from Land's End, because he hasn't had any new ones lately and it's almost impossible to find his size in a store, especially in the chino-type pants like he wears to work. (He's six feet tall & very skinny - the only pants that fit him in most retail stores are the ones intended for teenagers.) The only other thing I've bought for him is the movie The Descent, which I found at Sam's. I know he wants that one. He had told me a couple of more obscure movies he wants that I'll probably order from Amazon. The other piece of his birthday present is traditionally the night we spend at the downtown Hilton for the marathon - that will be this Saturday. (Usually his birthday falls closer to marathon weekend than it did this year - the marathon is next Sunday and his birthday isn't until the Sunday after, which is good because my mother usually likes to have some sort of birthday celebration for him and we won't have to try to deal with that on marathon weekend.) Rob is taking his comp day from the Day of Mourning last week - because he worked the whole day that day - on the Tuesday after the marathon, and since Monday is MLK day he'll have two whole days to recover. Which is good. He'll be all of 44 years old soon and doesn't seem to recover quite as fast as he used to.

We didn't do much this weekend, except go see "The Pursuit of Happyness" - which was pretty good. I'm not usually too big on, you know, heartwarming single-father dramas in the normal way of things, but this one was not overblown and Will Smith was likeable but not quite as cocky as usual and, I don't know, it all worked. (I am just not a good movie reviewer. It's hard for me to put a finger on what makes a movie good or bad.)

I was going to meet my mom and Art at the house yesterday, but he called me to say that she couldn't make it up the two steps to get inside. Her right leg is just practically dead - she can't lift it at all. We are trying to get her back up to Houston to see the oncologist and get another chemo treatment, since the last one did seem to help. The two hospitals do not seem to coordinate their services very well, though. Something about Medicare coverage that I don't quite understand, apparently. I wish we had a Medicare expert to run interference on this, I really do. It's ridiculous.

I almost forgot to say that we are in an orgy of possession-purging, brought on by having to move bookshelves and stuff on Friday and again today, since they are coming back to finish the sheetrock. We are working on piles of stuff for Goodwill and another one for library donations - my god, do we have a lot of books. I found a whole box of books that I thought was Rob's old books and turned out to be mine. It had The Last Unicorn in it, as well as some old Larry Niven and some other stuff I thought had gone in some past round of book-purging. I started re-reading The Last Unicorn and apparently I haven't read it in so long that I can't remember what happens at all. I think, "Oh, yeah, I remember this," as I read, but so far I have completely failed to remember where things go from there. Makes it interesting.


mellicious: pink manicure (Default)

April 2019



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