-- the necklace I made to give my mother-in-law (blue and green Czech glass)
-- reading So You Want to Be a Wizard (more A Wrinkle In Time than Harry Potter, but good)
-- shopping, even though I didn't buy much
-- the holiday decorations on the gigantic houses in the River Oaks area in Houston
-- sourdough bread from Central Market
So I made my more-or-less annual trip into the horror that is Houston traffic today to go shopping. The traffic wasn't really too too horrible, and in fact I drove around considerably more than I really needed to, just to look around. In fact, I think it's fair to say that the purpose of these trips is as much to get in the holiday mood as much as it is to actually shop. I generally do get some shopping done, just the same. (See last year's entry for actual numbers, although I didn't spend anything like that amount today.)
I usually do this on a Thursday or Friday, and so I was trying to decide how much of the reduced foot-traffic I saw today was the economy, and how much was just that it was Tuesday. I suspect it was both. There were a lot of parking spaces at Highland Village, but the stores I went in mostly seemed to be doing decent business - except for West Elm, which was almost deserted. There were a lot of people in Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel - particularly the latter. There was an exceptional number of very fashionably-dressed women in Pottery Barn, but that may just be that women like that don't work and so they're free to wander around shopping on weekdays. Or maybe it has something to do with that this particular Pottery Barn is about two doors down from Tootsie's, a very chi-chi women's clothing store. I don't know. Usually I buy some ornaments and stuff like that at one place or another, but today I didn't. That might have partly had to do with the economy, too - or it might just be that I can't really justify buying ornaments for the tree I haven't bothered to put up.
I spent the most money in Central Market, actually. I don't think I'd been in there in a couple of years, and I'd forgotten how much stuff they keep around this time of year that's gift-able. We are supposed to be holding down our gift-giving to the minimum this year, more or less, but I sabotaged that by buying, among other things, a big jug of maple syrup for Rob. (Is that a weird gift? He had expressed interest in having some, and it's very expensive. columbina has already informed me that giving my father-in-law apples is a rather odd choice, but Rob came up with that idea so I don't take any responsibility. I just bought some nice organic apples that looked like they might survive the trip, and I added some locally-grown honey to it, that seemed like something most people would like.) (Also, I pointed out to Col that if the apples came from Harry and David and cost about three times as much, nobody would think it was odd at all. Which he agreed was a valid point.)
Something I noticed on the tollway coming home - and to a certain extent in Houston proper - is the number of roofs still held together by blue tarps. There are still quite a lot of them, three months after the storm.
Today's Holidailies prompt was "Write the annual holiday card/brag letter for your family." but I have already done that. (And I wouldn't exactly call it a "brag letter" except in the sense of "Can you top this?" -- Which, come to think of it, is one reason I didn't send it to people who are local - because many of them can.)