Tag Archives: Christmas

Wait, Was That Blur the Holidays?

ImageMonday was the first day in several weeks that I did not have to jump out of bed to an alarm and rush off somewhere or start in on a list of tasks. I sat and read a book—which is a very good thing, because I had hit a reading wall for a few days there and was upset about it. It’s a terrible condition that hits book nerds occasionally when they’ve been reading as if their lives depended on it. But as soon as life slowed down, Across a Star-Swept Sea became fascinating, and we were back in business. (Review soon.)

I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you had a similar experience during the holidays. At work, I had a couple of projects—along with what Cinderella’s stepmother might call my “usual chores”—at the same time that our major vendor launched a new website. It may not have been as glitchy as the one where you hope to end up with health insurance, but since we were early adopters, it was a challenge. As I was determined not to even think about work during vacation, I kept meticulous to-do lists and checked off everything every day. I even got to the professional reading and shelf-cleaning on the last day, and that was that. It was rather like putting your car in park while going seventy on the interstate.

ImageWe had no money until the last few days, so shopping and wrapping were jammed into a short time, and since my brother and his girlfriend came to stay overnight with us the weekend before Christmas, cleaning was scheduled for each night after work. It was a great visit, though! I made bourbon-marinated salmon, roasted broccoli, and this new beet and pear salad from Jamie Oliver’s Cook with Jamie. It took half an hour to matchstick the red and golden beets, so when I made it again for us this week, I put them through the food processor’s shredder blade. Not as pretty, but much faster. Here is Michael’s bowl. He loves the feta cheese, obviously, and there are also sunflower seeds and mint leaves. Sounds fancy, but it’s easy, and so colorful for the winter months when vegetables can get boring. We had a chocolate raspberry low-carb cheesecake for dessert—my own recipe! We chatted late into the night and had a leisurely breakfast the next morning.

David sang in the Christmas choir this year, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Our church usually has worship teams instead of a choir, so it was a treat, although we do prefer the worship teams for regular Sundays. Our son Michael came to Christmas Eve service, which thrilled me to pieces. It is a “lessons and carols” service, which is great for Michael, since he is a big traditionalist and doesn’t like our contemporary worship. You know how those old people can be.

2013-12-30 09.08.37My husband has obviously been paying attention this year, and he knew that I wanted a heat gun to melt the embossing powder on the greeting cards I have started to make. I have a cute little pink one in my Amazon cart for about $15 or so. I was waiting for potential Amazon gift cards before I bought it. Well, what do you think was under the tree for me? David went to Lowe’s and got me an $80 heat gun loaded with testosterone. It will melt the embossing powder, the card, and the table under the card. It even looks like a gun and comes with a holster. Why get a little pink one when this one could even—dare I say it?—be used in the garage if David should have some projects? Lowes will be getting a return. David is saved because he also bought me some more of my peacock coffee cups from Pier One Imports, and because he is generally adorable.

We travelled to Lexington, SC, on Christmas day and then on to Cheraw, SC, to work on David’s mother’s house on the 28th, David’s birthday. So, of course, I had to make a special birthday dinner for Mr. Tool Time on Sunday, featuring an awesome low-carb chocolate mousse that we’ve enjoyed for years.

And now, I am done. We already have the ingredients for the wonderful North & South New Year’s dinner that we have each year, but other than that, I am reading and relaxing. The Gamecocks are in a bowl game on January first, so I might get up enough energy to cheer them on. We’re lighting the tree all day every day, and enjoying it more than we did before Christmas. My sister has written up eleven New Year’s resolutions so far, none of which have to do with losing weight or getting in shape, but I think I’m too lazy for any sort of introspection yet. After Thursday, there will be world enough and time.

Hoping your New Year is slow and sweet.


Filed under Books and reading, Christian Life, Family, Food, Men and Women

Season’s Bleatings

ImageNot to rain on the holiday parade, but this is the worst season to be broke. Since David hasn’t had a closing for a few months, there’s been no (sugar-free) eggnog and nothing to spike it with. I could skip the eggnog, if necessary, but the spiking material would be nice. All of our finances are going toward keeping our bills paid, but we are not exactly experiencing success. However, this will all be over soon, since there are two closings scheduled in the next ten days, and I’m going to believe that they will really take place. In the meantime, I am missing so many excellent movies! Gravity, Hobbit 2, Hunger Games 2, and Saving Mr. Banks, just to name a few. I think that I will ask for half-a-dozen date nights for Christmas, all at White Oak Cinemas. Or maybe the Imax Theater, for some of them.


Daft Punk

Thanksgiving was interesting. My 28-year-old son drove us to South Carolina to be with my mom, and of course, I was stuck in the back seat. I could make some feminist remark about women being stuck in the back seat, unable to control anything about the trip, particularly the music, but the truth is just that I have the shortest legs. Both of the guys are over six feet tall, so they get the front seats. Therefore, Michael ruled in the music selection, and unfortunately, he is a big electronic music fan. At first, Daft Punk seemed charming and innocuous, and when I got tired of that, he switched to Bassnectar, which is just like Daft Punk, only with more bass, and then deadmau5, ditto with piano. The thing about progressive/ electronic music is that although it is inoffensive, it is the same forever. You start off thinking, “This is nice and relaxing,” and then you don’t notice the exact moment that your brain liquefies and pours out the back of your head. You just know that, at some point, you really want to scream, but you can’t remember how. When I finally gathered my wits enough to complain, Michael said, “Oh, yeah? How about this, then?” and put on Lacuna Coil, an Italian goth metal band. It was so refreshing. David and I both really liked it, which, I suspect, was not the anticipated response. David was actually getting into some head-banging up there in the passenger seat.

The morning after we returned, David and I were watching a news program, and I suddenly had to text Michael at work: “Guess what they used as bumper music? Daft Punk. Oy! I can’t escape.” Of course, he responded, “Bwahaha!”

ImageA few days later, I was again in my morning spot, watching a breakfast show, as the Brits say, and I thought I saw something dark move out of the corner of my eye. Just as I announced this to David, who was in the kitchen doing coffee-related things, the little intruder popped out from behind the bookcase again. I shrieked and jumped up, said no to breakfast, and wouldn’t come downstairs for the rest of the day. David set a couple of traps, and we caught him by the next morning. I apologize to those of you who might find that offensive, but when they’re in my house, the only good mouse is a deadmau5.

Even as I type this, David is under the house, sealing up the hole so that none of this rodent’s relatives need to die a violent death. Unfortunately, he is doing this instead of setting up the Christmas tree, and it’s getting late in the day. We are having a hard time rustling up the Christmas spirit, since we are all in shorts and t-shirts, wilting with humidity. Fortunately, the weather forecast calls for plummeting temperatures, so it will be frosty by morning. A year or so ago, I read a gardening book in which the author said that no one ever pulled on a sweater in September and rejoiced that fall had arrived. I quickly flipped to the author bio in the back and saw that— aha!— the author lived in Canada. First of all, let me say that no one in North Carolina ever pulled on a sweater in September, period. However, when we do pull on sweaters in, say, October, we do indeed sigh, “Oh, thank the good Lord. Summer’s over.” Except this year, it’s not, apparently.

ImageHo! Ho! Ho! Hope you all have a wonderful season, filled with family, great music, fabulous movies, and not a single mouse.




Dog reindeer photo via http://www.ohhopscotch.com/2012/11/gomez-grumpy-reindeer.html. This blogger also does paleo, so check it out.

Helmet mouse photo courtesy of http://foundwalls.com/animals-helmets-mouse-trap-mice/. It seems to be associated with Triangle Pest Control, in which case I think they’re going about this all wrong.


Filed under Family, Life's Travails- Big and Small, Music