bunchofgrapes: (The Avengers - Dynamic)
I'm a little late sending this but thank you to everyone who sent cards, good thoughts and hugs after the passing of my stepfather. It really does mean a lot. Mom has been doing okay. One of the things that gave her a lot of comfort was coming home the same day John passed away and as she made the turn for their house, she looked up and in the clear blue sky, the entrails from two jets had made a cross. She said that was a sign from John to let her know he's alright and she can move on.

More stuff here )
bunchofgrapes: (Ornament)
Does anyone else get a ridiculous amount of catalogs this time of the year? I get them every day but the bulk of them seem to come on Thursdays. I don't know how the postman hasn't developed some sort of ailment trying to stuff them into my very small mailbox (it's one of those cluster boxes). Luckily, I recycle all of them and the proceeds go for the maintenance of the boulevard in a nearby town. At this rate I’ve probably funded an English garden.

The reason I get all these catalogs is because I love to shop online and for the most part, I like getting the catalogs. I just wish they'd scale it back a little. But I love sitting down on the sofa, looking at the catalogs, dog-earing the pages of stuff that I want. Occasionally, I actually order the items but mostly it's just the fun of flipping through catalogs. I'm pretty sure I know where I get this love of catalog shopping. When I was little, my favorite thing was the Sears catalog that came out a couple of months before Christmas. I would spend days going through the toy section, making a list (yes, I was a list maker even as a small child) of everything I wanted for Christmas. I knew I was lucky to get maybe one thing on the list but a kid can wish, right? And that was half the fun of Christmas: dreaming that Santa would bring me the stuff on my list.

Since I'm not married and none of my family has any sort of imagination when it comes to Christmas, I have for many years concocted the pretend husband. The pretend husband buys me awesome gifts. He always knows exactly what I want and I'm never disappointed. He usually buys me big gifts but the last couple of years, I've listed five catalog items and that's what I've gotten. You might think this whole pretend husband thing is strange but my rationale was that if I were married, I would spend this money on my spouse. So I spend it on me and tell everyone my pretend husband bought it for me. Not sure what pretend husband will get for me this year. I have quite a list. But no matter what, I know I won't be disappointed.
bunchofgrapes: (Mind the Gap)
My tamales arrived today! Very excited! I love tamales. These aren't the best but since I never got the name of that little Navajo woman in Arizona, these will have to do. I have a dozen pork and a dozen beef. The freezer is stuffed.

My dad's 65th birthday is tomorrow. He wants to take us out to dinner at the 94th Aero Squadron in College Park. I googled the place and it looks pretty interesting.

Had a pretty decent Christmas in spite of my downer mood. My one sister was on CO but youngest sister was here so that was good. We also have a very close family friend who usually spends Thanksgiving and Christmas with us so she was there too. I thought the only present was what my dad gave my sister and I on Christmas Eve but I was wrong. My step-mother gave my sister and I gift certificates to Elizabeth Arden. Have I mentioned that I love and adore my step-mother? And not just because she gives fabulous gifts. I got a sushi-making kit from my mom. That's kind of cool in that I love sushi but would never think to buy something like this. We have these big International markets around here and I know they have sushi grade fish. I've heard the rice is the tricky part. Let's see, also got some Orange hot chocolate mix, Moonstruck truffles (yay!) and orange sugar cookie mix from my cousin in Portland and a gift card from my aunt and uncle.

When I got back home last night I talked to my mom for a while. While we were talking, CSI came on and since she was watching it as well, we started talking about it. On Christmas Eve, while I was at my parent's house, we saw one of the commercials with a "Grissom moment" and that lead to a discussion on Grissom's departure. So, I give you random thoughts by die-hard CSI viewers over the age of 60 who only know what they see on the screen--or read in People Magazine.

Thoughts on CSI )

After talking to my mom for about an hour, my bestest friend ever called and we talked for over and hour and a half. It's our annual Christmas night phone call and I look forward to that most of all. Over the year we email back and forth and we might have the occasional chat or the birthday call but we sort of save it all for the Christmas call. We know we'll always be best friends so we don't feel like we always have to talk but when we do, it's nice that we can just pick up where we left off.
bunchofgrapes: (O)
Christmas Eve and I think I might have found some Christmas joy.

Christmas Joy )
bunchofgrapes: (Randy and Earl - good times)
Wow, day 6 already?

Got 6 packages in the mail tonight using the self-service kiosk again. A couple of people came in and were very chatty and nice. I just hope the packages get there. This is a great process so I hope nothing goes wrong.

Best happy today? My friend was telling me about how her boyfriend took her to see Christmas lights. That made me think of one of my best Christmas memories: when I was a kid my grandmother would put the top down on her Rambler convertible with the plastic seat covers and my cousin and I would bundle up like Eskimos in the back seat while she drove us and my mom and my aunt around town to look at the Christmas lights. When we got back to her house, we'd have hot chocolate with little marshmallows. Yeah, that's a very happy memory and I'm glad my friend made me think of it.

I think one of the reasons I don't like Christmas now is because Christmas was so great when I was a kid. And they've never been that great again.
bunchofgrapes: (Adm Nelson - Mother Said)
I am officially on vacation. Well, sort of officially. I'm still checking email and approving a few things but I did the last of the actual work on Saturday. I'm off until Monday and then it will be time to do end of the month reporting.

It will also be time when those gods with an evil sense of humor put the clock on ramming speed and the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is practically non-existant. Have you noticed it too? I always think I have a bit of a leg up on Christmas and then Thanksgiving is over, I blink, and it's a week before Christmas and I'm wondering what the hell happened. This is why I hate Christmas. I hate the rush. I want to be able to slow down time. Maybe even stop it for a couple of days. I want to enjoy the season and bake breads and shop in the cold (sorry, but I can never live in a place where it's above 60 degrees for Christmas) for the perfect gift and wrap presents while watching "Miracle on 34th Street". Instead I'm baking breads in the evening after work, racing to the nearest drug store for gift cards to send to my parents in OK, cursing the warming trend in December, and doing a craptastic wrapping job in the small back bedroom.

Last year I went to the Christmas service with my VA parents (I should start referring to them as rents #1) at their church. I don't attend their church, or any church, but I go because it's family and usually the service is nice. Last year they invited a tenor, Carl Tanner, to sing and it was extraordinary. I mean, I was moved in a way that sort of redeemed Christmas for me. Unfortunately, it was a one-time event and buying a CD just doesn't replicate hearing a performance from a few feet away. But maybe going to dinner downtown with friends, seeing DC all decked out for Christmas and cleaned up for the impending chaos inauguration will do it.

I hope so. Because I really want to like Christmas.
bunchofgrapes: (Patsy - Cheers)
Thank you's to [livejournal.com profile] tos_lover for the virtual gift and to [livejournal.com profile] mingsmommy for the lovely Christmas card!

Everything else is going under the cut )
bunchofgrapes: (Brass - life sucks)
I don't like Christmas. Seriously, it's my least favorite holiday. Hell, FWIW, I hate the entire month of December but that mostly has to do with work, which of course feeds into my growing hate for Christmas.

I used to love Christmas when I was a kid. Not the fact that I got presents, although that was definitely a plus. It was the family thing--the tradition of driving up to my Aunt and Uncle's place a couple of days before Christmas and singing "White Christmas" with my mom the entire way in hopes of making it snow (never worked). My grandparents would have this huge holiday party with all the family and friends. It was great fun. But my Aunt and Uncle divorced, as did the grandparents, friends and family passed away, kids grew up and moved away and now Christmas is just another day in December. I tried going home once for Christmas but it was one of the worst experiences ever. Whoever said Christmas is for children wasn't kidding. It really is.

Anyway, now I stay home, work a lot, and go to my Dad and Stepmother's where zero Christmas tradition exists--except maybe for my sister and my dad arguing over something stupid and then my dad being Mr. Unsociable for the rest of the day. Yeah, fun.

Oh, and don't even get me started on these freaking 60 degree temps in December or the fact that I want to stab people on the news who say, "I love the warm weather". It's Northern VA, people. It's supposed to be cold in December!

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