Friday, December 23, 2011

I think I can, I think I can...

Two more days. Two more days. Two more days.

  Everyone, I beg of you, for the sake of those poor people who work in retail, shop early, do your homework before you shop, know where you are, and don't be rude because it's three days before Christmas and they're sold out of what you want. You should have bought it last month when you were here and it was still in stock. Call ahead to see if the store carries what you're looking for, and keep it short and sweet: "Do you have that electronic Monopoly ?" "No, I'm sorry, we don't carry that " "OK, thank you." That's all you need. The person answering the phone is probably trying to wrap a plastic dinosaur, and could really use both hands right now. And for god's sake, return the "Hello" you get when you walk in the door. We're just being friendly!

And please! Stop asking why so many things are made in China! It's because the Chinese people will work for a fraction of what an American would expect to be paid! I guarantee the price of that item would be at least three times what it is now. Would you pay $24 for a jump rope just because it was made in the US? I highly doubt it.

  Do your part by shopping in small businesses. Not just at the holidays, but all year long. Become one of those people they call by name when you come in the door.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's driving me insane!

Not knowing this is literally going to drive me crazy. Every time I post a new blog entry, I get one person in Germany who reads the post. Is it always the same person? Who are you? Email me! I have to know!

Ya' Just Never Know

Just when you think things are going down the crapper, one little thing (or in this case, two) happens and turns your whole attitude around.
  It's that never ending spiral of doom. One thing goes wrong, then another, which leads to another... That about sums up my Monday, the only day off between the weekend and Christmas. It was a productive morning: Mailed off my remaining gifts, got supplies for baking, and even did a load of laundry. All before 10 am. It was my only day for baking, and I had gifts to make, so I went the easy route this year: seasoned pretzels, fudge, quick bread, and maybe cookies if there's time. I'm sad that there will be no cardamom bread, but maybe mom will come through and bring some over.
  Anyway, back to the spiral. The pretzels were first, since they take an hour, but with minimum labor - mix up seasoning, pour it on, bake and stir. That went well, and I had time to clean up. Next up - fudge. First ingredient: sugar. How can I not have enough sugar? I have a very well stocked pantry, how could I have not noticed I was low on sugar? Well, back to the grocery store, I guess. On the way out to the garage, I decided to move the grill, since it was a bit close last time I backed out of the garage. I should have used two hands. Down went the grill, barely missing my toes. But all the ash spilled out right on my feet! ARGH! Squeeze in to the "passenger" side of the garage (small garage - big car) for the broom and dustpan, sweep up, and take it back to the compost. Luckily the grass was wet, so it cleaned off my shoes a bit. What's that I see in the neighbor's yard, under the pine tree? Oh, it's our sleds. Guess who didn't put the sleds away after using them over the weekend? That kid is supremely lucky somebody didn't make off with our sleds! So I dragged the sleds up to the patio, where they still remain ("I forgot I had to put them away"). 
  I got the sugar, made the fudge (it's delicious!), and on to the next thing: last minute shopping. I needed to go to Madison for some "stocking stuffers" for Katrina. Let's just say that the local Wal-Mart has a skimpy sock selection. Katrina loves fun and funky socks, so I schlep up to the nearest Kohls, and their socks are even worse than Wal Mart's! I am not happy. There is a Shopko nearby, and they came through for me. A couple pairs of socks and a shirt. It's almost time for Katrina to be home from school, so I hurry home, and realize I hadn't had any lunch, and I'm STARVING! But, it's too late for lunch, so I grab a couple pretzels and soldier on. I promised Katrina that we would bake some cookies, so I quick throw together some sugar cookie dough. The remainder of the day goes as you would think - cookies get baked, dinner gets made, I nag Katrina about leaving the sleds out, etc. By 8:30, I'm exhausted, too tired to finish dad's Christmas sweater. I'm am in a stereotypical "holiday stressed-out slump."

  Tuesday is a new day, and with it come new challenges! I work short hours, helping out where I'm needed. A regular customer calls and needs a gift basket put together in a hurry "I'll be there in half an hour" she says. So, I put on my personal shopper hat, and choose some things for her basket with time to spare. I put the basket together, and she loves it. My spirit: lifted.
  I leave work just in time to pick up Katrina at school. No homework this week, so she relaxes (no nagging is required tonight!) until her piano lesson. Easy dinner, and hooray! I get to work on my knitting. It's not long before I'm done. I'm actually finished knitting, and the ends are woven in! I can't believe it! I still need to put in the zipper, but that requires a sewing machine, and mom repossessed mine (I rarely used it anyway). So, zipper installation will happen after Christmas at Mom's house. But wow - I have a whole new attitude! Maybe I'll get Karl's mittens done in time to sneak them into his stocking. 
  A full day of work today means not much knitting time, but I'm well rested, and an extra hour of late-night knitting might do the trick tonight. I'd better have a afternoon coffee just to make sure.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This is not meant to make anyone feel guilty.

  Everyone come over on to the rug, it's story time. No talking to your neighbor, and please keep your hands to yourself. Everyone ready?
  Once upon a time, the daddy took the mommy out for a nice lobster dinner on Christmas Eve, because he knew there wouldn't be a chance for another nice dinner for a while. You see, the mommy was going to have a baby soon. But the daddy didn't realize it would be that soon, because early the next day - Christmas Day - the baby was born. They named that Christmas baby Becky. And to celebrate Becky's birthday, the mommy would make lobster for dinner every Christmas Eve. Becky never really liked lobster, but since her mommy enjoyed the tradition of lobster on Christmas Eve, Becky kept her mouth shut. Finally, when Becky was 21, she told her mommy that she didn't like lobster, and couldn't they have something else?
  Now Becky is all grown up and is a mommy herself. She might get to choose her own birthday dinner, but it is never on her own birthday - always the day before. She is sometimes sad that she always has to share her birthday. Aside from her immediate family and a few friends, not many people remember that it is her birthday. It's especially depressing when she has to spend Christmas Day with her husband's family. None of them ever wish her a "Happy Birthday", or really even talk to her at all.

Isn't that a happy story boys and girls?

So as Christmas approaches, you'll know why I'm a little grumpy, maybe a little more whiny.
I'm done whining now, you may go back to what you were doing.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Am I Insane?

Please pray for my sanity.

  It's December, and I have to go near the mall. I don't have to go to the mall, but the two places I have to go today are on opposite sides of the shopping behemoth called EastTown Mall. My plan of attack: first to JoAnn Fabrics for a zipper.
I will attempt not to elbow any old ladies buying thread (only if they started it!), but you have to be ready for that kind of action at JoAnn.
  Deep, calming breaths and maybe a mid-way stop at Culver's as I make my way around the mall to Penzeys. (Oh, how I wish Steak N Shake was still open. This expedition could use a Very, Very Strawberry Shake and some cheese fries!) I love going to Penzeys, even if it's just for the aroma. All those spices mingling together... I will try to control myself and stick to my list. But I usually end up with a few extra goodies.
Photo poached from some nice lady's blog
 If you don't hear from me again, either I didn't survive the drive around the mall, or I'm hiding in a corner of Penzeys, high on spice fumes.

ETA: No elbows were thrown  at JoAnn Fabrics, but I really wanted to slap the elderly, wheezing lady in front of me in line. As usual, there were 10 people in line and one register open. The sales associate was doing great, moving right along, but Weezy in front of me kept muttering under her (emphysemic) breath about how slow it was. Finally she got up to the register with her one item, the associate gave her the total and Weezy exclaimed "That much, for one pillow? Well I don't want it then!" And she promptly left.