Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Pizzelles, biscotti, and marshmallows, oh my!

Yes ... we do have marshmallows ...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Dear Katherine, or "Am I the only frickin person who didn't know this?" or "Is this a state law or a federal law?"

Ok, so I already introduced you to my friend Katherine back in the summer when she got married.  Over the years, Katherine and I have always mailed each other Christmas gifts.  Additionally, Katherine's birthday falls in December, so I always pack them together. (And YES: she gets TWO separate gifts because I think it's terrible when December birthday people find themselves opening ONE "combo" gift because some cheapskate thinks it's ok not to acknowledge the separate days.  Really, people? Like it's the recipient's fault that she was born in December?)

In the past eight years, I think Katherine has received her gifts before Christmas maybe once.  Usually they arrive between Christmas and New Year's day, and yes ... sometimes after New Year's day.

I've been on a role getting everything ready for next week, and earlier this week I thought, "What the hell!! Let's see if I can get Katherine's gift in the mail on time!! Wahoo!!!"

On Monday night, I stayed up really late to finish all of my Christmas cards, and just when I thought I might go to bed I changed my mind and decided to pack up Katherine's gift.  I grabbed THE ONLY FRICKIN BOX I had in the whole house, tied all the ribbons and bows, stuffed everything full of newspaper (because I got in trouble once when the guy at the post office window shook the box and the EXTREMELY NON-BREAKABLE THING INSIDE RATTLED--don't even get me started), printed up the packing labels, taped the damn thing up, and then went to bed.

(For all you people who are like, "If I were Katherine, I would be questioning the purpose of this gift exchange ..." I think Katherine knows me well enough to know that I use all these "frickins" and "damns" with the warmest affection.)

The next morning, I took my big ole bag of Christmas cards and Katherine's big ole present and drove to the post office.  And guess what?


You'll never guess.

THE WHOLE PARKING LOT WAS EMPTY.  Ok, there were TWO cars.  It was SO EMPTY that I began to panic and think, "Omigod, is today Christmas? Is it a federal holiday and the place is closed? How did I not remember that today is Christmas? Why did Ron go to work on Christmas? Did he forget too?"

I really thought that.  That's how empty it was.

There was NO LINE at the window.  NOT A SINGLE PERSON IN LINE.


NOT EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just walked right up to that frickin window to my favorite guy who works there and plopped the box on the scale.  I couldn't believe how easy this was going to be.


Well. Good thing I never believed it.

Cuz it didn't happen.

Can you guess why?

Wait, let's get this sucker in focus:

Oh, no no no--I remembered to scratch out the original address on the box.  That wasn't it:

My guy was just about to ring me up, and his grouchier window partner rolls his eyes. (I mean, he rolled his eyes SO HARD that the building tilted slightly and the rest of us almost lost our balance and fell ... oh wait ... no one else was there ... that was just me.)


Him [in this sarcastic sing-song voice]: "We can't ship THAT."

Me [ignoring him and looking dead into the eyes of MY guy]: "So, how much?"

Him [louder this time]: "We CAN'T SHIP THAT."

Me AND My Window Guy: "huh? why not?"

Him [as if reciting from a reference book]: "We can't ship things in alcohol boxes even when it's obvious that there's nothing liquid, i.e., alcohol, inside. Can't do it. Nope."

Me: "Soooo ... what do I do?"

My guy [with his lovely accent]: "hmmm.  You don't have another box?"

Me [almost in tears]: "No. I don't have another box."

My guy: "hmmm. Do you have brown paper? Wrap it in brown paper."

Me [sobbing at this point]: "NO. I don't have brown paper!"

My guy: "Do you have ... a shopping bag!  You MUST have a shopping bag!  Use a shopping bag!" [I have to say, great problem-solver this one. But I was crushed.]

Me: "Yeah, yeah. I have a paper bag. Thanks anyway."

And I slunk back to my car.  In the empty parking lot.  During the busiest shipping season of the year.  I must've looked really upset, because a total stranger on the sidewalk stopped me and said, "Are you ok? You look lost." (Not joking.)

Dude, I am lost.

Lost in the bowels of the United States Postal Service.



See? Some questions ARE really easy to answer.

Here's a more painful question: Am I the only frickin person who didn't know this?  Is this common sense? Please. Somebody.  Answer both of these questions with "No" for me.  Because I can't take much more this week.

Also, can somebody tell me if this is a PA rule or a US rule?  Is this merely another pitfall of living in one of the most backward states in the union?

Anyway, all this to say: Katherine. You will not get your gift in time for Christmas.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Getting ready

Can you see the snow falling?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter cloche

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas photo 2013: The outtakes

It's everyone's favorite post of the year: Ron and I make asses of ourselves as we try to get a photo with the Fluffs.

My mom had this really good idea to do a dress rehearsal first.  Before we grabbed the Fluffs, we figured out exactly how we wanted to set up the shot.  I didn't bother wasting any smiles on these--I knew I had a hard road ahead of me. Best to save my energy ...

Ready? Here we go:

Ron took a turn on the awkward little stool and we pretended to each hold a Fluff.  Can you tell I spent most of my childhood on the floor? A little too comfortable there.

Why don't I stand up?

What if we switch sides?

Ok. Ready for the Fluffs?  Let's see if they'll cooperate ...

"* oomph * Penny, come on.  Pearl's being good!"

"Hang on, I'll get Penny ..."

"Has anyone seen Penny?!"

Think we got one? You'll have to wait for your Christmas card (or Christmas Day here on the blog) to see ...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snow days? Snow week.

Three snow days in one week? So weird for December.  February? Not so weird.  I would hate it so much more if it were the middle of the semester, but my exams came in right under the wire so I was all done by the time all the cancellations, make-ups, and what-not were posted.

Monday had been a really long day.  Ron and I both went to bed around 1 or 2am on Sunday and then got up four hours later--he had to run to the airport to fly to Tampa, and I had an hour's drive to get to my 9am final.

I didn't make it back to bed until 2am again Monday night, so I didn't feel guilty at all for sleeping in on Tuesday.  (Sometimes it's nice to get paid in time instead of money.)  The Fluffs were in no rush on Tuesday, that's for sure.

Fluff collar's coming back in all its glory ...

Old habits die hard, and Penny still begs to go out on the deck every morning.  She drives me crazy: From 9am until 2 or 3pm, she cries and cries and swirls in and out of my ankles begging to go out.  It's maddening.  I opened the door on Tuesday never thinking she would call my bluff. (The Fluff calls my bluff--HA!)

Pearl was content to look at first ...

If Penny's good at anything, it's shoving Pearl out of her way.

God forbid they share even when I open the door all the way.

Alright alright alright already: What's it gonna be? in or out? because I'm not gonna stand here like a moron on a 15 degree day with the door wide open.  Come on, Penny.

And there she goes ...

Penny finally came back in, and then promptly asked to go back out.  That was it, though. The house had finally become warm again, and I put my foot down.

Usually I'm a total sucker for the soft-blinky-face, but not this time.

On Wednesday morning, Pearl decided she'd had enough of Penny shoving her around and showing her up, so she shoved Penny out of the way and marched outside. Penny and I couldn't believe it.  Pearl's not one to sacrifice comfort for anything--we just stared in amazement.

First things first:

... weaving in and out of deck furniture to find ...

... a secret igloo that not even Penny had sat in the day before.  She lasted about 20 seconds. But THEN ...
... a leaf skittered and required immediate inspection.

Note that Penny is still unsure how she feels about staying in ...

Penny couldn't take it anymore and leapt out the door.  I guess she was tired of looking so lame next to her chubbier older sister.  Meanwhile I'm thinking, "Can we all stop hating ourselves and please just go inside???"
Oh wait, the world can't be at peace with itself until PENNY gets a turn in the secret igloo.  God FORBID only Pearl gets a turn.

Once the morning-on-the-deck stupidity was over, I grabbed my warmest sweater ...

... made the warmest meal I could (don't be fooled, I totally covered this in chocolate chips after I set the camera down) ...

... and while I really wanted to fill my snow day agenda with just this stuff ...

... I was forced to contend with this stuff.  The registrar lady is really scary if you don't get your grades in on time, so I spent a whole bunch of hours doing this stuff.  Boo.

It snowed for a third time today.  Ron made it back from Tampa yesterday without incident, and the tree we chopped down a week ago finally got some lights today. Ornaments tomorrow, I suppose.

Despite the weather, we drove over to Iron Hill for dinner.  While we were there, an enormous group of students were doing an Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl.  The place went from nearly silent to a deafening din in about 30 seconds.  I heard one of them say that most of them were walking tomorrow.  Made me feel old.

Is there anything better than a champagne cocktail? Of course not.

And when you've had enough of the cold and snow, there's always nap time.