Monday, December 23, 2013

I'm Working On Lyrics To A New Holiday Tune, 'O Crispy Tree'. Struggling A Bit To Find Something That Rhymes With 'Fire Hazard' While Still Maintaining A Festive Tone.

We're at that point in the holiday season where I'm glad I'm serving cocktails to most anyone that comes into my home because if you look too closely, some of our holiday decor has a 'past it's prime' kind of vibe.  Take our greens for instance.  I went au naturel this year and opted to use only real ones in our home rather than the vast collection of fake pines and spruces we have filling boxes in our basement.  It looks cool and I think I'll do it again next year, but they've moved from a deep, rich, healthy green to the color Oscar the Grouch might turn in his final days.  I can see why Grayish Green isn't found anywhere on a list of popular holiday hues.

I've debated about buying some new garlands and wreaths to replace the old ones before all our guests arrive, but we're so close to the holiday it's hardly worth the investment now since I'll want everything down by the 27th at the very latest.  So I'm keeping the old ones up and hoping no one tries touching them because, along with no longer being officially 'green,' they are also as crunchy as a tortilla chip.  Best observed from a safe distance and a few sips into a cocktail.

I am also preparing myself for an unavoidable ironing session in the next 24 hours.  Donning our gay apparel requires more than a run through the 'wrinkle release' cycle on our dryer.  I can replicate pretty closely any ironing job by heating the clothes up to a level just below spontaneous combustion and folding them with military precision while they're still warm, but some of our fancier frocks will not be fooled by that technique.  So ironing it is.  Kind of an early Christmas present for the family, I think.

I'll be taking time away from the blog until after the New Year.  Please be sure to check back then as I'm certain there will be quite a few insights gained over the holiday season.  Mark your calendars.

I'm wearing this:

A silky satin t-shirt with a jeweled neckline layered over a long sleeve grey t-shirt captures the juxtaposition of my day.   It's festive, but functional.

gratitude:  bright red and aqua blue (new favorite holiday color combo, perhaps?), family time, traditions, life (it really is a gift)

thanks and love.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Post About Exercise Because My Other Option Was About A Bloody Nose At Hobby Lobby And A Napkin Found On The Floor Of The Backseat. Consider This A Gift.

We are moving full-speed into the holiday and I feel like taking a nap.  It may be that my dearest, Geoffrey, is in a bit of a noisy sleeping phase as of late, but mostly, I think it's because I need to exercise.  I feel like I just haven't had time (I recognize that's the excuse every fitness guru tells you is a bunch of b.s.  because I clearly have had time to watch - more than once - the video of the dog playing with the water bottles or the cute family dancing around in their Christmas jammies).  But the kids' school schedules have been really weird with finals, and there's been work to do, and extra holiday tasks, and Geoff has been traveling constantly.  Waaah, I know.   Plus, it feels too cold to run (the fact I'm even planning to continue running post-Turkey Trot should gain me some fitness points, I think) and all the places I usually do yoga in my home are filled with a Christmas tree and lots of wrapping paper.

So I haven't done anything physical aside from wrapping 75 gifts in one day and lifting a frozen turkey out of a bin at Whole Foods while holding my cell phone between my ear and shoulder.  I can't imagine why I haven't been asked to film an exercise video.

I really want to feel my best for the holiday - physically and mentally.  It's such a special time and I don't want to look back on all the events regretting my low energy level and fearing someone will pick up on my forced perkiness.  Since a massive in-home yoga session is out of the question until I get a few things picked up (ahem), I'm gonna slip on the Nikes, locate a warm hat and gloves, and stumble around the 'hood a bit to some upbeat holiday tunes.  Perhaps I'll find some sleigh bells to strap on as a festive touch and a convenient way to drown out the sound of me gasping for air.

I'm wearing this (after my run):

Jeans and sweater.  With a red scarf to make it festive.

gratitude:  the start of Winter Break, fresh greens, the frost outside, the smell of cinnamon

thanks and love.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Prefer A Black Car And All The Dirt That Gets Stuck To It Looks White. I Also Like White Baseboards In My Home And Mine Are Covered In A Coat Of Dark (Fuzzy) Dirt. Darn You, Irony!

I washed the car on Monday.  I have a bit of a weak spot when it comes to car cleanliness, both inside and out.  In my defense, I am working on doing a better job on maintaining a cleaner automobile interior.  I recently sat in some melted chocolate that was camouflaged by the car's dark leather seats and found a petrified clementine while I was looking for water bottles.  I also believe there may be a mouse skeleton somewhere in there, but that's a story for another day.  So I'm feeling motivated right now to clean up my act inside my ride.  The outside however, is another story.

Dirty cars are part of my history.  I worked in a clothing store in Boulder during the Gulf War period and my car was so dirty that my fellow employees dubbed it 'Desert Storm'.  Old habits die hard, I guess because this past weekend I was driving somewhere at night and I had to double check that the headlights were working because they were giving off almost no light whatsoever.  I realized the light was being diffused obliterated by a thick layer of dirt and dried road stuff.  I was a danger.  It was time for a wash.

Now, I know there are real sticklers out there about what kind of car wash is better.  Geoff and I have different opinions about this.  He likes the stand alone system with the vacuum stations outside.  These kinds of establishments have always intimidated me a bit.  I'm afraid I won't correctly get on the conveyer belt  that pulls the cars through the wash or I'll somehow get stuck inside the machinery and have to participate in a soapy rescue effort.  I choose to go to a wash that's part of a gas station.  I like this for a couple reasons.  One, it's convenient.  I can gas up and get a wash in one fell swoop.  Secondly, and to me more importantly, the soap they use is colorful.  It comes in pink, purple and yellow and it makes your windows look like a bubbly kaleidoscope.  And it smells like grape.  If this is the attraction for other patrons of this particular wash, it's a strange crowd indeed.

Regardless, there must be a lot of us out there who like pretty soap because the car wash was packed when I went.  Which brings me to my main thought.  Car wash lines need an escape option.  I never felt I was a claustrophobic person until I sat in this line on Monday afternoon.  When I pulled up there were four other cars in front of me.  I used my keen math skills to figure it would take about 15 minutes for the cars to get through so I hopped in.  Everyone must have been getting a super deluxe wash because it was almost 10 minutes before I even moved an inch.  I thought I'd just back out and come another time, but when I checked my rearview mirror I saw five cars behind me.  There were 10 cars in the line at the time and I was dead in the middle.

I started to feel panicky.  We looked like a Pez dispenser.  What if there was an emergency?  What if my car stalled?  There was no escape.  I wanted an exit option so I could change my mind - just a turn off lane for those of us getting sweaty palms or needing to use the restroom.  But, no such luck.  I distracted myself by opening all the mail I'd picked up earlier, singing two full albums of Christmas music, and nearly finishing an article in Sports Illustrated.  It was such a relief to finally enter the wash, but I was so edgy I didn't really enjoy the soap (that much).  When I came out of the dryer it was like being reborn.  I was gasping for air and blinking in the bright light (now that I could see out of my windows).  Next time I'm bringing snacks.

I'm wearing this today.

It's all I could reach as I've lost access in my closet to most of my clothes because I'm hiding all the Christmas presents in there.  I told Geoff that I'm locking myself in our room and wrapping all the presents today.  He is under strict orders to not allow me out of the room until everything is wrapped no matter how much I beg or plead with him.  I swear every year it won't come to this, but it does.

gratitude:  the end of Geoff's travels (for now), enchiladas, warm weather, sleep

thanks and love.

Monday, December 16, 2013

I Wonder Why Polish Doesn't Last For Very Long On My Nails. I Have A Sinking Suspicion That Magic Erasers, Bon Ami, And Spot Shot Are The Enemies Of Pretty Nails. Just Guessing.

Since it's the holidays and all, I've taken a some extra time lately to get myself a little gussied up for all the festivities.  I actually had a manicure last week.  And I loved it (for about 48 hours).   I've never really had my nails done much, except for a period in college that involved numerous frequent visits to tanning salons and nail places.  There was even a small gemstone drilled into my pinky.  It was the 1980s people, so let's not judge.

Today, though, getting a manicure has fallen somewhere between wearing wedge tennis shoes and taking belly-dancing lessons.  It's just not something I'd be comfortable doing.

My daughter gets her nails done a lot though.  I don't know what's up with this generation, but they don't just have their nails painted, they get artwork and sparkles and multiple colors applied to each hand.  It takes about three hours and a manicurist with a fine arts degree to complete.  That's way too long for me to have a face-to-face conversation with someone I don't know -  I just don't have that kind of small talk in me anymore.

But Eliza convinced me I should come with her for a manicure.  We went to her salon where they don't speak English and hence, the whole need for conversation is off the table.  There's just a lot of smiling, nodding, and pointing.  Perfect.  I had my nails painted this amazing color, Lincoln Park After Dark.  It's a purply black and I loved how it looked.  I felt dramatic, but understated in a sort of moody hipster way.  A sales clerk at Urban Outfitters even complimented me so it's clear I was bringing it style-wise.

About two days in though, I noticed some chipping.  Just a little here and there, and I was able to touch it up myself.  But by day four, I looked down and one entire nail had almost completely peeled off.  Of course, I had to see how that was possible and tried peeling some polish off one of the other nails myself.  It came off in almost an entire sheet!  So I tried another and another and pretty soon, I had stripped my fingernails of about 95% of the original polish.  It was a disturbingly satisfying experience.

I still haven't completely removed the remaining polish.  It looks so bad it's kind of interesting.  I'm reveling in its ugliness.  I do think I'll return for a reapplication though.  I'm thinking I'll do it next Monday so it'll still look good for Christmas, and I can look forward to an afternoon of nail polish peeling just before the New Year.  Good times.

I'm wearing this.

I like just a splash of festive.  I considered this scarf with a greenish top, but I looked too much like a spokesperson for Santa's Workshop.

It's Meatless Monday and honestly, we have meaty leftovers that must be eaten tonight.  So we're aiming for Totally Meat-Free Tuesday instead.

gratitude:  holiday shopping coming to a close, my new kitchen soap and lotion, cookies, Fantasy Football

thanks and love.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Traditions Are So Important. One Of Ours Is Frying A Turkey, Then Using The Hot Oil To Fry Anything Else That We're Curious About. It's Part Holiday, Part Science Project. Never Stop Learning.

Holidays are a fun time to experiment.  It's nice to try new things - sometimes those out-of-the-ordinary events can become family traditions.  Sometimes it's best if they never return.  Sometimes they live on as hysterical stories that often get funnier and funnier each year.  I've had a few of these myself.

I made wassail the first Christmas after Geoff and I were married.  Not the modified version that tastes a lot like apple cider, but a real, TRADITIONAL wassail with Guinness and brandy and fruits and spices.  It was not a hit.  Honestly, I see why we've evolved in our wassail tastes to something more palatable because this old-school wassail tasted like something Bob Cratchit would drink when Ebenezer Scrooge wanted another performance review.  I think it was meant to keep people from freezing to death during the Dickens era or at least to keep them unaware that they were freezing to death.  Our guests were nice about it, but I did find several nearly full cups sitting around our living room after everyone left. We've not revisited wassail again.

Another year, right after the kids were born, we decorated cookie ornaments for the tree with the grandparents.  I thought this would be a fun and heart-warming activity to do each year.  And it was fun.  Until our basset hounds, Daisy and Claire, ate them all.  We'd hung the cookies high knowing full well the bassets' noses would lead them right to the cookies if they were near the floor.  We didn't, however, understand the dedication bassets have to ingesting most anything edible.  While we were sleeping they jumped on the tree, knocked it over, and ate all the cookies we'd hung on it before bed.  They also ate some miniature faux apples that had been coated with a sparkling sugar.  They had glittery poops for a week.  How festive.

And once, I made pans and pans of lasagna for Christmas Eve.  We were having a crowd, and lasagna is an easy choice for serving lots of people.  Except our refrigerator wasn't large enough to hold the pans, so we stored them overnight on the deck in the snow.  Living in suburbia (albeit at the foot of the Rockies) it hadn't occurred to me that wild animals have a keen sense of smell and obviously an appetite for Italian because when we awoke our deck was covered in lasagna remains.  It looked like a crime scene.  We were were forced to take out a small loan and buy pre-made lasagna from Whole Foods.  Mangia, foxes.

This photo I found on Pinterest this morning made me think of brave holiday attempts that end up in failure.

It looks very pretty, but those are actually marshmallows hanging on fishing line made to look like falling snow.  And it does (kind of) look a little like snow from a distance.  But I can't imagine the hysterical laughter if my entire family sat down to dinner at a table I'd jazzed up with hanging marshmallows.  So much comedy would ensue.  And it looks like it would take a lot of time to do - which is the case with so many holiday fails.  They take effort and time, and end up becoming just a funny story.  Oddly, those funny stories are often what make great memories.

So maybe we should all attempt a little something new every now and then.  If it works, we look like a domestic goddess, if it fails we get a good laugh.  Winners all around.

I'm wearing this today.

A sparkly t-shirt is a fun addition to any wardrobe.

gratitude:  Geoff's return, driving both kids to school at the same time, wrapping up the holiday shopping, my new nail polish color (Lincoln Park After Dark)

thanks and love.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Miss The Days Of Holiday Shopping When The Kids Rode In A Stroller. I'd Carry The Children And Fill The Stroller With All My Purchases. Would It Be Wrong To Bring A Stroller With Me To The Mall Even Without Toddlers In Tow? It's Something I'd Consider.

I love the holiday season.  I mean LOVE it.  I have visions of starring in my own holiday show - I'd be dressed in something stylishly festive and cheerfully going about my daily tasks and holiday chores to a soundtrack of rocking Christmas hits.  Although I think it's safe to assume the Mallory High Christmas Special is a no-go, I do try to take this kind of attitude with me as much as I can during the season.  And yesterday was a particularly good time for me to put my holiday vision into action.  I went Christmas shopping.

Now I'm normally an online shopping kinda girl.  I am slightly reclusive love to be home and the fact that I can take care of all the holiday buying for my loved ones in peace and quiet is a wonderful thing.  But, because I'm feeling a tad more adventurous these days and my schedule was permitting, I headed to the mall to see what goodies I could find in person.  I would like to apologize now to anyone who may have been negatively affected by what they saw at the end of the day.

I started out a vision of holiday cheer.  I was wearing some new bootcut jeans, a  simple black t-shirt, and my fancy red damask coat.  I was having a good hair day too.  I hopped in my car, gathered up about 17 used Kleenexes, stuffed them in the trash (we've had a bit of a head cold issue at our house), and cued up my iPhone to shuffle my extensive holiday tune collection as I drove to the mall.  It felt great.

Apparently, a lot of people are out shopping this time of year (who knew?).  I thought maybe I'd have the place to myself on a Tuesday, but I was wrong.  I ended up parking about a half mile from the mall and leapfroging across lakes of melted, dirty snow to get to my destination.  But that's okay, because it's the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.

I had some good luck shopping.  And I remembered to ask for boxes (and gift receipts) as I was checking out in each store which made me feel super pulled together, but also meant that the bags I was carrying were hard to hold and weighed about 10 lbs. each.  I was in a hurry because the kids needed to be picked up, so I never stopped to eat (unfortunately) or look in a mirror (more unfortunately).  As I was leaving a little boy looked at me and moved closer to his mother as I passed him.  "That's odd," I thought, as I set my bags down to fish through my purse for the car key.  Then I caught my reflection in the mirrored window of Abercrombie & Fitch.

I had zhuzhed my hair briefly while shopping and the curls had created a pyramid effect on the right side of my head - I'd taken on a very distinct Phyllis Diller appearance.  Carrying all the bags and my purse on my shoulders had caused my t-shirt to somehow start riding so high on my body it was coming up my neck.  My cute jacket was untying itself - the belt had one short piece at the waist and a longer half that was grazing the floor.  And my jeans had grown about 3 sizes too large and were now officially under my feet and sliding down my body.  Thank goodness I was wearing a longer jacket.

So I didn't end my day elfing as well-coiffed as I'd started, but I accept mine is not a path of perfection.  I retied my jacket, pulled up my pants, tamped down my hair and sung 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree' to myself as I forged my way back to the car.  I do hope the little boy I scared has recovered.  I'm just glad to have had the day to shop - it's really a luxury to be able to do that on a weekday (I honestly can't imagine how it would be on a weekend - that would test the spirit of even a holiday junkie like myself), but I'm even more glad to know I can take care of my remaining holiday chores from home.  Fireside.  

I'm wearing these.

Nordic leggings I found on Clearance at Target for less than $10.  I bought them for Eliza, but she wasn't a fan.  Now they're mine.  I can do yoga in them, work in them, online shop in them, and do laundry too.  Perf.  Plus, I imagine they'll work great for later when I have a celebratory glass of wine.

gratitude:  eucalyptus oil, my new Diptyque candle, being Mom, getting paid

thanks and love.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I'm Having Some Very Strange Fashion Envy. Our Christmas Tree Has A Fabulous Skirt And Amazing Accessories. Better Than Some I Have. It Feels Weird.

So this was Christmas Tree Weekend for us.  Because we have a family of four busy people which includes two very socially-active teens and a husband/father who is traveling every week of December this year, our weekends are firmly scheduled with lots of holiday tasks.  I'm a little like a festive Captain Von Trapp in my house - trying to establish some order in an environment that often seems to be working against that very goal.  I don't use a whistle however, just a calendar and a firm voice that I temper with holiday cheer and enthusiasm.  Wine after five also helps.

On Saturday, we went to our favorite nursery to buy our tree (as has been tradition in our family for years and years) but it was closed.  A Christmas tree shaped sign on their fence said they weren't going to be selling any trees until the weather warmed up because the trees were so cold, they'd break on the ride home.  This posed a problem for us.  As I mentioned, we require a precise scheduling of holiday events,  and if we didn't get a tree by Sunday morning the entire holiday would need to be pushed back a week.  After calling around we found another nursery that kept their trees inside and had a few that came close to our height requirements (read: taller than is really safe to decorate without a net) so we headed over there on Sunday.

As is the case with many people, we all have different approaches to Christmas trees.  There's the obvious artificial vs. real debate in which I am firmly on the real side (at least at this point in my life).  My parents are quite convincing though in their argument that artificial trees are the way to go after a certain point in life - so I'm not taking that option completely off the table.  Then, there are the full vs. airy camps.  I'm an airy girl.  I like my ornaments to hang on the tree not lay on the tree.  That's just how I feel.  I think mostly my family leans toward a fuller tree, but airy has always won out in the past because I said so.  And then, the lighting issue.  Are you a fan of white lights only, or colorful lights? Again, I've been alone (but victorious) on this subject preferring white lights only.  I'm a purist rather than a traditionalist.

But this year, I was feeling somewhat flexible and slightly adventurous and decided we'd go 50/50 on the tree using both white and mulitcolored lights.  I was inspired by the Rockefeller Plaza tree.  They used a combo of light colors and the results were stunning.  It could also be that the tree is 500 feet tall in in the middle of midtown Manhattan, but regardless, I was certain we'd enjoy the same effect on our smaller scale tree at home.   However, my flexibility has been pushed a bit farther than I'd initially planned.

When we got to the nursery on Sunday, every tree there was as full as full can be.  I bravely accepted this reality with minimal pouting, but did try to convince the family that maybe, since we're completely breaking with tradition, we should just get a really unusual tree instead.  I found one that was a sort of weeping pine - think Cousin It - but they weren't having it.  In typical fashion, the tree we ended up with was more of a rescue.  It had been marked down 30% because it was missing half the branches in the back.  And it was about 4 feet shorter than we've had in years past.  But we felt sorry for it so we brought it home.  Since our tree goes in a corner, the missing branches were a non-issue, it's so short we could do the highest decorating using only a step stool, and now the poor tree won't have to linger in the Clearance section for the rest of the holiday season.

So this year we have a short, full tree, covered in lights of all colors.  And it's beautiful, especially from the front.  I love it and I love that the entire family agreed that an imperfect tree was the right one for us.  We made it beautiful.  And the faux fur leopard print tree skirt I found for it is a nice touch too.

I'm wearing this.

An at-home day writing.  Jeans and a sweater are all that's required.  Maybe socks.

And for Meatless Monday, it's breakfast for dinner.  Traditional fare for those weeks when Dad's out of town.

gratitude:  the family tree hunt, our decorating tradition with hot chocolate, ornaments with pictures of the kids when they were little, the coziness in our great room

thanks and love.

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Blog And I Are Having A Bit Of An Existential Crisis. I Think This Post Is A Cry For Help. Or A Celebration. Hard To Say, Really.

Today marks a milestone for Positively Minutiae (it's actually milestone eve, if we're nitpicking).  Tomorrow this little blog will have been up and running for an entire year.  Jeepers.  A year!  And what a year it's been.  You've seen me through a pigeon infestation, an Emmanuelle Alt wannabe phase, a road trip to the heartland, and countless other dribs and drabs of life.  The blog has actually had almost 22,000 page views over the year from as far away as Malaysia.  Wow.  I hope you've enjoyed what you've read.  I've throughly enjoyed writing it.

The blog kind of started out as a dare to myself.  Could I really write three times a week for an entire year?  And share whatever I produced with everyone?  Apparently, I can.  Whether or not that's a good thing hasn't been determined, but now we know it's possible.  Some posts have certainly been better than others.  But regardless of quality, this process has reminded me that I love writing.  I love being a writer.

I want to thank those of you who have been kind enough to comment or like or share what I've written.  Writing something and putting it out there for all to see is quite an exercise in vulnerability.  While it's exhilarating to some extent, it also opens you up for all sorts of anxiety.  When someone says they like what you're saying and doing it really means a lot.  And for what it's worth, getting approval from your former English teachers is like winning the bonus round.  So thanks to each and every one of you who has let me know you're reading what I'm writing.  And liking it.  Mostly.

Blogs are weird.  Anyone can start one.  It's nice because they give writers an outlet to share what they produce without having to deal with an approval process or ego-shattering rejection.  But, they (blogs) need to serve a purpose, I think.  That's where I get stuck.  For the last year, the purpose of this blog has been, first and foremost, to prove to myself I could do it.  Subsequently, I also wanted whatever I produced to be of some value to anyone kind enough to read it.  And I did it.  I met my goal and hopefully, you've at least enjoyed it a little bit.  So does that mean I stop here?

If I continue writing Positively Minutiae - why will I be doing it?  What is the purpose of this blog?  I don't want to keep putting stuff out there if it's not valuable to people.  And I certainly don't want to become an annoyance.  Writing makes me feel good and I want to make other people feel good when I write.  Is the blog the best way to do this?  I just don't know.

So that's where I stand on this momentous occasion.  On post number 152.  I'll probably be back on Monday for 153.  I'm shameless.

I'm wearing this:

Taking care of a little holiday shopping today.  Sometimes when doing holiday tasks, I like to pretend like I'm in a Christmas special.  Today the wardrobe department is going with leopard.  What does this say about my character?

gratitude:  all my blog readers, Beef Carbonade, new champagne cocktails to try, squeaky snow

thanks and love.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I Changed The Song On My Alarm To Something Festive. I Love Holiday Music, But Andy Williams' Rendition Of 'The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year' Really Didn't Get The Job Done This Morning. Instead Of Breaking Me Out Of A Deep Sleep, I Worked His Tune Into A Dream In Which It Was Sung By An Elephant Doing Yoga. Weird.

How long does it take to establish a tradition?  It seems like after just two years you're close, then after three it's official.  If that is indeed the case, we have an unusual tradition here at the High house (which, when I write that still sounds like a college party hotspot).  It's the unplanned tradition of leaving one holiday piece out for the entire calendar year.  It seems every time I pack up all the holiday paraphernalia at the end of the season, something inevitably misses the loading process.  It may have something to do with the incredible speed in which I get the house emptied, but after weeks of season specific decor, I'm craving some breathing room so I may not be exactly fastidious in my packing up process.

Typically, it's an ornament that misses the bus back to the basement.  A couple years ago we had a peace dove that sat on our mantle behind a lantern for almost all of 2012.  He was calm and patient about the whole experience - behavior very in line with what you'd expect from a peace dove, really.  It was actually kind of nice to see him peeking out from his perch as we headed to the back patio to watch the fireworks in July - kinda gave the year some continuity.  Last year it was this poor guy who didn't make it back.

It's one of the sheep from our Nativity set.  It's not like there are countless pieces in a Nativity set and it's easy to overlook one of them.  I mean, our shepherds only brought three sheep with them, so to miss packing one up is a big oversight.  This creature spent the year on a shelf atop a book about Feng Shui.  He had a good view of all the goings on and I'm sure he'll regale all the other Nativity members with stories about what he's seen.  I just hope he doesn't judge us by how many dinners were eaten around the coffee table.

I'm wearing this.

It's cold.  Really cold.  I've determined I need some sweaters with color - is there a record for how many charcoal grey sweaters a single person can own?  I may have reached the limit.

gratitude:  puzzles, snow, holiday music, paperwhites

thanks and love.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Say Immerse Yourself In All The Benefits Of Cyber Monday. Wear No Shoes, Play Your Holiday Tunes, Light A Candle, And Sip A Little Something Tasty While You Click Away. Online Shopping Is One Of Technology's Greatest Gifts.

We had a great Thanksgiving break.  This will go down as my most physical Thanksgiving on record as we completed three athletic events in three days - does that count as a triathalon?  We ran on Thursday, skated on Friday, and skied on Saturday.  It was great.  We even managed to paint both kids' rooms which is nothing short of miraculous.  But even with all this activity and accomplishment, we still fell a little short in the hall decking process.

I've wanted to re-cover the seats at our kitchen table for about four years now.  They look like someone wet their pants while sitting on them and considering we've had these chairs for our kids' entire lifetimes, there is a good chance someone has peed on them at some point.  It's very unappealing.  So I decided Thanksgiving break was the time.  And, after watching about 25 online chair recovering videos, I had convinced myself this was a job we could do really, in one afternoon.

I assumed we'd remove a few staples, lay down the new fabric, restaple everything using my keen gift wrapping skills, and in just a few minutes we'd have ourselves some new non-biohazard chairs to proudly offer to guests and the like for festive occasions in our home.  However, when I removed the first seat and turned it over, I began to wonder if I needed to adjust my timeline a bit.

Some credit really must be given to whomever was operating the staple gun at Room and Board when they made our chairs because there were about 450 industrial strength staples in the bottom of the seat.  Removing a single staple required two different prying tools, a pair of pliers, and Band-Aids.  We finally got all of them out of one chair and, after laying exhausted on our kitchen floor for a few minutes and discussing the benefits of using a professional upholsterer, we prepared to start the re-covering process.

We laid the new fabric out, placed the chair seat on top, and neatly pulled up one side to staple it in the middle as instructed.  In every single video I watched while preparing for this job, the staples went right in and in about two minutes, the seat was covered.  All things considered, I shouldn't have been too surprised when our staples didn't even make it halfway into the seat bottom.  Apparently, our seats are made from a unique wood/steel combo and are impervious to your average staple gun, so now we need to actually rent equipment to do the job I thought could be done during halftime of a football game.

At this point, rather than a kitchen table surrounded by eight chairs with ikat printed seats and accessorized with two rustic wood lanterns festively adorned with fresh greens and an adorable red and white striped ribbon, we have a table surrounded by eight chairs (one of which has no seat) and covered in yards of fabric, tools, screws, staples, and Band-Aid wrappers.  Not exactly the epitome of holiday style.

But we'll get there.  Just a quick trip to rent the equipment, pass whatever certification is needed to operate the machinery, and we'll be on our way.  We still have three weeks, right?

I'm wearing this.

I'll be cyber shopping, decking the halls, and doing laundry.  'Tis the season.

It's Meatless Monday and we're having black bean quesadillas and a salad with a homemade ranch dressing.  It may be meatless, but I make no promises about being fat-free.

gratitude:  lots of time with just the family, an absolutely beautiful day for skiing, turkey tetrazzini, sweaters

thanks and love.