I’m Dreaming Of A Gray Christmas

random thoughts on a very dreary December morning… 

~ We decorated the outside of our house this year.  We don’t always do that, but this year we decided to put some lights on the bushes out front, a few wreaths on a few windows, and one long strand of lights wrapped around the deck railing out back.  So far the decorations are surviving our record-breaking rainy weather without any prob.  They’re all on pre-set timers, so they know what to do and when to do it.  Wetness be damned.

~ After we decorated the outside of the house, we decided to put up a Christmas tree in our TV room.  We don’t always do this every year either.  Naturally the old lights that we had weren’t working, so Z-D drove over to Lowe’s and then Home Depot to buy a total of four boxes of the same GE multicolored lights to put on the tree.  All of our ornaments from past years were in good shape, so we used them without buying anything new.  The tree is pretty and colorful– the perfect antithesis to the bleak weather outside.

~ Most people who know me know that I’m not a fan of the holiday season.  I tolerate it with gritted teeth and a quiet grace.  I dislike the phoniness of it all.  Too many people telling me too many ways in which they’re overwhelmed– by decisions that they freely made.  Commitments they accepted for reasons they can’t explain, but will whine endlessly about fulfilling.  To me, it seems like a time of faux friendship and forced frivolity.  Not centering and joyful at all.

~ Zen-Den may be taking some vacation days at the end of the month.  This will depend upon whether problems develop at work.  We’ve made no formal plans to go anywhere, so if he does take the days off I think that we’ll be taking a staycation.  Lunches out at some upscale restaurants that we like;  a visit to the zoo to see the lights;  a few rounds at our fav English pub.  Nothing elaborate, just doing some fun things– because we want to.

[Hello FTC!  As you may recall, I do not accept money or any other sort of graft for writing about any product.  So you need not worry yourself about anything nefarious happening here on my sweet little bloggy.   I like what I like– and I write about it because I want to write about it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just my opinion.] 

Top 5 Ways In Which I Am Not Like The 112th U.S. Congress

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#5The U.S. government does not pay my salary.  Taken one step further this means that: U.S. taxpayers do not pay me to do nothing.  I do nothing for free.

• • •

#4I choose my friends wisely.  I don’t associate with insincere, deceitful, conniving corporations lobbyists dweebs.  I am able to find friends who are truthful, straightforward and clear about what matters the most in this life.

• • •

#3I do not define myself by group affiliation.  I am a free spirit in suburbia.   This means that I do my own thing in a world known for its ordinariness.  I am not a slave to fitting in with others– and hiding behind any group’s rhetoric.

• • •

#2I think for myself and do not need external validation to motivate me to keep going.  This means that I do not hold a press conference every time I burp, sneeze or fart.  In fact, I do not hold press conferences at all because I know that people do not care about how things are going for me– they care about what I can do for them.

• • •

#1I get things done.  Yep, it’s a fact.  I see a problem…  I understand how the problem came to be… I define the problem… and then [this is crucial] I SOLVE THE PROBLEM.  I finish things before I take a vacation.  I do not whine about how difficult it is to do things.  I just git r done.  Like the grown-up that I am.

• • •

… Can you say the same things, oh ye members of the 112th U.S. Congress?

Too Soon

Christmas in the post-War United States
Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I went to the hair salon to have my hair highlighted and cut.  Someone had decorated the salon for Christmas already.  Everywhere.

OH MY.

Some of the decorations I recognized– like a fake pine garland with bulbs and bows draped over the top of the mirrors.  I recognized the canned Christmas songs playing endlessly.

But I couldn’t figure out what the large objects suspended from the ceiling were– nor why they were hanging over each stylist’s work counter.  In their way.

J, my stylist, saw me looking at one of the large Christmasy objects and said:  “You don’t know what that is, do you?”

Me:  “No.”

J:  “It’s a Christmas tree, fully decorated with bulbs and icicles, hanging upside down.  The ornament on the top– or bottom depending on you perspective– is supposed to twirl around in a circle all the time.  But mine’s broken right now.”

Me:  “Huh?  That’s… well– OH MY!”

J:  “You did a nice job of saying something pleasant.  Most people aren’t that nice about these trees.”

Me:  “Why do you have them anyhow?”

J:  “The owner was an interior decorator before he did hair.  He thinks that all this Christmas decorating is stylish and trendy.  He thinks that it’s clever.”

Me:  “Huh?”

J:  “I know.  Don’t even try to think about it.  It’ll make your head explode.  It’s ugly and it’s too soon.”

Me:  “Yes it is.”

After paying for my highlight and cut, I gave J a big tip.  She’s going to need all the help she can get to make it through a holiday season with an upside down rotating Christmas tree dominating her work space– and confused, outspoken  customers commenting on her boss’s stupidity cleverness.

OH MY.

This Is What Passes For Excitement Around Here

Botanically, a tomato is a fruit. However, in ...
Image via Wikipedia

[Subtitled:  Somewhat Organized Thoughts Upon The Occasion of A Hopefully Random Act of Very Minor Violence]

Our mailbox is a rectangular, black metal one that sits on top of a white wooden post by the street.  It was tomato-ed. This is a first for us.

In the past our mailbox has been: smashed with a baseball bat;  peanutbutter-ed;  egged;  toilet paper-ed;  and robbed.  [One summer I decided to put a small bracket on the back of the white post and hang a basket of geraniums from it.  Very pretty… for the few days that it was there before someone stole it.]  But we’ve never had a tomato thrown at it.

The attack of this not-so-rotten tomato occurred between 6:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. while I drove Z-D to work.  Our mailbox, which is large, shiny and very noticeable when pulling out of our driveway, was just fine when we left home.  But when I got back home, the door to it was hanging open and there was a small dent in the side of it.  This I saw from the driveway as I pulled in.

It wasn’t until I walked down our driveway to see up-close what had happened that I realized that we had been tomato-ed with a large, firm, red tomato that left its seedy drool all over one side of our mailbox– and its gushy guts in the grass around the bottom of the wooden post.

As I didn’t grow up in suburbia I can only guess at the motivations for tomato-ing someone’s mailbox.  Questions plague me.

  • Which came first: the tomato or the mailbox?
  • Was this planned?  And if so, where did the perp get his or her tomato?  Stolen from someone’s garden?  Purloined from Mom’s frig?  Purchased at Kroger?
  • Is it possible that our mailbox wasn’t the intended target? 

Considering there are high school kids in the two house across the street from us & in one house next door to us, I have to wonder if this is a case of mistaken tomato-ing.

Answers to these questions elude me, leaving me to suspect that the real reason our mailbox was tomato-ed has nothing to do with logic.  I imagine, that like many things in life, the real reason that our mailbox was tomato-ed is that it was in the right place at the wrong time.

Twitter Me This

First I wrote this.

For smirks and giggles I started a Twitter account last week.  And to date, I am underwhelmed.

I can see that if you have family and friends who are on Twitter, you could have a fun time staying in touch and sharing info that is of interest to your group.  I don’t have any family and friends on Twitter that I know of.

I can see that if you were a fan of some celebrity, then it might be fun to see what this person had to say.  I am not a big enough fan of any celebrity to care about their day-to-day thoughts and actions.

I can see that if you had a smart phone and were in a boring real-life situation– at the doc’s office– on the bus riding home from work– waiting at the airport– visiting a crazy old relative whose politics were the opposite of yours– it could be a blessing to have to check your Twitter account.  But my phone isn’t smart, so I don’t have that option.

I can see that if you had no access to the internet via a desk or laptop computer, then a Twitter account could give you a fast RSS-style service that would keep you up-to-date on your favorite topics, websites, mags, and newspapers.  But I am very fortunate and have both a desk and a laptop computer with internet connection that are available to me at any time.

So, what am I missing about Twitter?  Is there something there to hook my interest so that I might begin to smirk and giggle as I had hoped that I would?  Or is it as pointless as it seems to me?

Then I did some research and found this information.

Twitter Looks Chaotic: Don’t Be Afraid“But behind the churn of news and trivia there’s a remarkable depth of knowledge and opinion.”

Twitter Tweets Some Big Q1 Stats“Twitter is now seeing 155 million tweets a day.”

Twitter in Plain EnglishReal life happens between blog posts and emails.”

Now I am left really wondering.

So I’ll ask you, gentle readers? Do you twitter and tweet?  And if so, what do you get from the experience?  Explain Twitter to me.  Please.

Shopping For Clothes

I don’t like to shop for clothes– at the mall– in the department stores.  However, last week it seemed like a good idea. So…

I went to the mall to look for some spring clothes for me.  I parked in the only place I could find– a parking garage about halfway between two department store anchors on either end of the mall.  Then I walked to the end of the mall to shop in the big bad department.

Once inside I went to the exact spot in the exact department where I had seen, in January, what I wanted to buy.  But my item was not there.  In fact, the whole large area formerly devoted to this particular brand was gone.  So I went in search of a sales associate.  Eventually I found a woman and asked her where the brand I wanted was hiding.  I know department stores.  They hide things.

She told me that they no longer carried that brand.  So I asked: “why?” And this is what she told me.

The brand that I was interested in buying is also sold on a tv shopping network.  Dishonest shoppers, who had purchased discounted  items on the tv shopping network, were returning these discounted items to the big bad department store– where the big bad department store was giving them a full price refund— which was costing the big bad department store money.

[I have no idea why the big bad department store didn’t pull a Nancy Reagan and “Just Say NO” to the scam artists.  That’s what I’d do if I was in charge.  But, of course, I am rational and ethical– which in my experience is the antithesis of how department stores work.]

Instead, the big bad department store did the only thing it could think of to solve this problem;  it stopped carrying the brand altogether.  The brand that I had finally decided to buy.  The brand that this annoying store has promoted ad nauseum for years.  That brand.  *sigh*

So I thanked the sales associate for letting me know what was going on and left the big bad department store empty-handed.  Again.

As I was walking back to my car, I started thinking about what had just happened.  I had made the effort to buy something, but was defeated by the very store that had convinced me that I needed this item.  That was annoying.

I’d  been told a story that made the big bad department store look like a victim– which, I guess, the sales associate thought would make me sympathetic to the plight of the store.  That was weird.

But most importantly, I’d had the belated realization that I should never, ever listen to what the big bad department store says. Everything about the place is  hinky.  And this insight, gentle readers, was worth the trip to the mall.  I have learned.  I am better for it.

And you know what?  I’m not going back there again.

[Hello FTC!  I cannot lie.  I didn’t put this disclaimer on this post when I first published it because I didn’t use any names of the companies that I’m writing about here.  But now I can see that in the comments below I will be revealing the identity of the big bad department store.  So just to be safe, here is what you like to see: I have received no money or other compensation for the opinions stated in this post or in the comments below.]