Saturday, December 30, 2006

Peep show

This is what happens when Mother Media, CNE and I are left alone with a package of color-your-own marshmallow Peep snowmen.

Each sits atop his own stocking anchor. There were originally six Peeps, but the one upon whose backside someone drew a plumber's crack already got blown up in the microwave and eaten.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I know Christmas

Santa brought family and joy to Sensational Acres.

CNE and her parents, Sister-san and Chef Jeff.

CNE and her deer Grandpa Roger.

CNE in the dress she'll wear to Uncle Curt's wedding on New Year's Day.

Very merry!

Mother Media, aka Grandma Connie, in her holiday finery.

This Christmas angel gives lots of kisses.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

paper or plastic?

Do you wrap gifts carefully and beautifully (paper), or do you toss them in handy gift bags (plastic)?

I used to hate wrapping gifts because I'm not very good at it. But once I lightened up, accepted my shortcomings in the Martha Stewart area, and started sipping the 'nog while I wrap, it got a lot more fun. I usually save gift bags for oddly shaped items or times I'm in a hurry.

One year Mother Media created a lovely array of brown paper packages tied up with string, since these are a few of her favorite things. Martha rating: 7.5.

A friend of mine wraps gifts in plain paper, then decorates them with specially chosen ink stamps and whatnot. That's gotta be like a 9 or 9.5.

Come on, fess up. Paper or plastic?


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

looking a lot like

Mother Media arrived safely at Sensational Acres around 4:00 p.m. yesterday, which means that Christmas has officially begun. Due to some top-secret space-warping technology, she was able to transport the contents of one small drugstore, one medium-sized grocery store, and the entirety of Santa’s workshop in her Buick LeSabre. We have gifts and supplies in abundance, but I don’t think the fire marshal would approve of the narrow path to the door. And I don’t care. It’s Christmas.

How packed was her car? And how high her tech? The passenger seat in Mom’s car contains a sensor that registers the weight of a person riding shotgun, and the car will dingding at the person until he or she fastens the seatbelt. Well, Mom didn’t bring a passenger, but she did place a large cooler full of turkey and taters on the front seat. She had to buckle it in to get the car to stop dinging, so Christmas dinner made the trek very securely.

I’m glad Mom made the drive yesterday, when the weather was cold but clear, because we’re expecting freezing rain and its aftermath for the rest of the week. Tomorrow should be especially interesting. But as long as a certain plane from Phoenix lands intact on Saturday, I’m willing to deal with whatever else may come.

Mother Media has already found and used her first Christmas gift from me. I don’t drink coffee, so I’ve never owned a coffee maker, but Mom has scolded me in the past for not having java available for guests. She’s even gone so far as to bring her own pot on one occasion. (And no, traveling with Mr. Coffee does not entitle you to use the carpool lane.)

Now, however, she need fret no more! Mom has her very own home-away-from-home coffee machine, which will reside at the Acres and come out to greet her whenever she visits. The way she exclaimed when she spotted it squatting there beside the toaster, you’d think I had bought her a pony. Based on this morning’s maiden brewing, it works pretty well.

That’s our official Christmas wake-up. Stay tuned for more news from Sensational Acres as things develop.


Monday, December 18, 2006

checking it twice

[x] buy gifts
[x] put up outdoor lights
[x] fill candy dishes
[x] get tree
[x] move furniture to accommodate tree
[x] set up tree
[x] water tree
[x] light tree
[x] straighten tree
[x] decorate house
[x] refill candy dishes
[x] put up more outdoor decorations
[x] wrap gifts
[x] clean house
[x] stock fridge & pantry
[x] remember a couple more people who need gifts
[/] buy gifts for those people
[x] get poinsettias
[x] figure out when Mother Media arrives
[x] figure out when Sister-san & Co. arrive
[x] figure out when other guests arrive
[x] refill candy dishes
[x] really clean house
[x] buy extra TP
[x] find stockings
[x] send/deliver some gifts
[x] resolve to eat less candy
[x] reassure cats that it will all be over soon

Well, it looks like I'm just about ready. The only thing missing is people. Come on down, friends! Nice boys & girls get goodies; naughty ones get put on cat hair patrol. Those burning the yule log at both ends get candy with cat hair clinging to the wrapper and an earful of my a cappella holiday music collection.


Friday, December 15, 2006

wrap artist

Yesterday we had our holiday breakfast in the company cafeteria. A line of VPs greeted us at the entrance sporting festive sweaters and neckties — plus a couple sets of reindeer antlers, which looked especially interesting on solemn, bald Dr. T.

A brass quintet from a local high school set up next to the coffee machine, and we filed through buffet lines for scrambled eggs, sausage, taters, apple crisp, "french toast bake" (looked like bread pudding to me) with cherry or blueberry pie filling topping, and fruit. Very tasty. We could also get virgin mimosas in tiny plastic cups, which of course everyone did, and joked about jonesing for the real thing. It goes without saying that the decorations were carefully winter- rather than holiday-themed, which maybe as close as we get to having a white Christmas the way things are going.

After chow and chat, we were back at our desks by 9:00 and drifting into carb-stupors by 9:15. That is where I remain, both physically and mentally. It's 11:30 a.m. as I write, by which time I would usually be starved, but today I'm only mildly peckish. It's a small miracle.

The big miracle: I won a door prize! I NEVER win door prizes! I scored a Timberwolves cap — can I call a cap bearing a basketball team logo a baseball cap? — which I promptly regifted to a friend whose child loves the team.

I had hoped to get some gifts wrapped the last couple nights but never did. I've spent time shopping after work — for other people, not for myself, difficult as it was — getting engrossed in an editing project, going to class and watching TV on my laptop while solving sudoku and checking my e-mail. But I haven't wrapped gifts.

Tonight, however, is the night! Mainly because I have to wrap some for people I'll see tomorrow. Nothing like a deadline to get the ol' ball rolling.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

We Three Things

This handy list was forwarded to me by Mother Media. As we’re being spammed with the message that THE BABY JESUS WANTS YOU TO BUY BUY BUY, her note came as a welcome reminder of things that matter just a little bit more.

Three things in life that once gone, never come back:
1. Time
2. Words
3. Opportunity

Three things in life that can destroy a person:
1. Anger
2. Pride
3. Unforgiveness

Three things in life that you should never lose:
1. Hope
2. Peace
3. Honesty

Three things in life that are most valuable:
1. Love
2. Family & Friends
3. Kindness

Three things in life that are never certain:
1. Fortune
2. Success
3. Dreams

Three things that make a person:
1. Commitment
2. Sincerity
3. Hard work


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Making light of the season

How many T'ai Chi students does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Just one, but we do it differently at our studio.

Trust me, this is hilarious. Tell it next time you find yourself surrounded by T'ai Chi players and see how right I am.

Holiday notes

Stuck for gift ideas? Let the Heifer Project assist you while you assist people who really need it.

Stuck trying to decide what to get me? See above.

It’s beginning to look a bit like X-Mess around Sensational Acres — no thanks to the weather, which has left the landscape bare and brownish-grey. Well, at least today’s fog covers it up a little. But I’ve been doing my part to brighten the landscape by putting up outdoor lights, something I’ve never done before.

Stretching a few strands along the picket fence out front was easy. So was hanging red bows on fence posts and doors. Assembling the giant bulb lights (like the ones I admired in Phoenix) and planting them beside the driveway was a little tougher. Once I realized I could use a hammer to pound the metal stakes into the ground, then set the bulbs on those steady foundations, things went a lot better. Well, somewhat better. Next year I won’t wait until after dark on the on coldest day of winter to put those badboys up.

This past weekend I decided that with the fence and driveway looking so dapper, the front of the house needed a facelift. Off I went to the hardware store for a few sets of swag lights to hang from the eaves. Swag lights are triple-strand swoops that look sort of like bunting, but instead of stripes of red, white and blue fabric, you get clear lights, clear lights and clear lights. It took some serious muttering during the untangling process and a return trip to the store to replace some nonworking strands, but actually hanging the lights was relatively easy thanks to my handy articulating ladder. They even look OK up there.

Of course, with the house lit up, now the garage and the deck railing look bare. I almost went back for some icicles for the garage, but then realized my ladder isn’t long enough to get me to the peak for hanging. Not comfortably, anyway. But I can reach the deck railing easily enough. Maybe I’ll do something Saturday if it’s warm again.

I’ve got a few decorations deployed indoors as well: star lights, garland, stocking anchors, candy dishes, oven mitts. No tree yet; I’ll get one this weekend, but I might wait until the clan gets here to decorate it. Well, maybe I’ll just string the twinklies. I hate to see a tree without lights. And maybe some Star Trek ornaments. Just a few.

Yes, and I’ll put the Instant Fireplace DVD on, set my iTunes holiday playlist on shuffle and start wrapping gifts. Unfortunately, cutting and taping the pretty paper seems to be the only part of the preparations I can’t geekify — unless Apple is about to release the iWrap, in which case I will be first in line.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Do you suppose it would be disrespectful of me to take my web-capable, game-packed Treo to this afternoon's mandatory training on respect in the workplace?

Monday, December 04, 2006

one singular sensation

One-word answers only.


1. Yourself: fierce
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner: imaginary
3. Your hair: greying
4. Your mother: chatty
5. Your father: Heaven
6. Your favorite item: iBook
7. Your dream last night: BNL
8. Your favorite drink: Coke
9. Your dream car: Jaguar
10. The room you are in: office
11. Your ex: pendejo
12. Your fear: senility
13. What you want to be in 10 years? employed
14. Who you hung out with last night? cats
15. What you’re not? conventional
16. Muffins: blueberry
17. One of your wish list items: book
18. Time: flies
19. The last thing you did: backspaced
20. What are you wearing? fleece
21. You favorite weather: Mediterranean
22. Your favorite book: mystery
23. The last thing you ate: cookie
24. Your life: quiet
25. Your mood: sleepy
26. Your best friend: asskicker
27. What are you thinking about right now? Phoenix
28. Your car: Subarushi
29. What are you doing at the moment? procrastinating
30. Your summer: brief
31. Your relationship status: history
32. What is on your TV? dust
33. What is the weather like? freezing
34. When is the last time you laughed? 8:45