Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back to work...

I can't believe I'm here at work. It is inconceivable that I am not still at home lazing around doing nothing. However, I am at work lazing around and doing nothing so that is the next best thing.

I have to say I really did have a stress-less Christmas despite having 13 people over for dinner. It was my mom and aunt, my husband's parents, and the rest were all of our good friends (including our friends' two kids, who are great kids that I actually enjoy seeing and talking to).

I made a boneless rib roast of beef, plain ol' green beans and carrots, mashed potatoes (the easy kind, the redskinned potatoes that you don't peel and you just mash 'em all up and leave them lumpy, which is apparently the latest trend at the restaurants I've been to). It all turned out great, we borrowed an extra table and chairs to seat everybody, and a good time was had by all.

My friend's daughter and I had put up my collection of trolls, which festoon the piano and all available surfaces of the living room every year, the previous weekend, so they were all there looking festive. People keep giving me more of them and now I have about 150! And, I hate to confess, they all have names. And the scary thing is I remember most of their names without looking on my cheat sheet!

I do admit the Christmas tree, which was sitting in that bucket two weeks ago when I wrote the last entry, sat in said bucket until the Saturday before Christmas, because we had to finish painting the walls of the alcove it was going to sit in before putting it up. But at least it was up a whole two days before the Big Day and it was still very fresh since it had been sitting in water and drinking the whole time.

So, here we are in Holiday Limbo, those few days between Christmas and New Year's. It's too soon to really concentrate on my job so I am not doing too much of that. We still have a party on Friday night and a New Year's celebration to go to on Sunday.

So to all of you out there, happy holidays, and may 2007 be a wonderful year for everyone!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It's only December 10th but I think I'm actually ahead of the game for once. I did 90% of my Christmas shopping on line at work on Thursday evening at about 6 p.m. I figure by then it's OK to be doing my personal business. OK, yes, I have also done shopping during the real work day. I was trying to sound virtuous.

I have printed out labels for my Christmas cards and have written The Christmas Letter. Now I just have to send the cards. Amazing, it's over 2 weeks before Christmas. I used to hand write all the envelopes and the notes inside the cards. But I had to write basically the same thing on any card that I was sending to any person I hadn't talked to all year. So I decided last year to give in to the wonders of automation and word processors and write a Christmas Letter. Holiday Letter, I suppose I should say to be politically correct. And since my handwriting is so godawful I really didn't see that it was such a bad thing to type up a mailing list and use printed labels either. Better people should get the cards and get them on time than not get them at all due to my horrible handwriting, or my procrastination.

And then today a whole bunch of us went to cut down our own Christmas trees. Our friend Sally (we'll call her) down the street has two adorable kids who are now 11 (daughter) and 14 (son), and our other friend we'll call Angela, has two equally adorable children, a daugher of 11 and son of 18. 18-year-old son is way too cool to go chop down a Christmas tree with his mom and her oh-so-not-cool friends (actually he's a great kid and puts up with us very good-naturedly on many occasions but must have had better things to do today). Anyway, Sally, Angela, and we decided to all go en masse and cut down Christmas trees in Lafayette, New Jersey. So we went in two vans and arrived at about 1 p.m. on a beautiful 55 degree day in December. Amazing weather for this time of year - global warming is fine with me.

DH and I found a perfect little tree, a blue Spruce (very prickly but so pretty) and decided on that one relatively quickly, got it all tied up and done with in about half an hour. Naturally the rest of the group took longer since children were involved. But eventually all three trees were chosen, chopped, and tied to the roofs of the vans, and we took off for the burger place next door for lunch, along with all the other people who had just gotten their Christmas trees. Every single vehicle parked at this place had a tree tied on top.

After we got home we had to take our other friend to the train station and on our way back we got a frantic call from Sally who said she was having a Christmas tree crisis. We were about to go past her house when she reached us on the cell phone so we veered left and pulled into her driveway. Like the Ghost Busters, we were on call to save the day. Who ya gonna call? Tree Busters?

We arrived in her living room to find her desperately holding up a leaning Christmas tree. "It's crooked! I bought a crooked tree! It's no good!" she declared. DH took a closer look at the base and realized there was a branch in the way which was making the tree lopsided. After he chopped that off with the saw, the tree settled properly in the stand and all was well. Our friend then offered us beverages, which we gladly accepted, and we ended up staying and helping her and her daughter decorate the entire tree, while The Nutcracker Suite played sweetly in the background, an idyllic evening!

Of course when we got home it was too late to put up our own tree so it's still sitting in a bucket of water on the back porch. But at least we HAVE it. And it's only December 10th! Maybe this will be the first non-stressful Christmas ever! (I shouldn't say things like that, it will only jinx me...)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"The Olives," or, "Differences in Male-Female Communication Styles"

This is actually an event that happened a little over a year ago but it has lived in infamy ever since (OK, maybe that was poor taste given it is December 7th and the 65th anniversary of Pearl Harbor...but I digress.)

One night, DH, our good friend E (I'll call her Estelle for the purposes of this blog), and I decided to go out for pizza at a local pizza place that we hadn't gone to lately. DH had gone there for lunch one day and said the pizza was darn good so we might as well go there for a change instead of our favorite Star Tavern.

This is not a fancy place. It has one of those white boards that you can put letters up one at a time on, and change the postings from time to time. It has formica tables and you order at the counter and sit down and wait till they bring your order.

So, DH, Estelle and I stared up at the board that shows the varieties of pizza and sub sandwiches they offer. Estelle and I latched on to the second entry from the top which said: "Veggie Pizza" and on the next line, "mushrooms onions peppers broccoli."

Estelle and I always make a vague effort to feel healthy when we eat fattening greasy food. So we decided "Veggie Pizza" sounded like a good compromise. We said we'd have that.

DH looked dubious and said "Why don't we just order the broccoli pizza? I had that the other day for lunch and it was really good." Estelle and I were adamant. "Oh no," we said. "We want ALL the veggies."

So, DH obediently ordered said pizza with no further comment. We all sat down and were chatting amiably for about 15 minutes, and then the waitress brought over the pizza. A huge pizza. Covered, literally crawling with, BLACK OLIVES.

Let me explain. Estelle and I do not like olives on our pizza. Estelle HATES olives in every way, shape or form. I hate them on anything like pizza or salad, although plain, really really good olives by themselves, I'll eat.

Estelle and I looked at this pizza with horrified eyes and said, in unison - couldn't have been more perfectly timed if we'd rehearsed it - "WE DIDN'T ORDER THAT!"

As the waitress looked perplexed, DH said "Oh, yes, you did." We did not believe this. We had to get up and go look at the board again. Sure enough, after the line that said "mushrooms onions peppers broccoli," there was another line. With a space between it and that line. In the middle. By itself. It said "olives."

We had ordered a veggie pizza COVERED in black olives. And they weren't even the kind of black olives I was talking about (those "really good" black olives that are OK to eat plain). They were those yucky canned type black olives.

Estelle and I had no other choice. We had ordered the pizza with the olives. We had to eat the pizza with the olives.

So we sat there picking off olives until we were able to stomach the remaining pizza and got through it without starving.

Of course DH did not escape without our wrath. We asked him over and over, "WHY didn't you TELL us it had olives on it? You KNOW we hate olives!"

DH's response was that he figured we knew what we were doing, it was obvious there were olives on the pizza, and that he just figured we'd come to our senses, changed our minds and LIKED olives now.

We have not let him live this down since, and every once in awhile the subject comes up again and we have to discuss it all over again. If a new person is in our midst and has not heard The Story of the Olives, we have to repeat it to him or her and ask whose side they are on. It has become a legend.

So, whose side are YOU on?