Friday, December 23, 2011

How I'll Spend My Christmas Vacation

I saved up enough vacation time this year to take off the entire week between Christmas and New Year's.  I have a half day today, and don't return to work until January 3.  AMAZING. :-)

This is pretty much how I plan to spend my time:

Wine, books and music, curled up on a comfy recliner in my den... To be interrupted only by our traditional New Year's Eve trip to Wildwood with some friends from college for some late-night water sliding.

What are your plans for the holidays?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Halfway Out of the Dark

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone! 

Depending on where you live, the winter solstice is either today (if you live in or west of CST) or tomorrow (if you live east of CST).  The article I linked to above shows you how to determine the approximate time the solstice occurs for you.  I live in EST, so for me it's 12:30am on December 22.

Photo by Andrew Dunn
This is probably not a big surprise seeing as I am a bit of a nerd who throws parties in honor of things like the Perseid meteor shower, but I really like that tradtions such as adorning our houses with Christmas lights and candles and burning a Yule log originated from the fact that winter solstice (a function of the earth's axial tilt and its position in relation to the sun) marks when the nights start to get shorter and the days get longer.  I'm also a fan of the fact that using evergreens to decorate the home symbolizes the persistence of life in the dead of winter. 

So much of the imagery and symbolism behind this season is just so hopeful and optimistic, and because much of it is actually rooted in astronomy just makes it that cooler!

Last year's Doctor Who Christmas special (if you haven't watched it, you should!) used the term "halfway out of the dark" to describe this time of year.  Personally, I think that's a fantastic description, both from a literal and metaphorical perspective. :-)

(Speaking of which, 4 days til this year's Christmas special!  Is anyone else going through Doctor Who withdrawal??)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All Wrapped Up

I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping - just one more thing on my list!

In the meantime, I've started wrapping the gifts I do have.

This year I decided to use brown kraft paper and ribbon (along with adorable handmade tags I bought at a craft show!) instead of my usual printed wrapping paper and bows.

I'm pretty happy with the results so far:

I absolutely LOVE that I was able to get a 30" x 40' roll of the kraft paper for $5.  MUCH more cost effective than traditional wrapping paper, and I think I was able to give the gifts a bit more personality this way.  (Although I suspect most of my wrapping paper savings will go towards buying piles and piles of fun ribbon...)

What do you think about kraft paper for wrapping gifts?  Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Deck the Halls

I got a bit of a late start on Christmas decorating this year.  We didn't get our tree until last week, and it's probably the fattest tree we've had so far:

Note Elvis's doggy bed to the right of the tree.  \Probably not the best placement, but amazingly, we haven't had any ornament casualties so far.

Our fireplace is a testament to how obsessed we are with our pets:

The elaborate stockings on either end of the fireplace are actually ours, my mom made mine for me when I was little and made one for Glen after we got married.  But naturally, Elvis has the biggest stocking.  Our rats, Nory and Sery, and our degus, Barnum and Bailey, each have their own tiny green stocking.  Call us crazy, but I think it's adorable. :-)

And of course, we have some greenery and candles on the mantel:

I don't even remember where I bought that, but I love it.  As I type this, I'm snuggled up on the couch with Elvis, with the candles flickering and the tree lit up, and it's so cozy!

We don't have a ton of decorations in the den, but this one is really cute:

Glen's parents bought it for us a few years back, when we were still in the apartment.  I break it out around Christmas, and I leave it out pretty much all winter.

And here's a sneak peak of the dining room table (we're hosting Christmas dinner this year, so expect photos of the place settings in a week or so!):

The centerpiece is made from live greenery, my mom picked it up for me when we went to Christkindlmarkt last weekend.  So pretty. :-)  Apparently if I remember to water it a couple of times a week it should last well into January. 

Have any of you posted photos of your holiday decor?  If so, share the link in the comments - I'd love to check it out!

P.S.  Have you seen this photo on Bookshelf Porn?

I don't think I could forgo a live tree altogether, but I kind of want to try a miniature version of this next year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sinatra Night 2011

If you've been reading this blog for at least a year, you know that Glen and I have a tradition of celebrating Frank Sinatra's birthday by getting dressed up and inviting our friends over for booze, food and Rat Pack music.

Frank's birthday fell on a Monday this year, so we celebrated two days early.

Please forgive the glare in that picture... It didn't occur to me at the time that we were standing right in front of a window.  Oops!

By the way, that's the dress my parents got me for my birthday.  It's the first piece of clothing I've gotten from ModCloth and I'm kind of in love.  I think I may be addicted now...

One of the highlights of my night was getting to spend time with these lovely ladies!  We all went to high school together, and I've known each of them for anywhere from 14 to all of my 29 years! 

This may very well be my favorite photo of the evening.  Right in the middle of the party, Elvis decided it was nap time.  He climbed right on Glen's lap, curled up, and went to sleep. 

As always, we had a wonderful time, and I'm already looking forward to next year's party! :-)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Just One Person

The Muppets has been out for a couple of weeks now, but after reading some articles about it online yesterday, I found myself browsing YouTube and found some amazing, incredibly moving stuff from Jim Henson's memorial service, including:

-Big Bird singing "It's Not Easy Being Green":

(I got a little teary-eyed on this one, especially at the end.)

-Frank Oz giving a eulogy:

(I laughed an awful lot, but started crying a bit at the end.)

And this performance of the song "Just One Person":

(When the performers and their Muppets start pouring onto the stage after the first few verses I lost it. Totally. And. Completely. Lost. It.)

Mind you, all of this crying happened at my desk at work, during my lunch hour.  Thank goodness I have my own office, with a door that closes, or I'd have completely humiliated myself. 

It's really kind of ridiculous how I can still find myself grieving the death of someone I've never met, someone who died when I was only 7 years old, nearly 22 years ago.  But the fact of the matter is that I grew up on Jim Henson's work (most notably Fraggle Rock), and it played a significant role in shaping my view of the world... and considering the following quote, I suppose that isn't such a bad thing!

When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little bit better for my having been here. -Jim Henson

Monday, December 5, 2011

Busiest. Weekend. Ever.

How was your weekend?

Mine was incredibly busy, but also incredibly fun.  And now I am incredibly tired.

I spent Friday night frantically trying to replenish inventory, since I managed to sell quite a bit of stuff at the open house on Sunday.

I was up bright and early on Saturday morning for my second-to-last craft show of the season, Crafts in the Warren Tech.  I had to leave my house at 7:00, and the show ran from 9:00-4:00, the longest one I did this year.  No sooner did I get home and unpacked than we had to leave for our friends' Chrismukkah party. (For the record: My friends and I started celebrating Chrismukkah before The O.C. made it cool.)  We didn't get home until nearly 2:00 in the morning.

Up bright and early again on Sunday for my final craft show of the season, then went to my husband's show at SteelStacks.  His guests were both folks we went to college with, both of whom I haven't seen in quite awhile, so it was great being able to hang out with them for a bit!

Here they are interviewing comic book journalist Jill Pantozzi of Has Boobs, Reads Comics and The Mary Sue:

Note: While Eric and I DID date for a few months about 10 years ago (ugh, typing that made me feel SO old), I am NOT the cheating ex-girlfriend.  I am the girlfriend he dated to get to Glen.  They were even roommates one year back in college, and Eric was a groomsman in our wedding!  Now my husband and my ex-boyfriend do things like snuggle and go on road trips together.  Not awkward at all. ;-)

And I couldn't possibly end this post without sharing a picture Eric took of me wearing the helmet from his costume: 

Stylish, I know.

After about 5 hours of sleep last night (we didn't get home from dropping Eric off in Philly until around 1:30) I feel like I should be more tired than I am.  Perhaps I was energized by such a fun weekend.  It is equally likely that I've moved beyond tired into delirious.  Probably the latter.  But so worth it. :-)
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