Friday, December 18, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

There was a shuffling of meetings earlier in the week and technically I still had some vacation time left so I did the minimal amount of work things I needed to do yesterday from home and then spent the rest of the day cleaning my house.

Really cleaning my house.

Since my home renovation there's been a constant layer of dust on everything and boxes of knickknacks and furniture stacked in corners so even when I do have time to clean, it's only been the bare minimum. And by that I mean just enough so that I don't go insane and so that my closest of friends and relatives can come over without me being completely humiliated.

But yesterday I vacuumed under AND behind furniture. I emptied ALL of the trash cans and recycling bins. I dusted everywhere - not just as high as I can see.

A couple of friends were coming over for dinner and were to arrive at 6:30.

At 6:20 my whole house was clean. Pictures hung, baseboards dusted, furniture de-furred and Febreezed. Lasagna in the oven. Dogs brushed and paws cleaned. Tree lights on. Ella Fitzgerald Christmas CD playing. I had even gone through all of my flatware and pulled out enough forks, knives and spoons for everyone that matched (matched, I tell you!) AND didn't have spots on them from the dishwasher.

At 6:25 I stopped to admire how, for the first time in a long time, my house seemed like a home instead of a shanty inhabited by a hobo.

At 6:26 I decided I would go ahead and make a little cocktail to enjoy while I waited on my guests and bask in this glorious moment of being a capable, competent grown-up.

At 6:27 there was a loud crash as three, five-foot-wide shelves in the mud room collapsed in an avalanche of paint cans and tools and dog treats and light bulbs and extension cords and citronella candles and garden clogs and rain boots and beach towels, gouging several holes in the wall and ripping off part of the molding around the door with them as they fell.

At 6:28 several words were uttered that were not in the holiday spirit.

At 6:29 I made sure that neither dog was trapped under the avalanche and was thankful they weren't in the mud room when it happened.

At 6:30 The dogs I was one minute ago thankful weren't harmed, were threatened as one of them dove head first into the pile of crap to dig out a bag of Greenies and the other started to drag a power drill out through the dog door.

At 6:31 my guests arrived. A dear and wonderful gay couple, who came through the door full of Christmas cheer and with festive food and gifts. They saw my predicament and declared: "If we were more butch we'd help you put all of that back up. Let's make martinis instead!"

At 6:51 my glass was refilled for the second of what would be several times that evening and I no longer cared how clean my house was, the disaster in the mud room, that one of the dogs helped herself to some of the appetizers or that the other tried to stick his nose in someones drink, or hell, even if my flatware matched.

That lasagna was damn good though.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Adventures in Hall Decking

There's no list / Week in Review for last week. I worked. I did laundry. My Christmas shopping is mostly done. The house is somewhat decorated. It was Pink Candle Sunday on the Advent wreath this past Sunday. I don't really know the significance of Pink Candle Sunday, but that's the Sunday I like to decorate.

I had all kinds of big plans for crafty Christmasy window boxes and lights on my porch. Didn't happen. I also had plans for a real tree this year. Also didn't happen. There's a new dresser in my bedroom so my old dresser has no home right now and instead is in the place in the living room where I was going to put the tree. So I'm using the dresser like its a mantle. My advent candles are on the top and the dogs' two stockings are hanging from the top set of drawer knobs.

Last year my house was in a shambles and I thought "Next year I'm going to have a nice house for Christmas." This year I have the good fortune of having new furniture from my grandmother. The problem is that with 900 square feet, every piece of furniture has a place and if something new comes in, then something has to go out. So, there's a holding pattern of sorts going on - an end table and a corner hutch are hanging out in the dining nook in the kitchen and a dresser is loitering in the middle of the living room. Eh, maybe next year I'll have this all figured out...

So for Pink Candle Sunday I did put up my tiny fake tree and it looks kind of cute. And I do have a wreath on my front door. After lunch on Saturday I went to visit the real trees at our local neighborhood garden shop and picked up a wreath there. It's almost too big for my door, but I like it and it smells yummy.

Anyway... I'm realizing how boring this post is so I'm just going to move along to the picture portion of the program:

Giant new yummy-smelling wreath.
(Non Christmasy window box to the left.)


Santa's Helpers "helping" in the best possible way.
Apparently all of the excitement of their stockings
being hung on the dresser with care was exhausting.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Week in Review - Cheers

1. Isn't it "The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend"?? Oh Hell, Who Cares - Roll Tide...
Well, the Alabama Crimson Tide did indeed roll over the Gators. Thank goodness. Nothing worse than making yourself cheer for a team you don't like just to have them lose. Now they're playing for the National Championship and I will dutifully suck it up again on January 7th. Go SEC! I watched the game from my local dive bar (it has no windows or decent chairs, but several thousand dollars worth of flat screen televisions and my favorite local brew on tap). The crowd in the bar was all into the game and was decidedly for Alabama. Nashville is no longer made up solely of people who were born and raised in the state (we're very cosmopolitan now, y'all) so while a good bit of the patrons were likely orange-bleeders like myself, it's safe to assume there were fans of a good many different schools there as well. All united against a common enemy. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

2. Perhaps I Need to Find a Meeting - or - Become a Local Business Investor
Speaking of said dive bar... I spent more hours in that one on Saturday than I should be admitting to the entire interwebiverse. Several friends very kindly helped my brother and me move the furniture we received from my grandmother to each of our homes. Afterward we treated them to fried things, beer and football at the bar. Some people could only stay for a little while and then left, then other friends showed up, then my mother and step-father dropped by, other friends left, and then more friends showed up. So yeah... basically I arrived there around 3:00 and left around 8:30. Thanks to Melissa for sticking it out with me the entire time - what a trooper!

3. Oh Yeah, That's Right - it's Advent...
Somehow I don't think the Baby Jesus had any idea he'd have to compete with football in the middle of the preparations for celebrating his birth every year. But, then again, since we can all probably admit that he wasn't actually born in December and the crazy Christians just co-opted Winter Solstice from the Pagans, maybe he would actually be down with watching a little gridiron action. Or, at least not be too terribly offended that while I turned down the lights, lit my two purple candles and quietly contemplated the season of Advent and the end of another year, I also did so while watching the Cowboys / Giants game. (It was on mute.)

4. One More Step Toward Being a Grown-up
One of the items passed down to me from Granny was a bed. A real, Big Girl Bed with a headboard AND a foot board, so that I can finally rid myself of the cheap wobbly metal frame that was left in an apartment I once rented and meant that the mattress set my dad had given me when he got a new set for his guest room (which meant I no longer had to sleep on a futon) would not have to sit directly on the floor anymore. Woo hoo. Yes, I am almost 40. Some other time we can discuss why I shouldn't be in any rush to get a flat screen television since my current model is the first one I've ever owned that didn't have dials...

5. Someone, Please, Just Club Me in the Head
I finished my year-long, torturous, tear-inducing, home renovation project like, what, five minutes ago? So, yesterday evening as I was arranging newly-acquired furniture and contemplating how I could spend the two weeks of vacation that start one week from today (yippee!) I actually thought - ACTUALLY THOUGHT - "maybe I'll sand and refinish the hardwood floors in my kitchen and take up the crappy tile in the mud room." Seriously. It may turn out to be a blessing that I have a tendency to spend too much of my available free time (and cash and brain cells) in a bar.

Seasons Greetings!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thank God I Don't Have to Say this Very Often

The SEC Championship is tomorrow afternoon on CBS - a match-up between Florida and Alabama. Should be a great game, especially since whoever wins will play for the national championship. I've already babbled on and on about my feelings for these two teams so I won't add anything else. I will only say... as much as it pains me...


And since there's no Hail Mary Haiku contest to enter, I thought I'd try my hand at it for this less-than-auspicious occassion:

Roll Tide? Ugh. Now feel
faint; must lie down with orange
compress on my head.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

R. I. P.


I had to have my black cashmere hoodie put down over the weekend. I am still a bit sad about it. It had a long, good life (5 years), was well loved and will be missed.

As is the case with most beloved sweaters and shoes, you swear you aren't going to go out right away and get a new one... But then I found myself at Macy's a few days ago - just checking to see if the jeans I've been wanting - that are just the right color, fit so nicely and are the perfect length, but are $80 - have somehow been marked down to, say, $40. No such luck.

But there, just across the aisle from the Michael Kors section was Calvin Klein. Now, I have no reason to look for jeans in the Calvin Klein section because, as beautiful as Mr. Klein's things are, he refuses to acknowledge that women have hips. But I digress... As I woefully turned away from my not-marked-down jeans, something did catch my eye.

It was adorable. And snugly. And so needed a home.

First let me say, I've been admiring all of the super-long, chunky, cable-knit hoodies and cardigans that are so popular this season, however, being short and chunky means they don't look good on me. But there it was. A cotton, not-so-chunky, hip-length, cable-knit grey cardigan with a hood and a drawstring tie - not a big, bulky bathrobe tie that my dogs would assume was a pull toy. It was so soft, it almost felt like cashmere. And, unlike my jeans, had been marked down. Quite a bit, actually.

So, here's my new addition:

And, to honor my dearly departed black cashmere hoodie, I'm wearing the new sweater today with my beloved stripey cashmere scarf (that sort of looks like this) I got it forever ago when I still liked J Crew's clothes...

And, while we're at it...

Either from Target or Old Navy. I'm too messy to invest good money in white t-shirts. I expect this one to have mustard and/or coffee on it by the end of the day.

Trusty trouser jeans. I stalked these last year at Macy's until they were marked way down. (BTW -Tommy Hilfiger also acknowledges that women have hips - are you listening, Mr. Klein?)

Kenneth Cole Mary Janes - also on super mark-down, but from DSW. Except my straps don't buckle. They're Velcro. Because I'm eight and will have mustard on my shirt by the end of the day.

Grey herringbone trouser socks. I love fall/winter when you can wear fancy socks. I have these in tights too.

And it's raining - so I have my burberry plaid umbrella with me. (While shopping in Vegas the boys I was with patiently watched as I drooled over a pair of rain boots in the Burberry store at the Venetian. They were so pretty. But didn't even have a price tag on them, so somehow I don't think they'll ever be on super mark-down clearance...)

Anyway... farewell dear, black cashmere hoodie. I loved you so. May someone at Goodwill love you just as much.