Monday, December 21, 2009

The Naughty and The Nice

A Christmas Riddle:
What is funny the first time, makes you get the camera the second time, and by the thirtieth time makes you want to say "oh please, can't Christmas be over so I can put all this away?"

Answer: A cat climbing the Christmas tree.
Over and over and over...

This poor tree has been through enough as it is. I spent fifteen futile minutes trying to correct its terrible lean (now it just leans the other way), and I am praying it makes it to Christmas. I've already decided to take all the ornaments off right after the big day so if Ollie manages to take out the whole tree while we are gone at least nothing else will break. The worst part is that the more I scold, the more he climbs - Naughty!

Now for the Nice: My darling helper and I baked [some of the] Christmas cookies this afternoon. Amy helped with the whole operation: rolling, cutting, and sprinkling - that was her favorite part. I had to keep a hand on the sprinkle shakers to prevent huge blobs of color on each cookie. But she did a really good job and I'm proud of her for helping!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Zoo Keeping

Juliett would like to tell you about two very big improvements made around here: Nice new white ceramic bowls for the cats' food, to replace the plastic dishes that got chased all over the kitchen and smelled permanently like, well, cat food. Bowls from Target, $0.89 - when I found out the price I went back and bought four more to keep up a nice rotation.

New and improved litter box accommodations: Mega-huge box to replace the two smaller ones, and one giant tray to catch some of the scattered litter. Here's hoping those high sides catch all the, um, overshoots. My goal here: make daily poop-scooping (which I'm not even supposed to be doing right now) take less than the current ten solid minutes of scooping, sweeping, wiping, etc. The tray is from Lowe's; it's meant to go under a washing machine to catch leaks (thanks, Mom, for the idea).

So, I know it's not Christmas-related, but that's what I accomplished today!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Take Two

A picture of our tree, fresh out of the box and ready to be set up, perhaps?

No, try a picture of our tree after it fell over. Twice. I couldn't even blame the cats for this one. We put the tree up and decorated it on Thursday, and on Saturday afternoon while reading to Amy before naptime I heard a very unremarkable clank-thunk. Like the sound of a table-top picture frame being knocked over. I thought for sure it was Mr. Knocks-Off-Everything-That-Weighs-Less-Than-Himself (that would be the small orange one in the foreground), but both he and Juliett were sleeping innocently on the bed at the time.

I had forgotten to look around after Amy went to sleep, and it was only as I scurried downstairs to grab something necessary for the project I was working on upstairs that I realized the tree was down. At first it looked like one of the feet hadn't been in the right position, and therefore popped out of the base. So I pushed the sucker back up and thought I had fixed it. As I'm crawling around straightening the skirt the whole thing falls over again. On top of me.

I just about broke down in tears at this point. I had been working so hard for several days, desperately trying to get up to speed with the whole Christmas-thing (see previous post) and felt that I was finally getting somewhere, and then my Christmas tree gave me the middle finger.

As it turns out, it wasn't the tree's fault, exactly... looks like that stupid plastic foot simply split through the stupid plastic slot where it attaches to the stupid plastic base. That's what I get for only spending $40. And the thing is, until last year I have never been a fake-tree person. But last year we had a freshly minted toddler, minimal extra space, and a holiday season we were going to be away for most of, so it simply made sense to not get a real tree. Add an extra cat and the same is more or less is true for this year (though the toddler has gotten a good deal more trustworthy).

Anyway, I tearfully took off every single ornament (only one broke), unwrapped all the lights, left the tree in pieces on the floor and wondered what to tell Amy who I knew would wake up asking to put candy canes on the tree, as I had just promised her she could.

Thankfully my knight in shining armor came home from work a few hours later, ignored my pleads to just go get a real tree, and promptly went to work sawing up some scraps of wood and zip-tying them to the tree base so that it could fit in the regular tree stand. I really didn't think it would work, but should have known that my boatswain's mate husband would come through for me.

So, a happy ending. Amy and I redecorated the whole thing (because really, who doesn't want to string Christmas lights twice in the same year?- oh wait, me!). It has a bit of a lean to it... but I can overlook that for now. All that matters is that the tree is up, the halls are decked, and I'm back on track.

And lastly, here's a closeup of Amy's decorating... this collection of non-breakables comes on and off the lower branches several times a day. My little helper!

PS - Don wanted me to give him due credit for saving all the random bits of wood that he does. I contend that I have never really objected to this, but when one moves frequently it becomes slightly awkward to ask movers to yes, please pack up and label this box of quasi-garbage and bring it to our nice new home. That's all. I love having extra pieces of wood around, Don, really I do! ;)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wait Up, Santa!

I'm so terribly behind!!

We've long ago decided that this is going to be a low-budget and fairly simple Christmas, gift-wise, so it's not like I have tons of shopping to do, but somehow it's December 10th and I feel like the Christmas-prep train is leaving the station without me.

October and November (months during which I would normally be getting things organized and getting handmade projects underway) were spent feeling rather ill, quite tired, and generally lacking in enthusiasm. The last week or so of November brought big improvement, but also took us to Connecticut for Thanksgiving with Don's family and then a bonus week spent at my parents' house. While it was a wonderful getaway and much-needed change of scenery, two weeks away at this time of year made for a major seasonal time warp.

But enough excuses. With two weeks to work with I must get Christmas cards in the mail, borrow my friend's sewing machine to churn out a few quick (I hope) presents, spend some time with my crochet hook, place a few strategic online orders, finish with the tree and other decorations, and do some baking (I'm most looking forward to that). Oh, and then get ready for yet another trip north the week after Christmas!

Tomorrow I will finish with my post-vacation housekeeping and general catch-up and then be ready to put my elf hat on and start feeling festive. That's the plan, anyway.