Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Traditions: Collecting Ornaments

Be prepared for some really, really bad "iphone" pics. By "iphone," I mean shitty android phone.

As I was decorating the tree this year, I found it hard to enjoy myself. I didn't feel excited looking at my ornaments, and I only felt daunted by the task of getting them all up. No one was there to help me or just be enthusiastic while I decorated. There was a bump on a log facebooking all evening which was doing nothing to spread holiday cheer.

With each ornament I put on the tree, I missed the ornaments my family has collected over the years. For several years, it became a tradition to pick out at least one new ornament each Christmas. One of my favorites is a penguin I picked out, and my sister Liz's rosy-cheeked tot decked out in snow gear is adorable. My niece looked just like her this Thanksgiving! So cute. We also have miniature animals, including a monkey and elephant, that everybody loves. Many people have now discovered the joys of vintage ornaments, but we started building our collection of those many years ago. I have some vintage ornaments that I purchased last year at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. They are cute, and I had my friend/soulmate Susan with me, so that was special, but not quite the same.

get the worst over with. one of my vintage ornaments.

Vintage Santa. I promise he doesn't look this creepy in person.
I told my boo that I was feeling sad, and naturally, unenthused. He offered to continue the tradition of adding a new ornament to the tree each year, so it was off to Target we went. Since doing so, I've noticed our new ornament in a few other blogs. Turns out we were not alone in our appreciation of the glittery pickle!

A glittery pickle and a dry tree. Merry Christmas!
As we continue to build our collection of whimsical and vintage ornaments, I'm going to cycle out the generic, cheap ornaments little by little. Right now they are tree filler. I love the look of special ornaments, but more importantly, I love the memories and feelings that come back to me when I unpack them each year. I'm happy to be able to do that in my parents' home and now my own!

Merry Christmas Eve everybody!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Traditions: Packages Tied up With String

This year's tree with all the presents that weren't sent direct by Amazon!

Many years ago, my mom incorporated beautifully wrapped gifts with delightful fabric ribbon into our Christmas traditions. That first year she did so, I also remember that the area surrounding our tree was positively bursting with a bounty of gifts. If I am remembering correctly, it was difficult to enter the living room through the hall doorway because there were giant stacks of presents blocking the way. Looking back on it, that year must have really broken the bank, but it also created some very special memories for me that I try to emulate every year.

A stack of presents for my family

I get a little nuts about gift wrapping.* I also get a little nuts about the Christmas tree, both the decorating and the placement of the gifts below. I always want it to look just so. Over time, it has become a bit of a tradition to photograph the tree with all the beautiful presents carefully arranged beneath and beside it. Unfortunately, I won't be able to carry on this tradition at my parents' home as I'll be missing Christmas in Oregon for the first time in my life. As difficult and sad as that is, after five years of holidays apart, my boo and I are now alternating holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) with our families. It's the right thing to do, but it's still not easy.

Leeeetle, tiny presents with ribbon "scarves"

I miss my entire family, but I've realized that I'm particularly missing my mom. I think she and I are the most attached to our Christmas traditions. Most of the other family members probably wouldn't miss the careful wrapping on the gifts, the cookies, or the tree photo. Even though we'll have to be apart every other Christmas from now on, I hope we'll both continue our traditions--even if we are 1,000 miles apart.

Now, this blog wouldn't be adequately unenthused without a little snark. This year I splurged on some hipstery, overpriced wrapping paper that I was VERY enthused about! Then I discovered I had not purchased rolls of paper. I had purchased three sets of TWO FREAKING SHEETS of paper, wrapped around a cardboard roll. They weren't big enough to cover the boxes I had, and even if they had been, it would have only covered six presents. Six out of a gazillion.

Inspiration for next year via

Next year I am going to make smarter choices. I love the look of the gifts above. That ribbon is great! I think I am going to stock up on solid rolls that I can use during other seasons as well. I also like stacking gifts that are going to the same person/household. When sending via UPS, it's not an efficient use of space. Next year!

*I refused to send the gifts to my family in Oregon until every gift (including for friends and my in-laws) had been purchased, wrapped, and placed under the tree. I had to get my picture! As a result, I spent, like, half a plane ticket on shipping. Told you. Crazy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I paid $20 to chaperone this high school dance

And all I got out of it was a facebook status update that resulted in this blog post.

A few weeks ago, I ventured out of my safe, warm, usually snack filled apartment for a night out on the town. Which town? I'm not sure, but according to google maps, it is where placentia, fullerton, and maybe anaheim touch. So we will call it plafullerheim. We went to this particular club in plafullerheim for the birthday party of a high school friend of my boo. Like the only other Orange County club I've been too recently, this was located in a shopping area where you might find a dollar store, mini-mart, taqueria, nail salon with Korean art, and a donut shop. Upon our arrival, we were dismayed to find the guest list was closed and we had to pay $20 per person. $20?! Can't I just sneak in through the Panaderia next door? No.

When we went in, I was immedaitely struck by the malodorous quality of the establishment, but luckily there was something else going on that distracted me from the smell. As it turns out, we had inadvertently paid to enter a children's gym! Weird. Those kids must be night owls.

Ohhhhh no, these are just the X clubbers, branded with the black marker X that distinguishes the 18+ cohort from the upper echelon of fluorescent bracelet wearers drinking up all the bar's liquor. A bar WITHOUT diet coke, btw. There were many, many X marked hands that evening, and I am pretty sure they were all high school seniors.

I struggled to keep an expressionless face as I observed the teens sometimes awkwardly, sometimes too expertly, grind against each other. I shouldn't see this! If I knew their parents, I would feel compelled to inform them! Too old. I am tooooo old for this shit. And the outfits of these young women didn't make it any easier to hide the judgment from my face, or the sadness.

What the hell ever happened to a going out top and jeans? I used to go out a lot, and that was the key to a successful going-out-outfit! Sure, there were handfuls of women that made poor choices like mini skirts and dresses that made it impossible to keep one's dignity in tact. But now! Now such attire is practically a fucking requirement! And whhyyyyyyy the plasticky material? You cannot, I repeat cannot, wear a dress and get low. Or twerk. Or grind. Or any of those things that aren't a great idea to begin with but can be very fun. Well, you can, but not without ruining any chance of showing an ounnce of respect for yourself. This can be difficult enough for young women without compounding it by showing your vag as you literally get down on the floor. Or letting your whole ass hang out of your spandex mini while you back it up. These things happened, but since I wasn't ACTUALLY chaperoning a dance, there was nothing I could do about it.

See how appropriate I look?

I have a more serious take on this type of behavior that I'll get into another time, but for now I'll just say this: Ladies, if you want the freedom to dirty dance the night away, please wear pants. If you want to show some leg, please wear shorts. Even booty shorts if it means keeping your private parts private. Thanks, much appreciated.

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