Some Christmas Stuff

The little boy and I made some of those glass “marble” ornaments last night.  I’ve made them every few years or so, but never been pleased with them enough to post photos or really even to keep them.  This year’s batch is making it to the tree!

Here they are:

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It’s hard to get a picture of them actually hanging on a branch.  I think my camera is dying.  😦

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To make then, you need some clear glass ornaments and a bunch of acrylic paints.

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You just put some paint inside the ornament and swirl until it looks right and everything is covered.

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On a few of them, I swirled in one color, let it set for a few seconds, then used a straw to scrape stripes in the first color before I poured in the second color.

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You will waste some paint.  It takes more than a tablespoon to get the insides really coated.  I dump out most of the excess then put the ornaments upside-down on an empty egg carton to drain/dry completely.  We waited overnight before replacing the caps and hanging them on the tree.

I think they look like giant Italian marbles.  🙂

There are a few other decorations new to our house this year too.

– a huge glass strawberry that I picked up in one of my favorite Poway thrift stores:

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– a fun felt garland from Michael’s:

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– a paper garland, carefully handcrafted by the little boy:

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– the usual menagerie of sticker-covered wrapping paper trees in the stairwell:

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I’ve had that wire birdcage house on the shelf for a few years.  It came from one of my all-time favorite stores – The Vintage House in downtown Brentwood, California.  This year I filled the cage with a bag of those fragrant cinnamon pinecones from the grocery store floral department.  They smell so good when you walk by them to climb the stairs.  Ahh.

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And last, but not least, I finally found a frame at Goodwill that was interesting and big enough to fit the little Mexican tapestry I bought a few months ago.  I did a really bad job of spray painting the frame – my Facebook friends already read my note to self about avoiding windy days and swarms of gnats next time.  😦  Ha!  But it will do.  I just wanted to get the cloth protected a.s.a.p. and onto the wall while I put more thought into the bigger picture redo of my bedroom.

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So there you have it.  Christmas stuff.

How are you decorating this year?

♥♥

How I Miss Thee

What a nice week!  Christmas has once again come and gone, but the house still feels cheery and we played tourist today, so I’m in a good mood.

We drove over the bridge to snap a few photos in front of the Hotel del Coronado’s giant Christmas tree.  There were a lot of people crammed into the lobby with the very same idea, but we forged ahead and enjoyed a short walk through the downstairs shops as well.

My favorite of those is Babcock & Story Emporium.  Since I am not usually alone when I go to Coronado, I never have quite enough time in this store!  The shelves are jam-packed with the sweetest things – little birds and baubles and dishes and soaps and carved wood this and that.

The prices always seem prohibitively, touristy high at first glance, but I am convinced I can find sale items with more time to scout them out.  Hey, wait a minute!  Now that I think about it, it’s torture to go there!  Someday I will drive back by myself and spend all the time I like.  😀

This afternoon, I was on high alert with the little boy and his gotta-touch-everything instincts.  He’s VERY into candles this month.  Sensory thing – has to smell them all.  And I mean all.  Babcock & Story has a lot.  😐

He dropped a big glass candle jar at Vons on Christmas Eve.  Had it been a preferred scent, I might have taken the damned thing home and peeled the broken glass from around the wax.  But no, he had to break a stinky one – pine or something.  I put it in the cart and tried to pay for it, but the store manager checked me through and wouldn’t take my money.  Thank you, Vons Manager.  My kid and I owe you one.

Back to playing tourist…

After paying $15 (ouch) for a two-hour stay in the hotel parking lot, we bid adieu to the Christmas Tree and made our merry way to Old Town’s Casa Guadalajara for Mexican food.  Culture!  Color!  Melted cheese!  Who could ask for anything more?  Free parking?  You got it!

I ordered the same combo plate I order at every Mexican restaurant I visit: a chili relleno, a cheese enchilada with salsa verde, and vegetarian black beans with lettuce and tomato instead of rice.  Delicioso!  Guadalajara makes a spicy chili relleno.  I always forget that and for a few minutes I can’t get enough iced tea.  It is this meal that makes me know I can never be a vegan.  God help me.  Poor cows.  Poor my stomach.  It’s a LOT of cheese.

Anyhoo, after we finished lapping up our puddles of yummy, we walked across the parking lot to the Bazaar del Mundo shops.  This is one of my favorite places the day after Christmas.  Bazaar del Mundo is always a feast for the eyes and a boost for the shopper’s soul, but on this day it’s holiday sparkly and full of half-price fun.

The little boy picked out this enormous green ball for just $3.00:

and I added a pink armadillo to my tin ornament collection:

Pink armadillo.  Heh heh.  He’s funny, right?  I love him.  LOVE him!

Oh my, I am suddenly so sleepy.

Grammy and Grandpa turned in two hours ago, not far behind the little boy.  Husband is down the hall, getting hopelessly lost in his new video game and I am wondering why we’ve both kept our eyes open so late into the night.  It’s 11:29.  Husband has to work tomorrow.  I’d better go rescue him while it’s not too late to put our heads on the pillows today, instead of tomorrow.

Night night.

And Happy Sunday!

P.S.  I have missed you and I will be back to regular writing sometime this week.

♥♥

Rain, Rain Won’t You Stay?

It’s not quite 7 a.m.

I’ve been up for two hours and have already driven my friends to the airport, gone to the grocery store and fed the cats.

It’s pouring rain and it’s windy.  The roads are wet and dangerous and I could have done without the jackass taxi driver who decided he needed our lane more than we did, but we survived, and it was nice to see the world as it was waking.  I love the rain.

(PPH, thank you for your instinct to save us.)

Now my friends are on their merry way to Christmas in the South of France and I am safely back in my own little home with the fat, happy kitties and the sleeping family.

I am surprised that the little boy didn’t wake up when I moved the car in and out of the garage.  The big metal door is right under his room and it’s not that quiet.

Last night we drove thirty miles in the rain for my nephew’s 8th birthday party.  It was totally worth it.  Kids are so funny when balloons and pizza and Pump It Up are involved.  Kudos to my sister-in-law for making it happen and for giving out the Pump-It-Up treat bags – these toys are great!

We built some extra time into our trip and stopped at Nothing Bundt Cakes on the way.  I know I’ve mentioned this place before, but it’s worth mentioning again.  And again.  And again.

I always think I’ve surely sampled the very best bundt they have to offer and then they offer me a sample of something else.  This time it was the white chocolate raspberry cake.  Oh.  My.  Heavens.  Scrumdidilicious.  Is that a word?  I bought one of those and two of my husband’s favorite, the chocolate with chocolate chips.

After tucking the bag of little cakes safely out of my reach, we headed for the party.  We were thirty minutes early.  To kill some time, I took the boy over to Walter Andersen Nursery across the road.  He didn’t want to go until I told him we could look at the Christmas Trees.  I think he might have driven himself after that.

I love wandering around nurseries at the holidays.  There are bright red flowers and cheery green trees and lots of wreaths and miniature trains.  The ornaments are just half price and the employees all seem full of joy and kindness.  I asked for the minimum yard of fresh pine garland at $1.99 a foot.  The clerk gave me two yards, charged me for one and slashed the price of that to just $1.50 for the lot of it.  Amazing.  The little boy picked out this huge beautiful glass acorn ornament for  just three bucks.  We love it.

We didn’t venture out into the yard of plants and flowers but the view of them in the dusky rain was magical.  The smell of the Christmas trees was intoxicating and caused us both to pause at the door a moment before skipping on through to the other side of the indoor showroom.  Not a bad way to spend an unexpectedly empty moment in a very busy week.  Next year, I might just schedule it in on purpose.

The party was a good ending to the little boy’s day.  He jumped in the bounce houses for an hour and a half, nibbled on a slice of pepperoni pizza, poked at a piece of birthday cake then turned to me and said “are you ready to go?”  His question was a directive.  He wanted me to ask him.  I did and we went.

Settling down after that sort of outing is little bit tough for us both.  The boy was up and out of his bed two or three times before finally crashing around 9:30.  That’s really late for him.  When I last looked at the clock, it said 12:35.  😦  Just four hours of sleep.  Early to the pillow tonight for sure!

Happy Tuesday!

P.S.  What’s on your agenda four days before Santa gets here?

♥♥

The Annual Anxiety

Christmas makes me nuts.

I don’t mean that I get busy and forget to eat and have a short temper.

I mean that it makes me feel like my life is spinning out of control.

I love the season – all the lights, the colors, the food, the cheap Santa hats, the glitter on everything – all of it.

But letting people down, especially my son, absolutely sends me over the edge.  I get a stomach ache, my mind races, and I feel more distracted than usual.

This year, I am possessed by guilt because the little boy wants a kitchen.

He has wanted a kitchen since he was five.

We have never given him one.

They’re big (though not big enough for him), they’re expensive and we know a kitchen isn’t a toy he would play with as much as he plays with lego or trio or his cardboard blocks.  Should that matter?

He really wants one and I am loathe to deny him that joy on Christmas morning.  He is soooo excited, more than ever before.

Our house is a museum for his personal paper crafts, the only holiday music we ever have running is his own little voice and he even plays Christmas themed arcade games on the computer.  He points out every cheesy plastic snowman in the neighborhood and he gets up in the night and turns on his Christmas tree lights after the timer shuts them down.

He is full of glee for the big day and he thinks Santa is going to bring him a kitchen.

But Santa is feeling a little bit broke and a little bit wary of buying more enormous plastic junk, so Santa is plagued with indecision, gut-wrenching stress and whole lotta guilt.  Oh, the guilt.

Santa is also possessed by guilt over disappointing the grown-ups too.

The little boy is locked into a very rigid schedule and he freaks out in traffic, so limiting his car time and social commitments is imperative for us this year.

Surviving Christmas means letting people down by declining invitations, leaving early, showing up late, not helping with the food, forgetting gifts, and sometimes being downright rude, out of fatigue and desperation though, not intent.  All of that makes a cheery Santa kind of sad sometimes.  (And perhaps a bit insightful about Santas of the past.)

Back to the kitchen.  What should Santa do?  What would you do in Santa’s shoes?  Santa’s enormous, shiny, hard-to-fill shoes?  What would you do?  How would you keep from going nuts?

P.S.  Did I ever show you this teeny Maneki Neko I bought at Marukai last Spring?

I cleaned out my giant green purse and found it in a side pocket the other day.  I had completely forgotten it was there.  It seemed fitting to hang it on the tree, next to Kimono Bunny, of course.  😀

♥♥

Thrifting

I went to the thrift store at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center today.

It’s a hit and miss place for me.

It has very limited parking – only three spots right in front of the door.

Sometimes I will circle back ten times and never get a place.

It’s probably for the best that there aren’t more spaces, because the store can only handle about three people and then it’s too claustrophobic to enjoy.

It’s the kind of place that you will definitely be chatting with the clerks, mostly older women with giant hearts who volunteer their time.

If you’re not in the mood for that, you should probably skip it.

The inventory includes mostly little housewares, some clothes and a few books.  Today, the store also had an entire shelf full of Christmas items.

That’s where I found the latest addition to my ornament collection:

Only a dollar for the four of them.

The little boy couldn’t stand that I wanted a picture before he got to hang them on the tree.

I also got three paperback books for a grand total of $0.45.

I wish every thrift store employed that pricing structure.  😀

On my way into the shop, I got to meet China, the therapy bunny.

When I first arrived, she and her owner were coming out the back door of the hospital.

China is a huge, beautiful, white rabbit with a silky coat and sweet twitchy ears.

She rides in a small baby carriage and seems perfectly at ease when you pet her.

I confess, rabbits have always made me a little nervous, but I couldn’t resist when her owner invited me to say hello.

Seriously, it made my day.

When I was through petting China, her owner held a bottle of sanitizer above my hands.  Without comment, I opened my fingers to accept a dab.  It amuses me how automatic that was for both of us.  No conversation about it ever occurred.  It was simply understood that she would provide that and I would accept it, no questions asked.  So odd.  I wonder what a foreigner might think about this new cultural standard.

The rest of the day was unremarkable.

I drove too far for a book that wasn’t in stock, I did a load of laundry, I cried a bit about I don’t even know what, and I had an oddly brief lunch with my mom.  I think she didn’t really have the time and probably should have declined instead of meeting me, but I know how it goes – I like to see my kid too.

Nothing else to report…

This is what the little boy ate for his snack today:

And this is where he put Charlie Brown for a while:

This is how he amused himself over the weekend:

And last, but not least, here is that red pink camellia in my backyard:

Okay, that’s it.  See you tomorrow.  Unless you stop by tonight.

Happy Monday!

P.S.  Will someone please remind me to call the bulky trash pick-up guys to come and get my stinky purple couch?  😐  I’d love to park in the garage again.  Sigh.

♥♥