Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Star of Blackrock

There's something about all things Christmas-related that A. doesn't like. Okay, he really kind of hates EVERYTHING about all things Christmas-related. There are a limited number of Christmas tasks I can get him to help with before he retreats to his Grinch cave to drink beer and rant about the Whos down in Whoville.

He will help me get the tree (we cut our own), and he will grudgingly help me put it in the stand. But he won't help decorate it. I always make him choose one ornament to put on the tree himself, because it's my job to force cheer into his dour, dreary life. It's a thankless job.

But there is one Christmas task that he performs with relative good grace, and that is placing the star on the top of the tree. He's the only one in the house tall enough to reach up there without teetering on a chair, though even he has to reach a little bit.

Placing the star requires graceful ballerina moves.

The tree is up, the house is decorated and (mostly) cleaned, the food is in the final stages of preparation . . . looks like we're having a party today.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Feel the Christmas Cheer, Dammit

Okay, I finally managed to make myself do some cleaning yesterday. Then I promptly negated all my good work by cutting up balsam fir branches in the house and strewing boxes of half-emptied decorations all over.

We go heavy on the candlesticks and evergreen boughs for decorating here at Blackrock. And yes, we use real evergreen boughs that I cut from a tree out back. They look MUCH better than the fake stuff, and smell better, too, but I will not lie--they are a pain in the ass. Besides the whole cutting of them, there's the sap to contend with (and of course you all remember my clever Heloise-style hint about removing sap from your clothes that I posted six months ago--RIGHT?), and then the branches slowly dry out and shed needles, leading to a solid inch of dead needles all over the furniture and floor when I attempt to remove the decorations in January. Good times.

My favoritest (yeah, that's what I said) decorations in the whole house, however, are these Santa hats that I bought at the grocery store one year. One says "Merry Christmas," and one says "Bah Humbug." To cover all the bases, you understand.

Today, I'm going with the one on the right.

What never fails to amuse me about these hats is their position on top of these priceless antique carved wooden heads from South America. You can't see it in the photo, but The Heads are kind of tribal looking, and have very stern expressions. And Santa hats. Hee.

Not so amusing, however, are the boxes still sitting on the floor in the living room that must be dealt with before the entire county descends upon our house tomorrow for the party. Having a deadline for Christmas decorating is kind of a buzzkill.

Do you have any holiday decorations up yet? Or do you hate the whole thing and wish to move to a Muslim country for the entire holiday season?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Continuing the Theme . . .

Yesterday we discussed Hated Household Chores. Today's topic may very well cause division amongst the ranks, but I'll be brave and introduce it anyway, because I think civilized discussion about differences is healthy. Unless you disagree with me, and then you're just WRONG. (Just kidding!) (Sort of.)

And NO, I am not going to talk about the cleaning that I am still not doing . . . LALALALALA--I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

Okay, onto the point. Finally.

I read a random thing about re-using bath towels yesterday. As in, some people re-use, and some people only use them once and then chuck 'em in the laundry basket.

Now. I suspect this is one of those things that people might get a little worked up about. Like, the people that only use them once think it's totally grody to the max to use a towel more than once. And the people that re-use towels think it's really stupid to wash a towel after using it once to dry off what should be a clean body, because HELLO! You just got out of the shower! Where you presumably cleaned yourself!

Can you tell where I stand on this issue?

Yeah, we re-use. Over and over and over and . . . well, you get the idea. I do not wash our towels much. In fact, I may as well admit that I don't even wash them every week (and NO, I DO NOT SMELL*). This is partially a result of living for so long without an adequate water supply for excess laundering, and partially because we just don't care about it that much. But I do understand that people get skeeved out over the damnedest things. For instance, I HATE dirty sheets. I don't sleep well when my sheets are dirty.


I am interested to know--are you a re-user, or is the very thought of re-using a bath towel enough to make you hurl? Do tell.

* Do I? You'd tell me, right?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Unhappy Housewife

Today I seem to be bored with myself and my life. Since I am my main topic, this means I can't think of a single damn thing to write about. And also, we're having a massive party on Saturday (75 people--there is some doubt they will all even fit in the downstairs) and I should be cleaning and decorating, but I don't want to. I'm feeling very pathetic and whiny today. Which leads me to . . .

It's Audience Participation Day! Because obviously I have nothing entertaining to say today, so you get to pick up the slack. Yay! So, the topic of the day, in honor of the cleaning that I am NOT doing: Most Hated Household Chore. Mine is cleaning our bathroom, which is perpetually mildewy and nasty and never looks clean even when I just finished scrubbing it. Bastard.

So what's yours? Making beds? Doing dishes? Changing light bulbs? Cleaning the cat box? Or do you refuse to do anything at all and just wallow in your own filth?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Deep Thoughts with Kristin

In the midst of the turmoil, financial and otherwise, we all face in this depressing day and age, I seek distractions. And that is why, after the announcement that the U.S. recession began a year ago and so we should all have been panicking last December, I began to contemplate the humble coffee mug.*

I was contemplating the coffee mug because I have begun to drink wine out of one. If that sounds weird and stupid to you, just take a moment to think of the benefits of such a vessel.

1) It has a handle, so your hot little hands won't affect the temperature of your wine (I don't care about such things, but you're probably a bit more refined than I am).

2) A mug has a nice solid base, making it far less tippy than a standard wine glass. This is helpful when you're on your second or third mug and would therefore be more likely to knock a glass off the table and splash wine all over the floor and the dog on the floor. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

3) A coffee mug is not see-through and no one expects it to contain anything other than a hot beverage, so you can pretend you're drinking something wholesome like Ovaltine or tea. Until you start knocking things over, and then the game is pretty much up.

My mom always uses a coffee mug for ice cream, too. Though I always preferred a bowl for that, because I'm a piglet and usually want more ice cream than will fit in a standard coffee mug.

In conclusion, I urge you today to look at the ordinary objects around you with fresh eyes. You never know what novel idea you may come up with next. And if you're easily distracted, like me, then a coffee mug may make you forget about that stupid Dow and its stupid plummeting numbers, if only for a moment.

* No, there is no relation between a recession and a coffee mug--this is just the way my mind works. Just roll with me here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Survey Says . . .

Welcome back to work, little campers! If you were lucky enough to get a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving, this first day back is going to be torture. If you're one of those poor bastards who has to work on the Friday after Thanksgiving (this category includes my sainted husband) when the rest of the country is bumming around and eating turkey sandwiches in their pajamas, I am sorry.

In any case, on this wretched Monday back after a holiday, let's indulge in a little food-related nostalgia, shall we?

Today I would like to hear about your absolute favorite, it's-not-a-holiday-without-it, gotta-have Thanksgiving dish*. For me, that's mashed potatoes. Not that I don't eat mashed potatoes with some regularity (especially this year, Lord help me), but I am not in the habit of adding a full cup of heavy cream to them on a regular basis. YUUUUUM.

I also may have mentioned my undying devotion to the crescent rolls made by the MiL's sister, but these are a new addition to my Thanksgiving dalliances. Mashed potatoes were my first love, and I remain true to them, even when stuffing my face with rolls.

So what's the must-have for you? Cranberry sauce? Gravy? Stuffing (or dressing, if you're southern)? Green bean Campbell's Cream of casserole?

* Why is it that NO ONE ever claims to love the turkey more than anything else? Mere filler, I say. Maybe next year we should just drop the charade and forget the turkey. More room for potatoes that way.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Meet the Family--The Fishes

I debated whether the goldfish should be a part of the Meet the Family series, since I think it's a stretch to call them family members. I mean, really. They spend their days floating around in water, eating and pooping. They don't so much interact with us like the other pets do. But A. loves his goldies, and they've been around for a few years, so I suppose they've earned family member status.

Allow me to present Alfie and Buttercup:

Hey, YOU try to take a good picture of fish in a tank.

If they look funny to you, that's because they're a special kind of goldfish called Lionheads. They're much fatter and rounder than normal goldfish, and their heads develop these nasty, bumpy protuberances. It is possible A. is the only person in the world who thinks they're cute.

Anyway, A. got Alfie when we were still living in a one-bedroom apartment. We couldn't have any other pets, and A. was going crazy without any animals around. So he bought the fish and then took to sitting in front of the tank, watching Alfie swim around. Occasionally, he would talk to Alfie. Then he decided Alfie needed a wife. Enter Buttercup, who is named for Princess Buttercup in "The Princess Bride." Of course, we have no idea if Buttercup is male, female, or transgender, but then again, we have no idea what Alfie is, either. And we don't care, because we support alternative lifestyles.

When we moved here and were suddenly overrun with dogs, cats, poultry, and sheep, the fish were relegated to various sub-standard dwellings. First, they were in a tank in the north bedroom. Until the tank froze almost completely in the winter. Goldfish will live quite happily under ice, but it's not so good when the ice turns solid. Then they were moved to a galvanized tub in the cellar for awhile. In the summer, they resided in a plastic tub outside. They currently live in a big-ass tank upstairs in an unused bedroom that will soon become The Aquatic Center. There's another, smaller tank in there with a few feeder fish that we bought this summer to put in the rain barrels and eat the mosquito larvae that grew in the barrels. But those feeder fish do not have names, and will not be introduced as members of the family.

Really, I think I was pushing it with Alfie and Buttercup, but there you go. Everyone has been properly introduced to The Fishes of Blackrock, and now A. can stop complaining that I treat the fish like second-class citizens.