nesting * geeking * critiquing

Posts tagged “Christmas

My Super Star Wars Christmas

I’ve never known a disappointing Christmas; this year was no different. And like most of my last 27 or so Christmases, this one had a decidedly “galaxy far, far away” flair. There were other gifts, too, among them clothes and DVDs (I love me some Bob Newhart) and some Catching Fire goodies.

DSC_3630The 31-inch Vader figure is courtesy of my parents—the knitted winter cap they found adds a nice touch, don’t you think?
Severus (whose name is changed to protect the innocent) supplied the rest. The Slave 1 is probably one of the best ship sculpts I’ve ever seen, and the vintage-inspired packaging makes me happier than Boba Fett disintegrating people. Well, maybe not quite that happy, but close.
In front of it rests a SW candy cane and some little food utensils. There’s also a Han Solo in Carbonite chocolate bar…most definitely some form of torture. How can you eat something that looks that cool???
Much to my husband’s chagrin, the HerUniverse Imperial tank top will perfectly showcase my tattoo when I get it later this year. Oh, and the “talking” Tauntaun gives me a good chuckle.

On the far left is the pièce de résistance. Unbeknownst to me, Severus staged a photo shoot with some of my toys and crafted for me a picture bouquet. The envelope sticking up in the middle? Tickets to Star Wars Celebration 2015!!! Talk about a huge surprise, we hadn’t even discussed going. Now I have about 15 months to prepare myself. 🙂

What cool Star Wars swag did you get this year?


Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I don’t always tell stories about what an idiot I am, but when I do it’s for your benefit. Consider it an act of public service, my goodwill gesture for the day. Today I present…

How Not to Water Your Plants

Christmas is growing near; like “if you were to slip on the ice and black out for a couple of days you’d miss it” near. As someone who fell on an icy driveway this weekend, I can attest that’s not out of the realm of possibility.

I’m fortunate to be taking a break from the office for an extended period of time between Christmas and New Year’s…starting in a few hours. Excited though I am, this absence presents a dilemma for the plants in my care, those little oxygen-producing beauties that make me feel a teensy weensy bit less like I’m stuck inside all day. every. day. plants

My cubicle boasts 4 planters and 2 mugs of philodendrons…they’re very hard to kill and thrive in darkish surroundings, which weighs heavily in my favor. Knowing I’ll be enjoying the comforts of home until January 2, I decided I should scour the internet for absentee plant-watering tips.

Multiple sources indicate that one can recycle a water bottle for use as a free dripper alternative to those seen-on-tv globey things that cost money at Walmart. You cut holes in the lid, fill with water then lodge the bottle lid-down into the soil, thus producing a gentle dispersal of water for your greenie friends. If you’re wondering how this is supposed to work without the water all rushing out at once, the theory is that the soil provides the necessary barrier until it starts to get dry and shrinks up, allowing more water to come out. Or some such science-y happenings like that. I’m a writer, people, don’t expect me to understand it.

Given the ample supply of water bottles at my disposal in the recycle bin not far from my desk, I decided to give it a go. I fished out the 4 nicest bottles, cut a slit in the lid of each and set off for the nearest sink. Filled to the brim with tap water that is quite possibly unsuitable for human consumption, I returned to my desk, inverted the first bottle and nestled it into the soil. The water came out a bit more rapidly than I had expected, but I attributed it to the fact that I’d not done a very good job of burying it securely lid-down. I quickly applied the next 3 bottles to their planters.

Just as I stepped back to appraise my work, I noticed the water streaming down from my shelf onto the desktop. The glug-glug-glugging of the first bottle was not an isolated incident, and the overflow trays underneath the pots weren’t enough to contain it all.
In virtually no time at all I had turned my workspace into a splash pool. Mercifully, I’d had the forethought (sheer luck, more like) to pack up my laptop prior to commencing said gardening endeavor. A couple dozen napkins/paper towels and about 30 minutes later, I had finally cleaned up the fail.

The moral of the story? Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Except this, you should absolutely believe this.

Simply Sentimental

If you’re a frequent visitor to this establishment, you know that I’m smitten with snark. Today, though, I’m trading that for sentimentality. Savor it, friends.

Each week our company intranet highlights articles that call attention to the business. One such post in June came from the Edmond Sun by way of a weekly column called “As I See It” (the actual post was titled ‘Some Birthdays Outdo Others’). I enjoyed the writing so much that I decided to search
the website for other pieces by the author, one Marjorie Anderson. The more I read, the more I was convinced this delightful woman needed to have a published anthology of her wit and wisdom…
and so, I emailed the Sun‘s editor to offer my suggestion and express praises for a job well done.
The kind editor put me in touch directly with Mrs. Anderson, thus sparking a fast e-pen-pal friendship.

MA has several decades of life experience on me but I feel like we’re very much cut from the same cloth; it all goes back to my being an old soul, I suppose. She regales me with stories of her current adventures with dog Su and of days past, offers insights on a host of matters and obliges my never-ending questioning. We also share a love of cute animal videos. As an aside, you can find her books (This End Up and A Patchwork Sampler) on Amazon, and I highly suggest that you do!

This week, MA gave me a sneak peek of her Christmas column. Her lovely memories made me think about my own “glittering” Christmas recollections. I shared the following with her, so I’ll share them with you too!

I have a hard time pinpointing my favorite Christmases past. My dad was always snapping photos, so I sometimes wonder how many of my memories are actually memories and how many are just things that I think I remember from having seen the photographs all these years.

Mostly I remember a blur of decorations and gifts. Far too many gifts, really. But there is one year that stands out: Christmas 1989 if I had to guess (since I think I was in 1st grade at the time). Among the whirlwind of gifts was a musical jewelry box. It wasn’t anything special in hindsight, just some laminated chipboard in the shape of a circus train car. Regardless, I remember focusing on it that evening as my mom tucked me in and we said our bedtime prayers. For whatever reason, looking at it made me sob. I thought of all the beautiful gifts I’d received and realized, probably for the first time, that there were other little children who had nothing. There are no pictures of that moment, so I am certain it’s a memory.

angelAnother “glittering” moment for me is one that I get to re-live each year as I decorate my Christmas tree. In 1990 or ’91, I received a package in the mail from my great-grandmother in Texas. It contained the yearly check that she sent for my parents to buy me a pretty new Christmas dress (another came each Easter) and a little seashell angel ornament that she had picked up on a trip with my great-aunt and –uncle. Every year, it hangs prominently near the top of my tree though it’s probably one of the ugliest things I own. Its little mop of thinning white curls reminds me so much of my dear

Both of my grandmothers passed before I turned 8,
but Great-Mamaw was with us until my freshman year of high school. I was especially fortunate in that we saw her somewhat frequently despite the vast distance between Granbury, TX, and our home in Missouri. We visited Granbury once or twice a year, and she lived with us for weeks or months at a time while Uncle Dale and Aunt Martha (who passed away this year) traveled around the country.

My Christmas tree also boasts her handmade, crafted drum ornaments. Great-Mamaw’s arthritis kept her from doing much crafting in her later years, but I did get one last ornament that she made at the nursing home towards the end of her lifetime. The little felt mouse looked more like a preschool craft but it came to me with a stack of quarters from her bingo winnings. The mouse’s googly eyes have long since fallen off, but it still touches my heart. Each time I see it, I’m reminded that Great-Mamaw was thinking of me even as her pain was great in those last months.

That’s the point of Christmas, isn’t it?! At the risk of sounding preachy, I feel compelled to mention this: God was thinking of us even as He felt the pain of sending His Son from Heaven down to earth to live among us. Jesus, the namesake of Christmas, is the greatest gift God could have given us. Not only was He the greatest gift at the time of His birth, He is still the greatest gift. It was Jesus who sacrificed Himself for our sins and overcame the power of the grave to afford us the gift of life abundant. Now that is a reason to celebrate!

Saving Santa

While I’m a big kid myself, I’ve never been a big ‘kid person.’ I can remember saying as a child that I never wanted to have children…these days I’m more open to the idea but we’re not taking any drastic measures to add to our little family. The dogs and cat keep us company without demanding much in the way of obligation, and we’re generally happy with life at the moment.

Not being a ‘kid person’ does not, however, mean that I wholly dislike being around kids. On the contrary, I think spending time with them can offer fresh perspective that’s good for the soul. I just happen to like my time spent in small doses.

The day before Thanksgiving, I had one such opportunity at work. A coworker had brought in her son, C, an adorable third grader; when she needed to run an errand, C got to hang out at my desk for a little while. We watched some videos on YouTube to pass the time—BMX bikers, domino tricks (“those have to be fake!”) and What Does the Fox Say?—which sparked some fantastic conversations. During the fox video, C declared that the costumed singers were dorky but the grandpa character was funny. I commented on his beard looking “like Santa Claus’s.”

“Santa has a really long beard. I wonder how long it’s been since he shaved?” C mused before answering his own question. “Probably not since he was a kid.”
I don’t remember my response, but it was something of the nod-along variety.
“But he’s a VERY generous man,” C stated most sincerely with a little sparkle in his eye. “Bringing toys to all of the little children…it’s amazing.”

“Yep, Santa’s an awfully good guy,” I agreed and made a mental note to choose my words carefully so as not to spoil any of the magic.
“Did you know some kids don’t believe in Santa Claus?” C looked at me with wide eyes full of astonishment.
Trying to appear dumbstruck, I replied, “Really? Well that’s just silly. He still visits me every year!”

“Yeah,” C dismissed my comment and continued, “They think it’s their moms and dads. But how would they even do that?? It’s SO late and they’re in bed asleep.”
I shook my head and shrugged.
“I mean, I know my dad, and I don’t think he’s the kind of person to do that. He likes to sleep.”
“Dads do like their sleep,” I offered just before C got distracted by one of the video suggestions on the screen.

Jedi Master Yoda famously declares in Attack of the Clones: Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.
And I have to say after interactions like this one, I completely agree.

Christmas Wrap-Up

Where does one begin after an extended absence? I de-Christmafied my house this past weekend, so maybe I should start with some reflections on Christmas. As luck would have it, this doubles as an update on my uncle Pete…

We were blessed to spend the majority of Christmas Day with Pete Christmas at my houseand Sherry. They’ve come to my parents’ house for Christmas dinner before, but this year was particularly special.

Over the past several months, Pete has been unable to keep food in his stomach apart from white rice, oatmeal and nutritional supplement drinks like Ensure. It was balancing a bowl of oatmeal while climbing the stairs that caused Pete quite a tumble back in November, thus halting his chemotherapy to allow his wounds time to heal. Given that hiatus and a change in medication, Pete’s stomach has slowly stabilized. At this point, any improvement is welcomed for his ever-shrinking build.

The temperamental stomach contributed to my parents hosting dinner this year instead of breaking in my new home—Pete had expressed to my mom that he felt more comfortable vomiting at her house if he needed to. Though it might sound a bit strange, it was somehow heartwarming to hear his confession; an odd little reminder of the bond and love known only with family.

To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, Christmas came just the same. We were prepared for Pete to have an unpleasant time, what with his stomach and witnessing our gluttonous feasting. But we were all overjoyed to see him in good humor and prepared to eat bits of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and part of a roll. The ham was unpalatable for him, but he managed tiny helpings of the rest. In typical Pete fashion, we were treated to the warning that he sounds like the creature from Jeepers Creepers when his body decides it’s time to evict a meal. Sure it’s gross, but it’s also pretty darn funny and that’s just Pete.

We didn’t exchange any gifts with Pete and Sherry—his $400/month seizure medication put the kibosh on that—and yet, I don’t think I’ve ever had a better Christmas. While I can’t yet fathom the possibility of this having been our last Christmas together, I know the odds are stacked steeply against us. If this was the last, it was a mighty fine one.

Though Pete’s brain tumors are under control, the various other tumors are unrelenting. We should know next month if the oncologists feel chemotherapy is the best treatment going forward.

I’d also like to ask that you keep in mind my aunt Kelly as she battles her relapsed breast cancer. It’s easy to think of breast cancer as a known quantity with guaranteed remission, but the reality is that it’s never a guarantee. We continue to covet your prayers for my family.