nesting * geeking * critiquing

Posts tagged “holidays

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.

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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.


Peeps

I spent Easter weekend with my favorite peeps…and they weren’t even the marshmallow kind.
<ba dum dum>

Saturday’s festivities included a first birthday party for a very special little girl (I’m an honorary auntie) and the annual after-dark Easter egg hunt at “House Severus” (we scored toilet paper, paper towels, soap, snacks and more Tootsie Rolls than you care to know).

On Resurrection Sunday, we spent the better part of the day at my parents’ house where Uncle Pete and Aunt Sherry joined us for supper. We were elated at Christmas when Pete was able to keep down little bites of everything; this holiday brought the surprise that Pete has reacquired quite an appetite! He cleared a rather full plate and helped himself to three different desserts. Pete’s new chemotherapy involves taking a pill rather than undergoing the intravenous treatment, and it seems to be much easier on his body. Of course, only time will tell if it is as effective at staving off the multiple tumors’ growth.

Aside from Pete’s shorter, whiter hair (it’s coming back!), he was 100% Pete…joking, laughing, irreverent and sarcastic as ever. It was splendid!

We talked about going to visit our family down at the farm sometime soon, and I mentioned that I couldn’t go this weekend due to a prior engagement. Naturally, Pete took the opportunity to guilt-trip me mercilessly. “This might be the last time we all go down there together,” he teased.

Sadly, there’s an element of truth behind it. Pete’s recovery thus far has been remarkable, miraculous even—most people don’t have 9 massive brain tumors that shrink down to virtually nothing or get a 6-week life expectancy prognosis that turns into months and (hopefully) years—but we’re not guaranteed anything. Though things are looking sunny right now, the proverbial skies could cloud at any moment.

Rather than give in to the pangs of sorrow that shivered inside, I returned Pete’s banter. First, I called him on his ruse. He replied oh-so dramatically, “A ruse by any other name is still a ruse.”

Then I reminded him that it could be the last time we saw each other because I could die in a car accident any given day with my 80-mile roundtrip commute. He laughed and tossed back, “Well, what do you want me to do, go to work with you?”

You know, I sure wish I could bring him to work with me. It’d make the days better for everyone!


Easter (and a Little Nod to Zombies)

Like every holiday steeped in religious tradition, Easter means many things to many people. For me, it has always been about two things: Jesus and family.

I find deep satisfaction in observing the original intent of the holiday. It’s easy to go about my day-to-day life praying to a living, loving God who provides for my needs. In the throes of the rat race, though, I don’t make as much time as I’d like to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice and celebrate His resurrection. The Easter season presents a reminder for me to be deliberate about it.

Superman Duds on the Easter Egg Hunt

(egg hunt on the farm)

Outside of the Sunday morning services, festivities include gathering together with family. For as long as I can remember, we’ve enjoyed a delicious supper and time coloring eggs before “hunting” them. When I was little, the best times were on my grandparents’ farm.

The romanticized images dancing through my memory include warm sun rays and my little legs carrying me as fast as they could to try to pick up the brightly colored eggs before my cousins laid siege on them. After the hunt (which occasionally included an egg getting lodged in a car’s tail pipe), we all sat on the deck joking and laughing while everyone peeled and ate the hard-boiled eggs. I’ll never forget my Uncle Pete perched up on the railing, a wide smile stretched across his face.

These days, the egg-hunting activities are hosted by my in-laws. Instead of dashing around the yard in the daylight, we don headlamps and flashlights for an evening hunt. With pillowcases pinned to our belt loops, we strategize and work as quickly as possible to clear the area…knocking each other down when necessary. Plastic eggs stand in for real ones, each stuffed with candy, coins or a numbered slip of paper that corresponds with a prize. Said prizes oftentimes include snacks from a warehouse club or household supplies like soap and paper towels—we don’t have to go to the store for weeks!

I’m still not sure what great significance there is in searching for hidden eggs; maybe it’s supposed to be like Mary Magdalene and Mother Mary going to Jesus’ tomb and finding it empty. I’m sure the Google machine could give us some great insights.
That aside, Easter is a symbolic time of new beginnings, and I’m grateful that I get to spend mine with so many people I love.

Bonus! The season finale of The Walking Dead also happens to be this Sunday night. A show about zombies airing on the day set aside to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection…I see what you did there, AMC. 😉


Grinch

I honestly don’t know why I even use Facebook, given that it mostly just makes me dislike people. It’s especially bad around holidays and election time. Whereas the pre-election political junk last month was annoying, the post-election political junk was unbearable. The bitterness spewing forth from those who got their desired results was confounding; the doomsday lament from those who didn’t, exhausting. It was bad enough that I ended up deactivating my account for a few days.

The political dust has settled now, only to be replaced by something worse… Stupid, glittery, overplayed Elf on the Shelf fairy dust.

Every day for the last week or two, I’ve opened my news feed to find countless images of creepy little toy elves doing creepy little things, namely spying on kids and “reporting back to Santa” (read: being played with by parents). If the child was nice, said elf might spend the night having a fun tea party with other toys. If the child was naughty, it might make a big mess that the child has to clean up.

Maybe little kids think this stuff is fun. Maybe other parents like seeing the shared mischievous elf ideas. I don’t fall into either of those categories, I don’t think it’s fun, and I don’t care what your elf did last night. Facebook needs a “hide all Elf on the Shelf posts” option.

Having said all of that, you might suspect that I’m a little grinchy today. You’d be right. It could be because the Coke Freestyle machine at lunch spewed orange soda dye all over me (see my Twitter feed for a pic). Or it could just be because the holiday spirit hasn’t yet swept me off my feet. Worry not; this is how it plays out every year…
I start Christmafying the house and listening to Christmas music on Thanksgiving; Christmafication is completed sometime shortly thereafter. I grump around for a few weeks, trying to get into the spirit of things. Then, sometime around the 20th, I finally start to feel all Christmasy inside. I bake and wrap presents and watch holiday specials and generally love this time of year. Everything builds up to Christmas Day, then suddenly the world wants it all to be over. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, just be done with it. I can’t do that. Late start to the festivities begets a late end, which is why you’ll probably see me scurrying to take down my Christmas tree right before my birthday trip next year. Just over two months and I’ll be back on the West Coast.
Almost makes turning 30 seem worth it.
Almost.