Sunday, December 21, 2008

Some Christmas Thoughts

Here's a poem by Mr W:

Christmas is nice, there are no mice.
I stay home, because I don't have to roam.
I have fun, until Christmas is done.

As we close in on another Christmas, I find myself, well, oddly contented. I say oddly because I usually fret a lot about the few obligations I do have. Getting the right stuff for the right people in time for the big day. My dad has very specific present requests, and his birthday is two days before Christmas. The gifts he wants never change, so it's easy to get the right gift; it's just getting it there that seems to be a challenge sometimes.

I've finished all but one knitting project, and have learned a valuable lesson: I should make things that hold my interest while I'm knitting them, and also of course that I think the people will like. I mailed off presents for my brother in law and nephews - my sister's family - and felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I guess I've attached some meaning to these gifts, wanting them to say that I think of these people often. I hope they like what I made.

Mr W and I are traveling after Christmas to see my brother and his family, and I am looking forward to lots of food, drink and good conversation. My other brother and his wife are also coming in. I only wish CB could join us, but he's off to Mexico on work. He's getting a couple of knitted things, but was kind enough not to impose a deadline for them.

The plan for Christmas day is for Mr W to be with me in the morning, and then I'll drop him off at his dad's for a few days. I was going to work half a day, but got a better offer. My friend from high school has invited me to her house to spend the afternoon. Yippee!! I didn't mind the prospect of working. I've gotten reasonably good at working ahead to take time off later. But now I have an invitation, so I will most certainly not be working that day!!

Merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lingering Post-Election Misinformation

Check this out:

Our Disinformed Electorate
December 12, 2008
by Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Brooks Jackson

We saw more aggressive fact-checking by journalists in this election than ever before. Unfortunately, as a post-election Annenberg Public Policy Center poll confirms, millions of voters were bamboozled anyway.

More than half of U.S. adults (52 percent) said the claim that Sen. Barack Obama’s tax plan would raise taxes on most small businesses is truthful, when in fact only a small percentage would see any increase.

More than two in five (42.3 percent) found truth in the claim that Sen. John McCain planned to "cut more than 800 billion dollars in Medicare payments and cut benefits," even though McCain made clear he had no intent to cut benefits.

The first falsehood was peddled to voters by McCain throughout his campaign, and the second was made in a pair of ads run heavily in the final weeks of the campaign by Obama.

For more from the informative site, follow this link.

Holiday excess

Wow. Check out these displays. Here's a teaser:

For more, go see this link.
Found a couple times removed from here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My conflicting thoughts on Christmas gift giving

Last year for Christmas, I bought several things for Mr W that he never played with. Never. Once they were unwrapped and out of the box (and hence unreturnable), he never touched them again. This is sort of a recurring theme; I don't see myself as a good gift-picker-outer.

In addition, I am conflicted about how to go about gift giving for him. I'm OK with spending the money, it's the choice of gifts that has me a bit flummoxed.

In conservation biology, there is something called the "SLOSS debate", which deals whether a rare species is protected better by existing in a Single Large Or Several Small preserves. I see an analogy to my gift giving this year. Should I get the one big kahuna of a gift that I know will be a big hit, or get several smaller items so that there's more than 2 things to open on Christmas morning?

Well, I did finally get off the fence yesterday, and got him a video game player. He'll love it, and I'll get my computer back :-)

It makes me feel better, in giving what I think is a big ticket item (although at Best Buy yesterday, no one else seemed to think so...) to also involve Mr W in making some donations to worthy causes. Here's my list:

1. Our local food bank. The long lines that are there when I drop my dog off at dog school across the street aren't getting any shorter.

2. Heifer International. Easy for kids to get behind this one.

I figured one local and one international charity would make sense and set a good example for the kid.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ups and Downs of Technology

I recently purchased a shiny new iPod Nano, like the one above. LOVE it. However, this morning I'm trying to get songs that I had on my other music service to cooperate, and it ain't workin'.

I'd just like to shake my fist a bit here.

*sigh* And while I'm shaking my fist, I am reminded when CB and I were talking about when to schedule the next visit, and I said, "let's wait until X (there was a good reason)", and he said, "you OK with that?" And I said, "I am now, but during that last week I'll be gnashing my teeth and shaking my fist because it's been so long".

It is now that week. Grrr.

On the up side, xmas knitting is going well, and I'm doing a couple of small things that have high instant gratification quotients.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Promotion of Pack Rat Tendencies

For all of my adult life, I've never lived in one place for more than 4 years. I've logged 3 in this house, and likely will set a new stay-in-one-place record by being here for a couple more years. This has reduced my tendency to be a pack rat, since I have to go through all the boxes every few years and decide whether it stays or goes.

But there are some things that get put to the side with the intention of using them someday should the need arise, and I think it's interesting how one can't really predict what those uses will be. Over the last couple of weeks I've used three things that fit this description.

First, I was able to give away a glass pendant that I made that, while lovely, was too big for my taste.

Then, I was able to use two movie gift cards that Mr W got for a birthday present when he was, um, well, I guess it was for his 4th birthday (he's closing in on 8). Yes, I used them with him, Bolt in 3-D. Bought him a blue slushie with the rest of the credit on the card, too.

Finally, and this is the one that I think is the coolest, there was a nice little rock hanging around in my medicine cabinet for the last couple of years. How did it get there? Well, Mr W collected it, as kids do ("here, mom") when we were visiting our local canyon and I put it in my pocket.

At the end of that day, I must have been going through my pockets before putting clothes in the hamper, and put it in the medicine cabinet because I couldn't throw out such a nice rock (it had quartz and mica, after all).

Last week Mr W says, "I have to write a paragraph on a rock." They've been studying geology. I say, "hey, I've got one that you collected." And with that the rock was put to use.

Only time will tell if these events will make me more likely not to recycle that shoebox or throw away that egg carton, but it's been satisfying to use things I had been saving.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I was talking with CB last night and he asked how my holiday knitting was going. I sighed and indicated that it’s become a bit of a slog. I feel like there’s a good chance I won’t make it, meaning I’m not going to finish everything I want to in time to get it to where it needs to go by Christmas.

It’s not a big list, nor are they difficult projects. But I think therein lies my problem. I was looking at some knitting blogs today. Yes, I was at work, but waiting for the computer to process files (like I’m doing now). And these projects were lovely – lots of texture, variegated yarn, really delightful.

And then the scales fell from my eyes. In my attempts to make gifts that people would like, I think I have dummied down the project to the extent that I don’t find them all that interesting anymore. Of course likable doesn’t have to be boring, and I will henceforth start planning the next thing. It’s going to be something for… me. Something like that scarf.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


One of the challenges of dating someone that lives several hundred miles away is the timing of visits. I have a kid, CB's got two kids, and arrangements have to be made for Sally the dog. Add on top of that dating someone who travels a lot for work, and sometimes there is but one weekend that will work for a visit.

Such was the case for the December visit, or so I thought. I made arrangements with my boss, who wanted me at work for a solid week processing specimens. OK, great, good, I want to get this stuff done too. Second week of December? Right. He's traveling a lot himself lately, so this was scheduled about six weeks ago.

So I buy my ticket, and get a darn good deal, considering holiday travel prices are kicking in soon. Monday I go in and it comes up that it's the third, not second week of December that he wants to do this specimen processing. Uh-oh. I can change my ticket, I say, and go off to find that it will cost $350 to change the ticket.

Back to boss's office I go and he proceeds to think and talk at the same time, and we work out the details so that I'll prepare things as I would if I were there, and instead of me processing the mosquitoes, he'll just refreeze them and I'll start on them when I get back.

He was just so matter of factly flexible, I was very impressed. The work will still get done and I still get to go see CB. Phew!