Post-Christmas Post

This was a weird Christmas--No doubt about it, but I'm basing that purely on past experiences. I have only experienced Christmas with a few families in my life. What made this one weird was that I left my home to celebrate my Christmas at other locations.

This year was a first at my parents' house because they hosted their festivities on the eve instead of the morning. That apparently worked out well with everyone scheduling-wise, because it was a full turnout. Even boyfriends of the younger ladies were present. It was a good event. I had a good time, and it appeared that everyone else did too. My youngest sister, Denise, brought some Jello Shots along which were a hit with a couple of us. As I unwrapped the gifts from my mom and dad, I was thinking I had escaped yet again with something I could use (i.e. edible) when I was shot down with my final gift. A Sears Craftsman gimmick gift. I have voiced my frustrations about this over and over and I'm sure anyone reading this is tired of it too. I thought I got through to them last year when I received no tools of any kind, but it's back as it was before. I don't want any tools. If I need a tool of any kind, I already own it. If not, I buy it when I need it. Oh well. Now I'm stuck with some sort of laser-measuring gadget. I can't possibly tell my folks I don't want it--My dad will have a meltdown.

The coolest present that came home from me from that event was a custom-painted mailbox from my brother-in-law, Gary. He's a custom painter of many things: Dragsters, hydroplanes, motorcycles, etc, and he does a beautiful job on mailboxes. He has made a couple for family members in the past. This one was a late wedding gift for me and Suzie. I wasted no time installing it. Now we have the fastest mailbox on the street! You can click the pic below for a bigger view of it, but the picture doesn't do it much justice. You can't really see all the blue, green, and purple shading as well in the picture. The lettering was all done by hand too.

Christmas morning found me down at the ex's house at 9 or 10 o'clock, celebrating Sarah's Christmas. Suz and I bought her a fisheye lens for her camera, along with a couple of photography books. She totally loves that lens and was having a great time with it right away! (Side note: Suzie and I loved it too--After playing with hers for a few days before wrapping it, it was determined that we needed one for ourselves too! It should be here today we hope.) Sarah gave me a couple of her original artworks which is very cool.

Sue didn't fare too well during the week of Christmas. She was frustrated over my lack of attendance mostly, because it was a week I was working overtime, and was also stopping on the way home to shop here and there after finishing work. Add to that the fact that I left to celebrate Christmas at my parents house on Christmas eve, then left again Christmas morning to go to celebrate with Sarah. I can understand her frustration at not being a part of any of this, but we both knew going into our marriage that we would have a split household at Christmas--We just didn't know how it would affect each other. Some choices we make are easy and some are a pain, but they are choices that are made for a reason.

I did a little limerick about the Christmas blues. I posted it on my Facebook page yesterday, but I don't think I'll do that any more. I get the impression that nobody on there wants to ever post anything other than smartass remarks and stuff. I guess I was fishing for someone to comment. Maybe I wanted as much to see who as I did what, but I was surprised when I got not one comment. I'll close this post with a re-post of that limerick (I'm not fishing this time--Only sharing):
The Shopper's Lament

This holiday time of the year
when, of malls we try hard to stay clear.
The shoppers; all hurrying
like mice; chased and scurrying,
and the parking lots: Places to fear.

We shoppers hardly ever think twice
when it comes to the item or price
because it's the norm
we don't dare reform,
and the stores do their best to entice.

For our loved ones we set out to buy,
but no matter how hard that we try;
we can never resist
when the prices insist,
and we buy for ourselves with a sigh.

Our money is already tight
partly due to less day and more night.
Our heaters all run
because of no sun,
and our power bills tend to cause fright.

In these times when so many need work
and behind them their creditors lurk
they just can't NOT buy
for their gal or their guy.
It's like a duty they can't seem to shirk.

Now the hubbub has finally died down
and Christmas has finally left town.
Our houses are all messed,
and we really need rest,
but we work, or in debt we will drown.

Rick Williams

Running Out Of December

Yeah, not much to this post, but I thought it was about time I sorta caught up.

It's almost Christmas, and it's my first "non-Christmas" in a Witness house. Is it different? Nah. Yeah, it's way different from back in the day I was still living under the same roof with Sarah and the ex. Those two decorated absolutely everything. It was fun to watch them having fun, but it wasn't my cuppa tea. When I was living downtown in my rental for the last couple years, I only really "did" Christmas one time. I bought a fake tree but I think I only put it up one of the two years I owned it. I could be mistaken. At any rate, it's gone--Sold on Craigslist a couple weeks ago.

Today is the last day of work this week. Tomorrow is an unpaid day off. While it's nice to have the additional day off, it kinda sucks to not get a full week of pay. To help offset that, I've been working some overtime this week. Two hours over both Monday and yesterday, but unlikely today. This is the day they will send us home with our Christmas (or should I say "holiday"?) ham.

I miss the days when people would actually be able to drink (within reason) during their last day of work before Christmas. You know... Passing some hot-buttered rum or eggnog mixtures around. These are different times. A lot of companies gave up on company Christmas parties long ago for fear of reprisal. When bar owners started getting sued for allowing someone to make bad judgment within their businesses, that was the beginning of the "era of responsibility". Now we all have to meet at a local drinking establishment or restaurant to have our own impromptu party if we want one.

Yep, Christmas is only two days away. It's a time when my dysfunctional family meets up under the same roof for celebration. We don't celebrate Christmas itself--We celebrate having a day to celebrate I think. For non-religious people like me, Christmas is an excuse to have a good time in a family environment. If it takes "token" presents--So be it.

For my dad who grew up in a strangely empty environment, Christmas is something he never really had much of. It showed when we were growing up because he was right there in the thick of the toys--Playing with them and being the kid he must not have gotten to be. He was living vicariously through his brood. He still does that now, looking excitedly at someone that just opened a gift, repeating over and over, "What'd you get? What'd you get?" all the while knowing full what it is because it came from he and my mom to begin with.

Ranting, but no Raving: The Sequel

I have so many of these that pop-up from time to time. If only I had thought about Craigslist last night when I made my first post! I had forgotten how flagrant some of the "bad ads" that appear on there are.

Here's an example of something that's pretty common (before I start picking at it, you can go ahead and click it to view it full size):

First of all, so many people can't even get the title of the ad right. What's the point of placing an ad? What is a Honda aout? I don't recall seeing that model on any new car ads anywhere. If it doesn't exist, why would I think I needed parts for it?

Secondly, I don't understand why the truck pictures are even there. There is no mention of a truck or parts thereof anywhere in the ad. I guess he considered himself lucky to have successfully negotiated all the traps and pitfalls involved with uploading pictures (let's see--Point & click?) and thought he might as well use one set of pictures for two ads--I dunno. At least he knows someone with a camera...

Now here's another point I want to make about this ad, and this kind of thing really gets me. His whole ad contains ONE item of punctuation. Actually, this is better than some I've seen. There have been multiple ads I've seen over the years where there is a huge paragraph of description text and no punctuation. You know what that looks like? It's like the guy is terminal on speed/caffeine and is literally spewing words so fast he's not even stopping for a breath. Whew. That must be what it is about those ads--They wear me out reading them. I feel like I have to lie down and take a nap.

Here's another ad I spotted this morning. I found it funny. Maybe you will, maybe you won't:

I guess this person is repeating what someone else told them. They don't know what a gasket is or they would know there are hundreds of different ones in any given car.

Another thing that is irritating is when someone uses all capitals. In the computer world, that means SOMEONE IS SHOUTING AT YOU. I read those ads and I instinctively reach for my speaker volume.

The misspellings will never end. Some of them are pretty funny, like this one: ARMAROL (Armor-All), and AWSOME (awesome). They were even in the same ad.

Yep, Craigslist is an endless supply of stuff to laugh or wince about. Free entertainment!

Ranting, but no Raving

I feel that it's time for a rant. People that have read my blog know how much I love to rant about things on occasion. Actually, I would really like it if I could rave just as wildly, but for some reason I'm better suited for ranting than raving. The subject of my rant? Ignorance in Language Arts.

Actually, it's almost more of a case of disbelief.

I don't think I ever really fit the mold of someone that got straight A's in English and spelling back in school--I was mostly into motorcycles and cars--But the truth is: I did. Maybe I didn't feel that I could make any money at it--I dunno. The fact is, I pretty much abandoned it after high school. Maybe I was cocky and felt that I was finished with it. Maybe it just didn't seem cool. Without thinking about it, it has become fairly clear that parts of my studies in those areas never went away. In fact, they may have just been hiding and festering.

I have determined that there is one thing that has bothered me as long as I can remember, and probably will until I can't read or hear any longer. The offense? Failure to understand (or care) about the difference between YOUR and YOU'RE. I'm sure some folks reading this will look at it and say, "Hmm... You know, I never did get how those worked..." and others that will say, "Yeah man, you tell em! I hate that!" I'm not going to explain the difference... I just want to rant about the misuse of it.

Another thing is spelling. Sometimes it's not what was misspelled, but who misspelled it. In this case, it was more of a context thing. I found this on Google News last weekend. I loved it so much I took a screenshot of it. Click the picture below to view the section I saved. I looked at this with disbelief when I saw it. In a roundabout way, it reminded me of the time I was in a local Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and was informed that they were out of chicken (seriously). You be the judge:

You get the idea.

Then there is this instance of misspelling at work that has been eating away at me. This is more of a case of people that just flat didn't learn anything in school. The person that labeled these scrap cans probably felt pretty proud of their work, but when I saw the "twin" misspellings I winced:

Maybe not everyone knows what Inconel or Titanium are or how to spell them but I do. Because of my anal nature, spelling abuse that I see on a daily basis eats at me. I have to chuckle every time I see these two bins though, so maybe I should find out who did it and congratulate them on giving me yet another prime example of blog fodder.

These Are Cold Days

Winter has arrived with a vengeance this year as far as the temperature goes. Funny thing though--When I get up and look outside in the morning (as I do every morning) there isn't one speck of moisture. Everything is totally dry. I just looked outside at 4am this morning and the little digital temperature gauge spoke volumes to me: 16.8 degrees. Brrr! I guess it's fair to say that we feel that our wood stove is the best thing since... Well, it's just flat the best thing. We love it and it's getting lots of use. It was cold enough last night that we opted to put some bread products we used for dinner outside the back door instead of running them all the way out to the garage freezer.

Last week I took my insulated coveralls to work, and boy was I glad yesterday morning (as I'm sure I will be this morning). They are the type of coveralls with the zippered legs and the "puffy" inner lining. They are very easy to pull on over clothes, and very comfortable to wear. Another plus for me: They are actually plenty long. Most things like that are hard to find in my size. Because they're black they are the perfect thing for a work environment. I would say I blend right in, but I'm sure everyone looks at me with envy when they're shivering. They always have the heat off during weekends, and yesterday it was 60 degrees in there when I got to work, and still only up to 64 by the end of the day. That's a little too cold to sit still all day without something to keep me warm, and an electric heater isn't an option.

I replaced my camera a week or so ago. Back in the middle of November (Suz blogged it) we were out taking pictures in Seattle and it became apparent to me that time that my camera was "dropping the ball" in a couple areas. The functionality was fine--Everything was working. It just became obvious that the different "brain" in our cameras were doing things differently in some scenarios. I hunted eBay for a while and found a great deal on one exactly like hers. Now we have matching cameras. What does that mean? It means I have no excuse if my pictures aren't as good as hers. ;-) Keith is using my old camera and having a good time with it. I wonder what kind of cool stuff his eye will show us?

A bunch of us went up to Snoqualmie Pass on Saturday to play in the snow, but unfortunately it was more like ice. There was a good snow pack on the ground all right, but nothing really new. It was old, crusty stuff. It was still fun though, and the weather wasn't bad for the outing either.

The best news of the week: Sue is finally driving her new car! It's all hers--Lock, stock, and barrel. I would say, "It's about time," but we all know how long we've been waiting for it to really be hers. Now it's time to move the old, trusty Camry wagon along to a new home.

Apparently It's Book To Be Icy

Here's something for all you folks that use "predictive text" on your cell phones when you send text messages. That is, those of you that don't have full keyboards...

I was sending a text to Suz this morning about how cold it was, and imagine my surprise when my Nokia decided that the word GAY was more likely to be the word I wanted to use in my text than ICY, which was what I was after to begin with. I first learned of such preference things when she told me of the fact that her older Nokia always came up with BOOK before COOL. My phone has at least switched that around so COOL comes up first. I dunno though--I kinda like book. It's like I'm on the inside of a joke that nobody else knows about.

Anyway, back to gay weather conditions this morning. I had to scrape a lot of gay residue off my windshield before I could leave for work. I also had to make sure I didn't spin out on any gay spots. Yes, this time of year being gay can be treacherous.

I mean icy.