Christmas 2009

We returned Sunday from a wonderful Christmas weekend in Colorado. We visited lots of family and got to see some friends of mine whom we hadn’t seen in almost a year. Our friends, Megan and George, just bought a house in Fort Collins and are preparing for the birth of their first baby – she has such a cute baby bump! We laughed together because as a kid, Megan absolutely hated the color pink (“Pink is sexist! My favorite color is blue!”) but now that they know they’re having a baby girl, they’re decorating the nursery in pink and brown. I adore pink, so their baby will be receiving plenty of pink from me! She’ll learn to like it!

Northern Colorado was hit by a snowstorm the day before we flew in, so we had a fresh white Christmas. I’d show you pictures but my camera never made it to Colorado in the first place – I forgot it at home. So here are a few mental snapshots from the weekend.
  • I used to hate Pictionary but now I love it. I don’t remember the last time I’ve laughed that hard! There was a drawing of an elephant (“ivory”) that you wouldn’t have been able to identify even with hints (although my drawing of a light switch, “off”, wasn’t too on target either).
  • Mom got me the DVD of the original airing of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”. I can’t wait to watch it – how can you go wrong with Julie Andrews? Thanks Mom!
  • We went to the Christmas Eve service at the church my mom has been attending and then went to a family friend’s house for dinner. Thank you to the Morgans for having us over on such short notice! We appreciate your generosity, even though you left us in the dust on Mario Kart.

My favorite Christmas present

I was in fourth grade when I received my favorite Christmas present of all time.

Thus began a fierce devotion to the story of Anne Shirley as only Lucy Maud Montgomery could write it. I wished with all my heart that I could turn my hair red and change my name to Anne, spelled with an E. I re-read the original trilogy again and again, committing to memory the obscurest facts of Anne’s life (sadly, I’m a little rusty now). Contrary to the experience of most of my friends, I did not grow up watching the movies and it wasn’t until high school that I finally watched the film version of “Anne of Green Gables”. I was a little disappointed, to be honest. Heresy, I know, but old loyalties die hard.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be curled up with a tumbler of raspberry cordial and reminiscing.

VW Love

I got to drive one of these puppies today.

I rode with my co-worker and his family to the airport and brought their Eurovan back to the office. The van was packed: my co-worker, his wife, his wife’s father, me, three little boys, and enough luggage to get them all through a Disneyland vacation for a week. Not to mention the two car seats and the stroller they were taking with them.

It was insanity. I’m grateful that we’ll be traveling without little ones for at least a few years – much less complicated!

Muse on SNL

Discovering that a band doesn't sound as good live as it does on its album is one of the biggest letdowns for me. Conversely, discovering that a band sounds even better live than on its album is like winning the lottery. You get what you pay for and more! The last time I was stunned by a performer was at a Ben Gibbard concert but I have to say that Muse's performance on SNL this past weekend convinced me that a ticket to their show would be well worth the money. Their album doesn't do them justice. The lead singer has quite the set of pipes.

Target practice

I crossed a big “I’ve never” off my list on Sunday. I put on ear protection and plastic glasses and went to the shooting range with Mark and two friends and three pistols. Mark just recently bought a Heckler & Koch P7 pistol and I am completely gun illiterate (not to mention gun shy) so he practically had to hold my hand the entire time.

Our friend is a federal agent and has plenty of gun training, so she taught me the proper shooting stance and how to hold the gun (I like to say I’m being trained by a professional). I’ve only shot a .22 rifle before (ages ago) and I have to say that shooting a pistol is a completely different experience. The noise of the gunshot is much louder than I thought it would be, even with ear protection. Tears even came to my eyes the first time I fired a bullet out of the chamber. I think I was alarmed to be holding such power in my hands. I got over the initial fear of getting clipped in the face by the gun's recoil - Mark's gun doesn't have too much of a kick. Our friend had a .40 Glock and it kicked considerably more than Mark's, and so did our other friend's Colt .45. I only fired two rounds with the Colt .45 - the gun was too big for my hands. Our shooting target was the outline of a person but you could also choose shooting targets that had pictures of zombies on them! Kill the zombies!

The afternoon was one big crash course in gun handling and terminology. Even in writing this blog I've had to consult my friend to make sure I'm describing my actions correctly (my journalism major is fighting to resurface). When I wasn't shooting targets at the range, I entertained myself by observing what other shooters were wearing. I wasn't quite prepared with my clothing choices (skinny jeans and ballet flats) but I felt better when I saw a girl wearing Uggs over her sweatpants. There were plenty of shirts with American flags and lots of flannel to go around. Then there was the shirt that said "I'll keep my guns, money and freedom. You keep your CHANGE." But I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see that at a shooting range.

Panic or don't panic?

I had a slight panic attack Saturday. I was at a bridal shower when I was suddenly hit by an overwhelming fear that I hadn’t removed the price tag from my gift. The bride-to-be had just started opening presents when I came to this realization, so there was no time to tiptoe over to my own present and surreptitiously check. I started to sweat and tried to remember when I had wrapped the gift and whether this was all in my head. I mean, isn’t that the worst party faux pas to commit? Even inadvertently?

And then, as quickly as the fear had come, it dissipated when I specifically remembered standing at our apartment counter and cutting off the tag with my tiny travel scissors. I physically exhaled with relief and looked around, hoping no one had noticed my face redden or heard my elevated heart rate. None would be the wiser. At least until now.

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat...

We didn't get the tree decorated until Saturday which turned out to be a blessing because we returned to the apartment Friday night to discover the tree on the floor! Actually, I had a dream last night where the tree was close to tipping again. I must have Christmas trees on my mind.

We left the chairs around it for a while to determine if it was leaning.

I know this is kind of dark but you get the point!

Tree time

Last night, we decided to revisit the tree lot in Laurelhurst where we got our tree last year and were dismayed to find only noble firs at $11 per foot. This was definitely out of our price range and a little outrageous to Mark, who grew up in Portland where you can find excellent trees for $15. In my mind, we had two options.

Option 1: Stick with the noble and get a 4-foot tree. At least it would be easy to decorate.
Option 2: Home Depot

We asked the owner why the trees were so expensive and he told us that they were just cut yesterday and the nobles were always a little pricier. Mark mentioned that we had gotten a douglas fir at his lot for around $40 last year and asked what we could get for a similar price. To my surprise, the owner was completely cooperative and showed us four trees that he would sell us for $40. A couple of the trees were discounted for good reason – one tree looked like it was missing an entire row of branches. It would take some clever decorating to hide a hole of that size! Out of the bunch, we did end up picking a 7-foot noble that had sufficient branch coverage and stood straight. Mark was able to borrow his company’s SUV so we could easily strap it to the rack and get it home.

We don’t have any decorations on it yet but the tree is in its stand and waiting for some Christmas love! And it sure makes the house smell great!

eBay stalker

Remember when eBay was brand new? Everyone became obsessed with finding things to sell online and getting the best deal possible. If you were bidding on a particularly hot item, you’d sit there and refresh the page so you would know the exact second you were outbid. Outbid? Outrage! Up it by a dollar!

I haven’t used eBay in ages until today. I’ve been searching for a new business calculator for a co-worker and am finding myself obsessively refreshing my page to make sure I’m still the highest bidder. For a calculator. The auction still has 27 more hours so I guess I’ll be eBay stalking through tomorrow.

Husky fever

Our alma mater didn’t have a football team, so Mark and I missed out on the whole college football experience. We came into some free football tickets this weekend thanks to our friend Maile, so we went and watched the University of Washington Huskies dominate UC Berkeley. I felt like we were fully immersed in the college football culture – fist-bumping the guys in front of us, chanting with the crowd, wondering how on earth the half-naked baton twirler was keeping warm. We even splurged on some $4 hot chocolate. Below are some pictures of game day.

Maile, me, Mark and Sam. It got really cold that day, so we were pretty bundled up.

Husky Stadium

Maile and me

We kind of wished we were in the sunny part of the stadium!

The stadium looks out on Lake Washington. You can barely see the Cascades in the distance.

You can see the frost forming on the track.

Mark and me

Mark's self-portrait

Happy birthday Mom!

 Happy birthday to my amazing and beautiful Mom! I can't wait to go home for Christmas so we can spend some time together sipping tea and watching movies, preferably with Colorado snow swirling outside the windows. Mom, we love you and will see you soon!