A North Carolina Christmas

 NC snow
Mark and I spent Christmas in North Carolina with his family this year – West Coast meets East Coast! Mark’s sister and brother-in-law came too (actually his brother-in-law’s family is from that part of North Carolina also), as well as family friends Wendy and Gerald. We kept Wendy and Gerald’s trip a secret from Paul and Della (I had a dream that I spilled the beans to Della which probably helped keep me quiet) so they were pleasantly surprised with two extra guests. :)

We decorated Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve (a Seymour family tradition), ate LOADS of delicious food and played in the snow. This was one big difference we noticed between Charlotte and Seattle – during a Seattle snow, you can find plenty of people out and about on the streets and sliding down hills. However, at least where we were, no one wanted to leave their house except for the Seymours and their visitors… snow won’t keep us inside!

Thank you SO much to Paul and Della for their hospitality and great food – now I know how to make ebelskivers!

Analyze this (actually, please don’t)

I had the weirdest dream yesterday.

First, I dreamed I got an e-mail from a friend at church saying how I’d volunteered to help make food for an event, but hadn’t shown up. She asked if I’d forgotten or just decided not to show (in the dream I was berating myself for completing spacing it). Then, I was actually at the church and realized the service had already started but I was supposed to be helping with the kids’ program, so I was about half an hour late. The teacher that morning was my friend though, so she said it was fine.

So I went outside and started jogging through the woods. I realized someone was jogging behind me and when I looked back, I realized it was a guy I knew from SPU (actually I didn’t know who he was specifically, I just knew I knew him from school). I said hi and we both stopped running. Then, he said, “I had an affair.” Surprised, I replied, “Oh… I’m sorry?” Then he started telling me about his relationship and that somehow they worked it out and were still married.

THEN both of us were in an office at SPU and I put a wrapped present that had somehow materialized in my hands on the desk. We walked out of the office and into a garage to find my car, where we found a client of my company rooting through it. She said some things of hers were stolen, and asked if I had seen them. We said we hadn’t (though my friend looked a little suspicious) and I told her that I hoped she’d find them. She left and then Captain Cragen from “Law and Order: SVU” appeared and said my rights were violated, so who would I like to call? I said to get me “________” on the phone (in the dream I said a name but I can’t remember it now). He asked me if I was sure. I said I was, get him on the phone!

Then I woke up and realized I should’ve been awake 20 minutes ago. How strange.

Snacks and more snacks


It’s hard to eat right when you’re surrounded by all sorts of goodies at work! So far, we’ve sampled:

  • Harry and David’s gift baskets
  • Crackers and cheese gift baskets
  • Tins of cookies
  • Tins of fudge
  • All sorts of homemade Christmas cookies

Tis the season!

Theater etiquette

Speaking of the theater, now would be a perfect time to review theater etiquette. Nothing’s worse than paying good money for a live performance and then having to put up with unnecessary nonsense.

“Mommy, how are they doing that?”  My experience with this issue occurred during my second trip to the staging of “The Lion King” at the Paramount Theatre. We had stellar seats (a birthday gift) but didn’t expect an additional soundtrack behind us: a 5- or 6-year-old girl intent on making her own observations. Please don’t get me wrong – I am all about exposing children to live productions. However, if the child isn’t able to sit still and remain *mostly* silent for the duration of a show, perhaps a crowded theater isn’t the best place for her, no? Granted, the first thing out of her mouth was adorable – when the lion protagonist first appeared on stage, she exclaimed, “Siiiiiiiimba!” But it went downhill from there. And don’t think this is limited to children: my friend Nicole had the misfortune (also at a performance of “The Lion King” coincidentally) to sit in front of an exceptionally talkative group of women. We don’t need the play-by-play, people!

Stay in your seats, please.  You paid good money for your seat – try to stay in it. Just this weekend I sat behind two people – in one seat. A father let his daughter sit on his lap for the majority of the performance, which would’ve been fine if she were four, but she was at least seven or eight and about a head taller than her father when perched on his lap. Meanwhile her chair next to him was empty. Luckily I was in the aisle seat so I could lean into the aisle for an unobstructed view, but what if I had people on both sides of me? I could’ve been up a creek.

Bottom line: use common sense and be considerate. And try to stay away from the passive-aggressive dirty looks if someone is breaking the rules – at least, that’s what I try to tell myself.

Midweek Tidbit: WHAM edition

Because this is so fantastically 80s... and it's Christmas.

A Christmas Story

One of my favorite people
Nicole is back in town from Zimbabwe and inhabited our guest room for a couple of nights this weekend. It was SO good to see her and get caught up (not much to catch up on our end, plenty to tell on hers) and we even fit in a musical: an adaptation of "A Christmas Story" was playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre so we put our age to good use and got $20 tickets (a special for theater-goers aged 25 and under). It's like the movie was meant to be turned into a musical. I loved every minute of it. My favorite scene was the musical number after the leg lamp was placed in the living room - all the adults came out and danced around with their own leg lamp, and then out came all the children with miniature leg lamps! Hilarious.

Card me, why don’t you

Around Thanksgiving, a thought process starts churning in my head: will I send out Christmas cards this year? Of course! And look, I’m starting so early!

December inevitably rolls around and the Christmas cards get pushed to the back burner amid shopping for presents and making travel arrangements. Christmas comes and goes sans cards and I set my sights on the next year.

2008: No cards

2009: No cards

2010: Mailed today! I’m covered in a light dusting of glitter from them but they’ve been stamped, sealed and dropped off at the post office. Now watch, I probably won’t send them out again for another two years.

For some reason I’ve considered Christmas cards a rite of adulthood, right up there with buying a car and listening to talk radio. Chalk one up for the adult.

Wednesday Wednesday

Why does this feel like a Monday?

My office has been plagued with a host of IT problems this week so I’ve had to pop on my IT hat and pretend like I know what I’m doing. Thankfully, all these issues have been solvable thanks to Google and my co-workers’ willingness to hand over their iPhones and Droids for me to tinker with until I get them to work.

I’ve discovered that my approach to IT is very similar to my approach to algebra. Method: plug in some numbers. Did it work? No? Try some different numbers. Still not working? Try a slightly different number. Voila! The correct answer! I can’t show my work but I have the right answer so it doesn’t matter (until I get docked points on a test). Meanwhile, IT-wise, I get to look like a genius when really I’m just pushing buttons and trying different solutions to see what works.

With that said, no Midweek Tidbits this week. I had one link saved in a draft but I haven’t come across anything too interesting lately so I deleted it. Sorry for the lack of entertainment…

We’re going to my company Christmas party tonight which usually entails hobnobbing around an open bar and inhaling delicious food, so naturally I’ve been looking forward to it for months. At least it didn’t get snowed out this year, a la 2008 – amid a dire forecast of a snowstorm yet to come, our boss canceled the party the day of though a snowflake hadn’t even hit the ground. Two hours later, snow was blowing everywhere and the bridges were icing over. Our boss took a lot of flak for his decision until the forecast decided to prove true!

Dang you Pineapple Express

A Pineapple Express is causing the skies to dump buckets on the Pacific Northwest right now (the airport measured almost an inch and a half of rain yesterday). Yes yes we should be used to rain and all, blah blah blah, but it never pours like this here! Our normal rain is a drizzle. Maybe some showers.

But at least we aren't Minneapolis, which has gotten 17.5 inches of snow since Friday and lost the roof to its Superdome. It's always worse somewhere else!

Classy Christmas: PHOTO

The epitome of classy.

Classy Christmas

Speaking of classy Christmas decorations… since we don’t have actual stocking holders that we can put over the fireplace, we’ve had to make do with what we have.

Currently our stockings are being supported by miniature sports trophies (you know the kind – the ones that every Little League team member gets for participation) that we used for a small group event. I must also add that these trophies were used over nine months ago and have been hanging out on our mantle ever since. High class to the max.

I keep forgetting to snap a picture of them, but I will. It’s only temporary.

Oh Christmas tree

The least blurry shot I got - my camera has trouble focusing.

Properly floating

Somewhere between the Christmases of yesteryear and now, I developed a slight obsession over a certain way to decorate a tree: MY way. I suppose I am to a certain extent a product of my upbringing: I can remember pretty early in my life being shown a method to string Christmas lights where you start from the inside and individually wrap branches toward the outside (Martha agrees).

This year I wanted to deviate from our multicolored lights of the past two years and use white lights – I personally think white lights add a classy and clean finish. However, somehow I got confused and thought that we did have white lights for the tree (I’m still not sure how I managed to convince myself we had them – obviously we’d used colored lights because I decided to make the switch). By the time I figured out we didn’t have them, the tree was already in the stand and I didn’t want to wait to decorate or trek out to buy lights. I whined to Mark about having to use multicolored lights again and he said they gave the tree “personality.” So… my tree has a great personality.
Improperly resting

And don’t even get me started on ornaments. I grew up with a fake tree, so we could bend the branches to hold the ornaments however we wanted. This isn’t so easy with a real tree, so I have to find the perfect spot so each ornament can properly dangle. I can’t handle when an ornament rests on a branch – it has to look like it’s suspended in mid-air. Floating, if you will. 

Now I constantly find myself glancing over at the tree and trying to find ways to make it better. This ornament is too close to that one. That branch is awfully dark – is there any way I can twist the lights to make them more noticeable? What can I put in this empty hole between branches? And why does that spider insist on continually making his web at the top of the tree? It’s a curse.

And don’t worry, I won’t judge your tree! This only applies to my own tree. The one with personality.

Happy birthday Mom!

In honor of your special day, I’ve compiled some favorite memories we’ve shared together. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother and friend. :)

  • Makeovers at Macy’s
  • That fated drive to Eagle Lake Camp where we were caught in a freak hailstorm and ended up with a flat tire
  • Three days traipsing around New York for a family wedding – Time Square at 1 in the morning!
  • Watching movies in the middle of the night
  • Visiting San Francisco on the free trip you won
  • Watching The Nutcracker on PBS
  • Setting a balloon free after “Finding Nemo”
  • Putting up the Christmas tree and especially the ornaments that plugged into the lights

Love you, Mom!