Merry (Late) Christmas

OK, I know…  boring posts about books most people will try their best to avoid reading.  That doesn’t make for a good blog, but it’s something, right?  So today I’ll add a real post wishing you all a Merry Christmas!  It’s a day late and all, but better late than never, right?

So how was it?  Was Santa good to you?  Santa is always very good to me.

DH and everyone on my side of the family had Christmas Eve off, so we ended up doing Christmas at my mom’s house that afternoon.  It took longer than I thought, but it was fun to see the kids open their presents.  We also got to spend a little bit of time with my mom.  She’s doing a bit better.  The doctor prescribed a hospital bed to make things a bit easier.  She’s finally up and walking around a bit, but it does take some convincing.  We just keep reminding her that the longer she can walk, the healthier she’ll be and the more time she can spend with the family.

We got my nephew Lego Creationary and my niece a few different artsy things – a pot holder loom, a very simple paint by numbers set and a tissue paper flowers kit.  My brother had a very gummy Christmas.  We basically went to Cost Plus and loaded our cart with one of every gummy there.  Then we went to a couple of teenager stores and did the same thing.  And to round it all out, he got some socks.  My Brother-in-law got a SF Giant’s shirt and some socks.  Mom- a couple pair of slippers.  My sister some socks and jammies.

I got lots of cool things from my family: a convertible bag called a Miche Bag with a couple of shells, a beautiful vase from Italy, hand made jewelery, a purse hanger thingie, coffee gift cards, etc.  DH got some pretty cool things as well.  He’s most excited about the rimming salts and yoda chop sticks.

Later in the afternoon we headed over to DH’s grandma’s house to visit with the cousins, aunts and uncles.  It’s always super crowded over there with all the adults and kids running around.  I can only really handle it for a couple hours before I start feeling really overwhelmed with all the noise and activity.  Again, it’s always fun to watch all the kids open their presents and then Grandma opening hers.  We went ultra practical with Grandma’s gift because she can buy pretty much anything she wants/needs.  We got her a variety pack of coffee and a gift card for Market Broiler (a restaurant she’s been wanting to go to for awhile).

Then we went home and had a couple of friends over for movies, food and drink.  I fell asleep midway through the second movie, but the boys said it was OK because it kind of sucked anyway.

Christmas morning we headed over to DH’s folks’ house for more presents.  Again, it was fun to watch everyone open their gifts and see what they got.  Our niece got so many Barbies and girlie toys.  We always get her something educational, so this year she got a robot you build and power through an electrical (crank) generator.  We’ll be setting up a time for her to come over and work on it with DH – it’s their thing, ya know?  We gave my sister-in-law the 10th anniversary edition of Mallrats signed by Kevin Smith.  It’s her favorite Kevin Smith movie so she was pretty stoked.  We gave my Mother-in-law some sugar free candies, a Diabetic Soul Food cookbook (awesome book by the way everything I’ve ever cooked from it tastes great) and a couple of other things.  We gave my Father-in-law some blank CDs, a hot sauce sampler pack and a huge bag of Hickory Farms.  I got lots of picture frames, socks, jewelery, gift cards and mixers for alcohol.  DH got a George Foreman grill, a belt, gift cards, Iron Man 2, and more.

Then we all went out for breakfast.  It was nice.  It reminded me of how much I miss spending time with those guys.

After breakfast DH and I came home to open our own presents.  He (and Santa) got me a NookColor, paper shredder, some books I wanted, the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack, a pedometer, alcoholic chocolates and my laptop.  I (and Santa) got him the Microsoft Kinect, a cup with some kind of computer coding on it that he wanted, hibiscus flowers in syrup, Exosquad Season 1, and Idiocracy.

My brother invited us over for dinner so we went.  There was ham with that mustard/brown sugar glaze and pineapples on top, garlic mashed potatoes, corn, green beans and cherry-o-cream pie for dessert.  I’ll have to post that recipe some time, the pie is a family favorite.

Then we came home, played with our new toys and went to bed.  That was my Christmas.  How was yours?

Christmas Decorations

It’s pretty sad when the bulk of your Christmas decorating is a pile of wrapped presents that are sitting on your dining room table while they await a Christmas tree to live under for awhile.  The problem is that we bought a treadmill.  The treadmill is stored in the place where the tree usually goes.  We have to move things around to make room for the tree.  All this really means is that we need to take the mini fridge upstairs.  Unfortunately, I pulled a muscle in my shoulder/neck/upper back area and the fridge is too heavy for one person to handle on their own.

But in the mean time, I’ve been decorating other things.  I made a swag for our front window from about 7 yards of red and green fabric.  I wrapped a picture that’s up on our wall with some wintery fabric and attached a couple of bows.  I’d received both lengths of fabric free from a friend.  Those shiny plastic garlands have been strewn about the room – in doorways, up the banister, on another window, on a picture frame…  A pre-lit garland is also on the banister.  The stockings are hung, the downstairs bathroom has a bit of decoration as well.  Oh yeah!  And the wreath is on the door.  All we need now is a spot for the tree.

Until then the pile of presents on the table continues to grow and our surface for eating continues to shrink.

My New Toptop

I must confess that I’ve been using my old laptop (AKA toptop) for a long time now.  Since what… 2005 or so?  It’s been a good machine, helping me through both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.  I’ve used it for so long that we had to replace the keyboard when several of the keys fell off and I couldn’t get them back on.  And I’ve even worn the silver away on the left click mouse button… which has finally decided to stop popping back up.

DH and I had been kicking around the idea of replacing my old monster for awhile.  Every time we found a replacement that sounded good, something else would come up or they would sell out.  Such is life.  Then on Monday he attempted to install MS Project.  He was completely disgusted by how slow my toptop was.

He bemoaned the state of my toptop: “How do you live with this?”

I’ve just learned to be patient with it.  It’ll respond to the clicks and other requests you make… eventually.  Well, his experience pretty much sealed the deal – I’d be getting a new toptop for Christmas.

We went out to play with the floor models for a bit.  As an IT professional he was concerned with the specs.  Me?  I only cared about the keyboard.  I type A LOT.  If I can’t use the keyboard comfortably then I might as well not use it at all.  So, I played with the keyboards and found that I hate Toshiba keyboards (something about the small space bar and oversized alt keys).  I also lusted after the extra number keypad on the side.  It would make all of our banking and calculating so much quicker and easier.

After playing for awhile we headed home to consider our options.  We looked around online to find the best deal and then realized that I would need this new toptop pretty darn quick if I’m supposed to take it with me to CLA.  With shipping we would end up paying just as much as finding one on sale in a store.  So back out we went and we picked up my new toptop.

It’s all configured and pretty and clean!  It even smells new!

We’re hanging onto the box it came in so that he can wrap it up for Christmas. 😉

So what’s to be done with my old toptop?  DH will be wiping it clean and installing Ubuntu on it.  That’ll give me a chance to play with open source stuff and learn more about it.

I’m sure by now you’re wondering about the use of the word “toptop” instead of laptop.  Well, when my nephew was really little, he kept trying to say laptop, but it kept coming out as toptop.  It kinda stuck so now all of my laptops are now toptops.  I do have to be careful to use the correct word at work, but when I’m home it’s my toptop.

Christmas update

Christmas was good, in spite of getting sick.  It wasn’t just me either…  my hunny, my sister, and her two kids got sick too. 

Our gifts for the neices and nephew were all meant to inspire imagination or knowledge.  So, we gave my nephew a phonics matching game since he’s learning to read.  My littlest neice got a princess dress-up set, and my oldest neice got a science kit.  The only one of the three that was really thrilled with their gift was the 3-year-old.  She tore into that dress-up set, and posed in front of the mirror.  The other two gave us the typical “uhhh… thanks” that you get when it’s not quite what they wanted, but they’re trying to be polite.

The gifts I received were all very practical.  I got lots of blankets, which will come in handy since my apartment is FREEZING!  I also got several sets of towels, which are nice and will help keep me from doing so many smaller loads of laundry.  My mom bought me the Paula Deen Christmas Cookbook, and a new cooking knife.  I got a new lamp for my study area, and lots of study accessories, including caffeine, writing implements, and other items.

Other family members got practical gifts as well. 

My brother, the chef, actually got Christmas off, so he was able to cook Christmas dinner.  The dinner wasn’t too involved, since we all decided we weren’t going to cook a whole turkey.  And for dessert…  Cherry-o-cream pie!  Yum!

Then, my hunny and I went back home to bed so that we could sleep off our colds.  Our Christmas wasn’t very glamorous, but it was a lot more relaxed than in previous years.  This was partially because it was spread out over several days instead of just Christmas Eve and Day.

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