On Friday afternoon, I made a proclamation that we would spend the evening wrapping presents and watching something Christmasy. Instead, I worked on the Holiday Card Exchange stuff, because my goodness, I always think it won’t take as much time or funds as it actually does. And then I compound the mess by deciding to make special cards for the Holiday Card alumni, which required a lot of putzing around, and then had to put together special address labels and that was more putzing and cutting and piecing together and then my Sharpees ran out so I had to stop and look for new ones. At some point, you’d think I would learn, wouldn’t you? Except that no, I don’t. Not this year, at least. I think someone sent me an email estimating that the Holiday Card Exchange is pumping at least $5K into the US economy, but they did not take into account that I, for instance, had to buy some special envelopes and more postage and then I destroyed the red ink cartridge from my printer. Red! So the whole thing had to be replaced! Bah. Stupid printer. Stupid red color.
Because the cold weather makes me feel like experimental cooking, for dinner I made chicken that I had marinated in a lime sesame sauce that I got at the Not!Whole foods. I was a bit worried that it would be too strong, as it was labeled as a ’10 minute Marinade’ and I had poured it over the chicken a good five hours before I actually cooked it. However, it turned out to be just the right amount of subtle lime flavor and was very tasty, however the spotlight was stolen by the accompaniments. I attempted the carrot thing but ended up with something that wasn’t so much a recreation of those carrots, but rather a whole new carrot delight. I used some spiced sugar and also wildflower honey mixed with the butter and I’m a bit amazed that more people don’t add cinnamon to cooked carrots, because it tastes divine. I also made some jasmine rice with chicken broth that was so delicious that it has made me reconsider my ambivalence to the rice oeuvre. Normally, I think that rice has too many calories for what is a pretty boring food, so I don’t tend to eat very much, but this stuff was incredible. Who knew? Well, aside from most of the world’s population.
We could not decide between my favorite, ‘White Christmas’ and Esteban’s favorite ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, so instead we watched the Christmas classic ‘Conan The Barbarian’. I gave it to Esteban for his birthday, because he likes the line about driving your enemies away and hearing the lamentation of their women. It’s strange, seeing it on DVD. The late seventies and early eighties had SO many boobies in their R pictures. I lost track of how many different actresses walked around nonchalantly with their breasts out. Was that a new thing, back then, showing boobies, because it seems, I don’t know, overkill. Also, I did not realize that Conan’s love interest was Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac fame.
On Saturday morning, I woke up at my normal 5:30 am. After lying there for awhile, I gave up on falling back to sleep, took a shower, made a bread dough and set it out to rise, gathered up the Holiday Card Exchange stuff that I had done, went to Starbucks and got a Gingerbread Latte, and then went to the big post office across town.
When I got there at 7:40, there were already two people waiting. I popped my iPod headphones into my ears and grooved out to the Squirrel Nut Zippers while I waited, which was a lovely way to start the day. I was glad I had been so early, because there was a huge line by the time they opened the doors at 8. However, I got an available guy right away and bought all of the postage I needed to finish my cards. Then I ran to the hunting/fishing store and picked up two gift cards for a name exchange on Esteban’s side of the family (yay for accidentally getting the two interchangeable good old boys who are married to his cousins!) and then ran to another store and did some last minute Christmas shopping and was on my way home by 9 am. Go early bird go.
Esteban tried to catch up on his work backlog (I swear he works more now than he did in his last job, the only difference being that he’s sitting on our couch in front of his laptop rather than a mile away in a computer lab) while I worked on the remainder of my holiday cards. I made some progress on the (fucking) laundry, baked my bread and then we both ate hot bread and butter and honey until we were sick with carbs and seratonin. Actually, that was just me. When I finished the last of my holiday cards, I scooped them up and rushed to drop them into a mailbox that still have a pickup time for Saturday, so boom! Holiday cards are in the mail. Rock.
I made an attempt to go to the grocery store to pick up Tom and Jerry mix and the accompanying brandy, but looking at the overcrowded parking lot sapped my will to live. Esteban STILL wasn’t done with his stuff when I got home, so I announced that I would be taking a nap, and then actually managed to do just that. I love unexpected naps, mostly because I feel all relaxed and single-brained for the rest of the day.
When I woke up, I made dinner (Esteban’s favorite Swedish meatballs, along with leftover carrots and more of that incredible Jasmine rice), and then we set about wrapping. Or rather, Esteban started wrapping while I brought him things to wrap. Then we realized that we didn’t have name tags, so he went to Target and brought back ten packages of 14 nametags. I told you’the man does nothing in a small way.
I pulled out our martini glasses and attempted to make martinis sans shaker, which I cannot find. I think I took it out, intending to bring it to DC with me, but now have no idea where it might be. I improvised a shaker out of two glasses but the results were a cherry juice stained white t-shirt and later, three circles of cherry stains on our countertop. Esteban, being a simple man, took his Ketel One straight with just a spray of olive juice. My Slutty Shirley Temples were tasty (although upon first sip, tasted disturbingly like Robotussin). Then I learned that vodka and Jones Green Apple Soda does not an appletini make.
Also, I discovered a spider in our liquor cabinet that was the size of a sparrow. I cashed in one of my Benefits of Marriage and Esteban dutifully came in with a broom to try to take it out. However, the spider defied the broom. Esteban then lobbied for clemency, claiming that he couldn’t reach it and also the thing was very agile, but I felt this was just the more reason for the death penalty. He did persevere and the world is less one spider (genus: Fucking Huge).
We watched ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, picked apart the plot holes (so Mary left the kids alone in the big house with either the bank examiner or, as suggested by her entrance when she says ‘Hello’ to the bank examiner, completely alone!) wondered if George Bailey was a virgin at 28 (we think yes, especially the way he’d horn up over Violet and that whole thing about getting tired of just reading about things and never doing them, the ‘them’ being ‘doggystyle’ or maybe ‘snowballing’, we’re guessing), pointed out trivia (the guy who opens the floor of the gym is actually Alfalfa from Little Rascals), suggested ulterior motives for the various characters (because you KNOW that Sam Wainwright bought lots of high priced hookers and probably had more VD than the cast of ‘Shore Leave’), yelled ‘Mary! MARY!’ at each other, and also postulated that Mr. Potter was related to Harry Potter and perhaps was angry because he was a squib. And I once again reiterated my belief that men should go back to wearing hats and high-waisted pants and perhaps also hair pomade and socks with garters. Or at very least, undershirts, so that we never have to see a man’s nipple shadow through a dress shirt.
By the time Clarence jumped into the river, we were pretty tipsy and the gifts did exactly have hospital corners or even the suggestion of corners. However, we ran out of gifts and patience at the exact same time. After the movie, we went to bed and watched the beginning of SNL on the TiVo, and then fell asleep, oblivious to the lonely meows from a sloppily wrapped package in the living room. No. Not really. The spider ate her.