Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Cards, Part @*

It seems I've been sucked into the Abyss of Lost Time by way of a red and white, pepperminty, spiralling vortex, also known as Christmastime. Holy shit.

I'm back!

Remember when I was hemming and hawing about whether or not to send out Christmas cards, and how to go about it this year? After mulling over many of your helpful comments -- thank you! -- I'd decided that I just couldn't handle it if I didn't send out the cards. I made up my mind that I would indeed go to the post office and purchase stamps but that I wouldn't design and print a letter this year. That evening, as if delivered to my post box by a damn angel, were bundles of lovely, lovely holiday stamps. There were enough for me to send out my Christmas cards.

My thoughtful, kind, and very generous friend, James, sent the stamps my way! I still can't believe what a thoughtful gift this is! I am still very happy and very, very sappy about it. Holy shit - THANK YOU.

So, I spent last night hunkered down with my spreadsheets and pretty, printed address labels. I had my cheerful green pen in hand and my trusty DABnSEAL Moistener within reach.** The boxes of cards were all organized and easily accessible. Sheets of return addresses were at the ready. I had a frosty Old Fezziwig Ale to keep me happy, rather than some wine. Then, I settled in to one of my favorite tasks of the year.

At first, I wondered that it may be obnoxious that I have such a long Christmas card list. But, as I went through the neatly organized names and tried to weed out folks I could remove, I realized the names weren't there so I can hoot and holler about how many cards I just dropped off at the post office. Each name on there reminds me of how blessed my life has been. Truly, the friends and family in my life are my greatest blessings. Oh, how I wish everyone had such wonderful people and relationships in their lives! In whatever wandering, complicated,ambivalent way I understand who/what Jesus/God is, I do know that I've only come to know Him/Her and his grace, compassion, justice, and unconditional love through the people in my life. So, truly, I believe my friends and family are blessings, indeed.

With each card I write and address I put on the envelope, I am granted a small moment to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for such grace in my life. I get to take a brief jaunt down memory lane and hope wildly that their dreams for the new year come true. I get to say I love you.***

So, James, I am saying thank you for giving me this gift, this time of reflection, gratitude and joy again this year. You, dear friend, are on my Christmas card list.

(What else I've been doing: bundling up many, many batches of homemade cookies and delivering them. Yay!)


*When I posted about my love for Christmas cards and the ensuing wrestling match with my checkbook, I mis-typed the "1" in my title. I thought I'd try to be consistent.

**Hmmm, do you think perverts will find this site, now?

*** My favorite line in a song, without a doubt, is from "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. It damn near sums up my spiritual beliefs, too.

I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying, "I love you"

Monday, December 17, 2007

I swear...

...that I will post tonight. Holy hell, can I be this disorganized, lazy and pooped?

It would appear so.

Friday, December 7, 2007


I've been in a rotten mood the past couple of days, and there have been some grouchy posts in my Google Reader.

Here is an awesome Friday Pick-Me-Up: Kevin Everett, of the Buffalo Bills, is walking again.

Friday Five, An Occasional Series

I am happy to be home from the Ridiculously Long New Employee Training. My co-worker came up to present something, so I was relieved of my duties. Wahoo!

1. Oops - I'd truly meant to mention in my last post on Christmas Cards that I was inspired by this post over at F.T.E.P. Sorry! Here is some belated link love for you.

Incidentally, I'd also meant to freakin' proofread that entry before posting it, but that didn't happen either.

2. Also inspired by F.T.E.P.: Though I wasn't a cheerleader in high school (I was more the couldn't-afford-all-the-goth-stuff, but-listened-to-The-Cure-all-the-time type). I was, however, a goody two shoes member of SADD. Which is ironic and hilarious, as I as hit by a drunk driver in 2000. Moments before I was hit (I was crossing a street), I'd said to my fellow pedestrian, who didn't get smooshed: "I can't believe bicyclists don't get hit in this intersection more often." BLAM! and SPLAT!


I am fully convinced The Universe/God has a dark, dark, twisted sense of humor and that my life is some strange punch line. Yeah, it's pretty fuckin' funny.

3. I was going to post a picture of my gigantic snow boots that I wore on my way in to work today, but I forgot that I do not have the camera with me today. Bummer. I fully expect this footwear to be required in order to make it to my house tonight. *sigh* Winter is upon us, in all its cold, blustery glory. This is the first winter in years that I've actually owned snow boots. That is ridiculous.

4. Ah ha! Here is a link to my boots, and yes, they really do have space under the foot to insert toasty little foot warmers. It's AAAAWSOOOOME! (You must read that in a giddy, sing-song kind of voice.) I feel like a goober in these boots as they are ginormous and I walk pretty funny with them on. I felt totally ridiculous this morning as I schlepped along the grocery store.

5. However, I was thankful I had the boots on earlier this morning. A. and I woke up to four inches or so of newly fallen snow. Snow was still falling, though it was more horizontal than vertical, as is the norm in these parts. So, we both drove from the house: I parked my car at the highway because with the predicted snowfall later today, there isn't a chance in hell my car will make it through the two miles of drifted, non-snowplowed dirt roads. So, if the car is parked at the house, it may stay there for a few weeks. (That was the case last January.) Whereas if we leave it parked at the highway, we can drive the four-wheel drive truck from the house to the highway, and then drive the Civic on the plowed highway into town, and vice versa. This saves us loads on our fuel bill.

Anyway, back to the boots. As I trudged through the snow from the car to where A. was waiting in the truck, I was pretty tickled at how warm and dry my feet were. Like an idiot, I was surprised this was the case. Um, duh.

Happy Friday to you! Stay warm.

P.S. THANK YOU for all of your helpful and encouraging comments regarding my ridiculous Christmas Card Habit. You guys are the best.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Cards, Part !

I am in a hotel room, having just finished Day One of the Ridiculously Long New Employee Training. You know, the one that I have No Business Presenting At. It has been a FUN day. First, our university car was available an hour later than it was supposed to be, and then I had to return it to carpool because there were FOUR flat tires. Once that was all straightened out, my co-worker and I decided to take the long, long, long route to C-town because the road and travel map showed the usual, efficient route was closed to any unnecessary travel. We finally arrived at our destination after driving in 65 MPH WINDS for three and a half hours. Just in time to look dishevelled and harried as we started the Ridiculously Long New Employee Training. It's been awesome is what I am saying.

So, on to topics I (and you!) give a shit about!

One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is to send out Christmas cards. I relish this task. The first time A. came over to my house to "talk," my coffee table was completely covered in printed out spreadsheets of the previous and current years Christmas card lists. Complete with columns indicating which card everyone received, so that if I have leftover cards from the previous year I don't accidentally send the same card to the anyone. I thought, "If this doesn't scare the shit out of him, nothing will." Needless to say, that was three years ago.

There are designed address labels that are pretty! and fancy! There are timeline, indicating when the letter needs to be written, printed, folded, stuffed into cards. There are dates on the calendar dedicated to addressadhesion, stamp acquisition. It is nothing less than Operation: Christmas Card.

And I love it.

Last year was the first year I included a Christmas letter. It seemed the easiest way to introduce A. to some of the people in my life, and to share the news of the previous year, (grad school, fishing stories, that sort of stuff). I am sure most people on the receiving end of the letter were bored silly, but I loved writing it and designing a fun layout for the letter and some photos. (A.'s mom is designing a crossword puzzle for her letter; how fun is that! It will be years before I can recycle that idea for my own letters, but the snazzy project idea is yours for the taking!)

Normally, to help finance this venture (I can't seem to whittle the list down to fewer that 130 addresses), I buy my cards a couple of days after Christmas for the next year. (I can usually find great cards for 75% off or so. Awesome! Or, you might think that is cheap and tacky. Whatever.) I found some great cards to send out this year, and I am just tickled to send them out. I mean, I will put this off for a day or two just because the anticipation of Operation: Christmas Cards makes me so damn giddy.

The problem is, I don't know that I can really budget in postage and the cost of printing the letters. It seems kind of lame not to include a letter, what with the precedent-setting missive of last year. With A. in grad school, our budget has had to change a bit. A ridiculous amount of money (almost $200) on Operation: Christmas Card just isn't feasible. (I doubt it is ever right to spend that much money on such a project, but shush. I don't want to hear it!)

Oh, this breaks my heart.

So, do you think it would be okay to send out electronic Christmas Cards (that I'll design myself) to the digitally savvy folks, really whittle down the list this year, and then send out cards to just a handful of folks? Oh, I almost get teary just thinking about it, but I am not sure what else I can do. I am even tempted to ask A. not to buy me a gift, but buy me some postage, instead! Lame, I know.

Oh, but I do love writing Christmas cards! Getting all settled and cozy with a cup of cocoa or glass of wine, the Christmas tree lights twinkling, Christmas music playing, and writing little notes to neighbors from my past, friends on the East Coast that I love and miss every day, family members that I am happy to have grown that much closer to over the course of the last year...

Oh, I do love Christmas cards! Are you crazy for Christmas cards, do you loathe them, or write just a few?

P.S. I won't be near my computer until tomorrow night, but I look forward to your comments. It will make Day Two of the Ridiculously Long New Employee Training go much faster! Happy Tuesday to you!