I celebrated my office's annual holiday white elephant gift exchange. Not surprising, wine and spirits are hot items. My personal favorite was one of those giant universal remotes and a TV Guide - very clever! I erred on the side of nice and gave a Starbuck's gift card (although the wrapping unfortunately suggested a more provocative gift). I left with a lovely set of 4 martini glasses, and the story behind them is a hoot!
August 2006: My friend and coworker N marries the love of her life. Among their wedding gifts is a lovely set of goblets.
Early December 2006: I attend a ladies' group gift exchange whereby I end up with the gift brought by my friend and coworker O.
Later December 2006: N gives away said goblets in the annual office gift exchange. They were a hot item! In fact, later in the afternoon, another coworker emails the entire office seeking the identity of the giver, as the coworker wishes to buy more goblets!
Early December 2007: Both O and N are members of the aforementioned ladies group participating in that group's annual gift exchange. N tells O all about how N and her husband received an abundance of stemware for wedding gifts, and that once again, N is re-gifting from the wedding booty. N is mortified when O chooses the gift N brought.
Mid December 2007: After reviewing her own stemware collection, O asks N whether she would mind if O brought the ladies' group gift that she received from N for the office gift exchange. N agrees, but informs O that another co-worker, H, was the original giver. O agrees to remove the stemware from its original packaging so that it won't be obvious to H that her gift was been twice re-gifted.
Today: For the second year in a row, an identical lovely set of goblets is exchanged, which I learn later also came from N's wedding booty. For the second year in a row, I randomly select my friend O's present at a holiday gift exchange - the martini glasses given by H to N to O and then to me!
It's no secret that I LOVE Christmas music. I'd listen to it all year if it were politically correct, but instead I binge in December (and no earlier). Two local radio stations switched to an all-Christmas format after Thanksgiving, and I listen to them almost nonstop in the car. In fact, as I write, I'm listening to a mixed CD that my dad compiled several years ago (it's my favorite) shortly after he discovered Napster. As an alumna of the GBHS Madrigal Pops Singers, I know all the words and even some simple harmonies to most of the standards.
In all seriousness though, I AM HEREBY CALLING FOR A MORATORIUM ON NEW CHRISTMAS SONGS, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.
No one has written a decent Christmas song since 1971 when John and Yoko gave us "Happy Christmas (War is Over)," although I might grant you Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time" from 1979. I'm happy to listen to 74,648 different people, instruments, or choirs cover "What Child Is This?" or "Jingle Bells" or "The First Noel" or "White Christmas." I'm even willing to endure an alternative arrangement of any of the classic secular or sacred songs, so long as it does not deviate too far for the original melody or beat. (Not surprisingly, I also strongly dislike those who try to put their own twist on the Star Spangled Banner.) Bottom line: if you can't distinguish yourself with outstanding vocal abilities, then you shouldn't be mangling a tradition. Besides, it's a hell of a lot more difficult for me to sing along.
Dear Readers -- I dare you to name a NEW Christmas song written within the past 30 years that's good. And since you won't be able to, I encourage you instead to share your favorites here. I have so many that it's hard to choose just one or two, but my list most definitely includes:
Silent Night - Enya's Celtic version Do You Hear What I Hear - Whitney Houston Oh Holy Night - Josh Groban Carol of the Bells - any choir What Child Is This - Garth Brooks or any choir
Yesterday morning as I pulled out of the driveway, the trash truck was parked in the middle of the street, blocking my usual route out of the neighborhood on my way to work. Since it seemed the truck would not be moving until gathering several neighbors' trash, I decided to take the other route out of the neighborhood rather than wait in the driveway. Even though that route would be no quicker than waiting, at least I'd be moving!
As I sat in a major intersection ready to join up with my regular route on Superior Street, I waited for a firetruck to turn in front of me. After turning, I followed it to a wreck a few blocks beyond where I normally turn on to Superior. A car in the opposite lane had slid on the ice (refreeze from overnight), passed through my lane, drove through a fence, and ended up in someone's backyard. (Tangent: a nearly identical wreck occurred last winter in the next yard over, and the fence was only recently repaired.)
I don't know how long the car had been in the yard before I passed it, but had the trash truck not delayed me, I could have been in the way of the sliding car. Not sure if it was the cosmos, a guardian angel, or Jesus himself, but thanks go out to who or whatever moved me out of the way! If only its/hers/His signs were always so obvious!!!
Horror of horrors...while shopping for tights at Target yesterday, I learned that Target sells leg warmers. Leg warmers! That fad was stupid in the 1980s - who thought it was a good idea to bring it back?
Despite the appearance of the radar, it looks like Mother Nature has moved on for now. However, she left a 1/2" sheet of ice on our driveway. This piece was taken from the top of our trashcan that was parked at the edge of the driveway all night. When I moved the trashcan, it was in a rut surrounded by a 1/2" of ice. Yes, I measured, but I couldn't get the photo right without assistance.
OK...really, the term "Ice" Day might be more appropriate. Nonetheless, I'm enduring it from home in my pink flannel jammies. Yay! Oddly, the "on the scene" television reporters keep stating that it's not that bad out here. And poor C - the U did not close. If I'm feeling adventurous (or bored), I'll try to post some pictures later.
Lincoln experienced its first taste of "real" winter last week. It was lovely, and now I'm ready for Spring. My friend E in Florida complains of her consistently nice weather, and a friend in South Carolina tauntingly emailed that today's high there was 77. I sympathize with neither of them.
A week ago Saturday we had an ice storm; and Thursday brought an official 3" of snow (though I'd bet it was closer to 4-5" in our yard). It has flurried intermittently all weekend, resulting in another 1-2" of snow. Another storm is expected Monday night/Tuesday morning. Did I mention that it's bitterly cold too?
As for driving, I must give credit to the Lincoln public works department who did a good job keeping the roads clear. On icy streets, I tend to the be that "stupid bitch" in front of you who drives VERY SLOWLY. This winter, other drivers seem to think that tailgating me is a good idea, whether it be on an icy bridge or the treacherous roundabout (%@#&-ing roundabouts!) a block from my home. Nyeh.
That's my rant for today. Rest assured, there's always an upside to my kvetching. The snow and the ice are pretty...through my window. And, we have a very generous neighbor (the same one no doubt who laughed while C and I moved the furniture) who gets a kick out of snowblowing our driveway. And, unlike in Stillwater, people here use sand or salt on icy sidewalks, not soil.
The best part of all: people are finally covering themselves! (except for the crazy lady at HyVee on Friday night who was wearing shorts). What's more comfy than jeans and a sweatshirt?
Part of my daily dash to Starbucks includes looking around for the Starbucks Celebrity Sighting of the Day. Keep in mind, this is Lincoln, Nebraska, and the stakes are low. For example, previous Celebrity Sightings have included the President of the University which really wasn't all that exciting because I had shown him the way out of my office the afternoon before.
Almost every Monday's Starbucks Celebrity Sighting of the Day features Mike Johanns - former mayor of Lincoln, former Nebraska governor, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and current (and sadly*, only credible) candidate for the U.S. Senate. Today was no exception, and after bidding the Secretary a good morning, I overheard him order the following beverage: grande half-caff sugar-free** vanilla latte with 2% milk. Oddly, he then walked away without paying and stood next to me waiting for his drink. Then it dawned on him that perhaps he ought to pay for his (incredibly frou-frou) drink, so he cut back into line and completed the transaction. And in case you were wondering, he's "Mike" to the baristas (I promise to hop off the "great equalizer" theme soon, but just not today).
I can't say I know much about his politics, other than that he's a Republican that W handpicked to be Secretary of Agriculture, and that W cannot pronounce his last name (it's Jo-hans, not Jo-hahns). Which means Mike and I probably don't see eye to eye on much of anything (except in person, he's only a few inches taller than me...oh, and taste in coffee). He's a little less dweeby/creepy-looking in real life.
* The reason I'm sad: the election is a year away, and it's already a one-candidate show in Nebraska. ** Snaps to the Secretary for not getting the crampy runs from sugar-free products.