Thursday, December 31, 2009

Random snippets

Did NOT gain weight over the holidays!!!

Slept like crap last night, but trying not to think about it...staying up to watch ball drop and babysitting tomorrow at 10 a.m., so it behooves me to live in denial.

Was going to offer to take small person to local park, but looks like weather may not cooperate...

Back at work...they moved our desks while I was gone. Have a window seat now for first time in ages. Loving the natural light. Sales are scary-dry...makes me glad we're past the holiday season. We had to kill time in a meeting for an hour and a half this morning, just so the queues could fill up on our end. That grateful thing (about work) is easier to take, when the queues are that dry. Praying we get busy again soon...

FYI: Homemade fudge keeps for more than a week in the fridge...made butterscotch last Monday and it's still in fine shape, no separating or flavor difference. This could be a dangerous development, as this stuff was way easy to make >:)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I've lost track of time being off work so long, almost forgot Lil Bro's birthday yesterday...we don't speak enough, so that would've sucked, but I did manage to send him a singing voicemail that parodied Cat Ballou ("Happy birthday, dear Frankie...")...yeah, ok, inside joke...anyway, since I work New Year's Eve and then am babysitting New Year's Day, I'm trying to get some thinking in now, that pensive, dreamy thinking that occurs this time of year, when the new year is before you all full of promise and whatnot...

Started new socks for MIL...any sock pattern that calls for size 1s is just lying to you, i don't care what it says...size 1s are for baby stuff, nothing else, in my book.

I want to move this year. That ain't news.

I try to do this thinking around Samhain, which pagans/witches consider to be their New Years', but it's hard to fight the ole Gregorian calendar.

I want to get pregnant. That ain't news either, just gets more pressing the older I get.

I'm going to eat healthier and exercise more. I know now that I have that in me.

I want to make more things by hand.

The apartment needs a major purge.

Keeping it short, because those are all big ideas.

I'm so grateful for all the blogs I read...this Internet thing has been such a blessing for women my age, give or take, such a great outlet for sharing ideas. I learn so much everyday.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

There's no place like home

Happy holidays, y'all! I'm pretty sure the new top graphic is from the holly family...the inlaws have a couple of bushes in front of their house in SC. The other pics are randoms from our trip. The niece is still beautiful, though four days of excitement and questionable parenting did bring out her colors. As I'm fond of saying, I'm ready to have my own children to worry about, so I can stop judging certain people for how they're raising theirs.
Thinking of being more seasonal about the top pic...had some fun experimenting with the ole point and click this trip.

We survived and are glad to be home. I got spoiled as usual, got some new clothes, jewelry, and a neat wicker box that I'm still deciding how to use. They discovered the beauty of secondhand this year too, which made me feel a little better about all the regifting that a gorgeous red and black patterned jacket that Mom J found at a secondhand store for a steal.

The damn socks didn't fit, so they'll end up going to the niece. I made the gussets too tight and the foot too short. Live and learn. BAH!

I'm still fried...the trip was 6 hours back thanks to construction and holiday traffic. Thanking gods I don't have to work until Thursday. I'm babysitting, of all things, for a family friend on New Year's, which should net me a nice chunk of change, which is great because things are still sphincter-tight around here financially.

Man, it's nice to be home.

Learned a lot about myself this season, how I want to celebrate the holidays. How good it feels to give of yourself. My inlaws' neighbors came by Christmas Eve with a centerpiece as a gift, and it felt so good to have pumpkin bread to give them. That's what the holidays are about.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Random musings as we count down...

What the frick is a sugarplum? Wikipedia probably knows...

Ohmygoodness, but I have to stop drinking.....I'm pretty much a social drinker; it's not like I'm grabbing a beer every night after work or keep a bottle in the house. I'm not worried about becoming a friend of Bill W. But Lil Sis and I together killed a large bottle of Mer-lot last night, and the ensuing vertigo was another wake-up call from my pancreas, I fear. The good news is the holiday gluttony can't be justified much longer, and my concerns should keep me from getting completely toasted at the inlaws and shoving my large foot in my mouth.

Managed to pack this morning without making myself late for work...didn't even have a headache, which is surprising because I was flying too high to remember to take Advil before bed.

I wish we had one more night here. Meara heads back to Orlando before we get back from SC :( My cup runneth over when I get to hang out with her. Loved the look on her face when she saw all the cookies in her gift and the promise of more...I was bummed that I haven't gotten to try out so many of the cool recipes I discovered this season, so I'm giving myself an excuse to bake once a month and sending her a baker's dozen. Will probably try and theme 'em too. We had a blast at Mom's...dinner and gifties and National Lampoon's Christmas on AMC. They got us a brand-new microwave! And there's a pretty scarf around my neck today and a new Vera Bradley over my shoulder :)

Can I please stay home this holiday and play with my new microwave?

Ah well, SC won't be that bad...Les and I have each other for breathers from the back-biting that occurs there, and I'm thinking with the exception of Christmas Day, the time will go by fast. I have a new portfolio from Mom too, a hand-me-down with fresh calendar sheets for turning my dreams of the move next year into reality.

I'm entering the land of dial-up tonight, so won't post again until New Year's Eve, unless I escape to the library while we're in SC...Happy Holidays everyone! Send me some snow!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Man, it's coming up fast. Thankfully, my ducks are in a row, only one or two sneaking out of line occasionally, the little shits...

Making my list of stuff to pack today...tonight we're doing Christmas early with Mom and Meara, because we head to the wilds of SC tomorrow night right after work. Two batches of cookies and one batch of fudge still to do...I'm not entirely certain everything's getting cooked here anymore. Don't want to shorten our time with Mom and Meara tonight, plus there will be wine /:)
...thinking toll house and fudge may wait til Thursday. Thankfully, that fudge recipe really was easy (and holy-crap yummy!), and I can make toll houses in my sleep...

beauty that moves reminded me of tiny happy's idea for a last-minute gift...right up my alley for something extra for the MIL...just gotta gather materials...wonder if Joann's would have a doily?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Getting in the spirit

Chilly here now...30s at night, 50s during day. Windows open full time :)

I set out today on this shortest day of the year wearing my green hat, purple curly complemented on the hat and was proud to say I'd knitted it myself. Keeping my hair down to warm the ole ears...

Freezer full of pound cake, cookie dough in the fridge. Body was wiped out by evening, but I'm rallying today for round 2. Tonight, cookies, wrapping pressies, looking ahead. To a holiday season that doesn't require extended travel. To the 2 days off I have once we get home. Yeah, OK, I'm grousing...I know I'll enjoy seeing everyone, and lord knows I'll enjoy being up there (my grass, my trees, the niece...). But it's also motivating...would love a holiday where we spend a day instead of several, where I don't have to worry about the cat being alone...we clean her litter before we go, place clean water and treats in several places, and she feeds from a silo, but still...

This season is teaching me frugality, patience, and quite a bit about how I want to celebrate the holidays, whether we have children or not. I want the tree up next year. I want to observe pagan Advent, Yule, and Christmas. I want to make more gifts...the sewing machine never even made it out this year. Not beating myself up over that, but as I see what we've purchased vs. what I've made in the gift department, it's a strong motivator. Trolling the evil big box store on Saturday for last-minute gifts rang false and hasty...was entirely necessary this year, with the way we've been living paycheck to paycheck though, so feeling bad about it is useless. I also may start shopping for staples there...can't stand the thought of contributing to that place, but the fact is the money we save there could go toward the move in some way, so I'm willing to sacrifice my pride and principles for a pinch.

So I sit here, pondering Yule, with my Santa pin on my shirt and my wreath earrings in, and I think about the sun god, the nativity story, and the hope of enjoying the wonder of the season with our own children someday...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Notes from a baking frenzy

Ah, not really a frenzy...actually I'm quite chilled about the whole thing. Enjoying myself, taking it a step at a time...even looking ahead. Made the snickerdoodle dough today to get it out of the way, because while I'm not baking cookies until Monday and Tuesday evening, a huge chunk of Tuesday evening will be spent celebrating with my side of the fam (eeeee!), so that evening will be kind of a scramble. We leave for SC Wednesday night after work and will be gone until Monday. I could throw together the 2nd batch of cookies in SC, but I'd rather not add to the chaos while we're there. I'm also doing all our laundry here, not bringing any with us. The house really ain't big enough for the amount (or ages) of people that live in it now, so having us there pushes it just over the edge.

I'm rolling with the ideas as they come to me...had my selections picked out, but spotted a recipe that I thought would modify nicely to about half-diabetic, so threw it together for my mom...hey, it ain't the holidays if you can't experiment on your family members :)

Dad's with me today as I work.....I'm putting the eggs into individual small Pyrex dishes before adding them to recipes, ensuring everything's sans shells (which naturally means I'm cracking eggs with the precision of a master chef and haven't seen a shell all afternoon), and I'm cleaning as I go. Really, it would be virtually impossible to pull this off unless I clean as I go, as my kitchen is galley and quite limited in counterspace, but still...the useless ark of a former microwave still sits on our counter, but I'm thinking Husby will be prodded awake later to send that sucker to its final reward, so I can enjoy that pinch of counter while I have it.

The good news: the inlaws have a microwave we can probably take. The bad news: it belonged to the fam members with issues, so I can't help feeling like they'll be expecting decent gifts now. Ah, Christmas...

Stuff that's coming to me as I work:

1. The Kitchenaid stand mixer is about the greatest frickin' invention for the kitchen. I'm so in love with mine. It's a hand-me-down from my MIL, black with paddle attachment, whisk, dough hook, and easy pour rim. The woman has two daughters of her own, but gave it to me when she upgraded because she knew I'd use it. Man, do I! The stand gets cleaned between recipes, and I've been known to talk to it. And I'm finally remembering to grate cheese and veggies with the attachment I got for xmas last year.....Dear Santa, when you win Lotto, I wouldn't mind the pasta attachment, the grain mill, the juicer, the...

2. Reminder: 1/4 c of butter is half a stick...not 1 stick. But on the upside, I now have extra streusel topping to try on one on the pound cakes.

3. It's not a hardship to soften butter without a microwave, so long as you remember which burner on the stove acts as a vent for the oven. I've had no problem today getting butter to cooperate.

4. Imitation vanilla extract is NOT an acceptable substitute. Tries way too frickin' hard and doesn't taste right. I have too much respect for my baking to continue using it...luckily I have a half bottle of the real thing, that I think is going to stretch perfectly for my needs.

5. If Ina Garten's pound cake tastes half as good baked as the batter does....I'm making extra for us!

Edit: pound cake recipe bakes 2...yeah, right! The first 2 kind of 'sploded all over themselves, so I'm trying 3 this time around. Good news: extra!

Also, godspeed, Brittany Murphy...some of her stuff annoyed the crap out of me, but from the Torkelsons, to Girl, Interrupted, to Luanne on King of the Hill, the girl had talent to burn. Such a shame.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Turning point

Got my xmas bonus.

The relief nearly brought tears to my eyes. I sat for several minutes just letting it wash over me.

I'm very tired of living like this. May the new year bring strength to change.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I think I'm finally chilling out.....

This holiday, it makes ya crazy.

Did my daily blog troll and I'm glad I did, because there's some very smart ladies out there espousing the tenets of frugal holidays. Much as I have trouble believing that there won't be a last-minute scramble on xmas eve at the inlaws, to put as many presents under the tree as frickin' possible, because Grandma likes a full tree even if she doesn't want to pay for it...the fact is that the holidays are so much more than gift giving. And I have no business feeling guilty. I keep grasping for ideas on extra gifts to give people, when they already have one gift in the hopper AND I'm planning to bake for everybody. I also have no business feeling cheap for the regifting ideas that are presenting themselves. If I'm not using something, if it would go to Goodwill otherwise, why not present it to a loved one who could get good use out of it? Makes me wish I could unclench my emotional attachment to Dad's wood planer...Les's Uncle Bill is a woodsmith by trade. But I also dream of a workshop of my own when we have a house/carport/garage, so I'll indulge in some selfishness for now...

I'm been emotionally flogging myself for weeks, when in fact, the holiday's going to turn out exactly as I want it to.....frugal, with gifts that come from the heart.

Part of the problem also is that Les and I aren't particularly religious, so the whole season falls flat a bit if you're not careful. Saw the most excellent quote by Louis Nizer yesterday:
"True religion is the life we lead, not the creed we profess."
Wouldn't mind trying to live that way...

So enough already! If I can't afford a lot of ingredients, then I'll go with the old standbys: Snickerdoodles and Toll House Chocolate Chip (and pound cake and pumpkin bread, because decreasing insane baking pressure takes baby steps). I know those recipes, so there's less chance of a screwup. It's not like all those recipes I've been finding and want to try can't be tried any other time of the year. Simplicity! What a concept!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

OK, so the bitchy hasn't evaporated completely...

I fell off the junk food wagon several days ago, and can't seem to hop back on. I'm hoping that finally planning and shopping for the holidays (baking ingredients tonight, books on Saturday, still brainstorming for Lil Sis) will assuage the level of stress I'm putting on myself.

Random, scatty post warning!

Strung the set over both the pantries in the living room, another set higher up in the bedroom. Husby's fluctuating between holiday depression and feeling sorry for himself for not working these days, so I did it while he grumbled. Unplugged them when I kissed him goodnight (he's much more nocturnal than I, and his sleep schedule varies).....found them back on this morning :) bwuahahahah! My evil plan's working!

Figured out what I'm baking, expecting it to change 3 more times while I'm buying the ingredients and obsessing over money...the not-knowing about the xmas bonus is really rather maddening.

Pretty sure it's not the money that's concerning me over Lil Sis's's more a difficulty in translation. How do you materialize something so it says "happy holidays and by the way, you're the most important person in my life next to that guy I married 10 years ago." She's gone through some tough growing pains this year, but one thing never changes: the way her beauty, inside and out, knocks me flat every time I see her.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Enough whining

I nag, nag, nag Leslie about indulging in pity parties, and then what do I do? The last couple of posts have been whiny little snores. Enough already!

I'm going to string lights over the stack of boxes to the right of the TV in the living room. I'm going to string more lights over the top pantry cabinet or across the far living/dining room wall. I'm going to send out my blasted holiday cards. I'm going to clean the blasted kitchen so I can get going on the baking, and I'm bringing the sock to work until the sucker's done. Ho, ho, friggin' ho! I WILL get in the spirit!

The saying goes, bloom where you're planted. Well, I can't stand where I'm currently planted, but whining sure ain't going to change that. What will change it is planning, budgeting, purging, organizing...all things I'm very capable of doing myself and motivating the husband to do as well. The only way we're going to create change is by just doing it...geez, now i'm starting to sound like a Nike ad. ARGH!

Microwave died over the weekend...sucker's at least 20 years old, Mom bought it for me used when I started college. We're seeing if the inlaws have an oldie in storage, but if not, I'm talking up toughing it out as long as we need to. There are more important things in the budget once we hit the new year, and with a little bit of patience we can survive without it. Creamed the butter for cookies the other night instead of nuking it and was quite pleased with the results. I frickin' LOVE my Kitchenaid mixer!

Spent yesterday trolling Charlotte websites, trying to educate myself, and sent away for a pile of relocation packages, which'll probably all be variations on the same thing, but at least it's a start. Also sent away for their DOT's sweet and will give me a different perspective than the mini atlas we have. Also found a gold mine of an About page describing all the different neighborhoods...hopefully I'll be able to match areas with crime rates through some more web trolling...though of course the best educating will come in February when we're able to go up there and explore a bit.

Now if only I could knit and edit websites at the same time :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekend, where art thou?

Keeping from feeling sorry for yourself is a full-time job in these parts nowadays. We have gifts figured out for about half the family...I need to write down what's decided on, so I can stop obsessing about it and focus. I've simplified the baked gifts, but I'm falling behind on the last sock. I did some knitting on Sunday and a whole lot of not much else. And my brain wouldn't let me nap, which was equally frustrating...

Saturday evening was the company holiday party. I tried to get festive, but between the lousy paycheck and not winning anything as usual at the raffles they hold, I'm glad it's past us. Food wasn't even that thing about it was the baybreeze that was 3/4 vodka.

The spirit is willing, but vacant...I know that the holidays are so much more than just gifts, but between the barrage of emails I get trying to save the holidays from political correctness (which I wholeheartedly subscribe to, since I want to celebrate Yule over Christmas) and the hopelessly cluttered apartment negating any attempts to decorate, it's hard. Add to that a paycheck that barely allows us to afford food, much less gifts for a dozen people, and I'm wishing December were over already. And don't get me started on how temps have soared back into the GD 70s...

I'll rally, I know...I'm planning to start baking this week, fill the freezer, and finish the sock, and handmake a gift or two and get wrapping on the stuff I already have. I'm taking us to Chamblin's next weekend to seek out a couple of last-minute gifts. I hope to still get a bonus before we leave for SC. Can't stand the thought of shopping on Christmas Eve, but we may not have a choice.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The bluebird of happiness crapped in my Christmas pie...

One of my dad's old sayings :)

My paycheck was a steaming reindeer flop. The drop in sales kicked my commission in the 'nads, and I've gone from joking about giving everyone baked goods for the holidays to wondering if I'll be able to afford the ingredients.

Paraphrased from Bones last night:

Daisy: "Christmas should be celebrated in March since that's when Christ was actually born."
With ya on that one this week, sister...

From an older episode:
Tempe: "I'm not discriminating against him because he's a Muslim. I find all religions equally irrational."
Good stuff.

So I'm in a bit of a dark place today. Here's another funny from Dad, though I'm sure he snitched it from somewhere...
A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon my windowsill
So I closed the window and bashed his f*cking head in.

Yeah, feeling a tad dark.

Going to spend the weekend assessing, planning, and visiting this blog relentlessly until I feel a little better and more in the spirit...the scene just knocks me out. I can picture Linus with his blanket just going up to that porch and sitting indian-style with a cup of cocoa to take it all in.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chilly Thursday

Next couple of days should be nice here, 50s and 30s. Still, I'm very jealous of the Midwest. I'm sure there are plenty of people up there who'd tell me to stuff my jealousy as they dig out their cars to go to work, but I can't help it. Around this time last year, Meara and I were outside spinning and playing as the snow poured down around us. My knees ached the whole time we were up there, but I don't know when I've felt more alive. Delightfully ironic since we were there to honor Nanie, who'd finally gone to Summerland.

Meara heads to Milwaukee next weekend for a friend's wedding. I'd like to stow away in her suitcase.

My relationship with food is changing. There's something about preparing food that settles me, steadies my brain. When I'm working in the kitchen, I'm in a good place. It's a tricky proposition, recognizing that when I'm working to eat better...because the urge is there, especially with the holidays, to bake a crapload of, well, crap...breads, cookies, fudge. I hope to bake quite a bit in the next 2 weeks, but I'll give most of it away. But what I'm getting at is that I feel the need to explore this part of me more.

The other day I went over to Mom's to loan her some rice, because it's all the dog could eat initially while she's on the mend. Mom was in a scattered place, checking mail, getting changed, chatting me up, so I got a pan out and cooked up some rice for the little hairball. I've been enjoying hypoglycemia more lately and had had a dull headache all afternoon, but I realized that the simple acts of measuring water, setting the timer, checking the doneness of the rice was making me feel better.

I doubt it means I should go to culinary school, but I look forward to exploring food preparation more, especially as it becomes evident how healthy I need to be eating.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Quick stop...random mental wanderings...

Sleepy...accompanied Mom to vet last night...remarkably fast visit for an animal ER though, caught 'em on a good night...I kept saying to Mom that what the dog needed was puppy Pepto...turns out you can give dogs the pink stuff...

Also achy, which is just from being active this weekend...doesn't feel like I'm coming down with anything, just my bod being wimpy. Did a pinch of organizing Saturday. Sunday Mom and I went down to St. Augie to visit with Christy and her mom, who were down from New England. Yesterday was laundry. Hate when a day off gets taken over by the mundane, but it couldn't be helped...

I really can't believe it's December already.

10! Pounds! Down!

Would love to get sock done this week...will be trying for that in the evenings so I can worry about everyone else's gifts over the last 2 weeks...

Celebrated 10 years with the company this weekend...can't decide if I should be proud or suicidal...

Friday, December 04, 2009

Editorial musings and random thoughts

Bear with me, I'm high on caffeine.

A sampling of the copywriting gems I face on a daily basis...these have cropped up just today.

"...we replace widows and doors..."

Well, I'll be sure to keep Mom away from there.

"...our owner is the eldest of 6 children. He has 3 brothers and 3 sisters..."

Must be the new math.

"...swine flue..."

Condition acquired by eating pork while sitting in a chimney?

Random: I'm wearing about my favoritest outfit today...jeans, sneaks, and a navy blue pullover sweater with a nondescript pattern that's SO comfy. Weather was 40-something when I left for work this morning. I'm thinking of eating lunch outside. Wearing my hair down is keeping my ears warm. I love winter!

Went digging for my purple scarf in my bag o' knits (couldn't find it, the apartment ate it), and found that I did finish the blue mittens last year. I thought they were still UFOs! Thinking of felting them a bit, because one of the thumbs came out huge, but I'm so delighted to find that I finished them. I really want to make myself some fingerless gloves with leftover sock yarn once I'm done with the MIL socks. So glad to be on the heel flap of those suckers...I'm NOT a fan of size 1 needles, not with my man-sized hands.

OK, back to work.....sales plummeted last week thanks to the holidays (well, I HOPE that's what it was), so we're all scrabbling to grab sites the minute they post in the queue. It's a blast.

Weekend, Advent, n' other stuff

Sorry it's fuzzy, it was shot from a cheap-ass, pay-as-you-go phone.

If there's anything more beautiful than a free latte on a Friday, I don't know what it is :) Barista recognized me and started making it automatically, and when I said I hadn't ordered it today, she gave it to me anyway because she remembered goofing on an order of mine a couple of weeks back. I'll take that kind of suck-up service anytime!

So, how come a male barista isn't called a baristo?

So equipped with my caffeine high and the promise of a 3-day weekend, I'm in a decent mood. I'm less scared of the impending holidays, I've started the heel flap on the 2nd sock, and I'll knock off the holiday cards this weekend and study my recipes. I found a pile of good ones on the Web this week, and I hope to start baking quick breads this weekend, because I can freeze them until they're needed. Also, my team's doing a holiday potluck at work next week and I'll test a couple of the cookie recipes on them ;)

My best pal Christy's in FL with her mom, so we'll get together at some point this weekend. I need to tear into my closet to find an outfit for the company holiday party next weekend. I'm pretty sure I can scare up something appropriate in the depths of the ole closet, but I am going to need to invest in a new pair of pumps. God, payday can't come fast enough. I'd love to get the holiday shopping done, but it's going to have to happen in drips and the meantime, I'll continue with my lists, see what can get accomplished at home, and we'll hit Chamblin's this weekend or next, get some books with credit for gifts.

I'm thinking I want to start recognizing pagan Advent, make it a ritual. Already a Sunday behind, I realize. Can't imagine having the energy and creativity for the whole Advent calendar (especially once/if we have kids), but just the Sundays is workable, the concepts of Hope, Faith, Love, and Joy translated in my own way. It's yet another ritual that the Christians claim to have invented and the Pagans claim was stolen from them by the Christians, so I choose not to care one way or the other and just make it my own. Anything to help me get in the spirit, remember what the season's about, the birth of Christ, the birth of the Sun God, and whatever the heck Hannukah celebrates. When I think about having children, I imagine giving them a unitarian upbringing with a well-rounded understanding of faith. Tall order, I realize...

Happy Friday, y'all!

P.S. Weather in the 40s and 50s...happy as a clam :)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Holiday planning

Making my lists...
Checking 'em twice...
Enjoying small panic attack about how the hell it's all getting done...
Santa Claus is...

Where'd the year go? I've never had a year whip by like this one did.

I am making lists. Since there's no money to spend on gifts yet, it's all I can do, that and write holiday cards. Can't even send 'em yet, as I'm almost out of stamps. Next payday...

I'm unearthing the sewing machine tonight. I'm pawing through the apartment looking for regifting options. I have half a sock to finish. We have a box of books going to Chamblin's that will hopefully provide some gifts for the booklovers in our fams. I need to make a list of exactly how much baking needs to occur between now and the holiday.

Don't think we've ever gone into a holiday season this tight. There just isn't a spare penny lately. I want the holidays to be a time of frugal giving, but this feels weak. I'd rather plan to be frugal than be forced into it. I want everyone to get cookies, not just the folks I can't afford to shop for.

Ah and learn and look to the future...this weekend I'll string lights around our windows and find some evergreen. Our apartment's too much of a disaster area to put up the tree, but I'm determined to get in the holiday spirit!