Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas failure

I always feel like I'm a failure at Christmas. I have all these grand plans, and don't live up to any of them, really. I intended to sew for Christmas -- I had plans to make pillowcases for everyone. Something that everyone needs and uses, and I have all this fabric already, so it wouldn't take any money, just time. But I can never seem to do anything ahead of time. I kept thinking I still had time, but time got away from me.

And then I had all the dental issues, and my mom went in the hospital, and things were just basically awful, and I didn't get anything done. I started out with such good intentions, but I didn't even get Christmas cards out. Maybe I'll just go ahead and address them now, and mail them next Christmas.

We had a nice Christmas Eve with Bob's family at his brother's house, and we had our family Christmas at my sister's boyfriend's house on Christmas Day. We stopped to see my folks briefly on the way there. One of my nieces was sick, her whole family was sick, so we didn't see them, and Bob's sister and husband didn't come because they live out of town and she had to work (in a hotel) on Christmas Day, so we didn't see them, either. And Bob's mother is gone, so that still seems weird to me, and my parents don't really want the whole big deal holiday anymore, which I completely understand. I know we have to make new traditions, and we're working on it, it's just really hard.

But we will all survive, and I will just try -- as I always do -- to do better next year.

Old Dog ≠ New Tricks

(I had to go look up the code for the "not equal to" symbol.

I ran across a pattern that I really wanted to knit, but when I opened it up, saw that it was charted, and was very disappointed. I know that there are people who like charts, and maybe that's the wave of the future, but I don't like them. I Googled "how to read knitting charts," and honestly, reading most of the links I found made it seem more complicated. The thing that I thought I might never get the hang of was that on one row you read the chart from right to left, and the next row, left to right. I'm pretty sure I would screw that up.

So I sadly put the pattern away, and then I thought, I could translate it. So this old dog, instead of learning a new trick, wrote the pattern out in words. Or, not really words, I guess, but knitting shorthand, i.e., K3 M1 K20 SSK K2. I guess if you learned using charts, it might be easier, but it isn't for me. Oh, and crochet charts? Forget it.

When I was a teenager I crocheted Barbie clothes, edgings and doilies out of crochet thread and steel hooks, using old pattern leaflets. I crocheted them by reading the patterns line by line. Looking at crochet charts makes my head explode.

I suppose, like anything else, I could learn to do it, and once I had practiced awhile, I'm sure it would come to be easier, but I just don't have that motivation right now. That's why I love the multi-directional diagonal scarf pattern -- I can knit it on autopilot.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Here's a fun plan

When I went to the dentist to have the temporary crown fitted, he said that there was a growth or something on my gum that hadn't been there two weeks before when I had my first appointment with him. He was very careful to tell me that he didn't think it was anything to worry about, but that it could be in the future, and he thought I should have it looked at. So after the next appointment, when he put the permanent crown on, he gave me a referral to a periodontist. I had the appointment with her today.

I didn't really know what to expect, except that the dentist said the periodontist would probably remove it (it just looks like my gum is kind of swollen or overgrown or something in one spot). So today she just looked at it, and poked and prodded around in my mouth, then said she was going to go make some notes and would come back in and talk to me.

After awhile, she came back in and her office assistant had apparently called my insurance company, and they had come up with this whole "treatment plan." She said that she needed to remove the thing, and send it to the lab for biopsy, and she "would be shocked" if it was cancer, but it could be, in which case we would have to talk about a treatment plan. But she assured me that she thought the likelihood of that was small, but still possible.

She said it could be a couple of things, one of which is caused by hormones, and if it's that thing, then even if she removes it, it could come back, but she won't know until the labs are done. And then she said I probably grind my teeth at night because I have some gum recession, and my bite isn't ideal, and my teeth are crowded, and in order to fix that, she thinks I should have braces (aside: her husband/partner is an orthodontist), but I would need to have them before I get an implant for the tooth that was pulled, because an implant won't move, blah, blah, blah. I kind of tuned out at that point. I'm sixty years old, I'm not going to get braces. But I nodded, and said, okay, okay, okay.

Then she showed me how much it is all going to cost, and my head sort of exploded.

And, while they will submit bills to the insurance company, they expect me to pay up front, then have insurance reimburse me, which I have never had done. I said that, and she said, well, we're not in network, so they won't pay us, which I know for a fact is not true.

So I said, well, okay, but I'm not prepared to pay for this now, today, and she said, oh no, it won't be today, I'm not doing anything today, you'll have to make another appointment. And I said, okay, but even then, I don't see how I'm going to pay for this in one lump sum, and she said, well, talk to the office assistant, maybe you can work something out, and she shook my hand and left.

Oh, and if you pay in cash, they give you a 10% discount, which, I'm sorry, that just struck me as odd. I made an appointment for the first week in January, and the office person reiterated that I wouldn't get a discount if I didn't pay in cash, but if I gave her a credit card number she could divide it up into three payments ("we don't usually do that for such small amounts, though," she said) and they would auto-charge it ("we don't send out invoices").

I know that it's a business like any other, and they weren't mean or anything, and of course they expect to get paid, I understand that.

And there was apparently a charge for the consultation today -- she didn't tell me how much it was -- she said she would submit it to insurance and have them send the check to them, and then bill me for the remainder, so obviously what the doctor told me earlier about insurance not paying them (and what the assistant said about not sending invoices) wasn't true.

I went out and sat in the car and cried. Bob was off today and he was out Christmas shopping, and he called to see how it had gone, and I couldn't even really talk. He was walking around Costo, and he was giving me a running commentary, trying to cheer me up. He's so good about stuff like that. I know I'm kind of crazy sometimes, but he's awfully good to me.

I had told my dad that I might come out this afternoon if I felt like it after the appointment, thinking that they were actually going to do something other than upset me, so I drove out there, pretty much crying all the way, but trying to get it together. He made me lunch (chili) when I got there, and we sat and talked, and I teared up a little bit when I told him (and I am now, thinking about it again), but it wasn't too bad.

Mom is doing great -- she's back home now -- and while I was there the visiting nurse came, so I was glad I was there for that.

My inclination about the periodontist is to call and cancel the appointment, and think about finding someone different. I didn't dislike her personally, but I just don't feel right about it. And the whole thing, of course . . . I know it's not my fault, but really, it kind of is. If I had kept up going to the dentist all along, maybe it would have happened anyway, maybe it wouldn't. No way of knowing, but it's like now I have this whole lifetime plan of going to the dentist every two weeks and it's awful.

At one point she said, I know it seems like a lot, you go along for a long time and everything is fine, and then everything sort of happens at once. But you can save for it . . . and I thought, wow, yeah, I really want to start putting money aside for dental work, that sounds like fun.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reading Recap

I read a total of 124 books in 2013 (so far), and of those, I gave eighteen of them five stars on Goodreads. Most of the books I read I rate four or five stars; there is the occasional three star book, usually an entry that I didn't care for much in a series that I generally like. If I start out reading a book and don't like it, I don't finish it, so consequently I never rate anything one or two stars.

Most of them are the most recent books in a series, which I love. I love long-term series' and I love discovering new ones.

So, in descending order of date read, the best books I read in 2013:
  1. Night of Cake and Puppets - Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone 2.5)
  2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1)
  3. The Brahms Deception - Louise Marley
  4. The Glass Butterfly - Louise Marley
  5. Love Story With Murders - Harry Bingham (Fiona Griffiths #2)
  6. Just One Evil Act - Elizabeth George (Inspector Lynley #18)
  7. The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith/J. K. Rowling (Cormoran Strike #1)
  8. Doctor Sleep - Stephen King
  9. Chimes at Midnight - Seanan McGuire (October Daye #7)
  10. Fair Game - Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #3)
  11. Countdown City - Ben H. Winters (The Last Policeman #2)
  12. The Eldritch Conspiracy - Cat Adams (Blood Singer #5)
  13. The Cat Sitter's Cradle - Blaize Clement (Dixie Hemingway #8)
  14. Trail of Dead - Melissa F. Olson (Scarlett Bernard #2)
  15. Wicked as She Wants - Delilah S. Dawson (Blud #2)
  16. Graveyard Child - M. L. N. Hanover (The Black Sun's Daughter #5)
  17. Wicked as They Come - Delilah S. Dawson (Blud #1)
  18. Dead Ever After - Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse #13)
I keep my Amazon wish list as a record of upcoming books that I want to get, and I also keep a list in Evernote, by date, so I don't miss anything. These are the books (coincidentally, eighteen of them) that I'm looking forward to in 2014, with their current release date:
  1. Wicked After Midnight - Delillah Dawson - 1/28/14 (Blud #3)
  2. The Drowning Spool - Monica Ferris - 2/4/14 (Needlecraft Mystery)
  3. Teen Spirit - Francesca Lia Block - 2/4/14
  4. Broken Homes - Ben Aaronovitch - 2/4/14 (Peter Grant #4)
  5. The Undead Pool - Kim Harrison - 2/25/14(The Hollows #12)
  6. Blackberry Pie Murder - Joanne Fluke - 2/25/14 (Hannah Swenson Mystery)
  7. Night Broken - Patricia Briggs - 3/4/14 (Mercy Thompson #8)
  8. Half Off Ragnarok - Seanan McGuire - 3/4/14 (InCryptid #3)
  9. Edge of the Water - Elizabeth George - 3/11/14 (Saratoga Woods #2)
  10. Watching You - Michael Robotham - 3/11/14 (Joseph O'Loughlin #7)
  11. Missing You - Harlan Coben - 3/18/14
  12. Destroyer Angel - Nevada Barr - 4/1/14 (Anna Pigeon #17)
  13. Dreams of Gods and Monsters - Laini Taylor - 4/8/14 (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3)
  14. Catnapped - Elaine Viets - 5/6/14 (Dead-End Job Mystery)
  15. Field of Prey - John Sandford - 5/6/14 (Lucas Davenport #24)
  16. Sixth Grave on the Edge - Darynda Jones - 5/20/14 (Charlie Davidson #6)
  17. Mr. Mercedes - Stephen King - 6/3/14
  18. No Safe House - Linwood Barclay - 8/5/14

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fractured Weekend

We had made plans to put our Christmas tree up on Saturday evening. We were going to do our traditional "feast" of boiled, spiced shrimp and cheese fondue. Bob was off this weekend, which is a rare enough occurrence, but especially this time of year. So the plan was that I would go run my errands on Saturday and go to the store, get the stuff we needed, come home and prepare the meal, and we would put up the tree.

On Friday my sister called me at work and said that my mom was in the hospital. She was running a fever and they thought she might have pneumonia. It turned out that she didn't have pneumonia, thankfully, but they were keeping her over the weekend, after spending most of the day in the emergency room. I thought about going out to see her on Friday night, but my dad worries when we are out after dark, and I knew Mom would probably be sleeping, so I decided not to go. I'm so thankful that my sister was able to take off work and help them get through all of that.

On Saturday morning I talked to my dad, and he said my brother was going to come over and pick him up and take him to the hospital, so I told him that I would come out in the afternoon. I had an appointment for a manicure at noon, which seems sort of frivolous, but I didn't really want to cancel it. So I did that, grabbed a quick lunch, then headed out to the hospital. When I got there both my mom and dad were asleep -- it had been a really long day for both of them.

I guess I was there for a couple of hours, then I took Dad to pick up some prescriptions and some things at the store, then took him home, then went to the store for groceries for us. By the time I got home, it was around 7:00. Bob had put up the tree, and while I was making fondue, he started the shrimp boiling and put the lights on the tree. We had our dinner in the living room, listening to Christmas music on the radio. And then we decided we were too tired to actually decorate the tree, so we went to bed.

On Sunday I went out and ran a couple of errands, then headed out to the hospital and sat with my dad awhile. When my two nieces and my grand-niece got there, I left so there weren't so many people in the room, and did some more errands. It was just kind of a fractured weekend. They said they might release my mom from the hospital today (Monday), but I haven't heard yet. She had her 89th birthday last week, so as Bob says, we're in the bonus rounds.

Friday, December 13, 2013


This is my favorite Christmas tree ornament at work. It's filled with glitter and fake snow, and I think it's really pretty. I was very sad last year because I thought it had gotten broken when the tree was taken down, but apparently not. I remember seeing glass and fake snow, and I just assumed that was what it was. Or maybe it was broken, but spontaneously regenerated or something . . .

All you have to do is believe . . .

We put up the Christmas decorations at work today. Four trees -- one in my office (small desktop one), another small one on top of a bookcase in the lobby, a slightly larger one next to Anna's desk upstairs on a table, and the big one on the third floor in the alcove where you get off the elevator. And Anna made a couple of wreaths, one for each floor.

There has been a meme going around Facebook, and while I never do those, this one was kind of interesting. It was a challenge to list ten books that had meant something to you, that had stayed with you. Most people listed mostly classics, most of which wouldn't be on any list of mine. But I challenged myself to come up with ten, and these are mine, in no particular order:

  1. Ladder of Years - Anne Tyler
  2. Dhalgren - Samual R. Delaney
  3. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
  4. Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkein
  5. Snowcrash - Neal Stephenson
  6. Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
  7. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  8. The Doomsday Book - Connie Willis
  9. The Talisman - Stephen King and Peter Straub

Okay, I could only come up with nine that I thought deserved to be on that list, but maybe number 10 would be the one I just finished reading last night, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor. It was one of those free or $.99 books that I bought on impulse because the cover and reviews looked interesting, but never read. I think it's been on my iPad about a year. I ran across something that said she had a third book coming out next year, so I dug up the first one and read it, and it was wonderful! The story is about an art student in Prague who has a secret life. She lives in an apartment and goes to school, but her second life is with the family who raised her, a group of "monsters" -- chimera with animal heads and feet. Her putative "father," a hulking monster with leathery skin and ox horns, sends her on errands around the world to procure teeth for some unknown (to her) purpose. She only has to open the door of his workshop, and she is wherever she needs to be -- Morocco, Paris, Prague. She has never understood who or what she is, or where she really came from, but on one of these errands she meets an angel, and everything begins to reveal itself. But when she tries to go back to the workshop, she finds the door no longer works, and she is on her own. I started the second book, Days of Blood and Starlight, last night, and the third, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, comes out in April. There is also a novella, Night of Cake and Puppets.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The month of living dentally

I went to the dentist this morning to have the permanent crown attached. It went pretty well, I guess; he didn't have to adjust it, it fit fine the first time. But getting the temporary one off was a struggle. They had glued it on pretty well, which made it stay on for the two weeks that I was waiting for the permanent one, but made it difficult to get off. But it did eventually come off, and they got the new one on, and it didn't take very long. Then they gave me another referral to a periodontist to have he look at something I think he called a fibroma. It looks like a little swelling on my gum. It doesn't hurt or anything, but he said it needs to be looked at, so, another appointment.

I had to be there this morning at 8:00, so I reset my alarm for 6:30 (it normally goes off at 7:30), but evidently I didn't actually turn it on, a vital step. With this cold, I haven't slept very well, and last night I guess Bob had just gotten to sleep and I coughed and woke him up, and he got up. I felt awful, and I offered to go sleep in the basement, but he said no, you have to work tomorrow and I don't, go back to sleep. I ended up falling asleep sitting up, but obviously laid down at some point and slept again, because I woke up and looked at the clock and it was 7:15. Well, on my clock, i.e., "Willa time," it was 7:30, but it was really 7:15.

Fortunately I had anticipated that I wouldn't want to get up early, so I had taken a bath last night, and I had washed my hair yesterday morning, so basically all I had to do was wash my face and brush my teeth and get dressed, but it was kind of disorienting, having to get ready so quickly. But I did it, and made it in plenty of time. The appointment next week -- the only one they had before the end of the year -- is at noon, a very awkward time since it's on the other side of the city from the office, so I'm planning to work from home in the morning, and probably not go in afterwards, depending on what they do to me. More fun!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I had planned to get a lot of Christmas stuff done over the weekend, but on Friday I felt like I was getting sick, and it really hit me when I got home Friday night. Not flu or anything, just a bad cold that settled in my chest and caused a lot of coughing. Coughing like that is exhausting! So I really didn't want to do much. I ended up going out to my parents' house, though. My mother's birthday was on Saturday. I had talked to my dad and said that I didn't think I would come out, just because I didn't want to risk getting them sick, but he sounded so disappointed that I said I would come anyway.

I was trying to be really careful, but of course, while I was out there the phone rang -- it was my niece -- I picked it up and talked for a minute, then handed it to my mom. As soon as I did, I thought, damn it! My sister said, "Quick, get an antiseptic wipe!" She got one, and when Mom got off the phone, I wiped it off, then she said, "Quick, wipe off mom!" Which I didn't, of course, but it made me laugh.

Bob is off this weekend, so we're going to put up the tree at home and have our little traditional "feast" -- he asked for boiled spiced shrimp and cheese fondue, and I'll get French bread and roast beef and olives and maybe sparkling wine. We'll put on a Christmas movie, maybe White Christmas, and decorate the tree.

I think we'll use the artificial tree this year. We've gone back and forth; we always used to have a real tree, but it's always a worry because we keep them quite a while, and I worry about it drying out. We've been through a couple of artificial ones; the first one Dinah climbed, and sat in, and bent the branches. Unlike a real tree, artificial ones aren't meant to support a ten pound animal. The artificial tree we have now is kind of small, but it's not bad. It fits just fine in our small living room. And I'm just now remembering that last year Dinah peed on the pretty Christmas tree skirt for some reason, so I had to use a fleece blanket instead. So I suppose I'll do that again this year. I would hate to spend money on another one, and have her do it again. It was felt, so there was no saving it.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Further to Dinah's Attachment to Bob

Yesterday I wrote about Dinah wanting to be near Bob lately, and last night I looked over and she was lying on his pillow, right next to his head. I was sitting up in bed reading, so I grabbed the phone and took a picture. Having her want to be close to him is still unusual enough that it makes us marvel at it. It's a good thing he loves cats, and that he isn't allergic to them!

Pyewacket always slept under the covers with her head on Bob's pillow, which was the cutest thing ever, but this is new behavior for Dinah. Bob said the other day that maybe she's getting senile in her old age. But I think she knows what she's doing. She's just decided, after all this time, that he's okay after all.

I think I'm getting sick. I woke up with a sore throat, which is always the precursor for me. I was going to go out and see my folks this weekend -- my mother's birthday is Saturday -- but I'm thinking I probably shouldn't. I wouldn't want to get them sick. I guess I'll see how I feel tomorrow. I should probably go to the drugstore on the way home and buy zinc or vitamin C or something . . .

I have never gotten a flu shot, but I was thinking this morning that maybe I should, now that I'm over 60!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Sleepy Dinah

For the longest time, Dinah wouldn't have anything to do with Bob. When Pyewacket was alive, of course, Pye was his cat, and Dinah was mine, and while Pye would cuddle with me as second best (except for that period of time when she was trying to kill me), Dinah didn't seem to like Bob at all.

That has slowly changed. Maybe for the last year or so, she's started sleeping in the middle of the bed, between Bob and me, rather than on the outside by me. And in the last month she's started sleeping on his side. And she wants to take naps with him. He said yesterday he was home in the afternoon, and she was walking around on the bed, hissing at him because he wasn't moving fast enough to lie down with her. The hissing thing used to bother him, but now it seems like that's her default "I'm not happy" response rather than something aggressive.

When I say, "Dinah really loves you now," he said, "just in bed," and that does seem to mostly be the case. She loves it when I come home from work and come upstairs to change my clothes. We have "cuddle time," and the three of us lie down on the bed. She can't decide where to lie, though. She'll start out lying on top of me, then go over and lie on Bob, then in the middle, touching both of us. She has also started going under the covers, like Pye used to.

She's mellowed a lot in her old age. As have we all, I suppose.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

It's all worth it

This morning, Bob said to me, "I'm feeling Christmassy."

He always used to love Christmas, all the traditions and things that surround it, but the last few years, working retail, he didn't feel that way so much. It became something to get through rather than something to enjoy, and that made me sad. So I've been trying very hard to make the house Christmassy, and it is apparently working.

I asked him, "how come?" and he said, "you've been baking, and burning candles, and you bought candy, and decorated, it makes me happy." And that makes it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The last nice day

Today was a beautiful day. I went out and sat on the bench outside the office for a few minutes after lunch and it felt like spring. Unfortunately, I understand it's going to be like -11 tomorrow and for the foreseeable future, but at least it was beautiful today!

In my effort to do something every day to move the Christmas plans along, I got out a box of craft stuff that I had started a couple of years ago, I think. I had bought some wonderful snowman paper at Archivers, and glued it to tags, but for whatever reason, had never done anything with them. So I made a few more, and started thinking about what I would need to do to make them be usable as gift tags. I haven't totally figured it out yet, and I need to get another glue runner and look for ribbon, but at least it felt like I did something.

I also downloaded what I think is a very cool iPhone app called Visionary I-Ching. It's free to download, and I think you can see half a dozen cards or something, and then if you like it, you pay $6.99 for full access. That's kind of a lot for an app, but it's beautiful, and I think it's definitely worth it.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Starting Christmas

Yesterday I:
  • put out a bunch of my little Christmas decorations in the house
  • had a cup of hot chocolate in a snowman mug
  • watched "Christmas With the Kranks"
  • started addressing Christmas cards
  • decorated the mirror in Bob's bathroom with snowman window clings
  • trolled Pinterest for inspiration and updated my Christmas board
  • Put a Christmas wreath on the front door
I bought:
  • Christmas cupcake papers and cake mix
  • Hershey's Kisses to put out in bowls at home
  • peppermint candy to put out in my office at work
  • peppermint marshmallows for hot chocolate
  • cranberry ginger ale
  • a dozen vintage-looking mercury glass ornaments
Today I put up my little Christmas/winter wreath in my office at work and tonight I baked muffins. So I would say December is off to a good start!

As part of the "project," I downloaded a new iPhone app called InstaCC - Calendar and Challenges for Instagram. I actually downloaded a bunch of apps to try, and I liked the layout of this one the best. It automatically picks up the photos from my Instagram account and arranges them, and they also have the option of challenges. Some of them cost extra; I paid $1.99 for the "365" photo-a-day challenge. I haven't completely figured it out yet, and I think the developer is Japanese, so some of the language is odd, but I like having a daily prompt/challenge, so hopefully I can stick with it for awhile. There are overlays for the challenge photos, which I like. So, we'll see. Sometimes I need something like this to give me a some creative motivation, and I definitely need that with Christmas coming up. And I guess I also start thinking about the first of the year, and new beginnings, new starts, trying again to get it right.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Happy December!

November kind of sucked, well, quite a bit of the whole year sucked. November was the month of dental woes, and it was really horrible. I had the second of a series of appointments the day before Thanksgiving, where I was fitted for a temporary crown. Even though it was a little over an hour with two people's hands in my mouth, it wasn't nearly as bad as the week before, when I had a molar extracted. That one was so awful, so traumatic, that the nurse (?) suggested nitrous, and while she said my insurance wouldn't pay for it, she thought I needed it. I don't know how much it helped, but maybe it at least gave me something else to concentrate on.

Bob went out and got me a milkshake after that appointment, and since then I've been eating mostly soup and drinking tea. I had a broken tooth -- the one that is getting the crown -- and the dentist was out of town, so he told me to be very careful with it until he could get the temporary crown on. I'm slowly working back up to eating other stuff, like a turkey sandwich on a soft roll. My sister invited us over for Thanksgiving -- my parents don't want a whole house full of people anymore, so my brother and his wife took dinner over to them -- but I didn't feel up to it the day after the dental drama.

So I bought the smallest turkey breast in the store and roasted that for Bob. He had to work for part of the day, so I didn't really go all out, just the turkey, mashed potatoes, Stovetop stuffing, and I baked a frozen apple pie. Having the small dinner with just us was nice, and I put together a dinner for him to take to his boss at work that night.

My birthday was a week ago today, and we didn't do anything, but we're going to go out tonight, probably just somewhere like Culver's, but that sounds good. Bob brought me a beautiful spicy-scented candle and some chocolates, and Barb sent me a care package with Disneyland tea, a Vera Bradley shopping bag, and a "Sally" (from the Nightmare Before Christmas) doll, my dad and Bob's dad both sent me cash, and my niece Mallory sent me a gift card. It was a low key personal holiday. :)

I don't really have much money to spent on shopping, but I did go out on Black Friday. I had a $10 free coupon for Kohl's, and a 20% off coupon, so I went there and bought myself a sterling silver Disney bead for my Pandora-style bracelet. It's two interlocking silver circles that are engraved "Wishes come true."

I also went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy a humidifier that I ended up taking back the next day. It was horribly noisy -- Bob said it sounded like an aircraft carrier. As it turned out, they had humidifiers in two separate places in the store, and I only found one. I exchanged the noisy one for another one that is much better, and it was slightly cheaper. At the low speed, it's almost silent, and at the higher level it's just a low background noise that doesn't bother us at all.

Saturday was my "day of beauty. I had my nails done and my hair cut and colored, and that took up most of the day. I came home and made mashed potatoes for Bob to have with the leftover turkey when he got home from work at about 10:00. It's been nice to have these days at home.

I decided I needed to do some kind of "project" for December to keep my spirits up. I'm not sure what it's going to be, except that for one thing, I'm going to take a bunch of photos. I started today, taking pictures of some of my favorite little Christmas ornaments that I put out each year. My "thing" is primitive snowmen, and I try to pick them up whenever I see them. They're usually pretty cheap, and I have quite a collection of them.

I also started reading some of my favorite Christmas books. I read Miracle and Other Christmas Stories the other night when I was feeling particularly down, and it cheered me up, as it always does. And I checked out Murder with All the Trimmings from the library, a "Josie Marcus, Secret Shopper" mystery set in a Christmas store.

I've started thinking about my favorite Christmas movies, too, and may watch one tonight. I'm thinking Christmas with the Kranks, or maybe Home Alone.