|No, I haven't forgotten about ex-boss' cat. Despite the last minute warning of this responsibility (which will continue until January 6th, I think) I've actually remembered every night to feed the silly thing. This cat is a monster. Fully 20 pounds if it weighs an ounce. Definitely Persian, with its flat face and gorgeous fur. It's over twenty years old, if I remember correctly. Ex-boss gives it all sorts of odd things (hence the "Very Important Instructions" documentation for every time I take care of it). This time it's two different kinds of canned food, Lax-Aire for hairball relief (her's or her owner's, I'm not sure), and a powdered vitamin-C supplement. It must be working, the thing sure seems to be healthy for its advanced age.
Volunteering on the 25th for the Salvation Army proved to be rather painless (not that we were expecting pain or anything). The kids got back from spending time with their mom at noon, and we left to get to the Civic Plaza by 1:00. It was chilly - that deceptive cold that makes you think "warm" when you look out the window, and makes you feel okay standing in the sunshine for about five minutes. Then the breeze picks up, and you realize that there are fewer sunny spots than you'd like, and you find yourself scurrying out of the shade to walk in the sun as much as possible. We walked across the Plaza's promenade just as the belltower clock played its chime and struck one. I love that thing. I wish we had a clock like that within hearing distance of our house.
I only have one complaint about volunteering. It's always very disorganized. No one seems to know who's in charge, or what needs to be done, or how to deploy the arriving volunteers. The only direction we received was from the woman standing at the doorway, who pointed us toward the sign-in desk. We did so, then stood around looking at one another. People were milling around by the desk, but no one was in charge. We ended up taking charge of ourselves, making our name tags and claiming aprons, then just kind of jumping into the middle of things. We took down the curtain partition stands and moved the bases and poles to one central location. We hung the draperies over the cart reserved for them. We broke down boxes and moved pallets. We wheeled carts to and fro.
Total anticipated time: 2 hours. Total lapsed time: 45 minutes.
We left at 1:45. Thankfully there were an abundance of volunteers and everything took less time than anticipated. We weren't there when the actual dinner was being served, but one volunteer said they were running out of things early on. No one had exact numbers as to how many people showed up, but the man I talked to said he went through 4000 cans of pop, just at his station, and ran out before the two hour lunch was up. He also observed that there were three times as many people arriving for the meal this year as there was last year.
It's awful that there's such a great need.
Food dominated our lives this past week. When we got home on Monday, we had (more) leftover potato soup, and meatloaf sandwiches, and crackers and cheese, and apple pie. The magic cookie bars are finally gone, but we've still got fudge galore. I'll have to bring it into work and schlepp it off on folks. A roast was filling the house with yummy smells as we finally sat down to open gifts on Monday. The kids sure had a gift-filled weekend, getting a lot of stuff from the relatives who came over on Saturday, then going to their mom's sister's on Sunday, then going to their mom's and maternal grandfather's on Monday, then back with us for gift-opening.
Calvin was excited about the telescope I got him, and spent chilly evenings outside tracking down Jupiter and Saturn. We need some filters and more powerful eyepieces, but I think this will turn into a fun hobby for him.
I, of course, got the aforementioned scanner, plus Fire and Ice perfume, which I am currently basking in.
Among other things, we got Michael a robe so he'll stop complaining about the house being cold, and a telephone headset so he'll stop swiping the kitchen phone. Marie received a shiny black leather jacket (she got a similar one from her mom, too), a new phone, a load of CD's, plus a bunch of other stuff.
It was a smaller Christmas than what we were anticipating, what with our Christmas funds being stolen, but it all worked out in the end. I did wallow in some Christmas day blues, which hit me particularly hard this year. I swear, I don't know the entire reason for my blues, which I suffered through off and on this weekend. Some of it has to do with homesickness, I'm sure. I called my uncle on Christmas day, and talked to my grandmother for a little bit. She'd say "thank you" to everything I said. "Hi Grandma!" "Thank you." "I miss you, Grandma!" "Thank you." "Give Uncle F a hug for me!" "Thank you."
Poor lady. She's just not herself anymore. She did become clear enough to tell me she loves and misses me, and that made me feel a whole lot better. It was just wonderful to hear her voice.
Ih, I don't know. Post-holiday let-down blues, I guess. After everything that has happened this year, our finances are not where I'd like them to be (read: we have debt coming out of our... ears. Yeah. Ears.). So it's going to be a long recovery, during which we have to be disciplined about how and when we spend money. Yeah, right. Like we've ever been good at *that*. School starts again for me next Wednesday, which I'm simultaneously looking forward to, and dreading. Thinking about it, I *do* enjoy going to school. My last class was fabulous and interesting. This next class? Algebra. Yeah, I know, I took it in highschool and got A's, but I can only CLEP out of my English or my Math, so I opted for my English. Which means I have to sit through two semesters of something that will bore me to tears. Hoo. Ray.
At least things are slowing down a bit so I can stop neglecting ~Snerkology~ as I have been. Less than interesting entries, and lacking in frequency. Lack of inspiration for the Mission Box. I have a list of things I want to write about, and a bunch of pictures I want to scan/take/post, and I've been completely lacking in motivation. More brain fogginess on my part. I appreciate you loyal readers who still persist in sticking with me.
On a final note, I gave up on ""Last Seen in Massilia" by Steven Saylor, after about twelve pages. S.N.O.R.E. I swear, what were the reviewers (so liberally quoted on the back cover) thinking? "Gripping", "Inspired", "Action-packed". Feh. Try "Boring", "Tedious", and "Blase". I have moved on to "The Remember Box" by Patricia Sprinkle (isn't that a fab last name? Don't you wish you had a last name like that?). I'm on page 44 so far, and it seems to be quite good. My reading mood has dwelled in life during the 1940's, it seems. "The Land Girls", in England, and now "The Remember Box", in North Carolina. And I used to be such a sci-fi girl. I guess I grew out of it, somehow, when I wasn't looking.
Your Mission, should you choose to accept it...
This is a very cool website. Have you got a kid who is constantly asking you how things work? Send 'em here. Do you have a burning curiosity yourself about how those singing fish operate? Check this place out. Wanna know what that home dry cleaning stuff is *really* all about? Go to www.howstuffworks.com.
Find something really obscure, and cool, and send it along to me.
Results From Yesterday's Mission
Mission from the 21st: I have a bunch of different theme songs. Currently, if I just want to improve my mood in general, I blast "Freedom 90" by George Michael. Last year it was "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" by The Police (or was it just Sting?). Before that, it was "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard. I still love the "past" theme songs, they just change every six months or so, to become *the* song that pulls me out of a funk. Oh, yeah, speaking of funks - before Def Leppard it was "Cecilia" by Simon and Garfunkel.
Apparently the "theme song" phenomena is limited to me and Ally McBeal, because nobody sent me their feedback. Humph.
I grabbed the design idea for the box thingy from Anna.