[Taken December 14, 2007 | Laylia | Centerville, OH]
The tree is dead. Honestly, it was already pretty dead before it was even put up and decorated. When I touch it, I can hear the gently tinkling sound of dozens of needles falling off and hitting the carpet, joining the hundreds of needles that have already fallen.
Right now I am on half days at work until January 2. I could work from home – and this is something that I do take advantage of – but I also like going to the office at this time of the year. It is very very quiet (no one is here), and I can get a lot done. There is a nice little gym at work that is all but deserted this time of the year. There are also always unexpected little things that happen at slow and empty time like this...
The other day I had a random little visitor in my cube - a long-haired Chihuahua. He stopped for a moment for some pettings, and then dashed off again. A few minutes later I saw his owner go by chasing him. She paused to apologize for the bother (no bother) and bemoan that she should have known better then to let him off of his leash. I saw them chase by again a few minutes later. Best office visitor ever. Much better then when people drag their kids in.
When I was at my parents' last weekend, at one point the conversation turned to memorable Christmas presents. The one I remember the best is one that I got when I was either 2 or 3… (I don't remember which, only that I was young enough that we were still living in an apartment.) It was also my first "pet" – a hermit crab. I can even remember that I got it in a yellow margarine container with a red bow stuck on the top. I remember that I named the crab Shovels (can't remember why, though) and that he liked to eat grapes. Unfortunately the crab didn't last too long. Some months after Christmas I dropped him on my baby brother and he (naturally) held on tight while my baby brother screamed. That was the point where my Mom decided that Shovels would be better off if he went to live with my uncle, who had a terrarium set up with some hermit crabs of his own. Most memorable Christmas present ever.
[Taken December 8, 2007 | Tree at the Christmas Market in Hyde Park | London, UK]
It is starting to feel a bit more seasonal around here. Partially due to the snow and ice storm that we had here the other day, and partially due to the fact that the tree is finally up and decorated. We got a blue spruce. I like live trees. Well… I have to qualify that and say that I like the way that live trees smell. I certainly am less then fond of having to vacuum up a million, billion needles.
Our tree decorations always strike me as slightly sparse, though that is probably because of the tree-decorating that went on at my house when I was a kid… where if you could see any of the tree between all of the crazy ornaments. Then that meant that you needed to hang more ornaments.
I do have one ornament from the family tree that Dad gave me a couple of years ago. I don’t know how old it is, but I think that it has to be almost as old as I am. It is a “singling ornament” and makes constant, loud, chirpy bird-sounds when I plug it in. Dad gave it to me because he decided that it was time that the ornament moved on to another house to annoy different people. I love it. John hates it.
I also got the cards written out and addressed today. It is a bit later then I would have liked to get them out, but I was a bit hampered in that respect by all of the business travel and the never being at home for more then a day or two at a time for the past month.
However, I know that I will be at home for the rest of the year! All two weeks of it! Whee! And with less then a week left of "real" work before the festivities begin, I am already starting to have a hard time concentrating. I think that I am long overdue for a nice break...