I [Emoji] Holiday Shopping

Along with total fail at trying to register myself for the Pinburgh pinball tournament yesterday, I braved a couple of stores for some holiday shopping. (Not the mall. I’m not that crazy right now.)

I went to a Michael’s Craft Store. It’s scary enough in its own right this time of year, but not as bad as the mall.

Michaels has decorations overflowing each of the front aisles. Plentiful ribbons, stockings, and table-top decorations are on sale at 30% to 70% off. This attracts almost as many shoppers as Michaels has ornaments (maybe more). Men, women, and children scoop up treasures as they browse the selections. (One child sobbed uncontrollably when his dad said, “no,” to a toy. It was part of the holiday soundtrack.)

Then, they (we) all stand in long lines to use the day’s special-bonus coupon to bring the cost to a manageable price. I was one of these shoppers.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter found some cool holiday glasses in front of the tree display. These glasses look like the 3D-movie glasses we wore when I was a kid — paper frames with a thin piece of plastic for lenses. But instead of red and blue 3D-lenses, these glasses have tiny laser etchings on them that turn points of light into simple little pictures.

They work awesomely with Christmas lights (which is probably why they were next to the trees). Put the glasses on and suddenly your holiday tree is covered in glowing snowmen … or gingerbread men … or candy canes! It’s awesome.

These will probably make fun stocking stuffers or small gifts for those who might appreciate altering their reality with a simple pair of glasses. I’m hoping we can go to a festival-of-light display and mix it up a little with some Frosty glasses.

After thinking the store was out of these Laser Glasses, I found a new stash of them behind the Christmas tree display. Yay! My kiddo will be happy (and I like them too)!

I kept finding new and interesting things around the store.

I was standing in one aisle trying to move past another shopper when a young child behind me said, “look, a poo pillow!” He sounded so innocent and cheerful.

I was sure I couldn’t possibly have heard him right (sometimes I am a little hard of hearing). So I turned around to find that, indeed, there was a pillow that looked like poo.

The entire bin was filled with emoji-inspired pillows, and one of them looked like brown poop with a happy face. (Because that’s exactly what everybody wants for Christmas, right?  A good bowel movement? Did I just go there?) It can sit right next to the angry emoji pillow. I think they look nice together. Or maybe not.

You can also get purple poo (maybe in case you’ve been eating too many garden huckleberries).

Apparently, I am so not up on my emojis. I think I’d be happy with a smilie face or the pillow with glasses.  I’m probably not very cool that way.

Emoji pillows, including a poo pillow.

Later, I found marquee letters on sale.

Marquees seem to be a popular home decoration these days. The signs are words or symbols, like an arrow, as well as stand-alone letters. They’re made of metal (and sometimes plastic) and dotted with LED lights, so they look like old theater signs. (You can put the writing on the wall and then make it glow.)

The letters were on sale for a great price (maybe 70% off?), and I think they would look pretty cool on our bookshelf or mantle. I’d have to decide if I wanted to spell a word (short ones cost less and fit better), or go with a simple initial for the family name …

Marquee letters. I should have set them up to spell something fun before I snapped the photo. Oh wait! It does kind of spell something. It’s almost “grace.” But then the last letter is really an “i,” so it’s “graci.” which is kind of a word too. 

Then I noticed that each letter had a sticker on the side to indicate which one it was. Because apparently being letter-shaped might not do the trick for some people. Now I know with absolute certainty that the marquee letter that’s shaped like an “A” is, in fact, a letter A. (I did not check the poo pillow for a label, so maybe it’s really chocolate … happy, slightly melty chocolate.)

The one that looks like the letter C is a letter C. How handy! (I wonder how easily the stickers peel off?)

I guess the stickers would be helpful if the letters were stored on a shelf so that only the side shows.

And really, some days I do need this kind of visual aid, but not today. (And I still spent too much money.)

 

–Update 12/07/16–

I keep changing the title of this post because I wasn’t crazy about the first two titles. Plus I just wanted to experiment. So if you feel like you read this post before, then maybe you did.  I’ll probably stick with “I [Emoji] Holiday Shopping,” for now. (Because in my mind I can put any emoji there based on my particular mood regarding holiday shopping. It varies. Some days the pillow emojis shown (above) describe it perfectly.

Also, my daughter saw my photo of the emoji pillows and said, “wow, emoji pillows for only $5 !” I guess she thought it was a good price. She also confirmed that the brown pillow is supposed to be poo. I’m kind of wondering if I should be blogging about poo pillows. And, really, I kind of wonder why they make poo pillows. And why they have poo emojis in the first place.

(I looked it up. Apparently in Japan the word for lucky is very similar to the shortened form of the Japanese word for poo. So it is sort of a pun, but basically poo=lucky. I mean I feel pretty lucky when I poo. It sure does beat the alternative. Emojis started as a Japanese thing in the first place, so I guess the poo stuck around. And everybody poos, right? Added 12/15/16.)

I also wonder if I should be proud of our geriatric cat when he leaves a little present outside the litter box. “Oh look, Fletcher, you made an lucky emoji. Good kitty!”

(Um, no.)
Copyright 2016 Deb L Kapke

 

Merry Happy Christmas 

Every single year since I became an adult, Christmas has compressed the time (from October to December) into a wee little chunk not bigger than a light snack.

When I was 8 years old, 10 days until Christmas seemed to take forever. Now, 10 days fly by in what feels like ten minutes. I scramble to hold on a little longer. Fingers digging in. It’s a desperate attempted to slow it down a little. I’ll brobably break a nail.

Two days ago, I was running errands and I took a photo of a sign at a store screaming out that it was only 2 days ’til Christmas. I felt angst. 

Now, all the things I wasn’t sure I’d get done — all the things I’d planned to do — are either done or not done. Fixed in time for Christmas of 2015.

We had a good one.

It’s unusually warm this year. Our indoor temperature was 80 for a while. Chocolate truffles melted on the inside.

My daughter and I visited Santa yesterday. A camera crew intetviewed the big man just before our turn. Then they got shot of my lovely daughter with Santa. We’ve been going to see him for the past 11 years. He’s s great Santa and always so nice. So It was fun to see her with him on the news channel’s website.

Today I sang:

Oh, the weather outside is frightful [-ly] warm, but the fan is so delightful. And since we’ve no place to go [yet], let it blow, let it blow, let it blow.

This may very well be the warmest Christmas I’ve ever experienced. 

No matter what the temperature on the outside, though, spending time with family and loved ones always feels good on the inside.

We hope your day was a good one filled with many blessings. 

  
In other news, seeing as time was nice and squished this week, I figured, “what the heck,” and tried to squeeze even more stuff in. Probably not enough room in this chunk of time for more. Invariably, I drop  the  ball (or at least “a ball” or, even more accurately, several balls) because of this type of cramming. 

This week I dropped the tea ball (among others). I missed posting a Tea-for-Tuesday tea review. It was Thursday before I realized I’d zipped past Tuesday and was planted in Wednesday. Oops, missed my turn.

So next Tuesday it will be. Enjoy until then. 

General Housekeeping

I posted about 11,000 words for November’s NaBloPoMo. Some good. Some not. Kind of a slice of life when I glance at the subjects — food, home, TV repair, world events, laundry, Thanksgiving, eating, drinking, family …

I didn’t get as much done on my story as I wanted, but I definitely learned that I can push to do more than I think I can. I’m continuing to push. This is a good life skill. 

I purchased a domain name to go with this blog. You can now visit alightningbug.org. The old alightningbug.wordpress.com will still bring you here too.

I took a little break from Tea for Tuesday this week. But I plan to continue it every other week going forward into December. Join us again soon for something yummy.

Freezer Food Friday

I know that doesn’t sound very appetizing, right? Well, darn straight. Because it’s not. And as such, it won’t be a regular thing.

Some frozen food is good. The music department at my daughter’s school sold pies as a fundraiser. Frozen pies. Really quite yummy frozen pies (for frozen pies). So we bought several and so did my mom. No complaints there.

Now that my mom doesn’t live just down the road, I have to wait for a weekend to bring her the three pies that she ordered. So all the pies are in our freezer — her three plus our three. More

Now That I Started

I’ve started half a dozen blog posts since the end of the school year — even more of you count the ones I started in my head. There’s a lot going on — gay marriage is legal, the flag has come down, photos of former planet, former non-planet, now dwarf planet Pluto are streaming in — and I’ve managed to publish exactly zero of the blog posts I started. I can make a lot of excuses as to why. Many of them are legitimate excuses… But I still think I should have been able to manage to publish some with just a wee bit better time management or focus or something

It’s not for lack if topics!  Along with all that stuff in the news, we have a small balcony garden again. Yay! And my daughter has been having fun in Strings camp (kind of like band camp only it’s a day camp for orchestra). Zomagad, I even found Zote laundry soap in flake form instead of bars. 

That whole 10-minutes-of-writing-per-day thing worked well for a while. But I seem to have misplaced my 10 minutes (maybe under a tomato plant).

The one blog entry that I might actually manage to publish is about how I’m not blogging. This one. Which makes exactly zeros cents. I seem to best be able to blog about how I’m not blogging. I need to work on my priorities!

Woke Up

That I was tired this morning was nothing new. My attempt at making a hot beverage was.

I put a cup in the microwave so that I could make myself a quick cup of tea or maybe instant coffee. (I know, I know — instant, the horrors, right?)

Zapping it for one minute, our recently installed, new microwave beeped in readiness. I opened the door and picked up my somewhat warm cup only to discover it was dry as a bone.

The microwave had not boiled it out or magically beamed it to another planet. I had failed to put any water in the cup. The microwave must have warmed the small amount of ambient moisture so that parts of the cup and inside of the microwave were warm. That seemed like a really bad thing.

I feared I’d broken our new microwave. Shorted it. I was still craving a hot, caffeine-containing beverage. Clearly, I needed one. Maybe two. I tried again. I made sure I filled the cup with water this time and once again put it in the microwave, setting it to “cook” for one minute.

The microwave sounded different. I knew that sound — the sound of a fan blowing without the magical hum of a magnetron (the part that cooks) in the background. This was the sound our previous microwave made when it was “on” but not heating anything. Broken. That’s why we got the new microwave…

“Oh please, I do not want to go through that again,” I mentally pleaded to the god or goddess of kitchen appliances and regular God too. “Please let it not be broken.”

Maybe I was wrong about the sound. I opened and closed the microwave, turning it off and on again. I let it run for a bit. If it was already broken I couldn’t possibly break it more, could I? Then that distinct background hum finally kicked in. It was working again.

But by the time it beeped, my cup of water was only vaguely warm. Not hot. Dare I zap it some more? I decided to let the whole machine cool a bit. Maybe it had some kind of safety feature that turns off the magnetron if some half asleep idiot tries to zap an empty cup something gets too hot inside. I hoped.

Once all had cooled, sure enough it worked fine. Yay! I zapped my cup. And in about a minute I had a piping hot, not-so-instant, cup of coffee. A pot on the stove would’ve been quicker and tasted better too. But it worked.

Kitchen Nightmares, Level 3, “Hurt Me Plenty”

Last weekend felt like the difficulty setting on life just randomly upped itself a couple of levels. Kind of like when you’re in a treadmill and it gives you a random mountain to scale. Only, okay, nothing too major, so that’s something. But still.

Friday night I dropped half a chocolate peanut butter cream pie in my lap. We ate it anyway. (It was delicious!) The weekend went somewhat downhill from there.

Kitchen projects suddenly reset difficulty levels. “Hurt Me Plenty” level replaced the “Hey, Not Too Rough” level that I would prefer. If not for the lack of respawning monsters it would have felt like “Nightmare!” level at times. (These are difficulty levels for the video game Doom in case you don’t recognize them. Doom! And that’s kind of how it felt.)

We tried to install our new over-the-range microwave oven. This seemed like it would be such an easy task – remove broken microwave, install new, same-size, same-brand microwave, cook dinner! Presto!

Taking the broken microwave down was easy and lulled me into a false sense of confidence and security. I had watched many YouTube videos in preparation for the task. I felt well prepared. I piled a large stack of books on the stovetop to take the brunt of the weight, loosened a few bolts, and lowered the broken microwave to the floor. Easy. I didn’t break a sweat or even a fingernail. And I took a little pride in my accomplishment as a female and in doing it by myself. (I wanted it done and Dave wasn’t up yet. It was early.)

We had imagined the new same-size, same-brand microwave might actually attach to the same mounting plate already affixed to the wall (the metal bracket that holds the major weight of the microwave). But no.

We measured the old and new and nothing matched. Maybe that’s how life changes should be, but we had hoped microwave manufacturers would see things differently. There is both utility and efficiency in hardware consistency.

We had also hoped that, at the very least, the holes needed in the upper cabinet would be in the same place so that we could avoid turning the bottom shelf of the cabinet into Swiss cheese. I could have sworn at least one YouTube video said these holes were standard among over-the-range microwave ovens. But it was another no-go. As if the manufacturer randomly moved each hole several inches in various directions – except for one which is about two millimeters from where it needs to be. So close, yet so far! Pretty sure that was just to tease any annoy us. Ugh.

That’s when more trouble started. And I started to get sick. Not just feel sick, I mean I started sneezing my head off and having no energy. Time for a full-blown cold just when we’ve turned our one remaining construction-free room into a construction zone.

To be continued …

November 6, Food for Thought

November 6, oh, November 6. You may be a lame, short post today.

I’m hoping I’ll have a chance to blog a better blog tonight. I have two issues I’d like to cover.

1.) Time-saving “food.”

And

2.) “Time-saving” food.

Yes, those are air quotes. And yes, there is a big difference between the first and second. Really each topic could be a single post, so maybe this will be two additions posts.

In the event I don’t get one of them completed tonight, I figure I can post this-here coming attraction and technically be covered for a November 6 post for NaBloPoMo. Hey, I can try, right?

Confessions of a Working Mom

Dear anybody who was unlucky enough to stand too close to me yesterday. Sorry! I skipped my shower. Ran out of time.

I keep trying to get up earlier and earlier, and somehow there seems to be less and less time. So I used my morning for something other than bathing, OK? And I may or may not have skipped my shower the day before too. Who can say? Dry shampoo — you are my new best friend.

I also need to vent a little. Sometimes I get a little annoyed with stay-at-home moms who say they are so busy and have no time. In the past I even had one comment that I never did much. Really? I mean, I’m not saying you don’t do a LOT. I’m not saying that you don’t work hard. You do! Buy let’s try a little comparison.

Stay-at-home moms do: mom stuff, maintain their household, and volunteer stuff.

Working moms, especially work-out-of-the-house moms, do: mom stuff, try really hard to maintain their household, sometimes still manage to do volunteer stuff, and work an entire workweek out of the house.

Let’s say stay-at-home moms have an 80+-hour work week. I know. I know. Some of you would say the job never ends. It is 24-7. And that is true.

But working moms have all that PLUS a 40ish-hour-per-week job on top of it. Sometimes it’s more than 40 hours. And don’t forget drive time. Or the fact that grocery stores will have longer lines when we can be there.

So stay-at-home moms just lop 40+ hours out of the middle of your week where you can’t do any housework and see how that goes. Trust me, you’ll find time for things that you never thought you could do. But there may not always be time for a shower.

And please do not tell me or treat me like I should hire help or quit my job. If i could hire help I would probably not bother with the 40ish-hour-a-week job (at least not as many hours of it).

Don’t get me wrong I really like my job. But it is also necessary.

My “help” comes in the form of a glass of wine at the end of the day. Yesterday, after working, shopping for groceries and Halloween costume supplies, and feeding my family, I was too tired for that glass of wine. Since I missed it last night, I thought about having it when I got up this morning at 4:50 AM — it’s still kind of nighttime, right? I needed to try to put away some groceries that, sadly, did not put themselves away as I slept. That glass of wine will have to wait. I’m pretty darn determined to get that shower in!

I might even wear jewelry to work today. I always try for earrings because I look more professional, and I can put them in my pocket as I leave the door and then pop them on at a stoplight. I have gotten really good at doing a lot of things at stoplights. But necklaces don’t always happen. Necklaces or bracelets with a clasp are even less likely to happen. So pasta necklace with a 30″ inch cord, you are good to go. Unless you get tangled with something else. In which case, sayonara.

Pretty, hand-beaded 16″ necklace and lovely amethyst bracelet with a safety clasp, I am sorry. I know I’ve been neglecting you. I swear I will wear you again. You are beautiful! Always believe that. But I am much more likely to wear necklaces that are long enough that I can just put them over my head. Presto, jewelry!

So yes, stay-at-home moms, you work. You do get busy. I’ll get over the fact that “busy” may include lunch with friends at the local artisan pizza place. I still love you. I appreciate you a lot. I know you volunteer for the kids more than I do. I really hope I didn’t stand too close to any of you yesterday and cause any olfactory discomfort. I could use one of you in our house.

But right now it’s 6:25. My daughter’s alarm is ringing. We need to get going. The time that I’ve used to write this blog entry has been stolen from laundry time and maybe from drinking that glass of wine, but hopefully NOT from the shower. I really NEED that shower.

Seriously Sunday

I don’t know how you got here so quickly, Sunday!

I had Friday off so I could see my daughter in a summer-camp rendition of Annie. It was a lot of fun. They did it in only three weeks so it was very impressive. Each child had a number of different parts except Annie.

My daughter played an orphan, the apple seller, and a member of the Warbucks household staff. Plus she was super fun as Rooster, the conman brother of Mrs. Hannigan. A friend of hers was an excellent Daddy Warbucks.

How did I not realize until this moment that Daddy Warbucks name is ‘war’ and ‘bucks.’ Like war money? What’s up with that? I may have to look up more info on why they gave him that name. I guess it may just be the time period with World Wars and some companies doing very well as a result. But still.

Also on Friday we went out to lunch and saw a movie. So it was a pretty full day of things that we don’t get to do very often. I’ll take it! I even got a few shopping list items scratched off my list.

Saturday we did a little something fun along with some more shopping and a bit of the usual laundry dance.

Sunday is here already. It’s the last day of the weekend. Monday will be here bright and early tomorrow. Weren’t you JUST here, Monday?

I’m trying to get in my ten minutes of writing by just sitting here and plopping down some words because I don’t know if I’ll get it done any other way today. I’d like to work on a story and some Daily Prompts, but even more so I just want to manage ten uninterrupted minutes, right now, if I can. Then I’ve got more household stuff to take care of. Need to purge and organize at least some parts of our wee, dark home. Hopefully I’ll get more writing done later.

I’d really really really like to get a story done for the last Enchanted Spark Writing Contest. The end of July is coming at me at break-neck speed. Seriously, July! Slow down a bit would ya?

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