Friday, February 4, 2011

Encyclopedia of Mollie: C

The Encyclopedia of Mollie
Volume C


I do love a good calendar. I've gone back and forth between many calendars in a given year because it wasn't quite working out. Lately it's been going back and forth between my Outlook calendar at work and a Google Calendar, trying to figure out the best way to sync them so I can see both at the same time. The Goggle calendar is working well for archiving (when I need to look back to last year to figure out when I last saw my eye doctor, for example) and also coordinating with Chris -- I'll send him an invite so it shows up on both our calendars, at work and on our phones. We'll do it for errands too -- he'll send me an invite for "Groceries", and in the description it has the grocery list. We can both edit it, and whoever ends up going knows exactly what we need.

I've also been playing with "Theme" calendars for other parts of my life. I printed out a blank "Baby" calendar, so I could put into writing all the things that I feel I need to do before the end of April, and spread it out appropriately.

I also put together a knitting calendar before Christmas, because I was having trouble timing out all the projects I wanted to do. This has little picture icons for each project, and which days I think I'll have time to work on them.

One calendar I do NOT enjoy right now is the stupid pregnancy due date calculator wheel that doctors pull out every time I see them.

I won't get into it, but if you're ever interested in learning way more about ovulation than you every thought possible, pick up Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. If you're like me, this wheel is crap. It lies, and it creates a fight with the doctor at every visit. At one point, I may have said to the ultrasound tech, "Um, were YOU there when this baby was conceived? No. I was. I know when it's due, thank you very much."


Much like my post about my birthday, this will mostly be a tirade about how much I love Christmas. It's probably the 2nd-best day of the year (after my birthday, of course). My love for Christmas can be broken down into several distinct categories:

TV Specials/Movies:

"Nice touch."

My fondest memories are of watching Christmas specials on TV. Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, Garfield, and especially The Muppets. We had them all on VHS, taped off the TV in the early 80's. As I got older, the best part was the commercials. Those tapes are long-gone, unfortunately, and I've begun rebuilding my library (taping the classic ones off ABC Family actually -- so someday my kid will look back on commercials from the late "ought's" and wonder about things like Snuggies and why that guy was on a horse).
Luckily my husband had a similar, if not identical, upbringing as myself (not to mention the exact same tape of "A Muppet Family Christmas", taped off the TV in 1987, on the same night, so therefore the same commercials . . . weird), so he loves to sit down and watch a good Christmas movie. His favorite is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. My favorite thing about that is that he'll start laughing before they get to the punch line . . . 

. . . sometimes long before they get to the punch-line. My less-than-favorite part is when he explains to the room why it was funny . . .

(Aunt Bethenny doesn't say "under god", because she's old, and wouldn't have learned that line when she was in school)

. . . but I guess I take what I can get.

Now, I don't normally celebrate Christmas in the church-y sense, but I can belt out a Jesus song with the best of them. Some of my favorites are actually the most "Jesus-y", and ones you might only hear a church choir sing. I especially love The Cambridge Singers Christmas Album.

Christmas is a great excuse for trying new food. We have a tradition in my house where for big dinners like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, everyone gets assigned a dish. Mom takes care of the turkey, and everyone else picks out of the hat either Vegetable, Potato, or Dessert, and you get to choose and make the dish. When we were kids it was pretty funny, because "Potato" would be things like Tater Tots or French Fries, and "Dessert" would be things like cookies and birthday cake. Lately though, it's become a competition. It started with Dad making Creme Brulee; since then we've had such dishes as Twice-Baked Potato Cups with Caramelized Shallots, Kavenau's Carrots and Cream, and Clean Apple Strudel. 

The Tree is a big part of my Christmas ritual. When I was a kid, we would have a HUGE tree, and it took DAYS AND DAYS to decorate. So we'd get home from school every day and spend some time putting on ornaments. It made it last a long time. And my mom has a treasure trove of decorations in the crawl space in our house, so the whole house is (tastefully) decked out! I've tried to recreate that in my various homes over the past few years:

Christmas Tree
My first apartment out of college 
(notice the lack of, um, anything on this tree and the use of a garbage bag as a tree skirt)


Mini Christmas

Mini Tree
My apartment in grad school. 

Funny story: my roommate had a friend over on Dec 1 (the first day of the "decorating season", as I call it). He and the friend are both Jewish. I was in my room, decorating my little tree, putting up lights, and listing to Christmas music. The two guys walk past my room, and the friend stops and backs up, staring at me. "Merry Christmas!" I shout. "Wow," says the friend. "That looks like fun." He turns to my roommate and says, "I never new Christmas could be so fun. I'm a little jealous."



Our first married apartment.

Christmas Cards (1)Christmas Cards (2)
Christmas Cards (3)Christmas Cards (4)
Christmas Cards as Decoration

Gipper's First Christmas (7) Gipper's First Christmas (5)

Finished Christmas Tree (2)  109

I actually don't like shopping, especially around the Holidays. So I usually end up either ordering everything on, or making it. This year was a lot of making things, just to save money.

Jack and Barney Ornaments


Snowflake Wreath (blue)

Knitted Bride and Groom

On the list of things I don't like about Christmas: 
Shopping: I avoid all stores, even grocery stores, around the Holidays. Too many people, too much crap. 

Extended Family: Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my family. But again, you get too many people in a room, and it's a little crazy. And there are the things you're not allowed to say/ask, such as "Why does Uncle R look drunk and/or senile?" or "Wait, J's baby-daddy is HOW OLD?!" Luckily we had a good excuse this year to cut out early or just plain not go. I redeemed myself by introducing Nana to Skype.
Skyping with Nana  

Skyping with Nana! (1)

Other People's Stress: Nothing is more annoying than "Oh my god I haven't finished my shopping yet!" or "I don't have enough money for Christmas this year!" or "I just don't have time for all the cooking and cleaning and parties and fun!" Boo hoo. You're fine.


Ok, I'm not as bad as some people. I can completely function without it, it's just not as fun. I only ever make coffee at home on the weekends, and Chris has learned that an easy way to make me happy is to make coffee without being asked. I get one Starbucks a week, Monday morning, and one Dunkin Donuts or one McCafe per week. Most days I have a decaf iced coffee with Hershey's Syrup (we have a Flavia in the office, which makes single-serving cups, and can do fancy things like iced coffee and cappuccinos and stuff). I wish there were more coffee houses around here where I could sit on a big couch and get a big ceramic mug of something, instead of a paper cup. And I very much enjoy the combination of knitting and a good cup of coffee:


three little snugglers, all in a row

Knitted Bear (7)Not sure if this needs saying, but I love crafts. I specialize in knitting; crocheting (as a beginner); sewing (very much a novice); some scrapbooking (mostly just gluing stuff into my Life Bible ... I'll get to posting about that some day); digital imaging; and baking. I'm what they call a "hurts so good" crafter, wherein I attempt to make things way more complicated than they need to be. I see a pattern and go, "Ok, how can I steal this and make it more ornate?" I keep almost nothing that I make, so looking at my home you might not know that I am a crafter (except the bookcase full of yarn). I always give them away. I also insist on knitting gifts for children, even though they probably don't appreciate it. (For example, I made this amazing knitted Teddy Bear for my god-daughter last year, and I believe she first tried to pull the seams apart, and then was more interested in the scarf I had put on it than in the bear itself. Go figure.)

<-- Volume B
Volume D -->


Christen said...

Love your encyclopedia: volume C! That bear picture is hilarious!

Shannon said...

Dude, I love your commitment to this encyclopedia. So much great info and your choice in pictures (ahem, Chrismas bear) is stellar. Thanks so much for playing along, your posts are super entertaining.