Category Archives: Christmas spirit

Christmas remains


Christmas is over, the New Year is right around the corner. We’re still enjoying the many gifts and Christmas love that graced our lives this last week.

The most popular gifts we received this year was my wife’s Kindle, she loves werewolf and vampire stories, but has only downloaded a few sample shorts like The Game of Thrones and A Walk in the Snark, that last was my idea. She didn’t like The Game of Thrones too much but after viewing a trailer for John Carter and asking me why I was so thrilled about it, she downloaded A Princess of Mars—which she is enjoying very much. It’s been so long since I read the Edgar Rice Burroughs series I grabbed it too—if it’s free, it’s for me. I don’t own a Kindle, but I have the app on my phone (I think that counts.) I used a gift card I received to grab A Game of Thrones and Tarnsman or Gor. That last one I never even heard of until someone accused me of using this series for my book The Set’la—but I digress, that’s for another blog. My wife also gave me a receiver for my surround sound, the old one went out about two years ago so now my Man Cave is back.

Earlier in the month my sister in law contacted me and told me she picked up season 2 of True Blood for the wife and her dad got season 3. I immediately passed this information to the step daughter since she does have a job now and I knew she wanted to spend money. (The step son is working too but he feels it is better to receive than to give.)

Christmas morning, L—the step daughter—handed her a package and forced her to open it, it was True Blood season 3. I’m thinking, “Shit—didn’t I tell her NOT to get that?” Thinking I will be scolded one way or another at this time it is better to keep my mouth shut. She gave me Battlestar Galactica season 3 (Don’t worry, already had the first two seasons) I also got a normal DVD remote for the PS3 which I love better than the damn game controller. (That’s four remotes now; can we say “Yeah Baby!”) I also got yet another headphone/microphone set; I only say another because the ghosts keep taking mine.

Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without my mom, whom I picked up Christmas Eve, and we surrounded her with presents she needed and not wanted, like jeans and shirts.

My step son J we soothed with Microsoft points and the dance game for Xbox connect. Now he will get his exercise. It is a reward for taking the time out of his busy day to spend time with family. Of course the first thing he did was buy another game with his points, Rock Band 3. Oh the Joy! His dad gave him Star Wars: The Old Republic which he had to install on his sister’s computer and I threw on my laptop. I managed to hit level 3 before I died but I only play for about an hour a day so it doesn’t control my destiny.

After a few more minutes of unwrapping, always amazes me how quickly the Opening lasts compared to actually preparing for it, the kids disappeared for about an hour as I hooked up the receiver and we began watching True Blood.

Then it was off to her dad’s house where we got more presents. I cringed a little when T’s dad and sister handed her two boxes that looked like a DVD, and breathed a sigh of relieve when she received two copies of True Blood Season 2. At least that’s an easy fix. I got some very good books on writing including Steven King’s On Writing and more gift cards! The cards I used to get BSG season 4.

From his aunt, J got Rock Band 3 for the Xbox (imagine that).

I think this was a great Christmas for all involved; the repeat gifts are always a little amusing.

Since we lucked out and took our vacation this week and I told my boss we were going to the Bahamas, we are doing NOTHING, except watching TV, reading, and a little game play.

Last night, we finished True Blood so now we are going through a BSG marathon, the only thing I am missing is Razor.

It was a good year, like all it had its ups and downs, and here is to making 2012 even better.

Image from Google

So, how was your Christmas?

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Merry Christmas


I have heard this somewhere, “Once somce one told me I had to be more PC in my holiday greetings–so I’m doing it from my Personal Computer.”

Merry Christmas!

Our house is haunted!


At least that is what I think is going on. There must be two or three of them walking around after we go to bed. They are harmless for the most part. The past couple of nights we have gone to bed, tucking our bodies under the sheets and falling asleep, knowing the kitchen is clean, the lights are out and the coffee is ready to start, early enough that all I have to do is go down and pour a fresh cup of hot Michigan Cherry coffee. This is the high point of my morning.

The haunting isn’t violent, but it can be a little distracting. I come down at 3:30 in the morning—I know, to damn early—to find game systems moved from one room to another with the cords spread out across the floor making me actually wake up before I want to so I can position my feet safely.

Blankets that were once folded neatly on the couch are crumpled on the cushions or lying on the floor next to glasses half full of water—think “Signs”. Just the other night they must have ventured outside for a midnight stroll because the front door was left ajar. They may leave a few dishes in the sink or pour food down the garbage disposal that doesn’t work—which is never a fun clean up—but they never leave it like I do before climbing the steps to the bedroom. They have even gone so far as opening the back of my van and helping themselves to my stash of Mountain Dew. I know this because they never close the tail gate all the way.

I suppose they must have made friends with Billie, our guard Whippet, because he doesn’t bark at all.

Last night, I witnessed my wife pour the water into the reservoir of the coffee pot, put the filter containing enough grounds for a full pot of coffee in the basket, and set the timer to go off at 2:45 am. I know she did it because I usually do this ritualistic chore every night.

This morning, at 3:00 am, as I follow one whippet and the iggys down the well-lighted steps (hall light was turned off last night) I spot the empty coffee pot. Quickly I shove the dogs out into the rain and investigate closely; the basket is empty, the reservoir is empty and the switch is in the “on” position yet it is off. ‘WTF!’ I quickly, as quickly as I can this early, fill it with water, grab filter and coffee to fill the basket and turn it on. Just these acts alone awoke me well enough to discover that the coffee pot still had six cups of water in it.  I turned off the pot right before the hot liquid spilled over the rim and started the whole process again.

Finally at 3:30 I had the dogs in, coffee made and had a chance to sit down and enjoy my coffee. Later, as I was making breakfast, I noticed a filter full of coffee grounds (unused) sitting on the counter top across from the coffee pot. It felt a little heavier than normal when I put it in the basket and began pot number two. The finished product had doubled in strength than what we normally drink in the morning, but we were awake and that was the whole objective.

So in the Spirit of Christmas, I would like to thank the ghosts that eat our food, thus making us buy more food to keep the fridge stocked, leaving the lights on in the hallway so I don’t fall down the steps when I am not awake yet. For making me check the back of my van for undesirable persons or terrorists, scaring away any possible intruders by making loud growling noises, since the whippets and iggys sort of fail at that, and for just being there to keep me on my toes.

However…I do have one little request, please don’t frack with the coffee maker. It makes some spirits a little irritable.

The Joys of Lighting the Way


When I got into work this morning my boss followed me in carrying a bag of Christmas lights. Now understand, the office we sit in is only about 15 feet square with three windows and two desks.

I was sure the bag; carrying three strands of 150 lights would be enough. However, it seems I was wrong. She will bring another bag in tomorrow. I never was one that got into the whole decorating thing. Oh don’t get me wrong, contrary to popular opinion, I am not a scrooge. I do enjoy driving through the city – the safe parts if I can remember where they are, and ohhing and ahhing at the displays of people that will be shocked when they see their electric bill next month. I understand why – I was told when I was growing up we did it so Santa would be able to find our house. Of course I thought, “Oh great, yeah he can find it – but since we don’t have a chimney, how is he going to get in?” He always managed somehow.

My only problem with lights or any type of decoration is the fact that you put all that work into them, and then take them down in a month. I mean really – if you’re going to go through all the trouble of making sure they are straight, checking each light to make sure they work and the same color light isn’t next to it – (they have to be separated by at least four colors so if you only have three that still work, your screwed.) than why not leave them up for longer?

One year we used red white and blue lights (I was surprised I got that past my wife too) and we kept them up till the fourth of July.

I personally would rather put them up, real simple maybe one or two strands over the garage door, the weekend of Thanksgiving and take them down after New Years. I have seen lights up since Halloween – that is a little over board.

Inside the house, we have two trees (the wife says it is to even the house out – one in the living room and one in the family room.) One is in a multi-color light show, blinking spasmodically like a neon light on speed. (Of course no two colors are close to each other.) Heaven forbid if one is out, we spend over an hour trying to find it and replace it. Next there is the tinsel. Come on! Who ever thought of these little pains in the butt should be shot, and then hung – maybe on a Christmas tree next to their damn tinsel. Do you really think they look like ice cycles? And they get all over the place. If you try to vacuum them up before you take down the tree they end up back on the floor a minute later. And they clog up the vacuum so you either have to fix it or get a new one. (Wonder if the company that makes the tinsel makes vacuum cleaners too? Na…too much of a coincidence.)

The ornaments are good –but watch out for those hooks and make sure no two are next to each other if they are the same style. And—they have to wrap around the tree from bottom to top in order of size.

One hard part is keeping the horde of dogs away from it; the other part is remembering to turn them on when I get home from work.

We also have a strand, blue lights, across our fireplace mantle that the wife uses to display her Santa Clause statues. This one we leave up all year, even the Santa’s.

How much decorating depends on when we do it – if we wait too long, we may just have a candle in the window, or two. (All straight and exactly even with the one above or below it.)

I have heard rumors that there are people out there that wait until December 23rd to do any decorating. I have never witnessed this display (I never go out after December 15th anyway: Fear of shopping, it’s a mancode thing)

Of all the displays I have ever seen, I think this one is and will always be my favorite;

Most everyone I talked to today has their light displays up, some don’t. I have noticed that the neighborhood displays have dwindled a little, is it that they are just too busy to do it, too poor to afford the energy bill or just don’t want to mess with them at all?
Me, I may wait till this weekend and start the processes by putting up one of our trees up and just sitting in the corner and waiting for someone else to do the lights. I know the house will be unbalanced, but that is something we will have to endure. (I know from experience that my wife will do it over again, but I try to please.)

It is time people, get those lights up and display them in your favorite fashion. My boss did her this weekend at their condo. She said no one else had their lights up and as she worked at them the neighbors started to come out and watch her. Eventually she got the whole section of condos lit up like a night game at the local stadium. Now that is the Christmas spirit – I do hope it is catching! Nothing beats upping the Griswolds!