Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let it Snow...

The tea is hot.
The fire is roaring.
The tree is lighted.
Work is done for the day.

A good to enjoy the snow - after all!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wrappin' it All Up

The cutting board spread out on the dining room table, rolls of paper everywhere, presents stacked waiting to be wrapped, ribbons unrolling across the table, gift tags on the floor... it could have been yesterday at my house, or any one of the Christmases of my childhood.

The first weekend in December [ok, often the second weekend] my Dad would be found with everything piled up and ready for his special handling and wrapping. He liked to do the wrapping, so Mother did the buying. He was very particular. All the folds were straight and all the ends were perfect - drug store fold, he called it - and every bow precise. As a child I worked my way up the ladder of helper jobs - first, holder of the finger on the bow. (No pre-made stick-on bows were allowed in my house!) The finger holder was always the youngest child there - a fact that I lorded over my brother for many years after he was tired of being the designated finger holder.

One could eventually move up to tag-tier - the person who ties the gift tag on after the bow is properly adjusted. The highest position allowed to a helper was folder of the ends. It took years of training to be allowed to do this all-important job, but no child was ever allowed to progress to the top job - cutter of paper and maker for the initial wrap-around. That job was always reserved for Dad. I think he figured that if he got it started off correctly, we couldn't mess it up too much!

He had triumphs over the years - the year that he passed the pool table off as a set of saw horses with plywood on top. That stunt lasted nearly two weeks without my brother even thinking of taking a peek. And, he disguised my piano as a sideboard, going thru an elaborate charade of sending Mother out to shop while "her" sideboard was delivered - with my brother and me hired as guards to keep her out of the house until he was finished with the wrap. The man was a master with paper and tape!

His techniques have served me well over the years and I still count wrapping as another of my beloved holiday tasks. I thoroughly enjoyed spending both yesterday morning and today getting everything that needs to be shipped all ready to go.

I'm feeling a little bit traitorous this year. Sande over at A Gift-Wrapped Life has been encouraging us to spread our wings and try some fancier, more special treatments this year. While my packages will never look like hers, I did choose two themes this year with bright red packages for the women on my list and red and green plaid for the men. My big jump, tho, was leaving behind the curl-tie ribbon that Dad favored and moving up the scale to wider, decorative ribbon that is wired on the sides - at least for the women. I also used fancy tissue papers this year and Merry Christmas stickers - innovations all. My family is going to love Sande's influence on me.

My niece has a late December birthday, so I always try to include a special something for her that is clearly not a Christmas present. This is probably my best wrapping job in years - complete with two perfect ends! And I love the ribbon, except that I bought it before I knew about wired ribbon, so it's not perky.

I'm thrilled with the results and will probably move a little farther to the creative side in the future. (Many thanks to Sande.) So, on the one hand a big job is finished and I will make the trek to UPS tomorrow to get our gifts on the way to friends and family, but on the other hand I am finished with a fun job... until next year!


Finally I am feeling a bit of progress on this little project. The MyFitnessPal website seems to be helping. Somehow there is a sense of accomplishment in logging all my food and exercise, and I like the little computer generated encouragements that I get every day. It's also fun to see if I can search for a food they don't have - so far they are winning that contest.

I gained five pounds during the week of Thanksgiving when we were traveling. Those came off in the next 10 days, putting me back to where I started in the first place nearly two months ago. I am not really counting those five pounds as lost, altho MyFitnessPal does. They had not been attached long enough to get settled into the new neighborhood.

Even counting my old starting point, I am down - ta ta - 1.5 pounds this week. That's after attending three holiday parties this week. I have been to dance class five times and planned for bigger dinners on the party nights, and managed very well. So, today I am feeling very powerful and ready to tackle next week.

Hope that you are doing as well and feeling as strong.