December 17: Gingerbread Houses

DSC03771When I was young, making gingerbread houses involved sticking six graham crackers to the sides and top of a milk carton, covering the outside with gumdrops and redhots, and then surreptitiously picking them off and eating them as the days ticked down to Christmas.

No more.

Our friends are really great about holiday traditions like the carving of the pumpkin, the choosing of the tree, and the building of the gingerbread house. And so now we are really great at going along with holiday traditions like the carving of the pumpkin, the choosing of the tree, and the building of the gingerbread house.

The first year, I asked if we should be saving boxes/cartons etc. to use in our structures, and was punched in the face by a contemptuous scoff. Cartons, it seems, are cheating. (Although it’s worth noting that using graham crackers instead of gingerbread is apparently not cheating. I understand that they used real gingerbread one year with disastrous results, so they don’t do that anymore. Also, you kind of have to know what you’re building ahead of time, so you can bake enough pieces in the right shapes).

And in this house, one does not always know what one is building ahead of time. The first year, we arrived and were greeted with, “In case you were thinking of doing the Eiffel Tower, I tried to do it last year and it was a disaster. The Great Pyramids are also really hard.”

Ah. Oooohkay. Among our people, coming up with the most ridiculous plan is half the fun. In the last three years I have seen the following creations: Continue reading

Seeing (even more) Red

Oh what the heck, let’s just wear all the red stuff I own, every day until the new year:

Photo on 12-20-13 at 8.11 AM

  • Red pullover sweater with button collar detail, Old Navy, ca. 2009. Comfy, easy, bright. Always makes me think of Anne because like ten years ago she had a sweater in this same color.
  • Denim/chambray skirt, Converse OneStar, Target, ca. 2009. 
  • Black fleece-lined leggings, gift from my mom, November 2013. Fleece-lined leggings are the greatest invention of all time. I have one pair of these, and one pair of fleece-lined tights. That’s not going to be enough to get me through the winter, I don’t think.
  • Purple Docs, Oxford, September 2013. Normally I’m wary about mixing purple and red, but today I’m using stiff boots + thick fleecy socks as a makeshift brace for my stupid foot. And it’s working, too! Sam will tell you that I do not tolerate injury with grace (of course, with more grace I might not have been injured in the first place….). But by tomorrow I should be more or less back to normal.

Continue reading

Red-Dressed Reindeer

Photo on 12-19-13 at 12.24 PM #2Yesterday was Office Holiday Party Part II: the Return of the Antipasto Platter. I wore my first Modcloth purchase, on a field of black:

  • Long-sleeved black t-shirt, Old Navy, ca. 2009(?). This one has seen better days and is due for replacement. It’s now basically “light black” (which I think my brother claimed as his favorite color once when he was very young), and the elastic in the sleeves is destroyed.
  • Coach Tour Dress in Rouge, ModCloth, December 2013. I’m totally pleased with this purchase. Even though I don’t own anything else quite like this–and very little red at all!–it somehow looks so much like something I would own that it doesn’t even feel new. It’s weighty and soft–very nice for winter–but the fabric seems like it will snag easily, which means I will snag it the next time I wear it. There are little belt details on the sides, though you can barely see them in this picture.
  • Skinny black pants, gift from my mother-in-law ca. 2011
  • Black BareTraps ankle boots, DSW, Fall 2012. Or, as I like to call them, DeathTraps. I need to get these re-heeled or something–they’ve crossed the threshold where the bottom of the heel is now rounded instead of flat, and every step becomes treacherous–as I learned the hard way yesterday, when I twisted my ankle, not at the gym, not trudging through the snow, but opening the door of the office refrigerator.  (Update: Facebook is now showing me ads of non-slip shoes for work…) Continue reading

December 15: Holiday Inn

holiday-innI was raised on Holiday Inn. This heart-warming tale of a guy so lazy he only wants to work on holidays is best known as a vehicle for a whole year’s worth of Irving Berlin seasonal songs. It is White Christmas‘s older, slightly more obscure and, well, bizarrely racist cousin.

Did you know that Bing Crosby can sing but not dance, and Fred Astaire can dance but not sing? Basically the whole plot revolves around this one conceit (skip to 3:12 for the musical exposition of the entire movie):

So…who would you choose? Fred Astaire always looks like himself, but at least in this movie Bing Crosby hasn’t yet taken on the appearance of a shriveled orange with Mr. Potato Head ears stuck in the sides (*cough* *cough* White Christmas *cough*).

Rosemary Clooney is surprised that you think she would be romantically linked with....this....

Rosemary Clooney is surprised that you think she would be romantically linked with….this….

Continue reading