December 28, 2003

All I got for Xmas was my two front teeth

We made it through another Christmas season!

It started out on Tuesday; I went to the grocery store after work to do all the food shopping I thought we'd need. The store was a madhouse, but I managed to find everything I needed (or so I thought.)

I had Christmas Eve off, and had planned on getting the house ready. But, we decided we needed a larger variety of food for Christmas, plus breakfast-y food for the day after, so it was off to the store again.

That everning Gary took me out to dinner at Papillon, a French restaurant here in Fremont. We left early, with the intention of looking at Christmas light displays before dinner, but when we couldn't find the restaurant we spent most of that time driving around looking for it! At one time Papillon, we heard, had been a terrific restaurant, but we think its glory days are over. Everyone was very nice to us, and the food was reasonable, but the atmosphere left a little to be desired for. Of course, it was Christmas Eve, so I wouldn't expect everything to be perfect, but I think they could stand a renovation. Nevertheless, I was thrilled to dress up and be taken out to dinner, and we both had a terrific time.

We stayed up until midnight Christmas Eve, but the cats didn't say anything to us.

I woke up at 5.30 Christmas morning. Although I clearly felt that it was too early to get up, I couldn't get back to sleep. So, I brought down the rest of the presents from their hiding places, filled the stockings, and played with the cats a bit. I managed to get back to sleep for another hour before getting up for real.

Around mid-morning our house guests arrived. Gary's dad, his girlfriend Emily, and Gary's aunt and uncle, Martha and Greg, drove down from Napa to stay with us for a few days. We ate a light lunch before embarking on opening the presents. This took us several hours! The cats spent almost the entire time under our bed or under the couch. They were so scared of everything!

I got some very cool stuff for Christmas this year. Gary bought a pastel of a goldfish from Emily for me, one that I had admired earlier this year (and now it's hanging in the den, and looks great!) We both got some really nice clothes, videos, and some funky toys (like a remote-controlled car and a hover disc.) We gave some pretty good gifts too. We gave Gary's dad and Emily tickets for the Napa Wine Train, and an Xbox to Martha and Greg, among other things.

Emily wanted to make a salad for dinner, but I hadn't bought any lettuce, so she decided to go out and look for some. Gary insisted I go and drive her to the store, and after resisting for several minutes (I had already been to crowded stores twice that week, and certainly wasn't in the mood to go again) I finally relented. And as soon as I got into my car I found out why Gary was so persistant....he had installed an MP3 player into my car's dashboard! I had wanted one ever since I bought my car, but figured Gary couldn't find a good one that would work. I was so surprised!

Christmas Dinner was good, but not quite perfect. We had roast chicken, stuffing, scalloped potatoes, cranberry sauce, zucchini, and salad. I need to perfect my stuffing technique (it was a little dry) and the potatoes burned a little while we were out looking for lettuce. For dessert we had pumpkin and pecan pies, plus a variety of chocolates we had been given as gifts.

After dinner we played with our new toys. Gary gave his dad and Martha and Greg copies of his new video game (Legacy of Kain:Defiance), so we looked at that for awhile. We watched The Snowman (my favorite Christmas movie). Then we just got tired...Christmas can be pretty exhausting!

All in all, it was a great Christmas, with lots of good food, good presents, and good company. I'm looking forward to next year!

Posted by Jen at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2003

I'm a consumer whore

There's only a few days left before Christmas, and I have done my best to help our ailing economy this year. In a feat never before seen, I finished pretty much all of my Christmas shopping last weekend. There were a few things that I picked up in Napa this past weekend that need to go in the mail soon, but I'm not worried about them. I am very impressed with myself.

This year I actually planned a schedule of when I would be finished. I had a weekend of shopping planned, then a weekend of baking, then a weekend in Napa, then Christmas. The baking weekend wasn't as major as I had hoped, and we only made cookies for friends and work colleagues this year. The shopping weekend was brutal. I spent all day Saturday out, and by the end I was exhausted. Gary did not go with me, so I was able to get some stuff for him, too (and he took me out to dinner afterwards, then helped get something for my mom that I hadn't found anywhere else, and was too tired to do on my own!)

One of my sisters told me she did most (maybe all?) of her shopping online. I think I did more online shopping in past years, when I got Gary things like a GameCube. This year I thought it would be easier to go to stores (although in retrospect, going in a single day was perhaps not so clever.) Last year I had been laid off, with no firm job prospects yet, so my gifts were pretty minimal.

The problem with having finished all my shopping early is that I still feel compelled to go out and buy stuff. Everyone else at work is talking about shopping, and I feel like maybe I haven't spent enough money or something. I know my time would be better spent making cookies or banana bread, but the pressure is there. So far I have mostly resisted. Luckily I will not have time this week to go into any store but the grocery, and maybe CostPlus for some chocolate.

Posted by Jen at 06:09 AM | Comments (0)