I had grand plans for the day after Christmas. I had several audio books (Golden Compass, Watchers, Darkest Evening...) to listen to on my headset as I stitched away on my "Firefly Faeries" by Marilyn Leavitt Imblum. And I don't have to be back to work until January 7 so I should be able to get a LOT done, right?
Wrong! My plans have been trashed!
I got a Dell!
Yep, I'm still in shock, but DH gave a a new Dell desktop system for Christmas! He said he felt it will help me deal with the pain of not being able to retire at the end of this school year as originally planned.
I can't believe how much fun this is. I'm already getting caught up with Heroes online (two episodes already so I'll be ready to jump in when Volume Three begins again.) I have some transfer issues to deal with but I'm working them out. I lost (badly) a game of Wizard Chess last night (since I've never played Chess before it stands to reason, but mostly I just wanted to watch the characters zap each other so it was still fun). And it's been really cool to enjoy the widescreen websites without having to move the slidey thing (like that IT talk?) from side to side.
I still have a LOT to figure out, but so far, SO good!
We had a wonderful Christmas. DS2 overslept and so our usual tradition of stockings first, eating breakfast, cleaning up and then opening gifts had to be altered (to cheers of delight from the boys who were subjected to the food/clean-up torture every year). When he was officially a half-hour late I called to 'wakey, wakey' him up ("Ugh, I hit the snooze alarm too many times") and he was here in another half hour. This year we ate breakfast first, then they opened their stockings, and then it was time to prepare the turkey. Once the turkey was in the oven we could - finally - open gifts.
Everyone seemed pleased with their gifts. It's more fun to be creative and try to come up with just the right gifts for people, but my two (three counting DIL) are trying to get on their feet so I stuck with getting them what they asked for. I figured that's what they needed. I did, though, get some of the beautiful books they had at Costco this year. Complete Poe for DS1 and complete Shakespeare for DS2. They seemed delighted. Just had to warn them not to lick the bindings, however, as they'd been bound in China.
DH seemed really pleased with his surprise. I found this print (a Peter Ellenshaw poster) at DCA this year and matted and framed it for him.
I was thrilled with the frame I found for it. A medium oak color, just ornate enough to match the old-fashioned feel of the picture. I especially loved the little vines and flowers subtly carved on the outside edge. I matted it in a butter yellow that matched Pooh's fur. DH is a fan of all things Pooh and seemed delighted with the piece. His favorite character is Eeyore, though, and sadly Eeyore is not in this scene. Today I went online and found an Ellenshaw fall scene with Eeyore and ordered it right away! I think this one will be in the master bedroom and the fall scene in the dining room. But I digress...
My folks arrived right about 1:00 and Brother and family shortly after. I had set out chips, dip and M&Ms, had cooked the turkey and stuffing and baked the rolls. DH did the gravy and everyone else contributed the rest of the meal. Sis and her family were late with ham, but we went ahead and ate without them. They arrived for the 'second seating', and everyone who wanted ham returned to the table to indulge. I know she felt bad about being late but it solved my seating issues (didn't have to clean up the dirty, spidery outside chairs after all). I had put my spring green gingham checked table cloths on the tables, then lined up small arrangements of red rose buds in baby's breath along the center of the tables (interspersed with some odds and ends decorative things). It had kind of country meal feel and I was satisfied. After gifts I cleared the table down to the wood (again with the roses) and set up dessert. Everyone had brought so much dessert stuff that it turned out to be a dessert bar.
Our Christmas tradition is to buy a stocking stuffer for each person in the family, then draw names to buy one "big" gift for someone. As always, my mother completely ignored all rules (my stocking stuffer from her was a plastic garbage bag bulging with goodies). Within my 'stocking stuffers' from Mom were two faerie pop-up books that I'd been coveting (but, controlling my impulsive shopping urges, had not bought for myself). I hadn't even mentioned them to her, she just knows me. My niece had drawn my name this year and my gift from her was two audio books (UNabridged, thank you very much): my favorite Nora Roberts books from the Three Sisters trilogy.
Everyone was in great spirits. My sister got the insanity off to a good start by giving everyone a disk shooter toy. This is something she does every year. When I rebuilt our deck five (more?) years ago I found an assortment of different projectiles from these annual gifts from Sis. The gift opening ritual was highlighted by my mother's out-of-character ribald comments all night (where did that come from?) and the occasional hilarious reaction to the well-chosen gift.
We passed up on the annual board game challenge (although DS1 had brought his new Mega-Monopoly game) and people went home fairly early. I urged DS1 and DIL to stay another night (they had mixed feelings about going home; the mommy in me didn't like the idea of them driving home with the drunks so convinced them to stay.)
Overall a thoroughly satisfying day.
Now I just have to schedule my time so that I get my files transferred onto my new computer (I think she needs a name) AND listen to a couple of audio books AND stitch AND work on a quilt.
I am up to the challenge! Or not. Doesn't matter, it's vacation.