Friday, December 18, 2009

How cute is this?

Last year at this time, I whined about not getting a care package from my mom. My lovely sister-in-law took that as a challenge and sent me a box of goodies. Being the amazing people they are, my brother and sister-in-law once again sent a Christmas care package, stuffed with the World's Best Sugar Cookies, among other items. Tucked in the box was an ornament just for me.

Check out this guy, decked out in a top hat and Christmas scarf. He's like a little Bob Cratchit hippo rushing home to Tiny Tim.

Here he rushes to the Gingerbread Bakery for treats for his hippo kids at home.

You might notice my favorite book, peeking into the frame back there!

We haven't put a tree up yet (and may not), but Bob here will have a place of honor for Christmas regardless. He's so goshdarn cute. I can't stand it. And my family is so goshdarn good to me. I can't stand that either.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In which I love the snow

The S.O. and I headed for the hills this week for some skiing and much needed R&R. Unfortunately the S.O. didn't get much rest, as I'll discuss shortly.

We went to Copper Mountain for an early ski outing. I say early because as of yesterday, the mountain only had seven of 23 lifts open and 30 of their more than 100 trails open. But it was the middle of the week, early in the season, so we didn't have to deal with a zillion and a half people.

The trip ended up being a more expensive outing than originally planned. Here's why. My first run down the mountain I couldn't feel my left foot -- at all. It was totally numb. Obviously, there was a problem with my boots. I decided to buy ski boots a couple years ago, thinking I would be so much more comfortable in MY own boots, rather than rentals. Turns out, I was wrong, at first anyway. Apparently, the first pair was sold to me by the newbie in the shop, and he sold me boots that were about two sizes to big. The best part of that was I could have lost my toenails! Yay!

A more experienced salesman helped me find the proper fit and exchanged the boots for me. I think we only managed to ski in those boots once or twice and they seemed fine. It's been a couple years since we skied, mostly because life has a tendency to sometimes get in the way. So, did my feet change in the intervening seasons? Did my calves get even bigger? I don't really know. But I did know I couldn't ski like that. We asked around and ended up at SureFoot. They suggested orthotics to put my foot in a neutral position. The S.O. was suspicious of the sales pitch, but I went for it anyway. More than $200 later, I have custom orthotics and a much more comfortable skiing experience.

I also took a private lesson at $75 (but hey that was half price, so it's a bargain). Nearly 10 years ago, when I first came to live in Colorado, I took a group ski lesson. It was a miserable experience. Two of the women could ski and needed little help. One woman could barely stand on her skis and demanded all of the instructors attention. Apparently the instructor assumed I was with the first two women and basically ignored me the entire time. Add to that it was April and icy and you'll wonder why I ever went back to a mountain.

Cut to yesterday. After just a few minutes with my instructor, Mike, I was skiing more efficiently and confidently and having more fun than ever before.

So, it was more money than I'd planned to spend, but I'm skiing better and more comfortably, and we're just two days into the season. So it's worth it.

On the downside of money spending, the windshield has a nasty crack that started from the most wee little star ever. It's too big to have repaired, so there's another expense added to the trip.

And the S.O.'s company cannot function without him, so he spent most of our two days away troubleshooting -- even though he was on vacation. They knew he'd be gone. Either they really can't function without him or they really hate the fact someone may be having a good time. Maybe they should ban cell phones from the mountain. I threatened to throw his phone out the window of our moving car, but it wouldn't really have solved anything. And he would have ended up having to buy a new one and added to our expenses.

All in all, though, it was a great little getaway. Our room was cozy and quiet. The snow wasn't great, but it was great fun. I'm ready for more.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Looking for the Ghost of Christmas Present

I'm having a hard time finding the holiday spirit this year. And it's not for lack of trying. I'm learning to play a Christmas song. I've been listening to Christmas music. I've donated to my favorite charities. I've wrapped gifts and drank egg nog.

I listened to Tim Curry read "A Christmas Carol." And really, if hearing/reading/watching "A Christmas Carol" doesn't put you in the holiday spirit, what will? (He realizes the error of his ways! He connects with his nephew! He gives Bob Cratchit a raise! He saves Tiny Tim! "God bless us, everyone!")

I've sent out some cards -- along with "gifts" to nieces and nephews. Maybe it's not seeing them open presents, even though they're all teenagers now and probably are too cool to get excited about Christmas. Maybe it's the lack of family gatherings.

Anybody have any ideas of how to find my Christmas Mojo this year?