02 November 2007

A "Holly" Day

Yay! XM103, "Holly," is on the air! I listened to it for about five hours off and on as I did errands (and, I say pointedly to the folks at Sirius, not one repeat!).

It started off cloudy with a bit of a breeze swirling turning leaves about me as I started out, showing off to great advantage the peeps of orange and yellow and red about each corner. There is a gloriously orange maple tree on Olive Springs Road and a vivid crimson tree on Bells Ferry. At the beginning of the week I was in our back yard noting only a few dozen turned leaves; now we have a brilliant red-orange tree near the fence next door, and yellow dappling most of the other trees.

I did find a November-December Yankee in Barnes & Noble and then approached the stand with the craft magazines. A B&N employee was restocking the shelves and looking quite put out; I remarked that she did not look happy and she said that the last person who had done the job had not placed the magazines correctly. I circled her and started to look through a cross-stitch magazine and she said, "I have another one of those that I haven't put out yet; are you looking for a particular one?" I said I never know until I look inside, and she actually got up, went in the back, and fetched the new issue of Cross-Stitcher for me. It was a keeper, too, so when I went to pay, I particularly mentioned to the cashier that she had been nice to me and people who work retail don't get enough compliments! He said he would pass on the compliment to someone higher up.

I popped in Hallmark for a moment; anyone seen the line of Christmas Beanie Babies out this year? They're adorable: a reindeer (named "Rooftop" or "Housetop," something like that), a gingerbread boy ("Hansel") and girl ("Gretel," of course), several bears, and today I saw what looked like St. Nicholas' white horse, with a wreath around his neck, and a bright red cardinal.

Next stopped at Michael's and raided a few small Mary Engelbreit Christmas things from the dollar bins, plus a skein of DMC color variations floss. From there I went to Garden Ridge. I have not been to Garden Ridge since August and Christmas was in full swing there: an entire forest of different sized Christmas trees, lighted and not, yard signs, lighted items, and aisles and aisles of ornaments. It was quite a hike walking around the store. I bought only a white garland with snowflakes for winter, an autumn-themed box, a very small holly pick to cover the damage at the bottom of the silver-based snowglobe I bought two weeks ago, and—success!—two packages of C-7 frosted blue bulbs! We had run out of blue bulbs and no one else had them; the spares were up on a shelf in the holiday storage closet. We use these not only for the candles in our windows, but I keep a night light in the hall bath all the time. A blue bulb is bright enough so you can use the facilities without turning on two blindingly-brilliant 40-watt bulbs at three in the morning, but not bright enough to keep you awake if you forget to close the bathroom door.

Incidentally, Garden Ridge had at least two trees lit with LED bulbs that look like mini-lights. They look...unnatural. Much too bright.

Off to JoAnn; all their fall things are 70 percent off, so I bought two small things for the porch as well as a stuffed squash for the library. These soft sculptures are made with different color and texture of materials, so they are quite interesting looking. They also had two standing decorations that said "JOY," one of distressed wood, another small one of resin, with the letters looking like birch limbs, embellished with a snowman and two cardinals.

Next I got gasoline at Costco and then went in to have lunch—Costco has the best samples! I had two Bagel Bites, five cheese tortellini, a small sample of low-salt kettle chips (if these are low-salt I'd hate to taste the regular ones), and a Belgian dark chocolate filled with hazelnut cream. I also picked up the 2007 Cooks Illustrated holiday guide (sometimes I think I buy these just for Christopher Kimball's wonderful editorials) and Caroline Kennedy's Christmas book.

Since I had the insulated bags with me, in went the milk and the cheese and the eggs and I was off to Books-a-Million for some masochism. Actually, someone had tidied the magazines and I did find some new ones, including the December issue of Blue Ridge Country. I re-upped our membership and received a nice-size, waterproof canvas book bag for free. This is quite nice; I may start carrying my cross-stitch in it, since the Quick & Easy bag is too small and too easily soiled.

One more stop at Michael's to purchase a second skein of floss and some decorative dollar boxes, and I was on my way home. One more stop and I had James' anniversary gift finished. [grins and bats eyelashes]

And then it was time for laundry and bed making and all that other exciting stuff.

Only fly in the ointment: our next-door neighbor apparently has his stereo up to eleven. And he even has his windows closed! The relentless tump-tump-tump is giving me a headache. He's driving the bass so hard that downstairs in the laundry room, the vacuum cleaner hose hung on the wall is vibrating. Why ain't he deaf? Ouch!

No comments: