20 December 2009

A Good Day for Christmas Shopping

After a very late night on chat, on which we learned with relief that Rodney had made it safely to his mother's house for Christmas, after a harrowing 13 1/2 drive in the snowstorm that just hit from North Carolina northwards, we awoke around ten to still cloudy skies. However, the clouds cleared as the day progressed, but it never got much warmer. I don't think it topped 40°F today, which was fine with me. Wonderful weather for Christmas shopping. (Certainly better than 70s—I remember the first Christmas I was in Georgia and flew to Rhode Island, having to leave wearing my coat, hat, boots, and gloves because it would have taken a second suitcase to hold them, and it was about 72°degrees!)

Since it was almost eleven, we just grabbed a Special K meal bar out of the cupboard and split it, since we were planning to have lunch at our destination, Discover Mills. Ostensibly we were going out there (about an hour's drive) to check out the calendar store. James likes to get an aviation calendar each year and this store usually has the best choice. Also, I wanted to go to the Bass Pro Shop. If you've never seen one of these, it's a funky camping/hunting/fishing/outdoor living type amalgamation of a store, with a big fish tank of game fish and a waterfall and a rock climbing wall and at this time of year they even have a Santa Claus, outdoor outdoor-themed ornaments and lights, and gift items. We found we had a couple of extra presents to find, and Bass Pro was the perfect place to find one, as well as another we were working on. We found some neat stuff, and I discovered their bird suet was all 99¢ each, even the berry/peanut/fruit kinds, which are all over a dollar now at Lowes! I bought seven different kinds, and some collapsible cups, and a light that clips to your hat brim.

Anyway, the first thing we did was eat lunch at Johnny Rocket's. I had a cheddar grilled cheese sandwich, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I love everything about this place except the music. WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO LOUD? I should not have to shout to be able to talk to the waitress or to James across the booth from me. Sheesh.

We also passed by Bath and Body Works, which supplied another gift, and I discovered they had the mid-sized "lambie" figures on sale. This one has a brown face, so you can see its cute little stitched eyelashes.

We did get to the calendar place, although James did not see anything as unique as he wanted. He did get a discount calendar with jets on it, and bought a gift for a friend. I lucked out: not only found a New England Seasons calendar for work, but a Boston calendar for my craft room (with a lovely shot of Quincy Market in the snow), and a small Susan Branch calendar for the guest room. Enjoyed having Jen and Meggan this year and hope to have more guests next year. Shari says she thinks she will be able to come to the Twelfth Night party, so...that's one!

Of course if I don't finish wrapping gifts she will have nowhere to sleep. I now have three more to wrap!

Before leaving we popped in at Books-a-Million, and there was the December Country—yay! snow pictures!

We stopped at the Sandy Springs Trader Joe's and got some chicken and baby salad greens for supper, plus more Christmas goodies and another pumpkin tart. There were fresh balsam and cedar swags and wreaths outside and I contented myself to not being able to have them in the house by taking a few good sniffs. Mmmn!

Also stopped at MicroCenter for a small gift, so I think we really are done now, then fed the car and bought a newspaper (got a double paper, only to find there were no coupons this week—what goes? the next two weekends are the holiday weekends!) before heading home.

We had the Asian salad for supper, then watched the Grinch and A Very Merry Cricket, then while James baked some cookies, I watched four Christmas-themed Ask the Manager episodes (1980, two from 1981, with Joe Dimino, and Dan Berkery's first Christmas show in 1982). James has had a wild hair to bake some of the "Splenda and spice" cookies from the Splenda cookbook for a couple of weeks. These are bite-sized cookies which are supposed to be cinnamon-y, but he has fiddled with the recipe enough that they almost taste like gingerbread. He's also fiddled with an alternate recipe and makes a chocolate batch, with sugar-free Hershey's syrup.

And now we are watching Apollo 8: Christmas on the Moon. Talk about bringing back memories! Remember the astronauts reading from Genesis on Christmas Eve...when they played that clip I got goosebumps all over again.

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