I decided this morning I'd been cooped up in the house all week and I'd go out for a while. I usually go downtown one day before Christmas, but I was a little low about my favorite antique store being closed. Perhaps they'll still have decorations up next week. I like the way they do it: a little bottle brush tree here, vintage ornaments in a bowl there, bits of greenery or tinsel garland tucked in cupboards.
We didn't do much spending on Small Business Saturday, so I went to Love Street and bought a stocking stuffer for James and the cutest little winter bird figurine. There were several men there finishing up their Christmas shopping!
Then I went out to Barnes & Noble for a little while, came back by the bank to cash a small settlement check (I mean small...$18...LOL...something about a currency conversion lawsuit; I assume this was from past purchases from AmazonUK), and then had lunch at Panera Bread (chicken soup with a baguette, of course).
On the way home I stopped at the Book Stop, a little used bookstore on Atlanta Road. I was quite lucky and found four books, all nearly brand new. Jacobs' The Know-It-All, Closest Companion (FDR and his cousin Daisy), Mark Kurlansky's The Food of a Younger Land (American historical food), and the only Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell book I didn't have, A Letter of Mary.
And even though I really wanted to get home, I went to Lowe's via the covered bridge to get more birdseed so that Schuyler's cousins could have a good Christmas as well. I overpaid for it, but it was either that or go to Walmart. Walmart two days before Christmas. I'd rather be boiled in my own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through my heart.
I wasn't home all that long when James called. He was finished with his appointment at the orthotic shoe place and was coming home past Bernhard's Bakery. He arrived home with Florentines and gingerbread, and also some Publix pies for Christmas Eve, and we refilled the seed bucket and the bird feeders.
Later we went to Ken's Hometown Grill for supper, and tried to go to Lights of Life, but traffic was backed up from the entrance all the way to the south loop (not a mile, but pretty long!). Instead we went out to Mount Paran Road to see "Mr. Inflatable" and the display of others in his neighborhood, and the big white house a little further on. We came back through Northside Drive, and saw one cute thing: folks with a big Christmas tree in their front window. On the roof right over the tree, they had a small tree, lighted with the same white lights, so it looked like the tree in the living room went right through the roof! Also saw several homes with snowflake lights; very "in" this year.
Pretty much it was a disappointing ride, though, until we got back into Smyrna and went down the road in that new development of craftsman homes behind the community center, and also the Spring Road cutoff with the craftsman homes and also the big old brick house near the Bell South building. The house must have 12-foot high ceilings and their tree is always huge; I also like their big living room with the oxblood walls. Back in our own neighborhood, three colorful homes in a row.
It always strikes me how these huge, wealthy homes have very plain white lights (sometimes even spotlights on wreaths alone) and the middle-class to poorer homes are the ones that have a riot of multicolor lights everywhere.