Monday, December 17, 2012

Decorate for the Holidaze

We've been incredibly blessed to have inherited Christmas decorations from both sides of our family. 
Hand-me-down village houses...
Nativities everywhere...
Handcarved (and painted) reindeer from Grandaddy and Mema...
Two trees- I feel so extravagant with one in our ginormous bedroom...
Hand sewed stockings from our mothers...
And this year? Tree skirts from my best friend and my grandmother. I freakin LOVE these pompoms! I had to quickly get presents under the tree though because once a skirt went down, Ripley ran over and laid down. 
"Thanks, mom, for this great blanket!"
Mr. E also has a nutcracker collection (more like he had two and we've subsequently grown from there) as well as a thing for Santa ornaments. Couple this with my love of peppermint and BAM! we have a rustic-pop modern theme going on. 
My favorite thing in the world? Snuggling up with my hubby (and puppy), watching a movie with the tree as the only light. Absolutely  heavenly. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Court Date Revisited.

There are days that you feel overwhelmed. When you can't move because you're paralyzed with fear, with guilt, with consuming dread of the things you have to do that day.
I do not like these feelings.
In fact, I dislike them so much that I will actively do the things that need doing, just to avoid feeling like that.

I pride myself on being a strong person and getting things done, but sometimes there's that one thing that knocks me on my butt. That makes me wish I had my mom (but I'll settle for a husband too).

I don't know what it was about fighting this stupid train citation, but I was shaking uncontrollably as I exited the courtroom this morning (victorious!). As I looked around at my fellow infraction-committers I wondered where I had gone so wrong as to be stuck here. What a strange group. 

It reminded me of those times that I got in trouble at school and had to sit with the delinquents. Those kids who were always breaking rules, picking fights and talking back. 
I don't do that. 
I'm quiet in public. 
I try very hard to follow rules. 
So why was I here?

The courthouse itself is nothing note-worthy. Dirty, outdated, cranky sheriff officers; it's the same everywhere. My  husband, bless his sweet heart, offered to go in with me- to drive me there and sit with me in the courtroom so I wouldn't feel so alone. 

I took his hand as a lifeboat- the growing anxiety of getting in trouble threatened to swallow me whole. I was even ready to pay the fine (until I realized it could be upwards of $200). I imagined the anxiety building so high that I would finally jump out of my seat- Katniss Everdeen style- and volunteer to pay just to get out of there. But my husband whispered sweet nothings and silly jokes in my ear, telling me it was going to be okay.

And I wonder- I hope- that I'm there for him in this way. That when his panic attacks and spells of anxiety threaten to overtake him, that I could be his shelter and his refuge. I owe so much to this man for helping me see the true priorities in life.

In the end it was anticlimactic. They frog marched us to the front podium, the "referee" listed our issue and offered us 4 options. When I whispered told him that I did indeed have the ticket requested, he waived his hand and told me to be careful. "They're relentless," he said to me.

And that was it.

How did I ever get onstage and act if I couldn't even face court by myself?

But it was over and done with, fee free, and nothing changes your day like Disneyland.
Lab techs rock.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Banner

I started a project this weekend and finished it yesterday- though I suppose you could do it all in one day.

I have really fallen in love with the idea of bunting and/or banners- they're just so cute! And they come in so many different shapes and sizes, colors and sayings...

So, I had some odds and ends laying around and set to work!

I had some twine left over from my engagement party last year (only a year? Geez...) where my mom had used it to decorate her windows- tied with scraps of coordinating fabric. I love the rustic look to it, but as it happened I had two pieces, so the shorter got the axe. 

I also turned to my handy (and mutilated) book- are we sensing a theme here? After deciding what I wanted spelled out, I picked a font, traced the letters off of my computer screen and set to cutting. In retrospect I think I would make the font bigger, but I thought I had a lot of letters to cut (which I did) so I was unsure if it would fit.

Guess I'm missing an m?
After laying these all out, I eyeballed the length of twine to have the bottom string droop more than the first and tied the ends together. I then glued the tops of each letter onto the twine (using craft glue) and waited for them to dry. This is a very delicate project due to how small my letters were (and the fact that I made them out of paper). I could easily see these being more sturdy if I had glued the letters to a cardboard base (idea...) or used felt instead (other idea...). 
My chemistry book got some use after all!
Regardless, I like how simple this turned out and it was very easy to drape across our rather large picture frame. Decorated.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Film Set Weekend. Take 2.

I could spend this time complaining; talking about how lonely I was this weekend, how much I didn't get done, how guilty I am for not eating very well or working out.

Instead, this weekend rocked. I set out to do a list of things around the house, but instead I planted my butt on the couch, snuggled with my dog and crafted. I decorated my presents with ribbon. I did a load of laundry. I swept the dust bunnies that threatened to eat my 8lb dog.

I watched White Christmas for the first time. I wrestled a twin mattress and boxspring into another room to make way for two armchairs. I eagerly avoided cleaning off Dan's desk.

I eyeballed our Christmas cards lying haphazardly on our coffee table, but there are a few things I share with my mom in that situation. 
1. I can procrastinate with the best of them
2. I am a professional when it comes to guilt from not doing something I know I should do.
3. I cannot wait around for my husband forever (although sometimes I want to)

I realize that Mr. E and I have an unusual relationship. I want to be with the guy all the time. Although, as a disclaimer, I'm not clingy- I encourage him to work, to go to the gym, to play video games with his friends, to go out and be with other people. 

But I also look forward to the time I get to spend with him- cooking together, walking the dog, watching movies. I cherish every minute I spend with him because I fought so hard to be here. 

So, as the honeymoon is clearly over, it becomes (frustrating) to put off doing activities that I would like to do or finish just to wait for a time when he's free. And when all he'd like to do is sit and watch a movie with me, it's hard to see the silver lining. 

It's the time-honored classic: "I want you to WANT to wash the dishes."

I cannot change my husband. And I cannot sit around and wait my whole life to do things with him. 

Sometimes you have to pull up your big girl panties and compromise.

So the Christmas cards? I'll write them, and address them (because I have the better handwriting anyways) and find some time to slip him the cards to sign so we can send them out on time. It may not be what I initially wanted, but after prioritizing (afterall, what did I really want out of this situation?) I knew how to achieve it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

This Thesis is Done

Mr. E keeps telling me he can't believe that he's done with his thesis.

Okay, technically, he's not even really DONE, he's just done shooting. So the part he was most involved in is over.

And he can tell me that all he wants, but I'm of two minds.

Dude. You're DONE. You can be home now and not catering to your other wives' needs (his editor, his producer, his cinematographer). I've had to share my husband's attentions long enough!

And then, a bit more forcefully...

Are you KIDDING? You will never be done with this project. This is your baby, your first and your biggest. You will hover over the editor's back (as he does his own movie, mind you) until YOU may as well edit the damn thing. You'll foley and find a kickin' soundtrack better than when you had to do our wedding. You'll fundraise to send this thing to festivals and you'll brag to all your family about how AWESOME it looks. 'Cuz it does.

It may not have hit you that shooting is done (all two weekends and 66+ hours of it), but I am personally gearing up for another step in the long process of film-making: post-production.

Here's to making it through to the thesis showing in April.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Best Friend

You know that feeling you get when you can be with someone and just let your hair down? You already know how they'll respond to your jokes and your stories so you don't have to impress them anymore and you just tell it like it is? When you feel so free to be YOU and not politically correct you or polite-but-distant you, but YOU to your bones?

This last week felt like that.

We decorated, we cooked, we played at Disneyland, we talked and chatted and gossiped for a full week. And it was awesome.

My best friend moved to the east coast almost exactly one year ago, and while I would like to visit, it just hasn't been in the budget. So when she offered to come out for a full week I had no qualms asking for a couple days off (for family reasons).

I had been sitting on my hands the week after Thanksgiving, itching to put up Christmas decorations. But I told myself it would be more fun to do with my best friend, so I waited. Impatiently. And allowed myself to at least take down my fall decorations. 

She came in on Friday night, and we immediately whisked her off to In n Out like a true Californian. Saturday Dan was on set all day (thankfully with reasonable hours) and Genna and I brought out all six boxes of Christmas decorations (packrat, much?), blasted Christmas carols and sipped apple cider. 

Because that's not enough of a project, I was also slated to cook food for Mr. E's 30 person set. Let's be clear: I cook and bake and I love it. Dinners, desserts, meals; I love feeding people. I don't think I'd make a career out of it, but there's something wholesome and right about serving home-cooked meals. 

However, cooking for 30 people and transporting said food? With a puppy in the car? Not as fun. Stressful, even.

I thought that I would take the easy way out and cook breakfast for dinner: pancakes, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs...we made a mess out of the kitchen. However, because I wanted everything to be hot (looking back, I would rather everything had been COOKED then reheated as opposed to hot) I waited until the last minute to cook everything...which resulted in mostly pancakes (easy) and half the bacon and sausage. 

They had barely gotten through half of the line (talent first) when the meat disappeared. Of course, with mostly guys I should have known bacon was a MUST. Thankfully, Mr. E's producer came to the rescue with a few pizzas...lesson learned. 

Sunday we drove to my parents house in Ramona: mountains, horses, more Christmas decorations. I was so happy to be able to decorate with my parents and my siblings (even sans hubby)- it's one of my favorite memories of each year to put the tree together, remembering each ornament and story.

We loaded the car again on Monday and day-tripped around San Diego, hitting Balboa Park and Oldtown. Poor Ripley was awful on her leash all day- too long in the car, then too many new things outside to sniff and tug and see. Genna and I took it in stride, though, take pictures, admiring the Christmas decorations and generally enjoying each others' company.
Riplicus Maximus at her finest.

This puppy has the worst case of camera-shy-ness.

Tuesday, of course, was a time-honored classic. We live only 4 miles away, and Genna said the past year had been the longest time she's ever been away from Disneyland. Poor thing. So we partied it up- Disneyland proper and California Adventure: rides, shows, churros (it was too cold for Dole whip). Fairly sure this was my first time actually riding the Haunted Mansion when it's decorated for the holidays...(blasphemy). 

Eventually I did have to go back to work, but after such a long "vacation" it was nice to be productive again. I was able to wrap presents AND get Genna addicted to Once Upon a Time . Vacation well-spent. We exchanged gifts the night before she left (at 6:30 in the morning: boo LA traffic) and we received this beautiful handmade tree skirt (by her mother, as Genna is not quite that crafty).

Freakin. I love the holidays.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Under the Tree

This Christmas I gave you my heart I did something I've always looked forward to doing.

I coordinated my wrapping paper.

Yes, I am geeky like that.

It doesn't bother me that presents are mismatched with whatever paper is on hand. I like to see all the different colors and patterns- the goofy reindeer and the mature glittery damask. It all has its place and time. 

One of our Christmases at home I remember my mom bought a huge roll of brown packing paper, rolled it out down the hallway and painted our hands blue and red (and white?) to decorate all bajillion yards. Not only was this a fun experience for us as kids, but watching the presents underneath the tree magically grow in size, decorated with our handprints was nothing short of inspiring. I can't wait to do the same with my own kids- one more way to include them in helping and learning about the winter holidays.

I did not have the time (or patience or space) this year to do that, but I've noticed similar trends popping up in magazines and on Pinterest. So I thought I'd take a crack at it.

My very own "brown paper packages tied up with string"!

The packing paper was 3.99/roll at CVS ( yards?) and is pretty thick. Next year I'll try and find something a little thinner. I was grateful I didn't break down and buy the special baking twine (100 yards or so) online, because the next day I found these at Target in the dollar section! Since I'm going basically reds, whites and silver in decorations, wrapping in green helped me differentiate between what was gifts for US and what were gifts for THEM. Plus, If I'm really on top of it this year (fingers crossed) I can save my string for next year. Just a few dollars, but it'll feel good to recycle.

Simplicity was key- I didn't want big bows or floofy ribbons, garish snowmen or cute little Santas. There are just too many choices! I'd always regret buying one roll when the next I found was even cuter. So I'm good to admire. I might feel adventurous enough to save some wrapping paper scraps to frame as Christmas decorations around the house though! (omg....epiphany!)

So I just wrapped to the best of my ability (while attempting to be frugal). I used the tape on hand (which is opaque and NOT clear) and some pieces weren't quite big enough. That's alright, we'll put them behind OTHER packages and no one will notice once they're open. :)

I wrapped some of the packages with twine: red for Mr. E and me, green for siblings, parents, nieces and nephews. 

And then the tags. I figured the wrapping was signature enough, so we don't need no stinkin' "From"'s here! And in keeping it simple stu- ah, we just did first initials. In lower case because I break all grammar rules when decorating. I used a book that I have no intention of reading and free-handed a bunch of letters in different orientations. So we have a lot of D's (handy since lower case D's and B's are just reversed) so Mr. E has some "tags" handy also!

The result? I love. Plus a close-up shot of that fabulous tree-skirt...handmade by my grandmother! All in blues and silvers, with sweet little bows. It's the perfect pop against our other decorations.