Friday, December 28, 2007

Shaving Goosebumps

Tell me. Who is the big fat hairy genius that came up with the new Bow- armed shower curtain rods that are plaguing hotels??!?!?!?

Yeah, I understand that they provide more elbow room in the shower - but was elbow room really that much of a problem? So your elbow bumps a fabric or plastic shower curtain - is that painful or something?

I'll tell you what's painful. Shaving goosebumps.

You see... making more room in the shower DESTROYS the nice small pocket of warmth and steam that is critically important to the comfortable showering process!!
When you are... as I am... a very small animal (to quote Piglet from Winnie the Pooh) it's bad enough that all the water pressure has turned to tiny droplets by the time it reaches your head - but when you have goosebumps while bathing... something is seriously wrong!

The first morning that Mr. Burns and I were in San Francisco last week, I tried to shave my legs but instead of removing hair, I mostly removed the tips of my goosebumps! That's not attractive.

Well okay. I could wear pants that day... but in preparation for my friend's wedding day, when I would be wearing a lovely dress sans hose and with strappy heels... I wanted to have smooth, flawless looking legs.

For the rest of our stay in the hotel room, we propped the (heavy, metal) bathroom door (with no ability to stay open on it's own) open with one of Mr. Burns shoes. The idea was to get the entire bathroom, including the ceramic tub heated to a reasonable room temperature so that I could bath and shave my legs without goosebumps.

Mr. Burns tells me that the wide shower curtain rod is intended to eliminate the problem of the shower curtain billowing in (hot air/ cold air thing) Again. This is a serious problem? One that required a remedy? Because I think in all of my 37 years on this planet, the shower curtain has made a nuisance of itself maybe.... 5 times. IN 37 YEARS!!!!!
But shaving my own goosebumps is a much bigger problem. Am I the only one?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Check out the pretty!

My neighbor (a florist) treated me to a bag of fresh holly last week.
I love the dark green leaves and bright red berries – but the beautiful stuff doesn’t last long cut.

After a short stint in vases on my credenza, I hated the thought of tossing it out in anticipation of my trip to San Francisco this weekend.

How to make it last? Frozen Luminaries!

I gathered up some empty yogurt tubs and plastic cups, some twine, a cutter and bottle of olive oil.
You could make larger luminaries using a gallon ice cream bucket and yogurt or margarine tubs.

Here’s what I did.
Lightly oil the inside of the tubs and the outside of the cups. (so the ice can slide out easily once it’s frozen)

2) Arrange some holly inside the tub, squeeze the cup in – securing it with twine so the cup doesn't float out as the ice expands. (if you don’t have twine or string… the tub lids might work) Then arrange some more leaves around the edges. (careful, it’s prickly)
3) Fill the tubs about 2/3 full of water and set them in the freezer or outside.

4)Once partially frozen, Toss in some extra berries to make the most of the bright red pop of color. Then add water up to the brim (allowing for expansion) Poke the berries into the slushy part so they don’t float up to the top)

5) Once they’re completely frozen, untie the twine, hold under hot water to loosen then pull out the cup and squeeze the block of ice out of the tub.
Three out of the four I made popped out easily. I can only assume the stickler was due to insufficient oiling.

Insert a tea light and viola! A lovely holiday luminary for your front steps or porch… possibly to last through the winter months!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pretty Ribbons

Retro Ribbon I found these Christmas ribbons at a Church rummage sale last year. Aren't they pretty?
They are clearly remnants from some little old lady who never used them all up.

They are at least 25 years old! I remember this type of ribbon from when I was a kid.

Any ideas for how to use them? I love to wrap gifts with the quintessential crisscross. You know, the sort that makes four quadrants on top of the gift -- but the problem with this type of ribbon is that it doesn't tie into a nice bow. :-(
And it's one sided. And it doesn't curl all that well. But it's SO cute.

I finished wrapping my gifts today.
Sorry, I packed them all up for shipping before I thought to take a picture. I didn't use this ribbon this time. (Since I won't be there to watch them open... and the fact is... the ribbons on the presents freshly wrapped this afternoon are already smooshed - packed in a box - ready to send to Nebraska!)
But I'll take any ribbon tying suggestions to make the most of these retro ribbons next year!

Monday, December 03, 2007

What's Normal?

Mr. Burns and I are so looking forward to Christmas. Neither of us are going home to our families… we’re just going to stay here together. Yay.

Yesterday Mr. Burns suggested that it might be a better use of our time to do something for others on Christmas. Maybe serve food at the Mission, something like that.
That led us into a conversation about generosity, and the question of whether we are matched in that area. I think we are.

We both agree that it doesn’t take much to do something great for others. Whether it’s inviting someone in need of companionship to your house for dinner or giving money to charity, or to someone who needs it. To me… it’s simple kindness. And that goes back to how we were raised.

My parents were never the type to invite a stranger for dinner, but they are still outstanding examples of generosity.

They were such a good influence that growing up… I simply thought this is what people do. You tell me. Is this normal?

See, my parents are farmers. During the 1980s my dad was smart and savvy enough to snap up the land of an adjoining farm when the estate went up for sale. My mom spent her days fixing up the old farm house, painting and cleaning to get it ready for renters.

One day on the school bus ride home, we drove past one my neighbor’s homes. It had been standing when we went to school that morning. On the ride home, we were stunned when we passed the burned down rubble. The home of a family of seven was gone.

A mile later, I was home and heard all about the fire. Along with that story, I was informed that the ladies of our church joined my mom to finish painting the house so our suddenly homeless neighbors would have shelter for their large family.
Furniture, linens and extra clothes were all provided by dinner time that evening.

They lived in that three bedroom house while their home was rebuilt. I don’t know the details, but I’m sure it was rent free.

Because of so many similar examples, I feel that is just what people do. If you want and I have… here… have.

Mr. Burns reminded me that that’s not typical. And in today’s world I think it’s not. But he points out that it wasn’t typical 30 years ago either.

Is he right? Is this exceptional? Is it about the big hearts in our small farming community or is truly odd behavior?

I’m so thankful that I was raised with that example of kindness. I hope if I have children one day, I can provide a similar example to them.