Monthly Archives: December 2014

Chris & Heather’s Everything BUT Country Calendar Show

Everything BUT Country Show at FitzgeraldsOn Saturday night we went to see Chris & Heather’s Everything BUT Country Calendar Show at FitzGeralds. Apparently the event is held every year and I’m mad I haven’t gone sooner–it was so much fun! The concert was built around Heather McAdams’s hand drawn calendar of twelve different musical acts, in this case, all kinds of music except country. Different local musicians covered songs for each act in the calendar and then they showed an old 16mm film of the original musicians.  Everything BUT Country Show at FitzgeraldsHosts Chris and Heather (shown above) were funny and smart. Their enthusiasm for the artists and songs was contagious. We went specifically to see our coworker Sharon Rutledge and her husband Scott Ligon play John Sebastian. (They are pictured at the top.) They were amazing! They sang “Didn’t Want to Have to Do It” and it was beautiful and melancholy and -sigh- just lovely. And then they followed the sadness up with “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” and they cheered us all up. Everything BUT Country Show at FitzgeraldsEverything BUT Country Show at FitzgeraldsChris and Heather's Everything But Country Seeing the old films was part of the fun, too..crackling, old 16mm concert classics. (Pictured top to bottom: Rolling Stones, Peggy Lee and Slim Gaillard.) Everything BUT Country Show at FitzgeraldsOne hilarious moment was when Robbie and Donna Fulks covered The Carpenters Top of the World and “Grover” sang the chorus.

One of my favorite songs from the night was The Modern Sounds singing Slim Gaillard’s “Potato Chips.” I had to include a clip above because the song is just plain fun. (And I swear it caused our post-concert french fry run to Sub-T.) Everything BUT Country Show at FitzgeraldsI’m so glad we went and I’m already hopeful that we can attend next year. Yay for live music and for friends with talent!

P.S. If you find yourself craving a classic cocktail, head to the SideBar where the bartenders know how to make a well-crafted cocktail with all of the right ingredients. I had a Martinez and a 20th Century that knocked my socks off!

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Oh Christmas Tree Trauma

Naoto and the tree part 1This was the scene on Sunday night when Naoto and I went to buy the tree. We decided to branch out (hehe) and try other tree variety this year. We’ve had a White Pine for the past two years (2012 and 2013) and this year I wanted to change things up with a Balsam Fir.

So, it was after 6:30 and dark, but we thought there was enough light in the parking lot to choose a tree. After checking out a few, we chose a lovely Balsam, had it wrapped up and drove it home (using our back-seat method as shown above.) We got it into our apartment and cut it open and…I noticed a patch of brown. Not like a tiny bit of brown needles that were falling off, but a chunk of brown needles that faded into green, like the tree had been damaged by the weather or something. I shrugged it off thinking we could put that part towards the window and no one would ever know. But then I noticed that brown spots were occurring all over the tree. The tree could only be described as mottled at that point.

Now, I am not a perfectionist when it comes to the holidays. We’ve had holey trees, crooked trees, dry trees…pretty much every year we buy an imperfectly lovely tree. But, brown? I couldn’t do it. So I said the words my poor husband was dreading, “We have to take it back.” We loaded the tree back into the car and drove back to Menards, which was closing in the next ten minutes.

We returned the tree, and in spite of the “tree guy” offering to open the lot back up and let us choose our replacement, we decided to wait until daylight to choose another one. (Even with the flashlight on my phone, it was hard to see the brown spots on the tree. We didn’t want to risk having to return another one.) new tree ready for trimmingI went back alone on Tuesday afternoon to choose another tree. Several of the Balsams we opened had the same brown damage as our first tree. So, I moved onto the Fraser Firs, which look similar to the Balsam but have a silvery tone to the underside of the needles. Between the tree guy, another customer and I, we found a good one…straight and tall with no noticeable browning. (It’s pictured on the trunk trimming table above.) tree in the car 2014 me and the tree 2014The tree guy–after much skepticism–loaded it into my backseat and I drove it home (after taking pictures in the parking lot!) naoto and the tree 2014The tree stayed in the backseat of the car in the garage until Naoto got home that night (after midnight!) I could have carried it up by myself, but I could never have put it in the tree stand alone, so I figured leaving it in the car was better for the tree as opposed to leaning it in our entryway all day. (Also there were a bunch of judgey ladies in the laundry room and I didn’t want to have to deal with explaining how I would of course come back down to sweep up my pine needles…sigh, the costs of living in a condo.) the tree 2014Here it is all watered and ready. lighted tree 2014I (unevenly) added lights last night and I’m hanging the ornaments today. And then, our apartment is officially ready for Christmas!

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Stuffing the Stockings

Our stockings, handmade felt, Mahar Dry GoodsWhen I was little, Santa put a clementine and a toothbrush in our stockings every Christmas. I know we got other things but the clementine and the toothbrush are the things I remember. Isn’t it weird that Santa probably stressed about getting me a few nice things for my stocking and all I remember now are the clementine and the toothbrush?

Now, Naoto and I fill each other’s stockings. As we shop, we just drop our items into the stockings with promises not to peek until Christmas morning. The stockings are the first things we open on Christmas, before unwrapping gifts.

I already have a few things in Naoto’s stocking (left side). He’s very hard to shop for since he never wants anything. (It’s a blessing and a curse!) I always try to think of a mix of fun and practical things, with a heavy emphasis on food.

For my stocking (right side), I usually ask for chapstick and other consumables. Some of my favorite stocking stuffers have included Luxardo cherries, rubber stamps and zines. This year I added a few new zines and a postcard set to my wish list.

As for Presley’s stocking (middle)…we usually get her a catnip toy. So far, she’s gotten two branches from Mew Cat Toys Etsy shop. And she has three Yeowww! catnip toys (the banana, the cigar and the dynamite) that we bought at a local shop, Scratch N Sniff. She really digs all of them. It’s hard to put her gift in early though, because she tends to help herself to it before Christmas.

What are your family’s stocking traditions? Any good ideas for Naoto’s stocking? I need all the help I can get!

P.S. Our stockings are from the now closed Mahar Drygoods. Presley’s is from a big box store.

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Our Thanksgiving 2014

thanksgiving table 2014, centerpieceAnother Thanksgiving is in the books and the world (and our apartment) is moving on to Christmas. As usual, Naoto whipped up a delicious meal and my mom made a yummy spiced apple cheesecake for dessert. thanksgiving table 2014, table setting, yellow owl workshop placecard stampI wasn’t feeling especially inspired, so I set a simple table this year. I crafted a “centerpiece” from a turkey on a stack of books and some candles, similar to last year’s table. I used some thrifted paper turkey napkin rings and I made place cards with my Yellow Owl Workshop place card stamp. yellow owl workshop place card activity kit, thanksgiving placards, embossedI embossed the stamp in copper and typed our names. Simple…and with a table of four, it is really important that everyone can find a spot at the table! thanksgiving 2014, my mealIt was a delicious, relaxing day…I feel like Thanksgiving is the end of the calm part of the year, maybe that’s why it’s my favorite.

How was your holiday weekend?

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