A Second Snow Day: Beating Cabin Fever

I awoke this morning to much of the same weather as the night before.  The snow was coming down like a white blanket outside my window, the lane way looked like we hadn’t used the snow blower at all the night before and there were people up and down the road in all directions shoveling like their lives depended on it.

I dutifully checked the local college website and informed the boyfriend that his classes were canceled for the day and he could stay in bed.  He mumbled a rather unintelligible yet distinctly celebratory noise, rolled over and went back to sleep.  I then checked my work email, hoping for good news and that I could go back to bed as well.  Unfortunately, there was only an email saying that the office was open and if we felt it was safe enough, we were to head on in.

Wanting to keep everyone informed, I sent a quick note saying the college was closed in case anyone had kids that were attending and went to have a shower and work up the courage to dig myself out of the lane way.  I got dressed, I put my hair up a la ponytail style (that’s right, I’m all about cutting edge fashion) and I said goodbye to the boyfriend.  I then decided to check my email one more time and lo and behold…SNOW DAY!!

It was official, I didn’t have to go to work.  I decided not to go back to bed as I had already showered and was wide awake, so instead, I sat and watched about five episodes of Intervention and did some work from my laptop.  Yes, I’m just that exciting…working from home on a snow day.  However, I also cleaned the house which was the inspiration for the boyfriend’s motivation to put the tree up this afternoon/evening.

So that is what we did to keep ourselves from going insane because we couldn’t leave the house.  We dragged the giant box of Christmas decorations up from the basement, organized everything, got rid of a few things that were ready to go away, and we set to work decorating.

The mishmash of decorations in the lovely storage box that lives in the basement 11 months of the year

The pile of stuff the started accumulating after we went sorting through the storage bin

The boyfriend sorted all the decorations into various categories such as indoor lights (for the tree) outdoor lights (which we are estimating are over 20 years old), run of the mill decorations (shiny, coloured balls, garland, etc..) and sentimental ornaments to name a few.

While he was doing this, I used non-tree decorations and made other areas of the two living rooms look a little spiffier.  I used green and silver garland for the upright lamp posts in either room and they turned out looking rather nice.  I then set to work on jazzing up the lovely new entertainment stand.  I put green, leafy garland on it and we set most of our figurines on the shelves.  I have since noticed that we have a great deal of penguin paraphenalia.  When the boyfriend and I got together, little did the two of us realize that we both really liked penguins and between the two of us, we have a lot of them.

It looks a little cluttered, but I couldn't bare not to put them all out

When I was finished doing that (while at the same time torturing the boyfriend by making him listen to the Glee Christmas album), we started in on testing the strands of lights.  This proved to be difficult because some of them were mine from when I lived on my own and some of them were the boyfriend’s which had been collected over approximately the last 10-15 years.  So in testing them we found that some of the lights didn’t work but the others would come on.  We would simply replace the defective lights and move to the next one.  Some, however, were the ones that if one light didn’t work, the whole strand didn’t work.  After much frustration and swearing on the boyfriend’s part, we decided that we could make due with two working strands of lights as they were kind of long and if we were sparing, we could manage to get the whole tree done with them.  I don’t think we did too bad of a job considering he’d moved on to testing the outdoor lights (and diligently making sure they all worked and no two like colours were side by side) while I tried to string the lights on the tree.

This was problematic for several reasons.  The small amount of light strands, as mentioned above, the fact that I’m just not very good at stringing lights, and lastly, the fact that we have a rather fat Christmas tree and I have rather short little arms that will not reach around this.  The tree itself is in a corner and I could not just walk around it, so I had to get creative and reach behind the tree, throw the lights over the tree and generally stretch my wee little arms to the limit.  This was the end result (only of stringing the lights, this is pre-decoration):

Its kind of sparse in some areas, but overall, not to bad.

During all this rigamaroll, Mr. Peep decided to hide in his usual cautious place; the mat in front of the kitchen sink.  I’ll admit that it’s not the best hiding place, but he actually usually blends in quite well and he likes to sit there when there’s something going on that he’s curious about, but too afraid to get close to while it’s still happening.

He sits on the very furthest side of it and stares into the living room whenver we're moving things around

After this came the final stage of decorating (for now…outside stuff will come later when we can move through the yard).  We put the ornaments on the tree.  I would like to point out that none of our ornaments have any kind of theme or reason to them, they’re just a collection of things we’ve accumulated over the years.  Sometimes we will decide that a few are too ragged and they will get tossed.  This year we parted with a whole bag of strung beads and various other things for donation.  We each have our various sentimental ornaments that were gifts over the year that must go on the tree.

I always tease back and forth with my friend about how her tree must be perfect and matching have a theme and she always just stares in awe at the tacky mismatch and disarray of mine every year.  The year we lived together in an apartment was the best because I was the one that owned the tree and it was spectacularly tacky that year on purpose just for her.  You can see her well decorated and nicely themed tree on her blog here.  I will admit its very lovely, just not my style.  Even the boyfriend looks at our tree now and then and shakes his head.  After it was finished and we had all the supplies put away, Mr. Peep ventured out to check out the scene, immediately placing himself under the Christmas tree and chewing on the branches.

Our Christmas tree 2010

He has already knocked off one decoration...I expect to find more


Bizarre Little Thrift Store Finds

My friend and I recently made a day of thrift store shopping, going from one store to another and wandering around.  She had some specific things in mind that she needed for some crafts she was planning and I always check for the usual: video games, interesting books, DVD’s, etc…  However, I kept stumbling upon these bizarre little things that just cracked us up and I felt the need to share it with all of you.

First up, a couch.  This was no ordinary couch.  This was the tackiest couch I had ever seen.  It wasn’t covered in flowers like you’d find in an old woman’s apartment, covered in plastic and not able to sit on…this was quite the gem.  It was what appeared to be red velvet cushions and the base and arms were made of some kind of gold-painted metal that was crafted in a lumpy and odd looking style.  I can’t imagine it would ever be comfortable to sit on this couch and perhaps this is why it ended up lonely and sitting in a thrift store, waiting for some eccentric oddball to take it home love it.

A stunning find, all velvet and gold, a masterpiece of oddity.

Another strange thing to see at this same store  was a shelf full of sports trophies.  I get why people wouldn’t want them sitting around at home, I used to have a bunch of them from playing baseball when I was a kid.  You know, the generic ones, if your team won the tournament, everyone gets a trophy.  Every year, someone gets an MVP trophy, there’s the sportsmanship award, the best team player, the one who didn’t cry, whatever they could come up with so everyone felt special.  Eventually, you really don’t want them in the house because, at least in my case, I didn’t care really.  I kept any kind of awards that really meant something, but the rest of them, I believe, were thrown out.  It never occurred to me to donate them to a thrift store, because honestly, I would never imagine why someone else would buy someone’s trophies with their names and accomplishments all over them.  That just seems weird and oddly twisted.

A weird little collection of other peoples' accomplishments

Now we come to some artwork.  I will admit, when it comes to artwork, everyone has different tastes.  Some people like the Mona Lisa and others like Dogs Playing Poker.  Personally, I prefer Van Gogh and the occasional paint by number.  This first example I found at a local Goodwill and it actually kind of scared me.  It wasn’t frightening in a good artistic way, it was rather chilling.  There are many people out there with a fear of clowns and I know that this picture isn’t actually of a clown, but I think that it would qualify into the same category and scare those with that phobia.  There are three very creepy faces, what appears to be paint flying about in the wind and I can’t decide if the guy in the picture has an oddly squished piece of clothing on his chest of if they are actually oddly shaped breasts.  The face in the sun is really creepily sitting on the guy’s butt and every time I look at this picture, I get a squidgy feeling in my stomach…kind of like the first time you watch the movie Stephen King’s It.

One of the creepiest pictures I've ever stumbled across

The final item, my dear readers, could be considered somewhat controversial.  It’s a religious item of sorts, and there’s nothing against that at all, it’s just the weirdness of the item itself.  Black velvet overlay with coloured tinfoil underneath to show a religious message.  It’s not the message or the concept at all…the whole thing just looks so freaking tacky.  I can’t even describe how tacky this thing is, so I will just insert the picture into this post and let you judge for yourself.

A tacky, obviously hand made art piece

I just couldn’t picture this thing hanging on the wall in any house I’ve ever been in.  I don’t see how it would ever match any decor in any place I’ve ever set foot.  Also, where did they get that picture of Jesus and was it wrong to cut it out of the place it came from?

Stay tuned for other interesting finds as I simply adore thrift store shopping.  I’m eager to search out and find more oddities to share with the world.