Posted in Brain Dump, Real Life

Real Christmas

The thing I, and many others, forget year after year is how rarely Christmas lives up to our expectations or memories. As adults we subconsciously expect Christmas to somehow be as wondrous as it was when we were young children, but that’s pretty unreasonable.

As adults, many work tirelessly to try to hit some picture perfect Christmas experience we think we’re supposed to give our families. Until we scale back our expectations, plans changing, illnesses, or other forces kicking in and controlling the holiday can be devastating.

If the Hallmark channel made realistic Christmas movies, they would mostly be people spending December 25th eating brownies over the sink, avoiding specific family members, or napping. Our best holiday moments may actually happen with friends and family in the weeks leading up to the 25th. THOSE are the holiday moments to treasure. December 25th is just the day you can finally relax because you made it through the season for another year and the pressure is off.

Take pleasure in being off work, watching anything you want, and eating things you might normally avoid. Leave the Christmas lights up until YOU don’t need or want them any more. My tree may come down, but I have candles and twinkle lights in my living room that I’ll light for a few more weeks, because *I* want that.

If you are having a bad or mediocre Christmas: you aren’t alone. And if you had a great one, that’s worth treasuring. Maybe use this as a reminder that any year could be the one where you wonder where things went wrong. If you do some advance planning to account for the expected or unexpected, you can spend December 25th spoiling yourself. And that can make all the difference to surviving the season.

Hugs to one and all. I raise my glass of eggnog to each of you. Excuse me while I finish this brownie.

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Posted in stuff

Thanksgiving Sangria

I was asked to bring sangria for Thanksgiving. I have never made it, and don’t drink it. So I looked up recipes and picked and chose from the various recipes.

My sister was concerned because she thought Sangria was just wine and fruit with no extra rum added. I saw no recipes like that.

This stuff is hella potent straight and if you need to function at all, either cut the hell out of it with the ginger ale (or seltzer) or maybe avoid altogether.

The wine I used was not found in the merlot section of my local wine store. It was 2 aisles over with the box wines, pre-made sangria and other Boone’s Farm-level product. The bottle I bought was $6 for a magnum, so give you an idea of what we’re dealing with. If you use a regular wine, I saw burgundy suggested.

Jody’s Sangria

1 bottle (750ml) blackberry merlot

1 cup (give or take) Licor 43*

1 cup OJ

Sliced fruit**

Sugar to taste

Ginger ale

Mix up everything but the ginger ale. Add fruit an hour or so before serving. Keep it cold, and add ginger ale to each glass as you pour – 70/30ish was about the ratio I used. (It may have been 60/40.)

*Licor 43 is sweet and has botanicals (tastes of vanilla) so I used that instead of white rum and didn’t add sugar. You can reduce the amount of 43 for a less-strong Sangria.

**I soaked 1 each sliced plum, orange, lemon, lime and jarred cherries in spiced rum overnight, but I think that wasn’t needed. I’d probably not do lemon or lime next time, and soak in regular rum. (Apples and pears apparently soak up the alcohol more than cherries and plums.)

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Posted in Real Life, Shopping, stuff

Cup Wars

You know how you can go years without buying a new travel mug, and then then universe decides to introduce space age travel mug technology, so you find yourself buying not one but two new $25 mugs? Me too.

I didn’t set out to buy two. I could hardly justify one. We were at The Paper Store, the local Hallmark-affiliated chain of gift stores, in July because I wanted to look at their scarves. And there was a sign in the window saying it was launch day for the 2017 Hallmark ornaments but we’re going to focus on the scarves, okay?

The Christmas music playing in the store as I looked for a beach-y scarf almost drove me out, but damned if I don’t love the stuff in that store. Really, their buyer is basically my soulmate. So as I spent 15 minutes attempting to make it from the scarf section to the register, a display of travel mugs catches my eye. Keeps drinks cold for 9 hours! Keeps coffee hot for 3! What is this spaceman technology?? The Corkcicle is expensive for a travel mug and I don’t know if I need a new one. But my old one simply doesn’t give me the staying power these promise. Plus, I have a negative amount of self-control.

Later, a woman in an optometry office sold me on the lid of the Yeti travel mug, which is held by a magnet so easy to remove and clean. Done. Sign me up. I hate cleaning the slider part of travel mug lids.

So which one is better?

Interestingly, the

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