Friday, December 19, 2008

Bright Idea #1

I decided that the family room could use a little Holiday warmth and used a very short string of lights to add a bit of a glow to our fireplace.

We seldom light an honest-to-goodness fire and I tend to use candles, instead. However, as I don't like to leave candles unattended, I seldom bother lighting them.

It scarcely matters, most of the time, because the love seat actually facing a tv and the cold, dark hearth is scarcely noticed. It being the Holiday Season - and very nearly Winter - the hearth was badly in need of some Cheer!

(Note: The string of lights is removed if the candles are lit, because the fire box gets quite hot!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Space Over On MySpace

I've spent the past week listing some unlikely holiday-related movies over at http://www.myspace.com/jennyslash .

(Note: this is not the list that inevitably ends with Die Hard. That list will come later!)

Come visit!

So, anyway.........

..........It's one of those dreary, drecky, drizzly days that let you know it's December.

We're nearly done with decking of the halls but we've still got cards to send and a wreath to buy. I did get the lighted door wardens set out on Monday night and they look very cheery alongside the twinkly Christmas tree. Colours are warm red and gold, this year. Because TonyP wanted to decorate quite early and I always want to keep things up til 12th Night, we decided to go faux.

Since we're actually having a tree, I decided not to do any additional indoor decorating. No last-minute flower-arranging extravaganzas.I would be satisfied if we could keep the place clean & tidy and reduce the number of boots & shoes nesting just inside the door, however. (Why is it that - just at the time of year when one desires a tidy home that can receive visitors at a moment's notice - one's entryway fills with piles of boots and mounds of god-knows-what?)

A few months ago, I decided to assist our local economy by shopping locally (as locally as possible), dining at locally-owned restaurants and seeing live music. The dining and the live music commitments have been a delight. We've attended such diverse performances as the NC Symphony's Holiday Pops concert, NC Jazz Rep's Holiday Concert, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Hege V and Southern Culture on the Skids. We've danced our little tootsies off, dined with friends and even attended an honest-to-goodness company party! As for dining, we've already made it to ACME twice.

My plans for Holiday shopping have also gone quite well. Kitchenworks, as always, has just what I need when I need it. Ditto A Southern Season and The Original Ornament.

This scheme sort of falls apart when it comes to clothes shopping for myself, however.

Whil I was in DC, I surfed a few major department stores and saw some things that I thought would be terrific for the upcoming Winter. I decided to wait until I returned home and look for those same items in the same chains at the nearby mall.

Huge mistake.

For some reason, M*cy's decided to load our closest store with the cheapest-looking cr*p they could find. I looked for the this-season's-fashion that I'd seen in DC but it seems those NY folks think we live in sweatpants around here. They may have gotten that impression from the women's apparel buyers over at B*lk's who have - seriously - fronted nothing but sweats and loungewear. I'm not sure if everyone just decided to write off this last quarter or if they truly think we all live in our jammies. The people who stock the S**thp**nt stores never fail to under-estimate the taste and needs of their patrons. I know times are tough but, cripes, we're in the damn store with an eye to purchase something wonderful - do NOT send us off to order online and please act as if you've heard of customer service.

I despair of the state of retail in this country; I really do. The day of the department store has passed and the omnipresent M*cy's has played a considerable part in its demise. They've dissolved any trace of local character while simultaneously diluting their own brand. I'll probably vent a little bit more about retail matters, at a later time, because I started my retail career at a department store and take poor management, uninspired buyers and half-assed training as a personal affront.

I'm sure you're all trying to get ready to go out to the mall and do a little shopping and spread a little cheer, so I'll leave off venting. But, please: while you're out, do yourself a favor and stop in at some locally-owned shops in your neck of the woods. In them, you'll probably find the retail spirit and customer service live on.