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» Sunday, December 21, 2014Twas the Weekend Before Christmas...
...alas, James had to work half of it. However, he didn't have to be up until 8:30 to get in for ten on Saturday, so we did sleep eight hours. I've been having this recurring dream about finding trash on the floor after I've cleaned up. I have no idea what this means, but I hope it goes away after I finish wrapping gifts.
So James went off to work, and I went back to wrapping. I only had five gifts more to do, so I thought I'd have it done about lunchtime and then could commence cookie baking. Canta tu! as Mother always said when she didn't believe something. I had one small craft project to go, and while I was there I figured I'd do two more small ones, or maybe three...so between the wrapping and the pliers work it was almost two when I finished. Not to mention I found Nicki and Vinny's card hiding in the futon; I couldn't find it to put into their parcel yesterday, so I mailed the package off thinking I'd mailed the card with the rest of them. So I put it into the mailbox. And now I was starving and feeling a bit stir-crazy. So I took my Barnes & Noble coupons and headed out searching for lunch. It was grey, chilly, and spitting a bit, so what's the best medicine for that?
After finishing my chicken soup and baguette (at Panera, of course), the original plan was to go to the Akers Mill Barnes & Noble. But part of me wanted to go into Buckhead despite the bad traffic.
It turned out to not be that bad. I keep forgetting Buckhead isn't Party City anymore; it's turned into plush Condo City instead. West Paces Ferry Road was less crowded on the Saturday before Christmas than it is on any Friday. West Paces and the properties south are wealthy, so the decorations are standard: green garlands and wreaths, red bows, little white "fairy" lights, and combinations thereof. It's also a land of brick or stone mailbox holders, and some of these are swathed in fresh greens that overflow off the top, all finished off with a red bow. The formula doesn't vary; no colored lights sully Buckhead! There was a bit of traffic in front of Whole Paycheck...I mean Whole Foods...and for a moment the Barnes & Noble parking lot looked like a traffic jam, until I realized most of the cars were cutting past the front of the store to get to the Publix next door to it. I found a parking spot right in front of the store.
The Buckhead store always smells like coffee. You can stroll the aisles supported by the heavenly arabica odor alone. I picked up the Christmas "Period Living" and, after checking the SF, the mystery, the film books, the essays, the travel, the history, the teens, and the reference/writing books, I finally picked up Chickens in the Road, the story of a woman who moves to the country. The store was full of people; I heard a couple speaking French, and someone else speaking German. The line was long, but the cashiers swift, and I was on my way just as it was starting to get dark. I drove back through the neighborhood, down behind the Atlanta History Center and paralleling West Paces: more white lights, more wreaths with red bows, sometimes pine garland wrapped with white lights along someone's wall or fence, sometimes garlands around columns, and one yard with six giant snowflakes hanging from the trees along the street. I love the varieties of homes, but I'm not fond of Georgian or what I call "doctor's houses," white with columns out front. I like the stone ones, like the beautiful homes in Pennsylvania, the mock Tudors, the pseudo-Victorians, and even the Italian country estate.
I stopped very quickly at the Akers Mill Barnes & Noble to spend the other coupon; I decided to get Code Name Verity because a friend of mine has enjoyed it so much. As I left the store, James called me. "Where are you?" "Behind Cumberland Mall." And the traffic wasn't bad, which was sad.
Since he was home early, we went to dinner. We went through three different ideas, and ended up at Hibachi Grill because it was a buffet and we could eat immediately, because James wanted to stop first at Hobby Lobby to get some small gifts for a few co-workers. HL is nearly stripped clean of Christmas items, especially all the cool craft items they had this year (I got my red-and-green butcher's twine there). Alas, the spring items are going in already. "The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on..."
Then we went to Kroger and finished the shopping so we didn't have to do it this morning. Later I chatted with Emma and Mike. Looks like everything's been delivered.
So this morning we had a leisurely breakfast, Tucker had a nice walk, and Snowy sang along to the television. About noon we went out to buy one last gift. Ended up at Penzey's Spices. They have crates as display shelves, and always a jar with that particular spice in it for you to sniff. It's like a world cruise via sense of smell: French herbs, Italian herbs, Turkish herbs, Vietnamese spices, Chinese spices, Indonesian spices, Mexican herbs. In the very back they have all the different types of cinnamon. The Vietnamese is very potent; it can clean your sinuses out! I don't know how on earth people can eat a spoonful of cinnamon!
Then a stop a few storefronts down at Trader Joe's for more chicken/apple sausage, items to take with us for Christmas dinner, and other little things.
Now, we both still had the coupons from Barnes & Noble we received in the mail a few weeks ago. I could go to the store after the new books come out on Tuesday, but this was basically James' last chance to pick up anything he wanted. So we approached the Perimeter Mall area with some trepidation, but since we used the back route, through Lake Hearn Drive, we ran into no traffic at all. The parking lot was crowded, since B&N shares the shopping center with the Container Store, Bassett Furniture, and Restoration Hardware, but the handicapped parking space was free.
The store was quite busy. Alan Siler was working today and I got a nice hug before we started threading through the aisles. Seeing that I'd just been to Barnes & Noble yesterday, you would have thought I couldn't find anything, but I did: a new history book about London called Shakespeare's Pub and the Norman Rockwell book American Mirror. I also bought a cross-stitch magazine with an adorable set of fox patterns, the winter edition of "This England," and a retro magazine I'd never heard of before, "Remind." It's on cheap paper, but reprints vintage ads and comic strips and little bits of trivia, plus has retro quizzes and puzzles. Figured I couldn't lose picking up the Christmas edition.
We came home by Kroger. James dropped me off and I went in to get some hot chicken soup for supper, along with some Italian bread and Kerrygold butter, and a newspaper. Finished wrapping the final three gifts! The marathon wrap session is finally over! Spent the rest of the evening eating supper and reading the paper, watching a few Christmas specials (The Bestest Present, A Christmas Angel, and It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas) before watching the Christmas episode of Alaska: the Last Frontier. They did a secret Santa and each person drew one name; all the gifts had to be homemade. Eve made Bonnie (Atz's wife) some rosehip mead, Charlotte fixed up an old sled for Atz, Atz and Bonnie made a teepee for Shane and his wife to live in while they are building a house (complete with stove), and so forth. It was a real kick to see what kind of surprises they cooked up for each other!