I made it to the Saturday before Thanksgiving this year…

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Gorgeous pops of orange at my bus stop

…before caving to all the Christmas decorations going up in stores and Christmas sales and panettone populating the grocery stores.  That’s right.  I’m about to put up our tree.  I almost made it to Thanksgiving, which is Ryan’s general “rule” (I’d put our tree up after Halloween if it wasn’t generally considered crazy, plus I’d probably get tired of it by Christmas).  

Growing up, my mum would play Christmas music nonstop on the stereo all December (and probably a bit before).  She had every form of Christmas music imaginable.  South of the Border Christmas, Panpipe Christmas, different Nutcrackers, traditional Christmas music, contemporary Christmas music, everything.  And we always had a fake tree, so there was no danger of the Christmas not “living” til Christmas.  We’d make every kind of Christmas cookie (and some non-Christmas cookies) and dessert imaginable and live it up.  We had boxes and boxes of ornaments and garland and lights in our attic.

Fast forward to living in a small one-bedroom apartment in LA.  Our kitchen is barely big enough to bake one kind of cookie, and setting up a cookie decorating station would be out of the question.  I do have quite a library of Christmas music.  I have one (albeit big) bin dedicated to Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree lives in a cardboard box smushed into the closet most of the year.  That’s really all the space (and really, more than the space) we can allocate to Christmas decorations.  I always tell Ryan to just wait–one day we’ll have multiple trees (I’m thinking themed!), LOTS of decorations around the house, lights outside, the whole nine.  I don’t know if he fully realizes how serious I am, but one day, when we are less broke and have more space, it’s on.

I also work in retail, which puts a wrench (a grinch?) in my holiday spirit.  It means we’ll be subjected to Christmas music all day at work (although it’s not as bad where I am, but malls tend to blast that stuff, too).  Also, working retail breaks even the cheeriest of Christmas spirits.  Maybe it’s the privileged, demanding Beverly Hills clientele,  or the constant busyness and tiring days, or maybe it’s just the vast commercialism of working in a mall, but it really puts a dent in Christmas cheer.

That said, I still love me some Christmas decorations, and I don’t think that will ever change.  We were out running errands in the Valley today, and I made sure to stop at a Goodwill (I was looking for old paint-by-number paintings for an art project, and I always like to browse the vinyl).  We struck out and I was about to leave empty handed, but then I spotted these pretties.

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Three boxes of beautiful blue glass vintage ornaments!  They were tied up with strange baby-shower-blue curling ribbon, but I made quick work of emancipating them from that atrocity.  And just like that, I declared today to be Christmas tree day.  Ryan found the call of the ocean too strong (but actually I think he wanted to avoid fluffing up the tree), so he went out fishing.  I put on the Christmas music.  I’m going to throw some chicken in the oven and assemble the tree, which we’ll assemble when he gets back.  And maybe if he’s lucky, I’ll make some of my kickass hot chocolate.

Other assorted pictures from today:

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We stopped in for pho, egg rolls, and thai iced tea before launching into errand mode today.  The pho place next to 99 Ranch in Van Nuys has the most insane egg rolls.

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Persimmons have been EVERYWHERE lately.  I’ve always been aware of their existence, but this year they seem to have taken over!  In all the grocery stores they were $1 each (and small), which seems crazy.  99 Ranch had them for a little over a dollar a pound, which is more my speed.  They’re not the prettiest, but definitely delicious.  They’ll be part of dinner tonight, along with some pomegranate and a bunch of apples.  I was on a fruit kick today.

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Finally, we stopped at a car wash to give the Subaru its annual bath.  I never washed my car in Georgia because we’d get pretty intense rains often enough that your car was going to get clean on its own.  Even in pollen season, it would rain enough that car washes were rarely, if ever, necessary.

That is not the case in California.  On top of being in the worst drought ever, the times we get rain, it just seems to push around the dirt you didn’t see, where it dries in dark, raindrop-shaped dirt spots.  Since we’re bringing the Subaru to Thanksgiving at my Grandma’s (it was originally hers and Grandpa’s), it seemed disrespectful to leave it so dirty (and full of sand, as it’s our beach car), so we finally got it washed and vacuumed out practically an entire beach of sand, and it’s looking loads better.  Except that Ryan’s taking it to the beach again, and it’ll likely be a mess again in a week or two.  It’s a good little car and has taken us on countless beach trips and quite a few camping trips.  It felt nice to clean it up and show it some love.

I’m off to put up our tree.  I was going to do my usual apology for blogging so infrequently, but it’s my blog, and I don’t think anyone actually reads it, so it’s not like anyone is disappointed that I only write every couple months.  I wanted to write all of this down, so I did.  Woohoo

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