Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas came a little early this year—thanks to Keurig and some holiday sweets

Here’s my new Keurig coffee machine!  I was going to wait & set this up on Christmas Day (before making the trip home to spend the holiday with family), but seeing how I was just sitting here enjoying my friend Kathy’s Christmas cookies, and wishing I had a cup of flavored coffee to go with ‘em… out of the box it came.  I just brewed my very first K-cup (the Italian Roast blend) and it is strong & good.

Whew, I am having some hot flashes—okay, it must be the caffeiine.  I normally don’t drink coffee at 9pm, but this cup of italian joe probably has more get up n’ go than that whole can of Maxwell House ‘Morning Blend’ in my fridge!   

It seems like half the people in my office own a Keurig, and half of them have been after me to get one too.  “Doug you don’t know what you’re missing!”  “Doug join us in the 21st century!”   I’d always say I was thinking about it, but in truth I knew those machines were too large for my postage-stamp sized kitchen counter.  

Then I saw this one, the ‘K10 Mini-Plus’ (it has no gallon-sized water reservoir like the bigger models) so I went for it.  It still has all the features, it’s a perfect fit, and now I can join all my friends in the future... er, present.    (I just wish being here didn’t make me so jittery, I brewed that cup on the largest setting too.)

I’m not ready to let go of the past just yet, look at this cool retro magic set I got my niece for Christmas!  (I just hope she likes it as much as I do)

And on that note, I’d better get off here and get some stuff done.  I really just wanted to touch base & say thanks to the people who drop by, I hope you & yours have a wonderful holiday.  

And Kathy, thanks again for that awesome tub of Christmas cookies—the white chocolate & jam ones were my favorite!  Smile

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Here We Come A-Wassailing (and boy, was there was a lot of wassail)


It’s Friday night, I’ve been home for an hour or so, and I’ll just be honest here and admit I’m a little um… fuzzy.  Earlier today was my work-group’s Christmas party (oops, “End of Year Party”—that’s what our director renamed it) and in my quest to be a little more festive this year I made sure to go along.  And I’m glad I did, it was a nice time—I work with a good group of people (who also have a tendency to be goofy as hell people when the time is right).

Me with two lovely friends & coworkers, Julie & MIa

Our boss paid for the whole shebang, so after work we all rode the subway to the North Shore and met up in some tavern with a beer menu as long as my arm.  (Pineapple beer?  Really?)  I haven’t had an alcoholic beverage in over a year, so I thought ‘what the hey’ and got one.  Then Gwen (another friend & coworker) got some vodka-strawberry concoction, gave me a sip (I think it was called a ‘Christmas Joe’) and I downed six of ‘em.  Dammit!  But I’m hoping the food saved me from a hangover tomorrow—there was a hot table laden with shrimp, fried zucchini, stuffed banana peppers, meatballs and three types of chicken.  I gobbled it down like there was no tomorrow.

But I have to say, as much as I enjoyed that food & open bar (and the good company of course), my favorite part of the gathering was when I was leaving:  my boss approached me and shook my hand and said “Doug, hope you had a nice time, thanks for all the hard work this year.  You’re doing a great job.”  Wow!  Coming from Len that was a big deal--he’s a good manager, but not exactly known for handing out the praise.  (I think the last compliment I received from him was in an email from 2008 when he wrote “Keep up the good work.”  I used to pull it out and look at it when I needed a quick pick-me-up, but that only works for so long, y’know!)  Tonight’s compliment should last me to retirement.  Anyway, it was a swell way to end a long work-week.

And on that happy ending, I’d better get to bed—I feel a headache coming on and that reindeer on my bed is giving me a guilt complex.  G’night!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree… please don’t ever lee-ave me


I’ve always tried to take nothing for granted; I’m not kidding, at the end of the workday I usually say a quick prayer of thanks that I arrived home safely without being robbed or run over by a bus.  And dammit, who are all these Asian girls and why are they hanging out on the street corner across from my apartment building?  They’re all wearing steel toed boots and smoking! 

Asian girl-gang, I can assure you I carry less than $20 and I don’t own a smart phone.  It’s not worth it.

I say all this because right now I’m wondering if I’ll be losing something I HAVE taken for granted since I first moved in this apartment umpteen years ago; the giant pine tree that protects me from the outside world.

Earlier today, I was working from home when I heard a chain-saw growling outside; what’s going on?  No matter, I don’t care if it’s the Texas Chainsaw Man--I’m safe in here!  It wasn’t until an hour or so later I heard “WHAT?  OH NO!” from the apartment next to mine that I ventured outside to take a look.  I was shocked, the two pine trees (one large, one small) that stood in front of the balcony next to mine, and shielded the world from my rude neighbors were GONE.








From last year, the trees in front of their patio—and now, all that remains is a muddy patch of dirt, a couple stumps and some cigarette butts

As much as I dislike that pair, I feel their pain.  The pine tree that stands in front of my own patio doors is huge, over 5 stories tall.  I take a lot of comfort from it being there, it makes me feel a little closer to nature.  Birds build their nests there in the spring, and after a snowfall the view from my balcony is as pretty as a Christmas card.  (The residents across the hall are facing a brick wall, some are looking directly into another person’s apartment windows, so I feel especially fortunate.)  And most importantly, that tree allows me to walk around in my shorts without having to worry who can see what!



As this illustration shows, the poor homeowners across the way from our balconies will now be subjected to my awful neighbors going-ons; and darn it, they’re a nice older couple too

Will my tree be the next to get the axe?  Who chopped down those other ones anyway?  My building’s management says it wasn’t them, but Theresa (our oldest resident who’s lived here since 1975) insists those trees didn’t belong to our neighbors, but were planted by our apartment building’s original owners and she knows because she was witness to said event. 

(Theresa also suggested it could’ve been someone who wanted a live Christmas tree.  When I pointed out those trees were 4-5 stories tall, she said “Well you never know with the size of these houses today”)

If there was ever a time for a Christmas miracle… mysterious lumberjacks, please spare my tree!holiday-cheer-christmas-tree