Happiness is Finding the Perfect Gifts, Even If You’re Just Realizing That You Won’t Get Them Mailed In Time

I have been brilliant with some of my gifts this year. Unfortunately, they’re still sitting here unwrapped and in some cases unfinished. I tell myself that late gifts are just a way of extending the season, and that makes me happy.

What made you happy this week?

111 thoughts on “Happiness is Finding the Perfect Gifts, Even If You’re Just Realizing That You Won’t Get Them Mailed In Time

  1. Most of my gifts are still unwrapped, and a few still unbought. There’s time, I keep telling myself, there’s time…

    There are many things that could and probably should be making me unhappy at the moment. The first anniversary of Mum’s passing is tomorrow, I’ve got laryngitis so can barely talk, the house I put an offer in fell through because the pharmacy I manage is closing and I don’t want the lesser role that’s been offered to me.

    However. There are many things that are giving me pleasure that I’m choosing to focus on. I have such a good support network who have put up with my ups and downs over the past year, moving on at work has to be seen as a great opportunity to do something different, and at present I am sitting under a blanket with a cup of tea looking at a beautiful Christmas tree.

    A huge thanks to you all too, even though I’m a sporadic commenter at best I’m usually always reading and furiously noting down recommendations. That makes me very happy too.

    1. Hannah, Because you were on the tv quiz show, you are one of the few arghers I’ve seen. Your intense smile and eagerness impressed me then; the fact that you are holding things together impresses me now. It’s a good time to remember all the special things about your Mum and to revel in the opportunities ahead. Bests to you.

    2. As it happens, *both* of my parents passed on tomorrow’s date, twenty years apart. That was not fun to deal with during the holidays. After my mother died, I had to wind up her household on top of everything else. But I got through it, and the death anniversary became less sad as the years passed. It sounds like you, Hannah, are also doing well in light of all you have going on. That kind of resilience is a gift in itself.

      1. My mother’s twin brother died on the same day, May 13, 10 years after my mother died. We decided to see it as the twins together again.

        1. That’s sort of how I regard my case. I don’t even think it was a matter of my mother deciding on a day to let go (which people often do seem to have some control over), since she had fallen into a coma the day before. So I don’t exclude the possibility that a higher power could have been at work.

  2. I’m so endlessly happy and grateful for Argh and the Argh Army. Grateful and happy Jenny wrote such amazing books and started this blog which became a community that brought so much amazing people together. I’m happy this is a safe space to be. You’ve saved my sanity so many times. I’m happy for all the encouragement and acceptance and respect and love and advice and tips, peptalks and cheers and shouts of outrage on other’s behalves, for timed pocket-hugs and sparkly running-around mini-hugs and cyber-hugs and the wonder that is all of you. I don’t have words for how happy and grateful I am to you all. No matter what happens next, there’s always you. If I could, I would send you all chocolate and cookies and flowers and warm blankets and tea and lots and lots and lots of hugs. You all deserve only the very, very best that life can give you.
    With lots of love. <3

    1. P.s. Forgot to write: You are the very best gift I can imagine right now. The Perfect Gift. Thank you all for being you.

      1. Shass, Your posts are always wonderful even when your experiences are awful. And, I agree, the responses of support that arghers send you and others are amazing.

  3. I don’t have most of the gifts for my family, but I have the next week off and know what I’m looking for.

    And I have whole chapter to scrap in the book I’m editing/rewriting but I know now what has to happen.

    And have the next week off! Which while I have stuff to do, means I can do it on my schedule!

  4. I have one witchy friend who is almost always late getting and mailing her gifts, so we usually open ours (over Zoom, since we live across the country from each other) at Imbolc–aka Groundhog Day—in February instead of Yule in December. It actually IS kind of nice to extend the giving/getting.

    My circle and family and I actually managed to pull off our traditional Yule dinner party last night after three years in a row of having to cancel it. (Covid, Covid, flu.) It feels like a small miracle. The “kids” are now 15 and 17, and took part in the silly gift exchange game as adults for the first time. Everyone brought delicious food to share, and Mother Nature kindly gave us 50 degrees and sunny instead of a snow storm. And I somehow managed to find the energy to clean, set up, and clean up after, although I could really tell the difference between pre-Covid energy levels and post. The two husbands that come both had big birthdays–one turned 50 last Friday, and the other will be turning 60 on the 6th. So they each got a cake and sung to, which they weren’t expecting.

    So much happy. I don’t see my family at holidays (once a year at best, usually), so this group is the extended family I made. Being together for this occasion after four years of waiting and disappointment was just lovely. Plus the gift bag I won was full of chocolate!

    1. My traditions don’t allow me to use Imbolc as a fallback, but I *have* used Twelfth Night and even Russian Christmas (Julian calendar, January 7 by Gregorian).

      1. I love the pictures I’m so happy you were able to have your celebration and now those kids are so old! Somehow it feels like Covid was a 25 year gap. And oh my what a wonderful rate of chocolate.

  5. Having my house full again with my oldest home from college. The fact that I did Pilates 5 days in a row this week. I am in the beginning stages of a healthier me. Discovering this blog!

  6. I’m happy. About ready to head to Warsaw, Poland, for Christmas. Daughter, Husband, and I will be in an airbnb near Son & Daughter-in-Law. Son & Daughter-in-Law are expecting a baby in April — will be our first and only grandchild.

    Most presents are filling two suitcases; others are/are not being delivered to Poland (I messed up Amazon.pl despite Google Translate and DeepL.com). Daughter-in-Law has lined up dinner reservations for every night, but we can always cancel and cook in the apartment. (Daughter uses wheelchair, so we can’t spend a lot of time in Son & Daughter-in-Law’s 5-story walk up.)

    Surprisingly, I’m hugely relieved not to be celebrating Christmas at home as usual. No family tensions. New experiences instead of old routines. Looking forward to time with Daughter-in-Law’s Mom — she came to the US for Christmas in 2018, so this will be celebrating the holiday on her turf.

    I’ve had the most fun ordering personalized Christmas stockings off Etsy for Julia, Kamil, and Szymon, Daughter-in-Law’s niece and nephews (ages 12, 10, and 4). Poles don’t do stockings, so it will be lots of fun to watch the kids discover the choco coins, nuts in shells, oranges, silver coins, chocolates, and silly little presents.

    For the folks back home, we’re hosting a Chilly January Chili party in mid-January. We can give State-side nieces and nephews gifts then, without the angst of Christmas.

    I’m happy.

  7. Years ago I completely missed my deadlines for Christmas, so sent Happy February cards instead, which went down well. (No competition.)

    I gave a complete set of my home-made tree decorations to my photographer friend yesterday and she absolutely loved them and completely appreciated all the craft that went into them, which made me very happy.

    I managed to get a bargain tree again. Not sure why it was priced so keenly: it’s 6ft and bushy; heavy with water and smells great. It’s in my living room, waiting to be decorated over the next few days.

  8. I’m in Sarnia, an oil-centric industrial small city in Canada, where most of my father’s side of the family lives. We came yesterday for our annual Christmas dinner and bowling tradition. It’s the fundamentalist Christian side of my family and we are polite to them about it and they are polite to us about being heathens. It all works out well. I beat my cousin Craig at bowling ( no no I did not jump up in the middle of the bowling alley screaming “I beat Craig!” with fist pumping in the air, no no I did not) so that was satisfying.

  9. I have all my shopping done, and some wrapping done, but two gifts have yet to be sent to me. They are the new Black Crowes double CD albums for my sons, and were not even going to be shipped until the 15th. I have a Priority Mail box waiting to send one set to Arizona. The other set stays here. Yule is four days away! It looks like the weather will be temperate, this year. I may be able to use the fire pit to burn the Yule Log. The last few years, it has snowed, or been so bitter cold, that it was too miserable to be outside.

    On the solstices, I write out goals for myself for the next six months. I have that to do, yet. This Solstice, I will celebrate being a Pescatarian for a decade. Wow! On that note, I finally made Rouan’s Onion Pie recipe and it was very tasty! Thanks, Rouan.

    Happy Solstice to all!!

    1. Happy Solstice!
      I have my friends’ yearly Solstice party this Friday night but my throat has an ominous scratchiness this morning. Oh no!😬

  10. First, https://www.collectedcurios.com/SA_1241_small.jpg

    It just seemed appropriate, somehow.

    Second, The December reads are excellent, but that can wait until Thursday. My Vegetable Beef Soup came in, and I’ve already eaten two cans – delicious with crispy wontons and grated parmesan cheese. Of course, that makes it harder to stick to the diet. It’s only 9 AM and I’ve already gone over thirteen hundred calories. I blame the two ham sammiches for that.

    Soup and sandwiches. Nom nom nom slurp nom.

    Happy 🙂

          1. At least one Argher has the covid. You’re not losing your mind – just expressing sympathy to the wrong person.

            Hey covid person! Tammy and I hope you get better.

  11. I’ve got all my Christmas gifts but now in the phase of wondering if I have enough for DH. He’s very hard to buy for so I was feeling good about finding 2 unique gifts.

    My cold turned out to be Covid and I spent most of the week in bed. Tested negative yesterday and symptom free except for fatigue. So gift wrapping coming very slowly. Not sure very many Christmas cookies will get baked this year. I’m worried about long Covid but having had the virus before, I know it can take time to clear out.

    My big happy is that the kitchen is almost finished and it looks amazing. Lots more storage and prep space.

    1. This year, for the first time in over 20 years I did not bake cookies for my friends in retail. Dave has been telling me for years that they would like me just as well without them, but it gave me a boost to think of them receiving something personal. But I’m just not up to it this year, so I switched to Aldi or Trader Joe boxed chocolates instead. And, of course, Dave was right. His employees were just happy to be remembered. Of course, they were so busy gift wrapping, I doubt if they had any time to think at all.

  12. I thought my gifts would be late — going from southern US to western Canada — but they got there in 6 and 7 days (2 packages), which is fabulous. Made me happy, except that I’m still annoyed at myself for being in such a hurry to mail them that I forgot to put the card I’d already written in one of them. Duh. My dh, who is never in a rush (except when driving), did the other package and so of course enclosed the card.

    I’m also happy because last week I actually got a few thousand words written. (I was out of town and nothing else absolutely had to be done first.)

  13. I’m happy to have given up holiday and birthday gifts (both giving and receiving) within the family a few years ago (except for two who are under college age), since we’re all old and don’t need/want anything, and it always stressed me out (both giving and receiving), and we’ve been doing quarterly video chats, including one around Christmas, which is way better. Now I make cookies for nearby friends, send stuff for the two young kids, and that’s it.

    Beyond that, I’m happy about Murderbot being adapted for tv (which, whether it’s a good adaptation or not, means 1. money for the deserving author, and 2. exposure to the stories for people who haven’t yet and/or never would read them). And I’m happy for my own creativity, which has seen a rebound in the last couple of months, so I’ve got not just one but two secret projects — novellas — in the works, and I’m really feeling the urge to quilt, although I haven’t had much time to execute the ideas!

  14. Christmas baking in progress and tree is up. Somewhat hard to get into the holiday spirit this year. I blame the lack of snow, though I am deeply thankful that my duty-socializing will at least not have fraught driving as well. I will feel more festive when I start giving out cookies.

    BIL made chestnut cake yesterday (so it wouldn’t get lost in the barrage of holiday goodies). So delicious.

    GBT has given me some leads to check out for my much anticipated vacation reading, so thank you for all that. And reading ya’all’ s happies always lifts my spirits too.

  15. I am happy that I only have two more working days and then I am off for two weeks. It especially makes me happy that the whole shebang closes down for the duration Friday 22nd Dec to Tuesday 2nd January inclusive. This means I will not get back to a heap of emails, and that makes me very, very happy. However, I work in Finance – the banks do not take that many days off, nor does the mail stop coming in (well it doesn’t reach my office) so there will still be backlogs to deal with on 3rd Jan but I will hopefully be feeling rested and refreshed by then.

    I will celebrate the Solstice quietly and then it is the new year for me, so all the extra nonsense that goes on – much shenanigans going on in Edinburgh for both Christmas and Hogmanay – I get to ignore it. I will see friends, chill out and read loads. Totally looking forward to it 🙂

    I, too am very grateful for Argh Ink, and the Arghers and so glad to have found you all. Wishing you all the very best for whatever holidays you celebrate (or none), may the new year (whenever that starts for you) bring health, happiness, joy, love, abundance and good books.

  16. I hung out with the first friends I made in Philly yesterday! So nice to know I won’t be alone in this new city haha. The job interview went well, I think, but they do a 4-day work week, which, while appealing, means I’d have to do a job where I’m on my feet all day from 6:30-5 Mon-Thur, and commute is a little over an hour, so I’m thinking of passing up this job if they offer me it. Ah well. But it was still nice to know that I can actually interview decently, and hopefully other woodworking shops will be looking for people as well.

    1. If you are offered the job, ask if you really are on your feet all day. And explain that you would be interested but being on your feet for a 10 hour stretch is a little extreme. They might be willing to make some accommodation.

      1. Thank you I will! They did mention an alternate schedule that’s more normal, but I wouldn’t be able to do that schedule until my 3-month probation is over

  17. This week I was able to take off my sling from my shoulder surgery which made me very happy after wearing it for 4 weeks. I am seeing improvement daily. Physical therapy is helping even though it is also causing pain.

    I caught a flu bug and am so very happy that the worst of it seems to have passed. There were about 36 hours of wishing for death before things got better.

    I’m happy that we’re nearing the turn from the days having less and less light to having more and more light.

    I’m also happy for Argh and Arghers! May you all have the most joyous of times over the holidays!

  18. I am always happy to remember and tell others that the 12 days of Christmas START on Dec. 25, so my cards and gifts are not late.

    I am happy that I got to present 2 weeks of adult forum at church to a small but receptive group. Both sessions included a Mary Oliver poem–hard to go wrong there.
    Happy that I have some editing work.
    Happy that I got a Grinch-green Land’s End jacket for $8.00 at Nearly New.
    Happy that I could see former colleagues this week.
    Happy it’s not perishing cold here.
    Also happy that a friend at church gifted me with cookies today. I’ve not baked yet, so these are most welcome.

    Joy to all!

  19. The bad/good news of the week, for those who haven’t seen, is that I fucked up so badly at work–I forgot how to do a lot of things I’ve known how to do for years, and got caught, and my teammate tattled on me (bitch) and that is definitely enough for them to fire me. This job has literally made me crazy and stupid now.

    Coincidentally, after that I had a psych appointment and sobbed through the whole thing. The guy was all, “That last treatment made you worse, didn’t it?” and immediately got me out of work and into a virtual outpatient program for two weeks so I don’t have to go to work again until January. The program gives me temporary psychiatrist access and the very nice one I talked to said he’d sign off on my work paperwork and while he isn’t allowed to officially tell me my diagnosis (I have another appointment for that Thursday), it looks like I got what I thought.

    So hopefully I will have the medical documentation required for work by the end of the month, proving a disability to both work and to the state if I apply for state jobs, and then I will not be at immediate risk of firing. Fingers crossed.

    Other than that, have been hanging out with friends, so that’s good. Friends are awesome.

    1. Hang in there, Jennifer. It sounds like you are finally getting some people in useful places to listen to you.

    2. That sounds very hopeful, Jennifer. A state job might be a good option for you, eventually. I’m glad you have time to relax.

    3. Good news. I admire your bravery and commitment to finding a resolution that works for you. Clearly hasn’t been easy.

  20. I have a few gifts wrapped and many not bought. I bought my own Christmas gift for my son to give me a gorgeous gingerbread puzzle. My new daughter-in-law to be her son and my son and his daughter are arriving next Saturday. That’s really the gift that we will all be together for a few days that didn’t happen last year, I am grateful for this community and I am grateful so much for the many blessings of friends in my life and I have no idea what we’re gonna have for Christmas dinner. But that’s not yet right? Nothing to worry about.
    I think that each of you are a special gift. And I love reading what you write.

  21. In which small Pennsylvania town are you living now? I
    And how many sq ft is your cottage? LOVE your books, live in small cottage in York,PA

    1. I was stalked once so now I do not mention where I live. Paranoid are us.
      And the cottage is just over 1000 sq ft, which is pretty much perfect. Room to work, room to have guests, room for me to wander about thinking, not so much room I’m overwhelmed. So it’s good.

  22. I found the perfect present for my Milwaukee brother’s birthday, but I am reluctant to mail it now. The Post Office said they had delivered it almost a week before it actually showed up at Dave’s store so I think that I will wait until after Christmas to mail it. I hope that once the volume of packages goes down, the tracking system will become more accurate. I think I will email him and ask him if he thinks that is a good idea. I have no idea what mail delivery is like in his neighborhood. As his birthday was 3 weeks ago,I doubt if the extra wait will matter very much.

    1. The postal service here isn’t very reliable, either. We never know if/when we will get mail. Packages usually are delivered promptly, thank goodness. Some mail has been as much as a week later than the notification. Grrr!

    2. I sent a package on November 20th, to a place that’s in my state, maybe 100 miles away, max. It was going to a small apartment complex made up of what looks like about ten four-family buildings, and I put the wrong unit number (2A instead of 5A). Okay, that was my fault, but the person who marked it “recipient unknown” had EITHER just delivered mail to the intended recipient moments earlier at a previous unit, or was about to deliver mail to the recipient at a subsequent unit (depending on whether they were going in chronological order or reverse order). But they sent ii back to sender and it got to my little town on Dec. 8th. Okay, BUT my little town decided to send it BACK to the original destination, where they decided to try to deliver it somewhere else for no apparent reason, and then it got lost in “out for delivery” for two days, and then it got sent back to Nashua and then Providence, and then, just to add insult to injury, the tracking said that I had to pick it up at the local sorting hub because the sender’s address was incomplete (which it was not). And then before I could go pick it up, they actually delivered it to me yesterday (and tracking still says I have to pick it up). So, 26 days round trip. I’m pretty sure I could have walked the distance in less than that, and I walk slowly.

      I’m guessing some of the issues (like getting most of the way back to me and then going to Nashua again) were due to seasonal staff. But still. It looks like mail carriers are so dependent on the technology that they don’t know the names of the people on their route any more.

      I’m definitely waiting until after Christmas to send it out again! Or maybe I should just take a road trip.

      1. I recently had notification from Walmart that a small package had been mailed via the US Postal Service and had arrived. The USPS tracking said the same. It wasn’t there. Walmart (like Amazon) has boilerplate telling you in this situation to 1) look nearby for a misdelivery, and 2) wait 2 days. What is particularly annoying is that NOBODY has a box to check saying “I got a notification but no package, so at a minimum your notification system seemingly has problems.” They seem to take no note whatever of erroneous notifications if no claim for a missing package is turned in. In this case, my package was on my doormat when I checked the next morning (the notification had said at or near my mailbox, which in my case is a cluster box), so either the carrier realized they still had it and later delivered it to the doorstep, or it had been placed in a neighbor’s mailbox and that neighbor delivered it anonymously. Not as bad as your difficulty, Gin, but annoying enough!

        1. As I understand it, the way it works is that your package is mailed via one carrier, to your post office, and then the post office makes the actual delivery. So the carrier service lets you know their work on the package is done — but it’s still in transit.

          And they don’t explain that in their communications. Leading to enormous frustration by all the recipients.

          The package usually is still en route on the planned route and no one screwed up. Except the people drafting the emails .

          1. That part of the transaction was clear on the website. The departure from reality started once the package reached the post office closest to the delivery address. And as I will be sending this package via the Media Mail rate, it will be a very low priority. The email said it was “out for delivery” on December 5 and it wasn’t delivered until almost a week later.
            Fortunately, I have no commitments on Tuesday and I can take care of it then. I bought new padded mailing envelopes on Saturday, but they were all a size too small. And by the time I do that my brother should have emailed me with his preferences.

          2. Debbie, In my case, the USPS site itself said the package was delivered, when either it wasn’t at all or it had been misdelivered . And as I said, neither the USPS nor the sending store tracks these things as long as they’re resolved within two days without a claim of a lost package. So they have no incentive to improve and no knowledge of how big a problem they have.

      2. We no longer have a regular mail carrier, and the person who delivers the packages is whoever finishes their route early, so they get stuck with the packages. They have no idea who lives at the address they are delivering to. It’s a mell of a hess.

      3. If we’re telling postal mishap stories – I have an internet friend who is a painter & sent me a painting for my birthday. Brazil to here (USA) no issues.

        I decided to surprise him by sending a copy of my poetry book. Trip to the US PO to mail it was ridiculous. I left the first time, went home got online & printed out the filled in customs label & went back with the package ready to go. They took it.

        That was in July. He was traveling in August & had not mentioned receiving it before he left.

        I kind of forgot about it and kept forgetting to ask if he got it until recently. He never got it. There was a line on the custom form asking if I wanted to pay for return if it couldn’t be delivered & I answered no.

        He and I had a laugh that some random person in Brazil is probably reading my poetry.

        He is moving to Scotland soon & I may try to send it again when he reaches there.

      4. This crap happens all the time in my job. Getting the apartment number wrong or leaving it out by mistake is generally a guarantee it’ll be lost, unfortunately.

  23. I’m happy that I’m in Salt Lake with my chosen family for Solstice Thanksgiving. We make a lot of great food and especially many desserts and generally have a wonderful time. We used to celebrate on actual U.S. Thanksgiving, but due to some scheduling conflicts we switched to sometime in December (theoretically around the Solstice).

    I’m also thankful for Jenny and the Argh community. I love the book recommendations and the generally smart commentary, but also that it is the one place online that my family doesn’t know about.

  24. I just noticed that the monthly calendar at the bottom of this page (in the mobile version, computer version may differ), which calendar notes on what days Jenny has posted, is, very cosmopolitanly, in the week order used in at least some European countries, with Sundays as the last day of the week rather than the first, as in the Anglosphere.

      1. Jane, Thanks for the update. This evidently is a recent change, at least by my aged standards. Here is a Guardian article from 2011 from someone in London complaining they can’t find a printed calendar starting the week with Monday. Curious. So Britain was joining Europe calendar-wise just before Brexit!


        1. Link doesn’t work, I’m afraid. Surprises me that calendars were that way so recently. I use a printed diary to record my self-employment – buying something colourful rather than work-like – and they’ve started the week on Monday for a very long time.

          1. Jane, I think I was last in the UK about in 2003. Before that, for a while I visited every few years, although not for more that at most perhaps two weeks at a time. (Partly work, partly pleasure.) I evidently did not notice day of week order in calendars, not that I would have had occasion to look at many! I had lived longer on the Continent and did notice the calendars there. It could still be a source of confusion in “this week” versus “last week” statements.

          2. Also, this page does not flag the entire URL as a link, it seems. If I select and copy the whole thing through html and open it in a new browser page, it works for me, anyhow.

          1. Thanks, Patrick. Even though Sunday appeared more often as the first day of the week when I was young, I don’t think most people actually thought of it as the start of the week – especially since the work & school weeks started on Monday. So ‘last week’ would be understood as the previous Monday-Sunday, I think. Maybe unless you were especially religious? Although since the sabbath was on the seventh day, I’ve forgotten what arcane logic converted it to the first.

  25. I really don’t do gifts anymore – as DH says, if there’s something he wants, he gets it; and if there’s something I want, I get it; and nobody else in the family needs Stuff. Which makes me happy. 🙂

    I did buy a bottle of pink Cava and a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau at the grocery store yesterday. Those count as gifts to ourselves, right?

    Happy with getting some things done, too.

  26. Yesterday we drove to the middle of nowhere to collect younger son from the eco farm where he had been volunteering for 6 weeks. It is great to have him home, especially because this time 2 years ago he was experiencing a severe mental health crisis. This time last year, he was clearly recovering but not yet there. This year, he is a calm, gentle, decent young man ready to make his way in the world. It has been quite the journey, but to see him well and happy in himself is the best gift this year.

  27. I have had positive connections with a couple of people this week that made me happy.

    Tammy my accountability partner & I have email connected.

    Natasha my online friend since 2006 had a nice video chat today. We have video chatted before. Today I reached out to her because I am experiencing something that I have never really experienced in my 66 years on this planet – loneliness. It seems all of my major relationships have become need based somehow & I am left with few people I can talk about random subjects with. Nat experiences the same so we have agreed to contact each other more frequently via video chat.

    And, of course, the arghink community makes me happy.

    The holidays for me are different than others. I am an atheist so I don’t participate much in holiday things. My favorite part of the season is 8 hours of being paid double time and a half on 12/25 & 1/1 which gives me gift money to spend on my kids / gkids / mother / brother. That’s fun!

    I have been isolating some & I came out of that for a day or two last week and did some forest bathing & beach visiting. That was glorious.

    Also – I’m still writing on my novel in progress that I started in NANOWRIMO & that makes me happy.

    And I’ve had some IG connections with Sarah Wynde who has the cutest dog – Sophie Sunshine.

    Happy Holidays y’all!

  28. Well… I persuaded my mom to change the locks on her house so that SDS (yes,
    Sketchy dog sitter, who I will now call SDW because she declined to dog sit but is dog walking ) won’t have access to mom’s house when mom is gone and the miraculously found entirely nice dog sitter is there. Mom of course insisted that SDW is no danger at all but I won this round by saying that mom had an obligation to make sure that the dog sitter not only was safe but felt safe. So that’s a happy.

    Yes, mom inveigled a friend into driving her to the jail to bail out SDW after she was charged with felony senior abuse. We now have three sets of friends telling us how worried they are about mom and how they tell her she is making mistakes but she insists she is right.

    Friends also tell us that mom did a practice driving test with a driving school and failed “big time”. (Mom thinks she is hiding anything about her efforts to get her license restored from all four kids. She forgets she has on occasion told me what she is doing.) She decided that it’s because she was driving a car she isn’t familiar with and is now looking for a driving school with her type of car. But she can’t take the test in it because, reasonably enough, the state requires you to take the test in a car with a center panel emergency brake that the test personnel can reach if you are driving dangerously. I’m feeling a little less worried that Jan 3 she will be back on the roads but if she is I will warn you all to stay far away from blue Priuses in the Amherst MA area.

    It’s been a rough week for sleep.

    However, in better news, we went to two lovely parties this weekend . We also found a great store. DS has apparently developed an addiction to Sukkari dates which he insisted are much better than Medjool (later he decided that good ones are lovely he just had bad ones). So I tracked down a store that sells Sukkari dates — and all kinds of Middle Eastern and North African foods. I knew it was the real thing when I saw the sign in the window saying they sell camel milk and breaking out its nutritional benefits.
    We ended up getting him I think 5 kinds of dates, as a sort of joke present. They had an amazing range of food and although it’s not really close to us we will go back.

    The other thing that brought me badly needed giggles this week was the Carolyn Hax advice column in the Post. For 25 years she has had a Holiday Hootenany where people write in their funniest holiday stories. This year she isn’t doing it so instead she posted her favorites from the first 12 years.

    Mine includes the unforgettable lines:
    mom (to dad) “I will kill you like I killed my first husband!”
    adult daughters “what first husband! ”

    I made it a gift article so you should be able
    to open it.

    1. Mom announced this morning in a text that she would not change the locks. I said if she didn’t, I would tell the dog sitter who has a right to know.

      Mom : blackmail!
      Me: yup. I am not ashamed.

      We went back and forth a LOT but I prevailed. Locksmith coming Thursday at 10.

  29. I got my husband’s Christmas gift, (he is referred to at my work as Poor John). He is getting 1 ticket, to Lynyrd Skinner and ZZTop. I sprang for the higher price tier. He only wanted 1. Probably because I hate crowds, loud concerts and Lynyrd Skinner. Poor John.
    We are going to Hawaii for our son’s wedding. Big happy. Getting out of Minnesota in January we are so lucky.

  30. Christmas is Twelve Days. You have until Epiphany to be on time. I maintain this against the culture, and because I’m always late with things like this.

  31. This is the second year I have not put up the Christmas tree. Of course, other decorations are placed here and there. The carolers are marching up the stairs and, on the windowsills, a clothesline of Santa’s costume is hanging from the entryway to the kitchen. I lined the mantlepiece with pictures of my children’s visits to Santa, each is unique for their first vision of Santa from awe to screaming. I even have a couple of pictures of all of us from when my husband had a camera with a timed released feature to get us all together. But I still have to go through those wretched bins to find the window decorations or not. We’ll see.

    Meanwhile it is storming outside and of course I see things that have not been put away plastered on the ground and what little leaves that were left are at least gone from the yard. I’ll wait till the wind dies down before checking on the barrels. In the meantime, the dog has still not come downstairs she doesn’t like noise and will stay hunkered down upstairs. She is so skittish that even if she hears a siren on the television from a show she will skedaddle and hide.

    1. Deck furniture upended, shingles now on the ground, flagpole broken off at dirt level, still have to check the barrels. Winds clocked locally at over 70 miles per hour. What a way to start the week.

        1. I don’t know, I’m thinking about flagpole replacement, shingles and roof guys, and lord knows what else. I feel so bad for you, Mary! We got rain and wind, but 70 mph winds are way way beyond my experience. I’m glad you survived it!!!

  32. Traditionally a long time ago presents weren’t given until the Feast of Epiphany on Jan 6. You have time!

  33. My happy is that my house did not get flooded from the big rain storm we have just had. A large portion of my neighborhood did get flooded, but the flooding stage ended about 6 houses before mine! I walked around to see the extent of the flooding; fortunately I had high enough boots on so when the water reached mid calf, I stayed dry.
    I am also grateful for this community. I don’t post as often as some of you, but I do check in regularly to see how everyone is doing.

  34. I was happy to send out holiday cards for the first time in my life. I always plan to and never do. Realistically, this will be the only time I ever do, so I’ll take the win!

  35. No tree, not many indoor decorations and just enough outdoor stuff to acknowledge the holidays.

    I mailed my cards last week and the one package today. So happy my sisters and I gave up on Christmas presents a few years ago-too much stuff.

    Not bragging that stuff is done, just saying I’ve cut a lot of stuff out.

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