Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Morning Wrapup

Mrs Elliott hosted her company's annual employee-appreciation Christmas holiday dinner Friday night, this time at the Jackalope Grill restaurant down where south Division hits 3rd Street.

It was very tasty. The wine list is lots of fun.

I knocked about downtown Saturday morning. Jack and Mrs Elliott have this new gift agreement that for Christmas* we'd only buy each other these swell Sid Dickens wall tiles (carried by Haven Homestyle, and if I was a crime novelist I'd pick "Sid Dickens" as my pen name); the idea being that each year we will each buy one tile for the other, and by doing so create a collection, an accumulation that I'll bang up on the living room wall.

But a week ago she let drop that she was also buying me "stocking stuffers."

With this announcement, she upped the game. Because it does not do for a man, even a man as handsome and generous and good-smelling a man as Jack, to give fewer gifts to his wife than he receives, I felt a sudden need to find a whole bunch of pretty and thoughtful things to stuff her stocking with.

And (adding additional urgency), my son, my daughter and her boyfriend are coming by for Christmas morning to see what Santa brought.**

So thar I wuz, shopping downtown -- shop local! -- looking for things to give them.

I found some pretty nice little items. They are presently in my camper van on the driveway. Nothing I bought will freeze, so I reckon it's the safest place (read: less chance of accidental discovery by snoopy Missus McMissus) to keep them.

A few weeks ago I tried a recipe for French Chicken in a Pot found in Cook's Illustrated magazine. It didn't turn out satisfactorily because it was undercooked. I'm re-doing the recipe today, with adjustments. This is how we learn: make mistakes, see what went wrong, try again with corrections.

[Update: the adjusted version is wonderful.] 

Bond Street Barber Shop has a new barber, Alicia. She does a fine job with Jack's thinning hair. Better than the dudes. Jim, the owner, is presently looking like Uncle Fester from the TV series "The Addams Family" due to both eyes having been blackened by blepharoplasty (upper eyelid surgery). Everyone is urged to drop by and make fun of him.

Go Ducks. Yeah, another Rose Bowl. I read someplace that the Oregon Ducks have been to the Rose Bowl five times but have not won since 1917. It's high time. At time of publication, Las Vegas odds makers are giving the Ducks a six-point lead. But barber shop's Jim says they'll win by 12 points. Keeping the faith, he says.

Does one trust a barber when making a wager?

Lowes Home Improvement recently folded like a bunch of spineless cowards when some Florida dipship right-wing bunch of Baptist assholes decided that the TV show American Muslim was not, you know, Islamaphobic enough and went after the advertisers, one of which was Lowes. The company promptly, and cravenly, responded by pulling their advertising. "Tough choice," said Mrs Elliott, "either way you're going to lose customers." Fuck 'em, I said, they made the wrong choice, they chose discrimination, prejudice, and ignorance. Wrong side of history. ***

I mention this because I learned that Lowes is the only shop that carries the particular brand of mortar cement sealant that the guy doing the re-mortaring of our fireplace recommends and am not disposed to spend a pfennig at Lowes right now.

So I did a little research and learned that Home Depot carries a perfectly cromulent tile and mortar sealant, the 511 Tile Impregnator, by Miracle Sealants.

Home Depot wins, I'll be shopping there this morning.

Mrs Elliott is wrapping presents. I'm writing this stupid blog.

Wouldn't have it any other way.

* Jack is not a Christian, but he did grow up with European/American's version of the Christian winter holiday traditions. Hey -- once you've had the whole Christmas tree and Santa thing, you can't go back.

** My son lives here in Bend, and is a locksmith at Bend Lock and Safe. He is excellent. My daughter goes to UC Irvine and just finished her first quarter on the Dean's list. I'm very proud of her. Her boyfriend seems a nice fellow. (I reserve judgement, as any good father should. Not for any reason, but just because.)

They are pale blonds, both of them. I mean like elves from Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, and seeing them was positively unnerving; not helped in the least by the fact that Beth has pointy ears. 

But now she rocks black hair, and with her green eyes, is a total knockout.

*** Neither is Jack a Muslim.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Spotted . . .

. . . this sign today:

In this window downtown:

Anyone know what that's all about?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Missed My Chance!

I posted someplace, probably on H. Bruce Miller's* blog, "Bend Sux" (available by subscription here), something like a couple months ago, that were we to get an Indian summer here in Bend I might be tempted to take an end-of-the-season backpacking trip into the Cascades.

That trip never happened, mainly because I was (a) thinking September, maybe October at the latest, and (b) thinking "backpacking" instead of the more umbrellaic** term "camping."

The result of these blinders to my thinking, my too-narrow focus, is that when the weather up in the Cascades degraded quickly into dangerously-cold and possibly treacherous conditions, I simply stopped thinking about the outdoors as a destination.

BUT, had I been open to the idea of "early December," and "camping," then I would have seen that this extraordinarily sweet weather we've had for the past three weeks would have been ideal for me to take my VW poptop camper van out to the real high desert to watch a couple glorious sunrises and sunsets and relish the skies.

He who snoozes, loses. But from this mistake, I vow that forevermore I will be alert enough to see when Ma Nature has tossed us sweet sunny days.

IN OTHER NEWS, I have been sleeping much much better these days, due to the diagnostic powers of Dr. Weintrob, N.P., at Glow Medicine here in Bend. Just puttin' the word out -- she does well by me. Anxiety under control, totally, and now improved sleep. Your mileage may vary. Oh, she totally looks like Minnie Driver.

* A citizen of Argentina, H. Bruce Miller emigrated to Bend in 1927. Named "Bend's Goodwill Ambassador" every year from 1995 until date of publication, Miller and his lovely wife, Sharon, live on Bend's unfashionable east side. Nice house though. I'm just saying.  
** "A neologism a day keeps Alzheimer's at bay." -- Bosco Peen. 
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