And so began December. Though some of my December activities technically started around Thanksgiving. Namely Secret Santa 2011 at The Lion's Call. And it was Secret Santa that took up a lot of my time, besides work, during the first part of December. It goes for twelve days, on the giving part of the event, but I was the lead in charge of the event, so I was busy with it before the giving even began.
Secret Santa is always fun, and I had a blast finding things to give to my victim, our own dear Alex. I may have gone overboard on the amount of some things, but when you find so many good things, it's easy to do!
(Admit it, Alex! You loved every bit of it!) I'm glad there was a mix up, making us put in a member who wasn't able to actually sign up. I wish it could have happened for Katie, too...but I think she might be getting her own overload from me, anyway. ;-) Though, that's been a bit on hold lately...need to finish it.
During that time I also helped decorate our tree and house, and we took the kids to see our church's Christmas production: How Christmas Saved the Grinch!
There were only a few days between the end of Secret Santa and the beginning of my family's Christmas activities. During this time I was decorating stockings for my sister's kids- they turned out quite nice.
Our Christmas started on Friday the 23rd. That night we had my sister and her husband and kids over to have our Christmas together. It was pizza for dinner, and then our traditional gingerbread cake and peppermint stick ice cream for dessert!
The kids had a blast, of course, and got quite a few presents. They each got a pair of pajamas, toys, and a stuffed animal bank plus lots of goodies in their stockings. The adults got gift cards- Johnny Carino's for Melodie and Russ (from mom and dad), Movie theater for my mom and dad (from me), and I got a Barnes&Noble one from my mom and dad.
Christmas Eve, while Melodie and Russ and the kids had Christmas at their house with Russ's family (more presents for the kids!), my parents and I went over to my grandparents' (dad's side) and spent the evening with them and had dinner with them in the main dinning room there. They live in an independant living kind of place for old people. It's kind of sad not having Christmas at their old house anymore. This was the first one since they moved.
Christmas Day we got up much earlier than normal for a Sunday so we could go to the first service at church (I hate getting up for first service!) so we would have enough time to come back home and make the green bean casarole to bring to my grandparents' (mom's side) house for dinner that afternoon. Things started out ok, but then my grandma called and tried to move dinner up in time, making things how we were trying to avoid- hectic and stressful. :-P
But we finally got there, and once we were all sitting and eating the stress started to leave. It was my grandparents, me and my parents, Melodie and Russ and the kids, and my aunt and uncle and their two grown kids. (Yes, more presents for the kids! Including their own small family Christmas that morning! Those kids are spoiled by everyone, I tell you!) We all had fun, and this year my mom actually convinced my grandparents to get me something I would actually use- a Barnes&Noble gift card! :-D
So my total receivings this year came to $45 in Barnes&Noble gift cards, and a box of World's Finest Chocolates Mint Meltaway chocolates (from my aunt and uncle). Not bad!
And, of course, my gift cards were spent on Christmas night. ;-)
There's only 45cents left on one of them. I'll use it to get a 99cent Nook book for only 54cents later.
My cards, so far, have gotten me a DVD and five Nook books! Makes me happy!
And then, of course, I did my normal Christmas "splurge". Every year I get myself a little something, and this year it was the second season Merlin DVDs- and for only $15! It was a bargain I couldn't pass up. ;-)
So, Monday, the day after Christmas, came, and naturally I had to work. It was crazy busy! I know it tends to be on that day, but I hadn't seen it that busy on the day after in a few years! I put in a full five hour day! And considering I usually only work about two hours a day, that's good for me!
Unfortunately, I woke up the next morning sick with a bug that had been (and still seems to be) going around at work. Spent the whole first part of the day lying on the couch with a bucket next to me. :-( Thankfully, I didn't end up needing the bucket after the first incident, and by the end of the day was eating plane foods, but was off of the BRAT diet. It turned out to be just a 24hr. bug, but I stayed home the next day, too, just to be safe. After all, no employer likes having their employees coming in and gettings sick when they should have stayed home in the first place- especially if you're in the restaurant business.
Thankfully I was given the opportunity to make up the two days I missed by working and "extra" shift that Friday and Saturday (New Year's Eve). I was only on for those lunch shifts, and spent the whole time opening the doors for guests and making sure the carpets and windows in the lobby stayed clean, but it was nice to have a slower speed job to do for once, and I got in a few hours each day. I ended the week with fourteen and a half hours, which is vastly better than the eight or nine hours a week I've been getting lately.
After I got out of work New Year's Eve, I met my parents at the mall across the street, where we went to see the movie Hugo 3D! It was very very good! The visuals were absolutely stunning, and the story was fun and engaging with touching moments. Of course Asa Butterfield (Mordred for all you fellow Merlin fans) was excellent as Hugo. I highly recommend you all see it as soon as you can! Even if you have to see it in 2D.
I fell asleep on the couch for a while, but woke up in time for midnight. I normally don't go to bed until 12:30/1:00 anyway. We ended up having our normal New Year's Eve spread on New Year's Day this year, though. My dad had worked Friday night (he works 3rd shift), and was too tired to get everything ready for that night.
New Year's Day we ended up staying home from church for various reasons- including the fact that I had started to not feel well again the night before, but it wasn't anything as severe as the day after Christmas, thankfully. So, my dad watched his football game, and we had our traditional spread.
Another eventful thing that happened during the New Year weekend: my computer had to go into my uncle's shop. That Thursday night I was doing some stuff online when my browswer shut down on me, and this fake Windows XP anti-virus thing popped up on me, which I could tell right off was a fake and a virus in and of itself so I spent the evening trying to do some self fixing things which didn't work. Therefore, the next day I had to take my computer in to my Uncle Jeff's computer shop so he could get the stupid thing off.
So warning to you all: if you get anything popping up on your computer called XP Internet Security or Windows7 Internet Security, don't let it do anything! It is a fake anti-virus that is a virus and will destroy your computer! Shut your machine down and get it to a shop A.S.A.P.!!!
It was then I was extremely glad I now have a smart phone, which is almost just like a little computer (but there are some things I normally do that you can't on it). I had to wait until last week Wednesday before my computer was ready to be picked up! When I did pick it up, I was told there had been seven viruses on it, and that my anti-virus hadn't been able to properly update itself because the hard drive it is on was too full. (ok, I have a tone of pictures, music, and games) So I had to delete some programs I wasn't using anymore, and move some stuff over to the second hard drive, which is getting pretty full, too. :-P
So I thought I would be able to get online again on my computer, yay!
Imagine my disappointment when my computer wouldn't properly connect to our wi-fi. It was picking up the signal perfectly fine, and said it was connected, but it kept staying on "Aquiring Network Address" and would not actually let me online. My uncle said that it had been connecting to their wi-fi perfectly fine before it left the shop, but yah.
I called my uncle back. He took me through some steps that didn't work. I tried calling him back...no answer. I waited until Tuesday and called him again- no answer. Finally, yesterday, I went to a coffee shop to see if I could get online and do some things via thier free wi-fi. It wouldn't connect there, either! That's when I knew something was definitely wrong! So, after we went to the laundrymat (so my dad could wash his work uniforms), we went back to my uncle's shop and he took a look at it.
It wouldn't connect to the wi-fi there anymore either. He tried a few things that didn't work, and then had to do a forced IP address, which did. So, when I got home I had to call him back and he took me through the steps to do a forced IP address for here. Now, I am able to get back online on my computer via wi-fi (Yayyy!!!!), but, anywhere I take my computer, I have to know the IP address in order to be able to connect. That really isn't a problem anymore, anyway. I rarely take my computer anywhere since we don't really travel anymore. The only places I can really think I'd be taking my computer to would be family members houses, and I can always do forced IP's there.
Another exciting thing I did yesterday, between laundrymat and uncle's shop, was set up my appointment for my driving test to get my driver's license! :-D
It's on Wednesday, January 25 (two weeks from yesterday) at 11am!
Please pray that there will be no bad weather and that the roads will be completely clear! And that I will have peace and presence of mind- no nervousness or anything else akin to it.
Also, I made my first Etsy sale last night! :-D
Someone bought a 4x6 print of my photo "Shattered". I just shipped it out this afternoon! :-)
The person who bought it even works at the corporate head quarters for one of my favorite boutique style shops: Francesca's Collections! I know this because she had me ship it to her there. I'm sure it was just a personal purchase, not a business one...but the possibilities! ;-)
So....yah....I've brought you completely up to date, now. I'm back online and getting all caught up on everything.
So this has been my adventurous holiday season!
I'm ready to crash now. *sagenods*