Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christmas decorations

I love Christmastime, and I especially love Christmas decorations. But... I also have strong feelings about their timing -- anything before Thanksgiving is too early, and leaving them up more than a week into January is too long. That said, since I like the the decorations so much, I really hope they go up quickly after Thanksgiving!

And so it has become a tradition in our family that all of our decorations go up the Friday following Thanksgiving. Okay, I did spread the work out a bit this year since we did not host Thanksgiving dinner at our house, and Brandon & I put up the Christmas tree on the evening of Thanksgiving (but the window shades were left down until the next day, so it wasn't visible outside, and therefore didn't count!).

Now, we try for our outside decorations to be elegant and understated, using miniature white lights in our hedges and evergreens and in gentle arcs along our roof and fence (in contrast with the colored miniature lights visible on our Christmas tree), with many red bows and a couple of wreaths that make it pretty to look at in the daytime. That said, I've been puzzling for a while over how to express our love of Disney in our decorations without going too much over-the-top. (Though we enjoy the painted plywood characters at other homes, a plywood Mickey in a Santa suit has just never been our style.) I think I found a happy compromise, pictured above.

I've never been much of an arts-and-crafts guy, but this was actually pretty easy. I started with a simple 24" wreath from Hobby Lobby, and also purchased a 9' strand of garland that had identical greenery. I snipped the garland in half with wire cutters, and then twisted each of the two halves into a double circle for the ears -- the proportions worked out perfectly. I attached the ears to the wreath with cable ties, added the bow to match the rest of our decor, and it was done!

Of course Becky still rolls her eyes at me for doing this, but hey -- it could have been a lot worse. (Anyone know where I can buy a plywood Mickey in a Santa suit?)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wombat in print

Okay, not to blow my own horn -- okay, maybe just a little -- but the newsletter with the "Being the Ideal Guest" article is on the web now, just in case anyone wants to read it who hasn't already: PassPorter News - Nov. 2, 2006. It's the second full article in the right-hand column.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Great moments in Garland

Two random notes, connected only by the fact that they happened in my work city of Garland, Texas, a suburb to the northeast of Dallas:

* The FOX network series Prison Break was filming here a couple of weeks ago. Not being in New York or LA, we don't see a lot of filming in our area. In fact, this is the first major TV series - that I'm aware of, at least - to regularly film in the Dallas area since Walker, Texas Ranger. (I pause for a moment to enjoy the memory that brings of Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby.)

The filming was going on outdoors when I drove by, but unfortunately I couldn't stop to get a decent picture. I was being waved through the intersection by a couple of Garland's finest, and it was either get a steady picture of the shoot or avoid running into the officers. Hey, I've got to work with these guys -- running them down would definitely put me on their bad side. So... I had to content myself with this picture of the production crew's trucks and one other one of the backs of two random crew guys.

* Along the same lines of the previous "braille" bumper sticker, I spotted this funny on the windshield of a jeep parked at Garland City Hall this morning. The upside-down text reads, "If you can read this... ROLL ME OVER!" Hee.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Braille bumper stickers and other tidbits

Not too many deep thoughts today, just random bits:

- On my way to work today, I found myself behind an SUV sporting a bumper sticker in Braille. That's right -- Braille. My camera phone's resolution isn't good enough to get the details, but if I read it right, it translated as "IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE WAY TOO CLOSE"! Pretty funny. (Yes, I realize there are no italics in Braille, but they were implied.)

- Our church choir spent Sunday afternoon recording a new CD for Christmas with Nashville-based producer Phil Barfoot. Man, that is tiring work, being on our feet singing for hour after hour. Never once did we sing through an entire song at one time, either -- we took them phrase by phrase, getting each section right before moving on. Still it was fun in its own way, and Phil was great as always (this was my second time recording with him). I was proud of the group, though -- we finished the entire recording session in record time: just over four hours! Wow. My sons Brandon & Benjamin will be on the CD, too -- the children's choir recorded their part on Monday night. The CD will be out in a few weeks.

- The article I mentioned writing for a Disney fan newsletter a few posts back has been finished, accepted, and is due for publication tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 2)!! "Being the Ideal Guest" will be the main article in this week's PassPorter News, and subscriptions are free at the PassPorter website -- just enter your email address at the appropriate place on the left side of the page. I'll publish a direct link here when it becomes available online.

- We're booked on our next Disney trip! yay! We'll be heading to Walt Disney World -- during the holidays, for a change -- next year. It will be crowded and cooler, but the special decorations, shows, parades, fireworks, etc. will be wonderful to see. We're counting the weeks!