Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Day of the Year

And presumably the last year of this decade since many debated that the last decade began in 2001 and thus that that 2011 begins the next one. And there was never any decision on what to call the first decade of a century. Was there really any debate over that? And just how do we pronounce next year? Everyone's been saying "twenty-eleven," but is that correct or is "two thousand eleven" correct? The "twenty" pronunciation may have fewer syllables, but it just doesn't roll off the tongue the way saying "nineteen __" did in the last century. The novel and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey may be what prompted the "two-thousand" pronunciation used in 2000 to 2009 and it created fewer syllables than "twenty" or "twenty-hundred" or "twenty-oh__" would have had. And "two thousand eleven" isn't as big a mouthful as pronouncing 19__ as "nineteen hundred and __" "or one thousand nine hundred ___" would have been.
Just came across this link:
With centuries, the commonly used English labels happened to use counting terminology: 19th century, 20th century, etc. Some socially inept people, failing to understand the difference between English usage and math, used this coincidence as a basis for quibbling.

We don’t label decades the same way as centuries: for example, people refer often to the 1960s and never to the 197th decade. There is no coincidence of terminology to quibble over. Regardless of whether 1970 fell outside the 197th decade from the perspective of a counting quibble, 1970 has never been part of the 1960s in the context of how people use that label to communicate.

While words don’t have objective meanings, a dictionary is an excellent tool for confirming how a word will be understood in actual usage. Random House (via defines decade as: “A period of ten years beginning with a year whose last digit is zero: the decade of the 1980s.”

Interesting. It certainly seems too cumbersome to try to number decades rather than refer to them as the 1960s, etc. But since no name of the recently passed decade was agreed upon, how will be reference this decade in the future? We can always say " the first decade of the 21st century," but I can just imagine those who are debating the pronunciation of 2011 will not want to make sucha wordy reference

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another year almost gone

I was to have tomorrow off, but now have to work to get all the boxes in the warehouse open in time for inventory next Tuesday.  We always have inventory after New Year's, but I'm glad it hasn't, as of yet been, on my birthday, January 11.  I'll only be working for a few hours, though, and will have Saturday off.   Inventory is always a dreaded time for those of us who work in retail and I've been through that industry since 2001.  But right after the holidays has to be the worst time for this.  Can't wait for that to be over.

Meanwhile, here is how my Christmas weekend went.  My Christmas Eve with the family and our dinner(with lotto tickets placed at the table) and our white elephant gift game.   My cousin ended up with the present I bought--an ice-pop maker from my store.   I ended up with hot chocolate mixes from Starbucks.  My regular presents from Mom were "The Simpsons Movie" on DVD (I hadn't seen it since it was in the theaters in 2007 and fell asleep when Fox aired it on Thanksgiving night), and gift cards from Target, Kmart, Rite Aid, Safeway and Subway. So far I've only been able to use the Subway one (one of the Subway is across from the park in which I live).  Been waiting for the post-holiday shopping to die down before attempting to use the others.   Walking into Kmart on Christmas  Eve while drying my laundry at a nearby laundromat was an unsuccessful attempt to use my Kmart one, as there were too many people at the store that day.  I've been too busy to get to some stores since Christmas ended and am wondering how busy it will be on New Year's Eve and how many stores will be open on New Year's day, a Saturday.

Christmas Day I was at home all day, except to cash in my lotto ticket from the night before. I'd won an other ticket, but nothing from the second one. It rained most of the day.  The day after was horrible as I suffered from a nauseating headache and was in bed most of the day.  Monday was back to work, with the Christmas music gone from the intercom.  Our Christmas merchandise is now half off and Valentines merchandise has already been arriving and getting displayed. 

It seems to have gone by fast.  Tomorrow I expect one last Netflix movie for this year (arriving tomorrow) and to hear neighbors shouting and setting off fireworks before midnight.  No real plans here and I don't know if the karaoke bar is having anything.  And It's expected to storm on Saturday as 2011 rings in.  

Can't believe it's almost over.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Snow Globe Test

You Are Brilliant
You are a complex thinker, and you're good at creating elaborate theories and projects.
You tend to have a lot of technical knowledge. You love to learn how to do things.

You are innovative and competent. You can often see where others have gone wrong.
You are also a bit of a skeptic. You aren't going to believe anything until you've investigated it yourself.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Errands

In the past I have rambled on about fear of having to go the grocery store on the eve of a major holiday, and have referred to those who do as as either someone who puts off  shopping till that day or someone who unfortunately runs out of  necessary items that morning.  Well, I had to go to to the grocery store today but I had another reason that somehow escaped me earlier--not being able to go earlier in the week because of having to work all week and getting too tired for grocery shopping or other errands.  This is what happened to me today.

I knew to avoid Safeway because it's the store everyone goes to in my town.  I drove past them several times today without even bothering to glance at the parking lot.  I knew it would be crowded.  Savemart, on the other hand, is never quite as busy  as Safeway, even the day before a holiday. So it was Savemart today.  It had a number of shoppers, but was far from crowded, not the way I envisioned Safeway being today.   The Savemart parking lot had plenty of empty spots and there was barely any pushing and shoving in the store. The worst that happened almost bumping another person's grocery cart and it wasn't even that bad at all. 

And getting groceries wasn't the only errand I had to do today.  My exhausting Christmas-week work schedule put me behind on laundry as well.   This was done before my grocery run.  My mom kets me use her machine and clothes line, but rain is expected tomorrow (it rained in my neighborhood throughout this week as well), so it meant going to the laundromat to dry my clothes.   And I had to make two trips to dry two loads of laundry. 

I went to laundromat I'd only been to at least once previously. It's never busy and is in the parking lot across from Kmart.  Only two other people came to the laundromat today and during my first load, I walked over to a liquor store nearby to get a soda and the lady asked me if I needed help.  Just looking, I said, then let on that I was drying laundry.  "On Christmas Eve?" she asked.  I replied that I didn't have time until today because of work.   During the second load I walked over to Kmart since it was the only place nearby with a bathroom. I then looked around in hopes of spending my Kmart gift card (one of my presents today), but I just wasn't in the mood for shopping with all the crowd at the store.  

Once the laundry was dry I headed to the store as mentioned already, then home to check email, Facebook and write this blog.   

Have to go now.  I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy holiday season.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another Toy From One of My Past Christmases

This is one I remember getting I believe in 1979, when I was eight.   After reading this blog entry today, I saw the Toys "R" Us ad and in it was Baby Be Good,  a baby doll I got one year.  I began to have something of a recollection of this toy a while ago, so it was strange that it turned up in in something in another person's blog today.  Here is the doll (cut from the ad):

To view the rest of the ad, click here.

All I can really remember about this doll was that she came in a yellow polka-dot sleeper that was unremovable.  Her thumb was shaped so it could stuck into her mouth.  She came with a bottle with fake milk.  You would squeeze her stomach when she sucked her thumb or drank her milk.   The ad above says she also kisses, but I don't remember how that worked.   I can't seem to find info on or photos of this.  

I had a few baby dolls as a girl, including one I believe was a drink- and-wet kind, though I don't know what it was called.  And I'm not sure what other ones I had.  I remember hearing about this one, though I never had it.  Why I never asked for it I don't know, it sounds like something I would have wanted.  Here is a commercial for this doll:

And even though I remember Baby Alive, I never asked for one. I can just imagine how carried away I would have gotten trying to feed her and make her soil her diaper and then getting upset because I ran out of the play food mix. I guess I saved myself from all this by not having this toy. I could not help enjoy watching this Baby Alive commercial:

The girl smacks the baby's behind because she needs a clean diaper! LOL!

I remember having a Baby Alive coloring book, in which a girl named Kathy yearns for this doll. She checks her piggy bank and sees she has just enough money. She tells her dad, "I'm gonna buy a doll."  On one page is the caption "Find Baby Alive," with the doll pictured among other dolls and toys on the store shelf.  Later on the girl is seen "Getting acquainted" with the doll; "Getting Wet" (she's playing with the doll outside and it begins to rain); taking the doll with her to back-to-school night and to the burger joint.  "I like your doll, Kathy" another kid from school says.  "What a  cute baby" says the man at the burger joint.   A friend comes over and one page we see Kathy's dad telling her friend, "Time to go!' This is as much as I ever had of this one. 
I also remember seeing this one advertised: Baby Wet and Care.  Rather than just wetting her diaper after drinking water from a bottle, she--wait for it--got a rash on her bottom.  She came with  fake baby lotion that made the rash go away.  How I ever escaped wanting this one I'll never know.   I remember the commercial,  which can be seen in this set of commercials on this clip:

Yeah, baby doll makers  really tried to show little girls what being a mommy is like. 

I just wish I had more info on Baby Be Good. I seem to remember a commercial for the doll, but nothing on You Tube. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Gingerbread Cookie Test

You Are Kind and Caring
You're the type of person who just naturally appreciates and respects others. You think ill of very few people.
You are naturally open minded and nonjudgmental. You're a good listener, and you end up hearing many secrets.

You reach out to everyone during the holidays, and your acts of kindness and generosity are remembered throughout the year.
You are easily touched this time of year. Even the right holiday card or little gift can move you.

Toys I Wanted and Got for Christmas

Yes, there were lots of toy that I lusted after for Christmas when I was a kid and there are far too many to write about in just one entry so here is one story for now, with more stories to come later.   I will be writing about those I mostly vividly and/or fondly remember. 

The last year I ever asked for toys for Christmas was in 1982, when I was 11.  Mattel put out a line of 4.5 inch fashion dolls called Dazzle and her Friends, seen in the commercial below:

This line originally consisted of eight girl dolls that came in a fashion made with sparkly fabric. A city playset, the horse (seen in the commercial) and four boxed fashion sets were also available. Just before the line was cancelled, two more fashion sets and four more dolls were added, including two male dolls. I never got any of these, but by then I was already tired of toys. Pictures can be seen here, though one doll is not pictured in her original outfit. The one with the long ponytails is one of the later-produced ones. She came in a striped leotard and matching  leg warmers, a typical outfit of the 1980s. here she is wearing one of the boxed fashion sets.  The other later-produced dolls are not pictured. 

There were similar to line of small fashion dolls put out by Kenner a year or so earlier called the Glamour Gals. This line consisted of about eight girls. Each girl was produced several times in different outfits. The outfits were not removable, and some were painted on, such as bathing suits and pants.  Some outfits were designed the same way in different colors. Two dolls for instance had the painted-on bathing suit, one in orange and the other in a purplish-red color. Two others wore similarly designed cowgirls suits with painted-on shirts and pants and fabric vests and hats.  I only had two of these dolls, one I believe was the Shara doll in the sparkly blue dress and one of the Danni dolls, though I don't think it was one of those seen in any of the commercials.

Here is commercial with one of the Danni dolls (the user won't allow embedding).

More info on this series here.   

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Present Wrapping Oracle

You Are Sophisticated

You are a sentimental gift giver. You prefer to give gifts that have meaning, even if they aren't particularly useful.

You are spontaneous and impulsive. You tend to do things quickly, and you're quite impatient.

You are somewhat organized, but you always feel like you could be doing a bit better! You have high standards for yourself.

Your style of dress is whimsical and inspired. You love to play around with different looks.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Belated blogoversary note

Wednesday was the two-year anniversary of my entering the blogosphere. I didn't have time to write anything then and I decided I would write a belated blogoversary note.  In the two years I've been writing  the blog, I have changed my template at least five times and am currently displaying a seasonal one. I've written a lot of random stories and thoughts since the beginning.  More to come...

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Valentine's????

This was the title of a blog entry I wrote last year and now the Valentines items are arriving at work for this year.  At least this year the Valentine stuff is arriving a little later than last year, but what is arriving is Jelly Belly  Valentine candy. Candy for a holiday that is less than two months away?  Is anyone going to eat candy hearts, Valentine candy corn and red and white malt balls now, instead of Christmas candy?  And some linen items, kitchen towels and pot holders, for Valentines.  And yet Christmas stuff is still arriving with the holiday just over a week away.  And our store's Christmas display is being reduced down, with garden items taking over the front displays.  

Every holiday item is arriving early each year (two to three month before the fact), something I've rambled on about many times.  I haven't gotten my calendar for 2011 (need to get on that soon!) yet so I haven't seen what date Easter is on next year.  But those items' arrival can't be too far behind.   Oh no....

Remember Christmas Toy Catalogs?

With Christmas looming, I felt it was time to reminisce about one thing that I as a child always looked forward to as Christmas was on its way. Like a lot of kids, there was always some toy I lusted after and almost always got. My desire for a certain toy always came as result of glancing through the toy catalogs that came through the mail.

The only toy catalog I specifically remember was that from JC Penney, which was actually a general Christmas catalog. I would always be perusing the toy section, seeing new stuff and old favorites. I can recall many specific toys and saw in the catalog, as well as advertised on TV, that I desired during different years, something I might just write about in an other entry, as it would take up too much time here. I also recall the footnote that appeared on the bottom of the toy pages in the JCP catalogs, stating that toys are not just for Christmas and that any toy in the catalog could be ordered through sometime in August of the following year.

Here are some scans I found from JCP Christmas catalogs. Hmmm, a Jolly Green Giant factory toy set. I don't remember this, but it's certainly not something I would have ever wanted. Then again, this image, I just noticed, was from the catalog from 1972 , when I was only a year old. Would have been too dangerous because it contained small parts.


This next image is also form the 1972 catalog and contains an ad for a toy I actually got one year, when I was much older than a year! In the top area area of the scan you can see the Sunshine Family dolls set. This was a long-running toy from Mattel that came with ideas for crafting furniture and other stuff for the dolls out of milk cartons or other objects. Grandparent dolls and pets (a dog and cat set with pet supplies) were also made as were numerous playsets and crafting kits. For more info, see here.


Another thing that made me write this story was this blog's entry today on Christmas catalogs from Western Auto in the 1970s. I don't recall ever seeing a Western Auto toy catalog, and only have a vague recollection of the Western Auto store in my hometown, Hollister, California. After Western Auto closed, the building that housed the store then housed a taco restaurant and after that folded, a Chinese restaurant took over the building and has been there ever since. In Gilroy, near Hollister, the old Western Auto sign (with raised lettering and without paint) remains on the back of the building that housed Western Auto. The rear of this building is in the parking lot across from the Gilroy post office. A store such as this was the last place I'd expect to find toys. I also have a vague recollection of staying at my aunt and uncle's house one day and going with my aunt and my cousins into town, driving past the Western Auto store and seeing "Merry Christmas" and "Feliz Navidad" painted on the store window. But I don't remember ever seeing a Christmas toy catalog from this store chain.

Similarly the blogger quoted above had scans on his website of toy catalogs from True Value Hardware, another catalog I have no recollection ever seeing. My town has a True Value store (formerly known as Coast to Coast hardware) across the street from my mobile home park. But it has only exited for about 20 years now when it came to town under the Coast to Coast name. There was another hardware store in my town many years that carried toys, and I would always be looking at the toys. So that True Value would have toys at Christmas time does not seem too farfetched.

I'm not sure what store it was from but I seem to remember glancing at another toy catalog or flyer that was, IIRC, inserted into a daily newspaper on or around Thanksgiving one year. I know Sears put out such catalogs, but not sure I ever got one of those. And I don't know why JC Penney is the only one I ever seemed to get! My town had one of those old Sears catalog stores, remember those? Going to an actual Sears store meant going out of town. We had a JC Penney store too, until about 15 years ago, as most people preferred going to the larger Penney stores in other nearby towns. Ours was small and had only basic stuff, mostly clothing, very few home appliances, and no toys, even when it was Christmas time. Customers could place catalog orders from this store, however.

And while Googling "Christmas toy catalogs," I came across this site of Christmas catalog scans.

I gave up on toys when I was 11 in 1982. That was the last year I ever wanted a toy for Christmas. But now I'm seeing toys that came out in the years following that I probably would have wanted had I been younger then. Perhaps this can be the subject of another blog story.
And while in my own place of work or while passing through Kmart or Target I often glance at the new toys that are currently in the store. If I had kids, I wonder what they would be asking for and if it would actually be a toy and not video games or Leap Frog pads. And if they would want to read an actual book, not the kids' equivalent of an e-reader. And would I be like Adam Sandler's character in "Grown Ups," trying to them to play a classic board game rather than current violent video games, and be met with remarks of "That sounds lame"? Just an aside, I never played Chutes and Ladders (the game Sandler's character tries to get his video-game-obsessed kids to play in the movie), but was well into Scrabble as a late teenager.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quiz: Which of the 12 Days of Christmas Are You?

You Are Four Calling Birds
For you, the holidays are a time of sweet celebration. And you love to sing your favorite holiday songs.
You are a joyful person, and your joy multiplies during the holidays. You have so much to be happy about.

Your holiday wish is for good times with friends, fun, food, and of course, music.
You celebrate throughout the whole season. You truly cherish this time of year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What Does Your Christmas Say About You?

You Are Serene
You like to party and live it up during the holidays. This is a time to be festive and celebrate.

You are resourceful, quirky, and artsy. You like something that's a bit outside the norm. You aren't traditional.

You like your holiday decor to have personal meaning. Your ornaments and decorations each tell a story.

This holiday season you are grateful and spiritual. You are tapping into the deeper meaning of the holidays.

What Holiday Drink Are You?

You Are a Seasonal Latte
Your holiday personality is energetic.
The holidays give you a bit of a natural buzz, and you tend to get a lot done.

You are an expert on the holidays, and people often rely on you for support.
You know the best places to shop - and the best seasonal lattes to drink.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Song Trivia

As sick as I am getting of hearing Christmas music all day long at work, I cannot resist posting this Christmas music trivia I came across today after I stumbled onto this blog:

1. “Santa Baby” was co-written by Joan Javits, the niece of Jacob Javits, a Republican Senator from New York.

2. “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day is based on the poem “Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

3. John Lennon and Yoko Ono may have written the lyrics for Happy Xmas (War is Over),” but the melody was taken from an old folk song about a racehorse called “Stewball.”

4. “Do You Hear What I Hear” was actually a protest song of sorts. Written in 1962, the lyrics encouraged peace in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

5. “Silver Bells was called “Tinkle Bells” until co-composer Jay Livingston’s wife pointed out to him that “tinkle” is commonly used as slang for “pee.” It was quickly changed to “Silver.” Another interesting tidbit: Livingston and his writing partner, Ray Evans, were also responsible for “Que Sera Sera” and the theme songs toBonanza and Mr. Ed.

6. When Irving Berlin wrote “White Christmas” in his head, he said to his secretary, “Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written — heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written!”

7. In “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” the fifth gift of “five golden rings” doesn’t mean jewelry – it refers to ring-necked birds such as the pheasant. The meaning has gotten a little skewed over the years. Also, it wasn’t originally “four calling birds,” it was “four colly birds,” which is a rather old-fashioned term for a blackbird.

8. The song “Christmas Why Can’t I Find You,” later restyled as “Where Are You Christmas” by Faith Hill, was first sung by Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who (pictured) in the 2000 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Yeah, THAT Taylor Momsen. Interestingly, Mariah Carey wrote the song but wasn’t allowed to sing it because of a contract issue with her ex, Tommy Mottola.

9. Aimee Mann’s “Christmastime” written by Michael Penn, Sean Penn’s brother.

10. The Chipmunks’ “The Chipmunk Song” has hit the Billboard Hot 100 over and over, most recently in 2007, when it was rereleased with the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. You know the one, but here it is just in case you don’t have a song wedged in your head right now. And here’s the 2007 one, which I kind of hate.

All so very weird.  "Golden ring" is just another bird? As if one's "true love" doesn't give enough of those already! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Wrapping Paper Test

You Are Whimsical and Imaginative
You approach the holidays with creativity and imagination.
For you, it's yet another opportunity to express your glorious view of the world.

Whether you're decorating your house or baking cookies, you like everything to have your personal touch.
You do your best to make the holidays a unique and special time for everyone around you.

Of all the types, you are the most likely to give delightfully surprising and interesting gifts.
You're also the most likely to wrap your gifts in an quirky, beautiful way.

Quiz: What Color Christmas tree Should You Have?

You Should Have a Gold Christmas Tree
For you, the holidays represent a time of optimism and wealth.
You definitely have a generous spirit, and you give a lot during the holiday season.

You really go over the top for Christmas. Everyone on your list gets a great gift.
Even if you don't have a lot of money during the holidays, it's the one time you pretend like you do.

Your gold tree would look great with: All kinds of metallic decorations

You should spend Christmas Eve watching: Miracle on 34th St

What you should bake for Santa: A ton of cookies, cupcakes, and candy. You would enjoy spoiling him.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Candy for All Seasons

What do you think of candy corn?  I always find myself eating some as it comes out each year.  I won some candy corn for Halloween this year in a karaoke bar contest.  The yellow, orange and white kind, of course and the Indian Corn variant.  Both sell the biggest during Halloween time. 

But candy corn isn't just for Halloween anymore.  It also comes in other color schemes appropriate for other holidays.  Right now the Reindeer Corn variety is in stores for the Christmas season.  I bought some today at work.  We seemed to be out of the the Jelly Belly bagged reindeer corn, but did have some reindeer in small tubes from Williams Bennett, seen in the picture. 

Other holiday colors include red, white and ink for Valentines Day.  I know we'll be getting this one soon, as Valentines items begin arriving as soon as Christmas gets nearer and the Christmas merchandise shipments begin to dwindle.  It could just happen any day now.  And when Valentines day nears, Easter items will start pouring in, including the pastel-colored candy corn.  I know I will be tempted to buy both of these varieties once they come in.  

Some holidays, however get shafted as far as candy corn goes.  No green-and-white for St. Patrick's for instance as far as I have seen.  And as often. Thanksgiving gets shafted, though the Indian Corn comes close.  But Indian corn is more common for Halloween.  And according to this link there is a red, white and blue version for the 4th of July, something I have never recalled seeing.  I have often wondered if such a thing ever existed:
Summertime brings lots of sunshine and lots of patriotism in several countries. In the United States, seasonal candy corn with a red, white, and blue motif often become available just as spring gives way to summer, and continues to be available all the way through to Independence Day. As a little extra to sprinkle around Fourth of July picnics and buffet tables, this seasonal candy corn is a quick treat for anyone who is waiting for the hamburgers and hot dogs to leave the grill and come to the table.

I don't know why I have never seen the red, white and blue ones.  Are they perhaps only available in some regions?  No images could be found through Google.  Let em know if you've ever seen these, please. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quiz: What Color Christmas Lights Are You?

You Are Red Lights
Your holidays are a time of warmth and sharing.
No one epitomizes the spirit of giving as much as you do.

You enjoy all of the tastes, sounds, smells, and sights of the holidays.
You usually have the best decorations, music, and food.

Quiz: What Crappy Christmas Gift Are You?

You Are a Losing Lottery Ticket!
Full of hope and promise.
But in the end, a cheap letdown.

No decorations up yet

Already the first day of December and I've been to busy to put up my Christmas decorations yet.  I'd vowed no Christmas decorations till after Thanksgiving and I stuck to that.  But I don't yet know when I'm gonna get to do it, probably on Saturday, maybe Friday night.  

I already have a rotating fiber-optic Christmas tree.  I could easily drag it out of my storage shed right now, but am just too tired for that.  

Soon, though...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quiz: What Will You Get for the 12 Days of Christmas?

You Will Get Three French Tourists
Twelve babies drumming
Eleven marshmallows a-puffing
Ten reindeer a-leaping
Nine ladies waltzing
Eight llamas a-milking
Seven fruitcakes a-festering
Six iPods a-playing
Five golden necklaces
Four calling bill collectors
Three French tourists
Two Jesus action figures
And a owl in a pine tree

Is it already that time of year?

Well, of course all the holiday stuff in stores points to that, but it still seems like it happened so quickly.  And I'm still not ready.  No shopping done yet, but I usually don't do that while the calendar still says November.  And then it'll be time for the new year.  It's all just too fast!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Overload and it's Still November

I'd hoped the Christmas Music would just be intermittent over the store intercom as it 


was in the week before Thanksgiving.  No such luck.  It was like that the Friday before turkey day, then (supposedly the day after Thanksgiving, since I did not work that day) switched to Christmas all day long. I should have known.  It's been like that every year since I've worked at that store and every year I get tired of the day-long Christmas music rotation.

Just how many versions exist of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" or "Winter Wonderland"?  By the end of the week I will have heard at least five different versions of each or so it will seem.  It won't matter exactly how many.  It's not even December yet and the Christmas music and merchandise have already been on overload.  The merchandise has been coming since September and its displays overtook the Halloween ones before the calendar even switched to October., something that happens every year. The two holidays were even placed side-by-side.  

Strangely, the music system never plays "Do You Hear What I Hear?" or "Little Drummer Boy" and I imagine that those two have been covered by numerous artists.  One person I know wasn't aware of this version of "Drummer Boy".  

Friday, November 26, 2010

No Black Friday Madness for Me

I indicated earlier this week  that I would not be up at 4AM or whenever different stores planned to open this morning.  I was still in bed then, not having to go to work today.  Sometime today after 11AM, though, I did go into Kmart. There still seemed to be a lot of people and it was almost impossible to find any empty space in the parking lot.  I then went to Target which was similarly busy.  I did not buy a thing at either store.   I shudder to think how many people were in the stores earlier in the morning.  is the day after after Thanksgiving generally like in the photo below? I've wondered about that, but just can't get myself  to find out.  I would never wait out in the freezing air so early in the morning and I'm glad I work somewhere that does not have to open at 3AM or sometime like that.   And if you think 3 or 4 AM is early, some stores actually opened at midnight which seems even worse.  I definitely could not go that early. 
A crowd of shoppers last Black Friday.
Incidentally, the store I work is is across the way from a Walmart Superstore, which stays open 24 hours. And Best Buy is across the street from my work.  We are next to Old Navy and Famous Footwear.  I did not work today, but knew we were opening at 7AM.  I don't know what time Old Navy or Famous Footwear or Mattress Discounters (also in the same strip) opened to day, but I'm sure they weren't too busy--who would be buying clothes, shoes or mattresses today?

I had decided in advance to take advantage of today to go to the grocery store, since I rarely get to do so on a Friday. I also decided to see "Love and Other Drugs" since I wanted to see since I heard about it. I thought it was an all right movie.  I now plan to see "Tangled" on Sunday afternoon.  After the movie today, I headed to Safeway for  groceries.  It was unbusy today, but probably because most people are eating leftovers from last night.  This was the only shopping I did today.  

Here is the origin of the term Black Friday":

Black Friday as a term has been used in multiple contexts, going back to the nineteenth century, where it was associated with a financial crisis in 1869 in the United States. The earliest known reference to "Black Friday" to refer to the day after Thanksgiving was made in a 1966 publication on the day's significance in Philadelphia:

JANUARY 1966 -- "Black Friday" is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. "Black Friday" officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.[13]

The term Black Friday began to get wider exposure around 1975, as shown by two newspaper articles from November 29, 1975, both datelined Philadelphia. The first reference is in an article entitled "Army vs. Navy: A Dimming Splendor," in The New York Times:

Philadelphia police and bus drivers call it "Black Friday" - that day each year between Thanksgiving Day and the Army–Navy Game. It is the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year in the Bicentennial City as the Christmas list is checked off and the Eastern college football season nears conclusion.

The derivation is also clear in an Associated Press article entitled "Folks on Buying Spree Despite Down Economy," which ran in the Titusville Herald on the same day:

Store aisles were jammed. Escalators were nonstop people. It was the first day of the Christmas shopping season and despite the economy, folks here went on a buying spree. ... "That's why the bus drivers and cab drivers call today 'Black Friday,'" a sales manager at Gimbels said as she watched a traffic cop trying to control a crowd of jaywalkers. "They think in terms of headaches it gives them."

The term's spread was gradual, however, and in 1985 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that retailers in Cincinnati and Los Angeles were still unaware of the term.[14]

"Black Friday" is also the title of a song by the group Steely Dan.

My Thanksgiving Day

As I indicated earlier, I made plans to go to a  movie and then dinner with some family.  We went to see "Burlesque."  It was a very good movie and I suggest you all go see it.   Then we went to Casa de Fruta, a popular restaurant and gift place on Pacheco Pass halfway between Hollister and Gilroy, CA.  If you're ever in this area, stop at this place.  It's very popular among tourists.

This was about all.  It was very exhausting day and I could not stay awake to watch "The Simpsons Movie" on Fox last night.   I haven't seen it since it came out in 2007 and was looking forward to seeing it again!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Went into a grocery store tonight

I know how busy grocery stores can get on the eve of Thanksgiving, and I don't know why I bothered because I was not sure if I really needed anything.  I guess I just wanted to see.  

Earlier today after getting off work, I went over to Walmart to get face wash and found myself in a long line and noticed other long lines as well.  I then wondered what it would be like at Safeway.  Well, later in the day, hours after doing laundry, I drove to Safeway and could not even find a parking space.  It was silly of me to even think of trying to get into Safeway tonight. Everyone seems to go to Safeway.  Behind Safeway is Nob Hill, But I hardly ever go to that store. I wasn't going to bother with them, as I was sure they'd be busy and the parking lot would be crowded.  Savemart, across town, is hardly ever busy, even on the day before a major holiday.  I went over to that store and it was as unbusy as usual.  I took a cart  and went in, but ended up not buying anything. Since I won't be making a big dinner I really didn't need anything as far as I knew and guess I just wanted  to see how many people were actually at this store.  One year, I needed groceries during Memorial Day weekend and had passed by Safeway, noticing that the parking lot was full. So, I said "I'm going to Albertson's" (as Savemart was known then).  No  crowds there.    Tonight, despite not may customers, the parking lot at Savemart was a little full, as part of it was sectioned off with fences, supposedly for displaying an upcoming Christmas tree sale.

Another option is a local independent grocery store, two of which exist in my town. One of those two stores is across the street from where I live, making  it easy to walk to. I tend to only use this option when I need only a few things such as milk or ground beef. Otherwise it's across town to Safeway or Savemart.  I used this store across the street to get milk on Sunday, so I won't be running out tomorrow.  This is one of those things I worry might happen on the eve of a major holiday thus needing to get to the store.  I plan to make sure I have all my necessary stuff by Christmas Eve so I won't be in a grocery store madhouse that day. 

It seems that people who are at grocery stores on the eve of a major holiday are one of the following:
  1. Slackers: Those who put off getting important stuff until the night before the holiday.
  2. Unfortunates: Those who either forgot something important on their last trip to the store, or who unfortunately run out of milk or toilet paper or something on that morning. 
I always try not to be one of the slackers, but am always afraid of being one of the unfortunates.  But seeing that I have plenty of milk for a few days, I managed to avoid it on this holiday and plan to do the same of the next big holiday.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lucky Day

No, I didn't win the lotto nor did I even try, but something just as good--at least that's how I see it-- happened.  Today our boss passed out out store's scratcher card,which when scratched will either have a tip for avoiding shrink in store merchandise or will be an instant winner for a $10 gift card for the store.  Well, we each got two today and both of mine were instant winners. Getting one Instant Win card is hard (I've only gotten one other one before), but two at once is rather unusual. I could not believe it!  Now I can something.  If I only knew what I wanted to get...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quiz: What Fairy Tale Are You?

You Are Cinderella
You believe it's important to do the right thing, even if you aren't rewarded for it.
Not everyone treats you with respect, but good people see your goodness.

You've had a lot of bad luck, but these days it feels like you luck is about to change.
Even though times are tough, hang in there. You'll eventually get the life you justly deserve.

Thoughts on November and Thanksgiving

I'd have to say this is one of my least favorite months. Taking down my jack-o-lantern bags on the first day of this month, and waiting for Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving to pass, while seeing Christmas stuff all over stores. November is the dreary month in between October and its Halloween madness and December, with its frenzied holiday shopping that actually begins one day after Thanksgiving.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Thanksgiving, but in recent my family hasn't done much, and when they did, all anyone ever did was sit around watching football while waiting for dinner to be ready. For this year, my mom and I and a friend (with nothing to do herself) of the family are making plans to go out to dinner and then to a movie. We don't know which one yet, but I already having in mind three Thanksgiving Day premiers, "Tangled," "Burlesque," or "Love and Other Drugs." Then I'll be off on Friday, but have no plans to go shopping. I tend to avoid the Black Friday madness. Even though we have Target and Kmart in my town, I don't see myself awakening at 2AM on Friday to get ready and then rush down to either store. I always have to get up at 4AM for work and this one of the rare Fridays I don't have to that. If I must get out, I'll wait till later in the day since i have no intention of trying to buy something the stores predict will be sold out in the first few minutes of the early-morning shopping frenzy.

Many seem bothered by the fact that Thanksgiving is mostly ignored by stores and such. Very few decorations are sold, but then does anyone actually put stuff for Thanksgiving on their lawns and porches? For Halloween someone will hang a paper ghost from the edge of the roof or place a carved pumpkin on the lawn or porch, and for Christmas, they will hang colored lights on the side of the house and maybe place a statuette of Santa in the yard. And of there are the Christmas trees. But has anyone ever seen any comparable decorations on lawns and porches for Thanksgiving? None that I have ever seen. The most Thanksgiving gets is displays of turkey-roasting pans, bags of flour and boxes of stuffing. Both the Dollar Tree and Safeway in my town have displays like these right now. The last time I was at Safeway I saw Stove Top stuffing on sale "Buy One, Get One Free." I took advantage of this offer, even though I have no big plans for this Thursday. I figured stuffing is good for dinner any time. That night, I also got some chicken and made the chicken and stuffing for dinner that night. OK, back on track. Is this all Thanksgiving gets in stores? But I think this blogger said it best when he said we can't sell thankfulness:
I’m sure part of it has to do with the fact you can’t really “sell” Thanksgiving. On Halloween you sell costumes and candy. On Christmas you sell everything else and candy. Honestly though, on Thanksgiving it’s hard to sell anything other than turkey. Maybe that’s the reason. We live in America, you can’t sell thankfulness.

Zachary Indian Corn
I have to agree. Turkey and other food served for Thanksgiving dinners is about all stores and such seem to emphasize. And maybe a few tablecloths, paper plates, cups and napkins with turkey motifs. You don't see too many Thanksgiving-themed candies, unlike seasonal candies made for most other holidays. No Turkey Peeps, for instance. The Indian Corn version of Candy Corn comes close, but even that flavor is more commonly sold at Halloween, along with the regular orange, yellow and white Candy Corn. Candy Corn of course, comes in other holiday colors, such as the Reindeer Corn (red, green and white) for Christmas; the pink, white and red Valentines version, and the pastel-colored Easter variation.

And it seems that people sit around all Thanksgiving morning watching the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade and then the football games. If the holiday is supposed to be a bout families being together, then how does watching all this stuff constitute that? Not everyone in the family likes football. Maybe you should consider the movie option?

Do I use November to start Christmas shopping? Not always, I can't remember when I last did so. Not sure about this year, since the month will be over in nine days.

Since I don't plan on trying to beat the early-morning crowds on Friday morning, I will likely still be in bed then, since this will be a rare Friday that I don't have to be up early for work. Unfortunately, even though I don't normally work such a shift or on such a night, I have to work next Saturday at 7PM. No clue as to why or what....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas stuff today...

Today Christmas songs started playing on the store intercom, but something different happened this year.  Apparently Christmas tunes won't be taking over the music system all day long till the day after Christmas as in previous years. Today several Christmas songs appeared intermittently between the usual stuff that plays over the intercom.  I don't know for sure if this is how it will be for the next month, but I'll be so glad if that is how it turns out.   This will be much better than having to hear Christmas music all day long. I believe this was how it was on the Kmart intercom the other day when I was visiting that store. 

After work I went across the street to the See's Candy Holiday store.  Like the Spirit stores for Halloween, the See's Candy Holiday stores are temporary, seasonal stores.  They open beginning in November and remain open until Christmas Eve.  And like the Spirit stores, the See's stores temporarily take over some abandoned retail space,  with a banner hanging over the storefront, as seen in the photo above.  This one is in a building abandoned by a carpet store called MMM Carpets.  The sign remains on the storefront, and is covered by black plastic.  Upon entering the candy store, I was greeted by a worker and treated to free candy samples, including some pieces of peppermint candy and some almond candy covered with chocolate.  I loved the almond ones, but can't remember what they are called!  How weird is that?  The store had several displays of boxed candies, including a few with Christmas designs.  

I've seen these stores in previous years, but don't recall ever going into one until now.   I've gone past regular See's candy store sin mall, but have never really gone into one of those.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas music at Kmart

It was weird enough seeing the racks of discounted leftover Halloween costumes and other Halloween items on the sidewalk at Kmart today. Is anyone actually buying that stuff nearly three weeks after the fact? I, for one, am not gonna decide on a Halloween identity for next year till August at the earliest, though I might do so earlier than that. But I'm still not ready to think about Christmas and have only minimal plans for Thanksgiving next week. Some family and I are planning to go out to dinner and to a movie that will open that day. And of course, I knew once I got into the store the Christmas stuff would be everywhere.

But I was a bit shocked to hear Christmas music over the store intercom. A Christmas tune by Elvis came on the intercom as I was exploring the display of 2011 calendars, one of the things I need to get over the next two months. I don't know when Kmart started playing the Christmas music as I can't remember exactly when I last entered the store, other than on Halloween eve.

My work's intercom hasn't started their day-long stream of Christmas music yet and I'm hoping when I go back tomorrow that it won't start then as it did last year, exactly one week before Thanksgiving last year. If that happens, then I feel that I have free rein to listen to my own Christmas CDs at home before turkey day is over. It is only one week from tomorrow.

So far Kmart is the only store at which I have heard any Christmas music over the intercom as of today. I also made runs to Target and to Safeway today and heard no Christmas music on the intercoms, just the displays of Christmas merchandise that have likely been coming in since September. A listening kiosk of Christmas music CDs has been at Target and I passed by it, hearing a sample. I didn't press any of the buttons and did not see any other customer do it, so I do not know how this happened. And I know I was not imagining it either. I'll admit I did try this display on a previous trip to Target earlier this month, however.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Already tired of seeing Christmas stuff

And it's not even Thanksgiving yet.  Of course, Christmas stuff seems to come as early as September and it's always up during November.  But seeing it already in October has always seemed to early for me, especially when it gets placed near the Halloween stuff.  It was like this at my local Kmart, prompting a fellow  customer to comment on the large artificial Christmas trees placed on the floor near the aisles of Halloween costumes and accessories.   At my work, Christmas displays start to overtake halloween displays before the calendar even switches over to October.  

I always vow not to put up any Christmas until Thanksgiving is over, with hopes of having Christmas decorations up by December 1, though I don;t always make it by that date.  Last year I started listening to my Christmas music CDs a week before Thanksgiving, since the music system at work switched over to its all-Christmas music then, rather than the day after turkey day as in previous years.  If you've ever worked anywhere that plays Christmas music all during winter, then you know what I have to endure all of December, not to mention the last few days of November.  By the first week that the holiday music run starts, I will have heard a at least five versions of the same Christmas songs by everyone including Bon Jovi, George Michael, Mariah Carey, Harry Connick Jr., Macy Gray,  the Jacksons---and that's not even the half of it!  December 26 can't come fast enough for me as far as this month-long music cycle goes.   I do like Elton's John's "Step Into Christmas" and Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," and I have DCs that contain these songs that I got years ago.   And another person at work has been not looking forward to the upcoming Christmas songs over the store intercom for the next month or so.  

I cannot imagine how much more Christmas merchandise we can receive over the next month or so.  Last year, around December 5, Valentine stuff began arriving. yeah, can you believe that? before it was even Christmas.  I think that one could alt least wait until January, as I don't mind the idea of  Valentines stuff in January, since so little else happens that month after the first day.  August, to me, seems to early for Halloween (although I work in a store that doesn't carry school merchandise so there isn't much else to display that month) and September seems to early for Christmas.   

I'm not sure how soon I plan to start Christmas shopping.  But I'm not against the idea of doing so in November.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quiz: The Chocolate chip Cookie Oracle

You Are Easygoing and Forgiving
Your sense of humor is goofy and silly. You try to never hurt people with your jokes.

You are the type of person who is more life smart than book smart. You are creative and intuitive.

You have fun when you're doing something new. You crave novelty and different experiences.

You are the type of person who completes projects easily. You like to do one thing at a time.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quiz: WHat Wizard of Oz character are you?

You Are Dorothy
You are a little lost right now, but you are slowly finding your way home.
You are a kind and loyal person. You are the truest friend anyone could ever have.

You have an active imagination, and you are intrigued by far away places. You make friends easily.
But at the end of the day, there is no place like home. You value your family and roots.

How weird is this since this was who I was on Halloween this year?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween everyone!

Hope everyone had fun this weekend and stayed safe.  Since it's Sunday, I'll be home tonight waiting for the kids to come for candy.  all the festivities were on Friday and Saturday.   I never know how many to expect in my neighborhood, so I always wonder how much candy I'll have left, along with the candy I won.  I made and distributed the bags like I said I would.   

It's been fun participating in the Countdown to Halloween.  Will be back next year.  

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Trick and Some Treats

On either Wednesday or Thursday, the yearly phone directory was delivered to my neighborhood. I noticed it on one of my neighbor's doorsteps before finding my own copy.  I suspected they'd dropped it on my porch that I had decorated for Halloween.  The door on that porch doesn't work (long story), but the fact that it's there makes a lot of people try to knock on that door, and they often leave  the phone directory and some of my newspapers on those steps.  Sure enough, when I went to look for the directory, there it was in an orange bag (because it's almost Halloween?) that almost blended in with my jack-o-lantern bags as seen in the photo.  I felt tricked,  though I know no one intended it! It was kind of funny seeing the orange bag against the pumpkin bags!

Last night I went to a party put on by a local restaurant that also serves as a venue for local bands. A man from this band turned out to be a resident of the mobile home park where I live, and one of the residents nearest me. He gave a free copy of his band's CD.  A very nice treat. They put on a good live performance.
Some neat costumes were worn by the many guests.  Lots of devils, maids, witches, and other common and unusual fare,  but one that seemed funnier than all the rest was a man in the old lady with a baby costume. I've seen this one for sale on the Internet, but last night was the first time I actually saw someone wearing one.  It's quite hilarious.  And wouldn't ya know, he won the best costume overall.  I believed that he was most worthy of that prize.

After this party I headed over the bar on the next block to find out the results of their 
contest to guess how many candy corns were in a plastic jar.  The karaoke DJs had sent out an email saying that three people had come close to guessing the right number on the first night (October 8) they'd  begun the contest, and that they would be announcing the winners  at midnight on October 29.   I made sure to get over by then to hear the results.   Turned out one of my guesses was the third-closest, and as result I won the the jar of candy.  Along with the candy corn, there are also some gumballs and Mellow Creme pumpkins.  I knew I could not eat all this, so I put a handful of them on pieces of plastic wrap and tied then with ribbons to share with the family.  I plan to deliver them some time tomorrow.  

Friday, October 29, 2010

Only two days left

...till Halloween and not much to put up on the blog for today.  No time to look for candy at the last minute, but will have to get some on Sunday afternoon for the kids who show up that night. 

Tonight I will be attending a party at local restaurant with a  local band playing.  I received the invite via Facebook.   And tomorrow night is the Halloween Karaoke contest at a bar in my town. Usually they have this only on Fridays and that was the case last year when the holiday was on a Saturday.  I'm now wondering what they will do next year when the holiday is on Monday. 

Today I saw a sign in the window of an empty carpet store building advertising the upcoming seasonal See's Candy Christmas store in Gilroy, CA.   These are like the Spirit Halloween stores, opening for two months in a building left empty by some retailer.  Oddly, this abandoned carpet store is just across the way from the building left vacant by Linens and Things, when that bed-and-bath chain went out of business in 2008.  The former Linens and Things is currently housing the Spirit Halloween store.  I guess this building is too big for  seasonal candy store.  

And even though it's still not Halloween yet,  Christmas has already been coming in at the store where I work since September.  Only a few Halloween items are left and they have all been moved to the front of the store.  We must have sold a whole lot of it since it began coming in the second week of August. 

And last night on the news they were predicting Black Friday to come early this year, right before Halloween. Usually it's the day after Thanksgiving.  As far as I have seen today, there is no news of this being true.  

And today I on the way home from work, passed by a house several blocks away from my residence with a Halloween decoration in their front yard, another decoration I really liked. Unfortunately, since I was driving, I was not able to get a picture, and I was  a little too lazy to stop.