One last thing

Prior to Christmas, I was talking with my boss (who happens to be Korean) and the subject of the Chinese characters for “giraffe” came up. As it turns out, his father’s name contains these characters.

In Chinese, the word “giraffe” is rendered using the characters for “Ëślong-necked deer.’

I was struck by the idea that some type of artistic rendering of these characters would make an excellent gift for Cynthia as an addition to the giraffe room.

So it was off to the Intarwebs in search of some way to execute this plan before the holidays.

I found three separate web sites that advertised custom Chinese calligraphy and sent them my request. Only one responded. That was Oriental Outpost. They responded in less than 24 hours with the results of their research and provided me with several options in the form of scrolls/wall hangings.

After selecting the one I thought would be best suited, I placed my order. Sadly there was no way to have the item in hand in time fro Christmas as it was a hand made, one of a kind from China. Still, I was pretty excited and I knew that even if it was to arrive after the actual holiday, it would be more than worth the wait.

It showed up just a few days after Christmas and it is AWESOME!

It’s hanging in a place of honor right next to Cynthia’s sculpture

Thank you Santa!

Christmas eve was spent in the company of two of our bestest friends, Jim and Greg Henkel.

I forgot to get a good picture of it, but Greg is wearing a shirt that Cynthia made for him as an Xmas gift. The fabric is Hawaiian and has pictures of islands, palm trees and BATTLESHIPS. Greg’s a huge fan of the dreadnought so it was the perfect gift for him.

Cynthia had great gift from her sister waiting under the tree on this chillsome Xmas morn.

It’s a giraffe marionette.

It’s a pretty well known fact that Cynthia loves giraffes and some of you may might recall her adventures/antics/shenanigans at the Texas Renaissance Festival as the “Crazy Puppet Lady.”

And I got the coolest present EVER!

It’s a collectible set of GI JOE Xmas ornaments that are replica pieces from “The Secret of the Mummy’s Tomb” set which came out in 1971. This is what the original looks like:

It was a gift from Cynthia’s mother. She has the idea that I should have a GI JOE tree if Cynthia has a giraffe tree. We’ll see. For now I have them in my collectors case with the REAL GI JOE’s. I especially like the back of the ornament box which features the actual graphic from the original box.

Here’s hoping Santa brought you something nice this Christmas!

Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum

In my swinging batchelor days I didn’t decorate for the holidays in my own space. I was happy enough to see the familiar trapings of the yuletide season when I visited friends and family but never took the time to trim a tree with tinsel or anything sentimental like that.

I am of the age and background where whenever I hear the song “Oh Christmas Tree” I think of the Saturday Night Live “Killer Trees” skit. I especially loved the episode where Frank Zappa was in the lineup of trees as a “suspect” …

Cynthia, on the other hand, LOVES to decorate for Christmas.

Living room

In our living room we have our main tree as well as the tree made from Xmas postage stamps that you can see above the fireplace.

It was conceived when Cynthia was hunting giraffe stamps to create something for the giraffe room. She collected the stamps and did the layout and numbered the stamps to match a diagram she created and then handed the materials to our framer to put together.

Stamp Tree

Of course it doesn’t end there. At some point a few years ago Cynthia either bought or was gifted a giraffe Xmas ornament. Since the primary tree is deocrated in a mouse theme there was no real place for the ornament to go and the giraffe tree was born.

Giraffe ornaments are hard to find, but we have managed to find a few.
In fact next year we are thinking we’ll need a bigger tree.

Merry Xmas everyone!

Angels we have heard on high, inflate to the proper P-S-I

It started, innocently enough, with a lawn ornament in front of our neighbor’s house.

We have named it the “Farting Bear” for obvious reasons.

This bear has fueled an ongoing discussion between Cynthia and myself about the nature of Xmas decorations in the south. We both agree that, while this is a winter holiday, it’s not so much of a winter wonderland here in the south. Take today for example. The temps are right at 80 degrees for our high and no cold weather in the forecast for at least a few more days and even that probably won’t stick around.

The idea of trying to decorate in a winter theme down here in Texas just seems ludicrous. If anything, we should be developing our own southern style of decorating that incorporates things more suited to our climate. Maybe a surfboarding fat man who rides gnarly waves and delivers presents to all the good boys and girls. He could leave them under the jalapeno tree or mesquite tree something.

The “Farting Bear” is a prime example of what we find lacking in climate appropriate decorations here in the south. Look at him, for crying out loud. He’s wearing a sweater! I took that picture in my short sleeves and retreated back to my living room where I have the AC on and cooling the house.

But let’s put that aside for now. Obviously the winter theme is not going anywhere anytime soon.

The “Farting Bear” is not just preposterous for it’s winter theme, oh no, it’s a part of a bigger problem that has been in evidence this season. The problem of the inflatable lawn ornament.

I knew they were popular this year. They seem to be all over the place. It was when we saw the inflatable nativity scene that we knew that the problem was bigger than we could imagine

Cynthia and I decided to drive around the neighborhood and see how many we could find within a few miles of the house. All in all we found 32 unique inflatable lawn ornaments.

That’s not counting the dozen or so that were not inflated and lay lifeless on the lawn. Apparently they can be turned off and when they are turned off they deflate.

What we saw ranged from snowmen

to snow globes

From Santas

to Snoopies

You can see all we found in the Inflatable Lawn Ornament Gallery.

If you have any pictures of inflatable lawn ornaments please send them to me for inclusion in this gallery.