Tag Archives: holiday

Finally turning off the xmas screen saver


So today I finally turned off the Christmas screen saver on my laptop. It isn’t an installed app, I used one of the macOS options that brings images up from a folder you designate, and I have this one folder that is full of Christmas themed wallpapers and some similar images. Most years I point the screensaver at that folder some time during the Thanksgiving weekend. When I point the saver back to the usual folder varies.

I used to leave it going about a week or two after I took down the Christmas decorations. Part of the reason was simply that changing it is something I have to go in and do, so I wouldn’t think of it until the first time I noticed the screen saver after the decorations were put away. But the other half was that as soon as I saw one of the images I would feel a little sad that Christmas was over.

Yeah, I’m one of those people.

I don’t want the decorations up year round, but I’m always a little sad when I take them down. One time when I mentioned this at work a co-worker said that her kids sometimes get upset at her because she wants to start taking them down on Christmas day. "I love putting them up," she said, "And during the Christmas season I think they’re wonderful and so on. But it’s like switch flips in my brain after we finish Christmas dinner. The decorations don’t look pretty and sweet and fun to me, they just look tacky!"

And there are folks who don’t like them at all, but we don’t need to dwell on such dark, twisted souls.

So I leave the screen saver on for some time after the holiday. And since it’s just my laptop it shouldn’t matter to anyone else, but I still sometimes feel a twinge of silliness that I still have them up many weeks past Christmas. But since my brain works like a noisy committee meeting, there is almost immediately a stubborn, "Well, why can’t I leave it that way as long as I like?"

I do like having routines and rituals. So I don’t listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving dinner or after Three Kings Day, for instance. I don’t allow myself to start grinding the holiday blend coffee beans to make my coffee before Thanksgiving (unless it’s one of the years that I picked up Starbucks’ Thanksgiving Blend as one of the holiday coffees, then it’s okay to start drinking that in the run up to Thanksgiving).

Which gets us to why today is the day I turned off the screen saver.

Since every year I buy as many of the Christmas/Holiday Blend Coffees I can find, I never managed to drink them all by Christmas. The last several years I’ve usually finished them all over by about mid-February. A couple of years ago I decided that if I was going to have a rule about when I turn off the Christmas screen saver that it would be this: I can leave the screen saver on until I grind the last of the Christmas coffee beans.

You may recall that when I wrote about acquiring this year’s Christmas coffees that it was a slightly larger haul than the year before. Well, that was on November 22. I found some more Holiday Blends during December. So this morning, St Patrick’s Day, March 17, I finally ground up the last of the Christmas coffee beans and have been drinking that coffee today.

Tomorrow it’s back to not-Holiday coffee.

The official name of the holiday is NOT President’s Day…

Time to reblog this:

The official name of the holiday is Washington’s Birthday Observance
Originally published 2016/02/15

"When a person did his best, do not scold him for his failure" —George Washington
“When a person did his best, do not scold him for his failure” —George Washington
I know I start to sound like Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory when I say this sort of thing, but the holiday we’re celebrating today is not named “Presidents’ Day,” it is “Washington’s Birthday Observance.” I’ve written before about how the myth that the holiday is President’s Day got started and why it is so persistent. I’ve also written about the reasons why there has never been a federal holiday dedicated to Lincoln.

But especially because of those racist reasons that have prevented a Federal holiday recognizing Lincoln, I think it’s important to remember that this holiday is not Presidents’ Day, unless you’re in one of the 10 states that have a state holiday this day which is called President’s Day (my state isn’t one of them). Five states still recognize a state holiday for Lincoln (Illinois, California, Connecticut, Missouri, and New York), though schools and state offices often remain open on that day.

And don’t get me started on the fact that because Washington’s Birthday Observance happens on the third Monday of February, George’s actual birthday, February 22, never lands on his Federal holiday. For shame!

My New Year’s Wish for You for 2022


For some years now my final post of the year has been about my New Year’s Wish for everyone. Once again, this hasn’t been a great hope-inspiring year.

Even more people dying from ought to be a preventable disease. The angry science deniers/racists/homophobes seem to get more and more obstinate in their embrace of what can only be described at a death cult.

In other words, the world feels broken.

I never know what I’m going to type when I start this post each year. I sometimes worry that the voice in the back of my head that refuses to give up hope and tells me what I should wish will fail me. Despite the fact that I’ve often said that I appear the be fundamentally unable to stop finding at least a sliver of optimism, nothing lasts forever, right?

But as I was typing that paragraph, the surge of hope and optimism spoke up. So this year will not be the one, so, here is my New Year’s wish for you:

They say that time heals all wounds, but many of us know that time alone doesn’t heal everything.
Some wounds need love, hope, and light to heal. Some things that are broken can only be mended by with a lot of work. If we look at all of the ways things are broken, it seems overwhelming. There is just too much work needed to fix all of them.
Take a breath.
Think about the people who have loved you in the past. People who loved you in a way that helped you become the person you are today.
Thank them. And if they are no longer with us, think about the people you love. Thank them. Tell them you love them. Don’t be afraid to tell people you care about that you love them. Love them and let them love you.
Now, don’t worry about all of the things that are broken. Concentrate on things you can do something about. Let your love and light shine on the people in your life and the people who cross your path.
Love heals all wounds. Let your love out.

On the seventh day of Christmas vacation…


Saw this above screenshot of a tweet being shared and found it funny. Though I immediately wanted to compose my own:

  • Dec 23: Vacation Day
  • Dec 24: Christmas Eve (company holiday)
  • Dec 25: Christmas Day/Saturday
  • Dec 26: Boxing Day/Sunday
  • Dec 27: Christmas Holiday Observance (company holiday)
  • Dec 28 – 30: Combo of vacation days and odd company holidays
  • Dec 31: New Year’s Eve
  • Jan 1: New Year’s Day/Saturday
  • Jan 2: Sunday
  • Jan 3: New Year Holiday Observance (company holidays)
  • Jan 4: Back to Reality

I’m totally on board with the idea that for those of us who take at least a week off for the holidays that time does become a fog and the notion of weekdays and non-weekdays is tenuous at best.

My husband went back to work Tuesday. Which means that I kept thinking it was Monday.

Seattle and the surrounding area is currently under a blanket of snow. The first flurries hit our neighborhood late on Christmas Even, but the real snow didn’t start until very late Christmas. I’ve bee trying to keep the hummingbird feeder thawed out with mixed success. The birds have been extra competitive for food in the cold.

The main roads seem to be drivable, but we can’t get out of our street without dealing with one steep hill or the other, and I have been hearing tires spinning out on the closer of those hills. I may have to head to the grocery store on foot if for no other reason to pick up some prescriptions if the roads don’t improve.

I’d had hopes for today, because the weather report a few days ago said the temperature would get above freezing for a while that day… but now it’s 28° and the forecast is it’s going to stay below 30F.

Time to be Thankful


To all my readers outside the U.S.: Happy Thursday!

Here are things I’m thankful for:

  • my handsome, good-natured, patient, shrewd, funny husband
  • coffee
  • sci fi books that tell of hopeful futures
  • music
  • cocktails
  • purple
  • the cute birds that visit my bird feeder every day
  • people who help other people
  • recipe blogs
  • videos about how to make cocktails
  • people who make art, music, and other creative things
  • people who take care of us when we’re sick
  • books
  • my eccentric, sometimes infuriating relatives who probably find me even more bewildering than I ever do them
  • not having to spend any holidays with (especially) the most infuriating relatives this year
  • that chunk of ice that is always stuck in the body cavity of the turkey no matter how many days the turkey was in the fridge thawing before the holiday
  • that wonderful feeling (after I nearly give myself frostbite in both hands getting the neck and giblets and the last of the ice out of the turkey) as water runs over my hands and slowly warms them back up
  • audio and video conferencing services that let me spend time with friends
  • vaccines
  • podcasts
  • gravy
  • audio books
  • people who work retail
  • rain
  • tea
  • people who write fanfic
  • science
  • olives
  • people who love
  • my smart, sweet, sexy, super capable, long-suffering husband (who definitely deserves to be on this list twice!)
  • pie
  • online friends
  • people who review and recommend books
  • radio and wireless technologies
  • playlists
  • gadgets
  • people who fill the world with joy
  • kittens and puppies and tigers and otters
  • teddy bears and mousies
  • stuffing
  • friends who will group text with me while we’re all yelling at the same football game on the TV
  • gin
  • cherries
  • the Royal Back Channel gang (you know who you are)
  • the many almost magical computing devices that I can now wear on my wrist, carry in my pocket, and otherwise use to bring a wealth of information and possibilities that were barely imaginable when I was a kid
  • all my wonderful friends—who are talented, kind, giving, and clearly the most patient people in the world, because they put up with me
  • have I mentioned my kind, clever, cheerful, hard-working husband (who definitely deserves to be on this list three times!)?
  • people who read my blog

Thank you, each and every one. Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today or not, I hope you have a wonderful day full of blessings, because you deserve it.

It’s nearly time for the jangle java jingle!

jangle java jingle

We’ve reached the time of year where holiday coffee blends start appearing in stores, which means that once again I already have way more bags of these specialty coffees than I can used up during the holiday season!

Pictured above is my current haul, though I will be keeping an eye out for more!

My rule about using the holiday coffees is, with the exception of any that explicitly have Thanksgiving in their name, I can’t start using them until the day after Thanksgiving. So far the only Thanksgiving blend of whole beans I have found in stores have been Starbucks’ and I usually open that bag several days before Thanksgiving, which I have done.

Starbucks now has two different Christmas/Holiday blends, in addition to the Thanksgiving blend. The one in the purple/lavender bag is a lighter/milder roast. We’ll see how I like it.

I do keep hoping to find a bag of Starbucks’ in the blue foil variant (which tends to be stocked in Starbucks stores with a large jewish clientele). But I’ve never found one. Seattle doesn’t seem to have a large enough jewish community, I guess. I should mention that individual store managers decide which color and whether to order bags labeled "Holiday Blend" or "Christmas Blend."

Anyway, it’s that time of year! We got most of our Thanksgiving dinner things purchase. Our 11-pound turkey (the smallest we could find) is in the fridge slowly defrosting. I only work three days this week, and a bunch of my co-workers have taken the entire week off–including some of the people who most often interrupt me with emergency projects that need to be handled now–so I’m hopeful it will be a quiet, productive week.

Wish me luck!

Remembering the 11th day of the 11th month…


I have previously written about my pet peeve about certain people here in the U.S. turning every even slightly patriotic holiday into a day to thank veterans for their service. That is not what you’re supposed to do on Memorial Day (or as my grandmother always called it, Decoration Day), and most veterans will be mildly annoyed if you do on that day, since that day is meant to honor the dead, not the living.

But today is the holiday where you are supposed to thank veterans for their service!

So, thank you!

Americans have called it Veteran’s Day since 1954 — a day to honor those who have served in the military. Our allies still refer to this holiday by its original name: Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. We Americans barely study World War I in public school history classes, and when we do, it seldom includes the whole story: How did the first world war actually end?

November 11, 1918 was the day that the peace accord went into effect ending what was then called The Great War. And so each year after we set aside a day to honor those who served, to remember their sacrifices, and pledge to work to prevent wars from happening. At least that’s what we used to say. Since the U.S. came into the Great War later than the other countries, and it wasn’t fought on our territory, and the number of U.S. troops killed was a small fraction of the casualty totals of the war, we have never looked at Armistice Day quite the way our allies did. WWII was what loomed large for us, culturally.

In the U.S. this holiday is described as a day to honor and thank veterans for their military service. To me, one of the ways we ought to thank them for their service is to find ways to end wars and bring them home. Unfortunately I get the feeling from certain politicians and pundits that trying to find ways to start even more wars is what they are interested in doing.

Regardless, if you want to show support for those who served, may I humbly suggest donating to National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.