Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Battle of the Holiday Chocolates

Matt and I each did work for a certain big-corporation-owned educational publisher this past year. Matt spent excessive amounts of time and effort producing a masterful 216-page comics adaptation of "Romeo & Juliet." I busted out two 8,000-word bullshit how-to guides, at least one on a subject I know nothing about.

Corporate Publishing Company is nothing if not generous with its impersonal holiday food gifts, and several days ago a small package of those Chocolates of the World that are all the darn rage (you know the type -- tastefully small squares of chocolate with labels that indicate country of origin, cacao percentage, flavor "notes") from Dean & Delucca arrived at the house for Matt.

Two days later, a shiny green box of assorted Godiva truffles came in the mail for me. Behold our loot:

So whose chocolates reign supreme? Winners have been determined in the following categories:

Trendiness: Matt.
Festiveness of packaging: Kate.
Size-of-gift-to-actual-work ratio: Kate, big time.
Size-of-shipping-box-to-actual-item ratio: Matt. Observe:

This package may win that particular award for all time, actually.

Who do you think gets the grand prize? Let me know. Maybe we'll let the winner hoard the whole shebang and devour both boxes in a feast worthy of my childhood idol. I, for one, would be happy if Corporate Publishing Company dropped the whole holiday goodwill schtick and just paid its freelancers acceptable fees for their work, but that's probably just me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmouse Tree

My Grandma Kathleen always had a couple Christmas trees, but I only ever cared about this one, the mouse tree.

When I was a kid, every year my parents and I (mostly my parents) would give her a mouse-themed ornament, and up on the mouse tree it went. Finding these ornaments became a little more difficult after Hallmark stopped its annual mouse-ornament series sometime in the mid-90s, but thankfully ornaments featuring adorable rodents didn't go out of style, and some gift store would always deliver.

Mouse ornaments often fall into one of two categories.

1. Mouse has shenanigans with delicious food:

2. Mouse uses human items for strange purposes; said items appear comically large:

I inherited the tree and all its ornaments after my grandma died in August 2006. They were in her attic in a box with a Post-it that said "For Katie" on it. My parents still try to get me a new ornament for it every year, but it's become increasingly hard. Last year the best my dad could find was a mouse holding a giant (comparatively, anyway) key that said, "New Home 2006," a sentiment that had no relevance to our lives. That's OK, though. The tree's running out of room, and I like the old ones.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My de facto mother-in-law gave me a $15 Starbucks gift card for my birthday. I can only imagine that she somehow wound up with said card and had nothing better to do with it (maybe she intuited that I have a penchant for the jolly green lady in a circle ... is development of one a requirement of turning 26? Because nothing could be further from the truth.)

How to best redeem this ? I browsed through my local Charbucks for options:

1. Starbucks advent calendar.

2. James Taylor's "One Man Band," DVD that captures the enduring onstage appeal of a performer who transcends genres and generations.

3. Mug with depiction of the Orange County, California skyline.

4. Collectible ornament shaped like bag of coffee.

5. Mitch Albom's "The Five People You Meet in Heaven."

6. Starbucks-brand espresso machine for $584 instead of $599.

Any ideas? I think I may find myself having a feast of Cranberry Bliss Bars and individually wrapped slices of pumpkin bread.