Early Christmas Eve, Missy and I ran around town buying last minute Christmas gifts. We stopped at a local roadside attraction, a little shack on a busy stretch of road that sold fudge. The locals affectionately call the lady who runs this little shack the FUDGE LADY. To my surprise, Missy had never ever stopped at the shack to buy fudge, so I made sure that we stopped there on the way back to her family's house. The Fudge Lady was nice enough to let Missy pose for pictures inside of her shack:
Back at the house, Missy baked a roll cake that would form the base of her BUCHE DE NOEL. She frosted the log and put a few decorations on it as a test, using the BAKE IT PRETTY kit she bought at THE BIG CRAFTY in Asheville, NC a couple of weeks ago:
We went to dinner at Greg and Christina's house where Missy put the finishing touches on the buche de noel...
Missy's dad, John, was pleasantly surprised by the Visor-ganizer that Greg got him...THE ONION (God bless 'em) makes these gift boxes disguised as really silly "as seen on T.V." products. Much to John's relief, there was really a shiny new iPod wrapped inside...
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
(me, high-fiving Santa, somewhere on the road to PA, winter 2006)
Hey! Just wanted to wish a very MERRY CHRISTMAS to all our friends and family wherever you may be. We're hoping that your holidays will be special, and if you're traveling, we hope your journeys will be safe. At the last minute, Missy and I decided to drive up to Pennsylvania again, to attend a party that her brother Greg is having today, on Christmas Eve. We say "last minute" because we weren't sure if the weather was going to be good or not. For some reason, all the crazy winter weather that's been hitting everyone from New England to the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest, somehow avoided to hit Western PA. According to the reports, yesterday was set to be a beautiful sunny day throughout some key parts (namely, Pittsburgh PA, duh, and Beckley WV, where there is a mountainous pass that we head up and over) and we took advantage of that window of opportunity. We actually saw far less snow and ice than we did last month when we drove up for Thanksgiving. We made it here in record time, in less than 12 hours...
Anyways, more on our adventures later. Until then, have fun and be merry! We love you all!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
So, last weekend was a pretty crazy one for my family, who are back home in Riverside, California (hi Fam!). A week ago, last Saturday, my mom took a misstep in our front yard, which is being re-paved, and she fell face-first, hitting her head on the brick border framing parts of a garden. She got a pretty big gash on her forehead and both her eyes swelled up as if someone punched her in the face. They rushed her to the hospital to get treatment for her injuries, and thankfully, she's OK. I got to talk to her the day after her accident and except for being sore all-over and having a swollen face, she swore she was fine. Anyways, later that same day, my little niece, Julia, had a dance recital. After the performance, she fell in the parking lot on the way back to the car, and hurt her finger really bad. So once again, my family rushed to the hospital. Turns out she sprained her little pinky pretty badly (that's her and her injured finger above) and ended up having to wear a splint.
Then, the following day, last Sunday, my sister Belinda (who is Julia's mom and totally preggers) was getting ready for the baby shower family and friends were throwing for her. A couple of hours before the party, her water broke, and once again, my family rushed back to the hospital. MY POOR FAMILY! The hospital staff must've got tired seeing them there...
Well, LILLIAN NOELLE McDONALD is a week old today! Here's a photo of Shawn, my brother-in-law, Belinda, and my new baby niece, LILY, shortly after the stork dropped her off, TWO WEEKS EARLY...we think that the stress of the two accidents, plus the stress of getting ready for the baby shower hastened the baby's arrival:
FAVORITE MOMENT SINCE WEDNESDAY?
MISSY - Getting an email from a girl in Sweden who is getting a tattoo of one of my drawings!
RAOUL - The moment we finished cleaning the house this afternoon!
WORST MOMENT SINCE WEDNESDAY?
MISSY - Having to re-make gifts on Saturday that I messed up on Friday.
RAOUL - Dropping the ball on the Flicker Holiday Craft Sale.
FUNNIEST MOMENT SINCE WEDNESDAY?
MISSY - Mom saying Joe was playing with his "PCP" instead of his new "PSP".
RAOUL - The McGruber skit on SNL with the ping pong ball...you know the one.
WORD OR PHRASE SINCE WEDNESDAY?
MISSY - "Holla!"
RAOUL - "I'm having a banana - it's nature's cookie"
FAVORITE MEAL SINCE WEDNESDAY?
MISSY - Two samosas and the split-pea dal at The Grit.
RAOUL - The veggie chili dog platter at The Grit.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE XMAS GIFT YOU GOT AS A CHILD?
MISSY - Gumball machine.
RAOUL - ColecoVision!
PERSONAL SOUNDTRACK SINCE WEDNESDAY?
MISSY - Christmas Music at work, Laura Marling.
RAOUL - Wolf Parade, New Order, LCD Soundsystem.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Ho ho ho! Happy holidays! I did some decorating at home just in time for Christmas! Check it out. Here is our mantle. My mom made the Santa in the center from a bleach bottle. How crafty!
As you can see, I collect vintage Christmas decorations. I mostly have elves in my collection, but I do have some angels and Santas. Some were Raoul's that he mailed to me before he even lived in Athens! Can you imagine? Some of the elves I bought at a shoe shop that was going out of business in my hometown. They are probably from the 1950's, complete with color fading from the sun! I still love them, though.
Here is a Santa my mom made me for Christmas one year. He has a little pouch and you can fill it with candy. She also made me the little snowman, too - see if you can spot him. He has cinnamon sticks as arms and pepper corns for a face! I love those, too.
Of course we have a tree! We have a tiny fiber optic one that we got at the local garden center, Cofer's. I especially enjoy this one cos it has the cut out Merry Christmas that changes colors when the color wheel inside spins. Raoul said this tree was good cos Nilla would probably tear up anything that was bigger. He also said she would tear up a real tree! Maybe some other time we can get a real one, but for now I really like our tiny tree!
Hey Y'all! If you're in need of some last-minute gift items and you're looking for something unique and handmade, then have no fear - the FLICKER HOLIDAY CRAFTS SALE is here! Missy and I won't be participating (we basically dropped the ball on this one) but many of our friends will, and no doubt, we'll probably stop in to do some last minute shopping ourselves. Instead of dealing with all the traffic at the malls and big box stores, c'mon downtown and getcha some locally-made handcrafted stocking stuffers and presents. Buy local and support our community of crafters, artisans, and artists! The craft sale is being hosted by the FLICKER THEATRE & BAR and was organized by HANDCRAFTED INDUSTRIES. It runs TODAY and today only, from 11am to 5pm...and if you stick around a little while longer, I do believe that there will be a special performance by VIC CHESNUTT and friends, in the intimate theatre portion of the Flicker. Crafts, beer, and good music....what more could you ask for?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
(Missy working on her comic strip while waiting for Sunday Brunch at The Grit)
FAVORITE MOMENT OF THE PAST WEEK-AND-A-HALF?
MISSY - Seeing my friends at Hand.Craft.It!
RAOUL - Lillian Noelle McDonald - I'm an uncle again!
WORST MOMENT OF THE PAST WEEK-AND-A-HALF?
MISSY - Not having enough time to finish everything I want to.
RAOUL - Running out of money for Christmas shopping!
FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE PAST WEEK-AND-A-HALF?
MISSY - The special surprise present I drew for a custom order.
RAOUL - My sister Belinda having her baby two weeks early - a couple of hours before her BABY SHOWER!
WORD OR PHRASE OF THE PAST WEEK-AND-A-HALF?
MISSY - "Santa on the bicycle"
RAOUL - *yawn*
FAVORITE MEAL OF THE PAST WEEK-AND-A-HALF?
MISSY - The french bread pizzas I made.
RAOUL - Dinner at La Parilla.
TWO THINGS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST FOR NEXT WEEK?
MISSY - Get gifts ready and mail out orders.
RAOUL - Wrap presents and send presents.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY OBSESSED WITH?
MISSY - Finding a good pair of boots.
RAOUL - Getting out of the lazy funk I've been in the past couple of months.
WORST THING TO PUT IN A CHRISTMAS STOCKING?
MISSY - Underwear.
RAOUL - A severed foot.
PERSONAL SOUNDTRACK FOR THE PAST WEEK-AND-A-HALF?
MISSY - April March, Saint Etienne, Siouxie Sioux, Mirah, Mt. Eerie, Indie Radio Podcast.
RAOUL - Lavender Diamond, Velvet Underground, Beck, Built To Spill, April March, Saint Etienne, LCD Soundsystem, A Familyre Christmas Vol.1, Merge Records 2004 sampler, Radio Hawthorne's rare Motown mix on the Stones Throw podcast.
(billboard outside of Flowerland)
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday was the HAND.CRAFT.IT. holiday sale in Madison. The venue - the MADISON-MORGAN CULTURAL CENTER - was an old school building and gymnasium, transformed into a museum-slash-performance space and an event hall. The venue and grounds were beautiful and it was perfect weather for a craft sale. In the sculpture garden I spotted this yellow faceted sculpture that kinda reminded me of PAC MAN:
Billy from HANDCRAFTED INDUSTRIES spotted me in the parking lot after we had both moved our cars...he asked me to take pictures of his booth because he had forgotten his camera:
Business at first was slow. I'd say that most of the crowd averaged 40 to 50 years in age and that this explained the slower sales. I don't think they were accustomed to this sort of indie craft fair. The crowd was very "Laura Bennett" - you Project Runway fans know what I mean. Anyways, we wanted "Jeffrey" and what we got was "Laura"...where were all the punk rockers, indie kids, street-savvy urbanites, and art fags we were used to seeing at these craft fairs? As the day progressed, business picked up and in the end, we actually made a good amount of money. Maybe not as much as we're used to making in Atlanta or Athens, but definitely enough to justify doing it again if we get a chance...
The food table was conveniently located near our booth, and they served up tasty grilled cheese sandwiches, chili, and miniature cupcakes all day long. The DJ was also conveniently located near our booth. Unfortunately, one of the speakers was pointed directly at us - earlier in the day, the music was so loud that it probably helped to drive customers away from our booth. Eventually, he turned down the music to a bearable level. The music might've drove me crazy, but he was a really good DJ, the same one that deejayed at the I.C.E. Atlanta show. He gets major props from me because he played Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Fishbone, a rare Visage instrumental, cuts from the "Nightmare Before Christmas" soundtrack, "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambataa and Soulsonic Force, Yellow Magic Orchestra doing a killer version of Archie Bell and the Drell's "Tighten Up" which I had never heard before...HOTT! The funny thing is, the DJ shared the stage with the children's activity tables....one of the tables featured a "make your own jumprope" station, and as kids finished making their jumpropes, they would immediately test them out on stage, causing the records to skip every now and then!
Even Missy found time to visit the jumprope station: