More Presents!

So, even though I was able to haggle an early gift exchange out of D, there were still gifts that I had to wait for. And I guess maybe the waiting can be worth it. But it really doesn’t feel quite as good as frantically ripping the wrapping paper off of everything in sight.

The Magpie and I did our exchange on Thursday the 20th since I’d booked Friday off from work. She probably shouldn’t have put all of the gifts she got me directly in front of me on my desk as soon as she came into the office. Especially if she was hoping to wait for our exchange to go down later in the day. I can’t be sitting there all day with beautifully wrapped gifts staring me in the face.

There was this large cylinder. I grabbed it and shook it right away. It emitted the most delightful sound when shook! My first thought was a jar of marbles. That would be so rad! I shook it a bit more and told the Magpie I would just open this one. I had to know what it was. One present would be okay, right?

I was a little off my game on the first guess though. It wasn’t marbles…

IT’S A BIG FAT JAR OF CANDY!!!!!!

Candy!

And all the favourites were there! Nibs, Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, M&Ms, Swedish Berries, and Watermelon Slices. Oh fuck yeah, the whole gang is together and headed to a V.I.P. partaaay in my tummy. Whew, now that I’d opened one we could move on with our day. Or could we? Maybe just one more? That’s the slippery slope we took that wound up with me opening a bunch of presents before 9:30am on Thursday.

I like to guess what I think things are before I open them. And I’m pretty good at it too, much to the gift-givers chagrin. Next on the docket was a pretty obvious one. Another mixed CD!

Mixed CD

So now the Magpie is up 2 CDs to none on me. I guess I’d better get to work. Everyone knows that the Gods of Great Tunes aren’t very forgiving when it comes to one-sided mixed CD exchanges.

Then we had something that felt suspiciously like an ashtray. I don’t smoke, but I would have dug that. There’s a kind of inside joke we have going about ashtrays. But I missed the mark on this one. It was actually a set of cute little serving dishes!

football

I’m a football girl, so this is awesome. These guys will come in handy for our annual Chinese Food Extravaganza Superbowl Feast! Good hustle guys, I see a lot of potential here.

The next one was another easy one to guess. Rectangular, about a half-inch thick, little bit of bend to it. A book!

Scott Pilgrim

Nice! The first Scott Pilgrim. I’ve seen the movie, but I haven’t read the graphic novels yet. The Magpie thought this would be especially good since it’s all set in Toronto. I really dig this gift.

Next, there was a rectangular box. It was surprisingly lightweight. I was about to rip it open when The Magpie asked me for my guess. I shook it a bit, and thought.

“Ah, it’s gotta be a scarf!” I declared. “You’re such a bitch,” she laughed at me.

scarf

Yep, that’s me. Some might say it’s a bitchy thing, to guess the gifts and ruin the surprise for myself. But I like being an almost immaculate gift guesser. It’s taken me a long time to hone this skill of mine. Anyways, what you’re seeing here is a beautiful scarf from some swanky french shop on Queen. And it looks divine with the coat I bought this winter. But there were a couple of other things in the box. A Lush bath bar, that I don’t have a picture of.

And, a sweet little notebook.

notebook

In which I shall jot all of my darkest secrets, wildest dreams, and maybe some grocery lists.

Of my haul from The Magpie, I saved the best for last. She’s such a great crafter! She has ideas and designs. Things she carefully plans. Things that she can see clearly in her mind, and bring to life with her deft little fingers.

She also made me hold off on opening this one. I had to open it last. If it’s worth it to wait for anything, it’s this. This is something I would wait a lifetime for if I had to. I wouldn’t want to, but I’d do it. Things like this are one in a hundred billion.

magnets

These are one-of-a-kind, handmade Archie magnets. She clipped out images from an Archie comic and glued them onto dominoes and glass stones. How fucking awesome is that? It’s the most goddamn awesome thing ever! I was so happy when I opened these. And my happiness was threefold:

1) I love magnets. They’re kind of a hobby of mine, that is, if magnets can be considered a hobby.

2) I love Archie. I used to shake my parents down for Archie comics anytime we were at the grocery store. Well, sometimes I shook them down for candy too.

3) Homemade gifts really are the best. Someone put their time and their kind thoughts for you into making something they knew you would love. And that’s just awesome.

We had a great exchange, The Magpie and I. Even though I tore into everything pretty early. I got a mega-normous sugar rush from eating candy all day, and had fun chillin’ with the co-workers on my last day at the office before the holiday break. But before I knew it, it was time to head home. There were more gifts to open at home, and I could hear them calling to me.

Christmas morning at my mom’s house didn’t start as early as it used to. When I was younger, before I discovered beer, I would be up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning. Rousing all family members from their warm and comfortable beds because I just couldn’t wait to get things started. I’d be up around 5:00am, and have everyone else sufficiently awake by 6:00am to commence gift opening. Everyone else would still be rubbing the sleep from their eyes as I’d excitedly thrust presents upon them.

This year was a little different though. Everyone had the luxury of sleeping in until 8:30am. And I myself was excited, although much more subdued. Mom’s punch and lack of sleep probably had something to do with that.

puppy

What I lacked in excitement though, Bree more than made up for. She was running around, all weirded out by the tree and the gifts. Wanting to play and wanting attention. She put the pep back in everyone’s step.

Two of my most notable gifts this year were of the practical and homemade variety.

First, a new toaster!

toaster

YES! We needed this so bad. We had a shitty fucking little two slicer that took about fifteen minutes to lightly brown whatever you put in it. It was an absolute nightmare in the morning before work. I do not like doing shifts on the toaster when I’m rushing to get ready in the morning. The new toaster is a badass. Just look at it. You can toast four things at once! And it doesn’t even break a sweat. It just toasts it up all nice in a flash. No stamping your foot impatiently on the kitchen floor necessary. Ain’t no thang. You go badass toaster!

My mom also made us a sweet new blanket. And she got us throw pillows to match. She’s pretty nifty when it comes to crochet.

harv and b;anket

It’s red, my favourite colour, with some cream trim. I know you can’t see it that well in this picture. And that’s because Harvey has claimed the new blanket for himself. I tried to move him, but look at that face! I just didn’t have the heart to disturb him. Instead I creeped up and stole a picture of him while napping. This just proves again that homemade gifts really are the best.

That’s a wrap on Christmas 2012. Now all that’s left to do is clink our glasses and welcome the new year.

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Found! My Sweet Jams…

I am feeling so incredibly triumphant right now! Which is remarkable given the hectic and scattered day I’ve been having…

Ever since we moved back in May, I have been looking for this goddamn mixed CD. Why is it even important, you ask? Surely you must have made it with the songs in your own library? Songs which you undoubtedly have access to and could burn onto a new CD, yes? Actually, it’s important because the Magpie made it for me as a 25th birthday gift. It is divinely original, it cannot be manufactured again. It simply cannot!

So I got the CD at the end of April and lost it at the beginning of May… which means I really haven’t even had time to appreciate it. I can’t believe it’s been lost this long though. I absolutely abhor clutter, so it’s not like there were a lot of places for the friggen’ thing to hide in my apartment. All summer I would go through these bouts where I desperately had to find it, but couldn’t. I would get this feeling, like this time is the time. Today is the day I find this CD! But I would always come up empty-handed.

I was seriously considering the possibility that maybe I left it in D’s old car, which has since been sold to my parents, and that by now it had been tossed in the garbage. I imagined the little happy face on the cover all smudged with crud, wasting away in a landfill, lost to me forever. But then this nagging feeling that it was still within my reach would prevail, and I’d start my search all over again.

I’m forever misplacing my things. Which is strange, given how orderly and meticulous I am with certain things. Until D put the key rack up in the front hall for me, I never knew where my keys were. I never know where I’ve last placed my favourite necklace, my metro pass, important documents for the impending tax season, or my iPod. When I need things, I just scramble around like a maniac, cursing ferociously, until they’ve finally been located. One morning I almost walked out the door to work barefoot, until D reminded me that shoes are a necessity on the subway. I’m so bizarrely orderly and absent-minded at the same time.

I may not work through all of these issues today, but for now, I’m very pleased to announce that after months of fruitless searching I’ve finally come up successful! Buried in an old Coleman cooler with stacks of other CD’s, video games, books, and other hidden gems, my mixed CD gazed impassively up at me. As if to say, “I’ve been here all along, silly!” I lifted it ever so gingerly from the cooler, ran my fingers wondrously over its beautiful handcrafted cover, and then lovingly promised to never misplace it again.

When the Magpie gave me this CD on my birthday I was so totally excited. I greatly value all of the mixed CDs that people have given me over the years. It’s one of the most unique gifts you can get. There is no other CD on the planet with these exact same songs. Who isn’t touched by the offering of sweet jams, all of which have been expertly engineered with you in mind? Heartless jerks, that’s who.

So now that your interest has been appropriately piqued, I present you with the contents of this jealously coveted gem:

  1. Drain You: Nirvana 1991
  2. Pretend We’re Dead: L7 1992
  3. Violet: Hole 1994
  4. Deceptacon: Le Tigre 1999
  5. Downtime: The Gandharvas 1997
  6. Oh Mandy: Spinto Band 2006
  7. Close to Me: The Cure 1990 (re-release)
  8. Divine Hammer: The Breeders 1993
  9. Take Me I’m Yours: Squeeze 1994 (re-release)
  10. Ramble On: Led Zepplin 1992 (re-release)
  11. Only Shallow: My Bloody Valentine 1992
  12. Undone: Weezer 1994
  13. Blimps Go 90: Guided By Voices 1995
  14. Little Trouble Girl: Sonic Youth 1995
  15. Alone & Annoyed: Eric’s Trip 1996
  16. Homeboy: Adorable 1993
  17. I Am The Resurrection: Stone Roses 1999
  18. Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying: Belle & Sebastian 1996

These are “songs that I like that are mostly from the 90’s on your 25th birthday” quoth the Magpie. She knows that the 90’s is my favourite decade of music, and so she gifted me with the songs that she considers to be quintessential 90’s tracks. There are a few exceptions, but awesome ones. I had no idea who The Gandharvas were until I met the Magpie, and I must say they have very quickly jumped to the top of my list of favourite bands.

I have been irrevocably affected by their awesomeness, and The First Day of Spring will haunt me forever. Although this song isn’t on the disc above, I recommend starting there for your first taste of The Gandharvas:

I’m touched by the amount of time that she spent making me this wicked CD, and I am so happy that I finally found the fucking thing! I’m so excited to listen to it again and to discover its greatness. It’s just what I needed to melt away the stress of the day. This is no small win, it’s a tremendous victory! My finest conquest of the day, and validation that my frantic searching was not in vain.

I would definitely recommend that you seek out these tracks and give them a listen. Go forth and explore some wonderful new music! Or fall in love with old favourites all over again…

I wish you groovy listening, friends.