It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...
Or at least as much like Christmas as it can look in sunny Phoenix. We try our best. Our tree may be lacking snow and tinsel, which we discovered causes tummy upset in children and dogs alike. The tree decorations only reach the middle third of the tree, or as high as our youngest child can reach. I am looking forward to have a tree with decorations all the way to the bottom (about as much as I am looking forward to a full, hot, uninterrupted meal).
Less than 10 shopping days left!
And I am all done (I think)! Our Christmas list is woefully short, since the in-law side of the family decided not to exchange gifts. The boy's gifts were a matter of a crazy morning at Toys R Us. The most difficult part, however, has always been my family. They have everything. They live in Spain. Shipping anything is a nightmare, it can't be breakable, it can't have smelly chemicals or they'll tear your package apart, and it costs a song to mail anything - No cookies and fudge are possibly worth $200 worth of shipping.
So this year I thought I was smart by buying stuff online in shops located in Spain, I could actually invest more on the gift itself, save on shipping and have it delivered before Spring. I was wrong. It sucked. For some reason, online stores in Spain are not really prepared to sell to customers outside the EU. You have to register to buy (name, password, the whole kit and kaboodle). You absolutely need a National ID number to buy (I have an outdated one, since I haven't lived there in 20+ years). You can't enter an address outside a few choice countries (which include Lithuania and Turkey and a smattering of EU countries but not USA). So I used my parent's address. You can't choose shipping method, so they smack you about 10 euros for same-day shipping, whether you want it or not. They charge you VAT, somewhere between 15-20%, with no option out. And once you use paypal (I resisted entering my credit card info after all that), you can't enter a shipping address outside USA so go figure. After I finished shopping, I felt like I have committed some kind of felony. My request definitely must look like an illegal one, so I better call the store and clarify that I just want to buy my sister an electronic gadget for Christmas and no, I can't send one from USA for a variety of reasons. Wish me luck. Spain is not famous for its customer friendliness.
Winterchild progress report
Just this guy to finish. And guess what, I am out of yarn. Miscalculated again!
Three things I discovered: 1 - Orange juice uses up a lot of orange, so it is the preferred method to deal with the abundance. 2- It is too much damn work to squeeze oranges by hand. 3- Organic freshly squeezed orange juice is SO good it almost makes you forget how much damn work it is.