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December first(ish) marks the start of my holiday season.   The lights go on, the mantel is decorated, the tree goes up.

Tra-la-la-la-la!

Our fireplace mantel, decorated with greenery and vintage Christmas children's books.

In our house, we celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve at this time of year.  We are more spiritual than religious but we still have family gatherings and dates with friends, snow-filled New-Year’s Eves at a favourite place in the deep, deep woods, and stockings filled with chocolate that you’re allowed to eat for breakfast (it’s a rule).  Some years, we have a festive gathering in December, where we invite friends and family to join us at our wildly festooned house for snacks and visiting but this year, things are a bit different.

This year, we have an extra visitor and it’s the visitor no one wants.

Practical Man was diagnosed with cancer in September and started treatment in November.  He’s supposed to be finished the actual treatments on December 20 (Merry Christmas!) but the side effect symptoms likely continue to worsen for a few weeks after that.  His type of cancer has a good prognosis (everyone keeps telling us) so we’re hoping that this “blip” will be something we will simply remember years from now as “that time he had cancer”.

Say it enough and that will someday become a sentence that just rolls off the tongue, right?

Anyhoo.

Throat (oropharyngeal) cancer may be quite curable but the recovery from it seems especially cruel — the treatments wants to attack your speech, your skin, your swallowing, your saliva, your breathing, your nourishment and YOUR BEARD!  Food tastes terrible and he chokes quite frequently and he is more tired than I’ve ever seen him.  But, his treatment is manageable at the moment, if he rests.  What the final few weeks will bring, we don’t know.

It could be a lot worse.  We tell ourselves this with every new symptom and struggle. We are grateful that we can be together through this, without worry over money or time.  We are fortunate not to have to forgo food or housing to find the funds needed every day for parking or new creams or medicines that could help.  We are blessed to have supportive family and friends and to be enduring treatment with a likely positive outcome.

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

“You’re getting to the hard part now,” they said this week.

His “team” keeps close tabs on his symptoms and weight, prescribing jams and jellies with long names and lineups at the pharmacy.  When you’re using the over-burdened Canadian healthcare system and you have a TEAM that meets with you every week, you get the idea that it’s fairly serious business. He endures the mask of torture with each of his 35 treatments and never complains, even though I see the toll it takes on him to be pinned to a table under an extremely tight web of fibres across his face and throat.

Practical Man in the treatment mask

The Team warns constantly of the “cumulative effects of radiation” and what’s to come with worried eyes and check-ins that make my stomach drop out.  He made it through a rare arterial hemorrhage, surgery to fix it, and repeated hospital visits and stays in week #2 of treatment.

But, that was early days–the supposedly “easy” part of treatment.

“You’re doing really well,” they also said this week, their tone telling us not to get complacent.

Despite everything that has already happened, I constantly feel like we are waiting for something large and mysterious to come down the chimney–and it’s not Santa.

Christmas tree - daytime

When the treatment dates were revealed, it got me thinking about what our holiday season would look like this year.  We have no children of our own, so who would miss it, if we didn’t bother with the lights going on, the mantel being decorated, the tree going up?

Practical Man endures the holiday palooza for me.  He wouldn’t mind skipping it.  So, why do it?

Um…have you met me?  The one who loves little more than some seasonally-approved festooning?

Still, maybe we should just forgo the lot for this year, I thought.  Decorations are really superficial, after all.  He won’t feel well enough to attend many gatherings and we anticipate the height of pain and symptoms to be around Christmas Day.  We should just skip it.

But, but, but.

A thought caught my breath in my throat:  what if?

What if we were like my friend?  Her daughter took her last breath on Monday as her body rejected the lungs that were transplanted in her only last year.

My heart breaks.

What if we were like others we know of who endure radiation and chemotherapy and still face a terminal outcome?

More breaking.

What if?

Would I want this Christmas to be festooned and full of light?

Or dark and passed over, as not worth the effort?

I realize how fortunate we are to worry about something so seemingly trivial.  But, when I called it “silly”, Practical Man pointed out:

“If you turn off the lights before it’s time, you may never find a reason to turn them back on.”

And our decision to partake in the sparkle of the season is not to say everyone should do it this way.  But, I am a silly, festive-loving person and even if the holiday festooning is a bit much for him, Practical Man loves that about me.

And I love him.  So very much.

The lights are up and they get to stay on.  Which reminds me again:

Despite this very cancer Christmas, we are so very blessed.

Merry Christmas and Happy Festive Season to all who celebrate at this time of year.
Our wish for you this year is a most precious one:  good health for you and your loved ones.

Lit tree reflected again the window

Know someone who is thinking about becoming a doctor?  My new book, “Just What the Doctor Ordered:  The Insider’s Guide to Getting into Medical School in Canada” is now available.

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There was that time when I bought the REALLY expensive chicken by accident.

$75+ worth of On-Sale, free-range, raised-with-classical-music-in-the-barn-and-wearing-knitted-chicken-sweaters kind of chicken, instead of the On-Sale chicken for the non-fancy-pants folks.

So, I can’t be trusted in the grocery store.

Now, we have an excess of sour cream:  in fact, an entire, unopened container, ready to expire.

Doesn’t that sound perilous?  “Ready to expire”.

Refrigerator products are so melodramatic.

Anyhoo, I thought I could be trusted.  In fact, I felt rather like Ma in Little House on the Prairie when I had a light bulb moment this evening about the nearly-dead dairy product.

I know, I thought.  I’ll make Grandma Helen’s coffee cake.

She used to feed it to us for special breakfasts and it’s all brown-sugary and sour-cream-donut-y and NOT CHOCOLATE, so clearly suitable for breakfast because that’s a rule.

I rushed off on a surge of pride to tell Practical Man as these Ma-in-Little-House-frugal moments are rare from me.  Grandma Helen’s coffee cake has lots of sour cream in it and would use up most of the almost-at-the-pearly-gates container.

Yay, me!

While Practical Man was doing the garbage/recycling in the garage (and no doubt marveling at my frugal brilliance), I made my usual mess in the kitchen.

In addition to flour on the floor, nuts behind the canisters, and butter up my arm, while whipping up the batter, I managed to lift it out of the bowl to “clean” the beaters and they sprayed batter all over the entire world.  There was some in my eyebrow, some on the backsplash, some on Mars, I’m pretty sure.  And, it’s a sticky batter, this sour-cream extravaganza.

As in:  not easily remedied before certain people come in from the garage.

But, I got that sorted (I think – this will explain the weird blobs you see on our light fixtures a few months from now) and grabbed the one-foot-in-the-grave, but un-opened sour cream container from the fridge.

I opened it and stopped short.

It looked funny.

White, like sour cream.

But, also not.

Kind of chunky.

Maybe it had already gone off?

Or, maybe, maybe, maybe…

I realized with a sudden taste of sour dairy in my mouth,

it was not drama-queen sour cream

but instead

!!!!

highly-tricky-and-well-disguised-all-except-for-the-dastardly-label-oh-please-say-this-happens-to-you-too-won’t-you, COTTAGE CHEESE.

Ummmm…

This is precisely, almost exactly like that time I was wondering why the ginger we had frozen in the freezer was so uncooperatively melty when I was trying to grate it.

(It was blobs of frozen garlic puree, hardy-har-har).

I have worked at an institute for higher learning for nearly 25 years.  Honest.

Luckily, Practical Man had brought home a new container of sour cream this very evening.

So, instead of using up excess sour cream, I had to use brand-new sour cream so now, we have to buy some more.

And, I have to figure out what to do with on-its-last-breath cottage cheese.

I’m pretty sure I can’t be trusted though.

Sigh.

The cake is really good.

Tra-la-la.

sour cream coffee cake - piece on a plate


I have developed a new problem, recently.

I’m coveting cupolas.

Worshipping weather vanes.

I went to Vermont, you see.

“Verdant Vermont”, as Practical Man and I called it as we ooh’d and aah’d our way through the Spring countryside rolling hills.

We have been there before but this time, we noticed that it was very green.

highway view in Vermont - green leaves and mountains

We’re pretty sure this isn’t how “verdant” is pronounced but for this trip, we decided we should make it rhyme with “Vermont”.

Verdant Vermont, get it?

They are probably going to want to adopt it as a slogan, of course.

“Visit us in Verdant Vermont.”

We amuse ourselves easily, yes sirree.

That’s how you get to 20 years of wedded bliss, dontcha know.

All the verdant was probably on account of the torrential rain the day and night before.  During the storm, we were very cozy in our vintage Boler travel trailer, alone in the campground.  I am reading my way through my vintage Nancy Drew collection so I was deeply embroiled in The Mystery of the Bungalow (and wondering how one canoes wearing a dress) while I listened to the lovely sound of rain on the Boler roof.

Our 13-foot Boler

A 13-foot trailer seems so luxurious after a lifetime of camping in tents and when it’s pouring sheets of rain outside.

Maybe the other campers didn’t have a vintage Nancy Drew book to antagonize and entertain them because they had all left.  Even the ones in giant motor homes with big-screen TVs and walk-in closets.  It seems that the first sign of inclement weather causes those campers to run home to a different big-screen TV and walk-in closet.

That’s okay because it means more ice cream for me.

The morning after the storm, I ate Ben and Jerry’s at 10:00 am, tra-la-la.

There was a factory and it was cultural experience so I had two scoops:  fudge brownie something and chocolate peanut-butter something else.

I’ve never had Ben and Jerry’s ice cream before.

I might need to try it again to make sure I like it.

Then, we went to the chocolate factory nearby.

Perhaps you can see why I love Vermont.

So much tra-la-la!

We followed the windy roads and hunted for the covered bridges that were on the map.

Covered bridge, surrounded by trees

We went up the super fun, seasonal road to Smuggler’s Notch and marvelled at the giant boulders all around that had been chucked down the mountain, probably by some demi-god having a temper tantrum.

huge boulders alongside hairpin turn of road

And, I fell in love with all the houses.

I think there is a Vermont rule:  no ugly houses allowed.

The Pinterest addict in me approves.

I also fell in love with the cupolas.

This cupola was in New York state actually, but you get the idea.

Little ones.

Big ones.

Ones with vents.

Ones with weather vanes.

I want one.

My kingdom for a cupola!

We have two sets of louvered doors in one of our (cupola-less) outbuildings, so now, I have dreams and plans for an upcycled cupola of our very own.

Practical Man is on the case.  So far, he’s going along with putting a cupola on the workshop building.

That’s how you get to 20 years of wedded bliss, dontcha know.

But, I’m not sure I’m allowed to go back to Vermont.


Last weekend, I had a day when I wished I were a guy named Larry.

Let me explain.

Years ago, when I had a job working for people with intellectual disabilities, I had two clients named Larry and Ronald.

Those aren’t really their names, of course, because that sort of thing is confidential, but, what you need to know is that Larry and Ronald were brothers, who lived together in a two-bedroom apartment. Their elderly mother had passed away recently and they lived among her many, many possessions, as well as their own and seemed to be managing their bachelor life just fine (other than eating nothing but hamburger patties for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week).

Larry, the younger brother, loved gadgets and machines.  He (and his late mother) had collected record players (6) and cameras (they had everything from a Brownie to a Polaroid to a Disc camera to a Nikon SLR) and fans (29), among other things.

Larry liked to take things apart to see the insides of the gubbins and how they worked, so all of his many, many gadgets and machines were in bits and pieces.  Larry was better at taking things apart than putting things back together, it seemed.

Anyhoo, to get to my point:  one day, their landlord called and said that their apartment was a fire hazard because of all Larry’s and his mother’s junk, not to mention the 29 fans and the evolution of cameras and that we needed to get rid of some stuff pronto, or he would serve an eviction notice.

I hightailed it over to Larry and Ronald’s and began the process of trying to respectfully negotiate the removal of some of their treasures–some to storage, some to charity, some to garbage.  These were adult men, after all.  They had a right to live among their junk.

Heaven knows, I do.

But, only until the roof over your head is in jeopardy, I figure.

The conversations went something like this:

“Larry, do you think you need 5 vacuums?”

(Larry looked at me with sadness in his eyes.)

“Maybe you don’t need five, Larry. What do you think?”

(Puppy-dog eyes.)

“Larry?”

“Well,” Larry stammered, “I need one.”

(Pause and puppy-dog eyes.)

“And, Ronald needs one.”

(Pause and puppy-dog eyes.)

“And…”

(Pause and puppy-dog eyes.)

“What if one breaks?”

So, I managed to give away 2 vacuums, leaving Larry and Ronald with 3 vacuums, which is apparently the perfect number for a 2-bedroom apartment and no one who vacuums.

Last weekend, I was wishing I had the foresight of Larry.

I killed the vacuum.

Dead, dead, dead.

And, there were no spares, no sirree.

But, I do live with Practical Man so after explaining how the vacuum had inexplicably, mysteriously perished on my watch after a mere 15 years or so (maybe I shouldn’t vacuum, whot, whot?), he set to work.

In the meantime, I gnashed my teeth about having to spend hundreds of dollars on something as boring as a new vacuum.

Gnash, gnash.

While I was grinding off my teeth, Practical Man went about breaking into the vacuum.

There were no screws to remove anything to get at the gubbins inside on account of it’s very vintage to want to re-use and fix things you already own.

vacuum apart on the worktop

Very vintage.

Maybe you have wondered at times why I called this blog, “A Vintage Life?”

These are some of the times and the reasons, why.

I mean, seriously, have you ever seen the inside of a vacuum when it wasn’t in Larry’s apartment?

But, in our modern “green” society, practically no one fixes stuff anymore so why would you need to get inside something to look at what might be broken?

Y’know, unless you are Larry or Practical Man?

Practical Man somehow figured out how to break into the vacuum, without…um…breaking it.

I’m not even sure how that happened since it’s 98% plastic.

Crazy, mad, skills, that man has.

vacuum hose taken apart so you can see the electronics inside

He came back from the workshop and announced that the motor was fine, it wasn’t the relay (I nodded and tried to pretend I vaguely recalled something about relays from O-level Physics) and that he figured it was the switch.

I could barely hear him over my gnashing of teeth.

Vacuum shopping – blah, blah, I thought again.

Maybe I could console myself over having to spend hard-earned moulah on a boring vacuum by buying a nice yellow one, I reasoned.

Have I mentioned that I’m the yin to Practical Man’s yang?

Meanwhile, he was looking online for switches but they were expensive and likely imported, meaning more expense and duty and exchange, etc etc.

So, he found an electronics vacuum shop (someone spent hours working on that name, I bet!)  And, when we got there, he did something oh-so-vintage and awesome:

He pulled out the wiring schematic he had made for the vacuum:

detailed hand-drawn schematic on graph paper

Isn’t it adorable?

I love science-y people.

So do guys in vacuum repair shops who almost never, ever meet a bona-fide Practical Man.

The guy’s eyes practically fell out of his head when he saw the hand-drawn schematic.

And voila!  New switch for $15.

switch

Today, he installed the new switch, fixed something else that also turned out to be broken and the vacuum is now put back together and very much ALIVE.

Also:  Not. Thrown. Away.

Also:  Not a Boring, Blah Blah Blah Expense.

Tra-la-la!

But, we still only have one.

Not one for Ronald, too.

Not one, in case one breaks.

Sorry, Larry.

Thank you, Practical Man.

 

 

 

 

 


Last week, I had my first bath in over a decade.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEK.

Why so traumatized, you ask?  Because, this, my friends, was not a good bath, with bubbles up to your neck and your favourite Ernie-and-Bert-inspired Rubber Duckie.

No, no, no.

Rubber Duckies - one large with a small one on its back

There was no lovely book or glass of wine (although I’m really not coordinated enough for any of that kind of nonsense).

Nope.

Not even the sort of lovely BAWTH that one of my favourite literary characters, Eloise, likes to take.

No sirree.

This was the kind of bath that your mother tells you to take.

Or rather, MY mother.

Because, I’m in my 40s, dontcha know.

You’re never too old for a little vintage, motherly, health advice.

Or, for a bath.

“With oatmeal”, she said.

“Or baking soda”, she said.

“Maybe some Epsom salts”, she said.

Possibly a cocktail of all of the above.

Yessiree, I am officially a geezer.

No Bath and Body Works jams and jellies for me.

I get to bathe with breakfast cereals and baking products.

I’m like Wilford Brimley, with hair.

This was the kind of bath you take because you have been itchy for nearly a month FOR NO GOOD REASON.

And, all the icky sticky goo and chanting of OM doesn’t make it stop.

OMMMMMMM…I’m so itchy!

And not only that but, this was the kind of BAWTH where you had to decide which third of your body to dunk in the water at a time, on account of, you are possibly eleventeen feet tall and your tub is a shallow, five-foot long, jetted, vintage relic from the late 1980s.

It was a complex dance of toes-ankles-calves for a while and then knees-thighs-abdomen for another while and then chest-shoulders-neck for an encore.

Slip sliding away.   It’s not as exciting as it sounds in the song.

Who, among the regular old, pre-every-bathroom-must-be-a-spa-thing-that-we-seem-to-have-going-on-now, bathtub owners, finds this fun?

You must be blessed with some short-ness, is all I can figure.  Me and my eleven-teen feet of tall-ness are jealous.

Anyhoo, this was the kind of bath where Practical Man had to set a timer in order to get me to stay in there for 20 minutes, because someone–possibly me–kept yelling, “Can I get out YET?” approximately every 32 seconds.

I am a delight to go through life with, as you can tell.

This was the kind of bath where, when I scrunched down so my shoulders could get a little of the water action–and my toes were creeping ever so elegantly up the wall towards the shower head–I was exactly eye level with the toilet.

Lovvvvvely.

As my friend Pippi has said, “Bathing beside the toilet is not my idea of luxury.”

Toilets figure prominently in 5-star resort brochures, I’m sure.

Um, yes and this was more of a long-term-care facility kind of bath.

With a little Nessum Dorma that Practical Man piped in, to help me stay put for the requisite time limit.

Nessum Dorma is the key to life, really.

Honestly, just close your eyes and listen.  You don’t need to be in a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad bathtub for it to be magic.

But, after a million-zillion torturous hours, when I was finally allowed to get out, I was victorious.

I had a few hives.

Tra-la-la.

Nearly a month of scratching and complaining about invisible sensations and I finally had something to show for my efforts.

I’m a little Type A that way.

Stay with me.  The hives mean that maybe, possibly, I’m not imagining the itching–just having some kind of allergic reaction.

To what, I don’t know.

New vitamins?

Pickled eggs?

Or maybe…don’t you think…it might be…Nessum Dorma beside the toilet?

The basic treatment for hives is, YOU WILL NEVER GUESS:

Take a bath.

Or as I and Eloise prefer it:  BAWTH.

With oatmeal.

Or baking soda.

Possibly some Epsom salts.

So says The Google.

And my mom.

Can I get out yet?

Me in a pink clawfoot tub, holding my book, "Career Cupid" - 2009

Yep, that’s me in a pink claw foot bathtub, in our driveway, circa 2009. The things I’ll do for book promotion.

 


A few years ago, we started buying wood furniture.

Vintage and second-hand, to be sure.

Rockefellers, we are not.

Buying at auctions and garage sales is good for the budget.  Plus, I like the hunt for old stuff, yes indeedy.  Usually, the more unloved, the better.

Rocking chairs with the rockers worn off?  Sign me up.

Cabinets, magazine racks, abandoned table at the side of the road?  I’m out of the car like a chubby magpie.

pink wardrobe and green magazine rack

Slowly, we have replaced any of the press-board, laminated stuff that we used to find at a certain lovely big box store.  (I still go there for the window shopping, tasty meatballs and $1 ice cream cone, of course.)

Forget grey hair:  the press-board-to-wood-conversion is a sure sign of advancing age.

Anyhoo.

The other part about buying used is that it lowers the guilt factor.

The guilt factor when I go about doing that thing that I always want to do.

You know–that thing that makes some people cringe or exclaim in horror.

(Insert Practical Man’s cringe and horror here.)

That would be painting.

Painting (say this in breathy, hushed tones):  Real Wood.

As in, our fireplace mantel (giant chunk of pine).

As in, our kitchen cupboards (giant room full of knotty pine).

As in, this china cabinet that used to belong to my Grandma Verna.

40s china cabinet - brown

It’s been “wood” coloured for as long as I can remember, including the last 20 years that it’s been in our house.  I think it hails from the 1940s or thereabouts.  Definitely vintage and lovely but, oh so browny-brown-brown.

Which is really only good if it’s made of chocolate, yes indeedy.

This fall, I could no longer let the china cabinet live in peace.

So, it went under the knife.

Rather, the brush, as the case may be.

Don’t be so dramatic, wood lovers!

All that wood was going away.  Even though some of it, on the underneath part, was cool vintage crate wood with retro advertising.

We kept that.

Bottom view of china cabinet - one half of the interior floor of the cabinet was made from an old crate

Practical Man did some considerable muttering under his breath.

It might have been because he always seems to end up finishing the painting that his paint-happy wife barely started.

Or, it may have been an apology chant to the wood–the wood which his callous wife had so gladly forsaken.

He and my dad are both woodworkers.  They make beautiful things which I have (cross my heart) never painted.

The struggle is real, my friends.

But, back to the china cabinet, which they Did. Not. Make.

Bye-bye brown!

40s cabinet with lattice-work door closed - painted cream

Hello, dreamiest cream and robin’s egg blue!

Oooh, how I love your new tra-la-la.

If you do too, check out more great ideas at Vintage Chic – A Room by Room Guide by Laura Preston.  I hope to feature her as a guest blogger here soon!

Cabinet painted cream outside with robins-egg blue interior on three interior shelves and walls

Now, the cabinet is just perfect to house fondue pots, vintage melamine and Pyrex galore.

None of it brown, as you might have guessed.

Today’s dilemma is this antique tea cart, with its original shade of woody-wood-wood.

antique tea cart with wheels - brown

Of course, I want to paint it.

Pinterest wants me to paint it.

What do you think?

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vintage bulb reflectorsDie Hard is Practical Man’s favourite Christmas movie.

Fa-la-Tra-la-la!

Maybe you didn’t know that Die Hard—the Bruce Willis/Alan Rickman shoot-em-up extravaganza—was even considered to be a Christmas movie.

Oh ye of little festive imagination.

We have a broad definition of “Christmas movies” at our house, partly on account of the fact that one of my favourite things to do during the Christmas holiday break that I’m lucky enough to have, is to lie around all day wearing my PJs.

ALLLLL Day.

Wearing PJs, as I mentioned.

Preferably brand new, cozy PJs that Santa has brought me because I’ve been SO good all year!

Or, maybe, because they were On Sale (Santa is a bit of a coupon clipper) and he knew they would make me happy and cozy for a week of lolly-gagging around.

Yes, that’s it.

When it comes to Christmas—as in many things—I don’t act my age.  Give me some stickers and some gold, coin-shaped chocolates in the toe of my stocking and I’m four years old again.

Many four year olds get new PJs for Christmas, you may have observed.

Fa-la-Tra-la-la!

Ah yes, it’s days and days of PJs and Turtle chocolates for breakfast (and maybe some Toblerone triangles and Christmas movies like:

  • Elf (I love it, even though it has Will Farrell).
  • The Holiday (makes me homesick for England and old movies).
  • Love, Actually (possibly the best Christmas movie of all time, except for Die Hard, of course!)

Oh, I know I should be all Joy to the World and Peace on Earth about the festive season and the prospect of getting together with family and friends.  I do love all the “goodwill towards men” (and women) stuff but if I’m honest, at the twilight of each year, it’s kind of more about the PJs.

Who says we can’t have good will towards men (and women) and PJs?

And, good will toward movies like:

And, I can’t forget that whole extravaganza that is:  Chocolate For Breakfast (totally legal)!

It’s a Christmas thing.

Maybe you haven’t heard about it, but I BELIEVE.

At this time of year, that counts for something.

Haven’t you seen It’s a Wonderful Life?

But, with limited number of days available for such indulgent loafing about, I have a hard time deciding.  Should I watch:

Then again, why choose favourites?  Someone always feels left out, like:

  • A Muppet Christmas Carol (Muppets are awesome but I’m not a Dickens fan).
  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol (Mickey’s voice bugs me and I’m not a Dickens fan).
  • A Christmas Carol (the scratchy, slightly sinister Alistair Sims version that my dad liked to try to make us watch every Christmas eve and I did it sometimes, because I love him, but, really, I’m not a Dickens fan).

Yes, with only The Twelve Days of Sloth at my disposal and the requisite social events sprinkled throughout, it’s sometimes hard to choose which movies will grace this year’s Christmas season.

I feel the same way about Christmas socks.  If I choose the red and white stripe-y ones, the green and red stripe-y ones might feel left out.   Try as I might, I just can’t quite reach the level of equal opportunity movie watcher and tacky Christmas sock wearer.

As they say in that not-Christmas, famous, book/movie (although if I ask Practical Man, he may be able to put a festive spin on it):

May the odds be ever in their favour.”

As you would expect, Practical Man has no difficulties carefully choosing his (restrained) festive touches at this time of year.

He eschews the gregarious socks and opts for the plain grey sports variety, thank-you very much.

Fa-la-Tra-la-la.

And, once Die Hard has been watched, it’s on to his next favourite Christmas movie:

Die Hard II.

Do you not recall the snowstorm outside the plane on the runway?  It’s a Christmas movie, plain and simple.

Yippee Ki-Yuletide, everyone.