13.12.03

Getting that Xmas spirit

For the first time since we moved into this apartment in mid-1999, we're getting Xmas decorations. I don't think we're quite ready to invest in a full-on Xmas tree with all the trimmings yet, but we've got a beautiful wreath (the real kind, that requires watering every day or so, and all thanks to the lovely and thoughtful Sprite) and a richly red runner for the wreath to sit on and some tinsel. This is a vast improvement from, well, having nothing.

Unfortunately, the tinsel I bought on Thursday wasn't enough to do justice to the grilled gate that guards our door, so I'll need to get more today. And we really ought to hang up those glass suncatchers, with dried flowers pressed between the glass, that we got from Victoria, Canada 3½ years ago.

Other than home decor, we're also all set on the Xmas card front --- except for the part where we (read: I) need to write the cards and mail them out. I have an Xmas card list of about thirty, and I can usually write only about 5-6 before I need a break, but I don't think I'll have the luxury of doing that this weekend, if the cards are going to reach people in mainland North America before Xmas. Sunday afternoon will hence be dedicated to Xmas card writing. (Note to self: buy stamps by Monday, or the writing will be for nought.)

And then there's Xmas vacation. The best part about December is the fact that just about everybody takes off on vacation. This year has been particularly good. About 99% of the people that I report to in the great government hierarchy are on leave at one period or another this month. Lots of my colleagues (i.e. we lowly grunts) are also taking a couple of days off here and there. All of thishas slowed the pace of work down tremendously. People take it a little easier, say hello and how are you? and have a good weekend! a little more than they usually do. It's nice.

But really, what puts me in the Xmas spirit when I'm in Singapore is the fact that the rain, it raineth every day. We've had sporadic, futile bursts of sunshine, during which I glower at the sky because, hello, monsoon season, didn't you get the memo? Then the artful gray canopy asserts itself and all is right in my world.

Actually, the monsoon weather puts me in mind of Chicago in the fall, which is not quite Xmas season (you have to let the stores at least get over the Thanksgiving milestone before Xmas truly kicks in). However, since I've never spent Xmas itself in Chicago but done plenty of pre-Xmas prep there (mmmmm ... Marshall Field's in the first week of December ... ), the vibe is all right. Rain, red-and-green decor, massive sales, Xmas jingles everywhere you go --- Singapore and Chicago have that in common, the key difference being that in Singapore, I can still wear slippers out in the rain, like I'm doing today, and not worry about my feet freezing off.

There won't be much Xmas shopping for me today, though, besides the tinsel. We've got a room at a hotel with one of those fishbowl swimming pools, so I hope that the rain will pause long enough for me to slip into the pool and see what is feels like to be swimming way up high above street level. What with dinner with T's UBC friends at Lau Pa Sat on Monday, dinner at home with the family on Tuesday (followed by a brief Borders excursion), T having a quick photo shoot with Sprite on Wednesday, the D&D game at Dan's on Thursday, a fabulous Japanese buffet dinner last night and this hotel stay tonight --- *deep breath* --- I've spent hardly any time at home this week. It's very surreal.

* in the sense that you never quite see them coming, you know it's going to rain, but you don't know when, and you think, I have enough time to nip between here and there before it rains, and then of course it rains and you're stuck.

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