Saturday, December 14, 2002
Dear Diary:

Years ago, I signed a mutual non-aggression pact with any spiders who might happen to be in the house during the winter. Any other season, I scoop them up in a container while making gagging and ick sounds and throw them out into the elements. But winter is certain death and spiders are helpful creatures, so they get a reprieve of sorts from me during that season.

Mostly the one or two I get every winter choose to live up in the peak of the cathedral ceiling upstairs, but this year we have a spider who has decided it will live right by where we put our Christmas tree. I have tried to coax her into the highest part of the ceiling, but she always returns to the spot by our bookcases.

I know.  She's huge and she half scares me, truth be told.So this year we have Ethel, The Christmas Spider.

Last night, as we were decorating our tree, the spousal unit decided that if Ethel was going to live by this symbol of the season, then he would add a festive air to her web by putting a few strands of tinsel into it.

Ethel did NOT take kindly to his version of Trading Spaces and promptly went to work on the tinsel. Within half an hour she had cut most of it out of her web. She left two strands. Clearly, Ethel Has Standards and goes for a more subdued Christmas motif.

I'm sure I speak for us all when I say that I can respect that.

As my three loyal readers know, our family has one very goofy holiday tradition. In the 25 years we have lived in this house, the spousal unit has never, ever bought a Christmas tree from a lot.

Me, I have no problem with commercial Christmas trees. As I see it, all the years they are growing, they add oxygen to the planet. They create jobs, and as long as there's demand for them, marginal land will be reforested. Large cities such as Montreal collect them, chip them, and turn them into compost. Lots of benefits.

But the spousal unit feels that because we live in the middle of the woods, we should use either part of a tree that has died late in the fall from something such as a wind storm, or we should only harvest a tree that would die for another reason.

This means that over the years we have had some truly pitiful trees. They have been a source of great hilarity for the daughter and I as we load them with decorations to hide the fact that they are, well, branchally challenged.

This is so not like our usual Christmas trees.This year's tree, a small spruce which had started to tip over towards the road as it leaned ever closer to the light, is an aberration for us. Frankly, this tree is alarmingly full and lush by our standards. Both the spousal unit and I felt discombobulated as we surveyed it in its stand.

In this household we are used to shoveling decorations on to a tree to hide enormous gaps. A tree with no gaps? Why, why, it feels like a heresy of some sort.

So we shoveled it full of decorations, anyhow, just so it would at least FEEL like one of our "normal" Christmas trees, even if it doesn't exactly LOOK like one of our trees.

I'm sure Ethel, she of the subtle Christmas motifs, is rolling her eyes every time she looks its way.


(And yes, that grey smudge just to the left of Garfield's head is Ethel and if you look closely, you can see her festive, holiday tinsel.)

P.S.--If you're doing any of your Christmas shopping at Amazon this year, why not do it through Blue Sphere? Five per cent of what you spend will be donated by Amazon to Blue Sphere, and will be given to the Foster Parents Plan of Canada.

Yep, you get to make a large corporation cough up five per cent of its profits AND at no cost to yourself you get to help some poor kids out. What's not to love about that, eh?

Blue Sphere, moral materialism

NEWSFLASH! Now you get the chance at Canuckistani Hot Chocolate for getting the word out about Blue Sphere. Post a link and you're in the contest. Whatcha waiting for? Huh? HUH?

Old Drivel - New Drivel

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Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -

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