Let’s Make Matchbox Valentines!

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Who wants to make teeny tiny fastidious little matchbox Valentines with tiny bits of paper and tape and glue, paint and and Mod Podge! I do! I do! Nobody else does but that’s why you come here, right? To imagine what it would be like and vicariously live through me. Well, guess what? I love tiny tedious projects like this. The more mess the better. And this one was a doozy.

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First, I painted the boxes. It’s a bit of a sticky mess trying to paint them while holding the box with your fingers and getting the paint smudged by your fingers and all over yourself. Of course I should just paint one side at a time and wait for it to dry before moving onto the next but WHO DOES THAT? Not me. I just smudge my way forward.

Most people would cuss and get frustrated at this process but I don’t. It’s like getting on the same freeway and cussing out the traffic everyday. Why bother? It’s the same traffic everyday. Nothing changes? Why not just pop in a podcast, accept that you are going to be staring at break lights for the next hour and just chill? That’s my motto. Pop in a podcast and chill.

It does get easier the more you do it.

Not that I’m an expert at painting but I don’t get that frustrated anymore. I do think my painting skills or choice of paintbrushes needs some work.

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After I painted the boxes completely (and let it dry) and then painted flowers and decorations on top of that, I printed out some fiddly little valentine illustrations and got to work cutting them out.

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Why, yes, I am quite insane. I love to fiddle! Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle. Sticky tape sticking everywhere and cutting it to small tiny pieces with my trust exacto knife! I need a new self-cutting mat. This one is well-used.

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I second-guessed my color choices and didn’t cut everything out perfectly but that’s okay because I am NOT a perfectionist. Stick it and go with it!

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I’m actually quite proud of these suckers. Now who to gift them to?

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Leave a comment and I’ll pick five readers and send them out like old times via snail mail.

I can’t promise they’ll make it by Valentines’s Day but maybe you don’t mind. :)

My Parent’s First Christmas with Me

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I celebrated Christmas for the first time with my parents this year. That sounds really funny coming from a very conservative Christian family but it is actually the case. I grew up not celebrating Christmas for reasons of it having pagan origins. It’s something I’ve been explaining unsuccessfully to people all my life. I do celebrate Christmas now but my parent’s have never been a part of it until this year. And if you ask them they will just say they happened to be there. They weren’t celebrating.

It was a little funny when Payam’s mom walked in and greeted my parents with a hearty “Merry Christmas” in her thick Persian accent and they just stood there smiling, not really having anything to say back. As the kids say, “Awkward.” Later when I showed my dad the little village advent calendar I made, and he didn’t know what an advent calendar was, Payam looked at me incredulously. How can an almost seventy-year old man not know what an advent calendar is?!  I didn’t really know what to say. I guess they don’t get out much? The Persians don’t celebrate the religious aspects of Christmas either but they at least know what an advent calendar is. So it was funny. But also really really sweet. I love that my parents can take everything in with open hearts and minds. They won’t start celebrating Christmas anytime soon but they don’t judge.

After barely making it through a family-less Thanksgiving in Las Vegas I was super happy to be surrounded by family. We don’t have a big family but we do have each other and when my parents get along so well with Payam’s mom it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

We had a nice dinner with a few wins and a few misses. The instant pot tri-tip roast was a bust. I used Pioneer Woman’s recipe and I think the red wine is just not for me. It tasted like boiled meat. Blaghk.  Next year I might skip meat all together. Crazy, I know!

I haven’t talked about it much here but I am embracing plant-based living more and more and have been threatening to go vegan in five years. Five years is a long time from now so there’s not too much pressure. Everyone rolls their eyes at me and I know I’ve been getting more and more hippie dippy with my obsessive dog-walking podcast listening but it just seems to me like there is more and more evidence that meat is killing us. Of course I’m having a hard time giving up spicy sausage and lovely cheeses so we’ll see how all that goes.

I made butternut squash soup as a side and it was soooooo delicious! Oven-baked Brussel sprouts and cauliflower were a hit too. You can’t really go wrong with olive oil, salt and pepper and forty minutes in the oven. Better than chips, I say.

After dinner we opened presents. It seemed like we opened presents for days. I am vowing to cut back on gift-giving next year. The kids are so blasé when they open gift after gift. I think I went wrong when I started buying little things in November. I thought I was saving money by starting early and spreading it out but I just got so caught up in the fun of giving, I never stopped.  Next year I’m just going to buy plane tickets or useful electronics. We don’t need any more cutesy mugs.  We could start a mug museum we have so many mugs. It’s really sad that things have gotten this bad.  Next year will be different.

But all in all it was a very nice Christmas. Really at the end of the day it’s just about being together. Every year I learn a little more about how to make it better.

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That’s the fun of growing up, right?