Pam took me to dinner last Thursday. It was a birthday dinner. Yes, this is several weeks AFTER the fact, but busy lives and heavy colds prevent immediate birthday celebrations.
We went to IHOP. Three words: Egg Nog Pancakes.
I presented her with a Christmas present. "You didn't have to," she exclaimed. Of course I didn't, but I did because I wanted to.
After dinner, we trotted over to the Barnes and Noble Bookstore so she could get some of the books on her son's and his wife's Christmas lists.
After 15 years in that location, this Barnes and Noble is closing effective December 31st. I spent hours in that store making lists, buying the occasional book or magazine. It was so hard to stand in a book store where everything was 50% off and not try to figure out how to spend some money. Books...Look at all the books! The only thing that saved me is that I just don't have disposable income in any form right now. The fact that I must have 4 to 5 dozen unread books at home never entered my mind.
I decided the best course of action was to look for Discworld books and then be glad when I have read the ones they have for sale. As it turned out, they had 3 I have not read. I almost bought them, but I can't. I can't spend money I don't physically have right now. Until this financial crunch is eased, I can't spend money on any extras.
Pam saw me standing in front of Terry Pratchett's books and asked what I was looking at. I explained and she said, "I need to get you a Christmas present. Pick one." She started laughing at my rather startled look. "No, I'm serious. This is perfect. You'll get something you really want." So, I picked one of the books I don't have.
Once in the car, she apologized for not wrapping the book. Then she said, "Wait. Where's the paper from my gift?" Unfortunately, the item I got her was just a wee bit smaller than the paperback book she gave me. The end "wrapping" result is, however, quite funny.
If you're a "certain" age, you save wrapping paper. Don't look at me as if you don't. You possibly save the bows, too. If the paper came off the gift nicely, you saved it to be reused. We recycled before that's what it was called. It was just what was done. You were being wise. We gathered all the paper which could not be reused after unwrapping gifts, stuffed it in brown paper bags and, at the first chance to go to the burn barrel, Dad burned it. He never burned it in the furnace. That just wasn't done. I honestly don't know why but it went to the burn barrel. I remember reading some article saying never burn your Christmas paper in your fireplace as the printing inks can release toxic fumes when burned. That wasn't a factor in my youth.
So here's to friends, pancakes and the ultimate in recycling. I saved the bow for use on something else and put the wrapping paper in my recycling bin. I'm ever so grateful that the recycling takes this kind of paper now. I don't have much but it makes me feel good to recycle it. If only I could have a burn barrel, however.
By the way, this is the book I picked.
Beverage: My last bag of English Breakfast tea