Thursday, November 11

SUV Alert, Veteran's Day, and Christmas Gifts

I'm pretty liberal in most ways of life.  Included in my liberal mentality is environmentalism.  I hate SUVs.

When M and I first started dating, I kept my liberal view points that weren't quite such a priority on the back burner.  I didn't want to freak him out because he seemed a bit more conservative than I am.  

Did I mention that I hate SUVs?  I think they're a waste of money, they guzzle up gasoline (and their drivers complain about gas prices, well helloooo? It's largely their fault prices are so high.  8 miles to the gallon probably does suck,) and most people who drive SUVs don't know how to drive them.

 So in recent months, M has pointed out his distaste for SUVs (after me only mentioning it once or twice).  Hands down every time we go to Mexican at Cinco de Mayo, he makes a comment about "f-ing SUVs" when we pull into the parking lot.  
So I'm still at home after my surgery because I can't drive anywhere.  He called me after he left for work with an "SUV Alert."  He had passed a side road off Franklin Rd where an SUV had backed out of their driveway and the woman driving it was inept and managed to get the SUV stuck while backing out.  As a result, she was blocking the entire road and was standing around her car trying to figure out how to remedy her idiocy.  It was an amusing Thursday morning phone call. 

Even if I weren't out of work for my surgery, I'd be off today for Veteran's Day.  I understand the importance of Veteran's Day, I definitely do.  My grandfathers were both veterans and I know many people who have fought in several wars since WWII.  It is a huge commitment/decision to serve your country.  I do, however, disagree with people who have bumper stickers on their cars for this particular "War on Terror"--or as I like to call it "War so Bush could finish up what his father was unable to accomplish/Americans think they should be world police/we need cheaper gas" --that say "Stand behind our troops of stand in front of them."
Now, like I said, I think it's honorable that someone would want to serve their country and fight to maintain the wonderful freedoms and liberties we have as Americans.  I don't, however, support this war.  I don't think it's being fought to defend our freedom.

I have disagreed with this war since it started.  That doesn't mean  I haven't supported our troops.  My senior year of high school, I worked to earn my Girl Scout Gold Award (pretty much the equivalent of the Eagle award in Boy Scouts.)  My fellow troop member, Katie, and I went door to door on Music Row and did drives to collect CDs to send overseas to the troops in Iraq.  Once we had collected them, we drove to Fort Campbell and donated them.  As a thanks, we received 101st Airborne t-shirts and flags.  It was pretty cool.

I respect our troops and believe in fighting when it's right.  World War II was an honorable and essential war.  It was inevitable, and unfortunately, lives were lost.  But it was for a good cause and to maintain peace and democracy throughout the world.  No war since then has been crucial.  Well, maybe Korea.   But Vietnam, Persian Gulf War and Iraq/Afghanistan War have killed people who should not have lost their lives.

Anyway, that's my soapbox for that.  Last year, Katie and I celebrated the night before Veteran's Day (since I was off work) drinking and setting up our Christmas tree.  Yesterday, while I sat at home, I worked on Christmas lists a little bit.  I'm still struggling with what to buy M.  He's a guy, so that automatically makes it difficult.  On top of being a guy, he's a guy that doesn't buy a lot of unneeded things.  He doesn't go shopping regularly and buy himself stuff.  I do it all the time, so it's a foreign concept to me.  

Last year around Christmas when we started dating, he told me that he couldn't remember the last "non-practical" Christmas gift he received.  So in other words, he mostly gets stuff for his house/yard.  Boring!  I want to get him something fun that he wouldn't necessarily buy for himself.  One issue I'm having, is we haven't discusses price points.  He obviously makes more money than me because I make practically nothing.  Now, that being said, I have an amount in mind that I'd like to spend, but I don't want to spend that and then he feel badly if he doesn't spend much at all, or vice versa, I'd feel horrible if he went to town and spent too much, while I didn't spend more than I have in mind.  

So I've come up with some great ideas.  Some of the items on my make-shift list are purely fun while some are practical for both the home and himself., but unlikely he'd buy it on his own.  I would be less vague and tell you what I have in mind since I don't think he reads my blog, but knowing my luck, he'd read it the one entry I talk about what I want to buy him.  I also need to give my mom some ideas for his stocking he'll be getting on Christmas morning, but I'm not sure what she's wanting to spend.  It's all so tricky.

I'm also trying to think outside the box and come up with some creative ideas for my brother's presents.  I could follow the x-mas list to a t, but I kinda want to think outside the box because he likes to do surprises.  Last year was so much fun because we bought each other a ticket to see the Tennessee Repertory Theatre's presentation of A Christmas Story, our all-time favorite Christmas movie, at TPAC.

Mom and Dad will be easier.  A good fall back for Mom is books and for Dad is wine.  They're both junkies to their own addictions.  I like buying Dad wine because I enjoy trying to find wine he might not've had before, but it's becoming harder and harder to find a way to wrap wine.  Mom's now so addicted to her Kindle, she doesn't even want real, tangible books anymore.  But I think buying her gift cards for Christmas is kinda lame.  I'm eager to get started with my shopping.  I love buying Christmas gifts for people, possibly more than I like receiving gifts.  I really like watching loved ones open the present that I either picked from their list, or genuinely put forth the effort to think of specifically for them.  It makes me all warm and happy on Christmas morning.

Ashleigh on my lap before one of our senior pub crawls
So, I suppose I will spend some more time today narrowing down my final decision about what I should buy everyone because I need to started budgeting with only 2 paychecks before Christmas, and one of those will be going toward rent and a potential night in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge to see my Knoxville loves.  One of my sorority sisters, and first friends I made at UT, Ashleigh, studied abroad in Australia her sophomore year, and while she was abroad, met Florian, with whom she fell in love.  They spent the next 3 or so years of college working out spending Christmases/Summers/and mini-breaks with each other.  After she graduated last December, she got a job with Nokia (with whom she'd done 2 internships) and moved to Berlin.  She's much closer to Flo, but much further away from us.  She's coming home for 2 weeks for Christmas, so our college group is trying to organize a weekend cabin event.  It should be a lot of fun, but I'm not sure when my family is going to Alabama for Christmas, so if I get to go to the cabin, it'll only be for one night.  I'm very excited to see her, she's one of my favorites!  So I'm factoring that into my Christmas spending as well.  I love to spend money at Christmas on others, though, so it should be no problem at all!

Hope y'all have started thinking about gifts.  I like to get most, if not all, my shopping done before December so that I can actually enjoy the atmosphere and joy of the season because the traditions of the Christmas season, make it my all time favorite holiday!


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