Season of Giving

As I mentioned last week, winter is here, and this far north that comes with a seriously lopsided day/night schedule. These days, the sun doesn’t rise until almost 10 o’clock and is setting by 3:30. It makes mornings difficult for a guy who dislikes them to begin with and has always associated “still dark” with “too damn early”.

It’s the start of not-crazy Christmas shopping season, which I’ll admit hasn’t gotten off to a great start for me yet. Maybe I’m thrown off by not going “home” for Christmas for the first time, or the fact that I now have to shop for an additional three people, one I don’t particularly like, one who is kind of hard to get a read on, and one who hasn’t been here for months.

It’s also treat-making time in the Rix household. We’ve spent some of this week making gingerbread cookies (in a variety of unique shapes such as lobsters, dogsleds, and Millennium Falcons as well as the more traditional trees, bells, and angels), rum balls, and other holiday goodies. I learned that using cookie cutters is not as easy at it looks, and I ended up with more than a couple unrecognizable shapes.

Of course, the holidays are all about giving (or so we are constantly told), and I do find myself donating in some capacity this time of year. I got the warm-fuzzies for giving some money to Wikipedia, which is completely donation-run, and has the task of maintaining pretty much the sum of all human knowledge on the Internet. Seriously, support them.

I also gave of my flesh this week. Well, blood, technically. While on a standard winter grocery run (more important now that the gardens and so forth are done for the year) Buff and I went to the local blood bank to donate. By sheer coincidence, we both have that extremely rare “O–” blood type ideal for baby transfusions, so we make a habit of hitting the blood drives and banks when we have chance. I have rarely had a bad experience donating, though the waiting can be bothersome. However, for whatever reason (I suspect I was really damn cold, and perhaps the circulation wasn’t as good as it should be) when they stuck me this time, the needle just missed, and the blood ended up all down my elbow instead of in the bag. “Oh.” I said, as casually as I could manage, blood seeping through the compress and onto the arm of the chair. I saw Anna (who refused to donate, and probably will forever now) tense up slightly, the closest thing to fear I think I have seen out of any of the Rixes.

To the poor nurse’s credit (they are nurses, right?), she apologized profusely while she bandaged up that arm, and made a little Christmas-y bow out of the gauze for the other arm. Because, yes, my blood is that important that we are going to try again, even if the other elbow has a less-defined vein. But this time it went smoothly, and I walked out of there with bonus cookies and juice.

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(Katrina probably shouldn’t look into a career as a photographer, however)

Business is still rather slow at work, which seems baffling to the management, even though I remember the exact same thing last year at this time. I feel the worst for the seasonal hires, who are effectively laid off until the unseen corporate honchos decide to give us more work hours. At least work is still perking along for Katrina, who has been working at the telephone company in Anchorage far longer than her union bosses had expected. When she signed with the union, they told her she may be asked to go out of town for months at a time, depending on the jobs they sent her on. It’s good to have her around, though we sometimes don’t see much of each other when I have a slew of night shifts.

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