Category Archives: Christmas

Faster than Santa’s sleigh

I spent most of the second half of yesterday preparing more than two dozen Christmas cards. I had to get them done before the end of this week so they arrive in their destinations before Christmas.

I sent Peggy and Caitlyn’s cards in a FedEx envelope to Norton. I was shocked to learn the envelope arrived yesterday. I dropped the envelope in the FedEx box on 7th Street in Hays across from Crista’s office Tuesday afternoon. I selected two-day delivery, so that meant Thursday.

Yet by 1700 yesterday, I discovered via e-mail the envelope had been delivered. Peggy told me that they came. She was waiting to open her card until Caitlyn got home from Ottawa Saturday.

The FedEx I sent to St. Joseph’s Academy with cards for Brenda and Dorinda also arrived a day early. However, that wasn’t so shocking, since Baton Rouge is much easier to access than Norton.

Both envelopes went from Hays to the sorting facility in Salina, which is off of Interstate 135 between the exits at Schilling and Water Well Roads. From Salina, they got on the plane to Memphis.

From there, the St. Joseph’s envelope flew straight to New Orleans, then was driven to Baton Rouge. Easy enough.

The one to the Cox residence took a more serpentine route. From Memphis, the envelope flew to Omaha’s Eppley Airfield, which is on the Missouri River on the Nebraska/Iowa state line, about 3 km east of TD Ameritrade Ballpark, home of the College World Series.

From Omaha, the envelope made its way to North Platte, 283 miles (456 km) to the west on Interstate 80. It wasn’t driven there, because it would have been easier to peel off I-80 at Elm Creek, drive south on US 183 into Kansas, then take K-383 to US 36 to Norton. It was flown there, but North Platte’s airport is nowhere near big enough to handle the large planes FedEx uses flying from Memphis. I’d like to know what kind of plane ferried the envelope west.

The final journey from North Platte to Norton was on the ground, meaning the driver got to go on some very narrow highways though quaint towns like Elwood and Arapahoe.

When FedEx delivers to Russell, it goes through Salina then goes on the truck there for delivery. UPS has a sort facility in Hays about 2 km west of Hays High and not too far from the Hays airport, so it goes through there.

Peggy and I were both amazed at the speed with which FedEx got the delivery done. For the record, it was 28 hours from drop off to delivery at the Cox residence.

I’m guessing the cards I mailed will take a little bit longer. The cards heading to Dan Borne’s residence in Baton Rouge will arrive for certain by Saturday because I used Priority Mail, but the others? Some in Louisiana may take a week. That, combined with rapidly rising costs, is why many Americans hate the U.S. Postal Service. I don’t hate them for certain, but I do have my beefs occasionally.

I had to mail four cards to the Borne residence–one for Dan and Lisette, one for Elizabeth, one for Rebecca, plus a birthday card for Rebecca, since her birthday is next Friday. Coincidentally, the Bornes’ youngest child, David, was born 21 December 1983, so Rebecca’s seventh birthday party never happened. Or it happened at Our Lady of the Lake hospital.

I went back and forth on sending cards to quite a few people, but I didn’t say no to anyone I listed originally. And then I thought about those I missed while driving today. That happens.

If you happen to receive a card from me in the coming days, please complain in the comments. Or text me with your complaints at 785-324-2453. Have a great day.

Hooked on Hallmark Channel

In a couple of hours, I hope to be on the road to Kansas City, where I am planning to meet up with Dawn and Robb Amos at Buffalo Wild Wings. I haven’t seen them since my birthday (Oct. 13), and I feel bad about not seeing them in so long. However, with all that happened at 1:15 a.m. July 18, maybe it’s best I stayed away from there for awhile. Then again, not everyone there is against me.

By driving the four hours east, I will stop watching The Hallmark Channel for the time being.

I have hardly, if ever, watched Hallmark Channel until this month, when all of a sudden I have been hooked on Christmas movies. I have never, ever been one to get into the Christmas spirit, so why, all of a sudden, at 39, am I now hooked on Christmas movies?

I actually started watching Christmas movies on Lifetime this month. One, Last Flight for Christmas, featured Mayim Bialik of The Big Bang Theory, a very talented actress who also holds  PhD from UCLA.

Mayim is overshadowed on Big Bang by Kaley Cuoco and two of the male leads, Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons, but I have always been enchanted by hertalents, going back to her days as the titular character on Blossom, which ran on NBC when I was in high school. Bialik turned 40 earlier this month, and she’s looking great.

The other Lifetime Christmas movie I liked, Last Chance for Christmas, featured Hilarie Burton, best known as Peyton Sawyer (later Scott) from One Tree Hill. Hilarie later played Sara Ellis on White Collar, where she was Neal Caffrey’s love interest (Matt Bomar, who played Neal, came out as homosexual during the series’ run). Hilarie has cut back on her acting roles in order to take care of the son she is raising with husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Jeffrey, you are a lucky guy. Very lucky.

Three of the movies on Hallmark Channel I have enjoyed starred Alicia Witt, a striking redhead who first came to prominence in the mid-1990s as Zoey Woodbine, the daughter of Cybill Shepherd’s character on Cybill, CBS’ critically acclaimed sitcom.

I knew Alicia played on that series, but the first time I really got a good look at her was when she played Detective Nola Falacci for five episodes on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Witt was cast as Falacci as a fill-in for Julianne Nicholson, who was on maternity leave. Nicholson’s absence was explained by her character, Detective Megan Wheeler, being out of the United States.

Falacci was cast as a cop willing to bend the rules to get her way, and Witt played it perfectly. She was paired with Chris Noth’s iconic L&O franchise character, Detective Mike Logan.

Witt was great in all three Hallmark movies she starred in. The first I saw, and the most recent to be released, was I’m Not Ready for Christmas, where Witt played Holly Nolan, an advertising executive who is married to the job. Her life changes when she fails to show up at a music recital in which her niece, Anna, sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Anna sees Santa Claus–played wonderfully by Dan Lauria (Jack Arnold on The Wonder Years)–and wishes that her Aunt Holly would stop fibbing. Santa casts the spell on Holly, and sure enough, she starts telling truth, often abrasively to her co-workers. Holly is also trying to win the love of Anna’s music teacher, played by Geoff Stults. Brigid Brannah (Army Wives) plays Anna’s mom.

The second Witt feature was A Very Merry Mix-Up. Witt’s character, Alice, is engaged in the beginning of the film and plans to go to visit her new fiance’s family, but he is stuck in town on business, and Alice flies alone to where his family lives. In the airport, Alice happens to run into a man who spills coffee on her blouse, and she is aghast because her luggage was late in arriving and she has no clean clothes. Matt offers Alice a ride into town, but they are involved in a single-car accident. Alice meets Matt’s family, and strangely enough, he has a brother with the same name as Alice’s fiance.

Witt plays a department store Santa Claus in Christmas at Cartwright’s, which I saw for the first time last Saturday. In this one, Witt plays a single mom who takes the Santa job to help her daughter, Becky, have a Merry Christmas. Witt’s character is so good at being Santa it drives record traffic to Cartwright’s Department Store in Chicago. Will Witt be able to outwit (no pun intended) the good boys and girls?

The other Hallmark movie I really got into was Ice Sculpture Christmas, starring Rachel Boston, whom I loved in American Dreams and In Plain Sight. Boston is really talented and I wish there were larger roles for her. I hope that will come to fruition.

Right now, Hallmark is showing Crown for Christmas, starring Danica McKellar, best known to my generation as Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years. Danica, like Mayim Bialik, holds a degree from UCLA. Danica’s specialty is math, and she has released books on the subject.

I’m hoping to leave no later than 9:30. I would like to get in and check in to the hotel, the Courtyard at Tiffany Springs, by 1:45. That way, I don’t miss Countdown at Buffalo Wild Wings starting at 2. If I’m a few minutes late, so be it.