In this book, Stephanie Plum is having trouble getting her Christmas preparations completed because she is troubled by supernatural beings, spontaneous combustion, and hordes of angry elves. You can’t argue with that, can you? I’m having a party on Sunday, and if the house is not clean, I intend to claim that I was delayed by spontaneous combustion and angry elves.

For today’s song, “Marshmallow World“, you will need a big band. If you don’t have one handy, you can hear this recorded by Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra or Sammy Davis Jr. or Johnny Mathis or the Cheetah Girls, or see the decorations inspired by the song at the White House. Or, what the heck, you can play it on the guitar. Here are the chords.

This is a surreal song about the landscape being made up of marshmallows and whipped cream, a little nightmarish if you listen closely — so don’t. It has a really catchy tune. You can hum it as you race around doing holiday preparations.

And a lot of people are doing that. We had a customer the other day who had to have four tries to count out $1.50 for laminating. I completely understood. She had so many things going on in her head that there wasn’t room for the counting process to take place.

Today is my final shopping day. This is another of my personal holiday deadlines. I don’t like to set foot in a store (except for my workplace)after the 15th. Sometimes I have to, of course. “Personal deadline” doesn’t excuse running out of cat food. But my plan is that between dropping #2 son off at school and going to work, I will take care of the groceries and the stockings and any lingering stuff that I haven’t done yet, and then be free of all transactions (from that side of the counter) until New Year’s.

I am making something, though. There is a secret item that someone has been wanting, and I had ordered a kit, and it finally arrived yesterday. Past the deadline, but I think it can be done with secrecy and dispatch.

My boys are working on bracelets like the one in this picture. It’s the blue thing to the left of the camel. #2 son made it and hung it on the tree, with a snowman gift tag attached. In the olden days, the Christmas tree had all the presents hung on it (before rampant materialism made that impractical) and was unveiled to the children on Christmas Eve. I don’t think that #2 son is trying to revive this custom, but I do not have any other explanation.

Some of us are old enough to recognize this medium as macrame, but the kids call them hemp bracelets or friendship bracelets. They make necklaces, too. To the right you will find the stuff they make them from.

Here are directions if you want to try this yourself. This link is for a simple one. There are many more complicated patterns, but I often have trouble following them from a page. Let us not discuss my attempts to make a Turk’s Head knot the other evening. Suffice it to say that there are lots of pages with directions for a Turk’s Head knot if you want to try one.

At the craft fair this fall, I saw some of these things made with leather, so I bought the boys some leather string (?) in hopes that they would make one for me with the leather, but they find it hard to work with. Or possibly girlie. Who knows.

A final shopping tip for you: free weights are sold by the pound. Like potatoes. This surpised me. They still seem easier to buy than car stereos.