2015 Gift Guide – Mega Post, Part Two

Thanks, guys, for clicking and buying through Apt. 11d. Let me throw up another quick post, before returning back to my article. Ah, virtual shopping is so much better than writing.

  1. Ian wants a Bongo Drum, but this green ukulele is pretty sweet.
  2. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is an OCD-miracle.
  3. Jonah is going to Germany this spring with his German class. That’s his big present this year. We’ll wrap up a bunch of travel gear as a gift. We got this Shave Kit  for a fraction of the price at Macy’s.
  4. I’m making tiny canvas prints for my neices with their artsy, non-selfie, Instagram pictures. If you use Canvaspop, make sure you search for a coupon. They’re always half off.
  5. Steve likes to pretend that he’s not a Wall Street stiff by wearing hipster t-shirts on the weekend.
  6. This is probably the first year that I haven’t bought a video game for someone. Jonah is still addicted to last year’s purchase — FIFA 16 & SteelBook (Amazon Exclusive) – Xbox One.

Alright, time’s up. More tomorrow. The oldies are here.

27 thoughts on “2015 Gift Guide – Mega Post, Part Two

    1. When I was a young law firm associate, I went to a Cyndi Lauper concert on a Friday night, and I dyed my hair purple. (I think we will all agree, purple hair is entirely appropriate at a Cyndy Lauper concert.) It was supposed to be washable, but it wasn’t really. I washed my hair ten or fifteen times over the weekend. By Monday, it was close to a color found in nature, but unfortunately not the same color it had been on Friday. Fortunately, most of the partners don’t actually pay much attention to the associates, so no one really noticed, except my secretary, who laughed at me, but we were friends, so it was okay.


      1. Alas, that was 30 years ago, and people didn’t routinely bring cameras to social events. Nowadays, I would have put it on facebook or at least snapchat.


  1. Where in Germany are they going? We’re planning to go to western Germany, Belgium and Netherlands. Wish I could get out east to Berlin but I don’t think we’ll make it this trip.


  2. I will buy beers (or other appropriate beverage) for any regular 11D commenters who come to Berlin!

    Thanks to the miracle of 200-mph trains, it’s less than four and a half hours from Cologne to Berlin. Downtown-to-downtown, that’s faster than flying. It’s even possible to visit Berlin from western Germany as a day trip: early train arrives at 11:09; book your Reichstag entry in advance for, say, 11:45 or noon and walk over from the train station, waving to the Chancellor’s office as you go by; after the Reichstag — which gives you great views of the city and is well annotated — follow the old course of the Wall to the Brandenburg Gate. From there, you can either go left down Unter den Linden to a clutch of world-class museums on the aptly named Museum Island, right and then back around if you have an afternoon concert at the Philharmonie, or straight ahead (again along the former course of the Wall) past the memorial to Europe’s murdered Jews and thence to Potsdamer Platz. From any of these, it’s easy to get to what most interests you.

    Anyway, that’s just a start. Point is that even a brief visit to Berlin is well worth the time invested. Plus a trip across the country at 200 mph is quite the experience.


    1. Doug, the next time I go to Berlin (and there will be a next time!) I will definitely contact you!!! But we’ve been, and been to all those places except the Philharmonie. We stayed in the Radisson next to the Berliner Dom because I got a decent deal and I like my luxuries. 🙂
      This trip we will have the kids (the girl needs to go to the Anne Frank house because John Green). And we’ve decided on Belgium because Belgium is famous for 4 things: waffles, chocolate, beer and French fries, and those are all of our favorite things. I’m not sure Berlin is do-able this trip. 😦


      1. You’re ready for Advanced Berlin! That one depends very much on your personal interests. Philharmonie has some lovely spaces, and there’s an immense amount of music in the city that is very accessible. You can even visit Moscow if you go up to Frankfurter Allee.

        The Fault in Our Stars, gah. But there’s Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum, and rijsttafel at Indonesian restaurants, so that’s all ok.

        Look me up next time for sure!


      2. My husband and I liked the cold war history. We did a bike tour of East Berlin. I’d like to do the Mauerweg for sure. We also didn’t spend as much time in West Berlin, and we never got to the Tiergarten. We made it as far as the Brandenburg Gate. We also never made it into the Pergamon. Too much to do!
        Damn, I need to go back!


      3. “I got a decent deal and I like my luxuries.”

        Isn’t middle age terrible?

        I hear people raving about backpacking across Europe and it sounds MISERABLE.

        A conveniently located hotel is a marvelous thing.


  3. I went to West Berlin in August of 1989 and so got to see the Wall in all its “glory” before it came down. I loved Berlin; I remember a great vegetarian restaurant and a great blues bar. I stayed in a hostel with a friend and there was a shower stall in the middle of the room.

    I really want to buy that decluttering book for my sister and her family, but it might be taken the wrong way. Wonder if I could figure out a way to sneak it into their house.


    1. “but it might would be taken the wrong way”


      From a cursory reading, the premise of the book seems to be that one person is fully in charge of the space. That is so far from my situation that I am enjoying the life-changing magic of not buying that book.


      1. Yes to all of that. When I did decluttering some years ago, I got rid of nearly all my decluttering/organization books. I kept Fly Lady, though.

        I also agree about the problem of when you are but a single member of a household. I look around, and only a fraction of the stuff in my house belongs to me. Heck, I don’t even know what half of it is or who it belongs to.


      2. “but it might would be taken the wrong way” : yes, absolutely.

        There’s a line in that movie with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini where he complains that his ex-wife dealt with clutter by just buying more containers to put it in. (He can’t remember what store she likes, and Julia says, “The Container Store”?) I try to avoid buying new containers if I possibly can. No way around buying bookshelves, though.


  4. Our C has been doing ukulele for a while now, and that is a very nice beginner ukulele. You can buy a real musical instrument for around $50. Add in an electronic tuner, a bag, Ukulele for Dummies and maybe 21 Songs in 6 days, and a motivated kid can get a very long way all by themselves even without lessons, but you’re starting to hit $100 at that point. There are many, many ukulele tutorials on youtube and a lot of good information at the blog Got a Ukulele. (I’m particularly partial to the LOTR Shire theme and the Rohan theme on ukulele.)

    I put C into guitar lessons a couple years ago and then she bought herself a ukulele and started doing just ukulele. I finally gave up on the guitar lessons and switched her over to ukulele lessons. It’s been very fun.

    There are ukulele groups everywhere these days, at least in the big cities.


    We haven’t been to that group’s monthly meeting (maybe next summer?), but I LOVE their t-shirts.


    One of these days, I’d like to get the kids a thumb piano/kalimba. They have a bunch of them on Amazon–very inexpensive, fun, and yet produce a nice sound.


  5. I gave the Kondo book to my daughter last year. Not for advice on decluttering, but because it’s so sweetly nutty. There is a point at which you realize she does care about the emotional state of objects. Folding clothing the wrong way causes sadness.

    I wonder what it’s like living with someone who sincerely wishes to get rid of most of your belongings? Actually, much of the book deals with the emotional side of dealing with such OCD tendencies–how to relate to normal people like relatives.

    I cannot agree with her about getting rid of books. Yes, this place would be much neater if we didn’t keep books. But it would be so lifeless!


    1. Although by searching for her online, I find she has a new book coming out in January. The Amazon description promises She also provides advice on frequently asked questions, such as whether to keep “necessary” items that may not bring you joy. With guidance on specific categories including kitchen tools, cleaning supplies, hobby goods, and digital photos, this comprehensive companion is sure to spark joy in anyone who wants to simplify their life.

      I boggle at the thought of “decluttering things” which have no 3-D presence. This is off the scale.


    2. “I cannot agree with her about getting rid of books. Yes, this place would be much neater if we didn’t keep books.”

      Shirley Jackson has some great bits about this stuffed into the margins of the moving house story at the beginning of Raising Demons.


    1. Merry Christmas!

      Three members of our family (I’m not going to say who) got Star Trek pjs for Christmas this year.


  6. Now we get to try out all the card and board games. We are not a “cooperative game” family, although we do like games in which temporary, strategic alliances can take place.

    “Don’t do that! If you do, Dad will win!”
    “I chose to make this move because it will hurt my brother. I’m going to lose anyway, but at least I can take him down with me.”


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