Friday, December 30, 2011

Channeling My Mother??.................

As you can see by the time at the end of this post, it's after 3:00 am!  We went to bed at 11:15pm.  I did fall asleep, but woke for a bathroom call.  Walked into the kitchen, looked at the clock - 12:30. 12:30! Went back to bed.  After much tossing and turning, and feeling rested and awake, I decided to get up.  No sense laying there, wishing for sleep.  That never happens.

So, to the wheel.  Plying for 1 1/2 hours.  Oh, yes.  And coffee.  Turned the pot on.  And the radio - low.  More wood in the stove. Then a computer game for an hour.  And here I am.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned this before in a blog, but my mother had the same trouble sleeping.  But hers was all the time.  Thank goodness this only happens to me once in a while.  A few times a month.  And that's enough.

For about the last 10 years of her life, my mother would get up every morning at 3:00am.  She went to bed around 10:30pm.  She never knew why, nor could she do anything that would change the time she woke up.  She would put the coffee on, turn on the TV and then cat nap for the rest of the morning.  Sometimes my dad would get up with her, but he went back to bed about 7:00am until a more reasonable time to get up.

 In between, things that had to be done were.  But there was always the nap in the afternoon.  Me too.  There are very few days that I don't take a nap.

But the problem here is that I have things I want to do during the day.  Preferably in the morning hours.  There's a lot of spinning and knitting to be done.  Housework, laundry, grocery shopping and other errands also.  And this "up all night" throws a monkey wrench into the whole thing.

I don't know why this happens.  I go to bed tired; fall into a deep sleep.  But an hour or so later - Bam!!  Eyes wide open!   BH sleeps.  He can fall asleep in seconds.  And sleeps very soundly.  That's kind of a good thing.  I have time to myself.  But, geezzz, couldn't it be during regular daytime hours??!!!

Maybe it has something to do with the past weekend.  There were a few very late nights, a lot going on during the days, and I have been tired and worn out since the end of all the commotion.  Not felt really rested.

Ok. I'm getting tired now.  I think I'll put some more wood in the stove and climb into the recliner.  If I go to sleep now, I can be up at 7:00.  And that will suffice for hours of intended chores to be done.  But not all that I had hoped to accomplish today.  Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.  And maybe there'll be regular sleeping hours tonight.  Good night, y'all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our Christmas in Pictures....

Grandson with ipod docker.  Yes, it's the Justin Bieber look......unfortunately.

This is Lammi, son-who-used-to-live-with-us's 4 yr. old bunny.  I love her!  She is so much fun.  She must be looking for her presents!  Oh, she doesn't really have red eyes!  Sorry about that.

Daughter received a plaque made by other son's fiance.  We all received "heart-made" gifts.  She does beautiful work.

Lammi's "dad".....he doesn't have pierced ears; it's an ornament made by future DIL.  I wish I had taken a picture of both him and BH with their "ear fobs"!!

BH received a gift card.....talking to.....someone........

Future DIL received hand-thrown pottery pieces from us.  Ehhh, not thrown by me....

Son received a box of sauces, wood chips, sauce injector and oven safe mitts.  This guy loves his BBQ!!!!

Then there's our tree.  The first real tree in 4 years.  I love it!!

Lastly, a picture of the deck all "decked" out for Christmas!!!

Where am I, you say??  Well, of course, I was the photographer!!  Funny.....nobody said....."here, Ma, let me take a picture of you".........hmmmmmm.  Nor did I get a picture of son who got here on Saturday, opening gifts on Christmas Eve.  Why?? I don't know.....I think I was catatonic by that time.  My bad.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Getting Back to Normal.....

See, that's Santa saying "good-bye" for this year.  Back to the North Pole; back to work.  As most of us are, whether for monetary gain or just life in general.

Today the last of our house guests are going home.  Son and daughter.  I started cleaning out the fridge last night after supper.  Leftovers.  Again.  More tonight.  Last night I'm laying in bed thinking if I should start undressing the house Wednesday. The better side of my brain is telling me to wait till the weekend.  But my heart is telling me to wait till after January 6th.

My mother never took the tree down till then.  January 6th. The Epiphany; Little Christmas.  Also, it was her birthday.  I think she really wanted to keep the glitz till after her birthday.

Anywho, with the passing years, it seems better to get things back to normal as quick as possible, whilst also showing respect for the season.  So methinks next weekend it is.  A day before or a day after New Year's.  Leaning toward the day after.  Because I don't think my energy level will be up to it until then.

Last night we just sat around watching the "idiot box".  By 10:30, I called it a day.  Isn't it funny how you can have loads of energy, buzzing around doing this and that, people commenting on how "you do too much! Where are you getting this energy from?!"...........and then you crash!!  You can't function.  Can barely get out of the recliner for the bathroom, or get another cup of coffee. Hence, the need for the bathroom.  It's a never-ending vicious cycle.  Don't care what meal time it is, everyone fend for themself.

Yes, Christmas is over.  It's time for all good family to go home.  Time to lollygag around the house.  Taking numerous naps throughout the day.  Eating PB and J sandwiches for supper.  Because you can't bear to look at the stove anymore or wash one more load of dishes.

You want quiet time.  Alone time.  Stay in pajamas all day time.  Bring out the wheel time.  Pick up the needles and the ufo time.  Your crave it; you dream it.

There's a hitch in this last day.  There are a couple of things that need to be returned or exchanged at the stores. Omg.  Do I have the energy and want to spend an extra couple of hours doing this?  Or do I wait till next weekend?  Can we get this done without taking house guests with us?  Will it be quick and painless?  Maybe all the people did their exchanges, returns yesterday.  And the stores will be nearly empty today.  And they will have the articles I need to exchange sitting right there in the front aisle as you walk through the door --- and they'll be in the size I need.

Geeezzzz, I need more rest.  I'm obviously getting delirious.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all!  May you have a happy, blessed day with family and loved ones.  Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus.

Well, it's Christmas morning.  All the family is still asleep.  It's been a busy couple of days here and more to come over the next few days.

Son and fiance came up Friday afternoon; grandson was dropped off by his mom earlier in the day; we picked up daughter in the morning; and son with bunny came in about 8:30pm.  He missed dinner, but at least he made it here.  Which some years doesn't happen.

Dinner turned out great - rolled, boneless roast pork loin with sauerkraut; roasted potatoes; green beans with bacon bits and parmesan; glazed carrots with almonds; stuffing; applesauce and pumpernickel bread.  Yum Yum!!  Dessert was Baklava, Cannolis and Christmas cookies.

Lots of yakking through the night; off to bed about 2:00am!!  Yesterday morning, up at 5:00am!;  we did some more yakking over coffee and cookies and then got to the serious business of opening gifts.  Son and fiance had to leave in the afternoon for home; grandson was picked up by mom to head to the Cities for her family celebration.

BH left at 2:30 to pick up other son.  Dinner last night - lasagna, salad, Italian bread.  More of the same desserts.  More gifts opened.  All the gifts, as a matter of fact.  I wanted to save some for this morning but was out-voted!!  We all received beautiful things and everyone was thrilled with what they got.

Son and bunny left for home at 11:30pm, much to my disappointment.  He was originally going to stay until this afternoon, but forgot his medication.  He didn't want to go another night without it.  And I understood that this would have repercussions for him.  So I packed him up with some food and goodies, lots of hugs and kisses, and off they went.  Off to bed at 1:00am.

I wake up this morning(7:00am) thinking "1 more day and it's over; we're by ourselves again; peace and quiet".  Then it occurs to me........wait a minute......this isn't Monday!!!!   It's Sunday!  Christmas Day!!  We still have a whole day to get through.  Phone calls ---- lots of phone calls coming and going;  lots of yakking, lots of eating, pots and pots of coffee; another dinner to be put together (leftovers, for sure!) and most likely, another late, late night.  Geezz.  I'm just about worn out.  I really can't take a 3-day Christmas celebration!

Son who lives nearby and daughter will be going home Tuesday.  That was the plan a couple of weeks ago.  I gotta stick to it, lest BH lose his Christmas spirit in a hurry. But I'm getting very tirrreddd.

And bored.  Nothing to do as far as celebrating.  It's over.  It's done. Let's get on to something else, like routine (something I don't say very often!).  So maybe today I'll put some gifts away, fold up the boxes, get rid of the bags of crumpled wrappings, do some laundry.  Then relax.  Maybe pick up a new book I received and start reading.  Maybe pull out a ufo and continue knitting.  But I will relax. I will relax.  I will relax. (Say it 3 times and it's yours, right?)

Tomorrow will be a "heebie/jeebie" day.  Because the anxiety and anxiousness will be setting in big time and I'll be wanting to get life back to normal.  Hopefully it will pass quickly.

I do love Christmas, but it's anit-climatic.  And I really love the down time, the peacefullness of it all afterwards.

So, may your day be merry and bright; and may your Christmas be......whatever brings you peace and joy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


My mom and dad went for the Christmas tree together.  No kids tagging along.  The tree was purchased a couple of days before Christmas and set up on Christmas Eve.  I remember my father setting it up in a bucket - a metal, scrub bucket, filled with sand.  Yep.  Sand.  Then pieces of chopped wood anchored in the sand, leaned up against the tree trunk to hold it steady.

My father would put the lights on the tree; they had to be just so! My mom did the ornaments and us 5, then 6 kids would sit on the floor and straighten out each strand of lead tinsel, saved from year to year, scrunched into a ball from the previous year.  Yep.  Lead tinsel.  My father would then, meticulously place 2 strands at a time on tree branches.  Yep.  2 strands at a time!  To look like long, sleek, glittering icicles.  But it was the most gorgeous tree every year!  It's what I still aspire to - tinsel and all, though no lead involved!

Christmas cookies were set out by the dozens! Ohhh, my mother's cookies! She made the best cut-outs, frosted and sugared, and her chocolate chip were the best!  Of course, my father had to have a big bowl of nuts set out - with the nut cracker and pick.  Nuts.  In the shells.  My paternal grandmother was known for her Fruitcake, soaked with rum every day for a week before Christmas.  Oh, how I loved that fruitcake!(hic! pardon....)  Nothing has compared since. 

And my maternal grandmother always had to have her bottle of "Rock n Rye".  Sitting right next to her chair.  Which she would pour into a small glass and sip throughout the evening ("just a small glass, Peter", she would tell my dad).  For "medicinal purposes; it soothes my throat" she would say to everyone.   Rock n Rye? It's rye whiskey with hunks of rock candy floating in the bottle.  Rock candy? it's a concoction of hardened sugar and corn syrup formed into lumps that look

Come Christmas morning, us kids would be up at 3:00 - 4:00am, sneaking down the stairs, trying to be as quiet as we could (not an easy feat - the stairs creaked horribly).  Some years Mom and Pop had just gone to bed minutes before.  Back then, only articles of clothing were wrapped, not the toys or other paraphenalia.  Everything on display, in the open.  "Eeekk!!!  Wowww!!!  Look! Look!! Who's is this?! Can I play with this now?? Let's set it up!!"......were the almost hushed squeals of excitement!

One year, we were instructed not to come downstairs until Mom and Pop called for us. "Or Else!"   Yeah. Right.  So, Pop went to work that night.  Mom sleeps like Rip Van Winkle.  We're in the clear.  We have our secret knock on the doors figured out; the plan is set.

Down the stairs we go, 3:00am. (Why do kids always know to get up in the middle of the night on Christmas, but can never get out of bed on time on a school day?!) Again with the quiet squeals of excitement. Picking each item up, eyes all aglow, passing it around for others to see, then it happens.......
we see the headlights of the car pulling in the driveway.  "Everything back! Everything back! Hurry! Hurry! Up the stairs!!"   A gaggle of kids running up a flight of stairs like a herd of buffalo, into our beds, all before my father's key unlocks the door and he walks in!!

Hehehe! Fooled him!  He'll never know!  (Of course he did. But it was never spoken of at the time!)

Ah, then Christmas Day.  After the hubbub of drooling over the gifts and cleaning up, kids went to their respective spaces to play, Mom started dinner.  After supper, all the relatives came to visit.  Grandma and Grandpa, aunts and uncles (14 of them) and our cousins (13 of them).  More gifts!  More food and snacks!  The house was filled with laughter, loud talking, adults getting funnier and funnier with "Christmas cheer" in liquid form!!  What a blast!!

The day after, kids would take their most prize possession and go to our friends' homes.  Comparing our gifts.  Ooohhing and Ahhhhing over each others things, making mental notes "put on my list for next year".  During the week, we'd go visit relatives and grandparents.  More fun!  What a season! 

As a kid, I remember the year my grandmother bought and set up an aluminum Christmas tree. A huge tree!  I guess it was all the rage back then.  She decorated it with pink satin balls.  On the floor sat a color wheel that would project yellow, green, blue and red color on the sparkly aluminum tree as it spun around.  All the kids thought that was the most beautiful fake tree we ever saw!

One year my mother and father decided that they would come visit each one of us and our families on Christmas Day instead of having the big doings at their house. What a bummer that was! Nobody liked it, not even them. Yeah. They never did that again. We resumed our Christmases at their home for many more years.

Things didn't change much as we became adults and had our own families.  Still going to Mom and Pop's on Christmas afternoon.  Supper, gifts - oh, the gifts!!  Now there were 12 grandchildren of their own.  There was not a clear spot on the floor in the living room, scattered with wrapping paper, boxes, toys, clothes ---- and kids.  Every age and size.  Not too many relatives came to visit -- they had their own grandchildren now, their own family get-together.  My parents and aunts and uncles would visit each other's homes during the following week - adults only.

When mom decided in her later years that preparing the Christmas buffet was too much for her, I took over.  We lived next door to my parents at the time.  So, I would prepare the big feast, all brothers, wives, children and my sister and parents would come to our house in the afternoon. What a time we had!!  We lived in a small cape cod style home. 

There were 12 adults and 11 kids of all sizes and ages.  The house was packed!  Kids would fix their plates and go sit on the staircase steps and the basement steps to eat.  Adults would be packed around the table and every seat in the living room.  After eating and visiting, we would all wander over to Mom and Pop's for gift opening and more celebrating. Sometimes, extended family members would come to visit.  Everyone gathered up their clan and their goodies, saying goodnight, thankyou's, Merry Christmas! and heading home around 11:00pm. 

As the years progressed, a few of us moved out of state.  But those that remained continued the traditions.  My sister took over and had the Christmas celebration at her home every year.  Still does.  The rest of us still baraged our parents with phone calls, laughter, memories, and gifts.  We drove back home one Christmas.  I always wished we had done that more than once.  But situations prohibited it.  This regret I will carry with me for all my life.  

I wish I could go on and on.  SO many memories!!  So much family.  So much love and togetherness.

Now my Mom and Dad are gone.  Our first Christmas without either one of them.  Our families are separated.  Some by miles, some by attitudes and perceived wrong-doings to them by others.  But for those of us still "family", we will once again celebrate Christmas with life-long traditions as well as some recently established ones.  And pray that this Christmas, past memories will open hearts and minds.  That relationships will be re-established, all will be forgotten and forgiven.  That "Family" is the key to the spirit and true meaning of Christmas. 

Wishing you all a most blessed, Merry Christmas in the bosoms of all those you love.  God Bless.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Body, Don't Fail Me Now.......

So everything is going along as planned.  The list is getting smaller, things being crossed off as they're completed.  4 more days and counting.

My energy level is ebbing.  Big time.  The goal of next Tuesday keeps me moving.  Right now the days are relaxed, things to do can be taken in stride.  No rush, no push, no fuss.

I think I pulled a muscle in my shoulder -- again.  Just enough to be aggravating.  I know it happened when I lifted a storage tote just about over my head to put it on top of other totes.  Should not have done that.  But that's me.  Never learn!

Everything is right on track.  This makes me very happy!  Except, now with some free time, I tend to get a bit lazy.  There's nothing to be done before dawn's early light; nothing that needs tending right after supper.  What to do......what to do......

I was thinking, at 4:30am, that I could uncover a wheel and do some spinning.  Or pull out one of the UFOs and work on that.  But this would just lead to a slippery slope.  I would be playing with danger.  My house would be dusty and messy and we'd be having scrambled eggs for Christmas dinner when the family arrived.  Best to stick with the plan.

Son from NY called yesterday evening to say a box arrived.  The "goodie box" of course.  He was eating Baklava while talking to me.  "This is great! Ohhhh, it's sooo good.  I haven't had Baklava in years".   "You're supposed to share it with the family"  says I.    "Oh, I'll share.  But the banana bread is mine, right?"   I'm laughing.  He yells to his wife "the banana bread is mine, all mine!"  I know before Christmas Eve is here, the "goodie box" will be gone!  This is one kid you don't have to worry about what to get him ---- just send him lots and lots of goodies!


I've been trying to take pictures of the tree and some decorations, but I can't get the right adjustment on the camera.  They come out all blurry or extremely overexposed.  Still working on it.

Today is grocery shopping for the weekend.  I'll have to go to the local store instead of the "Big" one 25 miles away.  BH is having trouble with his foot again.  The same one he twisted when he fell last month.  So he soaked it in Epsom salts yesterday; plan the same today.  He doesn't like me traveling to the "Big" grocery store by myself.  Men! (But I can go to daughter's - 60 miles away by myself!.......don't get me started....) Silly man!   Anywho, I told him last night that he may have to see a doctor after the holidays.  Even he now thinks he may have chipped or fractured a bone. Yikes.

Well, I'm going to get started doing something.  Don't know what.  BH is still sleeping and I don't want to make any noise that will wake him.  I could re-do the shopping list.  Or uncover a wheel and..........

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ohhh Spinning Wheel.....How I Miss Ye

All the hustle-bustle is done.  The hurry, the worry - done.  Putzing around from now till the Big day. 

BH had to move 3 storage totes, filled with rovings, batts and coils, to the van for the time being. This is a small house, afterall, and the closets are already filled to capacity.

Wheels have been covered and moved to safe spots, out of the way; out of sight. Bobbins of yarn waiting to be skeined or waiting to be plied have been put back in their respective storage containers.  I am getting the heebie-jeebies.  I am an addict.  I need to spin.  I want to spin.  Lord, keep me sane for the next week. 

Two knitting projects are sitting on their needles, in their tote bags.  They, too, have been relegated to hiding spots. I can't pick them up, because if I do, the putzing won't get done.   Geeezzz.

Ah, but don't fret, my pretties.  Come December 26th, all will be right with the world again.  You will be freed from your disguises, boxes and bags.  You will breathe the air of your mistress's home and feel the warmth and love of her excited fingers running over your lovely fibers making you over into something even more beautiful than before.

I think some of you may even get an extra treat.  A nice warm bath to bring out the gorgeous color that I just know is hidden within you.  Yes. Let's get out the dye pot and all the powders and pastes colors of the rainbow, the squirt bottles, the plastic wrap, the crockpot.  We'll make this a real "Welcome Home" party!!  Soon.  Very soon.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rockin' Around the Clock.......

The gifts to be mailed were wrapped yesterday.  This morning at 5:30, I began assembling pans of cookies, baklava, banana bread and candies also to be mailed.  At 10:00am, boxes were filled, sealed and addressed.  We were on our way to the post office and UPS.

The post office charges were a bit of a shocker, but not too much.  We haven't seen postage like that for years - when we were mailing out 12 - 14 boxes.  Today it was 5.  Yep. 5 boxes.

2 items had to go by UPS because of their size.  They had to be wrapped in brown paper because there wasn't a box in sight that would accomodate them.  However, the gal at UPS tells me they can't ship them with just paper.  It gets caught in the conveyor belt and gets shredded.  My heart stopped.  I have to take these back home and find - or construct - a box???  Ah, but Christmas miracles that there are, she said "no problem; we have boxes here.  We'll re-box them for you and get them out".  Hallelujah!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!  You are indeed an angel.  Or at the very least, an elf in disguise, for sure.

Once the out-of-state family is taken care of, everything else is a breeze!

Went to bed early - 10:30.  Fell asleep immediately.  Had a very bad dream that seemed to go on forever, but when I woke up, I felt refreshed.  Ready to rock!  Even thought I saw light outside.  Maybe a full moon?  Walked into the kitchen, looked at the clock.  5:00am.  Good, I can stay up.  Flipped the coffee pot on and sat in the dining room til it's ready.  10 minutes go by; go check the pot; not quite ready.  Sit down, look at the clock.  It looks like 5 after 7:00.  Whaaatt?? 

Looking at the clock, I'm trying to mentally figure out how I got up at 5:00 and now it looks like 5 after 7:00.  Did the clock stop last night?  Did it stop a few minutes ago? (Now that makes no sense, but my brain is half scrambled).  Check the clock on the microwave.  Yeah.  Check the clock on the microwave.

Microwave says.............12:30......AM!  I had fallen into a dead sleep for a little over 1 1/2 hours!!  But I feel soooo refreshed --- and the coffee is just about done.  What's a girl to do?!

Go grab all the gifts in the spare room and start wrapping.  Which is what I was supposed to do last night, but wasn't up to it.  So.  From 12:45 till 2:45, I wrapped almost every single gift.  Except son's fiance.  I gotta find a couple of boxes over at the storage house.

I'm so relieved that it's all done, mostly.  Today on the agenda is/was housecleaning and laundromat.  It's 3:15am.  I restarted the woodstove.  I've got 1 more cup of coffee in the pot.  I'll probably go back to bed soon.  And I'll probably be up again within a few hours.

But as far as the agenda goes........yeah. Ummm....things may have to be rearranged.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Don't Let This Train Get Derailed...........

Things are moving along, picking up speed every day. With the goal in mind of having nothing to do next week, this train is bound for glory!

The cookies are finally done; the Reindeer Nipples turned out great! (thank you, CoopKeeper).  The tree was procured and set up Tuesday and took 3 hours to decorate yesterday.  Not that I'm anal about decorating a Christmas tree, but it has to look perfect!  

Today is wrapping and boxing gifts and goodies that must go in the mail tomorrow.  And hopefully getting the cards written out so they, too, can make it to the mailbox.  Otherwise, I'll save them for next year.  Ah, but they won't be written out, enveloped, addressed and sealed.  This much I learned from my Mom.

Let's see.  Saturday may be housecleaning; heavy cotton throw rugs need to go to the laundromat; kitchen floor needs to be scrubbed on hands and knees;  and the bathroom still needs to be cleaned top to bottom.

Sunday: grocery shopping for the Christmas meal; wrapping the rest of the gifts for the locals.

Monday:  Yep. That's right.  Nothing.

Oh, there've been a few glitches, trying to derail this train. 
**While preparing and baking the last batch of cookies Tuesday, my sister called.  We talked for 1 1/2 hours!  The cookies, on the pans, and the dough had to go back in the fridge.  Instead of finishing the job before noon as planned, it was finished at 2:00pm.

**Son in NY's present -- presents a problem with packaging.  It's a rather tall, heavy box.  Needs to go into a taller box.  By itself.  Which means 2 boxes to be mailed out.  So BH and I go to the storage house looking for just the right size box.  Hehehehe.  No.  Got nothing.  Then I remember the box the pool came in. Perfect!  Except I have to empty the hoses, filters and filter housing out of it.  And because it's roomier, it will have to be stuffed with paper to keep the gift from rattling around.  But it's heavy.  So will be sent out via UPS.

**Walking into the family room yesterday before supper, I see my coffee cup is splattering all over the end table.  What the hell???......where is this coming from.  Mesmerized, I'm watching the drips hitting the cup and splashing out.  I look up.  The ceiling is leaking!  Whaaatt!!!  Yell for BH.  "The ceiling is leaking!"   He looks.  "I'll get up on the roof and see what's going on", says he.

This is a mobile home.  There is no second floor.  There are no water pipes in the ceiling.  We have no snow; there hasn't been a deluge of rain.  So, outside we go.  There is nothing suspicious.  No swamp of water sitting on the roof.  But he suspects that maybe the seam in the rubber roofing may have come loose.  He gets the bucket of rubber cement.  It's half frozen, but he digs out what he can and tries to re-cement the seam.  After 1/2 hour, it's determined that tomorrow would be better to attempt this.  Bring the bucket in the house and let the cement thaw out.

At this point, I am now starving.  Supper was done and ready to be dished out just as this calamity reared it's ugly head.  So, back in the house, a quick re-heat, and supper is served.

The leak?  Oh, it stopped almost immediately.  Don't know where it came from.  Don't know where it went.  Just pray it doesn't happen again.

**Slipper socks.  Need 6 pair.  All going to son in NY.  Have 4 pair completed, the 5th half done.  Can't mail out the box till all 6 pair are finished.  So, working like an elf on crack, the last 2 pair were finished last night.

**Sat down yesterday afternoon to pay the bills.  Go to the bank's website.  Message pops up: "This website's Security Certificate is not Valid.  Do not attempt to access this website".  Whaaat???  I've got bills to pay!!  Today!!  It's on my list!!  The mortgage is due tomorrow!!   Try again.  Same message.  Call the bank.  The gal informs me their computers are down and they're fixing the problem.  "Will it be fixed today?" I ask.  "I'm pretty sure it will be; they're working on it right now, but I really don't know", she answers.  Great!!  Moving to tomorrow.  I did check their site in the evening and it was up and running.  But the hell with it.  It can wait till tomorrow.  I've still got time.  It's only one thing added to tomorrow's list.

I may be a little slow leaving the station, but this train will not be derailed!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tis the Season.......

So, how's everyone doing with the Christmas to-do's?  Keeping our sanity?  Hmmmm.

Baking started on Tuesday - Baklava and cannolis.  Not just once. Oh no.  Somehow, one recipe creation didn't look there was as much as I thought there would be.  Enough to give lots of it away to the kids and still have enough for the Holiday.  Why is that??  Why does it always seem the recipe never quite amounts to the pieces it says you should have?? Or you think you should have. Or is it that my eyes are bigger than my goodie platters?  Whatever. 

So Wednesday was a repeat of the same.  This was an all-day affair both times.  But I think there's enough now for everyone in the neighborhood  for us all.

Yesterday was the cut-out cookies and Spritz.  Today was Russian Tea Cakes (we always called them Mexican Wedding cakes); some call them "Rum Balls".  And a double batch of chocolate chip.  2 kinds of chips in the dough - semisweet and milk chocolate.  And  8 loaves of Banana Bread.  Because bananas were on sale last week - 49 cents a pound!!   I know!!   By this morning, they were all nice, speckled brown; and you could smell bananas through the kitchen. Yeah.  Time to mash those puppies.

There's just 2 more kinds of cookies to bake.  And the cut-outs to be frosted and sugared.  But that won't be till Monday.  Tomorrow I go to daughter's to decorate and go shopping.

So in between baking and doing dishes - doing dishes - doing dishes, my hands now look like they've been rolling around in the "sharp knives" drawer.  And they hurt.  Much needed hand lotion applied.  There's been crocheting in the evening.  2 pair of slipper boots done, the third started.  2 more pair to go.  Maybe 3.  It should be 3.  We'll see.

Next week we'll look for a tree; Christmas dinner grocery shopping next weekend.  I still have to write out Christmas cards and get them in the mail.  And wrap the gifts that need to be sent out by next Friday.

I see by my "to-do" list that I'm just about on track.  Only one day behind in the baking.  Well, actually, it'll be 3 days.  Because there won't be any done for the next 2.  But all is good.  Moving right along.  The goal is for nothing to be done the week of Christmas.  Nothing. Just relaxing and waiting for Christmas Eve.

Tonight - bean soup.  Pulled the bucket out of the freezer last night. Yep.  Bucket.  We buy our ice cream in 5 quart plastic buckets.  I'm embarrassed to tell you how many buckets I accumulate every year.  There's enough not only for freezer storage, but as cleaning buckets, planter buckets, cookie storage buckets, groady-stuff buckets; you name it.  I've got the bucket.

Oh. The bean soup.  So I thought this would be easy enough for BH to warm up for supper tomorrow night.  He doesn't cook.  Except to put a TV dinner in the oven.  But I didn't buy any TV dinners.  Soup it is.  I hope he eats something tomorrow night other than popcorn, potato chips or pretzels.  Sometimes he even makes a PB sandwich.

Well, keep Christmasing along, all you little elves.  It'll soon be here ----- and gone.  Have a great, productive weekend!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ok. That Didn't Go Well......

So. BH and I get all gussied up.  Pick up son and head out to the casino.  For my FREE camcorder and FREE $10 slot money.  Except for the fact that it's the middle of the afternoon and infringing on my nap time, we feel pretty good.

First stop -- Guest Services desk --- for my FREE camcorder.  The gal behind the counter is very pleasant.  I hand her my coupons, proudly saying "I'm here to pick up my FREE camcorder"(with a big smile on my face).  To which the reply came back so fast, in an inaudible low tone, 

        "We ran out of them; we're giving you $25.00 in free play". 

"Excuse me.....whhhaat?"  She repeats the apparently much-spoken refrain.

"Oh NO.  That was a Christmas gift I was planning on giving".  She smiles sympathetically.  "Here ya go, hon. There's $35.00 free play on your card".  She looks to be about 25 years old; I'm 62, paunchy and slightly graying.  But I'm "hon".

Stunned, I say a polite "thankyou" and walk away.  "Good luck today" she adds. 

"Well, HON, if I had any damn luck today, I'd be walking away with my FREE CAMCORDER!" what I wanted to say.  But I'm 62, paunchy and slightly graying......and was brought up to be reserved and polite.  Which, in the scheme of things, has not really benefited me in certain circumstances of my life.

So I meet up with BH and son, my stomach now at my feet, and tell them what happened.  I'm deflated.  I want to go home.  But we carry on......they give me their apologies and empathy.

Both the guys wanted to play some BlackJack for a bit, so I found my favorite slot, sat down and began giving back my Free money.  Ah, but the machine and I were on the same wave must've felt my pain.  It took some, and then gave it back.  But when it started to tell me after some unprofitable spins, "this is it, HON, we're not going anywhere with this".....I cashed out and took my FREE money.  And snidely walked away.

On the way home, BH says "what are you planning on getting for the gift now?"   "I don't know.  I just don't know.  I'll have to think about it; maybe something will come to me by next weekend".

See, this was going to be the gift for son who lives in NY.  Son who does quite well for himself and his family.  Son who has everything under the sun and can buy whatever he wants. Yes.  The same son who bought me a GPS for Mother's Day 2 years ago, and sent me the new EReader for my birthday this year.  Who sends me floral arrangements that I know must have cost him at least $100, arrangement and delivery.

 There is nothing we can get him, within our budget, that doesn't look cheap or inconsequential.  I hate that.  I pride myself  on planning the perfect gift for each person.  One that means something to them. (Am I channeling with Martha?? God, I hope not!)  Even if it's FREE!      Crap.

Well, I have to put that all behind me now.  There's other things that need attention this week; gotta stick to the schedule; can't fall off the track now.  We did come up with a couple of ideas last night. I'm just going to wait till daughter and I are actually in the stores next weekend.  Something will hit me as the gift.

But on a positive note, if this is the only glitch in the Christmas plans and accomplishments, then all will be well.  As for now, stick to the schedule; get things done; carry on.  It'll all work out.

Afterall, it's the Christmas season, right?  And miracles DO happen.   Why, yes.  There are visions of sugar plums dancing in my head!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


We're off to a good start!  Went shopping on Thursday and.......everything on my list was in stock!! Another Christmas miracle!  I couldn't be happier if you tickled me with tinsle.  Friday and yesterday was decorating the house. Not too much. But it looks nice.  Lights. Lots of lights.  Done.  Another miracle. 

And today is the casino day --- to pick up another gift. (For free!)  Now if this goes off without a hitch, I'm gonna find me a red, fur-trimmed suit and wear it for the next 3 weeks!  Ho, ho, ho!!

I made out my Christmas schedule the other day; it's hanging on the fridge.  I need to do this lest I forget something and think the next 2 weeks are free time!  Now I just have to remember to cross off the jobs done from that list.  One step at a time.

We've decided on a real tree.  Yes, the artificial ones on sale looked --- artificial. Will not do.  So, tomorrow we'll go to the local farm and feed store and pick out the tree.  I've got the spot all figured out; know how the furniture will be re-arranged.  BH gave his approval, so all is good.  Then I have to go over to the storage house and get out a couple of gifts, find some boxes, get the cookie tins and the box of wrapping paper.  Tuesday starts the baking marathon.  First up --- baklavah and cannoli shells.  Cookies to follow.

"Tales from the Coop Keeper" blogger, posted a recipe for "Reindeer Nipples" (her post dated Nov. 29, "Holiday Nipples").  No. Seriously. It's a real recipe.  Anywho, I'm going to make them this year; it's simple enough.  They'll be included in the "Goodies" package for the kids back home. I'm going to label them as such, too.  That'll bring a lot of hoots and hollers from them, I'm sure!

Son's fiance called Friday.  She said they're planning on coming up for Christmas. This makes me happy.  We won't have to go to the Cities.  Of course, this is all contingent on the weather.  Hopefully it will good for traveling.  Another Christmas miracle.  That'll mean the 4 kids living in this State will be here. Keeping my fingers crossed.

So, next Saturday, I'll be going to daughter's to decorate her apartment and take her Christmas shopping.  I've gotta pick up the last few gifts too.  Then I'm done!  Except for the grocery shopping for Christmas Eve and Day dinners.  Haven't quite worked on the menus yet, but that'll be easy enough.

Oh geeezzz.  I forgot about the Christmas cards.  I don't think it's on the schedule. I better get that corrected immediately.  Yeah.  Gotta get the cards written out and to the post office.  This reminds me of a funny story.

Every year, my Mom would write out Christmas cards.  From the time a was a kid and into my adult years.  The only thing is.......they never made it to the post office.  We'd find a box of cards every year, in the envelopes, all addressed and sealed, while going through the boxes of decorations.  She never sent them out!  Every year!  For years!  I don't think is was forgetting as much as it was not wanting to spend the money for the stamps when the time came. But she would buy the cards -- beautiful cards.  She was funny that way!  Mother!

Well, I gotta get in the shower and get all gussied up.  Grab some breakfast and we'll be off to pick up that free gift.  Santa, don't fail me now!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December 1!!....Let the Games Begin!........

It's herrree! Hope you're all ready.  Been doin' your exercising?  Flipping through mail order catalogs; digging out containers of Christmas decorations; marathon cooking and baking (thanks to the recently passed Thanksgiving); working those fingers with the planned knitting and spinning for those gifts; jogging through the snow, slush, rain from store to store; working and re-working the monthly budget (again and again; geeezzz, I didn't think it would cost that much) and don't forget ----- check off each day on the calendar lest you absent-mindly think you have another week before the  Christmas Day to catch up on everything!! (I say this in retrospect)

I have big plans, beginning today.  We'll just see how many of them come to fruition before I'm running around like a crazy woman, wondering what can be scratched off the list, not really needing to be done.

Well, the outside lights are up - finally.  All the decorations storage totes are now sitting in the utility room, waiting to be opened and emptied, their contents placed in every room in the house.  Today we are going shopping.  Hopefully most of the things on the gift list will be purchased.  Our local "medium box" (versus "big box") store still has the items that they advertised on sale this week.  We waited until today because today is also "Senior Discount Day" - 10% off all purchases!  WhooHoo!!!  Yeah. We'll see.  I'm not holding my breath.  They are notorious for being "out of stock".  Thank goodness I have a back-up plan.  It requires driving another 30 miles to the "big box" store.  Crap.

Tomorrow and Saturday, decorating is the order of the day.  Lights will go up on all the windows (we have no gutters outside, so lights are on the inside of the windows) and as much paraphenalia as possible will adorn tabletops, shelves, walls.

Sunday is a trip to the casino.  I'm being very sly about this.  First, I have $15.00 in FREE play on the slots. There will be no actual money going from my wallet to their coffers!! NO money!   But the main reason is I have a certificate from them  for a FREE video recorder!!! It's one of those small, digital camera-size models.  This is another planned Christmas gift.  I checked out the price of it, and it's a $90.00 value!!  Omg!!  Somebody stop me!!  If I can lay my hands on this, the rest is a breeze!

Monday starts the baking.  Not so much this year.  Thankfully, daughter-in-law and the fiance have been baking their own goodies for a couple of years now.  So I just send a couple of extras.  But for us, I'm cutting waayyyy back.  It's silly to have bags and bags of Christmas cookies in the freezer, eating them in June and July.  Although they're very delicious, seriously, do I need more Christmas cookies??? No.  My bathroom scale will thank me.

Ahh, but in lieu of tons of cookies and breads, I have Baklavah on the baking list.  I can make a couple of pans of it and everyone will be thrilled!!  It'll go a long way, taking the place of 3 or 4 more kinds of cookies.

I think we're going to buy a Christmas tree this year.  We've been putting up the little 3' tree with fiber optic lights for the past few years; I didn't see the need for a regular tree anymore.  Being that if any of the kids did make it up here during the holidays, it's just for 1 day or a few hours out of a whole week.  What was the sense?

But this year, I'm really missing a tree.  I need a tree. If for nothing else than the memories of Christmases past.  For memories of my Mom and Dad.

The store has a 4' artificial for $20.  We'll take a look.  It doesn't have lights on it, but that's fine.  I can put my own lights on.  I love tons of lights on the tree - white only.  And if the artificial tree looks too ---- artificial (for $20 -- ya think?), we will probably go with a real tree.  Of course, this will mean major re-configuring of furniture.  Our house is small; we've added a lot more stuff since our last real tree; space is at a minimum; and it can't go in the family room because of the gi-normous wood stove.  Rocking chair, endtable, lamp and coffee table may have to be moved into the storage house for the time being.

Wrapping is also on the agenda for next week.  Yep.  Wrap everything that is acquired.  Eliminating the mad rush 2 days before boxes need to be shipped out.

Then I need to get out to daughter's with her totes of Christmas decor.  And decorate her apartment for her.  That's planned for next weekend.  I stay overnight and the following day I take her Christmas shopping for gifts she will give.

There you have it.  The plan is -- the week of Christmas I'm done!!  I can relax and putter around the house.  Nothing on my mind or agenda except planning Christmas dinner.  This'll be great!  Maybe a little knitting or spinning to wile away the hours.

Yeah.  Christmas dreams!!