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29 December 2010

On the 5th Day of Christmas . . .

I've been reading about the 12 Days of Christmas.  There is an email going around that said that it was developed to teach young Catholics their catechism in the days they were not free to practice their faith.  But other sources believe this to be an urban myth developed in the last 20 years or so.

I also read at two sources that the "four calling birds" were actually collie (black) birds and the "five gold rings" were speaking of pheasants, so that "all the gifts were actually speaking of birds."  Hardly know where they get that idea, however, with 12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping, 10 lords a leaping, 9 ladies dancing, and 8 maids a milking.  It looks to me like one article made that assertion and the other simply copied it.  I don't know which was which, nor do i think it worth my time to pursue it.  I'm just trying for ideas as to how to use these 12 days to plan gifts/projects/love for next year.  No clue, yet, really.

Yesterday we received a thank you note from one of Duane's nieces for the boxes (blank cards) we sent.  She made a card for the thank you.  It was nice to hear from her.  I'd wondered if the kids liked them.

 This is our current forecast:  As temperatures drop throughout the day into the 20s with the colder air arriving, so will the snow levels, down to around 4,000 feet where 4-8" of snow is expected, possibly more at the higher resort levels. W-NW winds are also accompanying this system, 20-40mph with gusts over 50 possible, making for very treacherous travel conditions in blowing & drifting snow, reduced visibility, icy roadways and winds chill values below zero. The winds will decrease overnight tonight as skies clear with the passage of this low, allowing lows to cool into the teens & single digits.  Ben's Weather

Since we are at nearly 7,000 ft, we may get more than the 8 inches predicted.  They are saying "very cold" temps for the next few days.  In fact, i'm surprised that the temp is at 29F.  Of course, "very cold" for So Cal isn't at all the same as "very cold" for much of the rest of the country.  Still, they are saying that tomorrow it probably won't get much warmer than 20F for the day.  Overnight lows are going to be around 0F.  Not cold compared to a week or more at -30F, where i grew up, but still, cold enough for those of us who have had our blood thinned by the So Cal sun.  :) 

The snow coming down right now looks very light (not heavy or obscuring visibility), but it is very steady and we've gotten more than an inch in the last hour.  

I've not been handling the cold well the past couple of years.  I don't handle heat well, either.  I think it may be part of the Chronic Fatigue issues (as well as having trouble with aspirating stuff).  Our house was built in the 70s and has 2 wall heaters, neither of which is very efficient.  We keep the thermostat set at about 53F most of the time, turning it up when we are down in the living room if we don't have a fire going.  We bundle up a lot.  Even so, i frequently get chilled and have trouble warming up again.  But i can't justify the expense of raising the temps on our inefficient wall heaters - we probably couldn't afford it.  

Duane got a generous bonus at work for Christmas.  I guess the company is doing well as so many folks buy from the internet these days.  Most of that money we will put in the bank.  We could blow it so easily!  But we don't want to spend it.  However, we have decided to use some of that money to put a direct vent heater into the house to replace at least one of our wall heaters.  Someone we know put a couple of these into her place of business and her gas bill dropped by 80% !  We think that if this is true, using the same amount of gas we use now, or even less, we could heat the house to a comfortable temperature and not be so chilled all the time.  

I've not taken a pic of it yet, but there is a story related to our being frugal with heat. We can't watch TV even with the heat set a bit higher and not get chilled.  So we use blankets quite a lot in our house.  I don't know what happened to the blanket Duane normally uses.  I'm sure i'll find it before long, but it had gotten put away recently.  So i pulled out an afghan my Granny crocheted for me many years ago.  It is multi-colored, and still looks almost new as it hasn't gotten a lot of use.  

Our cats love it!  We like our cats a lot and think they like us pretty well, too, but they are not snugly most of the time.  They can be affectionate and snugly, but it is always on their terms (usually when the house is very chilly) and they really are not lap cats.  Jazz in particular doesn't usually sit where people can pet him easily.  But since Duane has been using that afghan, Jazz can frequently be seen snuggling with him!  We have noticed that as they are getting older, they can be found snuggling with the people more.  

Mac was so funny the other day.  The fringe from the afghan was spread out, and he treated it as if it was a new and very dangerous form of life.  If you've ever seen the vids of cats that jump up and back about 2 feet when they are startled, you know exactly what he looked like.

There is a benefit to Duane getting a cold right now.  He worked the full week (well, he always works a full week or more, but this was 5 full days on premises) the 14th thru the 18th so that he could take the next 2 weeks off and we would not have to go down the hill.  This was planned.  And during that time he took care of whatever backlog was in his "to do" box.  But they are doing inventory down there and they asked if he could come help.  He told them "No," that he is sick.  I asked if there is anything in his job description that includes inventory, and there is not.  I asked what he would be doing if he were there and he said probably simply overseeing the work that others were doing so that it would get done more efficiently.  In other words, there was no justification whatsoever for him being there.  However, i know him well enough that had he not been sick, when asked he would have gone.  

I think he may be feeling worse than he's letting on.  Also, if his cold is like the one i had a month ago, it hit me hardest on the 5th day.  I don't think he got it from me.  In fact, only once have we ever been sick at the same time.  (Not a fun story.  A friend of Duane's came to help us move and was sick and wouldn't go home.  We were both so stressed we both got very ill.  I was pretty angry with his friend.)  So i don't know if the cold he has is the same as what i had, but it isn't gone quickly if it is the same.  

His parents are talking about coming up to see us.  His dad ordered a new truck a while ago, a truck with 4WD, and i think he's anxious to try it out.  (It has not yet arrived.)  This, of course, has me in panic mode as the house is a mess.  Duane told his step-dad that he's not well, but his dad just said, "You will be by the time i get the truck."  So, i guess i need to plan for company.  

The pic i had of the Nativity scene yesterday was the first year (2008) when we put it on the mantle (another of Jazz's favorite spots to play).  Last year we put it on top of a book case thingy we have, this pic.  That was the plan for this year too, but i never got around to it. 

I'm planning a give-away soon.  Nothing very special.  I found that i've several Christmas items i never use, and if you think you'd like them (i'll post pics) you are more than welcome to them.  I have 3 Hallmark dated ornaments that i never use, and some Christmas hand towels.  I don't remember what else i set aside.  So, come back tomorrow and see if you're interested.


28 December 2010

Lazy days of Christmas

Happy 4th Day of Christmas!  I meant to post "Happy Boxing Day" the past 2 days - it is officially the 26th, but in countries that make it a bank holiday, it was on the 27th - but somehow i never did.

We had a lovely Christmas Eve.  We attended St. James Church (where we were married) for late mass.  It was one of the most beautiful services i've attended there, the music was fantastic.  We had had an earlier celebration with Duane's parents and brother.  We had a fairly simple meal and then opened gifts, which were also rather simple.  It seems everyone i know is fed up with the commercialism of Christmas and looking to do "something else."

We were awake early on Christmas morning, but stayed in bed.  I was reading and Duane was on the computer.  A friend had texted me and i called him back and we had a long conversation.  His nieces and nephews are grown now, except a couple of little ones from a cousin (yes, he belongs to such a small family that his cousins' kids become "nieces and nephews").  He is disgusted with his now-grown relatives for never giving any thank you for the things he has given.  Now, i know a gift is intended simply to let the receiver know that they are loved, but years of gifts with no gratitude is not something most folks can continue to do with good grace.  

And, i'm coming to believe that time together is the thing to be really thankful about.  And of course, i struggled with the same issue this year, that is, giving to children who already have so much.  

I think that i've somewhat solved the issue for me for in the future.  I don't have the plan entirely worked out yet, but i'm leaning toward doing something for the children thru Advent or thru the 12 Days of Christmas (which, BTW, start ON Christmas Day and run until Epiphany on 6 January; several folks at FB were posting "the 12 Days of Christmas" posts before Christmas had even arrived).

This will be a big project, if i choose to go that way.  I'm thinking of simple things, like a card in the mail, an ornament for their tree, whatever - but it could turn into quite a projects.  Twelve days of things to send?  What is more, we sent gifts to 14 nieces, nephews, and cousins' kids this year.  That is 168 things to be sent!  I don't even want to think of Advent - if i began it on 1 December (Advent officially starts 4 Sundays before Christmas, usually about 28 days).  Twenty five days for 14 is 350 projects.  Even just a card at current postage rates, that is $154.  I think Advent is out. 

 Of course, i can pare that number down a little bit.  Of the 14 is my married niece, her husband, and their daughter.  If i do this, i will send one project item to the entire family.  

But what this also means is a lot of thinking and planning for me.  I can't wait until, say December 1st to have this ready to go.  It means that i would have to have Christmas be part of my year the whole year thru.  I rather like that idea, too.  We'll see what comes of it.

We got a call Christmas morning saying that the folks we'd invited to dinner had decided they would come.  So we got up and rushed out so that we could get home in time to get the brisket in the crockpot!  Not my idea on the perfect planning (and i likely won't let that happen again) but it was a good day.  The food was simple and almost entirely crockpot cooked, so it wasn't difficult.  We got home in time so the food was done when they arrived just before 6.  We had a lovely evening.  The kids enjoyed the food and gifts.  It was almost a "traditional" meal with brisket and crackers.  We all got paper crowns from the crackers, and had a lot of fun.  

Duane has been fighting a cold.  We are hitting it heavily with large (30,000 IU) doses of Vitamin D3, also Vitamin C, quercetin, and astragalus, and of course, Manuka honey.  He said he thinks he is feeling better today.  It has been a mild cold, he hasn't felt very sick, just not quite right.

I'm still knitting things.  I didn't finish the placemats for my MIL (tho i had other gifts for her) and need to do that.  The whole house feels like a mess to me right now and badly needs some reorganization.  

 Years ago a friend gave me the book, More Hours in My Day  by Emilie Barnes - about the way we do housework.  I don't know what happened to the book, but i remember the premise.  It suggests that we break tasks down into manageable pieces and do some every day to keep up with the house rather than having one long, awful "cleaning day."  I need to implement something like that again.  It is NOT how my brain works.  Not my style.  However, i need to change "my style" in order to be more productive and better utilize the little energy i do have.

 I think i'll re-order a copy of this book.  I do remember it being a bit preachy (about the "proper role" of a housewife, or something), but the info in the book is good.

You can't see it all.  This was from our first married Christmas, 2004.

It was my intent to put up the Nativity scene this year.  But the place i put it is one of Jazz's favorite play spots.  So i need a background (it is against our stairs) to keep him from getting up there when the Nativity is up.  So it didn't get done this year.  By next year we may have a different living room arrangement (i'll write about that soon), so i am not sure what i will do then.

 The "front" way of our highway up and down the mountain is closed indefinitely.  This isn't very high up from Redlands/San Bernardino.  The 18 across the mountain is fine.  This won't do good things for the ski slopes closer to the valley, tho.

I've always more to say, of course, but i think it is time to stop.  :)  I love the ornaments we have.  Each is special, and many have a story behind them.  I've marked most of them with the year they were acquired.  I need to take pics of this year's ornaments.


23 December 2010

It's the Day Before the Night Before Christmas

Evidently i'm not the only kid growing up in the 70s on whom this song had an impact.  I put the above phrase into Google and came up with a number of entries of folks who remember this song and the album (although there seem to have been a couple of different albums released).  I found this post about the album.  I'm surprised that i remember quite a few of these now that i see a list.   

It's the Day Before the Night Before Christmas is about being good to get as much loot as possible (not my issue! but i like the remembrance and the phrase). Icicles, Holly, Red Berries and Snow was another i remember.  I've found a few of these at YouTube.  But the song i titled this post after is one that i remember the best, and i tend to sing it on the 23rd of December (finding that i'm joining a lot of other folks i never knew were out there).  The other i tend to sing (living in Southern California) is The Weatherman's Christmas Prayer:

I'm black and blue and my face is red and turning green and grey
'Cause i'm the weather man who said "Gonna snow on Christmas Day"
Only trouble is i'm here in Southern Californ-ee-aye
It hasn't snowed in 100 years or more on Christmas Day

So please Mister Santa Claus, fill up your bag this year
With snow, snow, beautiful snow
And drop it all right here!

I had this dream this crazy scheme to clean the smog away
Just paint it white and drop it right on top of old L.A.
Just like snow but why oh why did i go on radio and say
"Here's your happy weather man predicting snow on Christmas Day!"

So please Mister Santa Claus, fill up your bag this year
With snow, snow, beautiful snow
And drop it all right here!

Well, there's lots of fog and smog a-clogging the sky down this-away
That are coming low and kind of slow and easy in that sleigh
And i'll close my eyes while i disguise . . . (don't remember this part)
You'll start that lovely white stuff falling early Christmas Eve
And i won't feel bad i'll feel real glad i had a chance to say
Here's the only weather man who'll tell you snow is on the way
But if you don't show with a load of snow a filling up your sleigh
I'm packing up and leaving this old town come Christmas Day

So please Mister Santa Claus, fill up your bag this year
With snow, snow, beautiful snow
And drop it all right here!

I've been singing this one for years now, and everyone around me thinks i'm crazy! The song from that album Elsa remembers best is I Want an Elephant for Christmas.  I didn't really remember that one until she reminded me.  I'm rather surprised, now thinking back on it, because this album is about as secular as they come but my parents were very religious.

This past week or so have been insane. My friend's truck needed some major work - a new engine and radiator.  She was here for about 10 days i think.  I did so much during that time.  N and her kids stopped by Monday.  They helped decorate our tree.

I was very glad of having my friend here, but when it came time to take her down the hill, we had had a ton of rain dumped on us and two of the roads were closed.  (We have 3 roads on and off the mountain; the "front" way, the "back" way - both of these west/south-west, and the "back, back" way headed north/north-east.)  

Normally we drive the "back" way; on that road it is 44 miles (about 50 minutes) to where i needed to take her, but that road was closed due to a mud and rock slide.  So i took her the "back, back" way and around the mountain - 120 miles.  It took us over 2-1/2 hours, but the road was good.  I was dreading retracing that, however, and thankful that the "back" way reopened so i could go directly home.  They were making 2 wheel drive cars put on chains, and they made me show them that i was carrying chains (4 wheel drive cars rarely have to put them on but have to carry them).  

There was no justification for chains anywhere on that road the entire way.  It was bare and wet.  In a couple of places there was a tiny bit of slush, but never anything more.  I can only assume they were trying to slow the flatlanders down, which they did.  But they didn't inform them that they are suppose to pull over for faster moving traffic, so it was a frustrating drive.  

As with all of Southern California, we have been bombarded with a lot of rain (and snow for us).  This is what our weather service said:

Our strong low pressure system has finally moved through the area, bringing an end to our recent heavy rain and snow event. After all is said and done most of Big Bear picked up over 7 inches of rain with 6" or so of snow, more in the west end of town, lesser amounts east and up to 2-3 feet fell atop local resorts. One for the record books but not the worst we've ever seen.

Normal for us would be no rain, and possibly 2 feet of snow.  If all that rain had been turned into snow, we would have had 6 feet or more of the white stuff.  It has been an unusually warm December, resulting in rain rather than snow.

Duane shot this vid yesterday of the river running down a street when we were driving home from town.  They are releasing water from the dam for the first time since 1996.  The lake has more water than we (Duane or i) have ever seen in it.  A lot of damage has been done due to mud and rock slides, trees coming down, and flooding.  The "front" way down the mountain is going to be closed for a while.  Still, i don't think it has been as bad here as other parts of So Cal.

Hopefully all this will drain away.  It got down to 29F last night, so the roads are likely to be very treacherous today.  We are happy we don't have to be anywhere.  But we are hoping they are better by tomorrow because we are suppose to go to OC to spend Christmas Eve with Duane's family.  We won't go if the roads are too dangerous, but that would be sad.  

All my Christmas shopping is done and i have almost everything wrapped.  I still am working on my MIL's Christmas gift (part of it) - placemats.  That will keep me busy today.  I mailed off the kids cards (from the last post) yesterday.  I meant to get them out Monday, then planned to take them with me Tuesday (when my friend and i drove down) but i forgot.  So i got them to the post office yesterday, but we don't know when the mail trucks will be allowed up again - the roads are too bad right now - so they most certainly won't have them for Christmas.

I also have not done Christmas cards, tho that was my intent.  Maybe i can get them out for New Year's.  

Duane had a nice birthday Sunday and Monday.  (The day was Monday, but much of the celebrating was on Sunday.)  We had a time with his Christmas party.  (I think he had a good time, i think i was just passing time.)  It was interesting.  We were on a yacht in Newport Harbor, so we saw the Christmas parade and all the houses lit up. 

Last night was his SAR Christmas party.  I made this corn-tuna salsa and it was a big hit.  As one person said, knowing the ingredients in the salsa, you just wouldn't think they'd go together well (well, he said he thought it would be too many vegetables), but then you taste it and it is just great!  I made a double recipe last night, and there was none to bring home.  (The recipe blog is up, tho i've not posted much yet.)  The dessert i made was not as much of a success and i was disappointed. (The fault was my own, not the recipe.  I added something that the recipe didn't call for and it did not impart an improvement.  The flavor was off.)     

I can't seem to write short posts.  A lot has been happening and i'm trying to record it, but i use a lot of words!

 I've not yet taken pics today.  This is an old one (and we don't have this much snow), but looking at the neighbor's house now looks a lot like this.  White, with blue, blue sky behind it.

Merry Christmas everyone.  I'll probably write more before long.


20 December 2010

15 December 2010

Part Two, "significant gifts"

 Isn't this paper cute?  This is what i used to create the "boxes" for the cards.

This is my pattern for the box.  I made it to fit the cards/envelopes that it will hold.

Here is the pattern traced onto the back of the paper.  If doing a different pattern that has a scene like this one, you'd want to be sure that the "important" part of the scene to show up in the middle.

Here it is, on the back side, after the cut.

The front after the cut.  The corner pieces are extra, and i saved these to cut out the figures to use on a card.

Back of the "box" after it is folded and glued.  (It is about 1/4 inch thick.)

The front, with the flap left open.  I think i'll close this with a rubber band, tho i might use stick on velcro.

Here are a few of the extra pieces, waiting for me to cut them out.

And here is a finished card.  I will do another one with the little town in the background and some sheep jumping around.

Here is a sample of what is in the box, the blank cards.  The group on the right is a sample of what is going to the boys, the group on the left a sample of what i'm sending to the girls.  All the envelopes are plain, white like the one in the pic.  If i had more time i'd make envelopes for them too, but i'm busy!

Here are some of the stickers i'm going to put in for them.  Baseball, monkeys, zoo animals and cars for the boys, the flowers and stuff for the girls.  I have more of these at home i'll add in later.  Only the youngest girl (5) is getting the princess stuff.  I'm sending what i think to be "more sophisticated" for the older girls who are 11, 12, and 13.

So, there it is.  What do you think?  Do you think the kids will like this?

I've linked this to Sara's You Create series.  If you don't read Sara's blog, my recommendation:  DO!  :) 


Significant gifts? (part one)

My friend's truck needs a new engine, so she will be with us until Monday or Tuesday.  I'm happy for us and sad for her.  

I fell asleep last night about midnight, as was awake this AM at 5.30.  What is up with that?  I do NOT need to be awake this early!  Sleep deprivation isn't fun!

This year seems to me to be an accumulation of several years of discomfort for me about a particular issue. 

Duane's family (well, his step-family) is rather affluent.  His step siblings and cousins were raised with a lifestyle that . . . i don't even know how to say this.  They got a lot of things.  They didn't seem to give consideration to anyone else (like helping provide Christmas to some family that doesn't have much).  Now there are grandkids (Duane's cousins' & siblings' children) between the ages of 4 and 13, and those kids get a mountain of presents every year.  Essentially, every adult gives every one of the kids something.  

The adults do not do this.  They have a gift exchange with gag gifts and a $20 gift card attached.  

I have had issues with this for a long time now.  But i feel rather caught in the undertow.  We don't have kids (so i haven't the right to criticize).  It is Duane's step-family.  They give us nice things.  We want to reciprocate.  But it also feels so futile.  We can't afford to give each of the kids (7 of them) expensive gifts.  And they get so many things that whatever we give them seems to just get snowed under the rest.  

I've made suggestions in the past that we adopt a family and help them, but the idea doesn't pull any favor.  Duane's aunt said to me "Oh, we all do that.  But it is fun to give the kids things, too."  By "we all do that" she means the older generation - the aunts - do support needy children.  But i think she is missing the fact that Duane's peers and the grandchildren don't see that happening.  What is more, the "needy children" are in another country, so these kids never see that there is need within a mile or two of where they live.

Ok, enough rant.  That is the back story.  I'm not going to be able to change the system.  But i've really struggled with what to give these kids.  In some ways i'm as sad for them as for the kids who don't get anything.  

Duane and i have stopped attending the family holiday party.  They stopped having it on Christmas Eve, and (it seems to us) they've stopped really celebrating Christ and have dropped into a "give me, give me" thing.  This family group that always celebrated Christ on Christmas Eve with the nativity story has begun having Santa come to the parties.  (You can imagine how well that went over with my anti-Santa husband.)  Last year i sent the gifts for the kids (books, but really nice ones) to the party with Duane's mom.  Duane didn't want me to do this (feeling i was "supporting" the party of which we do not approve), but i didn't want the hassle of trying to get the gifts to the kids individually.  

I'm thinking that this will probably be the last year that we do this gift thing.  I don't know how to bow out gracefully, but i need to find a way.  However, in the meantime, i'm stuck with trying to think of a gift for these kids.  I'd like it to be something significant.

So this is what i came up with.  I'm going to give each of the kids a small paper box of blank cards, some extra paper and a bunch of stickers and let them make their own cards to send to people.  I'm going to make each of them a Christmas card that is kind of a sample card of how they might make their own.

What is more, rather than send these to the holiday party, i'm going to mail them individually to the kids.   I remember as a kid how fun it was to receive something in the mail and how rarely it happened.  

Does this mean our gift will be "significant"?  I doubt it.  I'm not even sure what that would be for children who have everything.  But i do think it will be unique and stand out and maybe it will be a fun thing for them.  

I was going have this "how to" now, but this post is already long.  I think i'll do a second "part two" with pics (that i've not loaded from the camera yet) later. 


13 December 2010

Just some thoughts

Okay, no pics of my friend.  She asked me not to post them on FaceBook (feeling she wants to be more private than that), and so i make the assumption she means my blog as well.   We've had a lovely visit and it has been delightful to have her.  I'm sorry that it is (probably) over now.  (She's been having some car trouble, and her visit might be extended, but for her sake, i hope not.  Too stressful for her.)

We've begun our "weird week."  Duane spent over an hour at the DMV today updating his driver's license that would have expired next Monday.  He has a lot of work to be done and will be in OC until Sunday, now.  I get to go home on Thursday, but have to go back to OC on Saturday.  But once we are home (Sunday) we will stay for almost 2 weeks, except for Christmas Eve that we will spend with Duane's family.  

I've decided i must be rather grumpy.  We got our tree up on Friday (that anniversary) as planned.  But there are some changes i want to make - the base of the tree needs to be cut some as it is too tall for the star; it needs fewer lights; it needs to be moved about a foot to the right (too accessible to cats who want to chew on it where it is at).  In general, i want to take it down for a "do over."  I don't know if i will or not.  

I've mentioned that we are sort of "mentoring" N's kids, and as such, we have been planning to get them some (rather small) Christmas gifts.  Socks, lip balm, some toys or games, some candy.  Nothing overwhelming.  But the family is going thru major financial crisis and i'm a bit discouraged.  We can't "fix" things for them.  The small things we are planning feel like trying to put out a blazing fire with an eye dropper.  Hopefully we can make some small difference for these kids, but . . . i don't know what i was going to say.  (And, i find that there are so many things i'd love to get for the 8 YO girl, i could really spoil her!  The boys are a bit more difficult, particularly the 12 YO.  So, i need balance!)

Just adding some pics, 'cause i hate too many posts without them.  But these are old pics (most of our snow is melted now; it has been an unusually warm December).  I thought Duane had put the camera cord in the camera bag, but it is not there, so i can't load the pics in the camera.  Yeah, i was a bit grumpy about that, too.  What is up with me???  I hate feeling grumpy.

I recently had this message/comment left on one of my older posts:  i am a professional designer, perhaps you would like to use some of my pictures?  i guess it would be neat and fit on your page :-) absolutely like your page!  write me an email please in case you want to see my pictures

Okay, but this was posted anonymously!  I can't write them, even if i wanted to!  

I don't understand these comments.  I'm getting quite a few (caught in a moderator trap), including the bizarre one i posted in comments a week or so back:  I give birth to interpret a few of the articles on your website in the present circumstances, and I unqualifiedly like your fashionableness of blogging. I added it to my favorites trap period list and disposition be checking promote soon. Cheer repress into public notice my site as ok and leave to me know what you think. Thanks.

Obviously this is spam of some kind, but what is the point when they don't give a link and post anonymously?  I don't understand why, at all.

Don't think i've much more to say.  Brain fog is settling in!

Oh, except, thank you all for leaving comments.  I've not been very good at responding recently, but i so appreciate each and every on.  One of these days i'll get back on track and respond better!  :)


12 December 2010

We have company

It has been a crazy couple of weeks and the coming week promises no different.  

A girl friend is here for a couple of days and i'm thrilled.  Will post a pic when i've the chance. 


09 December 2010

The story of The Box

This is a re-post of the story i wrote last year.  I've edited it some.  A lot has happened in the past week, and i meant to write about it, but it is mostly mundane and complaining.  Think i will skip it for now.

We spent our first Thanksgiving together with my sis Elsa, our parents, and some of sis's friends at Elsa's house. Afterward we drove to Big Bear (we were both living in Costa Mesa at the time) for post-Thanksgiving with Duane's family. While in Big Bear we saw a number of "alpine" trees and admired them.

When we got back to Orange County, Michaels was having a sale on their trees and one of them was a 5' Alpine tree. Because it reminded us of Big Bear, we bought it and put it up together at my house. I had some decorations i'd made the year before and some i made that year (2003).   A roommate from when i was in college (1989-1993, had this roommate in '90) absconded with all the Christmas decorations i'd collected in the years prior to that.  I didn't bother with Christmas for many years thereafter.   I don't have a pic of the first tree Duane and i put up, but they are all pretty similar.  This pic is from when we still lived in Costa Mesa.

On 10 December Duane and i had a date. By this time he was a frequent visitor at my house.  When he came over he came on in while i was still upstairs. When i came down the stairs i immediately saw that i had a new decoration on my tree.

I asked what it was, i tried to tease him by pretending that i'd go to dinner with him without looking at the box. But i didn't get a rise out of him and we started to walk out the door. After a few seconds i said, "I can't believe you would let me walk away without checking this out!" We went back to the beautiful little box.

When we took the tree down i tied a small red ribbon to the branch where Duane had put the box.  

Do you see the ribbon behind the pinecone? Every year when we put up the tree, we put the box back on the same branch. We add lights and granny's star, but the rest of the tree we leave plain for a week or so until we decorate it later. (In all practicality, this works well, too, because the cats have less time to tear apart all the toys on the tree they think we placed there just for them!)

We met on 17 May, we got engaged on 10 December. Duane wanted a wedding that would be either on the 10th of the month, or the 17th, because that way he'd have less numbers to remember! The way the calendar runs, the 17th of the month is always on the same day of the week as the 10th. (Go on, look it up!) Our church had limited days they allowed weddings, (Fridays and Saturdays).  We looked at the calendar for 2004, the only months that allowed us those options were July and September. July all the clergy was away for some conference, so September it was. We chose the 10th.  We've had six wedding anniversaries now, this is our 7th married Christmas, the 8th we've been together.

The plan is to put up the tree tomorrow, the 10th.  But the poor tree, from what i remember, was becoming a little worn.  I think the branches were coming loose, but they were put in with hot glue, i think, so a bit more should do the trick.  We'll probably do some work on it tonight when we get home, repairing and strengthening it to go another year.