Thursday, December 29, 2011

Season of Frenzy -- Celebration Edition, Part Two

Preface: Some of you asked about the reference to soap in the last post. If you saw the movie "A Christmas Story," you may remember when Ralphie says a bad word -- not Fudge. (You can see that scene HERE.)

His mother makes him suck on a bar of Lifebuoy soap, during which he imagines himself having gone blind from soap poisoning. Let's just say that during the plumbing incident, Rick didn't say "Fudge." The ceremonial licking of the soap was his penance!

* * * * *
The good thing about having one Christmas on the evening of the 23rd and the morning of the 24th is that there is time to have another!

'We didn't really have "real" Christmas Eve plans. Kevin and Molly were at her parents' and the three of us weren't sure what we'd do. Then Rick talked to Paul Davis.

Paul and Bonnie live in the neighborhood where Greg grew up and he and Matt were friends from Kindergarten.

Both were creative, in the same Scout troop (with Paul and Rick overseeing the Pinewood Derby and a massive cake-baking fundraiser!).

So, when Paul said, "Come on over for pizza," we were so there!

As we walked in, he said "After dinner, we're making Christmas ornaments and you can make as many as you like, but you have to leave one here for our tree."

Is that not the coolest thing ever?

Rick, Bonnie Paul, Paul's dad, Matt and Greg. I am taking the picture.

So, make we did! Rick turned out a bicycle.

For my ornament to leave behind, Paul is showing a pizza I made to remember the evening by.

I also made the cat below and a very cute choirboy that photographed very badly!

Of course, there's one in every crowd!

Greg made this creature that must speak for itself.

I can't describe it, apart from that it was a creature with a purple headdress sitting in an elaborate chair holding a shotgun! It attracted quite a bit of interest during its creation as Matt chipped in with a support system!

I think a lot of you will "get" this -- to me, sharing an evening with good friends and having the chance to do an art thing was so over-the-top for me, I'll never forget it!

Christmas Day brought presents in the morning with Rick and Gypsy.

The evening brought friends Mike and Kate over for dinner (with Richard stopping in later).

I have to say -- I'm going to make a "Flat Jeanie-on-a-Stick" -- like a flat Stanley, so when I'm the photographer, Rick can hold me up and I'm still in the photo.

Gypsy and the Bow

I said I'd tell you about what Gyppy thought of his Christmas bow. He looked so cute, with his polka dotted bow, that when I left for Christmas #1 at Rick's, I left it on Gypsy. But when I came home later to get something, it was nowhere to be found. I assumed he had snagged it going behind the tree.

But later, when in the bathroom for obvious reasons, I happened to look in the toilet.

(Good thing that didn't get flushed down, or it would be Kevin and his plunger to the rescue a second time!

Couldn't even say "bad cat" because it was so darned funny! And he's so darned cute!

Hey, mom, I'm innocent!

About the Puppy... We're still waiting for the final verdict on Charlie B. Barkin' -- but he's responding to treatment and Kevin says he's really skinny, but he should be coming home today (Thursday!). Thanks everyone for your good words; I can't help but think they helped!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Season of Frenzy -- Celebration Edition, Part One

Today is Boxing Day and I should be out getting a good deal on a new camera. Maybe later -- I suspect all the crazies are out there right now! So, I'm just reveling in the past few days of holiday activity.

Our Christmas was filled with the good...

The gathering of family...

The annual Christmas cookie decorating on our first Christmas Eve...

A pretty table, a delicious dinner...

And presents!
The bad...

Kevin gets an adorable puppy.

Everyone loves Charlie B. Barkin'...

Who is sweet, placid, cuddly, adorable...

...and who came from Animal Control with a disease called Porvo.

(Charlie B. is currently at the vet getting a $1,000 treatment -- everyone chipped in -- and our fingers are crossed that they got him there in time and that he'll recover from this serious canine disease.)

The ugly...

So, it's Christmas Eve #1 and Greg puts carrot peels down the garbage disposal. This is taboo in Rick's house. With good reason.

It was rather colorful articulation that occurred...

Rick started; Greg took over. It didn't work.

Kevin to the rescue with the plunger idea. (Initially pooh pooed. But it worked!)

We didn't have Lifebuoy.

Irish Spring had to do!

The ceremonial licking of the soap.

The wonderful...

Our annual Christmas cookie decorating!

We started this when the kids were little as a way to do something on Christmas Eve after dinner that didn't involve video!

Love the concentration, with everyone working hard to get theirs just right!

Molly wrestled with year-old frosting in a tube. So far, no one has died from eating the cookie.

As always, Artist Greg does one cookie. One really spectacular cookie!

And that's just the first Christmas Eve! Next time we'll show what we did on Christmas Eve #2 -- and what Gyppy really thought of his bow!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Season of Frenzy -- Get Real Edition

It is Tuesday, December 21, as I write this. One day until the Solstice, which will bring with it the return of light.

Not that Michigan winters get a lot of sun even during the daytime, but it will be nice to leave work when there is more than 10 minutes of daylight!

How many of us say (sometimes every year) -- "This Christmas isn't going the way I'd like it to."

Sooner or later we (or I) am forced into getting real. Because sometimes magical real isn't cutting it.

Real is having a bug that lays you flat a few days before Christmas -- when you are already forced into celebrating on the 23rd.

Real is being so embarrassed you can't stand it because you were so sick you forgot to tell the friend with whom you were having a belated birthday dinner (and she was treating!) that you were sick, so when she came to the door, Death Warmed Over greeted her.

Real is celebrating Christmas on the 23rd -- a day you really don't want to just on general principle -- because kids have other plans. (We coped with early Christmas for eons when it was just us and the kids' mom, but being forsaken on Christmas Eve -- and it does feel like being forsaken -- so youngest can celebrate with his girlfriend's family -- hurts his dad and I a good deal. Probably a good deal more than it should.)

(Real is also feeling like a pouty, petty grinch for even letting this get to me, because really, who doesn't have to deal with this all the time, for eons and across miles. And we love her a lot! She could be a shrew we hated, but this one is a keeper!)

Real is feeling guilty for wishing they were small again, leaving out reindeer food with Tab and wine long after the gig was really up!

Real is not having the presents you want to get because aforementioned illness and fever keeps you from finishing up.

Real is not having the cards done for the same reason.

Last year's dinner setting

Real is being told by Rick "I don't think you should cook for other people" when I still haven't finished the giveaway baking. (And was mighty glad at least the nuts, bread and some cookies were done before this happened.)

This year's Christmas Eve decorating cookies will be baked by someone else. (These are last year's, as you might suppose!)

Real is being grateful you store the smaller trees with their lights and even a few ornaments on!

Real is looking around my house (which looks pretty darned good for a woman who was having trouble getting it together) and saying "I wish I had brought up more ornaments from the basement."

(This tree wouldn't have been decorated much at all without Rick.)

Real is looking at the lovely cards that have arrived, some created by artist friends like these three from Samantha (left), Stephani (center) and Joanne (right) and being so grateful I know you talented women -- and many more.

Real is looking at the tree and knowing there are gifts from friends across the miles -- and that with one exception, my packages are mailed. They might not arrive till late, but they are mailed!

Real is going with Rick to get a REAL tree for his house -- one so big it balances precariously on the roof!

Real is struggling a bit with the stand, making sure the tree is straight (and having to cut off a chunk of the trunk because of a bad original cut.)

And real is setting it up, having to cut off part of the top so the angel his grandma made will fit!

Real is Rick making pizza crust! Yum!

And real is welcoming Kevin and Molly home to top the pizzas after missing them both for far too long...

Real being together to decorate the tree.

Real is being grateful that my aunt Iris gave me my grandmother's punch bowl, making it a lot easier to decorate!

Real is being relieved I could bring up handfuls of Santas instead of carrying the big box and trying to figure out where I would put them all. (For me, this is minimalist.)

Real is trying to get a picture of Gypsy in his jingle bell collar (which is really my stretch bracelets, and that reminds me, I need them back.)

Real is REALLY trying (and wishing I'd replaced my broken camera before Christmas and wasn't relying on this trashy one I had before! He looks a little like "Children of the Corn.")

Slightly better. Not much.

Real is missing your parents so much you start to cry while you're writing this sentence about how much you miss them.

And real is longing for times with your cousins like the holidays of old, even though the ones of now are just fine. And after all, if I didn't have today's, I wouldn't have Rick.

Real is knowing Mom would take it in stride.

Real is knowing that the friends who have surrounded me have sent me warm greetings and good wishes, knowing I'm as much as basket case because of Christmas as I am being sick again.

Real is an office colleague who says "stay home" and I'll cover if I need to. (When I'm healthier, he'll get more than nuts. Bread, maybe.)

Real is having a great doc who got me in, gave me meds and they are beginning to work. So for our first Christmas, I should be good to go. By the real one, I should be really good.

Real is finding some time to look at the lights inside, because there isn't much outside. And the lights inside are prettier.

Real is knowing there will always be another scarf to make or card to send and sometimes you just have to stop. It's knowing there are twelve days of Christmas and you may as well plan on using all of them.

Real is knowing that no matter what happens over the next few days, no matter what doesn't get baked or wrapped or bought, really won't matter, because my world is filled with people (and a cat) that I love and care about immensely, and who care about me.

And that's really important.

May you have a holiday filled with all things real and do your best to take them in stride. I'm trying.

I really am!

Merriest of Merries to you!

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