Sunday, December 21, 2014

Denial is a Nice Place to Visit...

...but you wouldn't want to live here.

I haven't written much lately, but please don't feel neglected; I also haven't baked or wrapped much, or watched my usual quota of Christmas movies, or drank more than a sip of eggnog. In short, I haven't really bothered to enjoy the traditions that we have come to associate with the holidays.

Oh, there are a few cookies in the freezer and the children won't wake up to a bare tree come Christmas morning, but, those things have required more effort than I am used to expending and I am, at best, phoning it in.

I haven't written lately because I don't want to merely phone it in here. I started this blog as a way to connect myself and my family to the people I was closest to, emotionally, yet farthest from, physically; today, I am farther away from half of those people than I ever wanted to be and I'm not sure that any amount of nouns, verbs, and adjectives on a page could ever bridge this gap.

So, I am finally trying to do what everyone has been telling me that I need to do for the past couple of months; I'm letting myself grieve.

I'm going to let this Christmas sort of suck.

I don't have any choice, really. I've tried the fake it till you make it method and, frankly, it isn't working. I don't, however, believe in inflicting the sads on others, so, I'm going to finish out this year with fewer posts, writing only when I feel emotionally capable of doing so without throwing a thin veil of melancholy over every paragraph; ain't nobody got time for reading that bullshit.

And, eventually, I'll get back to our regular programming of blythe optimism with a bit of raunchy humor thrown in for good measure.

In the meantime, I'm going to wallow in the sads while seeking joy, because I know that this, too, shall pass.

Seek and ye shall find...eventually.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Seasons Greetings

This year's holiday cards were a labor of love that, for once, I was not required to labor over alone. Instead, the whole family got involved and I have the pictures to prove it.




We borrowed the driveway at Mom's neighbor's house during Thanksgiving break, grabbed as much green sidewalk chalk as I could find (not an easy task in November, in case you ever attempt something similar), and encouraged the teenagers to tap into their inner child when creating a scene for the pictures and, I think they did a great job.

I managed not to fall off a ladder when taking the pictures, which is a victory all on its own, and, another Christmas card photo went into the record books.


It goes without saying that I am grateful for the opportunity to photograph my kids together again, and, I think it's also pretty obvious that these two have missed living together.


Of course, now that The Teenager is home for an extended holiday break, I give them a week before they are at each other's throats.

You know, like normal.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

While I was home at Thanksgiving, I recruited Mom to help me with yet another Pinterest project, crafting an ugly sweater that I had pinned at least a year ago and that I thought would be a great contender in our office Ugly Sweater Contest at the annual employee party.

I purchased the sweater at our local Salvation Army store and then Mom and I hunted the thrift stores in Mayberry for items that would be suitable for decorating it.

Mom was the official seamstress, since I still have PTSD from that time in Home Ec. when I sewed my fingers together (true story), and she did a great job.




I wore the sweater to the office Christmas party this past Monday and, despite some stiff competition from the jokers from the corporate office, I won, handily.


How could I not? I was a tree, people! Pinterest victory, indeed. Also, if anyone needs to borrow a sweater for an Ugly Sweater contest, or, you know, just because you want to look like a Christmas tree (you never know, there may be a fetish for that; people are weird, y'all), I can totally hook you up.

You can't have my trophy though; it's a major award!**


**Extra credit if you can match the quote to the movie.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Ungrateful Pre-Teen Edition

As a mother of teenagers, I know how challenging it can be to choose just the right gift to place under the Christmas Tree. I have spent weeks asking probing questions only to be greeted with the old stand-by "I don't know", or, by my personal favorite, "I don't need anything". Not helpful.

So, I have a fresh appreciation for the frustration my parents must have felt during the Christmas of 1979.

That year, there was never any question that my older sister wanted a satin jacket, a maroon satin jacket with white sleeves, to be exact.

And, the fact that my younger sister desperately desired a Baby Snuggles was well-known throughout the household.

I, however, must have continued to answer the age-old question of "What do you want for Christmas?" with my present day nemesis answers of; "I don't know" or "I don't need anything"...

...which possibly explains why, on Christmas morning, my older sister opened up her package to discover that satin jacket and Barbie found that doll under the tree while I unwrapped a yellow, plastic, mushroom-shaped powder puff.


The look on my face perfectly captured my feelings at the time, like, "Hey! This is so....cool?". Which, was probably not what my poor mom was going for like at all.

She was clearly hoping for something more along the lines of Barbie's reaction...


...and I'm really sorry I didn't deliver; that was one happy kid.

Of course, the powder puff wasn't the only gift I received that year; I remember enjoying the Fashion Plates I got very much, so, it's not like I was deprived or anything. In fact, I was pretty spoiled when I think about it; I had a few friends who probably would have been beyond thrilled with that powder puff.

I guess my point is; I feel my mom's pain; trying to create the most special memories every year is exhausting and, having an ungrateful kid must have been damaging to her psyche.

I'm sorry, Mom. I hope the fact that I have nothing but wonderful memories of the experiences you provided for us during our childhood Christmases makes up for the fact that I was a little shit back in 1979.

I really do.



 
Forget the yellow powder puff, WTF is up with the red socks?

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

We're Having a Very Pinterest Christmas

I've been on quite the crafting kick, lately. I'm not sure if the holiday season has anything to do with it or if I am just feeling a need to keep myself mindlessly busy, but, either way; I have created some kick-ass items from my ever-growing list of pins on Pinterest.

One of the most recent is an awesome star, cobbled together from nothing more than yard sticks and hot glue. Like, seriously.

Ok, and paint.

And, lights, but, that is it for materials.



I just formed a rough star shape with the yard sticks, hot glued them together at the ends, and applied a light coat of spray paint before wiring a strand of lights to it and calling it good**.



Then, I plugged it in, arranged it with the vintage light-up Santa that Barbie got me for my birthday and some fresh greenery and, voila! Instant Christmas decoration for the porch!



 

I love the way it turned out and it couldn't be any less expensive. It definitely lights up the porch and I love the way it frames the vintage Santa. In short, this was a Pinterest victory, which, makes up for the nine hundred and ninety-nine Pinterest failures that I have endured.

You know, somewhat.

**I keep saying I but, Hugh would have you know that he glued that star together because I am apparently incapable of creating right angles. Also, he painted it because I am a delicate flower who cannot abide spray paint underneath my fingernails. True story.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

I Guess It Could Be an ICED Chocolate Bar

Despite almost record-warm days,the nights and early mornings here in Petticoat Junction have gotten quite chilly. So, of course I busted out this year's hot cocoa bar.


The Man-Cub has been taking full advantage of it, so much so that I had to invest in a package of disposable hot beverage cups with lids; I had grown weary of the Cub running off with my travel mugs, never to be seen again (or, at least not until he cleans out his locker at the end of the year, at which point there will be no getting the nasty washed out).

The forecast for the next week or so promises more sunshine and warm temperatures so I am debating the merits of reclaiming counter space by temporarily retiring the bar to the pantry. Of course, the second I do that, a blizzard will roll in, so, instead, I think I will encourage the Cub to throw some ice on his cocoa and call it a Frappuccino.

We'll be the only family on the block with a Frappuccino bar. I could live with that.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Childhood Christmas Edition

My house has been fully decorated since before Thanksgiving and I haven't yet gotten around to taking pictures of the decorations. I blame that partly on the fact that the lights on the front porch are still not right (The Never Ending Saga of the Lights. Coming soon to a blog near you!), and partly on the fact that I am lazy (Or, because I'm feeling a bit bah-humbug this year; could go either way).

I will eventually get around to the photos (And to baking cookies, shopping for presents, wrapping presents, mailing holiday cards, and/or generally feeling the holiday spirit. Grief is fun!), but, in the meantime, I have photos from past Christmases to share, and, that's really more fun, anyway; retro is in, y'all!

Where to begin...how about Christmas 1968? My first Christmas. I can't tell you what I got that year, other than utter humiliation at the hands of my parents, who dressed me like a certain jolly old elf. Thanks, Mom and Dad!


Christmas 1969


I must have been a little over a year old and, judging from the photo below, totally thrilled to have received an...um..not sure what that is. But, clearly, it rocked.**


It should also be noted that my older sister was super-grateful for the awesome dollhouse. That, or her hands were clasped to her chest as she pled with Santa to return me to the North Pole (I think she was over me by that point).

The next photo is Christmas 1970.


I was two years old and clearly stoked about the Snoopy Says See and Say that Santa brought me. Honestly, can you blame me? My older sister scored a Kerplunk game and we must have had that thing for ages because I actually remember it. Also, while she seemed happy enough about her gifts, her expression definitely lacked my enthusiasm.

Just saying.

So...Christmas 1971


One of those books was the adventures of H.R. Pufnstuff. Remember him? Witchipoo? The Magic Flute?


Yeah, what the hell were people smoking back then?

And, I digress.

Christmas 1972


That year, I got the Barbie camper, it was awesome. However, if photos are any indication, my mom considered another gift to be of far more importance...


Matching robes. Does it get any more adorable than that? Clearly, she thought not.

Christmas 1973


The wooden shoes were a gift from my Aunt Connie, who was living in Germany at the time. I still have them and they have seen many an elementary school classroom Show and Tell hour.

I think that's enough for today; I don't want to use up all my throwback material before the end of the month. Stay tuned for Childhood Christmas: The Adolescent Edition in all it's awkward glory.

**Closer inspection indicates that it was, in fact, a doll. Thanks, Santa!