Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year in Review

Ah, 2008, you were a very good year. Tonight, Hugh, Jana, Chris and I will send you out in style, complete with champagne and dirty jokes told round the table while we engage in an epic battle of Pictionary.

Before I bid you my personal adieu, however, it seems only right and proper to look back on the events that made you.

January- Rang in the New Year in the company of good friends.

First month of the new job and, oh my god, what a learning curve. Looking back, I can laugh, at the time? Not so much.

February- The Man-Cub lost the election for Class Mayor but learned a good lesson about politics-bribery doesn’t always work but candy always makes an excellent bribe. Hugh made his first trip to the Big Show, the State Wrestling tournament. We could not have been more proud of him and, you know, a trip to Denver to shop and celebrate the Girl’s 12th birthday, score!

March- Attended my first Spring Market for the hardware store. I learned a lot, the most important thing being that I can, indeed, hang suspended thirty feet in the air over a crowd of hundreds of people without totally wetting my pants. Oh, and my husband has No Fear. Good to know.

I also learned that my foot is an anomaly which explains an awful lot about, well, nothing. But, hey! Extra bone! Cool.

April- Gave blood for the first time in several years, didn’t pass out. Did, however harbor bad thoughts about the phlebotomist; pretty sure I’m going to Hell for that.

May- Watched the Man-Cub’s baseball team lose numerous games.

Watched them Win a couple.

Felt my age creeping up on me when I realized how grown-up The Girl was getting.

Discovered my children had a disturbing interest in science.

June-Planted a garden, fretted over the damn thing for the rest of the summer.

Spent some quality time with my sister and my nephew.

Witnessed a miracle on the ball field yet still prayed for our team to lose the All-Stars game so that we would not have to travel to the State Tournament, was not immediately struck down by lightning for expressing such blasphemy against the sport.

July- Celebrated our independence with Jana and company.

Instituted Porch Night, the greatest innovation since the fermented grape. Learned a lot about Jana in the process.

Finally got a landscaped backyard and it only took five years.

August- Discovered that the Great Salt Lake smells like ass but that even ass isn’t so terrible as long as you smell it with friends.

Sent my children off to seventh and fourth grades without weeping. Much.

September- Spent a lovely week on a tropical island with my husband of fifteen years. Cannot think of anything remotely snarky to say about that.

Started exercising again, like, seriously. It hurt, like, seriously.

Celebrated the Man-Cub turning double digits. Bought him a weapon to mark the occasion; still not quite sure it was the best idea but, as of today, he hasn’t shot his eye out.

October- Came to the realization that seventh grade is the ninth level of Hell for parents and that the threat of Catholic school works wonders.

Bought a boat, can’t wait for summer to get here.

November-Turned forty, oh my god.

December- Had a Special Talk with The Girl. Am still recovering.

And that’s just some of the stuff that I experienced, never mind all the major changes in our economy, society, educational system, political administration, etc., etc. It’s amazing how much one small year can entail; especially considering the fact that, each New Year seems to go by faster than the one before it.

But, maybe that’s just my perspective after all; I am getting advanced in my age.

Forty. Good God.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

If I Never See Another Sugar Cookie, It Will Be Too Soon

But, I think I say that every year and, every year; I pig out on Christmas cookies for at least a solid week. This year was no different and my week of gluttony is officially over; it’s time to get back on the wagon.

So, yesterday, I started back on my exercise program and I’m here to tell you that the effort like to have killed me, dead. Honestly, the rate of decline in my strength and endurance after just one week was ridiculous and, granted, I am fighting a cold but, still; ridiculous.

Anyone care to guess what my New Year’s resolutions will consist of?

Exercise, obviously. Taking care of myself. Doing things for others.

All of which are very good things to do however, it’s not simply making and keeping resolutions that I plan to focus on in the upcoming year, instead I am going to focus on experiences; on trying new things and on taking more enjoyment from old things.

Things like spending more time with family and friends.

A return to Porch Night just as soon as the weather permits.

A trek to the Grand Canyon with the Girls, assuming we ever get off the waiting list and are granted a permit.

More dates with my husband and fewer evenings wasted on mundane chores that could wait for another time.

More time spent telling the people in my life how much I love them, how important they are to me and how grateful I am to know them.

More time playing with my children. More bubble blowing, slip’n’sliding, bug catching, Wii hoola-hooping, bike riding, swimming, making Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes on lazy Sunday mornings and more dancing around the kitchen like lunatics to the music on the radio (and, if you don’t think that we a do that already; you obviously haven’t been to my house).

Clearly, I am looking forward to 2009. It may throw some ugly at us. It may bathe us in happiness. Who knows? Part of the fun in life is not knowing what to expect.

Although, if I were a betting woman, I would lay odds in favor of another sugar cookie week right around this time, next year.

God willing.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Great Depression

So, my Plans for this weekend, which consisted of traveling to the city of my college alma mater to attend the surprise 40th birthday party of one of my dearest friends, were totally derailed by crappy weather conditions, in this case; mountain passes closed due to avalanche conditions and shit.

Now, ordinarily, a little avalanche danger wouldn’t keep me from partying with my Girls but, Hugh and the Man-Cub also came down with the flu which further served to make the trip unrealistic and, thus I spent Saturday evening whining about my lost opportunity to drink wine with the ladies. I was whining rather than wine-ing, if you will.

So, in an effort to console me, Hugh took us all to see Marley & Me.

Note to my dear husband: A movie in which the adorable Clearance Puppy dies of old age is NOT so much a movie that will lift the spirits of your sad-hearted wife. I’m just saying.

Also, if you hadn’t seen the movie or read the book; I totally just spoiled the ending for you and I am sorry.

When we left the theater, it was snowing so hard we could barely see the road on our trip home which did make me feel slightly better about cancelling our trip because, if it is snowing in the valley, the mountains are generally treacherous and, you know, all joking aside; I really would rather live to party with the Girls another day.

Like, a day this summer. On the boat. When the only chance of having a blizzard comes in the form of an ice-cream treat from the local Dairy Queen.

And just think; only six months to go before that can happen.

Huh. That’s almost as depressing as the death of the Clearance Puppy.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dear Mother Nature:

Thank you for the white Christmas, now; knock that shit off.

Seriously. I had plans for today but, we are snowed in. And, it isn’t even that we have so much snow, it’s that the snow we have is of the messy variety that causes the roads to become sheets of glassy Death and, that combined with the fact that people are idiots who shouldn’t be driving in adverse conditions to begin with; makes the highways and byways of our area quite unsafe to traverse.

Which sucks since, as I said; I had plans.


At least we had a nice Christmas. And, if we have to be homebound, we have plenty of toys and gizmos with which to occupy our time. In fact, as I speak, Hugh and the Man-Cub are playing a Lego Star Wars game on the Wii. The Cub got the game from his Aunt Barbie and he and Hugh have already become quite proficient at it.

The Girl got a PSP and has been holed up in her room with it, since Christmas; I guess that means she likes it.

I got a Cricut and a slew of cartridges to go with it. Now I just need to make some space for it in my craft room so that I can get started using it. Maybe being snowed in will provide me with the time to do just that; it might even ease the sting of having my Plans derailed.

Bright side. Glass half full, yada, yada.

Speaking of the bright side, in case I haven’t mentioned it; Christmas here in Petticoat Junction was lovely. Oscar and Emily spent Christmas Eve with us. We ate a delicious ham dinner before beginning the construction of our annual gingerbread house- which turned out quite well- and then we basically forced Emily to watch A Christmas Story from beginning to end which is a feat she had never before accomplished (I KNOW, we couldn’t believe it, either).

Before turning in, the kids left milk and cookies out for Santa and the Man-Cub read us all The Night Before Christmas and he did it, perfectly. Best early Christmas present, ever.

Christmas morning, the kids allowed us to sleep in until six before tearing us from the warmth of our bed for present-palooza, the mounds of wrapping paper from which I am still cleaning up and, the day was off to a great start.

I spent most of my day in the kitchen, cooking and serving a traditional turkey dinner with all the side dishes, including my first ever stab at homemade cranberry sauce and, for the record, I will never eat canned sauce again. That sauce was so good; I ate several spoonfuls of it by itself after dinner. And, for breakfast the next morning. And, you know, as a snack here and there in between.

It was really good, is what I’m saying.

It was all really good. We are blessed and fortunate and lucky and every other word used to describe it. And we are thankful.

Believe it or not, I’m even thankful for the snow. It may have royally screwed with my Plans but, right now; the Man-Cub is talking about building a snow family today, a really cool snow family “just like our cool family” and, you know, suddenly snow kind of rocks.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Things That Make
Life Worth Living
Cannot Be Bought,
They Must Be Felt

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So Much to Do, So Little Time

Why is it that, no matter how prepared I think I am for Christmas; I always end up running around doing last-minute chores? I start this process in October, people, how can I not be finished, yet?

It is one of life’s greater mysteries, right up there with Is The Abominable Snowman Real and Does the Dryer Really Eat Socks? Which, for the record, it does (also for the record, the Man-Cub insists on calling it the Abdominal Snowman which I find freaking hilarious; not that I doubt the creature has great abs, I’m just saying).

So, what do I have to do today? Well, I have to make ham wraps, meatballs and a goodie tray for our store Christmas party, which Hugh and I are hosting tonight. I need to pick up soda and ice and a list of other items for said party plus bagels and lox for Christmas morning. I need to get to the bank and I need to purchase just a couple additional stocking stuffers for the Man-Cub and for Oscar (liquor store, here I come) and, there is a good five inches of new snow on the roads.

Last Minute Crap, you are killing me. Killing me, dead.

On a totally unrelated, yet still Christmassy subject; the picture above is of our store window, decorated for the town’s annual Light Contest. We did not win. I could cry foul because our window was the best window in town and, I’m not just saying that because the vintage theme was my idea but; we got beat by a light display set up at the old folk’s home.

You cannot compete with old people at Christmas time and expect to win, you just can't.

Plus, I find it somewhat comforting that I just turned forty and older people are still kicking my ass.

Way to go Old People! Way. To. Go.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tis the Season for Peace

So, why do Hugh and I engage in a battle of epic proportions every year at this time? Because it’s fun.

See, our battle is over a holiday clock given to me by my aunt a number of years ago. The clock is designed to look like a Victorian clock tower, complete with Victorian era carolers at the base. Every hour on the hour, the clock plays a different carol. Loudly. Really loudly.

For the first day or so, Hugh puts up with the music. On about the third day, he turns the music portion of the clock off, a fact that I discover roughly a few hours later when I miss the music. So, I turn the music back on and move the clock to a new location.

Once Hugh discovers the new location, he turns the music off and hides the clock.

Over the years, we have come to a silent agreement; he can hide the clock but he can’t hide it well since I don’t have the advantage of listening for the sound of the music like he does when it is my turn to relocate the clock.

In the time that we have been playing this little game, we have both gotten quite creative with the locations in which we hide the clock and, once, Hugh even staged a mock murder of the clock at the hands of the Misfits from Misfit Island (I’m pretty sure Rudolph had nothing whatsoever to do with it, clearly; he was framed).

A few days ago, Hugh hid the clock so well; it took me the better part of an afternoon to find it. That night, I placed the clock under his side of the bed and, when it struck the eleven o’clock hour, just as Hugh had drifted off to sleep; his reaction was PRICELESS, complete with disoriented flailing about and crashing into furniture once he leaped from the bed to track down the cause of the NOISE, the NOISE in his bedroom!

Hee-La-Ree-Ous, I’m telling you.

The point of this rather long and boring story is that; today is Hugh’s birthday and, when I asked him what he wanted, all he asked was that I never, never put that godamn clock underneath his side of the bed again.


Happy birthday, lover.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

T-Minus Seven and Counting

In case you didn’t realize it; Christmas is exactly one week away. One. Week.

I feel like I’m ready. The cookies are baked. The candy is made. The presents are under the tree and the turkey is in the fridge, slowly thawing out for its date with the oven.

So, why do I feel like I’m forgetting something?

Anywaaay…tonight the Man-Cub and I will frost the fifty mini-red velvet cupcakes that we baked for his classroom party while The Girl finishes wrapping our gifts to their teachers then, as of three fifteen tomorrow afternoon; the children will be freed from their daily grind for an entire two weeks.

I’m jealous.

On the other hand, I will be spared the daily drudgery of coming up with a new and creative sack lunch menu for the Cub so, there is a bright side. Plus, having the children home means having small minions to order about which means; daily chores will get a whole lot easier, for me.

Also, no running around, picking up and dropping off the children at their various after-school activities since such activities are suspended during vacation. Whoo-hoo. Bonus!

Wow! I am really starting to feel the Christmas spirit, now. Let's hope I have enough of it to pull off the store Christmas party, which is scheduled for next Tuesday night.

And, speaking of parties, Hugh's thirty-ninth birthday is on Monday. Yep thirty-nine; robbed the cradle with that one, I did.

I am planning a small gathering of friends and family for dinner that night and, holy shit....the man is going to need a birthday present.

I knew I was forgetttting something.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All Clear On The Breastern Front

The results from my mammogram came back and my film is, to quote my gynecologist; clear as a bell. I’m not surprised but I am grateful and; no more taffy pulling for a whole year.

In other news, although the results from the cookie poll appear to be a tie, Hugh has declared victory and is awaiting my concession speech.

For the record, I demand a recount.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Well, That's More Like It

We finally got snow this weekend and I was so happy to see it; I didn’t even mind shoveling the porch and driveway. Probably because I didn’t shovel the porch or the driveway, Hugh did. Eh, either way.

Since the storm was kind enough to hold off until late Saturday night, I managed to accomplish all of my weekend goals including the packaging and mailing of my treats for my goodie exchange. The line at the post office was ridiculous and I felt for the lone employee manning the counter-she looked completely worn out and, who can blame her at this time of year?

Since Hugh was officiating at a wrestling tournament that same day, I also had plenty of time to clean the house and to finish the very last of my baking-spritz cookies and gingerbread men. My shopping is totally done and with the exception of a couple of teacher’s gifts, all wrapped up.

The last item on my holiday to-do list was to decorate the cut-sugar cookies that I baked and froze earlier in the month and we set about doing that last night following Hugh’s Police Department Christmas party.

Some of you may recall that Hugh and I have a healthy rivalry going on over the decorating of the cookies. It started about two years ago with these cookies. For the record, I kicked Hugh’s ass.

Last year he came from behind and in a stunning upset, managed to whoop up on me with his magical reindeer cookie. In my defense, it was a new cookie cutter and I didn’t realize that I was decorating my reindeer as though he was looking over his shoulder or, as the children claim, as though his head was on backwards and, I would show you a picture but I cannot for the life of me find it-I think it may have been lost in the shuffle of changing jobs last year.


I lost it. I'm not embarrassed by how bad it was or anything.


So, um, anywaaayy... last night it was time for a tie-breaker, it was, as the kids say; on like Donkey Kong. We picked an angel cookie both for its’ degree of difficulty (hold that sucker in just the right position or the wings will break off every time) and by virtue of not having attempted it before. I’ll let you all be the judges but; obviously my blue angel kicks his red angels ass (and I will be toasting marshmallows in Hell one day for such blasphemy).

So? Which do YOU like better? Mine or Hugh's? No pressure, really; I want your honest opinion.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tips for Enjoying Your Annual Mammogram

Ok, maybe enjoying isn’t the right word, instead, let’s call it; Tips for Leaving Your Mammogram Relatively Unscathed.

Number One and, this is important to remember: PMS + Mammogram = F’OUCH! (F’ouch being the PG version of the ever popular fucking OUCH). So, ladies, do yourself a favor and schedule your exam for a week during which you are not craving chocolate, bloated like a week-old corpse, acne-prone, already experiencing boob tenderness and, you know, irritable. Trust me.

Number Two: Introduce yourself to the radiology technician; you don’t want to go to second base with a total stranger you are, after all, a lady.

Number Three: Prepare a list of songs that you can sing along to in your head as the technician maneuvers your girlie-bits onto the machine. At the appropriate moment, burst into song; if your singing voice is as bad as mine, this will be at least slightly less embarrassing than having a total stranger, albeit one you are now on a first-name basis with, feel you up. If you have a great singing voice this will obviously not work for you so…um…eat a couple of burritos prior to the appointment and pray for noisy flatulence.

Number Four: Once the technician has your breast correctly positioned between the Lucite plates of the imaging machine and begins to crank the plates together, DO NOT LOOK DOWN; you will never shake the image of your boob as road kill. Never. Shudder

Number Five: When the technician tells you not to breathe, yeah, don’t breathe, it will cause the image to blur and you will be forced to go through the entire boob manipulation routine all over again.

Seriously, don’t breathe.

I hope this list helps to prepare you for your next go-around with the taffy puller. If not, a stiff shot of Jack Daniels following your appointment can help to dull the edges around the memory of the experience.

Or, um, so I’ve heard.

All kidding aside, ladies; get your boobs checked. It really isn’t that bad and your health could depend on it although, for the record, I stand by Number One on this list.

Seriously, f’ouch.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why Do We Call Them "Goodies"? They Are Bad, BAD, I Say

The holiday season brings with it many enjoyable activities; decorating the house, shopping with friends, watching classic holiday movies and, unfortunately, eating, eating, eating. My diet lately can best be described as “poor”. I’m still exercising six days a week but one can only burn off so many extra calories and, when one factors in the calories from several M&M cookies, a few chunks of fudge, a cheese and cracker plate and a stack of pizelles as tall as a juice glass, well; an hour of cardio and weights just isn’t enough to undo the damage.

I’m trying to do better. I locked the goodies away in the freezer-out of sight, out of mind-and I restocked the pantry and fridge with healthy options but, you know, it isn’t like I’m immune to the siren call of the junk food. Not immune at all, in fact; I’m a total whore for the bad stuff.

Thank goodness I will be sending away a lot of the treats that I have baked. I have my internet cookie exchange, goodie-plates to make for the store, boxes to put together for several of our elderly neighbors and the Man-Cub’s classroom party to serve. With any luck at all, I will be able to find my willpower and stop myself from sampling everything that goes into the packages.

With even more luck I will have the willpower to avoid all the equally fattening foods that will be placed before me at all of our upcoming Christmas parties but, you know; I’m not holding my breath.

Except for the times that I’m sucking in my gut so as to appear thinner, of course. Totally holding my breath, then.

On a totally unrelated topic, I have to go in for my now-annual (thanks 40!) mammogram, today. I'm sooo looking forward to it because, nothing says fun like taking the twins to a taffy pull.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid

As I’ve mentioned before, the Man-Cub has a Christmas wish list about a mile long. One of the items on his list is- I don’t even know how to say this other than to just throw it out there - a gun.
And, when I say gun, I’m not talking about an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, either; I’m talking about an actual hunting rifle, one that he can use when he goes with his father on their annual elk-stalking adventure.

And, I’m torn. Hugh already bought the thing and, every once in a while I catch him opening the closet where it is hidden. I can hear him whispering some gleeful anecdotes about all the good times they are going to have together ( said as he strokes the box lovingly although, he would vehemently deny that part) and, I get it.

I know that men, particularly men from our neck of the woods, love the hunt. There exists a rich tradition in hunting, our ancestors clear back to the times of the caveman were hunters. Fathers bond with their sons over this shit, seriously. And, I’m not anti-hunting by any means; the elk that Hugh brings home each year saves us a ton of money on groceries plus the meat is better for us than some processed beef but, still. I worry because; that’s what mothers do.

It’s what we have done since those very same times of the caveman; the only difference is that, back then, mothers had no cool shoe stores in which to shop away their anxiety over the fact that young Ugg was joining his father for his first hunt, they had to find other distractions like, inventing the wheel.

Anyway, this Christmas, the Cub will be getting his first hunting rifle along with an enrollment form for the next available Hunters Safety Class. In fact, he will have to complete said class before he is allowed to touch the gun which, I realize, might make it a little less appealing as a gift but, you know, safety first.

With any luck, I’m getting a prescription for Quaaludes and an IV drip full of chocolate.

And still; I'll worry.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It Beginning to Look…Nothing at All Like Christmas

All around us, snow is falling. Ski areas are open for business, snow plows are out in force, some schools are closed and we? Are dry as a bone with no sign of snow for the holidays. Yesterday, it rained. Rained! So, I ask you; what Christmas Grinch crawled up Mother Nature’s ass and died? Will she recover from her affliction (ass-fliction? Ha! I slay me!) in time to give my kids a white Christmas and enough snow for our annual New Year’s Day sledding trip?

Time will tell.

Granted, I can’t complain about not having to shovel snow or about not having to mop the mud from my wood floors eleven billion times a day and; not worrying that some useless excuse for a driver will plow into me on icy roads as I go about my errands is certainly a bonus but, still.

Won't you please think of the children, Mother Nature?

Think of the children.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Ok, So Not Everyone Loves Christmas Traditions

But, I do. And this weekend I took part in a plethora of our personal family traditions. Friday night, the kids placed their letters to Santa underneath their pillows for overnight pick-up by the elves. In the morning, the letters were gone, replaced by chocolate coins and enough magic flying dust to appear convincing.

This particular tradition is something that I started as a way of remembering my departed Grandpa Nick who was born on December 6th; which is Saint Nicholas Day. I have been doing it since the children were quite small and it always brings a warm fuzzy feeling to my heart.

While The Girl has recently become aware of the deception in the practice, my heart was also warmed by how excited she got about the event; the Spirit of Christmas is strong in that one. The Man-Cub, thankfully still oblivious to the fib, was mostly stoked over the chocolate because; he is his mother’s son.

Saturday morning, I headed to a local store to ring bells for the Salvation Army. My woman’s club participates in the ringing every year and I have actually chaired the committee for three of the past four years. Sometimes the kids accompany me but, this year they were attending Kaley’s birthday party so I was on my own. I missed them; they were always good company.
And, you know, freakin' adorable.

The weather was surprisingly cooperative, cold but clear, and I did bundle up, for all the good that it did me. Experience has taught me, however, that the amount of money people place in the kettle rises in accordance to how miserable the bell ringer looks and, since I am naturally cold-blooded and looking miserable comes second nature to me; the Salvation Army did pretty well during my stint.

Since neither of my children was available to keep me company, I had to make do with one of the store’s employees who was responsible for cart round-up; I saw quite a bit of her as rounding up carts is apparently a never-ending job and, before long, I was referring to her as Sisyphus in my head. She was a nice kid.

After bell ringing, I went home and baked cookies and made candy until it was time to meet Jana and the kids downtown for the annual Parade of Lights. Jana and I have been taking the kids to the parade since they were in strollers but this year it was just the two of us on the crowded sidewalk as all five kids were riding on a float built by the company that Chris works for.

The kids had a great time being in the parade and Jana and I had a great time visiting while stomping our feet on the hard pavement in an effort to stay warm. Didn’t work but, that’s kind of a traditional thing, too.

Yesterday I was back in the kitchen, baking cookies for a cookie exchange that I am doing with some friends from the internet; I’ve never done this before but am hoping to see it turn into a tradition as well.

After all, any tradition involving cookies is alright in my book.

Friday, December 05, 2008

And Miles to Go Before I Sleep

I have a ton of things on my To Do list for today and this weekend. I need to drive to neighboring town to finish the very last of my Christmas shopping. I need to wrap everything that I buy. I need to hit Sam’s for food in bulk to get us through the Christmas dinner, the store christmas party, our annual New Year’s Eve get-together and our sledding trip on New Year's day. I need to get my ass in gear with the baking; I’ve been slacking in that department. I need to mail out my cards. I need to clean my house. I need to spend more quality time with my children. I need, I need, I need.

It’s a never-ending cycle.

What I want to do is to laze about on my couch with the latest issue of some trashy magazine and eat bon-bons while an able-bodied man-servant takes care of everything on my To Do list.

And then, rubs my feet.

With peppermint lotion.

Huh. I wonder if it is too late to ask Santa for a manservant.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The First Stage of Grief is Denial

Starting this evening, I become a Wrestling Widow.

Over the years, I have gotten somewhat used to the situation and, as soon as Hugh gets his official schedule of officiating duties; I up my Netflix subscription to the next level, fill my queue with chick-flicks and stock my kitchen with Cheese-Its and chocolate, all the things that a Weekend Widow must do to deal with her isolation and, for the most part, I am never bored or lonely without him.

Of course, it helps that I generally still have a ton of baking to do for the holidays as well as last-minute shopping and wrapping of presents.

Oh, and let’s not forget that I usually still have to plan our holiday meals, allowing enough time for hyperventilating over the lack of perfection in my culinary expertise in addition to which; the mental debate over whether we should have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner generally takes up a good deal of my time not to mention all the time spent agonizing over whether or not I should bake pumpkin and banana breads when, in all honesty, I am the only one who ever eats them and, really; do I need all that fat? No, I do not. But, still! Pumpkin bread! Banana bread! How can I break with tradition?

And, yes, that debate rages on in my head every year.

So, you see how much time this takes up, I’m sure.

I'll be fine.

Not lonely at all.

No boredom, here.

To recap: I’ll miss Hugh but; I have things to do and, you know, fat cells to feed......

oh my god, I need a hobby.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's Not Like I Didn't Know This Was Coming

Last night, The Girl and I sat down for The Talk. She'd been "hearing things" at school and had a lot of questions for me and, while I’ve been preparing myself for this since practically the day that she was born; it was uncomfortable for both of us.

I answered her questions as honestly as I could and tried my best to describe to her exactly how her father and I feel about the issue. I told her that it is ok if she is confused and disappointed and even a little bit sad. I expressed my agreement that it seems wrong for adults to do it when they teach their children not to but, that in time, when she is grown up with children of her own; she will come to enjoy the practice as much as her father and I have all these years.

After all, it isn’t really a lie; it’s more like a really well-intentioned fib meant to instill a sense of wonder and excitement in children at Christmas time. And, as long as you believe, then Santa is real.

Wait, what?

Did you think I meant the sex talk?

Please, I just destroyed the child’s faith in the Spirit of Christmas; the easy stuff can wait for another day.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Nut Does Not Fall Far From the Tree

As you can see, my family and I had a very nice Thanksgiving. Between eating all the delicious food, shopping and catching up with family members and friends there was almost no time at all to play hide-and-go-seek but; we made do.

The Barbie Mansion is a most excellent place for hide-and-go-seek with plenty of places to hide and lots of room to run around. In fact, there is so much room; we had to split into teams of two for the seeking, otherwise, the lone seeker would never be able to cover enough ground.

Barbie and I were teamed up and, when it was time to hide, we chose an excellent spot in a very dark storage room. There was more than enough room for the two of us plus my Dad and, since the room was on a lower level of the house, it took The Girl and my niece, the Rodeo Princess, quite some time to make their way to us. In fact, by the time they did find us, we were ready to be found; not wanting to be the last ones discovered lest we become “it” and have to seek for a second time.

For the record, Barbie and I were the best hiders. Hugh and my brothers-in-law came in a close second and my Mom brought up the rear due to her insistence on hiding in the exact same spot for every game (FYI, Mom; hiding your face in a corner does not make you invisible to other people) and, if you are reading this and finding it hard to believe that eight grown adults would willingly take part in a children’s game, please refer to the above picture; we aren’t quite all there, is what I’m saying.

But, lest you think us totally immature, let me assure you that there were adult games as well, in fact; Hugh and my dad cleaned out the wallets of both my brothers-in-law while playing poker well into the night. At one point, Barbie’s husband had to excuse himself to run upstairs to the safe for extra money and, it wasn’t until the next morning that anyone realized that by the “safe” he meant my sister’s purse.

I’m pretty sure she forgave him.

On the shopping front, I did experience my first ever Black Friday shopping trip and it was, well, a trip. People are crazy, y’all. We got up at 4:00 to be at the stores by 5:00 and people were already engaging in tug-o-war battles over certain items by the time we arrived. Thank goodness I didn’t need anything in particular or I might have joined in the frenzy (although, I did get a little aggressive over a Cricut that was on sale for half off the regular price, Merry Christmas to me!).

The best part of the shopping experience was spending time with the women in my life, including my good friend, Melimel, who made an hour-long drive just to see us. We had a great time catching up.

Saturday, while Barbie and I went shopping, yet again, Hugh and the children attended the State Football game and cheered our Pirates on to victory for the first time since like, um, 1932 or something like that. I am told it was a good game.

And, now, I am home, trying to get the house prepared for the next holiday. I have a ton of baking to do, cards to send out, presents to wrap and, if I prove more tenacious that my husband and children; caroling to be done.

After all, I don’t mind embarrassing myself in public and, if you refer to the above picture, you will see that I come by that naturally.