Archive for December, 2016

Christmas Memories

December 25, 2016

How did Christmas sneak up on me?  It is on Sunday and we’ve barely finished Thanksgiving.  Christmas has definitely changed over the decades – yikes, it is literally decades at this point.  Growing up, Christmas was like the rest of the year – family time.  My Dad once told me if they could take the three of us, they didn’t want to go.  I don’t remember Christmas the 1st 7 years of my life in Southern California – my memories are of 1955 when we moved to this house in Seattle.

We usually bought a Christmas tree a week before Christmas, but it went into a bucket of water at the bottom of the outside basement stairs.  There was a  store called Chubby and Tubby that had 99 cent trees.  We would all split up and look for a tree in the lot – then we had to decide which would be our tree.  I usually saw a cool tree – being held by someone else.  I loved the smell of Douglas fir – that is the smell of Christmas to me.

Christmas Eve was when we decorated the house with greens and put up the terrace.  We had a holly tree next to the house and a cedar type hedge by the drive and usually a fir somewhere by the canyon.  As the Christmas cards arrived in the mail, my Mom hung a ribbon or two to the front door and taped up the cards.  She had hooked a NOEL hanging for the front door, so sometimes that went up first and the cards were on ribbons on either side of the fireplace.

During this time, Mom would be making Christmas cookies and we “helped”.  It was mainly decorating, though whatever we did, it was fun to be in the kitchen with all those wonderful smells.   And Christmas fudge – a recipe Dad got from someone at North American.  He was told it is the See’s fudge recipe – whether it is or not, it’s wonderful!! I remember Mom putting it in the hall closet to cool off.  We would also go out to the see the Christmas Ship   –  yacht decorated with lights and a different choir every night singing carols.  There were small boats following it, also decorated with lights.  They would stop at different places w here a bonfire was built and they would anchor in as close as they could and play carols to all of us on shore.  There was a schedule published for the week or so they did it, on the lake and the Sound.

Afterwards, we would be cold, so we came home for hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

The day before Christmas we decorated the house.  The tree went up and after Dad tied it to the curtain rod to keep it from falling.  He put on the lights while the rest of us decorated its.  We never had a “coordinated tree”, the decorations were from different times.  There were some from when Mom and a Dad were first married, some came from friends or we made; others were bought to supplement those that broke – it was a hodge podge – our own special hodge podge.  We had to keep filling the pan for the tree with water because the cats kept drinking it.  We were fortunate it didn’t occur to any of them to climb the tree.

One year we put up the tree a week before Christmas – we all were tired of it before Christmas arrived.  By doing it Christmas Eve, then the next morning was Christmas.  Mom made a sour cream coffee cake for breakfast and then we opened our gifts.  Then Mom made a proper breakfast.

When my older sister was married, Mom  decided to have Christmas Eve, then they would spend Christmas with his family.  when I was married, I went out of the country.  Our first Christmas as a married couple was in Australia – it didn’t feel like Christmas because its was in the middle of summer.  We had a rather sad artificial tree with some ornaments.  What I do remember is one of the women at the store where I worked asked me the significance of a white Christmas.  That brought me up short until I realized all the Christmas cards, movies, etc. show snow – how could they connect in the middle of summer?

The worst day was Thanksgiving – no one there knew what it was or why we celebrate it.  I made the mistake of thinking what Mom and Dad would be doing and it really upset me.  I couldn’t really explain why I felt that way to the other women.  When I came home from work, Eddie had cooked a whole chicken for us.

When we came back from Australia, we were living in San Francisco and no money to go to Seattle for Christmas.  So Mom and Dad and my younger sister came to us for Christmas.  After that, Eddie was able to arrange business trips to Seattle, we just had to pay for my ticket.  So for many years we went to Seattle for Christmas and my sisters would come too.

One year our godson from Australia came for a 6 week visit – 2 weeks in LA where we lived, 2 weeks in Seattle for Christmas and 2 weeks in LA before we left for home.  it was an interesting time, I took pictures, bought postcards and assembled a photo album so he could show his family.  It took some time to do the album, so it was after he left that it was done.

When he came up here, we had a small fir tree by the drive that was big enough for a Christmas tree.  He and Dad cut it down and put it up in the living room.  We also went to dinner at Ivar’s salmon house by the locks and the Christmas ship was going through.  We had a lose up view and heard the carols.

When our 2nd oldest niece came t3o visit, she w as amazed because it wasn’t like Jerusalem at all.  My parents took her on a walk down to the beach on an old logging road – she said she had never been in a forrest before.  SHE saw Vashon from our window and wanted to see an island – not sure what she expected.  I was surprised to find there aren’t Christmas trees and decorations in Jerusalem.

When she was here, we started new tradition – a middle eastern buffet for Christmas Eve dinner.   My sisters were still coming for Christmas and we continued it for several years.  It was getting harder to travel during Christmas and my sisters haven’t been here for quite a while.  Both Eddie and I were glad not to travel this year to Toronto – we love being with them but the getting there and coming home is not always easy.

Lately Christmas has been quiet – my Mom and dementia and for 2 years we went to Toronto to our oldest niece and her family.  This year is just us and for Christmas dinner, we have invited a good friend.

Although things are different, there are always reminders, big and small, of all the Christmases in my life.

Wishing everyone a lovely Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

Little Fingers Affect A Lot

December 22, 2016

I know I haven’t been posting very often, there is a reason – I have to work twice as hard to make sure you can read it. Ever since my elbow replacement, my left little finger and ring finger are not working very well.  My little finger is numb and tends to catch on things and hit wrong keys so I seem to have a language all my own.  I am writing my show prep for Tuesday about Christmas and will use it for my blog later on.  I would have had  it all done but I had to keep fixing it as I went along.

I don’t have a whole lot to write about since I feel I am catching up more than anything else.  We’ve hwad a little snow, but not enough to really count.  It was sleeting wheqn Eddiqe left this morning, though it was mixed wit3h rain, he wasn’t really conceqrneqd about it.  It has been really cold lately – well, cold for us.  I don’t miss the snow and ice we had in the East and also in Fort Wayne.  We are glad we decided t4o stay here for the holidays.

I have been enjoying doing my radio show – it feels easier and more relaxed thant he first time.  I also know more 3thsn I did the first time. I decided to talk about my Christmas memories, especially with my family and when Sylvia came and our godson Jason form Austra;ia.   Later I asked Bennie what he thought – he said I am a good story teller.  I was pleased to hear t3hat.  I also need to help peqopke understand  what4 the show is about, why I am doing it and the message.  I am wondering what I am going to talk about next Tuesday –  I don’t have a guest at the moment.

Th moles are having a field day in the lawn.  Not only does one make a huge mound, after Eddie pounds it down, the little sucske2r make another one right on top.  I don’t know what has galvanized them to be so active, I’da love two put a stop to it.  As I have said, we don’t have a golf course lawn but there is no reason to have it look like a construction zone.  Jorge, who does the lawn, said he had something, so maybe we can stop some of them.

Tomorrow the pest guy is coming for his third visit.  He was here two weeks ago and out of 12 traps, no furry creature.  he will remove the traps and plug up as much as he can to keep them from finding a winter home here.

This is not a long post, just a way t3o let you know I am still here and want to continue the blog.  If you can read the oddball words, then  it will make more sense.

 

Enjoy the season.

Best 2 Weeks In Ages

December 12, 2016

I have had energy and enthusiasm for things the past couple of weeks – it feels so good after so many weeks and months dragging myself around, dealing with surgeries, bronchitis and RA.  I also may have overdone a bit, but what a feeling!!!!

We had snow on Monday, about an inch and snow on Friday, 2 inches at least.  Monday was problematic for Eddie in the morning because it  started snowing when he was having breakfast in Southcenter.  He wasn’t sure how it would be on 405 into Bellevue – then found someone had broken his back passenger window – no briefcase.  He came home and spent a lot of time working with the bank because our checkbook was in the briefcase – also Andy’s business checkbook.  Then called Vickie, our insurance agent and took his car to Murray’s Collision – we just got mine back.  Someone backed into my front passenger bumper leaving dents and scratches and a big hole.

I said that is why I am such a nag about leaving anything in plain sight in the car.  He didn’t really believe me, just thought I was being paranoid.  NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!

He has a Hyundai Sonata, but he misses his wagon so much that he is impatient for it to be fixed.  I had a Chrysler 200 for a rental – it was very awkward to drive and get in and out.   So glad to have my Subaru back.

Friday’s snow was more problematic – Eddie didn’t go to work, but worked from home.  I rescheduled my haircut and a new client visit – the pest control guy came in the afternoon.  I heard scratching on the bedroom ceiling last Wednesday – a familiar sound of furry creatures looking to settle in for the winter.  He came the following day to set traps and see where they are getting in.  He came this week – nothing in any of the traps – not sure what’s happening.  He will be back in 2 weeks to check again and put copper mesh over the holes he can reach.  We also need to put new insulation up in the attic as well.

Week before last we were doing Secret Santa for Breakfast Club.  I was given Bryan Gormley – someone I barely know.  I found he had 3 daughters, so the first week I did a Family Fun Box with cookie cutters, frosting, 4 bottles of sprinkles, recipes for Gingerbread cookies and Sugar cookies.  The 2nd week was a set of wooden puzzles and the last was a set of 4 small bottles of spices and some ideas to use them.  I think he was pleased.  We had the third gift at the Christmas party Wednesday night.

Thursday was the PNAA Christmas Party in Mukilteo – we skipped it because they said snow was coming in the evening.  Glad we did because driving home in the dark and the snow isn’t something that is easy any more.  This coming Friday is supposed to be the party for Andy’s group.  So far there hasn’t been a response and Eddie will have no regrets canceling it.  We’ll see how it plays out over this week.  Andy is leaving the following day for China to visit his Mom.  Things have changed for him, he had to have a written invitation to visit.  He is now an American citizen, so it looks as if they don’t recognize he was born there.  That bugged him no end.

The past few days I felt myself with less energy, so Saturday after we finished our errands, I crawled into bed for a nap.  I slept about 2 hours and felt so much better.  I have been sleeping better as well – I think the nap took the edge off being tired.  Looks as if I need to make time for a lie down or nap every once in a while.

Oh my, have the moles been busy!!!  Our lawn looks more like swiss cheese than grass.  On the bright side, it is aerating the grass so I don’t have to do it.  I am wondering if the  kids grew up and didn’t leave home.  Looks as if we have a colony instead of a small family.  We had a card telling us the new value for the house and land – the house is worth more than the land.  Maybe they think the land is less valuable with holes in it.  I suspect our property taxes will be going up again.

We have an arborist in Breakfast club now and he came by Thursday to look at the fruit trees, fig, blueberries and dogwood.  They all need help and the isn’t going to charge all outdoors to do it.  He will prune and clear grass away from the trunks and then in Spring will prune the new fruit so we have better fruit and maybe the apples won’t keep hitting the ground so often.  Might even keep the creepy crawlies away.  I also need to have John come and give us the view back.

The snow on the Olympics is spectacular!!  When the sun comes up and shines on the snow, it is gorgeous.  We sometimes have to look quickly or the sun disappears.  A lot of the time they awry covered with clouds.  Occasionally Mt. Rainer comes out in all its glory, what another spectacular sight!

Time to close – wish I had a picture of the mountains to include.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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