This is my favorite Christmas item. My Mom bought it for me my first year away from home for the holidays. She laughs when I tell her every year how much I appreciate it, as she says it's not much. But to me, it doesn't get any better. I love putting it out every year.
Wow. It's been quite some time since I've written. I think about it most days, but then I grapple with thinking I have nothing exciting to say or thinking "that's crazy" you don't want to talk about that. The teeter-totter in my head always seems to be going. So, I guess I'm just going to start shooting from the hip and start rambling. We all know I can ramble with the best of them!
Can you believe that Christmas is less than a week away? It really doesn't seem real to me... I'm just about done with shopping, and I've got so many decorations up that it looks like the house puked Christmas, but still, it seems so far away. I don't know if I'm just not in the spirit, or if it's just so weird since I spend most of the day alone (well, I do have Jesse the dog). I do miss organizing Christmas potlucks at work. I'd done it for several years in between my last job and my long time job before. I so enjoyed bringing everyone together, listening to Christmas music, wearing a Santa hat...being an all around Christmas dork. I do miss that. This morning was nice, though. Caleb is in the Music Club (they meet one morning at week at school), and he had a 7 A.M. performance at the Rotary Club. It was a neat deal. They offered a breakfast and I settled in and enjoyed the music of the kids. Santa even made a surprise appearance. Cal doesn't always show outward happy emotions, but I could tell he was eating it all up. Ryne had a band Christmas program a couple of nights ago. It's so nice to see him feeling better. (I'd say he's about 75% which is such a huge improvement!) I loved watching him play trumpet. He seemed to take actual pride in his performance. I enjoyed watching him tap his foot and looking so handsome, all dressed up. He seemed to proud of himself after the performance. It really was priceless. So, I guess I have had some Christmas "experiences," so I'm not sure what's going on. My brain just hasn't clicked over for whatever reason. Maybe I'll get on track tonight at Cal's play.
As I mentioned, I do have most of my shopping done. The one thing I'm waiting on is for the calendars to be finished at Costco, though. It's been a week, I was really hoping they'd be done by now.... Oh man, let me tell you...I never look forward to making those calendars... I've done it for a few years now for my Mom and sisters. I customize it with pics of the family (I usually take most of them off of my sisters Facebook pics) and have the birthdays of our extended families and close friends. It's super time consuming, and I've never had patience for anything computer related. This years I spend about 5 hours putting everything together on Walmart's website. I kept saving it as I went along, but it didn't save.... I threw a huge fit in my room. Jesse looked at my like I'm the crazy woman that I am. So, even though I now had all of the pictures set up on their website, I decided to let Walmart fuck off. I did the whole thing over again the next morning on Costco's website. The biggest drawback is that their lead time was not good. I thought it'd be done by now, though. Once it's done, I still need to drive out to Yakima to pick them up. At this point, it's looking like I'm not going to have it in the hands of my family members in time for Christmas.... Every time my phone beeps that I have email, I jump right on it, hoping they're done... Total bummer. I have other gifts for all of them, too, but this is the one gift I really take a ton of pride in every year. Actually, I take pride in most of the gifts I buy. I really do put a lot of thought into each and every one of them. I do like that about myself. Of course, that always leads to holiday letdown. I'm getting better with it as I get older, but it really is a trait I'm not proud of. My husband especially makes me a little nuts...I hate hearing: you're the hardest person to shop for. Really? Uh, you live with me, you should probably know the things I like or would like.... And then when I give him ideas, like I told him I would like some new bras. I get: wouldn't you want to pick those out yourself? That's not the point... He's easy for me to shop for. Maybe because I'm a woman and actually listen... I know this all sounds bad, but I'm already frustrated and it's not even Christmas, yet. What a spoiled brat I can be.
Fairly recently I mentioned that an old friend from Alaska's Mom has passed away. I wrote about the beautiful letter he wrote about her. Anyway, Walt and his wife actually recently moved here! I'm so excited. Walt really is one of the most exceptional people you would ever meet. I'd only met his wife a time or two before, but she is a total pleasure. It's so very awesome that they are here! When they first got here, Walt and I went on my normal walk, and it was so nice to talk to him. It's funny the trust you have with people you've known your whole life, even when you haven't been around them in years. We talked about just about everything. The next time the 4 of us met up at the local brewery and then they came back to the house and we visited for quite a while. Next, Walt, Julie and I went on a hike. I was so excited for it. It was only 4 miles roundtrip, but Julie said she read it was a "moderate" trail. Holy shit.... You talk about an ass kicking. It was straight up.... At one point, I was like fuck...don't have a heart attack. We had some time restraints as I had to be home before Cal's bus got home (which I didn't think was going to be an issue, before I realized just how tough this thing was). Anyway, I made it 1.3 miles up. I was really bummed there wasn't time to keep moving on. I was so inspired, and I decided while we were up there, I was going to do it twice a week and track my progress. I had such high hopes.... And then we went down... It was super steep, so you had to kind of shuffle. One would really need walking sticks (as those we saw coming down had). The walk down absolutely destroyed my knees. My knees were really bugging me the next day, but I didn't want to be a pussy, so I still took Jesse on our walk. Bad idea. I could hardly walk that night. My knees were swollen and bruised. I had to stay off of them for a few days. Now, they are much better, but not as good as before I did that hike. What a fucking bummer. We are going on another hike tomorrow, but this one is supposed to be way easier. Here's hoping...
Cal recently had his first swim meet out here. He swam really well for him. He improved on all of his times, which is the most you can ask for out of an athlete. He did get DQ'd on the 100 Backstroke, as he didn't do the flip turn correctly. Holy shit. You want to see a meltdown?! Everyone got to see that one... Thankfully it was the last race of the day for him. His coach tried to calm him down, but we lived with that meltdown for the drive home and later into the day. We pay for private lessons with the coach, so they really worked on it last week. I guess Cal's doing the turn really well now. Phew.... Anyway, it's cool that Caleb really loves the swim program here. It's not near what we had in IL, but he doesn't seem to know that :) That's all that matters.
Lately, I've wanted to punch my husband in the throat...a lot. J/K but not really. It's been funny...we are so connected so much of the time, but other times (and I don't know if this is my all or nothing issue), I swear to God I want to just completely flip out. But of course I don't. I don't do that. My husband is 48, so he's not going to get any better house keeping habits. Or should I say any house keeping habits. You'd think I'd be able to live with that by now... But when I'm home, and I work really hard to keep things clean, he's pushing every fucking button. Say, that I've just done the dishes: he'll throw his dish (if I'm lucky) into the sink. There's no thought to, oh, maybe I should put this in the dishwasher. If I say anything, he'll say I don't know if they're clean or not in there. I'll then say, did you open it? And if they are clean, you couldn't put them away? Every morning, his glass and Diet Coke can are still on the end table near the couch...his dirty clothes on the bathroom floor, his Splenda spilled on the counter next to a coffee spot (when we have ant issues). Apparently the boys had used the last of the toilet paper in their bathroom and not told me. Brian used their bathroom this morning, and when I went to use ours...I could tell this was the case, because the toilet paper holder was on the floor in our bathroom and the tp was missing... A grown man.... Yesterday he was home a lot of the day, and he apparently made toast. There were crumbs everywhere (again, we have ant issues that I battle every single day and try to keep the counter tops completely clean) and the toaster still plugged in hours later. I could go on and on and on. But you don't want to hear it, and I don't blame you. I love him. I do. But it feels like I have 3 kids a lot of the time. I just have to get that off my chest. This blog is my outlet. For better or worse....
I have the gifts for my sisters and their families in Spokane all ready to go, but I decided we'll go deliver them instead. It's kind of last minute, but geez we are so close, there's no excuse not to make the effort to see them before the holidays. I also really miss my friend H.P. So, the boys are going to hang with their cousins tomorrow night (Brian is on-call, so will stay here), and I'm going to stay w/ H.P. and her hubby. I'm really looking forward to spending time with her. They're quality people and always make me feels so loved an appreciated. Sat. I plan to take all of the kids to see Frozen, while my sister's shop. Other than that, we haven't planned, which is nice. It'll just be a low key night with family. I'm so looking forward to it. The boys are really excited, too. Even Ryne! It'll be the first time we've been able to travel since he got sick. It's so cool to see him excited about the trip. His illness had really been stealing his happiness. Hey, maybe this weekend will help my find my holiday spirit! I have to admit, I have been thinking a lot about the "Reason for the Season" lately. My prayers have been centered about what this holiday means. So, I do have that in my heart, at least.
Well friends, if you made it this far, I have to apologize for boring you. As I said before, this thing really feels like my only outlet sometimes: a friend that's always there.
Oh shit, almost forgot...down 1 1/2 pounds past two weeks. Pathetic. This week is especially tragic, too. I'm PMS'ing in the worst way. I even opened the box of candy I'd bought for my sister and dug into that yesterday. I had Brian try to uncork me yesterday, but SOB it's still not here. Hope he gets off work early again today.... We'll have to sneak it in early, before I feel like I want to punch him in the throat for throwing his coat down on the chair.... I know...it's my problem. I need to get over it.