Saturday, November 28, 2015

Finally a Quiet Moment

I cooked a 20 pound turkey with stuffing, hosted 22 people, and cleaned up all of it.  Turkey stock is simmering on the stove and I have a glass of wine.  How I am still vertical is a mystery.

After 3 Thanksgivings, I am grateful.  For so much, but certainly for the fact that I am now looking back on 3 Thanksgivings at this point. 

The upside is the house is clean and decorated for Christmas, so I can chill waiting for all the packages I ordered over Black Friday.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

And I didn't miss writing today.  A small victory among many.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Out There Somewhere

A couple of days ago, a thought popped violently int my mind.  "Oh no!  It's Amy's birthday and I almost missed it!  Must wish her a happy birthday right now!"  And then I stopped, took a beat, and realized, no, Amy's birthday was last month and I did indeed wish her a happy birthday like I always do.  I have no idea why that incorrect thought almost bowled me over, but it did make me think of our mutual friend, Heather, and the fact that her birthday really was coming up.  And it is, in fact, today.

Amy, Sarah, Heather, and I were the best of friends in high school.  We did everything together, including devising an elaborate punking (although we're older than that, so we would have used some other word) of all of our guy friends over the course of a single night.  We even gave it a name.  We were a squad before Taylor Swift made it popular.  Heather and I went off to the same college, which was a godsend because our school was huge and overwhelming and we needed each other as a safe, known place.  But then junior year, Heather joined a sorority, and, look, I have nothing against sororities.  I think they are positive organizations and help a lot of women find their people.  But in this case, Heather joining a sorority meant that she stepped farther and farther away from me.  Call it growth or time or whatever, but by the time graduation rolled around, I hadn't seen her in at least a year even though she lived across the sidewalk from me.

We saw each other once more, at our 10 year reunion, and for awhile we were Facebook friends until she went away from that, too, so I don't know where she is or what she's doing.  And I wish I did.  I miss our friendship.  She was a tiny little ballerina and a ball of fire all wrapped up in one package.  I'm happy to say that Amy and I still live near each other, and love to get our kids together (our oldest boys are just a few months apart) and hang out.  Sarah and I are many states apart, but when we talk on the phone, hours pass like minutes and it's like there's no distance at all.  But I miss our fourth.  So on her birthday, I send her all the good wishes I can.

Heather, I hope you get your pumpkin pie with a candle in it. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Turkey Day

Well this day hasn't exactly gone as planned. I have 1 sick kid, it's raining, and Chris got surprise football tickets so he ate and ran. But it's cozy and laid back and the food was as amazing as always. There are plentiful leftovers and there is nothing that even entices me to walk into a store for Black Friday (thank you, online shopping!).  My folks and I can chill this afternoon, which we desperately need. Chris actually made a good dent cleaning out the garage yesterday so people can hang out there during Saturday's Thanksgiving and Sabrina was jazzed to watch the parade with me. You are all here, showing me the joys of your holidays. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

I am grateful.

I hope your day is full of positives and gratitude, too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Second Verse, Same as the First

After Monday's adventure in mall Santa stalking, I came home, trimmed up my 5x7 and put it in the traditional frame, not even looking at the 3 other prints I got as a bonus (ha) for paying a miserable amount of money for the picture I wanted.  But later, I went to see about giving one to my parents when I notices one of the prints (a 3x5 I think) cut Sabrina right in half.  Um, no.  I paid too many dollars for 4 pictures to be spit forth from an inkjet printer to let this one go.

I didn't make it to the mall on kidless Tuesday, so this morning, I added a detour to our errands for the day.  I bribed the kids with a treat at the grocery store, then told them what we were doing.  They were mostly cool with it when the realized a second trip to see Santa meant a second round of candy canes from the big man.  Well then.  We walked in about 15 minutes before Santa was due to peek out of his little mall house, as we spent a few quality minutes at Build-a-Bear and mooching samples from the cookie store.  As soon as I saw the elves show up, I beelined over with my crappy print in hand.  I was hoping for either a refund or a retake.  Luckily, the photo elf was properly apologetic and offered us a retake.  Okey dokey.  We hightailed it to the front of the line before the other families I saw descending could get there and waited.

So, round 2.  This time, Santa gave them chocolate chip cookies.  Worth it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In the Weeds

There is a Christmas tree in my living room.

Normally, I don't decorate this early, in order to give Thanksgiving its due, but with the twin powers of Chris's busiest season at work ramping up and the impending and apparently unending rain about to bore down on us, you do what you gotta do.  So the tree came in and up.  It's not dressed up in all its finest yet (that's on Friday's schedule), but I checked all the lights, and we're good to go.  Thank all that is merry for any easy year putting that thing up (I've just jinxed myself and the whole business will fall over).

The kids got a grandparent slumber party, which continued into today so I could knock off a big chunk of my to do list.  Sammy got to golf with Grandpa, Sabrina got to bake cookies with Grandma, and I got to clean toilets.  There is something tremendously wrong with this picture.  Sigh.  But things are getting done and that makes me happy.  Check, check, check, all good.  I even made it to the donation center with a whole bunch of stuff I accidentally unearthed in my cleaning frenzy. That's got me on a tear to purge.  I hope the urge continues until next week when I might actually have a minute of two to work on it. 

So, back to that bit about the weather.  On Saturday, when I'm going to have a good 25 plus people in my house, it's supposed to be day 3 of consistent rain with a high temperature of 44.  In Texas, that's cold.  And miserable.  And means people will not go outside on my newly refurbished deck and sit on the new patio cushions I just bought and damnit.  Where are these people going to go?  This is not a mansion.  The garage has been suggested, but that means I have to add clean out the garage to my list this week and I wasn't going to worry about that until the spring.  Ugh. 

So that's where my head is at today.  Clearly, my head needs a glass of wine.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Once More With Feeling

Oh goody, it's time once again for the annual trek to the mall for Santa pictures!  This always goes so well!

Why do I do this to myself?  Why have I made this so important, yet know it's going to be a total mess almost every year (last year being the exception and I'm pretty sure Chris is taking credit for this anomaly)?  These are things I should discuss with a good therapist, which I am putting on my Christmas list.

So today was the day.  This being an incredibly busy week, preparing for the Descent of the In-laws, I had to schedule every little thing, and this was the only opportunity to get this done before the mall becomes filled with stark raving, heat seeking bargain missiles (more than usual).  I'm glad I cheeked before leaving and found out Santa sleeps in a bit on Monday mornings and wouldn't be around until an hour after the mall opened, so I was able to rearrange my game plan and hit up the shopping we needed to do first.  That was very smooth. The kids picked out gifts for each other and Dad, and we finished up presents for the cousins, and all was well.  We discovered Santa's village had moved to the opposite end of the building by accident, but it meant we didn't make a long, unnecessary trek that would surely have brought on The Whines.  So yay!  This was going good!

Unfortunately, a few more people had caught onto my game and there was a bit of a line, but whatever.  My kids are bigger now, they can handle a tiny wait.  The line was actually moving at a good clip, which made me a little nervous that we'd be pushed through super quickly.  But we could do it, sure we could.  We were second in line when I noticed that Sammy had something on his collar.  It looked wet.  What he's done or how he'd done it, I have no idea, but there was a big, ugly spot front and center.  Grrrrrr.  Can't we do anything without trouble???

I started rubbing on the spot and told Sammy we'd have to let the people behind us go first, and he wasn't happy, but them's the breaks.  Luckily, the good fairies of stain removal looked down upon me and I was able to fix the ugly spot, at least mostly, by the time it was our turn (again).  The elf/photographer/only person working how do they staff this business and I  got the kids situated with Santa, and we started snapping, all the while singing my familiar tune: "Sit up straight! Smile!  No, smile normally!  Eyebrows down, Sammy!  Sabrina, no side eye!  Look here!  Look here!  Look heeeeeeeeeeeeeere!!!"  It was a charming 30 seconds, let me tell you.

I wasn't happy with the full length shots, but I got the elf to zoom in so I don't have to look at scuffed sneakers all year long (faces, we all want faces, photo elves, this is not hard).  It's not my favorite picture (they can do better, even with Sammy's inherited Chandler Face, ahem Chris), but I was just so relieved to have something halfway decent that I didn't care I was forking over even more money for fewer prints that ever and I just wanted to be done.  I snatched those prints away and headed for the parking lot.

I quickly put the large print in a frame, but but wasn't until later that I looked at the other 3 prints.  Or should I say 2 and a 1/2, because the medium sized print cuts Sabrina right in half.  Nice.  So this means a return trip to the mall... sometime.  I have a bone to pick with an elf.

But hey, nobody looks like a member of the cast of The Walking Dead.  I give you Santa Picture 2015.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

So We Begin

Today was our first Thanksgiving meal of the week, the parish picnic in my sister's community. A Thanksgiving appetizer, if you will.

My children are at the age where they actually eat the food (well, Sabrina eats and Sammy eats and then Sammy finishes whatever Sabrina leaves behind), which is a pleasant development. I lost track of how many desserts they ate before beelining to the bouncy house, good heavens.  I enjoyed perusing the live action auction items and wondering how drunk I'd have to be to bid hundreds of dollars on a jar of pickles (I kid you not). 

The sad thing was my sister's nephew had a bouncy house collision and probably broke his arm. Poor guy. I prescribe more pumpkin pie. It's medicinal.

OK, on to #2. Thursday, I'm coming for you.