Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to all

And so dear Blog World, I wish a merry Christmas to anyone who stumbles across my blog.  Today is the big day that people prepare for and look forward to, and then poof – it is done.  Well yes, it is mostly done, except I did not send out any Christmas cards, and I didn’t really finish decorating the house.  But it’s all OK.  Next year, should we be lucky enough to live that long, I will get another chance to do it right.

So, I kicked off six courses for University #2 on December 5th, while at the same time doing finals week at University #1 and wrapping up final grades along with end-of-course statistics and reports for accreditation purposes. It was a busy week, and then I made a quick trip to Washington.  Emily got impatient and put up our Christmas tree, set out our little nativity scene, and decorated the mantle.  It was nice that she did all that for us.  When I had a little time the next week, I put up lights on our rhododendron bushes outside, and we baked and decorated cut-out cookies together.  That is something we did together when my girls were growing up - a tradition. We might make another batch this week before Erin goes back to Louisville.

To remind us...

Sugar cookies made by Emily and me
Erin and Emily celebrated their 21st birthday this month.  It doesn’t seem possible that 21 years have gone by so quickly.  The girls were not home together this year, so we celebrated Emily’s birthday on her birthday, and then celebrated Erin’s a few days later when she came home.  Instead of a cake, Emily requested a pile of donuts – and she wanted 21 candles on them.  It was quite a feat to light 21 candles before the donuts became covered with melted wax.  Erin asked for a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing…with dinosaurs on top.  We had two dinosaurs, but took one off before lighting up the candles – two on one side and one on the other, sort of representative of 21 – she thought 21 candles would be excessive.

Donut birthday cake - we're taking photos while the candles melt
Erin's red velvet cake with dinosaur(s)

Sarah came home Christmas Eve, so that was fun.  To have my three girls together with me is the best present I could ever wish for. I hope this year we are able to plan better and take a vacation together. Emily is hoping to get an internship over the summer and take the GRE, so we will have to wait and see how that does or doesn’t work out.  Sarah may have an opportunity come up as well.  Erin might move to a new apartment or start a new job…so we’ll have to consider that in our plans.  I think we will visit Philadelphia if we can make it work. 

I made a pecan pie for Someone this week. He loves pecan pie, and Someone’s mother always gifts a large bag of pecans to us every Thanksgiving.  We celebrated Christmas last night with Someone’s family.  Everyone was there except for Someone’s daughter (Katie), who drove in today with her boyfriend. It is nice when everyone gets together, but it’s a lot of people and noise in one house.  At least Someone’s parents have a large house, so it’s tolerable.  And now, another generation is on the way.  Katie is pregnant…we will become grandparents this summer if all goes as planned.

Someone's pecan pie - cooling
Someone's parents and all the grandchildren, except for Katie

Tomorrow is supposed to be unusually warm and sunny.  Someone and I are playing golf with Someone’s dad.  I haven’t played since early November, so it will be a treat to get out.  With winter underway, any day that is warm enough to play is a gift.  The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a hard winter is in store for us, and they are usually right. We will see.      


Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas delay

It’s December 12th.  Christmas is 13 days away.  We have no Christmas tree up yet, no lights put up outside, no Christmas cards addressed, about 10% of Christmas gifts purchased (nothing wrapped or mailed yet), and no cookies or candy made.  It’s not that I’m a Grinch…or well, maybe I am.  But no, I love Christmas, but it seems like I’m always scrambling to get stuff done just days before the big holiday comes.


My sisters-in-law are always ready for Christmas by Thanksgiving time…and then they pack up and put away Christmas decorations on Christmas day or the day after.  Hell, I’m just getting the Christmas spirit by then. It’s a lot of work to carry all those boxes of stuff up from the basement, and carry the empty boxes back down the stairs again.  I want to leave it all out for at least two weeks before dragging all those empty boxes back upstairs, packing it up, and dragging them all back downstairs.  Hmmm….maybe we should just do Christmas in the basement.
I made a weekend trip to visit my mother this past weekend.  It’s another thing I’ve put off for much too long.  It’s tiresome on this old KYLady to make a long trip like that, but it wasn’t a horrible drive.  I timed it right so that my travel would be during times of lighter traffic …well, it’s all heavy in comparison to what I normally drive in here in rural Kentucky.  My mother lives just outside of Washington D.C.  As bad as it was, it was nothing in comparison to driving in Houston.
So, this year, I made treks to visit my father and my mother.  My dad is 5.75 hours away, and my mother is about 6.75 hours away.  Both are in noticeable decline.  It’s depressing to think about them, but decline happens when people get old.  I should visit both of them more often…in all my free time. 

So, I’m back from Washington.  Now it’s time to make Christmas happen.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll carry all the boxes up the stairs and get started.  Well, just as soon as I finish up some paperwork (statistics) about my classes that just ended, and get that submitted.  Oh, and then I have to attend and introduce a speaker at a short meeting tomorrow afternoon.  Oh yeah, and my brother is coming tomorrow afternoon to help me with a car problem, and to have me help him unbox and set up a new laptop.  It’s nice when we can trade our expertise like that.  OK, so maybe I’ll only have time to bring boxes up from the basement tomorrow…but it’s a start…right after I walk Miss Gracie.   

I always miss her.