Showing posts with label decorations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label decorations. Show all posts

Sunday, December 31, 2017

No! Not the Tree!

I'm really not much of a decorator.  I do put more thought into decorating for Christmas.  It is always so hard for me to take down the decorations - especially the tree.  Jenna must take after me as she is also having a hard time with it.

This year I have decided to make it just a bit easier on myself by taking down something just a bit at a time.  On Tuesday I packed up the books that I had only attempted to look at.  I don't think anyone else did.  On Wednesday I removed the cards from the door.  On Thursday I took down the plush toys that hung around the frame of the mirror.  And each day I would also remove ornaments from the tree.

Last night Jenna went to Roseburg with Roland and I decided to remove the remaining ornaments while they were gone.  I should have waited until daylight.  What was I thinking?  And why has every house I've lived in had such poor lighting in the front room?

The decorations from the outside trees were removed on Friday.  the lights no longer adorned our house.  The inside tree still stands with its light which we will remove tomorrow.  It makes the end of Christmas so final.  And Tuesday is back to school.

Friday, September 29, 2017

These Milk Containers Have No Necks!

            Jenna's favorite holiday, without question, is Halloween.  She has loved Halloween for the last ten years.  She loves dressing up.  She loves decorating.  This year she is into morbid and spooky.  Initially she had asked if we could make some milk jug skeletons - and I am fine with it - but my milk jug skeletons never look like this

            I think of "milk bottle skeletons" as cute rather than morbid.  Perhaps that's why we haven't made them yet?  We were watching a tutorial about how to make them.  Costco bottle was suggested for the head as circles are already outlined on the carton - well, now - that all depends on what state you are in.  I remember bottles with the circles and actual bottle necks.

But Oregon Costco's don't have those milk jugs.  The Costco's here (as well as  Washington, I would imagine) produce milk jugs with no necks.  I had saved these for making hands and feet. 

 I had even thrown in a vinegar bottle. 
         Jenna has decided to not bother with the milk bottles this year.  I hope she was serious as I have crushed all of the bottles and put them into our recycling bin.  
You can go to YouTube and type in "milk-bottle skeletons" or check instructions on this site.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Little by Little

        We lived in a different house during Christmas last year. Oregon seems to get really dark.  The street that we lived on was not well lit.  Actually, the entire neighborhood seemed dark - even where the lamp post could be seen.

        Tri City seems to have more light.  There's neighborhood streets that are better lit than others - our current street for example; is not near as dark as our first street.   A lamp post stands in the yard of the neighbors to the west of us.  I think it is the brightest lamp post I have ever seen.
        Downtown Myrtle Creek is usually lit up - particularly at this time of year. We put our Christmas lights up before December started.  Little by Little we have seen other houses and yards being decorated and providing light on otherwise dark roads.  I love Christmas lights!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Last Post of the Year

            Two of our boys took their wives to Arizona.  They left the day after Christmas and are returning today.  I hope they have coats.  Carrie will have one, but the rest may have decided to tough it out, as the weather really was nice when they left.

            Carrie texted me that it was 73 degrees in Arizona.  They’ll be returning to below zero.  Actually it is 2 above as I write this post.  Wind chill factor makes it feel so much colder.

            It’s not as windy right now as it was yesterday.  It’s a wonder I wasn’t in a coma all day. I don’t remember it being this cold.  Not for a very long while anyway. 

            It snowed on Christmas day – pretty much all day.  But it didn’t stick.  It wasn’t bitter cold like it was yesterday.  Like it will be today.  I prefer the elements to be above 40 degrees – but not above 70.  Actually living in a constant 60-70 would be ideal.

            We have never done anything exciting for New Years – not in Jenna’s eyes.  When I was growing up, that was the day we took the tree down.  We didn’t wait this year.  Roland had suggested that we take the tree down on Monday.  We had no clue that it would be freezing out the next day.

            We had boxed everything up on Monday night.  Jenna removed all the ornaments from the tree and I packed them.  Roland took down the lights and packed the tree.

I debated on whether to take the Christmas decorations out to the shed yesterday or allow the boxed decorations to stay in the house a while.  There was a clear path to the shed and I didn’t want to gamble on having snow block the doors and so I bundled up in layers just to go into my back yard. I picked a good time of day when it wasn’t quite as cold.

I couldn’t understand it.  The sun was shining.  It looked so inviting.  It didn’t look like it was bitter cold at all.  It was very deceiving. 

Roland doesn’t feel well, but he is still going to work.  There have been a lot of accidents.  And people have been without power.  What a way to end the year!  How much differently everything seemed only last week!

I hope our boys don’t freeze on the way home.  I hope they are protected on the roads as they travel back home today.  I hope they don’t get sick.

The tree is boxed, but still in the living room.  It's just to heavy for me to move.

Monday, April 21, 2014

There ARE MANY Perks to Eloping

A few of my posts have included dreams that I’ve had. Each of those posts concludes with how I don’t put much faith in dreams.  But there is one dream that I definitely interpreted to be quite meaningful.  I made a life changing decision as a result.

                  I met Roland for the first time on December 31, 2000.  He asked me out that night.  We would go downtown to celebrate the coming of the New Year.  I missed playing games with my family – a ritual I have enjoyed about New Years.

                  Roland was quite forward.  I had dismissed guys for being too forward – and none had ever been as forward as Roland had.  I didn’t understand why I felt so comfortable around him. By the end of our date we had set up a second. I don’t know if I knew then that we would be seeing the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks.

                  So during our second date, I cried and cried – not for Tom Hanks’ character, but because I thought of my dad.  Though he was never stranded on an island with a ball-turned-companion, I just remembered the frustration that dad must have felt in trying to communicate with anybody outside of his hospital bed. 

                  Roland was so gentle with me and seemed to understand.  He passed no judgment.  I was grateful for that. 

                  That night I had a dream that it was summer and my mom was trying to get all my sibs together for a family portrait.  In the dream Roland and I had been dating for six months.  He had not yet proposed, but I knew that he would be proposing.  I was wondering how to ask mom to allow Roland and the boys to be in our family picture, as I knew that we would be together by the end of the year.

                  In real life I shot out of bed.  I had met Roland only two days before.  We had only had our second date – a movie, at that. Why would I be dreaming that we would become an item?  I didn’t even know him!  I was less than thrilled about having this dream. 

                  The next day I went to work but returned home in less than four hours as I really didn’t feel well.  I told my brother that I’d be going back to bed and under any circumstances I was NOT to be disturbed.  But less than an hour later he knocked at my door to tell me that Roland was waiting for me.
                  For reals?  Or was I having another odd dream?  Roland was there to propose!  We had met just three days ago and he wanted to marry me!  Get real!  So of course my first thought was: “No, no, no, no, no . . . .”           actually the reaction was pretty much as it had been when I awoke from the dream.

               Was there a connection?  Had my dream been a personal revelation?  Was this a test?  “No – no – I can’t accept a proposal of marriage.  I don’t even know this guy.  This goes against EVERYTHING I had planned for myself.  I wasn’t even going to date a guy I had known less than a year.  And now I was getting this message to marry this complete stranger?”

                  Of course I prayed about my decision – realizing that just because I accepted his proposal did not mean I couldn’t break it off at some point.  Three days?? That’s outrageous!!

                  Since I was knee high my dad had tried to brainwash me into believing that I wanted to elope when I had the opportunity.  To be honest, I really had no idea what he meant. It wasn’t until I got much older than I realized the elopement thing was not a bad idea.  Only by the time Roland came along, dad was gone and mom didn’t want me to elope.  I think my mom saw Roland as the Big Bad Wolf and was afraid for me.

                  Roland and I had changed our wedding date several times.  As I had mentioned in this post, we had wanted to do the right thing and start our life together with a temple marriage.

                    We had the marriage certificate to present to our bishop for the following week, but he realized that he’d be out of town. And I was tired of it.  Tired of changing the date.  Tired of trying to appease everyone.  In fact, I had said to mom and brother, Corey, “why don’t you arrange a date that fits into both of your schedules and get back to us; You two make the arrangements and tell us when to show up.”
                   After several tears and a talk with mom, I went into the bishop and asked if he could marry us that night or the next. Our civil marriage took place September 9, 2001. Everybody (including the groom) who came to the wedding received an eight hour notice or less.  So it wasn’t an elopement exactly, but it wasn’t planned in the way that you would think a wedding should be.

                  On September 11, terrorists attacked our nation.  If Roland and I hadn’t already been married, I would have had him drive me to Vegas upon my return home from work.  For I fully believed that the world had come to an end.  I suppose in many aspects it symbolically did.

                A month later we did an open house – mostly for the benefit of those who attended mom’s ward and made desires known that they wished I would have had a reception or something.  I purchased balloons, baskets and teddy bears for the decor and we’d gone to Sam’s Club for the hors-d'œuvre.  I think we spent 100 bucks tops.

So it wasn’t elaborate.  It worked.  I don’t ever look back on that day and say, “Oh, I wish I would have spent more money on more frivolous things.”
Okay, I’ll admit, I’ve never been overly enthusiastic about weddings.  If I have to be involved in a wedding, I have always enjoyed the simpler ones so much better than all that elaborate hoopla.  When I finally understood my dad’s wisdom, I had hoped that each of my boys would find girls who would want to elope. 

Actually, my first daughter-in-law and I have much in common as far as hoopla goes.  Her attitude pretty much matched my own.  Her family made the arrangements and she and Tony showed up.  Well, not entirely.  But I am under the impression that is how she felt.  It was important to her mom, and that is why she allowed it.  Rochelle’s mom passed away only two months after she and Tony were married.

I don’t know how much Carrie and I have in common.  She likes to visit, but Randy somehow always manages to steal her thunder.  His behavior resembles that of Captain Kirk or William Shatner where “I am important and therefore all attention should be on me”   

It was actually that behavior that Carrie found to be a turn off.  She could see right away that Randy is full of himself (which really most people don’t get because they are always awed by his charisma) I don’t recall why she agreed to go out with him, or why she allowed a second date (her description of their first date is less than flattering) but evidently had enough premonition to make a life with him.

Their wedding was expensive.  We did not contribute financially as we were on welfare when  both Randy and Tony were married to their wives. Perhaps that is part of why I have such a hang-up with the tremendous amount of money spent on weddings.  I have enough trouble  just staying afloat or trying to put food on the table.  Spending two paychecks for one-day event is OUTRAGEOUS.

Jeanie seemed all in favor of elopement initially.  But I think Biff wanted the hoopla – and what they had in mind initially seemed tasteful.  They would get married in the temple and have a luncheon with the family.  They wouldn’t send out announcements to friends until several weeks later to invite them to some kind of reception to pay a congratulations to the couple. At least that was my understanding.

But then it changed.  And changed again.  They couldn’t marry in the temple as they had planned and so they decided just to marry civilly.  They would include family members and have a luncheon afterward.  Later when they were granted temple marriage, they would have a reception to include all family and friends.

We received the announcement of their civil marriage and have been planning for that for over a month.  Two weeks ago Roland received a text from Biff to please escort him in the temple.  They are having their temple marriage on Friday and have changed their civil marriage to something else to accommodate those that are coming on Saturday. 

Two weeks is quite a healthy notice.  It’s not like Biff rushed into a proposal only three days after having met Jeanie.  And they have given us a lot more than just eight hours notice.  I can’t help but wonder what kind of example we set for them though. 

Still no scheduled reception – at least   that I know of.  I wonder if they are still planning on having more.  I think elopement would have been so much easier.  Definitely less expensive.  I can still plant the seeds for Jenna.  Let her know the pros and the cons.  I mean, it would be nice if we could afford something elaborate for her.  But gads, all that money for just one day?  Why not put the money towards a house or tuition or something that you will have with you with more than just a memory?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Awesome Dedication

Last night I attended a birthday party for the RS.  The dinner wasn’t scheduled until 6:30, but I could tell by the decorations and the presentation that there were some on the committee that must have started setting up at 5:00.  And then they stayed to clean up afterwards.  I KNOW more time was dedicated to the  entire set-up/clean-up-process than was for the event itself.  I have felt much admiration for these sisters – but especially on nights like last night.  What a lot of hoop-lah and truly admirable devotion!

Shortly after Roland and I moved into our current ward, I was asked to be on the activities committee.  It was a short lived calling as the entire committee changed hands just four months later.  But I don’t recall devoting so much time.  But then our RS pres at the time was a Superwoman who somehow has enjoyed the challenge of doing it all with little or no delegation.  She cooked and baked and multi-tasked – or so it seemed.  And the food she prepared was (still is) great.  In all honesty, my favorite part about being on the committee was having the opportunity of bringing home leftovers.

Last night I stayed late.  Pitched in a little bit but not near as much as I probably should have.  Roland was in the nursery with several children – the most children I have seen at an RS activity nursery (or one of the few).  He ended up being the only leader.  Fortunately for him most of the kids were older and could look out for themselves as well as the few little ones who were there.   

He stayed to take down tables as I visited with those few stragglers that remained.  I think we took more leftovers home last night than I had ever taken home when I had served in that position.  Among were the remainders of an orange chiffon salad – which had actually been my favorite part of the meal.  Guess Roland will be taking some of that with him to work.

Thank you all people who are so diligent in their callings and fulfill their assignments to the fullest.  May we all have such dedication.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

No More Fun Walls or 50’s Themed Diners

One of the perks that Corey liked about mom’s assisted living was the décor, which he details in this post

Initially my mom’s room was located right next to the image of Elvis Presley.  A lot of the images had three dimensional props, such as his guitar, Marilyn’s skirt; there is one of Elizabeth Taylor holding flowers.

I had personally not taken pictures, though I did consider that taking one with Elvis might be fun.  Roland and I could stand on either side and have it sent to his mom.  But alas, we were too late.  For the last time we were there together was for the Easter event – which was actually busy enough to produce inconvenient traffic.  So I figured we could do it the following week.  But Elvis’ guitar had been removed and a paint roller had made Elvis a thing of the past.

Fortunately Bill and Kayla had taken mom up and down the halls one night and took several pictures – I don’t believe they got them all.  Maybe half of them.  And one or two of them would pose with image.  So the images that I share are from Bill’s camera.

Gradually all the props came down and the icons were painted over.  Yesterday the booths were torn out and hauled out of the building.  The saddest part of all (this is where you’ll want to shed a tear): NO MORE JUKE BOX!

The Alzheimer’s Association said the decor was not confirmative to how an assisted living facility should look – and if they are springing for the payment on the upkeep and the new paint, furniture and so forth . . . it’s not like I have any say in the matter either way.

Mom thinks the walls look nice – which they do.  It just doesn’t have the “fun” feel to it anymore.  But I can also see that the “fun” may have worn off for many.  Those who reside there everyday as opposed to the younger visitor (or young at heart anyway) Jenna has already expressed her devastation of the removal of Lucy and Ethel – she will be equally upset at the diner’s new make over and furniture (Jenna does not deal well with change)

The walls do look nice.  The paintings seem kind of boring.  Generic.  But they’re supposed to be generic.  I do like the new look of the dining room chairs, but will miss the “fun feel” of the diner. 

In time it will be more like an actual home – a home where mom is comfortable and may find just as pleasant away from her room.  And after all it’s the residence that should be most comfortable with the environment and I think in time they will be.  But right now it just seems so chaotic and melancholy – just like selling the house that I grew up in and will have a part of no more.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Nostalgic Reminders, Scanning Photos

          Shortly after my mom had Corey, she went to a Relief Society activity where the sisters were making ceramic picture frames.  They were decorative white oval frames with gold spray touch up.  They would then house all of the 8X10 school (and pre - school) portraits which came home with us.

In order to make them fit into the frame, mom would cut the corners of our school photos and tape them to the back of the frame.  By the time Kayla came along, another frame had to be added.   
It wasn’t quite the same.  The mold itself seemed to match but rather than white with gold spray, it came out more like white and gold mixed producing an antique white or an ugly urinated looking almond/cream type color.

The frames were arranged in a circle.  I think I was at the top.  My brothers at either side and Kayla’s yellow frame at the bottom. Over the years mom would update the photos – even after we each got married and left the nest.  For a while they were displayed over the stairs.  Unfortunately each of us seemed to bump into them.  Eventually one did get knocked down and broke. 

A new frame was purchased.  But it wasn’t ceramic. It was still the same oval shape as the rest.  But it appeared to be wooden – though I don’t think it was (is).  Patrick’s photo was put into the new frame as he had been responsible for the broken one.  His picture hung at the bottom.

Kayla’s frame got moved to be over my photo which remained at the top with Corey and Kayla on either side.  After we added a room to the house, the photos and frames were moved to a wall next to the sliding door and remained there until last week – just before the move to assisted living.

Sunny had taken down all the photos to put them up in mom’s new room.  Sunny did an awesome job with decorating and arranging the photos.  It is one of her MANY talents. 

Corey wanted the photos and photo albums and shoeboxes of photos and so forth.  I offered to scan them for everybody.  I have found most of his school (and before school) pictures.  I had scanned most of mine already – though not as many 8X10.    
Many of those school portraits came out with a more butchered shape than some others.  Funny to go through them now and have all these cornerless school portraits.  I’ve scanned them as they’re the largest.  I find the wallets don’t always transfer with the pixel difference.

There was a power surge last night.  The breaker switch went off twice.  I stopped scanning after the second time.  And now my machine doesn’t want to scan.  I hope Roland’s got the magic touch to make it work.  I still have so much left to scan.

I’m not going to do all the baby pictures of me.  Good grief!  How many baby pictures does one need?  I mean – I realize that babies grow fast and are forever changing.  But that’s day to day – week to week.  I just don't find it necessary for me to hang onto 27 photos that were obviously taken during the same 12 minutes.

For the most part I enjoyed being in the spotlight.  The camera became my friend and I embraced it.  Perhaps I hogged in the glory as I do believe there may be more pictures of me than my other three sibs put together.  I know for a fact that there are many more pictures of each of us than of Patrick.  If it weren’t for school pictures, we'd have even less.

As a child, Patrick hated getting his picture taken.  Or maybe my parents just got bored with photographing their baby on a daily basis.  It is uncanny how many of his older photos look just like Kayla’s two children.  It is also weird to see how major blond we both were.  I don’t even remember Patrick ever being blonde.  But we have evidence.

The photos are not being scanned in any certain order.  I will sort it in the computer – except for the ones I don’t scan – and there have been lots.  And with the mother lode of baby photos I just retrieved of myself – I certainly don’t want to scan all of those.

Corey said he wanted the originals, but I ended up with seven piles – three which I’d be giving to him.  Anything related to Kayla in one pile, anything to do with Patrick and his family in one pile, anything to do with me or my family, every other photo went into a box (for Corey) after I scanned it.  

 And then there was the pile of either scenes or unfamiliar faces that I didn’t scan that went into an envelope marked “Not Scanned” and the final pile went into the garbage initially – but Corey said he wanted ALL of them.  Oh, right.  We’ll just see about that.

Mom was horrible at marking photos.  HORRIBLE.   She doesn’t remember things.  How could she possibly identify the people in the photos now?  I did manage to scan some photos last night (before the power surge/scan mess up) of a group of people on the beach.  I don’t know how many total.  I chose a few of them to scan and email to a few of mom’s friends to ask if they could identify the people in the photos.

One has not only answered, but enthusiastically thanked me for the trip down memory lane.  So I now have names for Corey. I don’t know that having the names will have all that much meaning for him.  He may not want them.  If that’s the case perhaps I should send some of the originals to Erin?  I wonder if she’d even want them.

I’m not through.  I haven’t even made a dent.  It would take so much longer if I weren’t so selective.  I would have started out more selective if I had taken the time with it.  This project I’ve assigned myself is huge.  But I think it will be worth it.

Corey’s got the largest house of my mom’s four children.  He has no clue what he’ll be doing with everything he took back – or is taking back rather.  He’s still on the road right now.  Still in Utah, I’m sure.  And may be for some time.  He still has to drive through that icy canyon.  The department of transportation said they haven’t seen this kind of weather for over 30 years.  I don’t recall ever having seen it – not in Utah anyway.

Well, those are today’s thoughts.  I will be going through pictures and labeling the backs of them and sorting them into what will be scanned and what won’t.
I’ve also come across an attempted biography I had done on my very first word processor.  A "Brothers" that I truly loved.  The printer was less than desirable.  It seems almost humorous to look at the print right now. 

Perhaps I will challenge myself and typing skills and type it into Word.  I saved it upon floppy disc initially.  But I don’t have access to a Brother’s Word Processor so that I may open it.  Well if I still had one.  I find that floppy discs haven’t worked out all that well for me.  I had saved many throughout the years.  I threw them all out just a couple of years ago.

More to come.  May not be soon, however. It is kind of fun going down memory lane. But some things that were saved have turned out quite pathetic from my point of view.  My 50 year old point of view as opposed to my naïve twenties.  Boy, was I clueless growing up.