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.

Crazy Dreams

I haven't been sleeping well and I somehow seem to remember more detail about my dreams - though I don't fully understand why I would dream them.

The house across the street really is for sale.  Earlier this month I had a dream that my sister-in-law's sister moved in with her daughter and that Jenna and Alex became really good friends.  I knew that Deb would need a job and remembered that they are always looking for teachers but then remember Deb had not gone into teaching but had gone to beauty school and helped her to get a job at a local salon.  I have no idea why I dreamed it.

The dream I had this morning made more sense - except for one part. But I could understand why I had dreamed it as Biff and his living situation has been on my mind and I had just recently  looked at photos that his girlfriend had posted.

I was having lunch with his girlfriend Clarissa and a friend from her photos - I'm guessing her sister. I asked Clarissa to tell me more about how she and Biff had gotten together, and she proceeded to rip some pages out of a booklet or magazine that apparently went into more detail about their  relationship, and then I told her about how Biff and Jeanie had gotten together. It felt strange to have dreamed both.

Friday, December 29, 2017

White Chocolate is an Oxymoron

top is white chocolate, bottom is actual chocolate
even before taste, sight can figure out the difference.

            Those who enjoy a great martini or daiquiri may think that taking the alcohol out and calling it "Virgin" does not make it worthy of calling the drink by its alcoholic name.  I don't know as I have never had an alcoholic beverage on purpose.  I had been invited to a cocktail gala once.  I had ordered a mocktail pina colada I believe. When my glass looked empty, a waitress had asked if I would like a refill.  She hadn't realized my drink was alcoholic free nor did I figure out right away that my second drink had rum.  I didn't like it nor did I finish it.  The first had tasted so much better.  That was my opinion anyway.
I cannot tell a mocktail from a cocktail by sight
            The word "white" in "white chocolate" must mean the same as mock or virgin - for those who can't or choose not to have real chocolate, "white" is their alternative just as "virgin" is my alternative when I choose not to drink. I still think it's wrong to use the name "chocolate" when leaving out the main ingredient that would make it chocolate.  But I think I may have a better understanding.
This is a cocoa plant
This is a chocolate mocktail

            White chocolate does taste better than carob.  At least carob never deceitfully tried to pass itself off as chocolate by its name.  Why somebody had tried to pass that off as a chocolate substitute is beyond me.  That would be like not only taking the rum out of the pina colada, but using mud instead.
this is a carob plant; it seriously tastes worse than it looks

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Another Package

                When I first joined my family I believed Tony was pretty much a holiday Scrooge.  He said his favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, but he seemed to hate Christmas.  He made no effort to hide his negative emotions.  Fortunately that changed sometime after Jenna was born.  His feelings toward Christmas seem to become more positive with each passing year - or at least that is what I hear in his voice.  It is so awesome to have him enjoying that again.

                Rochelle and Tony's original plans this year were to send their gifts with their brothers who had planned to visit us during the holidays.  Only "when" turned into "if' and then "not this year".  Tony called the day the package was mailed and said that it would be late.  I am glad it didn't come before Christmas as I knew their gift to Jenna would put all of ours to shame - even Snoopy.  Oh, Jenna still loves Snoopy but is more excited by the gift from their family.

                Her gift may have been the first that was placed in the box as it was not on top, rather my favorite part of the package.  The thoughtful gift of hand-made ornaments and pictures sent with crafted foam and on a house shaped plaque designed for "family". 

                We never did get a picture of all of us together after our last three grandchildren were born and now Jeanie is gone and will no longer be a part of any recent photos.  How thoughtful to include each of us with the pictures they sent.

                Since the first time Jenna had watched her first episode of "Psych" she became an instant fan.  She loves Shawn Spencer and now the pineapple.  Her goal right now is to rewatch the series to find the pineapple that supposedly exists in each episode.  Tony's family had sent the first six seasons of Psych and Jenna is thrilled.  If it had been her only gift Jenna would have been fine with it.

                I love listening to her laughter.  It reminds me of watching movies and sitcoms with Tony.  He is actually my favorite person to watch sitcoms with.  He has such a cute laugh and is easily amused. I do miss his laugh and his enthusiasm.

                Some of their gifts and thoughtfulness this year was really clever.  I started reading the book they sent me though I have not gotten too far into it.  I was trying to read as much as I can before school starts back up again.  Just one more week left of programming and emotional psychology.  I don't know what I will have after that.

                2017 has flown by so quickly!  It's hard to believe it's almost over.  I wonder if 2018 will fly just as quickly.

Christmas dinner

                I don't remember having met Shelly's mother before, but  she seemed to recognize me.  Many of our town's citizens had gathered downtown for the lighting of the tree on December 2nd.  I was making my up 2nd Ave. to the library annex when she spotted me and waved as though we had been buddies for quite some time but seemed to have lost touch.  She asked about Jenna and mentioned the desire for getting Shelly and Jenna together.

          Shelly and her mom had moved to Myrtle Creek last year.  I don't know what time of the year Jenna had been invited to her birthday party, but I know we were already living in Tri City at the time.  It was the first time I had dropped Jenna off at a friend's house without meeting a parent first.  Shelly was attending the same middle school as Jenna but did not return. She has decided to do her schooling online instead. 

                I believe that Jenna and Shelly have hung out together four times since December 2nd.  We even did a sleep over at our house.  Shelly and her mom had gone to an afternoon tea party at the grange where the ward had our Christmas party that same evening.  As Shelly was already there, I had invited her to attend the ward Christmas party and hang out with Jenna.  Roland had volunteered to pick up some neighbors and drive them home and the amount of passengers became more than our car could hold - thus we made two trips and allowed Jenna and Shelly to play together.

                I have tried to remain faithful to the positive challenge and had read each day prior but had forgotten the challenge for day 11. It was before I had taken the girls caroling that I had texted Shelly's mother  to ask if they would like to come for Christmas dinner.  I hadn't realized that was the challenge - to do something unexpectedly.

          After I brought the girls back to our house, we received the following message from a ward member:


          Shelly and her mom did come to have dinner with us on Christmas day.  I had on my tacky cat sweater and was just about to pull it off when they showed up.  Shelly's mom seemed to like it but I was hot and don't do well with long sleeves and food.  Shelly and her mom are always cold.  Before we ate, the girls exchanged gifts.  After dinner Shelly and her mom play games with us.  Shelly's mother really did enjoy herself.

          I ended up giving my Christmas sweater to them. Perhaps I should have asked Jenna first as she said that she liked it.  But I think it will get more use being at Shelly's house.  Roland was okay with it as he hadn't particularly liked the sweater either but had purchased it believing that I really did like it. I wish I had shown the same gratitude that they had.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Spirit of Christmas - Me

I saw this sweater in Wal-Mart.  I made a comment that I thought it was cute.  It made me think of my brother, Corey.  

It's actually not a sweater that I would wear and the more times I saw it, the tackier I thought it was.  Evidently, I had not said that aloud – or at least loud enough that either Jenna nor Roland heard.  I don't mean to complain or sound ungrateful.  It's what one would wear for an ugly sweater contest.  

If I put it away for next year, would I actually be able to find it?  Fortunately the Spirit for me lives in giving and not receiving - though I was surprised with one of Jenna's gifts. 

          I don't think Roland often listens to my desires or my non-desires rather.  For example, there was one year I told him that I did not want a quad (four books of scripture in one book) but that I preferred having the Bible separate to compare two scriptures side by side. 

He brought me a quad that year. 

He also purchased the DVD of "Mama Mia" the year it was released. 

I told him I was happy with the soundtrack and really didn't want the DVD as I didn't believe I'd watch it enough that it would be worth having in my collection.  It stayed in Utah the year we moved to Oregon. This year it was a hair dryer that I had already mentioned I hadn't wanted.  

          In addition to my hair dryer and holiday sweater, there was an unexpected gift of macadamia clusters from Jenna.  That is the gift that surprised me the most.  The most practical gift I received (also from Jenna) is probably the one I was most genuinely excited about.

only thing I had asked for really

Jenna (or Santa's) surprise scrapbook paper


I like it thus far

The Spirit of Christmas - Jenna

Initially Roland and I had agreed on purchasing only 3 gifts for Jenna to open.  I had forgotten about the 5 books we had purchased in September.  Roland also went haywire one day when he wanted to go to Roseburg and neither Jenna nor I wished to go with him.  He returned with some Pok√©mon cards and some other things.  We had also given a stuffed toy of Snoopy that shakes his head to the “Lucy and Linus theme” I think there were at least twelve gifts for Jenna.

She said her favorite gift was the snoopy 

The Spirit of Christmas - Roland

            Roland's first gift came in the mail.  It was from his boss.  She sent him a melted snowman kit.  Jenna has been playing with it ever since, and enjoying it immensely. 

          I didn't realize how many ties Roland has or may have not purchased any - though it came at his request.  He did ask for a more subtle or blended design than what we had purchased, but I think he was pleased just the same. 

all of the rings are full - some with more than 
one tie each.  I counted 7 Christmas ties

these are the ties he received for Christmas

He was hoping the design would be subtle as these

here are the ones he didn't receive (I have to call)
          In addition to the ties, we had given him fruitcake and snowballs.  Roland often gravitates toward both. 
J also gave R a bandana

 I probably should have just gone with my initial plan of getting him a DNA kit.   It would have been the only gift under the tree for Roland.  I just think the price will go down again.
  Of all the gifts received on Christmas morning, Roland says his favorite was the cowboy tie that Jenna had picked out for him.

The Spirit of Christmas - Gifts

          We sent hats to all of our kids for Christmas this year.  They are Oregon Duck hats.  Many people here are avid Duck fans.  I have no preference, though I do like the "Duck" colors better than the "Beaver" colors.  I thought Biff might like the orange, but we didn't see any Beaver sock hats.

          We've made and received many sweets this year.  Roland had wanted to make gingerbread men but we ran out of time before we could purchase all ingredients, so he purchased a tin of butter pecan meltaways instead.  I will always think of them as "Mexican Wedding Cookies" as I had learned that is what they were called - but the name probably is not a best seller at Christmas time - possibly?

Next year I am giving out Queso and chips as I felt burnt out on sweets this year (as I'm certain many others did).

          Roland is the sole eater of the gingerbread house as Jenna and I are not too crazy about gingerbread.   I doubt he will eat it all and we'll end up throwing at least half of it away. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Spirit of Christmas - Decorations

I believe we decorated the trees outside before we brought our Christmas tree into the house.  Roland had started out with the lights and gradually we added large ornaments and bows.

We also purchased a starlight system to save ourselves from having to hang lights      

Jenna framed our mirror with the sock toys that Corey had given us years before

and put out many decorations that we have used in previous years.

Aunt Julie sent us this when we first moved to West Valley

middle tree pop up from a card from Ooki (son) and 
back tree gift from Salad Master, Nativity to my mom
her last Christmas

also from Aunt Julie.  It was designed as 
a door hanged.  But we have moved it to
chain on screen door

and added a few new ones as well

Santa is really a tree topper and a stocking Jenna colored

not a great picture.  Jenna received this fragile piece

I displayed our books on the end table this year as Jenna and I had decided to do away with the coffee table

The cards we received were hung on the door


 and I took these pictures as Jenna and I traveled about

at Lowes, I believe

 We picked up some more ornaments at Pier 1 as they had been marked down

I thought this was really cute, but
possibly too big for the tree as compared
with the other ornaments we have

4 nutcrackers purchased for 2018 ornament