Sunday, December 25, 2016


I can't begin to tell you how many times I've sat down to write in recent weeks. I only managed to spit out two measly blog entries in December. December was a rough month. We never dreamed that we'd lose both of our dogs in 2016, and we are still reeling from Gretchen's death. I also lost my aunt Maureen at the very end of November. She lived in Texas so of course I didn't see her frequently, but she was a wonderful person and I'm so sorry her light has gone out.

So, I have had lots to say, most if it being downright pedestrian in nature, but the words haven't come. I can't let Christmas go by without a mention, though!

We've been pretty busy in recent weeks. We just fostered our first dog for our local humane society. I attended an orientation at the end of November and was asked to take an eight-week-old puppy the same day. We had her for three weeks and now she has been spayed and adopted. Lucy was a sassy little lass, and I'm so glad we got to be a part of her journey . . . even though her journey did include pooping behind our recliner. Grover was glad to have a little friend for a few weeks. We are hoping to adopt a companion for him very soon.

My mom visited in early December. We hadn't had a visit from her in a few years so it was nice to have her here. She even made treats for two bakes sales that came up while she was visiting (one for my church and one for German Shepherd Rescue). Most importantly, she was here for her granddaughter's big choir concert. After the concert, my mom and I went out for Indian food. My husband and daughter would not dream of putting anything other than pasta or pizza in their mouths, so I knew I had to go with a willing participant while I had the chance.

Most of my time over the past few weeks has been occupied with shopping/wrapping/shipping. It's the American way, ya'll.  I got everything shipped out on time and heaved a sigh of relief. As for my daughter, her list was surprisingly short this year. She asked for a bike, a keyboard (the musical kind), an iTunes gift card (those songs with inappropriate lyrics don't just download themselves, you know), and a power strip. No lie - a power strip.

My best friend had a guitar she wasn't using and offered to send it for the kid's use. I can't tell you how grateful I am for that.  It arrived a few days ago and I promptly hid it in the basement. I ordered the bike online a few weeks ago and then Mr. M put it together one day while our daughter was at a friend's house. It's really for the best that she didn't have to hear all the cussing about screwdrivers that were perpetually the wrong size. My sisters went in on the keyboard (plus a stand and headphones). I hid that stuff in the basement, too.  We have a storage area that the kid has always been afraid to enter. So, I put everything in that room and then unscrewed the light bulb just in case she decided to try any funny stuff.

My mom brought gifts for us when she came - she made a nightgown and robe for the kid, and got me a calendar, a wine glass, and a bunch of other fun stuff. My dad and stepmom also sent some gifts: Utz Barbecue chips (for me) and a hand-knit headband (also for me). The kid received gloves, a scarf, and a hat - also hand-knit.

In addition to the bike, the mister and I also got the kid a TV for her room. Oh, and guitar lessons that start on January 4th. And yes, we got her a power strip! Plus some clothes and pajamas and whatnot. One great thing about the kid getting a little older - Christmas doesn't involve as much packaging. She gets fewer (but more expensive) gifts than she received when she was little, but they're not as brutal as the toddler gifts. It wasn't too long ago that we spent the entire morning on Christmas just trying to liberate Barbie's microscopic shoes from their packaging. And trying to free Barbie's hair, which was always sewn into the box somehow. Whew! Glad to have those days behind us, though we look back on them wistfully, too.

This year, it was our turn to host brunch for our "in-town" family. I made chocolate chip pancakes and yeast rolls, and I bought some fruit salad because chopping stuff is way too much work. The other families brought casseroles, too. It was great to spend the afternoon with family. Even Grover was on his best behavior (he can be really fearful around strangers, but he did very well today).

If you're wondering what Mr. M got me for Christmas . . . well, I gave the boy a list. He got me some nice stuff (from my list): Vionic slippers, OOFOS flip-flops, wine, a yoga ball (Grover popped the last one - grrrr), and some soap. Funny story about the soap. I specifically wanted some nag champa-scented soap from Perennial Soaps. I gave him a link directly to that bar of soap. All he had to do was to put it in his virtual cart and check out. Instead, he got me every scent except for the one I wanted:

I mean, don't get me wrong here - I appreciate the soaps. I really do. I just need someone to explain to me how boys' brains work.

Me: "I'd like a single bar of soap in this specific scent that I love."
Him: "Nope, I'm going to spend five times as much to get you five soaps that aren't the scent you wanted."

Maybe you guys can think about it and let me know.

What did I get him? A Kindle Fire (he had an old one that wasn't charging properly anymore), one of those Harry's Shave Club kits, an alarm clock that can be used to charge other devices, Apple earbuds (because he left his out and Grover chewed them up), pajamas, a football calendar, a stormtrooper ornament, and a Marvel Comics trivia box. Our niece quizzed him on a bunch of questions from the box and he basically knew every answer - even to questions that seemed super obscure. I'm either really proud or really embarrassed. I'll give it some thought and let you know.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Our foster pooch

"Just hand me the other (expletive deleted) screwdriver!"

Our little Christmas tradition - we visit these old-timey displays every year.

Performance at a nursing home last week.

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