Season’s greetings from your favorite demon slayer

Wow, Christmas is less than a week away already!

Tomorrow I am hosting a Christmas party at my house for the entire family…while I am working out of the house…and cooking a meal for over a dozen people…Nothing says overachiever (or insanity) better than that.

I really didn’t want to have a Christmas party on a day we had to work and the kids have school. I wanted to have the party on Sunday, the day after the extended family Christmas party. But my sister-in-law Carla couldn’t miss the kids Christmas program at her church. I guess that wouldn’t be such a big deal to me if she actually had kids. But I can’t complain too much, she is the only person that was ever able to get my brother Mark to go to church. So Friday it is.

Carla wanted to have the party in January. After we scheduled the party for Friday, Carla wanted to switch it again. I finally told her to let me know if she would be unable to make it which is a polite way to say that I am NOT going to change the date again unless it is back to Sunday.

My brother Luke and his family will be staying over for the weekend. Luke didn’t want to make the far drive out a couple weekends in a row, so we ended up scheduling the Christmas party for Friday night before the extended family party on Saturday…after I am done working…instead of Sunday (which I preferred) because of Carla’s schedule.

Talking about work, I only have 4 days left until I am unemployed. I was angry and despairing about it at first, but now I think I should throw myself a big party on the last day and get on with my life. Maybe I’ll have a bonfire and burn all my work clothes!

Angel is home from college. Soon all of the kids will be done with school for Christmas break.

We bought Alex a boxing club membership for Christmas. He has been bugging me about joining for over a year. Boxing seems kind of dangerous, doesn’t it moms?? I was the kind of mom that had to close my eyes at middle school football games. I enjoyed watching Alex wrestle, but there were a few times…Somewhere in my mind he is 8, not 18. I still feel the need to protect and mother hen him. Although I know he would end up protecting me if push came to shove.

Alex says that boxing helps him express his anger in a healthy way. Maybe I need to start boxing since anger is no stranger to me. Can you imagine me showing up at the boxing gym? Oh my gosh! He has been working out every night. He is like me, all or nothing. The hard part is to convince him to give it his all when he wants to do nothing. He is a stubborn one, also like me. But he is doing better! He just might be ready to move on with his life come spring.

I just want everyone to know how thankful I am that you put up with me! Consider this my Christmas card…I haven’t actually sent one out in years. Lucky you! I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. And if anything exciting happens, I’ll be sure to tell you all about it!

 

When did it happen?

A couple weeks back on my way into the gym, I saw an elderly lady with two little kids. The little ones outran their grandma and entered the building with me. I got quite a few smiles and happy looks from strangers. People thought the children were mine and were giving me the ‘your kids are sooooo cute’ face.

When did my kids stop being cute?

I felt a little sad for awhile. I hadn’t realized that I haven’t gotten that mother of little kids look for a long time.

When did my kids grow up?

This past weekend, my nieces who are 8 and 10 stayed overnight at my house last minute. Angel was babysitting for another little girl at our house that was 8. We had a girl party. We played Just Dance and painted nails. Even my ‘baby’ was a big help entertaining the girls.

When did my daughters transition from girls to young women?

When it was bedtime, I put a show on to try to get the girls to settle down and fall asleep. But I was the only one that fell asleep. I really don’t know how kid movies can captivate children, they are soooo stupid. Who writes those shows??

When did we stop watching cartoons and kid shows?

The girls had a hard time sleeping at night. Little Gracie complained about the bass pouring out of my son’s room. It wasn’t that loud or maybe I’ve grown used to the noise of having teenagers in my house.

When did my kids stop being little kids?

The next day we had the family over for Christmas. The little girls were bursting with excitement over the presents under the tree. Gracie got this bird that cracked its way out of a shell minutes after she opened the gift. Then she was supposed to raise it as a baby, toddler, and then finally a kid. But not as a teenager nor adult. It glowed different colors to communicate based on some color code on the box or something. Seemed like a big waste of money to me. But boy was that the rage.

When did our kids stop waking us up on Christmas day?

My kids got mainly clothes. Clothes! Arabella got a waffle iron. Adult stuff! No more toys. The teens mainly looked bored. The kids squealed with delight. The adults sat around acting excited about the gifts of the little kids, but it really wasn’t all that exciting anymore…the transition from child to adult.

When did my kids stop playing with toys??

I was able to find some excellent gifts for my teenagers though..

For Angel, I bought her tickets to see Lana Del Rey in concert next week. We will be traveling quite a ways, so I got a hotel room. I also bought her a Lana Del Rey t-shirt. I am excited to go with her, but was instructed not to dress like a ‘mom’.

For Alex, I got him an Ancestry DNA kit to find his heritage. It was something that he mentioned over a year ago and was very excited to receive. Rumor has it that he might have Native American roots (my husband never knew his father). Now we will know for sure. There is some mystery in what will be found.

For Arabella, I took her in today for a makeover. She got blonde highlights and black low lights. She looks very pretty and grown up.

I do miss the wonder and excitement of the younger years, but there is a certain joy to be found in letting go…

Snowstorm slacker and other partly cloudy stories

Today was supposed to be the day that we were going to get a monster snowstorm. The whole state of Wisconsin was supposed to shut down. Everyone wants a white Christmas, but no one wants to cancel plans, or at least admit that they want to. Instead a few inches are going to trickle in over the next two days. Here comes snowstorm slacker…How flaky!

I wish I could be paid a lot of money for being completely inaccurate. I hope the weather forecasters are wrong about the 15 to 30 below wind chills Christmas morning too!

I thought I would have to cancel my plans for tonight. I have a karaoke date at a dive bar with an older man.

Now before you start to judge, let me explain. I have a thing for older men…like way older men. I have developed friendships with men that are in their 80’s. I am particular with my older men…they have to be flirty, funny, eccentric, and smart. This year my older friend lost his wife of over 60 years. This will be his first Christmas without her. He shares our family passion of singing…maybe this would make his day a little brighter on the darkest day of the year.

Yesterday I called my older friend from work to see if our date was still on. He asked me if I bought him a Christmas gift yet. Then he said, “Honey, why don’t you come down to the bar right now and I’ll buy you a drink?” He makes me laugh. I spend more time with him than with my own dad.

Family, it is a difficult time of year for that…family…strained relationships, obligated gatherings, all creating more stress over the busiest time of year…with the expectation of hearts filled with peace and joy.

I think I am finally at peace with our Christmas plans. My mom wanted to get together at my house at noon on Christmas Eve, but I wanted to get together later in the day instead. Paul, Angel, and I will be singing at the late night service. It is much more than I want to squeeze into one day.

If I have everyone at my house at noon then I would have to plan two meals that day, clean up before and after, and all of the dishes…then have enough energy to deal with family and be ready to sing. Thankfully, Angel has to work Christmas Eve until 4 PM and I DIDN’T WANT TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS WITHOUT HER. Plus I didn’t want everyone to eat and ditch before church.

So, my brother Mark and his wife won’t be able to attend. I haven’t seen or talked to them since July anyway. They never come to my family’s events or even send a card…so…oh well. My uncle Rick is having a family party the day before anyway. We will see them then. Uncle Rick is too nice. Everyone is telling him what to do for his party, but no one wants to do the work of having the party.

I think that if you are hosting the party then you should have full control. You pick the time. You pick the menu. You get my drift. I don’t think Uncle Rick wants that though. He seems more content to have people tell him what to do than I am.

Things have been going well. Angel is home from college. It is so wonderful. I get home from work and the laundry is folded and the dishes are done. She asks if she can help with anything else. In the evenings she just wants to visit and talk. She is my only kid that makes me feel like I did something right as a mom.

Other than that, I have been trying to keep up with my exercise routine. I called my cousin last week and told him I would like to run a trail marathon with him next summer. I like to run twice a week and have one day a week where I do something other than running to work out. Last night, Paul and I went cross county skiing the first time this season. I have to tell you that I am not really good at sports. Trust me. Although I run marathons and do Half Irons and stuff like that, I am the world’s biggest klutz. I watched others glide by skating on skis while I managed to fall in the flat area. I have zero sense of balance. I would fail yoga 101. I keep trying though. I’m going to need all the balance I can get as I age.

I probably won’t have much time to talk until after Christmas. It already has been a busy week with Christmas parties and programs galore.

And so far we got zero inches of snow from snowstorm slacker..

Merry Christmas!!

No fires

I worked late Thursday night until 8 PM. If I worked late, I would be able to keep to my running schedule which hasn’t been broken since the stomach flu of May of 2016. It is more important than writing.

Friday morning I ran 12 miles. It was the best run in ages. I didn’t feel any pain or exhaustion. I felt energetic and happy. Things were going good until I realized that I was missing a key ingredient in the dip I was making for the afternoon staff party. I had to make an unexpected trip to the store on the busiest grocery shopping day of the year.

The parking lot to the store was a zoo. Traffic was backed up for a mile away. Not many parking lots spaces were to be had and there weren’t many carts either. Angel was called into work at the store on that day and I was happy to see her busy working while I was there.

We closed the office early on Friday and scheduled an office wide website training and beer sampling party upon the suggestion of our sales guy James. James said that the party was going to be the highlight of his holiday weekend. He is a divorced man and his only son was spending the weekend with his in-laws. I felt bad for him.

We learned a lot about the technical side of our website and it was determined that I was going to help start a blog.

Then Christmas Eve came before I knew it. I realized I had been so busy at work that I forgot to drink out of my special holiday mug this year. I didn’t even wrap gifts until later in the day.

Angel and I sang a duet at church that evening. We were also part of the choir. It was a strange evening. Someone smelled smoke and thought they saw smoke coming out of the church building right before the choir processed in. We discussed briefly how flammable our choir robes are.

Angel and I decided to sing our duet without the security of having the music in front of us. We were nervous as we looked out at the hundreds of people in attendance. Angel was freaking out that she would forget the words. We made a couple of errors. I had to look at all of the people looking at me while I sang. It was nerve wracking. If I had the music, I could stare at that instead of at the eyes on me.

During the service, the other soloist forgot his words. The pastor started the sermon without reading the gospel. Then he lingered for a long time in his robe over the lit candles. We remembered our discussion on how flammable the robes are. The choir was ready to jump on him to put out the flames or interrupt the service to have the pastor move only to find out later that the candles were fake.

We awoke the following morning to a white Christmas. Later in the day, it started to sleet and then rain. I was worried about my son on the road. He made it home safe.

For awhile, Paul was hurt that I didn’t get him a Christmas gift. I felt bad that he felt bad. It was a big misunderstanding. I thought that he said that we should buy ourselves our own gifts. So I bought myself a wet suit on clearance. That probably sounds bad. I bought myself something, but got him nothing. He did buy some ice fishing stuff that I have no clue about.

Arabella, Paul, and I had a relaxing Christmas day together. I stayed in my pajamas all day.

I’m sorry this post wasn’t as exciting as I intended it to be. The church didn’t end up starting on fire. Everything ended up turning out great in the end.

I want to say thanks again for your presence, if you stuck with me this far. Having this blog is a wonderful gift. I am so happy that you are following along on this journey of mine..

 

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I hope you are all having a wonderful day with family.

This year for Christmas, I got old. I’m not talking about the plethora of socks and hand soap I got for gifts this year either. Although, I suppose it doesn’t help.

I feel old.

I am old.

Last night the kids showed Paul and I the internet and some thing called memes. Some of them were rather clever, but most to me seemed like a waste of time. I wouldn’t know how to make one or how to get something like that on my blog. I an old fashioned. I use words.

I felt old as I watched my husband put on his reading glasses to squint at the moving objects on their phones.

Didn’t we know that people can get really rich making cat memes?

I can barely figure out how to upload my own pictures. Geez!

I look at my children and think how much like me they are, but I can’t relate. I don’t understand their world. Their generation is alien to me. I spent my childhood reading books and riding my bike. I like their world, but I don’t belong there.

Then I realized that I am the old fashioned one now. I am the one out of touch.

This morning our family read the Christmas story out of the Bible. We had an adult discussion on view points and beliefs. Then we opened our gifts like we have every year. We ate lunch together. Then my oldest two children left to be with the families of their significant others. They spent the day with people I don’t know. They weren’t at home like they were year after year watching movies and playing games.

They have grown up. It is the way that it is meant to be. I feel old and left behind.

I think I know what I want to be when I grow up. Younger!! I saw that on a meme somewhere…

Maybe I will have to ask for the fountain of youth next year for Christmas!

 

I sneeze..

I sneeze and sneeze and sneeze. 

Am I getting sick? Or am I allergic to the tree?

The cat has fleas..

A sick child needing to be picked up from school early..

I sneeze..

Many ideas swirl through my head, but no time to write..

Work..busy during a slow time..

A weekend away to see my daughter perform..

A long drive home on snowy roads..

Cleaning.. Laundry..

Christmas parties all week…all month..

Bunco party…church choir party…sailing club party…staff party…band concert…choir concert….band concert…choir concert for my three kids in three different schools in two different towns…an overnight family Christmas party out of town…tickets to a show…singing for the Advent services every Wednesday night…singing again on Christmas Eve…Christmas Day with family…

Picking up a kid from college…visiting my dying mother-in-law…scheduling conflicts…a hair cut..a birthday party..

Should I start my Christmas shopping??

I sneeze..

Bring a dish to pass…a dish to pass…a dish to pass…Whatever shall I make?? Whatever shall I take? 

Secret Santa…a gift exchange…

No winter clothes that fit my youngest kid..

Cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry..

A sick kid, pets with fleas..

I sneeze and sneeze and sneeze…

Ending the holiday season

I didn’t tell anybody this earlier, but I started the new year off on the wrong foot. We had a couple of friends over for New Year’s Eve. Everything went well and the last people left at 1:30 AM. Paul and I finally made our way to bed around 2. At 6 AM, a noise woke me up. Somewhere between 2 and 6 AM, our furnace went out. The house temp was under 50 degrees. We ended up having someone come out at the crack of dawn on new year’s day receiving holiday pay to fix it. It was a rough start. 

Today we took down our Christmas tree. I put all of the decorations back in the crawl space and dug out all of my old journals. I don’t know how quick I will go through them to be honest with you. I always have a rough time this time of year with the lack of sunlight. Even though I take massive doses of vitamin D, my thoughts and emotions tend to be dark. Just thinking about the past can bring me down on the sunniest of days….so this month might be light and fluffy like the winter snow. Talking about the winter snow, Paul and I were able to get out and cross country ski for the first time on the skis that we bought last winter. What a workout! Sure made me feel out of shape, especially since we saw a friend of ours there and he did two laps to our one. 

Yesterday I told you that we were going to one last Christmas party at my uncle’s who happens to be a clean freak. Well, I am embarassed to say that it was me this year that made a mess. That’s right. After being at the party for about a half an hour, I cracked open a bottle of beer. I took 3 sips and proceeded to spill most of the bottle everywhere. It went down my shirt with a majority of it landing on my pants and their off white carpet. I greeted relatives coming to the party looking like I peed my pants. My uncle said I could leave behind some money for the carpet cleaning. I am glad he was just kidding. Or was he? He didn’t freak out though like the story I heard of when my cousins accidently knocked over his fish tank. Other than looking like a complete idiot, the party went well.

Our staff party a couple weeks ago went great too. We took our employees to a painting class. It was so much fun. And I didn’t suck at painting. I was happy to be average. Out of the four of us that went, not one single person between the ages of 30 and 52 ever painted on a canvas before. Checked that off my bucket list and would love to do it again. 

Other than that, I have been trying to upload a video of my daughter and I singing. I haven’t been successful at that. I will probably figure it out by July. Geez. We sang our Christmas songs at the party yesterday. Every year my aunt insists that we sing. My daughter moves people to tears with her singing. She wants to spend the summer singing and performing on tour. She is auditioning to do that next month. When my cousin heard that, she was bummed out because she wanted Angel to sing at her wedding this summer. Angel just sang at my brother’s wedding a few months back. Angel and I have very similar voices, except that hers is well trained and mine is not. I used to be the one asked to sing at weddings, now it is her. When did she become better than me??? She used to ask me for advice and now she tells me what to do. I listen to her because she is right, but can’t help but feel hurt that I am no longer wanted. I am happy that she has had so many opportunities that I didn’t.

Sometimes it is hard for me to accept this whole aging thing. 

One last Christmas party

This afternoon we will be going to one last Christmas party. It is for my mom’s side of the family. Unlike my dad who was an only child and only grandchild on one side, my mom comes from a very large family. We usually get together twice a year as a group. Collectively my mom’s siblings are hard working, average (not eccentric), and slightly neurotic.

The uncle’s house that we are going to today would fit into the above category very well. I am not sure why year after year they host the family Christmas party which usually attracts between 30 and 50 family members. My uncle is an extreme clean freak. I have never seen any clutter or anything dirty or out of place. Last year during the party, I saw my uncle on his hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor. I have a sneaky suspicion that my autistic brother may have missed the target. Years past, he has followed around his guests with a dust buster, vacuuming crumbs or any speck of dirt that they may have dragged in.

Last year we were at his house for the Packer game. When the game was over, he asked his guests if he could get their coats for them. The game is over, now get the hell out! His wife kindly suggested that he take the dog for a walk. After he got back, he seemed to calm down a little. I have another aunt that is also a clean freak. We went camping with her one year near her house when a huge storm came up out of nowhere. We were wet and cold. We ended up huddling in her garage. She didn’t want us to come in her house because we were too dirty. I guess that explains why I am slightly neurotic. It’s a family thing.

When we all get together, everyone is best friends. There is some animosity over some people getting more family heirlooms than others when their parents passed away. I imagine that this would be very hard to do fairly. One other thing about my family, they are very competitive when it comes to playing cards. I wouldn’t recommend a potential spouse of the cousins to join in a card game. Winning trumps being kind to each other in this one area. My mom just found out that her brother refused to go to my brother Mark’s wedding this past year because a couple of years ago he passed in a card game when he should have picked. God forbid!

I’m sure that we will have a good time today. Just stay out of the card games and don’t make a mess. Other than that, they are the nicest people that you would ever meet. There is a lot of laughter and fun.

A few minor Christmas detours

I tend to be a black and white thinker. So I usually go into situations with really low expectations or very high expectations. When I go in with low expectations, I tend to have more of a negative attitude. This has earned me the title of pessimist, which I would argue that I am not. I tend to describe myself as a realist which is false for all practical purposes too because my expectations are not realistic. Most of the times it turns out in between. Some good, some bad. Which is still polar and I am back to thinking black and white again. I tried.

I placed Christmas within the high expectation category which can be disappointing if it is not perfect and what ever is? My daughter and I sang the duet O Holy Night for both Christmas Eve services. That went well. Christmas with the kids went really well the next day. Then Saturday morning we headed across the state to have Christmas at my brother Luke’s house. Expectations were high, I was in a good mood. Well, until we found ourselves on a country back road with the bridge out. There weren’t any detour signs or anything. Plus there was no cell reception at all to navigate or call for directions. We ended up on an icy gravel road that looked inviting to people seeking a place to hide a corpse. That should have been the first indication right there.

Despite sitting several hours in the car, all three kids got along great. Until we pulled into the driveway, that is. Then there was some bickering. We entered the house just in time for lunch despite the 20 minute detour. The kids weren’t terribly interested in helping unload the car. Paul ended up taking Alex’s cell phone away as he didn’t want to help after he unloaded his items. Alex got upset and locked himself in the bathroom. He refused to eat with us. Then it was time to open gifts, but Alex still refused to come out. Who would’ve thought? Then Alex felt too embarassed to come out, but eventually did. My 6 year old niece asked loudly why Alex was so upset over and over when he finally came out. This all happened while my brother Mark opened a gift that was a talking Darth Vader figurine that was bigger then my niece. His new wife exclaimed, “Where the hell are we going to put that?” My mom said that she had another one at home for them that she couldn’t fit in her car.

Other than a few snags, everything went really well. We had a lot of great food and played games all night. Mark got pretty drunk. For the most part everyone got along. No one got any sleep. Then we woke up and made our long journey back home. Only one more Christmas party to go before we can call this season a wrap.

Christmas (pet) lover

Many, many ages ago when I first met Paul, he performed a quick thinking pet rescue. Christmas time can offer new dangers for pets.

Paul has always been a dog lover. When I met him he had a dog. I have always been a cat lover. When I met him I had two cats. If I didn’t marry him, I may have been destined to be the crazy old cat lady. So we struck up a compromise after marriage, he has one dog and I have one cat. It is a good arrangement and with 3 kids we do not have any more openings for pets or people.

During the Christmas of 1995, Paul and I were in his apartment when across the hall we heard cries for help. There was a desperate pounding on the door of his apartment followed by hysterical screams from the neighbor lady. She was crying and shaking as she grabbed us into her apartment. Her little dog was wrapped in the Christmas tree lights. He was trying to free himself but was becoming more and more tangled in the process. The cord wrapped tightly around his neck.

Everything was happening so fast that I too began to panic. Paul, however, ran back to his apartment to grab his scissors. He held the struggling dog down while he cut the cord that was wrapped around his neck. Time and time again, Paul has acted in situations where most people freeze. This makes me feel safe because I know I can’t seem to control my inaction during those times.

On that winter day, my Christmas lover became a hero in my eyes. Paul the Pet Rescuer. I knew that I had to keep this guy.