This Was Christmas





Isabelle gets a Christmas treat of her own glass of milk

Carol's tree

Yes, that is Shawn playing with our nephew's army guys
Country Christmas
More country Christmas

At Shawn's parents' place

I had a bit of an oops with the salt shaker






Currently:

Watching>>>
I finally started "Orange is the New Black" on netflix and I'm pretty much addicted to it like meth.  I started yesterday and I'm already five episodes in.

Listening>>>
The Fratellis' Costello Music
I am gearing up to run errands today and I tend to listen to poppy, fast-paced stuff when preparing for the day.

Feeling>>>
Good.  In spite of working the closing shift on Christmas Eve, we had a wonderful holiday and yesterday at work was a really good day and the level of stress around the place had markedly dropped, which is a major plus.  I have today off to run errands (and perhaps shop with some of my gift cards?) and we're taking down the tree.  I love Christmas trees, but I am ready to have my apartment space back to normal, especially since this year's tree is so randomly huge.

Planning>>>
Getting ready for the new year, and I totally vibe on the "fresh start" aspect.  I mean, really, is anything better than a fresh new notebook, a freshly sharpened pencil, newly washed sheets, just-shaved legs, or the deep cleaning that comes with putting away the holiday decor and preparing for a new year?

Working On>>>
Further to planning, I am getting caught back up on everything that took a back seat to preparing for and enjoying the festivities.  That is....blog reading, blog writing, laundry, dusting....yeah.  It's no wonder I have to do a deep clean after putting away Christmas stuff.

Reading>>>
Mostly just the graphic novel "Joker: The Clown Prince of Crime" because that's my bathroom reading at the moment and I've got a lot of other big projects at the moment.







Christmas Memories (2)



So here's the type of nerds we are: our first Christmas together, I saw this plastic ornament of two teddy bears dressed like characters in a Dickins novel ice skating on a vaguely heart-shaped pond and I thought how fun; I'll write a little note on the bottom and our names and the year of our first Christmas and it'll be a cute little funny sentimental thing.

Yeah.  So I put it into a little box and stuck it under our tree.
And then when we went to get into our stockings, I pulled out the exact same ornament - that he had bought and thought "what a cute funny little thing I'll write a note on the bottom and the year of our first Christmas together."
So yeah.

Not All Joy

Christmas is, for the most part, my favorite time of year and has been since I can remember.  After the inevitable freak-out/fiasco over getting the tree to stand up just right, there was the breathless first moments when we got to see it standing free all on it's own before being handed ornaments one by one to be hung carefully with the most precious ones being placed by my mom near the top.  I used to think this was a pride-of-place thing, but looking back, I think it was more a "keeping them out of reach of cats and kids" thing.
And yes, as a kid, I used to take an inordinate amount of pride in my butt-ugly homemade/school project ornaments made out of construction paper, glitter, and glue.  What can I say?  When I was five, I thought the ability to follow a dotted line with scissors made me the shit.

I love Christmas music and pretty much all Christmas food and I love the sense of good cheer and singing and joy and laughter.  I LOVE buying gifts for people.  I freaking LOVE thinking up ideas of what so-and-so would like and wrapping it up and in some cases, I love seeing how they react because I am an awesome gift-giver.  I really enjoy wrapping presents with a cup of cocoa and A Christmas Carol playing in the background.  I even enjoy picking the right color ribbon and putting it on in an interesting way and curling it up because I am a freak.

But there's also some difficulties.
I'm not talking about the make-you-want-to-slit-your-wrists Band Aid song or getting preachy about how we're all celebrating and meanwhile, children are starving and people are homeless.  
This is more generic "my little bubble of the world" type problems.

I'm sad today.
I'm sad because I'm tired; I work retail and Halloween through New Year's is C-R-A-Z-Y busy.  My favorite thing is when you ask a customer "How are you today?" and they're all "I'm tired.  We've been shopping all day."  
Because you know what's more exhausting than shopping all day?  
Waiting on shoppers all day.

I'm sad because I have to work Christmas Eve - and not just work, but I have to work until 7PM and I want to be at my Dad's house by 7PM and that won't happen.

I'm sad because a friend of mine is fighting bone cancer and though he's insanely brave and tough, he's hurting and no one should go through cancer, ever.

I'm sad because I have allowed our friendship to drift into the "bumping into each other" status due to general busy life-ness and not making active effort to go hang out with him more in the past.

I'm sad because while I have so many wonderful memories of my mom, I tend to get a lot of grief attacks this time of year as well.  I will smell the first batch of homemade sugar cookies and the tears start falling without warning.  I will randomly remember a scene from Christmas Comes to Willow Creek and find myself smiling and remember my mom putting on a John Schneider country record and how we'd all sing along while cleaning house and my heart will ache to be able to talk to her while she made a pan of her special macaroni & cheese.  Nothing major.  Just to be able to talk about my day, to hear about the goings-on at her job, her plans for her next knitting project and my thoughts about whatever - anything.

I'm sad because there is never enough time.  
The weeks pass so slowly and the months go by so fast.
I'm sad because there is never enough time in a day and more importantly, there is never enough time in life.


Christmas Memories (1)






1.) This is the ornament Shawn's parents got for his first Christmas, when he was 2 months old.  I love the mouse pajamas.
2.) I can't remember what year this is from, but I'm sure it's written on there somewhere.  I just love it.
3.) Okay....so this ornament is from '77, the year Shawn turned 1. And yes, I'm very aware that this is an ornament of a creepy clown.  Remember - things were different in the '70's.  
1.) Last year, we were preparing for the process of filing for bankruptcy.  We had less than zero dollars and I was looking for cheap, easy crafts to make.  I found this great website with an awesome ornament idea and I tried it....and failed.  This is the "didn't think that entirely through so I'll have to deal with what I have" version that looks like a 2nd grader made it.  Still, we keep it as a reminder.
2.) & 3.) These are from '07 or '08.  I had gotten a package of ornaments as my special gift for finding the pickle (a tradition Miss Carol brought to our family) the year prior.  In a fit of thinking I could craft, I decided to paint simple, festive pictures or words; Peace, Jolly, Merry, Joy, Holly, Believe, a picture of a snowflake or a tree, etc.  I had a big 'ole bag and let everyone choose the one they liked.  The best ones went and these are the leftovers that ALSO look like a 2nd grader made them.  But still, sentiment and all. 
1.) Our newest addition. 2.) This was a gift from my sister.  She and I have really different tastes, but when it comes to gifting, she has always been spot-on knowing what I like.  This is one of my most favorite ornaments. 3.) Bought this in '03, the first time I decided to have my own tree in my bedroom.  I love Hermey and the whole misfit thing and I have a couple of Rudolph character ornaments. 4.) Yes, that is a Yellow peanut M&M dressed as Darth Vader. 5.) Another from my first tree year.  I found this and loved him and the people at Target could not understand why I'd want the penguin who was missing a leg when they could get me "a good one" and I was all "No, I love him! He's a misfit like Hermey and I don't want him to get relegated to the bin just because he's a little special!"  Of course the clerk looked at me like maybe I was a little bit special after this explanation. 6.) No back story.  We saw it at FYE a few years ago and had to have it.  I am on the hunt for a Luigi. I hope you enjoyed the stories of some of my favorite ornaments. More to come. PS - Quick note: My disqus widget kept acting up here; it was all weird.  I do still have it, just not here on my site.  It also recently came to my attention that my status had changed to no-reply, so I fixed THAT, too. So all should be well and normal and basically, I'm back to basic commenting and I'll reply via email if you have the option otherwise here on site.  Thanks for your patience.) 

December Photo Games

Isabelle dreams of meeting her hero, Santa Panther.

This shot was taken at my 2nd childhood home.  I didn't edit anything except adding frost to the edges and rounding the corners.  

A little Christmas double-exposure using the image above and a close up of an ornament.



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