Saturday, December 31, 2005

Christmas puzzle

I love doing the Christmas puzzle. I don't do other puzzles, but like all things Christmas, it is a challenge. A way to make that time between Christmas and New Years feel somewhat productive.

The last few years we struggled to find good puzzles. We have exacting standards. They must be 1000 pieces, why bother with anything less. They must have Christmas theme and they must be done before school begins or Epiphany at the latest. If at all possible, they must be Springbok puzzles. Hallmark carried them since time began but due to some shifting and corporate by-outs ( I think Subway owns them now), they stopped having them. We had to do inferior puzzles but I found them on the internet and we are back in business. I picked this one because it was pretty. Oh, well, I am glad it is a challenge. I have a picture of the box and our current progress. Should be interesting.

I find I do lots of thinking while I am working puzzles. It is good to look at something a long time. A chance to digest it's intricacies and it's detail. It is good to know that sometimes you have to change how you look at things and leave a frustrating situation for awhile and look at it again. It is important to keep an open mind. Sometimes pieces surprise you and fit where least expected. The star in the middle is a good example. I was heartened that M-E took that one first thing.

I guess 2005 will be the year of the challenge. The seemingly impossible challenge.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Egyptologist

Okay, I read this book, the title above. It is a book that required lots of concentration. It is complicated and the story is told by three different people during two different times. I finished it and still don't know a bunch of answers to some basic questions like
Was Paul Caldwell and Hugo Marlow killed by Ralph Trilipush? Was Ralph Paul or just a crook with good luck. Did Ralph kill his future father-in-law and then himself and put new stuff in the tomb?

Oh well, I will just wonder and pass the book onto someone and see what they think.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day

Okay, it is hard to see but in the tree is one of our flickers. They are defiantly our friend. They love the suet and come three or four times a day. I love to watch them. I suspect we now have two pair. That lets us know the neighborhood has some nice rotting trees and sufficient cover. I am sure that is a good thing.

We did a couple of things today. I even did a load of laundry. I have better hopes for tomorrow ( in the laundry arena.)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Day and naps

It has been very sucessful 24 hours. Good friends for dinner, Midnight mass, easy Christmas morning, long Christmas nap, only one more load of dishes. No complaints. Merry Christmas to all.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve Eve

Just a moment, our pair of Racoons are coming into the yard. They look fat and happy.

Well we did the last of the shopping last night. We went out to accomplish three things. Obtain a copy of the American Native Christmas, a CD done by a women with a great voice, singing traditional songs in lots of different languages. Well, we failed. We are headed to Amazon.Com. They promise delivery in 4-6 weeks. Oh, well. See if you are not the only one the listens to NPR in Seattle it is a problem. We did end up with 5 other Christmas CD's, no Very Brady Christmas but Barry M did come home with us.

We then were successful at going to Marie Callendars for dinner. Turkey Pot pie was a perfect end to a very rainy day. Then off to Greenwood market. Three items, potatoes, jello and stuff for it, and eggnog. How hard it that? Well let me tell you they have moved some things in the store. Marchino cherries are not easy to find. First they are not with the baking stuff nor are they with olives. Now there are 64 kinds of olives and pickled sun dried tomatoes. I asked two clerks and they were easily confused. They were finally located. Well geeze, they are not in a tall bottle and now they come with stems still on them. What is that about. Oh, well, the jello was just as hard. Their are still really only 4 choices, green, red, yellow and now blue. There are more kinds of red, raspberry, cherry, cranberry, strawberry. It is sort of amazing what they can do with red food coloring.

We accomplished our mission and headed home. Now if I can just figure out how much the prime rib weights. I know how much it cost. Oh well, there always has to be a challenge.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas friends

They are all around. We are so lucky. The Flickers are here this morning. They are working on the Suet. I put a sheaf of wheat in the branches of the tree and they love to hid around it. The other birds have not figured out what it is. I keep thinking they will catch on some day.

We have been very quiet here. Just mellow. I have to pick up a few things today but we are simply waiting, waiting for a gathering of friends. It has been very nice. I have had to do a couple of things but it has simply been a time of renewal and rest. I am decompressing after a very long time. I am a bit at wits end. We spend so much time running around and have such busy lives that real time, real time to relax feels foreign. I am working on it however and bonding with deep breathes and just time. Time, a wonderful thing.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Rain

Pictures from last years Christmas. Things are so much better now.

It is coming down. It does not hamper the birds or the christmas lights. It does make Sadie a bit reluctant. For Christmas, I am going to find her rain coat and her sweater. It is in the basement. I do not have enough nerve to even take a picture of the basement. There is a challenge.

Off to the store, time to do Christmas dinner prep. Today the vegies are being roasted and I am scouting for green beans that look edible.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Okay who is the Meanie

Okay, what do you think of this. It is bright and early on the 21st and I am sitting here talking to Mom and the Ballard Florist Truck shows up. Out of the Back comes a huge center piece. He walks to the door and then looks and goes to the neighbors.

I told him he better get back in that van and get me something. I gave him a jar of Jam and we both laughted. I told him to be careful, not everyone has such a great sense of humor.

Do you think it is bad that Santa is hanging above Mary? It is not a statement on our priorities, it is just that there was a hook that worked. I am all about practicality.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Last Minute....

I just hate when stores are so busy serving their customers that they will not answer the phone for those of us that are very particular about how often we venture out among or is it amongst the Christmas Crazies.

Years ago, I came down with nasty case of pneumonia the last week of November. It wiped me out like a sparrow in the path of a Bazooka. I was so sick that I had to drop layers and layers of the Christmas fesivities. It was the year I discovered it was possible to have Christmas without one trip to the mall or without Christmas stamps. I found that Christmas came no matter how many projects were completed. It was great training.

I am working on not getting stressed. It is the year that I have been given an extra day to prepare. I found out that I am a day ahead of myself. Oh, maybe I will be able to go to Trader Joes to pick up a couple bottles of Balsamic dressing. We shall see.

Friday, December 16, 2005

New Dresses and Old Friends

Lots of good food, good entertainment, lots of things to see and the kids had a great time. All the 13 years old played dress up. They have become such nice young ladies.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas in Venice

I spent a Christmas in Venice. Almost 30 years ago. It was cold and people were rushing around. There were a few decorations up but mostly it was just simply beautiful. The creche at St. Marco's was amazing. Lots of gold.

Lots of simple quiet waiting for the birth of Christ.

I have a new appreciation for the waiting part of this time of year. I have found that the darkness is a protective place as long as the little lights are on.

It does not take much to make the darkness feel safe.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

New Meds, Old Reaction

I just don't know who messed up my table.

Mom, My stomach is upset........

I had not heard that one for six months. It took me a moment to react. First line, zofron. But it takes a while to work. Old stand by, Benydryle and Reglan, a good dose of a sleep inducing anti histamine and an anti-psychotic, good combo.

It seemed to work. We have just 4 days of school and work left this year. I just want to make it through to collapse time.

Monday, December 12, 2005

One More Week of School

We have lots to do before this week is over. We started the week with a trip to the hospital. M-E had an appointment today with the Clinic. She is examined and has IV chemo once a month.

Her labs took a very long time. ( ANC 2100)

Things were a bit off today. Lots of people were waiting. There are times that just happens. If the Hem/Onc labs take 2.5 hours there are lots of sick kids in the hospital, new admits.
It is sort of like pizza or the cab. If you call and have to get a recording it is going to be awhile. The kids are good the parents keep busy. The clinic could use some better magazines.

We always run into someone we know. That is a good thing most of the time. It is when you don't run into someone for awhile and then ask and get the "look". It makes you not ask after a couple of times. It is better to just assume that they are doing so fantasic that there are not more reasons for any visits.

I have been a bit tense and I think I dread each of these blood draws. It feels like we are playing roulette. Will the bullet fire this time. We are 4.5 months into maintenance and things are smoothing out. I have convinced myself that if I can get her past the 6th month mark we can breath a sigh of relief.

I will be so happy when I don't have to hold my breath any longer. I am turning very very blue.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Glitches in the System

Things seem to go along and we do okay. But it is never quite 100 percent. I always have great ideas for how to handle this time of year and then it all goes to hell in a hand basket. (Better than a laundry basket, I suppose.)

We have made some progress this year. I did find the lights for the tree but then put them out side. I found ornament boxes but no ornaments. I found ornaments but not the major ones. For example, Baby Bear is holding up the fairy tale all by himself! I will keep looking for the rest of the family. I don't have any of the nativity scenes out. We want this to be an Isabel friendly Christmas. It needs to be a time of great touching and not lots of no.

The village is up, lit and the snow has fallen. The angels are out for the first time in a while. The orchestra is ready. One of the arch ornaments is up, M-E wants to put them up but the right moment has not presented itself.

Oh, yes, the advent candles are in the back of the car waiting for their place to cleared but that would be the dining table that can not be cleared until the pictures arrive for the card that are ready to go. See, that is the problem. Maybe I can work on it a bit today. Maybe I should get one of those storage units to sit outside in my yard for this time of year. It could hold all my Christmas stuff, I could have it delivered the day after thanks giving and taken away the day after Epiphany. I will look into that as soon as I..........................

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Continuing Saga of the Tree.

One Santa, Gorham snowflakes and a crooked star. Is that progress?

Tree is up and has a few ornaments.

Some day I am going to get the Christmas stuff better organized. I think they should have a class on how. I try. I really do. I have boxes and labels and more boxes and last years labels. I have Christmas do dads that run out my ears.

Nothing is one step, everything is a process. I have the cards ready to go but the pictures are yet to arrive. I have the tree up, but have not run into the ornaments for it yet. I have the village out, but not lit yet because we are looking for a couple of more pieces. Oh, well, Life is a process. Only that weird cake you make in a pan without any bowl is one step, and even that has to be mixed and baked.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Snow Part II

What a beautiful day. Snow fell and then promplty melted ( in down town). We have a bit on the roofs and some slush in other places.

It did cause a fair amount of mass hysteria. The entire Puget Sound emptied on to the free ways and began to clog traffic. I made the mistake of taking I 5 north and it was not an original idea. We have to venture out today but it will be fine. Sadie was pretty excited but she was a bit confused as to why big hunks of stuff would fall on her head each time she was under a bush or a tree. It is pretty funny. She was just fed up at one point and simply barked at the tree.