Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I love Christmas, everything about it! I love to decorate the house and bake cookies and buy presents and do all kinds of secret surprizes. It's the best time. I live for Christmas!
Years ago we always went down to a certain little farm in a wooded area near by and walked through the hills and cut down our favorite tree. Sometimes the tree would come with complete with a bird's nest, little critters, and some definate holes and bare spots. The farm where we went was a natural farm and they felt it best to just let nature design the trees. We had such fun back then! And ooh the scent of the tree in the house was heaven!
After a while the kids became quite talented at designing decorations and coming up with themes...this is when our 'trouble' began.
You see when you have five kids who take instruction well, and then develope their own style and ideas, they each want to be the head tree designer. Every one wanted their own tree.
We started out with little trees, each kid got a small tree to do with what they would. One thing led to another and eventually everyone had a big tree. Folks would give us their old trees, you know, the old fake tree with the silk pine needless that were falling off as fast as a 6 week old real tree? Well we took them anyway.
So now all the kids are gone and I still pull out all the trees and decorate them in themes. So far I have up 12, a 10', 3- 6', 4- 4' and a bunch of little ones. There are still plenty out in the shed waiting for Thor or myself to bring them in.
This is the beach-y tree. Lots of shells, and bubbles and a few Hawaiin dancers. The girls always put a tree that was elegant, with all hand made beaded ornaments and all the 'fancy' ornaments we collected over the years. The boys always like to go with colour or toys or lots of hand placed garland and/or tinsel. The thing is, after a while they were really good at it.
When they were little I taught them to stand back and look for holes in the tree, to see the colour balance and fill in the tree with the main ornaments first and follow through with the fillers. When they were little I wouldn't go back and correct their decorating, it was what it was, and as they grew their work got pretty good.
Many people will come by and check out the trees. Some I think like them. Some comment on how they look too much like department store trees or too commercial, others wonder why all the fuss? For us it's simple: we like to decorate. We like to celebrate. We like making the house extra special for those who drop by and for those who live here. It's a special time of year and things should be as special as possible.
We have one tree that is really cool. The tree that houses all the ornaments that friends and relatives have hand made. We call it the 'country tree' and it's filled to the brim with all kinds of trinkets, toys and memories most of all.
There's the tree that is filled with nothing but hearts! And the one that holds the ornaments for folks who pop in during the holidays. Anyone who comes over from now till Christamas will get an ornament to take home. This year we have tiny little clear balls filled with sand and shells with a tiny bow. There is a note attached that reads: "When you see this ornament on the tree, remember the One who walked on Galilee."
There is a snowman tree, a retro tree, a 'Grinch who stole Christmas' tree, a tree with cheesy beach toys and fish, another with tiny nativities, one "martha" tree, and a few more.
We love Christmas!
I am waaaay excited! I have the perfect tree for this star and I can't wait to place it! Thanks Taylor, this is wonderful!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
On Friday all the kids and spouses and their offspring will be at our house.
We will be feasting on slow roasted ribs (for the guys mainly, or is that manly???), slow roasted turkey breast (for the spouses who prefer poultry over red meats), and one of the d-i-l is bringing her famous meatballs!
For side dishes we will have mashed baby red potatoes mixed with real butter and sour cream instead of milk, fresh steamed French green beans, baby Euro Greens with gala apples, mandarin oranges, feta cheese, candied walnuts - with raspberry and balsamic vinaigrette, fresh roasted corn on the cob, fresh pineapple with blue berries and black berries, home made rolls with real butter, and a fresh baby veggie tray.
D-i-ls are providing desserts which I am told will include (all home made) cheesecake, peanut butter cookies, ?cake, and a pie!
Sons are proving all the "drinks"... probably a variety of sodas!
There will be plenty of munchies for after-meal-into-the-evening snacking, MooseMunch, Almond Roca, French chocolate ganauche truffles, and the world famous cream cheese and homemade chili sauce dip with Wheat Thins!
I have to make an effort in the feasting department because if I don't my sister would be very disappointed in me! So there's the menu.
The activities for the day will probably include lots of visiting, lots of giggling, some games and certainly going over the things for which we are thankful. This year we have quite a list! Some of those things are:
family. good family. close and happy with each other.
the Gospel, which frankly, makes all of us very happy when we follow what the Saviour has asked us to do. aaaaannnd gives me the knowledge of who i (we) really am (are).
the Saviour, who as I was reminded by the written words of a now dead man, has "redeemed us and allows us to partake of life each day; overlooking our backsliding ways, and proving us with the means to live eternally with our God."
health. there are so many ways i could write about this blessing. some to sacred to display publicly; just let it be known that our family has seen its' share of genuine miracles and i KNOW we have been and are continually blessed of God.
little tiny people who make us laugh all the time.
a house that is truly a home.
cars that are reliable!!!
talents and gifts and the generosity of others.
commandments. i know that sounds all goody goody, but trust me when i say that i have learned to be grateful for commandments.
music. dance. ears to hear. legs that move...sort of!
love, genuine and true and forgiving and enduring. love that continues to blossom well after the bloom should have faded. love that knows humour and laughter more than tears.
knowledge. the ability to continue to learn.
service. both given and received.
the "things" we have.
indoor plumbing....always a blessing.
all of these and more. and the holidays that bring us all together!
So here's the scoop:
Heading off to Thor's folks place tomorrow for the big day with some of the kids and generally whomever shows up on that side of the family. They have an acre of land with two houses on it and plenty of yard left over for croquet, badminton, basketball, football, soccer, hide and seek, and the telephone pole out back that anyone who wants to can put on a pair of lineman's boots and try to climb with a harness. If tradition holds out the weather should be rather warm and perfect for staying outside.
The littlest of people can roam freely on the acre, feeding chickens, ducks and geese, collecting eggs for gramma, or chase each other through the freshly mown grass. They are welcome to dig holes and usually there is some sort of digging contest which involves depth and tunnels and being big enough to accommodate several filthy children by 2:00. There is a ride on toy and plenty of bikes, skateboards and scooters, wagons, and tons of old stuff saved from when their parents lived in that house. Thor once was the proud owner of a unicycle, still in the bowels of the garage along with a couple of pogo sticks.
Tweeners seem to love the pomegranate bush and pick off fruit and sit under a tree to pick out the delicious seeds until their entire fingertips (both hands) are as red as the fruit. They can go for walks around the neighborhood and visit horses and goats and other animals the neighbors have. Or they can sneak off to the house out back and play video games, music, watch sports or dance and be silly playing board games, or running up and down the stairs while all the adults are looking the other way.
Young adults gather out front and play sports until someone threatens a broken neck. A few go off to chat about careers, education, who is dating, married, giving birth, or getting ready to commit homicide over this or that subject or professor in college. Someone finds a way to show up in a "new" car each year so there are test drives and talk about payment schedules and just how much time they will need to pay it off before student loans catch up to them.
The adults divide by gender and yak it up over crackers and cheese, veggies and dip until the conversation heads off to the kitchen. The guys will have gathered together to assemble the tables: the real one, and the door turned on it's side, set on two saw horses and covered with clothes, the kids tables, and card tables where a lot of the tweeners like to eat and have elbow room. The young adults take care of setting the table and the women take care of making sure everyone has filled up on the crackers and cheese while we finish off the cooking.
If crackers and cheese aren't your idea of a snack before the big meal, gramma and grampa have made sure there are candy dishes filled to the brim with M&Ms, Skittles, Red Vines, chocolate covered peanuts, cashews, nut mix, peppermint patties, and baby Reeses' peanut butter cups every twenty feet in the house. If you miss those you can always grab a chocolate or oatmeal cookie from out of the opened and strategically placed Costco box and if you get thirsty... head out through the garage and grab a soda from the cooler.
At one point everyone, all 60 of us will be scrunched into the kitchen - dining and living room areas setting and placing food which, no matter how hard you try, will become cold as ice before you can eat it. The women cook and the guy folk carve and it's a carbohydrate artery clogging festival! Each family brings part of the side dishes and someone is assigned the turkey and another a ham.
The food is less than stellar. Nothing fancy or gourmet. The turkey is usually pretty good -as is the ham, after that, well we're talking cafeteria food. Green bean casserole with the gray funky sauce and crushed fried onions, runny funeral potatoes and lumpy mashed potatoes, red jello that is melting to quickly, another red jello that has cool whip in it, orange jello, and of course the green fluffy jello. Canned yams with burnt marshmallows on top, corn, and plain green beans. Costco rolls with grocery store brand margarine. A beautiful salad NO ONE ever eats. Salty gravy and 2 kinds of soggy stuffing- with and without onions. A couple of dishes full of canned cranberry jello sliced according to the rings on the can and a dish of the cranberry relish. A plate of raw cauliflower, "baby" carrots, and broccoli with ranch dressing.
Everything has traveled at least an hour... let your mind wrap around that for a second!
Each family always brings at least two desserts. This adds up to each person having at least six servings of pie, cake, brownies, cookies, pudding stuff and who knows what else. And for some weird reason, these always taste pretty good.
The only rules are that you have fun and give both grandparents a hug and a kiss. After that, it's no holds barred. Grampa delights in ruining every child's appetite; and if he can sense a mother's indignation that's all he needs to kick it into high gear and make sure the kid never eats anything nutrious the entire day. The "meal" begins at about 3:00, but the eating begins the minute you enter the property and doesn't stop until gramma stuffs your car with leftovers and "something" for the ride home, which usually includes a soda and cookies.
Is it any wonder why my kids still love to go to gramma's?
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
O.k. so I never said I was the brightest crayon in the box; but man, do I love Disneyland!
30 years ago this month Thor and I took our high school romance to a new level and to celebrate we went to Disneyland on our honeymoon. Heck, we were 18 and 19, what else would we have chosen? So we though we'd go back again and spend a few days at the happiest (albeit-most jam-packed) place on earth!
Our first day there we noticed signs on the streets leading to the park that stated, "ALL PARKS FULL TO CAPACITY" and other signs which directed you far from any entrances as possible. Did that deter Thor and I? No, we're idiots. We drove around to the parking structure and noticed (for the first time in my experience) that there were cars on every level including the roof. Not to worry, we found the back lot to DownTown Disney and found a space. Heck there were lots of spaces back there! We walked into Disneyland and people watched like crazy for 2 1/2 hours and then we went back to the Hotel, got cleaned up, then back to the park to watch fireworks.
The following day we went again, this time we were greeted by the same signs, although we actually had a great space in the parking structure... we went early! However, once inside we noticed the signs that proclaimed a t.v. Christmas special was being filmed all day. Bunches of Disney Channel celebs and bands I have never heard of were performing all day and then there was Ryan Siecrest (?) and a parade. Much hoopla! It was beginning at 8 that morning and didn't finish shooting until 4:30. We did a lot more people watching!
All in all we had a great time doing nothing. Most folks would have had a terrible time, but it was fun for us to walk around the crowds and find spots to sit and watch everyone. We watched a dance team from a high school...pretty impressive actually. We went into the gallery and back into the artists cove, places that -when it is time to ride rides- you never go to. It was great to watch folks pose their kids on the steps, see the pirates go in and out from breaks and work, watch the artists at work, and to see the whole mass of humanity swarm around from sitting on the balcony in New Orleans Square.
We planned on staying all night to see the fireworks again, but frankly...I'm old and gave into going back and taking a hot shower. Our hotel has a great view of the fireworks from the back, but we opted to just listen to the BOOM of them from our room.
The following day we went into my parents to help them with a project and met with chronicler and the Big Guy for a turkey dinner they had prepared. It was fabulous. (See her blog for the amazing apple dessert...wonderful! and pretty too!) We had a good visit and then the drive home. It's always good to get back to your own bed after a few days away.
So there you have it. Proof that young impulsive kids can make a marriage work; and that after 30 years and five kids...there are still plenty of fireworks!
The MeMe... requires you to BOLD the ones you have done! I saw this at Chronicler's place and also at Maren's, and after seeing it at Lisa's well, I succombed to the temptation. Although it will be the shortest read ever because, evidently I have led a rather dull and boring exisitance. Here goes: (commentary in blue)
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink.
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain.
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive.
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid.
06. Held a tarantula.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone.
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it.
09. Hugged a tree.
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise.
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game.
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon Again?
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne.
24. Given more than you can afford to charity.
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment.
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can.
32. Held a lamb.
33. Seen a total eclipse.
34. Ridden a roller coaster. I hated every second of it.
35. Hit a home run.
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was watching.
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day.
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment.
39. Had two hard drives for your computer. I'm not sure I even understand this question.lol
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was s**t faced.
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country . From a foreign country ...yes.
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing photographed my kids rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving.
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them.
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow.
56. Alphabetized your cds -it would freak me out to not alphabetize them!
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers, no, however I have been nude in front of strangers -by accident! I was pulled half drowning from the Kern River...very humbling experience!
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie -Ever seen "God's Army"?
74. Crashed a party.
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days.
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River see #60 above for why I avoid rivers!
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Gone to a movie by yourself.
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone, define "combat zone" my version, yes.
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently -and at the same time!
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children -reared children, yes.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking 103. Had plastic surgery. -does my son count? He has had several "plastic" surgeries.
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication - wasn't published, but yes. If you count artwork, I have been published several times.
106. Lost over 100 pounds.
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart.
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show - I did however, win third place in a National Magazine contest for an interior design, and have won several monetary first place prizes for a major corporation as a visual display artist for holiday window design.
113. Broken a bone.
114. Gone on an African photo safari -I have driven by Wild Country Safari, and also the wild Animal Park in San Diego, does that count???
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol -I do not recommend this at all.
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet.
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours.
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school- just never finished.
132. Petted a cockroach. This is my nightmare, I won't even get close enough to one to kill it.
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
137. Skipped all your school reunions - no, however I highly recommend skipping them all, big mistake, I will never go again.
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language you can do this???
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a
48: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life -To quote my friend Chronicler, and Lisa,my own , but also my niece.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I had to do it. I had to change the old Christmas wreaths to something more seaside; something with shells. So this is the new format: shells, pearls, starfish, some "coral", and my favorite kiwi green coloured balls. I like it, hope everyone else does too!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I got this meme from lolly!All about 5s...
1) Five Minutes to Yourself. How would you spend them, ideally? Ideally? I would spend them creating. More than likely -poorly. The honest truth is that I am very lucky to have time by myself. Problem is I work much more effectively while surrounded by people. I do not like being alone very often.
2) Five dollars to spend right now. How would you spend it? Right this minute...paint. Tomorrow? Paint.
3) Five Items In Your House You Could Part With Right Now? The mess. Guess that doesn't count though... 1. Old games in the game closet 2. All the garage sale stuff waiting to be garage sold 3. the baby grand 4. the couch and love seat 5. the dining room table (outside of the house: cars, cars, and more cars)
4) Five Items In My House You Could Absolutely Never Part With? 1. Indoor plumbing, 2. hot water heater, 3. scissors, 4. bed, 5. scriptures (in no particular order...it's that I use these things EVERYDAY!!! lol)
5) Five Words You Love? 1. "mommy" when voiced by one of the offspring, 2. "babe" when voiced by Thor, 3. "chocolate?" when offered, 4. "thanks" when it's genuine, 5. "happiness" when it's felt
the second meme
1. Favorite memory of your mother: The first thing that comes to mind is me sitting on her lap when I was 5 years old. I cut myself and she put me on her lap to comfort me. She put her arms around me all the way and layed my head on her chest. My cheeks rose and fell with her breathing and she was warm and smelled like Avon White Gardenia mixed with "hospital". It was one time when I felt she really loved me.
2. Favorite memory of my dad: The day he had to drive the 3 sisters to Oceanside for the middle sister's piano lesson. It was blazing hot and we were crammed into a small Datsun 2-door sedan. The day was long and the drive longer in the summer heat. About 20 miles from home the driver's side rear tire blew. We didn't have a spare and so dad had to drive on it very slowly, making the drive even hotter and longer than it needed be. We were so young and giggley and with each giggle we were driving the poor man nuts.
The miles on the flat tire began to take their toll and the rubber slowly tore away and began to slap the metal wheel frame in loud (LOUD!) rhythm. whack, whack, WHACK! whack, whack, WHACK! For miles this went on and we girls were finding it hilarious, but tried to stifle our laughter, because by this time dad had enough and was quietly fuming in the driver's seat. If looks could kill we would have all three died right then and there in the back seat.
We made a final turn about a mile from home -whack, whack, WHACK! whack, whack, WHACK! - when another driver got my dad's attention and yelled through his window, "Hey Buddy! You got a flat tire!" That was all my dad could take. With every fiber in his broiled humiliated being he stuck half his body out of the window and yelled at the top of his lungs, "I KNOW IT!!!!!" When that happened we girls could no longer contain our laughter and burst loose with whoops and yelps and nearly cried we thought it was so funny! Dad just about killed us, but to this day, all three girls crack up just thinking about that day in the car! (seriously...I am laughing out loud to myself right now!)
3. Favorite memory of your sibling(s): There are too many things I could write about here. The siblings were everything to each other. We were so dependent on each other for every aspect of our lives: love, entertainment, safety, friendship, you name it! We did everything together and were each others best friends for so long that by the time the other friends came into the picture we had already bonded enough to read each other like books. We would fight like dogs with each other, but if any one else picked on one of us the other three came out sluggin'! We built forts and played games, we swam and roller skated, we sang and made up plays, and could laugh ourselves silly over nothing. We were nomads for so long that we understood very young that friends come and go, but your siblings will be there forever. So far, that's held out true.
4. What one skill would you like to wake up tomorrow and be able to do (though you'd never learned it): Languages. Spanish, French, Latin... I would love to learn so many different languages. It would be great to just walk up to folks and converse in their language.
5. Which one of your dreams has come true: Married to Thor and got the kids. I think eventually we all get what we want because it is what we work for; consciously or subconsciously.
Thanks Lolly! Anyone else game??? I'd love to hear about your 5s!
With further encouragement from my dear sister I quickly (and I mean VERY quickly) painted 12 5x7 inch canvases that represent the Twelve Days of Christmas had they been painted by different artists. (Their style of art, my twisted idea of what it may have looked like!) I chose some of my favourite paintings and artists from the Impressionists, Pointillists, Surrealists, Abstract, Cubist, and Neo-Plasticism artists, post and prior periods in some artists.
The one in the photo is my version of a Joan Miro, depicting the Partridge in a Pear Tree. A French surrealist who literally would, at times, starve himself, deprive himself of sleep, and some presume, follow the advice of his associate Andre Breton(known for promoting the use of starvation, sleep deprivation, and drugs for inducing hallucinogenic states conducive to create art that reveals the subconscious). Who knows? I just know that since I was a little gal I have loved his work.
I painted all 12 paintings in about five hours as they need to be completely finished and in the mail soon. My schedule is gearing up and feared I wouldn't have time to complete them all; so I took the free time I had yesterday to get started. I will finish off these unusual "ornaments" by adding a customized envelope to each of the painting backs. The envelope will contain a photo of all 12 paintings in the collection, a description of each painting and the original artist, and where in the world the all 12 individual paintings are located. Each person will receive one of the 12 paintings. There will be a ribbon hanger affixed between the envelope and the canvas so that the painting can be hung, either on a tree or wall, etc.
Each photo will be professionally photographed with the idea of reprinting the paintings and making them into Christmas cards at some time in the future. All of the paintings may be seen on my Flickr! page, access is easy... just click on the photo and it will take you here. I hope you find these as interesting and fun as I do.
UPDATE: As of 9:23 p.m., Nov. 8, I am completely done with these ornaments. This is an all time record. Start to finish in one 24 hour period. Waaaahooo! Let the party commence!