Friday, December 29, 2006



Sunday was great too! Auntie D and I made a big breakfast for all. So big in fact it was Christmas breakfast as well. On Saturday we only exchanged family presents but not the big presents to my children. This prompted a little begging from Man Son and Oldest daughter to open more presents. I had to laugh each time they asked since they are not little children. Even Snow White was content with the gifts she received Saturday night. She pretty much thought that was all the gifts.

Man Son and Oldest daughter had made plans the day before with a few new friends at the mall. We took our time getting ready. We dropped them off at the mall to spend time with their friends while we ventured out seeking the little shops of town. We discovered all the little shops in town were closed so we traveled on to the outskirts of town. Auntie D and I giggled as we passed by an Astrologer Reading sign and thought about going in. Neither of us had any cash on hand so we went on ward. We had the notion if we passed by an ATM we would take out a bit of cash and then stop by on our way back. Auntie D even called them to ask the cost. It is $20 to $75 depending on which cards or what type of reading you wanted. We were a bit confused as to what each reading entailed. We pondered for a few moments during which time Man Son and Oldest daughter called to say "We are ready to be picked up." It was only 4 pm so we knew the mall was not closing, they were ready to go home. Back to the mall we went and picked up Man Son and Oldest daughter.

The late nights were really catching up to Auntie D and myself. Man Son and Oldest daughter were wearing me down on opening presents. After a bit of tidying up the house. I explained that I needed a bit of a nap which is unheard of. Yeah, me taking a nap? Isn't that what I do after everyone else is asleep and before I go to work? Anyway I told them after I get a little rest and if I received a lot of cooperation from them, then maybe we could open some presents. They agreed to keep the house to a normal hum and make everything sing like Christmas for Snow White when I emerged from my room. Auntie D and Bear also took advantage of nap time. After I awoke from my nap I was surprised to see Snow White was in bed and asleep! It was only 7 pm for goodness sakes! She was not use to all the late nights either. Guess she was as wiped out as we were.

Man Son and Oldest daughter helped me carry the Santa presents upstairs. Oldest daughter asked why she was carrying a large empty box up the stairs? I held in my laughter and told her not to question Mommy. Auntie D and I filled the stockings and laid out all the presents. Auntie D was surprised to see we were filling more than three stockings. She and I then took a Santa bag full of presents over to the neighbor who changed my flat tire the other night (will write about the flat another time). No one answered the bell so we just left the Santa bag on the front porch and went on a little walk with Bear.

On our way back to the house we stopped in the front yard chatting like sisters do. We looked up at the sky and she jokingly said "Look there goes Rudolph" as a plane passed by blinking a red light. Usually they flash between red and green or red and blue but this one only flashed red. We looked at each other and just knew both of us had the same idea going through our heads. I ran into the house and started shouting "Snow White! Snow White! You have got to come out here and see this! It's Santa and his reindeer!!" She looked groggy at first but then caught on to what I was saying. She ran for the door as I gathered up her slippers and coat. She ran right past the Christmas tree, all the presents and out the door on to the front porch. She started yelling "I cannot see them!" and Auntie D pointed to the tip of the tall evergreens. " I SEE HIM!! I SEE HIM!! I SEE RUDOLPH'S RED NOSE!!" she exclaimed as she jumped around full awake and so full of excitement! When we could no longer see the blinking of Rudolph's nose we went back inside. She was so excited she walked right past the Christmas tree with all the presents laid beneath.

Man Son, Oldest daughter and Snow White really loved what Santa had brought. Man Son's favorite gift was the Retro Atari. Oldest daughter found out there was a (place cool skater guy name here) skate board in that empty box she carried up from the basement. She wanted that skate board so much I even think she told the mall Santa just incase he had even a smidgen of pull. Snow White's favorite gift so far is her American Girl Bitty Baby doll and furniture.

What did we do after that? The children played with their wonderful gifts while Auntie D and I ....what else...we chatted into the wee hours of the morning as sisters do.

Later Saturday Night


After everyone left Auntie D, Bear, Snow White and I went for a walk. It must have been around 8 pm. While on our walk we started an impromptu Caroling which we thoroughly enjoyed! If there were people peeking out their windows we did not notice them. Just before we arrived back at the house we decided it would be a grand idea to drive around looking at all the Christmas lights. First we would have to stop by Star Bucks for some hot drinks. When we were home we told Man Son and Oldest daughter our plans. Man Son would rather stay at home but would like us to bring back some Star Bucks for him. Oldest daughter gets ready and we head out the door. I am rather new to town and only know of one Star Bucks in the area which is located in the Target store. Auntie D is leery it will be open due to it being Saturday and nearly 9 pm. Oldest daughter and I convince her all the stores are open late due to the last shopping day before Christmas. YEAH Target is open! Sadly, Star Bucks had just closed. Auntie D and Oldest daughter convince me it would be a good idea to try the mall. There might be a shop there with at least hot chocolate. Before heading to the mall I convince them we should stop by the house to give Man Son the option of coming with us. We pick him up and head to the mall. Macy's was open until midnight. Most of the mall was open until either 11 pm or Midnight. We wondered around the mall to watch the mad scurry of last minute shoppers but really they were few and far between. Auntie D and I browsed the jewelry stores but nothing gave us the feeling of we absolutely had to have it.

We all met up at Macy's around 11 pm and were fixed on the jewelry section. I showed Man Son and Oldest daughter an oriental pendant which none of us knew the meaning of the writing nor did the Macy's associates. Man Son drew a picture of it in hopes someone we know might have the answer. You cannot purchase something like this without knowing the meaning. On the plus side Auntie D found a new stone, one she does not have, a Green Amethyst. This 3 karat, cushion cut stone caught her eye. She has always hated her birthstone but now that it is no longer constrained to its purple color she is happily seeking a Green Amethyst in a white gold setting. It was getting late and we did not want to keep the store staff from closing so we went home.

Being the sisters we are we staid up until after midnight talking about the day while cleaning up.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #1

Thirteen Things I Need to do Before the New Year

1. Get new tires on the black car.

2. Take down Christmas tree and for goodness sakes put the children’s initials on their ornaments so we can remember who’s is who’s.

3. Clean out the cars.

4. Nail something anything on the walls. The last house we lived in I didn’t put anything on the walls until we had lived there for nearly two years.

5. Pretty up Snow White’s room.

6. Find Real coal for First Night. Prepare First Night Basket

7. Get my Lincoln.

8. Return videos (3 wks over due YIKES!) I did finally have time to watch them Sunday night.

9. Clean the house top to bottom.

10. Figure out vacation dates for 2007.

11. Buy Champagne for me and Sparkling Cider for the children.

12. Buy Holiday Crakers (tube package you crack open to revile crown and toys).

13. Come up with a Realistic New Years Resolution.

Thursday Thirteen Link

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

This One's for the Gipper I mean the Curmudgeon

Curmudgeon here is your wish...ok not exactly but hey I tried :-)

Christmas Comes Early

Auntie D and Bear arrived Friday around midnight. I staid up to let them in and you know what happens when sisters get together. We staid up until around 2 am chatting about this and that. Even though we talk daily on the phone there is something about sisters seeing each other in person.

Bear was up at 6 am like always and Snow White followed soon after so there was no sleeping in for us sisters. Bear met Merril and Kitten for the first time. That didn't go so well at first but after awhile Kitten being either brave or stupid kept walking up to Bear. He thought they looked like big squirrels and wanted to have a bit of a chase game with them. I had never seen a cat actually bounce off the walls where they meet the ceiling before! Merril on the other hand staid in the safety of the laundry room. We made breakfast chatted constantly and went on many walks with Bear and Snow White. While we went about our day Man Son had the luxury of sleeping in. Oldest daughter was off with her friends this weekend to return on Sunday. After awhile Uncle C called and told us one of his workers lost a family member this morning and Uncle C will cover his shift Sunday. This means he and his family would be unable to come for Christmas. Our whole family has not been gathered together for years so it was very disappointing. I know it is not as disappointing as the afore mentioned workers holiday but still it was sad news to hear.

Auntie D, Uncle C and I started brain storming and came up with a plan. If he could arrange for someone to cover him today we would move Christmas up to today. I called Grandpa to see if they could make it today. He said he would check with Grandma and call me back later. We agreed to go on about our day until we heard one way or the other from Uncle C. Auntie D, Man Son, Snow White and I all went to the mall to see if there were any last minute tempting sales. That my dear friends was a grave mistake. At 2:30 pm Uncle C called to say he could make it if everyone else could make. I called Oldest daughter to let her know she will have to come home earlier than planned. When I called Grandpa he said Grandma was not feeling well when she woke up so they would need a little more time. If Grandma was not up to it he and Uncle L would come. I call Uncle C and say Early Christmas is a go. While all of this was going on we were taking our leisure at the mall.

Then it hit me my a brick wall! I only have a few hours to cook and get everything ready! My time had been shortened by a day and a half! There were a few items on the grocery list I still needed. The wrapping of presents was not 100% finished. Even though we moved three months ago there are still unpacked boxes here and there. Not one thing is hung up on the walls so my walls are bare. This will be the first time my brothers see the house so I want it too look nice. At this point I am in over drive and anyone who gets in my way will be bowled over.

Our first stop is the grocery store and I realize the list is at home on the fridge. Oh well, how hard could it be to remember what was on the list? Auntie D had some shopping to do as well. She manned the cart and strolled through the isles with ease as Snow White staid by her side. I on the other hand ran through the isles like a tornado picking up various items and making runs to and from the cart manned by Auntie D.

As soon as we are home I put the ham and pumpkin pie in the oven. I then put everything else in it's cooking container to be turned on at varied times. I then make a mad rush around the house and shout out orders like a drill sergeant. It all seems like a blur to me but I do recall saying "I will not repeat myself so listen up" and "If you stand still in my path is not a good idea." Yeah, that last one I remember because my sister laughed and said something like "get a hold of yourself woman". She then took Man Son, Bear and Snow White down to the basement for clean up detail. Later I realized it was to get them out of the drill sergeants path. After an hour or so I mixed the glaze for the ham, took the pie out and started the rest of the dishes. Since the first and second floor was almost perfect I took a bathroom break. When I went into the bathroom I heard Auntie D laughingly say "Look out Bear, don't stand in front of that door. It will fly open at any second and crazy woman will come out."

The house was looking very nice but I wanted to put out some last minute touches so I ran down to the basement to grab some festive fabric to drape over a few items in the living room. I laid out the good china on the dinning room table and set up a children's table in the kitchen. A few phone calls from Uncle C saying he picked up Oldest daughter on his way up and needed additional directions to the house. I laid out my plan to complete all the tasks with Auntie D. When Uncle C arrived I would give them a quick tour of the house then it was up to her to entertain them. I would then dash down to the basement and wrap the remaining gifts. She was laughing at me but happy to see I had slowed down and was a normal person again. Things were going well, then I realized the side dishes were still cooking so I yelled up the stairs "Auntie D check on the food!" I could hear her laughing as she yelled down to me "All taken care of." A few minutes later I heard the front door open and Grandpa saying "Merry Christmas!!" I was worn out but trying to wrap as fast as I could. I had only two more gifts to wrap when Auntie D came down stairs to say "They are starting to open presents. What can I do to help?" She wrapped one and I wrapped one and finally everything was done.

Yeah the gangs all here! Aunt S and the Girls brought a veggie dish with home made dressing as well as cookies and a red velvet cake they had made. The Girls LOVED the MP3 players and American Girl perfume we gave them! I was thrilled with the photo bag they gave me. A lot of the moms I know have them but I never bought one for myself.

Grandpa gave Snow White her very first American Girl doll! It was visible that her heart was caught up in her throat. Then she started shaking and soon after came excited screaming "its...BITTY BABY!!!"

Aunt S gave Man Son and Oldest daughter a maze game that when completed reveled a prize. In this case it was money. Man Son quickly solved the puzzle and proclaimed his victory to all. Oldest daughter was occupied with other gifts and said she would give the puzzle another try when not so many were watching. We passed out the remainder of the gifts and everyone seemed to have been given the perfect gift. There were three gifts inspired by another blogger lalaland. Her blog of going without power which meant without the ability to plug in her coffee maker inspired these gifts. Grandpa, Auntie D and myself each received a mini generator.

After the gift exchanges we sat down to dinner and wonderful conversations. Aunt S sat down to at the Children's table only to be greeted by a surprised Snow White saying "This is the Children's table. You are not a child." She laughed and joined the rest of us in the dinning room. I am not a person to eat sweets but I couldn't help myself when it came to the cookies she baked, they were absolutely delicious. Aunt S was a real pleasure to be around this holiday and I was so grateful they came all this way to spend an early Christmas with us. Aunt S and I have had a few ups and downs through out the years and I really cherish the "up" times. Her oldest girl just had her braces taken off and the youngest girl just had her top teeth fitted with braces.

After dinner Uncle C and Aunt S said they really had to get back home so Uncle C would have time to rest before going to work. Cameras seemed to materialize out of no where. Everyone wanted a group photo on their own cameras. The last time the family was all together Uncle L brought a friend who took the group photo. This year it was up to a tripod and camera timers. Auntie D's camera took photos in good fashion. Aunt S had a bit of a time with her timer. The first time she set it I said "RUN Aunt S RUN!" And Run she did. Then we waited but nothing happened. Second time she set it and as soon as she set in motion the camera went off. Then she said "Ok, I have it now" and ran towards us and the camera went off before she came around the tripod. Once again she went behind the tripod to try again and we were all hysterical with laughter at this point and Grandpa says "I've never seen Aunt S move so fast!" I am absolutely positive everyone was smiling in that photo! I could hear Aunt S herself laughing as the flash came once again. While the next camera was being set upon the tripod I took a few impromptu shots then told everyone I want to see those silly faces and they obliged.

There was one person missing, Grandma. She was too weary from traveling from Tennessee to travel again the very next day. After the series of tripod photos we called Grandma on speaker phone. When she answered we broke out in "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." After the first verse everyone stopped but Aunt S Oldest Girl which prompted the rest of us to continue through the next verse. In Grandma's voice it was obvious she was still under the weather and we had just woke her up. She was cheerful and glad to hear our merry voices.

Then it was time for goodbye hugs and kisses all around. Aunt S, Uncle C and the Girls had to get on the road. Grandpa and Uncle L had to get back to Grandma so we packed up their loot in their cars and thanked them all for coming. I even saw Uncle L give Aunt S a hug in the drive way and she had a happy smile on her face! Aunt S and I have our ups and downs but Aunt S has only had downs with Uncle L. This happy hugging right outside my house really made this wonderful holiday brighter!

Happy Christmas to ALL!! I hope all of you had as wonderful a Christmas as we did!

Still a few more days of Christmas to come...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holiday Meme

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Nog (chocolate puts me in a coma)

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wraps with special Santa Paper

3. Colored lights or white lights on tree/house? Colored Lights

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Wow, I have forgotten all about mistletoe for a few years.

5. When do you put up your decorations? When the kids start to whine “So and so has their tree up” or when I start my Christmas shopping.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Irish Potatoes. Love seeing who will find the six pence.

7. Favorite childhood holiday memory: While driving across country we staid in a hotel over night. Each of us children took turns during the night to keep a watchful eye out the window and on our VW Bus. It was loaded with presents! Our Mother kept saying “Go to bed!”

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I was 8 yrs old and found Mom wrapping presents in the middle of the night.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? YEAH!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Kids first and then Mommy evens it out.

11. Snow: love it or dread it? Love to play in it hate when I have to drive to work in it.

12. Can you ice skate? I haven’t tired in a while so I hope it is like riding a bike. Oh wait, I haven’t ridden a bike in a very long time either.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I big stuffed Little Foot, from The Land Before Time. He had a box of jewelry tied to each of his feet. I sill have him! Well, Snow White has him in her room. Also on the top of my favorite gift list is a gorgeous hand made jewelry box.

14. What's the most important thing to you about the holidays? Family spending lots of time hugging, laughing, talking and just enjoying themselves.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? I never have room for dessert but there is always pumpkin pie on our holiday dinner table.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Letting my children each pick out a new ornament to purchase every year. When they are old enough to be out on their own they will have a full set of ornaments.

17. What tops your tree?. Angie, the Christmas Tree Angel

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving gifts? Giving! I love to see the expression on the recipient’s face when they open their gifts.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Jingle Bells, Silver Bells, and Away in a Manger.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Hip hurray!! Christmas is coming!! The family is coming!! I cannot wait for everyone to be here!

I did a little bit of grocery shopping in preparation of the soon to arrive guests. As the Christmas songs filled the store I found myself singing along and gliding down the isles in a semi dance style. Snow White reminded me of each guests preferences and we came up with a rather pleasant menu for their stay with us.

All that is left for tomorrow is to decorate the remainder of the tree. The bottom four feet of the tree is decorated and the angel has been placed on the top all due to Snow White insisting she will be the one and only to decorate the tree this year. The tree actually lights up the whole living room this year! She did allow her brother and sister to put their ornaments on the tree. Each of my children have "their own ornaments." Every year I let them pick out an ornament to purchase. When they are ready to move on and out of the house they will have their own set of ornaments. For their first Christmas after they move out I will buy them a Christmas tree, real or fake which ever they prefer.

I also need to collapse a few straggling, empty moving boxes which are now making their presents known in the house. I am looking forward to wrapping the presents we purchased from us to our guests. I take a lot of pride in finding the perfect gift for the recipient. I am looking forward to many ooohs, awws and happily surprised faces! Snow White loves the paper I picked out. It is winter white paper with gold ornaments/gold holly leaves/gold swirls and each roll is accented with pink glittering stripes/berries/stripes. Who would have thought in this little country town we would have found such great wrapping paper? Ok, as far as wrapping paper goes I am happy if it looks good but I was really happy with this great find.

The thought of hearing stories from "When we were children" and the in person up to date news on everyone just warms my heart. I also expect a few Traveler Warrior stories sure to make you not want to make the next year but hey they made the trip for Thanksgiving and still want to come for Christmas. That reminds me I need to make sure our calls to Ireland and Scotland are going as planned for Christmas Eve. It wouldn't be a fantastic holiday if it weren't for family phone calls! All I need now is for that gold and pink tree skirt to go on sale for 75% so I can buy it for $75.

I have been smiling for a full week! I am so excited about all that Christmas brings! Thank God (literally) for this wonderful holiday about being HAPPY!

Thank you to everyone who emailed me. Let's enjoy the smiles of HAPPY people... (I need tech assistance so please bare with me on placing your photos here).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Customer Service is Back!

I went to the grocery store to pick up just a few small but needed items like milk and bread. My son is home and I know he loves those little tuna and cracker snack packs but I couldn't find them in the new grocery store. I did find the Keebler Elf crackers and they were on sale 2 for $4.00 so I thought why not make Mommy Tuna Salad and buy the good crackers to go with it?

Well they rang up $3.49 then the discount came up $0.99. I bought more than I came in for so I was a bit bored standing in line and it occurred to me the crackers would be 2 for $5.00 instead of 2 for $4.00. It is only one dollar difference but then I start to think of what have I paid for in the past that might not have rung up the correct price? Should I keep paying for items I think are on sale but really ring up a higher price? When you go grocery shopping are you keeping exact tabs on what each item costs? I do keep a rounded off tally so I do not over spend. I remembered the crackers because it was the one item I did by on sale.

I went to the service desk and told the girl there the crackers were 2 for $4.00 but rang up 2 for $5.00. She looked over the boxes of crackers intensely then said she had to look for herself. Snow White and I giggled and horsed around while waiting. A few minutes later the grocery girl came back and said "They are 2 for $5.00", gave me back the boxes of crackers and motioned for the next in line.

I was tired, I wanted to go home, Snow White wants to eat dinner but I just knew the sign said 2 for $4.00 but I have been wrong just a few times in my life (insert a little laughter). I march back to the farthest end of the store where the display stand is and I am angry. Much to the dismay and repeated "you are going to get in trouble" from Snow White, I take down the "2 for $4.00" signs and march all the way back to the service desk.

During our jaunt back to the service desk thoughts of ...I will never come back to this store! They think everyone is a liar! There are 5 grocery stores just as close to my house! This store will not receive my business again and I will tell everyone I know, again. I did shut down a grocery store before (years ago and another story on customer service). Tonight this store was wasting my time and my daughter's time and what was that girl doing when she kept us waiting instead of looking up the price?!

I demand to see the manager and it just so happens she is next to the girl who told me the wrong price for the crackers. I place the signs on the counter and say "That girl told me these crackers were on sale 2 for $5.00 and I had to go all the way back there for me to realize she called me a liar to my face." Ok, that is what I wanted to say. What I actually said was "This girl said the crackers were not on sale for the price I thought and they actually were." The store manager looked over the boxes of cracker, looked at the signs and said "I was here when she told you." She pressed a few buttons on the register and asked me to sign a paper and gave me a five dollar bill. I was a little confused, I still wanted the crackers not a refund. She saw my puzzled look and apologized for their computer and personnel error. "Here is the amount you paid for the crackers and you get the crackers free due to our mistakes." I was almost speechless! All I could get out was a mere "Thank you." WOW Customer service isn't dead after all. I only wanted the dollar back because the crackers were on sale and they gave them to me for free because of the error. Ok, I know about the glitches in the computer programs retail stores use and the companies who supply them with the computer service sometimes offer replacement of fees if there is a problem but still WOW that was passed on to us instead of just refunding the expected sale price.

For a $1.00 difference this store said the Customer is Right and they did all the paper work in 2 minutes flat without saying they needed the history of your forefathers to offer you something comparable and then some. I would have been happy just to have the $1.00 refund due to me. I would have never gone back to that store again if I had not been floored by their end result Customer Service. I have not seen this sort of Customer Service since the early 80s when things went from Customer Service to "If you don't like it go away."

The other 5 grocery stores near my house just lost my business due to this one act over an expected $1.00 refund. The other 5 are friendly and I have had no issues with them at all but I am just overwhelmed to find a store where Customer Service is not just a sign.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Elephant Under Who's Chair?

The other night I was flipping through the channels and came across Bill Cosby doing a stand up. Ok, he was sitting down on a stool but it was early Cosby live so I watched and listened as Snow White worked on her home work.

Cosby was discussing his family. So many similarities with his family growing up as mine it was all down right side splitting funny to me. Snow White...well she just didn't get it. In one of his sketches he says his father blamed a "toot/Fart/cutting the cheese" on an imaginary elephant under his chair. My father also did this blame game on the elephant.

During a meeting of the heads of departments someone...passed gas. Most would have pretended not to notice and held their breath. Me? Well after watching Cosby I laughed and laughed! I attempted to say "Did you see where that Elephant under his chair went?!" If you had not just watched Cosby "live" you would not have understood my words in between my gasps for breath during my hysterical fit of laughter. I was so hysterical in my laughter I had to excuse myself. I went out to the hallway still laughing uncontrollably! Just after leaving the room it occurs to me... they think it was ME!! My laughter triples!! I cannot stop my laughing and it has grown louder and louder!

Darn that Cosby Elephant ..still laughing and all those big burly men think it was the little laughing girl who let out that enormous sound.