12 December 2017

A Day Late But Not a Dollar Short

Fortunately, Kathy doesn't charge us to participate in her weekly Q&A, which is near its end.  (Stay tuned for her next endeavor!)  So even though I'm a day late, I can still enjoy taking part without getting myself in trouble.  :-)

1. Have your knit a Christmas ornament or Hanukkah things?

Yes I have.  I knit this Advent wreath garland of mittens and hats a few years back:

And even longer ago, I knit this Yule Woodsman, who hangs on our tree every year.

2.  Have you seen a shooting star this year?

I have never seen a shooting star in my life!

3.  What's your preference:  cuckoo clock, digital clock, grandfather clock or a face with hands?

I like grandfather clocks, but wouldn't have room for one if I had it.  My overall preference is a clock with a face and hands.

4.  Do you prefer Chex Mix for cereal or snack mix?

Since I never liked it as cereal, but enjoy snack mix, that's my choice here.

5.  Is your milk expiration date before or after 12/25?

We just bought a new container of milk yesterday - the expiration date is 12/26.

6.  Name a bird you'd love to see in the wild?

Let's see, there are not any I *wouldn't* like to see.  But I wish I could have seen Carolina parakeets before they became extinct.

7.  What is the last color you knit with?

A deep red, on my Holly Berry Socks.

8.  Do you know anyone who believes in the Big Red Guy?

I do!  With all of my heart!  And there are some small kiddos in the family that I know believe in him also.  

9.  Do you have any solar decorations?


10.  Mrs. Claus is knitting something for you - what is it?

A yoked sweater with reindeer!  :-)

What about you?  Feel free to participate, or to even include answers in the comments.  

10 December 2017

A Carol for the Second Sunday of Advent

Because I assailed you with horrible songs this past Thursday, here is one of my very favorites for you today.  Happy Sunday, Happy Advent!

08 December 2017

Virtual Advent Tour 2017 : Simple Christmas Happiness

Well, this is definitely a case of the best laid plans and all that.  I signed up again this year for sprite's  Virtual Advent Tour, and I have known for a while that today was my turn.  I had my post all decided in my brain and knew what photos I wanted to use, and I was set.  Then last night I picked up my laptop to get it set up, and ... nothing.  Zippo.  Nada. I did what I thought might "fix" it, with no luck at all.  The Tim was not home, so I couldn't get his assistance.  So I decided that I would get to work early and at least have my post up using my work computer, even if there were no other photos.  So here I am, and I'm glad it's Friday at least!

OK, you don't necessarily care about that so let's move on, shall we?


Growing up, our family didn't leave near any of our other family, so holidays were completely on our own.  My mother was an only child, and though my father had siblings, they had been broken up as children to live with other relatives when his father was killed.  So he was close but not really with them.  And my parents were not the types to stay in one place if moving offered other opportunities, so we moved around a lot.  However, they both had decided that their own family was going to be different.  So we were pretty close-knit, and every single holiday was a BIG DEAL at our house.   Especially Christmas - my parents thought that was the highlight of the year!  (So you see I get my holiday love honestly.)

Our Christmases were so much fun!  We usually started decorating after December 2, which was my mom's birthday.  She was a firm believer in letting people with December birthdays actually celebrate their birthday the same as if it came in July.  We always had a tree, and lots of decorations, and stockings.  There was cookie baking (just the basics, my mother was only "domestic" at holidays), sing-a-longs (in the house, in the car, everywhere!), and just general fun.  On Christmas Day we would wake up and go to church, which could be excruciating, since Santa *always* showed up, and we would have leave the fun to go.  Always there were presents, filled stockings ("Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read," plus an orange and some nuts), and one or two presents from my parents.  We ate!  We drank!  We made merry for the entire Christmas season!

My parents never seemed stressed out.  They never complained that it was too much.  They never told us not to expect much.  I remember as an adult, I once mentioned this to my mother.  She told me that they both loved Christmastime so much, it was always as much fun for them as for us.  I asked her once why she never freaked out about holidays, meals, gifts, etc. and she told me it was because the only expectations she had to meet were hers and my dad's - no one else was around to compare, comment, or judge. 

Now the thing that most amazes me about this when I think back on it, is that my parents had pretty stressful lives.  Most of the time, we were ridiculously poor.  Sometimes we were farmed out to stay with relatives for a while when they were out of work.  There were a lot of huge medical bills.  When things were good, they were really good.  And yet, only as an adult did I realize how bad off we were!  Oh sure, other kids lived in nicer houses/neighborhoods and had more possessions, better clothes, etc., but it never seemed like a big deal.  If we wanted something, we'd be told that it wasn't something we could afford, and even though it was disappointing, that was that.  My mother used to say that just because you were poor, it didn't mean that you had to be dirty, or that you didn't still need to have manners, so even if we didn't have the best things, we always had clean, solid things and knew how to behave.  We went to Catholic schools most of the places where we lived, so we wore uniforms like all of the other kids. 

I do not ever remember a Christmas that wasn't a big deal.  I don't remember us ever not being all together, and having the time of our lives. 

When I think about it all now, it makes me realize that although my parents were not - by any definition - perfect, or saintly, they gave us the best they could and the best they had, often in really crappy situations.  But they kept the simple idea of what Christmastime should be - family, fun, and togetherness - intact.  So much so that my memories are happy, simple, and lovely.

We should all be so lucky as to be able to pull that off, right? 

And now that I poked around on my work computer, I was able to find one photo of my own for this post, so enjoy Christmas Moon Man, a handmade gift from a former co-worker long ago.  :-)

Have a great weekend!

07 December 2017

You're Gonna Hate Me For This One

I apologize in advance for my list today for Three on Thursday.  Why?  Because I realize it will cause earworms and not the good kind.  So I suggest you don't read it until you can counteract it with other music IMMEDIATELY.

My list today is Three Christmas Songs That Should Be Illegal.

Let me start by saying that I'm pretty willing to let a lot slide as far as Christmas songs go.  There are a lot that I think are stupid, or that I just don't like (The Tim gets stabby when "Little Drummer Boy" is played, which amuses me greatly, since it doesn't bother me one way or the other), but most of them fall into a benign category where I just move on to something else or turn off the radio.  Those listed below though, are far outside the pale of my patience and tolerance.  What better way to declare this than to share with all of you??

In no particular order (I hate them all equally), here they are.  And to give you at least one ounce of respite, I'm linking to the Wikipedia entries and images rather than to the actual audios.  If you are lucky enough to be unfamiliar with one/all of them, I would suggest going no further than reading about them.

Every time I hear this, I wish I could be run over by a bus.

There is a perfectly good reason this annoying kid is not getting anything for Christmas.

Oh and whoops, I lied - there is another one, so let's just say these two are in a tie:

I will call The Hippopotamus Protection League if I have to!

I have nothing against Italians, or Donkeys, or certainly not Christmas.  
Together in this song, though?  A crime against humanity.

Again, apologies for the earworms - if it's any consolation, now I'm stuck with them too!  Time to find some music I like and try to salvage my brain.  :-)

04 December 2017

An Excellent Christmastime Weekend

Hello all!  I hope all of you had a good weekend.  As I mentioned, we had some company this weekend, so it was a busy one for us, but we had so much fun!  Admittedly, I'm glad I took today off so that I could recoup and enjoy a day at home, but I'll also admit I miss everyone who was here.

We really only saw Julie on Saturday morning when she was able to join us for breakfast, and we didn't get to see Keith at all - both of them were busy with the wedding they were in town to attend.  But we got to spend a whole lot of time with my sister Mary Ellen and her husband Patrick, and with our little great-niece Penn.  We don't get to see Penn very often, because even though she and her family live in Brooklyn, which is not that far away, Julie and Keith have crazy work schedules, so finding a weekend when everyone is available is nearly impossible.  So this was our chance, to quote The Tim, "to make sure that Penn realizes that we're really fun."  I think we may have succeeded.

The cats were a HUGE attraction for her, which was a bonus for us.  Of course, they are extremely fond of anyone who keeps giving them treats (who wouldn't be?), so I think on Friday after we got back to our house after dinner, they had more treats in one evening than in their lives so far. ;-)  And the game of laser toy was quite exciting for Pip and Jack (Milo is afraid of it, the little wimp), so that was definitely a win.  Of course I forgot to take a single picture.

Saturday morning, we all met for breakfast, and then walked through Rittenhouse  Square on our way over to Macy's.  She wanted her picture with some of the sculptures in the Square.

She is the funniest little kid - she likes to get her picture taken, but will seldom smile, unless she is already doing something that makes her smile or laugh. 

We were going to Macy's, the former John Wanamaker department store, to see one of the most cherished Philadelphia traditions: Wanamaker's Christmas Light Show.  When Macy's was taking over, it was with the understanding that the Light Show would stay.  To their credit, not only did they keep it, but they freshened up the lighting with LED lights, so there are no random dark spots when lights die during a show.  It's corny, and cheesy, and one of the best things to do in the city at Christmastime.  I took LOTS of pictures, so I'm going to show you only one here, and save the others for a separate post.

Santa! Rudolph! Reindeer! A Christmas tree!  What's not to love?   Penn thought it was great, and told us that she liked that Rudolph showed up before the other reindeer, and she also liked the "singing" (there is a recorded background for each segment of the show).   After that we headed outside, and went to City Hall to see the Christmas garden and the city's Christmas tree.

Uncle Tim and Penn had a good time checking things out.  
Uncle Tim was a big hit.  (Uncle Tim is ALWAYS a big hit.)

She liked this reindeer sculpture, and told us that this was "Rudolph's mommy."  

Here is the Philadelphia Christmas tree, with a Liberty Bell on the top.  
She thought that was hilarious.

I thought the ornaments were really cool, and liked this wooden 
old-fashioned snowman inside the branches.

Then it was time for her nap, so we went over to my sister and brother-in-law's hotel so she could take said nap, and we would meet later for dinner.  She wanted me to take this picture of her and her stuffed kitty, Lala, who she said really liked our kitties.  :-)

Later we all met for dinner at a local pub, and then headed back to our house.  More treats for the kitties, and then a game of Kitty Tease (one of those fishing pole type toys with a mouse at the end to chase).  Pip and Milo tired out pretty quickly, but Penn and Jack did not run out of energy at all!

As you can see, it requires concentration on the part of both parties ...

but it's worth it at the end

They all headed home on Sunday.  The original plan was that we would all have brunch together (though The Tim had to work), but as it turned out, I got called to go to work at the last minute for a few hours (don't ask), so I missed seeing them all one more time.  But on Saturday night when they were leaving, Penn did tell us that "I'm coming back to see you and the kitties and sleep over."  So I think she enjoyed herself. 

When I got home from my few hours at work, I decided that I *really* needed to do something Christmas-y, so I made these:

A perfect decision - making some Christmas cookies while listening to Christmas music!  I'd seen this recipe on Facebook, and wanted to try it.  Let me tell you - these are really easy, and incredibly yummy!  In the recipe of course they have you just using one kind of sprinkles but you are probably not surprised to see that I pulled out every kind of sprinkle I could find!

Someday, I would love to be able to be off work, or even just work part-time, during Christmastime, but in the meantime, I try to make all of my own time - especially on weekends - make up for it.  This weekend was an excellent start!