Monday, December 31, 2007

Dinner for One

A German New Year's tradition:

Goodbye, 2007

It was not a year of cataclysmic change for us.

There were no births, no deaths, no beginnings or endings. No moves, no changing of schools or houses.

For us, 2007 was a quiet year. We were not rocked by any major upheavals. For us, that is a good thing. We had a broken bone and a surgery, braces put on, and some migraines. For us, this is situation normal.

The only event that comes close to being monumental - and in its own way, it is - is Alison's turning 16 and getting her permit. But she won't have the license for a few more weeks, which means it's a 2008 event.

Everyone turned a year older, but other than 16, the other birthdays were not the type that herald life change.

But it was, in most ways, a good year. The girls learned and grew; I am proud of the people they've become and revel in watching them evolve into strong young women.

Thus it is with great peace of mind that we forge ahead into 2008. In some ways it's hard to believe that we are eight years past the century mark - I remember as a kid how far away the year 2000 seemed. I knew how old I would be - in my 30s! - and it all seemed so, so far into the distant future. And now it is nearly a decade behind me. I am certifiably a grown-up (even if I don't always feel, much less act, like one).

But all in all, I know how fortunate I am. Gary and I will celebrate our (gulp) 20-year anniversary next year, a feat I do not take lightly, given how many couples do not make it that far. We have three amazing daughters who are destined to do wonderful things. Gary has seen amazing success in his career, and I have seen some. Yet I know that I have time to work on some projects that are underway.

I tend to be tight-lipped about what works are in progress, for me or for my family. I was never one to share the baby names we were considering. So I'll not go into the plans we have for the following year - mostly because it is much too early to say which ones are likely to come to fruition. Suffice it to say, 2008 will be a year of more change than this one has been. Which is OK with me - nothing ever stays the same, really.

As long as the change is for the better, it's all good.

Farewell, 2007 - and 2008, be sure to hold up your end of the bargain. We're headed out to party with friends - Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas vacation

I love the days when we're all home - Gary and I are both off work, the girls are home, no visitors, just us. We have spent the last few days with good food, games, toys, movies, and the kids. And it has been wonderful - there is no better way to spend a holiday than with children. The girls are enoying their Christmas gifts, and we are having fun just being with them.

And while gifts are not the most important part of Christmas, it is hard to deny their significance. As a parent, it is incredibly satisfying to be able to give your children not only what they need, but some of what they want. This year we succeeded. Alison actually got everything she wanted - probably not true for the other two, who lacked a couple of items on their list. But their lists are lengthy, so I don't think they are complaining. All I've heard for the last two days is the sound of the girls playing together. Well, that and the strains of Rufus Wainwright singing Judy Garland ... one of my favorite gifts ...

Today we ventured down inside the loop to see Lucy at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This is her first trip - ever - outside Ethiopia, so it's quite a coup for the musuem. Lucy is the Australopithicus afarensis, discovered in 1974, that predates home sapiens, apparently the oldest and most complete prehuman evert found. Fascinating stuff. The exhbit was well done - quite a bit on Ethiopia and its "uniqueness" (a word I am generally hesitant to use, but I would say here it applies), from a religious, cultural and anthropological standpoint. The skeleton/fossil itself is pretty amazing - and I am always amazed at what anthropologists are able to tell from mere skeletal remains.

I am also amazed by those who look at this evidence and can refute the belief in evolution. And don't play the religion card - my high school science teacher, along with a physics colleague of my father's who was Assemblies of God, and many other noted scientists all say the same thing: It is possible to be a Christian and a scientist. As my high school teacher put it: I am a Christian and I am a scientist. And I have no problem reconciling those two beliefs. There is no litmus test for one or the other.

Following our visit to see Lucy (we were suitably impressed), we went to Katz's deli for lunch. We love the one in New York, so we figured we should try out the local version. While it did not have the ambience of the original, the buidling effectively recreated eating in a downtown venue circa 1940 - re-created tin ceilings, iron balustrades, tile floors, subway signs, and enough NYC memorobilia on the walls that one could feel, if even for just a moment, that Delancey Street was just outside. The pastrami was great, and the kosher dogs satisfied the girls. And the knish ... perhaps not as good as the original, maybe not even as good as the kosher joint where we ate in Estes Park. But good enough for today.

Tomorrow the girls are ready to venture to the mall - the gift cards are making them antsy. So much for holiday tranquility ...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Loose ends

A mother's work is never done. It's a recurring theme here - this I know - but it is, none the less, true.

All the other mothers out there who read this - past or present - you know what I'm saying.

I also know that I will miss the girls when they are gone. I can wait for my house to be clean and quiet. I can. Plus, I know that if I threaten enough (threats are on my side - it's four days til Christmas) the girls will pitch in and the house will be in order sometime tomorrow.

Today I am heading off to Sylvia's class party. We did not buy individual teacher gifts, but chipped in for the group gift - a practice I heartily endorse. Get her one big thing, not 25 little nothings. Plus each of the kids drew her a picture or wrote a letter - that is even more meaningful. Then we'll meet Gary for lunch - sans Alison, who went to the movies with friends. Take Maddie to the eye doctor, where we should get the okey-dokey on her contact usage, then drop her off at the movies. Need to get one thing at Hobby Lobby, and it seems like I need to run to Target, though I can't remember why.

There are a bunch o' movies I want to see: Sweeney Todd, Juno, Walk Hard, take the kids to The Golden Compass. Plus movies I want to watch at home - I have Keeping Up With the Steins on TiVo and The Namesake from Netflix. We want to see Lucy at the science museum, eat at Katz's.

And just hang with the girls. That's what the holidays are all about for me - being with the girls, my husband.

Sylvia and Alison went online last night and checked the Naughty and Nice list - Sylvia is on it! She even answered the questions honestly, admitting that her room is not always, um, pristine. She really is a good kid!

Four more days, folks; four more days ...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Winding down


My holiday preparations are nearly over - I am nearly at the point where I can sit back and relax. Take it easy. Enjoy.

I am so ready.

A friend mentioned yesterday that her kids get the week before Christmas off then go back to school Jan. 2. My immediate reaction was horror - without this week free of kids, I would have been totally screwed.

(Plus they would have driven me NUTS with Christmas anticipation. Best that they are in school seven hours a day - kept busy and out of my hair.)

Monday I shopshopshopped. Got loads done. Monday night we partied - well, the best you can party with your husband's colleagues. Lucky for me, not too much shop talk - discussions of NPIs, dealers, and OEDs is dull, dull, dull. Probably even for those who work there, I'm guessing.

Tuesday Gary and I took the day and went to the Galleria. Let me just say, I love the Galleria. It is the ultimate shopping experience - it's just a mall, but it's so much more than a mall. The main part, with the ice skating rink, has fancy stores. Nieman Marcus is the anchor store, and the three levels overlooking the ice rink are lined with all the highest end stores: Caroline Herrera, Stuart Weitzman, Jimmy Choo, Versace. I just look and sigh ... the clothes are so lovely, but just too rich for me. On the sale rack at Stuart Weitzman, shoes were still over $200 a pair - I cannot justify those prices.

(But it dawned on me: If we sold this house and downsized, paid cash for a little three-bedroom ranch, then we'd be mortgage free and I could, in fact, afford to shop those places ... it's worth a thought, anyway ...)

The other leg of the Galleria is just like a regular mall - Macy's, Urban Outfitters, basic mall fare (even a Kirkland's). And a Hello Kitty store - too bad we've pretty much outgrown Hello Kitty. We popped into the Apple Store, Border's, resisted the urge to look in Ann Taylor - even though it is HUGE compared to my local one ... got a bunch o' stuff taken care of.

Gary chose a charming little place for lunch - which was closed - so we ate at the Firkin & Phoenix (did you go to the Ferret & Firkin in London, Amy?). Then headed back toward home, making a few stops on the way.

Remainder of the evening was spent at a middle school band concert - enough said.

Wednesday, Holiday Karma was mine. I packed up all the out-of-town purchases and headed over to the post office. Our local post office has a line out the door in July, much less December. And when I walked in? Nothing - relatively speaking - I was fifth in the queue! People around here give our local post office a hard time, but I have had nothing but success. Next stop: Target. Picked up all those final odds and ends (to the tune of many $$$), and went to wait at the very busy cash registers. Waited, waited ... when voilá! the register DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME opened right up - just for me! Some days, this is all it takes ...

Headed home, began the cookie baking for the Wednesday evening cookie exchange: cream cheese spritz. Threw in the margarine, the cream cheese, and found out, at this inopportune moment, that my darling eldest daughter had finished off the flour Monday night ... ran to the store, mixed up the dough, had to relearn the cookie press (this happens every year), and began to crank out my 10 dozen cookies. Lesson No. 2: The dough will not work when it gets too warm. I worked for three hours on cookies, and my kitchen was a total disaster by the time I was done. (Plus the girls came home and "helped" me with the sprinkles ... enough said.)

But the party was fun, and I have a bunch of really yummy cookies to show for my hard work.

Today I made one last run to the mall and have tried - with little success - to get the house in order. Plus I am working on my cards - I think if they get out between now and January 1, I will feel successful.

If you're still with me - and that is debatable, I must say - you can understand my exhaustion. I am beat, but I am upbeat. Tomorrow I am going to Sylvia's party at school, taking Maddie to the eye doctor, and shuttling kids to the movies. (Yes, I am allowing my daughter to see The Golden Compass, and I'm not too worried that she'll be corrupted - it's fiction, and I think my children are smart enough to think for themselves and not be unduly influenced by a book. For the record, they also saw The Chronicles of Narnia, so I think they'll be OK.)

Our party tomorrow evening got canceled, so we can take it easy for the entire weekend.

Sounds great to me!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Busy day ... much to do ... and much to say, but no time. However, I have time to share some very bad snapshots with you. It's as good we get for now - the girls were hard to work with when I snapped them, and Alison could not seem to get a decent photo of the two of us.

We looked lovely - the camera, in fact, does lie.

I think a new camera is in order.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday rush

Loud. Crowded. Too much input.

That was the mall this weekend. We were there - Gary and I and all three girls. The girls went one way, Gary and I another. But we got very little shopping done - there was no way I was standing in those lines. I figured a weekday would suit me better.

Which it did. I started my morning at DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) - It is a full 25-minute drive, but some days, it is just worth it. Today would be one of those days - I decided I need new shoes for the big office bash tonight (Gary's office, not mine). I got a dress, matching coat, and I was, at first, content to wear old shoes. Upon further reflection, I decided it would look very bad for Gary if I wore old shoes with a new dress; I am thoughtful that way. DSW did not disappoint - I saw just what I wanted. I am hard to please: they had to be grey or silver; dressy, but not too high (I need to be able to walk and balance); and closed-toe - it might be chilly so I may want to wear pantyhose (something I rarely do, by the way) and I am in no mood for a pedicure. I found all of my requirements - and on the sale table, too.

The party tonight is cocktail attire, more casual than last year (black tie). It will be fine - they're his colleagues, not our friends - not the biggest social event of the year, but fun enough.

Made it to the mall, where the lines were mercifully short. Made purchases at four stores; took care of most of the shopping for the girls, my one and only niece. Still need to buy for my parents (but I know what I'm getting), the in-laws (no ideas; I have told Gary to let me know what I should get .... this is typical ....)

The rest of the week is very full: Tomorrow is our annual shopping day (Gary and I) where we shop (supposedly) and go out to lunch, spend the day together. Wednesday I must bake cookies for a cookie exchange; Thursday Alison goes to school late; Friday is a half day, and I'll be attending Sylvia's party.

Not sure where the cards fit in; they'll come sometime during the holiday season - Kwanzaa lasts until early January, so I'm good (!) On a brighter note, I found the Barenaked Ladies CD, so we can jam to Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice music in the car - the girls love it, and I do, too - it is a pop-music multicultural musical extravaganza and always puts us in the holiday spirit. Nothing llike celebrating the diversity of the season!

On that note, may you celebrate the holiday that means the most to you, and in the words of Kinky Friedman, May the God of your choice bless you!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Great Day

It's Friday - my favorite day of the week. And I am feeling good ...

• I have gotten bunches of work done today. Turned in some stuff before Tuesday's deadline - score one for me!
• I finally - finally! - received a paycheck for some freelance work I did weeks ago. The editor apologized for a "cash flow" problem in a group e-mail; I'm wondering how many writers they lose next time.
• No matter - I have a hefty deposit to make at the bank.
• Plus now I feel as I am actually paying for the expensive gift I plan to buy Gary for Christmas.
• Fired off a letter to the editor this morning; I often think about it, but rarely actually write them. Having worked as an editor on the Opinions page, I know that it's better to wait and write when it really matters - save your ammo for when you really need it.
• I'm getting the last of the decorations out - finished up the Evergleam, found the dreidel (even though it's past Hanukkah). By tonight, the boxes will be back in the attic.
• My desk will be cleaned up by the end of the day - that is a rare sight.
• I am even ambitious enough that I think the kids' rooms will be tidy by the end of today.
• OK - by the end of the weekend. That's more realistic.
• Still need to get groceries (yuck - job I hate) and finish my shopping. But I have all of next week - Gary is even taking Tuesday off so we can shop together. We do this every year ... and to be honest, it's more about the two of us hanging out, going to lunch. But still, we consider it a day of shopping. That's what we tell the kids.

In order for the day to be perfect, I need to vacuum and drop off the recycling. But being the eternal optimist, I'll consider the possibility still in the cards.

I do love a Friday.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Religion and politics

I'm closely watching the race for president. I know, I know - the election isn't for 11 months. But I confess - I love the campaign process.

Except for one thing: I want religion off the table.

I don't care who attends which church. I don't think it should be an issue. I don't care that Mitt Romney is Mormon - I am not likely to vote for him, but his church of choice has nothing to do with it. And my guess is there is a Mormon or two out there who won't support him, either. I am also not likely to vote for people of many other faiths - there are people at my own church I might not vote for if they were running.

It's really not an issue, what you believe or how you believe it. Faith in a God - or lack of - has absolutely nothing to do with public policy. The job of the president is to run our government. And one needs to be able to make wise decisions. Enlighten me, if you will, as to how religion affects one's judgment.

Let's face it: A lot of people who consider themselves church-going, committed to their faith, or spiritual have made bad decisions in the past. Look at Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggert. Or Pat Robertson and his irresponsible comments. Has their faith helped them?

On the other hand, Jimmy Carter is very open about his faith, and he was not terribly effective as president. (Though as a former president, he is a role model.) I don't know that Ronald Reagan was all that religious, and people loved him. Bill Clinton claims to be a man of faith, but it didn't stop him from cheating on his wife.

This week's Newsweek ran an article about the dispute between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, including a little boxed comparison of Mormons and Evangelicals. What I found most shocking was that, under Evangelicals, it claimed that salvation comes from a personal relationship with God, but actions on earth do not count.

So how you live your life, how you treat others, has nothing to do with salvation? A mass-murdered who feels they have a close personal relationship with God will come out OK in the end?

(This was not the case for Mormons, according to the 30-word synopsis provided by Newsweek - actions in this life do count.)

I doubt that all Evangelicals would agree with this assessment - I'm sure many of them believe that how they live their life is, in fact, relevant. But I'm a little alarmed by this concept. What happened to "Do unto others ..." and telling the disciples to give up their earthly possessions and go with Christ?

This is why I want it off the table - there are too many interpretations, and bottom, line, it doesn't benefit the entire country. I don't want any more discussion of who believes what. I don't think one need be a Christian in order to be president - we are not a theocracy. The founding fathers wanted a very clear separation of church and state - in no way did they want one belief system to dominate.

More important is how these candidates will handle national policy, what kind of laws they will enact. Whether or not they will attend forums on global warming, provide health insurance to all Americans, protect our rights, improve education, research alternative energy sources, and allocate tax dollars. And it does not take adherence to particular religious dogma to make those decisions in the best interest of all Americans.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Note to Mitch Albom

Dear Mitch:

Please stop. You have now written the same book three times. I read Tuesdays with Morrie, and it was OK. You followed up with The Five People You Meet in Heaven (which I read while sitting in my local Barnes and Noble in about 20 minutes - and those are 20 minutes I'll never see again), and now you have this schlock you are calling For One More Day, the movie version of which is taking up valuable air time on my television this very evening.

It is like a saccharine overdose, and I don't think I can stand anymore. Please put us out of our collective misery - no more. OK, so you're a sensitive guy and like to ruminate on What If's ... and Ways Life Coulda/Shoulda/Woulda. We get it already. Move on to another genre. Go back to sports writing. Get busy on a political exposé - surely some politician in Michigan is up to no good. Or move to DC, where there's plenty of fodder for people who can string together a sentence or two. Churn out some other crappy, overly sentimental fiction that can appeal to sappy middle-aged women. But let's leave the heartwarming revisits to our past mistakes be - enough is enough.


One Who Will Never, Ever Read One of Your Books Again

Date Night x 2

Two nights out with my husband - two in a row - is an unheard of luxury in our lives. We are, after all, the parents of three children. By choice, I might add - I knew, as much as any potential parent knows, what I was in for. I knew that we'd be spending more time at home, less time out, attending fewer splashy New Year's Eve events.

Which is OK by me - I love my girls and love spending time with them. However, I still enjoy some one-on-one time with my husband, time with uninterrupted conversation. And our girls are getting older, so the opportunities are less scarce. Friday night Sylvia left on a Brownie camping trip - two nights - and both Alison and Madeleine had babysitting jobs. Gary had just flown in from Europe, so he was tired. But we went to our local sushi bar for a bite. They had live music - tunes I recognized, like a little Steely Dan (some of which I can handle), Van Morrison, the Eagles - which was fun. Gary was really beat so we came home early. But it was to get out.

Yesterday we had the two older girls, so after Maddie got home from testing at noon, we did a little shopping. Alison and Maddie are both loaded these days, so they were excited to buy Christmas gifts. They each bought a little something for themselves, but they are both very generous with their sisters; it's very sweet. I took Gary to look at watches; didn't buy, but I at least know what he likes. I bought nothing for the girls, but I have some ideas.

I did not have dress shopping on my mind at all - I was really intending to wear something I already have to Gary's office party (at a restaurant this year, not the black-tie event of last year); the invitation said cocktail attire, and I have several dresses. But I decided to look in Macy's, and after weeding through what felt like hundreds of inappropriate dresses (too slinky, too short, too many sequins, too mother-of-the-bride, too strapless, too black, too frumpy ...) I turned the corner and was met with a plethora of options - from retro Maggie London to very classy Calvin Klein. Tried on a pile of them .... and most of them made me realize I no longer look the way I did when I was 25. I did, however, find two options that looked great; bought them both. One is just a black dress, but it fit so great I could not pass it up. It can go from daytime to evening, so I am set. The other, the party dress, is a shiny pewter fabric and looks quite flattering on me - no simple task these days.

As we were leaving I popped into Ann Taylor Loft, just to see what was there ... and I saw the perfect coat, a retro-looking dress coat, white with silver brocade. Over the pewter dress = perfection. A total impulse buy, but I did it. It is shorter than the dress, but I think it looks good that way (and the sales clerk absolutely guaranteed that it does). Camelia, ever helpful, also told me it can be appropriate for daytime. I was skeptical, then not moments later a woman walked through the store with glittery trim on her clearly daytime outfit - score one for Camelia. The coat can be worn out to dinner, to church, maybe even over a simple outfit during the day. So it's mine - and at 20 percent off, too. Picked up the matching silver clutch and a necklace.

At which point I had to leave the mall, but not before taking a peek into Ann Taylor, just to see. But I held onto myself and did not buy anything (though, as usual, the choices were tempting).

(I'm guessing by now that only Tammy, maybe Peter, are still reading ....)

Date Night No. 2: We (mostly me) decided to see Atonement - it's getting lots of buzz, and is just out, at River Oaks Theatre, the place to go for fun arty flicks (so much better than your basic multiplex - a real theater, in danger, naturally, of being leveled by the "progressives" here in Houston). Maddie was babysitting again, Alison had plans. We were to drop her off at a friend's. Around 10, she said. 10? What? Well, she said, I'll just go with you to see Atonement. We sorted it all out, agreed to take her with us. Then her friend called - could Alison come earlier? The little sneak - her friend wanted her to come over earlier, but she manipulated things because she wanted to see this movie - ! Not a big deal, but we could have eaten in River Oaks if we hadn't had to drive her over to Memorial. Grrrr. Ah well, next time we'll be doing things differently.

And Alison will NOT be driving - she scared the daylights out of me on I-10. Yeesh.

The movie, by the way, was good, but not quite as good as the hype. But I always enjoy a good English period drama, and this one did not disappoint. Though the "surprise" at the end did not exactly bowl me over. After the movie, we ate at the Red Onion - casual, but great food.

And Sunday still lies ahead - with all three girls at home. We've been missing the Sylvia.

Have a great day, all!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday - again

The bottle of schnapps on my kitchen counter stands as a testament to the week I've had.

Single parenting is tough. Not terrible, but tough. In some ways, I don't miss my husband when he's gone. I do not feel the need to be around him 24 hours a day - I truly enjoy spending time with him, but as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. And for us, it's healthy to have a little time apart.

That said, I do miss having some backup in the parenting department. I had a little issue with one of my charming daughters the other night, and I know he would have backed me up. Children, left to their own devices, do not always make the best decisions. I know this; any other adult knows this. And it would have been nice to have another adult handy to reinforce this upon said daughter.

So thank goodness for the schnapps, which I added to the hot chocolate I drink. I think that schnapps in a hot beverage is acceptable at 3 p.m., don't you?!?

Makes the school bus that much easier to meet ...

I would l-o-v-e to blog about the coup I scored with my Christmas shopping, but as my children have access to, and on occasion read, this blog, I shall have to postpone sharing my fantastic news. And let's face it, in three weeks the story will have lost some of its luster. But that's the breaks, huh? Suffice to say, Go me!

My girls will be very happy on Christmas morning.

Tonight: Sylvia goes camping with the Brownies; Alison and Maddie both babysit. Gary comes home from his business trip (he landed just moments ago). Tomorrow night: Sylvia is still camping. Maddie babysits; Alison goes to a friend's house.

Two nights in a row? Kid free?

Go, me!

The Christmas Quiz

It's the traditional get-to-know your friends Christmas Quiz, courtesy of my friend Tammy. Since I am too lazy to send this in e-mail form, I am posting the answers here. I'm pretty sure I did one last year, but maybe my answers have changed?

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper mostly, but the occasional gift bag. Some gifts from Santa are not wrapped - he is much too busy.
2. REAL OR FAKE TREE? Four trees, all fake. One is from the 60s, and it does not look remotely real. Then there's the Evergleam - my guess is no one thinks the shiny aluminum tree is real.
3. When do you put up the tree? The first or second week of the month - this year we did it on the 1st.
4. When do you take the tree down? No later than New Year's Day
5. Do you like eggnog? A beverage made with raw eggs? Um, no thank you.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hmmm ... hard to remember. I don't ever remember being disappointed. I do remember the year I got a set of play dishes, something I had wanted for a long time. I also remember the year my brother bought me an album he hated, but he knew I wanted it.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? One. My parents brought it to us from Bethlehem.
8. Hardest person to buy for? My parents or my in-laws - they buy for themselves everything they really want or need.
9. Easiest person to buy for? My daughters - they drop lots of hints. And it's easy to make them happy.
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever got? It's a toss-up: Tupperware, from Gary's aunt. I had asked for perfume. (Go ahead - try to make the connection.) Or embroidered pillowcases from another well-meaning relative. They are so not my style - has this person every noticed how my house is decorated? Obviously not. Oh well - what can you do? Smile and say Thank You. (Though I do use the Tupperware ...)
11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail, but I'm not sure if I'm sending any this year.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's A Wonderful Life, White Christmas - I'm always in the mood for a classic.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I wait until December - no need for Christmas to take over my life.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? You bet - and I have one sitting in my closet that I am dying to regift (but I'm waiting for just the right opportunity).
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Fondue - the girls can't wait.
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? White lights on the big tree, red lights on the smaller tree, colored lights on the smallest tree, and no lights on the Evergleam.
17. Favorite Christmas song? That's a tough one ... maybe White Christmas. I really love all the secular holiday songs - Sleigh Ride, Baby It's Cold Outside, Santa Baby, Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow ... as for traditional songs, I like It Came Upon A MIdnight Clear, Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming, Carol of the Bells, and Sing We Now of Christmas, Once in Royal David's City. Least favorite: Little Drummer Boy - can't stand it.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I prefer to stay home.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Sure can - poem or song.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Which tree?!? Star, choir boy, angel, and nothing
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Because Santa does not come til late at night, we have to wait until Christmas morning.
22. Where are your favorite places to shop? Not too picky - wherever my shopping takes me.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Manufactured frenzy. Too much commercialization. Greedy people.
24. What I love most about Christmas? Creating memories with my children - the five of us together. Every year we get a gift that one of the girls has made, and they are always so proud. It is very sweet.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

So much to do ...

I've been absent. You'd think I'm mourning the Tigers loss.

Not so. It was disappointing, sure, but I'm over it. We didn't even buy Cotton Bowl tickets - I would, but the game is at 10.40 a.m. New Year's Day. Our options are: spend New Year's Eve in Dallas, with no one we know (my brother is not coming ... Barbara was not so keen on the idea), or get up at 3 a.m. and drive up. Neither sounds too appealing to me - though I think my husband is thinking hard ...

Tomorrow is Nikolaus Day, December 6, where Nikolaus puts kleine Geschenke in the kids' shoes. Sylvia is just beside herself - and thrilled that one of her classmates celebrates, too. They compared notes today; Sylvia had her shoes downstairs before suppertime.

I asked Alison if she were too old; she assured me that she is not. Wonder if I should leave my shoes out, too ...

The decorations are mostly out. Sylvia and I assembled the Evergleam tonight. Nothing says Merry Christmas to me like a shiny aluminum tree. I love it - just love it. It is so anti-tradition, so kitschy. This is what happens when one is a child of the 60s and 70s - those pieces of nostalgia haunt you for the rest of your life. I'll be forever enamored of fondue pots, avocado appliances, and lava lamps. (I managed to snag my parents' fondue set - in avocado, naturally - and we haul it out every Christmas.)

Nikolaus is calling for help - I'd best answer. After that, my bed beckons ...