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    Bernadette, how wonderful!

    Here's the scene in Bellevue, Wa . . .

    I'm trying to get our wash done--mine and Bruce's, I mean, because the girls have long since preferred to do their own. My method is to do all the sorting and folding up in the living room where the tree is glowing with those old-timey colored lights. Also that's where TIVO keeps all the shows we love on tap for the odd moment when we have time to watch them.

    While I sorted wash, I saw Bill Kristol on the Daily Show. While I folded the first dry load, I saw some of Deepak Chopra on Stephen Colbert. Our 16-year-old left a little while ago with my debit card and the keys to the Honda in her hands. Our college student is home for three weeks--at this moment she's in the kitchen with her boyfriend sneaking snuggling sessions while her laptop provides background music. I'm pretending not to notice.

    She's the one who was determined to hold on to Santa for as long as she possibly could. She makes sure we do the traditional things, like listen to cheesy songs while putting the ornaments on the tree and choosing names for Santa presents . . . after she learned the truth about Santa, she insisted that we be Santa to one another. We have this ridiculous ceremony every December in which the 4 of us choose names from a hat, trying not to get our own. It always takes 2 or 3 draws to work, and this year I got her.

    I bought her an extremely soft red sweater and some extremely soft and fluffy socks to put in her stocking. Dear Emily! I can tolerate her boyfriend because he seems so devoted to her. She finished her 1st quarter of college with a B average and lots of determination to do better next time.

    Bruce is downstairs; a month or so ago he reclaimed his old office/art space for the first time since his injury in March of 2001. I wish I could say he's painting, but he's actually working on a project for his job. The injury took out his drawing/painting hand . . . he's only tried a few drawings with his other hand.

    I miss the artist. It's funny--he's not himself unless he's being physcal and being a tech geek and being a dad and doing art. Those things are him. He sitskis, he handcycles, he does his suspended gait training and he rides the e-stim bike. He works in high tech again. He helps Heather with her chemistry and goes to her soccer games. He's the guy who spent every single evening for years and years reading to his daughters--ah, so many great books the three of them heard together.

    I've been looking for what to give this man for Christmas. It couldn't be near enough.


      Well darn B, your dire straits take all the joy out of my already-done-gloating! I sure hope your partner starts perking up soon, hopefully you have been taking Zicam or something so you aren't next. And you know already that it will still be a good Christmas, since you are together. I must say that your boys sound sweet and caring,well,duh-like mother like sons? Thats so cool that teen-boy was taking care of the toddlers! Sending lots of good wishes your way, and recovered health!
      We are getting ready for a huge party, hopefully at least 50! I't's a holiday-new house party, we have way too much wine hanging around here, so it seemed a good idea. I'll be serving a few different kinds of apps, soup, salad and bread and have cherry pies coming with Jim's high school girlfriend from the cherry capital in Traverse City, Mi. It is actually alot easier for us to host than run around here in the cold months. Should be great fun, I will be appointing cameraman, musicman and bartender as they come in and hope to have some good pictures. Last week we had a dinner party for 6 and then played charades, it was so fun. Of course the trick is to find titles that can only be acted out in a ridiculous manner so we can all laugh at ourselves. Needless to say our team won, but the other team is getting wise to us and finding really long titles that get harder as the wine, err, night goes on. All in good fun.
      Jim is doing well, just had to have a laser touch-up on his eyes and a visit to the "hoof" doc so most of the bases are covered. We got an invite to Govenor Doyle's Inaugeration in January so that will be fun after working to get him (and his ESC research stimuli) elected. I have yet to adopt a dog due to fearsof recrimination from our cat, she's such a princess!
      For January my book club is reading a book called "The Way the Crow Flies" by Ann Marie MacDonald and I loved it. It is set in Canada in the era of my youth and reminded me of so much--remember putting cards in the spokes of your bicycle? Being scared of "the big bomb" and pedal pushers?
      I hope all your Holidays are bright and that the new year will bring good tidings. Deb


        Originally posted by lilsister
        cherry pies coming with Jim's high school girlfriend from the cherry capital in Traverse City, Mi.
        Lordy, debra, I went to high school in Traverse City--spent my summers waitressing at restaurants catering to people from Detroit and Chicago who came up to enjoy our town during the cherry harvest. Does Jim's old girlfriend take the Ludington ferry across to Madison? I've always wanted to do that.

        (Sorry to interrupt the Christmas thread, but I couldn't let that little detail just sllip by.)


          Originally posted by kate
          (Sorry to interrupt the Christmas thread, but I couldn't let that little detail just sllip by.)
          Kate, This is just "family" catching up with each other, ask away. I laughed reading your post to Deb, as a kid visiting and living in Grosse Pointe, MI, we used to visit Travers and I had similar old hauntes as kids.

          Deb, your thread sounds wonderful, the gathering of friends and all. Enjoy the Governor's Innaguration. Glad you made it that far. POST pictures!

          Kate, when the last of my 4 brothers learned the truth about Santa, we did the same, draw names and be Santa to one another. Way back then we had a price limit, I think $5.00 that my parents gave to each of us. The dollar amount went up with the years, and as we got jobs, we provided the money ourselves. I loved that tradition. My teen believed in Santa until he was 12 I think and the last year you could see the push /pull on his face. The first year he didn't believe, he said Christmas was sad for him. I refuse to allow him to be around while I wrap, he still needs some magic.

          As a family we have a wonderful Christmas custom leading up to Christmas day. We have a Dicken's Christmas Carole Advent calendar. In the early days, hubbie and I took turns reading every other night. As the boys learned how to read, they slowly took a night or one assisted us, last year we assisted the little guy. This year the kids read on their own. They jockey for different nights and count ahead for the story of Tiny Tim. This year they traded, even coming to blows to see who got Tiny Tim. We have 3-4 Advent calendars. The book doesn't have candy with it. Each year they got a German calendar with small push out molded chocolates. This year we switched to the Starbuck's trees filled with candy and a hidden picture. We also have a wonderful wall calendar where you move the snowflake. It is in two shades of blue, and the background flakes are beaded onto the navy blue velvet. The boys love moving the circular flake from pocket to pocket. We also have a Advent calendar that we keep on the stairwell landing above the stockings. It has a Christmas scene and 24 days of varying sized doors. I stick one candy inside for each of us. It is large enough for small trinkets, but the one year I put coins, etc. the boys didn't like it, they simply want their minature candies. I had better not break traditions. Our last calendar is the one that started it all. My mom sent me the "religious Advent calendar" that my grandmother sent me in 1957, my first Christmas. Growing up, I loved to read the journey to Bethleham. No candy, no gifts, just the simple story. My mom found it packed away almost 11 years ago. It started our little Advent traditions. Next year we are back to the $1.99 push out candies as well as all the others. Our list grows and grows. Funny, as sick as everyone here is (except me) they all struggled to the sunroom for our nightly ritual.

          It is almost 2 am and I have work at 9 am tomorrow as well as a day full of activities. I woke up and did a sick call, bed check, covering everyone, mopping the fever off their foreheads and giving kisses to the cheek. Each one stirred slightly, I received a round of "love you's" and came back here to see if anyone had posted. I had no intention of another post but alas I am long winded. The house is silent, even the pets, all sleeping peacefully.

          Funny not a single gift got wrapped but the panic is a bit less having posted here. Almost like that night long ago, with a sick child asleep on the floor, in a steaming bathroom. The solitude is so nice, only work and chaos comes early tomorrow. I am off to sleep again.

          Now, back to the regularly schedualed show........
          Every day I wake up is a good one


            I'm not sure, Kate, all I know is that it takes her about 7 hours to get here. I remember her and Jim on the phone for hours and on the couch after Mom went to work (nights), I'm sure they kept the house warmer on those cold Wisconsin winters! Ever the cheerleader, she's been trying to set me up with her brother We all went to a small-town high school so this party will be a sort of reunion too.
            Some of our presents are still signed by Santa, it just keeps all those precious childhood memories alive,eh?


              You guys are rich in family and it glows in your writing. Deb


                It was nice reading all your updates .... as Deb stated the love of family truly shines in all your writings ! Gee Marm I sure wish you guys could get a break for Matt and all the worries ... damn bloody hospitals .... you must want to scream from the roof tops some days ....... why why and why! I will especially keep you in my prayers for continued strength and a peaceful holiday! And Kate I'm glad you weren't blown into the ocean with all the stormy weather you've had .... although there is something to be said for candle light ... I burn candles almost daily - its a ritual with me ... somehow a room just seems cold without them ... well ... and they smell nice too!

                Our Christmas will be different this year without our Julie here - since living in another city too far away and only a few days off from work ! Ironically she is the family traditionalist with all the spirit at our house so she will be missed in so many ways ... but .. life is change so I've learned .. and I believe she is happy .. but I will still miss her terribly. I try to remind myself that that there are many among us who will be missing someone at their table this Christmas for reasons so much sadder than mine and that at least I know she is in Calgary living and apparently loving her life - not afraid to take risks - something I didn't learn to do until I was much older and tied to too many responsibilities! Hopefully we can make up for lost time in Feb when she comes home for her Grandmas 90th birthday party !

                Still there will be 13 of us for Christmas dinner and often there will be one or two that are invited last minute ..... my sisters and I divvy up the meal so I don't have to worry about it all .. it works out pretty well. When I was growing up we carried on many Ukrainian/Polish traditions that have gone by the wayside I fear but there are still one or two that we endeavor to continue ... like throwing the Kasha (a honey and wheat kind of porridge) at the ceiling so it will stick - for good luck - and of course there are always perogies and holobchi (cabbage rolls) and kolbasa (ham garlic sausage) in addition to the rest of the traditonal turkey meal! I'm embarrassed to say we complain about eating too much each and every year ..... and yet continue to do it again and again at every opportunity! I do hope that Bill can enjoy his Christmas this year without incident ... he has been having tummy troubles again having alot of gas etc. that refuses to move almost as if there is a blockage somewhere .. but the CT scan he had shows nothing so it remains unexplained ... as Rosan Rosanna Dan would say "its always something" . He has an ilieostomy as some of you know and although it has been freeing in many ways there are as always issues that go with its maintenance as well. Its become affectionately known as the "space alien" in our house (just because of the strange noises it makes from time to time) ... its funny the things you learn to laugh at !

                Well I really must get breakfast for LJ before she heads off to the second last day before school is out for the holiday.. for 2 whole weeks.. (that was for her) ...... I wish you all a very merry holiday and I pray for peace for and in all our worlds great and small ...
                do you suppose we will ever learn ...

                Last edited by Obieone; 21 Dec 2006, 1:44 PM.
                ~ Be the change you wish to see in the world ~ Mahatma Gandi

                " calling all Angels ...... calling all Angels ....walk me through this one .. don't leave me alone .... calling all Angels .... calling all Angels .... we're tryin' and we're hopin' cause we're not sure how ....... this .... goes ..."
                Jane Siberry


                  After what has been inarguably the worst year since Matt's accident 8 years ago, we're finally beginning to be able to breathe a little easier. Looking forward to a very quiet Christmas this year. Matt is home. He is healthy. Chris and I have both made job changes for the better, both financially and spiritually. So there's a lot to be thankful for, and I'm so looking forward to a little peace in our lives for the coming year.

                  I'm not even doing a big dinner this year - gasp We decided we'd spend the afternoon making - and eating - just a bunch of noshes - a tapas Christmas, if you will!

                  Deb, we still have presents under the tree from Santa - and from Gus, Pippin, Frosty, and I think I saw one for Matt from Chris Berman!

                  Kate, your writing flows with the love you and your family have for each other - keep it coming, it's like a soothing cup of tea!

                  Cheesecake - yikes - hoping everyone gets over all the badness before Christmas!!


                    I just caught up here...and I feel like a warm, soft blanket has been wrapped around my shoulders and a mug of hot chocolate pushed into my hands! Can you believe it's been four years? So many changes we've all been through...and so many things still remain the same. Bittersweet, eh?

                    Brianna is home for Christmas. My stepdaughter Diane will be home for Christmas too; one of the biggest blessings of this year, being able to finally connect with my stepdaughter! It's a long story, but just know it has had a happy ending.

                    We are all well, busy and counting our blessings. I wish you all peace and harmony in 2007!!

                    "God warns us not to love any earthly thing above Himself, and yet He sets in a mother's heart such a fierce passion for her babes that I do not comprehend how He can test us so."
                    ~Geraldine Brooks, "Year of Wonders"

                    "Be kind...for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."
                    ~Philo of Alexandria


                      Happy Holidays!

                      Warmest wishes to each of you and your families for the Merriest of Christmases or whatever holiday you celebrate!

                      May the New Year bring Health, Happiness and Prosperity to all!



                        An early Merry Christmas

                        Anyone else here have to run out and shop today? I do and I am kicking myself for it. Just wanted to wish each of you a Very Merry and Blessed Christmas and a Wonderful New Year.

                        Dogger, you beat us all to Christmas. May you and your Mon*Stars* have a wonderful day.
                        Every day I wake up is a good one


                          Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

                          This is our theme for this year, and I wish everyone the same!

                          Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
                          Let your heart be light
                          From now on,
                          our troubles will be out of sight

                          Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
                          Make the Yule-tide gay,
                          From now on,
                          our troubles will be miles away.

                          Here we are as in olden days,
                          Happy golden days of yore.
                          Faithful friends who are dear to us
                          Gather near to us once more.

                          Through the years
                          We all will be together,
                          If the Fates allow
                          Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
                          And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.


                            Merry Christmas to everyone ! I'm having a quiet cup of tea before the [mon]stars wake up and a tornado descends on the Christmas tree .

                            Cheesecake , I had to pick up a present for Harry and Bill in town yesterday . I took them with me for some muscle . It is a motor bike , so it got pre Christmas run in yesterday arvo . So far no scratches on bike or jockeys , but no doubt that will change . Lulu is the appointed nurse and has band aids and peroxide ready to do patch up surgery .

                            Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !
                            Every day I wake up is a good one .


                              Umm... cheesecake *raises hand* : :
                              I think I have a couple hours...luckily, I just need to run around the corner.

                              Merry Christmas everyone!


                                Last edited by orangejello; 24 Dec 2006, 5:15 PM.