Goodbye, Christmas Tree

Well, the house is back to normal. The tree is outside and ready for the brush pile. The decorations have been taken down and stowed in the attic. My house looks much bigger with all that clutter gone. Although, I will miss the pretty lights at night just a wee little bit.

Things with the Christmas night situation have morphed into something bigger. Still no details I'm willing to share. Despite having my feelings hurt and my heart broken, I have no desire to hurt the other people involved. I'd really like nothing more than for an apology and life to go on as usual. But that's probably not going to happen.

On a happier note, we've made New Year's Eve plans. It looks like we're going out to dinner and hanging out at my cousin's house afterward. Nothing fancy but it should be enjoyable. We'll be spending the night with the same three couples we went to Las Vegas with a couple years ago.

During our little in-between-the-holidays vacation we've spent a lot of time just chilling out and relaxing. I've played more playstation games this week than I have all year. I've also read a couple of books, worked on my SIL's story, worked on my FIL's DVD, and spent an afternoon at the movie theater with my family. If you want a good family-friendly movie, I recommend Night at the Museum. My boys really liked it. Heck, so did the hubby and I.

More later.

Merry Christmas...for the most part

This year has been an odd one. I usually love the holidays. I adore the twinkling lights, the colorful decorations, the tree, the baking and even the shopping. This year wasn't quite as magical as I normally find the Christmas season, though. My heart just wasn't in it.

I blame this partly on the snowless landscape and partly on the fact that my dad's house, the one I grew up in, is in foreclosure. Things started getting bad a few months back when he retired. I'm not sure who is at fault--my dad or GM--but checks didn't start coming right away. In fact, I believe the first retirement check was almost seven weeks overdue. By then Dad was way behind on all of his bills. Once the checks made a reappearance it was too late. He couldn't get caught up. So the three bedroom ranch went into forclosure and went up for auction on December 22. My dad has no idea if it sold because he didn't go to the courthouse; my dad said the bank will send him some kind of notification through the mail.

So there's that situation. Not exactly cheery.

Yet, it hard to be totally blah about the season when you have little kids in the house. Santa is a big deal no matter what when you're eight and six. Their excitement and delight made Christmas morning a treat. We unwrapped our gifts and then played with them all day long. Everyone was delighted with their presents and eager to put them to good use. Yes, I did get that PS2 game I had asked the hubby to get for me. I'm terrible at it, but I expect practice will help.

In fact, after I put the kids to bed I decided to do just that: practice. I was halfway through the dance routine when the phone rang. I'm not going to go into what the phone call was about. Suffice it to say that if someone wants to ruin Christmas day and probably the rest of your week, a phone call like that one will do it. I'm angry. Sad. Furious. Hurt. Appalled. Disappointed. But mostly just angry.

I wanted to jump in my car and drive over there so I could confront the person slinging the accusations but sometimes that's just not an option. Not that I don't anticipate following this particular little play through to its end, I do. But I need to make sure I handle this the right way, if there is such a thing. I need to be rational and adult. Not enraged and goaded into saying or doing the wrong thing--no doubt exactly what the instigator in this little scenerio would love to see me do.

All I know is misery does truly love company, but this time a line was crossed. One I can't just blindly turn the other cheek toward.

Vacationing

So I've been on vacation since Tuesday afternoon. I went in to work that morning for a few hours and then went to the office Christmas party at my boss's house. Afterwards, my week and a half vacation started. It's been both hectic and relaxing.

I've gotten nearly all my wrapping done - I plan on finishing today. I've made the DVD for my dad (no worries about him reading this because he doesn't have a computer) and I'm nearly done with one of the scrapbook pages for his book; my goal is to get four pages done by tonight. Once those are done, I'll be ready for the party tomorrow. I may take down my little TV and a DVD player to my basement craft room so I can watch movies while I scrapbook.

What else have I done? I got my haircut. It was grossly overdue. I think I had five pounds of split-ends weighing me down. I'm not sure how well the cut is going to curl because my girl wasn't available and desperation led me to an unknown salon. It feels better, though, so I'm hopeful.

Oh, and on the boys' last day of school before the break they each had Christmas parties in their classrooms. I attended both by running the hallways between one end of the of the school and the other. My kindergartener is in the new wing of the building and my third grader is on the bottom floor of the old wing. Fun!

In addition to my holiday preparations, I've also spent a lot of time playing the PS2. In addition to a lot of other goodies, my in-laws got me Final Fantasy X (I picked it out) for Christmas. I've recently completed the Djose Temple maze and earned my third Aeon. At first I wasn't all that impressed with the game but it's growing on me. So much so that I can't seem to stay away from it for more than a few hours at a time.

After tomorrow I plan on spending at least three hours a day on my sister-in-law's story. I'm about 80 pages in and probably won't finish it but I can at least give her a good portion to start with, right?

Well, it's time to go see how well the haircut works. The curling iron awaits..

At a Snail's Pace

Yeah, that's pretty much exactly how I feel about the progress I'm making on Redemption's Path. It's slow going, my friends. I think I need to print it off and read it. No corrections allowed. Just a quick check for continuity.

But I'm afraid I won't be able to resist the inner editor. Or critic. So I've been typing one stubborn word after the other, wondering how much I've botched.

Not Making Progress

I should have kept my mouth shut about how proud I was of myself for writing every day. Every day!

I didn't even open the WIP last night. Or the night before that.

Today at lunch (an hour insted of the normal 1/2 hour) I thought I'd get something accomplished. Yeah. Right. My laptop has decided to be a total pain in the ass and won't let me do anything. I'm not sure what its problem is, but it's pissing me off. Every time I open the WIP it locks up the machine.

Can you say "annoying"?

However, I was able to at least save the damn file and transfer it to the desktop here at work. I might be able to get something done before it's time to open the door and reenter the working world.

Wish me luck!

Christmas Meme

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Both!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped. Even the tiny gifts in the stocking are individually wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Multi-colored in the house (including the tree), white & blue icicles on the house.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope.

5. When do you put your decorations up? We usually get the tree the first weekend in December.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Christmas cookies made using my step-mom's recipe. They're so fluffy and light.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: There were five of us kids. Every year I would wake up my brother, BJ, and we'd get the coffee and hot chocolate made before waking up our Dad and step-mom. Many years we knocked on their door before 5 am. They never complained. Not once. I think that is one of my favorite memories: me and my brother making coffee and hot chocolate in near darkness.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember! I'm assuming I had to be at least 10, though, because I think I believed even after my parents' divorce.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? I started this tradition with my kids when they were little. They get to open one present: a pair of pajamas. Want to make sure they look good for Christmas morning pictures!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Plug the lights into the angel. After making sure all the little bulbs light up, we string the lights around the tree. Then its garland or ribbon (depends on the year). After that...it's a free for all. The kids just start hanging ornaments wherever they can reach. Usually as a final touch we put on candy canes that they get to pluck from the branches and eat throughout the month of December.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Both. If I'm not forced to leave the house and brave the roads, I love it. If I have to go to work, I hate it.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes! Although it's been a long time.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I have one special gift that stand out from my childhood. It was the year Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage. They were so expensive and my parents couldn't afford to buy me one. But they didn't want to disappoint me, so they hired a lady to make a knock-off. Because they were so expensive and I was very aware of how tight money was for our family (and obviously knew Santa no longer existed), I didn't expect the doll I craved. When I opened that package, I cried. I was so touched by their desire to make me happy. I still get a little misty-eyed thinking about it.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Traditions. I want my kids to grow up with the same traditions I did. Not to mention a few new ones my hubby and I have agreed upon.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Um...Christmas Cookies. Didn't we already answer this question?

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Oyster stew on Christmas Eve. I hate the stuff but it's been a tradition in my dad's family for many, many years. It's so popular my in-laws have adopted it and show up every year to celebrate with my family.

I can't forget the search for the Christmas tree. We take the kids to a tree farm where they get to see a live reindeer, take a hay ride, run through a straw bale maze, and get pictures taken with Santa. This is one of the things I look forward to all year long.

I am also a sucker for Christmas music all month long and watching all the classic cartoons like Rudolf, Frosty, Charlie Brown, and the Grinch.

17. What tops your tree? An angel in a white dress with gold wings and candles in her hands.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I'll be honest; I like them both. Every year I wish I could give more. I love buying things for people, but I also find a great deal of pleasure in giving home-made gifts.

And I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy unwrapping my gifts. I love presents!

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? The Little Drummer Boy.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Yum!

Making Progress

I'm feeling rather proud of myself. I've been steadily writing on the Christmas gift project. A little bit every day. Not the 3000 I need, but something. Even when I'm not updating the blog with a new post I am updating the word meter in the sidebar.

It's going to be a busy weekend but I figure I should be able to break the 25,000 mark if I stick to it.