Friday, December 31, 2010

On the Brink ...

Now that it's THISCLOSE to a new year, I'm ... conflicted.

I mean, it's exciting and all ... a new start, a new year.

At the same time, I really don't like change. I do get set in my little ways.

And everything seems to be changing.
  • I don't have a cat in my house. And I'm a little scared to get a new one. It won't be Ginger or Diana. Am I ready to get used to a new cat?
  • I own hedgehogs. They're cute ... but they're also prickly and smelly. I like them ... but it's odd to have a pet (other than a fish) that I can't cuddle with. (Well, that I can't cuddle with and NOT suffer for it. And that's counting the pet rabbit I had about 20 years ago. The one that wouldn't let me hold it without scratching the crap outta my chest when I tried to hold it. Rabbits have SHARP claws, just so you know. I still like them, though.)
  • Next fall, my kiddos will start school. This is so weird. They're getting so big. We gave Bruise a (much-needed) haircut ... and he looks older. Bucket got hoop earrings for Christmas. Wearing those and her newest jeans, with her hair pulled back ... she looks halfway ready for college. Scary.
  • We now have a Wii, with a WiiFit and Netflix. These are GOOD things. Still, it's kinda scary. We didn't have them for ... well, FOREVER. And now we do.
  • Michael'll be taking that engineering license test again in a few months. Please pray that he passes it.
    After he does, we can be a two-vehicle family again.
Christmas stuff is coming down. We're getting ready for the kids' birthday.
We bought containers and organized the kids' room this morning. And spent the afternoon cleaning up. The house isn't anywhere near where it needs to be for next weekend ... but it's a start. And we know what to do for the kids' birthday cakes.

We only have one 2011 calendar. I feel oddly unprepared for the new year.

At the same time, I feel, overall, pretty good about this year that's almost done.
  • I participated in a 5K "run." (Yes, I did run for parts of it. But not for a whole lot of it.)
  • I went to a Roller Derby practice/audition/whatever. And it was fun. Even when I fell. But I don't think that it's right for me right now.
  • I cemented my reputation at Church as being the one gal that colors her hair a LOT. And to different colors. I've sported different shades of brown, blonde, and red. I also had pink and blonde streaks. And my hair hasn't fallen out. Yet.
  • I got to spend the whole week at Girls' Camp this last summer. Hadn't done that since I was ... seventeen, I think.
  • I grew more accustomed to the fact that I don't have my Gingi-cat. It's been almost a year and a half ... and I think I'm doing better. And then Diana died. It's been just over a week. I'll get/be better. Sometime.
    (I know that I'm not doing awesomely, since just writing that has me crying. I hate outliving people/animals. However, it does strengthen my testimony about the eternalness of our spirits and our relationships. Why else would a loving God have us create these ties and invest all this emotion if He hasn't provided a way for us to be with those that we love after we die? And death isn't forever.  It's just temporary. I have to remember that, in the eternal scheme of things, it's just a short separation. And I can get through this.)
  • I made brownies that, apparently, contain a secret, addictive chemical. My stepdad's gained over two pounds this last week. And, dude, they are GOOD brownies.
Well ... that's all I can think of off the top of my head at present.
Time to help my husband and to watch Prince of Persia, drink sparkling cider, and finish folding laundry.
Yes, we are JUST that wild and crazy. Woooooo!! Check out our MAD, CRAZY, EXCITING way to ring in the new year -- laundry, a movie, sleeping. We're CAH-RAY-ZEE!!!

I know, I know. You're madly, madly jealous.
It's okay. You'll get over it. :P

Love to you and wishing you all a wonderful and happy new year filled with pleasant experiences.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Something good

In the midst of getting all the bills paid (which Michael does), I got to do something.

I made my first Heifer International donation!

Out there, somewhere in the world, a flock of chicks and a hive of bees will arrive to help some families to be self-sufficient.

This makes me happy. In an Earth-Mother-Santa type of way.

Things aren't all bad.

Michael noticed how I was giddy-happy for DAYS after donating ... and how I hadn't been that chipper for a while.

If only I could afford to do donations like that every time I felt down....

Yeah, if I had unlimited income, I could totally be a philanthropist.

That and a librarian ... those would be my employments of choice.

I look like hell.

The last couple days have been ... different.

The rest of the week, besides yesterday and this morning have been great. Don't get me wrong.

But, yesterday, Diana cat was NOT normal. As in, wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink, had lost a ton of weight -type not normal.

Long story short, she died this morning. I'd laid her in the cat bed next to our bed last night. She was within arm's reach, in case she woke up to meow or anything. We'd forced about 6 oz of water down her (shot it into her mouth with one of the kids' old baby bottles). She'd kept it down. Unlike Tuesday morning, when I gave her maybe an ounce and she puked it up. And couldn't move herself out of the puddle.

This morning, after Michael's alarm went off, I pulled her back into bed with me. So I could cuddle her and help her stay warm. I fell back asleep after Michael called in sick. When I woke up, about seven this morning, she had stopped breathing. And I couldn't find her pulse. She was gone. She went very peacefully ... more so than Gingi-cat did. Which is a small blessing. She didn't appear to be in any pain at the end. Still ...

Michael got up and dug a hole in the backyard while I gathered a box and some fabric to wrap her in. The kids woke up after I had her boxed up. This wasn't a shock to them, after my weeping most of yesterday when it was pretty obvious that she was really, really sick.

Bruise: Mom, I don't want you to cry.
Me: *sniffling* I'm sorry, sweetie. It's not your fault.
Bruise: *wisely* Ah. So it's DIANA'S fault.

(How did I get such wise children?)

They've taken the news well.

Now both the pets we've had since the kids were born are gone. We still have the prickle sisters.
Although hedgehogs don't have the longest of lifespans ... about 3-5 years. And I don't know how old these girlies are.

I've taken some Valerian.
If it weren't against the Word of Wisdom, I'd take a few shots of something stronger.
Hey, I'm just keeping it real. But, since I value my religion and my temple worthiness more than dulling my mental faculties, I'm not going to do it. But I am tempted at times. I just choose not to do it. Because that's how I roll.

Grandpa C, like I mentioned last week, had a heart attack. He's getting better. He's recuperating in an assisted living place until he's strong enough to go back home. He might even be home by this point ... I haven't heard anything for a few days. But, most importantly, he's getting better.

My aunt is back home.

My mom and my stepdad finished redoing my old bedroom back home. Now we have a place to stay when we head down. ^_^ That's nice.
My mom keep apologizing to me for how cold my bedroom was as I was growing up. Turns out there was barely any insulation in that mobile home.
I find it funny that she's so aghast about it. I survived. I just ALWAYS used my electric blanket all night during the cold nights. ... Sometimes, I even read by the light from the temperature gauge ... like when I was grounded. I'm not complaining!

We gave the kids (and ourselves) an early Christmas present. We bought a Wii. And a Netflix account. We've been streaming movies since Saturday. VERY NICE.
And Bruise is THRILLED to beat me at the swordplay dueling on Wii Sports Resort. And Bucket's getting really good at the bowling. (I bowl SO much better on the Wii than I ever have in real life. Just for the record.)

We have most of the Christmas shopping done. We've hung the new family portraits on the wall. New arrangement and all ... It looks good.

I finished the scarves and a hat for some Christmas presents. I was even able to get a scarf done for the kids' Primary teacher (at church). She's been their teacher for over three years ... which, when the kids move classes every year or so, is quite remarkable. And they love her very much. (And who can blame her? She's wonderful!!)
She really loved the scarf that I made. She was amazed that it was her favorite color (I had asked her daughter) and that it was so soft. (Hey, I'm also a very tactile person. I like SOFT fibers. Given my choice, I nab the silkiest yarns that I can. ... My Jayne Cobb hat isn't very soft. Neither is the first scarf I made, when the kiddos were baby-babies. But that's about it.)

Oh ... hey, I figured something out. Might be TMI ... those wacko dreams I reported last post?
Yeah, PMS-dreams. CRAZY. But, at least, there's some explanation. ... If only those nutso dreams were just  limited to that time of the month.

Other dreams I've had:
  1. My Ty-bro was awesome as a stand-up comedian
  2. We were living with my mother-in-law. I was organizing a cabinet and Skypeing (and I don't even use Skype. I'm such a Luddite, I know.) and was BUSTING people up, talking about my mad childreading skillz (yes, that is sarcasm. My skills ... you've heard about them.)
Yeah, those are the ones that I recall off the top of my head.

Funny thing that happened the other day?
Bruise demonstrated WHY one wears the wrist-strap on the WiiMote.
  • As we were playing, he was bowling, I think. And he let go ... and, since I'm a responsible Wii-player, the WiiMote swung around on its strap and smacked him on top of the head.
I REALLY tried not to laugh.
Really.

Note that I'm not saying if I succeeded or not.

I also got a good deal on a new external HD for my computer. (My old one is 13 GB from being FULL. Which freaks me out a little. ... I remember when I got my first PC [I grew up with an Apple IIc and a couple of Macs] ... and I thought that I was ALL THAT, having a SIX GIG HARD DRIVE! ... Yeah. That was just over a decade ago. .... I'm OOOOOOOOOLD!!!!)
But, yeah, 2 TB for less than $100 ... Not bad, right? But don't tell me ... it's for CHRISTMAS. It's a surprise!

I got my Visiting Teaching done ... mostly. Michael and I went out last night and delivered plates of Christmas goodies (which I baked in between snuggling Di-di cat yesterday. And not getting the laundry folded or dinner made. Oops. But I did do the dishes. And I washed almost all the laundry! And snuggled a dying cat. So ... yeah. Michael told me that I was doing fine and to stop berating myself for not being Superwoman.)

The kids bunk bed should be delivered any day now. I need to type up our ward's YW history for the year.

I should start dinner ... if I'm going to use the crockpot. Which I should.
There are a few things left to get for Christmas.
And I should finish cleaning the house.

I think that should cover most of it, right?

But, hey, the bills are paid! That's always a huge plus!
And I haven't cried today as much as yesterday ... I try and do my mourning in advance, I suppose.
Which made it necessary to take ibuprofen, a nap (with Diana), and some Tylenol. 
I haven't had to do any of that yet. 

But it explains why I look like hell.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In which I wish I could do more ...

I mean, really ... I'll admit that I'm a lazy person.
(Seriously, my house is NEVER spic and span. My desk is CONSTANTLY in a state of disorder. I procrastinate. I have wonderful intentions that I don't get around to ... like the Christmas cookies that I keep MEANING to make.... *sigh*)

And this might help explain why I'm always so amazed by the wonderful things out there to help people:

  • Kiva loans - kiva.org 
  • Heifer International
  • World Vision - Both of these places allow people to donate funds to purchase livestock to help others in need to be self-sufficient (and, in turn, to pass along some of their new livestock's offspring to others).
  • FreeRice.com - Answer trivia (Vocabulary, foreign language, grammar, science, math, geography, etc) and, for each correct answer, you're awarded a donation of 10 grains of rice to countries in need.
  • HungerSite.com - click for a donation of food to be made. (There're also other sites linked. The Breast Cancer site donates money toward mammograms to women who wouldn't be able to afford them otherwise. Children's Health helps get immunizations and medicine to children. Another helps buy books for children. One helps buy rainforest land so it will be protected. And one helps pay for food for animals in shelters.)
  • Letssaythanks.com - You can send a free postcard to servicemen/women for free via Xerox. You choose the design and a message. You only give them your name and hometown.
And, yes, those are kinda small things ... but they serve some (NEEDED) good.
(I'm not going to lie, I tear up something fierce when reading the World Vision catalog. For many people out there, these animals (and the work, wool/fur, eggs, milk, manure, etc) are a ticket to being able to thrive, to be self-sufficient; to be able to afford a home, clothes, food, and schooling. ... This astounds me. I'm so incredibly spoiled. And, really, would it kill me to donate, what, $50 to help another family to get out of poverty?)

And then ... well. There are the people out there that make a huge difference.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates' foundation helps millions of people. (Say what you will about Mr. Gates' business dealings ... still, there's good things being done with some of that money. Which makes me feel better.)
  • Mother Theresa ... need I say more? She was an amazing powerhouse of a woman.
    She embodied selfless service.
  • Dr. Hawa Abdi - She's a Somalian doctor who's stood up against the militants who tried to run her out of her own clinic (for being a woman). She is raising money to restore her clinic back to running condition to take care of the thousands of refugees who have flocked to her clinic for protection.
    When her life was threatened, she didn't care. She's hardcore. And I'm in awe of her courage and strength.
  • And this amazing, amazing man: Mr. Narayanan Krishnan

    (Thanks to my friend, Dianne, for originally sharing this on facebook.)
But, yes ... I think, especially at this season, it's always a VERY GOOD THING to be reminded of the reason for this holiday. We were given the most wonderful, most needed, most ... BESTEST gift ever.

There's no possible way for us to ever give anything of the same value in return. 
But couldn't we make more of an effort (myself included!) to show our appreciation and gratitude in our daily lives by serving those around us?

This year, I find myself listening, over and over, to a certain song ...


There's magic in the air this evening
Magic in the air
The world is at her best, you know
When people love and care
The promise of excitement
Is one the night will keep
After all, there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas

The world has got a smile today
The world has got a glow
There's no such thing as strangers when
A stranger says hello
And everyone is family
We're having so much fun
After all, there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas

'Tis the season to be jolly and joyous
With a burst of pleasure, we feel it arrive
It's the season when the saints can employ us
To spread the news about peace and to keep love alive

(spoken):

Merry Christmas! So long!

There's something in the wind today
That's good for everyone
Yes, faith is in our hearts today
We're shining like the sun
And everyone can feel it
The feeling's running deep
After all, there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas
After all, there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas day 

(Copyright isn't mine. It belongs to The Jim Henson Company and Disney.)
(I hope they don't mind my quoting it. Because these lyrics are wonderful and they make me very, very happy. Paul Williams [who wrote the song]  ... I have no words. You're just too cool.)

But ... yeah ... if anything will motivate me, it should definitely be these great examples. ^_^

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New things ...

So ... I should try to catch up, right? It's not like it's YOUR fault that I fell off the face of the planet, blogging-wise.

I've mostly just been lazy. (EXAMPLE: Here I sit, at a quarter to nine, and I'm in a nightgown and a robe. Yes, I did sleep in a TON ... like an hour ... thanks to being SO worn out from last night. [No, not THAT, you perv.] And, also, thanks to the kiddos sleeping in.)

Okay, so my last REAL-REAL post was just before Thanksgiving. Let's see what all I can recall:

  • My aunt had her toe amputated. She was SUPPOSED to (read: my mom did EVERYTHING so that her sister could be in assisted living until she heals. My aunt has Rheumatoid Arthritis, so while she heals, she can't take her medicine for RA. So she's in pain.
    BUT, the doctor sent her straight home (to my mom's) instead. Which was aggravating.
    ESPECIALLY since, within a couple days of being at home, she developed a CRAZYBAD infection.
    So they moved her to assisted living to get her THREE DOSES of antibiotics daily for a MONTH.
    Yeah. Bad choice on the doctor's part.\rant
  • My mom also discovered that my childhood bedroom has mold. So, instead of doing Thanksgiving at her house, we ended up at Michael's folks' house (and spent Wednesday night with my Dad and --- oh, hell. If Oregon had common-law marriages, they'd have been recognized as married. I'm just going to call her my stepmom, okay? From here on in, L is "my stepmom." That's what my kids call her, that's how I think of her. /rant --- my stepmom. We also got to see my Nana and Uncle Steve.
  • As I alluded, we had Thanksgiving with Mom and Dad C, Michael's siblings (except his brother C, who had to work. Boo.), his grandfolks, Aunt A, Uncle T, Cousin K (who gave me her hand-me downs. YAY! I fit in 14s again! ... No wonder, when I bent down, my jeans would slide down. And, since I don't like the chance to crack-flash people, I was not thrilled with this occurance. But, hey! With K's old pants, this doesn't happen!! Yay!)
    Bruise LOVED playing the Wii over at his grandfolks. Bucket loved playing with her cousins. Michael's and I played some board games with J, T, and her husband K (NOT Cousin K. Cousin K is a girl. Are you keeping it straight?)
    We also went to watch Tangled, which was REALLY GOOD. Michael's not enamored of the music. But the visuals and the plot and dialog were top-notch. And, hee!!! It's Chuck Bartowski! As the voice of Flinn!  ... I really do adore him. I'd totally be BFF with Chuck anytime. (I know that it's really A ROLE played by Zachary Levi. But it's played SO WELL!) And the kids loved it, too. Pascal, the chameleon, is their favorite character.
  • Black Friday, I opted to sleep in. Around lunchtime, Michael and I went out to get a few things. And we got some good deals. ... While we were out, we ended up at Target. And we bought a fake tree. It's a pre-lit one. Normally, it'd have cost $50 for a 6' tree with clear lights. But it was on sale for $25 ... so we really couldn't resist. We figured that, hey, if we hated it, we would only be out $25 ... which is how much a real tree would have cost. It was easy to set up (after we got home) and looks pretty decent! ... And I did get a Wallflower (Fresh Balsam) from Bath and Body Works, so that it SMELLS more like Christmas in here.
    - Also on Black Friday, after we got back to Mom and Dad C's, the womenfolk went out for pedicures. Mine's now chipping, but I have Chinese red piggies with white and silver snowflakes on my big toes.
    It's REALLY hard to take a picture of your own foot.
    Normally, my toes actually fit together. They're not all snaggle-toothed-looking.
    Just for the record.
    Here they are ... with the bruised toe I got from tripping over luggage in my hurry to get to the bathroom before running out with Michael to do some Christmas shopping while my mom put the kids to bed.
    Besides the bruise there, way cute, huh? I don't know that the snowflakes were WORTH $5, though.
    But, yeah, this is my first professional pedicure. Kinda exciting. (I could totally get used to them. My toenails were all so SMOOTH along the tops, I couldn't snag pantyhose/tights OR accidentally stab Michael in the leg! Pretty nice, eh?)
    Okay ... *I* was excited.
  • Grandpa C fell while getting to the car on Thanksgiving. He also ended up falling while unloading the car when they got home. So, Friday (Black Friday) they went to Urgent Care, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. But it wasn't really pneumonia ...A few days later, he ended up in the ER, where they determined that his lungs were clear ... but there's SOME bacteria in his system. And he has a heart murmur (which they won't operate on, since he's 84).
    They sent him back home ... and Thursday night/Friday morning, he had a heart attack  (which you've already read about). He's alive. He was in the ICU. He should be released from the ICU today and moved to a care facility here in town. He's a fighter. He's stubborn. And he's got lots of people praying for him/sending him good energy/whatever. (Hey, I have friends of different religious/philosophical persuasions. And that's cool with me. ^_^)
  • The kids went to a birthday party last weekend. It was a superhero-themed party. The birthday boy was Batman, his little brother was Robin. One of their other friends was a Jedi. Bruise was Iron Man and Bucket was Supergirl. It was a really nice party.
    After the party, we scurried over to the library in time to see one of the local ballet troupes (younger kids. Ages ... 3-18, I think) perform some selections from "The Nutcracker." We had missed it last year (too many people showed up. Boo.), so it was REALLY nice to get to see it this year. Bucket really liked it. And Bruise liked it well enough, too. Not enough to think of a future as a ballerino/danseur, though.
  • We've been checking in on a friend's parrot (and getting her familiy's mail). He seems chattiest during the day, when I'm able to drop by then ... which, unfortunately, isn't often, since we only have the one car. And, really, walking over 4 miles (round-trip) with the kids? I don't think it'll happen. But, hey, I still get to get over there and see her birdie. That's pretty cool. (Except for when he's ill-tempered and feigns like he's gonna bite me. Which he can't. Because HE's in his cage and I'm NOT. Neener-neener.
  • Michael got the presents wrapped. Most of them. We don't have all the presents bought ... but we've made a start.
  • The kiddos are loving doing Advent calendars. We have chocolate ones (one each for them), a Lego one, a Playmobil one ... a book one (missing #6, but it tells the story of The Nutcracker), and a couple paper ones that we've used in previous years.
    The kiddos also like this online one at the Zooborns website.
  • As I mentioned, we also have two hedgehog sisters. The kids like them ... but are mostly scared to touch them. I clean the cages and have given them baths (just the one bath so far). They're pretty cool. And I've only wanted to have a hedgehog ... well, for the last 18 years. So, yay for living the dream!
    (Now to convince Michael to get a chinchilla ... and finches or a canary. And some fish again ...)
  • I went to Roller Derby last night. I fell a few times. Twice on my butt/back ... and my wrist hurts.
    It was a good experience and a good workout (THAT'S the reason why I was so tired.)
    I, however, don't think it's for me ... at least not at this time. It'd be $30/month ($360/year) for dues. AND I'd need to get my own gear. All in all, that'd be at least another $300-600+ ... and that's not considering the time that I'd spend away from my family (At least 4 hours of practice. Plus games and any travel) ... So, yeah, I'm not ready to make that commitment. At least, not right now.
    But I'm glad that I tried it. People were nice and I learned that I don't TOTALLY suck at skating, even though it's been about a decade since I was on skates. But my wrist is still feeling it today, after that first back-fall. And, OH, my back was SOOOO sore when I got home. 
  • Also, since skating was such a workout, I NEEDED a shower. SO BADLY. So I jumped in and got soaped off. And the shower drain wasn't working. So, I made it a QUICK shower and padded out to the laundry room to get the Drano. (Which worked. But still. *sigh*) ... But, yeah, I fixed the drain. Go me and caustic chemicals!
  • But it was REALLY nice to snuggle, all clean, in our new flannel sheets. So cozy. I don't know how I managed to leave the bed at all!
Also, in other news, I've been having CRAZY dreams ...
  • In one, Oprah had done some expose about vermin (maggots, rats, worms, etc) in bedding.
    And then, Michael and I were at my folks house. And my mom's bedroom carpet was a different color. And there was a white mouse in the new blanket. And I tried to kill it. With a hammer. And it was bleeding and vomiting up HUGE PUDDLES of blood. And I kept trying to kill it, it was suffering terribly and I felt so bad. And I had to end up throwing it out to the cats.
    VERY DISTURBING, INDEED.
    I'm not a very violent person. And I LIKE mice. (In fact, I rescued one from the cats once. My mom wasn't so happy when it got loose and we had to use D-con for the infestation.)
  • That same night, I also dreamed that I was coloring my hair (which I DID in real life. Pics to come.) and Mom and the kids were there, in our old apartment. And some guy kept trying to break in through the window. And I was wearing a towel. And he's all, "Don't call the police." And I'm like, "OF COURSE I'm calling the police, STUPID!"
    And it turns out that he (and his partner) were both FBI agents. And I'm all, "Haven't you heard of a door? Or knocking?? The door's RIGHT THERE!! ... Yes, officer. He's about 6'2", dark curly hair, brown eyes, *looks at badge* His name is ____ and he's an FBI agent. Please complain to the FBI office about this. Their agents should know better than trying to break into apartments with a lady in a towel, her mother, and her kids."
    But, truly, his FBI partner was quite professional and courteous.
  • Last night, I dreamt that our house and bathroom were really different. And that Ron Weasley was making out with me. WEIRD.
SERIOUSLY, what is WITH my subconscious????
I didn't even eat anything spicy last night!
(Michael blamed the mouse-blood and FBI dreams on the burritos we had the night previous ... but ... Yeah.)

But ... yeah ... Do you feel sufficiently caught up? Did I miss anything?
If I did, let me know.

Now, to watch a movie with the kidlets. They've been begging. ^_^

Friday, December 10, 2010

Surfacing ... Some bad news and some musing ...

To tell the absolute truth, mostly I've just been lazy. That's the main reason for my absence.

I mean, I did make some things for presents ... but mostly I've just NOT done things.
Speaking of .... *restarts the washer* ...

Okay, I'm back.

Firstly and most importantly, Michael's grandfather is sick. He's almost 85. He fell twice over Thanksgiving weekend. Once, while with family -- the second time was unloading luggage upon getting home. Thank goodness that Uncle D was there. So they took him to urgent care. And he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Later, he went into the hospital ... it's not pneumonia, it's some other infection. But, yeah, he's been really tired.
Uncle L called this morning. Grandpa, during the night had a heart attack ... He's alive. Thank goodness ... but he's in the ICU right now. L will call back with updates as they come. I called Michael and let him know. He'll call his siblings to let them know. L already called Michael's folks ... So .... yeah. That's where we stand right now.

I know that it's irrational of me, but I REALLY, REALLY HATE IT when people die. I suppose it's a testament to how much value I put on human life ... but, at the same time, it's a little ridiculous that I tend to look upon people dying as a form of abandonment.
Yes, I AM overly sensitive.

And, YES, Christmas (and Thanksgiving and Easter) have not been at all the same since Grandma Darlene died. About 15 years ago. ... And even more not-the-same when Pop-pop died back in 2001.
(Nostalgic much?)
(YES.)

But, yeah, if you could sends prayers/good thoughts/whatever for Grandpa, I'd really appreciate it.
We love him lots and really, really would like for him to be around for as long as we can possibly have him.

Of course, with this all happening around Christmas ... well, it does lead to some ruminating on the nature of the holiday.

One of the worst things about Christmas is how commercialized it's become.
The worst thing about Christmas is about how commercialized it's become.

I have NOTHING against Santa. I love Santa. The idea of a benevolent man/spirit/entity of some kind, serving the children of the world -- bringing presents to all children. Because he loves them and wants them to have happiness (Yes, we have been reading L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. And I do re-read the "Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus" letter every year). But, I do get a little annoyed when the presents seem to be the reason for the holiday, y'know?

The real purpose for Christmas, the reason that I strive to remember, is that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. He was sent to us, by a loving Heavenly Father, to teach and to redeem us.

When you think about it, it's really quite amazing.

A little baby, born in squalor, would grow to be the greatest among all mankind.
He would love and serve the disrespected, the sinners, the sick, the hated.
He would live his mortal life as a perfect example for us to follow.
He would willingly suffer and die for us.
He would triumph over death, allowing all mankind to live again, to be resurrected.
He would fulfill the demands of justice, allowing us to repent and to be able to return to Heavenly Father's presence ... something that we could never do on our own.

I could go on ... and, truly, I should. But then this blog entry would never end (and I'd never get the dishes and laundry done. Or get that shower that I need.) and I'd run out of words long before I would be truly finished.

But, well, I'm sure that you understand why I start bawling like a baby when I sing Christmas carols. And why I get all misty-eyed just listening to them.

Christmas is a time of miracles. And, maybe this year's miracle won't be Grandpa's recovery (as much as I REALLY, TRULY hope and pray that is will be) ... but, if nothing else, maybe this year's miracle is just reminding me of the importance of this holiday and what we're celebrating. We're celebrating the fact that death is NOT the end, that everyone has the opportunity to return to the heavenly home from whence we came, the eventuality of peace on earth and goodwill to all.

(Truly, I know that it's still going to get worse before it gets better -- C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle, anyone? The first two-thirds of that book are so depressing..But, phew, it does work out in the end. --- And, honestly, I'm not at all prepared. I have lots of progress to make. No, really. Believe me! ... But, oh, sometimes, I'm really ready for Christ's return. I can't wait to see my Pop-pop again. Or Grandma Darlene. Or Gingi-cat. And the fact that evil will be controlled. I could go for walks in the middle of the night and not fret about being abducted or raped or mugged or anything. I won't have to lock my doors. My kids will be able to walk to the park and play while I ... do ... something productive! It'll be wonderful.)

But, yes, things can get bad. And, really, for us, things could be much, much worse. Overall, our family is pretty healthy. We're not in danger of foreclosure. We have our vision and hearing. We have clothes. We have food. We have a car. We have pets (in fact, since getting our hedgehogs, Miss Diana-cat has been such a snuggler. It's kinda weird. In a nice way). We have the opportunities and ability to serve others. We have running water and electricity. We have BOOKS ... We're really very blessed.
I need to remember that.

And I will try.

So ... while I work on that, here's one of my favorite contemporary-ish Christmas songs:



Peace on earth, can it be
Years from now, perhaps we'll see
See the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on earth, can it be
Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can
I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He'll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on earth, can it be
Can it be (Intellectual Property of RCA ... you probably already knew that, though)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

For Aubri

(And for Michael, too, since he accused me of falling off the face of the earth. Blog-wise ... since he was across the room from me at the time said accusal was  ... accused. Yeah.)

20 YEARS AGO (1990):
1. I was nine years old and in Ms. Peter's class at Canyonville Elementary.
2. I was somewhat popular ... at least more so than the rest of my school career. ^_^
3. I was often grounded for having a messy room. Therefore, I read instead of going out to play. I read A LOT. Which explains a lot, come to think about it.
4. I adored my Rosie-cat, one of Mitten's kittens. She was a sweet, wonderful grey, cantalope, and white calico.

10 YEARS AGO (2000):
1. I lived in Corvallis, in an apartment with my finance's sister and two of her friends.
2. I was getting through my sophomore year of college.
3. I was FINALLY growing out the bangs I'd had since I was about four. For good this time.
4. I was surprised Christmas Eve by Michael coming to my parent's house early. (I didn't think I'd see him for at least another twelve hours. Sneaky guy. I almost think that my mom was more excited. Since she got me out of bed ... He wanted to surprise me by being there, by the tree, in the morning. ... And he also gave me my own set of The Chronicles of Narnia. With the Chris Van Allsburg covers! A man who knows what I want. No wonder I keep him. ^_^)
5. I was still around a size 8-10, like how I was through all of high school.

5 YEARS AGO (2005):
1. I had finished college ... and, instead of teaching, I was volunteering once a week at my library.
2. I was HEAVILY pregnant with twins
3. I almost got STUCK in a toilet stall on Thanksgiving. That taught me that being pregnant TOTALLY necessitates using the handicapped bathroom. You NEED that handrail to get back up. Your center of balance is TOTALLY changed.
4. My Bri-bri came over OFTEN to chat with me and keep me sane while Michael worked all day in Eugene. ^_^ (He still does. But I've had Bri withdrawals. I need to change that. ^_^ Right??)
5. My Nana, when we told her that I was pregnant, exclaimed, "I never thought I'd live to be a great-grandma!" ... Yes, it did take us a while to get cracking, didn't it?
6. I started getting preeclampsia. (That was the really low part ... One week of January saw me kept in a hospital bed. Mom and Michael came and stayed with me. And there was cable. And the nurses were all really nice ... so it wasn't TERRIBLE-HORRIBLE ... just, not what I was planning, you know?)
7. I had to stop volunteering at the library. :( I kept getting dizzy as I'd squat and stand up, shelving those new books. I was REALLY bummed about that. I love my library!!

1 YEAR AGO (2009):
1. My kiddos were still three, almost four.
2. We had two working vehicles.
3. I had started volunteering at my library again (Thanks to my mom coming up to watch/teach the kiddos while I shelved the holds).
4. We bought a new DVD player with surround sound, since our old one broke. Grr. But this one still works!
5. My Gingi-cat died the last day of July. I still miss her. But she was pretty old. She was almost 18.

THIS YEAR (2010):
1. My kiddos turned four and started going to Primary (at church)
2. Michael and I took a family history class at church.
3. I applied for a part-time job. Didn't get it. But it's just as well.
4. I cut my hair shorter than I've had it since ... well, ever. And then Bucket cut hers. *sigh*
5. We got a membership to OMSI ... that's kind of exciting, right?(Also, 6. I tried waxing. And, overall, I like it. Seriously, not having to shave my underarms for DAYS in a row? Awesome. And, truly? Michael does an awesome job with Nad's on them. ... Yes, he loves me enough to help me rip out swathes of hair. He's so lucky, right? :P)
NEXT YEAR (2011):
1. I will get at least one more pedicure. I liked the one that I got a couple weeks ago. ^_^
2. Michael will PASS his Engineering License exam.
3. Michael and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary a couple months after our kiddos turn 5.
4. The kiddos will have bunk beds. They've wanted bunk beds for about a year now. ^_^
5. I will have (at least) FOUR nieces and a nephew. (Currently, I have three nieces and one nephew. Not bad for a girl who NEVER thought she'd be an aunt. Because, being an only child, I never thought of marrying anyone with siblings. Yeah. Go fig! :P)
6. I will fit into the cute skirt that I got from Cousin Kathleen at Thanksgiving (I love hand-me-downs!)
7. I WILL get a Wii Fit Plus. By hook or by crook. :P Because, really? I'm rather awesome at the yoga on it. At least, the one time I did it, I rocked. Just sayin'. Ask Michael or Mom C. They'll vouch for me. ^_^
8. If it's up to me, Grandpa C (Michael's grandpa) will live out the year. And many, many more. *nods and tries not to get emotional.*

So, yeah, if y'all want to pray REALLY, REALLY hard that: 

  1. Grandpa C will get over whatever infection the doctors haven't diagnosed and get healthy again, I'd really, really appreciate your efforts on seeing him become at least a nonogenarian.  Yes.
  2. Michael passes his Licensing exam in April. Because we NEED him to pass it.
I would WILDLY, PASSIONATELY, and MADLY appreciate it.
I will pink, puffy heart you for forever and a day ... and even beyond that, really.
If you needed a fan club started, I'd totally do it. Totally.

So ... yeah. 

I'll write a catch-up blog. And maybe I'll come up with something interesting to write soon. ^_^

Counting ...

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