In January, Veto and I took the kids and both of our mothers to Florida for a week at the theme parks in Orlando. We are so lucky to have both of our mothers, so game and in good health to do these things with us. It was a great sight to see both grandmas squeezed into a rollercoaster ride and a trip for the memory book.
I turned forty in May, celebrated with much fanfare and a surprise party attended by friends and relatives. In spite of some sketchy health issues, I am happy to be forty years old and surrounded by so many good people. Plus, I'm looking fine.
Veto and I continued our travel adventures in San Fransisco and the Napa Valley for my fortieth, Arizona in March and again in December, and Chicago in December for our annual get-together with our dear cousins Kelly and Rick. I took my mother and the kids to Calgary to visit my mother-in-law in the summer while Veto was completing some post-graduate studies in Ontario. He traveled to Kansas City with the guys to see a Chiefs game in September. It was a far lighter travel load than other years and it was nice to spend more time at home.
Home. We moved into our new family home in February and have renovated over 3000 square feet of it. When I look back on what this place looked like a year ago... I am amazed we've done so much. I wouldn't say painless by any stretch of the imagination, but the renovation was challenging and rewarding. I'm hoping that the former owner and his five grown daughters will be able to visit us in the spring and will approve of the changes. We had a beautiful summer in our backyard with a steep learning curve about swimming pools and algae. The garden I'd longed for my whole adult life was thoroughly enjoyed and will grow and change in the years to come. We are home.
Buddy Budderson entered his senior year of high school. Miss Loopy only has one year left in elementary school. Time goes quickly when you're avoiding bake sales and fundraisers. Evan's Christmas gift to me this year was my own guitar, he gives me my first lesson tomorrow. Not many high school boys choose a gift for their mother that enables them to spend more time together. Loopy will pick up her pink guitar and join the lessons, too.
We continue to enjoy the company of friends and family. Now that Buddy is driving (he finally passed his test in December - whoo hoo!) he's taken to driving himself and the Loopster over to visit their cousins, Alex, Ben and Zach. Another blessing for me is that my brother's children now also have a Wii video game console and Guitar Hero is played over there now, for the most part.
And speaking about friendships, my little blog has offered me the opportunity to make new friends all over the world. I've corresponded with bloggers from Germany, Norway, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand as well as all over the U.S. and Canada. I love the connections that I've made and the friendships that have been forged. The opportunity to meet up with fellow bloggers during my travels (meeting Sweet Junie Moon in Tucson) has been a sweet note to cap the experience. Participating in blog events like Club Little House, Karla's Cottage Christmas, Natasha's Virtual Prom and the Red Velvet theme swap were also highlights.
Tonight, I'll fall asleep dreaming of the new year and all of the promise that it holds for better health, more friendships and time with family. I don't usually make resolutions, but I think I might make up a little list for your perusal. Have a safe and happy new year. What were some of your highlights for 2007?
The implausibility of the entire thing makes it appealing. There weren't too many special effects scenes to give me a headache, and the romance was kept to a minimum, keeping Buddy Budderson happy also. Being seventeen, romance doesn't mix with action at all.
Overall, I'd recommend it only because I enjoy this sort of stuff - now you know what a geek I am - but you can wait for the DVD if you aren't sure or there are no teenagers in your household to please. Three cuppy-cakes out of five, with a smattering of extra frosting because freemasonry is way interesting and so is Harvey Keitel.
What do you think about a twelve year old girl who makes a teddy bear for her mother? By hand, each little stitch a stitch of love and frustration... her little self all hunched over, I can just see it, all focused on her task. You think, "I wish my little girl were just like hers" but in reality, unless you're totally into obsessive-compulsive, grumpy preteens with hearts of gold, well, you get the idea. Meet Cashew the Button-Eyed Bear:
As if anyone surfs blogs while standing, be warned to sit down for this one: my brother made me a television for my dollhouse. Yeah, right! He made it:
New episodes of Heroes... only in the dollhouse!
Sixty channels on this thing and I still can't find anything to watch! Will somebody pass me the clicker NOW!
They play this every single year... and every year, I'm stuck like glue to the tube the night it plays, even though it's probably on DVD. I must watch it with commercials, in hopes of seeing the Santa on the razor whoosh by.
For a minute or so I was wondering if this TV aired anything made past 1978, but then my good friend Keith popped up on the screen.... my not-so-secret crush...
Sweet Pepper found the coolest thing... a pressed glass candle holder that holds flowers. I cannot wait to get this bad-boy up and running. It's a good thing my cousin is expecting and will need a baby shower in the spring. Pepper knows I dig the antiquities.
Mrs. G. buttonholed me as being a "purse girl" and I suppose I am... always thought of myself as more of a shoe gal with a bit of a jacket and hat thing happening but with the arthritis, well, the handbag always fits and is never uncomfortable. Veto brought me back that sassy Juicy purse, only in pink. It's sweet. It may be the most functional and comfortable bag that I have. He's probably hoping beyond hope I will finally retire the bag that looks like a tape player with the coin purse that looks like a cassette tape. He's tired of everyone commenting on it and stopping us. "I used to think it was cute but now it's annoying" were his words about that. One Kate Spade, one Coach and a few vintage bags later... I still have that silly tape purse. Poor Veto.
When doesn't Saucy appreciate a bottle? It was on this Christmas, in honour of her adoration of all things even remotely related to Marie Antoinette, that her brother and sis-in-law brought her a cake server shaped like a shoe and some Coppola wine, you may have to scratch your head over that connection to MA.
Loopy and I created our annual cookie-kit house on the night before Christmas eve:
The Fan, bless her heart, made star-shaped ice sculptures to hold votives on my front step. I'll use them until they thaw down, so probably April or May.
I quite literally was pushing painter out the door when it was time to set the holiday table. Wainscoting and new paint in the dining room, done! Doesn't it set off Wanda's rug beautifully? Shhh! Stop laughing! She'll hear you. She only lives two doors down from me now.
I switched up some of the stuff in jars. Now it's green stuff in jars with Christmas stuff in jars. Very nice with the new wainscoting, paint colour and Wanda's rug.
Veto said "veto" to a new light fixture... what's a gal to do? Make him hate the one we have, of course! It's better than it was, I spray painted most of the brass but masked off the big ball at the bottom. I added the shades, Veto calls them "hats." He can't veto the hats, or I think the rule is he'd have to un-veto a new fixture.
Christmas crackers stuffed in a jar with faux snow...
And the Christmas table was set just in the nick of time! The turkey was eaten right down to it's skeleton so there were no leftovers, just a little stuffing, and why keep stuffing... so I tossed it and that was that. No leftovers for us.
The china also did great service to Wanda's rug. I'm not sure if Veto remembered its provenance but everyone complimented us on it. Are you wondering how Martha I am? I'm so Martha, the oranges were brushed with egg white and dusted with edible glitter and sugar. That's pretty Martha.
First off, let me say: I am allowed to concoct this bit of a lie simply because I can bake, and I do so all year long with the least bit dishonesty... I whip, blend, fold, curdle, soften, grate, rasp, temper and frost with witnesses to these acts throughout the calendar year. And so, when I engage in the dishonest behaviour I am about to cop to now, at Christmas, you will understand that a) I deserve a break; b) nobody probably cares; and, c) I'm saving so much money and time, you'll wonder why you didn't think of it yourself.
Today, I snipped seventy dollars out of the grocery account, and instead of buying ingredients to do Christmas baking, I drove around to the three nicest bake shops in town and picked out six of this, twelve of those, eight of those, you get the gist. I make a special effort to hand select the tarts that look a little lopsided, you know the ones - that nobody wants because they're not perfect but Saucy likes because they look "homemade". Of course I make a point in selecting everyone's favourite items that I have "produced" every year prior as I wouldn't want to disappoint anyone.
As a special added measure of dishonesty, I have the clerk at the last bakery fill an empty ice cream pail - provided by myself of course - with white frosting. This is the frosting that I will fill my pastry bag with tomorrow when I carefully embellish all of the treats and the naked gingerbread men that I ordered ahead of time. The remainder of the frosting will be used to assemble the ready-made gingerbread house kit that I purchased last year - yes you read correctly, LAST YEAR at half price after Christmas and stored carefully in the pantry, you know the one, that nobody eats anyway because it's so hard and they're only after the candy and my fluffy "homemade" frosting anyway. That will all be assembled on Sunday with great fanfare. And blogged about, with all credit taken. Wipe this post from your mind now. Erase.
And that, dear readers, is how I got my fantastic, world-famous-however-does-she-do-it Christmas baking done in one afternoon. Oh, and don't forget: you can cut some of those bars and squares into even smaller pieces than they did at the bakery.
After all that baking, Veto took the kids and The Fan and I to see Vince Vaughn in Fred Claus. After being housebound all week, I think everyone in the audience loved that we took up a whole row and intermittently coughed and hacked during the show and left all of our germs for the next guests. Tis the season of sharing! And I love Vince, he really gets me. I mean, if he read this blog, he'd really get me, don't you think? And so, like Mrs. G before me, as a sinner, I will now officially add Vince to my celebrity crush list, because apparently you can add and amend and still fear hate comments because people think you are seriously coveting a man other than your husband.
My rheumatoid arthritis has flared and brought with it a nasty sinus infection as a result of immune-suppressing drugs that for some reason I thought could be taken with red wine the whole time we were traveling, so much for that theory. I was so ill at my regularly-scheduled specialist appointment, she didn't make-me-like-Roger-Clemens and I didn't get any steroid support for my joints. I will officially be on the D.L. for the rest of the holiday season, nursing my nasty rotator cuff injury and having Veto step in to lift the bird to home plate. Even on death's very door I can still muster baseball analogies.
Buddy has mono... uh-hmmmm, the "kissing disease." I will get to the bottom of that later. Who was he kissing, with his mouth full of packing from his wisdom tooth removal? Something is not quite right with that picture. It appears to me it should be called the snoozing disease, because that's all he's done for three days and nary kissed me but once.
Thankfully, Loopy only has a sore throat at this point but has wisely jumped ship and moved to Grandma's with her mathlete stuff and her dog. We'll hopefully see her by Christmas.
On the bright side, the painter left today, job quasi-finished, save for a few touch-ups so I can reveal the new dining room... soon... after some more sleeeeeeep. Wanna hint? Wanda's rug looks fan-tastic!
The urns are decked out but next year I think I might add more sticks and whatnot to them. I also need to figure out what to do with those window boxes. I love having a welcoming front step, especially during the holidays. It's a challenge to keep it ice-free around here. The urns are new but I'm looking forward to changing them for the seasons.
Inside the front porch hand four funky longstockings. Very Pippi. I wish someone would fill them with goodies but they're just for colour.
I love the idea of a front porch, all decked out before even entering the house. Next year, I plan to do more in the porch.
Inside the foyer, some of the glass jars are filled with faux snow and ornaments. I'm loving mercury glass right now. Never pay retail for it. This display only looks like it came from Pottery Barn. Goddess help me, I love things in jars.
The mercury glass ornament collection is on the small hallway tree. I add more little ornaments every year. I'm loving to collect special ornaments when we visit places. In Chicago I picked up one that looks like the Wrigley Building and in Arizona I found a pink Volkswagen Beetle.
On the bookshelves I have more of those silly jars filled with snow and stuff. This little polar bear comes out every year. Loopy just adores him.
The tree this year started out being a mix of chocolate brown and baby blue but it morphed into this silver/teal/navy/brown concoction and I'm only halfway pleased with it. I do a different theme for the main tree every year. I start planning sometime in the summer. Don't worry, it's all done on a dime, ornaments are repainted, recycled or picked up at thrift stores and sale tables in the summer.
The little shelf in the powder room, decked out with my little bottle collection and some funny greens:
Showing you the back of the toilet? Sure, why not. The snowglobes are from the old "Frosty" and "Rudolph" cartoons.
Loopy and I fixed up a new tree for her room this year. It all started with the Dollarama snowmen. This entire tree is dollar store, homemade, junktable fun. Her felt initials are from the dollar bin at Michaels. The fuzzy snowflakes are from the Dollarama also, we hot glued bright buttons to them. I found that cutout felt garland in Chicago at the outlet mall. And teh maribou? Michaels. Pretty snazzy. If you recognize the glittered balls, they're from my banner. We gussied up old balls with glue and glitter last month.
The rest of the ornaments will go up this weekend, after I've recovered from my travels. The carpenters are here today and tomorrow finishing the laundry room, the bookshelves and the dining room wainscoting. Photos to follow.
What do I want this year? Here's my list for eight gifts, plus a gift on December 25th. That's Christmakkah, baby.
Of course I still want it. He may have even bought it for me. I couldn't resist, so I asked the girl at the store who she sold it to... she was completely evasive and when pressed further I asked her if it was a handsome man in his forties. "Um, yeah" was her reply so in order to narrow it down I inquired, "wildly handsome?", and her reply was "pretty much." And so that's it. I think Veto got me the stove. Or possibly there is one other woman in this city that may be luckier than I.
That Juicy Couture handbag that had me all messed up and confused, thus allowing Veto to purchase orange luggage at Nordstrom Rack. Feh.
How about some real silver charms for my serious bracelet? I've not had a blue box in a while. In 359 days, but who's counting?
The Wilton Cupcake Cab! Honestly, I don't know how I've been toting cupcakes all these years without it. Oh, wait. I haven't been. I eat them at home. I never share cupcakes. But if you buy me the cab, maybe I'll share with you.
And lastly: Is this art? The age-old question. For Christmas, maybe a piece or two of the Sid Dickens memory block collection. Oy! My father the artist would kvetch. Such schlock. But a piece or two, tiled into my bathroom renovation, that would be nice?