Ho Ho Ho

I had a truly stellar Christmas, so stellar that noon on Tuesday was the first time I thought of Refab (and that was with Jenny’s prompting). It was glorious! Christmas Eve was just Richie and me – we stopped and visited with Sally after picking up some last minute things – I made seafood chowder, we lit all the candles, finished our decorating, then watched the George C. Scott version of a Christmas carol, in between face timing with Tim and the grandkids.
I was pretty tired. We’re having hellacious weather (lots of snow, some ice, and then the bottom of the thermometer is going to shatter) – so both of us snuggled down for a long winter’s nap (me listening to a cute Christmas romance on my iPhone, only to have it suddenly ring at 8 in the morning (we we exhausted so still sound asleep.) It was the grandkids in New Mexico, two hours earlier, opening their presents, excited and happy. I was on the iPad, the other grandparents on the iPhone, and we watched them romp around in joy. I’d made Christmas pajamas for all of them, and Alex was proudly wearing his (Ali was wearing hers later that day) from a large amount of Hello Kitty Christmas flannel I’d bought for Daniel when he was a kid, and they looked adorable.
I’m a very advanced soul – I just thought I might mention that in case you missed it along the way (there needs to be an ironic font). Y’all know how much I love American Girl dolls, how I’ve been making clothes for them, etc? Right now I have nine of them around the living room, all in their Christmas finery (I made Christmas outfits for those that didn’t have them). You aren’t supposed to have an American Girl doll until you’re between six and eight, but I’ve been working on doing stuff for Daniel’s old Kirsten, planning to give her and the full wardrobe to Ali when she was old enough since Ali has lots of swedish blood in her background (that’s the only thing we know about Tim’s background). But I discovered the Target version that were recommended for three and up, so I bought her one for her birthday and had lots of clothes for her, but when I gave it to her last spring she wasn’t that interested (she likes Barbies more because of their size) and Erin left it at her parents’ house because her car was too full.
Conveniently forgotten, of course, because her parents sent her an AG doll with tons of clothes and a backpack. A normal person would have a sulky fit, but I simply rolled my eyes (not when they could see me on FaceTime) and shrugged. I’ve always treaded carefully – dueling grandparents can be difficult. In fact, because Erin’s mother is extremely competitive and we’re latecomers (Alex was about one when I became Grandma Krissie) I tend to tread carefully.
So this is fine. I’m not sulky, but I deserve a little bit of self-congratulations for being.. such an evolved soul.
So we facetimed for a couple of hours, then I finally got to pee, then we had sausages and scrambled eggs, then Daniel called on FT, and we watched him open his presents, and then Erin called for help on setting up the PS4 Pro we gave them, (2nd ft with them), while I was making Risalamande (traditional Danish Christmas dessert). Then Jenny (Mini-me) FT, (she and Tim went out for early morning runs and then she took him out for a Christmas lunch, which was just perfect). Then Alex again, then we went to Sally’s (I’d been planning to make Gløgg and Smørbrød but I crashed, cried a little, cheered up, got to Sally’s and immediately Facetimed with Tim and then with the kids grandkids again while they facetimed Tim on another device. Finally we went home and I had the best night’s sleep in my entire life.
I’m sitting here by the Christmas tree watching Hallmark movies and snuggling under my delicious new electric throw (which, since the temperature won’t be reaching 0 degrees for the next few days it will be very timely – a present from Sally).

So now I’ll see and pick-up stuff and bake my grandmother’s julekage with no deadlines – we celebrate the entire week between Christmas and New Years. Life is quite wonderful. I have the best grandchildren in the world, wonderful friends (Jenny and Sally in particular), an excellent niece, fabulous children who seem to be emerging from long, difficult times. We won’t even mention that magnificent man I married. Plus two phenomenal cats.

I’m hard-wired to notice the good things around me – I think that’s partly why I’m happier than most people. Life is a banquet, and right now I have a groaning board.

Share some stories of your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so we can celebrate your time too.

And God bless us, everyone.

Prezzies (Krissie)

So all you noble people who don’t want anything for themselves for Christmas – you’re all a bunch of poops!
No, not really. You’re wise and grounded. There are too many things in this world, and I keep decluttering like mad, so what’s my problem?

I don’t have a shopping disorder. I do like to shop, I have bought too much in the past, but I haven’t gotten into debt over it, ordered stuff and never opened it, etc. I think maybe during times of grief, like when my brother died, I went out to shop a little obsessively, though it was the trips, more than the purchases, back then, and now that I have a hard time wandering stores I haven’t substituted Amazon, etc.

I think part of it was that shopping with my mother was one of the rare times we really had fun together. Even when we were little she would take Taffy and me into Philadelphia to the big department stores (Strawbridges, Gimbels, etc) and we should shop. For my mother, who was, fortunately, a bargain hunter, it was her major recreational activity, a way she could interact with people without interacting. She was very much devoted to her self-image as an intellectual, and she wasn’t interested in gardening, fiber crafts, cooking, outdoors, sports, visual arts, getting together with friends … She would read and she would shop and she would rage.

I remember one Saturday when she took us into Philadelphia (we lived in Princeton but we’d moved from Philadelphia so we tended to focus there rather than NYC), We’d had a fabulous time – gone out for a fancy lunch, I’d gotten a beautiful pink easter dress (god, I loved that dress!) and arrived home to find my father passed out on the floor, and everything came crashing down . There are certain moments that stick out in a child’s memory (I must have been around ten) and that’s one of them.

So, since I’m spending all my time giving stuff away, why do I have a big Christmas list? Part of it is that we’re so tight for cash that I can’t just get what I want. We’ve been spending $2,500 more than we bring in each month, and that’s just about the amount for Tim’s rent and food and Daniel’s college loans. But Tim just got approved for SSI and disability and Daniel’s got a job he likes, so things are looking up. But I still have to double and triple think every purchase and then still probably not get it. Here’s my list:

Ha! Okay, I can’t cut and paste, but I laughed when I looked at it. I thought I was being so fucking greedy, but what I’d chosen was $15 Thor’s Hammer, three craft books, a couple of crochet patterns, a set of fabric stamps, and a cd of Danish Christmas carols. There are a couple of things that cost about $25 and the rest are about $10. So I guess my soul-searching about my shopping and acquisition needs was totally unnecessary. I think buying stuff for creativity/craft is excellent, except when you substitute buying for doing. For instance, I spent years buying fabric and books (and even then I paced myself – I’m a bargain shopper too). But a book on learning a new technique or a tool for doing it (the fabric stamps) is stretching you rather then hemming you in with stuff.

All right, none of this is terribly interesting for you, and that’s okay. It’s a way for me to work things out, which is exactly what this did today, and I feel less grabby, and delightfully righteous.

Anyway, it’s Christmas, and since I’m a Christmas fanatic I tend to think about Christmas-y things. Today I’ll decorate plain sunglasses with christmas stuff just for giggles. Ho ho ho.

Which reminds me, I once made matching nightshirts for the kids with xmas fabric that said “ho ho ho” but I forgot to pay attention to direction when I cut it out, so the kids had xmas nightshirts that said “oh oh oh”.

Off I go in my sleigh. Er … to shop.

Apology

I just checked the “Pending” link and found eleven comments there.  About half were spam, but there were real comments in there, too, some dating back to September.  Krissie and I will do better.  (Krissie, when you come to stay, I will show you how to clear the pending file.)  SORRY.

Monday, Monday (Krissie)

It’s Monday, I’m still energetic (though in a shitload of pain, but hey, chest la vie. Or Det er liv, in Danish, but I imagine there’s an idiom. I have been studying Danish for 307 days straight (I’m doing Duolingo and it keeps track – it’s a free app and has tons of languages if anyone’s interested). I’ve also finally been watching the Craftsy courses I bought – I particularly like one on using precuts of Jenny the owner of Missouri Quilt Co. or whatever it’s called. there’s another on creative quilting with a walking foot, plus several others. I’ve been bouncing around, watching a lesson here and a lesson there.

Which brings us to the point that learning new things, or refining old things, is fun, rewarding, and really good for your brain. Yeah, it takes time, though for me it’s just part of my nighttime ritual. Instead of surfing or playing solitaire (well, I do a little of that) I do my dansk (the Danes don’t capitalize much) and Craftsy. The only drawback is that I do Pinterest and other craft ideas (look at patterns, etc) and it gets me energized at 11 at night, when I need to be falling asleep.

I might humbly suggest that you guys might consider taking a class. If I lived in civilization I’d love to take a hands on sewing class, but at this point my main options are on-line. (Though I’ve love to learn excel and they do sometimes have courses on that. I imagine I could also learn that on line).

I’m also relearning the guitar and learning new songs. I used to play a lot when I was young … I mean, really a lot. Guys would always get me to sing with their bands or just with them, I wrote songs, sang at weddings and benefits, etc. Richie and I first met over music. I’m slowly getting my fingers toughened up and can even play my Martin D-35 (which is a really stellar acoustic guitar). I stopped playing in my early thirties as writing became more demanding, and there have been so many wonderful songs since then that I never learned to play. Fortunately I have a decent ear for figuring out what the chords are for various songs, so it’s been fun and satisfying. I’m even learning “Elle a les yeux revolver” which inspired Black Ice and the ice series, arguably my most popular books.

So guys … any of you play the guitar when you were younger? Do you still have it around? Failing that, ukulele’s are easy and fun. In fact, back in 1963 I taught myself guitar on my father’s baritone uke – the four strings are the same as the top four on a guitar. I learned “Blowin in the Wind” and “We Shall Overcome” in the key of A. Ah, youth. Kennedy was still president and I was a sophomore in high school.

I digress. If you’re musical, drag out your guitar or buy a ukulele. Singing is really good for you physically and spiritually – the breathing, etc.

And learn something. I want you guys to do some research and find a course/class you want to take in the new year. Fuck losing weight – it never works and in the beginning the main reward is vanity. Check your local colleges and community centers, etc. Check on-line – Craftsy and tons more. If you’re not into it, tant pis (don’t know a Danish equivalent) but I don’t care. Choose something, and report back.

On a mixed note. Speaking of music, Mel Tillis just died. I used to sing “Mental Revenge” – one of his songs. And I’m sorry, but I saw that Charles Manson had died and I cheered. I don’t know if I believe in evil – I tend to think it’s sickness instead – but if evil existed there was a lot concentrated in that pathetic creature. I hope next time around he can expiate his sins. (No, I don’t want him roasting in hell if I believed such a thing existed).

Enough wickedness on my part.In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving. Richie and I will do it alone again (alas), but we’ll have fun. I’m going to try a canola oil piecrust – my aunt Ailie use to make fabulous pie crusts with cooking oil, so I’ll see how I far.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? I know, too many questions, but I’m curious.

All About You: The No Internet Edition

Krissie is without internet for awhile so here’s your Monday post.  What’s in your plans for this week, assuming you’re not in northeastern America and about to be hit with a major storm?  I’m working on Nita and the house and hunkering down until tomorrow.  The power will probably go out.  It’s just one damn thing after another.  But if that happens, at least I can do nothing . . .

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