Saturday, December 27, 2008

It Ain't Over Til It's Over

Merry Christmas to all my loyal readers and the new one's too! As you have gathered, Christmas is a wonderful and important time to me and my family. This year, we had a little curve in the road. My daughter was stuck in Olympia, Washington with no way home. I made a vow to my children a long time ago that if it were at all possible for us to be together at Christmas, we would be. After exhausting every possible avenue, it became clear what needed to happen. It was my son's idea actually Christmas Eve morning, we loaded up presents, essentials and all the food I could grab and headed for Olympia.

A harrowing trip and one large freak out later, we arrived Christmas Eve at my daughter's apartment. I was immediately glad that we did. Not only was my daughter on her own, but one of her friends, who waited the better part of a day in the Sea Tac Airport only to find out he would not be able to get home to Colorado for Christmas, was stranded as well. It became immediately evident that I was where I needed to be.

A make shift Christmas Eve, and a wonderful Christmas morning, a restful day and a Christmas dinner shared with my daughter's grateful friend, the day was wonderful and it passed all too quickly.
One thing that I always do, no matter how perfect the Christmas is sweat the really small stuff. I worry that my house was dark and no lights when I was gone. I remembered that we didn't get out the Night Before Christmas. The little insignificant things that really don't matter always seem to nag me a little. I worried that though he was completely on board for the adventure that Christmas was less for my son. I worry that Christmas will be all over the day after. I always hate that as I like to drag it out as long as possible.

So we made it home no worse for the wear the day after Christmas. Just as long, but not as stressful as a trip. When we got home, I was so excited to see some packages outside my door that had arrived late due to the storm. The snow was as we had left it.

My son had to work but we had a little leftover ham dinner before he went. While he was gone, I got a little homestyle Christmas organized, a fire lit and some candles. When he came home, we had a little Christmas with just us. We drank some egg nog and much to my suprise and happiness, we found a Christmas movie on TV and found Christmas music was still playing on a station. Not sure I had ever seen this happen before, it was wonderful. It also began to snow just as my son arrived home.

We opened our new presents, sent photos to Amanda who was not able to come home with us and enjoyed my happy Christmas house. The snow continued to fall and when looking outside, I had three little doe's standing underneath the white lights of my lilac bushes. One was very close to the window looking inside. It was perfect. The deer in my window hilighted the amazing wildlife we had seen on the trip.

The conditions were dicey and it was slow going, we saw large evergreens heavy with wet new snowfall. We saw Multnomah Falls with beautiful blue ice all around it. We say big horned sheep right by the highway, abundant deer, a few elk and three bald eagles on the trip. Driving that slow allows you to take in things you normally wouldn't see.

In my 46 Christmas', this was the first ever that have not spent in my own home. Same for my children with the exception of once. I was thrilled not only to be able to get to my daughter, but to return home safely and see that for once, Christmas was still happening. It always makes me so sad to see discarded living room centerpiece trees the morning after the celebration. It seemed like a mini miracle to me to still find Christmas music on satallite and Christmas movies still playing. I am lucky to have had the best of both worlds in adverse conditions. A wonderful family Christmas with a new family member and a safe return home to continue with traditional ways. So blessed this season. So truly blessed. Proving once again that that best gifts don't always come in a box with shiny wrapping paper.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Joy's of QVC

I just got one of the funnest birthday presents I have received in a long time. I got QVC gift cards. I'm serious! Now there is a story that goes along with that. You see, I'm a total QVC tramp. I watch QVC all the time when there is nothing else on when I want to watch or just something to watch when I can not sleep. I play a little game with myself called "buy it or not buy it". In this game, I announce that if I could I would either chose to purchase or not to purchase that item. But I never really do it.

Also, I am not one to spend money on myself. I just don't. When you have kids and there is nothing you truly need, you just don't. At least not often. So in more financially challenging times when my satallite dish was a luxury, I only received a hand full of channels and one of them was QVC. So you know what was always on. My friend noticed this and found humor in it so for my birthday I got QVC cards.

I cannot begin to tell you how much fun this has been. First of all, the sheer humor of the gift itself. Then, the ability to keep them in my nightstand for when I see that, "I'd buy that" item. But today I also rediscovered QVC online. And guess what? If you order today, they still guarentee shipping by Christmas!

I got some badly needed new sheets. The combed jersey kind that will keep me and Isobel the Wonder Corgi warm in this cold weather. I also got a little gingerbread house (I collect Christmas Gingerbread things) that melts little good-smelly thingy's in sugar cookie and gingerbread smells (you have no idea how exciting that is for me)! And I got Philosophy Body Washes in Apple Cider, Hot Cocoa and Vanilla Wafer! NERVANA!!!! Oh yes, oh yes, I am set for the long winter!

When I thanked my dear friend for the gift...I mentioned what a monster she has likely created. Not only the joy of frivilously spending money on oneself, but to order something so fun and have it delived to my doorstep in time to enjoy for Christmas....well...I think I may have to breathe into a paper bag just to calm myself down again! No. I mean it. What could be a better gift than that! It's the lottery, BABY!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bringing Out the Best

I love winter. It's my favorite time of year. I am certain I was a pioneer woman in a previous life. I don't feel like I've really gotten the most out of the season unless I have suffered a little. Chop a little wood, bundle up a little more....Well be careful what you ask for.

Currently, my town is 6 degrees. It is what I call booger freezin' cold! And I'm getting my wish. My truck hesitates to start, but start it does. And as most of you know, I also own a horse so keeping her warm and fed, not to mention dragging a hose across and ally to keep her water trough full, is criteria enough for a little winter suffering in this cold snap.

But aside from the cold and picturesque snow, this time of year seems to bring out the best in people. People reach out to each other a little more when conditions are a little more challenging. You see neighbors helping each other shovel out their walks. You see complete strangers diving out of their own warm rigs to give a push to someone who is stuck or at least having trouble moving forward. I have pulled over to offer rides to folks not dressed for the conditions. On the news where the homeless are prevelant, you see more donations of blankets and warm clothing going out to those in need. And even those who are financially tight will dig a little deeper in their pockets to give what they can to the bell ringers.

No one wants to see anyone suffer more that what is expected during this time of year and I feel that the cold brings out the best in each one of us. Yes, we all grumble out our personal discomfort in times of extreme cold, but we might as well make the most of it and do what we can for others. There is always someone a little worse off than you are. Look around and see the unparalleled beauty the cold brings. And notice the giving that comes with it. For me, it is Christmas Spirit and what the season is all about. Throw another log on the fire and enjoy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Med Spa Set Wishes Merry Christmas!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's a Vintage Christmas

Much to the chagrin of my children, I love vintage Christmas decorations. The sad part? They remind me of my childhood.

From now until February I get obsessed at looking at vintage Christmas decorations on Ebay. And now am realizing that I have some of these items. Not that my childhood was that great (who's was) but Christmas was always magic and looking at so many of these items take me back and I love it.

Some day, I want a Sparkler style aluminum Christmas tree. A full one. My kids think they are the ugliest things that ever graced the planet. I love them. I grew up with one just like this that was graced with only green ball ornaments and, of course, the color wheel that magically changed the tree from red to green to blue to gold. It was the best. I remember how sad I was went we went to a green artificial tree. It I could get ahold of one of these, I would put it in my room (because my kids wouldn't allow it anywhere else) and I would leave the color wheel on it all the time.

We also had this plastic Santa wall hanging that was about 4 feet tall with the image of Santa and one eye that would wink at you when you moved up and down when I was a kid. I keep watching for one of these. I haven't seen one yet. However I do have the gold bell that you pull the string and it plays Jingle Bells. It even works but I am dreading the day when I pull the sting and there it stays. I can't remember not ever having it so it has to be at least 40 years old.

I am also lucky enough to have a pleathera of antique ornaments that did belong to my grandparents. I treasue these and they are among the first to go on my big tree every year. How about those little felt elves that hug their knees? My mom had a ton of those and I don't know where they are now. Lost in the fray, I'm sure. I wouldn't mind having a couple of those again some day.

Though I see so many things I would love to buy, one thing I have learned about shopping for vintage Christmas things is that, unless you can tie them to something, a memory or family, they don't mean quite as much. So many fun things to buy and I pass up vintage ornaments all the time just because....I don't have their story. Not that I tell stories about my thing when people come over, but I guess it's just that I know.

To me, each one has a soul. Each one has weathered so many Christmas seasons, wars, family changes and they are still here to tell the story if only they could. Yes, along with my gingerbread, my vintage things are by far my favorite.

I don't see an end to my monitor shopping with my eyes wide for hours. Not at all. I still may find that huge silver sparkler tree with lots of branches for a price I just can't pass up. I know my kids can hardly wait!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I L-O-V-E Love My Botox!

And now you know. I've had work done. I had my first Botox injections last Friday and I have to say, it's one of the best things I have done in a long time.

I will be 45 this weekend and have had the blessing of looking slightly younger than my age. But I have this deep furrow in between my eyes. I have called it my exhusband wrinkle for years and I hate it. Terrified of needles as I am, I didn't think I'd ever be able to take the injections. But I did and now there is no turning back.

They say to give your injections 4 to 10 days to take effect but just 3 days into it, I am seeing significant results. My exhusband wrinkle? Gone. My eyebrows? A slight lift at the arch that I've never had before no matter how I shape my brows. My forehead? Smooth. And the best part. Can I still move my face? Yes!

One thing you need to know about me is that I am a HUGE baby with no pain tolerance whatsoever. I endured two natural childbirths due to my fear of needles if that tells you anything. I will make myself hysterical over the thought of a flu shot and those who know me have seen this in action. Having said that, I soldiered on to a smoother look.

The injections themselves were uncomfortable. Not intolerable. The immediate effects were some soreness in my forehead that was nothing that anyone could see and nothing that one regular strength Tylenol couldn't take care of. Bruising was minimal. Again nothing visible and I still have one injection site that is tender if I thump it. I try not to thump it. This is the stuff that no one tells you about. But this is something I will do again and again and again for the results I have received.

I am lucky enough to work at Grande Ronde Med Spa and I have heard our clients come in and rave about the procedure. Now I have to agree. A Botox virgin no longer, I too am singing the praises and will not go back!

If you are interested, first find a reputable physician or R.N. who works under a physician to do this. If you are able to be anywhere near NE Oregon, call the Spa. Jacqui Shreiner is fabulous at what she does. And finally, if you are a first timer (or in my case a second or third timer) don't hesitate to ask for a hand holder. We have several who do ask for this little bit of extra care and we are happy to provide it. It really does make a difference.

On a final note, many people scoff at the Botoxers sighting vanity or mentally applying that Hollywood stigmatism to it and think of Joan Rivers. I am embarrassed to admit I used to be one of them. Let me ask you this. What do you pay at the salon a month? What do you spend on skin care? Do you color your hair? Do you wear acrylics? And why do you do that??? To look your best. Well why not make the investment that lasts for at least 3 months and make a world of diffence? Think of it as part of your maintanence routine!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Prop 8 - The Musical

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cynical Season?

Every year I get a little more concerned about Christmas. I went to download a Christmas graphic for my cell phone. What I found was pin up girls covered with nothing but a candy cane and other less tasteful choices. I finally found a harmless Thomas Kincade scene and I haven't ventured back since. When I complained to my son, he told me that I am not that norm. That what I found is what Christmas is for most people. Someone please tell me that's not true.

Or is it a sign of the times? Christmas was so magical for me. I don't know that my parents worked that hard at it but it just was. I worked very hard to keep the magic alive for my kids. So much so that the anxiety each year that someone would "spoil" it for them would unnerve me. But today? I constantly hear ads on the radio and television that dash the magic for kids. And maybe a child doesn't see it the way I do. I hold on to that thought.

I'm a Christmas puritan and I love the classics. And as I have begun to bring them out, the message often follows how I feel making me wonder if this is just the Christmas spiritual crisis of my time.

In watching Miracle on 34th Street (the original, of course), Kris Kringle states that convincing Mrs. Walker and Susan that there is a Santa Claus is his last hope to save the spirit of Christmas or he's through. In the end of course, Mrs. Walker tells her daughter that faith is believing when common sense tells you not too. Christmas saved again.

Don't laugh but one of my all time favorites is Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I watched that tonight and and the messages in it are so pure and beautiful. Do you know that some channels now edit out the darling scene where he sings to the children while passing out toys? A negative sign of the times. It's the message at the end that moves me nearly to tears when in the little cartoon they show the cynics stating that Christmas should be outlawed and how can people think of Christmas when there is so much unhappiness in the world. The message then goes on to say that yes, there is unhappiness but if we all were a little more like Santa and gave of our time, gifts and talents then maybe there truly would be peace on earth. I agree.

In this magical time, I am always reminded of just that. If we can all keep the magic going just a little longer. If we could all be as charitable througout the year as we are at Christmas, think of the difference that could make in the world.

And Virgina, let's keep glad the heart of childhood.