Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chaos is King!

I know some of my friends and family are waiting for this post to get a recap of our Christmas and see the pictures. Let me just say, many, many, many of our pictures of this event will not be published on the blog.

Chaos reigns when my family gets together. BUT the morning started quietly. I put on the coffee and a little soft Christmas music while someone went to wake Taylor and Sheldon. I had all my children with me except Michael but Sheldon was here kind of holding his spot. I got my camera and we were ready to go.

Phone rings! Yes! I didn't guess I'd be this lucky. It was Michael. We all got a chance to speak with him. We didn't get cut off and John and I got to talk twice. He said he had the next couple days off and would spend it working out and playing ping-pong. We got a ping-pong table the day before set up in the barn. What a co-inky-dink. Lots of talk about kicking ass in ping-pong between the brothers ensued. Everyone said their "I love you's" and just in case we didn't have the chance we wished him a Happy Birthday. Michael's birthday is the 30th. He will be 21. So I got everything I could have hoped for right there at the top of the day.

Everyone was pleased with their gifts. Johnny got some grills as a joke from Taylor and had quite the day posing w/them. All day I had to see those hideous things.

My family started arriving and before you know the house was filled with noise. I think it was a little overwhelming to Taylors boyfriend Sheldon who is from a smaller family. We are always trying to talk over each other and we get silly and some of us (my brother Joe)get a little...catty? (would that be the right word Carla?) Anyway instead of buying gifts for everyone we had a $20 gift exchange. We played the game where you pick a number and take a gift from the pile or steal a gift someone already got. It was too fun. It was about the game and not the gift which I like. But it was pretty ruthless as we all know each other so well. A few shots...

So you get the idea. We had a lot of fun. The bottle of Bordeaux that was the gift most often stolen in the game was shared by the thieves.

Here are a few more photos as we headed for the table.

Joe picked on Mom.

Carla posed.

Sisters, sisters. There were never such devoted sisters.

There was the obligatory kitchen sink mishap which John fixed. (I think it was a shot glass ground up in the disposal by Taylor but they avoided mentioning it to me.

After dinner it started...

But there were still a few of us waiting for dessert...

John G. went for the many little slices of everything.

Johnny went for the mostly whipped cream with a side of pie.

So that's about how it went. Sorry to bore some of you. I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

King John's Christmas

And now I would like to share my favorite Christmas poem from "Now We Are Six" by A.A. Milne which is one of my favorite books. I loved this book and "When We Were Very Young" from when I was a child. You can use such expression reading these to children (or yourself).


King John was not a good man-
He had his little ways.
And sometimes no one spoke to him
For days and days and days.
And men who came across him,
When walking in the town,
Gave him a supercilious stare,
Or passed with noses in the air-
And bad King John stood dumbly there,
Blushing beneath his crown.

King John was not a good man,
And no good friends had he.
He stayed in every afternoon...
But no one came to tea.
And, round about December,
The cards upon his shelf
Which wished him lot of Christmas cheer,
And fortune in the coming year,
Were never from his near and dear,
But only from himself.

King John was not a good man,
Yet had his hopes and fears.
They'd given him no present now
For years and years and years.
But every year at Christmas,
While minstrels stood about,
Collecting Tribute from the young
For all the songs they might have sung,
He stole away upstairs and hung
A hopeful stocking out.

King John was not a good man,
He lived his life aloof;
Alone he thought a message out
While climbing up the roof.
He wrote it down and propped it
Against the chimney stack:
And signed it not "Johannes R."
But very humbly, "Jack."

I want some crackers,
And I want some candy;
I think a box of chocolates
Would come in handy;
I don't mind oranges, I do like nuts!
And I SHOULD like a pocket-knife
That really cuts.
And, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all,
Bring me a big, red, india-rubber ball!"

King John was not a good man-
He wrote this message out,
And gat him to his room again,
Descending by the spout.
And all that night he lay there,
Aprey to hopes and fears.
"I think that's him a-coming now."
(Anxiety bedewed his brow.)
"He'll bring one present, anyhow-
The first I've had for years."

"Forget about the crackers,
and forget about the candy;
I'm sure a box of chocolates
Would never come in handy;
I don't like oranges,
I don't want nuts,
And I HAVE got a pocket-knife
That almost cuts.
But, oh! Father Christmas,
if you love me at all,
Bring me a big, red, india-rubber ball!"

King John was not a good man-
Next morning when the sun
Rose up to tell a waiting world
That Christmas had begun,
And people seized their stockings,
And opened them with glee,
And crackers, toys and games appeared,
And lips with sticky sweets were smeared,
King John said grimly:
"As I feared,
Nothing again for me!"

" I did want crackers,
And I did want candy;
I know a box of chocolates
Would come in handy;
I do love oranges,
I did want nuts.
I haven't got a pocket-knife-
Not one that cuts.
And, oh! if Father Christmas had loved me at all,
He would have brought a big, red, india-rubber

King John stood by the window,
And frowned to see below
The happy bands of boys and girls
All playing in the snow.
A while he stood there watching,
And envying them all...
When through the window big and red
There hurtled by his royal head,
And bounced and fell upon the bed,
An india-rubber ball!"


I will be hanging a hopeful stocking this year too. My wish of course is for an end to this war and peace on earth.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

2 Things. Canolli and timpani's.

First may I share my lastest triumph? I have made my first canolli shells. How happy am I? (How'd I do Spadoman?)
This was in one of the recipes I googled and I had to share:

"(In Italian, the word cannolis doesn't exist - singular = cannolo and plural = cannoli: so one cannolo or two cannoli.) End of Italian lesson!"

Tonight was Johnny's Winter Concert and once again I had the IMMENSE pleasure of watching him play the timpani drums. He rocked! I loved it! Ahh, but he does not want to do band in school next year. He doesn't like that kind of music he says. I think I shall force him to do it. He will thank me in the end I think. What say you?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Peace Meme

meme: (pron. 'meem') A contagious idea that replicates like a virus, passed on from mind to mind. Memes function the same way genes and viruses do, propagating through communication networks and face-to-face contact between people. The root of the word "memetics," a field of study which postulates that the meme is the basic unit of cultural evolution. Examples of memes include melodies, icons, fashion statements and phrases.

started a Peace Meme. Could there be a better Meme? I'm all for it. Tag! Your it.

THE Tree!

So there it is. My picture makes it look like it's in some small little bare corner I think. It is actually at the end of my kitchen/dining area. I live in a small farmhouse so the rooms are actually pretty small. It wouldn't fit in the living room.

You can see it from the living room through the French doors. I usually have a Balinese bench where the tree is. I move it into the library (very pretensious of me to call it the library isn't it?) for Christmas.

I love the way the bench looks in this room and have been longing for another to put in here for years. It is the perfect spot to lay and read in the morning. You can see in the picture how close I am to the road. Oh and when the birds ca-ca all over the house, guess which side it is? It's this corner. You raise the blinds and the windows are covered with it. And guess what I saw yesterday when I raised the blinds? You guessed it. They are getting more frequent. I powerwashed the house yesterday by the way. My first time. (Yet another power tool I recommend you all get. That thing cleans everything!) But like I had time to powerwash the house at this time of year! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT THOSE DAMN BIRDS?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Trimming the Tree

On Sunday I did get the tree in the stand. I waited until John took Johnny to lacrosse so I could have full control and avoid arguments. I got to use the Sawz-all. ( Love those power tools.) Got the tree in the house and then lost all interest in going any further.

The kids kept asking if we were decorating the tree and I kept telling them maybe tomorrow. I kept thinking I would put the lights on when they were at school and then it would be ready to decorate when they got home. But when they came home it still had no lights on it. I so didn't feel like doing it.

Then I opened this box.

The Italian lights. Trains and elves. The elves used to be attached to a string of lights that is long since gone. These were the lights on the trees of my childhood (Plural for Christmas). I used to love to pose the little elves on the tree and imagine conversations they would have w/each other.

The trains are not working anymore and I don't have a clue how to fix them but I love to see them because it takes me back to those happy (Plural for Christmas).

I have one other decoration from my childhood. The Italian bells. I love to see them every year.

Before you know it I had the lights on the tree and was posing the elves on a brand new string of lights. Except for the girl who lost her head they all looked quite contented. The kids and I finished trimming the tree.

I even but some tinsel on the tree. I have NEVER done that. My father used to be obsessive about it. It would take hours just to put the tinsel on. It had to be put on one strand at a time. Pretty much it was just Dad and my brother Richard who had the patience for that. Though I seem to have inherited some of his obsessive traits this is not one thank goodness. Johnny wanted to throw it on but no, I could not go that far. That would be sacrilege. So I kind of put like 3 on at a time and not much of it. When I told the kids about how Pop used to do it Johnny said "Wow that must of looked really good." It did. It was the most beautiful tree every time.

(And so what is the plural for Christmas? The happy Christmas's of my past?
The happy Christmases?)

Monday, December 18, 2006


Can someone please turn me on to some new music? I was on iTunes last night and couldn't find anything. Yuck. Same old crap. Besides the download of Christmas music from Coffee Messiah I haven't had anything exciting in a long time. I need some new tunes! Any suggestions?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Night Out

Last night John and I got together with some of our favorite people. This is the Assateague camping crowd. We met at a restaurant. We hardly laughed at all...

Now wait a minute. Let's review...

What happened to Bill in this picture? Oh, there he is with the napkin on his head at the head of the table. (He was NOT the designated driver.)

After dinner we retired to Maggie and Jimmy's studio across the street for homemade chocolate chip cookies and WATER and COFFEE. Well some people had wine but not John and I.

Our host and hostess.

And look at that lovely mermaid fireplace!

Joe schooling David and Bill.

Fun night. Great friends. Time to go. Johns the designated driver.

Me. "Hey honey what are all those lights up ahead?"
John "That's a sobriety check point dear."
Me. "Turn down this side street!"
John "I'm not turning. I'm fine. Don't worry."

So when the cop asks John if he had anything to drink he says he had a couple earlier. Not a good answer. He was asked to do the sobriety test. Okay. NO problem.

The window is down so I can hear everything. They start by shining a light in his eyes and asking him to follow it. John tries to tell them he has a lazy eye. The cop tells him he better get it to move tonight. He keeps telling John (whom he already patted down) to take his hands out of his pockets. John says it is cold outside, I'm bald, I don't have my hat. Meanwhile I think we are going to the slammer for sure just because John does not know how to shut it. There are like 4 other cops standing there. He passes all the tests. They ask him to do a breath-alizer test and he says sure. He's very confident. I'm still unsure. He passes. They ask him to please leave his car there anyway and see if he can get a ride. He starts to argue that he passed so why can't he drive. Finally it occurs to him to just shut up and say okay.

We call Lisa. We start walking down the road on a side street so Lisa doesn't have to come down where all the cops are and be intimidated. Normally I like a walk. And after all that stress I kinda needed a walk. But not as much as I needed a bathroom from drinking all that water and coffee at Maggies. And not when I am wearing my new faux fur lined pumps to fool my friends into thinking I'm not really that short after all. And not when it is so cold outside and I am not wearing the proper outerwear. But in the name of getting away from the fuzz I persevered. It was a beautiful, clear night and I enjoyed the evening sky. Still didn't see a meteor shower though. Lisa picked us up about a mile down the road.

So happy when I got home and kicked off those shoes.
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