Monday, December 25, 2006

Well, that wasn't so bad...

After my internal and external ba-humbugging of the holidays, we're actually in the midst of a fun time. We'd made cookies on Saturday, and yesterday DH and #1 took them around to our new neighbors. We live in a cul-de-sac with folks who are mostly in the 65+ set, which we both really like. They ooohed over #1 and began sharing some of the stories of the neighborhood.

Last night we started a new tradition: cheese fondue for Christmas Eve. It was just the four of us, and so we ate good, simple food and then the kids unwrapped, oh, four presents or so each. It was the perfect amount of "stuff," in my opinion--they were grateful, and excited, and are happily playing with their things this morning.

And now we have a few things to get ready to take over to a friend's house for a full day of eating and playing. Yay for that!

(Welcome back to the left coast, LCS!! Post soon!)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Unholiday

I was talking with a friend the other day who has done more and more for Christmas as the years go by; I, however, seem to be doing less and less. Not to be all bah-humbuggy or anything, but Christmas has rubbed me increasingly wrong for many (totally personal) reasons: the "aren't you buying your kids a mountain of presents?" question from friends; the "go spend lots of money that you might not have" advertiser stance; the "celebrate the birth of someone that was not actually born on December 25 or even close to it" religious perspective.

Don't get me wrong: I'm all for being with family, hanging out, eating too much, and enjoying time together. I have nothing against presents, either. It's kind of awkward to be for a low-key Christmas; it's like being "against" apple pie, or the Constitution, or something. I'm just trying not to feel the pressure to do something that we don't have the money or the interest in doing (the present blitz is largely what I'm referring to).

But here's to overdoses of hot chocolate and too many games of Battleship. Now that's my idea of a holiday well-spent!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Merry Holidays to all and to all a good night!

Am having blogger's block, I guess. Just not a lot to say. That and the fact that we are leaving for two weeks on two different trips complete with snow suits and presents, I haven't posted much as of late. But Before I am actually absent in body, I thought I'd wish you all a happy holidays.
I, like Carrie, adore this season. I like the twinkly lights, the great smelling kitchens, the excitement in my toddlers eyes when he sees Santa, candy canes, decorations and... the ballet. We didn't see the traditional Nutcracker in all its Sugar Plum glory. Instead, I opted to take him and the baby to a local production of The Snow Maiden. It was ballet at its homespun finest. Complete with 3-year old ballerinas dressed as reindeer (confused reindeer, but reindeer nonetheless), a very akward snowman (who, by the look on his face, was one of the girls' brother who got roped into this silly show), and (perhaps best of all) someone's dad playing Father Winter. I know it was someone's dad because he didn't have a lot of ballet-ic flair to his step and he was wearing Merrells instead of slippers. That, and I could see his sweat pants beneath his white pope-y robe. All in all, it was 30 minutes of good fun. Boy #1 *loved* it, since it was too short to be bored and so small he was about 6 inches from the newfallen styrofoam snow as well as the reindeer, which were his favorite part.
So the moral of the story is: If you're feeling a little out of sync with the jingles on the radio and the pleas for your money from department stores, check out your local ballet school. It just might bring back your love for Christmas. And truly nothing is more effectove in bringing a smile to your face than your local plumber spinning around on plastic snow.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

*The State Boys' Rebellion*--book review

Thanks to Lisa,*, last time I visited the library I went to the front desk and picked up the books that I'd requested ahead of time. No, this is not the ideal way to use a library--I love browsing and looking--but it *is* ideal when you have two cakesniffers** in tow. My favorite of the lot I've read so far is _The State Boys' Rebellion_. It's nonfiction and therefore all the more disturbing; it's about the thousands of children who weren't even mentally "retarded" at all, but who got assigned to state schools for "feebleminded" children. The book describes the indescribably horrific conditions of these schools, the awful torture that the patients/students endured, and the social issues surrounding uncomfortable ideas of our not-too-distant past about eugenics and other equally awful ideals.

I could say more, but I need to go to bed--I've been meaning to write a little about this book for a while, though. Reading about the abuse (no, it really is torture) of children is not something I'd *choose* to do, but it was reading I needed to do.

*I know how to link to her blog, but not to the exact day when she listed a bunch of books. Hmm.

*see Lemony Snicket if you haven't already.

Husbands That Rock

LCS's husband--get this: for her birthday, he
For clothes. In a mall. And encouraged her to spend money

This, my friends, is amazing. I stand in complete awe at how she found him!

(Just for the record, he has other incredible traits too that are probably more important. But this

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Things I can't imagine

The story of the missing San Francisco family in Oregon has been so much on my mind. I always wonder what it is about certain stories that capture us, and others that don't. The press conference had me in tears... and I'm not generally tearful about what is reported in the news, maybe because it just feels so far away. But the exhausted look of this sheriff, and the awful, hard work he and his staff must have gone through to come to the tragic ending just does me in. I think there's a lot of missing information, like why in a zillion years anyone would have taken a back road when there's snow on the ground, but that is all irrelevant now. Now, two girls won't have a daddy at their school plays. He won't coach their softball teams or take them to piano lessons. And their mom has her own losses as well as trying in some way to compensate for his absence.
How would you ever explain to your sweet babies what happened?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

With no dishwasher??

While bemoaning our current dishwasher-less state, I was thinking about my mother's grandmother who homesteaded in eastern Montana. The word Montana might whisper of mountains to you, but eastern Montana absolutely defines the plains. The flat, flat plains.
This woman would be my great-grandmother and she lived out in the middle of nowhere (no exaggeration) with none of the following: running water, hot water heater, electricity, cars, microwave oven, and (gasp!) no dishwasher. Imagine raising 9 kids (or maybe it was only 8?) with none of those things. Granted, she didn't have to run them all over town for soccer practice or piano lessons, and she didn't find things she needed at Target on a daily basis, but life surely was a lot of hard work.
I got to thinking about which modern convenience I would send to my overworked ancestor. I think if I could send anything back in time to her, it would not be a dishwasher. It would be hot and cold running water, right into the ol' kitchen. Either that or Triple Chunk Brownie mix.
So I pose the question to you, dear reader(s?). Lurkers and regular commentors alike, what would you send to your forebears to make their lives easier? (And no fair saying something like "the wheel". I'm not talking that far back.)

A life in boxes

Our stuff always looks so tawdry when it's or pulled out of cardboard boxes. At least for now, though, these simple things of ours are in an as-permanent-as-any-location-gets location. It's a relief to be moved in; it's fantastical to have a 5-minute commute; it's more than we'd ever imagined to be a block from the river.

The house is certainly not perfect, but it's really nice and nearly exactly what we needed. Except for the very old carpet. Oh, and there are the metal windows that sweat. And the 80s kitchen with the lowered ceiling (why *did* that seem attractive?) And the fact that, oddly, the washer and dryer are in the kitchen. But we feel very, very lucky to be here--in fact, we're far outclassed in this neighborhood. Ah well--they don't know yet that us country folk will bring the property values down :)

In the meantime, feel free to stop by! Perhaps by then we'll have the guest room available for guests, rather than for (you guessed it) boxes.