Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2009

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were both good times for us this year. For me and my immediate family, the holiday season is a time for tradition and family. A time for gathering together with friends and loved ones to laugh and have good food together.

The holidays were even more special this year because our daughter Mary came home for a visit for the first time in several years. I really appreciated her taking time out of her busy life to spend a week with us. That week went by all too quickly, too.

Christmas eve in the afternoon we all opened our gifts to each other. We usually wait till Christmas morning out of tradition, but since Mary had a morning trumpet gig the next day, we decided to do it in the afternoon on Christmas Eve. I received some really nice gifts from Jon and my kids this year. Jon and I bought a new receiver as our gift to each other, and we went to see Star Wars in Concert earlier this month. Then he bought me some sweaters, two pair of boot shoes, pajamas and a NuWave cooker. (The thing really works like the informercials show, but that is for another story.) Jason gave me a book that lists 1001 books to read before you die. And Jeff and Whitney gave me diamond stud earrings and a special computer mouse pad with Jon's, Jason, Jeff, Whitney and Mary's pictures on it. It's so neat! Mary gave me a pretty pair of earrings that I can wear with lots of things and oh so nice-smelling body cream and a hand lotion. Very nice gifts. :-) Jon also put together a computer for the livingroom that is now hooked up to our 106" screen tv! Crazy!

Christmas evening we went to some good friends of ours who are like family to us. We have gone there every year since before we were married. They are Jon's "surrogate" family that took care of him when he was little and his mother worked. And grew especially close to them after Jon's parents passed away when he was a teenager. There was so much good food there, as usual. This year it was lasagna, sausage, meatballs, salad, Italian bread and butter. And lots and lots of desserts.

The next day we went to my parents' house for another good meal. Ham and sweet potatoes, sausage, sauerkraut, veggies, rolls, strawberry jello, and cookies galore. My sister was over with her husband and my brother was there with his wife and one of his sons. The weather started turning nasty and my other brother and his family just went home from his in-laws since the weather was getting worse and worse and temperatures were plunging. Got some nice things from Mom and Dad. I got the blue fleece top I wanted and some real nice Bath and Body Works stuff and a cute story book about a mouse. (I love illustrated children's books.)

The weather on the way home was strange. It looked like the arctic at my parents' place, then as we headed west it cleared up and was fine till we got two blocks from home and looked as though we drove through the wall of snow and into a snowglobe. Lucky we made it home before that other storm moved east.

Mary stayed till today and I took her to the airport earlier to go back home. It's always sad to say goodbye. I am so glad she got to come spend the holidays with us.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our new village hall

Here is a photo taken by a friend of the new village hall in our town. It's built in a commons area with library, orchestra shell, and other nice things...pond with fountains, walkways, outdoor music speakers, and picnic areas, places for sledding and playgrounds. It's a nice place to live, though our taxes are outrageous!

Today we are having nasty weather. Freezing rain and sometimes snow. Sometimes mixed, sometimes separate. The weather guys say it's supposed to turn to all freezing rain later this evening which should put a nice glassy glaze on everything and hopefully won't seal our vehicles closed.

I still am expecting two presents to be delivered and hope they make it here today. They are already several days overdue. Weird that this time next week will be the last days of 2009.

Waynesville NC in Winter

This photo is reminiscent of the scenes in It's a Wonderful Life. Actually, it is the main street going through Waynesville, North Carolina in the vicinity where my father and his family lived when he was growing up. A local photographer took this among other photos that are just as beautiful as this one after the recent snowstorm that went through the east coast this past week. Our daughter found herself driving through it two days in a row in Virginia and fortunately being from Chicago she knew how to drive in this stuff and didn't end up in a ditch like many folks who are not used to so much white stuff.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow, wind, ice and sub-freezing temps

This image is pretty much how everyone's yards look around us. The winds were really bad yesterday, howling and making the siding buzz in an annoying kind of way. It gets on my nerves pretty quick. We haven't been able to figure out how to prevent the "buzzing" in high winds except for maybe to replace the siding with brick, and who has money for that?

The new windows we installed over the summer are doing their job. We have no drafts at all and despite the cold temperatures, the furnace has not been running a whole lot and it's staying nice and comfortable inside.

Yesterday and all last night we had snow, but today the skies are bright blue and the sun is making the snow sparkle. It's pretty to look at but nothing I like to go out into. I have a cold today so that is another reason to stay indoors. I feel bad for Jon who has to be on the roof at work today for some insane reason.

Star Wars in Concert

We went to see the Star Wars in Concert at Chicago's United Center this past Sunday and was an excellent performance of music, lights and video. The kids who attended looked so cute all dressed up in their costumes, and the adults...the Star Wars "nerds" wore authentic-looking costumes which made it fun. While I have enjoyed the Star Wars movies, and the music, I would never go so far as to dress up in a costume for this or any event.

The food at the United Center was outrageous! Jon and I got an individual-sized cheese pizza to share and that was $12 and then a large Sprite was $6.50! We went to eat at Portillo's afterwards and got a beef and cheddar croissant, a regular beef sandwich, large order of fries, large drink and a chocolate cake shake for a dollar less than the piddly lunch at the UC.

Here is a video someone made and put on YouTube of part of the performance. Once the Star Wars production company figures out it is on there it will probaby be removed.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Warm Cinnabon Coffee Cake

This stuff is incredible. Delectable! It was our dessert tonight. Warm from the oven.

Snowflakes in the air

It didn't snow as much as in these photos, but it will come. There were pretty tiny snowflakes floating in the crisp, cold air as my husband and I walked hand and hand across the dark parking lot of the Burrito Loco when we went to dinner last night. The snowflakes were in the air again today as I drove to my doctor's appointment. It looks very lovely coming down so subtly, the flakes melting as soon as they hit the still-warm pavement. But all too soon we will be shoveling heaps of the white stuff again and again while wishing for springtime.