Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Moment Musings...

Short Menu of the Day:

iTunes: Ryan Montbleau cd. (Thank you, equeyaya!)

In my Glass: Toasted Head Chardonnay

Photos: 1) Paper whites are my favorites. I should have taken this when they bloomed more. Oh well.
2) Brian's tradition is to make his own smoked salmon and give it as gifts. It takes all day. But i've never tasted any smoked salmon better than his.
3) My tree, which looks like every other tree, but dammit, this tree is like having a new puppy. It needs water twice a day! I think this tree will live until March. I'm not getting rid of it until it dies.
4) louielouie's daughter made this snowman/ghost candle for me when she was in elementary school (she's 21 now, right?...louie?) I still put this out every year and light it.
5) Dorothy's Christmas wreath was well known around our condo. When she died her daughter gave it to us. The first year we hung it i had two friends call us thanking us for making sure it was still displayed. Brian and I still miss Dorothy and talk about her often. She would join us for our Christmas breakfast those years we didn't have to hit the road to Eastern Washington.

My thoughts on Christmas moments:

1. First the disclaimer: I wanted to be sure that i have 52 blog posts before i end this year and i'm not sure once the tsunami of Christmas arrives (which for me starts on Christmas Eve afternoon) that i would have time.

2. This blog post is about posting your Christmas moments this year. As i've gotten older I have learned not to have the expectation of the whole Christmas Spirit feeling. I am sure that is partly do to my choice of not having children. (I think children are the key to that spirit.) Instead I have learned to enjoy the season by looking for those moments.

3. Kylee's graduation last week from the Seattle Art Institute. First of all Kylee is the first person in my family to graduate with a bachelor's degree. And being in Seattle at Christmastime with family during a celebration like that was really cool. We went out for tapas and wine afterwards at a nice place where we got to sit in sofas. It was very warm and cozy and happy.

4. Watching Roman Holiday with Brian the other day. Kylee loaned us her DVD of this and though it's not a holiday movie, it felt like it. Neither one of us had ever seen it.

5. Yesterday my brother Troy stopped by unannounced. He was carrying what i first thought was lawn furniture cushions. Instead it was his dog, Gus's dog bed. (Gus was a girl named for Augustus McRae from Lonesome Dove.) Gus was a gentle black lab who lived to be 15 years old. She died only two months before Troy's son Josh died. With Gus's dog bed was also a pair of Josh's jeans, size 30/30. I used to make lots of jean pillows years ago for my nieces and nephews and I had told Troy i would make a pillow of Josh's jeans and Gus's dog bed scraps if he ever wanted that. He never responded at the time so i thought he must have thought it was a dumb idea and i had forgotten about it. But last night he showed up with them both.

6. I am going to buy a sewing machine now! I keep thinking i should.

7. A moment I'm looking forward to: Brian and Kylee are headed out to Weight Watcher's tonight and afterwards are coming over to watch Eat, Pray, Love and i'm in between writing this blog and cooking a healthy pasta dinner for when they return.

8. Tonight my nephew Brian called me from the mall. He always leaves his Christmas shopping until the last few days which cracks me up. He was looking for the Ryan Montbleau cd and he couldn't find it, which i'm not surprised . I don't think Troy reads my blog so i'm not giving up anything. But i love when they call me for ideas.

9. The other night this same nephew was at my mom's house and i noticed that he had duct tape in the crotch of his jeans. LOL.... It was pretty funny. Apparently he had ripped them out and decided that was the fix. So though we normally don't do the gift exchange in my family with any kids over 21 i bought him some Gap jeans for Christmas.

10. My niece Ashley emailed and said she wants to come down and visit with me ahead of the Christmas Eve Tsunami on her way home from Seattle. So she and Kylee and Brian and I are have a pre-function at our place and maybe nephew Brian and his girlfriend will come too. All my favorites.

So if you aren't too busy with Christmas, come and share you own Christmas moments with us all.

And thank you for reading this blog. I hope you will all continue to come here and post in 2011.... (you too....TXGrits, where have you been?)

My goal, whether Facebooking takes over blogging or not, will to continue to try to move this once a week as i did this year. I like writing and it's a great outlet for me.

Merry Christmas all.

Edited: to add louie/louie's children: Emma and Nick. I'll add a comment to explain.


louielouie said...

My Christmas cookies are done!!
That is a great Christmas moment for me. Tomorrow, the Christmas bread.

Actually, a great Christmas moment/time was yesterday when my kids and I went to Denny’s for breakfast. I love having them home. They are both so funny, smart, and just down-right fantastic.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Ok, i just have to come here and tell y'all that i HATED "Eat, Pray, Love." I could not stand Julia Roberts character. What a self-absorbed, humorless, whiney ass cry baby she was in that book. She has not one good man, but THREE, all of them super handsome and yet she still cannot get over her angsty self, even as she has sufficient enough income to not work and travel for a whole year to India and Bali and Italy. A whole year!

She bored me and was incredibly sullen that i could understand why she, traveling alone, would make so many friends everywhere she went. She was so unlikeable.

But it was fun to watch because i loved hating her character. She was never my favorite, sorta used to like Julia Roberts, but not so much in the past years at all. Sandra Bullock would have made that part better.

I never read the book but can imagine i might not like the author any better since this is a memoir.

AND OMG, who would have thought the guy from No Country for Old Men would be such an incredible looking man. Javier Bardem is so hot.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Damn typos. I swear i think i type better when i am drinking wine. however i will say i just came in from running in the rain and my wrists are still so cold that it's making it hard. ( keep editing just this part!)

I mean crying whiney ass in the movie, not the book. (like i said, i never read the book. My friend Julie, who knows me well, told me i would not like the book.)

I also meant i could NOT understand why would make so many friends. NOT....

Amanda said...

Can we see the pillow when it's done? I love that idea. It's sweet that he brought those things over.

There are so many presents under your tree! How many people do you buy for? That looks like a lot of shopping.

louielouie said...

I could have told you you would hate Eat Pray Love. I'm so glad I did not read the book, although I was tempted. I'm sorry to say I think we actually paid to see the movie

The only redeeming thing about it was that I read that Julie Roberts actually ate during the filming and loved all the food. Of course, the article also included a positive movie review so maybe the whole piece was packed with LIES.

the best thing on my trip to Italy was the food

louielouie said...

maybe if the movie was just "Eat" I would have liked it better

louielouie said...

Next week would be a good time to cut out your pillow pieces. I could bring some shears and a rotary cutter. . .

A new post for every thought I guess,

amulbunny's random thoughts said...

I thought EPL was awfully long winded. I enjoyed Italy, but my God she whined so much.....

We were in Vegas for 4 days and had a wonderful time,considering we got a room upgrade at midnight the 1st night because the light fixture in the bathroom was leaking into the tub. Went to a deluxe king room and enjoyed a jacuzzi tub!

Please show us the pillow when you are done. When my kids were little I took their favorite tee shirts (one said My Name is NO!No! and the other was Me TOO! ) and made pillows for the kids. My son still has the mickey and babies quilt that I made for him when I was pregnant.

I am not drinking as much as I usually do because my IBS is on a rage.

Oh and some bad news:
Lynn--- Jokes Wild Again, dx'ed with small cell carcinoma with hepatic involvement.
Zenia---SouthernBelle, dx'ed with Stage 4 breast cancer
Mersea--dx'ed with breast cancer
Sharon--more lesions in her brain, she just had her mastectomy. Gamma knife after the 1st of the year on her brain.

It seems like a cluster of yaya's got hit this year. Scary.

Merry Christmas.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Oh Sarah, I didn't know you had seen should have warned me! You too would know i would hate such a movie.

The Julia Roberts character irritated me so much that it totally ruined my Christmas Moment Time with Kylee! LOL.....

Also, Julia Roberts did not look like she ate at all when she made that movie. Her face is so gaunt in this movie. To make it believable she should have put on at least 10-15 lbs after being in Italy for four months!

My husband tells me Julia has never done it for him. He also doesn't like Angelina Jolie either. (He tends to go more for the Renee Zellweiger kind of actress.)

And you're right Sarah/louie, 'Eat' would make the movie better. I was disappointed they didn't show more food. they didn't even show enough wine.

louie, that would be great if we could sew at the beach cabin next week. I'll start ripping apart this bed and wash it again. I would love to have these done for them soon. I will post a photo of the pillows when i am done.

amulbunny, it's good to see you. You cleared up a confusion i had on an email i got from zienia. (She's the one who had the daughter who used to be in ballet or pageants? I think she lived in Wash. state for awhile.) I didn't know which yaya she was. I do know Joker's Wild and had heard from eque about her. I am not familiar with the other yayas, though i recognize their names.

This is indeed a lot of serious illness with the yayas. It sort of puts the whole stupid Eat Pray Love movie into perspective when you hear about someone's REAL troubles.

equeyaya said...

I wrote out a long comment on my phone and lost it. So I'll try again, now that I've booted up the pc, but keep in mind it won't be nearly as brilliant with the spontaneity lost.

When I typed on my phone, Ryan Montbleau's "Here et al" was on my shuffle. Now it's John Butler Trio's "Fool For You."

I can happily testify to the wonderfulness of Brian's smoked salmon.

Jo, you have shamed me with your beautiful tree photo with the perfectly wrapped gifts beneath it. The only gifts I've wrapped are the ones that I've already given away. Tomorrow I'll get that done and then I'll be *ready*.

In my glass earlier was actually a bottle of Smithwicks (pronounced schmiddicks) Irish lager. I bought a case so I had some beer for the holidays. But now I think I need to get some regular beer for when I make pork and sauerkraut for New Year's because I think the lager will be too bitter. The Smithwicks is tasty, though.

I can't add to the Christmas moments. And I don't agree about it being easier to have them with kids. At least it wasn't that way for me. I've always been more focused on making the moments for them that I lost them for myself. This year, as most, but still different, it's a big to do list. And I am enjoying the challenge of accomplishing everything. But not getting *that feeling* by any stretch of the imagination.

One thing I'm doing consciously this year is saying "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." Grace got on me about it in the Game Stop tonight and said the guy at the register didn't look like he celebrated Christmas. I kind of don't care though if it offends people. And it's not a "put the Christ back in Christmas" kind of thing. It just sounds more festive than Happy Holidays. Most people seem to appreciate it and I'm more conscious about smiling and greeting people in general than I used to be.

I guess that's what the "moments" are about, not a particular time or celebration, just life in general. A beautiful sunrise, seeing my breath, my horse nuzzling me, laughing with my daughter. And the good thing is I can have those things anytime if I'm open to them.

So tomorrow I will wrap gifts, and I think that will be a wrap on my to do list. Except for the cooking. Tomorrow I want to try making pumpkin risotto. Then on Christmas day I'm just going to do a ham, because Grace likes ham. The day after, I'm making a pork tenderloin for my family. There will be 12 of us for a sit down dinner in my tiny house, but I think I have it all planned out so it will work.

I really enjoyed the book "Eat Pray Love." I think it was because I had just come back from Italy and I completely fell in love with Italy. And I read it at a point in my life where the idea of running away to the other side of the world for a year was very appealing. And in the book, the protagonist DID gain about 15 pounds in the time she was Italy, and the food descriptions were amazing.

And now I'm listening to Jeff Buckley, "Grace." That whole album is kind of eerie sounding. I like it.

Melanie has her girlfriends over for their Christmas gift exchange so I have been relegated to the back of my house. I hung out in bed under the covers for a while to stay warm. I had propane delivered twice this month and it's killing me, so I programmed the thermostat to be goddamn cold in here all the time. :(

Anyway, It's almost 10:30, and we're going to head out to take Hatty home in a few.

Jo, that is really sweet that you offered to make that pillow for Troy and he remembered it. It will make a nice housewarming gift for his new place to take those good memories with him.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

jojo cucina cucina said...

eque.... i cannot imagine how you type a long post from your phone! And i love your post.

It's interesting to me what you write about having kids does not necessarily make one in the spirit, because what you so eloquently say, i think can be true. You lost your own moments. But I think you are getting that back.

I treasure every moment.

I had one today: Brian was out running errands, buying the stuff for our Ugly Christmas sweater, and appetizer foods to entertain, etc. and i was home reading. I fell asleep for a moment and woke up to hear Jeff Buckley's 'Hallelujah' on shuffle play on my iPod . It wasn't even a Xmas playlist i had made (where i have included this song before).

And eque, your Christmas tree looks very much like mine! I had already put up a tree photo but i like having one that shows the progression of the books height. So i included it here for record.

Those presents....are mostly from me to Brian.... and Brian to me. We are not materialistic people at heart, which is evident by our lifestyle of our little condo and how long we keep our cars, and how we don't often buy big stuff for ourselves, but come Christmas we go gaga on the gifts for each other.

We do this, i think for two reasons: #1 we don't have kids. #2 And we both find it easy to find presents for each other. It's just fun. the only time i like shopping is for Christmas.

I hardly EVER have to return a gift that Brian has bought for me. And i can't remember the last time i did.

And i am TOTALLY with you eque, and i love that you mention this here! I have also been saying 'Merry Christmas' to people and writing it on the emails (or the four Christmas cards i sent.) I hate doing the pc thing on this.

I do not go to Mass and i might not believe EVERYTHING about Jesus and the Bible, but at heart i like keeping Jesus in mind about the holiday, no matter how i believe He exists. (Plus i hate the pc thing.)I would never be offended if someone said 'Happy Kwanza' or 'Happy Hannakah' to me, so i imagine people i like shouldn't be mad for 'Merry Christmas'. And if they are....well. you know....they can bite me.

I am looking forward to our Christmas. We go to my brother's (ms hippie's dad) on Xmas Eve night. On Christmas Day we have it to ourselves. We are going to take our time opening presents, and then we're going to walk Chambers Creek. After that out to the movie at the Grand Cinema (to see that '127 hours' movie, or is it 124?) then we are having our condo buddy Bob over for wine and appetizers (because we found out he is alone on Xmas day) and then out to Ms. Hippie's nanna's house for the Ugly Christmas Sweater Open House) around 8:30.

the Day After, 'Boxing Day' as Ms. Hippie's mom always calls it, is Brian's side of the family for non-Turkey meals in pots, soups, etc. . (Mine is chili) at his brother's house which thankfully, doesn't mean a drive over the mountains, just 40 minutes away.

jojo cucina cucina said...

OMG.... there it is! sometimes you get that URL is too big and it won't post. But if you leave it alone and click back, there it is. OK, i'm not mad anymore. LOL.

equeyaya said...

That happens to me with this blog a lot, so I hold my breath when I hit post. When I'm smart I copy it before I try to post, just in case.

And I think part of the Merry Christmas bit is to be anti-pc. I'm glad you have a relaxing Christmas planned with no long drives. I'm looking forward to just chillin myself.

My wrapping is done. I'm a terrible wrapper, my gifts always look like a 5 year old wrapped them. I would like to do all gift bags, but there were a lot of awkward sizes and shapes this year.

When I finish here, I'm going to stick on bows and tags, drag the girls' gifts out under the tree to torcher them, and take Callie for a walk. Later on I'll tackle the pumpkin risotto in my new paella pan.

I think I must have missed something about ugly Christmas sweaters. Do tell. Jimmy Fallon has been giving away Christmas sweaters to random audience members every night. He goes out and talks to the winner and then he or she puts on the sweater and it's very funny. I really do love him. Jeff Bridges was on last week. I love him, too. I think I want to see True Grit when it comes out.

Right now on my iphone Sara McLachlan Christmastime is Here is playing. From you!

equeyaya said...

Can't leave you with 13 comments. Bad number. ;)

louielouie said...

My cooking is done, and my bread and cookies delivered, I hope.

My prep for tonight at my mom’s is done too. She still hosts us all on Christmas Eve, but my little brother and I do all the cooking. My sister and sister in law (best sister in law EVER) help clean up. There will be gifts galore, and it all goes very late. All my sibs and off spring will be there this year. It will be great. Em announced to her uncle she would allow “no drama” this year because she finally gets a Christmas with Nick. A year or so a go my brother and my sister’s daughter got into it, tears flowed, she left didn’t come back until most everyone had gone home. My brother claims not to remember.

Everything is wrapped. For me that means Christmas paper with "to" and "from" written right on the package with sharpie. Em makes her own paper and cards, not sure where she got that. We’ll do a quick family Christmas in the morning before church – Nick will head off to his dad’s. Then I am actually roasting game hens for the 3 of us.

Now I am going to put on clean sheets, take a shower and then sit with some ice on my foot. I have an hour to relax before we all head out – hope my kids are back soon.

Merry Christmas All

equeyaya said...

I finally felt the Christmas Spirit for the first time this year.

Shawn Mullins posted a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas on facebook, and an acoustic performance of "The Christmas Song." And that did it for me.

Christmastime is here.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Hey! My next Christmas Moment. I'm finishing up my version of the green bean dish (with proscuitto and shallots) when there is a knock on the door. I'm hoping it's my Dwight Shrute Beet Farm t-shirt that i ordered as part of my Christmas present for Adam, my nephew on Brian's side of the family, but instead it is Emma and Nick! Bring Sarah/louie's famous Christmas bread and cookies (cause she knows i never bake!)

Sarah, they both look so fabulous and it wasn't until after they had gone that i realized i forgot to take their photo. Usually i have my camera sitting on the table even. Dammit, i would love to show everyone here how good looking they both are! (And of course my husband just thinks Emma is the bees knees and would adopt her if he could. He came in after a half hour. It was his first time meeting Nick.)

They stayed for about 45 minutes and we talked about all sorts of stuff. Now i have another husband pick for Kylee! LOLOL.....

It was another nice Christmas moment.

Thank you Sarah. I'll be talking to you.

I'll post photos later of our Ugly Sweaters. The Elmer Fudd hats are the best!

I'm going to go look for Shawn Mullins, eque!

jojo cucina cucina said...

I just added Emma and Nick from a photo Sarah/louie just emailed me. Sarah, who took this, was it tonight? I'm thinking it is.

Emma is giving a cheesy smile! LOL.... They are so amazining and cute. And what y'all need to know is how much these two really like each other and that doesn't exactly show up in this photo because they are posing.i would be very proud to raise kids like Emma and Nick.

It was very fun to be with them today, even for a short time.

Sarah, i was so struck by how much Nick looked like Jim when i saw him today. He looks very much like when i first met Jim. Back when Jim was about 24 years old.

Swiss said...

Google has not been good to me- but I am trying again- I have been digging your blog all along and always want to say something/

Swiss said...

YAY they did it- they finally did it! Merry Christmas

equeyaya said...

good lookin' kids there, louie!

Merry Christmas, Swiss!

louielouie said...

Those two kids are the best; and it’s not just auntie jojo and me saying so. . .

louielouie said...

Had a great Christmas Eve with my extended family last night. My mom's oven broke so my sister in law had to take her lamb medallions home to make.

The food was great, the company was the same. We all ate, drank and laughed too much

After Santa, and Nick off to his dad’s, church and breakfast with just my mom and sister's family this morning. Very low key and fun, my sister’s girls are great too – just not as great as my kids ;-)

Then to Ron's daughter house to watch her kids open presents - kind of fun actually; it's been a long time since I've seen kids excited about toys. Boy, are toys something else these days, all that sound and connectivity to the Internet.

Now we’re home, watching Scott Pilgrim Vs The World.

All is good

jojo cucina cucina said...

Hey all....Swiss! You've been here before i think but i have a terrible memory for people i don't see often! Please stick around and post and if you are a former Gumbo YaYa-er, are you Kat? Are you Amanda's friend? Are you Amy? LOLOLOL..... Even if you are not those people, stick around.

We had a nice low key Christmas. It took a while to open presents. And then we went for the Chambers Golf Course walk. After that we went to see the movie 127 Hours. which is playing at the Grand Cinema (my favorite kind of movie theatre, artsy). That movie was good and INTENSE. Not exactly Christmas fare. It's the true story about the hiker whose arm got stuck under the rock for 5 days until he cut it off. It was good, but sort of like No Country for Old Men, (which i really liked) you almost needed it to be over because it made you feel like you were there.

Our neighbor Bob is coming over for wine and appetizers and then we're going to the ugly Christmas Sweater party at Kylee's nanna's. We didn't have any dinner planned for today it's all breakfast and appetizers and wine.

Tomorrow we head out to Brian's brother for his side of the family at noon. It's not over the mountains though, just a 40 min. drive and i like that alot. I made jojo's chili (i make it with a dark beer and add baker's chocolate and three different kinds of meat). We are doing 'food in pots' night, which i love since you can only have so much turkey.

Merry Christmas everybody!..

I guess i better go make some hors d'oeuvres. I did NOT spell that correctly, but i think i got close.

equeyaya said...

I think that is how you spell it.

Lois went to hear that hiker with the cut off arm speak a couple years ago. She said it was an amazing story. I don't know if I could sit through that. On Thursday, I think I'm going to see Jeff Bridges <3 in True Grit with Vera and Sally.

Louie, I'm glad I'm not the only one who is wrapping-challenged. I always feel inadequate when I see packages with fancy bows and perfectly flat wrap.

Swiss is Swiss Chard from Gumbo, I think. Do you realize it's been almost 3 years since that folded? And I was worried we all wouldn't keep in touch! Facebook has more than filled that gap. And I still get Christmas and birthday cards from Pudge!

louielouie said...

I thought I posted earlier today, but now don't see it and am too tired to retype my Christmas moments.

oh well

Modern Hippie said...

I'm BACK!!!!! I actually found myself sitting on the computer done with facebook thinking "what could i do right now!"

I love how many times I'm mentioned in this blog :) but wow where is everyone, you know what you should do Jo, post your blog to your facebook, I think there is a way to say who can see it, next wednesday i'm over i'll show you. (that way it would only show up for your blog friends, or specifically disclude people)

Swiss said...

Funny how you think people know- I have been here and read almost all your posts being frustrated I could not answer- I am Charr and was Charrdonnay on Gumbo actually.

The Vashonian...

jojo cucina cucina said...

dammit. i just posted hellos to Swiss, kylee, etc and stuff about our trip and it didn't take. Now i'm too tired to redo it. Sorry. Welcome back Charrdonnay. I totally remember you. I just expect yayas to keep their old Gumbo names! I will try and find some time after the holidays to try and figure out how to tweak this blog and fix it.

jojo cucina cucina said...

it just occured to me that Julie used my netbook to check her gmail i think and so i was not automatically logged in and that was why the other post got lost instead of sending me to sign in. Anyway, i'll change this soon once the new year starts, but i'm proud of my 52 posts in the year 2010! Happy New Year, all!

louielouie said...

Not that I mind seeing my gorgeous children when I check this blog, but where the heck is the new post?

jojo cucina cucina said...

funny, louie, i just wrote you an email before checking this to say i would change it probably on Friday cause i know it's been awhile, especially since i was just bragging about 52 posts!

The holidays wore me out, but i think i'm getting my energy back. Plus i had guests in my house after Christmas. First Brian's sister's family, then my cousin. (And it would seem kind of rude to be in their guest room blogging away.)

Also i like blogging most with a glass of wine and i just haven't wanted any wine either after all the partying.

I know, shocking, huh?

Swiss said...

I had to rush over and ask if you saw the Vanity Fair with Jonny Depp? ...Luscious pictures of him. He talks about working with Angelina Jolie also...I have been not buying mags but HAD to get it-drooling stuff at the least.

equeyaya said...

I am pretty peeved that for some reason the Johnny Depp VF did not make it to me!

Jo, I was just going to come here and blow the blog police whistle to keep you on track for 52 in '11, but I know you have been hosting guests, so I can be patient. :)

jojo cucina cucina said...

LOLOLOL.... i totally needed a Blog Police Warrant...

Swiss, Girl, you are so right! that Johnny Depp Vanity Fair is the BEST. I have shown it to everyone who has been at my house. I was going to give it to my sister in law who was visiting over the holidays but i am so glad i didn't because i just love having him be displayed.