Saturday, December 24, 2011

Different Days

 Since my Young Mama Days, Hubby has managed to surprise me every year with the most wonderful gift.  

His Time. 

 He would save up his Use or Lose time off throughout the year then in the busiest of months, he would spend it all.  This would mean that the whole month or at least a majority of the month of December, He Was Mine.  To a young mama with four children and a very busy life, this meant daily support with gift making, treat baking, snow playing and shopping. wrapping and decorating.  It was the best gift ever.  And we loved our time together even though we were usually just grabbing smooches as we passed each other en route to another task.
 Then our house got empty.

Our little kiddos had homes of their own and Hubby and I found ourselves without the busy-ness that consumes young homes.  However, we are creatures of habit and Hubby habitually saved his use or lose for just widdo ol' me.  I haven't sent Christmas Cards in years.  We quit gift exchanges long ago.  This year, the big tree stayed in the basement and only the newest of decorations came out.  In short, there just wasn't much for either one of us to do.  Not being the type to sit still, this year, we sought out Different Days.  This year, our time off took us to different occupations, things that in the previous years of parenting would never been possible....or even considered.
 This year, the last big shopping weekend before Christmas, we went to an auction.  
While most were scurrying around in the mall, Hubby and I searched out the most rural of locations on a very temperate Saturday in December to a hidden home that housed most of the vintage sewing machines known to man.  I got a glimpse of my own estate auction in the future walking through this elderly woman's collection of all things sewing.  Materials, kitschy furniture and dishes from another time, out buildings full of all kinds of useful and decorative things spanning many decades.  The day was bright and agreeable to be out in, unlike most mid Decembers.  We passed on the lengthy wait for a very special vintage sewing machine, but felt a little lighter in spirit after leaving the beautiful, distant location.

We found an unusual stop for lunch in the nearest town.  A deli with an emphasis on cheese.  All things cheese.  No indoor seating, so we just took our very unique sandwiches and ate in the car.  Because it was Different Day.

We needed to leave the auction so that we could help Youngest Son prepare for his First Annual Christmas Dance.  A hoot if I ever saw one.  YS rented out a local dance studio and put on a most jolly of dances in lieu of gifts for his friends.
 We had a blast baking and decorating and of course, dancing to his well selected play list of musical favorites and obscure (to me) artists.  Hubby and I waited for the right song, danced hard, then departed, leaving the younguns to their Big Fun.

 A few days later, found me preparing to go to my Christmas Brunch with my Fleur de Lis Ladies.  Any time this fun group of women meet is a joy, but the Christmas Gathering is particularly inspirational.  Our hostess is our poet laureate of the bunch, a 91 year old jewel of a woman, that hosts us at her home, prepares the turkey, yeast rolls, dressing and dumplings.  Two other ninety year old members, brought covered dishes as well.  The encouragement I receive from the tiny time with these wonderful women, spurs me on like nothing else.  They are gifts.  This year, the hostess left this message on my answering machine:'Don't forget Fleur de lis Christmas Dinner Monday.  Bring a covered dish. (pause) And put something in it!'  See?  A positive hoot.

I tried to take her photo but she kept moving as I aimed the camera.  Lord, may I have her energy when I am her age.
 Of course, there has been plenty of time for crafting, embroidery, crocheting, while Hubby drives me around the countryside and while we watch an endless selection of Netflix streaming.

Then, our Biggest Different Days Diversions:

1.  Passport Application!!  Yes!  First time out of the country this coming year in celebration of our 40th Anniversary.  We headed to the Big City to accomplish this only to find out a bit into our journey that we had left our filled out applications in the buffet drawer.  In the dining room, ten miles back.  In days passed, with time of the essence, we would have railed at our stupidity and cursed at the waste of time.  This time, in the era of Different Days, we laughed and shook our heads and whooped at the craziness of leaving at home, the main purpose of the trip.  Too funny.  Other years, it could have been the reason for a rather large To Do......

2.  Hand Gun Purchase!  I KNOW! For years, I would not let Hubby even reveal his guns in my presence.  I had no idea where in the house they even where, that 's how good he was at hiding them.  But as in all things changing, I have come around to the thinking that a little personal protection might not be a bad thing.  I plan to take a firearms class, practice at a shooting range, and become a very legal hand gun owner with my very own gun.  Hubby and I were coming home from a rather superfluous errand the other night and after 'rocking the value menu' (E/A's Hubby saying) at our local fast foodery, we happened by a new gun shop in town.  They were closing as we passed but Hubby pursued on, asking the owners as they were leaving for the day, their hours etc.  The men leaving their store decided to reopen their shop, show us the best arm for my needs and we proceeded to fill out the proper paperwork and off we went, intending on shopping for tulip bulbs at Lowes and coming home with a very nice firearm.  See?  Different Days!  Who Knew??

For all you most busy of young mama's:  Hang In There!  Your time is coming...!! 

Different Days is well worth the wait......

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Very Girly Christmas!

Last Christmas, those of us gathered to celebrate, awaited anxiously for the news of Lil' Lady's arrival to this world.  Two days after Christmas Day,a most charming little granddaughter appeared.  The next day, we piled into Papa's red sleigh, and headed northward to oooh and ahhhh over this precious gift.  Eldest Admin, Miss Viv, Unca Joco and Papa and I shared a hotel room that night so we could spend some more time admiring this addition to our family.  I can remember clearly walking down the hospital corridor and seeing the open door to Baby Girl's room and noticing, from a distance of about 20 feet, the deepest, cutest dimples on my new granddaughter's nursing face.  I melted and fell in love all over again.  How could this be?  Miss Vivien had encompassed my grandmotherly heart yet, the same overwhelming love I felt for her, was showing up again.  Amazing.

Then this summer, I'll be darned if it didn't happen again!  Lovely Wife presented my Eldest Son with Sweet Adeline, our most tiny, adorable little baby girl.  Three Girls to fawn over, to engage with, to sew for, to admire and train up to be a most Proverbs 31 like woman.  Granted, most of the responsibility is in the hands of their very adept and capable parents, but I do believe there is much to learn from the grandparental units.  I constantly have to seek wisdom and guidance from the Lord to know just what it is/will be that I shall impart to these darling girls.

Then last Friday, it was revealed to this very happy family, that indeed, we shall be blessed with another wonderful female grandchild!!  Dare I tell you  that I am already gearing up for that magical moment when the first glance quadruples my Mimi heart to embrace this newest grandgirl into my life?  Months ago, I began the quilting of her sunshiny quilt.  Months ago, I have reserved in my scheduling, a time to go and help E/A 'nest'.  Months ago, I have prepared my emotions for the welcoming of a long awaited infant into E/A's eager heart and home and have girded myself with prayers for the safe carrying and delivery of this much planned and anticipated baby......

 At this wondrous time of year, when anticipation is high, joy is near and excitement is at it's apex, it is so good to think of the blessing of new life.  An old year wraps up and hopes for the new year all comes down to the advent of birth and rebirth.

This season exists because of the One Life that provides eternal life for us all.  God knew that we would respond to a babe.  He knew that the story of His Son's life would draw us.  He designed us to listen to Someone that had walked this earth and knew what we experience.  He knew His Son wrapped in humanity in the form of a helpless babe, would be the way we would respond to His message...

Thank you Lord for the blessing of babies and for the special gift of Your Son........
Amen and Alleluia.....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

39 Years.

 You wouldn't know it to look at these two youngsters, but we knew everything.

 We had three months to plan our wedding before Uncle Sam would be taking my young hubby to Vietnam.  (President Nixon stopped the draft 5 weeks after our wedding.  I did ask Hubby if he wanted to return me since he wasn't leaving.  He said, 'Nah.')

Of course, I had conflicting ideas with my mother as to what a young December Bride should wear. Hubby to Be and I thought we would just pay for our wedding  so we could have the final say on the decorative, fashion elements for  the day.  After viewing these photos, I'm sure you might have suggested that we listen to Mom.
 At the time, I worked at a fabric store and I knew the day after we decided to get married, which fabric would clothe myself and my bridesmaids.  The most beautiful border eyelet became my dress, made from two different patterns, by my talented manager at the fabric shop.  She made/designed my dress as her wedding gift.  An all cotton calico became the most simple bridesmaid dresses.  Eyelet and ribbon trim, de rigueur for the day, was all the detail the dresses had.  Different colors for two attendants and a bright yellow for my three year old niece as flower girl.  All four dresses cost 50.00. Total.

I made the straw flower arrangements that my girls carried.  I designed our wedding invitations and my printer brother in law, printed  this most out of the ordinary for the day invitations.  Hubby's brother took our photos.  My daddy was in charge of maintenance at our local Eagles Club so the reception venue was taken care of.  Magnums of champagne were purchased for 10.00 per since Daddy-o had an 'in' with the supplier.  Hubby's aunts brought the reception food: baked ham, salads, jello, chips. My sister and BIL paid for our overnight stay at a local hotel; a rather extravagant sum of $25.00 per night  One night.  Hubby had to go to work the following Monday. Our whole florist bill, which was reduced by having the good fortune of marrying in a Catholic cathedral with all it's grand Christmas decor, totaled 68.00, my bouquet and wreath included.  Looking through our receipts in our wedding book, it appears the grand total for the whole shebang was a whopping $500.00.  That's a lot of fabric cutting and pizza making for this crazy young couple.

Three decades have past and I still get that little leap in my heart when I see him enter the room.

Bumpy times have come and gone.  We have seen each other at our absolute worst and have loved each other anyway.  That is what it is all about.  Complete commitment.  Depending not on feelings but choices we vocalized with our very young voices on that very cold December day.

Best $500.00 investment we ever made......

Friday, December 9, 2011

One of Those Days.

I was making lunch when Hubby pointed out that perhaps we weren't alone.  Looking up, on the roof over the back door, was our neighbor's cat, peering in with that 'Whaaa?' look.
It reminded me of the book 'Wacky Wednesday': 'Cat on the roof? Cat on the roof shouldn't be there at all!'
But it was Thursday.
I took it as an omen.

See this purse to be?  It was in the doing of it that I first should have known that things could go awry.
I was too excited.  Too pleased that I had a new machine that would sew through the leather on the ex belt to be a purse strap.  Too giddy that most of my pressing Christmas Sewing was wrapping up.
None the less, I, flibbertigibbet like, grabbed my new machine (well, not exactly grabbed; more like grunted and groaned) as I lifted it into it's new position in The Sewing Room.  I introduced my Japanese Friend, Janome Jean, old sewing machine, to the current crush,  Heavy Duty Harry.  Harry seemed quite pleased with being in the forefront as Janome Jean politely bowed to his appearance. (JJ is very hospitable).  The Operator plugged in and poked around, checking out all the buttons and gadgets.  HDH is very plain; simply utilitarian and functional but I needed to get familiar.  On his shiny new motor and wheel was a most obtrusive orange thingy.  With saw teeth and bright color, I figured it must be a temporary thing placed on it for shipping it safely.  Surely it couldn't be permanent?

Without so much as a hesitation in my go go go mode, I grabbed my snips and SNIP! That was it.
It was pretty much immediately following that crisp sound that I had second thoughts.  Useless and empty, I could not even consider my last action.
Until I Pressed On The Pedal And It Would Not Go.
"NO!" I says to myself.
"NO, NO, NO!" I says louder to myself in case the first one didn't work.
The next thought was denial.  Something else must be wrong.
Time to get Hubby involved.
I call him sweetly, "Hubby dearest, would you mind checking my new machine?  It appears, dearest hubby, that something could be wrong with it?"
But I knew.

Hubby appeared with his Rescue Ranger Look on his face.  Hubby is always ready to attack a mechanical problem.  It's his thing.  I almost hated to ruin his day.
I looked straight into his eager eyes.  
" I do believe I know what is wrong.  It appears this rather useless looking thing seems to be something rather important."
I showed him where I clipped it off from, held the ruined Lug Belt in my hands and we just looked at each other incredulously.
Then we Laughed Our Arses Off.
Hubby sensing that my laughter was reaching hysteria, came to a non mechanical rescue with these words:
" Well, honey, at least you figured out what you did!  You saw how it doesn't work without it and put two and two together!  That's good!"

Good Ol Hubby.  Wise Hubby.  He hasn't lived with me for nigh on 39 years for nothing.
Leave me alone enough with my frustration and anger and I will beat myself up pretty good without any help.
He turns around to leave the sewing room, shaking his head at another bonehead action that I have managed to accomplish in this last year.  But wisely,  not saying a word.

Lest you think that I am angelic in my dilemma, you can be sure that my best naughty words were brought out for the occasion and that all day long I was found to keep repeating, "I CANNOT believe I did that!! How stupid am I", throughout the house.  Even Miss Dixie was getting tired of the tirade.

On the bright side, after all was said and done, HDH was shelved till the Mighty USPS delivers his brand new Lug Belt, hopefully, next week, and most gracious Janome Jean returned to her rightful place, with enough joy to finish Sweet Adeline's most brilliant Christmas Stocking!  Nothing like sewing for one of my little grandgirls to make me forget the silliness in my day to day..... 

Do not let the Grinch of Circumstance rob you from your proper joy this season.....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Debustle

 This is the extent of my bustle these days.
Haven't done gift exchanges with the kids for years.
Hubby and I haven't exchanged gifts forever.  We kinda like the ongoing, through the year, surprise you big time gifting.
This year, the bustle has quieted to some hours on the Internet searching for the right, green, local, organic gifties for the grandgirls.  The other time is spent in the sewing room making sure each one of the girls has a   Mimi Made gift and ornament.
 This extra time is a gift for me.  Time to appreciate time with friends.  Time to reflect on the source of the celebration.  Time to appreciate the talents of others.

 Last year, we started a Pink Tree Tradition.  Little pink trees have been purchased for each of the grandgirls.  We decorate each one with symbolic things of the little girls past year.  This year, we have a Mary Poppins tree, complete with a vintage Mary doll and lots of Mimi made kites.  A Happy Meal penguin from 1999 and a little pin that says 'lets go fly a kite' completes Miss Vivs theme this year.  She is quite the Poppins fan.  Last year was a Sea Booty (translated: Sleeping Beauty) tree due to her infatuation with the classic movie. 
 Lil' Lady's tree has sparkly royal blue ball ornaments,her favorite color.  She has some of her mama's ornaments to complete the look.  BG ordered lots of crocheted snowflakes this year for her home and Mimi got addicted and used up a whole skein of yarn for all three trees.  Our latest pink tree has some of her daddy's ornaments, her initial ornament and blocks and the sweetest snuggle bunny ornament.  This December 16, we shall find out if Mimi and Papa will be buying another pink or...dare I say it....a BLUE tree for next year??!!
 This past years redo in the living room screamed for new Christmas decorations.  Something simple.  Something turquoise.  Something in keeping with the New Look.  Think I found it....
 Years ago, Kindred Spirit's daughter, Emily (The Fashion Designer) made these fabu ( a word I first heard from her!) Christmas Stockings for me.  Made from vintage sheets and just the right colors, you'd think she was positively clairvoyant, seeing my turquoise/orange/yellow Christmas needs years ago.  The size will be perfect for the Grandgirlies toys.

In case you have noticed an absence of a big tree, you are absolutely astute.  Since this is the year that all the chickies spend with their other families, Hubby and I will be on our own and we just didn't see the need to put up the big tree.  We shall enjoy our little pink trees and what they mean to us and save our energies for other fun Christmas projects and people.
 Last night, during a Mad Men a thon with Hubby, I  made the felt ornaments for the girl's trees.  On the way to and back from church yesterday, I finished up the crocheted snowflakes, courtesy of Attic24.  (can you see Lil Lady's dolly to be peeking around the snowflakes?  Her First Birthday is two days following Christmas.)

And after a year or so of working on Pretend Granddaughter Sara's Big Girl Quilt, I am finally at the point to do the yarn tying......PGS is an animal lover, particularly doggies, so I don't even think she'll mind the Miss Dixie popped into the photo shoot...

Hoping you're taking the time to drink in the wonder of this season.....

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