No, I didn’t forget the Christmas Wrap-Up. Here It Is

So here it is, February 5th and I’m finally writing the post I always do about our holidays. Although horribly late, it’s not as late as it seems because we only finished having get-togethers 3 weeks ago. Why? Because weather and circumstances are evil.

We had the best plan ever. We were going to spread the get-togethers out so that we didn’t end up doing the massive Christmas get-together hop that left us all exhausted. We thought we would have the thing with Steve’s dad early. We were going to do it at Brad’s place. Everything was a go…until weather made it so Steve’s dad couldn’t get to Brad’s place. So…the rest of us got there, but not Steve’s dad. It was an awesome day, except for the part where it didn’t serve its purpose. We eventually had a Christmas thing at Steve’s dads in mid January. Oops.

Steve and I spent actual Christmas with my family, which was a lot of fun. Our first nephew is almost 2, so he can provide all of the entertainment. You have to watch what you say, though, because he’s hoovering up words like a sponge. He loves Steve. and if it was allowed, he’d have Steve bounce him all day. “High? High? Boing! Boing! Boing!” He doesn’t know what Tansy is, though. He tries to sit on her, scream into her fur, pull her tail. We all have to be on guard so he doesn’t unintentionally hurt her. He has his own little dog at home, but she’s a lot smaller, and doesn’t lie as still. We sometimes have to protect him when Tansy tries to play with his little dog, and gets carried away.

My sister’s baby is getting bigger, and is starting to form a personality. He notices every little noise, and jumps, which I’m not used to. Even my dad’s cough would make him startle.

Then our get-together with Steve’s mom and company got delayed because a bunch of them got the flu! Yuck, I’m glad I never got that bug. It even hit Steve’s sister’s baby. Poor little guy! We eventually got together about a month or so ago.

On the subject of that little nephew, he’s starting to figure out how to move, and yup, we’re in trouble. Apparently he can get into a lot of mischief in a short time. He’s also fascinated with pulling hair, as I have learned. Hmm. We’re going to a family party today. Maybe I should tie my hair back.

After buying a few toys for the nephews for Christmas, I have learned that VTech makes a lot of kids’ toys. I only knew they made cordless phones…shows what I know. But I feel like they make every kids’ toy known to man. Is it me, or does that giggling kid not sound a little creepy sometimes?

Also, some of the grandkids got together at my grandma’s house. That was fun, reminiscing about the trouble we got into as kids. Plus, Grandma got to see the new little guys, so that was a good thing. Hopefully none of her fake fruit went missing…some of it got carried around and played with a little bit.

Christmas was good. We got just the right amount of everything, and we got a new microwave. The one we’ve been using for about 17 years started howling like it was being injured and taking longer to warm things up. It’s weird having a microwave that actually works. I always end up heating things up too much.

Through our attempts to label said microwave, we have learned that they don’t make Braille label tape like they used to. If you don’t use it for a while, all its stickiness goes. I had to borrow a friend’s tape because mine looked like it had been put through the war. When we tried to label the microwave, the labels fell right off! Even glue wouldn’t hold them on. We eventually had to call in the CNIB to label it, and those labels stuck. My only thought is if you don’t use the tape, it goes bad. But I don’t ever remember that being a problem before.

I think that sums up all the holiday get-togethers. We certainly got our wish that they were spread out…but they were spread out *after* Christmas, which wasn’t part of the plan. I do have to say that having a couple things in January made that month feel a little less dreary though.

What can I say about 2016? Although it wasn’t a very good year in a lot of ways, for us personally, it was a pretty good one. Getting two baby nephews and having a whole year of good health for us and everyone in our immediate circles makes 2016 a decent year. Now let’s just hope 2017 can be a decent year for everyone. I know it didn’t get started in a good way, but there’s a lot of year to go. Hopefully it can get turned around.

Hail Mary, Full Of…Uh, Guys? Is She Supposed To Be Full Of Those Things?

These songs, as you may have noticed, are just a tiny bit different. But while this observation did not get bye you, the same cannot be said for the person responsible for printing up the lyric sheets for this year’s Catholic Joy to the World Festival.

A Christmas carol service in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo has accidentally printed out the lyrics to late rapper Tupac Shakur’s ‘Hail Mary’ in its programme instead of the 15th century Catholic prayer. 
The mix-up occurred at the 2016 Catholic Joy to the World Festival at the city’s Nelum Pokuna Theatre during one of Sri Lanka’s largest Christmas celebrations earlier this month.
Instead of finding the words “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee/blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb”, the carol singers were invited to reflect on the 1997 song’s themes of mortality, violence and sex and whether they wanted to “ride or die.”

If it hasn’t happened already, somebody please find a way to mash these up. It would make things so much easier next year.

We Wish You A Maily Christmas

Here is the story of Juanita Rodenhiser , a very sweet, well-intentioned mom who’s trying to bring her daughter some happiness. Believe me, I completely understand that goal. But the thing is she has not heard the stories of the others who have preceded her into the “another postcard” category in which she now finds herself. Juanita, if you find this post, please try to not be angry with me and call me horrible names, as others before you have done.

I love that people have been so sweet and sent cards of all shapes and sizes. I love that they will now serve their purpose of giving her daughter something to look at while she deals with the evil leukemia. I just hope against hope that when they are no longer needed, that they stop. I really and truly do. On one side, since there is a date on the page on which this was posted, maybe that will help people take a second and not send them when it’s been years and years. But the realistic part of me takes one look at my Facebook news feed where people fall for old hoaxes and re-post ancient obituaries of famous people as if they just died, and knows that the previous hope is too high.

Since they have had to store all these cards somewhere else, maybe they should enlist Jones Big Ass Truck Rental and Storage.

All joking aside, I do hope Hailey Rodenhiser has a Christmas full of good times with friends and family, and rests up enough to put on her army boots and stomp leukemia into dust, where it belongs so she can have many more Christmases that are even better.

Christmas Memories On Acid

The thing I just posted about the fire that wasn’t got me thinking about a couple of seasonal things I maybe should have soundtracked it with. But since I didn’t use them there, I’ll just stick ’em here.

First, this clip from an episode of This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

And this classic holiday ditty from the Vestibules.

Merry Christmas.

Merry Scary Christmas

Steve told me about these painful-sounding Victorian Christmas parlor games and after I stopped wincing and covering my face, I started to envision what would happen if somehow, someone of that era could visit current day us, sort of like those old Freedom 55 commercials.

I can see it all now. “You folks are wimps! You bob for apples, and there is no flame? You play Blind Man’s Bluff and don’t set out to trip the blindfolded guy up? You’ve all gone soft I tell you!”

The one that made me scream the most was this one.

Indeed, in the early years of Queen Victoria’s rule, Christmas rivaled Spring Break for sheer bawdiness and self-destruction. Nowhere is this more evident than in the bonkers Victorian parlor game of Snapdragon.
Traditionally played on Christmas Eve, players of Snapdragon must find themselves a broad, shallow bowl, and then prepare to risk their health. Into this bowl should be poured two dozen raisins. If raisins are hard to come by, almonds, grapes or plums will suffice. You should then pour a bottle of brandy into the bowl so that the raisins bob up and down like drowning flies. Place the bowl on a sturdy table, turn the lights down low, and then, with appropriate panache, ignite the brandy.

To play Snapdragon, arrange your family and friends around the blazing bowl so that their faces are lit in a demonic fashion and then, one by one, take turns plunging your hands into the flames in order to try and grab a raisin. If you can accomplish this, promptly extinguish the flaming raisin by popping it into your mouth and eating it.

Reading this reminds me of Steve’s old 19th century April Fools post. Yup, similar time, similar scary practices.

As an aside, while digging for an old Freedom 55 commercial, I came across this bizarre parody. Steve, can you identify these guys? Heck, can anyone identify these guys?

Merry Christmas everyone, and…stay away from the snapdragon.

Christmas Musings

Here we are, December 23 and once again I’m wondering how the heck we got here. When I was little, I remember being told that as I get older, the years will go faster and faster. I thought that was a load of crap, after all, time is time, and how can it possibly go any faster? Well, now I understand what they were saying, and agree 100%.

I lucked out pretty well this Christmas, although some people will be getting their presents a little later. Part of that was me taking a little while to get something to work, I can’t say what it is because it hasn’t been delivered yet, but I had the thing crafted last Friday, but it has to be shipped to me first because it’s part of a present. It’s on its way to me now, but that means it won’t arrive in time.

I got the sweetest present from Tansy’s puppy raisers. They got me a gift certificate to a local spa. That’s just amazing, and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’ve always wanted to try that place. I guess it’s time now.

Because I’m terribly bad at not saying things when they happen these days, I neglected to mention the birth of two new nephews. Steve’s sister had her baby back in April, and my sister had her baby in July. They’re both adorable in their own ways. When Steve’s sister’s baby starts seriously moving around, we’re all in trouble. But with all these itty bitty nephews around, it’s got me thinking about the silly things I thought about certain Christmas carols when I was wee. So here we go.

I already mentioned my thoughts on “Sleigh ride” in this very synthy post, but what I neglected to do was include the original.

When I listen to it now, I think what must have happened was the first time I heard it, I was half asleep. If you’re drifting in and out of sleep, the combination of the whip, those Disney characters yowling along, and the ending would have combined to make a perfect storm of eeeeeek!

Frosty the Snow man only perplexed me because of its eyes. Two eyes made out of coal? Either Frosty must have been a very naughty boy to have coal stuck in his head, or the kids were digging into their own supply of lumps of coal they had gotten in the past. I was a little grossed out that they had saved corn cobs from when they had fresh corn, and just had them lying around so they could make a pipe out of one. I eventually figured out that it was probably that dried decorative corn stuff, but for a bit there, I was wondering why they were saving gross old corn cobs.

I know “”Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is supposed to be a little scary as in, “Behave yourselves because Santa is watching,” but for some reason it freaked me out more than a little. Maybe it was because so many times I didn’t know who was around the next corner, and would often get myself in trouble by saying the wrong thing when the school principal, for example, was right there. So, I would always try to figure out where Santa could be watching from. Now we know how Santa’s magical spying ability works, since you can’t spell Santa without NSA.

Whenever I would listen to Snoopy and the Red Barron’s Christmas, I would get mad whenever it would get to the line about “bringing peace to all the world, and good will to man.” For reasons only I will understand, I thought it said good will to men, and would immediately think “Why do men get all the good will? What about us?” Yup, I’m weird.

Last but not least, I remember when I stumbled across Bob and Doug’s Twelve Days of Christmas, and how frustrated it made me. I couldn’t figure out why they would make a professional album if they were so bad. They couldn’t sing, they couldn’t keep rhythm, they would babble through it, and they jumped from day 8 to day 12. Um, goofy kid Carin, that was the point. Oops.

Those are the only songs I can think of at This exact moment. If I don’t get a chance to say it before Christmas, merry Christmas and everything else to everyone. Also, let’s just hope we can coast through the final days of 2016 without having any more death and destruction.

Thanks from Tansy to Trixie

One thing I neglected to talk about in the latest holiday wrap-up was the fact that Tansy inherited a couple of gifts I gave to Trix that she didn’t care for. She got the neat-looking squeaky duck, andthe much-sought-after Skineeez raccoon that Tans stole from Trix over and over again.

Today was kind of a gross day out there with all the freezing rain and other garbage, so we didn’t go far. Tans had needed lots of sleep, but now is bored. So I got out the duck…and she loves it. Its entire mid-section has been slobbered upon and she has chomped on most of it, and the duck looks strong as ever. We have a winner!

We got thinking. Steve wondered if the reason poor Trix destroyed so many toys is that was the way she dealt with stress. Now that she’s not stressed anymore, she doesn’t care for toys anymore. Or maybe she’s just getting older. Who knows?

At any rate, we know the duck and the raccoon will be well-used in the land of Tans.

Goodbye 2015, You Mixed Bag Of Wackiness!

So yeah. There’s only 2 whole days left in this whirlwind of a year that is 2015. How in the sweet merciful hell did that happen? I feel like I’ve been running on what I thought was a treadmill, but now I realize that it was one of those moving sidewalks in the airport and holy crap did I cover a lot of ground.

I’m getting better at this whole Christmas presents thing. Years ago, when I started working more, I was afraid that I would never be able to pull it off. But I’m doing not half bad, and I’m even proud of the gifts we managed to pull together, and it was fun getting it done. I will say that lots of them included gift cards, but I don’t think that’s being lazy. At least I know the person will get something they like out of the deal, and I knew the gift cards were to places they liked to shop, so awesome.

Also, for the first time ever, I participated in a secret Santa gift exchange that happens on a mailing list I’m on. Other years, I’ve looked at that and thought it was too hard. But another woman who I got to know at the GDB reunion I went to in September, who I joke should have a sales job, convinced me to give it a try, and am I ever glad I did.

I was lucky. The person I got is someone I know a fair bit about, so I felt pretty safe going to get the things I got, and they were a hit. I’ve been watching other people get their Secret Santa gifts, and it’s been neat to go, “Ok, that person could have my name, or that one, or maybe that one.” I still haven’t received my gift, so the suspense continues.

Was there a theme this year in terms of types of presents? Besides gift cards, I don’t think so. Maybe, once we got home for the festivities, there was a bit of a theme of nearly misplacing gifts, but it all worked out in the end. The only one who will have to wait for a gift is Trix, and for that I’m sorry. We bought one, just didn’t pack the damn thing.

I really hope these summaries of our holiday adventures aren’t super boring for people reading. Sometimes I worry when I read other people’s detailed accounts of their Christmas goings on, and find myself reaching for the delete key. I’ll try and keep it brief.

We started hopefully a new tradition this year. My cousin arranged a surprise get-together for my grandma. These last few Christmases, we haven’t gotten together at Grandma’s, and I think it’s making us kind of fall out of the loop with each other.

So, all the grandkids who could manage it showed up at grandma’s and had food and tea and a big chat. Grandma thought some neighbour from days gone by was coming. Boy was she surprised. We said we’d try and do this every year. That would be awesome.

Then it was Steve’s year, so it was time to do the four-Christmas party hop. First, it was Christmas Eve at Steve’s grandparents’ place. I think the most memorable moment was when we all tried to sing a certain Christmas carol, but we all had a different key in mind. O Come all ye tone-deaf, maybe?

Christmas Day was neat. We went to Brad’s place, and had lots of cool finger-food type stuff. It was a nice break from turkey. We got lots of cool gift cards and peanuts and chocolates from Picard’s Peanuts, and I got a housecoat that feels really fuzzy. Good times.

Boxing Day was the party for Steve’s stepdad’s side of the family. It was a nice chance to catch up with folks…and score more Picard’s Peanuts.

And the final stop on the Christmas tour was at Steve’s dad’s place. Thankfully we had no disasters with either the main cooking appliance, or pie fillings gone wrong, although I felt bad, because I was so full that I couldn’t even think about having desserts. There are always tons and tons of leftovers.

So it’s over for another year. We might be going to a little New Years something or other, or my parents might decide to come down, since we didn’t get to see them. But I think we can now take a breath and get ready for next year.

What can I say about this year? It was definitely better than 2014, but it sure started off not in the greatest fashion. I kept jokingly wondering if I had unknowingly broken a mirror somewhere in my travels. Steve’s grandma’s funeral sure didn’t start things off on a happy note, plus I somehow got some kind of infection in my foot. Then Lynne passed away, and I was suddenly informed that my wisdom teeth had to come out. In April and May, I spent more time tired than anything else, but after about June, it really started to pick up, and I started challenging myself to try new things and prove to myself that I was not limited by the evil captain, which thankfully is an illness with a name now. It is at least an illness with a definition, I guess I can say.

I’m going to hope that 2016 is full of happy events. I can’t explain it, but when I think of the year ahead, I find myself filled with a warm, fuzzy optimism. I hope I’m proven correct. Happy New Year to everyone, I hope 2016 is full of happy things.