A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yusuf (Cat Stevens) - Peace Train - Nobel Concert 2006

My wishes for us all in 2009

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Tree

I finally got the tree the rest of the way up.

It's not such a bad tree, after all.

Which is good, since it's probably going to be up until next Christmas.

And the one after that.

And the one after that.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cute Animal Christmas Song

Dubba dubba dum dum dubba dubba dum.

Thanks, Jace.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Holiday Blues

What a downer I am.

I never thought I would give up my dream of the "perfect" Christmas (in the material sense) but I admit it's pretty far out of grasp this year. I've always enjoyed the whole process of Christmas. My goal is to have a sparkling clean house first, then fill it with Christmas finery, then collect gifts for my loved ones, then make cookies and breads and other treats. In my dream Christmas this is all done by Christmas Eve so that I can be in my recliner all day, watching Christmas movies and eating Snickerdoodles.

In years past I've gotten close. Before I started working I could get the house clean and dressed and cookies made. But I've never been able to relax on Christmas Eve. It's been OK because I've always also known that all that material stuff is outside what's really important, which is being with the people you love in a spirit of selflessness.

This year I'm having a real hard time grabbing onto that. I can't seem to shake my funk over just where I am right now. Instead of having moved into my new retirement home (which was scheduled in the life plan for last month), I'm still stuck in the falling down home that still has the original avocado green kitchen tile that came with the house when we bought it 34 years ago. I'm still working at a job that I stopped liking about ten years ago. My retired husband is so busy with his retirement activities that he doesn't have time to clean the house (as promised) and I'm in a perpetual state of disgust over the place. What a dilemma! Deal with the resentment of living in filth, or live with the resentment of doing it myself on top of working full time.

Then he has the nerve to say (re: the weedy flower beds in the front yard) that I don't seem to "want" to weed anymore. Hello? I am a true gardener. The sign of a true gardener is that we actually LIKE to weed. Just how much energy am I supposed to have, oh ye who has hired a gardener to do your one chore, mow the lawn. (In fairness, he was willing to have said gardener "weed" the flower beds. The guy took the weed whacker to them. NOT a good idea.)

I haven't been able to talk myself out of this. Or Disneyland my way out of it. Or shop my way out of it. Or visit my way out of it. Or internet my way out of it. Or walk my way out of it.

Or eat my way out of it.

So this post is an attempt to write my way out of it.

Thank you for your patience.

One frustration has been the Christmas tree.

We moved to an artificial tree years ago when my son developed asthma. Because I'm picky about how the lights should look, I took over that part of decorating the tree. After a couple of years of taking them off each year after the holiday, I decided to try just folding the tree up with the lights on like the store trees. What a mess! I wound the lights around and around the branches and each year the folding process cut through the wires enough that I've been having to find the broken strands and replace them - two or three at a time - every year. So, this year I decided to replace them all (since I can no longer find which ones are the broken strands without taking them all off anyway) and use clips rather than winding. Target had eight boxes of clips. It is taking way more clips than I imagined. I bought all eight boxes; two trips to the store which is clear the hell the other side of town, three if you count the trip I took when they hadn't received replacement stock. Our tree is in three sections and I ran out of clips just two branches short of finishing the first section. One more trip to Target (still no clips) yesterday. Yesterday afternoon DS2 gave me a little advice as to where to shop for a Christmas gift for DH so I went to another town and stopped at their Target where (hallelujah) they had more clips. As of last night the tree is up and lighted. Today, ornaments!

Even the Happiest Place on Earth wasn't able to fix me. I took Mom last Wednesday and we spent a nice day at the resort. We have a nice routine. California Adventure for two turns on Soarin' Over California, then over to Disneyland for the rest of the day. We took in a Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show, did some shopping and then spent the rest of the late afternoon and evening with the Ragtime piano player at Coke Cornerl.  Nothing better than enjoying the Christmas decorations (which I can't share here because I can't manage to get a decent picture at night) and people watching with piano as the soundtrack.

When I got home, I had received a package from Primitive Stitches. I was too tired to do more than take a shower and go to bed, but I grabbed the package to take to school and, from there, to the cardiologist's office. There's always a long wait for the afternoon appointments in that office and I was delighted to be able to flip through these delightful designs (all beautifully printed on card stock) as I waited. As I enjoyed my patterns, though, I was getting more and more irritated by the gross cigarette smell coming, I thought, from the couple sitting next to me. They were called into the examining area, though, and the smell persisted. I realized then that the smell was coming from the packet of patterns. I highly recommend this designer. The designs are terrific and well-produced and the service was excellent. Just be aware, if you're a non-smoker, that you may need to do some airing out or recopying of the patterns if you can't handle the smell of stale cigarette smoke.

Friday was December 5, the anniversary of Walt Disney's birthday. I've made myself a tradition of taking a personal day to go by myself (or with my sister, if she's available) to lay a flower at the flagpole in Town Square (where Walt's welcome speech rests on a plaque). This year the plaque was covered by the sound booth for the Candlelight Procession and living Christmas tree presentations later that weekend.

I did enjoy the new Pixie Hollow with the opportunity to have a picture taken with two of the faeries. It was quite a long wait but I got some pictures of the new faerie sculpture garden.

Rosella is my favorite of the Neverland Faeries...

But even my pictures are depressing. Three months of walking the treadmill, 45 minutes at a time, at least four days a week (most weeks five) and I'm still not losing any weight. Which is why I'm eating again.

Which isn't going to fix anything.

I had planned to go on the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion, but while I waited in the picture line at Pixie Hollow I aggravated my (arthritic?) hip and had to rest for a while. I decided to go to my favorite lunch place - Carnation Plaza - for a late lunch/early dinner. There is always another line to wait in there and after I'd been there about twenty minutes a middle schoo- aged boy (yes, I can spot them) "joined" the large group ahead of me. About a minute after he got there, another five people "joined" him. However, once the large group was seated it was obvious that this boy was not with their group, but had cut into line in front of me. Turns out (obvious from the "Thanks for saving our place for us, Brock" conversation) that his group thought they had left him to keep a spot in line while they shopped, but that dear little Brock had lit out on his own and cut into line just before they returned. Now, Disneyland is supposed to be my getaway, my happy place to forget about what I do on a daily basis. But this behavior is exactly part of what's wrong with our education system. Kids don't do what they are supposed to do and get away with it. Should I say something? Will it make a difference? I turned to the woman (grandmother? aunt?) closest to me and said, "Are you not with that large group?" She answered, "No, we aren't." "Then," I continued, "you need to know that that boy was not in the line keeping your spot. He cut into the line just a minute ago." Did they ask the boy? No. Did they move to the back of the line? No. His mom said, "You can go ahead of us," to me. To which I replied, "Well you need to let all these people who have been waiting with me go, too." Right at that moment the hostess (who had already made a list of the half-dozen parties waiting in the line) came looking for me as the party of one on her list. My table was ready and she was very confused because, according to her list, I should have been at the front of the line. "There you are!" she exclaimed with confusion written across her brow. "What happened?" I answered that "this group" had cut into the line. She apologized as she seated me and said "We can't allow them to get away with that."

That was the end of my involvement but, again, this is a huge problem with more and more kids in our schools. This child made a poor choice and there should have been a consequence. The appropriate thing for the family to do would have been to move to the end of the line. Instead, they chose - I assume - to believe that the adult was lying and to keep their place in line. Which is what happens more and more at my school. The parents believe the kid's lies rather than the teacher and enable their child to just continue to make poor choices.

I let that whole episode go and finished my lunch. Took in one of the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies shows (a different group and different show than I usually see), then headed to the Haunted Mansion to see the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. Which was my last attempt to do a ride. The stand-by line went all the way out onto the street - clearly not good for my sore hip to wait another hour for an attraction. I headed back to Pooh Corner to see if there was anything new for DH's Eeyore collection (nope) then headed back to Main Street. I overshopped for myself then found a seat on a bench for the parade (a two-hour wait). The parade was fun. I had originally planned to see the fireworks, but that was another three hours away and the crowds were getting to me so I decided to come home early.

I was grateful that the traffic was not too bad.

Which brings me back around to the Christmas tree. I really do want to finish what has become not a pleasure but a chore so I will end this whining and get to it. Shower first, I think. Maybe once I get the tree done and the room vacuumed I will feel a little Christmas cheer-ier.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

VISA Card World Currency TV Commercials

Oops! This commercial is only seen in Asia right now but here it is in English.

Again, I love you, Matt. I needed a giggle today.

Visa 最新廣告-Matt Harding 環遊世界travel happy-好笑.wmv

LOL! I love you, Matt!

Monday, December 01, 2008

I'm lucky to have a job.

I'm lucky to have a job.
I'm lucky to have a job.
I'm lucky to have a job.
I'm lucky to have a job.
I'm lucky to have a job.
I'm lucky...