Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Best of Times

Today was one of the best days that I have had in a long time, so of course it is a necessity for me to blog about it.... right?

Started out nicely, talking to friends, and making sure no harm came to Sarah Grace while she slept. Later in the day, I had the good fun of meeting with a lovely group of young women at Starbucks, for a sort of Christmas coffee get together. Quite nice.

When I got home, my papa says "Oh, you look so elegant, I feel like I should be taking you out somewhere!" And, since mom was busy with prep for her dinner, and the opportunity to flee for a while looked good, he did.
We started out heading toward Seattle, and of course I talked nearly the whole way. Bless papa's heart, he just listened, nodding at the appropriate times, and dropping a few comments here and there. I know very few people easier to talk to than him. Luckily, he also doesn't seem phased by random emotional breakdowns, or by me throwing myself into one of his office chairs and saying something like "Do you know what just makes me SICK!?" at a high volume. But I digress. When we made it to Seattle, papa pointed out various landmarks of interest.... i.e. the space needle and the seattle skyline.. :-)  and we drove along fifth avenue. "Look, em, there's the fifth avenue theater!" It was quite fun.
After winding our way through seattle, and taking the occasional Christmass-y snapshot, I have come to at least two conclusions. These are: First, that I absolutely MUST buy a pair of classy black boots. I deeply regret that I didn't do it years ago. Second, that Seattle is a culture all it's own. So many fascinating people and outfits. One too many gay guys, but overall quite interesting. When the lack of parking was made completely clear, we drove past the space needle, and headed towards Bellevue. That's right, two major shopping cities in one evening. I never thought I'd see the day when papa and I were roaming around the Bellevue Square Mall with Starbucks in our hands, but that day has come. After standing in much too long of a line, we snatched our drinks and hit the shops. Well, I hit the shops, while papa patiently waited outside each one. Ann Taylor, Teavana, Godiva, Claire's, to name a few. To my great chagrin, Old Navy was NOT among the "hit shops." So sad. If there really is an Old Navy in that mall, I'd appreciate it if someone would tell me. I absolutely need to buy a pair of those 7 dollar pajama pants. Anyhow, I am also fascinated by the Bellevue world. It too has a culture of it's own. It is a world where nine year old boys in front of me in line at Starbucks order their caffeinated drinks while texting on an Iphone. (that's right, a nine year old boy with an iphone.) A world where the baristas can be rude to you, because they know you will still buy your drinks there, and because they are really too busy to provide quality service. (right?) A world where every other person you see is wearing four inch  spikes, holding a coffee in one hand, and a cellphone in the other, all the while balancing about a dozen shopping bags. (yes, i'll admit that at times I am that person)  A world where the line from santa clause stretches all the way to the line from starbucks. A world where the twelve year old girls are dressed like eighteen year olds. All in all, I had a lot of fun watching not only the other people there, but also my papa's reaction to those people. After buying a satisfactory amount of big, statement-piece earrings, I decided I was done... Now what? Now we head for the parking garage. But of course, we wander around the southeast parking garage for fifteen minutes, then discover that our truck is in the northeast parking garage. Back through Macy's, back past Excalibur, and back past Santa. There it is! A nice drive home, and what do we find?
A very loud, highly volatile group of women. Volatile in the sense that the slightest thing sends all of them into unbelievably vocal laughter. Three of them are my aunts, another is my mother, and the other three are just as loud as my family. I walked in, heard the words "hot flashes" followed by loud bursts of laughter, and decided that I'd better just head to the back room. In the back room, what do I find but Uncle Frank reclining on the couch, surrounded by pillows, and watching Prince Caspian. (that movie just keeps turning up!) He looks at me, and says "I've been treated like a king! How were the Christmas lights?" That's when I notice the plate of cheese, crackers, and kalamata olives. Also a plate that looks like it held pasta and shrimp at one point. Not to mention the plate that is holding the mint brownie. Yep, he's been treated like a king alright! :-)
So, after that, on went Leona Lewis, and then came the cleaning of the room. Yes, my friends, I sit up at this late hour with a great sense of somethingness. I've managed three starbucks in one day (and seen six more in Seattle), gotten a room cleaned, hit both Bellevue and Seattle, had a fantastic time with papa (I think we've started a new tradition) met a few wonderful people who could potentially become close friends, survived mom's dinner party, and may even end up getting some sleep tonight! All in all, one of the best days I've had all month. If you made it this far, I am quite impressed. Thanks for listening to my happy ramblings.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Of Good Tidings

Obviously, there is one thing that simply must be blogged about today, and that is... (drum roll, please) Christmas!! Christmas, and everything that entails. Of course, there are the things that go along with the holiday, in a secular sense, but most importantly, the birth of Christ, which often gets lost in the shuffle. If I'd been in the service on Sunday, I would probably have much more to say, but as it was, all I heard was "So here are three points I would like to make about the significance of Christ's birth for the believer" before the nursery called. I ended up cuddling Abigail, and watching two other little ones instead of hearing what I'm sure was a fantastic, convicting sermon.
Sunday morning found us with the annual Christmas Coffee Hour, which means that instead of having sunday school, more people than usual come and partake of "good things" such as cranberry bliss bars, petite vanilla bean scones, cranberry orange scones, and, of course, Lattes! Rachel and I pack up our espresso machines, (which are not "latte machines", as some people call them) and bring them up to the church. Typically, Rachel would do the greater portion of the work, with me pulling shots, but this year things were a bit different. Mom took Rachel's place. At first, I will admit that the thought made me a bit panicky. However, she assured me that "I have been making lattes since before you were born!", which is indeed true. In fact, she was somewhat ahead of the "latte craze", and had an espresso machine long before they were popular. But apparently things have changed a bit since 1981. While beforehand, I was only "a bit panicky," by the time I looked over and saw her espresso machine quite literally spraying coffee everywhere, it had spiraled into an all-out terror. Luckily, we figured out a decent system, and managed to provide everyone with what I hope were palatable drinks. To my great disappointment, only one person wanted a caramel macchiato, so I was forced to bring home the remaining caramel sauce for my personal use. (and of course, this troubles me greatly)
All things considered, Sunday morning came off capitally.
Let's see, we've covered the past tense, now for the present...
Martha, one of my mom's sisters, is at our house with Uncle Frank, and they'll stay until Christmas morning. Tonight, mom is having one of her cackle club meetings. I know, I know, a statement like that requires an explanation, so let me attempt one. Mom and her sisters have some very close friends that they've known for years. They don't see each other very often, but when they do get together, the only word I can use to describe it is "loud." Also, words like "boisterous" and "cacophonous" come to mind. Basically, good healthy fun. Imagine seven or eight women, sitting around after a fantastic dinner. One of them says something that isn't really amusing, but the other six or seven think that it is the most hilarious thing they have ever heard. And thus, we have the cackle club. Laughter takes on a new meaning with them. In the past, my habit has been to flee for the whole evening, while papa does the same, but this year I've been called upon to make lattes for them. I'm sure that throwing caffeine and sugar into the mix will only calm them down... oh. Perhaps not. Anyhow, I think I'll stick around long enough to say hi to Aunt Michele and Aunt Sue, then I'll take shelter.

As for the rest of this week, we are following our typical Christmas traditions. Aunt Sandie will fly in on Christmas eve, and fly out on Christmas morning. We'll get together at Grandma's on Christmas Eve, then Christmas morning will belong to just my immediate family. The thought makes me smile. Family, Stockings, Babies, Quiche, Gifts, Tea, etc.

Naturally, I could go on for much longer, but I have some things to get done before the day is out. And so, I leave you with this...

Scrapbook at

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Joy Unspeakable

Scrapbooking at

Scrapbook at

I would love to give a long, wordy explanation, but I don't feel that one is necessary. So, for once in my life, I will keep it short...

About 40 hours ago, I saw the most amazing event of my life. I watched my niece, Abigail Dianne, be born. I cried then, and tears come to my eyes now, just thinking about it. She was the first person I've ever seen born, and I can't believe what an experience it was to see someone take their first breath. Rachel did an amazing job, and congratulations to her and Nathan!

December 14, 2009
11:30 p.m.
19 1/2 inches long
7lbs, 4 oz.

"Praise the Lord, oh my soul, 
and all my inmost being,
Praise His holy name!"