Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...Part I The Tree

This is my favorite time of year! I absolutely LOVE Christmas. The lights. The decorations. The cheesy holiday music. Especially The Little Drummer Boy (my fav...pa rum pumpumpum.) Plus, the idea of peace on earth and good will towards men. What a concept! Really wish we could convince the world to work on that little possibility. Now THAT would be the best Christmas gift ever!

When it comes to Christmas though, I love our Christmas tree most of all.

As I sit here typing, my Christmas tree is fully lit. A glass of pino noir is sitting on the coffee table and I am comfy cozy on my couch, cross legged facing my tree and window. It is truly my favorite place in our house. It is even more of a favorite place as I look at my tree and the snow outside. In case you did not notice, I love, Love, LOVE this time of year.

When we moved into our house in April, 2003, it took an act of God to not tell the movers to put the Christmas tree box in the living room. I wanted to put up the tree right then and there. Common sense finally took control and I let them move it to the storage room. Yeah, I know my wanting to put up a Christmas tree in April sounds dorky, but we have this great bowed window in the living room. It has 20 panes of glass and I just knew the Christmas tree would look beautiful standing majestically in the beautiful bow. That fall, the Saturday after Thanksgiving (in normal tradition), I had to put up the tree. Sadly, serious disappointment set in as I realized that we owned a very anorexic looking Christmas tree. In our old house the tree looked fine. Not the best, but still it looked OK. In our new huge window, the tree barely took up a quarter of the space. It wasn't a Charlie Brown tree...more like Charlie Brown tree's older brother. It was too skinny and the huge window just made it look even skinnier.

Our anorexic tree stuck around until last year when I finally broke down and bought a new fat beautiful tree. It's huge, it's wide, it can be easily assembled in just 3 pieces, weighs about a million pounds (yes, a million...would I exaggerate?), has little white lights already attached to it and is absolutely beautiful. I love driving down our street and seeing our tree in the window. Besides that tree, we have 3 others. (We definitely like our Christmas trees.) A 3' white one was bought at an after Christmas sale because Adam always wanted a white tree. It has little multicolored LED lights at the end of the branches. It's very retro looking. There is also 3' green one my mom bought at some point which I should offer to Kat. There is also an outside light up spiral tree with clear lights.

The spiral tree stands outside with two movable light up reindeer. A couple of years ago, the reindeer misbehaved and refuse to completely light up. The front half would light up, but their butts both had shorts in the wiring. So at night they had a rather ghostly appearance. With only the front half lit up they looked as if they were floating in mid-air. We brought the reindeer into the living room and my mom decided she was going to fix this problematic electrical issue. She's not very electrically minded, but I gave her kudos for attempting to fix them. I neither had the time, nor inclination to attack pinched wires. Besides it kind of cracked me up to see the reindeer "floating" outside. Yes, I do have a bit of a sick mind.

It was too cold for her to work on the reindeer outside, so she kept them in the living room until they were fixed. For whatever reason, she also pulled the outdoor tree into the living room as well. So...we not only had our anorexic tree, but we also had 2 electrical reindeer and 1 light up tree in the living room along with two couches, a coffee table, a china cabinet and a partridge in a pear tree. Honestly, our living room isn't that big! If we wanted to get into the dining room, or get near the anorexic Christmas tree, we had to climb over reindeer or side step the spiral tree.

It got rather comical as my mom kept the reindeer all plugged in so she could work on them whenever she felt like it. So, if you looked in our front window, you would see not only the anorexic tree sitting timidly in our large window, but two movable half lit up reindeer with their heads moving up and down and a spiral tree in the background. I was trying to explain this whole scenario to a friend of ours. He couldn't stop laughing; insisting the material was good enough for a TV sitcom. I suddenly felt as if my life was an episode of Everyone Loves Raymond. Eventually, my mom gave up on the reindeer, but she insisted on keeping them in the living room hoping that they would fix themselves. If anyone stopped by, she would have them look at the reindeer to see if they had the magic answer. I no longer remember how they got fixed, but last year they were outside fully lit. This year, I haven't the courage to bring them up yet.

The final straw that year is that after the holiday when packing up the spiral tree, I saw a little note on its box stating that the tree could not be sold in California because it contained lead in amounts higher than they allowed. It also stated that any time you touched it, you needed to wash your hands. GREAT!!! And it sat in our living room from the first week of December to New Year's Day. Merry Toxic Christmas!!

This year, Kat and I put up our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Again, it looks beautiful! But since we are both vertically challenged and we couldn't figure out where Gramma put the step-stool, there are fewer ornaments near the top and no star on the tree. At one point, Kat started tossing the non-breakable ornaments up towards the top hoping we could adorn the unreachable top foot. She has always had a good arm, so suddenly non-breakable ornaments were raining on top of my head on the other side of the tree. She was quite excited when the plastic Bambi grabbed hold of a branch and refused to fall. It's the little things in life that make her happy. We laughed a lot.

Her one request was I allowed them to put tinsel on the tree this year. Many years ago tinsel was banned from our house because the kids were little and tinsel appeared everywhere - from the kitchen to the bathroom to the laundry to even our cocker spaniels poop! I was sick of finding tinsel in the weirdest places, so we became lovers of garland. I still love garland but figured with the kids at 15 and 12, how bad could tinsel be? I bought two boxes of tinsel and we only used one. It took Kat and Adam all of 10 minutes to put one box of tinsel on the tree and they were through. Evidently the excitement of tinsel now is not nearly as exciting as it was 6 years ago!

So...this weekend, I plan to bring the light up reindeer and lead laden spiral tree to the front lawn and place them strategically to frame our window and inside tree. If they don't light up, I promise to take a picture so you can see how funny they look while "floating" outside. And if my mom insists on trying to fix them again, I'll post a picture of what the living room looks like with our Christmas menagerie.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A little pick me up from a very dear friend

My friend Kathy has been battling sarcoma since last year. This summer she underwent radiation therapy and has just finished her final round of chemo. So, this year has not been a banner year for Kathy. But, for whatever reason, she felt the need to send me a little pick me up when I was going through a rather difficult time. (Please note: I realize my difficult time cannot even compare to radiation and chemo treatments, but Kathy felt that I needed to know how much she thinks of me.) She made a list of my positive traits. It may have been her way to reminding me that there are times when I can't see the forest for the trees.

I'm still blown away by the fact that she wrote this down when she was battling for her life. That speaks volumes on Kathy.

The list starts with:

"This list was written in less than two minutes. I could keep going. I hope you get the idea. You are someone very special!. Be proud and celebrate your goodness! With love, Kathy"


Super intelligent





loves music


loves theatre


good cook



loves her friends


great mom


good daughter

doesn't speak badly of others

super navigator of "the web"



not afraid to try new things


a hoot to be with





laughs at herself


great listener


hard working

OK...it's Mary again...I'm back. After each one of these, I could add some smartassed rebuttal, but I'll keep those to myself. Anyone who knows me, knows there is always a rebuttal floating through my brain. Yet, it's pretty terrific to know one is loved. Thanks, Kath! When you have been given the all clear on kicking cancer's butt, we'll go celebrate. Love you more!