Thursday, 22 December 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, la la la la la la la

Last Sunday we cut down our Christmas tree.  
We loaded the boys and Archie the Dog in the truck and drove up a logging truck road to Crown Land where, with permit in hand, we trudged through the woods looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  
This year the snow was not too deep so we ventured a bit further out.  Some years when the snow is thigh-deep we are very happy when we find one on the edge of the forest.  
Every tree looks too small until we get it home and have to cut two and a half feet off the bottom and realize that a tree that is six feet wide is just too large for our little room.  
This year we said 'pick one that is 6" taller than dad and no more than a grandma-hug wide.'

With the tree cut down and dragged back to the truck, we make a small fire to roast hot dogs, have hot chocolate and some Christmas cookies.  We tobaggan down a small hill, gather "treasures" from the woods, tell stories and complain about the ratty looking tree we cut down.

This years tree is tall, narrow, almost void of branches and needles, smells nice and is full of new Christmas memories.

What a great day!

No matter which side of the fire one stands the flame and smoke always blow toward your face.

Son #2 chopping through the bulldozed brush looking for a perfect "fire-poking-stick".

We fed the Whiskey Jacks.

Son #1 making snow sculpture out of a block of snow/ice/dirt that fell off the wheel wells of a logging truck.  That bit of greenery laying on the ground behind him is our Christmas tree!

Archie the Dog loves running through the snow and digging for mice. He whined and paced the entire way up and slept the entire way down.

Son #2 still trying to get the perfect "fire-poking-stick".

Here is the tree.
Did I mention it was free?

Merry Christmas my Friends!
I hope your holidays are filled with love and happiness.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Bah Humbug

The oven repair man just called me from my house to say he has to order the part for my oven.

"It should be here by Friday", he says.

"There will be another $85 service call and an additional $70 travel charge", he adds.

"Plus the cost of the part."

"I'll try to have your oven working for Christmas", he offers.

"Or I can lend you my turkey deep fryer."

Thanks, Oven Repairman.  Really.   I do know it's not your fault my oven stopped working 5 days before Christmas.

Ugly Sweater? You Be the Judge

Here it is. 

 I would like to say that it looks worse in print but I would be lying...

It's wool and it's itchy.

Son #1 seems unimpressed at having to model it for this photo.

As a Christmas gift  this sweater came with forest green suede (!!?) shorts (!!?!).  
Those went out almost right away.

The one he wore for this years Ugly Sweater Contest will be posted after Christmas - it is bright raspberry with an over-sized collar and is a nylon acrylic knit blend.

I wonder what I'll get this year?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Ugly Sweater Day

Today is ugly sweater day at the boys high school.

It got me thinking about the first ugly sweater day when Son #1 was in Grade 8.
The night before (because why give the parents any time to prepare) he announced the event and what did we have in our closets that he could wear?
"Not much" was the answer. (we give away to Salvation Army, the homeless shelters and The Boys and Girls Club.)

Could we look anyway?

After digging through drawers and closets I came up with a sweater that I thought might work but was unsure as I didn't think it was ugly and had worn it only a few months prior.
It was dark green heavy knitted wool with an over-all pattern of leaves in gold, rust, brown with some black and red shots of color.  Very woodsy looking.

"Yes!" he exclaimed, "that's great".  

I was perplexed because as I  mentioned before it was one I still wore.  
Not to worry though, the kid was happy that he had something to wear to school  and get points for participating. 

That night over dinner I casually asked how ugly sweater day  was.

"I won", he said.

"You had the ugliest sweater in your class?!!? ' I said incredulously.

"No", he said, "in the school".

Today is ugly sweater day at the high school.  Both of my boys are wearing one of my sweaters and both expect to win.

"In your thank you acceptance speech, please let everyone know that your mom gets the worst Christmas gifts ever and that these sweaters are living proof."

...and please don't tell them that I still wear these sweaters.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Things to do! Things to Do!

I have had a busy few weeks. 

 I did a couple of pottery shows and one craft show.  
 The boys helped me at one sale, unpacking and selling, and then packing up the unsold pieces.  
They then split the profits between themselves.  
They were not asked back to the other two shows.
  I don't like doing sales.  I would rather just make pottery.  

During the shows I got a few  special request orders - nothing too fancy, wine goblets mostly, but also some beer mugs and some coffee cups and had to fill those orders as they were Christmas presents.  
They are done and I don't think I will take special orders again.  However, it might be like childbirth - the more time that passes the less you remember the pain of it all.

My son turned 16 on the 5th, wrote the drivers test, got 98% and now has his learners driving permit. He and I  go driving for 40 minutes or so every day after dinner.  
98% is not a reliable indicator of whether he is a good driver or not.
My car is a 5-speed and after the first day I thought I would need  a neck brace (and a new clutch) but he has steadily improved. 
 I have not improved - I am still a nervous fool.  

We were driving down a country lane, it had several turns and twists.
  Me: " Slow down! Slow Down! the speed limit is 50.  Slow Down! 50! 50!"   (31 mph)
Him: "Mom, I'm only going 43."  (26 mph)
Breathe in.  Breathe out.
The Husband took him out last night and I stayed home and ate brandy filled chocolates.

We have been to 5 Christmas parties in the last two weeks and have two to go to this weekend. 
 I think I have gained 5 pounds.  That is a conservative estimate.
The last party was a stretchy pants party - thanks goodness, because not much else is fitting me. 

I have bought three Christmas gifts and none of them are for the parcels that are to be mailed to Houston TX, Toronto ON or Winnipeg MB.  
Stressed? just a bit......

Last Saturday was a full eclipse of the moon and the boys thought it would be great if we all got up to watch it.  Excellent idea except they got me up at 4:30 AM.  I am still tired.  
A lunar eclipse, while pretty, is kinda slow!

The Husband was away two days learning how to use the Jaws of Life.  Quite ironic seeing that the lesson and arrival of the equipment coincided with Son #1 getting his learners driving permit.

On Sunday we will drive into the mountains and cut a Christmas tree, roast hot dogs on a fire and have hot chocolate.  A tradition we have been honoring since the boys were toddlers and one they will not give up.  The tree we end up with is always too large as in they don't look nearly as big in the forest as they do once they are in the house.

I told a friend I would help her make slumped wine bottles (for cheese trays) as she would like to give them to family members as gifts.  She is busier than I and cannot come to my house with her bottles until the 20th, and then again on the 21st to wire wrap them.  I need to remember to be home those two nights.

  I love cooking Christmas dinner and having a house full of people and I am thrilled when it is my turn to do the cooking.  I have bought the turkey, made the Vinetarta (Icelandic Christmas cake that Son #2 insists on having), I have the carrot pudding ready to steam and serve with rum eggnog sauce, chocolate lava cakes that are frozen uncooked and ready to pop in the oven while we eat, butter tarts and the shortbread for lemon filled shortbread tarts.  
Santa will need to bring me more stretchy pants.  
And, in my usual manner, I have invited more people than there are chairs at the dining table but as usual we will make do.

My kitchen floor has not been washed in two weeks, there is clean folded laundry that needs to be put away from last Friday, there are three boxes of Christmas decorations in the middle of the living room floor and I have a glazed "deer in the headlights" look about me that is scaring the boys who yesterday, roasted a chicken, mashed potatoes, made salad and glazed carrots and had it ready before The Husband and I got home.from work.

I think I'll keep  this glazed over look if it means the boys will make dinners.

Maybe if I really stress out they will shop for the presents, wrap pack and ship them and vacuum the stairs.

Yeah,  I know, stop dreaming.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Skiing in Trail, BC

JP Auclair Street Segment (from All.I.Can.)

I don't know if I am more impressed with the skier or the cinematographer or the mind that thought up this fascinating movie but I am impressed for sure.