Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday Blessings

Amazing. As crazy as the time leading up to Christmas seems, it seems to come and go in an instant. December has been a whirlwind...and I lamely offer that as an excuse for not writing more.

The closer it gets to Christmas, the crazier my work becomes. Crazier and harder. As you can imagine, the holidays is a difficult time to be in the line of work of "helping others". Stress piles up for everyone and it's hard not to feel that. I try to bring home with me the good stuff...the joy in helping make the holidays a little easier for families that don't have a lot of resources. Joel and I had a good time playing Mr & Mrs Claus for the families (even if we came home with the flu). It was a tough year for our Holiday Store for our families...donations were down, but we managed to serve all our families.

And while I worked the last few weeks to make the holidays better for others, I was trying hard not to go crazy making Christmas better for my own family. Thankfully I get a 2-week holiday break from my work and starting Friday (when my break began) I was busy running around like every other crazy fool.

And so I celebrated Christmas with my kids and hubby yesterday. "Santa" was very, very good to me (Thank you, honey!) But in the end, it's the combination of all the "little things" that make the holidays complete...the time spent with my kids and husband, listening to the same holiday music, eating the same cookies, decorating the tree with the same ornaments...these are the things that I treasure year after year.

And I know that I am blessed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The surprise at the end of this post

I was really kicking myself for not making it outside yesterday, so I was determined to venture out today. Not the best move. My daughter Ana was off today, so we headed to downtown Mpls to check out the Dayton's, er Macy's 8th floor display. We took the bus...because of the weather and the fact I hate driving downtown Mpls.

I just have to say that I was a bit disappointed with Macy's this year. The display was about half the size it normally is and there were none of the "illusion" scenes they typically have. It was still beautiful, but didn't quite measure up to past years.

Ana and I did a bit of shopping. I love shopping downtown Mpls, but it was getting colder and windier as the afternoon wore on. Plus I started feeling like crap. I found out a few weeks ago that I have a severe vitamin D deficiency...which explains my severe fatigue and muscle/bone fatigue & weakness. After walking around for a few hours I was done. Actually I was in pain. We headed home, but the 8 block walk home was miserable.

I'm not looking forward to this bout of winter weather that's coming this week. I would love to hibernate!

And now for the surprise at the end of this post: As a means of promoting my Etsy shop and art blog, I am hosting a giveaway on my art blog. It's also a way to show appreciation to those folks who are following my artful adventures. I will be giving away a necklace to one of my viewers. Check out my art blog for details. All you have to do is leave a comment (on my art blog).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The birthday revisited

Joel as Santa last year with a friend's child.

Our room at Moondance

I was just retelling the birthday story to my mom and enough time has passed to make it somewhat I thought it might be time to share it here. Be forewarned: if you cannot stomach stories containing vomiting references, you better stop here. (I promise, it's more comical than wretched)

My birthday was last Friday--December 5th. I turned 48. Far too close to 50, but that's a post for another day.

On Thursday evening and again on Friday, Joel accompanied me to work to play the part of Santa for our annual holiday parties for the families that we serve. I played Mrs. Claus. Nearly every kid in attendance sat on Joel's, er, Santa's lap to have their picture taken. Joel is a fantastic Santa. He was a real trooper handling on those kids.

Following work on Friday, Joel and I went to dinner at Famous Dave's with my kids. It was nice having dinner with my kids...then we headed home.

I was wiped. Joel obviously was too, because I think he was in bed by 10:30. I was a little miffed that he went to bed so early on my birthday, but truth be told, I was exhausted too...and I think I was in bed at 11. At the time I was thinking we were both getting too old to have a late wild night.

Around midnight Joel said he wasn't feeling well...and soon enough I heard some wretched sounds from the bathroom...Santa was puking. About an hour later, I was in the other bathroom doing the same. Thank god, we have two bathrooms...we needed them both.

My first thought was that our dinner at Famous Dave's was making us sick...cause frankly, that was the first thing coming out. (Not recommended) I managed to reach my son, who was not sick. Then I thought it was my birthday lunch. I was a little pissed that I was being hit with food poisoning for the second time in 6 months...and on my birthday no less.

Sometime around 2 in the morning, with Joel and I each in separate bathrooms puking, I heard a LOUD crash. I rushed to Joel's bathroom as quickly as I could and tried to get in. Joel was on the floor in front of the door. Eventually Joel was able to get up...and when I knew he was reasonably ok I returned to what I had been the other bathroom.

A few hours later I heard Joel moving around...and got up just in time to see him crash to the floor in our first bedroom (we were by that point sleeping in separate beds). I tried to help him up, but couldn't...and he couldn't get up on his own. Finally, I just threw him a pillow and blanket and told him to stay put until we were stronger. We crashed for a few hours.

Eventually Joel managed to get up to the bed...and immediately puked again (thankfully in the Twins pail I had given him hours earlier...yup, we were each puking in his n' hers Twins puckets). I couldn't handle that yet and ran with my pail to the back bathroom. (Essentially we switched beds and bathrooms).

In the morning light it was easy to see the damage that had been Joel's first collapse in the bathroom he had poked his eye with the door jam...not a flexible door jam, but an old, SOLID door jam with no metal tip. We were lucky he didn't rip his eyelid open...but his eye was completely swollen shut and about the size of a golf ball. On the second fall, he skinned up his knee pretty good.

Still too weak to think about going anywhere, we slept most of the day and ate a few crackers and applesauce. About 5 in the evening I took Joel to the ER to have his eye checked out. The doctors were pretty impressed...but no real damage was done (thankfully).

We had planned a number of activities for my birthday, but obviously everything on Saturday was cancelled. Fortunately, we were able to salvage the trip to Red Wing to stay at the Moondance Inn that we had planned for Sunday/Monday. I told Joel both my eyes would have to be swollen shut to miss that. It was a lowkey trip, but there wasn't any better place to recuperate. We lounged around in our jammies and soaked in the hot tub. And Joel pampered us both by booking massages at a local Red Wing spa.

Oh ya, I should add that it probably wasn't food poisoning at all, but a nasty bout of the flu...a whole bunch of folks at my work were sick as well.

So that's the birthday story...who says we're too old for wild nights!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tillie's Beans

Sorry for the long overdue post. Work (meaning that 9-5 job) is in that holiday frenzy mode. And then for my birthday, I got the flu. Thankfully the flu came after the birthday dinner with the family...but it was/is nasty stuff. Me and the hubby are still recovering. But I managed to salvage a lovely few days away at the bed & breakfast we love. It was just where we needed to go to recuperate.

Now back to the grind. And speaking of in coffee...

A big announcement: Last week I dropped off four of my paintings to be hung at my favorite morning coffee shop: Tillie's Bean located at 2803 E 38th Street (right near the light rail station). The paintings include the Birch Trees pictured above. More on this later...I just wanted to get the word out. Stop by to see them. And buy some coffee (I can't recommend the best coffee...I'm not a coffee drinker...but the chai is Wonderful).
More later...