Big Green Tub
Word of the day challenge using the convenient choice of the phrase Ornament.
Every year I grow excited when I drag the big green tub labeled “ornaments” from storage. I pop the lid, knowing, but I wonder what I’ll find. Why? A lot has happened since I closed the lid approximately 358 days ago. I’m questioning why I entered a room, for god sake.
I’ll admit that opening the lid was met with little enthusiasm over the past two years. In 2020, my mother had just passed on the 4th of December. My holiday spirit was not present, followed by 2021, when we spent the holidays without family, in an apartment, preparing to move for the second time. Bah Humbug!
However, who was back in town this holiday season? You guessed it, Christine Cringle appeared with a cheerful spirit leading the way as she popped that big green lid. Time lessens the blow.
This year I took extra care as I hung all of our ornaments, starting with the story of notable “firsts” in our lives ranging from our first Christmas together in 1988 to the first one spent as grandparents in 2022. With many in between.
They tell tales from our many family vacations or when our son was obsessed with trains, and our daughter received her black belt in Taekwondo.
We have ornaments from family, friends, neighbors, and even co-workers. They range from a worn Daisy Duck from my sister’s trip to California, a stack of books from the NY Public Library, a Rockette and a glass Ruth Bader Ginsburg from a friend in NYC, to a worn-out toybox from a former boss over 30 years ago and too many snowmen to count from friends.
The unique ornaments donning our names on snowmen, reindeer, and penguins, while our pets have theirs shining on jeweled crowns, are clear reminders of who rules this roost. It’s certainly not the penguins.
Of course, our tree wouldn’t be the same without memorial cardinals representing those celebrating from another realm, including our Chester, who crossed the rainbow bridge years ago.
Then there are the ones representing colleges, sororities, and hobbies, including vehicles from bicycles to motorcycles that always bring a smile and a pause. How many years passed?
For many reasons, I still shake my head at the deer dressed in orange camouflage riding a quad. Why is this even an ornament? But, I reluctantly hang it every year to note the time my son thought he wanted to hunt until he did and decided it wasn’t his thing. Removing history doesn’t change the fact that it happened.
I hang the eldest of our balls last, each year adding more gray hair from the fear of dropping one. Lord knows the survivors have seen many of their comrades hit the floor compliments of kids, pets, and my man hands. Part of me thinks they plunge from the branches on their own.
Although all of the above are loved beyond measure and guaranteed to spread joy throughout the season, the popsicle stick manger and one-eyed reindeer made by little loving hands many moons ago remain favorites.
Enjoy the Ride!
That’s All Folks!
It snowed. It was freezing. It snowed. It was freezing; and just when we thought we couldn’t stand to see another flake falling from the sky, Mother Nature decided to get medicated and provide us with this glorious bright sky to show off her handy work.
Hopefully this year she just jumps right to the medication.
This is always a busy month for me, but 2014 was exceptionally busy with me turning the BIG 50. It was a month long celebration with family and friends that I will always cherish.
In between all of that I celebrated my Anniversary along with my son’s 19th birthday.
Nothing like jamming everything into 28 days!
According to my photos March was uneventful except for this interesting encounter at the post office. I swear the post office is just one long Seinfeld episode. I’m no sooner in the door when I noticed this woman sitting behind the glass display case and immediately thought the following:
- OMG! It’s Grumpy Cat’s natural mother!
- Is she for sale or just on display?
- Where am I?
Seriously now ….
Let’s just say April had it’s ups and downs. My daughter turned 21 and my hair turned a lovely shade of stark white for many reasons.
Later in the month I had the pleasure of participating, and more importantly finishing, my first real 5k. Our finish time was 45:30! We lived to talk about it.
I was grateful for the 31 days this month had to offer, because it was jam packed with activities. I participated in the Urban Race, which was a scavenger hunt around Philadelphia and a Foam Race, which I think speaks for itself.
In between the races we had to move my daughter back from school and then prepare for the festivities of a prom, holy communion, a couple birthdays and a graduation party.
Oh yea and go to work … phew!
We kicked off this month by attending the graduation party for my son’s beautiful girlfriend. She was surrounded with love from the endless sea of guests to the delicious home made food!
Once again I participated in a 5k. It was a Super Hero theme, because sometimes wearing a cape just makes you feel better about everything.
Never underestimate the power of a cape!
The dust of the festivities settled, while the dust of our new porch was in full construction mode. I forgot to mention that since April the hubby was beautifying our front porch, lawn and wall. Oh and by beautifying, I mean tearing everything down to the bone to change the entire design because he always has to be different.
On July 17th I had the honor of celebrating the receipt of a Historic Marker for a building on the property of my Quaker Meeting. The Hall that was honored was built by abolitionist Robert Purvis and others to serve as a community meeting place and safe venue for anti-slavery activists to gather. One of the highlights of the day was meeting the descendants of Robert Purvis including his 5th generation grandson, who is all of 8 years old!
As if July would be complete without celebrating my little guy.
We finally had a breather to enjoy some down time and used some gift cards that had been collecting dust for too long. We enjoyed an amazing meal at the Joseph Ambler Inn. The outside patio was just glorious!
I took a day off from the salt mines to spend what seemed like the entire day at the Spa being pampered from head to toe…literally. This was a birthday gift from my sister that was perfect!
August was filled with all things beautiful!
The porch and front of the house are looking fabulous! The kids were settled in school and we had some time to attend our first Farm to Table Dinner at the Blue Moon Farm in Pennington, NJ. The food was off the hook, prepared by local chef Max Hansen and the company was even better with the hubby, his cousin and a friend.
September in NYC was a blast as I celebrated my dear friends’ birthday and the Feast of Gennaro in Little Italy. We spent the day touring around, eating, laughing, shopping and celebrating our friendship.
The month of fabulous food, friends & family.
Let’s see … I participated with Peanut, Susanne & Valentine in the Mutt Strutt here in Philly to raise money for PAWS.
I celebrated my 10th anniversary at work. Oh, and by “celebrated” I mean went to work like every other day without acknowledgement.
But the best thing E V A H that happened was we welcomed Landon into our family where he is loved beyond measure!
Landon .. Landermander .. Landon Bandon Boo… hehehe!
The porch is finished and beautiful!
The Rocky Run was a blast!
Thanksgiving was a filled with a bounty of food, family & friends!
Shopped, cooked, baked, wrapped and did all things Christmas including spending time with family & friends.
Finally took some much needed time off from work to prepare myself for entering the new year with a sense of openness that will hopefully lead me to where I need to be both mentally and physically.
Took a trip into the city with the hubby for a fabulous day that ended with a couples massage which left us both rejuvenated and ready for 2015!
That’s All Folks !
The best is yet to come!
Happy New Year … Enjoy the Ride!
Twas the morning of Christmas and all through the house NOTHING was stirring other than me in this house.
Stockings were placed on the chair with great care, because Mrs. Clause LOADED them to the point of despair.
The children, including those with fur and gray hair, were nestled all snug in their beds, while I IMPATIENTLY waited downstairs seeing red.
Finally I heard what I thought was a clatter, I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter. Into the living room I ran in flash, I sprinted the stairs grabbed Landon and dashed.
The sun, who’s been missing for weeks here in Philly, came through the window making this seem more than just silly. I grabbed a broom from the closet to poke on the ceiling, making some noise might get this sleeping family squealing! When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, an updated Facebook status from my son with a jeer!
More rapid than a teenager I typed with such fury “Get down these steps now without giving me a story!”
Now Gregory! Now Emily! Now Zachary! Now P! I’ve been up for ages waiting doing laundry and such, it’s Christmas for god sakes and that work is too much!
Finally they woke filled with nothing but glee, bustled down the steps to open presents with Landon and me!
This Christmas I was surrounded with family, love and some joy, which gave each passing minute just more to enjoy.
Peanut and Landon were bombarded with new bones, balls and toys, running around all day like two happy boys!
Now that the family has gone and the festivities have ended, I’m off to my bed, which will feel more than just splendid!
Hope you spent this holiday surrounded by everything bright, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Now that the holy grail of holidays is over, it’s time for me to get back to the business of reading and writing. I’ve missed all my blogging peeps! Over the next few days I hope to fill you in on my very busy December. Let the games begin!
Whether you follow this Blog or have the pleasure of knowing the up close and personal me, you are already aware of my overzealous “need to know” everything all of the time. The holidays are like a month-long opening day for this curious people loving gal!
With Thanksgiving practically running right into December, there was an awful lot of action jammed into the few weeks leading up to Christmas. This meant adding decorating, partying, cooking and shopping onto an already full plate, but this time it felt so good. Like a fork full of lemon curd cake good!
December started off with a HUGE burst of energy. We hit D.C. for an all expense
paid Christmas party hosted by um, who really cares all expenses were paid, ok .. ok .. it was actually a sales company associated with the big corporation that employs my hubby. They were celebrating the holidays, along with the fact that they broke a record by brining in a whopping ONE .. HUNDRED .. MILLION .. DOLLARS in sales for 2013! That must be said in the voice of Dr. Evil, otherwise it’s just a number.
We were shacking up at the Mandarin Hotel, which is incredible all by itself, but when I walked through the door and saw Mrs. Brady a/k./a Florence Henderson standing right in front of me, it escalated into euphoria for this gal. I stalked her while the hubby was checking in. This left him in charge of “listening” to important information about breakfast and what not … *sigh* probably not one of my better decisions, but MRS.BRADY WAS IN THE HOUSE!
The 7 course dinner was superb, along with the continuous flow of wine and spirits. The wait staff were hovering like seagulls waiting for a Cheeto to hit the beach! If you took so much as a sip of your wine they flew in to replace it before your glass had a chance to rest back on the table. God only knows how much I actually consumed. To be honest, I was so high in the moment the wine was an added bonus.
As you all probably know, The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals each year who have spent their lives bringing joy to so many with their commitment to the performing arts. Oh, the reason I’m mentioning this is because we were all sharing the same hotel. It was like hitting the freaking lottery for this star struck crazed fan!
I really had my work cut out for me though, so I got right down to business by getting all sorts of chummy with the Concierge. I’m still somewhat surprised to know he was married to a woman. Once I had my “in” on when this amazing group of entertainers would be heading back to the hotel I was able to get my “crazed fan face” under control, which was not easy, as I impatiently waited for their return.
First through the door … Mr. Carlos Santana. I was in awe and chose to leave him enjoy the company of his lovely wife and sisters who accompanied him for the evening. They were all quietly gracious as they headed for the elevators, where he did stop to take a photo with a young family.
Next up was Garth Brooks, who was not nominated, but was there for some reason. He came through the door like the big ole cowboy that he is wearing his trademark black hat. He could not get enough of the crowd and took photos with anyone with a pulse. I did not partake in these shenanigans because frankly I’m just not a fan. I have stalking standards folks.
As I was gazing on at Garth taking over the lobby, I didn’t realize that Shirley MacLaine was standing right next to me. She was a nominee for her nearly 60-year career on stage and screen. Her entourage was surrounding her as they were trying to figure out where they could go to continue celebrating the evening. Just then I turned to face her and quietly professed my love. She thanked me; gave me a K I S S and snapped her fingers to declare “We’ll all fit in my suite…let’s go!” I hope you all understand how hard it was for me not to follow them into the elevator…. seriously!
Let me just say that I could not even sleep that night! I was exploding with excitement as I sat on Cloud 9 from the events of evening.
The next morning while we enjoyed an incredible breakfast snow started to fall outside. It was the perfect ending to an amazing weekend. Until we hit Virginia that is ..when our 3 hour trip turned into a 6 and a half hour white knuckle ride from hell! Oh it was going to take more than some snow and ice to drag me down from Cloud 9!
It was time to scream loud or Enjoy the Ride!
Crumpet the Elf Lives On
Please enjoy this little piece of Christmas merriment compliments of David Sedaris and NPR. It’s sure to put a smile on your face this morning.
Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris
Christmas Is A State of Mind or Madness
This time of year neighborhoods everywhere are beaming with Christmas displays, that are for the most part, entertaining for their beauty. Then there are those that provide a heavy dose of unintentional comedy. But, no one truly prepares us for those that leave us silently shaking our heads, as we ask ourselves some very pressing questions. Who came up with the idea of the hideous enormous inflatable holiday decorations that make absolutely no sense? Who are these creative geniuses that continue to test our level of Christmas tackiness? What happens behind that closed-door as the design team presents some of these brilliant ideas?
Oh how I wish I were a fly on the wall when the Santa in an Outhouse idea hit the table. Did everyone gasp at the horror or did they ponder the thought “it’s so bad it might be good” idea? Considering this exhibit of Santa’s stenchivities is resting on lawns across the land, I think we know the answer. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is where Santa reads through all those letters? It’s probably best if we don’t discuss the Elf, his action speaks louder than my words.
This next one is by far the most senseless display of the season The Hunting Snowman. Christmas is supposed to be about joy, not intimidation. Where do we even begin? Should we start off with the lack of a trigger finger. Snowmen have mitten hands. Perhaps we could mention the look on the deer’s face. If that doesn’t just scream WTF, I don’t know what does. Maybe, just maybe, we could discuss the fact that HUNTING has NOTHING to do with CHRISTMAS! Nothing says Happy Birthday Jesus like a rifle toting snowman…said no one EVER!
At this point it’s clear nothing is off the table. There is a market for anything.
If there is an interest out there, you can surly bet that there is a Christmas lawn ornament to match it. I’m sure you’ve all seen the I LOVE Homer Simpson monstrosity that has creeped its way into Christmas. It’s not always a good thing to display your interests by way of a ginormouse inflatable Christmas decoration. Now, if you already have one of these beauties it’s ok, because I’m sure you’re already aware of your “that neighbor” status. If not…you are now.
This next little masterpiece was spotted in broad daylight. I had to make a u-turn to verify what my eyes just registered with my brain. Oh, how I wish I were wrong. There it stood, clear as day The Christmas Dinosaur. What? You never heard the magically Christmas tale of the Christmas dinosaur? Just because the santa hat fits, doesn’t mean you have to display it!
I actually felt a tug at the ole heart-strings for this little fella. I know, I know but I couldn’t help it. I started to imagine at one point he was probably an understudy for that famous long neck featured in Jurassic Park. Once all the hoopla ended, he couldn’t get work and this was his last hope for a steady gig. Excuse me while I blow my nose..sniff, sniff.
I would like you all to know that these photos were taken very close to my home. Please don’t judge. Around my parts the front lawns have the square footage of a postage stamp, which makes seeing these immense structures more horrifying. It’s a Christmas miracle in itself that they’re still standing.
Of course this piece was written in jest…sort of…in order to spread a little Christmas cheer. So please take some time to Enjoy the Ride this holiday season. Even if it’s in a 7 ft. inflatable speed boat driven by Santa with a penguin sidekick, that makes no sense whatsoever.
Gloria Vanderbilt’s Pet Horse
I spent my weekend putting the finishing touches on the Christmas decorations. As I was strategically placing the Santa’s around the house I couldn’t help but laugh.
Christmas time is filled with stories. They rest between the decorations, the ornaments and our families just waiting to be told each year. Some things never get old, especially when they make us laugh.
I was remembering the day when I told my son, who was 4 at the time, he better be on his best behavior because Santa was watching him. Mothers around the world wait all year for this moment. Well, when I came back in the room he had all the Santa’s facing the wall so that they couldn’t “see” what he was doing. Brilliant!
That memory really made me pause and realize how quickly these moments pass through our lives. Wasn’t it just yesterday that Santa was bringing me my Madame Alexander baby doll? I remember it like it was yesterday!
My sister and I woke up at the crack of dawn that Christmas, just as Mr. & Mrs. Clause went to bed, to examine our loot. I quickly picked up one of the dolls and ran into my parents room to display my treasure. I was filled with excitement!
I’ll never forget my mother slightly raising her very tired head while stating “that is your sister’s doll yours has the light hair.” No questions were asked as to how she received such highly classified information before heading back downstairs to retrieve what was rightfully mine. My own children would never have been this easy on me!
Who really knows what went on in our gullible little heads, but we seemed to be extremely accepting of the fact that Santa ditched the elves for special projects and periodically shopped at Sears. This according to the neck of my guitar anyway.
I do remember asking about it and happily accepting whatever I was told. No interrogation, hot lights & saltines for my parents, just pure acceptance of whatever they were selling. This included the illusion that Santa himself made the executive decision to distribute matching gifts to my sister and I. This
lack of effort tradition went on for YEARS.
Sadly during the Christmas of approximately 1977, Mrs. Clause was under the misguided notion that it would somehow remain acceptable to continue the duel gifts, separated by color method this particular year. Poor thing never saw the uprising of the female teenager in our home.
Unbeknownst to anyone present, my sister was at her breaking point with the lack of surprises as we opened our gifts. I had just opened a box containing a blue bathrobe, that I was thrilled to receive, as my sister was holding an unwrapped box that mirrored mine. The last thing I remember saying was “I bet that’s a robe.”
Years of pent-up disappointment surfaced as we all watched her explode, ranting something about colors, before running upstairs to slam the bedroom door. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a teenage hissy fit. Mrs. Clause just looked at me and said “I don’t know who your sister thinks she is, but she’s NOT Gloria Vanderbilt’s pet horse.” What?
The confrontation was still going on, which really put a damper on my present opening. It probably wasn’t a good idea to inform my sibling that “I just opened blue slippers yours are probably pink” during the mayhem. Honestly though, little sisters around the globe live for these moments. We must embrace these opportunities when they fall upon us, we just do.
My mother/Mrs. Clause had enough as she yelled up the stairs to my ungrateful sister. Again letting her know that she was not “Gloria Vanderbilt’s pet horse.” At that moment my sister came down the steps prancing and neighing like, you guess it, a HORSE. I believe my sister thought “if being Gloria Vanderbilt’s pet horse meant getting individual gifts, so be it!” Laughter ensued, Christmas continued and my sister perfected her imitation of a well-bred horse by the day’s end. Meanwhile I was still wondering “Who the hell is Gloria Vanderbilt?”
Often times when we think about Christmas, the first thing that comes to mind is a great laugh. Christmas and laughing go hand in hand, whether it be Santa’s deep belly “Ho Ho Ho – Merry Christmas!” laugh, the giggle of excited children ripping apart the wrapping on their Christmas presents, or the doubled over gasping for air reaction to the well orchestrated imitation of an entitled horse from your ungrateful teenage sister. It’s all good!
If you celebrate Christmas I’m sure you can recall at least one thing that has happened which made you laugh so hard your belly hurt! Take time this season to share your funny stories, connect your hearts with those you care about and of course … Enjoy the Ride!
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