Besides Christmas….   Leave a comment

Although Christmas prep and activity takes up lots of our December, we have been doing a few other things.

We are on vacation this week, and it is pretty low-key – no real plans. Last Friday evening we had a friend over for a visit and some pizza. It was a great visit, we don’t get together often (although she follows this, so knows what I am up to.) That day was a stormy day, and so around 8:30, the power went out. No big deal as it wasn’t cold out – I know, it’s Maine, it’s December, but really, it was warm and rainy. So we lit some candles and kept on chatting.

What was funny was the reaction of a family member of hers who texted while we were visiting, and when he found out the power was out reacted with “YIKES!” we laughed about it, but then the next day, we heard from someone else who has family away that they had the same reaction, and another friend of mine sent a message saying that she hoped we were OK. I know that the last few big news events about power outages have been huge hideous stories. But this is rural America. We have trees. When it rains, snows and blows, they come down, and it takes a while for the power company to clean it up and get power back. Not a while like weeks, but a while like a day or so. In this case, it was about 16 hours. It is a bit frustrating, and a bit nice, we know it will happen at least once a winter, so we have “systems” in place. A wood stove we can light if it gets cold. Candles, flashlights, batteries, cell phones. We even have an old-fashioned corded, plugged-into-the-wall style phone that works without electricity. I have a battery operated head lamp, so I can read. Can’t watch TV. Can’t run the water. But there is quite a bit of water in the system if the power goes out unexpectedly. If we think it will, we fill some pitchers and call it good. So, everyone – the power was out. It is back on. We were and are fine.

(of course, on that note, we are in the midst of a snow storm right now, and I should probably go fill a few pitchers…)

Saturday we went for our walk, dropped presents off at the neighbor’s and went into town for a Dunkin run (the one thing you can’t do when the power is out is make good, hot coffee). Then we came home and wrapped presents. We had a nice visit from an old friend bearing lots of homemade candies his wife made – just what we needed for the wrapping marathon!

Sunday was slow and easy, a few errands, no pressure. We were amazed that we were so ready for Christmas so far ahead, very unusual for us. No last minutes forays for wrapping paper or bows, presents organized, wrapped, bagged and ready to roll.

Monday we went to Bangor to meet up with A’s niece and her kids, and sister-in-law L. We had a good lunch at Olive Garden (note – try 11:30 Christmas Eve morning for no lines there!) and stopped at a new little market in Holden for the broccoli, which I had forgotten to get for Christmas Day. We were both impressed at how grown up niece E and nephew S are getting – it is possible to have conversations with them! They are lots of fun, enthusiastic about their interests. S is doing a lot of thinking about next year (college) and what he wants to be. We told him the two probably won’t really go together in the long-term, but he should be interested in whatever he studies. Don’t think I know anyone who is really doing what they planned to do at 17. Well, maybe one. Not sure they still like it, though.

Monday evening, we opened our presents to each other and the cats opened their stockings. They got great stuff – cable ties, crinkly balls. Allie wasn’t too interested, but Zumba was in heaven.

Zumba's Christmas

While A knew about the miter saw stand, she was very surprised with the Belgian waffle maker from King Arthur Flour (made in America!!!!) – and I think she likes it. We got waffles today, anyway, and when she next has to make breakfast for the gang at work, she will haul it in for them.

I got TWO cricut cartridges I wanted (ornamental iron 2 and Art Nouveau), plus gift cards to Joann’s and AC Moore – fun fun fun! Also got lots of candy in my stocking and an iTunes gift card, so I can get some new music, which is super as I only had 1 cent left on my account.

I also got some fleece lined jeans from A. They are cozy and warm, and a little snug, so I need to stick to walking and try not to eat all that candy! (pet peeve – why aren’t companies consistent in their sizing???? I have three pair so pants from this company in my closet, and they are all the same size. A ordered a size LARGER by error, and they still barely fit! Mom got me a pair of jeans in the size I said, and they were way too small. I exchanged them for a pair 2 sizes up and they fit just fine. Shouldn’t we be able to expect consistency across a brand???) Anyway, we watched sappy Christmas movies and opened our presents, and had a good Xmas Eve.

Christmas was at Mom’s, and lots of fun, with all siblings there, and all but 2 grandchildren. Bill cooked a giant roast, and we all brought everything else, so Mom had to set the table and make cookies. It sure makes it easier to have everyone bring parts of the meal. Mom spoiled us all as usual – A got a really cool dovetail jig thing for making drawers – I think she will have the world’s fanciest custom-made closet some day. 🙂 I got dishes and a gift card for yarn, and clothes.

We siblings and spouses did a Yankee Swap, our first, and it was fun – people put a lot of thought into the gifts, and there was some good-natured swapping going on. A gallon of maple syrup made the rounds, as did an ice globe lantern kit. A had number 1 (how does she always get that?) and so we brought home the syrup. I swapped for to get ice grippers for our shoes, which I have been wanting, as our ramp and stairs get icy. I hope we do that again next year.

Little E got lots of books and toys – she didn’t really care, just wanted more presents, as one would expect at that age. I think when she ran out, she started looking through to see what she got, and she will be glad to have the books when she learns more reading. She taped all the bows onto her dress and looked quite cute.

Yesterday was a low-key day – we went for our walk in the morning – in daylight! and saw lots of neighbors out doing the same. Pretty amazing to have bare ground on December 26, so we all took advantage. A had a doctor’s appointment in Blue Hill, so I got to check out the Barnacle shop, and use a gift certificate I won last summer. As there was a great sale going on, I was able to stretch it, and got a few granite block magnets, some earrings and a puzzle, all for three dollars! And found a new store which looks like a good source of Maine made gifts, as well as clothing, mens and womens, owned by a local person, not a huge conglomerate. My favorite kind of shopping. After A got done, we went up to Ellsworth where I exchanged the jeans, and we did some grocery shopping and had lunch at Burger King. Biggest loser is SO over with. We had better have a New Year’s resolution or two. 🙂

We came home and I had every intention of going up to the craft room, but instead, took a long nap on the couch in front of the fire. LOVE winter vacations! I did put a crock pot of ham and pea soup together, so I accomplished SOMETHING.

Today we are having a snow storm. We should be getting somewhere between 7-12 inches. Glad we are home already, and not having to travel to and from work today. It will be a while before A will want to walk outside. Even with ice grips on…

So, now I am going to get a bowl of homemade ham and pea soup for lunch, and then head up to the craft room. Really. No nap yet…

Knitting in progress:
more hats for giving, and a new Estonian lace project, a blue one this time, for a wonderful woman at work. It is out of Swan’s Island fingering weight yarn that Mom gave me from her stash. I have the borders almost done (I knit the top one first not last, in case I run short of yarn. As it gets grafted on at the end anyway, it doesn’t matter what order I do it in. While I don’t like grafting, it does make this part easier.)

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