Laughter is the best medicine…especially when the therapist is as crazy as you are!

I hung out today with one of my therapists, Lady Susan. She’s royalty, much like I am. I think she also has a tiara but I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen her wear it. If she hadn’t decided to go with me I would’ve gone by myself. I like being all by myself sometimes but having Lady Susan along is like going to an amusement park instead of just sitting on a park bench with the squirrels. First we went to an indoor Farmer’s Market for veggies, seeds, patchouli & honey. I was pretty excited that the sprouts guy was there again; it’s a fun snack in the dead of winter.
Next stop was a museum to see the animated holiday window displays salvaged from a local department store from our childhood. I am sooo glad I didn’t bring the kids. They would’ve laughed at the lameness of my magical childhood. Back in the 60’s, seeing anything that moved was a pretty big deal; especially when you’re a little kid. As we went from one display to the next, Lady Susan & I would remark, “I don’t really remember this one either.” We were both hoping one of the windows would trigger a memory. Near the end we see the kitchen baking scene. How ironic…the food scene is the one I vaguely remember. Maybe it was just the child in me that really wanted to see & feel what I did back in my youth.
I really can’t remember what scenes I saw back then. What I do remember are the feelings; the excitement of my parents bringing all of us kids to the big city to walk the sidewalk outside the department store & look at the magic of technology with its moving figures. I’m sure I looked at the whole scene at each window but my main focus was on the stuff that moved. I have memories of being fascinated by that. Then we went inside & walked through the ‘enchanted forest’ to see Santa Claus. It was one of the highlights of Christmas. All in all I’m glad I finally went to see the displays. It was nice to see the windows again through my adult eyes but with the memories & feelings of my childhood still intact inside me.

We would’ve left then but the entrance to a cave caught my eye and I felt compelled to explore. We continued walking and looking at displays until I realized that it felt like we were in the middle of a maze & I was getting a little bit claustrophobic because there didn’t seem to be a way out. I’m pretty sure we could’ve found our way out faster if they had wedges of cheese waiting for us at the end.
Before heading home we stopped for some shots of wheatgrass & ginger. We’re rebels that way. It was spicy hot, sweet & delicious…just like we are! The whole day we laughed, bantering back & forth with comedic timing. We’re a funny pair, sweet Sue & me. Funny lookin’ & just plain funny! I’m fortunate to have a lot of funny therapists & I love them all. They keep me healthy. We’d all make for a kick-ass TV talk show!

Twas the night AFTER Christmas…

I was hoping to post stuff throughout the excitement of our holiday adventure but there weren’t any quiet times. It was a continual blur of activity. All four girls & their guys along with our 5th pretend adopted daughter were here by 3 PM on Christmas Eve and started pitching in to help finish getting the house & the food ready & ornaments on the tree. Two of the kids had never seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation so that was a priority on my list. Of course the kids are still sort of kids (if you compare them to an 80 yr-old) so they wanted to open gifts and do Yankee Swap first.

From the front, she looked like a normal Christmas tree.

From the front, she looked like a normal Christmas tree.

Anytime Christmas tree lights are becomes magical, especially at night with Christmas music playing!

Anytime Christmas tree lights are added…it becomes magical, especially at night with Christmas music playing!

Dressed up in all her sparkling finery, it's almost like she's taking a bow to her admirers.

Dressed up in all her sparkling finery, it’s almost like she’s taking a bow to her admirers.

Our tree's empty space is being 'filled' by a talking Santa & a large star I received as a gift. We envisioned a large disco ball there but, surprisingly, we don't own one! Our living room screams for a disco ball.

Our tree’s empty space is being ‘filled’ by a talking Santa & a large star I received as a gift. We envisioned a large disco ball there but, surprisingly, we don’t own one! Our living room screams for a disco ball.

Gary & the kids got the cool stuff they asked for but more importantly, let’s talk about what I got! I got my winter boots & Cuddleduds but can you believe Santa forgot to bring me snow pants?! I’ve wanted them since last winter and I cannot believe, with all his magic, that he forgot them. I guess he was too busy concentrating on the boots & long underwear. I also got a Tree of Friendship glass ball, a bunch of warm cuddly socks, lots & lots of headbands (I shouldn’t run out for…forever!), a huge bag of pecans, a jar of raw honey, a magnifying glass & along with some DVD’s from the family pile…Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure! (to go along with the classic Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special that we already own) Gifts from the kids include a big kickass LED TV from daughter #1 (now the lights won’t dim like they did when we turned on the big old ginormous one!), a gift certificate from the delicious Teavana store & a wine accessory kit secretly hidden from burglars inside a pretend wine bottle from #2 & her PoohBear, a Charoite stone & a gift certificate from a goddessey new-age store I adore from #3 & her OsoBear, #4 & her new sweetpea gave me a DVD & a 10 pk outdoor solar light set for when we get around to making the far-far back yard look pretty this summer (*crossing my fingers*). On Christmas day everyone slept in except me because I was determined to make breakfast recipes off my Pinterest boards; Apple Cider Pancakes & Bacon in the shape of hearts (don’t bake them crispy because they break REALLY easy!). They were obviously delicious! Our final adventure before all of the kids were gone for work or significant others’ family celebrations was sledding down the town’s snow hill. (This is where those snow pants would have come in handy) Elizabeth wasn’t too keen on going but Betsy & Tebazilena were already bundling into snow gear so she didn’t have a choice.
Snow Tube 'Island' Adventure! The trick is to make sure you hang on tight to another tube (as well as your own). We try putting the youngest in the back so they have a better survival rate in case there is a tubing mishap.

Snow Tube ‘Island’ Adventure! The trick is to make sure you hang on tight to another tube (as well as your own). We try putting the youngest in the back so they have a better survival rate in case there is a tubing mishap.

It was GREAT FUN!!! We assembled all the tubes into a mass island, hung on to each other’s handles & inched our way to the top of the hill and…….adults just need to do that at least ONCE in their lifetime. It really brings out the kid in you!
Sometimes the 'island' becomes a 'peninsula!' At least we're all in the same general area. Looks like someone lost their mitten in the adventure!

Sometimes the ‘island’ becomes a ‘peninsula!’ At least we’re all in the same general area. Looks like someone lost their mitten in the adventure!

It was a great Christmas! We should be relaxing now but #2 & #4 informed us that we need to have a New Year’s Eve party here. Why? Because THEY don’t have anything planned to celebrate. I guess we need to enjoy having the kids spend time back home while we’re all young.

Home Alone for Christmas~All 9 of us!

I’m beside myself with excitement that all 4 girls & their boys will start coming this afternoon for Christmas. We have a list of activities to do and food to eat. I only have to behave about 12 more hours so I don’t get put on the last minute naughty list. I mean, yeah, I’m already on the naughty list but I’m on the ‘good’ naughty list. There’s a huge difference between the good one and the bad one. You still get presents on the ‘good’ naughty list. Even when I’m bad…I’m good! I’m pretty sure I’m getting the stuff I asked for from Santa. Maybe not EVERYTHING because that’s not realistic but at least some snow boots & more Cuddleduds for when I have recess duty on the playground in Siberia. I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE KIDS TO GET HERE!!!! (I feel better now). I still have a crapload of stuff to do before the partying starts so I’ll have to post the rest (decorated Charlie Brown tree picture included) later tonight. Merry Christmas Eve! (just in case it becomes Christmas day before I get back)

Topsy Turvy SnowWoman ~ Topsy Turvy Apocalypse

Since seeing an upside down snowman on Facebook I’ve wanted one for my very own. It’s very difficult though when the ground is covered in brown frozen grass. So, I did what I do in most situations that seem somewhat futile…I wished! I wished a LOT for a lot of snow. I even talked about it to all the kids I encountered in school last week. First we talked about how to construct an upside down snowman and then on Wednesday I told them I wasn’t coming to school on Thursday because we would be having a snow day so I could make my upside down snowman (They totally believed me this time because the forecasters already predicted a huge dump of snow). And what happened because I believed & wished strongly for it? SNOW DAY! I had to wait until evening for enough snow to accumulate but it was sweet success! A lot of people have stopped to take pictures of her.
SnowBeth & Stella 009
The only problem I was concerned about was The End of the World. It could make my sweet SnowWoman become a puddle of slush. The intensity of the apocalypse prediction was similar to my towering inferno hot flashes.
Since summer, I wanted to have a party to celebrate. The End of the World; Party like there’s no tomorrow! What an awesome reason to have a party! Sadly, there were too many things I had to do and I would’ve lost my mind if I’d added that to the mix. So daughter #3 surprised us with a mini party. She played R.E.M.’s song “It’s the End of the World as we Know it” when I walked in to the decorated dining room with candles lit for ambiance.
Try to imagine that the bag of Red Vines is filled with licorice instead of cinnamon sticks & pretend that I didn’t eat the Almond Joy bar that’s missing from the table.
By midnight Friday, all was calm, all was dark, and it was freaking cold…WTH? No End of the World? No Zombie Apocalypse? I’m a little disappointed after all the hype. Would it have killed the cosmos to throw us a bone of sorts, something nice & uplifting? Like maybe the top 10% of evil overlords are suddenly immune to gravity and float off the earth into space, never to be seen again? Nope, I guess not, so it’s back to ‘normal’ living…for now. (I still think something topsy turvy is in the works out there)

Yes, Elizabeth, there IS a Santa!!! So behave yourself!

Early this morning I was called in to work at school. “Are you working for anyone today?” “Nope. I’m myself today.” More conversation…Oh, you want me to work in the 4-yr-old room? *shudder* Hmmm. “Can you call someone else first and then if you can’t find someone I’ll come in?” Yay! Relief settles over me again as I watch the Christmas tree lights pulsing quietly in my dark living room. Five minutes later…phone rings (my heart sinks). CRAP! (5 other subs have said No) “Sure, I’ll be there.” *sob!* There are a couple duties I have to do when I get to school before I work my way down to the Primate Center where they house the smallest of human animals. I put on my cheery smile (at least I think it was on my face..…yeah, it was) as the 4-yr-old who is today’s assigned door person hears my knock and comes to open the door. (Disclaimer: For those of you who don’t know me, I’m not a big fan of the littlest tykes. I will care for them, I will have fun with them, I will protect them but if given a choice, I will pick being with an older child first-the older, the better. My personality/sense of humor meshes better with them) So, first things first, I hug the two teachers who are in charge of this particular group of rug rats. Children got hugs on Friday, Teachers get hugs on Monday; I tried to hug as many as possible. I hope they liked it because it was tremendously therapeutic for me. And now for the Christmas miracle, “We’re not going to need you today because 3 out of the 7 kids are sick.” Oh Happy Day! “Thank you for my early Christmas gift!” (These 2 teachers are quite special being able to do what they do and they also know that I feel like a fish out of water with their wee age group.) Joyousness seeped out of every pore in my body! I think I did 3 happy dances on my way back to the Intermediate building. I went home without that paycheck but I’m a very strong believer that Santa is real…and he loves me!

It’s all Fun & Games until the Panic Attack!

I’m not sure if you can avoid stress around the holidays, even when you attempt to downscale. I wanted to be part of OneEarth-OneVoice on the 21st and help put out healing vibes to the world but there isn’t any group doing it in our neck of the woods; seems to be happening online only. So it seemed a good idea to invite the other 3 people in town who seem interested and do it at my place. Then Betsy reminded us that we talked about having an End-of-the-world-as-we-know-it party which is on the same day so we should open it up and have a big party. The 3rd voice, T, has since started panicking (she doesn’t care for parties…we KNOW, we don’t understand either!) because, “1. The House Isn’t Clean By My (or Anyone else’s) Standards!!! 2. We JUST started decorating (which causes its own mess). 3. We would have to provide some sort of hors d’oeuvre & refreshments. 4. We still have to get presents wrapped & food ready for our Thank-God-in-Heaven, First-Time-Alone-As-A-Family Christmas! What the hell are you guys thinking?!” “Jeez T…we just thought it would be fun to have people over and be part of a global happening! Mellow out! I’m sure we can come up with some sort of compromise. We’ve got a week and a half yet, we can finish some of this before that & we’ll downscale from the original plan. But no matter what…R.E.M. is still invited!” Tebazilena knows how quickly things can escalate when B & E are planning for a party. It’s all fun & games until the panic to get ready begins. Cranky anxiety ensues until people start arriving. I’ve gotten better over the past year or two but the moodiness is still in the background when I’m trying to get everything ready. I have to go now and clean…or decorate, otherwise one of us will be doing her darndest to put a wrench in the party plans (for 4…or 40?).

I Love You because You are Unique.

This is the first Christmas in 28 years Gary & I will get to celebrate at home with just our kids! We are giddy with excitement. It’ll be a whole different kind of Christmas. To mark this auspicious event we have cut down a live evergreen tree. Don’t get me wrong, we are tree lovers but we knew the evergreen would have to be removed (boring story, won’t be sharing) and we have since planted new trees to make up for it. We bought live trees the first 5 years we were married and each year the price tag got pricier. That’s when I bought an artificial one. The kids only remember having one live Christmas tree so far. It was the year my parents cut down an evergreen in their yard and we cut 9’ off the top. Note: the top of full grown evergreens do NOT look like the ones in an average person’s living room at Christmas! This was a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We have a picture of the 4 girls each standing ‘inside’ the 9’ tree (I wish I knew which box that picture was in). It was our best tree EVER! We laughed & grinned every time we looked at it. It also coincided with the year I got to use my first ever, brand new, last year’s clearance, awesome tree skirt…and got sap dripped ALL OVER IT! (No worries, Gary got it all off with solvent and saved the tree skirt) So, now, Gary has cut 8’ off the tippy top of our beloved evergreen and it’s now in our living room. Charlie Brown’s tree has got nothing on this one! It’s missing an entire section…and it’s bendy! I told Gary, “THIS…is the Ugliest Tree EVER!” He started getting all protective & even called me a ‘name’ or two, “This tree is f*cking AWESOME!” Whoa cowboy, settle down. Christmas tree communication is the key to a happy holiday, so I explained: “Just because it’s an ugly tree does NOT mean I don’t want it in our living room. The fact that if we went to a tree lot they would GIVE us this tree because absolutely nobody else would buy it is the reason I love it so much. It’s the reason I helped you drag its sorry looking a** into our living room.” “Putting lights on and decorating it is going to be interesting.” “Yep, and it’s going to be even more awesome when I’m done with it!”

Charlie Brown's tree has got nothing on this one!

Charlie Brown’s tree has got nothing on this one!

Daughter #3 came downstairs for a look-see, “Ohhh. my. god!” And then silence. And then laughter. After eyeing up the gaping hole in the back I told her we should hang a big something or other in the huge empty space facing the street…or maybe put a TV back there with Christmas shows playing for the bystanders outside. She’s a sweet tree and we honor her uniqueness. Now it’s time to play dress up!