Sunday, November 30, 2008

I can't seem to get slurped...

One of the Major (and I emphasize the "M" here) reasons I started a blog - aside from the obvious desire to keep in touch with family and friends, was the ability to print my blog into book form at the end of the year and glory in my obedience to the journal commandment (at least partially).

Getting the posts from your blog into a format to be printed is called "slurping" (who came up with the term -- I do not know) anyway was the place to go for mess free slurping but now apparently... I was advised by their tech support kid (emphasizing the "k" here) -- Blurb no longer supports Blogger. What??? I am 32 days from going to press here with my 2008 writings and I got no slurp capability?

There is another company that will blog to print but unfortunately they are currently going out of business. Blog2Print is another place but I didn't find their slurp quality all that impressive. ScrapBlog says they can do it but I can't figure out how without the tedious cut and paste command. I've got time on my hands but not that much.

So that is my plight and anyone who reads this --- hear my plea. I need to get this blog into a book the least painful way -- least expensive would be nice as well but I consider that gravy. This is the first family history journal I've kept in a long time... that's a lie -- actually ever. While you figure out how to get me published -- I'm going to 7-11 to get a real slurpee.

Now that's a Nice Christmas Tree...

Yesterday was the annual Christmas Tree Hunt and weather NOT cooperating there wasn't a flake of snow anywhere worth sledding in. The only white on the ground was mixed with road debris. The kids wore their new long johns anyway just in case snow decided to make an appearance.

Truthfully, no snow equals less work for the tree cutters -- snow shoes are really hard on the calves. All three families scored beautiful pines and the day ended a success with McDonald's lunch on the way down the hill.

Let the decorating begin...

I turned ten a few months before Christmas 1972. I don't remember what I asked for that year or whether I got it -- just that the tree was covered with beautiful glass balls and indented aluminum looking globe shaped ... whatever they were, glistening against the tinsel and the lights. My parents were vigilant about never leaving the lights on too long warning about the dangers of igniting the whole house... starting with the tree.

No matter what our financial situation, Christmas day always seemed magical... and abundant. I learned later my mother's secret trick of wrapping everything separately contributed greatly to the visual impact of the morning.

Admittedly, I have strayed from my tinsel garland roots and veered away from breakable ornaments with my kids still little, partly to save them a similar hospital trip I took at age two after attempting to eat a glass ball, but... also I didn't think tinsel was that cool anymore. Our trees have been tinsel free for many years.

Then suddenly a year or so ago, finding myself once again drawn to these shiny glittery objects, I began to collect a few to display at Christmas. Shiny Brite Glass Christmas Tree Ornaments Made in America were exactly like the ones I remember as a ten year old. They're fragile and equally just as fabulous.

This year our Christmas Tree will feature a tribute to the 70's. I'll be dust busting up stray tinsel all season and if I'm lucky I'll find a remastered Mitch Miller Christmas Album to close my eyes to. If not, XM's 70's station will have fill in for the ambiance.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Whatever Martha...

My sister in law sent this to me and I thought it was too funny. I have no idea where it came from. I love # 10.

Dear Friend,

I know that you were eager to accept our family’s invitation to Thanksgiving dinner when you found out that the famous Martha Stewart would be joining us. However, due to scheduling conflicts beyond her control, Ms. Stewart finds that she is unable to grace our table this year. With that in mind, there will be a few minor changes regarding the meal and d├ęcor, as outlined below. Please be aware of them, and adjust your appetite and dress appropriately. Thank you.

1) Our driveway will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After several trial runs and two visits from the fire department, it was decided that, no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

2) Once inside, please note that the entry space will not be decorated with swags of Indian corn and fall fo liage. Instead, I’ve gotten our daughter involved in decorating by having her track in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The mud was her idea.

3) The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china, or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this is Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the paper Cinderella dinner plates, the leftover Halloween napkins, and my famous Garfield cup collection.

4) Our centerpiece will not be a tower of fresh fruit and flowers. Instead we will be proudly displaying a hedgehog-like decoration hand-crafted from the finest construction paper and macaroni. The artist assures me it is a turkey, albeit one without wings, legs, or a beak.

5) We will be dining somewhat later than planned. However, our daughter will entertain you while you wait. I’m
sure she will be happy to share every choice comment her mother made regarding Thanksgiving, pilgrims, stuffing choices, the turkey hotline, and, especially, her husband. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 7:00AM upon discovering that said husband had only remembered to pull the turkey from the freezer at 6:00AM, and that the thing was still hard enough to cut diamonds.

6) As an accompaniment to our daughter’s recital of these events, I will play a recording of Native American tribal drumming. Curiously, the tribal drumming sounds a great deal like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, but that only enhances the holiday appropriateness. If our daughter should mention that we don’t own a recording of Native American tribal drumming, ignore her. She’s only eight; what does she know?

7) A dainty silver bell will not be rung to announce the start of our feast. We have chosen to keep our traditional method of assembling when the smoke alarm goes off.

8) There will be no formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the spirit of harmony, we will ask all the children to sit at a separate table . In a separate room. Next door. And I would like to take this opportunity to remind our younger diners that “passing the rolls” is neither a football play nor an excuse to bean your cousin in the head with bread.

9) The turkey will not be carved at the table. I know you have seen the Norman Rockwell image of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. Such a scene may occur somewhere in America, but it won’t be happening at our dinner table. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in the kitchen at a private ceremony. I stress “private”, meaning “Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children, or older, helpful grandparents into the kitchen to check on my progress. I have a very large, very sharp knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will event ually win the battle. When I do, we will eat.”

10) For the duration of the meal, we will refer to the giblet gravy by its lesser-known name: Kraft Cheese Sauce. If a young diner questions you regarding the origins or makeup of the Kraft Cheese Sauce, smile kindly and say that you know the answer, but it’s a secret that can’t be revealed to them until they are 18.

11) Instead of offering a choice among 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream and small fingerprints. You still have a choice: take it or leave it.

That concludes our list of alterations. Again, I apologize that Martha will not be joining us this year. Come to think of it, she probably won’t come next year, either. And for that, I am indeed thankful.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

A New Thanksgiving Tradition...

This year we waited too long to sign up for the Turkey Trot and missed the Turkey Bowl altogether.

Instead, Tim took Jensen and met up with some friends for a morning of shooting. The Sunny D container filled with water was the most creative target of the day with the phone book pulling a close second. I thought blasting a 357 magnum hole through a credit card would be a fun challenge.

The hot chocolate I put in a thermos tasted great and warmed cold hands at the end of the outing. All returned safely home... with a few of the phone numbers missing.

Jensen nails the Sunny D bottle.

This is the favorite firearm for Jensen -- Grandpa G's 22.

Enjoy Thanksgiving...Eat the pie first.

At 1:30 pm today Tim broke open one of the pumpkin pies while simultaneously making the slurping sound with his mouth. Dinner isn't until 4:30... way past Tim's favorite time to get his first piece of pie. My absolute favorite time to eat pumpkin pie is the day after Thanksgiving... for breakfast.

As always... remember it tastes better when you can't see the pie.

The Things I'm Thankful for have changed...

Tim and I spent Thanksgiving 1989 in Rexburg, Idaho freezing our tootsies off over a thousand miles away from any extended family. Kendrick was a baby and oblivious to our meager financial condition. Both full time students working part time, a good month earned us $500.00. Twenty six dollars paid our government subsidized rent and utilities. We felt blessed to live in such comfort while we finished our educations. I know we struggled then and literally counted pennies but I don't ever remember feeling deprived.

One of our most infamous arguements ignited over my donation of several dollars to a neighbor. I don't even remember why I gave it to her -- she must have needed it worse than me. Tim was nonetheless NOT pleased with my haphazard squanderance of money. I was always thankful for blessings we received on regular intervals just when the needs arose. We were watched out for that way.

Today I don't worry about near as many little things as I used to and for that I am thankful. Tim and I do not argue about pennies anymore although I still act haphazardly with money at times. My relationship with my favorite blond haired blue eyed surfer has grown into something I never imagined it would. There is no room to hold the blessing he is to me.

My children are gifts each one of them wrapped in different paper and tied with their own unique bows. I would not trade my experiences with them for any amount of anything. The stretching and growing as a result of having them in my life has taught me lessons most valuable and precious to me. I understand God's love more fully because of them.

God has always watched out for me and continues to bless me inspite of me and really.... that is what I am most thankful for.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One more song for Emma...

Turn on the video camera and we can't help ourselves. Here's another song for Emma.

Emma was born on Tim's birthday...

November twenty third is a great day for two reasons -- Tim and Emma. Tim's mother was past her due date when Tim decided to make his appearance unlike Emma who showed up pretty much way before her mother was ready for her. Here's a birthday gift from Tim to Emma via the big mouth girls.

Tim's Birthday Surf...

Happy Birthday Timmy...

Forty six years ago Michael Timothy Greenstreet was born in Brunswick, Georgia at two o'clock in the morning. I've never called him Michael and neither has anyone else except telemarketers. His Grandma used to call him Timmy and so does his sister for some reason even to this day. Searching for scanable pictures for this post I found a photo album hand labeled by his mom -- Timmy 1.

To celebrate this day we got a yellow cake mix with a can of chocolate frosting that if not applied fairly quickly will be missing a scoop of frosting in the shape of the the spoon on Tim's night stand. Tim likes the cake frozen so that he can slice off the bottom half eating it first and saving the top frosted half with now half as much cake for the real dessert. He rarely eats ice cream with his cake.

Forty six candles are considered a fire hazard so we are opting for forty six birthday spankings times five instead.

He may have outgrown Timmy but he'll never outgrow Sweetie or Daddy. We love you!! Happy Birthday!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A photo, a cheeseburger and some tissue...

The girls and I had a double buddy date this afternoon, first to get a bite to eat in the food court at the mall, then to sit on my lap in a photo booth for silly pictures and finally to see the movie based on the book we've been listening to on CD all week.The cheeseburger was plain and charbroiled, just the way I like it. McKay's fried rice was topped with sweet and sour sauce, just the way she likes it. Regan skipped the meal and went straight for the Mike and Ikes we planned to smuggle into the theater.

The movie was moving and sickening at certain parts just like the book portrayed. We weren't all together unprepared for what we saw but still decided children and holocaust in the same story make for an unforgettably sad experience.

As McKay would say... "We made a memory."

Countdown to Christmas Tree...

With the smoked turkey ordered for next Thursday's meal, I am free to begin preparations to welcome another fresh Christmas Tree into our home. There is much work to be done yet. Furniture to be rearranged and non-holiday decor to be boxed and stored making room for colorful baubles and wooden painted Santas. I started collecting vintage reminders of Christmas past, mostly the ones I remember as a child from the seventies.

Since moving to the Tri-Cities we've always enjoyed the smell of pine from a freshly cut tree during the holidays. I love the soft needles and the widely spaced branches of the noble fir allowing ornament placement both close to the trunk and out to tips.

On Saturday Tim and the kids arise early prepared for a day of hunting for the perfect tree and sledding -- weather cooperating. Some years there have been piles of white requiring snow shoes and providing hills without end for sledding.

Other years the dormant ground yielded no such adventures.

Sometimes other families have joined the fun and trekked to find their perfect tree. This year another new family will follow Tim up the mountain, perhaps starting their own tradition.

My job... and it has always been so, is to stay home and decorate the house. When the kids were small I relished the peace and quiet without little ones underfoot. Several times I have decorated quickly and scheduled a facial or a massage for the afternoon before the family returns. It is one tradition I really love.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's not getting finished this Christmas...

I started a Christmas Album a year or so ago thinking a page for every year would be a fun project and might be an interesting record of how much our family has changed over the past twenty plus years.

I predicted it possible... dreaming a bit... to have it finished this year. Being the binge scrapper that I am...after I got sick of working on Christmas pages in Spring, I put it away and promptly forgot about it until now.

Yeah...this is going to take me longer than I thought. Not this year for sure -- possibly next year if I feel another marathon session coming on. Here's what I got so far. These definitely qualify as flashbacks. BTW - these are all completely digitally created -- no actual paper was harmed in the process.

Howe to Fish...

Elder Howe -- remember him? ... (He was like the two hundredth red headed Elder assigned to our ward)

Well anyway... he REALLY wanted to go fishing with Tim... he'd heard all about the secret spot and begged relentlessly for a chance to fish it.

Even a transfer out of state did not deter his planning a wormy outing with his ex ward mission leader. (okay, it was fly fishing... but "wormy" sounds so much funnier)

After presidential permission was granted, Tim obliged taking him to the favorite river and making arrangements to transport him and his new companion back somewhere halfway between the fishing spot and Milton Freewater after the day was over. Elder Howe's companion from the Philippians had never been fishing.

Elder Howe did fine for himself that day -- can't you just see the glee in his eyes?? It must have been his good luck charm wearing such a stylish t-shirt.

Great Job Elder Howe... not only can you cook up the bacon -- you can also catch a fish -- you'll make someone a downright good husband someday.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tim vs. Duck

This morning we did our final run through the back yard making sure all the lawn chairs and umbrellas are stored for the winter. The pool is covered and the colored pool noodles are placed in the shed rafters hibernating until next summer.

Closing the pool signals the final end of summer -- no winter swimmers here. Since the pool doesn't actually get drained, a cover is placed tightly over the top and secured under the edge rim so that leaves and dirt ... or worse... don't end up in the pool fermenting until spring.

If the cover is too large, water collects on top and forces it down into the pool providing drowning pockets for small animals who fall in. If it's too small, it pulls away from the sides and allows small animals to crawl inside and you know... drown.

It's a pain if something gets in because then the pool has to then be drained and "bleachified"... as one of our kids calls it. One year a squirrel managed to get in through the filter and what a nasty mess that was in the spring. I'll spare you the details except to say he swelled to double his normal size.

Another problem is the ducks. Pretty as the males are -- if allowed... they mate and defecate in rapid succession in early spring making the water standing on the top of the pool cover a veritable wasteland. We have tried popping them with the BB gun and scaring them away with air soft pellets. They keep coming back.

One night McKay reported hearing funny noises outside. Shining Tim's flashlight at the pool she was appalled at what three (3) ducks were attempting to do. "That's just wrong." she announced the next morning.

This year Tim's idea is an elaborate web of nylon cord stretched the width of the pool aimed at making the love nest a little bit tougher to reach. I think he googled it. Either that.. or we'll just have to give the BB gun a few extra pumps.

The Greenstreet Hotel is closed duck face.

Compliment Compliment Gripe Compliment

In recent church lesson on treating our spouses and children with love and kindness a member of the class referred here as just KM shared a tip about approaching our husbands with a less than pleasant although deemed necessary to confront subject. She called it something a little different than I have titled this post -- (I can't remember exactly how she worded it) anyway the gist is the same. Start with two compliments then say the gripe followed extremely close with another compliment. FANTASTIC... I thought. I must try that one at my next opportunity.

One night not too many days later I noticed my bedside garbage filled with socks. Tim's laundry folding routine often includes spreading dryer fresh clothes on the bed -- folding & piling while watching UFC or the Military Channel. Socks in our house normally do not get matched and are placed in a dresser drawer in the garage -- one labeled whites and the next one down, colored. (I despise matching socks unless absolutely necessary, mostly because there are millions of them. )

It appeared Tim had matched at least a half million socks and then may have suffered fatigue enough to dispose of the rest. I noticed many of MY socks in the garbage. Here's something you may not know about me -- I LOVE new socks and if money and wastefulness were no object, I would cut the tags off a new pair every day. So... even though I don't get a new pair daily, my socks never get that old.

My new looking socks in the garbage, thoughts of a lazy sock matcher running through my head, and my husband sleeping deeply and peacefully just a few feet away. Waking him crossed my mind -- No... let's try the NEW approach. Fabulous opportunity for a test drive.

I penned a note and taped it to the shower door being quiet not to wake him. " Thank you so much for folding the laundry today." (C#1) "I've been busy working on the Christmas presents and that REALLY helps me." (C#2) "You inadvertently threw away some of my good socks -- ones I have matches for and I had to dig them out of the trash. I hate to see good useful items get tossed when they still have life in them." (G, albeit a long G) "Just thought I'd let you know -- Thanks again!" ILY -- Me (C#3)

You should have witnessed the reaction -- it was perfect. (I must say that "inadvertently" was the best word in the note.) My point stated... and heard and no hair pulled in the process. Thanks KM for the great advice.

I finished it yesterday...

I finished listening to Striped PJ's yesterday while wrapping presents to send to family who live way too far away -- ever so proud of myself for getting multiple tasks completed at once. Absolutely no bad language in the unabridged version I heard. Put a couple extra tissues in your pocket just in case you feel the same way I did at the end.

Smarty Pants Tim googled a one page summary of the book offering to save me the time listening by telling me the ending -- I didn't bite that hook.

If you want to go to the movies with us when it comes out -- Let me know.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Get the tissue...

I saw a trailer recently for an upcoming movie that intrigued me. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It wasn't playing in any of our theaters so I went to MCL to see if the book was available for loan. Two copies, zero available, ten holds already placed. No chance I get it anytime soon from the library. Checked at Costco -- none found. Barnes and Noble online had it -- sold out in the local store. Amazon of course had many available both new and used -- didn't really want to wait for it. Rechecked the library and they had it available on CD... Book on CD -- what a concept. Started listening last night before bed.

Oh my goodness... I'm on chapter 6 and I can't pull those noise canceling headphones off. I'm thinking I might curl up with my ipod this afternoon. This is a young adult book so I am HOPING no f-words will be ringing in my ears.

I won't ruin it for you except to say that it is told from the perspective of a nine year old. The girls and I are going to first listen to the story and then go watch it.