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Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

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Greetings from PA!

I flew solo for Christmas again this year. I swallowed my disappointment and choose to feel thankful that my husband is employed and busy with work– two years ago, that wasn’t the case. We still missed him pretty hard, though; me especially.

I had a smooth flight in on Saturday, and enjoyed two days of beautiful weather, shopping, wrapping, and mani-pedis with Mama Butterfly. By “beautiful weather” I mean it was 10-12 degrees warmer here than it was in Houston! It didn’t last long, though, and the “natural order” of weather righted itself by the 24th.

Christmas Eve was our annual family gathering (and my favorite night of the year). My aunt and uncle made a delicious dinner, and we had a lovely time talking, laughing, drinking, playing with dogs, and laughing some more.

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My cousin A1 announced that he and his fiancee just bought a house! They showed us pictures, and it’s adorable. We will have Christmas there next year.

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We also took the annual Christmas picture in front of the tree…I think this year it only took eight tries before we got one with everyone smiling.

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…or not.

My cousin A2 will be coming down to Texas in spring. He’ll only be a few hours from me, so we can visit without resorting to air travel! Yay!

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Christmas day was lovely. We got up early, had cinnamon rolls and coffee and exchanged gifts. We went to my step-brothers house to have breakfast and visit with his wonderful family, then went to my step-sisters new house to see her family. Afterwards we came back to the farmhouse for a quiet afternoon of relaxing and reading, and Mama and I worked on dinner.

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Yesterday after I dropped Mama off at work, I shipped a few things back to Texas then went to the bookstore to find something to read on the flight home. At one point I glanced up and saw snow coming down outside! This was slightly terrifying because I couldn’t tell you the last time I drove in the stuff. I made it home verrrrry carefully, and when I went to take picture of the falling snow it had all but stopped. Of course.

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After Mama finished work we had lunch with my Grandmary and then dinner with a different aunt and cousin. Which brings me today– my last day! I can’t believe how quickly this week flew. Once again I didn’t get to see quite everyone I wanted to see or go everywhere I wanted to go. But I’m thankful for the time I did have here, and all the family members I got to spend time with.

Tonight I’m having dinner with my old friend J, and tommorow morning I’m packing off to the airport. While my visit here was (again) too short, I’m looking forward to being re-united with Craig and celebrating the rest of the holiday with him.

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Happy holidays, everyone!

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Easter Bunny

Craig’s Easter “basket” is relevant to his interests:
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And somebunny visited our patio and left some special treats behind…

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(The Easter bunny also brought a bigger pot for that spinach plant)

…as well as a card. Now all I need is for my husband to wake up, and we can celebrate Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!

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Year-End Review

Come in, 2012; have a seat. Let’s talk about your performance.

Well, Mister Twelve, you’ve met or exceeded most of the expectations we had of you. You were good to our little household– both of us found jobs in you; and I was most pleased to land a job in my choosen field (and it’s gone well so far, so thanks for that).
You saw a good president get re- elected, which was a bright moment for you (although you had a us worried when you showed us those top-of-the-line nut jobs vying for the position). Another feather in your cap: The USA’s top-place finish in the Summer Olympics with 46 medals.

Those were the good things. Now let’s move onto the bad. I see you cringing; you know what’s coming. The VIOLENCE, Twelve! What the actual fuck? I saw more violence from you then from the typical abusive husband on Jerry Springer. At least two mass murders, and I lost count of how many other instances of gun violence you decided to bestow on us. Sweet Merciful Margarita, you are not Charleton Heston. We’re supposed to be moving TOWARD peace, not away from it. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

You did pretty well, 2012, but that violence thing is gonna cost you on your final grade. Overall, B-minus.

You’re free to go now, 12. Feel free to take some leftover candy canes on your way out. Send the next year in, will you?

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Christmas Eve Eve

Two days before Christmas, y’all!

The original plan was that I would fly to Pennsylvania on Wednesday, have a few days to prepare/shop for Christmas with my Mom, and return to Houston two days after Christmas.* Unfortunately, a minor emergency occurred on Wednesday morning and threw a huge wrench into all those plans. Luckily, the emergency was resolved and everything is okay (sort of– one of us is going to need invasive surgery after the holiday, not sure if that still qualifies as “okay”)… but my vacation plans had to be re-tooled. The only flights that were within our price range were on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

While I’d already done all my shopping/wrapping for Craig, I had been holding off on buying gifts for my family members until I got to Pennsylvania. With that no longer an option, I hit the stores Thursday and Friday morning  in search of Christmas presents for my family members. I wish I could have gone Christmas shopping with my mom! Especially since I am not a super gift giver, and she could have helped me pick them out (I think I did all right by myself, though 🙂 ).

Friday was the first official day of “winter” and the darkest night of the year, so that night I went to Long Night, Joyous Light: A Winter Solstice Happening. We wore glow necklaces and carried flashlights and glow-sticks and down the streets of Montrose and around the Menil. We also got to see (and critique) all the different light displays (and we saw a baby owl, too!). It was very fun!

(On Friday I also baked cookies. Lots and lots and lots of cookies.)

Saturday I wrapped Christmas presents:

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This morning I got up early to purchase the last two gifts… and a huge roll of bubble wrap.

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First, I carefully wrapped each present in several layers of bubble wrap. Then, I dragged out my husband’s gigantic Marine Raider duffle bag and began to pack the presents in.

When I say "gigantic" I'm not joking-- I can fit my whole body in this thing.

When I say “gigantic” I’m not joking– I can fit my whole body in this thing.

So, that bag is packed, my carry-on is packed, I need to double-check my suitcase and then I will be ready to leave the house at 7:00 tomorrow morning. The stockings are filled, Craig’s present’s are wrapped and under the tree (by “under” I really mean “propped up against,” but whatever), and there is enough home-cooked food and baked goods in this place to keep him busy for a few days.

Time to finish packing. Then I’ll pour some wine, turn on some Christmas music, and enjoy the rest of Christmas Eve Eve with my husband. Merry Christmas to all!

*I’m traveling solo again this year– Craig has to work. 😦 I made him promise to come to PA next year!

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Easter Happy

Fun fact: In high school, I celebrated Easter by dancing outside next to a river at 7am.

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I didn’t dance today (except on the privacy of our apartment, while Hubs was outside); but we had a lovely Easter nonetheless. We had a lovely breakfast, did some Easter readings, and enjoyed the afternoon outside. We went to our neighbor-friends house for dinner (and to watch the National Gawlf Tornament) and had a really lovely time. Thanks for your hospitality, T! Go Bubba!

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Whether you celebrated with the Resurrection story, with colored eggs and chocolate, or with a really boring televised sport, I hope you had a wonderful Easter.

“He isn’t here! He had risen from the dead!”

    ~ at least one zombie movie Luke 24:6

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I grew up in Northeast Pennsylvania, where most folks eat pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes on New Year’s Day (for good luck). Here in the south, the New Year’s tradition is black-eyed peas, greens, and cornbread. Being a vegetarian, I have to say I like the south’s tradition a lot better. 🙂

I decided to combine both traditions for our New Year’s day meal. I made a pot of mashed potatoes and sauerkraut for lunch, and for dinner we’ll have peas, cabbage, and my fabulous Mexican cornbread (I still don’t really “get” the allure of cornbread, but I’ve learned to make it really well). The cabbage at dinner is a little redundant (what’s the sauerkraut made of?), but hubs insisted on it.

In my effort to get as many important vitamins into us as possible, I’ve started slipping extra vegetables into just about every dish. Not only is healthy, but it adds a little extra color and flavor to our meals. The mashed potatoes I made came out so colorful and festive-looking that I dubbed them “confetti potatoes.” Give them a try sometime!

8 small red potatoes, unpeeled

1 large carrot, diced

1 large stick celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 or 2 vegetable bouillon cubes

3 tablespoons minced fresh spinach

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup buttermilk

salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, and cubes in a large pot with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Boil uncovered for 20-25 minutes (until vegetables are very soft), then drain.

Mash up the veggies with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Add the spinach, butter, and buttermilk. Mix well, and beat until smooth (I used an electric mixer). Serve with warm sauerkraut and enjoy!

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Welcome 2012

Hello, 2012! It’s very nice to meet you. Come in, come in; we’ve been expecting you. Have a glass of champagne. Would you like a fruit cookie? I just baked them today, they’re delicious– well, in a bland vegan sort of way. Anyway, enough chitchat. Sit! Sit!

So, 2012, we just wanted to have a chat with you. No pressure or anything, but you have a REALLY hard act to follow. 2011 was an awesome year; at least it was here in Cloud Cuckooland. Hey, we got married in 2011; and in terms of blessings, that’s pretty hard to beat. Sorry to be so blunt, but we just wanted to paint a realistic picture of what you’re up against. Not that we in any way doubt your prospects, 2012. We know you will meet or exceed all our expectations of you this coming year. Right?

Oh, and before you go…you do realize you are an election year, right? Surely we don’t need to remind you that this alone can make you or break you. We know you don’t want to go down in the Hall of Shame like 2004 or (heaven forbid) 2000. Of course you don’t. Right?

Anyway! Enough seriousness. Come and have another drink with us. Then you must go get some sleep– you’ve got a hell of a job to do.

Happy New Year from all of us here at Cloud Cuckooland. We wish you a year of health, hearth, happiness and hope.

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