24 December 2011

Holiday Greetings and A Countdown, from the Lettuce

Christmas 2010 by Nancy Dunne
Christmas 2010, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.
In just under 12 hours I will be on my way to my other home, England.

In just under 24 hours I will be in our little house in Keighley, with Simon and Daisy.

It is strange to be leaving on Christmas Eve, when everything in my life has been leading up to today here at Allen Mountain. It is even stranger to think that by this time on Boxing Day my sister and her family will be in the UK as well, and only a few hours down the road.

Happy Christmas to all my Lettuce readers, and a prosperous New Year as well. 2012 is going to bring so much hope and joy and happiness to all our lives...I just know it. Keep warm and safe and happy, y'all.


19 December 2011

On Families, Ramps, Sprouts and Sock Puppies...

This weekend was the annual Christmas gathering of my mother's side of the family. In fact, they get together four times a year, but the Christmas gathering has been special in my mind since I was a child. While it was always good to see my extended family, it was especially good to see my cousins...specifically my cousin Sandy. He is about 11 years older than I am, and is the youngest of the cousins on that side of the family.

My sister and I have always been in between our cousins and first cousins in age. Susan is closer to our first cousins in age, especially on my father's side of the family, but I'm sort of out on my own. I was too little to hang with my teenage cousins, and by the time they had kids I was too big to do anything but babysit those kids. But Sandy always treated me like an equal, and as a result was one of my favourite family members.

I remember once he came to visit me at Young Harris College. We hung out and talked and then later he sent me a cassette tape recording of a song he'd written for me, inspired by that afternoon. I mean who wouldn't be totally chuffed to have a cousin like that?

Sandy has a physically debilitating condition that lately has caused him to use a wheelchair, and as a result wasn't going to be able to come to the family gathering this Christmas because there is no way into Mom and Dad's house that doesn't involve steps. Mom and Dad started calling around and found a place that would build them a ramp, free of charge, for Sandy to use to come in the house. Dad and I put it together and got it all strapped in and sturdy, and Sandy got to join the rest of us for Christmas.

Of course, in typical Nancy style, as he rolled into the kitchen grinning ear to ear I said "Oh, did the ramp work?" Um, duh. He's IN THE KITCHEN, dummy.

I sort of feel a sense of let down now that this event is over because for the past week I've been eating, sleeping, and breathing McDonald Family Christmas, trying to help Mom and Dad get ready for Saturday. I ordered my presents early so that I could concentrate on this and on getting ready to go see Simon (a week from right now I'll be there...), and two of them, both from Barnes & Noble, gave me fits trying to get sorted. Mom's gift was reported as on back order and I was given the option to cancel it. I did, and then got an email that it couldn't be canceled because it was on the way. Mind you, between canceling and receiving the email, I went out and bought another one. Grr.

The last straw was Joy's present. I had ordered the most perfect neck pillow for her to use on their impending trip to the UK after Christmas. It was a tiger, and was pink and purple and had a big, cartoony face, and, as you will remember, was perfect. In the mail I got an ugly yellow tiger that wasn't even remotely like the one I ordered. So on Friday night, Dad and I went out to find something else for Joy. The look on her face the next day when she saw what would come to be named "Sock Puppy" was worth all the angst over the neck pillow gone wrong (as was her reaction to her Dora Umbrella and matching pink neck pillow from Auntsie and Uncle Simon).

One tiny note: I made roasted sprouts and bubble & squeak for my family to try as representatives of British cooking, thinking that I'd be eating all of it and honestly being pretty pleased to do so.  It isn't easy being a vegetarian during holidays that revolve around food.  To my surprise, by the time that I got to the food, a great deal of the sprouts and potato cakes were already gone and there was nothing left of them at the end of the meal.  They liked it!  Next Christmas I hope that Simon will be here to cook his own British food for them.

So one Christmas down...and one very, very important Christmas Day with my very, very perfect husband to go. Happy Yule, y'all. Happy Yule.

09 December 2011

Oh Christmas Tree...and other traditions

All my anti-holiday sentiment seems to have reversed itself in a fiery blaze of lights and stockings and tinsel and I'm all about Christmas now!  Amazing what one most-certainly overpriced plane ticket will do for one's outlook, isn't it?

I'm noticing the Christmas decorations in the stores.  I even purposefully turned the radio to one of those stations that thinks it's a good idea to play Christmas music 24-7 from Thanksgiving till New Years.  I'm not sure what's happened, but this Grinch's heart has grown more than two sizes in the past week.

I was thinking today about my favourite Christmas traditions, and realised that other than some that revolved around going to church on Christmas eve my family doesn't really have anything that we all do year after year at Christmas.  That made me a bit sad, but at the same time I think about how that give me and Simon a chance to create our own traditions and that, as my friend Lynne would say, makes me wickedly, wickedly happy.  I feel like so much of our married life has been...up in the air, I guess?  We haven't settled into "Our First Married Home" because we were trying to sell it.  We didn't know where we were going to end up, so I think we've sort of put the memory making part of being newlyweds on hold.  That includes Christmas traditions.  We eat our own little Christmas dinner for two, watch Christmas telly, and generally act like slugs all the way from the Queen's speech to Doctor Who.

What are your family traditions?  What do you do every year without fail?  What makes Christmas feel like Christmas to you?  Mine will start with seeing my Mister's face on Christmas Day.  Happy Two Weeks till Christmas Eve, y'all!

02 December 2011

How did I forget this?

Yep, that's right.
I finished/won another NaNoWriMo novel on Wednesday afternoon.  The final word count was 50,514 and with a bit of editing I think it will be the beginning of something I might just consider submitting for proper publishing.  Or it might end up on Lulu.  Or, it might end up on my hard drive with all the others, awaiting the light of day.

Anyway, if you've seen my entry for "Novel Info" on my NaNo page (which means you're quite the little stalker, aren't you?  Well done.) then you can just forget all of that.  Legacy (working title, really, I think it is tripe but...) turned out to be something else altogether from the novel I started.  Stay tuned.

And once again, my universe rights itself...

Smooth Sailing by Nancy Dunne
Smooth Sailing, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.
I worked a LOT in November. A LOT. Many, many hours. As a result...


I'm sort of chuffed, in case you couldn't tell? All of my angst and depression goes away when I think that I'll be with my Mister (and my MeiMei) in just about 22 days. Ho Ho Ho Happy Christmas to me!

Mind you, the flight could have been cheaper, but it wasn't to be...nor did it matter. See above working a LOT in November. See me grinning like an idiot.

Yeah, so, that's good news. Yeah. Apologies for the Nancy you've come to hate over the past few months. She's MUCH better now.

Music Monday: Still Unwritten

This has been a weird couple of days, culminating in Music Monday almost being forgotten. Last Thursday I went to my appointment with "...