Sunday, December 13, 2009

What a Great Friday and Saturday!

Friday I flew down to Raleigh, NC with a friend to visit another friend who is battling cancer (I wrote about her in an earlier post). We flew down in the morning and came back in the early evening. I am so glad we did this. It was great to see our friend - we toured Raleigh, went out to a wonderful restaurant, and went back to our friend's house and just talked. It was a gift to myself - to see my friend as she battles this disease, and how she is doing during the recovery process. I'm sure we will do this again in the near future.

Saturday was a very busy day. I left the house at 9:30 and didn't really return until 8:30 in the evening. I went to two cookie exchange parties. For the past three years, these parties have fallen on the same day - bring six dozen cookies to the party, exchange with everyone else there, and take home six dozen cookies. But, when you do two in one day, you get to bring home twelve dozen cookies! Cookies of all different shapes, sizes, flavors (chocolate, spice, ginger, sugar, etc., etc., etc.). I love this day every year. It's fun to catch up with people you haven't seen in awhile, or to visit with friends you see regularly, but may not have the one-on-one time to visit with them. I love the expertise of these home bakers - some try new recipes every year and some bring tried and true recipes from their childhood (always with interesting stories about the history of the cookies). Both of these parties are very different. The first party is more relaxed, with time to visit with one another; the second party is a noisy event, with lots of other activities taking place, but I always find someone to talk to who I haven't seen for some time, and it's fun to catch up with them.

Following the cookies exchanges, I raced over to pay my respects at a funeral home. A work colleague lost her mother and I had to give her a hug, if only for a brief moment. It's so sad when people die during the holiday season.

I raced home to pick up the desserts I was bringing to our church's annual Christmas party. And, because of my exceptionally busy day, I actually bought the desserts instead of making them. I think that's a first for me. We had a delicious dinner, and I think the program afterward was good, but a good friend and I were trying to enter monthly data into the computer system, and we missed the program! We did get to see Jolly Old Saint Nick arrive to talk with the children and give them a candy cane. The looks on the kid's faces and the excitement in their eyes was so fun to see. I'm looking forward to talking with them about it in our Sunday School class.

Now, for a little bragging. I'm new to the world of blogging, and setting up a blog. As anyone can see, I haven't written too much since I started this many months ago. But, the other day, while visiting someone else's blog, I thought it would be fun to attach a "widget" to my blog. I followed the explanation on this other person's blog, and lo and behold, I was able to attach the widget to my own blog. There's a little video on it, and when I click to play the video, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was singing a song we are practicing for our Christmas program. It was nice to hear how this song is supposed to sound (and fun to see all the women in that choir sing the song - our entire choir is singing, men and women). But the fact that I was able to add this to my blog gives me hope that I'll be able to be more creative with the look of the blog in the future. Maybe I can get Denise to give me some more pointers when she arrives with her family next week to celebrate the holidays with us.

So, now it's Sunday and I'm about to get ready for church. Maybe we'll visit the Temple Visitor's Center tonight to see the Christmas decorations. Maybe by the end of the evening, the tree will be decorated. We did wrap some presents yesterday, so we could get the Mudgett's box in the mail so they get their gifts before Christmas. Only a little more shopping to do. With company coming, I guess I have to get moving and clean up the house. Hope everyone has a great holiday season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Where did the time go?

A blink of the eye and it's been almost 3 months since I last posted something. Kim reminded me that the subject of my last post was rather sad (9-11) and that I should write something new.

As the holiday season approaches, I'm facing some inner turmoil now. Trying to shop for Christmas and planning a Mediterranean tour closely following Christmas is not something I would recommend anyone do. I have been organizing two tours in Europe (one in Rome and one in Athens) and I've learned something about myself. In my future life after retirement, I don't think I want to be a travel agent. Trying to appease the likes and dislikes of fellow cruisers who I don't even know is proving to be a little more time consuming than I had anticipated. I'm trying to pace myself with the holiday shopping, and have actually done a fair amount of it online. That's one thing I never thought I would be doing - I love to shop during the holidays.

Another wrinkle in this process has been an injury I sustained in September. I fell at work and reinjured the knee I had surgery on last year, as well as injuring my back. As many of you know, I have dealt with a bad back for more years than I can count, and I was so upset with myself that this back problem has been reaggravated (despite the fact that I slipped on a wet floor at work). Fortunately, workman's compensation is paying my medical bills. I've been going to physical therapy 2-3 times a week, and things are not improving as quickly as I would like. Despite this, my trip to Europe will not be altered because of these injuries. I will take my pain pills with me, and be grateful with the knowledge that between each port, there will be a day at sea to rest!

Just some randon thoughts:

Today, December 1st, is the 35th anniversary of when Peter's sister Ann was killed in a plane crash. Denise was 11 months old. It is hard to believe it's been 35 years. Life isn't always fair, but death is a part of life and one we all must learn to live with.

I learned this week that one of Denise's friends from high school died over the Thanksgiving holiday. It is tragic that someone that young dies. Another of Denise's friends just lost her mom. I always think of how sad it is to lose someone you love during the holiday season.

A dear friend has lost her job at work, through no fault of her own, and there is nothing anyone can do for her. We hope the attorney she has hired will be able to get her a significant severance package while she's out looking for another job.

Turning the tide of this post, I've finished shopping for all my grandchildren, and it's only the beginning of December! This brings my stress level down quite a bit;. just a few more presents to buy and I'll be finished.

I have reconnected with two daughters of a dear friend of mine who died 12 years ago. This Facebook connection is quite interesting and fun to explore while learning about friends and acquaintances you've met throughout your lifetime. I just read there are now over 350,000,000 Facebook users! Wow, and they even have games to play on their site - how I ever got interested in Farmville is beyond me.

December is a busy month - choir performances, holiday lunches/dinners, two cookie exchange parties, our ward Christmas dinner and Relief Society dinner activities, Denise and her family arriving for the holidays, writing the annual Christmas letter (and mailing it), wrapping gifts to mail overseas, a couple of baby showers, a quick trip to see a friend in NC who is battling cancer, and last, but not least, a gift of life blood donation on December 18th. This time of year the Red Cross really needs blood donation - so, if you are so inclined, contact them and see if a blood drive is scheduled in your area. It doesn't cost you anything, and it can do so much good for those who need it.

Well, it's getting late and though I could go on awhile longer, I'll end this post now, and see how many people discover this new addition to my blog. Hope everyone enjoys this holiday season - hopefully I'll be back before too long.