The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Friendly ghosts.

Really!

I have some of the most wonderful Christmas memories. Not just of things but of traditions and love and laughter. I feel blessed to have had such an amazing home to grow up in.

I still can’t make cut out cookies without remembering the grand event of sugar cookies at Christmastime. There were glittery sugar sprinkles, colored frostings, red hot cinnamon candies, the annoying little silver balls that skittered across the table and more cookie cutter than you could imagine!

I can still see cookie dough and flour everywhere! I still see my hands grasping the red handles of Mom’s wooden rolling pin and trying to roll out dough evenly. I also see those hands shoving scraps of sugar dough in my mouth 🙂

My first Christmas – me between my big brother and sister – 1973

I was such a baby doll kind of girl. I think this was 1979.

See the old Singer sewing machine behind the jacket. Gorgeous, huh? I used to play on that for hours. It was everything from my  librarian’s desk to part of my seamstress shop to a bank teller’s counter.

Overactive imagination at play.

My first two wheeler – 1978 – in front of the house my parents still live in.

This bike was such a surprise! I went to the bike store with my parents a few weeks before Christmas to pick out ten speeds for my brother and sister. Mom and Dad told me I wasn’t big enough for a two wheel bike yet. I can remember being very sad. I was so tall for my age (as tall as my teacher!) that my knees would scrape when I rode my red tricycle!

When my parents brought “The Big Kids” outside to show them their bikes I almost didn’t believe their was a blue bike for me out there too! A Blue Schwin with a white leather seat and a bell with an American Flag on it. In the Spring we added a white basket covered with daisies for the handlebar.

I have many fond memories of tear-assing around riding my bike. There was an actual circle of houses in the center of the neighborhood and paved road around them. Collation Circle had an incline which made for some pretty fun “no hands, no feet” excursions with my ponytail sticking straight out.

My Mom and my brother. I miss that big entertainment center we used to have. I think I even miss the gold filigree mirrors. Just kidding.

I do have many fond memories of that bookshelf though. I was probably the only kid in the world who would sit and read the encyclopedias and my Dad’s old medical books. Of course when I wanted to kick back and relax I had the shelf of classics – Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Robinson Crusoe.

The thing is my Mom’s hand is a scanner. It held crystals that allowed my firefighter Dad to listen to the fire and police broadcast channels for our town. This way he could run to a brush fire or a nearby car fire. Even to dash off to deliver a baby or rescue a dog from the cracked ice of a lake. Oh yeah, all true stories btw.

Now that I am an adult I realize the real reason we had the scanner in the house. So Mom would know Dad was safe.

The real gift of the holidays is those we love safe and sound.

Keep yours close to you and enjoy them. Let them know they are the only gift you want this season.

Advertisements

Challenge update – 6 month mark

I originally started this challenge in the summer of 2009 BUT I have had a lot of changes which affected where I would be almost three years from now. Since the boyfriend is long gone there were a lot of  “goals” that were abandoned. I still have yet to come up with 101 tasks but I am more than halfway there and will be working on them some more!

The Mission:Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:Tasks must be specific (i.e., little to no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (i.e., represent some amount of work on my part).

Start Date: April 15, 2010

End Date: January 2013

Completed: 30!! as of October 24, 2010

Home: (24)

  • Refinish my 1940’s craft cabinet in a vintage black walnut tone DONE! September 2010 But in white paint with original oil rubbed brass hardware. The wood was too damaged to restore with my budget.
  • Stain headboard – Decided the headboard did not go with my new style direction so I put it in storage July 2010
  • Paint side tables DONE! July 2010 Two were painted white for the bedroom and two were painted black with walnut stained tops for the living room
  • Refinish dinette set – Status Check July 2010 primer is on
  • Sew chair back covers for chairs – Decided that I like the 1960’s charm of the chairs and have now embraced it.
  • Sew placemats DONE! September 2010
  • Repair current bookcases DONE! August 2010
  • Fix and/or discard broken holiday decorations. Donate unused decorations
  • Donate clothing and blankets no longer used DONE! October 2010
  • Go through books and donate as many as possible DONE! August 2010
  • Find an organized way to store music, load favorite music selections onto the computer for long term storage
  • Replace dinnerware and silverware with comparable quality sets DONE! February 2010
  • Invest in a quality set of hard anodized aluminum non-stick cookware
  • Fix bathroom floor and lay down new tile DONE! July 2010
  • Sew new shower curtain
  • Paint bathroom Peridot green DONE! July 2010
  • Refinish bathroom accessories to match new style (paint wicker, wood and metal items, dye rugs) DONE! July 2010
  • Steam Clean carpets DONE! July 2010
  • Paint or stain coffee table DONE! July 2010 stained dark walnut
  • Paint or stain entertainment center
  • Buy new comforter set DONE! May 2010
  • Buy 600 thread count sheets
  • Replace mattress pad/topper
  • New bathroom towels

Travel: (11)

  • Have the Stitchy, Witchy, Bitchy Week in New Hampshire at the Condo DONE! July 2010
  • Finish the second half of the Freedom Trail in Boston
  • Have a picnic lunch at Quincy National Park in Quincy, MA
  • Visit Washington D.C.
  • Go back to ABC Stitch Therapy in Grantham, NH DONE! July 2010
  • Go back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY
  • Visit Independence Hall in Philadelphia
  • Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and see the Boston Bruins play the Maple Leafs IN Toronto
  • Visit DisneyWorld
  • Go on a road trip
  • Take Mom to bingo

Hobbies: (28)

  • Complete my maternal ancestry documentation (paternal is already done!)
  • Adhere to regular backups of digital photos to cd-rom
  • Finish scrapbooking the past year and half of my life
  • Regularly print and scrapbook photos and/or mementos
  • See the Detroit Red Wings play the Boston Bruins in Boston. Have tickets for Feb 2011 game – Thanks Dad!
  • See the Toronto Maple Leafs play the Boston Bruins in Boston. This will complete my goal of seeing all of the Original Six hockey teams in action (All games against the Boston Bruins: Montreal Canadiens April 19, 2008, Chicago Blackhawks March 7, 2009 New York Rangers April 4, 2009)
  • Complete Marilyn Monroe cross stitch for framing
  • Start and complete Mirabilia’s Circle of Friends Started July 2010
  • Subscribe to Cross Stitch Collection magazine
  • Attend a cross stitch retreat DONE! October 2010
  • Create a better storage system for crafts DONE! September 2010
  • Paint Queen of Cups box DONE! May 2010
  • Paint The Fool tarot box DONE! May 2010
  • Attempt thread crochet again
  • Make a needlebook (TW Dragon) started March 2010
  • Design a matching bead scissor fob
  • Finish scrap granny-square blanket
  • CAL 6″ yellow scarf
  • Take a sewing class
  • Sew scrap bags for crafting DONE! October 2010
  • Go through Gramma’s craft boxes DONE! October 2010
  • Discard old paints that are not salvageable; make room for Gramma’s paints DONE! July 2010
  • Make Fortune cookie “favors”
  • Make Scissor fobs DONE! September 2010
  • New embroidery scissor investment DONE! September 2010
  • Crochet blanket for Alexander DONE! March 2010
  • Crochet blanket for Andreas DONE! March 2010
  • Crochet green car coat sweater

Health: (8)

  • Adopt the glycemic diet back into my life again
  • EA Active 3x week
  • Start Pilates cycles again
  • Begin walking regularly
  • Buy a bicycle and helmet
  • New glasses DONE! February 2010
  • New contacts DONE! February 2010
  • Buy Polarized/UV protection sunglasses

Finances/Work: (10)

  • Begin a “House Down Payment” savings account – contribute a minimum per week to it
  • Find a new place to live for July 2011
  • Learn more abut mortgages and purchasing a house and research any programs that can benefit me
  • Attend a Homebuyer Education Class
  • Convert all paper statements to paperless
  • Find an organized way to file important documents and bills; Use a ledger method to track payments and account number details for paperless items
  • Update resume
  • Follow the “Smile and cash my check” edict from my employer until I can’t take it anymore Working on it October 2010
  • Learn Crystal Reports
  • Stick to a moderate Christmas spending plan

Personal: (14)

  • Visit Mom’s Knitting Group again
  • Find a Book Club
  • Find (or start) a cross stitching group to go to DONE! August 2010
  • Complete the 50 books in a year challenge
  • Get car inspected
  • Replace front tires DONE! September 2010
  • Repair front fender on car
  • Have car detailed inside and out DONE! January 2010
  • Buy myself a Coach bag
  • Invest in new crystals DONE! March 2010
  • Find a new tarot book DONE! March 2010
  • Look into hair straightener treatment DONE! June 2010 Not going to do it! Formaldehyde! yuck!
  • Try to grow out natural nails
  • Attend a class for personal or emotional development (maybe another self-hypnosis class)

Book Challenge

My friend Stacy told me about a challenge that would require reading 50 books in a year, keeping track of books read and blogging about them if you choose to. The idea sounded wonderful but I was rather curious about whether it was an organized group or not. From what I found it is indeed an actual Book Challenge!

I am not very interested in posting to a group about the books I have read but I am more than willing to participate in it on my own blog since I can always use a little help in finding blog topics!

So here is my very own Fifty book challenge, marathon, read-a-long, whatever you would like to call it.

I decided to move my start date back to July of 2009 since I have read an absolute pile of books since then. To date here are my books, starting with the ones I am currently “Reading”:

The Associate – John Grisham  – This one is very good so far. A nice, easy read with a mild thriller story line. I love legal stories so any JG novel is a pleasant escape for me.

The Other Queen – Philippa Gregory – Do Audiobooks count?? I am going to say they do because I am still comprehending the storyline and vocabulary even if I am using my eyes to cross stitch

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon – I am about half way through this densely written historical novel and must admit I have followed my Mom and become an admirer of Jamie Fraser. I’d like to be made to call him Master any day *giggle*

Celtic Goddesses – Not sure of the author on this one. I may abandon reading this one unless it begins dealing with the subject matter in a more enjoyable way

All Together Dead (Southern Vampire Series) – Charlaine Harris – The 7th Sookie Stackhouse book is still enjoyable but needs more of Eric the Vampire!

“Read”

Books 2-4 of the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers

(1/50)New Moon LOVED this one. I enjoyed the werewolf lore immensely! Was upset at the portrayal of a teenage heroine as so wishy-washy in regards to living through her boyfriend.

(2/50)Eclipse – Nothing really stood out in this book for me. I waited a while before I even bothered to pickup Breaking Dawn. When I finished New Moon I was so jazzed about reading the next installment. This one left me kind of cold.

(3/50)Breaking Dawn – The ending was wrapped up rather quickly I thought but I enjoyed the details that went into Bella’s change. It was a thrilling section to read and did appreciate the effort to bring the reader into the minds of two of our characters.

Books 1-6 of the Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris

(4/50)Dead Until Dark – Since I had already seen Season 1 of HBO’s True Blood before reading this there were few surprises (except for my tv fav Lafayette) but I am glad I took the time to read the series from the beginning.

(5/50)Living Dead in Dallas – Season 2 was based on this book so there were few surprises as well but I enjoy being inside Sookie’s head much more than watching all the characters on the screen.

(6/50)Club Dead – Green eyed, black-haired werewolves make my day!

(7/50)Dead to the World – *fanning myself* oh my! Can’t wait for a particular shower scene in Season 4 on HBO. Can I say again how much I love Eric the Vampire?? I really do, he is cocky and arrogant and I love it! I wish we could skip Season 3 and go right for 4!!

(8/50)Dead as a Doornail *yawn*

(9/50)Definitely Dead Loved learning more about Sookie’s family and the Queen of Louisiana whom I picture more as the HBO True Blood version than the exact depiction in the novels.

(10/50)The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield This was an engaging gothic novel with some page turning surprises but I felt that the ending was very rushed and that many plot points were conveniently tied up in neat packages so they could be put away. The ending was disappointing but the story was nice while it lasted.

So I have completed 10 of the 50 books and have another 5 in the works. I hope to see some other blogs taking this up. I love books and reading and can’t wait to see what you guys are interested in!