Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mid-December, 2013

Today is the Ides of December.  We've had our Ward Christmas Party (last Tuesday).  We've finished with Finals at Work and things are slowing down, student-wise, but starting to speed up for me to get ready for the new semester.  We've had our Student worker open house at work.  At home, we've started receiving Christmas Cards in the mail--YAY!  I LOVE receiving Christmas cards!  AND, we've had snow--boy, have we ever had snow!  It's not so much the snow, as the bitter, bitter cold.  The snow is so fluffy and powdery, too.  Isn't it lovely?
I took this on campus one day with my phone.

It's taken me a bit to get into the swing of things this December.  Like the rest of the nation (a big chunk of it, at least) we have been having bitter cold temperatures! I have gotten a bit out of my regular routine because of it.  I don't get up early and go walking.  Last week, I repented and got out a "little" earlier and went to a couple of yoga classes.  And weights once.  It took a few days to recover from weights. Ugh. So out of shape, and just in time to feast on candy and goodies galore over the holidays!

Once I got a little caught up on house work, I managed to get the tree up and decorated (with a little help from Eric).  The tree had been sitting in a box on the living room floor for a while. We opted for a bit of an old-fashioned look this year, but without the homemade strands of popcorn. That is just TOO time consuming and I've not got much of that.

Last week, Eric played viola in Handel's "Messiah" performance--the Orchestra of Southern Utah's gift to our community.  I wanted to go and support Eric in his musical endeavors, but it was so cold and I was so tired. I went alone to his SUU Winter choral concert earlier in the month.  And Mike needed a hair cut SO badly by that weekend.  And, and, and... the excuses kept piling up.  I didn't attend the Sunday night performance because I went to the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional at our stake center and following that was a Stake Musical Fireside.  A lady in our ward is in charge of that annual event, so I wanted to listen to that presentation.  It's always good. Berenice dropped me off at the stake center on her way home from having dinner at our house.  Mike was hibernating after dinner on Sunday. ha.  It IS winter, after all, and he does spend a good chunk of the day in the cold during the week.  He watched the devotional from the comfort of his "man cave."   Soooo, on Monday night, after a Family Home Evening mini-lesson, and after I gave Mike a much-needed haircut, I took my ticket and the extra one that Mike didn't use (still hibernating) and drove in the freezing cold temps to the Heritage Center and just walked in way late to the concert.  I got there just as the opening strains of the "Hallelujah Chorus" were being played.  So, as I walked up the stairs to the balcony, people were standing up and no-one noticed that I was walking in late, there were plenty of places available to sit (it had threatened to be a full house and I was just a tad concerned about not having a seat). It was perfect.  I was sitting where I could see Eric in his flowing conductor-looking hair, playing his viola and looking so professional in his black tuxedo.  I could see and hear everything really well, AND it was extra short since I came in late.  Perfect for what I needed that night.  All the parts of "The Messiah" that I love the best.

And NOW Christmas can begin.

I scaled back a LOT on Christmas decorations this year.  I only put up one tree at my house and Mike convinced his mom that we [read "I"] really didn't need us to put one up this year for her (THANK YOU, Mikey!) I was feeling just a bit overwhelmed this year.  I put out a few [fake]poinsettia plants around my living room.

The piano only has a basket of flowers and a bunch of nativity scenes instead of the Christmas Tree collection. Yes, I love them, but ....not necessary this year.

A few little festive snow men on the book case, a couple of Santa-type figures on the mantel and a wreath on the door.
I put out a wreath at Berenice's and a few other easy decos, Eric hung her outside icicle lights on Saturday and we're calling it good. We're not Scrooges!  Really, we're not!  We'd just rather spend our time doing other things.  For me, on Saturday the 14th it was preparing my "neighbor gifts" and I worked hard most of the afternoon and evening making gifts-in-a-jar.  They are ready to be delivered.

Mike and I strung one window with lights on the front of our house.  And the front of our house looks different, by the way. The garage door is hung.  Some what.  It looks good from the outside; however, it is not hooked up to anything on the inside to make it go up and down.  Yet.  But parts have been ordered and he's getting little bits done when he can. Progress.  Slow progress, but it's progress.  It does not help that he ran over one of the parts while it was laying in the driveway awaiting to be installed.  Needless to say, it is not easy for me to get my bike in and out of the garage.  

I've spent hours making some hand-stitched samplers for some special people in my life.  One, I delivered on Saturday afternoon to my co-worker who has been such a help to me.  Well, they all are.  But this gal just moved into their home so I presented it to her as a house-warming gift.  It's just a sampler that says, " Give Thanks" and, being Jewish, I don't know that she's really into the Christmas-y things that usually go around.  It seemed appropriate.

So, Christmas is coming.  I'm excited.  We're driving to Southern California for the Sorensen Family get-together that's being hosted by Suz's family. It'll be nice to see the cousins, yet sad to not have our kids and grandkids there this year.  I think the lack of grandchildren in the immediate area is what has hindered me in doing more decorations and such at our house.  We are looking forward to a few days with Nick and Kaylee down here as they share Christmas Eve and Morning with us, then Eric will take us to Las Vegas so me, Mike and Berenice can go spend some time with Katie and Casey and boys.   It's a lovely time of year, filled with family and giving. Now, I just need to get busy and get cards out and I'll be good. :-)  I'm getting closer!

Thanksgiving in Rock Springs, WY

I have not seen Gail's family since they left Cedar and moved to Rock Springs in August. I've seen Gail, but not the grand kids. Seth and Jonathan were her in Cedar City in November, but I wasn't here.   So it was good that we went to Rock Springs.

Jonathan cuddled up with Eric for a nap on the couch during a movie.  We showed Mike's Mom "Princess Diaries," and "Life of Pi"
 Eric came with us, and so did Mike's Mom.  It's not a terribly long drive up there, and the weather was nice.  Mike and I listened to a very long book on tape.  Very dark story.  We kept hoping it would be happier, but I guess the guy survived to write the tale, so that part was happy.  Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.  A lot of swearing in parts, but it was old-fashioned Catholic swearing by the names of saints.  Still, a little discomfiting with your Mother-in-law sitting in the back seat. ha.  [Eric always sleeps in the car on trips.]
We left Cedar around 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning.  It was a rather un-eventful drive, and we do love those!  Right out of Cedar, I discovered that I'd left my phone at home, charging.  I decided it wasn't worth going back 10 or so miles to get it, so I was totally un-attached the whole trip. No computer, no phone. I loved it.  Other than a bathroom stop or two on the drive, we stopped in Little America, WY for 99 cent Ice Cream Cones.  Really!  And they were big ones.  So surprising, and a nice little break. We got to Gail's in the late afternoon and found Gail and the kids out playing tag on the drive way, the weather was that mild! Caroline and I went for a walk around her neighborhood.  That felt really nice after sitting all day.  Maybe we did that on Thursday morning...I really can't recall, Gail fed us dinner Wednesday night and we just relaxed.  Well, we did. She was busy doing food preparations for Thursday--Thanksgiving! And we did not see much of Seth, either, as he was very busy down at the store.  Long, long hours for sales and preparing for sales.
Busy cooks in the kitchen.
 We had a nice relaxing time there with Gail.  We watched movies and played games.  We tried for some gift cards at Sports Authority by standing in line Thursday night, but just missed the cut off (first 80 people got gift cards) by about 10 people or so--darn!  But the crowds were awful, checkout lines worse, so we left.  There wasn't anything we really needed THAT badly! ha.

Friday, Mike and his Mom, Caroline and I went to their Mall. It is really close to their house, and quite nice.  Much better than anything we have in Cedar City.   It (and Smith's Grocery store, too!) is so close that Caroline and I stayed at the mall and walked home after the trip into Penny's with everyone. Walking around their one small Penny's store just about wore Mike's mom out!  She was having kind of a hard time walking, and I could tell she was very fatigued by the time they left and Mike took her back to Gail's.   Caroline and I took our time wandering in and out of stores and even found a couple of things to buy.  I've always wanted to try fleece leggings.  And now I have a pair.  They have come in handy for freezing cold morning walks.  But only Freezing.  I haven't been walking in the SUB - FREEZING weather we've been having this December like much of the nation!
On our way out of Rock Springs, we stopped by the old downtown area. Mike's parent's owned a store somewhere here about 50 years ago.  Maybe only 40.  Long enough ago that Berenice wasn't even sure which building it was.

Late on Friday night, Eric and I braved the cold and went to the theater to see "Catching Fire."  Excellent movie.  We enjoyed it a lot. I read the "Hunger Games" series and saw the first movie.  Eric claims #2 was so much better than the first, but I don't remember enough about the first to be able to see a big difference. I enjoyed them both.  Mike and I hope to get out to the theater this holiday to see "Ender's Game," too.  That was one of the audio books we listened to on a trip to Reno once and enjoyed it quite a bit.  Harrison Ford is in the movie and I like Harrison Ford movies, generally speaking. 

We decided to not stay too terribly long in Rock Springs.   The weather was cold, but clear and not really windy or bad.  So, on Saturday we headed down to Vernal.  This is what kind of weather met us just after Flaming Gorge!  Thick as Pea Soup Fog.  All the way down the switch-backs and into the Uintah Basin. 
 The Basin gets some really nasty inversions, and this one is no exception.  We went this way home in order to see many of the relatives who were visiting for Thanksgiving at Jannea's house.  And we did see a lot!

Isn't this frozen fog on the trees and shrubs just gorgeous?
Berenice with her newest great-great grand baby, Scarlett Eaton.   Ryan is the dad on the right.  They live in St. George and the baby's only a few weeks old, if that.  Ryan is one of Jannea's grandkids.  Many of hers were at her house or are in town, so we saw quite  a few.
We had lunch with a bunch of Jannea's family as they came and went.  Then we stopped to visit a bit with Sally and Devere.  They were both not feeling too well, but it was good to see them.  The last time Mike took his Mom to Vernal for something, they saw a lot of the rest of the Vernal bunch, so this was a good representation and we headed on home to Cedar.  Again, un-eventful--an oh-so-nice kind of road trip to have.   Christmas presents delivered to Rock Springs and Family Visited--a successful trip.