Friday, January 30, 2009

He definitely overpaid,

because it's organic.

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J thought he'd be funny.
Thought he'd strike out my mojo.

It's gonna take a lot more than that, dude.

J and Tammy came over Sunday for a double-hitter. We played two full games of that marathon-game-which-we-don't-have-a-name-for.
I think it's time we just make up our own name. 

We had 5 pizzas, two different dips, garlic bread, chips, a double batch of brownies, and a pink cake that tasted awesome and looked exactly like it was coated with Pepto Bismol.

I gained 10 pounds, and won both games.

I rock.

*edited to add: He came back Wednesday night between plowing the roads, for dinner. And kicked my butt. Badly. Ouch.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Damn you, Science Channel!

Here I am, getting good and twitchy...haven't been off the rock since November 15th...thinking about making a run for it in the next few weeks...


and flipping through the channels tonight (The Big Guy has gone to bed and released his kung-fu grip on the remote)....

and there was this...

this...

...gulp...HUGE WAVE. 

dwarfing an oil tanker.

It wasn't so much that I 'kept the channel on to watch the rest of the show' 
    as
 'I was paralyzed with fear and couldn't turn away nor move my finger to the appropriate button to put what I should have been watching...Spongebob. or Andy Griffith.'

For others who can't turn away from the train wreck, here's a link to 2 of the ships who survived 100 footers, and some of the cool-if-I-didn't-live-on-an-island-and-hate-boats science.

Oh.My.God.

Killer Waves.

How could I watch such a thing?
Why would they make such a documentary that I might accidentally watch?

I saw cargo ships- do you know how freakin' huge those suckers are?- that looked like they were sawed in half. Massive steel hulls, just ripped open.
by, um, water.

That's why I no longer fly, by the way. I learned the meaning of "wind shear".
All set with that, thanks.


This is a sure-fire panic attack in the making.

Oh, and friends and neighbors?
I will likely NOT be leaving the island until July.
I rely on your kindness to your favorite neurotic. Please continue to bring me food and toilet paper.
not necessarily in that order.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I've got a monkey on my back

...a pair of 'em, actually. 


And I'm loving every minute of it. 
Why did I put these off for so long???


Friday, January 23, 2009

We Caved.

sigh


We're sell-outs.
Unprincipled.
Downright immoral.

We've joined the masses.

We got satellite TV.

After 11 years of holding out, we were enticed into it by the threat of losing one of our 3 stations. (you know, the digital conversion bs thing.)

And I still would have held out if the 2 stations we will get didn't punk out, even on good weather days. 

     So we now have a big, flat screen tv (did I mention that our old cabinet -style tv died on Christmas Eve? It was 17 years old. A moment of silence, please.).
We can afford this by eating cat food once a week. Not the Things, we give them hot dogs. Which may be the same thing.

It has a crystal clear picture, and, like, 1000 stations.
We watched the Channel Guide all day today. 
No, just kidding. Though it was on A LOT.
No, you want to know the first show we watched with a crystal clear picture?
"A Baby Story"
 The Things picked it out. (note to self: do not read the titles on the Guide Menu out loud.)

Yup, we watched a set of twins being born by cesarean. It looked familiar.
I thought they'd be horrified. (I was, later, by some of their questions. What can I say? I was mesmerized by the picture quality, and didn't give enough thought to what we were watching. And, you know, I've seen it all before, so it isn't so....shocking...to me.)

And when it was over, we switched channels to " A Birth Story", and watched...the 'other' kind of birth. That one was kinda like a car wreck. We all had our hands over our eyes, but were peeking through our fingers.
Waaaay too many questions after that one.

Can't wait to hear what they ask the teachers at school tomorrow. I'm totally going to get a phone call.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

When 'Change' is NOT good

You would think, wouldn't you, that the person who runs a post office (even a contracted post office- a satellite, if you will) would be kept informed of major changes in post office policy.


I would. I would think so. 
I expect so.   (note to self: must lower expectations.) 

And I'm wrong.

Can you believe I walked into work today (I was off yesterday; I might have found out a day sooner), to find that the postage rates have increased???

Seriously?
NOBODY could pass the word to me????

classic.

(Now before anybody panics**- the first class rate is still 42c. It's the Priority rate, flat rate, and International rate that has changed. To what? HellifIknow!)
**notice how I admirably avoided using the phrase 'goes postal' there. I get points for that.

So, I'm off to the USPS website, where the contracted employees go to find out how to send mail....
I like to memorize the rates BEFORE a change. So I'm a little miffed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Right under your nose...

I realized this project never got its Day In The Sun. It has actually shown up in a few of my posts, as a backdrop.

A sneak peek at what I've been working on...


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I can't comment on the pile of stuff under the tree. But I was compelled to prove that I have, indeed, been knitting my fingers off!

This is Maryse's Christmas Tree. I got one done long before Christmas, and then got sidetracked with 482 other things. My original goal was to do three trees in various sizes. I don't know why. And I actually had to buy the fun fur to make this. 

I bought fun fur.

The Big Guy has made fun of this unmercifully. 

Thing One thinks it looks better as a hat. (I have not stuffed this, nor made the base yet.)

I still can't believe I bought fun fur.

And yet I still plan to make the other two smaller -sized trees.
Someday.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What were we thinking?

The kids were off from school 14 days over Christmas break.


And for some reason, they are off another 5 this weekend. 

The Things are home until Thursday morning.

Send wine.



We have been trapped indoors with brutal cold, and today, snow. To occupy ourselves, and perhaps in an effort to remind ourselves how cute the Things were when they were babies (as opposed to now, with the fighting, whining, messing up of the house), we have been going through the mass of pre-digital photos we've accumulated in what appears to be waaaay more than one lifetime. 

Oh.My. God.

My kids were so freaking cute.

What I learned from perusing old pictures:

1. I did nothing but clean ALL DAY. I can say this because my house was immaculate in every picture. These were not staged pictures, just everyday 'hey, look the baby is ____' pictures. There were a handful of toys out, and not a speck of dust to be seen.
I'm totally impressed with myself.

2. A large portion of my day was spent washing, drying, lotion-ing, ironing, trimming the hair and nails of, and dressing, the Things. And every new outfit (and My God, there were many) was photographically documented. Right down to the shoes.
 No wonder I drink so much wine now.

3. My house used to be much bigger. We have the same furniture. Toys are not allowed anywhere but the Things bedrooms. And yet the living room is decidedly smaller. I can see it, in the pictures. The Big Guy agrees.

4. I do not need coffee and wine to live.
I was trying to conceive, pregnant, or nursing for a full 9 years. (nearly ten!)During that time I touched neither caffeine nor alcohol. I refuse to discuss the quantities of chocolate I consumed during that period.
And yet I look perfectly normal in the few pics I am in during that time.

5. I can do anything.
Thing One was a little 'early'. She did not have a strong suck reflex when she was born. Nursing was out of the question. 
But I was determined. (When confronted with a determined Marissa, run for your life.)
I pumped for 10 weeks, around the clock, every 2 hours. 
10 weeks. 
Ten.
 
I had my Mother for the first 2 weeks. 
After that, it was Solitary Confinement.

 I never slept for more than an hour at a time. 

In those early pictures, there are breast pump parts in various stages of sterilization in evidence. 
I would pump, feed her the milk, sterilize the parts, and it was time to pump again. (Apparently, in between, I cleaned.)

 When she was 8 weeks old, I developed a bad sore throat. Fearing Strep (fearing for HER, not me), I called a Doc. 
Oh, yeah, he said, let's culture. She can't be exposed to that.
I went off on the ferry. Me, the baby, the pump, ice packs, cooler bags, the carseat and port-a-crib.
 Visited Lou's office. Had a culture. Got to talking. 

So. Very . Tired.
If I didn't know any better, I'd think I was pregnant again.

Uh-oh, he said.

No way, I said. He's got the scars to prove it. (One reason I started knitting again, to have a weapon in hand at all times. Works like a charm.)
I'd have to start my own religion. It'd be another immaculate conception.

Hmmm, he said. Let's check your Thyroid.

A normal TSH is two.
Mine was 120. One hundred and twenty.

He called me at home a few days later when the report came in, to see if I was alive. 
I'd set a record, it seems. Made it into a medical journal. I don't know if it was mentioned that my house was immaculate, but it darn well should have been.

We went down to Boston for Thing One's first Easter. She was ten weeks old. And she opened her mouth, and started nursing. Just like that.
I wanted to burn that pump. (I was making so much milk by that time, it took me almost a month to wean myself from it.)

We threw away (I know, gasp, but it was old by then) over 10 gallons of  frozen breast milk by the time she was done nursing. I never once fed her frozen milk, that was all extra.

Well, I don't get to dress them, or bathe them, anymore.
But they never cease to find ways to entertain me, even more now, if that's possible.

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And I still get to pick out the clothes for Holidays!!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What's that?

What, J?

What's that score, again??

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You may not have been High Hook this time, but I whupped you.
Wanna play again tomorrow???

(Yes, I had another slacker day. But, I worked the Post Office, did laundry, made dinner- and dessert, and am showered AND dressed. I get a Gold Star, and I won the card game!)

Oh, J??

Loooooooooooser!!!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

So...

...at what point does Christmas Knitting become next year's Christmas Knitting?


Today's Agenda included:

1. fighting with internet provider over the status of said internet.
note to internet provider: When I tell you the thing ain't working, I most certainly DO know what I'm talking about. You owe me big for not calling your Mothers.

2. arguing/explaining with some force why the Direct TV man can't come out to this ISLAND (island being the key word) whenever his schedule allows. We live by the ferry schedule. So will he.
I've stopped arguing. They will send the guy. He will do his work. We will have tv (woohoo). And THEN I'll worry about how the poor shmuck will get home, because the woman in the Portland office surely could not care less about it.

3. kicking The Big Guy's butt playing the tank game on the Wii. It's the dumbest waste of time I've ever encountered, but I've apparently missed my calling as a tank-driver-person. On the Wii, anyway. I don't guess I'd get 34 or 35 chances in real life. But I kicked Butt on Wii.

What a waste of a day.
Can I get a do-over?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chinese Food

I have an addiction . ok, many.


In my defense, I lived in Boston for 27 years, where I was surrounded by some really great samplings of it. And I reeeeally loved it. There was a time when I subsisted solely in it, and coffee. And really, what more could you need? Ah, to be 20 again....

So it comes as no surprise to me that the Things also love Chinese cuisine. We don't eat it in Maine, because it's not what I'm used to (they wouldn't know the difference), but it's a staple when we go visit. And when you eat something 3 or 4 times a week, and then give it up entirely for months at a time...well.

So I've learned to make some stuff at home (sooo not the same. But I'm sure it's healthier. No offense, awesome restaurants that I grew up with, and will still be enjoying when I'm nearby.).

Thanks to my friend Crazy Leslie, Thing One believes that Chinese food cannot be eaten with any utensil except chopsticks. (I'd never used a chopstick in my life until I met Crazy Leslie. I would starve in China. Or at least be shunned, because I would be eating with my hands. Not a pretty sight.)

And whaddaya know- Thing One is a pro!

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People used to kid me about all the Chinese food I ate when I was younger. And when Thing One was born, she had a beautiful Oriental look to her. I used to call her my China Doll.
Of course, it was attributed to all the Chinese food in my system. 
The breakdown of my food DNA (totally made that up)probably goes something like this:

18% chocolate
7% wine
40% Chinese food (predominately starring seafood)
30% Italian food (predominately starring shellfish)
5% miscellaneous

Me in a nutshell! You are what you eat!

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Like it was an extension of her hand, first time at bat.


This one, however....
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has inherited my chopstick-using grace and agility. He was determined to use them, but he was starving and getting really frustrated. He went for the two- handed approach...which he may have copied from me...


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Eureeka!!!!

Of course, all the shots are blurry. This Thing does not stay still.






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Success!




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He was so proud. In the end he was spearing the meat onto the 'sticks.
But he was able to eat most of it, and would NOT use the fork we kept pushing at him.



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Oops. We like stuff HOT and SPICY around here. Like, the hotter, the better. I usually add it to our own dishes to spare the Things, but sometimes I forget. And Thing One loves it. This Thing...not so much.

I have a bag of chopsticks. A bag. Of about 100 pair. Where did they come from? Mother? Did you bring them back from Singapore?? And how did Thing One know we had them??

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Priceless

Thing Two the other night, while setting the table for dinner:

Mom, know what this is (holds up fork)?

Me: 
     What, are you new here?

Him: 
No, really, what do you think this is?

Me: 
Ok, I'll play. It's a fork.

Him: 
No, It's matter. Didn't you KNOW that?!? And this (a cup)- what's this? Think it's a cup? NOPE! It's matter.

This went on for about five minutes, him picking up objects and declaring them 'matter'. Apparently he is learning a lot in his Science class at school.

At the end of dinner, he looks at his Father, and says, "You're a LOT of matter!!"


Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Goats!

I am goat-sitting.


I have 'sat' for many things, but never goats.

And let me tell you, they are less trouble than kids!

They LOVE  me!!

the goats
check out those last 2 pics- that's the goat's view from their pen!

I really think we want a sheep. A lamb.
And not for dinner, Big Guy!


Friday, January 9, 2009

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

Remember that? From a Snoopy cartoon? I seem to recall Snoopy sitting on the roof of his doghouse with a typewriter, and that particular line. And the Red Baron. I think.

My memory is completely shot.
I abide by the theory that a brain can only hold so much information. When full, some must be jettisoned.
yeah. 

So, back to the dark and stormy night...the night was fine, but it was a windy and snowy day! Wednesday's ferry  run was uneventful, even with the snowstorm, but the Thursday run was cancelled. 
Maintenance.
Last minute maintenance!
There was a  Maine DOT Ferry Advisory Board meeting  scheduled for Thursday, as it happened, so it was great timing. Nothing like a bunch of freshly inconvenienced people pleading their case in a public forum.  It's unfortunate, really, that I couldn't be there. I would be instrumental in such a discussion.  I can't wait to hear the results of the meeting.

In the meantime, the ferry will do a make up trip, as policy states, on Friday morning at 9am.

The Big Guy is stranded over there, along with Rob S., John and his wife, Lewis, Paul and Joey, and Tammy and her crew.
I don't know about the rest of them, but the Big Guy is bored to tears, as can be evidenced by the 482 times he has called me. I am NOT bored to tears, (the Post Office is open whether the mail makes it over or not) so the calls are...well, you get it.

At least it's cold enough outside that our groceries are not rotting in the truck. 
Been there, done that.
 Costs a lot of money. 
It makes for some interesting conversations, too, watching four or five hundred dollars of refrigerated and frozen food melt and rot. And it's not like you can ask somebody to store that volume of food in their fridge overnight, you know, in the hope that the boat runs the next day as it is supposed to...

But- check this out!
Kristi is back from vacation, and look what she brought!


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I told her I didn't want anything in return for goat-sitting! 
I figured she'd grab something with ears for the kids, because she's like that. 
But I sure didn't expect all this!




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How funny is that???
The mug is supposed to be for the Big Guy. So he moved up to Thing One.
And the kids are 2 and 3.





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Once again, my habits are world-known.
How cute are these wine stoppers?

There was another mug, very cute- it was Minnie Mouse's butt and legs (!), but it broke in transit. She gave it to me to put a plant in, as it's only broken around the rim. (I put it up in the post office and didn't think to take a picture. I will. Gotta find a small plant.)
So she stole Jeremy's mug. I'm going to sneak it back to him. (Joe- don't say anything- let's see if she notices!)
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No gift is complete without chocolate! I hid the bars, and let the Things eat the ears. It was a bribe to get them to walk to and from school Wednesday in that sleeting snow - twice, because they aren't allowed to stay at school from 11-12 (we hung at the post office, even though I close at 11 on Wednesdays). The Big Guy took the truck off the island. So I've been riding the four-wheeler to the Post Office. In the snow. Awesome.


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Love this! I stuck it on my coat! More Dr. Seuss!!





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They insisted on wearing these to school Thursday. I insisted on the turtlenecks underneath.
How cute is that???!!

Yeah my tree is still up. You got a problem with that?
(It's coming down today.)
It's because I'm knitting like a maniac. Christmas knitting, to be exact. Shut up, and stop laughing.

The sad thing is, I have 8 birthdays to be knitting for (or at least get gifts for) through mid- February (2 of those are biggies), and three more in March (one more biggie).
helpme

And I'm still Christmas knitting.
Awesome.



Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sock Blockers!

     I was intrigued by these. Are they really necessary? Will they truly improve my knits (socks, anyway)? Or are they gimmick, like so many things?


I've been ogling some very pretty ones here.

And there are plastic ones. And I could twist a couple of wire hangers into the appropriate shape and use them. But I, like Joan Crawford, don't allow wire hangers in the house (though we don't have the same...reaction...to them), so I would have to procure a couple. 

In the end, I did nothing.

And in the meantime, the Big Guy did this:

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See? I knew there was a reason I kept him around!


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They're awesome!

Still not sure they're actually necessary. But they are fun, and make it easy for the unskilled photographer that I am to take pictures of socks. 

And Thing Two makes them walk around the house, so they are entertainment as well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ice!

The Frog Pond (Fire Pond) has frozen over!


We've been skating every day, as soon as the sun is high.

The first day involves a flurry of phone calls-"who got new skates from Santa?"
 "What size were his old ones?"
"What size is he/she now?"
"How many pairs of socks will it take to make a size 2 fit into a size 4??"

You get the idea.

By the second day, pretty much everybody has a pair of usable skates. They may not be the exact size, but we make them work.

And off they go!!

skating

Is it good exercise?
Look how sweaty Thing One is in those last 2 pictures!

By the way, you should see her box on the Wii. She's scaring me.
I may have to move out for her teenage years.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Henry the Elf

     The Elf was a great idea at the beginning. He was a distraction, to keep our minds off the tanking lobster industry, and the fact that the tree was going to look a bit...sparse...this year.


     So he showed up one morning, passport in hand, with a note explaining his purpose. 

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Hi, I'm Henry.
You're Mother is going crazy.

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Here he is, riding a remote controlled car. We found him like this in the morning. Thing Two was entertained, but perturbed. 


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Hey, look! Here he is hiding in the bookshelf!
We had to search for him every morning; we never knew where he'd be, or what mischief he'd get into.


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Like spilling books all over the floor.


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Or throwing a bunch of ornaments off the tree, and then spending the night in it.
(This was his best hiding spot. We didn't find him until the afternoon!)




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Thing One grew quite attached to him.
(Keep your friends close and your enemies closer...I think she was not entirely sure she liked the whole idea of a small elf sneaking around the house at night...)
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He got into everyone's stuff. Luckily he didn't eat any candy. I would have baked him in a pie.


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Uh-oh.
What's this!!! Cardinal sin in my house!! We do not waste food!

sneaky elf
Total disbelief on the faces of the Things! He'd committed the ultimate of sins, and would surely be banished back to The Pole!

Oh the drama that ensued!!!
Thing One threw herself on the mercy of the Judge (that would be me), crying for 'Sanctuary'!
(She had watched "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame" the night before!)

We ran down to the kitchen the next morning to see if Henry had been retrieved, but NO- he was still with us!
We had him until Christmas Eve, according to his papers, then he would give his report to Santa, and go with him back to the North Pole.

Except...

Just before bedtime on Christmas Eve, after all the presents had been opened, and a lot of the food had been enjoyed....Thing One dissolved into hysterics.
We couldn't even understand what she was saying!
Finally, it became clear. She was freaking out about Henry's imminent departure.
uh-oh.
Seriously, there was no consoling this child!
Got some great looks from The Big Guy. He should have been an actor. (said dripping with sarcasm.)

After much discussion, it was decreed that she could write a note to Santa, pleading her case to keep Henry. He had become part of the family, etc.

She wrote out her note, and propped Henry up on the bookcase with it. I left out a couple of cookies and a large White Russian.

In the morning, she rushed downstairs...and there was Henry, with a typewritten note from Santa! (The White Russian was gone.) Henry could stay!, he said.
Henry, it seemed, wanted to stay with Thing One just as badly as she wanted him.
Santa explained what an honor it was for any Elf to participate in his  Narc  Monitoring Program, and that he had never granted a wish like this before. 
But Henry was allowed to stay only if he gave up his magic powers, and became a doll.
He happily complied.


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And she hasn't touched the damned thing since.

Oh, look. This picture was taken before I put the wrapping paper on the bait bucket.
My humiliation is complete.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas!

What can I say...I have way too much going on.


I'm on "Island Time", which means I can do what I want, when I want. 
(This NEVER works, but I know a lot of people who try to pull it off regardless.)

So here is a christmas recap, and since it was over a week ago, I'll keep it brief:


xmas eve dinner 08

There was waaaaaay too much food. And we ate it all. (Took us 4 days.)


desserts xmas 08
There were too many desserts. And they're all gone, too.
The pizzeles were the best I've ever made. Finally- crunchy and crisp!

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We called this our Hannukah Bush. Thing Two picked out the tree (we groom them on our front lawn, and cut one every year). It was...smaller...than our usual. Just as well; when we went to put it in the house, we couldn't find the stand. After much argument ('tis the season), we realized that the stand broke last year, and we never went off after Christmas to get another. The Big Guy devised this classy system, which worked like a charm, and was very fitting for our Holiday Season this year.

He stuck the tree in a five gallon bait bucket filled with rocks. (I bleached it out first!!)
He even arranged it so the bait company logo faced outward, isn't that thoughtful?
Needless to say, I was horrified.
Tammy laughed so hard I was afraid she was gonna hurt herself.
Wrap a white towel around it, she said. It'll took like snow.
Looked like a small tree stuck in a bait bucket with a towel around it.
Emmie said- wrapping paper! It will blend in with the presents! 
And it did. 
You'd never know, which is the only reason I'm telling you about it. We will be doing this again! We never had to worry about watering the tree; it had gallons of water. We never had to worry about a screw letting go (like last year), and the darn thing falling over because it was held tight by rocks in the bucket.
Worked like a charm!

There were a ton of gifts. 

We really enjoyed Christmas this year, with one exception- which was my own fault (I'll get to that in a minute).

The Big Guy provided lobsters, which were dirt cheap this year. He also provided  mussels from our mooring chain. We thought he'd provide us with scallops as well, but his gear was not quite ready, so we broke down at the last minute and bought some! The kids provided us with clams.

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They had to break up ice to find the clam holes. They learned great respect for clammers. (They've only dug in the summer. This was quite different!)
And they were freeeeeezing!


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For the first time, I let her into the kitchen to learn to make Lobster Gravy.
I think it's gonna take a few tries.
I hate anyone being in my kitchen when I'm cooking. It lasted about 10 minutes.

As a compromise, I let them frost the cookies.
 
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And they did better than I did! I dropped two cookies, frosting side down, onto the floor. They didn't drop ANY!   (Yeah, I ate 'em.)

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"You just keep feeding me shellfish, and nobody will get hurt!"

Santa brought a Wii!
But the tv died on Christmas Eve day, so they're playing on a 13-incher from my bedroom.
Such is life!

And what did I do this year, to derail me, at zero hour, when Christmas preparations should have been well underway?
I opened an etsy shop. 

This has been in the works for some time, but I still wasn't entirely ready. And then it was December! So all is not listed, and the banner is generic, but hey, it's there.

I've been having fun though- check it out!

candy 08

The truffles are becoming a problem. I was experimenting. 
New rule: I will make these only when ordered, and get them out of my house! If there are extras, they are free! I cannot have them hanging around!!