Christmas 2012

Except for the extreme likelihood that I fractured my right small toe, Christmas went off without a hitch.  Somehow, I managed to time all the food prep just right.  Sure, it would be wonderful to have two ovens on occasions such as this, and I plan on trying to slip that into the kitchen remodel when we get around to that  (shhhhhhh!  Don’t tell Lyle!) LOL

The dogs loved their new “puppy-toys” (as we call them here), but Carley immediately insists on performing “squeaky-ectomies” on each and every one.  Between her obsessive compulsion to do this, and Ripley’s innate need to make everything “mine!”, they traded off toys with regularity.  But once the food came out, they had no further interest in the toys!

Our typical holiday dinner is shaping up to be one deep-fried turkey, which Lyle has perfected, and one oven-roasted turkey, which I like to think I have perfected.  I always stuff mine full with the dressing I make from my grandmother’s old recipe.  I also get lots of heavenly juice to turn into gravy (the one thing about the deep-fried turkey that you just can’t have).  I never used to have any left-over mashed potatoes, so this year I made a whole ten pounds!  Usually I grab only a 5-pound bag, and I can tell you, that at least five pounds of potatoes were gobbled down during this meal!

Another weird tradition is that everyone expects me to make the French’s Green Bean Casserole, whether I’m hosting the whole gathering or not.  I’m not sure how this happened because I NEVER eat the stuff, therefore could never taste-test to see if it was any good before putting in on the table.  One year (a long time ago), I substituted frozen beans for canned (the recipe on the French’s dried onions says you can and doesn’t specify thawing first), and much to my chagrin, the dish was cold in the middle when it got put on the table!  But I still have to make it every year!  LOL  That’s okay.  If folks are eating what I put on the table, then I will keep serving them!

Since I had made some spinach dip (served with Hawaiian Sweet Bread) at the dinner with the Drach’s earlier this month, I didn’t make it again for Christmas.  But that was fine.  Between Mom, Carol, June, and Mary, there were plenty of other things to munch on while everyone waited for the main course.  Mary makes a cranberry dish that I’ve never tried (because I don’t care for cranberry stuff), and everyone likes that better than just popping open a can of that jelled stuff that you just slice onto a plate.  That’s what would have been served if I was expected to provide cranberries for dinner!  lol

Oddly, we didn’t have much for dessert.  June made some awesome brownies, and I had candies set out, but, thankfully, everyone ate so much at dinner they didn’t care that we didn’t have a lot of options for dessert.

We opened presents after dinner.  Everyone gave and received a lot of nice things…everyone seemed happy.  I didn’t think I got everyone all that much this year, between no time and less money to spare, I just didn’t go all-out like I would have preferred to do.  Still, I think everyone was satisfied with what they got.

Lyle came through with his promise to buy me a “James Bond” handgun… a Walther PPK.  It is a very handsome weapon and has a great “new gun” smell.  😉  The slide is a bit stiff and with my weak grip, it’s a little hard for me to operate right now.  I just need to get it out to Bob and Mary’s farm for some target practice, then get it nicely cleaned and oiled and I’m sure it will be a nice addition to my small “arsenal.”  People sort of look at me funny when I talk about my weapons, but I don’t care.  I am not a zealot, but I believe in the 2nd Amendment whole-heartedly and do not feel the government needs to instill itself into our personal lives more than they already have.  (Stepping off of my soap-box now).

Lyle made a last-minute decision on what I could get him, so of course it wasn’t actually here by Christmas.  His trailer extension ramps arrived yesterday and he seems to like them, though the true test will be in the spring/summer when he starts going to the track again.

Of course, there were two empty seats at our table this year (not counting that Holly and Kevin spent the evening with Kevin’s family).  Sean is back up in Wisconsin and doing well.  He finally has a job and got his first paycheck.  Of course, he started in the middle of a pay period, then missed a day or two of work because of a blizzard they had up there!  Still, I’m proud of him for this accomplishment.  It’s been a long time coming, but it will do him a world of good.  I wish he could have found his peace closer to home, but sometimes our journeys to find ourselves take us to distant (and sometimes odd) places.

Also, we all missed Dad this year.  We couldn’t share stories of him yet this year as his loss is still so fresh for Mom, especially.  I know he was looking down on us saying “God bless the cooks” and “the one the eats the fastest gets the most!”  I stopped short of channeling him out of respect for Mom’s tender feelings, but soon enough, I will honor Dad by repeating all the quirky cliches of his that I can ever remember!  (“Arthritis!  I know those ‘Ritis boys and Arthur is the worst of the bunch!!”)  Love ya, Dad!

Carley and Ripley check out their gift bags.

Carley and Ripley check out their gift bags.

The puppy-toys are out!

The puppy-toys are out!

"Gimme! Gimme!"

“Gimme! Gimme!”

Carley diagnoses the problem....

Carley diagnoses the problem….

...and begins the "squeaky-ectomy"

…and begins the “squeaky-ectomy”

"This one might need rhinoplasty, too"

“This one might need rhinoplasty, too”

"Next patient!"

“Next patient!”

"This is a difficult procedure, but I am an expert!"

“This is a difficult procedure, but I am an expert!”

"Is he alive??  I will revive him!"

“Is he alive?? I will revive him!”

"Ahh...he's coming around!"

“Ahh…he’s coming around!”

Getting ready to eat!

Getting ready to eat!

Dig in!

Dig in!

Presents!!!!

Presents!!!!

(Not sure why this pic is blurry...but still having fun!)

(Not sure why this pic is blurry…but still having fun!)

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