Sunday, December 24, 2006

I almost didn't see it

I take my dogs on many walks through the park trail near my home. One morning, something caught my eye. Was that a little blue door in the tree?

How very clever.... how incredibly random.... how bizarre! Yes, it's a door. And a little welcome mat made from a small stone. And a sign that says "Peace in the Universe". What a sweet little thing to find. So whimsical. I wonder what sort of mythical creature resides behind the blue door.

And then one of my dogs decides to investigate that which has drawn my attention.

Unfortunately, he wasn't quite as charmed. It was just another tree to him and he lifted his leg and peed on it. (No, I didn't take a picture of that!)

December 23rd

Christmas Countdown #23

It's not easy being green! In the early 80s, we were a young, married couple living in the Catskill Mountains. And we were all about skiing! Naturally, we collected lots of skiing ornaments for our tree. Kermit is one of the coolest.

December 22nd

Christmas Countdown #22

Here is another New Orleans ornament. A very pretty ceramic Mardi Gras mask. I actually received this one from my mom years before I visited New Orleans. She had gone on a business trip and brought it home. My mom has always fed my Christmas ornament addiction.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

December 21st

Christmas Countdown #21

We picked up this ornament in Las Vegas. It's actually a fired clay bag... tiny little bag. It has a handpainted quail (or some other kind of bird?) on it. Very cute. And Vegas was FUN!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

December 20th

Greg was nuts about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in the early 90s. I don't remember where I got this, but it is definitely one of my favorites..... Rafael on skis!

December 19th

Christmas Countdown #19

One of the first Texas ornaments that I bought when we moved here in 1996. It's homemade, with sparkles, and it's pure kitsch.

Love this silly chili pepper. Gotta have some tackiness on the tree or else it would be boring!

December 18th

Christmas Countdown #18

This is the first ornament I ever gave to my husband. It was 1979 and we were dating. He loved hockey. So, of course, I had to buy Snoopy and Woodstock playing hockey. It is a really cool ornament...

Our very first date was September 26, 1977, and we went to see the Philadelphia Flyers play the New York Rangers at the Spectrum. I should have realized then that hockey would always be a big part of my life. Both my sons have played hockey, (Chris still does), and Jim still plays and coaches... To be honest, I am just a little bit tired of hockey. I know I'm going to miss being a 'hockey mom' when it's all over, but I think I'm going to enjoy it for awhile once it's over.

Friday, December 15, 2006

December 17th

Christmas Countdown #17

Back in 1980, Jim and I were married and headed to Disney World for our honeymoon. Disney World was a much smaller place back then. It was the Magic Kingdom and three hotels. That was it. No Epcot, no MGM, no Animal Kingdom, etc. I actually think it was much better when it was smaller.

There was a small shopping village in Lake Buena Vista. This has now morphed into something way bigger and commercial. There used to be a small Christmas shop there. This is one of the ornaments we bought on our honeymoon. Santa in a helicopter. Nothing fantastic or unusual. But plenty of memories in this little wooden trinket.

December 16th

Christmas Countdown #16

Here's another Hallmark ornament that I love. It actually belongs to Chris. He was a huge Lego fan when he was little. He'd spend hours building things. I always imagined he would grow up wanting to be an engineer, or a builder, or an architect..... but that's not the case yet. He still has two more years of high school and he hasn't decided what he wants to be when he grows up.

This is his favorite ornament and it gets a place of honor just below the blowfish at the top, center of the tree.

December 15th

Christmas Countdown #15

Once a Philly fan, always a Philly fan. Even though I'm living in Texas and surrounded by Cowboy-mania *barf*, I will always cheer for the Eagles. Or the Phillie, or the Flyers....

Even though we are brutally honest in our assessment of how our 'home team' is playing, we are always loyal. Oh, and just because Philly fans have been known to boo Santa, we love him too!

This cheap little bear, dressed in his Eagles uniform, has been on my tree for over 20 years. And I hope he brings the birds good luck on Christmas Day when they have to face Dallas at Texas Stadium.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

December 14th

Christmas Countdown #14

Well, here's another ugly one. It's a trout, I think. It's hiding on the back of the tree (which is where I hide all the ornaments that I'm not crazy about). This was given by my mother-in-law when she was going through her 'fish phase' of Christmas ornamentation.

I've always hated this damn fish..... but it's on my tree anyway. You just can't see it unless you are searching the back of the tree.

December 13th

Christmas Countdown #13

This is the first Hallmark ornament that I'm posting! I have lots of them on my tree, and they are all pretty, but there really isn't anything particularly unique about them. And they aren't hard to find. And most don't really have 'stories' to go with them.......

But I've always thought that Chris' Spiderman ornament was neat. Notice he has 'web' shooting from his hands to other branches of the tree.

Yeah. It's dumb. But he's cool.

December 12th

Christmas Countdown #12

Look! It's scuba Santa! This ornament is from 1985. Jim was very much into scuba diving back then. He has had many hobbies, and he always dives in head first (no pun intended). I actually went through the class to get my certification. I did well. Until it was time to get in the pool, under water, with all the apparatus. I just didn't like it. There is something unnatural about breathing underwater. I bailed.

It took a couple of years, but he eventually stopped diving, too. I think I found this ornament at the Lucy Evelyn gift shop in Beach Haven, NJ.

Have I mentioned that I really do miss the Jersey shore?

Friday, December 08, 2006

December 11th

Christmas Countdown #11

This ornament is Greg's. It reminds me so much of the hours he spent learning and practicing the sax. He's been doing it for seven years now, since 6th grade. He loves it so much, he is majoring in music in college. He plans on getting a degree in music, and education. His goal is to become a band director. At least he won't end up as an unemployed musician..... I hope.

Friday, December 01, 2006

December 10th

Christmas Countdown #10

Jim's grandparents lived on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. When he was growing up, summers were always spent on the beach, or on his granddad's boat fishing. (Now you understand the fish and crabs and other sea life on my tree!)

This ornament was given to us by his mom. Barnegat Light is on LBI. This is a wonderful memory of the Jersey shore on our Christmas tree!

December 9th

Christmas Countdown #9

Another ornament that belongs to one of the kids. This is Raider Red of Texas Tech. Given to Greg last year when he made his college choice.

December 8th

Christmas Countdown #8

The blowfish. The pink, glass blowfish. One of the oldest ornaments on my tree. One of the most delicate and carefully handled. And probably my husband's favorite. It was given to him by "Santa" when he was two or three years old. That would make it almost 45 years old! The blowfish always gets the best spot at the top of the tree, dead center. It is really pretty.

My mother-in-law went through a 'fish' phase in the 80s, also. I have about five other fish on my tree, none as pretty as this. Actually, most of them are downright ugly. I'll share one or two of them with you, also.

But blowfish is definitely pretty. And it wouldn't be Christmas without him! (or her since it's pink???)

December 7th

Christmas Countdown #7

Okay, I promised you ugly ornaments, too. So here's the first one. A pink, plastic, bearded crab wearing a Santa hat and holding a green sack.

What else can I say? It's tacky, and it's ugly, but it's still on my tree!

December 6th

Countdown to Christmas #6

There really isn't much of a story to go with this ornament. Except that it is one of my favorites, and probably one of my most expensive. Jim gave it to me three years ago for Christmas.

It is a Lenox china ornament. Beautiful. And much too classy for my crazy tree! But I do love it!

December 5th

Christmas Countdown #5

This is another ornament that we acquired on a vacation. Back in the early 80s, we were in love with skiing. We lived in the Catskill Mountains of New York, and there were some decent slopes within an hour drive.

But then we discovered Killington, Vermont. I think we went there four years in a row. Just for a long weekend. And we took along a bunch of friends. We would rent a condo (or two) right at the base of the mountain. We would take lots of food, and drink, and other stuff.... it would be one long party. And the skiing was the best.

This ornament is one of my favorites. It is a handpainted, fired clay bell. Very pretty. And every time I unpack it, I think of the New York gang waking up to get to the slopes on a cold winter morning after a long night of partying.... Good times.

December 4th

Christmas Countdown #4

Monopoly was always a favorite board game of ours. It seems that we stopped playing board games, and card games, so long ago. I miss that.

Before our kids were born, we were very much into card games, also. UNO was a huge favorite, especially since we had our own cut throat rules (draw cards could be piled on). Crazy Eights and Follow the Bitch were also lots of fun. Many nights we would be up until the wee hours of the morning playing cards with our friends. I think I took a few years off my liver in those days. There was also a great card game called Milles Borne that I loved!

But my all-time favorite card game is euchre. There were many parties where we would have a couple of tables, and people waiting to play the winners. Mike and Mel, where are you guys? Our gals vs. guys games were some of the best times of my life!

Besides cards, we also played darts. Backgammon was another favorite. That was back in the 80s. Then we had kids. That's not to say we stopped playing altogether. It just left us with much less time. And then eventually we just grew away from it. And now we live in a different era. And, to be honest, it's kind of boring. I miss those days. Playing games, whether it was cards or darts or board games, was a great way to socialize with friends. I have fewer friends these days. And we never get together to compete. We talk, we laugh, but we don't play. How can we get that started again?