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How was Christmas??

Posted by Necee on 12/29/03 at 00:54 (140835)

We spent the afternoon at my brothers house, eating....eating....eating, and more eating! After opening gifts, and just sitting around visiting, we left to go visit a cousin that lives about 40 miles away. We had a really nice visit there....of course there was dessert that just had to be tasted! After spending a few hours with them, we left and went on to our ranch Christmas night, it was almost midnight by the time we arrived, but the drive through the countryside was so peaceful, we had a CD of Christmas music playing as we made our way over the river and through the woods.

The next day we decided to go and visit my uncle, it was wonderful seeing him, I always get a kick out of hearing his 'stories'. As we sat around their kitchen table snacking and enjoying a cup of coffee, he told us some wonderful stories about his childhood, he's now 81, he was the baby of the family, having 7 brothers and sisters, he's now the only one left.

As we drove back to the ranch that evening, we decided to drive through the little country town of Blooming Grove, that's where my mom grew up, I spent every summer there with my Grandmother when I was a little girl, the fond memories come flooding back to me every time I drive down main street.
Although my mom is no longer living, we still have friends and family who live there, so we decided to stop in and say hello. They live in a beautiful old home filled with antiques, so I enjoyed seeing their house. Just as we were about to leave, the wife sat down at the piano and played for us....I couldn't think of a better way to end the day.

Happy trails......and Happy New Year !!


Re: It was wonderful!

Carole C in NOLA on 12/29/03 at 02:24 (140837)

I had a wonderful Christmas, Necee! I'm glad you did too.

Frank took me to his family's traditional Christmas Eve gathering at the nicest steak house in New Orleans. There were about 20 of them so they had a private room. He has three step-sisters and step-step-sisters all of whom are married and two of whom have several small children. And then, there was his uncle and aunt, and father and stepmother. I'd met all of them before, but never all in one place! I was the only non-relative, too.

It was hard to be nervous and eat a steak that good, so I decided not to be nervous and focus on the steak instead. The children were so adorable and so full of energy - - they just couldn't sit still. Among other pastimes, all the girls were making the rounds of the banquet tables and pretending to be waitresses taking down what each person wanted to eat. Frank's stepmother's first husband was Italian and all the children have big dark Italian eyes and engaging smiles. The littlest one was about three, and as captivating as Shirley Temple at that age.

After dinner Frank's stepmother invited us over so I could see the house which was covered with Christmas lights. These lights included a Christmas star, bows, garlands, reindeer, a wreath, and also some rather unique hot air balloons hanging from the trees, all made of lights. Their house is quite large, with 8 bathrooms and even more bedrooms, and some with historical significance. They have a real suit of armor in the living room, which is kind of a neat thing to see. We only stayed about an hour, since it was already 11:00 PM, but she invited me to join them the next morning on Christmas Day.

That was such fun! The same 20 or so relatives plus his step-grandmother were there, gathered around the Christmas tree in the den and exchanging presents. The step-grandmother has Alzheimers pretty badly but she was a dear and well behaved. The kids got pogo sticks and scooters and they were zooming about as you might imagine. Kids really make Christmas fun, don't they!

Frank's stepmother gave me a white boa, and I had no gift for her at all since I hadn't known that I was coming until 11:00 PM on Christmas Eve. I had a hard time waking up Christmas morning since I had no coffee or breakfast, but had a diet coke and some donuts at the house.

It was such fun to spend Christmas with a houseful of people with kids, instead of spending it alone as I have for the past few years. After we left his parents' house, Frank and I spent the rest of the day together and I cannot think of a nicer way to spend Christmas. We watched an old movie on video tape and held hands like teenagers. I spoke to my mother and daughter on the phone, since they are thousands of miles away.

Frank left to go back to Connecticut on Friday, but he's already searching online for good airfares for his next visit. We both had a wonderful time and he wants to return on or before Mardi Gras, which this year is February 24th.

Carole C

Re: It was wonderful!

Dorothy on 12/29/03 at 03:15 (140840)

Carole ~ You took us on several wonderful 'trips' along with you during your holiday stories which you were so nice to share. You have mentioned him before, and I can speculate on this, but who is Frank? Is he your 'boyfriend' (it sounds so silly, doesn't it, for mature people..)??
I am being nosey, but your story sounds like a romantic one, or possibly so, and I wonder if you could fill in the gaps....if you care to.

Re: It was wonderful!

Dorothy on 12/29/03 at 03:16 (140841)

Carole ~ You took us on several wonderful 'trips' along with you during your holiday stories which you were so nice to share. You have mentioned him before, and I can speculate on this, but who is Frank? Is he your 'boyfriend' (it sounds so silly, doesn't it, for mature people..)??
I am being nosey, but your story sounds like a romantic one, or possibly so, and I wonder if you could fill in the gaps....if you care to. Whether you do or not, it sounds like you had a deservedly wonderful time and I am happy for you!

Re: It was wonderful!

Suzanne D. on 12/29/03 at 08:12 (140842)

Necee and Carole, how very pleasant to read your accounts of Christmas! @};- @};- I felt I was right there with you both and enjoyed every word.

Dorothy, it is good to see a post from you!

After many school and church functions, it seemed that by Christmas Day we were 'winding down' here. But it can be good to relax at home, although when you're constantly 'running', it can feel odd, too! We also experienced for the first time the sharing of our daughter with her new in-laws and tried to be respectful of their gatherings. My husband kept thinking of the fact that this was our younger daughter's last Christmas before college, and that made him sad somewhat, but I kept trying to keep everyone happy! :)

We were able to drive down Saturday (to Russell Springs, Dorothy) and see most of my father's family whom we don't see very often. The highlight for me was seeing a much-younger cousin and his family. It's a long story, but it had been years since I'd seen him. His children are three and 6 months, and they were adorable. Children usually can sense who like them, I guess, so we hadn't been there long when his little boy came up to me and said, 'Would you please take me exploring?' (That meant walking around the restaurant looking at the stuffed fish on the wall and the unusual Christmas trees. One had a cowboy hat on top and red bandanas and ropes tied all over the branches!) So that was fun.

Last night, the men from church played basketball at my school gym. I have to be there when they play, for insurance puposes, so I was able to get my school tree down and decorations packed up and a few things ready for next week when we go back to school. One more trip back there, and I should be finished.

Have a good week, everyone!
Suzanne :)

Re: It was wonderful!

Rick R on 12/29/03 at 08:33 (140843)


My daughter received a digital camera for Christmas so my excuses for not elaborating on taping are dwindling. She also got an engagement ring which has her a bit distracted for the time being, sooner or later I'll figure out how to put photos out there.


Re: How was Christmas??

marie on 12/29/03 at 08:50 (140844)

Sounds like everyone had a joyous Christmas. I was still very sick but managed to have a nice Christmas day. We stayed home this year instead of running around. We watched 'Seabisquit' that afternoon. The roast I took out for dinner was still frozen at 5:00....so we delayed our Christmas dinner until Friday. I made enough appetizers to feed an army so there was plenty to eat. All in all it was a relaxing day.

Happy Holidays!

Re: It was wonderful!

Kathy G on 12/29/03 at 08:58 (140845)

This will be my second attempt at telling you how our Christmas was. I somehow deleted the entire first writing! Must have been a message from God telling me to make it shorter!

We had a lovely holiday. We were fortunate that both our daughter and our son and daughter-in-law were with us. As Suzanne said, one has to expect changes when one's children marry. Christmas Eve was spent at my sister's home which was, as always, just beautiful. Due to the amount of flu in our area, we had far fewer people come to join us this year., but we had a great time and a lot of leftover food! My nephew got an electric guitar, along with books and a computer program on how to play it. I suspect my sister has already bought him earphones so only he'll be able to hear his attempts!

Christmas day we always go to my husband's sister's house, which while in the same town as ours, is way out in the country. My brother-in-law always makes a delicious standing rib roast on the Weber and I supply the vegetables and a desert. We eat in the all season room which has one wall of glass. It's always a little cold around the edges so even though it was a mild day, the fire in the woodburning stove was roaring. It was excellent food as always but the neatest thing was that while we were eating, about five deer came to feed in the trees about fifty feet from the house. He always puts down feed for them but this year, because we have little snowcover, he didn't expect any of them to show up until the next snowstorm.

My new daughter-in-law was raised in NJ, in the suburbs of NYC. Her grandmother, who now lives in Florida but spent most of her life in NYC, thinks NH is the end of the earth. She was the one who wanted to know if we had hairdressers in NH that she could go to prior to the wedding. Can you imagine her reaction when she hears that her granddaugher ate her Christmas dinner watching deer feeding? She'll think that she has married into a family out of 'Little House on the Prairie!'

Thanks for sharing your Christmas experiences. It's so interesting to hear what everyone did. In my family, we don't have any of the older generation left to share the holidays with. Hmmm....that's a scary thought! In our family, we're the older generation! Yipes!!!:)) Or should that be:(( ?

Re: It was wonderful!

Carole C in NOLA on 12/29/03 at 09:28 (140846)

Yes, Dorothy, Frank is the man I care about and feel romantic about. I agree! There should be a better word than 'boyfriend' when one is this age, but our language seems a little deficient in that regard.

I first got to know Frank when he still lived here (New Orleans is his home town) but he is doing contract work in Connecticut right now and has been for quite some time. Frank is an aerospace engineer and he is brilliant, witty, balding, and about 7' shorter than me but that doesn't bother us. He's trying to save money and move back, and in fact worked on some other irons he has in the fire while he was here. It's hard for him to resist the high salaries available to engineers in the northeast, though. Meanwhile, we see one another when he can visit.

And yes, fill in all the romantic gaps you want, at least as far as I'm concerned. I'm crazy about him, and he has expressed similar feelings for me. Even better, I told him very clearly that I don't want to ever marry again or live with anybody again, and it turns out that he feels the same. Still, neither of us feel that's an impediment to romance, caring, and companionship in one's fifties.

Isn't life grand? :)

Carole C

Re: It was wonderful!

Julie on 12/29/03 at 10:06 (140847)

What a great attitude, Carole! I'm impressed - with both of you, but more with you because it's a rather more unusual for a woman to hold. And I admire the way you're able to articulate it.

It's wonderful that you had such a good time, and I hope Frank returns soon.

Re: It was wonderful!

wendyn on 12/29/03 at 11:46 (140850)

You GO girl!!!


Re: It was wonderful!

Suzanne D. on 12/29/03 at 13:05 (140853)

I love real-life 'fairy tales', Carole! Just think, two Christmases ago you were still in the throes of awful foot pain, and you were not looking forward to spending Christmas alone (if I remember correctly).

Now in the ensuing two years, you have virtually recovered from PF, bought a new house and fixed it up, kept up with your job, and this Christmas you dined at a fine restaurant on Christmas Eve and had a splendid Christmas Day (in a house with 8 bathrooms! That still amazes me; sorry if I sound too back-woodsy here! :'>)

I felt good this morning all the way to the hairdresser and back, just thinking about your story. (Yes, Kathy, we have hairdressers in Kentucky, too! :D - referring to your post just now.)

Wendy said it well, 'You GO, Girl!'
Suzanne :)

Re: It was wonderful!

Suzanne D. on 12/29/03 at 13:10 (140854)

Rick, is your daughter's wedding date set yet? Our older daughter was married last April 5, so I've been down that road lately! ;)

Glad you had a nice Christmas!
Suzanne :)

Re: It was wonderful!

Suzanne D. on 12/29/03 at 13:17 (140855)

I enjoyed reading about what you did at Christmas, Kathy! I can just picture those deer outside the big window. How neat!

If your daughter-in-law's grandmother thinks New Hampshire is at the end of the earth, you'll have to let me arrange for her to visit some places I am familiar with here in Kentucky! ;)

Suzanne :)

Re: It was wonderful!

Carole C in NOLA on 12/29/03 at 14:09 (140858)

Yes, you are right. Two Christmases ago I was miserable! The man I was dating back then dumped me right before Christmas, at least partially due to my PF.

But thank goodness that he did. If it hadn't, Frank and I would not have gotten back together the following summer. I had written Frank off several years before since I didn't want an e-mail relationship, but then after the passage of some time I realized how much he truly means to me.

While he is in Connecticut, I am just accepting things as they are and enjoying his visits enormously! I also enjoy his e-mails every day and he comes back as often as he can. If he moves back as he has planned, that would be ideal. But I'd rather enjoy the present than long for the future.

He really does want to move back, and in fact he rented a cheap studio apartment here last week as a 'landing place' since his contract work usually seems to end with little or no notice. Meanwhile he can stay there when he visits. While he was here we shopped for a few things for his new apartment. That was fun, too.

Julie, Wendy, and Suzanne, thanks for the encouragement! Very few people these days seem to be able to grasp the fact that emotional commitment and caring and companionship don't require financial entanglements. But you do and thanks for understanding.

Carole C

Re: It was wonderful!

Kathy G on 12/29/03 at 14:46 (140859)


There is a well-known author, Robert Parker, who lives in Boston. He writes the Spenser mystery series, as well as other books. He has losely based his main characther, Spenser and his 'girlfriend,' Susan, on himself and his wife. Spenser and Susan have separate houses and share a wonderful relationship.

In reality, Parker and his wife, Joanne, live in the same house but they have split it into a duplex and they maintain separate residences. He claims that it's the best way to be married and that they'd kill each other if they tried living together! I think they've been married for over thirty years so it's worked for them!

I think it's great that Frank has even rented an apartment in NOLA. You seem to enjoy your independence, and this way you can maintain that and have a relationship as well.

Good for you!

Re: How was Christmas??

Kathy G on 12/29/03 at 14:57 (140860)


I'm so glad you are civilized enough to have hairdressers where you live, too! In this lady's defense, I must add that she's 86 and a dynamo! She puts me to shame! She's of Greek descent although she grew up on Long Island as my daughter-in-law likes to point out to her. Her world has always been in the Greek community and in the city. She and her husband moved to Florida where they own a condo and she continues to thrive in her Greek communitiy; some of her friends from NYC live there, too. Her husband, an amazing man of 96, just had to give up his license but continues to do his daily exercises and teach Greek at the local church.

We met at the wedding and we couldn't be any more different if we tried. She always has her makeup and hair fixed just so and she loves to shop. She is always dressed up. Then you have me; with my short hair and though I wear makeup, it's very natural and once I put it on, I never give it a second thought. As for shopping, I do it when I have to! And I live in jeans!

She and I hit it off very well but we are polar opposites! Her daughter, my daughter-in-law's mother is the person who died at the age of 54, from multiple myleoma, just a fourteen months before the wedding. She was much like her mother and I doubt we would have had much in common either but I'd like to think we would have been friends. Alas, we will never know but I do know that she raised a lovely daughter whom we are proud to have as a member of our family.

Re: How was Christmas??

Suzanne D. on 12/29/03 at 15:14 (140861)

Kathy, I think it was me you were answering rather than Wendy (about having hairdressers), but that doesn't matter. I enjoyed reading about your daughter-in-law's grandmother, who seems like someone who would be quite interesting to meet! And, yes, one can hit it off with someone who is an opposite!

One of my friends had a birthday celebration Saturday for her father who just turned 90. She got him some kind of feeder to use with his cattle. He still goes out every day to care for them, and it was the perfect gift for him! It's wonderful to find people still able to do the things they like to do at that age.

Suzanne :)

Re: some advantages of living alone

Carole C in NOLA on 12/29/03 at 15:32 (140863)

I do like living alone. Instead of dirty laundry, I get roses. Instead of spending hours cooking, I am taken out to eat. I like having the house just like I like it; no compromises are necessary. I always get the TV remote and nobody has to like my taste in art but me. I go where I want, when I want, and spend my money on what I want.

And you know what? I have no 'honey do' list. I either do it or hire someone to do it.

Money conflicts are cut off at the root. Instead of worrying and nagging, I can smile, sit back, and learn from the outcome of Frank's seemingly catastrophic financial choices. It's not my problem. And anyway, his choices often turn out to be much better than I had thought. Since we aren't financially entangled, it makes no difference to me either way and a huge source of potential conflict is eliminated.

I like the duplex idea! My house could never be one, but his apartment is only five minutes away so that will be nice when and if he moves back.

Carole C

Re: How was Christmas??

wendyn on 12/29/03 at 19:00 (140882)

Yes - thank you Suzanne....I had no idea what the hairdresser comment to me was about!!!!

Re: It was wonderful!

Rick R on 12/29/03 at 20:27 (140888)

Just today it looks like we are on for June 11, 2005. So, what were the keys to survival?


Re: It was wonderful!

Suzanne D. on 12/29/03 at 21:51 (140890)

My daughter was pretty organized. She got one of those wedding planner books and tried to stay on top of everything, month by month. I tried my best to help her with everything, and we both tried to keep her daddy calm! :-)

Not waiting until the last minute and doing lots of things ourselves helped us - both stay calm and not spend a fortune. It sounds like you will have ample time to plan ahead, so that is good.

Best wishes to you all! Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the months to come. I may not know the answers, but if I can help, I will!

Suzanne :)

Re: It was wonderful!

Necee on 12/30/03 at 00:13 (140893)

Kathy, I enjoyed reading your post. The part about eating your Christmas meal while the deer grazed outside the window sounds so neat!
We have a ranch out in the country, we've seen deer within 5 miles of our place, but never on our property. I'd love to have them, we've considered getting a deer feeder, just haven't done it yet. Anyway...thanks for sharing your story.

Happy New Year.....and happy trails to you....


Re: deer grazing and children at Christmas time

Carole C in NOLA on 12/30/03 at 08:36 (140903)

Yes, doesn't that sound fabulous? I can't imagine watching DEER grazing and eating at the same time; I'd be too busy looking for my camera. You can tell that I've never lived far from a city or town. The best that I did in the 'eating with wildlife' department over the holidays, was to eat lunch with a couple of sparrows begging at my feet in a courtyard down in the French Quarter last week with Frank.

Suzanne, I loved your story about 'exploring' with that little boy. The Christmas season just doesn't seem the same without children around, but those of us whose kids are grown and gone can still enjoy it so much more by being around other peoples' children.

If only I could describe how adorable Frank's three year old step-niece was; she kissed every one of the 20 people there on the cheek and wished us all a Merry Christmas with such sincerity, before being whisked off to bed. The wonders and spirit of the season were shining in her eyes.

Suzanne, I know you love children and I hope that you and all of us always have children around at Christmas time!

Carole C

Re: It was wonderful!

wendyn on 12/30/03 at 11:11 (140920)

Congratulations Rick!!!!

Re: How was Christmas??

Kathy G on 12/30/03 at 17:12 (140971)


I just love to confuse people. It's an art I've clearly perfected!8-}

Re: How was Christmas??

marie on 12/30/03 at 19:57 (140977)

:)):)):))!!! Thanks for the laugh Kathy. I had no idea what was what but then I never do anyway.