Today is Christmas Morning. As I write this the clock ticks towards 10am. I hope to have this post completed by early Morning, Afternoon, Evening? OK all is quiet now, The phone has stopped chirping, I have stopped gaming with a friend and the typing beat goes on.
A Lady I know from Pogo sent a me a hand made Christmas card from Canada. She did a very nice job on the project and I just had to share this card. It is pretty neat. It is the featured photo at the top of this post. Merry Christmas !
The festivities started about 24 hours ago. When I was growing up, my Grandfather and Grandmother always had gala-style festivities down in the basement of their house on Christmas Eve. The only rules that existed was, adults had to bring a minimum of one gift for some one, and you had to drink, eat and be merry. This always occurred on Christmas Eve. Back in the day, that basement didn’t seem to be that big to me, but, now that I think of that grand place, the area had to be at least 40 feet wide and close to 70 feet long. It held enough room for a HUGE Christmas tree, a small bar, and about 8 to 10 eight foot tables where everyone sat. It was an amazing sight to see so many people, many relatives and many friends of the Family. I miss them all.
So, from that moment on, I made a promise to myself. Keep the tradition going on Christmas Eve. Many do not know me very well. Promises are the ultimate sacrifice when it comes to me giving them out. I have not released more than 20 in my entire lifetime (so far). They hold a special purpose , a special meaning and in my opinion should be treated as such.
So the glorious tree has served its purpose once again this fine Christmas season. It’s an artificial tree that was purchased from walmart for 77 bucks. It’s held up for a dozen years of so but the people who set the tree up insist that the parts are becoming loose. It’s still pretty solid and looks good. The Domestic shorthair cat, Smokie of 16 years approves. I asked him to sit in front of the tree and he was willing.
This is his fav time of the year. He has his own instant hide away. My son suggested placing one of his medium sized dog beds (yes he is big, over 22 pounds) under the tree. It was almost an instant hit. Every year we typically leave an escape route for Smokie to get under the tree and away from any thing he does not want to be around. The addition of the bed under the tree solidified his comfort zone even more.
As I was cooking on Christmas Eve, it was unusually warm here. I had to open up a window and let a good cross breeze come from the outside. It was Christmas eve about 3pm and it was 68 degrees F outside. I guess it beats being below freezing. That experience of temps diving into the teens is happening on Christmas Day, near sunset. Man, I am going to be a weee bit sore. I can feel it coming on. But, hopefully the low temps will be short lived, like, two days.
The wind started whipping up to above 30 mph. A few Family members made it here just before 6pm and then, as if a calling, the skies opened up. I mean it POURED. It was not as bad as the Flash flood we had here in 2012, but it was close. I looked on the NOAA past three day weather information and we had over 2.5 inches of rain in a six hour window, with most of the rain falling within an hour.
We had to wait for the second half of the party to arrive since traffic was affected by the heavy rains. Once every one arrived they were armed with a fork, knife, plate and appetite to devour some food. They did not disappoint.
My feet were aching today. I realized I stood up for most of Christmas Eve cooking. We went through a lot of food. The 72 peirogies, 7 large Kielbasas and a 12 pound ham are gone. But, there are a handful of cookies left out of the 5 dozen that I baked, so at least that will be a reward later. It will go good with a nice warm strong cup of coffee.
I know Smokie is tired, he was up most of last night into the wee hours of the morning batting around his new toys. You have NO idea how finicky this cat is. One summer many moons ago he was outside with us and we were ripping up landscaping material (humans – not the cat) and Smokie spotted a mini garden snake on the ground. His love for snakes has not let up.
But a new toy has caught his eye. Last year I decided to by Mr. Finicky Kitty Cat a few stuffed mice called Skitter Critters. They were cheap and I bought him a total of six. They come in packs of three. I placed these mice under the edges of the lazy boy. It was almost an instant hit. A few months ago I watched Smokie Basketball dribble one of these toy mice down the 30 foot hallway. They keep him pretty active.
So, this Christmas he is rewarded with some treats and another army of Skitter Critters for some epic munching and mice vs. cat battles upstairs. Several have already been swatted down the stairs which have been diligently placed back upstairs in battle form once again. He currently had four from last year’s army and I added three more to the battle. As he swats these with glee and they go hidden from sight for a short time, I will add a few more to replace the ones that are hiding seeking refused from the Cat of swat.
Smokie listens pretty well, on the nights where the Virginia nights of Winter are a bit “cool” the house doesn’t keep it completely toasty in here, but it is managable. Smokie does not mind being covered up and he prepares himself in a comfy position just before his eyes are glazed over and ready to fall asleep, I take the corner of the blanket I had hidden and flop it over the top of him. He does a small wiggle dance, settles and and is snoring shortly after. He definately would make it as a Camper. I guess he is one happy – camper. No pun intended.
On Christmas Eve for the past two years prior to any wrapping paper flying off the presents, I shoot a video of the entire event. It typically takes 20 minutes or so for the attendees to shred through about fifty presents this year. One day I will probably share a link to this over zealous exercise, but let us leave that one alone for the time being.
Just before I started filming, one of my daughters and her husband slapped two big presents under the tree saying they were for me. I typically tell everyone that I do not need anything and if I want something, I typically go buy it. So, my presents are typically a chocolate fix, some of my favorite coffee or a new mug every few years.
A few months ago that daughter called me on the phone as I was struggling to remove some camera equipment from an older camera bag which has a broken zipper. I told her I had to place the phone down for a bit in order to get the pieces I needed out of the bag. I must have mumbled something about the bag, and mentioned Pelican case, because that is exactly what was under the tree for me. Oh, yeah the case WAS empty, I simply filled it up as fast as I could to see if this Pelican could hold most of the camera equipment I own. All the camera gear fits, to include three digital cameras, five lenses and a host of cables and accessories.
One of the things I will be doing this coming new year is selling my hoard of Autographed Forrest Fenn Books. I had been ordering them and handed out a few of them as I was massing a “party of people” to act as a think pot trying to decipher the poem. Well, with The Thrill of the Chase treasure chest being found, and with Forrest Fenn passing away, I have decided to try and sell these. One autographed copy sold for $72.00, and this money will be put into a fund for a trip some where. If you know anyone who is a Forrest Fenn fan and wished they had an autographed copy of his book, now may be the time to act.
As the temps fall this Christmas evening, I wandered up the stairs past the Christmas tree into the kitchen for some half and half creamer for the coffee. I heard a rustling, and turned went to the tree and peeked under the tree with no longer has a wall of presents around it to protect the King Kong Kitty Cat from the small humans that scurried just as fast as Smokie through the house. Low and behold he is under the tree, in his bed gleefully swatting at one of his new mice I gave him. As a typical gesture with Smokie, if I pull out a camera to catch him in the act of play with his mice or a plastic snake, he sits, his tail swishing a mile a minute and won’t resume his play efforts until the area is void of humans.
He was in his bed, sitting up and pawing over the side as if fishing for a mice he could not see. I walked in, looked and he sat down. I picked up the mouse and placed it on the edge of his bed. He lays down, acting as if he is uninterested to further ensue a game of cat and mouse while I was trying to observe. I will know when it recommences because its a ear opening experience, hearing Smokie boom, bang and bounce off items until the mouse is swatted out of sight or reach or he simply lets the Skitter Critter alone, giving it a temporary relief period until Smokie decides another epic battle should commence.
Smokie just utilized his presidential staircase to get on top of my desk, had a handful of his fav treats. he looked at me as if to remind me its time for his wet food. I looked at the clock and now, as I type it is almost 24 hours since the house was bustling with activity. I best close this post for now as I am in need of a cup of hot coffee and one of those cookies the size of mayonnaise jar lid.
I hope your Christmas was one to rival the best ever, and yor New Year brings you much happiness, luck and good times.
Uh oh, there goes the rockem’ sockem’ Cat vs. Skitter Critter main event upstairs again. LOL. I hope the tree remains upright.