Monday, December 14, 2009

Pickles and tradition...

Appropriately so for this blog, I was questioned today about why southern people "fish out" pickles from the jar with a funny fork and put them on crystal trays. A co-worker said she had been asked by a friend to help her put out the pickle tray for a Christmas party she attended this weekend.

I guess that's a logical question for someone not familiar with the tradition of serving gherkins and midgets on pretty little trays that have been inherited from your grandmother. I quickly agreed that it was, in fact, a very normal thing and that for as long as I can remember we haven't had a family function where a pickle wasn't involved. Understandable - I'm from Mt. Olive (home of the world's best pickles) and my uncle worked there his entire life. Pickles were his life and we supported that livelihood with great allegiance. I still do.

Things like pickle trays are those great things I always took for granted as a kid but have grown to value more and more. I catch myself noticing all of those things that make our family traditions special. And, during the holidays there are alot that can be seen.

My grandmother's tree topper is an angel my uncle made in the 2nd grade. It once was white construction paper adorned with glitter and crayon. Now, its more fragile than an egg shell. The paper is almost transparent. My grandmother adores that angel more than any other ornament on her tree.

I have my own little tradition that I've started but the credit for the idea goes to my 2nd mom. My best friend's mom had one of the most beautiful Christmas trees I had ever seen. It was full of Christopher Radko ornaments. Those handblown and handpainted, sparkly ornaments that you can get and give for any occassion. She started me on my tradition of collecting Radko's. I'm still fairly new to the whole collection and so I have to improvise with other ornaments to fill in the holes, but I'm getting there. I can't wait until my entire tree is full of only Radko's. But, more importantly, I can't wait until maybe I'll inherit that construction paper angel to put on top of my Radko tree.

Happy holidays!

(that's my favorite Radko - reminds me of the beach at Christmas)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Where we left off...

"Where we left off" is an appropriate title for what seems to be the first entry in a blog when, in fact, it's actually not the first entry at all. I started this blog way back when (Fall '07) and did a not so great job of keeping up with what was happening in my world. Maybe that's just it. I did such a good job of keeping up with my world that I did a poor job keeping up with my blog. Thank goodness this isn't one of those virtual pets/dolls that do bad things when not paid much attention. Actually, I just hit delete on the older blog entries just because I'm a little weird that way and don't like when things don't have some order to them.

So, now that I'm getting a kick of the writing gene again, let's see if I can be a more responsible blog updater'er.

Let's see... It's Christmas time - supposedly the happiest time of the year. And, it is. But, it's also one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year too. First you must decorate at the stroke of midnight on Thanksgiving Day. Before the turkey has had time to cool in the refridgerator people are stringing garland and checking the bulbs on the lights. Maybe there's more caffeine in that Thanksgiving meal than I thought.

Then there are the parties. A party at work, a couple of parties with friends, family gatherings and church services. Each of which require some sort of food dish, a bottle of wine and a gift. (That doesn't include the gifts for the aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents, etc.) And, for each of these parties it seems we all need a new outfit. For some reason last year's sparkly top goes missing this time of year and an additional trip to the mall, not for gifts, but for more clothes is usually required. I guess, they can't all be tacky Christmas sweater parties, unfortunately. I seem to always be able to find something for that one!

And, lest we forget the Christmas cards. Maybe I'm a little more worked up about it than most, but I can't help it. I love getting them and I love sending them. But, the whole process of finding a location to take the picture, someone to take the picture, and picking your favorite out of all of the pictures. Then, you start all over again on the card itself. Do you get the one on photo paper or spring for the high-end card stock. I've often done the fairly simple "insert picture here" card, which is fairly easy and great to send your mom so she can frame it for the world to still look at in June.

I'm not the biggest fan of sticking my own picture on the card but I can't help it. I've listened to one too many marketing pitches and know first hand that when you've got a stack of cards the one everyone reaches for first is the one with the pictures on it. And if I'm going to go through all the trouble and expense of sending you a Christmas card I really want it to make the fridge and not the trash until the wrapping paper does. Not to mention Cody's the cutest thing you've ever seen. Ok, so maybe he's not as soft and cuddly as my friend's new babies, but he's my baby and I think he's just fabulous. So, until I've got something to wrap up in pj's and monograms you can expect your yearly Cody portrait to arrive sometime mid-December. Be sure to hang his picture under soft shows off his eyes.

So, it's Christmas time... the happiest time of the year. And, as if I didn't have enough to do I figure I'd start this again and see how it goes. When my candle that's supposed to make me forget I have a fake Christmas tree burns out or when I burn the sugar cookies I'm supposed to take to the next party at least now I'll have a little "typing therapy" to get me through until the next festive moment.

Happy, happy Holidays!

(That's our Christmas picture for 2009 - take #212)