Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christmas Mice...ugh!

thanks-05 013
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

The wireless mouse we have decided to malfunction, which caused the wireless keyboard to join the debacle. Needless to say, I am using Thor's laptop to try to post today...late, but here goes.

More troubles in the ward. An elderly couple went down, meaning they became extremely ill and were at you-know-who's door, so we paid a visit. All is currently going as well as can be expected; but it put a day's work out the window. Progress in the "decking of halls" is slow coming this year!

This first photo shows the trees atop Thor's desk at the front window. We usually have one or two small trees on his desk so that he can continue to work, but he requested a "forrest" so that he could see it as he drove into the driveway. The tallest of the trees is always referred to as #3's. She was one of the first to really want her own tree to decorate. She was in jr. high when I spent an entire day hand wiring EACH branch of said tree so it would sparkle. You can actually feel heat from this tree. Thor had to go into the tree and add some kind of electrical box so that it wouldn't keep shorting itself out (or take out the house fuses either!) It has become the family joke, but hey, any source of heat in this house is a good thing! (Yesterday I wired another 6 footer, and it also needs that special doohickey...Thor?)

The only tree (so far) to get decorations is the one on the floor, by the window and hidden by the computer (with the vacationing keyboard). This is a really interesting tree. A pass along from the next door neighbor when her hubby died. She actually gave us three trees. (She is blind and after hubby died she thought,"what am I doing this for?" and got rid of all the "stuff".) This particular tree was in pretty shabby shape, lots of wire showing, funky holes, etc. So it was the perfect "Melanie" tree.

I have a friend Melanie who invited me to attend a yearly gathering of her old-time friends. They always meet the 1st Saturday in December. Everyone is required to bring dishes for a pot luck dinner. It's just "the girls", so the offerings range from shrimp to homemade tamales to amazing casseroles...stuff your husbands probably wouldn't want to eat. It's always so GOOD! Lots of everything, appetizer to desserts and back again. Joni is our host and she and her hubby had a house built that is large enough to accommodate a sit down dinner for the 18 ladies who show up. She has ceiling high trees everywhere and her (literal) mansion is decorated so homey and warm you never feel like "egads! this is too much!" She herself is warm and friendly and feels much like your favorite sister in law. (Hubby is in and out of the party driving Joni nuts as he picks at the pork chops or steals Mexican Wedding's a game with him and we all find him very charming as well!) The halls, staircases, and even the bedrooms and bathrooms are all festive and adorned. The table is dressed and set with her fine china and each plate holds a homemade fabric bag filled with cookie mix and tied off with a tiny version of the theme. This is "tradition", you can count on it. Some years there are other "small" gifts holding, sitting next to, or otherwise on the plate as well. Candles, music, and lots of conversation catching up with everyone...including Joni's mom who is flown in from "down South" to enjoy the evening.

After dinner we all play "Bunco" and have a great time. When the Bunco is exhausted we head into the family room and sit around to listen to the eldest of the women read a story she has found (we all get a copy). Then one by one we all bring out the themed ornament we have made, purchased (or otherwise) for each of the other guests. Each year everyone goes home with 17 ornaments with one theme. They range from the lady who always makes hers out of paper, the wired one, the wooden one, the "oh my heck, she BOUGHT 17 of THESE?" one, the one you wonder how she managed to make the theme fit this object (a large round bell hotglued to a rock...."jinglebell rock" for "Jingle Bells" - I made these for each of my 'Cemetary' Students that year!), and others. I LOVE this party! It's so much fun to see what 18 different ladies think about one subject and how it translates.

At the end of the night we all get copies of each others recipes and they are put into a little book for us to take home. On the first page of the book is the invitation to the following year's party and the new theme, such as The Nutcracker, or Snow, Christmas Tree, or whatever. Usually we can guess what will be next year's theme by observing Joni's home and the gifts she chooses for prizes throughout the evening. One year I "lost" Bunco and came home with an 18 inch Bearington Collection Bear. That same evening everyone was given a TY Collectable 12 inch bear at their place setting (did I mention Joni's loaded?). The following year we had "bears" as our theme.

Each year I pull out the "Melanie" tree and the box labeled "Mel's Tree". All of the ornaments are placed on the tree or stuffed into it. I love to look at this tree because it reminds me of the tiny lady who manages to make lovely sentiments out of a brown paper bag and the craftiness of my friend who designs each of her ornaments around "BELIEVE" no matter what the theme. It reminds me of 18 women who don't call or write or see each other during the year, but for one magical night they come together and make a real memory.

add to sk*rt


chronicler said...

Your evening of fun sounds wonderful! What a great tradition to be a part of. Good luck with the rest of your trees!

Bek said...

That is such a cool idea. We have a smaller version of that here, but we need to pick a theme for each night. Sorry things have been so crazy for you. Good luck decorating...I am still trying to get my boxes in from the garage...

Lisa M. said...

How stinkin fun. That is really neat sis!