Baby, It’s COLD Outside!

 Brrr.  I woke up this morning, not wanting to leave the comfort of my warm, comfy bed.  I checked the indoor/outdoor thermometer.  MINUS six degrees outside.  Yikes!  By the time I got Mike to school (yes, he still hasn’t gotten his driver’s license!) it was -4.  The sun is out now at 10:00 am and it is still MINUS 2 degrees.  Welcome to the Midwest!  Saturday it was 50 degrees outside!  Mother Nature likes to toy with us here in the Heartland.

This is a good day to bake cookies, so I will gather my cookie cutters, ingredients and mixing bowls and have at it!  I already baked a few cookies Saturday, but I will finish up today.  I usually pass cookies out to the neighbors and close friends in Omaha.  (No shipping of my cookies.  Sorry!  They’re good, but I doubt they would be worth it!  They’re not THAT good.)

Yesterday was our gift exchange party for work.  We gathered at our manager’s house in FAR west Omaha, had goodies and fought over gifts.  It was one of those gift “exchanges” where you can steal from each other.  We drew numbers, then went in order to select gifts.  (The first person opens a gift, then the second one can steal from her or open a different gift.  It is best to be one of the last numbers because then you can see all the gifts that have been opened already.)  We had 18 people and I was Number 7. Not too bad.  At least, I wasn’t #1, #2, or #3.  Not much action happened at the beginning.  We seemed to have a snowman theme this year (totally unintentional).  Many of the gifts were snowmen–snowman cookie jar, snowman candle holder, large snowman figurine, snowman music box etc.  We also had a Christmas tree made of Christmas bulb ornaments that was very popular and stolen many times.  The snowman votive that I ended up with was very popular as well.  I got to “steal” numerous times, so that was fun.  I kept telling people that my snowman was just a dust collector.  And to those with small children, I told them it would just get broken.  I teased Regina, the minister’s wife, that she shouldn’t steal from me because it would weigh heavily on her conscience.  Some people tried to hide their gifts so they wouldn’t get stolen, but they were found out.  One person brought a beautiful set of towels, bath soaps and “anti-stress” items.  She said it was a “Holiday Stress Kits.”  It was so noisy, it sounded like she said she got them at Holiday Inn, so I teased her about bringing stolen towels from Holiday Inn!  It was all in good fun.  Lots of laughter, lots of food and lots of fun.  As I drove home, it was dark and all the Christmas lights were on in the neighborhoods.  It was a festive day that really put me in the holiday spirit.

The cold wind has blown down some people’s decorations, unfortunately.  People who have opted for the blow-up outdoor decorations are learning a hard lesson.  I think those things should only be sold in temperate climates!  I have seen many deflated snow globes, snowmen, Santas, and Pooh bears.  I don’t know if the air just gets so cold that they deflate or if the wind and freezing temperatures cause them to crack or puncture.  At any rate, people in the Upper Plains states should stick with the more durable outdoor decorations that can stand up to the weather.  I even saw a few reindeer (the kind made of metal frames with lights outlining the shape) down.  At least, those can always be reset (if you can stand to go out in the cold and put them upright! I had one of those down last year and decided that it was sleeping or had been shot.  It stayed down until the spring thaw!)  So, I will stick with the plain, old colored lights on the bushes.  They seem pretty secure.       

I still have a few Christmas presents to get.  As Dennis and I get older, we can’t think of things to get each other anymore.  I guess we have all we need or want, or we prefer to buy our own items such as clothing.  Today I was thinking I should get him a remote starter for the car!  That might be a good idea. 

Christmas presents are more exciting when you’re a kid.  Do you remember some of your favorite Christmas presents and some of your most disappointing?  Every year, Santa would bring me some sort of doll. I really didn’t want a doll.  I wanted a big Tonka truck so I could dig in the dirt.  But, every Christmas morning, a doll was waiting for me under the tree.  By afternoon, the doll was bald from having her hair “styled” too much, and she usually was missing a leg or arm from rough-housing with my brothers. Santa never gave up, though.  He and my parents were determined to make a feminine little girl out me.  I don’t know what they were thinking!  I was surrounded by boys, so who would I play dolls with?  I had four brothers, and the nearest girl in the neighborhood lived over six blocks away.  All the nextdoor neighbors and those across the street were boys.  So, I played marbles, climbed trees, built snow forts, threw snowballs, played “kick the can,” rode bikes and dug in the dirt lot with the guys.  Then, one year I finally got my Tonka truck!  It was big sturdy yellow dump truck that couldn’t be destroyed by little brothers.  It was meant to be outdoors in the dirt.  I couldn’t wait for summer to take it outside and play!    

The fascination with dirt started at an early age.

scan0002 scan0001 

scan0006 scan0005 scan0004 Dolls that didn’t survive Christmas

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