Happy (really late) Birthday, Steve!!

In all of the Christmas chaos I forgot to post on Steve's birthday, which was last Sunday. I'm going to blame Steve for this partly, since he wouldn't let us celebrate his birthday at all this year.

Steve, being the middle child in our family, has always been kind of a joker and entertainer. I know that he and Dave have always thought I was spoiled (don't deny it, guys), but I think that they both got away with WAY more than I did. And Steve got away with it all right in front of everyone. For instance, if I belch in public, my mother gets this horrified look on her face and says "Kristin!" in shocked tones. Steve, on the other hand, can say and do anything, and he gets away with it because the way he does it is just so funny. He has actually used the word ass in front of my parents, and mentions the planet Uranus every chance he gets. And then last night Zoe gave him his Christmas present, which was a set of meditation balls she'd bought him in China. So Steve spent the rest of the evening talking about them, saying "Where are my balls?" many times. I caught my mom laughing. Steve blames his belches on me and his farts on Zoe. And we adore him for it. Because he's funny!

Steve, you're one of the hardest working, most patient men I know, and a wonderful father to your girls. I have enormous respect for you. Even though you were making crude jokes about the summer sausage yesterday. Happy birthday! I love you!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Judah's first Christmas. It was kind of a marathon, as our holidays tend to be since we live near both of our families. But it was so much fun. We spent Christmas Eve celebrating with my side of the family at Dave's house, eating turkey and prime rib. Judah had a good time playing with all his new toys, and a better time ripping the tags off of everyone else's presents, so there was some confusion as to what gift was supposed to go to who. My newest niece, Leah, was there with Steve and Arla, and she's only three months older than Judah, so the two of them had a great time together. The only mishap came when Morgan was trying on her new roller skates and begging to skate around the house. Dave told her no, and my dad said, "We don't want you to fall, because you'd fall right on the back of your head." Morgan wailed that she wouldn't, and then seconds later her feet rolled out from under her and she fell and smacked her head on the wall. Hmmm..... But an ice pack can fix just about anything in Morgan's world, and soon she was back to partying with Lindsay and Zoe.

This morning was the Christmas service at church. Because Christmas fell on a Sunday this year our church opted to do a Christmas morning service instead of the usual Christmas Eve services. I was disappointed because the Christmas Eve candlelight service is my favorite of the year, but today's turned out to be really good. We sang a lot of traditional hymns, which I love, and our pastor spoke on the gifts of the magi, giving out a lot of good facts I'd never heard (if you had a gallon milk carton made of solid gold it would weigh 150 pounds). Saw some old friends at church that I hadn't seen for a while (hi Amy, Gretchen, and Chummy!), and chatted a bit before running off for Christmas at Nathan's parents' house. More delicious food and great presents there, then off to my parents' for a little while to end up the day with a leftover turkey sandwich and a piece of cheesecake. Yum!

Nathan and I had our own present-opening time on Christmas Eve. I was so excited, because Nathan bought me the first season of Gilligan's Island on DVD!! And Nathan's favorite present from me was a big silver ring with the V8 symbol (like the engine, not the drink). And guess what? I finally got the false teeth in my stocking! See, my family has this really disgusting tradition of passing around a pair of super old false teeth (they belonged to my great-great-grandmother or something) at Christmas as a gag gift. Nathan got them the year we got married, and Judah got them last year BEFORE HE WAS EVEN BORN. I have never gotten them in my life, but Judah gave them to me this year! Finally!

Well, the day's about over, and I'm off to bed after I post one more long-overdue entry...


The end of the British invasion

Every year on Christmas Eve Nathan and I go the the Olde Ship for a traditional British meal and celebration. They give us crackers at the beginning of the meal, and we pop them, groan at the stupid joke, play with the toy, and wear the paper crowns while we eat. This year we couldn't go on Christmas Eve, so we went tonight instead. We dressed Judah up in his little Santa outfit and took him with us. It was very cool. We love the pub feel, and all the drunk people you could ever want. We sat at our little corner table eating our tomato (toe-MAH-toe) soup and lamb shank and chicken pie (veggie puffs for Judah). It was perfect. The only thing we missed this year was the British servers. The Olde Ship used to only hire British ex-patriots, and the women who used to wait on us had great accents and called us "Love" and "Dearie." Our waitress tonight was about 22 and about as California as they come. I suppose that accounts for the confusion at the end of the meal.

She was clearing our plates and Nathan said, "I know it's a little early, but do you think we could get some crackers?" She said, "Yeah, no problem." And I got all excited, because I love me them little paper crowns. A minute later the waitress swung by our table again and dropped a bowl full of individually packaged Ritz and Saltine crackers before speeding off to the next table. We stared at the crackers for a second before Nathan yelled at her back, "No, not THAT kind of cracker!" But she was already gone. For a minute we wondered what to do, and then Nathan said, "Quick, put those in your bag." So, feeling like an 85 year old woman living on social security, I swept the whole lot into Judah's diaper bag and we stood up to leave.

At the door Nathan turned to the hostess and repeated his request for crackers. She said, "Sure, I can get you some. Like, just regular eating crackers?" No, NO! Like popping crackers! Dumb jokes and stuff! Where have all the British people gone? She headed back to the kitchen and finally returned with two crackers (the popping kind) wrapped in red and green foil paper. Ah! At last. I was ecstatic. And I'm wearing my crown as I type this. Just kidding.


What does Christmas smell like to you?

They (you know, "They") say that smell is the sense most linked to memory. This is totally true for me. Certain smells trigger instant memories, and sometimes they just bring up a general feeling, even if I can't tie them to specific happenings. My grandparents' house smelled like damp earth, pepper trees, dust, and something sweet baking. The smell of leg of lamb cooking also reminds me of the house in the heights. Lagerfeld Photo cologne always reminds me of a summer trip to Pennsylvania. Night-blooming jasmine for some reason reminds me of Halloween. Victoria's Secret's Amber Romance lotion reminds me of a first date in Laguna. Tonight I caught a scent while driving that smelled like cherry-flavored slush puppies, and I was instantly transported back to Skateway, the long-gone skating rink where I spent some of the most important nights of my junior high life.

Christmas is one of the best times of the year for smells. Hot cider and hot chocolate, peppermint candy canes, and of course the Christmas tree pine smell. Brewing coffee always reminds me of Christmas parties, because they were some of the only times my parents made coffee. Certain types of candle wax, and the smell of the house right after all the candles had been blown out. Also, a perfume my parents bought for me one Christmas when I was about ten, called Sweet Honesty (I suspect they bought it more because they liked the name than the smell), and the plumeria lotion Christi bought me one year. This year I feel like the smells are what's holding it all together. The old traditions, which have been slowly changing over the last few years, are just about completely gone this year. But we still have memories, and some things never change. Turkey roasting has probably smelled the same since time began.

Merry Christmas!

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Overheard recently

Or: Reasons I'm a bad, snobby person.

In Starbucks: "Did you know that Marilyn Monroe sang, too? Yeah, she sang "Santa Baby." I just heard it. She's good. I think she's better than Madonna."
(Weird, Madonna's usually my standard for judging singing voices too! Uhhh.....yeah.)

On a TV show about tattoos: "So, I'm getting a tattoo on my wrist. It's the Asian symbol for happiness."
(Chinese? Japanese? Thai? Philippino? Korean? What Asian are we talking about here? I didn't even have to turn around and look at the TV to know what this girl looked like.)


Poetry Sunday

Maybe a new tradition? Don't know. I've been playing around with the idea of posting old journal entries every Friday, but I can't really bring myself to make fun of them publicly yet. My poems are another story. Most of them are embarrassingly bad, so I'll post them from time to time. However, for tonight, I'm posting one I've actually always liked. I can't remember if I've posted it before. Forgive me if I have.


The goosebumps rose on my arms
every time the door opened,
the rain-wet air sending coffee smells
swirling around my head.
Your jacket hung tantalizingly
on the back of your chair -
you weren't cold -
and at a glance from me
you handed it over.
I wrapped it around me -
it was still warm from your body
and smelled of your skin -
and rubbed my cheek on the olive-green corduroy.
I fell asleep with my head on my arms,
forehead against my coffee mug,
listening to jazz
and you turning the pages of your book.
When I woke it was to your smile
which I mirrored sleepily,
and you laughed softly as you reached out
to touch the imprints
your jacket had left on my skin.

16 February 2000


Surprise, surprise

You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every
book ever published. You are a fountain of
endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and
never fail to impress at a party.What people love: You can answer almost any
question people ask, and have thus been
nicknamed Jeeves.What people hate: You constantly correct their
grammar and insult their paperbacks.

What Kind of Elitist Are You?
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