December 25th, 2003


Mele Kalikimaka

Christmas musings.

It's been way too long since I visited Mom. She's in Dallas, Oregon, which is about a two hour drive, at best, and her house is filled with the lovely (gag) reek of burned tobacco. Penny has gotten so sensitive to the stuff that the last two times she was in a heavy-smoking house (Vicky's and Mom's, respectively) she had an asthma attack so severe that we had to take her to urgency care for a nebulizer treatment. To add insult to injury, they wanted to take us to dinner on Mom's birthday in November, but Penny's knees have been so completely intolerable that we couldn't do it - dinner at the Spirit Mountain casino buffet - but we just got her a wheelchair (rental) so she can go out to the gym and stuff, so things should be better. So we went to lunch with Mom on Tuesday.

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Sunday was the Festival of Lessons and Carols. Penny was able to go, which is great - she barely remembers Christmas last year, as it was two days after she finished the last internal radiation treatment, and I was working at Norm Thompson again. This year I was ushering every service. So. Lessons and Carols, and Brad and Linda took us to the Red Robin for a kvetch fest that lasted until midnight. Rar, closing down Red Robin on a Sunday Night.

Tuesday, as mentioned, we went to lunch with Mom.
Wednesday, Christmas Eve - I had to do three things. Feed the cat next door, get my weekly shot, and go to church in time to usher at the 4pm children's pageant.
I left just before 2pm. Feeding the cat and the lizard took 5 minutes. Getting to the clinic took 20 minutes. It was closed. Kaiser decided to shut everything down except for emergency care at their two remaining hospitals, and the urgency care at two locations. So I had to find my way to the urgency care. There were 10 people in line. There were two lines. You had to go through both. I was there before 3pm, and it took until 5:30 before I got out. Yeah, I missed the pageant, but having warned the people who ran things that all I was going to do was find and recruit parents to do that work anyway, I was happy to find that they had done so.

Then, 10pm, off to the 11pm service, and even though I got there by 10:30 there were still people already there ... insane. People seem to think they have to get there really really early.

All went well. We had incense, choir, bells... the 'full bells and smells' routine. It was gorgeous. I got home by 1AM, and we stayed awake a bit longer, eating candy (since I've been on Atkins, we agreed that there was a single day allowed, and then it's back to strict for me.)

Today is Christmas. We have been watching the 24-hour marathon of 'A Christmas Story' and opening presents. Not a huge haul as we're both broke-ish, but the Roast Beast came out gorgeous, and we're about to run out to 'StoryBook Lane' - a 90 year old traditional kitschy lights display run by friends. And then, tomorrow, it's Boxing Day with Brad and Linda. That'll be great fun. We plan to watch goofy stuff. We're giving Brad our unused turntable so he can dub a bunch of records to CD. Maybe we'll get the same thing done to ours.

Happy Christmas to all.
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