Saturday, December 10, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, no longer dark and bare to me.

OK, well I couldn't let Christmas end like that, with a dark & bare Christmas Tree like in my last post (Oh Christmas Tree, Bev style).  

Time to get into the Christmas spirit.
 So I decided I was putting up all the ornaments 
with or without lights.  

Some of these ornaments were my mom's from 40-50 years ago.  I couldn't let them just spend Christmas in a container like many did last Christmas.  I put many of them up last year, but it was sad putting them up, the first Christmas without my mom.  And there just wasn't room for all of ours and my moms.

I never realized how beautiful, how intricate many of them were.  That each one has its own story, its own memory, they all came flooding back to me today.  I started thinking that maybe the lights don't really add to the tree after all, maybe they distracted me from appreciating these ornaments all these years.

My daughter Jen saw what I was doing, laughed and said  "No way mom.  That's ridiculous, a tree without lights!  There's no way that's happening."  I continued to decorate the tree and read her the dates on some of the boxes of ornaments.  "1968 the box of 8 was only .29 cents.  There are about 10 Chicago Cubs ones from over the years.  Grandma loved her Cubbies.  Oh look, here's her Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueyn Kennedy ornaments!"  There were ornaments of angels and snowmen and bells and tea cups and lighthouses.  All the things my mom loved.

(My mom, Christmas Eve, 2009.  She passed away without warning 1 month later.)

She had ornaments of the nativity scene, 
the reason for the season.  
(I found this pic on the internet.
We have this exact same ornament below that I'm talking about)

Then there were our family's ornaments.  I said to Jen, "Look Jen, it says 'Our First Christmas as Mr. & Mrs., 1989', when your dad and I got married.  And 'Baby's First Christmas, 1992."   I told her, "Grandma bought this for us that Christmas, when you were 10 days old." It had a baby girl rocking in a cradle, much like the picture I found on line below:

Jen said she kind of understands what I mean now and she was getting sad as all the memories came back to her as well.  She said, "It is great reflecting on the meaning of each and every ornament, but come on mom, don't be crazy, of course we're getting lights for our tree tomorrow.  It's a Christmas tree mom, it's gotta have lights!"

It didn't matter to me either way.  I was content with what I had, even though my kids think it was a crazy idea, a tree without lights.  I was happy taking my time this year appreciating each and every ornament. With my hurt back, I could only put up one at a time, slowly, over hours.

Lorens agrees with Jen so we're getting a few strands.  And I guess when we put up some lights, it will make it look even better.  But this day without tree lights taught me a valuable lesson, to realize what is, to me, most important and the greatest of all of my material possessions, the history and memories associated with my family's Christmas tree ornaments.

My home came alive today with the Christmas spirit when I took them out and put them up. They've got decades of good memories we've shared in Christmases past.

Somehow, before, the importance of the ornaments
 had been lost to me among the lights
and the rush to just finish putting it all up. 

Merry Christmas! 
Love, glass half full in the Chicago burbs.

(Jen, me, Mike & Lorens.  Christmas Eve, 2011 at my sisters house)

UPDATE 12/26/2011:  Christmas was wonderful.  My family, my brother, his wife, my sister & her children all made the journey to my sister's home.  There was love, laughter, great food, drinks, great games and tons of presents.  We visited my parents grave and told them both Merry Christmas.  We all miss them terribly but are still trying to continue the traditions they instilled in us:  Love one another.  Be kind.  Be loving.  Try and laugh often.  Be thankful.  And we all are.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Bev style.

So, I'm pretty much barking orders from my throne on the front room couch since I hurt my back.  Especially about all of our Christmas decorations.  We had some new neighbors move in last weekend and it kills me that I look like a slacker over here because my outside Christmas decorations aren't up yet, like they normally would be by this date. I figured I could put up the lights and ornaments on my tree inside over the next week or so, just as long as the outside looks finished.

So I told Lorens yesterday, "Just put up all the outside decorations for me and I'll be happy."  

Or so I thought.

When I woke up a few hours later, I was pleasantly surprised.  Our entire backyard fence had lights strung on them.

  • The trees outside were lit up, 
  • The picture window was lit up. 
  •  There are mechanical deer under a tree, moving their heads, all lit up.  
  • A manger with the nativity scene is under another tree. Lorens had even strung lights all around it, it looked great, all lit up.  

I was happy, at first.  We no longer look like slackers to the neighbors.  
We looked more like the Griswald's on the outside of the house.

He had also put the Christmas tree together 
and it was sitting in front of the picture window, 
dark and bare.

So today, I decided I would try and string some lights on it so I could start and put on the 4 containers of ornaments.  But I couldn't find any lights.  I searched every container, they were gone.

I called Lorens at work.  I said, "Honey, where's all the Christmas tree lights?".  He said, "Didn't you look outside?"  I said, "Yes, thank you, its beautiful!  But I'm looking for the tree lights."  He said, "Well, 15 strands didn't work so I threw them away.  I don't know where the rest are."

I finally found the container that was marked "TREE LIGHTS".  
It was in the garage next to his ladder and hammer.  
It was EMPTY.

I realized, all of the lights that he had thrown away were last years outside lights.  They were the ones being subjected to the Chicago elements last season.  Lorens used all our tree lights yesterday for the outside of the house.  Now, there were NO lights for the tree inside.  I'm on a medical leave of absence from my job and so I figured we would have to make due with what we have this year.

So Lorens suggested that we take down the outside lights, 
and put them on our tree where they belong,
A day after we put them all up! 
3 weeks BEFORE Christmas!
There's no way that's happening.

We would go from looking like the Griswald's to 
looking like Mr. & Mrs. Grinch to the neighbor kids.

So I'm the house that is all lit up on the outside with a bare ass Christmas tree in the picture window inside.  It is actually perfect.  Just like my life, a friggin sitcom.   I Love Lucy meets Bev.

Merry Christmas
from my dark ass frontroom.

UPDATE 12/10/11:  O.K.  I might have been being a bit over dramatic.  It didn't stay dark & bare for very long.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bev's luck as an (almost) PowerBall winner.

Sitting at home day after day with an injured back is BORING.  I decided to clean out my purse.  I found some Powerball and Mega Million lottery tickets that were folded up in the bottom of my purse.  The Powerball ticket was from the November 19, 2011 game.  So I went on line and checked the winning numbers.
11/19/2011            9  16  17  28  30    11     x 3   

1st winning number, 9

2nd winning number, 16

3rd winning number, 17
I didn't have 17.  
This is usually where it ends for me, 
with 2 matching numbers.

4th winning number, 28
I HAD 28!

At this point I realized I had 3 winning numbers.  I NEVER win anything at Lottery, MegaMillions or Powerball so I didn't know if it would be $5.00 or $50.00, but I was already excited, thinking I had won something for sure.
5th winning number, 30
I HAD 30!!!

Now I was like, OH MY GOD!!!  I have matched 4 out of 5 FREAKIN POWERBALL WHITE BALL NUMBERS THEY DRAW.  I thought I had possibly won THOUSANDS by this point.  Then they picked out the last ball.  A damn red Powerball:

Red ball/Powerball winning number, 11
I had 20

I figured, who cares about the stupid red ball, I matched 4 out of 5 white balls, the main balls, right?  Surely I'm a big winner.

I looked at the prize amounts.  I saw Match 4 out of 5 + the red powerball = $10,000 prize.  

I was freaking out.  I figured maybe they shaved a few grand away for me not having the red ball number, but I still thought I was a winner of thousands of dollars.  I was already thinking that JEN CAN GO TO COLLEGE, the rest would have to go to bills & a few Christmas presents.  Until I read the next line....

Match 4 out of 5 white balls WITHOUT matching red powerball  = $100 prize.  


I MATCHED 4 NUMBERS.  Do you know how hard that is?  I've never done it in 20 years of playing stupid Lottery big games. I think a drop from $10K to a hundred bucks because of one little red ball is ridiculous.

But I guess that red Powerball is pretty damn important in the Powerball game, who could of guessed?  Not Lucy over here.  I already had the money spent in my mind.  Ha ha.  And I guess that power play x3 thing would have made me a $300 winner, guess that's pretty important too, I never pay extra for that, damn it.

Now that I think about it, I've never won more than 3-4 dollars on a Lottery big game ever.

Now that I think about it, I can't believe I've continued to put money into games like Lottery, Powerball or MegaMillions for 20 years with no pay back.

And then today, I FINALLY match 4 out of 6 numbers and only win $100 bucks?  What a racket!!!  I guess just the mere idea of a chance at winning millions of dollars made me give it a shot, time and time again.  But I have to forget about all of that and try to see the good.

It was pretty exciting today, seeing the big game numbers matching my numbers for once in my life,  just not enough of them, just my luck. 

And it taught me a lesson.  I promise to stop playing the big games.  I'll spend $20 a month on instant tickets or even at the casino and have a much better chance of winning.  I won't ever win millions, but I bet my odds of winning $100 bucks are better.  

My glass is 1/2 full.
It's still good news.