Tag Archives: Happy Hollandaise

T-Baum 2010

We put up our tree last weekend. We are real tree people. I have always been adamant about having a real tree. I love the smell and how each one is different and special. Over the past few years I’ve noticed that I always get a lingering cold at Christmas time that mysteriously disappears as soon as we take down the tree. Smart person that I am, I have deduced that I’m probably allergic to the darn thing. I made one weak try to talk to my family about possibly going the fake tree route this year but it didn’t work. We are real tree people and we’re not going to change. I’m just taking extra allergy medicine and it seems to be working so far. Someone I work with told me a story about her friend who always got really sick at Christmas time. Ever since he was a young boy he would get so ill that he would have to spend the holidays laying in his bed with a fever and flu. His parents felt bad that he always missed the holiday festivities sick in bed so as a special treat they started putting a small Christmas tree in his room. It wasn’t until he was an adult many years later that he learned that he was highly allergic to pine trees.

We’ve been having a good holiday so far. My mom is feeling a lot better. She’s had two rounds of chemo so far and the pain in her leg is gone. There have been many other side effects and times when she’s really suffered but for now she’s stable. She’s going to have another CT scan next week and the doctor expects to see that the mass has gotten measurably smaller. This is all good news!! My daughter is in her standard holiday mode. She’s dreaming of all the presents she’ll get at Christmas and then for her birthday 2 weeks later. Though this year she has really gotten into picking out her own gifts to give to others which makes me happy. We’re trying (I mean, I’m trying) to not go too too crazy with the gifts for her this year. I hope that she likes what Santa brings! She still believes in Santa though I’m sure she has her doubts. However, she has told me that Rudolph is definitely a myth. No red nosed reindeer is pulling the wool over her eyes anymore. Santa is going to be very good to me this year. We are getting a new oven TOMORROW! I have been without a working oven for just about 4 years now. Mr Awesome has been truly awesome getting the kitchen ready for our newest appliance. Yesterday he moved a heating duct from its original position underneath the old cooktop to a new location right by the kitchen table. This involved cramming his almost 6′ body into the filthy crawlspace underneath the kitchen floor to detach and reattach the hvac piping. He grumbled and groaned his way through it but he got it done. I love my guy!!! I can’t wait to start some holiday baking. I especially want to make some brown butter cookies that are the most delicious things ever. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I always take pictures of our tree but they just don’t do the original justice. I set up the camera to take a little video of the trimming activities. I thought that we could speed it up and reverse it and have a fun little movie. However, once I started my editing process in imovie ’09 I started running into a problem with the audio. Somehow the audio tracks  from the footage were finding their way into the movie even after I had muted and in some cases deleted them. Since I’m totally bonkers and get obsessed with little projects while I ignore the million other things I need to be doing I have spent the last week working on my 2 minute video. Apparently there is some bug in this version of imovie that doesn’t allow you to completely get rid of audio tracks on clips that you’ve used custom settings to speed up or slowed down. I fixed it by going back in and re-edited all my clips to the preset speeds. I hope that you enjoy it!

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A Very Lenska Christmas

Once the holiday season starts I always have an overpowering desire to sing Christmas carols in four part harmony in the original latin where applicable. This happens without fail. I thank my High School Chorus teacher Mrs. Martindale for this and I say this without sarcasm. I really thank her for making me this way. I love that I know the words to the second verses of most of the traditional carols. I thank her for the thrill of getting to sing our songs in the city at the Pan Am building. Years later when I worked in that building it was almost as exciting to see all the school groups coming to sing every year. I would feel just a little bit jealous as I looked up at them singing at the top of the now removed grand white staircase. I remember practicing on the school bus on the trip into the city and singing out the windows to the people on the street.  Thank you Mrs. Martindale.

I try to fill my musical holiday needs by singing Christmas carols loudly in my car, in the shower and whenever I hear them playing. One of my most favorite “numbers” from that time was Dona Nobis Pachem. It is sung in a round and that makes it kind of unsatisfying to sing by yourself. I’ve started teaching it to my daughter but we’re not quite there yet. Then I realized that I could sing it by myself, with myself and I recorded the music you hear in the video (thank you GarageBand!) below. Originally I wanted to just have the music but couldn’t get it to load so I decided to make a year in pictures video and the rest is Roolalenska history. I hope that you enjoy it!

I want to wish everyone out there a very happy holiday. I’m hoping for a good holiday this year. Things have been a little harder and uncertain lately but we’re making our way. I guess that’s the best we can ask for? I’m wishing good things for you internets.

I’m wishing you peace.

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Need a little Christmas

I’m looking forward to Christmas. P is so pumped and ready for the whole thing. I just hope she isn’t too disappointed when Santa doesn’t bring her a Tickle-Me-Elmo-TMX. It’s the one thing she asked Santa for. We tried to tell her that it is for babies but she is convinced that she needs one. G and I talked about getting her one but he’s so adamantly against it he practically bit my head off when I brought it up. She’ll barely play with it and it is another bit of junk that we don’t need, I know but part of me says, who cares? How many times can you say that you granted someone’s deepest wish? My cousin gave her a Toys-R-Us gift card so if after Christmas/Birthday is over and she still is wanting for anything – I told her that I’d help her go online and get what she wanted. We got her a sleeping bag, a bunch of My Little Pony things, a Miss Bindergarten toy (who knew they made such things??) and two of the books and a bunch of other stuff that I wrapped so long ago I don’t even remember what it is. My parents got her an American Girl doll so that should be an exciting one. I don’t even think her 12 year old cousin who has everything has one of those.

I felt a great sense of relief earlier in the week, right after the memorial but as the week has gone on I’ve been feeling kind of sad. It’s all the Christmas everywhere I guess. I seem to hone in on all the meloncholy parts too. I guess that I had forgotten but this year it seems like so many Christmas songs and movies are a little depressing. Whenever I hear “I’ll be Home for Christmas” in a store I get all choked up. “It’s a Wonderful Life” was on TV last week and I couldn’t bear to watch it. It’s not like this is news to me but each and everytime I hear or see something sad somehow it’s a reminder of what happened. Even when it is something beautiful or happy, I get choked up. It’s because it makes me think of how he’ll never get a chance to experience that happy or beautiful thing again. He chose not to. It’s like I’ve got to feel it for both of us now. It is a big responsibility.

For I’ve grown a little leaner

Grown a little colder

Grown a little sadder

Grown a little older

And I need a little angel

Sitting on my shoulder

Need a little Christmas now

I’m feeling this song this year . . .
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Holiday Cookies



P and I made Christmas cookies yesterday. I got the idea when I couldn’t bear to play “Rudolph” anymore. It is a bit involved at our house since my oven is on the fritz. I have a gigantic toaster oven that does the job but since you can only fit teeny tiny trays inside it takes forever. It made the house smell nice and festive. I did find myself cursing my brilliant idea after revisiting the cookie tin several times last night after dinner for “just one more”.

P really enjoyed the cookie productioning and was chatting and laughing away. We had one short bout of tears when one of our candy cane shaped cookies got kind of mangled but then she was fine when she realized that it made a lovely rainbow.

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Old Photo Wednesday – A Very Peluso Christmas

Hammy-Handed Santa

Aaah, the holidays. Happy children, chestnuts, trimming the tree and hammy handed Santas. We haven’t subjected P to a visit with Santa yet. He’s been too scary to do anything more than wave from afar. I probably shouldn’t show her this picture if I’m hoping for more this year, eh? Jeez, I hope that the department stores hiring their Santa’s are a bit stricter now a days. They should post signs that say “No one is allowed to be Santa if their hands are freakishly larger than a small child’s head”. I’m not sure how my brother is feeling about the whole thing. Maybe he’s just fine tuning his bershon at age 8 or 9. I love the pants I’m wearing and the hat with the bow looks just so precious though I think I remember it being itchy.

A Very Peluso Christmas

This one was probably taken on Christmas Eve the same year as the photo above. We are at my Aunt Ann’s house. I can tell from the dark blue foil on the tree in the background. The blank look on my mom’s (gorgeous) face, the bored, mad look on my dad’s, more bershon from my brother and my deer in the headlights stare pretty much sums up our little family dynamic. Most adults try to put up more acceptable, public faces for these kinds of holiday family photos but I guess my parents just didn’t care. I don’t want to see fake smiles maybe just more of an effort. Sometimes when they’d fight my dad would try to apologize by telling me that they were only staying together for our sake. Wow thanks, that means that all that yelling and anger was all my fault.

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Mother Guilt


With the start of the holiday season we’ve also started the annual rite of Mother Guilt. Perhaps you’re familiar with the kind, my mother and her guilt – or rather my guilt. No matter how much we try to avoid it – it happens every year. This year we are going to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving and we were planning on having Christmas Eve at our house. We invited my parents, my in-laws and my sister-in-law and her family. I just found out that my sister-in-law can’t make it because her step-daughter can’t come (she’s got to stay closer to home to be near her mother). Now my husband wants to go to his mom’s house for Christmas Eve instead. He doesn’t want it to be just my parents and our little family. I can see his point. Christmas is really fun when you have kids around. Ever since we had P we’ve wanted to her to be around other children on Christmas Eve.

Right before P turned 3 we decided to spend Christmas Eve with my parents at their house. It was just the 5 of us. I know that it made them incredibly happy to have their granddaughter all to themselves. My daughter’s birthday is in the first week in January so it was not three weeks after that happy Christmas when my dad completely freaked out after her birthday party. My parents were staying at a bed and breakfast nearby because my brother and his wife at the time were staying with us. They were leaving to go back to their room and he was asking what time I was serving breakfast the next morning, 8:30 am, 9:00 am?? Mind you, this is only three weeks after Christmas, one week after I spent my New Year’s Eve puking up some bad non-dairy creamer I put in my coffee and only hours after having 12 2-3 year olds plus their parents in my house for fun and a clever craft and when he asked me when Sunday breakfast was being served I replied (even half jokingly), aren’t you staying at a bed and breakfast? Don’t they serve breakfast there? You would have thought I had flipped him the bird the way he reacted to that. He didn’t talk to either of us or see us for MONTHS after that. Before he stormed out of the house that night he told my brother that I was a “piece of s**t”. I can’t even write it out, that particular comment is so hurtful to me. Needless to say, there are a lot of bad feelings on both sides as there has been for years.

I told my mom about the change in plans for this year on Sunday and I could hear the disappointment in her voice over the phone. Then she called me the next day and told me again how disappointed she was. I know that she is jealous of my in-laws because we see them so much more often. They also live much closer to us than my parents do. My parents might as well live in another state it takes so long to get to their house from mine. Just take a look at the map for crapssake! I do feel for them and I feel like I should be more forgiving. They are my parents and I love them but I just can’t stand this same routine for every single holiday and/or birthday. Now that they feel officially dissed does it mean that they are going to be giving us crap on Thanksgiving? Is my Dad going to lose his mind and freak out again? If they do end up coming to my in-laws on Christmas Eve are they going to be speaking to us? All these questions need answering but I fear that we won’t know them until the very moments are upon us. It is so easy to offend them, I shouldn’t even be surprised anymore when I do.

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Ta-dah!

Here is our family turkey! I’m loving the way it came out. We had a great time putting it together. The only bad part was when P lost her balance and fell off her chair at Besta’s kitchen counter and went crashing down to the hard tile floor. At least her pumpie hit the ground first and saved her head a bit. I hate it when that kind of thing happens when they are just being excited and wiggling over something that they are doing. She just wiggled too much and slipped.
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Deadlines – tick – tick – tick

I LOVE P’s new school. Funny, it’s not so new anymore (she’s been going there since June) but we all still call it her new school. I love them so I don’t want to complain but we’ve got all of the following either due on Monday or at the end of the week:

  1. A Family Photo – The theme for the week is “My Family” so we have to bring in a photo. I don’t think we even have a recent photo of the three of us! I have to go and get some new cartridges for the printer so we can take a picture and actually print it. What a concept!
  2. A White or Brown Pillowcase – I think that they are going to be making some kind of costume to wear for Thanksgiving out of them. I’m sure that they will be adorable. I of course have neither of these at my disposal. My blessed Mother-in-Law had one and we brought it home today.
  3. Decorate Our Family Turkey – She brought home a white oaktag turkey that we need to decorate as a family. All the turkeys will be displayed in her classroom. P and I went to the craft store yesterday and got some supplies and we’ll work on it with our extended family when we go visiting this weekend.
  4. Letter “I” Box – Everyone in her class brought home a box representing a letter of the alphabet. We are supposed to fill it with objects that begin with our letter. P got “I”. You can’t imagine how hard it has been to find decent “I” things. I don’t have any iguanas laying around here. Next week is “H” so the pressure is on.
  5. Her Regular Letter Homework – Each week they are supposed to bring in a picture or two of something that starts with the letter of the week. She always complains about doing it but we are pretty strict about getting it done. I know that it is only Pre-K but she’s going to have to do homework for the next dozen or so years and we want her to get used to it. She was already talking about it last night and pointed to heads and hands she saw in a magazine so I think that it is sinking in.
  6. Food Drive Food – A lovely idea of course and this isn’t due immediately . . . but her teacher told them she wants to collect 50 cans this year. Again, the pressure is on.
  7. Something for a Shoebox Donation – Her class is filling two shoeboxes with little gifts to send to a needy child overseas. It is a great idea and I think I might want to do one as a family but for the love of shoes, dark chocolate and all things holy . . . I think my head might explode.
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Little Miss Mumpkin

G had to throw out one of the pumpkins in the kitchen the other day. He noticed that it was going bad. It didn’t have a stem and P liked to sit on it. Our poor pumpkin inspired this:

Little Miss Mumpkin

Sat on her pumpkin

Eating her marshmallows and fries

When along came a spider

Who sat down beside her and said

Can you count all of my eyes?

Jeez, I remember when I thought I wanted to be a poet. Where did she go?

We never got around to carving our big pumpkin by the way. We are hoping to get to it this morning before we leave.

We’re such bad bad parents.

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Halloween Preview

I’m really looking forward to Halloween tomorrow. I hope that I’ll be feeling better by then. I felt really good yesterday but somehow all that goodness evaporated overnight. Maybe it was the getting woken up twice to help P out with her bloody nose. The second time was right before 3am. I jumped out of bed because I heard her crying out. When I walked into her room I realized that it was a false alarm. She was sitting up in bed about to stick her finger up her nose. I told her to go back to sleep. She wasn’t even awake. I went back to bed but couldn’t really fall asleep again because that is when my coughing fit began. Oh, it was lovely!

P is going to be a Fairy-Cat. We have a furry pink cat costume and she’s putting her wings on over it. She is also going to carry her magic wand. She looks incredibly cute but that isn’t hard for her of course. She was all set to wear pink ballet slippers but now she’s lobbying for the furry pink slippers that I got for my costume. I don’t usually dress up but one of the managers has offered a $25 Target Gift Certificate for the best costume (to be voted on by secret ballot) and I’m going for it. Even if I have to spend way more than $25 to do it!!

I’m going to be Mrs. Devil who I’m imagining as the ultimate bad mother. I got a furry red robe that I’m going to wear over a red shirt, tights and shorts. I could also wear it over a red plaid granny nightgown I have which I thought might be funny because the nightgown looks very Mrs. Claus. I have devil horns and fake red nails. I’m going to carry one of P’s babydolls, Bennie, around with me. I have a little red top for Bennie to wear and I attached devil horns to his head. I was going to duct tape on a diaper but then G suggested to forgoe the diaper and just put duct tape over the “holes”. I also put duct tape over the doll’s mouth. I’m going to carry a baby bottle filled with coca cola in case the baby gets thirsty. If anyone asks I might tell them that normally I nurse him but I pumped for today. I have really enjoyed getting this little outfit ready. I feel that I’m sure to TAKE IT!

I don’t think that I’ll be posting tomorrow morning because I’ll be deep in costume prep at that time. I’ll see you again on Thursday when I start my attempt at NaBloPoMo once again. Wish me luck!!

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