Jabberwocky for 2001 December

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: Now the neighbors all know I'm crazy. They all came out on their porches to watch me and Cheryl Settlemeyer drag a huge pile of trimmed tree branches home two blocks from the neighbor who pruned his trees. We're going to use them to decorate for the church Christmas party.

: Whoooeeeee! The phenochryst-bearing shale drill core sample has resurfaced!!!! I have been heartbroken since 1985 because I couldn't find it in Dad's rock collection and I thought perhaps Annetta had thrown it away before she forked over the rocks. But today, sorting through the boxes, I found it.

: The elders came into ward council last week and asked everyone to take a challenge to pray for a missionary opportunity. When I did, I kept thinking of the tree service guy, so this morning I called his number out of the yellow pages.

Bummer. His wife answered (all hysterical) and said he had suddenly collapsed with cancer all through and is not expected to make it. So I talked to her all morning and told her that my DH had died when my kids were in elementary school and if she ever wants someone to listen to her or give her support, call me. I gave her my name and number. She said "You are the first person who has ever offered support to me." They have four kids. He is in the VA hospital in Los Angeles indefinitely, so I told her I would put his name in the temple there to get prayed for and he could see the temple from the hospital.

I invited her to the ward Christmas party but she said she's taking the kids down to see him that day. Poor thing, not only dealing with all this but having to deal with the VA red tape too. Plus the veterans' cemetery is right next to the hospital, so guess what they get to see all the time?

Then I was telling this experience to Terry Thiessen and he says he knows this tree service guy, knows where he lives, and it's in our ward! He has a reversing phone directory, so he's going to double check the address with the phone. So maybe we can do something for this family.

I HATE cancer. I think they should do away with it.

: Today I more or less finished "cleaning" more or less the garage and storage room more or less. It was a two day project that left me filthy. I have a very very big pile of yard sale stuff, but didn't make it to Rosalie's yard sale with it today.

My car is still stuffed full of white poinsettias and tulle from Erika Orr's wedding.

Also today I made three huge pans of make-ahead mashed potato recipe and put them in the freezer. This will feed 75 people. The potato bag said the bag would make 225 servings, and that is WITHOUT all the Make Ahead super secret ingredients (mostly fattening) that I added. Bleah. So, in the morning, off to Smart and Final to buy two more bags of potato flakes and more sour cream.

: I'm also making a gazillon ice cubes with a cranberry and a mint leaf frozen within each.

: Today I built a manger. Where is Saint Joseph the Carpenter when you need him?

: We have finally survived the Ward Christmas Party. Winter Wonderland. The menu was make-ahead-mashed potatoes (made by me and heated up by everyone else), spiral cut glazed ham, green beans, cranberry sauce, roll and butter, and eclair cake (also made by me.) We had an horsdourve table with a social hour featuring Cheryl Settlemeyer's holiday cheese balls, veggie trays with ranch dressing, and Aunt Jeuney's Hot Buttered Cranberry Punch. Served from crystal bowls into crystal cups.

The decorations were dead tree branches sprayed white, with silver glitter balls, silver tinsel, silver snowflakes, white snowflakes, and white, silver, and blue star garlands. Around the trees we put lots of white plastic left over from Erika Orr's wedding, and we hung giant glittery styrofoam snowflakes from the ceiling. Centerpieces were flowerpots planted with purple pansies, white pansies, white stock, candytuft, dusty miller, and festuca glauca . The pots on the serving table also contained silver helichrysum and pink and white cyclamens. Pots were wrapped in white trash bags, then in snowman patterned cellophane, and tied with blue shimmer tulle. Lots of silver mesh bows around, and frosted eucalyptus wreaths on the doors and front of the serving table. Santa sat in a purple armchair under a white garden arch decorated with branches, balls, snowflakes, and star garland. On the wall behind him we hung Jill Langley's Mary Engelbreit Father Christmas banner, and on the wall behind the serving table we hung my snowman banner. White tablecloths, silverware tied in white napkins with blue ribbon and silver jingle bells. Also on the tables were program booklets containing the script and music for the songs, as well as recipes and a thought from the bishop. We had these with colored pencils five to a table in little decorated Christmas bags (decorated by Ethan Ledbetter with glitter stars. Tess Orr stapled the booklets and then Tess and Ethan filled 200 souffle cups with cranberry sauce.)

We set the manger scene (live people) up on risers with dark blue backdrop, and borrowed Andy Smith's electrician spotlight to shine through the backdrop onto the manger, so it was surrounded with blue light.

The manger itself was built by me out of scraps from the neighbor's tree branches and lined with Gretel's sheepskin. A lot of the screws poked through, so we didn't put the baby in the manger. Otherwise, we would have gotten to skip 30 years of New Testament history, going straight from the stable to the crucifixion.

Cheryl Settlemeyer wrote a nice (short) program of scriptures and carols into a Spotlight Dinner Theatre, which was well performed and well received.

The Hardings did a really good job as Kitchen Gestapo. Erin Tarjan and Danielle Torgersen really pulled the laboring oar in the kitchen as well, as did Lori Moncur. We had planned for the YM to serve, but had to recruit the Young Women too, and a lot of them had attitudes and I had to kick some butt. When Santa arrived, he made the bishop sit on his lap and tell whether or not he'd been a good boy. Then the bishop received a present-- a 2002 In-N-Out T Shirt-- and all the little kids sat on his lap and got a candy cane. The reason for the T Shirt is In-N-Out is where the bishop always has to stop on the way home from temple trips--he doesn't want to spend the $$$ to go anywhere else.

The EQ did a fantastic job of the cleanup, and Duane Black hauled all the branches to the dump the next day. I had the brainstorm to call Pres. Waite and tell him we were leaving the chairs and tables set up for their party, so that was a win/win for both of us. (Although the custodians complained.)

Then today at church the 5th Ward RSPres screamed at me for using "their" tablecloths. They don't even need them until the 22nd, and Doris Jackman took them right home and laundered them and had them back today, but she was still really po'd at me. Said, "Didn't you think to ASK???" I said, no it never occurred to me to ask, since all the furnishings of the building belong to everyone share and share alike. Sheesh. Doris had to clorox them twice even to get them decent. We're going to make our own tablecloths to use and keep them hidden away.

We had 268 chairs set up, and every one of them was occupied. That doesn't include those of us who never sat down. I bought enough green beans for 300, and we used them all. I think it was the biggest party Second Ward ever had.

: Here are my answers to the questionnaire for the Iron Rod Group:

1. What's on your wish list for Christmas? I've been eyeing an enormous antique chemical beaker engraved with a crest design and "Paris". A Very Large Box has appeared, which I have been told not to shake, so I'm hopeful.

2. What Christmas goodies are a must in your household? Swedish Pepparkokkar (Don't know if I spelled it right!)

3. What is your traditional Christmas dinner? We always go to my inlaws, whose idea of a good time is a deli tray from Costco. Bleah. By the time that ordeal is over, I don't have what it takes to make any real food. Usually we just pick at whatever and play board games.

4. What makes a good Christmas card? Lots of news from the people I love.

5. Are you ready for Christmas? No. I was in charge of the Christmas party at church and made dinner for 300, then the very next morning I had to take in a stray girl and we haven't even gotten a tree yet. Things are really hectic around here. This girl is a more or less permanent arrangement, so we are having to do some serious shuffling around.

6. Who gets to be Santa at your house? Whaddya mean? Isn't it the real Santa who comes?

: Today I borrowed eight-year-old Michelle Bean and we went to see Monsters Inc and then to Hometown Buffet for dinner. The house still needs cleaning, but we have trees.

: My family and I went to see The Fellowship of the Ring last night, and we didn't have a single complaint about the movie adaptation. We thought it was just great. The backdrops were just as I had imagined them in my head, or even more so. The casting was excellent. The girls, of course, were panting over Legolas, and I can't WAIT to see the actor who plays Aragorn crowned in his majesty in 2003. (Ok, I'll stop drooling on the keyboard now....)

We had a really "circular" discussion about what happens next because Sumana hasn't read the trilogy and Leonard forbade us to spoil it for her, and Rachel was pretty frustrated because she can't remember the ending-- she was too young when we read it aloud, LOL. I overheard one man at the ending saying "That's cold, man, that's a dirty trick!" I guess he'll have to come back next year, tee hee.

I've spent the last two days in the kitchen, and the house is all decorated.

The reason I've posted nothing recently (well, one of the reasons) is that Gretel got hit by a car. It was just awful. The girls were walking her and the leash broke and she ran into the street. She has a couple of cracked ribs and a concussion, and right now it's hard to breath because of the injury to her nose, but she's going to be OK. I hope she learned to stay with Mommy. /p/ We did the rushing to the vet thing, running red lights, everyone covered with blood, girls sobbing. Not fun, not fun. I'm really, really worried about how I'll pay the bill.

When something like that happens, you really appreciate the small, normal things.


© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.