Christmas Wrap-up

30 12 2008

So after all that worrying and stressing out and checking-the-Delta-website-between-every-patient-visit-for-three-whole-days, I had the most enjoyable, worry- and stress-free flight to Portland EVER. Seriously. It was the first time I’ve ever had a flight leave Atlanta ON TIME since I’ve been flying in and out of ATL. Amazing. That being said, I freely admit to being more than a touch unsettled in the last 20 or 30 seconds as we made our final approach into PDX. Everything was SNOWY, and since I spent the better part of 17 winters in Oregon, I know that around here, snow comes with ICE. All of a sudden I’m getting these flashes of my airplane landing and skidding across the runway into the Willamette River… necessitating, of course, the use of my seat cushion that may also be used as a floatation device…. Then my face nearly slammed into the tray table that I (naturally) had returned to its full, upright and locked position. That plan stopped on a DIME. A chuckling pilot got on the intercom to say, “Folks, I guess I could have warned you about the [fill-in-more-technical-term-for-“super-stopping”-brakes] we’d be using tonight. But suffice it to say… Welcome to Portland!” Nervous laughter.

My two siblings currently residing on domestic soil (for anyone who doesn’t know – Scott has in effect defected to Copenhagen, Denmark) met me at baggage claim, amid the stacks of luggage grouped (as best I could tell) by departing airport code. It looked like a cemetery, with Samsonite, American Tourister, and Swiss Army as the major purveyors of headstones. Or a little bit like one of those post-sinkage scenes in “Titanic” when all those frozen people and steamer trunks are bobbing around in the frigid waters of the Atlantic. I was on a direct flight from Atlanta, so there was little-to-no chance that my luggage had beat me to Portland. And yet we did quick drive-by through the abandoned baggage just in case. No dice. HOURS later – real time, probably 10 minutes or so – the belt starts moving, my huge suitcase is swept up by little-brother Mark, and we’re out shivering on the curb, waiting for Mom and Dad to circle around. It is C-O-L-D.

snowy-night

On the drive home, it starts SNOWING!!!!!! I am elated. The rest of the fam, not so much. It’s snowed for the past 9 days. They are over it. I,  however, am certainly not! White Christmas! It was closing in on midnight by the time we got home and to bed – nearly caught Santa coming down the chimney.

Christmas morning felt different this year. Gone are the days of the four of us sneaking between each others’ rooms trying to see who’s awake and who needs waking before we can knock on Mom and Dad’s door. There was no Stairs Picture this year, even though the wonders of modern technology could have allowed us to easily PhotoShop Scott into it. I got up and went downstairs to the family room, where I found Mom and Dad huddled around Dad’s laptop, joining Facebook (not lying!) while the Yule Log “burned” on TV. (Note: this is not THE Yule Log from the fireplace at Timberline Lodge – that one is broadcast Christmas Eve, and we definitely tune into that one, too) A few minutes later, my cell phone rings. It’s Jill. From her room downstairs.

yule-log

Christmas Breakfast was its traditional menu of The Egg Dish, Sticky Buns, and coffee with Kahlua or hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps. But in sticking with our semi-non-traditional event, we didn’t really sit down for breakfast. Just sort of filtered in and out of the kitchen individually and sat down (or stood!) wherever. Very casual.

christmas-breakfast

Mom set the kitchen timer to count down to Get-Ready-For-Church time, so we wouldn’t . Usually we’d go to Christmas Eve Mass, but since I got in so late, we were going on Christmas morning for the first time since I can remember. Mind you, the driving situation was treacherous at best. Icy ruts and deep drifts from the shoveled walks (which I soon learned are called berms) line the streets. As soon as we leave the driveway, all fingers are crossed and all novenas said in hopes that we don’t meet another car coming UP the nasty, slippery, frightening hill that we are trying to descend. While the neighborhood streets and most all roadways in the city eventually thaw and become easily passable, good old upper Ashdale Drive stays ridiculously perilous the entire length of my stay.

snowy-night-7

The trip home was much less eventful. Just a strategic packing job (because of COURSE my birthday presents had to fit in there somewhere!!!!) and another direct flight back to Atlanta. I don’t succumb to the post-holiday blues the way some people do. At least not when I have a wicked-awesome birthday party coming up!





My Christmas Wish

21 12 2008

As my departure approaches, my poor, exhausted, Christmas-anticipatory brain is over-whelmed with worry and anxiety. I have a Christmas Eve NIGHT flight back to Portland. On one hand, I was hoping that everyone would have already made their way home, and I would have the Atlanta airport (or at least a whole row of seats in the airplane!) to myself… now with Severe Winter Storm Warnings in 37 states, I’m fairly sure I will not only NOT be alone in the airport, but I’ll be there with thousands of people who are two days or more into their attempt to get home for Christmas. And it will only be my first shot at it, so I’m automatically at the back of the line. I can’t talk about it too much, or I’ll get super-nervous again.

My nervous mostly stems from the arrival port of my journey (please, it’s been 70 degrees in Atlanta for the past week – obviously, we’re one of the 13 states NOT under any winter conditions at all). And I can’t say that my fears are quelled at all by my (well-intentioned) family. Mom says I should make a contingency plan for Christmas Eve night, “just in case,” and Jill sent these…

Snow and Ice

Yep, every branch and twig of that tree is completely encased in a thick coating of ice. Which would be remarkably lovely and I’d be out there shooting very artsy-fartsy photos… if only I were home already.

Ice and Snow

Winter wonderland, huh? Bah Humbug.

And if I hear “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” again on the radio, I’ll probably cry. That would be in addition to the “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams” that most definitely sent me running for the Kleenex this afternoon. I’m considering a self-imposed ban on Christmas music, because I only see myself getting more emotionally belligerent as Portland continues to rack up snow days.

I told my parents that the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a plane ticket home. I’m afraid I’ll have to add something to my Wish List. I hope Santa is an eleventh-hour packer like I am, so it’s not too late to squeeze a little something extra onto the sleigh for me… I wish for a day-long heatwave to melt and dry out all the airport runways nationwide so that everyone (me especially!) gets home safe and sound. Tis the season for miracles.





Merry Merry!

6 12 2008

Christmas has come to the little house on Warwick St!

Kris-mas Tree

There are a few little gifts under the tree already, just awaiting get-togethers with friends. There are even 2 of them in Happy Birthday paper – one to take to NC next weekend and one to wait for January 1… wonder who THAT one is for?!?!

Fontanini nativity – not sure there are driftwood-laden beaches in Bethlehem, but it’s still a nice little vista for the waiting masses! (*note: NO BABY in the manger – he’s born on Christmas, duh!)

Nativity

Mom sent my Christmas Book along with Dad, who’s in town for some meetings and Daddy-Daughter time. And it’s right on time for St Nicholas Day!

Great Joy

As in “behold, I bring you good tidings of…” But also a concept and a philosophy that I always seek. My preference for Christmas Books has always been those with BEAUTIFUL illustrations, and this book is absolutely gorgeous.

Speaking of Christmas books, I have started my own. It’s called “The Gift of Christmas,” and my goal is to have a copy in my hand – or in a store?! – by the 2009 Christmas season, whether I find a publisher, or use an online self-publishing website. I can picture the whole book in my head right now, and the illustrations are lovely! Of course I am acutely aware of my own insufficiencies in this department, so I will be in search of an illustrator for “The Gift of Christmas.”