Thursday, December 24, 2009

♫ Happy Holidays ♫

Hope your holidays are bringing you much joy and pleasure!

Ray Conniff and The Singers create a holiday mood prompting many happy memories for me with their medley of Christmas songs:

I've chosen to be home this holiday season. Family members are unable to join me here in sunny California. Our current daytime temperatures are in the sixties to seventies, but colder days with rain are predicted for next week. Given the Midwest's and East's snow, sleet, and icy weather conditions, I'm glad to not be experiencing travel delays and air cancellations trying to fly to those destinations. I even respectfully declined an invitation to join close friends to share in their festivities with their Las Vegas family. I just want to be quietly leisurely at home this year for reasons not even fully understood by me.

Traveling is not a deterrent, but long distance air trips are less inviting to me than they once were. Jet Blue has provided my most recently appealing direct coast to coast flight. I experience the actual comfort level on many other domestic airlines as barely acceptable and often quite undesirable, even if all goes well flying across country with required plane changes. I miss the exciting anticipation of flight travel I recall enjoying years ago.

The risk prospect of maybe having to rough long hours waiting in an airport lobby, slouched down in an uncomfortable seat, or in a corner on the floor, is also less inviting than when I was much younger. Even trying to seek flight or airline scheduling changes should that be warranted seems much more complicated. No longer familiar to me is how to readily proceed using today's ticketing systems to achieve quick timely flight or airline change actions should I be unexpectedly stranded in an unfamiliar airport suddenly needing one of only a few much-in-demand seats others would also be seeking.

I'm too late flying east this winter as I've already missed one of my favorite seasonal joys, walking in the first snowfall, watching the flakes gently falling around me and feeling the brisk bracing cold air on my face. I am content to settle for seeing snow-capped mountains through my kitchen window. Here are those mountains much as they look today though the photo was taken last spring from a nearby park:

Family and friends are disappointed we'll not be with each other in person, but we can avail ourselves of instant real time communication by voice, live pictures/video, including print via email/chat, given the computers and cell phones camera systems for communication available to us today. I've always embraced the idea special occasions could have a make-good or rain check day for in-person sharing, just as my mother and I sometimes needed to institute. We did not have to rigidly celebrate together an important occasion on a specific date if life's events made doing so unduly complicated. This approach sometimes could prove to be doubly enjoyable with two celebrations, one apart, and another later, together.

Expecting to be alone this holiday I elected to forgo decorating a larger Christmas tree. Instead, I'm enjoying this tiny little tree with miniature ornaments that other years I usually have set out as a separate room decoration. I particularly like miniatures of many items.

Family members had a huge box sent to me with strict instructions to not open before Christmas. I decided to let them see how large and cumbersome this box was, but I got cute and draped a red throw over it. I knew they wouldn't be able to tell whether or not I had violated the "don't open before Dec. 25th" requirement. Then, I determined to set my little tree atop the red throw-draped box, scatter around a few early greeting cards I had received and take a photo. I suddenly thought I'd fill the picture frame with a few of my indoor plants. I caution you in my haste this amateur gave little consideration to a professional artist's photo composition as you can readily see.

Here's how my Christmas Eve day has evolved. I started with an early morning hair appointment seeing a different hairdresser since my regular gal is visiting family out of state for a couple weeks. I'm quite pleased with my hairs finished look, but what will really determine success will be how well this styling maintains itself with very little help from me through the next few days.

Next, following a quick hot oatmeal and fresh fruit breakfast at home, I proceeded to a modest work day with fewer patients since I've decreased the number of days I provide services at one of the retirement community sites I serve. This season is being professionally rewarding as I have patients progressing to safely eating and drinking foods that more closely resemble a regular consistency (i.e. rather than through a tube, being pureed, or requiring liquids to be thickened.) We're all thrilled with such progress as is the individual, their family, and the facility staff. We rarely fully appreciate the joys of eating and drinking as much as when swallowing problems impair our ability to safely do so.

I then rushed off to the new-to-me Elephant Bar restaurant to join for a holiday lunch the rehab team members with whom I work -- the first we've met as a group this year. I was delighted with the establishment's food, menu choices, prices and ambiance, so will look forward to introducing my friends and family members to the restaurant when they visit in the future.

Returning home I was greeted by welcomed holiday greeting cards filled with friends pictures and letters. After enjoying them, I took a short nap, though I don't usually do so in the afternoon, but I felt really drowsy. I awoke this morning with a rare but slight headache, possibly sinus-related. I also am aware I've probably not been getting adequate sleep for quite a few nights so must resume greater care to curtail my night owl tendencies.

The remainder of my afternoon and evening has consisted of consuming a small green salad, small quarter inch thick turkey slices with cornbread dressing and gravy along with a self-mixed cranberry pomegranate juice beverage. For desert I ate a piece of pecan pie and sipped a cup of decaffeinated coffee. I managed to work in viewing some TV news, glancing through some newspapers, checking some emails as the PBS evening of Christmas music programming began.

'Along the way' I did eat a couple chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. Well, actually, I started out with only two cookies, but then somehow I think there were only a few left so I brought them in to have nearby my computer as I type this just in case I might need an energy boost. You'll be surprised to learn I have needed to replenish my energy supply so those cookies are now gone. Not to worry! There are enough other cookie containing vessels plus additional candies and goodies in this house to easily keep me rejuvenated throughout this holiday season. Hope you, too, are amply supplied with sustenance to please your taste buds.


  1. And a Merry Christmas to you!

    Sounds like you had a rather enjoyable Christmas eve day and evening. I had a rather normal day I suppose and it went rather quickly but there was lots of rain. It has stopped this morning but last night they said on the local weather we had 9 inches over the last 36-hour period. Twasn't fit for man, beast or Santa here yesterday.

    Although I'm sure you miss family and friends, travel over the past week looks to have been a total nightmare.

    I have a Ray Conniff Christmas album by the way and it is a favorite!

    Hope you have as enjoyable day today as yesterday. I will probably venture over to my sister's later this morning for a while.

  2. Merry, merry Christmas, Jo! I'm spending Christmas alone, too! I hope our best Christmas present comes next week in Pasadena!

    And you can bet I'll be posting to cheer our Buckeyes on!!

    And yeah, flying just isn't fun anymore!

  3. I hope you continue to have a Merry Christmas; there is a lot to be said for being alone some times, and I agree with you about air travel. The comfort is gone unless you're in 1st class.

  4. It sounds like you had a full busy day on the 24th...And a lovely meal to Celebrate it all. The Chocolate Chip Cookies sounded BEST, to me.(lol)

    I was able to go to my friend Betty's today and it was truly special since she just got home from Rehab on Wednseday. Her sons and their dear wives fixed EVERYTHING and it was all delicious. I have been going there every year since the Mid 1970's and I always Carve The Turkey, which I genuinely enjoy! It was a very special Christmas and so wonderful to be with them because they are like Family to me.
    Of course....I ate too much! But it sure was YUMMMMMY!

    A Very Very Happy Holiday to you Joarad....I hope this New Year of 2010 will be The BEST Ever for you and yours!

  5. Thanks for the Ray Conniff. Brings back a lot of happy memories. I also used to love those sing along Mitch Miller albums!