Monday, December 07, 2009

'Tis the Season

Blogging has taken a back seat to holiday preparations and illness around here lately.  I finally succumbed to the cold the Monkey and Mr. Stang were slowly recovering from.  We think the Monkey's elbow did pop back into place on Friday as he heard a "crack" when I accidentally jarred it, but he says it's still very painful.  Supposedly with Nursemaid's Elbow once the elbow pops back in the pain stops and kids return to normal very quickly.  He is able to move it in all directions and put some pressure on it, but his strength has not returned and he's still favoring it. I think he may have sprained it in addition to the dislocation.  Or maybe the multiple reduction attmepts caused some minor damage.  Then again, he could just be afraid to start using it. 
We're treating with ibuprofen but are not overly worried about permanent nerve damage (yet). We'll see how it is doing in a week or so.

We got the Charlie Brown-iest Christmas tree we've ever seen up and decorated.  Here in the NW we're kind of tree snobs.  You see beautiful, asthetically perfect Christmas trees all year around, so it's kind of hard to stomach the butchered (or excuse me: "sculpted") tree farm versions we ultimately get on the lots.  Basically, they take perfectly lovely Doug Firs or Grand trees and prune them into perfectly symmetrical little dense pyramids.  It used to be you could get Nobel Firs that had great character, and plenty of room between boughs to hang ornaments/ lights. But at a price. Full sized trees are generally $45 +.  So we would compromise.  Buy a shorter Nobel for $20 and put it on a short table or decorative box to make it look taller.  This actually worked great because it would leave lots of room for presents, and make it that much more difficult for Kittlins to climb the trunk/ attack the lower branches.

But this year?  The corner lot was only offering butchered Nobel Firs, too. The tree farmers (or lot buyers - not sure which) have apparently determined that Nobels in their natural state are too fat at the bottom.  Either so they can grow or display them more packed in.  So they've started dismembering unsightly Nobel specimens, too, leaving a skinny Ralph Lauren photo-shopped version of their former selves.  It's a travesty.  Unfortunately, I didn't catch on that they'd dared to prune a sacred Nobel until *after* we'd bought the plumpest of the skinny bunch and got it home.  Mr. Stang and I were both sick, and cold (thanks El Nino!) and not in the mood to shop around, let alone head up into the mountains or to a U-Cut and get our own.  But NEXT year, by all the Tree Gods, that's what we're doing. 

After getting our tree up, we headed out for a rare night on the town courtesy of my father and stepmother.  They'd bought us all tickets to the Singing Christmas Tree as they knew someone who was in the choir.  I'd thought it was a fairly religious group from past experience, but still love good Christmas music and the theatrics.  We enjoyed a rare kid-free dinner out before the event at Nel Centro in the swanky Hotel Modera. It's pretty amazing what they've done with this part of town in the last decade.  I swear when I was attending PSU this was an old Travelodge known for it's hourly specials.

Those SCT folks are sneaky, though.  The first half of the performance is all secular and Santa (and not in a very flattering light), then after Intermission they start with the preaching and live nativity. By the end, they'd thrown white robes on the actress playing Santa's elf and had her swinging from the rafters on a wire as the choir sang "Hallelujah".  Very "Reason for the Season".  Very understandable from a Christian perspective, though when Christ's birthday isn't *your* personal reason for the season, it loses a lot of the heartwarming effect.  But the music was beautiful and the time spent with family priceless . We just need to find some good heathen holiday celebrations in the future.   Like this one: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Big Brass Concert.  There's nothing like trumpet fanfares and French Horns at Christmas time.  Except, maybe the whole celebration of Peace on earth, Good Will towards (all) Men (and women), love, friends and family thing.  Giving and charity.  Hope, magic and cheer during the coldest, most dismal part of the year.   Those are my reasons for the season and I'm happy to share them with people of all faiths.

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