Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Days After...

How was your Christmas? Mine was better than expected. It started off by appreciating that I had managed to buy and give the gifts I wanted to without malls and without fuss. I did the best I could and I felt good about all of it.
Not all of the gifts I gave or received were tangible or material or gift wrapped. Some were simply kind acts, experiences, some were cards or messages I put together with my own hand, others were the best of all: time.
My Christmas officially began Christmas Eve. Our friends arrived and we had the most wonderful dinner: first cheese fondue with french bread, and then fondue again, this time shrimp, chicken, steak, each piece dipped in either chili sauce or sour cream with curry, or soy. And a salad with Great Nama's balsamic dressing (the secret is the salt). Yum!

There is snow on the ground here and it is cold. But the sun is here too. And look at this moss on my walkway. I love moss.

Our friends stayed over night and the next morning other friends came over too and we all had a fine breakfast together. JB and I were totally behind the 8 ball wrapping gifts and we really had no time because we were joining my mother for Christmas Lunch at her rest home and Jessica and her family were due to arrive at 2 PM. Yikes!
But my friend Marsha sat with me and we somehow managed to get everything wrapped. I have the best friends. I've said it before and it's so totally true.

I wish I had brought my camera to the Rest Home. It was amazing. There are 30 residents there, my Mom included. Each has her/his own room and the food is home cooked and served family style. Guests are invited at all times and there is no charge.
The menu was turkey with all the fixings and baked stuffed shrimp. My Jessica had asked for baked stuffed shrimp to be on our menu Christmas Night and I had bought jumbo shrimp to oblige. But I've never made this before, and time was going to be tight.
I asked the Rest Home if I could buy some of the already made shrimp because there was a ton of it. Instead, they wrapped up a dozen for me and said "merry Christmas'. That was another of my special gifts this year.

My family and I began our celebration on Christmas day and it extended until the next day.

I totally love it when Jess and Mike and Mr. Ryan and Baby Drew are here with JB and me.
It is the most special time.
. JB & my Mom

Ryan loved his presents, he actually calmly opened one at a time. He slept with JB and me that night, on the floor for the first time in a sleeping bag and not a pack and play, along with the two dogs--a real slumber party. He woke us up at 5 am, and I have not recovered yet, having had too little sleep for several nights before.

But was it all worth it. We are a family who
enjoys being together. We opened presents,
played with the kids, had a grown up meal Christmas night when the boys were sleepily in bed.

Seeing Jess and my Mother together almost always brings me to tears. They love one another so totally. Jess and I headed over to the Rest Home the next morning, without the kids, so she and my Mom could just spend time together.

Ryan got these sunglasses for Christmas. He thinks he is very cool with them on, but what he cared most about was going to the window with them on to see how things looked outside. It was too grey a day to satisfy his curiosity, so we used his flashlight, which worked just fine.

And baby Drew: now eight months old, laid back and charming. He smiles almost all the time. And he crawls--man, does he crawl.

I am on vacation for all of next week. JB and I have already to planned to see three movies; along with Marsha we're going to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut to play the slot machines (a near orgasmic experience for me, even though I almost always lose); we'll celebrate the holiday with our sister friend Liz.
And it seems we will have some good friends here for New Year's Eve. We will do a gourmet pot luck of sorts so the food will be fantastic and we will laugh our heads off into the wee hours.
I still find myself saying that I've missed someone this holiday, and it's likely that's the way it will continue to be, but I make a practice to send a quiet hello and healing wishes in my prayers each morning. That comforts me somehow. And compared to last Christmas--I know I am so much better than I was then.
One last thing: one of the most special parts of this holiday season, without doubt, is the connections I have made through blogging. I've received and shared cards and gifts and special well wishes and each has contributed to my holidays in the most wonderful ways.
And 2010? Here's hoping....


  1. Well you have done it.

    You have given the best blog Christmas sum up ever.

    For some reason kj I was almost reading this with my mouth hanging open. It was a lovely treat.

    By the way, holy crow, JB is gorgeous.

    Merry Christmas darling and thank you for everything.

    Treasure included in more ways then one.


  2. Aww lovely kj. Your house is so cosy and filled with little things that make me smile, I love your rabbits and lights. You're a wonderful person, truly and I can't wait to meet you.

  3. I'm so glad you had a better than expected Christmas this year.

    And I love that mossy walkway.

  4. What a beautiful post. I teared up reading it. Congratulations and may 2010 be better than all of the rest for you kj. You do deserve the best!
    Love and huge hugs.

  5. I love visiting you and JB.

    Soon I'll really, really be there!

    I'm such a travel woosie.

    I think you still love me anyway, right?

    Thanks for sharing your Christmas and for including me in more ways than you'll ever know.


  6. oh renee, do you know how much i love to see your comments here? yes, treasure included, moon sister. your friendship is my gift to myself this year. thank you. oh, and yes, JB is a doll. and she is very fashionable... :)

    baino, i love when you are mushy-ish! yes, yes, yes we will meet! i am so sure of that! and what a time we will have. we are kindred souls already, you know. ♥

    cs, i'm a recovering recoverer! ♥

    marie, how nice to see you here. thank you for good wishes. if i deserve the best, so do you! xoxo

    lo, do i love you anyway? HAHAHAHA! that is a totally silly question! remember a couple of weeks ago when we kicked off the holidays with mim and emma? i was reminded then, and before then, and now, that i have found a wonderful friend--one who laughs at my jokes, listens to me endlessly, fires up my creative juices, treats me and the world kindly. do i love you anyway? HAHAHA!

  7. A beautiful post, kj.
    Christmas as it should be for a very deserving soul!
    I'm happy that you're happy!

  8. Like Renee had dais, what a wonderful sum up report! ;D I am glad you had a wonderful time.


  9. Well that sounds like an awesome holiday with lots of satisfaction. love the pictures.

    talk soon, HNY, Mim

  10. That fireplace and tree shot looks soooooooooooooo cozy! My Christmas was a bit better than expected as well. AND...I opened/popped my very first "cracker" this year. How exciting!! :)

  11. Oh kj, how i enjoyed this post, Renee is right, it is the best.

    you are such a warm and caring person it doesn't surprise me at all that you were given the shrimp.

    and oh those babies. you are so lucky, they are so lovely. Mr. Ryan is a doll, i can just imagine him examining his new glasses. Baby Drew is at a perfect age i think, i love that stage.

    i'm so glad you had such a wonderful time and that you get the week off. Did you try your pogo yet? i'm sure you'll get to it soon.

    isn't it amazing the timing of the treasure chest? we ought to thank the postal service!

    xoxo and love,

  12. Oh yes, this is real Christmas ... and Renee is right about JB. I like the idea of saying a quiet hello along with my morning prayers. I think I'll adopt that practise. Your home looks fab KJ, makes me look around at the wreckage here and think I REALY MUST CLEAN UP! ... will add it to the endless list that is my New Years resolutions. xx Jos

  13. Wonderful post KJ!
    Sounds like a perfect Christmas to me!
    Love your pictures.
    You certainly know how to make Christmas special and I know! got one of the most fabulous gifts ever!
    Enjoy your holiday!
    See you after you win the jackpot!


  14. truly awesome! the pictures are great and it looks so serene and beautiful:) very, very relaxing and creative holiday time and enjoy those movies! xo valgal

  15. babs, when someone says i'm happy, these days i still qualify it. when i don't do that anymore, i'll be happy. thank you as always for your sharing your good wishes and fantastic art.

    silver, thank you. i read your post about the empty space and i understand in my own way and feel so sad (and alittle mad) that you had to lose someone you love so very much. i know your heart will be full again, even with that special space always reserved. xoxo

    mim, happy new year to you. it was a good holiday. i hope you've rested and drawn and painted--alot!

    sophia, YES!!!! i can't tell you how much i was hoping and believing your christmas would be way better than you thought. i am so glad! wind for your sails into 2010. ♥

    lori, pogo is on the agenda for the next day or two. i am so excited. you know what, lori, i just tiptoed into your blog and it is THE most fun learning more about my friend lori through your blog and photos and words. i love seeing your life and so many simple and beautiful things and people that are part of it.

    i read renee's comment about the slippers. aw, i know just what she means. i held them in my hand and packed them so tenderly because all that love was knitted into them. what a love gift! xoxox
    hello jos, thank you for all these kind comments. morning prayers are good for whatever the reason. for me, it's a way to stay connected despite everything wrong and apart. happy new year! it's nice to get to know you.

    aw, marianne, that picture you sent me is PRECIOUS. just about made me cry. it's a best friendship alright! and i can't wait to frame your mandala. when i show it to people, they gasp in amazement. you are fantastic. ♥

    val, my very very favorite present from christmas wasn't even to me. what a masterpiece. the frame and matting is incredible, perfect. i am in love. totally in love. xoxox

  16. what a wonderful day you had filled with lotsa love. (remember what you see in my blog is not always the reality, i often write what i want others to see, not what is always in my heart!)

  17. Different scenery here but same results. *tink* To the next year babe.

    Be Well

  18. Heartwarming post KJ! You and your family truly captured the spirit of Christmas. There are so many reasons to give thanks.

  19. soulbrush, i understand and i knew that, but seeing you with maggie....there is a holiday magic in that and it is real. she will show you, joss....

    mark, i am very glad to hear that. yes, let's you and i 'tink' to next year. because we have all that we need, right? xo

    debra kay, you were a huge part of my good christmas.

    tamika, thank you for your comment. i hope your holiday was a good one too. xo

  20. Dear KJ, how wonderful to share your photos.... such a lovely family and home. I am so glad your Christmas was filled with joy. You deserve it - you give so much to others.....(and having just read Renee's blog, I think I am right in saying you were the "director" of the amazing treasure chest project! What a wonderous guft of love!

    One day, you will be completely have made great progress.... I am trying to follow (slowly) in your path....although I am not yet able to say blessings for the person who has hurt me so much this year.
    I did make it through Christmas....and am hoping next year will be better.

    Happy, Blessed New Year to you....(and hope you win at the casino....) ;)


  21. So happy you had a wonderful Christmas. Keep the joy coming for the whole week. Enjoy your movies and gambling and friends and family. xoxo

  22. I just came from Renees blog and I think my heart grew several sizes! Thank you so much for organizing the treasure chest and mailing it all so beautifully, kj! I never expceted to form the connections I have here in this amazing blogging community!

    Your Christmas sounded just wonderful even with last minute gift wrapping! What a beautiful family you have!!!

    Hugs, Silke

  23. Oh KJ, that's it exactly ... for whatever's wrong and apart. You've described it perfectly. xx Jos

  24. beautiful stories of your Christmas and beautiful pictures. Happy New year and may the year be filled with love, laughter and good health.

  25. Just stopped by to say I love you, but got caught up in your beautiful post. How wonderful to see pictures of your Christmas, your cozy home and your loved ones!

    I wish you and your dear JB the very best in all things, for the coming year and always. Enjoy your time away!

    Hugs and love, dear Twinkles,

    p.s. I love moss too!

  26. KJ,
    Thank you for having the idea to make our beautiful Renee so Happy!

    God bless you~
    And Happy Twenty ~ Ten!


  27. robin, i am so sorry your heart was betrayed and broken. i understand, and i wish for both of us that time will wrap its arms around us while we heal.

    i don't know what the future brings, but i hope that knowing we have such love within us is the beginning of experiencing it with those who welcome what we have to give. i am pretty sure your next christmas will be ALOT better,

    robin, send me your email again, would you? and thank you.xoxo

    thank you, annie. you make my vacation week sound so very fine, so i am going to try to live it that way! thinking of you, rooting for you. ♥

    oh silke, my heart grew several sizes too. i am SO SO glad renee and her family got to experience so many of us right there with her. what a wonderful outpouring of total and deserving love. thank you a million for your part. xo

    jos, ah, so you know about this too...thank you, xoxo

    suki, here's wishing us both a very fine year!

    dear angela, i love you too, do you know?! you are my twinkly twin and my heart sister. we pulled off quite a love fest indeed for our renee. it has made my week, maybe my month or year! i can't stop smiling. ♥

    constance, thank you so much...couldn't have done it without you! and i agree, i am over the top happy about the love and joy in that treasure chest. forever strong....

  28. What a lovely Christmas post! I came here from Renee's site and will now enjoy your blog as well. Happy New Year to you!

  29. KJ, thanks for your sweet words...
    my e-mail address is:

    Have FUN this week!!!!! We will all be eagerly waiting to hear of your adventures!

    Happy New Year to you and yours!


  30. Ooops.... typing too fast -
    that last entry was from ME....Robin

  31. I envy people who have families to celebrate with. There is just Peggy and me, and it's good, but hardly what you would call a gathering.

    Slots are orgasmic?! That WOULD explain their popularity. I put one quarter in one slot one time, lost it, and felt bummed for most of the trip from Vegas to Fresno. Maybe I just lacked persistence.

    "How was your Christmas?"

    My answer depends upon whether you run a clean blog or tolerate the large quantities of the worst kind of profanity.

  32. ms. ldwatkins, thank you for stopping by. you are welcome anytime. if you know and love renee, you're a friend of mine too!

    snowbrush, that will be the day i will be bummed from fresno to los vegas over losing a quarter. or a dollar or a hundred dollars for that matter. i save being bummed for more mundane matters like a quivering heart or loss of public dignity... :)

    snow, i don't particuliarly run a clean blog but you and i are probably both better spared from your probable description of christmas. i can only say i hope next year is much better, and from the sounds of it, i think it will be.

    how is your shoulder coming along?