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Must Be The Season Of The Wigs, Yeah, Must Be The Season Of The Wigs

We like to play dress up in this house. OK. I like to play dress up and my husband, animals and kid just play along to keep me happy. This holiday season I was enjoying playing with my wigs.

It all started with dressing up the kitties on Christmas night. I was digging through the Christmas Costume Tub (yes, I have an entire rubbermaid tub devoted to festive holiday outfits and accessories) when I found my sequin Santa hat. Then I thought about my long grey wig from when I use to date the Computer Programmer By Day Goth Bondage Guy by night…

Look out Mrs. Claus!



A few days later Canyon was up late, John was at work and I was bored. Back to the wig tub! (yes, I have an entire rubbermaid tub devoted to wigs, capes and accessories.)

When John came home I was still wearing the wig. It made me feel less housewife and more mysterious…

That’s what I am hoping for in 2011. A little less house wife and a little more mysterious.

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And Then There Was Shoveling



We tried to persuade Canyon to start shoveling but he wasn’t interested…smart boy!






Look closely…there we are!

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Canyon Acts Out The Dr. Who Christmas Special

We all know Canyon likes Dr. Who

So the day after watching the Christmas Special he decided to act it out…

Yes, this is how we entertain ourselves around here. I regret not taking the time to put on the Baby Dr. Who costume. Sloppy parenting.

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Christmas Kitties

This post brought to you by Belvedere Vodka…

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Christmas Morning…Happy hOWLdays!

Christmas Day was peaceful in the Viets-Strel Compound.

Confession. We didn’t do presents this year. We figured Canyon would receive gifts from relatives and since he already has so many toys there was no point in spending money just so we can say Santa came to visit. Uncle Franc did have presents for Canyon and Lilo so we did have the nice unwrapping moment, but it was just a moment.

But there were matching owl pajamas for me and Canyon!

I really regret not buying Lilo the nightshirt version of these. But Lilo and I do have matching Super Girl pajamas so she’s not totally left out. I was just thinking that I should post a photo of that and then I paused, put my finger to lips and looked up and off to the side, imagining what would happen if that photo was picked up by the fine folks at Reddit. Not ready to be in one of those caption games.

John bravely ventured out into the winter snow to bring us a feast fit for a Christmas King. Thank you Golden Nugget for being open on Christmas morning! We filled our tummies with amazing breakfast foods and then it was back to bed!

A long winter’s nap later and it was time to go to see my family for dinner.

That night we watched The Dr. Who Christmas Special which had sharks! I love sharks. Merry Christmas to me!

And then we decided to dress up the kitties…

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White Christmas

Christmas Eve it snowed. We feasted on Polish delights and salmon with John’s family and then headed home through the powdery goodness. John and Canyon went to sleep early but I had to honor my one Christmas Eve tradition…watching “White Christmas”. So Shaylah, Kele De and I curled up on the couch and started the film. Then I got bored around that “Mr. Bones” song and my attention wandered to this poinsetta decoration thing my mother had left for me. It is meant to go around a candle but I decided it would look better around the neck of a kitty…or two.

Then I started playing with the Hipstamatic app on my phone camera…

That photo is of my front window. The stained glass piece is a mermaid fairy sitting on the moon. How me is that? John and I were driving Highway 101 in California about six and a half years ago. We stopped in a little gift shop on some isolated cove and saw this piece. I decided that it was too expensive and couldn’t afford it. We were about a mile away when John made us turn back and buy it, because it was so me-stained glass, fairy, mermaid and moon? Seriously. He was right. It was perfect. And I have never regretted the purchase.

Here’s Shaylah waiting for Santa…

I was having so much with the snow and the photos that I almost missed the big finale. For me the finale isn’t the title song, it’s when the General comes out and sees his old troops. That’s the kicker right there.

Then it was time for sleep…

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Ornamental Memories

Growing up, Christmas trees were a huge deal and I do mean huge. 8-9ft tall, 6ft wide montrosities that had to be tied to the wall to stay up. I tried to carry on this tradition in my adult life until one day I said, “ENOUGH!” I couldn’t deal with the stress and effort involved with a giant tree so I tried other options. There was the experiment with a fake tree- not for me. There were even years with no tree at all-kind of a let down. Then about three years ago we bought a small, 5ft-6ft tree and I breathed a deep holiday sigh. Here was all the beauty, fragrance and symbolism in an easy to control package. Gone are the days of driving from tree lot to tree lot, picking up tree after tree, shaking it out, examining it from twenty different angles, paying at least $50, struggling to get it home, fighting it into the tree stand then spending hours wrapping it in lights before finally getting to the fun part, the ornaments.

Now we walk in Home Depot and say, “where are your cheapest trees?”

We pick up the first tree that looks promising. The tree is so small John can lift it with one arm. It is $17 worth of perfection.

We brought it home on December 10th. It spent the night in the garage. Around 11pm on the 11th we decided we needed to get it in water. “Where the hell is the tree stand?” We had just seen it a few weeks before, both of us commenting, “Well at least we won’t have to buy another stand this year!” Three hours of tearing apart the freezing cold garage and the stuff-filled basement we finally found it under some summer stuff in the garage. By then the tree was resting in the kitchen, propped up against the coffee maker in a pot of water. It stayed there until December 12 when my desire to make coffee without having to slide over an evergreen outweighs my apathy about the holiday season. So the tree makes its way to the living room and easily goes in the stand on the second try. And there it sits, naked in our living room for eleven more days. “ENOUGH!” I say and decide to risk major blood loss by putting lights on the thing. Real trees get dry and sharp after nearly two weeks in a warm and dry house. No amount of fresh water or humidifier action can stop this. That means putting on the lights was slightly painful. Luckily the tree is only about 6ft tall and was decently lit with only three strands of red and white lights.

The problem with ornaments is that they are little keepers of memories and everytime you pull them out you remember their involvement in Christmas’s past. Some are gooey sentimental, like the ones from Grandma’s trees or favorites that you made in your childhood. Some are mementos of not so happy occasions, like the one I have of a little squirrel fire man with a little fire box that says, “Break in case of fire” dated 1994-the year my mother’s house burned down. (That explains my family’s sense of humor in a nutshell. Squirrel, nut shell, ahahahhaa! There’s our other style of humor.) For the longest time I kept all of the “Our First Christmas Together” ornaments from old boyfriends but finally decided those were not memories to haul out every Yuletide. (Funny, I don’t think John and I have one of those. Maybe the ornaments were a curse! Putting too much pressure on a relationship with the implied suggestion that you would have more then one Christmas together!) There are also popular themes from my past-various trains from my years of working on the railroad, numerous bears from when everyone called me “Lolo Bear” and many Ariel’s, Sebastian’s and Flounders from my Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” phase.

Now that my tree is smaller I have less space so the ornaments have stiff competition for who makes it out of the bin each year. These days I gravitate towards stars and nature themed ornaments-an homage to my Solstice celebrating.

My college boyfriend and I bought this one at Spencer’s the day after Christmas one year. The picture on the box was of a Dancing Bear but the next year when we opened it up we found “Steal Your Face” instead. I refused to give it up in the painful, post-break-up ornament split. So even though he has bad memories attached he still makes the cut each year. Because he rocks.

I made this in second grade…I had some serious feathered hair…

I did not buy any ornaments this year. Usually I am one of the first people in line when Target opens its doors in the morning and scoop up a bunch from the 50% sale along with a couple hundred dollars worth of Christmas Crap that I don’t need in my basement for 50 weeks of the year. This year I decided “ENOUGH!”, and stayed home. I think I will try to make a few ornaments this week using the photos from this season. It was a good year, and it deserves to be dug out of a box and remembered in 20 years.

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Zoolights 2010

Winter Solstice was a bit emotional for us this year and we let it get the best of us until around 5pm. At 5pm we decided, screw it. We are going to Zoo Lights!

Now we love Zoo lights. LOVE IT. And we had amazing memories of last year, taking Canyon for the first time and of course, just like the Nature Park Solstice Festival, we had built up hopes and expectations for this year.

We almost didn’t go because we were afraid of letting ourselves get so disappointed again. We talked it out and decided to give it a try. If it turned ugly we would just leave rather than trying to force a moment. And when we were getting ready I found a great pair of boots that Carrie had given us this summer and I had totally forgotten about it. LL Bean, red, adorable and they fit on his feet like the glass slipper fit on Cinderella.

We went to the zoo. We have a membership so free parking. We got a great parking space. Took Canyon out of the car and put him in the stroller and he got comfy right away. It was at least 14 degrees warmer than Saturday so no need for a blanket.

Off we went! And finally had our perfect holiday night…

And the boots stayed on!

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