Merry Christmas Alone

Gail’s injury forced us to cancel our Christmas travel plans this year. Her hip wouldn’t tolerate the 9 hour car trip, and the orthopedic surgeon forbade air travel so as to avoid a blood clot. So we are spending the holiday by ourselves here in Winston-Salem while our families gather up north in Toledo. It is not my first experience at feeling sadly isolated over the holidays. I know this happens to many people for many reasons. So this year I am shouting out a special Christmas wish to all those who will be without family this year. In my personal experience, this includes:

people who are injured or sick and can’t travel

people who are sick in the hospital

people who are working in the hospital on Christmas Day

people with family in another country

divorced people, especially those whose small children are with their ex this year

people with a spouse with dementia

military spouses whose spouse is deployed overseas

special needs people without a real family

…and I’m sure there are many, many more situations.

The joy of the holidays which we imagine in our minds does not always play out IRL. I have heard this from many people. Holiday stress is a given. But those who feel isolated for whatever reason get my special wish today. Reach out to those you can with a call, or a warm smile, or a holiday hug. ๐Ÿ™‚

Princess Gail Packs a Gun!

Christmas came early at our house. ๐Ÿ˜€ Gail and I exchanged presents back in November, and I’m glad we did, because we got to enjoy them a little before she broke her hip.

I told Gail in September that I would take care of our Christmas this year, that I would get the presents for both of us. I got the idea when we went to the horse ranch this past summer and had fun shooting guns.

Not surprisingly, she was an excellent shot! She’s very mechanically gifted, and follows instructions to a T. These cowboys were a fun crowd and they took Gail under their wings, showing her how to shoot a handgun and a rifle. Gail had no trouble with the .22 caliber target guns.

The other thing you have to know is that Gail and I are huge Law and Order fans, especially the SVU shows. We also enjoyed Life during it’s brief run, and currently watch Prime Suspect with Maria Bello. We love Fringe, including the character Olivia Dunham. We get enough of a kick from these shows that Gail sometimes dresses up as “Detective Crotte.” And that’s all I’ll say about that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So considering our interests, ย I took a little risk and started us off on a new hobby. It was a little bit crazy, but I bought usย his and hers .38 Specials: Smith & Wesson snub nose revolvers! ๐Ÿ˜€

Aren’t they beautiful!?

It made Gail very nervous to actually own guns and have them in the house. But I had decided on a particular day for the gift-giving because I had enrolled us in a class the following morning, an Introduction to Firearms safety class. It was particularly cool because Wanda Starke, who is part of the news team for local Fox channel WXII, was attending. She was doing a piece on women using guns for self defense, so the cameras were there, and Gail got to be on the evening news!

We literally had a blast carefully trying out our new guns. Much more on this later, but for now, here is a picture of Princess Gail tightly grouping her shots at the center of the target. Awesome!

Twelve Days of Christmas #10 ~ Wha-wha-what!?

This is highly irregular, as it is well past Christmas. But I never finished my Twelve Days of Christmas series this year. Busy life got in the way. And I have a Christmas video that I really want to share!

Have you noticed the Hyundai commercials with the cute girl with the sweet voice singing “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells?” She’s Nataly Dawn (Knutsen) and the dude she works/plays with is Jack Conte. Together they are a majorly groovy indie duo called Pomplamoose.

It’s kinda cool that the only way to purchase their Christmas music is by donating to the Richmond Book Drive. I’m totally doing it! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do:

A Candlelight Evening at Biltmore

Princess Gail and I had a great time visiting Biltmore again today. Well, I guess technically it was yesterday because it’s after midnight now. The Biltmore Estate ย is a North Carolina gem, and we have been there several times before. Actually, we are now “pass holder” members. Frequent flyers, sort of. We like to take our visitors there, because the house is so spectacular, and Asheville is fun, and the location along the Blue Ridge Mountains is flat out gorgeous.

We went this time because we wanted to see the Christmas decorations. We attended one of the Candlelight Evening showings. It was a fun date. We chit-chatted for the 2:15 hr drive from Winston to Asheville, then enjoyed the beautifully decorated house, and yaketty-yakked all the way back home. Now we are resting, because Gail’s mouth and my ears are tired. LOL! (I really am kidding. It was two way conversation. I can tap into my girly side and yaketty-yak with the best of them! And it’s fun dreaming and talking about what it must have been like to live in a place like that, with such wealth.)

Here are a few pictures I stole from Mara at The Mother of all Trips, a web site I had never seen before. I was googling for images and happily stumbled upon it.

That’s a 35 foot Christmas tree in the banquet room. It’s just one of 250 rooms in the Estate!

If you are ever in the Asheville area, this is a must see!

Justine did it!

My good friend Dawn at Don’t Know Much About Photography recently posted several pictures of her lovely daughter, Justine, home for the holidays, making a traditional gingerbread house.

Little did she know that she was also starting a new holiday tradition: The Tradition of the Upside Down Wreaths! Check out the close up image. I bet she didn’t think we’d spot that!

So, to get into the holiday spirit, I took on this new Canadian tradition and brought it to the US of A.

I wonder if these people will ever notice that their wreath is now upside down?

I did hear someone ask, “Who turned this wreath upside down!?”:

The new traditional answer is, “Justine. Justine did it!”

Those Canadians are pretty funny, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰