Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hey Santa: Christmas in Kansas

This year, I thought that I would share some of my family's most cherished Christmas tree ornaments with you, my gentle readers.

This is an ornament that Mother of Ken made several years ago and it seems appropriate to begin with it:

Here's the tree with lights, ready for us to decorate and Boomer ready to supervise:

The most famous and important ornament of all is the Egg Carton Santa that Father of Ken made when he was a child. It is the first ornament that goes on the tree every year and it has a special box of its very own:

Tags that belonged to our late, beloved first Boxer, Kramer:

The little bear with the bow tie:

Brother of Ken's very own egg carton creation--this time, a bell (I think) that is an homage to the Oakland Raiders:

The baby ornament that Mother of Ken bought the Christmas that she was pregnant with me:

The bear with the scarf:

The felt Wizard of Oz ornaments that everyone in our family has a set of:

Super Mouse:

Brother of Ken's Bednight Bear ornament:

Once all of those ornaments were on the tree, along with many others, it was time to put the angel on top. Kenna is helping Father of Ken:

Here is our table, set for Christmas dinner:

We had beef tenderloin with white wine and shallot sauce, puffed Manchego mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, herb rolls, and salad.

For dessert, we had a variety of candies and cookies including (from the bottom left), homemade toffee courtesy of Grambi and Aunt of Ken, dark chocolate bark with pistachios and dried cherries, peanut blossom cookies, butter mints, Ina Garten's jam thumbprints (not worth the effort), and Danish wedding cookies:

The living room:

The Nativity set (or "activity" set as Brother of Ken used to call it) painted by Grambi:

A winter storm hit here on Christmas Eve, so we had sleet and snow coming down along with winds gusting up to 45 mph. We sent Grandmother and Uncle of Ken home early and then decided that we weren't going to be able to make it up north to Mother of Ken's church for Mass. This is the first year in my entire life that I haven't gone to church on Christmas Eve, but it just wasn't safe for us to be on the road, especially in the dark. It sleeted and snowed all night--it sounded like someone was throwing marbles at our windows. We were supposed to celebrate Christmas with Father of Ken's family, but the roads were not clear, so we had to wait until Saturday. Thankfully, we had plenty of leftover tenderloin to eat. Needless to say, no part of our Christmas plans took place as we expected, but everyone is alive and safe and we eventually got to see each other and that is the important thing.

There is still a lot of crap on the roads, several days later. In New York, I am used to competent snow removal, but in Kansas, that doesn't exist. I love Kansas, but the city manager here once said that "our best source of snow removal is the sun." They don't plow much, they don't treat the roads, and they just let people pack the snow down until the whole town is like an ice rink.

Holiday Road

I apologize, gentle readers, for not giving you any new posts for a while. Things have been a little crazy around here with the holidays and a certain stubborn 91 year old with shingles. Anyway, I'll try to bring you up to date with the next few posts. These pictures are from two weeks ago when Kenna and I drove from New York to Kansas. The trip took three days because we had to take the southern route to avoid bad weather. By the end of the second day (about 14 hours in the car), Kenna was not happy. Here she is relaxing in our hotel room:

After a good night's sleep, she hid under the bench in the room to avoid getting back in the car:

She was a wonderful dog, though, and she got back in the car and endured another eight hours on the road. We arrived in Kansas late Friday afternoon, much to her relief, and she was reunited with Piper and Boomer.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Ran

After a long trip from New York, Kenna and I arrived in Kansas last Friday. On Saturday, Father of Ken and I were headed to Grambi's house and we saw this on the way outside of a flea market:

Just a little something for you gentle readers to enjoy while I get some other blog fodder together.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Festivus for the rest of us!

Yes, gentle readers, the holiday season is upon us. Kenna and I decorated the house for the winter season and we thought we would share some of the photos with you. We used a few Christmas decorations, but mostly we used things that we can leave out until February so that we don't have to pack them all away in a week when we leave for Kansas.

The snowman collection on the windowsill:

My new letters that spell out "Noel." Mother of Ken has red block letters that spell out "Noel." She has had them for years and we have gotten into the habit of rearranging the letters to spell out other words like "Leon" and "Nelo" and "Onle." I am thrilled to have my own Noel letters now and mine even have glitter and sequins!

The stairs--I was watching Little Women as I decorated and this is how the March's stairs are decorated:

The top of the secretary in the kitchen:

Snowflakes hanging from the kitchen ceiling:

Kenna is exhausted:

Later, she tried once again to breach the indestructible dog toy. Still no progress on that front.

Today, we had snow. Not our first snow, mind you, but our first December snow.

Kenna does not care for snow. It gets in her dog ears and then she shakes repeatedly when she comes inside--kind of like Kramer on the plane when he had water in his ears.