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.

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