Sunday, December 10, 2006

Here comes Santa Claus

Roxy went to see Santa Claus yesterday. What she wanted most from Santa was for him to make the photo flash STOP. She liked him OK up to that point.

The various Christmas festivities are in full swing. We had our Christmas Party/Charity Auction at work last week. I had hoped to bid on one or two things, but the bidding quickly outstripped my budget, so I didn't get any of the items. Still it was fun, and I'm sure we raised loads of money for our chosen charities. Except for my share of my department's baskets, my charity budget is untouched. I think I will be sending a contribution to the Red Andrews Christmas Dinner. Red Andrews was an Oklahoma State reprentative who came up from nothing. His first Christmas dinner in 1942 served 100 people. He died in 1977, but the dinner goes on, with 7,000 served last year. They provide a dinner, plus toys for attending children and clothing for adults. Every year they have a terrible scramble for money, but the dinner goes on. It's sobering to think that while many in Oklahoma are doing well, lots of people are not.

Almost all of my waking hours at home these days are being spent in "Area 51" (where all the UFO's are). You can see how big the never-ending afghan is getting - I lack only about another foot to finish it up. I swear I will never crochet anything black ever again. Of course the amazing stack of junk beside the chair is an assortment of other unfinished objects waiting for my attention. Most are Christmas items, so I'll have to really stick with the program to keep up. It looks like the knitted and crocheted gift total will be around 12. There will be about 12 small items I will sew next weekend between cookie batches, and the food and drink total will be about 12. There will be cookie trays and Limoncello this year. The Super Secret Project is not quite done; I lack about 4 hours of work on it to finish. And yet I wonder why I am chronically short of time and money...In addition to the other multi-tasking going on next weekend, it looks like Miss Rita will be helping my with my baking.

Next weekend will be cookie baking, present shipping, tree decorating, and sewing. I'll need to settle on my cookie choices before the end of this week, keeping in mind that I will have an assistant with more enthusiasm than skill. The other variable is that I used the zest of 20 lemons for my Limoncello, so I have 20 zestless lemons in the freezer. I may make lemon bars for the office goodie day, but they are really too fragile to do well on the trays. The lemons are shrink wrapped in the freezer, so they will actaully keep until summer lemonade season perfesctly well, but I'd like to use up some of them. Shana had requested Paula Deen's cookies. Paula made some White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies last year that looked really good, but we had already finished the cookies by the time we saw those, so they had to wait for this year. There must be a cut out cookie, a hearty cookie (like ranger cookies, Paula's cherry cookies or oatmeal cookies), a pressed cookie, and something like a Mexican Wedding Cake. I like a refrigerator cookie, and since the family specialty of nut rolls has not been on the trays for two years that one may have to make an appearance.

I think Lucky Shana is completely done with her shopping - she's actually wrapping gifts today. We braved Michael's, Barnes & Noble and the mall this morning. It wasn't too bad - we knew what we wanted, and were there when the doors opened. We got out of the mall just as things were really cranking up. Shana picked out her paper and ribbon for this year while we were out. I won't be picking any out this year - I am in the "use what you've got" portion of the Christmas wrapping stash. I think there will be plenty to choose from, although I might need to get a few little boxes (or make some origami boxes in my abundant spare time).

Shana will be making her gift cookies this week, before I get control of the kitchen. She makes big pretty (Martha Stewart inspired) sugar cookies as office gifts, and they always go over really well. They are so pretty and festive that I horn in and do a few of hers just for fun. My own cookies are not so detailed, because I make at least six different kinds plus fudge. Once I make my choices it's all about production.

My shopping could be complete before I get home tomorrow, as there are only a very few items to pick up, and it looks like a quickie Target stop will do the job. All I need are some little gifts for the kids, and some festive wrapped candy to finish up my cookie trays. The trays look a little fuller and prettier with some sparkly candy sprinkled around among the cookies. Except for fudge I never make candy, so I like to buy a little. One or two bags do the trick nicely, with plenty left over for Christmas evening. Once I have all the errands done I can settle in to complete my projects and enjoy the season.

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