Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Blue Christmas

Well..not so much. I feel bad that I can't be at home during actual Christmas with Jeff and that I couldn't afford to buy anyone gifts, but my time at home was nevertheless wonderful. And..since Jesus's birthday wasn't on Dec. 25th anyway..I'm ok w/ not opening gifts that day. I can celebrate his birth whenever I please. I had a full 2 weeks vacation from work which I very much needed..but I still feel like I need rest. I had 5 days off at home before I left for Virginia which let me sleep and get some of the house stuff done. Plus, it let me spend some time with Jeff. We rocked out on Guitar Hero 3, watched some movies, and went to his aunt's Christmas dinner up in Galax.

After getting to Roanoke, Mom and I designed and built a gingerbread house!! It turned out so cute!! I'll post pictures once Jeff fixes my computer at home. The power supply got fried..but that's another story for another time. Anyhow, we went to The Roanoker for breakfast as is Christmas Eve tradition and then went downtown on the Market to walk around. We visited a few shops and then came home to work on the gingerbread house some more. Friday, we went to dinner at El Torreo and then drove around looking at Christmas lights. Over off of Starmount Ln...or Rd?? anyway.., there's a house that has it's roof completely covered in lights. We parked in front and saw a sign telling us to turn to a radio station for the complete show. The lights match the was awesome! They were playing some great songs and I wanted to listen to it, but you can't pick up the station anywhere except in front of their house. If you get a chance and you live in Roanoke, you should go see it. Go past the Hollins fire station 5 and take a left onto Starmount..the house is further down on the right.

Right after that, Mom got a call to go to Pulaski to do an x-ray on this elderly woman, so I went with her so she didn't have to make the trip by herself. It's a little over an hour away. For those of you who don't know, she works for a mobile x-ray company that travels around x-raying people who are bedridden or are injured to badly to move. Mostly, they go to nursing homes. Anyhow, I got to see how she does her job and it was really neat. She unloads an x-ray machine on wheels and rolls it into the room. This time, it was just an ankle, but it it had been a rib, she'd have had to move this 275 lb. woman around to get the slide under her. Yikes. After the x-rays are done, she takes them back to van to develop them. Then, she scans them into the computer and sends them digitally to their on call radiologist out in CA. That person then faxes the results back to the nursing home. So, from the time Mom got the call to the time we pulled into the driveway was 3.5 hours...and she does this all the time. Technically, they could call her at 2 am and tell her she needs to go to Wytheville to do an x-ray. Luckily, that hasn't happened yet.

The next day, Mom and I went back downtown to the market to go to a gourmet candy store to get stuff for the house. We got some hot cider while visiting the little stores and market ware tables..stuff like homebaked breads and jams, homemade soaps and wreaths..even mistletoe! Then we had lunch at Ernie's..a little dive with hot dogs and pinto beans & cornbread...and the best home fries I've ever had..outside of Mom's of course. was home to warm up and start planning our gingerbread decorations!

Kelly came over later that night and we had our Christmas together. I felt bad since I hadn't bought anyone gifts. It was just me opening presents while they all watched. Kelly got me a bag full of Bath & Body Works stuff...she knows just what I! Mom and Dad got me some clothes and had made me a Christmas decoration. Mom buys those glass blocks that you'd use for a window and drills a hole in the side of it. Then she stuffs a string of lights inside it and wraps the outside with a ribbon to look like a Christmas gift that you plug in. They're so pretty! They also gave me money which Jeff and I desperately needed.

Sunday was pretty lazy..just hanging out with Mom & Dad talking and catching up on stuff. That afternoon around 3, I left for Blacksburg to stay the night with Kelly. She took me to dinner at Cabo Fish Taco..which I recommend to everybody!! Quite yummy!! I'm a little upset I left my leftovers at her house..but I'm sure she enjoyed it!! We then got some Wassail fixin's and went back to her house to make some and to play Guitar Hero 3. Kelly was so funny. Here she is playing a song by Poison, but swaying and moving around like she's a member of the Partridge family...hahaha!!! She caught on really quick, so it was a lot of fun. I didn't get any sleep that night though. I don't know if it was b/c of the sound of the wind blowing against the house or if it was b/c I was in a different bed.

Monday morning, I got up and headed back to Roanoke to meet Jeff's mom and dad for lunch at noon. They took me to Annie Moore's pub for a yummy meal of fish & chips. After was off to shop. Jane decided that since I didn't give them a Christmas list, they'd just give me a dollar amount and let me get what I wanted. After a 7 hour shopping trip..I ended up with a memory foam pillow, 4 sweaters and some leather cashmere lined gloves...and I still have about $125 left to spend. I have to take the pillow back's too stiff. I was trying to get stuff that I knew I wouldn't buy for myself. A jewelry box, a new air purifier, the pillow, curtains, and a mattress pad for the bed. I couldn't find what I wanted or it was too expensive. I wish I had more to show for that 7 hours, but I think she's going to give me the remainder of the money in cash. Anyhow, after shopping, we had dinner at Golden Corral then I headed home.

Tuesday, Mom and I decorated the gingerbread house. It had a little front porch with columns made of chocolate covered shortbread sticks. The windows were melted butterscotch candies and the shutters were cinnamon life cereal. we made a chimney with shortbread cookies and then covered it in square cinnamon candies so it looked like brick and we did that up the whole side of the house. It turned out awesome!! We didn't get to finish before I had to leave for home though. I didn't want to be going through Greensboro at rush hour, so I wanted to leave Roanoke no later than 2 and I was pushing it. The only thing left to be done to the house was put up the white picket fence make of white chocolate covered pretzels, build the walkway, finish the roof decorations and do the landscaping. I'm hoping Kelly will be able to help her finish it since she hadn't had a part in it thus far. I can't wait to see a finished picture!!

Before I left, I followed Mom over to Grandpa's to say hello to him. He made me eat lunch before I left, so I happily consumed my bologna and cheese sandwich. He seemed to be doing well. He has a hard time getting around, but mentally, he's still quick and high spirited. At 84, he's still a handful! If he'd keep up his physical therapy, he'd still be able to move around and would probably live another 15 years. He refuses to use a wheelchair. I told him if it'd help, I'd get him a leather jacket and paint flames down the side of the chair. Maybe get Grandma a side car. She'd still tell him how to drive. "Now Jack, don't go too fast around this turn..." makes me laugh to picture it.

Since coming home, I've moved the turtles to a bigger tank and just hung out around the house. Jeff and I went to Carolina Brewery Wednesday night and then had our Christmas. I bought him the dual pack of Guitar Hero 1 and 2 plus 10 lottery tickets...we didn't win but $4. =( He got me The Goonies and Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix on DVD..both of which thrilled me! Last night, Jeff cooked and we watched the Goonies.

All in was a great holiday. The only thing I didn't get to do was see Hannah..our schedules weren't compatible..and go see Ronnie, Misty and the kids. I also wish I could've seen Grandma, but it's kind of depressing. I also wish I could've spent more time with Kelly, but what time I did have with her was great. I also wish I didn't have my work drama hanging over my head. I still don't know what the outcome will be..and that worried me a bit while I was off. I thought there'd be a letter or something in my mailbox when I got back to work tonight, but there was nothing there. I guess it's kind of fitting that I came back to work on the darkest day of the year.

There weren't many gifts to open...but it's quality, not quantity that matters. I got to spend time with my family and that was what I needed most. They really lifted my spirits when I desperately needed it..and that's what Christmas is about. I felt more loved and cared about in that 5 days that I was up there than I have in a long time. I'd been feeling alone and helpless. I know Jeff loves me..but since he's going through most of the same stuff with me, it's hard to offer support and encouragement when he's feeling the same way I am. I just feel very lucky to have the friends and family that I have. They've always been there for me and always bring smiles and laughter in the darkest of times. I can never say thank you enough. I sit on my first 12 hour night of 7..wishing I were back home curled in bed with Jeff...who's not there because now he's in Roanoke with his family for Christmas. A lot of times, I do feel like this place just sucks the happiness right out of me, but I'm doing my best to remember all the good times over the past 2 weeks to get me through the next few nights. Wish me luck....