I was cleaning out a junk drawer this afternoon and came across a little book that Robin made when she was in elementary school. It’s called “My Poetry Book”. The inside inscription reads “This book is dedicated to my beloved brother Brian.” Here’s the first poem:

I wish

that I could fly away to a beach

and live there for a long time

and no one

will take me home again so

I will not have to

listen to my brother.

So much for “beloved”…

After my back finally quit throbbing (turned out to be sciatica), I had a wonderful time in Boise with the Holsingers. I even managed to get out and do some shopping on Christmas Eve, and go to candlelight service that evening.

Christmas morning was a blast, watching the kids open presents while we looked out on fresh, white snow.  Steven got a whole room full of Playmobile toys, and he was one happy boy for the rest of the day. I got Megan a junior sewing machine, and she quickly proved she comes from a long line of seamstresses, as she was stitching straight lines right off the bat. I came home with a suitcase full of little trinkets and big gift cards.

It was 19 in Boise on Friday morning when I left.  Flights in and out of Salt Lake City were again running behind due to weather and de-icing every plane before takeoff. I got into Phoenix an hour late.

On Saturday, we all gathered at Brian and Carrie’s for a gift exchange and Honeybaked Ham dinner. Don and Betty were in town and joined us, along with the Balches, Daryl’s family and of course, “Great Grandma”.  Lauren was tickled with her new “Miss Pattycake” DVDs, and Nathan couldn’t be bothered opening boxes he knew held clothes, because he was driving his Zero Gravity car up and down the walls.

Pictures are posted here on my gallery. I have a couple of pieces of leftover pie to eat up, and then it’s time to start the dieting.

I’ve been mentioning to a few people that I wanted to learn to play the guitar. I even looked online for a used guitar, or a cheap new one to get me started. Well, Carrie is very good at listening to folk’s casual conversation and remembering it come gift time.

Yes, you guessed it. She and Brian got me a new guitar for Christmas! I was SO surprised, and totally excited. Isn’t it a beaut? A Fender Starcaster. (Daryl says Fender guitars are the best.) It came with a lesson DVD on tuning, techniques and chording. I took my first lesson this morning and had a second practice session after church. Boy, are my fingertips sore! But I can play three chords: D5, E5, and A5. The teacher said “You are now a guitar player!”

I’m sure you will all be lining up to get tickets to my concerts in a few weeks.

What a wild few days I have had! I am currently in Boise with Robin and Ken looking out on 5 inches of new snow. It’s beautiful with no footprints or tire tracks marring it yet this morning. The kids are playing with Christmas games on the computer, and we’re eating hot oatmeal for breakfast.

My ordeal started Thursday night when I woke up in the middle of the night with another backache. I had a 5:00 flight Friday afternoon, so I worked from home that day so as not aggravate it too much. Glenda took me to the airport at 3:00, and when I checked in, I discovered my flight was delayed until 6:45. Great! an additional hour and a half sitting in the airport.

I found a fairly quiet sitting area in a corner and settled in with my book. At 5:00 I went back to double check my flight status, and found it was now delayed until 7:30. At 6:30, the departure time was reset to 8:30. At 8:00, it was rescheduled for 9:30. They did board the airplane at around 9:15, but we didn’t take off until 10:00.  The reason given for the delay was weather in Salt Lake City, where my connecting flight went through.

I was worried about making the connection in SLC for my flight to Boise, but since more than half the passengers on my Phx/SLC flight were bound for Boise, they held the plane until all the passengers were boarded AND the luggage was transferred (YAY! I would have clean clothes!)

I texted Robin from the plane at 1:15 that I was just about ready to leave SLC and would see her soon, and she texted me back, “Wait, you’re just now leaving SLC? I’m already at the Boise airport!” She settled in for another wait. I landed at 2:30, and after 30 minutes got my suitcase, then we were on our way home. We got home at 3:30 (originally scheduled to arrive at 10:30). Judging from the news reports this week, it appears I’m lucky I got here at all. Blizzards across the northwest have almost completely shut down air travel since this weekend.

Saturday was a busy day with Megan’s Charlotte’s Web performance in the early afternoon, and church service that evening. My backache was really cranking up, and by evening I was in much pain. Over the next couple of days, when I could drag myself off the couch, I visited a chiropractor twice and a doctor once, and now have anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant drugs. I foresee better days ahead (I hope!) This is not how I wanted to spend my Christmas holidays with the Holsingers.

Anyway, for a recap of more pleasant things. The ballet performance of Charlotte’s Web was beautiful. It was all done by students of Megan’s ballet school, and some of those senior dancers are truly gifted with professional careers in dance in their futures. But of course, the star of the show was one little katydid with lime green wings and the most beautiful smile of all. My Megan! She did a great job, and Grandma clapped loudest of all for her.

The weather has been fierce, with lots of snow each day, but a few hours of sunshine here and there. The roads in town have patches of ice, but mostly slush and snow. The mountain ski resort is doing a great business. It’s c-o-l-d, but bearable (from a Phoenician’s perspective) with heavy coats, scarves and gloves.

My back is feeling a bit better this morning, and hopefully I can help with some cookie baking this afternoon. I need to try to make it to Target or Walmart to finish shopping (I didn’t buy and bring, planning to shop here).  If not, Robin will get money with instructions to go buy her own gifts.

The kids are certainly in “the week before Christmas” mode; Steven can hardly contain his excitement, and each evening they open a small package containing a piece of the nativity scene. Only two more to go, and the set is complete. Welcome, Baby Jesus!

Marvell announced a two week shutdown from December 22 through January 2 to cut corporate expenses and force people to use up some vacation that is stagnating on the books. So the Holsingers invited me to join them for Christmas in Boise. (They even bought my ticket — how great is that?) Since I’m going to be gone, I decided not to put up any decorations here.

Brian and Carrie went to his company holiday party last night and Nathan came to spend the night with me. When he walked in, he couldn’t believe I didn’t have one Christmas decoration up. He promptly said he was going to help me decorate.  I begged off putting up the tree, but I did get out some garland, several candles, the Nativity, red and green towels, and a couple musical ornaments, which he helped place here and there. When we were done, he walked through the house “grading” every room. He counted the decorations in each room and gave me a point for each. In his bedroom, there weren’t any, and he was a bit chagrined. I tried to convince him that Spiderman was red and could count, but he wouldn’t buy that. He did give me a point for a silver bell that sits on the shelves.

When totaled, my score was 31 points. We both knew his mom would probably score about 500 points, as she puts decorations in every room and every corner of their house. Even the bathrooms have little lighted trees! (Nathan confided to me that the linen closet doesn’t have any decorations, but that’s okay.) But his mom doesn’t have a hanging bell with an electric eye that plays music whenever someone walks under it like I do! He was most fascinated with that. (I was most annoyed with it, and turned it off the minute he left. ;) )

If you have visited Robin’s blog, you have seen what is in store for me when I get there. Her decorations more than make up for my lack of a tree, and I’ll have a whole week to enjoy them, and the kids. What fun! Fa la la la la!

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