Saturday, November 27, 2021

The One Where I Finally See Lights Turn On

Ten Things of Thankful, here I come!

We pre-gamed Thanksgiving last weekend at the lake house, cooking a small turkey we had in the freezer and having dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy with it. My son was able to drive up and join us, for which I am extra thankful (his wife was on call for the weekend and couldn't come with him, so that was a bummer), and my daughter's friend Kirstin was also there (surprise visit that she and I had planned weeks ago), and it was a lovely time.

You've got to be thankful for a two-day work week! I made pumpkin pie with my littles both days, and we took some mini pumpkins and dried corn out to the woods so the deer and squirrels and other critters could enjoy a Thanksgiving meal, too.

No one threw up this year at Thanksgiving. This is BIG, because the last time we all got together (pre-Covid), every. single. person. EXCEPT me got the stomach flu. 

I'm thankful my brother is a terrific cook. We had a wonderful time with him and his wife and daughter Amy, ate entirely too much, and this bears repeating, NO ONE THREW UP.

My daughter's car got a flat tire while we were staying with her, which was fortunate (that we were staying with her, NOT that she got a flat tire), because we were able to get AAA there to put on the spare and then get the tire fixed within a few hours.

We live in the land of Walmart, and that's where we're used to turning when we have a problem like a flat tire while out of town. Funny thing, there aren't Walmarts conveniently located when you're in a city, and the tire repair places were closed because of Thanksgiving, so we are now the proud owners of a membership to Costco, which is only a couple of miles from my daughter's apartment. We did get small town treatment from the tire department when they squeezed us in, even though the were booked all day, and we are all grateful for that!

I did a little Black Friday shopping on the Plaza and ran into friends from home whom I hadn't seen in two years. It was delightful to see you, Vanessa, Carmi, and Laney! Hope you enjoyed the shopping and the cheesecake!

I saved my biggest thankful for last:

The Country Club Plaza in Kansas City opened in 1923 and was the first planned shopping district in the country. It was also built to accommodate shoppers arriving by car. The architecture is based on that of the city of Seville, Spain, and it's known for upscale stores and restaurants. In 1925, several merchants decided to put up colored lights to celebrate Christmas. By 1930, the lights had increased so much that they decided to hold a lighting ceremony, and now, tens of thousands of people attend the ceremony every Thanksgiving.

I grew up in Kansas City, and every Christmas, we drove down to the Plaza to see the lights, but I never, ever got to attend a lighting ceremony. In fairness, we spent many Thanksgivings out of town, but even when we weren't, we never made it down there for a number of reasons, mainly, that it was too cold and too crowded. Trips were attempted and aborted midway when traffic jams made it impossible to get there before the switch was flipped. I moved away from Kansas City when I went to college, and my parents moved away a year later, and while I would go see the lights every few years, I was never able to go to a lighting ceremony.

A few years ago, my brother and his family moved back to Kansas City, but once again, cold weather, traffic, crowds, and A BUNCH OF PARTY POOPERS IN MY FAMILY kept me from going to a lighting ceremony. I had to be content with watching it on tv (and I KNOW there are more spectacular Christmas lights in other places, but this is a Kansas City thing and a Big Deal if you're from there). Fast forward to this year, and my daughter is living a block away from the Plaza. THIS WAS FINALLY GOING TO HAPPEN FOR ME.

My daughter agreed to go with me, and we bundled up Thursday evening before walking down to the lighting ceremony. My husband decided at the last minute to go with us, and we headed down into the throngs. I didn't care about the ceremony itself, which included singers and dancers; I just wanted to be there when they flipped the switch and the lights magically came on. 

And it happened. 61 years in the making, and I was finally there!

I hope your Thanksgiving was magical, too. The Ten Things of Thankful blog hop link is open and ready for you to join! Please do!


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Sunday, November 14, 2021

As God Is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly

This week's weather report ranged from warm and humid days with severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings (not for us but in the vicinity) to cold and breezy days, rain, sun, clouds, and snow flurries. Snow. Flurries. Not ready for that. I AM ready for this week's Ten Things of Thankful, though:

1. There's a long, dull explanation for the why of the following, but the Reader's Digest condensed version is that our child development center classrooms get yearly assessments provided by the state that are used to help improve the quality of childcare, and that includes periodic visits from "coaches" who visit our classrooms every few months and provide feedback. Let me say first and foremost that my coach is wonderful and gives me terrific support, but it still raises my anxiety level to have someone evaluating me and my classroom. 

My coach was supposed visit me on Monday of this past week, so I spent the Friday afternoon before, with MUCH help from one of my student workers (thank you, Baylee!) making 3D turkeys with my little nugs to hang from the ceiling of the classroom, as hanging 3D art is a must-have for the yearly assessment (and considered a "fireball" by the fire marshall, but that's a story for another day). I hung them up Sunday afternoon in preparation for my coach's visit, then I stood back and looked at them and laughed until I cried. Instead of cute turkeys hanging from the ceiling, it looked like a processing room at the Butterball plant.

My husband called my room a "Thanksgiving haunted house."

And I love it.

2. Unfortunately, my coach was not feeling well on Monday and didn't come for the visit, but she is not seriously ill and will be coming to visit my poultry processing factory, I mean, my classroom soon.

3. My daughter and I both received a letter from her former apartment complex notifying us we had been turned over to collection for an outstanding balance of $175 that turned out to be an error. I mean, WE knew we didn't owe money, but it's not always easy to convince the other party of that.

4. My daughter gets a big thankful for taking care of the above sitch. 

5. I gave myself a little haircut this week. I was wanting some more layers, so I tried something called a unicorn cut for curly hair. After watching a couple of YouTube videos, I unicorned myself. Bad news is I gave myself bangs, which I did not intend to happen, but the good news is, after living with them for a couple of days, I don't hate them anymore.

6. I donated blood this week for the American Red Cross. I usually do the Power Red donation, but their machinery was down, so I made a normal donation. The phlebotomist who took my blood was excellent, I was in and out in twenty minutes, and if you are healthy, you should consider being a blood donor, too. 

7. My husband and I went out for Mexican food this week. Twice.

8. It's pretty amazing that we can order something online and have it delivered in a day or two to our home, and while it can be frustrating when our deliveries are late, spoiled as we are with overnight shipping, it is even MORE frustrating when a delivery is early and comes when you are out of town (again, first world problem, but still a problem). My husband had three packages delivered two days before they were supposed to be, putting them square on our front step where anyone could see them. Enter my friend and co-worker Robin! She went out of her way to go by my house and pick them up and hold them until I see her at school on Monday. Yes, I bribed her with caramel popcorn, but she's the kind of person who would have done it WITHOUT the bribe, and I hope all of you have a Robin in your life!

9. I FINALLY completed a (what seemed like 100 but in reality was more like 9) session training on Conscious Disclipline that began in September, with each session being 2-3 hours long. On Zoom. I signed up for it originally because it meant a 3-day trip out of town with several fun people from work, but, cruelly, it was converted to a virtual training that, while interesting and valuable, seemed truly endless. I shall take a STAR breath now and move on....

10.Thanksgiving is coming! Thanksgiving is coming! Thanksgiving is coming!

Be ever thankful. 

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Sunday, November 7, 2021

It Was A Freaky Week

Want to know what's worse than the week of Halloween? The week AFTER Halloween! Yowza, those kiddos are WOUND. UP. from the excitement and the sugar! But what better way to start this week's Ten Things of Thankful than with the first one on my list:

I'm thankful all things Halloween are OVER, and we can move on to my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!

We sort of skipped fall this week and went straight to winter for a few days, so once again, I am thankful for that electric mattress pad that I mention in my TToT oh, so frequently. 

The unexpected chilly weather did allow me to wear my new nightgown. I found it at a really interesting little thrift store in the Waldo area of Kansas City last weekend for one whole dollar! It's satin on the outside and brushed flannel on the inside, so you stay warm but can easily turn over under the covers. It's a short gown, which means I don't get tangled up in it, and it's pink. Did I mention it was a dollar? It was a DOLLAR!

Yesterday, my husband and I spent the day visiting thrift stores and flea markets and antique malls (we live a pretty exciting life). As we were headed to our last planned destination, I asked my husband if we could stop by our house, so I could run inside and go to the bathroom. He stayed in the car as I headed to the front door, but just as I got to our front steps, I dropped the keys. Now, I drop the keys several times a week on the top step as I'm juggling the items in my arms and trying to unlock the front door, but THIS time, I dropped them on the first step, and they slid across the step AND DISAPPEARED UNDER THE CONCRETE SLAB PORCH.I immediately dropped to my knees and started crying. My husband, looking up and seeing me, thought I had fallen down and jumped out of the car. 

(NOTE: The entire porch area and step leading up to it used to be covered with dark green outdoor carpeting. It tore about 10 years ago, and we pulled it up and left the concrete exposed. What I DIDN'T know was that the carpeting covered a gap that would ordinarily be an upright section of concrete, but who knows what they were thinking when the house was built nearly 100 years ago.)

I tried to reach through the gap and feel for the keys (wearing gloves, because God only knows what could be living under there), but I couldn't get my arm in further than just past my wrist. Using a flashlight, I could see dead leaves and very old wooden supports, but no keys. In a moment of lucidity, I used my Tile app to (hopefully) narrow down where they had dropped, and I could hear the Tile on them ringing, and it didn't SEEM to sound terribly far, so at least they didn't fall into some opening to a mine shaft or anything.

Here's the really fun part: we had no house key AND we had no car key; however, before we left town for my son's wedding back in April, I took a spare key to work and tacked it to a bulletin board in my observation room, as everyone in our family would be in OKC and I wanted to be sure someone could get in our house if need be. My husband was able to track down his dad, who came over and took us to my work, where I retrieved the key. Once home, my husband remembered that my brother had given us a kind of endoscope with a magnet and a light on it, and after it was charged and an app downloaded, he was able to use it to retrieve the keys! HUGE thankful to both my husband AND my brother. I'm not sure my brother could have anticipated his gift being used for fishing my keys out from under the house, but I'm pretty sure he won't be entirely surprised that the event happened in the first place.

Surely that covers at LEAST ten thankfuls.

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