December 26, 2010

Day 8 - Christmas in San Angelo

Our last full day in San Angelo began with some of us sleeping late (me) and a delicious Texas BBQ meal downtown. After discussing options for the day, Ayden convinced his dad that Frisbee golf at the Concho River city park would be a great plan. We came home for gear and headed to the river for the three guys to work on their throwing arms.

I walked around with Sarah catching pictures of trees I could not identify and the brown landscape that is so unlike riversides where I come from. It was great to be out in the fresh air and sweet to have more chatting time with Sarah.

Ayden had two boxes of "poppers" that he wanted to break into, so at dusk we all went out to the driveway. These are the little firecracker packets that a child can throw on the ground to see a spark and hear it pop. We found ourselves searching for the duds and stomping on them, all the while realizing it probably looked like a very strange dance to the neighbors across the street. Oh, well...

They vacillated but then they made up their minds to go see TRON in 3D. Ayden and I snuggled on the couch and watched Toy Story 3 with his tub of Christmas popcorn. I don't enjoy all the yelling in these movies, but in the end I found myself reminiscing about toys I had loved as a child. I would enjoy seeing a Betsy McCall doll like the one I had in 1963 and a Chatty Cathy with long red/brown hair, without my added haircut, of course. My brother's plastic train set would also be fun to play with again. (In my mind I'm seeing the 1962 Christmas picture of me in front of the tree assembling it - pretending to be doing it for him!)

The day came to its end with Aaron challenging his dad to a video game: TRON, of course, featuring the throwing of "light disks." So, I guess we would have to call this Disk Day!

December 25, 2010

Day 6 & 7 - Christmas in San Angelo

Christmas blessings!

We piled into the SUV yesterday for an early lunch and some shopping. Ayden trailed Grandpa in Walmart while his folks picked up some groceries for the very special Christmas dinner that Sarah was planning. I grabbed my favorite hot chocolate mix and added it to the cart, then left them to go wandering. It wasn't that I needed to purchase anything, I just wanted to take my brain on a little vacation!

When we got home I started on our tamale pie. We were lacking in cornmeal a bit, so I found some cheese crackers and crushed them into the cornmeal crust mixture to extend it. It worked out fine, though there were no leftovers (and no complaints, as well). This was one of the top recipes Aaron enjoyed as a kid. While it was baking the little family put together their gingerbread house.

This morning we enjoyed Grandpa's pancakes for our Christmas breakfast. Patiently Ayden waited while Grandpa read the story of Jesus' birth. After we enjoyed our exchanging of gifts the "boys" (Ayden, his dad and grandpa) played with a truck that jumped over pop cans in the hall. Sarah spent the rest of the day putting together a wonderful meal. When everyone had their food I served myself and walked into the family room with an impulsive creative "grace" to offer. I raised my plate high over my head and thanked God for the food and for Sarah. Everyone agreed! Sometimes traditions need to be changed, but I'm sure God always appreciates a thankful heart.

December 23, 2010

Day 5 - Christmas in San Angelo

I just haven't been able to adjust to central Texas time, especially when the others are also staying up late. It's long been my practice to have my unwind-be-quiet-with-Jesus-time after everyone is asleep, but lately that's been difficult. It seems my blog posts are dull dry news instead of vibrant expressive writing because of my sleepiness, but I will plow ahead.

Being with Ayden brings out some playfulness in me. I have a feeling I'm giving him an unusual perspective on grandmotherly behavior, but there's no harm in that! When he wants to use his big muscles and push me a little too far, I invoke a gentle warning with the one-finger poke in the ribs or with the touch of a ticklish spot. He'll run far and wide on the outskirts of the backyard, and because he always returns I can move easily to his side and give him my intimidating super-grandma face (which sends him flying away again). At least that's how the game went this afternoon! Yesterday's game of hopscotch was hard on my knees, so when I petered out Ayden got Grandpa to give it a go. I'd never seen that before.

Jerry and I have been somewhat "under the weather" this week, so we lounged on the couch tonight watching two young parents wrap their Christmas gifts in front of the tree. It's so interesting to contemplate how our roles have matured. Now it's my turn to be the older woman, and I hope Ayden is seeing that I meant it when I told him today that I didn't want it any other way. I had my young years, now I want to walk with Jesus wherever he leads me in my older years!

December 22, 2010

Day 4 - Christmas in San Angelo

We played with the marble shooters on the hallway floor today while my son and husband made the guest bathroom a construction zone. When I was here in August we stacked up things we'd found on our walks to make targets, like feathers and sticks. Today Ayden's step-mom suggested his hot wheels track might make shooting a little more interesting. It did! We got the marbles squared up to launch at stacked pop cans, creating the necessary racket that's appropriate with such endeavors.

Earlier in the day the tree got itself decorated. I say it that way because I contributed very little to its beautifying. It took me quite awhile to stretch out the tight places after my run this morning, so I watched shiny lovely colorful things join themselves to the tree from my various contorted angles on the floor. When we were both done, the tree and I, we shared the satisfaction of "well done." It's makeover made it shinier and brighter. My makeover made me stand taller and walk stronger. Win/win!

Sarah whipped up another wonderful meal and invited her friend over with her little boy to share it with us this evening. Aaron seemed surprised with the amount of noise two boys can make. I just grinned and reminded him he was one of three little boys! His little sister wasn't shy about diving right in, so we usually had a hefty level of noise going on ourselves. Better than watching someone else have all the fun, I say!

December 21, 2010

Day 3 - Christmas in San Angelo

Reconnaisance mission in Walmart: To shop undetected by two Air Force sergeants with my grandson while he chooses and purchases their gifts. Outcome: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

The store was packed tonight with an abundance of joyless and/or tired faces, but I was in the mood to create another memorable adventure for Ayden. Grandpa Jerry headed to the hunting/camping section and our sergeants moved out of sight, so Ayden and I proceeded with our plan. We crouched and dipped behind the racks as we watched for our targeted gift-receivers, then we discussed different things that might appeal to them. I hung his choices on a rack, and as he decided on his favorites I kept an eye out.

For security purposes I will make no disclosures what those gifts are just now.

We all managed to get our secret purchases into the house and hidden away and we thought it would be a great time to launch the original TRON movie, but we were so bushed (and Jerry and I had watched it just a few nights before with other family members) we abandoned that idea. Now they are all nestled into their beds and I'm wrapping up my business of the day.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests!" Luke 2:13-14 NIV(c)2010

December 20, 2010

Day 2 - Christmas in San Angelo

I was 19 in 1975 when I took my first trip in an airplane. We were served what I thought was a special treat and even offered to eat my grandmother's serving of the shrimp cocktail. But now, more than 30 years later, I have uncovered the suppressed memory of the rest of the story! Food poisoning (or an allergic reaction) to shrimp! May that never happen again!

With my son's family we drove down to San Angelo from Dallas yesterday, stopping in Dublin, Texas at the Dr. Pepper factory/cafe. How fun to see the museum pieces and read the history of the making of Dr. Pepper. Apparently, the drink bottled there is the only plant that has always used pure cane sugar as its sweetener. Others switched to less expensive ones. And have you noticed on the original bottles of Dr. Pepper the 10, 2 and 4? Those are the times of day it was suggested you have one to keep your blood sugar balanced. Interesting prescription!

Jerry and I stood in the street extra long to soak in the Texas sunshine. We felt a little odd surrounded by the flat landscape but enjoyed cracking pecans with our grandson on the sidewalk by the convenience store; adventures that we don't have in Oregon!

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December 19, 2010

Day One - Christmas in San Angelo

Even though it was only hours ago that I felt deathly sick and its memory is close to the center of my mind, I don't want to go any deeper into it than that. Well, I will share some observations that I made in the midst of it with a few (just a few) explanatory background notes.

1. I never lost faith that my sense of humor would return, even though I felt total wretchedness in mind and body. Shakiness, fever, chills and the other stuff you don't want to hear about.
2. My feelings about being packed into a hotel room in this state with everyone deep in their sleep around me is hard to describe. Add to that the noisy neighbors in the hall and the bathroom fan not working to muffle the "keeping me awake" sounds, and then the tears that fell when I couldn't just patiently bear it and literally asked God for mercy.
3. As my husband began to wake in the morning he discerned I was snoring and totally unaware that I had survived the most horrible night of my life, he woke me up to inform me of it. My humorless response, "well, maybe it was my turn." (I apologized later).
4. The thought did occur to me that perhaps I would never feel this bad again and the rest of our trip would be wonderful, but I know life is just sometimes not easy. And I have not heard God promise me that. But oh, I am so glad it is over for now!
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