Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas 2008

This had to be one of the best Christmases in recent years, for me. Everyone was festive, happy and are in good places in their lives. Christmas Eve was spent with George's kids and grandkids at his son Jon's house. We had a wonderful time. It was a request by Jon that we all come together after a rough year and give thanks that the family was still intact with 2 additional members so everyone put their differences aside and we had a pleasant evening. George and his ex wife have always been civil but things could have been rough with her new boyfriend there. Pete was there and everything went just fine. George is happy in his life now and Donna seems to be happy with the choices she has made so there is no reason we all can't get along. The grandkids got tons of gifts and of course were the life of the party. We had a Yankee Swap which was fun and there was plenty of food and drink for everyone.

Christms Day we spent with my family at my parents house. My kids arrived and my neice was there with the new baby. My brothers, nephews and of course my parents were there too.
We ate, drank played cards and exchanged gifts. Everyone had a great time.

I got lots of things for Christmas. I got 2 of the books from the Twilight Series, candles, gift cards, cash, some CD's and a series of books on CD by Stephen King. I also got a beautiful pair of gold earrings from George. It was a great holiday.

I've posted a few pics for you to see.

It's New Year's Eve and we are going to visit George's brother Ray and his wife this evening. I don't think we wil be staying until midnight, which is fine with me. I'm still trying to shake off a cold that I've had most of the last week.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Matt Nicole and Alex on Christmas Eve

Callissa and Alex

Callissa with her new hoodie

Sara and Hunter on Christmas Day

Pep bribing Hunter

Eric and Jessie checking out his Bruins Jacket


Group shot
In the back:my brother Dave and Brad
Then: Sara, Me, George and my brother Henry
Then: Eric and Jessie holding Hunter

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snowfall Pics

A few pics of my deck after the snow on Saturday.

I took this from inside the house later in the afternoon.

It's a bright sunny day today but really cold still. I will post a few more pics of my decorated Christmas tree and the front yard at another time.

Off to decorate the sugar cookies.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Crazy Christmas Shoppers

People are crazy...that's about all I can say. LOL
I spent the last 5 hours driving in and out of the strip malls around Concord today, stopping at certain stores to purchase my last minutes gifts. I found pretty much all I needed except the handheld GPS I was going to get George for Christmas. They were all out, just my luck. The sale is on until the 27th so I decided to purchase a gift card so he can go to the store and possibly buy it after Christmas. At least he will have a couple of things under the tree to open.
Anyway, back to the crazy people. I am guessing we got about another 10 inches of snow yesterday, on top of the foot we got Friday night. I do realize that it is the first major snowstorm of the season, but come on people...if you have lived here for even one year you should know how to drive when there is snow on the ground. You cannot do 30 going around corners, and it is really a good idea to slow down, even if there is only an inch of snow on the ground. There is most likely ice underneath. The roads were actually pretty good today, considering I was out fairly early. The plows had been out all night and except for a few of the back roads, they were in good shape. I was behind a school bus so I was going pretty slow but the 4 wheel drive vehicle behind me was quite impatient. He rode my bumper the entire 6 miles to town, even after I tapped my brakes a few times to back him off. As soon as the school bus turned down another back road, the 4 wheel drive passed me, illegaly I must add. A mile or so down the road, I saw his rear bumper sticking out of a snowbank and he was spinning his tires to get enough traction to get himself out. I don't know how he made out, I didn't stop. Serves him right for being an idiot.
Idiot #2 reared it's ugly head by the Mall. I believe in common curtesy and often at an intersection, I will let someone trying to make a left hand turn go because when there is a line of traffic coming, I know how much it sucks to be stuck when no one will let you go. I could see there was a break in the traffic so I motioned for this woman to cut in from of me and make her turn into a gas station. Idiot #2 behind me started honking his stupid horn at me. I tried to ignore him but he leaned on his horn for a solid minute. Now it took the woman in the car only 5-6 seconds to go in front of me and enter the gas station. Certainly no reason for the dumbass to go ballistic. I shook my head and continued on my way. He followed me into the parking lot of the sporting goods store and drove by me when I was getting out of my car and called me a few choice names. I gave him the one finger salute and wished him a Merry Christmas.
By this time I was pretty much ready to go home. My patience was wearing thin so I finished up my business at the store and headed home.

We are going to go shopping tonight after supper to finish up. All we have left are the gifts for the grandkids and I need to go to Kohl's. I drove right by there today and didn't feel like going back once I realized it. George has to work today and tomorrow but then he will be off for 12 days.

I just put a cake in the oven and I think I'll make a turkey pot pie for supper tonight. We cooked a turkey yesterday and have plenty of leftovers. Time to finish the laundry.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Wonderland

It looks like we will definitely have a white Christmas here in New Hampshire this year. It began snowing yesterday around 2pm, just after I got home from work. It was a light fluffy snow, but it was piling up pretty fast. We decided to venture out around 5 to pick up a few more Christmas gifts and to grab something to eat. George's boss gave him a gift card for the 99 Restaurant so we decided to go there. The roads were snow covered but it wasn't too slippery. It was kind of fun riding the back roads in the snowstorm, in fact we were reminded of the days when were were teenagers and we drove along the back roads in George's jeep.

After dinner we picked up a few gift cards and headed home. I would say we had about 5-6 inches of soft powder on the ground by 7pm. This morning I am guessing there has to be a foot of snow and it is still coming down. George is out right now snowblowing the driveway. He has to go to the dump before noon but all other plans we had for part of the day will be put on hold until tomorrow. Laer this afternoon we are going to his daughter Nicole's to have supper and visit. It's been awhile since we've played with the grandkids and we both miss them. They only live the next town over so we should be able to get there with no problem.

I haven't had much time to complete my Christmas shopping. Last weekend we had the ice storm and that pretty much crippled most of the State for several days. We were lucky to have gotten our power back after 18 hours but many people are still in the dark 9 days later. I should be able to get out for awhile tomorrow to finish up. Mostly we have to pick up gifts for the grandkids and I have to stop at Kohl's for a gift card for Sara and something for my brother. I will venture out on Monday and finish up my shopping for George. We agreed to only exchange something small since we are planning a cruise in February and we want to purchase a couple of recliners for the living room. I got him a pocket watch and he needs some jeans and a couple of shirts for work. I want to get him a hand held GPS for hunting but I think I will purchase a gift card from the sporting goods store so he can actually pick out the one he wants.

My Christmas cards are all in the mail but I haven't decorated the tree yet. I am hoping that I can get that done tomorrow also after we get back from shopping. I have all of next week off so I have plenty of time to get everything wrapped.
We are going to get another 8-10 inches of snow starting around noon tomorrow. Oh JOY! I can hardly wait. Hopefully the snow will be light and powdery like it is today.

I took some pics earlier of the snow on the back deck and will post them as soon as I can find my cable and upload them onto my laptop. I still haven't got my desktop computer set up in the office. Everything is in there but nothing is set up or arranged the way I want it.

Christmas Eve we are going to George's son's house. We are all bringing food and having a Yankee swap, it should be fun. I am really looking forward to it. We will meet my kids and my brothers, neice and nephews on Christmas Day at my parents house. Another round of good food and there we are doing a Secret Santa gift exchange. I have a lot of baking and cooking to do yet. I think I had better start making a list of chores or I am going to run out of time.

I hope you are all staying warm and dry. I'll try to post a bit more in the next few weeks since I will be off work and have a little more free time (I hope.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Woes

The sun is shining but dang it's C O L D!

Those of you who watch the weather channel or follow the weather throughout the country already know that the east coast was hit with a major ice storm on Thursday. I left work at 3PM and it was raining but just above 32 degrees so I had clear sailing for at least part of the ride home. I now live 45 miles North from where I work so I knew my luck wasn't going to stick with me the whole ride home. I was correct. About a mile or so North of Concord, the temps must have been below freezing because the road was getting slick and many cars were now crawling down the highway no faster than 30 mph, which was fine with me. I could see the ice forming on the hood of my car and I wasn't about to go any faster. I did have to stop at the pharmacy so I called George and asked how the roads in town were. He was just getting home and he said to just go slow and I would be fine. The pharmacy is about 6 miles at the end of our road, but it would be safer than the highway at this point. Right before I got to the exit, there were a couple of cars off the roadway and being towed out of the median and ditch by wreckers so I was anxious to get off the interstate.
I made my way to the pharmacy and picked up my medicine with no problem. I was right, the back road home was far easier to navigate and even with the little hills and turns, the road was well treated with salt and sand. I got home with no trouble and made it down the driveway from hell in one piece. I parked my car in the garage and that's where it was staying. I had already determined that I wasn't going to attempt the drive to work in the morning. We were all home safe and sound.

The evening was uneventful but the power went out sometime after midnight. As it turns out, over 400,000 people would lose power during this storm which will go down as one of the worst in the State. George had the foresight to buy a generator on his way home from work on Thursday so he and Patrick got that powered up Friday morning so at the very least, we had heat. We all know that in the country, no power means no water either. A shower will have to wait. We also have an electric stove so that meant I couldn't cook, but we had plenty of sandwich fixins.

Friday evening we were still without power so George and I decided to go out for a hot meal. We ended up at a local pizza joint since all the other restaurants were either without power or full of people who couldn't cook at home. The ride was awesome though. The rain had stopped mid afternoon and the sun did come out briefly before it got dark but we were treated to a bright full moon and the light from the moon glistening on the ice that coated the trees was absolutely gorgeous.
When we got home, George decided to hook up an additional extension cord so we could plug in the heater for the aquarium and he also attached a cord to the tv and dvd player. Just as soon as we were all settled to watch a movie, the power came back on. All I could think of long before the water in the hot water tank gets hot enough for a shower?

We were about 18 hours without power but there are still a lot of people who are in the cold and dark tonight. My son is one of them. We have extended an invitation for him and Jessie to come up here and spend the night. Still waiting on an answer. They were waiting for the generators to be delivered to the Sears store in their town the last time I spoke to Eric.

This morning, after about 7 failed attempts to get up the driveway, we finally made our way into town. We had a lot of errands to run and some Christmas shopping to do. We stopped for breakfast and then headed to my almost vacant house to see if there was any damage there. The house was still standing, but there was about an inch of solid ice in the driveway and covering the stairs. I noticed that there were numerous tree limbs covered in ice and bent over the power lines all over town and a lot of places were simply closed. There was only one gas station in town that was open and the lines were pretty long at the pumps. The bank was open but only because they had a huge portable generator powered up. I was surprised to see that I had electricity in my house. I have the furnace still running and the thermostat is set at it's lowest possible temperature so that my pipes don't freeze. The house was cool but everything was in order. I know, I am very lucky.
We bagged up some trash and packed up 4 boxes of kitchen and bathroom stuff, filled the trunk of my car and took out 3 bags of garbage. I checked the oil tank, still have plenty of oil for a few more weeks, and we headed to the Mall.

I checked off a few more on my Christmas list and we have a game plan for more shopping tomorrow. Looks like we will get a good majority of our shopping done this weekend. I hate shopping...and this year I have whittled down my list considerably. George and I are going to buy a couple of recliners so we aren't buying individual gifts this year. I already have what I want anyway. :-)

It's a good thing I decided to not go into work yesterday because I would have been really ticked off if I had driven all that way and found that there was no electricity. I've been there 6 years and they have never closed because of a storm. My boss just called and she is still without power and she and her family are now staying at an EconoLodge in town. It could be days before their power comes back on.

George's friend Jim called earlier and we are going to lend him our generator. He is still without power and he has small kids in the house. I offered our shower too, not sure if he will take us up on that but we have plenty of hot water.

The news is reporting that there are still 400,000 people without power. It's been so cold that the ice on the power lines and on the trees hasn't melted at all.
We have assistance coming from as far away as Ohio to aid the power companies. Trying to see the positive through the negative, Mother Nature has provided us with some fantastic winter scenery the last couple of days.
Another night of extreme cold and then up to 50 degrees by Monday. Keeping my fingers crossed that we will be out of this deep freeze and in the light soon. The calendar says it isn't even winter yet.

I hope you all are warm and cozy and thanks for the prayers and warm thoughts.