Thursday I worked on Christmas cards and my address labels. Once I had slept on it and then came fresh to the program it was as I had remembered and went quickly. I also worked on my Social Security Application. That is very uncomfortable for me. I mean Social Security is for old people. People over 62. And no, I do not think that people 62 are old any longer, or 65 or 70, it is still odd. And I am applying with a disability. That is really hard. I know I have cancer. I know I worked 31 years for the state, not to mention all the other work I did paying into Social Security all my life, but it is still odd. It still just does not seem right. I don't like asking for help. Even help I worked for. I don't like to be labeled as disabled. OK, no one is interested in hiring a 56 year old woman with stage 4 lung cancer. But I don't like the label.
Friday I was cutting soap, and I am very happy how all of it came out. The clove, vanilla, jasmine doesn't smell like the 3 ingredients, but rather like a new scent all its own. But the lime, tea tree, bay with green clay. I love it. The citrus smell with the touch of spice from the tea tree and the bay. The coloring and texture of the clay. It is my new favorite soap. I am fickle, I will change my favorite flavor almost every shower. I have end or odd pieces of every kind in my shower, so I can continue to use it as it ages in the same was as people buying it would see it age, in the shower. I love the orange rosemary, but the aging is not prefect It is better then other orange/tangerine oils I have used and the orange flavor stays true longer, but it still does not smell the same after a couple of weeks. So this new batch I added in more rosemary to try and take that shift of scent, in hopes that the rosemary will anchor the citrus.
I wrapped presents, packed presents and soaps. Went over my list, checked it twice, and then Ms Judy called. She needed to go into town and pick up a few things. I said I would love to go with her and made arrangements to meet at my place.
We jumped in the toy. It was a little overcast and we left the top up. Our first stop was ABC and I picked up bottles of French Champagne for Christmas. I restocked my liquor cabinet. Which is kind of funny because I don't drink anymore because of the meds and my liver. OK, maybe a small glass of champagne for special occasions, but that is all. As I was putting my box of wine and my bag with the vodka in it, the bag slipped out of my hands and fell the 18 inches or so and hit the ground straight up. There was a cracking noise, but surely I couldn't have broken it. Then the bag holding the bottle filled up like a water balloon and I watched vodka spray out all around and on my feet. I stepped back and tried to figure out how to quell the tide, but then saw that the entire bottom of the bottle had shattered. Judy came out and saw me standing there staring as the vodka poured forth from the bag. She said, "Take it back in and they will give you another one." "No they won't, this is my fault for dropping it, not there." She said, "It is Christmas they are making enough money to do nice things like this, and it happened in their parking lot, right in front of the their door." So she grabbed up the bag and into the store she goes. Sure enough, she got me a new one for free. Amazing. Judy is amazing and that was very considerate of the manager of the ABC, who acted like it was just as normal as could be. I still appreciated it.
Our next stop was Pier One then on to World Market, a quick stop for wings at the wing stop and then finished up at Wally World because we both needed cat food. I always enjoy myself with Judy. She is intelligent, funny, interesting and can discuss just about any subject with ease. We always enjoy our time together. It was a lovely day of shopping. I haven't spent that many days in the stores actually shopping. This was a bit of a Christmas treat to have someone to go shopping with. My Mother and I always took a special day before Christmas to go shopping together. We did not shop together a lot. Neither of us were shoppers. But for Christmas or for a special situation we would go shopping together and it is still some of my most favorite and happy memories of my Mother.
We got back to my house in time for me to make a quick change of clothes and then head up to the Opera House to meet Carolyn for the Christmas Spectacular. The Opera House was sparkling with the four lit Christmas trees decorated by the four Garden Circles. Giant snow flakes
We settled into our seats that have barely any leg room. There are a couple of rows that have more then the others, but they are still close. But most people do not notice them so they were free for us. Across the aisle sat Ron and Pat. Pat had on the most wonderful sweater with penguins on it. I love sweaters, I have had one for about 25 years that is called A Tapestry of Trees. It is knitted in the browns, green, rust, gold you find in a forest with design resembling a forest. I love it. I loved Pat's penguins.
The Extravaganza started out with a sort of surprise opening. Not the big musical opening that is so often done, but instead with people arguing over what should be done during the extravaganza. Then the four women in the show came out into the audience for participation. Some of the audience really loved that. Some of us did not. I don't care to have people surprise me like that and put me in the public eye. So when she turned her beady eyes on the three of us she asked me what I would suggest. I simply put my hands up in front of my face with a "please leave me alone look". She snapped at me that it was time for audience participation and went off on me. I am not sure what she said, but my only response was, "don't yell at the audience." I don't know if she heard me or not. Janis and I looked at each other with a "what was that about" So for the rest of the show whenever she was on stage I felt uncomfortable. She had a beautiful voice. Her voice did soothe the savage breast, but I certainly don't want to run into her again.
But the rest of the show was fun. The kids and young adults were amazing. I have watched these kids grow up for the last 4 - 5 years. They have grown from adorable and sweet children to beautiful young ladies and gentleman. And they are still as sweet and adorable as they ever were. I just about burst watching them. Watching how beautiful they are. How talented. How lucky to live in this tiny rural community and to have an instructor who can teach them how to sing, act, dance and put on wonderful shows. I sat there in my seats surrounded by friends and family of the performers. Some were like me, who has been a small portion of these children's lives through the Opera House. But just as proud and amazed at how good they all were.
Some were still kind of shy and sweet. Some of them were energetic and big. They made me smile each of them. Some have grown into such wonderful talent, Alex. She really is amazing. She has that snap, that feel of the music and the dance and how they swirl together around her and she looks so natural and comfortable on the stage. Then Catherine, so shy and sweet with her beautiful blond hair. She exuded a joyfulness from the beginning as she and her sister, Olivia were ribbon dancers in the opening number. Catherine knows her part so well, she like her older sister looks natural and comfortable on stage. Each with their own personality, but so talented. The younger sister, Olivia, still so young and sweet and precious. She has talent and as she grows up it is going to be fun watching her come into her own as her two older sisters are doing. One of the brothers was also in the play and he has the family talent and was so cute and did his lines like an old pro.
Then Rachel who is around Alex's age is growing up so fast, and obviously has spent many hours on the stage. She like her younger sister and now brother are growing up light Alex and her siblings at the Opera House stage. A historical building. A beautiful theater, wonderful acoustics, just a magical place and they that is just the normal place to act for them. Several of them have done work with other theaters, and they are already seasoned actors. We are so lucky here where I live. We have the beautiful heart of our community, the Opera House. And then we have such talent and instructors to share their knowledge and experience with younger people. The audience was small as they have been this year but it is a lovely Christmas tradition. Oona did the set and it was simple and elegant with white paper Christmas trees and snow flakes, swooping curtains that glowed with different colors. It worked with all the different numbers. And each year I enjoy seeing my friends up there performing in the shows, but it is the kids that I love the best.
I am so grateful to be able to watch these great children as they perform and grow; as they mature as people and as performers; as they go from childhood to teenage to young adult to grown ups. I adore them all.
Saturday I finished packing boxes and mailed nine. Most of them have soap in them. I hope they enjoy the soap. It was made with love, cut with them in mind and then wrapped and shipped with care. I drove to Fred's and found The Rescue squad toys. Ms Moon has told me about a TV show with Diego in it as part of the Rescue Squad, or some name like that. I found two and two puzzles that went with the toys and got a set for both Owen and Waylon. I will take them with soap over to ms Moon's tomorrow.
I am done, I have nothing extra I can think of getting. Last year I gave a family present, but this year, I am going to wait until this summer and see how my finances are. Maybe a surprise present to some place might be the key. We will see how the money goes this first year of retirement.
I have had some wonderful phone calls lately and have enjoyed this time of year because of my contact with friends, new and old. The new year is coming. I look forward to see what gifts will be shared. I hope the challenges will be less. But whether gift or challenge, it does not matter, each will be handled. I don't believe in tests and lessons, except those we give to ourselves. And I hope that each year I am alive in this place that I continue to learn and grow. To each passing year be more accepting of people and situations. To enjoy moments like Friday night. Sitting in the theater, a place I feel so much at home, and watching people I love dance and sing and perform across the old worn boards of the Opera House.
It is Christmas, I am still working on my cards. The presents are almost all wrapped, and maybe I will have time to do some baking. I do need to bake 4 loaves of nut bread. Three to take for Christmas morning and for Dad after we have all gone home. One to keep here at the house to taste like the holidays the week between Christmas and the new year. It is good to be back in the real world. It is good to be back at Christmas.