Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nothing Is Ever Simple

Yesterday I bought a copy of Real Simple magazine (my People magazine didn't come this week), with the intention of taking a long hot soak in the tub - something I haven't had time to do in quite a while. I managed to fix dinner, eat dinner while it was still hot and then sneak into the bathroom unnoticed. As I slid into my deliciously warm bath I realized two things. Significant mildew had taken over my shower curtain, and I hadn't shaved my legs in a very, very long time. Both of these things attempted to disrupt the serenity of my tub experience as I thought about getting out and grabbing the all-purpose cleaner and trying to shave my legs while scrubbing the shower curtain thereby allowing me more time to soak afterwards.

In the end I decided not to worry about the shower curtain as I don't remember ever reading anywhere that someone died from mildew. I laid back and opened up my Real Simple magazine hoping that my life would be organized and efficient when I got out of the tub. About 5 minutes into my bliss a little face poked around the shower curtain. I've heard it said that company in a tub can be fun, but I don't think whoever said it had a 15-month-old splashing his toys onto their magazine. It looked as though simplifying my life via reading material wasn't going to be that simple.

After kicking the wee one out of the bathroom I decided to just shave my legs and get out. I reflected that I had already taken steps to simplify my life by buying one of those razors that has the shave gel bar on it so I didn't have to waste time lathering up my legs. How smart of me! After the first swipe with the razor I realized I really should do this more often. Thoughts of how this was similar to weed-wacking my way through the Amazon came to mind. In the interest of personal hygiene however I persevered, and was rewarded with a bathtub that looked like a cat had exploded inside it. Now in addition to mildew removal I would also need to find a little more time to clean the tub.

In summary, if I hadn't insisted on this silly notion of taking time for myself I could have continued traveling down my blissfully ignorant path and saved myself from yet more work. Ahhhh, such is life, simple or not. :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Julie's Top Ten Christmas Lessons Learned

The tree was fake, the gifts expensive and the children were up early. Ahhhhh, another Christmas here and gone. Yet this was a great Christmas. It was spent with friends....and it was still fun! And here is what I learned:

1. My friend Nicole has mad skills when it comes to picking out great Christmas gifts.
2. My friend Beezy can cook like nobody's business.
3. Beezy's husband knows his way around a turkey.
4. Watching my kids open gifts tops any other gift I might receive.
5. Shipping from Alaska costs almost as much as Obama's new healthcare plan.
6. Homemade gifts haven't gone out of style.
7. Even the most active children sit still for "Twas the Night Before Christmas."
8. My husband has more fun with the kids' toys than they do.
9. A Nintendo Wii will unite a family like no other gift (complete with shouts of "I'm gonna kick your butt this time!"
10. And finally, it's worth it. All of it. The stress, the money, the rushing around. It could be more simple, and more inexpensive I suppose - but then it wouldn't really be Christmas :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Fake!!

For the last 4 years Dustin and I have observed the wonderful Christmas tradition of testing out our 4-wheel drive in the backcountry of Montana in order to find "the perfect tree." Alas, we never really found the perfect tree and the day was usually fairly stressful with children repeatedly asking, "are we there yet?" "Is this the one Mom?" and "Is there a bathroom close by?"

When we moved to Alaska I was certain that I would be surrounded by glorious Christmas trees on every side. I couldn't wait to go out into the woods before our first Christmas here and pick from the millions of perfect pines just waiting to be "the one!" Alas, it was not meant to be.

Pine trees don't grow well in Alaska. Fake trees do. Real, beautiful, "perfect" trees stand in the lot at Wal-Mart or Lowe's and cost approximately 1 kidney and 2 corneas. So this year we had to decide between our ideal live tree or Christmas presents to go under it.

It's a cute tree. It doesn't even remotely resemble anything that once lived, but it holds all the ornaments that I lovingly hauled 3,000 miles just to put on it. It won't shed needles. It doesn't require water and therefore won't dry out. I can put it up again next year too. But somehow it just isn't the same.

Sooooo, I went over to my friend Catherine's today just to bask in the glow that is her live Christmas tree. I sniffed, touched and stared at that fabulously thick and well-groomed tree. It looks like it belongs on the White House lawn. Jealousy is such a disgusting emotion!

However, my friend Nicole was kind enough to provide me with a solution to my problem. She bought me a "Christmas Tree Grow Kit". So thoughtful of her. All I have to do is plant the seed in the teeny-tiny little pot, faithfully water it, repot it 127 times over the next 20 years and then voila! my very own live Christmas tree! Boy will that be a wild and crazy Christmas party.

Until then though, I will happily decorate my little faux tree and try to remind myself that, "it's the thought that counts!"