We are all heading into that final week before Christmas arrives. All of the things that I did in late November/early December to avoid that last minute Christmas rush don't seem to matter when there are STILL things on my to-do list, but I'm glad that I got as much done as I did back then or I'd be wearing a straight jacket right about now.
I told Andrew that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Christmas.
I. Must. Learn. How. To. Do. Christmas. Easier.
Please grant me some grace - I avoided making homemade things (except the baking) like the plague this year, I struck things off my to-do list that just aren't going to get done and I haven't shed a tear over one single strike.
But when you're in charge of music at church at Christmas......well, it's demanding. So is work. Home. More work. School programs.
Ben and I went shopping last night for the gifts he wishes to give. Last year went a little smoother than this year. We nattered at each other crossly for most of the outing. We finally sat down over fries and gravy and could hardly look at each other. He was the grown up when he shrugged his shoulders and said "I'm SOOOO tired". I was too. We confessed and left the crankiness behind us.
And all is well.
So I was thinking about the merciless to-do lists and the inspiring-but-ever-so-discouraging-Pinterest posts that make one think that every corner of the house has to be picture perfect in order for Christmas to arrive properly.
And...........I think I'm brave enough to do this......
.........I thought I'd let you peek into Christmas 1992 in Maureen's world.
Ahem. It wasn't picture perfect.
Back in 1992, Dean and I were friends and nothing more. We both hung out with a group of 10-12 other young adults - they were all married and in spite of our singleness, we somehow fit in in our own independent ways. We all had music to tie us together. These friends - we made some sweet music, let me tell you! So many good memories. We were family, we were friends, we loved, we squabbled now and then, but at the end of the day we had friendship of the nicest sort.
(I haven't asked any of these friends for permission to post their picture. I may be sued.)
Anyway, one December night in 1992, Janelle told me that her husband, Byron, was going to the bush to cut down a Christmas tree. Oh!!! How I'd love a tree! This was long before I ever had money to buy an artificial one and I had grown up on a farm where trees were plenty but I didn't have time to go to the farm to get one either so wouldn't it be nice if Byron could bring one home for me too?!!
So, I asked Byron if he would mind bringing one home for me, too, and he graciously replied that he'd be happy to do that.
It was a Saturday. I waited all day for them to get back to the city. Couldn't wait for the arrival of this tree!!!!
Finally, they pulled into the parking lot of my apartment building.
They walked up the sidewalk with big Christmas smiles!
I can't wait!!! A real tree of my own, delivered to my doorstep!!!
And then they produced THE TREE.
Then I gave a little giggle....."is this it?" I remember wondering.
Actually, I remember thinking that it must be a practical joke.
But Byron kept smiling that million dollar smile of his as he joyfully handed over THE TREE.
And I graciously accepted it.
reluctantly, er, graciously, indeed.
I'm thinking that that evening, these friends came over to help me decorate THE TREE after a banquet that they had to sing at. I don't remember that part ...... but pictures don't lie.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you (TA-DA) THE TREE of 1992.
Again, the pictures don't lie - they must have stayed to help me decorate the whole blessed tree. How's that for good friends? Love of the best kind!
What does one do when one has a tree like THE TREE at Christmas? Why invite more friends over, that's what!
Anyway, my tree wasn't perfect but it was given to me with great affection and made THE BEST memories that year. Perhaps the lesson to learn is that perfection is over-rated and bland?
Quick recipe to share tonight - a new and very easy favorite that I will repeat.
Creamy Salmon Penne
3 cups penne pasta, uncooked
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
450 gram package of salmon fillets cut into bite sized chunks
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 250 gram tub of Dill Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Cook the pasta in salted water.
Meanwhile, sauté garlic in olive oil until soft. Add salmon chunks and stir fry until lightened in color (desired doneness). Stir in the tub of cream cheese, chicken broth and milk and stir together/melt until well combined. Drain the pasta and add to the fish/sauce pan. Stir to combine and serve!
Make some happy memories this Christmas!