Monday, December 03, 2007

I am seeing light at the end of tunnel!! The semester is almost over. I think I am as excited as my students this time. This has been the semester from Hades with all the health problems. The last of the assignments are due by midnight tomorrow and then I can finish up grading and start putting Fall semester to bed. I have had a wonderful group of students - it is just trying to keep up with everything along with doctor's appointments, etc.

I gave up on the pain management doctor who I initially was supposed to see. I made the appointment in early November and it was mid- January. Then his receptionist calls and says he will be presenting at a conference the day of my appointment and backed it up to the end of January. My wonderful physical therapist suggested another pain management doctor, and after getting the mandatory referral from my regular GP, I finally get in to see him Wednesday morning. I haven't been this excited to have a doctor's appointment scheduled in my life!! The anti-inflammatory meds are giving me some relief but I have forgotten what it is like to not hurt.

I turned the big 51 on Saturday! Steve treated me to blueberry pancakes in bed for breakfast - even blueberry syrup. I am a big blueberry nut in memory of my mom who picked wild blueberries with abandoned delight. She was so good at finding the patches of big ones that she was selling them to the local grocery stores. Well, those that were not going into her yummy pies. I love blueberry anything!! I even have the blueberry pattern dishes from L.L. Bean, and a blueberry wreath and picture on the kitchen wall. And, I absolutely love the book - Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. The pictures of her sitting in the patch eating as many berries as go into her can reminds me of myself as a little one. I ate more than I picked - still do if I get the chance. I never did encounter a bear in the same patch as she does, but this Caldecott picture book from way back is a gotta have for both home and library use. I read it to kindergartners- 2nd graders in Alaska as they knew all about sharing berry patches with bears!!
My mom also had this friend, Aili, who was my dad's best friend's aunt, who would go picking berries with us when I was little. Oh she was hilarious - she sang so loud we knew no bear would come anywhere near us. I can close my eyes and see her with her hair in a braid wrapped around her head and in gaudy pedal pushers!!

We also went downtown to the Christmas Parade. BRRRR!!! It was freezing out and standing in one place was awful - the bottom of my feet were so cold I couldn't feel my little toes. The parade ended and there was over a 1/2 hour of speakers, carols, etc. until the tree lighting. We almost made it, but had to give up. We caught a few of the fireworks from the car as we headed home. Next year I want to just go down for the tree lighting and fireworks, if I can get Steve to agree. He went because it was part of my birthday present. He also bought us tickets to drive through the Christmas lights display at the Horse Park and to the Christmas music at the opera house closer to Christmas. He knows what a Christmas nut I am. I am listening to either Christmas music or a Christmas book in the car right now. I love this time of year. People are nicer to each other and it all about finding the gift for loved ones that you know they will like. And, it could snow for a few minutes on Christmas day and then be done with it!

Speaking of Christmas, I read There's Something About Christmas by Debbie Macomber recently. It isn't a book to write home about, but I liked it because of the fruitcake theme. A novice reporter was interviewing three Washington State women who were in a national woman's magazine final contests for a fruitcake recipe. I know most people don't like fruitcake, but I love it. I had the joy of going to pick out my own fruitcake at Collins Street Bakery in Corsicana, TX when we lived near Dallas. Their fruitcakes are to die for, but the calories will kill a Holiday diet. I was just on their web site, drooling: My mom used to make these little fruitcakes and send them to us in Alaska. They weren't the greatest but it was because Mom had made them that they were eaten with a cup a coffee and a smile. My mom smoked like a chimney so when the care package came the whole box smelled for cigarette smoke instead of the good things inside. My dad always sent me red string licorice as I loved it as a kid and still do. And my mom made fruitcake, delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and Finnish cinnamon rolls I cannot replicate, no how. Must have been that darn wood stove!!

Anyway, back to the book. It is a romance between the young reporter and the small plane pilot who takes the scared-of-flying passenger to her interview sights. She had given up on celebrating Christmas when her mom died, but this guy and a lost dog she adopts bring Christmas back into her life. Yes, I agree - There's Something About Christmas. The author's note suggests the reader try the fruitcake recipes in the book, and I may well try the chocolate flavored one!! She also noted that she writes an annual Christmas romance so I guess I will always have at least one holiday romance to read. I do read other than children's and YA titles once in awhile, especially during the Holidays. I'd like to say this one has teen appeal, but only to the die-hard romance fan, or Holiday freak like me.

All for today. Steve should be home soon and I still haven't gotten the books to send to ECU for the Holiday party wrapped. We always give books to our secret pals and then donate them to the local homeless shelter. I can't drive over to the department party so I will have to send the books to my pal. This being "grounded" from the drive over to campus is not any fun at all!!