It's the most wonderful time of the year...

It's really hard to believe it's Christmas again already. I say that every year, so I don't know why I am surprised. The only thing I am not liking this year is that I will have to go to work on the 26th. I did get to leave early yesterday and today, so that helps I guess. Since a lot of people will be out all week and hopefully we won't have that many people coming in, the office should be pretty relaxed the week between Christmas and the New Year. I have pretty much all of my shopping done, except for my dad and stepmom, who are so hard to buy for. I did manage to send out Christmas cards this year too, although they were not the cute photo cards I had envisioned. Maybe next year...

Our Christmas will go pretty much as it has for the last few years...Christmas Eve at my dad's and Jeremy's grandparents', Christmas breakfast with my family, then to Jeremy's aunt's house for most of the rest of the day. I hate spending so much time running around between families, but until we have little ones of our own that's how it will be. One unexpected turn of events: Jeremy's sister is going to be getting married at the family celebration this year. I am still experiencing quite a bit of shock so I don't have a whole lot to say on that subject at the moment. I do hope and pray that it goes well for her though.

One of our youth group members has left us this week. She completed all her high school requirements and will be starting Jacksonville in January. This is one of the girls from the United Methodist Children's Home, and she has been with us for several years. She will be largely on her own now, and as always, I worry about that transition from strict rules and oversight to complete freedom and self-reliance. These girls are not the typical college students. There are no parents to hold them accountable (at least not that I've ever seen), and no one to pick them up when they fall (as we all inevitably do). K. is the first one to leave since Jeremy and I have taken over the youth group, and I pray that we've taught her something that will be meaningful to her somewhere down the road. It's so hard to get through to these teenagers...most of the time it feels like we are treading water and getting nowhere. Anyway, even though we've had some trying times with this young lady, her presence will be missed. I wish her the best of luck, and I hope that she will stay the course in her college life and overcome her rough beginnings. Watching these girls grow up makes me even more thankful for all the opportunities and all the blessings I have had in my life. God is so great, and He exceeds my expectations all the time, even though I am nowhere close to deserving.


I was trying to be neutral, but....

Okay, so the writers' strike has been going on for about 5 weeks or so now, I think, and until now, I haven't really paid extremely close attention. A few weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly printed a timeline showing how many new episodes of popular shows were remaining (meaning the shows that were scripted before the strike went into effect). I noticed a only meager few episodes of favorites such as Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers & Sisters were remaining. That got me thinking about what an impact the strike could (would) actually have on tv watchers, but it was not until this past week that the reality of the predicament hit me. I am left to ponder what might happen on all three of the aforementioned shows, without a clue as to when episodes might resume. Don't get me wrong...I know the wait for new television is not really all that big of a deal, and there are much more important things happening in the world at this very moment. But for me, a person who enjoys nothing more than unwinding with a well-written and well-performed episode of a favorite tv show, it's definitely high on my list of current complaints. Worse still, reps for the studios and executives apparently walked out of negotiation talks this weekend, leaving us with absolutely no end in sight.

No longer will I reserve my judgment as to who's in the right or who should cave to the other's demands...for the sake of great television (and movies, too!), give the writers what they want! I think they have proved their point; without writers, television studios are left to create even more senseless, brain-numbing reality shows, and we most certainly don't need anymore of those. (Can you tell I think most reality tv is contributing to the downfall of American popular culture?? Just my opinion...) From what I have read, the Writer's Guild of America is holding out for a bigger stake in the profits of DVDs, downloads, etc. (all of which are getting larger thanks to changing media capabilities). The writers have proven they are the backbone of the industry, and without them everything comes to a standstill. Just give them the profit they deserve. Please?? Until then, I guess I will be forced to catch up on my tv on DVD.


Puppies & Christmas Trees

Last week, I worked over a period of about two days putting up my Christmas tree (brand-new to me...thanks, Dad!) and getting it decorated just the way I wanted. Yesterday, in a period of about three hours, my two dogs completely destroyed all the hard work. I left them inside yesterday morning when we left for church because I knew it was going to rain, and I didn't really want to have to bathe them when I got home. Yes, I know, I should have known better.

I left church with my family to go eat, while Jeremy headed home to get ready for work...therefore, I didn't get the full effect of the destruction scene firsthand. But I can imagine. I thought for sure Jeremy was exaggerating when he said most of the ornaments from the bottom HALF of the tree were now crushed in the floor...he wasn't! How those two medium sized dogs managed to reach ornaments from 3-4 feet up the tree, I will never know. The bulk of our ornaments were glass balls, of course, so I was a little worried about how much glass they might have consumed. It doesn't seem to be bothering them so far, though.

Petey Grace gave me a glimpse of how much fun they must have had un-decorating my tree. I found two loose ornaments they had missed underneath the coffee table, so I laid them on top of the table until I got ready to repair the damage. Petey Grace took one look at me, grabbed the smallest ornament, and gleefully took off with it, apparently hoping someone would chase her. It was cute, infuriating as it was, and I could only picture the two of them spending the morning chasing each other around the room with colored Christmas balls in their little mouths. I had, up until that point, mostly blamed the damage on Chloe, as she is definitely the more mischevious one. However, Petey Grace clearly demonstrated she was a willing participant in the debacle. The final bit of damage I found was the frayed cord on the last strand of lights. They had completely chewed off the plug! At that point, I was just thankful they hadn't been electrocuted.

I redecorated the tree, pulling extra ornaments out of storage and moving some from the back to the front. I think I repaired it well enough for this season, but new ornaments will be in order for next year. I most definitely learned my lesson about leaving the dogs in the house unattended...they just aren't ready for all that freedom yet, apparently!