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Christmas Letter Extravaganza

Monday, December 24, 2018

Julia's Christmas Letter Extravaganza of
Worldly Wisdom and a Wee Bit of Useless Drivel

You know how I always open my Christmas letter with an explanation and a disclaimer? I have decided to veer off that path this year. If my veering off any path surprises you, I suggest you put this down and go grab some cookies. Obviously you are not as worthy of the letter as I thought. Seriously, if you are receiving this, you have been carefully vetted, probably searched on Google—okay, definitely searched on Google--and found mentally stable enough to “enjoy" my Christmas Letter. I do caution against sharing it with anyone that has not been through the exhaustive background check put in place by yours truly to help protect the innocent (aka as those people more normal than you.) Bet you didn’t know receipt of this letter is a direct barometer tied to your mental stability. It is. Believe me it is.

Some people that received my past letters are under the impression that I am an aggressive driver. There may have been previous mention of me believing as a taxpayer that I deserve my own road. Obviously that is and should be true. I am not going to beleaguer the point. As my husband has learned, sometimes it is just better for everyone to accept what I have to say without question. Let me just add that besides my deserving my own road, I have found that some things are just unfair.

emoticon It is unfair that my sons blame me for any tickets that they receive because of all the years of training they received as they drove with me. Do they not understand the old parent adage “Do as I say, not as I do”? It is like a get out of jail free card, and I invoke my privilege to use it.
emoticon It is unfair that my car can reach 150 miles per hour, yet I am expected to adhere to the speed limit. That is an example of the man trying to keep me down. If I was expected to go the speed limit, obviously my car wouldn’t go that high.
emoticon It is unfair that I am expected to not call the people in front of me that are not ready at the bank and fast food drive thru lanes jerks. I live in a Chicago suburb. It is part of my DNA.

Speaking of DNA, I am continuing on my genealogy journey. I even have a DNA kit at home that I need to take. Finally, the truth will come out. Was I found under a rock as my father long claimed? Or am I really the switched at birth daughter of a royal family that just happened to have a baby girl in the same hospital on the same day I was born? (I suspect the latter is true. Watch for the Hallmark movie.)

This year I stepped way out of my introverted comfort zone and connected with quite a few family members on both my side and my husband's side. First I contacted Pennsylvania cousins from my paternal grandmother’s side. Two cousins came to Illinois for a visit, and then I went to Pennsylvania for an annual family reunion. It was a wonderful experience. If my dad had been alive, he would have had so much fun. Then I found cousins on my maternal grandfather’s side that we knew nothing about. An awesome group of ladies that I know my mom would have loved. Researching my husband’s side too, I found cousins on both his mother and father’s sides. Even a first cousin that told me their grandfather had changed his name when he came to America. So now I tease my husband and tell him I don’t really know who he is.

I don’t know if I should admit that I also found out that I am a direct descendent to William Bradford from the Mayflower. I don’t really care about that so much as I feel I am entitled to a free cruise from someone. I am not sure who owes it to me, only that it is my right. After all, I have to wear my tiara someplace.

My stint of extroversion did not, however, transcend to Facebook. I had a Facebook account for all of 10 minutes. After finding out about major events in sibling’s lives that I knew nothing about, I decided to open up a Facebook account. Within seconds I started receiving “friend” suggestions. Seriously, people that I worked with 20-years ago, friends of cousins of neighbors of people that go to the same church as I do, the guy in the car behind me at the gas station. I. Was. Totally. Freaked. Out. Of course, now I can’t remember my password to close the account. I am sure there is some sort of password recovery, but I am afraid if I try to go into it missiles will be launched at Saturn or something. Facebook has that much power. So if I don’t friend you, don’t take it personally. You can find me hiding from the Facebook people in the back of my closet. I have a blanket fort back there and gluten free cookie dough that I would be happy to share with you.

I have discovered a new scam to pay for Christmas this year. This is brilliant. Prepare to be amazed. I am going to pay for Christmas through Christmas caroling. I know what you are thinking. People don’t pay you to sing Christmas carols. They may not pay you to sing them, but they will pay me to stop singing them. You may not know this about me, but Caterwaul is my Gaelic name. I swear that is true. You just can’t make stuff like that up. You know how at church they tell you about lifting a joyful song to the Lord, and how God loves to hear you praise him in song? They obviously didn’t read the fine print or the addendum. In my version of the Bible there is a Psalm 98:4a that starts with lift a joyful song and ends with except you, Julia. You just sit there and be real, real quiet. Although the one time I did sing in church I am pretty sure I heard people praying to God with “God, please, please, please make her stop”, so there is that.

A couple things dawned on me as I sat down to write this. In fact, so many things dawn on me that I am changing my name to Sunrise. That’s the jokes folks. Boy I make myself laugh sometimes. Anyway, what dawned on me is the obvious ways you know you have raised boys. You know you have raised boys if:

emoticon You have ever owned a whoopee cushion.
emoticon Dinner time always includes at least one reference to Monty Python, Rocky Horror Picture Show, or Star Wars.
emoticon The Christmas song going through your head is “Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo”. Yes this is a real thing. Do not Google it. Trust me on this. There are some things you just cannot unlearn. Mr. Hankey, unfortunately, is one of them.

Updates on the fam. The hubster is going to put in for retirement for June 2020. Driving the truck has been so hard on his body. I will still be working for another 7 or 8 years. My husband wants to retire to Colorado. I want to retire to Pennsylvania. I tell him it is my roots calling me home. That and the fact that my cousin has a really awesome craft room that I want to play in. Son#1 and Son#2 say we have to move wherever they live because we will be watching their currently nonexistent children. Pennsylvania it is ;-)

Earlier this year I had a disagreement with one of my sons about who my husband’s favorite superhero is. They said the Hulk. I said Green Lantern. They went to ask him. His answer: “Your mom. She puts up with all of us.” Awwwwww. I almost cried. Maybe we will visit Colorado for part of the year.

I turned 55 this year. Like how did that happen? Although given the internal menopause sauna I live with, (c’mon, you knew I had to get menopause in here someplace), I shouldn’t have been surprised. Menopause has a real advantage. You only need a one season wardrobe: summer. You know you are old, though, when you start your morning with a whole load of meds. Every time I go to the doctor they seem to add another one. I think it is some sort of doctor game they play. I can hear the conversation in my head now: “I have a patient on 18 medications.” “I have a patient on 31 medications, one of which is experimental with horses and narwhals.” I hear a lot of imaginary conversations in my head. Don’t tell my doctor. He will definitely add another med. Maybe two.

Son#1 is back in school. He wants to run the computers that run the machines at manufacturing plants. He is so cute with all his techy talk and tools. The other day he mentioned that whoever codes in the individual cheese stick wrappers should be fired. It is always hit or miss if they are lined up to open correctly. Now if he can get a job to fix that, his education will have been worth it.

Son#2 is still plugging away at school. I think he is getting discouraged at how long it is taking. Not always having the classes that he needs available, or in sync with other classes that he needs to take, has been a real issue. I know we want well rounded students, but I think they could eliminate some of the “fluff” classes. He finally got his license. I can always tell when he arrives home. He is now the annoying car with the radio blaring that people complain about as he enters the neighborhood.

K.C. the wonder dog is 13-1/2. The poor pup had two back-to-back surgeries this year to remove growths near her eye. I didn’t think the cone was ever going to come off. Her hearing is pretty poor. She can hear loud noises, but not much else. It is a new world trying to communicate with a mostly deaf dog. Of course, I could be wrong. She could have perfect hearing, but after 13-1/2 years realizes most of what we have to say isn’t worth listening to. Like how many times can you say “Who’s a cute doggo? You’re a cute doggo!” without it getting old to her. I really wonder what she would say to us if she could talk. Probably nonstop requests to give the cute doggo treats. For her age, though, she is doing pretty well. She still has bursts of energy throughout the day, jumps like a kangaroo, and chases squirrels in the yard.

Believe it or not, I have goals people. My goal in 2019 is to become an internet meme. I have tried my best. I figured wearing my CPAP mask on the train ride out to Pennsylvania would have secured me the illustrious spot of Meme 2018. Unfortunately, the Amish that made up the majority of the train car do not carry cell phones, thus crushing my hopes. They did, however, seem to enjoy guzzling 2 liter bottles of Coke and discuss looking forward to Starbucks coffee. I think a few of them have gone rogue though. Especially when Esther Stoltzfus and Caleb Yoder appeared as a possible Facebook friends for me.

Praying you and your family have a 2019 filled with hope and love and peace and joy.


Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ~
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    YAY! You are back!!!! Loved this letter. You always make me laugh. Sounds like your sons are doing well! OMG did we go through a lot of whoopie cushions. Pretty sure if I took one out today it would still get laughs. Congrats to your husband on retirement. I am with you hiding in the closest from FB-it scares me. If that gluten free cookie dough is sugar free and maybe has a base of almond flour I'll join in, but you may regret offering me some because cookiedough makes me go all cookie monster. Congrats and happy Birthday to you for being 55 years YOUNG! Best wishes for 2019!!

    841 days ago
    So glad to catch up on your life! Happy New Year!
    844 days ago
    Love your letter! I missed your voice so much!


    Happy New Year!

    846 days ago
    YOU are definitely BACK, Julia........................
    R>And I am glad...............

    846 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/28/2018 12:48:17 AM
    I, sadly, lost track of you. You can imagine my surprise when I came across your Christmas letter today. Not sure if I was one you were trying to avoid, since I had to search for you, but thinking not. After all, I did find you after some indepth investigating. I want you to know that I believe we're twins that were separated at birth even though we're a few years apart. I, too, can't understand why my car goes to 150 and I shouldn't. I have family in Pennsylvania that I found through genealogy research, and my grandfather changed his name when he came to America. I'm sure that I'm a princess, but that will take a little more research. Tell me that your ancestors came from Poland, and I'll be sure we're twins. If you're planning to move out of state, isn't everyone who lives in Illinois, do it quickly before you get grandchildren. You'll be stuck in this godforsaken place forever, if that happens. I know from experience. The trick is to put your kids in college in a state you want to live in. That way, they find a job, marry, have children, and then they, too, are stuck. I learned that too late in life, and I'll never escape downstate Illinois. I was once asked if Illinois is in Chicago. It appears that most people think that Chicago is the state and Illinois is a small city. Well, it's good to hear from you. I hope you plant your feet here in Spark and don't ever desert us again.
    847 days ago
    YAY! I was hoping you would pop in and share your Christmas letter, and thus, finally let us know that you were still among the living!
    847 days ago
    emoticon for making me laugh. Love your letter
    847 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    I didn't get to read your letter until today, and I'm glad I did. Thanks for the smiles and a chuckle or two. Sounds like life is treating you well.

    Merry Christmas (belated) to you and your family. emoticon
    847 days ago
  • no profile photo CD23740919
    Lord, how I missed you & your zany wit...AND I I obviously was not the only back Julia !!!! HUGS...... emoticon
    848 days ago
    Yay! My bestest playmate has returned...
    So glad to read your blog, just like looking in a mirror, although I have just the one daughter, now on the stage as she continues in her chosen profession, to be in the theatre.
    Onward to 2019!
    848 days ago
    I have missed you and your delightful sense of humor so much! So glad you are back.
    848 days ago
    Whoa! Your blog played ping pong in and with my head...
    Happy you stopped in.
    Wishing you a merry Christmas and all the best for 2019.

    848 days ago
    A wonderful read - love your sense of humor. I agree with you about the speed limits, why can our cars go so fast if we're not allowed to enjoy it! Merry Christmas to you and your family!
    848 days ago
    Thanks for the Blog Julia....& sharing it. I loved all the emotions you least I felt them.. emoticon
    Have a very Merry Christmas to you & your loved ones!
    849 days ago

    It's good to hear from you and that your world is spinning to your "normal".


    And have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season.

    849 days ago
    Hiya Julia,

    I see you still have your wicked sense of humor that I LOVE! Sure enjoyed the Christmas letter!
    I Hope your Christmas is merry and bright and 2019 is the best year for you and your family ever.

    Merry Christmas Eve dear,

    849 days ago
    Hi Julia,

    Thanks for keeping me on your list. I've missed your sense of humor and wit!

    I loved your Christmas blog/letter! You and your family have been busy.

    Works been busy and retirement teasing and tempting me. DH is looking forward to me retiring.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    849 days ago
    Merry Christmas, Dear Julia. I enjoyed your Christmas letter. I'm glad you're pursuing your ancestry. I did the DNA test. The results were interesting. I've told you that my mother's maiden name was Drake, and she was from western PA. It certainly peaks my interest about us. My husband is also going to retire in 2020. I don't know what it will be like to have so much together time. If we are spend all this new found time traveling in the RV, it could work out. I'm giving myself a birthday gift today and checking in with my SP friends. They are often in my thoughts ever if I'm not staying in touch. Turning 55 is very much in my rear view mirror. I don't know how I managed to follow this path to 72. Oh, my. I hope 2019 will be a very good year for you filled with love, peace, and good health. emoticon emoticon
    849 days ago
    Loved your Christmas blog, another masterpiece. I live such a boring life compared to you folks, course I am . 80 . Hope retirement goes well for the hubby, for me I'm still practicing farming, love it! Thanks for the heads up on F B, I'll have to remind the B H that I don't have The whole world my friends on F B! 😅 Merry Christmas to you all. Skeeter
    849 days ago
    So lovely to hear from you! Sorry your Facebook experience was so bad. You needed some settings put on so not every Joe out there can make a friend request. I never had a flood of that or likes for that matter. Facebook informed me my most popular post of 2016 had a grand total of 10 likes. I am lucky if even one person likes my posts never mind 10. So my Facebook experience is really wading through all the crap people post until I actually get to a hand typed message from a friend or relative. Some people seem to have nothing better to do but post memes, videos and play games. Those ones you have to unfollow so they don't clog your feed up.
    Our poor old dog has growths right on her eyelid, but don't know if Mom wants to risk surgery just for that.
    We are not going to have a white Christmas and in fact most of Canada is in the same boat, only the coastal and mountain areas are getting moisture of any kind. We have had the darkest, longest winter on record. When you go from 80 mid August to 50 and dropping thereafter until your first snow in the beginning of September, you know its a year not to remember. It was my worst year personally, three moves, and shingles preventing me from visiting Mom. My sister only being able to make it in from the farm once due to poor weather and my poor brother having what they think is a mini stroke, but unable to find anything on a CAT scan, he is awaiting an MRi. Santa indeed gave my family coal in our stockings this year.
    I would prefer Colorado too. Way better. Wide open skies, mountains, active state, legal marijuana what more is there not to like? Work on that..
    Did son #2 pick up some of your driving habits? At least the loud radio gives other drivers advance warning..
    Have a fantabulous Christmas!
    849 days ago
    All I can say is WOWZER! busy times. good luck to hubs w/retirement. My hubs is 66 (soon to be 67 -- well that does follow 66, right!) and still working. I say hallelujah! It keeps him productive and out of trouble so the only one he has to worry about getting into trouble is ME. LOL Seems fair.

    Kids . . . they can be challenging! DD earned her associates degree last December and is still not sure what she wants to do w/her life. Ah well, life still marches on, doesn't it!

    Wishing you and your family an awesome holiday!

    HUGS and have missed your presence on SP!

    849 days ago
    Thank you for emerging out of the ethernet and making contact once again!!!! emoticon Your Christmas letter brought me great joy and amusement emoticon Am still trying to figure out how I made it through the "vetting process" (am sure it's because I have an extremely common last name so most of my past gets attributed (blamed?) on others.)

    Welcome back to SP Julia! Please don't let it be so long until we hear from you again!
    849 days ago
    Just yesterday I thought of your previous years' blogs and hoped I was still on "the list!" You are such a joy! Hey, I grew up in the Chicago suburbs! I can identify with that car stuff. May you have the best Christmas ever and peace and love in the new year, Sparked friend!
    850 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Merry Christmas to you and all the best to you and your family as we bring a new year in! May 2019 be filled with love, laughter and many great things!
    850 days ago
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