>Amigo loves radio. He listens to it in the car, through his headphones, in his bedroom, and even on the Internet. Give him the name of a major U.S. city, and he can probably tell you the name, call letters, and frequency of at least one radio station there. On the rare occasion when we travel, he enjoys finding stations with local flavor, not just the national syndicates. He enjoys accents, weather that differs from ours, and all kinds of local news items. When we made our marathon trip to Missouri a year ago, Amigo amused himself by listening to the broadcast of a local high school tournament basketball game.
My brother tapped into this fascination by giving Amigo six radio t-shirts. Here comes the fun part: only one shirt has the location of the station. Amigo will have to do some research of his own to find out where they are. I will print out the call letters or other information in Braille for him, and then he will sit down at the computer and Google each one. Who knows — maybe he’ll find some of them also broadcast online!
That would be nice, because Amigo announced that after he finds out where the stations are located, we’ll have to travel there and listen to them.
You know, that might just be a fun excuse to travel next summer.
Here they are: if you know any of these, feel free to drop a comment with the location and any other information you might have. I thank you, and so does Amigo.
100.5 JACK FM: playing what we want (great slogan, by the way)
“Hot” 97.5, KVEG, Las Vegas (the only one identified by city)
AM 760, Progressive Talk
WBEE 92.5, Today’s Country
Mix 92.9: Today’s Best Variety
ESPN SportsCenter (Okay, we know where that shirt came from.)
>Christmas is a time for family lore: remembering and recounting the stories of Christmas past. One of my favorites was Amigo’s first Christmas.
Amigo was 11 months old, just shy of one year, and a very happy baby most of the time. He was also a very noisy baby, full of babble and talkative baby noises.
The day after Christmas, Baby Amigo woke early. I fed him and changed him, and then wondered what on earth I was going to do with this noisy little one. You see, Husband had just gotten home from working an overnight shift and needed to sleep. La Petite had stayed up late for the holiday and needed to sleep in, too. At the time we lived in a small duplex with tiny rooms and thin walls. Happy baby noises would wake everyone. What to do?
Well, it was December 26th, after all. I dressed the baby and dressed myself and we headed out to the post-Christmas sales.
At that time in our lives we had very little money, so we bought next to nothing. But we had all kinds of mommy-baby fun just roaming the aisles, with little Amigo perched in the shopping cart babbling at me and smiling his adorable smile for the other shoppers. I think I bought a few bows and some cards for the next year, but that was all. And that was all we needed.
When we got home, La Petite was just starting to stir. Husband was sound asleep and not likely to be awakened. I fed Baby Amigo his morning snack and settled him in to nap, content in the feeling that all was well with the world.
Now, almost 15 years later, Amigo loves Christmas shopping. He doesn’t perch in the shopping cart anymore, thank goodness, but he grabs his white cane and sprints down the main corridors of the mall. And every year he enjoys hearing the tale of the fun we had at the post-Christmas sales when he was just a baby.
>Gradually, in baby steps, we are reclaiming the house from the chaos that is Christmas. Oodles of wrapping paper filled a big garbage bag. Tags have been recycled, bows stored for re-use. New clothes have been tried on and placed in the hampers so that they are soft for their first day of wear. Wrapping materials are making their way downstairs for storage (until Amigo’s birthday), and the extra table “wrapping station” has been taken down and stashed in its attic home. This could almost make a Clement C. Moore style verse, if I felt the urge to write it.
Husband is back at work. La Petite is sleeping, and Amigo is using his new HUGE remote control to watch TV while he waits for his new clock to “chime”. I am relaxing over a cup of Candy Cane flavored coffee, and feeling like life is good. I can catch up on reading Time Magazine’s Person of the Year issue and feel important.
Gifts? Internet folks, a list of family gifts would bore you to tears, despite the uniqueness of our family’s shopping habits, so I’ll skip the gift list in favor of highlights.
Husband did some of his shopping at the Packer Pro Shop again. That’s what happens when he’s working at Lambeau a lot just before Christmas. He has to shop where and when it’s convenient. La Petite’s GBPacker blanket throw is so soft and warm that she spent most of yesterday wrapped up in it.
Amigo gained several new fidget tools/toys. He holds and manipulates these to keep himself focused. It started with the cool little Detroit RedWing bendable player. We set the hockey stick aside so it wouldn’t get lost. This was upstaged by a CocaCola ladle with a coke bottle shape on the handle, which was replaced later by a soft vinyl reindeer bank. Fidget tools provide pleasure for all of us, whether we’re the givers or the receiver.
The most unique student gift I received was a chalkboard mug. Yes, it is what it sounds like. It came with two pieces of chalk. The mug has a unique black finish that I can draw on and then erase again. This has potential!
The bunnies? They celebrated with a bunch of organic carrots complete with greens.
From our family to yours, have a wonderful Christmas.
Back row: Husband, Daisy
Front row: Amigo, La Petite
>…and all through the house, the coffee was brewing, and gone was the mouse.
Okay, I’ll stop there to avoid the unpleasant memories. My kitchen now smells like coffee with chocolate amaretto. End of story.
We’re about done with the wrapping, and all done with the shopping. Tonight we’ll go over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s for a delicious Christmas Eve dinner, and then come home and hang the stockings. In the meantime, we’ll watch some unimportant (not Packers) football, nibble on some cookies, and take some time to search our favorite holiday web sites.
Has Santa left the North Pole yet? Find out exactly where he is by checking NORAD’s Santa Tracker. This site updates once an hour, so keep checking back.
Want to check weather radio anywhere in the USA, or even the world? Click here, then try the transmitter for the North Pole location. (Falalalala!)
>Since my winter break started yesterday, the Holiday Nibbles have begun. The entire family dips into my edible gifts from students and the other yummies around the house. La Petite isn’t worrying about wisdom teeth this year, so she can partake in all the goodies, too.
After school snack: caramel corn from Husband’s Aunt Margaret in Alaska
After supper: We got busy and decorated cookies of our own, and of course sampled a few to be sure they were okay.
Bedtime snacks: a handful of said cookies, accompanied by hot cocoa (double chocolate flavor) from a student
Midnight snacks: Who knows? I was already asleep. But the plate of cookies a student gave me looked a little bare in places when I got up to make coffee this morning.
Breakfast: candy cane flavored coffee, toast with (student gift) marmalade, and a Florida White grapefruit from Husband’s cousin Mike in Tampa.
Midmorning snack while doing Christmas cards (late, I know): more candy cane coffee and a small cookie from the student platter
With lunch: cheese from the Usinger’s package Husband’s parents sent
Later in the afternoon: decaf coffee with a little Chocolate Amaretto in a snowman mug
Hmmm, dinner plans: Christmas cookies for dessert, maybe yet another flavor of coffee
Evening snacks? If we’re tired of sweets (not likely), we can break out the pretzels from the Usinger’s package and dip them in the gourmet mustard one of my students provided. Mmmm.
Who knows what goodies tomorrow will present (Pun intended, of course)? I must remind Santa to drop those special spices in my stocking for yet another way to continue the taste of Christmas.
>The kitchen smells good again. We baked cookies on Wednesday night, and we’ll probably decorate tonight. We were too busy watching the Packers’ and the Vikings’ defenses tussling last night to do anything that required concentration.
Husband felt compelled to correct my post about the whole olfactory ordeal, saying that he is NOT squeamish about mice. No, not at all. And he’s dealt with more mice than I supposedly know about.
Hence, let me rephrase this. Of the two of us, he is the one with the most active gag reflex. Removal of a smelly and potentially gross item from the home is safer done by the Daisy one, not the handsome Husbandly one, sweet and snuggly though he may be. Even though he did give me a hard time about the typo in the title (which I have since fixed), he is still a sweet and nice guy. And more…
And even though it’s not Funday Sunday, I felt compelled to show you the adorable little hat that adorns our tree. You couldn’t have predicted the color scheme, could you? No, the entire tree is not green and gold — just a few select ornaments. Okay, more than a few. Sort of. Maybe.
>You might be a Green Bay Packers fan if one of these flies around your Christmas tree.
When we lived next door to Lambeau Field, watching the blimps was a favorite pastime — except when they interfered with our television reception. The blimps no longer circle Lambeau, but I’ll always remember watching them and watching the small planes that used to drag advertising banners through the air.
This little blimp was a gift, too. Lest you think I am obsessed (well, okay, I am), I didn’t buy any of the ornaments featured today or last Sunday
. All were gifts, many from students.
Hey, Brett, are you listening? All of Wisconsin is shouting: “One more year! One more year! One more year! One more year! One more year! One more year! One more year! One more year! One more year!”
>I am ready to bake cookies. I think. At least my kitchen is tolerable again. Let me explain.
There has been an odor in the kitchen. My kitchen is tiny, typical of the time in which it was built (1890). Even a small odor can make the room unbearable. I am by nature a lousy housekeeper (sorry, mom), so we pay a cleaning service to come in once a month and do the major cleaning. They were just here, so I was on my own to find and attack the source.
Here’s the initial process: none of it succesful.
Take out the garbage.
Run the garbage disposal.
Clean the rabbit litter boxes, even though they’re nowhere near the kitchen.
Take out the recycling, just in case there’s something gooey in a can.
Remove all washcloths, sponges, and towels from kitchen and throw them dramtically into the laundry machine. Dry them with a sweet-smelling fabric softener.
Wash the counters. Twice.
Check through the boxes of fruit in the back hallway in case of rotting.
Dump the toaster’s crumb bin (I was getting desperate).
Run the garbage disposal. Again. With baking soda in it.
Empty the garbage. Again. Spray air-freshener in room.
Clean as much of the refrigerator as I can reach.
Double check all leftovers in the fridge. When in doubt, throw it out.
Take out drawer under the oven. Check behind stove.
Sweep little spaces between counter and stove.
Consider tears, but decline due to lack of useful purpose.
Finally, I gave in. I had reached my limit. I was ready for the big guns. Here goes:
Call husband. Find out — um, he put a mousetrap under the refrigerator.
Stall. Hope he gets home before I get up the courage to check.
Remember that husband is more squeamish than I am.
Remove refrigerator grate.
Reveal the truth: One. Dead. Mouse. Ew.
Find large pair of plastic gloves, two plastic bags, and go at it.
Hold breath. Double bag said mousie. Dump double-bagged mouse in garbage can. Say a prayer for its soul (not really).
I have reclaimed the kitchen. Vengeance is mine! And so are the cookies.
>No one fumbles around with the tree in a Green Bay Packer fan household. Diminutive though they may be, these little delights are like prize jewels of the family ornament collection. This roly-poly guy is a jingle bell decked out in Green and Gold and a football uniform.
These two came from a student (oh, she knew me well). They look fragile, but they aren’t. You won’t see them on injured reserve. Tiny and shiny, the crystal snowmen are small enough to fit in a teacup, but they’re prettier near a string of lights that can reflect on their glory.