It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Even though the temperatures still aren’t chilly (well, overall – although the last few days have been MUCH colder than it has been.  Tomorrow they’re calling for the beginning of 50+ degree temps, again), things are slowly starting to look like Christmas.

Homes and businesses are decorated, and it’s slowly getting me in the spirit.  This coming weekend we’re hosting our yearly Christmas party, with a slight twist on the party.  This time it will be a combination Cookie Swap and White Elephant party.  Originally I only figured a few of our friends would show up, but our guest list grew rapidly, and it now looks like we’re going to have 25 people here helping us celebrate.  Tomorrow I will start the cookie baking… which will likely continue through Thursday night.

Russ is currently gaining knowledge at the LISA (Large Installation Systems Administration) conference in San Diego (it’s been cold here, and sometimes spitting snow, it’s been in the 80s there, and he was laughing a few days ago about a “Special Weather Advisory” – the temps were going to drop into the 50s!  When we get something like that in Missouri, it means you better get ready because we’re going to have snow and/or ice butt deep).  This time it was at a different hotel (San Diego Sheraton) than the one they typically use (Town and Country).  I’m not sure if this is a permanent change, although I know that it seemed that each time they were at the Town and Country (the grounds are beautiful, although it still has the 60s bungalow feel to it) many of the conference attendees had issues with various things (bugs in their rooms, mostly ants, were a big thing.  Sometimes doors wouldn’t shut properly, etc.).  So, I guess only time will tell.  Several years ago, on our first night at LISA 2002, Russ walked up to a gentleman and said, “Hey, remember me?” and the guy said, “No!”.  Turns out said guy LOOKED like a guy Russ had met at a conference a few months before, but that started a friendship with him and several of his friends from the Columbus, OH area.  The “guy on the sidewalk” (Stu) hasn’t attended a LISA conference in several years, there are several others from the University of Ohio that attend (and our circle has broadened each time someone new comes to the conference).  So, this time Dave and Michael are there – and on Saturday night, Russ met 2 new people (I gather they walked up and said, “Hi, were here for LISA.  Wanna talk?”) and so Russ has 4 friends to hang out with at LISA this year!  Russ isn’t one to make new friends, so when he does it thrills me!  🙂

He’ll be home on Friday night, we have our Christmas party on Saturday – then his work Christmas party is on Tuesday.  I’m going to TRY to make it, but it seems that EVERY YEAR we end up having bad weather in Missouri (this year is no different – they’re calling for snow).  A few years ago I went to the Christmas party – while it was very nice in Arkansas (150 miles from our Missouri home, where I reside), my neighbor called me during the dinner and said, “Hey, it’s sleeting”.  As soon as we got the chance to leave (it was Russ’s 10 year anniversary at his job, so he needed to stay to get his certificate and such), I bailed for the car.  Everything was fine, until I got to Springfield – I was going over a brand new bridge that they had JUST opened (it was an exit from highway 65 onto James River Expressway, and while it banked gradually, there was still a decent incline on the bridge as it swept over highway 65), and lost traction.  I slid all the way around the bridge (part of the time I was almost sideways, and having a MAJOR heart attack in the process) and decided at that point I’d crawl home like a turtle.  Of course, once I got home I had to maneuver myself into the house on a sleet covered ramp.  Because of me being in a wheelchair, it’s not terribly steep, but when it’s a solid sheet of ice, it doesn’t really matter.  It was just a bad trip overall.  I’ll wait until Monday night before I make my final decision, but at this point it’s not looking hopeful.

On December 22nd we’re going to go out with a group of friends and look at Christmas lights in Springfield.  There are a few houses that have their lights set to music (one house, near the mall, has a killer light set-up), so each year we try to drag a few friends out to go look at the lights (and we usually do dinner while we’re out)

Russ will officially be back at our house on December 20th, and won’t leave for the Arkansas house again until January 1st… provided we can find someone to check on the cats a few times (if not, he’s going to have to go and check on them).  Our neighbor, who has been cat sitting this week, is having surgery next week – and I gather she’s going to be out of commission for the rest of the year.  Luckily the cats are pretty self-sufficient, but they still need food and their little box scooped every few days.  🙂

I hope that all of you have a wonderful holiday!

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