Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

As the year draws to a close, and hinges at a beginning, I am grateful.

I am grateful that this year is over, because it has been unspeakably hard. I am equally grateful that it happened, because I have a new perspective on life, and a greater appreciation for the importance of finding joy in the day-to-day, regardless of what that day holds.

I am grateful for the refining and defining summer that I had in 2010.

I am more grateful than ever before for my friends and for my family. I had literally dozens of people come out of the woodwork, who offered and then forced me to let them help me. I've always known I had great family and friends. I am now humbled by how truly great they are.

I am grateful for the tiny glimpse that 2010 gave me into the number of lives that have been affected by mine. It is amazing to me, the sheer number of people who have called, texted, emailed, written, Facebooked or otherwise contacted me in the past few months to check in, touch base, and let me know they care. George Bailey, I am not. There was no Clarence to show me what the world would be like without me, but one of the greatest blessings of my life has been to be able to see and feel the reach I have had, as people reached out and back to me in the past six months. My life will never be the same. Thank you, all of you, for giving me that gift this year.

I am grateful for the clarity that being sick brought me. That which has always been precious to me (family, friends, the gospel - life) has become truly treasured.

I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for where I have been, because I survived it. I am grateful for wherever it is that I am going, because now I know that I am strong enough to go there.

I am grateful for my life, for this year, and for this holiday season. Having lived through the hardest summer/fall of my life has made this the most incredible winter I have ever seen.

2010 gave me many, many gifts. It has been the hardest year of my life. It has been the best year of my life. And with that said, I welcome 2011. May it carry all of the joy of 2010 forward, and leave all of the crap (stool softeners and all) behind.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Girl! Come your hair!

So, remember a few weeks back when I tweeted that I was looking more than a little like Bellatrix Lestrange?

Yeah, I wasn't kidding. Hand me a wand and a nasty look to put on my face, and I'm pretty sure I'd be all about killing people for The Dark Lord.

Good night, nurse! WHAT IN THE WORLD?!

Yeah, so... I'll be going back to blow drying my hair and straightening it for a few days/weeks. It takes a while, and we all know I'd rather be lazy and just let the curl take over... But when a look like this comes out of my head, I start to get a little bit worried that I might make children cry.

Good grief!

Friday, December 24, 2010



Yeah, I totally just had a Fiddler on the Roof moment. Please forgive me. It's probably because I'm all caught up in the creative energy of Christmas Eve Tree Pizza night. (You know how I can get. I just start randomly singing songs. Like my life is a musical or something.)

So, some of you may have heard of the Christmas Tree Pizza tradition we have here at the Evans house. For those of you who have not, I'll enlighten you. We don't do a fancy dress-up dinner for Christmas. We don't cook a ham or a turkey, or eat anything that requires silverware. Oh, no. We make homemade pizza - usually on Christmas Eve, always in the shape of a tree. It's a good time to be had, for sure! (Carbs loaded with cheese - what's not merry about that?!) We've been making tree pizzas since... Oh, at least since I was in high school. We all get our own pizza to decorate, and there's no limit to what you can/can't do.

Here, let me show you a sampling:

This is Mom's Nativity Pizza (aka: religious art). Please note the pineapple halos over Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus' heads.

This is Tyler's bacon pizza. Yeah, that's raw bacon he has stretched across the top of his pizza. (What can I say? We all love to eat little piggies! *Snort!*) He is my brother, and even though it sounds/looks weird, I wouldn't be surprised if his pizza wasn't super delicious. (I do, after all, know what bacon does to food. It makes it better. Always.)

This is my snowy Christmas tree pizza (aka: traditional/american art). It's all veggies, sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Why? Because a) I enjoy parmesan cheese - kind of a lot, and b) I thought it would look super cool. It totally made me burst out into song - "Snow, snow, snow, snow... SNOW!". (Again, sometimes I think my life is a musical. If you made a pizza like this, you might be tempted to think the same.)

This is Katie's pizza (aka: interpretive art). Please note the zig-zagging red and green bell pepper trim. Awesome, right? My sister - she's a lot like Picasso.

And... Here's the Nativity Pizza again. With faces. To quote my mother, "Mary has such a comely smile". (And how about that Jewish nose? ... Just cracked myself up.)

Merry Christmas! I hope all of you had as much fun bonding with your family as I had bonding with mine tonight. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

*Oh, and I'm sorry that the pizza pics are sideways. I'm sorry if any of you hurts your neck, having to adjust to the side view. I swear, I changed the format on the computer before uploading them, but it just didn't stick. (Just when I was in need of a Christmas miracle, too!) Awh, well. They're still fun.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Well said, Dudley. Well said.

Mom and I watched The Bishop's Wife this afternoon. I so love that movie! It's magical! (And I'm not just saying that because Cary Grant's wearing a suit through the whole movie - and a long coat for a large part of it.)

The end always makes me cry. On so many levels. I love the decorating of the tree. I love the softening of Mrs. Hamilton. I love the line "there are a few people who can make it Heaven, here on Earth". I love the Bishop wanting to punch Dudley out. I love the church scene, when the professor doesn't recognize Dudley - the angel who changed his life. But most of all, I love the sermon that Dudley wrote and the Bishop reads at Midnight Mass.

Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking.

Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts.

But especially with gifts. You give me a book, I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry can do with a new pipe. For we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. Its His birthday we're celebrating. Don't let us ever forget that.

Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then, let each put in his share: loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on Earth.

Amen, Dudley! I love you (and I'm not just saying that because I have an affinity for men in long wool coats)!

May we all be a little bit better about remembering to hang His stocking, and to give the best gifts this season.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reason #723 why there's no place like home for the holidays

Note: I did not eat all of these. (My mom ate that square-ish one. And at least two others.)

See's. They make the holiday happy.

The End.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My kind of mud pie...

A few days ago, I posted something about how it's the little things in life that make me happy. It's true, I think. The little things are actually the big things.

Behold, that which brought me exceeding joy today:

Yeah, that's dried mud. I mean, it's dirt. But once upon a time, it was mud that got baked into little cakes of dirt in the hot Arizona sun, so when I walk on it, I hear the creaking, crackling sound of dirt clods breaking up. I love that sound! I've loved it my whole life. I used to walk home from school as a kid, looking for dirt that had dried in these weird little patterns. It was the most fun thing for me to be able to make dirt crunch when I walked over it.

Today, I went on a walk and saw a patch of dirt that had baked itself into these little mud cakes. You'd better know that I walked right into it and stepped on as many pieces of dried mud/dirt as I possibly could.

My once-white tennis shoes are a little worse for the wear, but my soul is happy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It is. And do you know why? Because I can now justify listening to Christmas all day, every day. Also, I can watch any old movie I want to, as long as there's a Christmassy theme involved. Since I put the tree up last week, I've watched:

Holiday Inn
The Polar Express
A Boyfriend for Christmas
Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus
Miracle on 34th Street (the original, of course!)
White Christmas
Little Women
While You Were Sleeping
Christmas in Connecticut
Fred Claus
Elf (twice)

And tonight - glory of all Christmas movie glories - I am all set to start It's a Wonderful Life.

I figured that was an appropriate movie to send me off into my weekend. *I tell you, it IS a wonderful life! (I'm pretty much the luckiest girl in the whole, wide world!)

*There aren't words for how much I love having sole control of the dvd player in my household. If I had to share the entertainment-choosing power with someone, they may want to watch non-Christmas TV every once in a while, and that wouldn't be nearly as much fun for me!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's the little things in life, I tell you...

Like noodles.

Noodles make me happy. They do. (They can't help themselves. It's because they're carbs, and all carbs make me happy. It's true.)

But what makes me even happier than noodles out of a bag? Noodles that I made my own self with eggs and milk and flour (and salt and pepper, because I channel myself a little Helen Evans when I'm in the kitchen).

These puppies are about to go into a pot of leftover gravy and turkey from last weekend. I thrill at the thought of turkey noodle soup over mashed potatoes. (Again, gravy laden carbs on top of mashed carbs with butter. What's not to love, folks?)

I tell you, it's the little things in life that make a girl happy. (And jiggly. But who cares?)