I am not posting much here these days it seems. I am doing a lot of babysitting of my grandchildren right now. My daughter has gone back to work after her maternity leave and not all of her childcare arrangements are in place yet, so until the Christmas break I have one or both kids 5 days a week.Some days Ray is here to help, some days not. I am glad to be able to do it and really enjoy having them here.
Yesterday Ray took over the childcare duties and I met the STASH group for our annual Holiday lunch. For the past couple of years we have chosen someplace fun and different to go for lunch. Kind of a splurge. We decided this year to go to the Portland City Grill, a restaurant on the 30th floor of Portland's tallest building, the US Bank Tower, known as "Big Pink." The famous view from the restaurant windows was totally white on our rainy, foggy day, but we had a grand time!
I have probably said this before, but I will say again how much I love this group of women. We have such a good time together. We have never, in the group, discussed giving of gifts within the group, but over the years certain customs have developed. When one of us travels, she often brings a little gift to everyone in the group. But only if we happen onto the perfect little gift. It isn't expected. It isn't mandatory. But boy is it fun. I have brought little zippered coin purses, made from handwoven textiles from Ecuador and tin ornaments from Mexico. Recently Beth brought us all tote bags with Bayeux tapestry images on them from her trip to France where she saw the tapestry. The holiday lunch has never officially been a gift-giving occasion, but in recent years gifts have appeared. Last year Linda managed to amaze and amuse us all with gifts of the P-Mate, a disposable, ummmmm, urinal for women. A hard act to follow, but no one is trying to outdo anyone. If we haven't run across something small and just right we come empty-handed and know that it's fine and we'll find something another time. It is really such a better idea than the obligatory kind of gifting that has you desperately buying 6 Starbucks cards just so you have something to give.
I was at Art Media awhile back and saw some beautiful little pocket-sized notepads with handmade paper covers from Nepal. Each was different. They had the exact number I needed for the group. Here is one of them.
Reva passed out tiny, heavy wrapped packets. Each contained a little cast iron frog or dragonfly.
real frogs I occasionally see in our yard.
Gale brought us beautiful frosted pine cones. She knows we all seem to have a thing for pine cones.
Beth brought tins of hot chocolate mix. She also knows what we like.
I felt so happy going home with my little treasures.
Last night I went to another Christmas party where we exchanged "white elephant" gifts. I got a "Bunco Babe" T-shirt just like this one. Not feeling the love so much. (I've never even played Bunco)
One of these days I am going to have to start Christmas shopping in earnest. The giving of gifts is such fun when you find, and can afford, just the right gift. I just hope I can find those right gifts, and I hope they are not at the mall, but some of them might be. —groan— How's your shopping going?