#202–Not a total Grinch . . .


This year is the first time ever, I didn’t put up a Christmas tree and decorate it. I didn’t decorate the house either. Now that it’s getting closer to Christmas, I’m beginning to feel like a Grinch.


Here are Blue Boy and Pinky, two new ornaments given to me by Theresa as a souvenir of our trip to museum where their paintings are hung.

To make it worse, the only items I collect are ornaments, and the only time I see them is when I have a Christmas tree. I really enjoy looking at each one before placing it on the tree and remembering who gave it to me or where I was when I bought it. To make it even worse this year, two friends gave me ornaments and I bought two ornaments on the trip that I took with my sister in June. So I was really looking forward to putting up a tree this year and placing each of my new ornaments. Oh well!

I always do my decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving and spend a few days putting up the tree and decorating the house. Of course, it only takes a day to place my ornaments on the tree. But it takes several days to reposition them over and over until they are just right. It’s crazy, but every year.I turn into a Christmas tree perfectionist.

So why didn’t I decorate this year. Two reasons: I had left a bunch of large chores that I needed to get done, and these days, everything takes more time than it used to. The second reason is that I moved three pieces of redwood furniture into my dining room so I could keep them dry before, during, and after I painted them. They badly needed work. So my dining room—totally visible from my living room half a story below, had this super crowded look and it just didn’t make sense to decorate one part of the house and turn another into a workshop.


I painted these two in the kitchen under the watchful eye of Sir Groucho.

And every year, I’m gone for two weeks around Christmas. Most people think I’m crazy for even decorating at all since I won’t even be home. Those folks will think I finally wised up.

Besides painting the redwood chairs and table after I got back from California at the end of October, I washed all the windows because I had put it off for months.

I also planned on doing a lot of clean-up work in the yard, and I got some done.

An unplanned project was cleaning out the entire basement, which involved a couple of trips to the dump. I needed to clean it out so an electrician could walk from one end to the other in order to wire the corners of the house for motion sensor lights in the backyard.

I also had not cleaned out the greenhouse. So I had to put on my version of a Hazmat suit. A shower cap covered my hair, a mask covered my mouth and nose, and the rest of me was covered in several layers since it was cold. I looked totally bizarre, but it was necessary. I meant to get everything cleaned out in early October before heading to California, but didn’t get to it. So by this time of year, my greenhouse on the north side of the house is filled with tomato and pepper plants totally covered with a gray coating of mold. Just touching them fills the air with spores that I don’t want to breath in. After getting the plants out, I took out most of the gardening stuff and carried it to the newly cleaned out basement.

A project I needed to finish by Christmas has been awaiting my attention since the end of June when my sister and I returned from our trip. I got started when I was in California in October. I wrote up all my notes from the trip. About the second week after getting home, I spent the entire week editing and adding many, many photos to the manuscript. Then I ran off two copies and created covers. When I finished, the two manuscripts were about a half-inch thick. I took them to Shipping Shack and had them stapled. Now I have a book to share with my sister—Judy and Edna’s Really Big Trip or How Two Sisters Ate Their Way Through Port Townsend, Seattle, Victoria and Friday Harbor.


These will help us remember our fabulous trip!

I spent the better part of another week doing my Christmas letter and Christmas cards and getting them mailed or delivered. This past weekend I spent some time making fudge and baking chocolate chip cookies. Then I divided everything up and placed these goodies into several Christmas gift bags. Then this week I delivered them, which involved some wonderful visits.

Last week was my Backstreet Gallery week. I put in my three days of being the clerk on duty, went to the once a month general meeting, attended a Christmas party, and attended the Second Saturday Art Walk and reception. I also attended another reception on Sunday at the events center. Those of us there from Backstreet posed for a photo with Santa.

And I attended some Black Friday sales and did more Christmas shopping between other activities and got presents wrapped and sent. So I wasn’t a total Grinch.

I plan to fly to California later today and the temps are the lowest they have been all year. Once again, I’ve picked one of the worst days to try to get to Eugene. I hope I can drive over this afternoon. The roads are icy this morning; I hope they will be melted by the time I leave about 2 p.m. Wish me luck!

And I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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3 Responses to #202–Not a total Grinch . . .

  1. Evelyn says:

    I continue to be flabbergasted by your energy level. (I hope you made it to Bakersfield!) Don’t feel bad about not putting up a tree or decorating. I decorated outside AND put up my little tree for the first time in 2 years. I think I appreciate it more this year.

    I always enjoy your pictures, but when they include Sir Groucho, they’re even more special. BTW, I really like the color of your redwood furniture; was that Sir Groucho’s recommendation? I also envy that you can set up redwood furniture in your kitchen!

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, and I wish you the very best in 2017. I’m sure your sister will LOVE the book.

    • For the first time in years, I made it to Bakersfield and back the way it was scheduled. There were delays but I had such a long layover in SFO both directions that a two-hour delay was no problem. So nothing to complain about there. Weather was okay by the time I left Florence.. The ice on the coast had melted and on the roads in Eugene. But everything–everything–was encased in ice the day I left and the temps were 35 high that day. So stuff melted just enough to make zillions of icicles but refroze each night. The trees in the Eugene area are almost all damaged. Many so badly that they had to be removed.

      Yesterday the landing at the airport was my scariest ever because of dense fog. All ice melted but temps in mid-30s and super foggy. The pilot landed by radar and the first we saw besides sold fog was the runway as we were landing. I didn’t get scared until afterwards. It would be like flying blind for the pilot. Wow! I was impressed as well as scared.

      See, you decorated enough for both of us this year. Of course, my sister and I put up a big tree at my mom’s and she helped us decorate it. Sort of a family tradition.

      Actually, Sir Groucho had no say in my choice of color. I have had those chairs since the mid-1970s and every few years, I repaint them. They are made of redwood and the name of the paint is what else–redwood. I can hardly wait to get them back out on the deck. So later today or tomorrow.

      Deadlines are the secret to me getting stuff done. I had six weeks between Oct and Dec visits to California. And lots to do.. Between now and April trip are about 12 weeks, and again lots to do. But I will start another day. All I want to do today is take it easy and listen to the audio book I listened to in the car going to and from the Eugene Airport..

      Hay, I invited Laurel up on the weekend I am honored at Backstreet Gallery. So I’ll do the same for you. Like I told her, I have room to put up one or two people with proper beds etc. I think it would be great fun and then I’d have some folks that came to cheer me on at the reception.

      When I landed in Bakersfield when I went down, I was to arrive a few minutes before midnight but it actually was about 12:15. Anyway my sister and a friend that she has known for 50 years and me for 35 years were both there cheering and waving a sign that said FLEAGLE. You know like tour leaders meeting a group. It was hilarious. You would have loved it.

      Love, Judy

      On Thu, Dec 22, 2016 at 6:01 PM, Crossings Author wrote:


      • Evelyn says:

        Wow, your plane story reaffirmed one of the many reasons why I do not fly on airplanes. Did it 4 times, 4 times it was disastrous, so haven’t been on one since 1985. And, don’t intend to if I can help it!

        What an adventure your holiday was, esp. your greeting committee. You’re right, I would’ve loved it. 🙂

        If I can arrange it, I would LOVE to come to Florence & cheer you on (like I’m sure there’ll be no-one else!). I’ll contact Laurel & see what we can work out. I’ll email you & let you know.

        As a life-loving octogenarian character in one of my favorite British comedies used to say, “Rock on!”

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