Our Christmas then took an unexpected turn.

More family showed up (but other family members spent the day in the emergency room – giving the day a subtle, but tangible cloud as we waited for word of what was happening. At this point, all is well – so no need to go into the details.)

So, as we waited – some took the time to play, some to check their texts, some sat by the fire …





So today was my last day of work this year. I could’ve spent it finishing off a couple small projects that didn’t take much thought, but decided to tackle the writing of a lesson that I knew would be semi-difficult. I got up at six and focused ALL day and did not even play with the iPad (except to add a Nave’s Topical Bible app).

I finished at 4:00 and sent the lesson to my work e-mail, feeling good that I had tackled it.

Then went off to share a cinnamon roll and hot chocolate with a friend. The roll was kind of yucky, but the fellowship was great!

By this time it was after 7:00, but I decided I wouldn’t go home until my Christmas shopping was absolutely, completely done and I finally finished after nine. So, if I don’t have it by now, you’re not getting it.

Tired, but feel as if I accomplished a lot today.



Yesterday we took our annual trek to Chicago – S and K, their munchkins and me.

We drove to Moody since S had some work to do and the rest of us walked down to Water Tower place  for our first stop – American Girl (a part of the tradition).  So much stuff. So many dolls. So many outfits and accessories with dozens of little pieces.

A very technical survey shows that 66% of the munchkins actually enjoyed the visit.

33% did not.

He did get to choose something from the American Girl bakery counter, however, so that made things a little more pleasant.

But soon we were off to the John Hancock building. Although I had been up in the Hancock before, it’s been awhile because now everyone goes to the building previously known as the Sears Tower.

The lobby of the Hancock had a cool train set up.

Not too many people were in the observation area – again, I think it’s because everyone is across the city at the Willis, but actually, I liked the Hancock. You’re right in the middle of the skyscrapers and can see down Michigan Avenue and out onto the lake.

You can also see the Water tower.


I think the word has gotten around the cardinal world that we have good sunflower seeds at our house this year – or something.

I looked outside today and saw six male cardinals in the apple tree by the bird feeder. I ran to get the camera and shot a lot of pictures – but the most male cardinals that posed in the tree while I had camera in hand –  was four.


This fall/early winter has been a lesson in “let’s make a mountain out of a tiny, tiny, little hill.”

I canNOT believe how many things that should be so simple have turned into crazy (and VERY expensive) complications this fall/winter. (Like my still warbly voice.)

Take today, for instance.

Two weeks before Christmas. I had a long list of stuff on my to-do list and a lot of it quite enjoyable stuff like wrapping presents, finishing cards, etc.


The traction on my car shut down sometime during the summer, so the next time I took the car in to have the oil changed, I asked if they would check it out. Unfortunately, I happened to hit the one day their “traction scanner” was down, so the manager told me to bring it in the following Monday and he would do it for me. However, this little thing called work got in the way, so I didn’t get back in.

So, anyhow, a week ago, I was taking the car in again to get the oil changed and this time they checked out the traction and said my right wheel bearing had disintegrated and they thought that would fix the problem and even if it didn’t, it was something I needed fixed anyhow. (I trusted them because whenever I’ve checked up on what they’re telling me, they’ve always been right.) OK. I sat there three hours in their waiting room, working (I had brought some editing with me).  Meanwhile, they ordered the part from an auto parts store and fixed the bearing.

But this last week, my car, which has always been smooth-running and calm, became utterly unreliably crazy. Sometimes the traction light would be on and sometimes it would be off. Sometimes the traction off sign would be on, but I would have traction. Sometimes it would be on and I wouldn’t have traction.

Let’s just say, SCARY!!!!

Anyhow, back to today. I left early to run some errands, including working on getting another hill turned into a mountain taken care of – and when I went to stop at an intersection … the traction went on and on and on (no ice in sight) and I was just a little frightened.

Since I was near the car place, I decided to stop. (This was at 11:00.) I knew they would be chaotically busy and they were. But the manager was there and he saw me, so he asked what was up and I told him about the traction thing. (He wasn’t there last week.)  So he did another scan and said the only thing he could think of would be that I needed a bearing on the other side – but he wasn’t sure – but something was showing up there.

Then he took it for a test drive and made a quick stop at 70 miles an hour and it stopped fine.

He told me to take it home and watch it and if the lights came back on or it acted funny again – to bring it back.

“Oh,” I assured him, “it will act funny again and the lights will come back on. It’s been going back and forth all week.”

But he still said to wait it out.

Then he got the car for me, brought it up front — and bam – the car acted funny and the lights flashed. (Yeah car!  Thanks for doing this while the mechanic was driving.)

“Whoa,” he said when he got out of the car. (Well, actually the exact word he used wasn’t “Whoa!”)  Sometime is really messed up. Something about the wheel bearing and traction on the one side messing up the traction/brakes on the other wheel because that bearing was bad..  Anyhow, that wasn’t the exact explanation – what he told me made sense, I just can’t reexplain it in mechanical terms – so it’s not that I was “taken,” I just don’t know how to explain it.

“Why not hang out for awhile?” he said. “We’ll call the shop and get the bearing.  An hour at the most.”

12:12 – I walk over to a nearby store and buy myself a book, a granola bar and some lemonade. By this time it is raining and I am soaking wet when I get back to the shop.

I settle in.

1:30.  “Linda, I’m so sorry. They sent over the wrong bearing. I told them exactly what we wanted …”

I personally get to know a guy who is also spending the day waiting for his car. He works in computers.

I wait. My daughter offers to come get me and bring me home but I am sure that it can’t be much longer.


(I will say they were crazily busy with as many as six or seven customers waiting to drop off cars at once.)

4:00 – the place has quieted down. The friendly IT guy is gone. The manager comes to get me to tell me that the bearing is on, but he sent one of the guys out to do a long test drive.

So the manager and another mechanic and I are there talking about California and …

Suddenly, the manager says, “I need to go find your car.”


Seems the test-driver got back with the car, but pulled it back into the garage rather than out front for me to get.

The traction was beautifully fixed, but the bearing was making noise – something was loose and therefore defective – in the bearing itself. So back to calling the auto-parts store.


I am home.

I still don’t have a car.

Which means I still don’t have traction.

Yep, that’s the way it’s been going lately.