Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Merry Christmas Open Thread

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 9.53.53 AM

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, from our family to yours! I’ll be taking the next couple days off to spend time with Drew and Jackson and some friends. We’re having a quiet Christmas morning at home this year, just the three of us. Later in the day, we’ll venture a few doors down to our good friends’ home where we’ll enjoy a Christmas dinner as long as Jackson can handle the excitement. Somewhere in between there may be a trip to the Chinese restaurant to honor the Jewish side of our little trio. Basically, food, presents, and loved ones, which is how Christmas should be spent, no matter what your faith.

On Saturday morning, bright and early, the three of us will head to Austin, Texas, where my sister, Allison, lives. My parents will already be there visiting and we will join them in a vacation rental house for a few days. Jackson is especially excited to take an airplane ride to see Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie Allie. As a bonus, we’ll see a few friends who also live there or will be visiting at the same time. On NYE, Drew and I have tickets to see Willie Nelson at Austin City Limits and we can’t wait.

Posting will be light and sporadic for the next two weeks, but I’ll pop in now and then. And, of course, you can always chat amongst yourselves in the forums.

Thank you so much for helping to make 2013 such a good one. I have enjoyed almost every minute that I work on this site or just visit it as a fellow reader and contributor. Your compassion and support during some sad and challenging times meant so much to me, and I know I am not the only person to feel that way. And your continued support to help keep DW financially afloat, and even profitable now, means I get to keep doing this and we get to keep meeting here, talking about our lives, comparing notes, celebrating the good stuff and helping each other through the tougher times. Thank you so much and merry, merry Christmas!

50 comments… add one
  • Sunshine Brite December 24, 2013, 10:00 am

    Happy Holidays! I have to get ready for work and I’ve been putting it off so I have to hurry boooo. My fiance and I are having a quiet Christmas at home with each other and our cat Pickles. He’s excited and plans to spend the whole day baking to get stuff ready. He was the one who said he didn’t want a big hunk of meat since we’ve had a lot since Thanksgiving everywhere so I think we’re doing some lobster tails we bought during our grocery stores last big meat sale and some salmon along with our usual Christmas treats. I think it’s awesome since he knows how hard I’m trying to lose weight. People are starting to notice a difference in my body shape. It’s weird, like one of those double-edged comments all the time but I’m ok with it I think.

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    • MissDre December 24, 2013, 10:05 am

      Congrats on the weight loss so far! My New Years resolution is to lose 20 lbs. But I’ve said that a million times and I can’t even count how many times I’ve lost and gained the same 10 lbs.

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    • Fabelle December 24, 2013, 10:50 am

      Aw yay, @Sunshine Brite! Glad to hear you’re making progress, it’s a tough time of year for that, so extra kudos to you <3 (& to Mr. Brite for being supportive)

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      • thewriteway December 24, 2013, 12:26 pm

        Congratulations, Sunshine! I’ve lost 23 pounds myself this year, though I think I might gain a pound or two back during the holidays. Oh well…start anew in January right!

      • Sunshine Brite December 24, 2013, 4:38 pm

        Thanks everyone! It’s been rough getting myself up and at it lately so I’m soaking in the compliments to help keep me off the couch.

  • Christy December 24, 2013, 10:20 am

    I’m excited – my boss is giving me 59 minutes off today, so I get out at 3:01, and I’m really hoping Obama comes through with two hours of last-minute holiday leave (like he normally does) so I can leave at 1:01.

    And yesterday, I booked my flights to Orlando to visit my best friend from college! I haven’t seen him in two years, now, and I still haven’t met his girlfriend, who he’s thinking of proposing to. I’ll be down there in late January!

    And I’m stage managing for a theatre company in DC! I’ve assisted a few times, and now they’re letting me do it (and paying me)! This is exactly what 17-year-old Christy always dreamed of. (25-year-old Christy is excited, but not that excited. It’s going to be a busy February.)

    And gf and I are staying down here tonight, in her apartment, and we’ll go up to my family’s Christmases tomorrow. It actually feels like our Christmas, and not my family’s Christmas. Once we head up to Baltimore, we’ll go to my mom’s, my grandfather’s, my dad’s, and my uncle’s. It’s a busy day. I hope we can squeeze in a trip to the bar at the end of the night, just to decompress.

    And then I’m off work until Monday, and gf is off work until the new year! I’m excited for this week. Work is almost done (less than five hours left) (come on, Obama, it’s been a rough year for the feds) and then it’s just holiday celebrating and relaxing.

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    • Sunshine Brite December 24, 2013, 4:39 pm

      Way to go after your dreams! That’s awesome you get to stage manage.

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  • CatsMeow December 24, 2013, 10:28 am

    Merry Christmas Eve, DWers!

    I have to wrap presents and help my mom around the house because the WHOLE family is coming over. We do Christmas Eve in a big way, and kinda chill on Christmas Day. I’m going to drink lots of wine and make everyone do karaoke. Grandma is spending the night, which should be…interesting. We’re all worried she’s going to try and get up in the middle of the night to pee and get confused and fall. Also, it means I have to sleep in the basement tonight on a futon. Oh, well.

    Any tips for my grandma, wise DWers? She broke her hip a while back and even though she’s been in PT ever since then, she has trouble getting up out of her bed without assistance. She has fallen twice since she has been at the assisted living place. Also, she’s more confused than ever lately, so I feel like her being here won’t help anything if she wakes up at night and doesn’t know where she is. I realize she sleeps alone at the assisted living place, but technically they are supposed to have someone check on her every 2 hours throughout the night.

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    • stickelet December 24, 2013, 12:00 pm

      I know this probably isn’t ideal, but could you or someone else sleep on the floor of the room she’s sleeping in? That way you’ll hear if she gets up and can then guide her to the bathroom and make sure she gets there ok and doesn’t fall.

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      • CatsMeow December 24, 2013, 2:34 pm

        That’s a good idea and I’m surprised no one thought of it! We have a twin mattress we can put on the floor for me or my mom.

        I’m like… put up signs so she knows where she is? Give her a night light? Haha, I suck… but YOU, stickelet, are a genius.

      • Sunshine Brite December 24, 2013, 4:40 pm

        I don’t know what’s open today but there might be something to have a bed alarm if she gets up too!

      • CatsMeow December 25, 2013, 1:18 am

        My mom just decided to sleep with her. All is well. I’m drunk, though.

        I think my mom is too. She said, “Good night, merry Christmas!” and then farted.

      • stickelet December 26, 2013, 4:39 pm

        Thanks! Sorry, just seeing this response. Hope it worked out!

  • Fabelle December 24, 2013, 10:38 am

    I am off today, which is weird? Usually I’m at work Christmas Eve, & off the day after, but this year I am off today, & have to go to work Thursday. Which kinda sucks, because my family doesn’t really do it up Christmas Eve—tomorrow is when presents & dinner & wine is happening. And usually I go out Christmas night, but that won’t be happening. Oh well! (Like for real, I don’t think I even care that much)

    There’s only FOUR more days left at my job šŸ™ So I’m kinda sad. And I didn’t hear back from any job except the one that I was eh about (through my agency), but at least I know I can start that job on the 2nd & not be in a state of unemployment? And when I interviewed, the people seemed chill. SOOoooOO okay, no more job talk!

    My boyfriend’s car broke on his way to work the other day, so it’s at a dealer by his job, & I’ve been having to ferry him around. Which is fine, except he has more Christmas shopping to do, & I actually AM DONE, soooo basically I need to go to the mall today when otherwise I wouldn’t have to. Oh, the things one does for love šŸ˜‰

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  • Lyra December 24, 2013, 10:56 am

    I’m excited for Christmas! Today I’m headed down to my parents’ house (with cat in tow) and I will be staying with them for a few days. We do our big Christmas Eve mass at church and then the next day we get together with my mom’s extended family (her aunts, uncles, and cousins who I don’t know very well) which is as boring as watching paint dry. This year I decided I’m going to take my car down as well, and then I’m going to leave pretty soon after lunch. I think this is a nice compromise with my mom — she wanted me to be there, but I told her how boring it is to me so we agreed I’d make an appearance and leave pretty soon after the meal is done.

    Navy Guy and I agreed not to exchange gifts since we’re not “official” yet and I have no money. The other day when I saw him, he gave me a tin of chocolates with a picture of two cats under a mistletoe on the front. He said “I was grocery shopping when I saw this and thought of you. I know we weren’t going to exchange gifts, but I know how much you like cats and chocolate.” Awwww. šŸ™‚

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  • othy December 24, 2013, 10:59 am

    My boss just called, and decided that everyone gets to go home now! At 9 am. Since we’re working Christmas eve for the first time in the 5 years I’ve worked here (thanks to the university). My boss is the best.

    We always do Christmas Eve with Mr. Othy’s family, and I have a lot to do this afternoon to finish getting ready. I made french bread last night, and now I need to make a dozen butter rolls. Luckily, all the presents are wrapped and ready to go.

    My 3 year old niece is old enough to embrace the whole Santa thing, but all of her Christmas eve presents come from family (her Santa presents come on Christmas morning). I’m excited that her attention span should be better this year to allow her to move from present to present. Her 18 month old sister will likely fixate on one toy, and be mad when she can’t play with it immediately. But, she’s less scared of everyone than she used to be, and will even let me pick her up without freaking out.

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  • MsMisery December 24, 2013, 12:08 pm

    I get to leave early today, so in 52 minutes! But I am covering for two people for the rest of the year! Boo. Also, it is one degree outside. ONE SINGULAR DEGREE. It was negative degrees when I got to work this morning. Boo again.

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  • katie December 24, 2013, 12:24 pm

    yay christmas! i really only finally got excited this morning. so thats good.

    i have soft gingerbread cookies coming out of the oven. i subed brown sugar for the white, and rolled them in brown sugar with some cinnamon. i hope they are good! it smells awesome for sure.

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  • thewriteway December 24, 2013, 12:30 pm

    I am working for another half-hour or so, and it’s so hard to even care about my work whenever I’m on shift on a holiday (read: all of them). But my manager did our schedule in such a way during this stretch that everyone is off for at least one holiday. I am off New Year’s Eve, so I will just look forward to that! (But I am probably going to hit the job search for real in 2014…and I am not telling my mom I am job searching this time. I’m just going to do it and see what happens.)

    I still have some wrapping to do and am waiting on a package. I ordered it two weeks ago, but it took its sweet time getting here. Later, we are going over to my grandmother’s nursing home for our family gathering. Since it’s usually at my mom’s house, it’s not ideal to be at the nursing home cramped in one room with my family and kind of depressing. But the alternative is not having my grandmother (who is 91) with us, so I will take that over the couple hours of sadness.

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  • Blues December 24, 2013, 12:57 pm


    I think I just ruined Christmas. My sister is bipolar and she has been with this guy for a few months. She plans to spend all of Christmas Eve and Christmas with this guy and his family, blowing off my father and me. We see each other every year.

    I told her she was being a bit selfish (after she had the nerve to inform me that my father will be alone for Xmas because she didn’t realize I would be seeing him which we do EVERY YEAR, she even lives with him) and I started world war three.

    This ended up with us telling each other to enjoy the holiday and her telling me that I was causing drama and I thought all was over and done and calmed down. Until this nut of a boyfriend of hers (that I’ve met twice) calls me up and leaves me a voice mail ripping into me saying “blah blah this is what your sister and I are doing and she has no time blah blah, if you have any issue go through me (I met him twice and he was horribly nasty in the voicemail)” I even offered to pick my sister up and drop her off for quality time.

    I stewed for the night, felt better, then after a text message AND a Facebook message from this clown I lost my higher route attitude and told my sister “tell that boyfriend of yours to mind his own expletive business, this is between you and me” and then bozo texts me immediately after saying “your sister IS my business and as far as I’m concerned, she’s done with your BS. Oh and delete yourself from my Facebook too”

    I told my sister exactly how mature that was, and now she says she’s never speaking to me again.

    She’s 31, and he’s 43, I’m 28. I mean, come on!

    We have an extended family get together on Saturday where I have to see said bozo and the sister who will never talk to me “not ever again” and because she’s never speaking to my again, I’m leaving her name off of the gift we got for my dad together which she never paid me for.

    I feel awful, like I ruined Christmas by not walking on eggshells and standing up for myself when I stood up against this clown.

    Any advice, either on my side or against me is welcome. I want non biased opinions!

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    • Wendy December 24, 2013, 1:44 pm

      There’s bipolar disorder in my family and I have learned that it’s best not to poke the beast (the beast being the disease, not the person who has it). If you are the person who doesn’t have the disease, the onus is on you to keep the peace (by biting your tongue, picking your battles, apologizing, and yes, sometimes walking on eggshells). It can be a pain, but not as much of a pain as having the disease. Who knows what frame of mind your sister is in or what influence this guy has on her (sounds like a lot). You don’t want to alienate her when you know so little about this man who seems pretty controlling and is likely taking advantage of her. If I were you, I would swallow my pride, call the dumbass boyfriend and apologize (I know you aren’t in the wrong; apologize anyway) and say you were disappointed that you sister wasn’t spending any of the holiday with you and you let your disappointment get the best of you. Wish him a merry christmas and ask him to extend best wishes to your sister and tell him you hope your transgression (again, just swallow your pride here!) won’t keep them away from the family gathering on sunday. For all you know, this boyfriend is mentally ill too and maybe not medicated (or not medicated correctly) and it’s in your best interest and your sister’s best interest to just try to stay on his good side, if for no other reason than he means you still have access to your sister and can keep tabs on the relationship.

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      • Blues December 24, 2013, 1:51 pm

        Wendy, such great advice, thank you, it is much appreciated. I hope you have a great Christmas with your friends and family šŸ™‚

      • Blues December 25, 2013, 2:16 pm

        I took your (great) advice and apologized to my sister via text (I still don’t really want to talk to her) and wished her a great Christmas with this guy and his family. The guy apparently has many issues as well. I put her name back on the gift for my dad (it was never really about the $50, I don’t care about the money any more) and sent their gift cards with him, as they sent my gifts with my dad.

        You never know what you’re dealing with with bipolar disorder, it’s sooooo hard to walk on eggshells.

        No word from her, we shall see what’s in store.

        Part of me feels like the games and the illness won, but I guess that’s the way it works.

        Merry Christmas to all šŸ™‚

  • Classic December 24, 2013, 1:03 pm

    What a beautiful photo of such a lovely family. Wendy, you look stunning. Happy holidays, everyone!

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    • Wendy December 24, 2013, 1:45 pm

      Thanks! Happy holidays to you, too!

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  • Kate B. December 24, 2013, 2:11 pm

    i was given a very special gift yesterday. I had a friend pass away from cancer this year. She did a lot of baking. Her Christmas shortbread pan has come to me. I plan to use it to make shortbread for a NYE party I’m going to. A nice way to remember her.

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    • dabbler December 24, 2013, 2:18 pm

      Aw, that’s really sweet. What a great gift, so sorry about your friend.

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      • something Random December 24, 2013, 2:22 pm


  • something Random December 24, 2013, 2:21 pm

    Wow Wendy! You are one hot silver fox in that dress.

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  • Something Random December 24, 2013, 2:39 pm

    My shoppings done, hubby (I know vomit word) is home! My two year old is napping, my five year old is playing with his dad, I’m sipping good coffee and feeling jolly. Merry Christmas Everyone!

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    • Addie Pray December 24, 2013, 2:52 pm

      Merry Xmas SR!

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      • something Random December 24, 2013, 3:26 pm


  • Addie Pray December 24, 2013, 2:55 pm

    Merry Christmas everyone! I don’t know what I’m gonna do. My mom is now hooked on DW. If a new commenter named Judith pops up then I’m toast. And I’m gonna need to get a new user name- she knows Addie Pray is my favorite character. I’m toast I tell ya.

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    • Addie Pray December 24, 2013, 3:54 pm

      Mama, stop reading DW, I see you! Stop it now!

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  • Fabelle December 24, 2013, 4:50 pm

    Google Merry Christmas! There is an animation, & it’s cool.

    I’m drinking wine now, & soon there will be pizza. I have basically eaten nothing today except sweets (m&m cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, magic cookie bars) so I’m looking forward to something cheesy!

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    • Lyra December 24, 2013, 6:54 pm

      I’m with you on only eating sweets today! Haha. I’ve eaten roughly…15 Christmas cookies? You know, give or take. But it’s the holidays right? And it’s not like I ate breakfast or lunch haha.

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  • d2 December 24, 2013, 9:01 pm

    It’s +10F here and snowing white fluffy snow. It’s gorgeous! Last night we were at -20F, but the weather front shifted and we got a bit warmer, so now we are getting snow. It’s perfect for Christmas Eve! Just finished dinner, and now heading out on a two-hour hike around the town to look at the lights.

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  • Christy December 25, 2013, 6:48 am

    Merry Christmas, y’all.

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  • Sunshine Brite December 25, 2013, 8:23 am

    Merry Christmas!

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  • Kate December 25, 2013, 9:12 am

    Merry Christmas everyone! I can’t wait to see if the Baby Jesus is now in the nativity outside at our resort! Who else is a huge fan of the Baby J?

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  • Lyra December 25, 2013, 9:59 am

    Merry Christmas!! As I sit in my parents’ living room in my Grinch pajamas (just for show — I got them last year when I was actually a grinch) with my cat nearby I am thankful for so many things. I’m thankful that my brother arrived safely last night. His normal 5 hour drive turned into a 9 hour drive because of a pretty wicked snowstorm that he got caught in. He and my mom are at church right now because they missed last night. I’m thankful that on Christmas Eve I can just show up at church and play my flute at mass like I’ve done since early high school. I’m thankful that my dad is outside blowing snow right now because it is still falling. It looks really nice inside but I’m sure it’s definitely NOT nice outside. I’m thankful that I adopted my cat this fall. It was the right time and she was EXACTLY what I needed. She may drive me nuts sometimes but I love her so much. I’m thankful that my dog (my parents’ dog) still loves me even though I don’t see her as often as I would like. My dad put Christmas lights around her dog house just like Snoopy in Charlie Brown’s Christmas to put us all in the holiday spirit. šŸ™‚

    Have a happy holiday, DWers!

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  • Addie Pray December 25, 2013, 10:01 am

    Merry Christmas to my favorite Internet people!

    I told my mom I want to start a new tradition – matinee followed by Chinese food. A Jewish Xmas for us it is!

    What movie should we see? I’ve see Catching Fire, Frozen, Dallas Buyers Club, and Nebraska… What’s left that’s good?

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  • Fabelle December 25, 2013, 10:07 am

    Merry Christmas! I got tipsy enough yesterday to go shopping on iTunes, & wound up sending them an angry message (while requesting a song I couldn’t find) that ended in, “Get with it!” I am now ashamed.

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  • Wendy December 25, 2013, 11:48 am

    Merry Christmas, everyone! We’ve had a busy morning at Chez Condellberry. Santa came and he brought TRAINS. And sticker books. And a big boy backpack. And books. Drew got me an espresso maker! And he loved all the clothes I got him (basically, a new wardrobe which he desperately needed). And in the box of gifts from my grandmother and aunt, was a gift from my recently deceased grandpa jack ā€” a gift for jackson that he won at bingo before he died that he wanted him to have.

    In the first two months after his death, I found pennies everywhere — piles of them, sometimes. But in recent weeks, I haven’t seen them. I wondered if I’d find a few today. My grandpa loved christmas and last year we spent it with him. Anyway, the gift he won at bingo that he wanted jackson to have was a little bank (shaped like a little mouse). With pennies inside. I cried.

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    • MissDre December 25, 2013, 12:42 pm

      You’re making me cry too. I miss my Grandpa so much! It’s so nice that Jackson got something from your Grandpa.

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  • katie December 25, 2013, 1:06 pm

    I’m dw-ing from my new freaking iPad!!! Ahhhh

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    • Fabelle December 25, 2013, 1:15 pm

      Katie I just finished my mac & cheese, tempered egg & all!! I haven’t eaten it yet, but I tasted the sauce so I ~think~ I can say with certainty that the egg tempering was a success. It really was easy, BUT this is so dangerous now, because I feel like I’m gonna put an egg in all my sauces now!! Maybe even two ( o ) ( <— that's an egg emoti? Or a boob, probably. Sorry, my family starts drinking at 11 for dinner at 2, soooo I'm some wine deep)

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      • Addie Pray December 25, 2013, 1:20 pm

        Are you gonna eat the Mac and cheese while you do it? You promised!

      • Fabelle December 25, 2013, 1:30 pm

        Oh yeah!! I still need to do that, & indeed I ~did~ promise šŸ˜‰ It’ll be hard to coordinate today, though?? I guess I can hide a plate of mac & cheese, & bring it into to the boudoir later when everyone leaves. And if Fabello wonders wtf I’m doing, I’ll just be like, “Shhhhhhhh”

      • katie December 25, 2013, 1:41 pm

        Yay I’m glad the egg worked! I told you, super easy. Your gonna be an expert in no time!!


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