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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

For The Last Time This Year


As has been my habit every Wednesday for this past  year, I have been recounting and recording my daily joys. This will be my last Wednesday post, because this year will officially begin on a Friday. So during 2021 my weekly joys will be posted then. Looking back this has been a painful year, but I have managed to find joy every single day, even on the worst days. 
Thursday night I plan on taking an hour or so to myself to re-read all the posts just to try and relive the day to day happiness I found in the middle of a dreadful year. If any of you feel so inclined please join in with your own joy diary next year (which sounds funny since next year is officially in two days)

Wednesday: The biggest joy for the day was having DIL3 and Son3 around the house, talking with them, then watching Christmas Vacation together.

Thursday: I needed a couple of stocking stuffers so I ran out at 8 a.m. to beat the rest of the holiday shoppers. I actually went to two off the beaten path stores with very few customers and was done, home, and having a hot cup of coffee a little bit before 10. The rest of the day was spent mostly leisurely getting ready for Christmas. At 3 we watched a Swedish Walt Disney compilation, which DIL3 has watched every year, while we drank Glogg and feasted on saffron rolls. I loved being able to share her traditions. Later in the evening we were able to participate in Christmas Eve services via live streaming. I was the last one in bed leaving the house clean, the table set and food prepped for an easy Christmas morning.

Friday: TheHub and I woke very early, and for the first time ever had  leisurely cups of coffee and conversations while listening to Christmas music. Later when Son3 and DIl3 woke and came downstairs, The Great Unwrapping began. Afterward my sister and BIL came over for brunch, then we went to Son2 and DIL2's house to give them their presents. They were still in quarantine following 1st degree exposure to covid (fortunately neither of them got it and both tested negative at the end of their time) We put the gifts on their porch then stood outside while they were in the doorway, talked for a few minutes then left.

Saturday: We had nothing to return, no need to go to the grocery store and basically just had a lazy day at home putting up our gifts and enjoying the tree lights. We did go out driving that night to looks at a couple of areas with beautiful outside decorations, then picked up BBQ. DIL3 declared the best part of winter in the south is the availability of delicious, freshly cooked, hickory smoked bbq in the winter. It seems normal to us but was a novelty for her.

Sunday: After streaming church services and a Webex Sunday school class, TheHub and I ran down to the lake place for a couple of hours to check on everything. After we returned our middle son and his beautiful wife were through with their quarantine and came over to visit. We still all wore masks, and only did the elbow bump, but it was wonderful to be able to visit with them. DIL3 made more delicious saffron buns served with coffee this time! Perfect!

Monday: Looking out the kitchen window there is a redbud tree in the back yard. It was covered with finches. Both purple and regulation house finches.  It was quite beautiful to see. 

Tuesday: Tuesday began the defrocking process. I like to start the new year with Christmas gone, however I also tend to alter some it into New Year's decorations. I like the lights and brightness from Christmas to remain without the traditional Christmas look. It is a process, but it is something I like to do. 
We also played a new to us board game "Mind the Gap". It was a lot of fun with a lot of laughs. 

I can't believe I only have two more days to find joy this year. I am so ready to turn the page from this unusual (not necessarily in a good way) year. I know magic is not going to happen, and when the clock strikes midnight everything will become all goodness and light, but I am hopeful that before the new year is up we have transitioned into a friendlier year. 

I hope you find joy daily and peace through the new year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Tuesday 4


I follow Annie at Tuesday 4. This week her four questions are all about New Year's Eve


1.  Despite the weirdness of this past year, was it still a good year for you anyway or not?
This was a difficult year. I lost my mother,  3 good and long time friends,  and my DIL's stepfather. Life became the same for me as everyone else and got much smaller. It was an adjustment. At the same time, I found joy every single day, even on the worst days. So even though it was difficult it was not a horrible year, but I will never refer to it by the name 2020 again. It takes too much time to call it "the year which shall not be named" so I am just going to refer to it as the Voldemort year.

2. How will you spend New Years Eve?
At home. We will have a heavy appetizer supper then watch the New Year ring in via TV, There were a lot of years when we either were at a party or traveled to wherever Alabama was playing football. Lately we stayed in town because of Mom. This year we are staying  home because of Covid.

3. What do you do on New Year's Day? Is football part of the agenda?
We have our traditional New Year's Day meal, have a couple of glasses of wine and football___lots of football.

4. It's a Scottish tradition to kiss at midnight.  Do you keep that tradition? Does everyone get a kiss if you do?
When we are at home, TheHub generally falls asleep in his chair before midnight. If he is awake we share a smooch, but if not there is none. I was never the one at a party to kiss anyone other than TheHub. Even cheek kissing others is out of my comfort zone. I might hug someone else, but that is pretty much where physical affection with others ends.

 May your new year be a bright and blessed one, free of trials and tribulations. All the very best to you and your family.


Monday, December 28, 2020

Plans, plans, and foiled plans


 Meal plan for the week: This may or may not work and if it doesn't so be it! Whatever we eat it has to come from things that are here because I am not going shopping for a little while. 

1. Taco salad

2. Spaghetti with meat sauce, tossed salad

3. Heavy appetizers, veggies and dip

4. NYD meal: Ham, black eyed peas, collards, cornbread 

5. Chicken pot pie, coleslaw

6. Pizza, tossed salad

7. Smoked sausage, potatoes and kraut

Have a great week staying on plan, off plan, or with no plan at all

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Oh How Quickly the Dreadful Year has Passed


Woo hoo I am just a tad over one week from re-reading all the joys of this year. After December 31 this year will  be like Voldemort  to me .and I will refer to it as the year which shall not be named. Until that day though I will once again recount the daily joys, because they happen each and every day.


Wednesday: I finally found the bike size I needed to get for a family our Sunday school class "adopted" for Christmas. The family is a single mom with four kids and they are in dire circumstances. We divided them by clothing needs and Christmas wishes.Since I never got to buy girl things when my kids were young I chose toys for the ten year old girl.  I had a great time online shopping for her, but there was a delay getting me the info for the bike size. When I finally found out what size she needed bikes were few and far between, and I could not find one.

Thursday: I am joyful for being persistent when everything told me to give up. One store near me had a delayed shipment of bikes, but not just regular bikes. I was able to order online (for pickup) one twenty inch pink and teal bike with handlebar streamers. We did get there and it was unassembled__bummer! I had to wait until the next day to have it assembled.

Friday: TheHub picked up the bike on his way home from work (He passes right by the store every day)
My new handyman came and did some repairs to the deck and replaced some loose mortar on the front steps. There is a certain joy in getting things done.

Saturday: TheHub fell down the stairs and though he was hurt, he was not seriously injured. We sat in the den, him with ice on his leg, while we watched the SEC championship game. It was a squeaker, but Bama won. 
Also Son3 and DIL3 were able to drive out of the city and made it to Roanoke. They were scheduled to arrive here Sunday.

Sunday: Son3 and DIL3 arrived a little early. Fortunately the house was ready, all the lights were on, everything was sparkly and shiny and we were glad to visit with them for a little bit (wearing masks) until they went to sleep.

Monday: Son3 and DIL3 had rapid covid tests and both tested negative. Hurrah! Now we could walk around the house maskless. The big cookie baking began and the big cookie eating followed!

Tuesday:  This was fudge, buckeye and chocolate covered candy making day! It was a day filled with sweets, coffee and the great companionship of Son3 and DIL2. Also DIL2 found her long overdue green card application is finally making some process. "Bout time!


Christmas sighting Day 23: This is the front door to the house. One of the trees blew a set of lights this afternoon but I am not replacing them tonight. Maybe tomorrow during the day, or I might just ignore it entirely. Time and energy will decide. Meanwhile, come on in and have some cookies, candy, mulled wine or a cup of coffee! 




 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Swedish Traditions In Alabama






I follow Annie at Tuesday 4 as she asks 4 questions. This week is all about holiday traditions

1. Do you have a favorite Christmas carol and if so is there a particular version you especially like? I love the carol Still, Still, Still. I don't think I have a favorite version of it at all.
2.Do you have a special dinner for the holidays? What foods are included?
Christmas Eve we do take out Chinese. It started with my parents and we have continued it. I thought we would stop this year since Mom is no longer with us, but Son2 has already said he wanted to do it, so I guess we will.
Instead of a big Christmas dinner we do a Christmas brunch. Other than the breakfast casserole things change every year, so no telling what we will have this year. I have not gone through the freezer yet to know.

3. Holiday movies ... which do you like to watch? We watch Christmas Vacation and Christmas with the Kranks every year, together. I have to get my Christmas Carol fix, as well as Miracle on 34th Street

4. What traditions do you continue to keep year after year for the holidays? We have the brunch each year but other.that I reuse decorations from my Christmas stash. I have a lot of items and about half t were not used this year that will be used next year, Anything that was used this year will move to a different place and be displayed very differently.

Christmas sighting Day 22: My beautiful DIL's Mom sent some traditional Swedish tree ornaments along with this beautiful traditional candle stick. I will definitely use it on our Christmas table. I can't tell you how much I appreciate her thoughtfulness and how happy I am they are Nowa  part of our extended family







Monday, December 21, 2020

Flying By The Seat Of My Pants


Monday is my usual meal planning post, but I am just not feeling it this week. I have a ton of food in the freezer and a good amount of produce, so whatever happens just happens. We do not do a big Christmas dinner, preferring a brunch instead. This has been a strange year and traditions are out the window, so who cares whether we eat traditional foods or try something entirely new. We will be over fed and still have fun,.




                                                     Weird Christmas song for a weird year!

Christmas sighting Day 21: I am late getting this posted because I finally baked today and forgot about this until late Monday night.

Obviously this is the mantle. I have way to many lights there but I love all of them. My den is very dark at night and I like the way it lights up this particularly dark wall. Mom made all the stockings. Mine is form my first Christmas, the she made his when we were married.. Son3 got his when he was born and I rigged Mom's stocking for DIL3. I will figure out a more permanent solution for her after Christmas.


These are my hearth critters. I like a tad of whimsy and when you squeeze the pig it forces air in which makes an oinking noise.  The monkey with the fez plays cymbals, and the other monkey turns flips. The Santas  just stand there looking over the room. Maybe they keep the monkeys and the pig in order. They are from some scrap wood I found.. I drew the shapes on the wood then Dad cut them for me. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Christmas Sightings Continue



 


Not that we can't have a good time when just the two of us are here, but we were very excited when Son3 and DIL3 arrived Sunday evening even earlier than we expected. I had turned on all the Christmas lights (and I do have a lot of them) and the house was pretty darn tidy! Whew! And now I am pretty darn tired, so this is going to be a very short post


Christmas sighting Day 20: I have built in corner cabinets in the dining room. When I had them built I thought to have outlets accessible for both of them. I am so glad I did because I decorate them seasonally and often use lights in some form or another. And when I don't have them decorated TheHub uses the outlets as his personal charging station.

I am including both of the cabinets here because they are a continuation of the same thing. For years TheHub and various sons would go to Alabama's homecoming game with various sons, and I would go to a wonderful little store that had a little bit of everything. Since homecoming was usually in late October, I started thinking about Christmas and would buy me a Dicken's Village house. As time went on my collection grew, until I had more than I wanted or needed and I stopped buying them. They live in different places each Christmas and found their home on the surface of the bottom cabinet this year.


True to his character wouldn't you know Ebeneezer Scrooge had his lights off! The old skinflint!


































Saturday, December 19, 2020

Lots to Do__Little Time


 The decorating is done, the wrapping caught up, and the mess from decorating and wrapping is everywhere. Additionally I have not even begun baking and Son3 and DIL3 will be here Sunday evening. Yikes! I need to get crackin’ but I am out of gas tonight .



Christmas sighting Day 19: This is the funky little kitchen tree . It is a sparse tree with sparse decorations.  It sits on the island with fruit, nuts, and candies beneath  it. However right now the candy is not out because it will be eaten. The mandarins and nuts are safe though. Go figure!



Friday, December 18, 2020

A Different Focus




Finally, Christmas has come together at my house with no time to spare. I have been focusing on making the house festive for my DIL's first Christmas in America, and it is just about finished. 

At the same time I need to remember there are people in my realm who are really struggling this year. 
My sister's office closed permanently because of Covid. It means she had to retire early or find another job, but jobs in advertising are few and far between right now. 
My neighbor has a 7 year old daughter in the hospital and they are struggling to find a diagnosis. Scary! 
One of my favorite bloggers faces surgery right before Christmas and will be hospitalized during the holiday.
Two of my very good friends have lost their husbands in the past couple of months.
Covid is increasing and several people I know are positive.
Then last night we got the bad news that DIL2's stepfather passed away.

I thought today, as I prayerfully reflect on all of these, a more poignant Christmas song might be appropriate.




Christmas sighting Day 18: This is the table beside the den loveseat. Dad gave me the carved Angel years ago and she actually lives in the den year round. Only her location changes mostly based on my mood and whatever season it is. Today has not been a cheery Christmastime day and I thought this picture might reflect my current feelings.


 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Happy Dinner Time Accident


 Tuesday night I had finished my gift wrapping and had put the finishing touches on the decorating and  started cleaning up the mess associated with decorating and wrapping. I completely forgot about taking something out of the freezer to make for dinner, when I remember a three pound roll of sausage I bought at Costco. I needed to do something with it  and even though I intended to just brown it, put it in the  freezer bin nice neat little bags, I thought it might be an option for dinner. 

                                                                   Sausage Meatloaf

1 pound breakfast sausage
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 egg
1/2 can condensed cream of mushroom soup (reserve half of the half for later)

Mix everything together in a big bowl until it is combined.  Put in a loaf pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon the reserved portion of the soup over the top of the loaf. Crank the oven up to 400 and bake another 10 or so minutes. Remove and let it rest for about 10 minutes. 
We were kind of surprised at how good it actually was, It was so tasty in fact, that the picture above is from my lunch Wednesday. It was the perfect cold weather meatloaf and I am adding it to our winter rotation.




Christmas sighting Day 17:
I made these blocks in the late 80's. They were just cut from a 2x2 , sanded, stained, and stenciled. The blocks have letters on 4 sides and can be configured for all the holidays as well as birthday and anniversary greetings plus a generic "Welcome Friends" which is what it is most of the year. . The hardest part for me was figuring out what letters to place where on each block. They have been used continually ever since I made them. After we bought this house they found a home in the center bay window by the kitchen table, and reflect what is seasonally happening. Though, for some strange reason during this past summer a workman mentioned that it was no longer an appropriate time to wish everyone Happy New Year. I am blaming that lapse on Covid!





Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Weekly Joy Round-up


My goodness, the year is nearly over and another full week has ended. 2020 has certainly thrown us all a curve or two, or even a hundred, but in the middle of all the upheaval there are still joys every single day. As I have said for nearly a year now, I intend to re-read each weekly post  on New Year's Eve and see what joy I have found on spectacular days and also in the everyday sameness of the covid world.  Look for your own personal joy. It is out there for the finding.


Wednesday  The Santa letters were done and in the mail which is a joy and a relief. I do not like to push it so late!

Thursday: My sister and I met with members of The Heart Of Dixie Rail Road Museum. Dad had a train room with a massive collection of train memorabilia dating back to the late 1800's. We were able to loan it to them, though I imagine it will become a permanent donation at some point and time. It is great that they can display it, and even greater to find another home for it.

Friday:  FaceTime with Pip. She wanted to share what she had gotten for the first two days of Chanukah. Naturally I had no idea who Fe-Fei was but I know a lot about her now. I was also assigned to watch "Over The Moon" so we can talk about it. And while we were talking she got one of her dragons who could fly Fe-Fei to the moon. I love playing with that child even if it is from afar.

Saturday: TheHub and I ran to buy new gas logs since ours had been condemned. The special joy was finding them on sale. It was not an expense we had planned for but fortunately we have a little household nest egg for things that need to be replaced. I thought I was going to be buying a new dryer, but it turns out my over 30 year old dryer could be repaired and is doing just fine. So the dryer money became log money.
Later Alabama played Arkansas and won. The SEC championship game against Florida will be next weekend. Roll Tide Roll!

Sunday: We streamed our church services from the breakfast room table, followed by a Webex Sunday school class. Afterward we ran down to the lake place, then came home and socked in for an evening with "TheCrown".

Monday: The joy for Monday was twofold, Jon, the lawn guy, was able to come and remove all the leaves and debris from the previous rain and I did not have to be the lawn guy! Money well spent! Also I finished all the time consuming Christmas decorating.
Later that afternoon mappliance repair guy was able to get to the new gas logs. They were installed, look great, plus he took the old one for disposal. 

Tuesday: I had an uneventful day until I had a phone call with the delightful Sluggy. She makes me laugh!
Later in the evening I got  photo text from my neighbor. It was a plate of cookies and candy her four daughters had made for us and left on my front porch. What a great surprise.
We had coffee and cookies while we watched "The Crown."

Christmas sighting Day 16: This is the tiny tree in the powder room. In all truth, I do not keep the lights all the time and I sure as heck do not keep the linen hand towels out all the time. I love the way they look, but they require ironing and I do not like to iron. The good thing is they are just in the powder room and since we are having no guests right now, they are fine!







Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Continuing the Christmas Countdown

This day was my wrapping day and as of this minute every thing I have purchased and has been delivered is living in pretty paper with bows and name tags___except for one gift on the dining room table. I wrapped it and forgot to tag it and I have no clue whose it is.  That is not exactly true, I can narrow it down to three people, it is just which of the three that baffles me. I think I will just tag it to my sister and when she opens it, if it is not for her she can just pass it to whomever it was intended.  It is not easy living with a mind that is quickly diverted by everything!



Day 15 Christmas sighting: I have double windows in both the living room and the dining room. I also have no drapes or curtains in those rooms. Most of the year I love the sparse look of them, but at Christmas time I want a little zip to the windows. This year I went with a very simple spray in both rooms. They are as identical as I could make them. If you looked at the side by side you could see the differences but because the rooms are separated by the foyer no one will ever be able to tell them apart (except for me)






 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Eating Before The Fat Man Gets Here





I try to make a menu so I will have some plan to use or to ignore totally. Generally I ignore the plan but use the foods planned in a different way. This week I was about 50/50 which works just fine with me. 

This is what I had planned
1. Aldi red bag chicken sandwiches, coleslaw
2. Chicken and broccoli casserole, carrots
3. Hamburger patty, green beans, rice
4. Takeout
5. Asian stir fry
6. Soup and sandwich
7. Chili, coleslaw, cornbread

This is what we actually ate:

Monday : Aldi red bag chicken sandwich, coleslaw

Tuesday:  Broccoli cheese soup with crescent rolls

Wednesday:  Captain D's grilled fish, green beans, coleslaw

Thursday:  Asian stir fry with chicken,  rice

Friday:  Grilled beef tenderloin, roasted veggies, salad

Saturday:  Sloppy Joes, coleslaw

Sunday:  We ate lunch really late and I was not hungry so TheHub had a TV dinner .  Boy is that ever showing my age. Does anyone actually call them that anymore?

What is planned for this week?
Soup
Regular chili
Stew
Takeout
More soup
Something really warm,  different stew maybe 
White chili
I don't know and I am really not feeling anything. It is cold here and I will just make do with meals and whatever happens, happens!


Christmas sighting Day !4: There are the Santa music boxes Mom gave to me throughout the years. She only quit giving them to me when she ran out of Santa themed songs because there was no need to repeat the same tune in a different Santa. I also have several Angel music boxes the gave me hat play Christmas hymns, but they are scattered throughout the living and dining rooms. Mom always knew I loved music so this was not only an appropriate collection, but is one I treasure.


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Sunday, A Day of Rest


 Today we had some business to take care of out of town, so after Sunday School (still online) we headed out. Nothing really got done, but that is ok. I have everything lined up to be ready Thursday night late. Now that does not seem necessary since potential snowfall is changing Son3 and DIL3 travel plans. Most likely they will not leave NYC until Sunday or Monday, rather than leaving Wednesday. It is all good and gives me several more days to get more done procrastinate.




Christmas Sighting Day 13 : This is the skinny tree in the foyer. I could not get a decent angle without seeing all the Christmas stuff in boxes in the dining room and living room floor so you could see the entire tree, and we were headed out of town, so I did not have time to take it upstairs and out it where it belonged rearrange the chaos.


So here is about 3 feet of a six foot very thin tree. And now that I see this picture I see some bare spots so I must get off the computer and search for more silver ornaments to fill the gaps!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Things Are Moving In The Right Direction


Things progressed today and I am through with all the time-consuming decorating. I still have a couple of areas needing a little love, but it will happen. I am feeling better about it, and with a little luck and elbow grease should be happily baking by Wednesday!

Christmas Sighting Day 12:  This brown wood looking (really resin) Santa stands guard by the door between the foyer and the living room. His bag contains a small present, because it can. I was not planning on sharing this, because it is a pretty unremarkable Christmas touch, but I forgot to take any pictures before it was dark and things just did not photograph well. I hope to remember to do it tomorrow morning when the light in the house is its best. Fingers crossed!


 

Friday, December 11, 2020

The hurrieder I go the behinder I get



When I look at my house right now I feel like this should be my Christmas theme song


And just why do I feel that way? 


 Christmas Cards: Some written and addressed, others scattered on the kitchen table.

Son3's former bedroom: Linens washed, bed partially made waiting for comforter which is still in the dryer

Guest room: Linens washed, bed unmade

Foyer: Skinny tree lit but waiting on ornaments., foyer table mostly dressed, foyer door undone, monkey butler ready except for Santa hat which I can't find

Living room: Tree decorated, living room presents wrapped and under tree, bins returned to their place, more bins pulled out and in the middle of the floor.

Dining room: Chandelier dressed, windows dressed, buffet dressed, dining room table covered with wrapping paraphernalia and paper, corner cabinets__ugh!

Kitchen: Neither good nor bad. Routine kitchen maintenance is all that is required daily in there

Eat in area: Light fixture dressed, bay windows dressed, top of hutch, dressed but slightly askew, table a card wreck.

Den: Shelves, done, den tree mostly done, mantle undone, coffee table undone, sofa table undone, errant Christmas lights on the sofa (why?)

Hall: Bookshelf dressed

Powder room: Small tree lit and waiting for small ornaments

Front of house: Trees on either side of the door lit and bowed,, front door needs wreath 

Music room: Tree up waiting on them to decorate, couch needs slipcover put on

Christmas cooking: None, zip, zero! Assuming the worst happens I know where to buy Christmas treats

Instead of being downstairs writing this post, my tail should be upstairs making beds. As it is I am thinking of summoning my inner Scarlett going to bed and worrying about things tomorrow.

Christmas sighting:Day 11 

The small table in the foyer has 4 carolers, a tree (as of yet unlit), a dog ,and a snowball. Somewhere upstairs is a box with the remaining representations of our family members but it has not turned up yet. When/if it does I will put them out along with some fake snow. If not it will stay just like it is. I am pretty sure the fake snowflakes are in the same box as the remaining carolers.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Who Is Flunking Christmas?


Earlier, before Thanksgiving actually, I mentioned I was going to blow Christmas out this year and have everything all shiny and glittery; a literal Christmas extravaganza. What was I thinking? 

Today a mere 15 days before Christmas and 8 days before Son3 and DIl3 get hereI am living in a world of half done. I put up four trees this year. DIL3 wants to decorate one so I left the one in the music room bare for her to trim however she likes.  
The living room tree is completely finished with pretty wrapped presents beneath it, but the living room floor is filled with bins of ornaments and greenery and other things of a Christmas nature.
The other two trees are not looking so hot right now though. One has all the lights in place and is just waiting for the ornaments. The den tree is partially lit. Actually it has all the lights I will use on it, they are just not where I want them to go. (Try to imagine someone tired of doing everything by herself and getting a little pissy and literally just tossing strands of lights randomly on the tree) Tomorrow I have to put on my big girl pants and get them finished so I can return the cartons with tree trimming stuff out of the living room and back to their homes, so I can arrange the few remaining bits and bobs I put out for the holidays.

Fingers crossed I will finish everything this weekend so I can have a few days to get some Christmas cookies baked  and fudge made to share with friends, neighbors and of course with the family. I need a Christmas miracle or a swift kick in the backside to get me cracking!


I

Christmas sighting Day10:
I found this wire basket at Mom's and I am not sure I ever remember her using it, but I thought it might be something cute to keep our Christmas cards in. I tied a bow and stuck some baubles on the bow and called it good enough. I am not really pleased with it and if I have time I might change it___ or I might not. It just depends on my mood and time!



                             I hope all of you are doing better at this than I am!

 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Time. . . It Does Go By


As has been my normal for 2020 each week I post a list of the joys I found around me. This week was not the best week I have had this year, but it was not horrible and I know when I re-read my lists on New Year's Eve this will seem more like a pesky gnat circling around my face than a bleak week. 





Wednesday: I got several things Christmasy done, then the chandelier started to fall and everything came to a screeching halt.

Thursday: Received a phone call from Pip on her way to school letting me know she was sharing the books I gave to her for her birthday with her class. 

 Friday: My appliance guy came and fixed the disposal, told me replacing the igniter on the range would be 300 dollars for parts and labor ( Not worth it. I can buy a ton of  wand lighters and manually light it every time and never come anywhere near that) and condemned our gas logs. Seems the air is not flowing through them properly which could cause a back up of gas and a potential explosion. 2020 at its best.

Saturday: Game day and Alabama won. Had some FaceTime with Pip which always makes me happy

Sunday: We streamed our church service followed by a Webex Sunday School meeting. It is nice to meet (even virtually) with friends.

Monday. Had a house showing for Mom's place. I figured it was not in their budget, but it was nice to get feedback. I also heard about a family in dire circumstances who needed a youth bed. Pip has outgrown the one I had for her and I was ready to get rid of it.  I passed it on with a comforter set. Two less items are now cluttering the house of chaos (or  house of doors, depending on whom you ask).

Tuesday: We met the shredder truck at Moms and estimate we had about 400 pounds of papers shredded  Another task done! Then later in the afternoon the electrician came and repaired the chandelier. It turns out the builder had used a plastic electrical box and it had degraded. No problems, and for a chunk of change it now has a metal box and is nice and tight! 
And the final joy, you ask? Each year A friend and I have a fund raiser for the local high school band. We write letters to kids from Santa. (not about gifts but about happenings at the North Pole) Every year there are about two hundred of them and I got them all addressed because Santa does not use a printer, His elves hand address them.

I have found looking for joy causes me to appreciate finding it so much more than I would just waiting for it to fall in my lap.  Even if I have to get a ladder to hold the chandelier up, there is joy having a ladder to take the load off the ceiling. Look for joy this week. You will find it!


Christmas sighting Day 9:

The absolutely wicked dining room chandelier that caused so much aggravation when it started to fall.



Now if I can just get those fifty eleven million things I have started finally completed, life will be good!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Tuesday 4




I follow Annie at Tuesday 4 each week as she poses 4 questions. As Christmas draws nearer and nearer this week she is talking about something which probably obsesses us entirely too much.

The topic this week is all about gifts





1. Whether it's Christmas, Chanukah or a birthday party nice gifts can be hard to pick out.  Is there a safe go to gift you think will fit anyone?  Generally for a safe gift I go with a book

2. Is wrapping a gift a necessary part of the excitement of giving and receiving? I enjoy wrapping and like for the gifts I give to look really pretty. As far as  receiving? I don't really care at all.

3. What gifts given to you did you love the most? As a kid it was probably the year I got my big bike. 

As an adult, I got a baby grand piano for my birthday one year. I love it and I play it often and think of Mom and Dad every time I play it..

4. In the O. Henry book The Gift of the Magi, a man sells his pocket watch to buy some beautiful hair  combs  for his wife's long hair  but she has sold her hair to buy him a platinum pocket watch chain.

Have you ever saved long and hard to buy someone a special gift?Yes I have saved all year to buy a special gift before. The only gift I regret not getting was a little red sports car for my dad. It was never in the budget but all of my life he said nothing would make him happier than a little red sports car. Of course it got to be a family joke and he had little red toy sports cars, and models, and ornaments, but never the real thing. 

 Would you be okay with a holiday that  didn't include gifts? I am so overwhelmed right now with things I have gotten from Mom's house that I need/want nothing. I would not mind receiving absolutely nothing this year, except some well wishes and company(which we can't have) . I do still like to give gifts though.

Would friends and family understand? I know my family  and friends would. We all have everything we need and want little


Christmas sighting Day 8:


This would be the light fixture over the breakfast table. It is what you do when you accidentally order 1-8 inch shatterproof ornament when you thought you were ordering 8-1 inch balls. I imagine the tree on the deck will be undecorated except for lights. Such is life!

Monday, December 7, 2020

Feliz Navidad


I hope you enjoy this family as much as I do. I watch them daily and get a huge kick from it every day they post to Youtube. 




 And as far as meal planning goes, well, I plan, I change my mind, I open a can of soup. Life goes on.

What was planned:
1.Soup and cornbread
2. Turkey sandwiches, coleslaw
3. Chicken broccoli casserole, spinach salad
4. Philly cheesesteak casserole, tossed salad
5. Chili, cornbread, coleslaw
6. Hamburger patty, baked sweet potato, green beans
7. Veggie meal to be decided later. (I am just not feeling it right now)

What we ate instead :
Monday: Minestrone soup
Tuesday: Sausage and sautéed cabbage 
Wednesday: Sneaky Pete's hot dogs
Thursday: Turkey sandwich Goodbye Thanksgiving!
Friday:  Tacos and fixings
Saturday: Hot and Sour soup
Sunday: Beef stew, cornbread

It was cold (at least cold to us) and we don't do cold well so soups and stews reigned supreme.

What might happen:
1. Aldi red bag chicken sandwiches, coleslaw
2. Chicken and broccoli casserole, carrots
3. Hamburger patty, green beans, rice
4. Takeout
5. Asian stir fry
6. Soup and sandwich
7. Chili, coleslaw, cornbread

Day 7 Christmas sighting: This is the other end of the buffet. It has another small tree, sans lights or decorations. (This may or may not change after the chandelier is fixed) The vase holds three poinsettias made from the sheet music to the song Jingle Bells. Instead of bracts the center of each flower is three small jingle bells. The rest is just candles and fillers, but the tree does have a small gift wrapped beneath it. Now I need to get everything else finished because I have just about run out of sightings that are completed.





Sunday, December 6, 2020

What Do We All Need?

I am not sure what any of you need, but I am in desperate need of a mood/attitude alteration.. (If you don't believe me, just ask TheHub). Even though specific places the house have touches of Christmas, the overall presentation is seriously lacking. Maybe it is just the things like the chandelier dangling like a participle from the dining room ceiling while resting on a ladder to keep it from crashing, or maybe it is because every step forward seems to bring me two steps backwards. It would be fine if I were doing the tango, but this dance I am doing involves stepping over boxes of greenery and untangling lights. I am ready to be done, have a clean house and a defrosted freezer, non of which is happening right now. 

I know what I need, and I need it now!







Christmas Sighting Day 6:

This is a tiny little tree with fairy lights in the hallway between the den and the master bedroom. It sits on a little bookshelf that I hit my hip on all the time. Common sense would dictate that I move it, but I do like having it where it is, bruised hip and all. Besides common sense would be so logical when I can use my convoluted reasoning instead.


And yes those tiny boxes hold actual Christmas gifts. I like to put presents under each tree, no matter how small the tree is. You will notice there are no ornaments on this tree, because when I hit the bookshelf with my hip it  jars the tree and the ornaments fall. See__I am not totally senseless.

 

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Grumpy Me


 I am grumpy right now. My mom used to call it being "ill as a hornet".  I think it is because my plans have derailed and there is nothing I can do but wait___and I am not a good waiter! I want things done and I want them done NOW!  I remind myself of Varunca Salt from Willie Wonka. 



Meanwhile my chandelier in the dining room is still resting on a ladder to support it so it won't pull the sheetrock from the ceiling, waiting for the handyman who can't get here until Tuesday__after three! I thought the economy was tanking, but I can't get the people I want to pay with real money to come here. So I wait, and wait, then wait a little more. The good news is I did get the carpet guy to come and stretch the carpet in the Jack and Jill bedrooms upstairs. Since they actually did respond to my call and came in a reasonable time they get a pass for being here at 8 a.m. on a Saturday. They were nice guys and did a great job. 

If I can get a little bit more done today, I am sure my mood will improve. So much to do__so many decorations.

And now for a Christmas sighting Day 5:.This little coffee service sits on the buffet and is normally a sad and tarnished grouping. When we were cleaning Mom’s house I claimed the teapot that went with her set. My sister does not drink tea so she was fine with it. It sat on my tray and over a few months became almost as tarnished as its tray mates but when I heard the sounds of Christmas approaching I knew it was time to look under the sink and pull out the Wrights silver cream.

The coffee set looked the worst so I polished them first, then started to shine  Mom’ s teapot. I took the top off then started laughing as I pulled 6 black knee hi’s out of it. 
For a couple of years before she died Mom would call my sister and me and accuse us of taking her things. Since we began cleaning her house we found tons of the things (in very odd places)1? we had “stolen”. I know she never accused me of taking her knee hi’s so it must have been my beloved sister. 


Friday, December 4, 2020

Where There Is Smoke There is Burned Food



 

Technically I did not burn down the house, but I burned the crap out of a pot of chili. I had my cast iron pot filled with what I thought was simmering chili before I went upstairs to do a little work. I came back down stairs to a smoky house and about an inch of chili char on the bottom of the pan. My smoke alarms will normally shriek and yell if I so much as get a piece of toast extra crispy, but this time there was not even a whimper from them.

 For about a week everyday I would boil water in said pan and scrape. Empty water, fill, repeat. Today I finally got the pan completely cleaned, but I broke every law of single cast iron ownership in the process. I scrubbed and scrubbed with steel wool and (gasp) soap. Now I am having to start from scratch seasoning the pan. Bummer! It makes me ill to start over. At least I save bacon grease and the whole house smells good, as the bacon fat filled pan is baking on a low heat.


Christmas sighting Day 4: The living room Tree.
Because of things I inherited from Mom's house my usual tree and tree placement just will not work. Instead I have this very small tree placed on a stool to give it a little height. I also had to add some shiny stuff to the top of the tree to fill in the gap between the stunted tree and the ceiling. Since my living room is a tad formal, this tree is a more formal tree decorated with warm metallics.



Thursday, December 3, 2020

Chilly Weather Is Here



 

                       This is the truth





Christmas sighting day 3:


                       This hangs out on the living room floor by the right front leg of the piano.






Wednesday, December 2, 2020

It's a Brand New Week



For the past 48 weeks I have been compiling a list of my daily joys. When I first began I was not expecting a pandemic and a lockdown. I expected to be filled with joy as we used the remaining season tickets to the theater, and those to our favorite concert venue. I never expected a joy to include something seen on Netflix, or bird watching from my kitchen window. Life changed quickly but I noticed there were sincere joys still each and every day. So at the end of week 48, this is my list of joys. Now I am in countdown time to New Year's Eve when I am going to re-read the entire year, just to remember  what joys are out there, and to remind myself that another year filled with joys is waiting.



Wednesday: Painters were a no show and though I did not get any big tasks done, I completed a ton of small ones including fully decorating the Christmas tree for the living room. One down! While I was in the process of hanging ornaments, I had a FaceTime visit with my favorite girl. 
Her parents have done one of the smartest things I have heard for the school year and the current Covid situation. They organized with 3 other families who are isolating and created a private school employing a first grade teacher who is also isolating. They now have a 6 kid, 3 family bubble so the children are in a brick and mortar place rather than online education, and the kids are able to have recreational time after school with each other. Monday they took a 2 day field trip (Moms and kids only) to a home in the country. The kids got to explore and play, and Pip was able to have a small birthday party in spite of Covid.
While we talked she told me all about her birthday presents. Dragons! If you have not been assigned to watch the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy by your kids or grandkids then you might not know about Toothless and Stormfly or Hiccup and Astrid. I know all about them (more than I ever wanted to know) but I  am overjoyed I can talk with her about the movies and also about the world she creates while playing with them.

Thursday: Thanksgiving with just the two of us was a first, but not a bad thing. We both lounged around during the morning watching the Macy's new twist on a parade. It was the first Thanksgiving I did not have to hop out of bed and start cooking. I must admit it was not a bad way to begin a holiday. I got some Christmas presents wrapped and under the tree, then started decorating the dining room in earnest. A special joy was a deliberate non-keto planned day ending with a cup of Snickerdoodle hot chocolate! 

Friday: The painter finished at Moms so we are one step closer to getting it on the market.
 TheHub had gotten a gift certificate for his birthday from some of  his co-workers to a newly opened (right before covid) restaurant. I will still not go into a restaurant but fortunately they are doing takeout so we decided to try them. We went ahead and bought 3 meals so we could use the entire card hoping they will survive these times, but you never know. Wow what delicious food!  We will be doing that again. 
And the final huge joy was a FaceTime visit with Pip. More dragon play!

Saturday: We went .shopping/looking for a new car ( well at least new to me). I have driven my car for years and years and it is completely used up. Time for a change!
After we got home I had a delightful phone call with Sluggy. She makes me laugh and is a true joy to talk with. 
Then it was time for the Iron Bowl. Roll Tide, Roll! Bama won!
And in the evening I had another very brief FaceTime call with Pip. When she is bored she gives me a quick call to amuse herself until something better comes along. I treasure those minutes!

Sunday: Sunday now begins with streaming our church's services. It is going to be hard for me to go back to real church since I can wear pajamas at home. 
Later in the afternoon we had a Zoom birthday party for Pip. The entire clan was on the call and we all got to see her open her presents, blow out the candles and share in the excitement. I am seriously thankful for the technology that allows us to be part of her special moments and times. Did I mention we bought a piece of chocolate cake to share so she would not have to eat cake alone?

Monday: The day was just an ordinary day with more cleaning/decorating and a tad of shopping. I needed some tulle ribbon for gift wrapping and a little decorating. Quite unusual for this time of year, while I was in the parking lot there were snow flurries. (actually, it is unusual any time fo the year, here) I know some of you do not understand the delight those of us in the south get from seeing the white stuff falling. It is a novelty and people all over the parking lot stopped walking to look skyward. 

Tuesday: An unplanned visit to the dentist happened. I have known my dentist since we were kids and there is a joy in being able to have her squeeze me in, even though I had not planned on seeing her yesterday!  Fortunately it was an easy fix and I was able to stop and pick up some Christmas goodies because her office is just down the street from my favorite Aldi. 
Afterward I met my sister at Mom's house to go over her monthly finances. I find it odd that we still have to meet to do business for Mom after all these months.  "What a joy to begin compiling tax documents", she said sarcastically.

Hope you all have a wonderful joy filled week. Look for them because they are out there!


Christmas sighting, Day 2. The other side of the den entertainment center (yes I am old and still have an entertainment center instead of having a humongous tv mounted on the wall)

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Let Me Entertain You (it's a no-no now!)




On Tuesdays I try and link with Annie at Tuesday's 4. She asks four questions each week and sometimes they are things I have to ponder. Covid has pretty much killed any thinking about this weeks questions since entertaining is out the window right now, except for folks in my very small bubble.




1. Do you invite people over for coffee or tea?
Not generally, but if anyone stops by of course I offer them either coffee or tea. During this pandemic we have had our neighbors over in our driveway for drinks and conversation.

2.  Entertaining is a good way to serve others. Do you entertain often? Before Covid, we had guests about once a month, and had either houseguests or just dinner guests. 

3. What kind of refreshments do you offer to guests? I generally have/used to have them for dinner, so I served a meal. Sometimes it was as simple as a grilled burger and chips and sometimes it was an elaborate dinner. 

4. Do you enjoy tea and/or coffee? How do you take it?  I drink coffee and tea daily. I prefer my coffee strong and black with no sugar. If I am drinking hot tea, it depends on the type. Sometime I like just tea, sometimes I prefer to sweeten it. I love iced tea and true to my southern roots I drink it sweetened.


And for the first day counting down to Christmas this is one of my little holiday vignettes. This is on a shelf in the den. 




Also any last minute joiners for the Christmas Card exchange, email haljam27@gmail.com. The rules are simple, you send cards to 3 people and get three in return. You have until midnight CST to join in.

Monday, November 30, 2020

A Week For Thanks and Christmas Card Reminder

This week came and went with the beginnings of the holiday season. Along with the season this year I expect no parties, concerts or any of the traditional holiday festivities. Instead I anticipate a holiday season filled with time at home and time for reflection. Maybe it is what the season should be about anyway. 





The meals that were or were not:
1. Crustless pizza, salad
2. Some kind of soup (totally uninspired right now)
3. Melt in your mouth chicken, spinach salad, mashed potatoes or caulimash
4. Sliced turkey from the deli, dressing (bought frozen), green bean casserole, cranberry relish, collards (cooked  a couple of months ago and frozen), pumpkin roll (from Aldi) pecan pie.
5. Something cooked on the grill with a salad (Pretty sure I have a steak in the freezer)
6. Iron Bowl *meal. Potentially hot dogs and snack foods
7.Take out

 Monday: I spent a good part of the day at Mom's while the painters were there. When I got home it was late and I needed/wanted something that did not take a long time to cook and was easy to make. We are still getting green beans from the garden and I had strung them Sunday night and cooked them early Monday morning, so I knew they would be our side dish.  Since I had thawed some chicken the meal was a no brainer
Melt in your mouth chicken/ green beans/ tomato slices

Tuesday: I was still at Mom's with the painters and did not get home until after 5. I was so thankful for cleaning the pantry last week and finding a bottle of white pizza sauce. The meal virtually planned itself.
No crust pizza bowl/ salad

Wednesday: I waited all day for the painters to call before they got to Mom's. I waited all day for nothing! Instead I put up the living room Christmas tree and did a bit of decorating in the dining room. When TheHub called to tell me he was on the way home and asked what was for dinner was the first time I even thought about food. So I made a quick phone call and he picked it up. Best 10 buck (for 2) meal around
Hot and sour soup and egg roll

Thursday: Turkey day and that is enough said about the first ever Thanksgiving we have spent totally by ourselves. It was relaxing and since I had bought prepared food it was easy.
Turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, cranberry relish, pumpkin roll


Friday: TheHub had a gift card to a new restaurant and we wanted to use it before it possibly went out of business thanks to Covid. Since it was for more than we could possibly eat in one meal, we bought 3 dinners (take out only because I will not go to restaurants right now)
Meat loaf over lima bean puree with Brussels sprouts, or  paneed chicken with broccolini  

Saturday: We ran a couple of quick errands and looked at a car for me then came home to settle in for ball games. For dinner we split the extra dinner we had bought the night before.
Beef filet with new potatoes, tossed salad

Sunday: We were either going to have to toss the turkey meal  leftovers or eat them for dinner.
Leftover turkey and dressing, tossed salad

 DIL3 and Son3 are heading this way mid December to ride out the holiday here instead of in the city. She has never spent Christmas in the states so I am blowing out the holiday decorations. This week is dedicated to bows and glitter. Meal prep is taking a backseat and the menu reflects it! 

And going into the week's possibilities:
1.Soup and cornbread
2. Turkey sandwiches, coleslaw
3. Chicken broccoli casserole, spinach salad
4. Philly cheesesteak casserole, tossed salad
5. Chili, cornbread, coleslaw
6. Hamburger patty, baked sweet potato, green beans
7. Veggie meal to be decided later. (I am just not feeling it right now)


The Christmas Card Exchange is Over Tonight. If you want to join in it is not too late If you emailed me and have not heard back, it means I did not get your email and please send it again to haljam27@gmail.com.  The rules are quite simple, You mail three cards to 3 different bloggers/blog readers, and get three in return. We hope you will join in the fun!
I am going to be emailing the contacts to everyone tomorrow night.