Friday, December 31, 2021

And That's A Wrap!

Officially now the last day of the last week is here (or over, depending on where or when  you are reading this). This is the day I will re-read each week's post and remember or reflect on the joys each day brought. As with most folks, we did not have big joyous events because almost every time we planned something big a new variant of Covid reared its ugly head just in time to let us know it was not safe to go back in the water. Like everyone, I am tired of it, but still doing my part to keep those around me and myself safe. 
So I will have to content myself reading about the small things that happened and made me smile.
Here is to looking backward, with appreciation, then readjusting the throw pillows on the couch, my jeans and my attitude to look forward to  all the possibilities a new year brings.

TheHub and I got out and drove around looking at Christmas lights for a little while. 7 o'clock Christmas Eve is a really nice time to be out and about. The shopping traffic is over and for the most part people are doing some sort of celebrating or prepping for Santa. We were nearly the only cars on the road and could stop and look at displays without holding any other cars up. It was a very peaceful way to see the lights.

Saturday: AKA Christmas! My beloved sister and her husband came over and joined Son2 and DIL2 for brunch. We had a couple of FaceTime calls with Son1's family in Portland, and a couple with Son3, DIL3, and her folks in Sweden. What do you think are the chances of getting them all to leave that snowy wonderland and come have Christmas in Alabama some day?
We had a wonderful day with great food, and a lot of laughs. Plus there is a beehive somewhere in the world with my name on it. (One of the best gifts ever.) Well, one of the best gifts, other than this puppet!

Sunday: This was a day for some much needed rest. I have been sleeping badly the past couple of nights averaging about 3 1/2 hours of sleep each night. I gave in to tiredness and took a couple of catnaps then hit the bed very early for me. (11:30 pm) I rarely nap and had forgotten how delicious a well timed short nap can be.

Monday: TheHub had an almost normal work day, but came home early. I had to run to our satellite courthouse (close to my house) to file some paperwork with the tax assessor so he went along for the ride. I have never been there when all I had to do was walk in and have just one person in line ahead of me. Bonus, the woman working the window was so helpful and such a lovely person. I have never walked out of there with a smile on my face, but I did then. Kudos to their personnel department for hiring such a delightful person!
For dinner we managed to finish off one of the Christmas leftovers, then watched Succession.

Tuesday: I had a fairly slow day and was not terribly productive except to begin the annual return of Christmas decorations to their closet. I did have a wonderful FaceTime conversation with Pip as she was  riding to Mt. Hood for a ski day with Son1. 
After TheHub and I ate dinner we finished season 2 of Succession and began season 3. It is not often when you find a program where every single character is so very flawed.
I also finished a very disturbing book. I should have just put it down

Wednesday: The day was not a very exciting day, but a little more Christmas was packed away until Thanksgiving 2022. 
We did have a FaceTime call from Pip. She was on her way home from skiing with Son1. According to Son1, this was the day she finally figured everything out and while we were on the call with her she was begging her dad to take her skiing again Thursday. 
We watched another episode of Succession, finished all or our contributions for the year, then I read while glancing occasionally at theAlabama -Tennessee basketball game. OK, I lied! I was reading and glancing until the last 4 or 5 minutes. Then I actively watched the lead change back and forth. It was an exciting game.
The last thing that gave me extreme joy was a combo Christmas decoration/Mother Nature event.  We have one of those lasers that projects tiny red and green dots on the outside of the house. We had purchased it several years ago when Pip was here at Christmas, and used it in the backyard to create the illusion our fence had lights. This year TheHub put it in the front yard and it looks like we hung tiny lights all over the front of our house.  
Wednesday night saw hard rains and heavy winds. The combination of the wind, rain and laser created the perfect conditions that projected a starburst over the front yard. It was an incredibly cool accident.

Thursday: I woke to a foggy day, which was very beautiful. Normally my morning coffee view looks out over the valley beyond my neighborhood, but Thursday I could only see the tops of the pine trees and the bare skeletons of the hardwood trees. It was really a beautiful ethereal look.
 The day saw more Christmas items returning to their boxes and bins, and more normalcy restored to our common living areas.. We did make a judgement call to leave the Dickens Village collection up a little longer, because both of us like the way it lights the corner cabinet in the dining room. Plus it does not look like Christmas as much as it looks like a snowy village scene.,
The added bonus happened after dark. The laser light is still aimed at the house and the gentle raindrops  reflecting the light created another starburst over the front yard. 

Wishing each and every one of you 365 days filled with joy as we begin this new orbit around the sun.
You will find what you look for, so make sure you search for the joys. They are always out there!

May all your weeds be wildflowers,
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Leftovers Out The Ears

 Like a lot of you, I tend to overcook during the holidays. Consequently, we have a ton of leftovers that I need to make for dinners, but in different forms. Who wants to eat Christmas food for a week? Not me!
So this week will be primarily a transformation week, where things we ate will magically change forms and become something different than their first incarnations. The upside? It will be a week of minimal cooking and that does make me happy.

I know we ate this past week, but I was busy and didn't keep up with what we had, and have now forgotten it totally. We went out to eat one night and I think we did take out another night. We had sandwiches once and leftover soup just to get it out of the fridge. Who knows what else we had!

I am not planning a menu as much as I am planning food reformations
1. Scalloped ham and potatoes, asparagus (using leftover ham)
2. Meatball sliders (using leftover dinner rolls and cocktail meatballs)
3. Grilled Cheese sandwiches, coleslaw (using assorted leftover cheeses)
4. Breakfast dinner, fried apples,  possibly broccoli (leftover breakfast casserole and leftover fried apples)
5. NYE: steak, potatoes, and tossed salad (weather permitting)
6. Traditional NY Day meal: black eyed peas, collards, ham, cornbread
7. Something__Anything but leftovers!

Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan or with non plan at all!

Friday, December 24, 2021

The 51st Week Is Done

I remember one of these posts when I realized the year was halfway over and I could not believe how fast it had happened. Now that this week has passed, there is just one week left until 2021 is in the mirror. 2022 is looming and filled with possibilities, resolutions (that will be broken if it is like every other year) and a whole lot of unknown. 
But before I can step into the new year, I have to finish this one, which means today will find me cleaning like a mad woman and getting things ready for the big day! I wish every single one of you a Merry, Merry Christmas. All I want for Christmas is abundant joy for everyone, free from any drama or pettiness. 

These are some of my joys for this past week

Friday: We had TheHub's office party  at the Birmingham Museum of Art. There were a good many people there but the space is large and there was plenty of room to spread out.

Saturday: It was a rainy day so we stayed home all day Saturday, except for TheHub's recreational shopping trip. I got some things done, but then we started watching Succession. Oh well! So much for productivity!

Sunday: The day was beautiful and we got our yearly charities tended to and in the mail. That evening we went to see the ultimate Christmas light display with Son2 and DIL2.  After riding all through Pepper Tree (where we saw the most over the top display I have ever seen celebrating everything from the nativity, to Santas, to elves, to pac-man chasing binky) we had dinner with them at a new restaurant near their house.

Monday: Back to the lawyers with my sister. Ugh! They are helping us navigate some investment issues and I appreciate it, and need them to translate the legalese to make sure our big fat fannies are covered.  But just when we think everything is in order the investment firm comes up with yet another thing that needs to be authorized and signed. 

Tuesday: I finished the Christmas shopping which is bleak this year, but no one needs or really wants anything and I refuse to buy simply to have presents o'plenty under the tree. After I got home I had just enough time to change into clothes suitable for a dinner in Tuscaloosa. We met TheHubs brother and our SIL for delicious food and a lot of laughs!

Wednesday:  This was cookie baking and gift wrapping day.  Baking was finished and a huge mess was made!

Thursday: TheHub did something he has never done in our entire married life (except for when we were still in school) He left the office at lunchtime, came home and picked me up for a lunch  at a new cute restaurant, then he went grocery shopping with me. (real shopping, not his recreations kind)
Then we came home and watched one episode of Succession in the daytime and another at night. It was a fun day

So go about this week finding your joy in both the large and small things every day brings!
May all your weeds be wildflowers!

               And for your enjoyment, you might want to watch/listen to this video !

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Thursday, December 23, 2021

And Once Again

 I feel it is my civic duty as an Alabamian (with probable red-neck  tendencies) to propagate the stereotypical image of Christmas in Alabama. So for the fourth year running I present . . .

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Tuesday 4

When I actually remember it is Tuesday, I follow Annie @Tuesday 4. There are 4 main questions and this week they are all about Christmas.

1. Is your tree up?
Yes they are. I have only two up this year.
How tall? 
One is 7 1/2 feet and the other is 8.The den tree has colored lights and the living room tree has white lights.   
Is there a color scheme you use? 
 Normally the den tree has humorous ornaments of every color in the world. The living room tree is more formal with gold, silver, bronze and copper. This year though, I only used lights and tree toppers. I am calling them art trees!

2.  Got a menu for Christmas Eve and Day? 
We typically have Chinese takeout for Christmas Eve. Christmas Day we have brunch and the menu is changeable. 

3. When does it go up and how long does it stay up? 
It goes up as soon after Thanksgiving as I can ge it up. Since we were out of town for Thanksgiving I had actually put some out earlier.
Everything Christmasy  is down by the 31 with just some candles and mantel lights remaining. 

4. What is your favorite Christmas memory. 
When I was 5 I had mumps during the holidays and was unable to go see Santa. My uncle was friends with Loveman’s (former local dept store) Santa. Imagine my surprise when Uncle Bailey drove up to my house with Santa in the front seat. My sister and I had our own private time with the big guy. 
When do you open your gifts? 
We open our gifts on Christmas morning

If you feel like it, join in the Christmas fun!

Monday, December 20, 2021

What We Might Be Eating

 I will openly and freely admit I did not cook at all last week. We either ate stuff from the freezer that
only had to be thawed and reheated or we did takeout. Truthfully it was mainly takeout. I was a little dinged and was moving kinda slow so food prep was on the back burner. I am moving better and I guess I need to plan something, especially since this is Christmas week.  Now that we are in countdown time I just need a little Christmas spirit, because I have been a little ho-hum this entire season.

Monday: Tortilla soup, coleslaw

Tuesday: Meeting my BIL and SIL in Tuscaloosa for our Christmas celebration dinner

Wednesday: Hot open face sandwiches, caulitato salad

Thursday: Pasta dish (possibly Alfredo) tossed salad

Friday: Traditionally we have Chinese takeout on Christmas Eve

Saturday: Brunch is the headliner and is subject to change___Breakfast casserole, ham or turkey, Brussels sprouts or asparagus, garlic cheese grits, rolls, coffee cake or sweet bread, stuffed celery, various cookies and candies
Dinner will be tomato soup and a grilled cheese (tradition)

Sunday: Leftovers all day (and cookies, lots of cookies)

Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan, or with no plan at all. But most of all have a Merry Christmas and be sure to tell each and every person you care about just how important they are to you!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Wow Oh Wow! 50 Weeks Are Gone

So now week 50 is in the books and we are left with just two weeks in this year.

I apologize for not posting or responding a lot this week. I am rarely online much during the weekend and as you can see on the Sunday post, things changed quickly over the week. I did read your blogs but was just not in a position to respond to many.  I was not able to sit very long and I just can't seem to respond easily from my phone or iPad.

Friday: We met Son2 and DIL2 for dinner at Perry's. It is not normal for us to go out to eat at 8:30 and not get home until after 11. Yes, we have gotten old!

Saturday: We were invited to one of the best parties I have ever been to. There was a lot of social space (indoors and out), great food and two of the most awesome hosts ever.

Sunday: TheHub and I finished the Christmas decorating. It is less than I usually do, but the house is festive and it is enough. We also caught a couple of episodes of Succession. I am very eager for TheHub to finish it so we can begin the new season.
After watching the show we decided to get into our newly installed all year present to each other. We purchased a Jacuzzi and it felt wonderful while I was in it. Not so good afterward though. When I was getting out I misstepped and fell from the top of it onto the concrete. It did not feel very good__at all. My joy is that nothing was broken.

Monday: After the accident Sunday night I was not feeling great Monday, but My Beloved Sister and I had a mid morning meeting with the attorney that we had to keep. It was nice to have someone to be with me and make fun of me while I was hobbling down the hall. Laughter did not hide the bruises and did not make me walk any straighter, but there is something therapeutic that comes with it.

Tuesday: My book club ( there are 5 of us) met for our annual Christmas party with the exception of one member. I am sorry she was unable to come but we still had fun. C's house is a Christmas wonderland, and the perfect setting for us to get together. We met once this summer at an outdoor restaurant and this is only our second time together in 2 years. My joy was sharing time with some of my most favorite people. Additional joy is that C has padded dining room chairs which made sitting possible. 

Wednesday: Tuesday night I went to bed and did not make a pillow tunnel to keep me from moving in my sleep. Bad move on my part, and lesson was learned. I woke in a little worse shape than I had been, and the bruising looked a bit worse than it did the day before. Though I should have deep cleaned the den and the kitchen, I didn't. I did chores that were pretty easy on my body and required little bending or twisting.  One big joy was getting a Christmas card from a fellow blogger. It was much appreciated!

Thursday: I woke and felt substantially better. Joy! It happened at the perfect time so I could meet my SIL who was in town for a doctor's appointment. P and I had. long lunch at PF Chang's. We had great conversations and caught up on what has been happening in our lives. Her's  has had the most change since she has two new grandson's added to the tribe this year. I am very lucky to have her as a sister in law and we made plans to meet in Tuscaloosa (halfway between us) next week for dinner so the brothers can see each other also.

So that sums up the joys (and slight trial) for the week.  There are always good and joyous things out there if we just look for them.

May all your weeds be wildflowers! (And no broken bones)

Friday, December 10, 2021

Week 49 Joys

Wow! We have just finished week 49 for the year. It does not seem possible that Christmas is just around the corner with the year ending one week later! Time has flown, then flown even faster. As usual I am keeping a list of daily joys I find. This year has been filled with things that make me happy, mostly small things, but joys nonetheless. On New Year's Eve, I will grab a celebratory beverage and read over the things that brought me joy for the year, and think of each of you who have read these this year!

Friday: Son2 and I went to a production of A Christmas Carol. Unless U is an educational/recreational program for adults with special needs. They put on a couple of productions each year and it serves as part of their outreach program as well as a fundraiser. Just estimating, I think there were a couple of hundred folks at the 2 o'clock performance and they had a second one at 6 which, I imagine, had a higher attendance.  Between the handbells, dancing, and singing along with the play it was a most wonderful way to begin the holiday season.

Saturday:  While the rest of you were busy doing seasonal events, TheHub and I spent our afternoon doing something really important. We watched the SEC championship game. I never even had a single thought that Alabama would win, but they did. Roll Tide! Now they are headed to the semi-finals. Wow!

Sunday: TheHub and I had a kind of lazy day doing a little Christmas decorating, a little eating and finished the night off with a shared bowl of popcorn while watching Succession. TheHub had not watched the prior seasons, so I am watching it from the beginning with him while he catches up. I want him to hurry because I am itching to see season 3

Monday: I had a surprise visit from DIL2. She is a visiting Occupational Therapist and was in my area with an hour between visits. I love it when she can stop by during the day! 
After dinner TheHub and I watched the Patriots/Bills game. I do not normally watch NFL games, but Mac Jones was Alabama's QB last year and is having a really good rookie season, so I watched___kinda. It is entirely possible I was reading while the game was on.

Tuesday: TheHub had to go to a Christmas party at one of the banks they do business with, so I had planned on eating a bowl of soup alone. I was quite surprised when Son2 and DIL2 called to say they were near my house grabbing some takeout. Of course I asked them to come over and eat it while it was hot  instead of taking it back to their house (across town). Turns out I had company for dinner instead of eating alone, and it was delightful.

Wednesday: I spent the day with my good friend M. We took off our regular everyday life hats and traded them for figurative elf ears and a little elf cap.
For the past 12 years we have offered our services for a band fundraiser for our local high school band. Our sons are now in their late mid 20's and have been out of high school for years, but we still continue this project.
We take orders, then write personalized (mentioning individual things about each child who gets them) letters about what is gong on at the North Pole. We have normally sent the letters to either the North Pole, Alaska or Santa Claus, Indiana post offices for remailing. This year we have less faith in USPS so we bought a North Pole cancellation stamp, and printed fake stamps and addressed them as usual. It meant we had to put them in a larger envelope and mail them to their parents using the local post office, but it also means the Christmas magic can continue.
Also on Friday the multi event present TheHub and I were giving each other for the year was delivered and installed. Woo hoo!

Thursday: M and I finished the letters and now the only thing we have to do is figure out what Santa, Mrs Claus and all the elves are going to be up to next Christmas. We generally start formatting the letter for the next year while this year's tale is still fresh on our minds.  There is always a story with some minor conflict and resolution. Right now it looks like a North Pole string orchestra  and some careless bowing is going to happen. But who really knows? We have 10 1/2 months to get it ready.

And that wraps up the joys of this week. There were other happy and joyful moments but these are the ones that stuck out. Go out this week and look for joy. If it is what you are looking for, you will find it! 

May all your weeds be wildflowers,

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Tuesday 4

It is that time again for another Tuesday 4 with questions provided by Annie @Tuesday 4. Hop over and join in the fun this week about movies and books.

1. Is there a hero or character on TV, in a book or a movie .. or even on all three, that you are especially like? What do you find attractive about them?
I love Ignatius J. Riley in A Confederacy of Dunces. The book is so well written and poor Ignatius serves as both the protagonist and the antagonist at the same time. I try and re-read it every year, and without fail, I fall in love with the book all over again. Ignatius is such a flawed character, who has no ability to recognize his personal shortcomings but can see (and magnify) any he sees in everyone around him.

Movie hero: Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption. 

2.  Was there a book that was better in movie form? How about a movie you thought didn't live up to the book?
Forest Gump was so much better in movie form. The book was poorly written.
In my opinion, most books are better than the movies.

3. When you choose a book, program or movie which subject it is most likely to be: science fiction, mystery, romance, comedy, documentary, etc.?  
No specific genres draw me in. I just like something to be well written, performed, and interesting

What draws you to a particular book or movie?
I am a huge book review person, and will generally choose one based on a brief synopsis of what it is about. I also have a few trusted friends whose recommendations I trust.
Movies? It is just the luck of the draw.  

 4. How important is the title or picture on the cover of a book?  
I could not care less about the cover or title unless it has pictures typical of romance novels. I do not read those at all.
 How much importance do you place on a movie because of the actors who are in it?
None, though there are some very talented actors I like to see in spectacular performances. I have seen unknown actors who are stellar. Fine talent is just fine talent!

Monday, December 6, 2021

I Guess I Have To Start Cooking Again

I need to get back to planning meals and cooking something. This past week we had some pretty crappy meals, mainly because we had just gotten back in town and I just did not want to go to the grocery store. So we had a week of takeout, canned soup, canned stew, or sandwiches. If it was basic and took little to no thought or prep time, we ate it.  And surprisingly we lived.  But now I need to pay a little bit more attention to what we put in our mouths.

This is the tentative plan for the week. (It could change if I am not feeling it, or just see something sparkly and lose focus)
1. Taco al pastor, salad
2.Stuffed bell pepper, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli, Waldorf salad
3. Grilled tuna steaks, salad, asparagus, rolls
4. Soup or chili, coleslaw
5. Reuben sandwiches, caulitato salad
6. Christmas party at friends (heavy hors de oeuvres )
7. Leftovers (taco salad possibly)

I have to admit after listening to this song I wish I had some cider and turkey wings!

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

Friday, December 3, 2021

And Now Week 48 Is Over

We had a wonderful visit on the left coast and now we are back home and can begin the Christmas frenzy as we countdown the remaining days until the jolly fellow makes his arrival. 
This year has flown, in spite of the isolation and lack of interaction with other humans. While I hope 2022 will be a little kinder to the world, I will continue to count my daily joys!

Friday: Pip and her lifelong best friend came to the hotel to swim, have pizza and jump on the ridiculously big bed. What is better than hearing two young girls laughing and giggling? 
We went over to their house later in the evening for delicious turkey soup.

Saturday: Alabama and their arch rival, Auburn, played football. Alabama should not have won but they did after 4 over times.  Roll Tide!  DIL1 who does not give a flip about the sport joined in watching the game and yelling right along with us when the winning points were scored!

Sunday: They had a complete family birthday party for Pip. It was much fun and neighborhood kids floated in and out all day. We stayed at their house until it was time for us to head to the airport. We got there 3 hours early and just sat in the concourse listening to a guy playing the piano, until it was time to catch a red eye flight home

Monday: We arrived him about 9 am, and probably the most joyful thing was getting unpacked, a couple of loads of laundry done, and a long nap ( because I can't sleep on a plane).

Tuesday: I literally stayed at home all day long.. The only thing that might have been better would have been to stay in my pajamas all day. Instead, I was dressed and doing laundry. 

Wednesday: I had a fudge making day and cranked out about 3 pounds of peanut butter fudge and a couple of pounds of praline fudge to give to a group of folks who were passing through town. Of course I had to do some taste testing to make sure it was good enough to give!

Thursday: My beloved sister and I rode around and ran some errands. I missed her while we were gone and loved being with her. She makes me laugh more than anyone else .
TheHub and I went to The Alys to see Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra. They were great as usual.
Thankfully The Alys staff is very mindful of Covid and operates at 1/3 capacity with mask requirements.  I know it is not great for the performers who are used to sell out crowds, but right now I had rather pay a little more per ticket and feel a lot safer. 

So that wraps up  my list of joys for the week. I hope you find yours because they are always out there.

May all your weeds be wildflowers,