Saturday, January 6, 2018

This and That

Last time I posted it was Christmas Day and then, boom, here we are almost two weeks later. How did that happen? In much the same it way it always does, I guess. I get busy, both physically and mentally, and my mind says that I don't have time to sit down and write a coherent post. Much like it is talking to me this morning. However, I've decided to ignore that little voice and write anyway. The jury's still out as to whether or not it will be coherent.

Let's see. What's been going on recently? I only wish I could remember exactly what, but here are a few things that pop into my mind.

Baby, it's cold outside.
Like the rest of the East, we've been having unseasonably cold temperatures. For this area that means, single digits with winds at 30-40 miles/hour. Throw in a couple of snowfalls and that means that you were much more likely to find me on the couch wrapped in a fuzzy blanket with a cat on my lap than enjoying the great outdoors.

Darn that weather.
And while I love my couch time with the fuzzy blanket and cats, I wish the weather had let up a little last week. Ward and I planned a couple of days away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays to do some hiking and explore the little towns on the way to where we would spend the night. The reality was that most everything was closed for the season or for the weather (see above). So while we didn't commune with nature as I had hoped, darn that weather, we did find a nice art museum and some good unstructured time to just talk.

They're dropping like flies.
It's cold and flu season again and seems like everyone around is getting sick. Most of the people I work with have had some kind of cold, flu etc., and the holiday events have had their own share of ill people attending. Nothing like being in a crowded church pew with coughing people or at a holiday party with sneezing and coughing people. However, so far, no one in this house has been sick. We're hoping that the extra Vitamin C will continue to protect us.

It tastes so good.
And while we've been able to avoid the flu so far, we've not been able to avoid those extra pounds that often show up this time of year. I guess I should speak only for myself. I haven't been able to avoid those extra pounds that show up this time of year. Christmas brings out the best bakers and candy makers and I have really enjoyed the fruits of their labors. Not to mention the special chocolates and party food that abounded. I'm glad that we're almost done with all of the goodies because my pants are starting to get a little tight.

A Fresh Start
The new year is a time for reflection and for looking forward. A fresh start, so to speak. And as soon as we get the Christmas stuff put away, I'll start thinking about that. However by popular demand, all of our Christmas decorations are still up. We agreed to take them down on the Epiphany which is today. So in case you're interested, I think you can figure out what's on the top of my To Do list for today.

Until next time...

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.'"
"...And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Last Minute Gifts

Is it just us, or is there anyone else out there who's trying to finish up last year's gifts before this year's Christmas? Both in the giving and receiving?

For example, last year for Christmas, we got Theo new seat covers for his car. The upholstery in his car is light tan and was definitely worse for the wear. Thus, we thought the covers were something he could use. Well, he didn't put them on immediately and forgot about them in the back of his closet. When his birthday rolled around 5 months later, we said that we would clean his car, check all of the fluids, etc. and install his seat covers as a gift. But it never seemed to make it to the top of our To Do list and Theo never mentioned it. So our good intentions continued to languish. Finally, a couple of months ago, we checked his fluids, tire pressure, etc. I guess that was probably the most important part of the gift, so good for us for starting with that.

However, the covers continued to remain in their package, that is, until this morning. I am pleased to say that Theo now has a clean car inside and out and new seat covers installed. He is happy and so are we. And it's not even Christmas Eve.

On the receiving end, I was given a couple of things that I have yet to use. No good reason, except for the out-of-sight, out-of-mind thing. These are things that am interested in, but my follow through was not the best. And Ward has a gift card still to use that he was given last year. How many more shopping days do we have?

Better get busy if we're going to finish last years gifts before we finish preparing this years.

Until next time...

(By the way, if you are one of the people reading this who gave us gifts last year, thank you very much. And rest assured, we're not talking about yours being left unused. We're talking about someone else's. 😉 )

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Holiday Ups and Downs

Christmas can be one of the happiest or one of the saddest times of the year. We see the happy parts because they are everywhere. The brightly colored decorations, the Christmas pageants, the special gifts, the family gatherings, the music. But we don't necessarily see the grief and loneliness that are also a part of the season for many. I've been thinking a lot about these ups and downs because of two recent events.

My cousin, TJ,  died two weeks ago. TJ had chronic health problems that had been spiraling downwards for the last few months; however, she remained determined to live life on her terms so she was at home when she tragically died in a fire. A shock to everyone, especially her siblings who had been helping her through these difficult times. This is going to be a very difficult Christmas for them, but they are focusing on the fact that TJ is at peace now and with those who have gone before her.

On the other end of the spectrum, our family is celebrating the birth of Baby Girl. Baby Girl was born a few days ago to my niece and her husband. The baby is healthy and just about perfect in every way. In fact, she has already been declared by her grandparents as smarter and prettier than anyone else around. The whole family is celebrating.

It doesn't get more basic than that--a death and a birth.  Sadness and joy.

I don't really know what else to say other than, I know am not alone in these bittersweet feelings. If you are feeling sadness and loneliness this season, I hope you also get a chance to find some joy whether it is as big as celebrating a birth or as routine as enjoying a warm bed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ornament Time 5

For the next few posts, I will be featuring ornaments from my Christmas tree.  This is one way I can savor these decorations that only come out once a year. Each post will feature a group of ornaments related by a common theme.

The Ornament Parade--Kids' Handiwork

We have several ornaments on the tree made by Wally, Theo, and other relatives when they were smaller.  And what's significant about these is that most of them were made by kids who were more interested in jumping off the chair instead of sitting on it and doing a craft. It took a lot of effort for them to make these and that didn't go unnoticed by Ward and me.

Without further ado, let the parade continue.

There is a series of this kind of ornament with Wally or Theo's  picture in a frame decorated by them.

This one was x-stitched by my younger cousin and was a gift for one of our early Christmas trees. I think she was in middle school at the time.

This one was made by Wally in kindergarten. I think it was supposed to be a round wreath, but the wire the beads were strung on is flexible and the "wreath" has been many different shapes over the years.

This gods-eye was made by nephew. We were very proud of him for making it because working with his hands was definitely not his thing when he was younger.

Wally and Theo made this when they were in early elementary school with a group of kids in the neighborhood. 

I'm not sure how, but this was made by my niece with gelatin. Originally it was a sun catcher, but it got too hot in the window and started to warp. Then I retired it to be an ornament we enjoy every year on our tree.

This one was made by Theo when he was a Tiger Cub Scout. If truth be told, I think his den leader had as much of a hand in it as did Theo.

This was made by Wally in first grade.

This is a cinnamon applesauce ornament. I helped Wally make a set of these in first grade to give to his teachers and other special adults in his life. For the first several years, they gave off a nice cinnamon smell.

This is not an ornament, but a decoration Wally made it in preschool. The teacher spray painted a pine cone and mounted it on a thread spool. Wally then glued sequins on it for ornaments. Many of the sequins have fallen off over the years, but it's still a cute little tree.