Holiday traditions

We've got more holiday traditions than squirrel's got nuts stored in my flowerpots for winter.  What we do, when we do it, what we watch on TV, all of that is steeped in traditions.  It started the day before Thanksgiving, when I took the day off and cooked all day, then the big meal, and soon as the dishes are all put away, the Christmas decorations come out and we're off and running for three days of Christmas magic everywhere.  

Thanksgiving was nice.  It's always best when everything comes out hot at the same time.  Syd and her bf got here early enough for a good visit and a walk around the yard.  There was a good spread with stuffing, roasted potatoes, green bean casserole, salad, corn casserole, turkey, carrots, homemade rolls and there was a pumpkin pie for dessert with coffee.  We laughed and ate and laughed some more and when they left, Rob and I both took naps.  

On Friday, after I'd finished putting everything away, we started on the LiBien tree.  The ornaments are in order, oldest to newest, starting at the top.  We have a lot of these ornaments.  So many that Rob had to use electrical tape to create additional hanging places in the middle of the tree.  We must learn restraint!  (hahahahahahahaha!!)

On Saturday, it was the swag.  Every year, I say I'm not doing it again until I work up the courage to say it to Rob.  He gives me puppy dog eyes and reminds me how much he loves it...'but we don't have to do it if it's too much trouble' and up that ladder I go.  He definitely has my number.  While I did this, he assembled the tree.  

And, yesterday, I decorated the tree.  We own too many ornaments.  I should have counted as I put them on.  There are ornaments my parents gave me, vintage ornaments we've collected, and ornaments we got from Linda.  There's everything and the kitchen sink.  

And, that's just the things I did.  I'll show the decorations Rob put up next week.  

We bought Bella a bed a couple weeks ago.  She's never had a bed before and has slept on the furniture, climbing to the highest level she could hoist herself to.  She's gotten older, and climbing on things has become more problematic.  She comes in and sleeps in her bed in the night and she goes there during the day when she's bored by whatever we're doing.  She looks so sweet in it, but I confess that I miss having her with me all the time.  I think we're going to get her another one for our bedroom so she can sleep nearer us.  

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, surrounded by plenty of love and abundance because that's what it's really all about.  Being with true friends and family and being happy.  Celebrating who we all are, together.  Finding people we can be ourselves with and celebrating the things we have in common.  Building one another up and celebrating the lives we've created for ourselves.  I hope your holidays bring you all of that and more.  




I got the biggest surprise yesterday at the grocery store when I realized the turkeys weren't on sale and I had to pay full price.  I've gotten so used to them being really cheap with a good sized grocery order that I didn't even look for a sign.  Shoulda got the hen.  Anyway, it's thawing in the fridge along with millions of other turkeys.  I'm so thankful that we enjoy a food abundance in this country.  For the most part, we can walk into any grocery and get anything we want, in season or out.  So much so that I can assume it will be inexpensive.

Every year, I have Thanksgiving on a page.  I plan out the menu and figure out the groceries.  Later, I'll schedule when each item starts and goes in the oven.  And, on Wednesday, I'll start to cook. 

Yesterday, I made a mandarn orange cake.  The things I bake rarely come out looking so much like the picture in the magazine.  The recipe is here.  https://www.hy-vee.com/recipes-ideas/recipes/mandarin-holiday-cake.  I saw the picture and read the description and thought 'I want to make that cake'.  And, then I kept coming back to it until  committed to bake that cake.  And, it is as good as it looks.  Not too sweet and very moist.  I love to bake, especially when I get to try new things, like candying the very thin orange slices.  

This large perennial is almond verbena.  This year, it's at least 15' tall and 6' in diameter.  Every year, it dies to the ground in a hard freeze and starts over the next spring.  It has a sweet almond smell and draws the bees and hummingbirds for most of the summer.  The rain last week has it in full bloom.  It takes a lot of garden space, but it's been so worth it.  

On the theme of something in bloom 11 months of the year, the Gerber daisies are sending up a few flowers.  

After all the rain of last weekend, I went out to check the tomatoes and I found a few little ones.  We'll see if this works out.  I've struggled with tomatoes a long time and fall tomatoes are especially difficult, but we'll see how it goes.  I also have onions and cabbages.  I've never grown either of those, so we'll see how all this works.  

Quick pic of the greenhouse.  I'd been out there for hours, cleaning and moving plants around.  Some of the plants I was nursing were ready for more light and I needed to start making space in prep for the first freeze.    

I was devastated when I saw the news of Rosalynn Carter's passing.  She and President Carter have been part of "the best of us" for most of my life, setting an example of how to live with kindness and the peace that comes from true faith, and living that faith every day.  I respect those that practice what they preach.  May she rest in peace.  

Everybody have a great week!  Find something to feel thankful for and surround yourself with loved ones.  It's really all we can do.  The world is getting so ugly, so those of us that are not insane need to give ourselves space to rest in, and things to look forward to as we continue to fight the good fight.  



Fresh paint

 There is nothing like a fresh coat of paint to refresh a room.  And the bathroom Syd had been using needed a refresh really bad.  The paint was chipped and the paper was peeling in a couple spots.  The faucet was out of date and and the towel bars too.  She'd pulled a towel bar out of the sheetrock and then glued it back to the wall.  The wallpaper is original to the house from 1978.  Not Sure who hung it, but after removing the paper in the master bath and having to basically plaster over the walls to cover the mess left behind (we tried every idea I could find on the internet and none was effective), we are not planning to remove this paper until we hire someone to remodel, which I don't think we'll ever do.  

Just after Syd moved in, we replaced the counter and sink and tiled them in blue to pull the small amount of blue in the wallpaper and it works still, but Syd wasn't a fan of olive green, so that's really the only thing that coordinated with the paper.  I've been able to go wild on olive and forest green and the paint is almost exactly the shade of the wallpaper background.  

Honestly, the hole in the wall was the hardest thing to deal with.  Because she'd glued the towel bar over it, I didn't know how big it was.  It was a place where the original towel bar had been pulled out of the wall, a new bar installed over it and that one pulled out of the wall.  The backer boards for the towel bars were the only way we could think to deal with it.  I screwed a small piece of wood behind it and then screwed the backer board into that.  The rest are in some very secure anchors.  Unless someone comes along and tries to hang from those towel rods, they're not coming down again. 

Rob was out of town this weekend.  This project kept me busy and out of trouble...not that I could have gotten in much trouble.  It's drippy rainy here.  Not raining, not drizzling, more like occasional rain drops.  The good thing is there's no runoff and all that water is staying here on the property.  If we have another round of sunny days, the whole garden should really perk up.  I have several plants I'd like to move before winter sets in to make the garden even better next year.  I got to spend a little bit of time in the greenhouse, but that was really about it.  I bought a Wardian case in goodwill a couple weeks ago.  We thought it was really rusty and I planned to clean and paint it, but that turned out to be the finish...except I didn't know that til I started to paint it.  Anyway, it's lovely and I have the plants to go in it.  Soon as I get them planted, I'll share.  

For some reason, there's always a theme to food when Rob isn't here.  This weekend, it's been Italian.  Friday evening, I made baked ziti.  I ate it until I was tired of it and there's still plenty to have for dinner tomorrow night when Rob gets home.  Last night, I made tortellini with 'chicken sausage with feta and spinachs', fresh basil, and Kalamata olivrd.  That was delicious.  I love how well Italian food pairs with a good fresh salad.  

That's it for me today.  Have a great week!  After I finished in the bathroom, I did all of Rob's weekend chores so I feel qualified to say 'find something you enjoy doing to break up the routine of all the things you have to do.'





We said goodbye to Mable last week.  She took a turn last week and we knew it was time.  It was all very peaceful and she seemed ready.  The vet's office was great.  They had soft lighting and.a scented candle and when it was over, they wrapped her in a blanket and we left.  

She was a really good dog and had the best life a dog could ask for.  

Rob was, of course, bereft.  I knew that he would have a hard time and there was no joy in being proven right.  He's better now and spent the weekend puttering and relaxing and taking care of things that had gotten behind.  

I kept busy and out of his way, popping in to check on him but otherwise letting him get on with it.  I rewired my Grandmother's floor lamp and replaced the faucet in the bathroom.  I think I surprised Rob that not only did I want to start using that bathroom, but I wanted to start making improvements to it.  New towels and shower curtains, bath mats, jars and plants and new art.  Next weekend, I hope to paint the cabinets.  Re-claim that space.  

Yesterday was Syd's 26th birthday.  We had lunch with her and heard all about the new apartment and what living in close quarters with someone is like and what she still needs and what she still needs to do.  It was fun and there was lots of laughter.  Just the way it's supposed to be.  I shared a couple of experiences from moving into my first apartment and wanting everything all at once.  She's head strong and strong willed and the older she gets, the more in touch with herself.  

Life has a way of moving forward, then standing still.  After a death, things always seem to stop for us.  A pause while we wrap our heads around a new way, a new set of circumstances.  New habits.  And, then it starts to move forward again, slowly at first, then catching up to the speed of our surroundings.  

"The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing because you think you can only do a little" - Zig Ziegler

Everybody have a great week!  Lane