Monday, November 29, 2021

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

 After Thanksgiving the autumnal decorations come down and get put away. Then Tom helps me take down the pottery collection and some of his pop up book collection and stow them away to clear the shelves. By Friday evening things are looking pretty bare in the family room. 

But by Saturday, with all of the shelves and surfaces cleaned and dusted, Santas begin to appear. By Sunday evening, they are all in their places.

It was fun to take my time as I unpacked them and remember each one as I found a place for them. Some always go in the same place, like on the mantel. Some go where the shelves are tall enough to fit them. A few too tall for shelves go on the hearth.

We did have to take time out on Saturday to pick up Jill and the grands from the airport as they arrived on their flight from Denver, where they spent Thanksgiving in Colorado with the other grands and in-laws and cousins. We had time at their house to share stories and do a bit of secret gift planning. 

As you can see, by Sunday evening we were relaxing and enjoying the Lady Gaga, Tony Bennet special. What a wonder Tony is. Then we watched The Great Christmas Light Fight, always fun to see. 

I had one more tub of Santas to go on Sunday morning but I finally slept well enough to actually sleep in. Then I had to take time out from decorating to do my PT and make fruit cake.

Once the cakes were thoroughly cooled, I wrapped them in brandy soaked cheese cloth, sealed them in plastic bags, and they are now curing in the pantry.

Pressing on Sunday afternoon, I got the dining room prepped for decorating. That's next. 

Today we'll clean the rest of the house and do the laundry. It's Monday and those are Monday jobs. Then back to decorating. I might also do a little on line shopping. 

So, yes, the Santa Collection is out of the attic and on display. We'll once again decorate to the extreme. Even if few other people see it now, Tom and I will, and in these dark days of December, we need joy and light. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

More Wreaths

 The day after Thanksgiving was busy, but at a slower pace. Of course, since it was Friday, we spent the first hours of the morning at breakfast with our teacher friends. Then there was a quick shopping stop to get our supply of hazelnuts for Christmas baking and more bird seed for our feathered friends.

Back at home we then finished cleaning up and putting away the Thanksgiving dinner scene. The special dishes and glassware and silverware are all put away again. The dining table has been cleared and shrunk back to it's non-company size. The floor was swept and spot mopped. 

Good. Then we went outside. 

We took down the autumnal wreath, cleaned out the blue planters on the front porch, and transitioned into Christmas.

I stuffed greens from the yard into the planters. Tom hung the wreath I made as my prototype for our wreath making. 
I'm slightly annoyed that it isn't symmetrical, being a bit OCD as I am, but I decided to stop fussing with it. I love the mix of natural colors and textures. 
I see I forgot to remove the white pumpkin that I got from the neighbor.
Then we had lunch, a light lunch, except that I did have a small slice of pumpkin pie. :-)

After some rest time, I went out to the garage to make one more wreath, this one for Jill. Tom had consolidated all of the wreath material and I had the place to myself. I enjoyed the calm and quiet.

I am much happier with this one.  I was tempted to keep it, but no, the idea is to give to others. Besides, having something less than perfect might be good for me, a little desensitizing. Or maybe not. :-/

After I finished, Tom moved all of the left over greens outside where they will stay fresh. I'll use a few more in arrangements in the house. Then he took the leaf blower to the garage and cleaned it all up.  We have to make room for the Christmas tubs. 

Tom got the house lights up before Thanksgiving, when it wasn't raining,  but we didn't turn them on until darkness fell on Thanksgiving day. Now they will go on about 4:00 through the Christmas season. We'll put a few more lights up outside eventually.

Later, there was college football and a yummy dinner of left overs. I got to finish off that wonderful huckleberry pie!

Today, once I get going, I will take down and put away all of the autumnal decorations and clear the shelves. The Santa collection will be coming out of the attic soon. 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Turkey Day


Turkey day was fun and wonderful. Just as this little turkey looks happy, so were we. Of course I did not take any photos of the eating. I never seem to find the time to do that, but we all agreed the eating was awesome, even if I do say so as the chief cook. Tom's BBQ smoked turkey was perfect, and Oh, the smoky turkey gravy!

The vegetable side dishes and beverage contributions were much appreciated.

I recruited everyone to help and we sat down to eat right on time at 2:00 ( well, maybe 2:10, but close enough). The dinner table conversation was lively and fun.

After dinner and some time for clean up, I herded everyone out to the garage for wreath making. Jake had helped make his wreath last year. Jan had never done it but was eager to try. Dan just got in and did it. Kris and Charlie were not eager, and not really into wreaths, but Charlie had fun doing his own thing. We all just participated and had fun. Tom and I acted as facilitators, advisors, suggestors. Blogger doesn't think "suggestors " is a word, but that's what I call a person who says "maybe you could try this" or "this might work".

From left to right, my cousin Dan, son Jake, Tom's sister Jan, Charlie and my cousin Kris.

After wreath making we had pie, and more talking. That wild huckleberry pie was wonderful! 

Now everyone has gone home. We turned the house Christmas lights on for the first time as they departed. Tomorrow we'll recover a bit and begin the transition into Christmas mode. It is the holiday season and we have reason to be joyful.

Thank you to my guests for bringing joy to our Thanksgiving day. Thank you to Tom for all his help. And thanks to turkey day, we have some good left overs in the frig. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

We Gather Together

Some of us are fortunate to be able to get together with loved ones in person this year. Others of us will be gathering memories of those Thanksgivings of the past that we hold dear and the people we shared them with. No matter, Thanksgiving is a time when we should feel the warmth of love even as we express gratitude for all we have and all we are able to share with others.  

A few weeks ago I was feeling very humbug about the holidays. That changed when I realized I could put together a Thanksgiving celebration for, as my cousin said, the "strays" in the family. In giving to others I am now finding my own joy. 

So today was get ready day. The table is set.

The  pies are baked and the cranberry sauce is made.

Pumpkin, of course, and wild huckleberry, from berries Jake picked this summer.

The pie crust has been sampled with pie cookies.

Tom has recovered the charcoal grill from the back of the shed and has his outdoor kitchen ready to smoke the turkey. He also now has a clean shed. 

All of the ingredients for the stuffing are prepared and are cooling out, to be combined this evening and refrigerated until it's time to stuff the bird tomorrow. 

Celery and onions, fresh herbs from the garden, mushrooms and sausage, turkey stock made from the giblets and more aromatics. 
And even though I get tired too fast these days, I still have a smile. I am looking forward to being able to give on Thanksgiving.

 I am so very thankful for my wonderful husband Tom, who is there to help when I need him, especially with the cleaning up. We are a team.

I am also thankful for you, my blogging family. Many of us have shared our lives for a long time now. You are important to me. I wish for you a day of love and fond memories.

Then to you who see me through Facebook, and for some of you good friends, who see me even in person now and then, I wish for you love and happiness and the joy of giving. 


Monday, November 22, 2021

Holiday Season


Now that the Holiday Season is here, I hope Santa can find all of his reindeer in time. They seem to be scattered here and there.

Last Friday we made a field trip to some garden stores, looking for some wreath materials. Ordinarily we don't do Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but we are going to have a little wreath making party as entertainment for our guests on Thanksgiving day, so we needed some stuff. We did look a little too, since we were there. 

Of course there was Starbucks. The Holiday cups are fun this year. 

On Saturday Tom picked a lot of greens from our yard, while I cleaned up the lawn, raking up cones and sticks, so he could mow it in the afternoon. Then I made a wreath, a "prototype" for our wreath making on Thursday. 

Today is Monday, housecleaning and laundry day. We cleaned a little deeper today. I'm sure glad Tom does the heavy stuff. I have to make a quick run to the grocery store tomorrow morning, and then we should be set. The turkey is thawing in the refrigerator. The lists are being made and checked off. We'll have time to go to a Sounders playoff match at the stadium Tuesday evening.

It's a busy time. The Holiday season is here. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Time For Thankfulness

We went grocery shopping today. I have almost everything I need now for Thanksgiving dinner. Even though a bought a small turkey earlier, I bought another one today, because it was free. Yep, I spent enough to get a free turkey, which is be the Christmas turkey. Seems fair since I paid full price for the first one, concerned as I was that they might be in short supply. 

I decided to decorate my table with pumpkins this year instead of having to go back out to get fresh flowers to arrange. Pumpkins are fun. 

The orange Thanksgiving cactus is blooming too. 

We got a lot more cleaning up done outside on Tuesday and I finished more up on Wednesday before going to lunch with friends. 

Sue, Jan, and DeeDee are dear friends that I worked with at McMicken Elementary School. We go way back. Jan invited us to lunch at her retirement complex. I had to feature that table in my photo because it's such a beautiful live edge slab and is made from a tree that was taken down on the campus. 

The afternoon was fading when I got home and got caught up, but I needed a walk, so out I went for my mile plus walk in the neighborhood under a beautiful late afternoon sky.

Rain will return for a bit this afternoon, but nothing serious this time. Northwest Washington and Southern British Columbia got hit hard and they will have a hard time recovering from devastating flooding. 

We who escaped count our blessings. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Keeping Occupied.

 The wind and the rain came back in full force last night. Now there will be a whole lot of cleaning up to do again. This morning we cleaned house and did the laundry, my Monday morning exercise. I had a quick dental appointment to get my permanent crown glued in place. 

Then this afternoon we made a trip to a couple of stores near by for a bit of in person Christmas shopping. The wish lists have arrived via email, and it's time to start on line shopping and even in person shopping if things have to be ordered or even if you really want a specific thing. Supply and shipping problems continue.

When we drove back up our driveway the rain had stopped and the stuffed yard waste bins had just been emptied this morning, so Tom did some picking up of all of the new boughs down from the latest wind storm. One of the bins is filling up already.

We'll reserve some for Christmas decorations.
This mess will wait. 

Hummingbirds, who are year around visitors, appreciate that we haven't had a frost yet to spoil the hardy fuchsia flowers, and the Fatsia is just now blooming. 

There' a lot of time when we aren't working, like when we were watching the US Men's National Team play Mexico in the qualifying round of the World cup on Friday. USA victory!

Or when I spent too much time Sunday afternoon watching the Seahawks lose. Seattle is not handling having a losing football team very well. 

That's when I started Christmas shopping on line. I did spend much of the morning doing PT and riding my stationary bike. Being a slug doesn't suit me. 

Now it's dark already and I have to get down to the kitchen and figure out what we're having for dinner. 
See you later. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Driven Indoors

 When an atmospheric river flows overhead and drenches everything below, indoor activities are required.

It's Friday. The latest overhead river has been with us for two days now. Our real rivers are overflowing again, but we are fortunate to not live near one. 

Yesterday I occupied myself with my 1.25 hour physical therapy routine, that I do three times a week. Then I rode my stationary bike out in the garage for 45 minutes. That earned me my usual hour long lunch break and newspaper reading time. In the afternoon I worked on my latest sewing project. 

My sewing machine is set up in our home office. I have a little ironing board right next to the machine for pressing seams as I sew. My cutting board is on the bed in the bedroom next door. 
I am happy to still have a bit of brightness out of my upstairs window. 
I am still playing around with quilt squares, challenging myself to try something more complicated. I found some patterns online with tutorials that are teaching me some tricks. Of course I am still not all that skilled at precision cutting and seam sewing, but I do love selecting colors and seeing the patterns come together. 
I finished this one today. The one below was just supposed to be for practice since it's the same pattern, but I'll keep it. Tomorrow I'll look for a new a new pattern. I like the star shapes.

Right now I need to go do some time on the stationary bike. So far I'll I've done today is go out to breakfast, do the grocery shopping, have my lunch hour, and do a bit of sewing. 

I need to do some moving. 

Meanwhile the atmospheric river flows on.