Monday, December 31, 2018
The weather report for today and tonight have put most party goers off. Around midnight things will get snowy, slushy and icy in a matter of hours. Making travel while drinking......not the best of ideas.
Not that we go out on the Eve of a New Year. We don't. In fact, I hardly think we ever did. We sometimes go out for a very early dinner. Around 6pm, before the restaurant fills up. But from the picture I selected--I think a cup of tea will be what I celebrate with tonight.
Football yesterday and the Patriots played better than they have been playing--and won. The other games on the tv weren't of any interest. I did want to see the Saints. Possibly the Monday night game. The older teams seem to have "gotten stale" and are finding it hard to win against the younger more energetic teams. The ones with younger managers and spandex uniforms.
We had to turn off the television last night--absolutely nothing to watch. (no more Christmas Hallmark movies-well, they are still running but I've seen them all) So I read a short mystery that I had picked up off the 7 day shelf. I have two more--things I would normally pass up--but pickings in books is slim right now.
I worked on my tea bag cloth. Removed part of the spiral that was too thick and then continued it to the edges. What it needs now is a good press with the iron. Get it all flat so I can assess----well, decide if this is another failed experiment. A good ironing solves problems.
G enjoyed his soup and I finished up the Christmas burrito fillings. There was enough for two when I filled them up with greens from the salad box. A little bit of this a smear of that and a large handful of greens.
And G has solved his radiator problem--seems it had an air bubble (air lock) and so he found a way to "burp" it and now the radiator is warming up. After breakfast he and daughter are going out to buy her a new car battery.
Happy New Year to all who stop by and read my tiny blog. Best wishes and I hope 2019 brings us some Peace and Happiness and Beauty.
Sunday, December 30, 2018
Sigh. The day started with the lingering thoughts of a troubled dream. I still have no idea what it was about. Then into an argument with my husband about the radiator in his bathroom. Which doesn't seem to be working. Seems to be my fault. But if he kept tinkering with...wouldn't be under warranty.
Now he has stormed off into the very cold morning with the dog. For a walk that looks more like a stomping. But the sun is shining. Last year at this time--would have been suicidal to go out into the single digits.
The green stuff in the bowl up top looks like what I should be making for myself. Avocados were 99 cents each last week. I didn't buy any. I didn't buy kale either. I am hardly interested in making any food. I eat cereal or toast. Or fruit. Nothing cold. Drink cups and cups of tea with sugar. Nothing salty. Time to search the freezer for another package of chicken thighs for another pot of soup. For G. I am not even interested in soup. For myself.
I think I might enjoy a pot of chili.
I will think about that.
I worked on another tea bag cloth. Really worked on it stitch after stitch. Hours. So many lengths of floss. It's a disaster. The spiral in the center does not work. I wanted it to be--well, not everything one wants-works. I didn't stop to "look".
I sorted out all the baskets of cloth in the closet next to my sewing machine. Looking for scissors. I had four pair. Now only one. Found things, sorted things etc--but no scissors. I also threw things away, ripped up work that was so awful I questioned why I continue to try. Saved some of the fabric in those works that was valuable to me. Wanted to use again.
I have well and truly lost my way with cloth.
Good thing this year is nearly done. Turn over a fresh leaf in 2019. Empty the fridge. Clean out the old projects. Start fresh. And not work things to Death. Stop and examine. As Grace often says "let the cloth speak".
And it's nearly Time to begin seeds in the milk jugs. Possibilities. And of course I have a table top loaded with plant materials for eco printing. I haven't started because of holiday cooking and baking. But now--well, no reason not to get the pot up to temp and do some New Year's Eve steaming.
Saturday, December 29, 2018
They won't be doing anything.
In regard to other gifts. The feeling is to re-gift the items that don't suit. It all seems so wasteful to me. But then I am a frugal Virgo. Waste not. Want not.
I haven't been outdoors (I do not count driving in the car as being outdoors) in quite awhile and am feeling sad and depressed. So I will stop typing and eat my breakfast and then find something to occupy my hands and mind. Something mindless? No, I think a real "problem solver" of a project would be best. Or a puzzle. Not sudoko. I seem to have lost the ability for numbers.
Friday, December 28, 2018
Snow and now rain and later freezing temps. All that makes Winter truly ugly.
I am reading It All Falls Down the second novel by Sheena Kamal. The first the Lost Ones. There is nothing pretty here on the dark side of Vancouver. She even adds in the smoke from the fires last year making the city even darker.
I have a question for you. I never have asked anything of my Reader (s) but today I have a question to ask. Gifts received that fell so short of the mark. Do you tell the Giver. Do you stay silent.
One gift was an expensive Harry& David box of fruit, cheese, candy etc. The pears were marked with brown spots. The candies--my daughter tried the cherry and spit it out. She feels there is no reason to ever eat bad chocolates. There was nothing that was actually "tasty" in the box. Do I mention this to the giver? Who possibly send boxes to friends and family? We were excited about the gift but when things were less than tasty or fresh--not so excited. Most has gone into the trash. I tried giving things away but most said "no, thank you". Brave souls.
And gifts given with the mistaken idea that they are what someone wants? Do I say that? Or--and I hate this idea--keep it and just say nothing. The giver will ask if they are being enjoyed. And we aren't talking about the toilet brush--that has gone back to Bed&Beyond.
So, Readers, if you feel like a reply--please do so.
Thursday, December 27, 2018
This picture got left behind in the holiday daily notes. This is my favorite wrap. Brown kraft paper and white ribbon. I am going to practice writing these words in this way. For next year. Or in red ink for Valentine's Day. Love, Love, Love.
Haircut early this morning then the grocery store with a short but expensive list--G was out of Soda. Back in Cleveland (as a kid) we called it Pop. They had Texas Red Grapefruit and I got a bag. And some vanilla yogurt to make the layered bowl I enjoy eating. Yogurt, bran buds, grapefruit segments in a bowl just like written. Let it all sit for 3 to 4 hours or overnight and the Bran buds get soft (absorbing moisture from the yogurt and the fruit) and the whole thing is delicious.
Also had a coffee date with my walking buddy. We talked about books and assorted subjects. I brought another of my tea bag stitching samples and I enjoyed her feedback. I also had an unfinished project on the ironing board--it traveled down from the Magic Attic with something else--- and we decided the three flowers need company. So 2 more to make a new odd number. I like flowers in odd numbers.
All the Christmas gifts have been put away. House is starting to look sort of normal. Now, I am not missing the tree. I know that saying that and thinking that makes me some sort of humbug, but....it's just been that kind of year. Maybe I would be happier if Dairy Queen was open. Ice cream always makes me happy. The Boozy Bundt cake is doing a good job. Would be better with ice cream.
I am going to read a book tonight and not watch Hallmark Movies. I tend to make this promise and then end up watching them anyway. I'll let you know how it turns out.
G and Riley are bundling up to go out and fill the bird feeders before it snows tomorrow. Birds gotta eat to stay warm. Temps are in the 20's so they'll have to go up in order for it to snow. I think.
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
And it's over. Always a relief.
I don't mind the cooking or the cards. I do not care for the buying of gifts unless there is a genuine interest in a specific gift for a specific person. I send my son a check. I give my daughter a check. They can save it, spend it--whatever. My daughter uses her check to pay for CrossFit--something she cannot afford. And that makes both of us happy.
My son doesn't need my check and I am never certain that he buys anything with it. Just deposits it. He spoke of buying a chair for his apartment. But after talking with me about it--he isn't certain he wants another "object" to take care of.....if and when he moves again. He doesn't "want" things.
In that, my son and I are moving closer to wanting the same thing. Less.
In my Life, I am letting go of things I own for things I enjoy owning. Getting rid of things that don't make me happy (spark joy) and replacing them with things that do make me happy. That pair of six dollar Goodwill corduroy pants made me happier than I have been in years. Just what I wanted even if the size was wrong. And I'm wearing them right now. In fact, I have been wearing them since I bought them. And they are black. I love wearing black. With white. And a gray, red or charcoal sweater. All my other pants are not black. And yes, I could have gone to LLBean any day in the years I wanted black pants and paid good money for a pair of pants. My son says that's what I should do. I'll work on that.
The card game we played was "In A Pickle" or something like that. I recommend it.
I did not get two of the items I asked for so will do without one and go to Staples for the other. I wanted origami paper for folding and I needed a new desk top calendar for 2019. I will just continue to cut regular copy paper into squares and fold that. I will also return the waste can and toilet brush my husband bought me (for Christmas) for my bathroom. It's not that I don't need the two items, I do, but I want them to look like they belong in the bathroom, and nothing I see locally, works.
Yes, my husband thinks a toilet brush and waste can are Christmas gifts you give your wife.
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Everyone loved their gifts. The Christmas Burritos were the best ever. And the Boozy Chocolate Bundt cake had extra Booze this year. Santa brought me chocolate, caramel, pecan Turtle candies from the chocolate factory where daughter works for the Winter. G said it was our best Christmas in a long time.
And we played a really fun word game with cards. I need to be reminded of the game's name. But it was really fun and the three of us were interactive and laughed. Our daughter has a huge collection of games that she plays with friends and family. I told her to bring the word game next year. We also tried playing a Bowling game with me keeping score----no matter how badly I played my score was always the highest (I wasn't trying for that result--but had no idea how to keep score) in the end everyone was laughing so much we gave up on it.
Daughter loved her new slippers with memory foam soles she had been wanting them but her budget couldn't afford them. I got a Flawless Brows tool--as seen on tv. Shapes and removes unwanted hair. Built in light. Can't wait to try it. I hope it works as it is getting harder and harder to tweeze my eyebrows even with a magnifying mirror. I would give up on it but my eyeglass lenses magnify the hairs I should be removing.
G has gone off to bed and Riley can now go to sleep. He stays awake until his master sleeps. Doesn't care about me being awake which is okay with me. I wanted to sit down and write to you.
I hope your Christmas was warm, wonderful and full of love and happiness.
Monday, December 24, 2018
Christmas Eve. I am behind again. Nothing wrapped. But this year I at least have a few gifts ready to be wrapped. G was sent out to get something for Riley. Last year we had no gift for him--thinking he wouldn't care--the poor, sad dog did care. I want him to have something to unwrap.
I have been cooking since I got out of bed. Not in my pajamas like last year.
We may eat at midnight. I did get our daughter's pierogi filled and cooked and G has gone to her house to put the food in her fridge so she'll have it there for Christmas Breakfast.
I am trying new things suggested by our son when he visited. Carmelized onions in the potato filling. (it looks too loose now) And carmelized mushroom in the sauerkraut filling. My editing software says I am spelling things incorrectly. We may wish I hadn't left the traditional path.
I am really, really tired. I think the only part of Christmas I enjoy is--when it is over. But it could be worse--last Christmas I had that terrible nerve pain and, well, it was hard to do everything I am doing this year. I should remind myself of the waves of pain as I struggled to bake, cook and be a part of the family chatter.
Well, I have things to do. Merry Christmas Dear Friends.
Sunday, December 23, 2018
Well tomorrow is a big day-- Pierogi Making. Which takes up most of the day and creates untold amounts of dirty pots and pans and then there's all the flour on the floor. But we love them. And it's something we have made and eaten for the entirety of my life-- on Christmas Eve (well, I make enough for days and days if I plan well).
Last year I used the digital scale to weigh the flour and the pasta dough rolled out so smoothly--so I will be doing that again!!! I begin with my daughter's cream cheese filled ones. My son gave me a few tips from his pierogi last year--adding mushrooms. But I didn't remember that until just this minute. Do I go out and get mushrooms? We just got home.
Goodwill. The colors of the day were pink for one dollar and red for half off. I got a lovely zip jacket, yoga pants, a black and white stripe turtleneck and a little 3" tall ceramic cottage for a total of $6. It looks right at home with the other very tiny cottages. I used them for a Fairy Garden that didn't survive.
Last night was a full moon so I took my Tarot cards out and shuffled them in the moon light. I asked my question and just as I did a few cards slipped from the pack and fell onto the deck floor--the cards are still very new and slippery. One to the right of the others. I picked it up. The Star, upright. Hope, Faith, Purpose, Renewal and Courage. Signals a welcome reprieve from turmoil (I did get the Tower card recently), a new sense of self and an open heart. Entering a peaceful, loving phase of Life with calm energy. Anything is possible. Dream, aspire, reach for the Stars. I will be happy with a fraction of this.
It was nice to see the full moon. In the past few months-- I have not been able to see the Moon. Too cloudy or it's raining or snowing. And no--I don't know anything about reading the cards. I get a card and then go on line to see what a few sites say about that card. Then get a very general feel for it.
I made my own pizza dough for the football game pizza. I expect the Patriots to lose again. This is what happens when you are just too cheap to keep good players. They play on the other team and are only too happy (because you gave them away) to make you lose the game. And Gordon lost the battle with substance abuse. And Brady is just getting too old. And Grock moves like Frankenstein. If the Saints are playing I'll watch that game.
Saturday, December 22, 2018
And I think I just might have one. She lives far away but is the kindest, sweetest, most thoughtful person I know. And she sent me a gift that made me cry. Happy crying.
Now, I had procrastinated sending her a package--it was all ready to tape and address--but I forgot until today. So on the way out-in a downpour of rain-- we stopped at the post office in town and I stood in line smiling at people. Because not many people smile. So, I smile. Then some of them smile.
There was a guy there-- trying to buy a box, trying to pack the box.......... when it was my turn at the cashier counter the clerk leaned forward and said "he should have gone to the UPS store" cause after all that time I was in line, he was still unable to fold the box open but kept up a running commentary on his toil and trouble.. (wanting attention) UPS is where they box, tape and address for you.
Not the Post Office. Where you have to have some common sense and do it yourself. I wasn't in line near him--if I had been, I would have grabbed the box out of his hands and folded it open. But maybe not....as he was also the guy who ate one or two HEADS of fresh garlic before entering the line. Wow, did he stink.
After the post office: G took me to Now You're Cooking. A local cookwares store where I am handed a shopping basket and let loose to "buy anything I want". This time, I had a list and a personal shopper. What fun. And I added a black and white stripe apron to the basket--to keep myself cleaner in 2019. G gets season tickets to the Summer Music Theater from me. After shopping we stopped to have Memphis BBQ, Deep-fried ribs and Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake. Riley took a long nap in the car. I had a margarita so I'll be napping soon, also.
Now if only Santa could take Trump back to the North Pole with him on Christmas Eve. And keep him there. He could shovel deer poop--something he is well qualified to do.
Friday, December 21, 2018
Happy Solstice. It's 52 degrees today in Maine (a day ago it was 19) and it's raining and very windy. All the snow and ICE is gone. Green grass again. And it's dark and grey outside. Miserable. And more Miserable. But I am going to try and "reflect and release" the past and move forward in a positive way as the Sun comes back in the next six months. No fire. Everything is soaking wet.
America seems to be going to hell in a hand basket. I think it might be Time for the Cabinet to declare the President unfit to serve in office. Or at least shove him on the plane to Florida for two weeks and then change the locks on the White House. But I guess we did that in the election. Changed the locks on the House.
I did manage to remember to buy a comb. Purple was the only color they had. Wide tooth. I don't like purple and the wide tooth doesn't do a very good job but my hair is combed. Not sticking up all over the place in swirls.
If you have cable and get Lifetime--tonight at 8pm there is a nice movie--A Kiss for Christmas. It's my daughter's favorite movie and she insisted I watch it. The girl that gets kissed looks like she might be 17 but--let that go and pretend she's 25 and a professional designer. Daughter also recommended a Prince for Christmas and I saw the ending but have it set to record so I can see the beginning.
Thursday, December 20, 2018
German Stollen. I remember it and miss it as a very nice addition next to any cookie plate. When I lived in Germany I was a member of the International Food Club. The members came from all corners of the World and the International community that the American Women's Club of the Taunus welcomed. Our annual Christmas Cookie event was not to be missed. As much as the Americans loved the European cookies--the Europeans loved the American cookies-- but always said they were too sugary even as they ate them.
Stollen was something else. It had to be baked way before the Holiday and then kept wrapped in foil to "mature" I was told. That ribbon of filling on the lower left--marzipan. I have never tried to make it because I would be the only one eating it. I'm focused on shortbread cookies this year.
The paper under the Stollen also reminds me of Germany. Gold paper with white stars. White ribbon. St Nickolas Day. And little bags of "coal" on sale in the markets for naughty boys or girls.
And most of all the Christmas Market Stalls. I have often wished the little Town where I live now organized a Christmas Market on the Town Green where they do host a sheet of ice for ice skating next to the big Christmas Tree. The area where the market stalls for summer produce could to made into a twinkling market selling.......well anything really. Cookies, ornaments, toys, wreaths and of course hot cocoa or mulled cider. Farmers could sell local honey and maple syrup.
I guess the word for the day would be "wishing" or "dreaming".
I was very tired yesterday and almost fell asleep on the couch last evening--early at around 7pm. I made another pot of soup (chicken) for G yesterday (it was cold outside) and I finished the last bits of the pot roast and mashed potatoes. The mail was only bills.
G and Riley are off on an adventure delivering flowers for my old work place. I plugged in a three foot twig tree with tiny white lights and various fake greenery and berries--on the end table. Looks sad during daylight but will sparkle at 4 pm when it's dark. The Moon is rising high and will be full tomorrow. I might suggest a very small fire out in the snow--just twigs and a few sticks of the maple tree we cut down a few years ago. We've never done that. Something new.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Making. It's really what I enjoy most about this Holiday Season. Making. Baking. Cooking. I got this image from the free image site Pixbay and I have a mitten like this one cut out and ready for blanket stitch, some stuffing and then ...well, I am trying to think where to display the little buggers.
I made a couple felt trees but didn't add another color like the white on red tree. I added big buttons to mine--like ornaments. And no reindeer--I made a black Scottie dog with a red collar. Since I love symmetry, I need to cut out another Scottie and have him face the opposite way. For a garland perhaps on the fireplace mantle. I think the regular Attic has two garlands (with lights) still unopened from a Target haul after Christmas about 8 years or more ago. Or in the kitchen window--behind the orchid table and across from the sink. The sink where so much washing up gets done over the Holidays.
I also did find some browned butter colored felt for my gingerbread felt ornament. I was going to blanket stitch as they discussed "treason" on MSNBC but started reading The Witch Elm by Tana French instead. And then we went out for Chinese. G had the BIG bowl of hot and sour soup and I had the dumplings. No main dish. It was enough and getting out of the house was "grand" as they said in Witch Elm. I don't recommend the book. I got to halfway and I am quitting. The book had some possibilities but in the end--I didn't give a hoot for the characters and the plot was circling the bowl.
Still can't find the push pins for hanging up the Christmas Cards. Did find a Mont Blanc pen--still works and a silver Cartier pen that needs a cartridge. The silver needed some cleaning and is now sparkling like new in it's red 1980's presentation box. I also found a photo of my son--on the day he was born, sound asleep in an incubator. G said they put all the newborns in them. I had no idea they did that. He was two weeks early and 8 pounds 3 ounces. Sweet Baby.
My word for the day: nap. The sun is shining--its 29 degrees and I am making chicken soup for G.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
What I miss most about working at Christmas --is the "making". Of wreaths, swags, evergreen boxes for doorways, steps or window boxes full of evergreens, pinecones on sticks and winterberry. This wreath is one that I made many times over. Each of us had our own "way" of making the Katahdin but the elements were always the same.
Riley's Vet called late in the afternoon to answer a question and she mentioned going to my workplace and looking for me. She also mentioned no one working looked familiar. I said it's the same for me--I go in and don't recognize anyone. I do venture into the lunchroom and most of the old gang is in there. It's warm in the lunchroom.
Overnight it must have melted a bit and froze--the driveway and sidewalks are ice. I can see the shine when I look out the window. The snow on the grass is coated in ice. The wind is blowing and as we say here in Maine--"it's wicked cold". Not a good situation for an old dog. Or woman.
I sorted out my art supplies drawer looking for a box of push pins. No luck. I want to display my Christmas cards as they arrive. Two yesterday. One from down the road and one from Florida. Hey, Diane. I could try the string method. I had been using my sewing pins and now most are crooked.
Yesterday's baking got a big thumbs up. Both the Banana and Orange Cranberry are excellent. I did add an egg to the vegan bread recipe and now the crumb is much nicer. And it gained an inch in height as well. And I'm not Vegan but sometimes they have nice simple recipes that I try out.
Watched a Small Town Christmas on Hallmark Mysteries and it was very nice. I discovered the regular Hallmark movie channel is all about flash, glamour and romance. The Hallmark mysteries channel adds some "plot" to the mix and no one is driving BMW's or holding an iPhone or iPad all the time or arriving home with 30 shopping bags of "gifts".. No four inch heels for a walk. In snow.
And in yesterday's movie they made gifts and little regular old gingerbread houses--like the kits you see at Walmart. You know, like regular people. And all the houses made in the contest looked goofy.
G is just getting back from a floral delivery. He made enough to buy gas.
Our oil bill for heating the house and water was over $600. With the annual service contract the total came to close to $1000. Merry Christmas. A lot of families will be sitting there looking at their bills and possibly crying. And that's just the first oil bill for the Winter as they will come every month from now until April. Living here in Maine is a real hardship for people in the Winter. In the olden times, the boilers were fed with wood and the old timers had to set their alarm clocks or sleep in the cellar to keep the fire going but I heard the heat was steady. As a child we had a coal fired furnace and were always nice and warm. The oil burning furnace we have--well it's cold in here before the furnace kicks on. And it's a big house. In January and February it will seem like the furnace is going all day long and I only heat to 64. The bedroom wing gets up to 61 and has a door between the house and the wing.
Well, enough talk about being cold.......I am going up into the Magic Attic---42 degrees-- to find some gingerbread man colored felt. With my coat on.
Monday, December 17, 2018
All the Christmas Cards have been written, stamped and picked by the Postal Service. Gifts have not been wrapped- not that there are any gifts for anyone but our daughter.
Goodwill---was glorious. Nothing actually cost one dollar yesterday but I did find the ONE pair of LLBean corduroy pants in ALL THE MONTHS I have been looking. And while they are a size larger than I wear--I can sew-- they are exactly what I needed. I think they are black or dark navy (hard to tell colors in winter light) and women's, petite, curvy. I am a woman and curvy but hardly petite but for
I also found a soft lamb's wool pullover sweater in very dark red with a open neckline. I absolutely cannot wear a close neckline on anything. I think I may have choked to death in another Life. The sweater was also a larger size than I usually wear so it'll be loose and cozy.
I also bought a cashmere sweater in a spring green which will be used to make patches for other sweaters unless of course a miracle happens and I lose 35 pounds. It could happen. Instead of buttons this sweater has cashmere flowers with snaps. Adorable.
I also purchased a beautiful summer sky blue linen shirt--unworn with it's original price tag of $110 from Vermont for ten dollars. Again, it will wait to see if I lose 35 pounds.
I also found a lovely old soft linen tablecloth and a very very old linen dishtowel, well loved before and now to be well loved by me. The blue printed design is so faded as to almost be a whisper. I suppose the two might be from the same source, the same home. I look forward to holding in my hands as I dry dishes for years to come. As I do with very old soft handkerchieves. What an old word. And nearly always one in my pants pocket. I am old fashioned.
And for one dollar-- a box with twelve beautiful Hallmark Christmas Cards for next year.
It snowed overnight. About two maybe three inches. G will have to get the snowblower going to clear the driveway before it changes to rain and then freezing ice. They just got back from the walk in the woods. Riley LOVES snow. The bananas are now "dead" enough to make banana bread and while that is baking I'll make a loaf of the orange cranberry. Daughter picked up the lentil vegetable soup I made for her.
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Counting Down Now-- One week. To Go.
Overcast and colder today. Some weak sunshine. I had a shower to start the day and now have the load of wash I did in the dryer. G and Riley are out walking--then Goodwill. G didn't like going earlier last week--too crowded. Everyone trying to find the "good stuff".
The bananas I bought early in the week are not ripe (dead) enough to make another loaf of banana bread for G. I read a review of a new "no-waste" cookbook and someone has made banana bread from the old banana peels. Now that takes no-waste to new levels. Would any of you try that recipe?
I am thinking about buying a brush or a comb. I don't own one and haven't for years. My hair is usually cut very short. So fingers do the job. But I have allowed my hair to get just a bit longer and now find it looking quite ridiculous most of the time. I tend to wet my hair when I wash my face and then dry it when I dry my face with a towel and---well, it's all swirled and not tidy and I don't notice until I see myself in a passing mirror. And by then, my hair has decided to remain swirly no matter what I try to do. I can't imagine what people think. So a brush or comb or a hat. A hat.
The picture up top is because G once bought a bag full of shiny cheap ornaments and was going to hang them in trees along the path to the woods--where he and Riley walk. I think this is the end result he wanted. But never achieved. I might just try to do this in the heavily pruned crab tree by the front steps. I don't have enough reds. But I have shiny.
Well, they are back and now it's Time for Goodwill. Wish me luck!!!!
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Ten Days. And I have so much to do.
I made the Scottie Dog felt ornament yesterday (really cute) while watching the "breaking news" all afternoon-- now, finally, they are going after what I had always thought would be the REAL smoking gun. The Inaugural Money. Zinke has sent in his letter of resignation. The House Dems were going after him in January. Merry Christmas. Rats jumping off the ship.
I will not be doing anything else today--but writing my Christmas Cards and getting them in the mail. Everything related to the holiday is being ignored. I actually think it's more about not working during the Holiday Season and less about being sad or depressed. Being around CHRISTMAS at work all day (for ten years) and helping customers find what they wanted, potting up the gifts they had selected out of the greenhouse and taking phone orders from adult children for their older parents........well, it was like being Santa's Helper. I was in the midst of the Season. Now, on the sidelines, so to speak. Well, not even that close to the action.
Nothing to do about it but get through and hope that next year is more "spirited".
Daughter is in the CRUSH of the Season at the Candy Factory. She boxed up and labeled 160 orders on Friday ready for postal pick up. Someone else did another 60 or 80--she lost count. She has a CrossFit Christmas Party tonight and is super excited about it. Last year they did the 12 Days of Christmas exercise routine. On the first day of Christmas (insert an exercise)- like leg lifts straight out and up over your head while hanging from a bar. Sounds awesome, huh? Though I think the leg lifts were the fifth day of Christmas so 5 of them on each round of the song.
Riley and I went out for the morning paper-- 40 degrees. Spring. I tried chopping ice off my large holly bush--with red berries-- but it's stuck tight. This happened last Winter and the mice ate all the leaves and bark off the buried branches. I was supposed to remind myself to make sure that didn't happen again. I didn't. It did.
So--onward to the Christmas Cards.
Friday, December 14, 2018
The sun has gone away again and it's about 36 degrees outside. Gray skies like the background of this Santa picture. I like the older version of Santa, like this one. Holding his lantern as he travels around to visit good little children.
I discovered a book by Mary Engelbreit in the blue trunk from the Attic. For many many years I collected all things Mary. Cards, calendars, books etc. And in this Christmas book there are recipes and craft ideas. Among them patterns for felt Advent mittens (25), Scottie dogs (Mary's favorite dog) and gingerbread men. I have already cut out a Scottie Dog in black felt. Riley gave the felt dog a good sniff. I am considering white or red for the blanket stitch. And Mary had a very good idea for the button eye. A tiny black button on top of a larger white button for a most excellent "eye". The Scottie will have a red collar. And perhaps a bell if I can find one small enough in my jar of bells. Yes, Readers, I have a canning jar of bells. And jars of buttons. And beads. Which reminded me that it's been awhile since I pulled a card from the jar---- I just pulled SMILE .
My daughter called last night to mention she was enjoying my split pea soup (but it needed more vegetables) and wanted me to make lentil soup next with lots and lots of vegetables. She eats soup for breakfast because it's difficult to get her percentage of vegetables- 50% or more of her daily food-- in the Winter. Fruit is no problem as she likes oranges and bananas. And soup is eaten hot which is something she wants on cold mornings. I was going to make my vegetable soup--loaded with veggies but she wants lentil. I think because it also ticks off the bean requirement of the Plan-10 to 40%. Quite a few of the members of her CrossFit group are on the Plan and all are looking and feeling wonderful these many years. And daughter has stopped having allergies she had eating a regular diet.
I usually eat the items on the Plan but I do eat bread, dairy and pasta. They do not. So I haven't enjoyed the good health and weight loss benefits they all enjoy. Well, they do have one "cheat" day a week and eat whatever they want in any quantity. Saturday.
I am making the vegan cranberry orange loaf again (but will add an egg I think). I now have a vegan Mac & Cheese to try using cashews and nutritional yeast instead of dairy. Small steps and the VitaMix to make cashew cream (which was quite delicious in the carrot soup)
Now off to the grocery and then back to stitch my Scottie dog.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
From the "Way Back Files" when I made (artistically) my own Christmas Cards. I think for the majority of these I was doing the Doodle thing and filling spaces with lines and designs. The odd one out was from before or from the Future. The hand drawn clay pot with the tiny Norfolk pine seedling from work. They came in a small pot--like a tiny forest--and I broke the clump up and planted each separate seedling in it's own tiny pot. Then I drew their portrait. To send. I think you can click to enlarge to see details if interested.
A Reader wished for new photos of what I am "making". Your wish will come true in the New Year when G gets a new iPhone (8) and daughter gets the iPhone he has now and I get my happy little iPhone 5 (a relic) back and can take pictures--after I discover where the trash button is. I deleted for many many months so many emails and pictures and never emptied the trash. Big CLOG!!!
We are waiting for the backlog of customers to calm down at AT&T since we will be setting up, moving things etc on three phones but only buying one. And it would be rude to do this at their busy time.
The Nutcrackers--all SIXTEEN of them--are standing at attention on the hall entrance table. I had forgotten about the very tall one--very impressive. Some have helmets and some crowns. What I need now is a Sugar Plum Fairy and a few mice?
I also found a book with a pattern for a black Scottie dog and I think I will make one out of black felt with a blanket stitch edge to add to my felt ornament collection. I also found a small felt mushroom ornament I purchased from a local store that sells things from third world countries. I am thinking I can make my own pattern and make a few mushrooms from felt as well.
Now, if my husband and I can work together without yelling and screaming (the usual outcome), I will try and use his iPhone to take pictures of the felt items I have already made. We are installing one of the extra side wings to the old Swedish dining room table--I need more "workshop" room for my sewing supplies-- and I will be happily occupied during the daytime. Evenings are for reading.
We woke up to ZERO on the thermometer outside. The sun is shining and it's brutally cold outside.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Since G said I can't have a tree this year--I might ask him to haul the blue trunk down from the attic. It's full of nutcrackers. They haven't had a Christmas in many many years and who knows what else is in that trunk? Christmas Stockings? The Nativity? Germany "smokers"--little guys who, with the help of little cones of something that makes smoke with a match..... smoke little pipes. I haven't seen any of these things in many a Holiday.
I once knocked over a huge table display of nutcrackers while on a field trip in Germany. I was asked to leave the shop. I did manage to buy some but don't remember if it was before or after the table incident. They look just like the picture up top. Mine date from the mid to late 1980's. Vintage. And not made in China. I got two of each size thinking one for my daughter when she had her own home and one for my son. Neither adult child wants any of them.
I have made three felt Christmas Trees and one gold felt star. I gave the star to my coffee friend. All of the felt ornaments have a small very even blanket stitch around to hold the two felt pieces together. I add a bit of stuffing. Then I add some button ornaments. I can make one tree from start to finish in the Time it takes to watch one hour of MSNBC. It makes the news less TOXIC because I have to focus on the stitches.
I bought the very thin Swedish orange cookies our daughter used in the cookie dessert we enjoyed so much at Thanksgiving. I plan to use some of the Cool Whip to make 6 jars and add some finely chopped dark chocolate to the layers. My daughter also added tiny mandarin orange segments--canned-- to the dessert. I'm sure they are important but I forgot to buy any. I re-use the Bonne Madam jelly jars. I love the little red checked lids.
So that is what is happening here on Wednesday the 12th of December. We might go out for dinner tonight. G loves going out to eat. I may bribe him with dinner out to get the blue trunk brought down from the Attic. Yes, that sounds reasonable.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
So okay (as Grace often says before changing course) I am going to try and re-charge my Christmas Spirit. First order of business is postal stamps for my cards. Then the cards themselves.
I was writing to Diane and I was reminded of my habit of making my own cards for the Holiday. It started with card stock many years ago and slivers of silks etc sewn into tree shapes and then sewn onto the card stock. Then another years card stock and a colored pencil drawing of an evergreen in a little clay pot. Then a drawing of a tree and details in a white ink pen. And then it stopped. Why?
I am reminded, also, of many happy hours at the big long table in the sunshine, watching it snow outside, making cards.
Making cookies isn't on my list of "happy holiday events" as the cookies rarely turn out as good as they used to. I'm better off making an orange cranberry loaf or some brownies. But G has been seeing so many decorated sugar cookies on Hallmark that he has asked for Christmas Tree sugar cookies with M&M's as ornaments. Yes, the man who didn't want a Christmas Tree.
I just noticed the time and date at the top of the page to be Dec 11 11:11. I am one of the "old Souls" who sees those numbers on digital clocks, computers, Time signs on the highways, etc......there is a myth we are the original Souls on Earth. And when we see those numbers it's a message. I usually make a heart filled wish when I see the numbers.
Just now I asked for guidance on the path I should be following.... as I feel lost. Work provided so much structure, friendship and happiness. I never stayed at a job that made me unhappy. In fact, a job like that...I would often just pack up my things and walk away without any notice. "Where's Joanne?"
I'm sorry to be such a downer. I usually can "pretend" to feel happier than I am when I sit here writing to you. I'll figure it out. I have trees to blanket stitch and potholders to make (still... as the sewing room is very cold). Riley is back from his walk. It's 25 degrees with cloudy skies. No sunshine today.
UPDATE: After hitting post we found the car keys (in the car). That 11 11:11 stuff works. And the Post Office had Santa Stamps (in December!) so I figured good things come in threes and stopped at the library and what to my wondering eyes did appear? Louise Penny's Kingdom of the Blind on the 7 day shelf. I was 419 on the wait list. Merry Christmas!!!!
Monday, December 10, 2018
I checked out a new murder mystery today and was told it's three week due date was New Year's Eve.
New Year's Eve. What happened to Christmas????
Now you might say this isn't a Holiday photo but it contains red, green, white and brown.
I cleaned up a few more tea bags and made a new "surface" to work on. I have decided the parts on the first two pieces that worked--not much-- were the botanical--so that's where I will go with the third venture. Leaves, flowers. In the original work by an artist--circles were made to begin and then she moved on to more personal female images. I am not political. Or angry. So there is no chance I will use her work to make mine. I know that happens. We see something and then it's okay to copy it. It's not.
I watched ION last night. They had movies based on fairy tales: Snow White, Cinderella, and finally Beauty and the Beast. Beauty was Hillary Duff and she had some weight on her. Beast was a guy they showed running (miles) bare chested not once but four times- he must have been dating the director. And he was as tall as or shorter than Hillary. It didn't seem plausible to me. And---in true being Joanne--I could not figure out why Snow White had this Christmas Band staying at the motel with her. They never were shown playing or singing. Always in the background- in Santa Hats. At the very end I counted--7. Duh. Snow White made big red candy apples and lots and lots of hot chocolate while decorating the motel with more and more twinkle lights every time she had a scene. But it was simple--not like the Hallmark movies. Cinderella was fun. The "Prince" was very tall, also was shown running in a sweaty tee shirt, and was handsome.
The Patriots lost. The game and their game plan--if they had one. Ugh!!!
I haven't made any cookies. I was going to make another pumpkin pie but haven't. You know--there is very little Christmas Spirit here. But there is so much bad juju coming out of Washington....... I know what I would ask Santa for if there was a Santa.
Sunday, December 09, 2018
I have always liked wrapping packages in brown paper. And the additions here-- perfect. A thin sliver of branch which could also be used as the name tag with some white ink. The leaves are eucalyptus--an addition to most supermarket bouquets these days.
What's that song? " Brown paper packages wrapped up with string" Some of my favorite things.
We are still in the cold zone here in Maine. Sunshine but little warmth. The snow on the ground--what's left of it, is hard as a rock and difficult to walk on-- for men and dogs.
Goodwill was busy this morning--I think the good stuff is mostly gone by the time we get there at 11am. I did get a nice shirt, well, two. One for now and one for summer. And two packages of my favorite size index cards for one whole dollar and the package states the cards are "quality index cards". Faneuil. Sounds like they might be French index cards--laughing. I had hoped for a red stripe turtleneck or a pair of corduroy pants. Goodwill used to have so many pairs of corduroy LLBean pants. But now that I think I need another pair for the rotation--wearing the butt of the pants out these days--- not one pair--in any of the size categories. Curvy.
The train and the Gingerbread House are set up. It's nice.....but not a tree.
I had a lovely chat with an older woman on the way into the grocery store after Goodwill. I knew her from somewhere and I must have seemed familiar to her as well. We drove our smaller sized carts into the store talking and laughing. I say older--but who's kidding who here. We may be the same age. She was elegantly dressed. And I enjoyed hearing her laugh. I think she will be the subject of my Advent Thought today.
I am reading The Shadow Killer by Indridason. Icelandic mystery. It's set during WWII and has Nazi undertones. I am more than halfway and will probably finish it this evening.
Saturday, December 08, 2018
Something I actually made. Not recently. But hand appliqué. For quite awhile, in the days when I was "making", I liked hand appliqué very much. The quilters in my chapter kept on my about machine appliqué being faster or quicker etc. What I enjoyed was the slow-ness of doing it by hand.
I traced and cut two more red felt trees and one tree felt tree and two gold felt stars to blanket stitch. It's nice work to do in the daytime while sitting at the table. Good light. And the dog appreciates the company as his bed is in direct sight line to me.
Daughter came by and picked up two jars of the split pea soup I made. She is on "the Plan" diet and finds soup to be an excellent breakfast before going in to work. Fiber. In the warmer months I think she has Mueslix non-crisp granola and fruit.
G has gotten the little train to work. We are using the round 48 inch table as a base for the train and the gingerbread house. No tree. It's not as festive or nice smelling as a tree but...... it's something. My husband has never been fond of Christmas and he thinks the "whole tree thing" is a pain. Hard to believe we're married as I love the "whole tree thing".
I just finished reading "The Summer I Met Jack" by Michele Gable. At the very end of the book there were notes regarding the fact that the characters in the book are all real. It's about JFK. But not as a history book but as a novel. I read until 2 am the first day and finished it after lunch today. So, to be clear, the characters are real but the story itself....well, you'll have to decide. The lending library had a small sheet at the back so we could rate the book. The reader before and I gave it 5 out of 5.
I'm moving on to a Canadian mystery and then an Icelandic mystery. The library was good to me last week. I am waiting for the new Penny (Gamache) book. The Hallmark Christmas Movies are repeating endlessly. I think once a year is enough for 90% of them so I have to find new avenues of entertainment.
I went back to last December to get a picture of the Gingerbread House for Connie and stopped to read about 6 to 8 posts. Gosh, they were so much better last year.
I decided not to just scribble a note on the card this Christmas for my junior high friend who still sends me a card every Christmas. So I sat here and typed a 2 page letter, single spaced and, well, I should do that every year for good friends and family. It felt amazing. Not a copied letter. Each person would get their very own letter. And it's doable as I only have one brother left and about 8 people I send a card to each year. And with the letter I already wrote-- 7 to go.
Friday, December 07, 2018
I think this is a picture of an Advent Calendar. I think we have had one like it for sale at the greenhouse. The items pictured look very nice in the pale colors with white. Wintery. I think I even have that string in my supply drawer along with bells--but the bells I have are shiny and red.
Time is moving. I am not. I should be working on my cards. Last year at this time I was trying to fold origami stars. And not making much progress until wham! I got it right--finally. No origami this year. But I think I should try for Christmas stamps. Probably too late.
Cold with bright sunshine today. Still some snow on the ground but where it has melted I can see green grass. I took the car out yesterday and went to the grocery store. Wanted to charge the car battery- I think it might have been three weeks since I drove the car. I'm sure mental health professionals would be getting worried.
At the grocery store I purchased Cool Whip and Famous thin chocolate wafers for a layered dessert. The cashier mentioned that the Cool Whip Cookie combo was his birthday cake of choice starting when he was 8. Like 50 years ago. Everyone in line signaled they also loved that particular dessert. It was a bonding experience. (laughing). I hoped none of them would follow me home.
I was trying, yesterday while watching MSNBC to make a pattern for a five pointed star--to trace onto yellow felt. I did not manage to do a good job. Stars are just not in my design wheel house at holiday time. So, I might just make trees. The work for today : Creative.
Thursday, December 06, 2018
When I was young......I made a hot pineapple/tea spice punch to take to Christmas parties and events. It had cinnamon and cloves and was a lovely beverage. One Holiday in Germany I served the teachers at the International School eggnog with a generous helping of very fine cognac during a school day. I had no idea how fine it actually was....but the teachers came back for seconds. And thirds.
G went up into the Attic Attic and found the toy train set and the Gingerbread House (made from a dollhouse kit) and that will be our Holiday Decoration for 2018. Even though I watched the guys from my old employer set up my cross the street neighbor's tree this morning. Now a friend is there helping with lights etc. since her arm is still broken.
G is quite happy as he doesn't care for setting up the tree and actually has no interest in Christmas at all in the 50 years I have known him. It was only me who was interested and even excited about the Holiday. Well, and the children. But now they aren't.
I found a website with felt ornaments for the 12 days of Christmas. Pretty intensely stitched. I gave it about a half hour of thought and then said to myself-- "why?" and so I am not going to even try it. I will be happy with just my little felt trees. And perhaps a few little felt stars. Seeing as I have no tree to put them on........well, the making is a worthwhile a task.
The Gingerbread House has suffered damage on the trip up or down from the Attic. So I have to use the glue gun and do some repairs. One of the big trees and several gumdrops. We had damage to the Spooky House in 2017 (play foam shingles loosening and falling off ) I am thinking I might use Gorilla glue this time. See if works better. We used Gorilla glue on the bird feeder stuck to the window and it's holding up really well. Even with birds hanging off it all day long. Bluejays are really big!!!
The Word for the Day from the Jar is "smile" so I am going to give it 100%. Smile. and I always say after the word smile.."though your heart is breaking". Which tells you quite a bit about me.
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
The soups didn't get made yesterday but both are on the stove right now--simmering.
The red felt tree with buttons did get made yesterday--a very small and tidy blanket stitch all the way around. Strong yellow colored buttons as ornaments-- the white ones were not "bright" enough in contrast to the red. The blanket stitch was white. About 6 or 7 inches tall. I have plans to make a green tree today. I found the blanket stitch to be "soothing work".
Most of yesterday was consumed by frantic hunting for the red felt. Finding the red felt (relief). And then hunting for the #5 embroidery thread (very stressful as I had seen it recently). I used to have two full bags. Eventually, after much repetitive travel into the attic, I found one bag. The other is still MIA. Lucky for the man and the dog---- this one bag I found had red, white and yellow. And even a good dark green. So, in answer to the man's question--I was done searching.
I also reconnected with a small Santa Head pin that I had made out of used panty hose. The poly stuff around his head was looking ratty so--when I find the white felt (still missing) I will give him a new hat band, mustache and beard. The panty hose was gathered up in tight circles to make chubby cheeks and a little round nose. His entire head would fit into a third cup measuring cup. Tiny black seed beads for his two twinkly eyes.
I also sorted out a storage bin of paper items and found a large collection of full page CHAIRS from home dec magazines at the very bottom. I see a number of solo chairs in fabric in the coming months. I can use the cut out chairs as patterns. It's been too long since I made my last chair quilt.
I chose this picture up top since I feel like I could make something like this for the front door (on the inside). I think I might still own a wire coat hanger for the circular frame.
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
Swedish straw ornaments. On my Winter visits to Sweden, (long ago--the early 1980's) I collected many ornaments but neglected to buy the iconic holiday "pig" ornaments. Haben Schwein. Have pigs. Meaning I hope you have pigs for the long Winter. Food to eat.
And the pink pigs were really very cute in a very realistic pig way. Why didn't I buy at least one? But I do have a gift box full of the straw ornaments--I think from IKEA.
I moved past the tea bag work for the day, yesterday. I did buy the potholder batting and some black felt (to cut out more little black crows) but I already had a scrap of red felt and JoAnn's had no gold felt "today" meaning what exactly? A fresh supply was on route? And, red buttons. On the button display rack. Buttons were "in" yesterday. I also purchased yellow buttons.
And then, even though it's been very stingy lately--the Magic Attic coughed up a sandwich bag of old vintage red buttons. But the inexpensive felt in red, gold and green is all used up. I do have a tub of the expensive wool felt in every color you can imagine--but muted. No bright holiday colors. I will have to "tone down" my felt ornaments I guess. Yesterday the wool felt was $12.99 a yard. No discount. And no red or gold. "today".
G got his hair cut, Riley has a new dog license and G got his glasses adjusted. They are now out walking. Sun is shining and temps are in the freezing zone of 30 and 31. The report on the walk: COLD and CRUNCHY. Meaning the walking surface was frozen.
I am making soup today. Chicken for G and Split Pea for me.
The coverage for the President made me weep. I remember his years as President being very difficult but he was certainly Presidential. And kind.
Monday, December 03, 2018
Most of these pictures are off the Pixbay free image site. I still don't have a phone which means I still can't take any pictures. My husband has an iPhone but it has way too many "bells and whistles" on it and I no longer work--so the gal who taught me how to do things like pictures--isn't available to show me how to use a newer model phone.
At times, because I never have used a cell phone (as a phone), I feel rather like a dinosaur. Left out of all the "fun" people have at meals--no talking only phone tapping, phone talking in the grocery, on walks etc. It's rare to even make eye contact with people anymore. My husband is on his iPhone all the time--playing games or exchanging text messages with our daughter.
And, actually, I have no one to call on a phone. Somehow, I became isolated.
I like the little red felt tree with buttons. It reminds me of the days--way back when--when I made all the ornaments for my trees. When we thought we were poor. And we were actually better off than most-- because we knew how to make happiness. Out of felt or foil covered baby cereal boxes.
I can see those felt trees with buttons selling for $7.99 each at the Christmas stores. If I had red buttons I would make one in white felt. Red buttons are hard to come by. I have plenty of white buttons and black buttons. No red, green or yellow buttons. JoAnn's used to sell bags of colored buttons. No more.
It's been raining for a few days now and because we have snow on the ground (still) there is a white fog when I look out the windows. No sun. Dismal.
I am setting the tea bag project to the side and will be making holiday potholders this week. Today I will sew the little squares into bigger squares. I may have to go out and buy more of the potholder batting. Charge up the battery on my car which hasn't been driven.......in weeks.
I never could think of anything to write on yesterday's advent paper-- but today is Hanukkah and I do know how to make potato pancakes. Latke. My wonderful grandmother made them.
Sunday, December 02, 2018
I had to make this image large so we could all see what the Calendar Maker included. If I look closely I think the bottom layer is cut wooden circles. With bark. I assume the ornaments are quite small. But isn't it lovely?
I think I will be making a few tiny red felt stars like One. Two looks like a gold painted pinecone. Three is a folded paper star. Anyone guess what Four is? Five another star and Six a felt Santa bag. Seven is also a mystery.
I may send G out to find a nice straight branch to cut into thin circles and make one of these as a gift. I have the items on 9, 12,13 and 21 in my Swedish box of ornaments. I don't think I have any tiny metal birds.
I don't have any idea what I will write on my advent paper for today.
Raining all day here in Maine--between 40 and 42 degrees. I did three loads of laundry this morning after reading the Sunday paper. Changed the bed sheets. G found my lost red and white vintage hankie stuck to his fleece sweater when he got dressed this morning. I was so happy that I blew my nose in it right away.
Saturday, December 01, 2018
A very fine mug. While looking for a clone to the poppy flowers mug I broke, I found this charming mug. Not Christmassy but lovely and singular for this first day of December.
The sun is shining here in Maine and temps are 40. Snow is coming. The weather map show the movement of BLUE which is freezing temps and snow. We have no tree--and I am really tempted NOT to have a tree this year. To just have the Gingerbread dollhouse, the Christmas Train set, and some lights strung up along the crown molding. Perhaps a wreath. Handmade from cuttings in the woods behind the house. Or even a strange, odd tree cut from the woods (full of strange evergreens growing wild).
It's not that I have no Christmas spirit...it's just that the "same old thing" seems sad this year.
Is this what happens as we grow older and have no friends?
Yes, yes...I know I have all of you and I treasure this small section of my day where I sit here and write a letter to you. Yes, not a "post" but a letter. You know what I mean.
I was reading a blog it's in my sidebar Pattern.... and the author of that blog has made a Hallmark Christmas Movie Bingo Game to amuse herself. You mark the repetitive plot fabrications as they occur on your Bingo Card. Mechanical Failure that leads to a Meeting. Broken down cars, cars driven into snowbanks, broken down trucks. Oh, I forgot stuck ski lifts. I am making a list and then might make cards. But, actually, making the list has amused me far more than I thought it would. It's two pages long. Also, EVERY Hallmark movie has cookie baking and decorating, ice skating, and a visit to the local tree farm to buy a tree and run into the guy you hate but end up getting engaged to in a week or so.
It's only the first day of Christmas. And my Advent Calendar is up and ready for my slip of paper with what I am thankful for-----and it's YOU!!!! All of YOU!!!!