Christmas Week, 12/21/2022

I’m sure hoping we don’t get bad weather tonight to cause us to miss our date night tonight, “Yesterday and Today,” with the McGuigan Brothers, Billy, Ryan, and Matthew. They put on a great show of Beatles music. Their love of the Beatles came from their father. They memorialize him every time they take the stage, and I’m sure he smiles down from heaven every time. The band is expanding to include Ciaran McGuigan, Billy’s son, who is a budding Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, or Wolfie Van Halen. His guitar playing is improving by leaps and bounds, and I’m eager to see what he adds to his playlist for this and their other shows. Cross your fingers we can make it safely there and home. We’ve gone for the last nine years.

We had good news from the repair guy for the ice maker. The guy did the work three years ago. When the error happened, he read the codes on the computer. He is familiar with the parts and expected longevity for them. He gave us a tip about Samsung, as they now replace these parts when they break down. Great to know for future reference. We were grateful to afford the service/repair. We both had times in life where we could not afford what we spent today. Very thankful.

Finishing up the tree will be the order of the day today. And a dentist appointment for me this afternoon, hopefully before the weather sets in. It should just be a simple winter storm, but the cold will be brutal for the weekend. Hope we all keep safe and warm. Get lots finished up for the big day as you may be inside tomorrow. Thank you for reading today. We will see each other tomorrow.

Christmas Spirit

Today, I finally feel like Christmas. We’re going to hold onto this change of spirit. And it has nothing to do with gifts, cookies, food, decorations, etc. It has to do with how we feel inside. Duh!

Once we learn to accept our lives exactly as they are at each moment, we can be truly happy. Gone is the self-judgment, the feelings you’re not quite enough, the feelings that you should do more. If we’re not able to do more, we need to stop judging ourselves. I’ll admit it, being disabled for the past 22 years can have a negative effect even on me all these years later. Yes, as positive as I try to e, some days, it gets me. Often, while adjusting to colder weather, new things hurt that didn’t a year ago. It’s how chronic pain works.

As your condition gets worse, you beat yourself up, you feel worthless, you can be angry for not being able to do what you could not so long ago. For instance, even when there were only two of us on Thanksgiving, I learned the hard way, I need much more help cooking a big meal than I think I do.

The Babe is great; he has always been willing and able to jump in and do what needs to be done. My ego still denies I need help. No more. I’ve reached an age and degree of wisdom (?) where I have to accept the reality of my life. Since I’ve been independent (sometimes too much for my own good), I have to learn to back off, for my own good. Humans just don’t want to give up. Some of us are tougher students than others.

No matter how much we want things (and our bodies, health, and spirits) to be as they always, sometimes, that is not possible. How can I not know that and integrate it into my life? Logically, I know. It makes sense. But when those emotions get involved, logic can go out the window. I can do logic, emotions are another issue. No matter how smart we are, no matter how smart we think we are, we all have more to learn. Me included.

I have felt a dramatic shift in how I feel about all aspects of our life. The weekend we just had was one of the best in memory. It had to do with good friends, good family, good new opportunities, and releasing the bonds of the past. When we need to step back from situations, people, and things which no longer serve our lives, there is definitely a loss. There is grieving involved. There are feelings that need to be dealt with, like it or not.

Wow. I had a great finish to this, but due to the fact technology isn’t infallible, WordPress didn’t save the big finish. Oh boy. Nothing for the last one and a half hours. Another lesson in humility. Anyhow, we will persist thinking in a positive, grateful matter. Christmas will be good. Stay focused in being present for Christmas, not focused on presents.

The Babe had a head start volunteering this morning, delivering and picking up to help other’s Christmas merry. It’s good for the soul. I’m decorating the tree, finishing laundry for the week, and making merry where I can. Have a wonderful day, and learn to be grateful, accepting, and kind. ‘Tis the season. See you tomorrow.

Baking Stuff!

Growing up, at home, there was no better scent than Mom baking Christmas Cookies. I’d hate to have to give a quantitative analysis of the ingredients she used every year; flour, white sugar, brown sugar, salt, Crisco (she didn’t use butter, it was too expensive), chocolate chips, coconut, candied fruits, oatmeal, raisins, dates, figs, eggs, and who knows what else.

She’d give the cookies to all our neighbors, teachers, relatives, and bunches of other people I can’t name. The Tupperware containers filled half of our huge dining room table when she was finished. For storage until packing day, we had a “back porch.” It was a small room, part of the house, with cabinets on one wall, that had no basement underneath, and was not heated or cooled. Above it was an open porch with high sides off the kitchen on the second floor, in the “apartment” my parents rented until we were a little older. More about that later.

Since it was cold in the back entry room, it was a great place to store the containers until the day she’d dedicate to packaging dozens of small sample packs of all the cookies. She’d use last year’s Christmas card boxes, and bigger boxes for large families. Henry Ford may have invented the assembly line, but Mom had it down to a fine art (or would that be a science?). Cookies, fudge, sugar cookies only had sugar sprinkles, no frosting. She made drop cookies, refrigerator cookies, spritz cookies (I loved those. Especially the ones that looked like a strip of bacon!), bar cookies, did I miss anything? Probably. And of course, chocolate brownies, blonde brownies, walnut cookies, oatmeal cookies, my memory is clearly foggy on all of them. Every year, this took place. Gotta love someone who loves Christmas, decorations, and cookies.

I’ve scoured the kitchen (searched, not cleaned, yet!) for my bundt pan and/or the Angel Food Cake pan. And recipes for a similar fruit cake that Mom used to make. Haven’t located anything yet. But Google has some interesting recipes listed. We’ll take a cruise downstairs to peek around, but I doubt either are there.

Time to get moving on the baking I’m going to do, so better go. However you’re preparing (or not) for this Christmas in a couple days, enjoy doing it. Put love into it. You’ll find good memories in there somewhere, and remember them. Be mindful of creating new ones. After the decorations are down, I’m going to deep clean our downstairs family room area, and finally unpack my books from when we moved here. I’ll put together the book cases I bought this year, and then decide which volumes I’ll keep. It will be quite a process, quite a task. I expect it’ll probably take a month, in between writing, working on the novel/kid books, and enjoying my life. Looking forward to more healthy habits, better writing sessions, and eating well.

Take care today, be safe out there. Whatever they decide for our lives when the next surge of COVID goes through, I’m in. I dislike the masks as much as the next person, and I will still wear them when I feel I need to, or if we’re under mandate. I’m not going to pretend to be smarter than my doctor, and I trust his judgment. End of story.

Have a beautiful day. Help someone out. Call someone who is alone. Be kind. See you tomorrow!

Snowy Sunday

It looks beautiful outside. It’s snowing, and who knows for how much? I thought we were on the edge of the snow line, but maybe we weren’t. We have the Cookie Exchange this afternoon, along with the soup supper, so I hope we all make it there and back.

Gavin was such fun last night. We watched a couple of Christmas movies and ate pizza. He is so easy to please. This morning, we re-watched the Grinch. When he got his clothes out of his bag to get dressed, he said, “And I didn’t even take my electronics out of my bag.” No, he did not. Between the dogs, Grandpa, and the movies, he was entertained enough.

Goldie is really loving the snow. She runs and plays and rolls over when she takes a corner too fast. It’s pretty sweet. Lexie prefers to go out, do her business, then hurry back in. Kind of like me. I could stay home a lot of times when the Babe wants to go somewhere. I’d rather snuggle by the fire, watch a good movie or read a book. Time goes by pretty quickly then.

This could be a busy week again, between doctor appointments, meeting up with friends, and working on a last minute special project, so I plan on just reading a book in between posting the blog for today and leaving for the Cookie Exchange. It’s fun to watch how the kids decorate their sugar cookies and carefully select which special one to enter the contest with. A good time is always had by all.

I really am looking forward to digging into my book again and assessing how to improve it along with the suggestions from my editor. This is the real stuff author’s do, and wow, do I ever appreciate their work, it’s hard to go from thinking you wrote something ready to publish and realize you really can’t publish it very soon. Humility is good for the soul. And the writers ego.

The good thing about doing re-work, is you really do get a chance to tell the story in the best way possible. Adding some points of view from other characters, for instance, will help you tell a more complete story. It also helps to define and refine the characters. Something I hadn’t considered by simply telling from a narrator’s point of view. A reader probably would lose interest in that. If you’re the praying kind, say a few for me over the next few months. It may take that long.

It has come to my attention this is about the 106th post I’ve written. That’s getting up there! I’m glad to share a little every day with all of you, and really happy you stop to read when you get the time.

Whatever you may be doing today, stay warm and safe. If you’re where it’s sunny and hot, then have a cold one for me. Thank you for reading today. I’ll be here again tomorrow, and I hope you are, too.

Nativity and Angels with a few Santas. It’s all good

Christmas Cookies, Part Two

Second day of cookie baking, and we now have Mint Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies and Almond Joy Bar Cookies. They are both new recipes, and I think they’ll be pretty good. I had to make the Mint Chocolate Chip’s while thinking of my daughter, Becky. She has always loved mint chocolate chip ice cream. I hope she likes these cookies. I’ll know by this time next week, I think.

I heard from my editor friend. We are going to re-work some things in my book, but I won’t begin until after Christmas probably. I am enthused to have a professional with whom I can work and complete my novel. It will be a lot of work, and I’ll learn a lot.

Tomorrow, Gavin will spend the night with us, and he’ll be happy to spend time with the puppies. He loves dogs and has fun with Lexie and Goldie. It’ll be another fun night with him. It won’t be much longer and he will not want to come hang out with Grandpa and Grandma anymore. It’s kind of tough to keep them entertained when they are old enough to go be with their friends. My mom used to say, “It’s one thing when your kids outgrow you, but it’s really bad when your grandkids outgrow you.” That will be true.

It sounds as if there are a lot of people getting the flu. If you haven’t had a flu shot, please get one. It will take at least a couple weeks for the immunity to build. You don’t want to feel crummy and you don’t want to pass these sicknesses on to other people. Small children and older adults are very vulnerable. Take care of each other, and we’ll all get through the winter.

Sometimes these dogs do things I cannot believe. For some reason, the lower corner cabinet with the lazy susan shelf was opened. Lexie opened it. And as I walked into the kitchen, I see her with her head stuck inside a box of cereal, eating it up. Naughty puppy! It’s funny how they can imitate us by watching how we do things. That’s how Goldie learned to pick up the newspaper and carry it in the house. Who knows what they will learn next??

Thank you for taking time to read today, I appreciate it so much. I’ll be here again tomorrow, and I hope you are, too.

Christmas Cookies, Part One

Luckily, the curious puppies took a long nap while I was mixing, baking, and cooling a double batch of old fashioned Toll House Cookies. You know, Nestle doesn’t print the recipe on the packages of chocolate chips anymore. I had to look it up online to find one. I seem to remember 1/2 cup less of flour than what they called for. I also use butter. My mom, who baked these delicious morsels every week. We were popular with the neighbor kids when we could share a homemade cookie. They were heavenly. I made them for my kids too. I haven’t made any in a very long time, and these are for the cookie exchange Sunday. These turned out so well, I think they are the best ones I’ve ever made. Yay!

Love my perfect kitchen. The roomiest one I’ve ever had. Enough counter space to hold ingredients and the mixer and the cookie sheets and the cooling racks. Bonus!!
They smelled so good

I am finding a lot to be grateful for this Christmas season. I’m so happy we are on the road to The Babe feeling better, I’m just praying it continues. He still gets pretty tired, but you have to consider age and other things. His pup keeps him busy when he’s not at the Post, and she keeps growing a bunch every week She has done well with the Christmas tree, but she hasn’t grabbed anything off of it. Just thinks the glittery bulbs are balls, and she wants to play. It’s all part of the learning process for all of us.

I’m starting to plan the publishing and releasing the books I’m working on now. I believe my children’s books and the family story of loss will be ready next summer, if not before. And I do really want to take a painting class some time next year. I also want to continue finishing quilts that I have started and not finished. And read more books. And write more, too.

In the next couple days, we’re going to get the cookies finished, get the cards and little gifts mailed to the two grandkids out of state, get house back in order, sew as time permits, (I have a special project to help someone out), and work on some more writing projects. They are whirling around in my head, and need to be captured before they are forgotten. The notes may spur more memories and ideas. The process is continual, and the creative ideas flow when you practice capturing them daily. I’m grateful to God for leading me to this, especially since I’ve always wanted to do it. Next year will be the best yet.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it a lot. I’ll be here tomorrow, too. See you then!