Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Ready

Okay.  My Christmas present shopping is done.  And wrapped.  And ready to go.

Half of my cards are out and the remaining will be getting stamped tomorrow and then they will be on their way.

My Christmas decorations are out.  Meals are planned.  Get togethers are on my calendar.

There is snow on the ground.

I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready!

Not that I'm wishing time away ...

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Winter Pros and Cons

There are some good things about winter, even I will have to admit.


  • A bowl of warm soup is good thing.  Personally, I would eat soup in any season, but there are those who think it is only for cold weather and they look at you funny if you serve them a steamy mug of squash soup on a hot day.
  • Holiday decorations, especially lights, add a festive touch on dark nights.  I do not go all out with the decorations myself but I do like to take a ride around town and see the places that do.
  • Some days are so bad I am forced to stay in no matter what I think needs my attention in the outside world.  I can just be appreciative that I have warm shelter and some soup on the stove.
  • Baking.  Again, not something I do a lot of myself -- but how very nice to be thought of by those who do.  When I do feel the urge to bake, there is the fragrance and the warmth from the oven.
  • Flannel sheets on the bed -- especially now that I have a sweet gentleman friend who sometimes slips between those sheets with me.

On the other hand:
google image

  • It's dark all the time (well, most of the time)
  • It's cold and often slippery.
  • Wind chill winds.
  • Winter clothes -- heavy socks, long underwear, thick sweaters, jackets and coats, gloves or mittens, hats and scarves.  Boots. Who enjoys being so weighted down? These things are bulky and itchy and they constantly get in the way.
  • Christmas music, which started playing on one local radio station on the first of NOVEMBER.  Christmas music played on Christmas Eve is quite enough as far as I am concerned.
  • Crowded stores and long lines of traffic on the streets and all the associated crankiness.
  • Discussions about "Merry Christmas" versus "Happy Holidays."
  • Flu shots.  Or the flu.
  • Slush and wet feet.
  • Slush and slush covered cars, inside and out.
  • Static electricity.
  • Missing loved ones no longer with us.


Perhaps you can see which way the scales are tipped for me.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Suggested Holiday Schedule

Note: This schedule is not of my devising (obviously), but something I found in a Better Homes and Gardens article.

1. Pick a theme.
Not just it's Christmas -- that's not theme enough.  What is the color scheme?  Modern or nostalgic?  So many options!  Just don't get caught being so last year.

2. Craft your wreath.
Remember that if you forego the traditional greens and red ribbon you can have something that spans Thanksgiving (provided you plan ahead) through New Years.  In any case, be sure your wreaths coordinate with your chosen theme!

3.  Make candles.
Why make your own? Really, you have to ask?  Do you want to be steeped in the spirit of the season or not?

4.  Sew the stockings.
I suppose you could also knit them?  It's all about the theme (see #1).  Or take this opportunity to jump outside the theme box a bit and personalize stockings for each member of the family according to his her special intersts.

5.  Put up the out door lights.

6.  Add other outdoor decor.
Both #5 and #6 should be done with utmost taste and style.  We are not talking a yard full of plastic inflatables here.  Think topiaries, garlands, maybe icicles.

7.  Start indoor decoration.
You'll know you are on the right track if you have allowed at least five full days for this activity.  If you have special collections and treasured ornaments, now is the time to work them into your overall decoration theme.  Their should always be a touch of nostalgia to add warmth and a sense of tradition.  Keep in mind that Christmas or any other holiday does not just occur in the living room.

8.  Start the Advent Calendar.
This official countdown to Christmas day starts on December first.  [You can, of course, purchase an Advent calendar, but so much more fun to make your own with the help of small children.]  Here's a homemade Advent tree made with  wooden dowels and walnuts:

9.  Put up an artificial tree.
You are in the mood for the tree but you know it won't last from Thanksgiving to Christmas, let alone New Year's.

10.  Cut a real tree.
Two weeks before the big day venture out with ax and saw to cut your own tree.  Bypass the gas station stands.  Who knows when those trees were cut?  Frozen fingers and toes, wind chapped face, and probably the need for a stitch or two at a nearby ER, all enhance the true spirit of the holiday.

11.  Decorate the tree.
Make sure the lights are in working order.  Load on the theme specific decorations.  There are those who like more than one tree -- a tree in every room.  
[I personally suspect these people overly nostalgic and too attached to every single tree decoration ever crafted by their children and grandchildren (hoarders), but then who am I to judge?]

12.  Use extra decorations.
Decorations that don't fit on the tree can be used elsewhere.  Arrange in bowls and around candle holders.

13.  Put out the poinsettias and the mistletoe.
Support your local plant nursery and add another layer of festivity. Pay homage to the classics.

14.  Dress up the dining table.
Add a festive tablecloth and themed table runners.  Set out the candles, greenery, bowls of fruits and nuts.

15.  Do a house walk through.
Take a look all though the house.  Are there spots bare of decoration?  Make the necessary corrections now.

16.  Make your luminaries.
Lighting the path to your door will make holiday guests feel especially welcome.

17.  Light those homemade candles.
We are celebrating the return of the light.

18.  Play carols.

 You can see my reference HERE. 

Well, I don't know about you, but I am exhausted by the very thought.  And I am already sadly behind schedule.

I think I will wait to read up on how Martha Stewart prepares for Christmas and the holidays for some other time.

NOTE: I am sorry that this post has nothing to offer those who may celebrate a holiday other than Christmas, but we are, after all, under executive order to focus on Christmas.  Wanna bet our fearless leader and and self-proclaimed greatest Christian in the history of the world has a theme of gold in each of his residences?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cooking



I think the a big part of cooking successfully is paying attention.  There have been times in my life when I have been really into cooking.  There have also been those times when I am just not that interested and it is easy to get distracted.  Distracted cook = failed dishes.

I remember a time I was in a drug store with my first husband.  I found him looking at greeting cards.  He had one in his hand and his efforts to keep himself from guffawing loudly had his whole body in a kind of concerning tremor.  The card face: I wanted to get you something useful for your birthday. Inside the card: but you already have a smoke detector.

Yeah, so amusing.

I did manage to get through Thanksgiving dinner without burning anything, although the mashed potatoes were not hot enough.  The next day I set of the alarm with burnt toast.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing all who celebrate this day the warmth of family and friends around the table.
A toast to your good health and happiness

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Traffic Woes

For all of the past summer there has been ongoing road and utility work all around my immediate neighborhood.  Needless to say, traffic has been a nightmare for months.  One stretch of road was complete between the interstate exit and the left hand turn to access a large shopping center was completed and drivers were raving about the improvement in the traffic flow.

Previously, the two northbound lanes were set up so right hand turns had a designated lane while the other lane was for cars going straight as well as cars turning left.  Cars turning left have to wait for oncoming southbound traffic which means straight through traffic had to wait behind any left tuning vehicles and, as one would imagine, this often resulted in back ups.  The contractors painted the road markings to indicate that the left lane was dedicated for left turns and the right lane was for right turns and straight through.  Makes sense, right?

No.  Vermont Agency of Transportation said this lane change was a mistake on the part of the contractors.  The old configuration was the way the road was designed (for whatever reason) and so that is how it is going to stay.  After three weeks of smooth traffic flow, the lane designations were switched back just in time to frustrate the h#!! out of Christmas shoppers and work day commuters.

I'm from the State Agency of  Transportation and I'm here to help!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Trip Home

I left Florida for Burlington, Vermont this past Wednesday.  I flew Delta airline which pretty much guarantees a layover in Atlanta.  The layover was quite a long one this time, which is fine with me.  I much prefer having the time I need to get from one gate to the next.

When I got to Atlanta, I looked at the departure board and went to find the gate for my connecting flight.  There were only a few people sitting at that gate so I dropped my bag in one chair and settled into another.  I checked e-mails and read for a bit.  Then I plugged in my earphones and listened to a guided meditation.  I did not fall asleep, but I did slip into a nice, relaxed space in spite of the airport noise.  At the end, I opened my eyes.  The gate area had really filled right up.

I looked around, people watching in my zoned out state.  I could hear lots of Southern accents.  Well, I was in Atlanta.  Most of passengers in waiting were Black and I didn't think anything about that.  There must have been quite a number of Hispanic people as well because in addition to the Southern accents, I heard a lot of Spanish.

I swear it was fifteen minutes before the penny dropped.  This is very unlikely -- a crowd of this particular make-up and of this size particularly going to VT?  In November?   Why am I going to VT in November?  And i live there.  I looked at the Gate display which no longer said flight to BTV but Jackson, Mississippi instead.

I found another departure board.  The Burlington flight had been switched to another, much smaller gate.  Fortunately, it was a gate not too far away.

I went to the new gate and immediately recognized that I had the right one.  I was surrounded with people in plaid flannel shirts and fleece vests, Boston Red Sox caps, running shoes or clogs, and rumpled hair. Yep, this was a crowd clearly bound for Vermont.

I should know by now that flight gates are often switched around in the Atlanta airport.  It's a real trick to be able to meditate in a noisy airport, but probably not the wisest thing to do.