Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Good Bye to 2017

In lots of ways, certainly not the best of years.

It started off with a flurry of knitting -- pink  hats to wear to the Women's March in January.
My family was represented in Washington, D.C.,  Montpelier, VT, and Sarasota, FL.
A knit hat didn't last so long in FL though.

Eventually, I tried to ignore politics and news generally --  although I am ready for action should Mueller be fired.  So that didn't work out so well.  Also I keep up interest in Move to Amend, working for an overturn of the Supreme Court determination that corporations enjoy the protections of individuals.  A corporation is not a person IMHO.

I took some watercolor painting lessons

I volunteered at Instride Equestrian-Assisted Therapy during the winter months in Florida again.  I work in the literacy program which is built around the life and times of this guy, Little Red:

He was looking particularly handsome this day.

 In VT summer months, I took in a couple of Vermont Lake Monster ball games with my grandchildren.

 It was at one of the games that I started coming down with symptoms of Lyme's disease. Fortunately I got prompt treatment. 

My friend Diane visited me in FL in February and I visited her in New Hampshire in August.

We visited the Ringling Museum

and relaxed at her cottage.
We also walked, biked, talked and talked, ate well, and laughed and cried together.

I finished three quilts:
for my brother's new granddaughter
for my step grandson's new son

and for my sister (completing a quilt top that my mother had started years ago).

I amused myself with various other crafts.

Origami chickens I took to Easter dinner at a friend's.

I get together each mont with a group of card making friends.
I get together with painting class friends and one  us hooked on Zen doodles.

we also painted.

I don't have pictures of my reading and writing groups, but they are probably the most precious.  I have three wonderful women I meet with to discuss writing here in VT.  I belong to a poetry group in FL.  Deep friendships have come out of both these groups.  I also started, recently, attending some Burlington Writers' Workshops.  Some day I will get serious about this writing thing!

I leased a new car.

Considerably less fun was a new roof I had done at my Florida home.  I do not complain.  Who would listen when I have the luxury of two homes? Seriously . . . I am most grateful for a full life.

I went to Florida in October to take care of some Hurricane Irma related things, but mostly just had  party time with friends there.

And then back to Vermont for holidays with friends and family here. 
My daughter's and grandkids' tree.




I started dating with fear and trepidation  in 2017.
Late this past summer I met a nice man who quickly became a person of interest.

So I am still in Vermont even though it looks like this outside my back door:

Of course, I do plan on going to Florida (January 9).  
I can't change my life completely after all!

But I do look forward to what 2018 might bring.


Monday, December 25, 2017

Ho Ho Ho

A very happy Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice

Sunday, December 17, 2017

On Readiness and School Expereinces

So one of my friends asked me if I had more shopping to do and when I told her I was all set, she called me a bad word.

I am just not now, nor I have I ever been, a person who can work under pressure.  It's not something I feel any superiority about.  Quite the opposite.  I cannot work under pressure at all.  It's not a good thing.

I was the student who always had papers completed a week before the deadline.  If I didn't have it done in that timeframe, I would be unable to do it at all.  One time I had a research paper due for an audiology course.  The topic was Meniere's Disease. Life circumstances were conspiring against me at the time and I finished that paper that the day before it was due -- all except the bibliography.  Do you think I could sit down and whip out that bibliography?  No I could not.  I just. Could. Not.  The professor was not at all impressed and I got quite the dressing down for my lack of time management.

In high school we were assigned a research term paper in chemistry class.  I did a paper on plastics manufacturing.  I researched like crazy, including writing to various manufacturers who sent me information and different samples.  I had a stack of notes on index cards, footnotes on every page, and a quite impressive (and completed) bibliography of sources.  I got an A on that paper and a positive comment from the teacher (Miss Lemon).  However, there was another student in the class who also received an A and positive comment in class.  That girl had written the entire paper the night before, almost entirely plagiarizing form a World Book Encyclopedia.  I partly felt all my efforts had been mocked, but I also had a certain amount of secret admiration that anyone could pull that off.  I would have had a complete and total nervous breakdown if I woke up one morning and had the thought, "Oh, crap!  I have a deadline tomorrow."  At the very least I would have stayed in bed for the day and probably for the whole week.

I know that for a fact because it is exactly what I did once in fifth grade when I didn't complete an assignment on a visual display different kinds of leaves because we didn't have scotch tape in the house and therefore could not come up with any other plan of displaying leaves.

I am not a person one wants around in the event of a crisis requiring thinking on one's feet.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


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?