Slow start to 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018

A belated Happy New Year to you all.

Everyone is in organizing/diet/exercise mode. I'm slowly, but not enthusiastically, getting on the bandwagon. I truly took advantage of the twelve days of Christmas, and knit and read and ate leftover Christmas treats in front of the fire well beyond Epiphany.

Well, after all, I was recovering from bronchitis.

But we did finally get all the Christmas decor taken down, and a good cleaning done. I have been organizing and decluttering this week and thinking about new paint colors and furniture for our living room. I am happily pinning ideas.

My vision includes key words like comfort, romantic, glam, and cozy. Taupes, creams, blush. Lots of candles, pillows, throws. And always books. It's been so cold out that, in between the necessary chores and errands, I just feel like hibernating. The room I am envisioning would be perfect for that.

It's snowing again, and as I have nowhere to go today, I will be building a fire early. I have a large knitting project (a cardigan, my first attempt at a sweater) and a book for book club to read, so after my short to-do list is done, I will be sitting cozy.

We have a huge, beautiful yarn store nearby, with a wonderful owner who is helping me with my sweater.

This gal, camouflaged very nicely in my faux fur throw (can you find her little face?) has not been very helpful. She loves to be in the thick of things.

Progress so far . . . 

Winter is really so much nicer when you don't have to go out in it. However, once in a while, there's something worth braving the cold for.

Like this wonderful coffee house, filled with books and antiques and comfortable couches and chairs. We spent a cozy couple of hours here enjoying tea and sweet treats with friends.

Mr. Beautiful, chatting with a friend, in the lower RH corner.
We had just been to the art institute to see a Monet/Church exhibit.

This pic does not do the painting justice. It's Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives by Frederic Edwin Church (1870).

Hope you're staying warm and cozy. I'm thinking hot chocolate here.

Year end

Friday, December 29, 2017

I'm starting to recover from my bronchitis. This bronchitis is becoming a regular occurrence. I'm going to need to do some research to figure out why I seem to be getting this about twice a year now. It eats up a good two weeks or more each time. Anyone else have this problem?

I've been sitting by the fire reading and knitting and watching movies for a good week now. Not such a bad time actually. We celebrated a very low-key Christmas, with ham sandwiches and cookies sent by my brother in Hawaii. I've read three books. 

And, despite the fact that I was whining that I wouldn't have any gifts to open because we weren't going to be able to visit family, and my husband and I had agreed not to exchange gifts, there were gifts.

My husband cheated, and got me some, and our daughter and son-in-law stopped by with presents and a nice visit. As you can see from the above photo, I didn't move from my chair all week!

The coughing is starting to subside, so today I took care of a few things. I boxed up all the gifts for our sons and DIL, and my husband took them to the post office. I vacuumed and dusted and swept and did some laundry.

Sheets need to be washed, groceries need to be bought, and bathrooms need to be cleaned, but  . . . they always do, don't they? 

{The books I've been reading have featured plenty of servants to do the cleaning and cooking. I surely could go for that.}

Are you thinking about the new year? This quiet week between Christmas and New Year's is a perfect time for contemplation and planning. And even if I wasn't sick, I'd be staying pretty close to home this week anyway. We've had about eight inches of snow, and the temps have been in the single digits.

I don't like to think about resolutions. The word "resolution" sounds so grim and determined. And kind of like "will worship," as St. Paul describes it. I like to think of possibilities and dreams and goals, and see those words with little sparkles shooting out of them.

Here are some of my ideas, still fermenting, still bubbling in the pot.

*** Making Sundays device free. Here is a good article on this from a favorite website. Maybe. I do need to figure out how to corral the online time into a set part of the day so it doesn't invade my life all day, every day, as it often seems to do. 

*** Writing another nonfiction book and dusting off my fiction book.

*** Learning to knit a sweater and finishing two afghans.

*** Reading through morning and evening prayer from The Book of Common Prayer.  I'm not Anglican, but was brought up one and miss the rich liturgical prayer book. I'll use the old 1928 version. You know, because older is better.

*** Sorting through all the paper work in the basement. I still have boxes of old homeschooling papers and lots of photos to sort. This seems monumental to me. But sometime in the next five or ten years we will be downsizing and the time will pass quickly. Setting the timer for an hour and going at it regularly will make things so much easier later.

*** Visiting our children. In just the few short years since they've left home, our children have worked in Montgomery, Alabama; Winston-Salem, Jacksonville, and New Bern, North Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia. Now our youngest is moving to Des Moines. I've never been to Iowa. Far from being in the middle of a cornfield, Des Moines is supposed to be an up and coming city. I'll let you know.

I'm still dreaming, still thinking of different ideas. How about you? Any hopes and dreams for 2018?

A different kind of Christmas

Friday, December 22, 2017

This is turning out to be the most unusual Christmas I've ever had.

I thought at first we would only be seeing our daughter and her husband because our two out-of-state sons were unable to get enough time off to be with us. We had them all at Thanksgiving, so that was okay. But still, the first Christmas with only one of our children.

Then we got a call inviting us to our daughter-in-law's family's mountain house in Virginia, where both our sons will be. Now, we would be missing our daughter, but we'd be seeing both sons. And in a beautiful mountain setting. First time ever away from home for Christmas. But we were looking forward to it.

After a couple weeks of preparation, I had a pile of wrapped gifts and boxes of food and supplies, ready to go.

And now, the latest development. I'm laid up with bronchitis, and we won't be seeing anyone. Just the two of us here. We haven't been without at least two of our children in 30 years. And no other family at all? Never in my life.

This will pretty much be me all weekend.
And no presents to open. My husband and I agreed we wouldn't exchange gifts with each other as we're saving up for a trip next year. But that was okay; most of the fun now is watching everyone else open their presents.

Now, nothing to open. That certainly will be different.

We won't go hungry, though. We have piles of food here. I'm thankful I didn't get any cookie baking done. I felt a cold coming on earlier in the week, and decided to forego the baking and just try and rest and not get sick. Now that we're stuck here with my bronchitis, at least I won't be stuffing my face with cookies! 

My husband dropped off a ham and a casserole and other goodies this morning at our daughter's house. They were coming to dinner tonight, but we're postponing that until I feel better. I froze much of the rest of the food I was going to take with us.

After some realignment of my expectations, I'm trying to see the good here.

*** I can do a lot of reading which I've missed out on during busy weeks of preparation.

*** We have lots of wood stacked for cozy nights by the fire.

*** I won't have to do any cooking, just reheating. 

*** While we can't go to church (coughing too much), we can read the familiar story from Luke together and listen to some lovely Christmas music.

*** Our kitty won't be lonely for four days.

*** We can work on a puzzle together and watch movies.

*** I can nap and rest and make plans for 2018.

As my husband said this morning, we have had so many wonderful Christmases together with our family. We have memories and more to look forward to. Our children will be with in-laws and friends who love them.

And we have each other.

And we have the gift of Jesus, The Most Important Thing.
 One of my best Christmas memories was when I was pregnant and on bed rest and could do nothing but sit on the couch. No shopping, no baking, no decorating, no parties. But it was peaceful and lovely, just enjoying the lights on the tree and reading stories to our three-year-old daughter.  Who knows? Maybe this Christmas will be special in its own way, too.

 A Merry Christmas to you, my dear blog friends. Enjoy your family. And if you're alone, double hugs. xo Deborah
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