Monday, November 30, 2020

Memory Trees


Do you have your Christmas tree up yet? We always put ours up the day before Thanksgiving, which is the fourth Thursday in November. Our tree is not a professional decorator's.  I've likened ours to a charm bracelet. There's no rhyme or reason to the decorations, I use found objects and a few other dangly things that sparkle, or not.  It's a mixture for sure, there are silver spoons dangling from ribbons, there are small cups and there's a tea caddy and all of the ornaments received from the Secret Santa exchange Chooky organized for years. There's a key fob Jenny brought from Australia when she came to visit front and center.

The one thing I think Christmas trees should do is make us smile and remember.  Some have decorations that have passed down through the years and opening the boxes each year brings back memories and good feeling.  When our kids were little each year we gave our daughter an angel ornament and our son a toy soldier ornament. Each year the new ornament was the first to go up.  When they got married and left home their box of ornaments went with them. The year our daughter was in Scotland at St. Andrews we sent her a handmade ornament in the family plaid and had a double here at home.  Our angels at the top of our tree are the ones they made from construction paper when they were in preschool.  They are at the very tippy top and getting more fragile every year.

But the things I like most are the photographs.  One year I was missing the littles and thought if I put their photos tucked into the branches they are there every morning when the tree is plugged in and watered, saying "Good morning!"  Sometimes I tuck in birthday invitations from that year.  Sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I tuck in school photos and sometimes I don't.   It changes.  I have our son's press pass dangling from when he was honored to be chosen to be at a panel discussion with four former U.S. Presidents. He was in high school.
Some of the photos are from when the littles were very little

The Santa visits of our son and daughter from over 40 years ago
This is our Adelaide.  It's the ONE photo I have of her eating fruit.  She won't eat fruit.  She won't even eat pink icing on a cupcake because she doesn't trust that you didn't flavor it strawberry.  Well, I tell her that I have photographic proof that at one time she DID eat fruit.  But she doesn't anymore. So this one usually makes it onto the tree.
Some are when everyone was a lot younger.  In the top photo Charlie wasn't a year old yet but this year he turned 15. Below that the littles are helping grandpa blow out his candles. A long time ago.
If your tree looks like ours, a conglomeration of everything, tucking in a few photographs of your favorite people are ornaments I can guarantee will make you smile.

Friday, November 20, 2020


 I will be the first to raise my hand when asked if this techie stuff is confusing. I will be the first to ask for help. Usually, I am afraid to click the button because I imagine smoke coming from the keyboard if I do.   

So. A bit ago I was having problems with one particular blog post, getting over a hundred spammy comments and I reached out to Donna to help me.  She did. Thank you, Donna.

Today I got an email notification for another one of those spammy comments on that same blog and when I went to delete and send them away forever (I hope)  I noticed the "moderate" button and that many, many comments from many of you were awaiting moderation.  Well!  I never knew that little button was there, much less there was a whole line of you behind it who have been commenting for months and I never said "ok."   Geez.  

So, I allowed all of your comments, all from friends, that is,  and apologize for ignoring you.  I wouldn't ignore you. I just didn't know you were there.   And it's interesting that your comments didn't come to my email but they didn't.  Don't stop visiting, please! I will try to remember that little "moderate" thing is there.  


Thursday, November 12, 2020

It's Just a Big Chicken

     It's really just a big chicken but like many large things size can be intimidating so if you are the one charged with cooking a turkey and you've never done it, well, all I can say is really, it's just a big chicken. This year I expect there will be many, many first timers who always relied on someone else to cook the turkey.

    For those of us in the U.S. Thanksgiving is all about being with people, whether they are your family or not, and it's all about food.  It's not about gifts or wish lists or candy canes, it's about the turkey.  It's about walking into the house if you are the guest and smelling that once in a year aroma and if you are cooking it's all about spending the day smelling that aroma.  Whether you are the one spending the whole week ahead of the holiday shopping, prepping, making lists, setting the table and shining the silver or if you are the one who shows up with a pie, it's all about two things, your family and friends and the turkey.  It's about bringing out your best dishes, the once-a-year china.  It's about looking over recipes for new ideas that just won't fly because this is a day for traditions.  This is the one day you are supposed to have everyone's favorite side dish there for them, even if that one person is the only one who eats it. It is not a day for trying anything new.  It's about dressing a little nicer, showing up hungry, bringing an apron so you can help with the dishes.

                  The turkey is the star of the show, center stage, taking a bow,

    This year will probably see most of us breaking with tradition as we find a small frozen turkey breast at the store or warm up a frozen dinner while we Skype, FaceTime, Zoom with our families and friends.  It will be quiet.  It will be solitary.  It might be daring if you've done the homework in preparation by isolating for the two weeks ahead of time, taken everyone's temperature, wore masks and promised no hugging.  As of today, we aren't sure what's going to happen with our little family.  We are taking it day by day and in the end it will be the one who cooks the turkey who makes the call because it takes awhile to thaw out a 26 pound turkey that's really just a big chicken.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Jumping off the Bridge

    I thought the last four years was stressful but this past week has been triple that times 10.  The angst on Wednesday was beyond anything I could imagine and it's only slowly easing.  Slowly.  At one point in the day on Wednesday I told someone I was going to get my hair done then find a bridge to jump off.

    But upon reflection I realized that wasn't such a good idea.  I came to the conclusion after Jenny in Australia called me to FaceTime, FaceTiming with Dodie in Florida, getting emails from Elke in Germany and Brian in England that I have friends all over the world who are worried about me and my blood pressure maybe jumping off a bridge wasn't such a good idea. I would miss them and I can't swim.

This morning I heard from Donna in Australia wondering how Gail and I were doing.  I told her I didn't know if it was possible to be happy and heartbroken at the same time but that's about it. Happy that a decent, upstanding, man with scruples is going to be elected, and heartbroken that fully half of the U.S. voted for more of the hate, bigotry and meanness of the past four years. 

Thank you good friends for checking on me.

News just in. So is Joe Biden.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Not Much But Something

Not much happening at the end of my needle lately.  I'm taking an achy fingers break BUT I did finally finish all of the components for the butterfly quilt.  They just need to be trimmed and then connected. Hooray!  I mean really....HOORAY.
The things you find when you go through closets and cupboards looking for something else.  I'm a tote bag queen.  I love them, use them for everything and have some designated as 'clean' so only clean things can go inside, like fabric and projects and books (no corn on the cob in these.)  So the other day I found a couple of things I didn't know I had.  This stripe is a pillow.  Was a pillow.  A small cot pillow.  The inside lining is cloth napkins repurposed. Straps are long-ish for holding over the shoulder.  There were two so I made two.  Just the right size for going to the library.
This one!  I have no idea where I got this geranium fabric.  It's older, it's probably a home decorator piece for drapes or something that I must have found at an estate sale. I LOVE red geraniums and got quite excited to see I had this piece in the pile.  So, I trimmed it minimally and let it see the light of day as a tote. I can't wait till spring to use it.  This one makes me smile big.

There are more hunks and pieces in the cupboard and more totes will be happening but I think I'll wait till deep, dark winter.