Coffee Chat - Post Christmas/Pre-New Year
I gazed at the Christmas tree in all it's glory and decided I'd slowly undecorate it this year instead of all at once. I decided to remove one set of ornaments each day. That allows me to keep the tree up until the very last day of this month. I never leave my tree up for New Year's day. Not superstition but simply the feeling that I should start a New Year with a clean slate (and a clean house and no evidence of previous holidays).
My interest in leaving the tree up this year is that it's our last year with this tree. It's shedding, and leaning crookedly no matter how much we straighten it. The top portion ceased to light up last year, so we bought new lights for that section and this year when I plugged in the tree the whole middle section refused to light up but then suddenly did. John announced this year as the last year.
This tree was 'ours'. John chose it and ordered it in early August and it didn't arrive until just days before Christmas. That was the year of the dock worker's strike and there sat our tree until the strike was over some months later. It was a big change to go from an 8 foot tree that took days and days to decorate to a four foot pre-lit tree that took just a day to decorate. I think this tree is twelve years old...It's lasted well. I just feel a wee bit sentimental over it.
I thought over our Christmas. Our oldest son and his family arrived Friday evening. We normally avoid having company on John's work week but this time we made an exception because John had one last vacation day to use up Friday night and since Jd had duty Christmas day it seemed the best time for us to get together. It was a busy weekend and gave us plenty of reason yet again to admire the parenting skills of our son and daughter in law. The twins are at the stage of constant movement even though they are crawling. And the three year old rarely stops, because he's three.
We had our Christmas with them on Saturday morning. I tried to get photos of babies opening gifts but most are blurry because they move so much more quickly than I can focus and take a photo! Lori must have been reading my blog because they gave us the nicest coffee maker. It is a dual machine that makes a carafe of coffee or a single cup. I can use ground coffee or pods. It has a clock and the timer can be set to make morning coffee, a feature I mean to learn to use this week while John is off, so I don't have to wait on coffee first thing in the morning.
Samuel came down to visit with them and spent all day and evening. We watched an old favorite Christmas movie that we hadn't seen in years, "The Family Man". Samuel spent the night at Mama's that night. She kindly offered up her home as extension guest quarters. Very generous of her considering she was having a family party Sunday.
I came home from the party planning to whip the house into shape but John wanted me to sit and chat with him until he went to work. I had so many things to do and it was hard not to be antsy but we'd barely seen each other since he'd gone to work Wednesday night. As soon as he left Sunday evening I went to work and didn't stop until 10pm when I fell into bed. Then Monday morning I got up early and started all over again. We'd had the nicest weather possible for the weekend but Monday was gloomy looking and the air was humid. By the time John and I had Harvest morning rain was falling. I went to post bills and do the banking and I'd meant to make yet another grocery store run (isn't that never ending in this season?) but while I was out it began to thunder and lightning and then fog started creeping here and there. I decided I'd make do with what I had and headed home.
I spent the rest of the day baking cookies, cleaning, freshening the guest room, and doing all those sundry things that seem to present themselves when preparing for a holiday visit. It was 9:30 that night before I stopped and I fell into bed and went right to sleep. I groaned when the alarm went off next morning. But I got up and got busy and before coffee had brewed Katie and Samuel were here and John came in shortly after. We had our Christmas together that morning. Katie gave me a beautiful coffee cup and a Starbucks gift card, while Samuel gave me a girly pink tool kit and a much wanted 4 quart casserole dish.
The best gift of all was speaking to the Northern grandchildren. Jo gave us a concert on her new recorder (a gift from Grampa), Lily exulted over her Periwinkle and Tinker Bell dolls, Ross...well Ross said "Hello" and "Fine" and that was pretty much it, lol. Towards the end of the previous week I found a photo of those kids on Facebook, posted by their daddy which pleased us no end to receive.
That day too was busy and at the end of the day when John left for work, I felt happy but worn out and so I ended up collapsed in my chair, which is where we started isn't it? I let my mind wander and worked on lists of things I'd like to do in the house next month. I'm no different than all the rest: a New Year just makes me want to start out fresh and get things organized! For all the work I've done on my house over the years, I'm still not quite finished. There are areas of my home that just aren't working as well as they could. And there are changes I've made that don't look quite right yet.
And shall we briefly mention 'budget'? That too needs some refinement and work. Grocery budget definitely needs a good hard tweak as prices have risen this month. I am sure there are things I can do better.
Then there are the plans, projects, ideas...Oh yes, as soon as my mind was freed from holiday related tasks, inspiration has simply flooded my head with ideas of all sorts.
I finished off Christmas evening listening to and watching The Nutcracker Suite on Ovation channel on TV. Oh it brought back the loveliest memories of the very first time I saw this ballet. I was staying with Granny and it was on TV. I thought about how Granny was forever exposing us to all sorts of things: ballet, symphony, rock music, and hymns; all sorts of books about nature and other countries and encyclopedias, and dictionaries and Classic and modern literature. She took us outdoors and taught us all she knew of our natural surroundings. And of course, she taught us all she understood about spiritual things which was a great deal more than most pastors I've known! Looking back from this distance I was a little surprised at all the 'culture' she'd given us because she grew up a poor country girl and worked hard all her years. However, she understood that the finest things are meant for everyone regardless of income or lot in life. I mean, good literature, good music, an appreciation for nature and an understanding of the role of Faith in our lives, really are the finest of the finest things. I'm so very glad Granny shared those things. What pleasure I've gotten over the years from books and music and nature. And when I was older, what joy I've gained from my faith life.
Well it was a lovely Christmas, truly it was. We returned to 'normal' today, shopping for groceries and running errands. I am hopeful that when John returns to work we will at last settle into a routine that is unbroken by holidays, vacations and such for a few months at least! Or not, lol. One never knows what life will toss at you.
Now it is time for me to close for the evening. Tomorrow will be a busy cleaning day, there are a load of pecans on the ground shaken loose by the heavy winds we had yesterday. So much to do, and then we head into Shabat, that lovely, restful, peaceful and sweet time of the week. Good evening!