Happy New Year to All – 1/1/2020

There I did it! I wrote 2020 for the first time. The old calendar is down, the traditional new one is up. For several years, daughter had a special calendar made for us each year with family photos, some years of current pictures, one year of photos or our children and grandchildren from years before. When she moved back to Virginia and we could see them regularly, hubby began getting a calendar published by a local artist with his paintings from around our rural, mountain region.

Most years of our married life, we have stayed home, watched the ball in NY Times square drop, snacked on the traditional cheese, sausage, and crackers, shared a toast of the last of the season’s eggnog at midnight and gone to bed.

Prior to having children, we often left the day after Christmas with the local ski club or a ski shop trip and went to Vermont to ski, often having a New Year’s Eve Party in whatever hotel we were booked and returning home on the bus on New Year’s Day. Once we were retired and living in the mountains on our retirement farm, we started seeking out a local party, making reservations, to spend New Year’s Eve with others. The first one of those we did was a poor meal and a poorer party, leaving shortly after the toast and driving home.

We are fortunate to live just a few miles downhill from Mountain Lake Resort, of Dirty Dancing fame. Three years ago, I spotted a billboard for a New Year’s Eve Party there, that included a wonderful meal in their Harvest Restaurant, party with band, favors, and champagne midnight toast, room, and breakfast also in their Harvest Restaurant. We booked a reservation, went and had a great time, meeting new people as you sit at round tables seating 10 and getting to know other folks that came to party. No drive home after midnight and a couple adult beverages, just a walk upstairs to your room. That year our daughter and her family were living with us prior to purchasing their home and they took care of the dogs.

Last year, the management decided the event required a 2 night stay. Living so close and the increased cost, we decided to skip it, instead going to a movie, having a snack at the theater’s restaurant, coming home to watch the ball drop once again. Apparently, the management’s decision cost them many other partiers besides up and this year they returned to a single night stay requirement. We made our reservations several months ago and figured that if we fed the dogs before we left, hubby drove back down the mountain between dinner and the party to let them out and lock them back in the house, and took advantage of the breakfast on the early end, that we could go and have fun.

Lots of age variation sharing an evening of frivolity. Entirely too much adult beverage consumed by many of them. Party hats, tiaras, and party horns, a DJ with the whole gamut of music from rock and roll, disco, R & B, country, rap, you name it, and a champagne toast after the count down. We had a great time, awoke to cold wind and snow flurries, a hot breakfast, and a drive halfway back down the mountain to our home. The dogs survived as did the chickens that didn’t get locked up last night.

We are grateful for the health to enjoy a fun night out, the means to afford it occasionally, the company of old and new friends. We wish you and yours a happy and prosperous year ahead.

Old Habits Die Hard – 12/29/2019

When our children were young, I could hardly wait for Thanksgiving to pass so I could decorate for Christmas. Wreaths with bows on all the front windows, candles in every window. We had an artificial tree, so it could be put up and left for a month. My Santa collection on shelves and mantel. Once daughter was old enough to recognize that her birthday was right after Thanksgiving insisted that I not decorate until after her birthday, so the most I would do is sneak up a door wreath.

When we would visit hubby’s parents after Christmas, I was always bothered that my mother in law no longer decorated, to the point that on a couple of occasions when they weren’t coming to us and hubby’s sister for the holidays, I sent a small decorated potted fir tree to them. I didn’t understand. As I have aged, it has become more difficult to haul the big plastic bins up from the basement to decorate, but eldest son and his family, then later daughter and her family lived here and it was fun decorating for the grandkids and I had help hauling bins around.

This year I was very late attempting any level of decorating. I got the huge artificial wreath decorated with the hand stitched ornaments made by my sister in law and step mom, the collectible Santas and gnomes, the door wreath out and up, tiny tree decorated with Hallmark minis, and quit. That wasn’t done until at least the second week of December. About a week and a half before Christmas, we went to cut our tree and got it decorated, which gave me the incentive to get the rest of the Santas and Christmas linens out.

It hasn’t felt like Christmas. With temperatures in the upper 50’s to mid 60’s except for the ice storm, it has just been too warm.

But when I was still a work outside of the home gal, I traditionally took down the decorations either the weekend after Christmas or New Year’s Day. Since I retired, the decorations sometimes stayed up longer. This year I am already done with having it up. It is more difficult to dust and vacuum, the dogs tails were knocking ornaments off the tree with no packages under it to make them keep their distance. A couple of days ago, I put baskets, crates, low stools, and other obstacles in the way to keep them away, but that looked so tacky.

This morning, after my morning coffee, I took the decorations off of the tree, unplugged the mini tree, and brought the tree ornament boxes up and boxed it away. After lunch, the tree was hauled out of the house and off to the woods and the few fallen needles vacuumed up. The wreath on the sled on the front porch and the door wreath are down. The door wreath will be replaced with the winter one, the little garden banner by the front door replaced with a generic winter one. The linens washed and folded and packed away along with the little tree, wall hangings, and soft sculpture decorations. The Santas and Gnomes are still up, but it takes a full day to decorate and a full day to pack it up and I prefer to split it up into two or three days.

Over the next few days, the rest will be packed away for another year and I will celebrate Old Christmas in Colonial costume at Wilderness Road Regional Museum.

The Rabbit Hole has deepened – 12/25/2019

My love added to my fiber toys this morning. Under the tree was an Ashford Samplet 16″ rigid heddle loom.

We began our morning with Huevos Rancheros, a dish I traditionally fix on Christmas and New Year’s mornings. It is a special treat for him, one he grew up with. It was just us this morning so no rush on opening gifts, he already had most of his with his new leather chair and his refurbished “new” computer, but there were a few minor surprises under the tree for him.

We took gifts to daughter’s house and had an exchange with them, then home and I upacked the loom box.

When our house was being built, I made several 5 gallon buckets of home-made paste floor wax. The instructions said to wax or seal the wood before assembly, so I opened on of the remaining buckets, scooped out a tin full of the wax and spent about an hour hand waxing the pieces. Then assembly commenced.

With my recent lesson, having warped my friend’s borrowed loom, and the very detailed instruction booklet, I successfully warped the loom with some of my hand spun dk weight yarn.

My stocking contained a Barnes and Noble gift card, so a book or two of projects and techniques will be added to my growing collection of craft and fiber history books, several had been added by eldest son’s family for my birthday and Christmas. The booklet with the loom has a sample scarf with instructions for several different weaving techniques to try in the meantime.

The Let it Snow box in the photo above was the gift from daughter and her family. Treats and a beautiful cribbage game in a wooden box. I used to play it with my Dad and plan to refresh my skills and teach her and her kids.

Youngest son and his family sent us a pair o mugs with all of our grandchildren represented on them. Tonight I am enjoying my evening tea from mine.

As a Christmas bonus, the year old hens produced 3 eggs today. We have been getting 1 or 2, and I have never had hens lay in the winter before. Such a treat to still be getting farm fresh eggs to eat and cook with this time of year.

I think my favorite gift from hubby today is a tiny music box in my stocking.

It plays, “You Are My Sunshine.”

Here’s hoping you had Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah.