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.

A Studio – 12/30/2019

As a fiber artist that is acquiring more pieces of equipment with which to use/play, the loft was beginning to look cluttered. Since we rid the loft of the peeling pleather love seat and replaced it with a wooden rocking chair that was a catch all in our bedroom, there was more space between our chairs and the TV wall. I wanted a studio, an organized place for my tools, fiber, packing boxes for the online shop and my shop records.

I could have moved it all to the basement, but if I did, I would rarely be in the same room with hubby and since our computers, router, and printer are in the loft, it made more sense to reorganize the space available. The loft has a large roll top desk that was a gift to hubby about 37 years ago and it has lots of drawers and the printer on top, it is a good place for the shop records, labels, and cardstock used to tag yarn, garments made, and body products. The desk is behind our chairs. By shifting the chairs forward a few feet, there is still plenty of room to the wall with the TV, still room for the rocking chair and lateral file that acts as a side table as well, but gave me room to reorganize.

Before I started, my huge walking wheel which is functional but mostly a display piece was shoved back in the corner. It was pulled forward against the railing.

The cube unit that has bins of fiber fit against the side of the desk, moving it off the back wall, the built in cubby shelves were cleaned and reorganized, making space for bins with flattened boxes and bubble wrap. The bookcase that has tools, books, and yarn samples was shifted, the spinning stool moved to the other side of it and currently holding baskets that have yet to be sorted out. That made room for the 5′ tri loom.

I am currently weaving on the rigid heddle loom, so my spinning wheel is in front of the tri loom. If I want to spin, the table with the loom on it will be swapped or I will pull up the padded desk chair and spin.

When the craft of the day is weaving on the tri loom, the rigid heddle or spinning wheel just need to be shifted forward or to one side to give me space to work.

I dislike clutter and disorganization. It is frustrating to look for something and can’t find it or have to move things around to get to it. I can be in the room with hubby as he watches TV or works on his computer and still enjoy my fiber crafts. My comfy chair is still by his, a place to knit, read, spin, or weave, but by turning it around or swapping equipment, I can keep things organized.

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.