Thursday, December 30, 2021

New Year's Eve Eve

 Today I took down the Christmas tree and all of the holiday decorations. I carefully packed away the delicate glass icicles first, followed by our most treasured and fragile ornaments, then the sturdier wooden/fabric/shatterproof ornaments, then the tree itself. Next came the candleholders, the decorative plates, the candy dishes, the lighted garlands and wreath. All that's left to do is to have my husband crawl up into the attic when he gets home tonight so I can hand the boxes up to him. Christmas 2021 will be in the books.

The house looks so dark and devoid of sparkle, now. It's a relief to get everything packed away, but I'll miss the warm light in the house. We still have the rest of the winter to get through. Speaking of which, it's been a freakishly warm Christmas this year. An old Southern (originally English) proverb says, "Warm Christmas, fat graveyard". With Covid cases spiking dramatically again it's (sadly) almost bound to come true next year. So many people still refuse to get vaccinated or to take proper precautions. Winter weather should return by this weekend, with below-freezing temperatures at night. I, for one, will be glad to see normal January temperatures. It just seems wrong to run your air conditioner over Christmas!

Tomorrow night will be our typically quiet New Year's Eve. We'll be at home, staying safe from Covid and drunk drivers, watching movies and maybe opening a bottle of champagne around 11pm. Since I'm the only one who drinks, part of the bottle will be saved for mimosas New Year's morning. I bought black eyed peas to cook (with the bone I saved from our Christmas ham) along with two large bunches of fresh collards for our dinner. That's supposed to take care of our luck and money for next year. 

When do you take down holiday decorations? Do you have plans for tomorrow night? I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Wrapping up the holidays

 Hello, friends, and Happy Holidays!

It's been a nice Christmas at my house, the best we've had in years. Gregg had four days off in a row starting on Christmas Eve, so we've spent a lot of time together just enjoying ourselves. There have been lots of friends around, lots of good food and good cheer, visits with family. Speaking of which, Gregg's sister Karen is here at the moment, spending a couple of days with us. Once she leaves tomorrow, we'll take down the tree and the decorations and Christmas will be put away for another year. It's been fun, but I'm ready to go back to regular life now that it's almost New Year.

One final thing I should mention about this holiday season: it's been a full decade, exactly 10 years, that Gregg has survived cancer! When he was diagnosed with stage 3b lung cancer the week before Christmas in 2011, to say his prognosis was grim would be a bit of an understatement. Thanks to three wonderful doctors, determination to do whatever it took to fight, and, if I'm being honest, a whole lot of dumb luck, here he is 10 years later, cancer-free and healthy. I'm so very grateful!

Anyway, so my sister in law is here today and tomorrow. She's still asleep as I type this; she's a night owl who stays up very late and then sleeps late. This works out well for me. Gregg just went back to work this morning, and while she sleeps it gives me my first chance in a week to have a little alone time. Late this afternoon I plan to cook a nice dinner for the three of us, and that's going to be my last "hurrah" of the season. I've cooked and baked and cleaned, and cooked and baked and cleaned (wash, rinse, repeat!) over the last few weeks. I made cookie and treat trays for half a dozen neighbors, gave out small homemade fruitcakes to my book club friends, sent out over two dozen cards, wrapped a few small gifts, and made a big spread of finger food and a ham on Christmas Eve (to share with friends who stopped by). I'm happy Karen's here and happy to cook a nice meal for her visit, but when she leaves tomorrow it will be good to officially be done with Christmas. I'm tired. Luckily, I don't go back to work until next Tuesday so I should have plenty of time to rest and relax. 

 Here are a few pictures from the last week or so. 


I hope you all have had a very happy holiday season!

Saturday, December 18, 2021


Seeing my first ballet last night, Cinderella, was a real treat. The music, the dancers, and the costumes were just beautiful. And if I'm being very honest, the view from Prince Charming's backside while he danced was an absolute delight! Martina and I, as well as the two women from her office that were there with us, all agreed on this last point. 

Here are a few (not so great) photos I snapped towards the end.


And here's a playbill I picked up as a souvenir....

Afterwards Martina and I stopped for coffee and a light meal before heading home. What a spectrum of culture in one night....from the ballet to the Waffle House! :)

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Busy,'s that time of year!

For the last two weeks I've tried to make my desk at work a haven of festive good cheer for the school. The holidays are almost here, after all!  I'm in the front lobby, the first point of contact for parents and the public, as well as being situated right between the 6th and 7th grade halls. I've been using one of my computer monitors (I have two) to pull up a crackling fire and instrumental Christmas music on YouTube every day. There's a tiny decorated tree with colorful lights on the edge of my desk. Best of all (as far as the students are concerned) I've been filling a small red and green basket with Christmas candy each morning and being very generous with it. Ho ho ho!

Thank God tomorrow is our last day before the break, because the kids have been attracted to my candy bowl like moths to a flame and I'm about to go broke! :)  It's amazing what they'll do for a piece of cheap candy; one little boy who was always in trouble came asking for some early on, and I made a deal with him. If he stayed out of ISS (in-school suspension) and I didn't get any discipline referrals on him, he could come get a piece of candy between classes. It worked! Little Clarence hasn't been in trouble for two weeks, which is a major accomplishment for him. One afternoon he hesitated at my desk, clearly wanting something, so I said, "What is it, Clarence?" Of course, I was thinking he was about to ask for candy again. Instead, he gave me a huge hug, said, "I needed that!", and ran off to catch his bus. You could have knocked me over with a feather! So sweet. Lots of other kids have figured out that if they stop by and ask politely, I'll give them candy. All of a sudden I'm about 10 times more popular than I used to be! Haha.

It's been a busy, busy week. Our book club Christmas party was last night, George had a vet appointment yesterday afternoon (I had to rush home from work to make it). Today I had to leave work for a couple of hours to go to an eye appointment. I feel like I've been rushing around nonstop every day. 

Tomorrow night after work I have plans with my friend Martina. She had an extra ticket to an Ukrainian ballet performance of Cinderella touring the area, and she invited me to be her "date".  We're going to get a late dinner somewhere afterwards, too. I'm really looking forward to it, having never been to a ballet. Then there's a lunch with other friends on Saturday, more holiday baking Saturday afternoon (I made fruitcakes last weekend, now it's going to be sugar cookies) and then on Sunday we have a dinner party invitation from a bachelor friend of Gregg's. I haven't met this friend yet, so I have no idea what to expect, but it sounds like fun! 

Next week as we approach Christmas I hope to have more down time and solitude. I'm enjoying this week, but it's been a bit stressful too. At heart I'm an introvert (you'd never know it to meet me) and all this socializing is going to wear me out if I'm not careful. It's already a tiny bit past my comfort zone, but I'm soldiering on. 

Hopefully I'll have more time for blog reading and blog commenting after tomorrow, too. I can't wait to catch up with all of you! 

Monday, December 13, 2021

Gotcha Day!

Happy 8th "Gotcha Day" to our sweet, goofy, handsome boy, George! 

(Seen here patiently enduring being wrapped in tinsel garland and posed by the Christmas tree. Just look at that poor face!)

We love you, sweet Georgie! You're the best good boy!

Monday, December 6, 2021


On my way home from work today I stopped by the nearest liquor store and picked up a bottle of brandy. Christmas is coming, and I'm making fruitcakes!

I'd already been buying dried fruits to use: cherries, dates, apricots, golden raisins, black raisins, prunes, and pineapple. They're all chopped up now and marinating happily in the whole bottle of booze. These are going to be "spirited" cakes!  The nuts I'm using (almonds, pecans, and walnuts) won't get added until the last minute. After all, nobody wants soggy nuts!

Friday, December 3, 2021

One day we'll write a book

When you work at a school, you never know what the day might bring. Everyone knows the expression "kids say the darndest things" but parents can be pretty wacky, too. Yesterday was a case in point. I took a message that might be my favorite in almost 5 years of working there. When I shared it with the rest of the staff, hilarity ensued. We all needed a good laugh, I think.

Side note: thank you all for the good wishes and support on my last post. Everyone continues to improve, even my dad, who was released from the hospital on Wednesday