Outside my window I can see the winter sun struggling to make its presence known. It is warm, 61 F warm, too early for such temperatures. The weatherman tells us another front is coming through and the temperatures will drop to seasonal. I am counting on it, I enjoy the cold, crisp days of January and February.
The unseasonably warm weather was perfect to don a sport skirt and go running this morning, my first in several weeks. I am now mostly inside for the day. John, his sons and the dog are in Alabama celebrating Christmas with his family. I am picking up and doing this and that in the quietness of the house. The family will roll back in tomorrow and settle in for another week. I look forward to it!
Christmas came and went quickly for us this year. Between an upper respiratory infection, our trip to Quebec, John’s lingering exhaustion from a stomach virus and the puppy getting her version of a several day stomach virus, we completed everything that had to get done and let the rest slide. Looking back, what we did was all we needed to do. After all, Christmas memories center around times spent with family and friends and for us, a little seasonal travel. Gifts , decorations and undone household tasks fade to the background.
One of my favorite memories of the season will be our 2nd annual weekend before Christmas gathering with six old friends (old and friends :). We met at one of our local breweries (Printshop) located a little less than a mile from the house to raise a pint to the season. We spent an hour struggling to hear conversation in an echoing old building (printshop actually) with high, bare ceilings and cement floors . Even the addition of local art on the walls did not help.
After drinks we adjourned to the home of one of the couples in the group to dine on chili, mushroom barley soup and salad. From there lots of lively conversation ensured including everyone’s favorite topic, US politics. This topic takes up too much of our conversations these days. Luckily all of us fall on the right side of the issue, I should say, on the left side of the issue so our conversation was spent commiserating and discussing the 2020 election. I wish I had taken a group photo but did not think about it until we left. I did get a picture of our festive and delicious dessert (Anything Bundt Cake). Chocolate-chocolate chip cake with buttercream frosting anyone?
The puppy delighted and entertained John and me during the holidays providing hours of cuteness and silliness. John has a bad habit of dressing her up and Katie has a bad habit of sticking her nose into everyone’s business. In this case John dressed her in a strand of lights when she stuck her nose in John’s business which, at the moment was stringing lights on our tree. That’s what nosiness gets a pup. Anyway, she hates anything on her back so she laid down in surrender till the photo was taken and lights were removed.
She also got a pre-Christmas bath. While she loves to swim she will run and hide at bath time, which she did as soon as John said “Katie” and started running bath water. She thought she was hidden by hanging out on the porch but again her curiosity got the best of her and she came inside to see if John was lurking about. SURPRISE !!!! Oh, the life of a poor little puppy….
For the past eight years, visiting the cemetery to lay a holiday wreath on the bench where my parents ashes are buried has become a part of my Christmas tradition. If for some reason I don’t make it, John does it for me. He was raised with the southern tradition of cemetery decorating, I was not.
The day we visited was cool and grey. The hill where the bench is located has a magnificent view of the Great Smoky Mountains. On this day a thick blanket of clouds lay nestled low in the mountains. My dad would be quite pleased with the sight. Laying a wreath on the bench this day made me smile and feel grateful for the unconditional love given to me by these two people and a lifetime of happy Christmas memories. I miss them.
On the eve before Christmas Eve, crazy wrapping happened in our house, but ribbons on those packages never did.
These three Santas, the Three Amigos, supervised everything.
When Christmas Day finally arrived, my younger sister hosted our family brunch. We are a small group, even smaller on this day because Leslie’s husband went to his family’s Christmas morning celebration and my husband stayed at home with his sons.
We had our family favorites: cheese grits , sausage, biscuits and gravy , quiche and fresh fruit (the only healthy thing on the table) . We ate, drank coffee, talked and lingered in each other’s company till it was time for me to leave to celebrate with John and the boys. I did get a picture of “the sisters” but we look tired and, well, ready for the holidays to be over…..except maybe my older sister (middle) who looks pretty put together. BTW, I am wearing pearls purchased in Quebec. Don’t tell but they are my anniversary gift, I got to wear them early then put them back in the box.
Christmas with John and my stepsons was next. Luckily they had already had brunch so I didn’t have to eat again till late afternoon. Here are Daniel and Lee, one lives in Houston, the other in Davis, CA. We don’t get to see them often enough.
Evening arrived, we dined on beef tenderloin. Soon afterwards the boys scattered to visit local friends leaving John and me home to begin the post holiday cleanup.
And that’s a Christmas 2019 wrap…..