Thursday, December 28, 2017

Epiphany or Candlemas Day?

[the only chalk painting I ever did]

Do you take your Christmas decorations down on Epiphany, January 6th? Or even earlier?

Do any of you keep them up until Candlemas Day, on February 2nd as some do traditionally?

We always took down our fresh Christmas tree by New Year's Day but waited until January 6th for everything else.

Not this year, this year we plan to keep them up until Candlemas Day. 

You all know why we couldn't bring ourselves to begin unpacking Christmas things in November. But not only were we heartbroken for the loss of Otis and Milo, RH had just lost a sibling and other dear family members had just learned of a health crisis.

[my mother and father, so romantic in the snow]

We didn't have the heart for it then or even early in December.

[RH and I, no snow but still romantic, right?]

It was nearly Christmas before we slowly finished.

We're going to keep Christmas around for a while, keep it around to enjoy with BreeBree and James Mason, when they come. Watch It's A Wonderful Life with them snuggled between us on the sofa.

[RH and one of his brothers and sister with Santa]

Maybe watch Elf and A Christmas Story, all of the great ones that we weren't in the mood for early.

We'll even leave our Christmas tree up because for the first time ever we didn't put up a fresh tree.

Instead we put up the sparkly tree that was in my dressing room at our old house.

There are vintage fish scale ornaments on it, Made in Poland.

And an odd French prism bought decades ago, never found another one--wish we had a dozen of them.

The tree sits on an old green metal plant stand that normally holds a diffuser and essential oils in my bedroom. The tree snaps securely in the stand and the rim holds a collection of vintage pale green and pink Shiny Brite ornaments.

This tree looks surprisingly just right against the old pine paneling of this room, a fun surprise.

There are other Christmas treasures scattered around the house, even though we shared many of our collections with family when we downsized two years ago. 

These are photos that RH took early one morning while I was still asleep. He turned on only the tree and twinkle lights and snapped these and I was charmed by them. 

We'll see if I really do keep them up until February 2nd. I think they will suit my love of winter because I always shake my head when I see others pining for Spring as soon as New Year's Day passes. Don't they remember the hot days of July and August?

But we'll see. Once I look at my blog friends' pristine January rooms, maybe I'll change my mind.

What about you? When Christmas is over is it over for you? Or do you like to let it linger?

"I sometimes think we expect too much
of Christmas Day.
We try to crowd into it the long arrears
of kindliness and humanity of the whole year.
As for me, I like to take my Christmas
a little at a time, all through the year."
David Grayson in
A Day of Pleasant Bread

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Oh, that I still had the energy I had as the little girl above at Christmas!

Oh, the cookies I meant to bake.

Oh, the posts I meant to write.

And here it is on the eve of Christmas Eve
and little has been done,
especially the visits to all the blog friends
who left such sweet comments to my last post.

I do like to visit everyone before I write another post here at the Window but I can't let this Christmas pass without wishing all of you a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah.

My very best to each of you, enjoy these next few days and treasure those you love!


P.S. Would you like to see what RH and I bought each other for Christmas?

We're hoping to welcome two sweet dachshunds
to claim these new beds in January.

There are new blankets and new toys waiting too.

And a mama and a daddy who already love
BreeBree and James Mason.

RH and I plan to celebrate Christmas a long time
because we got a little late start on it this year.

We hope yours is merry and bright too.

[Sunday morning: Oops, a friend emailed me that I didn't have comments turned on! Sorry, fixing it now but for all those who've already visited, I know you are wishing us a merry Christmas, as we are you.]

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Many Things Help

The lovely golden leaves have fallen since we last talked but I was grateful for them while they lasted. I was also grateful for your emails, thank you so very much.

Family and friends help in a heartsick time, don't they?

Even when it doesn't feel as if your heart is in it, just seeing precious faces around you, hearing them laugh and talk, lightens the sadness. 

We celebrated one son's birthday here with local favorite Centerpoint Barbecue and their amazing barbecue beans. That left me with only potato salad and coleslaw to make. I'm really becoming a believer in make some; buy some company meals.

And have you noticed that more and more we're being encouraged not to "entertain" but to simply "have people over?" I love that, how about you?

I've even noticed a following for a new type of hospitality called "scruffy entertaining," meaning not waiting until everything is perfect before inviting people to your house. Don't deprive yourself of good times breaking bread together just because you haven't done a spic and span clean beforehand.

I know some people are always party-ready but I'm just not, never will be, but I'm going to make a conscious effort not to let that stop me from making memories with my loved ones around the table.

A good dessert goes a long way to finish out an average meal, and the Hershey Bar cake I made for our firstborn's birthday was a hit. He's requested it for his birthday cake ever since I first made it when he was a teenager.

I didn't get a picture of the cake I made for our other family gathering recently. My sweet potato cake was a flop. I'd made it perfectly recently for another son's birthday. I'm blaming it on the oven, another reason for getting a new one soon, right?

The big pot of chili I made the Friday night after Thanksgiving was delicious, even without all the toppings piled on it by one grandson.

We managed to get two sons and their families here for chili that night.

And two grandsons came, one with his wife and son--you know what that makes me and RH, don't you?

I just realized that I don't have a picture of our other grandson who was here, I think because I had him taking pictures for me. Next time, Caleb.

But our great-grandson ate his chili, with onions! Then he got distracted by my new Morvarian Star light hanging over the table when I tried to get him to smile for the camera.

Our local families went home but we were blessed to have our granddaughters and their parents here for the weekend.

And in the mornings were barefoot breakfasts.

Some things do help when you're missing two little dachshunds so very much.

Having loved ones around helps, the beauty of nature helps, for me even baking helps. Maybe it's smelling cinnamon and other spices, maybe it's the beauty of the finished cake that comes out of the oven. Eating a small slice helps, well maybe a big slice. With vanilla ice cream on it.

Getting sympathy cards help because it is a bereavement in the family, make no mistake about that. RH and I even got one from thousands of miles away. 

And beautiful flowers for Thanksgiving from a son helps.

A lot of things help and I've appreciated every one of them during these weeks without our darling Otis and Milo.

"Life renews itself, no matter how much we may suffer.

Whatever beautiful and precious we may have is always ours to keep.

Losing one we love is possible only if we let it be."

Gladys Taber in Stillmeadow Seasons

Our son Zack faced that same loss this week of his beloved Bentley. The coming weeks will be difficult for him and Courtney. They worked hard from June when Bentley was diagnosed with nasal cancer to give him the best of care, and Bentley soldiered on, trying his best to stay here. He stayed as long as he could but then it was time to say goodbye.

It will be a while, Zack and Court, before anything helps. But there will be things that help eventually, so watch for them. 

And Bentley will always be there for you to keep in your heart. Gladys Taber was right about that, as she was about so many things.