Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Going straight to Happy New Year . . .

December in a nutshell . . .

I could breath a sigh of relief when Christmas arrived and I had managed bring enough order to the post room-addition chaos to accommodate at least some of my kids' families and show off the home improvements. A few things went by the wayside to reach that condition. I still have to send out my annual holiday letter, and do my Christmas shopping. And I haven't blogged in over a month.

It's been a busy year, what with trips to France, quilt camp, weddings in San Diego, a sojourn in Yosemite, and sticking it out through the ferocious Rim Fire which burned 257,314 acres between us and Yosemite. And being displaced to various degrees for several months for construction. I guess it was the pressure of the pace that finds me dozing off every time I sit down at the computer since Christmas.

So I'll whisk you through December in photos, although there were some notable occasions when I completely failed to take any.

I tossed an ancient dusty bunch of silk roses in the garage. A kitten found them
and pulled this one out to play with. It brightens up the back deck midst the dry leaves.

In early December, a cold spell hits, dusting the leaves with frost overnight.

Kittens warm themselves in the morning sun.

The NeedleCrafts gals gather on Thursday.

I get my new Possini lamp put together and set up in the
 living room,replacing the old pin-up swing-arm lamp.

I adore Possini lamps!

Dec 7, early in the a.m., snow begins to fall silently.

And it snows and snows, the deepest snow we've seen in years.

Deer romp through the drifts and browse on deer brush.

Sun breaks through the clouds toward sunset.

My TV should have awakened me on Dec 8 with my Sunday morning news shows but it doesn't. That usually means there has been a power flicker that disables the timer, but it's not until I turn the TV on manually at 7, when I get up to put on a cup of coffee and feed the cats, that I hear the buzz from outside. Generator running? It isn't its scheduled time for exercise. I open a window. Yup, it's running. Who knows for how long? But thank goodness the generator was moved out from under the house and reactivated when I had the room addition put on. I'd shut it down years ago when I got carbon monoxide poisoning on one similarly snowy day. It never should have been put under the house in the first place, but Husband had a way of getting his way . . .

I keep in touch with the power company. It has an excellent automated outage reporting system and I always ask for updates about changes, even after bedtime. (Nine o'clock.  Ha ha ha ha. If you've been reading this blog for long, you know that nine o'clock is a long way before my bedtime.) I was getting updates about every two hours. At seven p.m. I got an update that said power would be on, or I'd be given a new estimate, at nine. Twenty minutes later, power came on.

When the snow plow cleared the streets, they left big snow berms across both ends of my U-shaped driveway, so I don't try to leave the property until Monday. I plow through the iceberg on the least-steep end of the driveway with my little all-wheel-drive SUV.

Power outages had been shorter in other areas of our development and in town, but here you can see dirt and debris by the sides of and across the road, and the sawed up tree segments where a big tree came down from the left and took out the power lines on the right. That's what took so long to clear up our outage.

This is the lake on Wednesday at sundown. The snow has melted some
by this fourth day since it fell, but it's still very cold, so it's not disappearing very fast.

I got tired of hanging my jackets on door jambs (it's always a fight to keep cats out of closets when I actually want to put my coat away) and there are people coming for Christmas, so I ordered a coat tree. It's a bit awkward to assemble, due to the funny angles. I thought it would look good near the Possini lamp, but it doesn't. It will have to do until I find the perfect solution. (Note the boxes and piles of DVDs on the right.)

The media shelf arrives, so I can get the DVDs out of big storage boxes.
Guess what? More assembly required.

The back is cardboard. Henley thought it was great fun to land in the middle of it
while I was trying to tack it to the edges. Happily there is room for expansion of the DVD collection.

Sister invites me for dinner on Dec 15 so I'll have a real meal. My tendency is to walk into the kitchen in the evening, look around and go "Meh!"  Then heat a bowl of soup or a burrito. Or even a bowl of oatmeal. CORRECTION: What's pictured is what was served at the RV club's Christmas celebration at a local hotel. Sister had bought a meatloaf at Costco that she thought was precooked, a handy meal after traveling up to her house in the mountains. It wasn't. We had to wait a little bit extra for the cooking to take place. That's salmon on a bed of wild rice. I tried to brighten up the photo with faux photoshop tricks, but I didn't do it right.  Coffee with whipped cream, and ice cream. I remember that this would have been Husband's and my 35th anniversary.

The next day I join my two Sisters-In-Law ( Husband's sisters) for luncheon at Dori's Tea Cottage. I have the Ceylon Sonata tea with the meal and the best ever double espresso bean gelato for dessert.

Rose has finished this sweater, all but for tying off the loose ends of yarn,
at another Thursdays Out.

CNN playing hardball with cable networks about rate increases.
Our small town cable network protests the size of the hit.
I suffer the angst of a news junky cut off from her 24/7 news source.

The night before Christmas and my window and deck rails are finally festooned
 with colored lights. It's the full extent of my Christmas decorating for 2013.

There's a massive crunch on Tuesday and Christmas morning to get the boxes that have been stored in the newly designated guest room consolidated on the racks at one end of the room so the two dressers and couch/bed I got from Granddaughter earlier in the year can be placed for use by Daughter and Granddaughter. I leave the heavy lifting for the two grandsons and the granddaughter to move the furniture into position when they arrive Christmas afternoon, and to haul trash and other heavy stuff out for Grandma. I've finally organized my new quilting studio and the Grandsons will have mats and sleeping bags to camp out on the floor in there.

I'm also in charge of making bean soup and corn meal muffins for the Christmas evening supper. Sister and BIL will be bringing desserts over and Daughter and her crew will do cheese.

Youngest Grandson presents me with this bouquet as he arrives.

They come with a car and a truck -- my truck, on its journey home after being used by Daughter for several months -- and bags and boxes of gifts and food and bedding are hauled in and allocated among the rooms. 

Son is working night shift on Christmas and won't be able to head for the mountains from the Central California coast until after breakfast. He's bringing his Daughter (the second Granddaughter who will be with us this year) and his BTB. She calls him her Fish Nancy, because the word fiancé sounds strange to her, so I figure BTB is Bride-to-Be, so she won't feel awkward being called a fiancée. They are in charge of bringing lunch for the day. Granddaughter, who's studying the culinary arts, is making salmon cakes.

Jean-Luc checks the additions to the pile of presents that came with Son and crew.

Once lunch is out of the way, it's time for the presents.
Son is "persuaded" to pose in blow-up Santa beard, flanked by Granddaughter and BTB.

Youngest Grandson actually plays the role of Santa, which, in our family, means handing out presents one at a time. The youngest person there usually gets tagged for the job. For the most part, we wait to see what someone gets before someone else gets a turn. This slips a bit as the day goes by. 

Sister has volunteered to serve dinner at her house so we all migrate across the development after the presents are opened and stowed and dishes done at my house. Hors d'oeuvres are waiting when we arrive and the leg of lamb is roasting. Kids are paring and cutting up vegetables to roast along with the lamb.

Son, his Daughter and his BTB are staying at Sister's house for the night, so they migrate into their quarters there.

And I took no photos of the dinner! Nor a family photo. All the things I wish I had done, I forgot.

Sister gets to relax after dinner and enjoy some kitty-love from Bentley.

Son has volunteered to cook breakfast on Friday morning at Sister's house before everyone heads for home via Yosemite. Youngest Granddaughter is frying beignets, eggs are being scrambled, coffee brewed, veggies warmed, table set, and we all chow down again. Sister and I have decided to go to Yosemite, too, since neither of us have been up since the fire to see how much damage is visible from the road. BIL decided to stay home and oversee the manor. I could not find my camera when we headed out from Sister's house, and we stopped by my house on the way and still couldn't find it. So no Yosemite pictures!  (Did any of you get a picture of Em doing the yoga pose on the edge of the Merced River canyon at the Half Dome view point?)

And then at the end of the day, we reassemble after scattering for the afternoon for a hot toddy in the Great Room at the Ahwahnee Hotel. It's dark when Sister and I get home to Our Little Town.

Entertaining intimidates me. I don't know whether it has always been this way, but to ease my hesitancy, Daughter volunteered the younger generations to take care of the cooking. And I think Sister was in on that too. I must say I was pampered by children and grandchildren. Any time I seemed about to get up or do something, it was "I'll do it Grandma (or Mama)." There was a line up of kids giving back and neck massages to me and to each other. When they left, I had only a sky high pile of washed pots and pans to put away. I really felt pampered. Thank you, kidlinks. I love you all, including those who spent Christmas elsewhere.



  1. I can't take credit for the food picture you attributed to me. Perhaps it was the RV Club dinner at the Big Hotel?

    1. Do you mean the hors d'oeuvres? The photo falls between a picture of the holiday table and you with Bentley, so it happened at your house. Did the handy guests do it? They were like magic. They never asked me where anything in the kitchen was kept, but found everything for the task at hand.

    2. Yup! Further review of the play overturns the original identification. It is the meal at the hotel and not at MOG 92's. (See correction in the original text.) Sister's meatloaf had its own story.

    3. That's "92 MOG." I shouldn't try to think before breakfast.

  2. A lovely December! Good to see you back to blogging, too. I need to try to recap my month but it flew by really fast!