Christmas Spice

I realize all relationships have different personalities but when it comes to marriage the differences in personalities between a couple can make for much interest, challenge and yes, humor. When those differences no longer can be seen in a humorous vein, that is what I guess we could call the spice of life.
My husband, Jim and I have a very spicy relationship. It’s not a sugar n’ spice type of relationship; it’s more of a vinegar and chips sort. When life’s chips are down we are always there for each other but as two strong personalities, we often disagree on the way things are done. He’s a lefty, I’m right-handed. I’m small and thin while he is extra large and tall; he’s gruff and manly I am more soft spoken, yet deadly in my meaning. He talks to phone solicitors and I hang up on them. He gives to many charities without checking them out first and I give only to the ones I know I can trust. I have been disabled for many years while he has always been very healthy, less so in recent years.

I have often said, when we were in high school he was kind of boy my parents wouldn’t let me date. He was his vice principal’s worst nightmare, cutting class, smoking when he felt like it while I was Miss Goodie Two-shoes and a good little Baptist girl. He lived a few towns away from me where he joined the army right out of high school while I was off to Christian college. Well, my friends, as time and only time and life can do, it bent us, shaped us and sent us out to learn and grow smarter. When we met, we were in our thirties, both divorced and both interested in medicine. We met at a hospital where we both worked, I as an RN and Jim a Respiratory Therapist and that was the beginning of an interesting, loving yet often salty relationship. As all good marriages must, we blended our lives together, each bringing our own memories, families and customs into play. That blending, both sweet and sour is never more obvious than during the holidays. The annual choosing of the Christmas tree was a matter of much contention for many years which reminds me when looking back on them, how much fun those times were.

One particular year stands out in my mind as being fun in a somewhat perverse way, something like watching a horror flick on TV but being unable to change the channel. It was time for our annual trek to the Christmas tree farm to choose our tree. That particular year, since we no longer owned a truck, we had the choice of transporting and hauling the tree on a brand-new car, my husband’s, which was out of the question if one valued their life or my little blue Mustang convertible. Naturally, we both opted for my convertible. Only in California is it fairly common to see someone fetch a Christmas tree in a convertible. Many things can be said about it and I guess the word “festive” would be that word.

On arriving at the tree farm, we were handed the yuletide measuring pole used for measuring the height of the tree one chose. The trees were beautiful as always as their sap filled the air conjuring memories from Christmases past. I asked the owner, a sweet, elderly woman, “What if the pole isn’t as tall as the tree we choose?”

She replied, “Oh my dear, that won’t happen. That pole is twelve feet tall.”

Poor thing, little did she know she was speaking to the Paul Bunyan of all Christmas tree buyers. I couldn’t help it. I used to simply lose it at Christmas time. I have changed since then but at that time in my life, I became addict like, seeking the largest tree on the lot. Jim, who knew that about me treated me with tolerance and firmness. Trudging through the boggy furrows of the farm, we eventually reach the back row of trees. This was to fulfill the old Christmas tree adage, “One always chooses the Christmas tree located the farthest from one’s vehicle.”

As we were seeking our tree for the year, Jim uttered a remark I had never heard him say nor have I since. He said, “No, that one is too small.” I couldn’t believe it but thought it was a good sign. We finally settled on a lovely, majestic Monterey pine which stood as tall as the twelve-foot pole. Once again, I uttered a word of thanks that we had an old Victorian with twelve-fourteen foot ceilings throughout the house. Jim went to fetch the saw while I stood guard lest some other tall tree zealot, strike that, aficionado, came along and wanted my tree.

Felling the tree always gives one a sense of wastefulness but thankfully, for me that feeling never lasted too long. Could we go to a tree farm where they had a tractor, an electric cart or better yet a sleigh and eight reindeer? Oh no, not us. We two were on our own dragging a 150 pound tree to my convertible.

The elderly proprietor now accompanied by her gray-haired husband asked us how tall our tree was. Jim replied, “Oh, she had to have one of those giant Sequoia’s in the back row.”

After paying for our now beloved tree we hauled it to the convertible. As you can imagine a twelve-foot tree totally fills a top down convertible, the tree looking for all intents and purposes like the owner of the car being chauffeured about. The trunk of the tree sat next to Jim in the passenger seat while I, the guilty party who had to have this particular tree was squished into a six-inch space beside 500 wet yet wonderfully fragrant branches. At that time in my life I did not have a six-inch sitter, therefore it made for an interesting ride but, having read the expression on my husband’s face, I did not complain…keeping in the spirit of Christmas and self-preservation, etc.

After arriving at our old house, we proceeded to drag it up the porch stairs and squeezed it through the doorway. We placed the tree stand on the trunk and proceeded to erect our majestic, wonderfully sappy tree. Of course, another age-old yuletide custom began to enact itself as the huge tree began to lean. That year, having been through this “custom” before, I was prepared. I had wire, wall hooks, hammer, saw and nails all at the ready, just in case. We carefully wired the odiferous and sticky tree to the wall with not just one but three pieces of wire. That baby wasn’t going anywhere. Little did we know. We stood back to survey our work. It was perfect. I then proceeded to pour a gallon of water into the stand lest the pour tree stump dried over before the giant could drink.

Relieved beyond words, my negative husband went downstairs to utter expletives to himself and to make a sandwich. I, more charged than ever, began to pull out Christmas lights, ornaments and garland. Then something strange began to happen. Our tall, perfectly stable, wired giant tree began to lean precariously and dangerously toward the window in the living room. “Oh, Honey, I think you’d better come up here,” I said.

“Don’t tell me,” he said from the kitchen below.

Believe me, I wouldn’t have told him if I had any other way to go at that particular moment. He came up, sandwich in hand and removed the wires. We cajoled and rotated the 150-pound giant tree, recalcitrant and heavy as it was. It didn’t seem to matter what we did or what position it was in the tree did would not stand without leaning. Despite our best efforts, gravity won every time.

“That’s it!” Jim shouted. “This is the last year we have a Christmas tree. No, I mean it, you mark my words. This is it.”

“Now, Jim, don’t say something you’re going to regret. I’m sure we can work this out,” I said.

I’m one of those people, if I had been aboard the Titanic would have said with my last moist breath, “The cavalry will arrive anytime, I know it will.”

My husband is the type of individual who would have said were he onboard, “With my luck this ship will go down during dinner.”

Our best efforts continued to be futile. Jim stood there surveying the tree, without a shred of Christmas spirit, “Well, I think we should haul this thing out onto the front yard, douse it with gasoline and set it on fire.”

“Now, Jim. Don’t be ridiculous,” I said.

“Ridiculous is what we’re doing. No, I’m absolutely serious. If we get a tree at all next year it will be an artificial one from Sears.”

To this I reply, “Not while I’m alive.” This I say, to a large man with very sharp saw in his hands.

“Don’t tempt me,” said he.

“Jim, we have to do something. I’m not going to let you burn this beautiful tree. How about if we cut some more off of the bottom?” I said.

“Okay,” he said. “We’ll try it but if that doesn’t work…out she goes. Okay, Sue, get the water out of there.”

“Me,” I reply. “Why not you?” If looks could kill I’d have been one dead optimist. “I don’t know how to get it out of the tree stand. What do you want me to do, suck it out?” There it was again. At best, that look from him had Divorce Court written all over it. Is Divorce Court still on television?

“Okay, I know what we’ll do,” I said. “I’ll get a couple of blankets, put them around it to soak up all the water and you tip it over.” Jim rolled his eyes toward heaven, obviously seeking Divine help.

He said, “Okay, I think it’s a stupid idea but we’ll try it.”

I placed two large blankets next to the tree and he dumped out the water. My one gallon of water, which then looked like five gallons, began to flow out…but in the opposite direction of the blankets. Chasing the water, I picked up the blankets and threw them at the water flow. Losing my Christmas spirit, the room was now filled with a massive tree, flowing water and two angry human beings.

While looking totally disgusted, Jim asked me, “Isn’t that one the electric blanket?”

I replied, “Sure it is. I thought I’d get it nice and saturated then ask you to hold it while I plugged it in!”

Of course, it wasn’t the electric blanket, only a look-alike. Our daughter entered the room at that point, assessed the situation and said, “Hey, I’m out of here.” I knew she was a smart girl. Then the magic of Christmas came to our rescue. We, or rather he, sawed about four inches off the bottom of that huge tree, we stood it in the stand and magically, it stayed. We placed one wire on it to keep the dog or cat from toppling it. We had a Saint Bernard in those days and it was a genuine concern. We had a wonderful Christmas that year and every year since then.

We, like many of you have evolved into smaller trees, and often an artificial one as part of our bodies became troublesome. Of course, we all grow wiser and realize the joys of Christmas are outwardly displayed in trees, décor, presents and a brightly lit home but the true spirit of Christmas lies within. May your within spirit match your outward spirit this year as you think back on Christmases past, loved ones gone, loved ones still present and the joys that never die. The older I grow, the more I understand why older relatives were always talking about the past. Both Jim and I have had our families taken from us in recent years yet the memories of loved ones are strong and true. They are kept like rare collectibles and are especially enjoyed and revisited during this sacred season. May each of you enjoy, relish and savor your Holy days, whatever you choose to celebrate in the spirit of love and thankfulness. AS for us we thank the gift from God in the form of the Christ child.

46 thoughts on “Christmas Spice

  1. That was lovely sue.like a little novella yep that’s Christmas all those differences and yet so much still the same
    I went to a tree festival in the Abbey near us..it was the usual but it’s that usual that is the delight in Christmas .i hadn’t been for a while and I sat looking at the altar and said in my mind …well I’m here then..and sat waiting for something ..only nearly cried for times past.
    But a voice said…oh dear it sounds like a bible !.. My thoughts said ..buy a raffle ticket so did.i somehow knew I was going to win ..when I got home they had left a message on phone that I had won the hamper … So that felt cheery and Christmassy and something else …
    It’s those differences in relationships that we get used to as we live together ..I love your story of the tree and can see what a good relationship you both have there
    What happened to the tree after Xmas …..did you chop it down in the house..all those dry needles!?
    I sorted out the house this weekend and cleaned up and just got the tv and stand coming Tuesday and I shall put up something for Xmas ….oh no smell from bathroom…but the sealant is overpowering at moment there
    Dh has a hearing aid appt at hosp tomorrow . Then weekly shop that hasn’t been done for a while.
    Weather warm and wet here
    Chris

    • Chris, congratulations on your win. I am curious to know what a hamper is in that context. Over here it’s something you put a picnic lunch in or place dirty laundry into. I am so pleased you had such a warm Christmas experience at the tree festival. It sounds like a special experience. Yes, this time of year brings to mind so many memories of times gone and loved ones no longer with us. I think that was my motivation to write a more humorous blog this week. So many of my friends on Facebook are having a bad time with depression during the holidays.
      How wonderful for you to be able to enjoy your house and its warmth. Good timing with the holidays. As far as our huge tree, we dragged it out to the curb where the trash always had a special pick-up after the holidays. Always tried to get them out before they got too dry. That was always the beautify buying them at a tree farm, the freshness. Well, it’s late and been a busy day. Do hope both of you are as well as can be. DO hope that odor starts to dissipate soon. Love, Sue

      • Sue
        The Xmas hamper is usually in a big straw basket filled with Xmas goodies and treats.
        I’m picking it up,on Wednesday the lady who rang me is leaving it at the tearoom we go to.ive a feeling I will give it to a deserving person in the village that she will probably know..it was the delight at winning that was good
        The sealant smell, is disappearing a bit
        Chris

      • Chris thanks for letting me know about the hamper. Sounds like a lovely idea and a blessing for someone, also. Good to be getting a new TV and I know you will eventually like it as will DH. So early? Wow. Glad the odor is dissipating and hopefully will be gone soon. Last night we found out we have another rat. I hate those things. We have an enclosed back porch and he or she knocked a bag of dogfood off a shelf and chewed into it. YUK Will get on that problem today for sure.
        Raining here, still. Grands will be here in a few mins. after school. Hope you get some rest, Love, Sue

  2. Wonderful blog Sue. So many wonderful memories of Christmas past. Especially for me, being here where I grew up. We have Christmas Eve at Judy’s, which is where I grew up. A lot of my family crowds into that small house and we eat, drink, and be merry ! So many memories and so much stuff that my Mother used to do that my sister still carries on, down to the food. Mother would be very happy if she knew this.
    Chris, I’m glad you had a good time, and winning is a bonus ! I believe in that “still small voice” within that we hear when God speaks to us. Sometimes we are too busy in our minds to hear it. Glad you listened.
    Hope everyone is having a good day. I had a rough night, now I think I have a sinus infection, so no swimming today. Had to go see about getting tires on the truck, go back tomorrow after work to get them mounted. Busy week ahead,
    Love to all
    Tonie

    • Tonie, oh dear. Your poor sinuses took such an assault with that virus they are really acting up now. Lots of fluids are really helpful with sinuses too keep the draining clear and moving. I know you already drink a lot of water. They can be a bit stubborn coming at the end of out like this so hope you get antibiotics soon. Grands coming now so will continue this later, Love you, Sue

      • Tonie, hope you felt up to getting the tire situation straightened out. I didn’t know you had a truck. How’re you feeling? Sinus headache. Have you tried steaming? It doesn’t sound like the weather is helping.
        You are in such a unique situation being there at the family homestead. You must feel your parents all around you. I hope the coming Christmas is an enjoyable one for you…totally fun, memorable, delicious and fulfilling. So much changes yet so much remains the same. You make so much delicious food. I was talking with the grands about an hour ago asking them what they would actually eat for Christmas Eve dinner…they are very picky eaters, these two. DD and I usually cook so much and bake and they don’t eat so many of the foods. She and I don’t eat beef and the guys want prime rib, etc. Trying to please everyone is tricky but we do it. My concern is usually the ease of the times together, trying to have leftovers for the weekend so no cooking is involved. My days of major cooking are over but that doesn’t mean we can’t eat well. DD is an excellent cook and her DH helps a lot.
        Do take care of yourself now. What a time of it you have had of late. Much love, Sue

  3. Oh dear sinus probs now..what a virus…will,you go to Drs to get it cleared up ?
    Your Christmas Eve sounds so lovely
    I’m so beyond tired it’s like laying down doesn’t cut it,nor sleeping. Weak with it too
    Got a tv coming tomorow and it comes between 7-2 pm and they ring half an hour before …so that could be 6.30am..so will have the alarm on, they are to show us how to work it…..so hope they don’t come that early it’s gonna be so complicated. And with DH being deaf…
    That’s the last of the stuff for this year….so hope I pick up a bit. It’s dragging..like I’m too tired to speak
    Hope your week turns out better than you can see at moment
    Chris

  4. Hi all
    Hope everyone is ok
    Getting nearer to the big day
    Trying to get in the spirit don’t know where it is this year
    It seems it will just be a cosy time in…..read my books ..and in the warm!!
    No smells…..hope
    Dull and damp here,all going a funny green everywhere
    Trying to relax ..forgot how to with all that’s been going on
    DH bp up again Drs appt again Thursday .rash coming out on these new meds again
    Don’t think it will be a white Xmas here..say it’s going to be the warmest one for a while…odd weather
    Chris

    • Chris dear, when have you had time or enough peace from problems with the house to get the Christmas spirit? Now that things are getting fixed, I’ll bet a potted poinsettia or some lights will bring the spirit into your home and heart. Maybe it would help to watch some old movies like White Christmas. I forgot to mention on my last entry how special it was that you had a special feeling about the lottery pick and won. Special indeed.
      I am sorry DH has a rash and since that is usually a danger sign I hope they stopped the med. He has so much trouble with his B/P. I’ve never seen anything like that. Poor man. Also sorry it is gloomy there, weather wise. We are bright, blue and very cold Didn’t get out of the forties today but no rain. Looks clear all week.
      Jim and I went to the store today, hauled in and put away, now I am cleaning the oven. That rack of lamb the other night did it in and I want to make fruitcakes. Yes, I am late with it this year but still need a clean oven. We love my special homemade fruitcake and will eat it all winter.
      Foot doc tomorrow to check on little growth on foot to check it out. Christmas gifts I bought still arriving everyday. The united parcel guys sure do know where we live.

      • Sue
        I didn’t know you made fruitcake. That’s something I have never made, as much as I like it. I guess the closest I come is the friendship cake. I got my truck when I got my disability through, remember ? Yes, I got the tires changed over. I go to this small place my sister goes. Nice man and his family run it. Good service and good prices. Now I have new tires on both vehicles, so hopefully that will last a bit. I had a long day today. Left work at 2 to get to the Pain Dr at 3:30, was there until 5:30. He read my MRI and is referring me to the same spine specialist my sister sees. They both told me this man will tell you what you need done, if you don’t need to be there he will tell you that also, and the person who referred you to him. Something I didn’t realise, my discs have misaligned themselves, so he is not sure what they will want to do about that, but feels sure he will want to go in and relieve pressure off my nerve bundles. Sigh…..so we will see.
        Spoke to my FM today. He is super busy with all the year end reports he has to do on each student, as well as some he is having to do for teachers that are out sick (all women he says ! lol ) so…he is going to the mountains over Christmas with friends to stay in a cabin up there, and some time alone after they leave for a few days to get himself in sync again. News with his retirement not so good, they are still wanting him to wait, wait. So he is sending me a long letter so he can translate it and explain it all to me. He says we have decisions to make, so…another we will see.
        Anyway, I am feeling better. Oh yeah, Pain Dr, did a nerve block on my ears to help with the pain. Instant relief. Not sure how long it will last but it is nice right now.
        GOod luck with the foot doc
        Love
        Tonie

  5. Love the Christmas tree story. Thank you.

    Saw my cardiologist yesterday. Had an echocardiogram, results were fine, so still don’t know why am so weak and tired. Going back to my PCP, she may have some more ideas. Maybe just old age. Supposed to start some more physical therapy.after the holidays, will see what that does.

    Positive thoughts and prayers for all. Janet

    • Janet, always love to hear from you. How’s the weather in TX? Beautiful, clear and cold here today after a week of pouring rain. I’m pleased you liked the story about the tree. Absolutely true and to tell you, I kinda miss the drama of that now that we have an artificial tree. It’s just another change that seems to comprise all of our lives, you know?
      I am relieved your echocardiogram was good but do wonder if you need an angiogram. They will do a stress test if anything is irregular. They won’t do it without more symptoms though. I know you don’t want to hear it just as I don’t ever like to hear it, but all those lovely endorphins from exercises and stretch do help as well as building stamina. I am doing exercises every evening, started very small and also using light weights. I hate it…it take so much to get me to do it. I resisted my doctors suggestion of PT because I’ve been through it for 30 years. I told myself I had to have the discipline to do it on my own. I don’t want to go to PT when I have a whole file filled with directions for PT at home. We all slip because we are human but we have to fight to stay strong. It’s an unfortunate fact. It is worth trying anyway.
      Thank you for the prayers an positive thoughts. Love you much. Sue

    • Janet
      SO glad your echo was clear, but like Sue said, I was wondering about the exercise. I even get Ms Alice to exercise. I put two pound weights on her ankles and have her to do lifts , and then we switch them to her wrists and do the arms. She likes them when she gets going. Maybe it will help to do the PT. Are you still doing your silver sneakers workouts ? I know you have always been busy. Please take care sweet lady. Did you know that have a machine now that works you out like riding a horse ? I am tempted to get one !! But they are pricey.
      Prayers right back to you

      • Tonie
        I use my sons pool for an hour 3 times a week and go to the gym 1 day. I need to walk more so am going to try and do that.
        That machine sounds like fun. .

        I hope things improve for your FM. Prayers for both of you.

  6. Hi all
    Janet. Hope,you get to,see your own dr so you can sort out how you feel so tired
    Sue did you see dr about your foot yet..not sure how we are for the time …your house must be like aladins cave with all,the gifts there
    Up,early tomorrow for DH appt with dr.so gonna pack it in
    Chris

    • Chris, Yes, I saw the foot doc and my cyst hasn’t grown. So very cold here. We stopped by my SIL’s store to look for lightbulbs. All the lightbulbs we used to use have been outlawed now and it will affect a couple of my little lamps I leave on all the time in a dark hallway and another at the top of our stairs. This is part of the no mercury in bulbs movement over here. Frustrating. I screwed in a 40 watt bulb the other night and burnt out a cute lamp I’ve had for years. UGH. Then we went to the DVD rental place. I’m one of those old coots who still watch DVD’s instead of Netflix, etc. All of this we did in freezing weather. Snow flurries haven’t started yet but it is cold enough to. Sky is getting darker and darker. I ran into a very fat mouse or a small rat on the indoors backporch this AM. I stamped my foot and yelled at it and it left me a message and ran away. More mouse and rat poison put out today. Even bought an electronic cage to zap them. Well, I can see what an exciting life I have reading this. Hope you’re enjoying that new TV. Now you’ve got to get one in the bedroom. Love, Sue

      • I am pleased with the Drs report on the cyst
        Well light bulbs ..that went on in th uk about 7 yrs ago…..I hated it and bought and stored old ones .but they’ve come up,with better ones now and the light is better . But they are so expensive and I don’t think they last as they say they do.
        Well you are up on me with DVDs untill our machine broke a few years ago it was videos for me .i recorded and watched on it.
        The new TVs with all the array of stuff ….ugh
        We used to have a tv in our bedroom but in the new one there is no room..I watch it on the iPad and it’s so small …but I’ve got the hang of catch up and on demand now…see I’m an old coot to….only got to do that a month ago!
        We won’t bother with Netflix as you’ve got to do,it over the Internet and I don’t like doing that and I don’t think we would watch much
        As for the mouse how irritating and where we used to be they came from the fields I suppose they come from the sea port for yourself. I used to put those electric plugs in to keep them away…don’t know if it works but they certainly stopped about then
        .next door had a rat in the garden and they called the council in to put poison down.
        Ok it’s nearly 2 am here back to sleep,if I can
        I’ve taken to looking at that app ..Houzz…it’s all about house rooms ,like a magazine but loads of things .and ideas for different rooms and the garden . It’s probably been around for ages but new to me!.dont know if it’s a uk only thing but it seems to be stuff worldwide
        Chris

      • Sue
        Regarding your little lamp, you know you can replace the wiring in them don’t you ? If that’s all that happened. You can buy the cord and socket. Hope you didn’t throw it out. I did that for a couple of lamps a few years back. Some real cute lamps from the 40’s Nikki gave me. They had the cords with the cloth covering on them. Remember those ? They are my night stand lamps now. Cute little Art Deco style, but I need to find some new shades for them. Tiny little things. One of them got crinkled up in the move.
        I hate rats. I haven’t seen any mice this year. My FM did a good job on the shoring up the underpinning.
        It is getting very cold her tonight. And will be cold tomorrow. Then the next few days will be warm again, then the next cold, then the next………see the pattern ? However, I am glad it is not staying cold all the time.
        Good luck with the rats ! Put peanut butter on the traps, gets em everytime !!
        Love ya
        Tonie

  7. Chris, I love that app…Houzz. They have such a wonderful selection of all kind of home items and tastes. I actually bought a gift for my SIL from them for Christmas this year. I almost bought him another one there but found it cheaper on Wayfair site. They’re good also and ship for free here. Sounds like you’re having fun. Good.
    We probably fought the lightbulbs longer over here. So far I hate them. They just don’t give off enough light and no, they definitely do not last longer and yes, cost more. Sleep well , okay? Love, Sue

  8. Sue
    I meant to ask do you freeze your fruit cake?
    Tonie
    That’s so sad about FMs pension decision .im sure he will see a road thru it ,I hope so.
    So more hosp apps for you too…that’s good you got relief for your ears…did the pain dr say what it was causing it?
    Chris

    • Chris, No, I don’t freeze fruitcake as a general rule unless there is a piece left and we’re all sick of it. The brandy or rum sprinkled over it keeps it moist for a very long time. I don’t use any citron or peel. I only use glazed or candied pineapple (occasionally make it myself if hard to find), cherries, dark raisins, currants, white raisins, chopped dates and tons of pecans. My kids don’t like it, or my son does but he’s in TX. The local family don’t care for it. Jim and I love it. No red cherries left this year so it will be free of red and I’ll us green instead. Better get it made tomorrow. Hope I feel up to it. So are you feeling a bit more comfortable with you new TV? Late here, will close, Love, Sue

  9. Tonie, so pleased you have progress from the pain doctor. He has shown he has a sincere desire to really help you. I like the referral, also. Good to know Judy was helped by him. Good that he injected the ears but would like to know the cause, wouldn’t you? Looks promising for the new year that is quickly approaching. No dear, I had forgot about the truck…what kind is it again? Good to know you are safe now with new tires for the winter. I am concerned for you in your fierce winters and all those mountains. SOOO cold here today. No precipitation, just wind and chill. Guess it’s all to be a big surprise.
    Sorry to hear there is no progress on the FM front. I know that weighs heavily on your heart. Sure wish things would move along.
    Oh we have all sorts of equipment to catch our varmints. We have electric zapper, poison, etc. We know about peanut butter although our exterminator…when we have him that is…uses peanut butter candy bars. Sorry, too late. We threw out the little lamp. You said the same thing our SIL said. It also destroyed the surge protector. It’ s definitely kaput.
    You do sound better tonight. Hope you rest well tonight and stay warm. Eleven days until Christmas and still haven’t baked that fruitcake. Finally got the oven cleaned today. Oh yes, I’ve been baking them for year and do love them although I have missed a couple of years lately. Hope tomorrow is a good day for you full of unexpected blessings. Love, Sue

  10. Sue
    My truck is a Chevrolet, of course. My Dad would turn in his grave if I bought another brand of truck. It is a smaller one, a Colorado, 4.5 cylinder. I had never heard of that and only Chevy and only in this truck. It has a 4 wheel drive and is unstoppable ! Crew cab with a small bed. It was used, but it was made for me. I prayed for the right one, and there it was.
    I love fruitcake and I am the only one in my family that does. At work there was a girl that liked it also. We used to get a Claxon brand, every year and share it. I might have to try my hand at making one.
    You take care. I am very tired this morning, but have to get going and hit up the post office this morning. I have a couple of packages to mail, and some cards. Have a good day and get to baking !!
    Love
    Tonie

    • Tonie, Thanks for that plethora of information about your truck…like it a bit do ya’? Sounds perfect for you. Sorry you’re not feeling good this morning. I know so well how that is. I never get anything done before noon then am awake until late. Cold here as Portland, OR is frozen over and many with stranded cars. They don’t get it as often as many in the east so snow often comes as a surprise there. We were freezing cold yesterday, gray but no snow. Strange to have such differences only two hours away. Not much news here, just wrapping and a bit of baking to do. Same old, same old as far as health except having to find a new oncologist. I think I’ll try to go to the one here in town. Good reports about her and it would save us that trip to Portland. Still have doctors there but not as often. Hope your chores get done and I will do the same. Love ya, Sue

  11. Well dark and wet here.
    Went to Drs.she said if he feels as best as can to keep,up these meds over Xmas she wil look over the years meds and see what to come up with.got an HC cream for rash he has
    So wait and see is the thing
    Went shopping.havent been for three weeks..so it was a lot to’put away
    Put ribbon bows on shrub out at front.and a few lights and stuff up last night.
    The TV,is behaving itself..don’t yet know all what it can do..leave that alone for a bit
    Chris

    • Chris, I can envision your bows and lights. Lovely. Sounds like things are a bit iffy with DH so we will hope and believe he’ll be okay over the holiday. What a problem he has had with meds. Below freezing tonight, warming up to the low 40’s tomorrow. Fruitcakes in the oven..made half a batch. The dough is just to hold all the fruit and nuts together. Hope it turns out well. Glad you seem to be enjoying your new toy, the big TV. Later my dear, Love ya, Sue

  12. Hi, everyone!
    Sue, I’m sorry, I did read the blog the day I said I would, but was on my phone and didn’t have time to comment then. It feels like I have been going non-stop all week although I’m sure I haven’t. I loved the blog! I can totally see the entire tree debacle happening. 🙂 Thank you for sharing. We no longer get live Christmas trees either. We did (or I did, I recall going more than once by myself) get real trees when the kids were small. I enjoyed the look and smell, but not the needle droppage. Now they make artificial trees that look to real. Last year I picked up a smaller tree, lit, and the lights can be cool white (think a pale blue), clear (warm white), blue, red, green, purple, red and green, red white and blue, or multi. They can also do various blinking things which are cool. So much fun to have the variety allone tree! I usually preferred clear lights, sometimes multi colored, this is the perfect answer. We sit it up on an old trunk I got from my Dad. It may have been in the family, I forget. The trunk stays in the family room, so it is convenient not to have to relocate it and puts the tree at just the right height for viewing. But I digress. I hope you find time soon to make that fruitcake. My Mom makes my step-grandmother’s date and nut bread. My step-father and step-brother love it! I don’t mind it, but usually gravitate to the cookies instead. 🙂

    Chris, what a wonderful experience you had topped off with a hamper win. What a wonderful idea to give it to someone deserving who needs it. I love that. Glad your bathroom is sorted and all smells are dissipating.

    Tonie, sorry you are still under the weather, but glad your ears are better. I think you saw on FB that I managed to pick up something. Started coughing yesterday, also started Mucinex, pineapple, and honey the same day. Today the Mucinex must have kicked in well enough, I managed to cough up some loose stuff. The cough started in my chest. Odd for me, usually starts from something in my head. A little scary with as many as I’ve heard coming down with pneumonia this year. Glad I got the shot for it as well as flu. Now to make it through this weekend of singing! You take care. Glad you got those tires on.

    Janet, good hearing from you. You know I am a big advocate of exercise. Listen to your body, but do what you can. My 2 cents. 🙂

    COLD here today. Temperature in the teens, wind chill according to my neighbor, of -5 F. NOT my favorite! I bundled up like Nanook of the North to walk little Sadie. She wasn’t fazed by the cold or wind at all. A FB friend said I looked like a sled dog driver! I said I had the dog, no sled. Tomorrow is to be equally cold, I think. Oh boy.

    • Lyn, I saw that pic of you as the woman of the North. Made me cold just to see you. Looks like a lot of cold is headed your way. Sure hope all is well. So pleased you have your lovely home all full of festive trees, lights, etc. Your colorfully lit tree sounds wonderful. What fun. I love old trunks but don’t have any room for one at the moment. We are inundated with cedar chests. Well, Christmas is coming fast and I hope and pray your voice and throat are better. Sounds like you did all you could to make it better. I know you’re baking a lot of cookies now and think you must have a large freezer. My two freezers are always stuffed. Time to clean them out I do believe. I think with my gut trouble I’m always buying something that looks good and gets stuffed, eventually, into a freezer. Cold and frosty here but not at all like Portland and certainly not your area. Enjoy the season, okay? Love, Sue

  13. A frosty cold morning to you all ! It got down to 5′ overnight and only up to the twenties again today. at least the wind is laying, so something to be grateful for. My FM left me a pair of insulated riding boots to wear when it is cold like this. They are wonderful, no cold at all and they come up to my knees,
    Sue, I have found a couple of new recipes to try this year. One is no bake German chocolate cookies. They are like the icing, and my sisters fav cake, so maybe she will like them. Also going to make that chocolate mouse cake I saw on FB. I got all the stuff yesterday, but forgot the heavy cream. I will pick that up today, when I go swim. Then I have to take the truck to get inspected. Then maybe bake some when I get home, we will see.
    Chris, I bet your bows and lights are beautiful. Poor dh he has had a rough time of it with those meds. I can’t believe Christmas is right around the corner…next weekend ! Then the new year, nod hopefully warm weather soon. Seems to me that Feb is the longest month of the year !
    I just saw my hens have dug up flower bulbs I planted. Now they and the ground is frozen. Wenches !
    Well, got to do some cleaning before I go. Not looking forward to that cold shower room at the gym ! Brrr.
    Lyn, stay warm ! bSL, I bet it is icy up your way !
    Love to all
    Tonie

    • Tonie, your chocolate cookies sound so good. I also saw the cake you mentioned on FB…probably because you posted it. It looked very rich. Not much baking going on here. Too many picky eaters in our family. Some can’t have chocolate and the kids don’t eat nuts. My goodness, that cold temp you are experiencing. Hope the swim was wonderful for you and the shower room not too chilly. Having trouble with my eyes tonight so will sign off and be back tomorrow. Sue

  14. Afternoon all
    Being a lazy slug all morning, now I have to get a move in and go to the bank, and the store where I didn’t go yesterday. Drop of supplies at the church, and then back for making candies. A lot warmer here now. In the 50’s today and around that until Christmas. So happy ! My heaters are actually off for the first time in over a week.
    Lyn, I hope you feel better and get through your performances. I have two songs to practice for tomorrow night. The rest I just play along on the bass guitar.
    Sue, I have no picky eaters, except Judy can’t have seeds or peanuts. When they were small it was no onions, no peppers. Now my son sends me pictures of the food he cooks using all the things like that and laughing because he used to make fun of how I ate them. They will be here for Christmas Eve, the. He has to be back on Christmas Day forthe kids mom to have them. But it will be good to have them here. Haven’t seen the little ones since last January ! Time has sure passed quickly this year.
    Well, have to stop procrastinating and get on with it.
    Love to all
    Tonie

    • Tonie, I am so excited for you to have some of the grands and your son with you for Christmas Eve. I have always felt that is such a special night for all families and I’m thrilled to know you will get to see all of his kids. Good. Also such good news to have your weather going up in temp. What a break . We had snow flurries again today and was still in the 20’s last night. Still awfully pretty here. DD and GD are selling Christmas trees out in the cold tonight so know they’re dressed for it. The spirit of the season fills the air. My fruitcakes are soaking up Brandy…better them than me. I think I”m going to go with Italian food for Christmas Eve. I can make so much of it the day before and bake it on the day of. Trying to think of something for everybody in this family. DD is going to barbecue ribs for the next day. My goal is ease so I can be as pain free as possible to enjoy the holy days.
      I think it’s interesting how your son changed his tastes. Guess that good old DNA came through. Jim and I have been wrapping so need to get back to it. Thinking of you and all your special candies…Lucky you. Love, Sue

      • Sue
        My sister fixes all the stuff my mother made. Country ham ( I don’t like ) , chicken n dumplings, potato salad, and then chicken casserole for my nephews kids, I fix the deserts and will make some meatballs. We set up a table for all the goodies. Cheristmas Day will just be me. But we are having a short service at church at 11, so I think I will go. We had a nice Cantata tonight. I did my song, then just played bass for the rest. My sister, who is very partial, said mine was the best . I did “Mary Did You Know “. Beautiful song that touches my heart. The words make you wonder how Mary felt , if she really thought about these things.
        Well, very tired and need to go just stretch out and relax.
        I still have a few presents to wrap, but will do that later on. I bet DD is not enjoying the cold very much !
        Love
        Tonie

  15. Hi
    Well the smell is back big time.not there for a week then wham! Coming out tomorrow to look at it..typical my birthday.also gotta go to the breast clinic after seeing dr
    What a year! Also waiting for Dh biopsy
    DD coming tonite so gonna make summat to eat
    Hope all good as can be
    Chris

    • Oh Chris, I am so upset right along with you . Frustrating isn’t even a big enough word. UUGGHH!! I didn’t realize to day is your birthday…already tomorrow over there. I wish you a most enjoyable birthday but it looks like it would be better to wish you a solution to your big odor problem on Tuesday. Hope you get the biopsy on DH back soon. I do hope your visit with DD cheered you up somewhat. Hang in there sweet lady.
      We had the grands over all day…no school. In the afternoon I had to go to the eye doctor. It was strictly a SJogren’s visit unfortunately. My corneas are still burnt from the opioid reaction I had and she told me to use the petroleum based gel at night and drops every time I think of it. Throat and larynx still very dry and voice not back to normal. Blast this disease. Hope today is a better day for you and DH. Love, Sue

    • Chris
      First, so sorry about the smell, aggravation doesn’t quite do it, does it ? Secondly Happy Birthday dear lady. I hope you do have some good in it ! Glad your DD got by.
      Love
      Tonie

  16. Chris, oh, no, that smell is back! I sure hope they get to the bottom of it tomorrow! May all, clinic and biopsy come out well!

    Sue, baking is on a moratorium. We received 2 trays of cookies, a rum cake, a box of turtles, and some peanut brittle this week! I guess I’ll end up baking some of my favorites I didn’t get to after Christmas some time. We do have a small chest freezer in the basement. It comes in handy. After seeing my Mom’s standing freezer, though, I wish we had gotten a standing one. Oh well. We make do. We bought it when we moved in here in 2004.

    Tonie, glad your songs went well. Concerts here last weekend went well, although I had some vocal issues. I finally called my rheumy about things happening with my larynx and rib cage. The nurse fit me in tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes. He had suggested I call my GP about throat issues, but I didn’t give the nurse all the info as I was trying to be brief. Will go over in more detail tomorrow.

    Getting late here and I only got 4 1/2 hours sleep last night, so I am off to bed. Sure hope I can sleep tonight! I even took melatonin last night.

    • Lyn
      Hope you get some answers. And some sleep ! I really need to bring up that issue with my GP next week about my throats also.
      I was supposed to sing two songs, but my voice was gone after one, so I let it pass. I think it is risidual from this virus, but…..
      Take care
      Tonie

  17. Tonie, loved hearing about your memories. Funny how both food and song can hit a sweet spot in our memories. I’ve changed my mind abou tht e Italian because too many wouldn’t eat this or that. Roast chicken it is along with lasagna for those who want it. Sorry I am tired tonight after a day at the eye doc and grands here. Been doing a lot and the weather has been crazy. It was so good to chat with you today. Rest well tonight. Love Sue

  18. Thankyou for your wishes
    Well plumber came and……he found a leak that would be doing it…a bodged job a foot down and back of toilet.it was wet there.so it has to come out ,floor around it up.he will redo all the pipes that go into it as well.the shower pipe has no slant to it and doesn’t drain well either..and that still had water in the piping so the floor will have to be screed after and a new floor…..the owners must have known about it he said as there was tissues around it.
    So it will be done in the new year now…..
    Anyway..been out for lunch for birthday..came back and key in new gate wouldn’t open so had to call the fenceman out he will be here early tomorrow
    Put a wash on as our clothes were full,of fibre glass.and all the clearing up in bathroom
    Had a nice lunch…..beef and ale pie,carrots cabbage and mash and gravy….followed by caramel sundae…..oh dear but was nice…DD came last nite and organised my iPad for me along with pressies
    So not a bad birthday..and at least we know what the problem is better than having no idea and who to turn to
    Ok that’s it..it cold and raw here….gives bad weather rain and winds Xmas
    Chris

    • M your lunch sounds delicious ! That kind of food is where we Southerners here get our hearty food and love of gravy from ! Glad you found the issue…but how sneaky of the previous owners to be so dishonest. And the gate key ? Don’t do like me and say ” what next ?” Then something is sure to pop up ! Lol.
      My son just messaged me to say he is coming up tomorrow and staying until Saturday. Glad but also stressed now. I have to clean the house tonight instead of Friday when I am off. So, hurry home, clean and tidy up, fix the beds for the kids, he can stay with my sister. At least I will get to see them longer.
      I am looking at some uncalled for snow flurries. Very foggy and frosty this morning, indeed reminding me of Europe weather.
      Take care
      Tonie

      • I know you’ll be so glad to see the grands…it’s been a while for your son’s family. I’m sure they’ve all grown so much as most little ones do. Sorry he sprung it on you but that’s a guy for you. Be good to yourself, okay? THey’re not going to care if there’s a bit of dirt here and there. Enjoy them, okay? Love, Sue

    • Chris, Wow, I don’t know if that’s the kind of birthday present you wanted but you got it. Thank God you got some answers. I know it’s galling to know someone left you with a mess like that. Do you recall me telling you we had a serious plumbing problem that appeared five days after we b ought this house, 18 years ago. First load of laundry I washed and it drained back into the basement. The whole sewage line out had to be dug out along the house to the street. That whole business was about $4000 so we threatened to sew. We called a lawyer and they wrote a letter. Two days later the old owners brought a check by for half of it. We have laws in most states called Full Disclosure wherein if the seller knows about a problem, they have to disclose it or else.
      All I can say about yours is I can understand what mixed feelings you must have…relief and anger. It will be so good to have it fixed. As far as the gate…oh my. Hope it’s an easy fix like giving you the wrong key, rust, etc.
      I’m so glad you got out for your birthday. Sounds delicious. Good to see your daughter? I expect so.
      Yes, old winter has moved in. Still cold here, too. Actually may be dry here tomorrow. Hope to get some grocery shopping done for the weekend holidays. Finished a pile of wrapping today. Feels good to have it done.
      Jim and I agree neither one of us has much of a Christmas spirit this year. Think part of it is the weather and the rest the fact I didn’t really get any solutions to my pain issues after months of going through so much. Still have tremendous dryness in nose and throat and apparently all I’ve been through with the opioids has left the lower half of my cornias burned. Special eye drops now to clear it up, hopefully. She said all of the vision problems I’ve been having are due to the severe dryness. She told me when I read to put in drops every fifteen mins. Oh joy.
      well dear, hope you don’t feel a year older. Love, Sue

  19. Another great read……yeah, yeah….I said it was late and I couldn’t proof read my long comment on your other post I read right before this one…….I forgot I was supposed to get to meditating and trying to catch a few zzzzzzz’s……………..sorry, I just couldn’t resist just one more bedtime story .Thought I’d have another read real quick. You really should write a book or something. Seriously. This is one of the best blogs I’ve happened upon in almost 4 years, this February, of blogging! Goodnight and good morning. I’ll be back after i get some rest. Peace out! 🙂 I need to pick up on this happy and positive attitude of yours. Mine’s in need of a serious adjustment. 🙂

  20. Hi tlohuis
    I did enjoy and laughed reading your posts ..even tho can tell they are of pain too
    See you soon? And peace out to yourself too

    Well the plumber came and did so well and didn’t have to take too much flooring up and the flooring went back to not toooo bad,it can wait till I feel like getting new
    So he spent all morning with these pipes and seems to be sorted.i think,it’s just the dampness from the new cement I could smell earlier on.So by 2 pm I had cleaned up and had lunch too. So this afternoon I just rested and did that puzzle . Tomorrow we are meeting dD for lunch it’s DH birthday on Saturday .so we are having another celebration !!
    We are having snow and gales tomorrow now ,luckily it was all dry today…it’s nice to have the bathroom all,back together and I can’t smell anything now…so fingers crossed.it all went better than I thought .

    Sue how are you today ?
    Tonie …the knee?
    Back,later if not fallen asleep.huh?.but up at 6am as they were coming early and had to sort stuff out and has anyone notice it takes ages to get ready for anything these days.
    Chris

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