A Christmas Memory Revisited

Many of us are struck with some seasonal melancholia during this season. SO many Christmases past fill our hearts and minds. I know it is a natural part of life as it reflects the supercharged emotions of the season and also reflects the progression of life. My own prayer and desire is to remember the joyous times and to cherish them.
I pray I will always remember the joy, the laughter and all the excitement of a child’s face, as far back as when it was my own. I remember the lights and Christmas music of Christmas Eve at our house while my Mom and Dad, three sisters and I gathered around the family table; later in the living room around our tree and felt the magic of that sacred day. Long silver foil icicles hung all over the tree, draping to the floor as the lights were reflected off of them giving the tree a mystical. glowing quality.
Mom’s favorite cookies lined in a row on a tray with the Snoball cookies all dusted with powdered sugar and stuffed with pecans sitting next to the Kindergarten bars sweet with dates, brown sugar and oats with nuts. I recall we named them that because the recipe was given to my Mom by my Kindergarten teacher. There was always chocolate fudge made from the See’s candy company recipe. I recall my Dad always had the crack the nut detail as he pounded on them with a hammer each year; equal parts fresh walnut and red pecans. I recall my Mom always admonishing him, but not too hard lest he stop doing the job. “Bill, be careful, you’re getting shells all over the floor.” He continued to pound away. Mom always had a new cookie of the year and one year it was thumbprint cookies, rich with butter, rolled into balls, dipped in beaten egg white, rolled in chopped nuts then placed on a buttered cookie sheet where you then put a finger in the top of them to make a hole. After baking she would fill the hole with jelly, bright and cheerful.
One year she happened onto a delicious recipe for Cherry Bourbon cake. It was not only delicious but hilarious as she went to the liquor store each year and frightened someone from the Baptist church would see her, always explained to the man behind the counter she was buying it to make cake. Now that I think of it, that was a lot of bourbon for a few cakes, but she went every year. I wonder now who was dipping into the bourbon in our tea-totaling family? There was always that event when my Dad would take over the kitchen to make his famous Tomato Soup French salad dressing. During the war my Dad had worked at a factory during the day and moonlighted at a restaurant where he cooked. That salad dressing was so delicious and the whole kitchen seemed to have a bit of it displayed. We had jars of it for weeks.
I recall the year my older, teen-aged sisters volunteered me to sing Away in a Manger at our church and I had to have my usual braided hair curled with hard metal rollers which one slept on all night. I had to wear a choir robe that was much too large for me and have a fake halo on my head; of course, guess I couldn’t find my real one…looked all over for it. Nope not now or then. I was so frightened the words caught in my very dry throat. Our large church auditorium was filled and beautifully resonated Christmas carols all over the main floor and the balcony with music and Christmas wonder. My piano teacher played an enormous organ which caused the floor and the balcony to rumble with the bass tones.
I remember the privilege of going shopping alone with my Dad as he shopped for my Mom and my sisters. I remember Mom’s joy the year he gave her a diamond engagement ring to go with her very thin wedding band she had worn for many years. It felt so very grand.
I recall the early morning frost and my older sisters who wore many ruffled petticoats under their skirts complaining about all the soot that sullied those petticoats from the smudge pots they lit in the groves of orange trees for years around our house. In southern California, before they had wind machines to hamper the frost, oil burning smudge pots were lit to keep the oranges, lemons and grapefruit from freezing in the wintertime.
I sadly remember the year I was-eleven-years old and had to spend most of the year in bed due to rheumatic fever. Bedrest was the only answer for that particular disease at that time. Every Friday afternoon my Dad would carry me to our Chevy where I would lie in the back seat while my Dad, Mom with us, drove to the doctor’s office parking lot where a kind nurse drew blood from my arm. Christmas that year I got to spend on the couch and felt so privileged to escape my bedroom. My sisters must have resented me terribly because the only TV in the house was placed in my bedroom. One of my sisters who was in nursing school at that time in Los Angeles confessed to me years later it was hard for her to be around sick people all week and come home to more sickness on her breaks. I had a kind home teacher and looked forward to her visits, not wanting to get behind my fellow classmates when I returned to school. I recall so many kind people in our town who would drop by to say hi and to cheer me up but I still felt different, maimed in some way and set apart. I do think that is when the idea of becoming a nurse was planted.
I lovingly remember the years when my children were tiny and the joy and laughter of sharing the holidays with them, a house full of relatives eating and talking, a plethora of food on the dining room table.
The first Christmas after my divorce, my children and I were alone because my parents had to take a turn with one of my sister’s families in another part of the state. My small children and I invited another single mom friend over and we shared our dinner and had great fun with a piñata I had bought for the holiday. The kids practically beheaded each other as they whacked away at it and hard candy spilled all over the floor in the hallway, because it was the safest place to hang it.
Money was scarce and we always made the ornaments and garland for our fresh Christmas trees. I found some beautiful patterns for sugar cookie cut-outs and used those for many years. The cut-out soft cardboard forms of elephants, giraffes and other animals, as well as a fat Santa were so beautiful. It wasn’t easy to cut out the shapes on the rolled-out cookie dough, carefully using a table knife to make the shapes come forth. We painted the baked cookies with frosting and strung them with twine for the tree. I think I still have those patterns around here somewhere and am certain they are covered with buttery fingerprints and flour. We also glued small Styrofoam balls into ice cream cones and strung them for the tree. If we wanted them to look like a particular flavor of ice cream, we painted them that color. Of course, we made paper chains out of construction paper, made a mess of trying to string drippy cranberries and excelled at stringing popcorn. I used to buy a very special popcorn that was only available at Knott’s Berry Farm which was a few miles from us in S. California. It was huge when it was popped and easier to string. It was also delicious as a treat while we were stringing it.
Like most of you, the cycle of life moved us forward as I went to nursing school as a single mom, later married my dear Jim and worked while my kids grew into adults we could be proud of. They insisted for years on the traditions we later established like homemade cheese ball, lemon bars, strudel, Mom’s Snoball cookies, and my homemade fruitcake. Hey, don’t knock fruitcake until you’ve had mine. I’ve tried to base it on one my Dad bought every year from the Helms bakery in S. California. They had a truck and would drive through the neighborhoods. They could always count on Dad to buy cream puffs and a holiday fruitcake rich with candied cherries, pineapple, nuts and raisins. This year Jim and I are going to venture into a fruitcake from last year. Well, it’s soused in brandy, still moist so if we live to tell you about it…I will.
Now my children are grown and establishing traditions with their own families and it is a wonderful thing to observe. Each generation brings in their own tastes, ideas and favorites while embracing what they enjoy and remember from the past. We have many beautiful ornaments inherited from Jim’s Mom.
Illnesses, tragedies and loss also fill many of the memories yet they are a part of who we are. They are us. May we embrace the struggles, the triumphs, the ongoing challenges and remember the blessed, the humorous and all those happy memories. May we file away the sad and dark memories and forgive those who were responsible for them.
Loved ones now gone are remembered, often with a tear in the eye and an aching in the heart as a tribute to the lives they lived, those of us they loved and the memories they left in our hearts. Please enjoy your Christmas and Holy days with your own memories and traditions and know that we are all part of a family as our bodies, our lives and our families grow and change. My special Christmas wish for you is to embrace life as you find it, improve what can be improved, grieve for that which is lost and move on. Change can be a blessed gift if we embrace it and look to the future while remembering and cherishing the past.
It is also my prayer that each of you who practice Christianity remember that long ago, fully pregnant young Mary who rode a donkey, in her condition, full of child through the cold. Accompanied by her husband, Joseph as her only nurse, she gave birth to the Christ child in a cold stable, in a dank, itchy straw filled manger. Such a tiny one to bring so much hope to the world. The glory for us began there, with that tiny newborn and is the heart of this holiday.
Merriest, most hopeful and most blessed of all Christmases to each of you in all sorts of circumstances. Remember, look for the joy and you will find it, look for the lessons in life and they are there and hope is always alive.

60 thoughts on “A Christmas Memory Revisited

  1. Sue
    I love this blog so so many memories we carry as we go onward in this life. My sister carries on a tradition with the extended family and friends of Christmas Eve supper. Like my mother did I it. But I remember those nights so clearly. Hiding upstairs until Santa came by. Hearing the bells jingle and Hohoho’s from below. So excited with my brother. One year Santa brought us our gifts, so excited. I thought he looked like my older brother.
    Now I have new ones to make incorporating some things from another country. So old no new together,but it all comes to the same thing. Love. Love from the Christ child who made this season possible, and love for all around us which comes more to life now than ever.
    I pray you all have that love alive and well in this Season and through out the coming New Year.
    Merry Christmas my friends.
    Tonie

    • Tonie, wonderful memories mixed with sad for everyone. SO happy for you this year especially because of this fine man who loves you so much. Dinner will be fantastic, I know. How fun to get to know all the holiday food that mean the most to him and vice versa. Thank you for all your help this year. Much love to you and a blessed Christmas to both of you. Sue

  2. Such a joy to read sue
    the smell of tangerines is one for me .to smell one now and cold as well transports me back in time
    People do seem kinder this time of year…even in a busy town . I’ve had doors open and I’ve seen a lot of politeness . From the young to the old. Maybe it’s not always that way just what I’ve seen.
    For us this year we are by ourselves but our GS is coming over in the afternoon
    Bought a joint of beef for DH and as I can’t have it chicken breast for me.i can have roast pots and Yorkshires ,but daren’t have any veg,or Xmas pudding .so will have a sponge one
    I think I’ve got all the shopping in so what we haven’t got we will go without
    So if I don’t get here before the day
    All have as best a Christmas as you can and wish for….for you tonie it will be so different and great. ..
    Live Chris

    • Chris dear, I hope you can find something fun in all that you mentioned for dinner. What are pots and Yorkshires? Is that Yorkshire pudding? Hope you get answers to your health this coming year. Enjoy your beautiful home this holiday and hugs from America to both of you, Sue P.S. Hope you have to odor of tangerines in your home.

  3. I’m back…just a quickie
    Pots ..short for potatoes and yes Yorkshire pudding…
    Nope ain’t got any tangerines ..can’t eat them at moment and citrus fruit is bad for Menieres we found out some time ago…wierd!
    And happy Xmas to you and all your family sue
    Oh guess what I just cooked some cheese scones for the freezer….it’s gone 10 pm but had the urge from somewhere.not going to our cafe at moment as there is proper flu going about in there and the village
    Love Chris

    • Chris, thanks for the info. Please stay safe, flu is the last thing either of you need. Be blessed this year and enjoy your GS and your peaceful Christmas. Now to the kitchen to make homemade cranberry sauce and lemon bars. Much love, Sue

    • Chris, thanks for thinking of me but the US Food and drug administration with drew that warning awhile back. They now say all cranberry products are okay. Sue

  4. Sue, I love the wonderful pictures you have painted here, all full of the true meaning and heart of Christmas, full of love. I am sure they will bring to mind many fond memories of Christmases past for so many of us, not perhaps the very same experiences, but those unique to each person. We celebrated our first family Christmas day today, a time full of love, good food, and memories.

    Wishing all who celebrate a very blessed Christmas!

    • Lyn dear, don’t wear yourself out over the festive season and oh my, but you folks sure do eat a lot of good food. Merriest CHristmas to you and yours. Much love, Sue

  5. Dear Sue, This brought back so many memories, particularly the smudge pots. I remember having to clean window sills after a freeze in nearby Fullerton. That stuff was really hard to get off. I am in Arlington with all my immediate family. Spent a 6 1/2 hour drive to get here and am exhausted and sore. I am sure it will be worth it in the long run. I wish all here a Merry Christmas and may the New Year treat you well. Love, Janet

    • Janet, hope you get in much rest so you can enjoy the weekend. That’s such a long time to be in a car. In Arlington hope it is fair weather. You are so close to my family in Keller. I pray you feel well enough to enjoy each member of your family and that they appreciate you. Much love, Sue

  6. ‘May we embrace the struggles, the triumphs, the ongoing challenges and remember the blessed, the humorous and all those happy memories.’ I guess that says it for me. I guess it’s that way for all of us.

    • Dear momentary, indeed, well said. It is often difficult to ignore the elephant, or is it elf in the room when we do too much, can’t do enough or just feel like crap but keeping our hearts and minds on the joy, whether here or in the past…that is our victory over chronic pain. Please have a blessed Christmas. Sue

  7. I hope all had a wonderful day
    We had a quiet lovely day….closeted in from everything .the wind is picking up.here
    DD is in a camping van on the edge of the Lake District and it has rained for two days. They were woken up at 6.30 am to move to higher ground …..she was telling me that it was all fun ..they took the side tent down that attaches to the van in a high wind ..but are now high and dry..they went out for Xmas lunch to a cosy pub. .last night on the way home from a walk ..yep in the rain…they were asked into a church to sing carols …so she is having a fine time..rain or not,just determined to
    Tired from doing now but relaxed hope all ok
    Chris

    • Chris, Enjoyed so much hearing about your DD’s adventure and what a time she had.Well, she will remember it, that is for certain. Lunch at a pub and singing hymns in a strange church, all sounds so enriching and just fun. It also helps to face that kind of adventure when you are young, at least younger than you and I are.
      I hope you and DH had a fine, peaceful and enjoyable Christmas experience. I am as always, concerned that both of you are feeling better.How are you doing with that painful gut and how is the nose doing?
      I have declared today a day off. I have had enough of everything and my body is telling me just how much. I do have to do two loads of clothing but that is it. Weather here is cold and drear, wet, wet, wet. We’ve had a couple of frost nights, one sunny but very cold day and all feel like winter. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner and evening with our DD and SIL and their two kids. All had great gifts to give and receive, and so many so thoughtful. She and I cooked enough for the next day and had leftovers and all the humans were as leftover as the food. All so tired and full of good food. I love this holiday season but am also glad to see it fade away. I like to leave the tree up until New Year, lights are still on the porch and fence lighting the way in this dreary weather.
      As for me, the day off today says it all. All joints, back, knees aching. Had to go out for INR weekly test yesterday and sick of that whole business. I wish I could just go to a lab and have the doctor call me with the approp. dose but no, I have to go to this cardio clinic and put up with a chat from some nurse or medical assistant and make a big deal of it. Takes at least an hour or more and then the trip to and fro. UGH. Still have a low INR due to that darn Amiodarone. Wish I’d never taken it. All of this due to the atrial fib. I am feeling the burden of too much “on my plate” right now.
      Let us all pray for, expect and enjoy 2018. Much love, Sue

      • Sue
        How are the knees after the recent injection.yes the whole inr thing is a bind dh has his tomorrow.its been a bit up due to change in meds so more checks
        Yep dh had so much trouble with amioderone .it put him in hospital three times..we knew it was that but they wouldn’t believe us . I don’t know why as it a real poisoned drug .i think it’s got something to do with the thyroid
        It’s been snowing here last two days.at the moment it’s all frozen.not thick snow just a thin layer but the ice is keeping there
        My tum is slowly getting there.it hurts less when I move or bend..still does but goes away sooner then before.I still have the runs in the morning and still on a bland diet.but it’s getting better by two steps forward and one back My nose is iffy ,not as bad as before but plays up
        Dh his bp was going ok but then today it’s shot up…..dunno why .restful day..but these meds also,cause bad dreams and he has had some of those so that is prob it . Hope it reduces again and this isn’t another side effect to stay
        venturing out of the house tomorrow for that inr test and a bit of shopping. first time out for a while .we just enjoyed being in
        Yes you have had some load of burden for 2017; may 2018 see it lessen and go away
        Well gonna try to sleep
        Chris

  8. Chris, you and DH take it easy. I do hope you both make some inroads soon. At least there is a little progress. 2 steps forward, 1 back sometimes, isn’t it?

    Sue, sounds like you had a lovely holiday, now time to rest up from it all. Sorry the rest must be interrupted by more health stuff. Seems to be the way, doesn’t it?

    I woke with a very sore great toe joint night before last which kept me down all day yesterday. I am resting today as a precaution. It feels better, but don’t wish to push it. We may have a little snow on the way for tomorrow, and I do enjoy taking Sadie out when we do. I think I’ll save up in hopes for a little walk in the snow. Time for a little movie or book time before I get ready for dinner. My DH is taking me out to our favorite restaurant. The pizza special looks delish! – roast eggplant basil sauce, genoa salami, balsamic onions, parmesan, mozzarella, made in their beautiful pizza oven. We’ve never had a less than outstanding meal there, be it pizza, pasta, or dinner. Take care, all.

    • Lyn, Looks like you’re in for a bit more snow than expected. Is Sadie going to see above the snow to walk? I am sorry to hear about your big toe. Check to be sure it isn’t gout after all the rich Christmas food…hope not. Keep it warm, is the best advice I have here. Know you had a wonderful Christmas and are as exhausted as the rest of us are.
      That pizza sounds interesting yet delicioso. My favorite gourmet pizza at our fav. pizza parlor is Edam smoked cheese, sliced red onions, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes with red sauce on a thin crust. Oh so good. Have a wonderful New Year…all year long. Love, Sue

  9. Merry After Christmas all
    It has been such a busy but lovely time. Christmas Day was just a lay around day. Then the day after a trip to Roanoke for my sister, next day workout. And the next a drive to my sons for a short visit, was nice. Today another swim then fight the madding crowd for some groceries. Leftovers tonight. Was a nice nice holiday. Church Christmas Eve morning.
    But, not so good news, in a way. My sweetie has to go to France to have his colon fixed. Leaving the 12th. He will return as soon as….but will be much missed. I just want him healthier. It has gotten much worse, so he has appointments made. First the blood test, and while he waits on that, get other things looks at. Bad thing, the colt will be born while he is gone, so hopefully prayers for all to be well. I am not sad he is going. For he needs to be repaired, haha.
    Hope you all have a wonderful New Year. Looks like you all had a good Christmas. Chris, I love dd’s story.
    Love to all
    To ie

    • Tonie, As I have already sent you a FB private message, not much to say. You and Bernard have my concern and prayers as he faces surgery and that trip that is so hard on him. WIsh you could go but know your circumstances. Hope the mare is being a good pregnant girl. Lots of snow coming your way today. Stay safe. Hope B enjoys seeing it and being out in it for chores. Pray all is well with you and so sorry he’s feeling so badly but look forward to him being fixed. Love ya, Sue

  10. That’s good to hear you had a great Christmas and it sounds a mix of on the go and relaxing.
    Oh that will be a wrench on the 12th and worrying for you till he’s back
    I so wish it could all be done over there .
    Too much separation over this year for you both
    But sooner started then he’ll be back
    Dd coming over on Sunday and hope to go shopping this time. It’s the sales so might find something fun
    I made my own cheese scones and they were good..put in freezer then brought out when wanted…there’s flu around in the tea shop and village so we are keeping away. So they come in fine
    Just watched ,gone girl, on tv it was good.dd read the book and saw the film she said to watch it .long film tho .so off to sleep now it’s past mid nite
    Lyn
    Hope the toe joint got better it sounds unpleasant
    Your meal sounds like something I would like……but can’t have at moment….
    Guess what I had …we went out to a nice pub…they do know I’ve been ill..dh had ribeye steak and everything….me I played safe and they put together egg n chips for me….not the sort of meal they do..but I was really happy to be able to eat out and feel safe about it
    Sue..hope all is a bit better

    • Dear Chris, COuld you, some day when you have the time, share with us Americans those delicious sounding cheese scones. They sound delicious and if they freeze well, so much the better for us with small families. Hopefully you and DD will have your usual wonderfully fun time together. Beth and I never get those two on two trip anymore with her kids around. I miss them. I used to love shopping after Xmas sales but now do it online. There were so many wonderful bargains even during Xmas, I don’t think I paid full price for very many things this season. We will get through a quiet New Year and then get to the business of taking down all the festive stuff. I will miss the lights out front and Jim doesn’t want to leave them up with all of our wet weather. It’s just so darn dark here in OR starting at 4PM and my eyesight is worse and worse. I am trying to updo all the lightbulbs in the house but the new bulbs we have to use over here now are hideous and give off less light. Frustrating situation for me.
      I am pleased your gut is getting better…slow and easy I guess. My knees are fair. The left one that was drained got bad after Christmas. It clicked so loudly with each step and felt so poppy it made me nauseous. Jim went out and searched all over for a splint for me to wear during the day. It helped but is a bit rough on the skin. Just sent for a couple of others online. Ugh…these bodies of ours.
      Hope to get my den cleaned now. It was where all the packages and wrapping landed so looking forward to seeing the floor in there. Love to you and do enjoy shopping and watch that ice. Sue

    • Chris
      I found a blueberry scone I had made in the freezer. Left it out for B, of course, he liked it lol, the man likes FOOD, in general. But I will make more of them. The cake I made him like his grans came out really good. Very simple and easy, it is yeast based. Like a coffee cake. They are made in a specific mold like a bunt (which is what I used) He enjoyed it. Hadn’t had one in many years that was homemade. He is bringing me back the mold to make it so it will really be like Gran’s.
      Hope you enjoyed the shop and found you something nice

  11. Yea I’ll get that recipe down soon as can
    Had to go to the emergency dr this morning..on Thursday since his bladder had got better they put him back on the extra med that we think caused the problem….well yesterday it started again and this morning stream not too good at all..so spoke to Dr and he said to go in..so off we went and he had to stop that tablet…..didn’t take this mornings one anyway….and it is improving slowly.thankgoodness
    But his bp will go up again now..so have to try and get appt on Tuesday..it’ll be hectic then tho to get through by phone
    He has the most wired side effects…the dr wouldn’t believe it last week
    We got those light bulbs too some years ago. But they now make some good bright ones and in warm white I like the best .they look like normal bulb shape ones too..not those curly shapes
    What will you do about the knee now…good ol dh finding a splint tho,
    So all ready for dd coming tomorrow,be good after today . Made a quick meal ready to go . We are buying her an early wedding pres…it’s not till November…but hey ho…she was looking for one and so we said we would buy it, it’s difficult to get anything they haven’t got .its both their second marriage and they’ve been together for some years….it’s a bean to cup coffee machine . So picking it up,tomorrow…
    At least we’ll know she is using it
    Been relaxing today…oh picked up a long handled dustpan and brush .its so good for clearing up,the leaves around the door outside .no bending, and it’s all done in one job no switching brushes
    Sounds daft but I was really pleased with it
    Ok gonna have a shower
    Chris

    • Chris, no, it doesn’t sound daft at all. I was just talking to a friend on the phone who just had a serious surgery and we were talking about the benefits of long handled tools for housework that don’t require us to bend too much. Your dustpan with the long handle sounds a lot like the ones made for scooping up doggy do.
      I must search for some better lightbulbs. Surely we can find brighter and better. Our SIL owns a hardware store so he will know.
      How frustrating about your DH. Does he see the same doctor each episode with his heart and prostate? It sounds like he sees more than one and they don’t know what they are doing. Surely someone can look at the whole picture and give him some answers…he’s been through so much. Your daughter’s new gift sounds perfect for them. I know it was hard to shop for our daughter when she got married because they were both set up in their own homes and had to combine everything. They must have received 10 crystal bowls as gifts. Our kids gave Jim a Keurig coffee maker for Xmas and we love it. So easy.
      I keep forgetting to mention we just watched the Call the Midwife Xmas special for 2017 with all the snow and loved it as usual. That’s my favorite show of all time. I am thrilled to see they are making a season 7.
      As far as my knee, I am deeply discouraged. I think I just stood too much over Christmas with cooking, stairs, etc. Trying to rest it now. Enjoy your day with DD. Love, Sue

      • Well at the moment he just sees his one gp
        But he’s been referred back to hospital and he will see uriniary clinic and cardiology..both separate
        unfortunately
        Yea had a good time with dd in town both got a few things in the sale.i got a cardigan coat reduced a lot and she a sweater with blouse under it .had coffee out.
        Dh not bad today he forgot and took that med last night and all seems ok.maybe just cutting out the morning one will do the trick
        Finding out by mistake
        Well all the best for new year Sue .fireworks are going off all around .
        Let’s hope for the best to come for us and some good times
        Love chris

  12. Hey all
    Happy New Year to all. Hope and pray we all have one with less pain and misery than last.
    We drove a bit over in Wva (Bluefield) to get horse and chicken feed. Marvelous store called Rural King. Save so much on the feed. They are opening one in Wytheville in Feb. so soon it will be nearby. It was much colder there and blowing snow, it was good to come back down to our elevation. Even if it is still very cold.
    That mean Sweetie. We saw her kicking and biting Red yesterday before feeding time. Hormones most likely, pregnant woman. But B got upset with her. Took her and worked her out really good to bring down the energy. We have blankets on them both now, so they are snug and warm in the stalls at night. Red has his on even in the day, poor old guy. Still waiting on that baby. We let them eat grass in the yard a bit in the evenings. Still a bit of green here.
    Chris, I had one of those coffee makers some years back. Loved it. I have gotten so used to my Kuerig now. Well, time for some oats, apples and cranberries. Cold weather breakfast. Then I think I will come back to bed.
    Sue, so hoping your knee get some more action without popping. There are some sleeves you can get from Tommy Copper that are real nice as well. Do take care of you.
    Love to all
    Tonie

    • Tonie, Happy New Year to both of you. Isn’t it wonderful to ring in the new one with someone you love? Jim and I are the most boring of all celebrants. We just go to bed and watch TV. Pity those poor folks who find it important to go to Times Square in NY this year with the predicted temp of 11 degrees. Once they get there they are pinned in and can’t leave for hours. How do they do it and why? One of those things I don’t understand I guess.
      Your drive yesterday sounds so lovely. Good that B is getting to see so much of your beautiful country. SOunds like you didn’t get the piles of snow Lyn got in PA. You two are a perfect match with your wonderful love of cooking and his of eating.
      That cheeky Sweetie. Tell her there is no excuse for behaving like a “B” even if she is pregnant. It would be wonderful if she would drop that foal while Bernard is still there.
      Actually, I ordered a Tommy Copper sleeve for my knee yesterday morning. I also ordered a splint like Jim found only without the stays in the sides. They are uncomfortable but do the job…just can’t sleep with it on. Now the popping has stopped and it has turn into a shooting miserable pain with some weight bearing. Have to market today so will test out the hard splint. So depressed about it all.
      So wonderful to read your entries and all you two are discovering together. Sure does make me want to see VA and wish I could attend my grandson’s wedding back there in April. I think J is planning on it tentatively with B and her family. I gave each of them books about DC for Xmas. I also found a wonderful Picture of my SIL’s brothers old Victorian he is restoring. It was made by a local artist and I think he was surprised and I hope, pleased. The artist quilts the picture first then has a tile made from it. She sold me the original quilted version.I also bought the tile. It’s so sweet with snow piled all over the house in the pic. Well, time to get something for breakfast besides Ensure. Love to you, Sue

      • Sue
        We had a good night. Took a little nap on the couch after supper. I made potato soup. Something good for it has been so cold, 7′ this morning. He was outside cleaning stalls, feeding, watering, filling the bird feeders….always busy. He said his mom to,d him he had wasps in his pants cause he was never still. Then we watched Times Square, I agree crazy people. He brought a tiny bottle of champagne and we each had a glass. I have always loved it, was nice to taste it again. Watched a documentary about animals and to sleep. Exciting two old people, haha ! Party days are over.
        Hay is coming today and we need to fill Judy’s wood box for her. After my warm breakfast of oats, apples, cranberries and blackberries, I should be able to help.
        I like the idea of that picture. While B is gone I am going to work on my quilts. First my mother and grandmothers. It needs some repair and an additional border so it will be fun. I want it ready to use on my bed come spring. Then I have three more that need finishing, so lots of work ahead.
        Such talent that woman has to quilt those pictures. Mine are simple patchwork, nothing fancy. I did buy a needle I can embroider with on the quilts, so we will see how that goes. You load it and it chain stitches.
        So glad we got through New Years without any terror attacks. That would be my fear of large crowds.
        Have a good day today and heat up that knee. Or ice it. Mine does that popping sometimes when I swim . Hurts and is a sickening feeling. No swim today, but Wednesday. Then we go to the lady’s barn so B can look at her horses, etc and see if he wants to work with her.
        Well, got to get going. I have to make the calendar for church and I always forget which version I download. Taking down decorations as well.
        Love ya

      • Thats a chance of luck finding the picture ,must look good and he must be so pleased with it
        I’m still getting around to that recipe
        Chris

    • That cake sounds good.i love using old family utensils and stuff.fancy being able to use fm,s family one ..magic
      Well tonie new year is here and I know you are both going to be apart for a short while .but the sooner it’s done the better. Both have the best of times
      Love chris

      • Chris
        Yes, his bathroom visits are more and more frequent everyday and pain also in his side where the defect is located. I will be glad when he is there getting himself fixed. Actually happy ( sorta) to see him go this time. He has a big problem not focusing on this potential surgery. Never had any so naturally he is nervous. I told him I lived through it with minimal pain. But his brother and sister had a rough time with theirs and had the ostomy bags for a bit.
        Hope you are well and happy this first day of our new year.

  13. To all
    Happy new year to all and better health for all of us
    Wether warm but raining shame there’s a big firework festival at midnight in town and it’s chucking it down
    We might go for a drive out tomorrow If dh is ok
    Love chris

  14. Hi, all, finally back on since last comment posting. Busy, busy getting ready for DH’s family Christmas tomorrow, New Year’s Day, at our house. Thankfully, my great toe joint is better. It has been difficult managing activity and rest in getting all ready. As I was catching up here, DD called me. After work she tried her electronic key fob to get in her car and it wouldn’t unlock. She inserted her key and it wouldn’t turn. I tried activating the spare here through our phones, but nothing. She called AAA. It is now 9 and they said they might not be able to get there until 11. I just looked on my phone and it is 3*F outside right now! There is nothing open right around her and she is not at her usual office, but in a town about a half hour away – so, she has no keys to go back inside. Thankfully, her BF is home from work and can go to her, but he is a half hour away. I feel so bad for her, but I’m just as far away. Such a helpless feeling! I hope she can stay warm enough! At least they can leave the truck running or maybe go somewhere until they hear from AAA. How awful. I texted SB, but he confirmed it may be battery due to the cold and there is really nothing I can do. I know she must be upset. And I know they really don’t have extra funds for car issues either. I hope it isn’t anything serious. Sorry, with all this excitement, I don’t recall quite all I read.

    No, Chris, I don’t have any singing to do for New Year’s. I am actually home resting this evening while DH is out playing. He is playing at a Retirement Home, so early gig! I think they count down around 10. He said he will likely be home around 11:30. If I am awake, we can ring in the New Year together! What fun! Tomorrow we must rise to ready for our party of 18 for New Year’s/Christmas.

    Sue, sounds like you and Jim will be having a quiet evening like I am, or was planning until DD called. I won’t truly rest until I hear back from her and know she isn’t on her own and waiting for help. I hope you find something that helps with that knee soon. We didn’t get tons of snow, but definitely more than forecast. Compared to Erie, PA, it was a dusting! I think last count they had at least 65″ total? That is more than I am tall! My uncle who is 6’2″, I think, was having fun teasing me about that.

    Tonie, bad news for poor FM, but it sounds necessary. Poor old Red, and naughty Sweetie! I do hope it is just hormones. Silly girl. So glad the cake turned out and that B enjoyed it! DD’s BF is excited to have DD and his grandmother get together so grandmother can teach DD how to make her sand tarts. I think that is so sweet. We are finding that while he says he isn’t much for sweets, he has loved some cookies DD has made as well as my sugar cookies and vanilla meltaways. Methinks he like them more than he thought.

    Well, I have gone on long enough. Time to settle in and wait to hear from DD.

    Happy New Year, one and all!

    • Thankfully, yes, thanks. After a successful jump start, so far, the battery is holding. It has been so cold, I was afraid even with the jump she’d end up needing a battery. They don’t have a garage to shelter the car from cold.

  15. Hi, everyone. We are preparing for DH’s family to arrive about noon (his parents are notorious for arriving much earlier). I’m looking forward to family time, but am hurting already, back, shoukder, hands… can knees, etc be far behind? Prayers appreciated, please. I know I will be on my feet for the duration prepping, setting, cleaning up from appetizers to meal to gift time, over and over. DH takes care of cooking the meal (thank goodness!) – traditional New Year’s Day pork and sauerkraut.

  16. Tonie
    Yea good start for us to new year had a lovely day out at coast .just driving where we like to go .mid morning breakfast out then afternoon stop for pot of tea ..but I fell asleep at 11.30pm ….had a busy day with DD shopping then had a roast in the evening
    Dd went to see a show in London and is on her way back
    They do something like that op for diverticulitis,sometimes you have a bag for a while …it can’t be.pleasent for him with it on his mind.it must run in his family by the sound of it
    Yes when he goes back you know he’s getting all sorted
    Chris

    • Hello to all, well here we are, all recovering from a what I hope was wonderful Christmas for each of you. Ours was very warm, enjoyable and festive. I am beginning to undo all the decor today and hate to see it go. I’m one of those people who could have the lights, nativity set, Santas and tiny trees up all the time…but don’t. I have been fairly silent here just resting because I overdid completely. My knees are in a bad way right now and the left knee which was drained recently is the worst. Wearing splints during day and wraps at night. It is gradually getting better and less irritated. Ankle and left foot still numb at times so trying to stay down but so much to do!! Having these weekly INR’s due to coumadin is a pain but not stabilized yet. Had ultrasound of thyroid also yesterday. I sure do have a lot of friends at the local hospital. They all see me so often in all departments! Now I have to lose the ten pounds I’ve gained since on Gabapentin and Christmas didn’t help but so good to eat. Going off of NSAID’s after 25 years, my gut has improved a lot. Now…enough catching up about me.

      Chris, so glad you got over to the coast for the 1st. Sounds like you had a successful and fun shopping trip with DD. I hope the stomach/plus divert. continues to improve and you are less sore. It’s been hanging on so long this time. Also hope DH has stabilized in the B/P department. How very much you both are constantly going through. Hope you aren’t getting the violent weather we are getting in the East and South. Record snowfalls and falling temps all along the E. coast of the USA. Such high record breaking tides in Boston, Mass. today and snow all over the South. SO many of our friends/family back in all of that dangerous weather/cold have my prayers and concerns.

      Lyn, We all shared your concern for DD getting caught out outside in that freezing weather. What a nightmare for you. SO very thankful all worked out well. I can’t imagine what you are going through right now with the snow and weather. Be safe. Hope your family dinner…the late Christmas or was it the last Christmas dinner with family was flavor filled and feel sure it was. I know you did too much and hope you’ve been getting some rest. Hope those painful joints are staying warm and rested with a cat or two in your lap along with a good book.

      Tonie, I just said to J. this AM over coffee, hope your weather will clear for B to get to the airport next week. I also think your cake from his grandmother’s recipe or close to it sounds interesting. We got a couple of good recipes when Beth and I were in Finland years ago. It’s a fine thing in life when a baking/cake pan can mean so much to us. I have a dear friend who kept her mother’s relish dish because it was connected to so many memories. That was the most important item to her. I know what a sentimental nature you have and love you all the more for that…maybe because I am also that way. Our concerns continue for both of you and Judy in this weather you are currently going through. I sure hope you announce the foal when he/she arrives. That is so exciting and thinking about all the improvements B has made at your place for you and the animals, what a fine man you have there. You tell him he will have our intense prayers for the Lord to guide his surgeon’s hands, for his recovery to go better than his relatives did and to try, very hard, not to be too nervous at it. You two are meant to be and I don’t think this event for him will do anything but separate you for awhile and give him more health to enjoy his new life.

      To all the other readers who rarely comment, I hope each of you had a wonderful holy day season and are staying safe, well and coping with life’s problems as they appear. Much love to all, Sue

  17. Ok here I go cheese scones
    Preheat oven 220 c bit less for a fan oven and grease a baking tray..I use baking parchment
    Mix 225g self raising flour and a pinch of salt with 55g butter
    Stir in 45g grated cheese and mix with 150 ml of milk to get a soft dough..you may not need all of the milk
    Turn onto floured board and knead only a little
    Pat to 2 cm thick and use cutter to stamp into 6 – 8 rounds ..I think six bigger ones are best ..don’t twist cutter put it in straight otherwise they won’t rise evenly
    Brush with milk and I like to put some grated cheese on top
    Put in oven for 12-15 mins till golden and cut in half and butter when cool although I like them out of oven!

    They don’t stay fresh for long so I freeze when cool and reheat in oven when wanted
    Instead of cheese you can put in some caster sugar with raisins or grated apple
    Serve the sweet ones if wanted with jam and clotted cream
    I forgot all metric I’ll come back
    Chris

  18. Oven..420f
    8 oz flour
    2oz butter
    11/2 oz cheese
    2/3 cup of milk….I think
    And cutter…well nearest to 0.8 inch!

    Back later

    • Chris, how sweet of you to send this and to convert it. Must try. I know it’s a pain to share recipes with all the precise wording, numbers, etc. but thanks so much. How are you? Love, Sue

      • We’ll diver still coming and going..it,comes on worse with bending
        Dh Bp up and down along with water works
        I’ve an appt with gastro next Tuesday and dh a cardio following week along with urologist
        He had a thing frozen on his head yesterday at dermatologist
        So it’s been a busy start to the year
        Just had a batch of windy weather up,to 100mph and some floods about
        I see you are having bad weather over there and such cold temps too
        When do you see the dr in Portland about your knee again?
        Chris

  19. Morning all
    A balmy 16′ here with wind chills of -15′. But…we are going to workout. Him, I swim. The bad part is coming out again. But feeling much better for the effort.
    Sue, so sorry about your poor knees. You know you are ever in my prayers. Judy has been sick so I haven’t been to see her the last few days, just talking on the phone. She doesn’t come out when it is this cold. Her heart.
    Supposed to warm up next week whenB leaves. He says he is always afraid when he leaves something will happen he can’t come back. I told him Faith !
    I got my oversized insulated coveralls out and hope to cut them down to size tonight. They are wonderful, but so big both of us can wear them ! They were given to me a few years ago.
    Time is going by so quickly, but once he leaves it will crawl, I know. But I will be busy again doing all the chores and things he has taken from me. And then when the foal arrives. I have dreamed of it several times in the past few weeks. It is always a mule and a boy. So we will see. He says when he gets back we will buy two new riding horses and breed Sweetie again to a nice stallion. We did visit the stables Wed. Beautiful horses, but strange woman. He did tell her he would do somethings for her on his return. He is talented with horses and very passionate about training them correctly.
    Well almost my turn in the bathroom. Hope you are feeling better . Hope to call you soon.
    Love ya
    Tonie

    • Tonie, good to hear how life is going for you both. I know you are both dreading his leaving but you are right, faith. I guess it’s only human the fear of losing something or someone we love and I also know you are praying like mad for his trip, his surgery and speedy recovery as am I. I know you are providing him with as many words of encouragement as you can but it is such a personal thing; the way we react to these bump in the road. The secret with most bowel surgery is a good surgeon, healing and no infection. I know he is motivated and also know he will have the strength of prayer, many prayers, for him. He is strong, in good condition and highly motivated to get home to you so all of that is on his side.
      Well, dear, we will see how accurate your dreams are. Do you have someone to call if you need help with her birth? Can’t imagine that weather you are having but know that is home for you and you grew up there so know it. I love all of B. plans for you, the new horses, etc. Tell him to hold that thought.
      I’m sorry the horse woman was strange but so many folks are. I hope he is looking forward to helping her with a few of her horses and not dreading it. Much love, Sue P.S. You know I love to chat any time…Also, have you seen the Australian series A Place to Call Home? I got it for Christmas and loved the first year in the series….must watch more.

  20. Chris dear, our weather is just wet…in the forties today. After two day of cold but sunny clear blue skies, we are now in for seven days of rain. I am sorry to hear you still have soreness over the divert. location. Frankly, it still sounds like diverticulitis…no diverticulosis. I know you’ve had plenty of antibiotics. Frustrating but those internal problems can take such a long time. Your poor guy, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another. My j. went to dermy on Tuesday and had three spots frozen off on his forehead.
    I have no plans at the moment to go into Portland for knee guy. I am trying to immobilize it with knee wraps at night but soft braces during the day when walking around. SO frustrating. I just got word that my wonderful therapeutic cream has gone from four dollars a month to ninety. I will be searching for other things to rub on most of my joints for relief. Feb first we are going to Portland to see four doctors, none the knee guy…heart man, oncology surgeon we both see, my pain doctor and the rheumy. Full day but less driving that day.
    We have been slowly taking down all of our CHristmas wreaths, garland, etc. Stil lights outside but too wet right now. Not on. Our daughter gave us the cutest sign that is aqua blue and says “ANTIQUES.” DOn’t know whether to hang it with some of my other interesting things in the dining room or hand it over our bed. Ha, Ha.

    Tonie, I recommended an Australian series but now would like to rescind my recommendation. It has turned out to be a soap opera type of thing and left me hanging at the end of the first season. I hate that. and don’t much care for soap operas. Don’t think I’ll watch any other seasons. How very much I am praying for you guys back there in that snow and ice. Poor New England, when you ice floating and hitting the shoreline and up onto land…oh my.

    Love to both of you, CHris and Tonie. Sue

    • Just a short note gotta get up
      But you said your DD bought you a sign…and its good fun too
      Did I mention some weeks back ours did too .it said the ..naughty corner …so I put it where I could see it from the kitchen window ..it has a small garden area there. Full of pots
      Chris

  21. Hello, all. Just a quick note as I’m not feeling my best today. Tonie, we are sharing your weather and I imagine we are both liking it about the same – not at all. Poor pup had no walk yesterday and is begging with her eyes today, but it is just too cold out. DH may take her around for 10 minutes or so, but I will be staying put. Love the plans you and B have, all in good time. Thoughts and prayers will follow him and remain with him through his surgery, recovery, and return. Thankfully, the weather is improving for his travel.

    Chris, I wish your divert. symptoms and discomfort would go from on again, off again to off completely. Thoughts with you and your DH. How thoughtful and wonderful of you to share your recipe, complete with the conversion. I have several recipes for scones – I do enjoy them – and have yet to make any. I don’t usually make resolutions for the new year, but this might be one I need to make. Time to try making my own scones.

    Sue, I am slowly working on taking those decorations down as well. SB asked me the other day when I started if I was taking it all down that day. No. That would be too much. He was happy. The tree left up is his favorite. Poor guy is still not 100% back to normal yet. He visited the Urgent Care Dec. 31st with pain in his lower left quadrant. It turned out he was blocked up from top to bottom – constipated. He went straight to the drug store and picked up stool softener, glycerin suppositories, and prepared for whatever he needed to do. He asked us what an enema was. DH had a good time sharing how that was his mother’s answer to any malady. Thankfully, the softeners seemed to do the job. He had more cramping one evening, but I reminded him that he wasn’t really watching what he was eating as much as he could. Prayers for a safe trip for you and J, and an uneventful one as well. Your hands are so full, so to speak.

    • Lyn, no trip until Feb. to Portland, then an very full day with four appts. for me and one for J. He just went into Portland by himself to see dermy and had three spots burned/frozen off. Try to incorporate as much as humanly possible into one trip but the day after…don’t need to tell you. Please do take it restfully as you can during your extreme weather. Isn’t it funny all the Christmas stuff goes up so much easier than it comes down.
      As far as SB and his intestines, a large glass of cherry/white grape juice each night as well as 2 or three stool softeners will take care of that problem. Yes, fresh fruit is good but this time of year it’s hard to find except apples and the citrus fruits. I believe in that juice and it has worked for others in my family. I believe it is a Welch’s product. Tasty, too. Rest dear girl and stay safe. Love, Sue

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