Saturday, December 29, 2018


Madelyn  (photo credit: Emily)

I guess this will be my last post of the year.  I get so disappointed  with myself when I see how I've slid down the side of the mountain in blogging.  This will make my 17th post for the year.  In 2011, I published 101.  Hmmmmm...I did achieve my goal and dream to write professionally by practice, discipline, and most of all, the sweet and encouraging comments from you, my readers.  

My long term goal was to write for the newspapers and ultimately syndicate.  And an even loftier plan was to freelance with magazines.  Things were shelved temporarily when I had my surgery in April.  I have to sit down and really make a plan, break it down into steps.  And I need to keep connecting with all of you; shorter and more frequent posts.  I read a blog post today written by La Table De Nana and she mentioned that she doesn't make resolutions or focus on goals for the coming year (not a direct quote), but she simply tries to do her best.  Isn't that perfect?  Isn't that all we really need?

Christmas 2018

I was really thrilled with the Christmas tree I hunted down this year.  First, I do this on my own.  I'll see a tree I like, The Husband will find his.  I usually win but in the last ten years or so I just go to our nursery alone and he stays home nice and warm.  ^^.  I became infatuated with those tall skinny trees that are so darn cute and the perfect size for my tiny little home.  The Noble fir isn't native to our area but can be shipped for a pretty penny from the PNW.  I went as far (and this is a huge far) in looking for an artificial tree, and perhaps white lights.  Again, very expensive.  I found this guy and even though it's a Douglas Fir, it is tall and skinny and even before the branches fell, it looked like it was surely from The Land of the Misfits.  Everyone that walks in the door comments on the Grinch tree and agrees it is very cool.  

I was overspending at Hobby Lobby one day and came upon white lights.  They weren't a fortune and  while I noticed they could be used indoors or out, I failed to comprehend what icicle lights are.  As I wrapped them around the tree, I untangled dangling lights every 14 inches or so and they fell nicely, draping over the lower and inner branches.  Alas, I ran out so I made a quick trip to Home Depot.  They only had one box left and the lights were on white coated wire so it would not look nice at all.  In asking two employees if they had anymore hidden in the stockroom, I told them how important it was as I had more than half the tree done.  The tree?  The Treeeeeeeee?!  Those are for outdoors, Missy.  I stood my ground and told them how gorgeous my tree was looking.  They looked at each other for a minute, and then the man said, "Wow, maybe we have a new thing going here."  Anywho, the white lights came off and the colored ones went on.  And I'm in love again.  Next year absolutely no artificial tree and possibly, no white lights.  

Master bedroom

I'm not one who rushes to take the tree down and pack everything away in a New York minute after the holidays, and that's only because I'm too lazy.  I have to smile, every year bloggers and Instagrammers discuss the socially permissible time to start holiday decorating, usually the weekend after Thanksgiving.  And then everyone gives their say as to when they take it all down.  Some say they hate the clutter.  Maybe they should have a little restraint the day after Thanksgiving.  ;-D

I tried my hand at a hot cocoa bar.  It was cute but not very much used.  Turns out little Madelyn doesn't like it although she was loving stirring the marshmallows around until they disappeared.  She is however, crazy about sweets and I have to hide my candy dishes and cookie jar when she comes over.  

Meg and Declan's, Christmas Day

As always, it was family celebrations in the days leading up to Christmas.  They are absolutely festive and fun and unwaveringly traditional.  Drinks, food, and a crazy grab bags where gifts can be stolen, sometimes several times.  The party at my son's house is absolutely nuts.  In this swap, playing cards are used to pick a gift in a particular order according to the card pulled, then the gifts are passed to the right or left or five persons down...mad.  The Husband's brother leads the game.  As a retired college professor, there is nothing he loves more than standing in front of a roomful of confused people making something once fun very complex.

Karen and Marty's, December 23

The girls are happy with a simple game of Spoons although throwing them is frowned upon.

At each party the food was incredible.  Marty and Karen served pulled pork and barbecued ribs.  My son hosted Christmas Eve and had Chicken Vesuvio, and on Christmas Day we went to Megan and Declan's for a crown roast of pork.  Everything was excellent.  My Christmas morning brunch was an absolute great time, but my egg casserole was a flop again.  It was undercooked as it was last year and I had to keep putting it back into the oven.  By then everyone had eaten Emily's cinnamon rolls and I had plenty leftovers from my epic failure that finally set after an hour and a half.  Anybody have a sure fire overnight egg casserole recipe?

Christmas 2018

We were so happy and grateful that we get that annual picture of Papa with his grand and great grandchildren.  Front row: Emily, Madelyn, Conor, Papa.  Middle: Maureen (Mo Mo), Elsie, Grace, Brooks.  Back row: Kevin, Patsy, Eileen, Abby, Jeff, Maggie, Liam, Tricia, Lizzie.

A shout out to my niece, Lizzie.  She's a senior at Villanova University in Philly, and has been a football cheerleader all four years.  If you've heard of the Wildcats, you'll know their outstanding record and how rousing the games are.  She recently cheered at Madison Square Garden.  Oh, the places you'll go!

Miss Mad

As another year nears it's end, I'm feeling as contemplative as Madelyn here.  Hmmmmm...what trouble can I get into?  What mishaps or broken bones will I face?  Will I lose my mind as Abby and Tom's wedding date approaches?  Will The Husband and I finally start to travel again?  Where will go?  He's retiring this summer---don't want to think about that now.

I had been trying to decide if I should go back to the gym.  I've signed up, paid my membership and parking fee three times and never lasted more than three months.  I so have to get in shape, especially in time for Abby's wedding in July.  I'll be happy with 25 pounds and slim arms.  I finally checked out the fitness programs on the premium networks and hit on one I really like.  The one I've tried is the 21 Day Transformation.  Please don't scoff at the title, I'm not settling for just 21 days.  There are many, many different videos from fat burning cardio to yoga.  I've been doing the cardio now for three days and I'm feeling pretty good that I'm stretching and twisting in a way I never thought I would after the back surgery six months ago.  I do it before lunch, in my pj's and in the comfort of my living room.  No getting dressed, warming up the car, working out in a class, so I'm optimistic.  And as you can see,  I did not wait for the New Year.  

I subscribed to Amazon Prime Network to get the fitness channels free, but you can rent them until you decide if you like the method.  If you have Netflix or HBO or whatever, they probably have fitness videos, too.  But I've been wanting to start watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which has such rave reviews, and a few episodes in I'm just loving it.  Any recommendations for other series on any of these networks?

This is the book I've been immersed in.  Ann Hood is the writer of The Obituary Writer, which I read years ago.  Excellent book.  She has two previous fictional novels that look really good.  Kitchen Yarns reminds me of the writings of the late Laurie Colwin and her stories of dipping her toes into the world of cooking and entertaining.  My link will take you to Amazon where you can read more about it.  Be ready to get hungry, recipes included!

So that's all for now.  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and cheers to a Happy New Year!

Jane x