Advent

20141214-083658-40

Christmas is getting closer. We’ve cleared away a lot of social engagements. Work is definitely winding down. M and the Boyfriend are sitting in the Dallas airport at this moment on their way here. N is in Peru. I really miss N. The socks she wants for Christmas should finally be delivered today, and I will mail them to her tomorrow. Maybe they will get to her by Epiphany, which is probably what they celebrate there anyway.

But this week will end and then we’re nearly there. I’m coming in to work those first two days of next week, but it’s going to be very half-hearted, and then we’re really done. I don’t know what we’ll do — I’m hoping a lot of lounging and baking and hikes in crisp air, and talking to M, who I haven’t seen since August.

I am so looking forward to it.

Bird count

20141214-070850-35

I got up really, really early this weekend to do the Christmas bird count.

It was fun. I noticed three birds — a chickadee, a brown creeper and a horned grebe — that no one else had. I suspect someone else would have seen them if I hadn’t, although maybe not. We saw lots of varied thrushes, which are very pretty and make an odd spoingy sound.

It was very pleasant to be walking through the woods counting birds. The guy we were with knew them all by their sounds. That’s what I’ll work on next.

20141214-080149-38

Four generations

20141204-105044-3

Just returned from cleaning out my grandmother’s condo.

Many treasures large and small unearthed, including this photo. From left to right, my mother, my great-great-aunt Clara, me, my grandmother (Margaret), her sister – my great-aunt Tally (Clara), my aunt Christy (Christina). This picture is from Tally’s wedding. I think I am causing some trouble, which is why my grandmother is smiling at my mother, who is not noticing. The sky is very blue — it’s August in North Dakota.

We found another picture from my mother’s wedding, some 7 years earlier, and Aunt Clara is wearing the same dress. Frugal people, or maybe just the normal thing to do in 1964.

My aunt Tally was the glamorous one, which is why Christy is wearing that odd-colored dress. (She was an attendant.) This is one of the few pictures we have of my grandmother smiling.

You can see, right? I come from a long line of, um, strong women.

I’m glad I went, and I am very glad to be home.

Bring on the carols!

Blustery day!

All Photos-59

Merely blustery when I took this picture, but really raining now — I can hear it on the skylight.

The air is so amazingly fresh. It is wonderful.

AND, I changed my reservation. I’m coming home on Sunday from packing up my grandma’s house, and that makes all the difference.

I also made some turkey soup, some cornbread and a cranberry cake last night to leave with K while I’m gone, and that sense of tying up loose ends and leaving the household provisioned in my absence makes a difference, too.

It’s supposed to rain all week, now. I’m so sad I’m going to miss it, but I’m really glad it’s going to happen anyway.

And rain!

All Photos-28

It’s been raining all night and all day. I can’t even tell you how wonderful it is, after having been so dry for so long. I woke up in the night when it started. I must have fallen back to sleep and it was still raining when I woke up, and it’s still raining now and it’s lunch time. It’s miraculous. (Of course, technically, we are still suffering from a drought, even as there are floods. That’s just the way it goes.)

We’ve completely forgotten what to do with rain. I did find my rain boots and an umbrella at the back of the closet last weekend, but the bag I carry my gym clothes isn’t waterproof, and things were a little damp this morning. Oh well.

I find I am craving toast, too.

It’s wonderful.

Thanksgiving aftermath

All Photos-10

To be honest, I’m a little bit crabby.

First of all, the day itself was somewhat of a bust. The day after, when the turkey was completely cooked and we had not spent the entire day cooking and cleaning, was great. I went in to the city with some friends to the tile store (this tile store. Oh wow — click on that link) and then we reconvened for leftovers at our very clean house and that was so much fun.

And an old and good friend from Vermont is here, too, and that is also fun — We went to the museum and thought about bench seating in my kitchen.

And it has rained a bit, and may rain some more, and that’s great. And I finally got a tiny hike in, and that was amazing. I began to feel a bit more like a human being.

It’s very odd, because I grew up thinking of myself as a holiday person, and now I’m not sure if I’m just not a holiday person, or if I just have to figure out a way to not have them be quite so dire. We’ve got to do something so Christmas isn’t worse, although it will help that M will be home.

It’s not helping that I have to leave in the middle of the week to fly to Arizona to help my mother pack up my grandmother’s belongings. It would be so excellent to have that weekend at home to potter around and put up Christmas lights and mail a card or two.

However, it is not to be. Ho hum.

Here’s a view from my walk.

All Photos-16