Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Toast

The weather is dire
And the year has grown old,
But with cows in their byre
And with sheep in their fold,
And food and a fire
To ward off the cold-
Our sorrows we'll shrive
Now that Winter is here,
While our hearths are alive
With good will and good cheer!

For with kith and with kin
And the kindness of friends,
All strangers we'll win
And with foes make amends-
So that good will comes in
As the Ageing Year ends!

Soon we'll wish you a hale
And a Happy New Year,
But we'll first tell a tale
While King Winter is here!

Passage from
'Saturn and the Dragons of the Solstice,'
A Mystery Play by Martin Ludgate

Happy New Year, friends and family. May your cabbage be fresh, your black-eyed peas tender, your midnight toast bubbly, and your fortune bright. Cheers.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


I de-Chrismasified the house yesterday. This year it just felt like the timing was right to clear out pre-New Year, so it all came down... everything except the tree with her lights. (Those remaining gifts you see tucked under there are for my aunt and uncle and their family, with whom we have not yet crossed paths... not sure what I'll do with them if they outlast the tree!)

Our near-bare evergreen now stands as a twinkling beacon awaiting the year to roll over, and I'm reminded of how much I love the look and simplicity of plain pine with white lights. Leaving this remnant of Christmas, now pared down from it's finery, isn't stale-feeling or oppressive (as holiday decorations sometimes feel to me when they're left lingering after the holiday has passed), it actually feels peaceful and somehow more important. Almost as though the ornaments were a distraction from it's real presence, and now it has been freed to stand stoically- mystically- the way it would have been revered a thousand years ago when these traditions we subscribe to were still young and sacred.

Also, it still smells amazingly green and piney.

I'm happily letting my mind linger on this focal point this morning; thinking of the place where it came from, the things that might have lived and sheltered in it, and the celebration that happened around it when it came into our home has helped restore some of that lost sacredness I always wish for this time of year.

For me it's a great way to end the year and prepare for the welcoming of the new one!

Wishing all something beautiful to linger on today. Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Happiest of Holidays :: Christmas Day

Christmas at Nanny's, where most of my husband's side of the family have been every Christmas for at least the last 40+ years, lived up to the reputation you'd expect from such a long-standing tradition. Ham, turkey, the world's best dressing, a Santa figurine on almost every flat surface, 'A Christmas Story' on repeat, a super late night with a few games, and the satisfying chaos that comes from a marathon of making, sneaking, and assembling into the wee hours.

Just magical enough for everyone to be a little sad that it's all over, but just enough for it to be OK that it is.

Happy happy, y'all. Hope everyone had a good one.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happiest of Holidays :: Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve at my mom's this year was so nice. We headed down early-mid morning and arrived before lunch, had banh mi sandwiches and mushroom soup, exchanged gifts, and opened a bottle of wine in front of the outside fireplace to watch the full moon rise.

One of the best Christmas Eves in ever.

Hoping y'all had one just as fine.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Windows open? No jackets and sleeves rolled up? Bare feet? Iris blooming? It must be.... Christmas Eve?! Honestly..........................................................................

Welp, have a merry one anyway, y'all, despite the funky weather!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry and Bright

Yesterday, beginning with the sunrise on the Winter Solstice and ending with a fancy-pants dinner (wherein I got everyone to eat beef tongue and love it, heh heh), we had one of the most merry and bright days of the season so far. I can't remember a recent day where everyone got along so splendidly, helped so willingly, and enjoyed so thoroughly all the goings-on around them.

Even the kooky weather played along, and we had a beautiful First Day of Winter (even though a 72-degree day makes it a little ridiculous).

Even the matching Mama-made pjs and slippers were enthusiastically received... and who could ask for more than that (for we all know that won't last for many more seasons)?

Wishing all peace, joy, and light. Happy winter!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sentimental Fool

The first Monday of Audrey's holiday break, when technically no one has to get up early (except for Daddy, doh) and what am I doing? Not sleeping in... I'm looking through old holiday photos.

I'm a sentimental fool y'all.

I'm sitting here in the semi-darkness with rapidly cooling coffee, tearing up and clicking away.

In my defense, though, how does one appreciate the present without a touch of the bittersweet from things that have already passed? Not to get all Dickens on ya, but that really is the only way to celebrate the holidays and be fully aware of how special- how fleeting- these moments really are. You can't get hung up on the things that haven't been done, the stuff still to do, the little reasons here and there why you feel things aren't quite perfect because there are still so many good things going on... and if you don't look up and appreciate the good, you'll miss out on it all (and yes, I'm aware of the fact that I'm mostly directing that at myself).

Point in case: just look at these babies!

Time flies, y'all. *sniff, sniff*

Sunday, December 20, 2015

'C' is for Cookie

We have significantly pared down what we're usually up to these last few days before Christmas; all around us there are still many an interfering ongoing project. But you know our cookie making made the cut! We got a batch of our favorite sugar cookies made- start to finish- between caulk removal and back splash trimming and despite the fact that our cookie recipe is buried in a pile of cookbooks that currently have no proper place to belong.

However it's easy to overlook it all when there is such cute and willing help, mounds of multicolored sprinkles, and a so-bad-it's-good Christmas music station blasting.

I've been struggling with a touch of bah humbug lately, and I'm sure the up-in-the-air-ness of what's still unfinished is contributing....... but at least now we have cookies, and that's good enough for me.